Happy Fall! I love the beginning of the autumn months, with the chilly mornings and lovely warm afternoons. By September, I’m usually ready to put the grill aside in favor of some slow braised stews or comforting soups.
For many, the arrival of fall means just one thing…PUMPKIN SPICE SEASON!
Pumpkin spice seems to dominate everything nowadays…from lattes to candles to snack mixes (just walk into a Trader Joe’s in fall and take a gander at their pumpkin spice offerings!)
But the OG, the latte, is what we are here for! If you’ve been avoiding those Pumpkin Spice Lattes from your favorite barista…well, first of all, good for you! 👏👏👏
At 39g of sugar in just a Tall PSL, you are definitely doing yourself a favor! (That’s roughly 10 teaspoonsful of sugar in that little cup!)
Although the sugar gives the ol’ PSL a bad rap, the spices that make up the warming pumpkin spice blend are pretty darn good for us! Check out the benefits below!
Luckily, we can still keep a little spice in our life and avoid the sugar shock by recreating a healthier version of our favorite fall beverage at home. For my healthier PSL, I use maple syrup (which yes, is still sugar, but it is unrefined. This means it still contains other nutrients). It’s also really easy to adjust the quantity, so we can enjoy a little sweetness without the sugar crash.
I also use Cashew Butter (specifically, I use addJoi’s Cashew Base) which gives the creaminess. I have no affiliation with them, I just really like their products, as they have no additives! Many dairy free milk products contain thickeners or emulsifiers which irritate the gut, affect gut health by increasing intestinal permeability and/or contribute to an overgrowth of the intestinal bacteria. I encourage you to check addJoi out!
You can choose to sub in your favorite dairy free milk alternative, but may have to adjust the strength of the coffee to get the right mix, as the extra liquid will water down the latte a bit. If you enjoy a weaker cup, it might work great for you!
Are you like me and prefer your latte iced? I think my love of iced coffee comes from my pharmacist days where I would sip from the same cold cup of coffee all shift long! To make it frosty, simply blend and pour into a glass over ice!
It’s hard to believe summer is soon coming to an end. As much as I’ll hate to see the Pacific Northwest rain clouds replace the summer sunshine, I do love autumn. The colourful leaves, crisp air on morning walks, cozy sweaters and swapping out grilled foods for some comforting, slow cooked fare – all are great reasons to embrace the change of the season!
As the weather changes outside, it’s also a great time to check in with our internal environment and how we are feeling. Tuning into our bodies and the subtle messages they send us is something most of us need to work on. Our lifestyles and responsibilities keep us focused on, and prioritizing, pretty much everything but ourselves! We take our cars in for regular inspections (or, um, we should), so we should definitely be doing regular “mileage” inspections on the state of our well-being!
Check-in With Yourself
Take a few minutes during your day. Find someplace quiet and free of distractions. Drop out of your stressed, fight and flight state by taking several slow, deep belly breaths. Now – what are you noticing? Some questions you might ask yourself are:
How’s my energy level? Are you dragging yourself through the day, fuelled on caffeine and sugar? Do you need to snack to make it through to your next meal?
How am I sleeping? Are you getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep? Do you wake up during the night and can’t fall back asleep? Do you wake up tired or refreshed?
How’s my digestion? Symptoms like heartburn, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pains, stools that float or are light coloured, or undigested food in the stool are all warning lights that require some attention.
Am I nourished? Feeding ourselves regularly doesn’t necessarily mean we are nourishing ourselves. Relying on packaged and processed foods, hitting the drive thru on the reg and consuming foods high in sugar might fill the belly, but they aren’t fuelling your body with the nutrients it needs to work optimally.
What other things are showing up that aren’t “normal”? – Headaches? Joint Pain? Anxiety? Skin rashes? We often get so used to these type of symptoms that they become our status quo. They may be common, but they aren’t NORMAL. Symptoms are your body’s warning lights and it’s way of telling you something isn’t right!!
Now that you’ve run through your checklist, what have you discovered?
It could be you realize summer ice creams have become a daily occurrence or you completely Hulk out on anyone in your vicinity when you miss your between meal snack. Maybe you can’t remember the last time you slept through the night or perhaps the drive-thru guy knows you by name. You might realize your bathroom has become your second home or, you can’t pinpoint exactly what is wrong, but you know you just don’t feel your best. If any of these things hit home, it may be time for a RESTART®.
What is RESTART®?
The RESTART® program is a 5 week, online, group program that combines loads of nutritional education and a 3 week sugar detox. When you add in the element of group support, it’s a powerful (and fun!) combination.
Who should RESTART®?
Whether you have been dabbling in healthy eating for awhile or don’t know your kale from your kohlrabi, RESTART® is for you! It’s the perfect combination of education and action that teaches you, not only how food affects us, but lets you experience how powerful real food can be. RESTART® is great for individuals, couples or families. You can join with a friend to have an accountability buddy or make pals in class or the free Facebook group.
Since the classes are conducted via Zoom, you can join from the comfort of home, no matter where in the world you are located!
Maybe the question should be “Why NOT RESTART®”? Let’s face it, most of us need to do a better job of putting ourselves, and our health, first. Self-care isn’t selfish! To paraphrase a quote from Katie Reed, self care allows you to give the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you!
Everybody gets a little something different out of the RESTART® program. Below is a list of some of the benefits RESTART® participants have experienced.
Where and When is RESTART®?
I’m super excited to be offering THREE different class times this fall! All classes are conducted live on Zoom.
How can I register for RESTART®?
If you think you could use a RESTART®, you can register for class by clicking HERE.
If you have more questions about RESTART®, visit the RESTART® page on this website or send me a message HERE. I’d love to chat with you about it!
Oh! One last thing! If you don’t see a class time that fits your schedule,contact me. I’m happy schedule additional group classes (minimum of 4 participants) at a date and time that works for everyone!
What are you waiting for? Go on! Get (RE)STARTED!!
One of my clearest food memories is of my Mom’s Deviled Eggs. I can still see the yellow Tupperware container with the special “egg holding” insert that she used. I wouldn’t say she made them all that often, but usually when you saw that Tupperware container come out, you knew there was a party or holiday meal about to happen!
Mom’s eggs were DELICIOUS. A little sweet and a little tangy, thanks in part to a “miraculous” mayonnaise style condiment that was pretty popular while I was growing up. It probably STILL IS popular with a lot of folks, but with its high fructose corn syrup, fragile and damaged oil and various thickeners and fillers, it’s not something that’s invited into my grocery cart anymore.
So I knew if I wanted to relive that childhood food memory, I’d have to ditch the processed stuff and create my own version. I think they are just as tasty as the one’s I remember eating growing up. Different, but just as good. Well, maybe ALMOST as good because does anything ever taste as good as what Mom made? It’s that “the secret ingredient is love” thing. Pretty sure.
The funny thing about deviled eggs is that they are one of the few foods that really don’t smell all that great (they ARE kinda stinky), but almost everyone loves when they show up at a get together! I’ve taken them to numerous shindigs (they are a great potluck item for those of us avoiding gluten or dairy). When I arrive, I uncover the deviled beauties while sheepishly mumbling an apology for the odor, only to be cut off with excited exclamations by fellow party goers! “Oooo deviled eggs! I haven’t had those in ages!” “Wow! I love these things! I never make them because they are so much work!”
Truth? They are REALLY easy to make. Yeah, they take a bit more effort than grabbing a veggie tray from the supermarket (which there is nothing wrong with, by the way), but they definitely give the impression you put a lot more work in than you did. That’s never a bad thing.
The hardest part of making deviled eggs is getting hard boiled eggs that you can peel easily. There’s not much worse than trying to peel an egg and ending up with something that looks like the dog chewed on it, full of gouges and holes. I’ve found that the Instant Pot makes perfectly peelable eggs EVERYTIME! Feel free to go old school on the stove top, if that’s your style. I have read that fresh eggs don’t peel as easily as older eggs. I’ve never had an issue with the Instant Pot, but if you are boiling on the stove top, maybe buy your eggs a week or so ahead of time.
Alright – enough chit chat! Let’s get to the good stuff! How to make these wickedly good little things!
First step is to boil (or pressure steam) those eggs. I’m going to run with the Instant Pot instructions here, but I have included stove top directions in the recipe card.
Place your eggs in a single layer on the trivet (rack) of your Instant Pot.
Add 1 cup of cold water to the pot. Place and lock the lid onto the instant pot.
Ensure that the venting dial is set to SEALING and set the timer to 6 minutes under HIGH pressure.
When the timer goes off, immediately turn the venting dial to VENTING, making sure to avoid the high pressure steam that will be released. Once the pressure has lowered enough so that the lid unlocks, you can either remove the eggs to an ice bath or take the lazy person’s way (like me) and use pot holders to lift the stainless steel insert out of the Instant Pot and run cold water over the eggs. Allow the eggs to sit in the ice bath or cool water for about 10 minutes.
This would be a great time to make your mayonnaise. Click HERE to get my quick, easy and healthy Mayonnaise Recipe. You can use a store bought Avocado Oil or Olive Oil Mayo (just make sure to read those labels carefully!), but avoid any with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Damaged, unhealthy fats make damaged, unhealthy bodies!!
Now the fun part! Peel those eggs! It is really SO easy with Instant Pot eggs – total game changer.
Once the eggs are peeled, slice each egg in half lengthwise and spoon out the yolks into a separate bowl. Set the whites aside for filling later. (Pro tip from my Mom…cook a couple more eggs than you need and use their yolks in the filling. This gives you a little extra filling to go around. Nobody likes skimpy deviled eggs! You can keep the whites to use in salads etc.)
Mash the yolks up with a fork and then add the mayo, mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper (if using). The measurements I give in the recipe are to my taste. I’d advise that, instead of dumping everything in, add the ingredients separately (even a bit at a time) mixing well in between and taste as you go. Depending on your own palate, how big your yolks are and even how thick your mayo turned out, you may want to adjust quantities a bit.
Once you’ve got the filling mixed so it’s smooth, fluffy and tasting great, spoon the mixture back into the yolk divots in the whites you set aside. You can get fancy and use a piping bag, but spooning it in with a teaspoon is quicker, easier and you don’t lose a whole bunch of your delicious filling on the sides of the bag.
Once filled, let your creativity flow and garnish those bad boys with whatever floats your boat. Bacon, chives, scallions, dill, jalapeño, smoked salmon, paprika, kimchi(pat it dry first!)… the options are endless.
Chill until serving. Keeps well, covered, in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. Enjoy! Let me know what topping you like on your devilled eggs in the comments!
If you want to find out more about the incredible, edible egg, check out my previous TRILOGY of posts on eggs!
Part 1 – What Do All Those Labels on Egg Cartons Really Mean?
Part 2 – Common Myths and Misconceptions about Eggs
1/4teaspoonfulpepperoptional (can use black OR white pepper)
Hard Boiling the Eggs (Instant Pot)
Place the eggs in a single layer on the trivet in your Instant Pot.
Add 1 cup of cold water to bottom of pot and place and lock lid. Make sure that the steam release valve on the lid is set to "SEALING".
Turn the Instant Pot on and set it to cook under High Pressure for 6 minutes.
As soon as the eggs have finished cooking, immediately release the pressure by turning the steam release valve to the "VENTING" position. (WARNING! Pressurized steam is HOT! Keep clear of the valve until pressure has released! You may also want to make sure your instant pot isn't directly under cabinetry so the steam does not damage the wood).
Once the pressure releases to the point that the lid unlocks, carefully remove lid. Use tongs to transfer the eggs from the Instant Pot to an ice bath. Alternatively, you can remove stainless steel insert (using pot holders), place it in sink and run cold water over the eggs. Once cooled (about 10 minutes), you can store them in the fridge for about a week or, peel and use them immediately.
Hard Boiling the Eggs (Stove Top Version)
Place the eggs in the saucepan in single layer and cover with cold water. The water should cover the eggs by at least an inch.
Set burner to medium high heat and bring to a boil.
Once the water reached the boil, cover and remove from heat.
Let stand for 10 minutes.
Drain and cool in an ice bath for approximately 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can place pot in sink and run cold water over the eggs. Once cooled, you can store them in the fridge for about a week or, peel and use them immediately.
Peel eggs and slice them in half lengthwise, dropping the cooked yolks into a small bowl and reserving the cooked whites to fill later.
Once all the eggs are halved and the yolks removed, use a fork to mash up the yolks. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper(optional).
At this point, taste your mixture and make any adjustments to suit your preferences.
Spoon mixture into the hollowed out eggs whites and garnish as desired (see suggestions below!).
Keep covered and chilled until serving. Keeps 3 to 5 days, covered, in fridge.
Plan to cook 2 more eggs than you need. The extra yolks will ensure you have ample filling and you can save the whites and use them later in a salad (or just eat them as a snack!).
Ah, the incredible, edible egg. In this final post in my triple header on eggs, I’m cracking open the shell to discover the nutritional benefits of eggs. If you missed the first two posts in the series, you can click here to read up on what egg carton labels really mean and hereto dispel some common misconceptions about eggs. Now on to nutrition!
Eggs are not only delicious, they are an amazing, cost effective source of a whole host of nutrients. In fact, they are the MOST cost effective food for delivering protein and choline (important for many things, including our cell membrane health, mood, memory and fat metabolism), the second most cost effective dietary source for Vitamin A and the third for Vitamins D and E (1).
A large egg has about 7 grams of protein that is almost evenly divided between the white and the yolk. (4 grams in the white and 3 grams in the yolk). Protein is really the end of the road, nutrient wise, for egg whites. The yolks, on the other hand, are nutrient gold! Besides a decent amount of protein, yolks contain a wide variety of minerals, water soluble vitamins (B vitamins) and fat soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D and E (and the fat needed to let you absorb those fat soluble vitamins). On top of this, egg yolks also contain two phytonutrients, lutein and zeaxantin. These are important nutrients for eye health and can help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Pasture raised Vs Conventional – Is there a difference?
The amount of protein in a pasture raised egg versus a conventional egg does not differ to any great degree. Where we start to see differences is in the nutrient density of the egg yolks. Studies have shown that the amount of fat soluble vitamins contained in the yolk, like Vitamins A, E and D, is highly dependent on the hen’s diet and sun exposure.
In a 2010 study, it was found that pasture raised eggs have twice as much vitamin E, two and a half times more Omega 3 fatty acids and a much better Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acid ratio (important for inflammation management). The concentration of Vitamin A in pasture raised eggs was found to be 38% higher than in conventional eggs (2).
In another study, the Vitamin D in egg yolks was found to be 3 to 4 times higher in the eggs of hen’s who get to spend some time sunbathing (pasture raised or free range). The more sunlight the hen’s were exposed to, the higher the vitamin D content (3).
Just Yolkin’ Around
The colour of yolk can range from pale yellow to a bright, almost reddish orange. This is dependent on the diet of the hen. The more colourful and varied the hen’s diet, the more colourful the yolk will be. The vividness of the yolk is largely due to the amount of carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin) it contains. Carotenoids are phytonutrients with potent antioxidant properties. In general, the more colorful a food is, the more nutrient dense it is! (Unless we’re talking Skittles…this only applies to REAL food folks!)
Eggs are jam packed full of nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy and function optimally. While we all have different budgets, I think spending a little bit more on pasture raised eggs is worth it, not only for the added nutrient density, but ethically and morally. Chickens should be allowed to be chickens, free to forage for bugs and enjoy fresh air and sunshine!
If you are looking for ways to enjoy those beautiful eggs, check out my upcoming recipe for Devilled Eggs!
ONE LAST THING
Eggs are a great, nutrient rich food to include in your healthy diet, UNLESS you are sensitive or allergic to them! If you have a true egg allergy, you must not consume eggs. An intolerance or sensitivity to eggs is different than an allergy. Eggs are one of the more common food sensitivities (along with things like gluten, dairy, soy and corn). All of the great nutrition they contain won’t do you much good if they are also causing inflammation! If you suspect you may be sensitive, try eliminating eggs for a period of time and then re-introducing them and monitor for any reaction. If you want to know more about identifying food sensitivities, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (like me!) can help you out!
Papanikolaou, Y., Fulgoni, V.L.. 3rd (2020). Eggs Are Cost Efficient in Delivering Several Shortfall Nutrients in the American Diet: A Cost-Analysis in Children and Adults. Nutrients, 12(8), 2406. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082406
Karsten, H., Patterson, P., Stout, R., & Crews, G. (2010). Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems,25(1), 45-54. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1742170509990214
Kühn J, Schutkowski A, Kluge H, Hirche F, Stangl GI. Free-range farming: a natural alternative to produce vitamin D-enriched eggs. Nutrition. 2014 Apr;30(4):481-4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2013.10.002
Réhault-Godbert S, Guyot N, Nys Y. The Golden Egg: Nutritional Value, Bioactivities, and Emerging Benefits for Human Health. Nutrients. 2019; 11(3):684. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11030684
This is the second in a three post series on the “Incredible, edible EGG”. In part one, we took a tour of the grocery store and deciphered just what all those different labels on the egg cartons mean. If you missed it, you can check it out here. Today we’re going to look at a couple of common misconceptions surrounding eggs.
DON’T JUDGE AN EGG BY ITS COVER
A common misconception is that brown shelled eggs are healthier or more natural than their white shelled counterparts. The truth is that shell colour has nothing to do with nutrition, but is simply dictated by the breed of hen that laid that egg.
Consuming Eggs Will Raise Your Cholesterol Level
Eggs have gotten a bad wrap because of the cholesterol contained in their yolks. Many people have been led to believe that eggs should be avoided, or strictly limited, particularly if you have high cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is often seen as a “bad guy”. In actuality, cholesterol plays a vital role in our health. We need cholesterol to make healthy cell membranes. It is also necessary for the production of steroid hormones like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone. Cholesterol is also the main building block for Vitamin D (for more about the importance of adequate Vitamin D, check out this blog post).
Because of all the important roles played by cholesterol, the body works to ensure that there is always adequate cholesterol present. Cholesterol is produced in the body by the liver. When we take in more cholesterol through our diet, the liver decreases the amount of cholesterol it produces to keep levels within normal range. If we are eating less cholesterol, the liver revs up the cholesterol making machine. When we understand this, we can see that a healthy body will maintain fairly consistent cholesterol levels. The source of the cholesterol (dietary or self-made) may change, but the levels remain fairly constant.
In short, consuming eggs regularly does not impact blood cholesterol levels to any significant degree. (1)
Ok – if all that is true, how come my cholesterol levels are high?
You may be surprised to hear that cholesterol is a healing agent in the body and acts as an antioxidant. So when our cholesterol levels are high, it means that the body is recruiting this healing cholesterol to try and deal with some kind of inflammation or damage. Identifying and removing the cause of this inflammation (say by working with a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner) should be the goal, instead of immediately attacking the cholesterol levels with pharmaceuticals.(2)
I could go on and on about cholesterol and it’s role in keeping us healthy. If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend the book Put Your Heart In Your Mouth by Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride.
In the last post of this three part “Eggstavaganza”, we are finally going to dig into the nutrient value of the humble egg. Stay tuned!
Kim, J.E.; Campbell, W.W. Dietary Cholesterol Contained in Whole Eggs Is Not Well Absorbed and Does Not Acutely Affect Plasma Total Cholesterol Concentration in Men and Women: Results from 2 Randomized Controlled Crossover Studies. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1272.
Campbell-McBride MD, N. (2016). Put Your Heart In Your Mouth. Mediform Publishing.