The 7-Day Breakfast Experiment

 

Every day our bodies give us different signs or symptoms of balance or imbalance – a headache, stomach ache, acne, etc. Rather than trying to hide these symptoms by popping a pill, it’s worth trying to understand why you’re feeling these things in the first place. Even our emotions and mental clarity is worth some investigation. Feeling light and happy? It may be due to your diet! Have a headache often? Perhaps you’re missing some nutrient-rich sustainable foods in your diet, or are getting too many processed foods, or both. When we get these signs, it’s our job to figure out what is going on.

THe 7-Day BReakfast Experiment from The Kicking Kitchen

Photo: SteveLegato.com

The more you can tune in to your body, doing your best to figure out what is “off,” the healthier and happier you’ll be. This can definitely take some practice!

As a way of tuning into your body and learning to listen to its messages, explore eating a different breakfast every day for a week. Write down what you eat and how you feel – the good and the bad – both right after eating and again two hours later. Sit quietly after you eat and reflect. Note how your energy level, your moods and your physical symptoms are affected by the food in your body. Then, you can make changes in these choices to improve your diet and health. 

Below are some various suggestions for each day of breakfast. You may wish to substitute other options for your experiment.  

 

Day 1:  Eggs

Day 2:  Scrambled tofu with tamari soy sauce

Day 3:  Oatmeal or any grain product

Day 4:  Boxed breakfast cereal

Day 5:  Muffin and coffee

Day 6:  Fresh fruit

Day 7: Fresh vegetables

 

What I ate                                 How I feel right after eating                   Two hours later

 

Day 1 …………………………………………………………………………………………….…….……………..……………

Day 2 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Day 3 …………………………………………………………………………………………….…….……………………………

Day 4 …………………………………………………………………………………………….…….……………………………

Day 5…………………………………………………………………………………………….…….………………………..….

Day 6 …………………………………………………………………………………………….……..…………………………

Day 7 …………………………………………………………………………………………….…….………………………….

You may discover from this exercise that you are unusually sensitive to certain foods or that certain foods just don’t sit well with you, especially the highly processed food choices. A food sensitivity or allergy, or feeling tired, unhappy, unfocused, having aches and pains, may be your body’s way of telling you to start eating foods more appropriate for your current life goals.

 

Adapted from Integrative Nutrition.

 

Do You Suffer from Snack Attacks?

 

There’s no denying that everyone, at one time or another, has had a snack attack. Some of us feel that snacking is bad and that eating between meals leads to weight gain. Others believe that eating many small meals and snacks throughout the day is healthy for maintaining energy levels and optimal weight. If there were one way of snacking that was right for everyone, we would all be doing it!

To alleviate snack attack guilt, try to understand why you are snacking and what snacks work best for your body. Perhaps you snack because your daily diet is missing nutritional foods, or because you are eating too little at meals. You might be snacking to soothe jittery nerves or to entertain yourself when you are bored. Whatever your reason, acknowledge it, and start thinking about how to create a life that is nourishing and truly satisfying so that you don’t feel the need to eat to fill a void.

Although snacks are no substitute for loving your life, they can be great energy boosters. Many convenient snack foods are highly processed and full of chemicals, additives, damaging fats and refined sugars. When a snack attack hits you, try foods that are filling and satisfying, but also nutritious. Try fresh fruit, veggies dipped in hummus or rice cakes with fruit spread. Make your own signature trail mix, or try blue corn (non-GMO) chips with salsa. A banana with almond butter and coconut is delicious and nutritious!

Snacking is enjoyable and there is a wide variety of healthful goodies for whatever you’re craving, be it sweet, crunchy, salty, creamy or spicy. Dive in, be creative and enjoy your snack attack.

Get your healthy snack recipe guide (click the image below):


 

Adapted from Integrative Nutrition.

8 Causes of Cravings

The body is amazing. It knows when to go to sleep, wake up, go to the bathroom, maintain 98.6 degrees and tighten the eyes when the light gets bright. It knows the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth. Your heart never misses a beat. Your lungs are always breathing. The body is a super-computer, and it never makes mistakes.

Look at the foods, deficits and behaviors in your life that are the underlying causes of your cravings. Many people view cravings as weakness, but really they are important messages meant to assist you in maintaining balance. When you experience a craving, deconstruct it. Ask yourself, what does my body want and why?

8 Causes of Cravings, The Kicking Kitchen

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1. Lack of primary food. Being dissatisfied with a relationship or having an inappropriate exercise routine (too much, too little or the wrong type), being bored, stressed, uninspired by a job, or lacking a spiritual practice may all cause emotional eating. Eating can be used as a substitute for entertainment or to fill the void of primary food.

2. Water. Lack of water can send the message that you are thirsty and on the verge of dehydration. Dehydration can manifest as a mild hunger, so the first thing to do when you get a craving is drink a full glass of water. Excess water can also cause cravings, so be sure that your water intake is well balanced.

3. Yin/yang imbalance. Certain foods have more yin qualities (expansive) while other foods have more yang qualities (contractive). Eating foods that are either extremely yin or extremely yang causes cravings in order to maintain balance. For example, eating a diet too rich in sugar (yin) may cause a craving for meat or salty foods (yang). Eating too many raw foods (yin) may cause cravings for extremely cooked (dehydrated) foods or vise versa.

4. Inside coming out. Often times, cravings come from foods that we have recently eaten, foods eaten by our ancestors, or foods from our childhood. A clever way to satisfy these cravings is to eat a healthier version of one’s ancestral or childhood foods.

5. Seasonal. Often the body craves foods that balance the elements of the season. In the spring, people crave detoxifying foods like leafy greens or citrus foods. In the summer, people crave cooling foods like fruit, raw foods and ice cream, and in the fall people crave grounding foods like squash, onions and nuts. During winter, many crave hot and heat-producing foods like meat, oil and fat. Cravings can also be associated with the holidays, for foods like turkey, eggnog or sweets, etc.

6. Lack of nutrients. If the body has inadequate nutrients, it will produce odd cravings. For example, inadequate mineral levels produce salt cravings, and overall inadequate nutrition produces cravings for non-nutritional forms of energy, like caffeine.

7. Hormonal. When women experience menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, fluctuating testosterone and estrogen levels may cause unique cravings.

8. De-evolution. When things are going extremely well, sometimes a self-sabotage syndrome happens. We crave foods that throw us off, thus creating more cravings to balance ourselves. This often happens from low blood sugar and may result in strong mood swings.

Adapted from Integrative Nutrition.

10 Festive and Nourishing Weekend Recipes

10 Festive and Nourishing Weekend Recipes, thekickingkitchen.com

Photo: Stevelegato.com

We know the weekend often includes dining out, takeout and extra sweet treats. Hey – we’ve been working all week long, and now we just want something easy for dinner! But making home-cooked meals on the weekend can be very enjoyable, fun and create family rituals that you will cherish.

Jazz up your weekend with a couple of these festive (but easy!) recipes that will still nourish your body. Get family and friends involved and create healthy weekend traditions that everyone will love!

  1. Scrambled Eggs and Greens – Integrative Nutrition
  2. Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie – Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen
  3. Banana-Pecan Pancakes with Chocolate Coconut Drizzle – Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen
  4. Loaded Nachos with Cashew Cheese – PETA
  5. Quinoa Three Ways (3 recipes here!) – Jill Shah, Jill’s List
  6. Cuban Blackbean Soup – Happy Herbivore Abroad, Lindsay Nixon (on Forks Over Knives)
  7. Fast Pizza – Forks Over Knives
  8. Baked Stuffed Bell Peppers – Integrative Nutrition
  9. No-Bake Oatmeal Raisin Balls – Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen
  10. Creamy Banana Cacao Pudding – Chloe Park (Mind Body Green)

Recipe Page

 

We have added a new Recipe Page to our website: http://thekickingkitchen.com/recipes/! It’s not quite as pretty or complete as we would like, but it’s the beginning of a collection of recipes we love – some from our book, Kicking Cancer in the Kitchen, some we’ve made that aren’t in the book, and a few from our favorite school, Integrative Nutrition.

If you are looking for an healthy “upgrade” to a favorite recipe, let us know! We just may see what we can whip up and then share it on our Recipe Page. Or, if you have a recipe of your own that uses plant-based whole foods, feel free to email us and we may share it on our page as well (giving you a big shout out, of course)!

 

Getting Krazy with Kale

You may be used to seeing kale as a garnish on your dish in a restaurant, but this leafy green veggie is much more beneficial when it IS your food, rather than simply decorating it. This nutrient powerhouse has been repeatedly shown to have powerful antioxidant capabilities as well as offer protection against certain types of cancer. Like broccoli and cabbage, kale has the ability to activate enzymes in the liver, which detoxify cancer causing substances, reducing their ability to damage cells. It’s also an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C as well as the carotenoids that are important for good vision and the prevention of cataracts. It’s also rich in calcium.

If you aren’t familiar with kale, it’s time to get friendly with it! It’s an easy veggie to add to any meal as a side dish (but make it a BIG side dish!) or tossed right in with other food. Kale can be steamed, sauteed with a little garlic, olive oil and sea salt, eaten raw in a salad, added to soups, rice or pasta dishes or baked into crispy chips. Once you begin eating kale and other leafy greens on a regular basis, you’ll begin to feel the difference and you’ll likely notice that you begin to crave not-so-healthy foods less.

Here is a tasty and easy kale recipe to try (from Integrative Nutrition):

Massaged Kale and Raisin Salad
Serves 4


1 bunch kale

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup diced red onion

1/3 cup raisins

3/4 cup diced apple (about 1/2 apple)

1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar/red wine vinegar

  1. De-stem kale by pulling leaves away from stems. Wash leaves. Spin or pat dry. Stack leaves, roll up, and cut into thin ribbons. Put kale in a large mixing bowl. Add salt and massage it into the kale with your hands for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir onions, raisins, apple and sunflower seeds into kale. Dress with olive oil and vinegar.  Taste for salt and vinegar, adding more if necessary. This salad will keep for several days and improve with age.