Gluten Free

Go Ahead: Eat Your Brassica's

Why cruciferous veggies should be included in a hypothyroid diet.

Brassica’s [informerly known as cruciferous vegetables: as in the likes of cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and more] are often admonished in the hypothyroid community.

First, comes the hypothyroid diagnosis.

Second, comes the list of veggies (mostly of the cruciferous type) to avoid.

Why?

Because Brassica’s are known to be high in naturally-occurring goitrogens and are often encouraged to be avoided.

In this post, I’m going to tell you why it’s important for you [even if you’re hypothyroid] to include Brassica’s in your food choices and why you might even want to eat lot’s of ‘em.

brussel sprouts pic
brussel sprouts pic

First, What the hay are Goitrogens?

Goitrogens are known to be substances that suppress the function of the thyroid gland by getting in the way of iodine uptake. Eventually, this suppression can be so great that it can cause swelling around the thyroid (also known as a goiter).

Your thyroid gland needs iodine to be able to make it’s thyroid hormones {T3,T4 and calcitonin}. Decreased iodine absorption equals less thyroid hormone.

Now, goitrogenic substances are most often found in drugs and chemicals, but they can also be found in food.

Here’s a partial list of some foods that contain goitrogenic compounds:

Soybeans, pine nuts, peanuts, flax seed, millet, strawberries, pears, peaches, spinach, sweet potatoes, bok choy, broccoli , Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, turnips.

It’s a long list of foods {mostly of the Brassica type} and it doesn’t even cover the gamut. Nixing out all these foods seems like a shame. After all, most of ‘em are vegetables that we’re talking about.

Unfortunately, most practitioners forget to tell mention that lightly steaming or cooking brassica’s is enough to neutralize goitrogenic compounds. Cooking is all you need to do so that you can have your brassica’s and eat ‘em too.

Second, what’s so great about Brassica’s

Ounce for ounce, brassica’s are some of the most loaded veggies out there. They’re loaded with conventional nutrients like vitamins A, C and K, as well as folic acid and fiber. Brassica’s even have a significant amount of protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids. For a full brassica nutrient profile: click here.

Brassica’s are helpful for hypothyroid women for 3 reasons:

1. Crazy high in Fiber: Brassica’s are known to be unusually high in fiber. All this fiber helps with digestion and elimination. This is critical for hypothyroid women as we generally tend towards slow digestion which can build a higher toxic load in our system. Keeping our systems flowin’ with high fiber foods works in our favor.

2. Detoxify the Liver: Brassica’s are known to be potent detoxifiers for the liver. See #1. Because our digestion and absorption is a little on the slow side, detoxifiers become significant. Anything that can lower the toxic load on our system is going to help in the long run. Keeping the liver free and clear, will help our liver be the smooth hormonal regulator that it wants to be.

3. Anti-inflammatory: There is loads of research out there on Brassica’s and their amazing anti-inflammatory capabilities. Researchers are not sure why {maybe because Brassica’s are high in vitamin K or because they tend to be blood sugar stabilizers}, but paper after paper confirms that these veggies reduce inflammation and thereby help nearly every dis-ease in the human body- including a low-functioning thyroid.

Third, My Favorite Brassica Recipe

I love brassica’s in all shapes and sizes, but I will admit- Brussel sprouts have a fond place in my heart. I’ll cook ‘em up any which way and my kiddos are right there chomping at the bit. Sometimes I sauté them in butter, often I’ll cook ‘em in bacon grease, and every now and then I’ll roast ‘em in the oven.

Make Sure to Pass the Brassica's

Hey....can you pass the brassica's, please? If you love your brassica's as much as I do, share this post with your friends with your fav social share link below OR send 'em a "Savory" treat via e-mail. Thanks for spreading the word and sharing the love.

Here's to healthy hormones and brassica's for all!

~ Kristin

Boost Digestion: Better Your Thyroid {and my favorite Chickpea Veggie Cakes}

chickpea cakes
chickpea cakes

One of the biggest brew ha-ha-ha’s for those of us with a low functioning thyroid is our digestion.

On one hand, it can be a big, ole pain in the tush.

And, on the other hand, it can be our brightest guiding light.

Pain in the Tush

I’m going to tell ‘ya from experience; a low-functioning thyroid tends to lend itself to a sensitive digestive tract.

We’re sensitive creatures. Eat the wrong thing and our tummies hurt,

our digestion slows and our energy tanks.

Sure, at times it can be a BIG pain in the rear.

Brightest Guiding Light

On the other hand, having a sensitive system can be a major plus.

Our bodies are great communicators. Unfortunately, they don’t talk using fancy words and philosophical phrases.

Our bodies communicate by how we feel.

Listening is the key to a long, healthy relationship with your thyroid and your body.

Give Your Belly A Boost

There’s three ways to dance around these types of sensitivities.

1. Food Fear. Simply avoiding the offending food. It works in the short term, but it doesn’t heal the underlying problem.

2. Strengthen the system. Bring on digestive aids like hydrochloric acid, fermented foods, and digestive enzymes. (Smart thinking.)

3. Make foods more digestible. Putting in a little prep time can make all the difference in your digestion.

Keep reading and I'll show you how.

Why Soak Beans

Beans are one of those tricky foods for low thyroid folks. They’re a great protein source,

and they’re also a digestive nightmare for tender tummies.

The Good Side: Beans are loaded with all sorts of nutrients from protein and fiber to

vitamins and minerals [like calcium, manganese and potassium].

The Other Side: Beans are loaded with anti-nutrients. These anti-nutrients found in the outer 

seed coat help protect the bean from the sun, insects, and predators. But the also make the nutrient loaded bean

difficult to digest and interfere with the absorption of nutrients.

The Good News: Soaking beans eliminates those anti-nutrients. In some ways, soaking mimics the

germination process that takes place in nature. It neutralizes the anti-nutrients while unlocking

precious nutrients and enzymes.

How to Soak Beans

Soaking beans is way easier than it sounds.

1. Cover the beans with more than enough water and a tablespoon of sea salt. Set on the counter overnight.

2. Rinse and strain. Add more water.

3. Pop ‘em in the crockpot and cook for 6-8 hours until beans are soft.

Now What Do You Do With Those Beans?

Add beans to soups and stews, toss ‘em in a salad OR make Chickpea Veggie Cakes! If you do prep your beans, make sure to stash some in the freezer.

You can pull them out when you're in a rush and wow your family with a quickie meal any time.

Recipes Taste Better when Shared

When it comes down to it, I sooooo believe that recipes are meant to be shared.

Go ahead, invite some friends over and share the love with these Chickpea Veggie CakesOR give your friends a

virtual hug and share these cakes in digi-form (just hit your favorite social share button below the recipe.)

To Chickpea Veggie Cakes and happy tummies!

~ Kristin

Too Busy for Breakfast? [my latest hormone balancing quick start: Gluten Free Quiche Muffins]

So long late summer nights and lazy mornings, it’s B2S (or “Back to School”) in our house.

My very veggie quiche muffins just waiting to be gobbled up!
My very veggie quiche muffins just waiting to be gobbled up!

The good: my house is cleaner than it’s been in a loooong time.

The bad: my house is quieter than it’s been in a long time.

The upside: with both of my kiddos in school, I now have a lot more time to create new recipes

and dream up even more ways to help you get ahead in your hormonal health.

They say, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

I was definitely in need.

(Picture waking up the kiddos and rolling them into the car by 7:45am- not always a pretty site.)

In case you’re new to my little corner of the internet- I’m a big believer that you can improve your hormones

and get ahead in your health with one magical ingredient: food.

Now, we’ve all been told to eat our fruits and veggies,

but the magic doesn’t always happen there. No way.

To really get ahead in your hormonal health, you have got to balance

your blood sugar from the get go (aka breakfast).

Here’s how it works:

Every time blood sugar levels spike, your pancreas swings into gear.

It produces a hormone called insulin to get the sugar out of the blood and

into the cells where it can do some work.

Eat too much sugar and your pancreas will make too much insulin.

Too much insulin in the blood will lower your blood sugar….fast.

Suddenly, that manic sugar-high feeling turns into a big. ‘ol. CRASH.

Once you crash, your adrenals have to get in the game and produce cortisol to get your blood sugar levels up again.

Do this day in and day out, and you are beating up your pancreas and killing your adrenals.

Keep in mind that once your adrenals are toast, your entire endocrine system starts to go downhill.

Over time, whipped adrenals drag down the pituitary gland and make their mark on thyroid function.

One of the first steps in taking care of your thyroid is learning how to regulate your blood sugar levels

(by cutting out sugar, my friends, ‘cause that’s where it all starts.)

That’s why I had to share my latest Gluten Free Veggie Quiche Muffin cause-I’m- running-out-the-door b’fast.

I needed a quick start to my day that would curb the sugar and up the protein all while wiping the sleepers out of my eyes.

I can’t wait to give you the recipe, but before I do, I’ve got a quickie homework assignment just for you.

Step 1. Scroll to the end of the recipe and hit the social share button of your choice.

Spread the love with your friends on facebook, pinterest, or google-plus. I really, really, really appreciate it.

It gets the word out and you might help a friends’ morning go a little smoother.

Step 2. Leave a note in the comments section and let me know what you think about this very-veggie-quiche-muffin-on-the-go.

Are you going to make ‘em? Who are you going to have them with? Sounds a silly, but this is the stuff I love to know.

With every little tweak that we make, we’re one step closer to better health. Gotta love it!

Now...here's your recipe!

~ Kristin

How to Turn Wild Cherries into a Hormonal Win{recipe: Special, Cherry Oatcake}

Down the street is our neighborhood’s giving tree.

Cherry oatcake is a hormonal win any day.
Cherry oatcake is a hormonal win any day.

In the fall, her leaves turn golden. In the winter,

she’s our gathering place. By spring, she smells of flowers.

And every single summer, she bears loads of sweet and tart cherries.

This year was no exception. We lucked out with a “bumper crop”.

Her branches were literally loaded with beautiful, red cherries.

If you’ve been a fan of my work, then you know that maintaining even blood sugar levels

throughout the day is vital to hormonal freedom. Often I encourage clients to cut down

on sweets and even limit their fruits to one piece a day.

Yes, we’ve been told to “eat your fruits and vegetables”, but I’d like to switch that moniker on it’s heels. I think it should read a bit more like this:

“Eat your veggies and savor your fruits.”

Fruits do contain vitamins, minerals and fiber that slow the absorption of sugar,

but in the end, fructose is fructose. Too much fructose in any one setting can throw

your pancreas into a tailspin and kick your adrenals into overdrive.

High levels of cortisol caused by stress (from blood sugar swings or life circumstances)

decreases thyroid function and TSH production.

So, what’s a mom to do when her kids are whooping and hollering

about cherries in the heat of the summer sun?

I say, “Pick’ em and have yourself some fun.”

I made this Special Cherry Oatcake a hormonal winner by switching things up

with these four steps to minimize a blood sugar conundrum.

1. Soak grains in yogurt.

Soaking grains helps to breakdown any anti-nutrients and hard-to-digest parts of the grain. 

Soaking may seem time consuming at first glance, but it’s really more about thinking ahead.

And soaking  grains has another hormonal benefit. Often, low thyroid equals poor digestion.

When grains are easier to digest, there’s a lot less drag on your thyroid.

2. 50-50 steel cut oats and rolled oats.

Steel cut oats are less processed than rolled oats, and both are less processed than quick oats.

With more of it’s natural juju intact, steel cut oats won’t sway blood sugar like the others.

You can up your hormonal mastery here and play with the percentage of steel cut vs. rolled oats in this recipe.

I ended up going 50/50 but I bet 75/25 (favoring steel cut oats) would work well too.

3. It’s got protein.

4 eggs and ½ cup of nuts are added to up the protein and slow down the glycemic response

of the fruit and the tiny bit of honey.

Balanced hormones start with balanced blood sugar levels. It’s not that we can’t enjoy sweetness in our life,

but those sweet flavors are best when tempered with proper ratios of fat and protein.

4. It's made in a pan.

Maybe the best part of this special Cherry Oatcake is that it’s made in a pan.

If you’re in a hormonal slump, then you know that you don’t have a whole lot of energy

to waste nor time to spare. There’s nothing like having something on hand that you can serve to

your kids or enjoy for yourself that hits the spot without throwing you into a blood sugar tizzy.

So without further adieu, here she is, my special Cherry Oatcake recipe.

Check it out and tell me what you think of my sweet-and-sour snack in the comment section.

As always, I love hearing from you.

~ Kristin

Why focus on resilience [& how my MAGIC chocolate chip cookie recipe can help]

gluten free chocolate chip cookies- yum, yum, super yum
gluten free chocolate chip cookies- yum, yum, super yum

When a new client comes to see me,

we chat a bit about life and health.

Then we start to dig into details.

Inevitably we end up talking nutrition. Because what you eat and how you eat it determines a lot for your health, especially your hormones.

Over 13 years of working with clients, I have discovered that what you eat regularly influences your resiliency.

I thank one of my bodywork teachers for raising my awareness of the key role of resiliency. I was in a particularly hard place and battling a nasty flu. I was feeling fragile because I had this belief that as a practitioner, I shouldn’t get sick.

She told me, “Kristin, it’s not that people aren’t going to get sick. It’s how they bounce back that determines their health”.

Hmmmmm.

Now that got me to thinking.

Your “bounce back,” your rebound, your resiliency. Whatever you want to call it, it ultimately determines the lion’s share of your overall health.

Nothing feeds your resiliency like the right food.

And what are the absolute best foods for bolstering and sustaining resiliency? ….. drum roll, please...

Foods that stabilize your blood sugars.

Your body hates drama. Over time, the highs and lows of sugar-induced peaks and crashes will break down your resiliency. It’ll beat up your pancreas and leave your adrenals exhausted. Eventually it’ll even fatigue your thyroid. It’s not pretty and I don’t recommend it.

Imagine how your resiliency could grow if your engine consistently ran smoothly, because it was getting the right fuel. Imagine how your body could repair without having to expend valuable energy trying to mop up the damage done by those silly ups and downs.

I guarantee, your body would thrive. You’d have more energy to play with your kids. You’d be more focused at work. You’d be happier with yourself. Chances are, you’d be happier in general.

So here’s the big question.

You get it. Balancing your blood sugar sounds like a great plan, but sometimes, you also really want a chewy, gooey, hot-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookie?

I say, “Make ‘em!”

Go ahead and make them with almond flour and arrowroot, and double the eggs. More protein will help reduce the sugar spike. When you make your own, you’ve got control over the ingredients.

I think you’re going to love these cookies. They came out of the best baking session with my daughter. I swear we made magic with this recipe.

Oh golly, I want to hear from you. Tell me your favorite chocolate chip story. Who did you make them with? And what did you have with them? If you don’t like chocolate chip cookies, then what’s your favorite sweet treat? I’d love to hear all the warm-hot-gooey details.

~ Kristin

Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate Ganache

If you’re ever a little bored during the winter, you must stop by our house. We churn out the celebrations like nobody’s business. In February we celebrates the kids’ birthdays and our anniversary. And in March, we round out the celebrations with Jim’s and my birthdays.

It’s a lot of candles and all things “sweet”. And of course, I’ve mastered just about every alternative dessert from “chocolate” dipped strawberries to vanilla cupcakes.. When Jim requested a banana cream pie to celebrate his big day, I nearly croaked.

I’ve never made a banana cream pie (nor even tried one) in my life!

I searched all my favorite sites [Against All Grains and The Nourished Kitchen], and I finally landed on Elena’s Pantry. Elena is kind of like a gluten-free Martha Stewart. She’s got easy, go-to recipes that are fun to switch around. My only advice when working with her recipes is to halve the sugar and replace grapeseed oil with melted butter. All in all, she’s got my vote and I usually use her formulas as a base.

~ Kristin

What's for dinner?

I am downright giddy.

Remember my friend, Chef Annie Volk? She’s back and she’s ready to celebrate with me. I told her that I’m pretty darn psyched about all that's percolating in my practice and I asked her to come up with a special recipe. Something that will nourish your soul and make your toes tingle even though the holidays are “over”.

It happens doesn’t it? We put so much energy into the holidays being perfect and then, the ball sort-of drops when it’s all over. So this little number is a bit of inspiration and fresh air for you, your family and your friends. It's a simple recipe to anchor your meal. It's got a little bit of sweet and a lot of savory (...just how I like it).

In the comment section, let's tell Annie what you're really hungry for. Are you craving a special dessert or do you need a simple fish recipe? She's right here to help, just let her know what you need.

CranPorkMeatballs
CranPorkMeatballs

Now, Here's Chef Annie:

This is a fun recipe. The flavor combination of celery, onions, sage, thyme and sweet cranberries kind of remind me of traditional thanksgiving stuffing. I often make this recipe in my holiday cooking classes for those of us who don't/can't/won't eat bread.

I like to pair this dish (like most of my meals) with a lemon, salt and oil massaged kale salad or with a citrus mashed sweet potato.

~ Kristin

Meet Annie Volk - My HeartBeet Chef

There always comes a time in life when you’re ready to expand, take flight and do some things a little different. This is one of those times for me.

Over the years, I’ve run into my fair share of amazing practitioners and gifted folks. And I’m at the point in my work where I just can’t wait to share more and more with you. Yes, I’ve loved working for myself. I get to call the shots and essentially the buck stops right here. But now, I’m ready to open up and shine the spotlight brighter.

Each month, I’ll be featuring resources from different practitioners, culinary wizards, and other experts in their field. Everyone will have their own tips and pearls to share regarding hormones and the wonders of health. We’re going to be getting our hands in down and dirty, and who knows, this really could expand into something bigger (yes, I’ve got a pretty cool idea up my sleeve- we’ll just see if she wants to be birthed).

Without further adieu, I am so excited to introduce you to my first guest. Her name is Annie Volk and she’s the culinary whiz behind the HeartBeet Chef. Check her out here.

Take a look at these Paleo Cinnamon Rolls- and check out the ingredients, my friends. She made ‘em just how I like ‘em. No refined sugars here, just maple syrup and a whole lot of love.

This gal has stolen my heart and I’m one of her biggest fans. She’ll come to your house and deliver a week worth of super nourishing, gourmet meals. And, if you haven’t already guessed, she’s a paleo whiz.

~ Kristin

Parsnips and Carrots and Kale (yum, yum)

Fall is one of my favorite times of year.

OK. I’ll fess up. I’m pretty into all the seasons except I don’t like being too cold. Winter gets a little long for me, but fall could go on forever and I would be quite happy.

I love the crisp air, the smells and all the colors. With the historic flooding that happened in Boulder this year, fall has snuck up on me.  We went for a family hike this past Sunday and I couldn’t believe the trees. Have you seen them? They’re all different hues of yellow, gold and crimson red.

Fall also tends to kick off a bit of a cooking frenzy in my house. I start to pull out my crockpots and I get more and more inspired to cook up a storm. This week, I’ve been pulling out some of family’s favorite recipes and I’ve been starting to experiment with a few new ones.

My kids were so excited when this one hit the table. And it didn’t last long. Nora took one look at the parsnips and started gobbling them up. Henry was right behind giggling some kind of parsnip-ity song.

I think in honor of the change of seasons, we’re going to have to hit another pumpkin patch this next weekend. Yes, we’ve already visited one, but I just don’t want fall to end.

~ Kristin