Nutty Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Squares Recipe + September Sign Ups!

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I did a video with our little lady a few weeks ago while we were making these amazing Nutty Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Squares, but then I forgot to post the recipe afterwards. So, after having it requested by a few people ... here it is!

This recipe is part of the delicious brand new fall meal plan I have put together for the next "Your Best Life" group which starts September 5. I am limiting enrollment for this month given that I want to make sure that the group still gets all of the attention I like to give, and I don't know when this baby is going to arrive (my due date is September 24, so it may not be until October!). Any of my past and current group participants can vouch that I am always very responsive to any questions that pop up. And I know that even if the baby arrives, breastfeeding will give me ample time to be able to continue doing that.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to get into a healthy fall routine!! The link to join below!

 

 

Zesty Chocolate Energy Bites Recipe AND sale price on my cookbook…

I’m going to need to make a new batch of these Zesty Chocolate Energy Bites for this weekend because they are almost gone. They are so delicious, and so easy to make. I love that they have 4 g of fibre and 4 g of protein in one energy bite, and are also high in healthy fats – all of these make for a satisfying snack that is filling, helps to keep your blood sugar levels stable, and contributes to keeping you regular:)

I found this recipe in the July Canadian Living magazine. I love ripping recipes out of my magazines when I see something I would like to try (sorry to all of the patients who can’t find a recipe when I bring the magazines into clinic!).

Looking for other healthy, delicious recipe ideas? Check out my new “Your Best Life “Cookbook", which contains 40 of my favorite breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack recipes from my meal plans. The link to purchase is in the comments below – get one while they are still on sale!

Here is the link for the recipe:

Zesty Chocolate Energy Bites

"Your Best Life" Cookbook Deal!

Broccoli Feta Egg Bake

 

A high protein breakfast is a great way to start your day! The whole concept of a sweet breakfast was propagated by the cereal industry in the 1950’s, but it is not the healthiest way to start your day. A high carb meal digests quickly and produces a spike in your blood sugar. That can cause you to feel tired and hungry soon after.

A high protein breakfast helps to combat that as protein takes longer to digest, and keeps you feeling full longer. Eggs (if you can tolerate them) are a great way to incorporate protein into your breakfast. I am a big fan of bakes like this because a bit of effort one day can allow you to be prepared for several mornings. All you have to do it reheat, and you are ready to go!!

For more ideas on how you can incorporate more protein and healthy fats into your meals, you can check out my new cookbook, “Your Best Life”. To purchase an electronic download, click the link below.

Feel free to share this recipe with anyone else you think will enjoy it!!

Broccoli Feta Egg Bake
Servings: 4

Ingredients
• 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
• 4 cups Broccoli (cut into florets)
• 6 Eggs
• 1/4 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk (or other alternative milk)
• Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)
• 1 tsp Nutmeg (or other spices of your choice)
• 2/3 cup Feta Cheese (crumbled) (or non dairy cheese)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease 8x8 baking dish with coconut oil.
2. Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil. Add broccoli florets and cook until bright green (about 5 mins). Transfer cooked broccoli to a cutting board, dry with a paper towel and chop finely.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg or any other spices you like. Next, stir in broccoli and feta. Mix well.
4. Pour mixture into baking dish. 
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Enjoy it while it is hot! If you aren't eating it right away, let it cool and store covered in fridge.

The Choices I Have About How I Think About My Changing Body...

I listened to a powerful "Glambition" podcast (link to listen is in the comments) on the weekend interviewing the creator of the Body Image Movement. It was about accepting and loving your body, however it may look, and focusing instead on fueling, moving, and treating it in a way that makes you feel best.

I can be critical of my pregnant body. My boobs are too big, my cute little belly button has become a big outey, and my legs have veins on them that may never go away. At the same time, I love being pregnant, and am constantly amazed that my body is capable of growing another human (4 times!). I have a choice of what I choose to focus on, and what message about my body I want to pass down to our children, especially our daughter.

That is a big motivation for why I created my "Your Best Life" online program. I purposely have chosen not to make weight loss the focus of it. While that is a nice side effect for many participants, I want women to learn how to move and feed their mind and body so that they can feel AND look their best. And your best is different from everyone else's best.

I want to move away from the focus of feeling we need to look a certain way. Being thin and grumpy because we are feeling deprived and don't have any energy isn't any fun at all!

That's why I created a program that has 5 weeks of delicious, healthy meals plans. Why I promote a realistic 80/20 approach to clean eating. Why I what to share my top tips as a Naturopathic Doctor that I feel are essential to helping women feel great.

Does this sound like something for you? The next group starts Tuesday, August 8, and I would love to have you be part of it! The link is below.

P.S. I love this picture! Yesterday while we were at tennis, our little lady laid down and starting talking to the baby. All of the kids are so excited to meet him soon! And all of them think my outey belly button is awesome:)

Your Best Life starting August 8th!

Healthy Gingerbread Brownies

Where did this week go? I have meaning to share the recipe for these gluten free, dairy free, low sugar Gingerbread Brownies that my little lady and I made in our video on Monday. They were a hit with everyone (hurrah!!).

This recipe comes from the summer meal plan in my “Your Best Life” 30 day online program. The next group starts Tuesday, August 8. By the end, I promise you will have lots of easy, healthy, clean recipes similar to this one to enjoy long after the group is over.

I have also revised the content, and it is amazing (if I do say so myself!). It includes exercise plans, discusses different approaches to healthy eating, what I do to meal plan and prep each week, what foods are good to avoid and why, time effective ways to help manage your stress, what supplements I feel are most important to consider, and more!!

By the end of the 30 days, you will have lots of information to continue to use that I believe as a Naturopathic Doctor is the foundation of good health. Don’t wait to join me – spaces are filling up!!

Without further ado…here is the recipe. Enjoy!!

Gingerbread Brownies

 

1/2 cup Pitted Dates
3 Egg
2 2/3 tbsps Fancy Molasses
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
2 tsps Vanilla Extract
1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/2 cup Coconut Flour
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
2 tsps Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Sea Salt

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Place dates in a food processor and pulse until pureed, or chop the dates finely.
3. In a large bowl, blend the dates, eggs, molasses, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract and almond milk until thoroughly combined.
4. Combine the remaining dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
5. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine thoroughly, scraping down the sides until you have a smooth batter.
6. Line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper, pour in the batter and spread evenly. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
7. Sprinkle with a little cocoa powder and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Slice, serve and enjoy!

Click HERE to Join August's Your Best Life Group!

5 Easy Swap Outs for a Healthier Diet

One of the goals of my online program “Your Best Life is to show that healthy eating can be delicious without being difficult.  It’s just a matter of having the right information, doing a bit of planning, and being open to trying a few new foods.  Here are some easy swaps you can make in your kitchen to help improve the health of your diet.

  • Greek Yogurt instead of Regular Yogurt:  it contains twice the amount of protein.  Don’t be tricked into the no-fat versions.  Fat is part of what makes your food taste good, and also helps to keep you full.  If it is removed, then often more sugar is added to make it taste better, and you can end up eating more food because you are still hungry.  Look for a brand with no more than 10g of sugar in (4 oz).  I buy plain yogurt, and then drizzle it with honey to please my kids’ sweeter palates.  

  • Quinoa instead of Rice: Quinoa is one of the only grains that contains a full complement of amino acids (amino acids are what protein is made up of).  Like fat, protein also takes longer to digest, so it helps you feel full longer, and keeps your blood sugar more stable than a grain, like rice, that contains only carbohydrates.  If you’re looking for a way to save time, you can batch cook quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”), so that you can easily use it to make a breakfast porridge, salad or a side dish throughout the week.

  • Coconut Oil instead of Cream:  this was a great discovery for me!  In the past, I tried drinking my coffee black, but it just wasn’t the same.  Now I blend my coffee with 1 tsp of coconut oil and a splash of pure vanilla, and then sprinkle it with cinnamon.  So tasty, plus coconut oil has lots of health benefits, and there are no artificial flavours or additives.

  • Carbonated Water instead of Juice or Pop:  we got a Soda Stream machine as a Christmas gift a few years ago, and we love it!  Our household has never been a big pop or juice drinker, but we were regularly purchasing plain or naturally flavoured carbonated water.  The Soda Stream is super easy to use (just a few pumps of CO2 into the water), and a new CO2 cartridge only costs about $25 (we are on our 3rd in as many years).  If you like a bit of flavour, you can add some lemon or lime – either the real thing or essential oil, or you can infuse a fruit of your choice.

  • Protein Smoothie instead of a carbohydrate rich Breakfast or Afternoon Snack: it’s so easy for breakfast and afternoon snacks to be really carbohydrate rich – that means you digest them quickly, spike your blood sugar, and then crash and want something else to eat.  I prefer to eat, rather than drink my breakfast, so I have switched to having my protein shake in the afternoon.  If I am at home, I blend it with greens, some fruit and/or a nut milk (coconut is my favourite).  If I’m at work, I just mix it with water in my shaker cup.  Easy peasy – tastes great, fills me up and super convenient.

So, there you have it, 5 easy swaps I have found to make healthy eating easier!

If you are interested in more quick, healthy, easy recipes that can fit into your busy life, I would love to have you join one of my “Your Best Life” 30 day online programs.  You will receive 5 weeks of meal plans, as well as posts from me every week day about nutrition, time efficient exercise, better sleep, stress management tips, digestion, and much more.  A new group begins the first Monday of every month (next one is Tuesday, August 8 because of the holiday Monday).  Let me help you look and feel your best!

Click HERE to join!

 

My Favorite Supplements

I often get asked what supplements people should take.  That isn’t a question my licensing regulations allow me answer for each individual without doing a full in-office intake to make sure that my recommendation is appropriate.  What I can share with you though are the most common supplements that I suggest to patients, and that I take myself.  

My top 3 supplements to consider are:

  1. Vitamin D – I have done a past video about this alone.  I really believe that living in Canada, this is something that almost everyone needs.  In all of my years of checking patients’ blood levels, I have only seen one patient with high levels, and it wasn’t due to supplementation.  Many people have suboptimal levels though.  Vitamin D helps with reducing inflammation in the body, boosting mood and energy, and keeps your immune system strong.

  2. Fish Oil – it is hard to get enough omega 3 fatty acids from your diet, so supplementing really helps to keep levels optimal.  The active ingredients in fish oil are EPA and DHA, and they make up the outside membrane of almost every cell in your body, so they help with pretty much everything. I have really seen them make a difference in skin health, hormone balance, mental health, and reducing inflammation (lots of studies have shown that having enough omega 3 fatty acids reduces cardiovascular disease risk).

  3. Probiotic – there is much ongoing research showing that gut health is really important to your overall health, and I definitely see this clinically as a Naturopathic Doctor.  Many of my patients come in for help with digestive issues, but even when that isn’t their main concern, digestion is often the root of other health problems.  By following the 3R’s (removing food sensitivities, repairing the leaky gut, and replacing with good bacteria), many health issues like headaches, join pain, digestive problems, skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, and fatigue can improve.  Taking a probiotic has been shown to help decrease the frequency and duration of people getting sick.  

So there you have it!  In addition to a few things specific to me, I am currently taking all of these during my pregnancy, as they have good research to show that they are beneficial to baby’s health.  If you are wondering what supplements you should take, and the optimal doses for you, I recommend that you see a Naturopathic Doctor, or other suitably trained health professional in this area.  Thanks so much for watching!  Please share this video with anyone else you feel could benefit from this information.  

Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Even after 14 years of practicing as a Naturopathic Doctor, it still amazes me how much health can be affected just by eating the right foods.  Food really is a powerful medicine.  The 10 Day Detox is about to start, and even though it includes lots of delicious foods (if I do say so myself), I do recommend avoiding the top inflammatory foods.  These include oranges, corn, animal dairy, gluten, red meat, peanuts, soy , sweeteners, and coffee.  Inflammation is at the root of most chronic disease, so it is very beneficial to eat in a way that puts those fires out, rather than fuels them.  That is why people can notice a change in their digestion, joint pain, headaches, sleep, and energy when they are eating the right foods.  So today I want to share with you what I believe are the top 3 inflammatory foods.

    • Wheat - Wheat today has been changed so that it grows faster, is more pest resistant, easier to harvest, and it has a higher gluten content (this gives it the fluffy texture many people like).  I recently spent 3 weeks in Germany and Switzerland, and ate more bread than I typically do at home, and no problems at all.  I have heard the same report from patients when they have traveled to Europe.

    • Dairy - Commercially raised cows are given feed and other substances that they wouldn’t be exposed to in a more natural setting so that they produce more milk and don’t get sick as easily.  The milk is then pasteurized and homogenized which changes the protein structure.  I found the same with dairy on our trip as I did wheat – we ate quite a bit of cheese (in Switzerland it was from the cheesery down the street), and I was much more tolerant of it.

    • Sugar – it is so easy to eat sugar from many common foods.  The more we have of it, the more we want it.  In a study that was done with rats given the choice of cocaine or sugar, the majority of the rats chose sugar!

There is still room to register for the 10 Day Detox starting this Monday, July 17.  I’m excited to show you how you can still eat delicious foods while avoiding the more pro-inflammatory ones.  It’s not always easy to go without them, but with the support of me and the rest of the group, you will get through it, and feel great as a result.  At the end of the 10 days, you can re-introduce the foods you have been avoiding one at a time to see how well you tolerate them.

Join me HERE

I want to help you look and feel your best!

Are you finding healthy summer eating more difficult too?

I'm going to be totally honest with all of you - being 29 weeks pregnant and keeping up with 3 kids who are all home for the summer has been tough for me!

I know I feel better when I eat cleaner, but finding the energy and the time to make the foods has been tougher for me lately. I'm sure that many of you can relate to feeling the same.

Tonight was soccer night, so it makes for a dinner time crunch to get everyone fed and out the door for 5:15. I made this Chickpea Salad with cucumbers, green onions, and a homemade dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper. I wasn't super hungry, but knew I needed more, so I had some flax bread with smushed avocado, tomatoes and a bit of salt and pepper. It was super easy, fulfills my higher protein and healthy fat requirements, and was delicious! As a bonus, I'm going to enjoy the leftovers for my lunch tomorrow at work 👍. (Since I'm being totally honest - everyone else in my family had store bought pizza and raw veggies😃).

There are still some spots available for my 10 Day Detox program that starts next Monday, July 17. It includes a complete 10 day meal plan that I promise has low maintenance, delicious meals like this one, as well as 10 days of great information related to helping your body detoxify more efficiently, and the online support of me and a fabulous group.

Don't wait - here's the LINK to join!

Healthy Living Lessons I have Learned from Visiting Germany...

If you follow me on Facebook (Jennifer Haessler), you know that I have been travelling with my husband, 3 kids, and my parents in Germany for the last few weeks. We have been having an amazing time - we have seen some beautiful places, visited where my dad and his family are from, reconnected with several family members, and our kids have been even better travellers than we expected:).  I thought I would share with you some of the healthy living lessons that I think we can learn from the Germans. 

1. They have awesome breakfast options, even on the go - lots of good quality sources of protein (meat, cheese and eggs), bakery made whole grain breads, fresh fruit, and  muesli.  Even the pancake the hotel made for us to enjoy was mostly eggs with a little bit of cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on it ️. 

2. The layout of the towns and cities encourages being active. It's not unusual to see people of all ages, including seniors biking around.  Many of them take biking holidays, and many hotels have "bed and bike" options.  This is partly easier because towns and cities are so much closer together - 80 million people live in Germany, which is close to three times the population of Canada, in an area less than a third of the size of Ontario!  The park options for kids are really amazing too, which we have made good use of. 

3. They have a better work-life balance. In Germany, vacation time is typically 6 weeks a year!  It is also more common to see cafes where people sit to enjoy a coffee. 

4. People do just fine with smaller houses and cars. Since there are so many more people living in a smaller area, there isn't the space for many people to live in huge houses and drive big cars and trucks. Gas is also double the price, so that makes them even more conscious of how efficient their homes and cars are. They still live very comfortably though. 

If you want to make changes in your life, but aren’t sure how or where to begin, I would love to be a part of helping to make this happen for you.  That is the main reason why I created my 30 day online program called “Your Best Life”.   It focuses on helping to incorporate sustainable, long term healthy eating habits, but also includes the fundamentals of good health that I have learned from over 13 years of clinic practice.  

There is no better time than now to start living “Your Best Life” - the next group starts Tuesday, July 4.  Join me HERE!  

Coconut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I have been busy testing out some new recipes as I am creating a brand new meal plan for my next “Your Best Life” online program, which will begin July 4. Stay posted…registration will be opening soon!

I used spelt flour to keep the cookies nut free to take to school, but I also could have used a gluten free baking blend that didn’t contain nut flour. I like spelt flour because the texture and taste are very similar to wheat flour when baking (it does contain some gluten), but it is still more like it was in its ancient grain state (it’s not commercially modified as much as wheat).

I also mentioned in the video that I used duck eggs – for those who are curious, they are very similar to chicken eggs. The ones I used were larger than typical chicken eggs, and definitely had a harder shell. They used to be tested on the blood IgG Food Sensitivity testing that I do in clinic, and duck eggs were often tolerated better than chicken eggs…my theory is that it may have something to do with them being less commercially raised, and being more in their natural state. I purchased these through www.eatlocalgreybruce.ca .

Don’t get me wrong – these are still cookies, but they are a healthier version of the typical Oatmeal variety because they contain some healthy saturated fats from the coconut oil, and are more naturally sweetened with the raisins and the maple syrup.

If you try them out, let me know what you think!

P.S. Sorry for the crummy picture - I forgot to take one before they were almost all gone. Here's what I brought to work today:)

Here’s the recipe…
Coconut Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients
• 2 cups Oats
• 1 cup Almond Flour (or flour of your choice – I used spelt)
• 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
• 2 tsp Cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
• 1/3 cup Organic Raisins
• 1/3 cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
• 1/3 cup Coconut Oil (melted)
• 1/3 cup Maple Syrup
• 2 Egg (whisked)

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, sea salt, raisins and coconut flakes.
3. In a separate bowl, combine melted coconut oil, maple syrup and eggs. Whisk and pour into the large bowl with dry ingredients. Mix well.
4. Roll cookie dough into balls and gently flatten on a large baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Enjoy!

The Lucky Green Smoothie

I love this Lucky Green Smoothie for several reasons (and if you watched my Facebook Live video yesterday, you saw that my kids do too!).

Most importantly, it is healthy, tasty, quick, and super easy to make (those are my main criteria for most things that I make). Secondly, it’s got greens in it, which are so nutritionally dense, and sometimes challenging to get kids to eat. We sometimes call this a “Monster Smoothie” which makes it even more enticing for them:) Thirdly, it has lots of fibre from the hemp hearts (which also add some protein), and the ground flax seeds. As you have probably heard me say many times before, it is always good to include protein, fibre, and healthy fats in our meals and snacks to help slow down digestion. This keeps us feeling full longer, and stops our blood sugar from quickly rising and then crashing. To increase the protein content even more, you could add a protein powder of your choice to the smoothie.

It’s the final few days to register for the June 5 “Your Best Life” 30 day online program. There are still some spots left! I promise you will come away with lots of ideas of how to more easily incorporate healthy eating, regular activity, and other elements important to help you look and feel your best. The link to join is below!

Here's the recipe, in case you didn't catch it during the video:)

Ingredients:
•3/4 cup Frozen Mango
•1 Lime (juiced)
•1 cup Baby Spinach (packed)
•1 tbsp Ground Flax Seed
•2 tbsps Hemp Seeds
•1 3/4 cups Water
 - Blend it all together and enjoy!

Enjoy!

 

Dr. Jennifer, ND

 

Join "Your Best Life"

Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

Here is the recipe for the gluten free, dairy free Chewy Gingerbread Cookies that I baked in Monday’s Facebook Live Video with my kidlets. They turned out really good – maybe a little too gingery (or spicy as our little lady likes to say) – but everyone still liked them, and they are almost gone. I love anything ginger, which is great for your digestive system.

This is another of the snacks from my “Your Best Life” meal plan. Until the end of Friday, I am offering a “Join with a Friend” discount on the June 5th online program. If one friend joins at the regular price, the other friend can join for 50% off using the discount code “50%DISCOUNT”. You can decide what you would both like to do with the savings. Support each other towards looking and feeling your best!

Here is the Chewy Gingerbread Cookie recipe:

•1 cup Almond Flour
•1/4 cup Coconut Flour
•1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
•2 tsp Ground Ginger
•1 tsp Cinnamon
•3 tbsp Coconut Oil (melted) 
•1 Egg (room temp)
•1 tsp Vanilla Extract
•1/4 cup Fancy Molasses
•1/4 cup Maple Syrup

Directions

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.In a mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon. Mix well using a fork to break up any clumps. Add in the coconut oil, egg, vanilla, molasses and maple syrup. Mix again.

3.Roll the dough into even balls and place on the baking sheet. Gently flatten with the palm of your hand. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Enjoy!

To sign up June's "Your Best Life," click HERE

 

Are you frustrated because your efforts for a healthier lifestyle aren’t resulting in weight loss?

Are you frustrated because your efforts for a healthier lifestyle aren’t resulting in weight loss?  Here’s a second cause I sometimes find…

I see my job as being there to support and coach people towards their health goals.  I really believe that weight loss should not be difficult with healthy eating, regular activity, and stress management.  If it is, I need to dig a little deeper to find out why.  Last week I discussed the connection between the thyroid and metabolism, and what my naturopathic approach to assess thyroid helath is.  This week I am going to talk about the effect of insulin resistance on weight loss, even when blood sugar levels aren’t elevated.

To help you understand the connection between insulin and your weight, I’m going to start with a little physiology lesson again.  Whenever you eat carbohydrates, which include fruits, vegetables, grains, and anything with added sugar, they get broken down in your digestive tract into glucose, which gets release into your blood.  The presence of these sugars in your blood stream signals the release of insulin from your pancreas.  The insulin is then supposed to bind to the insulin receptors in your cell membranes, and signal the opening of cell glucose transport channels.  These channels allow the glucose to enter your cells, so that it can fuel your mitochondria, which are the energy producing centres in every cell.  The mitochondria produce ATP, which is the fuel for your body to run efficiently.

When someone has insulin resistance, the insulin is not able to bind efficiently to the insulin receptors, causing the pancreas to produce more and more insulin in an attempt to get this process to work properly.  Some of the insulin will bind, but the body has to work much harder to keep the blood sugar levels stable.  Eventually, if the pancreas can no longer produce any more insulin, then the blood sugar levels will start to climb, resulting in type II diabetes.

It is common in conventional medicine to check blood sugar levels on health screening.  It is not as common to check insulin levels though.  The gold standard to check for insulin resistance is to have someone do a glucose tolerance test (which involves drinking 75 g of glucose), and then have their blood insulin level checked after 2 hours.  What I often see when patients do this test is that the blood sugar levels are within normal before and after, but the insulin level is high.  That means that the body is having to work very hard in an attempt to keep the blood sugar levels in range.

So what does that mean for weight loss?  If energy isn’t efficiently being produced from glucose in the mitochondria, then the body will hold on to body fat, as it is a less efficient way for the body to produce energy.  Higher insulin also results in more inflammation, which is the root of many chronic diseases.  Often with insulin resistance, I will see on body composition testing that the body fat level is high, despite having really good muscle mass (assuming the person is exercising).

So what can be done about this?  The good news is that this is totally treatable with lifestyle changes, and some supplements that help address the insulin resistance.  The supplements won’t work well without the diet changes, but with them, I expect to see a noticeable reduction in insulin when the blood work is checked again in 3 months…as well as an improvement in body fat percentage and weight.

If some of you feel after hearing this that insulin resistance may be an issue for you, then I recommend seeing a Naturopathic Doctor to run the blood work, and see what can be done to help you.  As I have said before, you also need to make sure that you are doing what you can do eat a balanced diet, exercise in the right way, and manage your stress.  A diet that is higher in protein and healthy fats is good for keeping everyone’s blood sugar levels more stable, whether they have insulin resistance or not.  That is the basis I use for the meal plans in my online program called “Your Best Life”.  The next group will be starting June 5th, if you would like to join.  The link with more information will be posted below.  I really hope you have found this information useful.  

Have a great weekend!  

Click to Join "Your Best Life"

Chickpea Blondie Recipe

The Chickpea Blondies we made in our video on Monday turned out great! In fact, I am eating one right now:) I opted to leave the coconut flakes out, as I don't really like them, and added extra cinnamon. They turned out very moist, not too sweet, and the sprinkles our little lady added to the top were the perfect finishing touch:)

To be able to enjoy 5 weeks of amazing, healthy, easy to make recipes like this, join my 30 day online "Your Best Life" program starting Monday, June 5 (the link is in the comments). You will also learn a wealth of other naturopathic focused health related information that I share to the group.

Here's the recipe:
Coconut Chickpea Blondies (Servings: 16)

Ingredients:
• 3/4 tsp Coconut Oil (to grease the pan)
• 2 cups Chickpeas (cooked)
• 1/2 cup Almond Butter
• 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
• 1/2 tsp Cinnamon (I used 1 tsp)
• 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
• 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
• 1/4 tsp Baking Soda• 1/3 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut (plus extra for garnish) (I left this out)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and brush a baking dish with coconut oil (use an 8x8 pan for 16 blondies).

2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.

3. Spread the batter evenly into the pan. (The batter will be very sticky, so brushing a spatula with coconut oil first will help.) I added a bit of coconut milk to the batter because I thought it was too sticky, but I think I had to bake it a bit longer because of that. Sprinkle extra coconut over the top and press in gently.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and edges are slightly browned. Let cool for 20 minutes, then cut into squares. 

Enjoy!


Dr. Jennifer, ND

Sign up for "Your Best Life"

 

 

Chocolate Cupcakes

This week’s baking project was a healthy version of Chocolate Cupcakes.  They received 10 thumbs up from my family (probably 12 if we could see the baby’s thumbs!).  They are egg free, dairy free, and can be gluten free (just replace the all purpose flour with a gluten free blend), and are great for entertaining, school snacks, or just satisfying a chocolate craving when you need one.  If you need them to be nut free, you can substitute another gluten free option for the almond flour (brown rice or amaranth can be options).  You can click here for a copy of the recipe.  Let me know what you think when you try it out at home! 

If you have watch the video, you will see that doing it with 2 kids instead of 1 was a little more challenging.  They were both competing for screen time:)  I love that they get so excited to help me bake though.  I truly believe, and have seen in my clinical practice, that the foundation of good health is built in the kitchen.  I created the free guidebook called "Healthy Meal Planning and Prepping Made Easier" to share what I do as a Naturopathic Doctor and mom to create healthy meals for my family.  If you haven't downloaded the guidebook yet, make sure you do!

Happy Baking Everyone!

Why You Aren't Losing Weight Despite Exercise & Healthy Eating

 

Are you frustrated because you are exercising and trying to eat healthy, but you still aren’t seeing any changes in your weight?  Here’s one of the reasons why that can be…

I am fortunate to have a job as a Naturopathic Doctor where I get to work with people who are very motivated to take proactive lifestyle measures to be healthy.  It is true that there are lots of different body types, and that “healthy” comes in all shapes and forms (so does unhealthy), but there is nothing wrong with wanting to see some changes in your body shape from your hard efforts.  I frequently have women come into my office feeling frustrated that they aren’t seeing any changes in their weight or body shape.  I really believe that it shouldn’t be that difficult, and most often there is a reason for it.  I first look at their diet, and the type of exercise they are doing, but it is also worth looking into whether a thyroid imbalance, insulin resistance, or chronic stress (or a combination) is be at play.  I am going to address each of these topics as separate videos.  Today I am going to talk about what you can do to check if your thyroid is functioning optimally.

When I ask patients if their thyroid has been checked, their response is often that their medical doctor has told them that everything is fine.  When I request a copy of their blood work though, I often see that only the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH has been checked.  From my perspective, that only shows me part of the puzzle though.  I’m going to go into a brief physiology lesson to explain why that is…

The Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is produced in an area in your brain called the pituitary gland in response to how much T4 (or thyroxine) hormone is being produced by the thyroid gland.  If there is a lot of T4, then less TSH is produced.  If there is too little T4 present, then more TSH will be made to try and increase activity.   So, it is true that in overt hypothyroidism, the TSH level will be high, and in hyperthyroidism, it will be low.

That T4 then needs to be converted into T3, which is the active thyroid hormone.  That conversion requires nutrients like zinc, selenium and iodine.  Stress, hormonal changes, blood sugar imbalances and illness are also factors that can affect how the that conversion happens.

There are other factors at play too – for various reasons, your immune system can produce antibodies against you, instead of protecting you against outside pathogens.  There are several autoimmune antibodies that can be made against the thyroid.  If they bind to the thyroid receptors, then they will prevent the T3 from binding and being active, even if adequate amounts of it are present.

A lot of the patients I see have normal TSH blood levels, but still have many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, including difficulty losing weight, cold body temperature, hair loss, dry skin and/or constipation.  It’s like the thyroid isn’t revving their engine enough.  That can be because there is too little T4 getting converted into T3 or because there are antibodies present against the thyroid.  The thyroid panel that I like to run on patients includes: TSH, as well as T3, T4, and anti thyroperoxidase antibodies.

Once that testing has been done, then you have much more information to determine if the thyroid is functioning optimally or not.  If the T4 level is good, but T3 is low, then you can take more of those converting nutrients.  If antibodies are present, then I have seen dramatic changes by using herbs that can help break them down, and by eliminating food sensitivities and healing the gut.  If stress or blood sugar are issues, then they also need to be addressed.  You can quickly see how complex our bodies are, and that things don’t work in isolation.

If some of you feel after hearing this, that this may be an issue for you, then I recommend seeing a Naturopathic Doctor to run the blood work, and see what can be done to help you.  You also need to make sure that you are doing what you can do eat a balanced diet, exercise in the right way, and manage your stress.  I created the “Your Best Life” one program as a way to help people more easily incorporate these lifestyle elements that I see are fundamental to helping patients feel their best - both physically and emotionally. The next group will be starting June 5th, if you would like to join.  The link with more information will posted in the comments.  I really hope you have found this information useful. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Peanut Butter Cup Overnight Oats

Peanut Butter Cup Overnight Oats...one of the quick, easy, delicious and nutritious recipes from this week's meal plan in my online "Your Best Life" program.

My 4 year old and me thoroughly enjoyed it this morning (so much so that I forgot to take a picture!). For 5 weeks of family friendly recipes that can easily fit into your busy lifestyle, my next "Your Best Life" 30 day online program starts June 5!  Click the link to join and for more info! 

Until next time,


Dr. Jennifer, ND

Click to Join "Your Best Life"

The Benefits of Even a Not So Perfect Detox

While I eat fairly well most of the time, I am far from perfect (I have a hard time saying no to chips, which is why I try not to have them around too often!), and it's always good to do a diet clean-up.   I recently did a 10 Day Detox with a group of patients from the clinic, today I would like to share what I learned while doing it.  

The goal over the 10 days was to remove oranges, corn, eggs, soy, red meat, animal dairy, refined sugars, gluten, processed condiments, peanuts, sugar and caffeine containing drinks.  I'm going to start by being completely honest with you, I wasn't totally perfect with avoiding all of these over the 10 days.  I had my husband's birthday, and a girl's weekend, and I did eat a few foods on the "avoid" list.  I was however more conscious of the choices that I did make, and I did notice several changes that I hope to continue now that the 10 days are over.
 

  • It helped me increase my vegetable intake – instead of reaching for a muffin (even though they were usually homemade) or a sweeter snack, I really tried to focus on having a variety of vegetables
  • I reinvigorated my love for making smoothies with a variety of fruits and vegetables – for the middle part of the 10 days, the goal was to focus on green vegetables, and only have pears and apples for fruit, so I had to get creative with my ingredients.  I added in things like sprouts, parsley, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, in addition to the protein powder and more common things I would use.  Most of them tasted really good!
  • It helped me drink more water.  This is something I really struggle with, but having all of the smoothies, and just being more conscious of getting 9 glasses a day really helped me increase my intake.
  • My digestion was really happy.  I don't have any major issues, but I did notice less gas, bloating and better bowel movements (sorry if that's TMI☺).
  • I have been sleeping amazingly!  Even though there are lots of exciting things going on in my life right now, I have been falling asleep no problem, and waking up more easily than I usually do.  I'm not sure if that is due to eliminating coffee (even though I drink decaf, it does have some), or because I was eating such an anti-inflammatory diet.  Either way, I like this change a lot!


Even though the detox is over, I am re-inspired to continue with these changes.  We will be offering another 10 Day Detox in the coming weeks, but I know that a strict elimination diet is not something that everyone wants to or is able to do.  If you are looking for something that is more of a long term healthy diet, not quite as restrictive, but still focuses on clean, whole foods eating, then my 30 day "Your Best Life" program is perfect for you!  The next one is beginning on Monday, and there are still a few spots left.  You can join at: Dr. Jennifer Haessler.com or by clicking the link below!

Best, 

Dr. Jennifer

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

The "healthy" Chocolate Chip Cookies from our video yesterday were a hit in our house...and thanks for all of the Ivy love! They are definitely less sweet than a typical cookie, but there was still lots of dark chocolate chip goodness to enjoy! I used spelt flour to make them nut free and school friendly (coconut flour would have worked too), but using the almond flour would be better to increase their protein content and make them even more blood sugar friendly. We forgot to push them down, so that's why they are a bit puffy...I kind of like that though. They will definitely be added to one of my upcoming meal plans for my online "Your Best Life" program.

Speaking of which, there are still some spots left for the group that is starting next Monday, May 1. If you are thinking of joining, then do it! You won't regret it, and I promise you will learn a lot about good nutrition, time effective exercise for fat burning, as well as tips for stress management, better sleep, improved digestion, as well as time management that can help you achieve your goals. Plus you will get 5 weeks worth of easy, healthy, family friendly meal plans. These are all of the things that I see from over 13 years of Naturopathic practice as being so essential to helping women look and feel their best. The link to join is posted in the comments below...

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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•1 1/2 cups Almond Flour (spelt (not gluten free) or coconut flour can work too)
•1 1/2 tsps. Baking Powder
•3 tbsps. Coconut Oil (melted)
•3 tbsps. Maple Syrup
•1 tsp Vanilla Extract
•2 tbsps. Unsweetened Almond Milk
•1/3 cup Organic Dark Chocolate Chips

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2.Combine the almond flour and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Then add in the remaining ingredients and mix again.
3.Plop the dough onto the baking sheet using a heaping tablespoon. Use the palm of your hand to gently form and flatten the cookies.
4.Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes for soft cookies, or 15 to 20 minutes for crunchy cookies.
5.Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!

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