Becoming Adventurous in the Kitchen for Optimal Health and Longevity!

If you have been a patient of mine, you probably are familiar with our chats about the importance of quality and variety when it comes to your food, especially in regards to animal proteins. If we haven’t had a chance to have this talk, be prepared… as we will soon enough! I am becoming ever more passionate about exploring different traditional foods – and more specifically, organ meats.

 

As a society of indulgence and caloric excess, but we have never been so nutrient deficient and restricted! Recent studies have shown that up to 60% of the average American’s caloric intake is from ULTRA processed food. This is the largest quantity of fake food devoid of nutrients our society has ever consumed, and it is due to access, convenience, and the addictive nature of these foods. We are also subject to taglines like “fat free” which do more harm than good. Without the actual building blocks to support our hormones and organ systems, the risk of disease is not a matter of if, but when. With proper education and access to these other options we will be able to flourish in the kitchen and use a wide variety of food items to better nourish our families. It is never too late to change your diet and improve your health. For example we now know we can alter the microbiome of the gut within just a few days dramatically impacting the state of our immune health, hormonal regulation, and much more! That is the miracle of food – it is the real medicine and will produce the most dramatic results.

 

As intimidating as bringing liver or chicken hearts into the kitchen may sound, many Traditional cultures prized organ meats for their ability to build reserves of strength and vitality. Organ meats are rich in vitamin A and D (which are difficult to obtain in whole food form), as well as fatty acids, and the whole gamut of macro and trace minerals. They are some of the most nutrient dense foods you could have in addition to herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Various cultures around the world regularly incorporate this rich food source into their diet – especially to optimize fertility.  Mothers are also fed various organ products to support a healthy pregnancy, and the first thing some native African tribes feed their babies is liver! Another interesting fact: wild animals eat the organs of their kill first, and in the absence of access to organ meats big cats in particular cannot reproduce in captivity. These organs are nutrient dense game changers!

 

Take liver for example, its high quantity of vitamin C, B vitamins, and iron are the perfect nutrient combination for supporting healthy red blood cell formation to avoid the risk of iron deficiency or anemia – there is no other food or supplement quite like it!

 

I highly recommend looking into the resources provided below to learn more about how to prepare, cook, and best utilize these perplexing products in the kitchen! I will provide the recipe for chicken heart stew below that I personally really enjoy, but my journey isn’t quite over! I plan to try chicken foot stew and fish eggs next. The more I learn, the more I feel this is crucial for improving our health while also supporting regenerative farming practices, reducing waste, and building community while learning ancestral practices and spending time together cooking.

 

If this all seems too daunting, I would encourage eating different cuts of meat for nutrient variety. If you are used to having chicken breast for most meals, I challenge you to switch it out for chicken thighs! Don’t worry about the increase of certain macronutrients like fat and focus on all the wonderful micronutrients you will be ingesting.

 

**Next up in this kitchen adventure series- fermented foods and herbs…

 

Good luck and enjoy!

 

Resources:

 

Local animal products:

  • Pineview farms
  • Dad’s Organic Market
  • Bodyfuel organics
  • Box H farms
  • Coolsprings ranch

 

Chicken Heart and Sweet Potato Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds grass-fed bison stew meat
  • 1 pound grass-fed beef heart
  • 1 large sweet onion, diced
  • 3 cups celery, diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium sized sweet potatoes or yams (you could also use approx. 2-3 cups of cubed butternut squash)
  • 2 quarts beef stock
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary leaves
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp-ish each sea salt and course ground pepper
  • coconut oil

Instructions

  1. I use my big dutch oven for this, but a large soup pot will work fine.
  2. Cut all of your meat (heart included) into bite sized pieces and set aside. I like to place my meat in a colander to let it drain out any extra juice that is lingering.
  3. Chop your onions, celery, and sweet potatoes (or yams, squash, etc.) into bite sized chunks and set aside (keep your sweet potatoes separate from the other veggies).
  4. Mince your garlic and add to the onions and celery.
  5. Mince your parsley and set aside.
  6. Heat a couple tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat and add some of your meat. You want to make sure not to overcrowd the pan, because you want to get a good browning on the meat. This really helps develop the flavor of the stew.
  7. Turn the meat several times, so that it can brown all the way around. Tongs are handy for this.
  8. Remove the meat from the pan and place on a separate dish. Repeat until you have all of your meat browned. You may need to keep adding a little coconut oil for each batch.
  9. Once all of the meat is browned and removed from the pan, add your onions, celery, and garlic and cook until the onions are slightly caramelized.
  10. Add the meat back in, as well as your chopped sweet potatoes, yams, or whatever starch you are using.
  11. Deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar and then add the salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and cinnamon sticks. Stir.
  12. Pour your beef stock over the mixture and bring to a simmer.
  13. Lower heat to low and cover. Let simmer for 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are done. Stir in your parsley and remove from the heat. Done!
  14. This stew freezes and re-heats nicely, so I like to make double and sometimes triple batches and stock up the freezer!

Benefits of Hydrotherapy or “Water” Therapy

Although it may sound like a simple, basic approach to healthcare in the midst of fancy, complicated, expensive technologies, we constantly find ourselves resorting to the important role water has as a treatment for optimizing our bodies functioning.  It is a foundational and necessary piece of the puzzle for optimal health.

Just as the quantity & quality of water we ingest is paramount to properly influencing all the biochemical processes that go on inside our bodies, why not play around with the temperature of the water we subject ourselves to externally?

I am a sucker for a warm bath or a warm shower. The heat can do wonders for promoting relaxation and relaxing tight musculature. However, have you tried cold water therapies??

Influence of cold external temps on our body system:

  • Decreased inflammation and pain regulation related to various chronic diseases
  • Increased brain activity and alertness due to increased oxygen intake, & increased heart rate
  • Regulation of autonomic nervous system
  • Decreased uric acid and increased glutathione levels
  • Supports the immune system & reduces oxidative stress
  • Increases brown fat – metabolically favourable tissue that can generate heat by burning fat supportive for optimal body composition
  • Improves circulation due to the constriction of distal blood vessels in the limbs increasing the circulation rate of the blood in the deeper tissues to maintain ideal body temperature.
  • Improves skin complexion due to tightening and constricting blood flow which gives your skin a healthy glow
  • Closes and strengthens your hair cuticles and doesn’t dry out the sebum layer

Something to try…

Daily Hot/cold contrast shower challenge:

Try 30 seconds cold, 1 minute warm water; alternate three times and end on cold.

Give it a try and enjoy the benefits!

Some of the other ways I like to incorporate water therapy into my patient’s protocols:

  • Evaluation of quantity & quality of drinking water- bodily water quantity can be assessed by results recorded after a full body composition analysis which I offer complimentary in office
  • Optimizing electrolyte intake
  • Contrast water showers with or without breathing exercises
  • Ice baths
  • Warming socks for kids during illness
  • Heating packs
  • Foot baths
  • Epsom salt baths
  • Cold plunge outdoors
  • Hot/cold plunges

I usually incorporate at least one of these techniques into my client’s protocol, but the reality is that all of these things CAN be used to optimize our health in general. It just may be a bit overwhelming to do them all at once each and every day so we may try to prioritize the tool with the biggest effect depending on our specific health goals. The health benefits of water therapy are endless and crucial to our wellbeing.

Just like the great Bruce Lee once said… “Be like water, my friend.”

Holiday Menu

From our homes to yours, we would like to share our favourite recipes as you prepare for your holiday feast.  From all of us, we wish you a very happy Christmas season and many blessings in 2022!

With love, Brittany, Michelle, Julie and Allison

 

Apple Cider & Herb Brined Turkey 

From Nourishing Meals, one of Dr. Ziegler’s favourite cookbooks.

You will want to have your turkey thawed and ready for brining 24 to 72 hours before you plan on cooking it. Pictured here is a 15-pound turkey. The larger the turkey, the longer it will need to soak in the brine. I add all of the ingredients to the pot, except for the water, then add the turkey and add water to cover. It will be about a gallon, give or take some, depending on the size of your turkey. If you add more than a gallon of water (say for a larger turkey), you will want to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more salt, otherwise the brine may not be strong enough.

1 gallon apple cider
1 cup coarse sea salt
2 onions, chopped (I leave the skin on)
2 oranges, sliced
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
1 small bunch fresh rosemary
1 small bunch fresh thyme
1 small bunch fresh sage
2 to 4 bay leaves
1 to 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 whole turkey (12 to 24 pounds)
1 gallon filtered water (or just enough to cover)

Place the apple cider, salt, onions, oranges, garlic, rosemary, sage, bay leaves, and black peppercorns into a large pot or container, stir well, and then place the turkey into it. Cover with filtered water. Place a weight on top of the bird to keep it submerged in the brine (like a glass bowl with a rock or a bag of water in it). If you don’t use a weight you will need to flip the turkey once or twice during a 24 hour period. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 72 hours.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Pull the turkey out of the brine and place into a roasting pan. Pull some of the onions, herbs, and orange slices out and stuff them into the cavity of the turkey. At this point I like to truss the bird with cotton butcher’s twine (you should be able to find this at your local kitchen or grocery store).

Next, remove the remaining solids from the brine and place them around the turkey in the bottom of the pan. This will flavor the bird even more during cooking and create an amazing gravy! Take about 4 cups of brine, along with about 2 cups of filtered water, and add it to the bottom of the pan.

Season the top of the bird with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then drizzle the top with extra virgin olive oil.

Place in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 325 degrees F and continue roasting until juices run clear. I like to baste the turkey a few times during cooking as well. Brining can reduce total cooking time by a little, but you can use these guidelines from FoodSafety.gov for average cooking times (since I am not fully stuffing the cavity, I use the guidelines for an unstuffed turkey). Use a meat thermometer if needed to test for doneness. It should read about 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, though I usually take it out of the oven when the temperature is a little lower to prevent overcooking.

8 to 12 pounds: 2 3/4 to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds: 3 to 3 3/4 hours
14 to 18 pounds: 3 3/4 to 4 1/4 hours
18 to 20 pounds: 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds: 4 1/2 to 5 hours

Once the turkey is done, let it rest in the pan for about 30 minutes before carving. This allows for the juices to go back into the meat. You can then remove the turkey and place it on a large cutting board to carve. Pour the pan juices through a fine-mesh strainer into a 2-quart saucepan. Follow these directions to make Gluten-Free Gravy with them!

Once you have pulled all of the meat from the bones, use the carcass to make a rich, nourishing Turkey Stock

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Cranberry Brown Butter

One of Dr. Zepp’s holiday favourites

4 pounds brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound fresh or thawed frozen cranberries
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted organic grassfed butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon chopped thyme

Preheat the oven to 400°. On 2 large rimmed baking sheets, toss the brussels sprouts with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the sprouts are tender and browned in spots.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, maple syrup, ginger and orange zest. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the cranberries break down and thicken, about 10 minutes.
In a medium skillet, cook the butter over moderately high heat until deep golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the shallot and thyme and stir into the cranberry sauce. Transfer the butter to a bowl, add the brussels sprouts and toss. Season with salt and serve.

Festive Kale Salad

From Oh She Glows, Dr. Wolfe’s pick

SALAD

2 bunches of finely chopped green curly kale
Hefty sprinkle of pecan parmesan (see below)
1 cup pomegranate arils
Optional additions but highly recommended: goat feta, one apple peeled, cored and finely chopped
DRESSING (Sweet apple cinnamon vinaigrette)
6 tbsp apple cider vinegar
~4.5 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
PECAN PARMESAN
1 cup pecans toasted
3 tsp nutritional yeast
3-6 tsp olive oil (start with 3 and work up slowly)
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant and lightly golden.
Remove the stems from the kale and discard. (Save the stems for a stir fry, broth or smoothie!)
Wash the kale and spin dry. Finely chop the leaves if needed otherwise place them in a large bowl with a glug of olive oil and a splash of lemon juice then massage the leaves until softened.
Make the dressing in a small bowl by mixing all of the ingredients together.
For the Pecan Parmesan: Add the pecans into the processor and process until the pecans are the size of peas or a bit larger. Now add in the nutritional yeast, oil, and salt and process again until it has a coarse crumb texture. Go slowly on this one so as not to overprocess into a fine powder.
Arrange your salad by adding all ingredients into the bowl, top with a hefty serving of the parmesan and serve the dressing on the side.

Super Seed Chocolate Bark

Dr. Sthamann’s delicous dessert

2-3/4 ozs dark chocolate
2 tsps cocnut oil
¼ cup pumkin seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsps hemp seeds

Line plate or baking sheet with parchment paper.
Fill a medium pot with an inch of water and place a small pot or heat-safe bowl on top ensuring the water is not touching the bottom of the smaller pot or bowl. The smaller pot or bowl should rest tightly on top of the pot and any water or steam should not be able to escape. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat to low.
Add the chocolate and coconut oil to the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted completely.
Remove the bowl for the double boiler and stir in the seeds. Mix well until the seeds are completely covered in the chocolate.
Transfer the chocolate and seeds to the prepared parchment paper and spread into an even layer. Place the bark in the freezer for about 30 minutes or until solid.
When solid, break into pieces and store in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge until ready to eat.

Are you experiencing postnatal depletion syndrome?

Postnatal depletion syndrome is a variety of symptoms caused by nutrient insufficiency, sleep deprivation, and the mother’s role change, that can occur after she gives birth.

Common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Baby brain
  • Depression
  • Easily Bruised
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss and brittle nails
  • Inflammation
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable
  • Joint aches and pains
  • Loss of self-confidence
  • Low libido
  • Overweight
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Thinning and loose skin
  • “Tired but wired”

Do any of these symptoms describe your fourth trimester experience? If so, you are not alone. Without appropriate support, these symptoms can last up to ten years. Many considerations need to be taken into account such as:

  • Babies’ health status
  • Breastfeeding
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Pregnancy related complications
  • Social support system
  • Sleep
  • Stress management

However, with the right treatment, the severity, duration, and onset of these symptoms can be minimal or non-existent.

So let’s talk more about nutrition… Post natal nutrition is of paramount important in supporting a healthy recovery post birth and for sustaining energy demands that come with raising a new baby.

Common nutrients that can become depleted include:

  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Copper
  • B-Vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • Trace Elements
  • Vitamin C
  • Fat-Soluble Vitamins

For instance iron is well known to become easily depleted with pregnancy and can remain low during the postpartum period if not properly supplemented. However, did you know that inadequate Vitamin C, and B vitamin intake can impact the absorption of iron and red blood cell formation? Iron can be toxic in high doses, and therefore it may be crucial to analyze other nutrient needs to best support healthy blood quality before automatically upping the iron dose.

Most times with the help of your medical practitioner, after a thorough review of your current health state we can create a specific nutrient plan for you during these trying times. However, depending on the situation it may be beneficial to implement functional testing options to determine your true nutrient requirements. Metabolomix testing is just one of the tests I find useful in this situation to determine nutrient, antioxidant, heavy metal, omega 3’s, etc requirements.

If you are concerned with any symptoms post baby, please reach out! There is plenty we can do to support you during this life changing time in your life, so that you can enjoy your time with your littles.

Dr. Michelle Sthamann’s ND Maternity Leave Update

I am excited to announce that I am due to have my first child in January 2022!

I will be taking three months away from the office starting January 1st-April 16th, 2022.

I will be accepting new clients up until December 1st, 2021, and will continue to see current clients until January 1st, 2022. 

Follow up appointments will resume in April 2022, but if anyone needs assistance before that date, Dr. Ziegler ND and Dr. Wolfe ND will be providing follow up care for my clients until I am back in office.

Due to the inconvenience this may pose to my clients, I wanted to let you know sooner rather than later so you have ample time to book an appointment if needed.

To book please either call 306.757.4325. or go to www.michellelenawellness.com

Supplements to Consider for Pregnancy

Did you know a pregnant woman’s blood volume increases by 30-40%? Or that your joints loosen? Or that you produce more estrogen in a day than you do in a year when you aren’t pregnant?

There are numerous changes our body goes through when we conceive, and therefore, to have the healthiest pregnancies possible we need to further support ourselves to compensate for these adjustments.

Below are just some of the many nutraceuticals we should consider to provide an extra boost!

**Remember specific products and dosages are based on your own nutrient needs post bloodwork/testing, current symptoms, and pregnancy timeline. Assess with your Naturopathic Doctor before taking any supplements during pregnancy.

Iron:

  • Needs are increased during pregnancy as extra blood is created and delivered to the placenta to avoid iron deficiency anemia
  • Supplementation is important for mother to maintain stores especially. In second trimester to avoid iron deficiency anemia
  • A lack of iron can cause fatigue due to lack of oxygenation to your tissues
  • The amount of women I have seen with scary low iron/ferritin levels later in pregnancy is alarming. If you are curious about your iron levels, let’s review! A further analysis of your levels can sometimes mean the difference between not being able to get off the couch, versus having pretty good energy to enjoy your little babe.

Probiotics:

  • Supportive bacteria in the gut have been shown to reduce risk of pre-eclampsia by 20%, strep b infection, & preterm birth by 11%.

Omega 3:

  •  Fatty acids are essential and must be consumed in the diet
  • Most people (including myself) do not consume enough omega 3 fatty acids – especially fish, during pregnancy
  • The most biologically active form – DHA and EPA are critical building blocks of the fetal brain and retina
  • They also play a role in length of gestation and preventing perinatal depression

Prenatal:

  • Be very picky when it comes to vitamin/mineral supplements as the quality, nutrient spectrum, dosage, active versus inactive nutrients, and non-medicinal ingredients range drastically. Ie: folic acid is the inactive form of B9 and is commonly found in drug store brands. The intake of L-5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate instead has been shown to be more advantageous. The main reason to incorporate a high quality b9 supplement is to prevent neural tube defects.
  • But vitamin B9 is only one of a complex array of nutrients we need to support both healthy fetal life and a healthy mama. Make sure you have a full spectrum product and nutrients crucial for development are not missing!

Magnesium:

  • Can be a helpful mineral for restless legs/leg cramping, muscle pain, & constipation that can increase during pregnancy.
  • The soil is deficient in magnesium and therefore optimal levels are usually difficult to maintain with foods alone
  • Studies have shown a decreased frequency of pregnancy complications in those who supplemented with magnesium

Vitamin D3:

  • As with every health scenario… make sure you are not vitamin D deficient!
  • Just one of the many functions of vitamin D is to help absorb calcium from food. When you are pregnant, it helps you maintain your bones while also helping the baby to develop healthy bones and a healthy body. It also. Supports a healthy immune system and helps control blood pressure.

Podcasts

Podcasts are an entertaining way to gather new insights into a wide variety of health topics with different experts in their respective fields.

If you are wanting to engage in more motivating and enlightening ways to optimize your health & fitness, where you’ll learn how to burn fat, get more healthy than ever, and optimize your life for the better, I highly suggest tuning in for a listen. Listen to podcasts while at the gym, going for a walk, taking a break at work, or folding laundry – anytime is a great time to learn more!

My top podcasts:

  1. The model health show- Shawn Stevenson
  2. The Doctor’s Farmacy- Dr. Mark Hymen
  3. Natural MD Radio- Dr. Aviva Romm
  4. Bulletproof radio- Dave Asprey
  5. Nutrition Facts Podcast – Dr. Michael Greger
  6. FoundMyFitness – Rhonda Patrick , PhD

Enjoy!

Why I Love the DUTCH Test

Hormonal blood tests can be hard to come by for a variety of reasons….

  •  issues with accessibility as you may be required to have blood drawn on separate dates within the month,
  • your daily hormonal fluctuation is not accurately reflected in your results with a one time sample,
  • the results may be limited… etc.

Blood tests won’t measure your cortisol rhythms and estrogen metabolism or provide you a 20 page overview of these systems. Hands down, the DUTCH test is THE most cutting edge, comprehensive, functional medicine hormone test.

.

Hormonal imbalance can cause a wide range of signs and symptoms depending on which hormones are affected, and in which way the scale is tilted. What are symptoms of a hormone imbalance?

  • Insomnia
  • Acne
  • PCOS
  • Cervical Dysplasia
  • Chronic/adrenal Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Weight gain
  • Chronic allergies
  • Bone loss
  • Irregular periods
  • Breast tenderness
  • Hot flashes
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Low libido
  • Heart disease risk
  • Breast cancer risk

.

Ok, so some of those symptoms sound familiar… What do I do now?

Insert the DUTCH test.🩺

These results are instrumental to:

  •  Shed light on any hormonal imbalances you have (adrenals, sex hormones, plus melatonin, B vitamin status, detoxification, neurotransmitters, oxidative stress, etc).
  • Gear a treatment plan tailored to you, based on your hormone levels and also how you metabolize or break down your hormones. Your treatment plan is all-natural and customized to you. It can involve precise “lifestyle medicine” which are adjustments in sleep, food, exercise, and stress management. We may find that the use of supplements, herbs, and low-dose bio-identical hormones are right for you.

.

What does this test involve?

It’s easy! It comes in an envelope with little strips to dip in your pee, in the comfort of your home. You dip the strips, let them dry, mail them off. The instructions are very clear. The results will be sent to your practitioner and we create a plan from there.

Healthy Holiday Feast

From our homes to yours, we wish you a healthy and happy holiday season!

Enjoy the following recipes!

COVID compliant Holiday Turkey: Turkey for 6 and under

From Jamie Oliver – Dr. Marika Geis’ Kitchen guru

Ingredients

  • 4 kg higher-welfare turkey
  • 250 g stuffing, (from meat stuffing recipe: see below)
  • 250 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 bunch lemon thyme, (30g)
  • 2 clementines
  • olive oil

Method

GET AHEAD

  1.  Check the main turkey cavity for the bag of giblets; if they’re in there, remove and tip them into your roasting tray, discarding the bag. The added flavour they’ll give your gravy will be incredible – trust me.
  2. Peel the onions, wash the carrots and roughly chop with the celery or the leek tops, then add to the tray with the unpeeled garlic cloves.
  3. Place the stuffing in the neck cavity, then pull the skin back over it and tuck it under the bird. You’ll get a good contrast between the soft, juicy stuffing here inside the turkey, and the crispier stuff you can bake separately in a dish.
  4. Place the softened butter on a board and press down with your hands. Pick over 3 sprigs of thyme, finely zest ½ a clementine and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, and scrunch all together to make your flavoured butter.
  5. Halve the clementines and place in the main turkey cavity with the remaining thyme – not filling it too full allows hot air to circulate, cooking the bird from the inside out and from the outside in.
  6. Get your turkey and use a spatula to work your way between the skin and the meat. Start at the side of the cavity just above the leg and work gently up towards the breastbone and towards the back so you create a large cavity. Pick up your butter and push it into the cavity you’ve created. Use your hands to push it through the skin right to the back so it coats the breast meat as evenly as possible. Do the same on the other side.
  7. Drizzle the turkey all over with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and generously sprinkle from all sides with salt and pepper.
  8. Cover the turkey snugly with tin foil and place it on top of the trivet in the tray.ON THE DAY
  9. Take your turkey out of the fridge 1 hour before it’s due to go in the oven.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
  11. You want to cook a higher-welfare bird for 25 to 30 minutes per kg and a standard bird is 35 to 40 minutes per kg. For a 4kg bird, pop it in the oven for 1 hour 40 minutes, basting several times with all the lovely juices in the tray and covering with foil when beautifully golden brown.
  12. The simplest way to check it’s cooked is to stick a knife into the thickest part of the thigh – if the juices run clear, it’s done.
  13. Use heavy-duty tongs to lift up your bird so all the juices run from the cavity into the tray, then transfer the turkey to a platter and leave to rest for up to 2 hours while you crack on. You can cover it with a double layer of tin foil and a clean tea towel to keep warm, if you like.
  14. Skim away the fat from the turkey tray, save it in a jar, and leave to cool. When cold, transfer to the fridge for cooking with at a later date.CARVING THE TURKEY
  15. Once the turkey has rested, it’s time to carve. There are two ways you can do this.

– The first method is to remove the wings, slice the skin beside the legs, then pull out and chop the legs off. You can either slice or pull this brown meat – it’s so tasty. Keep it warm while you move on to the breast meat. Use the full length of the knife in a nice smooth action to slice through the breast meat, transferring it to a platter as you go.

– Alternatively, remove the leg as above, then feel where the backbone is and cut with the length of your knife all the way down beside it until you hit the carcass. You can then lift the whole breast off the bone. Remove to a board and slice. Enjoy!

 Tips

“You must let your bird come up to room temperature after being in the fridge. It’ll give you more reliable cooking times, as well as juicier, more tender meat, as the bird isn’t shocked when it hits the heat of the oven.

Don’t be under the illusion that when you remove the turkey from the oven it stops cooking. The residual heat will continue to cook the bird, giving the juices time to travel back throughout the meat, meaning a juicier bird all round. Piping hot meat is not a clever thing – warm, juicy meat, hot gravy and hot plates is the holy grail.”

Best Rice Stuffing for the Holidays

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cups water, divided
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • ⅓ pound bacon
  • 3 cups diced onions
  • 3 cups diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 ¾ cups currants
  • ¾ cup dried cherries
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ ounce dried apricots
  • 1 cup diced, unpeeled apples
  • ½ cup chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 6 tablespoons dried mixed herbs

Method

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 1/2 cups water and the chicken broth to a boil. Stir in wild rice. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes.
  2. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Reserving drippings, drain bacon, crumble, and set aside.
  3. In the skillet with the reserved bacon drippings, sauté onions and celery with 1 tablespoon water. Cook until very soft, about 20 minutes.
  4. Stir remaining water, white rice, currants, cherries, cranberries, apricots, and apples into the wild rice. Continue cooking 20 minutes, or until wild rice and white rice are tender.
  5. In a large bowl, mix the bacon and the onion mixture into the rice mixture. Season with the Italian parsley and dried mixed herbs. Proceed to fill your turkey to capacity. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Casserole

Dr. Julie Zepp’s tried and true holiday side dish

Casserole Ingredients

  • 4-5 boiled and drained sweet potatoes (3 cups when cooked and mashed)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup organic butter
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk. (unsweetened almond, rice or oat)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 cup ground nuts (I like to use pecans)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup rice flour

Method

  1. Mix together the casserole ingredients and place in a casserole dish.
  2. Mix together the topping ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle the topping mixture on top of the casserole and bake for 30 minutes at 350C.

Winter Salad with Fennel and a Blood Orange Vinaigrette

From Nourishing Meals – A staple in Dr. Allison Ziegler’s home

Salad Ingredients

  • ½ head red cabbage, thinly sliced (about 8 cups)
  • 1 large fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced diagonally then into strips
  • 2 large carrots, sliced diagonally then into strips
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 blood oranges, peeled and segmented (or chopped), can replace with navel oranges
  • ½ to 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ to 1 cup almonds, roasted and chopped

Dressing Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed blood or navel orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar or champagne vinegar
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Method

  1. Place the red cabbage, fennel, carrots, red onion, blood oranges, and parsley into a large bowl. If you are planning on serving the salad right away then add the almonds too. If you would like to extend the salad over a few days then sprinkle the almonds over what you plan on serving (otherwise they get soft and lose their crunch when sitting in the dressing).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss together. Serve. Leftovers can be stored in a glass container in your refrigerator for about 3 days.

Festive Herbal Shrub Recipe

Dr. Brittany Wolfe’s specialty

If you’re a fan of kombucha and tart tonics, then you will love an herbal shrub. A shrub is essentially a fermented herbal-infused vinegar that is often mixed with soda water or champagne if you’re feeling festive! Think fizzy, healing and refreshing! It makes a great base for a delicious and herby mocktail. You can follow the recipe below or get creative and use what you have on hand.

You will need

  • 1-quart mason jar with lid and ring
  • Cheesecloth or thin, clean rag of breathable material (with fine holes)
  • Wooden spoon or muddler
  • Raw vinegar (apple cider vinegar – must be raw for fermentation)
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced rosemary
  • Parchment or wax paper
  • ~1 tbsp of sugar or honey

Method

  1. Place all foods and herbs into a mason jar and muddle with a wooden spoon to release juices, oils and fragrances (and medicine!).
  2. Cover with raw vinegar of choice but leave 1-inch airspace remaining under rim.
  3. Make sure all ingredients are submerged under vinegar or else you will develop mold.
  4. Drape cheesecloth or other breathable cloth over mouth of jar, then screw on the ring portion of the lid only to keep cheesecloth in place.
  5. Leave jar out at room temperature overnight (~12 hours).
  6. Remove the cheese cloth and replace it with wax paper. This time screw both the lid and the ring portion over the wax paper. The wax paper is there to protect the metal from the vinegar.
  7. Leave your mixture out on your counter for about 3-5 days and give it a good shake every day. – Double check to make sure the solid stays below the liquid.
  8. After 3-5 days, strain off the fruit and herbs and store in a mason jar in the fridge. You can always add a little more sweetener if you like.
  9. Use about 2 oz of shrub with sparkling water or champagne!

Grain-free, Nut-free Chocolate Chip Cookies for Santa

 From Oh She Glows – One of Dr. Michelle Sthamann’s favourites

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (63 g) natural smooth sunflower seed butter*
  • 2 tablespoons (25 g) packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (37.5 mL) coconut oil (room temp) or grapeseed oil**

Dry Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons (54 g) raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons (30 g) cassava flour***
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground chia seed****
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) dark chocolate squares

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. To a large bowl, add the wet ingredients (sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and oil) and stir until completely smooth.
  3. Place the sunflower seeds into a food processor and process for about 40 to 60 seconds until a fine meal forms. You want to process the seeds to as fine a meal as possible without them turning into butter!
  4. Add the dry ingredients (ground sunflower seeds, cassava flour, ground chia seeds, baking soda, and salt) to the wet mixture bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. The dough will be very sticky, but this is normal. Chop the chocolate, reserving one heaping tablespoon for later. Stir the remaining chopped chocolate into the dough until combined.
  5. Using a 2-tablespoon (30-mL) cookie scoop (or simply a spoon), scoop small mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet a few inches apart. There’s no need to flatten the mounds as they’ll spread out during baking. Now, using the chocolate you set aside, press a few chunks into each mound (this just helps the cookies look a bit more chocolaty when baked!).
  6. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes (I bake for 10 minutes) for a soft and tender cookie.
  7. Remove cookies from the oven and cool directly on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, gently transfer each cookie (they’ll be very fragile) to a cooling rack for another 10 to 15 minutes. The cookies will be crumbly until they are fully cooled, so it’s very important that you give them some time to firm on the rack (I know, it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do!).
  8. Serve and enjoy! Cooled cookies will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. I love the delightful “snappy” texture these cookies get as the chocolate firms up from chilling!

Tips

* The sunflower seed butter should be 100% sunflower seeds without any added sugars or oils. I use Organic SunButter. Be sure to stir the sunflower seed butter before measuring and avoid using the dry/hard butter at the bottom of the jar. If using thicker seed butter, the cookies won’t spread as much when baking.

** If your coconut oil is hard as rock, you can melt it over very low heat and then cool before using. Avoid using warm coconut oil as it’ll melt the chocolate chips.

*** Cassava flour can be a bit tricky to locate. Your best bet is to buy from an online retailer (such as this one on Amazon) or a natural food store.

**** To make ground chia seed, add seeds to a high-speed blender or coffee grinder and blend/grind on high until a flour forms. An equal amount of ground flaxseed also works in place of chia, but it will yield a thicker cookie. I prefer using ground chia. Leftover ground seeds can be stored in the freezer in an airtight freezer bag for future use.

Calling All Maskne Sufferers!

I want to create a safe place to validate your skin frustrations, and learn how to combat these concerns while still upholding your mask wearing civil duty to the province.

 

Acne mechanica, a.k.a. the type of acne a football player may get where the helmet rubs is also enough of a thing that the Covid-19 task force of the American Academy of Dermatology (A.A.D.) felt compelled to release advice on the subject. It is a real issue.

When you breathe or talk, your mask traps in a lot of the hot, humid air accompanied by various yeast, bacteria, and other flora, such as demodex (types of skin mites that naturally live on our skin).

Bacterial imbalances and friction from your mask can promote acne, as well as rosacea flare ups and perioral dermatitis. This is when fine pimples and pustules appear around the nose and mouth.

The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology reported that at least 83 percent of health care workers in Hubei, China, suffered skin problems on the face.

You are not alone.

If acne is new to you, there are ways to combat this flare-up.

If acne is something you have had prior to the mask wearing days, we still can combat the exacerbation topically, but internal, root cause investigation is needed. If you need further guidance and support please send me an email at info@michellelenawellness.com or book a free discovery call at: https://naturopathicglowmethod.as.me/ .

 

Treatment options to consider:

  1. Consider the TYPE of mask you wear.

For some of you, non-reusable masks are your only option. Skip down to step number two.

For those of you that can utilize reusable options, I would highly recommend:

Washing your mask daily with a fragrance-free detergent & buying an anti-microbial copper infused Envy mask which were created by two RN’s.

– Lab Results on Methicillin Resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) show:

✓ 50% kill on contact ✓ 85% kill within 1 hour ✓ 99.9% kill in 24 hours to help create microbes at bay.

 

  1. UNDER the mask.

 This is the time to simplify your routine. Less is more. The mask will intensify product delivery to your skin, and we want to especially be careful with acids or retinols, which can be irritating. Use products with actives only at night.

Breakup with makeup. Do NOT wear makeup under the mask if you don’t have to. To get rid of sweat – suggests using micellar water or a gentle cleanser to do a quick wash halfway through the day if you are able.

 

I highly suggest only using the following products under the mask:

 

Broccofusion Ointment  (Newco)- Protects the moisture barrier, lessens friction, and contains very supportive, healing, antimicrobial ingredients. Found at Bodyfuel Organics in Regina.

Colloidal silver gel (Nature’s Sunshine)- Very strong antimicrobial successfully used to even treat MRSA and Candida, and is still used in 70% of burn centers in America to heal burns and kill invasive bacteria. Product quality matters! The Silver Shield Gel at Prairie Sky Integrative Health is a great option.

 

If you’ve tried all of the above and your acne persists, you may want to look at other causes of acne.

If I see a tender cyst on the chin, there’s no way to say whether it popped up because of the mask, stress from your midterm exams, because of that sleepless night or because of those comfort foods they reached for over the weekend.

If you need some extra help, let me know!

We are all in this together.

 

**Make sure to join the “Glowing Skin Community” on Facebook for more acne info/support.