Should You Practice Fasting?

Should you try fasting this year?

That’s a hot topic question right now!

Fasting is a practice that has been implemented for thousands of years for a variety of reasons. It isn’t a dieting trend, though it is often misunderstood as another weight loss quick fix. While there are plenty health experts promoting it as a great option to bring balance to your body, optimize insulin sensitivity and support digestion, there are others who treat fasting as if it’s a type of starvation tool that will lead to an eating disorder.

This is why fasting must be addressed with an individualized approach – what I teach in my Feast 2 Fast program!

Most people can benefit from different types of fasts, whether it is a true water fast, or fat fast, or even a bone broth fast. It is a good way to improve your health, and it can be a beneficial spiritual discipline as well.

The majority of studies on the trendy 16:8 style of intermittent fasting have been done on men and postmenopausal women, so it’s important for women who still have a menstrual cycle to nourish hormones and not restrict food too much at all cycle phases. That can really backfire and cause stress to your body!

My advice? Start with a 12 hour fast. Everyone can benefit from a 12 hour break between their last meal and first meal. And hey – if you’re sleeping 8 hours at night most of your fasting will happen then, which makes it even easier!

Want to make fasting work for you, while also learning how to incorporate more nutrient density into your real life? Join my four week Feast 2 Fast program that starts January 4!

This program is one of the most science-based approaches to health I have seen! But we don’t just target physical health; that’s secondary. Every day you will receive nourishment for your soul in the form of a short devotional. We even meet weekly on Zoom to individualize our approaches to even more!

For more details, and to sign up, click here

Past Participants Say This:

“Through Feast 2 Fast I learned to listen to the natural cues from my body. After years of dieting I had stopped listening to the natural cues like hunger. Feast 2 Fast slowed me down and forced me to listen and learn what is best for my body and not just follow it because some ‘diet’ tells me it’s right. It literally brought joy back to my relationship with food!!” – Jen

“The feast to fast program allowed me to stop and really think about the way food affects me. It was truly like a reset and I now feel more in-tune with my body and mind! I lost a lot more weight than I expected and gained confidence in my ability to listen to my body!! That is priceless!” – Laura

Join the program here!

Why Can’t I Lose Weight? Breaking Down Diet and Weight Loss Myths

You’ve heard me say it a thousand times – there are no one-size-fits-all plans for weight loss. If anyone tries to convince you of that, question it. If I ever start heading down that road, feel free to call me out.

Before you start a new plan or detox or resolution for the new year, take a listen to my latest podcast episode. The way we as humans have the ability to store weight or lose weight is a fascinating topic, and not as simple as “move more, eat less.” There are many factors that contribute to weight loss or weight gain.

If you find yourself struggling to lose weight, or never able to sustain a smaller size due to dieting, you’re not alone. Studies show that 95% of people who lose weight will gain it back in 2-5 years and over 50% will gain more. Chances are, you are one of them. It’s a frustrating reality. Cutting calories alone will not work, and it may actually damage your metabolism in the long run.

Smaller size doesn’t always equal greater health. Just because a person is losing weight or in a smaller body, doesn’t mean they are “healthier.” Just because a person has a perfect BMI, doesn’t mean they are free of health issues.

Then you factor in the fact that our fat cells store toxins, stress drives of inflammation, gut dysbiosis affects cravings, and it’s clear that the topic of weight loss is not a simple one.

It’s time to take a new approach to health and weight loss. I want to help YOU find what’s right for YOU this new year.

Listen to this podcast episode here or download and listen wherever you get podcasts.

Key topics include: the calorie counting myth, my take on the “obesity epidemic” (there’s not one), types of fat, the role of gut health, weight gain as a symptom, and how to learn to trust your body.

Maybe you used to be able to diet and lose weight, and now you can’t. Maybe you’re setting resolutions and trying to figure out what’s right for you. Maybe you’re sick of people trying to put you on their program and telling you what’s best for YOUR unique body.

Before you start anything new, listen to this episode.

And if you are looking for guided assistance in nutrition with a flexible plan that can be tailored to your needs, check out my Feast 2 Fast program, which starts January 4.

Easy and Delicious Bacon Bruschetta Chicken

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Who’s sick of cooking the same old, same old and is ready for something new and EASY? You can’t tell, but I’m raising my hand. I am currently in training for a new whole food nutritional program I will be launching soon, so I’ve been playing with some recipes, changing things up, and throwing together new things to incorporate (as usual) as many colorful veggies as I can in one meal.

The original version of this recipe I received courtesy of my friend Megan, from a detox program I ran a few years ago. It’s versatile, because it works for people who have issues with gluten or dairy, and it’s so easy and fast – who doesn’t love that?

Even my picky three-year-old loves this recipe! He likes it with jasmine rice, which is a pantry staple in our house!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought (dairy or nut free? Use basil paste or fresh basil)
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a Dutch oven, season chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Layer chicken, seasoning, garlic, basil pesto, tomato, and bacon.
  4. Place lid on top and cook in oven for 1-1 1/2 hours until chicken is cooked through.
  5. Serve with rice, pasta, or my favorite – cauliflower rice!

*For crock pot option, follow directions above and cook 4-6 hours.

That’s IT. Now, if you are like me, it will need more seasonings than the recommended amount above. So play with it; add what you like. And as always – let me know what you think!

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Healthy Holiday Sides with Carrots and Sweet Potatoes

Carrot souffle and sweet potato bake that are grain free, dairy free, and refined sugar free? Yes, please!

Now, before you head to the recipes, I have to say one quick thing. I know it’s a pain when you are looking for a recipe and the blogger spends all this time with the description and build up and pictures and you’re like, “Just get to the dang ingredients, Karen!”

But after I say this I’ll be done – and you can go on your merry way to try out these recipes.

I get annoyed with the phrase “healthy” in regards to food choices during the holidays. Holidays are celebratory, and if you’re stressing out about whether something is “healthy” or not, and you’re panicked about every ingredient in your meal, you’re less likely to be able to digest the nutrients from that meal.

Stressing about food is the opposite of health, in my opinion.

That being said, it seems to me that every year I get busier with celebrations. We have countless parties, and all of them feature lots of food and lots of alcohol. Because monitoring my mental health is always priority for me, and I will do whatever I can to fight seasonal depression, eating loads of sugar and drinking sugary alcoholic beverages can be taxing on my mental stability.

Consuming lots of sweet treats and drinking alcohol frequently during the month of December will throw off my sleep, make me less well-rested the following day, and then cause my cravings to skyrocket – perpetuating the cycle. So while I don’t want to stress about my food, I do want to be MINDFUL about what I’m choosing and how those choices will make me feel afterward. (For more on eating for mental health and my thoughts on that, check out the Sparking Wholeness podcast episode 10.)

Which leads me to the recipes.

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Continue reading “Healthy Holiday Sides with Carrots and Sweet Potatoes”

Grain-Free Goulash (AKA Upgraded Hamburger Helper)

It may not look all that picture perfect, as it’s kind of a brown blob, but trust me when I say – this grain-free version of goulash/hamburger helper is LEGIT.

I really hate the word goulash. Say it out loud. GOO-LAWSH. Gross. But hamburger helper makes me think of the cute little hand with a face – anyone remember that? My mom says when she made goulash I disliked it, but I don’t remember that. When I made this, the scent took my mind to a happy place in my childhood.

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It took about 15 minutes to make and it is such a tasty, whole-food-packed version of the original. Cauliflower goes in place of the pasta. If you think that’s disgusting, or you fear your people won’t eat it like this, you could probably do a bit of undetectable riced cauliflower to keep the veggie content up, and then stir in cooked pasta instead of cauli florets. It will still be delicious! Continue reading “Grain-Free Goulash (AKA Upgraded Hamburger Helper)”

The BEST Egg Roll in a Bowl Recipe

Don’t let the name scare you away. I’ve never been a fan of egg rolls. But this dish – major fan. In fact, I’ve tried just about every variety out there on the interwebs, and this is my favorite. My kids love it. The adults love it. It’s a win.

(Just to be clear, my kids also like sushi and dislike pasta with red sauce. So take their feedback with a grain of pink Himalayan sea salt, okay?)

My FAVORITE things about this meal: it takes about 15 minutes to make (start to finish) clean up is simple, and it’s extremely filling and satisfying.

I don’t like to use pork too much because I don’t trust the sourcing/toxicity, so sometimes I’ll use grass fed beef and that’s good, too. The most flavorful meat to use in this is ground breakfast sausage. Again – toxin alert for you purists. But it’s soooooo delicious.

As far as cabbage goes, I prefer a head of green cabbage because it’s so cheap and cabbage is one of the “Clean 15,” so you don’t have to freak about buying unorganic. Pre-shredded bagged cabbage works too, but as long as you have a good knife, save your money!

I’ve used a blend of purple and green cabbage with shredded carrots, and that’s good too. You really can’t go wrong. You could add mushrooms or broccoli or any other vegetable you’re in the mood for.

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Continue reading “The BEST Egg Roll in a Bowl Recipe”

Basic Frittata for Not-So-Basic Mamas

I love a good one skillet meal. I love easy. I love minimal prep. This is why the frittata is becoming my BFF.

Here’s the thing about this frittata – I’ve done it a few times, with a variety of ingredients. And it always tastes yummy. So while I DO have an ingredient list and directions, know that it is completely malleable to fit your needs or desires.

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Continue reading “Basic Frittata for Not-So-Basic Mamas”

Slow Cooker Pork “Al Pastor”

I’m going to admit something that may seem outrageous to some of you: I don’t always love slow cooker meals. I love the convenience factor, but I don’t love the texture of the meat. Shredded meat is not my favorite, and sometimes it turns out dry and hard to chew.

Not this recipe.

This easy-to-blend marinade is so flavorful and delicious that the pork turns out PERFECT. This recipe is another one adapted from Keto Quick Start (see the Keto-rific Chicken Tenders here). In the original recipe, pork is supposed to be cubed and marinated, then roasted in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, then broiled for 2-5.

Let me admit something else – I don’t like cutting raw meat. It grosses me out and I avoid it if I have to. So to be able to throw the pork butt in the slow cooker and top it with the marinade on low for 8 hours was a much easier solution.

Continue reading “Slow Cooker Pork “Al Pastor””

Keto-rific Chicken Tenders

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with the ketogenic lifestyle for brain health purposes. The husband wanted to lose some Christmas weight, so having him on board has helped me to dive in and try new recipes. We typically eat Paleoish and Ketoish at our house anyway, just because we feel good on whole food, but going completely grain free and refined sugar free (and alcohol free) has taken things to the next level.

Spoiler alert – 3 weeks in and we feel amazing. Both of us are sleeping like rocks. I’m full and fueled throughout my day, and my mood is leveled. Now, this all could have to do with a new adaptogenic herb-based product we’re taking, but I think the nutritional changes affect soooo much!

I found this recipe for chicken tenders in the book Keto Quick Start, available here. I followed the instructions completely except chose to use ghee to cook the tenders in, and it was a perfect addition! The flavor on these tenders are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. They weren’t dry at all, like some chicken tenders I’ve tried in the past. If coconut is a problem for you, you could probably bread them in almond flour and they’d still be tasty. But man, that flaked coconut fried in ghee left over on the pan is just mouthwatering!

All 5 family members loved them and ate them up. Do you know how tricky that can be???

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Continue reading “Keto-rific Chicken Tenders”

Ancestor’s Stew

The blood of my ancestors is in this crock pot stew. Kidding. But seriously, I did some DNA testing a while back and found out I’m 50% British/Irish… so there is really nothing better for me than beef stew (other than whisky of course – kidding again)!

Stew is a comfort food for me. I spent many, many years hating beef, but I always loved the stew my grandma made. I think she would be pretty proud of this recipe I concocted, as I once told her I would never ever cook with raw meat (it totally disgusted me).

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I used beef bone broth as the base (because gut health), switched out extra potatoes for a turnip and some radishes, and added my favorite herbs – oregano, thyme, and ROSEMARY. Continue reading “Ancestor’s Stew”