Wednesday Wisdom: Do these pants make me look fat? And other fat lies. by Erin Holland

Scanning through radio stations (am I the only one that still does this?), I heard something about coffee. With my attention piqued, I left the station be. Apparently there is recent report that said something to the effect of drinking 1-3 cups a day reduces your risk for a host of diseases like stroke and cancer. You can read it here. However, the thing that really caught my ear were the recommendations for what to put in your coffee.

Someone called in with essentially their bulletproof recipe of blending coffee, butter, and coconut oil. The DJ immediately responded with, "well that takes away all of the health benefits right there, not to mention will make you fat."

Rewind. What?

Um, Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore! 

It's official, I live in my own little Paleo bubble. 

I wanted to call in to say, "you think those 4 packets of sugar are better than a tbsp of butter in your coffee, blah, blah, blah."

Luckily for me, I arrived at BART, trading these dirty little thoughts for other dirty little thoughts about my ecstatic love affair with this ancient silver bullet that transports me to San Francisco. (just to be safe, since you can't see my face, enter as much sarcasm here as necessary). 

Okay, so where y'all at? Who read the most recent claims from the American Heart Association (AHA) about coconut oil being bad, bad, bad, and recommending polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as corn, canola, and soy as good, good, good?

Rewind. What?

Um, Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore! 

What is happening to our country?

Obviously, and despite my naivety, not everyone is on the health wagon with me. 

I'm no doctor but last time I checked, the AHA also approves cocoa puffs as a nutritious staple in your diet. So, why the debacle?

For the full recap, you can read the reports and responses from Dr. David Perlmutter, author of The Grain Brain; biohacker Dave AspryDr. Hyman; read 21 arguments for and against coconut oil; and a couple of articles from the Observer; watch a panel discussion about the benefits of coconut oil with Robb Wolf, Gary Taubes, and others; and read a blog post from Liz Wolfe written in 2013 about the "demonization of saturated fat and cholesterol." 

Of course there are plenty more articles to agonize over, but this is a great start to help you formulate your own decision and path to take with coconut oil.

For me and my household, unless our bodies utterly reject coconut someday, I will not take it out of our diets. Back in 2011 as a newlywed, I remember walking up the steepest part of Madison Street from downtown Seattle to our little 1br apartment reading the Coconut Oil Miracle. It was mind-blowing and life changing.

Bottom line:

  • not all saturated fat is bad for you, especially the “good fats” in coconut oil - medium chain triglycerides
  • our body needs cholesterol, and is a fundamental component of every cell of our body. We need to know the difference between our personal LDL and HDL.

Wednesday Wisdom: Keep it Fresh by Erin Holland


The moment we've all been waiting for is here. Windows are down, the swimsuits are ready, and the sunscreen has been applied. It’s SUMMER y’all! 

Yeah, yeah, it may have snowed last weekend in the Sierras but I'm fairly certain that was nature's last attempt to keep California drought free. We'll see if it worked. Ever since I was a kid I've been on drought watch so it's rather peculiar to say it's over!  

But summer, sun, and all things hot. With Farmer's Markets in full swing, ripe with summer's most delicious bounty of stone fruits, now is the time to make the freshest of fresh meals. I miss my friendly vendors at Pike Place Market and post-church, Sunday Ballard Farmer's Market in Seattle, but a close third is the Lake Merritt Farmer’s Market, in Oakland. My sweet find of english sweet peas induced a foray into buying all of the verdant veggies: baby kale, english peas, and asparagus. 

This salad is so easy, kid approved, and has a good kick of nutrients to boot. Give it a try today.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cups baby kale
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 cup English sweet peas, minus the pod
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 T olive oil, separated; or just enough to dress (not drown) your greens
  • 2-4 chicken breasts (or a rotisserie chicken)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Roast, grill, steam or sauté:
1 lb asparagus
1 cup English sweet peas, minus the pod

Grill or roast
2 chicken breasts, preferably marinated in lemon juice for 10 min.

I grilled the asparagus and peas by wrapping them in foil with a bit of olive oil and salt. I then put them on a hot grill for about 15 minutes. You could also roast them in the oven at 400 degrees for the same amount of time. I had a roast chicken, however, an easy way to make chicken is to let it sit in lemon juice, salt and pepper, a minimum of 5 minutes per side. Grill or roast.   

While you’re cooking the asparagus and peas, massage the kale with the lemon, s+p,  and olive oil. Once the veggies are done, toss together with the kale and chicken. Could be topped with shaved Parmesan and pine nuts or almonds.

Wednesday Wisdom - paleofx recap and recommendations by Erin Holland


I don't think prefacing my trip to paleofx (pfx) as an escape does it injustice. Let's be honest, a three day break from making school lunches, commuting two hours a day, and long hours sitting in front of computer is always welcomed. But there's something about Austin, and pfx in particular, that are motivating - and it's not just the free bulletproof coffee. 

I first ventured to Austin in 2016, naive and completely unaware of what would unfold in the Palmer Event Center. I didn't know a soul except for the folks I followed on Instagram or their personal blogs. Let me tell you, running into someone in Whole Foods that you've only seen a static picture of on your smart phone, takes them up to celebrity status rather quickly. After three days you start to befriend the vendors, you see familiar faces and begin to make friends. I left last year's event sure I would return. 

Come May 2017, I was shocked when it was already time to return. By a snafu in hotel bookings I ended stepping out of my comfort zone and rooming with three women I had never met before. It was fantastic. To have a buddies to walk in with on that first day really took the edge off, not to mention having built-in friends to listen to lectures next to and ask questions I hadn't thought of, made my experience 100% better than my first.

So what is paleofx you ask? It's a holistic wellness event covering the latest research on disease, aging, biohacking, and general health, wellness, fitness, nutrition, and self-development. Leaders in the paleo and biohacking movement such as David Perlmutter, Robb Wolf, Chris Kresser, Mark Sisson, Dave Aspry, Sarah Ballantyne, and Sarah Fragoso, present their latest findings and encourage all to take the next step in improving not only our physical environment - our bodies - but the environment around us with our knowledge and expertise. Outside of the packed schedule of lectures, there are exhibitors with their latest and more often than not, tasty and convenient paleo creations. 

This is only a brief and somewhat vague recap, but I know why you're here, you want in on the freebies! So who rocked as an exhibitor? Check out my recommended paleo goods below. Be sure to read the fine print as most links will take you the discount zone.

Eating Evolved - Chocolate is food, not candy. This is the real deal folks, the way chocolate should be. I highly recommend their 100% dark bar, coconut butter, and keto cups when on the 21-Day Sugar Detox. Everything else, any ol' time! Use this code to receive a free gift with purchase: erinhtmt

FATCO - I've been in love with their body butta for years now. I especially love to use on my girls and the wee Samurai's eczema on her wee pinky finger.  Use this code to receive 15% off.

EPIC Bar - inspired by nature, these meat (ahem, jerky) bars are great for on the go and a sneaky way to get your kids to eat some healthy protein - even beef liver! 

ONNIT - While I had heard of ONNIT before, I had yet to try their supplements. After trying one sample packet of New Mood, I can honestly say I woke up well rested and in a better state. I think I'm a believer! ONNIT is on a mission to inspire peak performance through cutting-edge science, earth-grown nutrients, and time-tested strategies. They are dedicated to provide supplements, foods, and fitness equipment aimed at helping people achieve a new level of well-being. Get 10% off here.

....more to come soon as I work out some sweet deals for you!

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom - Millions of peaches by Erin Holland

a buttery summer skillet cobbler to feast on

a buttery summer skillet cobbler to feast on


It's been awhile friends! I wrote an awesome Wednesday Wisdom post right before Easter and as I was posting it, something happened. I lost it. I was a bit bitter. It may have been my best work yet, and in an instant it was gone forever. It took me some time to recover and then life got it in the way. The kind of life that is somber and you have to internalize some before you face the world again. 

This year, thus far, has proved to be heavy. Not so much more than it has been for me in the past few years, but weightier in the sense that death, cancer, brain tumors, and depression seem to be all around, forcing me to reevaluate my intentions, my goals, and my time. More than anything, I want to be in charge of my time, with the freedom to spend the day with my children when and how I like. Our time now is very stressful and cramped. Too much, "get your shoes on, let's go" or "close your eyes, it's too late to be up" rather than "hey, let's play a game!" I'm also tired of overcomplicating things. Let's keep it simple folks, be kind, love hard, and stay loyal. We're not guaranteed tomorrow.

Oh how I get off track so easily.

To get back in the Wednesday groove, I had my mind set I would recap my time spent two weeks ago with exotic camels, oxygen tanks, and gems of wisdom, ahem, my paleofx weekend in Austin, Texas. But then, I created a delicious, buttery cobbler this Memorial Day weekend and decided to share that with you. When you pick a combined 20 pounds of peaches, 10 pounds of blackberries, and some cherries for change with friends, let's be honest, I'm only focused on the summer bounty of ripening stone fruits.

To preface this recipe, you will want to eat the raw topping. It's that amazing, but please believe me when I tell you the end result is a thousand times better. Be patient dear one.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds fresh peaches

1/2 pound blackberry or blueberries

1 tbsp collagen powder or 2 tbsp arrowroot flour

8 tbsp room temperature butter, ghee, or coconut oil (I recommend this Madagascar Vanilla ghee)

1 cup shredded coconut flakes

1/2 cup cassava flour or a nut flour

2 tbsp coconut sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp raw honey

1 tsp cinnamon

 

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F

If you have time and prefer to, peel peaches. Otherwise, remove the pits and slice peaches. Place in a bowl with your preferred berry and toss with the collagen or arrowroot flour.

Stir together the dry ingredients: coconut flakes, cassava flour, baking powder, and coconut sugar. Add in the ghee and honey, using a fork to combine well.

In a skillet, place the fruit mixture and drop the dough to cover the fruit. You can spread out the dough or leave it as it will spread out.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the crumble topping turns golden brown.

Let cool for 10 minutes!

a pre-oven gooey, ghee filled mess

a pre-oven gooey, ghee filled mess

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom - Live a legacy by Erin Holland

It's been quiet around here. 

Three weeks ago today, the world lost someone very special. Yet since then nothing else has stopped. There's been lunches to make, deadlines to meet, traffic to sit in, laundry to wash. The shedding of tears, the grief, the surreal nature death possesses, especially when unexpected, is not wrapped tidily in a package with a black bow. Rather, the void death leaves is ambiguous; emotions spin and the nagging reminder of the gravity of our choices - the legacy we chose in our one life - taps at our shoulder: What really matters?

Of all I say or do in my child's life, what's going to stick? Do they know I love them? Do they know how truly sorry I am at the many times I yelled at them over petty nuisances? Do they know I've always wanted to give them more (do they need more, or just more of me?)?

Am I doing all I can to be kind? To be generous with my gifts and time?

Am I toiling over living the dream or living for today, because I'm not promised a tomorrow?

Am I wasting time on things that won't matter in a month, a year, five years?

Am I procrastinating when I should be facing fears and defeating the "giants" in my life instead of settling?

I had no intention of this being a morbid post. Please receive it as a gentle whisper to be you. You were uniquely created, don't let the battle scars of life, or the comparison game, or the regrets mold you into someone you weren't meant to be.

Love deeply.

Be kind.

Be a blessing. 

Be loyal.

Honor one another.

Live boldly. 

 

Wednesday Wisdom - Practice Safe Skincare by Erin Holland

Raise your hand if you workout....

Raise your hand if you try to eat cleaner, greener, and overall better....

Raise your hand if you know what's in your lipstick, cologne, and baby's tear-free organic shampoo....

This is the problem. We've been educated on how to read food labels while naively ignoring the products we put on our skin - the largest organ of our body that quickly absorbs, for better or worse, everything we put on it and put in our environment. 

I haven't been educated on product labels. I couldn't tell you what to look for other than to avoid parabens and phthalates. But why?

The beauty industry creating the multiple products we put on our skin is a self-regulating industry that does not need to disclose the ingredients they use, which is bad news for Americans. The European Union has banned 1,400 chemicals in personal beauty products known to be toxic, whereas the U.S. has banned 11. WTF? 

Beautycounter has created safer, higher effective personal products for the entire family and has vowed to NEVER use 1,500 chemicals in their products. With stringent testing and guidelines, Beautycounter is one way you can start controlling the toxins you are exposing your family to.

This March 4th Beautycounter turns 4! Now more than ever, we need to take a stand to protect our health and the health of our children and their children. We need to march forth and be a voice of change. Educate yourself about safer ingredients, purchase safer products, and reach out to Congress urging them to pass more health protective laws. By saying YES to safer beauty products, you are a part of the movement! Spend 10 seconds today to text "MarchForth" to 52886 to send a message to your represantatives. 

To learn more about their mission and their amazing products, check out my story here or see all of their products here.

 

Wednesday Wisdom by Erin Holland

Treat yo self with this goodness!

Treat yo self with this goodness!

Thanks for not screaming and shouting at me (seriously, I get enough of that from my three-year old) for missing last week. Our household was out for the count with fevers, pink eye, and ear infections, oh my! We're on the mend but poor mama, me, has naturally been contaminated with the nasty cough from the many sleepless nights last week when one or both children were coughing in my face.

Due to our level of health, or lack thereof, Valentine's Day was very low key. I did however, make these scrumptious sunbutter, raspberry truffles - think a pbj Reeses - or not because now that I've written that it doesn't sounds very appealing.

Anyway we all liked them. The point I really want to make is that you do not have to deprive yourself when you choose to eat healthy. While you don't want to swap out bad food with the same bad habits (i.e. emotional eating, bingeing, etc), you can swap out bad food for healthier alternatives. Sugar is still sugar and dessert is still desert whether it's raw or paleo or whatever, yet having healthier treats can certainly curb your cravings and help you on your journey of health and wellness. I will post the recipe here this coming weekend! Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Wednesday Wisdom - Celebrate February by Erin Holland

Have your cake and eat it too.You won't have any excuse to stay on track and still eat well with this cookbook. 

Have your cake and eat it too.You won't have any excuse to stay on track and still eat well with this cookbook. 

Seriously, did January come and go in an instant for you, like it did for me? If this is any indication of how the year is going to unfold, then I better buckle up because it's going incredibly fast. 

Did you set goals in January? How did you do? What's next?

I did well with some of mine and failed some others, but all in all, I'm still making progress. And are so are my nutrition clients who completed their 21-day sugar detox. I'm so proud of them and what they've accomplished. Once you become educated on how to eat well, or how to find safer personal products, or even how to read (like my 5 year old), you can't unlearn it. You can choose to ignore the process or the reasoning, but somewhere tucked in there, the information has taken root. Trust the process, listen to your body, observe the results, and let the seed grow!

For February, I have goals for both my nutrition and Beautycounter business, as well as goals for my little family. You get to reap one of my goals of cooking through a different cookbook each month this year. For February, I'll be cooking mainly from Danielle Walker's latest cookbook, Celebrations. This beautiful book covers all of your paleo needs for mainstream celebrations throughout the year. Need a superbowl recipe? She has it. Need a Mother's Day brunch menu? She's got you covered. Need a Summer Shower (baby, bridal, etc) spread? You won't be disappointed. Stay tuned and keep your notepads handy. I promise you'll want to cook after you see her delectable dishes.

Now go chase your goals and dreams!