Sunday, December 29, 2013

Homemade Kimchee

For those who don't know about kimchee (kimchi) and other fermented foods, now you can have a quick, easy at home how-to to bring kimchee into your everyday life.

This recipe is modified from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfillipo.

I use my Cuisinart food processor with the single, slicing blade and grating blade for making kimchee, all can be done by hand however (if you don't have a Cuisinart food processor, by all means tell someone close to you how much you NEED one pronto!).

Try as always to get organic whenever possible.

2 large carrots, shredded

Put in a bowl.

1 large head green cabbage, sliced thin (reserve a few clean, outside leaves)

I quarter my cabbage head and put it in the processor. Put 1/3 of the sliced cabbage in a bowl and add 1 T kosher salt. Squeeze the cabbage with your hands and work the salt into the sliced cabbage, continue to squeeze until the cabbage softens slightly and becomes watery.

Add another 1/3 of the sliced cabbage to the bowl. I normally slice in the food processor in stages, so slice another whole quarter of cabbage and add to massaged cabbage. Squeeze cabbage again waiting for the cabbage to release water. 

Add the last amount of cabbage and 1 T. more of kosher salt, massage cabbage. Set aside.

If you like heat, take 2 jalapenos and roast over an open flame. If you are avoiding the nightshade family, omit the jalapenos. If you have a gas burner stove, blacken the skin of both jalapenos until all sides are charred. When cool to the touch, run under cool water, using your fingers to gently pull the charred skin off the jalapenos. Try to remove as much skin as possible and rinse away any extra pieces of skin. Depending on how much heat you like, slice the jalapenos whole into julienne strips, or deseed prior to slicing.

In the massaged cabbage bowl add sliced jalapenos, 4 cloves minced garlic, the shredded carrots and a sprinkling of black pepper, toss with hands until well mixed.

Take 2 clean, dry 32 oz. mason jars and fill with kimchee mixture, pressing firmly down as you fill, packing the kimchee into the bottom. Fill to just the neck of the jar and push kimchee down making the liquid raise up and over the veggies. Take the reserved piece of cabbage leaf and push on top of the veggies, submerging all in the liquid. Fill both jars.

Set jars in a cool, dark place with a piece of wax paper draped over the top, do not put lids on the jars.

Let the kimchee sit out for 2 weeks, checking every few days to ensure the mixture is still submerged in the liquid. If it is not take your clean, dry hand and push down on the cabbage leaf.

If mold forms, don't be alarmed, this is normal, scrape it off.

After the two weeks, which will make your house smell funky (just a heads up), remove the top cabbage leaf, cover with a lid and refrigerate. The smell will be off putting at first, but the taste and the smell are nothing alike.

Kimchee will keep in the fridge for months.

I eat kimchee as a condiment. Add it to an Asian dish with veggies and rice. Or on a salad for an extra sour crunch. Or as a quick snack right out of the jar.

I will often times whip up a quick batch with leftover cabbage from a cole slaw or fish tacos, along with any other veggies I have laying around. Your gut will thank you.

Enjoy kimchee often.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Do I Really Need Meat Tonight?

I came across this article, well worth reading, Half Of Supermarket Chicken Harbors Superbugs, Consumer Reports about the chicken we consume, especially for those of us who eat limited meat, and turn to chicken as a less "offensive" (or so we thought) protein source. This article will definitely make you think.

The thing is if we think about it, while chicken might be easier to digest for us, say than red meat is, commercial chicken production is one of the worst livestock conditions for the animal, and ultimately the consumer. Commercial chicken is kept in very close quarters and in very tiny containers. I have heard that the inside of commercial chicken coops are so toxic that workers must wear respirators in order to work inside them, due to the horrendous fecal and urine fumes. Close conditions like these are rampant breeding grounds for bacteria and infection, hence the use of antibiotics being standard policy for commercial chicken production.

Because there is such a large demand, especially in the US, for meat products, commercial livestock plants are really the only "efficient" way to keep up with consumer demand, but the real question is why are we willing to sacrifice our health just to have meat on our plates each night? (And this isn't even addressing the issue of the animals' health)

The whole scenario is a double-edged sword, we consume a lot of meat products, so therefore the industries must keep up with demand, and in order to do that, efficiency and cost-effectiveness are major players in the decision process of how our food is handled. By default most commercially handled, processed and packaged meats are at some point given antibiotics, and lots of them. Antibiotics make sense, with the efficiency, ie cramped, spaces the animals can't afford to be sick, so antibiotics are often mixed into the feed to eliminate the frustrating, and expensive, hassle of sick animals. Antibiotics also ensure that if one animal gets sick the rest in the pen/crate won't get sick either.

While the article focuses primarily on the bacteria of the raw product, either in the package, during handling or not being cooked thoroughly; we all knew this though, chicken equals salmonella, we all should handle it with care and sanitize all surfaces that could potentially come into contact with any chicken goo. But the major question, I see, and is only briefly mentioned in the article, is what effect does all those antibiotics have on us, the people eating those raised from birth-antibiotic-laded animals that end up on our dinner plates night after night after night?

Ever eat commercial meat and feel aggravated after? Ever eat commercial meat and feel particularly emotional? Ever even noticed.... If you have I guarantee you, you are feeling the effects of a large dose of antibiotics. If you haven't, maybe now you might. We live in an antibiotic world. We are prescribed antibiotics at the slightest hint of an infection, we use antibacterial sanitizers on a daily basis to "clean" our hands, there is antibiotics in our food, we are basically consuming antibiotics all the time. And yet there are more bacteria and germs we learn about each day to be even more afraid of. "Pass the Purel please!" So this begs the question, what happens when you actually need antibiotics? Say you have a major infection and you are prescribed antibiotics, but they don't work? The dose is upped, the strain changed, ultimately if you are the average antibiotic consuming American, when you really need antibiotics, they won't work for you. "The more antibiotics that are doled out to people and animals, especially when given at low doses over a long period of time, the faster that microbes can evolve and outsmart those drugs, experts warn." With all the sanitizing products available in our everyday lives, we keep trying to wipe out the bacteria and germs, without thinking wait, maybe I can prevent them from effecting me in the first place, by thinking about what I eat and my lifestyle choices.

So what does this mean for you? Be aware. Know what you are eating! Be conscious of the meat you buy. And if you can't afford the antibiotic free, organic meat, maybe you don't need to eat meat that night. Americans eat on average 185 pounds of meat each year, when you figure the recommended portion size is 7 oz., you are looking at a minimum of 7 oz every day of the year, plus 57 extra meals of consuming meat! This means even further that we are eating antibiotics 423 times a year, and that is just from meat! This isn't taking into fact all the dairy products that come from the same commercial feed lots and the same animals that are injected with antibiotics from birth. And then we expect the antibiotics to work for us when we are sick!? How can they? We already have a steady dose of antibiotics coursing through our bodies at any given time.

What I walked away from this article thinking was, eat less meat, eat less dairy (of which I eat very little of as it is, but I need to almost remove them entirely) and if and when you do eat meat or dairy, buy antibiotic free, free range, organic and cook it completely, and if you can't do all those things, then say to yourself, do I really need meat tonight?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Is Healthcare Really About Health?

My Mom went in for a standard colonoscopy recently. Her first, as she is 50 and her father had colon cancer, so she is deemed a standard candidate for the recommended preventative procedure. And we agreed. Often approaching health from a preventative standpoint we felt that it would be a smart choice to rule out the "what if." According to medical professionals a colonoscopy is a standard non-invasive procedure, however the weekend that ensued, for us, after my Mom's colonoscopy was anything less than non-invasive.

Extremely nervous to even have to go to a hospital, my Mom even had me at home to avoid having to give birth in the "unnatural" hospital environment, just the concept of the colonoscopy was nerve-wracking for her. The whole procedure starts with a prep, which involves laxatives, fasting and a large amount of Gatorade. Most people we spoke to said the prep was the easy part. For my Mom the prep was horrendous. The forced flushing of your system is violent, sugar-overdosed and stomach-retching just to clean out your intestines and colon. It seems a more natural and soothing way to cleanse would have been a 3-5 day juice cleanse, but this was not a recommended prep option, or at least was not allowed by the facility performing the procedure. 

Which brings me to another point, alternative options were not even provided to my Mom. She was unaware that there are less invasive options such as a fecal immunochemical test, which we have only learned of, after doing research after this ordeal. You would think that medical professionals could provide patients with a list of alternative options? But sadly they don't, it is on you, the patient to do your research prior to scheduling a procedure.

After the retching clean out there is an inundation of medications from pain medication to full anesthetization just to stick a camera in your colon to see. They send you home with no medical recommendations other than don't drink alcohol or make any major decisions. Your entire intestinal and gut flora has been disrupted, but the subject of re-establishing a healthy gut flora is not even covered. What amazes me through the whole process is not once did the medical professionals ask about my Mom's lifestyle and eating habits. They didn't ask about her regular bowel movements. They just sugar-hopped her up for "the cleanse" (which was more sugar than she has ever consumed in one sitting, her bladder was hyper-active and her urethra extremely aggravated to the point of feeling like a yeast/bladder infection, which mind you she never gets). They didn't know that she has a bowel movement every morning, as soon as she wakes, no problems, no complications, clean and wipe once or twice, done. They didn't know she eats a mostly vegetarian, organic diet completely devoid of typical American foods, never processed, and certainly never artificially sugared and over caffeinated. They also failed to know that her "medications," which she so kindly wrote on a sheet of paper, "just in case," where not at all medications. On her list was iron, she is anemic, at times, especially after menstruation, acidophilus as a digestive aide and a daily multi-vitamin. It seems to me that many questions could have been answered, prior to "the cleanse" and subsequent camera insertion that would have potentially led to alternative methods of inspection.

In all her searching, mind you we are in Maine (i.e. resources are limited), there was no alternative to the colonoscopy. But I have to believe that a juice cleanse with organic, green, home-pressed juices for 3 days to a week, would have been less retching and uncomfortable for her. Furthermore, it seems to me that she could have had a colonic, far less invasive, with a small scope inserted during the process to see any potential polyps. Why does it need to be surgical? Why does there need to be medications involved? And why, after your entire colon has been stripped of all it's happy healthy flora, could they not replace it? Commonly with a colonic they take a version of "green juice" and make you hold it in your colon as long as you can, to reintroduce healthy flora back into your system. Couldn't a colonoscopy be treated in a more holistic way like a colonic?

To complicate her already stressful albeit "standard procedure" colonoscopy visit, she woke the next morning doubled over in excruciating pain. My Mom is not a pain medication person, she did her colonoscopy with only 75 mcg. fentanyl, standard doses are 100-500 mcg. and chose against the "twilight drug". As a whole she never takes even an aspirin for menstrual pain. She just deep yoga-breaths through it, and takes it easy. So when she said she was in pain, she was in real pain; which led us to the ER.

Once in the ER, the medical professionals wanted to give her pain medication, per usual, and she obliged against. I realized through this whole ordeal my Mom is an anomaly. People like their pain meds and willingly take them, rather than breathe through the pain. While I by no means imply we all just need to suck it up, myself included, there are times where pain meds are needed, it is unfortunate that alternatives are not offered for those patients, like my Mom, who choose to not be medicated. I think it it really interesting that a lot of the staff didn't understand other methods to make her more comfortable. The obvious ones to me were adjustable lighting. There is only the garish, harsh hospital lights. I understand they are necessary for examination, but there seems to be a need for calmer more soothing lights for the many hours spent sitting around waiting. It is known that lighting can greatly effect some one's mood and anxiety. Hospitals could be a lot more soothing if simply, alternative lights options we available.

After running a urine test and a abdomen exam, her blood was drawn. My Mom's white blood cell count was high, which led to a concern for the ER doctor that she had an infection. He requested a CT scan which required her to consume a liquid to get a proper read on the scan, as well as inject her with a similar liquid. Concerned again, with the inundation of sugar after the recent dreaded colonoscopy prep, Mom asked what would happen after the liquids passed through her system. We never really got a straight answer which led us to believe they didn't really know, which also made us realize that no one really ever asks. People just take what the doctors give us, no questions asked. That level of "trust" we put in our medical professional's hands is astounding.

The liquid she needed to drink for the scan was mixed with Crystal Light, again more sugar. She asked if the solution could just be mixed with water, which shocked the ER staff, but they provided her with a solution, which much to her surprise just tasted like sugar water. The solution is sweet already, but unknowingly (having never tried it before themselves, Mom was the guinea pig for the ER staff) they by default, mix the sugar solution with more sugar!

The CT scan showed acute appendicitis and in order to have immediate surgery we needed to take an ambulance to a larger hospital an hour away that was properly staffed on a Saturday evening at 10 PM. Exhausted, hungry, emotional and drained we got into the ambulance, me in the front seat with one of the EMTs, Mom in the back on a stretcher with the other. Out of all the medical professionals we spoke to, all said that the appendicitis just happened to be an odd coincidence right after having a colonoscopy, there is no medical research showing a connection. But we both found a few things interesting. Everyone we spoke to that had had an appendectomy, each had had a medical procedure prior to the emergency appendectomy, some within days, others, within weeks of the initial procedure: wisdom teeth extracted, ovarian cyst removed, etc. It seems even further unclear what the appendix exists for, yet we cut it out anyway. Medical professionals don't seem to know and Google provides two options: 1. That when humans ate a more vegetarian diet the appendix functioned as an additional digestive aid in breaking down the extra cellulose intake of the plant matter and 2. The appendix functions as additional immune booster, the appendix may be a dedicated environment for friendly bacteria which facilitate digestion and fight infection. The second explanation makes the most logical sense to us, especially after hearing other's tales about a surgical procedure "coincidentally" coinciding with an appendectomy. I know the medical world functions based on medical research, the coincidence seems more than just that, and intuitively it makes sense.

While in the hospital, as accommodating as they tried to be, it really is not an environment conducive to health. The lights are bright, noises loud, limited exposure to natural light and a nearly impossible environment for rest. While I appreciate the nurses and doctors try their best to be as accommodating as possible, it is seems to me, hospitals exist to support the magic of the surgeons, and the rest of the medical staff tries to provide a less hospitable version of hospitality service.

Between the hourly vital monitoring and constant noise, furthermore, not accommodating family members (everyone knows, even medical research shows, people heal quicker when they are surround by loved ones), the forceful inundation of medications and the sheer disconnect of health, wellness and good food is saddening, hospitals are a disjointed place where health by intuition's standard is not considered, only health by medical standards are addressed. 

Hospitals have dietitians on staff but I am not sure what the dietitian does. Being a gluten intolerant, extremely sugar sensitive, vegetarian they brought her coffee with sugar, ginger ale soda, apple juice and chicken bouillon broth! She was given caffeine, sugar, sugar, meat and gluten! Had she been any less conscious and had I not been there (which I would imagine happens for many people in the hospital, being alone, because hospitals are not conducive to family staying around) she would have gotten all the things her body can't handle, especially vulnerable right after getting out of surgery. Furthermore, she hadn't eaten a proper meal in over 3 days, between the colon prep and then the excruciating pain from the acute appendicitis, and surgery prep, the most she had had in days was water, saline IV fluid and sugar. The poor woman was hungry. When the doctor had given her the OK to eat, she ate what I had brought for her; organic, plain yogurt, fresh organic fruit and liquid acidophilus (with the hope of helping her gut flora re-establish balance). 

The older woman who shared the room with my Mom had had two heart attacks and had now had very painful-sounding pneumonia. She too was limited to the paltry liquid diet of soda, juice, coffee with sugar and beef bullion. She was frail and hungry and was angry that she was unable to eat. The next day her family came to visit and insisted that the hospital feed her "real food". What was brought to her, broke my heart, because while her comfort might have been considered, her health was not. She was brought more coffee with sugar and now cream, 7Up, ice cream and jello. When asked afterward by her family, she reported she felt better now that she had some "real" food. The thing is, she just was given more sugar, so if anything she was on a momentary sugar high, which of course feels great, until the glycemic index crashes. Furthermore, sugar is horrible for congestion and especially pneumonia. Intuitively this makes sense and it is often recommended to stay away from sugar when you have a common cold, let alone severe pneumonia. It shocks me that the hospital dietitian recommended that sugar, caffeine and dairy were the best foods to be putting in this poor woman's sick body?

The thing is there are no alternative options. Even the cafeteria available to the family visiting is sad. Everything is pre-made, pre-packaged, sugared, salted and fat laden. Hoping for something green and fresh, well there are salads of iceberg lettuce, topped with cheese, croutons and a creamy dressing and maybe a few pieces of sad, bruised fruit for those that think to reach for them.

This whole experience makes me wonder, how is there such a disconnect? How does our healthcare system not consider good, clean food a part of health? The health of the patients nor their family is considered and that is apparent by the measly food options available. If someone is sick or are in recovery, provide them with homemade clean chicken or vegetable broth. Dark leafy vegetables and clean juices, not just sugary fruit juice. There should be juicers constantly whirring, pumping out parsley, kale, ginger, celery juice, the nutrients and health benefits that come from consuming this when your well is astronomically healthful, imagine the benefits when you are in recovery! The fact that a measly iceberg lettuce salad topped with fat, dairy and gluten is the only "green" option available and that the simplicity of a fresh garden salad with a variety of spring greens and bright multicolored veggies and herbs would knowingly provide such a wonderful foundation for recovery.

Hospitals don't factor in the known amenities, aside from food, that aide in recovery and it is disheartening that these options aren't even available. The consideration of natural light, alternatives to medications, such as soothing lighting, warm compresses, calming massage and touch and accommodation for loved ones willing to be by the patients' side until better, would all help make the hospital experience more pleasant; and subsequently would send people home quicker, decreasing the cost of having patients in beds for days, weeks, or months on end. If each patient was provided with a complete service of healthcare, there would actually be less people requiring healthcare.

I understand that such a healthcare overhaul is a big undertaking. The staff and nurses try their best now with what is available to them, to be as accommodating as possible. It just seems on an administrative board level these accommodations should be considered more in the all inclusive realm of providing healthcare.

While both Mom and I are grateful to the surgeon to removing her appendix before it ruptured and the kindness of the many nurses and doctors we met between the colonoscopy procedure to the first ER and the second hospital, we both walked away with a pact to ourselves and each other. Live clean. Eat clean. Listen to your intuition. Take care of this one body and try your damnedest to not need "healthcare" in anyway. While at some point we will need to possibly rely on surgeons, we will both try our best to stay as far away, by taking proper care of ourselves so that we don't need to step foot in a hospital anytime soon. 

Also in the mean time, we have to hope, and would surely imagine we are not the only ones who have experienced such shocking disconnection between healthcare and health; that possibly facilities around the world do actually provide healthcare that is more in tune with our concept of health. We will continue to keep searching for such facilities. It is just a shame that the standard form of care pays little attention to the complete view of health.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Your Farts and Poop are Talking to You

And no, not just in a stinky air that clears the room or warns others to not come in after you.

We don't talk about poop and farts nearly enough in this country. It is taboo and grotty and awkward, so we all just pretend it doesn't exist and that we all don't do it, but the reality is, if we don't talk, we don't know. We don't know what is normal, what is OK, and more importantly what isn't OK. We need to be more comfortable talking about bowel movements so that we know what ours are saying to us and what is means. 

Ever notice how animals poop and then immediately check the poop. They smell it, they are checking if everything is OK. Do you ever check your poop? Poop is an immediate indication of what is going on internally. Poop is the excrement of what we eat and what is not absorbed by our bodies, and yes there is a difference between good poop and bad poop. Poop is an immediate indicator of how your digestive tract is working, or not working, for that matter.

Farting is the prelude to a bowel movement, to some extent. Farting simply is your intestines, colon and rectum releasing air. Farting to a certain extent is normal (and yes, girls fart too!), with peristalsis and contraction/release of the intestines and colon comes air, hence farts. But there are other farts that are worth noticing. Ever notice how after you eat something you immediately fart every time you eat it? Or if you eat too fast, you fart? Or are you farting unknowingly and not noticing patterns, well maybe now you will (and yes there are patterns to your farting that are worth noticing).

Eating too fast, we all do it! We eat on the go. We cram in lunch during our busy work day. We eat watching TV. We eat so hurriedly that we still feel hungry after clearing the plate. Did you know on average it takes 20 minutes for the body to even know it is consuming food? How often you do you finish a whole meal in under 20 minutes? Often, I would imagine, we all do. Eating is a whole process that involves your brain, your mouth, teeth, tongue, esophagus, stomach, intestines, colon and rectum. You need every portion of that tract to properly digest food and when you disengage a certain connection your body does not properly digest. Women in particular digest slower. It is only at the 20 minute mark that your body identifies food being consumed at which point neurons fire telling your stomach it is getting food, which subsequently tells your brain when to trigger the satiated feeling. If you rush through the entire digestive process, never engaging your brain or your stomach, to the point where they are speaking to each other, then your conception of hunger, satiation and digestion will all be off. Also eating processed food that block these receptors can cause a disconnect in your digestive system.

Eating too fast makes you intake large amounts of air while eating, this too, can add air to the digestive tract.

Assuming you are eating consciously and healthfully at a slower pace, yet still are particularly gassy, then maybe it what you are eating. We all know the typical foods that cause gas: beans, cruciferous veggies, like broccoli and cauliflower, which have sugars that when broken down cause air in the intestines. Also there are soluble fibers in many vegetables and legumes that as being digested cause addition digestive gasses to be produced. Eating slower and limiting these foods in your diet can be helpful. Or if you are like me and love both, adding papaya extract enzymes to the end of each meal will greatly aide in reducing the gassiness that comes with such foods.

The other foods that cause gas are dairy and gluten, gas produced by consuming these items might be an indication of an intolerance and are worth taking note. Dairy intolerance is the inability to properly digest lactose which is the sugar found in milk products. Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the cells lining the small intestine. Lactase breaks down lactose into two simpler forms of sugar called glucose and galactose. Gas from lactose intolerance is often painful and extremely smelly and happens almost immediately with consuming a milk product. If you recognize this gassiness often after consuming dairy, you might want to consider removing dairy from your diet. If you continue to consume lactose it could lead to diarrhea as well.

Gluten intolerance often causes more severe digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation, so farting would be a mild indicator of gluten intolerance. If you are able to recognize discomfort to gluten with gas (good for you!) because of your awareness of your digestive system, then possibly you could catch a gluten issue before your get regular diarrhea or constipation. Should you not identify the gas as an indicator and continue to eat gluten the villi and microvilli of your small intestine deteriorate over time with gluten consumption creating an autoimmune reaction each time you consume gluten. The gluten is not properly broken down during assimilation allowing particles to slip through your intestines, which your body identifies as an invader, causing an inflammatory reaction to thwart off the invading gluten intruder. If you didn't notice the preemptive gas, but notice the diarrhea and/or constipation after consuming gluten, your body is telling you it is not happy.

Poop, the good the bad and the down right stinky-ugly. What is considered normal should be medium brown in color, low odor, solidly formed, but not hard to pass, easily cleaned up and should happen 1-2 times per day everyday often around the same time. I have learned over time, very few of us have this regularity, and if you do, good for you, you are eating well and either have gotten a handle on your food allergies or you have none (in which case you suck, jk).

But then there is a multitude of other poops to be aware of. Your poop will fluctuate to a certain extent, inevitably because few of us eat the same thing everyday, but the fluctuations, especially extreme, matter, and should be closely paid attention to:

  • If your poop varies in color, but is generally solidly formed, showing you what you recently ate, then you are have some digestive issues and your poop indicates mild food intolerance. 
  • You could have runny, unformed stool, but not completely diarrhea, but looser than should be "normal," this is your body's "everybody out" mechanism indicating whatever you most recently ate did not digest well. 
  • Next is dark in color, and pellet-like, meaning your gut flora (your happy gut enzymes) are not so happy, you might be dehydrated, stressed or not eating enough fiber. 
  • The last two are an indication that your digestive system is mad and whatever you have been eating for a while is not working well for you. If you do not poop on a daily basis or when you do it is very dark in color, very sticky, hard to cleanup and even greenish-yellow in color you are eating way to many processed, non-whole foods, and your digestive tract is screaming at you to make some serious changes now. Increase your real food intake, it should be alive and colorful and fresh; fresh veggies, fresh antibiotic-hormone free meats and take into serious consideration potential food allergies such as gluten and lactose intolerance. 
If you continue to ignore your stinky-smelly, irregularly, sticky poops, you are asking for many serious health complications down the road, see So What I Love Gluten post for a list of health issues that come if you chose to not address your unhappy digestive tract. Your poop is telling you something. Poop shouldn't be gross. It should be simple, quick and easy to pass and easy to cleanup. 

I guarantee you, you won't think poop is so gross when you understand why it is so gross now and implement what you can do to fix it. Pooping shouldn't be gross, and if it is, that is a red flag for you. And if you happen to have a irregular poop from time to time, use that as a barometer for you to know to check in with your eating habits and remind yourself to come back to center.

Happy pooping! No shame, no embarrassment, no more not talking about it, because your guts are talking to you, and you better listen!

Side Note: I am not implying that if you have irregular bowel movements it means you have food allergies. While irregular bowel movements are part of life (as we eat differently day to day and some days we drink too much, or go out with friends and indulge) the number of commercials showing lately, about "cleaning up" and "having that fresh-clean feeling" or the most recent, "poop perfume" (I know I was a little baffled too) leads to me to believe many people are having messy, irregular bowels and are concerned more about the clean-up and cover-up than the intake. So if your bowels are irregular, particularly stinky and/or sticky, think about your eating habits. Are you eating well? And clean? And fresh? Then maybe this end of your digestion should be considered first, not just the disgust at the excrement. 

A great resource for your digestive tract balance and a Guide to your Poo see Practical Paleo: A Customized Approach to Health and Whole-Foods lifestyle by Diane Sanfilippo, BS, NC, page 75. The different types of poops are detailed and explained with great reference in her book with ways to solve your pooping problems with a Paleo diet (should that work for you). 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

"So what? I Love Wheat/Bread/Pasta (Gluten)!"

I have had the following conversation before with a handful of people, often with piles of glutenous foods being forced in my face:

Me: Oh thank you, but I can't have that I am gluten intolerant.

Gluten-loving (GL) "can't-live-without-wheat/bread/pasta (gluten)" looking person says: What is gluten?

Me: Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, you know bread, pasta, cookies...

GL person cutting me off:....Oh that must suck!!! Gosh I can't imagine!! ::pause:: What do you eat??

Me: It really isn't that bad. I actually would rather feel better than eat something that makes me feel horrible. I eat lots of things, fruits, veggies, gluten free grains....

GL person: ....So you eat like a rabbit? Well I feel great! And I eat bread, pasta, cookies, all that stuff, all the time! I love those things!

::perplexed GL pause::

GL: Why don't you just live a little!?

Me: ::smile::
(With a very long commentary in my head about said GL person "really" feeling all that "great" and how much they are really living "more" than me eating their beloved gluten)

GL person: Well what if I were gluten.....whatever the word is, intolerant, right, so what, who cares, it is not like it matters! Besides it tastes too good I couldn't and wouldn't ever stop eating it!

Me: ::smile uncomfortably::

And here is the response I so rarely verbalize, but have learned along the way, and feel, that any GL (but looks like their body is gluten hating) should hear.

Continuing to eat a diet of anything your body is having a reaction to is actually perpetually making yourself sick. Just a little hint, if you are perpetually sick or can't ever seem not to catch the office cold, then you might be gluten intolerant (i). You might not know it, or even notice it, but I believe if you have any of the symptoms listed in How Do I Know I Have Food Allergies than you most likely have a food allergy.

You can choose to ignore it, many do, and others unknowingly go undiagnosed on average of 7-10 years.

Should you be the first group and choose to ignore your gluten intolerance your future health is in major jeopardy. And if you are knowingly gluten intolerant or sensitive, and if you use "sensitive" to make it seem less of a real issue to you and others, and eat "mostly gluten free," but have cheat days, listen up!

Consuming gluten when you are allergic could kill you. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with undiagnosed and latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity have a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer (i). Furthermore, by not completely removing gluten from your diet you are at risk of anemia, osteoporosis, arthritis, malnutrition, rickets, lymphedema (localized fluid retention and tissue swelling caused by a compromised lymphatic system), bowel/rectal cancer, peripheral neuropathy (damage involving nerves, which may affect sensation, movement, gland or organ function), seizures, thyroid disease (ii), and the list keeps growing as more and more research is being done on gluten intolerance/sensitivity/celiac disease.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association findings there is a 39% increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72% increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten, and 35% increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity (i). So regardless of what "degree" of gluten intolerance you think/know you may or may not have, you are dramatically increasing your chance of death by not completely eradicating gluten from your life.

So, "so what, you love your gluten" person, here's what! You can ignore the possibility that you are part of the 20 million undiagnosed gluten-eating, but gluten-body-hating Americans and increase your chance of death by up to 72%! Or maybe you could put down your beloved gluten product and remove it all from your life now. And subsequently live a longer, healthier, happier you in that life.

(i) Gluten: What You Don't Know Might Kill You, by Dr. Mark Hyman
(ii) Gluten is My Bitch, by April Peveteaux

Sunday, November 3, 2013

"How Do I Know I Have Food Allergies?"

I think this question is inevitable to ask yourself at some point, especially given the media coverage and often talked about world of food allergies.

The problem is people look for a one size fits all answer and that is just not the case.

Food allergies effect people differently. In all the people I have talked to about their food allergies, specifically gluten intolerance, not one has had the same symptoms and issues as me, expect for my Mom; which further makes me believe that gluten intolerance is hereditary, or as some recent research is finding, potentially an autoimmune disorder.

I have read many books, blogs, news related articles and spoken with many people who have food allergies and each has a different approach and plan of attack, because all have different symptoms. Some gluten and lactose intolerant people have respiratory issues, others have elimination issues, irritable/irregular bowel issues, achy joints, pain doing activities that don't normally cause pain, overall irritability, difficulty sleeping, tired no matter how much sleep you get, lethargy, regularly sick with a common cold, hungry right after eating, not wanting to eat, constantly ravenous, dark under eye circles, skin irritations such as rashes and dandruff, stomach distension, constipation, diarrhea, explosive diarrhea, horrendously painful gas, horrendously smelly gas, gaining weight, losing weight....and this list keeps growing, just Google it, of which I am sure you have, the list of symptoms is astronomical.

On any given bad day, week, during your period, PMS, you slept like crap, stressful work week, I am sure you can have all, if not a least some of the above mentioned symptoms, and all of a sudden you would think you have a food allergy. While I am not saying all people have food allergies, although I think far more people do than know it or acknowledge it. Research shows that an estimated 2 million are gluten intolerant unknowingly and undiagnosed.* How do you differentiate between a bad day or a crappy week to having a food allergy or sensitivity?

My belief is that if you have been uncomfortable, whatever that means to you, either by saying yes to some of the symptoms listed above or any other definition of uncomfortable, for any period of significant time that you can't shake, then maybe you have a food allergy. If you can think back to a time when you didn't feel like shit or weren't uncomfortable, tired, lethargic and cranky all the time, maybe it is time to assess your diet. Furthermore, if you are active and think you eat a well-balanced, pretty clean diet and still feel like crap most days than not, you most likely have a food allergy. And lastly, if you just feel "off" on a consistent basis I would highly recommend thinking about how your body reacts to food.

So now what, right? You have been shaking your head all along, thinking yep that's me, and I am uncomfortable more often than not. Again the approach is not the same for everyone and everyone's allergy issues are all different. You have two options in my mind.

Option 1 - Seek the help of professionals. I would suggest seeing an allergy specialist to identify the exact things you are allergic to. As well as see a nutritionist or alternative practitioner that will ask you about your diet and eating habits and recommend a course of action for you. Your regular doc will not ask, if ever, about your eating habits and diet. Doctors are not required to have any nutrition background, except for a basic 101 class as undergrads as a pre-req. for a pre-med degree. I also think this is why there are so many conflicting responses to food allergies and further why people go much longer than is necessary, on average 7-10 years, without having their food allergy diagnosed. Seeking out the help from people who know diet, nutrition and allergies are going to definitely get you headed down the right path to happy insides.

Option 2
- Do it yourself. Use your body as your own guinea pig, which is what I did, because honestly I figured I couldn't feel any worse. I figured anything would be better than being miserable all the time. If you want to start out easy and aren't that uncomfortable I would recommend starting with a food journal. Write down everything you eat and how it made you feel during consumption, after, 1 hr. up to 4 hrs. later and also the next day, sometimes it takes a whole day for food to move through you if your digestive tract is angry. Also write down your pooping cycle and the type of poop: easy, hard, runny, etc. Do this for a minimum of a 1 month. You will start to notice patterns in your eating habits and how you feel/how you poop. And read, read, read, (see suggested list below) more information is better because ultimately you will know enough to identify your body patterns. A food journal will also help you be more aware of your body and eventually you will see the foods that consistently give you discomfort, making it clear which foods to remove/lessen in your diet.

If you want to jump in like I did and get to the root of the problem, start with an Elimination Diet.The Elimination Diet removes all typical food allergy triggers like milk, eggs, nuts, wheat, and soy from your diet. You can also eliminate some extra foods that you are suspicious of, for me that was stone fruits, additional grains like oats, millet; beans and legumes; the nightshade family: tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers of all kinds, except black pepper, tomatillos, paprika and cayenne. I chose to remove these additional foods for concern of inflammation. Not knowing if it was food allergies or just a mean case of seasonal allergies I wanted to consume as few triggers as possible (see Horrendous Allergy Season for more on my philosophy of inflammatory foods and seasonal allergies). You eat an Elimination Diet for 1 month. After a month on 4 day cycles you slowly introduce potential allergy causing foods back into your diet, 1 at time. You pick a trigger-food, I started with eggs, because I had never had a problem before with eggs. Eat 1 egg. And wait 4 days. If you do not have any adverse reaction than you are fine. Wait an additional 4 days on the elimination diet without the new introduced food and then introduce another trigger-food, like nuts. Wait 4 days. No reaction. Wait 4 more days, introduce another trigger-food. You do this until you get through the typical trigger-foods: milk, eggs, nuts, wheat, and soy. If you go as extreme as I did, you will want to include your suspicious foods in your 4 day re-introduction cycle. The theory is that once you go through all the trigger-foods, you will eventually bump into those that give you adverse reactions. With your digestive system being so calmed down due to the stripped down diet, the slightest adverse effect to any food will be very easily identifiable. After the whole Elimination Diet process, which does take some time and lots of discipline (but trust me you will be so much happier on the other side) you will know your food allergy.

Or you can take the most direct approach, which if you think you are allergic to something, ie gluten, completely remove it from your diet, cold turkey and see how you feel. I know plenty of people who did this. They just stopped eating gluten or lactose and within weeks they felt completely better.

Everything about identifying a food allergy is learning to tune in and listen to your body. So often we take our body for granted and think that it will work for us even when it is giving us clear signs that things are working inside. Symptoms, like all the above, are your body's way of saying hey things are not OK inside it is angry in here. And you better listen up. Whatever method works for you, if you are miserable consider tuning into your discomfort and maybe you can find the cause of the the discomfort, and then you will end up on the other side wondering why you spent so much time being uncomfortable.

Suggested Reading List:
*Gluten is My Bitch, April Peveteaux - for quick and funny just-starting gluten intolerance journey info

Practical Paleo, Diane Sanfilippos, BS, NC - not so much for the paleo diet, but for the identification of individual digestional issues along with some very intuitive, practical info. I found the Guide to: Your Poop! extremely helpful

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Michael Murray, ND and Joseph and Lara Pizzorno, ND, MA, LMT - a wealth of info. Look up any food to know more about it. A regular reference in my repertoire.

Paleo Cooking from Elena's Pantry, Elana Amsterdam - good recipes and a simple approach, with not lots of folderol for cooking gf

Lastly, an important thing to ALWAYS remember:
"Modern medicine, for all its advances, knows less than 10% of what the body knows instinctively." Depak Chopra. So tune in and listen to your instinct.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Hellacious Allergy Season - My Plan of Attack

If you are anything like me, this time of year is a double-edged sword, while beautiful in the changing of the seasons, the stillness reestablished because all the tourists have gone home and the luxury of a bug-free outside, the flip-side is horrendous allergies; and this year, in particular, seems to be the worst ever. I am not quite sure why, but the allergy season seems longer and more intense this year. Granted though, typically in October it has considerably cooled down and we are not still basking in the 65+ degree sunny weather we have been having. Talking to fellow snot-oozers and itchy-eyed friends, it has been bad for everyone this year. The exhaustion, sleep deprivation, inability to get a deep breath, the going through box after box of tissues, the itchy eyes, you name it I've got it all, including the irritability that comes with all these glorious side effects. (A major Thanks to my Honey for putting up with me and helping in every way he can see fit, yes that includes running to the health food store for me and Home Depot last night to pick up Another air purifier).

While most turn to some OTC antihistamine, I have to be pretty miserable in order to do that, but even then, when I do, I instantly regret taking the OTC. Yes, even when it says non-drowsy, non-foggy, non-whatever, I am so sensitive that I turn into a blob of foggy-brained-drymouth-tiredness that I can't shake until the damn thing passes through my system.

So I take a different approach. I am the trifecta of allergy-heinousness, I have seasonal allergies, asthma and food allergies, yay me! So if you happen to be in the same boat as me, welcome to the grumpy snot club. Your body receptors register everything as a gnarly invader attacking your system constantly, so my springs and falls are spent miserably stuffy, draining from my face, itchy eyes, respiratory issues and a very close relationship with my rescue inhaler (of which I am forced to use during the glorious time).

My plan of attack that works for me. I might not work for everyone, and I am by no means encouraging this for those with excessive allergy issues and asthma without consulting your doc and allergy specialist.

I sense my body's reaction to seasonal allergens because foods that don't normally give me digestional and respiratory issues all of a sudden do. I start to think "Oh I am allergic to everything," "God-damn why am I so sensitive," and then I look around at all the orange, red leaves and think, "so pretty....oh right!" So I immediately strip my diet down to an elimination diet (see My Journey tab for more details) to foods that don't bother me, basically fruits, organic gf grains and some veggies, avoiding the nightshade family and all inflammatory aggravating foods. I also err on the side of slightly hungry than full because then my body does not need to exert so much energy digesting, as it is already taxed fighting off every inhaled particle that passing through my nostrils. 

A side note about inflammatory food, basically when you are having an allergic reaction your body identifies any foreign particles/molecules in your body, ie pollen, dust, pet dander, ragweed, gluten, etc. and releases histamine, causing the seasonal allergy oozing effect from all orifices that we all know so well, along with sneezing, watery eyes and itching. For some people, particularly those with asthma, this reaction may also include swelling in the bronchial tubes that makes it difficult to breathe. Your body has a protection mechanism of swelling, created by a "liquid" barrier that aims to protect itself, functioning as a buffer to any additional harm and as a vehicle for moving the particle out, by sneezing, coughing or oozing. Removing foods that naturally have an inflammatory "liquid barrier" effect on the body, like nightshades: tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc., will further help calm your body down from defense mode.

So I strip down my diet to be so clean that I know for a fact my body is not having an allergic reaction to anything I am eating. This means, no dairy, no caffeine, no gluten (obviously, as always, but this time of year I choose not to eat any gluten-free products either), no animal proteins (of which I already eat very little). I juice daily and make a lot of jam-packed smoothies with organic bee pollen and spirulina; eat tons of dark leafy greens to help with oxygen and wait it out. Then I can properly focus my attention to the environmental allergens.

I use my rescue inhaler only during seasonal allergy season and then it is only when I am in dire need. I also recently found Olbas natural inhaler, of which I have yet to need to try, but have high hopes for it replacing my rescue inhaler. We have HEPA air purifiers throughout the house that run on an almost constant basis when my body is in freak-out mode. I turn to herbs that have natural benefits for helping with allergies and asthma. Gingko biloba contains a dozen different anti-inflammatory chemicals and seven natural antihistamines. Stinging Nettle has natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories (including quercetin), that open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages aiding with the complications from seasonal allergies and asthma. Another issue we combat during allergy season is inflammation and there are tons of herbs and foods that help with inflammation, I turn to unsweetened, organic pomegranate juice and licorice capsules. Herbs like turmeric, ginger, garlic, onions and cayenne, can help with inflammation and asthma so cooking with these herbs in particular will also help. Lastly, for comfort and to aid in breathing, I drink a lot of hot tea. Turning to double stepped peppermint tea, sipping slowly and holding near your nose to take deep, calming breaths, really helps open up your sinuses. Aslso ginger tea, which again helps with inflammation, but also assists your digestive tract, which at this time of year needs all the help it can get.

During allergy season I turn to yoga to help during this time, more-so than just my regular practice. I know it seems counter-intuitive to workout when you are already having breathing issues, but the low impact, focused breathing of yoga, really helps calm my respiratory system. I find I can breath deeper and better after doing yoga, especially during allergy season. I would highly recommend doing your practice in a room that has a HEPA air purifier running to further aide in your breathing exercise.

Good luck and good breathing. See you on the other side with less snot-ooze.

Monday, September 2, 2013

My Gluten Free Granola Recipe

Finding a clean, gf granola was harder a few years ago than it is now, so I came up with my own recipe a while back. I normally make a big batch and it lasts about a month for me (unless my Man gets into it...then...), stored in an airtight container.

This a modified version of a Cook's Illustrated (love them!) recipe.

Pre-heat oven to 325.

1/3 c. veg oil, or preferred alternative, room temp. coconut works nicely
1/3 c. maple syrup
1/3 c. raw honey, or brown sugar packed

Whisk together in a large bowl.


pinch salt
4 t. vanilla extract


Add to large bowl:

5 c. old-fashioned rolled oats, preferably organic and gf


2 large handfuls (~ 2 c.) of raw almonds
1 large handful (~ 1 c.) walnuts

Add to bowl along with:

1 handful of unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 handful raisins (I like to bake some in because I like when the raisins get chewy and slightly crispy-stuck-in-your-teeth, don't like? Reserve for end)
1 handful pepitas
1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c. flax seeds

+ 2 handfuls unsweetened, dried cranberries (to add at the end, when cooled)

Mix all ingredients, except cranberries, in the large bowl until everything looks wet.

Sprinkle cinnamon generously across the entire bowl, stir in slightly.

Pour contents of large bowl onto a baking sheet.

Press wet granola into baking sheet with your hands, trying to pack it in.

Bake for 15 mins., then rotate pan and bake for additional 15-20 mins. Bake until the edges start to brown approx. 30-40 mins.

Let cool completely.

Break into large chunks, add dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container.

Eat over plain yogurt with fresh fruit. Or with soy/almond/milk. Or just a handful as a quick snack. Yum, yum.

Friday, August 30, 2013

"Why Aren't You Ever Tired?"

A coworker asked me this question to other day, after both her and another coworker yawned and sighed, more like ughed.

I answered, "Because I eat well and exercise often."

They both laughed and said well they don't and don't, so there you go, and by the way, "Look at her," simultaneously looking at me, sighing and taking a sip of coffee.

So this whole concept got me thinking....

Of course I have my groggy/tired days, like we all do, but they are few and far between, often because of a fitful night of sleep irritated by seasonal allergies or a full moon effecting our dog's sleep, so she spends most of the night walking around, nails clicking on the wood floors. These tired days are unusual for me and easy to identify the culprit.

Subsequently, I thought about most of my coworkers who are often tired, yawning, lethargic caffeine junkies. Most complain about always being tired, not feeling up for work or doing much for that matter, and most all want to take a nap right after lunch.

While the simple answer is eat well and exercise, it really is true and I don't think we realize the value of these two simple things until we start doing them and can identify the difference of doing or not doing. The value of these two things make a world of difference for your day to day functioning and lethargy.

My tips for not dragging ass on a daily basis:

• Drink lots of water and less caffeine. It seems counter-intuitive, because most of us reach for caffeine to help us wake up or help get over that 3 p.m. afternoon slump. You are better off getting up and walking around, stretching and drinking a glass of water. These three things combined will give you more of that afternoon boost than any cup of joe will.

• Get proper, restorative, deep sleep. Sleep can be effected in many ways by the environment, but also by what you eat, how you move or don't move in your day and your overall health. So this one is the hardest to immediately solve, but having a quiet, relaxing bedroom is at least the first step to aiding in restorative sleep, that and decreasing your caffeine intake to no more than 2 cups a day.

• Make a majority of your diet plant based, limit your intake of dairy and meat proteins, both of which ask much more of your body to digest, which if you don't have extra energy to give, asking your body to work hard to digest complex proteins is asking too much of your already energy deprived self.
 Subsequently, dark, leafy greens, of which most of us don't get enough, have gobs of chlorophyll in them, hence the green, but that chlorophyll gives you oxygen among many other great nutrients. So eat plenty of greens. If right now a basic salad counts as your greens, that is better than none, but try to eat any or all of: chard, kale, collard greens, spinach, dandelion greens, beet greens, mustard greens, etc. at least 3 times a week (more is always better, but you gotta start somewhere, right?). My favorite and easiest way to get your greens in, is throw them in a breakfast smoothie, seriously, you never know they are there, well minus the green color, but don't pay attention to that, juice 'em or sauté them up in a little bit of EVOO in a hot deep pan with fresh chopped garlic. Wash and chop your greens and throw them on top of your slightly cooked garlic, excess water on your greens is OK, and toss until just barely wilted, finish with a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of Braggs Liquid Aminos. A great easy side to any meal. Like I always say to my Honey, "where's your greens?"

• Breathe. Duh, right, we have to or we die, but what I mean is breathe consciously and with focus and intent to cleanse. Think about it, how often in a day you you consciously breathe? And when you do, don't you feel brighter, more awake, energized? It is amazing the power of breath.

Which leads into:

• Exercise. Often, try to move daily for a minimum of 30-45 mins., whatever works for you, but I think focused exercise at least 3 days a week will make all the difference in helping you feel more energized. Exercise makes you take deep breaths, asking your lungs to expand and intake more oxygen. Stretching lengthens your muscles and opens your body and lungs aiding in the movement of more oxygen running through your body. I especially like yoga to help me focus on breathing. Yoga asks you to breathe through a stretch, which I know sometimes we hold our breath through a stretch. Breathing through it allows the stretch to go deeper and simultaneously makes you conscious of the importance of breathing and aware of the energy-packed importance of deep, cleansing, awakening breath.

While these little tips are helpful and starting point, the best way to avoid lethargy and general all-over tiredness, it to be aware of self. Nourish your mind, body with clean eating, focused exercise, restorative rest and an intent on wellness.

So instead of reaching for that next cup of caffeine to get your jolt of energy think of the other things you can change in your daily routine that will aid in your all over alertness.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Wonderious Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass is the wonder grass, providing exponential amounts of nutrients such as chlorophyll, amino acids, minerals, vitamins and enzymes. While I am by no means an expert on the health benefits of wheatgrass, you can Google that, or read a phenomenal book, The Wheatgrass Book by Ann Wigmore, to learn more about it's health benefits. I knew at a young age that the nasty green shot you got at the health food store or juice bar, that was followed with an orange squad (yes, an orange wedge, but I called them squads) was good for me, but I had no idea why, the same kinda follows now, except I know a few more details about it's real health benefits, because I am genuinely interested in what it provides to my overall well-being.

So I have been growing and juicing my own wheatgrass. I very causally read the growing section of Ann Wigmores's book on growing wheatgrass and that, with my general knowledge of sprouting seeds, I figured out the relatively simple process.

So first you soak your Red Wheat Berries, for 8-24 hours. You can buy Red Wheat Berries at your local health food store, often in the bulk section. And yes wheatgrass is gluten free. I too, was concerned, but after searching around and asking a licensed dietitian friend in the area, the grass itself does not contain any gluten, only the kernel, and in juicing wheatgrass you only juice the grass, so yay!

You fill your growing container with soil and moisten lightly. I have used old fish totes. (I used to work in a gourmet market with a fish department I managed, so theses were a dime a dozen and have many uses). Sprinkle your soaked seeds evenly across the moist soil.

Then cover the moist soil/seed tray and keep in a not directly sunlit area with a mild overall temperature. I keep mine on top of the fridge.

Keep your eye on the sprouting wheatgrass, which should start sprouting within a few days. Once little sprouts start to appear, like below, remove the cover. You should not need to water at any point during this time. If you do, your wheatgrass may be in too much direct light/heat. Also don't over water, because the wheat berries will mold.

Within 3-5 days your sprouting wheatgrass above, should look like the fully grown wheatgrass below. And now it is time to juice. Cut at base and juice away.

Super easy, super healthy. You can either juice wheatgrass by itself as a shot, which is typical, in which case you will want a tray per shot per day you plan to consume. I would say roughly 1 tray = 1 shot. I always have a minimum of 3 trays going, but I don't tend to do a shot a day. I add some to a smoothie, do a shot every other day, add some to a salad, etc. You can consume the second growth of your wheatgrass, but I have heard it is lacking in some nutrients, so I normally compost it after it is all cut.

Happy wheatgrassing!