I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so I have a deep love for salmon. I realize now living in Texas how truly spoiled I was to have fresh wild caught salmon at my fingers tips. My absolute favorite salmon is the Copper River King Salmon that appears around late spring/summer months.
“Every year (May – September) king, sockeye and coho return to the Copper River to make the arduous 300-mile migration up the turbulent waters in order to spawn. Because the Copper River is so long and steep (gains an average elevation of 12 feet per mile) these fish must pack on sufficient fat reserves to fuel their epic journey–resulting in salmon that is rich in heart- healthy omega-3 fatty acids and flavorful oils.”
Copper river king salmon oozes fat and literally melts in your mouth. This fish is also very odorless and only needs salt & pepper to let the natural flavors shine. I had the opportunity to have an overwhelming supply of this fish when I lived near Oregon. My husband’s uncle is a fisherman and dropped of pounds of this gold at our doorstep regularly. Boy was I spoiled! The funny thing is my husband did not like salmon at the time, so I got this delicious fish ALL to myself! Today my husband still gets sad over this lost opportunity now that he enjoys salmon. Copper river king salmon is very expensive but if you ever see it I highly recommend you splurge and savor this delicious seasonal salmon, best money spent in my opinion!
Now that I am in Texas my salmon expectations have had to adjust a little. I continue to buy wild salmon because I do believe it has superior benefits and taste to farm raised. My local Whole Foods will carry wild king salmon and I have also purchased Trident Seafood’s frozen wild salmon sold at Costco or Trader Joe’s frozen wild sockeye.
For this recipe, I used the Trident Seafood’s frozen wild salmon but any type of fresh or frozen salmon will do for this recipe. I find previously frozen salmon can be less desirable than fresh so I really like this recipe, all the fresh herbs add a lot of flavor.
This recipe not only adds a wonderful herb taste to the salmon but it comes together in under 15 minutes and only requires minimum of 3 ingredients; herbs, butter & salmon!
I especially enjoy this salmon over the kale & chard caesar salad! Tossed in the creamiest yogurt-based caesar dressing and pecorino cheese, YUM! This salad & salmon combo really makes the healthiest weeknight meal. Omega-3 fats from the salmon and all the nutrient-dense vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients like iron, calcium and fiber from the dark leafy greens. Best part is this meal whips up quick and the salad makes enough for leftovers! Kale and chard both hold up super well with dressing. You can prep a big bowl of this salad, store it and it will still be crunchy tomorrow.
HERB ROASTED SALMON RECIPE:
You can use really any extra fresh herbs you have on hand; basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, dill, chives, etc….all combos work but I only choose about 3 herbs to use at a time. My favorite combo is fresh dill, chives and parsley.
In a oven-safe pan like stainless steel skillet or cast iron add the butter and herbs and place into 425 degree oven for about 5 minutes until the butter is melted and herbs are sizzling in the butter but not burnt.
Make sure to thaw your salmon if previously frozen. Once butter is melted place thawed salmon skin side up and return to the hot oven for another 4-5 minutes.
Carefully remove the hot pan out of the oven and gently pull away the salmon’s skin. It should pull away fairly easy if not return salmon to oven for another minute or two.
Once the skin is removed, season salmon with salt and pepper. Flip salmon over and season again. Return salmon back to oven for another 3 minutes or until done depending on the thickness of your filet. You should see some white fat oozing out and filet glistening.
Remove from oven once cooked through and finish with extra fresh herbs. Feel free to spoon the extra herby-butter over the salmon before serving. I find this cooking method keeps the salmon very moist.
For a variation of this recipe, I used What’s Gaby Cooking All Things Seafood seasoning sold at Williams Sonoma. This Herb rub is great if you don’t have fresh herbs on hand or maybe only 1-2 fresh herbs this seasoning can give a boost of flavor if needed, but not necessary.
Is there anything better than homemade jam, I think not! Homemade jam is so much more flavorful and fresh tasting than anything store bought. I’ve only made jam once before so I am really no expert but that goes to say that jam is pretty easy to make, it just takes a little time but the reward is being able to enjoy fresh peach jam in the winter when you’re missing those juicy peaches.
I remember my first time making jam we took the Ferry over to Whidbey Island in Washington and did the u-pick raspberries at Dugualla Bay Farms. These raspberries were delicious and I literally made the best jam ever. But now that I am in Texas peaches are THE fruit of the season. So peach jam it is.
I did some research & hunted the internet for peach jam recipes. There are a lot with pectin but I do not want to use any thickening agents. So between 2-3 recipes I found online I came up with my own version using some honey to cut back on the refined white sugar.
The peaches I bought were from Vogel Orchards in Fredericksburg Texas. I bought the loring peaches which are on the sweeter side which is perfect for jam. Plus I was able to keep the added sugar fairly low because the peaches have a higher sugar content already.
Amazing! The peach really shines through and the honey adds a nice touch. The texture is great too, thick and jammy with little chunks of peach throughout. The whole lemon I juiced + zested is almost undetectable which is fine as it doesn’t take away from the peach flavor but if you want more tartness I guess you could do two lemons.
This peach jam will be delicious on toast, pancakes, waffles, over vanilla ice cream or with cheese & crackers! Plus, these little jars of jam make the best gifts. Never to early for Christmas gift prepping is it?!
I hope you enjoy the recipe and if you make it please let me know by using #platefulnutrition
Crumbles, crisps, cobblers, I’ll take it any way you make it! One of my absolute favorite desserts in the summer because you can use all the delicious fresh seasonal fruit. July in Texas is in full peach season! We get the best juiciest peaches from Fredericksburg, TX. Its like a cult around here when the peaches are ready, people travel from all over Texas to get their hands on these peaches and they are worth it!
We headed to Vogel Orchard this year to buy our peaches. It’s right off highway 290 in the beautiful Hill Country of Fredericksburg. It is also right along the path of wine country so we may have gotten distracted by a winery or two on our way 🙂
Inside the green peach stand was a variety of seasonal peaches. The workers were so helpful inside by explaining the different varieties and provided a sample of each one. Honestly, they all tasted great, it was so hard to pick which one to buy but we ended up with the loring peaches. The loring peach is a firm but super sweet peach which will make for the best crumble.
Vogel isn’t just peaches, they also had giant watermelons for sale and during certain seasons you can also get local berries, farm fresh vegetables and pumpkins in the Fall. Inside they had a little market which sold all types of jams, preserves and sauces many of which were peach flavored. And if you’re really in the peach mood you can get their homemade peach cobbler with a scoop of ice cream!
So if you plan on making this crumble recipe, which I know you will, I HIGHLY recommend you use local farm fresh peaches! It seriously made the best crumble. The peaches were sweeter and provided a more peachy flavor than the ones I’ve gotten at the grocery store.
SIMPLE PEACH CRUMBLE RECIPE:
This peach crumble recipe is truly the easiest. Using basic pantry items you can throw this dessert together for any last minute summer soiree. Keeping it healthier, I used oats and nuts for the topping mixed in with a little brown sugar.
TO GET STARTED you first want to slice your peaches and arrange them in your cast iron skillet or any type of oven-proof dish will do. You don’t need to add anything to the peaches. If you are using ripe peaches they are already sweet and will cook down nicely.
NEXT in your food processor, pulse the oats, flour, cinnamon, pecans, brown sugar, and salt until crumbly. Next add coconut oil and pulse a few more times until the mixture comes together into a soft crumble.
SPRINKLE topping over your peaches.
DONE! Well almost, now you just have to wait about 15 minutes for it to cook. At the end of cooking I usually set it to broiler for a minute or two just to get the topping a little crispier, but that’s really optional.
We often enjoy our crumble with a scoop of ice cream on top. My favorite ice cream is Dolcezza gelato. However, this crumble is delicious on its own or even simply with a dollop of whip cream.
TIP: If you have extras, I love adding in a spoonful or two into my oatmeal in the morning! So good!
Don’t forget!! When you make it, I want to see it! Use #platefulnutrition on IG!
It’s the one breakfast food that tells you it’s the weekend, THE WAFFLE. Around our house the waffle has become a Sunday morning regular along with the French press coffee. I love a good waffle but I am particular. It has to be Belgium style; thick & crispy on the outside but soft & fluffy on the inside. To do just that we have the All-Clad 4 square waffle maker. It makes the BEST waffles. We got this as a wedding gift back in the day and it is one of our most used small kitchen appliances and this thing is built to last, still going strong 10 years later.
What I love about this Coconut Carrot waffle recipe is the carrot addition. I am always excited when I can sneak veggies in at a meal time especially one that normally is sans-veggies. Besides omelettes most people do not consider eating a vegetable for breakfast. So I welcome this waffle recipe with open arms!! The carrots are hardly noticeable in the waffle. Some might think it’s odd but trust me it adds just a little surprise, in a good way!
This is not an overly sweet waffle. Just a touch of honey and 1 banana sweetens this batter but with extra fruit, drizzle of peanut butter and maple syrup on top you really don’t need anything more.
Along with the all-purpose flour, I’ve added in some buckwheat four or spelt flour, both turn out perfectly soft waffles. The addition of either of the flours adds a little more fiber and nutrition to the recipe.
For a boost of omega-3 and fiber you could also add walnuts or pecans to the batter which would add a nice crunch to the waffle.
Once your batter is all mixed up, its ready to go! Heat up your waffle iron (my setting was 3) and prep the iron with cooking spray. Pour about 1/3 cup batter into each square.
YUM YUM YUM! Nice golden color, crunchy exterior but super soft inside!
Now, just add that melted butter, fruit, maple syrup, peanut butter or whatever your topping of choice is and dig in!
Don’t forget to tag #platefulnutrition so I can see your waffle making skills!
Welcome to my first edition of “5 Favorites” where I’ll share my new finds and favorite foods or wellness products. I hope you enjoy a little sneak inside what inspires me and the foods I enjoy.
ENJOY LIFE PROTEIN BITES
Why I like these is there are no funny ingredients. No weird oils or sugar substitutes. Real chocolate and real sugar is used. 100% plant based protein (coming from sunflower seeds & rice protein) these little balls pack about 8 grams of protein per package (4 bites per package).
Although you could use this as a snack I find these are a great dessert alternative too. They are sweet and chocolatey so definitely could satisfy that sweet tooth.
Enjoy Life prides themselves on creating products that are allergy friendly. Although I don’t have any food allergies I still like to eat these because they are delicious plus I like finding clean and wholesome alternatives for my clients that may be in need of soy-free or wheat-free products. And nowadays most kids have to pack peanut-free lunches. Fortunately, Enjoy Life is free of all these allergens plus free of dairy, egg, tree nuts and more. If you are not familiar with Enjoy Life check out their website here. They make chips, cookies, baking chocolate, etc.
I found these little treats at Trader Joes for $1.29 or you can buy the larger packaged size on Amazon, click here.
The BEST dairy-free plant-based yogurt out there! Creamy, smooth, thick and honestly if I didn’t already know it was diary-free I would think it was regular Greek yogurt. I find its not as tart as Greek yogurt and has a subtle sweetness that balances out the mild coconut flavor. This yogurt is so addicting and cute, it comes in a little reusable terra cotta pot! Just adorable!
This stuff not only tastes delicious but is GOOD for you too. How often does that happen?! It is made with simple and limited ingredients like coconut cream (just coconut + water), real fruit like blueberries or strawberries, sweetened with maple syrup and good-for-you probiotic cultures (more on probiotics here).
Culina is based in Austin, TX. and is a newish company but growing fast. They are currently available at some retailers like Whole Foods or Sprouts. You can go to their website to find a location near you here. And if there isn’t one, shoot them an e-mail so they can work with grocers in your area to get the product on the shelves!
Although I love the terra cotta pot idea, sustainable zero waste grass to clay packaging. After 5-6 pots I run out of ideas on what to do with them. At this price point, its more of a splurge than something I would buy regularly. Maybe over time another less expensive bio-degradable material will be used to bring down the price point to be more comparable with other non-dairy yogurts.
GOURMET TEXAS PASTA
I came across this company at my local farmer’s market in San Antonio and I am so glad I did! They make wholesome plant-based pasta. All their pastas contain zero eggs or dairy unlike regular pastas. They use non-GMO vegetables, herbs and spices to create a flavorful pasta. I tried a sample that was simply prepared; boiled, seasoned with a little EVOO and salt. WOW it was delicious and so flavorful! The texture wasn’t weird either, it was just like pasta!
They currently sell only fusilli, fettuccini and linguini but you can get these in a wide array of flavors, in fact they have 38 varieties and 8 gluten-free pastas. Some of the flavors that sound delicious are the Spicy Red Curry & Coconut Linguini, Hatch Chili Pasta, & Szechuan Orange Spice Linguini to name a few.
The pasta is available for nationwide shipping online at Gourmet Texas Pasta. OR if you live in the San Antonio area head to the Pearl Farmers Market on Saturdays to taste test and buy your favorite pasta flavor.
Another favorite food company based in Austin, TX. Kosmic has crafted the art of kombucha with so many interesting and delicious flavors. I recently tried the Sway Home Brew (at the restaurant Sway in Austin) made of organic kombucha, lemongrass, lime, young coconut water, local honey. It was so refreshing! Even my mom who doesn’t like kombucha said “I could drink that.”
What I like most about Kosmic is their kombucha isn’t too kombucha-y, it’s not overly fermented or vinegary tasting and not overly sweet either. Kosmic’s kombucha is brewed with teas and herbs & with a touch of sweetness from honey it really is the perfect refreshing drink. With so many unique flavors I can’t wait to try others like Local Lemon Love – organic kombucha, hibiscus flower, lemon and local honey or Groovy Green – organic kombucha, kiwi, pineapple, coconut, wheatgrass & agave.
What is Kombucha: in brief, it is a fermented tea. A “scoby” or bacteria culture is grown during the fermentation process providing a probiotic & antioxidant rich beverage with many health benefits. Kosmic Kombucha also explains it here in more details.
Where to buy Kosmic Kombucha, check out their location finder. It seems mostly Texas stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts, etc. are carrying the product.
We’ve all had gelato, that rich creamy frozen goodness that originated in Italy. I’m no gelato expert but I’ve had the real Italian gelato from Italy and I have to say Dolcezza does a real good job and officially is one of my favorites!
Based out of Washington, D.C. this company focuses on using local farmers to source their seasonal ingredients from the fruit to the cream. I appreciated that Dolcezza keeps the ingredients minimal and uses real straight-forward ingredients to churn their slow made small batch gelato.
I picked up a pint at my local Whole Foods, Peanut Butter Stracciatella. Oh my, this was so creamy and not an overpowering peanut butter flavor. Truly a perfect balance of creamy peanut butter gelato with thin chocolate pieces throughout. Other flavors I’d like to try are Mascarpone & Berries, Roasted Strawberry and Espresso, mmm!
Their website did not provide much detail on where you can get this gelato. Looks like they are only selling through wholesalers right now or if you live in the D.C. area they have several retailers. But I’d keep an eye out at your specialty grocery you might be seeing this one on the shelves soon. And if you do see it, stock up! You’re going to love this gelato!
Waco, better known for Chip and Joanna Gaines’s Magnolia store at the Silos then it is for anything else. I doubt most people had even heard of Waco before Fixer Upper, the house renovation show on HGTV starring the Gaines. Well, me either! But now I have been to Waco 3 times to see Magnolia at the Silos and always enjoy this amazing place the Gaines have created. I call it the Disneyland for adult women.
So a couple weeks ago my dear friend from Idaho came to Texas. It was a short weekend but on the list of “to-dos” was definitely to make it out to Waco, TX. It’s about a 3 hour drive from San Antonio, each way! But that time truly flew by as we caught up on everything over the car ride.
In my previous visits the Magnolia Table restaurant did not exist yet, so this trip it was a must! When we arrived in Waco we went straight to the restaurant as it was already 11:30 am and we thought we could grab an early lunch before making it over to the Silos. But forget it! There was a 2 1/2 hour wait! What! Fortunately, they send you a text when your table is ready but you have to be back within 7 minutes of that text or they might give your table away! With that long of a wait we figured we would jump back in the car and go see the Magnolia store and head back to Magnolia restaurant about 30 minutes before our table is ready, sounds like a perfect plan!
From Magnolia Table the Silos are only about 5 or so minute drive
At the Silos it was busy but it was a Saturday so that’s to be expected. The Magnolia Bakery had a line out the door per usual, so we skipped this. We first headed to the Magnolia Seed store to see all the plants Joanna has. It is super cute and has a little shed & green house amongst the garden. Inside the Seed store you can find pots, faux plants, gardening tools, seeds, etc.
Right before the Seed Shop we stopped at the flower stand and I got a lovely little arrangement of flowers nicely wrapped up to take home. Guess what, all these flowers were faux! Honestly, had us fooled at first because they look and almost feel so real! The flowers are really great quality and the stems and leaves are pliable.
The Magnolia Store is one of the main things you see when you walk onto the lot. We headed right in with no line. The Spring theme greeted us at the entrance and we made our way through the crowded store. All of the online items are displayed in store and showcased in ways to help you see how it could look in your house.
Didn’t feel like long at the Silos before we got a text that our table was ready, a whole hour early! Well, we knew we only had 7 minutes to get back to the restaurant to get our table so we hustled out of the Silos and literally made it in time with not a minute to spare!
The décor of Magnolia Table was bistro style with cute black and white stripped umbrellas on the outside tables for those eating at the to-go window. Inside the black and white theme continued, with subway and penny tiles on the flooring and walls, wood and metal accents and touches of green plants through out, complete Joanne Gaines style! The kitchen was open air, so you could sit at the bar and watch the chefs cook. We sat at a little table near the back along the window.
The Food at Magnolia Table did not disappoint! Honestly the whole menu sounded lovely! With choices for vegetarians and they even have housemade gluten-free bread!
We shared the parmesan & chive tater-tots with a side of ketchup. Perfectly golden brown and crispy on the outside but warm and tender inside! And a decent serving too!
We both ordered the freshly squeezed Prickly Pear Lemonade mainly because we got to keep the cute glass jar it was served in. The lemonade was also amazing, not too sweet!
My friend got the turkey sandwich on gluten-free bread, which was stacked high with deli sliced turkey, havarti cheese, tomato and lettuce with a pickle wedge and side of potato chips. I opted for the veggie wrap filled with heirloom tomatoes, avocado, watermelon radish, onion, lettuce and to-die-for buttermilk ranch dressing (I need this recipe). A side of assorted berries came with the wrap as well.
The menu had a great selection depending if you wanted lunch or breakfast. Salads, sandwiches, quiches, burgers, biscuits, pancakes, eggs, sausage, etc. We did not get any breakfast foods but the table next to us did and they were all raving about their meal. So next time, I’ll try the breakfast.
Our bill came with two little wax paper wrapped caramels, that just was the cherry on top!
After lunch, we both wanted to head to Joanna’s Little Shop on Bosque street. This is where Joanna opened up her original Magnolia store back in the day and has reopened it to house her old seasonal or slightly damaged items on great discount, 40-60% or more off the sale prices.
TIP: if you bought something at Magnolia at the Silos you get an extra 10% off here
Definitely found a few items to take back to San Antonio.
If you have never been to Waco, TX to see the Magnolia shops and restaurant I would highly recommend you to visit! It really is a fun day and everyone is so nice who work at Magnolia. If you want to avoid the crowds try to visit on a weekday as weekends are guaranteed to be busy and have lines.
Let me start by saying vitamins cannot replace a healthy diet. One should first work on eating a balanced diet to ensure vitamins & minerals are coming from real food sources. There is a synergistic effect to eating whole real foods, meaning when you eat food the nutrients are better absorbed and work better together in your body then any supplement. With that being said, vitamins are really to help enhance an already healthy lifestyle or in some cases repair or replenish low nutrient levels due to inadequate intake or poor absorption of those nutrients.
My goal when providing these recommendations was to optimize health while minimizing risk of harm. Keep in mind, the vitamins I’ll review are not meant to cure or replace medical advice, nor replace a healthy balanced diet. Each person is unique to their own vitamin needs and these recommendations are my own opinion. I am not being paid or sponsored for the vitamins I recommend in this post. If you have questions about a specific disease, I recommend you speak with a primary care provider and/or a registered dietitian who is familiar with your medical history.
Vitamin & mineral supplementation is definitely a hot topic and there is so much misinformation out there about it. Did you know vitamins & supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry and one that is not regulated by the FDA. For this reason, you need to be cautious of what brands you buy. Some vitamin brands fill their capsules with fillers claiming a certain potency when in fact there is none or very little of that particular nutrient in it. And because there is no regulation of vitamins, companies can get away with this. There are third-party testing agencies that some vitamin companies will opt into to insure quality and validity to consumers. Interestingly, there is no set standard for what vitamins or dose needs to be included in a multi-vitamin so brands can vary a lot. It really is no wonder consumers are often confused on what vitamins and minerals to supplement. So for this reason, I have done the research on all the vitamins and supplements I recommend to ensure quality ingredients and trustworthy companies.
Many of you have been requesting information on what vitamins I take, so here you go, a giant long post all about it!
What Vitamins I Take
P R E N A T A L
This is an important one, well for women who are of child-bearing age, plan to become pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding to help fill in any nutritional gaps.
Prenatal brands vary a lot and some do not contain adequate amounts of vitamins or minerals. Most important factors to look for in a prenatal are active forms of folate and B12, calcium, iron, choline, iodine, vitamin D and omega-3 DHA. A good prenatal is especially important and is one vitamin I wouldn’t skip on even if you eat a balanced diet, you want to ensure optimal stores during preconception, pregnancy and breastfeeding.
There are two types of people:
those who absorb folate
those who do not absorb folate and require a little extra special attention
I fall into the number 2 type. I recently found out that I was deficient in the MTHFR enzyme (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase), a key enzyme in the metabolism of folate. Basically without this enzyme I am not able to metabolize folate for absorption which can lead to low levels and most importantly pose risk in early pregnancy during the neural tube development.
What I have figured out is that not all prenatals include methyl-folate, most are folic acid (a synthetic form) or folate (natural form) but both are not methylated so in in my case neither will work. Since learning of this I have found a couple brands of prenatal vitamins that already include methyl-folate. I would recommend everyone to take methylated folate & methylated B-12 (look for L-methylfolate & methylcobalamin) even if you don’t know that you have the MTHFR deficiency. About 60% of people have this deficiency and many don’t know. So I encourage anyone taking a prenatal to include it, just in case.
Fats get a bad rap. Many Americans are under the misconception that all fat is bad. But not all fat is the same. The truth is fat is required for the nourishment of your skin, hair and nails, let alone it’s involved in so many metabolic processes at the cellular level. Under the umbrella of fat there are many types and each has a different role and effect on our health. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fats or PUFAs are an important fat that is essential to our body because our bodies cannot create this nutrient naturally therefore we must eat foods rich in omega-3 or supplement.
Omega-3 is made up of two important fats: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) & DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Both have significant research showing poor health and adverse outcomes if low but if stores are adequate can benefit the immune system, reduce inflammation, improve heart and brain function and more!
FACT: Did you know over half your brain is made up fat!
It’s important to incorporate foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids as these foods contain other beneficial nutrients that all work together synergistically. Foods high in omega-3 include flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts to name a few. These plant-based sources of omega-3 are great but may not be as well absorbed as some other sources so its good to include a variety of omega-3 in the diet. Better absorbed sources of omega-3 include fish oil (EPA/DHA supplementation) or fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackeral, sardines).
Sometimes diet alone may not suffice and additional omega-3 supplementation may be required, one of those times is during preconception, pregnancy and breastfeeding. Many studies have linked positive effects of supplementing with omega-3 DHA to support brain function and cognitive development in babies. So I regularly recommend those trying to conceive or are pregnant to take a minimum of 300 mg DHA & 220 mg EPA daily. Everyone else (excluding kids) needs a combined amount of 500 mg EPA/DHA daily.
I recommend Nordic Naturals because of their high quality and strict purity testing.
Although, its not truly a vitamin it gets synthesized in the body and acts more like a hormone. Everyone needs it so we must find ways to incorporate it from sun, food and/or supplement. Vitamin D has its hand in thousands of critical processes in the body. It’s no wonder its been linked to so many health conditions related to the heart, brain, muscle, bones, etc.
There are three ways to get vitamin D either the sunshine, diet or supplementation but either way you get vitamin D it is in the inactive form. Your body converts inactive vitamin D through your liver and kidneys where the active form can then be used throughout your body. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is generally the preferred form and is naturally made by our bodies when our skin gets exposed to sun. In addition, D3 may be added to foods like fortified cereal & fortified milk or organically in foods like egg yolks and fatty fish (wild-caught salmon, tuna, etc.), to name a few. Get a full list of vitamin D rich foods here.
FACT: The active form is called 1,25-hydroxy vitamin D and is made by the kidney
Consequently, vitamin D plays a role in thousands of cellular functions and benefits go far beyond just bone health. Research has shown benefits from cardiovascular, digestion, immunity, pregnancy to mood disorders and prevention of certain cancers. Vitamin D is one nutrient you really don’t want to become deficient on.
Because vitamin D plays such a vital role in our health, I usually recommend people supplement, especially those that live in certain parts of the country that due to the rotation of the sun may not be able to absorb vitamin D year round. For example, in the Pacific Northwest you can only absorb vitamin D about 5 months out of the year. But just because you live closer to the equator does not mean you have adequate vitamin D stores. Darker skinned people and elderly absorb less vitamin D and anytime you wear sunscreen you are blocking vitamin D absorption. Please don’t take this as a message to not wear sunscreen. But experts say that exposing your arms or legs 10-15 minutes in unprotected sun can help you absorb natural vitamin D, then after 10 minutes or so apply your sunscreen. In either case, no matter where you live I would recommend having your vitamin D levels checked through out the year and supplementing as needed.
Read more about vitamin D & safe sun strategies here .
Many multi-vitamins, prenatals or fish oils now include vitamin D making it easier to get this essential nutrient. Generally 1,500 – 2,000 IU daily for adults is adequate to maximize benefits (according to Endocrine Society). If your vitamin D levels are low you may need a higher dose and in some cases a prescription to get a therapeutic dose. It’s best to get vitamin D levels tested and discuss supplementation with your doctor or dietitian that is familiar with your medical history.
Gut health 101: establish “good” bacteria in the gut aka Probiotics.
Probiotics are live active bacteria that helps to maintain healthy gut flora. By maintaining a healthy gut “microbiome” (as experts like to call it) it promotes increased colonization and improved immune function by preventing bad pathogens from crossing the gut barrier into your blood. A low “good” bacteria count may be caused by reasons related to health, poor diet, and/or use of antibiotics that disrupt the gut microbiome and increase susceptibility to suboptimal health outcomes.
Besides immune benefits probiotics and a healthy intestinal flora can help improve vitamin/mineral absorption and improve many digestive and intestinal issues like bloating, irritable bowel, & diarrhea for example.
FACT: 1/3 of immune system starts in your gut
Food sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and fermented beverages like kombucha, to name a few. Unfortunately, most people do not eat these foods often enough to keep their gut well colonized with good bacteria. Yogurt is a great source of lactobacillus and acidophilus but limited as its does not provide a more broad spectrum variety of probiotics. I first suggest trying to fill your diet with as many food sources of probiotics but supplementing a probiotic will likely provide a more well rounded variety of microbs to really help your gut flourish.
In order to induce the activity and growth of the good gut microbes what you feed your gut is just as important as what probiotics you use. Without prebiotics your gut flora will not colonize and grow. Think of prebiotics like the fertilizer to probiotics. By eating whole foods rich in fiber the healthy gut flora can thrive and multiply. Prebiotics fortunately are found in many plant-based whole food sources like whole grains, fruit and vegetables.
FACT: the average person has about 40 trillion microorganisms in their body
In conjunction with diet I chose to use a probiotic because I do not consistently eat probiotic-rich foods. However, there are hundreds of probiotics on the market each containing a different concoction of probiotic strains and strengths.
5 Tips for Choosing a Probiotic:
Look for 10-20+ billion CFU live microbes. I know this sounds like a lot but many of these bacteria won’t survive past the gastrointestinal tract. Double check the CFU/expiration on the back of the bottle to ensure you are getting the potency you need. Some manufactures claim 5 billion CFU on the front but really the CFU can be half that amount after manufacture date or expiration date.
Find a probiotic with multiple strains. This ensures you are getting a wider spectrum of bacteria which will better help colonize your gut.
Enteric coating or some form of special encapsulation that protects the bacteria ensures higher survival rate of the microbes as they enter your stomach acid.
Refrigerated or not? This really depends on the manufacturer. Some non-refrigerated probiotics are formulated with a special blend and encapsulation to be shelf stable but not all shelf probiotics are this way. Most shelf probiotics have a lower potency and likely lower bacteria survival rate. Refrigerated probiotics are seen as superior because they are more likely to have more live active bacteria and maintain CFU potency longer.
Choose a trustworthy probiotic brand that has proven research, with well documented probiotic strains in there products, like the ones I recommend below.
There really are not negative side effects of taking a probiotic. You are just colonizing what good bacteria your already have for improved health. If you’ve never taken a probiotic you may want to consider starting at 5 billion CFU and working your way up to prevent any possible bloating. Below I’ve included a few of the Probiotics I’ve used and like.
Honestly, if you eat a well rounded healthy diet and you’re in good health you likely do not need too much else. I try to keep my supplementation to a minimum and try to get what I think I may be lacking from my diet. Everyone’s body and absorption level is different, so what might work for one person doesn’t for the next. You have to do what feels right for your body. But as I have said before, if feel you are deficient in any nutrient you should get your labs drawn & discuss this with your doctor or dietitian that knows your medical history.
Let me know what you think of this post in the comments below 🙂
I am obsessed with these eggs. Perfectly soft cooked eggs topped with crunchy topping bursting with flavor from the Parmesan cheese, garlic and herbs like parsley, rosemary and thyme.
This recipe is super easy to throw together for weekend breakfast or fancy enough to impress guests. A must, serve with thick slice of bread to spread those soft cooked eggs all over.
I tweaked the recipe a little but I can’t take all the credit for this recipe. One of my all time favorite chefs Ina Garten gets all the credit here. I love her french style cooking that she simplifies and makes realistic for the home cook. So it’s no wonder this recipe is absolutely amazing.
HERBED BAKED EGGS:
Turn oven to broil, set your oven racks about 6 inches below the heat
Prepare the topping in a small bowl. Combine garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley and Parmesan cheese, and set side.
In oven proof ramekins, melt butter and half and half in oven. Meanwhile, crack 2 eggs in a small bowl – this ensures you don’t break the yolk and the eggs are ready to go into the hot ramekins.
Once bubbly remove ramekins from oven and carefully add 2 eggs in each ramekin. Sprinkle Parmesan-herb topping evenly over eggs. Place eggs back in oven under broiler for about 6 minutes or until eggs cooked to your liking. Remove eggs from oven, the eggs will continue to cook and set some as you let it cool for about 60 seconds. Serve with toasted bread.