Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Meat Balls, 2 Ways

The meatballs and marinara that made me "Italian"

Meatballs, such a great, simple food to batch cook and keep on hand. A true protein ball. 

Here are two recipes for meatballs. One is more labor intensive and will take longer to make. The other is a more basic recipe and comes together quick, easy and tasty. It is the second recipe. 

What you need:

ground beef

ground pork


chia seeds, ground, 1/4 cup

onion, diced

garlic, diced

fresh herbs, basil, thyme, oregano 

balsamic vinegar 

salt and pepper


Tools needed:

baking sheet

parchment paper, makes clean up easy

bake at 400 degrees

Ingredients coming together.

How to:

Begin preheating oven to 400 degrees.

Place parchment paper on baking sheet.

Place beef and pork, eggs, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, ground chia seeds and fresh herbs into a large mixing bowl. 

Heat butter with salt and pepper in a sauce pan. Once melted, add the diced onion and garlic. Sauté until the onion and garlic are browned, some crisp to them. Add to the mixing bowl. 

Mix all the ingredients well, easiest way to do this is with your hands. Get in there. Mix thoroughly. 

Form into about 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on a baking sheet covered with the parchment paper.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Half way, rotate the pan. 

Take out of the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes and indulge in yumminess. 

Meatballs ready to hang out in the dry heat.

Simpler version:

ground beef

ground pork


ground chia seeds, 1/4 cup

balsamic vinegar

dried Italian seasoning, 2-3 tablespoons

garlic powder, good shakes

onion powder, same amount as the garlic powder 

salt and pepper to taste

How to:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. The best way to do this is with your hands, get in there. once mixed, form meat into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls, place on the baking sheet. 

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. At the half way point, rotate the pan. Once cooked, take out of the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. Indulge in yummy goodness! 

All baked and resting.

One more picture for drooling purposes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

July's Eye is on How You See Yourself, Body Image

Photo from the vulnerable video I posted

On my social media last week, I put up a post being vulnerable and alluding to my body image issues, struggles with food, some of the dark places I have been in regards to my relationship with myself and my body. If you go back through old posts on my blog, you will read several posts where I talk about my struggles with hating my body and some steps I took in overcoming these struggles. Here is one such post. For the month of July we are going to explore body image issues and the real struggles that exist with eating disorders and body dysmorphia, I am not talking at you, these are roads I have walked. This is a part of my journey. It has helped shape who I am today. Walking the road and being willing to put in the work and overcome these demons is a life's journey for me.  

In many ways, I have removed myself from the influence of social media by doing the work to overcome my demons, I don't notice the body images issues as much these days outside of myself. I know orthorexia is still rampant in the fitness industry, I hope to have a positive influence over this. Are others still pushing a super lean, anorexic model/actress still being used? Maybe we have grown from 10-20 years ago when things seemed to be so crazy? Maybe because I removed myself to such lengths for my recovery, I don't notice what is going on? I have changed what is happening in my own head so things don't impact me the same way as much. I choose to get some help. I put in the work. If you are struggling, you can have a healthier relationship with yourself and your body. It takes work. It takes being willing to see things differently. Face your demons and struggles head on and fight like hell. It is a journey and a long road. Recovery is a lifetime. It is 100% worth the fight. The freedom on the other side is a beautiful thing.

I want to focus this month on how you see yourself. Begin working on loving yourself, not in some self centered, your better than everyone else way or the other end of the spectrum, I love myself just as I am and I don't need to change. True love of yourself is willing to be brutally honest with yourself, your good, faults, failings, what is staring you back in the mirror, stop making excuses for yourself and deciding you want to become the best version of yourself. This is true self love. Until you truly love yourself, you cannot make lasting change. We have to truly love ourselves to make lasting, life long changes to overcome our darkness. These are hard things to hear, but it is the only way to work on yourself, face your demons head on. Facing your demons begins with facing the truth about yourself. It is how I have worked through my struggles. I stopped playing the games, wishful thinking, excuses, mind games, seeing things that weren't really there, all of it. I faced these demons head on. It is hard. You can do hard.  

For each week of the month, we will talk about different topics in this world and have a mini challenge for you to work on yourself. You might not have an eating disorder or body dysmorphia, but we can all work on our selves. This first week's mini challenge, I want you to be conscious and aware of how may times you put yourself down, say negative things about yourself, negative thoughts, tear yourself down, how often do you say no. How do you see yourself? Your body image? 

Once you have begun to identify these negative images of yourself, here are some ideas to help you begin re-programing your brain.

  • When you begin to talk/think negatively about yourself, stop the thoughts, comments and say three positive things about yourself. You have to recognize the behavior, stop it and then change it into something positive.
  • If you have body image struggles, limit your time looking at pictures of really fit, unnaturally skinny, photo shopped images. Even fitness "inspiration" on sites like Pintrest, FaceBook or Instagram can be a trigger. Scrolling through image after image of "perfect" in-shape bodies, and comparing yourself to them, wishing you had that body are damaging. This could be unhealthy for your body type and even for them. Remember it is about real health, not destroying your body
  • Begin removing the triggers that send you down of path of self hatred, body loathing, the negative image you have of yourself and replace these with positives influences.
  • This isn't about denial. We all have areas of our selves we need to change, grow, become better in. True self love is about being brutally honest with the things we need to change, but not in a negative manner. Identify your struggles and decide if you are going to work on them or not. Identify your strengths and decide if you are going to pursue them further.
  • Once you have identified the struggles, spend some time reflecting on where these came from, how they have impacted your life, and a deep reason why you want to overcome them. It will take an insanely big why to overcome the struggles. 
  • Enjoy the beauty around you.
  • Be around others who have self confidence and love of self, positive influences. Being around others who constantly talk about or demonstrate how much they dislike themselves, their body, finding the wrong and fault in everything, negative will rub off on you. Find others who will help you up level your life, pursue your greatness. 

These are just a few ideas. You know where you need the most "love of self". Take the time to reflect on where these emotions and feelings came from, other underlying factors and work through them. Until you work through the hurt and pain, you will walk the same path. Let's tackle these demons together.

Love yourself enough to change.
Obesity is a disease of malnourishment. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Wrapping up June's Challenge, Insulin

Cool, refreshing summer drink

To wrap up these last several days of June and begin heading into July I thought I would give you some more ideas of foods that will help keep your insulin stable, deeply nourish your body to celebrate this 4th of July! Are you excited to celebrate America's Birthday?!!!!

Food you can bring and not be the weird one bringing healthy food to a party, is meat. Beef, chicken, pork, fish, lamb, goat, maybe you are the odd one for lamb and goat. The point remains, by bringing meat to a party you have food you can eat that is satisfying, satiating, deeply nourishes your body, doesn't cause much ruckus with your insulin levels, will give you energy to party the night away. Most parties have meat anyway. American food, hamburgers and hot dogs, we are celebrating America after all! Eat an extra hamburger patty and hold the bun and chips.

Fruit. The great thing about fruit is the water and vitamins, minerals in fruit. This will help replenish the water you are loosing from sweating, plus the electrolytes being lost. It isn't only about drinking your water, eating your water brings more nutrients to the party and helps this water get into your cells as well. Watermelon and your other melons are great options. Have you ever been so thirsty but water just didn't quench your thirst? Then you eat some watermelon and your thirst is quenched. That is the benefit of eating your water, you are getting the water plus vitamins and minerals your body needs to rehydrate. Put some salt on it for better results. Who doesn't love seeing a large bowl of watermelon on a hot summer day at a party?! Instead of being the crazy healthy eater, you will be everyone's favorite for bringing cold melon.

Veggies, the thing to be mindful of with veggies is what you are putting on them. Be sure to avoid dressing that have hydrogenated oils, vegetable seed oils. You can slice cucumber and tomatoes and put them in olive oil and vinegar with salt. Grill veggies and put butter, salt and fresh herbs on them. 

There are healthy options for deserts, berries and fresh whipped cream with dark chocolate shavings. Frozen fruit sickles. I will link a few desert recipes for you.

Fresh, cold cantaloupe and full fat yogurt 

Primal Brownies

Keto angel food cake

Real Fruit Popsicles

Alcohol if you are choosing to drink, don't drive after drinking. Drink responsibly. If you are a beer drinker, go for the micro beers, beers that have been fermented. Use carbonated waters without sugar as a mixer instead of the sugar laden mixers. Freeze fruit and put that in drinks to keep them cold and add flavor. Blend frozen fruit into drinks for a cool treat, these can be alcohol free. Sangrias are another great option. Use fresh fruits and teas made from flowers in place of the sugary juices. Sparkling wine is a thing, use these for the fizz instead of sodas or top off with a spritzer.  

Just because you are eating healthy and minding your insulin doesn't mean you have to sacrifice everything or be the crazy one eating "healthy". You can enjoy, nourish your body, lead others to healthier eating and celebrate.

Obesity is a disease of malnourishment.
Happy 4th of July!
Love you guys

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

A Different Way to Look at Stabilizing Insulin

 With all this talk about insulin and what it does in our bodies, the good and not so good, what can we do? Is there anything we can do to correct the issues? 

Why yes there is! We are not helpless and bound to be stuck in a raging ocean of insulin levels. 

Here are several simple and effective steps you can take. I did say simple, not necessarily easy. It is worth it:

  • become fat adapted 
  • stop eating so many carbs, they shouldn't make up the largest majority of your food intake
  • eat more protein
  • move frequently at a slow pace
  • lift heavy things
  • sprint once in awhile
  • supplement smartly, there are some great supplements to help the body through this to better deal with carbs. 
How do you become a fat burning beast? We have to remind the body how to burn fat for fuel again. Remember this is our natural setting as human. The best way to do this is taking the 21 Day Primal Challenge. For 21 days you are going to eat like our ancestors, deeply nourishing fats, proteins and some carbs from seasonal berries and veggies. You want your carb load below 100 grams but probably not far below 50 grams. The majority of your food intake is going to come from animal proteins and fats. Avoid all processed foods. 
Primal Bluprint Carb Curve

In a short 21 days you can return to your natural factory setting of fat adaption and be on your way to freedom from insulin crashes and spikes, all day energy, effortless weight lose and maintenance, healing your body. This doesn't mean in 21 day you will have lost all the weight you want and be in prefect health. This 21 days is a kick start to taking back your health. You will have to continue putting in the work of deeply nourishing your body, allowing it to heal and recover. The body wants to heal it's self, we have to give it the means to do so. 

This doesn't mean you will not ever be able to eat high carb days or have a splurge. You absolutely can! 80/20 principle, 80% of the time feed your body whole, nutrient dense foods and then you have your 20% to indulge. 
If you have any questions or need help with this process, please reach out to me!
Where your mitochondria go, your health goes.
All my love,

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Insulin and Our Mitochondria

Inside our cells

We couldn't have a series on insulin without talking about the mighty mitochondria and roles it plays in insulin. Go google this and you will be reading per reviewed medical journals. 

Our mitochondria are absolutely vital to our health. Without them, well we wouldn't be able to survive. They are pretty important. 

What are mitochondria? Simply put they are our energy source, our power plants in our cells. They take nutrients we eat and convert them into ATP, adenosine triphosphate, energy. ATP generates energy for cellular function. We need the energy from ATP for thinking, brain function, sprinting, walking, lifting heavy things, pumping blood through out our bodies, reading this post you are using ATP. We need ATP for pretty much everything. Without this process of our mitochondria producing ATP from our food, we wouldn't be alive. A good reason to be fascinated with them.

After this, our mitochondria also play a role in insulin/glucose regulation, production of other hormones, regulation of calcium in the cell, among many other things. I am sure we do not fully understand or know everything our mitochondria do for us. 

As soon as we say mitochondria role in insulin/glucose regulation, we are deep into the weeds. I think what is important to know is our mitochondria play a role in this process. How we take care of our mitochondria will impact their ability to better do their jobs, insulin/glucose regulation, energy and everything else. 

What can we do to impact the health of our mitochondria and in turn impact insulin?

Eliminate hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils, soy, corn, canola and the others.

Become a fat burning beast

Move frequently at a slow pace.

Sprint once in awhile.

Lift heavy things.

Get adequate sleep, deep and enough hours.

Sun exposure

CoQ10, Vits A and C, magnesium, zinc, iron, among several others

Eating whole foods, animal fat and protein with preferably seasonal fruit and veggies, the carbs you need and smart supplements 

Become a fat burning breast!

As you can see, if you have been following my blog for any time, these things we can do to impact our mitochondria and insulin are what I have been talking about from the beginning. Nothing new here. What we do for one area of our health impacts the rest of our health. It doesn't take anything crazy to impact our insulin and mitochondria. Let me know how I can help you.

Where our mitochondria goes our health goes. 

Alll my love to you Jenn

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Why Insulin is Important for Nutrient Absorption

A recap from last week, when insulin levels are high or low, we are stressing the body, causing it to be in fight or flight. High insulin is fat storage signal to the body. More specifically, when we are consuming more sources of sugar from carbohydrates or other sugar forms than we are able to burn and use in the cells, the excess is converted to fat and stored on the body. Locked and trapped away by these high levels. When insulin is low, our bodies send signals of distress needing to raise those insulin levels causing a host of issues. These are not good times for the body. Who wants to live in a raging ocean all the time?

Today we are going to discuss another role of insulin, signaling the cell to intake nutrients.

Insulin signals our cells to intake amino acids, the basics building blocks of protein, and fat into the liver and muscle cells. These are needed in the cell to do the work of creating you, your body, muscles, organs, energy and so much more. Absolutely important for these nutrients to enter the cell and insulin helps facilitate this. Like I said in last weeks post, we need insulin, can't live without it. It is the excess we have flowing throughout the body because of glucose causing the issues.  

As you can imagine, if one way our nutrients are brought into our cells and our cells cannot hear insulin's signal from our cells being full of glucose or an over whelming amount of insulin constantly knocking on the door of the cells, our cells can't function like they should. You could be hitting your protein goals of eating your body weight in ounces or more every day. If that protein cannot get into the cell and be used for growth and repair your diligence in hitting the protein numbers is diminished. Not waisted but doesn't have the full impact it could have by being insulin sensitive, your cells can hear and respond to insulin's call. Insulin resistance is a source of  cell malnourishment. 

Another important aspect of insulin and our cells is division and growth. Insulin plays a role in telling cells to divide and grow. Important for a growing child but not so good when we are talking about cancer. Having cells go through their natural life cycle is normal and important, a whole new you is created about every seven years! We need cells that are sick and not functioning well to be signaled to die, apoptosis. This is important for our overall health and longevity. However, when those cells are out of control dividing and growing we have a problem on our hands. Not all cancers or tumors are caused by insulin and feed with sugar, it is something to be aware of. Another reason it is important to have stable insulin, lesson our risks for cells to divide and grow rapidly. 

Here is a more in-depth article on inulin and blood sugar. I promise you will be able to understand it!

Where your mitochondria go your health goes.

Love you all


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

June's Challenge, All About Insulin

Elk burger

For the month of June we are going to spend time learning about some of the roles insulin plays in the body and why having stable insulin and being insulin sensitive is important to our over all health.

Usually when we hear about insulin is it is in regards to diabetes. However, insulin is responsible for many other roles within the body. It is an important hormone that plays a major role in storing or using body fat, nutrients entering the cell, inflammation, and so much more. Insulin is vital for life. Insulin is produced by the pancreas in response to our eating carbohydrates, these turn into sugar in the body referred to as glucose. Insulin's role is to whisk this glucose out of the blood stream because if left in the blood stream, glucose becomes extremely toxic to the body. Let's talk about insulin's other roles.

We are going to discuss insulin's role in the body in regards to energy and fat burning today.

When we follow the norm today, we are told carbs are our primary source of fuel, the body prefers to burn carbs. In my opinion this has had devastating impacts on our health and I disagree. Does this mean you have to agree with me, no. I do hope you are willing to see another side of health and be open to different thoughts and learning.

I prefer to be fat adapted, metabolically flexible. Meaning my body is able to use the glucose it is given through my food and once this is dealt with, it can begin to burn fat for fuel, either from food or my stored body fat. This is the natural setting of the animal, human and otherwise. When we look to our ancestors, animal protein and fat were their main food sources. Think about it, they did not have mass food production facilities, acres of planted crops, no grocery store to pick up all this processed food, grains, fruit and veggies available year round. They ate what they could hunt, gather and preserve. If you need to eat every 2-4 hours to maintain your energy levels you wouldn't last long in the wild. This makes carbs as the main energy source not likely.

When we are sugar burners, the body cannot as easily burn our stored fat for fuel. Again for our ancestors this would spell death not being able to use their stored body fat for fuel, energy. They might have gone several days without food or very little food. Being able to access their stored body fat was essential for survival. 

When our insulin is like an angry ocean of waves it leaves the body exhausted, fatigued, burnout, inflamed and in fat storage, among other things. Carbs go in, the pancreas produces insulin in response, recall excess glucose in the blood stream is toxic, it has to be removed. The body maintains about 5 grams of glucose in the blood, too high is toxic, too low and you die. Insulin's roll in removing glucose is important. Glucose is put into the cells to burn as energy, along with storage, between 350-500 grams can be stored in the muscles. A couple of hours worth of energy is all. If the muscles are full, glucose is also stored in the liver, a couple hundred grams at best. If the cells are full of glucose or the cells can't hear insulin's signals, these carbs are turned into fat and stored on the body. You continue to gain weight. If I just eat less, I should lose weight? Isn't that what it is all about, eat less calories? I hope you are beginning to see the answer to you just eat less and you will lose weight is a fighting battle with insulin and it is no.

With wild and crazy insulin, the body is being given the signal to store fat, high insulin tells the body to store fat. Low insulin puts the body in a stress response, the body needs to get those insulin levels back up or you will die. The brain and body are in constant battles of where the next meal is going to come from. The brain is an enormous fuel hog. When it begins to think it is not going to have enough glucose to survive, it signals the body to get food and get it fast, hangry, hypoglycemia issues, fatigue, brain fog, poor sleep, weight gain, flood of health issues follow. What our bodies do in response to this signal for hunger and carbs aren't given to keep the brain happy, the body begins to break down our precocious muscle tissue and turn it into glucose, a processes called gluconeogenesis. This is NOT a good thing. We want and need that muscle for longer and healthier lives. No reason to go breaking it down for the body to burn as sugar, especially when there is stored fat on your body. We will talk more about this in the weeks to come. For now, it is important to begin understanding why it is about more than eating less to truly lose weight, keep it off and maintain health. Insulin plays a direct role and it is about stable insulin levels not crashing waves.

These crashing waves of insulin also cause: 

  • fatigue
  • poor sleep quality
  • keep the body in a fight or flight, stressing the adrenal glands 
  • brain fog, mental clarity struggles
  • emotional distress
  • hangry, hypoglycemia and so many other health issues.

If we are constantly eating high carbohydrate meals forcing our pancreas to produce more and more insulin, our pancreas can burn out and stop working. On the flip side, if we are constantly producing insulin and it is knocking at the cells doors all the time, the cell begins to have selective hearing and not listen to insulin any longer. You might have heard of insulin resistance, where the cell stops hearing the signal of insulin. When the cells stop listening, the body responds by making more insulin. Gotta get that glucose out of the blood stream and nutrients into the cells for you to live. Vicious cycles that can lead to diabetes and many other health issues.  

This is where being fat adapted and metabolically flexible comes into play. Our natural setting as humans is a fat burning beast, meaning we are easily and efficiently able to use fat for fuel, fat that we eat and stored body fat. Protein is high on this list as well. When our bodies re-learn how to burn fat for fuel what happens in our bodies at every levels improves. Our goal is calm, stable insulin levels, like a calm ocean, gentle waves whispering to our cells to intake protein, vitamins, minerals, nutrients and once glucose is used, go back to burning fat for fuel and energy.

Fat and protein are stable forms of energy, give us amino acid, more nutrient dense and clean burning source of fuel. To create our bodies, organs, nerves, DNA, we have to have amino acids and the best sources that our bodies are able to easily absorb come from animal protein. Vital vitamins are found in fat, fat soluble vitamins A,D,E, and K2, we need these vitamins in abundance. Other vitamins and minerals that we need are found in animal protein as well. Our cells are able to more easily clean up after themselves while burning these fuels unlike carbs. Burning carbs causes significant more stress on the body and damage, aging, wrinkles, inflammation and so much more. Our brains, hearts and other organs prefer to burn fat for fuel, getting into ketons that we aren't going to talk about here. This helps us have more stable energy, there is more energy in fat and think about all that stored body fat you have. If the body is able to tap into this fuel source it has an ample amount of energy.   

I know this will be a question, our brains need glucose to function. There is a positive side to gluconeogenesis, converting protein into glucose. From the protein we eat our livers can make all the glucose our brains need to function. Truly, you could not ever eat carbs again, as long as you are eating enough protein, the body will do it's thing and make glucose. I am not suggesting you don't ever eat carbs or stay very low all the time, I don't believe this is healthy unless being medically supervised. The point is carbs are not needed in the amounts we are told to eat them in. Carbs have their place but shouldn't be taking up the base of our eating. The base of our food consumption should be animal protein and fat.

I know this was a lot of information. I hope it has given you some food for thought and a better idea of the importance of insulin in our bodies and a glimpse into it's role in storing or burning fat for fuel. We will discuss these ideas more in the weeks to come! 

Where your mitochondria go your health goes.

Love you guys!