Why White Rice Works

White rice

White rice is a good, clean source of carbs. It’s almost pure starch. There are no nutrients, but there aren’t any bad things in there either.

Long-grain white rice clocks in at about 55 on the glycemic index (table sugar is 100), so it won’t spike your blood sugar too badly. Short-grain white rice is more iffy, with a glycemic rating of about 72. Whichever you choose, you can upgrade the starch in your rice (and make it low-carb) by cooking it with coconut oil. Rice is also resistant to mold.

The only issue with rice is that it sucks up arsenic from the soil while it grows. That’s an easy fix: before cooking your rice, rinse it with warm water until the water runs clear. You can cook it with extra water and pour the excess off at the end to decrease the arsenic even more.

 

Whole grain rice

Whole grain rice has lectins and trypsin inhibitors, but they aren’t the heat-stable type. Cook your rice and nearly all of them will deactivate. Heat won’t get rid of nutrient-sapping phytic acid, though, and whole grain rice has a lot of it.

Whole grain rice has much more arsenic than white rice, so be sure you rinse it until the water runs clear before cooking.

 

Quinoa

Quinoa is unusual. It’s technically a seed, not a grain, and vegetarians like it because it’s a complete protein, which is rare for a plant.

It also has a prolamine in it that’s similar to gluten and may damage your gut. It’s carb-heavy, and it doesn’t have particularly impressive nutrition. If your gut biome is in good shape, having a bit of quinoa now and then is probably okay, but it won’t do much to improve your performance.

 

Buckwheat

Buckwheat is another seed that behaves like a grain. It’s basically the same deal as quinoa – lackluster nutrition, gluten-like prolamine, and high in carbs. It doesn’t have the complete protein quinoa does. Again, if you have a strong gut you can probably weather eating buckwheat occasionally. You’re better off without it, though.

 

Oats (gluten free)

While all oats are technically gluten-free, a lot of oats grow next to or on the same land as gluten-containing wheat, rye, and barley, and end up contaminated. Gluten-free oats have their own dedicated fields. They’re the ones to choose if you eat oats at all.

Oats may not have gluten, but they do have a similar protein called avenin that can damage your intestinal lining if you’re sensitive to it. Whole-grain oats have a moderate amount of phytic acid, and instant oats have a high glycemic index. Oat plants are also susceptible to mold.

Oats aren’t the worst grain out there, but there are better ways to start your morning.

 

Rye

This is where things get ugly. Rye is the first grain on this list to contain gluten. It’s not as damaging as wheat gluten, but it will still trigger a reaction in you if you’re celiac or gluten-sensitive. Rye also has its own form of agglutinin, the sneaky little protein that contributes to asthma, joint pain, leaky gut, and allergies. Rye also tends to grow mold.

On top of that, rye bread usually has a 2:1 ratio of wheat flour to rye flour. It’s rare that you’d ever eat pure rye without wheat.

 

Corn

As with most other grains on this list, corn contains a gluten-like protein that can damage your gut lining. Corn’s version is called zein. Corn is one of the most genetically modified plants around, and it holds a heavy pesticide load.

It’s also often high in mold and mycotoxins. In the last 50 years, there’s been a sharp increase in fusarium root rot, where fusarium mold takes over the roots and leaves mycotoxins in the corn itself, even if no mold is present. It’s likely because pesticides and poor farming practices are wrecking the bacteria in the soil, leaving toxic mold free to take over. If you do decide to have some corn on occasion, make sure it’s organic.

 

Wheat

Then, of course, there’s wheat.

Wheat is the worst offender, and not just because of its gluten content. It’s a who’s who of antinutrients, complete with inflammatory agglutinin, FODMAPs (sugars that feed bad gut bacteria), allergy-inducing amylase-trypsin inhibitors, lots of nutrient-sucking phytic acid, and heat-stable lectins that don’t break down when you cook them.

And, of course, it gets moldy. A 2011 study found toxic fusarium mold rot in 57% of wheat fields. Wheat is also susceptible to ochratoxin A, a mold toxin that causes kidney and liver cancer and stays in your system for at least 35 days. Plus wheat’s high in pesticides.

If you have to have a slice of bread, go for a loaf made from imported European flour, which is lower in gluten, agglutinin, and other inflammatory proteins, and lower in pesticides and mold. You can opt for a fermented bread like sourdough to avoid some of the phytic acid, too. Even then, though, there’s no compelling reason to eat wheat. It’s toxic, and you can get all the nutrients it provides from far better sources.

Food For Lovers

The connection of food + libido is fascinating, with many everyday ingredients acting as aphrodisiacs. So if you're low on those love making nutrients, these four indulgences just may turn you into a modern day Casanova! Each provide essential vitamins + minerals that your body needs to function at its sexual best. And of course, wine makes everything better. Enjoy and experiment! xo, Nikki


FIGS (1).jpg

FIGS, whose leaves became clothing in the biblical story of Adam and Eve, are filled with antioxidants, flavonoids, fiber and potassium. They are the ultimate paradox in sensual food. The many seeds represent fertility while their leaves are associated with modesty. Rumored to be Cleopatra’s favorite fruit, the erotically shaped fig has been associated with sexuality in almost every culture. In Ancient Greece, where they were believed to be a symbol of love, the arrival of a new fig crop elicited a copulatory ritual. Try them drizzled with honey for an aphrodisiac flavor sensation.

FIGS.jpg

It’s not hard to understand why HONEY has been considered an aphrodisiac for centuries. The very word “honeymoon” stems from the hope for a sweet marriage. Some say honey’s romantic reputation comes from an ancient custom in which newly married couples drank mead, a fermented beverage made with honey, until the first moon of their new union. Hippocrates prescribed honey for sexual vigor. According to an old French wives’ tale, a bee sting was supposedly like being given a shot of pure aphrodisiac. Honey contains boron, which may regulate hormone levels, and nitric oxide, which is released in the blood during arousal. It’s also a symbol of fertility and procreation in some cultures.

FIGS (2).jpg

Throughout history CHOCOLATE has played many roles, most notably as a symbolic aphrodisiac. Cacao bean pods, the source of chocolate, grow on Theobroma cacao trees, which translates to “cacao, food of the gods.” The Aztecs and Maya used the beans found within the pods as a form of currency. The Maya were known to exchange a few beans for a night of passion at the brothel, while the Aztec emperor Montezuma is rumored to have consumed 50 cups of chocolate each day in order to satisfy his many, many wives. Even the notorious Italian author Casanova mentions chocolate in his memoirs, frequently discussing his habit of consuming cups of chocolate in order to sustain his lustful exploits. So what are chocolate’s passion-inducing qualities?

Scientists have narrowed it down to two key components – phenethylamine and tryptophan. The former is a stimulant that is released in the brain when we fall in love, while the latter helps to produce serotonin, a brain chemical associated with elevated moods and sexual arousal.

FIGS (3).jpg

When Montezuma shared avocados with Cortez and his fellow conquistadors, the Aztecs explained that their name, ahucatl (also meaning testicle), came not only from their physical appearance, but also from their ability to incite sexual passion. The Aztecs believed in the aphrodisiac power of the ahucatl so much that they would not allow virginal women to leave the house while they were being harvested.

When Louis XIV found his aging libido in need of reviving, he turned to the exotic AVOCADO for help, nicknaming the fruit la bonne poire (the good pear). The Sun King may have been on to something, as avocados are rich in vitamin E, which boosts the immune system and helps give skin a youthful appearance.

Hearty + Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Roasted Carrots With Turmeric and Cumin

 Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

RECIPE:  https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015947-roasted-carrots-with-turmeric-and-cumin


 

Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Pine Nuts, and Green Olives

   Cook Beautiful  by Athena Calderone

 Cook Beautiful by Athena Calderone

 The Endless Meal

The Endless Meal

RECIPE:  https://www.theendlessmeal.com/garlic-brown-butter-mashed-cauliflower/ 

 

Garlic Brown Butter Mashed Cauliflower

 Bakers Royale  

Bakers Royale  

 Healthy Natural

Healthy Natural

RECIPE:  http://helloglow.co/healthy-sweet-potato-gratin/

 

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

 Nikki Elkjer

Nikki Elkjer

BONE BROTH

What's the deal with bone broth?

IMG_2590.JPG

Collagen ✔️good for arthritis + joint pain, healthy skin + hair, and a healthy digestive tract.

Amino acids ✔️( glycine, glucosamine, glutamine) influence total body wellness.

Glycine, specifically, aids in digestion, particularly breaking down fats + improving the work of the pancreas and gallbladder.

Glucosamine is awesome for arthritis + joint issues, and it's more naturally absorbed from food sources.

Glutamine is key for gut health because it helps repair the lining of the small intestine.

And it's a non-negotiable in my daily diet.

I use locally sourced bones from Green Fields Farm for the biggest impact on my health. They provide grass-fed cattle + collagen-rich bones like the neck, feet + femur - lending a rich, dense gelatinous finish.

IMG_2591.JPG

SLOW AND LOW POLLO CON COCO

INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp pasture butter like Kerrygold

1 lb. organic, pastured chicken thighs, cut into small chunks

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup organic chicken broth

2 cups broccoli florets, cleaned and trimmed (or broccolini)

1 medium carrot, shaved with potato peeler

½ yellow onion, sliced thin

1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped

1 bag cauliflower rice, steamed and drained

Pink salt

Black pepper

Optional: sprouted pumpkin seeds, avocado slices, roasted coconut flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat a skillet and add 1 tbsp of butter. Add chicken pieces and sauté for 2 minutes. Remove the chicken and place in crockpot.
  2. While the skillet is still hot, add onion. Sauté until caramelized a nice brown color, then add coconut milk and chicken broth. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to get all the drippings and pour over chicken into the crockpot.
  3. Add broccoli and carrots to the crockpot. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over cauliflower rice tossed with chopped cilantro. Top with pumpkin seeds, avocado and roasted coconut flakes for added flavor!

SERVES 4

SHITAKE SHORT RIBS

 Out pastured meet comes from regenerative harvesters Green Field Farms in Rogers, Texas.    

Out pastured meet comes from regenerative harvesters Green Field Farms in Rogers, Texas.    

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp. pasture butter

1 oz. dried shitake or porcini mushrooms, ground fine

1 yellow onion, sliced thin

1 lb. beef short ribs

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

½ cup beef broth

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat some pasture butter in a skillet and brown short ribs. Remove and add onions to the drippings to caramelize (brown), followed by apple cider vinegar and beef broth. Simmer for 1 minute.
  2. Roll short ribs in ground mushrooms and place in slow cooker. Top with onions and drippings.
  3. Braise for 4 hours on high.

NOTES

  1. This recipe works great with pot roast as well! Simply replace the short ribs with a 2 lb. roast.
  2. For the mushrooms, purchase them dehydrated. These can typically be found by the fresh herbs in most grocery stores. You can use a food processor or coffee grinder to pulverize them.

SERVES 4

*This recipe can be used with pot roast or pork belly as well!

SOUTHERN SAUSAGE DROPS

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

2 eggs

2 tbsp pasture butter, melted

1/4 yellow onion, minced

1 - 1.5 lbs. spicy breakfast sausage

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, Parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and melted butter. 
  3. Slowly pour egg and butter mixture over dry ingredients and combine. Add sausage and onion. Mix well.
  4. Roll into 1" balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet or glass dish. For a more rustic look, use a large spoon to scoop and drop the mixture onto the pan.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Gently flip the sausage balls and bake another 5 minutes. Remove and enjoy!

Makes 30 - 40 sausage drops.

SPICY OKRA

IMG_2588.JPG

INGREDIENTS

a tablespoon or so of cooking fat (coconut oil, lard, tallow, almond oil)

10 or so pieces okra, sliced in half length wise

½ jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 stalk green garlic, thinly sliced

1 tbsp toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), lightly crushed

1 tbsp white wine

1 tbsp pasture butter 

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat your cooking fat of choice in a medium skillet. When your pan is really hot, add the okra and saute until they start to caramelize (turn brown). Add a few pinches of Himalayan salt.

2. Add jalapenos; saute for 1 minute. Add green garlic, saute for 30 seconds. Add pumpkin seeds and toss to incorporate. 

3. Deglaze pan with white wine, and reduce until it’s almost dry. Remove pan from heat, and add the butter, tossing and stirring to create a glaze.
 

TUESDAY TOP 5

IMG_0767.JPG

1. Once a week I make this all natural body scrub and use it head to toe in the shower. It’s super simple and completely energizes my skin!

Recipe: 4 activated charcoal tablets, ½ cup ground espresso beans, ¼ cup Himalayan salt, ½ cup warm water.

Open the charcoal capsules and combine ingredients. Careful..it gets a bit messy. Turn the shower on hot so it steams up, step in and scrub your body (yes, I do my face too). Leave the scrub on for about 1 minute, then turn the shower water to a cooler temp and rinse.

Get the activated charcoal I use here: ACTIVATED CHARCOAL

 

IMG_0207.JPG

2. Our family would live barefoot if we could, so when Xero Shoes launched their new trainer, the Prio, it was a no-brainer for us. Matthew and I have loved these lightweight, ground hugging shoes. Quantities are limited so grab them while you can! 

 

3. This one’s for the mama bears. Grab your box of tissue: PARENTING MANIFESTO 

 

IMG_0768.JPG

4. This week I tried my hands at a 48 hour water fast. Loved using the Core Hydration 30 oz. bottle to keep on track! The perfect pH of 7.4 makes it just the right amount of electrolytes and minerals your body needs. CORE HYDRATION

 

5. Looking for an easy way to track your health data? Cronometer is my GO to app - it's free too! Log daily diet, exercise, biometrics and more all from your phone: DOWNLOAD THE APP

IMG_0281.JPG

Is there something you’d like to see featured in the weekly top 5? I’d love to hear! Hit me up at atxfitlife@gmail.com

Have a question for me? Let’s chat! www.nikkifitatx.com/asknikkiaquestion

Never miss an update! Subscribe to have the Tuesday Top 5 delivered straight to your inbox.  https://www.nikkifitatx.com/subscribe/

REST DAY

IMG_9639.JPG

It's not glamorous...but it's necessary.

Between workouts, you have to take time off to allow your muscles to recover, or you won’t benefit from all of your hard work. The recovery phase is when your body rebuilds and re-energizes it’s muscles.

But sometimes your body doesn’t heal quite as fast as you’d like it to. So what you do on the days that you don’t work out is just as important as what you do when you are at the gym or pressing play at home.

 

Here are a few things that I do to help my body recover, and ultimately become stronger.

1. Foam Rolling

Rolling out muscles with a foam roller can help remove knots and prevent muscle imbalances and weaknesses. One of the basic, most obvious benefits is increased blood flow throughout the body, better movement and increased range of motion. These benefits can decrease the chance of injury and decrease recovery time after a workout. While not exactly the most comfortable, definitely worth it.

2. Hydrate

Exercising while dehydrated can cause greater damage to muscles and decrease the body’s ability to repair itself. Drink water after your workout to help rid your body of toxins and prevent dehydration. This is very important because dehydrated muscles can quickly become painful muscles. What you drink today is what hydrates you tomorrow!! Avoid sugary drinks and go for something like this Sports Performance option: HYDRATE

3. Soak in Epsom Salts

A friend introduced me to this years ago and it's a ritual in our home!! Epsom salts remove toxins, reduce inflammation, boosts magnesium and helps you sleep better!!

4. Stretch

Stretching is one of the best things you can do to aid muscle recovery and help prevent future injuries. Stretching on your off days can be very beneficial. Find a mobility class or try a virtual platform like ROMWOD.

EATING TO AVOID INFLAMMATION

Gradually eliminating these foods and focusing on a "base" diet will decrease inflammation in the body, especially the gut:

  • Sugar
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Soy & processed soy products
  • Alcohol
  • Grains
  • Dairy such as milk, yogurt, creamer, cottage cheese, ice cream,
  • cheese (not including real butter) UNLESS it's pastured.
  • Toxins such as artificial colors, sulfites, nitrates, preservatives, etc.
  • Vegetable oils such as canola oil, corn oil and soybean oil
  • Gluten
  • Carbonated beverages, soda & diet soda
  • Fried foods
  • Processed lunch meats

What is a "base" diet?

A base functional diet provides a structural framework for you to clean up your current diet. The foods we will use have been selected because they are nutritionally dense, meeting your body's needs while simultaneously eliminating the most inflammatory foods.

It provides a starting point from which observations and identification of food intolerance can be more easily made. It just helps us note the effects of individual foods to help you decide whether they are problematic or not.

Start with a menu like FODMOP to help eliminate trigger foods: 

Keep It Clean

IMG_6266.JPG

3 ways you can stay on track with a clean, higher fat lifestyle:

1. Choose high quality ingredients. Unprocessed  food is delicious, and if you purchase high quality, you don't have to doctor it up too much. You can get away with salt and pepper alone on a nice cut of steak!

2. Limit the ingredients you use in a meal. The more ingredients you add, the quicker the carb count adds up. Your meals don't need to have a bazillion ingredients, take hours of your time to make, or require obscure ingredients that are difficult to find at your local grocery store. Just keep it clean and simple.

3. You don't have to fatty-fy all of your favorite junk food dishes to eat a higher fat diet. For example, going gluten free doesn't mean you replace all your gluten products with non-gluten processed items. Instead focus on the source: pastured dairy and eggs, grass fed + finished meats, organic produce + veggies.

Have more questions? Just reach out!  

 https://www.nikkifitatx.com/subscribe/