Sun Sun Sun!

New Englanders have been complaining about the winter forever.  Even friends of mine in far off lands have commented to me on our struggle against the fluffy white.  Attractive happy woman joying in beautiful summer day.

Not anymore folks! The sun is out in Massachusetts and we’re soaking it up. We’re out in force, filling up the parks and playgrounds, riding bikes, hiking, and playing in the ocean well before we really should. The sun makes all the difference here, and I think we do spring better than anyone- we deserve it, right?!

Yet heading out into the sun can be complicated.  On one hand, the sun is a source of much-needed vitamin D and generally makes us feel good.  On the other hand, folks can easily burn when it gets strong enough.  While burning isn’t good for anyone, some sun exposure is great for health.

In order to limit burning, I suggest getting early season sun so that your skin has a base tan during periods of low intensity.  As the sun gets stronger, limit sun exposure to the mornings and late afternoons always avoiding the sun midday.

Yet it’s hard to avoid burning at the beach and light-skinned folks can have a hard time even on a normal afternoon.  For those situations I recommend either clothing and sunscreens where your clothes don’t cover.  Please remember, not all sunscreens are made equal!  Remember that your skin is not a barrier and so anything you put on it goes directly into your body.  I suggest putting nothing on your body that you wouldn’t/couldn’t eat.

Fear not- you don’t have to make sunscreen yourself, rather there are several brands that fit the bill. The place to go is the Environmental Working Group (EWG).  They’ve done a great job vetting the hundreds of brands out there, and they’ve ranked them all.

Here is a list of the brands that meet the EWG criteria.

Here is a list of brands that you should definitely avoid.

Do you research and enjoy those great outdoors!

Happy Winter Season To You!

It’s the winter/holiday season, and many of us have a lot to be thankful for.  I’m tempted to even make a list, but I’ll spare you those (nauseating?!) details of my family, work and general happiness.  Suffice it to say that I’m truly blessed and look forward to an exciting 2015.

At the same time, many of us continue to struggle with a wide range of challenges.   In the nutrition field, I know many people living uncomfortably with health problems they have a hard time solving.  çocuk mutluluğu

I also know many people who have had amazing successes.  This is why I love what I do; the transformation that people can undergo by changing the way they eat can be huge.

Just last week, I was surprised by a Facebook post by one my clients.  I was amazed at her generosity, and I’m of course thrilled about the success she’s had from her hard work.  In case you missed it, here it is from Jenna who’s a Registered Dietician and works at her own practice, Whole-istic Living.

Testimonial Thursday: I have had a condition called Oral Allergy Syndrome since I was a kid, and many new food allergies/intolerances started developing over the last 5-6 years. It has been extremely uncomfortable and limiting for me. That said, I started working with Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant Gena Mavuli at Nutrition Basics for the past 9 months and have following the Gut & Psychology Syndrome (“GAPS”) diet, with Gena’s ongoing guidance and support. This diet is extremely unorthodox but is backed up by a lot of science, and it addresses the root causes of many underlying immune-related problems. It is NOT a fad and it’s not for everyone.

A year ago I had baseline allergy skin testing and blood work done at Allergy Physicians in Brookline, and this afternoon I went for follow-up skin testing at Lahey Clinic in Burlington.

I am so happy to announce that in the past year I have gotten rid of 7 food/environmental allergies! The nurses were shocked… my allergist (an MD) at Lahey, however, knew all about the GAPS diet and said he is in full support. It’s been a challenge, especially being a dietitian who didn’t learn a single thing about GAPS in undergrad or any clinical rotations…but I don’t regret any of it for a second. Working with Gena has turned my world upside down in a good way, and I am so tdo more of what makes you happyhankful. I plan to continue going down this path until all of the allergies are gone based on skin testing and bloodwork. Thanks Gena, and to my family & friends – especially Nancy Molea Volpe and Mike Marchesi for your incredible, unconditional love and support.

Life sure is sweet. Supporting people on their road to health makes me happy, so I’m going to do more of that in 2015!
  • If you want to move forward with your health, contact me.  Also, gift certificates ARE available for those tough-to-buy-for people in your life!
  • Don’t forget about the Real Food Transformation eCourse.  Purchase now in time for the holidays!
Be well, everyone.  I wish you lots of peace and love this holiday season, and always.
Gena

It is time to drink THIS!

EggnogOooh, I love it!  We all do around here.  A fantastic, delicious, nourishing breakfast, snack or general life-improver that homemade eggnog truly is.

Packed with all the benefits of pastured eggs, (B-complex vitamins, choline, biotin, selenium, good fats, good cholesterol, vitamins A,D & protein), this is a nutrition powerhouse.  Heads up though, all eggs aren’t created equal and your supermarket vegetarian eggs don’t have nearly the quantity or quality of nutrients as a pastured egg.

Wait, what?!   Chickens aren’t vegetarians?!  No people, they’re not.  Chickens naturally are scavengers that eat bugs and grubs, worms, insects- all the things that make their eggs super nutritious.  So get out the supermarket and find a farm near you!  If you need help, contact your local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter leader who can help you fine high quality goods near you.

In the meantime, click here to see the fabulous eggnog recipe!

It CAN be done.

Some days are amazing.  Some weeks, months, years, lives are amazing.  Lately, I’ve been surrounded by people doing amazing things with their health, and I’m inspired.  Attractive happy woman joying in beautiful summer day.

As many of you know, I consult with clients on improving nutrition to help or heal a wide variety of health problems.  Many of my clients have autoimmune diseases, though certainly not all.  Here, I’m sharing two lovely stories of success on their journey, one a client of mine and one not.

This week, I was at a pot-luck and was talking to a woman who has suffered from Hashimoto’s disease for about 15 years.  Now in her early-50s, she’d been on a health journey for years.  As a professional in the field of alternative medicine, she’s been aware of plenty of ways to work at and improve body functions.   Yet still, 10 years into her disease she wasn’t improving and so she decided to go on the GAPS diet.  When I first met her last year, she casually mentioned that she had Hashimoto’s and was working through some things.  She expressed some happiness with the results of the GAPS diet, but also was hoping some other things would have improved.  At that point, she’d been on the diet for four years.

When I spoke to her this week, she’d been on the diet five years.  She’d just recently gotten her blood tests back from her doctor, and it turns out that she no longer has Hashimoto’s disease.  Let me say that another way: a healing nutritional protocol has healed this woman of her autoimmune disease!

This is unprecedented in the medical world, folks.  When one is diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, they should expect to have it for life.  Yet here is one example of how diligence and hard work can pay off.  This woman has also worked on detoxifying heavy metals and other issues, but had her digestion not been strengthened by the GAPS diet, her body would have never have been able to handle the metal detox protocols.  I’m certain that other GAPS practitioners see such rewards often; this diet has truly helped thousands around the world.Kombucha

Next, meet a young woman in her mid-20s.  She’s young, active, and works as a Registered Dietician.  She’s busy, social and yet dealing with health issues.  Since her youth, she’s always had digestive issues going on.  From acid reflux to allergies, to problems with her esophagus.  More recently, she’s noticed allergic reactions to foods.  It seemed to her that every month she added another food to her list of allergies.  Her training had not helped her learn how to deal with allergies or leaky gut.

I began working with her in the winter of 2014 when she began the GAPS diet.  It was a hard road — she had to navigate a busy summer with lots of festivities on a relatively strict diet.  I’m happy to say that a few weeks ago she ate the first apple she’d eaten in five years, with no reactions.  Her digestive system is healing, her body is not attacking food or itself, and she’s on her way to a full recovery. She’s done a fantastic, amazing job with this diet thus far and is reaping the rewards.

To see such clear improvements after just six months on the diet is fantastic, though not always the case.  A whole variety of factors go into how fast or slow one heals.  Age matters; young people heal faster.  My son, at six months old, healed his eczema in under a year.  The 52 year-old woman took five years on the diet to reverse Hashimoto’s disease.   Every individual has a unique biology that will effect how long it will take to heal.

I have to say, I haven’t met anyone yet, whether my client or not, who hasn’t seen some improvements result from an improved diet, whether they do just basic improvements or something more drastic such as GAPS.   Whatever your issue, your meals can help you.
Food people, it’s all about the food.  Eat well, BE well, LIVE well.

Click here if you want to get started on improving your diet, step by step. 

 

 

 

You need to make these.

squash squaresAwesome.  These are just lovely, delicious treats that get squash into your family in a new way.  Inspired by my friend Jenna’s recipe over at Whole-istic Living, these little squares unexpectedly made my day.

I had leftover baked squash in the fridge and a whole bunch of nuts.  I scoured my recipe books, and didn’t find anything good.  Without internet access for the morning (what horror!) I was unable to look up a recipe online, yet I remembered Jenna’s so I tried to recreate it from memory.  Here’s what I ended up with and loved.

They’re sweet, but not too much.  They don’t pretend to be a brownie or kitchen sink bar.  They are what they are: maple-syrup sweetened buttery squash sitting nicely on a rich pecan crust and topped with crispy flaked coconut.  Rich and delicious as a stand alone healthy snack full of a balance of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, protein, and trace vitamins and minerals.

These were a hit in my house.  My kids don’t usually eat squash or nuts, yet my 4 year old loved the top, and my 2 year old loved the nut crust.  Together it makes a great after-school snack, and they’re also firm enough to withstand lunch-box travel.

Perhaps the best part of this is that it uses only 1 piece of kitchen equipment!  Hurrah for easy cleanup!

Enjoy!

Crust

2 cups pecans

1 pastured egg

1 tbsp organic butter

pinch of salt

Squash Filling

4 cups cooked/skinned butter nut squash

2 pastured eggs

1/2 cup of real maple syrup (you can substitute raw honey if you prefer)

4 tbsp pasture butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 pinch of cloves

pinch of salt

For the crust:  Put nuts in a food processor and grind until smooth.  Add in the egg & salt and grind some more.   With your clean fingers, spread the butter around an 9 x13 pyrex baking dish until it’s well covered.   Then spread the pecan mixture out evenly over the butter.

For the filling: Put all of the squash into your food processor.  I didn’t bother to clean mine after the pecans, as I figured a few stray pecan bits in the filling would be just fine.  Once the squash is pureed, add in the eggs, syrup, salt, cinnamon & cloves.  Mix until blended.   Spread evenly over the top of the pecan crust, and sprinkle unsweetened coconut flakes over the whole thing.  Bake at 3:50 for an hour.  Baking this low and slow will allow the squash to firm-up without burning the crust or coconut.

Let cool and slice into bars.  These keep very well in the fridge.

Want more recipes and ideas on how to get healthy foods into your life?  Check out the great deal I’m offering only through Friday!

 

 

 

 

Let the Kids Get HUNGRY.

Wait, what?  Aren’t hungry kids emotional, dramatic, and hard to control?  Is she crazy?!   Isn’t childhood hunger a local problem, as well as a global issue?  Aren’t well-nourished children more likely to do well in school?Adorable baby girl eating fresh vegetables

Yes, yes, yes.   Now let me explain.

As you might have realized by now, I feed my children well.  We buy high quality meats and vegetables.  We cook creative foods and require them to try everything.  We involve them in the cooking process to get them interested.   But still, sometimes my kids are picky.  They won’t want to try something if it the smell is too different, or they don’t like the color of a sauce, for example.

The other night, however.  Something amazing happened.  It was time for the kids to take their fermented cod liver oil (FCLO), which is caramel flavored and I cover with raw honey, and they “chase” with a chocolate chip.  That’s how chocolate chips are distributed around here, after FCLO.  My son hemmed and hawed, not wanting to eat it.  But my daughter eagerly said, as her brother glared at his full spoon, “my turn, my turn!”  She gobbled up the spoonful of oil and honey, popped in her chip and said “more, more!”   She wanted another spoonful of FCLO, which I readily provided.  This has never happened before.  Ever.

As she wandered away happily, I stood there in awe.  How?  What?  Then I thought about it.  She hadn’t eaten in about 4 hours.  I was about 30 minutes away from serving dinner, so I didn’t want them to eat anything.  So my beautiful two year old, in her youthful wisdom, took whatever nourishment she could get.  Amazing.

She also proceeded to eat more dinner then I’ve ever seen.  No complaints about the leftover sauce (which was shunned the day before), or the veggies she’d previously never tried.   And just when we were out of leftovers, they asked for cheese.  What?  More?!  Yes, more nourishing food!  That little body had had a busy day, not enough of a nap, and needed nourishment.  That I waited four hours, didn’t give them a snack after school, and provided healthy options led to some amazing and beautiful food choices.

From now on, I’m going to let my kids get hungry so I can watch their little bodies gobble up nourishing foods at mealtime.

What are nourishing foods, you ask?   Do you think you might need a bit of a crash-course in how to feed your children well, and easily.  My new eCourse does just that.  It takes you from the harmful habits of the standard American diet through the process of eating healthy, whole foods.  Step by step, this guide will get your diet where you want it to be.   Through October 31, I’m offering an amazing discount so take advantage!  Here’s the link again!

 

 

Ta Da!

Real Food Transformation ImageHave you ever worked hard on a project, focused time energy and funds to something that you truly believed in?  If so, then hopefully you’re also familiar with that giant sigh of relief when it’s done.

That’s where I’m at folks, I’ve completed my Real Food Transformation eCourse and it’s already changing the way people look at food.  Through videos, documents for you to print and use, journal assignments, and daily emails, this course will help you change the way you look at food and your body.  This course will walk you at your own pace, step-by-step through changing your diet and changing your life.

I’m in that lovely place of having a finished product, wanting to share it with the world so badly that I’m nearly giving it away.  If you take this course with me one-on-one, you’ll pay over $400.  However, I’m offering the eCourse at the incredibly discounted rate of $70.   That’s right, just $70 until October 31 when the price will go up to the regular (and still low) price of $95.

Share this with your friends and family.  This is an awesome way for anyone who’s interested in nutrition to get started on healthy eating.   Join me for the ride!

 

 

 

IMG_1385

Bread, homemade and delicious

IMG_1389This is nice, sitting down in the quiet morning to write.  In the oven is a loaf of bread, another on the counter waiting to go in which will be followed by a quiche to make the most of such a hot oven and the energy required to heat it.   This tea is in hand as I fight the tail-end of a spring cold.  I quickly fly through emails, organize, and relax.  I haven’t done this in a while, but the impetus is 2-fold.  First, a new puppy which has come into our lives and wakes even earlier than the kids, and an indulgent new habit of baking bread.

But wait, why am I baking bread?  Aren’t all carbohydrates bad?  Isn’t that what everyone from Dr. Oz to the Paleo craze is telling us?!  Well, the answer is complex, so let me help clarify.

Carbohydrates are not bad, rather they’re a necessary source of energy.  In fact, a body fed absolutely zero carbohydrates will sooner or later go into starvation mode and feed on stored fat and muscle for energy.  While certain degrees of this can be helpful for weight loss and other issues such as epilepsy, a long-term burning of fat and muscle is not recommended nor healthy for most of the population.

Carbohydrates are found in fruits and vegetables in addition to grains.  Clients of mine who are on the most strict of regimens due to digestive disorders consume lots and lots of high-carbohydrate vegetables such as butternut squash to maintain energy levels, without which they may have a hard time.   I do suggest that fruits and vegetables are the main source of carbohydrates in one’s diet, but that does not mean there isn’t a place for grains.

Let’s simplify:  Some people can tolerate grains.  Some people can tolerate gluten.  Some people can tolerate more than others.  Not everyone can tolerate grains or gluten in any amount. Uh oh… maybe that’s not as clear-cut as I’d hoped!  This is because the issues is complex and every person and their digestive systems are different.   Are you unsure if you’re able to tolerate grains or gluten?  Contact me and I’ll help you find out.

What if you know you functionIMG_1398 fine on grains and gluten, have no digestive troubles, and/or you simply don’t want to or can’t give it up grains entirely?    Here are some basic guidelines.   I talk about everything on a spectrum, with one end being the pie-in-the-sky goal which isn’t always attainable, and the other end is the I’d-rather-starve-than-eat-that quality.   For bread, here’s what the priorities would be:

  1. Always organic flour (no GMO wheat, thank you very much)
  2. True sourdough or sprouted grains, which means no yeast in the ingredients.
  3. Whole wheat, at least partially
  4. Fresh from the bakery section, not on the middle aisles of the grocery store
  5. Should have three ingredients only:  wheat, salt, water.
  6. Homemade is the best way to ensure all of the above!

Now, I realize it can be hard to hit all of these marks.  Here’s a tip: if I’m not making it at home, I always ensure I get the top two on my list, and the rest tend to happen automatically.

Why sourdough or sprouted grains, you ask?  All grains contain phytates or phytic acid, which is the plant’s defense against consumption.  This makes it hard for humans and our one measly stomach to break down (cows have 4 sections in their stomach to break down grains!).  In addition, phytic acid is a nutrient inhibitor so when we don’t break down the phytic acid, it prevents other nutrients from being absorbed by the body.   If we’re going to be eating grains, then we definitely want to be reaping the nutrients from the bread and also from the other foods we’re consuming along side it, so I always recommend either true sourdough bread or sprouted grain bread, both process break down the phytic acid and renders the final product more digestible anIMG_1385d nutritious.  This is true for ALL grains including those in processed foods such as crackers and goldfish, so it’s worth paying attention to how-much grains is going into you or your family.

As a rule of thumb in my house, we aim to eat grains no more than 1x per day.  This gives our digestive tracts a break and also ensures we focus our meals on more nutrient dense foods.   While this can be challenging at times, a little planning goes a long way, as do leftovers from dinner.   These days, that one grain is a thick slice of homemade bread slathered with butter.

Chocolate Class, May 18!

This is the class you’ve been waiting for!  You’ll learn healthy ways to make one of the world’s most cherished foods.  All of the chocolate will be sugar free- and no artificial sweeteners either.chocolate

We’ll make both dark and white chocolate, and have lots of fun and samples along the way.   This will be a hands-on class so you can experience how easily healthy treats can be made.

As usual, this class will have nutritional information discussions so you can feel good about what you’re eating and help spread the word of good nutrition.

Class will be held a private residence in Westwood, MA and space is limited.  Please sign up by paying in advance here.  After sign-up, the address will be sent to you.

May 18, 2:30- 4:30 pm.

Cost: $45 in advance, $50 at the door

Class will be taught by Gena Mavuli a Traditional Foods Teacher and Nutrition Consultant serving the Boston area. Gena believes in fabulous real food to nourish the body, mind and soul, while she supports people on their journey to complete health.
http://www.holisticnutritionbasics.com

April classes- check ’em out!

You haven’t heard?!  I’m teaming up with NOFA to offer a series of classes below the usual market rate!  For $35 each class or $95 for the 4-part series, you’ll be able to attend these hands-on classes, choc-full of nutritional information and the nuances cooking.

Classes will be held in Hyde Park, and there are a limited number of seats: you must register in advance!  http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/597294

April 1, 6-8pmnutrition basics-0075
Salad Dressings & Marinades
Making homemade salads and marinades is a great way to boost the nutrient content of your meals. By capitalizing on the natural enzymes in your foods, you’ll boost your immunity and health with a few quick and simple recipes.

April 8, 6-8pm
Enzymatic Sauces
Sauces are often overlooked, but when prepared correctly, they aid in digestion, increase nutrient absorption, are full of live enzymes, are nutrient dense, and add valuable co-factors to your meal.

April 15, 6-8pm
Beans & Grains

Beans and grains can be a healthy part of a diet, but if prepared incorrectly, they can be a source of gastric distress and lead to a host of health problems.   In this class you’ll learn how to properly prepare beans and grains so that your body can absorb all the nutrition possible from your meals.

April 29, 6-8pm
Culturing Dairy
This class will go over the ins and outs of making yogurt, kefir, and sour cream in your own home.   You’ll leave this class with the skills and materials you need to get started immediately!

To register, click here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/597294