Foraging for Food - Nutrients are not only in your grocery store

The natural botanical world has always been intriguing to me. Farming, or agriculture as we know it, is still a relatively new concept. Before livestock and crops, we were hunters and gathers. However, the knowledge of what plants we gathered has somewhat been lost to history. That is not to say we do not know, it is simply no longer common knowledge whereas this knowledge used to be key to our survival. Why is it we don’t forage for our food and medicine anymore? Why is it we feel the need to terraform habitats and replace them with fields for crops? Simply put, it’s convenience- more food for “less” work. Agriculture has allowed humans to stay in one place and build settlements, cities and civilizations, paving the way for modern life.

However, this did not come without a price. We now live on this precious planet rather than within it. We traded quality for quantity. While early farmers concentrated on high-carbohydrate crops like rice and potatoes, the mix of wild plants and animals in the diets of surviving hunter-gatherers provides more protein and a better balance of other nutrients. Crops are also subject to disease, and when affected can cause situations like the potato famine of the 1840s - killing hundreds of thousands. Today just three high-carbohydrate plants - wheat, rice, and corn - provide the bulk of the calories consumed by the human species, yet each one is deficient in certain vitamins or amino acids essential to life.

So when we talk about what to forage, which plants are we talking about? Believe it or not, the common dandelion was actually brought to America due to its abundant nutrients and medicinal properties. It’s a great source of Vitamin A, B-6, C and K, protein, calcium, iron, copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Now we just see it as a weed; it’s all about perception. Those orange carrots you eat - descendants of plants like Queen Anne’s Lace- easily and commonly found along most roadsides in this area (not to be confused with poison hemlock- always be 110% sure what a plant is before you attempt to use it!)

If you are interested in knowing more about the wild plants that surround us, I highly recommend this website to get started: It covers topics including Proper Identification of Wild Edibles, Sustainable Foraging, Foraging Safely, Start With Common Plants, and Improve Your Foraging Skills. If nothing else, enjoy the walk outside in the sunshine! Happy Foraging!

Food for thought:

Finding your why

Check out the latest Lunch and Learn the Facebook Client Club! Then come back and check out this referenced video for even more tools and inspiration. 

Happy January, welcome to 2020! Brand new year, brand new decade.

Health is more than just about the food and exercise. Let me explain what I mean. Our body is a whole person of interworking systems, which is why when it comes to your health your body is not a mistake. Dramatic pause ...

This is the time of year we all choose to be better, to do better. And really, it’s great that we’re wishing to invest in ourselves. This wish is much needed, as we’ve seen over the last century there has been a dramatic shift in the number of acute to chronic diseases. Acute diseases are those that are “brief”, short in duration, a hospital visit for an infection that is quickly treated, such as pneumonia. The latter, chronic diseases, are those that are persistent or otherwise long-lasting in their effects. Examples of these include, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, cancer and depression.

In America nearly 1 in every 2 people is living with a chronic condition. In the hospital I work at, I see patients on a daily basis being treated acutely for their chronic condition(s). By this, I mean the hospitalist will treat the patient to ensure they survive, but simply does not have the resources to teach the patient to thrive. Enter, functional medicine nutrition therapy.

The Integrative & Functional Medicine Nutrition Therapy (IFMNT) radial is a tool used to help assess clients. One of the main areas of focus is lifestyle, within lifestyle includes twelve separate areas, food being only one of them! Although each area has a much more expansive effect than what I’m able to describe in a two-page paper. The purpose of me sharing these areas of focus is so that you understand the complexity of our bodies. So that when you begin to make lifestyle changes, you slowly piece each of these together as you strive for true, long-lasting health.

We’ll begin with our environment. This topic is broad and may include anything from the round up you spray on your lawn that trickles into our water system that you drink, to the products you put on your face. It’s been said that the average woman leaves her home in the morning with over 200 different chemicals being applied to her body. Many of these chemicals may be harmful and foreign to our human bodies. Our skin is in fact, the largest organ in our body, and no doubt absorbs what we put on it!

Similar to what we put on our bodies, is what we put in our bodies. This includes supplements, or perhaps medications we take. How many pills or powders do you take each day? Did you have testing done to give reason for taking them? Do you still need them, or perhaps were they only necessary to pull you out of a hole? It’s always good to reassess supplements, because with any benefit there’s the potential for imbalances, or competition with another nutrient. Supplements absolutely have their time and place but be sure you’re not just continuing on a path blindly, and always opt for the food first approach!

Work on Compounds

IMG 20190316 162836Compound movements lay the foundation for strength training programs. You probably didn’t even realize you were using them until now. Compound lifts are multi-joint movements like squats, dead lifts, lunges, rows, etc. It is important to emphasize on these lifts as well as incorporating isolation exercises to target specific muscle groups.

Compound lifts use the main muscles in the body and are a great tool to gain strength, cut down on time in the gym, and it also helps burn more calories. These multi-limb movements can also help improve overall balance and coordination. Isolation (focusing on one muscle group) exercises help build strength and muscle in specific targeted areas whereas compound lifts focus on overall strength. Both are very beneficial within a workout program so utilizing both can make for an overall well rounded workout!

New Year, New Goals

January is a time to think about goals in the New Year! Check out our latest Lunch and Learn on the Facebook Client Club for great strategies for setting and succeeding at goals.