Choosing Health’s Blog

How I healed my back for $10

In 1997, I was taking a dance class at UCSC when my instructor pointed out to me that my left hip was higher than my right. She didn’t know it at the time, but she’d made a vital discovery that started me down the path to unlocking a major stressor in my body.

Fast forward to 2016. I’ve visited back specialists, chiropractors, physical therapists, shiatsu practitioners, acupuncturists, Feldenkrais practitioners, bodyworkers, rolfers–all of whom were amazing and added key pieces to this difficult puzzle–but no one could (or would) answer the big question on my mind: Is this posture imbalance something I can correct (a functional imbalance) or not (a structural imbalance)? I was told early on that I had a slight scoliosis and that my right leg appeared to be shorter than my left leg…but that could just be my body’s way of compensating. Through a customized fitness program and a lot of Egoscue postural therapy, I was able to improve dramatically and stay mostly pain-free (prior to that, in my early 20’s, I had daily back pain)…but it always felt like I was hanging on by a thread and that I had to work really hard to maintain that progress. And then more recently, it became impossible.

My neck started feeling tense all the time and seemed to slip out of alignment hours after getting it adjusted. I decided to go back to my rolfer and see if she could shed some light on why my body was no longer holding herself in alignment. She looked at my spine and posture and not only was my neck WAY out of alignment, but so was my pelvis, back, and shoulders. I reminded her of what I’d observed over the years and the unanswered question about my leg length and she placed a booklet under my right foot. Except for my neck still being slightly out of alignment, EVERYTHING else was aligned! I left her office and bought an insert for my right shoe. I put it on in the store and walked around. It felt SO weird! But after about 20 minutes, I started to feel great. My energy increased, I felt stronger in my body…I wanted to move, to dance around! It was a major A-HA moment. The following week I met with an osteopath and he confirmed that I do in fact have a structural leg length difference and that my right lower leg is 1/3 of an inch shorter than my left. My body was working to compensate all these years more or less successfully. All the tools I learned along the way still hold value and while I wish I’d gotten “the answer” a lot sooner, I am so grateful to have it now. The greatest lesson here was to firsthand experience how depleting biomechanical stress can be to a person’s energy and wellbeing. Most people that I work with have functional imbalances–they are correctable. I wanted to share my story to encourage the investigative process for anyone who is dealing with symptoms and thinking that they should just give up.

We all have different health journeys, but help is out there and the body has an amazing capacity for healing if you remove the obstacles blocking its way. Don’t give up! If you have questions or comments, please email me at rebecca@choosinghealthnow.com. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Meatball Soup

This recipe is very customizable! Make about 6 quarts of beef stock in advance (cook beef bones in a large pot of water for 12 hours with a little vinegar or lemon juice to help release the minerals from the bones).

Use whatever blend of ground meats you prefer (beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork, buffalo, venison, ostrich, goat). I used the following ingredients, but this soup is delicious no matter what!

:)

Ingredients for meatballs:

Mix the following in a large bowl:

  • 1.5 pounds grass-fed beef
  • 1 pound pastured pork
  • 1 pound ground “pet food” (ground beef and ground organ meat)
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 T italian herbs (blend of rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil)
  • 1 T red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed
  • Optional, egg to bind the meatballs if they seem dry when you are forming them.

Form golfball sized meatballs and drop into soup stock, medium heat. Add a large can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, 1 bunch of italian parsley (finely chopped), chives or onion and garlic to your tasting preference (it’s also perfectly tasty without them). Add your favorite vegetables, chopped into bite-sized pieces and cook for 45 mins. For the last 10 minutes its cooking, add some spinach or other leafy greens (kale, chard, mustard greens, turnip greens, beet greens).

Veggies: 2 large carrots, 4 stalks celery, 1 zucchini, 1 large red bell pepper, mushrooms.

Serve in a bowl and top with parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Food, Mood & Your Sex Drive

Check out this interview to learn more about the importance of your diet on influencing healthy hormones, mood, energy, and sex drive!

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Bec’s Cocoa Tonic

I’m sharing with you my favorite morning beverage recipe. I love this soothing drink for several reasons: it is high in digestible protein, soothing to the mucosal barrier (and therefore awesome for the immune system and for reducing inflammation), a good source of minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron; rich in important fat-soluble vitamins & fatty acids like CLA; oh and it is also delicious!

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of hot water
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 2 tsp-1 T Great Lakes Gelatin (beef or pork)
  • 1 T cocoa powder (I prefer Navitas Naturals)
  • 1 T raw butter (you can use unsalted organic butter, but raw butter has a very different flavor and provides additional benefits to the immune system-beneficial enzymes & bacteria)
  • Optional: sweetener such as stevia or honey

How To:

  1. Add gelatin powder to a large mug and cover with cold water so that it dissolves completely (this is important! Otherwise you’ll have a very clumpy drink…you may need to mix with a spoon to make sure all the gelatin powder is covered with water).
  2. Bring 3/4 cup of water to a boil.
  3. Add cocoa powder to the mug.
  4. Once the water boils, add to the mug and stir thoroughly to mix the cocoa and gelatin.
  5. Add the raw butter and stir well. Enjoy!

 

Eat Like A Goddess

Join nutritionist & author Rebecca Hazelton and Naturopathic Doctor Holly German for this fun and informative class complete with hands on food demos and tasty samples! Register online here.

  • Wed, Feb 10th@ 6pm-7:30pm~West side New Leaf.

Nutricious Delicious

Learn how to:

  • Nourish your inner Goddess with healthy and delectable meals and snacks
  • Balance your hormones with nutrient-dense foods, herbs, and spices
  • Keep your moods steady with the right ratio of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates
  • Experience joy in taking care of yourself in the most fundamental way: eating well

Banana Custard

This dessert is FANTASTIC! Five wholesome ingredients, simple prep, and amazing taste make this dessert one you’ve got to try. Thank you The Sour Path Is The Sweetest! We will be cooking this in Paleo-inspired Desserts Cooking Class this Wed, April 1st at 6pm at the west side New Leaf so come join us for a taste test.

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Ingredients for custard:

  • 3/4 cup salted pasture butter (OR 3/4 cup coconut oil + about 3/8 tsp salt)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 pastured eggs

How To:

  1. Warm the honey and butter until just melted.
  2. Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on high until blended and foamy (30-60 secs). Mixture will be thin.
  3. Pour into a greased 9″ round pan and bake at 275 degrees for 85-90 minutes, or until the center is set and barely starting to brown. 
  4. While cooking the custard will puff up, but it will deflate when you take it out of the oven. 
  5. Let cool before cutting and serve with whipped cream or coconut cream if desired. YUM!

2015 Love Your Body, Love Your Health Wellness Challenge!

Woo hoo! It’s the time of year everyone is looking for some way to turn over a new leaf and strive for excellence. I invite you to join me in this opportunity to give your body what it deserves!!

All you need to do to participate is follow the guidelines below (there’s no official enrollment or fees involved). Publicly committing to the challenge via my blog here or on Facebook is greatly encouraged since it not only solidifies your commitment, but may motivate others to join you in this worthwhile journey.

Why take this wellness challenge?

Because without good health, you won’t be fully enjoying all the rest of the great stuff life has to offer. Plus this challenge rocks and you’ll feel good about yourself.

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The details

I’m inviting you to take a “Love your body, love your health” wellness challenge! From Jan 1st till Valentine’s Day (aw, how sweet), commit to:

  1. Eating foods and amounts of foods that you know are nourishing, satisfying, and don’t sabotage your health. And be honest. You’re doing this for you, after all.
  2. Incorporate movement you truly enjoy at least twice a week.
  3. Get 6-8 hrs of sleep every night.
  4. Drink 20+ ounces of clean water daily.
  5. Say 1 affirmation daily (i.e., “Wow, my butt is looking pretty good today” or “I scrambled that egg like a pro”).

For some of you, this will be easy and for others, incredibly challenging. Do it anyway.
Please post your comments or questions here on the blog or on Facebook. Let’s support each other and do something truly nice for ourselves at the same time!

P.S. You can start this challenge right this minute even though the official start date isn’t till the 1st.

Enjoy feeling healthy and awesome! 🙂

Anytime, Anywhere Yoga Practice

Despite the many excuses we can make about not exercising, the Five Tibetans is a convenient daily ritual that navigates around the most common excuses.

The Five Tibetans, also known as the Five Tibetan Rites, are a series of five continuous movements done repeatedly and reported to have started 2,500 years ago. Performing these rites on a daily basis was/is believed to restore health and thought to be a fountain of youth.

camel

Peter Kelder wrote a book about the Five Tibetan Rites in 1939, The Eye of Revelation, after learning of a group of old men who were rumored to become inexplicably healthy and strong resulting from practicing these rites that kept their chakras tuned.  Chakras are the centers of the body that regulate the flow of life force (or prana). The lamas (Tibetan or Mongolian Buddhist monks) said to teach the rites to the men described the chakras and the inherent benefit of the rites as:

“seven spinning, “psychic vortexes” within the body: two of these are in the brain, one at the base of the throat, one on the right side of the body in the vicinity of the liver, one in the reproductive anatomy, and one in each knee. As we grow older, the spin rate of the vortexes diminishes, resulting in “ill-health”. However, the spin rate of these vortexes can be restored by performing the Five Rites daily, resulting in improved health.”

 I learned of the Tibetan Rites in Nancy Gerstein’s book Guiding Yoga’s Light. She writes,

“The Five Tibetans are a series of exercises that are said to hold the key to lasting youth, health, and vitality because they keep the chakras spinning.”

Gerstein lists some specific benefits of The Tibetans including:

  • Balancing hormones
  • Enhancing bone mass
  • Draining the lymphatic system
  • Increased energy

One can do as many repetitions of each rite as their fitness level allows, up to the full 21 repetitions of each. Beginners are recommended to start with 3-5 reps a day for the first week and increase by 2 reps every week until they reach the full 21 reps. Doing 21 reps of each of the Five Tibetans takes about 20 minutes

Click here to see a demonstration of the Five Tibetans (Rite 1: Spinning, Rite 2: Leg Lift, Rite 3: Camel, Rite 4: Table Lift, and Rite 5: Updog and Downdog).

My favorite part of this series is that it is feels AMAZING and is so easy to do at least 5-6 reps of each anytime, anywhere. They don’t require special equipment or much space, nor do they require an advanced level of fitness so they are inviting to the people most likely to make excuses not to exercise.

Give them a try. Even if they aren’t the literal fountain of youth, you’re sure to feel some benefits.

Chicken Veggie Stir Fry

I love me some good stir fry! It’s a great way to get a variety of seasonal veggies into your diet and load up on medicinal herbs and spices.

stir fry

Ingredients:

  • 6 chicken thighs (free-range, organic, bone in and skin on preferred)
  • 1 large head of broccoli (preferably organic: that goes for all the veggies), cut into florets
  • 3 large carrots, sliced about 1/2 inch thigh
  • 1-2 cups shiitake mushrooms (I love mushrooms, so I use 2 cups), cut into about 1 inch pieces
  • 1 bunch kale of choice (curly, dino, etc), chopped and spines removed (unless you like them: they are a bit tough for me)
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh or minced ginger
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fermented fish sauce (I use Red Boat because it’s totally pure, no sweetener or preservatives added)
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut aminos (start with less and taste test at the end)
  • 1 tsp. chinese five spice
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted sesame oil for cooking (3-4 tablespoons)

How to:

  1. Wash and chop all veggies. Let garlic aerate for 10 minutes before cooking.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat sesame oil on medium heat and add chicken thighs, garlic, onion and ginger.
  3. Cook chicken for about 15 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add broccoli, carrots, fish sauce, coconut aminos, and spices. Stir and then cover with a lid. Cook for about 10-15 mins until carrots and broccoli are fork tender but not overcooked.
  5. Stir in mushrooms and kale. You should be able to separate the chicken from the bone with a fork and tongs and break it into smaller pieces (remove the bones and freeze them to use for soup later). Re-cover with lid and cook for 5 more minutes.

Taste test and see if you want to add more spices or coconut aminos. Enjoy!

3 Healthy Bars to Travel With AND 1 Day Book Sale!!

I have such exciting news: My eBook is being relaunched and included in a fabulous paleo book bundle sale!  TODAY ONLY, you can get the Kindle Edition for a mere $.99 !!!!

This is a wonderful opportunity to check it out along with the other great titles and add some healthy reading & delicious recipes to your summer reading list. 🙂

 

3 Healthy, Tasty Bars

There is a growing selection of healthy, whole food-based bars which is AWESOME for those of us who want to stay healthy & energized (and stay on track!) while traveling.
If you are traveling this summer, here are 3 bars to consider taking with you.

Epic Bars: Sustainably-raised, 100% organic grass-fed meat combined with minimal, whole ingredients. No sugar, grains, gluten or dairy. I love the Bison Bacon Cranberry flavor!

Gather Bars: Hazelnuts, maca and cocoa? Macademia nut, pumpkin seeds, coconut & dates? Sign me up! I’m all for bars that are grain-free, fruit-sweetened only bars with lots of healthy fats to balance blood sugar.

PaleoKrunch Bar (Original): Sometimes a granola bar hits the spot. This bar by Steve’s Paleo Goods rocks. Coconut oil, almond meal, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, shredded coconut and a smidge of honey=simple, healthy, tasty.

Safe and healthy travels! Don’t forget to bring a great book with you! 🙂