My Favorite Cuppa

Posted on February 22, 2016 .

Blackberry Balance Smoothie

My post-yoga smoothie this morning is a new blend I created to help my body with hormone and endocrine imbalances. I'm trying lots of new things lately, attempting to balance out my body's systems. I thought healing from rheumatoid arthritis was the hardest thing I'd ever done, but honestly, this hormone and endocrine stuff has almost got it beat. Tricky, mysterious stuff. Finally feeling strong enough to get back to yoga, I know daily yoga will be very important for helping my body to balance out. For several months though I was struggling with stiffness and pain caused by my thyroid being out of balance and yoga wasn't an option. It was frustrating to know that I was doing everything right for my RA and yet having these hormones out of balance was causing me to still struggle with pain throughout my body. I've been on medications prescribed by a functional medicine doctor for my hormonal imbalances for a month now, and I've seen a good bit of improvement with some of my symptoms, especially with my joints which are now 100% loose and comfortable. Have made some tweaks to my diet also, going back to the stricter form of my RA Diet. When things started getting out of balance the cascade of symptoms was almost unbelievable, and it kept growing week after week. It's such a relief to finally feel like things are heading in the right direction. Thanks God! And I'm sleeping again which is like a miracle. If you're also struggling with imbalances of estrogen, progesterone, thyroid, and adrenals, I'd love to know what you're doing to help your body heal. Share in the comments and tag a friend who might be interested. Y'all have a great day! πŸ’šπŸ’š Here's the recipe for my new morning smoothie, it's very low in sugar, and loaded with protein, fiber, superfoods and adaptogens. 🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱 Blackberry Balance Smoothie 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk 1 scoop Vega Protein & Greens 1 tablespoon MACA powder 1 teaspoon Vitamineral Green 1/2 teaspoon L-Glutamine powder 1/2 teaspoon DGL 1 cup frozen organic blackberries #awellnourishedlife #smoothie #recipes #yu

A photo posted by Catherine Ruehle (@catruehle) on

Posted on February 18, 2016 .

Reason #73 to Drink Healing Bone Broth

Posted on February 16, 2016 .

Hormone & Endocrine Imbalances

Do you have hormone and/or endocrine imbalances? I do, and boy are they rocking my already rocky ride. Rheumatoid Arthritis is enough of a hot mess to manage, and now I've got all this nonsense going on.

Menopause. Damn girl, you are not a fun ride. Add in some thyroid disfunction and exhausted adrenals that have seen decade of stress, and you've got a mucky, mucky mess.

Needless to say, I'm doing all I can from a diet and lifestyle stand point to help my body get right with all of this. These are my current smoothie supplements to help with my hormone, thyroid, and adrenal imbalances: MACA powder for energy and endocrine balance, Vitamineral Green powder for detox and green nutrient boost, Dr Axe Collagen (in tub) for joint and gut repair, Vega protein, DGL and L-Glutamine powders for gut repair. Adding these to my POTF Green Smoothie every morning. Also using the DGL and L-Glut mixed with aloe between meals, and the collagen in my herbal tea once a day.

I'll keep y'all posted. In the meantime, if you've battled these demons yourself, please share what has worked for you in the comments below!

XOXO



Posted on February 5, 2016 .

Health Benefits of Lemon

People often look at me funny in the produce section. I can't say I blame them. I often fill my cart before I've turned the first corner! I get a lot of "what do you do with THAT?" (points at turmeric root), and "why so many lemons?" (looking at my bags of 20+ lemons).

I'll admit that I'm not your typical shopper, I tend to treat the produce section like it's my personal pharmacy, and in many ways it is. After all, I have an incurable autoimmune disease that I treat it with diet only, no meds. My turmeric and lemons are part of my prescription.

So what's the deal with all the lemons? Lemon are brilliant! Most of us know that lemons contain vitamin C and that vitamin C is an antioxidant, and that antioxidants are anti-inflammatory, so that's a good thing, especially when you have an autoimmune disease. But most folks don't know that lemons also contain potassium, calcium and B vitamins. Bonus!

But the most interesting and beneficial aspect of lemons is how they affect our blood Ph. We think of lemons as an acidic fruit, and indeed they are acidic outside of the body. But inside it's a different story. Lemons are highly alkalizing to our bodies and contribute to an alkaline blood Ph.

I'll spare you the chem lesson but suffice it to say that YOU WANT YOUR BODY TO BE ALKALINE if you want to avoid chronic disease.  Lemons are nature's shiny little alkalizers, and they are easy to use throughout your day- in your morning tea or Rise & Shine Lemon Water (recipe below), in your green juice, squeezed over seafood, mixed into simple vinaigrette dressings, etc. Personally I go through at least 2-3 lemons a day without even trying.

Lemons are like magic if you're trying to detox or you're doing a cleanse. Lemon juice encourages the increased production of bile which removes toxins from your liver, the main organ addressed in cleansing. Doing a cleanse without ingesting massive amounts of lemon is like going to a Daniel Craig movie and closing your eyes every time he takes off his shirt- you're missing the main event! Daniel Craig. sigh...

Anyhoo, lemons are amazing little fruits and you should consider loading up every time you shop. So what about organic vs conventional? Organic lemons should always be used for the zest (where the pesticide residue hangs out), but if you're going for the juice then conventional is fine. I buy bags of lemons at Costco for a great price. Trader Joe's is also a great source.

Peace, love, and lemon juice,

signature Cat.png

Rise & Shine Lemon Water

Ingredients for 1 serving:

8 ounces filtered water

1/2 lemon, juice only

2 teaspoons unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar**

Method:

Heat the water to room temperature or warmer, but not boiling. Add the juice and apple cider vinegar and stir. 

**Apple cider vinegar must be organic and unfiltered. The liquid should look cloudy and there will be "gunk" floating in the bottle or accumulated on the bottom. That "gunk" is the good stuff, it's the probiotic culture that makes the vinegar so beneficial to your health. Look for the words "with the mother" on the bottle. I recommend Bragg's brand. Apple sider vinegar is very sour, so start with 1/2 teaspoon and build up. It's also very acidic, so don't ever drink it straight as it can damage your tooth enamel, always dilute it in water.

Rise & Shine Lemon Water is one of over 40 wellness recipes in Put Out the Fire Diet & Wellness Guide, available for instant download here.

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Posted on May 6, 2015 .

Your Daily #RAtip: Eat Turmeric

Here's another of my top 10 foods for RA (and wellness in general), and one of my favorite daily go-to foods.

Simply put, turmeric is super bad-ass, and if you're not consuming it you probably should. It's long been used in Chinese and Indian healing systems for inflammation and pain.

Turmeric is a potent and safe anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and in numerous studies has been shown to perform as well as hydrocortisone and Motrin, without the toxicity and side effects.

Turmeric is particularly useful for those with RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, IBD, CROHN'S AND ULCERATIVE COLITIS, and is currently being studied for use in the treatment and prevention of Cystic Fibrosis and many forms of cancer.

Additionally (as if that weren't enough already!), turmeric has been shown to lower cholesterol, improve cardiac function, and prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease.

You can brew Ginger Tea from the fresh root, juice the root, cook with the powder, or warm up a batch of my yummy Healing Elixir. Capsule formulations of curcumin, the active component in turmeric, are another option. Make sure you choose a formulation that includes black pepper. Check with your health care provider before starting new supplements.

Have a great day y'all, wishing you good health! 

Posted on January 29, 2015 .

Your Daily #RAtip: Eat Wild Salmon

Simply put, wild salmon is king when it comes to nutritious fish.

This lean protein is loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, selenium, and vitamin D. Wild salmon also has an amino acid profile that's unique in it's ability to control inflammation of the joints and digestive tract.

Make sure you choose wild over farmed, as farmed is heavy with antibiotics and PCBs. For this quick and delicious (and dairy-free) Roasted Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce recipe, check out my ebook Put Out the Fire Diet & Wellness Guide.

Posted on January 24, 2015 .

KIND Snacks Recipe Collaboration: Chocolate Caramel Crunch Cups (Gluten-Free & Vegan!)

I'm a big fan of KIND Snacks, so when they reached out to ask if I'd collaborate with them and use their Healthy Grains in a new recipe, I was thrilled! 

I love their Oats & Honey Clusters with coconut milk and berries for breakfast or a snack, but I wanted to do something unexpected for this collab so I turned to my favorite meal and my strong suit- dessert!

Their Healthy Grains come in lots of yummy flavor combos but I decided to work with the Cinnamon Oat Clusters because I knew the flavor would marry well with the chocolate and vegan "caramel" that I had in mind. 

One of the things I love about this recipe is that you can make it any pan or container that you have on hand. I made it two ways for you here- in a cupcake paper liner, and in a silicone heart shaped mold (hello, Valentine's Day treat for your sweetie!). You could also use a foil loaf pan, small cake pan, or anything else you have in your kitchen. 

The ingredients are really simple and nutritious. You'll stir together raw cacao powder, coconut oil, and maple syrup to make a simple raw chocolate.

Then toss some dates, water, almond butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon into a food processor or blender to make the "caramel". And PS, this stuff is crazy good. I eat it by the spoonful. Yum!

Layer those two bits together with your Cinnamon Oat Clusters and you're done. I like to top the cups with extra Oat Clusters as a hint to what's inside. Easy-peasy and super delicious. 

Here we go, recipe below. And remember, this is gluten-free, vegan, and truly nutritious. Cacao is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, so get after it, and enjoy!

Chocolate Caramel Crunch Cups 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups pitted dates

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup raw almond butter

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, to your taste

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch fine sea salt, optional but really brings out the flavors

1 cup raw cacao powder

1/2 cup coconut oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

KIND Healthy Grains Cinnamon Oat Clusters

Instructions:

  1. Combine dates, water, almond butter, coconut oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and sea salt in a food processor or high speed blender and process until a smooth paste forms. Taste the mixture and add more maple syrup if you want it sweeter.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the cacao, coconut oil and maple syrup to form a raw liquid chocolate.
  3. Pour a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom of your container(s), about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle oat clusters over the chocolate and press then down into the chocolate. (TIP: pressing the clusters into the chocolate insures that they stay crispy crunchy and don't become softened by the caramel)
  4. Spread a thin layer of caramel over the chocolate and clusters. Top with additional chocolate and sprinkle with more clusters if you want to have a garnish on top (like my cups). If using a candy mold like my heart mold, do not sprinkle with clusters, instead smooth the tops with a straight edged knife for a clean finish.
  5. Refrigerate the chocolate until completely firm, about 30 minutes, you can freeze them if you're in a rush. Once they are firm, remove them from your containers or molds and store in an airtight container. Chocolates will keep at room temperature for 3 days, in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 2 months. Allow to come to room temperature before eating for best flavor.

Hope you enjoy! If you make these be sure to take a photo and share it on your facebook or instagram, and tag me so I can see. Cheers!

Posted on January 24, 2015 .

Your Daily #RAtip: Ditch Gluten

Yep, you knew this one was coming, didn't you?

Gluten is a common food trigger for rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmunity in general. Personally, it's one of my top 6 food triggers that I have eliminated or strictly limit to be able control my RA without medication, and I find in my holistic nutrition practice that most of my clients do better without it too.

If you suffer from RA, autoimmunity, or any pesky symptoms that seemingly have no cause, removing gluten from your diet may help. Give yourself at least 2 weeks COMPLETELY off gluten to see how you do. No cheating, no "just one bite". You can do it, the first 4 days are the toughest so be prepared with some GF alternatives in your kitchen. Giving up any food or ingredient, especially one as prevalent as gluten, can seem daunting.

The good news is that today there's much greater awareness of gluten sensitivity and far more GF products on the market than 5 or 10 years ago. If you're planning to go gluten free and don't know where to begin, I can help. Check out my Going Gluten-Free Guidance service. And get yourself a couple of loaves of Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free bread, it's awesome! Have a lovely day my GF friends!

Posted on January 19, 2015 .

Your Daily #RAtip: Rock Out

Music is therapeutic.

If there's one thing I know I can always trust to help me move through my emotions, it's music. I've often thought it's a cruel twist of fate that I love music and singing so much because I'm completely stone cold tone deaf. Tone. Deaf. Not kidding, it actually hurts to be in the house with me when I'm singing, just ask my son.

Anyway, I love music, and when I was struggling with my rheumatoid arthritis I would often listen to soothing music like George Winston piano solos and it would help take my mind off my aching, swollen joints. I felt I could float away, almost like I could leave my body, and if you have RA you most likely know that feeling of wanting to leave your body when it's hurting.

And then there were the times when I was really angry about my RA, really, really angry at my body for betraying me, and then I'd turn to Pearl Jam or Sinead O'Conner (the queen of channeling anger through song). Music helped me move through my emotions rather than getting stuck in them. And I know I'm not the only one, I've heard from other chronic pain sufferers who've had a similar experience.

Music is therapeutic, the key is to find the type of music that works for you, and then lose yourself in it. If you've never tried rocking out when you're deep in the shits of RA, give it a go. And if you find yourself feeling angry, I highly recommend Sinead O'Connor's "The Last Day of Our Aquaintance", it's musical rage at its finest.

Happy Friday!

Posted on January 16, 2015 .

My Ideal Weeknight Dinner. In 7 Minutes Flat!

What's your idea of the perfect, easy-to-make, weeknight dinner? This is mine right here in this bowl. All of 7 minutes went into this beautiful & nutritious dinner tonight of sauteed kale with pumpkin seeds & lemon, roasted sweet potato, and japonica black rice with balsamic glaze. My secret? A weekly prep day and batching up. Here's the breakdown:

1/2 roasted sweet potato (roasted on Sunday, my weekly prep day), reheated with coconut oil and sea salt in a large saute pan

1 cup black japonica rice (batched up once a month and stored in serving sized containers in the refrigerator and freezer), reheated with coconut oil in the same saute pan with the sweet potato and drizzled with balsamic vinegar

1 head curly kale, shredded, sauteed 5 minutes (in its own saute pan) with coconut oil, fresh lemon juice, pumpkin seeds and sea salt.

So all I made tonight was the kale, the other bits were prepped or batched up in advance. Prepping ahead and batching up are real time-savers. When you have a well-stocked fridge and freezer eating healthy is a breeze!

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Posted on January 12, 2015 .

Your Daily #RAtip: Practice Gratitude

How many of you practice gratitude every day?

When you're struggling with the chronic pain of rheumatoid arthritis gratitude can be hard to come by. But gratitude is critical to your healing.

Pain focuses our attention on the negative, on what we can't do, on what we don't have. Practicing gratitude refocuses your attention and energy on the positive and this is so important for healing. A negative mind can't create a healthy body. Our thoughts create our reality so keep them positive.

Here's what I do. Every day I list 5 things I'm grateful for. Sometimes those things are big, like having the opportunity to travel to Africa with my son for safari and take the photo of the lion (above), but most days the things I'm grateful for are much smaller- healthy food on the table, a sunny day, a phone call from a friend, a nice comment from an Instagram follower, kisses from my dogs.

Sometimes I write down my 5 things and sometimes it's in my head, and then I remind myself that somewhere in the world someone is hoping and praying for the things I take for granted.

I started this practice when I was deep in my RA pain, long before I got well. At first it was hard. I couldn't hold a tooth brush, my business was falling apart, we were losing our home and my marriage was crumbling. What was there to be grateful for? But there was always something and as I practiced I found I could easily think of 5, 15, 50 things every day!

Gratitude changes everything my friends, but like a lot of things, it requires practice before it comes easily. Give it a try, you've got nothing to lose and everything to be grateful for.

Posted on January 12, 2015 .

Your Daily #RAtip: Keep Moving

Your Daily #RAtip today is KEEP MOVING.

I realize the idea of "exercising" when you're deep in a flare and swollen and in pain can be far-fetched. And if you're hurting right now you're not going to want to climb a mountain and stand on your head like I'm doing in the photo.

But I'm not talking about exercise or climbing mountains necessarily, I'm talking about "movement". Any movement that gets your blood flowing- walking, vacuuming, shopping at Costco. If you feel strong enough to exercise then go for it, but listen to your body, don't overdo it, especially at first and especially in a flare.

Yoga is fantastic for rheumatoid arthritis, it's helped me tremendously. It not only keeps me flexible and strong, it helps my body stay detoxed and encourages the healthy functioning of my lymphatic system. And it's great for stress management.

For the record, I didn't feel strong enough to hike Mount Crested Butte and stand on my head at 12,000 foot elevation until I'd been working my RA program nearly a year. It takes time, and each person is different in their tolerance for exercise, so focus on movement and take it a step at a time. Literally. 

Posted on January 11, 2015 .

Your Daily #RAtip: Eat Walnuts

WALNUTS are one of my top foods for rheumatoid arthritis. They're a great vegan source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (ALA), just 1/4 cup contains more than 100% of your daily requirement.

Walnuts are also a significant source of  antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, manganese, calcium, potassium, selenium and zinc. A small handful contains 4 grams of easily digestible, vegan protein.

They make a quick, tasty, and portable snack food, and are delicious sprinkled over salads, oatmeal, or yogurt. Keep walnuts in the freezer to prolong shelf life and avoid rancidity. My favorite way to use walnuts is in green salads or sprinkled over roasted veggies (especially cauliflower!).

PS, walnuts have cancer-fighting properties and are tops for brain health and heart health. So seriously, you need to eat walnuts! Are you including walnuts in your #RAdiet? What's your favorite way to use them?
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Posted on January 10, 2015 .

Your Daily #RAtip: Use Ginger

Ginger is one of my top-10 foods for RA, I use it daily. Ginger is anti-inflammatory and offers analgesic benefits as well. Ginger is so effective for fighting inflammation and pain that some studies have shown it works as well or better than using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (and without the gut-destroying side-effects!)

Use grated ginger in cooking or tea, juice it, blend it into smoothies, or take concentrated capsules. 

Two of my favorite ways to incorporate ginger into my diet are Carrot-Ginger Juice and Ginger Tea.


CARROT-GINGER JUICE (1 serving)

3 large carrots, trimmed

1 green apple, cored

1 large knob of ginger, about 1/2 inch long

Juice all ingredients and enjoy! 

NOTE: Ginger is quite potent and can taste very strong so you may wish to start with less and build up.


GINGER TEA (2 servings)

2 tablespoons grated ginger

16 ounces water

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and heat to a simmer then turn off heat, cover pot and allow to steep at least 15 minutes or up to 1 hour. 

Pour ginger tea into a cup and add optional ingredients as desired: fresh lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, mint leaves


Posted on January 9, 2015 .

Time to Get Real

It's time to GET REAL. 

This isn't the type of post you're expecting, I guarantee it. If you want a "life is rosy and perfect" post you better leave now.

Truth.

I have to constantly battle against that voice in the back of my head that says "you're not doing enough, you're not good enough, you need to push harder and do more and be more otherwise no one will love you". No one will love you. This is one of those lies that runs around in my head, a lie I have to battle constantly.

Something has come to my attention recently that was really shocking and I want to put the record straight. A good friend and I were chatting over lunch and I was talking (complaining, actually) about never getting asked out by men (I'm single, btw) and she said "Cat, you're intimidating to people who don't know you well, you seem too perfect."

Huh? Intimidating? Perect? Me? WTF? I'm a pussycat, a tender heart, a mush. Intimidating? And I'm sure as hell not perfect, far from it.

So I asked around and the consensus was that my friend was right. It seems that the way I'm perceived is far from the way I truly am. I think it's because I always put a positive spin on things, try to stay upbeat when times are tough, I don't let on when I'm struggling. I learned to do this at a VERY young age. It was a self-protection thing.

One of my friends told me recently "Cat, a couple of years ago you were struggling with an incurable disease, watching your father slowly die, and having your marriage fall apart all at the same time, and I didn't know you had a single care in the world. It looked like you had it all together."

Wow. Had it all together? Not. Even. Close. We're talking nervous breakdown territory. I was on the verge of totally self-annihilation. 

So here's the point I want to make with this ridiculously long post. I don't have it all together, not even close. So, here's my resolution for 2015- GET REAL. Get really, really, really freaking REAL. I'm telling you this so you won't be surprised when you see I don't have it all together. It may get messy, and even a little ugly at time. It may be surprising, and you may want to look away, but it will definitely be real. Can you handle it? Can I? I guess we're about to find out. 

In the spirit of GETTING REAL, here's me, no filter, no makeup. This is me as I sit writing this, warts and all. Literally. See that band-aid on my hand? I have a wart. Gross. And my finger nails have been gnawed down to stubs, it's a life-long habit that I can't seem to break. (I'm biting right now as I proofread this post) Nail biting is so disgusting, and I do it. Every day. I even know the WHYs behind doing it and I still can't stop. More on that in a separate post. And I'm wearing my son's lovely green North Face jacket because my old drafty house is really freaking cold even with the heat blasting and if I turn the thermostat any higher I may blow my utility budget for the month. Yes, I live on a budget, a VERY tight budget. Surprising? Plus, the jacket is really soft and makes me feel comfortable even when I'm super anxious and stressed, like I am right now. Oh, and my puffy eyes? My eyes are puffy because I woke up with hives after a night of terrifying dreams. The hives are new, never had them until three months ago. And they suck! The dreams? I have them all the time. Not dreams as much as terrors. It's bad, really, really bad stuff. And the worst part is that it's true stuff, real stuff that's happened to me, stuff that I don't talk about. Scary stuff. Geez, just look what one silly, REAL photo can reveal about a person. Time to make a smoothie and a BIG cup of strong coffee and get on with living my (imperfect) life. Have a real day!


Posted on January 8, 2015 .