To B or Not to B: Micronutrient Deficiencies and Supplementation

© Dudau | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
I was so caught up in the Real Food Summit last week that I hardly had time to post about it.  If you didn’t get a chance to check it out, you can purchase all 27 lectures plus a boatload of bonus materials for what I think is a steal considering the wealth of information that was covered over those nine days.  Anyway, one of the most interesting presentations, in my opinion, was given by Mira & Jayson Calton and was about micronutrient deficiency.  This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately as I’ve had some personal experience with deficiencies despite my real food diet.  It happens…to most of us in fact.  And whether we realize it or not our cells pay the price.  Never forget, we live and die at the cellular level.

The Family that Eats Together…


I would absolutely be lying if I said that dinnertime is all sunshine and lollipops at my house.  In fact, it can be one of the most stressful times of my day.  Sometimes just trying to get dinner on the table while simultaneously entertaining and containing two toddlers is about all I can handle.  When we actually sit down, it’s often chaotic and always messy and someone ends up in tears at least twice a week.  Even if that someone isn’t me, I feel totally defeated when a nutritious meal that I’ve carefully prepared with everyone’s dietary sensitives and preferences in mind is pushed around the plate for 30 minutes.  UGH!  It would certainly be a lot easier to microwave some chicken nuggets and mac & cheese and feed the kids before my husband gets home and then order take out after the kids go to bed.  It might even be easier to prepare a healthy meal for the kiddos then prepare a second healthy meal for us later, but I don’t.  Why?  Believe me, I ask myself this question on a regular basis!  Whenever I’m ready to give up I take a moment to remind myself that the family that eats together…

Family mealtime is the perfect opportunity to talk, laugh and share the events of your day.  My kids are still a bit young for this, but some of my most cherished childhood memories happened around the dinner table.  I remember lots of laughter and great discussion.  It’s where I really got to know my family members as individuals rather than just Mom, Dad and Brother.  Even though we’re not quite there yet, I’m glad that my children have the security of knowing that we all come together once a day as a family.  I’m hopeful that despite the chaos we are laying the foundation for a wonderful family tradition.

For starters, home cooked meals are typically much more nutritious than food eaten on-the-go.  Research shows that children who eat frequent dinners with their families eat more fruits and vegetables and less soda and fried foods. Their diets also have higher amounts of many key nutrients, like calcium, iron, and fiber.  When children see their greatest role models frequently eating healthy foods and (better yet) trying new foods, they are much more likely to model these behaviors!  Meals are also a great time to introduce some nutrition dialogue such as why we eat the foods we eat and the fact that not every food can be your favorite.

Studies have shown that kids who frequently eat with their families are less likely to get depressed, consider suicide, or develop an eating disorder. They are also more likely to delay sex and to report that their parents are proud of them.  Frequent family meals are  associated with lower rates of smoking, drinking, and illegal drug use in preteens and teenagers.  Think about it…if you spend every night sitting down with and talking to your children, you are far more likely to notice any changes or issues and you have the perfect venue to offer your love and support.

Not only do we learn about each other at the dinner table, but this is where we learn many important life skills including table manners, proper utensil use, and clearing the table.  Frequent family meals have been linked to increased vocabulary development in young children; teenagers who eat dinner four or more times per week with their families have higher academic performance compared with teenagers who eat with their families two or fewer times per week.

Not only are meals prepared in the home more nutritious, but according to the national Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics they cost about half as much as meals eaten outside the home.

I’ll be the first to admit that family meals can sometimes be just short of torture, but even with two toddlers we have some very special dinnertime moments.   Routines start at a young age and the future payoff is totally worth the current stress and chaos.  So in this over-scheduled and under-nourished culture, we can make a difference by simply sitting down as a family every day and enjoying a meal together.   So light a candle, say a blessing, put on some classical music and start building those memories…bon appetite!

Eat Well, Be Well,

The Benefits of Eating Together
8 Reasons to Make Time for Family Dinner
Regular Family Meals Promote Healthy Eating Habits
Family Nutrition:  The Truth About Family Meals

Movie Night: Hungry for Change

Part I of the film is now available to preview.  It’s only about 5 minutes long but a good sneak peek at what’s to come.  If you like it consider watching Food Matters this weekend as well.  You can watch the first 40 minutes for free and then purchase the full film (only 4.95 for 3 days of online access).  It’s also available to watch instantly through Netflix.

We all want more energy, an ideal body and beautiful younger looking skin. So what is stopping us from getting this?

From the creators of the best-selling documentary FOOD MATTERS comes another hard-hitting film certain to rock your world.

HUNGRY FOR CHANGE exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industry don’t want you to know about; deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more. Find out what’s keeping you from having the body and health you deserve and how to escape the diet trap forever.

Featuring interviews with best selling health authors and leading medical experts plus real life transformational stories with those who know what it’s like to be sick and overweight. Learn from those who have been there before and continue your health journey today.

Eat Well, Be Well,

Liver Pate: Nutrient Dense Nirvana

Monica Corrado Holding Pork Liver
Today was one of the coolest and strangest days of my life.  I spent my morning looking at chicken feet & various beef bones and learning about their benefits and contributions when it comes to making bone broth (that post will come very soon).  I spent lunch making new friends, one of whom described in great detail how to butcher a cow.  She’s actually done it!  She told me that she and a friend were starting a sustainable farm in PA.  Being from PA I asked her where and was floored when she answered, “Honey Brook.”  This is my very, very small hometown.  I think my jaw actually hit the table.  Any Twin Valley folks reading this need to check out Wyebrook Farm.  They will be opening a farm-to-table café in April and it sounds amazing!  After lunch I got up close and personal with liver of every kind.

I’m at the Fourfold Path to Healing Conference this weekend, and today I took a cooking class with Monica Corrado.  This couldn’t have come at a more perfect time, as I’ve been on an organ meat kick lately, but I’ve been struggling a bit with how to make liver really accessible to my family.  It is an amazing super food and everyone should be eating it…especailly you pregnant & nursing mommies out there.  To put it in context, read the following from the WAPF website.
So what makes liver so wonderful? Quite simply, it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food. In summary, liver provides:
  • An excellent source of high-quality protein
  • Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
  • All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
  • One of our best sources of folic acid
  • A highly usable form of iron
  • Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
  • An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
  • CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
  • A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA. 

Another important thing to know about liver is that yes, it does filter toxins, but it does not store toxins.  Fat stores all of the toxins removed by the liver, so don’t worry about that.  If all of this motivates you to give liver a try, pate is the place to start.  Monica calls pate “nutrient dense nirvana” and she’s completely right.  It’s like butter, and if I had known how easy it is to make I would have started doing it years ago.

So basically there are two methods to making pate:  Terrine Method and Crock Method.  The terrine method is used for pork, duck, goose & salmon and basically you start with raw ingredients, process them and then bake in a water bath and seal.  The crock method is used for beef, calf, lamb & chicken.  In this method you cook (saute) the ingredients first and then process and seal.  We made three different pates in less than three hours and that included all of the instruction and questions!  So easy!  

I’ll be making my own pate soon and will eventually post my variations on today’s recipe, but in the mean time, here are some pate recipes I’ve found that are similar to what we did today.  If you feel you need a visual YouTube has several pate videos.  
Pork Liver Pate

Other great ways to sneak liver into the diet. 
  • liver shot:  cut a small cube of frozen liver and pop it like a pill
  • grate a small amount of liver into brown rice, soup, or tomato juice
  • add a little bit to meat loaf (1/4 cup max)

These may sound scary, but are totally safe if the liver has been frozen for at least 14 days killing all the “bad stuff.”
Bottom line with liver is that it’s better to eat it than not to eat it.  Even if the only source you can find is from a conventional farm…as Monica says, “bless it and go!”

Eat Well, Be Well,