Monday, January 26, 2015

When Gluten Free Isn't Enough (Part 1)

Perhaps you've been running this race for your own personal healthy journey for a while. Like many you've discovered that if you have any food intolerances, immune disorders, or have had chronic gut health disturbances then chances are if you haven't gone gluten free already, that either someone has told you to do so, or you are in the process of thinking about it or slowly getting yourself there. First things first, that's awesome, great job, and please know that I am proud of you! It is a wonderful first step towards wellness. Gluten must absolutely be removed from your lifestyle.

Removing gluten is not the be all end all to getting well though. Often times in many cases it is simply not enough. There is not a standard one size fits all elimination diet. There are many factors that enter into our bodies rejecting certain foods. It takes time, often quite a few tests, and trial and error to really be sure what each individual needs.

Keep in mind there is hope. This is not the end of the world. Once your gut begins to heal, there's a huge opportunity to put healthy, real versions of those foods you removed that were junky back in. A lot of food intolerances go away after the body returns to a healthy state. The key here is thankfulness. Be thankful that God allowed your body to get to a place that you probably never thought it could again, and keep up the lifestyle. Don't return only to become sick again. This is not a band-aid, this is what a cure feels like.

There are other foods that can cause gut and immune health disturbances. Certain foods fit into certain categories. Today I will cover cross reactive foods. These are foods, that while don't contain gluten, can make the body feel as though it has been attacked by a glutinous based food.

Cross Reactive Foods:


A staple in many countries, corn is an inexpensive, easily accessibly, and good tasting grain. Due to its lack of gluten it is used in many gluten free mixes, crackers, cakes, and dishes. 

Corn, however, is one of the three top genetically modified organisms or foods (GMOS) in the world. Purchasing corn as USDA organic fortunately significantly lessens the possibility of it being a GMO as well as eliminating pesticides. Eating GMO corn can be detrimental to your gut health. GMO corn or otherwise known as Bt corn is developed with a bacterial organism called Bacillus thuringiensis. This was done to resist insects. When we eat this corn the bacteria mutates inside of our gut, goes into our blood stream, and starts to break down our immune systems. To learn more, read here.

You can avoid GMO corn by purchasing USDA organic. Yet, even as organic it is also extremely difficult for the body to break down and digest. The body has to work extremely hard to rid itself of the hard fiber. Eating corn on a regular basis, especially consuming a lot if you are consuming a gluten-free diet, can wear down the digestive system. 

While many consider corn to be a vegetable, it is not. It is a starchy grain that when body does break down what it can it is processed as high amounts of sugar. Too much sugar is a danger zone to the body. Sugar causes inflammation and feeds disease.

Corn is hidden in many products, especially natural supplements. If you find corn makes you breakout, lethargic, or cause stomach pain, be diligent to do a search as to what other products are produced with corn.

The best way to eat corn if possible is sprouted. When the corn is sprouted it makes it much easier to be processed in the body as well as to access any nutrients present. If you are experiencing gut health distress, it is best avoided sprouted or not.


There are so many different varieties of rice. This grain populates Asian and Latin cultures. Rice is the main staple of many homes in the US as well. 

The skinny on rice is if you purchase white rice, it is basically pure starch without a whole lot of nutrition. That means a lot of sugar is going into the body, and if there is a bacterial imbalance like candida overgrowth present, the condition is just being fed. 

Brown rice has significantly more nutrition, however it's extremely difficult to access due to the bran. It's ironic, the nutrients are in the bran, but our bodies don't possess enough phytase to break the bran down to access the vitamins and minerals. This are chemicals in the bran called phytates that cause our bodies to stop absorbing minerals. Once our bodies stop absorbing minerals we become malnourished. Other foods with high amounts of phytates are nuts and beans.

If you'd like to keep rice in your diet, one way to make it more nutritious to break down a lot of the phytates is to soak it. The Weston A. Price Foundation suggests milling and soaking with a starter culture. For those of us on restricted time, read below (similar to how I prepare gluten free oats).

How to Soak Rice:

Get a 1/2 gallon mason jar. Put 2 cups of rice inside.  Pour hot filtered water over the rice, just to cover it. Add one tablespoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. Soak for 7-8 hours. Rinse off the rice after soaking. Cook in homemade bone broth for extra nutrients and add a little bit of good fat like grass fed butter.

I would also suggest consuming a high quality digestive enzyme with phytase with your meal.


Oats for me are such a comfort food. I adore both traditional rolled and steel cut. Oats have a ton of fiber, which helps the body stay regular and clean out the colon. Never eat quick oats. They are a processed food and serve no nutritional purpose. Besides it doesn't take any longer to cook traditional oats in comparison to quick oats. So kick out the quick oats!

Unfortunately, they can also wreak havoc in my body. I've noticed that when I eat oats more than once a week I become overly lethargic. More research is being done on whether it is wise to include oats as part of a gluten free diet if they can affect certain people the same way that gluten does or in other ways that seem to wear down the body. Specifically adults and children with confirmed Celiac Disease are cautioned to consider leaving oats out of their dietary regimen according to a government study here. If you notice the continuation of chronic foul gas, bleeding gums, teeth enamel problems, blood or mucus in the stool, or indigestion, then it is advised to eliminate them from your plate.

When I removed the oats I did notice that I didn't experience that overwhelming lethargic state. I really enjoy the taste and texture of them though. Oats are in the same camp as rice with high amounts of phytic acid. Due to the lack of minerals being absorbed this can absolutely tear down the immune system and cause lethargy in the body. It was when I learned how to prepare oats properly that all the difference was made. Preparing oats in a traditional fashion of soaking, much like rice, allows for much better digestion, and use of minerals in the oats.

How to Soak Oats (1 person serving):

Get a 32oz mason jar. Put 1 cup of traditional rolled oats inside.  Pour 1 cup of filtered water over the oats in the jar. Add one tablespoon of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. Soak for 7-8 hours on the counter. Rinse off the oats after soaking. Cook in fresh water as usual. In the serving bowl add a little bit of good fat like grass fed butter or my favorite organic unrefined coconut oil to encourage even better digestion.

It is always a good idea to take an enzyme supplement as mentioned early with your meal. 

At the End of the Day

If all of your gut health or immune system troubles don't seem to have fully dissipated after removing gluten, and you are still consuming grains, consider keeping a food journal. After eating these foods at meal and snack times, write down the time of day when you ate it, what you ate in it or what it was with, and how much of it you ate. 

Try removing these foods for 2-4 weeks. Make a section in the journal record for your cross-reactive free food meal trial period. Make a note of each of your meals and snacks as well as how they made you feel. 

Introduce one of these foods back each week after the trial period. Pay special attention to how you feel when you eat, and write it down. Take this journal to a doctor, nutritionist, or health coach for help if any is needed in designing a safe meal plan for you.

(There are some affiliate links in the article. You never have to purchase from these links. If you choose to do so though, you are blessing my business by contributing a small percentage.)

Be healthy and blessed! Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Ligorria, HHC

Friday, January 23, 2015

Oil Pulling (Natural Cleansing Support Series 1)

January is the start of the New Year. It's a great time to start fresh and commit to healthier habits. Many of you may be wanting a way to recharge your system and rid it of accumulated garbage throughout the year. This article is part one in a series on detox. Here I will present safe practices that can be used throughout the year by most people. I would urge anyone who wants to emply these methods to already be on a daily, healthy eating regimen. That is the first step to physical wellness. If not, start there, and come back to this series.

Oil pulling is a several thousand year old Ayurvedic form of natural, safe detox for the body. This method is able to pull impurities through the mouth. Depending on how long you perform the method will determine your results. 

There are many reasons to detox in this way. People suffering from anything such as acne to dental problems have experienced positive results. This is a long time used safe practice. It is gentle and noninvasive.

So what you do is in the morning, first thing before eating and brushing your teeth, you take 1 tbsp of a good oil, and you swish in your mouth for 20 minutes. Then spit it into a trash can so the oil doesn't accumulate in your pipes. 

Brush your teeth immediately after and rinse well to remove any released impurities. Rinsing with a therapeutic grade essential oil blend like Young Living Clove Oil or Young Living Thieves Vitality Oil, water, and Himalayan salt would be a great to support your wellness after you oil pull. To create the oral rinse  use 8 ounces of water and 1-2 drops of clove oil plus a pinch of Himalayan salt. The salt helps the oil emulsify into the water. I do not recommend regular table salt because that contains synthetic chemicals and bleach. Another great option for rinsing is the Young Living Thieves Mouthwash.

As for length of time, it really varies. If you have a deeper condition then oil pull longer. The minimum time would be 2 weeks. The maximum time is up to you. I would personally recommend a month of oil pulling.

Traditionally unrefined untoasted sesame oil was used. As of late a popular choice is organic unrefined coconut oil due to its already natural detoxing and antibacterial properties. That is the oil of my choice. If you use coconut oil and it is solid, don't worry. It will easily liquify in your mouth. If this grosses you out, you can melt it by put a tablespoon into a glass jar. Then put it into a small pot with some water. Bring the water to a boil on the stove. Once the oil is melted you can take it out. Test it on your clean finger to make sure it's not too hot for your mouth. Never use a microwave to liquify the oil. The microwave will damage the properties of the oil. To learn more about oil pulling from Dr. Joseph Mercola, Osteopath and expert on natural health, read here.

Do you oil pull? How long have you done so or how often? Share with me below!

Be healthy and blessed! Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Ligorria

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Creamy Potato & Mushroom Soup

Do you know what freezing rain outside means? It means I'm making soup! I love making soup so much! It's a great way to use up just about everything still hanging out in the fridge, it's super nutritious, and tastes outstanding!

Kinda cute how your kids think like you sometimes. My 14 year old requested potato and mushroom soup. Those were exactly the ingredients that I had put on the counter. I wanted something warm and comforting. Nothing like a hug from potato soup. 

I utilized some really healthy ingredients to give a nutritional punch with every bite.  Most ingredients were organic to eliminate genetic modification, herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides. Did you know that these pesticides build up in our bodies, and certain one mutate in our guts, and grow inside our gut, then damaging healthy flora that destroys our natural immunity? It really does make a difference whether not we eat organically and sustainably grown foods.

Ingredients & Nutrition Facts:

2 LBs Organic Red Potatoes, diced with the skin on: Always buy potatoes organic, they are heavily treated with pesticides. Eat them with them skin on for fiber and a slower release of sugars in the body. Red potatoes actually have less sugar in them than other potatoes. They are rich in vitamin C, B6, and potassium.

1-2 Organic Leeks, washed well, sliced: Rich in vitamin K and maganese leeks are a member of the same family as garlic and onions. They also provide soluble and insoluble fiber, and great flavor!

2 Organic Celery Ribs, diced: This gut friendly, anti-inflammatory food is rich in vitamin K and many antioxidants.

1 Medium Onion, diced: For cell renewal and flavor

3 Large Garlic cloves, minced: for wonderful flavor (unfortunately the antibacterial properties are killed with heat)

 3 Cups Organic Greens, roughly chopped (could be whatever is in the fridge or freezer, kale, spinach, collards, Swiss chard): These are Superfoods all on their own! To get loads of fiber, vitamin C, and chlorophyll to keep the blood clean.

2 Cups Shiitake Mushrooms: They taste awesome, give a meaty like texture, and are super awesome for the immune system!

2-3 Tbsp Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil: for healthy fat and to saute veggies

7 Cups Homemade Bone Broth: So very good for you and healing for the gut as well. It is full of vitamins, minerals, and healthy gelatin. Read here for more information as well as how to make it.

1 Can Native Forest Coconut Milk: (I only use this brand because it is organic and the cans are NOT lined with BPA.) This adds healthy fat, minerals, and creamy yumminess

1 Can Native Forest Coconut Cream:  For extra lovely creaminess. (I only use this brand because it is organic and the cans are NOT lined with BPA.)

 2 Tbsp Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos: For flavor and added minerals

2 Tbsp Braggs Nutritional Yeast: This is an inactive yeast rich in B vitamins that gives a really nice almost cheesy flavor

1 Tsp Celtic Sea Salt: Himalayan is fine as well, use real salt for minerals

1/4 Tsp Organic Black Pepper: Just for flavor and antioxidants

Fresh Organic Parsley: for a garnish and extra fiber, chlorophyll, and vitamins


 *You'll need a good cutting board, a blender, a large pot, and a good knife

Prepare veggies

Saute in a large pot the onion, leeks, garlic first in oil, soften them,  then add potatoes and greens, saute 3-4 minutes low to medium heat

Saute the mushrooms and some oil in a separate pan, brown a bit

Put half of the sauteed veggies from the pot into a bowl (you're going to blend these; not the mushrooms)

Add a little bit of the sauteed veggies in the bowl and a little broth to the blender (if you have an immersion blender then everything can just stay in the pot), blend a bit of broth and veggies at a time, and pour back into the pot; I found doing a little at a time makes less of a mess (You can potentially blend all of the veggies from the pot, but I opted to leave some whole, totally up to you, do blend some though)

Pour the remainder of the broth into the pot along with the mushrooms

Now the coconut milk, coconut cream, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and aminos can go into the pot, stir, simmer for 25 minutes on low heat

*Meat Eater Tip: I don't do meat, but my guys do, so I warmed up some shredded chicken that I already had and threw it in their bowls!

Serve with a salad and a slice of this quiche for a fantastic meal!

Be healthy and blessed! Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Ligorria, HHC

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Easy Homemade Green Salsa

On New Years Eve afternoon I was out grocery shopping preparing for a small get together at my home the next day. While on the phone with a friend talking about menu, I was undecided about salsa choices due to tomatoes being out of season locally. I was very dissatisfied with my store bought options. Due to my frustration making my own was the only route that made sense. After all you cannot throw a Mexican themed event without good salsa!

I'd watched my sons' grandma make it a gazillion times, so I knew it was simple enough. I opted for green salsa because of its ease and that good tomatillos were in abundance at the market. I'd put my own twist on it. Normally she makes spicy salsa, and I'm not a spicy food kind of girl. To the recommendation of my friend, I broiled the tomatillos. I cannot believe I never made green salsa myself before! I'd made red tons of times. Green over the years has actually become my preference due to flavor, so enjoy!


1 LB Tomatillos
1/2 Small to Medium Red Onion
1 1/2 Cups Frozen Organic Green Bell Peppers
2 Large Garlic Cloves
1 Tbsp Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil
1 Whole Green Onion 
2 Tbsp Fresh Organic Lime Juice
1 1/2 Tsp Celtic Sea Salt
Pinch Of Organic Dried Cayenne (add more if you like heat)
1/2 Cup Filtered Water


Broil the tomatillos on a baking sheet, each side 4 minutes, a little black is good for flavor

Sauté the onion, bell peppers, and garlic for 2-4 minutes in the coconut oil

Add everything to a blender, don't over blend, a little chunky is good

Be creative and top different foods with the salsa. Below is my favorite dish with it.

Tomatillos are so good for you! They have a ton of magnesium, phosphorus, and super mineral rich.  They are a good source of folate as well.

Do you have a favorite salsa recipe or another way to use tomatillos? Share it below! 

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Ligorria, HHC