Batch Cooking Basics


Sticking to a healthy weight loss routine is never easy. A career, family, and other obligations make it tough to prepare natural, nutrient rich meals with fresh ingredients everyday. The trick is to never cook just one meal. The trend of batch cooking or batch prepping has caught on in recent years for good reason. Cooking several healthy meals at once and storing the leftovers make diet adherence much more convenient. Finding the time to cook every single day in today’s world is unlikely, but once or twice a week is more than doable. Choose one day on the weekend and one night during the week after work instead of watching TV. Using this method makes most the week full of easy grab and go meals that can be mixed and matched.

Below are a few batch cooking ideas that can make healthy living and weight loss easier.

1.       Cook several pounds of meat at once. Crock pots or just broiling can be really helpful tools.

2.       Stir fry a bunch of your favorite vegetables together.

3.       While everything is else is cooking, turn on a rice maker and make a lot of rice, roast a bag of potatoes or sweet potatoes, and/or hard boil a carton of eggs.

Basically cook what you cook normally, but just cook more of it. Tinker with the seasoning to switch up the meals each day. Also keep in mind most foods freeze and later defrost really well.

How Functional Medicine Can Increase Your Energy

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     At some point or another we’ve all probably felt tired from sleep deprivation, from stressors, or from being overworked. These are some pretty simply explained causes for tiredness, but what about some of the more complex sources? If you’re suffering from a chronic condition or disease, there are several lifestyle changes that can make you feel more awake.

1.       Light Exercise

     If you’re feeling sluggish in the middle of the day, it can help to move around. Get up from your desk, walk around the office, stretch, and even work at a standing desk if possible. I know it sounds counterintuitive to exercise when you’re out of energy, but it can stimulate both your body and your mind. It boosts circulation and increases the release of hormones that make you feel more alert.

2.       Sleep Hygiene

      This sounds like an obvious one, but don’t underestimate the value of good healthy sleep. Most adults should be getting eight hours of sleep each night. Of course going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning help immensely. If I feel I can’t get to sleep I use natural supplements like melatonin and smooth valerian (which are available at my office). I find these tend to be less habit forming than prescription sleep medications. The most helpful tip I can probably give is to get rid of screens at least an hour before sleep. This includes TVs, phones, laptops, and tablets.

3.       Coffee – Drink or Avoid?

     I’m a proponent of coffee to naturally improve concentration and increase energy, but in general it’s a good not to make it a daily habit. I love a cup of coffee before a workout, usually with some healthy fat like coconut oil, MCT oil, or grass-fed butter to keep me satiated. But if you drink it every day you may tend to gradually increase intake and become dependent. This may lead to a host of other problems like adrenal fatigue. The way to maximize the benefits of coffee may be to make it an occasional solution.  

Clif Bars Vs. Snickers Bars


"Energy Bar" =

Candy Bar

It’s imperative to be a careful shopper if you’d like to eat healthy food. Many food products have misleading labels that lead customers to believe the product is healthy. A perfect example of this practice is the Clif Bar. Marketed as an “energy bar” it contains 23 grams of sugar, 1 gram more than a Snickers bar. It’s true Clif bars will give you energy, but in a similar way a Snickers bar will spike your insulin levels up for a while before an inevitable crash.


Always Read the Nutrition Facts

If you look closely at the ingredients of the Clif Bar above, you’ll see that the first ingredient is “Organic Brown Rice Syrup,” which is another way of saying “sugar.” It’s very convenient to have a bar if you’re hungry, but beware of misleading branding. Always read the nutrition facts for sugar content, fat content, carbohydrates, etc. Companies like Clif, Larabar and PowerBar market their products to make them look healthy when in actuality they’re more like candy bars. Quest is a company that makes some pretty decent bars and you may even see me snacking on them in the office from time to time. At my clinic we also offer our own “Advanced Health Systems” bars that have 15g of protein and still manage to taste great even with little sugar. And in reality none of the bars mentioned are much more easily portable than a good hard-boiled egg, a bag of your favorite nuts or seeds, or a container of Greek yogurt.

Below are the nutrition facts for a Cliff Bar and a Snickers Bar

A Safe and Simple Detox Cleanse (without Starvation)

     Detoxification is something that the body does naturally and the majority of detoxification takes place in the liver. Due to the standard American diet and the proliferation of certain chemicals and pesticides, many people benefit from a cleanse program that gently and slowly supports the process of metabolic detoxification. The problem is a majority of the programs  are either scams, not based on clinical science, dangerous, or all of the above. Some illegitimate programs claim the healthy way to detox is fasting from all food while drinking nothing but lemon water, cayenne, and maple syrup. Not only are those kind of extremely restrictive diets unhealthy, they are especially unsafe for those suffering with diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease. Furthermore they upset the sodium, blood sugar, and potassium levels in the body.

     The cleanse that I promote in my office is one of the few great detox programs that allows you to eat food while you detox and is one hundred percent safe. It’s called The PaleoCleanse Plus. It includes a powder taken twice daily made up of the precise combination of nutrients, fiber, antioxidants, herbs, and extracts that support the detox process. The PaleoCleanse isn’t specifically designed for weight loss, but it can often occur. The fourteen day cleanse requires the elimination of sugar, gluten containing grains, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol from the diet. Patients will also be replacing some meals with the PaleoCleanse shakes, so this lower caloric intake is likely to result in weight loss for many. Each cleanse comes with a food schedule and healthy snack and meal options, so there’s no guesswork involved when it comes to eating. I walk my patients through this process step by step during their consultations.

detoxification cleanse

     The one downside is some patients experience headaches during the first few days of the cleanse, which is due to caffeine and/or sugar withdrawal. The powder is intended to give the body everything it needs to get through this initial discomfort as quickly and painlessly as possible. I advocate my patients with a sweet tooth or a coffee habit to try to cut down on sugar and caffeine consumption for a few days prior to starting the cleanse. As always I will also offer nutritional and lifestyle guidance that will keep the patient’s toxic burden low and make sure their body’s detoxification mechanisms work well for the long haul.

Green Smoothie Recipe

2 or 3 handfuls of kale

3 celery stems

1 cucumber

Ginger Root - the size of half of a pager (kids, ask your parents).

Half a cup of frozen blueberries

Half a cup of unsweetened coconut milk (very important to find “unsweetened” to avoid insulin spikes). Add more if needed to blend thoroughly.

More options:

Having a powerful blender like a Vitamix will make this endeavor a lot easier and faster.

Replace kale with Spinach, bok choy, baby kale, or a mix. I tend to buy whatever is the freshest looking item at the grocery store. I’ve witnessed firsthand the consequences of eating tainted greens.

Replace blueberries with a frozen acai blend packet or other frozen fruit of your choice. I prefer berries because I love the taste, the antioxidants, and lower levels of sugar.

Add 3 or 4 cloves of garlic. It will make the smoothie taste awful, but the extra jolt of energy you feel after ingesting it is worth it.

Add 1 tablespoon of Coconut Oil (full of beneficial medium chain triglycerides).

Add some ice cubes if you’d like the smoothie freezing cold.

Replace coconut oil with water.

Final option if you’re in a hurry: Purchase the powdered greens drink (called “Greens First”) carried at my office. Grocery shopping, cleaning vegetables, scraping ginger root, blending it all up, and cleaning the blender take a fair amount of time that can be hard to come by.

Final Thoughts:

This recipe will not taste as good as a can of Pepsi or a chocolate milkshake, but the nutritional benefits make this green drink worth gulping down. Fair warning: You will experience a delightful energy boost similar to a cup of coffee, but without any of the jitters. Your body will thank you for it.

Eat Brussels Sprouts Even If You Despise Them

I know it’s not the most loved vegetable in the world, but brussels sprouts have health benefits that make them well worth adding to your diet. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts are very nutrient dense. Brussels sprouts have a good amount of antioxidants, folic acid, protein, iron, potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. My recipe below has great anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties.

First cut the stocks off of the ends of the brussels sprouts. You can also chop the brussels sprouts in half if you would like to cook them quickly on a pan. Put the brussels sprouts in a large gallon ziplock bag and add garlic, onions, fresh thyme, and olive oil. Then zip the bag tightly and shake until everything is evenly covered. Let the bag sit for 10 or 15 minutes, so the brussels sprouts to absorb the herbs. Cook them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. I suggest turning them over at the halfway point to cook them evenly. Using a layer of parchment paper will save a lot of time later when you're cleaning the baking sheet.

This recipe can be improved with a combination of cayenne, turmeric, ginger, mustard seed, basil, and of course salt. If you’ve had brussels sprouts in the past that you thought tasted disgusting, I highly recommend trying this recipe. You may change your opinion about this vegetable. 

Another tip: It’s a lot faster and easier to make this recipe if you have someone to be your “sous-chef.” You could probably even get your kids involved pulling apart the garlic cloves and pulling fresh thyme off of the stems.

Creatine + Coffee: A Great Way to Stay Energized Throughout the Day

I keep my office open late into the evening because it’s the best way I can help patients who work 9 to 5 jobs. Sometimes I need an energy boost following my midday workout that will keep me going strong on those long work days. My favorite energy drink isn’t something like Redbull or 5 Hour Energy. Those drinks have an ingredient list of chemicals a mile long and they taste like battery acid. My preferred choice is coffee and creatine.

Creatine is a muscle building supplement that boosts the natural creatine stores in the body. Many weightlifters take it because it improves and helps recover from high-intensity exercise. Clinical research proves these results as well as showing evidence for improved brain function. People who regularly eat a lot of fish and meat may already have enough creatine in their cells. Supplementation can have extraordinarily noticeable results for vegetarians and those who aren’t big meat eaters. As always, look for quality name brands. Buying creatine in giant 4 pound drums from places like Costco is a bad idea because those knockoff brands are often have useless additives.

Adding some cinnamon to my recipe stabilizes blood sugar and of course makes the drink even tastier. Coconut oil gives provides the body some healthy fats and makes the drink more filling. It's important to also drink enough water throughout the day because creatine and coffee can cause some dehydration. Caffeine tries to flush the water out of the body while creatine tries to retain it. This interaction can leave you feeling dehydrated if you’re not drinking water.

There are several additional health benefits to drinking coffee. To learn more please check out my youtube video on the topic

Election 2016: Reduce Stress and Anxiety with Nutrition

Why is it when we’re sad or stressed we tend to reach for cookies or a pint of ice-cream instead of tofu or a bowl of kale? Consuming sugar and fat feel like they provide emotional support because high sugar, high carb foods release a blast of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is the “feel good” neurotransmitter. This triggers a response in the brain similar to taking an opiate. Even though this might temporarily improve your mood in the short term, the long term consequences include weight gain, energy crashes, candida overgrowth, and lower serotonin levels.

So the question is “how can I improve my mood without a quick rush of sugar and fat?” The answer is very simple: consume Vitamin B12 and Omega-3 fats. B12 plays an important role in energy production and hormones affecting your mood. The easiest solution is supplementing with a B12 or B-complex vitamin. I often take a sublingual B12 supplement to feel the positive effects quickly. B12 is also readily available in food like grass fed beef, eggs, salmon, and raw dairy. It’s highly recommended for vegans and vegetarians to supplement with B12 as their diets alone will not provide enough.

Omega 3 fats reduce inflammation and improve overall brain function. Study after study prove that it has a positive effect on reducing depression. The easiest way to get more omega 3 fats into your system is taking a fish oil supplement. I recommend carefully reading the label and choosing a brand like Carlson’s or Green’s First for the most positive results. Costco and Walmart budget brands are known to include several fillers and additives with little to no nutritional benefit. I also recommend at least once a week consuming oily wild-caught (not farm raised) fish.