Healthy Concepts
Kim Stoeger, MS, Clinical Nutritionist

Kim Stoeger, MS, Clinical Nutritionist

Kimberly Stoeger, MS, is the clinical nutritionist and owner of Nutritional Healing, LLC. Her passion lies in supporting people’s health through evidence-based medicine (risks versus benefits of medications) and healing therapies through nutrition. Kimberly has her masters of science in human nutrition degree, and experience working with clients regarding weight and fatigue issues, sports nutrition, food sensitivities and allergies, and general health concerns such as high blood pressure, high glucose levels, high cholesterol/triglycerides, migraines, thyroid conditions and gut dysfunction. To learn more, call 920-358-5764 or email [email protected]

Tuesday, 01 May 2018 00:52

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Watermelon

Turn your watermelon into something new and delicious this grilling season!

Ingredients

Yield: 8 pieces

2 (2-inch) slices watermelon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 limes, juiced

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cut each watermelon round into 4 pieces, for a total of 8 pieces*. Brush each side of the pieces with olive oil and a little of the lime juice, reserving at least half of the lime juice for after cooking. Season with a little bit of salt — about ½ teaspoon total for 8 pieces, both sides.
  2. Heat an outdoor gas grill to high heat. Grill watermelon for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, allowing grill marks to form.
  3. Remove from grill and season with the remaining lime juice and sprinkle with cilantro. Season with additional salt to taste. Salt brings out additional flavor so really do it to taste.

Notes

*This is one of those recipes where a written recipe with exact amounts is not really necessary. You can make as much or as little as you want and easily adjust it. Slice the watermelon 2 inches thick. The above written list of ingredients can be used to estimate how much you’ll need for either more or less.

Do you feel like you’re running on empty? Just as your car or truck needs clean gas, clean oil and a clean air filter to function properly, your body needs “clean” food. If you pour in the wrong kind of oil or gas that’s loaded with “fillers,” or your exhaust system is clogged up, your car will give you obvious and immediate signs of system breakdown. What will you do about it? Will you pour in more dirty gas and more of the wrong oil? Will you try to keep driving until the engine completely fails? Will you drive to the first car “doctor” (mechanic) and get the latest “prescription” (car parts or “diagnostic” you don’t need) and waste your money, your time, and destroy all common sense when it comes to proper maintenance? What ever happened to preventive maintenance?

It’s time to understand that your symptoms are simply your body’s way of telling you that you’re running on empty and quite toxic. Clean food entails consuming foods that are purely carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Not “food-like” substances that come from vending machines and drive-thrus.

Here are 5 telltale signs that you’ve consumed some toxic food and your “symptoms” need more than just cover up medicine, in fact, your body needs clean food starting today:

  1. Inflammation or edema: Are you retaining abnormal amounts of water? This could show up as weight gain. Do your hands and feet swell often? Are you consuming excessive animal protein, dairy or genetically modified wheat? What about refined sugars? Check the sodium levels in processed foods, especially ones you ate in the past six hours.
  2. Lethargy or vertigo (dizziness): Nothing slows down a human body faster than “trash” food. If you eat nutrient-void food, you will not have any energy. If you are dizzy, this is usually an equilibrium issue in the inner ear, boiling right back to diet. Check your recent intake for MSG, aspartame, nitrates in meats and concentrated sweets.
  3. Gut or Bowel dysfunction: Not always, but most often the gluten we are consuming is “mutant” GMO food “glue” and causes constipation. Gluten and artificial sweeteners can irritate your entire digestive tract and pollute your cleansing organs with synthetic toxins, which may never release. Your body knows when you’ve consumed these “poisons” and lets you know right away.
  4. Skin rashes, eczema or psoriasis: Check your concentrated sweets, gluten, GMO pesticide-laden foods like corn and soy, and remember, the more processed food you eat, the more you break out with these skin conditions. Even typical medications like aspirin, cough syrup and ibuprofen can be overdone and cause headaches and rashes.
  5. Headaches, migraines or brain fog: Did you just drink some unfiltered tap water (containing fluoride and bleach)? Did you just get a flu shot or a vaccine? Did you just eat something with aspartame in it? Did you just return from the dentist with a new mercury cavity filling? Did you just take a strong pharmaceutical medication for anxiety, depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?

Your body’s immediate response (within 6 hours) to consuming something that it does not want to process and cannot utilize for nutrition are often clear signs that if you continue to inflict the same “damage” to your system, eventually major system “failure” will occur. The biggest question is, “Are you promoting disease or protecting yourself against it?” Are you truly putting out the “burning fire” of inflammation, or are you temporarily getting rid of just the “smoke”?

If you are experiencing one or more of the five most popular categories of toxicity symptoms, there are simple fixes that begin right within your kitchen pantry and it’s time to dump the junk food. You can also get a personalized blood test to see which specific foods and ingredients are your personal poisons.

Bottom line: in our busy environment, make sure you’re not running on empty and take back your health! 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018 15:58

What color is your diet?

Remember ROYGBIV? This mnemonic device is how many of us learned the colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Nowadays I use the acronym to represent the colors of food I should be eating. March is National Nutrition Month, and “eating the colors of the rainbow” is one of the best things we can do for our health. Of course I’m not referring to the popular candy that encourages tasting these brilliant colors, I’m talking about fruits and vegetables!

Think about the average person’s daily meals. Breakfast may start with either cereal and milk, or eggs with pancakes and sausage. As one moves into the lunch hour, grabbing for a burger or sandwich sided with chips, fries, cookies and soda is pretty common. Lastly, envision a typical supper, which is usually based around some sort of meat with potatoes/rice/noodles, and a fan favorite “veggie” known as corn! Close your eyes and picture the colors that were just consumed on an average day — brown, white and yellow! Unfortunately some of the only vegetables that Americans eat are lettuce, tomato and onion — because they came with that burger!

The proof is in the pigment, everyone! And what a wonderful and easy way to protect your health — through eating! Consuming a diet rich in plant foods will provide a vast amount of phytochemicals, or nonnutritive substances in plants, that possess health-protective effects preventing and treating chronic disease. Phytochemicals are both anti-inflammatory and tissue-specific for the body. The best part? The benefits come from consuming mixtures of the fruits and vegetables, not just a single few, leaving us with many options to select from nature’s pharmacy! Challenge yourself to eat foods from each color every day. There is only so much benefit received from eating the same thing all the time; rotation and variety is key! The following are a few examples of where to find these phytochemical colors and their specific healing properties:

Red: Lycopene, or anthocyanins, help to reduce several types of cancer risks (especially prostate) and serve as powerful antioxidant protecting from cell damage.

  • Beets
  • Cherries
  • Red peppers
  • Red potatoes
  • Cranberries
  • Raspberries
  • Radishes
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Strawberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Red grapes
  • Tomatoes
  • Red apples
  • Pomegranates
  • Watermelon
  • Red cabbage

Orange/Yellow: Carotenoids help to maintain healthy mucous membranes and eyes. They also may reduce risk of cancers, heart disease and can improve immune system function.

  • Butternut/yellow squash
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Yellow peppers
  • Yellow tomatoes
  • Yellow apples
  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Tangerines

Green: Chlorophyll, lutein, zeaxanthin and indoles serve to maintain vision health, atherosclerosis and also protect against some forms of cancer.

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Green cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce/spinach
  • Green onions
  • Peas
  • Green peppers
  • Limes
  • Zucchini
  • Avocados
  • Green apples
  • Green grapes
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi

Blue/Purple: Anthocyanidins are “anti-aging,” protecting one’s brain health and nerve tissue, and controlling blood pressure and heart health.

  • Purple kale
  • Purple cabbage
  • Purple potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Purple grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Raisins
  • Figs
  • Plums 


References: Lila, Ann .N.Y. Acad. Sci. 11143:372-380, 2007.

Walsh et al., Amer J Clin Nutr; 2007: 86:1687-1693.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018 19:25

Breaking your relationship with sugar

Have you ever tried to break a sweet tooth addiction only to find yourself still craving cookies, soda or other refined carbohydrates? Do you want to know why it is hard to break your sweet tooth addiction? The answer is simple: because it is a real addiction.

So while you might beat yourself up inside for not being strong enough to fight your sweet tooth, you should cut yourself some slack because it is not “a piece of cake.” Research shows that sugar is a highly refined substance that actually acts a lot like heroin when it hits the brain. Although the idea that sugar is addictive was controversial among scientists for years, studies have shown that sugar affects the brain chemistry and thus might be expected to cause addictive behavior. Sugar has also been shown to cause withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The behavioral effects are similar to the neurochemical changes in the brain that also occur with addictive drugs. Both sugar and the taste of sweet activate beta endorphin receptor sites in the brain, the same receptor sites that are activated by heroin and morphine.

Needless to say, sugar is usually found as simple carbohydrates, which are not exactly “healthy” foods. They are considered high glycemic index (GI) foods, which produce high levels of blood sugar. A diet that consists primarily of high GI foods can lead to carbohydrate cravings and an overall increase in appetite — potentially resulting in unwanted weight gain. These foods can cause large fluctuations of both blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to a vicious cycle of overeating (even overeating foods that are good for us). And studies have shown that each time you give into this cycle, “the chronic consumption of a diet with a high glycemic load is independently associated with an increased risk of obesity, developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.”

As far as choosing products without refined sugar goes, unfortunately, so many of these “better alternatives” contain artificial sweeteners, which studies have shown do not ultimately control your cravings for sweets. Some people do use these to bridge a gap here and there, but never should be used long term. Reason being is that they are unnatural, and hundreds of times sweeter, tricking your body into thinking it craves even more of that sweet flavor. So replacing things with sugar-free and diet beverages will definitely not break the sugar addiction. The body sees sugar as sugar, and you would just end up compensating by taking in more calories later on.

To break your sweet tooth addiction, focus on products that contain natural forms of sweeteners (i.e. stevia) in small amounts. Also slowly replace one unhealthy sweet food (i.e. cookies) with another food that is naturally sweet like fresh fruits, small portions of dried fruits, Greek yogurt and unsweetened dairy alternatives, etc. Even adding things like a little honey, cinnamon or cocoa powder could be helpful in satisfying a sweet tooth in a healthy way.

Be creative! Break the cookie cycle!


“Sugar and Fat Bingeing Have Notable Differences in Addictive-Like Behavior.” Journal of Nutrition. 2009.

“The role of glycemic index concept in carbohydrate metabolism.” J. Ciok et al. 2006.

Friday, 29 December 2017 02:56

When food causes you pain

With the holidays now over, everyone can relate to the feeling of a “food hangover,” or the agony of overeating. But could what you eat really be the culprit of arthritis, muscle pain, asthma, digestive and skin disorders as well? Yes, in fact it can be to blame. Scientists are making a strong link between our food choices and pain. About 70 percent of our immune cells are in our digestive system, making direct contact with the food we enjoy every day. If the immune system is triggered by bacteria in food, or flags a food as an allergen, or has an imbalance of important hormones such as insulin, it can set off the red alert of inflammation.

Inflammation is a major underlying factor in chronic conditions such as arthritis or poor digestive health, resulting in serious discomfort and a limited lifestyle. In other instances, inflammation is a periodic byproduct of stress and the proverbial wear-and-tear of living. At times we tax our bodies excessively, causing joint pain and decreased mobility. And yet, there are occasions where the stressful demands of work and family — the unexpected obstacles that are symptoms of financial and personal hardship, unhealthy diet, and too little sleep — manifest themselves through inflammation.

Persistent, systemic inflammation also increases a person’s risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and an assortment of other problems that become more likely as we age. More disturbing is the rise in the use of prescription drugs — many of which have serious long-term side effects — as a response to the growing threat of inflammation. Bottom line? Inflammation is the root of all chronic disease. How inflammation becomes visible in our own health will depend on the person.

There are immediate steps we can all take to reduce inflammation, starting with improved eating habits. Sufficient rest, moderate activity and a strong immune system also complement our dietary choices so that we can better control inflammation when it strikes.

Diet is critical! Amidst the far-too-numerous types of processed foods, sugary drinks and oversized meals, we must seize any chance to embrace the benefits of sound nutrition. When you eat foods you’re sensitive to (especially over and over each day or week), it causes an inflammatory reaction in your body and your health declines. And the important fact to note is that healthy foods such as squash, turkey, beans and apples, for example, may be your “personal poison” foods causing the inflammation.

The easiest way to discover your food sensitivities is a food sensitivity lab test. It’s a blood test that challenges the part of your immune system responsible for food sensitivities against different foods to determine your immune response. The strength of the response tells if you have a severe, moderate or mild sensitivity or none at all. You can choose to test up to 200 different foods, with results listing all your sensitive foods, the degree of sensitivity and your safe foods. It’s that simple. Imagine how long it would take to test that many foods on an elimination diet!

It is not a matter of whether a person “has” food sensitivities. In my experience, “how many,” and “which foods,” are what the blood test results show. The solution to pain is choosing to support your immune system with your next meal. We eat numerous times throughout the day, every day. Your next bite of food has the power to help or the power to heal. Which would you prefer? 

Thursday, 30 November 2017 21:13

Healthy Strawberry Santas

Ingredients

Strawberries

A banana

Cottage cheese

A black gel icing pen

Directions

  1. Take the top off a strawberry (i.e. the leaves)
  2. Slice a second slice from the top of the strawberry
  3. Slice a disc from a banana
  4. Spread one side of the banana with cottage cheese (relatively thick, as this will become the beard)
  5. Place the strawberry slice on a serving plate
  6. Add the slice of the banana on top, cottage cheese side down
  7. Take the gel icing pen and add 2 dots on the edge of the banana slice to look like eyes
  8. Place the remaining part of the strawberry on top as Santa’s hat
  9. Repeat for as many Santas you wish to make! 
Tuesday, 31 October 2017 16:36

Turkey Taco Burritos

Ingredients

Serves: 4

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 ounces of 93 percent lean ground turkey breast

1 cup pre-chopped onion

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup unsalted chicken stock

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

11/2 ounces Beanitos chips, coarsely crumbled

4 (8-inch) whole-wheat tortillas

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/3 cup shredded cheese

1/2 cup chopped tomato

4 lime wedges

Directions

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add turkey; cook 4 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add onion and next four ingredients; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in stock and juice; bring to a boil. Simmer 3 minutes or until thickened. Stir in chips.

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Place tortillas on a work surface; spread one tablespoon Greek yogurt over each tortilla. Divide turkey mixture evenly among tortillas; sprinkle evenly with cheese and tomato. Roll burritos tightly to close. Serve with lime wedges. 

 

Thursday, 28 September 2017 02:44

Cauliflower Curry Salad

Ingredients

Serves: 4-6

1 head cauliflower, cored and chopped

½ red onion, sliced

1 cup sweet potato, cubed

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 clove garlic, minced

¼ cup chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped pecans

Sea salt and pepper to taste

4-6 cups leafy greens of your choice

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the cauliflower, onion and sweet potato on a baking sheet and toss with coconut oil.
  3. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until fork tender.
  4. Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl and add the cooked cauliflower mix. Toss to combine and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve over leafy greens and enjoy! 
Monday, 31 July 2017 18:28

Pan-seared Salmon and Veggies

Ingredients

Servings: One

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 cup red and yellow cherry (or grape) tomatoes, some halved, some left whole

1 fresh salmon fillet

1 tablespoon fresh herbs (I use thyme and oregano)

1 teaspoon capers

Juice from half a lemon

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Melt the butter and 1 teaspoon oil in a cast iron skillet. Once the foaming starts to subside, add the tomatoes and cook for about a minute. Add the salmon fillet, season with salt and pepper and sear on one side for three minutes. Carefully flip with a fish spatula and sear another two to the three minutes. Add the herbs and toss the tomatoes around a bit. They’ll be getting some nice brown marks by now and breaking down a bit.
  2. In the meantime, heat the remaining teaspoon oil in another small skillet. Add the spinach and wilt for about two minutes. Toss in a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Serve salmon and tomatoes over the wilted spinach and garnish with the capers and a huge squeeze of lemon. Enjoy! 
Tuesday, 27 June 2017 00:08

Lemon Garlic Grilled Zucchini

Ingredients

2 large zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch diagonal slices

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (or 1/2 teaspoon dried basil and oregano)

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried garlic

1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)

Directions

  1. Place everything in a large zip-close bag and shake it all together so the zucchini gets coated in seasoning and lemon juice.
  2. For best flavor, let zucchini marinate in fridge for at least 15 minutes or more. (The more you marinate the zucchini the more flavor the zucchini will absorb.)
  3. Before grilling the zucchini, preheat grill over medium low heat.
  4. Place zucchini on heated grill and grill 2-3 minutes on each side, or until zucchini is tender to your liking and has grill marks. Enjoy! 
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