K2 & Bone Health

We’ve been taught for years that calcium is crucial for bone health, and while that is true, without the proper co-factors, calcium cannot be utilized and distributed properly in the body. Vitamin D3 is needed to absorb calcium and vitamin K2, in the form of MK-7, is essential for determining where calcium ends up in the body.

While D3 is needed for calcium absorption, mega-dosing can cause stiff joints and kidney stones because the calcium is ending up in the wrong places. This is where vitamin K2 comes into play. Vitamin K2 tells the body to put the calcium in the bones and teeth and not the tissue. Then, once the calcium is in the bone, K2 activates osteocalcin telling the calcium to flood throughout the bones.

Both K1 and K2 are fat soluble vitamins, but K2 is very different than K1. K1 is found in leafy greens and responsible for blood clotting. It is harder for the human body to utilize and much of K1 is left unprocessed. K1 can be processed to K2 by the gut bacteria, but due to the antibiotic use in our culture, very few people are actually able to do this. K2 can be found in Natto, hard and soft cheese, egg yolk, butter and chicken liver.

K2 isn’t only beneficial for bone health, it is also very beneficial for promoting heart health and prevents the calcification and stiffness of coronary arteries by moving calcium out of the blood vessels.

I recommend supplementing with K2 to ensure you are getting enough. Two brands I like best are Vital Proteins Bone Collagen and MicroBiome Mega Quinone K2

Dr Weston A Price’s ‘X-Factor’ is now believed to be vitamin K2. If you are someone who prefers to get your nutrients from whole foods instead of vitamins there is a list of foods containing K2 in the Dr Weston A Price article linked above.

Grandma Janes Bean Dip

Janes Bean Dip

Although not a traditional looking cold chip dip, this recipe is always a hit. Don’t let the sprouts on top scare you away, they add a delightful taste!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups refried beans or 1- 16 oz can
  • 4 to 8 dashes hot sauce more for a spicier dip, less for a milder dip
  • 2 to 3 ripe avocados
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 to 3 T taco seasoning more for a spicier dip, less for a milder dip
  • 1/2 to 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 bunches green onions diced
  • 2 lg tomatoes, diced
  • 1 – 4 oz can diced olives
  • 1 to 2 lg whole jalepanos, diced remove seeds for less spice, add for more
  • 1- 4 oz pkg alfalfa sprouts I like to chop with a scissors to make them easier to eat

Instructions

  • Use a 9×13 pan for a dip with thick layers or a jelly roll pan for a dip with thin layers. 
  • Combine refried beans and hot sauce. Spread evenly in the bottom of the pan.
  • Mash avocados until smooth. Add lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Carefully spread on top of beans.
  • Mix sour cream and taco seasoning. Carefully spread on top of avocados. 
  • Evenly cover sour cream mixture with shredded cheese.
  • Top sour cream mixture with green onions, tomatoes, olives and jalapenos. 
  • Spread sprouts over everything.
  • Chill dip for 24 hours before serving for best flavor. 
  • Serve with chips and vegetables.

Ingredient Links

Chips: Siete Lime Chips, Jackson’s Honests Corn Chips, Terra Chips

Taco Seasoning: My two favorite taco seasonings are Primal Palate and Balanced Bites. I think Primal Palate is spicier than Balanced Bites but Balanced Bites has a fuller flavor.

Sour Cream: Daisy, Kalona Naturals. If you don’t want to purchase organic dairy, I think Daisy brand is a clean alternative.

Good Fats & Bad Fats

We have been told for years to reduce fat, consume cholesterol free foods and use highly processed vegetable oils to promote health. The truth is these things are leading to the decline of our health. As Americans our diet is far too low in healthy fats, and too high in sugar and omega 6 fats due to the over-consumption of processed foods and vegetable oils.

The high consumption of omega 6 fats upset the delicate balance of omega 3’s to omega 6’s in our body, which increases inflammation, slows healing, causes skin issues, and is linked to depression. Ideally, we should be eating a 1:1 ration of omega 3’s to omega 6’s, but the typical American diet is between 1:20 and 1:50. Omega 6 fats, in excess, tend to be inflammatory while omega 3 fats are anti-inflammatory. When they are in balance it is a beautiful thing. When they become out of balance the body can begin to experience disorder. It is important to know, omega 6 fats are not the villain, it is only when they are consumed in excess and in the form of highly processed, rancid fat, that they become a problem.

Before we dig deeper into fat let’s dispel some common beliefs.

  • Refined vegetable oils are not healthy, think canola oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil…They are highly processed, most often rancid when consumed, increase inflammation in the body and have been linked to many other health problems.
  • Consuming dietary cholesterol has little to no effect of cholesterol circulating in the body and it is not linked to heart disease.
  • Consuming fats and oils do not necessarily make you fat. Eating the correct kind will protect you from weight gain, boost your metabolism, and improve your cholesterol numbers. Healthy fats are the main source of fuel for your brain and are the building blocks of all cells membranes.

Healthy fats play an important role in your health, but not all healthy fats remain healthy in all cooking methods. What are healthy fats? And what methods should they be used in?

Healthy Saturated Fats consist of coconut oil, palm oil, butter, ghee, lard, bacon grease, tallow, duck fat, full fat dairy, eggs, meat and seafood. These fats should ideally be purchased as unrefined, or from pasture raised, grass fed and organic sources. Saturated fats are more stable due to their molecular structure than unsaturated fats and should be used when heating the fat- stove top, baking and roasting. They are not chemically altered by heat and do not oxidize easily.

Healthy Unsaturated Fats consist of avocado oil, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, walnut oil, and nuts and seeds – including butters. These fats should ideally be purchased as organic, extra-virgin and cold pressed. They are for cold use with the exception of avocado oil which is heat stable and can be used for cooking, baking, frying and grilling. Avocado oil is one of my favorite oils. Chosen foods and Primal Kitchen are my favorite brands. Chosen foods has a very mild taste making it perfect for when you are making a delicate dish or dessert.

Hydrogenated, Partially Hydrogenated Oils and Trans Fats along with man-made fats and artificial buttery spreads are fats which should be avoided. They are highly processed. These oils are created by injecting a catalyst into the oil which changes the molecular structure making the new product closer to plastic than the original product. Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils increase bad cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol. They increase inflammation which often manifests as swelling, aches and pains, and are associated with cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, low birth weight babies, immune system disfunction, altered gut bacteria and obesity.

Energy Balls with Oatmeal

Energy Balls with Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews, walnuts, almonds or your nut mixture of choice (I cup total, not one cup of each)
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates
  • 1-2 T water – if needed
  • 1 1/2 tsps real vanilla
  • 2 T melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free oatmeal
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2- 1 cup Add-In’s such as: chocolate chips, raisins, dried cherries, dried fruit Use a single Add-In or a combination to equal 1/2 – 1 cup total

Instructions

  • In a food processor with a ‘S’ blade, process the cashews until crumbly. 
  • Add dates, process until a thick paste forms. You want a sticky dough, but not a wet dough. Add water, a tsp at a time, if needed.
  • Remove mixture from food processor and place into a large bowl.
  • By hand, stir in melted coconut oil and vanilla, then cinnamon and oatmeal. Finally incorporate the ‘Add In’s’. Mix well. The mixture should be sticky, but not wet. If it is too wet you can add additional oatmeal or 1 T cassava flour at a time. If it is too crumbly and doesn’t stick together, add additional water one tsp at a time.
  • Form into balls. Store in the refrigerator. 

Tropical Green Smoothie

Need a post workout recovery drink or a refreshing pick me up?

This smoothie will hit the spot. It has enough protein, fat and fiber to keep you full, will help balance your blood sugar and will aid in recovery after a workout. 


I promise, the spinach does not over power this drink! It is bursting with tropical pineapple and lime flavors, making it a green smoothie even your children will enjoy.

Tropical Green Smoothies

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 16 oz crushed ice
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 2 cups spinach, pressed fairly full
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
  • 2 med frozen bananas*
  • 2 scoops collagen peptides**
  • 1-2 T chia seeds
  • 2 T coconut oil or MCT oil

Instructions

  • Using a high speed blender, blend together all ingredients, except coconut oil, until smooth. Then, slowly pour in melted coconut oil with the blender running, and blend until light. 

Notes

* I keep a bag of frozen banana slices in my freezer for smoothies. I cut the banana into 1/2 inch slices before freezing.
**Vital Proteins is my preferred brand. You can use VP collagen peptides in the blue canister or Beauty Collagen to add additional flavor and benefits. 

Why do you put _________ in the smoothie?

Spinach: Loaded with vitamins it is a nutritional powerhouse. One cup contains over 100% of vitamins K and A, and over 25% of B6, B2, Magnesium, folate and iron.

Bananas: They provide a creamy texture and add sweetness. Tip: Freeze bananas when very ripe and the sweetness will shine out even more.

Collagen: An easy to absorb protein, which aids in muscle recovery and supports healthy joints, bones, and digestive health. Check out this post for more information.

Lime: Helps to create digestive enzymes so you can better digest your food.

Coconut Oil: Healthy fat to keep you feeling full longer and support brain function.

Chia Seeds: Fiber to keep you full, antioxidants to fight free radicals, improve digestive health, and aid in balancing blood sugar.

Welcome!

Hi! I am so glad you’re here. I don’t know what brought you here or where you are in your health journey, but know it’s ok to be browsing, beginning or an ole’ pro.

I’ve always enjoyed working in the kitchen, but I have a special love for baking. In high school I worked in a bakery which is where I learned to decorate cakes and cookies. From there I opened my own, very small, in-house bakery, baking cakes – birthdays to 5 tier wedding cakes, cookies, cupcakes and other random sweets for local people. I loved creating beautiful things which delighted the taste buds of many. I eventually ‘closed the door’ to my bakery so I could dedicate my time to my children. My love for creating beautiful things in the kitchen hasn’t changed, but the way I approach it has. In 2016 I went back to school to become a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Balanced Bites Masterclass graduate, and a 21 DSD Health Coach. I continue to expand my knowledge through various classes and research. My focus today has switched to creating foods made from whole food ingredients, most often taking the Paleo approach. As I educate and inform, I not only focus on diet, but take a holistic approach, teaching others how stress, emotions, exercise and sleep are all vital aspects of ones well-being.

Food is often the center of celebrations and fellowship. The best conversations seem to happen over the dinner table, fire pit or a simple cup of hot coffee. Food has the power to connect souls, heal hearts and energize the body. It shouldn’t only look and taste good, it should be our source of real energy and a tool we can use to heal our bodies. 

I am passionate about feeding my family well and most of the time that revolves around the Paleo diet. I believe food should come from the ground, not a box. The protein we eat should come from free range and grass fed animals and poultry. Healthy fats such as avocado oil, ghee, coconut oil, and fats from grass fed animals need to retake their place in our kitchens and seed oils need to be avoided. Complex carbohydrates should come from starchy vegetables and gluten free grains, if tolerated.

It is my desire to provide a resource for you to help you navigate through your kitchen, nourish your body and your soul. I will give you tips and tricks to work through gluten free baking, offer you advise on feeding the whole family through a Paleo diet template and share with you recipes based on the Paleo lifestyle combined with AIP, allergen free, 21DSD approved and refined sugar free.