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by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath For our followers in the United States you await the upcoming Fourth of July celebration but for our followers abroad, this article still ties into any upcoming celebration that awaits you. So what do I mean by “you do not have to be perfect.” This is the “let loose” article that will play an important role in creating balance in your life. Far too often I see clients put far too much rigidity into their nutritional choices. These rigid choices then create a boat load of mental/emotional stress, which in turn can be more debilitating to your health than making an occasional questionable nutritional choice. So give yourself permission to “let loose” a bit but do this in the healthiest way possible. I’ll provide some examples of how I might let loose myself. Before we get into the examples, let’s discuss what everyone is so rigid about. There are three main areas of concern here base on me witnessing my clients.
  • Food sensitivity
  • Overall nutritional choices
    • What we eat
    • Alcohol or no alcohol
  • Where and what foods
    • Organic vs. conventional
    • Homemade meals vs. eating out
Food sensitivity is the area that I feel is essential to be maintain a complete focus on, at least as far as the primary sensitivities are concerned. When I mention the primary sensitivities I am talking about gluten and gluten associated cross reactive food sensitivities. Based on working with thousands of clients with food sensitivity, I find that gluten and cross reactions are the major areas to address. If you want to learn more about this click on my pat article “My Truth Behind Food Sensitivity.” So if you have a gluten sensitivity or a cross reaction, please eliminate these foods as viable nutritional choices while you are working on balancing your functional issues. This is an area that you will find many “experts” disagree but I feel that if you eliminate your primary sensitivities and balance your functional issues, you may actually get some of these foods back in your diet. I understand this first hand because in the past I was personally “off the charts” sensitive to dairy, gave it up for 18 months while working to heal the underlying issues and then added this back in and retested. Much to my surprise, even after adding dairy back in prior to my retest, this was no longer an issue for me. So now I can enjoy an occasional dairy treat without any concern. For those with extreme sensitivities that have horrific reactions to certain nutritional choices, you want to honor this with a rigid focus. As I have said in the past, no food taste good enough to pay for the suffering your may endure after. Overall nutritional choices is an area of concern for many. I have known a handful of people in the business that eat “perfect” all the time and what I can share is that I see the effects of this on all of them mental and emotionally. It is simply too much for most people to always be perfect. And what is perfect anyway? Some feel that being perfect is:
  • eliminating all sugar
  • eliminating meat products
  • eliminating all alcohol
  • eliminating all grains
  • eliminating all fruit juices
  • and the list goes on…
Personally, I do not eliminate any of these above 100% of the time. I actually consume meat at least once per day, I will have small amounts of sugar many days, I have an occasional drink, I sometimes eat grains that I do not have a sensitivity to and every once in a while, but not often, I’ll even have a small glass of fruit juice (even though you’ll sometimes hear me call this liquid sugar.) The key though is that the foods that I see as  somewhat of a challenge such as sugar, alcohol, grains and the liquid sugar mentioned, I simply to not over consume these. It’s all about having control over your nutritional choices rather than them controlling you. Trust me, I did not always have this control but it’s like anything else, you have to simply learn to build up your control muscle. While you are in this process, I would recommend keeping only small amounts of your questionable foods in your home. The other area nutritionally is tied into eating out and eating conventionally grown foods. I sometimes see clients that are so stressed out if they eat out or if they occasionally have to eat something that is not organic. Often the levels of stress are a much bigger issue than the restaurant foods or the conventionally grown foods are specifically. There is one motto that I live by that takes away this stress. Wherever I am, I simply make the best choice possible. If I am at a restaurant, this may mean that I am getting meat with hormones and antibiotics or often consuming a conventionally grown vegetable that was sprayed with chemicals. While that is not what I would prefer, I am not going to stress out about it and as mentioned, I will make the best choice possible in the moment. After all, I understand that when I am at home or at certain restaurants, I will be eating organic, free range, wild caught and locally grown as much as possible, so I do not sweat the small stuff that happens on occasion. What about alcohol? First off, let me share that in my opinion, no alcohol is good for us. I know some research shares that a glass or two of wine daily or even a beer has been shown to be beneficial but the reality is, it is still alcohol and it creates challenges directly with your cerebellum. Your cerebellum is a region of the brain that plays an important role in motor control. It is also involved in some cognitive functions such as attention and language, and in regulating fear and pleasure responses. This is why I do not support the research claiming that alcohol is good for us but it is important to recognize that people are going to drink alcohol, and as I mentioned earlier in this article, I am going to partake personally at times. There are a few keys though when you are planning to consume alcohol:
  • If you are gluten sensitive be sure to avoid beer unless it is gluten free.
  • Watch out for mixes as many contain high fructose corn syrup which is a cross reactive food.
  • Make sure you do not over consume alcohol.
  • Only drink after you have consumed a full meal. Alcohol absorbs via the stomach lining and if you drink on an empty stomach, it is a straight shot to the cerebellum.
  • Always drink at about 16 to 20 ounces of water between every drink you consume.
  • On evenings that you drink, take a high amount of vitamin C or other antioxidant before you go to bed.
  • Since the effects of alcohol can last up to 3 days, be sure you give your body time to recover before drinking again.
  • If you chose to abstain from the use of alcohol, you can always enjoy some fun mocktails. Myself and my wife will often mix a fermented drink with a natural spring water and drink out of a margarita or martini glass and we enjoy the social aspect of drinking without the negative effect of the alcohol.
So when you head out to your Fourth of July party or any other gathering, follow these simple tips to let loose, but let loose with maintaining your health at the same time.
  • First off, pay attention to the tips on alcohol above.
  • Since you know you there are going to be some poor choices at your gathering, offer to bring a dish and make it a dish that you can not only indulge in, but one that you will absolutely enjoy. Many times in the past I have offered to bring brownies, because I make the best gluten free brownies ever. I purposely do not tell anyone they are gluten free and everyone always loves them. I’ll share my recipe later.
  • Be sure to start your gathering off right. When it is appetizer time, making good choices at the beginning will set up success for the rest of the gathering. There are often some yummy dips and guacamole available but if you have gluten or corn sensitivity, you have to be careful about the vehicle you use for these. This is why I often bring a bag of plantain chips with me to parties and I can almost always find some veggies as my vehicles for dipping.
  • Try to get a good combo of protein, fat and veggies. If I have a choice of boiled shrimp, guacamole and some veggies for an appetizer, I am all set. Stay away from any foods you have sensitivities to and be careful of any creamy dips that may have gluten containing ingredients.
  • Use the one plate rule. Most gathers are set up buffet style and this sets us up to be gluttons. If you are preparing your plate for you main meal, simply fill the first plate and do not go back for seconds. Buffet style tends to lead to over eating but the one plate rule will save you from this.
  • Take your Prime Enzyme Support when you start eating your appetizers and another just before your main meal. This will enhance the function of the first third of your stomach and your digestive system will be very thankful for this. If you want to learn more about enhancing your digestive system enjoy this article “You ARE NOT What You Eat”
Here is my gluten free brownie recipe as promised. Start with the Namaste brand gluten free brownie mix but with some modifications. First, when it calls for oil, I like to use soften butter instead (unless you have a dairy sensitivity of course.) Big “secret” number one is that I will mix in one full bag of dark chocolate chips into the batter. The second “secret” is to cook at 25 degrees less than the recipe calls for. This will leave your brownies gooey, but once they cool, they will be perfect and everyone will absolutely love them. All this and you get to enjoy a gluten free treat also. Bonus Recipe I am also going to provide you with my worlds best margarita recipe.
  • 1 and 1/2 shot of tequila (I use a Reposado)
  • 1 shot of Triple Sec
  • 1/2 shot of Grand Marnier
  • 1 shot almost full of fresh squeezed lime juice with the juice of a 1/4 wedge from a Valencia organge
  • The smallest amount of cinnamon that you can shake from your cinnamon shaker
  • Shake in martini shaker until this is mixed well and very cold
  • Poor into a margarita glass and garnish with a lime wedge
  • Salted rim if desired
I also want to provide you with a couple of my favorite recipes from the Six Week Anti-Inflammatory Program cook book. This is my bread replacement recipe and one of my favorite main dishes.

Flax Flat Bread

  • 1 cup fresh ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup whole flaxseed
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons ground chia seeds mixed with 1 cup water (set aside for 5 minutes to become gelatinous)
  • 1/3 cup organic unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/3 cup purified water
  • Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, coriander, ginger to taste OR oregano, basil, & thyme
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Prepare a cookie sheet with oiled parchment paper or silicone mat
  • Mix the 5 tablespoons chia seeds with the 1 cup water first and set aside until gelatinous
  • In a separate bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients
  • Combine dry ingredients with the wet chia seeds and the extra 1/3 cup purified water
  • Mix very well so the chia seeds are mixed in with the dry – this is the “binder” of the bread
  • Let batter set for 2-3 minutes to thicken, but do not leave it too long or it will be hard to spread
  • Spread a thin layer (about 1/2”) EVENLY on a cookie sheet
  • Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes, or until it springs back when you touch the top and is visibly browning even more than flax already is
  • Enjoy plain or with coconut spread or olive

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

  • 12 slices of bacon, cut in half lengthwise
  • 24 scallops
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (only permitted after the initial 6 weeks)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 24 toothpicks
  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Cut bacon
  • Pre-fry each bacon slice just until it is about half done (it needs to still be limp so it can wrap around the scallop)
  • In a separate bowl add olive oil, crushed garlic, cayenne pepper (if permitted), sea salt, and pepper, then mix
  • Dip each scallop in the olive oil mixture and wrap one strip of bacon around it, securing it with a toothpick
  • Place bacon-wrapped scallops on a cookie sheet or in a baking dish
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the scallops are done and the bacon is crisp
  • Remove from oven, place them in a bowl, and pour the remaining olive oil mixture over the cooked bacon-wrapped scallop
  • Enjoy immediately; they cool quickly!
These are just two of over 75 recipes in the Six Week Anti-Inflammatory Program cook book. If you want to enjoy another 73 plus recipes of appetizers, side dishes, soups, main dishes, desserts and more, you get can enjoy this for less than $10.00. What can you get for under $10.00 these days right!? Get your PDF of your Six Week Anti-Inflammatory Program cook book here. Enjoy your Fourth of July holiday and all your other gathers. Allow yourself to let loose a bit but do this is a way that you not only have some fun, but maintain your health at the same time. Happy Fourth of July! If you have any comments or questions regarding this article, feel free to post below and we will address this personally.