So…. I’m sorry I have ghosted the online world lately, but I have been dealing. Dealing with a job I don’t like. Dealing with relationships that are immensely toxic. Dealing with the realization that one of my oldest friends isn’t really my friend anymore. Dealing with troublesome health issues. Dealing with friends who are recovering from nearly dying and friends who are fighting not to. And finally, dealing with the fact that all of this has initiated and fed a deep depressive episode. I think that is the worst thing about depression is that so many things can trigger an episode but then the episode worsens the things that set it off in the first place. It is a vicious circle that chews you up but doesn’t spit you out. It just keeps chewing. What was fascinating to me about the whole thing is that while I have been in the darkness, I intellectually knew what was happening, understood what I needed to do but was basically unable to act on it. I am starting to climb out now and I can honestly say that there is one thing that has helped me. That is the unwavering support of the few people who truly care for me. Often times I almost didn’t reach out to talk because I was convinced that I was becoming a burden on my loved ones. I was frustrating them with the repetition and the apparent lack of movement. They stood by and listened. They didn’t try to “fix it”. They knew they couldn’t. They gave me exactly what I needed which was to be heard. So. What does this all mean? Changes. A change back to a lifestyle that works for me. A change in jobs to somethings more suited to what I find passion in. Letting go of a friend. I’ll continue to be a rock for my friends and accept what is that can’t be changed. Thank you to everyone who stood by and listened. I will continue to grow. If you ever need someone to listen to you, I’m here.
So….It’s that time of year when celebration is essential. Stave off those holiday blues with this Mountain Man recipe that is full of brain supporting nutrients. Enjoy!
1 free-range turkey about 5–5.5kg (11-12 lbs.)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 onions, peeled and halved
1 lemon, halved
1 bulb of garlic, halved horizontally
6 bay leaves
Olive oil, to drizzle
8 strips of smoked streaky bacon
Lemon, parsley and garlic butter:
1 lb. butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small lemons, finely grated zest and juiced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Meanwhile, prepare the herb butter. Put the butter into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and mix well. Add the lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic and chopped parsley. Mix well.
Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity. Season the cavity well with sea salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, lemon, garlic halves and 2 bay leaves.
With your hands, loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the bird so that you will be able to stuff the flavoured butter underneath it, making sure you keep the skin intact. Repeat with the skin on the legs – from the lower side of the breast feel your way under the skin and out towards the leg, loosening the gap.
Stuff half the butter mix into the opened spaces under the skin. From the outside of the skin, gently massage the butter around the breasts so that the meat is evenly covered. Finally, insert the rest of the bay leaves under the skin of the breasts.
Place the bird in a large roasting tray, breast side up. Spread the rest of the butter all over the skin. Season well with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil.
Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10–15 minutes. Take the tray out of the oven, baste the bird with the pan juices and lay the bacon rashers over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again. Lower the setting to 350ºF and cook for about 2½ hours (calculating at 30 minutes per kg), basting occasionally.
To test whether your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and check that the juices are running clear, rather than pink. It is crucial to check your turkey about 30 minutes before the calculated roasting time. If the juices are pink, roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Repeat as necessary until the turkey is cooked.
Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter and remove the parson’s nose, wings and tips of the drumsticks; reserve these for the gravy.
Leave the turkey to rest in a warm place for at least 45 minutes; make the gravy in the meantime.
Remove the bay leaves from under the skin before carving. Serve the turkey with the piping hot gravy, stuffing and accompaniments.
Gravy with Cider and Walnuts
Bacon, onions, lemon and trimmings from the roast turkey with lemon, parsley and garlic
3 rosemary sprigs
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 litre good-quality hard dry cider
600ml good-quality chicken stock or bone broth
2 tbsp walnut pieces, toasted
Once you’ve transferred the cooked turkey to a platter to rest, drain off most of the fat from the roasting tray and keep warm
Roughly chop the bacon, add to the tray and fry for a few minutes. Chop the onions and lemon and add to the tray with 2 rosemary sprigs and the tomatoes.
Cook for 1–2 minutes, then add the turkey wings, parson’s nose and drumstick tips and fry for a few more minutes.
Pour in the cider and boil for a few minutes. Add the juices from the resting turkey and simmer to reduce the liquid by half. Pour in the stock, return to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly. Using a potato masher, crush the vegetables in the tray. Simmer for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced again by a third. Take off the heat.
Strain the gravy through a sieve into a saucepan, pressing down on the solids in the sieve with a ladle to extract as much of the flavourful juice as possible. Add a fresh sprig of rosemary to the pan, then turn off the heat and leave to infuse for a few minutes.
Before serving, remove the rosemary, season to taste and reheat the gravy.
Coarsely crush the walnut pieces using a pestle and mortar and then tip into a warmed gravy jug. Pour the piping hot gravy on top and serve at once.
Turkey ……. Full of the amino acid Tryptophan. The tryptophan gets converted to the neurotransmitter Serotonin which is great to help keep the mood stable!
Onions & Garlic ……. Great prebiotics for the gut biome! A healthy gut aids in the transformation of tryptophan into serotonin keeping you happier, longer. Plus, mmmmm…. garlic……
Walnuts …… high in Omega-3s which is great for being anti-inflammatory and essential for the health of the cells of the brain. Also, the form of vitamin E found in walnuts is somewhat unusual, and particularly beneficial. Walnuts provide an unusually high level of vitamin E in the form of gamma-tocopherol. Particularly in studies on the cardiovascular health of men, this gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E has been found to provide significant protection from heart problems.
Tips & Tricks
Stick with organic turkey if you can afford it: Organic standards help lower risk of contaminated feed and organic turkey usually has higher nutrient quality
Try to use a nitrate free bacon. Nitrates are not good for the brain as they may be an environmental trigger for Alzheimer’s disease. Try nitrate and sugar free bacon if you can find it. Check out TK Ranch for a tasty treat!
Make sure that you use high quality cider and stock for your gravy. This style of gravy uses the pulp from the vegetables and herbs to provide the body of the gravy. Use Roma tomatoes if you can. They thicken up better than other tomatoes. Don’t add any starch to the gravy to thicken it. This will keep it gluten free and lower in carbs. Save those carbs for the pumpkin pie (organic of course)!
So, guys, let’s talk mental health and the original chill pill, magnesium. Magnesium is involved in over 600 different cellular processes and yet is the second most nutritionally deficient mineral in first world countries. Magnesium is so good for relieving anxiety and stress that it’s been called “nature’s Valium”. Interestingly, magnesium intake has plunged over the last fifty years while anxiety rates have skyrocketed. Coincidence? I doubt it.
Magnesium is essential to so many different cell functions. To name a few, it is necessary for neurotransmitter, enzyme, and hormonal activity; mitochondrial protein, DNA and RNA synthesis; and blood sugar balance, active transport across cell membranes, and glutathione and ATP production. On the flip side, inadequate magnesium levels can contribute to insomnia, seizures, anxiety, pain, and other psychiatric concerns. In addition, nutritional deficiency of magnesiumis associated with numerous critical health conditionsincluding, hypertension, elevated C-reactive protein levels, TNF alpha, triglycerides, and fasting glucose; decreased high-density lipoprotein;sudden cardiac death;type 2 diabetes;metabolic syndrome; asthma;and osteoporosis. (2-8)
How does it work?
Magnesium plays a major role in calming the nervous system due to its ability to block brain N-methyl D-aspartate receptors (NMDA), thereby inhibiting excitatory neurotransmission. (1)
1. Magnesium Increases Relaxing GABA
One such way magnesium counters stress is by binding to and stimulating GABA receptors in the brain. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, one that puts the brakes on brain activity. When GABA is low, your brain gets stuck in the “on” position and it becomes impossible to relax. If you are easily overwhelmed, disorganized, always find something new to worry about, or lay awake with racing thoughts, you likely have low GABA levels. Low GABA is associated with numerous stress-related disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and irritable bowel syndrome.
2. Magnesium Reduces Stress Hormones
Magnesium restricts the release of stress hormones (cortisol) and acts as a filter to prevent them entering the brain.
Excess cortisol contributes to anxiety, depression, memory loss, brain fog, and mental disorders of all kinds.
3. Magnesium Is Anti-Inflammatory
One of the most significant anti-anxiety properties of magnesium is that it is anti-inflammatory. Brain inflammation is linked to anxiety, depression, and memory loss. Inflammatory immune system messengers called cytokines activate inflammation in the brain, destroy tissue and alter brain function.Cytokines are known to play a role in anxiety, depression, memory loss, apathy, slowed responses, irritability, inability to focus, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and increased risk of suicide.
Why am I deficient and what can I do?
Despite its benefits, many people are magnesium are deficient due to the frequent consumption of highly processed foods in the standard American diet and modern water treatment processes that remove magnesium from the water supply.
· Even the healthiest foods can be low in magnesium since most are grown in mineral-depleted soil.
· Many of us live where fluoride is added to our water.
· Fluoride binds to magnesium, making it less bioavailable.
· Chronic stress is a big magnesium thief. It causes magnesium to be excreted during urination.
· Alcoholics, diabetics, and seniors are at particular risk for low magnesium.
· Gastrointestinal problems such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, IBS, and intestinal flora imbalance prevent magnesium absorption.
To increase your dietary intake of magnesium, try incorporating the following foods into your diet:
· Pumpkin seeds
· Black-eyed peas
· Brazil nuts
If you wish to add a supplement, the best version of magnesium to address a deficiency is magnesium bisglycinate which is highly bio-available and has a calming effect. Be careful of the cheap supplements with magnesium oxide or magnesium sulfate both of which has a strong laxative effect too.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a natural way to alleviate anxiety and stress, magnesium may be the answer. Magnesium can help anxiety by normalizing neurotransmitters and stress hormones, reducing brain inflammation, increasing neuroplasticity, balancing blood sugar levels, and removing heavy metals.
Eating magnesium-rich foods and drinking mineral water are important, but almost everyone can benefit from supplementation.
1. Ruppersberg J et al. The mechanism of magnesium block of NMDA receptors. Seminars in Neuroscience. 1994;6(2): 87-96.
2. Rosanoff A, Weaver C, Rude R. Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated? Nutr Rev. 2012; 70(3): 153-164.
3. Guerrero-Romero F, Rodriguez-Moran M. Relationship between serum magnesium levels and C-reactive protein among hemodialysis patients. Magnes Res. 2008; 26:167-170.
4. Curiel-Garcia J, Rodriguez-Moran M, Guerro-Romero F. (2008). Hypomagnesemia and mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes. Magnes Res. 2008; 21:163-166.
5. Lopez-Ridaura R, Willett W, Rimm E et al. Magnesium intake and risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. Diabetes Care. 2004; 27: 134-140.
6. Evangelopoulos A, Vallianou N, Panagiotakos D et al. An inverse relationship between cumulating components of the metabolic syndrome serum magnesium levels. Nutr Res. 2008; 28: 659-663.
7. Soutar A, Seaton A. Bronchial reactivity and dietary antioxidants. Thorax. 1997;52(2):166-170.
8. Rude Rk, Singer FR, Gruber HE. Skeletal and hormonal effects of magnesium deficiency. J Am Coll Nutr. 2009; 28: 131-41.
So, winter is here this means two things; staying warm and football. For an awesome brainy take on the standard tailgate chill, try the recipe below!
· 3 TBSPCoconut oil
· 2 TBSPGhee (clarified butter)
· 3 ea. Anaheim chilies; roasted, peeled, chopped
· 3 ea. Poblano chilies; roasted, peeled, chopped
· 2 ea. Bell pepper diced
· 2 ea. Jalapeno peppers minced
· 2 ea. Medium onions diced
· 1 headGarlic minced
· 1-pound Beef sirloin steak cut into 1cm. cubes
· 2 pounds lean ground beef
· 1-pound Bulk Italian sausage, spicy
· 3 TBSP Chili powder
· 2 Tsp Cayenne pepper
· 2 Tsp Ground coriander
· 2 Tsp Ground cumin
· 2 Tsp Hot paprika
· 2 Tsp Himalayan sea salt
· 2 Tsp Black pepper, ground
· 2 cups Tomato sauce
· 1 cup Tomato paste
· 1 bottle Stout beer
· 1 cup Beef bone broth
· 3-4 TBSP of raw cocoa powder. Optional.
· 2 ea. 15.5 oz can of red kidney beans, with juice
· 2 ea. 15.5 oz can of pinto beans, with juice
1. Add coconut oil and ghee into a large stockpot over high heat
2. Add the Anaheim, Poblano, and jalapeno chilis as well as the bell peppers and onions and cook until caramelized (golden brown). Keep stirring with a wooden spoon to help make sure the onions don’t burn. (around 5 minutes)
3. Add garlic and sauté for another minute
4. Add the steak and brown, about 4-5 minutes
5. Add ground beef and sausage and brown. Make sure to stir gently as you don’t want to break up the beef too much. Cook until the meat is browned and cooked through.
6. Add spices and fry until the spices become fragrant, about 1 minute
7. Add tomato sauce and paste and stir until they start to brown
8. Add beer and beans and stir to mix thoroughly
9. Low the heat to a simmer and cook for another 1.5 – 2 hours or until the diced steak is tender
10. To finish, add 3-4 TBSP of raw cocoa powder and stir. This is completely optional
11. Adjust seasoning
12. Serve with sour cream or crème fraiche, grated cheddar cheese and thinly sliced green onions
The beans…...Fiber all-star, lower heart attack risk, stabilize blood sugars, sulfite detoxifiers
The chilies…...Anti-inflammatory, heart health, improves insulin effectiveness, stops spread of prostate cancer cells
The onion……Heart health, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-fungal, prebiotic, cancer support
The cumin……energy, immune support, digestion support, enhance liver detox (anti-cancer support)
The beer……cancer prevention, heart health, stress reducer, Brain protector!
The broth……gut health, immune system booster, detox booster, aids nutrient metabolism and helps build muscle
Tips & tricks
Use organic & grass-fed meat whenever possible. Grass fed, organic beef is high in B vitamins, Omega 3s (ALA, EPA & DHA), Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), and vitamin E
CLA is associated with an increasing list of health benefits, including immune and inflammatory system support, improved bone mass, improved blood sugar regulation, reduced body fat, and maintenance of lean body mass.
DHA is particularly important to brain function. Our brain is 60% fat by weight, and DHA makes up an average of 15 to 20% of all fat in our brain. Drops in brain DHA levels are known to be associated with cognitive impairment. Nervous system deficiencies of DHA have been associated with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease; cognitive problems including reasoning ability in children; and the severity of multiple sclerosis
Vitamin E protects from free radical damage and helps protect against heart disease
To peel the peppers, coat them in a thin film of coconut oil and place in a 350°F oven on a baking sheet. Roast them until the skins have blistered and blackened. Once blackened (it’s OK if the skins aren’t 100% black) remove from the oven and allow to cool on the counter. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, using your hands, slough off the skins. They should come off quite easily. Discard the skins and enjoy the rest. REMEMBER to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the spicy peppers. If you forget, you will rub your eyes or something else with the pepper juice still on your fingers and you will understand why you needed to wash!
It is important to fry the spices so if your pan is overcrowded when you have finished frying the meats, remove them to a bowl and allow the pan to reheat. Add a touch of fresh coconut oil to make sure the spices fry nicely. Fry the spices but don’t burn them. They will turn bitter and smell acrid.
What exactly is “going keto”?
A “Ketogenic” diet is a diet that focuses on a very low net carb intake (30-50g) daily, moderate protein intake and a very high fat intake. When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.
Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy, so it will be chosen over any other energy source.
Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream.
Since glucose is being used as a primary energy source, fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically, on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis. This is when the body to starts producing ketone bodies in the liver. Ketone bodies are formed from the breakdown of fatty acids when the body does not have sufficient glucose for its energy needs.
Why go keto?
There are many benefits to a ketogenic diet. Most well-known is its ability to promote significant weight loss. Other benefits include the reduction of the likelihood of or support of: Epilepsy, Type 2 & 1 Diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, chronic inflammation (when the body utilizes ketone bodies for energy, it does not produce any oxidative free-radicals), Dysglycemia, heart disease, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Fatty Liver Disease, Cancer and Migraines. This is most likely due to ketone bodies having been shown to be used by the brain for fuel and subsequently decreasing the need for glucose.
Can keto diet be harmful?
The reported detrimental aspects to the diet are:
· It may have a negative impact on athletic performance (although there are recent studies showing that there are possible contributions to prolonged exercise capacity for endurance athletes)
· Significant hydration issues
· Loss of muscle mass
· Increase in fatigue
· Can send the body into starvation mode
· Can be difficult to maintain
· Very low in electrolytes
· Significantly reduces the intake of healthy fruits and vegetables
· And, most importantly, is not advisable for people with disordered eating issues
How would Mountain Man council you?
Most of these aspects to the diet can be maintained and overcome by eating a natural whole food diet and increasing filtered water intake to approximately three litres per day.
Also, adding a high-quality multivitamin to offset any deficiencies incurred from the food restrictions would be helpful. I would also add a high-grade fiber supplement whenever possible such as to the “keto” shakes that are a dietary norm. Also, I would ensure that only high-quality fats are being consumed. Such fats would be clarified butter or ghee, coconut oil and animal fats found naturally in the foods consumed, especially from wild fatty fish. I would also ensure to increase the amount of dark, leafy greens as much as possible.
Three take aways…
1. The ketone bodies have a neuro-protective action in the brain.
2. The elimination of high carb foods reduces the body’s glycemic fluctuation lowering Dysglycemia and reducing the likelihood of type 2 diabetes.
3. The Ketogenic diet is very successful for most people in helping to promote healthy weight loss if done correctly.