Author Archives: Scott Christ

Grain Free Vegan Protein Balls

vegan grain free protein balls recipe

It’s not often you find a protein balls recipe that’s vegan, grain-free, Paleo / keto-friendly, has no added sugar, requires no baking, and still tastes delicious.

But that’s exactly what we’re bringing you with this new recipe. As you’ll see on our recipes page, we’ve made several variations of protein balls before but this one is quite unique.

It has a combo of several “superfood” nuts and seeds, including pistachios, walnuts, flax, chia, and coconut. Toss in some Pure Food Vanilla Protein Powder with Probiotics and you get a nutritious, guilt-free snack or dessert that kiddos will enjoy too (my 6-year-old had a blast preparing and eating these, as you’ll see in the pics that follow).

Health-wise, here are just a few of the perks:

Health Benefits:

Ingredient

Health Benefits

WalnutsWalnuts can help you improve cognitive (brain) function and also reduce the risk of other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, depression, and type 2 diabetes, which are risk factors for the development of dementia.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071526/

PistachiosPistachios have a high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential. Among nuts, pistachios also have a lower fat and energy content and the highest levels of K, γ-tocopherol, vitamin K, phytosterols, xanthophyll carotenoids, certain minerals (Cu, Fe and Mg), vitamin B₆ and thiamin.

Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26148925/

FlaxFlaxseed is a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid, the lignan secoisolariciresinol diglucoside and fiber. These compounds provide bioactivity of value to the health of animals and humans through their anti-inflammatory action, anti-oxidative capacity and lipid modulating properties.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567199/

CoconutCoconut meat contains MCT oil, or medium-chain triglycerides. That’s the extract that people put in smoothies and coffee. MCT oil has unique benefits. It seems to lower two key hunger hormones, cueing a person to eat less. And MCTs convert more easily into energy compared with other sources of fat, like animal meat, so athletes consider it workout fuel.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192077/

ChiaChia seeds contain healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, dietary fiber, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Aside from this, the seeds are an excellent source of polyphenols and antioxidants, such as caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and others.

Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31861466/

DatesStudies have shown that dates have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties.

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3992385/

Pure Food Vanilla Protein Powder Pure Food Plant-based Protein Powder contains a multi-source protein blend that’s just as effective as whey with the digestive side effects. And unlike other plant proteins, it’s 100% organic, high in fiber and contains no sugar.

Protein Balls Ingredients:

1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pistachios (shells removed, of course)
1/3 cup flax meal
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 T chia seeds
4 dates
1 T coconut oil (or other oil for greasing your pan)
1 tsp. vanilla powder or extract (optional)
Flaked salt (optional)

 

Directions:

  1. If your dates are hard or dry, place them in a bowl of hot water and cover to rehydrate. Let ’em sit for 5-10 minutes, then drain and pat dry.
  2. Add the walnuts and pistachios to a food processor and pulse for a minute or two until the nuts reach a fine “meal” consistency (there should be no visible large chunks remaining).
  3. Remove the seeds from the dates and add to the food processor. Pulse until they’re fully chopped (about a minute should do).
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, along with 1-2 T of water. Note: add the water 1 Tablespoon at a time. You will only need a little bit to make your mixture nice and sticky for rolling.
  5. Once all ingredients are thoroughly mixed and the mix feels slightly wet, grease your pan and start rolling into balls.
  6. Refrigerate or freeze for at least 1-2 hours before serving.

These will last for 7-10 days if you keep them refrigerated.

Nutrition:

Assuming you make 10 protein balls with this recipe, here are the nutrition facts for each ball:

Calories: 155

Fat: 12 grams

Carbs: 7 grams

Fiber: 3 grams

Protein: 6 grams

vegan grain free protein balls recipe

no bake protein balls

How to Breathe Better in 3 Simple Steps

deep vagus breathing tips

Just breathe.

Well intentioned advice, no doubt.

But unfortunately, most of us are pretty clueless about how to breathe properly to get maximum benefit out of something we do unconsciously, all day, every day.

The truth is, proper breathing is a skill … one that’s inborn yet often lies dormant because we either a.) have never learned how to do it the right way, or b.) don’t practice it.

What Happens When You Don’t Breathe Properly

  • Shallow breathing, which is our default mode when we’re stressed, restricts the diaphragm’s range of motion. The lowest part of your lungs—which is where many small blood vessels instrumental in carrying oxygen to cells reside—never gets its full share of oxygenated air.
  • The breath plays a vital role in maintaining a balanced body. Shallow breathing causes your nervous system to become unbalanced, resulting in much higher stress levels.
  • Your airways get constricted, which makes it harder for the air to travel from your mouth to your lungs. The result: your body has to work harder and breathe faster.
  • Your blood vessels constrict, which can lead to increased blood pressure and force your heart to work harder.

Every process and organ in your body depends on oxygen. For example:

  • Your brain uses about 20% of the oxygen you take in. When it faces an oxygen shortage, the brain will slow down, which negatively impacts other systems in your body.
  • Since your heart beats around 100,000 times in a single day, it is dependent on getting enough oxygen to pump blood to all parts of your body that need it. Poor circulation leads to a whole bunch of other issues too.
  • Oxygen powers your muscles, and a shortage makes them get stiff, tense, and tired faster, which impacts your ability to move each day.

3 Simple Steps to Breathe Better

Many holistic healthcare practitioners make it seem like you need to sit down and meditate for 30-60 minutes every day to gain any benefit from deep breathing.

While I do think anyone could benefit from this approach, it’s just not realistic for most people. That’s why I prefer a simpler system to improving your breathing that can be done pretty much anywhere, anytime.

Step 1:

Find a quiet, comfortable spot. If you don’t have access to one, then put on some noise-cancelling headphones with some relaxing music (or one of the apps we recommend below).

Step 2:

Sit or stand upright, and breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose. Feel the air expand downward and fill your entire belly. Breathe out through your mouth.

Step 3:

Engage your diaphragm. Put one hand on your abdomen, just below your belly button. Feel your hand rise about an inch each time you inhale and fall about an inch each time you exhale. Your chest will rise slightly, too, in unison with your abdomen. Remember to relax your belly so that each inhalation expands it fully.

Diaphragmatic breathing activates your parasympathetic system via the vagus nerve, improving your heart rate variability and restoring balance in your body.

Long story short: when you teach yourself how to breathe better and practice deep breathing for just a few minutes each day, you will reduce your stress and anxiety levels and increase blood and oxygen circulation throughout your body.

deep vagus breathing tips

Videos, Books, and Apps to Help Improve Your Breathing:

Sources:

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/take-a-deep-breath
  2. https://www.lung.org/blog/you-might-be-breathing-wrong
  3. https://college.acaai.org/better-breathing-guide/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6137615/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6189422/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27995346/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5455070/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5709795/
  9. https://www.wimhofmethod.com/vagus-nerve-stimulation

Try This Vanilla Apple Berry Smoothie Recipe Now

vanilla berry plant based smoothie recipe

I’ve been experimenting with some new smoothie recipes and this one was too good not to share!

It’s high in protein, loaded with antioxidants, and delicious!

Plus just 6 simple ingredients with no junk your body doesn’t need.

It’s the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth without the guilt.

Ingredients/Instructions:

  • 2-3 scoops of Pure Food Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 apple (cored)
  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup of frozen cherries
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Add ice and water to your taste and blend

This recipe will get you enough to feed a family of 4 (or some extra servings just for you).

vanilla plant based smoothie recipes

Try it out and let us know what you think!

How to Reduce Joint Pain Naturally

reduce joint pain naturally

After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that causes persistent inflammation and pain in my muscles, tendons, and ligaments, I’ve been on a quest to figure out how to reduce my pain and move better without the use of drugs.

One of the most impactful discoveries I’ve made has been a training protocol called Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT).

MAT was developed by strength coach and biomechanics specialist Greg Roskopf (who has worked with a long list of professional athletes, including Bryson DeChambeau, Peyton Manning, DeMarcus Ware, and Odell Beckham Jr. It’s designed to re-establish the communication pathways between the nervous system and the muscular system in order to restore muscle contractile capabilities.

The result: increased strength, flexibility, mobility, and coordination, lower risk of injury, and less pain.

I’ve put together a list of exercises that use MAT and several other techniques to address some of the most common sources of pain (neck, back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, hips, etc.).

I do some combination of these every day. I recommend starting with 1 or 2 and seeing how you feel after doing them daily for a couple weeks. There’s also a link below if you’d like to find a MAT specialist.

No matter how old or young, fit or sedentary you are, moving is the key to looking and feeling younger.

I guarantee these exercises will help you do just that.

My 10 Favorite Exercises for Reducing Aches and Pains

Exercise #1: Wrist Warm-up 

Areas Targeted: (Wrists and Elbows).

Notes: any time I lift weights, I always warm up my wrists and elbows with this routine.

Exercise #2: Face Pulls 

Areas Targeted: Neck, Back, Shoulders, Chest

Note: Face pulls and this exercise are amazing for improving your posture.

Exercise #3: 4 Point Hip Adduction

Areas Targeted: Glutes & Hips

Exercise #4: Lateral Hamstring Raise

Areas Targeted: Hamstrings & Hips

Exercise #5: Arm Circles

Areas Targeted: Shoulders

Exercise #6: Back Warm-up Routine

Areas Targeted: Back

Exercise #7: Side Lying Windmill

Areas Targeted: Back and Shoulders

Exercise #8: QL Stretch

Areas Targeted: Hips, Back, and Shoulders

Exercise #9: Upper Back and Shoulder Warm-up

Areas Targeted: Hips, Back, and Shoulders

Note: Start with no weight … this is advanced!

Exercise #10: The Scorpion

Areas Targeted: Hips, Back, and Shoulders

Note: Master the other warm-up moves first, this one is advanced.

MAT Resources:

What Is Muscle Activation? (quick overview from Greg Roskopf)

Functional Movement Exercises with Greg Roskopf (a little longer description of how MAT works)

Muscle Activation Exercises for Glutes, Core, Brain, Hips, Chest & Beyond (good all around MAT workout)

MAT for Tight Hips and Glutes (scroll down to see the exercises)

To get a personalized plan for you, find a MAT specialist here.

My Top Supplements for Reducing Joint Pain

While NSAIDs are the OTC drug of choice for reducing pain, there are serious long-term effects from chronic use. For that reason, I try and avoid ingesting NSAIDs and other pain pills. I know some people need them in order to function daily.

But whenever possible, try using topical diclofenac gel (naproxen) because it’s a much safer option. I have found that combining a bit of topical naproxen gel with some CBD oil (tincture oil or rub) results in near-instant pain relief for my sore knees, back, elbows, and neck and helps me sleep better.

But, just because this has worked for me, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you, of course.

If you have chronic pain, first talk to your doctor. Find out the root cause of your pain, then you can work on treating it.

Once you’re comfortable enough to exercise, these movements will help you reduce some of those aches and pains over time by building and repairing muscles and connective tissue in those oft-neglected areas you need it most.

Stay limber, friends!

Announcing DIGEST, Our New Digestive Health Capsule

pure food digestPure Food DIGEST is our new, soon-to-be released, daily all-in-one digestive health capsule.

Just 1-2 capsules per day can help you get relief from gas, bloating, constipation, IBS/IBD, leaky gut, and other common GI issues.

DIGEST is better than other digestive health supplements on the market because:

1. It’s formulated by a naturopathic doctor specializing in digestive health.

2. It contains a potent, proven blend of prebiotics, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and anti-inflammatory roots and minerals…with ZERO ingredients sourced from China like most other manufacturers.

3. It utilizes delayed release capsule technology that allows the probiotics to make it past the harsh, acidic conditions of your stomach–where 60% of most probiotics die–to reach your intestines, where the good bacteria are more readily absorbed and exert the most health benefits to you

Long story short, DIGEST has the highest quality, doctor-backed ingredients and gives you more bang for your buck compared to other products.

We have the first batch of DIGEST in production right now and expect it to be ready by December, 2020. If you’d like to be the first to know when it’s ready (and get exclusive offers), join the waiting list below!

My 5 Favorite Strength / Flexibility / Balance Moves You Can Do At Home Without Weights

how to do a scorpion

While I admit my home gym setup is pretty solid, you don’t need any weights or equipment to keep your body running smoothly during times when you’re stuck at home.

In fact, right now is the perfect time to introduce new exercises and movements and correct some of those muscle imbalances (we all have ’em).

Here are 5 of my favorite functional, core-focused movements that will keep your muscles strong, flexible, and limber during quarantine! These will be particularly helpful for you if you spend a lot of time sitting.

Best of all, no weights required (but you can use them for some if you want).

Scorpion

Focus: Back, shoulders, hips, abs/core

This is one of my all-time favorite functional strength movements that works a variety of muscle groups. It’s excellent for improving rotational mobility and power, which is applicable to nearly every sport imaginable. I do this exercise in between days I lift weights. Here’s an explanation of how to do it on Men’s Health.

Two Step Getup

Focus: Shoulders, lower back, abs/core

This is another fantastic core movement for those who spend a lot of time sitting that can be done with or without weights. I do this exercise at least two days a week. Lie on your back, a light dumbbell in your right hand directly over your chest (or just raise your arm up with no weight), right knee bent. Press the your arm upward, propping yourself onto your left elbow. Pause. Push your torso off the floor. Pause. Do 5-10 reps on each side.

Squat to Hip Opener

Focus: Legs (quads, hips, hamstrings), lower back, abs/core

Deep squat + hip opener = one of the all-time great total body exercises. It’s great for tight hips and glutes and helps improve your balance too. Start standing and slowly drop into a deep squat (if you have bad knees, only go as far as you can). Stand back up, squeezing your glutes, and lift your right leg, driving your knee up. Rotate your thigh outward, flexing your right glute. Pause, then return to standing. Repeat on the other side. Do reps for 30 seconds on each side, and complete 3 sets.

Downward Dog with Calf Reach

Focus: Hamstrings, mid-back, abs/core, triceps

Here’s a great exercise to do if you spend a lot of time sitting. It combines a classic yoga pose with an added flexibility/mobility/core twist. First, get into a downward dog position. Now reach down with your right hand and grab your left calf. Hold that position for a few seconds then switch sides and repeat. Do 5-10 reps on each side. If you can only reach your knee or thigh area that’s fine … listen to your body!

Lateral Line Stretch

Focus: Shoulders, lower back, abs/core

Ok, this one is a bit easier. The lateral line stretch can help ease tension in your QL (quadratus lumborum), an abdominal muscle located deep within your lower back that often gets overworked and causes lower back pain. Here’s a YouTube video that explains how to do it:

3 Research-backed Ways to Stay Healthy (Even If Everyone Around You Is Sick)

foods to eat to stay healthy

Given the current mass hysteria ensuing, I thought I’d take a minute to share my “secrets” for staying healthy.

After developing an autoimmune disease that caused me to get sick all the time from 2016 – 2018, I have only been sick one time in the past year (a minor cold that went away after two days).

To put that in perspective, my wife is an elementary school teacher and we have a 5-year-old in school and soon-to-be two-year-old who goes to daycare. We have seen our share of germs run through our house (including, but not limited to, croup, bronchitis, the flu, pneumonia, stomach bugs, conjunctivitis, ear infections, sinus infections).

Wanna know how I’ve managed to stay healthy while everyone around me is sick? Hint: it takes more than just washing my hands religiously.

It’s my systems.

Let me explain …

To get better at something (e.g., improve your immunity, sleep, a sport, your business, your finances, etc.), having systems in place is the key to success.

If you want more background on goals vs. systems, read this article from Scott Adams or this one from James Clear.

Mr. Clear says in his excellent book, Atomic Habits: “Goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually making progress.”

Read on to find out my systems that have contributed to my new and improved immune system over the last two years.

How Do I Stay Healthy When I’m Surrounded By Sick People?

1. Sleeping. If you struggle with sleep, I can’t stress the importance of creating systems that help you sleep better enough. Sleep loss and disrupted sleep are strongly linked to inflammation. And inflammation makes you more susceptible to illness. I was an insomniac for years. While I still wake up a few times during the night, my sleep quality and consistency has improve exponentially. Scroll down to the bottom of this article to read 10 things I did to build a system that has cured my insomnia.

2. Eating / Supplementing. What you eat has a profound effect on your immune system response. It’s well known the modern Western Diet is one of the worst culprits when it comes to inflammation. If you don’t put the right foods and drinks in your body, you will get sick more often. Period.

The tricky part is finding the “right foods” for you, and then creating systems that’ll help you eat healthy habitually every day (most peoples’ systems do the opposite).

Try getting both allergy and microbiome testing done as a first step. I recommend Viome for the microbiome test … it’s $120 or so. These tests will tell you exactly which foods you should / shouldn’t be eating. As I said in a previous email, personalized nutrition is the future of healthy eating. And the future is here and accessible to all!

My “systems” that help me stay healthy include:

  • foods to eat to stay healthyCooking everyday. I know that if I get takeout or go to a restaurant then I’m usually not going to eat as healthy. So I try to only eat out about once a week and the rest of the days I make time to cook for myself and my family. I schedule time on my calendar from 5-6ish every day to cook dinner and prepare lunches for everyone for the next day.
  • Planning meals ahead of time. Even if you don’t like cooking, you can still create systems that help you eat better by having a plan for meal time. If you don’t have a plan, you’ll likely succumb to the easy way out (which is usually food you know isn’t going to help you stay healthy). It can be as simple as writing down a more nutritious takeout option you’re thinking about for dinner instead of fast food, or as complex as tracking everything you eat (I prefer the former, personally). Be deliberate and specific about what you are/are not going to eat today.
  • Avoiding trigger foods and sticking with foods I know don’t cause an inflammatory response in my body. Again, go see an allergist and get your microbiome tested to see which foods are good/not good for you.
  • Spending most of the grocery budget on perishables. I don’t like wasting food, so I know if I load my shopping cart with fresh fruits and vegetables, I will make sure they get eaten. Minimize the processed, carb-laden snacks in favor of fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds (or smoothies with all of these, ideally!). One of my easiest systems I use is creating a grocery list without junk food on it each week. If it’s not on the list, I don’t buy it.
  • Drinking lots of water. Staying hydrated is one of the keys to immunity. Drinking sugar-sweetened coffees and sodas is not. Also, 1-2 glasses of red wine a night may help with immune response.
  • Taking supplements. These are some of the supplements I take each day that are proven by research to keep your immune system strong:
  1. Probiotics / Digestive Enzymes
  2. Zinc
  3. Magnesium
  4. Krill Oil
  5. French Maritime Pine Bark Extract
  6. Resveratrol
  7. Glucosamine / Chondroitin

3. Exercising. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. It’s well known that our bodies break down as we age. But there’s an easy way to drastically slow that progression: get up and frickin move!

As many of us age we “let ourselves go” and this leads to an endless cycle of injuries and rehab. Exercise is the absolute best way to keep your muscles, bones, and tissues strong. Being sedentary, on the other hand, is one of the worst things you can do for your immunity.

There’s no excuse not to exercise (unless you’re injured and rehabbing an injury). Find something you enjoy doing (walking, golf, tennis, gardening, hiking, biking, swimming, yoga, etc.) and schedule it into your damn calendar every day or every other day. Even 5 minutes makes a difference. Make exercise part of your daily system and you will get sick much less. If you’re still not convinced, check out some of the conclusions from this 2019 research paper:

  • Regular exercise training has an overall anti-inflammatory influence mediated through multiple pathways. Epidemiologic studies consistently show decreased levels of inflammatory biomarkers in adults with higher levels of physical activity and fitness, even after adjustment for potential confounders such as BMI.
  • There is increasing evidence that the circulation surge in cells of the innate immune system with each exercise bout and the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect of exercise training have a summation effect over time in modulating tumorigenesis, atherosclerosis, and other disease processes.
  • Recent studies indicate that exercise and physical fitness diversifies the gut microbiota, but more human research is needed to determine potential linkages to immune function in physically fit individuals and athletes.

Now, the researchers in that study also cautioned that overtraining and stressful competitions can make you more susceptible to getting sick. So it’s important to make time for recovery if you’re exercising hard like I do (stretching, foam rolling, light yoga, percussion and/or massage therapy, chiropractic care, etc.).

Long story short, the best way to stay healthy is to take care of your body (because it’ll take care of you if you do).

Difference Between Pure Food Protein and New REAL MEAL Replacement Powder

Here’s a quick breakdown of the difference between Pure Food Protein and REAL MEAL, our new meal replacement powder:

Pure Food Protein PowderPure Food REAL MEAL
Powder Per Container512 grams530 grams
Scoops Per Container3220
Nutrition Facts Per Scoop60-62 calories

1 gram of fat

4-5 grams of carbs (2g fiber, 0g sugar)

10 grams of protein

103 calories

3.5 grams of fat

8 grams of carbs (3.5g fiber, 0g sugar)

13 grams of protein

Nutrition Facts Per 2 Scoops120-125 calories

2 grams of fat

7-9 grams of carbs (4g fiber, 0g sugar)

20 grams of protein

205 calories

7 grams of fat

16 grams of carbs (7g fiber, 0g sugar)

26 grams of protein

IngredientsOrganic pea protein, organic brown rice protein, organic hemp protein, organic cacao, organic mesquite, organic lucuma, organic vanilla extract, organic stevia leaf, GanedenBC30 (Bacillus coagulans) probioticOrganic pea protein, MCT powder, organic pumpkin seed protein, organic brown rice protein, organic hemp protein, organic green banana powder, organic chia seed powder, organic cacao, organic vanilla extract, sea salt, organic monkfruit
Cost $39.99/tub

($31.99 w/ Subscribe & Save)

$39.99/tub

($31.99 w/ Subscribe & Save)

Available FlavorsCacao, VanillaCacao

Long story short, REAL MEAL is a bit higher in calories than Pure Food and better suited as a meal replacement. It has some different ingredients that offer unique benefits compared to Pure Food Protein Powder. It tastes slightly sweeter and smoother. I use them both regularly.

If you decide to give REAL MEAL a try, you can get it here on our website or through Amazon.

17 of the Best Health Supplements That Actually Work

Article Summary:

  • Most nutritional supplements are just marketing hype.
  • Some supplements, however, are backed by multiple research studies. You’ll learn about 15 with solid efficacy/safety evidence below.
  • You’ll also find out which ones, specifically, may help with these health challenges: Energy / Focus, Gut Health, Immunity, Pain / Inflammation, Fat Loss / Lean Muscle Gain, Relaxation / Anxiety

Do nutritional supplements work?

While it’s true that most dietary supplements are complete junk that don’t do much of anything, saying all supplements have no benefit is just plain absurd.

Because