Madrona Nutrition and Fitness: Recipe and Nutrition Guide

Madrona Nutrition and Fitness:
Guide to Wellness through Holistic Diet
and Lifestyle

Rachel Fiske
Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant,
Certified Personal Trainer

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kale Chips!

I was experimenting with different seasonings for kale chips yesterday, and this one turned out pretty good!  Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods out there. It can be prepared in many ways, steamed, sauteed, roasted, or raw. Making kale chips are a wonderful method of preparation, and kids absolutely love them.

A quick look at some of the vast health benefits of kale according to

  • Cholesterol-lowering properties (especially when steamed)
  • Proven to lower risk of certain cancers, particularly bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate.
  • Great in supporting detoxification.
  • Full of anti-oxidants and very anti-inflammatory, which fights oxidative stress.
Also from (a fantastic website, by the way, that I highly recommend), see the following chart for a more detailed look at the nutrients in kale:



Kale (any type, as much as you want, remember it cooks down to at least 1/3rd its original size)
Unrefined, cold pressed sesame oil
Sea salt (celtic or himalayan are great for their trace mineral content)
Black pepper or lemon pepper
Cayenne Pepper or red chili flakes (optional, add if you like spice)
Curry Powder

De-stem kale and place in a bowl (make sure its completely dry). Add above ingredients (all of which are optional and to taste, play around to see what you like best), and mix well, making sure all of the kale is coated with oil (but not too much, you don't want it soggy). Spread out on a baking sheet and put in the oven at 350 degrees. Take out and mix/turn every 10 minutes or so until they are crunchy...the timing on this will depend how much kale you are making.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Nutrition and Back Pain

I hope you had a fabulous holiday season and are back in the swing of things, happy and healthy! 

For this article, I wanted to touch on a subject that is all too prevalent: back pain. If we do not suffer from it ourselves, we surely know someone who experiences back pain to a certain degree, whether it be day to day aches, pains, and stiffness, herniated (also known as ruptured or slipped) disks, spasms, surgeries, and much more. According to Anasuya Batliner, Holistic Nutritionist and Massage Therapist in her article, "Alleviating Back Pain with Diet and Supplements," back pain is one of the most common health problems in the US, with 7 million new cases occurring each year, ranking second amongst reasons people visit the doctor. Wow!

Back pain and subsequent problems can stem from a host of problems, including poor posture, repetitive injury, sudden impact, and obesity which can all put pressure on and break down cartilage. Our back is a network of tissues which work together in protecting the spinal cord. According to Batliner, on its own the spinal cord could barely support 5 pounds, however there are many muscles and ligaments working to give it strength. Our vertebrae are the bones stacked on top of each other, each divided by discs, made of cartilage, which (ideally) allow us to withstand compression. Cartilage is largely made up of water (65-80%), which gives it its pliability. 

Now this is a very basic run-down of the back structure, however when talking about cartilage in particular, here enters the great importance of nutrition! Again according to Batliner, "a nutrient deficiency can cause the nucleus of the disc to lose its ability to hold the water that makes it so compliant. Over time, the nucleus starts getting harder...any unusual body movement can force the nucleus to push its layers out farther or, worse yet, the nucleus can shoot through its layers like the spitting out of a watermelon seed." Ouch.

Ironically, while obesity is rampant in the US, so is malnutrition. People are eating nutrient void foods, and this (along with endless other conditions and disease) can cause and/or exacerbate back pain. The Standard American Diet (SAD), is rich in trans fats, refined sugar and flour, inflammatory substances like coffee, alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals. All of these can lead to the degeneration of cartilage and bones. Contrary to popular belief, consumption of commercial (non-organic, pasteurized vs. whole, organic, and preferably raw) milk, can actually lead to calcium deficiency and deteriorating bone health. (Visit for more info on this subject). This is for another article, but has to do with commercial milk being fortified with synthesized D vitamins which can interfere with calcium metabolism. The following information is from Dr. Khalsa in his informative book, The Pain Cure.


  • Overeating, leading to obesity, demotivation, lack of movement.
  • Undereating, leading to low blood sugar which increases our pain sensitivity and nutrient deficiencies.
  • Food allergies/sensitivities, leading to inflammation.
  • Hormonal dysregulation, leading to chronic pain due to depression, anxiety, lethargy, and stress.

IMPORTANT NUTRIENTS TO CONSIDER (remember organic, grass fed whenever possible):

  • Vitamin A found in liver, yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, collard greens, chard, kale, winter squash.
  • Vitamin B complex found in nutritional yeast, nuts/seeds, egg yolks, asparagus.
  • Vitamin C found in collard greens, onions, broccoli, mustard greens, kale, parsley, sweet peppers, grapefruit, papaya, lemons, oranges, beet greens, chard.
  • Vitamin E found in nuts/seeds (sunflower seeds and almonds are great), spinach, chard, papaya, mustard greens.
  • EFA's (essential fatty acids) found in deep sea fish, flax seeds.
  • Calcium found in raw milk and dairy, sesame seeds, blackstrap molasses, leafy greens
  • Magnesium found in leafy greens, pumpkin seeds, salmon, halibut, almonds.
  • Zinc found in oysters, pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast
If you'd made it with me to this point, thanks!! I hope you've learned a bit about back health, and as always, please come to me with further questions...the more the better!! I'll wrap it up with a quote I recently came across from Nora Gedgaudas in her book Primal Body, Primal Mind:

"No one will ever be more invested in your mental or physical health than you."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Importance of Doing Exercise that we Enjoy!!

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing," ~George Bernard Shaw

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season and are feeling energized and excited for the year to come. I will preface this particular blog post by letting you all know that I am undergoing some serious jet-lag from my recent travels, so if my sentences seem a bit nonsensical, this is why...

Over the last two weeks, I had the extreme pleasure of visiting my brother in Thailand, where he has been living for the last year. The last week of my stay, we ventured to a small beach town in the south of Thailand, which (unbeknownst to me) is a major rock climbing destination. I am certainly a novice when it comes to climbing, but the week was filled with not only rock climbing but kayaking, swimming, hiking, and (of course) lounging on the beach. As a Personal Trainer working largely in a gym setting, I obviously enjoy and see much value in the types of exercise and activity one can do on a regular basis in a gym, not to mention the convenience factor with the reality that is our busy lives. However, I am a strong believer (and have spent the last week further cementing this belief) that finding forms of exercise that truly bring us joy is absolutely pertinent to both mental and physical health and well-being.

In his book The Primal Blueprint, Mark Sisson discusses the importance of 'play.' Think back to when we were children and we had constant play-dates with our friends. Once we reached teenager-dome, the term 'playing' became markedly uncool, and we instead moved to 'hanging out,' consisting more of sitting around, driving around, etc....what do teenagers do these days? I'm out of the loop. Anyway, the point is that as we become adults, we unfortunately lose this part of our daily activity, the part that sparks creativity and happiness through mental and physical activity that we truly love. Sisson goes on to note:

"As the challenges and responsibilities of making a living or managing a family accumulate in our adult years, we collectively adopt the belief that play is for youth. The truth is that play is for everyone, particularly those absorbed in the incredible complexity and breakneck pace of modern life. Regular play-time away from work, home duties, school, and other scheduled and unscheduled responsibilities-helps quench your thirst for adventure and challenge (physical and mental), improves health, relieves stress, strengthens your connection with friends and community, and simply enhances your enjoyment of life."

Whether you love rock climbing, swimming, walking, taking a tumbling class, rolling around on the floor with your kids, being in a gym (when it gives you pleasure)....never feel guilty making time in your life for simply engaging in physical activity that brings you joy. It is not a luxury, but a necessity.