Yummy Anti-Inflammatory Recipe

In need of a tasty recipe that also fits with an anti-inflammatory eating plan?

Yams, turkey, Jalapenos! Oh My!  But don’t run the other way just because the combination seems a little unusual- ok, downright odd!  I’ve made these for my family (which includes three teen/early twenty something’s) and everyone gave it a thumbs up.  I do cut back on the jalapenos (typically only use 1) and since I’m no longer eating gluten we use corn tortillas.

I first used this recipe when I was taking Kathy Abascal’s To Quiet Inflammation series.  The class is all about quieting inflammation in the body so you can recognize food sensitivities, allergies, intolerances and simply feed yourself better.  The diet can lead to weight loss, better health overall and increased energy but you begin with a three week elimination phase (no pork, beef, corn, wheat, sugar, dairy, alcohol, soy, or canola oil) and that’s when I went looking for some new recipes that were filling, spicy and savory and this hit the spot!  Now it’s just another family favorite for us so give it a try for you and yours.


– Trainer Theresa




1 yam, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 pound ground turkey

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

1 clove garlic, minced

4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup tomatillo salsa

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

16 warm flour tortillas



Put the diced yam in a microwave-safe bowl; cook in the microwave until cooked through and fork-tender, stirring once, 5 to 7 minutes.


Coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat; cook and stir the turkey until crumbled and evenly brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir the onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper into the turkey and continue cooking until the onions begin to caramelize, 7 to 10 minutes. Season with the chili powder, cumin, Cajun seasoning, and salt. Pour the salsa over everything; fold the sweet potatoes into the mixture. Allow the mixture to cook until the excess moisture evaporates. Garnish with the cilantro. Serve with the warm tortillas.


How Does Sugar Affect Your Heart Health?

It has been commonly known that a high carbohydrate diet is not a healthy diet. Some reasons include a propensity to gain excess weight, more energy plunges throughout the day, and a struggle to feel full (because of the lack of more filling fats & proteins). However, research is proving links between high blood glucose (blood sugar levels) and cardiovascular disease. I’d like to share some of what’s being found with you, and talk about a few tips to avoid high blood glucose.

A couple statistics for you:

  • Only 20% of men aged 75 years and above with heart disease had “high cholesterol”. This shows that most people with heart disease were considered to have low cholesterol.
  • In a 2006 study covering 52 countries, the total number of deaths related to higher than optimum blood glucose was comparable to the number of deaths from smoking.
  • There is almost a linear progression in the risk for heart disease and death as blood glucose levels are increasing.


The presence of too much glucose in the blood can actually impair the normal functioning of endothelial cells. More specifically, high blood glucose can keep blood vessels from dilating, obviously making it harder for blood & oxygen to flow to and from the heart. This affect can happen even with people who only have slightly high blood glucose levels, and do not struggle with diabetes.


So what can we do to improve our blood glucose levels? I’d like to share a few tips that have worked well for me in my struggle with gestational diabetes, as I’ve learned to manage my own blood sugar throughout the day.

  1. You are more sensitive to carbohydrates in the morning than the evening. Avoid large amounts of carbohydrates in the earlier half of the day.
  2. Always eat a carb (fruit, piece of bread, etc.) with a protein and/or a fat. Example: an apple with almond butter. Cheese with crackers (preferably whole-grain). Protein & fat act as semi-trucks in your bloodstream, slowing down the absorption of blood sugar in your body, keeping it from spiking and then crashing.
  3. Begin to read food labels to find out how many servings of carbohydrate you eat at a time. 1/3 cup of cooked rice is 15 grams (1 serving). It’s incredibly easy to eat higher amounts of carbohydrates without thinking about it!
  4. Eat frequent, smaller meals throughout the day. Avoid large meals. This keeps your blood sugar levels more stable.
  5. Exercise! Move! Particularly if you just ate a large meal with more carbs than you probably needed! Even 20 minutes of walking can help regulate your blood sugar following a meal.
  6. Strength train. This builds sugar-storage cells in your muscles, which, in the long run, helps your body store excess blood sugar.

Contributed by Trainer Melissa

Community News, Nutrition, Special Events

An Anti-Inflammatory Chef Amongst Us!

This week SSBC Blog will hear from some of our badass Booty babes who come out every morning and rock the Booty Camp.  This week’s feature is TINA FOGALL.  Read on to hear about Tina’s passion for nutrition of the sweetest variety and how you might get a chance to taste for yourself.

Wait. Why will you get to taste it? Ok we’ll cut to the chase.  Because TINA is the chef for the Booty Camp Restorative Retreat coming up on May 3-5.  Details below.

But first… Tina + Booty Camp Fun Facts:

  1. Which camp do you hail from?  Seward Park 7:15am with Trainer Theresa
  2. How long have you been with the booty?  1.25 years in camp
  3. What keeps you coming back to camp? High praise for trainer Theresa! “she has this way about her that is nurturing and supportive while still providing a structure and discipline. She is a part of my life.” 
  4. What’s your secret to getting up in the morning? “I get up before I can even think about it. I just get up and go”
  5. Food before camp? “I eat an apple or banana with almond butter.”
  6. Favorite move? “I love drinking bird and even do it in my kitchen”
  7. What has Booty Camp done for your relationship with exercise? ”I still don’t love running but at least I don’t hate it anymore. Running with a group is pretty awesome.”
  8. What has Booty Camp Done for your life? “ It’s my morning family I couldn’t live without it!”

When she’s not rocking the Booty Camp Tina spends most of her work time stirring a bubbling pot sweetness.  She is the owner and operator of Big Spoon Jam where she uses her dual degree in nutrition and culinary arts to concoct the most interesting creations in Jam this side of the Mississippi.  Think jam is jam?  Check them out here where you’ll find: Blueberry Balsamic, Raspberry Rose, Roasted Apricot & Smoked Salt, and her new favorite Foragers Preserves; a mix of wild blackberries infused with Douglas fir tips.  Tina says that the Douglas Fir is not only high in vitamins and anti-oxidants but “it transports you and tastes like the forest itself.” Tina says.  Mouth watering yet? We thought so.

Like Southside Booty Camp Tina’s dream job had to be a vehicle for her to connect with her community.  So it’s no wonder that she will be our chef for the first Booty Camp Restorative Retreat. Tina says that the retreat is a chance to disconnect from life’s stressors and reconnect with yourself, with nature, and with a community of supportive women.

Tina has been working with eating in the clean or  anti-inflammatory style lately and she plans the most amazing menu for the Restorative Retreat that can act as an intro to this way of eating.  We will eat foods that reduce inflammation and support healthy balance, digestion and metabolism.  Have you been meaning to do an elimination diet but it feels too daunting to take it on by yourself?  Come start one with us and let Tina take care of you.  And boy we are in luck because Tina’s motto is “Everything I cook has to be delicious or I don’t want to eat it.”  Yum!


Using Alternative Grains

The research has been in and confirmed for awhile: whole grains are better for us than white or refined grains!

A couple reasons why:

More vitamins and minerals including selenium, vitamin E and magnesium.
More phytochemicals, which wage war against disease-causing free radicals.
More appetite-quelling, heart-protective fiber.
A lower glycemic index, which reduces blood sugar spikes and, hence, diabetes risk.

So what kind of whole grains are out there (besides whole wheat bread ; )?  I want to give booty camp two options that I’ve been trying and enjoying.

1. Quinoa! We go through this like crazy and use it as a substitute for rice, so we purchase it from Costco. We also use it in salads and as a side dish. Try mixing with feta cheese & cranberries, or other spices. Gluten-free!

How to prepare:
In The Kitchen: Quinoa has a nutty, palate-pleasing taste and cooks up in only 10 to 15 minutes. Much faster than brown rice. Use a 2:1 water to grain ratio and take it off the heat when the water has soaked in and the germ unfolds like a little white tail. To intensify the flavor, try toasting quinoa in a skillet for a couple minutes over medium heat till darkened prior to boiling and add spices such as turmeric or chili powder to the cooking water. It is also best to rinse quinoa well before cooking to remove any remnants of a bitter coating called saponin.

2. Buckwheat! This is a gluten-free option, and contains a good amount of the amino acid lysine, which makes it a fairly complete protein source and helps repair & rebuild our lean muscle mass.

How to prepare:
In the Kitchen: With a 15 minute simmer time, buckwheat is quick-cooking and versatile. It can be used in pilafs, salads, stuffings, stir fries and soups or in replace of a portion of meat in burgers and meatloaf. If you find the taste a little too overpowering on its own, try mixing some buckwheat in with other grains like rice or quinoa when serving as a side dish. On the stovetop, add one cup of buckwheat to two cups of boiling water, cover, reduce heat and simmer for roughly 15 minutes.

The amount of whole grains recommended per person will vary based on your total caloric intake and dietary needs, so I can’t recommend a particular amount without knowing your diet. Keep grains in moderation, and don’t forget to load up on those vegetables 🙂

Enjoy your whole grains!

Contributed by Trainer Melissa


Igniting Your Metabolism


Dr. Jamine Blesoff, ND at Mariposa Medicine  and Seward Park camper met with 17 campers this past break week at Cafe Vita to chat about way to kick your metabolism into high gear!  Here are the notes from the talk in case you missed it!

Sleep Hygiene

“Sleep is the only sedentary activity that promotes fat loss/weight loss”

·      Goal is at least 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep each night.

·      Fall asleep between 10pm – 12am: Every hour before sleep before midnight is worth 2 hrs after midnight

·      Turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before bed time to support our natural Circadian rhythm – aka sleep/wake cycle – by decreasing Cortisol and increasing Melatonin

·      Sleep in complete darkness (dark room, dark curtains, eye mask)

·      Calcium-Magnesium at bedtime for muscle relaxation and sleep support


Stress Management

·      Minimize in the impact of stress on our body/in our lives so we can maximize the benefits that we are getting from Booty Camp

·      Remember to Breathe: incorporate deep breathing exercises during the day or at bed time

·      Sitting down and eating a meal with friends/family in an enjoyable setting

·      Exercise!

·      Sleep!

·      In order to produce and metabolize hormones, our body needs the proper ingredients to do so – our sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) come from cholesterol.  But our body will  prioritize appropriate stress response and “survival” over reproductive functions



Diet/Lifestyle Tips

·      Cutting calories sends the body into state of alarm (increased cortisol) and signals to store fat and increase hunger (ghrelin)

·      When we eat foods that are processed or nutrient deficient, the body craves the missing parts in your foods.  Eating a whole foods diet full of high-quality nutrient dense foods will help reset body’s natural state of balance to gradually bring on ideal/optimal health and fitness

·      The importance of Fiber

 – Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate, but simply put, the body tries hard to break it down anyway, using up energy — and boosting metabolism in the process.

–  Fiber and protein helps decrease food cravings in part by acting on Ghrelin signalling-

– Fiber slows digestion of starch and release of sugar into the bloodstream. 

  Fiber binds to cholesterol, hormones, metabolic by-products, and toxins, allowing them to be excreted from the body by the colon

  The more sugar and less fiber a food/snack has, the more insulin and fat storage that food will create

·      Include Protein with every meal & mini-meal

·      Before morning workouts: eat carb rich foods as fuel for muscles, then Protein & Carbs 30-45min after workouts – Protein after workouts to promote muscle repair and growth

·      Choose Whole fruits & Veggies for optimal Fiber + nutrients + sugar ratios

·      Don’t sit when you can stand, don’t stand when you can walk

·      Last meal of the day eat before 7pm – could be a Protein smoothie – frozen fruit, nut milk, protein powder for evening snack/meal. 

·      Increase the “afterburn”: high intensity interval workouts have shown to increase fat mobilization from stores for longer periods – something we’re all doing at SSBC

·      Eat every 2-3 hours – feeds muscles and “starves” fat.  It sends signals that there is no need to fast.  Each time you eat, you stimulate your metabolism for a short period of time, which means that the more often you eat, the more you’ll increase your metabolism. By eating frequently, you reassure your body that you aren’t going to starve; that food will always be available.  This is working with your body’s feedback system involving ghrelin, leptin, insulin, and cortisol

·      Increasing your metabolism will breakdown adipose tissue – our fat storage. When mobilizing fat stores – we are “releasing” chemicals and hormones that are ready to be excreted out.  Include ways to support our innate detox pathways:

o   Kidneys – Hydration: at least 1/3 of your bodyweight in ounces of fluids (NOT coffee)

o   Lungs – Exercise; Deep breaths: Inhale x 4 count, Exhale x 8 count, Hold x 4 count

o   Colon/Liver – Dietary Fiber, Castor oil packs over Abdomen

o   Skin – Sweating, Exfoliation, & Dry skin brushing


Some key players:

·       Insulin – signals for uptake of glucose into cells for energy

·       Glucose – aka blood sugar.  Utilized as building blocks for energy or stored as fat

·       Glucagon – opposes the effect of insulin.  Signals for increase production of glucose into circulation

·       Leptin – regulates appetite & satiety.  Secreted from adipose cells

·       Ghrelin – Hunger hormone sent from stomach to the brain

·       Cortisol – aka Adrenaline.  The “flight or fight” hormone.  Direct primary stress response and affects other hormonal functions (digestion, reproduction)

·       Thyroid gland – “Master regulator” stabalizes metabolism and takes cues from other hormones (like Leptin) to maintain weight set point and body temperature

·       Melatonin: secreted at night as Cortisol decreases.  Contributes to Circadian rhythm for optimal sleep.  Recently considered a major “anti-oxidant” made from the body

·       HGH – Human Growth Hormone: building and burning hormone.  Involved in repair, rejuvination (anti-aging hormone).  Elevated during sleep, decreased while we’re awake. 

·       Nervous system:

o   sympathetic  aka “Fight or Flight”

o   parasympathetic aka “Rest & Digest”

·       Inflammatory messengers secreted from Adipose cells

Additional Resources

·       The Metabolic Effect by Jade Teta & Keoni Teta 2011

·       The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook 2nd ed by Segersten & Malterre

Community News

We have some powerful women in Booty Camp!

Nutrition class was great last week and not just because I got to share with my Booty Campers what has worked for me nutrition-wise (look for upcoming blog entries for some guidelines and ideas for nutrition and weight loss).

I got to see everyone dressed in their civvies, hair down, makeup on, etc…. and hear some of the stories from the lives of a few of the participating women.

Sandy Cioffi, from the 8am class, is a documentary filmmaker and is currently working on a film (Sweet Crude) about the corrupt Nigerian oil industry and its devastating effects on the Niger Delta population and environment. Sandy said that her Booty Camp goal is to be able to arrive in Africa in April able to easily swing her heavy bags of camera gear around without getting tired or injured. Stay tuned to this as I hope to help make a screening in the southend happen when she gets back from her next trip.

Also from the 8am class is Karla Esquivel, owner of the truly fabulous Andaluz clothing and gift store in Columbia City which features great locally designed handicrafts.

And if you have a chance this Saturday evening (March 15), Shari Kaufman, from the 8am, will be showing her pottery work in a group show at the Columbia City Gallery from 5-8pm.

You gals rock (in and out of Booty Camp)!