Moon Mantras

by Kellie Greene RYT, RPYT

The fertility and pregnancy journey can often be riddled with anxiety, fear, and doubt. Our yoga instructor Kellie Greene draws on more than ten years of experience to give you a brief overview on why adding mantras to your coping toolbox can be beneficial at any point on your journey with Pulling Down the Moon.

What is a mantra? 

Mantras are something we discuss in both the Yoga for Fertility and Prenatal classes. They can be useful in yoga postures that are held for a longer period of time, or doctors appointments, waiting for test results, and daily encouragement. It can be helpful to disrupt the stress hormone cycle, and boost the beneficial hormone oxytocin. It also gives parents something they can control.  A mantra can be a simple phrase, a word, a prayer, or an intention. It is typically repeated several times in a row during a challenging experience, or several times throughout the day.

Why choose to use mantras?

The fertility and childbearing experience is one of great stress. That may present as anxiety, difficulty making decisions, depression, fear, or passing physical symptoms. A mantra is a tool meant to bring some level of calm. It can be helpful to remind yourself of a feeling you wish to evoke to replace the stress response. Or, it can be helpful to remind yourself that this part of your journey is temporary. Regardless of why your have chosen to try a mantra it can give you something you can control, or allow you to shift your focus intentionally on to something positive.

Common fertility mantras- 

  • This is temporary  One day at a time
  • I will be a parent It will happen for me
  • I am healthy, I am whole  I can do this
  • I am not alone  I will stay patient and trust
  • Common Prenatal mantras –
  • My baby is healthy and happy in this moment.
  • The information I have tells me baby is fine
  • My body is doing exactly what it needs to be doing in this moment
  • My baby is safe
  • I trust my body
  • Today I am pregnant

The fertility and pregnancy can be lonely, and filled with many emotions. It’s ok to be your own loudest cheerleader. Each day can be a new mantra. You can use it once or a 100 times.

If you would like help choosing a mantra that is right for your situation talk to one of our yoga instructors before or after class. Check our schedule for a time and location that is right for you.

‘Letting Go’ Through Yoga to Find a Deeper Peace

by Alison Lautz, LCSW, RYT

Over dinner a few weeks ago, a friend and I chatted about her attendance at the Wanderlust Yoga Festival in Chicago. I unfortunately had not been able to make it which was a big bummer. My girlfriend had recently been through some big, not so great, life changes and had said that spending the day at the yoga festival was very healing for her. She shared a quote with me that one of the Wanderlust teachers had started their class with that really resonated for her life and current situation. The quote by an unknown author read “It was never mine carry, so today I lay it down”.

This is where the beautifully simple, yet abstract and often elusive idea of “letting go” comes in. As a yoga teacher, I use this phase often during my classes and for many of us, hearing the words “let it all go,” may be one of the reasons why we step on our mats.  These comforting and supportive words ease our minds both off and on the mat. Fully letting go to create more space takes courage, trust, and faith. This 100% translates to life off of our mats and igniting the strength to tackle head on whatever struggles we are facing.

As we practice yoga, we connect with our divine nature and our higher selves. Letting go may feel different each day. Sometimes it feels active and moves forward into more knowledge. Other times letting go feels like acceptance, sometimes it feels like a release. It can mean a celebration, while other times it feels like surrender or a rest. However it feels to you, it is important to remember that this practice of letting go evolves and grows deeper the more you do it. It’s a practice and it’s not meant to be perfect right off the bat and you can’t expect it to be.

The lack of control that we have while trying conceive can seem very unfair. The waiting game is frustrating, isolating, tiring, unpredictable, expensive, and lengthy. Increased ease through our fertility journeys can be found if we work on and practice ‘letting go’. Once we start to channel our ability to ‘let go’, we find that we can transfer this skill to be useful in other parts of our worlds; work stresses, relationship issues, time management, parenting, financial fears, and health management, just to name a few. Come check out Yoga for Fertility or the Two Week Walk to work on ‘letting go’.

“It was never mine to carry, so today I lay it down.”

by Alison Lautz, LCSW, RYT

Join Ali in her new series of Yoga for Fertility on Mondays at 5:30pm! Questions?  Call us at: 312-321-0004.

Choosing the right kind of fats to support fertility

By Mia Zarlengo, MS RD

Do you know the different types of healthy fats that support a diet that fights off inflammation in the body ? Since science has begun to debunk the myth that a “low-fat diet” is the healthiest diet, we can look to focus more on which fats are actually healthy that we should include in our daily intake.

One of the key components of a diet that supports reproductive health is being anti-inflammatory. Many sources of fats can support fighting inflammation, while some are actually pro-inflammatory. Navigating these different choices is a great first step in adopting a more anti-inflammatory, fertility friendly diet.

Fats to avoid that can cause inflammation:

Trans-fats: Luckily, trans-fats for the most part have been taken out of our food system in America. However, it’s still important to always check your food labels and be sure there are 0 grams of trans fats!

Corn and Soybean oil: These oils are often used as cheap fillers in processed foods. However, these processed vegetables oils are heavy in omega-6 fatty acids; when our omega-6 levels exceed omega-3’s, the result is an increase in inflammation. Swap out processed vegetable oils with some of the healthy options below!

Healthy fats that support an anti-inflammatory diet:

Avocados: One of the easiest anti-inflammatory foods I tell patients to add to their plate are avocados! They are easy to pack on the go, go well with all sorts of meals, and are a nutrient-dense source of healthy fats to help fight off inflammation! They also provide fiber, potassium, and many other micronutrients essential for health.

Olive oil: Olive oil, especially in its raw state, is a great source of healthy fats. I suggest using this as a salad dressing or a finishing sauce, to avoid burning off the healthy properties of the oil that can happen at high temperatures.

Salmon: This fish is packed with omega-3’s, great for fighting off inflammation in the body. This is a great source of protein that will also add a healthy dose of good fats to your plate!

Walnuts: Walnuts are especially high in omega-3’s for a nut, and a great addition to salads, snacks, and smoothies! They also provide fiber, another essential nutrient for a fertility-friendly diet.

Chia Seeds: These tiny little seeds pack a mean punch of nutrients! They are high in healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Try adding these to your smoothie, oatmeal, or yogurt to create a more nutrient-dense meal!

In addition to a diet filled with antioxidants from vibrant, colorful vegetables and fruits, fiber from vegetables and whole grains, and foods low in added sugars, healthy fats are a great addition to your diet to help support reproductive health and fight off any internal inflammation. Trying adding a healthy fat source to all of your meals today and notice how you feel!

Book a nutrition appointment today to learn more ways to adopt an anti-inflammatory lifestyle through diet and supplementation to support hormonal health!  Don’t miss your chance to meet Mia in-person at our Chicago office for the FREE Two Week Walk event July 21st!

Stay Cool While TTC

 

Kelly Lyons, L.Ac., MSOM

Summer is here, in Chicago! It is time to get out, play, and stay cool. While trying to conceive in the heat, there are a few things to remember, and they are not new ideas.

  • Cotton is queen! Organic cotton is even better, especially down there. For guys and girls, it is important to stay cool and non-toxic where it counts, so wear loose clothes made of organic materials.
  • Use peppermint essential oil in your diffusers at home, and look for cooling, non-toxic deodorants.  They are stronger than ever, and last much longer than cheaper versions.
  • Diet and fluids are vital. Keep your barbecues sensible. If you are charring meat, know that you are creating heat and inflammation. So add greens, add cucumber and watermelon, and add water to drink, even if it is in between alcoholic beverages. Alcohol creates heat, so if you imbibe, hydrate smart with coconut water, electrolyte water and lemon and cucumber water, and fresh fruit and watery vegetables.
  • Keep your distance at night. If you can, sometimes it’s relaxing to sleep alone and rendezvous with your partner in the middle of the night. Two bodies lying next to each other on a hot night creates a lot of heat.  Studies show that birth rates are lower 8-10 months after hot days. (https://wol.iza.org/uploads/articles/375/pdfs/does-hot-weather-affect-human-fertility.pdf?v=1) What is more important about this study is that the discomfort leading to a lack of intercourse was not the primary contributing factor to the lower birth rates. It was more likely a decline in reproductive health—lower sperm production in males, and potential embryonic development issues, once fertilization occurred, in females.
  • Play with air conditioning wisely! The environmental costs of air conditioning are pretty high. So use it, and use it wisely if you’re TTC. It’s a tough call, because do you keep your air on all day? It takes more energy to re-cool a warm room, than it does to lower the temp in an already cool room. You make the call, but air conditioning is going to help humans keep making babies as temperatures rise, and it will do it an environmental cost. Experiment to find the sweet spot with your energy use.
  • Find your local watering hole and enjoy it.  The closer you are to a body of water on a hot day, the cooler the temps will be. If you are on the water, you will stay cooler throughout the warmest part of the day. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
  • Iced Beverages—when hydrating, keep it simple. Filtered water in a stainless water bottle is your best friend. Add ice, lemon, cucumber, crushed mint leaves to it. To add variety to your fluids, ice some matcha green tea and add some mint.
  • Disconnect your devices, and keep them out of the bedroom, at night. It is not always easy to keep your phone off your person, but at night, definitely do it. It will serve you.  Keep your devices off your laps, in general, and especially out of your front pockets.
  • Emotions! In Chinese Medicine, all emotions eventually create qi stagnation and heat accumulation. How it does this is fascinating, and can help you manage your response to all of your emotions. Imagine an event or encounter stimulates an emotion in you. When we have the capacity to witness that emotion, it is easier to let go. But more often than not, because of the sheer volume of stimuli, we do not let go of every emotion we experience in a day. These emotions that linger, sometimes get stuck. That stuck emotional energy blocks free flow of other energy and the stagnation builds. When stuck energy builds in one channel or body area, it creates heat. I love to describe this in the terms of a party. Imagine this: You are having a party. Your house is all set. You are a little chilly in the living room so you’re wearing a sweater.  Joy arrives early. You two chat and then Sorrow arrives. They start catching and then Excited arrives. The party is starting to get lively. Anger and Anxious arrive together and the room is really filling up and WARMING UP. You take off your sweater. Sympathetic and Loving arrive and it is really starting to heat up. You hydrate, and go the other room to cool off and get some space. By the time Mopey and Kind show up, you don’t want to be in the living room anymore because you can barely move and it is so hot. This is how emotions build up and stagnate in the body, and lead to heat. So remember to manage your emotional life, so that things keep moving.
  • Come in and get acupuncture and herbs! There are many things we can do in the office to help you clear heat and cool down, so ask your acupuncturist if you have heat signs and if you should amp up your heat clearing at home.

Things are getting hotter, and we want you to enjoy it!

 

 

Nutrients for Thyroid Support

Nutrients for Thyroid Support

By Margaret Eich, MS, RDN

Did you know there a number of nutrients required for your thyroid to function properly? At Pulling Down the Moon, we’re interested in helping you ensure your thyroid is functioning optimally, because thyroid health is integral to fertility. Here are some of the key nutrients to focus on to support thyroid health:

Iodine is an essential mineral for thyroid hormone production, and 30% of women of childbearing age are iodine deficient. A recent study also noted that women with sub-optimal iodine levels had reduced fertility. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends women who are pregnant take a prenatal vitamin with 150 mcg iodine. To learn more about the impact of iodine on fertility, read this post . Food sources of iodine include seafood, seaweed, meat, eggs, dairy, grains, and iodized salt.

Selenium is another essential mineral required for the conversion of T4 to T3. T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone. In addition, a few studies have shown that supplementation with selenium reduced the levels of antibodies in people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune cause of hypothyroidism. Food sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, meat, and seafood.

Iron is also essential for thyroid hormone production. Iron requirements for women of childbearing age are quite high at 18 mg and even higher at 27 mg during pregnancy. Given iron needs are so high, it’s not that difficult for iron stores to become depleted, especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan, because iron isn’t as well-absorbed from plant sources as from animal sources. In addition, heavy periods can make it more likely that your iron stores become depleted. Food sources of iron include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, leafy greens, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

It can be difficult to make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients on a daily basis, thus it’s important to take a prenatal vitamin while trying to conceive and during pregnanct that covers your bases. The Pulling Down the Moon prenatal vitamins ( Supplement Pack while trying to conceive and the Prenatal Pack once pregnant) contain 175 mcg iodine, 200 mcg selenium, and 30 mg of iron to help support your thyroid along with a healthy diet.

Looking for more ways to support your thyroid with nutrition? Make a nutrition appointment today!

Does Iodine Deficiency Reduce Fertility?

By Margaret Eich, MS, RDN

A recent study, the first of its kind, investigated the impact of iodine deficiency on fertility. Iodine isn’t a nutrient that you hear very much about, but it’s essential for proper thyroid function. The thyroid is the master regulator in the body, governing metabolism in all the body’s cells. In addition, during pregnancy, adequate iodine is essential for baby’s brain development. About 30% of women of childbearing age (who aren’t pregnant) aren’t getting enough iodine. This study measured levels of iodine in the urine of more than 450 women as they were starting to try to conceive and looked at how long it took these women to conceive. (Iodine in the urine is considered to be reflective of the iodine status of the body.)

The results: A whopping 44% of women had iodine levels below sufficiency and 23% where moderately or severely iodine deficient. Women who were moderately or severely iodine deficient were 46% less likely to get pregnant per cycle than when with sufficient iodine levels. This is a striking result and definitely points to a need to ensure you’re getting enough iodine while trying to conceive. Iodine deficiency may cause your thyroid to not function optimally, which impairs fertility.

Iodine is in a variety of foods including seafood, seaweed, meat, eggs, dairy, grains, and iodized salt. Vegetarians and vegans are most at risk for iodine deficiency. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends women who are pregnant and breastfeeding take a prenatal vitamin with 150 mcg iodine in order prevent iodine deficiency. Both Pulling Down the Moon prenatal vitamins contain 175 mcg of iodine, so either would be a great choice to ensure adequate iodine intake. It’s important to note that certain types of seaweed are very high in iodine, and people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis should avoid high iodine intake, as it may make Hashimoto’s worse.

Are you wondering if you’re getting enough iodine and other nutrients in your diet to support optimal fertility? Book an appointment today with one of our nutritionists.

Reference: Mills JL, et al. Delayed conception in women with low urinary iodine concentrations: a population-based prospective cohort study. Human Reproduction. 33(3): 426-433.

Benefits of Mindfulness for Fertility

Our bodies are hard-wired to react to stress. Back in the day, face to face with a sabre-tooth tiger, our stress response provided a huge survival edge. We were able to fight, or flee, or even freeze until the danger passed. Once safe (or eaten) the stress response could subside and our we could get on with things.

The nature of our stressors, however, has evolved. Now instead of cave bears, we’re carrying smartphones. We have social media to remind us constantly where we’re measuring up, and where we’re falling behind. Our fertility journey creates a series of painful unknowns, worst- and best-case scenarios to our minds that shake us to our core. And to make matters worse, we know that stress isn’t healthy – it’s harder to sleep, have sex, eat healthy and exercise when we’re living in fight/flight/freeze mode.

Enter mindfulness. We know that taking a deep breath or stretching tense muscles can provide relief when we’re stressed and anxious. Mindfulness is a practice: a series of techniques designed to short-circuit our instinctual response to stress. We learn – through body awareness, breathing and simple meditation techniques – to pay attention to what is happening in the moment and respond skillfully rather than reactively. When we short-circuit, our stress response good things happen. On a hormonal level, our body can enjoy the benefits of stress’s alter-ego, the relaxation response – better sleep, improved blood flow to our internal organs, improved digestion, less anxiety symptoms. Emotionally, mindfulness creates space for insight, or choice, as we respond differently to stressful situations.

And, mindfulness is more than meditation. At the Moon, we work with a model that teaches simple practices to connect with five “access points” for mindfulness: body, breath, thoughts, awareness and flow. Using these points of practice, mindfulness can infuse daily life.

If you’re interested in learning more, come join us for our Online Mindfulness program . Available as a drop-in or series, this class will lead you through this five-point system and help you develop a personal mindfulness practice that will help heal your body and mind, and create a resilience in the face of stress.

8 Keys to Communicating & Staying Connected During Infertility

Image result for couples communication

Infertility is a trauma that impacts 1 in 10 people. Since it’s so prevalent, then it must be easy for friends and family to understand your feelings, right? Well, as you may have experienced, it’s not.

Often the people you love most, say just the wrong thing. Those who have experienced the pain of infertility often hear things like, “Just relax. Then it’ll happen;” “You should enjoy your time without kids. I’ve got kids and I can’t tell you the last time I got to sleep in or go out to dinner.”

Not only are these types of responses angering, they can be painful. These comments often lead to not sharing feelings in the future. Thus, feeling more and more isolated. Going through infertility is traumatic and just the kind of situation where one needs the most support and care possible. Learning to communicate your feelings with those you trust is an essential skill for surviving infertility.

Here are 8 Keys to Communication During Infertility:

  1. Build awareness of your feelings . This is the very first step to open, productive communication. Understanding oneself and one’s feelings allows for communicating those feelings and needs.

  2. Practice breathing skills. It may sound simple, yet it’s crucial. When communication breaks down it’s often due to at least one person being flooded with emotion. We’ve all been there! Something a person says strikes a nerve and we fire back with a harsh or passive aggressive statement. When we can bring our focus to our breath even for a few seconds, we have a better chance of responding vs. reacting. This leads to a more productive conversation. Try meditation, practice mindfulness , or try Yoga for Fertility to get started.

  3. Talk with someone you trust about your feelings. Perhaps it’s a friend who has always been there for you and is sensitive to your feelings. It can be a parent or a therapist. Just make sure it’s a person that you feel safe talking to. Find your community.

  4. It’s ok to acknowledge hurtful comments. Using simple language like, “When I hear ‘just relax and it’ll happen,’” I feel hurt and frustrated. It makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong.”

  5. Use “I” statements & avoid critical labels. Instead of “You can be so insensitive” try something like, “This is a very painful time for me and I want nothing more than to have a child. So, hearing that I should just enjoy the time feels like a minimization of how important having a family is to me.”

  6. Tell people what you need. A good friend wants to be there for you. She just may not know how. The friend might think that bringing up the topic will make you sad. And maybe you desperately want to talk about it, but expect the friend to ask if she cares. Whether you need her to ask how you’re feeling or to not bring up the topic of kids, let her know.

  7. Vent your feelings to a confidant. Or if you prefer to write your feelings, get a journal and let loose! As you know, it’s important to express your feelings because feelings seep out either directly or indirectly. When we understand our feelings we can respond in a direct way vs. letting our feelings control us.

  8. Know that you can always revisit a conversation. If a conversation didn’t go how you wanted, go back to it. None of us are perfect! There are bound to be miscommunications, hurt feelings, and things left unsaid. Know that you can always try again with a fresh perspective.

If you’d like to work on these skills more or have a particularly challenging dynamic with a friend or family member, feel free to contact me. You are going through one of the most painful experiences in life and are growing stronger through it.

Alison Moran, MA, LCPC

Founder & Psychotherapist

Evolve Counseling & Wellness, Inc.

53 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 1119, Chicago, IL 60604

825 W. State St., Suite 214, Geneva, IL 60134

p: 312.340.9511

alison@evolvecounseling.com

www.evolvecounseling.com

Reducing Endo Pain Naturally with Diet

by Mia Zarlengo, MS, RD

The pain and discomfort associated with endometriosis can at times be overwhelming and seem just unbearable. Fortunately, there are many areas we can address in our diet to help to relieve these symptoms naturally! With endometriosis being a state of inflammatory pain, an anti-inflammatory diet is our best approach to nutritional support. A few small, realistic shifts in our diet can make quite a large difference on our reproductive health!

When attempting to relieve the symptoms of endometriosis naturally, there are a few areas in our diet where we can address -especially in the Standard American Diet. The biggest culprits that promote inflammation include processed foods, refined sugars, alcohol, caffeine, and refined carbohydrates.

In addition to eliminating some unhealthy foods from our diet, we can support the healing of inflammation through the addition of some healthy foods. For example, increasing our omega-3’s from foods like fatty salmon or sardines is a simple way to help to reduce inflammation. Additionally, adding more vegetables to our diets help to increase fiber, which has also been shown to reduce markers of inflammation in the blood. The My Plate method recommends ¼ of your plate to be protein, another ¼ to be a whole grain or starchy vegetable, and the rest of our plate to be filled with a variety of vegetables. Aiming for half of our plate to be filled with veggies, and always including a high quality protein source is a simple way to visualize our plate and ensure we are filling up on the right foods!

Follow these few simple guidelines to help reduce any ongoing inflammation:

  1. Limit added sugars to less than 24g each day

  • Reading ingredient labels is key! Look for words like cane sugar, cane syrup, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, etc. in an ingredient list.

  • Added sugars can show up in mysterious places- don’t assume “health” foods are perfect- check the labels on things like protein bars, cereals, and oatmeal packets.

  • This does not include natural sugars occurring in fruit! Fruits like blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are packed with antioxidants and low in sugar- making them a great addition for an anti-inflammatory diet.

  • Eat an antioxidant-rich diet

    • The more color, the better! Fruits and vegetables with vibrant colors provide us with tons of inflammation fighting antioxidants!

    • “Eat the rainbow!” Eating a variety is so important. Every fruit and vegetable has a unique nutrient profile, providing us with their own unique benefits!

    • Antioxidants are powerful tools for reproductive health in general.

  • Increase fiber

    • The average woman gets around 10-13 g of fiber per day- when we should be aiming for around 30 g!

    • Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens and carrots are high in fiber and packed with beneficial nutrients for reproductive health and reducing inflammation.

  • Eat healthy fats every day!

    • Incorporate more healthy fats into your diet with foods like salmon, walnuts, olive oil, avocados, and chia seeds.

    • Change it up! It’s important to get variety in our diet, including the fat sources we take in!

    • Avoid pro-inflammatory fats like trans fats, corn fed beef, and highly processed vegetable oils.

    Learn more about Mia here . Book a nutrition consult to get started today!

    Healthy Valentine’s Dinner for Two

    by Mia Zarlengo, MS, RDN

    Course 1 (Appetizer):

    Green Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Pepitas

    Recipe courtesy of Cookie and Kate​

    Ingredients

    Green salad

    • 5 ounces (about 5 cups) spring greens salad blend
    • 1 large Granny Smith apple
    • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
    • ¼ cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
    • 2 ounces chilled goat cheese, crumbled (or about ⅓ cup crumbled goat cheese)

    Apple cider vinaigrette

    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • 1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • 1 ½ teaspoons honey
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. Toast the pepitas: In a medium-sized skillet, toast the pepitas over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they are turning golden on the edges and making little popping noises. Transfer the pepitas to a small bowl to cool.

    2. Make the dressing: In a cup or jar, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey and mustard until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

    3. Just before serving, chop the apple into thin, bite-sized pieces. Place your greens in a large serving bowl. Top with sliced apple, dried cranberries and toasted pepitas. Use a fork to crumble the goat cheese over the salad. Drizzle the salad with just enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves once tossed (you probably won’t need all of it). Gently toss to mix all of the ingredients and serve!

    Course 2 (Main Course):

    Sautéed Samon with Citrus Salsa

    Ingredients

    • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    • 2 (6-oz.) salmon fillets, skinned
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup grapefruit sections
    • 1/2 cup orange sections
    • 1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    Directions

    Step 1

    Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle fillets evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add fillets to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

    Step 2

    Combine remaining 2 teaspoons oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, grapefruit sections, and remaining ingredients in a bowl; toss. Spoon grapefruit mixture evenly over fillets.

    Course 3 (Dessert):

    Sesame Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

    Ingredients

    • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
    • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour)
    • 2 tbsp. buckwheat honey
    • 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
    • 4 oz. of dark, high quality chocolate
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

    Directions
    Mix all ingredients together until you have soft dough that you shape into a ball and flatten. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into shapes. Bake in a 350 oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on a rack. Once fully cooled, dip half of each cookie in the melted chocolate, sprinkle with sesame seeds and cool on a piece of parchment paper until the chocolate has hardened.

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