Health, Health Food, Healthy, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Meat, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Recipes, Wellness

What Is Metabolism?

The word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

● Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
● Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
● Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.

Metabolic rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

● Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
● Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
● Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism. Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you’ll burn.

If you are concerned that your metabolism has slowed down from years of dieting, under or over exercising or don’t know what you should be eating for maximum health and metabolism function click here and select “free call” to connect with me. We can discuss your concerns and I can give you some tips to support your diet and metabolic rate.

But that’s not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How big you are counts too!

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does. So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you’re not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program. Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don’t want to happen. So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they’re doing “work”.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food. This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%. By trading some of your fat or carb calories for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow. By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don’t forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

Are you feeling sluggish, tired and struggling with what to eat (or not eat) to rev up your metabolism? If this sounds like you, lets jump on a free call so I can better assess what is going on with you and give you some pointers on how to fix it. Click here and select “Free Call” to schedule a date & time for us to connect that is convenient for you.

Now for the recipe!

Protein Booster Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

metabolism blog post 1chicken breast recipe pic

Serves 4

2 lemons, sliced
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 organic chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) (pasture raised even better!)
dash salt & pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive old

Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.

Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!


In health Always,


P.S. Want more tips & recipes?  Click here & join my Live Your Best Health Forward Facebook Group




Healthy, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Recipes

Feeling the Pumpkin Spice

pumpkin balls 4

Vanilla Madagascar Pumpkin Pie Truffles (makes about 15)

1/3 cup organic pumpkin
1/4 cup maple caramel almond butter like Georgia Grinders (or plain nut butter of choice & add 2 tsp. pure maple syrup)
1 generous Tbsp. vanilla Madagascar ghee like Fourth and Heart (or plain ghee and increase vanilla to 1.25 tsp.)
3 Tbsp. coconut flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 scoops collagen peptides like Vital Proteins (optional)

Dark chocolate and coconut oil for dipping

Add all ingredients except chocolate & coconut oil to a food processor or high power blender. Process or blend until well combined.

Place in the refrigerator for an hour or more. Roll into balls and place on parchment paper.

Melt about a ¼ cup chocolate (I used Enjoy Life chocolate chips) with a tsp. of coconut oil.

Dip truffles in melted chocolate, sprinkle sea salt on top, and keep in the refrigerator.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Date Balls (makes about 15)

1 cup pitted Medjool dates
½ cup pecans, toasted
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup organic pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Place the dates in a bowl and cover with hot water. Soak for about 10 minutes. Drain in a strainer, pressing on the dates with the back of a spoon to remove excess liquid.
Place the pecans, coconut flakes, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until thoroughly combined. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes.
Scoop and roll the chilled dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in mini chocolate chips to coat, pressing to adhere. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Note: the texture is soft even after refrigeration.
Recipe adapted from Paleo Magazine Oct/Nov 2018


CSA, Eggs, Farming, Gardening, Grilling, Health, Health Food, Healthy, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Keto, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Spring, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Wellness

Asparagus – Worthy of Royalty

Asparagus season

Queen Nefertiti proclaimed it to be the food of the Gods, King Louis XIV dubbed it the “king of vegetables” and a European museum is dedicated solely to it… yep we are talking ASPARAGUS! Asparagus has been cultivated for millennia. The tender immature perennial shoots or spears typically pop up around mid-May to mid-June in WI and are a delicacy not to be missed!
Aside from their delicious taste, asparagus is loaded with nutrients – six fresh cooked asparagus spears contain 1 g dietary fiber, 490 IU vitamin A, 10 mg vitamin C and 131 mcg Folate and just 27 calories per cup. Asparagus is high in antioxidants helping slow down the aging process and the minerals and amino acids it contains help protect the liver against toxins.
Fresh asparagus spears should be firm to the touch, straight and unbendable (firm but tender) and the tips should be tightly closed and a dark green or purple color. White asparagus is the same as green except it has not been exposed to sunlight.  To store, trim a half an inch from the ends of unwashed asparagus and stand them in a jar with an inch of cold water covered in the refrigerator or wrap ends in a wet paper towel and put in a plastic bag in the veggie drawer of the refrigerator for longer storage time.

egg avocado cooking tomato

Asparagus pairs well with many vegetables like mushrooms & especially seasonal morels, and other foods like eggs, salmon and hollandaise sauce. Asparagus should be lightly cooked, steamed, or roasted for best flavor and texture. Brush some olive oil on tender spears and throw them on the grill until crisp tender. Raw stalks can be thinly shaved into a salad, add some cherry tomatoes, Feta and vinaigrette. Try asparagus wrapped in prosciutto for an appetizer or side dish.
Most of us have heard of “asparagus pee” the peculiar smell that urine takes on after consuming asparagus. In actuality, only 25% of us have a specific gene that enables us to detect the smell. Apparently my Husband and I both have that gene!
Fresh local asparagus is one of the first spring vegetables available and only around for a few short weeks so head to your farmers market or favorite store before it’s all gone!

asparagus 2

Pass the asparagus please!

Cynthia Hill, NTP

Prairie Hill Nutrition




Eggs, Health, Health Food, Healthy, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Instant Pot, Keto, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Sous Vide, Wellness

Sous Vide Instant Pot Eggs


eggs promo repub

Ever since my Hubby brought home some Sous vide egg bites from Starbucks, I admit I have been somewhat obsessed with them! So creamy, rich and decadent these little egg bites are! Did I mention they have bacon?!!!  (Sous vid) is a method of cooking in a warm water bath).  I immediately found myself googling “make your own Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites” in hopes of finding a recipe. I soon realized I must be hiding under an internet rock or something  as they are a THING!  The ingredients are simple staples – eggs, cottage cheese, Gouda (or cheese of choice), and cream. So far so good… until I discovered you needed a (not so cheap!) Sous vide oven in order to make them. Boo whew. But I kept digging and eventually found an Instant Pot recipe for Sous vide eggs.  Could the results be the same in the Instant Pot? Yes indeed!  I am happy to report the Instant Pot Sous vide eggs come out just as good if not better than (no offense!) Starbucks. The only thing I needed was a $10 silicone mold* that fits right in the Instant Pot to make these Keto friendly low-carb (about 15 carbs for the whole recipe!) gems.

Starbucks also makes egg whites (um – yuck!) and red pepper Sous vide bites. I am going to make them using whole eggs with red peppers, spinach and feta. The advantage to making Sous vide eggs myself is I have control of the ingredients.  Aside from being a fraction of the cost, I can use quality pastured eggs and dairy from farmers I know and trust minus the antibiotics, hormones, additives and preservatives I’d rather not have.

Sous vide eggs are another great way to enjoy those little nutritional powerhouses we call eggs!  Enjoy!

Sous Vide Instant Pot Eggs FB post

Sous Vide Instant Pot Eggs

4 large eggs
4 Bacon Strips cooked
1.5 Cups favorite cheese, shredded
½ Cup Cottage Cheese
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
¼ tsp. Sea Salt
1. Put 1 cup of water in the bottom of your Instant Pot followed by the trivet that came with your pot.
2. Crumble the bacon strips and evenly distribute into the silicone mold*.
3. Add the eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, cream and salt in a blender and blend until smooth (I used my Nutri bullet) about 15 seconds.
4. Add a dash of hot sauce if desired and blend for a few more seconds.
5. Divvy the egg mixture evenly into the 7 pods.
6. Place gently in the Instant Pot. (I find it works well to set the mold in the trivet and then place in Instant Pot).
7. Place the cover on the Instant Pot and select “Steam” and set to 8 Minutes.
8. NPR (natural pressure release) for 10 minutes and then quick release (QR) the rest.
9. Carefully remove the egg bites from the Instant Pot and let cool down for a few minutes.
10. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for up to a week.

*If you don’t have a silicone mold you can use for 4 mason jars coated with cooking spray.  After filling with egg mixture cover loosely with foil and place gently on trivet in Instant Pot.

Cynthia Hill, NTP



Health, Health Food, Healthy, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Keto, Meat, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Uncategorized, Wellness

For the Love of California Rolls, Crab Cakes, Crab Rangoon, and Crab Salad…

sushi 2

In my early 20’s I would regularly eat a crab salad made with imitation crab meat. I was not a big fish lover and this convenient and mild tasting “crab” was one of my favorite “healthy” ways to get fish into my diet (or so I thought at the time).  I often enjoyed crab Rangoon and crab cakes from our local Chinese takeout too.
Chances are if you have dined on seafood from a Sushi, Chinese restaurant or grocery store, you have probably eaten imitation crab meat. So what? some of us might say – Wikipedia states “Crab sticks, imitation crab meat or seafood sticks are seafood made of starch and finely pulverized white fish, shaped and cured to resemble the leg meat of snow crab or Japanese spider crab.”  Um, YUCK!

sushi 3 (not pexel)
Imitation crab meat contains more starch and carbohydrate than protein (almost 2/3rds of the calories come from carbs) and is not a vegan or vegetarian food as is commonly believed. Real crab meat in contrast is 85% protein and 1% carbs. Real crab meat is an excellent source of protein and contains heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, C, and B including B 12, and the minerals phosphorus, zinc, copper, calcium, selenium, and chromium.
Low nutrition profile aside, imitation crab meat may contain additional additives including  MSG, gluten, sugar, hydrolyzed corn, soy & wheat (gmo’s), unhealthy vegetable oils and other possible allergens.  None of which is in real crab meat (unless you have a shellfish allergy).
Dr. Axe sums it up well in his recent article Imitation Crab Meat May Be Worse Than You Think: “Because of its sparse nutrient profile and long list of additives, many people consider it to be the seafood equivalent of the hot dog, made of fish parts and questionable ingredients that have been ground up into a cheap, highly processed convenience food.”
Whole food in it’s natural, unprocessed, unadulterated state is always best, so I’ll take a pass on imitation crab meat…and stick with the real thing!
-Cynthia Hill, NTP

sushi 4


Gardening, Health Food, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Summer, Vegetables, Wellness

Behold the Lowly Turnip

By Cynthia Hill, NTP

Behold the turnip! It’s time to elevate the lowly turnip to royal status! From my own personal experience growing turnips here in the Midwest, they are super easy to grow, thrive in less than ideal soil and weather conditions and don’t appear to suffer from pests and disease. Turnips prefer cooler temps, full sun and well-drained soil. The Old Farmers Almanac states “Turnips like a dry bed but a wet head”. I love that turnips mature in just 55 days, being one of the first vegetables to enjoy from the early garden. Turnips are a good storage vegetable as well.

Turnips are a member of the brassicaceae family and are nutritional powerhouses. You can eat both the root and the green tops. According to Dr. Mercola, low calorie turnip roots are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. The turnip tops or greens are even more nutritious than the roots! The greens are even richer in Vitamins K,C,A, B6, Folate and minerals including copper, manganese and calcium. Turnip greens also contain cancer fighting glucosinolates (sulfur-containing compounds), fiber and antioxidants.
Harvest turnip greens by cutting just a few of the stems at a time (tender, young greens will be less bitter). Enjoy the greens in salads or lightly steamed or sautéed.  Turnips have a pungent flavor that pairs well with milder vegetables. You can roast them by themselves,  but I prefer to roast turnip root with other vegetables including carrots, beets, potatoes, etc… and some aromatics like garlic and onion. Simply cube the veggies, place on a baking sheet and toss with a good healthy fat such as coconut oil, duck fat or avocado oil, drizzle with a little honey or maple syrup and bake at 400 degrees for about an hour or until veggies have softened and caramelized, stirring occasionally. A turnip mash or smash is easy too – boil or steam turnips until soft, drain, add butter or ghee, season, mash and enjoy.  Furthermore, add some garlic and bacon for additional flavor.  Mash turnips with potatoes and add some sour cream for a real treat! Try with sweet potatoes too.


Turnip Mash

If you don’t have an inkling to grow your own, look for turnips and turnip greens at  farmers markets in the Spring and Fall or at your local supermarket. Look for firm roots and fresh unwilted bright green tops. Store in the crisper of the refrigerator and consume the greens as soon as possible. Scrub turnip roots when ready to cook.  Peel when roasting or if turnips are large (more mature) in size.

Did you know?

Henry VIII liked his turnips roasted and the tender young leaves served in a salad.  Goethe stated that ‘they are best mixed with chestnuts.’

There is 1 person in the U.S. listed on with the last name ‘Turnip’

And that…

California is the largest grower of turnips in the United States.

Not to be forgotten is the well known saying “just fell off a turnip truck” meaning a “simpleton”, or naïve, uninformed or gullible.  Surprisingly, I could not find a consistent  origin of this phrase and am left to ponder the connection of gullible and turnips…

So, considering the many attributes of the turnip – it is nutrient dense, you can consume every part of it, it is easy to grow,  it tastes good, and plays well with others, it appears that the lowly turnip isn’t so lowly after all and deserves to be elevated to vegetable royalty!

Beautiful turnips from my garden!
Eat well,


Grilling, Health, Health Food, Healthy, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Meat, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Summer, Vegetables, Wellness

To Grill or Grill Not…

Beef steak with grilled vegetables

By Cynthia Hill, NTP

As the first hint of summer makes its slow arrival in the Midwest,  I step outside late afternoon to enjoy the warming temps.  Immediately I begin to smell the most wonderful intoxicating scent.  It takes my brain a moment to identify what it is – oh yes! someone in the neighborhood has fired up their grill  – the  unmistakable smoky aroma of backyard grilling, summer and happiness! I realize momentarily how I have missed the smell & taste of grilled foods throughout the long winter months. Now this tantalizing scent beckons me, beckons me to release our own grill from its winter cover and  start planning a meal around it.   But wait… isn’t grilling food bad for you???

Grilling in general and especially grilled meat has had its share of bad press lately.  With the onset of warmer weather the warnings about the dangers of grilling and barbecuing return, and how doing so contributes to the formation of carcinogens (PAHs) and mutagens (HCA) in our food.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are present in the smoke created from fat dripping onto hot coals.  Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are produced when amino acids, sugars and creatine in meat react with heat.  Does grilling generate enough of these carcinogenic compounds to pose a threat to our health and steer clear of the grill forever?  Mark Sisson, primal living expert, and author of the Primal Blueprint writes he may have “overstated the danger of the carcinogenic compounds found in charred meat”.  In his article “How Bad is Charred Meat, Really?”  he references numerous studies that show the doses of HCA in animal testing to be 1000s of times higher than what we would get from grilling. (The National Cancer Institute also suggests that both HCA and PAH dosing in animal models is thousands of times higher than what we would consume in our diet).

Author Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, “The Naughty Nutritionist” states “it’s a myth that HCAs are mostly found in fried or grilled beef, poultry and fish.”  Her post “Barbecue Meat a Safer Choice than Packaged Protein Foods” explains why we are more likely to get more carcinogenic HCAs from processed and fast foods than from the grill.


This leaves me with a burning question from an ancestral point of view – man has been grilling for a very very long time.  If it is so bad for us, why do the carcinogenic effects only appear to have happened in the last 150 years?  We must consider our current diet of high PUFAs, processed foods, grain fed animals and environmental toxicity as contributing factors.

Would I eat grilled foods every day? probably not as with most things moderation is key. I will continue though, to eat a cancer fighting nutrient dense whole foods diet (including plenty of protective vegetables) that supports optimal health and immune function which is always our best defense!

The following suggestions from the The National Cancer Institute may reduce HCA and PAH formation while grilling:

  • Avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface and avoiding prolonged cooking times (especially at high temps) can redue HCA and PHA formation.
  • Continuously turning meat over on a high heat source can substantially reduce HCA formation compared with just leaving the meat on the heat source without flipping it often.
  • Removing charred portions of meat and refraining from using gravy made from meat drippings.


Trimming the fat, and using marinades with herbs/spices and an acid component  like vinegar or citrus offers protection also.

Avoid overcooking and processed meats as they already contain cancer causing preservative substances.


So will I be firing up the grill this Summer?  You betcha!


Sincerely in Health,



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