Sunday, November 29, 2015

Food as Fuel

Food as Fuel

Nutrition is truly the cornerstone of our health.
Every part of our body... organs, muscles, bones, nerves, skin, blood
and even our cells and microbiome is made up of what we eat and drink.
Think about that.
When we look in the mirror that's we see- all the things we've eaten.
The big fresh leafy green salad with raw veggies and nuts. Fresh organic fruit 
and greens smoothie you had for breakfast. 
Or was it that double bacon cheeseburger and fries with a "diet soda".
Which one do you want to be made of?

We already know how we should eat. We just pretend we don't. So most of us just 
keep downing the junk we consume, knowing it is doing us harm. We know better.
No other animal does that. Think about that.

The food we consume is so much more than "fuel".
Our bodies use every part of the food we eat. 
Macronutrients- proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Micronutrients- vitamins and minerals
ex; calcium-builds bones, clots blood, maintains cell communication
ex: magnesium(plays a role in over 300 enzyme systems)-muscle and nerve function
blood sugar control, blood pressure, energy production and 
and transports other minerals.
ex: Folate(vitamin B9):converts food into energy, helps the nervous system 
and brain function and red blood cell production.
ex: Phytochemicals- flavornoids, phenolic acids.

None of these nutrients provide fuel, but are definitely needed for total health.
When we lack any nutrients and minerals our body doesn't work properly.
These nutrients protect against cancer, offer DNA protection against free radicals, 
decrease the risk of heart disease and reduce overall mortality.
These are all found in berries, broccoli, kale, garlic, onions, colorful veggies, etc.
When we eat, our bodies sense incoming nutrients and send signals to our
brain to let it know what is coming in.

Don't fool your brain with junk food.
Every food decision we make sends a message to our body.

The answer to better health and life is simple:

Eat a variety of whole, fresh, clean foods-mostly veggies,fruit,beans,nuts,
seeds,grains,sprouts and healthy fats. Eat a lot of it raw.

Here's a quick recipe for dairy-free yogurt;
1 can of full fat coconut milk
3 tbs of chia seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/2 squeezed lemon juice
2 pitted dates
2 cups fresh or frozen fruit
pinch of salt
Opt; add 1  probiotic capsule
Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
Let sit in fridge a couple of hours or overnight.
Top with granola, coconut flakes or more fruit.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gut Health: Part 5

Gut Health: Part 5

This is the last of the series on gut health.
Kris and I just got back from a week of visiting relatives in Arizona.
We had a great time with them.  Also saw some beautiful desert areas, 
Grand Canyon, Painted murals in Chloride,Arizona , and even spent time on 
Route 66 in  Donkey Town. Good times!

On the long "red-eye" flight back while Kris slept, I listened to Rich Roll's
latest podcast with Dr. Robynn Chutkan, M.D.  It is the perfect way to conclude
this series on gut health.  You can find it here: Rich Roll
 I know these podcasts are sometimes long, but they are well worth the time invested listening.

"There is no question the number one food to eat to grow a good gut garden is plant fiber,
and there really can be no debate about that"
Robynne Chutkan M.D.

"Live dirty, eat clean"

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Gut Health: Part 4

Gut Health: Part 4

Now that we understand the role our gut plays in overall health, we can see why probiotics
are an important tool in the fight against chronic disease.  Prebiotic foods are just as important
in maintaining a healthy microbiome.  Probiotics(good bacteria)maintain a healthy digestive tract and prevent diseases,  Prebiotics are non-digestible compounds which feed those good bacteria, so they 
may grow and thrive.

Here are a few foods that are great prebiotics:
Bananas: a good source of a form of fiber known as FOS
which is mostly indigestible, so it functions as fiber.
Avocados: Nutrient bombs!  Eat them everyday.
Allium vegetables : onions, garlic, chives etc.
Dandelion greens: It also makes a great tea.
Apple cider vinegar:  also has many other benefits.

Here are 2 informative videos by Dr. Michael Greger M.D.

Have great week. 
Be kind.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Gut Health: Part 3

Gut Health: Part 3

November 1 is World Vegan Day.  There is a difference from eating 
a plant-based diet and being vegan, but they do go hand in hand.  By eating
plant-based, you are reducing the horrible effects of  animal cruelty in factory 
farming practices.  You are also reducing damage to our ever declining health of the environment,
caused by animal agriculture. Watch: Cowspiracy available on Netflix.

Back to healthy guts....

Our intestines need healthy bacteria to maintain proper balance.  The  foods that we 
consume either provide good or bad bacteria for our digestive system.  
Antibiotics, excessive sugars, and even stress can kill naturally occurring good bacteria.
This leads to inflammation, food allergies, skin issues and even mood disorders.
Probiotics are live, friendly bacteria that are naturally present in our intestinal tracts.
They maintain our digestive and overall health.
According to a 2012 Study, almost 4 million people have consumed probiotic 
supplements. But you can get the same, (if not better, less expensive and more beneficial nutrients)
from foods that contain probiotics.
Here are 7 foods to incorporate into your diet that pack a probiotic punch:

*Kombucha is made by fermenting sweetened black tea with a blend of bacteria
and yeast.  After the process, it is a carbonated drink which contains probiotics, vitamins,
acids and enzymes.  Some contain alcohol so you must be 21 to purchase.  My favorite
is Synergy Gingerade.

*Kimchi is simply pickled cabbage or veggies with a bit of spices.
It has been a staple in Korean diets for thousands of years.  Read here for more benefits of Kimchi

*Miso is made from fermenting soybeans. The paste is commonly used in 
Miso soup.  Check out the health benefits of Miso here.

*Yogurt is the most well known probiotic fermented dairy product.  
  Non-dairy yogurts are also available.
All yogurts are not the same!  Heavily processed and yogurts full of sugar will not
produce the same benefit; they will actually cause more harm than good to the gut.

* Kefir is a fermented dairy product, which is also available in non-dairy form,
and is much like a drinkable yogurt.
It is packed with probiotics, calcium, B12, folate, magnesium, and can heal the digestive
system by fighting inflammation and improving lactose digestion.  You can find some non-dairy alternatives here.

*Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans.  A popular meat substitute, it is packed with
protein, vitamins, minerals and plenty of probiotics, and it takes on whatever flavor you are cooking with.  Check out our "Tempeh Reuben Sandwiches" in our recipe section.

*Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, and is very easy to make.  If you are going to purchase it at the 
store, make sure its organic!  (Non-organic is loaded with sodium-benzoate.)  Here is a recipe for      Raw Vegan Sauerkraut.

One last thing:
This a link to one chapter of Dr. Garth Davis' new book "Proteinaholic".
He and his publishers have allowed this chapter to be available online in light 
of the WHO's report on processed meats' link to cancer.

Have a great week.
Be kind.