Sunday, April 30, 2017

Multi-vitamins: Beneficial or Expensive Urine?

One out of three Americans take a multivitamin daily.  The supplement/ vitamin industry brings in an estimated $36 billion dollars per year.  Did you know that over 50% of the common multivitamin brands do not even get digested in our bodies!  It should only take approximately twenty minutes for our bodies to break down and absorb the nutrients, although this rarely happens and out they go. 
A National Institutes of Health State-of-the-Science Panel examined the issue of vitamin and mineral supplements for the prevention of chronic disease.  They found that there was no evidence for or against in preventing chronic disease.

Isolated nutrients and minerals never have the same beneficial effect as healthy whole foods, as has been shown time and time again in repeated failed trials.  In addition, some studies say there is a higher risk of kidney stone and heart attacks in those using calcium supplements.

Supplementation is not replacement.
We need to get as much nutrition as possible from fresh, whole foods.  Fruits and vegetables contain thousands of vitamins and minerals, plus antioxidants, enzymes, phytonutrients and more all working together with very specific biological effects on our bodies.  They need to work together to optimally provide us with the most benefits.

Two vitamins that should be taken by everyone are Vitamin D and Vitamin B 12 (plant-based eaters especially).  
Vitamin D is one of the most powerful cancer-fighting elements in the body with
countless other beneficial, immune boosting capabilities.  Our bodies produce Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight (15-20 minutes direct noon time sunlight), but an SPF sunscreen as low as 8 cuts of our bodies ability to produce this needed element by 99%.  Most sunscreens contain the chemical oxybenzone which disrupts our hormone system.  Remember our skin is the largest organ of our body don't slather on a lethal concoction of chemicals on it.  Be responsible and don't get sunburned!  Those living in northern areas and working indoors should take Vitamin D supplements also.

Vitamin B 12 is actually a microbe found in dirt!  Most common source are dairy, eggs and fish.  The cows and chickens get it from grazing and pecking in the dirt.  Fish from eating seaweeds etc.  Obviously if you are plantbased you won't be getting this vital nutrient from these sources.  Fortified nut milks, Nutritional yeast  and B 12 supplement from a methylcobalamin source.  More on that subject in a few weeks. 

So for most of us without a specific deficiency issue we should be getting our vitamins and minerals from our healthy food choices. 

By consuming a balanced  nutrient dense diet we can lead a happy healthy life. 

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Food as Medicine

An interesting thing about pharmaceutical drugs is that about 90% of them are based on or inspired by nutrients found in plants.  Around 70% of Americans are taking at least one expensive synthesized drug that probably exists in whole food.  A 2010 study by Colorado State University found that 68% of American adults take vitamin supplements and the average American fills 12 prescriptions per year (slightly over 12 pills per day!).  How is it that we make up 5% of the worlds population but take 80% of all prescription painkillers?  Making the headlines in the media is the ever rising problem we are facing with opioid addictions

Don't get me wrong, I not saying there isn't a time when we need to take antibiotics for some type of infection.  Medications, even when they help us, take a toll on our bodies.  Our "gut health" is severely compromised. They are very hard to digest and metabolize and our bodies recognize them as a foreign object and try to dispose of them.  I just believe that if we are eating a clean healthy diet our bodies will use whole foods to strengthen our immune systems.  Which will possibly prevent the need for pharmaceutical intervention.

When something is wrong with us, drugs should be the last resort, not the first.
Maybe try the "Farmachy" instead of the pharmacy.  There are many success stories of how changing your diet and lifestyles will impact your life.  Having more energy, mobility, weight loss, happiness etc. with less medications, depression and even saving money with less or no prescriptions to fill!
Nothing compares to the medicinal power of whole plant-based foods.
The nutritional value of food with all of their macro, micro, antioxidant, minerals and vitamins cannot be matched by a supplement or lab created pharmaceutical drug. 

You can see why preventative "medicine" is not a very lucrative option for the healthcare industry.  The pharmaceutical industry cannot duplicate the revenue by growing broccoli and kale. 
It seems the norm that people would rather go to the doctor, get a prescription, treat the symptoms and never fully get well.  Big Pharma loves that idea.  

Let's change the way we look at food.  
Let's use what we choose to eat as preventative medicine.
Let's spend are hard earned money eating more fruits and veggies. 
We alone have the power to make those choices.

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Power of Spinach

Image result for popeye

"I'm strong to the finish, cause I eats my spinach!"  Popeye definitely had that right.  Spinach is known as the 'King of Leafy Greens" are there are many reasons why that is true.  It is packed with antioxidants, vitamins A,C, and K.  It is a great source of calcium, dietary fiber, folic acid (B 9) and even protein.  
Spinach is thought to have originated from ancient Persia, then spread to Nepal and on to China in the 7th century.  It is still known as "Persian Greens" in China.  According to the USDA, we consume 2-1/2 lbs per spinach per year per capita.  I'm pretty sure I consume that amount in a month along with all the other greens we enjoy.  
Many studies show that spinach has equal amounts (if not more) of protein than beef, chicken and pork without the fat or cholesterol.  This green superfood is so packed full of healthy benefits, its hard to list them all.  Here are a few:
*Low in fat and cholesterol.
*High in niacin, zinc and calcium.
*Iron, magnesium(lowers blood pressure), and manganese.
*Phosphorous, potassium, and copper.
*Flavonoids act as antioxidants protecting from free radicals, especially in our colons.
*The Folic acid supports a healthy cardiovascular system.
*Maintains brain function, mental clarity and memory.

Low in calories but packed with nutrients, it is easily adapted in vegetable drinks, smoothies, salads and lightly sauteed as a side dish.  In order to retain its iron content when cooking, lightly add a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar.

REMEMBER: Buy only organic grown spinach.
Most imported  grown spinach has levels of contamination of DDT., and even after being banned in 1972, soil that was sprayed stills has traces of DDT.

Farm-Fresh Organic Tatsoi Spinach

Have a great week.
Be kind.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Homemade Salad Dressings

Hi readers, it's Kris here!  If you're a regular visitor to our blog, you're probably aware that Judd is the main contributor here and I'm his helpful little editor.  I'm also the lucky lady who gets to benefit from his knowledge and research of all things related to living a clean-eating, holistic lifestyle and am I ever grateful for that!  This week, however, I'm taking over the blog to share a few of my favorite homemade salad dressings with you.  Before I get to the recipes, I have to share a few funny anecdotes that come to mind when it comes to the topic of salads:

When I met Judd 26 years ago, he did not use salad dressing.  Not even a drop!  I remember the first time I witnessed this, I thought it most peculiar.  I'd never seen anyone eat a salad that wasn't drizzled in some sort of fabulous dressing.  To this day, when he orders a salad in a restaurant and replies to the server that he doesn't want dressing, he is met with a puzzled look and some form of the question "none at all?" or "would you like it on the side?"  Now that we make our own dressing at home, he really does enjoy it!  And honestly, on the rare occasion that we eat out these days, it is usually at some fabulous vegan restaurant that we've discovered and the last thing we want to order is a salad! Which leads me to my next thought...

Nourish Bowl from Nourish Cafe in San Francisco

If you eat solely a plant-based, vegan or vegetarian diet, you've probably encountered this scenario as well:  You're invited to lunch or dinner with a group of your friends, co-workers, family etc.  The restaurant they choose has little to no vegan friendly options.  It never fails that someone in the group says "they have salad" or "oh, you can't eat that can you?"  My first thought is "Yippee, they have salad.  Because that's all I eat."  I try not to get too offended by these comments, but sometimes it does get to me.  If you have a polite, non-snarky response that works for you, please share it with us!  And if you are one of our meat eating readers, please try to remember that even though you may find our diet unusual, we truly aren't aliens and we're really not that different than you, with the exception that we don't consume animal products.  We love stuffing our faces with delicious meals, snacks and desserts and while we adore cute little bunny rabbits, we don't necessarily eat like them.  Our appetites are just as adventurous as yours, and we sure don't want our meals to be bland and boring. With that being said, when we do eat salad we do it up right!  From a wide choice of greens and toppings, to our flavorful, homemade salad dressings made with all natural ingredients, our salads tend to be the main course and not just a puny little side dish.

And now, without further ado, please enjoy some of our favorite dressings. They can be whipped up quickly and will keep in your fridge for about 1 week, but once you taste them I have a feeling they won't last that long!

1/2 cup Vegan Mayo 
(We use Vegenaise, Hampton Creek Just Mayo or Hellman's Vegan Dressing)*
2 tablespoons raw honey
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon (approximately 1/4 cup)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
10 large basil leaves (we have a basil plant growing on our porch at all times)
2 scallions or green onions, lightly chopped
1/2 ripe avocado
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
You can also toss in a few sprigs of cilantro, Italian parsley, tarragon, and chives if you have them on hand.  I'm not a a fan of cilantro, so I leave it out, and I usually just sprinkle in a tablespoon of Italian Seasoning if I don't have fresh herbs on hand.
*If you aren't strictly vegan, you can use a plain Greek Yogurt.  I suggest Fage.
Combine all the ingredients in a powerful blender until completely pureed.
This dressing also makes a fabulous veggie dip!

Watermelon Arugula Salad w/ Apple Cider Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
3 tablespoons raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons good quality maple syrup
1/2 cup olive oil
Course sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper.
Whisk together the mustard, vinegar & maple syrup in a mixing bowl; slowly add the olive oil and continue to whisk. 

1/2 cup Vegan Mayo
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

This simple yet delicious recipe is the perfect portion for a couple of salads.
  Double or triple the recipe to make enough to store in your fridge for a week:
3 teaspoons honey
3 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

Pack up your salad and a comfy blanket, and find a lovely spot to have a picnic like we did here at Pebble Beach in beautiful Monterey, California last month.

I hope these quick and easy recipes encourage you to ditch highly processed store dressings in exchange for a much healthier, delicious salad experience!


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Meditation 101

Meditation allows us to focus on the present moment rather than dwell on the unchangeable past or undetermined future.  There are many different types of meditation so its difficult to make any comparisons on which is better.  All help to keep our minds and body healthy by reducing stress and anxiety.  
Since beginning a breathing practice of meditation I have definitely seen an improvement in controlling stressful situations.  Being more calm and not letting the "at present surroundings" turn into a poor choice to resolve problems. 
Mindfulness meditation practices can help with everything from stress management, alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety.  It also helps in enhanced creativity, concentration, better sleep (which we all need) and lower blood pressure.

To listen to a great podcast on meditation listen to Rich Roll and Andy Puddicombe
Andy has easy effective 10 day beginning meditation program on an app at Headspace.
I use this on a regular basis and am very satisfied with the results.  I have begun incorporating another app from Inscape Life into my daily practice and am very pleased with this one also.
Image result for meditation quotes

Have a great week.
Be kind.