How to Read a Food Label 101

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It’s the wild wild west out there when it comes to food claims. Just because a box of cereal says “lowers cholesterol!” or “low in sugar” or “natural” doesn’t mean that it is, it also doesn’t mean that it is good for your health. It is important to educate yourself on how to read a food label so that you can put the power of decision making into your own hands.

Did you know that the higher up an ingredient is on a list, the more of that ingredient is in the food? For example, if sugar is the first ingredient on a product, you best believe there’s a lot of sugar in it. Best to opt for a different product. If you care about your health and about the quality of the foods you put into your body (everyone should be raising their hands right now) then you should care about putting the time into learning how to read a food label.

In general, if the ingredient on a list sounds like a scientific concoction made in a lab, it likely is and you should probably limit your consumption of foods with that ingredient in them. Additionally, if the list of ingredients takes up the entire side of the box, it is a heavily processed food and has a lot of ingredients in it that are poor for your health. You should KNOW without a doubt what each ingredient is in your food, because, well, because it should be real food ingredients and not chemicals made in a lab.

What does “fortified” mean on a food label? Fortified means that synthetic nutrients have been added to a food that doesn’t normally contain that nutrient. For example, milk “fortified” with Vitamin D means that synthetic Vitamin D has been added to that food. Unfortunately, the types of synthetic nutrients added into foods are low quality and not in the form of the vitamin/mineral that the body can readily use. It is best to get these nutrients from REAL food sources, or to take a professional grade multivitamin that contains high quality forms of the nutrient, if not a real whole food based form.

What does “enriched” mean on a food label? Enriched means that a food has been HEAVILY processed to the point that all of the nutrients in it were lost. Because the nutrients were lost and the food is essentially now a calorie dense / nutrient poor food, synthetic forms of the nutrient were added back in. Now, this isn’t necessarily a good thing AT ALL. The forms of nutrients added back in, again, are going to be of low quality and low usability by the body (i.e. folic acid - a topic for another conversation). Instead of eating a food that is so processed that all of the nutrients have been stripped from it, I recommend eating a food that hasn’t been processed and is in its whole form, thus containing all of its natural nutrients. Nothing beats real, whole foods. Not even a good multivitamin. So try to make sure you’re getting your nutrients from real, whole food ingredients that are rich in naturally occurring vitamins and minerals FIRST, and supplement with a premium quality multivitamin second.

Deciphering Macronutrient Make-Up: Macronutrients are your proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Not all are made equal. On a food label, if you see that there are any grams of trans fats, sound the alarms, drop your grocery list, and run away. Look for predominantly unsaturated fats, with a little saturated fats. Saturated fats such as coconut oil or ghee are great in moderation. High animal fat intake (which is saturated fat) is contraindicated for a lot of people. So just be aware of what it is in the food that is adding to the saturated fat content.

As far as carbohydrates go, focus on the sugar content, not total carbs. The maximum about of added sugar you should have in a day is 25g per person on average. If there is added sugar in a food, sometimes the label will show amount in grams of ADDED sugars… this is what you really want to be aware of. But in general, watch the amount of sugar in your food. And again, the higher up “sugar",” or “cane sugar” is on a food label, the more there is of it in the food. Total carbohydrates will include sugars, fiber, and complex carbs. Opt for foods that have more fiber in them than added sugars. Aim for 25-30g fiber per day. The best kinds of fiber comes from fruits and vegetables, which ironically don’t have a food label despite being the best foods for human health.

Its pretty straightforward with protein. You should get 0.8-1g protein per kilogram of body weight. So pull our your calculators and determine how much protein you should get in a day. In general, you should have 15-20g protein with each meal. Protein (& fat) helps to buffer the effects of sugar on your blood stream.

Below are some lists to help get you started.

Top Ingredients to Avoid:

Hydrogenated oils

Corn syrup

High fructose corn syrup

Food dyes (all colors… it’ll read Red #2 or Red #40)

Sodium nitrite/benzoate

Artificial flavor/sweetener

Monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Ingredients to avoid for gluten allergy or intolerance:

Barley

Enriched, self-risin, graham, or durum flour

Emulsifiers

Food starch or modified FS

Gluten flour

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

Oat

Malt flavoring

Malt or cereal extracts

Kamut

Rye

Soy-sauce

Stabilizers

Thickeners

Triticale

Wheat starch

Wheat

Wheat germ/bran

Wheat based semolina

Ingredients to avoid for dairy intolerance:

Binding agents, fillers

Brown sugar or caramel flavoring

Butter

Buttermilk solids

Casein hydrolysate

Casein, caseinate

Cheese

Cream

Curds

High protein flour

Ice cream

Lactate, lactic acid

Lactoalbumin

Lactoalbumin phosphate

Lactoglobulin

Lactose, lactulose

Margarine

Milk solids

Rennet casein

Simplesse

Sodium caseinate

Some seasonings

Whey, whey solid

FREE WORKSHOP! Women's Mental Health: A Holistic Perspective

Salt Lake City! We’re hosting a FREE workshop @ The Wave Women and we’d love to see you there!

•       Are you tired of the simple day to day tasks of life making you feel completely overwhelmed & full of anxiety?

•       Do you feel easily irritated over everything and everyone to the point of wanting to distance yourself from the real world?

•       Is your sleep suffering as a result of a racing mind that is in a vicious cycle of fear and worry?

•       Are you tired of not getting clear answers as to WHY you feel this way?

Come learn the 4 secrets that are keeping you from reclaiming your mental health and long-lasting emotional freedom and discover the 5-Step Mental Health Matrix to permanently end your mood-swings and develop emotional freedom in 12 weeks, without the use of prescription drugs or wasted time and money.

You’ll also learn some kitchen tips and tricks for creating consistency and efficiency when meal-prepping.

DATE: May 31, from 6PM-8PM (or 9PM if we’re having a good time).

LOCATION: The Wave Women 32 Exchange Place, Salt Lake City UT

COST: Free for members, $5 for non-members for beverages / healthy snacks.

REGISTER HERE.

We can’t wait to see you!

Happy Mother's Day: So What's For Brunch?

Happy Mother’s Day! (Or day before Mothers Day to be exact). Because I plan to spend the entire day tomorrow present with my mom, and not distracted on my computer like I am right now, I figured I’d leave this here in case you wanna cook your mamma up something nice!

In addition to doing something nice for your mom, write a list of all the qualities your mom embodies that you admire, and share this with her. Share with her all of the powerful ways she has impacted your life. Be real. Be honest. We don’t oftentimes take the initiative to really speak our truth, even when it’s positive and could make someone else REALLY happy. Especially the person that so selflessly wiped our butts for multiple years.

If you’re a mama yourself, take the day to do literally whatever it is that would make you happy, before you deserve it. Even if that means spending the entire day by yourself! No one blames ya!

COCONUT WAFFLES FOR BRUNCH!!!!

** If you don’t have a waffle maker, turn them into pancakes!**

INGREDIENTS FOR GLUTEN FREE WAFFLES
4 egg whites
4 egg yolks
⅓ cup canned coconut milk
2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 tsp. alcohol free vanilla
½ tsp. or 1 packet Stevia
½ cup coconut flour
½ tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt

INGREDIENTS FOR GRANNY SMITH APPLESAUCE
4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, seeded and quartered
1 cup water
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Stevia, to taste
Cinnamon, to taste
1/3 cup frozen wild blueberries

DIRECTIONS FOR GLUTEN FREE WAFFLES
Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions.
In a medium bowl beat egg whites until soft peaks form, set aside. In a small bowl whisk egg yolks, coconut milk, coconut oil, alcohol free vanilla and stevia, set aside.
In a large bowl, add coconut flour, baking soda and salt, stir to combine. Add egg whites and egg yolk mixture to the coconut flour mixture, stir gently to combine, then let batter rest for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour half of the waffle batter onto a preheated waffle iron. Repeat with remaining batter.
Serve waffles topped with a little butter. If you are on the later stages of the diet, try the Granny Smith Applesauce below!

DIRECTIONS FOR GRANNY SMITH APPLESAUCE
In a medium saucepan, combine apples, water and lemon juice. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples become very soft and are falling apart, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from heat, mash with a potato masher or pulse in a food processor for a smoother texture.
Add stevia and cinnamon to taste. Applesauce can be stored in covered containers in refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks.

Your Mood Swings Start in Your Gut

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This headliner might sound polarizing to those of you that are stuck in the “old” conventional ways of looking at mental health. We’re taught that our mental health problems are due to a neurotransmitter imbalance that starts in our brain and that there is only one solution to that – medication. That the fate of our mental health lays in the hands of the gene’s passed down to us from our parents. What if I were to tell you that the explanation as to why you’re feeling this way is literally right underneath your nose, and that there is a predictable, more impactful way to determine a long-term solution to mental well-being?

New research reveals that your gut communicates to your brain on a regular basis. With an unhealthy gut, this emotional guidance system is TURNED OFF. Our first line of defense against the outside world is under attack, and because of that toxins are getting in instead of the vital nutrients that our brains need, and these toxins are causing inflammation both in our body as well as our brain. This leads to many symptoms, mood swings, brain fog, and lack of focus being some big ones. The good news is, there’s a better way out of this nightmare.

The 6-step framework that I’ve worked with to help not only myself, but countless others recover their mental health starts with addressing gut health. Within this first step there are a variety of topics addressed, but what I wanted to focus on here is the effects that food intolerances and inflammatory substances have on the health of your gut and subsequently the health of your mind.

The cause of your mood swings is an unhealthy gut, but the solution to your mood swings is also through your gut.

Food intolerances, with gluten and casein from dairy being two of the most common culprits, can wreak havoc on the intestinal lining that protects certain molecules from getting into your blood steam. To simplify the picture for you, once your intestinal lining becomes compromised, toxic particles (such as the gluten or casein), can reach your brain and manifest as symptoms of psychosis, schizophrenia, mood swings, or autism. It can take the body up to 4 days to react to molecules from food, so it can be challenging for one to discover really what food it is that is triggering the symptoms.

There is a plethora of food intolerance tests out there that promise to solve the world’s problems by telling people what foods they shouldn’t eat, however they are not entirely accurate all the time and often may generate false negatives or positives to certain foods. An additional downside, is they can get expensive. This is why I recommend elimination/re-challenge diets. This, to me, is the gold standard of understanding what foods someone might be reacting to, triggering chronic intestinal inflammation that leads to chronic neuroinflammation.

So, how do you do an elimination/re-challenge diet? There are tons of them discussed online. The method I prefer is to remove all processed foods (this means all canned foods, pastas, packaged foods), gluten, corn, dairy, eggs, whey, soy, peanuts, and vegetable oils. This means, you’ll be eating a very “whole foods” based diet, plentiful in grass fed meats, vegetables, and fruits. If you know you have a nightshade issue, you may want to avoid that category of vegetables as well – but that is a topic for a whole separate conversation. Avoid these foods for 30 days. And then one by one, every 4 days, you’ll want to reintroduce those foods back and be very conscious of how they make you feel. Keep a food diary throughout the process, and dedicate this month to being very mindful of how your body (and mind) are feeling each step of the way. After 30 days, it should be crystal clear what foods you’re reacting to if you give yourself the time to experience the effects of adding each one back into your diet.

This process usually is more effective and understandable with the help of a trained clinician, so if you feel that you aren’t really able to figure it out on your own, it would be wise to get the support and guidance of someone with experience in repairing digestive health.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24144733

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306453014001152

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21918508

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25322082

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28164850

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7134833

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20884755

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22801085

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1954879/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2715943/

 

Peppermint Relieves Pain and Reduces Nausea

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Peppermint (Mentha X piperita) is an aromatic herb in the mint family that is a cross between watermint and spearmint. Native to Europe and Asia, it has a long history of use in folk medicine and aromatherapy. As is the case with many herbs, it is peppermint’s oily component that contains the agents responsible for the health effects of which there are many.

Pain Management

Studies have shown that peppermint oil can improve pain management in irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS (Cappello, Spezzaferro, Grossi, Manzoli, & Marzio, 2007). Researchers attribute peppermint’s relief of IBS symptoms, such as constipation and bloating, mainly to its antispasmodic properties. The menthol contained in peppermint has a relaxing effect on the intestinal smooth muscle.

Enteric coated peppermint capsules are great for soothing abdominal cramping, bloating and intestinal inflammation. Enteric coating ensures that the constituents inside the capsule make it to their ultimate destination, which in this case is the intestine (Merat et al., 2010). Oftentimes, capsules can degrade and the oil inside rendered useless by stomach acid within the stomach. Enteric coating ensures that the oil makes it to the intestine without being damaged.

When it comes to menstrual cramping, peppermint is equally effective at supporting in the management of pain (Ali et al., 2015). The oil applied topically is a great place to start. See below for instructions on applying an essential oil blend.

Another great application for peppermint is to mix its essential oil in some olive oil as a tool for children with cramping. This blend can be applied topically to the abdomen, and is safe for kids of all ages. To ensure a skin reaction doesn’t occur, test the oil blend on the wrist of the child in a small amount, and wait for five minutes to see if a rash appears.

Nausea

Studies show that peppermint in aromatherapy can help fight nausea (Lua & Salihah, 2012). Mints and mint teas may help manage the symptoms of colds and illnesses, including nausea.  There is a possibility that a more concentrated form of peppermint oil will provide more effective relief from nausea symptoms, including the more severe forms of nausea that often occur after a surgery (Anderson & Gross, 2004).

Athlete Performance

Recent research shows that peppermint oil can also improve athlete’s exercise performance, respiratory function, blood pressure and heart rate. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition demonstrated that the mint can “relax bronchial smooth muscles, increase ventilation and brain oxygen concentration” (Meamarbashi & Rajabi, 2013). All of these physiological changes are plausible explanations for the increase in exercise performance.

Energy Boost

Peppermint oil is one of the most energizing and rejuvenating oils available. Peppermint has frequently been used in aromatherapy as a stimulant, a mood booster, and to improve concentration. If you need an early morning boost of energy, you can add a few drops of peppermint oil into your shampoo. Another application of this oil is to pot a couple drops of it on the back of your neck if you’re in need of a concentration boost.

 

References:

Ali, B., Al-Wabel, N. A., Shams, S., Ahamad, A., Khan, S. A., & Anwar, F. (2015). Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 5(8), 601–611. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apjtb.2015.05.007

Anderson, L. A., & Gross, J. B. (2004). Aromatherapy with peppermint, isopropyl alcohol, or placebo is equally effective in relieving postoperative nausea. Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, 19(1), 29–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jopan.2003.11.001

Cappello, G., Spezzaferro, M., Grossi, L., Manzoli, L., & Marzio, L. (2007). Peppermint oil (Mintoil) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Digestive and Liver Disease: Official Journal of the Italian Society of Gastroenterology and the Italian Association for the Study of the Liver, 39(6), 530–536. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dld.2007.02.006

Lua, P., & Salihah, N. (2012). A Brief Review of Current Scientific Evidence Involving Aromatherapy Use for Nausea and Vomiting (Vol. 18). https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2010.0862

Meamarbashi, A., & Rajabi, A. (2013). The effects of peppermint on exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 15. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-15

Merat, S., Khalili, S., Mostajabi, P., Ghorbani, A., Ansari, R., & Malekzadeh, R. (2010). The effect of enteric-coated, delayed-release peppermint oil on irritable bowel syndrome. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 55(5), 1385–1390. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-009-0854-9

 

Cinnamon’s Role in Improving Neurodegeneration & Memory

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Cinnamon is a GREAT way to make foods sweeter without adding sugar. Native to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), true cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, dates back in Chinese writings to 2800 B.C. Its botanical name derives from the Hebraic and Arabic term amomon, meaning fragrant spice plant. From their word for cannon, Italians called it canella, meaning "little tube," which describes cinnamon sticks. Medieval physicians used cinnamon in medicines to treat coughing, hoarseness, and sore throats.

When it comes to brain health, cinnamon extracts seem to slow down the progression and even improve some symptoms of “neurodegenerative” diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Some additional benefits of cinnamon include:

  1. Cinnamon is great for the brain as we get older as it has been shown to delay cognitive impairment by lowering oxidative stress of brain cells (Jain, Sangma, Shukla, & Mediratta, 2015).

  2. Cinnamon may be beneficial for Parkinson’s patients by improving dopamine production (Khasnavis & Pahan, 2014).

  3. Cinnamon may curb food cravings by targeting a brain chemical involved in glucose and cholesterol (Bano, Ikram, & Akhtar, 2014).

  4. Cinnamon can turn a poor learner into a good learner by stimulating hippocampal plasticity, a part of the brain associated with memory (Modi, Rangasamy, Dasarathi, Roy, & Pahan, 2016).

  5. Cinnamon is a good source of the powerful antioxidant manganese. Two teaspoons of cinnamon provides about half the RDA of manganese, a powerful antioxidant that is crucial for brain and body health (Coassin, Ursini, & Bindoli, 1992).

 

 

What Type of Cinnamon Is Recommended?

When you’re buying cinnamon, not all of it is created equal. There are two main types of cinnamon; the common type known as “cassia”, as well as the “true” cinnamon known as ceylon. Cassia cinnamon is the inexpensive and common type that is found in grocery stores. It is from the tree Cinnamomum aromaticum.  True or “ceylon” cinnamon is from the tree Cinnamomum zeylanicum. Ceylon cinnamon tastes a bit sweeter than the cassia type, and is also a bit lighter in colour. And, yes, “ceylon” cinnamon is harder to find and more expensive than the common type, “cassia”.

We recommend that you stick with the true “ceylon” cinnamon.  It is a bit harder to find and more expensive than the common type, but is available in some health food stores and on Amazon.

A Daily Dose of Cinnamon

We’ve unearthed these quick ways to work ceylon cinnamon into your diet. You can stir it into your oatmeal, quinoa, rice or yogurt, add it to a smoothie or sprinkle it on fresh fruit, season vegetables before roasting or add a small amount of cinnamon to rubs, marinades, and stews.

You should opt for cinnamon sticks if the dish that you are making will be cooked for a long time. This is because cinnamon in stick form releases its flavor over a longer period.

  • Use a cinnamon stick when cooking quinoa or brown rice! You can throw the stick into the water while the quinoa cooks, and you can also try BAKING the quinoa or brown rice in the oven with some coconut milk and some added ginger. Yum Yum.

  • Toss a cinnamon stick into a slow cooker filled with hearty chili, a slow cooked coconut rice dish, or any slow cooked meat. It adds a delicious layer of flavor and light spice to your meal.

  • Golden milk! Simmer some coconut milk, water, a cinnamon stick, turmeric root, ginger, black pepper for 20 minutes or so. Makes a delicious warming beverage that is also highly anti-inflammatory.

  • Spice up your coffee - Place a cinnamon stick on top of coffee grounds before you begin brewing. A subtle, yet perfect amount of warm cinnamon spice will be infused into your morning coffee.

 

References

Bano, F., Ikram, H., & Akhtar, N. (2014). Neurochemical and behavioral effects of Cinnamomi cassiae (Lauraceae) bark aqueous extract in obese rats. Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 27(3), 559–563.

Coassin, M., Ursini, F., & Bindoli, A. (1992). Antioxidant effect of manganese. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 299(2), 330–333.

Jain, S., Sangma, T., Shukla, S. K., & Mediratta, P. K. (2015). Effect of Cinnamomum zeylanicum extract on scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment and oxidative stress in rats. Nutritional Neuroscience, 18(5), 210–216. https://doi.org/10.1179/1476830514Y.0000000113

Khasnavis, S., & Pahan, K. (2014). Cinnamon treatment upregulates neuroprotective proteins Parkin and DJ-1 and protects dopaminergic neurons in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology: The Official Journal of the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology, 9(4), 569–581. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11481-014-9552-2

Modi, K. K., Rangasamy, S. B., Dasarathi, S., Roy, A., & Pahan, K. (2016). Cinnamon Converts Poor Learning Mice to Good Learners: Implications for Memory Improvement. Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology: The Official Journal of the Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology, 11(4), 693–707. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11481-016-9693-6

Ginger: A Simple Kitchen Remedy for Inflammation

The herbs and spices sitting in your spice drawer are powerful allies for your health.  They don’t just make your food taste better, they can make you feel better too. For the month of April, I will recommend some of the most powerful healing herbs and spices, along with featured recipes to help you add them to your diet. Have any questions or comments, e-mail us!

Herbs and Spices for Your Health: Organic Ginger

Ginger is a flowering plant in the family Zingiberaceae. The Indians and ancient Chinese used the root of ginger as a tonic to treat common ailments and ginger has always been an integral part of Asian cuisines due to its digestive properties.

In the book Herbal Emissaries: Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West, Steven Foster writes: Ginger is truly an herbal emissary in the broadest sense. Perhaps no other herb, except garlic, crosses all barriers, cultural, historical, and geographic–food versus medicine, Western versus Oriental, scientific versus folk tradition. Ginger is a universal herb in all respects.

Ginger contains compounds that have demonstrated protective effects for the brain and is used in several forms of alternative medicine. Ginger root contains a very high level of total antioxidants that help prevent certain types of cell damage especially those caused by oxidation. Oxidative damage has been linked to health conditions like heart disease, cancer and dementia. Ginger also has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat nausea and help with pain management.   

Fresh ginger root has a strong, robust flavor and is a versatile herb to keep on hand for added flavor. It can be sliced and sprinkled over vegetables before roasting. Combine grated ginger root with carrots, apples and lemon juice in your next smoothie or juice. Asian pickled ginger is amazing on sushi. On the run? Chew a piece raw – it tastes great and is very refreshing. Ginger tea can help strengthen your immunity due to the high levels of antioxidants. Ginger tea also has calming properties that may help lower your stress and tension.

Buying and storing. Because it is a root vegetable, it is more susceptible to fertilizers, so be sure to buy organic ginger.Ginger should have a spicy and fresh fragrance. Look for full, plump roots that are juicy and not dried out on the ends. Ginger skin should be thin, never thick and fibrous and you should be able to easily nick the skin with your nail. Sometimes ginger is displayed and sold in bigger hands but it is okay to break off just what you need. Fresh ginger will snap off easily.  Fresh unpeeled ginger can be refrigerated for up to a week and frozen up to two months if tightly wrapped. To use frozen ginger simply slice off a piece of the unthawed root.

Here are two go-to flavorful ginger recipes that I think you’ll like.

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References:

Foster, Steven, 1957-. (1992). Herbal emissaries : bringing Chinese herbs to the West : a guide to gardening, herbal wisdom, and well-being. Rochester, Vt. :Healing Arts Press,

Saenghong, N., Wattanathorn, J., Muchimapura, S., Tongun, T., Piyavhatkul, N., Banchonglikitkul, C., & Kajsongkram, T. (2012). Zingiber officinale Improves Cognitive Function of the Middle-Aged Healthy Women. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : ECAM, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/383062

 

Fish Oil for Mental Health: Is a Deficiency Causing my Symptoms?

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Omega-3 fats consist of two important fatty acid’s that have widespread health implications, eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanenoic acid (DHA). Both are essential to brain function, with DHA comprising a staggering 60% of brain tissue. Without enough of these fats in your diet your brain cannot function properly, and unfortunately the standard American diet is very depleted in these fats. Specific to the brain, omega-3 fats build cell membranes, they reduce inflammation linked to just about all brain disorders, they stimulate new cell growth and communication in the brain, and they play a role in balancing your blood sugar which has implications for anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, and others (Lands, 2012). Healthy cell membranes in the brain means more efficient communication between neurons, which means better brain function and a happier more stable mood (Haag, 2003).

Omega-3 (DHA & EPA) fats are obtained in the diet predominantly from wild caught fish and game, seaweed, algae, or pastured eggs. Certain nuts and seeds such as walnuts or flax seed contain a third form of omega-3 fatty acid called ALA, however this fat needs to be converted into DHA and EPA in the body in order to be utilized effectively by the brain. It is estimated that the body is only capable of converting roughly 10% of ALA into DHA or EPA, making ALA rich foods a poor source of usable omega-3s.

In today’s society, refined omega-6 fatty acids are the more common form of fat intake. Most of these omega-6’s are inflammatory oils such as soy, safflower, or corn oils driving up the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 intake. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 intake should be anywhere in the 1:1 to 4:1 range according to research, but unfortunately our society’s average is currently sitting at between 10:1 and 20:1 due to the common use of inflammatory oils in processed/fast foods (Simopoulos, 2008).

While both DHA and EPA play a role in health, it is becoming more evident that EPA plays more of a role in decreasing systemic inflammation, while DHA plays more of a role in maintaining brain health. If you’re looking for a Fish Oil supplement to support the general health of your brain, mood disorders, memory deficits, or ADHD, I recommend a supplement with a higher concentration of DHA to EPA. Dosages are very dependent on each person’s current intake of omega-3s as well as their state of health. Due to the blood thinning effects of fish oil, those currently on blood thinners for health reasons should consult a doctor or practitioner before supplementing. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recommends a healthy dietary intake of 3,500mg of omega-3s daily for a 2000 calorie diet (Hibbeln, Nieminen, Blasbalg, Riggs, & Lands, 2006). If you’re looking for a good product recommendation, reach out to us! Additionally, we have a link in our resources section for 10% off of our dispensary which offers top shelf professional grade fish oil supplements.

While supplementation is beneficial for those that struggle to get enough fish in their diet, my go to solution is to incorporate food forms of omega-3s. Canned, wild caught sustainable sardines are a convenient and easy way to get enough of these important fats into your diet. Simply pop open a can and dice them up into a salad, they taste line tuna! Don’t be scared! Usually, the bigger the fish, the more heavy metals such as mercury they might contain, making sardines a great option.

If you’re unsure of what your current fatty acid intake levels are, visit efaeducation.org/ and enter your dietary intake. This will calculate the omega-3 levels in your body. Additionally, there are functional lab tests we can order to analyze your body’s fatty acid levels.

Symptoms of an essential fatty acid deficiency include:

·       Dry, itchy, flaky skin

·       Hair dandruff

·       Brittle or cracking nails

·       Achy or stiff joints

·       Constipation or slimy/greasy stools

·       PMS

·       High LDL/Low HDL/High Triglycerides

·       Depression/ADHD/Anxiety

 

References:

Haag, M. (2003). Essential fatty acids and the brain. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie, 48(3), 195–203. https://doi.org/10.1177/070674370304800308

Hibbeln, J. R., Nieminen, L. R. G., Blasbalg, T. L., Riggs, J. A., & Lands, W. E. M. (2006). Healthy intakes of n-3 and n-6 fatty acids: estimations considering worldwide diversity. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 83(6 Suppl), 1483S-1493S. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/83.6.1483S

Lands, B. (2012). Consequences of Essential Fatty Acids. Nutrients, 4(9), 1338–1357. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu4091338

Simopoulos, A. P. (2008). The importance of the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Experimental Biology and Medicine (Maywood, N.J.), 233(6), 674–688. https://doi.org/10.3181/0711-MR-311

 

Ten Best Foods for Mental Health and How to Prep them in Ten Minutes!

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When it comes to rebalancing brain chemistry and supporting mental health through foods and herbs - there is no single right way to do it. As I’ve stated a million times over, everyone’s physiology is different and will come into play to a certain extent. With that said, I’ve selected ten of my go to foods for supporting mental health that everyone could benefit from incorporating into their diet on a daily basis. I’ll discuss why these ten foods are so nourishing for your brain, as well as how you can incorporate them into a quick ten minute meal. Let’s dive in!

1). Wild Caught Salmon AND/OR Wild Sardines

These fish are ridiculously rich in omega-3s to help lower inflammation, support cellular communication pathways by supporting the health of cell walls (huge implications for neurotransmitter communication pathways), and improve digestion. Wild caught is ideal as it is much more sustainable, the fish are lower in toxins, and their omega-3 content is much higher.

Easy Baked Salmon Recipe: Set the oven to 375. Place a 4oz cut of wild caught salmon in a baking dish and drizzle ghee or olive oil over top of the salmon. Squeeze a half a lemon over the top, sprinkle some salt & pepper, and then add a few thin slices of lemon on top. Dice up some fresh or dried rosemary and sprinkle some over the top. Bake for 15 minutes. For extra points, add a little minced garlic!

Wild Sardines are great diced up in a chopped salad!

2). Organic Pastured/Grass-Fed Bison, Beef, Lamb, Or Chicken

These meats are rich in B vitamins and the specific amino acids (I.e. Tryptophan) that support your brain’s synthesis of neurotransmitters. Animal protein is the richest source of bio-available tryptophan and B vitamins. But not all animal protein is created equal. Opt for pastured, humanely raised, organic, and local if possible.

Lamb burger:

  • 1 pound ground lamb (or substitute with beef)

  • 1⁄2 cup finely diced onion

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix the lamb, onion, parsley, mint, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cayenne in a bowl and mix (kneading with your hands is a good idea) to make sure that the mixture is well blended.

  • Cover and refrigerate if possible for up to one hour.

  • Meanwhile, make the taratour sauce: Whisk the tahini, water, garlic, lemon, and salt until smooth. Stir in the chives. Add more water if necessary, one tablespoon at a time, to thin the sauce to a desired consistency.

  • To cook the burgers, preheat a grill, a grill pan, or a cast iron skillet on medium high heat. Form the meat into 4 burgers

  • Cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until cooked through. Serve hot, with tahini taratour sauce drizzled on top.

3). Raw Egg Yolks

Raw egg yolks are rich sources of protein and choline to support brain and memory function. They support high performance activity and are most bioavailable when eaten raw. Incorporate them into smoothies, or whip up a couple eggs sunnyside up in the morning over a veggie hash. Try our Brain Booster Smoothie recipe in our resources section!

4). Olive Oil, Ghee, Coconut Oil/MCT Oil

These oils are GREAT sources of fat to support the brain. Considering that the brain is predominately made of fat, it makes sense that healthy fats are going to be very beneficial for ensuring the health of our brain cells. These fats are packed with antioxidants, antimicrobial properties, and butyric acid which is a source of energy for brain cells.

For those of you not familiar with ghee, ghee is clarified butter - meaning the milk solids, casein, lactose, and moisture have been removed and what is remaining is the beneficial fats and nutrients. Contrary to popular belief, ghee actually reduces the risk of heart disease. The saturated fats protect nerve and brain cells and can heal and maintain healthy digestion, which goes hand in hand with brain function. Packed with vitamins E, A, K and essential fatty acids, ghee should be a go to oil for supporting the brain.

Coconut oil and it’s derivative MCT Oil (medium chain triglycerides) are packed with antimicrobial properties that support a balanced microbiome and support the brain with a very rapid source of long lasting fuel. Both are also anti-inflammatory and great for brain injuries.

You can put a tablespoon of coconut oil/MCT Oil and ghee into a morning smoothie, olive oil used generously over a salad, or use all three for cooking! Either way, get em in daily! Fat is your friend!

5). Fermented Foods

This includes sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, miso, etc. Fermented foods support a healthy microbiome (the city of bacteria living in our guts). They enhance the level of healthy bacteria thus improving intestinal health, and they promote an abundance of relaxing neurotransmitters in the brain (GABA). 1 TBSP of kimchi or sauerkraut goes great over a salad. You can enjoy the Cherry recipe under #10 with yogurt as well for some evening probiotics!

Coconut Miso Soup (Adapted from Meghan Telpner)

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water

  • ¼ cup fresh ginger, cut into match stick slices

  • 4 carrots, sliced

  • ½ red onion, chopped

  • ½ cup broccoli, chopped into florets (use stems too)

  • ½ cup red cabbage, shredded

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • ¼ cup tamari

  • 1 cup organic coconut milk

  • 2 sheets of nori, cut into thin strips about 2 inches long

  • ¼ cup dried or ½ cup fresh shiitake mushrooms

  • ⅓ cup miso paste (Make sure its fermented! A natural food store or Whole Foods should have it)

Instructions

  1. Place water, ginger, carrots, onion, broccoli and cabbage into pot, bring to a boil and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, until carrots are fork tender.

  2. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, tamari and coconut milk.

  3. Scoop out 1 cup of the broth and whisk with miso until miso paste has dissolved. Pour back into pot.

  4. Keep warm on low heat, but do not allow to boil.

  5. Serve garnished with nori and mushrooms!

6). Wild Frozen Blueberries

Rich in phytonutrients that protect our cells from damage, wild blueberries are a go to for lowering brain inflammation from sports injuries or other brain traumas. 1/2 cup of wild frozen blueberries goes great in our Brain Booster smoothie recipe under our resources page!

7). Pinto Beans

These are a great vegetarian source of protein as well as B vitamins to support a healthy mood. B Vitamins are essential in the creation of neurotransmitters in the brain. A deficiency of B Vitamins can manifest as mental health symptoms.

Pinto Bean Burrito Bowl Recipe

Burrito Bowl

  • 1/2-1 Cup Canned Organic BPA Free Pinto Beans

  • Shredded Kale

  • Shredded red cabbage

  • Diced Carrots

  • Chopped, cooked chicken (omit if vegetarian)

  • Halved grape tomatoes

  • Crumbled cheese such as goat, feta

  • Chopped green onions

  • 1 TBSP Sauerkraut or Kimchi

Dressing

  • Half of an avocado

  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 green onion, chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • A few squeezes of lime juice

  • hot sauce, to taste

8). Oats

A great food for reducing anxiety, oats are very relaxing when eaten in the evening.

Depends on the type of oats you are using here, I recommend either steel cut or certified gluten free quick cooking oats. Follow instructions on packaging for cooking the oats. You can add some almond milk or whole fat milk over top, or yogurt, and add some berries, walnuts, hemp/flax/chia seeds.

Try this oatmeal recipe:

  • 1/2 cup cooked oats (unsweetened)

  • 1 TBSP hemp seeds

  • 1 TSP Chia seeds

  • 1 TSP ground flax

  • Handful walnuts or sprouted pumpkin seeds

  • Blueberries/raspberries/bananas

  • If you have a sweet tooth, try adding a tiny bit of wild honey or maple syrup

9). Matcha

A wonderful natural source of L-Theanine and antioxidants, that support a relaxed mood as well as cellular health.

Matcha Smoothie:

  • 1/2 cup almond milk or for bonus points pastured kefir, or coconut kefir
    1/4 cup wild frozen blueberries
    1 tsp matcha green tea powder
    3 drops stevia liquid or 1 tsp raw honey
    1 TBSP MCT oil

10). Tart Cherries

These little beauties are a natural source of melatonin to support a good night sleep. Best if eaten in the evening.

Cherry Dessert!

  • HANDFUL RAW SPROUTED WALNUTS
    2 TBSP RAW, UNSULFURED COCONUT FLAKES
    1 TBSP RAW CACAO NIBS
    1/3 CUP COYO OR GT’S PLAIN COCONUR YOGURT

BONUS: Walnuts!

There’s a reason why walnuts look like a small brain. They have the highest content of omega-3 fatty acids of all the nuts that can support improved neurotransmitter communication pathways. After all, your brain is mostly made of fats, with DHA from omega-3s being one of the most vital. So get some healthy ones in! Throw them on oatmeal, eat them raw, mix them into granola.

References:

Abascal, K., & Yarnell, E. (2004). Nervine Herbs for Treating Anxiety. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 10(6), 309–315. https://doi.org/10.1089/act.2004.10.309

Aslam, H., Green, J., Jacka, F. N., Collier, F., Berk, M., Pasco, J., & Dawson, S. L. (2018). Fermented foods, the gut and mental health: a mechanistic overview with implications for depression and anxiety. Nutritional Neuroscience, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/1028415X.2018.1544332

Bjelland, I., Tell, G. S., Vollset, S. E., Konstantinova, S., & Ueland, P. M. (2009). Choline in anxiety and depression: the Hordaland Health Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 90(4), 1056–1060. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.2009.27493

Dietz, C., Dekker, M., & Piqueras-Fiszman, B. (2017). An intervention study on the effect of matcha tea, in drink and snack bar formats, on mood and cognitive performance. Food Research International, 99, 72–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2017.05.002

Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews. Neuroscience, 9(7), 568–578. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn2421

Howatson, G., Bell, P. G., Tallent, J., Middleton, B., McHugh, M. P., & Ellis, J. (2012). Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. European Journal of Nutrition, 51(8), 909–916. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-011-0263-7

Kennedy, D. O. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review. Nutrients, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8020068

Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (2010). Stress, Food, and Inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition at the Cutting Edge. Psychosomatic Medicine, 72(4), 365–369. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181dbf489

Poulose, S. M., Miller, M. G., & Shukitt-Hale, B. (2014). Role of Walnuts in Maintaining Brain Health with Age. The Journal of Nutrition, 144(4), 561S-566S. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.113.184838

Slemmer, J. E., Shacka, J. J., Sweeney, M. I., & Weber, J. T. (2008). Antioxidants and Free Radical Scavengers for the Treatment Of Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury and Aging [Text]. https://doi.org/info:doi/10.2174/092986708783497337

 

Moore Integrative Health Radio Interview

I recently had the pleasure of doing a quick 10 minute radio interview on my approach to health, my background, my passions, and my goals for the future with Moore Integrative Health. If you’re new to this space, give it a listen! You might learn a little bit more about who I am and how you might begin your journey to better health. Have any outstanding questions? Drop me a line!

The Power of Speaking Your Truth

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You know that feeling, when you have a knot in your throat from an emotion, but feel that you have to hide it and repress it from being fully experienced and expressed because of some societal expectation? That knot isn’t just the feeling of tears waiting to erupt, its the ENERGY of emotion needing a space to be set free. These repressed emotions don’t just dissipate and go away. They get stored as memories throughout our bodies. In our muscles. In our joints. In our subconscious memory, waiting, just waiting, for an opportune time to represent themselves. What we feel, what we believe, deserves to be verbalized into the spoken word. It deserves to be expressed. The freedom from our pain lays in our capacity to speak this truth, whether it be to other people or even to ourselves.

Our society has developed these norms that drive a fear of assertiveness, of feelings, of emotions. A fear that if we express these emotions we’ll be judged harshly for them, so we’re better off being diplomatic and emotionless. The time has come for us to speak our truth, to be assertive to those around us of how we feel and to reclaim our power. This means standing up for yourself, your beliefs and ideas in a work environment; whether you defend an idea to your boss or a co-worker or explain to others how their actions may have hurt you. It means telling your significant other how you feel, truly and deeply. Whether you tell them you love them for the first time and drop the fear of being the first one to say it, or tell them specifically what they could do to bring more joy into your relationship. It means reclaiming your power from someone who may have harmed you, whether it be sexual abuse, physical abuse, or emotional. Reclaiming your power means expressing how their actions may have affected your life. With this comes forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean that we brush off what others may have done and discredit how wrong it was. Forgiveness means letting go of the built up emotion we hold onto so strongly and releasing the grip that others may have on our lives.

So what is your truth? What have you been holding onto for so long without expressing to the person that it needs to be expressed to, even if that means being honest with yourself. Emotions are REAL. The pain we experience on a day to day basis from chronic disease, chronic pain, chronic fatigue may very well be from a build up of emotions over time that are BEGGING you to release them. Your body doesn’t work against you. It gives you messages when something needs to change. In this notion exists the power we have to heal ourselves.

Valentines Day Chocolate Superfood Balls!

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A day late and a dollar short - here’s a nice Valentines Day treat for ya! But, the love and joy of Valentines Day shouldn’t only be experienced one day a year, it should be felt year round. So in essence, these little love balls are to be enjoyed when ever you damn well please!

Treat yoself to some nourishingly healthy chocolate superfood balls! Mmmm..... energy balls!

And, while you’re at it, tell everyone you care about that you love them, because well, life is short and we really outta do a better job at showing people that we care about them instead of getting all wrapped up in meaningless stress!

* 1 cup packed pitted dates or 1/4-1/2 cup raw honey
* 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts
* 2 tbsp chia seeds
* 2 tbsp hemp seeds
* 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
* 2 tbsp Navitas plant superfood with protein
* 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
* 2 tbsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
* 2 tbsp MCT oil or coconut oil
* 1 tbsp matcha to sprinkle on top of desired

First blend the walnuts until they’re nice and chopped up, then add the rest of the ingredients to a blender and process into a dough. Form 16 balls and place in fridge or freezer for an hour. Enjoy!

2019: A Time for Slowing Down

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I have been feeling the sheer effects of the theme that 2019 seems to be emanating. A theme of transition, re-alignment, restoration of energy and vibrancy. The need for self-care and inner nourishment has never felt so great. I was recently reading some wisdom from Sophie Bashford, an inspiring intuitive channel, teacher and writer, who shared that this year, we'll be asked to slow down, to respect our innate rhythms.  We'll start to become in tune with our true energy and emotions - allowing our unadulterated creativity, gifts and ideas to flow without being fueled by chemicals or stimulants.

This means we need to slow down as a society. To learn to respect our natural rhythms and to respond to feelings that are showing up in our bodies, instead of ignoring them and pushing on. The need to push on in our culture has become a natural response. Unfortunately, this response will only further drive our souls into a state of exhaustion. If, like me, you are feeling burned out, overwhelmed, and in need of some space, try taking advantage of the below themes that Sophie recommends for this year:

Work on addictions of all kinds 

Clear strong attachments to stimulants such as caffeine and  alcohol 

Gently alter your eating habits in a way that is based on self-love,  including increasing your intake of fruit & vegetables and reducing chemicals 

Adopt a very regular deep breathing and stretching practice 

Come into daily meditation & silence 

Come into Nature very regularly 

Practice regular deep relaxation

Receive regular massages and healing touch 

These words all landed so powerfully within my soul because I’ve been feeling the need for this over the past couple of months. I’ve come to learn that these feelings I experience are rarely something to be ashamed of, but a feeling to be shared as usually they are experienced within the collective consciousness of humanity. If you too are feeling over exerted, yet see everyone else around you pushing on, please exercise judgment before comparing yourself to someone else’s actions. Just because others are pushing past their boundaries of self-sacrifice, doesn’t mean everyone needs to. Its time for us to change the status quo and take a time out for rest, recovery, and inner-work. Have we all forgotten how to slow down?

Here are some quotes to inspire you on your journey toward inner-nourishment and transformation:


“There are times to cultivate and create, when you nurture your world and give birth to new ideas and ventures. There are times of flourishing and abundance, when life feels in full bloom, energized and expanding. And there are times of fruition, when things come to an end. They have reached their climax and must be harvested before they begin to fade. And finally, of course, there are times that are cold, and cutting and empty, times when the spring of new beginnings seems like a distant dream. Those rhythms in life are natural events. They weave into one another as day follows night, bringing, not messages of hope and fear, but messages of how things are” - Chöguam Trungpa Rinpoche


“The psyches and souls of women also have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul place” Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes


“Trust means that you will open to life knowing that you will experience situations & emotions that bring you to your knees, and not shying away from these or modifying your reality to avoid them” Ezzie Spencer


“You cannot be in tune with your inner truth if you are constantly distracted by how others are working. Your purpose needs to be 100% focused upon your own intuitive guidance” Sophie Bashford


“We live in a world that is constantly noisy, stimulating, and distracting. Our attention is relentlessly pulled to the external and the material. There is simply so much going on out there, and online, that our need for retreat and inner connection has never been more urgent” Sophie Bashford


“Our individual consciousness is influenced by the collective consciousness of our environment. We absorb and reflect what is around us” Thich Nhat Nanh


“We are lead to believe that there is only ever a limited supply of what we want, yet the truth is that abundance is infinitely available and provided by the universe” Vex King


“Faith is an active choice we make to stay optimistic” Vex King


“Sometimes all we have is our faith - our faith in the fact that things are going to get better. Hang on to it and keep believing, even if that means you’re the only one who does” Vex King


“To meditate is to focus energy within. It is a method of drawing awareness back to our center: to gather the scattered pieces of our outer beings and bring them into our internal home” Sophie Bashford


For some wonderful reading to inspire your journey to inner growth and transformation, I highly recommend the below books:

Bashford, Sophie. (2018). You are a goddess. Working with the sacred feminine to awaken, heal and transform.

King, Vex. (2018). Good vibes. Good Life.

Spencer, Ezzie. (2018). Lunar abundance. Cultivating joy, peace, and purpose using the phases of the moon.

Phytonutrients: The Chemicals of Health

Did you know that we need about 9-13 servings of plant foods PER DAY if we want to prevent chronic disease? A serving is 1/2 cup of cooked veggies, one cup raw leafy greens, or one medium sized piece of fruit. Phytonutrients from plant foods are the chemicals that make up the color of the plant. They are not a macronutrient such as fat, protein, or carbohydrate nor are they a micronutrient such as a vitamin or mineral. They are entirely different constituents that plants use to protect themselves from their harsh environment. When a plant is stressed in its environment (such as from weather, insects, etc) it makes even more phytochemicals to protect itself. When phytonutrients are consumed, they protect the cells of the human body from harmful free radicals much like they protect the plant. This is why eating organic provides greater health benefits as the plant is forced to protect itself in its environment, versus it being protected by synthetic chemicals. Wild plants are hard to come by in your local grocery store these days, however, when found they should definitely be looked at as a prized possession. Wild blueberries, for example, can be found in the freezer isle and provide much more phytonutrients than standard blueberries.

The rate at which research is discovering new plant phytochemicals is astounding. Isoflavones from soy, carotenoids from carrots, catechins in green tea, polyphenols in raw cacao, glucosinolates in broccoli, and carnosol in rosemary are just a few (Kines, 2018). There are so many more that we aren’t even aware of yet. They help to regulate gene expression, including turning on the genes that help us burn more fat and age at a slower rate due to the protection they offer to our cells. They contain powerful antioxidants and in the right quantities will protect the human body from chronic disease. Yet, most of us aren’t eating enough of these beautiful, powerful jewels.

Each phytonutrient comes packed with different health benefits, meaning we need to eat the rainbow when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Radishes, for example, are rich in anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, gastrointestinal health and detoxification prompting nutrients. There are also synergistic benefits of combining certain phytonutrients, for example adding lemon juice to spinach makes the iron more absorbable, and combining turmeric with black pepper and an oil helps the curcumin from turmeric get absorbed into the blood stream. Below is a list to help guide you on your journey to getting more phytonutrients in your diet on a daily basis.

Red Foods: Apples, beets, beans, bell peppers, blood orange, cranberries, cherries, grapefruit, goji berries, grapes, onions, plums, pomegranate, potatoes, radicchio, radishes, raspberries, strawberries, red pepper, cayenne pepper, rhubarb, tomato, watermelon.

Red Food Benefits: Cancer prevention, lowering inflammation, protect cells, support GI health, support detoxification pathways, balance hormones, heart health.

Orange Foods: Sweet potato, yam, tangerine, orange, pumpkin, turmeric, carrots, apricots, mango, nectarine, bell pepper, cantaloupe, papaya, persimmons, squash.

Orange Food Benefits: Cancer prevention, anti-bacterial, immune boosting, cell protection, reproductive health, skin health, Vitamin A.

Yellow Foods: Apple, Asian pear, banana, bell pepper, ginger root, lemon (peel), millet, pineapple, starfruit, summer squash, butternut squash.

Yellow Food Benefits: Cancer protection, lower inflammation, cell protection, cognition, eye, heart, skin, and vascular health.

Green Foods: Apples, artichoke, asparagus, avocado, bamboo, bean sprouts, bell pepper, bitter melon, bok choy, brussels sprouts, broccoli, broccolini, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, celery, cucumber, green beans, pear, green tea, leafy greens such as chard, collards, dandelion, turnip greens, beet greens, lettuce, kale, spinach, limes, okra, olives, pears, snow peas, snap peas, watercress, parsley, cilantro, zucchini.

Green Food Benefits: Cancer protection, lower inflammation, brain health, cell protection, skin, hormone, heart, and liver health.

Blue/Black/Purple Foods: Purple bell pepper, blueberry, blackberry, boysenberries, huckleberries, marionberries, cabbage, purple carrots, purple cauliflower, black raddish, eggplant, figs, grapes, kale, olives, plums, potatoes (purple), prunes, raisins, black rice.

Blue/Black/Purple Food Benefits: Cancer protection, lower inflammation, brain health, cell protection, cognitive health, heart and liver health.

White/Tan/Brown Foods: Apples, applesauce, beans, cauliflower, coconut, dates, garlic, ginger, jicama, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, onions, pears, sauerkraut, seeds of all kinds, shallots, tahini, gluten free whole grains.

White/Tan/Brown Food Benefits: Cancer protection, anti-microbial, cell protection, GI health, heart health, hormone balancing, liver health.

Some tips on selecting plant foods with higher levels of nutrients and phytochemicals:

  • Eat seasonally

  • Eat foods fresh (broccoli, kale and other vegetables lose their nutrients significantly within 24 hours of harvest)

    • Shop from farmer’s markets, join a CSA (Community Shared Agriculture), start a garden

  • Learn more about edible wild plants and weeds in your area (via books and wild food tours)

  • Consume nutrient & phytonutrient rich varieties more often:

    • avocados

    • artichokes

    • asparagus

    • colorful corn

    • whole carrots (not baby) with tops on – orange, purple, red & yellow

    • eats beets (red/purple) and their greens

    • consume more sweet potatoes vs. white potatoes

    • deep red, smaller tomatoes (cherry, grape)

    • cauliflower

    • kale

    • broccoli

    • cabbage

    • Brussels Sprouts

    • mustard greens

  • Greens

    • Select more rare varieties (dandelions vs. spinach, purslane vs. lettuce, arugula, radicchio)

    • Select bitter greens (higher calcium content in bitter greens) & tart/sour greens

    • Select darker color greens or those with some red, purple or reddish brown coloration

    • Select whole, unpackaged greens that have more loosely wrapped leaves

  • Onions & Garlic

    • Eat more scallions (green onions (scallions) are over 100 times higher in phytonutrients as white onions)

    • Consume shallots, leeks (with greens), garlic and onion chives

    • When consuming garlic, slice/mince/press and let sit for 10 minutes prior to cooking

  • Fruits:

    • Consume varieties of apples such as: Cortland, Granny Smith, Fuji Honeycrisp, Liberty, Northern Spy, Spartan and others (less common varieties in Farmer’s Markets, U-Pick)

    • Eat lots of berries: blueberries, blackberries (loganberries, boysenberries, marionberries), strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, aronia berries

    • Consume white nectarines, blue, black and red plums, bing cherries when ripe

    • Consume red (red flame), purple and black grapes, golden raisins & currants

    • Consume blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, tangelos, red grapefruit, ripe lemons & limes

    • Include citrus zest (organic) in your cooking

  • Herbs:

    • Cook with savory herbs and spices often

    • Include herbal teas and herbal vinegars in your daily diet

    • Add fresh herbs to salads and garnish dishes with fresh herbs

References:

Institute For Functional Medicine. Phytonutrient Spectrum Foods.

Kines, Kasia. The Epstein-Barr Virus Solution.

Robinson, J. (2014). Eating on the Wild Side. The Missing Link to Optimum Health. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

EWG's Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen List for Buying Organic!

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Tight on budget, but trying to reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides? Focus on buying organic in the dirty dozen list, and save money with the clean 15 list. The dirty dozen are by far the most sprayed with pesticides, giving you a healthy dose of glyphosate from Round-Up, researched to be associated with cancer, autism, auto-immune conditions, and more. Check out EWG.ORG for more information and tools.

Delicious Detox Worthy Pizza Recipe!

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Crust Compliments of Laura Lea Balanced Cook book!

Ingredients:

•Crust ingredients (enough for 2 pizza):
•1 1/2 cups quinoa
•1 cup dry red lentils
•1/2 cup water
•1/4 cup plus 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
•1 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
Pizza topping ingredients:
For the pesto...
•2 cups arugula packed
•1 head of parsley
•1 lemon, juiced and zested
•3 clove garlic
•3/4 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds
•2 TBSP non-synthetic nutritional yeast (skip if you have frequent yeast infections)
•1 tsp sea salt
•1/2 cup olive oil
For the toppings... (double for a second pizza)
•3 thinly sliced free-range organic chicken thighs, cooked
•two handfuls arugula
•3/4 cup shredded vegan cheese (if you know for sure you don’t have an issue with dairy, try 3/4 cup mozzarella and 4 ounces goat cheese)
•1 head broccoli, chopped

Instructions:

(NOTE- REQUIRED 6-8 HOURS OF SOAKING):
1). To make the crust: place lentils and quinoa in a large bowl and fill with filtered water so it covers 1 inch over. Leave to soak when you go about your day for 6-8 hours. Rinse thoroughly in mesh strainer once the time is up. Preheat oven to 425. Place soaked quinoa and lentils in a food processor or blender along with the rest of the crust ingredients. Blend until smooth, approximately 5 minutes. The batter should be somewhat liquidy. Place two cups batter on a parchment paper lined baking sheet coated in olive oil and smooth it out with a spatula so it’s 1/4 inch think and shaped like a pizza or a rectangle. I find the rectangle to be easier. Bake for 18 minutes.

Either place the other two cups in the fridge to save for later for a second pizza, or cook a second crust and double your topping ingredients.
2). Once the crust is done heat oven to 450. Place all of the pesto ingredients into food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Spread a thin layer of pesto onto the pizza crust, if you really like pesto, get after it with a thick layer. Sprinkle cheese, cooked chicken, and broccoli on top. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Add the arugula on top after it’s cooked.

Detoxifying Recipes & Beverage Options!

Trying to figure out how the heck you’re going to incorporate all of these detoxifying foods into your diet? Below are some recipe resources for you to get started! All are focused on cruciferous vegetables and other liver supporting nutrients. Cruciferous vegetables may play an important role in cancer prevention. They contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C) which changes the way estrogen is metabolized, possibly preventing estrogen driven cancers. In addition, they contain a phytochemical known as isothiocyanates, which stimulate our bodies to break down potential cancer causing agents. Cruciferous vegetables are also known for their important antioxidants, called sulforaphanes, and are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The following veggies are included in the cruciferous family:

Arugula, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage (napa), collard greens, daikon, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radish, rutabaga, turnips, and watercress.

*NOTE – it is preferable to choose organic veggies, fruits, canned beans, when possible. All oils should be “cold pressed.” For olive oil, please choose “extra virgin, cold pressed” (may also be called “first cold pressing”). Coconut oil should be labeled “virgin” and “organic.”

The recipes below use low glycemic ingredients. Dairy is usually optional, except in a few recipes. Dairy alternatives are suggested when appropriate. Most recipes are not too involved, although a few may take a little longer. These are worth the extra work! You can often used leftover veggies in many recipes., or use your imagination and embellish your own. An attempt has been made to introduce you to some cruciferous veggies that you may have not yet tasted. Get ready for an adventure!

Recipes:

Breakfast Recipes

Scrambled Greens - yields 1 serving
Increase the amounts as needed for more servings.

2 large eggs
1 tsp. olive or grapeseed oil
salt and pepper to taste
1⁄4 tsp. dried basil or oregano or 1 Tbsp. if using fresh herbs 1⁄2- 3⁄4 cup finely chopped kale or baby bok choy

Watercress for garnish, optional

Beat eggs, salt and pepper, and basil or oregano in a small bowl. Heat a frying pan, over medium heat and add 1⁄2 tsp.. oil and greens, cooking until greens have wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Turn onto a plate. Add remaining 1⁄2 tsp.. oil to frying pan and return to heat. Add eggs and let set for a moment; then stir while cooking for about 1 minute. Return greens to pan; mix and stir eggs and greens until cooked to your liking. Serve immediately, garnished with optional watercress.

Veggie Parmesan Eggs – yields 2 servings
You may omit the parmesan and mozzarella cheese if you are avoiding dairy. This recipe is great for using up small bits of leftover veggies. If you have no leftovers, then sauté your choice of veggies in a tsp. of olive oil before cooking the eggs.

4 large eggs
2 Tbsp.. grated parmesan cheese, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
1⁄2 tsp.. dried tarragon or basil, ( use more if herbs are fresh)
1 tsp. olive oil
4 scallions, minced, using some of the green part
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
3⁄4 cup cooked leftover diced veggies (preferably greens or broccoli, but any veggies are fine) 6-8 cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp.. grated mozzarella, optional
1⁄2 avocado, sliced (for garnish)

Beat eggs with parmesan, salt, pepper and tarragon or basil. Set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Sauté scallions just until softened, 1-2 minutes; then add garlic, stirring for 1 more minute. Add cooked veggies and stir-fry over medium-low heat until warmed through. Add eggs and let sit for a minute before stirring to desired consistency. Stir in mozzarella and cherry tomatoes for only 1 minute and remove to a serving plate. Garnish with sliced avocado and serve immediately.

Appetizers

Popcorn Kale - yields approximately 6 appetizer servings

1 bunch kale, any variety 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil Sprinkle of sea salt

Fold the kale leaves in half along the stem and use a sharp knife to trim off the stem part. Then cut into 2-3 inch pieces. In a large bowl, toss kale with olive oil (the amount depends on the size of your bunch of kale), mixing well to coat all the leaf pieces. Spread on a cookie sheet and roast at 375 degrees for 5-7min. Gently turn the pieces over and bake for another 5-10 min., being careful not to burn, but being sure they crisp up. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and enjoy. The pieces should come out crunchy; leave them in the oven a little longer if needed.

Cauliflower Popcorn - yields approximately 8 appetizer servings
Here is another surprisingly delicious appetizer. It can be served fresh out of the oven or at room temperature.

2 Tbsp. olive oil, approximately
3⁄4 - 1 pound (approximately) cauliflower Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush 1 or 2 baking sheets with some olive oil. Cut cauliflower into 1 inch florets. Toss with olive oil and spread evenly on the baking sheet(s). Roast in pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes. Shake around or toss with a spoon so that they brown evenly. Roast for another 5 minutes. Taste at this point to see if they are done to your liking. Allow to cool for a few minutes before sprinkling with salt and serving. This may also be served at room temperature.

Marinated Crucifers and Friends
This is a wonderful appetizer to take to a pot luck. The longer it marinates the better it tastes!

Marinade
1⁄2 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup balsamic vinegar (any vinegar is fine)
1 tsp.. each dried oregano and basil (or 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh) 2 cloves garlic, slivered
1⁄2 tsp.. salt

Veggies
1 head of broccoli, blanched for 2 minutes
1 head of cauliflower, blanched for 2 minutes
1 (15-oz.) can hearts of palm, drained and cut into 1⁄4-inch slices 1 (15-oz.) can pitted black olives, drained
1⁄2 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

Mix marinade ingredients in a jar. Steam or blanche broccoli and cauliflower until just tender but not soft. Mix with remaining veggies in a large bowl and pour marinade over. Mix well and marinate at least 8 hours (toss frequently). Serve with toothpicks.
Leftover marinade may be used as salad dressing

Kale and Sweet Potato Soup - yields approximately 8 servings

1 medium onion, chopped
2 clove garlic, minced
1 medium green pepper, chopped
3⁄4 lb dinosaur kale (or any type of kale), stems removed and chopped fine 3 medium sweet potatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
1 can (12 oz.) lite coconut milk
2 cups cooked brown rice

Combine onion, garlic, pepper, sweet potato, broth and salt in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered about 20 -25 min. when potatoes are fork-tender add coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes. Add kale and cook for about 5 minutes, until kale is softened.

While soup is cooking, cook brown rice separately, using 1 1⁄2 cup rice and 3 1⁄4 cups water. When ready to serve, put 1⁄2 cup rice in each bowl and top with a generous serving of soup.

Salad

Cabbage and Radicchio Slaw - yields 10-12 servings

Dressing:
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1⁄4 cup pomegranate juice (you may freeze the rest of the bottle for later use) 11⁄2 tsp. rice vinegar (unsweetened)
1 tsp. agave nectar
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup healthy mayonnaise (Vegenaise)
11⁄2 Tbsp. diced shallots
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk juice, vinegar, and agave in a bowl; then whisk in oil, then mayo and shallots. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill at least 2 hours. (You may make this 1 day ahead)

Salad:
1 head Savoy cabbage, about 1lb, halved and sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
1 head radicchio, about 1⁄2 lb., halved and sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
1 large red or green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1⁄2 cup dried cranberries (no sugar-added and sweetened only with apple juice) for garnish

Mix prepared veggies in a large bowl. Shake dressing well and pour over veggies. Toss and garnish with cranberries. Serve immediately. Leftovers will store well in refrigerator.

Side Dish

Rosemary Roasted Cauliflower & Pine Nuts - yields approximately 5 servings

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary

1⁄2 cup raw pine nuts Sea salt Fresh-ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425°. Place cauliflower florets in a large mixing bowl. Add garlic and stir throughout. Pour in olive oil and ensure that all cauliflower pieces are drizzled with oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Transfer mixture evenly onto baking sheet and set, uncovered, in oven at 425° for 20-25 minutes or until the top and edges of cauliflower are lightly brown. You may stir about half way through if they are becoming too brown. Serve immediately.

Adapted with permission from Chakra Foods for Optimum Health: A Guide to the Foods That Can Improve Your Energy, Inspire Creative Changes, Open Your Heart and Heal Body, Mind and Spirit by Deanna Minich, PHD, CN, Red Wheel/Weiser, 2009.

Beverage Options:

Turmeric Ginger Elixer:
1/2 inch piece of ginger peeled and sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric
1/2 lemon, juiced
Pinch fresh ground black pepper
Pinch of Himalayan pink sea salt
* place ginger in small pot and cover with 2 inches or so filtered water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn burner off to let cool for 5 minutes. Put the rest of the ingredients in a mug, and then slowly pour the ginger water in. Serve hot or put in fridge to enjoy cold.

Licorice Water:
60 drops licorice (glycyrrhiza glabra) tincture in filtered water.
CAUTION: if you have high blood pressure, skip this one as licorice can further increase your blood pressure. If you have low blood pressure, this one will be good for you!

Milk Thistle Tea:
1 tablespoon milk thistle to 3 cups water, 1-3 times daily

Dandy Blend Tea:
A wonderful coffee alternative that is very detoxifying and supportive of liver health (and thus, brain and body health). It has extracts of dandelion root, beetroot, rye, chicory root, and barley and is gluten free! Visit dandyblend.com to learn more.

30 Days to Detoxofication

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In light of the New Year, I thought it would be fitting to focus on some detoxification strategies to help you cleanse your body and soul of 2018 so that you can start anew in 2019. When I say “detoxification,” I’m not just referring to detoxifying out all the bad food choices or alcohol you may have consumed around the holidays. I’m talking a whole body systems overhaul. I’m talking about detoxifying out the negative thoughts, fears, and low self worth AS WELL AS the environmental toxins, preservatives from foods, heavy metals, bacteria, yeast, and any other undesirable non-food particle that somehow found its way past your intestinal barrier. The word “detox” to me describes the body’s physiologic process of rendering chemicals, compounds, hormones, and toxicants less harmful. Scientists estimate that the average adult carries within her or his body at least 700 toxins and that a newborn’s body can contain over 200 toxins. This statistic is astonishing.

Now, some “detoxification” protocols tell you that you should drink nothing but juice for three days, feel virtually miserable, and be forced to stay in bed. This is not my philosophy. I believe that our body’s detoxify best when given the right nutrients, in the right amounts, from clean whole foods, under healing environmental circumstances. Metabolic detoxification is an ongoing process, one that depends on multiple organs of the body, a consistent supply of the right nutrients to support the enzymatic pathways that make this process happen, as well as the prioritization of a clean living environment to limit the incoming toxic burden. While proper systems wide detoxification oftentimes will require you to work with a skilled professional, there are some general tips I can help you with to get started. There is no better time than the present to show your body some extra TLC and improve your sense of well being. So lets dive in!

How does the body excrete toxins?

The body rids it self of toxins through our stool, our urine, our sweat, and our hair to name a few. Optimizing these excretory pathways is of the utmost importance in trying to clean up your body’s toxic burden. On average, you should be having one to two, well shaped, fully formed bowel movements per day. If you are averaging less than this, consider consuming more fiber through plant foods such as vegetables and fruits, and consuming more filtered water. If your stool is on the looser side regularly, this could be due to food intolerances, again a lack of fiber, or even a bacterial or fungal infection in your digestive tract. Work with a health practitioner to rectify this situation. If you’re not sweating regularly throughout the week, try exercising more, taking an epsom salt bath, or utilizing a sauna. More on this later!

The Food

Food plays a crucial role in all phases of systemic detoxification. The first step in the process is to determine the toxic foods you are consuming as an every day part of your diet. By becoming aware of this and switching over to a clean, whole foods based diet you can substantially reduce your body’s toxic burden. Foods that support the body’s detoxification pathways reduce triggers that activate the immune system, support liver function, reduce toxin load by focusing on clean/organic choices, and reducing chemicals that cause the endocrine system to get thrown out of wack (I’m talking about your hormones here, ladies!). Below are my main tips for minimizing your intake of harmful substances:

  • Buy organically grown animal products.

  • Peel off the skin or remove the outer layer of leaves of some lettuce, especially if non-organic.

  • Remove surface residues of pesticides, wax, and fertilizers with pure castile soap or biodegradable cleanser.

  • Choose lean meats that are pasture raised.

  • Choose wild caught fish: specifically, salmon, halibut, cod, or sardines. Any fish higher up on the food chain will have more heavy metals.

  • Wash produce before preparing it.

  • Consult the Environmental Working Groups “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists.

  • Consult the Environmental Working Group website for tips on how to purchase clean personal care and cleaning products.

  • Avoid foods that contain any food coloring or dyes, or preservatives such as BHT, BHA, benzoate, and sulfites.

  • Avoid ALL artificial sweeteners such as sucralose or aspartame.

  • Avoid canned foods, foods in plastic containers or bottles, or any other packing that has BPA in it. Some canned foods in moderation will be okay as long as the can is BPA free lined.

  • Cook only with glass, stainless steel, or cast iron. Teflon coated pans leach chemicals into your food, and aluminum cooking sheets/pans also leach aluminum into your food. Aluminum has been found in high amounts in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. DO NOT STORE YOUR FOOD IN PLASTIC! Only store left overs in glass.

  • Drink only filtered water. My favorite water filter is the BERKEY system. If this is out of your budget, a brita should work just fine, but please do not store the water in the plastic container, move it over to a glass pitcher.


Now, here are the foods you’re going to focus on to provide your body with high quality micronutrients, phytonutrients, and antioxidants:

  • Protein: Lean, free-range, grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild-caught animal protein or non-GMO organic plant protein. This includes pastured eggs, wild caught fish as mentioned previously, lean grass-fed meats, tempeh, spirulina, tofu, or whey/hemp/pea protein powders.

  • Legumes: Organic black soybeans, edamame, green peas, bean soups, or dried beans/lentils that have been soaked overnight. Hummus is okay, just ensure that it is made with organic ingredients and olive oil NOT canola oil.

  • Dairy alternatives (this is a no dairy plan): Coconut kefir, coconut yogurt, or homemade almond/coconut milk.

  • Nuts/seeds: these are particularly therapeutic! Get unsalted, unsweetened, raw organic nuts without added oils. Bonus points if you sprout them! You can do so by soaking for 6-8 hours depending on the nut/seed. Almonds, brazil nuts (great source of selenium), cashews, chia seeds, flax, coconut, hazelnuts, hemp seems, nut and seed butters, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, walnuts.

  • Fats/Oils: Organic, minimally refined, cold-pressed, non-GMO. Avocado daily! Ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, flaxseed oil (not for cooking), hempseed oil (not for cooking).

  • Vegetables: YOUR BEST DETOXIFIERS! Eat 7 servings of these bad boys per day. Cruciferous veggies: Arugula, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, radishes. Leafy Greens: bok choy, chard, swiss chard, cilantro, beet greens, collards, dandelion greens, mustard greens, microgreens, parsley, radicchio, endive. Thiols: chives, onion, scallions, shallots, garlic, leeks, daikon radish. Further liver/kidney support: Artichokes, asparagus, beets, celery, sprouts. Starchy vegetables can help to round out a meal: acorn squash, butternut squash, potato, fennel, carrot.

  • Fruits: Organic Apple, blackberry, blueberry, cherries, purple grapes, grapefruit (consult your health care practitioner if you are taking medication), mandarins, orange, pineapple, pomegranate seeds, raspberries, rhubard, strawberries tangerines.

  • Gluten free grains: buckwheat groats (delicious cooked in coconut milk with some cinnamon), certified gluten free oats, quinoa, forbidden black rice, millet, amaranth, wild rice.

  • Drinks, spices, condiments: filtered water with lemon, herbal teas (dandy blend is an awesome choice), curry, dill, ginger, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, thyme. NO ALCOHOL!

The Supplements

Supplementation should always be advised by a health care professional as every one has unique physiology. In general, I recommend everyone take a professional grade, third party tested multi-vitamin to support micronutrient levels. Our soils and foods are depleted of micronutrients from over farming and poor agricultural practices. It is an unfortunate fact of life now. Even organic foods are much more depleted than they used to be. If you aren’t sure which multi to take, check out our online dispensary under our supplements section for our favorite choices. Some additional supplemental detox support includes:

  • N-Acetylcysteine

  • Glycine

  • Cysteine

  • Glutamine

  • Methionine

  • Liposomal Glutathione (this requires you to work with a professional)

  • Fish Oil

  • Curcumin

  • Milk Thistle

  • Seacure

  • Vitamin C

The Lifestyle

All the wholesome food in the world can’t help you detoxify if you live a high stress, toxic lifestyle. For the duration of the month, try to do a daily 10 minute meditation to help you de-stress and relax. Get regular exercise! Try to walk at least 30 minutes a day. Couple this with a yoga class every week (hot yoga is a bonus as it helps you to excrete toxins through sweat more), high intensity interval exercise, or any other form of exercise that makes you sweat! Drink an electrolyte drink while sweating to ensure you don’t deplete your body’s resources. A good electrolyte drink consists of filtered water, a pinch or two of pink sea salt, a squeeze of lemon, and some coconut water.

Try a sauna two days per week for 45 minutes or until you absolutely can’t be in there any longer. Sauna’s are great for helping your body to sweat toxins out. An epsom salt bath weekly can also do the trick!

Make it a goal to detach from electronics as frequently as possible, avoiding them for the first hour of your day, and the last two hours of your day. Believe it or not staring at screens can increase your body’s stress response - not to mention the harmful Electromagnetic Frequencies that can impact your health, but that’s a whole different topic.

Get adequate sleep! Try to sleep for 8 hours every night. If you have trouble falling asleep, stick to a regular bed time of 10PM. Use blue blocker sunglasses if you must use electronics before bed, otherwise avoid them for two hours prior. Try an evening meditation to wind down, read a book, take a warm bath with some lavender oil & epsom salt, or do something that makes you laugh. If you are still struggling to get a decent night sleep, it may be time for you to work with a practitioner that can help determine the underlying reason for this.

Surround yourself with positive people. Positive vibrations from friends and loved ones can help to increase your vibration, thus influencing your mood and the thoughts that run through your head. Positive thoughts lead to happy and positive cells - it’s a biological fact of life! Try to reduce your time spend with toxic people, toxic situations, or anything else that drags down your mood.

Journal regularly! This can help you to better understand your thoughts and emotions in order to intervene with your negative ones to turn them into positive ones. Oh and last but not least, breath in clean air! Invest in an air purifier, such as a LifeAir or a HEPA certified air filter. This investment is a MUST if you live in a big city like I do.

Throughout the month of January, I’ll be sharing some additional detoxification recipes to help you along your journey. Have any questions or comments, e-mail us!

Yours in health,
Chelsie

Using Whole Foods to Balance Blood Sugar, and Why this is so Important For Your Health

So let’s start with a conversation about whole foods, what that really means and why this buzz word is important. Whole food is real food, food in its unaltered form, food produced from the earth in a form that our bodies know how to process. A good hint is: A whole food has only one ingredient.

Whole Foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, pasture raised meats, legumes and whole grains come packed with various nutrients that our bodies - particularly our brains - 100% need in order to function optimally. Our cell membranes are made from fats, our neurotransmitters are produced from amino acids (building blocks of protein) coupled with vitamin and mineral cofactors. To add more to the story, Whole Foods have rich phytonutrients that are what the plant uses to defend itself in its environment. When consumed, these constituents help OUR cells to protect themselves from oxidative stress - or stress in our environment.

Processed foods, such as breads, chips, crackers, pizza, most pastas, white rice, candy, etc are stripped of most of these nutrients. So, if your diet consists of primarily processed foods - what is your brain going to use to produce neurotransmitters? What are your cells going to use to protect themselves from damage? When getting down to the bottom of most of our country’s chronic disease and mental health disorders, it is imperative to start with a focus on a Whole Foods based diet. Try it for a month, your cells will thank you, your brain will thank you, and soon enough you’ll start thanking yourself.

Did you know that hypoglycemia can manifest as symptoms of intense anxiety and panic? Poor blood sugar handling by the body can make you feel like you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle. Which leads me to our second important topic on eating to support optimal health, both mental and physical. Effectively managing your blood sugar is a crucial foundational aspect to any treatment regimen. Eating unbalanced meals full of processed and refined carbohydrates spikes blood sugar and can lead to insulin resistance, followed by hypoglycemia and a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the day

So what does a balanced meal look like? Half your plate should be full of non-starchy vegetables or fruits. This provides the necessary fiber and nutrients to slow down the uptake of glucose into your blood stream. Complex carbohydrates such as a sweet potato, fruit, or whole grains (buckwheat, quinoa) are also long lasting sources of fuel that don’t hit the blood stream as quickly. Coupled with some healthy protein and fats, such as wild caught fish, olive oil, coconut oil, etc makes for a truly balanced and nourishing meal. Think of it as putting logs in the fire, versus the twigs of refined sugars and flours.

Each meal or snack should be balanced with complex (not refined) carbohydrates, healthy fats and protein. I recommend eating breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up, eating lunch between noon and 1:30, and dinner around 6:30 or 7. Two snacks in between meals could consist of a granny smith apple with some nut butter, or veggies and some hummus. If you tend to wake up in the middle of the night, it could be due to a cortisol burst from low blood sugar, meaning you didn’t get enough complex carbohydrates into your blood stream before bed. Try a small snack before bed and see if that helps. I like dark frozen cherries mixed with some walnuts - cherries are a natural source of melatonin and walnuts add some protein and fat to slow absorption of the glucose from the cherries.

Try the brain boosting smoothie recipe provided in our recipes section for a quick and easy breakfast to set your blood sugar up for success for the day!