BACON: A Simple Guide to Healthy Fats

Low-fat, no-fat, all-fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat…  We’ve heard it all before!  But what makes sense from your body’s point of view?

During millions of years of evolution, we developed a synergistic relationship with simple foods that have been available in nature for a long time.  And what does this mean for our plate today?  Keep it simple – and when it comes to fat, here’s an acronym that will help you do just that:

BACON!

Butter (organic, unsalted)

Organic, unsalted butter is both healthy and delicious.  Use sparingly if weight loss is a goal, but don’t be afraid of saturated fat: your body likes it.
 
 

Avocado (raw)

What’s not to like about avocados?  They are phenomenal in salads, smoothies, sandwiches, salsas and even some soups.
 
 
 

Coconut (milk, oil, cream)

There are a lot of choices here. Buy good quality, and use wherever the coconut taste is an asset. Also great for your skin and hair!
 
 
 

Olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed)

Some olive oil coming out of Italy lately is adulterated, so buy from sources that pay attention
to quality. A standby for every kitchen, it can be combined with butter when sautéing.
 
 

Nuts (raw, organic)

Buy from a source that has good turnover for maximum freshness. If you buy in bulk, store them in the refrigerator in glass jars. Some nuts, like almonds, can be more digestible if soaked in water for a few hours.
 
 

And, surprisingly enough, bacon itself can be a healthy fat. Buy high quality, uncured bacon (think Mom’s, Trader Joe’s, or Whole Foods), and cook it in the oven.

When it’s done to your taste, pour off the fat into a jar and keep it in the refrigerator. It’s absolutely delicious on greens, and could change your opinion of kale and collard greens forever.

Enjoy these heart-healthy, brain-healthy foods daily!

posted in Nutrition, Special Foods, Uncategorized

Powerhouse Immune Boosters

 

 

 

 

 

Blueberries – Anti-oxidant, anti-aging; neuro-protective; anti-cancer; supports digestion; heart protective; nutrient-dense; delicious source of healthy fiber

Chiles – Excellent source of beta-carotene; promotes healthy mucous membranes; contains capsaicin, which fights congestion and is anti-inflammatory; super high in Vitamin C bioflavonoids; supports white blood cell formation

Dark chocolate – Promotes micro-circulation; anti-oxidant, mineral rich;
heart protective; improves mood

Different colored vegetables – Rich in fiber, Vitamins A, C & E, potassium, folate (essential for red blood cell formation), & many other phytonutrients; the key to good health in every season. Eat a wide variety, and strive for five (or more) servings a day.

Echinacea – Strong immunity modulator; anti-aging; anti-cancer. Best used long term; sourcing & formulation are essential, so shop for efficacy, not for price.

Fresh ginger – Anti-nausea; promotes good digestion & nutrient absorption; anti-bacterial and anti-fungal; helps prevent blood clotting; anti-cancer; traditional diabetes remedy

Garlic – Anti-inflammatory; anti-cancer; heart protective; anti-fungal; detoxifying;
supports healthy digestion; anti-oxidant & anti-aging

Green tea – Promotes micro-circulation; anti-oxidant; heart and neuro-protective;
helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels; anti-cancer & anti-aging

Oranges – Rich in fiber and Vitamins A and C, along with other phytonutrients: pantothenic acid, calcium, copper and potassium. Best eaten whole!

Parsley – Excellent source of Vitamins K, C and A; rich in flavonoids, folate, and iron; contains anti-cancer volatile compounds; anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory; traditional diabetic remedy; promotes bone health

Raw local honey – Anti-oxidant; traditional diabetes remedy in conjunction with cinnamon; moderates pollen allergies; anti-bacterial when used topically; soothing to the throat; delicious energy source

Salt water gargle – Inhibits bacterial growth; balances pH; promotes healing of sores; prevents plaque buildup. A neti pot nasal rinse 2-3 times a week is a great addition to a daily throat gargle.

Turmeric – Anti-inflammatory; anti-cancer; anti-depressant; helps regulate blood sugar; heart & gut protective. Best as food, with fat (ex. coconut milk) for absorption

Water – This can be unappealing when it’s cold outside, or if you are feeling unwell, but it’s always essential to your health to stay hydrated. Try drinking it warm!

Warming broth – If all else fails and you end up with a cold or other virus, make some easy, warming broth that will help you get better faster:

Immune boosting broth:
Sauté finely chopped onion, celery, carrot and minced garlic in olive or coconut oil. Add ground turmeric, and stir to coat vegetables. (Also add fresh ground ginger, if desired.) Pour in chicken or beef broth (homemade from bones, for preference) and cook over low heat until hot and savory.
Any combination of the above ingredients that you can manage is fine; more is better.

Throat soothing tisane – Here’s a delicious way to help your throat and your immune response at the same time:

Orange ginger tisane:
Peel an orange, cut up the pulp in smallish pieces and put in large teapot. Add 1″ fresh ginger, skinned and cut in small chunks. (If throat is irritated, add 1 tsp. raw honey – local if possible.) Po¬ur boiling water into teapot; let steep 5 minutes. Pour off liquid 1 cup at a time and drink slowly.
You can make a second batch with the same orange/ginger. Eat the orange pulp, if desired.

Herbal teas to keep on hand – Here’s a short list of readily available teas to boost your mood and your health:

Traditional medicinal teas:
Breathe Easy
Echinacea Plus
Ginger with Chamomile
Lemon Balm
Throat Coat

Tulsi teas:
Lemon Ginger
Turmeric Ginger

Yogi teas:
Breathe Deep
DeTox
Echinacea Immune Support
Egyptian Licorice
Ginger
Throat Comfort

posted in Immunity, Nutrition, Uncategorized

8 Daily “Greats” for a Healthy 2017

Here are 8 food items that are incredibly beneficial to include in your daily diet.  They will boost your immunity and vitality, and are very protective of your overall health!

Dark chocolate

Promotes micro-circulation; anti-oxidant, mineral rich; heart protective; improves mood

Blueberries

Anti-oxidant & anti-aging; neuro-protective; anti-cancer; supports digestion; heart protective; nutrient-dense; healthy fiber

Turmeric

Anti-inflammatory; anti-cancer; anti-depressant; helps regulate blood sugar; heart & gut protective

Best as food, with fat (ex. coconut milk) for absorption

 
Green Tea

Promotes micro-circulation; anti-oxidant; heart and neuro-protective; helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels; anti-cancer & anti-aging

 
Garlic

Anti-inflammatory; anti-cancer; heart protective; anti-fungal; detoxifying; supports healthy digestion; anti-oxidant & anti-aging

 
Bitter Greens

Nutrient-rich; promote bile secretion & healthy digestion; boost gut-based immunity; detoxifying; reduce sugar cravings; stimulates metabolism

 
Ginger

Anti-inflammatory; heart-protective; promotes healthy digestion; reduces fever; anti-nausea; anti-bacterial & anti-fungal; helps regulate blood sugar

 
Echinacea

Strong immunity modulator; anti-aging; anti-cancer

Best used long term; sourcing & formulation are key

 
Water

# 9 here, but truly # 1 in healthy habits: drink half your body weight (lbs) in ounces every day

 
posted in Nutrition, Seasonal, Uncategorized

The Amazing Green Drink

Spinach And Apple Smoothie

3 – 4 leaves fresh kale You can use spinach, collard greens (I add extra apple with these), romaine lettuce, parsley, cilantro, or any combination.  Beet greens, chard, mint and mustard greens do not work well!
2 stalks celery Celery is #2 on the “Dirty Dozen” list, so please buy organic if you possibly can.
½ large green apple Apples are #1 on the list!!  Go to http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/  for more info.You can use the whole apple if you like more sweetness.
½ avocado I like the smaller Hass avocadoes best, but use what you have!
½ large cucumber(or 1 small) No need to peel these, unless they have wax on the skin.
¼” slice fresh ginger You don’t have to peel this if the skin is fresh and unblemished.
2 dates Trader Joes has these at a pretty good price, but it’s also worth looking in Asian or Indian groceries.

 

Add filtered water to about halfway up the blender container.  Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.  You may need to put a kitchen towel under your blender if it vibrates a lot.  You need a good blender for this, but don’t be surprised if the dates don’t completely blend.

This will make 2 tall glasses – drink it all, or share!  It does not keep well, although you can store it for 12 – 24 hours in an opaque glass jar in the refrigerator.

posted in Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized, Veggies

Why you should eat chocolate.

Dark-Chocolate

You don’t need a special occasion to eat chocolate – but this Valentine’s Day, make sure you have some dark chocolate. And that’s a prescription everyone will like!

Real cocoa contains high concentrations of flavanols. These phytonutrients are clog-busters for your arteries. Like cranberries, strawberries, apples, onions, tea and red wine, cocoa reduces your blood platelets’ tendency to stick together and create clogs. Plus cocoa contains magnesium – which, among other benefits, is important for heart health and function.

But wait – there’s more!

Dark chocolate that is rich in cocoa (70% or more) may also reduce blood pressure.  That’s because the flavanols help modulate nitric acid. This also promotes healthy blood flow, another component of cardiovascular health.   According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the increased nitric oxide also helps control insulin sensitivity in healthy people.  So paradoxically enough, a little dose of cocoa-rich dark chocolate can help with blood sugar management.

A recent Australian study showed that eating chocolate high in healthy antioxidants reduced the blood pressure-raising effects of exercise on overweight individuals. So a little dose of dark chocolate can not only be a nice reward, it can also help you get more benefit from your workout.   

Also dark chocolate seems to be more filling than other forms of chocolate (the lower the percentage of cocoa, the less the health benefit).  That’s a good thing, because the more satisfied you feel, the less you are likely to crave foods loaded with fat, salt or sugar.Keep in mind, you want chocolate that’s not loaded with massive amounts of sugar and fat.  Most candy bars do not offer any benefit, just a lot of calories.

But wait – there’s even more!chocolate-with-cocoa-beans

As most women on the planet can attest, chocolate helps manage stress.  It’s almost universally recognized that stress is not good for us, but you may not have stopped to consider the effect of stress hormones floating in your bloodstream. Over time, high levels of cortisol increase the general level of inflammation in the body.  This has potentially disastrous consequences over the long term.

You only need an ounce or two to get that lovely chocolate effect we all love. So this Valentine’s Day, remember that good things can come in tiny packages!

Here are some miscellaneous – but marvelous – benefits of a few ounces of dark chocolate as a regular part of your diet:

  • It may help your skin be more resistant to sunburn.
  • It may have a calming effect on the vagus nerve (cranial nerve X), which supplies the diaphragm.  A spasmodic nerve supply to the diaphragm muscle has been implicated in uncontrollable coughing.
  • And dark chocolate may also prevent a different kind of spasm.  The flavanols in cocoa are known to bind to a small intestine protein that regulates fluid secretion.    This might not stop a raging case of diarrhea! but most of us might be willing to experiment.
  • And perhaps most important of all, it may improve your cognitive function.  Chocolate makes you smarter?  Sign me up!

Have I mentioned how delicious dark chocolate is?  No wonder we love it. 

 
 
posted in Nutrition, Seasonal, Uncategorized

Immune Boosters

 

‘Tis the season of sniffles and sneezes… but maybe not!  Here are some great immune boosters that are fast, easy and effective – and a few may surprise you!

Salt Spill

 

A daily salt water gargle is a terrific way to keep germs at bay – and a neti pot nasal rinse 2-3 times a week is an excellent addition to the throat gargle.

 

Chiles are also a great immune boosters – so if you like spicy food, experiment with different fresh chile peppers.  Indian and Mexican cooking use them in a variety of ways, and the internet is a great resource for learning new recipes and techniques.

 

Fresh-ginger-with-leaves

Adding sliced fresh ginger to hot water makes a great digestive tea after a meal.  Fresh ginger has the added benefit of boosting your immune system, so add it to anything you can think of: smoothies, vegetables, broths…  You can keep fresh sliced or grated ginger in the freezer for convenience, although that does reduce its effectiveness.

 

Local honey (raw if you can get it) is an ancient health resource, and adds sweetness to dreary days; try a hot tea of fresh ginger, orange or lemon slices, and a bit of honey: delicious, and hydrating, too.

Fruits-And-Vegetable

 

Eating a rich variety of foods, especially lots of different colored vegetables, is key to good health, whatever the season.

 

Don’t rely on orange juice for your Vitamin C; eating a whole orange instead gives you natural fiber along with the sweetness we love.

fresh-parsley

 

Remember that parsley garnish your mother insisted on putting on the plate?  It is FULL of Vitamin C (and B vitamins as well), so look for ways to incorporate it in your cooking.

 

A glass of water can be unappealing when it’s cold outside, but do your very best to stay hydrated: it’s your best way of ensuring that your whole body works well, including your immune system.

 

If all else fails and you end up with a cold or other virus, make some easy, warming broth that will definitely help you feel better and get better:

Chicken-Brothsaute finely chopped onions (celery too, if you like) and garlic in olive oil, adding a few pinches of turmeric if you have it.  Then add whatever broth you have on hand (chicken is ideal, but vegetable is fine too) and some grated ginger. Thinly sliced carrots and some minced parsley are nice options, but the broth is what you really need.   Let simmer 5 – 10 minutes.  Drink at least two cups, more if you can.

 

Keep some Congaplex on hand to help you burn through the acute phase faster.  I take two every hour until I can get to bed, and I’ve found it improves my “bounce back” considerably.

Healthy-Food-Heart

posted in Nutrition, Seasonal, Stress Strategies, Uncategorized

Healthy Stocking Stuffers

Looking for some fun, easy, inexpensive – and healthy! – stocking stuffers for the people on your list?

Christmas-Presents

 

Here are a few ideas to get you through the 12 Days of Christmas:

  • Clementines or tiny love apples are great presents anytime.
  • A small bag of fresh pecans, walnuts or cashews is always delicious, and a curl of ribbon makes it festive!
  • Add a few drops of essential oils to a small bottle of almond oil as a bath & body treat: pine & grapefruit, rose & lavender; cedar & bergamot are all pleasant combinations
  • Use the same combinations to make bath salts:  a half cup of epsom salts soothes tired muscles and holiday-stressed spirits.
  • A good quality hand sanitizer is always welcome for purse, car, or desk.
  • Give your favorite athlete a travel size tin of Tiger Balm for the gym bag.
  • If you have access to a supplier of local honey, fill tiny Mason jars for a sweet treat.
  • Make a soup mixture of dried beans and herbs and spice, packaged with cooking directions.
  • Write your own gift certificate: it might be a description of a special outing you’ve planned for a special person on your list, or a 2 hour baby-sitting session for a friend.
  • Why not a few sachets of potpourri for the underwear or sock drawer?
  • Wrap a square of dark chocolate up with a few bags of herbal or green tea for an afternoon or evening treat.
  • A small votive candle is usually welcome; it makes a nice combination with bath salts!
posted in Nutrition, Seasonal, Uncategorized

Facts about Sugar

 

Enjoy this infographic created by Ellie Koning for TotalHealth

Read the full article here.

 

 

posted in Body Facts, Nutrition, Uncategorized

A brief history of sugar…

The central part of the tongue is covered in taste buds that detect sweetness.  In nature, foods that are sweet are generally safe to eat – so we are naturally programmed to like it!Happy-Ugandan-Children-Eating

The Greeks and Romans had only honey as a sweetener.  Sugarcane originates in Southeast Asia, where it was chewed raw to extract the flavor.  Travelling Buddhist monks carried it to China and to India, where it was first crystallized about 350AD.  Then it made its way to the Middle East via the Moslems.  The Crusaders brought it back to Europe, and by the 14th and 15th centuries, it was commanding extraordinary prices.

The rise of tea and cocoa drinking in England pushed demand even further; by the time of the American Revolution, sugar was the most valuable trade good in the European world.

French, British, Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the Caribbean and South America were devoted to producing sugar.  But the crop has two dark sides.  One, it exhausts the nutrients in the land used to grow it, leaving deforested land and depleted soil.  The impact on the Brazilian rainforest  is a major ecological concern.

Truck-Loaded-With-SugarcaneEven worse, sugar cultivation is extremely labor intensive, so it became one of the primary drivers of the slave trade from Africa.  Conditions on the sugar plantations were brutal, and those who survived the horrors of the infamous Middle Passage were literally worked to death.  Even now, the production of sugar is based on poverty-level wages and terrible working conditions.

There are other sugar sources in production these days: beets and dates are among the leaders.  High fructose corn syrup was developed in the late 1950s.  It is very sweet and extremely cheap to produce so it has progressively replaced more expensive sources in industrialized food production.

The science isn’t clear on whether the human body metabolizes high fructose corn syrup in the same way as other sugar sources, but it has certainly led to high calorie content in many foods (see the list below) and has played a destructive part in the enormous surge in obesity over the last 30 years.  Check your ingredients!

Many products use sugar in some form to enhance flavor cheaply, even when it’s not part of the traditional recipe.  Here are some not-so-sweet surprises:

Peanut butter

Pasta sauce

Salad dressings

Mayonnaise

French fries

Applesauce

So it’s smart to check the ingredients on products you buy.  When you eat a piece of chocolate, you know it’s candy – and it’s a wonderful treat you should enjoy!

posted in Nutrition, Uncategorized

Breakfast

Your mama was right: you need to eat breakfast!

Here’s why:

  • Breakfast provides you with the energy and nutrients that you need to get moving into your day – regardless of what you have on the calendar.
  • Studies show that breakfast can be important in maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Eating breakfast helps you maintain an adequate blood sugar level; this will prevent any cravings for a sweet snack, or a mid-morning slump in energy.
  • People who skip breakfast generally don’t end the day having gotten the full complement of vitamins and minerals they need.

So what’s for breakfast?

Here are some quick and easy ideas:

  • If you like eggs, you can make an omelet much faster than you think.  Use raw veggies you cut the night before, or leftovers.  A 2 egg omelet cooks quickly, and you can roll the veggies up in it with a wide spatula almost like a burrito.
  • If you like the idea of a burrito, remember it doesn’t have to be based on rice and beans; try  baby spinach, sliced tomatoes and goat cheese, or roast eggplant and hummus.
  • Make a breakfast smoothie.  There are lots of recipes out there, and here’s a useful tip: put your ingredients in the blender jar the night and store it in the refrigerator overnight.  Then just add whatever liquid you like in the morning.  This is great if you’re using frozen fruit.
  • Oatmeal – a great standby – does not have to be cooked every morning.  Cook a big batch, store it in 2 or 3 small containers, and heat it up in the morning.  Different fruit and nut combinations add flavor and variety.
  • If you are really pressed, grab an apple and a handful of nuts or a piece of cheese.  This will get you through a few hours – but plan on an early lunch!
  • We’re conditioned to certain types of foods for breakfast, but your body really doesn’t care where it’s getting the nutrients from.  There’s no reason you can’t eat dinner leftovers for breakfast, if you like.  The meal just needs to have some kind of protein, and enough carbohydrate and good fat to sustain you.  Have a great day!
posted in Breakfast, Nutrition, Uncategorized