Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Good Mood Foods!





Diet can and does affect every aspect of your health – including your mood!  These simple dietary adjustments can be made to help improve you mood and overall well being.




Cut Out Bad Mood Foods!
Commercial processing of foods strips it of vital nutrients necessary for whole body health and healthy brain-body communication, leaving very little for our body to squeak by on.  A diet high in carbs and sugary foods and devoid of other nutrients leads to dangerous spikes in our blood sugar that results in mood highs and lows, and dangerous blood sugar imbalances.  Processed foods often have preservatives, colors, and other chemicals added to them.  In an effort to clean out these chemicals our liver and detoxification system is often taxed and over burdened, and these additives and even be toxic to us.

 - Processed, packaged, boxed, and canned foods, especially those with added ingredients that  were probably made in a lab
- Fast food
- “Diet” foods
- White bread, white rice/pasta/sugar/baked goods/bagels, and soda
- Low protein/high carbohydrate foods
- Sugar-laden cereals, bars, juices and snacks
- Fried, hydrogenated and trans-fats
 - Processed soy products and other processed “imitation” foods
 - Drugs, and foods with drugs/antibiotics in them
 - Excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption

Eat Plenty of Protein
- High protein foods: fish, chicken, beef, lamb, eggs, humus (try to source organic grass-fed meats and dairy whenever possible)
- Moderate-Protein foods:  Nutritional yeast, seeds, nuts, beans, and yogurt.
- Include protein in every meal to balance blood sugar, reduce mood and energy swings, and improve mood overall.  
- Especially important at breakfast– if you do not have time to cook or make food, your naturopathic  doctor can recommend a nutritional or protein shake to have in the morning.
 - Proteins are composed of strings of amino acids, which are the building blocks of our body’s “feel-good” molecules. 



Include Vitamin and Mineral Rich Whole Foods
- Colorful vegetables and fruits, dark leafy greens (at every meal and for snacking!)
- Nuts, seeds, butter, meat from grass-fed animals, cod liver oil, small whole fish, nutritional yeast, 100% whole grains- gluten free (like quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, teff, etc)

Vitamins and minerals provide necessary building blocks, co-factors, and catalysts to biochemical reactions throughout the body.  These reactions keep us healthy and happy.  Calcium, magnesium, vitamins D, A, and the B vitamins are especially important for a sense of well-being and energy throughout the day. 


Healthy Fats
- Oils (olive, walnut, coconut, avocado, sesame), nuts, seeds, nut butters (except peanut butter), butter, eggs, meat and organ meats from grass-fed animals, cod liver oil, fish oil, whole fish.
 - Decrease oxidation of healthy oils by storing cooking oils and nuts in the fridge, and cooking with oils that are heat stable.  Good oils for cooking are virgin coconut oil and avocado oil.

Healthy fats increase the availability of amino acids to our brain and nervous system.  Every cell in our body is composed of a membrane made of fats, and the cells of our brain and nervous system are especially fat-rich!  Our brain cells NEED fat for communication with the rest of our body.  It is important to distinguish good fats from bad fats for health.  Bad fats include trans-fats, hydrogenated, and oxidized oils, and the oils that have been fried multiple times.  These are commonly found in fast food, deep fried, and processed foods.  Grass-fed animal products contain a healthier fat profile than grain fed animal products do.  Unless it is specifically labeled at grain fed, free range, or organic than it is not. 




Sources:
Weston Price Foundation
The Mood Cure, Julia Ross
Opiod Peptides Derived from Food Proteins- Zioudrou, Christine, et. Al.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

9 Foods That Can Lower Your Blood Pressure...

With the busy holiday season starting, stress levels go up!  If your blood pressure is rising with that added stress or you are prone to high blood pressure, these foods can help to lower blood pressure.

These foods are naturally high in vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, and potassium, and help relax blood vessels, improve circulation, and improve your overall health and vitality.  If you can get them organic that is preferred.

Hawthorn is a plant that is well known for its heart benefits, it can be found in tea form, syrup, or as a botanical extract.  Hibiscus is a flower and is most commonly found as a tea or dried herb.    



Monday, November 18, 2013

Smoothie Recipe Ideas





Smoothies are an easy and practical method of adding more vitamins, fiber, and protein to your diet.  They can be used for breakfast or lunch or as an energy boosting snack in between meals.  By blending into a smoothie as opposed to juicing you keep all the fiber, which is so important and helps to keep your blood sugar stable for longer after consuming.  Alternatively you could also juice the ingredients that may not be blendable such as carrots, beets, or other hard vegetables (depending on the power of your blender).

You do not need an expensive, fancy blender (although they are great to have!) the inexpensive bullet type blenders that make single portions work great and take up less counter space.

Ingredients listed below are only suggestions and amounts can vary to your preference.  Feel free to be creative and use what you have at home!
In a blender combine any or all of the following and blend until smooth:
Part 1, a liquid:   - water, coconut water, almond milk, or coconut milk
Part 2, Vegetables:  Aim for two or more vegetables
- Options that work well include: Kale, Spinach, parsley, cilantro, swiss chard, celery, carrots, cucumber, spirulina, baby greens, ginger, etc…


 Part 3, Fruit:  Frozen fruit or fresh fruit work great. One or two fruits add flavour and sweetness.
- a handful of frozen berries like blueberries, raspberries, cherries or a mix of these, mango, apple, orange, pear, avocado, strawberries, pineapple, papaya, or lemon.

Part 4, Boost:  Seeds, nuts or protein powder is final additional option- this adds a super boost to your smoothie!
- Flax, chia, pumpkin, hemp, sunflower, or sesame seeds.  Protein powder, green tea powder, maca powder, or other boost.

- Tip:  it is often easier to first blend the liquid with the seeds/powder first to liquefy this then add the other ingredients and blend again.  This helps the consistency to be smoother and allows the seeds to be fully ground.

What are your favourite combinations?  Comment below and share you recipes... Cheers!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nature's Flu Shot!

You may have seen this or a version of this formulation going around the internet.  It combines some of natures most powerful anti-microbial ingredients into one drink that you can prepare and drink when you are feeling under the weather.  Take a few ounces every 1-2 hours, 2-8x/day to help boost your immune system and help fight off the infection.  




Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Immune Boosting Soup




This easy to prepare and tasty soup combines many immune supporting ingredients to have you feeling better sooner!  

Ginger, garlic, onions all have antimicrobial properties.  
Shiitake mushrooms also have immune supporting properties.  








INGREDIENTS:
·               2 boxes  Broth: chicken, vegetable, miso or beef 
·                2            Large Onions
·                1 cup    Shiitake Mushrooms- chopped
·                6 cloves Garlic, chopped or grated
·                3 tbsp    Ginger – grated, fresh
·                1           Carrot – grated or chopped
·                1-2        Lemons – squeezed
·                2 handfuls Kale, Swiss chard or Spinach coarsely chopped
·                ½ cup   Parsley or Cilantro – minced
·                Serves: 4
·                Total time: about 1 hour including prep

INSTRUCTIONS :
            Sautee diced onions and mushrooms in a pot with a tablespoon of coconut oil or avocado oil until softened and lightly golden in colour (about 2-3 minutes).  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Add grated garlic, ginger, carrot and greens (kale/spinach/swiss chard) to pot and allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes on medium heat (do not over cook the greens).
  Add the parsley or cilantro and lemon juice at the end.
            You may add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper or chili, season to taste.

Enjoy often, especially if you are feeling ill.  You can drink a few cups of the soup throughout the day to help boost you immune function.





Friday, September 6, 2013

Coconut Oil - The Oil of Endless Uses and Benefits!



One of my favorite foods is Coconut.  It can be used in so many ways - not only for eating but also externally on your skin.  Coconut oil is an excellent substitute where ever you may use butter  or oil.  

Because it is stable at high heats, it makes a great oil to fry and cook in.  As a pure and natural oil, it also makes a great moisturizer for you skin as it has no chemicals or perfumes added.  Also a scoop of the oil on your hair an hour or two before you shower moisturizes and adds shine to your locks.  If you wouldn't eat it- you shouldn't put it on your skin or hair!  

When buying coconut products, look for virgin coconut oil, and organic whenever possible.  The oil is solid at cooler temperatures and liquid when warm.  It can be stored on your counter or in the fridge if you want to keep it solid.  Coconut milk, cream, butter, flour, sugar, and yogurt are also wonderful products to add to your diet.  

Some of the beneficial properties of Coconut oil are listed below:



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

10 Reasons to Take a Probiotic Daily




I often recommend adding a probiotic to the supplement regimen-  Your Naturopathic doctor can recommend a good quality probiotic supplement that is easily absorbed and has a variety of strains of good bacteria for optimal benefit.


Article from Natural News (www.naturalnews.com) 

Probiotic intake for overall good health has been underestimated:  The fact is that gut bacteria greatly affects both overall physical and mental health.

There are 400 to 500 species of bacteria residing in your gut or gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which if opened up and laid out flat would cover a tennis court. If placed on a scale, your GI tract bacteria would weigh in at three pounds.

Probiotic bacteria have many more functions than digestion. They trigger immune system reactions throughout the body, including activating T-cells.

Good bacteria need to comprise 85 percent of the intestinal flora while allowing the remaining 15 percent to be pathogenic. Two-thirds or more of the immune system relies on this. (Source 1 below)

You can supplement probiotics with the best supplement from your Naturopathic doctor or health food store. This is critical if you've gone a round or two with antibiotics for whatever reason. But you have to know what to look for and how to avoid being deceived. (Source 2 below)

Another method of taking in probiotics is through fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, or any other fermented food you can purchase or make yourself. Milk kefir and water kefir are excellent sources of probiotics that can be consumed daily.

Making your own milk or water kefir is not difficult once you get the "starter grains," which can be ordered online or procured from someone in a local Weston A Price Foundation chapter.

A list of YouTube video demos for milk kefirs is in source 3 below, while you can watch water kefir videos from source 4 below.

Ten reasons to consume probiotics

(1) Enhance immunity - a double-blind clinical test involving patients in intensive care proved that viable (alive) probiotics prevented multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS), the number one cause of mortality among intensive care patients. (Source 5 below)

If probiotics can do this, what can they do to prevent chronic flues and colds and allergies?

(2) The immune protection of mother's milk is enhanced if the mother takes probiotics during or before pregnancy. If breast feeding is impossible, then adding probiotics and prebiotics (what probiotic bacteria feed on) to a baby formula free from fluoridated water and sweeteners can be tried.

(3) Probiotics can reverse ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and other gut inflammations that occur from a lack of sufficient probiotics.

(4) Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (GS) symptoms are handled by adding probiotics.

(5) Processed foods and low fiber diets allow the pathogenic bacteria to overwhelm the good guys and diminish colon function. It's important to add probiotics even if you drop the standard American diet (SAD).

(6) When pathogenic bacteria upset the 85/15 balance of probiotic to bad bacteria, yeast infections such as Candida flourish.

(7) A healthy gut flora balance helps prevent cancer by nourishing enzymes that inhibit tumor production throughout the body.

(8) Sufficient probiotic intestinal flora prevents radiation damage from X-rays and CT scans to the large and small intestines.

(9) GMOs are used in many processed foods and antibiotics are in lots of our non-organic meat and dairy products. They both destroy probiotic bacteria, making it necessary to add probiotic materials back if you've had any of those foods.

(10) Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride discovered how to cure her son of autism through a diet that restored his probiotic levels and heal his inflammatory conditions. She developed GAPS, gut and psychology syndrome, confirming the connection with gut health and mental health. (Source 6 below)



Sources for this article include:

(1) http://www.drdavidwilliams.com/why-take-probiotics/

(2) http://ezinearticles.com

(3) http://www.google.com

(4) http://www.google.com

(5) http://www.ajcn.org

(6) http://gaps.me/?page_id=20


Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/036419_probiotics_immunity_bacteria.html#ixzz2XLt5LXYD

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Is Organic Really Better? Yes It Is! And This Is Why.....



Is organic, local, grass fed, non GMO really better?  The answer is yes it is, and choosing these foods as much as possible is beneficial to your health.  The next best would be local produce.  Most small grocery stores now carry organic options, as well as farmers markets, and supermarkets.
For foods that are not bought organic, using a food wash (bought in the grocery store) or a vinegar or hydrogen peroxide diluted in water to reduce the pesticide/toxins on your produce is recommended.  
Buying grass fed/free range meats as much as possible is also recommended:  conventional animals feed of GMO feed that also has pesticides and fertilizers, not to mention the hormones, antibiotics that they are given.  Animals concentrate these chemicals in their fat and tissues, and when we eat them we are getting high amounts of these toxins.  Free range/organic meats are not exposed to these toxins, and as a result of their diet and lifestyles they are high in omega-3 fatty acids- the good anti-inflammatory fat! 

- The bottom line is do what you can when you can, but being aware of what you are consuming is important for your health. the following article explains in more detail the impacts of conventional foods:


From Dr. Mercola:
Research has shown that pesticides and other agricultural chemicals are neurotoxins and can cause disruptions to your neurological system and your brain. The reason why neurotoxins still enjoy widespread use on our fresh food supply is really more about the bottom line for farming operations than it is about the science of human health.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic. All of these toxins are permitted on conventional farms, and any number of them can end up on your plate when you purchase conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables.
The increased use of genetically engineered Bt hybrid plants1 and soil insecticides also increases the chemical load in food — particularly processed foods.
These man-made neurotoxic chemicals can bioaccumulate in your body, as they resist breaking down in water and also accumulate and store in fat, where they can remain for long periods of time.
In short, this means your body has a very hard time getting rid of them once they enter your body. The answer, of course, is to limit your exposure as much as possible, giving your body a chance to eliminate the toxins you do inadvertently ingest. One food that can help with detoxification is fermented foods.

What to choose Organic and What can be bought Conventional?
Your best bet is to buy only organic fruits and vegetables, as synthetic agricultural chemicals are not permissible under the USDA organic rules. That said, not all conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are subjected to the same amount of pesticide load.


And with food prices rising, many are looking for ways to buy the healthiest foods possible at the lowest cost.
One such way would be to focus on purchasing certain organic items, while “settling” for others that are conventionally-grown. To do this, I recommend familiarizing yourself with the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) annualShoppers' Guide to Pesticides in Produce.2



Of the 48 different fruit and vegetable categories tested by the EWG for the 2013 guide, the following 15 fruits and vegetables had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy or grow organically:
ApplesCeleryCherry tomatoes
CucumbersGrapesHot peppers
Nectarines (imported)PeachesPotatoes
SpinachStrawberriesSweet bell peppers
KaleCollard greensSummer squash

In contrast, the following foods were found to have the lowest residual pesticide load, making them the safest bet among conventionally grown vegetables. Note that a small amount of sweet corn and most Hawaiian papaya, although low in pesticides, are genetically engineered (GE). If you’re unsure of whether the sweet corn or papaya is GE, I’d recommend opting for organic varieties:
AsparagusAvocadoCabbage
CantaloupeSweet corn (non-GMO)Eggplant
GrapefruitKiwiMango
MushroomsOnionsPapayas (non-GMO. Most Hawaiian papaya is GMO)
PineappleSweet peas (frozen)Sweet potatoes


In the Meat Department:
Many people are still in the dark about the vast differences betweenConcentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and organically-raised, grass-fed or pastured meats, both in terms of contamination and nutrient content. It's important to understand that when you raise animals in a CAFO — away from the animals’ natural environments and diets — you dramatically increase the risk of pathogenic contamination that can make you ill.

Take beef, for example. Most CAFO cows are fed grains (typically genetically engineered grains, which make matters even worse), when their natural diet is plain grass. Grain diets create a much higher level of acidity in the animal's stomach, which E. coli bacteria need to survive. Meanwhile, E. coli contamination is actually quite rare in organic beef for this reason — the cows just aren't susceptible to those kinds of disease-causing bacteria and viruses when they eat what they were designed to eat.
Also beware that bacterial contamination of meat-glued steak — a cost-saving scam that is far more common than you might think — is hundreds of times higher than a solid piece of steak; therefore, if you cook your steak rare, which is ordinarily the most healthful way to cook your meat, you're at a much greater risk of contracting food poisoning.
It’s no surprise then to discover that pathogenic contamination of meat products is quite high. What’s worse, the routine use of low-dose antibiotics in CAFO’s has led to a dramatic and rapidly rising presence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens.
According to a recent NPR report,3 data published by a joint government program4 from tests conducted on supermarket meat samples collected in 2011 by the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, reveals the presence of several disease-causing bacteria, including the super-hardy antibiotic-resistant versions of salmonella, Campylobacterand E. coli. After analyzing the data, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) highlighted some of the startling implications in its own report,5 aptly named “Superbugs Invade American Supermarkets.” The EWG points out that many of the meats tested contained “startlingly high levels” of antibiotic-resistant bacteria on:
  • 81 percent of ground turkey
  • 69 percent of pork chops
  • 55 percent of ground beef
  • 39 percent of chicken breasts, wings and thighs
One of the best ways to avoid contaminated meat is to avoid meat from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s), aka “factory farms,” and buying organic, pastured or grass-fed meats instead. Growth promoters such as antibiotics are not permitted in organic animal farming, and organically-raised animals are also healthier as a result of being pastured, so overall you’re getting far “cleaner,” healthier meat.
“To be safe, consumers should treat all meat as if it may be contaminated, mainly by cooking thoroughly and using safe shopping and kitchen practices (see EWG's downloadable Tips to Avoiding Superbugs in Meat),”6 EWG suggests.7


SOURCES:

Article from: www.mercola.com   "How to Find the Healthiest Fare in Meat and Produce Aisles"   May 08, 2013.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

10 Uses For Apple Cider Vinegar



Organic, raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) is not only tasty but has many health benefits and has been used by naturopathic doctors for many years to treat a variety of ailments.  Made from fresh, crushed apples, which mature and ferment in wooden barrels, it is rich minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulphur, iron, amino acids and pectin fiber.  There are a multitude of uses for ACV but here are my top 10:

General ACV Tonic:  2 tsps ACV and 1-2 tsps raw or Manuka Honey in a glass of purified water drink 1-3 times a day. 

Improve digestion:  Millions of people suffer from indigestion, which is aggravated by poor digestion and weak saliva juices.  This causes distress: gas, heartburn, burping and stomach bloating.  15- 20 minutes before mealtime, drink 1-2 tsp of ACV in a few ounces of water.  This stimulates digestive fluids in the stomach, resulting in improved digestion and better health.  ACV also helps to protect against food borne pathogens. 

Relieving Muscle Cramps: 
            Internally: 2 tsps ACV and 1-2 tsps raw or Manuka Honey in a glass of purified water three times a day to relieve the cramps.
            Externally: Hot Vinegar pack:  mix 60/40 ACV/hot water, enough to soak a cotton hand towel.  Wring out towel and apply over sore/cramping area.  You can cover this with another dry towel and even a heat pack for additional heat.   Keep on for 20-30 mins.

Apple cider vinegar for your feet! Combating corns callouses, and warts:
            For corns and callouses:  First soak affected areas in warm water with 1/3 cup ACV for 20 minutes.  After soak, rub areas briskly with coarse towel, then gently use a pumice stone or wand.  Now apply full-strength ACV-soaked gauze bandage overnight, and in the morning prepare a fresh ACV soaked bandage for daytime use.  These treatments help soften and dissolve corns and callouses. Check shoes for cofort and width. 
            For common Warts:  Use the ACV treatment above but caution: DO NOT RUB WARTS, as this could spread them.  After soaking use ACV-soaked gauze, cove with waterproof tape, keep on overnight.  In the morning for a daytime treatment, apply a castor oil soaked gauze bandage.  At night you can alternate ACV with Vitamin E (prick open a capsule and apply). 

Nail fungus: soak affected nails (hands or feet) in a 50:50 ACV to warm water mixture morning and night for 10 minutes.  Nail fungus can be stubborn so this must be continued often for many months until nails heal. 


Varicose Veins:  Applications of ACV can help to shrink the veins and also uptake of vitamins C, K, and rutin.  Wrap and ACV dampened cloth around the needed areas morning and night, then elevate legs, allowing to stay on for 15 mins.  Then remove wrap (legs still up) and starting at the ankles press over pooled veins to get blood back into circulation.  Also consume ACV tonic 1-3 times a day. 

Sore throat and laryngitis:  Organic, raw ACV is a dangerous enemy to all kinds of germs that attack the throat and mouth!  To fight the germs and keep the throat healthy, an ACV gargle mixture can be used. 1 tsp to ½ glass pure water, gargle 3 mouthfuls of mixture each hour.  ACV acts like a sponge drawing out the throat and mouth germs and toxins.  As the throat feels better gargle every three hours.

ACV Facial:  Wash face with warm water (no soap).  Soak a cotton face towel under warm/hot water and wring it out, them lay over face for 2-3 mins.  Then soak face towel in a 50:50 ACV: warm water mix and reapply to face, allow to stay for 10 mins while you lie down.  Gently rub face with cotton towel to remove dry skin and revitalize the face. 

Apple cider Vinegar for dandruff, dry, thinning har, and shiner hair!
            The high acidity (organic malic acid) plus the powerful enzymes in ACV kill the bottle bacillus, a germ responsible for many scalp and hair conditions.  The problems caused by this are dandruff, itching scalp, thinning hair, and often baldness.  ACV not only kills bottle bacillus, but stimulates the oils pores for healthier activity.
            For Dandruff: put 2-3 tbsps ACV in a cup- part the hair and sponge directly onto the scalp and wrap hair with towel.  ACV helps restore the proper acid/alkaline balance to the scalp, do before every shampoo.
            For dry hair: weekly apply castor oil or bragg olive oil to hair, and ACV to scalp, then wrap.  Leave on for 30 minutes to 3 hours before shampooing.
            Hair growth stimulating Mixtures:  For bald or thinning hairs try these two mixtures:  On scalp (2 tbsps SCV and tiny pinch of cayenne powder), apply an hour before shampooing (keep out of eyes!).  Mix royal jelly cap, tiny pinch of cayenne & 1 tsp ACV & pat on bald areas – leave on overnight.
            Hair rinse mixture for shiny hair:  For a healthy after shampoo rinse for shine and body; add 1/3 cup ACV to a quart of water.  Pre mix in a handy plastic bottle and keep in the shower to use. 

As a cleaner for your homefor cleaning purposes white vinegar or apple cider vinegar can be used.  White vinegar is effective and inexpensive as a household cleaner and deodorizer.  A straight 5% solution of vinegar has been shown to kill 99% of bacteria, 82% of common molds, and 80% of germs and viruses. Some mix it with water to wash windows as it removes sludge and keeps them sparkling clean. 

Commercial household cleaners are full of chemicals and additives that are harmful to our health, using these homemade cleaners are a great alternative:
Appliances & countertops:  Clean and disinfect with a white-vinegar dampened sponge or cloth.
Sponges and dishrags:  disinfect and deodorize by soaking overnight in 1 quart hot water with ¼ cup vinegar. 
General hard surface cleaner: Mix vinegar and water in a 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water in a spray bottle and.  Add 10-20 drops  of an essential oil like thyme, lavender, lemon, or tea tree for added disinfecting and a great scent. 

Source: BRAGG Apple Cider Vinegar: Miracle Health System.  By Paul Bragg, and Patricia Bragg