The health of your gut depends on these!

Carolina Style Slaw

Hello everyone,

These last several weeks have been so interesting getting to talk with so many of you about the health of your gut!

The more you know, the healthier you’ll be. However, just knowing doesn’t solve all the problems. Part of the equation is implantation or action.

I am a perfect example of knowing things and not necessarily taking quick action. On some things yes and others, I tend to drag my feet or wait until I have all my “ducks in a row.” Can any of you relate?

Why is that? I mean, if we know something is really good for us and it’s proven to work, why don’t we always do it? Why do we humans tend to take the long way around things?

The irony is that we often come back around to what we know we should be doing in the first place. We could have not taken up so much time if we just would have taken action in the first place.

The good news is this. You can jump on board when you are ready. Just don’t waste too much time getting around to it or lining up those “ducks.”

Since I have a passion for making and consuming fermented foods, I thought I’d share some history that I found fascinating and along with that some benefits and why you should be consuming these incredible healing foods. So let’s dive in, shall we?

What are Fermented Foods?

Let’s first look at todays’ foods. Most of today’s pickles and sauerkraut are made with vinegar instead of the traditional method of lacto-fermentation using salt and/or whey. Bread and pasta are made with commercial yeast instead of being naturally leavened with wild yeast as in a real sourdough. Wine, beer and cheeses are pasteurized, which kills off all the good bacteria we so desperately need to maintain health.

There are many advantages to going back to the traditional ways of our ancestors, and eating more fermented foods. And no they aren’t scary or hurt you.

Let’s now look at our history. Humans all over the world have been fermenting food since ancient times. The earliest evidence of winemaking dates back to eight thousand years ago in the Caucasus area of Georgia. Seven-thousand-year-old jars which once contained wine were excavated in the Zagros Mountains in Iran. There is evidence that people were making fermented beverages in Babylon around 5000 BC, ancient Egypt circa 3150 BC, pre-Hispanic Mexico circa 2000 BC, and Sudan circa 1500 BC. There is also evidence of leavened bread in ancient Egypt dating back to 1500 BC and of milk fermentation in Babylon circa 3000 BC.

“In the normal scheme of things, we’d never have to think twice about replenishing the bacteria that allow us to digest food. But since we’re living with antibiotic drugs and chlorinated water and antibacterial soap and all these factors in our contemporary lives that I’d group together as a ‘war on bacteria,’ if we fail to replenish [good bacteria], we won’t effectively get nutrients out of the food we’re eating.” – Sandor Katz

Benefits of Eating Fermented Foods

Improves Digestion – Fermenting our foods before we eat them is like partially digesting them before we eat or drink them. Sometimes people who can’t tolerate milk can eat yogurt or consume kefir. That’s because the lactose (which is usually the part people can’t tolerate) in milk is broken down as the milk is fermented and turns into yogurt and kefir.

Adding Good Bacteria to Your Gut – Fermented foods restore the proper balance of bacteria in the gut. If you have issues with lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), yeast infections, allergies, or asthma, all of these conditions have been linked to a lack of good bacteria in the gut.

Boost Enzymes – Eating raw, fermented foods are rich in enzymes. Your body needs enzymes to adequately digest, absorb, and utilize the nutrients in your food. As you age, your body’s production of enzymes goes down.

Increase Vitamins – Fermenting food actually increases the vitamin content. Fermented dairy products show an increased level of folic acid which is critical to producing healthy babies as well as B vitamins, riboflavin and biotin depending on the strains of bacteria present.

Better Absorption – Eating fermented food helps us to absorb the nutrients we’re consuming. You can ingest huge amounts of nutrients, but unless you actually absorb them, they’re useless to you. When you improve digestion, you improve absorption.

Better Preservation – Fermenting food helps to preserve it for longer periods of time. Have you ever noticed how forgotten milk gets sour and rancid pretty quickly? But kefir and yogurt last a lot longer. Sauerkraut, pickles and salsa will keep for months. And if you’ve got a huge batch of produce in your garden that you don’t know how to use up — ferment it!

Cost Effective – If you were to start experimenting with fermenting, you’ll find that you don’t need any fancy or expensive equipment. The food types that you can use in fermented are usually not expensive, especially if you’re able to grow many of them yourself or someone you know.

Chock full of Flavor – Fermenting food increases the flavor. Just think of the last time you ate some great cheese or drank a nice glass of wine, you did this because they taste good. We’ve also grown up with sauerkraut as a favorite hot dog condiment or roast pork and sauerkraut for New Year’s Day for good luck.

Here are some good ways to incorporate more fermented foods into your diet

1. Eat real sourdough bread (you don’t want commercial breads made with yeast)

2. Drink fermented beverages like kombucha, kefir, or kefir soda to name a few.

3. Eat fermented veggies and fruits, like pickles, sauerkraut, salsa, and kimchi and don’t forget about fermented condiments, like mayonnaise, ketchup, sour cream, crème fraiche, and the like.

All of these things can be made at home or purchased from someone you know. They are often also available at Health Food stores.

If you’re like me and want to experiment, there are lots of ways to do so. Things like kefir ice cream, crackers that are actually made with sourdough, fermented coconut water and milk. There are fermented wines to be made and also mead which is a wine made from honey.

I often make breakfast cereals from kefir and soaked oats or smoothies from kefir. I also make a mean applesauce as well as several varieties of veggies, slaws and krauts. The ideas are endless.

No more excuses for not getting your ferments in daily.

What’s been your experience with fermented foods and/or drinks? Leave your comments below.

To your health,

Kellie

Holistic Health Coach

PS: Have questions, hit the Let’s Talk Button and ask away or schedule some time with me to get them answered. I consider no question a dumb question only a smart one!

 

Intolerance: Is Gluten your friend or a foe?

Take care of your body quote

My kitchen has been getting used overtime lately. My Mother-in-law just told me that soon I was going to need a double oven. Boy wouldn’t that be nice. I have been using hers as well as mine, so in essence I have been using 2 ovens.

 

Bread making and soaked granola have been in the ovens most days of the week over the past several weeks.

 

Seems most people like sourdough bread, banana bread and granola. Especially when you tell them how it’s made and why it’s made that way.

 

Last week I shared why eating Sourdough bread is tolerant of most even those with gluten intolerances.

 

Soaked grains behave much in the same way. I have found that most people’s bodies really struggle to digest grains, seeds, nuts and beans. Yet the flip side is that most people do really well with these same foods when they are soaked and sprouted.

 

Sprouted grains are considered low glycemic, which is a huge plus. The pancreas needs huge amounts of B vitamins to deal with stress. Once a grain has been sprouted most bodies recognize it as a vegetable rather than a starch which requires digestive enzymes not pancreatic enzymes.

 

What this means is, eating sprouted grains doesn’t stress the pancreas. In 2008, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) ruled that sprouted grains are more akin to vegetables than to whole grain.

 

Phytic acid, which is a known mineral blocker, is present in the bran of all grains and inhibits the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. It is present in the coating of nuts and seeds as well.

 

This inhibitor or blocker can neutralize our own digestive enzymes, which often times results in the digestive disorders experienced by many people that eat un-sprouted grains. Yet, phytic acid is broken down in the sprouting process. Another benefit is that complex sugars responsible for intestinal gas are broken down during sprouting too.

 

There are many ways that the sprouting process changes the actual composition of the grain that ultimately make it a more beneficial food.  This process produces vitamin C and increases the content of vitamins B, B2, B5 and B6. Carotene, which is converted to vitamin A, increases dramatically and I’ve read in some cases as much as eight-fold.  Sprouting also inactivates aflatoxins, which are toxins produced by fungus and are strong carcinogens found in grains.

 

If you are curious about sprouted flours and breads, there are a couple of good ones that you can buy at some grocery stores and many health food stores. Ezekiel and Alvarado make good ones. They would be found in the frozen case.

 

If you are like me and love to do these things yourself, buy some berries and sprout them yourself. Once sprouted, which generally takes about 3 days or so, dry them out in a dehydrator or warm oven and then grind them into flour.

 

Sprouted spelt flour is my favorite as it is water soluble and it is higher in protein than most grains and it’s considered a close cousin to wheat.

 

The soaking process is truly what helps most grains, nuts, seeds, and beans give our tummies a break. I’ve heard the complaint that you don’t have enough time as it is.

 

To you I’d say, with a little planning and preparation, we can all do what becomes important to each of us. You just have to decide what’s truly important, your health and quality of life or feeling like shit and being tired and having no energy all the time.

 

The choice is always yours!

 

Have you tried sprouting grains before? What’s been your success? If not and are new, how can I help you further? Comment below or schedule some actual phone time with me using this link and together we’ll fill in the blanks to allow you to move forward with your health goals.

 

To your health,

 

Kellie

 

Holistic Health Coach

 

Gluten Intolerance: Top 10 Reasons to Eat Real Sourdough Bread

Kefir Bread

Happy day to you. I absolutely love this time of year. Everything is growing (including the weeds) and flourishing and thriving. I hope that means you are too, if not we should talk you and me.

 

With this time of year comes Farmer’s Markets and roadside stands advertising their crops ‘o plenty. It gives everyone the opportunity to get outside first of all, support local farmers, AND give you and your family access to fresh produce!

 

I have been actively involved in a couple of our area markets as a vendor and it’s been so much fun talking with people that love what I bring to the table or have no idea and are completely curious enough to ask me….what does “Soaked” or “Sprouted” mean?

 

Ahh….it does my heart good to teach and bring awareness to your lives and then I get to fill your bellies with fresh, homemade goodness that’s nourishing to your soul and your bodies.

 

So this week I thought I’d tackle the controversial topic of bread and not just any bread but “real” sourdough bread.

 

When I say “real” I’m referring to bread made with a sourdough starter not the commercialized breads you find down your local market bread isle.

 

So, let’s look at the benefits and why many who have intolerances to wheat can tolerate real sourdough. First of all it’s probiotic, like kefir or yogurt, containing multiple strains of beneficial microflora.

 

The slow process helps to promote the growth of more probiotic organisms that do the following:

 

1. Digest and assimilate (properly absorb) the foods you eat. Without adequate beneficial microflora in your gut, you can’t absorb nutrients in the foods you are eating.

 

2. Are necessary in order to maintain a healthy intestinal tract.

 

3. Contain uniquely balanced proteins, fatty acids, cellulose, minerals, and innumerable other nutrients our bodies need.

 

4. Provide vitamins B1 through B6 from lactobacillus and B12 vitamins from wild yeast. Wild yeast multiplies aerobically. This is because they have oxygen in them (not free radical oxygen ions) that feed your blood cells and not cancer cells. Most plant proteins including grains, seeds, cereals, beans, nuts, and some grasses form gluten. However, sourdough microflora has all the amino acids available, without the protein that forms gluten.

 

5. Depletes damaged starch in bread, thus diabetic people should not get insulin shock. It is a misconception that whole wheat is better than white flour for diabetics (the Glycemic difference is only 1%).

 

6. Produce acids, which will break down and remove some of the glutens from the bread. Acids do not allow mold and most bad bacterial growth. Alkaline with high pH allows mold growth and toxins. Mold ferments at a higher pH, allowing bad bacterial growth and the secretion of toxins. The absence of acids is abnormal, even animals have acid stomachs to kill bad bacteria.

 

7. Offset the effects of phytic acid, which robs your body of precious minerals.

 

According to Wikipedia: Phytic acid is found within the hulls of nuts, seeds, and grains. In-home food preparation techniques can reduce the phytic acid in all of these foods. Simply cooking the food will reduce the phytic acid to some degree.

 

More effective methods are soaking in an acid medium, lactic acid fermentation, and sprouting. Phytic acid is a strong chelator of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, and can therefore contribute to mineral deficiencies in people whose diets rely on these foods for their mineral intake, such as those in developing countries.

 

It also acts as an acid, chelating the vitamin niacin, which is basic, causing the condition known as pellagra. In this way, it is an anti-nutrient. For people with a particularly low intake of essential minerals, especially young children and those in developing countries, this effect can be undesirable.

 

“Probiotic lactobacilli and other species of the endogenous digestive microflora as well, are an important source of the enzyme phytase which catalysis the release of phosphate from phytate and hydrolyses the complexes formed by phytate and metal ions or other cations, rendering them more soluble ultimately improving and facilitating their intestinal absorption.

 

8. Dissolve proteins by producing protein enzymes, thus loosening multiple peptide bonds so that you can absorb more amino acids into your body. They dissolve four gluten-forming proteins: albumin, globulin, prolamin, and glutalin. They also produce alcohol that dissolves the most stubborn water insoluble protein bonds. These bonds are the reason why so many people have gluten intolerance.

 

9. Inhibit the growth of bad bacteria by: (1) creating a more acidic environment (2) producing anti-bacterial agents, and (3) absorbing all the B vitamins from their surroundings leaving none for the harmful bacteria.

 

10. Have most everything needed for optimum nutritional absorption. To absorb calcium, you need magnesium. To absorb magnesium, you need vitamin E, C, etc. Most of these are in the sourdough microorganisms, thus providing optimum absorption.

 

I have many people share with me that this bread has given them life back. It provides beneficial nutrients that really does a body good. You need the healthy mix of fermentation and slow process to make an excellent bread that gluten intolerant people can eat.

 

I personally recommend using a sprouted flour. My favorite go-to flour is a sprouted spelt flour. I use it in my Kefir bread and my banana bread too. They are wildly popular, even by those who have intolerances.

 

If you are plagued by intolerances, there are definitely steps to take to gain your life back. Are you interested in these steps? Click here to talk with me to obtain a plan of attack. Remember you only have one life; it’s up to you to life it fully and abundantly. What are you waiting for?

 

To your health,

 

Kellie

 

Holistic Health Coach

 

PS: Have you decided it’s time to take the step to take back your health? Yippee is what I say. Click here and let’s talk! What have you got to lose?

 

 

 

Kombucha – let’s toast to your health!

Kombucha

What is Kombucha (kom-bu-cha) anyway?

It’s the beverage the ancient Chinese called the “Immortal Health Elixir.” It’s been around for more than 2,000 years and has a rich anecdotal history of health benefits like preventing and fighting cancer, arthritis, and other degenerative diseases.

While there are limited amounts of research done on the beverage, there has been lots of research done on many of the nutrients and acids it contains in large quantities (such as B-vitamins, antioxidants, and glucaric acids).

Kombucha is a naturally carbonated, fermented tea, which is very good for you.

While pasteurization and irradiation kill bacteria and yeast, fermentation actually uses live bacteria and yeast, as well as sugar, to create its finished product, which also include naturally fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, beer, wine, yogurt, kefir, kvass and yes, kombucha. Kombucha is not as fermented as wine or beer — it only has a tiny amount of alcohol.

What are the health benefits?

1. Boosts the Immune System

Think of allergies, colds, and being run down in general – by consuming fermented foods and drinks, you can build up your immune system naturally. 70-80% of our immune system resides in our gut. Most of us have been on some form of antibiotics and other drugs that kill off bacteria, both good and bad. The ending results are that Kombucha’s fermentation encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are good for your gut and good for your immunity.

Kombucha is also rich in antioxidants, which help to strengthen immunity.

2. Natural Detoxifier

Kombucha has probiotics and enzymes that promote detoxification. One of the main jobs of the good bacteria in your gut is to detoxify. By adding more beneficial bacteria to your gut, you’re getting the job done faster.

Kombucha promotes detoxification. Regular consumption of kombucha tea also supports liver function.

3. Energy Boost

Kombucha is the original energy drink. Don’t mistake this to mean that you are getting this by some form of artificial boost. Because kombucha helps the body detoxify, there is less burden on your system, and as a result, you get more energy. As stated below, kombucha is also rich in B vitamins, which gives the body energy.

4. Rich in vitamins and enzymes

In addition to beneficial bacteria, kombucha contains B vitamins and enzymes.

B vitamins provide support for the body’s metabolic functions including overall energy, utilization of carbohydrates, heart health, and healthy hair, skin, and nails. Adequate intake of B vitamins can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, boost memory, and relieve PMS.

Most of us don’t get enough enzymes these days because we don’t eat enough raw food. The role of digestive enzymes is to break down the foods that we eat into smaller compounds so the nutrients can be more easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

Because it’s naturally fermented with a living colony of bacteria and yeast, Kombucha is a probiotic beverage. This has a myriad of benefits such as improved digestion, fighting candida (harmful yeast) overgrowth, mental clarity, and mood stability. As such, it’s noted for reducing or eliminating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, etc.

5. Increased Metabolism

Enzymes boost metabolism. In addition, all the beneficial bacterial and enzymes in the kombucha help your body work better and take the burden off of its functioning.

6. PMS Relief

Kombucha helps to relieve PMS. How? B vitamins help to break down and flush out excess estrogen from the body (a condition called estrogen dominance). This can help to reduce PMS symptoms.

7. Relief from Arthritis and Joint Pain

Kombucha contains glucosamine, a strong preventive and treatment for all forms of arthritis. Glucosamine increase synovial hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid functions physiologically to aid preservation of cartilage structure and prevent arthritic pain, with relief comparable to NSAIDs and advantage over glucocorticoids. Hyaluronic acid enables connective tissue to bind moisture thousands of times its weight and maintains tissue structure, moisture, lubrication and flexibility and lessens free radical damage, while associated collagen retards and reduces wrinkles.

If you’d like to tackle making this wonderful drink yourself, click here for my go-to recipe. While there are many sources and methods, this is the easiest and most satisfying. There are many sources to order a Scoby and a nice starter from, a friend or Google it and you’ll find many reputable locations. I drink it every day and so should you.

If you’re not quite ready for making it yourself, most health food stores carry it as well as stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc.

Cheers to your health,

Kellie

Holistic Health Coach

Heal thyself….how important is this to you?

Yoga and fitness

Have you ever asked yourself what it would feel like to be pain free, have an abundance of energy, be at optimal weight and not have all the stress that comes with not feeling well?

I have and that’s why it’s been on my heart to share the information that I know regarding our amazing body’s ability to heal itself.

When you allow the body to be free of all the “junk” that we are told is good for us by the “food” industry and the “big ag” industry and supply our bodies with good wholesome nutrients, it’s really amazing how the body knows what to do.

It’s not my accident, it’s purely by design. I’ve often thought about an architect and their abilities. They envision what something will look like in their mind and then design the outcome. I believe our bodies were created in much the same way.

Everything is “designed” to work seamlessly together and it doesn’t let us down unless we let it down. Do you understand what I mean by that?

For example: when I eat foods that I don’t normally eat, like commercial potato chips and overly processed foods that are either greasy or sugar laden, I know it. Why? Because my body wasn’t designed to be fed these things and it’s objecting to the fuel source.

Another way to think about this is to think about your car. It has an engine that obviously makes it run, whether it’s fueled by fuels or electricity, it still needs fed. So if you a put in the wrong kind of fuel, it’s not going to perform as you’d like it to.

Yet another way to think about this is the fuel filter in your car. The purpose is to filter out all the dirt and debris that would otherwise stop your engine from functioning. This is kind of like the purpose of your liver. It’s the filter for our bodies.

So, do you see how if we continually feed ourselves bad fuel, that our liver gets overworked, clogged and overtime our bodies can’t do the functions that they were designed to do?

In other words, it rebels against us. Often times it shows up in the form of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression, auto-immune diseases, arthritis, etc., etc., etc. Do you get the idea?

So, what are you feeding your body? Is it the proper fuel needed for optimal efficiency or are you feeding it cheap fuel that’s just breaking it down over time?

I know it’s not easy to always eat the right things. I’m not perfect either. I love sweets and pizza and my wine and beer. The key really is moderation AND making better choices.

An example, when I make sweets, I use better choices for sweeteners and really reduce the amount of sweet needed to pull it off and still be satisfying. As for pizza, well, yes I sometimes enjoy my favorite pizza place and I buy organic wine and the beer, it’s just nice on a hot summer night after you’ve worked hard all day.

The idea is to not punish yourself. I would love for you to get to the 80-20 place. What do I mean by this? 80% of the time you’re putting in great fuel, no processed foods, sugars and pops, etc. and foods that actually help your body heal, like bone broth, fermented and cultured foods and consuming sourdough breads instead of white and most wheat, as examples.

The other 20% of the time, leaves you open to the human factor, which is we’re all accustomed to eating fast food, buying packaged foods and when you eat out, the food quality isn’t always top notch.

Do you think that if you had a plan to get you to 80% you’d follow it? What if you were recently diagnosed with a serious illness or disease? Do you think you’d be able to ditch all the “crap” you’ve been putting in and seek out the help you need to allow your body to start healing itself?

If this interests you, I’d love to hear from you, as I have solutions and my kitchen is brimming with healing foods. Use the contact me box on this page and I’ll get back with you soon. Please feel free to share this as well. We’re here together.

I’m in this for you and your health and I have soooo much to share! From my kitchen to yours!

Kellie

Do you believe food can harm you?

.Inflammation

 

Do you love to eat? I do and I’m not afraid to tell everyone that. I love everything about it, the relationship, the camaraderie, the laughter and of course the food. Do you know what I mean?

When was the last time you sat down around a dinner table with family or good friends and enjoyed the laughter, the stories about the day or week, the really bad jokes and just plain catching up?

I sometimes think that this has become a lost art form. I remember growing up and we all sat down for meals at the kitchen or dining room table. There was never any thought about eating in another part of the house in front of the TV or the computer.

For most, our lives get to be fast paced and hectic, especially if you have children or grandchildren that you are involved in transporting to and from events. That’s why it’s even more important to plan a meal or two together per week just to enjoy each other.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing a lot about Inflammation. What it is, how it affects our bodies, both positively and negatively and last week I shared what some of the best foods are for lowering inflammation that occurs.

I prefer upbeat, positive news, don’t you, rather than negative, dreary things? I also know that you can’t stick your head in the sand and pretend not to want to know things you should, which really is considerable when it comes to your health.

I find it to be one of the most complex issues in our lives today. Not to say that there aren’t others, as I know there are, health though is a tough one for so many people, including me at times.

We are all barraged with what we should and shouldn’t do what we should and shouldn’t eat and at the end of the day, we need to acquire a good firm foundation, which includes a wealth of great information, patterns and habits that resonate with you and take one step at a time.

Taking in everything at once is insane and often results in failure. Let’s tackle this together, one step at a time.

Since I focused on the good stuff to put in last week, read that article here, let’s tackle the not so pleasant list of foods that are some of the worst offenders for our health and for causing or exacerbating an issue currently with inflammation.

On top of the list is….

 1. Foods high in sugar and saturated fat can spur inflammation. “They cause over activity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels.

2. Trans Fats, think hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils

3. Sugar

4. White bread and pastas (these break down slowly into sugar)

5. Alcohol (over moderation can cause leakage from the gut and sugar content in some cases)

6. Omega-6 Fatty Acids – our diets generally have too much

7. MSG (monosodium glutamate) – this little sneaky item is in a lot of foods and most labels don’t tell you that it contains MSG. You need to look for these following ingredient words, which means MSG it is ALWAYS present:

  • Monosodium Glutamate
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Plant Protein Extract
  • Sodium Casein ate
  • Calcium Casein ate
  • Yeast Extract
  • Textured Protein (Including TVP)
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
  • Corn Oil

Because this is a big problem for everyone, I’d like to spend another article discussing MSG in general. You’d be surprised just what it is and what it does.

What is one thing you can agree to remove from your diet from this day forward that may be on this list, like sugar or white bread?

Remember, we’re in this together and we’re taking baby steps.

Until next time, make your day spectacular and healthy!

Kellie

 

Do you believe foods can heal?

Inflammation

I’m so glad you’re here. Last week I introduced the inflammation concept. Inflammation is both a great healing part of the body, it’s the body’s immune response and without it, we couldn’t heal. And it can also be a detriment to our bodies if left unchecked and out of control, as in rheumatoid arthritis, it can damage our bodies. Plus, it really is thought to play a role in obesity, heart disease and cancer.

If you didn’t get the chance to read it, I highly suggest you do. It gives a pretty straightforward outline of the roles inflammation plays.

This week, I thought I’d introduce some of the best foods for fighting inflammation. You might be saying, why food, why wouldn’t I just take some supplements or pharmaceutical drugs to combat this? Well, my answer would be that I personally know and believe that foods can and do heal our bodies.

So lets’ begin this food journey….see how many of these things you can incorporate on a daily basis.

Salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines (often called oily fish) are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are shown to reduce inflammation. To really reap the benefits, we need to eat fish several times a week and obviously baked or boiled vs. fried.

I personally love fish, but one of daughter’s just doesn’t like fish and you may be like her. My suggestion is then to consume a high quality fish-oil supplement.

Another food that’s great for fighting inflammation is whole grains and that’s because whole grains have more fiber, which has been shown to reduce levels of C – reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation in the blood, and they usually have less added sugar as opposed to refined, white bread, cereals, pastas and rice.

Just a quick side note about grains, remember that preparation is just as important. They need to be soaked before they are consumed. I’ll share more on this topic in another article.

Vitamin E studies have shown it may play a major role in protecting the body from pro-inflammatory molecules call cytokines. Dark leafy greens, like kale, spinach, broccoli and collard greens are great examples. These same greens are also higher in vitamins and minerals, like calcium, iron and phytochemicals that fight disease.

Nuts are another great source of inflammation-fighting healthy fats, especially almonds. They are high in fiber, calcium and vitamin E and don’t forget about walnuts, which have high amounts of alpha-linoleic acid, which is a type of omega-3 fat. If we speak about antioxidants, all nuts rank high, which help your body fight off and repair the damage that’s caused by inflammation. Make sure you soak these before consuming. Here’s a great how to.

Earlier I mentioned colorful vegetables as being a healthier addition, but what I didn’t mention was peppers, which are also known as nightshade vegetables. Some say this bothers those with rheumatoid arthritis, others don’t see any problem. This is where it’s important to pay attention to how your body reacts to specific foods. Hot peppers are really rich in capsaicin, which is a chemical that’s often used in creams that reduce pain and inflammation.

Tomatoes are high in lycopene, which helps to reduce inflammation in the lungs and throughout your body. Did you know that when you cook tomatoes, they have more lycopene than raw tomatoes? These are also considered nightshade vegetables.

Beets are other really bright colored vegetables. Most of the time, they are red, my favorite color. Remember we said colorful vegetables are higher in antioxidants. They have also been shown to protect us from cancer and heart disease. They are also high in fiber, vitamin c and plant pigments called betalains.

You can eat these, cooked, fermented or think Beet Kvass, yum!

Who loves garlic and onions? Me and probably you too! Did you know that in studies, garlic has been shown to work like NSAID pain relievers like ibuprofen, which is often prescribed for inflammation. Onions have similar anti-inflammatory chemicals, including the phytonutrient quercetin and the compound allicin, which breaks down to produce free radical-fighting sulfonic acid.

There are also some spices that work incredibly well, like ginger and turmeric, which are really common in Asian and Indian cooking. Turmeric, think bright yellow curry, works in the body by helping it turn off a protein that regulates the immune system and triggers inflammation. I also mentioned ginger which has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the intestines when it was taken in supplement form. I prefer fresh myself and it’s so easy to incorporate, like in fresh juices and kombucha. Another yum!

Again with the colorful fruits and vegetables, think bright pretty berries. They have really powerful chemicals that give them their bright colors also help fight inflammation. Some of my favorites are blueberries, which help protect against intestinal inflammation, red raspberries have been shown to help with arthritis and strawberries have helped women have lower levels of CRP in their blood.

Let’s not forget a good quality olive oil, which is a plant-based fat. There is a compound called oleocanthal, which is where olive oil gets its taste, also acts similarly as NSAID painkillers in the body, like ibuprofen. I would recommend the extra-virgin kind of olive oil.

The last, and probably my absolute favorite are tart cherries, which have been shown in studies to have the highest anti-inflammatory properties of any food. Athletes often use tart cherry juice to improve their performance and reduce their use of anti-inflammatory pain meds. What I’ve seen recommended is consuming about 1 ½ cups of tart cherries or drinking a cup of tart cherry juice per day to reap the benefits. If you haven’t noticed, I didn’t say sweet cherries; they haven’t gotten the same results as the very delicious tart varieties.

Next week, I’ll share with you some of the worst offenders of the inflammation and why each of them the bad wrap that they do have.

What are some ways that you could incorporate more of the anti-inflammatory foods into your daily food plan? Remember, you can start small, so perhaps it’s just adding one, what would it be?

Until next time, here’s to your health!

Kellie

Deadliest diseases caused by this, do you have it?

Inflammation

 

This is the definition of inflammation, so what exactly is it and is it bad for me? Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve probably heard the word inflammation thrown around quite a bit. You might even think it’s a bad thing.

The body truly is a miraculous healer. Inflammation plays a critical role in this manner, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. The body does know how to take care of itself.

Things like heart disease, obesity, depression, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, insulin resistance, etc. are all linked to inflammation in some form or other. I get that most people think that it’s really bad right?

As I mentioned earlier, it’s there for a purpose. Have you ever cut your finger or sprained an ankle? What happens? It gets red, swollen, and hot and it hurts right?

What this means is that our body is telling you that it intends to tackle this problem, it intends to take care of the source of pain. All of which is truly magical when you think about it and if you didn’t have the pain indicators, you’d continue to damage your body further and its absolutely necessary for the injury to heal.

Acute inflammation is the initial body reaction to some kind of trauma, like being hit, kicked or cut. There is also infection, sun burns, or skin burns, frostbite, allergic reactions and chemical exposure.

Symptoms of acute inflammation are increased blood flow that causes a warm sensation and it turns red, which brings leukocytes that are like the cleaning crew and oversee the healing process. Swelling typically occurs because extra fluid like plasma and leukocyte is brought in for the cleanup. Pain is another necessary symptom; otherwise you’d likely injure yourself further. Also losing some of your previous functionality happens too, just so you can heal properly.

So, if the body’s natural healing is inflammation how does it also play a role in heart disease, obesity, depression and the other things I mentioned?

When we have constant chronic and systemic inflammation, which is now beyond an acute immediate response and becomes turned on all the time and fully engaged, huge implications and problems happen. The whole process of the inflammatory process is supposed to be short lived, like several days or less. This isn’t obviously meant to be turned on all the time.

A lot of what the healing process is doing is breaking down the tissue and targeting damaged tissues and invading pathogens, before it starts to build it all back up, this same response had the ability to also damage our body. This normal system approach of healing is specific, targeted and short term and for this reason, we don’t want it getting out of hand and targeting healthy tissue, which is exactly what happens when our inflammatory system is turned on all the time.

There are many “stressors” that cause inflammation to get out of hand. Below are some of the problematic causes, which are reason for concern:

  • High sugar, high processed foods, bad fats (highly commercialized), high gluten coming from processed foods
  • High omega-6 and low omega-3 levels. Omega 3 is a really big part of the inflammation response. Our typical diets are typically too high in 6 and not high enough in 3.
  • Poor sleep or lack of sleep is another big problem. You know who you are.
  • Sedentary lives and not enough activity cause low-grade inflammation. We don’t even get out and walk like we should.
  • Chronic exercise also causes inflammation. If you run high mileage, your body is taking a pounding and you become chronically inflamed.
  • Poor gut health is another culprit because up to 80% of our immune system health comes from our gut and this also then control your inflammatory system.
  • Lack of down time and just being outdoors. Have you ever thought about how your senses come alive when you just unplug and enjoy nature?
  • Let’s not forget about stress and chronic stress. We all have some stress, but the real problem arises when we have repeated high, chronic stress with no release or lowering mechanisms in place.

So, I’ll end this segment with this. Now you know what inflammation is, what it does, why you don’t want it long term and what causes it.

In a future article, I’ll share some ways to help your body return to its normal inflammatory response mode and foods that will help this process!

Have you been diagnosed with heart disease, depression, obesity, auto immune or any other chronic illness or disease and what are you doing about it?

To your health,

Kellie