Category Archives: Wellness

Benefits of Fermented Foods

Well the first question is what are fermented foods?  Simple answer:  Foods that have been produced or preserved by the action of beneficial bacteria such as kefir, yogurt, cottage cheese, sauerkraut, ketchup,  tempeh, cod liver oil, miso, pickles, water kefir, sourdough bread, kombucha, beet kavas, kimchi, wine, beer, etc.  Fermentation is actually an ancient method to preserve food and also enhances digestive health, flavor, and nutrient absorption.

Its common knowledge that your gut or digestive system is the key to your immune system.   And its important to read the label to ensure that the foods have been fermented properly as in  “live cultured”.  For example not all ketchup is made using a natural fermentation process.

Did you know that fermentation also positivity correlates to improved mental health by influencing brain health?  Recent research has found traditional dietary practices having a positive impact on mental health.  This includes reduced anxiety, improved mental outlook, nerve cell resiliency, and diminished perceptions of stress.  Beneficial bacteria helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation which are both contributors to aging and poor health.

What happens is that chronic inflammation causes increased permeability of the intestinal barrier (a normal intestinal barrier is very selective on what is allowed through).  When your intestinal lining is more porous then there is an increased access to the absorption of food antigens and environmental toxins, disturbed blood glucose control, and reduced nutrient availability1.  How amazing for us today to reap the health benefits of this ancient practice that has been around for close to 10, 000 years.  And we don’t even know or understand all the contributions of fermented foods to our health.

Interestingly to note is that when studying the traditional diets around the world, a broad diversity (more genre and species) of beneficial bacteria is found whereas a low range of microbial diversity is found in urban diets.   Those populations consuming the traditional diets consume a variety of fermented foods1.

Another study explains that increased levels of carotenoids, an antioxidant known to protect against stroke and angina, was found in the gut and blood of healthy subjects as compared to stroke victims. “Thus, the increased incidence of carotenoid-producing bacteria in the gut of healthy subjects may offer clues to explain how the gut metagenome (bacteria genes) affects disease states.”2  

How do I start out this process of incorporating fermented foods into my diet?  A great place to start is asking around to see if friends or family already practice the art of fermentation and set up a day for a hands on demonstration.  Or you can go to Cultures for Health.

1.  Selhub, Eva. Fermented foods, microbiota, and mental health: ancient practice meets nutritional psychiatry. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 33:2, 2014.

2.  University of Gothenburg. Changes in gut bacteria protect against stroke, research finds. Science Daily, 2012.

Healing Your Cavities Naturally

Article to promote thinking: The Disturbing Trend of Minimally Invasive Dentistry.  Of course I would like to avoid getting fillings.  Anyone knows that fillings don’t last and need repair.  The point of the article is that you can heal your cavities by re-mineralizing your teeth.  This is through changing your diet and most importantly adding fermented cod liver oil and raw grassfed dairy.  Well what about fluoride?  Fluoride doesn’t address the root cause of cavities and will not prevent them.  Getting to the underlying cause of dental decay is purely nutrition.  So as I continue to refuse fluoride for my kids at their dental cleaning,  I continue to keep fermented cod liver oil and raw dairy as part of our daily diet adventure.

Gluten Free Restaurant List for San Diego County

Put out by Sharp Health Care, here is a gluten free restaurant list for San Diego County.

Also, Urban Tastebuds, has a list of 75 gluten free menus of well known restaurants around the country.

Potential Hidden Sources of Gluten

For those needing to follow a strict gluten free diet, you can check out this in depth guide from www.glutenfreegluten.com of the foods to avoid.  Although I would rather have a list of what foods you can eat, this is a good start for realizing just where gluten can hide–you might be surprised.  So use this list and start making a list of what foods you like and can eat on your gluten free diet to make shopping easier.

Great Coconut Flour Breads Recipes – Gluten Free too!

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Easy Sandwich Flatbreads

Check out these great Coconut Flour Bread Recipes by Radiant Life. I absolutely LOVE the coconut flour pumpkin bread (fabulous as a side for dinner or snack). What is fun for sandwiches is the Easy Sandwich Flatbread recipe.  You can get the bovine gelatin here:  Bernard Jensen’s Gelatin or Great Lake Gelatin

Note:  you can also add the gelatin to your homemade bone broth for added bone and collagen support.

Belly Fat: What’s up with coconut oil?

Coconut oil as been found to reduce abdominal fat and waist circumference. 

A study showed that two groups were given either 30 grams (2 TB) of coconut oil or soybean oil each day over a 4 month period.  The coconut oil group had a decrease in waist circumference,  increase in HDL (good cholesterol), and decrease in LDL/HDL ratio when compared to the soybean oil group. (too much LDL can cause heart disease).  Both groups did loose total weight but the soybean oil group actually had a slight increase in abdominal weight1.  Another study compared two groups eating long chain fats to medium chain fats.  The group that ate the medium chain fats had lower: BMI, waist and hip circumference, subcutaneous and visceral fat, and total body fat.  Blood triglycerides were also lower.2  Another study using virgin coconut oil showed decreased waist circumference only.3

Why does coconut oil decrease abdominal fat?  It has to do with the medium chain fats that make up coconut oil. These fats are transported directly and quickly from the blood to the liver then to your cell’s mitochondria (the cell’s energy producing powerhouse).  Your cells such as those in your muscles are able to burn energy from the medium chain fats very efficiently.   Medium chain fats actually help increase your energy expenditure and the burning of fat or in other words your metabolism is increased.4,5

Subcutaneous fat is just below your skin while visceral fat is located in the abdominal region and between organs.    Too much visceral fat can be a problem leading to increase risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon cancer.6 

A little side note:  Coconut oil is a fat and albeit a healthy one, it still is high in calories.  Its best to not add coconut oil to your diet but replace some of your daily fats with it.

Questions to ask your self:  Have you had your waist circumference measured measured lately?  How can you incorporate coconut oil healthily into your daily eating habits?

  

1.  Assuncao ML, et. al.  Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obestiy. Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601.
2. Xue C, et al.  Consumption of medicum and long chain triacylglycerols decreases body fat and blood triglyceride in Chinese hypertriglyceridemic subjects.  Eur J Clin Nutr.  2009.  Jul; 63(7): 879-86.
3. Kai ML, et al.  An open label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing viseral adiposity.  ISRN Pharmacol. 2011.
4.  Papamandjaris AA, et al.  Medium chain fatty acid metabolism and energy expenditure: obesity treatment implications.  Life Sci. 1998. 62(14):1203-15.
5. St-Onge MP and Jones PJ.  Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium chain triglyceride consumption relative to long chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue.  Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord.  2003. Dec;27(12):1565-71.
6.  Klein, Samuel, The case for visceral fat: argument for the defense. J Clin Invest. 2004. 113:11

Informational: GAPS Diet

GAPS: Gut and Psychology Syndrome list of disorders and disabilities the GAPS diet will help.  Just to name a few: does autism, dyslexia, migranes, bloating, and  acne spark your interest?

Watch a video with Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

What is the GAPS Diet?
How to begin the introduction GAPS Diet    (Here is another site that explains a little more clearly)
Full GASP Diet

“Following the Introduction Diet fully is essential for people with serious digestive symptoms: diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, some cases of constipation, etc.  The Introduction Diet will reduce the symptoms quickly and initiate the healing process in the digestive system.  Even for healthy people, following the Introduction Diet when experiencing a “tummy bug” or diarrhea will clear the symptoms quickly and permanently usually without needing medication.1

Maternal Nutrition and the GAPS Diet  (check it out here)

“New Baby: How to have a healthy baby in a GAPS family. What to do in pre-conception, during pregnancy and when the baby is born in order to prevent problems such as autism, hyperactivity and attention deficit, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, epilepsy and more.”2

1. Quote taken from website:  The GAPS Diet
2.  Dr. Natasha: www.gaps.me

Vitamin D and its orgins in adiposity

There has been so much interest in Vitamin D and the research is ongoing.

Here is a what they have found: “Lower vitamin D status was associated with lower fat mass in the offspring at birth but with greater fat mass at ages 4 and 6 y.”  Interesting!

Maternal vitamin D status in pregnancy is associated with adiposity in the offspring: findings from the Southampton Women’s Survey.

Could Low Vitamin D Be a Piece of the Childhood Obesity Puzzle?

Beautiful Bone Broth: An Ancient Food Tradition in All Cultures

20131107_6578I have been perfecting my bone broth and its a beautiful thing.  Can you see the gelatin consistency in the pictures?  That is what you want it to look like.  Beautiful!!  All ancient cultures have some form of a bone broth whether made out of fish, beef, or chicken.

Although low in calcium, bone broth has other trace nutrients, namely the amino acids proline and glycine, that are essential to building strong bones.  These amino acids are some of the key components to building collagen which is the structural component to bones, tendons, joints, skin, corneas, cartilage, the gut, and blood vessels. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, making up about 25%-35% of whole body content.

Dr. Kaayla T. Daniel has a well researched article called: Research Reveals Low Calcium Content in Bone Broth. A key point she brings up is that collagen is more important to bone strength and fracture resistance than calcium alone as it forms the cross links (or scaffolding/structural component) for your bones. Along with collagen supporting nutrients, it contains magnesium, phosphorus and silica–just to name a few.  Bone broth is a wealth of easily absorbable and digestible minerals.  So if your diet is low in calcium from milk you can benefit from bone broth for the re-mineralization and strengthening of your bones and joints.   Yes, its a super food that should be incorporated into every kitchen in America.

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Using a Mason jar to store broth in the refrigerator

Lets dig a little deeper into how gone broth is beneficial to joints and skin. Bone broth contains gelatin (mostly composed of the amino acids proline and glycine), glucosamine, and chondroitin which are good for your joints and skin. For example, glucosamine increases hyaluronic acid in our joints and skin.  Hyaluronic acid helps lubricate your joints and improves skin moisture and smoothness (less wrinkles).  Get this-Cellulite is not just too much fat collecting but a break down of the structural component of skin called collagen which keeps fat in its place.

Thought: Could adequate collagen in your diet help prevent or lessen stretch marks?  Maybe.

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Freezing as frozen cubes from an ice tray is a great way for adding to baby food or your own recipes

Another thought:  I believe bone broth is especially good throughout a person’s lifetime to keep their skin and joints in top condition.  Yes, we are a product of our genetics and what our ancestors ate, but we also can reverse predisposed genetic trends, keep the good genes working, and pass along healthy genes to our children.  Find a great explanation of the benefits and nutrients found in bone broth and a recipe: click here.

Want to increase the gelatin content? Add chicken feet to your sock.  To increase the your gelatin content in your diet 100% pure gelatin can be added to just about everything.  For supplementation, taking about 2 tablespoons per day for an adult is a good rule of thumb.  Two good sources are:  Bernard Jensen Gelatin or Great Lakes Gelatin.

Some good informational reads: