In the last week alone, I have been asked by over a dozen people about food allergies in one form or another. It seems to come up in conversations quite frequently. What I've learned from these interactions is that there is a lot of misinformation, and a lot of questions about food allergies, what they are, and what it all means?
More than 170 food have been documented as causing true food allergies. Research estimates that 1 out of ever 13 children currently has food allergies.
Allergy, Sensitivity or Intolerance
I believe this is where the confusion often begins. The term food "allergy" is often misused, and/or over used.
This is how we categorize food reactions:
FOOD ALLERGY: (IgE) Immunoglobulin E response.
FOOD SENSITIVITY: (IgA, IgD, IgG, IgM) Immunoglobulin response
FOOD INTOLERANCE: Inability to Digest
True Food Allergies
True FOOD ALLERGIES are mediated by the IgE immune response. Most antibodies bind directly to the antigen and neutralize it, not IgE.
IgE structure is spider like, with branched legs. Some of these lets attached to the antigen, while others attach to Mast Cells. The IgE antibody destroys the Mast Cell, releasing histamine. The process also produces other byproducts, like inflammatory cytokines, lipid mediators, and proteolytic enzymes. These byproducts contribute to systemic inflammation and allergic reactions which may manifest as:
These reactions are immediate, typically beginning within minutes to hours after ingestion.
Food sensitivities are bit more complex, as they can involve any number of other immunoglobulin reactions. There are different Ig responses and different types of responses. These reactions are not characterized by histamine release, but can elicit some of the same symptoms through other mechanisms.
IgA: Specific to mucosal reactions in the GI tract. Their job is to fight bacterial and viral infections as they enter the mouth. Over time, as food reactions occur, IgA builds up causing intestinal/mucosal inflammation. These reactions are delayed and occur over long term exposure
IgD: Specific to the upper respiratory mucosal. Their job is to fight bacterial and viral infections as they enter the lungs. IgM antibodies can be converted to IgD, causing respiratory symptoms such as asthma. These reactions can be immediate or delayed depending on the mechanisms of action.
IgG: Specific to proteins in foods. These antibodies are associated with systemic exposure to large food proteins. Like IgE reactions, these are immune regulatory actions in response to unrecognized food particles...but without the destruction of Mast Cells. These reactions are associated with systemic symptoms and can mimic IgE symptoms
IgM: Specific to infections. These antibodies are associated with systemic exposure to bacteria, viruses or other infections. They are the first antibody produced during an infections. They make "memories" of antigens encountered for future recognition. This antibody activates complement C3d. They are immediate reactions as well as delayed reactions.
C3: This antibody is part of the complement system of the immune system. It's job is to enhance the actions of the immunoglobulins. This is a genetic variant that can increase the likelihood of food reactions, and/or the severity of reaction.
4 Types of HYPERSENSITIVITY Reactions
Sensitivities are the most complicated food reactions, as each body and each immune system is very unique and different in how it reacts to antigens. This is why the symptomology of systemic reactions is so vague.
Type 1 Reactions: This is an IgE reaction that occurs within 2 hours of consumption.
Type 2 Reactions (Cytotoxic Hypersensitivity): This is an IgG/IgM reaction that occurs 2 hours to several days after consumption. This occurs when antibodies bind to self-antigens or foreign antigens and leads to phagocytosis, killer cell activity, or C3 activation.
Type 3 Reactions (Immune Complex Mediated): This is an IgG reaction that occurs days to weeks after consumption. This occurs when your body is producing an abundance of IgG to a specific food. The IgG binds directly to the food as it enters the bloodstream forming circulating immune complexes.
Type 4 Reactions (Cell Mediated): This is not an antibody response. Individual cells, when coming into contact with an antigen, react by producing cytokines and inflammatory chemicals. This reaction occurs several days after consumption or exposure.
Immediate vs. Delayed REactions
Immediate reactions are those that happen within the first couple of hours of exposure. These are the symptoms that we associate with IgE responses, but also be associated with mucosal Ig responses as well.
Delayed reactions are those that happen up to 3 days after exposure, and can last for up to 14 days. These are the symptoms associated with IgG and IgA responses.
DIAGNOSING Food Allergies
If food allergies are suspected, proper diagnosis is key in treatment. There are multiple testing options available depending on your symptom presentation.
Skin Prick/Scratch Test: This is the most common testing done through the Allergy Specialists. This test is performed by placing a small amount of a suspected allergen extract into a shallow scratch. Within 20-30 minutes a positive hive, or welt, will appear on the scratch. The size of the hive correlates with the intensity of the reaction. This test is used to diagnose IgE reactions only.
Intradermal Test: This is a similar test to the skin prick, but is more sensitive. This test is performed by injecting small amounts of a suspected allergen extract under the skin, rather than a scratch, and observing the reactions. These test results are more correlative with the serum testing. This test is used to diagnose IgE reactions only.
Elimination Diet: This method of diagnosis is not a blood or medical test, but a diet. In this diet, suspected allergenic foods are removed from the diet for a specified period of time. Then slowly added back in, one at a time, and observing the recurrence of symptoms. This can be a good diagnostic tool for children who are too young to do accurate serum testing, but may miss less common allergens.
RAST Test: This test is used in patients that are at risk for severe reactions when exposed, such as anaphylactic peanut allergies. This test is performed by blood draw. This test is used to diagnose IgE reactions.
Serum IgG1 Testing: This test is used to measure the delayed immune response. This test is performed by blood draw to measure immunoglobulin levels. This test can contain false positives due to cross reactions. This test is used to diagnose IgG1 reactions, which are less selective.
IgG4 Antibody Testing: This test is used to measure the delayed immune response to particular foods. This test is performed by blood draw to measure specific immunoglobulin levels associated with long term exposure to particular foods. This test is 90% accurate in diagnosing food specific autoimmune reactions. This test is used to diagnose IgG4 reactions, which are more selective and accurate.
IgA Testing: This test is used to diagnose new or active immune reactions in the digestive mucosa. This is performed by salivary testing. This test is used to diagnose IgA reactions.
Antigen Leukocyte Cellular Antibody (ALCAT): This test is used to measure leukocyte cellular reactivity in whole blood to food antigens, which measures delayed immune responses. This test is not a measure of IgG responses, but the final immune pathways. This test is more accurate than basic IgG testing in diagnosing food allergies.
ELISA Delayed Food Allergy Testing: This test is used to measure delayed immune responses (Type 2 and Type 3). This is performed by blood draw, where the serum is exposed to the antigen and processes are recorded. This test combines testing for IgG4 and other immune complexes. This type of testing is more accurate than measuring IgG1 alone.
Treatment for Food Allergies
At this time, the best course of treatment for food allergies is AVOIDANCE. The trick is learning how to properly avoid food allergens.
Many common food allergens, such as corn, are used in plastics, cosmetics, detergents, etc...making full avoidance very difficult. Others, like gluten, are complex and proper education on exposure sources is key.
Many people will say that they removed foods, but symptoms persisted, and this is because the hidden sources were not removed. It is best to consult a certified practitioner that is capable of guiding you in the proper journey.
Acupuncture can help to heal the damage caused by food allergies by increasing the body's repairative functions, decrease immune response, and balancing chemical process. This will only help if the trigger is removed.
Autoimmune Disease affects over 50 million Americans. It is one of the top ten causes of death among women over 65, and is the second highest cause of chronic illness in the US. Autoimmune Disease is on the rise, not only in the US but worldwide.
There are over 100 different autoimmune diseases currently. Autoimmune diseases are chronic and are often life threatening. They can affect any system in the body, and symptoms can vary, making them difficult to diagnose.
The current medical system offers little in treatment other than medications. Often only prescribing them once damage has been not, and not offering options for prevention. Autoimmune disease has an underlying cause, a trigger, that cause the body to overreact and attack itself. The goal of TCM and Functional Medicine is to find and treat the underlying cause to reverse and prevent damage.
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When you are in a healthy state, the immune system is balanced with both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory compounds. High cortisol levels skew this natural balance increasing the cells that fight external pathogens. These cells produce very inflammatory cytokines that are associated with autoimmune disease damage.
Symptoms of Emotional and Mental Stress Overload:
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Most of us share some level of unhealthy coping patterns:
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Benefits of Acupuncture on Stress Management
In ALL autoimmune conditions we see multiple nutritional deficiencies....IN EVERY SINGLE ONE!
Common deficiencies include antioxidants such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, as well as minerals like Zinc, Selenium, and Magnesium.
The standard American diet is very nutritionally poor, and full of preservatives, pesticides, and other chemicals that can affect the biology of our bodies.
Food talks to our genes. Good foods that are nutrient dense signal normal and healthy processes in our body. Bad foods (like hydrogenated oils) signal genetic mutations to become active or even form cancer. This is called Nutrigenomics; the science of how food affects our genes, and it is fascinating.
Many of the commercial farming practices in the US are controversial or banned in other countries. Research is still budding into how certain processes, like GMO, Glyphosates, and other commercial practices are affecting our immune system.
Benefits of nutritional Coaching
The most common foods allergens are: Dairy, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Soy, Strawberries, Wheat, Fish, and Shellfish.
An "intolerance" is different. This is an abnormal physiological response to a food NOT caused by an antibody or antigen reaction. These can be cause by enzyme deficiencies, or a weak digestive track.
Constant exposure to an allergenic food can cause a chronic immune response. Eventually triggering an autoimmune reaction. Some allergens create what we call Molecular Mimicry.
Molecular Mimicry is seen often with Gluten reactions. As the structure of the gluten protein is similar enough to our own body proteins that after chronic exposure the body begins to attack itself no long recognizing a difference between the gluten protein and our own body proteins.
Benefits of Gluten Free
If you have an autoimmune disease and want to try a gluten elimination diet, please call. (970) 631-8119. We offer gluten free coaching. Sarah is a certified Gluten Free Practitioner with the Gluten Free Society.
Over time all of the above stressors and mechanisms can lead to GI inflammation. 90% of all the Serotonin in the your body is produced in the GI tract. If there is dysfunction it can affect your brain and mood.
The GI tract makes up 80% of our immune system, and houses over a trillion beneficial bacteria. When this system is out of whack, this is a condition we call Dysbiosis. Dysbiosis of the bacterial ecosystem can lead to intestinal damage and inflammation, causing the immune system to overreact.
Leaky gut is another term often discusses when talking about GI inflammation. This is a condition of intestinal breakdown. The gaps between intestinal cells become too loose and allow larger particles of food, bacteria, yeast, and other toxins into the bloodstream. The immune system does not recognize these products and begins to overreact.
Symptoms of GI Inflammation:
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Benefits of Acupuncture for GI inflammation
Studies show that Acupuncture is more effective in reducing digestive upset symptoms in IBD than medication.
Over time, this chronic stress can overwork our adrenal glands, the organs that produce our stress related hormones. When our adrenals become exhausted, they no longer function properly.
With Adrenal Fatigue, or exhaustion, we have lower than functional levels of Cortisol. When this occurs, we get a relatively higher amount of Norepinephrine, Noradrenaline, and these cause high levels of inflammation when not properly balanced.
Symptoms of Elevated Stress Hormones and Adrenal Fatigue:
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Having a good way to deal with the stress of disease and a healthy outlet for emotion is key to healing. Professional counseling and Acupuncture can help.
Environmental And Internal Hormone Disruption
Chronic stress and elevated stress hormones can affect your hormones. The adrenal glands are also responsible for making our sex hormones.
Poor nutrition, the over consumption of sugars and processed foods can cause insulin resistance which can lead to insulin based hormone disruption. Insulin receptors are found on the reproduction organs and insulin plays a role in hormone regulation. When insulin is too high or too low, it affects the production and function of the reproductive hormones.
But there are also external hormone disruptors.
Birth Control, Hormone Replacement Therapy, and exposure to environmental estrogens also affect the natural functions of the body. They also play a role in nutritional deficiencies that are associated with several autoimmune diseases.
These synthetic hormones mimic natural hormones. They turn hormone signaling on and off, as well as bind to receptors and block natural hormones from working properly. When this happens we get altered and mutated hormone activity. The immune system is partially controlled by our hormones. When the hormones are disrupted, so is the immune system.
Xenoestrogen are environmental toxins found in everything from our skin care products to plastic water bottles. They are also found frequently in poor quality, commercial meats and dairy. Exposure to these toxins has been directly linked to autoimmune diseases, and cancers.
These excess synthetic estrogens cause inflammation in our body as a non-natural hormone that the immune system responds to. This pushes the immune system to overreact. This is particularly important for young women on long rounds of birth control as well as women who are perimenopausal or menopausal.
ALL hormones must be detoxed in the Liver. Synthetic estrogen metabolite 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone has been linked to autoimmune disease and breast cancer. One study found it 10x higher in patients with autoimmune RA.
Obesity & Binge Eating
Adipokines, inflammatory cytokines secreted by adipocytes (fat cells), have a very strong epigenetic effect on the entire body. Adipocytes also produce excess estrogen. They can trigger the gene expression of autoimmune diseases.
Binge eating is another cause of increased inflammation in the body. Binge eating is eating to the point of stomach pain, or discomfort. We are all guilty of this from time to time, we even have a holiday where it is expected of us. But this behavior, when indulged in frequently, can be a trigger of autoimmunity. Even if someone maintains a healthy BMI, but consumes enough food in one sitting to cause discomfort, they can produce an autoimmune reaction.
As the stomach distends past its appropriate size, it send out distress signals. This raises cortisol levels, and elevates our fight or flight responses. It also increases our insulin levels and can raise them high than the level needed, in the end leading to insulin resistance and diabetes. This mechanism also triggers the body to store more of the food consumed in the adipose tissue, the fat of the body, specifically around the middle belly region.
Benefits of Acupuncture for WEight Loss
Acupuncture works with the neuroendocrine systems of your body, and helps to regulate neurotransmitters and hormones associated with binge eating, stress eating, insulin issues, and obesity.
Common Infection Triggers:
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The key to prevention is making the environment inhospitable to the infectious pathogens. A body that is already suffering from inflammation or chronic stress, will be more likely to activate a dormant infection and trigger autoimmune disease. This is why many people who are carriers never have symptomology or repercussions, and others have triggered autoimmunity.
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- Mechanisms of Disease: The Role of Intestinal Barrier Function in the Pathogenesis of Autoimmune Disease
- Stress as a Trigger for Autoimmune Disease
- Acupuncture Blocks Stress Hormones
- Acupuncture in Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Synovial Fluid Estrogens in RA
- Obesity in Autoimmunity
- Environmental Chemicals and Autoimmune Disease: Cause and Effect
What is Sibo?
SIBO is a condition in which bacteria, that are normally found in the large intestine, are able to colonize in the small intestine. These bacteria produce toxin compounds that cause digestive inflammation and disease symptomology. Untreated, SIBO can cause long term damage and becomes more difficult to treat.
Symptoms of SIBO
- Gas and Bloating
- Diarrhea, Constipation or Alternating Diarrhea/Constipation
- Abdominal Pain and Discomfort
- Nutritional Malabsorption
- Systemic symptoms: Headache, Joint and Muscle Pain, Skin Issues
A common SIBO scenario is symptoms that WORSEN with high fiber diets, fermented foods, and probiotics.
How Does SIBO Happen?
Many cases of SIBO begin after a food poisoning episode. When the body is exposed to bacteria that cause food poisoning, there is damage to the cells that control peristalsis. When this mechanism is slowed, food stays in the small intestine longer than it is supposed to making a perfect home for bacteria to feed and colonize. If the exposure is severe and the bacterial overgrowth not treated, extensive damage can occur, leading to lingering symptoms.
Another common scenario is post cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal). Bile is an important part of our digestive system and has many functions. The gallbladder does not make bile, but it stores and concentrates it before releasing it into the small intestines. One of the functions of bile is to promote peristalsis. Thus, if the bile is no longer concentrated, and at optimal function, it can cause the maldigestion of food as well as the slower movement of the small intestines. Again, making a wonderful home for bacterial overgrowth.
How Do I know If I HAve SIBO?
The bacteria that cause SIBO produce toxic compounds, Hydrogen and Methane. These gases migrate into the lungs for expulsion. We are able to do controlled breath tests for these gases to accurately diagnose SIBO in patients.
If you suspect you may have SIBO, call today and talk to our practitioner
Grains have gotten a bad wrap in recent years, but they have their place in ours and our children's diets. The problem is that generations have not been taught the proper way to use grains. This knowledge has been lost to time, and technology. Today I want to not only talk about the different types of grains, but also the proper way to use them.
Grass Grains Vs. Seed Grains
The term grain has become synonymous with any seed that can be stored long term. Grass grains are the seeds of grass plants, white seed grains are all other seeds used as grains. (does that make sense).
Throughout history, the cultivation of grass seeds has been the dawn of civilization. Grass seeds are small, hardy, and when dried can last indefinitely. This means that people could harvest crops, store them, and have adequate high energy food for the winter.
In general these seeds contain higher amounts of starches, carbohydrates and simple sugars, with lower amounts of protein and fat. They also, generally, contain Gluten and high amounts of Phytic Acid (although there are exceptions to the rule)
These grains include:
Oats (Gluten Analogue)
Wild Rice (GF)
Throughout history, primitive cultures have collected these seeds and used them as we do grains today. Some were cultivated, and others were just left wild and collected at the end of the summer, and stored through the winter underground. These seeds are more primitive in nature, have not been hybridized and typically are more nutritious.
In general these seed grains contain lower amounts of starch and simple sugars, and higher amounts of proteins and fats. They are also, generally, free of Gluten and lower in Phytic Acid.
Seed Grains include:
Kaniwa (Not to be confused with Quinoa, which is different)
The Forgotten Art of Soaking
Unlike what the Paleo promoters would have you believe, humans have collect, eaten, and saved grains for millennia! Upwards of 100,000 years. That's a long time. It's hard to know who they used these grains, but we can look to modern primitive cultures, and the native american customs to understand what they learned and knew from thousands of years of using this food source.
The big thing they all did, was either Soak, Culture, or Cure these grains before using them. What did these processes do to the grains?
Seeds are little time capsules. Holding all they need to grow into a new plant, but laced with growth inhibitors that prevent germination until the environment is just right. These growth inhibitors are anti-nutrients. Their purpose is to protect the seed and keep the key nutrients safe until the time is right to produce life. We are not ruminant animals, in case you were unaware. We have but one lowly stomach, and no phytase digestive enzymes, therefore we cannot breakdown grains in their raw form. In order to access their nutritional stores, we need to externally begin the digestion that can be done in ruminant animals. This is where the soaking, culturing, and curing comes into play.
Soaking and sprouting as also been shown to decrease the amount of Gluten in grains. Maybe the amount of gluten intolerance in today's society is actually, in part (there are many reasons) due to the lost art of processing grains.
If you know someone who is of Asian descent, you will notice that they "wash" their rice before cooking it. My grandmother did this and I never really understood why, she probably didn't either...it's just "What you do" By washing and soaking the rice, she was unlocking the growth inhibitors, and allowing more access to the nutrition inside.
Think good quality sourdough bread! This use to be a popular way to make bread, before the addition of leavening agents that create the bubbling effect without culturing. Also, think Beer and other alcoholic beverages. Historically grains were used to make fermented and cultured beverages. This fermentation process was actually quite nutritious. Modern beer is typically processed to remove a lot of what made it so healthy...incentive to make your own.
One method, and the main method, was to treat it with lime before drying and storing it. The fresh corn was placed in water with Calcium Hydroxide (fire ash). The processed opened up the availability of nutrition in the corn, specifically Niacin (B3).
This is such an important part of processing corn, that has been forgotten. In fact, there are accounts of the devastating effects of communities that rely on corn, and skipped this important step. There is a disease called Pellagra. Pellagra is, basically, a nutritional deficiency. Take for example the introduction of cron to Africa. The africans loved it because of its prolific growth and it quickly became the main crop of the region..but they did not bring with it the knowledge of curing the corn. Because of this, severe malnourishment and disease spread through these areas. Only when the corn was properly cured, did the health improve. There are also stories of similar issues in the Southern United states.
Phytic Acid is great for Plants, Not for Nutrition
Phytic Acid is the plant storage form of Phosphorus. It is important for the plant, as it helps to pull essential minerals out of the soil and into the plant for storage for germination and growth. The bound form of Phytic Acid is called Phytate (phytic acid + mineral) If the bond is not broken through soaking, sprouting, or culturing, then the phytate is flushed from your system taking the essential minerals with it. This can cause mineral deficiencies very quickly, and minerals are already hard to get. Phytates can also inhibit the digestion of the proteins and fats in the grains, seeds and legumes as well.
Soaking and sprouting grains decrease the amount of Phytic acid and other growth inhibitors, but beginning the germination process and unlocking the nutrients needed for growth.
Fermentation and culturing produces phytase, the digestive enzyme that breaks down phytic acid (like in a cow's stomach, well one of them). It changes the composition of the phytase into a different phosphate group...one that is actually beneficial to the body (known to regulate blood sugar).
Often this begins with the grains you are choosing. In general, I like more primitive grains. As the more conventional ones, like wheat, have been over bred, hybridizes, GMO'd and are not the same as they use to be..which scares me. I like Seed Grains, as they are typically higher in fat and protein, tend to need less processing and have lower levels of phytic acid...so if you don't soak them that one time, you're okay.
When looking in the store, look for whole grains, or already sprouted grains (these are becoming much more common)
A Little Tip and Trick
So, here is what you can do. Take into account the fermentation. Make your pancake mix and leave it on the counter (room temperature) overnight...or 2...or 3. You will end up with this sourdough-ish pancake mix that is light, and bubbly, and easier to digest.
Grains for Breakfast
In reality, grains, in general, provide complex carbohydrates, protein and fat, as well as vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients.
If you pair them with good fats and proteins, you've got a great breakfast combo for your little one to not only get up and running for the day, but to have sustained energy throughout the morning.
Breakfast of Champions:
Banana Buckwheat Pancakes
In this meal we added an egg and some fruit, to really round it out.
Click Here for the Recipe
For today on want to focus on Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). A really cool chemical found in the fat of dairy...it has to be full fat, none of this lowfat, 2%, skim nonsense. If you make one change today for the health of your children, switch them to full fat dairy! For more on Full Fat Dairy, and why it is better, read my Lunchbox Post (Click Here for Article)
What is Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
In is found, primarily, in the meat and milk of ruminant animals (cattle). The amount of CLA found in these products increases with the amount of grass and pasture the animals consume. So, this means that in the conventional vs. pasture raised meat debate (really no debate), pasture raised wins again with higher amounts of CLA.
The purpose of CLA in dairy products is the signal the growth of muscle in developing young. In regards to our children, CLA stimulates the use of the sugars, proteins and fats in dairy and meat to grow muscle, not fat, in our children.
How does CLA Work
Many people, especially athletes, have began supplementing with CLA for fat loss...the conversion of their own fat cells for energy for weight loss. The research on this is not conclusive. More likely CLA works within the food it is found it, and works on the sugars and fats present in the meal to convert energy and stimulate muscle growth.
Other EFFECTS of CLA
CLA has been shown to work as an antioxidant, especially in cases of cancer. It's ability to lower Arachidonic Acid production, Regulate Estrogen, and Modify Eicosanoid Production, are possible mechanisms to this effect. It was most effective on estrogen cancers, such as breast cancer.
Some studies have also shown a positive correlation between increased CLA and lowering of negative lipid profiles (lowering of Triglycerides, and increasing HDL).
Why Is Conjugated Linoleic Acid Important?
It is a fat, and it is found in the fat of cattle and the fat of dairy. When we remove it, ie...skim milk, the way we digest and process the food changes.
I am a big fan of natural food...meaning leave it in its natural form and stop trying overthink it. Diary has fat, and it should have fat. When you mess with it, and remove the fat, you mess with the way the food should be consumed, thus you miss important nutrition. By removing the fat from dairy, you are removing CLA. Without the CLA the body processed the sugars in the dairy differently. Instead of being told to use the sugar as fuel, it is then stored in the body as body fat. With CLA, the body is not only told to use the sugar as fuel, but also fats, and also to specifically use them to build healthy muscles...not body fat.
Remember, though, that the amount of CLA in the meat and dairy, is found in better and higher quantities in grass fed, pasture raised cattle. Again, this is the natural diet of cattle. When you feed them processed grains, and meal, you get a different nutritional composition of your meat and dairy, and not for the better.
Breakfast of Champions:
Yogurt is a super simple, quick breakfast idea. Layering some fruit, raw, unfiltered honey, and Homemade Granola is the perfect combination with good quality plain yogurt.
Most conventional yogurts are filled with so much added sugar. Making your own, is an easier way to control the amount of sugar added. By using fresh fruit and a little bit of good honey, you can naturally sweeten the yogurt with some extra nutrition.
Choose a good quality, full fat, pasture raised/grass fed yogurt. This one is Brown Cow Cream Top, Grass Fed Yogurt.
I make a homemade granola that is full of coconut, nuts, and seeds (no grains) and lightly sweetened. It is the perfect topper to yogurt and can be used as a cereal.
Click Here for my take on this popular granola recipe
Today, I want to start the talk of balancing meals. In the next couple of days, I am going to work through Macronutrients. They are all important to the mental and physical health of our children, but knowing how to balance them has become a lost art.
What are Macronutrients
In general, macronutrients are the energy source for the cells. Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats are burned as fuel by the cells to create energy (like little engines). The type of fuel, and the quantity of each will determine how your child's engine runs.
Carbohydrates and basically sugars. Now, not all sugar is bad (although as a society we eat WAY TOO MUCH, and most of it refined...whole other topic). Our body, especially children's bodies, need sugars to grow and function.
All carbohydrates are broken down into the simples sugars through the digestive processes. These simple sugars are Glucose, Fructose and Galactose (from dairy). Glucose is the foundation sugar, and the building block of all other sugars. Fructose is even converted to Glucose in the Liver. Glucose is the sugar that raises blood sugar, and it is the sugar form that is used in the cells for energy conversion.
Glucose isn't all bad, in fact our brains (children more so) need glucose to function. In fact the brain uses HALF of the glucose demands in the body. Brain functions, such as attentiveness and learning, are linked with glucose levels.
Not Enough Glucose
Too Much Glucose
Too much glucose at one time can cause a cascade of health issues. Too much sugar was shown in studies to cause brain damage, like drugs, and decrease cognitive ability. It also induced uncontrollable energy levels, with an inability to sit still, concentrate or be attentive. In addition, too much sugar is also stored in the body as fat, causing other health problems.
Complex Carbohydrates VS Simple Carbohydrates
Simple Carbohydrates are the individual sugars. Digestively, these sugars do not need to be broken down and are absorbed instantly. Metabolically, they provide an instant energy source, that is often described as a sprinter...super fast, super intense, and a quick drop and fatigue.
Complex Carbohydrates are, in scientific terms, polysaccharides. Meaning they are several different sugars bound together (typically 3 or more). Digestively, these carbohydrates take longer to breakdown. Metabolically, they provide a more steady stream of glucose energy because the bound sugars take time to breakdown...generally.
There are some "complex carbohydrates" that work more like simple carbohydrates because the protein, fiber, fats, and other components have been stripped from the food and the starch can be instantly broken down, and they are often pairs with more simple carbohydrates: White Bread, Cakes, Pastries, etc...
Glucose Middle Ground
Choosing quality over quantity and making sure that you are pairing your carbohydrates correctly with other macronutrients is important (more later).
Simple carbohydrates, like those found in fruits and raw, unfiltered, honey, are paired, naturally, with other compounds that slow the metabolism of these sugars. They are also found, in generally, smaller and more controllable quantities. These are the types of sugars our body needs. Refined sugar, has been stripped of the compounds that would naturally be found with them, such as fiber, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other phytonutrients. Anytime you isolate a compound, it has the potential for excess, because there is no balance.
Complex carbohydrates, like those found in whole grains, and starchy vegetables, can also be either good or bad, based on the quality. Choose whole grains, and whole vegetables, and avoid processed complex carbohydrates like cereal and white flour, that has been stripped of important components.
Breakfast of Champions:
Apple cinnamon Quinoa Porridge
If you child has a high sweet tooth, start off with their regular sugary porridge, and begin cutting it back each time (you must do this with all meals). Also, make a a quality change to the sugar you are using, choose natural sources, like raw, unfiltered honey.
Over time, their taste preference will change, and they have learned to enjoy the flavor of the foods as is, without too much added sugar to mask the natural flavor.
For the recipe Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Porridge Click Here
Many of you grew up thinking that only the whites were good for you and that you should limit your yolk quantity (based on horribly performed research....long story). Please eat the yolks, that is where the nutrition is, and the egg supplies almost everything you need nutritionally, except for the minerals found in the shell.
Is it Healthy to Give my Children That Much Cholesterol?
Oh, that poor nutritional myth that dietary cholesterol increases heart disease. If you are still living this lie, change now. In fact, research, and dietary common sense, point to the opposite. In fact, having too little dietary cholesterol can cause an increase in LDL back cholesterol...okay, I am getting way off track here...children Sarah, we are talking children's diets (more on this at some other point, cause it is important for us grown ups).
So, back to children and dietary cholesterol! I want to talk specifically about this! There are so many other nutrients in eggs that are important for your child's health: 13 different vitamins and minerals, choline for brain health, protien for growing muscles, and Omega 3 Fatty Acids. But, today our focus is on the cholesterol, which many of you will be amazed to know is essential for your growing child.
Cholesterol for Learning and Memory
This is where cholesterol comes in. The brain NEEDS cholesterol to work properly. The process of developing neurons for learning and memory is called synaptogenesis. Synaptogenesis requires cholesterol. The synapses between nerve cells in the brain is how they communicate. The more you have the quicker your brain can make connects, and the more effectively you can learn. This is important for our children who are making new connections every day. In an in vitro experiment done in Europe, external cholesterol was added to neuron, in culture. With this cholesterol exposure, neuron formation multiplied, leading scientists to conclude that cholesterol was vital to the formation of healthy nerve connections.
The understanding of cholesterol is complicated and involves many different parts of the body at different times, for different reasons. LDL and HDL bound cholesterols cannot cross the blood brain barrier, but the Liver has this really cool ability to convert cholesterol in the body (diet) into a form of cholesterol that CAN cross the blood brain barrier, and affect different receptors that contribute to brain neuron health. And this is why studies show that dietary cholesterol positively influences learning tasks.
Cholesterol and Hormones
Next to the brain, the biggest user of cholesterol is the endocrine (hormone) systems. Cholesterol is the foundation of our steroid hormones (DHEA, testosterone, estrone, estradiol, pregnenolone, progesterone, cortisol, corticosterone, aldosterone, and others). Without dietary cholesterol, these hormones don't exist.
Sex hormone imbalances in adolescence (especially young women) are become all too common. These hormones do more in the body than work on reproduction. Estradiol is necessary for the process we discussed above, the conversion of body cholesterol into a form that can pass through the blood brain barrier.
Testosterone is responsible for the growth of muscles and bone. Typically there is a burst of testosterone with each growth spurt.
Proper cortisol levels help your child navigate new experiences, and regulate their fight or flight response.
Many neurotransmitters needed for brain health, learning, memory, and attentiveness (Dopamine, GABA, Serotonin, Melatonin, Acetylcholine) are regulated by steroid hormones. Children who struggle with attentiveness often have lowered levels of steroid hormones. In fact the drug Ritalin is used to stimulate the production of a specific steroid hormone found low in ADHD children, DHEA. It is hypothesised that ADHD children need more cholesterol and fat than those without ADHD, because they need more steroid hormone.
Cholesterol and Vitamin D
Do you know how Vitamin D is made?
Cholesterol, yes cholesterol, is the foundation of Vitamin D. UVB rays from the sun that enter the tissues come into contact with circulating cholesterol. With the help of zinc, UVB radiation changes cholesterol into Vitamin D.
Now, here is the kicker...why is everyone deficient. How, I have no way of researching, but I have my theories (and many scientists and research share the same view). My theory combines several different issues into one big problem.
- Diets are typically low in fats and cholesterols (because of nutritional myths that were pushed on the population decades ago, and just can't seem to die.). We have an irrational fear of cholesterol and fats, leading us to limit our intake...we need way more than we give ourselves credit for.
- Diets low in zinc. Zinc is a trace mineral that we should be able to get in adequate amounts, but with soil depletion, and poor dietary choices, deficiency is common. Many practitioners (including myself) can administer a simple zinc deficiency taste test to determine zinc levels...it is in office and immediate
- Overuse of sunscreen, which blocks all the UVB rays needed to convert cholesterol in Vitamin D.
So, based on this, my theory goes: Because we are nutritionally deficiency, and/or blocking the UVB rays needed, we are limiting our ability to process Vitamin D and thus becoming deficient.
Cholesterol and Zinc, almost, like an internal sunblock, grabbing the sun's rays and converting them into a needed hormone (yes Vitamin D is a steroid hormone).
Other Cholesterol Functions
- Cholesterol makes up the outer layer of each of our cells. Without adequate cholesterol, the cell walls are fragile and weak.
- Cholesterol makes Bile, and Bile digests fats and cholesterol.
Breakfast of Champions:
Broccoli cheese Frittata
I have my, super awesome, tiny cast iron skillet that I use to make these single egg frittatas. I highly recommend getting one!
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! It is the beginning meal that sets the foundation for the rest of the day. If the first meal of the day is nutritionally balances, the rest of the day can be a yo-yo of ups and downs that affect the overall health and performance of our children.
In the following series, I will show you some tips and ideas for healthy, balanced, easy to prepare breakfast ideas that give your children the foundation they need to excel in their physical and mental activities of the day. Each day we will discuss a nutrition topic that pertains to your child's physical and mental wellbeing.
Greens, Eggs & Ham
Breakfast of Champions 1: Kid Friendly Breakfast Ideas
Breakfast of Champions 2: The Incredible Egg & Cholesterol
Breakfast of Champions 3: Apple Cinnamon Quinoa Porridge & Glucose
Breakfast of Champions 4: Easy Yogurt Parfaits & CLA
Breakfast of Champions 5: Banana Buckwheat Pancakes & Choosing Grains
What is Preeclampsia?
Symptoms can include:
- Edema (specifically pitting in the ankles)
- Sudden weight gain
- Vision Changes
- In extreme cases, seizures and death
It is a very serious condition, but there are ways to lessen the incident. There is research that supports nutritional deficiencies to play a role in the onset of the disease.
Nutrients associated with the increase risk of preeclampsia and hypertension
- Food Sources Carotenoids: Any orange fruit and vegetable. Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Bell Peppers, Winter Squash
- Food Sources Retinol: Liver, Organ Meats, Grass Fed Butter, Pasture Raised Eggs
- Food Sources of B1 Thiamine: Sunflower Seeds, Navy Beans, Black Beans, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Lima Beans, Sweet Peas, Barley, Oats, Salmon, Trout, Pork
- Food Sources of B2 Riboflavin: Spinach, Beet Greens, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Green Peas, Broccoli, Sea Vegetables, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash, Soy, Tempeh, Almonds, Tuna, Eggs, Milk, Turkey
- Food Sources of B5 Pantothenic Acid: Mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Potatoes, Winter Squash, Papaya, Pineapple, Raspberries, Lentils, Dried Peas, Avocado, Wheat, Rye, Chicken, Turkey, Salmon, Red Meat, Eggs, Milk, Shrimp
- Food Sources B6 Pyridoxine: Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Bananas, Spinach, Kale, Chard, Beet Greens, Collard Greens, Tuna, Salmon, Poultry, Organ Meat (specifically Liver), Grass-Fed Beef, Raw Dairy
- Food Sources of B9 Folate: Lentils, Garbanzo Beans, Pinto Beans, Kidney Beans, Black Beans, Asparagus, Turnip Greens, Broccoli, Spinach
- Food Sources of B12 Cobalamin: Fermented Vegetables - Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kombucha, Liver, Eggs, Grass Fed Butter, Cheese, Red Meat, Cod Liver Oil
- Food Sources Vitamin C: Papaya, Oranges, Berries, Cantaloupe, Kiwi, Pineapple, Bell Peppers, Cauliflower
- Food Sources Vitamin E: Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Brazil Nuts, Peanuts, Avocado, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Turnip Greens, Asparagus, Beet Greens, Broccoli, Shrimp, Tuna, Fish Eggs, Liver and Organ Meat
- Food Sources Vitamin D: SUNSHINE without sunscreen with adequate cholesterol in the diet, Grass Fed Butter, Pasture Raised Eggs, Liver and Organ Meat, Salmon, Sardines, Tuna
- Food Sources Vitamin K1: Parsley, Kale, Spinach, Turnip Greens, Collard Greens, Beet Greens, Mustard Greens, Chard, Green Onions, Chives, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Broccoli
- Food Sources Vitamin K2: Natto, Miso, Tempeh, Sauerkraut, Kim Chi, Liver, Pasture Raised Eggs
- Food Sources Calcium: Collard Greens, Beet Greens, Spinach, Turnip Greens, Mustard Greens, Bok Choy, Fermented Soy (Tempeh, Miso), Sesame Seeds, Yogurt, Cheese, Milk, Sardines
- Food Sources Magnesium: Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Cashews, Almonds, Flaxseeds, Black Beans, Navy Beans, Lima Beans, Spinach, Chard, Beet Greens, Turnip Greens, Papaya, Raspberries, Barley, Rye, Oats, Brown Rice, Buckwheat, Quinoa, Tuna, Scallops
- Food Sources Potassium: Beet Greens, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Bok Choy, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli, Carrots, Summer Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Tomato, Cantaloupe, Papaya, Banana, Raspberries, Pinto Beans, Lentils, Lima Beans, Kidney Beans, Peas, Avocado, Salmon, Scallops
- Food Sources Zinc: Garbanzo Beans, Lentils, Peas, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Cashews, Quinoa, Oats, Spinach, Asparagus, Mushrooms, Liver, Beef, Lamb, Turkey, Shrimp, Scallops, Oysters
- Food Sources CoEnzyme Q10: Peanuts, Sesame Seeds, Pistachios, Azuki Beans, Hazelnuts, Bone In-Skin On Chicken, Beef, Organ Meat, Tuna, Sardines, Eggs
How To Prevent Preeclampsia With Diet
There are some foods that are better than other for providing the nutrition needed in the prevention of preeclampsia. As you noticed when reading the above section, there are some food group that are listed as food sources in most all of the nutrients. My top foods for preventing hypertension and preeclampsia would be:
- REDUCE PRESERVATIVE SODIUM: Research shows that once you have come into a hypertensive state, you are more sensitive to sodium and will react stronger than you would out of the hypertensive state. Typically because there is an imbalance in the sodium levels in the cells and out of the cells (in the blood). This imbalance causes a strain on the blood vessels and increases blood pressure. Preservative sodium is different than sea salt sodium, or table salt. This synthetic form of sodium is more difficult for Magnesium to transport and becomes built up in the blood more quickly. Learn to read the labels. Synthetic preservative sodium is found in most packaged products.
- REDUCE EXCESSIVE AND ADDED SUGARS: There are multiple studies on the detrimental effects of excessive amounts of sugars in the diet. In a natural and balanced diet, our body needs sugars. Fructose is a fuel for the brain, and Glucose is a fuel for every cell in our body. But in excess, or not properly balance, these fuels become toxins. In our society, we consume excessive amounts or processed and packaged foods that are full of refined flours and sugars, and typically lead very sedentary lives. These inactive lives and diets rich in unused fuels causes excessive weight gain, hormone disruptions, and internal damage. AVOID: Pre-packaged crackers, pastas, breads, cookies, cakes, sodas, vitamin waters, Gatorades, most granola bars/power bars/protein bars, chips, and other foods that come packaged and loaded with preservatives. Always look at the ingredients, as there are some varieties that contain whole ingredients. Your growing baby does need an element of fructose and glucose, but not concentrated like in high fructose corn syrup and candy. Stick to natural sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup, and fruits and fruit juices when needing to sweeten a recipe. If you are craving sugar, it could mean that you are not consuming enough vitamins and minerals or you are not balancing with enough fat. When you cells are malnourished, you will crave sugar.
- LEARN TO LOVE FAT: : It's time to let go of the decades of poor nutritional guidelines that were shoved down our throats. It's time to start increasing nutritionally dense fats like Olive Oil, Nuts, Seeds, Fish, Grass-Fed Butter, Avocados, Coconuts, and Animal Fats and saying good-bye to sugar laden, low nutrient carbohydrates. Many nutritional fats work as anti-inflammatories in the body. Without a proper level of good fats in our bodies, our hormones cannot function (Our hormones are made from fats!), our brain slows down (over 60% fat), our nerves become hypersensitive to stimuli, and our cells become weak. During pregnancy fats and cholesterols are even more important. They are the building blocks of the hormones that sustain pregnancy, as well as those that will prompt labor. They are also the building blocks of your baby’s brain, nerves, and hormones. We as humans need much more fat than we have been told.
- TASTE THE RAINBOW, AND I DON'T MEAN SKITTLES: What I mean is embrace the rainbow of colors found in fruits and vegetables. Foods that are rich in color are also rich in nutrition. They are also higher in antioxidants. Greens, Reds, Yellows, Blues, Purples, all of these colors are associated with nutrients and antioxidants.
- SPICE IT UP: Use herbs to flavor your meals. There is such an amazing array of herbs out there that not only add vibrancy to our meals, but are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, Parsley, Cilantro, Oregano, Lemongrass, Curry, Fennel, Dill, Mint, the possibilities are endless. Stimulate your body and your brain with these intense flavors, not added sugar. Many of these herbs are also important sources of pregnancy important nutrients (parsley – Vitamin K), others are specifically known to help treat hypertension (Basil, Cinnamon, Garlic, Ginger, Parsley, Dandelion)
- CHOOSE QUALITY NOT QUANTITY: The old adage of eating for two is a misnomer. The baby growing inside you, at the most, needs 300 extra calories a day at it's biggest. What we do need is more nutrients that sustain the health of your body...not calories. Excessive meals are hard on the system and put strain on the body. Often those consuming poor diets, or nutrient deficient diets, find themselves craving more food, even though they are eating large amounts of calories (well over what they need). This is because the foods they are consuming are nutrient deplete but high in carbohydrates and sugars, and the cells are actually STARVING for nutrition. Choose nutrient dense foods and smaller amounts over large amounts of poor quality foods. You'll be surprised at how much your food cravings and excessive hunger go away when your cells are getting the correct amount of nutrients.
- STAY HYDRATED: Stick with the good stuff, real water. If you need a good electrolyte substitute, make your own vitamin waters (don't drink "Vitamin Water" or Gatorade, unless you are a super athlete, even then it's questionable.) I love fruit infused waters, and you can use some lemon and cucumber to help with blood pressure. Water makes up the majority of our body (80+%). It is a cooling, and lubricating mechanism. When we are deficient the body can heat up and dry out, causing friction and inflammation. Dehydration also causes an increase in pain perception, and reduction in blood flow to the brain. Over time, chronic dehydration can affect the neurotransmitters of the brain. Even mild dehydration can affect your mood, causing mood swings and depression. During pregnancy, your body is making and filtering amniotic fluid, which is a combination of water Vitamin C, E, and other electrolytes. You need to consume enough for your needs, the amniotic fluid, and your developing baby. The old adage of eating for two, should really be drinking for two, which would be more accurate. A little drink to absorbing more and peeing less….add fruit, lemon, trace minerals, etc…to your water. Tap water is lacking in naturally occurring minerals, they are removed during filtering, and processing. Traditional peoples didn’t carry around and fill 32 oz water bottles 2-4x per day…they didn’t have to, the water they drank was more nutritional with little bits of soil and debris which aided in absorption.
Traditionally, for many of us, the holidays have been a time to let loose, and eat whatever, whenever with no cares and to deal with the consequences after the holidays.
That has been me most of my life. What I discovered is that, in the end, I felt like crap, and didn't "recover" after the new years. It became a perpetual cycle, just another yo-yo diet. I've changed my holidays for the better and so can you. Now, I know what you are thinking right now, "I am all for being healthy, but I want to ENJOY all the foods of the holidays." Oh, my friend you can do both! Trust me! By making some very simple changes to the traditionally holiday foods we already eat, we can improve the nutritional density and overall health of the the foods we love and our bodies, and maybe leave the holidays feeling better, not heavy and bogged down.
I want to break this down into a traditional holiday meal and show the heavy, sugar laden, traditional recipes and how you can change them to keep flavor and up the health benefits, a little before and after.
The Traditional Holiday Dinner
For most of us, the holiday meal looks like this:
- Roast Turkey or Roast Beef
- Winter Veggies
Quick Tips to Keeping the Holidays Healthy
- Choose Quality Ingredients: This is the number one rule. The quality of the ingredients you choose can either make a recipe nutrient rich, or nutrient poor. Sometimes we needs to choose ingredients that are not organic, or are canned/frozen. Knowing the best sources for limiting pesticide and chemical exposure, and increasing the nutrition available is important. The fresher and more in season, the better. Local produce and meat will have better flavor, as it can be picked and harvested fresh, and not be transported shorter distances. Find a nice local butcher, that supplies local meat that has been fed decent food itself. What animals eat changes their nutrition and flavor.
- Watch Your Portion Sizes: One of the wonderful things about the holidays is that there seems to always be food around, so you won't starve! With all this food, we tend to eat more than what our body really needs. Portion control is important. Keep them small, and stop when you are satisfied. Don't let your eyes be bigger than your stomach. In this way, you can eat a little of everything and not feel deprived of anything. Have that hot chocolate, just get the 8 oz instead of the 16 oz, and enjoy each and every sip of it.
- Go Full Fat: One thing I often see is that people indulge on large amount, but with less of the good stuff. Back to the hot chocolate (I may be craving one right now), get the smaller option, like we mentioned about, but don't skimp on the full fat milk, and the whipped cream. If you have smaller amounts of richer flavor, and actually sit and enjoy each taste, you will crave less and be satisfied with the smaller serving. When you consume larger amounts of less satisfying options and consume it quickly, your body feels like it was cheated, or that something was missing you you feel unsatisfied.
- Cut the Sugar: In our society we eat WAY too much sugar on a daily basis, and the holidays are a big culprit in over supplying the sweet stuff. So, with your delicious 8 oz hot chocolate (back to this hot chocolate again) that is full fat, try cutting the sugar in half...At Starbucks, the hot chocolates are a combination of Chocolate syrup and Vanilla syrup...have the pumps cut in half or omit the vanilla. I swear you cannot tell. When you are making recipes that call for lots of sugar, cut the sugar, or replace it with better alternatives, or both. We need to, as a culture, learn to love less sweet foods. Cutting Sugar does not mean replacing it with neurotoxic chemical sugar substitutes like aspartame. This is a seperate topic, and I have addresses the sugar issue in several other posts.
- Drinks Have Calories and Sugar: Often it is the drinks that throw us over the edge. Let's all be honest, we love the holidays, non only for the food, but the wonderful winter drinks: Hot Chocolate (enough with the hot chocolate, right), Wassail (hot spiced cider, for those that are not familiar), Egg Nog, Wine, Beer and Cocktails. Many of these are like mini meals in the amount of calories and sugar they through at you. Keep track of how many you have and make sure that you save and savour them for a time that you can really enjoy them, like events with friends and family. Remember as well, that if you want that 8oz, full fat, half sweetened hot chocolate from Starbucks, to count that as a mini meal in your day.
There, that doesn't seem too hard, right? Now, lets see it at work in the recipes below.
Turkey - The Centerpiece of the Holidays
Choose fresh herbs, and save the giblets for the gravy.
Turkey and Meat Recipes to Try this Holiday
- Browned Butter Sage Turkey - by Specked Plate
- Herb and Butter Roast Turkey - by Half Baked Harvest
- Mustard and Rosemary Roast Turkey - by Food and Wine
- Christmas Goose - by Gordon Ramsey
- Roast Duck with Plums - by Saveur
- Garlic Crusted Prime Rib Roast - by Life Tastes Good
- Rib Roast with Gremolada - by Emeril Lagasse
- Chipotle Pinapple Jerk Glazed Ham - by Half Baked Harvest
- Baked Ham with Honey Mustard and Apples - by a Spicy Perspective
- Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb - by Simple Palate
Many of the popular stuffing mixes are full of preservatives, and added gunk. So, learn to read labels. If you are a family that makes, from scratch stuffy, which I have and love, good for you.
STOVE TOP STUFFING MIX INGREDIENTS (from Kraft website)
- Fortified flours should be avoided: I know it seems nice to have added vitamins to our flour mixes, especially the B vitamins. Sadly, this is just propaganda. Folic Acid specifically should be avoided. It is a synthetic version of the naturally occuring Folate (which we do need in large amounts). There are theories that link the over consumption of synthetic folic acid with the rise in the genetic mutation MTHFR that inhibits the methylation of B vitamins (specifically Folate and B12). So here is a novel idea...don't process the grains to the point of removing the nutrients, and then needing to add them back.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup: Sure some of you out there will hear and believe that HFCS is just like any other sugar, and it is, but it's also highly processed, heated and denatured to be obtained. It is also cheaper, and widely used, because of governement subsidies on corn, and tariffs put on imported natural sugar. HFCS is also onverted in the liver into triglicerides, blood fats, and can cause the same damage seen in alcoholism.
- Hydrolyzed Soy Protein: That has processed written all over it. To obtain HSP, the soy beans are boiled in a vat of Sulfuric Acid, which is then mixed with a caustic soda to neutralize the acidity. This method converts naturally occuring glutamic acid into monosodium glutamate, good ole' MSG.
- Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed oil: I honestly cannot believe ANYONE is still using this. Hydrogenation is a chemical process that converts a normally liquid fat into a solid fat to replace lard or butter (why you want to replace butter is beyond me). The process is chemical, and the by-product are little particles called Trans Fats. These are the WORST kinds of fats you can consume. They are not natural, and have been links with high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, obseity, and death.
- Soy in general: if you see food that has added soy ANYTHING, put it back. Soy should be fermented before consumption. This breast down certain naturally occuring chemicals to make it edible. (not all plants are edible people, and many need proper handling...like potoatoes and soy, to not be poisonous).
- Potassium Chloride: It is added as a substitute and a balance for the redicious amount of salts and sodium in the product. Naturally plant based Potassium is typically potassium citrate. Overall not a huge issue, unless you have kidney issues, ,Addison's disease, heart disease, high blood pressure or Crohn's. OR on any of the following medications: Inspra, Lanoxin, Quinidine, ACE Inhibitor, Bronchodialtors, and Diruetics.
- Caramel Color: That sounds so bengein, but food dyes are one the most reactive neurotoxins, effecting the brain functions and neurotransmitters of the brain. A 2007 research study connected 4-Mel Caramel Color to cancer in mice.
- Maltodextrin: This is a highly processed starch, basically a partically hydrogenated carbohydrate. It is rapidly absorbed as glucose in the body, although is not counted in the sugar grams. It is directly associated with increased risks of diabetes and should be avoided by those with insulin resistance.
- Disodium Guanylate/Inosinate: Used in conjuction with MSG to excite the neurotransmitters of the brain. Like MSG they are neurotoxins that can effect the neurochemistry of the brain. Neurotoxins are linked with ADHD/ADD in children, depression, anxiety, and other mental and neurological disorders. In addition they are Sodiums, and not good Sodiums. These are they types of sodium that cause issues with cardiovascular system NOT naturally occuring salts, like good table and sea salts.
- BHA/BHT: These are both chemically made preservatives. They are hormone disruptors and can change and affect the reproductive hormones of both men and women. They are xenoestrogens. Chemically derived estrogens that look like estrogen and can fit into the estrogen receptors, but do not function like estrogen, blocking the receptors sites and depleting the cells of the estrogen they need and leaving the blood with too much. They are directly linked with estrogenic cancers such as breast, cervical, and other cancers.
- Propyl Gallate: It is used to prevent animal fats from going rancid. It is a chemical preservative that several studies have linked with brain tumors and childhood asthma.
Stuffing Ideas to Try this Holiday
By adding the potatoes with the skin, we automatically increase the nutrient density of the recipe.
Grass-Fed Butter is rich in good cholesterol, fat soluble vitamins A, E, D, K, and Omega 3 fatty acids...leaps and bounds over conventional butter.
Adding in somehting green, like kale, parsely, and chives, addes some more Vitamin K, mineras (magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium), and phytonutrients that increase immunity, prefect for the winter cold season.
Full fat milk, preferably grass fed, give the potatoes a creamy texture, and gives you more of those great fat soluble vitamins (D), and another nutritional fat called Conjugated Linoleic Acid, which signals the body to convert fat into muscle.
Also, use good quality olive oil, instead Full Fat Milk, if you are trying to reduce your dairy.
Potato Recipes to try This Holiday
Not to mention the amount of preservatives and additives in the packaged powdered gravy mixes.
MCCORMICK TURKEY GRAVY MIX INGREDIENTS (from McCormick website)
- Silicon Dioxide: It is added to powders to prevent sticking and clumping. Okay, so this one isn't all that bad. Silicon Dioxide is found in nature, and it comes from mining operations (no chemicals, or heavy refining involved). There is controversy, as no research has shown a link with specific disease, but these were done on a different form, so sadly there is not real research on who it affects the body. It can, however cause lung damage if inhaled.
- Natural Flavor: Seems harmless enough, but this is a nasty way of hiding MSG in food.
Gravy Recipes to Try This Holiday
Liver is one of the richest sources of B12 and Vitamin D in the diet.
Whole wheat flour, with no fortification, adds gluten to thicken. If you are gluten senstive/allergic, you can substitute brown rice flour.
Many premade, frozen rolls, are full of all sorts of horrible ingredients that contribute to disease, obesity, ADHD, and other health problems.
I tend to lean towards naturally fermented sourdough for all occations. The natural fermentation helps to breakdown phytic acid, and increase the nutrients. Also look for sprouted grain breads and rolls, Whole Foods makes a Spouted Seeded Loaf that is amazing!
There is always making your own!!!! Learning to make homemade sourdough is an art, and something I have never mastered. But, I have friends that have sourdough starter that is over 100 years old and they make the most out-of-this-world breads and baked goods with it. I tend to use whole grain sprouted grain flours in my baking/cooking anyways, so I do make a couple of rolls and baked goods this way during the holidays (like cinnamon rolls on Christmas Day).
CAMBELL'S CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP INGREDIENTS (from
Look for color, greens, organes, reds, this is a key to unlocking higher nutritional density, phytonutrients and antioxidants.
Vegetable Side Dishes to Try This Holiday
- Healthy Vegan Green Bean Casserole - by Food Faith Fitness
- Brown Butter Green Beans with Slivered Almonds - by Recipe Runner
- Winter Beet and Pomagranate Salad - by Half Baked Harvest
- Autumn Salad - by Julias Album
- Perfect Roasted Beets - by Everyday Dishes
- Braised Whole Baby Beets - by Nourished Kitchen
- Herb Roasted Tri Colored Carrots - by Averie Cooks
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pear and Hazelnuts - by Vanilla and Bean
- Lemon Garlic Skillet Brussels Sprouts - by Mostly Homemade Mom
- Grilled Fennel with Parmesan and Lemon - by Skinnytaste
Desserts to Try This Holiday
Allergies And Asthma
Follow My Diet
Group B Strep
Labor And Delivery
Nuts And Seeds
Type 2 Diabetes