Liver Health....

Posted on November 21

Coming into the holiday season, social gatherings can bring about more alcohol intake than usual. Many people would say their liver’s worst enemy is alcohol. Yes, alcohol is harmful to your liver, but there’s another substance that can be equally damaging......fructose. Fructose, the most damaging type of sugar to your body, is particularly hard on your liver, much like alcohol!

Fructose must be 100 percent broken down by your liver. Glucose on the other hand only needs to be partially broken down before it can be utilized.

Fructose is metabolized directly into fat that gets stored in your liver and other internal organs and tissues as body fat.

Fructose produces toxic metabolites and free radicals when it is metabolized, that can lead to inflammation in your liver

Fructose is a cheap form of sugar that’s found in thousands of food products and drinks.

If you already struggle with fatty liver, high cholesterol, diabetes or inflammatory issues, consider limiting your total fructose intake to 25 grams per day, coming from whole fruit, not juice or added to a processed food.

Crispy Mediterranean Chicken Thighs

Posted on November 20

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
¾ teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (approximately 3 pounds)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place oil and spices into large bowl and mix together, making a paste. Add chicken and rub mixture onto chicken until evenly coated. Place on baking sheet.
Bake approximately 30-35 minutes until golden brown and chicken registers temperature of 160 degrees F.

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Friday Funny....

Posted on November 15

Pesticides

Posted on November 13

Pesticides have been linked to a wide range of human health hazards, ranging from short-term impacts such as IBS,
headaches and nausea to chronic impacts like cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption.

Ideally, choose organic as much as possible, but remember that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. If you need to pick and choose which produce to buy organic, consult EWG's "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean 15" lists, which highlight the most and least contaminated produce as follows:

'Dirty Dozen' — Choose Organic

Strawberries
Spinach
Kale
Nectarines
Apples
Grapes
Peaches
Cherries
Pears
Tomatoes
Celery
Potatoes

'Clean 15' — OK to Choose Conventional

Avocados
Sweet corn
Pineapples
Sweet peas (frozen)
Onions
Papayas
Eggplants
Asparagus
Kiwis
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Cantaloupes
Broccoli
Mushrooms
Honeydew

There's a Scientific Reason you Crave Junk Food When you Don't Get Enough Sleep

Posted on October 29
An ancient system
What is it about sleep exhaustion and junk food? The answer lies in history, back when we dug in the dirt for starchy tubers, foraged for sweet berries and gorged on fatty fish.
Simply put, a lack of sleep triggers ancient instincts that yearn for rich, sweet, fatty foods.
Evolutionarily speaking, it was a big deal to have a high carb, high fat meal, because you didn't necessarily have those all of the time.
If you think back to feast or famine times, having a meal with lots of carbs or fat was something that your brain would say, 'Hey, we want to have that.'
 
Sleep and Hormones
You may have heard about two hormones that control our urge to eat: leptin and ghrelin. I always tell my patients to think about them by their first letter.
The 'l' in leptin stands for lose: It suppresses appetite and therefore contributes to weight loss. The 'g' in ghrelin stands for gain: This fast-acting hormone increases hunger and leads to weight gain. When you're sleep deprived, research shows, ghrelin levels spike while leptin takes a nose dive. The result is an increase in hunger.
 
And that brings us to the bottom line: There's not gonna be a pill any time soon for the sleep-deprived junk-food junkies that we are.
Instead, you'll have to do what the doctor says to reduce your illicit cravings: Get more sleep.

Why Sugar Takes a Toll on Mental Health

Posted on October 24

There are at least four potential mechanisms through which refined sugar intake could exert a toxic effect on mental health:

1. Sugar (particularly fructose) and grains contribute to insulin and leptin resistance and impaired signaling, which play a significant role in your mental health.

2. Sugar suppresses activity of a key growth hormone called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes healthy brain neurons. BDNF levels are critically low in both depression and schizophrenia, which animal models suggest might actually be causative.

3. Sugar consumption also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system, which is linked to a greater risk of depression.

4. Sugar impairs the microbiome and its influence on the modulation of stress response, immune function, neurotransmission and neurogenesis

In 2004, British psychiatric researcher Malcolm Peet published a provocative cross-cultural analysis of the relationship between diet and mental illness. His primary finding was a strong link between high sugar consumption and the risk of both depression and schizophrenia. According to Peet:

“A higher national dietary intake of refined sugar and dairy products predicted a worse 2-year outcome of schizophrenia. A high national prevalence of depression was predicted by a low dietary intake of fish and seafood.

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6 Unusual Ways to Cook With Cauliflower

Posted on October 22

1. Popcorn

Cauliflower popcorn is a fun alternative that boosts veggie intake. Instead of serving roasted cauliflower as a side dish, serve smaller, popcorn-size nuggets as a snack and toss them with popcorn-style toppings, such as Parmesan cheese and smoked paprika; everything but the bagel seasoning; or garlic powder and salt.

2. Creamy Soup without the Dairy

You can add two cups of the puree to a can of tomato soup for a creamy version that adds a whopping six grams of fiber. Also, individuals who can’t tolerate dairy foods and/or don’t eat any foods from animals can now enjoy a plant-based creamy soup.

3. Hash Brown "Potatoes"

To make them, boil 1 pound cauliflower florets; drain and mash with 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil; then stir in 1/3 cup shelled hemp seeds, 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds, 3 minced scallions, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 large organic eggs, and sea salt, rosemary, black pepper (or cayenne pepper) and turmeric to taste. Then drop the mixture onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, forming 12 (3-inch diameter) patties; bake in a 475-degree oven for about 25 minutes (flipping patties halfway through baking); and serve them warm alongside scrambled eggs or dolloped with organic sour cream or a dairy-free alternative.

4. Tabbouleh

Why stop at rice when thinking about cauliflower as a grain substitute? Use it in a tabbouleh-style salad instead of bulgar, along with parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon and olive oil. Riced cauliflower stands in beautifully when you want an all-vegetable dish.

5. Super Smoothie

Use frozen cauliflower florets in smoothies! Add 1/2 cup cooked cauliflower to your favorite smoothie. It makes smoothies super creamy and thick for just 15 calories, but the best part is it adds fiber, vitamin C, and other disease-fighting compounds!

6. Healthy Cheese Sauce

You can make a cheese sauce healthier by adding cauliflower. Simply cook cauliflower and garlic, add some vegetable broth and milk, season with salt and pepper and add some shredded cheese (such as cheddar or Parmesan). Blend it all together, and you’ll be surprised how creamy and savory it is. The sauce works great as an Alfredo sauce or cream sauce.

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Sheet-Pan Teriyaki Ginger Sesame Chicken & Broccoli

Posted on October 16

Ingredients

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast cut into pieces
8 oz broccoli florets
1 yellow bell pepper chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 and ½ tbsp sesame seeds

For the Marinade:

½ cup teriyaki sauce (no soy teriyaki by Primal Kitchen)
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp honey (local, raw honey)
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the marinade: Add teriyaki sauce, oil, honey, ginger, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, and salt/pepper to taste to a small bowl. Whisk until all ingredients are combined and set aside.

In a large bowl, add in chicken, broccoli, bell peppers, and HALF of the marinade (reserving the rest for later) and toss until evenly coated. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

Spread chicken and veggies on an oiled baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway through, and continue cooking until veggies are tender and chicken is cooked through.

Drizzle remaining marinade over top and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Enjoy as is, or serve over rice or quinoa!

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Mint Chocolate Chip Iced Latte

Posted on October 10

Ingredients

1/2 cup strong coffee, chilled
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
6 fresh mint leaves
2 teaspoons sweetener of choice (I use stevia)
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
shaved chocolate and/or chocolate sauce

Instructions

-In a small pot, heat almond milk over low heat.
-Add fresh mint leaves and heat for 5 minutes.
-Remove from heat and strain off mint leaves.
-Stir in sweetener and cocoa powder.
-Add ice cubes to a large glass. Pour in chilled coffee.
-Top with almond milk.
-Sprinkle with shaved chocolate if desired.

Notes

-Alternatively, add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of mint extract to almond milk instead of using fresh. No heat is needed.
-Make a hot version by skipping ice & using hot coffee instead.
-Use any kind of milk you prefer. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract if not flavored vanilla.

Nutrition

Calories: 42, Fat: 2.7, Net Carbohydrates: 2.2, Protein: 1.3

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4 Impressive Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Posted on October 08

Eye health — Pumpkin is one of the richest sources of beta-carotene you’ll ever find. The vegetable’s bright color is a giveaway of this plant’s beta-carotene levels. When digested, beta-carotene turns into vitamin A, a nutrient that may help maintain healthy eyesight.

Cell health — Carotenoids found in vegetables such as pumpkin may help fight free radicals. One example is helping lower your risk of skin damage due to ultraviolet light exposure.

Cancer risk — Increased carotenoid intake may help lower the risk of gastric cancer.

Heart health — The antioxidants found in pumpkin may help reduce bad cholesterol levels, helping promote a healthy cardiovascular system.

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