FIBER...

Posted on May 14

FIBER is the sensible shoes of good nutrition: boring, but necessary. For decades it was assumed to be useful simply for bulking up food waste and keeping the digestive tract tidy. Unlike nutrients with sexier reputations, it was never touted for its power to reduce stress, alleviate mental fog, or boost sleep until now.

As a dietitian, I’ve been yapping for 20 years about the importance of fiber to help curb unhealthy food cravings, lower cholesterol, and prevent diet-related cancer, but as scientists have begun taking a hard look at human gut microbes, fiber’s reputation has gotten even more of an upgrade.

You eat fiber when you eat plants. As the structural backbone of plants, fibers are stubborn carbohydrates that resist digestion and therefore aren’t counted as calories. The fibers that dissolve in liquids are soluble, the ones that don’t are insoluble. Another type, resistant starch, acts like a digestible carbohydrate when cooked and eaten warm but behaves like fiber when cooled. For most people, as long as you’re eating a lot of unprocessed plant food, it doesn’t matter which physical type of fiber you’re getting. Every plant is a combo of fibers tightly interwoven with other nutrients. This organic knitting helps you out first by slowing down how quickly food gets turned into blood sugar, then by ferrying other nutrients to specific destinations along your bowels. It’s on this journey through the lower digestive tract that fiber’s power gets turbocharged.

The beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract do with fiber what your upper digestive tract can’t: transform indigestible carbohydrates into fuel. A big nutrition reveal of the past few years has come from observing what happens when gut bacteria eat your fiber. By-products made from digesting microbial fiber positively impact health issues as wide ranging as anxiety, depression, insomnia, attention, dementia, type 2 diabetes, and much more.

If you’re thinking you can fertilize your gut bacteria with an over-the-counter fiber supplement instead of natural food, it won’t work well. You need to eat a wide variety of plant food to coax your bacteria into working hard. Getting your fiber from food is critical because the heartier your gut microbe population, the better your overall health.

Fiber in over-the-counter prebiotics may offer an additional advantage to what you’re getting from food. These supplements should be used in conjunction with a diverse plant-based diet.

Some of my clients use drinkable fiber supplements in an attempt to manipulate their bowels, usually for weight loss or constipation. For someone with a healthy GI tract, this can provide short-term success, but long-term improvement in weight management and bathroom habits result from better food and lifestyle choices, not an over-the-counter supplement. When it comes to IBS or other digestive diseases, I use extreme caution when prescribing probiotics and supplemental fibers because they can trigger increased irritation and pain in some people.

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Garlic Zucchini Noodles

Posted on May 09
 
 
Ingredients:
 
2 medium zucchini
2 TBSP organic butter (can sub vegan butter)
3 large cloves garlic , minced (or to taste)
3/4 cup parmesan cheese (can sub vegan parmesan cheese-- super yummy!)
Kosher salt or sea salt, to taste
Black pepper , to taste
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
 
Instructions
 
Cut zucchini into spirals or noodle strands using the vegetable spiralizer or julienne peeler. Set aside noodles.
Heat large pan on medium-high heat. Melt butter, then add garlic. Cook garlic until fragrant and translucent. Don't let the garlic burn.
Add zucchini noodles and cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Zucchini noodles cook really fast, so taste a strand as you cook and decide how firm or "al-dente" you want the zucchini. Don't overcook the zucchini noodles or else they'll become mush.
Remove the pan from the heat, add parmesan cheese and season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Add chili flakes then serve warm.
You could add chicken, shrimp, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms... get creative!
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Tea...

Posted on May 07

If you struggle with drinking water, try making iced tea with flavored herbal teas. My new favorite iced tea is blueberry lavender by The Republic of Tea.

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Endorphins....

Posted on May 06

We can all get into slumps though out the year... the winter is too long, the summer is too hot and humid....

The very best way to elevate mood is to move your body. You can walk, bike, hike, swim, lift weights or dance away at a zumba class. Never underestimate the power of exercise to combat the blues, depression, anxiety and even brain fog.

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Friday Funny....

Posted on May 03

Antibiotic Resistance....

Posted on April 29

Whenever possible, purchase organic dairy, grass fed meat and hormone/antibiotic free foods. What the animal consumes, you consume.

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Mediterranean Layered Hummus Dip

Posted on April 25

Ingredients

3 cups hummus
½ English cucumber diced
2 roma tomatoes seeded and diced
½ large red pepper diced
2 green onions diced
¼ cup feta cheese crumbled
1/3 cup Kalamata olives sliced
3 tbsp Italian parsley chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper sliced, optional

Instructions

Spread the hummus into a shallow serving dish.

Add the vegetable layers, starting with the cucumber, tomato, red pepper, green onion, and jalapeno (optional).
Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese, olives, and parsley.
Serve with chips or to keep it low carb, use cucumber slices, raw cauliflower pieces or baby carrots.

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Anti-inflammatory....

Posted on April 22

Lately, a lot of attention has been given to how dietary changes can decrease inflammation. More research is needed in this area, but the foods that are recognized as having an anti-inflammatory effect are already well known for their health benefits.

1. Colorful fruits and vegetables. Eat the rainbow, including berries, tomatoes, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, mangos and dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale and spinach.
2. Seeds and nuts. Flaxseeds, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds.
3. Fish. Oily fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, lake trout and herring.
4. Healthy fats. Organic butter, olive oil and avocado.
5. Beans/legumes. Red beans, pinto beans and black beans.
6. Fresh herbs and spices. Rather than seasoning your meals with just salt, enhance flavor with herbs like garlic, ginger and turmeric.

Why Do I need Omega-3s?

Posted on April 22

Higher levels of DHA and EPA are linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease—including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers—as well as anxiety and depression (especially in women), and may also help alleviate joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. Since omega-3 fatty acids play various roles in cell function and immunity, they contribute in a huge way to virtually all organ systems in your body. The top three benefits include:

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY BENEFITS

Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation by increasing cell membrane fluidity, which helps to inhibit proinflammatory pathways that ultimately damage cells, leading to increased chronic disease risk over time.

Research shows that having adequate daily amounts (250mg) of EPA and DHA can be particularly beneficial for those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, as they can help with stiffness and pain.

PRENATAL BENEFITS

During pregnancy, women have a higher conversion rate of ALA, EPA, and DHA to meet the demands of fetal brain development. EPA and DHA are crucial for proper development and function, especially for neurological and immune systems as well as the development of fetal retina. They can also help reduce your risk of post-partum depression and depression throughout your lifespan.

Meanwhile, DHA is a major structural component of the central nervous system and the retina.

HEART HEALTH BENEFITS

Recent research found that overweight men and women who were assigned a diet including omega-3 rich salmon twice per week had lower serum cholesterol, which is a key indicator for lowered cardiovascular disease risk.

But while adequate intake of EPA and DHA is shown to help with specific biomarkers linked to heart disease, keep in mind that one piece of salmon won’t “cancel out” heart disease risk if your diet is otherwise filled with loads of sugary beverages, deep-fried and fast-foods, processed meats, sugary cereals, pastries, ice cream…you get the point.

Where can I find omega-3s?

Salmon
Arctic Char
Sardines
Sea bass
Oysters
Rainbow trout
Herring
Mussels
Nuts and seeds
Veggies
Legumes
Polyunsaturated oils derived from nuts and seeds, like peanut, walnut, avocado, olive, sesame, flaxseed and chia seeds.
Supplements like flaxseed oil or krill oil.

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Cholesterol...

Posted on April 09

Eat your eggs and avoid processed fat free items, like fat free salad dressing. Partially hydrogenated oil is by far more detrimental than natural cholesterol in an egg yolk.

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