Eat these!

Need a Reason to Eat Kale?

Posted on September 5, 2013. Filed under: Eat these!, Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , |

kale

I am a huge fan of kale.  I’ve been meaning to write a post about it’s nutritional value, but this article-Crouching Garnish, Hidden SuperFood: The Secret Life of Kale-by Sayer Ji is so comprehensive that I couldn’t dream of doing better.

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Avocado: The World’s Healthiest Food

Posted on June 18, 2013. Filed under: Diet, Eat these!, Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , |

If you were stranded on a desert island and could have just one food with you, what would you choose. I would choose an avocado. The avocado page on the Whole Foods website offers an amazingly comprehensive explanation of the seemingly endless nutritional value of the avocado, but here is why I try to eat one every day. Avocados are:

  • full of antioxidants
  • enhance the absorption of other antioxidants
  • anti-inflammatory
  • full of good fats
  • blood sugar regulators

avocadoeggbake

Add an egg to it, like I did for breakfast this morning and you get:

  • a complete range of amino acids
  • all the B vitamins
  • rich source of selenium and iodine, minerals difficult to obtain from other foods
  • omega-3 fats

Recipe

  1. cut 1 avocado in half, remove the pit and scoop out a little extra if needed
  2. drop one egg in each avocado half
  3. sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
  4. bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (don’t overcook!)
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How Colorful Is Your Plate?

Posted on June 17, 2013. Filed under: Diet, Dr. Terry Wahls, Eat these!, Nutrition | Tags: , , , , |

When I first made major changes to my diet I learned from Dr. Terry Wahls to eat, among other things, 3 cups of color per day.  She suggested the 3 cups be made up mostly of reds and blues like blueberries and raspberries.  She clearly was promoting the consumption of antioxidants to stop the internal “rusting” associated with oxidative damage.

I eat those 3 cups of color most days, but I have to admit that is far easier to accomplish during the bountiful summers here in the Pacific Northwest.  Below is a chart that reminds us of the importance of all the colors foods have to offer.

eattherainbow

 

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Leaky: Bone Broth for Leaky Gut and Leaky Brain

Posted on June 13, 2013. Filed under: Cancer, Diet, Dr. Terry Wahls, Eat these!, GMO, Gut health, Neurodegenerative disease, Nutrition | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

There are many ways to react to a diagnosis as big as ALS. Having a decent sense of self-efficacy, I chose to find ways to intervene in the disease process. Re-watching a TED Talk by Dr. Terry Wahls reminded me how important diet can be to health and healing so this is where I began.

bonebroth

I started by eating the Wahl’s Way as described in her book Minding My Mitochondria, which, at it’s simplest, involves 3 cups of greens, 3 cups of colorful fruits/veggies and 3 cups of sulphur veggies daily. Then, not satisfied that I was doing all that my body might need, I moved to the Gerson Method, which is naturally high in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, micro-nutrients, and extremely low in sodium, fats, and proteins. In essence, it involves 13 fruit/veggie juices per day, soup and baked potatoes, but it is cancer focused so I eventually decided there were limits to it’s value to my neurodegenerative-self.

Along the way I learned about leaky gut and leaky brain. As described by Dr. Andrew Weil,

Leaky gut syndrome (also called increased intestinal permeability), is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the blood stream.

While I did not think of myself as someone with a lot of stomach complaints, I was realizing that I had issues with milk, which I had been consuming my entire life. Could this constant exposure to an irritant have disrupted my stomach lining homeostasis? I had also spent many years as a junk food junky with a penchant for sweets. Did I have an imbalance of sugar loving yeasts in my gut that was contributing to leakiness? There is also a growing body of evidence pointing to the harmfulness of GMOs to our bodies and gut with this one on pig stomach lining disruption by a GMO diet being the most recent. And if I did have a leaky gut, what nutrients weren’t being absorbed or metabolized and what molecules were crossing into my wider system that should have been kept out?

Leaky brain syndrome essentially is the caboose end of the leaky gut syndrome train. Scott Forsgren writes,

Food sensitivities and Leaky Gut Syndrome lead to systemic inflammation. Once the entire body reacts and enters a state of inflammatory response, a multitude of additional symptoms may be observed…

and

…inflammation due to pro-inflammatory cytokines attracts molecules which have receptors on the blood-brain barrier. Slowly, these molecules end up in the brain compartment and cause destruction of nerve cells. This entire process starts in the gut and results in a neuroimmune disorder including autoimmunity to the brain.

I certainly have a history of inflammatory issues spanning the entirety of my life. I had stomach issues as a baby, eczema during childhood that resolved and returned in adulthood, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and more. Could I have been challenging my gut and brain barriers my whole life? Could healing those barriers stem the tide of inflammation and give my body a chance to heal? I was willing to do the work to find out.

Enter bone broth.

Bone broth is so full of minerals and nutrients as to support a number health issues including healing the gut. The nourished kitchen website writes:

Bone broths are a good source of amino acids – particularly arginine, glycine and proline. Glycine supports the bodies detoxification process and is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin, bile salts and other naturally-occurring chemicals within the body. Glycine also supports digestion and the secretion of gastric acids. Proline, especially when paired with vitamin C, supports good skin health. Bone broths are also rich in gelatin which improves collagen status, thus supporting skin health. Gelatin also support digestive health which is why it plays a critical role in the GAPS diet. And, lastly, if you’ve ever wondering why chicken soup is good for a cold, there’s science behind that, too. Chicken stock inhibits neutrophil migration; that is, it helps mitigate the side effects of colds, flus and upper respiratory infections.

So, if you have issues with inflammation, leaky gut and leaky brain, consider learning to make and drink bone broth on a regular basis.

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Diminishing Nutrition

Posted on May 31, 2013. Filed under: Diet, Eat these!, Nutrition | Tags: , , , |

According to this NYT article-Breeding the Nutrition Out of Our Food

We’ve reduced the nutrients and increased the sugar and starch content of hundreds of…fruits and vegetables.

While I don’t think this article captures the larger issue as strongly as the title does, it is an important topic. I do like how they point to fresh herbs as a way to compensate for the nutritional losses in our food.

greens

 

Carrots

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Strawberries: Conventional vs. Organic

Posted on May 29, 2013. Filed under: Diet, Eat these! | Tags: , , |

Which one sounds like food to you?  Remember, food is:

Any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.

strawberry

 

I could probably write a whole book describing the  toxic effects of each of the conventional strawberry’s “ingredients”, but I’m called to other efforts.  If you are interested in how everyday chemicals impact your body then I highly recommend Nina Baker’s The Body Toxic.  I was sold on her after reading this very digestible take on complicated material, but then she did me the favor of responding to the email I sent her shortly after being diagnosed with ALS.  Such a human thing to do.

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Salt vs. Mineral Salt: It Matters

Posted on May 28, 2013. Filed under: Autoimmune disease, Eat these! | Tags: , , , |

We’ve all heard that we ought to be mindful of how much sodium we ingest, but recent research suggests that it may be what kind of salt-not how much-that matters. Yale University and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg researchers found that the sharp increase in autoimmune diseases may be the related to the nutrient-less refined, processed and bleached salt that pervades our tabletops.

Mineral-rich Himalayan salt

Mineral-rich Himalayan salt

Mineral salts, like pinkish Himalayan rock salt or grey Celtic salt, dissolve into mineral ions.  Researcher Dr Hendel says,

These conduct electrical nerve impulses that drive muscle movement and thought processes. Just the simple act of drinking a glass of water requires millions of instructions that come from mineral ions. They’re also needed to balance PH levels in the body.

Mineral salts sound like food to me, while the typical table salt just sounds edible.

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Dining for Health

Posted on April 29, 2013. Filed under: Eat these! | Tags: , , , , , , |

My husband and I had an outstanding dining experience at Laurelhurst Market in Portland, OR this weekend. Laurelhurst features all natural, hormone free, antibiotic free meats and works with local farmers and food providers whenever possible. I have a handful of favorite restaurants in the city, but Laurelhurst has been on the top of my list for a while, not only because their food is so healthy and pleasurable,  but also because they consistently serve some uncommon items I like. Take a look:

  • Marrow Bones with Toasted Soft Pretzel, Pickled Mustard Seeds
  • Chicken Fried Veal Sweetbreads with Salsify Puree, Endive & Apple Salad, Maple Gastrique
  • Shrimp & Grits with Pan Seared Scrapple, Braised Tasso, Cauliflower Chow Chow, Spring Shoots Salad
  • Steak Tartare with Vodka, Chives, Shallot, Salt Cured Egg Yolk
  • Mussels Frites with White Wine, Garlic, Pea Shoots, Herbs (more…)
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