Are fermented foods good for you?

When I was first diagnozed with autoimmune disease called Hashimoto more than 10 years ago, I researched a lot and came to conclusion that all autoimmune disorders live in our intestinal tract (gut). It means that there are more pathogenic bacteria in the gut then there are beneficial bacteria. Re-balancing the gut bacteria will lead to reduced inflamation and therefore help to manage autoimmune conditions. Re-balancing can be done through diet (fermented foods), probiotics, and digestive enzymes. I am going to talk about the diet aspect of re-balancing gut bacteria, specifically fermented foods. For thousands of years, people around the world have consumed fermented foods. The process of fermenting foods not only preserves them, but improves their flavor and enhances their digestibility and nutrient status. One of the most important functions of the fermentation process is that it produces beneficial bacteria. A healthy balance of gut flora is critical for immune health, nutrient absorption, weight control, detoxification, and more. Beneficial bacteria are affected by processed foods, sugar intake, antibiotics, acid-reducing medications, toxins, and chronic stress. Fermentation is the process where beneficial bacteria such as lactobacilli and yeasts break down foods sugars, starches, and proteins into lactic acid, carbon dioxide, and enzymes, which produce more beneficial bacteria. The lactic acid produces an environment that inhibits pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria. Proper fermentation must be done with salt, NOT vinegar. Salt is antimicrobial in nature, and will inhibit the growth of putrefying bacteria while the lactic acid preserves the vegetables. Also, salt aids in the proper activation of enzymes. The salt should preferably be non-iodized and unprocessed as this contains minerals that...

Why it is so hard to change your diet?

Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to change your diet? You know that healthy diet is good for your body, but you just can’t follow it or it is easy to sidetrack to your “normal” diet. You may realize first hand the tricks that your mind can play on you. This presentation by Douglas Lisle provides some clues into the human brain and how our minds work.  He will explore the “pleasure trap” that many of us have fallen victim to in the past.  A path of self destruction caused by an over-excitation of our brain’s pleasure center and over production of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine. Our brain follows three criteria for survival as this video discusses.  This video may change the way you look at yourself and those around you.  It also describes what food scientists are exploiting with respect to our brain and...

Making Smart Nutrition Choices

Making sure that you’re getting proper nutrition every day can be a daunting task. There are a lot of suggestions out there on how you can get better nutrition. Here are a few suggestions that will hopefully help you get better nutrition and make you a healthier you. While red meat is expensive, it is an important part of your diet. Lean red meat, like steak, provides large amounts of protein while avoiding excess amounts of saturated fat and carbohydrates. When paired with a healthy starch and vegetable, it makes for a perfect meal. If money is a problem, chicken and pork are also equally healthy. Healthy Food Pack your own snacks for school, trip or a flight. Food at airports and on planes can be quite expensive and selection can be limited. To save money and ensure you have healthy food that you enjoy, bring your own. This also can be a lifesaver if you end up in one of the stuck-for-hours-on-the-runway nightmare scenarios. When considering nutrition for a child, it is important to make it a positive and entertaining experience. This is important because your child needs nutrients, and they also need a reason why they should eat healthy food. Some ideas would be to cut a sandwich into fun shapes, or use unique colored vegetables. Suppose you are deciding whether to eat meat or not. There are two types of considerations. One is whether meat is “clean” food. Is it raised on a “factory farm” under toxic conditions? Is it loaded with hormones, nitrites and nitrates? If so, it is not a healthy food. The other...

Fitness Tips for a Better Day

8 Fitness Tips to Live A Healthier Lifestyle Getting physically fit is obviously a worthy goal. True, it can seem daunting in the beginning, especially if you are new to fitness. The advice offered below is step one towards better daily fitness routine. Implementing any of the tips will get you started on your way to better health. Even if you are using your fitness program to build muscle, you can benefit from cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise will help build the endurance of your muscles, as well as, increase your lung capacity so you can work out longer without becoming fatigued. In addition, it increases blood flow to your muscles so you can gain more muscle mass from other exercises. It is important to take your activity level at work into account when designing a fitness regimen. This is especially important in the beginning. If you work on your feet all day walking may be very easy for you, but adding a few more miles on to your daily total could kill your feet. If you sit at a desk all day, on the other hand, your general fitness level will be low and something as simple as a mile or two walk could be a great way to get you started being active. If you are a woman and uncomfortable working out in front of men, check out the many new chains of female-only gyms (check out GoodLife, Mademoiselle Women’s Fitness, Womens Fitness Clubs of Canada). Many women are self-conscious of their image, especially those who may be just beginning to take fitness seriously. It can be intimidating...

Sprouting 101

Spring is the season of rejuvination. As the nature is waking up from long winter months, our bodies are adjusting to season changes as well. It is a gret season to cleanse your body and adjust your nutrition to include more vegetables, some fruits, and … sprouts! I usually start sprouting at the end of February. In spring our bodies are low on natural vitamins, minerals and enzymes as there are very limited supply of freshly grown vegetables and fruits. That’s why sprouting is amazing way to boost your nutrition with nature goodness. Because sprouts are “live food” they have lots of minerals and live enzymes. Plus they taste great and can add some flavour (sometimes I even use sprouts instead of spices) in salads, shakes, smoothies, soups, sandwiches, etc. So how to make life happen from the seeds? There are three basic steps to follow. 1. Put 2 tbsp of seeds in a glass jar and pour water so that all seeds are fully covered. On top I put two or three layers of cheesecloth and secure it with elastic. Some seed will sink, while others will stay floating. Leave seed soaking in the water overnight. Rinse with fresh water in the morning and have them soaking again. You continue doing this step until you see seeds start opening up and a tiny white sprouting tail shows up.                       2. Wash seeds with water and this time turn the jar upside down. At this point you want to have seeds wet, but not sunk in the water completely....

What is superfood?

You can hear the word “superfood” quite often even in the regular grocery store. If you look at the labels – it is there as well. What kind of benefits do products labeled as “superfood” have or is it really a marketing catch? First, let’s take a look at the actual meaning of this word. I googled it and here is what I got: “Superfood is a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.” Then, I looked at Wikipedia and surprisingly discovered a totaly different meaning. Here it is, “Superfood is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits… The term is not in common use by dietitians and nutrition scientists, many of whom dispute that particular foodstuffs have the health benefits often claimed by advocates of particular superfoods.” I researched on it more and found some guidance in one of the health magazines that made sense to me. Take a look at those four points and see if they really describe food that is good for your health. 1. Nutrient Density – density of nutrients in particular food. It is a measurement of how much of any particular nutrient the food contains. (vitamin A, C, minerals, etc.) 2. Nutrient Diversity – how diverse a collection of nutrients is. For example, food that supplies as much nutrition as possible from one food sourse is more nutrient diverse. 3. Phytonutrient content – plant derived nutrients that have significant health benefits. 4. Toxins free – pretty obvious one. Superfoods should give your body as much nutrition as possible, but they should not take away...

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