Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Gut Destruction and Rebuilding


Gut Destruction and Rebuilding




   
     There is much discussion and research being done today in the realm of "gut health". To be able to intelligently discuss how to obtain a healthy gut one has to first understand what compromises the gut and what its role is in the body. The gut, also coined as the GI (gastrointestinal) tract, or digestive tract is an organ system. This system has an immensely important job because it not only takes in food, digest it and then excretes waste products but it also is responsible for helping the body to absorb essential nutrients that are necessary for energy and that help to promote wellness of the body.
     It is a massive organ system that on autopsy is about 30 feet long. It consists of the esophagus, a muscular tube, which connects the throat to the stomach and the stomach then receives the chewed food from the esophagus  and then it travels to the small and large intestines. Once the food is partially digested in the stomach and broken down with gastric secretions like pepsin (gastric enzyme) and other enzymes it moves on to the duodenum in the small intestines. This part of the GI tract plays a vital role in breaking down the food further and prepares it for absorption. The absorption of key nutrients in the small intestine is aided by the villi. As seen in this picture are healthy villi in a healthy gut.
      The villi are small finger like projections of tissue and contain specialized cells that help digest, absorb and transport substances into the blood stream to be used for energy and that provide organs like the ones that make up the nervous system their proper nutrients. These nutrients then create optimal bodily functioning.  Proper nutrients aid with things like attention, decreased anxiety, muscle function, mood stability, etc.
     Once the nutrients are absorbed from the digested food the remains pass on to the large intestine which draws water into the colon and converts the food into feces. It also absorbs essential vitamins produced by gut bacteria. If the villi are damaged and inflamed then they cannot perform their job of aiding the gut in absorbing much needed nutrients that promote bodily health. Damaged and inflamed villi look like the picture to the right. When there exist so much inflammation the gut cannot break down and absorb key nutrients and instead is mostly just pushing toxins outside the gut. This is known as Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS) which is almost at epidemic proportions and I believe is driving not only the autoimmune type of diseases that are rampant in our society but also causing much of the septicemia which we are now seeing. Septicemia used to be seen at a much rarer rate than the rate at which we are seeing it today.  I could not understand why it is so prevalent today until I began to research this topic more in depth. Besides the septicemia, the mechanism behind this gut damage is often the primary cause for the following other common but chronic illnesses such as: asthma, food allergies, chronic sinusitis, eczema, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), urticaria, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, inflammatory joint disorders including RA (rheumatoid arthritis), along with conditions like PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Historically, we use to only see bowel toxins enter into the blood stream by way of trauma.
     So how did we destroy a population of healthy guts? The answer is 1.) First and foremost from the overuse of antibiotics. Antibiotics destroy beneficial bacteria. The small and large intestines host over 500 healthy bacteria that perform hundreds of jobs that are required for a healthy metabolism and immune system. Antibiotics also foster the overgrowth of candida albicans and other pathogenic fungi and yeast.  This event more than any other precipitates leaky gut. 2.) The use of NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Motrin, Aleve, and Advil. 3.) Chemo,  4.) Alcohol, and 5.) Food allergies. Food allergies pose a problem because with leaky gut foods are unable to be digested properly and absorbed and so the undigested food that does manage to get absorbed triggers the body's immune response, through specific antigen-antibody markers (like a memory card) some are then tagged and labeled as foreign irritants. Then every time that particular food touches the villi it triggers an inflammatory immune response which further damages the gut. So now we have a chronically inflamed gut every time particular foods are eaten.
     In order to repair the gut and produce a healthy immune system and optimal bodily functioning we must eliminate the gut irritants. This means that we have to stop the use of antibiotics unless in the case of an emergent situation, stop using NSAIDs (which wreak havoc on much more than just our guts), limit alcohol consumption and identify and eliminate food allergens.
     The best way to identify food allergens is through IgG testing. I recommend IgG food testing with candida to determine if there is an overgrowth of candida. Many people confuse food allergy testing  which is the test that is performed at the asthma allergist's office as the same as food sensitivity testing. So what is the difference?
There are 5 different types of Immunoglobulins.  Immunoglobulins are antibodies and antibodies  hang out in the blood and are proteins made by the immune system to fight off bodily invaders like unwanted bacteria, viruses and toxins.   The two that pertain to responding to allergens such as certain foods are IgE and IgG. IgE allergies are immediate responses to a foreign substance that has entered the body and they can come from food or inhalation. The symptoms from these allergies cause serious symptoms like difficulty breathing, swelling, and hives. This type of response can lead to anaphylaxis. This is what we think of with bee stings, peanut allergies, etc. and these are the tests given by the asthma/allergists. IgG, on the other hand are the antibodies that provide long-term resistance to infections. Their response to the allergen last about 28 days where as the "traditional" IgE allergy is immediate. IgG is where the food "sensitivities" come in because they are more subtle and people can live with them for years without ever identifying the cause of their underlying irritation or discomfort. The symptoms are not always immediate and can occur hours or even days after the offending food has been ingested.  The symptoms can include anything from headaches to nausea to depression, anxiety, hyperactivity, fatigue, bloating, mood changes, etc. The complete elimination of IgG positive foods may bring about real improvements in symptoms such as IBS, autism, ADHD, RA, and epilepsy.
     Once you identify the food allergies and remove them the next steps are to replace, reinoculate, repair and re-balance. It is crucial to replace the food allergens that are eliminated with healthy whole foods like vegetables, lean meats and healthy fats.  The whole foods provide real nutrition for the gut unlike processed and refined foods that contain a lot of sugar and other ingredients which are inflammatory. Drinking alkaline water is also another great way to help decrease inflammation. After the inflammation calms down and the leaky places in the gut are healed it is essential to reinoculate the gut with a layer of good and healthy bacteria. Many people will take probiotics to help calm down the inflammation and add back some healthy bacteria but the goal is to ultimately aid your own body in reestablishing its own healthy bacteria so that it is not having to be obtained through constantly taking probiotics.  Eating fermented foods can also help with this process. The healthy bacteria strengthen the immune system (eliminating the need for things like flu shots), improves metabolism, and aids in the absorption of key minerals.
     Once the gut is on the road to wellness, re-balancing by focusing on lifestyle changes must happen. Revisiting old habits that caused the leaky gut in the first place will only invite a recurrence of problems and health issues. Always eat mindfully and calm the central nervous system. Under stress the body's nervous system kicks into fight or flight mode and this causes inflammation. It is important to create a calmer more centered state.

Happy and healthy gut rebuilding. Until next time, remember, "Let thy food be thy medicine."

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup



                                             MY FAVORITE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP



  It turns out that your grandmother and mother were right. Chicken noodle soup is good for a cold and the soul. Fall weather for me not only means a great season of cooler weather, football, pretty leaves and everything pumpkin but also great soups and stews. They not only taste great but also pack in lots of great nutrient dense benefits that promote wellness. 
     Regarding chicken noodle soup, Dr. Stephen Rennard, a pulmonary expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center found evidence that this soup contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent a cold's nasty side effects. In ancient times the idea that chicken soup, often dubbed the "Jewish penicillin" has medicinal effects dates to ancient times. It helps to clear out congestion because of the hot broth and provides necessary hydration to help rid the body of viral invaders. 

The recipe below is by far my favorite and is loaded with a lot of health benefits besides just helping to thwart off a cold. It is a recipe from Dr. Ann of Dr. Ann Wellness of whom I am a huge fan.  I make a large pot of this usually on a weekend and have it ready to eat throughout the week as leftovers for dinners and as a great meal that I pack in mine and the kid's lunch boxes.                                                                          



INGREDIENTS:

1 medium yellow onion, chopped (organic)
3 large carrots, diced (organic)
3 stalks of celery, chopped (organic)
3 tbs EVOO (cold pressed organic)
1/2 box Barilla Plus penne pasta, cooked (I used Amish noodles from
Fresh Market)
1 rotisserie chicken, shredded chicken (I used organic salt & pepper from Whole Foods, $9.99)
2 (32 oz) cartons of organic chicken broth (add more as needed as noodles absorb much broth. I always buy an extra carton)
1/2 bag of frozen peas (28 oz), organic
1/2 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped, organic (I can usually always find at Whole Foods or Fresh Market)

DIRECTIONS:

In a large stockpot saute onions and celery in EVOO until tender.
Pull as much chicken from bone as possible and add to pot with any drippings from bottom of rotisserie container. Add carrots and broth. Bring heat up to boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer/low and cook for about 7 minutes until carrots are tender/crisp. Add frozen peas, parsley, cooked pasta and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and serve once peas are soft/heated through. Dr. Ann Wellness
  


Health Benefits:

                                                  
                                             
                                               










Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Sugar Connection to Anxiety and Depression


     Sugar, the should be four letter word, and the link to anxiety, depression, and a host of other behavioral health issues like anger, fits of rage, alcoholism, schizophrenia, and hyperactivity is well documented among medical journals and in medical research. Why then do doctors negate this crucial fact? In the journal from the National Center of Biotechnology at the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health it is written that "People with  mood disorders often have poor quality diets which are low in fruits and vegetables but high in fats and sugar".  (1) Based on my own observations of my two children, myself, and others in my family, I  have believed for years that not only does a high sugar diet cause anxiety, depression and fits of rage but that the problems people experience from infancy into adulthood that are linked to high sugar diets start in the womb with maternal nutrition and the amount or sugar consumed by mom impacts the child's nutritional likes and dislikes once born. This then can set them up for a lifetime of health complications. 
     While carrying one of my children, I ate an extremely healthy diet with a lot of seasonal fresh vegetables and fruits as well as meats and fish and limited amounts of processed foods with little to no sugar and carbohydrate contents. That child loves all foods and is not a picky eater. With my other child, I was going through an extremely stressful time and craved all things called simple carbohydrates like Bruegger's bagels with honey walnut cream cheese, chips, and sweets.  To this day, she has a high simple carbohydrate and sugar diet and consumes minimal vegetables or fruits.  I believe that the foods that they gravitated towards as children and now as young adults was somewhat preordained due to what I ate while pregnant (2). In fact, studies in medical journals point to this fact.  I am hopeful but not confident due to the way our current system is set up to work, that as independent science proves what I have already surmised through observation that more education from healthcare providers to patients will occur. 
       Sugar is toxic to the brain and cardiovascular system and a diet high in sugar creates large nutritional deficits due to a lesser amount of nutrient rich foods being consumed. This leads to not only cognitive impairments, behavioral complications and heart disease but also diseases such as diabetes, chronic kidney disease, fatty liver disease  and secondary complications of those diseases such as neuropathyretinopathy,  alzheimers, dementia, decreased immune function, non healing ulcers, and chronic fatigue, etc. But for this post we will just stick with how sugar plays a role in anxiety, depression and anger. 

     Scientists are now admitting  that nutrition plays an integral role in whether genes are turned off or on. So for instance, if you walk into a room and the light is turned off the  room will be dark.  In order to get light into that room something has to switch that light on.  It is the same with genes. Genes have to have a force that  turns the switch on for the predisposition of that gene to be activated. 

     In fact, scientists now admit that only 20% of our risk for disease is genetic and the other 80% is linked to diet and lifestyle.  Sugar is a key player in diseases like cancer and has been noted even as far back as 1927 in the Warburg Effect.  Where it pertains to behavior and conditions like anxiety, depression and anger sugar is the primary culprit due to its effects on the brain and the adrenal gland.  When we eat a high sugar diet, I believe it is the switch that turns on these conditions. Oral sugar ingestion is comparable to receiving an injection of it right into the blood stream. The body has to do very little work to break down the simple sugars  found in simple carbohydrates and therefore uses it first before turning it to other nutrients for energy. 



     Due to it being broken down and entering the bloodstream so rapidly, it is also used up very quickly and therefore once it hits the bloodstream and is being used whatever is not being used is bound up by the insulin and stored for later use and much of this is stored around the middle section of our bodies, hence the term spare tire. The storing of this extra sugar occurs much faster for people with more sedentary lifestyles as they require less fuel for energy needs. When the sugar is used and or stored for later energy needs the blood sugar levels drop in the blood and this leaves the body feeling tired, and depleted craving more quick energy and so the cycle continues as we grab more simple carbohydrates to refuel. Over time this vicious cycle leads to a condition known as hypoglycemia. 
     Hypoglycemia causes the body to react by directing the adrenal gland to release epinephrine and norepinephrine,  two hormones that act counter to the action of insulin by rising blood glucose levels. Both of these hormones make people jittery, and nervous or anxious. When the brain becomes hypoglycemic it too responds and releases a neurotransmitter known as glutamate . This is the main neurotransmitter (message carrier of the nerves) that causes excitability and turns the brain into high gear. When the brain is kicked into high gear and is overly excited, you can see how this can increase the feelings of nervousness, jitteriness, and anxiety. When this highly agitated state wears off then one is left feeling low or depressed and restless or agitated which can result in emotions of frustration, inability to concentrate, anger and impulsivity until the  craving for more sugar is satisfied. This is a cycle that continues until it is stopped by eliminating a high sugar diet and giving the body "real" food that nourishes and provides the right components to support brain and nervous system functioning. The problem is that giving up sugar is much harder than people realize (see tricks on how to be successful at this in my next post). 
     Sugar and its role in these behavioral issues has been researched for years. One research study done in New York looked at the role of excitability and the inability for school age children to focus due to a high sugar diet and therefore decreasing their standardized test scores. What the study showed was that when these children were given breakfasts and lunches with lowered amounts of sucrose, synthetic food colors and flavors and two preservatives (BHA and BHT) that the city's national school rankings had improved from 39th to 55th (3).  There have also been articles published regarding anxiety and depression and nutrition in medical publications such as PubMed in which there shows a clear relationship to nutrition's effect on anxiety and depression (4).
   Regarding anger and high sugar diets related to the hypoglycemic effects of feeling jittery and anxious and craving more sugar it has been shown that 75% of all prisoners were hyperactive as children which has been linked with high sugar diets. This high sugar diet when consumed as children then sets them up for criminal activity as adults. When adults are more prone to nervousness, and anger that leads to fits of rage due to hypoglycemia then the result many times can lead to criminal acts. In part, I believe that it is also because when the brain is starved from key nutrients and is unable to operate properly and people can't think logically and clearly it causes a great deal of frustration which also leads many times to fits of rage. A study done by a parole officer in Ohio which looked at inmates who when out on probation changed their diets to a healthy low sugar and low processed food diet had a recidivism  rate of only 8%. This was then compared to the bad diet group which had a rate of 56% as cited in Dr. Russell Blaylock's work. Other studies have been done that showed when prisoner's diets were supplemented with vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids that inmates violence behavior decreased (5).
     So, if we know all of this, why then for years has the federal government and it's friends the biotech firms and right down to the doctors been handing out food pyramids that look like this? 
     It is because the US government pushes onto the public for public consumption whatever food products that they are most heavily subsidizing by creating the guidelines.  These guidelines are then pushed on your doctors to push onto you, the consumer of food and user of the disease management industry.  In 2009, guess what foods were the most subsidized? 1.) Corn (which is used in everything from soda, to bread, chips, crackers, cookies, cakes, etc.), 2.) Wheat (that is enriched wheat meaning all of the natural key nutrients have been stripped from the wheat in processing and adding back in through manufacturing; not the healthiest), 3.) Rice, 4.) Beer and 5.) Milk.  This is why it has been cheaper to buy a loaf of bread, a box of pasta, crackers, cookies, chips, or sodas, etc than it was a pound of broccoli. It is not about the health of the people but about the wealth of the biotech firms and the politicians.  I tell people that if they want to get healthy the first thing that they have to do is ignore everything the government, food industry and yes even their doctors tell them. Even now with the recent transition from the pyramid to the plate you must be wise. 
     Today there are over 30 approved GMO crops in the US.  Many vegetables are among the awarded approvals since the nineteen nineties. Today in the US 1 in 13 children now have a food allergen and the prevalence of childhood allergens has increased by 50% in the last 20 years. Coincidence? I think not. With that being said, I do think the way to eliminate much anxiety, depression, anger, alcoholism, adhd and other behavioral issues is through a constant nutrient dense diet of vegetables and healthy fats with minimal sugar but we must be aware from what food sources we are obtaining these nutrients and whether they have been genetically modified. We must pick foods that have not been genetically modified through the DNA gene manipulation processes of industrial agriculture because our bodies don't recognize these kinds of food alterations and as a result send out immune responses. This leads to autoimmune diseases for which we are now plagued with and have costly patented drugs awarded under the ACA with 12 year patents to treat. We must, instead, eat those foods which supply the brain with a constant source of energy, are low in sugar and are GMO free. 
     What foods are brain nutrient packed foods that aid in a decrease in conditions like anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue, and an increase in attention and mental clarity? Foods that contain the essential minerals of zinc and magnesium and vitamins of B and C. Why?  Decreased levels of zinc have been shown to prevent enhanced communication, increase the risk of dementia, and promote cognitive decline. Increased levels of zinc have been shown  to improve learning and memory capabilities and in children low zinc levels have been shown to be associated with lower learning ability, apathy, hyperactivity and mental retardation. Low levels of zinc are also associated with alcoholism, and schizophrenia (6).  Magnesium rich foods have been shown to increase and aid learning and memory (7).  B vitamins help brain cells quickly receive and send neurotransmitters and they work in conjunction with vitamin C in increasing the neurotransmitters of the CNS for which the brain is the powerhouse. Both, help to convert key molecules that the cells use for energy and especially the fuel hungry brain cells.  The brain's rate of metabolism is so high that even when placed into a drug induced coma where people have to be placed on respirators the brain's rate of metabolism can only be reduced by 50%.   Due to the brain requiring key nutrients to support this high rate of metabolism it is essential that we care for it and feed it the right foods that aid its processes.
   Foods to fuel the brain that are high in the above noted minerals and vitamins are as follows:

  • Chard
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Almonds
  • Black beans
  • Figs
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Dark chocolate
  • Salmon
  • Artichokes
  • Flaxseeds
  • Beef (grass fed with no hormones or antibiotics)
  • Chickpeas
  • Garlic
  • Oysters
  • Mushrooms
  • Kefir
  • Watermelon seeds
  • Lima beans
  • Lentils
  • Parsley
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Mustard greens
  • Asparagus
  • Turnip greens
  • Bell peppers
  • Oranges
  • Guava
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Red peppers
Remember this list when preparing meals for your family and especially as you send your children off to the classroom over the next few weeks. Breakfast should not consists of foods like pop tarts, pancakes, bagels, biscuits, sugary cereals or sugar laden "energy bars". Don't let a grocery store lobbying group dictate to you what constitutes breakfast. Breakfast can be whole grain toast with avocado and lemon juice with salt, pepper and garlic, a bowl of chickpeas, a kale smoothie, a banana dipped in almond butter, etc. Remember this is your journey to wellness and you get to write your story! Don't allow biotech firms, Washington politicians, or the disease management industry to make money off diseases that you develop which are preventable. Eat great, feel great and look great! Happy eating until next time. 


 Sources:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3762204/

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3762204/

3.  http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/new-york-city-school-children-do-better-diet-improves

4.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4167107/

5. http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/181/1/22.short

6.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7082716

7.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20152124

Friday, August 11, 2017

Nutrient Dense Foods Are The Key That Unlock Health

     The blessing in the food, given by God, is what holds the key to unlocking true health (freedom from illness or injury).  One of the major barriers and misconceptions standing in the way of health for all people is not "free healthcare" (which is anything but healthcare) but it is education. Education is power.  Education is freedom. Education is what will unlock the door and lead to a life of health.
     Our school system, in our early years fails to truly educate us therefore failing to empower us to think freely and honestly about nutrition and health. Instead, what the system does do is to prepare students for collegiate education and beyond to think and understand the way the corporations who donate large sums of money to these colleges want the students to think and understand. In turn, the students graduate into society and goes to work for these corporations contributing not to the betterment of people's health but to the betterment of the bottom line for these corporations. The educational system is built on obvious bias.
    I talk to people daily who are literally dying to achieve health in their lives but they just don't know how to get there. They seek counsel from western trained and socially engineered nutritionists and doctors. More times than not, these well meaning nutritionists and doctors fail them. What I have witnessed time and time again is that the nutritionists push the USDA dietary guidelines while never taking into account that the person coming to them for help is an individual person with their own DNA, their own ancestral heritage and their own life story. These providers of disease management do not and are not trained to think that what may be a perfect diet for one person may be totally different from what is nutritionally beneficial to the next person. When patients go to see their doctor, their doctor has a set amount of time for which they can see their patients due to having profit margins that must be met.  The doctors listen astutely for symptoms and match up drugs to those symptoms for which they then prescribe. The patients are then told to take them and return at a designated time in the future to determine how the prescribed drugs are working.  Often times, what I witness is that not surprisingly the patients will have side effects for which another drug will be prescribed. This is not healthcare. This is suppressing the body's ability to repair and heal itself by quieting or shutting off the body's built in alarm system. When our body's functioning is off it is designed in such a way as to send out alarms signaling, "Hey, human, something is amiss, help me by correcting it."   By not identifying the underlying causes of the alarms and then addressing those causes by making the necessary changes through diet and lifestyle we suppress health, not promote it. As doctors and nurses and anyone else who works in this healthcare also known as the disease management industry we have become suppressors of health not promoters who bring healing.
      Unfortunately, our doctors and healthcare system have become mere lapdogs to big pharma, private equity firms and are restricted by insurance companies with their time. As if this is not bad enough then they have the FDA which is supposedly a government watchdog to protect the people yet it has merely evolved into nothing more than a subsidiary of biotech firms who dictate to them which drugs ultimately come to market.  The FDA and the biotechs have a revolving door policy from which key players move back and forth between the two organizations and dictate to doctors the guidelines of what is "medically appropriate" in the treatment of their patients.
     After many years of working in the disease management (healthcare) industry and witnessing these issues, I have come to realize that the lack of honest education is purposeful in order to promote American  business. It is in the interest of  the grocery store lobbyists, pharmaceutical lobbyists, chemical company lobbyists, physician lobbyists (AMA), industrial agricultural farming lobbyists, food manufacturers and their lobbyists like General Mills, Kellogg's, etc. and even yes, the government to hide the truth from the American public about the curative and preventive power in macro and micro nutrients. 
     We have gotten so far away from ancient wisdom in our own greed and narcissism and  been engineered in a systematic approach by big business ownership and regulatory captive to have us believe in a false narrative consisting of several main points which benefits the interests of these groups but unfortunately does not benefit people's health.  The first falsehood is that we need to consume a lot of food in order to sustain health. Obviously, one can see how this is good for business because if people are buying more food these groups make more money.  The truth is that it is the quality of the food and not the quantity which builds immunity, thwarts diseases and that creates perfect homeostasis in the body that in turn promotes health. The second falsehood is that the foods that are produced by the food manufacturers are healthy for us. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All a person with any interest in this has to do is pick up a box of crackers, candies, breads, cereals, breakfast bars and read the ingredient list and begin to look up each ingredient and understand what wording like "enriched" wheat flour means. Lastly, is the false mantra that it cost a lot to eat healthy. After doing the math myself and comparing my pantry and refrigerator when my family is eating real food compared to when we are eating boxed, bagged and processed foods, I can honestly say that my grocery bill has been cut in half.
     After years of working with sick people from pediatrics to geriatrics and being on both the provider side, and the insurance side, what I have seen is a lot of very sick people who are taking a lot of very expensive drugs yet have no better health to show for it.  Not only have I witnessed this in my career with watching patients but also in my personal life in which my loved ones who  have suffered medical conditions to which no doctors have actually ever "cured" but instead merely prescribed drugs of big pharma to then only prescribe more drugs to treat the side effects and complications caused by the initially prescribed drugs.
     At some point, if one has any conscious, curiosity, and love for the wellbeing of people then he or she has to begin to ask a pivotal question, "What am I missing here?"  It was my observations that led me to this question and  that started me on a journey to find answers and to create health and wellness in the lives of my family, friends and anyone else that I encountered and who was willing to listen. What I have discovered is startling and too much information to cover in this post but just know that it is a fact that what we eat and drink holds the answer to the question, "How do we achieve health and wellness?"
     After looking at patient charts for years, one can't help but to start to see trends and what I began to realize is that almost every patient was taking on average at any given time between 3 and 6 big pharma pills a day. Drug lists almost always included drugs to treat what I began to call the standard American diseases which are a direct result of the standard American diet and those diseases always included: 1.) High blood pressure (hypertension), 2.) Diabetes type 2, 3.) High cholesterol (hyperlipidemia), 4.) Anxiety & depression (mood affect disorder), 5.) Some type of autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel, etc., and 6.) Insomnia. There were a host of other common diseases as well such as asthma, allergies, erectile dysfunction (caused by the blood pressure pills) and dementia/alzheimers but the 6 listed are the standard, if you will. What was and is truly sad to me is that many times patients would be on two or three different drugs to treat the same condition.                                                                                                                            For a while in my career, my role was to coach patients toward wellness which meant I spent a lot of time encouraging them to be compliant with taking their big pharma pills. What I discovered was that out of all of the patients that I worked with only a handful of them, if that, actually overcame their disease processes. The ones who did so were the patients who transformed their diet and lifestyle. Not only did their numbers normalize but they lost on average about 20 pounds and they told me they felt better than they had ever felt and were able to come off all of their medications. That is health!
This intrigued me and so I began to do a  great deal of research and what I discovered was that there is curative power in real food and lifestyle modification. I began to change the way I looked at and thought about food. I began to see food as medicinal. Hippocrates said it best, "Let thy food be thy medicine." It amazes me yet solidifies what I know to be true about God. When someone like Hippocrates, the father of medicine, and the name from which the Hippocratic Oath is derived and who was born, by best historians accounts, in 460 BC makes this profound statement it calls for great reflection. It reminds me of a truth from which we as a people have travelled so far from it reminds me that like God who is the same yesterday, today and forever so are His evident truths even as it pertains to the gift of food (James 1:17, Revelation 22:2 and Ezekiel 47:12).
    This led my research into looking at foods dating back to Biblical times and tracing it to present day which led to my following its evolution through industrialization.  What the industrial agriculture industry has done and continues to do to our food directly impacts our lack of health that we now experience.  Over the last 100 years 85% of the nutrients in our soil in America has been destroyed due to industrial agriculture. There is a definite difference in living longer and living healthy.  Most all disease as we know it today and  based on other's research confirms that approximately 86% to 90% of our diseases could be cured or eradicated through proper nutrition. Learning these startling numbers but understanding the pathophysiology of the human body it was made clear to me that there is something so monumental happening around us that we need not miss it. I looked at what health issues I was witnessing in patients and in the members of my own family. I then compared those issues to their diets and I was shocked at how quickly I was able to identify what key nutrients they were lacking which was resulting in the illnesses. Armed with this knowledge, the  refrigerator, pantry and food mindset makeover began.
     God never intended for us to eat so much processed man made synthetic food as we do today which is causing our obesity epidemic and disease crisis from malnutrition. Nor did He mean for us to feel like we have to calorie restrict and starve ourselves to attain a worldly view of beauty because with either of these ways of eating we suffer huge nutritional deficits that make us sick and depressed.  I believe that He intended for our food to be just what Hippocrates said, medicine that provides nourishment to our souls, bodies and spirits and provides health. He loves us and therefore it only makes complete sense that he would want health for us. The food we eat should assist us in building immunity from the inside out, and promote a state of health.
My family has begun to practice much better habits as they pertain to food and one of the best things that I believe we have done is to buy a Vitamix and we started juicing and making smoothies. It is not only one of the best ways to consume multiple vegetables and fruits simultaneously but also is helpful when time is an issue. If people's budgets don't allow for a Vitamix then I tell them to just get started that a Nutrabullet will do the trick. We have many recipes but several "go to" favorites.  The one we like to prepare several times a week has so much nutrient rich foods that it is hard to beat.




                                                               KALE SMOOTHIE
  • 2 cups of fresh organic kale, rinsed and dried
  • 3/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 frozen organic banana
  • 1/4 cup of organic pineapple pieces (we use the BJs brand, found in the freezer section and it is organic)
  • 2 Tbsp. of almond butter or sunflower butter (we steer clear of peanut butter in our home because of the high acid content and the allergy)
  • 1 to 3 tsp of raw and local honey
  • 1 Tbsp. flax seed
  • 1 Tbsp. hemp seed
  • Ice
Sometimes I throw in probiotics, or papaya, apple or watermelon seeds. I also love to throw in some fresh wheatgrass whenever I have it on hand.  
   
                                                             HEALTH BENEFITS
  • KALE  - It has been on dinner plates since Roman times and boast of nutrients of vitamins and minerals. It offers protein, fiber (aid to weight loss and blood sugar control as well as prevention of conditions like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), colon cancer, constipation, and diverticulosis. It has vitamins A, C & K. Vitamin A is fat soluble and is a powerful antioxidant that plays a role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function, healthy skin and reduces inflammation through fighting radical damage. Vitamin C is needed for the growth and repair of tissues in our bodies and it doesn't get stored in the body so we need to consume it on a regular basis. Our body needs Vitamin C to make collagen which is a protein that supports tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in strengthening our immune system. It has been shown that low levels of Vitamin C causes scurvy, and can lead to high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, cancer, stroke, and plaque build up that leads to heart attacks. It also helps the body deal with stress by reducing the elevated levels of stress, hormones and cortisol. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to cataracts. Vitamin C has also been shown to be effective at helping to aid weight loss. It also gives more energy by balancing internal body systems and aids in the production of dopamine in the nervous system and supports the adrenal function for increased metabolic energy. It prevents heart disease by preventing free radicals from damaging the artery walls which could lead to plaque formation. It also helps to prevent asthma and lessens the body's production of histamine which contributes to inflammation. The body uses Vitamin C to help heal wounds at a faster pace and wounds that heal slowly indicate a low level of Vitamin C. It also aids in sun protection and reduces sunburns. It protects our skin from free radicals that develop due to excess exposure to the sun and helps with hair growth. Vitamin K is an umbrella term which encompasses a group of chemically fat-soluble compounds known as K, K1, K2, and K3. Vitamin K1 is the natural source of Vitamin K and is the primary source of Vitamin K that humans obtain through food. It is necessary for responding to injuries and regulates normal blood clotting. It also assists with transporting calcium (calcitriol) throughout the body. Due to it's role of transporting Vitamin D into cellular tissue of bone it plays a role in helping to prevent bone loss and decreases the risk of bone fractures and prevents calcification of arteries and other soft tissue (Dr Weil) which is a problem we are seeing today that has led to the cardiology and internal medicine doctors running calcium testing. I believe when the USDA guidelines changed in the early 1990s to promote more dairy consumption and the add, "Got Milk?" first aired in 1993 it was all  due to the introduction of rBGH through Monsanto's patent and this was the beginning of more osteoporosis and calcification in the vessels which is wreaking having with people's health. Had they explained to people that they needed to have Vitamin K2 to transport the Vitamin D3 we would not be seeing these large numbers of problems in people's lack of health today.  The need for calcium tests and bone scans would be obsolete as well as many other medical conditions that were warned about and that we are now seeing. For people interested in more about this topic, I recommend the book, What's in Your Milk
  • COCONUT MILK - Coconut milk is a naturally found liquid inside of mature coconuts that is stored in the coconut meat. The milky white substance you see when you crack open a coconut is natural coconut water but when you blend the coconut meat and then strain this you get coconut "milk". It is a good source of healthy saturated fatty acids. It has been shown that coconut milk can lower cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure, and prevent heart attacks and stroke. It is free of dairy, lactose, soy, nuts or grains and is a good option for anyone with allergens to those food sources. It contains manganesecopper, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and potassium
  • BANANA - This readily available fruit combo herb is rich in potassium but also contains other key nutrients such as all of the nutrients already mentioned above.  The recommended daily intake of potassium for adults is 4,700 mg a day and other foods rich in potassium are avocados, acorn squash, spinach, sweet potatoes, wild caught salmon, white beans, dried apricots, pomegranates and coconut water and milk.  Potassium is one of the most important electrolytes in the body. It is vital to healthy functioning of all the body's cells, tissues, and organs. It is responsible, along with sodium for regulating the water balance and the acid base balance in blood and tissue. It is also vastly important for normal growth and for building muscle.
  • PINEAPPLE - One of the many nutritional benefits that I love most about pineapple is that it contains a proteolytic enzyme known as bromelain and it aids in the digestion of proteins. It is often used to treat muscle injuries. It is a natural anticoagulant which means it acts to break down the blood clotting protein fibrin and thereby improving circulation. This fruit also helps improve respiratory health, cures coughs and colds, strengthens bones, reduces inflammation and thereby helps to prevent many disease processes including cancer. It too is a storehouse for many of the vitamins and minerals already mentioned in the above foods. It contains potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C  and fiber.
  • ALMOND BUTTER or SUNFLOWER BUTTER - The health benefits found in almond butter are all the same benefit derived from almonds. Almonds are loaded with key nutrients that help sustain energy throughout the day. The health benefits of sunflower butter are equally if not more impressive. Sunflower seed butter is a staple in our house and is loaded with protein, Vitamin E which is another fat soluble antioxidant and protects against air pollution even the kind from the "chemtrails" of geoengineering which we commonly see daily now, as well as the following conditions: PMS, eye disorders such as cataracts, and neurological disease such as Alzheimer's and also diabetes. Both options are more unprocessed foods and are full of healthy fats which can aid in weight loss when eaten in moderation.
  • RAW HONEY and LOCAL HONEY - This provides a great source of antioxidants and raw honey in particular contains antioxidants called phenolic compounds which helps to protect the body from cellular damage due to free radical damage. Raw honey can kill unwanted bacteria and fungus. It naturally contains H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) which is an antiseptic. There are several hospitals in Europe that have used Manuka honey to fight MRSA which is methicillin staphylococcus aureus  a type of staph infection which is now prevalent today and resistant to antibiotics due to the over use of antibiotics and destruction or our intestinal tracts. It is a staple in our house.
  • FLAXSEED - This is a small yet powerful seed and can boast of being a super food. It contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids which have heart healthy effects. Each Tbsp of ground flax contains 1.8 grams of plant Omega 3s. They have both plant estrogens and antioxidant qualities and not too mention the fiber content. It was first cultivated in 3,000 BC in the 8th century. It is said to protect against breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer due to the phytoestrogen role. The role it plays in digestive health in it's prevention of colorectal cancer is also noted as well as its preventive role in heart disease. All of these organ's processes are collaborative and work together in prevention of disease as the body even though not recognized to be so by modern western medicine is contiguous and what affects one organ affects another. Flaxseed is a power house at helping these organs be able to perform in harmony.
  • HEMP SEED - Hemp seed is also a tiny package which boast mega nutritional benefits that are evidenced based. They are rich in 2 essential fatty acids: omega 6 and omega 3. They also contain gamma linolenic acid. They also are a great protein source and contain Vitamin E and key minerals already listed above including also zinc which has been written about extensively in journals like Pub Med which are peer reviewed medical journals which I am starting to believe few providers read. 


                                                                 KEEP IT SIMPLE



Remember that you are smarter than you think when it comes to your health and you possess more power than you know. For more recipes and education on health and wellness watch for more upcoming blog posts and don't forget to always buy organic whenever possible.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

31 Ways to Snack into Wellness

                             Snack into Wellness

31 Great Snack Ideas for Each Day of The Month

     As a busy mom who has raised two girls by herself, I get what busy looks and feels like. We went from my not working outside the home, to working part-time to my working full-time while also juggling, my girl's homework, travel swim and travel soccer schedules, church commitments that included my teaching adult Sunday school and being on different church committees. I was also maintaining a home with yardwork, a constant flow of laundry to do, dirty dishes, meal preps, and training for 1/2 marathons, etc. Unfortunately, with all of that my dedication to my family's wellness did not always take a first place. I knew enough to apply some of what I knew was just common sense but I did not fully grasp the importance of it until I left bedside nursing and got into the business side of our "disease management" system cleverly coined "healthcare" and began to follow the money. It was only then that I  began to understand that our government and its good buddies, the multinational corporations, who it is in bed with, are all in the business of using people for profit which is why we continue to get sicker with more chronic diseases that they are merely treating to make more money. Since the early 1990s Americans have been increasingly acquiring more chronic illnesses to the point where on average Americans now have at least 3 chronic diseases at any given time that they are taking prescription drugs to treat (not cure).
     I finally came to realize the good news is that we don't have to play their game and that the secret to each of us attaining true wellness exist within each one of us and not a doctor who has been trained in a medical school to work for a system that uses its citizens for profit. We have a lot more power within ourselves than we give ourselves credit. Due to our busy lifestyles we have turned our health issues over to white coats, biotech firms and a government that is not for us.  
     When we choose to eat sugar laden, processed, refined, enriched, unhealthy fatty foods that are all chemical laden we are making the decision to be sick. Once we make ourselves sick we then run to doctors who are all obedient workers for the system they work for and they diagnose and prescribe and so the cycle goes. In order to break the cycle we have to choose foods that are nutrient dense and provide a basic purpose for our bodily functions which is to sustain us and promote a state of wellness. We have become so mindlessly socially engineered and through our subconscious minds we don't even realize what is happening when we enter into a grocery store. Through clever marketing and branding we are purposefully, as consumers, driven to all the foods that are bad for our bodies but good for big agriculture, big pharma, and the government's pockets.
FAT
     Did you know that our weight, second only to tobacco use, is the single most powerful predictor of our health? So if you are a non smoker, that amount of excess fat you carry is the closest thing to a  crystal ball in determining your health.  So how to get the fat off and prevent the fat from packing on is the million dollar question. It all starts with what you put into your mouth. What you eat can either aid you in creating a well life or cause you harm. Being over a BMI > 25 INCREASES your risk of premature death and premature disease. The evidence is CONVINCING.

There are 3 fundamental principles that must be followed to begin getting off and or preventing fat accumulation.  I am a visual person and so it helps to see what we are talking about and in all my nursing geekiness to show what us nurses and doctors are seeing when we cut into a body with excess fat and it is this yellow gelatinous like substance.  I will always remember the first overweight  patient that I ever saw cut open down the middle and how I felt when I realized the picture shown is what fat looks like. You can imagine why this excess fat can start to cause harm to the body and its ability to function the way God created it to function. It decreases blood flow and therefore makes wound healing harder, lowers our immunity thereby decreasing our ability to fight off infections, it is detrimental to cardiac and other organ health, etc.

The 3 Fundamental Principles to Help You Eat Less & Prevent Weight Gain:
1.) Eat foods that increase appetite control and decrease hunger (satiety).

2.) Re-think and change your food environment (plan for success).

3.) Adhere to common sense eating through what should be common sense behavior.

So breaking this down to nuts and bolts
 means: 1.) Eat foods that are harder for the gut to break down and to send food components into blood stream for energy (unless you are running a marathon). This promotes a nice steady stream of energy throughout the day and helps in avoiding the sugar high, sugar low roller coasters known as the glycemic index spikes and declines. Oh how happy we are when we get up in the morning and are scarfing down our Kispy Kreme Doughnuts, or Bojangles biscuits, or bagels with cream cheese but when that wears off by 10 am and we are left jittery, irritable, tired feeling and wondering why, no one questions what they have eaten but instead runs to the coke machine which is cleverly placed next to the coke snack machine. Why? Diet sodas are satiety increasing agents and the CEO of coke knows this hence the snack machines placed next to the coke machines. This makes  a lot of money for this multinational company while destroying your health because these foods promote weight gain which leads to diseases like hypertension, obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, hyperlipidemia, and inflammation in the body which in turn drives all diseases. So what are we to do?  2.) Re-think and change your food environment (plan for success). How? By eating foods listed below as a good first step and incorporating them into your daily routine so that these foods are foods that are conditioned into your subconscious.
3.) Adhere to the behavior changes. Why? To tell yourself, " I love you self" by promoting a state of wellness.

                                               31 WELLNESS SNACKS:

Keep them on hand in your car, in your purse, in your desk drawer, etc. Have them ready to grab at a moment's notice.

1.) Always Nuts! You should consume at least 1 ounce per day. The health benefits of nuts are endless and help with everything from decreasing inflammation, decreasing satiety, helping fight cancer to combatting heart disease as they are loaded with minerals and vitamins.
2.) Dark Chocolate - Must be at least 60% are cocoa. It enhances blood flow, decreases satiety, lowers blood pressure, enhances cognitive function and a host of other healthy benefits. Note: 2 squares of dark chocolate barely makes a dent in your daily sugar quota. Even diabetics can safely consume this portion of dark chocolate.
3.) Apples - If you are worried about them browning then add a little fresh lemon juice to your bag and shake.
4.) Homemade Trail Mix - Nuts, dark chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut flakes, multigrain cereal (with limited sugar and ingredients - Kashi is a good brand) try to avoid dried fruits as all the nutrients has been processed out and you are left with just a lot of sugar.
5.) Whole Grain Crackers - Takes longer to break down in the gut adding a nice steady stream of energy which thwarts off hunger. Remember quality over quantity. When you are eating quality foods, you don't need a lot to get rid of hunger and get nutrients for the body.
6.) Almond butter, & Sunflower butter - Can add to the crackers and I like these choices better because they are less acidic than peanut butter.
7.) Chickpeas - Put in baggies and sprinkle with cayenne pepper (boast of its own nutrition facts). Loaded with protein, fiber and nutrients like manganese, selenium, and folate. Helps with hunger control and promotes strong bones due to the manganese.  Chickpeas are often eaten as a substitute for meat, which can be great for those hoping to watch their dietary fat or cholesterol. Even apart from chickpeas’ ability to be a substitute, they may help boost heart health and reduce cholesterol. The selenium works as an antioxidant, which means that it may help neutralize free radicals in the body, helping to prevent cancer and plays a role in liver enzyme function.
8.) Cucumbers - One of my favorites. I carry a skin peeler with me and peel them Sometimes if I don't have a peeler I just eat them skin and all. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper (helps aid digestion). They are low in calories, helps with hydration, aids in weight loss, flushes out toxins, etc. They sell the bags of mini organic ones at Aldi and I love these.
9.) Pumpkin Seeds - Nutrient dense with  a great and bountiful source of manganese, copper, zinc, and loaded with protein. These beauties come in a small package but are wellness promoting powerhouses. It is like the saying goes, the best gifts are found in small packages.
10.) Sunflower Seeds - Promotes cardiovascular health, a potent source of magnesium, selenium, a powerful antioxidant and great for Thyroid health.
11.) Bananas - In moderation as they do have more sugar but contain several essential nutrients and have benefits to aid in digestion, heart health, contain a fair amount of fiber. (Sugars found in natural fruits are always a better choice than processed sugars but you still have to watch consumption of this.)
12.) Oranges - Apart from its delightful taste, oranges are also contain many essential nutrients like Vitamin A, B1, and C. One orange supplies nearly 100% of the recommended daily dietary intake of vitamin C.
13.) Cherries -The health benefits of cherries include heart disease and cancer prevention and prevention of gout attacks. Cherry Nutrition. Cherries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. The bright red colour of cherries is due to their high concentration of anthocyanins. Cherries also have a very low Glycemic Index 
14.) Mini Bell Peppers - Both hot and sweet peppers may enhance weight-loss efforts. Research has shown that capsaicin-the substance that gives hot red peppers (or chilies) their kick, and boosts our metabolism-keeps immature fat cells from developing into full-fledged ones. And a study presented in April found that a compound in some sweet peppers (called CH-19 Sweet), which resembles capsaicin, provides similar positive metabolic effects-minus the burning mouth and lips
15. ) Chick Pea Hummus - Chickpeas are a natural food from pre-biblical times and is not a hybrid food. They boast of awesome health benefits such as promoting bone health, DM (Diabetes Mellitus) control and DM 2 prevention, cardiac health, aids in fighting cancer, decreases inflammation, aids in digestion, etc.
16.) Homemade Granola Bars - See previous blog post for recipe.
17.) Mixed Berries - Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, rasberries, etc. I love to pre-prepare these in small baggies for grab and go.
18.) PeachesYou can eat them whole, skin and all and the skin is the most nutritious part.  Wonderfully delicious peaches are low in calories (100 g just provide 39 calories) and contain no saturated fats. Nonetheless, they are packed with numerous health promoting compounds, minerals, and vitamins. Fresh peaches are a moderate source of antioxidant, vitamin-C. Vitamin-C has antioxidant effects and is required for connective tissue synthesis inside the human body. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps develop resistance against infectious agents, and help scavenges harmful free radicals.
19.) Cherry Tomatoes and Roma Tomatoes - These varieties are not as acidic.  
20.) Hard Boiled Eggs - Great to take with you on the go and especially in the shell. They boast benefits of folate, vitamins: A,B5, B12, D, E, K, and B6. They also offer minerals such as selenium, phosphorus and are only 77 calories with 6 grams of protein, and 5 grams of healthy fats. They are definitely a nutrient dense snack.
21.) Fresh Salsa - Homemade is always a better choice when time allows. I make mine on the weekends and keep in fridge in airtight container.
22.) Fresh Vegies - I like to cut mine ahead of time and put in baggies for on the go and to keep in fridge at work.
23.)  Artichokes - They have more antioxidants than any other vegetable and they ranked seventh in a study of the antioxidant levels of 1,000 different foods. Some of the powerful antioxidants in artichokes are quercertin, rutin, anthocyanins, cynarin, luteolin, and silymarin.  They may even regenerate liver tissue. Artichokes have long been used in folk and alternative medicine as a treatment for liver ailments and the scientific studies are now proving them to be correct. They aid in digestion, decrease cholesterol, are high in fiber, increase bile flow, prevent cancer and are high in antioxidants.
24.) Guacamole - I prefer homemade when time allows and even a whole avocado with seed scooped out and salsa poured in center in place of the seed makes a great and nutritious snake with multigrain all natural chips with few ingredients or multigrain crackers.
25.) Snyder's Oat Bran or Honey Oat Sticks -  Multigrain is always a better choice as it promotes decreased satiety and better blood sugar control again because it takes the gut longer to break it down and send it into the blood stream for energy.
26.) Multigrain Pita Chips - Dipped in an almond butter or sunflower butter is even better or a chickpea hummus. I always try to avoid soy whenever possible as it is being produced for massive sales for the biotech's and is all genetically modified along with our corn and wheat.
27.) Cheeses - Make sure that you are buying from  a known Rbgh free manufacturer and buy part skim mozzarella or other reduced fat 2%. Always moderation with cheese.
28.) Kashi Granola Bars
29.) Celery with some kind of Butter i.e. Almond butter or Sunflower butter - Celery contains coumarins which have been shown to be effective in the prevention of cancer. Celery contains pthalides, which have been shown to lower blood pressure by relaxing the muscles around the arteries and allowing vessels to dilate. The calcium, magnesium, and potassium in celery also helps regulate blood pressure. The pthalides in celery may also lower cholesterol by increasing bile acid secretion and it is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties as well as the fact that it is low in calories and is high in fiber.
30.) Kalamata Olives - Olives are very rich in monounsaturated fats which are exceptionally healthy for the heart. The only other fruit that is rich in monounsaturated fats in its raw form is avocado. These fats, especially oleic acid are very beneficial in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol and raising the levels of good cholesterol in the blood. Olives also contain alpha-linolenic acid which is very important in promoting a healthy heart, reducing the risk of cancers, reducing hypertension, reducing the risk of auto immune diseases, improving depression and preventing the formation of clots in the circulatory system. This substance can also act as a blood thinner and can be of great help in preventing gallstones. They are also a great source of Vit E  and vitamin A which gives them very potent antioxidant properties which fight the free radicals and reduce the damage they cause. Olives are very efficient in reducing the risk of heart diseases and numerous inflammatory conditions and relieving asthma and arthritis
31.) Fermented Vegies - I love the Okra but you can buy cucumbers, etc. When we ate more fermented foods, took less antibiotics and ate less fast foods we were much healthier. Fermented foods are great for the gut. It is why God gave us seasons and in the winter we relied on eating fermented foods. Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

Remember - Always buy foods in season and buy organic as much as humanly possible. If the store doesn't have organic buy what they do have as organic because generally that means it is in season and has not been shipped from as far away which means more in tact nutrients. As an example I would not buy grapes right now as they are out of season until August and therefore all of them are currently imported from Chile which is the second largest exporter of GMO foods only second to the USA.

Click the link to see what foods are in season in your area. http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalfoodguide/