Simplifying nutrition and using food as medicine - one bite at a time.

My goal with this blog is to set folks straight about what good nutrition really is! Starting by discarding the info we get every day from 'sponsors' that do not really have our best interests at heart, I want to inspire you to eat better AND realize it is much easier than you thought it would be!

Just about any health issues can be addressed with nutrition (and meditation), from mild to chronic to acute. We truly have the ability to heal ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually...

And you can use your daily routine as your vehicle to drive that change :)


Join me...

Quote of the Month

"When food, in the minds of eaters, is no longer associated with farming and with the land, then the eaters are suffering a kind of cultural amnesia that is misleading and dangerous"
~Wendell Berry

Monday, December 28, 2009

To Soak or Not To Soak

Have you ever noticed anyone soaking their beans for several hours before cooking them? Or perhaps fermenting their flour into sourdough?


Phytic Acid and other ‘anti-nutrients’ present in grains, beans and nuts…

Looking back in history, traditional peoples from all around the world were fermenting, soaking, or sprouting their grains, legumes and nuts/seeds. They somehow inherently knew that these foods required these techniques to break down ‘anti-nutrients’, such as phytic acid, creating better mineral absorption and other nutrient content as well increasing enzymes. It also creates a more alkaline product (we all seem to need more alkalinity these days!)

It’s amazing how traditional wisdom can be so easily overlooked! And our modern fast-paced diets, without these principles, are taking a toll on our health with a huge increase in food allergies, digestive/intestinal problems, immune deficiencies, etc.

Science now shows:

• Phytic acid present in most grain and beans and nuts and seeds binds with calcium, zinc, magnesium and iron (rendering these nutrients almost impossible to absorb). Soaking them will neutralise the phytic acid and allow for optimal absorption of these critical nutrients.

• ‘Enzyme inhibitors’ are also neutralised with soaking, not only increasing vitamin content, but dramatically increasing enzyme content.

• Gluten and other hard to digest proteins are broken down, making for easy digestion. *Rye, Barley, Wheat, Kamut and Spelt and most oat products contain gluten.

Using this technique:

• Soak grains at least 7 hours before use, ideally in an acidic medium (e.g. a dash of apple cider vinegar, a squeeze of lemon or tsp. of yogourt) or just water.

• Buy or make whole grain sourdough breads, as they have undergone full fermentation of the dough. *Yeast fermentation does not do the same.

• Ingesting sprouted grains and legumes:

o Immerse in grain/legume in jar about 1/3 full

o Fill with water to top overnight

o Pour off water, store away from direct light

o Rinse out with water twice a day until ¼ inch sprouts appear (1 to 4 days depending on type)

> Can be used in soups, eaten raw or mashed into dough to make bread.

• Soak nuts overnight, drain and then place in oven on lowest possible setting (pilot light for gas or 150 F electric) or, even better, a dehydrator to dry out (up to 12+ hours) for longer storage, better crunch and taste.

Oxalic Acid

This is found primarily in leafy green vegetables such as chard, spinach, beet greens, mustard greens. It binds with calcium and iron and inhibits their absorption. Lightly steaming is enough to neutralize the oxalic acid found within.

Summary

So, please do your best to get into the habit of at least soaking to ensure better absorption for you and your loved ones. Eventually almost everyone will have problems over time without this vital step in the kitchen.
Don’t rely on commercial kitchens/restaurants/delis to 'prepare' their grains/legumes/nuts & seeds. Some do it, but most don’t, as it takes more planning and many are just plain unaware of the importance of it (just as many of us were). Unfortunately, it seems to no longer be a piece of wisdom we naturally inherit from our parents. Times have changed, and we are undoubtedly evolving, but we cannot evolve as fast as our food has been in the past century. We need to take a step back, for the sake of our health and that of our children’s, and realize that some customs are not meant to be ‘lost in translation’.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Eating Well Over The Holidays

First of all, WHERE have the past 3 months gone?!  I feel like I've been hit with a time-warp.   Life has indeed been busy raising a 23 month-old, coordinating play-dates, working part-time at Inspire Health http://www.inspirehealth.ca/ (The Integrative Cancer Clinic in Vancouver), working from home, keeping the house and bed & breakfast (http://www.bowenwellnessbnb.com/) in order...I know I'm not alone with this a busy schedule :) 

And so, I'd like to talk about something fitting for the season...

This can be a challenging time of year to eat well and stick to a regimen but I'm here to encourage you to first of all, not try and be perfect - none of us are!  And second, adopt some good strategies for eating well over the holidays and not consume copius amounts of alcohol and refined foods full of who-knows-what.

When it comes to eating well, I always encourage clients to adopt 'the 80:20 principle' for their diet.  What this means is if 80% of the time you are eating whole, healthy, unrefined foods then you are doing great and you can afford to not be perfect for 20% of the time.  So, eating out, with friends, or traveling doesn't count so don't sweat it!  Isn't that a nice thought?  To eat without worry/anxiety/guilt?  I think so. 

I remember when I turned my diet around and felt SO much better and one day I remember thinking to myself - WOW, I no longer have to really worry about what/when I eat as long as I stick to eating well most of the time, which had well become a habit by then.  By that time I had worked on my diet for about a year, overcame IBS, yeast overgrowth, chronic hypoglycemia, back pain, sugar addiction, anxiety, acne, dry scalp, ...the list goes on.  It felt so liberating!!  After all I'd gone through, feeling lousy for so long, feeling guilt-ridden/irresponsible/anxious...and now as long as I don't completely fly off the handle and go back to my old ways (I've tinkered with it a bit over the years but now bounce back fast as soon as I get back on track) then I'm totally ok and my body is forgiving of a few 'off days' here and there.  A truly sustainable diet.

12 Tips to Get You Through the Holidays

1.) If you have alcohol, try and limit it to 2 drinks.  Stick to one type that you are used to and know your limits.

2.) Avoid sugary additions like soda pop or sweet fruit juice.  Fresh fruit/juice, club soda, tonic/spring water are better alternatives.

3.) Drink a glass of water with or between every alcoholic drink..

4.) Drink water before bed with some vitamin C.  Repeat in morning if needed.

5.) Eat plenty of protein early on to stabilize blood sugar and the tendency to eat less.

6.) Do not drink alcohol or eat bread or sweets before eating the main meal as you're likely to eat more after these appetite stimulants.

7.) Eat dark chocolate instead of milky/white stuff that's loaded with sugar.

8.) Keep your portions small and chew thoroughly as you'll find you are full much sooner that you would if you wolf down your food!

9.) Remind yourself that you want to feel good in 2010 - not hungover and bloated!

10.) Try and get some walking in daily during this cold season when we tend to be less active.

11.)  Deep breathe!  Often...every day...

12.) Be kind to yourself as well as others and have gratitude for all that you have.  There's no better feeling than to be in a pure place of being grateful for what/who you have in your life!


Have a wonderful, fun but safe, holiday season, whichever way you choose to celebrate.

Here's to a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2010 to all of you!

Thank you for reading and be sure to join me for many more posts in the new year...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009

"There's no time like the present" I've been talking about starting a blog for a few years now and I finally decided that THE TIME IS NOW. So, I dabbled here and dribbled there (not really) and whipped up some lemon buttermilk scones (always a good standby) AND some homemade maple pecan, with chocolate chunks, ice cream (YU-UM!)...

...and so here it is...my first blog.

You will find here just about anything to do with food and health and their intimate relationship, from a Holistic standpoint (meaning whole, natural and for the 'whole' person: body mind and spirit).
Topics I'll cover include:
~ How to successfully sift through the barage of nutrition information you encounter everyday.
~ Food security; how to make a difference with your daily food choices and 'be sustainable'.
~ What is quality when it comes to choosing food?  I'll even provide specific brands to look for (note: I do not work for any of these companies I just want to promote good products)
~ Energetics of food - taking it to the next level
~ How your blood type affects your dietary needs (really!)
~ Learn more about recognizing your individual dietary needs (there's NO one-diet-for-all!).
~ & of course DELICIOUS recipes that anyone can enjoy - without any guilt!


I also hope to post stories of people's remarkable experiences with healing (there are many, many out there and I want to hear from you!) as we are meant to share these stories and inspire others and help people realize that our healing potential, ultimately, comes from within. What we eat is very important because it nourishes us physically (as well as mentally and spiritually if intended - more on that later) but what we believe in is very powerful.

And in time, with any 'luck', it will evolve into a little community who shares experiences (and yummy recipes:) - a place where we can gather, support and be supported, listen and be heard and be hopefully be INSPIRED!

Thanks all of you for taking the time to read this and especially those who take it a step further and share this information with others. Hopefully, step by step, we can inspire each other to make positive changes in our lives and therefore fill this planet with happy, healthy, thriving, individuals...who take some time out of their hectic days for themselves...and eat really good FOOD :)

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