Category Archives: Health & Nutrition

I LOVE honey fermented garlic!

I use it a lot in my cooking and it’s absolutely brilliant as a home remedy for colds/flu. This was posted just now on the fermenting board I administrate:

“Honey/garlic fermented is amazing stuff. My entire family was exposed to the flu a few days ago. Yesterday, half of us started getting very achy and pukey feeling. I went to my cabinet and grabbed that stuff and had everyone take a spoon of it (1 garlic clove with honey). It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve taken haha. Within 30 minutes, I started feeling pretty good! All of us feel 100% fine today!”

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Want to lose weight? Get fermenting!

The tens of trillions of microorganisms living in your intestines regulate your metabolism, energy levels, satiety, amount of body fat, mood and behavior … for good or for ill. It all depends on whether your gut hosts primarily beneficial bugs or primarily pathogenic bugs. Studies are showing that a preponderance of pathogenic bugs can make you fat.

Gut biome and fat

The good news is that you can easily fix a bad gut biome by ingesting probiotic and prebiotic supplements and foods.

Probiotics are the militant, beneficial bugs that bump off the pathogenic bugs and set up housekeeping in your gut. You can take them in supplement form and/or eat them in raw or fermented plant foods.

Prebiotics are non-digestible compounds that feed the bugs in your large intestines and help them thrive and make lots and lots of babies. Please note that JUST eating prebiotics is not going to heal your gut. The pathogenic bugs eat that stuff too.

Cold potato starch is my personal favorite prebiotic. For some reason, when potatoes are hot, the starch changes to a form that is digestible. Even more oddly, when hot potatoes cool off, the starch changes to a non-digestible form. I like cold potatoes, so often have a bowl of them in the fridge for snacking.

Unsaturated fat can also be useful in healing an unhealthy gut biome. Bile helps control pathogenic bugs in the gut. Eating healthy, unsaturated fats (like coconut oil) will stimulate bile production and help you grow and maintain a healthy gut biome.

Source:

The microbiota–gut–brain axis in obesity. This article appeared in The Lancet. Published since 1823, The Lancet is currently the second ranked medical journal.

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langas/article/PIIS2468-1253(17)30147-4/fulltext

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Getting Enough Iodine

Sea kelp

Iodine is essential for healthy functioning of the thyroid gland which, among other things, controls the body’s metabolism. During pregnancy and infancy, it also influences bone and brain development. Adults generally need 150 mcg of iodine per day. Pregnant and nursing women need more.

In the U.S., where iodized salt is commonly used in shakers and processed foods and iodine is used in commercial dairy production, most people get enough. I use sea salt and eat very little of the foods that are either naturally high in or supplemented commercially with iodine. Plus, I am hypothyroid.

So yesterday, I researched 2017 kelp reviews at:

Summary:

  • Consumer Lab found three of the kelp supplements they tested contained more iodine than the FDA considers safe. Even worse, one contained arsenic.
  • Both sites approved Nature’s Life Icelandic Kelp, but the label itself says, “This product contains a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm.” I don’t know what’s going on with that.
  • My own price check at Amazon sometimes did and sometimes did not match what the reviews listed.

In the past, I have tested positive for thyroid antibodies (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis).  At the moment, my thyroid antibody level is normal, but I am cautious about iodine, because too much could trigger a recurrence.

Since the one tablet per day dose of iodine for some recommended brands was considerably higher than I want to take, I chose Country Life Arctic Kelp from Amazon for $8.50. It contains 300 tablets (3 cents each) of 225 mcg of iodine and is eligible for Amazon’s FREE Shipping offer.

For information on the dangers of taking too much iodine, see http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/iodine#excess.

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Gut Biome Basics

“Beyond their functions of digestion and absorption, the intestines are also one of the body’s major barriers to invasion. Whatever is in the gut is simply passing through and still belongs to the external world. Only after penetrating the bowel lining do substances and organisms enter the body proper. Since this protective function of the gut tissue is critical to well-being, it is generously supplied with its own local immune system, one that works in coordination with the body’s general immune defenses.” – When the Body Says No, by Gabor Maté, M.D. (p. 137)

Gut friendly vs unfriendly bacteria

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Let go and let God

Stress is a physiological response to a perceived threat. Three of the most obvious physical responses are commonly known as Freeze, Fight, and Flight.

  • Freeze: We become hyper alert to threat indicators, lifting our heads up to look and listen, which involves tightening neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Fight: We tighten our hands in preparation for battle.
  • Flight: We tighten our feet in preparation for running away.

These stress responses are really important to surviving muggers and bears, etc., and cause no long term damage when the stress is relieved in short order.

This is not true when they become chronic responses to problems that cannot be resolved quickly or through Freezing, Fighting, or Fleeing.

This summer, I’ve been having a lot of trouble with pain and stiffness in my feet. A couple of weeks ago, I remembered that a pain therapist had me roll a golf ball under my bare feet to relieve stress.  It undoes the Flight tension.

Like this:

Making “fists with your toes” also undoes the tension in the feet caused by fear, in this case, of flying. It’s bio-feedback on the cheap.

Since I’ve been processing a lot of old fear memories this summer, I ordered a box of used golf balls from Amazon. Now I’ve got one each in two fabric-lined box lids, one here by my office chair and the other out by my spot on the couch. I figure it couldn’t hurt to roll my feet on them a little bit, several times a day, while reciting the surrender prayer.

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything. Amen.

Yesterday, the idea of worry balls came into my head and I realized they are relaxing, because they relieve Fight tension in the hands. So I added two more golf balls to my little prayer regimen. They don’t jingle like Chinese meditation balls, but they roll just fine.  Good thing I bought a box of a dozen balls! 🙂

Finally, during the night, when my shoulders and neck were hurting, I thought about Freeze stress. Today, I started also pressing a golf ball into the two hot spots I have on each side of my neck and shoulders.

This stuff actually seems to help and it’s dirt cheap, so I thought I’d share in case you, too, are looking for ways to help yourself …

Let go and let God

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I’m going to be spiralizing soon!

Amazon just emailed that my vegetable spiralizer is in the mail. I’ve got zucchini, yellow squash, and sweet potatoes in the hydrator ready to go. The manufacturer sent me some tips. Here are two I need to memorize:

To prevent watery zucchini, yellow squash and cucumber noodles, place your vegetable spirals in a wire sieve or colander and salt generously, tossing strands to lightly coat. “Sweat” the noodles by letting them stand for 20-30 minutes. This removes excess water. Rinse with running water, drain well and pat dry with paper towels.

Since sweet potatoes are tougher, prepare them by poking some holes in your potato, wrapping it in a paper towel, popping into the microwave for 30 seconds, then letting cool before spiralizing. Do not overcook or it will turn to mush!

I picked this model because I have very limited storage space in my kitchen and am only cooking for 2. There are much better ones for cooks with more storage and bigger families.

Spiralizer

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The Surprising Benefits of Heat Killed Bacteria

What to kraut

I administrate a Facebook group called Fermenting: Healing Through Food and, today, someone asked if heating sauerkraut destroyed the pro-biotics. I had always heard this was true, but thought I’d google for an actual temperature to share with her, in case she wanted to try to learn how to enjoy her kraut at less than hot temperatures.

What I found really surprised me.

Some might argue that dead bacteria are better than live.

Lots of research suggests that the benefits of probiotics are from the dead bodies of the bacteria, not the living colonies they are thought to form. Veterinarians have used “heat-killed Lactobacilus” for farm animal probiotic support for years. Only recently has the FDA approved the use of heat-killed bacteria for human probiotics.

In other words, heating may kill the bacteria, but that might actually be better than eating them live.

Further reading:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17116721

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4153334/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9679848

The little bit I understood of the science in these three articles suggested I shouldn’t be so fussed about not heating my ferments sometimes, because it’s apparently giving me some immune benefits I hadn’t considered. Neat!

Source:

If you’re interested in Fermenting: Healing Through Food, request to join and I’ll add you to the member list.

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Eat too little, get fat

Sounds weird, right? But the phenomenon is well documented.

“The act of reducing the amount of calories that you consume for a sustained period of time (more than 21 consecutive days) causes a number of damaging changes to your metabolism, hormones and thyroid systems. The result is what most people have come to know as starvation mode.”

DIET MYTH

The study linked below found that more than 90% of the “Biggest Loser” contestants who were tracked over time gained back all of the weight they lost during the competition. And this was despite the fact that they had continued to eat fewer calories.

  • Why? Because their bodies continued to burn, on average, 700 calories LESS per DAY than before the competition!

And the reason is common sense simple. Our metabolisms don’t know we have ready access to grocery stores year round. They adapt to a reduction in calories as if it were due to a bad harvest or an extra long winter. They go into starvation mode in order to help us survive until food is plentiful again.

Some of the symptoms of starvation mode include a body temperature 1-2 degrees below normal; cold hands, cold feet, or cold intolerance; constant fatigue; changes to hair texture or thickness; hair loss; irritability; depression; food cravings; dizziness or lightheadedness; trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

If your metabolism has been damaged by low calorie dieting, the article linked below offers guidance.

Sources:

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