Water Kefir, lets start a trend

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I wanted to share with you my latest obsession, water kefir.  It’s delicious, loaded with good bacteria and could be your soda substitute.  Water kefir is a fermented beverage made with cultures of various strains of healthy bacteria and yeasts. The kefir grains, also known as Japanese water crystals, feed on sugar and produce lactic acid, alcohol (ethanol), and carbon dioxide, yielding a fermented carbonated beverage. Now don’t worry the alcohol content is less than 1% so your kid will not get drunk.  

The process for making water kefir is very simple and you don’t need too many ingredients or fancy tools.  The first thing to do is to order your kefir grains, I got mine here.  And with good care these grains can last indefinitely so you can use them over and over.  Most times they even grow!

These grains come dehydrated so you will have to rehydrate them.  To do this you simply place the kefir grains in sugar-water and leave at room temperature for about 3 days.  Once your grains have been rehydrated you are ready to start making batches of water kefir.  With proper care the kefir grains can last for ever, so you have unlimited water kefir at your disposal.

To make water kefir you follow the same procedure as you did to activate them, but you only let the bacteria in the sugar-water 24-48 hours any longer could result in damage to the kefir grains.  Here are detailed instructions as how to make water kefir, video included :).

After the first cycle of fermentation you can do a second cycle (super easy you just remove the bacteria, add juice or fruit, seal and let sit for an additional 2-3 days) to get carbonated water kefir, which tastes a lot like soda!  I love this part because you can experiment with flavoring your water kefir!  Wellness Mama has some great tips you should check and try yourself.

I really endorse this beverage because its delicious, easy and fun to make, the kids love it and it can do wonders for your gut health.  If you have ever wanted to kick the soda habit this is your chance.  It is cheaper and healthy.

Why is water kefir good for you?  Here are a few reasons:

It’s a fermented beverage that contains healthy bacteria your digestive track can use for better digestion and immune health.

It is easy to add into your diet.  You can easily consume 4 oz a day.

It’s an easy way to introduce your children to cultured foods (which rightly made are super healthy)

It can substitute unhealthy carbonated beverages.

Because of its vitamin and antioxidant content it can help you release stress and have better skin.  Youqueen says so :).

If you want a pet, the bacteria are super easy to care for and love :).

 

All I can say is, I’m in love. I know I’m gushing but what the heck, it’s all good.  Try it you might fall in love too.

 

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For more information on the health benefits of water kefir, follow this link.

 

 

Sublock or not?

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I am heading for a week at the beach with my family!  I’m super excited.  I am looking forward to spending some time with the ocean and sun :).  This made me think of an article I wrote a year ago about sunblock.  For those of you who haven’t read it, here it is. And for an updated list of safe sunscreen here is the Environmental Working Group’s current guide .

Ok, I know this will raise a few eyebrows, but before you start chasing me with a pitch fork hear me out.  I am not saying you should never use sunscreen.  However,  you should be mindful about when it is necessary and choose your brand wisely.  Personally I don’t use much of it, for me or my family, but  I also understand it can come in handy under some circumstances.

Now let’s be clear about one thing, a sunburn is a big leap from moderate sun exposure.  As you probably know already, a sunburn causes cellular damage from ultraviolet radiation.  There are two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB, both can cause sunburn but they are different. UVA penetrates deeper in the skin and causes more cellular damage.  It is present all hours of daylight , year-long,  regardless of the weather.    Healthy exposure to UVB rays is necessary for the natural production of vitamin D in the body.  UVB rays are low in the morning and evening and high during the middle of the day.  Of course once you start getting burned , there is no extra production of vitamin D to save for a rainy day, you are just damaging your skin.

My biggest issue with the whole sun exposure dilemma is this pandemic fear of the sun.  A lot of people are terrified to spend a few minutes outside without a SPF of over 100!  They triple coat their kids before going to the park and would wear a sweater at 80 degrees if it would save them from sun exposure.  This is causing some serious health issues.

Here are two reasons to re-consider sunscreen.

Toxicity

Most commercial sunscreens are loaded with toxic chemicals.  Our skin is our largest organ, not only does it protect us but it also absorbs what we put on it. ( Ladies take note, you might be ingesting pounds of chemicals through your skin, courtesy of your beauty products.)  The damaging effects of chemicals found in sunscreen range from hormone disruption to various forms of cancer.  One of the offenders is retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A,  that seems to have carcinogenic properties when applied to the skin in the presence of sunlight.  Most sunscreen products contain retinyl palmitate, amongst other synthetic chemicals that can get into your bloodstream.  The Environmental Working Group provides a very useful list of what products to avoid  (that includes  spray sunscreens!) and which are safer to use.  A note to parents, please be careful with the lotions you use on your child.  Young children tend to be more susceptible to harmful chemicals because their systems are still developing, especially babies.  And if you care about this, sunscreen also has an adverse impact on the environment!

Vitamin D deficiencies

I am vitamin D deficient at the moment.  I have struggled with ups and downs for a few years now and let me tell you, it is not fun.  I take this issue very seriously. Vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon in this country, though for some reason it remains a secret to most.  I am willing to bet if you go get tested tomorrow you will have some degree of vitamin D deficiency (unless you live in a land of perpetual warm months).  Low blood levels of this vitamin can lead to a lot of trouble and has been associated with increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, severe asthma in children and cancer to name a few.  One of the most common problems with vitamin d deficiencies is bone health, since the body needs this vitamin to assimilate calcium.  Yes you can obtain vitamin from nutritional sources, such as fatty fish, egg yolks and fortified milk, but you are unlikely to get your fill this way.  There are also supplements, I highly recommend  a good quality vitamin D3 (not D2!).  Some health experts say 2,000 IU a day is ok, but get tested to find out the best amount for you.  This link from Cancer Connect provides some tips on choosing the right kind.  Now ideally we would get our vitamin D from the sun, but if you are constantly coated in sunblock, indoors or avoiding the sun like the plague,  it is not going to happen.  Keep in mind sunblock, even in small amounts, impedes vitamin D absorption.  In order to get the amount you need from the sun you would have to expose most of your skin (sans sunscreen) and be in the sun between 10 to 20  minutes depending on your skin.  For more information check this article by Dr. Mercola.

 

With summer here you might want to pay some attention to what you are putting in your skin.  We obsess over the right swimsuit, the least you can do is spend a few minutes considering your health. Here are a few suggestions

Consider Astaxanthin supplements

Recently Astaxanthin, a very powerful antioxidant mostly found in krill, has been touted to protect your skin from sun damage!  You could call it the internal sunscreen. So you might want to add this supplement to your diet.  We use Nutrex Hawaiian  Astaxanthin.

Enjoy sun exposure in moderation

Once you start turning pink its time to go, this could be little as 10 minutes for very pale people.  Use a beach umbrella, a hat, a shirt or just find some shade and relax.  Let your kids get some sun exposure, you can always take them out of the pool and apply a safe sunblock.  I know it can be daunting but given the choice of coming out for sunblock or going home, I have a feeling they will choose the first.  If you make it a routine it won’t be as hard, and remember you are the boss!  Besides it’s a small price to pay for your health and that of your family.

Use safe sunscreen

I will accept that some circumstances call for sun protection.  If you work outside all day (like my husband and father in law) and you can’t shelter yourself from the sun, if you are at high risk for skin cancer,  if you just can’t get out of the sun after a safe period of time; by all means wear some sunblock.  Just make sure you are not making matters worse by adding dangerous chemicals to your skin.  Some of the chemicals in sunscreen could increase your risk of skin cancer!  This is your health; take a little time and do the research.  I use Badger but there are many other safe alternatives.

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Show your face outside, the sun wont bite if you are mindful.  Be safe and have fun!

Be beautiful, inside and out

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We all want beauty.  I am not talking about that “cover girl”  ideal of beauty.  I am talking about kindness, love, synergy, balance and health.  Creating beauty in ourselves is the result or our day-to-day actions.  Beauty is an achievement.  So mind your behavior and earn it, step by step.  Of course becoming a loving generous soul is a big part of the path to beauty.  But  today I would like to talk about food and how it creates beauty in us.

If you could eat yourself beautiful, would you?  Good news, you can.  Healthy skin, hair and weight are waiting for you at your kitchen.

If you want to eat for beauty you have to understand the importance of balance in your body.  Ideally our eating habits would help us maintain an acid/alkaline balance in our body.  Unfortunately in our fast food nation our diets tend to lean towards the acid.  According to the book Eating for Beauty: “Acidity is the underlying cause of all the aliments that mar beauty.  Acidity creates inflammation, puffiness, asymmetry, and construction of the tissues.”

You can check your ph levels with testing strips.  It’s an easy and inexpensive way to see where you stand in a very basic level.  The ph balance goes from extremely acid at 0.0 to too alkaline at 14.00.  So 7.0 would be the right balance.  Also you could notice the following symptoms:

Too Acidic

Muscle tension

Stress headaches

Anger/short temper

Coffee or cigarette addiction

Itchy skin

Acne

 

Too Alkaline

Laziness

Lack of drive

Lack of focus

Feeling too cold

Weakness

 

For most of us in order to regain a balanced PH we would need to consume more alkaline foods such as leafy greens and less acidic ones like meats and sugars.  You can find an extensive list of the types of food that are alkaline and acidic here.

Once you restore balance in your body you are likely to see improvement in your “beauty” and health.

Then you can begin to focus on including more beautifying foods to your diet.  These foods can be described as either alkaline, high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory  and/or  have high amounts of minerals like sulfur, silicon, zinc, iron and manganese. Here are a few of the ones that raw food expert, David Wolfe, recommends :

Aloe Vera

Arugula

Coconut Oil

Cucumber

Figs

Olives

Onion

Papaya

Pumpkin Seeds

For a complete list and how to use them you might want to check out the book “Eating for Beauty”.

 

Well, I guess I’ll be heading to the grocery store soon to stock up on some of these health and beauty foods. Hope next time I see you, we are more beautiful. 🙂

 

 

 

Save your child from sugar addiction

Image by Julien Bizat

Image by Julien Bizat

 

Yesterday I was talking with my mother in law about sugars in our diet. Being the mother of two, this is a topic i am constantly researching.  And while I am not an expert on the subject, I am very passionate about it. The conversation inspired me to dig a little more.

It is no secret that excessive sugar consumption is extremely detrimental to our health.  But exactly how much is too much is not common knowledge.  This is unfortunate since everyone is affected in one way or another by the adverse effects of sugar.  The World Health Organization recently lowered the daily sugar allowance from 10% (of your daily calorie intake) to 5%!  That is a significant reduction, that should show you how big the problem is.  For an average adult (in fairly good shape) that translates to 25 grams a day or 6 teaspoons.  Just so you know, a can of soda contains about 40 grams of sugar.  For children the American Heart Association recommends no more than 3 teaspoons  that is 12 grams.  Keep in mind if your child is over weight or very sedentary the amount should be a lot less.    

You might not see it this way but sugar is very similar to drugs.  It is highly addictive , considered toxic by health experts and can have catastrophic consequences for you and your family.  But unlike most  illegal substances it is readily available in almost everything we put in our mouth.  And it is distributed to our children indiscriminately.  Sometimes by ourselves.  This leads me to my next point.  We have trained ourselves and our children to become sugar addicts.

I will not go into how excessive sugar intake can lead  to weight gain, chronic disease, hormonal problems, depression, liver damage, neurological decay etc, etc, etc. (Research it, Im not making these things up this is one useful link)  But I do want to raise a very important point that is often overlooked.  Consuming sugar indiscriminately destroys your palate.  And this starts at infancy.  So while it might be an uphill battle for you to rid yourself or a nasty sugar addiction, you can spare your child.  It is up to you.

It is not your child’s fault if he cringes when you offer him a glass of water or a carrot.  If your child will refuse to have pancakes that are not soaked in syrup.  If she will only drink  milk that is chocolate.  You have to know, this is your doing.  I know how hard it is to be a parent, but enough with the excuses.  You are the adult, so lets start taking responsibility for our choices.

You might think a serving of all natural, organic fruit juice a day is not only harmless but healthy, it really isn’t. And let me briefly explain why.

A child’s (4-8 years) daily added sugar allowance  is about  12 grams a day.  Here is the sugar content on a few juice brands:

Apple and Eve 100% juice, no sugar added      6.75 oz (a juice box)  21 grams

Honest Kids organic grape juice, no sugar added     6.75 oz                  9 grams

Capri Sun with 25% less sugar that other brands (as marketed by Capri Sun)    6 0z  16 grams

Motts Original 100% apple juice              8oz                29grams!!!!!!!

Now add a cookie, some ketchup or some flavored yogurt or milk.  Do you see the problem?   Keep in mind that most kids have at least one serving of this or any type of juice a day. According to the American Heart Association after a child is 1 year and a half fruit consumption declines to the point where one-third of 19- to 24-month-old children consume no fruit, whereas 60% consume baked desserts, 20% candy, and 44% sweetened beverages on a given day.  Which means most children in America consume high levels of sugar on a regular basis. What makes my blood boil is that these products are marketed as wholesome and healthy.  I mean with two servings of fruit per serving, it has to be good for them, NOT!

I know you would never purposely hurt your child, and there is so much information out there it can be very confusing.  But doing something as simple as reading the sugar content on the label of products you are feeding your child might save your child from an array of health issues and a spoiled palate.

Now, I’m not a sourpuss I promise :), so let me offer you some alternatives or ideas to start detoxing your child from sugar overload.

1. Substitute juices with fruit flavored water.  Add some fruit slices to a pitcher of water and refrigerate.

2.  Try to substitute packaged snacks for sweet veggies like carrots, snap peas, cherry tomatoes or peppers you can pre-cut and pack in advance so they are available.

3.  Offer snacks that are high in protein and healthy fats, avocado, celery with peanut butter (the kind that only contains peanuts not sugar), a hard-boiled egg, plain whole fat yogurt with berries and a touch of honey, organic cheese, a handful of nuts.  These types of snack will keep them full for longer and provide them with the energy they need.

4.  Read the sugar content on the nutrition label, and stick to the recommended daily allowance for your child or lower.  Keep in mind some  children are not very active and spend most of the day in front of the tv, in these cases their sugar allowance should be a lot lower than 12 grams a day.

5. Don’t buy treats that are high in sugar, if they are not available it is easier to refuse.  But make sure to stack up in healthier alternatives like berries, watermelon or other fruits your kid likes.

6.  If you have some time bake your own treats, do it :).  Make it a once in a while event so they understand it is a special treat and not a daily occurrence. There are so many helpful sites, with great recipes that are low in sugar and delicious.  Do a little digging.  I really enjoy wellnessmama.com

7.  Introduce your child to new vegetables or fruits on a regular basis.  Encourage them to try new things, if they don’t want to the first time, try again at some other time.  It can take multiple tries, especially if your child is already hooked on sugar or not used to eating this way.

8.  Try not to feed your child on the car.  I know its hard but if they get used to eating at the table, or designated location :), you can present foods in a special way that might strike their fancy.  Like making faces out of vegetables for example.

9. Talk to your children about why you are making these changes.  We constantly underestimate our kids, they are smarter than you think.

10.  Be the change you want to see in them!  Work on your sugar addiction (if you have one) and be open to trying new things.  Incorporate more whole foods into your routine, and reduce the fast foods and heavily processed foods.

I know making changes can be daunting, children are creatures of habit after all.  So make new habits.  Make better choices and inform yourself.

Don’t be discouraged.  Remember, parenting is not a burden, it’s a challenge!  Visualize yourself as a super hero, chances are YOU ARE!

 

Here are some great links with useful information:

Sugar in children’s cereal 

 Your recommended sugar intake

USDA National Nutrient Database

 

“Im a pea monster!”

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Today Lucas and I went to pick up our share at our local CSA.  Red Wiggler is a gem of a farm, offering organic produce and a variety of pick your own veggies, herbs and flowers.  We love it there.  Today we were pleasantly surprised to be able to pick our own snap peas.  One of our families favorite vegetable!  Lucas and I went a little crazy picking and eating them.  We filled a couple of baskets so Lucas told the volunteer: “We picked too many peas!”  the man responded wisely:”there is no such thing as picking too many peas.”

On our way home Lucas stated: “Mami, I’m a pea monster!”  Immediately followed by: “I mean, not a pee monster, a PEA monster.”  🙂

 

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I also love snap peas, and might even be a PEA monster myself.   They are so versatile and easy to eat.  They are on my top ten list of healthy snacks to pack for your kids lunch.  They are sweet, crunchy, you can eat them raw and they keep well.   But they are not just a practical snack they are super nutritious.

You might not know this but peas are a good source of antioxidants!  The unique phytonutrients in green peas  provide us with key antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

And while you might already know they are low in fat, know that he type of fat and fat-soluble nutrients they contain is impressive.

 According to The Worlds Healthiest Foods data: “Recent research has shown that green peas are a reliable source of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In one cup of green peas, you can expect to find about 30 milligrams of ALA. About 130 milligrams of the essential omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid, can also be found in a cup of green peas. This very small but high-quality fat content of green peas helps provide us with important fat-soluble nutrients from this legume, including sizable amounts of beta-carotene and small but valuable amounts of vitamin E.”

If all that is not enough to convince you to eat more peas consider this, peas are  an environmentally friendly food.  They help nurture the soil by increasing the nitrogen available in it.  This without the need for added fertilizer!  They also have a shallow root system which can help prevent erosion.  Rotating pea crops (and most crops) also helps to avoid pest problems. 

Yes peas are a low-calorie, nutrient packed, easy, delicious and eco-friendly food.  So do yourself and your family a favor and eat more!  🙂

Feeding you child for health

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Now a days children get sick all the time.  Allergies and colds are an everyday occurrence. This happens so frequently that parents are starting to think it’s normal.  Let me just say, it is not.  It is not normal for a child to get sick at the drop of the hat. If your child gets sick every month, understand this is not just something that happens in childhood.   As soon as we acknowledge that, we can take action to help our children live healthier.  The more and more we learn about disease, the more it is clear that one of the biggest cult prints is nutrition.  We really are what we eat, after all.  So what are you feeding your children?

I know, that sadly, we can not control the fate of our children’s health and sometimes things just go wrong despite all our efforts.  I know this is a delicate subject, and I know all our circumstances are different.  But, I invite you to ask yourself the following: Am I really doing all I can to raise a healthy child?

There are many components that make a healthy child.  Love, attention, sleep, exercise and nurturing (to name a few) are part of this equation.  But for today i would like to focus on nutrition.

Today I read the following: “there is no such thing as not having time, if it’s important you make time for it.”  I know as mothers we often have to juggle a gazillion jobs.  There is so much to do, so many demands, so little sleep, our working hours are all hours!  I understand, believe me.  But if there is something I have learned through this, sometimes excruciating, process is that we have to make time for the things that matter, period.  There are too many excuses, the question is: are they worth it?

So, let’s put the time excuse on the shelf for a few and consider what is at stake here.  You provide your child with the tools for building his life.  What are the tools you provide for them?

When it comes to food it’s quite simple.  Children eat what you give them, it’s not like they are going to get a job and start feeding themselves.  They learn what you teach them.  Your child’s ability to eat nourishing foods in the long run  and hence to be healthy begins with you.  You set the tone, and honestly, they don’t really have a choice.  Maybe you think your child is picky, or he won’t eat this or that, or your child will only eat pizza.  Please remember, ultimately (for this brief time in their lives) you are the boss.  Take advantage of  this great opportunity in this small window of time.  You don’t need a master’s degree to feel your child healthy foods, you just have to really, really want to.

Here are a few no-nonsense steps you can take in that direction:

1.  You are the captain!  Your child might refuse to eat something, but you can change that with time and effort.  Once you decide to do this, stick with it and they will follow.  And yes you might find yourself one crazy afternoon at a fast food joint for lunch, that is ok, just don’t make it a habit.

2.  No more juice.  Unless you have a juicer at home and prepare fresh vegetable juices for you kids, don’t give them juice.  They are not healthy, no matter if they are organic or what ever.  Juices are liquid sugar for the most part, and then some colorings, preservatives and who knows what else.  Seriously this is one of the easiest ways to help your child’s immune system.  Give them water.  They don’t want water, well eventually they will get thirsty :).

3.  Start cooking.  Remember, no time excuses here.  Make time, show your children how important their meals are.  Prepare them together if possible.  Make them part of this process, they will never forget this important lesson.  Then sit down and eat together, it is possible.

4.  Avoid processed foods.  Eat real foods.  If it comes in a package and has a long shelf life, it’s probably not good for you.  Packaging is a big part of the food industry and it is designed to be appealing and misleading.  Pictures of farms and all natural labels don’t make for a healthy meal.  The healthiest foods don’t have a list of ingredients, remember that.

5.  Offer variety.  Give them choices, healthy choices.  The more different foods your child tries, the better off he/she will be.  Providing your child with the opportunity to refine his palate is a great gift.  Tasting different things is the only way they will learn to appreciate the sweetness of a carrot vs that of a candy bar.  And ladies and gentleman, this is the perfect time to do it.  The younger you start the better.  But remember, it is never too late.

6.  Prepare healthy snacks.  Ok, this is a big one.  I know cause Lucas snacks when ever he is awake :).  I know its tempting to have a bunch of pre-packaged snacks, but it is just as easy to put some snap-peas in a bag (it might require a few extra seconds of your day).  Of course sometimes I give Lucas pretzels or cheddar bunnies, but for the most part his snacks are whole foods.  Here is a list of some of the easiest and fastest ones to put in a lunch box: peppers, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes,broccoli, bananas, apples, berries, cheese,nuts and popcorn.  You can even have them packed the night before.

7. Make it a priority.  This is the most important rule when it comes to feeding your child right.  If you don’t, there are plenty of excuses but also plenty of consequences.

 

I hope you don’t mind my tough love today, but  I feel very strongly about this.  Children are completely dependent on us and becoming a parent comes with great advantages but also great responsibility.  I know how hard it is to raise a child, but I also know you are a champ and you can do anything you set your heart on.  You can do it!

 

Rules for eating

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I have never been in France,  but I LOVE french cuisine.  Rich and savory dishes seem to be a staple in French food.  Most americans think such hearty and fatty meals are bad for the waistline and heart.  But the French live longer, skinnier and suffer less from coronary disease.  But how, one might ask.   It’s no big secret, really, how the French stay healthy and happy.  They love food and know how to enjoy it.  I was reading a very interesting article about things the French teach their kids about eating.  I believe we should all incorporate most of these rules into our lives, if we haven’t already.

Healthy eating is possible for all. Remember, eating healthy is not only about to the type of food you eat, it’s also about HOW you eat.  Here are some simple rules to go by:

Savor food.  Eating is not a sin, it’s not only a necessity, but a pleasure.  Don’t gulp down your food like it’s a marathon, enjoy each bite and slow down!

Eat real foods in healthy portions.  When you eat whole foods, not only are you giving your body important nutrients but you are also satisfying your appetite.  Wholesome foods are nutrient rich, more filling and satisfying.  Quality ingredients do make for a better meal.  Visit your farmers market and eat seasonally when possible.  When you cut down on processed foods you are doing a favor to your health and waistline. And for crying out loud, don’t skip lunch cause you are saving your “calories” for that buffet you are attending for dinner.  It won’t help you lose weight and it’s not healthy in so many levels.

Let’s get cooking!  Preparing your own meals is not only good for your health from a nutrition standpoint.  It’s good for your mind and soul.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to spend more time with your kids and teach them the valuable lesson of how to use the kitchen!  You can pass on recipes and create beautiful and healthy memories.

Sit down!  Another fast disappearing tradition in America, eating at the table.  This is the time to enjoy your food and your company.  It’s time we stop eating standing up by the kitchen counter like a cranky teenager.  It’s time we stop eating and driving, it’s kind of gross and dangerous.  Make time to just eat, it’s worth it.

Drink water.  This is a big one our culture, Americans consume most their calories in liquid form!  Flavored coffees, juices and soda are an everyday occurrence.  I don’t need to elaborate, its simple, favor water when it comes to liquids if you want to be healthy and skinny.

Know your limit.   When you are full, just stop eating.  This is easier when you eat slowly because you give your stomach time to signal your brain.  So, two birds one stone.  🙂

Don’t snack after dinner.  Once the kitchen is closed for the night, stay away.  This will help you do some intermittent fasting, which has great health benefits like weight loss, for example.

Enjoy eating!  Eating should be an enjoyable experience.  Stop counting calories at every turn, stop with the guilt trips, it’s not healthy and it doesn’t help your cause.  If you are going to eat a piece of chocolate cake, make it a religious experience  :).  Try different types of food, flavors and textures.  Try new recipes or new restaurants!  Eating is so much fun, don’t turn it into something tragic.  Eat wholesome foods a plenty and treat yourself in moderation.  No fuss, no shame.

Follow these simple rules to eating and you will live happier and healthier.  You will smile more often and you will  look better, that is a fact (in my opinion 🙂 ).

 

 

 

 

Milk; does the body good? 2.0

 

 

milk

 

I was recently reading an article about how low-fat milk is not really good for us according to Harvard specialists.  While this is not really news to me, it got me thinking about how most people don’t really know that.  It is one of the most ill-advised health recommendations made by most doctors, yet it is very prevalent in our culture.  While milk is tooted left and right, few really understand the benefits and pitfalls of this “health” food.  In that spirit I would like to share and article I wrote about the subject about a year go.  I have added some new links with more up-to-date info for your benefit 🙂

Let me confess, I’m not a fan of milk. I’m not talking about raw milk, but the kind you will find in most grocery stores: ultra pasteurized, ultra processed, polluted with growth hormones, ghost of what might have been milk. It is not my intention to create a hate campaign against it; I just thought I’d let you know. In any case whether you are pro or con milk there are some facts I would like to share with you; in case the “got milk” campaign got the best of you and you are currently chugging a gallon of milk a day in order to protect yourself from osteoporosis and to “do your body good”

Milk as an allergen
Cow’s milk is one of the top allergic foods in America, now I’m not talking about lactose intolerance (which, by the way, is rampant in this country). I’m talking about allergic reactions ranging from cramps to full on Anaphylactic shock. Milk allergy is the most common food allergy for children in the United States. Recurring ear infections are one of the symptoms. It has been well documented as a cause in diarrhea, cramps, bloating, gas, gastrointestinal bleeding, iron-deficiency anemia, skin rashes, atherosclerosis, and acne. So you might be allergic to milk and not even know it.

What’s in your milk?
Most milk available to us comes from factory cows. These cows live (if you can call it living) in factory farms. A factory “farm” is as far removed from a farm as you can imagine, it’s an industrial operation. Cows are fed an unnatural diet based on cheap corn, pumped with growth hormones to maximize milk production, and then given large doses of antibiotics to deal with all the diseases caused by the first two. So if you think that glass of milk is full of goodness, think again. I’m not going to get into the whole pasteurization and homogenization business but let’s just say that after all of that most natural nutrients found in milk are destroyed. Even if you are not morally appalled by the way this milk is produced you should consider what is going into your body.
You would do best to invest in organic milk. There are some small dairy farms that offer milk from grass-fed cows and the milk is just lightly pasteurized and sometimes not homogenized. I usually get Natural by Nature at Whole Foods and no I don’t get any royalties for sales.

But what about calcium?
The concept of milk equaling bone health is as antiquated as an arranged marriage. Contrary to what the Dairy Industry’s expensive and extensive marketing would have you believe, modern nutritional research indicates that the excessive consumption of animal protein (like that found in dairy products) leads to loss of calcium and an array of other problems. World health statistics show that osteoporosis is most common in the countries where dairy is consumed the most: the United States, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. You do the math. Besides, the calcium in pasteurized milk isn’t as well absorbed by the body because the milk itself is lacking vitamins and minerals that aid in calcium absorption such as vitamin D (yes they add a synthetic version to milk after pasteurization but it’s usually D2 which is also not absorbed well by the body) There are many other healthier sources of calcium for example dark leafy greens, beans, nuts and some fish to name a few.

Whole or Skim?
Here is my problem with skim or non-fat milk; it’s a highly processed food. Not only is it nutrient deficient (most nutrients are not only found in the fat but are fat soluble), but it usually contains powdered milk, which has toxic nitrites that contribute to plaque buildup in arteries. If you are concerned about cholesterol you might be doing your body more harm than good. And if you are concerned about gaining weight, well, researchers at the Harvard Medical School conducted a study in children and found that skim and 1% milk were associated with weight gain, but dairy fat was not.  I wonder if one of the reasons could be that skim milk or fat free milk is loaded with sugars for flavoring(even if its just plain milk).  In any case if you have serious weight or cholesterol issues you really shouldn’t be drinking milk.

In the end, from a nutrition and health standpoint, I really don’t think there is a big nutritional pay off with milk. Aside from a glass here and there I really wouldn’t recommend it and that goes for children too; the phrase “drink your milk so you can grow big and strong” really makes my blood boil. To all parents out there, I know how confusing and frustrating it is to provide your family with a healthy diet but if you do one thing please make informed decisions, don’t believe everything you hear even if it’s from your doctor (while they have the best intentions they are not always well versed in nutrition). Ask questions, do a little digging and keep an open mind. You don’t have to believe me either, there are always two or three sides to a story so I encourage you to do your own research, find your own truth and take charge of your health.

 

Here are some interesting articles if you would like to learn more:

Nutritional Date on low fat milk

Skim Milk is healthier than whole milk, right? Maybe not

Butter Believer
Food Matters; the truth about calcium and osteoporosis

Heal your teeth

 

happy-tooth-pattern-or-coloring-page

 

I believe in the body’s ability to heal itself.  I know that if I take good care of myself  I give my body the tools it needs to heal on a regular basis.  That doesn’t mean I am free of malady.  Recently my dentist told me to make an appointment for a filling.  He  showed me where the tooth decay was, but didn’t really explain anything further.  I asked him about the procedure and he condescendingly  said: “You know, it’s a filling, it will be tooth colored.  It’s no big deal”.  Well, he doesn’t know me.  He doesn’t know I’m not the kind of girl who just wants to be a good patient.  I want to know specifics and options.  Call me crazy but  when it comes to drilling a hole in my tooth I like a little more info.  The fact that when I asked him if fillings usually stayed permanently he responded:”I hope so”, did not help his case.

Needless to say I am not getting the procedure.  At least not with him.  Don’t get me wrong if I have to get a filling I will do it, I would just like a second opinion.  Also, since it is not urgent,  I would like to give myself the opportunity to fix this on my own.  Like I said before, I know my body has the ability to heal itself and my teeth are not the exception.

This experience made me do some research on reversing tooth decay.  Here are some of my findings.  According to an article by Dr.Axe, to beat tooth decay, you need to increase your fat soluble vitamin intake and mineral intake.  Here are the diet suggestions he makes in order to achieve healthy teeth:

  • Rich in animal foods like bone broth, meat, fish and eggs.
  • Raw and cooked vegetables especially green leafy vegetables.
  • Raw dairy like kefir, cheese and grass-fed butter
  • Fruit in smaller quantities
  • High vitamin D – get plenty of sunshine and supplement with 5,000IU daily of D3.
  • Foods high in healthy fat like coconut oil, avocado, olives and fish or fermented cod liver oil.
  • Fermented grains only and in moderation such as true sourdough bread (or even better no grains at all).
  • Nuts, seeds and beans only that have been sprouted.
  • Finally, NO processed food, packaged food or fast food.

Another thing I found out is that you can make your own, re-mineralizing toothpaste.  Check this recipe by Wellness Mama.

Other things to consider are stress and having a good PH balance.  This article  numbers the prerequisites  for dental health and stopping or reversing tooth decay.

Lastly I recommend checking the website or book Cure Tooth Decay. There are a lot of pointers and information on the subject there.

In conclusion, tooth decay can be prevented and in some cases reversed!  A combination of the right diet, mineralization, hydration, stress reduction and supplementation can help deal with cavities and beyond.  I am early in my quest for tooth healing but I am determined to give it a try.  I am always up for the challenge of taking my health into my own hands.   I am not a doctor and I understand that they can help us in our quest for health. Health professionals can facilitate healing and I respect them.  But ultimately it is up to us to be healthy.  And I am not one to follow a doctors advise blindly.

I will report back after my next dentists visit and hopefully I will be cavity and filling free :).