I know that I typically use this blog to share food ideas and recipes so that you may be healthier and feel good in your life. But I have learned that optimal health is not just dependent on what you put in your body, the key to a truly healthy body goes deeper than just what you eat.
Your daily checklist to maximize life
Get up and drink one glass of warm water
Eat 3-5 small meals a day
Balance each meal/snack with Protein, Carbohydrate, Fiber & Good Fats
Move for ½ hour daily and then at least for 1 min every hour
Drink 1/2 your weight in ounces of water, not bottled water; add lemon or a tsp of apple cider vinegar for bonus health benefits
Say NO to 1 unhealthy lifestyle choice per day
Say something positive and encouraging to yourself and some-one else today
Minimize the chemical impact on your body: ex-no BPA, Stay away from the dirty dozen (www.EWG.org)
Sleep for 7-8 hours
Even if you live a super ‘clean’ life and use natural non toxic products in your home while eating organic foods, sadly we are still exposed to a large variety of environmental toxins daily. These toxins have been implicated in several diseases, and a new report suggests one way they may do this is by changing our gut bacteria.
Environmental pollutants are so widespread in our environment exposure is ubiquitous. One in particular which is ubiquitous in our environment is called roundup. Used on GMO crops and lawns across the country this chemical is detrimental to our health, toxic for our cells, hormone disruptors and toxic to the natural environment including our pollinators that we rely on for fresh fruits and vegetables. And they have been linked to several common health problems including dementia, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and certain cancers.
A new study suggests that environmental toxins can alter gut bacteria in ways that may increase your disease risk.
Exposure to some of these toxins have been shown to alter the gut microbia by shifting the ratio of dominant bacteria Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes. And these bacterial changes were associated with increased bacterial fermentation, significant intestinal inflammation, changes in liver function, and metabolic changes that influence fat and glucose metabolism.
These results suggested that environmental toxins may negatively impact gut bacteria in ways that contribute to the development of chronic disease. Adding to this evidence, other toxins including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and urban airborne particulate matter (air pollution) have also been shown to have a negative effect on gut bacteria as well.
Taking probiotics is one way to build up the good bacteria in your GI system. Other ways, which I prefer because they are more natural include ingesting yogurt, Kefir, and eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso and kombucha.
Here is a simple recipe to make your own sauerkraut….
Eat, Enjoy and Stay Healthy!
What You Need
1 medium head green cabbage (about 3 pounds)
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional, for flavor)
2-quart wide-mouth canning jar (or two-quart mason jars)
Canning funnel (optional)
Smaller jelly jar that fits inside the larger mason jar
Clean stones, marbles, or other weights for weighing the jelly jar
Cloth for covering the jar
Rubber band or twine for securing the cloth
- Clean everything: When fermenting anything, it’s best to give the good, beneficial bacteria every chance of succeeding by starting off with as clean an environment as possible. Make sure your mason jar and jelly jar are washed and rinsed of all soap residue. You’ll be using your hands to massage the salt into the cabbage, so give those a good wash, too.
- Slice the cabbage: Discard the wilted, limp outer leaves of the cabbage. Cut the cabbage into quarters and trim out the core. Slice each quarter down its length, making 8 wedges. Slice each wedge crosswise into very thin ribbons.
- Combine the cabbage and salt: Transfer the cabbage to a big mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over top. Begin working the salt into the cabbage by massaging and squeezing the cabbage with your hands. At first it might not seem like enough salt, but gradually the cabbage will become watery and limp — more like coleslaw than raw cabbage. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. If you’d like to flavor your sauerkraut with caraway seeds, mix them in now.
- Pack the cabbage into the jar: Grab handfuls of the cabbage and pack them into the canning jar. If you have a canning funnel, this will make the job easier. Every so often, tamp down the cabbage in the jar with your fist. Pour any liquid released by the cabbage while you were massaging it into the jar.
→ Optional: Place one of the larger outer leaves of the cabbage over the surface of the sliced cabbage. This will help keep the cabbage submerged in its liquid.
- Weigh the cabbage down: Once all the cabbage is packed into the mason jar, slip the smaller jelly jar into the mouth of the jar and weigh it down with clean stones or marbles. This will help keep the cabbage weighed down, and eventually, submerged beneath its liquid.
- Cover the jar: Cover the mouth of the mason jar with a cloth and secure it with a rubber band or twine. This allows air to flow in and out of the jar, but prevents dust or insects from getting into the jar.
- Press the cabbage every few hours: Over the next 24 hours, press down on the cabbage every so often with the jelly jar. As the cabbage releases its liquid, it will become more limp and compact and the liquid will rise over the top of the cabbage.
- Add extra liquid, if needed: If after 24 hours, the liquid has not risen above the cabbage, dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of water and add enough to submerge the cabbage.
- Ferment the cabbage for 3 to 10 days: As it’s fermenting, keep the sauerkraut away from direct sunlight and at a cool room temperature — ideally 65°F to 75°F. Check it daily and press it down if the cabbage is floating above the liquid.
Because this is a small batch of sauerkraut, it will ferment more quickly than larger batches. Start tasting it after 3 days — when the sauerkraut tastes good to you, remove the weight, screw on the cap, and refrigerate. You can also allow the sauerkraut to continue fermenting for 10 days or even longer. There’s no hard-and-fast rule for when the sauerkraut is “done” — go by how it tastes.
While it’s fermenting, you may see bubbles coming through the cabbage, foam on the top, or white scum. These are all signs of a healthy, happy fermentation process. The scum can be skimmed off the top either during fermentation or before refrigerating. If you see any mold, skim it off immediately and make sure your cabbage is fully submerged; don’t eat moldy parts close to the surface, but the rest of the sauerkraut is fine.
- Store sauerkraut for several months: This sauerkraut is a fermented product so it will keep for at least two months and often longer if kept refrigerated. As long as it still tastes and smells good to eat, it will be. If you like, you can transfer the sauerkraut to a smaller container for longer storage.
- Sauerkraut with other cabbages: Red cabbage, napa cabbage, and other cabbages all make great sauerkraut. Make individual batches or mix them up for a multi-colored sauerkraut!
- Canning sauerkraut: You can process sauerkraut for longer storage outside of refrigeration, but the canning process will kill the good bacterias produced by the fermentation process. See this tutorial from the National Center for Home Food Preservationfor canning instructions.
- Larger or smaller batches: To make larger or smaller batches of sauerkraut, keep same ratio of cabbage to salt and adjust the size of the container. Smaller batches will ferment more quickly and larger batches will take longer.
- Hot and cold temperatures: Do everything you can to store sauerkraut at a cool room temperature. At high temperatures, the sauerkraut can sometimes become unappetizingly mushy or go bad. Low temperatures (above freezing) are fine, but fermentation will proceed more slowly.
My sweet friend, I will call her L, is on prednisone, and she asked me what else she can do or take that would work as an anti-inflammatory. This is the first thing that came to my mind; my anti-inflammatory ginger turmeric honey elixir.This super anti-inflammatory booster is amazing, healthy, yummy and I just love it! It tastes incredible in tea or just on it’s own, dissolved in hot water. It would probably also be yummy nice to use in cooking or on a piece of bread. I have been adding a large spoon of this in a cup of my daily green & peppermint tea and am good to go!
I strongly believe that consuming this elixir daily will keep you feeling fabulous, and help you to stay healthy.It is filled with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial ,digestive supportive and detoxification enhancing properties. All in one tsp of yummy sweet goodness.
And so here is the recipe L, and like I said, everyone, everyone should consume this daily.
GINGER TURMERIC HONEY ELIXIR
Notes: this super booster elixir takes only 5 minutes to whip up and will yield about 1/2 cup. You can store it in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for about about one week.
1/4 cup local, organic raw honey
1 teaspoon organic lemon zest
1 tablespoon ground organic turmeric
1 tablespoon powdered or raw freshly grated ginger
moderate pinch of black pepper to activate the turmeric
2 tablespoons raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Whisk your ground turmeric in a small mixing bowl or with a mortar + pestle to loosen all clumps smooth into a fine powder.
Then add in the honey, GINGER, lemon zest, black pepper and apple cider vinegar and whisk or stir until smooth.
Ginger is a marvelous root that you can purchase raw or dried in almost every supermarket. It has antibiotic effects and can help digestion, detoxification, infections, inflammation, joint pain, circulation, nausea (also pregnancy nausea) and motion sickness.
Turmeric is a known strong antioxidant and has been used as traditional Ayurvedic medicine throughout history for cooking, to cleanse the whole body, especially the liver; to support digestion, treat fever, wound infections and inflammation. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin and has been proved to have similar effects as anti-inflammatory medicine. Turmeric and black pepper is a great pair to match. The black pepper helps to enhance the bioavailability of curcumin by a thousand times. Turmeric has a slight bitter taste but blends very well with other flavors.
How To consume:
As a warm tonic — mix 1 tablespoon of this elixir with one glass of warm water + ( tea bag of your choice…optional) then sip
On toast or baked goods — a teaspoon or two as a spread on top
In a smoothie — blend in a tablespoon
As is — 1 large spoonful daily
I often wonder what it would be like if I eliminated all plastic in my life; probably very challenging. Think about it, plastic is everywhere; lining our cans, bottles that we drink from, bags and containers where we store our food, most cosmetic containers including shampoos and creams-plastic is everywhere. And yet most plastic is quite toxic.
I try and live a non toxic life and yet when I think about it, when I look around my house, there is plastic everywhere. We/I buy organic foods that is in cans lined with toxic plastic or we store our high quality food in plastic containers. We buy pure, spring water from Fiji or Italy that is stored in a plastic bottle. Really? It does not make any sense.
But this is the world that we live in today and unless you are seriously committed to getting the plastic out of your life the least we can do is consider limiting our toxic exposure. Here are some tips on how I have done this in my life.
As an aside, I was also thinking too that it would be so wonderful if one day a large influential company like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s would step up and really own that they are supporting health and not just consumerism and just said no to plastic. If anyone out there wants to start a movement, I am in! After you read this, let me know…
1. Avoid the worst common plastics
Identify the type of plastic of a product by looking at the recycling symbol molded on the item. This is a number from 1 to 7 surrounded by three chasing arrows forming a triangle. The three following plastics are common and are significantly harmful. I suggest you start by just avoiding these 3 as much as you can.
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC #3): A very toxic plastic that often containing multiple unsafe additives, including lead and phthalates. Still used for some toys, clear food and non-food packaging (e.g., cling wrap), some squeeze bottles, cooking oil and peanut butter jars.
Polystyrene (PS #6): Contains styrene, which is toxic to the brain, nervous system, and various organs. Used in Styrofoam containers, egg cartons, disposable cups and bowls, take-out food containers and most plastic cutlery.
Polycarbonate (Other #7): #7 is actually a catch-all category including any plastic resin that does not come within the first six categories. Typically it contains BPA, which has been linked to numerous health problems. Used in some baby bottles (though increasingly banned in baby bottles by countries around the world), clear plastic “sippy” cups, sports water bottles, juice and ketchup containers, and in three and five gallon large water storage containers, and most metal food can liners.
Would you like to learn more about the different plastic types? Take a look at our sections on Common Plastics #1 to #7 and Other Plastic Types.
2. Refuse plastic bags and bring your own reusable bags wherever you go
3. Avoid bottled water and bring your own reusable water bottle or mug with you when you go out
4. When buying canned goods make sure that they are labelled BPA free
5. Use non-plastic containers for food
To your health!
Happy Friday Everyone
Cruciferous vegetables like: broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, collards, arugala, watercress, and cabbage contain a dramatic incredible array of phytonutrients with potent health benefits. There is also information circulating suggesting that if you have thyroid disorders, that you need to avoid eating these powerhouse foods because they are goitrogenic and can aggrevate your thyroid especially if you have Hashimoto’s disease. But is this truth?
After you read all the health benefits of these amazing superfoods, you will certainly not want to eliminate them from your diet, even if you have thyroid disease. In fact, you will likely want to run to the store and make sure that your dinner plate is full of them tonight.
But what if you have thyroid disease? Are these safe to eat? Well, as you read on you will also find out more about the truth regarding whether or not you really have to avoid these foods if you have thyroid disease or not. But first, here are some of the amazing benefits of cruciferous vegetables. They are not only packed with incredible nutrients but also ….
1. May help to lower the risk of developing cancer
2. Lab studies show that one of the phytochemicals found in cruciferous vegetables – sulforaphane – can stimulate enzymes in the body that detoxify carcinogens before they damage cells. Isothiocyanates (ITCs), which are perhaps the best studied, have been shown to provide protection against environmental carcinogen exposure by inducing detoxification pathways, thereby neutralizing potential carcinogens.
3. Another way cruciferous vegetables may help to protect against cancer is by reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the overload of harmful molecules called oxygen-free radicals, which are generated by the body. Reducing these free radicals may reduce the risk of cancer
4. Diets rich in fish and vegetables (including cruciferous and dark-yellow veggies) may also help to protect against cardiovascular disease
5. In another recent study, diets low in cruciferous and yellow vegetables, wine, and coffee but high in sugar-sweetened soft drinks, refined grains, and processed meat were identified as possibly increasing chronic inflammation and raising the risk of type 2 diabetes
6. Keep in mind too that about half of the fiber in cruciferous vegetables is super-healthy soluble fiber.
7. These vegetables also contain indole-3-carbinol (I3C). Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by decreasing estrogen activity.
Need I say more?
Truth: Those poor cruciferous vegetables may have gotten a bad rap for nothing. Goitrogen is a word that was coined in the 1950’s to describe a substance that causes the formation of a goiter, also knows as an enlarged thyroid gland. It can mean a variety of different things ranging from suppressing the release of thyroid hormone to changing the way thyroid hormone gets produced in the body to suppressing the absorption of iodine.
In relation to cruciferous vegetables, they are have been identified as “goitrogenic” because they have the potential to block iodine absorption.
This was a concern in the 1950’s, as then, the primary reason for hypothyroidism was due to iodine deficiency, and any further changes in iodine levels were potentially problematic. However, since public efforts have been made to add iodine to the salt supplies of most industrialized countries, Hashimoto’s has become the primary reason for hypothyroidism, responsible for 90-97% of cases of hypothyroidism in the United States. Iodine deficiency is not wide spread in people with Hashimoto’s, and thus eating cruciferous vegetables (unless a person is otherwise sensitive to them) is perfectly healthy for people with Hashimoto’s and should not impact thyroid function. In the case that a person does have hypothyroidism due to iodine deficiency, he/she can still enjoy crucifers as long as they are cooked or fermented. Cooking/fermenting will break down the iodine blocking content. http://www.thyroidpharmacist.com/blog/top-7-hashimotos-food-myths
So tonight whether you have a thyroid disorder or not, why not relax and enjoy these healthy foods. I included a simple recipe for brussel sprouts that is really yummy.
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons organic cold pressed olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or seal salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
optional: lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off the ends of your Brussels sprouts and cut each one in half. Mix them in a bowl with the organic olive oil, salt and pepper. Place them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes until they are visibly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.( Use a fork to poke one and see how tender it feels.) You may have to shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Some times I like to add some lemon juice as well but this gives it a more tangy taste and so I say that it is optional. Enjoy!
1. Johnston N. Sulforaphane halts breast cancer cell growth. Drug Discov Today 2004;9(21): 908. Rose P, Huang Q, Ong CN, Whiteman M. Broccoli and watercress suppress matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity and invasiveness of human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2005;S0041-008X.
2. Seow A, Yuan JM, Sun CL, et al. Dietary isothiocyanates, glutathione S-transferase polymorphisms and colorectal cancer risk in the Singapore Chinese Health Study. Carcinogenesis 2002;23(12): 2055-261.
3. Wu HT, Lin SH, Chen YH. Inhibition of cell proliferation and in vitro markers of angiogenesis by indole-3-carbinol, a major indole metabolite present in cruciferous vegetables. J Agric Food Chem SK, Choi S, et al. Sulphoraphane-induced cell death in human prostate cancer cells is initiated by reactive oxygen species. J Biol Chem 2005; 280(20):19911-19924. Xiao D, Srivastava SK, Lew KL, et al. Allyl isothiocyanate a constituent of cruciferous vegetables inhibits proliferation of human prostate cancer cells by causing G2/M arrest and inducing apoptosis. Carcinogenesis 2003;24(5):891-897.
4. Conaway CC, Wang CX, Pittman B, et al. Phenethyl isothiocyanate and sulforaphane and their n-acetylcysteine conjugates inhibit malignant progression of lung adenomas induced by tobacco carcinogens in A/J mice. Cancer Res 2005 65(18): 8548-8557.
Ginger is one of my favorite hot herbs. It is fabulously versatile, medicinal and a very popular culinary herb in cuisines across the world. Ginger is hot not only because it is spicy but because in the medicinal world, it is also known to lower inflammation which is a common cause of so many illnesses that we are seeing today. Ginger is abundant in the phytonutrient gingerol, a natural ingredient that relieves bloating and gas. It also facilitates and promotes healthy digestion while improving bowel function. Ginger acts as an anti-inflammatory by reducing the synthesis of pro-inflammatory (inflammation causing) prostaglandins.
Ginger can be taken in a capsule, eaten fresh and raw, cooked or brewed as a tea.
TIP: You can cut ginger place two to tsp in boiling water and steep for ten minutes. After cooling, optionally you can add honey, pieces of lemon or orange. When I am sick i will brew with a few cloves of garlic (my other favorite herb)
I also just saw this recipe which I cannot wait to try
- 1 cup peeled, finely chopped ginger
- 2 cups purified water
- raw honey (optional)
- sparkling water
- 1 lemon, juiced
Boil 2 cups of water, and add the ginger. Reduce the heat to medium low, and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes.
Take it off the heat and strain.
When serving, use 1 part of ginger syrup and 3 parts of sparkling water. Serve it on the rocks. Sweeten to taste, using raw honey, or stevia, and add some lemon juice.