April 2017 Book of the Month – Go To Bed

Sleep. Nearly all of us should get more sleep. Some of us know it and other of us are currently in denial (you know, the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” crowd). I certainly know I should be getting more sleep. Enter Dr. Sarah Ballantyne‘s book, Go To Bed. I first saw the Go To Bed program on Ballantye’s Instagram account. It struck me as an interesting challenge because I know that I need to work on my sleep habits. After checking out the ebook and program, I bought the book. It took me almost year to finally get a chance to read it, but I am so glad that I did!

I am not an insomniac and actually I have very little trouble with falling asleep or staying asleep (I know, some of you probably would like to kill me!). Although, during chemotherapy, I had a helluva time trying to sleep, so I DO know what it is like for you insomniacs! My problem is that I have ALWAYS had such a hard time waking up. My mom would tell you that, even as a child, it would take me 30-60 minutes to wake up!! I figure that if I got more restful sleep, I should wake up with relative ease, even at 5:30am. So while on the surface, I don’t have a major sleep problem, being tired all the time and taking 30 minutes to wake up were red flags for me.

In this e-book, Ballantyne digs deep into the science of sleep which I found fascinating to read. She then details how sleep impacts human health. The remaining part of the book discusses the things you can do to improve your sleep, including how to make sleep a priority, how to troubleshoot sleep problems, and ending with her 14-day Go To Bed Challenge!

I highly recommend reading this book and embarking on your own Go To Bed Challenge! 

 

 


The 52 New Foods Challenge – Pomegranates

This is the FINAL post for The 52 New Foods Challenge! WOW! It has taken me MUCH longer that 52 weeks to blog about this, but hey, I stuck with it!!

Pomegranates are a fruit that I didn’t really eat until I was an adult. I loved buying the ready-to-go pomegranate seeds at Trader Joe’s! So easy! They are quite a fun snack, although they are a bit of work when you buy the whole fruit. I also enjoy adding pomegranates to salads. The seasonal Thanksgiving salad that I mentioned here, also had pomegranate seeds. Danielle Walker of Against All Grain adds them to a Brussels sprouts dish, which adds a delightful twist.

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests making a sauce using pomegranates instead of cranberries or add them to a wild rice and pistachio dish. Both sound delicious!

Food Facts:

  • Pomegranates are thought to be the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, rather than apples.
  • They originate from Iran.
  • The red seeds are called arils.
  • Pomegranates are a good source of vitamins K, E,  and B6, and folate, potassium, manganese, and pantothenic acid.
  • Rich source of antioxidants, especially tannins and flavonoids.
  • Studies show that pomegranate juice can inhibit the growth of breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancers.
  • Pomegranates have been shown to be heart protective, as it can improve blood pressure and improve blood flow.

From:

The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee and Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard.


The 52 New Foods Challenge – Butternut Squash

The first time I bought a butternut squash, I had no idea what to do with. I found a recipe in my Clean Food cookbook for roasted butternut squash with almonds and a touch of maple syrup. It was exciting to try new a food and a new recipe and really like it! The next week, at the farmer’s market, I went back for more butternut squash. This time I found a recipe for butternut squash soup. I’ve been hooked ever since! Here’s my favorite Butternut Squash Soup Recipe.

Jennifer Tyler Lee also suggests butternut squash soup and a maple roasted butternut squash. Yum!

Food Facts:

  • Member of the cucurbitaceae family.
  • Because of the thick skin, winter squashes, like butternut squash, can last in cold storage for up to six months.
  • The deep orange coloring is a sign that it contains high levels of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor.
  • Of all the winter squashes, pumpkin contains the most beta-carotene.
  • Foods rich in carotenoids, like beta-carotene have been shown to be protective against many cancers, especially lung cancer.
  • Carotenoid rich food is also protective against heart disease and the development of type 2 diabetes.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • Good source of vitamins B1, B5, B6, and C, and folic acid, niacin, potassium, and manganese.

Sources:
Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard, and The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee.

 

 


The 52 New Foods Challenge – Artichokes

Boy! It has been waaayyyy too long since I blogged last! But I am nearly done with blogging about The 52 New Foods Challenge, so even though it’s Winter now and these foods are from the Fall portion of the book, I’m just going to finish up! PLUS, here in Northern California (where the self-proclaimed Artichoke Capital of the World is located) artichokes are in season in March, April, and May, so I feel like it’s okay that we’re talking artichokes in February.

Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests grilling artichokes or steaming them with lemon butter. Honestly, I don’t really get artichokes. I’d like to get them, but I don’t. As a kid, I thought they were weird and avoided them like the plague. As a grown up, I’ve only had them a handful of times because I’m really sure that I’m doing it wrong. Am I supposed to be getting some meat off of these leaves?!?!? I think they taste fine, so I’m willing to keep trying them, but I’m still baffled.

Food Facts:

  • Native to Northern Africa.
  • We eat “… the leaflike bracts of the unopened flower” (Robinson, p.196, 2013).
  • Artichokes have been used historically for their liver protective properties. Recent studies have found that artichokes contain silymarin and cynarin, both liver protective compounds.
  • Artichokes have a higher ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity – a measure of antioxidant capacity) value than any other modern fruit and vegetable.
  • A rich source of inulin, a prebiotic fiber that helps to feed the probiotic colony in the gut.
  • Good source of fiber.
  • The Globe/French artichoke is the most nutrient dense variety.
  • In order to get the maximum nutrition from artichokes, they should be eaten as closet to harvesting as possible due to their high respiration rate.
  • To pick a fresh artichoke
    • Rub two together and they should squeak.
    • It should feel firm when you squeeze it.
  • Boiling artichokes is a great way to prepare them because it increases their antioxidant levels.
  • Steaming artichokes is the BEST way to prepare them – you get three times the antioxidant levels of boiled artichokes.
  • Good source of vitamins K and C, folate, potassium, lutein, niacin, riboflavin, and iron.

Sources:

Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson, Superfoods by Tonia Reinhard, and The 52 New Foods Challenge by Jennifer Tyler Lee.

 


Jan. 2017 – Book of the Month – The Great Cholesterol Myth

I first heard of The Great Cholesterol Myth when I was attending Bauman College. A fellow student had read the book when she was diagnosed with high cholesterol in her mid-20’s. She wasn’t satisfied with the idea of being on statins for the rest of her life. This peaked my interest and so when it was time to do research on a topic relating to heart health, I read the book. Several months after reading the book, I went to the Paleo F(x) conference and saw Jonny Bowden speak.

If you’ve ever been concerned about your cholesterol levels or if high cholesterol runs in your family, this is a must read. It was a fascinating read and paradigm-shifting book. And yet, the authors are able to break down this very complicated topic so that even the non-health nut, non-science-y folks can learn a great deal.

SPOILER ALERT: Rather than animal foods that are rich in cholesterol and saturated fats, the authors build a very strong case that processed foods, sugar, soda, trans fats, and vegetable oils are the main culprits in our SAD diet (Standard American Diet). They also suggest that lifestyle factors, like STRESS, need to be dealt with in order to keep cholesterol levels in healthy ranges. Another SPOILER ALERT: Bowden and Sinatra demonstrate what the pharmaceutical companies don’t want us to know: “…[c]holesterol is a relatively minor player in heart disease and a poor predictor of heart attacks” (p.31, Bowden & Sinatra, 2012).

I’ll leave you with these facts about cholesterol:

  • Cholesterol is a waxy steroid that is found in every cell membrane in your body.
  • Without sufficient levels of cholesterol in your diet, your body will make it (in the liver) because it is essential.
  • It is a building block for important structures such as sex hormones, bile, vitamin D, and it supports brain function, serotonin production, and it acts as an antioxidant.
  • It also helps to digest fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), insulates the nerves, and aids in fighting infection.

In the wise words of LeVar Burton, “of course, you don’t have to take *my* word for it.”


Aug. 2016 Book of the Month – Brain Maker

After reading Grain Brain, by Dr. David Perlmutter, when Brain Maker came out, I knew that I would have to read it too. At Paleo F(x) this year, Dr. Perlmutter was the keynote speaker, promptly reminding me that I needed to read his book.

As a nutrition consultant, gut health is one of my main passions, because as Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” A neurologist by trade, Dr. Perlmutter goes even further to discuss the links between an unhealthy gut and Autism, ADHD, allergies skin issues, elevated blood pressure, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, inflammation, and many, many, more.

Out of the trillions of cells that are housed in your sack of skin that we call a body, 90% of them are bacteria. You read that correctly; you are 90% bacteria. Now don’t freak out. Without all of that bacteria, you literally wouldn’t be living. Dr. Perlmutter helps us to get acquainted with those bacteria and help us see just why we need all of those friendly little buggars. He then helps us to know what factors can throw our delicate ecosystem off balance. Some of those factors include: antibiotics, nsaid use, oral contraceptives, the chemical laden agri-business food system, among others.

Dr. Perlmutter gives action steps to help preserve and maintain a thriving colony of gut bacteria. The book is also equipped with recipes that include probiotics and help to maintain the gut colony. This book is hi5:5 Strawberriesghly recommend for those interested in improving their gut health or just like to nerd out on science and healthy living.

 


In Season, in August

I LOVE eating seasonally for three main reasons. 1) Seasonal produce usually grows locally and is therefore fresher because it hasn’t traveled nearly as far as when it is not in season. 2) It promotes local jobs and boosts our local economy. 3) Seasonal produce TASTES significantly better than when it’s picked unripe in order to travel, then traveled for many days, and then gassed with ethylene gas to artificially ripen them. I make very few exceptions to my seasonal eating rule [frozen berries, bananas, plantains, and that’s pretty much it].

In Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle she discusses eating tomatoes so much while they are in season that you almost become
sick of them. You don’t crave them as much during the offseason and you’re not tempted to eat a tasteless mealy tomato in January, because your tomato craving has been satiated for the year. I love this way to view it and have tried to really adopt this mentality since reading her book in 2011.

Go to your local farmer’s market this weekend and get some local food!

Health & Hugs <3,

Katie

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July 2015 Book of the Month – The Candida Cure

Hello!

On my flight to Europe this past month, I read The Candida Cure: Yeast, Fungus & Your Health – The 90-Day Program to Beat Candida & Restore Vibrant Health by Ann Boroch. Before I review the book, let me back up a little… When I was about 17, I was seeing a dermatologist for acne on my face, chest, and back. Among the things she put me on was amoxicillin. This was supposed help clear up my acne. Um, I have no idea how, and can’t remember her reasoning then, but I was 17, so I just went with it. I’m not sure that it helped much, but I was on it for 1-2 years. (I can’t really remember exactly how long). What I do know, is that ever since then, I have had a systemic candida albicans overgrowth. I know this now, but I didn’t know it then. I knew that I was prone to vaginal yeast infections (getting an infection every time I take a course of antibiotics). In recent years I would combat my post antibiotic yeast infection with a high dose of probiotics (500 billion everyday for about a week would do the trick).

It wasn’t until I was in my Bauman College nutrition classes over the past few months that I learned that I have a systemic Candida overgrowth. After taking the Candida Health Questionnaire, it was clear to me, that I needed to treat myself for a Candida overgrowth (BTW, my score is about 280!! yikes). Besides the antibiotics that I was in my late teens, I have been on a least one course of antibiotics per year, throughout my 20’s, pair that with chemotherapy and radiation, and I have no doubt that I’ve stumbled upon a major key to my road back to health.

Boroch recommends that you follow her program for 90 days, and I will. But I have concerns that since I have had this issue, untreated for at least 12 years, that I may need to continue this for up to 6 months.

REVIEW

The Candida Cure is a well-researched and thorough guide to helping yourself overcome a Candida overgrowth. Boroch states, “Conservatively speaking, one in three people suffers from yeast-related symptoms or conditions” (2009, p. 3). In the book, she explains how this has become such a pervasive problem, the symptoms that are associated with candida overgrowth, and the she provides you with a step-by-step guide on how to fix it. I asked my doctor for lab testing to identify if I have a candida overgrowth and she told me that the lab does not perform those tests, which supports Boroch’s claim that “… western medicine does not recognize intestinal and systemic candidiasis as a health condition” (Boroch, 2009, p. 15). She provides lists of the foods to eat and the foods to avoid and even provides a “slow-start” version for those people that need to make more gradual changes. Lists of supplements are provided in addition to two-week sample menus, and 40 pages of recipes and food brands to help make this as easy as possible. If you suspect you may also have a candida overgrowth, I highly recommend checking out her book.

I have not yet started the 90-day cleanse. I’ve been back from Europe for about a week now and I have ordered the supplements that she recommends, and I have been working on detoxing from the yummy vacation food (goodbye gelato, buffalo mozzarella, and rice!). We have a wine tasting trip planned for the last weekend in August (Napa Valley Wine Train here we come!) so I will start after that. It’s a family trip that we’ve been planning for about a year, so one last time to live it up! Until then, I will be phasing out dairy, sugar, forbidden fruits, and carbs. Wish me luck!!

Health & Hugs <3,

Katie