Tag Archives: Nutrition

How I Nearly Missed a Key to Nutrient Absorption

How I Nearly Missed a Key to Nutrient Absorption from Beeyoutiful.com

This information originally appeared in a slightly different form in our Fall 2009 catalog

Busy schedules and a desire for convenience had taken a toll on my family’s diet, but not long ago, I decided to get us back on the wagon of nutritious eating. While eating whole and healthy foods has always been my focus, we had gotten so we didn’t take time to prepare fresh, nutritious foods.

How I Nearly Missed a Key to Nutrient Absorption from Beeyoutiful.comOur family garden and the weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) basket gave us a plentiful supply of delicious and healthy foods, so we had no excuse for not eating well. I knew our bodies craved better foods and noticed my own energy level had dropped considerably. I was fatigued much of the time.

I tweaked our family menus so that we once again were eating nature’s bounty. To my surprise, however, my fatigue lingered, along with occasional bouts of acid reflux. Our diets had improved, but I didn’t feel the commensurate improvement in my body.

Fortunately, about this time, a friend told me a bit about digestive enzymes, and I set out to learn more.

How the Good in Good Food is Lost

I discovered that proper nourishment involves more than just eating healthy foods. It’s possible to eat a wide variety of the best foods, use only organically-grown fare, and still be deficient in adequate nutrition.

But why is this so? The key to good health lies in both eating healthy foods and properly digesting them.

We’re born with an ample supply of enzymes to break down the food we eat just after birth: breastmilk. A broader range of enzymes to process other foods and release their nutrients develops gradually as we grow. Nutrients in our food, when properly digested, strengthen our immune systems, enhance cell growth and repair, and boost energy levels.

However, the SAD (Standard American Diet) is an enemy of digestive enzymes. Our abundance of non-living and processed foods actually destroy digestive enzymes!

Time and poor diets whittle away the supply of digestive enzymes, particularly if our diets have been low in fresh, cultured, and raw fruits and vegetables. Consequently, research shows that older people and people with chronic diseases have fewer enzymes in their saliva, urine, and tissues.

Enzymes are also destroyed by stress and environmental toxins. Once the enzymes are gone, the digestive system struggles to compensate for the loss of these essential workers. When enzymes are not plentiful and functioning, a person may experience any or all of the following: fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, bloated sensations, heartburn, acid reflux, excessive gas, and food cravings.

The Great Enzyme Comeback

The good news is that vital digestive enzymes can be restored to the body. Even if your body is depleted of its natural digestive enzymes, you can, through supplemental digestive enzymes, rebuild your body’s inventory of these necessary enzymes. Here are a few of the most helpful.

  • Betaine– A naturally-occurring enzyme in the stomach that helps break down fats and proteins.
  • Pancreatin– A mixture of amylase, protease, and lipase, this enzyme fills the gap where pancreatic secretions are deficient. It has been associated with helping food allergies, celiac disease, automimmune disease, cancer, and weight loss.
  • Papain– Derived from papaya and certain other plants, this enzyme has a mild, soothing effect on the stomach and aids in protein digestion. Papain helps digest protein thoroughly and frees amino acids for quick absorption. It works in acid, alkaline, or neutral environments and is especially valuable for the elderly or anyone who has weak digestion due to enzyme deficiencies.
  • Ox Bile Extract– Excreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, this important enzyme assists in digestion of fats. It also assists in metabolizing cholesterol and fat and in absorption of Vitamins K, A, D, and E.
  • Pepsin Enzymes– Pepsin is produced in the mucosal lining of the stomach and acts to degrade protein.
  • Bromelain– Found in the stems and plants of the pineapple, this enzyme is often used to aid irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, gas, and other digestive problems. It is effective in breaking down proteins and rendering their nutrition available to the body.

The Enzyme Solution

Some nutritional experts recommend that at least 70% of your diet should consist of raw, cultured, or juiced foods, all which will boost enzyme production and which also provide healthy levels of fiber, another important element of healthy digestion.

Since heat kills enzymes during cooking and pasteurization, milk products that are pasteurized have no life to aid digestion. These products are essentially cooked and dead, and end up burdening your digestive system. It is far better to use live dairy products. Those made from raw milk are best. Yogurt, for instance, contains beneficial probiotics and is simple to  make at home from raw milk.

When making the shift to a more natural diet, though, go slowly. Introduce raw foods gradually, and allow your body to adjust to the new “climate” you’re creating in your digestive system.

As I discovered, eating raw fruits and vegetables did not immediately cure my fatigue. In my case, I needed help from a supplement to restore my digestive balance and to help my body absorb nutrients in the healthy foods. This is where supplemental enzymes can be such a blessing.

I started by taking one tablet of Beeyoutiful’s Digestive Enzyme with each meal. After about a week, I was able to tolerate foods better, and the tired, sluggish feelings I had been experiencing during the day were gone! I no longer wanted a midday nap and felt energetic and stronger each day.

Beeyoutiful has expanded its line to include four different enzyme options.

  • Digestive Enzymes – Broad Spectrum digestive enzyme with Cellulase and Protease for yeast cell wall digestion.
  • Digest Best – Whether you are looking for a digestive aid to help with protein, carbohydrates or fats, Digest Best’s one pill covers them all with its special blend of non-GMO, vegetarian digestive enzymes.
  • Bromelain – An enzyme derived directly from the pineapple that is beneficial for digestion.
  • GoGoZymes – Beeyoutiful’s GoGoZymes provide a great range of digestive enzymes that are great for both kids and adults. These berry-flavored tablets are certified non-GMO and are free of artificial additives.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that may indicate an enzyme deficiency, you may benefit from a supplemental boost of digestive enzymes. I was amazed at how, in a week’s time, I had more energy and the occasional acid reflux completely disappeared. The road to better health begins with proper digestion!

For even more about the amazing process of digestion, read here and watch here.

Christy StoufferChristy Stouffer moved from the “big city” to rural middle Tennessee where she enjoys gardening, living in a small community among friends, learning about the natural things God has given us for nutrition, and homeschooling her four children with her husband. She is a pianist in her church fellowship and a valued resource of encouragement and wisdom for younger women in her life. Christy’s enthusiasm and research about nutrition and wholesome living is appreciated by all who know her.

*Article has been updated to reflect new products.

Preparing for Pregnancy, Part 1: Laying a Nutritional Foundation

Preparing for Pregnancy: Laying a Nutiritional Foundation

This material originally appeared in a slightly different form in our Fall 2010 catalog

When I married in 2004, I was almost 26, and my husband and I knew we didn’t want to wait long to have children. Although many women have children after thirty, we both wanted a large family and weren’t sure how long our child-bearing years would last. Even so, we were slightly surprised when just six weeks after the wedding we found ourselves expecting our first child! Excitement filled our house, and to add to our own joy, this would be the first grandchild for both his parents and mine.

Preparing for Pregnancy: Laying a Nutiritional FoundationAt the time, I was a practicing registered nurse, and although I did not work in obstetrics, I’d always been fascinated with the subject. Despite the fact that I had scored a perfect 100 ranking among my peers that year in the OB/GYN national competency exams, I gradually found that I actually understood little about the importance of preparing my body to be a mother.

I knew I needed to take a prenatal vitamin once the pink line appeared on the pregnancy test. I knew the importance of Folate to prevent birth defects. I knew I needed to generally take care of myself. But I did nothing to really prepare my body for pregnancy.

My pre-pregnancy diet consisted largely of fast food, meals from a box, and sodas. I had done nothing to eliminate my chronic gut problems, build nutritional storehouses, or make sure my body was in shape for this miraculous event.

Due to long work hours, my entire day’s nutrition consisted of an orange for breakfast, half a sub sandwich for lunch, and half for dinner (and when I say sub, I mean a foot-long white bread sandwich with nothing but processed cold cuts, American cheese and jalapeño peppers). I washed that all down with the largest cherry limeade I could buy, because it had to last my entire shift; it was a healthier choice, I figured, since it did not have caffeine. I often went an entire week without eating unprocessed meat, fresh vegetables, and whole grains.

My bouts with morning sickness (to the point of vomiting) lasted from early in the pregnancy until three days after my baby was born. With my second pregnancy came nine months of migraine headaches, followed by my newborn son’s chronic health issues. I finally decided there had to be a better way to do pregnancy! The challenges I faced have led me to some fascinating factors that make for a healthier momma and, therefore, a healthier baby.

The Two-Way Gift of Health

maryOur health is a gift, not just from the Creator, but also from our parents. The field of genetics is still full of mystery, but we do know that the health of our parents when they brought us into the world plays a large role in determining what our own level of health will be, and your health will play a major role in your children’s health.

People generally assume that most health issues depend simply on the genes we pass on, that they determine what makes us more or less vulnerable to various diseases and health conditions. Many of us don’t make the connection that we directly pass on to our children a reflection of our own state of health, apart from genetic factors.

As a result, our children often suffer from the same digestive, immune, and chronic health issues that we do, not just because of genes but also because of how we care for ourselves. If you’ve had problems with your digestion, it should not come as a surprise that your child is colicky. So before you think about having a baby, first consider how to rebuild and restore your own health. Not only will you be passing on to your future children a head start in health, but the habits you develop will benefit them throughout life.

Getting Your Gift in Shape

The place to start building your health is with your diet and your nutritional lifestyle. Nutrients are the building blocks of cells, and it is vital to take in nutrients that build healthy cells. Diets full of healthy fats, grass-fed and organic proteins, fermented foods, properly prepared grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables are vital. While there are several very good diet suggestions out there, I personally recommend Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers as a good starting place. It’s published by the Weston A. Price Foundation and offers great guidance for nourishing your body and preparing the inner stores of nutrients necessary for pregnancy.

Most people recognize the need for protein, iron, and vitamins from fresh fruit and vegetables, but it is only recently becoming known that healthy fats are needed as well. A British publication noted that for a healthy reproductive system, a woman needs 25 to 30 percent body fat, while the American recommendation for women of child-bearing years is 21 to 33 percent. Healthy fats include coconut oil, whole milk, extra virgin olive oil, avocados, and grass-fed butter and meats (with healthy portions of the fat included). A great primer in the study of fats is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Just as important as what you put in your body is what you don’t put in. Fats to avoid are shortening, margarine, vegetable oils like corn, soybean, and canola oil. Other no-no’s include artificial sweeteners, white sugar, white flour, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup, caffeine, and soft drinks (even cherry limeades!). Not only are they empty calories, they are often toxic to the body.

Another crucial part of your lifestyle evaluation is your level of physical activity. At any time in life, exercise keeps the body feeling well, the joints moving, aches and pains dispelled, and increases overall vitality. To “get in shape” for pregnancy, it’s important to incorporate into daily life activities and exercises that increase stamina, flexibility, and cardio function. If you’re wary of exercise because of pain, I recommend you read Pain Free. I’ve followed its guidelines for almost a year now and have found incredible relief from aches and pains, while increasing my flexibility and balance.

When you exercise while pregnant, it’s important that you not burn too much fat. High impact aerobics and long distance running often burn more than the recommended amount of body fat for a healthy pregnancy. The key here is to research the regimen you will be participating in and maintain a level that’s right for you.

Join us tomorrow for Part 2 when we discuss choosing supplements and avoiding morning sickness. 

Mary Ewing has been with Beeyoutiful for six years (through three pregnancies!). She enjoys exploring life with her husband and five children as they cook, garden, play and dream of homesteading. Her interests include traditional cooking, learning about herbs and essential oils, and traditional art forms such as sewing, crocheting, knitting and smocking.

Digestion: the Building Blocks to a Healthier You

Digestion: The Building Blocks to a Healthier You

by Jessica Bischof

It has often been said, “you are what you eat,” but this is only partially true. In reality, you are what you eat and digest. You could eat the most amazing organic, locally sourced, whole food diet, and yet, if you cannot digest and assimilate it properly, you are only getting a fraction of the nutrition your food could be providing to your body.

Amazingly, digestion is something that is rarely discussed, even in the holistic health world! In my work as a Nutritional Therapy Consultant (NTC), I find that nearly all of my clients need to strengthen this foundational area.

How can you know if your digestion is working the way it should? Some types of digestion dysfunction are obvious, such as chronic constipation, frequent diarrhea, pain from acid reflux or heartburn, and foul-smelling gas. Other symptoms, such as a sense of excess fullness after meals, burping or belching, distaste for meat, fingernails that chip and break, and anemia that is unresponsive to iron supplements, often occur without being immediately identified as digestion issues. And finally, if taking digestive enzymes with your meals is helpful to you, that’s a sure sign that your body is not digesting optimally.

Digestion: The Basics

Digestion is a complex process, and you can read a longer explanation at http://www.beeyoutiful.com/buildingblockstohealthieryou but in this article I want to discuss the specific role that hydrochloric acid (HCl), more commonly known as stomach acid, plays in digestion.

Special cells in the lining of your stomach sense the arrival of food and secrete HCl, releasing it through the mucosa to mix with the meal you just ate. This acid is strong stuff, and has the goal of creating a very acid environment in the stomach, hopefully between 1.5 and 3.0 on the pH scale. This mixture is so acidic that it would burn a hole right through your carpet! This is a good thing as most bacteria, fungus, parasites, and other unfriendly critters can’t survive this extreme environment and are eliminated on their first stop through our digestive system.

Besides protecting you from pathogens, HCI also breaks apart the proteins in your food, whether animal or plant based. This is especially important to make the minerals in your foods available for absorption. For example, broccoli is high in calcium and beef is high in zinc, but if the food isn’t properly cleaved apart in your stomach, these minerals remain unavailable to you.

Once properly acidified, the contents of the stomach (called chyme) exit into the upper part of the small intestine and the pancreas sends over some juices to neutralize the acidity. Pancreatic enzymes, needed to break your food down into molecules small enough to be absorbed, also arrive with these juices. When this process happens correctly, the body can benefit from all the nutrition in the meal you just ate.

A Delicate Balance

As you can see, proper digestion is highly reliant on sufficient HCl production. If you aren’t secreting enough acid, the stomach will delay releasing the chyme to the small intestine; your body will be busily trying to create more acid and make sure that any critters that arrived in your food have been killed, and that your food has been appropriately broken apart so that you can digest it in the next phase. However, this increased time in the stomach also causes the food to start to ferment and putrefy, leading to a sense of over-fullness, burping, belching, and even heartburn as the contents expand.

This is the point at which you might be tempted to reach for antacids such as Tums, which is sad because it’s actually not too much acid that’s causing the problem, but too little.  Eventually the stomach will give up and release the chyme. When chyme sent down to the small intestine isn’t highly acidic, it doesn’t need to be neutralized, so the pancreatic flush is not stimulated, and the critical pancreatic enzymes won’t be sent out to break down the meal into absorbable particles. Over time, this leads to nutritional deficiencies and a damaged gut lining, as the food which should have been broken down and absorbed into your bloodstream instead sits against the gut wall and continues to rot, feeding pathogenic bacteria, fostering candida overgrowth, and creating inflammation of the gut wall.

Now that you understand the importance of HCl for the digestive process, you’re probably wondering how you can make sure that you’re producing enough. Dr. Jonathan Wright, author of Why Stomach Acid is Good For You, reports that when tested at his Tahoma, WA clinic, over 90% of his patients were deficient in their production of stomach acid. This has been my experience as well, both in myself and in my clients: we are not producing the stomach acid we need to, and our nutrition and gut health is suffering as a result.

Keeping Things Working

HCl production is dependent on two things: having an adequate amount of zinc in the body and being in a relaxed, parasympathetic state when you eat.

Digestion is parasympathetic

When your nervous system is in parasympathetic mode, you’ll be relaxed and unstressed. In this mode, the body rests, the organs detoxify, and you properly secrete digestive juices, particularly HCl. When your sympathetic nervous system is dominant, you are instead prepared for activity and stress. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to give in to the temptation to eat meals in the car, eat standing at the counter, and eat when multi-tasking. Unfortunately, none of these behaviors allow the parasympathetic side to dominate and digest food properly.

Zinc

There are many nutrients that play a role in your body creating HCl, but zinc is the most important. Because you need zinc to make HCl, and you need HCl to absorb dietary zinc from your food, it is easy to upset this delicate balance and find yourself in the vicious cycle of poor digestion.  Zinc plays a key role in supporting immunity and helping the body heal cuts. Poor wound healing and white spots on the fingernails point strongly to a zinc deficiency.

Three Hacks to Improve Your Digestion Today

1.     Chew your food well. Chewing each bite 20-30 times breaks down your food well before it arrives in the stomach, saturates your food with saliva (which has enzymes that break down your food) and alerts your digestive system that ‘food is on the way.’

2.     Limit water at meals. Getting adequate water each day is necessary for health, but catching up on hydration at mealtime dilutes your stomach acid and burdens digestion. Drink enough water to stay comfortable during meals (and to take your supplements), but put the majority of your water consumption at least 30 minutes prior to or 60 minutes after meals.

3.     Relax, practice gratefulness, and think about eating. Relaxing and focusing on your food doesn’t seem like it would matter for digestion, but it does. Encourage your body to enter a relaxed, parasympathetic state while you eat. Savor your food and try to spend at least 15 minutes (more is great!) relaxed and enjoying every meal.

Supporting Digestion with Supplements

If you’re consistently following the tips above and still dealing with heartburn, a sense of fullness after meals, digestive symptoms, or the presence of undigested food in your stool, consider adding an acid supplement to facilitate digestion. A product like Belly Balance provides 648mg of HCl, along with 150mg of pepsin (an enzyme) which work together to assist digestion. Both the size of your meal, and the amount of meat in your meal will affect how much acid support you need to optimized digestion, so take more with a larger meal or a larger portion of animal protein.

Consider supplementing with zinc too (more information on this in my longer article on digestion, http://www.beeyoutiful.com/buildingblockstohealthieryou). Many people can decrease their need for HCl or eliminate it entirely once they reestablish their zinc stores. Supplementing with digestive enzymes, such as Digest Best or Digestive Enzyme** will also help digestion. Many people find that once they kickstart digestion with the proper use of HCl (Belly Balance), they are no longer dependent on enzymes, because their body now produces its own.  **Digestive Enzyme contains ox bile, a necessity for anyone who doesn’t have a gallbladder.

When You Need More Help

Supplementing with acid-containing products for children is not recommended. Likewise, anyone with a history of GERD, recurrent heartburn or reflux issues or ulcers should not supplement with HCl without FIRST working with a qualified practitioner to heal these fragile tissues. Taking HCl is also not recommended for anyone taking an acid blocker, or proton pump inhibitor (things like Prilosec, Nexium, etc.).

I firmly believe in the importance of effective digestion and have seen the benefits in my own life. Guiding clients through this process is one of my areas of specialty. If you want to improve your digestion, but aren’t confident to make it a do-it-yourself project, or if you have special considerations you know need to be addressed, I invite you to schedule a complimentary 15-minute appointment to discuss your concerns and see if we are a good fit to work together.

Jessica is a Nutritional Therapy Consultant and the owner of Simple Steps Nutrition where she works with clients both in the US and internationally to create customized nutritional protocols and lifestyle modifications to support healing and function in the body. 

Her own health challenges started in her early 20’s after the birth of her first child and forced her to become educated about what her body needed to heal. She believes that through healing and supporting the underlying cause you can actually regain health, not just treat symptoms. 

Jessica specializes in restoring energy, resolving fatigue issues, balancing hormones, digestive issues, and adrenal healing. Jessica offers a complimentary 15 minute consultation for anyone who would like to find out more. Visit www.simplestepsnutrition.com for information.

Sweet Memories – Spring 2012 Catalog

Sweet Memories

Putting Sugar Addictions Behind You

By Nancy Webster

I used to think the best time to go on a diet was May through August, the only months without the temptations of a major, sugar-related holiday. Even then, summer offers apple pie and ice cream on the Fourth and perhaps family birthdays here and there. I also used to think the only reasons I would worry about eating too many treats and desserts were getting fat and getting cavities.

That was years ago, when my youth covered for the regular indulging of my sugar cravings and when I didn’t know about the consequences already taking place in my body—and in my present and future children’s bodies. Yes, I battled ten or fifteen extra pounds, but compared to most overweight people, I reasoned, that wasn’t so bad.

Worse Than I Thought

Sugar-induced weight gain and cavities are only the beginning of problems caused by sugar. Back then, I didn’t know:

  • Sugar lowers immunities for six hours because infection-fighting white blood cells get tied up attacking the inflammation sugar causes and can’t protect against strep and other opportunistic germs. (No wonder my family was ravaged by a stomach bug or strep every Christmas season!)
  • Sugar encourages the development of cancer and feeds cancer cells.
  • Sugar sets your blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster, First, they must go sky high, forcing the pancreas to secrete copious amounts of insulin. Which then drops levels so low and so fast the adrenals have to serve as a trampoline to bounce the levels back up again. Since this happens over and over, the pancreas wears out, and you get diabetes. The adrenals wear out, and you get major hormone problems (even men!). And you and your children go back and forth from dragged-out to hyper, anxious, inattentive, sleep-deprived states.
  • Sugar messes up the acid/alkaline and good/bad bacterial balance in your gut, causing a range of problems from indigestion to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Sugar makes it hard for your body to absorb the protein your eat.
  • Sugar is often the culprit behind food allergies.
  • About tooth decay: You may not know the truth about how sugar really contributes to dental problems. It’s not because you didn’t brush your teeth well enough. Actually, decay forms because sugar upsets the body’s mineral balance, causing important minerals like calcium to be pulled from the teeth (and bones—think “osteoporosis”). As a result, teeth rot from the inside out.

Any sugar causes these problems, but what’s worse is that almost every sugary food or drink today contains high fructose corn syrup, which weakens the body even more than regular beet or cane sugar.

Some people, including diabetics who follow a conventional doctor’s orders, think they’ll get around sugar’s detrimental effects by switching to artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, or sugar alcohols like malitol and xylitol. They chose “smart” foods and drink labeled “sugar-free” or “diet”. But research shows that artificial sweeteners not only don’t prevent weight gain, but actually induce a set of physiological and hormonal responses that make people gain weight. Even stevia produces this effect and should be avoided until users get their blood sugar under control.

Although I knew enough to be afraid of sugar subsitutes, as I became more health-conscious, I started replacing white beet sugar with mineral-rich dehydrated cane crystals, raw honey, molasses, and even date sugar and rice syrup. (I never used agave, which because of processing methods, is as harmful as high fructose corn syrup.) I switched frm using white flour (sugar’s close cousin that causes many of the same problems) to fresh-ground, whole wheat four. We cut way back on candy, but we baked as much or more than before. I didn’t know those healthier sweeteners were still hitting our bodies as hard as regular sugar. And I still partied hardy at every holiday and birthday party (I couldn’t resist!).

Where There’s a Will, There’s No Way

I had no idea there was anything besides my (very weak) willpower to help me overcome my love for candy corn, Hershey’s kisses, my mother’s incredible Christmas Cookies, those colored Valentine hearts with corny sayings (especially the yellow ones), chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, much less the ice cream my husband and I shared late at night after the kids were in bed. How could a fresh apple or orange compete with those delicacies?

I had the “white plague”. I was an addict. And no wonder. First of all, everyone has a natural preference for the sweet taste. Second, sugars make us feel good—for a while. As Julia Ross points out in The Diet Cure:

“For some of us, certain foods, particularly ones that are sweet and starchy, can have a drug-like effect, altering our brains’ mood chemistry and fooling us into a false calm, or a temporary energy surge. We can eventually become dependent on these drug-like foods for continued mood lifts.”1

Third, according to research by the Weston A Price Foundation:

“…sugar begets more sugar. Eating sugar clearly throws one’s body chemistry into a tailspin. Tag on poor sleep habits, adrenal fatigue, and an overload of stress, and intense cravings for sugar (or other substance like alcohol or drugs) can easily develop. Insulin imbalances and a lack of the happy-brain chemical called serotonin are often the underlying culprits. Essentially, the sugar being consumed perpetuates the vicious cycle of more intense sugar cravings.”

Except for food memories of special treats and worries about not gratifying my baking friends and family by eating their goodies, I have gotten over my love affair with sugar and white flour. Educating myself on the dangers of sugar addiction was a start, but because I was as physically addicted to sugar as an alcoholic is to alcohol, I needed more help.

Please don’t wait as long as I did to get a handle on your sweet tooth—for your own sake and for your family’s. There are many pleasures you can enjoy more fully when you are healthy and free from sugar addiction. For your long-term health, the most important holiday you may ever take is the holiday you take from sugar—and that’s something to celebrate!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sugar Free Tips

I have detailed below a collection of tips I used to kick the sugar habit.

Tip 1: The 5-Step Program to replace refined sugar with natural sugar:

1)      Eliminate all sugar drinks. Replace them with water, herbal teas, and fermented drinks like kombucha and fermented ginger ale.

2)      Next, limit sugar foods to 3x/week. Keep a food journal for accountability and to note how you feel physically.

3)      Eat at least three nutrient-dense meals each day, including lots of healthy fats (butter, sour cream, lard, tallow, coconut oil, palm oil, and olive oil). Fats slow the rate at which sugar hits the blood stream and reduce the need for pick-me-up coffee breaks. Fats also satisfy your appetite for a longer time—I eat a spoonful of coconut oil when a craving threatens.

4)      Then replace white sugar with natural sugars like maple sugar, dehydrated cane crystals, and raw, unfiltered honey (beware: most grocery store honey is imported from questionable foreign sources and often watered down with sugar and HFCS).

5)      Finally, limit the use of natural sugars to 3x,week in moderate amounts. Eat them in conjunction with a whole meal, which lessens the impact on blood sugar levels.

Tip 2: Include fermented foods (like plain yogurt, kefir, lacto-fermented sauerkraut, and fermented drinks) with your meals. Their good bacteria helps offset the sugars you ingest.

Tip 3: Keep tempting foods out of the house.

Tip 4: “Prepare meals with all six tastes: Ayurveda is a six-thousand year old philosophy on life, health, and food preparation. Practitioners of this system believe that when each taste is present in a meal—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent—the body becomes more balanced, ultimately minimizing cravings, stabilizing appetite and perfecting digestion.”

Tip 5: Eliminate or at least seriously moderate caffeine use. Caffeine aggravates blood sugar regulation and depletes good-mood neurotransmitters.

Tip6: Get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids as found in cod liver oil. Among other benefits, this helps fight carbohydrate cravings and balances blood sugar.

Tip 7: Try taking an anti-candida product like Beeyoutiful’s Yeast Assassin. A good probiotic (like Tummy Tune-Up or Gut Guardian) also helps overcome the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut which make you crave sugars, too. There are some supplements (for sale online and through health food stores) which can be taken temporarily to help manage sugar cravings as you are transitioning to a nutrient-dense, healthy fat-rich diet. These  are self-weaning and normally aren’t needed more than three weeks, according to Nora Gedgaudas in her book Primal Body Primal Mind, which recommends dosages and other supplements.

For example:

1)      L-glutamine, an amino acid, can stop cravings for sweets, starches, and alcohol immediately, because the brain can use L-glutamine instantly for fuel. (Do not use this if you have cancer!)

2)      The herb, Gymnema sylvestre, usually eliminates most cravings for sweets.

3)      L-tryptophan, another amino acid, helps calm carb cravings and restore serotonin function (“happy mood” hormones), especially when a person is lacking adequate protein.

Tip 8: Get plenty of uninterrupted sleep. Too little sleep affects blood sugar regulation and, when chronic, can lead to diabetes and adrenal fatigue.

Tip 9: Address the emotional reasons you love sugary foods. This is especially important at holiday times, family gatherings, and when you are stressed. Some people wrongly see food as their friend and try to overcome lonely feelings with it. Prayer works wonders here.

Tip 10: Some people overcome cravings and pain by using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a form of self-administered acupressure explained at www.eft.mercola.com. This is also called “tapping”.

Tip 11: Before tempting social occasions, be a Boy Scout (even if you are a girl!) and “be prepared”. Prepare your mind by replaying why you want and need to eat better. Prepare your body by eating a healthy-fat filled snack like an avocado drizzled with olive and coconut oil dressing, some cooked veggies or eggs slathered in butter, or a spoonful or two of coconut oil. Those measures will help you choose carrot sticks and cheese over cookies and cake.

Tip 12: Use things other than food to reward yourself and your children: A special game, a bubble bath, a movie, an extra chapter in that good book you’re reading, a nature walk, a trinket, etc.

Footnotes:

1 Julie Ross, The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Problems, and Mood Swings – Now (New York, Penguin Books, 1999), 8.

2 Article at http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/zapping-sugar-cravings

3 Article at http://www.westonaprice.org/making-it-practical/replacing-refined-sugars

4 From http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/zapping-sugar-cravings

Recipe: Stir-Fry Green Beans and Carrots

Stir-Fry Green Beans and Carrots
Makes 6 servings

  • 1 lb. green beans
  • 1 lb. carrots batoneed

1 med. onion, sliced
1 lb. sliced white or brown mushrooms
1 c. walnut, roughly chopped
1/4 c. fermented soy sauce
1/4 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. coconut milk
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 Tbsp. ginger, finely minced
1/4 lb. bacon, crumbled
1 tsp. red Thai curry paste
1/2 tsp. cayenne
Salt
Pepper

Parboil carrots. Parboil green beans. Fry bacon, crumble and set aside. Add 4 Tbsp. coconut oil to bacon fat. Add and saute onions for 3 – 4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic to pan. Toss in walnuts, cook until crispy. Add soy sauce and coconut milk. Bring to boil and stir until thickened. Toss in bacon. Set sauce aside and keep hot. Add rest of coconut oil to pan. Add mushroom and cook for 5 minutes or until almost done. Saute green beans and carrots just until a slight crunch remains. Add onions and heat through. Pour sauce over vegetables and serve with rice.

Notes:

Green beans are acidic so when parboiling, boil the carrots first so that the flavor of the beans won’t taint the flavor of the carrots.


Most green vegetables have a high acidic concentrate; when boiling or steaming, leave uncovered so the acid is removed with the steam. If covered, the acid falls back onto the vegetable making it bitter and giving it a brownish color!

Optional Alternative Ingredients

Vegetables: broccoli, peppers(sweet bell, hot), baby corn, squash, snap peas, lima beans, black beans, shallots, green onions, unsweetened coconut chips or flakes, bamboo shoots, mandarin oranges, pineapple, raisins, Craisins, cherries

Meats: pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, clams, oysters

Nuts, Seeds, Grains: pecans, walnuts, almonds (whole or sliced), macadamia, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, rice noodles

Unglazing the pan: rice vinegar, wine (red, white, or sherry) stock (same as the meat or vegetable)

Fats and Oils: olive, lard, clarified butter, red palm

Thickening Agents: arrowroot, cornstarch, flour, cream, egg yolk

Spices and Flavorings: hoisin sauce, duck sauce, fish sauce, crushed red pepper, smoked sea salt, roasted garlic

Recipe: Meatloaf

As presented in our Summer 2010 Catalog

Meatloaf serves about 10-6 oz servings

2 1/2 – 3 lbs. meat, ground
2 c. bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 c. milk or cream
1/2 c. carrots
1/2 c. celery
1 c. onions
3/4 – 1 c. ketchup
5 Tbs. butter
salt
pepper
crushed red pepper
garlic, fresh or dry
cayenne

Dice carrots, celery and onion. Combine milk, ketchup and eggs. Add bread crumbs to milk mixture and let soak. Melt butter in hot pan and saute vegetables until soft and the aromas blend. If using fresh garlic, add now and saute until soft. Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and cayenne. Mix bread crumbs and veggies together. Hand mix in meat. Form meat into a log. Place meat log in 9×13 Pyrex and cover top with ketchup or steak sauce. Season the top. Add about 1/4 cup water to dish and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Slice and serve with ketchup.

Note: You can shape the meat into balls and put in muffin tins for individual servings.

Recipe: Cold Oatmeal

As appeared in our Summer 2010 Catalog.

  • 5 c uncooked quick oats
  • 1 green apple, shredded
  • 1 red apple, shredded
  • 1 c grapes, chopped
  • ¾ c walnuts, chopped
  • ½ c honey
  • 3 c whole milk to start (then add to desired consistency)
  • 1 t cinnamon
      Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve cold for a quick, healthy breakfast.

      Note: You can change this up with different fruits.You can substitute ½ c raisins for the grapes. I also like to add shredded coconut and mini chocolate chips sometimes. Just experiment with different combinations to find your favorite.

      -Sandra L.

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