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Monday, December 5, 2011

Prolonged Fasting Increases Risk Of Rare Type Of Stroke, Study Suggests

While researching my book on cleanses I came across this article on fasting and strokes. More common in young people, children and women during the fasting month of Ramadan, an increase from 2.0 strokes per year, to 5.5 strokes during the fast of Ramadan alone. Fasts in most religions don't extend beyond 24hours, and is not allowed for those under 13yrs or for the frail and infirm.
So where does religion stop and good health cleansing begin? Look for my book out next year to find out the answers.

Prolonged Fasting Increases Risk Of Rare Type Of Stroke, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Apr. 15, 2008) — Fasting during the month of Ramadan raises the risk of a rare type of stroke, according to new research.

Over one billion Muslims fast worldwide during the month of Ramadan. Other studies have shown that fasting during Ramadan does not affect the rate of arterial stroke. This study looked at cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), a rare type of stroke that most often affects young adults and children and is more common in women.
For the study, researchers included all people with CVST strokes admitted to three hospitals in Isfahan, Iran, over a five-year period. Of the 162 people, 33 had strokes while fasting; 129 had strokes during the other months of the year. The average number of strokes during the month of Ramadan was 5.5, compared to 2.0 during the rest of the year. The average age and percentage of men versus women was the same in the two groups.
"These results need to be confirmed by other studies, but they should be looked at carefully," said study author Mohammad Saadatnia, MD, of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. "Coexistence of usual risk factors, such as oral contraceptive and coagulopathic disorders, along with dehydration in patients while prolonged fasting can be the reason for increased susceptibility to CVST. People and their physicians need to be aware of possible complications of prolonged fasting."
This research was presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago on April 15, 2008.

Monday, November 28, 2011

There are 4 seasons in the year, the flu season isn't one of them.

Mother nature only has 4 seasons, man created this 5th season. 
The flu season. Man also created the flu shot, which if you have been paying attention, each year has been shown to be ineffective by the medical communities that support the campaign for the flu jab.

Plain probiotic yogurt with low glycemic
berries are a great way to introduce
good bacteria into your diet.
Yet even people who get the flu jab still get sick, why?
There are 2 main reasons:
1. Their immune system is weak from not
consuming whole foods.
2. Over-eating, improper digestion and not chewing their food completely.

Poor digestion. During the holidays, it is not uncommon for some people to eat a significant amount of food — much more than normal and usually processed foods and alcohol. 

As such, the body has a difficult time processing and breaking down the unusual volume, particularly when digestive enzymes are lacking. The end result is that there exists undigested foods that remain which is one of the main reasons for people contracting colds and flu's. There are simple solutions to this issue.

Add digestive enzymes and an HcL to your nutrition program. Enzymes from Genestra, Flora, Udo's Choice or Apple Cider Vinegar or fresh lemon with 4oz of warm water before each meal. 

Limit your portions to three small meals and 2-3 small snacks; all of this will go a long way to improving digestion and thus, maintaining a strong immune and digestive system. 

HcL is hydrochloric acid that naturally occurs in the gut to aid in breaking down foods, but some people have reduced ability to produce HcL. These people include: the elderly, gastric bypass/Slimband patients, people on Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium or Zantac 75 all have reduced ability to produce digestive enzymes. These people will see undigested foods in their stool.

Digestive enzymes are enzymes that break down food into usable material. The major different types of digestive enzymes are:
• amylase – breaks down carbohydrates, starches, and sugars which are prevalent in potatoes, fruits, vegetables, and many snack foods
• lactase – breaks down lactose (milk sugars)
• diastase – digests vegetable starch
• sucrase – digests complex sugars and starches
• maltase – digests disaccharides to monosaccharides (malt sugars)
• invertase – breaks down sucrose (table sugar)
• glucoamylase – breaks down starch to glucose
• alpha-glycosidase – facilitates digestion of beans, legumes, seeds,
roots, soy products, and underground stems
• protease – breaks down proteins found in meats, nuts, eggs, and cheese
• pepsin – breaks down proteins into peptides
• peptidase – breaks down small peptide proteins to amino acids
• trypsin – derived from animal pancreas, breaks down proteins
• alpha – chymotrypsin, an animal-derived enzyme, breaks down proteins
• bromelain – derived from pineapple, breaks down a broad spectrum of proteins, has anti-inflammatory properties, effective over very wide pH range
• papain – derived from raw papaya, broad range of substrates and pH, works well breaking down small and large proteins
• lipase – breaks down fats found in most dairy products, nuts, oils, and meat
• cellulase – breaks down cellulose, plant fiber; not found in humans
• betaine HCL – increases the hydrochloric acid content of the upper digestive system; activates the protein digesting enzyme pepsin in the stomach
• endoprotease – cleaves peptide bonds from the interior of peptide chains
• exoprotease – cleaves off amino acids from the ends of peptide chains
• extract of ox bile – an animal-derived enzyme, stimulates the intestine to move
• fructooligosaccharides (FOS) – helps support the growth of friendly intestinal microbes, also inhibits the growth of harmful species
• L-glutamic acid – activates the protein digesting enzyme pepsin in the stomach
• lysozyme – an animal-derived enzyme, and a component of every lung cell; lysozyme is very important in the control of infections, attacks invading bacterial and viruses
• papayotin – from papaya
• pancreatin – an animal-derived enzyme, breaks down protein and fats
• pancrelipase – an animal-derived enzyme, breaks down protein, fats, and carbohydrates
• pectinase – breaks down the pectin in fruit
• phytase – digests phytic acid, allows minerals such as calcium, zinc,
copper, manganese, etc. to be more available by the body, but does not break down any food proteins
• xylanase – breaks down xylan sugars, works well with grains such as corn

Probiotics. These essential bacteria line the gut to aid digestion and maintain good gut health by balancing out the bad bacteria. Too much bad bacteria spews out their exotoxins which are toxins that enter our blood stream through our gut lining and head into the liver. 

Helpful bacteria prevent the growth of pathogenic species by competing for nutrition and attachment sites to the epithelium of the colon. Symbiotic bacteria are more at home in this ecological niche and are thus more successful in the competition. 

Your gut ecosystem. The problem is that it is very easy to disturb this ecosystem and create an imbalance. In a normal gut, the good bacteria will hold the bad bacteria in balance. Tip the balance and the bad bacteria and yeasts will grow and multiply, causing all sorts of health problems.

The most common way to upset the balance of good and bad bacteria is the use of antibiotics. The good bacteria in your gut are very susceptible to damage caused by antibiotics.

The process of fermentation, since it produces lactic acid and different fatty acids, also serves to lower the pH in the colon, preventing the proliferation of harmful species of bacteria and facilitating that of helpful species. The pH may also enhance the excretion of carcinogens.

Bad bacteria is characterized by:
  • aggression, moodiness, irritability, 'anger' for no apparent reason
  • sleep problems but not with the inappropriate giggling or laughter
  • really foul smelling stools or body odor; bad breath; stinky sweat
  • ammonia odor
  • frequently occurs with constipation

Maintaining a balance. To obtain good bacteria you need to look to fermented foods that are sugar free. 

Bad bacteria feed on sugar and reducing or eliminating sugar is the best way to keep bad bacteria in check. Mind you sugar is the worlds biggest and worst addiction so it's easier said than done. You body sees and processes sugar from many different foods: white bread, pasta, potatoes, all sugars (including honey and agave nectar), alcohol, and fruits, especially dried fruits.

For probiotic yogurt look to the fermented natural kind like: Kefir, or BioK. Steer clear of the marketed green brand that touts lots of probiotics but contain a ton of sugar. Or you can supplement with good probiotics like: Flora. Dr Udo or the professional brands like Genestra HMF Forte, Douglas Labs Probiotic that are both human form probiotics that are the most effective at bringing good bacteria back into balance.

Good gut health is imperative to having a strong immune system. Whether its digestion or balance of good bacteria they both play an important role in your total immune power so that you remain healthy throughout the season!

For homeopathic remedies please visit my website so that you can obtain a free homeopathic flu prevention kit.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gluten or not to gluten.... is that your question?

Being gluten sensitive myself and my Dad being celiac I've become intimately acquainted with the symptoms and affects that being intolerant can have on the body. 

When I give my nutritional chats to mum groups or corporate lunch and learns about including more gluten free grains into their diet, the biggest question I get asked is:
“How do I know if I’m gluten intolerant or celiac?” 

An excellent question!

There are subtle physical signs of intolerance you can observe with yourself or your family members:
• nose runs when eating wheat
• mucous builds up in the throat causing coughing and hard swallowing during and after eating
• heartburn after eating gluten (try not to have it with tomatoes)
• feeling of distention, bloating and gas pains or pants can feel tighter, at the end of a meal
• excessive gas, can be painful, hard to pass, lots of rumbling in the gut
• constipation or diarrhea
• eczema or hives
• vertical lines on your nails (deficiency of nutrients)
• early gray hair
(deficiency of nutrients)
• osteoporosis
• arthritis

There are symptoms that are associated with a more severe reaction to gluten that can affect mood:
• depression
• moodiness
• anger, rage issues
• fatigue

The symptoms are so vast that many doctors fail to recognize the possibility of a gluten intolerance or allergy. With celiac disease there are up to 17 to 20 different symptoms that are signs and symptoms that many get prescribed ineffective drugs instead of elimination of gluten  (some of the most prescribed for depression symptoms are: prozac, celebrex, paxil).

Elimination diet or blood tests are the best way to see which foods are offending to your system.

1) Celiac test - TtG blood test that costs anywhere from $110-150 CAD and must be requested from your GP or gastroenterologist. If your TtG test is positive, a biopsy of the small intestine is done to determine the extent of your allergy and the damage to the small intestine - eroded villi (small finger like folds in the intestine that allow for the absorption of nutrients) leads to malabsorption of nutrients = deficiencies.

2) An IgG food sensitivity test (must specify food sensitivity) that rates foods your body reacts to when ingested range from; mild, moderate to severe. The goal is to replace the foods that you are high-moderate and severely reactive to with foods that contain the same nutrients that your body tolerates and you enjoy eating.

3) A restrictive food cleanse can be done where you abstain from allergenic foods for at least a month and document your body reactions once these foods are reintroduced. Foods generally taken out are: gluten, corn, soy, dairy, red meat, eggs, nuts & seeds and includes caffeine, artificial colours and sweeteners. At the end of the abstinence these foods are re-introduced into the diet - one at a time. 
Introduction of foods: eat the allergenic food for three meals over three to four days and document your reaction to the foods for the four to seven days after consumption. This reintroduction of one food at a time is done over weeks, it can take at least one to two months to complete your investigation. In the end you have a clear picture as to which foods your body likes and doesn’t like. With wheat it can take up to a year for it to get out of your system completely and unless you are severely reactive to gluten, it’s not the most accurate test for sensitivity.

4) You can also take your pulse before eating a suspected offending food and retake it after the meal. If your pulse is increased, it can be an indication that your body is not reacting well to the foods you've just eaten but it's not specific to foods.

5) AK testing - Applied Kinesiology or AK is where you hold the offending foods in your hand or under your tongue and using muscle testing, from a raised arm will determine if the food is offending to the body. Food is in opposite hand or under tongue, an arm is extended shoulder length and the tester tries to push the arm down. Normally the muscle will resist pushing but if the food is offending to the body, the muscle becomes weak and will fall if pushed. A good start on finding out allergenic foods to you, by only if given by a qualified practitioner.

6) Electrodermal testing - the offending food is placed on or in the body and a painless electrode tests your body's electromagnetic response. A hand held electrode is placed on the skin at the meridian points, usually on the opposite hand to the foods and machine attached to the electrode depicts your body's response. This is okay as a starting point and good for little ones if you don't want to draw blood and have a suspicion of intolerance and not allergy. If the company conducting the test wants to show you pictures of foods and not actually place the object/food in your hand, don't waste your money. This is not an accurate test for food allergies, no matter how the company or individual may try to convince you otherwise.

7) Scratch tests - best are for seasonal allergies or anaphylaxis allergies like: peanut, dander, dust, grass, mold or tree allergies. They are not suitable for deep tissue response to offending foods. If you do this test and molds come back offending you need to eliminate some foods that contain these allergens: peanuts, strawberries, mushrooms and wheat since these generally have a high amount of mold.

Gluten grains to limit/eliminate or rotate are:
• wheat: bran, cracked wheat, wheat berries
• barley
• kamut
• spelt
• rye

Include more of these gluten free grains in your diet:
• rice: brown, red, black, basmati, pearl, Japanese sticky rice, jasmine or arborio (avoid white rice it’s very high on the glycemic index)
• wild rice (actually a grain not a rice)
• amaranth
• millet
• teff
• sorghum
• quinoa
• buckwheat: kasha
• corn (if organic, other wise the most GMO food on the planet)
• oats: oat bran, steel cut (high in protein), instant oats (organic and if processed in a wheat free facility)

Gluten free grains are very nutrient dense and can contain more calories than the gluten grains, so watch your portions. Unfortunately wheat is used as fillers and thickeners in almost anything: from hot dogs to soy sauce. It’s very important that you read product ingredient labels when shopping. Not an easy task but there are a lot more foods available for those wishing to live without wheat.

Remember fruits and veggies are gluten free and should be consumed with every meal, with at least 10 servings a day.

I've taken a lot of time to convert some much beloved recipes into gluten free so that I can enjoy them again. Not an easy task but the results are always tasty. As an introduction into gluten free grains here's one of my favourite recipes I've converted from my Gran's recipe box, enjoy!

Inez's Banana Loaf (or muffins) gluten free

  • 1C  Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/4C  Amaranth Flour
  • 1/4C  Oatmeal
  • 1tsp  GF Baking Soda
  • 1tsp  GF Baking Powder
  • 1/2C  Ground Flax Seeds
  • 1  egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2C  Organic Maple Syrup
  • 1/4C  Organic grapeseed oil
  • 1/4C  Unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4C  Rice or Almond milk, warmed
  • 1C  Mashed Bananas
  • 1/2tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/2C Slivered almonds, walnut pieces and/or dates chopped (optional)
Place the oatmeal in a bowl and add the warmed rice/almond milk and stir, set aside to soak up and soften the oatmeal. Mix the wet ingredients in one bowl and sift the dry ingredients (minus the ground flax seeds) into another bowl. Pour the wet into the dry add the oatmeal, ground flax seeds, nuts, dates and mix well.  

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, makes 9 large muffins. Bake at 350º for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Fill a greased and lined 9” loaf pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes for loaf pan. Loaf makes 9 x 1” slices.

Now...did I answer your gluten question?

Monday, October 24, 2011

For the love of apples!

Fall is the time of year when you get to warm up with apple cider, venture outside apple picking and enjoy the countryside’s burst of colour from the trees surrounding the orchard.
For so many banana’s are their favourite fruit but mine has always been apples. Crisp MacIntosh apples in the fall and throughout winter, Gala in the winter to spring and big juicy delicious apples in the summertime. Each one has their own unique flavour, juiciness and sweetness and all of them go so well with cheese.
So instead of just the eating of the fruit raw (which of course is great for you) how about a few new ways to use your fresh picked apples?
MacIntosh Spiced Apple Chips
Traditional cinnamon spices or curried spices are great with a portable savoury snack that is great to take with you. I like the apples a bit drier and chewier and tend to slice them about 1/8” think but if you like the juicier chips leave them about 1/4” thick and in the oven or dehydrator a little longer.
When using the oven method, make sure you make a big batch to justify the 7-14hr time period it takes to make the chips. Leave them in an airtight container or ziplock bag with a clean paper towel for up to 4 weeks (if they stay around that long).
Preheat your oven or set your dehydrator to 135˚F
12-15 MacIntosh apples, washed and cored
         Cut off the tops and bottoms to expose the apple flesh
         Sliced 1/8-1/4” thick, pending on desired texture (using mandoline or knife)
Place onto dehydrating racks or onto parchment lined cookie sheets, do not overlap. When using the oven method you will need to turn the chips over half way through their drying process.
Traditional spiced apple chips
1Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp cloves
1/2tsp Nutmeg
Mix the spiced in a small bowl or glass, place the traditional spices into tea strainer (fine mesh strainer) and gently tap the spices over your cut apples. Add as much or as little spice as you would like, I usually cover the apple slices completely to get a nice cinnamon contrast to the sweet apples.

Curried spice apple chips

1Tbsp ground curry spice
1tsp ground cumin
1/2-1Tbsp Himalayan fine salt (or kosher salt for crunch)
Mix the spiced in a small bowl or glass, place the curry and cumin into tea strainer (fine mesh strainer) and gently tap the spices over your cut apples. Add as much or as little spice as you would like, then using your fingers sprinkle pinches of salt over the apple slices, the salt isn’t crunchy it dissolves onto the moist apples. The flavour is subtle and not overpowering and compliments the sweetness of the apples.
Let these apple chips dehydrate for 7-14 hours pending on how thick you’ve cut your apples and the desired texture. In my dehydrator the 1/8” thick pieces dried for 7 hours and they turned out perfectly. Best to do these on a day when you’re home so you can check on them from time to time.
Enjoy these with some raw nuts or by themselves as snacks on the go!
Savoury Apple Sauce
We all know the traditional spiced applesauce but here’s a nice switch on a traditional favourite. With this recipe you can leave the apples chunkier or die them to 1/4” and purée them in a food processor until smooth.

8 Gala Apples, peel on, diced or chunked
1/2small Yellow Onion, diced
1small Garlic, roasted*
1Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice (juice of one lemon)
3Tbsp Unsulphured Molasses
1Tbsp Agave Nectar
2Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2tsp Fresh Rosemary, minced
1tsp Fresh Thyme, minced
1tsp Kosher Salt
1/2tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1C Unsweetened Apple juice

Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium heat and simmer for an hour (watch it doesn’t burn). Let cool for 1/2hr and pour into a food processor and blend until smooth or desired texture is reached. For a chunkier applesauce, let cook 1/2hr and place a few heaping spoons of apples into the blender with the roasted garlic, blend until smooth and stir back into the apple chunks. Return to saucepan and gently simmer to thicken your applesauce if desired.
*To roast your garlic, cut off the top of the head and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap in tinfoil and roast at 425 for 30 - 45 minutes.

Server over roasted acorn squash, or potato latkes with Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

Apple-Onion Tarts (revised Martha Stewart recipe)             Serves 6

1Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1Tbsp unsalted butter
3 medium Gala apples, peeled, cored, halved, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
8 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
3Tbsp cider vinegar
1/2tsp coarse salt
Brown rice flour, for dusting
Rosemary-Manchego Tart Dough (below)
1C Coarsely grated manchego cheese
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and onions, and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until very soft and caramelized, about 35 minutes. Add vinegar and salt, and cook 5 minutes. Let cool.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a generous 1/8 inch thick. Cut out six 7-inch rounds, gathering scraps and rerolling dough if needed. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  3. Puree half the apple-onion mixture in a food processor until smooth. Using an offset spatula, spread 3 tablespoons apple-onion puree over each dough round, leaving a 1-inch border around edges. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese. Season with pepper. Top each with a generous tablespoon of remaining apple-onion mixture, and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons cheese. Fold edges of dough in, crimping with your fingers. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Bake until edges are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve tarts warm or at room temperature.

Rosemary-Manchego Tart Dough (revised Martha Stewart recipe)

Makes enough for 6 apple-onion tarts
1 small parsnip, peeled
1C brown rice flour
1C sorghum flour
1tsp salt
1tsp honey
1/4tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2C finely grated manchego cheese
2 1/2tspfinely chopped fresh rosemary
1 large egg yolk
1/4C ice water

  1. Finely grate parsnip (you will need 1/2 cup). Place on a clean kitchen towel (do not use paper towels), and squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible.
  2. Pulse parsnip, flours, salt, sugar, pepper, butter, cheese, and rosemary in a food processor. Add yolk, and pulse to combine. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream, processing until dough just comes together (no longer than 15 seconds). Shape into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).

Quinoa-and-Apple Salad with Curry Dressing (Martha Stewart)      Serves 4

1/4C raw whole almonds
1C white quinoa
1tsp honey
1tsp finely chopped shallot
1-2tsp curry powder
1/4tsp coarse salt
2Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper
2Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2Tbsp dried currants
1 small McIntosh apple, cut into 1/8-inch-thick wedges
1/4C loosely packed fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Let cool; coarsely chop nuts.
  2. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve; drain. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa; return to a boil. Stir quinoa; cover, and reduce heat. Simmer until quinoa is tender but still chewy, about 15 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork; let cool.
  3. Whisk together honey, shallot, curry powder, salt, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Season with pepper. Whisking constantly, pour in oil in a slow, steady stream; whisk until dressing is emulsified. Add quinoa, currants, apple, mint, and nuts; toss well. Garnish with mint.

Apple-Currant Cookies (revised Martha Stewart recipe)            Makes about 3 dozen

1C apple cider or mulled apple juice
1C currants
1C brown rice
1C sorghum flour
1tsp GF baking soda
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground cloves
1/2tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1C dark-brown sugar, firmly packed
1C honey
1 large egg, room temperature
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3 to 4 crisp and tart cooking apples

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. Heat cider in a small saucepan to a simmer. Place currants in a bowl; pour warm cider over them. Let plump at least 10 minutes.
  2. Sift together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar and honey until fluffy. On low speed, add egg, and continue beating until well blended. The mixture will look slightly curdled, but it will pull together when you add the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the dry ingredients, beating until just combined. Drain currants, discarding cider. Mix in currants and oats until just combined. Using the largest holes on a box grater, shred 1 of the apples directly into the dough, rotating to avoid seeds and core. Stir well to combine.
  5. Using a 1-ounce scoop, scoop out six cookies about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake in the heated oven until dark brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter. 
Enjoy the sweet smell and tastes of fall!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Have a healthy fall

Fall is my 
New Year.
It was always an exciting time: a few new clothes, new books and new pencil crayons!
Of course that was a while ago, but I still get butterflies in my stomach every fall.

When we get back to the fall school routine and when kids go back to school (3-25yrs), we’re all going back to a petri dish of germs and bacteria in; mass transit, school railings and public door handles. Building up a good immune foundation to face these little critters will help you avoid getting sick is essential.

As a practitioner I work with my patients and their families to improve their immune systems so that they can avoid cold and flu completely. 

Here are a few tips.

What are some immune boosters? 

Drink filtered water. Water is the oil that runs our engine. Mild dehydration can make you feel tired and dry membranes are more prone to nose bleeds and infections. The rule is 2-2.5L/day for adults and 1-1.5L for kids. Try peppermint or herb teas to help flavour your water and avoid artificial sweeteners to flavour your water.

Eat your dark greens. Dark greens are loaded with protective vitamin A, D, E, C, K, calcium, potassium, manganese, folic acid, magnesium, antioxidants, natural pre-biotics and fiber to flush out your system.

Brightly coloured fruits & vegetables. Orange, yellow and red fruits are the best bio available source of natural vitamin C, vitamin A, E and contain lots of antioxidants to help maintain health. Fruits should be eaten as whole foods and not as juice.

Good probiotic yogurt. Our immune system powerhouse is in our intestines so keeping up with good probiotics will help boost your immune system. The most beneficial are BioK and Kefir, sources of natural probiotics without all the sugar that most conventional yogurts contain.

Oats and Barley. These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities more potent than Echinacea and boosts immunity.

Garlic. This pungent little bulb contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. A British study has shown that those that ate 2 raw cloves a day were 2/3 less likely to catch cold.

Fish. The Omega 3 rich fish like: salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel contain anti-inflammatory EPA decreasing the inflammation in the lungs from respiratory infections. Shellfish contains selenium that is a great antioxidant, helps maintain elasticity in our veins (including ones in the lungs) and increases white blood cells to help us fight an infection.

Immune booster smoothie:
1 1/2C filtered water
1C frozen blueberries
1/2C frozen raspberries
1/2C raw almonds
1 sachet of ginseng tea
1tbsp flax seed oil or fish oil
1tbsp phyogreens
1 scoop hemp protein powder
1tbsp agave nectar
• Place all of these in a blender and blitz until it's well blended.
Makes 1Lt, serves one.

Get outside! Comparing an indoor walk and an outdoor walk, British studies found an outdoor workout increased energy and decreased frustration, more than the indoor walk. With exercise you increase the oxygen into your system including more oxygen to your brain, making you more effective processing stress.

SMILE! Positive attitudes have a great benefit to good health, these people get sick less often, and they deal better with stress and recover faster. Laughing brings the focus away from negative feelings and provides a physical and emotional relief. Plus smiles are a good contagion, spread them happily!

Homeopathic medicines.
Homeopathic medicines are great at preventing the flu and cold and they’re also amazing to treat cold and flu symptoms. We can actually give homeopathic medicine to prevent flu's and colds.  They’re safe for anyone at any age and stage of health; even expecting mothers, newborns and the elderly can benefit from taking homeopathic medicines. Interested in the Free Flu Clinic? Click here for more information

What are the immune busters?
Besides the standards: overeating, large deposits of body fat, high processed foods, artificial sweeteners and over indulging in alcohol.

Stress. Ok I know you hear this all the time but this sucks your immune system dry. Kids get a recess to recharge; you need to give yourself a recess. Walk 1/2hr in the morning, walk 1/2hr at lunch and another 1/2hr after dinner. You’re removed from the stressful situation, you’ve added
1 1/2hrs of exercise; you’ve increased your oxygen intake and reduced your stress levels.

Sugar. Think about when the flu season really begins – after times of indulgence like: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentines Day. It’s not only the candies and cookies that kids indulge but the alcohol adults consume. One small cube of sugar = 4g, enough power to reduce our immune system 60% for up to 4 hours. Moderate how many goodies you indulge in to maintain your health.

What to do if you start to feel under the weather?

Echinacea It’s a great way to ward off the onset of a cold. Start at the first sign of; sneezes, sore, scratchy throats or sniffles, but dose yourself for two weeks only, after that it reduces your immune system.

Zinc is essential to your immune system. When you start to feel the tell tale sore throat, you can suck away on zinc lozenges to help reduce or even stop your illness in it’s tracks.

Vitamin C (as a full bioflavonoid) can be taken as a supplement all season long. We lose Vit C through urine so it’s something we can take all day long to maintain our immune system. If you take a lot and start getting diarrhea, cut back on your dose until the diarrhea stops.

Let your child have a fever.
Physicians are now realizing that a child with a fever is a good sign that their immune system is working. There are caveats to this: if your child has a high fever but is playing happily (just quieter than normal) keep and eye on the fever but let them ride it out. I’ve let my kids shoot up to 104ºF, they were in good spirits and liked the cool bath and homemade popsicles.

If a child has a high fever and is listless and not very responsive this is much more concerning. This is a time when you want to bring the fire inside them under control quickly, cool baths, homemade popsicles, lots of clear liquids and if needed a dose of children’s medication will bring it under control.

In Conclusion
Like everything in life, moderation in indulgences, live, love, laugh, maintain a positive attitude and homeopathic preventative medicines you’re set to have an illness free winter season (and life).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

You donate it, but would you actually eat it?

(Ok, I'm getting on my soap box a bit here, so forgive my passion)

Every major city in Canada depends heavily on charitable organizations to provide food to people living in poverty. In Toronto, food banks serve about 60,000 people every month. More than 650,000 charitable meals are served every month in drop-ins, hostels and similar meal programs. Based on recent Toronto study, 20% of the $17 billion spent annually on health care in Ontario can be traced to diet-related health problems.
Yes we donate, but would you eat it? 
When we are called to donate we all do our best to fill the bins in the grocer, high schools and fire halls. Do we consider what we’re donating? I know those that donate cases of boxed mac & cheese, and of one person who admits that she would “never feed that to her own children” but she's ok to donate it. 

So why is it ok to donate crap food to the poor?

It’s an education when you accompany someone through the food bank, a box is prepared with mostly canned or boxed white pastas or rice, you get a limit of vegetables and frozen meats that have to last you a few meals or a week. I still can't believe what people are forced to live on.

This recent Canadian study(1) cites alarming rates of obesity are the ticking time bomb on our health care system with the poor being at the highest risk of: diabetes, heart disease and breast and colon cancers.

Kids in poor families have an alarming rate of obesity in Canada.
Fast food meals in a bag, or prepackaged boxed meals, feeds the family and if you’re a parent with 2-3 jobs and no time to cook, sometimes it feels like the only option. These meals offer little to no nutrition value, too much sodium and bad fats, compound this with no money for exercise programs, you have a generation of kids that will die before their parents. These ‘gut fill’ foods fill the belly but don’t nourish the body at all, they actually rob the body of vital nutrients.

Poor nutrition takes a toll on your physical health and your mind!
What's happening in the UK right now is a good example of the effect of poor nutrition on health and mental issues causing aggression in teenage girls. Violent teen-girl gangs are on the rise (2) and the newest threat on the streets. Roaming girl-gangs intimidate in numbers, push, mug, throw stones and knife, sometimes-innocent people without provocation. These girls are obese, rely on fast food and usually come from lower income families where parents aren't around due to job hours.

It’s no coincidence that the UK (but particularly Scotland) has one of the worst diets and one of the highest sugar consumption per person than anywhere else in the world and is experiencing this girl-gang phenomenon.
How can we wonder why these acts of violence are on the increase, when there are clear indicators of diet and aggression? As a society we’ve condemned these children to their fate.

This study from the American Journal of Psychiatry (3) states these issues with malnutrition start early in life “…children with malnutrition signs at age 3 years were more aggressive or hyperactive at age 8 years, had more externalizing problems at age 11, and had greater conduct disorder and excessive motor activity at age 17”.

Can this be plainer?
“If you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners corrupted from infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded, sire, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?”  Thomas Moore ‘Utopia’

As we see in here in Canada and in the UK, it’s the poor that pays the price with their health and the rest of us that pay the health care costs, with diseases we've helped give them.

What can you do?
Donate to your local food banks, of course, but have a bit of social consciousness when you fill up the donation bin. Reach for food that feed the body like: dried or canned legumes, canned vegetables, whole grain pasta, whole grain mixes, brown rice, olive oil and nut butters that are free of HFCS.

These healthy and inexpensive alternatives offers low-income families nutritional options that are more than gut fill. One can eat well and inexpensively on a vegetarian diet, $250 can feed a family of 4 for a month. Including fresh vegetables. If they are given the resources to eat this way, with socially conscious donations.

Education is key. Educate the poor on the benefits of a good diet and how to eat within an non-existent budget. Educate those that generously donate, even the corporations, on making more socially conscious decisions on donations. 

Everyone deserves to a healthy diet and a healthier life.