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What Should I Eat?

health appleBeing a health care practitioner, I have come to believe that most of the health issues my patients are experiencing are to some degree related to their diet.  I’m defining the word diet very broadly to mean “what you eat.”  The health issues I started to experience while in my 20s were absolutely related to the way I ate.  My health journey has evolved from being a junk-food vegetarian to eating the nutrient-dense whole foods diet I currently enjoy.  Since it’s hard to know where to start when making dietary changes, here are some resources.  This post will the first in a series addressing the question, “What should I eat?”

I’ve always liked Michael Pollan’s quote, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”  My goal is to help people achieve that.

Fundamentally (and ideally), one’s diet should be nutrient dense, free of refined foods and sustain life rather than contributing to chronic/degenerative diseases such as heart disease, cancer, auto-immunity, Alzheimer’s, to name a few.  The Paleo “diet” which is really a lifestyle, is a good place to start.

The Paleo/Primal lifestyle is for those seeking general health & wellness, weight loss, greater hormone balance, and longevity etc…  Although the definition of “Paleo” is evolving (read a good article here), it is generally defined as gluten-free, dairy-free (controversial), healthy fats (including saturated fats), and plenty of vegetables with some fruit.

I like Diane Sanfilippo’s definition of Paleo in her book  Practical Paleo.   She writes, “the lifestyle is simply about (1) practical paleoeating whole foods that provide better fuel for your body and (2) avoiding processed, refined, nutrient-poor factory foods.  This means avoiding grains, legumes (beans), refined sugar, and pasteurized dairy products. ”

Practical Paleo is a comprehensive, colorful, engaging resource outlining the Paleo lifestyle but also has great recipes.  I recommend the book highly.  Diane’s website is also a great resource with recipes, links to her podcasts, and general motivational help.  She provides guides on her website detailing what to eat – very helpful.

The following website links are a good introduction into some of the more well-known Paleo authors.  Once you peruse their sites, you can determine if you’d like to learn more in of the their books.  This is not a comprehensive list but merely an introduction.

Loren Cordain aka the Founder of the Paleo Movement

Robb Wolf 

Mark’s Daily Apple

Chris Kresser

PaleOMG

Deliciously Organic

Paleo Slow Cooking

meal planningPaleo Meal Plans:   The links listed below vary widely in what they offer for menus but are useful for those needing a bit more guidance on what to eat for each meal within the Paleo lifestyle.

PaleoPlan

Caveman Strong

Elana’s Pantry

Paleo Table

 Multiply Delicious

Next in the series, I’ll explore another nutrient-dense, whole-food diet/lifestyle based on the principles of Weston A Price.  If you’re eager to learn more, you can visit the Weston A Price Foundation website.

Using Coconut as an Alternative to Dairy

Many of my patients learn that they are sensitive to or allergic to dairy products.  Although this can at first seem overwhelming, I’m hoping that the information in this article will help ease the transition and help them realize that being dairy-free can be tasty and nutritious!

Retail products

Here are some options one is likely to find at a natural food store.  They are convenient but have fillers in them that some might find hard to digest.  I’m a big fan of homemade so most of this post is about making your own dairy-free food. 

So Delicious Coconut Milk

So Delicious Coconut Yogurt

So Delicious Coconut Ice Cream

Silk

To make your own coconut milk:

Mama Natural (video)

Cheeseslave

The Paleo Mom

The Primal Home

Nourished Kitchen

Coconut Milk Kefir:  I recommend making coconut milk kefir over coconut milk yogurt for several reasons:  it’s easier and has many more varieties of beneficial organisms (probiotics), yet it’s equally versatile.

Cultures for Health

Mark’s Daily Apple

Passionate Homemaking

Divine Health

Just Making Noise

Chris Kresser

Healthy Home Economist (video)

Cultures for Health

Cooking Traditional Foods

GNOWFGLINS

Living Without

Small Footprint Family

The Paleo Mom

Coconut Milk Ice Cream Recipes

The Nourishing Gourmet Chocolate

Cheeseslave Chocolate

Vanilla

I had originally included recipes to make your own coconut milk yogurt but I haven’t tried it myself (whereas I have tried making coconut milk, coconut milk kefir and coconut milk ice cream) and it seems really labor intensive.

I’ve included many options but these links are just a smattering of what you can find online.  Let me know if you have questions.  Have fun exploring the world of being dairy-free.

Fermented Veggies – Yum!

Fermented foods, also known as cultured foods have been part of the human diet for millennia.  However, due to modern food production as well as convenience foods, fermented foods are no longer dietary staples.  Consequently, the human digestive tract and immune suffers.  Whether somebody is suffering from frequent colds, Candida, auto-immune conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s, Lupus or digestive distress including constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or stomach bloating, fermented foods can be an integral part of the healing process with these disorders.

In this blog post, I’ll be focusing on fermented vegetables but the world of fermented foods includes chutneys, salsas, relishes, condiments like mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise, kefir, kombucha, yogurt, cheese, and sourdough grains.  The world of fermented foods is abundant and alive (pun intended!)

Originally people fermented foods as a way to preserve the harvest.  However, the process of lacto-fermentation results in foods that not only are preserved long-term but also have increased digestibility and vitamin levels.

During the process of fermentation, lactobacilli (bacteria) convert the sugars and starches in vegetables into lactic acid.  Then the lactic acid preserves the food by inhibiting any putrefying bacteria.

In The Body Ecology Diet, author Donna Gates outlines several benefits of fermented veggies.

  • They are a less expensive alternative to probiotics
  • They improve digestion as the vegetables are pre-digested
  • They contain enzymes to facilitate digestion, eliminate toxins, and boost the immune system
  • Are great for controlling food cravings and assisting in weight control

Fermented vegetables are surprisingly easy to make and are much less expensive than buying them at a health food store.  And you can make them according to your own tastes.  It’s common to start making fermented veggies by using cabbage alone or combining cabbage with other vegetables such as kale, carrots, radishes, ginger, turnips, beets, etc.  The combinations are really endless.

Specific recipes and instructions can be found in the books and websites listed below.  The recipes can be made using only salt but you can use a starter culture such as those available from Body Ecology or by using whey.  If you’re in the Triangle area of North Carolina, I always have extra whey (left over from cheese making).  Leave a comment on the blog and I’ll contact you.

I really encourage you to explore the world of fermented foods.  I find that the more I eat, the more I crave them (believe it or not).  I try to consume fermented foods at every meal whether that be kefir in my mornings smoothie, kombucha, sauerkraut, fermented carrots, sourdough bread, fermented salsa or chili sauce.  Donna Gates recommends a ½ cup serving of fermented veggies with any meal that contains a protein or starch.  I love the variety of foods and their life-sustaining benefits.

Resources

Books:

Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

The Body Ecology Diet by Donna Gates

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride M.D.

Online resources:

Nourished Kitchen Get Cultured e-Course

GNOWFGLINS Lacto-Fermentation e-Course

Nourishing Days Fermented Food for Beginners

Cultured Food Life

Nourished Kitchen Fermented Foods

The “Wow” Factor of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil, like many saturated fats is misunderstood.  However, since coconut oil is such a therapeutic food, I want to start clearing up misconceptions.  I’ve been using coconut oil myself and recommending it to patients for several years now and for many reasons.  Bruce Fife, a certified nutritionist and naturopathic doctor, lists numerous therapeutic benefits of coconut oil in his book The Coconut Oil Miracle:

  • Prevents heart disease, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis & stroke
  • Prevents diabetes and relieves the symptoms and health risks associated with the disease
  • Supports the development of strong bones and teeth
  • Protects against osteoporosis
  • Promotes loss of excess weight
  • Kills viruses that cause mononucleosis, influenza, hepatitis C, measles, herpes, AIDS, and other illnesses
  • Reduce symptoms associated with pancreatitis
  • Reduce severity of problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis
  • Relieve symptoms of gallbladder disease
  • Relieve symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers
  • Relieve pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids
  • Reduce chronic inflammation
  • Protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers
  • Prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay
  • Prevent premature aginig and degenerative disease
  • Relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Relieve symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Reduce epileptic seizures
  • Protect against kidney disease and bladder infections
  • Prevent liver disease
  • Kill bacteria that cause pneumonia, earache, throat infections, dental cavities, food poisoning, urinary tract infections, meningitis, gonorrhea, and dozens of other diseases
  • Kill fungi and yeast that cause candida, jock itch, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections
  • Expel or kill tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites
  • Ward off skin infections
  • Reduce symptoms associated with psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis
  • Relieve dryness and flaking
  • Prevent damaging effects of UV radiation from the sun such as wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots
  • Control dandruff

Wow, one food can do all of that!

Coconut oil can generally be found at natural food stores or online.  I’ve been using Nutiva for several years but Wilderness Family Naturals and Tropical Traditions are also a well-known online retailers of coconut oil.

There are many ways to incorporate coconut oil into your diet.  Here are some of my personal favorites.

Healthy Peppermint Patties

Peppermint Patties

Peanut Butter Bean Fudge

Nut Butter Cups

Simple Maple Chocolate Fudge

Check out this website with hundreds of coconut based recipes.  The website contains recipes with other forms on coconut and in future blog posts, I hope to talk about the benefits of coconut milk and coconut flour.  Enjoy.

Whole Body Purification

Center for Chiropractic and Wellness is hosting a workshop next Wednesday, May 11 on the Purification Program from Standard Process.  We’ve been using this powerfully effective detoxification program in our office for several years now and we invite you to learn more. 

 You may be asking yourself, “Why do I need the Purification Program?”  Unfortunately we live in a toxic environment.  We are exposed to environmental and internal toxins on a daily basis.  Here are some unfortunate statistics:

  • Approximately 87,000 new chemicals have been created and introduced into our environment in the US since World War II. 
  • Two thousand new chemicals are added every year!  Additionally, tap water is contaminated with chlorine, trihalamethanes (environmental pollutants), lead, cadmium, plus medications and hormones. 
  • Body care products such as shampoo, shaving cream, deodorant, makeup, hair styling products, sunscreen, and perfume contain xenohormones.  These hormone-like chemicals wreak havoc on the body’s hormones, nervous system, and general cellular function. 
  • The average American home contains over 60 hazardous products, most of which are lawn/garden and cleaning supplies.
  • The average American consumes 14 lbs of food additives, 160 lbs of sugar, 8 lbs of salt in a given year.

I could go on but needless to say, we live in an environment that is not conducive to health! 

 But other reasons why patients choose to do the Purification Program is that they want to feel better.  So many people are plagued with weight gain, brain fog, allergies, insomnia, acne, menstrual irregularities, poor digestion, sugar and/or salt cravings, pre-diabetes, eczema, low libido, etc.  The purpose of the Purification Program is to stimulate the liver, kidneys, small intestine and large intestine so as to allow the body to lighten it’s toxic load and cleanse itself from the inside out. 

 The Purification Program is a 21-day cleanse that involves eating whole, organic (if possible), unprocessed foods, taking whole-food supplements and drinking plenty of water (filtered or spring).  We have scores of recipes available to help patients create flavorful and exciting food during the cleanse. 

 The Purification Program is also backed by research demonstrating it as an effective tool to lessen cardiovascular disease risk.  Research published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine (September 2008) reported  a total cholesterol decrease of 47 points after the 28 patients in the study completed the 21-day Purification Program.  Additionally the patients experienced decreases in triglycerides, LDL, HDL, and VLDL cholesterol during the program.  As an added benefit, weight loss was also noted for all 28 patients!  To read the research article, please click here.

 That has been our experience at CCW as well.  Last week I spoke with several patients who had recently finished the Purification Program.  One woman lost 15 pounds and her heel pain disappeared.  Another female patient lost 8 pounds, had clearer skin and resumed a “regular” menstrual cycle, which previously had been absent.  Other patients of mine have reported being pulled out of depression, sleeping better, increased energy, decreased allergies, regular bowel movements, improved digestion, clearer thinking, increased vitality, mood stability and a general positive outlook. 

 Even if you are unable to attend the workshop but are interested in the Purification Program, please call us at 919-845-3280.  Here’s to your health!

Gluten Free Resources For Raleigh and Beyond

 

Here is a list of online as well as local resources for leading a healthy, happy gluten-free life. 

 

Blogs

 

www.thenourishinggourment.com

thenourishedlife.blogspot.com

www.elanaspantry.com

gnowfglins.com

glutenfreemommy.com

glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

glutenfreeeasily.com

glutenfreegirl.com

www.bookofyum.com/blog

 

Local Resources

Rosie’s Plate www.rosiesplate.com 

glutenfreeraleigh.blogspot.com

http://www.urbanspoon.com/t/25/1/Research-Triangle/Gluten-Free-Friendly-restaurants

 

Grocery Stores

Harmony Farms

Earthfare

Whole Foods

Trader Joes

Ask your local chain grocery store where they keep the wheat/gluten-free items

 

Books

 

Check the library for wheat/gluten-free cookbooks to see which you like best.  Then buy the ones that work best for you.

 

Wheat Free Alternative Grains

 

www.wheat-free.org/wheat-free-flour.html

Raleigh Chiropractor Recommends Castor Oil Packs

December 14, 2010 2 comments

One of the most useful home therapies I recommend to patients is the use of castor oil packs. I’ve read that humankind has been using castor oil packs for about 3000 years. During the Middle Ages, castor oil was known as the Oil of Christ.

I recommend castor oil packs for their detoxification and anti-inflammatory properties. The packs can be applied to the lower abdomen for assistance with digestive distress (constipation, IBS, chronic indigestion and bloating), menstrual cramps, uterine fibroids, UTI prevention, cystitis, as well as to the breasts and liver. The heat provided by the castor oil pack helps to provide warmth to organs that are over-stimulated. The pack also has strong detoxifcation qualities and has been known to assist with bile flow in the liver and inflammation in organs or joints. I do not recommend using the packs on the head.

To make a castor oil pack, you’ll need a good quality castor oil, a wool flannel, hot water bottle/heating pad, plastic and rags/towels. Most natural food stores sell both the castor oil and wool flannel

First, cut in half a plastic grocery bag and lay flat. Pour or soak the flannel in the castor oil until saturated but do not let it drip. Lay the soaked flannel across the abdomen and place the open plastic bag on top. Next, place a rag or old towel on top and then the hot water bottle/heating pad. Lie still for 45-60 minutes. When finished, remove the flannel and wash the area with a solution of baking soda and water. Beware that castor oil can stain so keep away from clothing.

I generally recommend the castor oil pack every 2-3 days until symptoms improve.

Jennifer Greenfield D.C.