Food Combinations That Enhance Nutrient Power – Part 1: Lemon Synergy

IMG_0009Last month, I wrote about food synergy, how healing through food is not about obtaining large amounts of any single nutrient, but how whole plant-based foods provides a complex mix of nutrients that work together synergistically within your body to create powerful health benefits we have yet to understand. My next series of blogs are going to take this concept one step further by looking at how specific food combinations enhance the nutrient potency of your meal and the bioavailability of those nutrients.

Today, I’m going to focus on lemons. On their own, lemons contain many nutrients that boost the immune system and fight infection: citric acid, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene. They provide strong antibacterial and antiviral properties, as well as act as a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons are also alkaline which helps balance your body’s pH, protecting you from inflammation and disease. When eaten with specific other foods, lemons are a wonderful example of food synergy as they enhance nutrient absorption and potency. Take a look at these powerful food combinations: Read More

Buckwheat – An Amazing Superfood

Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat is one of the most commonly overlooked gluten free whole grain “substitutes”. I classify it as a grain “substitute” because, while most people think of buckwheat as a grain, it is actually a fruit seed. Although it’s name suggests it’s a member of the wheat family, buckwheat is not related to wheat and is completely gluten free.

Buckwheat Flower

Buckwheat Flower

Because the buckwheat plant is not susceptible to any major diseases or pests, it’s easy to grow, making it an inexpensive grocery item.  Due to its easy to grow nature with blossoms that attract beneficial insects and pollinators, it is often used as a cover crop for weed control in sustainable agriculture.

Buckwheat is a nutrient rich superfood. It’s one of the best sources of high quality plant protein because it contains all eight essential amino acids with high concentrations of potassium, magnesium and more. It’s significant amount of B vitamins promotes healthy skin and hair while the high amounts of fiber supports gut health.

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Vegan versus plant-based, what’s the difference?

800px-Légumes_01The terms vegan and plant-based have been used interchangeably as a way to describe those that do not eat animal products. However, the two types of diets are very different.

Vegan: A vegan diet focuses on the exclusion of animal products (meat and dairy). Some vegans have strong feelings about animal rights and choose to eliminate all types of animal products from their lives, including clothing (wool, silk, leather) and personal hygiene (soaps, lotions, perfumes). They even avoid foods and other products that come from insects (honey, beeswax).

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Why Juice?

green-juiceWhile battling cancer, juicing was a vital part of my husband’s nutritional support system and remains an important part of our plant-based diet.

When your body has developed cancer, or any illness, it is telling you something – its needs are not being met. Your body is a compilation of complex systems that all work together in creating your experience of living. Food provides the fuel all of those interrelated systems require in order to function and maintain health. When one or more of those systems are compromised, we get sick. Reevaluating your eating habits is the first step towards providing your body with the tools it needs to fight disease and regain optimal health.

It’s all about eating consciously. Our bodies have an incredible capacity to heal and your diet is the foundational support system in that healing process. Juicing is a great way to provide your body with much needed nutrients that are easy for your system to absorb.

Juicing Facts:

Nutrient rich – When you drink fresh vegetable juice, highly concentrated vitamins, minerals and enzymes are easily accessible to your body as they rapidly enter the bloodstream. Juice made from fresh produce is high in antioxidants and minerals, wonderful tools in the fight against cancer. Because most of the fiber has been removed, the nutrients can bypass the digestive system and go straight to where you need them most. Read More

The alarming truth: hospital food DOES NOT support healing

medicalRecently, my husband’s brother experienced a mountain bike accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Through the countless hours and weeks my husband and I have spent sitting vigil with his wife, other family members and friends, we have watched doctors and nurses work tirelessly at helping heal his serious physical injuries. However, these medical professionals continue to neglect one crucial element – nutrition.

I took some time to look around at the food they were feeding their wards, these critically injured and sick individuals, and noticed with despair the plates lined with processed meat sandwiches on white bread, sugary canned fruit cocktail and jello, prepackaged nutrient void applesauce, white rice, instant potatoes, and broth made from salty bullion. All these foods provide calories, but little else.

When the body is in healing mode it needs powerhouse nutrients. I can’t help but wonder how the hospitals would improve healing rates by simply feeding their patients fresh whole plant-based foods that support each patient’s specific physiological needs. Read More

Should everyone go gluten-free?


Gluten-free has become a trendy buzzword among the health conscious. But is it right for everyone, even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms of having a gluten sensitivity?

What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein that naturally exists in wheat, rye, and barley and can be found in a variety of processed foods, including salad dressings and seasoning mixes. Gluten is also hiding in some vitamins, medications and makeup products. Gluten’s main claim to fame is its ability to help foods maintain its shape. That’s why it’s an essential part of baking. When combined with water, gluten’s strong, sticky protein gives structure to baked goods and pastas.

Gluten has become a popular meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians. High in protein, a four-ounce serving of seitan (a processed gluten meat substitute) contains about 26 grams of protein. Gluten is also low in fat and high in iron.(1)

When is gluten bad?
Gluten is harmful to people with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. When people with celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder) eat gluten it triggers an allergic reaction that results in inflammation and destruction to the lining of their small intestine and the malabsorption of nutrients. People with celiac disease tend to experience varying degrees of gastrointestinal issues, joint pain and skin rashes. In addition, studies have shown a link between celiac disease and neurological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, autism, epilepsy, and schizophrenia.(2) And there is strong evidence that individuals with autism, epilepsy, and schizophrenia  all respond well to a gluten-free diet.(3) It only takes a very small amount of gluten (about 50 milligrams) to cause intestinal damage for a person with celiac disease. Learn more.

A related condition called gluten sensitivity or non-celiac gluten sensitivity can cause symptoms similar to celiac disease with an increase in the non-GI symptoms such as headaches, joint pain and numbness in the limbs and fingers. Individuals with gluten sensitivity lack the same antibodies as those with celiac disease and do not experience the same intestinal damage. Where celiac disease is considered an autoimmune disease, gluten sensitivity is an innate immune response where the immune system’s response does not target your own body’s tissues. Read More

Eating Healthy: Overcoming the “Cooking Obstacle”

Cooking ToolsThe most common excuses I hear for not eating healthier are: “I don’t have time”, “I don’t like cooking”, and “I’m an awful cook”. These are the excuses of modern life.

We are so busy rushing from here to there that time has become a precious commodity. Additionally, our taste buds, conditioned to prefer heavily sugared and processed foods, are unaccustomed to the natural flavors of real whole foods. This perpetuates the fear that healthy cooking wont taste good. Compounded with the fact that most of us were raised on convenience foods and not taught basic cooking skills as children, cooking has become a foreign experience instead of second nature.

As a result, one of the biggest obstacles to eating healthy is cooking. The perception that cooking is a burden and a chore has become an epidemic. Cooking requires you to stop and focus on your physical needs and be creative as you combine flavors and textures to produce tasty combinations. Our society places more value on the immediate gratification of food fulfillment, overlooking not only the health benefits of cooking your own meals, but the pleasure that can be found in taking the time to prepare and share a healthy delicious meal. Read More