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I was only looking for 6 key reasons to eat vegetables.
I found five thousand. How can this be? PHYTOCHEMICALS. There are more than 5,000 phytochemicals identified plus many we suspect still remain unknown. Turns out, mother nature has packed a punch of power in the plant kingdom. Many plants contain one or more of these 5,000 nutritional perks that helps us:
- Defend against pathogens, parasites, and predators.
- Protect against chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, and cancer.
- Purify and renew the blood
- Cleanse body of toxins
- Stimulate effects
- Relaxing effects
Food for …
As a part of the Forty-three Eighty Fitness challenge, for the next six weeks we are going to cover the elementary need for food. Function. That doesn’t mean it has to boring and mundane. It just means we are going to get back to providing our body with the building blocks it needs for life. It is about food for sports performance, energy, mental clarity, good digestion, glowing skin and good sleep. It is not all-inclusive, as they are general dietary guidelines. Each week we will dig a little deeper into the 6 daily tips. If you are not a part of the program and not a patient of mine, don’t worry, there is still lots right here in the Forward Health Journal and on the Naturalaura site.
In our society we relate to one another so much through food. It is really a part of our heritage, our culture and our social connection. This is partly what makes it so difficult to make changes. It’s not just a little corner of your life. Eating is something we do everyday. Every time we eat we make a choice. What drives that choice? Taste? Texture? Atmosphere? Experience? Promise to make you happy? If you suspect you might make choices driven by emotion, you might like to join me next Wednesday, March 15th at Goodness Me! in Guelph from 6:30-8pm for a free educational session on Food or Mood, Which Comes First? Register here.
Evolution, Not Revolution!
It won’t work if you try to make all the changes at once. As I say to my patients, it’s about evolution, not revolution. Did you learn to ski by jumping on the black diamond hills first? Not likely. You needed to build some strength, add some skills, practice them in safe small ways and build your confidence. Ditto for making changes in diet. Start somewhere. Carve out an area and make some attempt for small changes. This week we are going to start with vegetable awareness! Goal is 6 cups of vegetables a day. Many people struggle to get one. If you are the one cup a day kind of person right now, then maybe you aim to get two or three cups a day as a place to start. What’s in it for you?
Guideline Goal: 6 cups of Vegetables a Day
3 Cups of Cabbages
The cabbage also known as cruciferous or brassica family helps support phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification of the liver. This means eating more of this family of vegetables provides support for your natural detoxification process. Your liver is in charge of over 300 jobs. Not a bad thought to give your liver a hand.
Interesting to note: broccoli contains abundant B vitamins, vitamin A, has more vitamin C than citrus and is rich in chlorophyll.
- Brussels sprouts
- Swiss chard
- Collard greens
- Bok Choy
- Radish/ radish greens
3 Cups Leafy Greens
Bitter greens help stimulate digestion. Good digestion means good energy! Some cultures find this helpful before a meal, others after. Leafy greens also provide fibre, vitamin K, chlorophyll, vitamin A and C. Lettuce leafs contain the sedative lactucarium, which relaxes the nerves, helping the rest and digest nervous system do its thing.
- Dandelion greens
- Carrot tops
- Red leaf lettuce
- Beet greens
1 Cup – Mix of Orange and Red
Red and orange means a rich source of beta carotene / vitamin A. Carrots and beets are blood purifying and anti-inflammatory for mucus membranes. Bell peppers are additionally an excellent source of vitamin C. Sweet potato and squash have great fibre and help reduce inflammation.
- Bell pepper – red/orange
- Sweet potato
1 Cup Other
For appetite control, celery can be eaten between and during meals. Celery root is excellent sliced thin and baked on parchment paper. Fennel root has a mild licorice flavor and is an excellent add to soups. Parsnips slow cooked with carrots marinated in a little olive oil and sea salt is delectable. Peel them and cook them whole! Cucumber is very cooling and better eaten in the hot and dry times of the year. A couple slices of cucumber and maybe a sprig of mint in water is a very refreshing. summer drink.
- Celery root
Ideally more cooked in the fall and winter and start introducing more raw in the spring. Cooking vegetables will destroy some of the nutrients, however softens the fibres and makes them easier to digest. Digestive fire is stronger in the hotter months, so lots of raw in summer is just fine. Fall, winter and early spring we are better to eat more slow cooked, lightly steamed vegetables. I often preserve the water I steam my veggies in and use it in stir fry to add moisture or add it to soup. Eat your cooked veg or broth within 24 hours to obtain the maximum nutrition. Don’t forget an easy way to add up the vegetable tally is to throw a stick or two of celery, and a handful of greens into your smoothie. My favourite energy-boosting green smoothie has 2 sticks of celery, a handful of leafy greens- whatever is in the fridge, a bunch of dried mint from the garden and a little ground ginger with my pea protein.
Cornerstones of daily eating.
Jessica Cosby and Brett Milton’s Forty-three Eighty Fitness six week challenge kicks off in Guelph this month. My part is to provide some education for the nutritional aspect of good health. Thanks to Carrie and Mark Godman we set up at the prestigious Granite Homes showroom this Friday and delved into the general aspects of the 6-Daily Diet Tips.
For the next six weeks, there will be weekly posts to provide a little more information in each of the areas of:
Oh, I almost forgot!
From the heart, mind and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.
More about naturopathic medicine here.
Del Rio D, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Spencer JPE, Tognolini M, Borges G, Crozier A. Dietary (Poly)phenolics in Human Health: Structures, Bioavailability, and Evidence of Protective Effects Against Chronic Diseases. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 2013;18(14):1818-1892. doi:10.1089/ars.2012.4581.
Pitchford, P. 2002. Healing with whole foods. Asian traditions and modern nutrition. 3rd ed., North Atlantic Books, Berkely, California.
Temple N, Wilson T, Jacobs DR. 2006. Nutritional Health—Strategies for Disease Prevention 2nd ed, , Humana Press, Totowa, NJ.
Perfect for the chocolate fix and high in magnesium, fibre and prebiotics.
Gluten, dairy, egg free & dreamy!
Preheat oven to 350 F. Convect bake. (Bake will work too, it just takes them a little longer.)
Melt the following in pan on low heat while stirring constantly. Takes less then 2 minutes.
1/2 c coconut oil
2/3c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp almond milk
Set aside… or put directly in food process in next step:
In a food processor place the following ingredients:
The chocolate from above
1 cup *black beans (drained if using from can). See below on cooking idea.
1/2 c almond meal (I make my own by processing whole almonds)
4 pitted Medjool dates
2 tbsp ground flax seed OR chia seeds
1/8tsp ground sea salt
1/4c dark gluten free dairy free chocolate chips
Puree in food processor until smooth. Takes about 3 min. You may have to scrape the edge to get it to all mix entirely.
Prepare 8×8 or similar size pan with parchment paper. Cut to size. Place contents and press into pan.
Bake for 15-18min or until edges appear dry. Sprinkle with sea salt while still warm.
Store baked brownies in fridge for up to 1 week.
* I like the less processed version of soaking the beans over night versus using the canned. Place a couple of cups of the black turtle beans in a casserole dish and fill with water. Change the water out a couple times during soaking if you can. Soak for 8-12 hours. Cook on stove in 3x as much water as beans. Lightly boil for an hour or until tender. Rinse. This recipe uses 1 cup. Extra beans are great to mix up with quinoa or brown rice for other meals. They can also be frozen for future use.
From the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND
Dr. Laura’s Natural Solutions to Cold and Flu
Dr. Laura M. Brown will share some unique tips to keep you and your family healthy through the winter.
This free practical workshop and informative seminar will teach you:
- Hydrotherapy at home
- Common cold remedies
- Immune boosters
- Flu fighters
Wednesday December 14th, at Goodness Me! Guelph from 6:30-8pm
Low iron could be part of the root cause of your fatigue. It could be a matter of absorption, health of the red blood cell, or compounding factors like thyroid, poor sleep, and related heart issues. There is preliminary evidence that iron supplementation might improve unexplained fatigue in non-anemic women. Low iron is one of the top reasons for fatigue, but it is not the only reason. Dr. Laura M. Brown ND can help you dig into the root cause of your fatigue.
Who is at Risk?
- menstruating women
- vegan and vegetarians
- high performance athletes
- those with Celiac, gluten sensitivity, Crohn’s or colitis
- long term use of proton pump inhibitors
- H.Pylori infection
- internal bleeding of any kind
Food Sources of Iron
Food Sources: meats of all kinds, liver and organ meats (animal sources best absorbed), kelp, legumes, tofu, whole grains, molasses, nuts and seeds, wheat, millet, dark leafy greens, sardines, prune juice and oysters.
Iron absorption depends on proper stomach acid and the ability for the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to absorb. The body will only absorb what iron it needs, and pass the rest along in the stool. Animal based heme (iron) is best absorbed. Vegetable based iron sources are absorbed at a fraction of animal based sources. If there are stomach acid issues, like an H.Pylori infection or prolonged use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s), or issues with the GI lining like in Celiac, Crohn’s or Colitis, then absorption of iron and other vital nutrients may be impaired.
Your iron could be low if you have these symptoms:
Dizziness, especially on rising quickly
Shortness of breath on exertion, chest pain
Coldness in your hands and feet
Pale skin, tongue, conjunctiva
Swelling or sore tongue, cracks at side mouth
Enlarged spleen, frequent infections
Why do I feel this way?
Iron is also a cofactor in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This is why low iron has the potential to contribute to low mood.
Iron deficiency may affect selenium absorption, which could then affect thyroid hormone production. Low thyroid function can can contribute to a state of fatigue.
Iron deficiency can also cause restless legs, contributing to poor sleep, which means less healing in sleep, more hormonal imbalance and compounded issues of fatigue.
If you don’t have enough hemoglobin-carrying red blood cells, your heart has to work harder to move oxygen-rich blood through your body. This can lead to arrhythmias, murmur, enlarged heart, or even heart failure.
Iron is used to make the hemoglobin complex on the red blood cells.
If your red blood cells are breaking down or not enough are made, you will not have the ability to use the iron to make the hemoglobin.
There are four “parking spots” for Oxygen and carbon dioxide on your red blood cells – this is the iron binding capacity or “TIBC” you see on your blood work.
When the TIBC is high you iron might be low.
Sometimes serum iron is fine but the ferritin is high. The body squirrels away iron when there is an infection. This is because virus and bacteria use iron to help replicate. What a smart body we have! Inflammatory factors of infection and low iron contributes to fatigue.
Diagnosing Low Iron
Clinical presentation (your signs and symptoms) are the first clue to low iron. A simple blood test including a CBC and Iron Panel will help dig into the root cause of your fatigue. Further exploration and tests may be required to diagnose other contributing factors of health as mentioned above. A naturopathic doctor is always on the look out for the true root cause of your health concerns.
CBC – complete blood count
Number, size of red blood cells (RBC) (iron def. anemia red blood cells are smaller than normal)
Number, size of white blood cells
Number of platelets
Reticulocyte count – immature RBC – tells if bone marrow production rate of RBCs is normal
Hemoglobin- iron rich protein on your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues and carbon dioxide away
Hematocrit – measures how much space your red blood cells take up in your blood
Serum iron – amount of iron in your blood. Not always indicative of the total amount of iron in your body.
Serum ferritin – think tin is something you store things in– this is your iron storage.
Transferrin – trans for transfer – this protein carries iron in your blood
TIBC – measures how much of the transferrin is around and not carrying any iron
Avoid bug bites
Black flies and mosquitoes and fear of tick bites can quickly drive you indoors.
The theoretical risks associated with wearing an insect repellent should be weighed against the reduction or prevention of the risk of fatal or debilitating diseases including malaria, West Nile, Zika, Dengue/Yellow fever, Lyme and filariasis.
Best way if you have to go out doors is to wear loose fitting, light coloured, full length pant and sleeve with tall socks or pants tucked in. Nets are available for over the head and face.
Dangers of DEET
If you are in the deep woods and are at risk for disease, you may consider the very strong (and poisonous) option of DEET, but be sure to avoid the face, eyes and mouth and wash your hands afterward in order to additionally help avoid contact with nose, eyes and mouth. After you return indoors you are best to wash completely with soap and water. Know that the long term exposure to DEET can lead to memory loss, headaches, weakness, fatigue, muscle/joint pain, nausea, tremors, and shortness of breath. This is because DEET is actually a pesticide and your skin will absorb it.
What are some alternatives to DEET?
Picardin: Structurally based on chemicals in pepper, it appears to interfere with the mosquito’s ability to smell its prey. The chemical is extremely effective for some species of mosquito (including important disease-carrying mosquitoes such as A. aegypti), but is less effective for other species that don’t appear to rely on smell, so overall it may be somewhat less effective than DEET. A 20% Picaridin formulation has been shown to repel mosquitoes for 8-10 hour.
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine – Take a dose of B1 daily and mosquitoes avoid you when you smell like a vitamin!
Natural insect repellent recipe:
Combine in a 16oz spray bottle:
15 drops of lavender, clove, thyme, or geranium oil
10 drops of lemon eucalyptus or citronella oil
4 Tbsp of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of lemon juice
Fill with water and shake. Apply & re-apply as needed.
KEEP ESSENTIAL OILS OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN
Mix Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) with water to form a paste and apply to bee stings, poison ivy rash and insect bites.
Oatmeal: crush up oats and make a colloidal oatmeal paste with a little water and apply to itchy rashes or insect bites.
Calamine lotion: you can buy it at the store or make your own with recipes from http://everydayroots.com/homemade-calamine-lotion
Apis Homeopathic 30 C 2 pellets under tongue every 15-30 min until relief, up to 3 hours. Then as needed 2 pellets /3x per day up to 3 days. Indicated in conditions hot, red, inflamed, swollen, itchy insect bites & bee stings.
Always do a check for ticks on your skin after trail walks and hikes in long grasses. Carefully remove from the skin at the tick’s head and mouth area using a pair of tweezers. Save the tick for testing. Wash the area with mild soap and water. Ticks have the potential to carry Lyme, Rocky mountain spotted fever, Tularemia, Ehrichiosis, Relapsing fever, Colorado tick fever and Babesiosis.
In any case of bug or tick bite followed within a few days of feelings of flu like symptoms, fever, headache, nausea, vomit or fatigue, see your health care provider immediately as you may need a course of antibiotics to prevent long term sequelae of insect borne diseases.
Information in this post does not constitute individual medical advice. Readers apply this information at their own risk. Please seek care from your health care provider for professional and individual advice.