Nutrition Lifestyles 101
Healthy nutrition is more than what we eat – It is the nutrients we absorb through our digestive system.
What’s in this Article:
• First Rule for Healthy Digestion AND Absorption
• Eliminating Food Sensitivities
• Nutrition density on a budget
• Slow burning Carbohydrates
• Healthy Fats – Healthy Oils
• May I suggest Breakfast
• Managing tension
One of my most favourite websites on traditional eating, a return to basics: www.westonaprice.org
Regain your Natural Weight!
• Want to know the nutrient values of any and all foods…? Go to: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/ – type in your item of interest, what you receive is a comprehensive outline of vitamin, mineral, fatty acid values as well as caloric amounts.
• Your body runs on a complex path of nutrient molecules. Nutrient molecules feed every organ in your body. The digestive system is the portal to your health and vitality. So we concern ourselves with the health and efficiency of our digestive system to keep our bodies nourished and energized.
Most absorption of nutrient molecules occurs along the small intestinal tract. Digestion, however, starts in the mouth. Saliva is rich digestive enzymes or digestive workers whose only task is to split nutrients molecules to be absorbed and feed the body. So it is incumbent upon you to recognize your part in the process.
• First Rule and key to healthy digestion – meticulously and thoroughly chew your food
Proper mastication of your food will contribute to health and prevent a number of unpleasant health consequences. Proper chewing, that is chewing your food thoroughly, breaks down cell walls exposing nutrients found within the cell walls. Let’s take cauliflower for example. Cauliflower contains indole 3 carbinols, a protective antioxidant found in the cruciferous family of vegetables. Chewing exposes these precious antioxidants, making them more easily absorbed.
• Efficient and proper chewing minimizes and in up to 90% of cases can eliminate food sensitivities.
Food sensitivities are separate from food allergies. Food sensitivities are caused largely by an inefficient, underwhelming digestion caused generally by questionable food choices and by swallowing those food choices by the chunk or chunks as the case may be. These clumps of molecules are not effectively broken down in the stomache, largely because your teeth are in your mouth, not in your stomache … the clumps of food molecules further find their way to the blood stream, they are further registered by white blood cells as foreign and toxic. The immune system mounts an attack and engulfs the molecules of food. Histamine reactions result. Mucus is emitted through goblet cells that line the upper and lower gastrointestinal mucus in an ever present attempt to prevent noxious substances from entering the blood stream and potentially damaging your cells. If you are one of those culprits who are guilty of not properly chewing your food, answer this question:
• How often do you clear your throat after eating? I’m guessing more than you should. Mucus is a defense reaction intended to cover the tiny absorptive microvilli, preventing the absorption of toxic food. Over time and with repeated consumption questionable food choices that same mucus and and will damage the tiny microvilli which then causes malabsorption and potential Irritable Bowel symptoms.
Symptoms of IBS are generally very difficult for the average person to assess and correct. Trying to distinguish what foods are the offending foods is not only very difficult, it is often misleading. In fact it is usually the inefficiency of a damaged digestive system that is causing the myriad of symptoms. While certain foods are generally causing more problems and symptoms, it is the state of disrepair that needs addressing. Start with the proper mastication of food. If you continue to consume food you know is ultimately not healthy, at least you give yourself time to ponder the choice while you chew longer – perhaps that will inspire a second thought …
Chew your food meticulously to prevent damage or further damage to the intestinal tract
• Acid Reflux is also a byproduct of poorly masticated food. Acid Reflux is also a byproduct of other unhealthy choices but the common thread and underlying cause, swallowing clumps of food. In a failed attempt to do the masticating you should have, your stomach turns up the HCI or hydrochloric acid production to break down the molecule clumps. Over time the esophageal sphincter weakens and reflux of HCI into the esophageal tube results. This condition is extremely uncomfortable and at times quite debilitating. You will want to start now to maintain a healthy digestion system and avoid such unnecessary health consequences. Acid Reflux is one of those life time achievement awards.
• Your teeth are in your mouth – not in your stomach: Remember That!
Nutrient dense Meals on a budget:
Omega 3 eggs @ approximately .21 each
Organic Yogurt – plain – add fresh fruit – buy the 1L size as opposed to individual servings. @ .75 serving
Salmon steaks – 1.50/4oz
Albacore tuna @ 1.50/4-6oz
Whole Chicken –roast and freeze portions – @ 1.25 serving
Turkey – Free – it probably comes as leftovers from home after the holidays
Veggies and Fruits:
Fresh fruits in season are rarely expensive. Limit your intake of fruit to the p.m. An apple or pear in the evening is an exception. Apples and pears are lower on the glycemic index and less lightly to cause gas or bloating. Fruit is designed to digest quickly. The cell walls are soft and easily broken down by proper chewing. Fruits are rich with easily absorbed nutrients and fruit sugars. Limit your intake to 2 maximum 3 servings daily. Vary the fruits 2-3 X weekly.
Who doesn’t love their veggies. Many forgo the world of nutrient dense vegetables that add abundant health to their starving bodies. Fresh vegetables require a bit of time to clean and prepare, no one is going to deny that. Time is required to clean, stream or prepare them. Time is required to vary the presentation and preparation of vegetables. But, vegetables remain an integral part of a healthy diet. So, whether you are living on your own, whether you are on a tight budget, whether you have specific time restraints, vegetables are part of that catalogue of choices. If fresh vegetables simply don’t work on a routine basis the healthy alternative is frozen. Just buy good quality name brands and buy variety. Frozen vegetables are picked at peak maturity, hence peak nutrition and flash frozen. Prepare with minimal water and/or steam. Frozen vegetables will naturally have a higher water content than fresh so less water required to cook or steam and use that same water as a base for a vegetable gravy broth.
Prepare frozen vegetables as follows:
Stir fry onions and garlic in a small amount of extra virgin olive oil or coconut butter and butter. Put the oils in first then the ingredients. Warm all at once to prevent oxidization of the fats. Slightly caramelize the onions; make a well in the middle; add frozen vegetables; cover and simmer for about 5-10 minutes or when tender and done. Remember to layer your frozen vegetables so the ones that take the longest to cook are on the bottom. If you prepare your frozen vegetables this way often additional water is not necessary. This method of preparation minimizes the loss of nutrients. The addition of onions and garlic add a wonderful deep flavour to your veggies. Don’t like onion, warm olive oil and butter add vegetables; add some spices like basil, thyme or a sprinkle oregano; add ¼ tsp unpasteurized honey (optional); steam for a few minutes and serve; still no water necessary. Before serving, sprinkle with sliced almonds or pine nuts or pistachios. Assorted frozen vegetables are nutrient dense and provide an excellent alternative to fresh. As an added bonus you tend to throw out less frozen vegetables than fresh. Even with the best of intentions, often fresh vegetables lilt away in the fridge.
Slow burning carbohydrates:
If you enjoy cereals in the a.m. please do yourself a great flavour and stay far away from commercial cereals that have hidden rancid fats and loads of processes sugars in them. Ideally oatmeal, either old fashion or steel cut, or red river cereal or organic cereals are your best bet. Oatmeal is so versatile and inexpensive but very high in nutrient density and fiber. Soak your oatmeal overnight to lessen cooking time, improve nutrient density and promote easier absorption. So for example, soak one cup of oatmeal in ¾ to 1 cup of yogurt, almond milk, canned coconut milk or fresh filtered water. Oatmeal is a slow burning carbohydrate releasing sugar molecules at slower rate to avoid the blood sugar spike. I’m talking about oatmeal you prepare that oatmeal commercially prepared – Compare the ingredient list between your own oatmeal preparation and the side panel of the commercial oatmeal.
Why pre-soak grain?
Here’s why: All grains contain an enzyme, called phytic acid that binds nutrients and fatty acids to prevent the grain from germinating at will. Soaking neutralizes that enzyme and releases the nutrients to either allow the seed or grain to grow or to allow nutrients to be absorbed much more easily through your intestinal tract. If you’ve pre-soaked your oatmeal or any other grain and you change your mind for breakfast you can keep the oatmeal in the fridge for a few days. It will store well for a couple of days but I’s use it shortly after.
Make your own granola with unsweetened shredded coconut, some ground nuts and seeds with added coconut milk or regular 2% organic milk and you have a wonderful nourishing breakfast and or mid morning snack.
On Low Fat Diary:
Why you should never eat low or fat free dairy? Two reasons, one – fat soluble vitamins are found in the fat of dairy; we know dairy is a source of calcium; calcium requires Vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin, for absorption; fat free also means calcium free. Even though the government demands that Vitamin D be replaced, it requires the natural presence of fat as the transport system to cross the cell wall. Dairy is also a source of Vitamin A, another fat soluble vitamin. Losing nutrients through loss of naturally occurring fats is not a good nutrition goal; second – fat slows down digestion and maintains a sense of satisfaction from eating longer. Low fat diets are highly correlated with high carbohydrate diet mainly because of the negative impact on blood sugar.
To be sure choose organic dairy. Organic diary ensures the cows have not been subjected to antibiotics or growth hormones. As well there is a certain level of outdoor activity and quality of life. They are ensured to have access to a certain amount of grazing in the grass.
Avoid UHT or Ultra Heat Treated milk. Fat molecules are emulsified and are subject to higher levels of oxidation. UHT milk or diary has a greater chance of causing allergic reactions like mucus along the intestinal tract.
Essential Fatty Acids are simply one of the single most important staples for your body. 3 tablespoons of Chia Seeds, hemp hearts or Flax Seeds daily. If you choose Flax Seeds, they do need to be ground. The human body does not process the enzyme necessary to break down the outer husk of a whole flax seed. Swallowed whole, the Omega 3 fatty acids are eliminated without absorption. Grind from the whole seed and keep all ground flax in the freezer to preserve the precious oils. Grind enough for a week at a time. Chia Seeds do not have to be ground, chew them and swallow. If you do grind them, again into the freezer to preserve the oils. Hemp hearts can be stored in the fridge or freezer, just not on the counter top.
Chia Seeds are an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and one of my favourite choices – 3 tables daily
Hemp Hearts are also delicious and excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. 5 tablespoons daily is the recommended serving portion. Omega 3 fatty acids are anti inflammatory, promote a healthy hormonal system and cardiovascular system, excellent brain food, add flexibility to blood vessel walls, and promote healthy emollient skin and shiny lustrous hair, to name just a few benefits. Put it in your yogurt, a smoothie, over salad or you can take 3 tablespoons and put one tbsp in your mouth at a time, take a bit of water or juice, chew and swallow. You’ll notice a difference within a week of consistently taking it.
Olive Oil – extra virgin is highest in antioxidants. Never allow the oil to burn or smoke. If it does pour out and start again.
Butter – never margarine – Margarine is largely catalyzed with nickel, deodorized because the oils generally stink, yellow food colouring is added to mask the original grey. Butter on the other hand, is a short chain fatty acid. It is easily broken down and turned into energy. Pre 1900’s, butter was used in much larger quantities per person than it is today and heart disease was less than 6%. Don’t be fooled by misinformation.
Vegetable source oils, with the exception of Olive Oil are largely unstable and oxidize in the body creating free radicals. Neither vegetable oils or Olive Oil are stable sources for cooking medium. Coconut Oil, non-hydrogenated, is stable at higher temperatures, as is Peanut Oil. Coconut Oil is a cleaner oil, it leaves the food with a crispy texture.
Virgin or expeller pressed coconut oil – This is a medium chain fatty acid. Again, like short chain fatty acids, it goes directly to energy cycle increasing basal metabolic rate. Short and Medium chain fatty acids are generally not stored in adipose or fats cells unless greatly overindulged in. 3 – 4 tbsp of coconut oil and butter daily is very reasonable.
For more information on healthy fats, go to my article on fats and oils or www.westonaprice.org/knowyourfats/skinny.html or www.westonaprice.org. You’ll find wonderful researched facts on healthy fats and oils, nutrition and general health issues.
Prepare nutrient dense, simple meals. No longer complain about the complications of food preparation, diets and certain meal planning to rid yourself of excess weight. You need to be able to start now incorporating healthy family meal plans that everyone enjoys and allows you and/or other members of the family to lose unhealthy weight.
Circadian Rhythms of the Digestive System:
Your body and specifically your digestive system goes through some basic functions through a twenty four hour period. Understanding and in eating in accordance with the natural rhythm of your digestive system is one of the keys to genuine and long term weight loss and weight control
Sample breakfast menus:
Yogurt with hemp hearts or Chia Seeds with berries, cinnamon and a dash of pure vanilla, is nutrient dense and easily absorbed. Optionally, mix it up as a smoothie using coconut milk or a nut milk like almond milk or add unsweetened coconut, if you prefer.
Other Breakfast options:
• Eggs, frittata (crust less quiche), omelets with chunky vegetables and some yogurt are also an excellent start. Have rye (light, dark, marbled) sour dough bread, pumpernickel, Ezekiel or sprouted grain or gluten free breads. A couple of slices daily are fine. Flat breads are also fine and there are a number of different flavours to choice from. Add a couple of pats of butter to slow down digestion. Whole grain breads, especially if you have to chew on a grain to masticate it, can be difficult to break down because of the presence of the whole grains with the phytic acid.
• Improve the nutrient absorption of oatmeal, don’t forget to pre-soak overnight in equal amounts of yogurt or water, nut milk or coconut milk. For example, one cup – oatmeal and one cup – yogurt or water. Put a plate over the bowl and let sit over night on the counter. In the morning heat, add some shredded coconut, a few pine nuts or any other finely chopped nut or seed and you have a wonderful delicious, easy to digest oatmeal or homemade granola.
• 2 packages – Vitamin C Emergen C mixed with 12 oz. filtered water
• 2 – 4 Plant Enzymes – Broad spectrum plant enzymes improve metabolisms and absorption
Try to take any digestive enzyme before you eat. The presence of enzymes contact at the beginning of digestion promotes metabolism. If you forget before you start eating, take them as soon as you remember -In any event, take them
Lunches can include soups, a protein or sandwich salad of tuna, salmon, nut butters, natural sweeteners, salad, and/or two to three vegetables.
Snacks can include some part of left over lunches. Nuts and seeds with some unsweetened coconut is a good choice. Making your own granola bars or even macaroons are healthy choices for snacks. Some very good and delicious recipes can be found at www.scdrecipes.com – go to the desert link for lots of ideas.
• Exercise discipline. On the one hand Natural sweeteners have nutrients as opposed to processed sugars, on the other hand sugars have an impact on digestion, absorption and blood sugar levels, not to mention caloric intake, bacteria proliferation and balance etc. Natural Sweeteners take the form of Unpasteurized honey, brown rice syrup, whole demerara sugar, black strap molasses and a low carb, sugar alcohol for example xylitol, mannitol . Sugar alcohols have health benefits that include retarding dental caries, to weight loss and preventing candida overgrowth. They can be found at your local bulk food bin store. For more information go to www.xylitol.com or go to your favorite search engine and search ‘health benefits of xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol’. If you chose sugar alcohols start slow – remember this family of sugar alternatives does expel certain bacteria – start 1/2 to 1 teaspoon and work up
• Much like the taboo of consuming margarine, the same holds true with Artificial Sweeteners. Why would you consider putting anything in your mouth that has any potential to do your body harm? Do your research and read the volumes of research that warn against the potential dangers of these horrible artificial sweeteners. Most people choose these alternatives as a vain attempt to appease their conscience falsely believing that saving a ‘calorie’ or two actually matters. Or do people choose them in a false belief that artificial sweeteners are a reasonable choice when food cravings are difficult to control? Either way, balance your blood sugar in the morning like you have been taught. Food cravings will largely disappear and become manageable. If you desire something sweet then you can choose healthy natural sweeteners. Coconut based cookies also very good choice. Dark chocolate, the real stuff with real coco powder. Often one or two squares will suffice. I’m talking the 70 – 80% dark chocolate.
• A.M. exercise is the best to increase basal metabolic rate and maximizing calorie burning all day. 15 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of strength training about 3-4 X a week is all that is needed. Include gently stretching and deep breathing in your workouts. If you are a coffee drinker, drink 1-2 cups about an hour before your workout. Coffee stimulates the liver to release fatty acids with the potential fat burning effects. Exercise when it is convenient but if you are able to get 10 – 15 minutes of cardio in the a.m., you will notice a real difference through the day. Engage in other activities as time permits later in the day.
• Deep Breathing – 2 – 3 X daily. It takes only a minute or so to do. Start by relaxing your lower jaw just so your mouth is slightly open. Second, let your shoulders comfortably drop at your sides and relax there. Next shake out your hands unless you are in the middle of a crowd, then just roll them and consciously let them drop at the sides. If you are sitting, let them hang off the arm of the chair. Then look to relax your feet. Let them dangle from your ankles or give them a gentle turn to stretch them out first. Start with your resting your tongue on the bottom of your mouth, where it belongs, and letting you lower jaw relax and slightly open … think Bill Clinton … the one thing I noticed about Bill Clinton was his perpetual slightly opened mouth – he never fully closed him mouth and I think it sent a very open message to his audience.
• Tongue – rest on bottom of your mouth as opposed to the roof of your mouth where it probably is right now. If you are having any trouble falling asleep at night, first check the status of your tongue and your lower jaw
• Lower Jaw
You will also engage diaphragmatic breathing with more ease as well. Two to three times a day, check your relaxation points and take 2 -3 elongated deep breathes.
• Diaphragmatic breathing is your goal.
• Inspiring calm, contented, oxygenation in a nourished body is your other goal.
Want a massage at the end of the day? Next time your friend or partner or you want to give a relaxing massage start with the feet. It will have a systemic effect upwards.
Importance – if you have special needs or a medical condition, please be sure to work with a qualified Professional alongside your Physician
• A total of 7 – 8 glasses per day is a good rule of thumb. Include water density from the food you eat, into that equation. Drink more fluids if you are engaging in athletic activity or if you are an avid exerciser. Don’t forget, if you are eating a good amount of vegetables or water based foods, it is the total water from everything that you are measuring.
• Filtered water is very important. Reverse Osmosis is not a good source of water. Purchase a quality filtered Spring Water or purchase a quality water filter.
Good basic Nutraceutical profile looks like this:
Emer gen C Vitamin C packets. Each contains 1 gram of mineral ascorbate Vitamin C and synergistic vitamins and minerals. Add 2–3 packages in a Litre of filtered water and drink through the day or drink one package – three times a day.
Digestive Enzymes – capsules not tablets
Multi Vitamin/Mineral. Look for capsules as opposed to tablet form multi’s
Vitamin D3 in oil
CoQ10 100 mg capsules in oil
Grape Seed Extract
Super Green Food