Boost Brain Health with “B”s!

Have YOU ever misplaced your keys, lost your train of thought mid sentence, forgot why you walked into the next room, or felt like your brain was in slow motion trying to process through a problem? (Fess up! I hope you are grinning in agreement and if you are not… call me to let me know your secret.)

 Let’s face it… brain health is a concern these days! More specifically related to cognitive function involving memory, mental speed, and problem solving. Many of us worry our brains are not working as well as we think they should. It is true! Cognitive function declines as we age. Despite not being able to stop the aging process…B vitamins, particularly folate, B12, and B6, play an important role in keeping our brains sharp! (and our heart healthy as well!)

What you may not realize is that 75-90% of the risk for developing dementia related illness often lies within 4 factors: quality of diet, smoking status, physical activity, and your genes. So, what do you need to know to help maximize your brain function (and be good to your heart)?

 Don’t get distracted… now FOCUS 🙂 !

Here it is:

Start by eating food sources of your B vitamins, commit to regular activity, AND consider learning your genetic risk factors!

Why B’s are Vital?

Folic acid (B9) (the synthetic form) or folate (the food form) along with Vitamins B6 and B12 help keep levels of homocysteine, an important amino acid, in a healthy range.   Elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood have been linked to an increased risk of age related cognitive decline, as well as Alzheimer’s disease. (We also know high homocysteine levels are an independent risk factor of heart disease!) Homocyteine itself may not be the problem, but rather its link with associated low levels of B vitamins needed to protect the brain (and heart). These low levels may be due to an inadequate intake within your diet OR your body’s inability to properly utilize the vitamins you consume, based on a genetic malfunction in your DNA.

Brain shrinkage (ouch!) occurs with aging and with it a decline in the neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals, that help communicate information. Interestingly, B6 and folate are important for producing several neurotransmitters. This is why supplementation with folate, B6, and B12 (for those deficient) has been shown to reduce brain shrinkage by up to 50%. Understandably, the most significant improvement was seen in people with high homocysteine levels. So this, and a collection of research, shows us IT IS POSSIBLE to slow down brain shrinkage and declining mental performance!

Folate – Women, this is particularly important for you! A recent study found that postmenopausal women who failed to get the Recommended Dietary Allowance of 400mcg/day of folate were at increase risk of cognitive impairment. Hard to believe that more than ½ of the women in the study had intakes well below this amount. Folate has been a hot topic recently due to the new statistic that up to 50% of the population has a mutation in the MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) gene that could impair the ability to effectively break down folic acid properly. (So basically, that means that due to a genetic glitch, these individuals are unable to break down and use folic acid, which also impairs other metabolic pathways and nutrient deficiencies). It’s best then to supplement with the active form called 5-methyltetrahydrofolate (5MTHF).

Food sources: Leafy green veggies, citrus fruits, beans, nuts, and whole grains

Supplement with: ~400-800mcg folate for most individuals (use the active form mentioned above).

B12 – The reason why you see “senior” multivitamins with added B12 is that aging decreases our production of stomach acid.  This is required to detach B12 from food protein so the vitamin can be absorbed. (Also, if you are taking an acid suppressor, be aware that this will also compromise your levels!) Poor memory is one of many symptoms of B12 deficiency, and a reason why the Institute of Medicine suggests adults older than 50 years of age take a B12 supplement.

Food Sources: Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, some fortified foods (such as tofu) and nutritional yeast

Supplement with: ~200-1000 mcg of vitamin B12 (based on your individual needs). Look for methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin, the active forms.

B6– A 2012 study of older adults published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that daily high-dose supplements (20mg) of vitamin B6, in addition to B12 and folate, given for 2 years were associated with slowing cognitive decline and brain shrinkage compared with a placebo… especially in people who had high homocysteine levels at the start of the study. Signficant!

Food sources: Tuna, salmon, meat, potatoes, beans, seeds, nuts, bananas, and organ meats

Supplement with: 20-200mg (look for pyridoxal 5’-phosphate, the most active form).

Take Action Today!

  1. Consider getting your homocysteine levels checked. (Ask your doctor or discuss with Julie on your next visit for testing options.)
  2. Look beyond just a multivitamin and consider an activated B-Complex. (That is the methylated or active forms). Most multivitamins do not meet all your B-needs.
    • Remember, not all supplements are created equal and can cause more harm than good. Consider using lab tested professional grades…. I have developed a  handout, Considerations for Selecting Supplement Companies, to help you make an informed decision.
  3. Focus on including at least 2 cups of leafy greens most days of the week.
  4. Consume low-mercury containing wild fish (ie. salmon, cod, shrimp) at least 2x/week.
  5. Identify food sources that you enjoy for each vitamin. Write them down, post on your frig and make it a point to rotate these into your meal plan daily.

Remember, if you are deficient, just eating these food sources may not be enough to elevated your levels and supplementation may be indicated. Based on your past medical and family history, you may want to investigate your genetic profile to see if this may be a cause for low level vitamins and elevated homocysteine levels.

Need some help getting your B’s worked into your daily eating plan? Do you want to test your homocysteine levels or find out if you have a mutation in the MTHFR gene?… contact me! My goal is to provide you with the information and resources you need to make an informed decision, as we work together to personalize a nutrition and wellness plan to help you achieve optimal health!

Never been in for a visit? I would love to chat with you about your nutrition and wellness goals and dreams…why wait on feeling your very best! Give me a call for a 20 minute complimentary phone chat today

With you on the journey toward optimal wellness 🙂 

~Julie

12 Habits for Sustainable Weight Loss & Wellness in 2016

So…did you set any goals or resolutions this New Year, expecting to completely transform your weight or health? Have you experienced (maybe even just 2 weeks in!) mounting stress, faltering motivation, and frustration that good intentions are falling prey to old habits?  Why??  Because most of us set our goals/intentions too high to realistically achieve success, OR fail to establish a reasonable plan of attack to conquer our greatest health desires.

How can you avoid this in 2016?  

Think of goals like going on vacation!  You know where you want to go, but you don’t really know the details of what will happen while you are there.  And yet at the end of the vacation… it’s all the little events of being there that add up to making the whole experience.

Life is the same way. Instead of focusing so much on your health goal,  focus on the process of getting healthy in 2016 and what you need to get there. That’s what actually leads to sustainable weight loss and improving health so you can live abundantly! So in other words, break it down!  Take small SMART (Small; Measurable; Realistic; and Timely) steps to gradually get to your end goal.  I know we all want immediate success, but if you are looking for long-term change… this is your TICKET to a successful journey!
Check out these 12 small habits that WILL transform your health if you are not already doing them.  Select 2-4 that you feel are realistic for you.  Establish HOW you will set up for success. (For example: I will plan my meals for the week on Saturday and on Sunday prep and cook some items so I am set up with lunches for the work week!)   After you set 2-4 goals for the week or month, begin to gradually implement for real results!

Committing to small realistic steps (that you can confidently achieve) will get you to 2017 healthier than the year before! (Or give me a call and we will work together to fine-tune your goals and wellness dreams to help you soar into 2017 healthier than ever!)

1. Chose to eat breakfast every morning.
To keep blood sugar steady throughout the day, make it a habit to eat something nourishing in the morning. (And no, a cup of coffee doesn’t count).  If you tend not to be super hungry in the a.m., try making a green smoothie or something easy that you can bring along with you to work, like oatmeal. (Here is just one favorite Green&BlueSmoothie)

2. Drink more water.
We tend to forget how important water is for our daily well-being and overall health. (Did you see the Newsletter last month and how quickly we dehydrate!)  Make it a habit to drink pure, clean water throughout the day. To do so, start by actually planning water breaks at points during the day (since we tend to forget our intentions when they’re not scheduled in). You should also start your day with a 10-20oz glass of water upon waking up.

3. Eat something green every day.
Adding green veggies, like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, or dark, leafy greens to your daily diet helps keep your digestive system healthy and your meals more nutritionally nourishing. (ie. making an omlete?  Toss in some spinach and tomatoes!) 

4. Choose whole, real food.
To promote satiety, we need fiber, fat, and good protein from whole foods. The complexity in real and whole foods also provides higher nutritional value, which adds up to feeling full and nourished, eating less, and losing weight without feeling deprived.

5. Schedule time for every meal.(uninterrupted preferably!) 
Time is a luxury, and real, sit-down meals tend to be one of the first things we skip when we’re busy or under stress. But we need to remember that mealtimes are the perfect moments to get relief throughout the day. So block out time for each meal, every day.  You will be MORE productive as a result.  (how much can you really multitask while you eat anyway??)

6. Chew more.
One way to naturally practice more mindful eating: Treat every meal as if it’s an expensive gourmet dinner. As you chew, mentally add a dose of appreciation for those who were involved in getting your food on your plate, from farmer to cook.

7. Get eight hours of sleep.
There’s nothing that kills your good intentions faster than being tired. Good sleep helps manage stress and positively influences your food choices, so make restorative rest is an essential habit for health and weight loss in 2016.

8. Move every day.
Any movement counts. If you can’t get to do your preferred workout class or fit in your usual jog, then make an effort to take the stairs whenever possible, fit in an afternoon walk, or even just dance around.

9. Take five seconds to breathe (several times per day).
Simply pausing before acting or making a food choice helps us reflect, so we can change our otherwise automatic habits. It helps you get out of stress mode and make a rational, healthy decision.

10. Schedule time for self-care.
We tend to not give ourselves enough self-care because we don’t plan it and the opportunity never appears (women, you know what I am talking about!) . Put yourself on your own schedule, whether it’s simply time to read a book, get a massage, or take a relaxing bath, every day.

11. Notice your stress eating triggers.
The way to develop coping skills is to know when you need them the most. Take time to learn about your emotional triggers so you can support yourself in those moments. If not, you’ll continue to fall prey to stress eating.
12. Tell yourself something positive every day.
The power of positivity is tremendous (Not a true believer? Check out the book: Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson) Our automatic thoughts and behaviors are hardwired to look at the negative — and that can have a lot of power over us. Instead, make it a habit to tell yourself something positive about your progress at least once per day. (and more often is alway good too;))

Remember enjoy the JOURNEY….check in on your goals weekly and give yourself GRACE in the process of change.  You WILL get there.  Keep it SMART, keep it FUN, and be FLEXIBLE! 

I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment and let me know what goals YOU set for this New Year!

Or what has been your secret to success!

With you on the JOURNEY ~  (I just KNOW 2016 is going to be the best year YET! can you FEEL it!)

~Julie

7 Tips to Banish Sugar Cravings

womencravingsweetsWhat are YOU thinking about around 3-4pm in the afternoon AND/OR late at night when everyone has gone to bed? It is “something SWEET”? Well rest assured…you are not alone. My clients often struggle with this…and so do I!

So here are some tactics to help conquer them.

But don’t forget: properly managing stress, getting 7-9 hours sleep, balancing your GUT, moving regularly, and getting high quality nutrients spread through the day WILL do wonders to knock those cravings out of the ballpark and give you some relief!  

However, even with the best intentions this may not happen and it becomes all to easy to slide into old habits and drown ourselves in “sugar bliss” …which you know never turns out well – at least in the end!

During times of cravings, try one or more of these strategies.  They have helped me and many of my clients and they could help you too….

7 Tips To Help Banish Cravings

  1. Start the day with protein: Research has shown that starting the day with high quality protein (ie. eggs, protein powders, organic tofu or meats) could help you eat 25% less through the day. Protein foods help us feel full longer.  Aim for 20-25 grams protein at meals which has been show to control and stabilize appetite.  Why so good in the morning? Protein reduces ghrelin (a hunger hormone) and increases leptin (appetite suppressant hormone).
  2. Opt for savory or sour over sweet: Try to turn your back to the “sweet” and make a bee-line for a food that is savory, sour, or saltyi.e.. left-overs from the night before; a savory chip with salsa/ hummus, or sour foods like sauerkraut or pickles.  These foods can help deflect your brain away from the craving PLUS provide a healthier gut-friendly alternative! 
  3. Aim for 35-50 grams of fiber: Among its many benefits for health, dietary fiber keeps you full on fewer calories, steadies blood-sugar levels, and can calm the craving. This means you will need to be very intentional to include fiber rich foods at all meals/snacks such as: fruits, veggies, nuts, whole-unprocessed grains, seeds (plus flax and chia).  For some, starting the meal with a salad, veggie soup, or cooked veggies will help them feel full faster without craving dessert.
  4. Ditch artificial sweeteners and fructose: It is 3pm and your co-worker (or you) are grabbing for your diet soda of choice.  Why?  Most often the reason (other than addiction/enjoyment) is to curb the appetite and stop the craving.  Hmmm….how often have you experienced or witnessed this phenomenon that actually intensifies sugar cravings later in the day.  I recall when I was struggling to get off  diet Coke (ugh!) this was all too true!  Not only is this stuff toxic to your body, but your body is smart and it knows you didn’t “feed it properly with fuel” and it will nag you until you do! (ditch it and detox so you can be more empowered to choose the RIGHT fuel-(grin)!
  5. Have a back-up plan: If you know that the sugar craving will hit during times of stress or at 10pm every night then make a plan!  Keep the sugary foods out (since you know you can’t control them) and stock up with low-calorie high volume foods that may fill you up such as –air-popped popcorn, puffed cereal, cut up veggies with salsa, edamame (in the shell), or drink a Perrier or seltzer water to “fill you”!
  6. Hydrate properly: Oh, it is so easy to mistaken hunger for thirst!  We may feel drained or fatigued and think we need “fuel”.  When it reality, it may be more of an issue of not drinking enough.  Remember, fluid needs are based on your age, activity level, weight, climate, health history, medication, etc!  So that typical 64oz of water / day just isn’t enough for most!  One study at the Univeristy of Washington found that just 8oz of water completely curbed nighttime cravings for everyone!  So, drink up!
  7. Get busy: Are you eating due to boredom? Are you at home or work in the afternoon/evening and find yourself opening the cupboards (or desk drawers) to find out if something new and sweet may have popped in there since the last time you checked (grin – been there!)  If this is you….then you may need to GET BUSY.  Perhaps this is the time you need to make a call to co-worker/friend, go for a walk, volunteer, knit, quilt, or sew! Get your hands, mouth, or body distracted if you know it doesn’t need fuel.  

Cravings can often derail your best efforts to eat well and feel well!  Quite often there is an underlying root cause whether physical, emotional, or environmental.  If your craving are frequent and intense,  this may be a sign of something deeper – and “will power” alone may not be the solution.

Consider scheduling an appointment so we can determine how we can correct the cravings and and set you FREE!  

Let’s band together and fight the cravings!   Drop me a line or leave a comment to share any of your best strategies or experiences to slash the sugar cravings. 

Keep Striving to “Nourish Well”…giving yourself grace and allowing time for self-care!

~Julie

Hearty Chicken & Veggie Soup

Chicken&VeggieSoupIt is TIME to PLAN ahead so you can avoid “the surprise” around your middle in the New Year!  If you received the JBS Nourishing Newsletter…then you know that  I LOVE  “one-pot wonders” this time of year.  These are recipes that…

  1. include all your food groups in one mixed meal, PLUS offer a powerhouse of antioxidants, flavoinoids, and anti-inflammatory ingredients
  2. are easy to make with tons of leftovers (that taste even better days in the frig)
  3. tingles the taste buds with flavor that impresses even company who dropped by unexpectedly
  4. fills the craving for Fall comfort food and makes you smile with delight when eating (well at least for me :))

My most important purpose for “one-pot wonders”…is to help me stay on track with the type of high quality “fuel”, nutrients, and energy I NEED this time of year!  How about you? Let’s face it, we are all rushing to the store after work, crowding extra commitments into our schedules, surfing the web looking for the “perfect” holiday gift, and dealing with those around us who may be a bit extra “needy” this time of year;)!  Seriously,  who has time to plan and cook every night?  PRECISELY why most of us don’t! And without a plan… we find ourselves eating on the fly, grabbing the closest thing in sight , OR grazing all night long once we get home late. (We have all have been there…there is no denying it…cupboards open, game on!)

So… besides the Hearty Tomato Lentil Stew I shared in my Newsletter (hint: if you are not a subscriber, you may want to sign up!) Also check out the recipe Carrot, Cauliflower, Butternut Squash & Lentil Curry! Here is another recipe that I have tweaked and modified to make it my own, Chicken & Veggie Soup.  I hope you enjoy this recipe and other “one-pot wonders” to help YOU stay on track with your eating and wellness plan this year!

Cheers!   Julie

ps. If you didn’t realize it is already Mid-November!….Yikes, time to get PLANNING for SUCCESS this Season.  Need a bit of encouragement, due for a nutrition tune-up, OR pre-holiday make-over (grin).  Contact me, let’s chat

Hearty Chicken & Veggie Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Meal; High Fiber; High Protein; Anti-inflammaory
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8 servings - 11/2 cups
 
Searching for a meal you can make ahead and heat up all week long for lunches and dinners? Look no further. This meal is one of my favorite "one-pot wonders" offering an array of health benefits and a complete meal in one! You can keep in the refrigerator for a few days and freeze left overs, so you always have fresh, flavorful food in the house. Hope you enjoy as much as I do! Cheers, Julie
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup raw brown rice
  • ¼ cup barley
  • ½ cup red lentils, rinsed and picked over well
  • ½ cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked over well
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt/ ½ tsp black pepper - or to your taste
  • 1 pound organic chicken breast - cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups organic veggie broth + 2 cups filtered water
  • 3-4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients into a large pot (except the spinach) and bring to a boil.
  2. Cover and turn down heat to simmer.
  3. Cook for ~ 1 hour.
  4. Check seasonings and add extras to your liking.
  5. Add spinach and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  6. Turn off heat and let sit a few minutes to absorb flavors!
  7. Sprinkle with parmesan, feta, or vegan cheese if desired.
  8. Enjoy and SAVOR!
Notes
- This recipe offers a lot of flexibility to modify it according to your preferences. Don't like lentils, then just add more rice and barley. OR try rice and millet. If you LOVE beans, then add more beans and forgo the grains.
- If you are vegan, you can omit the chicken and add cooked tofu or extra beans
- Like your soup with a little more flavor - add ½ tsp cayenne pepper to spice it up
**Note: I highly recommend organic ingredients when able, especially the celery, carrots, spinach, and veggie broth to limit your exposure to veggies that are high in pesticide residue.

 

Foods to NOURISH Your Gut!

Anti-InflammatoryfoodsAre you striving to feel and look your best? Then you need to treat your gut right — and a big part of that involves prebiotics and probiotics. 

Hopefully you read the last blog about WHY this may be important for your weight and overall health. However, it is also important to know that as we age, the microbiome –the bacteria and other microbes that live in your gut – tends to decrease in diversity and shift towards more harmful species.  That may weaken the immune system and raise risk of obesity, type 2 DM,  constipation, and autoimmune related diseases.   Foods rich in probiotics (or taking the right supplement) helps support your microbiome… but we must also focus on eating a wide variety of veggies and fruits to provide the prebiotics to nourish and grow more good bacteria.  This may be one reason that eating more produce has been linked to longevity!

(Oh….and you thought as a dietitian I just like to “push” this colorful stuff – it works folks and I really want you to feel your best!  HONEST!  YOU are why I come to work everyday (grin)! )

  1. Trillions of good microbes live in your GI tract, and they need prebiotics to flourish.

Prebiotics are foods or supplements high in the soluble fiber that your gut microbes love to eat.

Here are some of the best prebiotic foods:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Asparagus
  • Leeks
  • Bananas
  • Chicory root
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Apples
  • Beans/lentils

You really want to make sure you get these prebiotics through FOOD verses a supplement when you can. (note: it is often the probiotic supplement we need to add.  Some probiotics contain a prebiotic – I prefer foods for greatest benefit!) These foods are particularly important if you need to take an antibiotic, which kill off millions of good microbes along with the bad ones.

  1. Your gut also needs beneficial bacteria such as probiotics.

One of the best ways to get this is to include proboitic foods in your diet. These foods contain live, beneficial microbes that will settle happily into your ecosystem, helping to build a diverse and well-balanced micro biome.  Many of us need to take a probiotic supplement to gain enough healthy microbes in order for our gut to be at its best, especially if you are not a fan of probiotic foods! (ps. you want to make sure you take a probiotic supplement that best fits your needs.) 

Probiotic foods include:

  • Sauerkraut (the unpasteurized kind in the refrigerated section at the store)
  • Kimchi (available in in our specialty stores such as Earth Origins, Richards, and Whole Foods)
  • Pickles (the unpasteurized kind in the refrigerated section at the store)
  • Coconut kefir

If you aren’t used to sauerkraut and kimchi, give them a chance, you may grow to love them. Sauerkraut is great with eggs or on a sandwich, and kimchi makes a fabulous spicy side dish for any Asian meal or a stand alone snack with rice crackers.

  1. Add anti-inflammatory foods for an optimal healthy microbiome.

When you feed your gut prebiotics and probiotics, you’ll lay the foundation for a super-healthy gut microbiome. To make it even healthier, eat anti-inflammatory foods that soothe and heal your gut, making it a better environment for your hardworking microbes. Here are some of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods good for the gut:

  • Bone brothgaining in popularity.  Available in some local restaurants (one of my favorite spots to eat- Evergreen Cafe).  Interested in making your own? Check this out!
  • Berriesany type will do. Go organic when you can since they are part of the Dirty Dozen.  Frozen is always a good choice.
  • Turmericgreat on eggs, stews, and so many other ways.  Did you see this recipe?
  • Gingerfresh is always best but don’t forget the one on the spice rack!
  • Curry powderFall is a great time of year to break out the warm and savory meals with curry. 
  • Fatty fish salmon, tuna, herring, trout, sardines – look for wild and from the USA! Try this quick dish. 
  • Avocados– so versatile!  On sandwiches, with eggs, mixed with tuna/egg salad, eaten alone with a dash of salt. 
  • Green and leafy vegetablesthink “COLOR” at every meal – especially dark green, orange, and red. 
  • Cruciferous vegetablesbrussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, kale, bok choy…oh my!  If you find these disrupt your gut, cook them well to break down some of the fiber… and for some it releases added benefits. 
  • Green teaalso black teas have also shown some benefit! (oh and this is fresh brewed tea…not the one you find in a bottle.)

When you combine the power of prebiotics, probiotics, and anti-inflammatory foods, your microbiome will keep getting stronger and healthier. As a result, you will likely be more successful with weight loss, your hair will become shinier, your skin will look smoother and younger, and you’ll feel like a Rock Star (well maybe;)!

For those of you receiving the JBS Nourish Newsletter, check out last month’s recipes and links to find more recipes on fermented foods!  More recipes to come this week…

Keep your eyes peeled for 2 of my Favorites coming your way – GUT Friendly Muffins (my weakness!) that will have you savoring every bite… and my very own creation of a delicious Lentil Stew that will keep you healthy all winter long…..

Until Then … Keep NOURISHING Well!

~Julie

Remember, one small change can impact your health – start today!

Leave a comment and share.  What is working for YOU to nourish your microbiome!

Balance Your Gut…and Lose the Weight!

Back of meditating woman relaxing in pose of lotus outdoors

As a dietitian/nutritionist I have visited with hundreds of clients over the years who just can’t seem to lose weight. They often seek me out since they are frustrated, exhausted, and confused as to why the “calories in vs. calories out” (AKA: diet approach) is not working. Weight loss is complex!  It involves many factors such as your balance of hormones, stress, environmental factors, genetics, and yes… even the GUT!

My approach when meeting with a new client is to look at the “whole person” exploring in detail areas of their health and lifestyle to determine imbalances that may be contributing…and together find a solution!

Recent research suggests there is a positive-feedback loop between the foods you crave and the composition of the microbiotoa in your gut that that depend on those nutrients for their survival.  

The Microbiota, involves the trillions of microbes that live in your gut. When the microbiome is healthy, you have a rock solid gut and therefore a better chance at regulating your weight. WHY? : 80% of your immune system is in your gut- and your gut microbes help to modulate this system’s activity.

When your microbiome is healthy, your immune system works optimally, and that means you have a lower risk of getting colds, the flu, autoimmune problems, and even cancer. (that is GOOD news!)  You also digest your food better… and you know what that means (grin); less gas and bloating and fewer problems with constipation and diarrhea. AND…it means you get the nutrients your body needs!

Scientist Identify 4 Ways Gut Health Influences Weight

  1. Metabolism – Did you ever think that the microbes that thrive on sugar, could actually lead to your sugar cravings! Gut bacteria harvest energy from the food you eat. The bacteria living in your gut provide roughly 4-10% of your daily calories.
  2. Hormonal Balance – Gut bacteria regulate the release of gut hormones. These hormones control blood sugar, encourage satiety (feeling full) and reduce inflammation.
  3. Genetics – Your genome helps your inner ecosystem. For example, genetic mutations that affect levels of the “satiety” hormone leptin are associated with bacterial balance connected with obesity.
  4. Inflammation – Unhealthy gut bacteria produces toxins that trigger a systemic inflammatory response. Research shows that the levels of bacterial toxin are higher in those who struggle with obesity or Type II DM. In animal studies, high level of bacterial toxin will cause weight gain – without any changes in diet!

An unhealthy microbiome creates inflammation which over time may eventually allow toxins and undigested food particles to escape to your blood stream (not good!). This sends your immune system into hyperdrive, causing chronic, low-grade, system-wide inflammation that makes you sluggish and sick. It’s like a forest fire that never goes out. If you heal this inflammation, research shows the weight is more likely to fall off and you will feel younger and more energetic.

For those of you wondering…your calorie intake still likely factors into the overall equation for weight loss but is often not the ONLY piece to the puzzle.   Keep in mind… if you are focusing on eating clean “whole foods” for a healthy gut, this approach will naturally help with weight loss and healthy metabolism.

(win-win!)

Next blog I will be sharing probiotic and prebiotic foods to stock up on so YOU can keep your GUT healthy!  

ps.  For those of you who received the October Newsletter I hope you are enjoying some GUT friendly recipes!  

Stay tuned….

Until Then… Be good to your GUT, with Whole Foods that Heal!

Cheers!  Julie

5 Foods to Fill Up on this Fall! Let’s get cooking…

FallProduceFall is arriving and with it my excitement for the seasonal flavors. The humidity in Florida is finally subsiding and the light cool breeze is blowing. As the seasons change, we also need to change the way we eat to offer variety and diversity to meals but also to minimize our carbon foot print, support our local agriculture and farmers, and fuel our bodies with food highest in nutrients.

Here are 5 Foods to Fill Up on this Fall!

  1. Spices: ginger, garlic, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric & cumin can jazz up any Fall recipe.
  2. Lentils: red, green, and brown, and black…all offer benefit and ability to unleash your creativity this Season.
  3. Winter Squash: butternut, pumpkin, acorn, spagetti, buttercup, red kuri, sweet dumpling…oh so many!
    • Here is the “scoop” on all 12 varieties and recipes!
  4. Seasonal Fruits & Veggies: Check out what is in season each month and be sure to visit your local farmers markets!
  5. Sweet potatoes:  Comes in several delicious varieties, is versatile in cooking, and offers a powerhouse of nutrients. Grab for this comfort food vs. the plate of pasta!

Last Saturday morning was met with the longing to check out the Sarasota Farmers Market!  I was on a mission for anything locally grown and will tingle my seasonal Fall palate.  One of my favorite local farms, Worden Farms, was my prized stop.  Local lettuce, amazing basil, kale, zucchini, and my best find of all… the smallest, loveliest, and most tender butternut squash.   Perfect for this kick-off recipe to welcome Fall.

ps. You know it is perfect when you find yourself savoring every delicious bite and then…licking the bowl at the end! (I am not joking!) 

Happy Fall Cooking Everyone!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Carrot, Cauliflower, Butternut Squash, and Red Lentil Curry
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Meal
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Dairy Free, Anti-inflammatory, High Fiber, Low Fat
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: ~8-10 servings
 
Hope you enjoy this warm and savory meal! Each ingredient offers health benefit either as an antioxidants or anti-inflammatory rich foods and it is high in fiber, folate, magnesium, protein, and more! The blend of flavors are incredible and you can add your own flair with more/less spice or different blend of squash or potatoes. It is quick, easy, and offers a good alternative to a meat-less but satisfying meal!
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1" chunks (I love using the tricolor carrots)
  • 1 smal butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1" chunks
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1- 1"piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1Tbsp. curry powder
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 cups veggie stock/broth
  • 1-3 cups filtered water (*depending on your preferred consistency)
  • 1Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1½ cups red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • *freshly chopped parsley, cilantro, and toasted sliced almonds to taste - optional
Instructions
  1. In a large fry pan, heat oil and add onion and sauté 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to sauté 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add carrots, squash, cauliflower and ginger, stir to combine and saute 3-5 minutes. Then add turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and curry powder, and cayenne (if desired). Continue to sauté until fragrant about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in stock, water, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and add lentils. Stir. Recue heat to low, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until lentils are cooked and veggies are tender.
  4. Taste and season with salt, pepper, and freshly chopped parley, cilantro or sliced almonds. Serve with side of sautéed spinach, salad, or serve over rice.
Notes
- Use more liquid if you would like to make this recipe into more of a stew or soup.
- You can trade out veggies if you prefer to use a different type of winter squash or use sweet potato.. Veggie combination should yield about 4 cups.
- I used very small butternut squash. There were so tender that I could use my carrot peeler to peel the outer skin and then used a large knife to slice it and cut into chunks after removing the seeds.
- Don't let the word "curry" intimidate you into thinking it is going to be overpowering. I am not a huge curry fan but I couldn't stop licking the bowl (not kidding) with this recipe.

 

Clean Eating: 2 Guidelines… 6 Ingredients to Avoid

  1. EATING & LIVING CLEAN was a popular topic in the Newsletter this month, so I am re-posting just part of it for those that missed it! Haven’t signed up for the JBS Nourishing Newsletter?

Sign up here today..exciting things coming in October, I guarantee you won’t want to miss it!

vegetables on a market

Most of us know eating “clean” is the newest buzz word when it comes to food…and for good reason! With convenience and processed food at our fingertips day and night (literally!), coupled with deceptive food advertising, we need to know what we are actually eating!

Here I break down 2 basic “clean eating” guidelines and identify 6 “unclean” ingredients. (just a start!)

Are you up to the CHALLENGE to EAT and LIVE a little “CLEANER” this Fall?
Remember, just 1-2 small changes can go a long way to improve your health & wellness.

Start Eating “Clean”  By Following 2 Simple Guidelines:

1. LESS IS MORE! The fewer ingredients on the food label, typically the “cleaner” it is. .
(OK so some of you are thinking “well then if there are only 3 ingredients and sugar is one of them…then I am A-OK” …nooooo! (grin))

2. CAN’T PRONOUNCE IT; DON’T EAT IT!  You have to look at that food label AND ingredient list. (once you actually look at the LONG list, then you get a clearer picture!) Let’s face the facts if you can’t pronouce the word… your body isn’t going to like it (AKA: process it well!)
6 INGREDIENTS YOU SHOULD AVOID (or at least limit!)

Continue reading “Clean Eating: 2 Guidelines… 6 Ingredients to Avoid”

8 Foods to Tame The Inflammation

 

lentils,tumeric,spinach

Have you ever woken up feeling puffy, bloated and lethargic?

Have you ever had to deal with breakouts or headaches? How about joint pain, elevated cholesterol levels, unexplained weight gain, and digestive issues?  All these can be signs of inflammation.

Let’s be clear that inflammation in our body can be powerful and necessary. It is a key component of the body’s healing response to ensure that adequate immune activity is delivered to an area that is injured or under attack. It is the “dark side” of inflammation that you can’t feel which is low-grade or chronic inflammation which is the root of most diseases including heart disease, pre-mature aging, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, , gut disorders, and is even linked to obesity.

The increase of available and convenient highly processed foods, fast food, and sugar; changes in our environment; higher rates of chronic stress; poor and inadequate sleep; and exposure to more toxic products and chemicals than ever before… may explain why “inflammation is on the rise!”.

Now more than ever…we mindfully need do our part to help “tame the inflammation”. The good news is one way we can do this it to take control of what we eat to ensure an anti-inflammatory response and a glowing and healthy body.

Here are the top 5 foods that drive inflammation in your body:

Continue reading “8 Foods to Tame The Inflammation”

Pesticides in Produce: The Dirty Dozen & the Clean 15

Hippocratesveggie“Do I really need to be eating organic?” This is a frequent question in my office. My answer is YES, if you want to decrease your exposure to pesticides. However, there is wiggle room and you don’t have to buy everything organic…and at times it may not be the best choice!

First let’s first clarify what “organic” actually means when it comes to our fruits and veggies. This way you can make informed choices for you and your family. Continue reading “Pesticides in Produce: The Dirty Dozen & the Clean 15”