Three things to take when the flu strikes

Top three things you should take if you get the flu this year

person sneezing

In the September 16, 2016 Parade Magazine there was an article on “Boost your Flu IQ”.  While the article had some good points such as reduce the amount of times you touch your face and to thoroughly dry your hands after washing, it was the number one thing they stated “You should do to prevent the flu” that as a nutrition professional I beg to differ with. 

Dr. Grohskopf, a medical officer in the Influenza Division of the CDC said “getting the flu shot is the single best thing you can do to protect yourself against the flu and prevent its spread”  She went on to say that if you do get the flu, your symptoms “could be” less severe. 

Hmm.  I was recently asked to go back to work on a very part time basis at the nursing home where I used to work.  The reason I am unable to return is because I opt out of the flu vaccine.  In all my years working in long term care I have never gotten the flu. 

From my perspective, there are many things you can do if you get the flu but what you should be doing is supporting your immune system year round so that you don’t get the flu!  Why do doctors not discuss this with their patients?

In the Parade Magazine article there was no mention of healthy eating and supporting your immune system (nor your gut health, and those of you who read my posts know by now that over 80% of your immune system is in the gut).

So here is what I, as a nutrition professional, recommend for flu prevention.  Please remember however that this is for educational purposes only since you are not a current client and as always seek medical attention when necessary. 

Four tips for Year Round Immune Support to avoid getting the Flu

cabbage

  • Probiotics: either take a probiotic supplement daily or eat fermented foods. It is best to rotate, so say eat fermented vegetables one day, kefir the next and probiotic supplement the next day.  This way you get a variety of strains for immune health.  The more variety in your strains the better.  Either purchase your probiotic from the refrigerated section of the store or one that says it is freeze dried.  Look at the label on the back to see how many strains it contains. Ideally you want to see a long list, not just a couple of strains listed. 

 

 Study #1

  • 18 month study on children from ages 3-5 showed that those taking probiotic lactobacillus acidophilus strain had 53% fewer fevers, 41% fewer coughs, and 28% fewer runny noses than placebo group
  • Another group of children given the acidophilus and Bifidobacterium animalis strain has 72% fewer fevers, 62% fewer coughs, and 59% fewer runny noses than placebo group

 

Study #2

  • In 198 college students: 97 received a placebo, 101 received bifidum and lactobacillus strains for 12 weeks.-all got colds at same time but the probiotic group experienced a shorter duration in colds, symptoms were 34% less severe, fewer missed school days

Take away-take probiotics or eat fermented foods on a regular basis. You can look for products that contain the strains mentioned but more importantly consume a wide variety of probiotic rich foods. 

 

  • Replace the refined carbs, sugar, and excess alcohol with less processed foods, more vegetables and fruit and filtered water. The sugar and alcohol lowers your white blood cell count which in turn lowers your immune resistance.  Sugar and grains upset the balance of the gut flora which in turn will weaken your immune resistance to germs.  Alcohol will also deplete your body of nutrients such as your B vitamins and magnesium. 

 

  • Try to get more sleep. If you have difficulty sleeping get evaluated for possible liver or blood sugar issues. Try calming herbs such as passion flower, valerian (only at bed time), Kava Kava, chamomile and lavender. There are many “sleepy time” herbal tea blends or try one herb at a time in tincture form. 

 

  • De-stress. Add in what works for you, such as an infrared sauna, yoga, meditation, walks, journaling and/or exercise.  Add in the herbs mentioned above to help calm and relax the body during times of high stress.  Stress of any kind (including exercise and “good” stress such as getting married) depletes the body of vitamins and minerals especially zinc, vitamin C, and your B vitamins

 

Top 3 things to add in if you do get the flu

Sometimes even with best intentions and doing everything right, we still get sick.  I think of it as the body’s way of telling us at times that we need a break, and forces us to rest and recover.  We live in a society that rewards that “go, go, go attitude”.  We can’t do this non-stop. 

 

But that being said, you don’t want to feel miserable for weeks, which for some the flu can leave you still at the 2 week mark feeling exhausted and drained. 

 

Add these in:

TonicWorkshop

 

  • Master Tonic: this is my “go-to” when the flu or a cold strikes. I take a small bottle with me when a I travel and also send bottles of it to my adult son’s.  Ideally you want to make this a month before cold/flu season.  I typically make it at the end of the summer and then let it sit and ferment for 4 weeks.  You can do a search online for the recipe and they all vary a little but the principle ingredients are the same (garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric, hot peppers, horseradish and apple cider vinegar).  We have had great results with it and I get calls from people in a panic saying they “need some right away”.   So do yourself a favor and make some to have on hand.  It is good for 2 years but I usually have to make a new batch every year. Take it as soon as you feel run down.  Only take during the course of the cold or flu.  The herbs in this product can be very drying to the body so while they are ant-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral in nature and great for excess mucus too, you don’t want to dry out your system too much. 
  • Vitamin C: Along with the Master Tonic, if I am feeling run down I will take 1,000 mg. of vitamin C as often as I remember.  Some will take it every 15 minutes on that first day.  I usually end up taking a dose every couple of hours.  With this protocol typically in less than 24 hours, sometimes only a few hours later, I am feeling much better.  Look for vitamin C with bioflavonoids.  Take up to bowel tolerance, meaning for some people you may not be able to take this high of a dose as it may cause diarrhea.  Just take the amount your body can handle at that time and instead add in citrus foods to your diet as well as plenty of other fruits and vegetables.  Kiwi is exceptionally high in vitamin C along with red bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
  • Homeopathic Oscillococcinum: This homeopathic remedy can take effect quickly when used at first sign of symptoms. While many are skeptical of homeopathic products, this has been shown in clinical trials to help reduce the severity and shorten the duration of flu-like symptoms. Take this remedy as soon as you feel yourself getting run down.  With homeopathic pellets, do not touch the pellets and allow them to dissolve in your mouth and do not drink any water or use any lozenges or food for 15 minutes before and after the dose. 

Additional Support

Bone Broth: This is another one I make in advance.  I let my organic chicken bone broth cook for 24 to 48 hours so I don’t want to be making this when I am already sick.  I make a batch in late summer and keep it in the freezer. This way if I or someone else is sick I can just heat up the amount needed and sip through the day.  If you are sick and don’t want to eat, this is a great way to get your protein, some of your electrolytes and nutrients in while supporting your gut health at the same time.  For how to make and easy recipes I suggest reading Nourishing Broth by Fallon Morell and Daniel. 

 

Bottom Line

Fluctuation in temperature is not the reason why we get sick.  We get sick more often in colder, winter months because we are in more confined spaces in colder months, we eat more sugar (comfort foods) in colder months, our stress levels increase around the holidays, we tend to drink more alcohol and less water in the winter and skip workouts more often in colder weather.  This adds up to the perfect storm for getting run down and susceptible to germs. Take care of gut and immune system year round to avoid getting sick this season. 

Sources

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2104) Therapeutic Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College

Fallon Morell, S. & Daniel K. (2014) Nourishing Broth.  NY: Grand Central Life & Style.

Mercola, J. (12/1/2014) 5 of the healthiest and most affordable Foods available. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/ articles/archives/2014/12/01/5-healthiest-affordable-foods.aspx

Papp, R. et. al. Oscillococcinum in patients with influenza-like syndrome: A placebo-controlled,          double-blind   evaluation. Br. Homeopath J. 1998,87;69-76.

UMDNJ. (10/22/12) Probiotics are secret weapon for fighting symptoms of the common cold in college students, study suggests.  www.sciencedaily.com

Winters, C. (9/18/16) Stay Healthy: Boost your Flu IQ.  Parade Magazine www.parade.com/flu

 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions.  For more information and for her free food swap guide visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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21 Reasons to avoid Energy drinks

21 Reasons to Avoid Energy drinks

energy-drink-picture

Many young adults (18-35 y/o range) can be seen walking around holding a can of pure caffeine and sugar.  More often than not these cans contain more than one serving and who really drinks only half a can?  What is this doing to your health and could it have long term consequences?

Read on to find out!

Here is why I think energy drinks are a bad idea. 

You want to work out but are tired and need some motivation and energy so you take an energy drink

person-holding-chest

  • This can be deadly, especially if you are under a great deal of stress or have high blood pressure.
  • The number of hospital visits related to energy drinks has doubled from 2007-2011. 
  • It can make your heart race, cause palpitations, and increase you blood pressure and even lead to seizures and heart attacks. 
  • You don’t need that much sugar before you work- out.  An energy drink serving can have up to 10 teaspoons of sugar (40 grams).  Opt for a natural source of sugar and energy instead-have a banana or handful or grapes.

Instead of coffee just drink an energy drink or energy shot, right?

Wrong!  One leading brand of energy drink shots tops out at 570 mg. of caffeine.  This is way too much caffeine for your body to handle, especially in one large gulp! 

This much caffeine can lead to severe adrenal depletion.  This sets you up for a vicious cycle of that leads to more fatigue which means you need more and more caffeine to get through the day. If you are this low on energy and need this much caffeine it is time to look at root causes instead of managing your symptoms. 

The amount of caffeine in common energy drinks is 5 times the amount in a cup of coffee and 10 times the amount in a serving of soda. 

However, if you do want to start reducing your caffeine intake, don’t go cold turkey.  You will end up with terrible withdrawal effects from your daily habit.  Instead wean off slowly such as pouring a little bit out of each can you drink and every few days pouring out a little more.  If you go cold turkey you will end up with terrible headaches and brain fog for several days. 

If you need this much caffeine, ask yourself why?  Usually if you are using caffeine as a crutch there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.  While a picture on one website for energy drinks would have you thinking it is normal for everyone to have a 3o’clock slump and need a pick me up, this is  not normal to need caffeine to get through each and every day. 

But the label says it has all these herbs and vitamins and amino acids in it so it must be healthy for me!

Sorry there is no nutritional value in a sugary, caffeinated beverage. Don’t be fooled by the marketing! Energy drinks are actually labeled as dietary supplements but they are anything but that.  It is estimated that sales of Energy drinks in the US have brought them a market worth 12.5 billion and sales of these harmful drinks continues to grow. 

There have been cases of teenagers dying from the effects of too much consumption and it caused them to go into cardiac arrest.  So ask yourself, it is worth it?

  Yes, I know it mentions all these herbs it contains.  Most likely the herbs are in very small quantities and not in the right forms to provide you with any benefit. If you are looking for the benefits of the herbs then work with a nutrition/herb professional who can provide you with the best herbs for you and in the right forms. Herbs can also interact with medications so always work with a professional when ingesting herbs. 

The same applies to the vitamin and amino acids. The odds are they are using very poor quality forms which are difficult for the body to absorb.  And if you are only absorbing a very small amount then the odds are the benefits from them are doing you no good. Get your supplements from natural food sources instead. 

Can I substitute my morning smoothie with an energy drink?

smoothie

You can if you want to stay on the viscous cycle of being wired and tired all the time and continue to destroy your health over time. 

If your usual smoothie is loaded with fruit then it may be better than an energy drink but still not a great choice. Don’t start your day with sugar.  Instead make a protein veggie smoothie.  For instance, water, protein powder, ¼ of an avocado, ¼ of a frozen banana, large handfuls of dark leafy greens, tablespoon of hemp seeds and/or nut butter.  You want energy-give your body what it really needs. It does not need caffeine and sugar.  If you think it does, then your body is trying to tell you something! Listen to it. 

Pros and cons of drinking energy drinks

Pros: None I can think of. I wish they didn’t even exist. 

Cons

  1. Dangerous when combined with alcohol or stimulants such as ADHD meds (Adderall, Ritalin)
  2. There is little scientific evidence that their “proprietary formulas” give someone a physical and/or mental edge.
  3. Anxiety
  4. Headaches
  5. Heart attacks, strokes
  6. 8-11% of those who are caffeine dependent show signs of depression
  7. Seizures
  8. High blood pressure
  9. Diabetes
  10. No nutritional value-empty calories, takes place of nutrient dense foods
  11. Irritability
  12. The caffeine inhibits the activity of folate, B6 and B12
  13. It can cause death
  14. Nausea, diarrhea
  15. The acids in the drinks can lead to tooth destruction, damage enamel, cause stomach damage, osteoporosis and bone fractures
  16. If it contains artificial sugar: this can lead to overconsumption as your brain is waiting for the calories to come along with the sweet taste and leads you to crave more sugar. 
  17. Premature aging
  18. Disrupts your gut flora (this alone is a major concern for mental, physical and immune health!)
  19. leads to low serotonin levels  (mood issues, depression)
  20. Dehydration
  21. Reduces cortisol levels (which can cause weakness, fatigue, anxiety, heart palpitations, depression, unable to cope with stress)

So as you can see, that energy drink to help you get through the day is not helping you but rather hurting you.  Zero pros to drinking them, 21 cons to drinking them; the choice is yours. 

 

Sources

Andrews, R. (nd) All about energy drinks.  http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-drinks.

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Foundations in Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Therapeutic Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College

Greenfield, B. (7/09) I don’t approve of Energy drinks.  https://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2009/07/i-dont-approve-of-energy-drinks-and-a-bonus-video/

Meier, B. (1/12/13) More Emergency Room visits linked to Energy Drinks.  http;//www.nytimes.com/2013/01/12/business/more-emergency-room-visits-linked-to-energy-drinks-report-says.html.  

Stone, I. (3/17/14) Link between emergency room visits and energy drinks.  http://www.topmastersinhealthcare.com/link-between-emergency-room-visits-and-energy-drinks/

Gaille, B. (nd) Energy Drink Industry Statistics and Trends.  http://brandongaille.com/26-energy-drink-statistics-and-trends/

 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions.  For more information, visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Should you do a detox, cleanse or try intermittent fasting?

Intermittent Fasting, Detox, Cleanses

Should you be trying it?

smoothie

I get asked frequently, “So, what do you think about cleansing, detox or intermittent eating?”

Without going into detail right now about what each one is….

Here is my response:

I think if you do not know what you are doing, why you are doing it and the risks/side effects involved, then you can do more harm than good. 

For some people and at the right time they can be a useful tool as part of a healthy way of life. But most people want to start with a cleanse or a detox or dive right into intermittent eating and this I do not support. 

Do I think that everyone should be trying these methods?

No, I don’t and here is why:

If you are eating the Standard American Crap Food Diet, you don’t need to start with intermittent eating or fasting or cleansing. 

 

Three reasons why you should not start your dietary changes with a detox, cleanse or intermittent eating.

  1. Because you need to learn how to eat a healthy whole foods diet first! Start by making slow changes and when you have a whole foods diet as part of your routine for 6 months to a year then you can look at some other options to add in. 
  2. You need all the nutrient dense food you can get right now! If you have been consuming the standard American diet, it is likely that you have nutrient deficiencies. You do not want to add in intermittent fasting right away-intermittent eating is when you skip a meal, usually breakfast and do not break your fast until around the 14-16 hour mark.  Typically you are eating only in a small window of time.   How are you going to get the nutrients you need from food if you skip a meal or do a  juice cleanse? 
  3. If you have been eating an unhealthy processed diet, the odds are that you have some blood sugar issues.  If you skip a meal right now or do a detox or cleanse that is limited in protein, this can disrupt your blood sugar even more. 

You actually are detoxing and cleansing.

When you start to make changes from a crap food diet to one of whole foods, trust me you will be detoxing and cleansing your body.

How will you know?

Well, your stools will probably change and early on they may look a little funky and may have a strong or even foul order to them.

You may even notice a smell change to your sweat as you expel toxins in this manner.  If you have no heart health issues, hypertension or diabetes, infrared sauna may be a good add in at this time as long as your medical professional approves. 

Your body will start to remove toxins in the body once you give it real food.  At first you may feel like you have the flu; this is normal for a few days and even up to a week as your body expels the waste. 

 

Here is what will happen

  1. Toxins will start to be released from the tissue, typically fat tissue.
  2. The enzymes of the liver will help to convert those toxins from fat soluble to water soluble molecules.
  3. The liver will then attempt to neutralize those toxins but in order to do so it requires an abundance of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants (see how important your diet is to detox?)
  4. Once these toxins are neutralized they will circulate through the blood into the kidneys and are released in your urine.  If they are not neutralized (say because you are continuing to eat the Standard American Crap Food Diet) the kidneys will not pick them up and they will continue to circulate and end up back in your fat tissue where they will continue to wreak havoc on your body. 

So as you can see, you don’t need a supplement, what you need is real food to detox, cleanse and feel better!

Start Here:

  • Start and end your day with 16 ounces of filtered water
  • Remove common culprits such as Teflon pans (throw them out please), fluoridated toothpaste (no, you do not need fluoride-more on that in a future blog) and make your own deodorant instead of using aluminum containing products (you can put raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar on cotton balls and dab on arm pits for a quick solution). 
  • Protein at every meal
  • Vegetables and/or salads every day ( lettuce and tomato on your sandwich does not count as meeting your vegetable needs)
  • Quality fat sources such as avocado, olive oil, coconut , raw nuts and seeds

Fruits, vegetables, quality fats and proteins, fiber from the fruits and veggies, and adequate amounts of water, maybe some gentle herbal teas-yup, that is all you need. Not a detox kit or skipping meals or tons of herbs.  Herbs can be supportive and I do like to add herbs in for various reasons, but again not until after the dietary transition has begun. 

Right now focus on food!  Many people just read up on detox herbs and supplements and try them without knowing the consequences and end up doing more harm than good. More is not necessarily better.  And some herbs or supplements may not be the right ones for you, especially if you have any chronic health issues or are on medications. 

In today’s society if it isn’t a pill for a quick fix, we tend to want the herb or supplement to help us lose weight and to give us more energy.  Sorry, there are no quick fixes in life. 

You need to start with the diet!

Once you have the diet down, work with a nutrition professional who can guide you to the next step. Do you want to lose weight?  Intermittent eating can help…when the time is right.  Do you still get headaches and have fatigue?  There are additional herbs and supplements that can be helpful but you won’t know you need them if you don’t address diet first.

Many people say “But I eat a healthy diet already”.  I say show me. Give me a detailed diet log.  Sadly, many are eating the wrong foods for their bodies.  Please work with someone or if you are reading information on the internet, check the source and do some homework first-after all this is your body we are talking about!

What diet do I recommend? 

Even before diet, I like to start with mindfulness. Ask yourself this: do you eat in front of the TV, the computer, while driving, while standing or walking?  Do you inhale your food rather than chew eat bite and enjoy your meals? If you this sounds like you then BEFORE you change your diet, practice mindfulness! 

As far as diet goes, it is individualized as we have different ethical views; different food likes and dislikes different cultural food preferences and religious guidelines. 

I like a diet that takes out the common allergens and inflammatory foods-so one that does not include pasteurized “cow” dairy, gluten, corn or soy (non-fermented).  Stick to a diet that does not include “invented foods” which is usually anything that is in a box or package and is a prepared meal or snack.  Just because it says it is “Organic macaroni and cheese” does not mean it is the best choice. 

Your diet should not consist of processed foods such as sugary foods, refined white flour products and so forth. 

However some of the guidelines above may be impractical for you due to ethical or religious beliefs.  This is when you need to work with someone to fine tune the diet. For instance you may be vegetarian, but eat donuts and bagels and pasta all day long. That may be vegetarian but it is a blood sugar and nutrient deficient nightmare of a diet! Just because you eat vegetarian, does mean you eat healthy!

What results should you expect with a healthy food “detox” plan?

  • By the third week (often sooner) increased energy and less fatigue
  • Less brain fog, more clarity
  • Easier bowel movements
  • Improved sleep
  • Weight loss
  • Clearer and more vibrant facial skin
  • Improved mood, better able to withstand stress
  • Stronger immune system

Here are some meal examples:

Breakfast:

  • eggs, cooked in coconut oil or grass fed butter-blend in some spinach- with org. nitrate free bacon or sausage and sweet potato hash; add in some herbs such as garlic and cilantro
  • goat, sheep or coconut yogurt sprinkled with nuts and seeds
  • steel cut gluten free oats with apples, cinnamon, and almond butter
  • homemade breakfast bars
  • left overs
  • pancakes made with coconut and almond flour and side of eggs or bacon
  • green protein smoothies (limit the fruit) add in flax, chia or hemp seeds, bee pollen and more to give it a boost.
  • quinoa breakfast bowl with black beans and goat milk cheese and veggies

Lunch:

  • salad bowl-dark leafy greens, whatever veggies you have, sprouts and  a protein such as garbanzo beans, chicken, fish, eggs or steak, drizzled with homemade oil and vinegar dressing
  • tuna fish or egg salad on bed of lettuce with hummus and veggies and flax crackers and fermented pickles
  • mason jar to go meals-put veggies, protein and fats in a mason jar to take to work-drizzle with homemade dressings
  • soups-use a blender to make the night before-have with a salad
  • left overs
  • Teff, millet or quinoa bowl with veggies, homemade dressing (make large batches at a time) and fried eggs or salmon

Dinner

  • combine a protein with veggies (try a medley instead of just one) and a side of carbs
  • lemon chicken, side salad, sweet potatoes and a tablespoon of fermented sauerkraut
  • shrimp stir fry with basmati white rice or cauliflower rice
  • marinated grass fed beef with roasted root vegetables and pea medley
  • crock pot- pot roast one dish meal
  • ground beef pasta sauce with bean pasta and side salad

Is it too expensive to eat healthy?

It does cost a bit more in the beginning until you weed out all the crap. But then it will start to replace those fast food meals, cereals, snacks, juice, soda, energy drinks and so forth and it will balance out. 

Some say that it cost roughly 50 cents more per day per person so if you add that up for a family of four it could add up to an added $730 per year. But wait, you will be healthier, so less trips to the doctor and ER, possibly medication reduction or elimination and more. In the end it balances out. 

Does it take too much time to eat healthy?

I get it. We come home from work tired, we don’t want to cook.  Allow yourself a night or two per week to not cook. 

But make an effort to the other nights, whether that is putting meals in the crockpot before you leave for work or making a bunch of meals on the weekend and freezing them. Find what works for you.  I typically post on my fb page quick and simple recipes that are healthy. I don’t want to spend my day in the kitchen either! 

Once you start eating healthy you will notice more energy and more motivation.  Thus you will have the energy and motivation to prep healthy meals. 

Let me know your thoughts on this and if you are in the process of switching to healthier habits.  I would love to hear what is and isn’t working for you!

 

Sources

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Therapeutic Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College

Dube, D. Detoxification. On Fitness Magazine. Vol 16, No. 1, 2015 www.onfitnessmag.com

Kresser, C.   (11/17/10) Intermittent fasting, cortisol and blood sugar.   http://chriskresser.com/intermittent-fasting-cortisol-and-blood-sugar/

 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions.  For more information, visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Mental health: Is it all in our heads?

Mental Health: Are we looking at it all wrong?

sad person

I listen to many talks on mental health, some from the traditional western medicine community. Many of these people stress that mental health is an issue of the brain. 

I have a hard time accepting this theory.  In my opinion it is very narrow minded and not taking into account the individual person nor what is going on in the rest of the human body!

Even if you took only basic science courses in school, I’m sure you learned that everything in the body is connected.  So why do we look at depression, ADHD and anxiety as issues only related to the brain?  Shouldn’t we consider what is going on in the body as a whole?

When I look at these health issues here is how I address it

  • What’s missing from the body?
  • What’s entering the body that the body is reacting to?
  • Look to the gut
  • Look at systemic inflammation
  • Address the whole body
  • Address the individual person

This approach is not a quick fix but a life- long approach.  And guess what? The approach for you is going to be very different from the approach for someone else with the same mental health issues!

If you suffer with a mental health issue and are not getting the results you have hoped for and are ready to commit to feeling better, then please invest in your health and work with a qualified professional.  Interview the person to make sure this is the best choice for you!

I know from experience that there is so much information on the web and much of it wrong.  You may read that a supplement worked great for a person’s depression but why does it do nothing for yours?  Because we are all biochemically different and our root causes are different.

Stop guessing and start getting results. 

What do you think? Do you agree that mental health is not just a brain issue? I would love to hear your thoughts. 

 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions.  For more information, visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Coconut Sugar vs. White Sugar: The Facts

Coconut Sugar versus White sugar

Which is the healthier option?

You May be surprised by my response

sugar

 

I read numerous nutrition articles, research articles and health books weekly if not daily.    Most of the information is very helpful and informative.

Usually it leads me to ask more questions which then lead me to more research. Along the way I stumble upon some blogs-some very good ones and some really bad ones. 

This blog post is created because of a blog I read on “Ways to Alter Recipes to make them Healthier” This was written by someone called “Dr. Donna” but no other information about her was provided. 

While the article had many errors (and a few good points) the comment that made me laugh was this:

“Commit to NO sugar in a recipe.  You can do this by using coconut sugar instead”

Hmmm, last time I checked coconut SUGAR is still sugar!

What concerns me is that her post has been viewed over 46,000 times in the past year since it was posted!  How many of those people now have chronic health conditions due to their “sugarless coconut sugar” eating. 

I’m sorry, what did she not understand in the wording “coconut sugar”

I admit that I use coconut sugar in some of my baked good recipes. BUT I would never mislead my guests or clients and say “here, try some of my no sugar added cookies!” 

The Facts

  • Some tout coconut sugar to have a lower glycemic index than regular processed/refined white sugar.  But if you look at the research, only a couple of studies have been done and on only a handful of people.  One study was done by a government that is one of the largest producers of coconut sugar in the world.
  • Studies vary saying coconut sugar has a glycemic index anywhere from 35 to 54.  (White sugar is around 60).  For me, I need to see more research. 
  • Coconut sugar is higher in some minerals as opposed to white sugar BUT….
  • In order to get the nutrient benefits from coconut sugar you would have to eat A LOT of it!  Eat whole foods instead. 
  • Regular table sugar is 50% fructose, 50% glucose.  You may see claims that coconut sugar is fructose free but in reality it is roughly 40% fructose.  Fructose gets processed by the liver and the excess get stored as fat.  Fructose contributes to heart disease, diabetes, obesity and in my opinion, mental health issues and systemic inflammation as well. 
  • Coconut sugar does contain some inulin which is a prebiotic fiber.  Again, how much do you need to consume to reap the benefits? Eat raw onion, raw garlic, raw asparagus and not overly ripe bananas for your prebiotic fiber instead!
  • Some coconut sugar products are not 100% coconut sugar but instead a blend with cane sugar.  Know your products or ask someone who does know which products to use!
  • If you are diabetic you should treat the consumption of coconut sugar the same as consuming refined white sugar. 
  • While it may be the better choice than white sugar, it can still impact your liver and blood sugar health.
  • If you opt for coconut sugar, use it in small, limited quantities, not part of your daily intake. 
  • It has the same amount of calories as white sugar.

 

Bottom Line

Coconut sugar is still a sugar. It is a better option that GMO white processed sugar for the occasional baked good but don’t be misled. It is still sugar.  Use it as an occasional treat instead. 

Coconut is a great source for healthy fats but in the form of coconut oil. Fat gives food its flavor. I make banana bread that really does not have any added sugar!  What gives it a great taste is the coconut oil and the bananas provide all the sweetness that you need. 

Final Thoughts

There is so much information on the web and unfortunately much of it can do more harm than good. Always check the sources of the information provided and do further research. If you are still unsure, bring the information to a qualified professional in that subject area to get their take on the information. 

I always research products and information. Most product companies that stand behind their products and their words are more than happy to respond to you and share more information.  I email and call companies all the time! 

Sadly (for me, not for her!) there was nowhere to comment at the end of “Dr. Debbie’s” post to let her know of the error but I’m sure she is glad that I was unable to comment! 

 

Sources

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Foundations in Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College

Gunnars, K. (nd) Coconut Sugar-Healthy Sugar Alternative or a Big, Fat Lie? https://authoritynutrition.com/coconut-sugar/

Perlmutter, D. (nd) Coconut Palm Sugar-What’s the Skinny? http://www.drperlmutter.com/coconut-palm-sugar-whats-skinny/

Virgin, JJ. (8/18/14) Coconut Sugar: Healthier Sweetener of Another Pretty Name for Sugar? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jj-virgin/coconut-sugar-healthier-s_b_5669084.html

 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions.  For more information, visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

As a nutrition professional, Karen Brennan does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Wine: The Pros and Cons

Drinking Wine

Should you or shouldn’t you?

red-wine

The Plusses to Drinking Wine:

  • 1-2 glasses of wine per day appear to reduce stress and the effects of chronic inflammation.
  • Red wine contains polyphenols and this can be helpful to combat arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
  • When you drink wine with a meal it makes the meal seem like a special occasion and thus you may eat more slowly (which enhances digestion)
  • It is a better choice than sugary mixed drinks because these mixed drinks contain more sugar and thus spikes insulin.
  • Wine drinkers tend to sip rather than guzzle their beverage which means fewer intakes of alcohol, sugar and calories. 
  • A moderate amount which is equivalent to 5 oz. per day has been shown to lower your risk of heart disease. 
  • Moderate amounts of red wine (1-3 glasses per day, 3-4 times per week) may reduce your risk of dementia, depression, and some cancers. 
  • Good News for you white wine drinkers!  White wine has been shown to have many of the same positive health benefits as red wine. 

Downside to Drinking Wine

  • If you drink alcohol in excessive amounts it can increase your risk for breast cancer, cause brain damage and damage to the liver and other organs
  • Red wine does contain the antioxidant resveratrol that is found in the skin of grapes.  Resveratrol is good for fighting inflammation, heart disease, blood clotting, and cancer.  However the amount of resveratrol in wine is very low and to get the benefits of this powerful antioxidant, you would need to consume several bottles-not a good idea!  Add purple and black grapes to your diet and supplement with resveratrol for heart disease instead. 
  • Those who consume more than 5 oz. of red wine per day have a greater risk of heart disease.  Other studies show that 1-2 glasses of red wine per day can also lower your risk of stroke but more than this amount can increase your risk. 
  • When you start to go beyond moderate amounts of wine, the negative effects outweigh the benefits-for those who drink 2-3 glasses of red wine every day they have increased risk of liver disease, depression, weight gain and diabetes. 
  • Wines are still mostly empty calories that you may consume instead of healthy food choices so be cognizant if wine is replacing food in your diet. 
  • A glass of red wine (5 oz.) contains on average 125 calories.  So if you are consuming say 2 glasses 4 times per week that is 1,000 added calories per week.  It can easily cause the weight to creep on. 

Bottom line

Articles reviewed vary but the consensus seems to be 1-3 glasses of wine per day for 4-5 days per week is considered a moderate, healthy amount to consume to reap benefits. 

This is not meant to encourage you to drink up!  In fact, you can reap many of these health benefits from food alone.  But if you already drink wine, it may be good to know that staying in the moderate range can be supportive for your body.  This means not consuming wine every day but having 2 days off from drinking.

 If you add in other alcoholic beverages then you go from moderate drinking to excessive drinking.  Please be mindful of the amount you consume and it is best to avoid it (even if it does have health benefits) if you have had issues with alcohol in the past. 

Final Thought

While I do not imbibe personally (I have the alcohol flush gene on both sides which explains why I have never enjoyed the effects nor taste of alcohol) I have read about the quality and purity of wines.  What I did not realize is that many are filled with contaminants just like a processed food would be.  So do your homework before purchasing. 

I recently came across a site www.dryfarmwines.com which does purity testing and has no sugar in its wines.  Check it out for more information on why the quality of your wine is important. 

 

Sources

Carson, T. (10/18/13) The Health Benefits of White Wine.

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/377858-   the-health-benefits-of-white-wine.

Bjarnadottir, A. (nd) Red wine: Good or Bad?  http://authoritynutrition.com/red-wine-good-or-bad/

Truesdale, L. (8/16) 9 Secrets to Long Life.  www.deliciousliving.com

 

 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions.  For more information, visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

This information is meant for educational purposes only. 

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12 Signs that you are Protein Deficient

12 Signs that you are Protein Deficient

steak-1445122_640-1

While society would have us think we get more than enough protein in our diet, what I see as a nutrition professional is just the opposite.  Too many are still on the low fat bandwagon and thus are eating a high carb diet. Many start the day with zero grams of protein! 

What would happen if we did not consume protein?

The simple answer is that the body would not function normally without protein and its essential amino acids.  While we can survive just fine by consuming a low carb diet, the same cannot be said for a low protein diet.  Yet, many are doing this without realizing it. 

Most people consume some protein daily and if you miss a few days due to illness you will be fine. However a long term protein deficiency can produce some significant symptoms but it can take up to a year of protein deficiency before these symptoms start to shout out at you. By then you may not be able to connect the dots of your symptoms to an unintentional low protein diet. 

Here is why you need protein and what happens if you are deficient

tired-old-person

  • Compromised immune system. Are you picking up every germ that floats by?  Is it taking you longer to recover? 
  • Protein deprived body will grow weaker over time
  • Slow to heal from injury: you need protein to rebuild and heal. 
  • Your hormones, neurotransmitters, hemoglobin and antibodies all need protein to function. 
  • Protein is part of your nails, hair, skin, muscles and joints. 
  • It helps to regulate the pH of your body tissues and fluid
  • You need it to transport nutrients
  • It can be used for energy if necessary.

Bottom Line: protein is more important than we think!

Signs that you are not getting enough protein in your diet

fingers

  • Nails: rub your finger across your nails. Do you feel ridges? This can indicate a protein deficiency.  The more ridges you feel and the deeper you feel them, the more deficient you may be.  Also look at the moon shape of the new incoming nail. Can you see it on all nails? If so this indicates adequate protein intake. What if you can see it on some but not all? This indicates some protein deficiency. 
  • Food Cravings: your diet may be instead high carb and low protein which can cause blood sugar spikes and drops which leads you to crave more carbs. Add in protein at each meal to balance out your blood sugar. 
  • Swelling of the feet and ankles: protein plays a role in keeping fluid from accumulating in the tissues especially the feet and ankles. 
  • Hair loss (can also be due to disrupted thyroid function)
  • Brain fog:  While there can be many root causes for brain fog it can also be caused by blood sugar dysregulation which is caused by too many carbs and sugar and too little protein to balance it out. 
  • Slow Wound healing
  • Low libido
  • Loss of muscle tone (are you working out but not seeing results?)
  • Irritability
  • Depression: are you getting the amino acids your neurotransmitters need to function properly?
  • frequent illness
  • Can’t losing weight no matter how hard you try: protein speeds up your metabolism.  You feel more satisfied after consuming a meal with moderate amounts of protein thus less over eating. 

How much Protein do you need?

That depends on a lot of factors such as your age, your weight, your activity level, your current health.  But here are some general guidelines:

  • 0.8 g/kg of body weight for a non-athletic adult.
  • Up to 1.7 g./kg. for performance athletes
  • OR take your ideal weight (not your actual weight as you don’t need protein to fuel excess fat) and multiply that by .5 for a moderate active person, by .8 for an athlete and by .3 if you sit behind a desk all day (sedentary)
  • OR another general guideline is to consume 15 grams of protein at each meal and half that amount at each snack for a total of 60 grams of protein per day for the average person. 

Which groups of people are at greater risk of protein deficiency?

pregnant-person

  • Those on chemotherapy or recovering from chemotherapy
  • Infants and children (for example a baby up to 6 months of age needs 2.2g/kg of body weight and at 1-3 years of age the toddler would need 1.8g/kg of body weight.
  • Athletes: you need protein to repair, rebuild and maintain your muscle mass. 
  • Anyone recovering from illness, injury or surgery. Your protein needs will increase during the healing process.
  • The aging: they tend to not consume enough protein and digestion may be compromised due to lower amounts of stomach acid as we age.  The high protein amounts will assist with physical and mental alertness. 
  • Pregnant and nursing moms: protein is crucial for the baby’s growth especially during the second and third trimester.  It is also an important component of breast milk which will optimize the growth and development of the baby.  A pregnant or breastfeeding mom needs 50% more protein than a woman who is not pregnant or breast feeding!

Protein Rich Foods

eggs

  • Beef, pork, poultry, eggs, fish, shellfish
  • Whey protein powder (Undenatured, grass fed)
  • Plant based protein powders
  • Nuts, seeds (raw)
  • Beans
  • Whole grains (i.e.: quinoa  not processed flour products)
  • Dairy (raw, organic, grass fed) Try goat milk or sheep milk products!
  • Bee pollen, micro algae, brewer’s yeast
  • bone broth (org.)
  • beef jerky or beef sticks (avoid the processed ones)
  • Protein bars such as Epic bars
  • Canned tuna or canned sardines (I like Wild Planet brand)

 

Do medications interact with protein?

  • Those taking Allopurinol (xanthine oxidase inhibitor used to prevent gout and to lower blood levels of uric acid in certain people taking drugs for cancer) and on a low protein diet may excrete less of the drug resulting in a 3 fold increase in the time it takes to drug to be removed from the body. 
  • Oral corticosteroids can cause loss of body protein.  Your doctor may recommend a high protein diet while on this medication.  However if you have kidney disease should not consume too much protein

Sources

Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Foundations in Nutrition. CA: Bauman College

Gaby, A. (2006) A-Z guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. NY: Three Rivers Press.

Markham, H. (6/22/16) You Asked: What happens if I don’t eat Enough Protein?    http://time.com/4374959/protein-health-benefits-nutrition/

Smith, M. (6/16) No-fuss Animal Protein.  www.betternutrition.com

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions.  For more information, visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

As a nutrition professional, Karen Brennan does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Three supplements to give right away for a concussion

Three supplements to give right away if your child sustains a head injury

kids football end of game
Both of my sons have played competitive and contact sports for many years. They also have sustained more head injuries  and concussions than I would like.

Over the course of time and as a nutritionist I learned that there is more you can do than just rest and avoid TV and video games (although those steps are very important too!).

My son was recently in a roll over car accident and thankfully all three in the vehicle were wearing seat belts. He said that if they weren’t they most likely would have been ejected.

But it got me thinking of what I would do right away if he did sustain a head injury.

I am currently putting together an herbal/nutritional first aid kit for both of my sons (yes, they are thrilled…sarcasm) and it will include the ingredients I have listed here in their first aid kits.

With kids back in school it also means kids are back into their sport activities so I hope you find this helpful should the need arise. It may be a good idea to keep these items on hand.

This is by no means meant to replace medical care after a head trauma but rather in addition to. Always discuss these options with your doctor, especially if on medications.

But here are some supplements that can provide the tools to allow the brain to begin to heal. These are not “cures” but rather they are used to optimize brain health for healing.

Here is a good starting place if your child sustains a concussion, even a mild one.

Homeopathic Arnica Montana: While traditional medicine is very skeptical in regards to homeopathic remedies, this is one that I keep in my son’s sport bags and is the first thing I reach for when a head injury occurs. There are other homeopathic remedies for head injury side effects but this should be in your first aid kit to reduce swelling and inflammation due to the trauma. Use it as soon as you can but it can also be used for head injuries that have occurred even months prior.

When using homeopathic remedies, it is best to consult with a specialist who is trained to work with them.
Otherwise, to keep on hand for these emergencies, I purchase Boiron brand Arnica Montana 200 ck. You can usually find this at Whole Foods or your local health food store. Dose out 5 pellets every 15 minutes if you can but neither water nor food should not be consumed 15 minutes prior nor 15 minutes after so you may have to dose out more than every 15 minutes in those first few hours. Ideally just get as many doses in as you can. Do not touch the pellets-just pour them from the vial cap into your mouth. Let them dissolve under the tongue. After the first 24 hours you can start to space the doses out and give the pellets 3 to 5 times daily for the first week.
While others continue to be skeptical, I have seen great results with homeopathic remedies so I do use them in certain instances.

Curcumin (from Turmeric): This compound has been shown to have neuro-protective properties and has been shown to be beneficial in rehabilitation from brain injuries. Giving Curcumin can result in a significant reduction in neuro-inflammation.

For a brand I like Terry Naturally Curamed 750 mg. capsules and I would give one to two three times per day for the first several days following the trauma. There are other reputable brands out there but I have seen positive results with this product in my clients and so I stick with what has been effective.

High dose fish oil: Studies show that animal’s receiving fish oil after a head injury for 30 days had a greater than 98% reduction in brain damage compared with the animals that did not receive supplementation.

For a head injury I would give an immediate high dose of fish oil that contains 1 gram. There are many contaminated fish oil products to be wary of. Also avoid farmed salmon and only consume wild caught Alaskan salmon for your fish oil dose or consume sardines (I like Wild Planet brand)

Start with a high dose for the first 1-2 weeks and then reduce the dose. Depending on the research the range can be from 4 grams of combined EPA/DHA to 10 grams. Take 3 grams three times per day for the first week. I know that is a lot of fish oil but this is short term only.

For the second week reduce that to 3 grams two times per day. After week two it depends on how you are feeling as to whether you should continue on the high dose or reduce the maintenance dose. Once you are feeling better, reduce the dose to 3 grams every day.

Always take your fish oil with a meal that contains fat. If you are eating a low fat diet you will have difficulty reaping the benefits from the fish oil.

If you are a vegan or vegetarian and do not use fish oil you may want to reconsider just for this instance.  Non-fish sources of omega 3’s can be difficult to convert into DHA and EPA and now is not the time to worry about conversion. 

There are many more supplements that I would suggest for a head injury but this is a good place to start within the first few hours after the impact.

In addition to that, the diet should be clean, meaning free of sugar and processed foods.  Provide plenty of healthy fats such as avocado and it’s oil, quality EVOO, raw nuts and seeds, organic protein sources and plenty of organic leafy greens, vegetables and fruits.  This is not the time for sugar, candy, soda, fast food and frozen meals.  These are inflammatory foods. Avoid any foods with toxins for now so if you can buy all organic during this time that is the best choice.  Otherwise, choose your organic foods following the clean 15/dirty dozen guide provided by www.ewg.org.  The goal is to reduce brain inflammation and provide optimum conditions for healing. 

While some are able to return back to their normal routine within weeks, others may have long lasting side effects from their concussion such as ADD symptoms, fatigue, confusion, forgetfulness, anxiety, depression and more. If you or your child needs more nutritional support during the healing process, please contact me or your holistic health professional.

Sources
Chapman, E., Weintraub, R., Milburn, M. et. al. Homeopathic Treatment of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury:
A randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 14, 6,
Dec. 1999, 521-542.

Ji, S. (10/1/14) How Whole Turmeric Heals the Damaged brain. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/how-whole-turmeric-heals-damaged-brain-1

Mercola, J. (2/9/14) Fish Oil Cited in Dramatic Healing After Severe Brain Trauma. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archives/2014/02/09/fish-oil-brain-health.aspx

Wu, A., Ying, Z., Gomez-Pinilla, F. Dietary Curcumin counteracts the outcome of traumatic brain injury on oxidative stress, synaptic plasticity and cognition. Exp. Neurol, 2006 Feb., 197(2):309-17 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16364299

www.brainhealtheducation.org

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions. For more information, visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

The information provided is meant for educational purposes only. As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose.

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Lemon chicken: An Easy, Healthy Week Night Dinner

Lemon Chicken

Gluten free, dairy free, paleo

(Adapted from celiac.com)

Serves 4

I love this dish-so easy to make for a weeknight dinner and taste so good!  You probably have all the ingredients you need at home. 

lemon chick

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless chicken breast pounded thin (personally I don’t do this-instead I slice my thick chicken breasts so that they are thinner)
  • ¼ c. cornstarch, or potato starch (if using corn starch use non GMO brand)
  • ½ stick grass fed butter or ghee if dairy free
  • 1/3 c. dry white wine
  • 2/3 c. chicken broth (even better-use homemade bone broth)
  • Juice of half a lemon (or bottled pure lemon juice)
  • ½ t. fresh thyme minced (or dried if not fresh on hand)
  • s/p to taste

Directions

  1. Dredge chicken into cornstarch and shake away excess
  2. Melt butter in pan over med. Heat and add chicken
  3. Cook 5 min. each side until golden brown
  4. Remove chicken and set aside
  5. In the same pan, add wine, broth, lemon juice, salt, thyme, pepper, and whisk until blended.  Adjust sauce thickness as desired with water or additional cornstarch. 
  6. Bring to boil then return chicken to the pan. Lower heat and cook about 5 minutes
  7. Serve with basmati white rice or cauliflower rice and a salad.

Tip: use the left over in a salad to take to work the next day or slice thinner and wrap in gluten free tortillas with veggies to pack for a school lunch. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions.  For more information, visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

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Easy way to get more vitamin D from your food

Easy tip for the day:

How to get more vitamin D into your diet

mushrooms

If you love mushrooms you are in for a treat!

Not many foods that we consume contain vitamin D.  It is found in foods such as oily fish (how many of you consume sardines on a regular basis?) and small amounts in egg yolk (pasture raised-the deep orange kind) and grass fed butter. 

On top of that we spend most of our time indoors and not exposed to the vitamin D from the sun.  And if we are outside we are usually lathered up in sunscreen.  Also, if your cholesterol levels are too low you won’t be able to reap the benefits of vitamin D from the sun. 

In an experiment using shitake mushrooms sitting outside with gills up getting full sun for 6 hours per day for 2 days found that the vitamin D content in the mushrooms soared from 100 IU/100 grams to 46,000 IU/100 grams! Yes, mushrooms have been shown to be a rare food that can contain large amounts of vitamin D.

Here is a tip:

Take your mushrooms that you just purchased from the store (any kind will suffice) and keep them in a sunny window or outside.  (Studies showed they just had to be exposed to UVA light)

When they sit in the sunlight they act like little solar panels and soak up the sun!

Here is what you do:

Let them sit in the sun for 2 days in an area that they will get roughly 6 hours of sunlight.

If you are letting them sit outside, then cover them at night to avoid moisture from dew.  

Keep the gills exposed to the sunlight.   They will retain this amount of vitamin D for at least a year (not that you are going to wait that long before you eat them!)

And then eat as you normally would!

 

Sources

Gregor, M. (8/1/13) Vitamin D from Mushrooms, Sun, or Supplements?  http://nutritionfacts.org/2013/08/01/vitamin-d-from-  mushrooms-sun-or-supplements/

Holick, M.F. Vitamin D deficiency.  New England Jounral of Medicine, 2007; 357(3): 266-81.

Stamets, P. (8/6/12) Place Mushrooms in Sunlight to Get Your Vitamin D.    http://www.fungi.com/blog/items/place-mushrooms-in-sunlight-to-get-your-vitamin-d.html

___(4/16) Alternative Medicine. Issue 27.

 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition (candidate), author of the E book Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC believes in food first when addressing the root causes to your health conditions.  For more information, visit her website at www.trufoodsnutrition.com

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