Cheesy Garbanzo Bean Stir Fry

Cheesy Garbanzo Stir Fry

Gluten, soy, dairy free, vegetarian, vegan

This is a good recipe to make a large batch of and use for lunches for the next few days. It is also good cold!  Whether you are a vegetarian or not, it is good to have some meatless meals on occasion.  

Ingredients

  • 2 T. avocado oil
  • 1 t. dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 large zucchini chopped
  • ½ c. mushrooms sliced
  • 1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast

Directions.

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet and add in the garlic and oregano and sauté for a minute. Add in the zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms and the beans.  Cook on medium heat for around 10 minutes until vegetables are cooked through. 
  2. Add in the tomato and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. At the end, add in the yeast and blend in.
  4. Serve and enjoy! This dish would be good with cauliflower rice. 
Cheesy Garbanzo Bean Stir Fry
Serves 2
A vegan/vegetarian dish that is gluten, soy and dairy free. A good source of protein, complex carbs, fiber, and healthy fats along with several vegetables
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262 calories
44 g
0 g
5 g
14 g
1 g
438 g
333 g
9 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
438g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 262
Calories from Fat 44
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 5g
8%
Saturated Fat 1g
3%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 333mg
14%
Total Carbohydrates 44g
15%
Dietary Fiber 6g
22%
Sugars 9g
Protein 14g
Vitamin A
55%
Vitamin C
192%
Calcium
11%
Iron
16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. • 2 T. avocado oil
  2. • 1 t. dried oregano
  3. • 2 cloves garlic minced
  4. • 1 large zucchini chopped
  5. • ½ c. mushrooms sliced
  6. • 1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  7. • 1 tomato chopped
  8. • 1 bell pepper chopped
  9. • 2 T. nutritional yeast
Instructions
  1. 1. Heat the oil in a skillet and add in the garlic and oregano and sauté for a minute. Add in the zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms and the beans. Cook on medium heat for around 10 minutes until vegetables are cooked through.
  2. 2. Add in the tomato and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. 3. At the end, add in the yeast and blend in.
  4. 4. Serve and enjoy! This dish would be good with cauliflower rice.
Notes
  1. If you are a vegan/vegetarian, nutritional yeast can be a good source of B12.
beta
calories
262
fat
5g
protein
14g
carbs
44g
more
TruFoods Nutrition http://trufoodsnutrition.com/

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

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

 

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What to Look For In A Protein Powder

Choosing a Protein Powder

 

There are so many protein powders on the market that it can be confusing as to which one is best for you.  I have created a list of what to avoid and what you want in a protein powder along with some of my brands to choose from.

What to Avoid in a Protein Powder

I am glad when clients bring their products in with them so that I can see and read the label or if not, I ask them to take a picture of it and send it to me so I can look it up. You might be very surprised to find out that your protein powder has some hidden ingredients that are not good for you! Many of us make our purchase based off the front of the label. It is always important to read the back too!

Artificial Sugar: This is a big one.  Many people swear their protein powder is very healthy and yet I see sucralose on the label. Avoid artificial sugar at all costs. There is nothing good about it. It can lead to elevated blood sugar, sugar cravings, weight gain and much more.   But more importantly, is disrupts the gut microbiota!

Soy: ugh! Processed soy is not healthy for you.  Fermented soy is healthy if you can tolerate soy.  Many people unknowingly have a soy protein sensitivity. It is best to avoid it. There are many other healthier vegetarian options to meet your protein needs.  It can have estrogen mimicking properties and it can suppress thyroid function.  For more information on soy go to http://trufoodsnutrition.com/consuming-soy-and-its-dangers/

Casein: For many, just like soy, they have a casein sensitivity and are not aware of it. Also, many casein protein powders can contain toxic residue due to the extraction process. While many may disagree since casein is known to boost muscle growth in those who are working out.  Read Dr. Mercola’s article for more information on why he does not recommend a casein protein powder https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2016/09/30/casein-protein-supplements.aspx

If you really want casein for muscle building, I suggest find a place to purchase raw milk shares instead. 

What to Look for in Your Protein Powder

Natural Sugars: most protein powders will have something added to sweeten it up. Choose products that have monk fruit or stevia used as the sweetener. 

Grass fed/organic/pasture raised: if you are choosing a whey or bone broth protein powder, you want the label to say this.  You are what your food eats.  If you want chemicals and GMO’s, hormones and antibiotics in your protein powder than you can disregard this. 

Undenatured Whey: this means that the protein powder was not processed at a high heat. This is important because when it is processed at high heat, the bioactive compounds are destroyed.  Undenatured whey protein powder contains cysteine’s that will form glutathione, which is your master antioxidant and a powerful detoxifying agent in the body.  These cysteine’s are fragile so high heat can destroy them.  (Goat milk whey protein powder is a good option for those who are lactose intolerant) 

Non-GMO Verified for Plant based protein powders and/or Organic: Avoid plant based protein powders that do not have the Non- GMO seal on the package or ones that are not organic. Otherwise you will also be consuming all the pesticides and herbicides that have been sprayed on these plants as well. 

Brands to Choose

This is by no means a complete list as there are many high- quality brands on the market.  Just be sure to read the ingredients label. 

Whey Protein Powders

  • Raw Organic Whey buy it here
  • ReserveAge Grass-Fed Whey Protein (this is my favorite for taste and quality) buy it here
  • Naked Whey (nkdnutrition.com) or buy here
  • Garden of Life Sport Certified Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder buy it here
  • Vital Proteins non- GMO collagen whey protein powder buy it here
  • Tera’s Whey grass fed organic whey protein powder buy it here

 

Bone Broth Protein Powders/ Collagen Protein Powders

  • Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein Powder buy it here
  • Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Protein Powder (vitalproteins.com) 

Plant Based Blends

If you use a plant based protein powder, avoid soy and limit the amount of brown rice powders

  • Vega One Plant blends buy it here
  • Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein buy it here
  • Whole Foods 365 Brand Organic Pea Protein Powder
  • Garden of Life brand (they have many types and raw protein powders). The one caveat I have, is that many of their plant based products contain brown rice. Brown rice is high in arsenic.  Having some brown rice is not an issue but if you consume a vegetarian/vegan diet, your diet may be high in brown rice already.  (also, if you are gluten free and consume GF products you may also be consuming a high amount of arsenic) Read more on arsenic in your diet at http://trufoodsnutrition.com/increase-arsenic-gluten-free-diet/
  • Body Ecology Immune Protein powder (boydecology.com) Bonus: also fermented!

If you have a favorite healthy protein brand that is not on the list, please share as I will update the list!

 

 

Sources

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/10/do-you-secretly-suspect-that-something-is-wrong-with-your-protein-supplement.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1782728

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

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

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Garden Herbed Crust-less Quiche

Garden Herbed Crust-less Quiche

I used what vegetables and herbs that I had on hand. Feel free to use the ones you prefer in this recipe as it is very versatile.

This makes a great make-ahead recipe to use for weekday morning breakfast or take to work for lunch.

Gluten, soy and dairy free

crustless quiche 2

Ingredients

  • 1 t. avocado oil and 1 T. avocado oil separated
  • 1 onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 cups greens of your choice. (kale in spinach work well but I have made this with mixed dark greens and came out great)
  • Other veggies: here is what I used but play around with this: 1 c. sliced mushrooms, 4 mini bell peppers chopped, 4 broccolini stalks chopped.
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast (optional but gives it a protein and nutrient boost and has a cheesy taste)
  • Mixed Herbs: I used what I had in my garden and did not measure. Here is what I used.  Rosemary, basil, green onion, chives.  Feel free to use fresh or dried and add according to your taste.
  • s/p to taste.
  • ¾ c. milk alternative (I like pure coconut milk as most of the boxed milk alternatives on the store shelves are filled with so much added “stuff”. I don’t use cow dairy as large organic farms have been getting through loop holes and these big dairy organizations have found to not be following true organic practices.) 
  • 5 pasture raised eggs
  • Organic cheese (optional) I did not add any

Directions

  1. Grease a 9- inch pie dish with the 1 t. avocado oil. Set this aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat the 1 T. avocado oil in a large skillet. Add in the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in the peppers, mushrooms, broccolini and the garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.  Add in the leafy greens and sauté until they have wilted. 
  3. Add in the s/p and the fresh or dried herbs of choice
  4. Whisk the milk and the eggs together and cheese if using. Add in the nutritional yeast and stir. 
  5. Blend the veggie mixture with the milk and pour into the pie dish (to save one step, I measured out the milk in a large measuring cup and added in the eggs and yeast. Then I poured this and the veggie blend right into the pie dish and give it a good stir in the dish.)
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes (mine in a convection oven took 45) until top is lightly browned.
  7. Serve hot or cold.

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

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

 

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Knowing What Fish is Safe to Eat

Choosing Healthy Fish to Eat

fish counter

 

With Summer here, we tend to eat more fish. Here is some information to help you make the best choices. 

Shrimp

Shrimp that you purchase in the grocery store often comes from Asian farms that over use antibiotics. Shrimp is bathed in a sodium solution to make its meat juicier.  Sulfites are used to prevent discoloration in the shrimp and some people react to the sulfites such as triggering a migraine.

Ask where you shrimp has come from and opt for domestic shrimp. The USA has stricter regulations regarding shrimp fishing and farming practices. 

Choose North American wild caught shrimp, north shrimp, pink shrimp, spot pawns and white shrimp.  

Salmon

abstract-1238248_1280 (1)

Farming practices have improved but antibiotics are still a concern.  Choose salmon that is wild caught from Alaska as there is no overfishing or contaminant risk.  Wild caught Alaskan salmon will have a great omega 3 ratio.  While vacuum sealed packs means more plastic waste, the benefit is that this flash freezing and packing process results in loss of very little nutrients. 

If you eat canned salmon, look for wild sockeye.  

If your salmon is being sold “fresh” in the winter months, it is probably a fraud.

Canned Tuna

tuna fish

 

Albacore canned tuna is high in mercury.  For this reason, limit the amount you consume to no more than 3 cans per month.  Smaller seafood such as scallops, sardines, oyster, shrimp and anchovies contain less mercury. 

Larger fish will contain more mercury such as swordfish, grouper, marlin, orange roughly, and shark.

Choose skip hack tuna or light tuna in water. Avoid tuna that is in vegetable oil. 

Beware: Some products may be mislabeled as tuna.  Nearly 60% of the fish labeled tuna in the US is not tuna.  84% of white tuna sold at sushi places was a fish called escolar, which is associated with acute and serious digestive effects if you consume just a couple of ounces.

Tilapia

tilapia

 

This fish does not contain any omega 3 essential fatty acids. Tilapia are fed a grain based diet when it has been farmed.  Much of the tilapia comes from Asia where they may still use banned chemicals.

Choose tilapia that has come from the US, Canada, Ecuador or Peru.

Pollock

This fish you have most likely eaten if you eat breaded fish sticks and breaded fish in restaurants. It can also be found in imitation crab meat. 

Choose Alaskan Pollock, also called Walleye Pollock or whitefish.

Buyer Beware!

Fish is often mislabeled and often when purchasing there is no information as to where the fish has come from.  Ask at the fish counter or in the restaurant what country the fish is from, if it was wild caught or farmed.  Sadly, many times the person will tell you he or she doesn’t know this information.  I went to an expensive restaurant one time and asked where their salmon came from and he said jokingly “the water”.  I never did get an answer.  Just because you are paying a high price in an expensive restaurant, does not mean the quality of your fish is better. 

Seafood from other countries is often factory farmed and the conditions are unhealthy. Often the fish are exposed to antibiotics and chemicals and are stored in bacteria-laden ice and may even be fed pig feces tainted with salmonella.  The US only inspects about 2% of all the seafood that comes from abroad. 

If you are pregnant, limit the amount of fish and seafood you consume and eat seafood that is the lowest in mercury such as wild salmon, sardines, mussels, rainbow trout and Atlantic mackerel. These fish are also rich in omega 3 essential fatty acids. 

Other Fish

We tend to consume the same type of fish over and over such as salmon and canned tuna.  There are other sustainable fish to choose from such as mullet and scup.

Bottom Line

Limit the amount of fish that you consume and do your homework prior to eating fish and seafood. 

Some helpful sites to use include

www.eatthesefish.com This site shows a wide variety of fish that is safe to eat.

www.vitalchoice.com This is a good source to buy your salmon, canned salmon and other fish as well.

For my local CO readers: check out http://www.northeastseafood.com You can place an order and pick up at their Denver location.  They send email announcements as to when in season seafood has arrived.  Their wild salmon is from Alaska.  Note that some companies may say that their salmon is wild but it is from the Pacific not Alaska. 

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of 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. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! Want more information, like her fb page here

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

Sources

http://seafood.edf.org/buying-fish-what-you-need-to-know#bmb=1

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/smart-seafood-buying-guide

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/06/01/best-seafood.aspx

https://experiencelife.com/article/how-to-choose-seafood-thats-nutritious-sustainable-and-safe/

https://experiencelife.com/article/fish-smarts-for-pregnant-women/

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Consuming Soy and it’s Dangers

Vegetarian and Vegan Diets:

What you need to know about Soy in your diet

soy-beans

If you avoid foods with a face, you may end up consuming a lot of soy to meet your protein needs. While not all soy is bad, the type that most Americans eat is not the healthy type of soy and it may be doing more harm than good for your body. 

What Type of Soy to Avoid/Minimize in your Diet

  • Processed soy products such as soy burgers and hot dogs
  • Soy protein powder
  • Soy infant formula (if you can)
  • Soybean oil (use avocado, EVOO, coconut)
  • Soy cheese (use grass fed, raw cheese , goat cheese or avoid)
  • Soy nuts (eat tree nuts if you can tolerate)
  • Soy milk (drink nut milks, coconut milk)
  • Tofu (most of it is GMO and many lack the enzyme to digest this unfermented soy food) (6 )
  • Soy nut butter (try nut butters or sunflower butter)
  • soy sauce (use coconut aminos instead)

Much of the soy that is consumed in the U.S. comes from packaged and processed soy products. You may be even consuming more soy than you realize since soy is cheap and has been added to many processed packaged foods.  (3)

Soy is used as an oil, as a thickener, flavor enhancer, stabilizer, preservative and a filler. (4)  If you are eating processed foods, the odds are you are eating processed soy.

School lunch programs even add soy to their hamburger patties. Studies show that soy may not be good for a growing and developing child. (5). Have your child bring a lunch from home instead.

What You Need to Know About Soy

soy-no

The forms I mentioned above are unhealthy for various reasons, such as;

  • Soy is high in oxalates. (2) While there are other foods that are high in oxalates as well, many vegans/vegetarians consume soy daily and multiple times per day. A buildup of oxalates can interfere with the body’s metabolic processes and can contribute to autism, ADD, COPD, asthma, cystic Fibrosis, vulvodynia, AI disease and low thyroid. (1)
  • Soy is a GMO crop. This means that the crop has been engineered to withstand spraying of roundup on the crop. When you consume processed soy products you are consuming GMO’s. (Roundup-also called glyphosate-can lead to leaky gut syndrome, and can disrupt the endocrine system.) (1)
  • Aluminum and arsenic have also been found in GMO soy. (1)
  • Soybean oil is high in omega 6’s. While we need omega 6 fatty acids, we consume too many which leads to inflammation in the body. (7)
  • Soy contains isoflavones that function as endocrine disruptors. These isoflavones which are plant compounds can activate estrogen receptors in the body. (7)
  • Soy isoflavones can also cause breast cancer. Studies are conflicting on the pros and cons for breast health. (3)
  • Soy can impair thyroid function. The isoflavones found in soy can function as goitrogens which are substances that can interfere with thyroid function. (3).
  • Soy formula for babies is low in fat and babies need fat. Soy formula is also too high in manganese and this can lead to ADHD symptoms.  It is also high in aluminum.  (1) Think about it, you are also giving your baby a high amount of genistein (an isoflavone) which can impact your child’s hormones down the road.  (5)
  • The phytoestrogens can also contribute to andropause in men (7)
  • Because of the excess estrogen from a diet filled with processed soy, it can contribute to estrogen dominance in women and PMS symptoms along with breast cancer, PCOS, cervical cancer and other hormone imbalance disorders such as girls reaching their menstruation as an early age. (4) . These hormone properties are from genistein which is the main isoflavone found in soy.  (5)
  • Introducing compounds that mimic estrogen could upset the body balance and may lead to long term impact on behavior and brain chemistry. (5)
  • Soy products can cause vitamin B12 deficiency. Soy contains B12 analogs.  These analogs block the uptake of true B12 so your needs actually increase.    But these B12 analogs cannot be used by your body the way it would use real B12. (6) 

What Type of Soy Can You Eat?

tempeh food bowl

Types of Soy to add to your diet

  • Fermented soy is a great choice. But even so, this should not be the bulk of your diet.  Even fermented soy will contain isoflavones: add in tempeh, miso and natto. Even fermented soy can be GMO so be sure to check the label and purchase organic (4). Fermented foods contain probiotics which a healthy gut needs.
  • Soybeans in whole form are rich in micronutrients and can be a good source of plant protein but don’t go overboard and make this your main protein source since soybeans are high in omega 6 essential fatty acids which can lead to inflammation if over consumed.

Bottom Line

You can still enjoy your soy-You don’t need to completely remove your favorite foods with soy in them (unless you have an allergy or food sensitivity to soy) but you should reduce the amount in your diet based on the reasons above and replace them with other healthy vegetarian food options. 

Opt for fermented non-GMO soy but still don’t go overboard and make it a small portion of your diet.  If you want to add in fermented foods, rotate your fermented soy with other options such as fermented vegetables, kimchi and fermented goat milk kefir or coconut kefir.  In the end, fermented soy has its benefits and processed soy does not.  Choose wisely.

If you are a vegetarian or vegan who eats a lot of soy and are confused about what to eat if you take soy out of your diet, give me a call and I can help you find the right options for you!

 

Resources

  1. https://people.csail.mit.edu/seneff/glyphosate/Seneff/Yale2015.pptx
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15998131
  3. https://authoritynutrition.com/is-soy-bad-for-you-or-good/
  4. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/5-ways-to-soy-upsets-hormone-balance/
  5. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/soybean-fertility-hormone-isoflavones-genestein/
  6. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/02/15/how-to-avoid-the-most-dangerous-side-effect-of-veganism.aspx
  7. Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Foundations in Nutrition. CA: Bauman College

 

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of 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. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! Want more information, like her fb page here

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

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Green Pistachio Herbed Sauce

Green Pistachio Herbed Sauce for Salads and Veggie Dishes

Just throw everything in your food processor and there you have it!  A great tasting green sauce for salads, veggies, on sandwiches and to use a dip.

green sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado (peel removed)
  • 1 c. total of parsley and cilantro (I put one bunch of each into the food processor)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Dash salt
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • Juice of ½ a lemon or 1 T. real lemon juice
  • ½ cup EVOO
  • ½ cup raw pistachios
  • Dash coriander

Directions

Combine all in food processor.  Store in fridge until use. 

Did you know that coriander comes from the same plant as cilantro leaves?

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of 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. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! Want more information, like her fb page here

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

 

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Blood Sugar and your Mental Health

Blood Sugar Imbalance and its Impact on your Mental Health

roller coaster

Riding the blood sugar roller coaster day after day can impact your mental health.  The highs followed by crashes may accentuate the symptoms of a mood disorder.  Research has tied processed, refined sugar consumption to an increased risk of depression and can worsen the outcomes of schizophrenia. 

Blood sugar in the form of glucose is the basic fuel for all brain operation and activity.  If it is inadequate, mental health systems can start to shut down.  Glandular imbalances will result as the glands struggle to regulate the sugar level. This can cause symptoms such as high adrenaline which can look like anxiety, panic attacks or violence. 

Just by making tweaks to your diet you can improve your blood sugar regulation and your mental health.

The Impact of Blood Sugar Dysregulation on our Mental Health

By now, most of know that sugar and processed foods are bad for our heart, cholesterol and waistline.  But not as much attention is giving to what it does to our brain. 

Here is what Happens

bread pasta rice

  1. You eat a meal or have a drink with excess sugar. Say you start your day with a bagel, muffin or donut, or have cereal with milk, banana and some OJ.
  2. The pancreas releases insulin to bring glucose to the cells but because of the high amount of sugar, the insulin response is excessive
  3. About 2 hours later so much sugar has been put into storage that you now have low blood sugar and are feeling weak, shaky, brain fog, fatigue, change in mood (depression) and cravings
  4. The body responds to this as an emergency so it dumps adrenaline into the system. This causes anxiety, racing heart, irritability, anxiousness, panic, outbursts and more
  5. You reach for a processed carb or sugar product to get your sugar levels back up. Thus, the cycle begins again.

This cycle contributes to chronic inflammation in the body.  Chronic inflammation is not only associated with physical health conditions such as heart disease but also with brain function such as depression and brain fog. 

A surge of adrenaline is not always a bad thing. In prehistoric times if you were being chased by a wild animal you got a surge of adrenaline to run away.  Adrenaline prepares you for vigorous muscular activity.  It raises your heart rate and turns off digestion so now you are prepared for fight or flight.  In modern society it is not the wild animal that raises our adrenaline but instead the constant demands we put on our body such as stress from our processed, nutrient deficient, highly processed diet.

   Symptoms of Imbalanced Blood Sugar (highs and lows)

  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Abnormal weight (too high or too low)
  • waking after 2-3 hours of sleep at night and cannot fall right back to sleep
  • Dizziness
  • headaches
  • irritability if meals are missed
  • nervous habits
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • phobias
  • violent outbursts
  • Unable to concentrate (ADD)
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Crying spells
  • Nightmares
  • confusion
  • tightness in chest
  • constant hunger
  • tremors
  • obsessive compulsive behavior
  • poor word finding ability
  • brain fog
  • blurred vision
  • insomnia
  • cravings for sugar, sweets, soda, coffee, alcohol, refined carbs
  • fainting
  • cannot tolerate bright lights or loud sounds
  • joint pain
  • no appetite at breakfast, may wakeup feeling nauseous, skip breakfast
  • highs and lows/mood swings within a one day period

 

What Causes Blood Sugar Dysregulation (in addition to diet)

fast food burger

  • Standard American diet
  • Inadequate physical activity
  • Irregular eating patterns
  • Skipping meals
  • Eating imbalanced meals (meals with mostly refined carbs and little in the way of quality protein/fats)
  • Refined carbs (bagels, pasta, muffins, cookies, pastries, donuts, bread, rolls, etc.)
  • Gluten intolerance and other food allergies/insensitivities
  • Excess caffeine intake
  • Alcoholism
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Stress
  • Excess blood sugar lowering medication
  • Insulin resistance
  • Birth control pills
  • Fructose

Physical Symptoms of Blood Sugar Imbalance

  • Darkened skin along jawline or neck (this occurs due to elevated insulin levels present with elevated blood sugar)
  • Extra abdominal fat-this can include fat on back, chest, sides of waist and shoulder blade area
  • Base of neck fat pad-this fat tends to be very inflammatory
  • Enlarged breasts in men (elevated blood sugar in men stimulates activity of enzymes that shifts testosterone to estrogen which promotes growth of breast tissue)
  • Note: you may not always see these physical signs

How to Balance Blood Sugar

balanced meal

Some foods that will help to balance blood sugar include almonds (very filling), quinoa (great substitute for rice), millet (it has a combination of fiber and phytonutrients), hummus (protein packed), avocado (filled with healthy fat), lentils (good source of protein) and walnuts (make a great snack with omega 3’s).

Consume foods that release energy slowly into the blood stream such as vegetables, berries, and nuts and seeds.

 

Treatment of blood sugar imbalances involves a combination of dietary and lifestyle measures that minimize the shock to the pancreas and the adrenal glands and stabilize carbohydrate metabolism.  It is better to address it now because highs and lows in blood sugar will eventually lead to highs only (meaning diabetes and insulin resistance)

  • Decrease the consumption of simple carbs and sugars, caffeine, alcohol,
  • Eat three meals per day and at least 2 additional snacks. DO NOT SKIP MEALS (once you have balance blood sugar then you can try intermittent fasting)
  • Provide a balance at each meal/snack of protein, complex carbs, healthy fats and fiber.
  • Eat foods closer to the form they are found in nature.
  • This can look like:

o   a protein smoothie with avocado and greens included for breakfast (skip the fruit or add in berries or ½ a banana)

o   snack on handful of almonds mid-morning

o   for lunch have chicken salad on a bed of lettuce (if you must have bread, opt for one slice only) with a Bubbies pickle and a side salad

o   mid-day snack on raw vegetables and hummus

o   for dinner have salmon, roasted sweet potato and a vegetable such as asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower. 

o   AVOID packages foods, sugary foods, artificially sweetened foods and drinks, refined carbs such as pasta and bread, white rice, dried fruits such as banana or apple chips and processed corn products

 

 

  Beneficial Nutrients

  • Protein: it is used to mitigate the symptoms of hypoglycemia because it can keep sugar stable while keeping metabolism high. Protein takes longer to be digested than simple carbs and this will prevent sudden drops and spikes in blood sugar levels.  The glucose from digested protein (and from complex carbs is released into the bloodstream gradually which helps to regulate blood glucose levels.)  Consume 2-4 ounces of animal protein or 4-6 ounces of plant protein at each meal. For snacks reduce the amount to half.  Protein amounts at breakfast can be slightly increased.  High quality sources of protein include grass fed meats, wild caught fish, bean/legumes and raw dairy. 
  • Cobalamin (B12): along with other B vitamins helps to convert consumed foods into glucose that can be utilized by the body.  Thus, a B12 deficiency can result in low blood sugar levels. Eating foods rich in B12 will help to increase energy levels by converting food into glucose.  In supplement form take 300 mcg. 3 times daily on an empty stomach.  Best forms include methylcobalamin, adenosycobalamin and hydroxocobalamin.  Most B complexes do not contain enough B12 so it is best to take an additional B12 supplement. Food sources include grass fed beef, lamb, chicken, wild game, organ meats, grass fed milk, cottage cheese and fish/shellfish.
  • Niacin (B3): It is needed to produce insulin.  It helps to promote proper digestion by helping with the production of stomach acid used in the metabolism of carbs.  It can also be useful for treating depression and anxiety associated with hypoglycemia.  Niacin will cause a “flush” within minutes of ingesting.  Food sources include fish, meats, peanuts, whole grains mushrooms, seeds, eggs and almonds. Supplement form take 100 mg. 2 timers per day with meals.  Check with your doctor. before taking, as it can interact with some medications.

 

Bottom Line:

just because you do not have diabetes does not mean you are safe from blood sugar ups and downs.  Balance your blood sugar by eating protein and fat along with your complex carbs.  Don’t skip meals and opt for a diet of 80% whole foods and 20% of your processed, junk food.  If you are suffering from any mental health disorder, this is a simple step to take. 

 

References

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/where-science-meets-the-steps/201309/4-ways-sugar-could-be-harming-your-mental-health
  2. http://www.alternativementalhealth.com/conquering-anxiety-depression-and-fatigue-without-drugs-the-role-of-hypoglycemia-2/
  3. http://diabeteslibrary.org
  4. http://www.askdrmaxwell.com/hypoglycemia-causes-and-natural-treatments/
  5. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/22/how-eating-sugar-can-cause-mental-illness.aspx
  6. Golan, R. (1995) Optimal Wellness. New York: Ballantine Books.

 

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of 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. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! Want more information, like her fb page here

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

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Chicken Asparagus Roll Ups

Chicken Asparagus Roll Ups

Gluten free

This was easier to make than I thought and good!

chicken asparagus roll ups

Ingredients

  • 4 organic chicken breasts (flatten them out or slice thin)
  • ½ cup mayo (I like Primal Kitchen mayo b/c it is soy and canola free-it uses avocado oil)
  • 3 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. lemon juice (not from concentrate)
  • 2 t. dried tarragon (or spice blend of choosing for chicken)
  • s/p
  • 16 spears asparagus
  • 4 ounces grass fed cheese (or opt for vegan cheese or omit) (if you are casein sensitive you may be able to use goat cheese)
  • 1 cup gluten free bread crumbs

 

chicken asparagus roll ups 2

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Soften asparagus by steaming in steamer basket for several minutes (or cook on high in microwave for one minute)
  2. Flatten your chicken breasts and lay them out on a parchment lined baking tray
  3. Blend sauce ingredients together (mayo, mustard, lemon juice, tarragon, s/p)
  4. Spread some sauce onto each chicken beast then place some cheese on the chicken and then asparagus (you may need to cut your asparagus into halves or thirds). Use one half of the sauce mixture and save rest for the top of the chicken
  5. Roll up the breast and tuck the ends underneath
  6. Spread more sauce on the tops and then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of 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. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! Want more information, like her fb page here

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

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Digestive Issues and How to Tell if it is an Issue with Casein or Lactose

Is Casein Or lactose Causing Your Digestive Problems?

milk

Many people assume that if they experience gas or bloating and pain after consuming dairy that they are lactose intolerant. This may not always be the case.  This can occur for other reasons as well. 

A lactose intolerance usually affects just the digestive system while a casein sensitivity can have an impact in other areas of health as well. 

How to Know if you are Lactose Intolerant

If you are lactose intolerant, this means that you lack the enzyme, lactase, to break down the sugar, lactose in your dairy products. 

  • Signs and symptoms typically occur about 30 minutes after ingesting the food containing dairy. (but can occur up to 2 hours later)
  • You may experience gas, bloating, loose bowels, sinus congestion, cramps and nausea.
  • Typically, those who are lactose intolerant can still eat most cheeses and not experience symptoms. This is because in the process of making cheese, lactose is converted into lactic acid which is easy to digest. 
  • Cream, butter and yogurt have little to no lactose (full fat heavy whipping cream has none) so these are still okay for those with lactose intolerance. Heavy whipping cream also does not contain casein.
  • Skim milk does contain lactose.
  • Fermented dairy such as kefir has less lactose so you may be able to tolerate it.
  • Even if you are lactose intolerant you may be able to digest small amounts in a single meal.
  • Yogurt contains less lactose than milk.
  • Raw cheese has only small amounts of lactose and casein.

Pay attention to which dairy foods give you trouble.  Is it just milk?  Is it only when you consume large amount of dairy?  This may help you to figure out if your issue is with lactose.  If it is an issue with lactose then taking a digestive enzyme that contains lactase 30 minutes prior to the meal may help, along with consuming smaller amount of dairy at your meals or eliminating it from your diet (you don’t need dairy to meet your calcium needs-see more information below). 

The brand of digestive enzyme I like is Enzymedica. 

Which Cheeses have less lactose?

cheese

If you aren’t ready to give up dairy, here are some cheeses you can still eat if you are lactose intolerant

  • The fresher the cheese the more lactose it will have; aged cheeses are a better choice.
  • You want to opt for cheeses that have less than 3% lactose range. (whole milk has 3.7-4.8%)
  • Muenster, camembert, brie, cheddar, provolone, gouda, blue, parmesan and swiss are all good choices.
  • AVOID: Feta, ricotta, Colby, American and Velveeta (why would you eat these last two processed cheeses anyway?).
  • Opt for organic, raw and grass fed cheeses if you can. (see below for more information as to why)

Signs It May Be the Casein and Not the lactose in your Dairy

Casein is the main protein in dairy and is also added to other foods used as a binding agent.  Casein is found in milk and in lactose free dairy products.  So, if you consume lactose free products and still experience symptoms it may be the casein and not lactose that is causing your issues. 

In addition to gut and digestive symptoms, a casein sensitivity has been linked to ADHD, autism, brain fog, asthma, aggression, anger and excess mucus production.  It can also cause headaches, ear infections, eczema and skin allergies. 

Ask yourself, in addition to your digestive issues are you suffering from any of the issues mentioned above?  If so, it may be the protein in the dairy.  If you are still unsure you may want to do food allergy testing.  Tests range from stool samples to blood tests.  Butter contains very little casein and heavy cream does not contain casein.  The dairy foods that have the most protein will contain more casein. 

If it is casein and not lactose that is an issue for you, removing casein from the diet is a good first step.  However, if you have been reacting to it for a long time there may be other issues that will need to be addressed such as possible intestinal permeability and systemic inflammation. 

What You Need to Know About Your Dairy

milk jug and glass

Pasteurization is a process that heats the milk to kill off bacteria, microbes and pathogens.  However, the process also kills off the good bugs.  It also destroys enzymes that are needed to break down fats, and proteins and to deliver vitamins and minerals. 

Ultra- Pasteurized milk is heated to 275 degrees and destroys everything!  It is best to avoid this type of milk. 

Pasteurized milk is heated to 160 degrees and preserves some of the good bacteria. 

Vat-Pasteurized is heated to 135 degrees and preserves the good bacteria and many of the enzymes.  This is the best commercial choice.  Organic Valley brand has a whole milk that is vat pasteurized.  Kalona Farms brand offers vat pasteurized products as well which can be found at Whole Foods. 

Opt for organic milk to avoid antibiotics, growth hormones and pesticides that are carried in the fatty portion of the milk.  While I don’t recommend skim milk, if you don’t buy organic this would be your safer bet since it does not contain the fat and thus will not be contaminated with the hormones, antibiotics and pesticides that milk with fat would contain.  But skim milk is also harder to digest and lacks beneficial fats. 

If you consume large amounts of milk, you may want to consider raw milk shares.  Go to realmilk.com to find a local farm.  If you have a casein sensitivity, even raw milk may not be for you.  There is a brand called A2 which many with a casein sensitivity can tolerate. The downside however is that it is not organic.  If you are lactose intolerant you may want to opt for milk alternatives such as nut milks, hemp milk or coconut milk. 

Keep in mind that “You are what your food eats”.  If you consume dairy products from a CAFO (confined animal factory operation), you will be consuming some of the hormones, antibiotics, GMO feed etc. that is given to these cows that may never see the light of day and never leave their confined very small indoor space. 

There are many small local farms that you can support. They may not have the organic label but do follow organic and humane practices.  Visit your local farmers market in the summer and stop and talk to those at the booths to find out how you can get their products year-round. 

Non-Dairy Calcium Sources

Nutrition

Many people still think that the only way to get their calcium is via dairy products.  This is just not true!  There are many non-dairy calcium sources.  And in fact, there are numerous cultures around the world that do not eat dairy and yet still have healthy bone density.  To absorb your calcium, you need adequate amounts of vitamin D3.  Most dairy products are fortified with vitamin D2 which is synthetic and not as easy to absorb and assimilate.  Take a vitamin D3 supplement or get some sunshine if your blood work shows that you are low. 

Non-dairy Calcium Sources

  • Dark leafy greens such as collard greens, spinach and kale
  • Dark green vegetables such as broccoli
  • Legumes
  • Sesame seeds
  • Almonds
  • Canned salmon with bones
  • Sardines
  • Rhubarb
  • Okra
  • Edamame
  • Black eyed peas

Is It Better to Consume Fermented Dairy (kefir) and Goat Dairy?

 

Kefir fermentation breaks down proteins in the dairy and thus those with a casein sensitivity may be able to tolerate kefir.   The kefir microorganisms ferment milk lactose.  Kefir contains a lot of bacteria that aid lactose digestion.  These bacteria may help to digest lactose.  The plus is that kefir also has a broad range of nutrients and due to its probiotic content is supportive for gut an immune health. 

Lifeway kefir states that their kefir is 99% lactose free and this is due to the fermentation process.  The cultures break down the lactose.  Lifeway states that not all kefirs are 99% lactose free so you may want to contact the company before you trying other brands. 

Kefir may be a good option if you cannot tolerate casein or are lactose intolerant.  Better yet, opt for goat milk kefir since goat milk is known to be easier to digest. 

 

Bottom Line: Experiment with various dairy foods to see which you can tolerate and which that you cannot. If you have any mood or skin issues in addition to the digestive issues, it may be best to work a professional to work on gut healing, addressing possible leaky gut and nutrient deficiencies.  A nutrition professional can guide you as to which foods you can safely tolerate.  While Americans love their dairy, it is not a necessary food group to maintain optimum health and in reality, may be causing some of your chronic health issues. 

 

Sources

http://bodyecology.com/articles/2-signs-of-enzyme-deficiency-that-you-can%E2%80%99t-miss

http://www.stevecarper.com/li/list_of_lactose_percentages.htm

http://milkgenomics.org/article/kefir-microorganisms-break-down-milk-proteins/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/how-consuming-dairy-can-impact-your-mood

www.lifewaykefir.com

www.kefir.net

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/03/26/pastuerized-milk-part-one.aspx

http://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2013/10/whats-the-difference-between-all-those-types-of-milk-in-the-grocery-store/

www.safeharbor.com

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

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of 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. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! Want more information, like her fb page here

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

 

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7 Reasons to Add this Booster Food into your Diet: Nutritional Yeast

Why You Should Add this Booster Food to your Daily Meals: Nutritional Yeast

By Karen Brennan, MSW, NC, BCHN®, Herbalist

Nutritional Yeast: What is it?

nutritional yeast in bowl

 

It is not a plant nor animal food but rather a fungus like mushrooms.  It is a good addition to a vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten free and dairy free diet. 

I have Candida, I am avoiding foods that contain yeast, can I eat nutritional yeast?

The yeast you find in breads and beer is a live and active yeast.  Nutritional yeast comes in a dried flake form and is not an active yeast.  This means you cannot use it to make bread or beer but more importantly it will not lead to overgrowth of yeast/candida in the body.  Therefore, because it has been deactivated it cannot cause or contribute to candida. You may read otherwise on the web but nutritional yeast is safe to it. 

What causes overgrowth of candida (healthy people will always have some candida) is a diet high in sugary/processed foods and drinks, antibiotic use and birth control pills to name a few root causes.  To learn more about what candida is, what are more causes, symptoms and more importantly, how to address it read this article

What are the Benefits of Adding this Food into my Diet?

  • Beta Glucan fibers found in nutritional yeast help to maintain the body’s defense against pathogens (this was found in a study in which participants consumed a spoonful daily)
  • Another study in which participants consumed one half a spoonful found that mood states improved and they had significant boost in feelings of vigor.
  • It is a great addition to vegan and vegetarian diets due to its protein and B vitamin content. It also has a cheesy taste so many use it to replace cheese in their diet. 
  • It contains all nine essential amino acids.
  • It is a rich source of 14 minerals and 17 vitamins
  • It has antiviral and antibacterial properties
  • It may be useful for candida, chronic acne, diarrhea, and immune system support.
  • Athletes use it for an energy boost

How Do I use it in My Recipes?

zucchini pasta tomato nutrtional yeast

You can add nutritional yeast to many dishes that you make.  Add it at the end to hot and cooked dishes as high temperatures may destroy the nutritional benefits of the yeast.  For instance, add some to your cooked chicken curry dish or to your favorite pasta sauce. 

  • Sprinkle it on your stove topped cooked popcorn
  • Add it into hummus, pesto, pasta sauces and cold soups
  • Sprinkle onto your salads and cooked vegetables
  • Use it as you would use grated cheese
  • Add to bean and rice or whole grain dishes.

Recipes with Nutritional Yeast

Will my local Grocery Store Carry Nutritional Yeast?

  • Your local traditional grocery store may not but many are adding healthier options. For instance, many Wal Marts and King Soopers now contain nutritional yeast products. Whole Foods and other local natural grocery stores and vitamin shops should carry nutritional yeast. 
  • Otherwise order online from www.thrivemarket.com, amazon or many other healthy whole foods or vitamin websites.
  • Because I only use a small amount per day I store mine in a glass jar in the fridge to maintain freshness. Otherwise, store in your pantry or cupboard. It should keep for up to 2 years. 

What You Need to Know

  • Those with Gout may want to keep the amount to ½ a teaspoon per day due to its purine content
  • You may have heard that some nutritional yeast products contain lead. These brands have no detectable lead in them-Bob’s Red Mill, NOW, Bragg’s, Dr. Fuhrman, and Red Star.  However, no matter what the brand, it is safe to consume 2 tablespoons per day. 
  • Some nutritional yeast products contain B12 while others do not. Read the label. If you are a vegan or vegetarian and avoid meats, it is still best to supplement with B12 in a methylated form. It is a myth that B12 is naturally found in nutritional yeast-it must be added in. 
  • It does NOT contain MSG as you may hear this rumor. Yeast is a natural source of the umami flavor or natural glutamic acid.  The glutamic acid is bound to other amino acids. The glutamic acid that is MSG is not bound.  When you consume glutamic acid from real foods, your body controls how much is absorbed.  Excess glutamic acid is passed off as waste not stored in your body.  MSG that is added to fast food and processed foods is an excitotoxin that overexcites your cells. 

 

Sources

http://nutritionfacts.org/2017/02/14/benefits-of-nutritional-yeast-to-prevent-the-common-cold/?

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/04/04/nutritional-yeast-aspx

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

Wood, R. (2010) The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia.  NY: Penguin Books

 

If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of 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. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! Want more information, like her fb page here

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

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