Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's Not What You Eat But What You Digest that Counts!

Our intestinal lining is populated by millions, and billions of (simply put) good and bad bacteria. But one the the plights of our North American culture is that even though our good bacteria should be about 85% and the bad about 15% to be in balance. Today's diet and lifestyle has caused a reversal of these two figures and we now have about 85% bad bacteria and 15% of the good guys competing and fighting for survival space.

What this means to you and I is that those good bacteria are what aids us in digestion. If we have 85 % bad and that bacteria does not aid in digesting but is completing for the nutrition that you think you are eating, you end up second in line. The bad bacteria is thriving on your grocery bill and you are starving and so compulsively eat more and more in order to get the same nutrition. The result is overweight issues, cravings for sweets and grains, and poor digestion, gas and constipation and usually belly fat in particular.

Poor good bacteria count = poor digestion = gas = malnutrition (and overweight tendencies) = disease.

Improving your diet, as in eliminating the bad diet choices are all important but are not enough for a robust return to good health. You also need to repopulate and maintain a good bacterial count in your intestinal tract.

It has bothered me for years when I heard the phrase, "You are not what you eat, but what you digest." I had no idea what that meant because I was under the understanding that what you put down your throat went into your stomach and was digested. (Where else did it go?)
How on earth do you improve your digestion, I wondered for years? The answer to that question is actually quite simple. Naturally soured fruits, vegetables and grains, and dairy, are the most natural way to aid in digestion by adding those wonderful digestive enzymes and probiotics back into your digestive process, aiding in correcting the imbalance problem.

The obvious benefits will be easier elimination, less gas indicating indigestion, improved digestion and absorption and the desire to eat less and without the heavy long digestion feeling, and ....drum roll please...weight loss.

Adding store bought probiotics is another way to repopulate your intestines, available in the refrigerator section of your Health Food Store, but adding a habit of eating natural probiotics will be even better.

Homemade sauerkraut is so easy to make and is so very nutritious. One of the added benefits to this probiotic feast is that it is by nature still raw and therefore is part of the raw total that you might be keeping a mental note of. (I am) I am now at about 60 - 80 % raw without really much effort at all and that alone is such a surprise that it is so easy. I've lost weight and am feeling great. I'm sold. Now if I can just convince my husband to try it! (another story, another day)

Natural, Simple RAW Sauerkraut

1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
(a food processor with the "grate" disc does an excellent job)
1 T caraway seeds, optional but is a very nice addition
1 T Celtic or Himalayan salt
4 T whey (whey is the clearish liquid from raw milk when it is set out on the counter for several days until it separates. The term curds (cream or cottage cheese) and whey comes from this process.
you can use an additional Tablespoon of salt instead.

-Mix the grated cabbage with the caraway seeds and then pound all with a wooden pounder or mallet for about a 10 min to help release the juices. Place in a quart size jar. One medium cabbage fills a quart jar perfectly.

-Press down firmly until the juices flow to the top of the cabbage, making sure the top of the cabbage stays about 1 inch below the top of the jar.

-Cover tightly and let sit at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage. The fridge is fine. (Sample a little everyday until you have acquired a taste for wholesome naturally soured foods.)

Consume a tablespoon or more at each meal, especially at the heaviest or meat meal of the day and enjoy.

For a more complete information on how the digestion/bacteria process works see Dr Mercola's excellent article. (This is also a sales letter and promotion for his probiotic formula-sorry. I haven't used them but I would imagine that they are a good brand)

Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily

12 additives to definately avoid

Here are 12 good reasons to just eat plain wholesome food straight from the garden or farm. The effort it takes to read all the labels and chart what each item is in takes so long that it would be far more efficient just to eat straight from the source, good natural healthy and inexpensive food as God made it for us to eat.

Dr Mercola does it again. He lists the top 12 items that should never be consumed in a healthy diet. I have added my comments in this color.

1. Sodium Nitrate (also called Sodium Nitrite) This is a preservative, coloring, and flavoring commonly added to bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, and corned beef. Studies have linked eating it to various types of cancer. ( It's the meat "products" word that is a give this one away. Altered, often pureed and filled with air that will aid in quick spoilage, not pure fresh meat. Fresh meat does need preserving other than refrigeration or freezing.)

2. BHA and BHT
Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene are used to preserve common household foods. They are found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils. They are oxidants, which form potentially cancer-causing reactive compounds in your body. (Anytime you see these ingredients added to the packaging material "to retain freshness," consider it in the food as well! Don't buy it!)

3. Propyl Gallate
Another preservative, often used in conjunction with BHA and BHT. It is sometimes found in meat products, chicken soup base, and chewing gum. Animals studies have suggested that it could be linked to cancer. (note the word "meat products," not wholesome grass fed cuts of meat. If you have to have hot dogs or other processed meats then buy Shelton's brand or any other brand that has a clean conscience. ...those that don't use dangerous additives. They are around, you just have to find them)

4. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
MSG is an amino acid used as a flavor enhancer in soups, salad dressings, chips, frozen entrees, and restaurant food. It can cause headaches and nausea, and animal studies link it to damaged nerve cells in the brains of infant mice. (Watch for all the pseudo names for MSG. It lurks under many names)

5. Trans Fats
Trans fats are proven to cause heart disease. Restaurant food, especially fast food chains, often serve foods laden with trans fats. (I would rather go hungry than eat at a fast food restaurant. The more you know, the more it will change your life!)

6. Aspartame
Aspartame, also known by the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal, is a sweetener found in so-called diet foods such as low-calorie desserts, gelatins, drink mixes, and soft drinks. It may cause cancer or neurological problems, such as dizziness or hallucinations. (This is probably one of the most prevalent additives today and many people blindly accept as safe..or "they" wouldn't put it in pop")

7. Acesulfame-K
This is a relatively new artificial sweetener found in baked goods, chewing gum, and gelatin desserts. There is a general concern that testing on this product has been scant, and some studies show the additive may cause cancer in rats. (any artificial chemicalized sweetener is a bad idea. Remember, antifreeze is so sweet that dogs and cats will lick it up if found on a garage floor. They die very quickly and painfully even though the liquid tasted really good!)

8. Food Colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6
Five food colorings still on the market are linked with cancer in animal testing. Blue 1 and 2, found in beverages, candy, baked goods and pet food, have been linked to cancer in mice. Red 3, used to dye cherries, fruit cocktail, candy, and baked goods, has been shown to cause thyroid tumors in rats. Green 3, added to candy and beverages, has been linked to bladder cancer. The widely used yellow 6, added to beverages, sausage, gelatin, baked goods, and candy, has been linked to tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney. (anything that needs to be dyed for eye appeal is obviously not of good food quality anyway so if you see any product that has dye added put it back on the shelf,...an easy way to avoid this one!)

9. Olestra
Olestra, a synthetic fat found in some potato chip brands, can cause severe diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and gas. Olestra also inhibits healthy vitamin absorption from fat-soluble carotenoids that are found in fruits and vegetables. (simply don't eat potato chips)

10. Potassium Bromate
Potassium bromate is used as an additive to increase volume in some white flour, breads, and rolls. It is known to cause cancer in animals, and even small amounts in bread can create a risk for humans. (grind your own flour, ferment it over night and use the whole grain to make your own great tasting and nutritious breads and baking)

11. White Sugar
Watch out for foods with added sugars, such as baked goods, cereals, crackers, sauces and many other processed foods. It is unsafe for your health, and promotes bad nutrition. (my note- and of course, don't use it in your own kitchen. (Substitutes are stevia, honey, agave syrup, unsulphered molasses, rice syrup and maple syrup.)

12. Sodium Chloride
A dash of sodium chloride, more commonly known as salt, can bring flavor to your meal. But too much salt can be dangerous for your health, leading to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. (Use Celtic or Himalayan salt)

Living a Lifestyle of Learning daily