Unscrambling the egg

Unscrambling the egg

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. My current phase involves a bed of spinach, half an avocado, two poached eggs, and a couple shakes of freshly ground pepper and salt. Amazing. And healthy. I guess I don’t really care which came first, all I know is I love eggs and here’s why. Nutritional facts Eggs are an excellent source of easily-digestible protein: each egg has 6 grams of protein and about 80 calories. Although this is less protein than meat, the quality of the protein and the eight essential amino acids it contains gives it a high profile. This is why eggs are so great to eat in the morning: protein helps control appetite and makes you feel full for a longer period of time. Eggs are nutritionally dense, providing us with a myriad of fat-soluble antioxidant nutrients, vitamins, and minerals: B-vitamins (especially B12- remember “The B-complex”?), selenium, and vitamin A, just to name a few. Though eggs are high is cholesterol, they have very little saturated fat (the bad fat). Unless you are watching your cholesterol or are at risk for heart disease, having a few eggs per week should not be a problem. Since the yolk contains most of the cholesterol and the whites carry half the protein content, try mixing one yolk per two or three whites; you’ll get most of the nutritional benefit and your omelette will have a similar consistency and color. Fresh pastured eggs are higher in nutritional value. You may have already sensed this difference the first time you cracked open a fresh egg from the farmer’s market- brighter color yolk and...
The B-complex is.. complexing

The B-complex is.. complexing

photo Where do B vitamins come from and am I getting enough of them? Do I have to get them from animal products? From supplements? Are vegetarians at risk for being deficient? These are some of the questions I asked myself. It started when my natural health pharmacist recommended I take a B-complex supplement after I told her my fingernails break easily. I eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and I am not a strict vegetarian, so what was I missing? I embarked on some research to try to enlighten my (still-not-enrolled-in-nutrition-school) self. Looking into vitamins and supplements is like opening a can of worms, but nevertheless, here is the information I gathered. Feed back and comments are always greatly appreciated; what is your take on B vitamins? There are eight of these nifty and essential little vitamins that make up the “B-complex.” Although they come from different sources and don’t necessarily work together, their main biological functions are supporting a healthy nervous system and metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to convert them into usable energy. They also maintain the integrity of our skin, hair, eyes, liver, immune system, fertility; plus, there is lots of evidence that B vitamins help in treating some degenerative diseases. More specifics about each B vitamin: B1- Thiamine: Important for the metabolism of carbohydrates into glucose; helps the nervous system; improves mental function. Sources: whole grains, red meat, egg yolks, green leafy veggies, legumes. B2-Riboflavin: Helps increase iron levels; important for the breakdown of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Sources: whole grains, milk, meat, eggs, cheese, peas. B3-Niacin: Promotes healthy skin, nerves, the gastrointestinal tract; corrects high cholesterol; reverses heart disease. Sources: high-protein...
Magic beans

Magic beans

Or, magic SEEDS, rather. They are…broccoli seeds Broccoli seeds make broccoli sprouts, which are light, crunchy, flavorful, and have the slight bitter cruciferous taste like broccoli does. A delightful addition to salads, sandwiches or anything else that can be used as a vehicle for eating them. Here’s the magical part: they are powerhouses of nutrients and vitamins, rich in antioxidants and enzymes, and even have a cancer-fighting quality due to its abundance of the anti-cancer phytochemical, sulforaphane. It’s like concentrating the nutritional benefits of three pounds of fully grown broccoli into a mouthful of green sprouts. Sproutable Foods In general, sprouting seeds, grains, or beans makes them more digestible. You know the rules for boiling beans: soak them overnight, discard the water, and they cook more efficiently and don’t give you… ehem, as much gas, right? This is because soaking initiates the sprouting process and also removes the phytic acid so that the minerals and vitamins can be assimilated by our bodies. When converting a seed, grain, or bean into it’s sprout form, though, they become more digestible because the proteins and starches change into simple sugars and free amino acids, and the enzymes and vitamin content increases. Healing With Whole Foods (by Paul Pichford) says sprouting “predigests” the nutrients in the seed, making it easier to assimilate and metabolize. How to: grow your own sprouts Growing your own sprouts is as easy as 1, 2, 3! Step 1) Soak a few tablespoons of any seed of your choice in a wide mouth mason jar for 6-8 hours. Attach a sprouting screen to the top or cover the mouth of...
Get your omegas

Get your omegas

Cod Liver Oil I finally did it! I caved in and started taking supplements. Yummm, nothing like slurping a teaspoon of cod liver oil in the morning and letting that fishy taste linger on your tongue. I’ve learned by now to have my Inka or kombucha at arms’ length so I can cut the taste right away. Better yet, I’ve been putting it right into my protein smoothie and I don’t taste a thing. The brand I use now is Nordic Naturals, which is very high quality and has the highest testing standards for heavy metals, dioxins, and PCBs, the natural and man-made toxins often found in fish. There are two kinds of essential fatty acids: Omega 3 (of which there are three: DHA, EPA, ALA) and Omega-6. These two have a tricky relationship, but DHA is found to be the most beneficial for our brain health. There needs to be a balanced ratio to get the most benefit for brain functioning and since our bodies do not make them, we must get them from our food. Health benefits: Protects heart and brain Anti-inflammatory (good for arthritis) Reduces blood pressure and increases circulation Boosts mind/mood (preliminary evidence that it reduces depression) Promotes fertility Protects vision Protects skin Weight loss Sources of Omega-3 Cold water fish: salmon, trout (both are lowest in mercury), tuna, mackeral, sardines, cod Veggie: flax seeds, flax oil, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, olive oil, avocado Nuts and oils only contain the Omega-3 ALA, which is converted by our bodies into the beneficial DHA, but at a much slower pace and less efficiently. Getting DHA from a...
Nutritional yeast

Nutritional yeast

What is nutritional yeast? When I was growing up I spent many-a-night watching movies with a big bowl of buttery popcorn topped with this yellow, flaky product called nutritional yeast (ps. I grew up in Eugene, OR in a very health food-minded household). My mom also sprinkled it on our cat’s food, who was crazy about it. Now I use it as a condiment, added to anything and everything that happens to be on my plate; I’ve even started using it to make casseroles, sauces, and dressings. But besides being versatile and yummy (and a cat supplement), what exactly IS IT? Developed as a non-active yeast (i.e. it doesn’t cause bread to rise) and created specifically as a nutritional supplement, nutritional yeast is rich in protein and B vitamins. This is not to be confused with brewers yeast, which is a bi-product of breweries and distilleries and doesn’t have the same nutritional value. Nutritional yeast is grown in mineral-enriched cane and beet molasses and then pasteurized to kill the active yeast. At that time, all the necessary vitamins, namely B-vitamins and calcium, are added to the mixture before it is dried and packaged. Click here for a nifty little illustration of the process. Also, there is more information on this page, as well as the nutritional facts. Nutritional benefits: rich in amino acids and B-vitamins Here’s a quickie lesson on nutrition: 1) Amino acids: not produced by the body so we must get them from our food. We need these amino acids to form protein, which the body uses for growth and maintenance. Nutritional yeast has two grams of...
Term defined: Homeopathic

Term defined: Homeopathic

So what does homeopathic even mean? I was asked this point blank the other day, and I realized I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. Throughout the past few years I have been on a quest to self-educate on the topics of health, holistic nutrition, and yes, homeopathic medicine, but I didn’t know the answer to this question?!! “It’s, you know, natural medicines and alternative remedies…” So I began investigating to get a clear, concise answer and finally understand what it means, then get it down on paper (or blog, rather), THEN commit it to memory. The first thing I did was go to Wikipedia. It’s long winded and, well, Wikipedia. Nevertheless, I found that in the first paragraph it says “The collective weight of scientific evidence has found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo.” Yikes. Moving on, I went to the American Institute of Homeopathy. It is a trade association for medical practitioners and has a comprehensive set of Standards of Practice meant to clarify the principles of homeopathic care. In summary: “Homeopathy views the state of being unwell as being a holistic disturbance in the homeostasis of the total being. The physician who employs Homeotherapeutics should be cognizant of the total or holistic nature of physiological disorder or disease and the necessity of a holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment.” Getting closer. The Society of Homeopaths is a little more clear: “Homeopathy is a system of medicine which involves treating the individual with highly diluted substances, given mainly in tablet form, with the aim of triggering the body’s natural system of healing… Homeopathy is based on the principle...
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