Everything You Need To Know About GMOs

gmo awareness

gmo awareness

There are two sides to every story. Nothing could be more true than in the case of the people vs. Big Food on the topic of GMOs. Its a story of scientific experimentation, greed, innovation and public safety.

But what exactly is a GMO? And why is everyone afraid of them? Here is a break down on what they are and what each opposing side is saying about them. From there you can make your own decision of what side of the fence you stand on and what you feel comfortable putting into your body.

The Facts:

  • “Genetically modified (GM) foods are foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism”. – world health organization (WHO)
  • 88-95% of our corn, canola, soy and sugar is Genetically modified. – GMO OMG- a film by Jeremy Seifert
  • Monsanto, Du Pont & Syngenta are the 3 patent holders of GMO products. – GMO OMG- a film by Jeremy Seifert
  • The 9 main GMO crops in US are soy, corn, cotton, canola, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini & alfalfa.
  • There are 2 types of GMOs:
    • Herbicide resistant crops: Crops that are bred to be able to outlive being sprayed with  a toxic amount of herbicide. An example is Round Up ready soybeans.  GMO OMG- a film by Jeremy Seifert
    • Pesticide producing crops: Crops that have BT – bacillus thuringiensis toxin inserted into their DNA so that when a pest eats them they die. Examples of this are BT corn & cotton. The Future of Food
  • 75% of all processed foods contain GMOs. – Center for food safety
  • 70-90% of all food producing Animals are fed GMO crops. – Forbes
  • Common ingredients that contain GMOs are: amino acids, aspartame, ascorbic acid, vitamin C, soy lecithin (used in chocolate), xanthum gum, molasses, some vitamins & supplements, baking powder, corn syrup and tempeh.- Non GMO Project
  • Europe bans all GMOs. – gmo-free-regions.org
  • Monsanto owns thousands of seed patents. If a farm is illegally using their seeds without a license they can sue them for patent infringement. – RT.com
  • Large food corporations raised over $45 mil to fight prop 37 in CA against GMO food labeling. They scared the public by telling everyone their food prices would increase dramatically.. – SFGate
  • The non-gmo project is a non profit 3rd party verification program that is commited to building sources of non GMO products and providing the public with GMO information. – nongmoproject.org
  • The Non-GMO label on foods is the fastest growing label and boosts sales of its products dramatically – Institute for responsible technology
  • Whole Foods will require that everyone label their foods with GMO ingredients by 2018 – macleans.ca.com

As most of you probably know activists have been fighting tirelessly for GMO labeling so that we can find out if there are GMO ingredients in the food we are eating. It has been an uphill battle to not only demand transparent food labels but also to even just conduct solid scientific research on the possible effects of eating GMO crops.

Here is what the opposing side is saying:

  • GMO corn was linked to tumors, liver & kidney damage in rats. – Institute for responsible technology
  • Monsanto argues there is no difference in nutrients between a GMO crop and a non GMO crop. – Monsanto.com
  • “GM foods are not properly tested for human safety”- Institute for responsible technology
  • GMOs are not labeled because they are considered “substantially equivalent” to other foods and are categorized as “generally recognized as safe” with no scientific evidence by the FDA – The Future of Food
  • Our immune system could get confused at telling apart genetically engineered protein and regular protein, which can lead to chronic inflammation. – Institute for responsible technology
  • Overuse of GE crops and herbicides that are used with those crops have led to weeds that are resistant to the herbicide so you have to spray more. – The Future of Food
  • Companies like Monsanto prevent researchers from using their seeds to conduct scientific studies. – The New York Times
  • Almost always when people switch to a non GMO diet their gastrointestinal problems, allergies, asthma, skin diseases go away – Institute for responsible technology
  • Soybeans when modified trips the typsin inhibitor which then blocks the action of trypsin, an important protein digester – Institute for responsible technology
  • Studies in Scotland showed the process of genetically engineering something is responsible for pre-cancerous cell growth in digestive tract and damaged immune system in rats. The scientist that conducted this study was fired and gagged for speaking of the dangers of GMOs. He was later allowed to talk. – Institute for responsible technology
  • BT toxin is used in organic farming as a natural pesticide. The GMO crop that produces BT toxin is 3-5 times more toxic than the natural spray. It contains properties of known allergins which provoke the immune system. – Institute for responsible technology
  • Glyphosate (round up ready’s main ingredient) deprives plants of nutrients which makes the crops nutrient deficient –Institute for responsible technology
  • When we eat GMO ingredients the glyphosate binds with gluten and nutrients and makes us nutrient deficient, which makes us sick –Institute for responsible technology
  • Glyphosate (Round-up) is a powerful antibiotic which kills good gut bacteria. Bad bacteria like e.coli, salmonella and botulism is resistant to round up. This creates dysbiosis (leaky gut syndrome), acid reflux, digestive issues and immune issues. –Institute for responsible technology
  • Glyphosate (Round up) is an endocrine disrupter in human cells – Pub Med
  • Glyphosate (Round up)  inhibits cytochrome enzymes from filtering toxins out of our bodies and reaks havoc on our gut microbiome which can lead to a variety of diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease and alzheimers. . – MDPI
  • The person in charge of GMO policy at the FDA is Monsanto’s former attorney. His policy claims that GMOs are safe. – Institute for responsible technology
  • Scientists working at FDA found that GMOs were in fact different and dangerous and urged long term safety studies, they were ignored – Institute for responsible technology
  • “A report by the US Centers for Disease Control shows that food related illnesses increased 2-to 10-fold in the years beween 1994 (just before GM food was commercialized) and 1999” –Institute for responsible technology
  • Farmers who reach out for help from the government are ignored because they say it is not their policy to get involved in private litigations. – The future of food
  • GMOs neither feed the world nor address nutrition problems. They are a cheap food source for factory farms and processed foods. – Food and Water Watch
  • Over 300 former congressional and white house staff member are now employed by biotech frims as lobbyists. – food and water watch
  • Staff members go back and forth working for the FDA and GMO companies. – GMO OMG
  • In March 2015 the World Health Organization’s International agency for research said glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic to humans”- Marion Nestle
  • Insects or wind can carry GMO pollen for miles and pollenate other plants. – GMO OMG
  • Because of this farmers could be growing GMO crops with out even knowing it. The farmers are then charged or taken to court by biotech companies that have patented the seeds for “planting them” with out a license.– The future of food
  • “Its been 20 years since the first genetically modified crops were approved in Canada. But theres been no evaluation from the federal goerment as to the risks and benefits of that experiment. “ – Lucy Sharratt, Canadian biotechnology action network.

Here’s Big Food’s side of the story:

  • GMO crops have been grown for 20 years, there is no evidence that says these crops lead to health problems. – Biotech industry
  • GMO Sugar is so highly processed that by the time you eat it it has no more GMO DNA left. – NPR
  • “It doesn’t matter which protein it is, or where it came from, it almost always ends up as nonfunctional pieces that are recycled to new dehydration reactions elsewhere in the body to create new proteins. There’s an exceptionally small chance for a novel GMO protein to survive the digestive system intact and functional, and GMO proteins are not any more likely than any other protein to do so.” – his science is too tight
  • Farmers are able to use less toxic pesticides which are safer for farmers and the environment. PBS
  • Farmers have higher yields of crops and increased income using GMO crops. – Biotech industry
  • Glyphosate is safe – Monsanto
  • GMO farmers say that they are feeding the world.- his science is too tight
  • “GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health” – The WHO
  • Over 2,000 studies have been done on GM foods affirming their safety – Genetic Literacy Project
  • “FDA’s process for evaluating bioengineered foods is one in which the public can have confidence that food biotechnology products must meet the law’s safety standards.” – FDA
  • “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food…Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job” – Phil Angell, Director of Corporate Communications, Monsanto, quoted in New York Times Magazine, October 25, 1998
  • “Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety” – FDA, “Statement of Policy Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties” (GMO Policy), Federal Register, Vol. 57, No. 104 (1992), p. 22991
  • GM animal feed is safe and nutritionally equivalent to non-GMO feed. – Study of GMOs and food by the university of CA-Davis department of animal science in the Journal of animal science- Forbes

So what do you do if you don’t want to eat GMO crops? It can be difficult since they are in virtually everything but here are a few helpful tips.

  • Buy organic.
  • Shop at farmers markets or buy CSA boxes.
  • Choose non GMO foods. Look for the Non-GMO Project label.
  • Avoid buying nonorganic processed foods

Some Big Food companies wised up real quick when sales started to take a hit. Here is a list of companies that have now agreed to label GMO products

  • Campbell’s
  • General Mills (Cheerios are now GMO free)
  • Mars
  • ConAgra
  • Kellog

What do you think about GMOs? Are they feeding the world or are they making us sick?

Eating According to Your Dosha Type

Spices

Do you know which foods make you feel nourished? Fulfilled? Happy? Energetic? What about the foods that make you feel heavy? Cause bloating? Cause headaches? Eating according to your dosha type is a great way to give your body what it needs to feel good and thrive.

What’s all this dosha talk? In Ayurveda, the 5000 year old science of life, there are three doshas, or body types. Pitta, Kapha and Vata. Everyone has all three but you are more dominant in two which make up your primary and secondary dosha. For example I am a Vata-Pitta. Vata being my primary, which I am most of and Pitta being my secondary. Your primary dosha is based on genetics and doesn’t change your entire life. Knowing your dosha information will help you find the right diet and remedies that work best for you. But, being mindfull of all three doshas is important. When all three doshas are in balance you are in perfect health.

Find out your dosha type with this quiz 

The three doshas are….

Pitta – Represents fire + water. Pittas tend to run hot both physically and mentally. They have a medium athletic build, are very passionate and driven and tend to be perfectionists. One of their downsides is they create problems that don’t really exists when feeling too balanced. When out of balanced they can get irritable, angry and their body’s can get inflamed. They do best with sweet, hydrating, bitter and cooling foods and should avoid salty, heavy foods and stimulants like coffee and alcohol in excess. Relaxing activities, like yoga and fishing, that promote a sense of calmness are ideal for Pittas.

Kapha – Represents water + earth. Kaphas are nurturing, calm and loving. The tend to have a wider build and are very strong. When out of balance they tend to be congested, gain weight easily, lethargic and depressed. They do best with dry, warming foods, pungent-heating spices, light proteins and raw vegetables and should avoid high fat foods, heavy proteins like red meat, dairy, gluten, sweets, processed foods and starchy vegetables in excess. Kapha types benefit from having some cardio in their routine to get stagnant energy moving.

Vata – Represents space + air. Vatas tend to be dry, thin, anxious and scatter brained. They take on many projects at once and are very sensitive to cold weather. They do best with oily, grounding, hydrating and warming foods and should avoid iced drinks, cold foods, citrus, stimulants like sugar and alcohol and dry foods in excess. Grounding activities like yoga, pilates and weightlifting are ideal for Vata types.

How to eat according to your dosha –

Foods well suited for Vata are warm liquids and foods like teas, soups and stews, cooked vegetables, warm spices, good quality oils and whole grains. An example of a good menu for Vata is: Start out the day with warm lemon water, followed by warm oatmeal with fresh berries for breakfast. Lunch could be a hot Beef and vegetable soup with whole grain bread and grass-fed butter. Green tea and juicy fruits like peaches and nectarines are great snack options in the afternoon. A good dinner would be Tofu and vegetable curry over brown rice.

Pitta types do well with herbal teas, citrus, salads, sea vegetables, fresh fruit,  rice,  fresh herbs, seeds and light proteins like chicken and fish. An example of a good menu for Pitta is: An acai bowl for breakfast topped with berries, hemp and sunflower seeds, tuna-avocado sushi rolls with seaweed salad for lunch, lots of cool water throughout the day and an orange for a snack. A good dinner would be Chicken with lemon and herbs and a side of fennel salad and rice.

Kapha types do well with foods like beans, salads, warm teas, quinoa, ginger, cayenne, crunchy vegetables and light proteins like chicken and fish. An example of a good menu for Kapha is: A green juice or fruit smoothie for breakfast. A nice big kale salad with lots of crunchy vegetables for lunch, ginger tea with raw honey and a piece of fruit like an apple or a pear for a snack. A good dinner would be grilled fish with spicy stir fried vegetables over quinoa.

But don’t be too rigid with your diet. Just like you need to consider your dosha you also need to consider other things when it comes to your diet as well. The season, the climate and where you live can also dictate how you should eat.

The best way to choose the foods that will be best for you is to take it day by day. Every morning take a quick scan. How do you feel? What kind of mood are you in? What’s the weather like outside? What foods are in season? How is your digestion? Are you having any cravings? Your body and your surroundings know what you need, listen to them.

Just because my dominant dosha is Vata doesn’t mean I eat to balance Vata every single day. Some days I get up very congested and need to balance Kapha by removing cold wet foods from my breakfast like yogurt and adding in more heating spices like ginger throughout the day. Other days I get up and its very warm outside and I feel more in the mood for a cold smoothie or a refreshing salad to balance my Pitta. Its all about how you feel day to day, moment to moment that determines how you should eat.

Whatever your dosha type may be, eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods is always the most important thing. That being said don’t be too strict on yourself. Enjoy your life. Cheat from time to time. Have some pizza or that piece of chocolate cake if you want. If you try to live your life in balance most of the time it will know when it is ok to veer off track a little and when it’s time to get back on. So enjoy the ride.

Take some, leave some. There are many health systems and diets in the world that work for many people. For example, Ayurveda and Macrobiotics are complete lifestyles that are based in thousands of years of research. Then you have numerous diets like The Raw Diet, The Paleo Diet and The Zone Diet. They are all fascinating and all have truths to them. What is important is finding your truth and a lifestyle that works for you.

I tend to pick and choose which things work for me and not stick to any one system or diet in it’s entirety. I think you can learn a lot from all of them but that you should observe them for what they are from the outside while focusing on yourself from the inside.

Experiment on yourself. Know yourself. Eat accordingly.

Find a local Ayurveda Center…

If you would like to learn more about Ayurveda and how you can incorporate it into your life there is no better way than going to a local center and immersing yourself in it.

I found the Dhyana Center in Sebastopol by chance one day when I picked up an Ayurvedic cookbook at Whole Foods. The foreward was written by the owner of the Dhyana Center and since it was only located an hour away from where I live I decided to go check it out.

My first visit to the Dhyana center was a game changer. I took an introduction to Ayurveda class, my first kundalini yoga class, had my first Ayurveda massage (so much better than a regular old massage!), I used the self-care sanctuary where they have steam rooms, saunas and bathtubs and I tried my first “mocktail” at their apothecary bar. It was an experience I will never forget. I now bring family and friends there so I can share it with them. It is a truly special place.

Dhyana Center – A school, self-care center and community center for Ayurveda. There is also a retail shop where you can purchase many tools, spices and remedies used for the Ayurveda lifestyle.

Work Your Feet

Bare feet

Long gone are the days when I was a kid running all over the neighborhood in bare feet everyday. But although I am grown now and don’t have the opportunity to be as care free I still find time to ditch the shoes whenever possible. When I’m at home, when I cook for my clients in their home and when I exercise I do it all with bare feet.

Now, not everyone has the opportunity to work bare footed like I do I understand. But it is important to know why going bare foot for even just a couple hours a day is beneficial to your health. I met up with Jae Yee of J bodyworks, a movement therapy studio in San Francisco that I go to every week, to discuss the importance of “training your feet”. Here is what I learned…

Open joints create strength. Jae explained that by walking barefoot you are allowing all of your joints in your feet and ankles to move and absorb force which increases their strength and mobilization.

The foot to brain connection is important for overall physical health. When the receptors of each joint in your feet are activated the information goes to the brain informing it of it’s surroundings, which muscles to activate and how to adjust the body’s posture. Having good posture contributes to having healthy joints, fully functioning muscles and an overall physical well being. When you have shoes on they dumb down that sensory input that goes to the brain.

Ditch the high heels. Every woman reading this just rolled their eyes. Although I too own a few pairs I now understand that the long term affects of wearing heels can out weight looking cute for a night. Jae says wearing heels can cause a number of issues. Tilting your body forward by wearing heels makes your lower back over arch to compensate. This accentuated curve in the lumbar spine can result in lower back pain due to compression of the lower back disks. Compression of the toes due to mashing them into small toe boxes can result in toes permanently stacking on top of one another, bunions and hammertoes. Heels also cause muscular imbalances. Because of the positioning of the body the calves and ankles get compressed and don’t move which means they aren’t working. The quad muscles end up overcompensating. Heels also alter the way you walk and make it harder to balance.

Underworked feet could lead to tightness which can lead to injury. The path to recovery can be a very long one back after having a major injury or surgery. Jae says, “sometimes when your body has made such a big adaptation where you now actually need the support I don’t take that away from people”. If the person is determined to be able to walk without supportive shoes again he says it can take years of training.

How to train your feet. Practice foot mobility drills everyday such as ankle circles, middle toe pulls and inside ankle tilts. It is important to open the joints up before attempting to strengthen.  If you have been wearing supportive shoes all of your life your feet have likely become reliant on them. It takes time to build the muscles back up in your feet. If you wear high heals or running shoes with a grade of 9mm from toes to heel start by working your way down to running shoes with a 4mm grade that are flexible and allow your foot to move freely.  It is also important to have a toe box on your shoe that lets your toes move freely. If your second toe is longer than your first toe Jae recommends going up one size to accommodate it. After you get used to a very low heel work your way down to a shoe with a flat sole. From there you can start either spending more time bare foot or try out Vibrams (five fingered shoes). Jae recommends taking it slow if you are a runner and want to switch to Vibrams. He said that when he made the switch he started out wearing them only half the day just to walk around in. Then eventually when he was able to be in them all day without his feet hurting he tried going for a short light jog. Over time he began to run longer distances with more speed. He says you have to be very careful because jumping right into a shoe like this after years of wearing highly supportive running shoes with a heel can cause stress fractures. Your feet need to be strong enough to work on their own without all the extra support. Jae also suggests to “be practical with the terrain you are on”. If you are out in the snow or doing some serious hiking you need shoes that will support you and grip the earth. He says he chooses a low top shoe in these situations versus a high top shoe so that he can at least retain some mobility in his ankles.

Wrapping things up I’ll leave you with this. Next time it’s nice outside go to a park, take off your shoes and socks and take a walk through the grass. The grounding connection that you will make with the earth will not only bring you a pleasant overall sensory awareness and strengthen your feet  but will also nourish your soul.

Jbodyworks

Jae Yee, Founder Jbodyworks

Jae has been in the health and wellness industry since 2003. As a Hendrickson Method therapist, he specializes in muscular dysfunctions and soft tissue injuries. His study of the human body started at age 10 where he practiced and studied the philosophies of movement and energy through Chinese martial arts and Tai-Chi. Jae holds over 200 hours of study in combined Eastern and Western modalities of bodywork, is a Nationally-Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and a Performance Enhancement Specialist with Z-Health, a neuro-science based performance system.

After having the honor and privilege of being on staff for 6 years with Dr. Tom Hendrickson at the Hendrickson Clinic, Jae is now a Master Trainer for Z-Health and has a movement therapy studio located in the SOMA area of San Francisco, where he trains and develops a team of coaches dedicated to having : “EVERY BODY WORK”.

Contact Jae: jae@jbodyworks.com

Jbodyworks

“Work” and “Movement” are the heart of J Bodyworks. We believe that  Every Body Works better with improved movement. For us, movement and work within “fitness” are not isolated to just your muscles. Instead, our approach to fitness is holistic, focusing your work on three key zones of the body:

Spirit: The movement of your Brain

Science: The movement of your Being

Strength: The movement of your Body

That’s our Key Three.

Consider this: Every body is in contact motion within their Brain, Being, and Body. Therefore, we believe better movement and real results comes from harnessing the separate motions in all three regions in the right direction for each individual. By correctly directing the motion for each of these harmonious systems – how you think (your Brain), the flow of your nervous system (your Being), and your overall physical fitness (your Body) – we can begin to build a cooperative foundation for real change.

Move your Brain, Move your Being, Move your Body. 

Visit J Bodyworks

Practice foot mobility drills. Watch videos for: ankle circlesmiddle toe pulls and inside ankle tilts.

Tea For Digestion

Tea for digestion

What if you could ensure optimal digestion at every meal? No bloating, no heartburn, no abdominal pain and increased nutrient absorption.

There are many factors that are involved in digesting a meal well. Portion size, thoroughly chewing your food, the way you are sitting, how fast you are eating, etc.

But what if I told you that the drink that accompanies your meal also plays a huge role in how you digest it?

Hot vs. Cold. In Ayurveda, the 5000 year old North Indian science of life, they believe if you consume cold beverages you weaken the “digestive fire” that energizes your digestive system inhibiting you to get properly nourished from food. On the other hand drinking hot or warm beverages stoke this fire and stimulates digestion.

To drink or not to drink? You could also argue that drinking too much fluid wether it be hot or cold will over-dilute stomach acid and impair digestion as well. Because of this many believe you shouldn’t drink anything at all during a meal.

Drinking before a meal. Drinking water a half hour before a meal has been said to aid in digestion and even help with weight loss. By giving you a sense of fullness before you even start eating, drinking the glass of water before the meal may make you less likely to overeat.

Spiced teas are another way to go and my personal favorite. Something as basic as steeping fresh ginger in hot water to drink with your meal is one of the oldest and most common ways to stoke that “digestive fire”. The recipe I have designed below is sort of a combination of three different teas I like to make myself. They all benefit digestion so combining them made sense to me. It also tastes great.

Health bennies:

  • Ginger – warming, stimulates enzymes in the saliva which helps break down our food, improves circulation, increases energy, clears congestion.
  • Turmeric – warming, anti-inflammatory.
  • Black pepper – helps activate the curcumin in the turmeric which is responsible for turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cumin, coriander & fennel seeds – good source of minerals and magnesium, helps prevent acid indigestion.
  • Fresh lemon – helps to detoxify the liver.
  • Raw honey – good for your immune system, high in antioxidants.

I know what you are thinking right now….but, I love ice water, an ice cold beer or chilled wine with my dinner. If you are in that category I invite you to notice how you feel at the end of a meal that you accompany an ice cold drink with. Then have a meal either drinking a warm beverage like ginger tea or nothing at all and compare it to the other meal. You may find no difference at all. You may see a dramatic difference. And if you do, you can choose to incorporate this practice into your daily routine as just one more thing you do to improve your health.

Do you have a preferred beverage to drink with meals? Why is this drink your go to? Do you love the flavor? Does it make you feel good? Does it cool you down or warm you up?

I would love to hear from you.

Tea For Digestion

Servings 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Filtered water
  • 1 - 1 in. piece Ginger peeled and grated (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 - 1 in. piece Turmeric peeled and grated (about 1 teaspoon) or  (1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric)
  • 1/8 teaspoon about 6-8 each  Black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin seeds crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon Coriander seeds crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fennel seeds crushed
  • 1/2 Lemon I love using Meyer lemons for this, but a regular lemon also works great
  • 2 teaspoons Raw honey

Instructions

  1. Combine the water, ginger, turmeric and dried spices in a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat, strain and stir in the juice of half a lemon and the honey.
  4. Enjoy while the tea is still warm on its own or with a meal to stoke your digestive fire.

Grated turmeric

Are We Too Clean?

Are we too clean?

Microbes. They rule our world. Our body’s balance of good and bad have determined our health since we were born. Is it too late to change?

I find the human microbiome fascinating. The busy little city of microbes running around your body, on your skin, in your mouth, in your stomach. Everywhere.

When these good and bad microbes are out of balance (dysbiosis) however, our immune system gets out of balance and diseases can occur.

The hygiene hypothesis was a study that explained that as our environment developed, family sizes shrank, living conditions went from rural farms to sterile urban cities, antibiotics started being used, our diets changed (enter processed & factory farmed food), antibacterial soaps started being used and we became less exposed to microbes in general our immune systems became out of balance, contributing to chronic inflammation and disease development.

According to this hypothesis, infancy and early childhood is when this all goes down. Being birthed caesarean section, not being breastfed and a lack of exposure to microbes during early childhood lowers our immune tolerance and increases the likelihood of a child developing allergies, asthma or other inflammatory diseases.

They found that kids living in larger families were exposed to more microbes through their siblings and had reduced risk of asthma & allergies. The same was found with kids raised on farms and in poor communities versus affluent, more sterile communities.

Meanwhile, The Biodiversity Hypothesis was developed and found that it wasn’t only the exposure to the microbes that was important for a balanced immune system but also the diversity of the microbes that was important. It was the diversity that increased the likelihood of you having the right amount of good and bad microbes to balance each other out.

So what do we do with this information now that we are adults and can’t change the way we were raised? Do we go to a farm and roll around in the dirt? Do we stop cleaning our homes? No.

As in most of the world of nutrition, more research needs to be done in order to conclude how to fix our outcome.

The good news is that we can now educate future mothers of the importance of transferring microbes to babies through natural birth and breastfeeding.

We know the risks of antibiotics, not getting enough fiber and probiotics in your diet and what antibacterial soaps can do to change your microbiome.

And we know we need to take care of our soil with organic farming practices in order to increase microbe diversity in plants which in turn feed our human microbiome diverse microbes.

Nutritional studies are still in immature stages and not fully developed. Every year we learn more. What was told to us in the 50’s is different from what they told us in the 80’s and very different from what we now know today. Are we too clean? Maybe, but what will they be saying ten years from now?

What do you think?

Resources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841828/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hygiene_hypothesis

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23663440

 

Spring Cleanse Bone Broth

Bone broth

Spring is the best time of the year to do a cleanse and move stagnant winter energy out of your body. It’s a time to push out toxins and built up congestion and start fresh.

Drinking a cup of bone broth every day during or after a cleanse acts as a supplement to help maintain good health, keep us strong and heal the gut.

As an added bonus for the liver I have added some herbs to this broth that aid in detoxification – milk thistle and Astragalus (a chinese herb often referred to as huang qi).

Source your veal bones from a reputable butcher. Try to find organic, hormone and antibiotic free bones.

Health bennies:

  • Veal knuckle and femur bones – High in collagen and cartilage (more so than beef bones) which help rejuvenate skin, hair, nails, cells and tissue. Heals the intestinal lining by feeding the gut cells. Helps balance the immune system. Replenishes important vitamins and minerals, Contains all 9 essential amino acids needed for optimal health. Helps liver detox heavy metals. Strengthens bones and improves joint health.
  • Milk Thistle – Often used in Chinese medicine to detox the liver.
  • Astragalus – Known in Chinese medicine to be a Qi (chi) mover which helps move stagnant energy out and promote new tissue growth.
  • Garlic & Ginger – Good for your immune and digestive systems, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory.

Spring Cleanse Bone Broth

Servings 1 Gallon

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Veal knuckle bones
  • 3 pounds Veal femur bones with marrow
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Black peppercorns crushed
  • 1/2 cup Apple cider vinegar distilled, white or red can also be used
  • 6 quarts Water filtered
  • 2 Yellow onion large dice
  • 2 Carrots large dice
  • 4 ribs Celery large die
  • 1 bunch Thyme
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup Milk Thistle Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Astragula Huang qi
  • 1/2 bunch Parsley
  • 3 inch piece Ginger peeled and sliced
  • 6 cloves Garlic smashed

Instructions

  1. Place the first 6 ingredients into either 1 very large stockpot or 2, 1-gal pots divided equally. Let sit at room temp for 1 hour so that the vinegar and sea salt can draw the minerals out of the bones.
  2. Bring the pot (or pots) up to  barely a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to a simmer.  Skim off impurities, cover partially and simmer on low for 2 days. Add more water as often as needed in order to keep the bones covered, always returning the broth to a simmer.
  3. On the 3rd day add the next 10 ingredients and continue to simmer another 6 hours, adding more water if necessary to keep everything covered.

    Broth
  4. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve. Keep any collagen, marrow or meat that falls off the bones, chop them finely and add them to the strained stock.
  5. Divide the broth into 8 – 1 pint mason jars with lids. Freeze what ever you are not going to drink within one week.

Recipe Notes

Need Milk Thistle Seeds? Try this!
Need Astragula (Huang qi)? Try this!

Trust Your Gut

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Ever jumped out of a plane? I haven’t. Something happens in my stomach at the thought of being thousands of feet up in the air, going a hundred miles an hour looking down to my potential death. OK, so maybe I’m being overly dramatic here but the point is, it’s my stomach telling me that even though this is a perfectly safe activity, the amount of stress this will put me under because of how scared I am might not be good for my body.

Ever wonder why the term “trust your gut” exists? It actually may be more scientific than you think. It all boils down to this, there are more nerve endings in your gut than in your central nervous system. Your thoughts are directly related to your stomach and intestines. So when you think stressful or worried thoughts it can throw off balance in your gut. Likewise, when there is an imbalance in your gut it can effect your mood.

Environmental toxins, your diet, unhealthy relationships and stress all effect your gut and in turn effect your mood. Not absorbing nutrients properly due to one of these irritants can cause damage to the nervous system which can cause depression, anxiety, panic attacks and mood disorders. 95% of the serotonin in your body is created in the gut which is why there is such a strong connection between whats going on with your digestive system and your mood.

Think about it, when you are scared, worried, stressed or depressed what does your stomach feel like? Tied in knots? Butterflies? Like someone punched you in the gut (this is the one that happens to me)? Stress directly impacts your digestion, how (or if) you absorb nutrients and your gut microbiota. Pile on top of that the fact that 70% of your immune system lies in your intestines. Which means that when your digestive system is out of wack your immune system starts to attack. This vicious cycle has the potential to lead to disease so it’s in your best interest to keep everything running smoothly.

Your gut houses your intuition, your feelings and your “hunches”. Trusting your gut has to do with being self-aware and trusting yourself. So if your gut doesn’t feel right, trust that there is probably something wrong. What you do next is up to you.

What’s the deal with gluten?

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Buckwheat Meteil and NY Rye from Acme Bread Co.

As I began to research the subject of gluten I found myself going down a rabbit hole of topics ranging from refined flour made from commodity grains to the nutritional benefits of whole grains to sourdough bread fermentation to the demise (and some argue survival) of the health of our country due to the invention of the steel roller mill. Several months later I realized that I wasn’t writing a blog entry I was writing a book.

To keep things short, simple and focused on the topic of gluten I am going to write just about that and will save related topics for future articles.

What is gluten? Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in wheat, barley, rye and other related grains that cause bread to rise, hold its shape and give it desirable texture.

Gluten has been a controversial topic since the late 90’s when high carb diets suddenly went out of style and low-no carb diets started trending.

The argument of the gluten free advocators is that it creates inflammation and sugar spikes that promotes insulin resistance which can lead to obesity, diabetes and other inflammatory related diseases.

I believe that to be true but only in these instances:

  1. You are eating highly refined carbs made from commodity grains (processed foods).
  2. You do not eat a balanced diet of carbs, protein, vegetables and healthy fats.
  3. You are not eating whole grains  and/or eating breads that have been quickly fermented with commercial yeast instead of slow fermented with a natural starter  (like in the case of sourdough bread).
  4. You have changed the bacteria in your gut’s microbiome (probably by eating to much processed food and being overly exposed to antibiotics) to the point where you have trouble digesting food properly.

Gluten is the devil if you have Celiac disease. 1% of Americans are diagnosed with Celiac disease in which gluten attacks the immune system and severely damages the small intestine. There is no cure but you can avoid symptoms by not eating any products containing gluten.

Gluten sensitivity is what I believe is effecting all other Americans that have trouble digesting gluten. In this case gluten is not doing any damage to the persons intestine but it does cause them to have bloating, stomach pain or constipation.

The easiest way to find out if gluten is the cause of your digestion problems is to go on an elimination diet. This is when you eliminate a particular food from your diet (in this case gluten) and then start slowly adding it back in noting how you feel each time. If you still feel awful off gluten than it is probably something else in your diet that is making you feel this way. Eating intuitively and having self-awareness is the best way to determine which foods are right for you.

Most of the time when people go on a gluten free diet the reason they start feeling better is because they have eliminated most of the processed foods in their diet (white bread, white pasta, pizza, cookies, crackers, ect.). If you have done this and are feeling good try gradually adding whole grains that contain gluten back into your diet a little at a time like farro, pan au levain (sourdough bread) or whole grain pasta from reputable sources. What you may end up noticing is that not only are you not sensitive to these products but you are actually feeling healthier and maybe even dropping some pounds too.

Grains that contain gluten are:

  • Wheat
  • Barley (farro)
  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Rye
  • Triticale (rye-wheat blend)

Grains that do not contain gluten are:

  • Rice
  • Millet
  • Kasha
  • Buckwheat
  • Oats
  • Cornmeal
  • Wild rice
  • Quinoa
  • Teff
  • Amaranth

Companies that sell nutritious whole grain products are:

Why Raw Honey is so Sweet for Your Health

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Did you know that without bees we would lose 60-70% of our crops? In addition to pollinating plants bees produce honey and bee pollen which have amazing health benefits. These little flying creatures are indeed busy little bees.

When talking about the health benefits of honey it is important to note that the honey you want to  use is raw since pasteurization kills at least 50% of honey’s nutrients. If you are buying a locally made raw honey even better because it will strengthen your immune system to the environment in which you are in.

Raw honey – Health bennies:

  • High in antioxidants
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Great for your immune system

Hair bennies:

  • Conditions & moisturizes
  • Strengthens
  • Lightens hair

Nail bennies:

  • Strengthens
  • Softens cuticles

Skin bennies:

  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Helps fade scars
  • Anti-fungal
  • Hydrates & moisturizes
  • Helps lesson signs of wrinkling and aging
  • Use as a spot treatment for blemishes
  • Clarifies, clears pores
  • Calms skin conditions

Sarah’s raw honey body-wash/face-wash/shampoo & conditioner all-in-one

Yield – 2 cups

1/2 cup Raw, Organic Honey

1 1/4 cups Lavender Castile Soap

4 teaspoons Jojoba oil

2 teaspoons Vitamin E oil

20 drops Lavender essential oil

20 drops Rosemary essential oil

10 drops Grapefruit essential oil

10 drops Geranium essential oil

  • Whisk ingredients together and pour into a squirt bottle or bottle with a pump. Use in the shower or at the sink. A little goes a long way!

 

My Top 10 Self-Care Practices

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Photography by Jenee Crayne

The photo above is Justine. She is my friend and one of my favorite yoga teachers. It was her and a couple of other people at my yoga studio that influenced me down my journey of taking back my life. Once a master juggler at getting several tasks done for other people all at once, now the juggling is done to benefit and enhance my own life.

This is no easy task, but the moment you let go of feeling like it is not OK to take time out for yourself, is the moment when you can really start to live.

Caring for yourself enables you to care for other people on a higher level. Feeling confident, rested and healthy gives you the energy to be there for the people who need it (and deserve it) the most in your life.

Here are my Top 10 Favorite Self-Care practices:

  • Yoga – The spiritual practice of yoga is good for both your mind and body. It’s a never-ending practice that you continue outside in the real world after you have gotten up off of your mat. It reminds us to let go of the ego, be present and mindful and to listen to your own body. It is my favorite form of self-care hands down.
  • Massage – This also falls into the category of treating yourself to a day at the spa. Find the type of massage that’s right for you and enjoy it. The body deeply benefits from human touch and massages are great for promoting circulation, treating minor pains, reducing stress and relaxing your muscles.
  • Taking a bath – Taking a good 20-30 minute soak in a hot bath is amazingly detoxifying and relaxing. Add 2 cups epsom salt, 1 cup aluminum-free baking soda & 10 drops lavender essential oil to your bath, light some candles and enjoy.
  • Acupuncture – If you have never had acupuncture do yourself a favor and make an appointment right now. Not only do the practitioners have endless ways of treating any kind of injury you may have but they can also sense how your organs are functioning and heal them as needed. Very thin needles are inserted into the body in various points necessary to treat your ailment. Sometimes cupping (to relax and stimulate energy of muscles) and or/ moxi sticks (for warming) can be used as well. At the end of the session feeling relaxed, euphoric, dizzy & a little light headed are all common.
  • Good Dental Hygiene – This can include tongue scraping, oil pulling, flossing and using a natural teeth whitener. Use natural products and set aside plenty of time to do it right.
    • Tongue Scraping – Clears the tongue of mucous, toxins and bacteria. Rinse your mouth with cold water, scrape your tongue 10 times and rinse again. Follow up with oil pulling and brushing. Tongue scraper I recommend.
    • Oil Pulling – Ayurvedic technique of swishing oil around in your mouth to pull out bacteria and fungus. It alleviates bad breath, cavities, plaque, sensitive teeth and inflammation. Swish 1-2 teaspoons of coconut, sesame or sunflower oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes (do not swallow), spit the oil out, rinse your mouth out with salt water and brush your teeth. Oral pulling rinse I enjoy.
    • Tooth Whitening – Baking soda makes an effective all natural tooth whitener. ECO-Dent makes a good one.
    • Natural toothpaste – To fluoride or not to fluoride. That is the question. I pick not. Here’s what I would rather use. Or this one.
  • Body Brushing – So invigorating and leaves your skin silky smooth. Body brushing boosts circulation and lymphatic flow which detoxifies and opens pores and exfoliates for healthy skin. Using a non synthetic long handled brush gently dry brush each body part in an upward direction starting from your feet all the way up to your neck. Follow up with a warm shower and moisturize with either lotion or oil.
  • Walking or hiking in Nature – Barefoot walks on the beach or in a grassy park. Hiking through the woods or up a mountain. Being in nature is extremely grounding and good for your soul. Turn the phone off and appreciate what’s around you.
  • Reading for pleasure – One of my favorite past times (especially on vacation) and great to do right before bed to help get a good nights sleep.
  • Warm lemon water – Or even just warm water for that matter. Starting your day with  a large cup will stimulate your digestive system, alkalinize your body and detoxify your liver.
  • Meditation – Hands down the hardest self-care technique for me to do. Sit upright in a comfortable position and concentrate on your breathing. Try not to let outside noises or your own thoughts distract you. If they do, acknowledge them, let them go and return back to your breath, for as long as possible. This is totally easier said than done. I recommend a restorative yoga class which also incorporates gentle, relaxing postures into the practice. Meditation is a great way to start and end your day.

Which self-care techniques do you like the best?