Tag Archives: recipes

Holiday Recipe Series: Cook Right, Eat Right

credit: Sarah Brett, RD

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Five weeks later: Christmas. And then, New Year’s Day. And don’t forget the make-up dinners with the family and friends. No matter how much you try to avoid it, you’ll probably be doing a lot of eating. How to make that work with a healthy lifestyle? How to avoid that permanent 1-pound weight gain?

Simple: Do a lot of cooking.

Here at WellnessFX, we want your holiday season to be fun and joyous, not stressful and potentially unhealthy. We’re rolling out with a lot of treats for you this year, and one of them is the Holiday Recipe Series!

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The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Fermentation – It’s What For Dinner

Today’s guest post comes from Ben Greenfield, a leading source worldwide for people to learn how to use the most efficient techniques possible to transform their bodies, achieve their physical goals and become superhuman.  Ben has free human performance and nutrition articles, audios and videos on his website – http://www.BenGreenfieldFitness.com.

The average trip to your local health food store exposes you to a colorful variety of fermented foods like kombuchas, yogurts, kefirs and other packaged compounds that promise to maximize your digestive health by increasing your beneficial gut flora.

But this whole fermentation thing isn’t exactly a new phenomenon.

Cultures around the world have fermented a number of different products. In Asia, there is natto, kimchi, kefir; in the Middle East, pickles , yogurts, and torshi; in Europe use of sauerkraut and rakfisk, and Pacific islanders with poi and kanga pirau. In America, we eat all these and combine with kombucha and chocolate.

Why? In simple terms, fermentation makes food healthier.

For example, I personally won’t go near grain or soy products unless they’ve been fermented. This is because the lectins, gluten and phylates in grain are reduced by fermentation (one reason that the only bread I’ll usually eat is sourdough bread), while the mineral inhibiting properties of soy are vastly reduced with fermentation.

Dairy is another example of a potentially harmful food that can be made beneficial by fermentation, since fermentation breaks down lactose in dairy and decreases the sugar content of dairy, which is great news for anyone who is lactose intolerant or trying to limit sugar consumption.

Limiting damage to the gut is just one benefit of fermentation, and for many people trying to optimize wellness, building a healthy immune system and optimizing digestive performance by maximizing probiotic (good bacteria) consumption is another major perk of eating fermented foods.

A probiotic rich diet can protect from colon cancer, relieve inflammatory bowel disease and lactose intolerance, improve oral health, increase bioavailability of vitamins, nutrients and minerals in food, and perhaps most significantly, increase the efficiency of the immune system, which is primarily located in your gut.

Unfortunately, most commercial probiotic foods that you buy at the grocery store have been pasteurized, packaged improperly for keeping good bacteria alive, or treated with high amounts of added sugars to satisfy a palate conditioned to sweet foods.

So what’s the solution? Make fermented foods yourself at home.

This is especially useful if you always find yourself with extra vegetables or fruits, or want to store foods for long periods of time. For thousands of years, cultures have known that lacto-fermentation will preserve vegetables for long periods without the use of freezers or canning machine, since the lactic acid formed during fermentation is a natural preservative that inhibits bacteria.

Take kimchi, for example. Within 10 minutes, you can use carrots, cabbage and peppers to make a batch of kimchi at home that will last 2 weeks, and you can use this as a side with meals, or put on top of a salad. Here’s a simple video in which my wife shows you how to make kimchi.

Kefir is also very simple to make at home. Just get a tablespoon of kefir grains (you can purchase from multiple sources, such as Cultures for Health), add about 8 tablespoons of milk (we use raw milk from a local farm), put into a glass jar, cover, and store at room temperature (out of direct sunlight) for 12-24 hours. Strain it, then put it in the refrigerator, where your fresh kefir will keep for months.

In our house, we also ferment cabbage for sauerkraut, pickle cucumbers and green tomatoes, and even make our own yogurt, while occasionally including sourdough bread and miso from the grocery store. Once you learn how to ferment and to appreciate fermented foods, it becomes a simple meal preparation process and a healthy eating skill you know for life. One of the best sources for learning more, and for accessing tons of excellent fermented (and non-fermented) recipes is the cookbook “Nourishing Traditions”.

So enjoy your newfound fermentation skills, and leave any comments below. I promise to answer.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.

Guest Post: Fight Inflammation with Sweet Potato Power!

Ashley Tudor is the author of Sweet Potato Power: Smart Carbs, Your Body Your Rules, a guide to health, nutrition, and a tool kit to make your diet rules based of your unique biology. Follow Ashley on the web via Twitter, Facebook or her website http://sweetpotatopower.com.

Caring about what you can’t see:  an introduction to inflammation

Inflammation is an important part of the healing process. When you sprain an ankle, it gets swollen. This reaction is the work of your body’s healing agents mobilizing and rushing to fix the problem. Most people only think of this visible, “acute” reaction when they think of inflammation—the redness, the swelling, the tenderness. In contrast the inflammation that we can’t see, present in the blood, has the most influence on our health and waistline.

Acute inflammation is a good thing that helps heal our bodies. But, if the body is always in healing mode, it experiences chronic or constant inflammation, which is damaging. When our systems experience nonstop inflammation, our bodies are constantly fighting invaders. The relentless siege taxes fortifications. While the body is fighting on one front, resources are not available to fight new threats like disease and infection. We get sick more often. Even though we can’t see chronic inflammation, we need to care about this marker.

The dangers of chronic inflammation:

  • Wears out the transport system of your body (aka your veins and arteries).
  • Makes you age faster.
  • Damages your DNA making it prone to replication errors and more susceptible to cancer.
  • Decreases the efficiency of transporting glucose to your hungry brain. You eat more and are compelled to eat bad food that are processed by the body quickly.
  • Promotes weight gain.

Diet influences inflammation in our body

Some causes of acute inflammation are out of our control, such as our bodies fighting bacteria or viruses, or healing from injury. However, chronic inflammation can be controlled. One of the most common sources of chronic inflammation is our food. With the wrong foods, chronic inflammation can start in our digestive system and move into the blood stream and through the entire body. We should avoid foods that cause inflammation and load up on foods that help fight it.

Prevent and avoid chronic inflammation with the sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are a food that both prevents and fight inflammation in the body. Sweet potatoes contain a protein that helps the plant repair itself after damage or bruising. When eaten this protein acts as an anti-inflammatory in our body. But that’s not all.  Sweet potatoes are also a great food source to replace inflammatory food culprits like wheat. One recipe illustrates how easy it is to replace high inflamation foods (pasta) with anti-inflammatory foods (sweet potatoes) with all the flavor and none of the health sacrifice.

Ingredients

1 medium yam, long in shape

1 Tbsp unsalted butter

6 sage leaves (or more to taste)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

1.Wash yam under running water and peel. Slice yam, lengthwise, as thinly as possible using a mandoline or sharp knife (a potato peeler does not slice thin enough).

2.Cut the long, thin slices into even strips about 1⁄4 inch wide as linguine. Set aside.

3.In a large sauté pan, melt butter on medium-low heat and add the sage. Watch the butter closely as sage begins to brown (you don’t want it to burn). When the sage is crisp, remove and set aside. Add the sweet potato linguine strips to the butter and heat thoroughly. Stir and toss about 2 to 3 minutes. When tender and warmed through, plate and garnish with the fried sage.

Even with a perfect diet, testing is key

Chronic inflammation happens within the body so it’s easy for this health culprit to go unnoticed. Blood work is a great tool to see hidden inflammation. Many transitioning from a standard American diet to a more whole foods diet can see big improvements in their inflammation markers. While diet is a great starting point to get inflammation under control, it is not the only cause. Many paleo or primal eaters find that even with perfect or “dialed” diets their inflammation is still high. Working with health care practitioners can help you sleuth out causes before they become symptoms.

The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.