Welcome to my Blog about Food and Well-being!

I am often asked to share my knowledge of food and recipes. After changing my diet four years ago from a typical "Western" diet to a mostly whole-foods and plant-based diet, I have seen incredible changes in my health and well-being. I have spent countless hours researching and love helping those who are ready to feel better. The underlying theme? YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Read on to find out more.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Can You Prevent Alzheimer's?

My beloved grandmother and my husband's grandmother both died from Alzheimer's Disease. My father-in-law is in early stages of Alzheimer's. It's such a scary and sad disease that robs the mind of memories that you thought you'd never forget. When my grandmother was sick, she didn't know who those closest to her were anymore. She didn't remember teaching me how to make an authentic New York cheesecake. She didn't remember letting me dress up in her fancy clothes and high heeled shoes. She didn't remember how we watched Johnny Carson together while I fell asleep cuddled next to her.

More and more research dollars are being spent on finding a cure, especially since several high-profile people have or had the disease. I found the following doctor, Dr. Neal Barnard, who appeared on Dr. Oz fascinating with his claim that he knows how to PREVENT Alzheimer's. It's a four-part series that I recommend you watch when you have time. 

Basically, Dr. Barnard said that when the plaques that are found in the brains of Alzheimer's victims are analyzed, they are filled with metals. He believes these metals, namely iron, copper and zinc, wreak havoc on the brain cells and destroy the connections that give us our memory. By reducing the amount of metals in our diets, he claims we can PREVENT Alzheimer's. But there's more. These metals bind with saturated fats in meats and dairy to cause the most harm. Dr. Barnard recommends the following diet from whole foods (not from supplements):
  • lots of vitamin E - sweet potatoes, mangoes, walnuts and broccoli
  • B6 - corn (organic), beans, brown rice and other whole grains like amaranth
  • B12 - fortified cereals and fortified nut milks
  • Folate - leafy greens like kale, asparagus and beans
  • Antioxidants - blueberries and grapes
And he says you should drastically reduce or eliminate:
  • Meat (especially red meat because of the high saturated fats)
  • Dairy (the highest levels of saturated fats of any food group)
  • Fish (he says most fish is contaminated because the ocean is so high in toxic minerals)
  • Fried foods (again, high in saturated fats)

He recommends if you take a multi-vitamin, be sure to find one without minerals and not to take iron supplements unless your blood work shows you have anemia or significant iron deficiency.

To watch the Dr. Oz video, click HERE.

To go to Dr. Neal Barnard's website to read more about him and his research, click HERE.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Detoxing for Summer - Lighten UP!

Summer is almost here and there's no better time to de-sludge! The winter is long passed us but our bodies might be holding on to extra bulk we no longer need. If you're in the mood to clean things out and feel a little lighter, read on!

Our bodies can sometimes feel heavy, burdened and slow. One of the best ways to speed up the cleansing process is to EAT CLEAN. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I push eating clean all year. I know it can be hard, especially around the holidays and celebrations, but summer is the perfect time to get started. Here's how.

1) Eat lighter fare. The harvest right now is plentiful with lots of greens, onions, beets, carrots, cabbage, garlic, parsnips, radishes, berries, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cucumber and summer squashes. These foods grow this season because they are meant to not only nourish you, but cool you from the inside out. That's why you feel like salads in the summer and stew in the winter. It's not just a "feeling," but a true necessity. Who wants a heavy chowder in the summer? Find recipes that use raw or lightly steamed veggies over long-roasted or boiled ones. Do quick sautes instead of foods that take a longer cooking time.

2) Make friends with veggie smoothies. The more fibrous veggies you consume, the faster you get rid of the winter sludge. Make the smoothie recipe from this site or get creative and try your own recipe. Keep in mind, smoothies should be 3 parts veggies to 1 part fruit. If your smoothies are mostly fruit, you're getting some good vitamin C but your also getting lots of sugars. Try a base of fresh oj, a couple of leaves of kale, juice of 1/2 - 1 lime, 1/4 of a cucumber, a handful of cilantro or parsley (great detoxifiers), a drizzle of honey and a few ice cubes. Add spirulina powder and flax or chia for extra nutrients!

3) Eat your greens! Greens are great detoxifiers. We're talking cilantro, parsley, lettuce, kale, chard, spinach,.mustard greens and collard greens.The chlorophyll in these veggies is so powerful. Aloe vera juice and chia (when wet) are gelatinous and pull toxins from the body.

4) Get off the cow dairy. Cow dairy is hard to digest, contains a lot of casein (which has been linked to all sorts of cancers), and makes you feel sludgy. Just as it is creamy in texture, it coats your insides and creates mucus. Goat dairy is much more digestible, contains less casein and is usually tolerated by people with dairy allergies.

5) Exercise. Fresh air is ideal but if you need to be indoors, you can still get some great exercise. Fill your lungs with air because oxygen is the best thing you can add to your blood, giving you energy and rebuilding cells. Get your blood flowing! Even a 20 minute brisk walk will do wonders for your energy level, mood and digestion. Stretch slowly and often to keep muscles flexible and release toxins. 

6) Drink lots of water. If you're releasing toxins through diet and exercise, you need to flush them out with fluids. Water is best, even with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Stay away from caffeine as this dehydrates the body. 

7) Stay away from processed foods! Processed foods are inflammatory and contain addictive ingredients that aren't good for your brain, nervous system or digestion. The less sugar, salt, preservatives and artificial ingredients you consume, the more efficient your body and immune system will perform. Remember: you are what you eat. Are you eating junk? Then you probably feel like junk. Eat clean and you'll feel clean!

8) Laugh. Alot. Laughter is one of the best medicines EVER and it's free. Spend time with family and friends, creating a fun environment where laughter abounds. Life is hard enough and there's likely not a bunch you can do about most of it, so you might as well laugh!

What do you plan to do this summer to lighten things up? Let me know!