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Coming Clean: A Week of Whole Foods

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Have the slower, colder winter months got you feeling sluggish…a little pudgy…as if there’s stuff that you need to clear out of your system? If so, you’ve come to the right place because after you follow this seven-day plan for eating nothing but nourishing, unprocessed whole foods your insides will do a dance of joy. Oh, yeah!

It’s extremely beneficial to periodically feed your body nothing but food in its natural state—in other words, food that it will immediately recognize and know how to break down without any additional effort. In the process, you’ll be releasing toxins, which can cause you to feel a little blah, but you’ll come out the other end cleaner and lighter than you went in. To help sweep toxins from your system, spend some time in the sauna or take a hot Epsom salt bath before bed. You’ll feel tired after you do this—plan to sleep like a baby!

Here are the guidelines to follow for this oh-so-gently detox, which involves staying away from several foods and sticking to a handful of healthy ones, instead. Ready?

  • AVOID foods that contain, or were manufactured with anything related to a fungus, yeast, or mold, such as: cheese, vinegar, wine, beer, alcoholic drinks, MSG, mushrooms, pickled or smoked mealts, malted products, bread, fruit juices, and vitamins derived from yeast.
  • AVOID foods to which you have known sensitivities or allergies.
  • AVOID dairy (cow’s milk, cheese, and yogurt only).
  • AVOID sugar and other simple refined carbohydrates, such as honey, corn syrup, sucrose, maltose, lactose, maple syrup, white flour, potato chips, and corn chips. Choose your carbs wisely by choosing those lowest in sugar and highest in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Eat one serving of carbohydrate with each meal but not more.
  • EAT organic animal protein, beans, raw organic nuts, or nut butters or eggs with every meal.
  • EAT water based (non-starchy) vegetables at every meal. Consume leafy greens such as kale, collards, chard, mustard greens, field greens, and fresh spinach daily.
  • EAT fruit moderately. Wash well and/or peel before eating to remove mold. Apples, pears, and berries are best. In general fruit should be with other foods. Nuts and fruit are ideal and make a great snack food, but moderation is key.
  • EAT the freshest food possible. Do not eat any leftovers that have been in the refrigerator longer than 24 hours.
  • Specific foods to incorporate:
  • Beverage: Almond milk, chamomile tea, sesame milk, soy milk
  • Cereal: Amaranth porridge, barley flakes, buckwheat groats, corn cereal, corn grits, Cream of Rice, oat bran, oatmeal, puffed corn, puffed rice
  • Dairy: Goat cheeses, goat yogurt, goat milk
  • Fruit: Apple, blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, grapefruit, lemon, lime, papaya, strawberry
  • Grain: Amaranth, barley, buckwheat, oat, rice, rye, spelt
  • Legume: Alfalfa, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, green beans, kidney beans, lentils, lima beans, navy beans, peas, pinto beans, soybeans
  • Nut: Almond, hazelnut, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Organic Protein: Beef, chicken, cornish hen, duck, eggs, lamb, tofu, turkey, veal
  • Seafood: All seafood is fair game!
  • Vegetable: Asparagus, avocado (technically a fruit, but it’s low in sugar), broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, collard greens, cucumber, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, okra, onion, parsley, peppers (bell and chili), radish, scallions, spinach, turnip, turnip greens, zucchini
  • Starchy Vegetables: Artichoke, beet, jicama, parsnip, pumpkin, sweet potato, turnip, winter squash

Make sure you are drinking ample water throughout the day to continue flushing toxins from your system. If you want to continue this protocol beyond a week, you can for up to a month and see great results!

Are you ready to do a detox this Fall?
Check out my 14-Day Fall 2016 Detox Program

 

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Author’s content used under license, © 2012 Sprouted Content, LLC
 

 

20 Healthy Swaps

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By making small tweaks to your diet, you can realize some amazing health benefits over time. Here’s a list of 20 simple food swaps that will put you on a fast-track to eating nutritiously—and deliciously!

Instead of potato or corn chips…

Go for organic popcorn (not microwave) sprinkled with nutritional yeast or roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

Why? You still get the salty crunch you’re after while getting lots more nutrients

Instead of white potatoes…

Go for sweet potatoes

Why? They’re packed with antioxidants and have a lower glycemic index than their white cousins

Instead of conventional apples and celery…

Go for organic apples and celery

Why? These crops are the most heavily sprayed with pesticides; avoid conventional at all costs

Instead of wheat bread…

Go for sprouted wheat bread/wraps or gluten-free options

Why? Unsprouted wheat and gluten are tough for the body to digest

Instead of white rice

Go for brown rice

Why? There’s more fiber, more flavor, and it’s less likely to cause a spike in blood sugar

Instead of brown rice

Go for quinoa or amaranth

Why? These have more protein than brown rice

Instead of canned beans…

Go for dried beans, soaked

Why? Most cans contain BPA; soaked beans are easier to digest and you control the salt content

Instead of scrambled eggs…

Go for scrambled non-GMO tofu

Why? Many people are unknowingly allergic to eggs; here’s a high-protein breakfast alternative

Instead of peanuts or peanut butter…

Go for almonds and almond butter

Why? Peanuts are heavily sprayed with pesticides and can harbor mold that give off toxins (aflatoxins); peanuts are also slightly acidic whereas almonds are slightly alkaline

Instead of conventional beef…

Go for grass-fed beef

Why? When the ratio of omega-6 fats to omega-3 fats is more than 4:1, people have more health problems. Grain-fed beef’s ratio is 20:1; grass-fed beef’s ratio is 3:1

Instead of farmed salmon…

Go for wild salmon

Why? Farmed salmon has less omega-3 per ounce, 16 times the toxins of wild, and a whack of weird additives

Instead of commercial salad dressing…

Go for extra-virgin olive oil + sea salt + fresh cracked black pepper

Why? Commercial dressing contains all kinds of additives not found in nature; best to stay away

Instead of soy sauce…

Go for wheat-free tamari

Why? It’s a kinder, gentler, slightly less salty soy sauce; no gluten means it’s easier to digest

Instead of table salt…

Go for Celtic or Himalayan sea salt or Herbamare

Why? It’s not stripped of natural trace minerals magnesium and calcium; Herbamare includes fresh herbs so a little packs a flavorful punch

Instead of sugar…

Go for brown rice syrup, raw honey, or natural stevia plant

Why? Evil on so many levels, refined sugar has been robbed of all beneficial nutrients the original sugar cane or beet contains. It also lacks chromium which is a chemical needed to maintain healthy blood sugar levels; all-natural options are always the better choice!

Instead of canola oil…

Go for coconut oil

Why? It remains stable during high-heat cooking making it ideal for baking and cooking

Instead of cow’s milk…

Go for unsweetened rice, almond, or hemp milk

Why? Many people are unknowingly allergic to cow’s milk; the alternatives are not phlegm-inducing

Instead of coffee…

Go for Teechino

Why? This caffeine-free alternative that’s a blend of herbs, grains, fruits, and nuts brews up like coffee and has a similar aroma and taste. You get a boost from the nutrients, not stimulants

Instead of soda…

Go for kombucha

Why? This fermented drink is slightly sweet but low in carbs and loaded with probiotics that help to enhance the good bacteria in your gut

Instead of tap water

Go for filtered or spring water

Why? Filtered water takes out a portion of the contaminants in tap water, but not all; your best bet is to try to drink natural spring water filtered from Mother Nature!

***BONUS SWAP***

This is a big one—instead of eating out, eat in! You’ll realize the best health benefits of all if you make that one change.

Author’s content used under license, © 2012 Sprouted Content, LLC
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Resources
Find a Spring —http://www.findaspring.com/
Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide — http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

 

The Benefits of a Detox Program

Do you need to do a detox?

If YES is your reply to many of the following questions, have your answer…

Is your sleep restful?  Do you drag yourself through your day?  Are you experiencing brain fog?  Are you dealing with recurring headaches or muscle aches?  Are you experiencing allergic reactions or sensitivities to certain foods?  Does your skin feel dull or inflamed?  Is your digestion is sluggish?  Do you have stubborn weight you just can’t release?

According to renowned functional medical practitioner, Dr. Mark Hyman, when your body become “toxic,” it means your natural means of ushering out metabolic waste has exceeded the threshold for what the body’s innate detoxification system can handle on its own. With this toxic load, every system in your body can become affected—toxicity makes you sick!

Types of Detoxes

The word “detox” has become so trendy (it’s as if it’s replaced the word “diet”!). There are many different kinds of detox programs out there, so how do you know which is right for you? From full-on fasts to juice cleanses to seasonal detoxes and whole foods detoxes, they all have specific benefits.

Length of a Detox

While the length of a detox can range from 1 or 2 days to 2 weeks or even a month, my program is designed to last 14 days because I believe this is the optimal time frame for you to rid your body of the toxins that are slowing you down and robbing you of your vitality.  Any shorter and you may not derive the benefits you seek, and any longer and you may have a hard time sticking with it. In my experience, participants achieve the best results by carving out 14 days to cleanse.

How to Prep

When you undertake a detox or cleansing protocol, you should plan on giving yourself the time and space to focus on your health.  This means you should clear your calendar as much as possible, resist taking on extra responsibilities at work, arrange for extra babysitting, and/or explain to your significant other that he or she may not see you as often during this time.

You’ll also want to fill your pantry and fridge with wholesome whole foods and clear out any sugary, fatty, processed foods that are devoid of nutrients and may tempt you as you move through your detox.  You may also want to get a journal to record your progress and any feelings that may come up during your detox. 

What to Expect

It’s common for people to feel WORSE before they feel better during a detox.  This is sometimes referred to as a “healing crisis” or a Herxheimer Reaction, and it’s basically an immune system reaction to the toxins that are released when large amounts of pathogens are being killed off, and the body does not eliminate the toxins quickly enough.

The most important thing is to stick it out, as worsening symptoms do not indicate failure; in fact, it’s just the opposite!  It indicates you are on your way to renewed health.

Are you ready to do a detox this Fall?
Check out my 14-Day Fall 2016 Detox Program

Author’s content used under license, © Sprouted Content, LLC

Is Fish Really Good for Your Health?

Seafood. It’s versatile, fast-cooking, and delicious. A darling among the healthy eating crowd, favored by chefs, and promoted as an all around healthy choice. It’s rich in heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and is a lean source of protein.  And it is all of those things. Except when it’s not.

Decades of global industrial pollution, including contributions that are ongoing, have left our lakes, rivers, and oceans filthy with heavy metals, PCB’s, dioxins, agricultural pesticides, industrial solvents, and more.

Overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices have depleted ocean stocks of many species—this, coupled with our ever-growing appetite for seafood worldwide has launched the mega-farmed-seafood industry. According to the World Wildlife Federation, “85% of the world’s marine stocks are either fully exploited or overfished, driving accelerated growth in the farmed seafood industry.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fish Watch program puts the percentage of farmed seafood the world eats at around 50%.

While farmed seafood might seem like a great answer to overfishing and polluted waters, it’s not without it’s own set of problems, notably the heavy use of antibiotics and pesticides, traces of which are consistently found in tested seafood.

Bigger ocean fish like tuna, swordfish, shark, Chilean sea bass, and king mackerel have some of the highest levels of the known neurotoxin methyl-mercury—including the canned tuna that your kids may be eating in school!

The 2012 Mercury Policy Project report  found that children who eat two medium servings of albacore, or white tuna per week could be exposed to as much as six times the dose that federal guidelines consider safe.

So does this mean you need to forgo heart healthy, omega-3 rich seafood?  

Nope! It just means you must become smarter shopper and above all, “know your seafood.”

Here’s what to look for to avoid the worst, most polluted fish so you can reap all the benefits and reduce the risks of exposure to toxins:

ONE: Eat Low on the Food Chain

Bigger ocean fish that live a long time will bio-accumulate more toxins in their fat and flesh. Rather than tuna and swordfish, opt for smaller fishes like sardines, mackerel, herring, and wild Pacific salmon.

TWO: Eat Domestic

It may be shocking to learn that 90% of the seafood consumed in the United States is imported, and only 2% is regularly inspected. What’s more, international fishing and farming practices often go unchecked—it’s not uncommon to find imported shrimp from Southeast Asia to be contaminated with pesticides that were banned in this country decades ago.

THREE: Aim for Wild Caught

With some exceptions, farmed seafood—in particular farmed salmon—is something you want to skip. Farmed fish often have higher levels of pesticides than their wild counterparts. Close to 90% of all salmon sold in the US is farmed. Read your labels and ask your waiters for wild caught Pacific salmon. But keep in mind dwindling wild fish stock, so you may want to make those choices with sustainability in mind.  

Here are some options for you:

  • Wild caught Pacific Salmon
  • Pacific sardines
  • Pink Oregon shrimp
  • US farmed oysters (these guys are generally the exception to the farmed rule)

If you decide to include seafood in your diet, follow these simple “rules of thumb” and that heart healthy seafood will still be heart healthy!
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Author’s content used under license, © 2013 Sprouted Content, LLC
Article written by Lara Adler, http://www.laraadler.com/

Related Links

Tuna Surprise: Mercury in School Lunches
http://mercurypolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/mpp_tuna_surprise_final_final1.pdf

Fish Watch: U.S. Seafood Facts
http://www.fishwatch.gov/index.htm

Why are smoothies important for breakfast?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and sometimes it just doesn't fit into our schedule the way it should. How we begin the day will determine how the rest of the day goes. It will determine if we feel energized or if we feel dragging with a lack of energy. What we put in our bellies is directly related to how we physically feel. So if you are a skip breakfast and grab the coffee mug morning person then this blog is totally for you.

We all need and crave energy. I know I do! Sometimes it is so easy to want to grab a quick bowl of cereal or even forget breakfast and just get through the morning on 1-2 cups of coffee for the energy needed to survive the day. I don't want you to just survive through the day though; I want you to thrive through the day. I also don't want you to go on the "crash and crave" roller coaster for the entire day. If you begin your morning with caffeinated coffee and sugar, you will crash, and you will be either too tired to make it through your responsibilities or you will be reaching for another cup of coffee to get through a few more hours.

Smoothies are another quick alternative to a fast breakfast that can help energize us throughout the entire day.

When you toss in some greens, a little fruit, and a healthy liquid like coconut water you are bound to feel energetic and ready to take on the day. Starting the day with a smoothie also gives you well needed antioxidants which help protect our bodies from free radicals, and it is a great low glycemic start. Eating a low glycemic breakfast will help curb your sugar cravings for the entire day and it will also help with not crashing.

Next time you want a quick breakfast, try a delicious smoothie that will leave you feeling energized and motivated. A morning smoothie will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to produce natural energy and naturally boost your metabolism. So, what are you reaching for tomorrow morning? I know I will be pulling out my blender and getting ready for some long lasting energy.

GMOs and Gut Health

There are many reasons to avoid eating food that contains Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) but the most important is to maintain good gut health.

Gut health plays an important role in overall health because more than 75 percent of your immune system resides in your digestive system. A healthy gut fights off toxins, allergens, and microbes, while absorbing the nutrients you need to stay well. Also, your gut and brain have neurotransmitters that send information back and forth. If the messages in either direction in the gut are altered or not received properly, your health can become compromised.

GMOs and Your Health

Your immune system cannot identify GMOs and when detected it sees a threat and initiates an inflammatory response. One of the most critical places where the inflammatory response occurs is in your gut. Your gut is the second brain of your body and if it is continually detecting these threats and sending out signals of inflammation it becomes a chronic condition. Chronic inflammation leads to diseases such as heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and gastrointestinal diseases.

In an effort to make it easier for farmers to control pests in these crops, genetic engineers created something called “BT Toxin.” They took a gene from a bacteria that grows naturally and engineered it into the corn and soy crops so the plants would fight off the insects themselves.  After ingestion, BT Toxin attacks the cells of the insect’s gut, essentially causing the insect’s stomach to explode. Both Monsanto (the company that created it) and the FDA assured the public that there was no risk to humans ingesting BT Toxin, claiming the digestive system would destroy the toxin. However studies show the toxin has contributed to the rise in such diseases as leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and even cancer1. Another study showed that the toxin breaks open pores in human cells, which may mirror what it does to the gut of insects.

The good news is that avoiding GMOs can be relatively easy—if you know what to look for.How to Avoid GMOs

Since GMO labeling doesn’t currently exist in the US it’s important to understand where your food comes from and to avoid processed foods. There are nine primary Genetically Engineered food crops, but their derivatives are in more than 70 percent of supermarket foods, particularly processed foods. The most prevalent genetically modified crops include canola, corn, papaya, soybeans, and sugar beets.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Buy whole food and organic food whenever possible
  • Purchase beef that is grass-fed
  • Seek products specifically labeled as non-GM or GMO free. (This is rare; it’s not required yet by the USDA)
  • Avoid aspartame, which is derived from a GE organism
  • Shop locally. Most GM food produced in the US comes from large, industrial farms
  • Grow your own food or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
  • Learn how to read PLU (Product Look Up) codes. A 5-digit code starting with 8 is a GMO product

Since labeling on GMO products is not mandatory, your best chance of avoiding GMO foods is to pay attention to the origin of your food. Eating whole food, grown with safe practices, that’s not processed is so important for maintaining a healthy gut. This in turn will enable you to maintain good overall health as well. Remember: A healthy gut means a happy body!

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Author’s content used under license, © 2013 Sprouted Content, LLC

Related Links
The Non-GMO Project
http://www.nongmoproject.org/  

Genetic Roulette Documentary
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/15/genetic-roulette-gmo-documentary.aspx

References

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19007233

Fiber: Good for What Clogs You

We’ve all experienced the occasional period when stubborn bowels make it tough to go to the bathroom. But the distress normally passes and you’re on your way! However, if you suffer from chronic constipation, there are a host of conditions including hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, and even colon cancer that can come with the territory. Fortunately, increasing your intake of healthy fiber in your diet can help you stay regular and ward off digestive diseases—as well as high cholesterol, blood clots that can lead to heart attacks and stroke, and Type 2 diabetes!

What kind?—There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the body. It’s responsible for helping to keep cholesterol and glucose levels stable. Great sources of soluble fiber include apples, oats, beans, barley, and psyllium. Constipation and irregular stools can be alleviated with the addition of insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and helps move matter through your digestive system by increasing stool bulk. Some foods rich in insoluble fiber are wheat bran, nuts, and many vegetables.

How frequent?—If your diet hasn’t included lots of high-fiber foods, you’ll want to introduce them gradually over a couple of weeks. That way, you can avoid the discomfort of gas, bloating, or cramping and allow the flora of your digestive system to adjust to the new addition. When adding fiber to your diet, you also need to add water! Much like a garbage disposal, without water, fiber can’t do its job of keeping material moving and flushing you out.

How much?— The National Institutes of Health recommends that adults consume 35 grams of fiber per day but 40-50 grams is even better!

Opt for getting your fiber from eating whole foods in lieu of supplements like Metamucil, and focus on incorporating the following into your diet for the best boost:

  • cinnamon
  • freshly ground flaxseeds
  • artichokes
  • broccoli
  • brussel sprouts
  • beans
  • peas
  • avocados
  • apples
  • dates
  • raspberries
  • celery
  • sweet potatoes
  • walnuts
  • hazelnuts
  • pumpkin seeds

Make an avocado a day your dietary mantra and you’ll be off to a great start!  And in no time, your gut will be thanking you for making friends with fiber.

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Author’s content partially used under license, © 2012 Sprouted Content, LLC

Resources

500 High Fiber Recipes: Fight Diabetes, High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Delicious Meals That Fill You Up and Help You Shed Pounds! by Dick Logue
http://www.amazon.com/500-High-Fiber-Recipes-Cholesterol/dp/1592334083/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347155556&sr=1-1&keywords=500+high+fiber+recipes

Matcha Source for matcha green tea powder

The Truth About Cleansing And 4 Biggest Myths

Thanks to much of what we hear in the media, cleansing has earned a reputation for being unhealthy and even unsafe. When you hear the word “cleanse,” so you immediately think of all-liquid diets, expensive supplements and short-term deprivation for short-term gains?

The truth is, a cleanse doesn’t have to involve any of the above—and if you cleanse in a healthy, supportive manner, you can achieve lasting results in weight loss, energy gain and full-body health.

The following are four myths you may have heard about cleansing. Understandably, these myths may cause you to be hesitant to try a cleanse.

Keep reading to find out the truth behind these myths and why cleansing might be just what your body is craving.

Myth # 1: You won’t enjoy anything you’re eating while on a cleanse.

While you might have to eliminate certain foods that you enjoy, cleansing isn’t all about eating lettuce with a drizzle of olive oil. There are many delicious recipes that can be prepared using healthy ingredients that not only taste amazing, but nourish and cleanse your body.

The best part is, many of them don’t involve any fancy ingredients and can be prepared even by a cooking novice. In fact, my cleanse participants always discover new foods and recipes that they absolutely love that have become staples in their diets long after the cleanse ends.

Myth #2:  You’ll constantly be hungry while cleansing.

While you might end up consuming fewer calories while following a cleanse, you shouldn't feel deprived or hungry. Going on an extremely low-calorie diet can actually disrupt your hormones and metabolism, making your body less efficient in the long run.

Everyone’s caloric needs are different, so a cleanse should never dictate how many calories you consume. By consuming whole foods that provide you with the right nutrients, you help cleanse your body while feeling satisfied.  My participants are always amazed that they never feel hungry during my cleanse.

Click here to learn more about my 14-Day Fall 2016 Detox Program

Myth #3:  You need to do an all-liquid cleanse to remove toxins from your body.

Liquid-only cleanses have had more than their fair share of popularity. These types of cleanses can backfire: Not only do people often gain the weight back as soon as the cleanse ends, but such restrictive eating for several days can be detrimental to your health. An effective cleanse will include a variety of whole foods to help nourish your body and produce long-term results.

Myth #4: Cleanses are just a way for people to make money on expensive supplements. 

Supplements involved in a cleanse should be just that, a supplementary part of the program, not the primary source of your nutrition.  While on a cleanse, you get most of your vitamins and minerals from whole-food sources.

Supplements may be recommended to help your body make the most of the nutrients it receives from these foods.  For example, by including probiotics in your diet, you help your body produce vitamins, absorb minerals and remove toxins from the body.

Aside from the benefits discussed above, cleansing is an incredibly effective way to identify if you have any food sensitivities, balance your hormones, and establish healthy habits for the long term.

I’ve worked with cleanse clients who not only have lost weight and kept it off, but who have also seen their energy level skyrocket, their skin clear up and even their allergies disappear.