Chia Seed Power!

Chia Seed Power!

As I was eating my usual chia seed and blueberries with coconut milk “cereal” for breakfast this morning, I came across this awesome article clearly articulating the benefits of this power seed!  Whether you prefer the more jam-like consistency or something crunchier, this protein-packed seed can offer a diversity of options for meal enlightenment. 4 Healthy Reasons to Eat Chia Seeds (Plus, Peaches & Cream Chia Seed Pudding Recipe!) By Jennifer Pantin Remember those amazing ch-ch-ch-chia ads back in the 80’s? We all loved those commercials, and the amazing sprouting heads! Who knew they were really selling a nutritional powerhouse? When you factor in how many uses they have in every day cooking you’ll want to make sure your pantry is always stocked with chia seeds. First, let’s talk benefits! Chia seeds are loaded with good-for-you nutrients, like… Fiber Just one ounce of chia seeds has 11 grams of fiber! That’s almost a third of the recommended daily intake of fiber in one small serving. Tossing chia seeds onto a snack is an easy way to help make sure you’re maintaining your digestive health. Omega 3 Fatty Acids Omega 3 fatty acids are important for brain health and help to reduce your risk for heart disease. A one-ounce serving of chia boasts 5 grams of Omega 3. That’s definitely a good thing, since our bodies can’t produce these fatty acids and we have to find it in outside sources. (Note: Be sure to watch your intake as eating more than 3 grams of Omega 3 per day, every day can have negative repercussions on your health.) Calcium One serving of chia seeds has almost 18% of your recommended daily intake of calcium. Whether you are going dairy-free and looking for alternative calcium sources, or just concerned about osteoporosis, chia can definitely help up your intake. Protein A great source of cholesterol-free protein, one ounce of chia seeds has about 4 grams of protein. That’s almost 10 percent of the recommended daily intake! Now that you’re on board with eating them, here are three fun ways you can bring chia seeds into your diet. Egg Replacer Want to make baked goods without eggs?Chia seeds make it super simple. Simply mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. The result? A gelatinous mixture that works just as well as an egg. Jams When I’m in the mood for homemade jam, but don’t want to deal with the mess of the old-fashioned canning process, I purée whatever fruit I have handy in my mini food processor and add some chia seeds. After chilling for a bit I have instant jam! It’s fresh, delicious, and preservative-free! Pudding Store bought pudding can taste...

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The importance of breathing

The importance of breathing

“The impact of breathing” By Debra Ross debra@bodydesigns.org   “Breath literally impacts every cell in your body. Each cell, whether it is from your brain, muscle, blood, or any other body system, depends on breath for survival. Why? Because the oxygen derived from breath inhalation provides the energy that each cell needs for life maintenance, growth, and repair. The cell then rids itself of its toxic waste in the form of carbon dioxide, which is ultimately exhaled through breath. The rhythmic cycle of inhalation and exhalation governs this vital life balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. Breath does this and so much more! The mechanics of breath can help you improve mental, emotional and physical health. Breath has a direct influence on how the body functions. You can actively “turn off” your stress response and achieve relaxation. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls about 90% of your automatic functions, including the stress response. This system has two branches that interact to maintain homeostasis: the sympathetic (commonly referred to as the “fight or flight” response) and parasympathetic (commonly referred to as the relaxation response). When under stress, the fight or flight response is activated and you tend to breathe in a shallow, rapid, sporadic manner. By consciously breathing in a slow, diaphragmatic, and rhythmic way, the autonomic nervous system can be manipulated into activating its relaxation response and diminishing the stress you feel. The result is that you can actively “turn off” your stress response and achieve relaxation. About 90% of all the body’s energy is created by oxygen. At the cellular level, oxygen reacts with glucose (the end product of fats, starch, and sugar in the body) and produces energy, water, and carbon dioxide. The energy is stored in the body as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the fuel that the body uses for the thousands of functions performed within each body system. It is needed to digest food, process mental information, pump our hearts, fight bacteria, heal tissue, and remove toxins. Basically, everything that is needed to keep us well. Breathing in a slow, diaphragmatic, and rhythmic manner has the power to enhance your body’s oxygenation, thus creating more energy, and improving the way you feel.”   In my own research on respiratory work I reviewed an article that discussed the benefits for scoliosis patients.  Scoliosis can severely affect lung capacity and therefore the individual’s ability to engage in various activities and thereby severely affect quality of life.  Training in management and building of breath control and diaphragmatic strength can qualitatively and quantitatively change the effects of scoliosis. Here is my review of the article: A Spanish study evaluated the effectiveness of respiratory retraining in young AIS patients.  Scoliosis patients have insufficient respiratory capabilities due to secondary hypercapnia.  The patients participated in five,...

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a few simple tips to boost your metabolism

a few simple tips to boost your metabolism

Drink Green Tea We’ve all heard of the health benefits of green tea for years now, but that’s because they are real.  As is true for all health foods, it is not a quick fix where you can eat poorly throughout the day, take a green tea extract pill and expect to be shedding the pounds, but chemical compounds within green tea (such as catechins and EGCg) have real biochemical effects on the body.  One such health effect is how EGCg works on insulin, preventing sugar from being siphoned into fat cells. Even if you can’t give up your morning coffee, sip on some unsweetened (or stevia sweetened) iced green tea for the rest of your day.  Green tea is great for those out there who have difficulty drinking enough plain water throughout the day.  It is perfectly acceptable to replace 50% of your water quota with green tea and still have more than adequately hydrated your body.  Making sure your water or green tea are ice-cold also revs up your caloric turnover, as iced beverages make your body work harder to convert the liquid to your core temperature.  If you’re drinking a zero calorie glass of ice-cold water you’re actually burning calories!   Get More Sleep I’ve discussed the importance of sleep before, but it cannot be overstated how important a good night’s rest is when discussing hormone regulation and therefore metabolic effects.  Studies have shown that people who forego adequate sleep have higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite and cravings and decreases cellular energy production.  Sleep is how we modulate endocrine function and glucose metabolism, thus lack of sleep plays a significant role in our overall metabolic health.   Eat Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) These are triglycerides with a shorter carbon chain that are ideal for energy bursts.  Due to their length and water solubility, they aren’t likely to become stored in adipose cells because your body will metabolize them first for energy.  Get your MCT boost from a tablespoon of coconut oil before an activity or first thing in the...

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the five second rule is for real! well, kinda..

the five second rule is for real!  well, kinda..

Five-Second Rule Reality by Beth Levine Most everyone is familiar with the five-second rule: the understanding that any food that has fallen on the floor is acceptable to consume as long as you pick it up within five seconds. Plenty of us grew up living by that rule and still firmly believe that food that touched the floor is fine to eat when the contact is so brief. Others, of course, are a little more skeptical and would never consider ingesting anything that has been exposed to germs on a floor, even for a single second. So which camp is right? According to new research, it appears that the five-second rule adherents are basically on the right track, with a few caveats of course. The study, which was conducted at Aston University in Birmingham, United Kingdom, found that the legendary five-second rule might actually be valid…to a certain extent. The scientists dropped a variety of edible items on the floor and then tested each of them for the presence of E. coli and Staphylococcus bacteria. The four foods they included were cookies, toast, pasta, and a sticky type of candy. Needless to say, the more damp or tacky the item was, the greater the likelihood that germs were picked up. But it was not only the kind of food that made a difference in safety after an encounter with the floor. Another important aspect was the amount of time it had remained on the floor–hence the value of the five-second rule. The researchers varied the length of floor time from three to 30 seconds and found that the longer the item had been left on the floor, the higher the bacteria levels it contained. A third aspect that was considered was the type of flooring on which the food landed. The foods that fell on laminate or tile floors and remained there for five seconds or longer showed greater amounts of bacteria than the same foods dropped on carpeted floors. Part of the experiment included a small survey questioning people as to whether or not they personally observe the five-second rule. Of those they interviewed, a whopping 87 percent admitted to having consumed food that had landed on the floor. And, perhaps more surprisingly, 55 percent of these individuals were women. So, it would appear that for the most part, it might be safe to eat fallen food as long as you stick to the five-second rule. It seems that a couple of seconds on the floor might not give bacteria much of a chance to transfer to the food. However, common sense obviously has to play a major part in this decision. If a cookie falls on your...

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are the “freshest”-looking foods making you sick?

are the “freshest”-looking foods making you sick?

It would be hard to argue the appeal of a crisp, bright salad with colors that pop right off the plate as apposed to one that looks a bit less vibrant, but you might be inclined to choose the latter if you understood all that goes into that “fresh” presentation.  Some restaurants will use a sulfite spray over the salad bars and in the prep kitchen to keep that shiny new sheen on their food so that it appears fresh and appetizing.  But at what cost to our health?   Sulfites have been used by farms and food institutions for decades as an inorganic chemical preservative, not only of fruits and vegetables, but of proteins and even in prescription medications.  Specifically, sulfites are used on fruits and vegetable to prevent unpleasant browning, on shrimp and lobster to prevent melanosis, or “black spot”, in wines to discourage bacterial growth, in dough as a conditioner, and to bleach certain food starches and cherries.  In addition, sulfites are used in pharmaceuticals to maintain the stability and potency of some medications (Knodel, 1997; Papazian, 1996).   There has been great debate and legal battle between consumers, the FDA, and the agricultural lobbyists about sulfite safety and regulation.  In 1987, the FDA proposed to revoke the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status of sulfiting agents on fresh potatoes intended to be cooked and served unpackaged and unlabeled to consumers and issued a final ruling to this effect in 1990.  However, the rule was held null and void in 1990 after a protracted court battle in which the potato industry prevailed on procedural grounds (Papazian, 1996).  According to the current regulations, a company or restaurant does not have to make the consumer aware that they use sulfites as a preservative unless they add more than an FDA approved amount (i.e. no signage or asterisk on the menu like how they are now doing for *Gluten Free).   Many people have now developed sulfite sensitivities that manifest in a number of ways.  These potentially toxic and harmful substances can cause nausea or diarrhea and precipitate asthma attacks in sensitive individuals, as well as cause nasal and sinus congestion, rhinitis, postnasal drip, frontal headache, and bronchospasms.  A person can develop sulfite sensitivity at any point in life.   What can we do about it?  Find out if your favorite restaurants are using sulfites as preservatives.  Ask a manager, as the wait staff will likely not know the answer.  If they are, order something other than that “healthy” salad.  Beware of sulfites in packaged foods and become a savvy label reader.  The key words to look for are sulfur dioxide, sodium sulfate, sodium and potassium bisulfites, and metabisulfites, all of which are sulfating agents.  If nothing else, just help...

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