You Are NOT What You Eat

 

Ok, so the story, as we have been told, is that You Are What You Eat

I truly love this statement as it says so much. If you stop and think consciously about this statement, you just might think hard and long about your food choices.

At the same time that this statement says so much... it does not say enough. Hence my title:

You Are NOT What You Eat.

Let me explain myself.

1. You ARE what your body digests.

  • real food is required
  • chew well: food must be masticated very well so your body can easily break it down (digest it) otherwise you will just be pooping out undigested chucks of food. Pity, seems like such a waste of good food! 
  • strong stomach acid is required to break down food so you are able to use all of the nutrients in that real food you spend good money on. You want to encourage stomach acid not repress it with acid suppressing drugs.
  • good microbial colonization of your intestinal tract is needed for certain biological activities; microorganisms perform a host of useful functions such as fermenting unused energy substrates, training the immune system, preventing growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria, regulating the development of the gut, producing vitamins for the host, such as biotin and vitamin K, and producing hormones to direct your body to store fats (and so many more good gut bug jobs). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gut_flora

Let's move on with this You Are NOT What You Eat concept...

2. You ARE what your body can absorb.

  • in order for nutrients to be absorbed, they have to be able to be digested. I will refer you back to #1 above.
  • your small intestine must be healthy in order to absorb the nutrients from the digested food. Processed, packaged, factory made foods (and all the synthetic ingredients in them) damage the villi and micro villi that line your small intestine. Damaged villi do not absorb nutrients well. Ask your body's cells how they feel about this lack of nutrients coming at them? What destroys these precious little villi and micro villi you ask?
  1. packaged food's synthetic ingredients
  2. sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup
  3. hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils
  4. GMO food crops
  5. gluten in people with celiac disease or gluten intolernaces
  6. poor chewing... see above.

3. You ARE What Your Heart Can Circulate Around Your Body and Deliver To Your Body Cells.

  • moving your body daily creates a strong heart, strong blood vessels, and strong muscles that all help to pump blood around your body. I could go on and on and write a whole book on the benefits of daily movement to your body's tissue strength and how this movement supports the movement of fluids, oxygen, and nutrients throughout your body. I will spare you the long story. Trust me, just get up and move. Dance and your body cells dance with you!

4. You ARE What Can Pass Across Your Body Cell Membranes. 

The nutrients in your real food that you have chewed well, were digested well, and absorbed into your villi and micro villi are only useful IF they can pass across the cell membrane and actually nourish your body cells. Complicated, eh?

  • your cell membranes need healthy fat from real food to keep it strong and intact allowing nutrients into the cell and cellular waste products out of the cell.
  • also, a daily dose of healthy protein keeps the cell membranes happy.
  • avoid processed, packaged, factory made foods as they contain unhealthy fats (hydrogenated & partially hydrogenated oils, cheap vegetable oils high in omega 6 fatty acids), denatured proteins, and synthetic ingredients that confuse your body and interfere with this whole digestion - absorption - circulation - and transport across the cell membrane process (for more information head back up to #1).

You are SO much more than just what you eat. You ARE what you:

  • digest
  • absorb
  • circulate
  • pass into your each and every tiny cell

Deeper Dive Homework: look at your food and your bodily processes in a different light.  Feed your body whole foods.  Support all your bodily processes so you, in turn, feed your body cells well.

PS  Dandelions are a great digestive aid!    Comments and questions are always welcome! 

PS  Dandelions are a great digestive aid!

Comments and questions are always welcome! 

Burdock Root

burdock 2 Ah, burdock, that annoying plant that sticks those prickly balls on clothing after a romp in the woods and fields.  This plant, that creates burr seeds, is a healing blessing, despite those barbed 'lil balls!

As a kid, I fell into a large clump of burdock plants while romping in the fields. Those burrs make an amazing mess in long hair! Surprisingly, as an adult, I do not avoid them.

Burdock can be utilized in a number of herbal remedies to aid in digestion.  The root is bitter, stimulating the liver, and therefor aids in digestion, enhances absorption of nutrients, and supports your whole digestive tract and colon with the elimination of wastes.

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Burdock root, along with dandelion and nettle, are amazing, healing herbs to use in liver conditions.  The liver plays a huge role in removing toxins from your blood, producing bile to digest dietary fats, metabolizing hormones to maintain hormone balance in your body, stores excess carbohydrates, in addition to many, many other functions.

Nourish your liver and heal many "dis - ease" symptoms.  Nourishing the liver is useful in: skin conditions, liver conditions (obviously), hormone imbalances, allergies, infertility, headaches, migraines, digestive problems, chronic gas, constipation....

Need help with herbs for healing? Give me a call.  As an herbalist, I love to help with herbal healing!  pyoumell@gmail.com

Why do I tell you this?  I love burdock.  It makes a yummy tea, it is fun in soups and stews, and I just added a pile of it (grated) to my next batch of fermented veggies. I am curious to see what burdock will add to the final fermented product's flavor!

The brown grated veggies on the top are burdock.

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This is a pile of burdock roots, graciously given to me by Dan Kent of Kent Family Growers.  He knows I love burdock!  I have used over half of my burdock gift already. My liver is feeling ready for spring and pollen season!

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On fermented veggies: I asked Steve, of The Cheese Maker, if cheese cultures could be used in enhancing the fermentation of veggies. This kind man did a 'lil research and got right back to me.

Our conversation via emails:

Me:  Can any of the cultures you sell be used as a sauerkraut starter?  Thanks, Paula

Steve: I'll also do a little research and let you know what I find out.

Me:  Thanks!

SteveHi Paula:   Some research I found on Wikipedia and other scientific sites show that some of the same species of bacteria that make cheese are similar to those that make sauerkraut, though the sub species are different.  I'm not a biologist,  so I do not know how this will affect the flavor of the kraut.  Only way is to make a small batch and see how it turns out.  As long as the pH is similar in the end product, it is at least safe to eat. The below link is a culture which has similar bacteria, though not sub species.   If you make a test batch, let me know what you find out.  

Me:  I am posting to get other people's experiences, hopefully!
Steve:  Awesome. I would really like to hear from others who use this culture.  I have enough hobbies otherwise I'd also make some kraut.
Anyone ever used cheese cultures in veggie fermentation?
Anyone ever use burdock root in fermented veggies?
Anyone know of a good source for veggie fermenting cultures?
Love to hear from you on any of these topics!  Paula

Nourishing the Liver

Simple Liver Nourishment “Cleanse” liver

Liver Nourishment is important.  We hear much about doing liver cleanses but is the liver really dirty? I am certain I would prefer to think of my liver in a more positive and health giving way.  This amazing, large organ does much to filter my blood, digest my food, and contributes to way too many bodily processes to write them all here.

Liver cleansing / nourishing has benefits for your health and longevity. A healthy liver helps to maintain balance in the female reproductive tract and helps to keep female hormones balanced (All body hormones!). Think of it as nourishing your liver, fortifying it with the nutrients it needs to do its blood filtering, digestive, and many other jobs well.

I will share with you a very simple way to nourish the liver as it goes about its non-stop job of filtering your blood.  Spending a few days focusing on nourishing this important organ is a good way to prevent disease and heal your body.  Love your liver with whole foods, liver specific herbs, and relaxation. While relaxing, visualize your liver as being healthy, clean, vibrant tissue!

Raw food fast for 3 days:  Eat local, seasonal berries and fruit in the AM.  Add raw nuts and seeds to this fruit to up the fat and protein content of your diet and keep your appetite satiated.

At lunch and your PM meal:  eat raw vegetable salads and raw nuts and seeds.

Get motivated and sprout some raw nuts and seeds or whole grains to add to your liver nourishing diet.

Try raw, fermented veggies as a fun, “extra” food while nourishing the liver.

Enjoy raw avocado as healthy fat and satiating food.

Holistic Love Caution for Your Blood Sugar & Beta Cells:  If you are pre-diabetic, diabetic, or have any metabolic syndrome – blood sugar issue, keep your intake of fruit at a conservative level and eat more vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

If you have diabetic tendencies, do not do a “juice or herbal tea only” liver cleanse.

Raw root veggie and cabbage slaws are great in fall and winter for the raw, seasonal veggies. Want a recipe?  Email me:  pyoumell@gmail.com

AM or PM nourishing liver flush: Drink this tasty little beverage before eating any food; just mix together and drink it up!  Or you can drink it just before going to bed.

  • juice of 1 whole lemon, (I know, lemons are not local… work with me here!)
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • pinch of unrefined sea salt

You can use this simple liver flush in the PM and/or the AM.  I have clients who drink it in the AM because they drink their Essiac detox tea at night.

Detox Liver Nourishing Infusion:  Purchase an ounce of each of these herbs:  cut burdock root, cut dandelion root, nettle leaf, dandelion leaf, red clover blossom.

Every evening heat 1 quart of water.  When the water is simmering, turn to very low heat and simmer 1 Tbsp. each of the burdock and dandelion roots for 10 minutes.  Be gentle, not a rolling boil, but a very gentle simmer to preserve the nutrients.  Always simmer and steep with the cover on the pot.

Have 1 Tbsp. each of the dandelion, nettle, and red clover ready to use.  After the ten minutes, shut off the heat and add the herbs to the pot, stir to get the herbs wet, and then cover the pot.  Let it sit over night to steep and create a medicinal infusion.  In the AM, strain the herbal infusion into a quart canning jar.  Press the wet herb mash very well to get all liquid out of the herbs.  Drink 3-4 cups over the course of the day.  Sip slowly while relaxing and meditating on your liver and vibrant cellular health. (As opposed to standing at the kitchen counter and guzzling down 8 ounces of this medicinal tea infusion.)

Relaxing habits when doing a liver nourishing cleanse:  Drink plenty of fluids throughout your day; get much good, restful sleep; always eat in a calm environment (without screens) and chew very slowly and thoroughly; yoga; massage; relaxing by the fire or under a favorite tree (this is a seasonally dependent behavior!) while reading a good book…the point is for you to nurture the whole you and make your liver feel at peace and loved.  Get outside and move your body.  This increases circulation to your liver and every body cell for better delivery of nutrition and oxygen and better removal of waste products.  You get a good dose of fresh air and natural light while outside! And remember, as my son Eli said when he was only 8 years old:  “Just lift the corner of the clouds and the sun is always shining."  You do get natural light, for better mood and sleep, even on cloudy days!

When to nourish the liver:  Ideally, nourish your liver 4 times a year: at or around the spring and fall equinoxes and the summer and winter solstices.  I recommend doing the winter liver nourishment after the December holidays, for obvious reasons!  (Spring is a good time to start to get a step ahead of seasonal allergies.)

Milk thistle is a good herb to take for liver nourishing and rebuilding.  It can be added to the above liver nourishment herb infusion. Using milk thistle in capsules, tinctures, and infusion form are also good options as a single herb or as a combination herbal formula with turmeric and perhaps ginger…

milk thistle

Taking milk thistle for a couple of weeks after a three day nourishing cleanse can help to nourish and rebuild the liver.  You can make milk thistle into a medicinal infusion mixing with stinging nettles.  Again, simmer the milk thistle seeds, very gently for 10 minutes, shut off heat and add the nettle leaves.  Let the infusion “tea” sit over night to brew and steep.

Love your liver; nourish your liver.

nettlesred clover

Nettles and Red Clover

dandelion

Dandelion root, flowers, and leaves

burdock

Burdock root and plant