All posts by Jan Michelle

“Strength (isn’t always) in Numbers”

On your next shopping trip, take just a few extra minutes to look at ingredient labels on most of the stuff you purchase, and compare it to other of the same items close by.  For example, pick up one of the many sour cream tubs. Read every ingredient on, at least, 5 different brands.  Hopefully you are able to finally note a brand that has only one or two ingredients.  The smallest number of additives found, typically signifies a better product. You are looking for ingredients that are nearest to their original form and aren’t “groupies.”

The food industry has become very skilled in finding ways to extract the “food” from our food by processing the life right out of it. Often, a wide variety of shelf-life sustaining preservatives, color enhancers, flavor alterations, or addictive substances, are added to ensure we not only try the product, but are swooned by it, and then dependent on it.

Become educated about what you are eating. Read those labels!  Find those consumables that don’t need “groupie” ingredients and can stand alone, on their own, nutritionally. Choose the purest option possible.

Whole Food can stand on it’s own!

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“Tis the (sweet) Season….”

It is that time of year when eating sweets can be an excessive part of every day. Even more, so than our normal SAD (Standard American Diet) habits.  The holiday festivities bring ultra excessive sugar into school classrooms, offices, weekends, and just about every baking and gift giving opportunity.

Do your very best to reduce your sugar intake whenever you can.  Offer yourself big kudos when you can resist or decrease sugar at any level.  Reducing our sugar consumption will dramatically increase our quality of health!

Just be aware and do what you can. Every teaspoon (4 grams) of sugar resisted, counts toward preventing awful health conditions and increases a body’s innate healing mechanisms.

Tis the season, to have a reason to reduce sugar intake!

For Thine Own Self, Find Truth!

 

Pursuing nutritional paths, is a healthy endeavor!  But we need to educate ourselves to be discerning and critical of this category of information as it is also prey to marketing methods that twist truth and, often, completely lie.  Just as our body needs “REAL FOOD” and “WHOLE FOOD,” so too does our mind need REAL INFORMATION, TRUE INFORMATION, and CONTEXTUAL INFORMATION about nutrition and the foods we are eating.

I recommend reading the noted article here as just one example of long term nutritional marketing methods that lull us into reliance on “publication credentials” to change our eating habits over common sense and historical food to guide the way.

“…..because review papers, especially if you get them published in a very prominent journal, tend to shape the overall scientific discussion.”

/fo͞od/

food |fo͞od|   

noun

any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth: we need food and water

Sometimes we all need a refresher course on basic topics. Today’s simple refresher is the definition of FOOD.  Walk into a grocery store and start looking around. We see many things that we have been conditioned to acknowledge as food, but if we pause for just a minute and give it a good ponder, we may start unraveling the mess that has caused us to consume stuff that shouldn’t be labeled as food.  Tantalizing our taste buds with highly processed, chemical laden substances doesn’t “maintain life and growth.”

Seek after things that fulfill the definition.  Eat REAL FOOD. Eat WHOLE FOOD. Then, ENJOY LIFE and EXPERIENCE GROWTH.

 

 

Food for Thought

In a very real sense, thinking about our food, pondering it, giving a moment to let our physical senses be affected by our food thoughts, prepares the body for digestion in the best of ways.

When you have experienced your mouth watering while someone is describing a dish, or your are looking through a magazine and see a juicy picture of some wonderfully prepared food, you are experiencing the body engaging in stage one of digestion.  The brain is sending a signal to the salivary glands to release saliva.  The first contact food has with digestive breakdown is in the mouth.  Saliva contains a complex mixture of electrolytes, hormones and enzymes.  Without the enzymes, particularly salivary amylase, the carbohydrates (starches) do not chemically breakdown.  This leaves undigested starches to make their way into the colon.  Candida and general dysbiosis is fed by undigested starches.

I have referenced this topic in a previous post, but I feel the more in depth we can go into each stage of the digestive process, in small bites, gives us more understanding about how and why our body was intended to work the way it does.  With a good understanding of our physiology, we can make sure not to interfere with a wonderfully innate system that can keep us healthy….if we let it!

Food for Thought: …think about your food, smell it, look at it, before it goes in your mouth!

Foundations of Health

Nutritional Therapy maintains an approach to physical and mental wellness that is built on a very simple and solid foundation:

A Properly Prepared, Whole Food, Nutrient Dense Diet.

With that as a foundation, one can sustain the five pillars of physiological function that are fueled by good food.  Those pillars are:

  • Digestion
  • Blood Sugar Balance
  • Mineral Balance
  • Fatty Acid Balance
  • Hydration

These are the fundamentals of optimum health. If the foods we eat come to us in a state that the earth intended, and we then prepare them properly, not modernly, but PROPERLY, they release nutrients to the body that was biologically created to accept and process that food.

 

Fat Fib

If we know someone named John, and this person was tall, super-organized and shy, would that mean all people named John are going to be tall, super-organized and shy? Of course not!

So WHY WHY WHY do we see “Fat” in a food or on a food label and presume all fat to be the same? For most of us raised in western society, especially with Standard American Diet (SAD) we have been indoctrinated with the idea that fat is bad for us. This is simply not true.

Mary G. Enig, Ph.D and author of the book Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol, says that due to many articles and books written by so many who have no background or scientific training in fats and oils, much incorrect or completely inaccurate information has been accepted as truth about fats.

“ When these mistakes are repeated over generations of students, they lead to scientifically unsupported dogma generating dietary recommendations that are false and potentially harmful…..[we] inherit the health problems generated by this misinformation. “

Eating fat will not make you fat anymore than eating sugar will make you sweet. In fact, sugar has more fat making qualities than fat! (more on that in another post)

Ignorance is NOT bliss… In fact, with regard to understanding what fat is, what processing has done to it, how it is critical to our health and development…. Well, we just need to become better educated about Real Food. Whole Food.

Chew Your Food!

We have all heard it from a parent at one time or another… In the middle of horking down a meal, the direction from a loving parent, “Slow down and chew your food!”  It is likely that our parents are simply mimicking the same directive they got from their parents and so on…But why?

Well, our stomach doesn’t have teeth because our mouth does!  If we don’t chew our food enough, which most of us don’t, we end up with food chunks hitting our stomach that end up rotting and decaying in there (that’s where some not so pleasant sound and smell effects can come from, later on).  No, the hydrochloric acid in our stomach wasn’t intended to do what our saliva and teeth do.

Saliva is an incredible mixture of enzymes. If the right enzymes aren’t release in saliva and the food isn’t chewed long enough for saliva to do it’s work, undigested starches make it to small intestine and then a gut bacterial party begins.  This party can cause serious health issues over the long run.

So let’s just do the easy thing and Chew Your Food at least 20 times.  It will take some getting used to. Most of us probably only chew 3-5 times before a swallow. Test yourself and see!

Digestive Compass

Digestion is a North to South process.

Brain

Mouth

Stomach

Small Intestine

Large Intestine

And then…well, you know…Out.

Anywhere along the way, if there is an interference, the system becomes compromised and we will know of dysfunction by way of symptoms.  One of the keys to healing is to know why and where a problem is originating.  One of the great benefits of nutritional therapy is analyzing where the problem is originating and restoring balance to the digestive process so the body can do what is made to do…FUNCTION!

Are you READY to eat?

Did you know that your brain is the first organ of digestion?  Not your mouth, tongue, stomach…But your brain!  When you smell food, think about food, feel hunger, you are mentally preparing the digestive process.  The brain responds by starting the chemical process for properly breaking whole food down into smaller particles for absorption.

When you find your mouth watering, that is the brain signaling saliva to release, which contains the first round of enzymes needed to start breaking down food.  Sometimes it may not happen. The reason our mouth may not be READY to eat, could be that we are not mentally preparing ourselves to start the very important process.

We are a busy society, conditioned to grab food on the go, or drive thru a fast food window, eat standing up, or driving. These behaviors are actually very disruptive to digestion. Food isn’t properly broken down, therefore not properly absorbed. Burping, farting, heartburn, indigestion….these are all signs of improperly digested food.  Or rather non-digested food.

The symptoms don’t stop there. You will learn much more about this process on this blog.

Take a break. Sit down.Smell your food. Look at it. Fantasize about how good it will taste. Just give your brain a small minute before you eat to get the juices of digestion flowing.