How To Bring Life Back to Your Microbiome

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘bacteria’?

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YIKES!

Not all bacteria are harmful.  In fact, our bodies house 10 times more bacteria than human cells!  This human microbiome plays an important role in human health.

Bring life back to your microbiome.

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Gut microbes love to eat microbiota accessible carbohydrates, which are found in dietary fiber.  The problem is, Americans don’t love to eat fiber.  Our consumption is on average half of what is recommended.  Sadly, this provides insufficient nutrients for the gut microbes leading to death of species.

How to Recolonize

Eat probiotics to rebuild what you lost through the standard American diet.

Probiotic Foods:

 

  • sauerkraut
  • miso soup
  • naturally fermented pickles (avoid vinegar as an ingredient, look for sea salt and water)
  • tempeh
  • kambucha

How to Help Your Microbiome Flourish

This is where fiber comes in.  Fiber and whole grains have been shown to increase the diversity of the microbiome.  Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.

Fiber-rich foods for a flourishing microbiome:

 

  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Artichokes
  • Tomatoes
  • Bananas
  • Citrus
  • Oats
  • Barely
  • Beans
  • Peas

 

Find my source and more information here:

The Fiber Gap and the Disappearing Gut Microbiome: Implications for Human Nutrition

Celebrate #ThrowbackThursday By Eating At The Dinner Table

How, when, why and where we eat are just as important as what we eat.

It’s not WHAT they are eating, it’s HOW they are eating.  Image Source 

March is National Nutrition Month, and this year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to learn how to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.”  In other words, learn how to appreciate the pleasures, great flavors, and social experiences food can add to our lives.
When trying to be healthy, what we eat is important.  But on the same level is how, when, why, and where we eat.  Enjoying the ambiance of a meal is essential to developing an overall healthy eating plan.

Here’s an idea on how to achieve this.  Every Thursday get together with your friends and family for a #throwbackThursday dinner.  Key ingredients: the dinner table, delicious food, and good company.

It’s not about having time, it’s about making time.

For further inspiration, research published by the American Journal of Pediatrics looked at the affects of family meals on 182,836 children and adolescents.  They found regular family meals decreased disordered eating and odds of being overweight, and increased odds for eating healthy foods.  #ThrowbackThursday dinner is a place to start, with an end goal to share family meals at least three times per week.  You can try #WellnessWednesdays or #SaturdayShenanigans, whatever inspires you and yours to make family meals a priority.

For more about National Nutrition Month and The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, visit eatright.org.

7 High-Fiber Foods to Help You Meet Your Health Goals

Let’s be honest, we know it has a stinky reputation, but fiber is a powerful food component.  A diet high in fiber has numerous health benefits including weight management, prevention of GI disorders, lowering cholesterol, reducing risk of certain cancers, and controlling and preventing diabetes.

 


The recommended adequate intake for fiber is 25 grams for women, and 38 grams for men.  Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.  “My favorite source of fiber is raspberries, edamame, and beans,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics president Christy Lespron. 

Ready to implement more fiber into your diet?  Choose your health goal below, and focus on eating more of those high-fiber foods.

Goal: Lose Weight & Lower Cholesterol

How: Substitution effect- A diet high in fiber is typically lower in saturated fat.  Furthermore, certain fiber has the ability to ‘hold on’ to cholesterol, therefore it is not absorbed into your body.

7 Foods:

  • Lentils
  • Garlic
  • Artichokes
  • Tomatoes
  • Bananas
  • Beets
  • Whole Barley

Goal: Prevent Cancer

How:  Have you heard, high fiber diets make you go #2 more?   Thats right, and it is a good thing!  The more you go, the less time carcinogens are in your body.  Furthermore, butyrate, a byproduct of fiber digestion, has the ability to directly inhibit cancer cell formation.

7 Foods:

  • Whole Wheat
  • Carrots 
  • Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Raspberries
  • Asparagus
  • Chicory

Goal: Control and Prevent Diabetes

How:  Do you know the story, The Tortoise and the Hare?  Well, think of soluble-fiber as the tortoise.  Soluble-fiber slows down digestion and sugar absorption, ultimately helping you maintain a healthy blood sugar.

7 Foods:

  • Whole Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Apples
  • Strawberries
  • Oranges
  • Beans
  • Nuts

It is important to note, these foods have a synergetic effect, meaning they work together in unison.  One is no better than the other, so try to consume all of them in balance.  Please be aware of food allergies, such as gluten-sensitivity and nut allergies. 

Unsure on how to implement these high-fiber foods into your diet, try this recipe provided by Lespron.  To take this recipe up a notch, Lespron suggests adding, “three total cans of beans (rinsed/drained) – pinto, black, and kidney, a can of low-sodium sweet corn (undrained), extra zucchini, and extra colored bell peepers.”  This is a fiber-packed recipe that will nourish the whole family.  If you don’t like to cook, try a high-fiber cereal.  Kellogg’s Bran Buds contains 13 grams of fiber per 1/3 cup of cereal.  High fiber consumption has numerous health benefits, and now you know, it is found in a lot of yummy foods.

Two Easy Hacks to Decrease Added Sugar

March is National Nutrition Month, and a main focus of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is to decrease intake of added sugar. 

 

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March is National Nutrition Month, and this year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to learn how to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.”  One way we can do this is by decreasing our intake of added sugar.  How?  We use our purchasing powers!  After studying over 31,000 diet records from 2003-2010, research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that we buy most added sugar at the grocery store.  If we follow a couple hacks, we can use our purchasing powers to refrain from buying these foods.

 

Read Food Labels. 

Avoid buying foods with ‘sugar’ listed as an ingredient.  Also, avoid sugar’s alter-egos: high fructose corn syrup, honey, brown sugar, dried cane syrup, evaporated cane juice, invert sugar, molasses, brown rice syrup, or sucrose.

Stop Buying Soda and Energy Drinks. 

Hear us out!  Soda and energy drinks account for the largest purchase of added sugar, and they even outrank desserts.  If we use our purchasing powers to skip the soda aisle, we will significantly decrease added sugar.

Added sugar makes up about 14% of total calories consumed by Americans.  The 2015-2020 Dietary Guideline for Americans recommend limiting the amount of added sugar to less than 10% of total calories.  Following these guidelines may help people keep their weight under control, and prevent chronic diseases, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  “Make an effort to cut back on food and beverages high in added sugar, sodium and saturated fats,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Lisa Cimperman.  For more about National Nutrition Month and The Academy, visit eatright.org.  In case you were curious, we also purchase added sugar from fast food restaurants (6-12%), casual dining restaurants (4-6%), and school cafeterias (7%).

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition was selected by the Special Libraries Association as one of the top 100 most influential journals in Biology and Medicine over the last 100 years.  To learn more about the value and influence of this journal, please read the AJCN Impact Statement.

Shaina Lippard

Mediterranean Chickpeas

This savory bean salad is a perfect addition to any meal plan.  It is simple and quick to create. Feel free to cook ahead and store in the refrigerator for days.

Medi Salad Topper

 

Servings: 3-4

Preparation time: 15-25 minutes

 

Ingredients: 

Dressing:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Zest of lemon (optional)

  • 2 Cups chickpeas, cooked
  • ½ Cup tomatoes, diced
  • ½ Cup cucumber, diced
  • ¼ Cup red onion, diced
  • ¼ Cup kalamata olives

Procedure:

First, combine dressing ingredients in a small, lidded container and shake until emulsified.  Next, place chickpeas in a bowl and toss with emulsified dressing. Then, fold in remaining ingredients until well-saturated. Serve over salad greens or prepared grain.
Original recipe, S. Lippard copyright 2016

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is all about love.  

Show your body some love, and try these Valentine’s treats:

High fiber chocolate covered strawberries.

Chocolate covered strawberries are a healthy Valentine’s treat.  The fiber, found in strawberries, helps to slow down sugar digestion, which means less of an insulin spike. It is even more healthy if you use dark chocolate.

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, we are going on a picnic.  I live in Phoenix, Ariz. so we are currently enjoying 80 degree weather.  Perfect time to pack a healthy lunch, get outside, and absorb some Vitamin D.

Easy Picnic Wraps:

Ingredients: 

Procedure:

Lay out a long piece of tinfoil.  Place tortilla on top of foil.  Layer your tortilla in the following arrangement- spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, salsa.  Fold your tortilla tightly, like a burrito.  If packing to go, fold burrito in the tinfoil.  Otherwise, dip in hummus, and enjoy!

‘Almond’fredo Pasta Sauce

Pair this healthy sauce with your favorite whole grain pasta and vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, peas, or green beans.

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This recipe requires you to peel almonds.  Don’t be intimidated, this process is simple.  (Think peeling potatoes or shucking corn.)  

When the almond skins have become soft you can easily use your fingers to pop the nuts out of them.

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Bonus: This is an easy task for kids, and a great way to get them involved in the kitchen.  

Serves: 5

Prep time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • ¾ Cup almonds
  • 3 Cups boiling water
  • 1 ½ Cups plant-based milk of your choice (i.e. rice, almond, soy, coconut, hemp)*
  • 2 Teaspoons salt
  • 3-4 Cloves garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon allspice
  • 4-6 Tablespoons olive oil (depending on desired consistency)
  • ½ Teaspoon pepper

Procedure:

First, place almonds in heat-safe bowl, carefully pour boiling water over them. Then, cover and let soak 15 minutes.  Strain almonds and rinse with cold water until they are cool to touch.  Use your fingers to pop the nuts out of the skin.   Next, add all ingredients to a blender (starting with the minimum 4 tablespoons olive oil). Blend or pulse for about 5 minutes until mixture becomes smooth in texture. Use additional oil if needed to reach desired consistency. Finally, toss pasta and vegetables in sauce and serve.

*Type of milk used may affect texture.

Original recipe Copyright 2015 S. Lippard


 

What Exercise Does The Surgeon General Promote?

 There is a reason the Surgeon General called for a national walking campaign.  It is easy to do and it is extremely good for your health.

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As little as 150 minutes per week, about 20 mins a day, of brisk walking can reduce the risk factors that lead to disease, including high blood pressure and obesity.

Walking is associated with a higher quality of life and improved mental and emotional health.

 

Quick Tips for Walkers

  • Stretch for 5-10 minutes before or after your walk.  Try this routine.
  • Walk in nature.  Try walking around the neighborhood, or walk local trails, parks or lakes.
  • Keep good posture. Gaze forward, not down at the ground, with your chin level and head up.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
  • Wear shoes designed for walking for greater comfort and to prevent injuries.  Avoid wearing flip flops or dress shoes.

 

Sources and more information:

http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/walking/index.htm

http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/calls/walking-and-walkable-communities/#Additional%20Resources

http://everybodywalk.org/walking-a-great-place-to-start/

A Fiber-Rich Recipe for the New Year

 Join the tradition by cooking this simple, delicious recipe of black eyed peas and collard greens.  Both are symbolic of money and are thought to bring fortune in the New Year.

beans and greens

Black Eyed Peas and Collard Greens

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch collard greens, thinly chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

In a large skillet, saute onions and garlic in oil until lightly browned.  Add collard greens and lemon juice, sauté until wilted.  Add black eyed peas, sea salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  Saute until warmed.

Recipe adapted from Begin Within Nutrition .


 

BONUS: 5 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR A HEALTHY 2016

  1. Eat more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
  2. Eat greens with every meal
  3. Simplify your diet, master the basics
  4. Drink more water, challenge yourself with a gallon per day
  5. Practice meditation, try this free app

Have a healthy and prosperous New Year!  

The Power of Nuts

“25 walnuts have the antioxidant equivalent of 8 grams of vitamin C (the vitamin C found in a hundred oranges).” – Micheal Greger M.D.

Nuts are nutritional badasses because they are the source of a wide range of important nutrients:

  • proteins
  • unsaturated fatty acids
  • B and E vitamins
  • Fiber
  • Minerals such as copper, magnesium, potassium, & zinc
  • antioxidants

Walnuts and pecans are top of the list because they are the best source of disease-fighting antioxidants.