Longer Days Means Less Kitchen Time, But Not Less Health

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

Spring or the start of daylight savings time and longer days means less and less time in the kitchen. But that doesn’t have to mean the end of your healthy eating pledge! We tend to work longer hours and stay out later when our days get longer. Consequently we lean towards easy options such as take out or microwave foods. We let food product manufacturers drive our meal decisions rather than nutrition based research that is really what a healthy human body needs to eat. Thankfully, eating well is simple if you begin with how you value food. No matter if you’re eating out at restaurants, opting for a meal delivery service or plan or buying and cooking meals yourself.

EATING OUT AT RESTAURANTS

In America we tend to cook less and eat fast. Often spending more money at restaurants and bars than grocery stores. But there are healthier options and choices no matter where you choose to dine. Starting from paleo whole food principles are key! If you’re going to cook less and spend more money in restaurants and bars, you need to know you’re choices are as healthy as they can be. But even more important, to eat slowly and enjoy your time with the friends you’re out with. You’ll digest better and get great health benefits even while eating out.

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PLAN, BUY AND COOK YOURSELF 

You’ve had the time to plan that night out at a restaurant. Afford yourself the same time to plan a few meals you can easily handle. Here’s a few examples that may get your brain thinking and to help you get started.
  • On Sunday night cook a roast. It should leave you with lunch leftovers for Monday and Tuesday; Monday night a throw together quick dinner. On Tuesday night make enough dinner to have Wednesday and Thursday lunch leftovers. Planning like this allows you to make quick and easy dinners on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Boiled eggs and bacon strips with avocado over a caesar salad is as fast as seven-ten minutes cook time. Just enough time to boil your eggs, fry your bacon and wash your lettuce at the same time. You can also keep cooked bacon and hardboiled eggs on hand to add to salads or for a quick snack.
  • Cook a few grass fed sausages served them as hot dog buns, filled with sauerkraut, tomato salsa and arugula.
  • A Sunday roast chicken translates into a delicious chicken, blueberry, walnut salad on Monday. Save the legs for Tuesday’s lunch with some cold roast carrots and beets tossed in hazelnut oil with hazelnuts and raisins.
Pre-planned meals, scheduling a few grocery deliveries (if available) and planning for and mixing up leftovers for lunches means frugality with flare and health! Your post work or gym session hunger pains will be satiated in the healthy fulfilling foods you’ve rewarded yourself with ahead of the time.

OPT FOR A MEAL DELIVERY SERVICE

If you’d really like to simplify things, there’s the option to have someone else plan it for you. We love great food but many of us are not excited about the actual process of cooking of food. That doesn’t have to result in unhealthy eating. A paleo delivery meal service could be just the answer to getting people back into the kitchen, without the time we no longer have with Spring in the air. Having someone source the best foods and create a quality meal is a great time and health savings! Just make sure you have the time to sit and enjoy what you’re eating. The value of eating well begins with relishing each meal. Even though we’re in a wondrous positive trend toward better eating within our time limitations, we shouldn’t relegate eating to unimportance while we do something else. It’s not an excuse to have even less time. The very best foods are healthful for your body only if you give your body the opportunity to digest them.
  • Don’t eat standing up, sitting in your car or in front of the tv. Even your delicious banana nut muffin lends itself to an a sit down on the balcony to contemplate your day ahead.
  • Put your fork down between mouthfuls and serve yourself a little less on your plate. This way you have to get up to get more. Try a delicious homemade chicken pot pie.
  • Eat mindfully, bringing everyone together for a family meal.

Eating better within our time limitations could easily be a combination of the three below.

  1. Plan to eat out one to two times a week for lunches or dinners
  2. Plan your Sunday roast and leftovers and quick meals then online shop for grocery delivery when it’s available.
  3. Reward yourself with a completely restful night off at home with a paleo delivery meal service.
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DON’T COMPROMISE WHAT YOU EAT

Daylight savings, summer work hours and spending more time outdoors means we might not have the cooking, shopping, even meal planning time we’d hope to restart our health this Spring. But less time in the kitchen doesn’t have to mean compromising what you eat: eating out, quick cooking meal ideas and a paleo delivery meal services can help us out. Eating well is simple if you begin with valuing the food you put in your body. Know where it’s from and how it benefits to you. We have less time to make it all happen, so you’ve more time to enjoy and digest it for all its goodness to your health.

Don’t Wear Your Insides Out – Paleo on the Go

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go
You’ve heard the adage “you are what you eat.” This basically means our food is shaping us from the inside out. However, in most cases, it’s not for the better. The food we choose to eat is wearing us out, and our bodies are running out of backup supplies to help. When we eat too much of one thing and too little of another that we need, or choose not to add a variety to our diets, our bodies begin to lack the nutrients we need for proper digestion.

TOO LITTLE MICRONUTRIENTS

Conventional, organic, non-gmo, natural, gluten free, hydrogenated or trans fat free there’s too many terms to keep up with. Why? The natural order is gone and processed food has become the norm. Put simply, food should just be food but instead most of what we eat are food-like products. Eating has become a stress on our body. As more chemicals and preservatives are added it’s no wonder. Our body recognizes most chemicals as toxins. All stress (toxins we put in) summates in our body as stress no matter the source. But health is a choice, three times a day. We all can live healthier from the inside out by making the right choices.

CONSUME THIS TO HELP WITH DIGESTION

1. Organic produce and pastured animal products, as close to their natural diets as possible from local sources like a farmers market
2. Real foods properly prepared through traditional food practices.
3. Steer clear of packaged and processed methods to help with the overall healing of our gut after years of damage.

TOO LITTLE MACRONUTRIENTS

Sugar free, fat free, high protein, low or no fat, low or no carb? So many options, the answer is simply to just get each macronutrient at each meal. You’ll stop getting those sweet tooth cravings. The reason is because we need each macronutrient – proteins are our body’s building blocks, carbs our energy transporters and fats are the basics for hormones and more – but also because each macronutrient helps the other digest.
Also, our brain is wired to seek difference. If we were foraging our food in the wild, we’d survive on being able to detect ripeness and sweetness in fruit or spoiled or potentially poisonous foods. Do you have your regular go tos? Shop for the same things each week?  Try a Paleo-on-the-Go meal with all three macronutrients so your plate is ready made and delivered. Plus, it saves on time.

TOO LITTLE; BASICS

Forget the superfoods or the power bars, the extra muscle protein shakes or vitamin fortified milk. There’s actually a lot to be said for ‘meat and three veggies’. Perhaps reversing the order so your meat is more of a side and you ‘fill up’ first on the fat soluble vitamins in your vegetables. Oh and don’t forget to eat these with healthy fats like pastured butter so you can get those ‘fat’ solubles!
– Most of us only eat 3-5 veggies. Don’t get stuck in the rut of eating the same things. Expand your horizons, try 5 new veggies for seven days and see how your cooking and your mood fare!

TOO MUCH

How do you know you’ve had enough? Do you limit yourself to one portion, side plates and no dessert? A lot of us snack to get us through to the next meal which incidentally means our last meal wasn’t right in macronutrient portions. It takes about three hours for your body to finish digesting a meal. Do you ever give your body the rest it needs or just keep filling it up and giving it more work to do? Overeating and over snacking cost your body more in the long run than the food they give! You know yourself that over working leaves you tired no matter how much sleep you get. You’re body uses up all its stores to do what it normally does but continual use means continual using up. Something’s gotta give!
– Eat meals with whole food paleo principals. Meals that are nutrient dense, have a good balance of fats and fat soluble vitamins, proteins and carbs. Avoiding potentially allergenic or sensitive foods which behave as toxins in the body like grains and dairy, is crucial to making life easy for your digestion.
– A paleo meal delivery service can also be a great choice even if only for ‘cheat’ night to give yourself as well as your digestion a night off. Your digestive system really is one of the most important components of your health and happiness. Give it the rest and care it deserves.

Ways My Toddler is Teaching Me to Eat Well

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

Who wouldn’t want to give their kids the best nutritional start in life? It’s our job as parents to offer the best foods and their job as our kids to eat it (in most cases). Enjoying our toddlers own forays into food, is definitely a chance to set them up for healthy eating behaviors, and reset yours. 

1. DON’T EAT THE SAME THING EACH DAY

I’ll pretty much put anything into my mouth. I don’t really know what I like so keep trying me on different foods. Chances are I’ll like things you never imagined.

‘Explore food each season’, all of which are new to your kids, just sounds like something people with all the time on their hands do. But how can you even contemplate it when we just get so excited when our kids will actually eat something that we quickly declare it a favorite and give it to them all the time, satisfied we’re filling them with calories.

But just stop for a second: how can they have a favorite when then haven’t tried very much in the world of food? Just because they’re eating something doesn’t mean they should all the time. Take sugar! Calories aren’t the goal; nutrition and good eating behaviors are. Though sweet potato at every meal seems both nutritious and easy for little fingers to handle themselves, you can make equally simple mashed cauliflower into finger sized balls or mini sliders from ground beef.

If you find yourself buying the same things at the grocery store, or if the same things keep running out, you’re eating too much of them. It’s time to mix things up. 

2. THINGS THAT CRUNCH ARE PRETTY FUNNY

When I bite into crunchy things I can hear it inside my mouth and it makes me laugh. And it’s even funnier when you do it too. 

Adding a bit of texture at each meal, a dip, salad, soup, can make it more satisfying, and not just because of the laughs. But that doesn’t have to mean stale bread croutons, weird oily chips or even expecting a toddler to dig into every carrot stick you serve with relish. Try guacamole and chips  or beef tacos. Chips are great sprinkled on soup or a salad or make your own veggie chips!

3. EAT YOUR GREENS AT EACH MEAL

I don’t know what greens are, let alone oranges or purples. Try me on all my veggies. I might even like some before my terrible twos!

Everyone knows toddlers don’t like their greens but put them alongside other parts of their meal and they might even try them. All veggies go better with butter and sauces made of healthy fats – they’ve chock full of fat soluble vitamins so serving them this way makes them useful! 

Try zucchini noodles, sweet potato gnocchi or yummy cauliflower rice bowls.

4. IF YOU DON’T EAT IT, HE WON’T EITHER.

When you eat those little fishies you screw up your nose, so I will too. I’m gonna look like you mummy. 

Ok, so for me it’s sardines. They gross me out. I would probably add heart, brain, liver and any other organ meats to my list. Do you have a food that you so don’t like but have tried to fed to your little one thinking you should all have more of it for a healthier diet? Bone broth is delicious and luckily now readily available in great unprocessed good for you forms so you don’t have to handle the bones or cook for ages. I will cook liver to make pate, oh and I whizzed my sardines with garlic, eggs, olive oil, lemon juice and zest and salt and pepper and voila, sardine pate. It’s great on tortillas and the quickest, healthiest and ‘one up to me’ lunch on the go.

5. LIVE 80:20

I am pretty good with my fork, especially when it comes to getting my share of ice cream, daddy. 

So there’s ice cream and there’s ice cream but I’m a firm believer that if i’m having it, he can. But he has to serve himself. This isn’t a ‘get the calories’ down kind of meal ever! But that said, it would appear my toddler is rather dexterous when it comes to ice cream! Make sure you’ve eaten something first so the sugar rush, organic or not, is not as harsh on his little body. Oh, and at least he’s learning something.

6. EATING IS A SOCIAL AFFAIR.

I want your iPhone not lunch. I want your iPhone not lunch. 

What if, over lunch, you told a story and half way through the story your baby stopped listening. They looked away, yawned, replied to an email on their iPhone? It would be pretty funny actually. Initially. But imagine if it was your partner. Ummm yep rude. Ok phone goes away at meal time and just talk, even to your babe, even if they can’t talk back yet. Eating is a social affair and sets up healthy eating behaviors we want our kids to thrive in as much as the choice of the foods.

My toddler is teaching me to eat well by helping me realize I need to slow down and explore all that’s in front of me, with him. Here’s to embracing the perfectly imperfect reality of raising kids!

Encouraging Digestive Strength in Kids  

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

Increasingly, children are developing digestive problems that were once reserved for adults. The underlying cause of these problems including bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and even inflammatory bowel disease is often inappropriate eating habits.

DIGESTION

Digestion is how your body takes food and makes it usable in the form of energy and nutrients. In many healing modalities, it is believed that problems with digestion are at the heart of all other health conditions. If digestion is impaired, the food we eat will not be broken down and absorbed properly.

NUTRITION

Nutrition is about what and how we teach our kids to eat. So, to help improve your child’s digestion and their body’s access to nutrients, modifying some of the harmful habits that overwhelm their system can bring about change.

A lot of the principles of paleo eating are actually more about what we choose NOT to eat and the space this choice leaves for what we need to eat. Perhaps the same could be said for paleo meal nutrients and digestion which are perhaps disguised as ‘what’ to eat.

BUILD YOUR KIDS DIGESTIVE HEALTH

1. AVOID PROCESSED FOODS

By following paleo guidelines and choosing nutrient dense foods you’re automatically avoiding weird sugars, fats and chemicals your body wasn’t designed to break down. These cost the body more than they provide. When you eat this type of food it leaves your body operating below par. Processed foods, packaged and fast foods should be removed from all kids’ diets but particularly children with digestive problems.

SAY NO TO PROCESSED FOODS

Processed food tends to contain many harmful substances such as trans fats and preservatives that can interfere with digestion. Kids’ bodies in particular, are not sure what to do with them, complicating digestion. In addition, processed foods contain very few nutrients, using up the body’s nutrients as they are digested. Children should stick to natural, whole foods that the body recognizes and can readily use.

2. DON’T OVER-EAT (OR OVER-SNACK)

Choosing paleo approved meals (& even snacks which could almost be seen as smaller meals), you’re not only satisfying your tummy but also your body’s needs to repair and rebuild the new you each day. Overeating puts a lot of pressure on the digestive system and should be avoided. When too much food is eaten, it taxes the body’s ability to properly break down and assimilate nutrients.

WE ARE IN CONTROL

As parents we are in control of food preparation. Give smaller portions with a larger amount in sight. Place a small amount of on their plate so that rather than feeling overwhelmed by too much food, your baby or child has the opportunity to signal for more. We want to trust our kids to be in charge of their appetites to indicate a desire for foods by opening their mouths when we present food to them. Playing airplane or saying “one more bite” turns into something babies do to please us, encouraging over eating or power struggle. Slow down to your child’s eating pace, which is another factor in digestive problems.

3. DON’T DRINK WITH MEALS

You’ll not only dilute nutrients but also your stomach acid and digestive enzymes, leaving you full of liquid and undigested foods and their subsequent discomforts. When most children sit down to eat, they expect to drink something. The combination of food and liquid can lead to slower digestion as the digestive juices are diluted by the liquids consumed. It is best to keep the amount of fluids around mealtime to a minimum. Have children drink their water before meals – up to 15 minutes prior or about 30 to 45 minutes after meals.

4. AVOID GRAINS

Most of us are sensitive to grains. They’re job in life is to germinate, not to be eaten, so they resist digestion, binding nutrients through their phytic acids. A lot of the time it’s only their absence then reintroduction that can show us just how much they’re harming us. Kids don’t have the enzymes to digest carbohydrates let alone grains until the emergence of their third molar. Grains are also often fillers on our plate, instead start with the veggies your mom harped on you to eat. Lather vegetables in healthy fats like butter, coconut or olive oil so your body can harness their fat soluble vitamins.

5. AVOID CONVENTIONAL-FARMED PRODUCE AND ANIMAL PRODUCTS

Paleo principles are also about choosing, meaning you’ll be mindful of what you’re eating and that’s one of the biggest aids to digestion, called the body’s cephalic response. Choose organic produce and pastured animals, grown as close to their natural requirements as possible for maximum nutrition for you. We are what we eat but also what we eat eats and avoiding toxins from as many sources as possible can make digestion in your body as easy as it should be, unimpeded by extras.

6. MODEL HEALTHY EATING

Walk the walk for your kids. Not just in the what but also in the how you eat. While we may like eating while standing this is an area where hectic parents need to improve. Don’t encourage your kids to play and gobble, running around after them as you try and get them to eat. Even snacks should be done separately from play. So, no toys or books at the table. Make meal time, a family meal that’s a sit down event. They’re a social occasion no matter what kids’ ages.

8. BEWARE OF USING FOOD FOR COMFORT OR REWARD

Nursing or eating other than for hunger (as a reward, even soothing) can create dependencies. It’s safest to give kids food when they’re hungry or thirsty only.

NUTRIENT DENSITY

Paleo nutrient density means kids eat less in quantity but more quality and more of what they need (before what they ‘want’ ) so their digestive system gets some rest between meals. Only our kids can truly know their own appetite. We as parents can encourage them to stay attuned, listening and trusting their tummy. Sure the what to eat is as much about what they’ll actually eat. But what (& how) we as parents offer our kids is how we can establish healthy eating in these early years.

Goodbye Cheerios, Hello Tasty Snacks for Healthy Kids

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go
As an Aussie in America, it seems American parents go to great lengths to make sure their kids are never hungry by giving them a never ending amount of snacks. By doing this, are we teaching our kids that constant eating is normal? I know that some people claim the healthiest way to eat is to eat often. But the jury is still out on this. There’s plenty of research that shows that eating frequently throughout the day reduces your chances of becoming overweight, however, there’s also plenty of research that counters this, too. The French, for instance, believe that hunger between meals is a good thing. It produces good eaters, teaches kids self-control and produces discipline around eating. What about you, for you personally: how we’re you brought up, what do you think about hunger? No matter how you feel about the subject there’s a lot suggesting we change the way we currently teach our children to eat.

GOODBYE CHEERIOS, HELLO TASTY SNACKS FOR HEALTHY KIDS

It’s ok to be hungry. The truth is a lot of us don’t just get hungry, we get “hangry.” We result to binging on sugary foods and snacks. The truth is, many of us are slaves to food we eat. Often wondering where our next meal is coming from, saving ourselves for a meal or just getting a quick snack to ease the “hangriness” for now. Let’s look at those snacks, specifically at cheerios. What are they? Well they were once oats, subjected to high heat and extruded into something resembling a crunchy something else. Their once nutrient content (incidentally grains contain phytic acid which blocks a lot of the other nutrients in our body from being used) is stripped away by high heat and pressure to resemble something our body’s no longer recognize as food. Cheerios actually cost our bodies more than they provide! No wonder we’re hangry from cheerios and other highly processed foods.
Eating whole foods, at snacks and meals, not only increases your nutrient intake but also your nutrient absorption giving your digestive system a break. Eating healthy whole foods will eliminate your “hangry” mood. This goes for your kids too. If you’re looking to eliminate their moodiness and tantrums try real food. We’re not just here to survive (to the next meal!) but thrive. Feed your kids (& yourself) in a way that coincides with how their body works considering their unique nutrient needs as their growing.

tasty snacks

ARE WE SAYING TO SAY NO TO SNACKING?

Well, no. Yet feeding kids as we currently do isn’t good enough. Improve their nutrition by including healthy snacking! Just add a few new twists…

1. EAT NUTRIENT DENSE WHOLE FOODS

Avoiding processed or packaged foods doesn’t have to be an inconvenience to your schedule. Healthy snacks are actually the opposite. They’re snack food for our body as nature intended.  Purchase foods with no ingredients like bananas or strawberries and eat them separately or combine them as you’d like. It’s not rocket science, just plain old home science. Keep at it. You’ll get better at it, especially as your taste buds yearn for the deliciousness you’re now serving up.

2. GET EACH MACRONUTRIENT AT EACH MEAL: CARBS, FATS, PROTEINS

Why do we snack? Answer: to get us through to the next meal. We’re hungrier earlier than that next meal, meaning the last meal didn’t provide all it should for a growing body. Each macronutrient – carbs, proteins, fats – are important to consume at each meal because it helps the other digest. Each have roles in healing and building our body, and all science aside, each tastes great for different reasons!

3. FOUR SNACKS A DAY CAN VERY EASILY TRANSITION INTO FOUR MEALS.

Why not halve a boiled egg and mix some yolk with almond butter for sweet deviled eggs? Serve the same almond butter with a carrot cut in half and spot it with raisins for fun. All the macronutrients are represented, each will help the other digest, protein for building our bodies, carbs for energy and fats for slowing things down and satiety. That sweet deviled egg, almond butter and carrot can easily become carrot (with eg, banana and raisins) pancakes with almond butter. Serve with a bit of maple syrup and bacon! Having all macronutrients means our kids’s bodies are getting what they need so “hangriness” begone. With that comes more patience from kids with better long term energy.

4. IT TURNS OUT GIVING YOUR BABY SMALLER PORTIONS OF WHAT YOU’RE EATING MIGHT NOT BE WHAT THEY NEED…

However eating larger portions of what you’re feeding your baby is exactly what your body probably needs! But don’t reach for the rice cereal and grains! Baby’s are  grain intolerant, and grains are nutrient blockers which have become massive fillers on our plates. Choose to get more veggies, a side of protein and maybe a few of those fillers at the end on the side but mostly as a last thought. We need other stuff first.

5. OVEREATING AND UNDER RESTING YOUR DIGESTION WEARS YOUR INSIDES OUT

An alarming amount of kids are being born with low stomach acid, in fact a lot of us adults have low acid too. Yes low, in fact only 0.01% of us high stomach acid but that’s another story. Snacking over uses our supplies and cells have to continuously make more. So it’s not just that our food is nutrient deficient from the soil or nutrient devoid from non organic agriculture, or our plates macronutrient deficient but our bodies are being made nutrient deficient through excessive overuse: we need more supplies to make more to digest more!

6. SO WHAT’S ENOUGH?

Let your baby and children be the guide in what they want to eat and how much is enough. When they turn away or are no longer interested the meal is over. Seriously. Studies have been done that show how effective this is.

7. SNACK IDEAS THAT COULD TURN TO MEALS

Paleo Pancakes-Plantain Cakes

  • Deviled eggs – sweet style – with bacon and maple syrup
  • Mashed sweet potato ground minced beef balls (sneak some broccoli in too)
  • Plantain Cakes with smoked salmon, a spread of cauliflower mash and lime
  • Plantain Cakes with avocado mousse and crushed bacon bits
Nourishing our kids to safeguard them from modern day illness is actually preserving their chance for genuine health – most conditions begin in childhood and they’re caused or made worse by nutrient deficiencies and/or toxic overload. To be the smartest, happiest and healthiest our kids can possibly be is this simple.
Maybe thinking about snacks for your kids might change how and what you snack on too.

Eating for More Than One is Not the Same as Eating for Two!

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

Intuitively, most moms know that what they eat will have a significant impact on their developing fetus. Researchers agree those 9 months of pregnancy are the most consequential months of our lives, permanently influencing the wiring of our brain and the functions of our heart and liver. Special preconception and pregnancy diets especially in traditional cultures have always emphasized eating foods that are particularly rich in certain nutrients known to promote healthy growth and development.

No mom wants to do anything that might risk the health of her future child. But when the information you get from well-meaning doctors and nutritionists isn’t up to date, that’s what’s happening. We’re seeing childhood obesity, diabetes, allergies and asthma. Not to mention a growing society of children with behavioral issues.

Not surprisingly, during pregnancy your body has increased nutritional needs. This makes sense because you’re now eating for more than one. It’s probably what led us to the old adage “eating for two”. However, the old saying isn’t entirely correct. Your body does need more quality macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins and water) and micronutrients (calcium, folate, and iron) during pregnancy. Except the ones you actually need might not be what you’ve heard.

NUTRITION MYTHS EVERY EXPECTING MOTHER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

Here’s five nutrition myths that every expecting mother should know. The take home message is simply to trust that real food is optimal in pregnancy. Any “expert” who tries to convince you that you need fortified cereal, must avoid some of nature’s most nutrient-dense foods and should go low fat while you watch your weight during pregnancy, hasn’t dug deep enough into the research.

1. A LOW-FAT DIET CANNOT BE (SCIENTIFICALLY) HEALTHY

A baby’s brain is 70% fat so limiting mom’s dietary fat means limiting baby brain development. In fact high-fat foods (especially of animal origin) have always been central to reproductive health in traditional cultures. Examples of these foods include foods eggs, organ meats, tallow, and fatty fish. They provide an abundance of vitamins A, D, E, and K and omega-3, DHA, that are needed in higher amounts during pregnancy.

Restricting fat limits your (and more importantly your baby’s) access to these nutrients. The classic advice to “eat lean meat” ends up limiting the quantity of glycine in the diet, an amino acid that is critical for normal cardiovascular development and tissue development in a growing baby. The primary sources of glycine are the skin, bones, and connective tissue of meat, poultry, and fish. So, enjoy the crisp skin on your chicken, relish some yummy pulled pork, and don’t trim the fat off your steak.

Clearly, the whole idea of eating a low-fat diet, pregnant or not, is not founded on solid scientific evidence.

2. EATING HIGH CARB IS ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY CHALLENGING

Eating for two is physically impossible. With an ever-increasing sized baby on board, all of your organs are being squashed under your ribs. There’s simply not the room to eat more than you normally would. Eating nutrient dense food is really the only way to get the energetic nutrients you and the baby need during pregnancy.

However, this doesn’t mean cutting carbs either! The truth is that nothing is good or bad just in or out of balance and too many carbs or calories is going to make things out of balance whether you’re pregnant or not.

If you’re going to count anything while pregnant count nutrients! As parents we become, if not already, conscious of lowering our sugar intake more than ever during pregnancy. Leveling out our macronutrient intake instead of going high carb during pregnancy means lowering your sugar intake.

3. BONE BROTH AND LIVER ARE THE SUPER FOODS OF PRENATAL VITAMINS

A few decades ago, doctors actually encouraged mothers to consume liver throughout pregnancy. Nowadays we’re often warned against it because liver is high in vitamin A. Studies on synthetic vitamin A (from supplements) show that too much can lead to birth defects. So, following that simple logic, liver should be avoided. Unless considering the one third of pregnant women don’t consume enough vitamin A. So, eating liver for them would actually be hugely beneficial. What’s the right way to go?

It turns out that food-sourced vitamin A does not have the same toxicity as synthetic vitamin A supplements, especially when it’s consumed with adequate vitamin D and vitamin K, both of which happen to be found in liver. Liver is also rich in choline, which is necessary for normal brain and eye development and the prevention of neural tube defects. In addition, liver boasts high levels of folate, all the B vitamins, iron, zinc, and more. It’s quite literally like eating your prenatal vitamins!

4. SUNSHINE AND HAPPINESS: WHEN DO WE NOT NEED THEM?

Thinking it’s best to stay out of the sun while pregnant? Think again.  It’s hard not to consider the importance of sunlight when you’re thinking about the importance of vitamin D. The nutritional therapist in me immediately thinks about the importance of vitamin D for normalizing your cholesterol levels. Considering the link between your cholesterol levels and breast milk, the milk from a healthy mother has about 50 to 60 percent of its energy (kilocalories) as fat. The cholesterol in human milk supplies an infant with close to six times the amount most adults consume from their food. Vitamin D plays a role in lung development, protecting the newborn and probably a much larger role in fetal development than currently understood due to its interaction with vitamin A.

5. FISH AND FATS ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE 

One of the main dietary recommendations accompanying a low fat diet when pregnant concerns the avoidance of fish. Honestly, I’d probably agree for fish higher up the food chain who are more likely to contain mercury like shark, orange roughy, swordfish and ling. Unborn babies are most sensitive to the effects of mercury, particularly during the third and fourth months of gestation. So, mom’s avoiding eating fish that contain high levels of mercury makes sense. But complete avoidance of fish makes no sense, especially during pregnancy.

Fish are especially nutrient dense in essential omega 3 fatty acids. These are essential because our bodies cannot make these fats although we need them in our diet. It turns out the conversion of ALA to DHA in humans is incredibly poor. Plus, if your diet is high in omega-6 (which happens to be concentrated in seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils where you obtain ALA which a lot of us have been adhering to following advice toward these oils), this conversion rate drops.

Interestingly a diet high in saturated fat, however, improves this conversion rate, but the truth is… no matter what, you cannot provide enough DHA for your growing baby if you do not eat DHA directly. The best source of DHA, by far, is fish as described above. If you do not eat fish, you can take fish oil, cod liver oil, or algae oil to obtain DHA. You’ll also find smaller amounts of DHA in eggs from pastured chickens and meat from pasture-raised or grass-fed animals (but only if you eat the yolks and fattier cuts of meat).

eating

So, if you feel good basing your diet on pasture-raised meats (including organ meat), eggs, wild-caught fish, a variety of vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit (and maybe some grass-fed dairy if that works with your body), rest assured, you are providing your baby with optimal nutrition! You’ll also ensure the quality of your breast milk and while baby gets first dibs on your nutrient supply, you’ll be looking after the both of you.

Boosting Your Kids Immunity Even Mid Winter

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

We’re in the middle of cold and flu season and most of us would be willing to do anything to boost our immune system, and even more to boost those of our kids. If you’ve kids then you might feel that you live in a Petri dish – but you or your kids simply cannot get sick just by being in contact with someone who is (although that certainly doesn’t help). Only a sick body can get sick, so if you keep your child boosted and healthy they will have a much greater chance of dealing with the viruses and bacteria that they come in contact with. And prevention would be awesome but that was months ago! So how do we build immune function in our children and create the highest resistance to infection possible mid winter? Supplements? Foods?

 HOW TO BOOST YOUR KIDS IMMUNITY EVEN MID WINTER

We can boost our kids immunity even mid winter by activating their immune systems and encouraging resistance through a healthy diet, adequate sleep, maintaining exercise even in the winter, and using nutritional supplements. Simple right? But a lot of this advice is belly up to what we’ve been lead to believe!
Before we get started though, let’s go back to the first sentence: we’re in the middle of cold and flu season? Flu is not a season. It’s an inability to adapt due to increased sugar intake and stress combined with decreased sun exposure and water intake. And that’s exactly the steps we need to activate our kids immune systems and encourage resistance.
Sugar and stress: it’s all a mess
You could go as far as detoxing your little sugar monsters but really decreasing our kids’ sugar intake and stress can be as simple as transitioning them to a whole food diet. Note transitioning: not expecting your kids to eat like angels all the time but likewise not giving into eating sugary processed refined things most of the time either. Feeding kids as we currently do just isn’t good enough, in fact it’s stressful on their bodies.
Nutrient density in whole foods is made for winter! Think about the foods you feel like in winter: curries (think turmeric), casseroles (think slow cooked meats and sneaky veggies), soups (bone broths and more sneaky veggies) and ‘heavier’ breakfasts like pancakes. There’s a reason: your body knows what it needs. But just how much so in winter, what exactly is enough to boost immunity?
Veggies
– In winter, we should be focused on getting our kids to eat BUTTER with a side of broccoli instead of the other way around! Not only will this increase vitamin/mineral absorption from the veggies they actually do eat, it will provide the kind of fat soluble vitamins that help develop beautiful straight teeth, strong bodies and good dispositions.
– Butter and free range eggs (use organic sources) will help maintain necessary levels of vitamin A particularly. The beta-carotene form of vitamin A from vegetable sources is not absorbed as well as retinoid forms from animal sources and a supplement of beta-carotene will need at least 10 times the dose of beta-carotene compared to a retinoid vitamin A supplement (e.g. from fish oil). Combine the two and cook some colorful root veggies in duck lard. They’re great as is with a roast or steak, in salads, or blend with eggs and cacao for chocolate breakfast pancakes (maybe ease up on the garlic in the night before cooking if that’s your plan)
Meat
– Choosing grass fed pastured mess are the best for your child. And slow cooking not only saves you time but protects these precious proteins from high heat. try adding turmeric to curries for added anti inflammatory powers this winter alongside those preserved amino acids from slow cooked meats you’ve also had the time to sit down and relax or play with your kids instead of cooking that night!
Fruit
– Even tho it’s winter encourage kids to eat lots of fruits in season in winter. In fact they should be given as a child’s only source of sugar where possible and if not try sugar detoxing them this winter. A whole foods diet will provide the best support for maintaining healthy cellular function in kids. But this can be a challenge for many kids who crave foods that are processed and sweet and they sure have opportunities to eat these foods in their daily lives! But young kids will eat what’s offered so remember, processed and sweet can not offered!
Let kids be their own guide
– Sometimes we just don’t feel like a big meal, or a big meal of meat, or veggies for that matter. Let your kids be the guide to what they want – and true they will try and get away with what they can initially but everyone discovers what they want and chooses what they need in the end has happy consequences. This was actual results of a study!
– Kids’ favorite meals in winter can be the best opportunity to increase nutrient density for immune boosting. Try a chicken pot pie, paleo tarts, or plantain pancakes maybe with a big dollop of grass fed butter, maple syrup and cinnamon, the latter being a natural insulin moderator, which alongside the healthy fats in the butter, will slow down any sugar spike from that little bit of maple syrup.

VITAMIN D: FOOD OR SUN EXPOSURE  

Children need vitamin D for bone growth and development. So do babies developing in the womb. This is because vitamin D helps us absorb calcium. And while kids won’t get enough vitamin D from food alone, food with lots of vitamin D can add to the vitamin D your child gets from sunshine.
Vitamin D foods, not vitamin D added foods

Foods naturally containing vitamin D include fresh fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines), mushrooms, liver and egg yolks. However, foods that have vitamin D added to them are something to be avoided! These include margarine, some low-fat milk and dairy products. Even infant formula contains added vitamin D.

Be sun smart

Spending too long in the sun isn’t good for your skin, so it’s important to use sun protection. During summer, especially between 10 am and 4 pm, make sure your child stays safe in the sun with sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, clothing that keeps the sun off and access to plenty of shade.

In winter, none of us really get enough sunshine so try and get some on your face at least once a day. Consider vitamin D3 supplementation too, particularly in lower sunlight areas like Northern America.

Water intake: even more so in winter 
In summer we’re hot, we sweat, we get thirsty. Generally we drink to replace fluids in summer, even kids. But breathing in cold air in winter needs warming before being used in our lungs, which has a water cost that doesn’t even figure in the summer equation. Summer or winter (or spring or fall for that matter!) adults and kids should make sure they get enough water for normal body function.
– Get 1/2 your body weight in water a day with a pinch of salt in each glass
– Try making your own bone broth or purchase instead of coffee. It’s no wonder our body craves warm beverages and soups in winter and the nutrients of this giving drink will love you back.
– Limit coffee and tea, soda and juices. Water is water and none of these even come close to hydrating you, in fact they cost you in water with the sugars they contain which require insulin transport in your blood, done so in water!
– With babies and kids look at the amount of wet diapers or pee times. The yellower pee, the more dehydrated your little ones so get them to drink up
Adequate sleep (the forgotten stress even in kids)
Maintaining exercise even in the winter, and using nutritional supplements – or therapeutic levels of foods containing natural supplements – we know our bodies will over use in winter might seem obvious pointers for immune boosting throughout winter. But sleep or lack thereof can be just as important a stress removal. So just how do we help kids realize there’s times for running around like a mad person and other times for slowing down (apart from empathy and our own actions of course!).
– Start scheduling a regular wake-up time in school times. Everyone should wind down at night – maybe reading or chatting near bed with lights dimmed which is calming and sets the mind for sleep. Turn off electronic screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime. Avoid caffeine and sugary drinks, particularly in the second half of the day. Oh and just because I need it myself I’ll say it again, lead by example and you’ll only all benefit!

One final word: don’t worry if your kids get sick, only if they’re sick all the time. In fact be more concerned if they don’t get sick from time to time, but that’s a whole other article. This winter just remember, all stress summates: sugar, stress itself, lack of sleep, lack of water and sunlight to name a few. But these are also the areas we can all work on in winter to help boost our kids immunity. Nutrition is the key to good health. Most of the time we reach for vitamins and supplements in winter dreading what is to come, but research has particularly queried their absorption in kids. Nutrient dense whole foods, however, are something you can choose to immune boost your kids this ‘season’. Oh and of course a paleo meal service can provide your immune boosting food, ready made so you can relax and wind down to hibernate this winter like all the other animals in the animal kingdom.

This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

Intuitively, most moms know that what they eat will have a significant impact on their developing fetus. Researchers agree those 9 months of pregnancy are the most consequential months of our lives, permanently influencing the wiring of our brain and the functions of our heart and liver. Special preconception and pregnancy diets especially in traditional cultures have always emphasized eating foods that are particularly rich in certain nutrients known to promote healthy growth and development.

No mom wants to do anything that might risk the health of her future child. But when the information you get from well-meaning doctors and nutritionists isn’t up to date, that’s what’s happening. We’re seeing childhood obesity, diabetes, allergies and asthma. Not to mention a growing society of children with behavioral issues.

Not surprisingly, during pregnancy your body has increased nutritional needs. This makes sense because you’re now eating for more than one. It’s probably what led us to the old adage “eating for two”. However, the old saying isn’t entirely correct. Your body does need more quality macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins and water) and micronutrients (calcium, folate, and iron) during pregnancy. Except the ones you actually need might not be what you’ve heard.

NUTRITION MYTHS EVERY EXPECTING MOTHER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT

Here’s five nutrition myths that every expecting mother should know. The take home message is simply to trust that real food is optimal in pregnancy. Any “expert” who tries to convince you that you need fortified cereal, must avoid some of nature’s most nutrient-dense foods and should go low fat while you watch your weight during pregnancy, hasn’t dug deep enough into the research.

1. A LOW-FAT DIET CANNOT BE (SCIENTIFICALLY) HEALTHY

A baby’s brain is 70% fat so limiting mom’s dietary fat means limiting baby brain development. In fact high-fat foods (especially of animal origin) have always been central to reproductive health in traditional cultures. Examples of these foods include foods eggs, organ meats, tallow, and fatty fish. They provide an abundance of vitamins A, D, E, and K and omega-3, DHA, that are needed in higher amounts during pregnancy.

Restricting fat limits your (and more importantly your baby’s) access to these nutrients. The classic advice to “eat lean meat” ends up limiting the quantity of glycine in the diet, an amino acid that is critical for normal cardiovascular development and tissue development in a growing baby. The primary sources of glycine are the skin, bones, and connective tissue of meat, poultry, and fish. So, enjoy the crisp skin on your chicken, relish some yummy pulled pork, and don’t trim the fat off your steak.

Clearly, the whole idea of eating a low-fat diet, pregnant or not, is not founded on solid scientific evidence.

2. EATING HIGH CARB IS ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY CHALLENGING

Eating for two is physically impossible. With an ever-increasing sized baby on board, all of your organs are being squashed under your ribs. There’s simply not the room to eat more than you normally would. Eating nutrient dense food is really the only way to get the energetic nutrients you and the baby need during pregnancy.

However, this doesn’t mean cutting carbs either! The truth is that nothing is good or bad just in or out of balance and too many carbs or calories is going to make things out of balance whether you’re pregnant or not.

If you’re going to count anything while pregnant count nutrients! As parents we become, if not already, conscious of lowering our sugar intake more than ever during pregnancy. Leveling out our macronutrient intake instead of going high carb during pregnancy means lowering your sugar intake.

3. BONE BROTH AND LIVER ARE THE SUPER FOODS OF PRENATAL VITAMINS

A few decades ago, doctors actually encouraged mothers to consume liver throughout pregnancy. Nowadays we’re often warned against it because liver is high in vitamin A. Studies on synthetic vitamin A (from supplements) show that too much can lead to birth defects. So, following that simple logic, liver should be avoided. Unless considering the one third of pregnant women don’t consume enough vitamin A. So, eating liver for them would actually be hugely beneficial. What’s the right way to go?

It turns out that food-sourced vitamin A does not have the same toxicity as synthetic vitamin A supplements, especially when it’s consumed with adequate vitamin D and vitamin K, both of which happen to be found in liver. Liver is also rich in choline, which is necessary for normal brain and eye development and the prevention of neural tube defects. In addition, liver boasts high levels of folate, all the B vitamins, iron, zinc, and more. It’s quite literally like eating your prenatal vitamins!

4. SUNSHINE AND HAPPINESS: WHEN DO WE NOT NEED THEM?

Thinking it’s best to stay out of the sun while pregnant? Think again.  It’s hard not to consider the importance of sunlight when you’re thinking about the importance of vitamin D. The nutritional therapist in me immediately thinks about the importance of vitamin D for normalizing your cholesterol levels. Considering the link between your cholesterol levels and breast milk, the milk from a healthy mother has about 50 to 60 percent of its energy (kilocalories) as fat. The cholesterol in human milk supplies an infant with close to six times the amount most adults consume from their food. Vitamin D plays a role in lung development, protecting the newborn and probably a much larger role in fetal development than currently understood due to its interaction with vitamin A.

5. FISH AND FATS ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE 

One of the main dietary recommendations accompanying a low fat diet when pregnant concerns the avoidance of fish. Honestly, I’d probably agree for fish higher up the food chain who are more likely to contain mercury like shark, orange roughy, swordfish and ling. Unborn babies are most sensitive to the effects of mercury, particularly during the third and fourth months of gestation. So, mom’s avoiding eating fish that contain high levels of mercury makes sense. But complete avoidance of fish makes no sense, especially during pregnancy.

Fish are especially nutrient dense in essential omega 3 fatty acids. These are essential because our bodies cannot make these fats although we need them in our diet. It turns out the conversion of ALA to DHA in humans is incredibly poor. Plus, if your diet is high in omega-6 (which happens to be concentrated in seeds, nuts, and vegetable oils where you obtain ALA which a lot of us have been adhering to following advice toward these oils), this conversion rate drops.

Interestingly a diet high in saturated fat, however, improves this conversion rate, but the truth is… no matter what, you cannot provide enough DHA for your growing baby if you do not eat DHA directly. The best source of DHA, by far, is fish as described above. If you do not eat fish, you can take fish oil, cod liver oil, or algae oil to obtain DHA. You’ll also find smaller amounts of DHA in eggs from pastured chickens and meat from pasture-raised or grass-fed animals (but only if you eat the yolks and fattier cuts of meat).

eating

So, if you feel good basing your diet on pasture-raised meats (including organ meat), eggs, wild-caught fish, a variety of vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit (and maybe some grass-fed dairy if that works with your body), rest assured, you are providing your baby with optimal nutrition! You’ll also ensure the quality of your breast milk and while baby gets first dibs on your nutrient supply, you’ll be looking after the both of you.

Why Vegetarian Isn’t Healthiest For Kids
 This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

VEGETARIAN NUTRITION FOR KIDS

Is being vegetarian healthy for your kids? With all the food information out there on toxins in our foods, food processing, preservatives, coloring, high heating, packaging, low salt or low sugar, fat free or gluten free, no carbs, high proteins, surely diets based on plant based food are best right? Actually no. When we look at the science behind what our bodies need, a plant based diet couldn’t be worse for optimal nourishment, especially of a growing baby or child. 

Despite arguments to the contrary, the fact remains that we humans are omnivores. We can eat- and thrive- on most anything edible. The exact proportions of animal vs. vegetable food that we consume varies from person to person as we’re as unique on the inside as well as out. When we look to history and traditional people (who weren’t subject to most if not all our current illnesses) it’s almost impossible to point to a society or a culture that has thrived and prospered without eating any animal products. Even apparently vegetarian cultures like the Masai eat blood and oftentimes plagues provided an abundance of insects that could be dried for later dining in times of need for any population living off the land. (The only group I can think of that does it successfully is Tibetian monks, and then they don’t reproduce). All this considered, kids are still another matter and when their nutrient needs are considered, plants alone will not do it. 

Plant based diets might sound perfectly ‘natural’ but many plants have mineral blockers, enzyme inhibitors, protein digestion blockers, poorly absorbed minerals, digestive irritants, are often inflammatory, tend to be high in sugars and nearly always deficient in nutrients critical for growth and development. 

THE NUTRIENTS PLANT BASED DIETS MISS

vegetarian

Then diets free of animal foods include low levels of, or less available nutrients, such as: 

– vitamins A and D (fat soluble activators), resulting in poor mineral use

– body ready essential fatty acids – AA EPA DHA – necessary for brain and cognitive development, immune support and anti-inflammation

– CoQ10, necessary for fighting free radicals and aiding cardiovascular health

– cholesterol, necessary for brain development and cellular communication

– body-ready B6 for several conversions of happiness neurotransmitters and detox pathway. B6 helps B12 and folic acid convert harmful homocysteine – a risk factor for cardiovascular disease

– B12 – you simply can’t absorb a reasonable amount of bioavailable B12 from plant foods – and soy further increases the need for b12, and because vitamin B12 is found only in animal source foods, strict vegetarianism has long been associated with a greater risk of deficiency of this vitamin. 

– body-ready zinc and iron. Heme iron, the most absorbable form of iron, is found only in animal foods. 

– the amino acids (the smallest building block of animal proteins) carnitine, taurine and carnosine, necessary for fighting free radicals inflammation and helpful for cardiovascular health, aiding in fat metabolism and cellular energy production and protecting the eyes and brain.

ANIMAL MEATS ARE A HEALTHY WAY TO HELP OUR KIDS GROW

Several researchers have found that animal foods are so important in ensuring proper growth, height, strength and intelligence, they actually conclude it unhealthy not to include animal foods in children’s diets. We agree that anyone who values their health should be against factory farming. However, we still need to strongly recommend parents provide the best quality animal foods available for feeding their babies at this critical age. Get your animal foods from pastured farms and you will be supporting animal husbandry that is humane, healthy and the happiest for the animals. Plus, you’ll be supplying superior nutrient content for your child. In fact, reasonable amounts of grass-fed meat, wild fish, free-range eggs and other non-contaminated animal protein sources consumed as part of a diet high in fiber with vegetables, fruits and omega-3 fats, aren’t associated with any bad outcomes at all. 

WHY VEGETARIANISM ISN’T FOR EVERYONE ESPECIALLY KIDS

vegetarianMost wise experts agree that there is no single diet that is best for everyone, so a vegetarian/vegan diet may work for some, but not the majority; most people will achieve better health if some high quality animal proteins are included in their diet. With the cost of ethical meat being slightly higher than the norm, probably means if more people purchased their meat based on ethics they might also consume less meat and add more plant based meals into their diet. That ‘s something one would assume vegetarians and vegans would encourage? Nothing is good or bad, just in or out of balance, and mostly that balance is a quality decision! Those decisions are especially important when it comes to kids!

Ultimately, you must listen to your body as it can provide you with information about what type of diet is best for you. However, if you’re truly caring for your kids at the most critically developing time of their lives, including high quality animal proteins as part of their balanced diet can be one of the biggest gifts of health you could give them. 

Why Are We Drawn To Foods That Harm Us?
 This article appeared for Paleo on the Go

WHY ARE WE DRAWN TO FOODS THAT HARM US?

why are we drawn to foods that harm usYou’ve probably heard that an elimination diet is one of the best ways to discover if you’re allergic or sensitive to certain foods. You simply stop eating those foods for about three weeks to three months before reintroducing them to decide if you’re going to eat them ever again. However, the notion that we might not know we’re allergic or sensitive to a food until we stop eating it sounds may be a little hard to fathom!

Unfortunately, most of the things we love are often convenient – processed, packaged, throw together meals. The downfall with these meals is that the biggest portions are bread, pasta or rice. Let’s stop there for a moment. When did foods stop being about enjoyment and start being quick, filling meals just to get the job done?

Actually, it’s this relegating food from ‘priority’ to ‘inconvenience’ that we can draw from to see why this is not an elaborate plan against food pleasure. Simply put, food reactions cause the body stress. The body responds by producing endorphins, which are in the opiate family along with morphine. Opiates make us feel good, so we end up craving and consuming more of these same foods in an effort to get more of these addictive, “happy” chemicals. This then feeds the food sensitivity reactions that lead to more addictive chemicals… and we embark on a continual cycle of craving and reacting. Sugar and gluten are probably the worst culprits! But before going into cravings and what they mean for your body’s needs there’s one step we often overlook: most of us have really poor stomach acid and subsequent digestion.

LOW STOMACH ACID IS THE START OF ALL DEFICIENCY

There is a simple table following you can scroll to right now for a simple this for that food craving for deficiency solution. But really the place to start is your digestion. Even if you eat a diet rich in the most nutrient dense whole foods there is on offer, if you can’t digest them then that’s what they’re going to be the next morning either still in your tummy causing you discomfort or in your toilet bowl if you’ve managed to keep things moving. Because the key to optimal digestion is optimal stomach acid: acidic enough to move food through from your stomach for the next meal and get all the nutrients out to be used where they’re needed in your body so they’re not just leftovers that end up in your toilet bowl.

And low stomach acid is more of an issue than ever before because we’re snacking constantly on highly addictive and sugary foods which drain our acid supplies, antacids, watching cooking and thinking about food too much. Dieting in itself lowers your stomach acid! Stomach acid is just something we’ve either tried to prevent or we’ve over used and it’s time to start nourishing it back to self regulatory usefulness.

SO HOW CAN YOU MAKE MORE STOMACH ACID NATURALLY?

The simplest way that you can kick start the production of your own stomach acid by really taking the time to be conscious about what you’re eating, enjoying each mouthful, its taste and flavor and how great it makes you feel as it satiates your appetite. And eating three wholesome meals a day and avoiding the need to snack regularly. Squeezing naturally occurring acids such as lemon or lime over your food or drinking a tsp of concentrated raw apple cider vinegar before or during meals can also assist in the process of getting your food broken right down to its really useful and absorbable components.  There are also some inexpensive natural acid supplements on the market in the form of HCl capsules which can be purchased from many well-reputed health stores.

BUT DON’T ANTACIDS WORK TO GET RID OF TOO MUCH STOMACH ACID

Antacids are commonly taken to neutralize the stomach after its acidic contents have ‘fluxed’ back up into the esophagus and ‘burned’ its lining (the heartburn sensation).  Ironically, this situation occurs when the stomach isn’t acidic enough in the first place to completely digest the food within, so it gets trapped in there for longer where it putrefies and expands, and is regurgitated back out through the incoming valve. So sure they work to put out the fire but then you’re adding even more to the problem with even less acidity you now have to swallow. They are not a long term solution!

CRAVINGS AND WHAT THEY MEAN TO YOUR BODY

  1. Lack of nutrient density
  • Inadequate Dietary Fats – Our bodies require plenty of healthy saturated fats for proper function of the nerves, brain, hormones, immune system and metabolism. When we consume enough saturated fats, we produce a hormone in the stomach that signals we’ve eaten enough. Depriving our bodies of enough saturated fats can lead to cravings for more food, even though we’ve already satisfied our caloric needs. Crave sugar? Try a dab of a healthy fat and see how it calms that impulse.
  • Inadequate Nutrient Absorption – With un-mediated autoimmunity, the irritated, out-of-balance gut environment frequently can’t support proper nutrient absorption. When we don’t assimilate food well, or don’t eat nutrient-dense food, our body craves extra food in the attempt to fill in the nutritional blanks. We don’t always crave the correct foods, though, and can end up reaching for something that doesn’t support our health.
  • Inadequate B Vitamins – We need a high amount of beneficial gut bacteria to make the B vitamins; with the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) common in autoimmunity, we frequently see a lack of these bacteria, which leads to an inability to produce enough Vitamin B6. B6 is necessary for making serotonin… and a lack of serotonin can result in a craving for sugar.
  • Thirst – Thirst can manifest as a craving for concentrated carbohydrates. If you crave carbs, drink 8-12 ounces of fresh filtered water, wait 20 minutes and see if you still have the craving.
  1. Sugar cravings
  • Blood sugar balance – When we consume excess sugars, the body quickly releases extra insulin to help balance blood sugar by transporting glucose into the cells. Afterwards, the blood sugar can drop too low again, resulting in a craving for more sugar, repeating the cycle. Chronic highs and lows of blood sugar can result in insulin resistance, where the body gets tired of the roller-coaster and can’t absorb glucose properly into the cells.
  • Unfriendly bacteria, candida and other parasites – An overgrowth of yeast, fungi and bad bacteria in the intestinal tract is common in people with chronic illness and autoimmunity. These critters live on sugar, and increase our desire for sugar and carbs. Other intestinal parasites also love sugar, creating sugar cravings.
  • Sugar and brain neurotransmitters – Sugar consumption artificially stimulates the brain to produce dopamine, the “pleasure neurotransmitter”. Afterwards, dopamine levels drop and we can start to feel a bit “down”. We crave this pleasant, feel-good feeling again…and go for the sugar

DECODING YOUR BODY’S FOOD CRAVINGS

WHAT YOU CAN DO ON A MEAL BY MEAL LEVEL

As you can see, maintaining stable blood sugar is critical for avoiding food cravings. Some good tools for keeping blood sugar stable:

  1. Protein helps balance blood sugar; inadequate protein intake can trigger sugar cravings.
  2. Always have a protein- and fat-strong breakfast, with a minimum of sugars. This helps set the blood glucose on an even footing for the day, avoiding the mid-afternoon crash where all you want is caffeine and sugar. Avoid fruits before lunch for added stability.
  3. Avoid all processed carbs and sugar, and keep natural sugars to a minimum.
  4. When you crave sugar, try drinking water, or eat a snack strong in protein and fat.

It’s true that not all food cravings are misdirected. Sometimes we really need a nutrient our body tells us to eat. When we’re out of balance, it’s harder to know if a craving is healthy. As you heal your gut lining, repair nutrient deficiencies, and stabilize your blood sugar, your judgment of food cravings is likely to improve. A good gauge is a calm knowing, not a desperation, for a certain food or food group. When in doubt, take protein and fat.

Is it the saltiness of potato chips, the cool creaminess of ice cream, or the rich flavor of chocolate? Whatever you’re longing for, it may be your body’s way of letting you know you’re missing valuable nutrients. Here’s how to decode your cravings.

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WHAT YOU CAN DO ON A NUTRIENT LEVEL

One last thing. The less you eat an allergenic food the more it affects you. Sounds a lot like another reason to not eliminate those foods you love from your diet right? The less gluten the more a gluten blow out hurts your insides. The less sugar the more of a sugar high and then low low low you experience. They’re not pretty. But food sensitivity like these are not so different to our body’s cravings for food deficiencies: the more inflammation padding the space between the food you’ve just swallowed, your parietal cells which secrete stomach acid and the tight junctures the digested nutrients pass through to your bloodstream to be used, the less nutrients your body gets. Which means the more dis-ease your body experiences. Yet it’s still nutrient deficient!