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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fermented Foods for Digestive Health

It's simple: digestion is the key to good health. Good digestion is absolutely essential for optimal assimilation of the nutrients that we take in with our food. We Americans tend to think of eating food as fueling up and filling up, instead of what the act truly is- the taking in of the nutrients from which all future cells will be made. And those cells, of course, make up every single organ and system in the body. If you think about fermentation at all, you probably think about alcohol. But there are many other kinds of fermented foods such as yogurt out there. Foods that are labeled “pickled” are also fermented foods. Fermented food uses microorganisms to convert sugars into lactic acid, creating a signature sour taste.

That sour taste which many people may find unfamiliar should not be equated with unhealthy or expired. In fact, including fermented foods in your diet a few times a week or more could be beneficial for your health.

Fermented foods include:

  • Miso. A paste made of fermented soy beans, it forms the base of soups or glazes.
  • Sauerkraut. This familiar condiment is made of finely shredded fermented cabbage.
  • Sourdough bread. Real sourdough bread is made with milk and other foods that have been allowed to ferment before making the bread dough.
  • Kefir. A fermented drink made from milk.
  • Yogurt. Yogurt includes live bacteria called probiotics.
  • Kimchi. A traditional Korean dish made from pickled vegetables like cabbage or radish.
  • Buttermilk. Buttermilk also includes probiotics.
  • Natto. These fermented soybeans are a traditional Japanese breakfast dish.
  • Poi. A fermented paste made from taro root.
  • Tempeh. A cake made of fermented soybeans.
  • Kombucha. A fermented tea.
Fermented foods help aid in digestion, so enjoying a spoonful of sauerkraut before a meal will go a long way. If you're dairy free, Turtle Mountain has an excellent line called So Delicious using coconut milk instead of cow's milk and they are loaded with healthy bacteria for your belly! And an added plus, consuming sour foods such as some of the ones above will help curb cravings...yippee!

Another way to keep your gut flora filled with the friendly bacteria that your digestive system needs to stay healthy, while boosting your immunity is to invest in a high-quality probiotic. I love New Chapter's line of probiotics (you'll find them in the refrigerated section of the health food store, or even a Vitamin Shoppe), or contact me to purchase high-quality Metagenics probiotics that will work best for you.

Keep it Fresh!
- Lauren

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Horray! Spring is finally here! The sun is shining and the temperatures are continuing to climb at least here in New Jersey, I was in the Adirondacks the first week of March and it was 5 degrees! But sunshine on the Jersey shore, now that is something to smile and get excited about! I can't wait, in a few more weeks we'll all be able to get out into the fresh air and hoop in the sunshine!

Spring is exciting. It's a time of rebirth. It's nature's way of picking up and starting fresh. The earth sheds it's winter skin as the snow melts, allowing for green grass to grow and flowers to bloom. With the change of season also comes an internal urge to change ourselves. For some, this comes in the form of actually spring cleaning, physically tidying, organizing and freshening our living space and office space. For others, like myself, it's time to internally spring clean.

For the past 11 days, Jill and I have been doing a little spring cleaning, of the juicing, raw variety. The first 7 days was supposed to be juice only followed by 3 days of smoothies and blended salads and another 18 days raw. I started out strong but soon found out that my lifestyle requires more than just juice. Teaching 4 yoga classes and an hooping class requires protein so throughout the juicing portion I supplemented with raw nuts. Call it cheating if you want, but it was what my body required for health. It's all about bioindividuality.

Cleaning in the spring is always great. It allows us to clean the winter junk out and start the new season fresh. If a raw juicing cleanse is too much for you, take it easier and shift your diet and lifestyle even slightly and you see great results.

Terra's Spring Detox Tips

1. Give your body a break from complex, processed foods. Eliminate fried, fatty foods.

2. Eat light! Include lots of green vegetables and simple fruits.

3. Drink lots of water, teas and soups.

4. Get outside and enjoy the sunshine! Exercise with Mother Earth, take a walk on the beach, hike in the woods or just hoop in the sunshine. The fresh air and sunshine will do wonders!

5. Try something fun and new...then get excited about it!

6. Organize and spring clean your bedroom, home office and car. Make sure your living space matches your spiritual, heart and health space!

7. Create a Gratitude Journal.

8. Use fresh spring herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil and mint. Add them to your salads and smoothies not only for flavor but for their healing properties as well! Try a simple smoothie with fresh strawberries, ice, coconut water and basil.

9. Forgive and let go.

10. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Detox and spring clean with a friend, there's power in numbers! If you want help with organization, contact the Organizta. If you need healthy help, contact 3 Healthy Chicks to set up a consult and discuss your goals.

Keep it Fresh!