How to Keep your Gut Healthy

As you may or may not have heard the gut is now considered the second brain.

It primarily helps us to digest food but its also a major sensory organ for the entire body, I’m sure you’ve heard of a “gut feeling” or how when were stressed our stomach can feel like it’s in knots.  Taking care of your digestive system is a big part of our overall health, when we eat and act properly it can eliminate or reduce bloating, gas and pain (which also helps you look slimmer), absorb nutrients, dispose of waste more efficiently and most importantly it will make you feel better!

Here are some tips on how to keep your gut in check.

Drink your water warm.

Drinking water warm stimulates the gastrointestinal tract and peristalsis (the muscle contraction that’s moves your food through the intestines) cold water acts as a shock to the system and slows down digestion.

 Don’t hold your stomach in.

This is a big one, especially for women. Last year a natural path told me about the importance of letting your stomach hang out, especially after you’ve eaten but more or less you should only be engaging your core muscles when exercising or doing an activity that requires you to do so (i.e. elimination) When your constantly pulling your muscles in your decreasing the amount of space available to your internal  organs, she cautions that this can majorly disrupt your digestion and causes chronic bloating and constipation.

 Take a probiotic

In my experience eating yogurt just doesn’t cut it, for optimal digestive health your probiotic should contain at least 50 billion cultures and be taken daily.

Have 3 meals a day, and fast for 12 hours at night.

Have a meal then allow your self the time to process it, digestion is a lot of work and if your eating non stop you never give your system the chance to cleanse itself.  This is also why many experts advise going (at least) 12 hours between dinner and breakfast.

Drink lots of water

Lack of water contributes to constipation, staying hydrates keeps your elimination soft and easy to pass… just another reasons to get in your 8 glasses a day.

Why you should buy grass fed beef

grass fed beefWhy You Should Buy Grass Fed Beef

If you are considering purchasing grass fed beef or other meats rather then animals raised on a standard corn diet I have outlined the nutritional differences. I’m pretty sure you’ll get why it’s worth the extra cost…

In grass fed beef there roughly 1/4 to 1/2 the amount of total fat compared to grain fed beef.

In grass fed beef Lower amounts of saturated fat (bad), higher amounts of omega 3 fatty acids (good for you!)

Grass fed beef 4x higher in vitamin E.

Risk of E-coli to humans diminished by 80%

Corn-fed cattle are at much higher risk for disease and infection which sky rockets the amount of antibiotics they receive.

Eggs from pastured hens can contain as much as 20 times more omega-3s than eggs from factory hens.

 

How livestock farming effects our environment.

environmental impact of livestock farming, environment meat production

Our over consumption of animal protein does have a negative effect on our environment, lets take a look at the amount of resources it takes to raise cattle.

The head of the Cattlemen’s association says it takes 441 gallons of water to produce 1lb of beef, but well accredited researchers such as Dr. George Borgstrom (Head of the department for Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University) believe that its more likely to be around 2500 Gallons, that’s enough water for 6 months of showers…In comparison a pound of carrots takes 33 gallons of water to produce.

Livestock produce 130 times more waste (poo) then humans do, the disposal of human waste is strictly regulated while the animals is not.

19% of methane gas in our atmosphere is from livestock, that’s more then what’s produced by landfills, waste treatment plants and even the methane used in natural gas to heat homes.

50% of the corn grown in the U.S is used to feed livestock, only 8% for human consumption, and 60 million acres of land are used to produce hay primarily used to feed livestock while only 13 million acres of land is used to produce fruits and vegetables.

There are 1.2 billion people in the world going hungry but 20 billion animals raised for livestock are well fed.

If everyone decreased their portions of meat by 50% and replaced it with plant protein imagine the difference it would have on not just our bodies but also this planet.

 

Dairy, do or don’t?

Dairy & Your Diet

I wanted to go a bit deeper into the nutritional aspects of dairy, I know I’ve mentioned before that if your trying to lose weight or just be healthier its probably a good idea to reduce the amount in your diet.

In a way I feel particularly bothered by dairy, there are billions of dollars spent by big industry trying to convince us that it’s a fundamental staple of the human diet and basically a nutritional powerhouse.  In the past several years more of the facts about milk and its production have come to light but despite my own research I have decided to keep milk in my kitchen.  It’s definitely not something my family relies on, if anything it’s more of a treat, however I’ m not a fan of totally eliminating foods all together forever.  Just be conscience about your nutritional decisions, sometimes the easiest way to break a habit is to go cold turkey for a little bit- whether its sugar, dairy, red meats, wheat or whatever  once you make a choice to go without that food you realize just how much of it you were actually consuming.

Anyways, here are some the reasons why I think you should reduce the amount in your diet:

1. The newest studies have found that dairy is actually the biggest cause of improper digestion, so bloating, gas, and constipation and stomach pain.

2. Roughly 75% of the world has some degree of lactose intolerance.

3. Milk contains vitamin D and Calcium, and they are important vitamins in terms of bone health, however out of all the studies conducted none have ever confirmed that supplementing with dairy actually reduces fractures, or even prevents osteoporosis! In fact societies that don’t consume milk have much lower incidences of osteoporosis.

4. When you measure the amount of calcium in a cup of milk in ratio to its calorie content its actually quite low compared to other foods, for example 100 calories of turnip greens has over 3 times the amount of calcium versus milk.

5. A protein in milk called casein promotes the formation of mucus in the body and also makes existing mucus thicker leading to congestion of the nose and sinuses.

 

 

 

5 “Healthy” Foods that are Crazy High in Sugar

Tons of food companies are using the words “natural” or “organic” in their marketing to convince consumers that their products are healthy.

Nutritional needs are different for everyone, kids and men obviously can eat more calories, so some of these products are good for someone with a bigger calorie bank, but if you are trying to lose weight you really need to watch your sugar.

GRANOLA

 Although many granolas provide us with lots of nutrients they can also be very dense in calories and sugar.

 Natures Path Organic Granola

¾ cup serving

calories 260

sugar 10 grams

YOGURT

Yogurt is an awesome way to get protein and some probiotics, however it’s one of the worst sugar offenders! Buy plain and add a small amount of natural sweetener like honey or agave.

Liberte Lemon Yogurt

¾ cup serving

calories 230

sugar 23 grams!!! (That’s the same as haagen dazs icecream)

FRUIT SMOOTHIES

A fruit smoothie at home made with nut milk and protein powder is a great meal replacement, but the ones sold at food chains are packed with sweetened yogurt and juice, major sugar offenders.

Booster Juice Strawberry Sunshine

Small size

Calories 148

Sugar 26.5 grams!!!

ENERGY BARS

Basically a power bar is a dressed up chocolate bar, in fact they usually have more calories then a chocolate bar.

PowerBar Performance Energy

Calories 220

Sugar 29 grams!

DRIED FRUIT

Dried fruit is actually one of the highest foods on the glycemic index, so unless you plan on running a marathon stay away!

Dried Mango

Just 1/3 of  a cup

160 calories

32 grams of sugar! (now the granola doesn’t look so bad…)