Blueberry Smoothie

IMG_3655
Blueberry smoothie.

Blue plus red equals purple! Blueberry smoothie: 1/2 banana, 3/4 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (add a little ice if using fresh blueberries) 3/4 cup cashew or other plant milk. Put in blender or mixer, and blend until smooth. Cheers to peace, healing, unity and health!

Poison in Food Supply

pesticideThe process of producing much of the US food supply involves poisoning it, the surrounding areas and its inhabitants. More and more people in this country are coming down with asthma, autism, and cancer due to an unhealthy diet, lifestyle and environment. Yet, this process of poisoning our food and environment continues.

I can personally attest to the effects of these powerful chemicals, including pesticides that are used in commercial farming. I relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to an area called the worlds “salad bowl” in central CA, which grows much of the world’s produce. During my daily commute through the vast, spectacularly beautiful farmland, I regularly felt a burning sensation in my throat and chest, which I had never experienced before. When I changed my route away from the farmland, this strange burning sensation in my respiratory system completely ceased. I am confident however, I am still coming into contact with chemicals in the food I eat, water I drink, and air I breathe, and so no doubt are you. Obviously the field workers are being regularly exposed as they cannot “drive around” the area.

This chemical processing is only one part of the problem. There is much more being done to our food and our environment as man continues to try to make money and outsmart Mother Nature. For instance, plant DNA is being modified, and soil is often not replenished with nutrients in between plantings. This further weakens an already compromised food supply and planet. Man-made “mystery” food is being created with unknown effects on people, animals, and the planet, and less nutrient dense foods with toxic chemicals added to it are being produced. We are consuming this unhealthy mix and it is making us sick.

Contributing to this “sicklic” cycle is lack of awareness. Consumers do not see these processes or microscopic chemicals and farm workers who experience it first-hand, have little to no power to speak up or change it. And so the sicklic-cycle continues and will continue until something forces it to alter course.

Most companies that mass produce food do not operate on the basis of kindness; they operate on the basis of profit. Cheap processing methods are therefore preferred and since people still buy this unhealthy food, producers have no reason to switch to healthier methods. Period. Let’s change the part of the equation we can control; let us the consumer pay more attention and vote more with our dollars and voices, loud and impactful enough to force change.

Then wait for it…as the chemotherapy and other sickness industry profiteers will quiver at the thought of a clean, healthy planet. And for the record, the same recipe of greed and ignorance applies to that sick-cycle as well.

For more like this:

The Books

Spreading the Word About Health

School gardenI have been busy with a teaching “gig” lately, and I realized I have not shared anything “healthy” here in two years. Happily, I have been given the opportunity to teach high school students about mental, emotional, social, and physical health (including nutrition). This is not for the faint of heart, but I am grateful to be able to…and they sure need it!  Now, it is almost summer break and I look forward to spending it relaxing, refreshing, and sharing more healthy living tips here with all of you.

Until next time, be well!

Become a Part-Time Vegetarian! This Delectable Portabella Burger Recipe Will Make a Convert Out of Anyone

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

Why become a part-time vegetarian? Because it is healthy and delicious.

One does not have to be completely vegetarian, carnivorous or vegan (plant-based) to be healthy. You can, like me, become a part-time vegan and vegetarian.

As a nutritionist, I do not regularly advocate a completely vegan or vegetarian diet, as I think meat can be fine in moderation, but, since most of us need to eat more vegetables, I do advise more fruits and vegetables and less animal products for most people. However it is worth noting, and as I have said before, we CAN get all necessary nutrients from plants.

The obstacles most people face in eating more plants and less animal products are knowledge, convenience and habit. I have been on a learning curve myself, as I continue to evolve and become more and more vegan or “plant based”.  I am leaning vegan for health and ethical reasons, though it is a personal choice. Ignorance can be bliss, but bliss is not a good word for many of the animal products I was eating. I eat about 80% less animal foods than before, but, converting is not always easy. So if you want to eat more vegan foods, be it for moral, health reasons or both, I will continue to share my successes in vegan and vegetarian cuisine with the hope that it will lead to more people eating more fresh, whole plant foods, as that is what the data says is most healthy.

My latest vegetarian creation was a Portabella BBQ Western Burger. Compare the nutrient value of this delectable dish with a typical beef hamburger. This mouthwatering creation has 220 fewer calories, 7 grams less saturated fat, 17 grams less total fat, 60 milligrams less sodium, 80 mg less cholesterol and much more fiber than a beef burger does.

Portabella BBQ Western Burger

Ingredients:

1 portabella mushroom

1 whole-grain hamburger bun

1 tablespoon barbecue sauce

1 onion slice

1 tomato slice

1 piece lettuce

2 slices mozzarella or vegan cheese

Non-stick cooking spray or 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Directions:

Sauté mushroom in oil or cooking spray for 2-3 minutes. Turn mushroom over, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Toast bun for 1 minute. Place mushroom on lightly toasted bun and place cheese slices on top. Set in oven open-face or closed, and bake or broil until cheese is melted (2-3 minutes).  Remove. Add barbecue sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion and slice in half (as it may get messy). Serve and enjoy!

Adaptations: You could use a teriyaki or other sauce instead of barbecue sauce. Get creative. Some of the most delicious meals I have cooked were based on what I had in the garden, cupboard or fridge!

 

Nutritious, Delicious Macaroni and Cheese

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

Try this recipe I adapted from the “Homemade Mac and Cheese” recipe from All Recipes.com. This recipe has less fat and calories and more protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals than the original, and is delicious!

Healthy Homemade Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:

8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat, rice or quinoa elbow macaroni

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

3 cups unsweetened plant milk

1/4 cup all natural plant-based margarine

2 1/2 tablespoons whole-wheat or alternative grain flour

2 tablespoons all natural plant-based margarine

1/2 cup whole wheat or panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon Paprika (see note*)

Directions: 1. Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain. 2. In a saucepan, melt margarine over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick.* Put macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well. 3. Melt margarine in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon paprika. 4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Serve. Makes 4 servings.

*You can add rest of paprika at this point (see step 2) for a more golden, yellow color.

Adapted from: Homemade Mac and Cheese. All Recipes. Retrieved 4/20/2012 from, http://allrecipes.com/Recipe-Tools/Print/Recipe.aspx?RecipeID=11679&origin=detail&&Servings=4.

 

Healthier Cookies

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

Last night I had a sweet tooth and since I did not have anything sweet in the house, I baked cookies. I pulled out my classic Better Homes cookbook and, as I often do in cooking and baking, made ingredient substitutions. I substituted plant-based margarine for butter and shortening, and whole wheat or alternative grain flour for white flour. My adapted version has more fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals and less cholesterol and saturated fat than the original. While it still has sugar, it is a much healthier recipe, and you could even substitute honey for sugar. A banana could be substituted for the egg to make it even healthier, and spices like cinnamon could be added to spice it up and increase the health benefits. Not only were these cookies delicious, but I felt more nourished than if I eaten store bought cookies or cookies made from the standard recipe. Tasty and healthy substituting is one of the best kept secrets about nutrition. If you try these cookies or plan to, please like this post on Facebook or comment on the blog and let us know! Feel free to share your own creations with us too.

Better Homes and Garden’s Adapted Basic Drop Cookie Recipe

1- 1/4 cups whole wheat or other grain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup plant-based margarine

1/2 cup sugar or honey

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg (or 1 banana and another 1/2 teaspoon baking soda)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet with natural cooking spray or plant-based margarine (or use a non-stick cookie sheet). In a medium bowl combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix together and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat margarine with electric mixer for 30 seconds until smooth. Add sugars and beat until fluffy. Add egg (or banana) and vanilla. Beat well. Add flour mixture to margarine mixture and beat well. Drop from a teaspoon 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 30-36. Enjoy!

Resource:

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (1981). Bantam Books: New York.

 

One-Day Diet for Acidosis

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

Avoid taking pills for high levels of body acid, instead try the following diet. This diet can restore acid balance without the need for over-the-counter pills or prescription medications. Powerful pills can often cause other problems and nutrient deficiencies. Since the original problem was most likely caused by a diet high in acidic foods, the ideal solution is to eat more alkalizing foods and balance body chemistry naturally.

Breakfast:

Green tea, with soy milk optional (intended to replace coffee for coffee drinkers but if you are not, skip)

Peach soy yogurt

4 ounces apple juice mixed with 4 ounces pure aloe vera juice

Snack:

Almonds

Lunch:

Salad (lettuce, onion, avocado, raisins optional) with lemon and sea salt or seasoned canola oil dressing (no vinegar)

Lima bean soup (try Allrecipes.com:  http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Luscious-Lima-Bean-Soup-II/Detail.aspx?src=rss, but substitute a natural, vegetable, margarine-like spread like Earth Balance for butter and leave out bacon, butter beans and pepper)

Alkalizing tea (i.e. Body Rescue)

Snack:

Corn chips with guacamole (avocados, sea salt, onion and lime juice)

Dinner:

Baked chicken, with canola oil and herbs (optional: Portobello mushroom sandwich on millet bread, which is ideal instead of meat)

Baked potato with natural margarine-like spread

Steamed broccoli

Millet bread toasted, with natural margarine-like spread (with chicken option)

Water

Optional: 4 ounces aloe vera juice mixed with 2-4 ounces apple juice

Tips:

You may add water and many fruits and vegetables to the above diet, but avoid tomatoes, tomato-based products and asparagus, as well as white flour, butter, eggs, coffee and alcohol as much as possible.

For a list of more foods to eat and avoid see my more in-depth article about the topic at: http://anutritionrevolution.com/health-tips/351/. Follow a diet like this or with other basic foods until symptoms disappear. If this is not sufficient try contacting a naturopathic doctor for more detailed analysis and treatment for your condition. You can find a naturopath on sites like www.Wellness.com.

Sources:

  1. Balch, P.A. (2006). Prescription for nutritional healing (4th ed.). New York: Avery Publishing.
  2. Bowers, A. (2011, June 14). How to get rid of too much acid in the body. Retrieved February 5, 2012, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/267260-how-to-get-rid-of-too-much-acid-in-the-body/.
  3. Kahn, E. (2011, October 21). Got GERD? Learn to balance body pH naturally. Retrieved February 5, 2012 from, http://anutritionrevolution.com/health-tips/351/.
  4. Luscious Lime Bean Soup II. Retrieved February 5, 2012 from, http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Luscious-Lima-Bean-Soup-II/Detail.aspx?src=rss.

How to Get Nutrition Consulting Paid for by Insurance

Nutrition therapy can be a helpful component in medical therapy, but often it is not covered by insurance. It cannot only improve an individual’s health, but it also can save money on health-care costs. According to a report by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM), getting nutritional therapy is cost effective. Dietitians can help people manage conditions such as high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney and heart problems and diabetes. A study by the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif., showed that more than half the people who saw a dietitian only a few times lowered their cholesterol so much that they no longer needed cholesterol medication. Nutrition therapy saved the health-care system about $60,000 per year in prescription drug costs. According to the IOM report, nutrition therapy can mean a savings of millions of dollars. For example, if Medicare beneficiaries with high-blood pressure received nutrition therapy, health-care costs over a five-year period could be cut by an estimated $52 million dollars. These cost savings could be increased for every disease nutrition therapy was applied to. The IOM report’s authors concluded that Medicare should cover nutrition counseling. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not cover nutrition counseling but, fortunately, more and more insurance carriers are now seeing the advantages of seeing a nutritionist (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50695&pf=3&page=1).

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

Things You’ll Need

  • Phone
  • Computer
  • Insurance company information
  • Doctor’s contact information
  1. How to Get Insurance Coverage for Nutrition Counseling

    • 1

      Insurance may be more likely to cover nutrition therapy for certain medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, coronary artery disease or high-blood pressure for which diet therapy and modification is recognized as one aspect of treatment (Dr.Weil.com, http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400314/nutritional-consultations).

    • 2

      First call or see your doctor to see if you can get a referral for a dietitian. This will increase the likelihood nutrition therapy will be covered by insurance.

    • 3

      Call, go online to the insurance companies website or email your insurance provider to find out what coverage they offer for nutrition counseling. Some insurance companies might cover it entirely and some might offer a 10 to 20 percent discount.

    • 4

      A good bet for getting nutrition visits covered by insurance is to see a registered dietitian. You can contact the American Dietetic Association’s Nutrition Network Referral Service at (800) 366-1655 (weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Central Standard Time) for contact information for dietitians in your area ( http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50695&pf=3&page=1).

    • 5

      Even if your insurer says your policy doesn’t cover dietary counseling, send in the paperwork anyway and see what happens. If you have a doctor’s written referral to a dietitian, include a copy. Also include a letter, signed by both your dietitian and your doctor, detailing the medical need for your treatment.
      In correspondence refer to dietitian visits as “medical nutrition therapy” or nutrition “management” or “treatment.” Try to avoid the term counseling as it does not imply a medical necessity.

    • 6

      Instead of speaking with an adjuster, ask your dietitian to talk to the medical director of the health plan to consider covering nutritional counseling, says Michele Mathieu, Director of Health Care Financing at the American Dietetic Association.

    • 7

      Emphasize the dollar savings. Have your dietitian, doctor or both detail the progress you have been  making and how much money is being saved as a result. For instance, if you have lost weight or been able to reduce medication, explain this to them. Add up the actual dollars that have been saved. Many insurance companies are demanding to see actual results from dietitian visits before they will begin to cover them. They might start authorizing them if they see progress is being made.

    • 8

      Be persistent. Even if your claims are rejected, continue to submit them after every visit, especially if you are getting better. If you are persistent you are more likely than not to get it. Even if you do not receive insurance coverage, you will be making the insurance company aware of the effectiveness of nutrition, and with each claim filed, you will have cast a vote for insurance coverage for nutrition therapy.

 

Resources

 

Why Eat Whole Grains?

By Dietitian and Wellness Educator, Elizabeth Kahn

You hear a lot these days about eating whole grains. But that is just more useless advice that you can ignore, right? Wrong. But, let me explain why you want to eat whole grains and maybe you will be more inclined to do so. Let’s take whole wheat for example. Whole wheat has many more nutrients than white flour. Let’s start with amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

The whole wheat grain has three main parts: the bran, germ and endosperm.

The parts of the whole-wheat grain with the most amino acids are the bran and germ — the parts removed when making white flour. All that is left in white flour is the endosperm, which not only has fewer amino acids, but is full of gluten. Food manufacturers love gluten because it is extremely pliable and tasty. Many people are developing gluten allergies as a result of the overconsumption of white flour.

Protein quality depends on all the essential amino acids being present in the right amounts, and in complete proteins they are. According to a measurement by the Institute of Medicine, a complete protein has a score of 100. Letter grades — based on numeric
scores — for the individual parts of the wheat grain are:

Germ: A

Bran: C

Endosperm: F

For nutrients like amino acids to do their jobs effectively in the body they must be balanced, and in whole grains they are. Here is how many amino acids are lost during processing white flour.

Amino acid  Units  Whole-Wheat Flour  White Flour
Tryptophan

G

0.254

0.159

Threonine

G

0.474

0.351

Isoleucine

G

0.610

0.446

Leucine

G

1.111

0.887

Lysine

G

0.454

0.285

Methionine

G

0.254

0.229

Cystine

G

0.380

0.274

Phenylalanine

G

0.775

0.650

Tyrosine

G

0.480

0.390

Valine

G

0.742

0.519

Arginine

G

0.770

0.521

Histidine

G

0.380

0.287

Alanine

G

0.584

0.415

Aspartic acid

G

0.844

0.544

Glutamic acid

G

5.190

4.349

Glycine

G

0.662

0.464

Proline

G

1.706

1.498

Serine

G

0.775

0.645

Whole wheat has more of every amino acid than white flour.

There are many other nutrients that are affected in processing whole wheat into white flour.

Nutrient

Units

Whole-Wheat
Flour

White
Flour 

Macronutrient
Energy

kCal

407

455

Protein

G

16.44

12.91

Carbohydrate

G

87.08

95.39

Fiber

G

14.6

3.4

Minerals
Calcium

Mg

41

19

Iron

Mg

4.66

1.46

Magnesium

Mg

166

28

Phosphorus

Mg

415

135

Potassium

Mg

486

134

Sodium

Mg

6

2

Zinc

Mg

3.52

0.88

Copper

Mg

0.458

0.180

Manganese

Mg

4.559

0.853

Selenium

Mcg

84.8

42.4

Vitamins
Thiamin

Mg

0.536

0.150

Riboflavin

Mg

0.258

0.050

Niacin

Mg

7.638

1.562

Pantothenic acid

Mg

1.210

0.547

Vitamin B-6

Mg

0.409

0.055

Folate

Mcg

53

32

Choline

Mg

37.4

13.0

Betaine

Mg

87.4

0.0

Carotene, beta

Mcg

6

0

Vitamin A, IU

IU

11

0

Lutein + zeaxanthin

Mcg

264

22

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)

Mg

0.98

0.07

Vitamin K (phylloquinone)

Mcg

2.3

0.4

Fats
Fatty acids, saturated

G

0.386

0.194

Fatty acids, monounsaturated

G

0.278

0.109

Fatty acids, polyunsaturated

G

0.935

0.516

Whole wheat has four times the amount of fiber white flour does. Whole wheat also has fewer calories, carbohydrates and more protein than its less healthy counterpart. There is about fifty percent less calcium, about one-third the amount of iron, and one-sixth the amount of magnesium in white flour. The list goes on and on but you can see it for yourself.

These are a few of the reasons to eat more whole grains. Whole grains have a lot more of the nutrients we need to function, learn, maintain sufficient energy levels for our busy lifestyles and thrive.

Sources:

  1. Self Nutrition Data. (n.d.). Know what you eat. Retrieved April 4, 2011, from http://nutritiondata.self.com.
  2. United States Department of Agriculture. (2009). National nutrient database for standard reference, release 22. Retrieved December 30, 2009, from http://www.nal.United States Department of Agriculture.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/.

Anxiety and Natural Healing

By Elizabeth Kahn, Dietitian

It is estimated that ten to twenty percent of the population will have a panic attack at least once during their lifetimes. Anxiety can either be chronic or acute. A panic attack is acute anxiety. Panic attacks are a nervous system response also referred to as the “Fight or Flight” response. The fight or flight response is the body’s reaction to a stressful situation, in which hormones including adrenaline are released. In a panic attack this response occurs at an inappropriate time. In the face of a wild animal this response can save you, in an inappropriate situation this can produce unnecessary stress. Anxiety can be uncomfortable and also takes a toll on the body.

During a panic attack there can be feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, a smothering or claustrophobic feeling, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, hot flashes and/or chills, sweating, trembling, numbness, tingling sensations in the extremities, a feeling of not being in reality and a distorted perception of time passing.

Long term anxiety can cause muscle soreness, twitching and tightening as well as fatigue, depression, insomnia, nightmares, decreased libido and an inability to relax.

Chronic anxiety is more mild and generalized than acute. Sufferers often feel a vague sense of anxiety much of the time. These individuals may also suffer an anxiety attack but generally the feelings are less intense. They may experience headaches, chronic fatigue and startle easily and often have a persistent feeling of uneasiness, especially around other people.

Diet

Nutrition can reduce the number and intensity of panic attacks and overall anxiety. Following a natural plan can either end the need for medication or make it possible to reduce drug dosage.

Nutritional deficiencies including low selenium, iron and chromium levels can cause anxiety. Food allergies can also trigger these disorders.

Food that are helpful for anxiety are apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, dried fruits, dulse, figs, fish (especially salmon), garlic, green leafy vegetables, legumes, raw nuts and seeds, soy products, whole grains and yogurt.

Eat small frequent meals rather than fewer larger meals, i.e. five meals rather than three. Limit intake of animal protein and eat more complex carbohydrates and plant proteins. Avoid foods that have refined sugars or other simple carbohydrates. For maximum nutritional benefits avoid all simple sugars, carbonated soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco.

Caffeine can trigger anxiety. Determine if caffeine is affecting you by keeping a food log of your intake while noting your anxiety levels, or simply limit or avoid the substance altogether. Coffee, black tea, chocolate and many cola’s contain caffeine.

Herbal Treatment

Kava kava is an herb that can treat anxiety. Kava or most any herb should not be taken for more than two weeks at a time. Catnip, chamomile, cramp bark, hops, linden flower, motherwort, passion flower and skullcap can also aid in preventing panic attacks and promote relaxation.

Fennel, lemon balm and willow bark reduce gastrointestinal upsets caused by anxiety. Feverfew and meadowsweet can relieve anxiety related headaches. Meadowsweet can be taken as a tea or extract. Check with your local health food store for more information on availability and ideal ways to take individual herbs, as staff in these locales are often very knowledgeable.

If you are taking medication consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herb to check for possible drug interactions.

Other Causes

Recreational drug use such as marijuana use can cause anxiety attacks.

More Natural Treatments

Meditation and exercise are effective tools to alleviate anxiety. Call a trusted friend to talk as this can also diffuse anxiety. Positive thinking can be very helpful for this and just about any other mental or physical issue.

According to famed author and motivational speaker Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, “whenever a negative thought concerning your personal powers comes to mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out”. This and other tools for positive thinking can reduce the feelings of stress or anxiety dramatically. Stress is, after all, in the eye of the perceiver.

As I often do, I recommend a naturopathic doctor to analyze an individual’s needs and develop a customized treatment plan for those suffering from anxiety disorders. Look for one of these practitioners in the phone book or on the Internet, and contact them one by one until you find a good fit for your situation. These practitioners can often refer you to the appropriate provider if they are not the best match for you, as many naturopaths have specific areas of expertise. Some natural practitioners accept insurance and some insurance plans will help cover naturopathic treatment. However, if you have to (and can) pay out of your own pocket for natural medicine, solving the underlying problem will be well worth the expense.

Sources

Balch, P. A. (2006). Prescription for nutritional healing (4th ed.). New York: Avery Publishing.

Peale, N. V. (1992). The power of positive thinking. New York: Simon & Schuster. Retrieved October 30, 2011, from http://self-improvement-ebooks.com/books/tpopt.php.