Naturopaths have always viewed a healthy gut as fundamental to good health. They focus on digestive and elimination issues first when assessing and treating their patients.
Researchers now regard the 3 – 4 pound weight of living organisms in our GI tract as another organ that provides essential support for many living processes in our bodies, but can also make us mentally and physically ill. If the mix of organisms is top-heavy with pathogenic rather than beneficial bacteria, disease will ensue.
A simple, natural way to boost the percentage of beneficial flora is the addition of fermented foods to our diet. Other cultures have been enjoying these for centuries. The Romans had sauerkraut; Bulgarians their fermented milk and kefir, Ukrainians their raw yogurt and buttermilk, and Asians their pickled fermented vegetables of all kinds, known as kimchi.
Fermented foods are potent detoxifiers and pack way more probiotics than
probiotic supplements, so they work well to optimize gut flora. These beneficial gut bacteria also increase mineral absorption; produce B vitamins and K2 (essential with vitamin D to maintain strong bones and reduce cardiovascular disease), prevent obesity and diabetes, lower cancer risk, improve mood and even prevent acne.
A neighbor who is youthful at 80 plus grows his own cabbage, ferments it in a crockery pot and eats it daily year around. Inspired, we challenged our daughter-in-law to make us a fermenting pot – no small feat for such a large item which we then had to transport back from Canada, by air and road! In fact she made two, so sure was she that the drying and firing process might prove fatal! They are beautiful to behold and have each produced a delicious and pungent batch of fermented veggies. We learned what we needed to know and gained confidence in our process from this posting on Dr. Mercola’s website. Dr. Mercola uses a very simple method that does not require a crock, and explains the whole process and great benefits very clearly.
We have had fun creating recipes we like, and it is proving SO much less expensive than buying it ready-made. So far we are simply refrigerating the product and have no trouble keeping up with the supply. We are now experimenting with spicy seeds, hot peppers and different vegetables, and plan to stage a kimchi ferment-off in the near future! Our new Kimchi Cook Book and a full pound of Korean Red Pepper Powder has just arrived!
It’s a well-known fact that we all gain weight as we age. One reason is that aging muscles actually increase the amount of fat we store in our bodies. Worn out muscle cells are not as readily replaced, but wither and become weak. The cells that were the powerhouse of the body when we were younger, can no longer function effectively, and we slow down. Conse-quently, if we keep our caloric intake exactly the same as we age, those unburned calories will end up as fat. Keeping active and building regular exercise into our lives will help a lot, as this revs up our metabolism for several hours. That’s why exercising – even a 10-15 minute brisk walk – right after a meal is a good strategy for weight control.
However, new research has shown that the simple habit of drinking two cups of water shortly before each meal, results in considerable weigh loss, even if calorie intake remains the same and the person does not exercise! Dr. Brenda Davy of Virginia Tech, conducted the first randomised controlled trial to study the relationship between water consumption and weight loss. The amazing results appeared in the February 2010 issue of Obesity. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19661958
The trial involving 48 inactive Americans, aged 55 to 75, ran for 12 weeks. Prior to this, all the participants had been consuming 1,800 to 22,000 calories a day. They were then divided into two groups. The men’s ration was slashed to 1,500 and the women’s ration to 1,200 a day. One group was asked to drink a half a liter of water just before all three daily meals; the other group were not told what to drink. After three months, the group that drank water before their meals had lost about 15 1/2 pounds each; the other group lost only 11 pounds. Moreover this habit appears to be easy to keep up. One year after the trial finished, the group that drank all the water before meals were still at it, and had lost another 1.5 pounds each while the rest had gained it all back.
My son sent me the small book, Green for Life by Victoria Boutenko, for my birthday last year. Boutenko is a Russian lady who brought her family to the U.S. for a position as a university lecturer some years ago. Within a year all four of them had serious health problems as a result of adopting the American diet. Boutenko, determined they would avoid drugs and surgeries took them cold turkey onto a raw food diet. That amazing story is recorded in Raw Family. A few years later, sensing their diet was still missing something, Boutenko researched further and decided the perfect human diet should model that of wild chimpanzees that possess a stong natural immunity to AIDS, Hepatitis C, cancer and other fatal human illnesses. Chimps share around 99.4% of the human genome, have the same A-B-O blood groupings and their tissue is used in compatibility studies in medical research. However they have a vastly different diet, 50% fruit, 38% greens and blossom, and the rest pith, bark, seeds and insects. Boutenko started adding greens to her family’s diet – and found the best, most delicious way to do this was to blend them up with fruit in a delicious green smoothie. They noticed all kinds of health benefits – fewer cravings for bad foods, weight loss, more energy, clearer skin, stronger nails, better and less sensitive teeth – to name a few.
The nutritional content is astounding, preparation is simple and fast using a heavy duty blender, and you can use many different ingredients for a different taste and color experience. The basic rule for it to taste good is 60% fruit, and you learn from experience not to use too much strong-flavored greens such as mustard or dandelion greens. It’s good to follow a recipe to begin with and Boutenko’s book includes 17 that use easy to find ingredients. Bananas add substance and smoothness. Plus we add two scoops of whey powder for protein, and a teaspoon of vitamin C powder to aid detoxification of the body. We drink a green smoothie for breakfast every day now, and my husband often has a second at lunchtime. Here is my favorite recipe of all time from Green for Life:
Minty Thrill Blend Well:
4 ripe pears
4-5 leaves of kale
1/2 bunch mint
2 cups water
Yields 1 quart smoothie
Did you know that you can reduce pain in your body, simply by avoiding foods from the nightshade family? This family includes white potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers! Try it! It really works!
You can find more information in the article, “When life is a pain in the neck and other places,” at http://tinyurl.com/r6m9ez
It seems that the toxins from these foods can wreck much havoc in the joints of susceptible people over the years, depleting the body of calcium and contributing to painful arthritis. You can read more in “All about nightshades: explore the hidden hazards of your favorite food with macrobiotic nutritionist Lino Stanchich” at http://tinyurl.com/o734su I think this may be very important information for arthritis sufferers and those prone to osteoporitis, so I’m going to test this out 🙂