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Happy Healthy Sneak Peek #8

Shine

Here’s the LAST sneak peek of Happy Healthy Gut! This book launches on Thursday, January 2nd (3 DAYS!), and I’m so excited! I hope you enjoy the last preview…

From Chapter Twelve (Get Healthy, Feel Beautiful):

“Our western diet is awful, and it’s the largest contributor to our digestion being awful, too. It contains far too much animal meat, dairy, processed food, and chemical additives, while encouraging the consumption of far too few whole grains, raw vegetables, and just plain nourishment. We also rely too heavily on medications and surgeries to repair our ailments, instead of looking to what we literally need in order to live and prosper, which is simply good, fresh, whole, and healing food.

We really are what we eat. If we consume fresh produce and whole grains, we will feel young, vibrant and be whole. If we fill our bodies with chemicals, animal proteins, and fast food, we will become toxic, overweight, and proceed to get sick at an alarming rate.

Food shouldn’t need to be irradiated to be safe. Animals shouldn’t need to be pumped full of antibiotics. We shouldn’t be ingesting food that is making us sick and depressed. We shouldn’t be living on cocktails of drugs or weight-loss pills. Animals shouldn’t be bred to grow so big so fast that their joints can’t support their weight. And we shouldn’t have people suffering from malnutrition in this land of plenty.” [i]Gene Baur, Farm Sanctuary

We know change is forthcoming because of the growing demand for organic food and naturally-raised animals, and people all over are beginning to pay attention to these more readily available products, and learning about the health benefits that they offer. It’s a giant learning curve, but we are all going to get there. Why not give yourself a more substantial chance at success on the digestive front, and start now? You don’t have to be in pain anymore—don’t accept a mediocre life. You deserve better, so start treating yourself as if you do. Start thinking food-forward! Will that lunch you ordered help or hinder your body? How will eating it make you feel after? These questions matter, because your happiness matters. Your life matters. Don’t waste time feeling sub-par!

We have to open our eyes and ears and be morally at peace with the decisions that we make in regards to an issue we face several times every day: what to eat. You are your own best advocate for change, and you deserve to experience wellness that you may have long ago given up on.”

Happy Healthy Gut Cover Design Buy the book at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1626360413?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=1626360413&linkCode=xm2&tag=girlunin-20


[i] Baur, Gene. Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds about Animals and Food. New York: Touchstone, 2008, p. 222.

Happy Healthy Sneak Peek #7

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Here’s sneak peek #7 of Happy Healthy Gut! I will post a new preview, from a different chapter, every 2 days until release date (January 2), so stay tuned for more…

From Chapter Eight (Chemically Speaking):

“The definition of food: “material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy; something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies.”[i]

Notice how the definition emphasizes the food’s ability to sustain growth, repair, furnish energy, and nourish? Now think of fast food, processed food, and all the chemicals tossed into the mix of what’s being eaten on a daily basis by the majority of North America.

A significant amount of people are not eating food. They’re just eating.

Reductionism is the act of removing targeted nutrients from the whole of one food (extracting calcium from broccoli, for example), and isolating it in order to either market this nutrient by itself in the form of a calcium supplement, or to add it to an existing preparation in order to make it more attractive to the consumer, such as ‘calcium fortified’ orange juice.

The argument for reductionism sounds well intentioned: by adding a nutrient to orange juice that it does not naturally possess, the consumer can take advantage of ingesting that nutrient without having to eat broccoli. Win-win! Except…

Recent studies have shown that by removing the nutrient from its original whole food, it does not work as well, if at all.[ii] Scientists are beginning to understand that the complexity of that particular nutrient needs the environment of that whole food in order to activate the benefits. For example, perhaps there is an element to the food that helps that nutrient be absorbed when eaten, and without that element, it just won’t happen. This could be an “ah-ha moment” for all those who have hailed reductionism as the next best thing since (iron fortified) sliced bread. The result is this: the whole food will always be more nutritious, in every way, than the sum of its parts. For anyone experiencing digestive unease, you already know that we could all definitely benefit from better nutrient absorption.


Chapter Eight: Chemically Speaking

[i] “Food.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2012. Web. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/food

[ii]Nutraceutical.” Wikipedia. 2012. Web. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nutraceutical

Happy Healthy Sneak Peek #3

Lactose free and gluten free

Ready for the third sneak peek of my new book, Happy Healthy Gut? I will post a new preview, from a different chapter, every 2 days until release date (January 2), so stay tuned for more!

Happy Friday!

From Chapter Four (Inflammation Nation):

“Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t live with some sort of food sensitivity. I say ‘nowadays’ because I, along with many others, genuinely believe that this problem was not as prevalent in the past as it is today.[i] With the way we currently process food, and routinely add chemical cocktails to enhance it for the ultimate purpose of generating more money, food sensitivities are now inevitable. I almost guarantee that you have heard someone from the baby-boomer generation comment that “no one was allergic to peanuts in my day.” I’m not saying that nut allergies are new, but they are definitely more mainstream. So are wheat, gluten, dairy, seafood, corn, and soy. And egg. And food coloring. And…

Let me explain. Because of the western world’s incredible obsession with convenience, we have inevitably begun to eat some of the same foods several times a day in ways we are often unaware of. We are constantly inundated with wheat, corn, soy, sugar, salt, and casein products, as well as a wide variety of chemicals such as MSG (monosodium glutamate), food coloring, and artificial flavoring. These ingredients are present in almost everything processed, and because we consume so much of them, and they come to us in such overly processed forms, our digestive system eventually decides that it has had enough, and so challenges our immune system to a duel. En garde!

This is especially true for those of us who already have a slight sensitivity to one or more of these ingredients. We can only expect our digestive systems to take on so much, and after that, we feel the refusal. For example, I can abstain from cheese for a month and feel great, and I can eat a little bit here and there without feeling the negative effects, but if I decide one night to chow down on an entire wheel of brie with my beloved olives (something that I have unfortunately done several times), I always pay for it. It’s like my body grudgingly will process bit by bit until I overdo it, and then it shuts down and becomes terribly inflamed. I always regret it.

Cheese is my boyfriend that I know is bad for me in every single way, but I keep coming back for more despite the very predictable consequences. If I had a cheese therapist, she would tell me to break the cycle. You break it, too!”

Aloe for Digestive Health

aloe vera

Although you may not yet know it, your kitchen probably houses some pretty awesome natural digestive cures. Apple cider vinegar, ginger, peppermint, fennel, and lemon are a few examples. You shouldn’t have to run to a pharmacy for these—your local grocery store should carry them. The nice thing about using whole foods and natural ingredients to help ease your digestive system is that there are no side-effects. No long, crazy disclaimers that include warnings like “may lead to a hospital stay and, in rare cases, blood transfusions, surgery, and death”[i] or “the chance of getting lymphoma or other cancers may increase.”[ii]

Sheesh.

Today, the kitchen cure we’re talking about aloe. Many people keep aloe plants in their homes, and they have a ton of medicinal uses. Let’s dive in:

Aloe is traditionally used to treat burns—it has a definite cooling effect on the skin. Because of this, it also has a cooling effect on your digestive system. If you’re inflamed on the inside, then ingesting aloe in the form of capsules or juice can be highly beneficial. It has been shown to work with all kinds of digestive disorders. Consistent use of aloe juice can also help to regulate the bowel and loosen sticky debris from the inside of the intestinal tract, therefore assisting in detoxification, and better absorption of essential nutrients.[iii] Go, aloe!

(Aloe is typically used in conjunction with colonic irrigation, which I highly recommend if you are not having regular bowel movements. If you are chronically constipated, this process is for you, my friend.)

Interesting side note, “aloe vera plant shows it is made up from a large variety of amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals and it comes closer than any other known plant to the duplication of life’s essential substances in the biochemistry of the human body.”[iv]

Hmmm….worth giving a shot right?
Happy Wednesday!

My Baby Finally Has a Name! (My Book Has an Official Title)

Love Your Gut

I’m super excited to announce that although I am a little sad to see my working title of Love Your Gut go, I’m thrilled that an official title has been chosen for my very first book! Love Your Gut is now Happy, Healthy Gut: The Natural Diet Solution to Curing IBS and Other Chronic Digestive Disorders!

YAY!

This is fun, because although I sold my manuscript to Skyhorse Publishing in December 2012, almost NOTHING has happened that I can see directly! I’m learning alot about how patient (or impatient) I am via my first go in this process. Hahaha…I still have 6 months left ’til pub date…(January 2014)

Next up? Hopefully a book cover and ISBN number! Stay tuned!

Love that Coconut Oil!

So…around last Sunday (Easter), I noticed that my 4-year-old daughter was getting a rash on her face. This was a little unusual, because she’s not normally the one with sensitive skin. (That would be my youngest son.) Thinking that this rash might be an irritation due to the amazing amount of sun we had recently become exposed to, or perhaps a reaction to hot tub chemicals, I decided to ease her rough, dry, reddish cheeks and chin with a lotion that was organic, un-scented, free of parabens, etc.

The next morning, she woke up and looked like her whole face had been burned. A little horrified, I continued to “sooth” her skin by applying more of this high-quality cream. To make a long story short, this went on for another couple of days before I realized that the cream that I thought was pretty pure was REALLY pissing off her skin, and I quickly switched it up to coconut oil. Within a day, and after two applications, her face was relatively clear.

Huh. I am a total proponent of natural, healthy alternatives to things like processed food and chemicals– why hadn’t I just used the coconut oil in the first place? And with everything that we’ve been hearing about coconut oil lately, what’s really going on with it? Is it as fab as everyone’s been telling us? My daughter’s skin certainly thinks so. So…what exactly is coconut oil, and how can we use it to our benefit?

Coconut oil is literally the fatty oil that is obtained from coconut. It has many uses:

– It’s used in cosmetics.

– It’s a substitute for an animal-based fat, like butter or lard. It can be used in place of these things when baking, cooking, greasing a dish, etc.

– It makes a great moisturizer. It’s goes on greasy, but is fabulous at healing dry, damaged skin. It’s great on eczema.

According to Dr. Oz, coconut oil can help our bodies to build resistance to viruses and bacteria, as well as well as fight off yeast, fungus, and candida. It can also regulate our hormones and blood sugar, and boost thyroid function. It can also lend a hand in the workout department, by escalating our metabolism, energy, and endurance. Pretty sweet, right?

Huffington Post lists these as their top 5 reasons to love coconut oil:

1- It lowers cholesterol

2- It acts as an amazing immunity booster

3- It helps in the weight-loss department

4- It’s fabulous for our skin and hair

5- It makes a great massage oil, which can help in stress reduction

Once thought of as just a saturated fat that is high in calories and not healthy for us to consume, coconut oil is now being hailed as a multi-purposed wonder food. It’s so exciting! So next time you need to sooth a sunburn, moisturize dry heels, or grease a baking dish, don’t forget about coconut oil! Happy Nude Food Friday! 😀

Eat Your Grass! (wheatgrass, that is…)

Happy Nude Food Friday! This week’s post will be dedicated to the power of wheatgrass. Most of us know that wheatgrass has been deemed by many naturopaths, dieticians, nutritionists and foodies as a superfood, but do you know why? Let’s take a good look at why it’s so special, how to grow your own/where to buy it, and exactly how to consume it.

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Wheatgrass is amazing. It is a complete food, meaning that is is composed of all essential amino acids, and contains 98 out of 102 of the Earth’s elements. It is extremely high is chlorophyll, and is highly concentrated in vitamins. It is much denser in nutrients (about 20 times!) than other vegetables, and although wheatgrass is literally the young shoots of a wheat plant, it is safe for people with wheat allergies to consume. It is digested using very little energy, and helps to draw toxins from the body. Wheatgrass cleanses the blood, and provides crazy energy and better oxygen flow throughout your entire being.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?

The most efficient way for our bodies to draw the numerous benefits from wheatgrass, is to juice it using a masticating juicer. (Places like Java Juice, Booster Juice, and other juice bars have these special juicers for the sole purpose of juicing wheat!)

Just One Shot of Wheatgrass Juice possesses:
  • 103 vitamins, minerals and amino acids.
  • As much nutritional value as approximately 2.5 pounds of fresh green vegetables.
  • Loads of chlorophyll.
  • Very high levels of vitamins A, B-Complex, C, E and K.
  • Laetrile (B-17).
  • Beta-carotene, which is found in red, green and yellow pigmented fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene acts as a scavenger against harmful molecules flowing naturally through the body or through toxins inhaled from cigarette smoke, air pollution and other damaging sources.

It also:

  • Cleanses, purifies and feeds the body by activating the white blood cells, which boost the body’s immune system.
  • Is beneficial for people who need to lose weight or cleanse their bodies.

*Source is http://www.greenhealthcanada.com/Benefits_of_Wheatgrass.html

You can order wheatgrass that is already grown, and often can have it delivered to your home for you. However, the easiest, most fun way, is to grow your own. You can buy wheatgrass seeds at almost any healthfood store, or online. My kids LOVE watching wheatgrass grow, because it goes from seed to shoot in about 2 days! Just plant the seeds about 1/4 an inch deep in good quality soil, and place in a windowsill, remembering to water it often. Once the shoots are about a week old, you can cut them at their base, and juice them.

You’ll probably want to grow a flat of it at a time (like I do), because you’ll juice quite a bit of it at once. A little pot of it won’t last you very long at all, if you’re planning on juicing at least once a day. Also, consuming it on an empty stomach (first thing in the morning) will ensure kick-ass absorption.

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I don’t own a masticating juicer, but I juice wheatgrass anyway using my regular one. I like to open a romaine lettuce leaf, place a handful of wheatgrass down the center, throw a carrot on top, roll it up like sushi, and juice it like that. You’ll see the wheatgrass in your fibre collecting basket after, but you definitely get some juice in your mix. You can smell it! It smells fresh and VERY healthy.

Go get your wheatgrass on! Also, happy Good Friday. 🙂

Is that Product Fair Trade? What You May or May Not Know

Fair Trade Bananas

Those who are fans of coffee and chocolate (as if everyone wasn’t!) have definitely come across the term “fair trade.” This label implies that standards are higher for the said product, and creates a more comfortable feeling for consumers who have a combined passion for humanitarianism and good business ethics. But do you really know what fair trade means to you as a consumer, and what it means for the companies who choose to participate?

Fair trade is a way of doing business– an agreement that implies decency and fairness in how workers are treated, the ways in which the products are produced, and how consumers are made aware. It’s especially important in the south, where coffee and chocolate are grown more extensively, and often exploited.

I’ll give an example. In South America, where an exorbitant amount of coffee is produced, there are two different paradigms. For the first, picture a coffee plantation with workers being out in the fields for 12 hours a day, ranging in age from 5-70 years old, receiving a very small compensation for their services. This particular coffee plantation is held between the proverbial rock and hard place by a multi-billion dollar corporation, who buys and produces coffee for North America. This huge corporation strong-arms the owners of this plantation into accepting a dismal amount of money for their product (the coffee bean), and so the plantation cannot afford to pay workers more than they do. The workers on the field and the plantation are making less money than they should, but they either don’t know any better, or do know better, but don’t have the means to put up a fight. After all, if they lose their contract with this corporation, everyone loses. The corporation pays so little for the beans so that it can turn around and sell the coffee to consumers at a super low price in order to remain on top of its competition. Ergo, that 1 kg of coffee for $5. The numbers don’t add up– don’t buy that stuff.

The second paradigm involves a plantation that is involved in fair-trade. A huge corporation agrees to pay the plantation a fair price for their product (the beans), and in turn, the plantation can afford to compensate its workers properly. The corporation pays more for the beans so that it can create a product that is worthy of the fair trade label, and it hopes that it’s customers recognize and understand the label, and will not have a problem paying more for a product that has been created under better circumstances for everyone involved. Fair trade products generally cost more (1 kg of fair trade coffee is probably closer to $16, but now you know that you’re buying more that just coffee), but not unlike my views on organics and grass-fed, free-range animal products, they’re worth it. So, next time you shop for coffee, or are eyeing up the chocolate while in line at your local grocery store, try and spot the fair trade labels. And then purchase them. 🙂

Starbucks is a great example of a large corporation that sticks to its guns and remains loyal to its fair-trade suppliers. Go Starbucks!

Starbucks is a great example of a large corporation that sticks to its guns and remains loyal to its fair-trade suppliers. Go Starbucks!

By the way, chocolate and coffee are not the only foods that boast fair trade labels. Bananas, tea, wine, and a whole list of other foods can also be fair trade. Which brands are typically fair trade? Find out here.

Aromatic Help for Digestive Flare-Ups

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Despite our best efforts, those of us who experience digestive unease caused by food, really do pay the price physically. Flare-ups can be exhausting and painful. I’ve discovered that aromatherapy can really help when I can feel a bout coming on. Maybe this practice can help you too.

Essential oils are fabulous, but you need the right ones for this specific problem. (Intestinal angst.) Fennel, peppermint, ginger, and chamomile all can help relieve some pain and bloating. They are anti-inflammatory, and naturally aid the digestive process. You can place a few drops in water and drink it, rub a few drops onto your stomach and massage it in a clock-wise motion to stimulate better digestion, shake some into a warm bath, or simply shake a couple of drops onto one wrist, rub your wrists together, and just sit back, close your eyes, and breathe deep in and out of your nose.

It’s important to know that when you are purchasing these oils, they should be pure and organic- generally good quality, with no added chemicals, I buy mine at Sage Natural Wellness.

Happy Wednesday!