There has been a huge upswing of talk about probiotics in the last few years. There has also been an increase in the number of studies that show how what happens in our guts and with our gut microbiota (the colony of millions of good and bad microbes that live inside our digestive tract) has a direct and HUGE impact on all aspects of our health from our digestion and inflammatory bowel issues to weight loss, thyroid function, joint issues, chronic diseases and even our brain function.
One way to first establish and heal, and then to support a healthy microbiome, is by giving your little internal colony the right ‘food’. Probiotics do help, but even before that come ‘Prebiotics’
Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates – indigestible to us in the larger sense, but because they don’t digest they reach your microbiome intact where they feed your good bacteria.
What does this have to do with potato salad and mofongo (and what IS mofongo??)
There are three types of prebiotics:
Non-starch polysaccharides (inulin and fuctooligosaccharide), found in onions, bananas, leeks, artichokes, chicory, cane sugar and asparagus
Soluble Fiber (including psyllium husk), found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and flax
And Resistant Starch. – from raw potatoes, green bananas, plantains, cooked-and-cooled potatoes, cooked-and-cooled-rice, parboiled rice, and cooked-and-cooled (This is where the potato salad and mofongo come in! – Don’t worry, I’ll tell you what it is below)
Each type feeds different types of gut bacteria, but Resistant Starch has some very unique benefits.
Why is it called Resistant Starch
Most starchy foods, carbohydrates are digested quickly and can cause spikes in blood glucose or insulin and, as we all know, tend to cause weight gain.
Resistant starch however, is not digested in the stomach or small intestine, reaching the colon intact. (this is how it got it’s name) So when consumed, we don’t have spikes in either blood glucose or insulin and we don’t gain significant calories either.
There are four types of resistant starch:
RS Type 1: Starch is physically inaccessible, bound within the fibrous cell walls of plants. This is found in grains, seeds, and legumes.
RS Type 2: Starch with a high amylose content (amylose is a soluble component of starch that forms a stiff gel at ordinary temperatures), which is indigestible in the raw state. This is found in potatoes, green (unripe) bananas, and plantains. Cooking these foods causes changes in the starch making it digestible to us, and removing the resistant starch. (MOFUNGO.. it’s in this category!)
RS Type 3: Also called retrograde resistant starch since this type forms after Type 1 or Type 2 RS is cooked and then cooled. These cooked and cooled foods can be reheated at low temperatures, less than 130 degrees and maintain the benefits of resistant starch. But be careful! Heating at higher temperatures will again convert the starch into a form that is digestible to us rather than “feeding” our gut bacteria. Examples include cooked and cooled parboiled rice, cooked and cooled potatoes, and cooked and cooled properly prepared (soaked or sprouted) legumes. – so pour your warm curry over cooled and room temperature rice! (Potato Salad is this type)
RS Type 4: This is a synthetic form of RS – (not recommended, always go for the most ‘REAL’ foods). A common example is “hi-maize resistant starch.”
Once resistant starch reaches the large intestine, bacteria attach to and digest, or ferment, the starch. This is when our bodies benefit from the resistant starch.
What resistant starch does
As I said above your gut is filled with hundreds of types of bacteria, some good…some.. not so much. The balance of each type has profound effects on our health. Resistant starch stimulates and feeds the good bacteria, helping to maintain this healthy balance.
The good bacteria “feed” on resistant and produce several types of short chain fatty acids (through fermentation), the most significant of which is butyrate. Butyrate is of particular importance due to its beneficial effects on the colon and overall health. It is the preferred energy source of the cells lining the colon. (more on this below) It also helps in increasing metabolism, decreasing inflammation and it improves stress resistance.
So how does Resistant Starch affect my overall health?
Metabolic Syndrome is something that seems to have gone haywire in the last couple of decades. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Even if you don’t have all of these conditions, any one of them is of concern.
Insulin resistance and chronically elevated blood glucose are associated with a host of chronic diseases, including metabolic syndrome and its associated conditions. In one study, consumption of 15 and 30 grams per day of resistant starch showed improved insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese men, equivalent to the improvement that would be expected with weight loss equal to approximately 10% of body weight.
Further, resistant starch has been shown to exert a “second meal effect.” This means that not only does the resistant starch decrease the blood glucose response at the time it’s consumed, but blood glucose and insulin levels also rise less than would otherwise be expected with the subsequent meal. Bonus!!!!!
Why you might hear about resistant starch as a “weight loss food” Really? Potato Salad could help me lose weight?
Resistant starch seems to have several beneficial effects that may contribute to weight loss, including decreased blood insulin spikes after meals (as discussed above), decreased appetite, and decreased fat storage in fat cells. There may also be preservation of lean body mass, though further studies in humans are needed to confirm if there is a significant impact in overall body weight.
Further, several studies have shown alterations in the gut microbiome in association with obesity, which subsequently change towards the balance seen in lean individuals with weight loss. Without getting overly technical, this has to do with the balance of types of beneficial bacteria –resistant starch seems to put them into the correct balance.
Back to Butyrate, intestinal and other inflammation
As we mentioned previously, resistant starch intake increases production of butyrate by our gut microbes. Butyrate acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent for the colonic cells, and functions to improve the integrity of our gut by decreasing intestinal permeability and therefore keeping toxins in the gut and out of the bloodstream.
The short chain fatty acids that aren’t utilized by the colonic cells enter the bloodstream, travel to the liver, and spread throughout the body where they exert additional anti-inflammatory effects.
Resistant starch may also decrease the risk of colorectal cancer, by providing protection from DNA damage, creating favorable changes in gene expression, and increasing apoptosis (programmed cell death) of cancerous or pre-cancerous cells.
If you have a chance to avoid colorectal cancer by eating more potato salad (and this odd stuff..mofongo)….would you do it?
Adding resistant starch to your diet – (or is she finally going to tell us what mofongo is?)
Food sources of resistant starch include green (unripe) bananas, plantains, properly prepared cooked and cooled parboiled rice or legumes, and cooked and cooled potatoes. (There’s that potato salad and mofongo again!)
Bob’s Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch (NOT potato flour) is one of the best available sources of resistant starch with around eight grams of in one tablespoon.
Plantain flour and green banana flour are also excellent sources, and there may be benefits to including all three of these sources, alternating them to get more benefits than relying on just one.
All three are bland in flavor and can be added to cold or room temperature water, almond milk, or mixed into smoothies. Just remember, if you do add them to warm foods, they should not be heated above 130 degrees.
Start slow and work up to a regular daily amount
If you choose to try using resistant starch, start with about ¼ teaspoon once daily, and very gradually increase the amount. You may find you have some increased gas and bloating as your gut flora changes and adapts, but you should not be uncomfortable. If you have marked discomfort, then back off on the amount you’re taking for a few days until you feel better, and then try increasing again gradually.
Everyone is unique. However studies have shown that the benefits of resistant starch reach their peak between 15 to 30 grams a day which is 2 -4 Tablespoons in real language. Above this amount is generally just wasting your starch!
NOTE: If you experience marked GI distress with even small amounts of RS, this may be an indication of SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or microbial dysbiosis, and you may need to consider working with a healthcare practitioner to establish a more balanced gut microbiome by other means before trying to use resistant starch. As always, when in doubt, contact a healthcare professional – preferably one versed in Functional Medicine – who will look at the whole body and help you find balance in all areas and not just prescribe a pill to fix a symptom.
MOFONGO – FINALLY!
Now granted, Mofongo can be healthy or not, depending on how it is made.
I make it with pan-fried (not deep fried as in many recipes) plantains, fried in ghee or a little coconut or avocado oil, which I then throw into a big bowl and mash until they are pasty and let them cool.
Then I fry up a ton of finely chopped onions, garlic and some spices (salt and pepper, smoked paprika, but you can use your favorites)
Toss it all in with the mashed plantains and mash it all up to a pasty lump – you can add a bit of broth to thin it if it is too thick.
Sometimes I add some bacon or a few crumbled pork rinds on top (a little fat won’t kill you! – use a good quality naturally processed bacon from a good supplier. The pork rinds..well, sometimes you just splurge – just don’t get crazy!)
It sounds weird, it tastes FABULOUS – and the cooled plantains are FULL of resistant starch!
Try it for breakfast topped with eggs!
I included a link to the results I got from Google when I looked up official recipes – you can choose your favorite and adjust it to be as healthy (or not) as you want.
As to the potato salad, I will leave you to yourself on this. Google healthy potato salads and you will find dozens of recipes and you are sure to find one that appeals to you that is not smothered in commercial mayo.
What do you think of when you think of food? When our grandparents thought of food years ago, what came to their minds was a lot different then what probably popped into your head.
Food, until just the past 50 or 60 years, was harvested from the ground or sourced from fairly local suppliers. You didn’t buy a lot at one time because the shelf life was short, and in some cases, you didn’t have the storage, refrigeration or otherwise, to keep it fresh for more than a day or two. Real food decomposes quickly, so you needed to eat it when you picked it. Coincidentally, this is when it has the most flavor and nutrition.
So, your vegetables were fresh picked and eaten, the excess were canned for eating during the months when things wouldn’t grow. Your meat came from the local butcher or from your own hunting success. That limited the amount you ate, as it too needed to be acquired in smaller quantities and eaten quickly.
Sweets were quite a treat as sugar was a high priced commodity. If you wanted something sweet, you generally had fruit. You looked forward to special days and holidays because, as it does now, it meant gathering with family and eating special dishes that you did not have the rest of the year. Food was a necessity and at times a celebration, and our taste buds were attuned to the unadulterated tastes of real food.
- Doctor: House Call, 1888 Painting; Doctor: House Call, 1888 Art Print for sale(click picture to purchase)
Medicine was not as advanced. When people became ill, home remedies were the first line of defense. The doctor called only when it was very serious. No one ran to the doctor for pills and antibiotics every time they got sick. Yes, people died of things that are unheard of now due to modern medicines, but they did not linger for years with chronic illnesses. Until they got sick, they felt pretty darn good.
There is something wrong with the new picture.
Food and Medicine today:
Now you talk to most people and a majority of people just simply ‘don’t feel great’. They eat their fill of the food they buy at will at the store and have houses full of every imaginable edible treat. We have supermarkets filled with tens of thousands of ‘food’ products that were unknown to our grandparents. A variety that is overwhelming to our senses, and ingredients that are overwhelming our bodies. Restaurants line the streets offering every conceivable, mouthwatering variety of food at any time of the day.
We are so well fed that a majority of our population is overweight. A majority of people are on ‘diets’ to stop themselves from ‘over-indulging’ and feel guilty about what they eat. We sit mindlessly in front of our TV sets with bowls of snacks, or bags of chips and then we wonder why we can’t lose weight. We reach for high sugar snacks mid-afternoon as our energy is crashing.
The stuff that fills our stores comes in boxes, cans, plastic bags, foil packs, waxed cartons, jars, shrink wrap, etc.. You can buy a tomato and it will sit on your counter for a week and still look great. A loaf of bread might last two weeks. Some of the packages you buy, have expiration dates literally YEARS out from when you buy them.
As we age, we quickly lose our stamina and youthful shape. We blame it on kids, jobs, overburdened schedules, no time to cook, no time to fuss as we rush here or there. We have been conditioned to set our priorities on things, that while important, will not matter much if we lose our health.
We have thousands of new medicines to help us feel ‘good’. To cure the illnesses that plague us. And yet as a whole, we are sicker than we have ever been.
Definitely, there is something wrong with this picture.
Our world is full of toxins. They are in the air we breathe, in the water we drink (LINK TO ARTICLE), and the food we eat.
We can work to help clean up the environment, we can filter our water to help remove some of the toxins, but the most control we have over what goes into our bodies and how we feel is through our food.
From Samantha Turner- Health Coach (click to go to her blog)
When you look at the list of ingredients on most of the ‘stuff’ in the grocery store, many of them are only nominally actually ‘food’. There is a little natural food substance in the product and the rest comes out of industrial plants where chemicals and things you can’t pronounce are mixed into the original food to enhance it, stretch it, change it, make it more appealing and make it more profitable for the company selling it. After all, that is how they survive, by getting you to buy their product.
The Turkey Sandwich on the Left for instance. How many ingredients does a turkey sandwich need?? How many of those things are chemicals that may be harmful to your health?
You buy the food like substances and eat them and you are ingesting all that ‘stuff’. Do you know what it is? No? Guess what, neither does your body.
Your body is awesome. It was designed to efficiently process food into every nutrient that you need to survive and live with optimal health. When you clog up the system with things that are not recognized as food, it doesn’t know what to do with them, but it tries. It processes them the best it can. Your liver gets overloaded with toxins, your body produces fat to encapsulate and store things your body cannot use and can’t get rid of. Next your gut breaks down and you end up with digestive issues, and new studies show that gut health is critical to everything, including brain health. Bottom line – you end you end up fat and sick because of all the toxic stuff in your system. At best, you simply don’t feel good.
Too much of this for too long and you end up with a chronic illness. Your body is an amazing biological machine, but everything has a breaking point. If you ask too much of it, or ask it to do things it simply cannot do for too long, it will break.
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!!!!
Gramma (and Grampa) knew best!
Eat real food. Eat it fresh, as close to natural as possible. Stay away from things that are processed. Cut back on your meat consumption and try to only eat fresh, grass-fed meats (more expensive yes, but if you are only eating it now and then and less of it, it works out the same) to avoid the antibiotics and chemicals that conventional meat is laced with.
Fill your plate with things that have come out of the ground! If you are having digestive issues, try avoiding gluten for a while and see what happens. Try avoiding dairy for a few weeks, see how you feel.
I’m not saying to eat just salads! Simply base your meals around REAL foods. – Vegetables, legumes, fruits and grains can be used to make the majority of your meals.
Each person is different, so the complete solution for each will be slightly different, but the overall solution is to eat REAL FOOD. Our bodies were not designed to ingest chemicals and if you read any package of food, you are likely to find at least one thing in it that should not be in your body.
But It’s Hard to Change. Overwhelming Even. How Do I Get Started?
If you feel lost at how to go about this, there are people who can help. Not necessarily your doctor as they don’t receive much in the way of nutritional training, but as more and more information comes to light about the condition of our food system and what it is doing to us, there are more people who are working to help others gain better health through eating better food.
Be careful, there are a lot of people trying to cash in on this who really don’t know what they are talking about. Look for someone who perhaps has turned their own life around, or someone who has worked with others successfully. Don’t jump at ‘instant’ solutions and remember that ‘dieting’ is almost always a losing proposition.
Eating real food is a lifestyle change. It’s not as hard as you might imagine, and when you start getting those chemicals out of your body and start feeling so much better, you will be inspired to keep going. It becomes easy!!! That’s not like any diet I’ve ever tried!
Stay in touch on this site, leave comments with your questions below and I will help you find solutions. I do work one on one with a few people, but my time is limited, however, I will always answer questions here and that will also help others who may have the same questions as you do.
If you are uncomfortable leaving a public message, know that all comments are moderated, just tell me in your comment that you want a private answer!
I know that you can make the changes. I know because I did it and before I did, I would have bet you everything I had that it was impossible. Now I couldn’t imagine living any other way!
Give it a try. You have nothing to lose but excess weight and that daily sluggish feeling and a lifetime of energy and good health!
And how much should I drink?
Well, there is the old standard of 8 glasses of water a day, but what is a glass? Is that 8 oz? Is it the big glass that I have in my kitchen cabinet? What does that mean if I’m filling a water bottle.
Who knew a simple thing like water could be so complicated!!!!
It doesn’t have to be. Just remember these 3 easy tips.
Easy to remember with the word:
W.E.T. = Well-Filtered, Enough, and Thirsty
All water is created equal, but unfortunately, it doesn’t end up in your glass that way. Environmental toxins, chemicals, prescription medicine, bacteria, viruses, pollutants of all kinds can end up in what you are about to drink.
Our cities and towns do their best to keep our water supplies clean, but it is a massive job and the waste still goes somewhere and often ends up back in the water, or is not sufficiently removed. Chemicals are dumped from factories, rain falls through polluted air into our reservoirs, runoff from farms that includes fecal matter and pesticides soaks into the ground and makes it’s way to the rivers and oceans. It’s enough to make you not want to drink the stuff!
The National Drinking Water Database (from the EWG) – is a great site where you can go look up your own municipal water treatment facility and see how it rates on a national level in removing dangerous toxins from your water. It is a few years old and hopefully, if your local water didn’t rate well, it has improved, but why take a chance? Unfiltered tap water is a crap-shoot at best.
How about bottles?
Bottled water seems like a good option. After all, it seems sterile and fresh, sealed away with a seal that breaks open when you twist it. It is named after springs or mountains and looks clear and claims to be pure. Unfortunately much of this is pure advertising hype!
Many brands of bottled water are taken straight out of taps at the bottling company. So you are paying a premium price for bottled tap water!
Others may be coming from a spring, but it is then put into plastic bottles, where it sits, often in hot warehouses, hot trucks, on store shelves, in your hot car. When the plastics that most of these bottles are made out of gets heated, chemicals in the bottles leach into the water. If it actually was pure when it went in, it’s not pure when it comes out. The EWG found up to 38 pollutants in 10 brands of bottled water it tested – including chemicals linked to cancer.
Not to mention the cost to your wallet of buying all that water and the cost to the environment of all that plastic! Our landfills are full of it. Recycling or not, it is a massive problem and one that we can all stop contributing to by not buying bottled water on a regular basis.
So what is the solution?
Filter your tap water! It may not be coming out of the tap with the impurities removed, but you can get a decent filter that will remove most of what is in it.
How do you find a good filter? Well, it depends on your budget. If money is no object, you can get the kind that are electric and plug into your water system and there are some very good ones out there. If your budget is more limited or you don’t want to go with something so big and involved, you can opt for a pitcher system. Word to the wise…this is one area where you get what you pay for! Please do NOT opt for the cheapest pitcher on the market. Most of the popular pitchers only remove chlorine and a few contaminants.
I personally researched for months before settling on a filter for my home. I wanted a pitcher that removed more than just chlorine, but it was very confusing as there were many out there – all claiming to give you ‘pure’ drinking water. (I learned that this depends on what their definition of ‘pure’ is).
And yes, I’m actually going to endorse the one I purchased, because I really believe, after using it for a year, that it is still the best out there at this moment.
No, this article is NOT an advertisement, but I feel I can’t write about great water pitchers and then leave you wondering what to purchase! So if you are looking for a good pitcher, you can click here and purchase one of these)
I bought the Clearly Filtered pitcher and LOVE IT – I’m not going to go into what it does or how, because you can click the link above or the picture of the pitcher if you are interested, (or see the review at the bottom of this article which has details) I’m not here to sell you a pitcher! But I wanted you to know what I did settle on because I really hate to see people waste money on things that don’t do what they hope they will do. It costs a bit more than some of the others, but it does more. I also signed up for the auto-filter program and they send me a new filter every 6 months, which is cheaper than buying from other sources and you know when to change it automatically.
So get yourself a good water filter so that the water you drink is the best it can be!
Along with this – don’t forget to pick up a good re-usable water bottle. Stainless Steel is great or tempered glass works well too. If you must go with plastic, please refer to this article (How to avoid cancer causing plastics) to find out how to choose the least objectionable types.
So how much is enough?
The old ‘one size fits all’ rule is not longer the standard. As in everything else, we have come to realize that people are very individual. It depends on your size and weight. It also depends on your activity level and even on where you live. Generally you should drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.
For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, that would be 70 to 140 ounces of water a day. If live in Florida like me and run 5 miles a day (NOT like me) you would tend toward the high end of the range. If you live in Canada, and you are more sedentary, your body will need less.
If you like playing with numbers a good average would be to divide your weight by 2/3 (or .67), which leaves the 140 lb person at roughly 94 oz. of water per day if they are moderately active. If you go to the gym and work out – drink extra. If you decide to spend Saturday being a slug on the couch watching a movie marathon (it happens!!), you can get away with less.
Drinking enough water can help fill you up if you drink a couple of cups (16 oz) before a meal, causing you to eat less and perhaps lose a bit of weight. It also helps your body’s metabolism rate speed up, helping you to burn those calories faster.
Staying well hydrated keeps your skin glowing and moist, your digestion running smoothly and helps maintain every bodily function.
One of the best indicators that you are getting enough liquid is the color of your urine. It should NOT be dark.. it should run clear to a pale yellow (certain foods and medications can affect this so check with your doctor if you have questions)
So you just drink when you are thirsty until you drink your recommended ounces, right? Well, I tried this, and so have a lot of other people, and what everyone, including some researchers have found is that thirst is not necessarily a good indicator of need for water.
By the time you feel thirsty, your body may already be in a state of mild dehydration. It’s why you are thirsty. When you are mildly dehydrated, especially on a consistent basis, you can become constipated, your brain doesn’t work as well, your skin gets dryer, you get sleepy and much more. It affects every function in your body. So it’s best to keep yourself from getting to the point of thirst.
There is a better way than waiting until you feel thirsty!
- Find yourself a good water bottle and figure out how many times it needs to be filled up and emptied to fulfill your needed ounces of water for the day. For instance for myself, I need about 90 ounces of water on an average day. If my water bottle holds 20 ounces, I know I need to fill it 4 and 1/2 times. Of course, if I drink water from other sources then I can cut down on the refills, but it is a good measuring stick to make sure my daily water intake is sufficient.
- Try Fruit Infused Water: Cut up various citrus, berries, melon, pineapple, cucumber, etc and let it sit in your filtered water (in a separate pitcher) for several hours or overnight.
- Occasionally Substitute Sparkling Water: There are some brands of sparkling water that are JUST water and bubbles that can be used as a bit of a change now and then. I would not suggest a regular diet of these and I would also suggest buying types that come in glass bottles for all the reasons we talked about above.
- Have a glass of water when you first get out of bed – this helps your system wake up, it flushes your kidneys and by adding lemon, it also helps with your liver’s detoxifying duties.
- Have a glass of water before bed to stay hydrated through the night, and keep water by your bedside in case you wake up thirsty!
- Have a glass of water about 30 minutes before every meal. This helps fill you up, but is far enough ahead where it doesn’t interfere with the absorption of any nutrients from your food. If you must drink during your meal, try to just sip, don’t drink large quantities of liquids with your meal.
- When you are planning on purposely exercising, be sure to have a glass of water before, have water during if needed, and have extra water after to replace what you lost through sweating.
- Juices do count – however – there are a LOT of calories and sugars in juices, even fresh squeezed ones so use them for the sake of nutrients and not for the sake of daily water intake.
- Coffee and tea, contain caffeine. Caffeine is a natural diuretic, causing you to shed water, so there is some debate as to whether or not these count as water intake. I know!!! This was a shock to me, as I was a HUGE iced tea drinker. I would drink quarts of it every day, and yet, it was perhaps not fulfilling my need for water. I broke the iced tea habit and while I still love it, and still drink it, I also enjoy water and fruit infused water more often.
- ‘Hydration’ and Sports drinks – Commercially purchased sports drinks and flavored waters are generally full of sugar and chemicals – plus they come in those same plastic bottles. If you are out and thirsty, it is obviously better to purchase a water or even fruit infused water than to be thirsty, but read the label and stay away from those with lots of added sugar and chemicals.
- You do get water from your food. But it’s best not to rely on this as a source. Consider this as a bonus on top of the water you are purposely drinking.
You will probably be surprised at how easy it is to get your needed water every day. It sounds like a lot, but really, 20 ounces of water is just a little larger than the size of a medium drink in most restaurants, the size of most average water bottles. I know I can drink one of those down in a heartbeat. For me, it’s simply a matter of remembering to do it. When I know I have a refreshing Lemon/Cucumber water waiting for me, it makes it easy. As a matter of fact, I usually can’t keep enough of it on hand!
So there you have it:
W.E.T Well-Filtered, Enough and Thirsty
Remember these three simple things and hydration will never be a problem for you!
Environmental Working Group (EWG) Guide to Safe Drinking Water
What are the causes of water pollution
How much water should you drink
I received this email in August 2015 from the Vegetarian Health Institute concerning Water Filters; Confirming my own research and decision to purchase the filter I chose:
Purest drinking water from an affordable pitcher
In last week’s newsletter we shared resources to help you make sure your family’s drinking water is clean, safe, and free of dangerous contaminants.
One of the guides we shared was the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to safe drinking water. According to the EWG, the #1 best way to reduce your exposure to toxins in water is to drink and cook with filtered tap water.
Distillers are expensive, require electricity, and must be cleaned after each use. Reverse osmosis filters are even more expensive — many hundreds of dollars. So we’ve been looking for the best affordable water filter… and we’ve finally found it… Clearly Filtered.
Clearly Filtered products have a number of benefits over the common water filter systems (i.e. Brita) found in most department stores. All Clearly Filtered products…
- Remove 99.99% of chlorine
- Remove 99.99% of bacteria & viruses (including Giardia, E. coli, and Salmonella)
- Remove up to 90% of fluoride
- Can be used to filter water from taps, rivers, lakes & streams
- Remove a host of other toxins and carcinogens including lead, mercury, chromium 6 and arsenic.
From a practical standpoint, the family unit holds more water than competitive products and the filters last up to six months instead of the usual two months. That saves you time and bother.
For traveling and outdoor activities, you can even choose portable travel-size bottles that you can safely use with any fresh running water source.
What in the world is Moringa?
In the U.S. most people have not heard of this plant, but it has been well known around the world as a miracle tree.
The most commonly used parts are the leaves and seed, but the pods, fruit, flowers, roots and bark all have uses and are a powerhouse of nutrients and antioxidants. The entire tree is useful or edible in some manner. Many traditional medicines are made from the parts in the countries it is native to and it is claimed to have the capacity to cure several diseases.
Moringa is safe for consumption, although there are some precautions concerning the roots, bark and flowers in certain specific situations. particularly pregnancy (see webMD link below). But in normal circumstances, the leaves, tender stems and ‘drums’ are completely safe for everyone and highly nutritious.
Moringa leaves contain about 30 antioxidants, which work in the body to combat the free-radicals that cause disease.
The moringa seed contain 40% edible oil known as Ben oil. It is a clear, sweet and odorless oil that is rich in antioxidants, protects against heavy-metal toxicity and is similar to olive oil in terms of its nutritional profile. It has an indefinite shelf life as it does not turn rancid like other oils. The oil is also used for cosmetic purposes
Moringa contains all the essential amino acids needed by the body.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins which are needed to grow, repair and maintain cells. Human body manufactures 10 to 12 amino acids. The remaining 8 amino acids are known as the essential amino acids which should be provided from everyday diet and moringa contains all of them. The list of essential amino acids and their benefits are listed below.
||Helps in building protein and enzymes and creation of biochemical components within the body.
||Builds protein and enzymes along with isoleucine to enhance body’s energy and alertness.
||Ensures the absorption of right amount of calcium by the body and aids in collagen formation and production of antibodies, hormones and enzymes. Maintains the balance of nutrients that reduce viral growth.
||Provides sulphur to the body and prevents hair, skin and nail problems. Lowers cholesterol levels by increasing liver’s production of lecithin. Helps in reducing liver fat and bladder irritation.
||Production of chemicals required to transmit signals between nerve cells and brain, thus reducing hunger pains. It also improves memory.
||Forms an important part of collagen, elastin and enamel proteins. Assists metabolism, prevents fat build up in the liver and boosts digestive and intestinal tracts.
||Supports the immune system and alleviates insomnia. Reduction of anxiety, depression and migraine symptoms. Decreases the risk of artery and heart spasms as it reduces cholesterol levels along with lysine.
||Promotes a sharp mind, coordinated muscles and calm mood
Moringa has been used:
- to boost energy levels by stimulating metabolism and cell structures of the body – because of this it aids in weight loss, a definite plus.
- to heal ulcers
- to stop tumor growth
- to reduce arthritis pain and inflammation
- to control blood pressure
- to stimulate the immune system and it is often prescribed for AIDS afflicted patients.
- to prevent blindness as it is rich in vitamin A or beta-carotene
- to dramatically increase production of breast milk. (leaves and tea only!)
- to balance sugar levels, it can be extremely effective against diabetes
- in balancing the cholesterol levels
- to help calm the nerves. The leaves are said to have anti-depressant properties.
- to replace vitamin and mineral supplements as it is a natural source of calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, copper, zinc and manganese and vitamins A, B’s, C, D, E, and more.
- as a method of birth control in certain medical preparations (always be extremely cautious of anything you put into your body when pregnant!)
- as an aphrodisiac: Like every ‘miracle’ food, there are claims that moringa boosts your libido and stamina, and frankly, with all the good nutrition, it would be no surprise if this area did improve!
Moringa leaves also contain sulfur. This mineral is present in every single cell of the body and is the key ingredient for Collagen and keratin, which are building blocks for healthy skin and nails. Perhaps this is part of the reason for the claims of better skin and wrinkle reduction in those who regularly consume moringa.
Last but not least, Moringa has antibacterial properties and can be used as a purifier and as a natural detoxifier. In areas where the water is impure moringa seeds are used to absorb the impurities. In a similar manner, moringa works in the body to remove toxins from the blood.
Moringa is a food substance and is used as such in many countries, not a medicine that has side effects. It is one of the healthiest food products on the planet. It’s time we learned more about it, and started making it a regular part of our own diets.
The great thing is, it is easy to grow! I live in Florida, and I have 4 trees in my yard. They grow like weeds! In a year they grew from 2 to 10 feet tall, and that was with me trimming them regularly to use for eating and to dry the leaves. I know people who are growing them indoors, they just have to be trimmed regularly or they will be hitting the ceiling!
Two of My Moringa Trees in My Back Yard
Scroll below the Resources for some recipes and ideas for use.
Some Excellent Resources for more information:
HOW TO USE MORINGA
My favorite way is simply as a dried leaf. I trim the plants, strip the leaves and tender stems from the branches and spread them on a clean sheet on the bed in our guest room. There they fan dry in the dark for 3-4 days, getting stirred every 12 or so hours.
Then I use the powder in EVERYTHING! From smoothies to sprinkling it into skillet dishes (near the end to keep as many nutrients in it as possible), to adding it to baked goods and even a little in oatmeal. A little in a lot of things adds up to a lot of extra nutrition packed into your food.
Crushed after Drying
You can steep it into a tea also. I use about a teaspoon of the loose leaves, and steep them for 3-5 minutes. Moringa tea has a unique flavor and if you don’t particularly care for it, add it to your favorite herb tea and get the benefits while not catching the flavor straight up. Some people love it, some don’t. But either way, you can find a way to use it. Many people like it with a bit of peppermint or lemon.
If you are not lucky enough to be able to grow your own, you can get dried Moringa from many sources. However, I like to support organizations that support others so I would suggest purchasing from ECHO, which is an organization that not only sells the trees, but works to plant them in areas where hunger and malnutrition is prevalent. All proceeds from the sale of books, plants, gifts and seeds are used to support the global ministry of ECHO. Your purchase will make a valuable contribution to fighting world hunger. Partnering with ECHO by purchasing from them helps to sow “seeds of hope” around the world!
ECHO has other awesome products also. The link above takes you directly to the Moringa page, but please look around before you leave.
My other favorite way is fresh, tossed into salads, or made into Pesto. (see my 100+ Ways to Make Pesto article for ideas and ‘How-To’). Moringa Pesto is deep and earthy and so healthy for you.
It’s great on pasta, spread on gluten free crackers or veggies, or right off the spoon! I’ve smothered chicken breasts in it and baked them, made pesto shrimp and topped grass-fed steak with it.
It looked so good the last time I made it, I thought it deserved a fancy glass!
The moringa pesto works especially well with a sweeter nut like almonds, cashews or pistachios which play against the slightly bitter taste of the moringa nicely.
I found this link and while I am not endorsing their products because I do not know them, the recipe page here is extensive!
Moringa Tree of Life.com also has some good recipes and some more information about Moringa (good smoothie recipe here also)
Once my own trees get bigger, I am hoping to be able to provide dried moringa at a reasonable price.
If you are interested, please leave a comment below so I know if there is any interest.
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Cancer. It’s a word no one wants to hear. Especially if it is directed toward YOU. It can be equally devastating when a loved one hears the word from a health care provider.
When I was told I had cancer, my whole world changed.
I have never returned to the person I was.
For some, that is a scary statement, but looking back, it’s not a bad thing. I am better now. I am stronger, wiser, HEALTHIER, and having cancer has burned away all the inconsequential things in my life, all those things that really weren’t important and have helped me to focus on what is important.
Now, it wasn’t easy, not by a long shot. I didn’t know about all this health stuff I am able to share with you back then. All I knew is what my doctors told me and being terrified, I followed blindly, every step of the way.
However, while stumbling down that road, I started peeking at alternatives, and what I found was a WEALTH of information that surprised and encouraged me.
Today I want to tell you about one thing I found that will amaze you if you haven’t heard of it before. If you have, perhaps you will find something new that you didn’t know before. Perhaps something that might help you also.
Do you like Curry? Do you like English Curries, Indian and Middle Eastern food? The spicy, pungent, aromatic smells and exotic flavors from those distant, bright and interesting parts of the world?
One of the wonderful things about Turmeric (Curcumin) is you can often pair it with Coconut when cooking – double health whammy!
If you have cancer or want to prevent cancer (and a host of other things) Turmeric, a major component in curry and all those types of food, can be your best friend!
More specifically Curcumin, which is a compound found within the Turmeric.
Curcumin is a very powerful Antioxidant. Used for centuries in Ayurvedic Medicine (an ancient Indian medical practice) as an anti-inflamatory. Over the last 50 years or so there have been studies too numerous to mention that have shown that Curcumin slows and stops the enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. So the Ayurvedic practitioners had it right, science has now proved it! It’s funny how you find so many things that traditional (in the sense of the more ancient) medicine has known for so long, now being proven by science.
Turmeric(curcumin) contains anti-oxidants that can prevent free radical damage to cells. (Cells damaged by free radicals are more prone to becoming cancerous). These antioxidants are stronger than vitamin C and E and fight the most powerful oxidants in our systems. The curcuminoids in Turmeric also help support the functions of healthy blood and liver, and our joint health. This covers a lot of the major functions of the human body, all in one little supplement.
A few areas where curcumin has been found helpful are: diseases of the vascular system, type II diabetes, arthritis, and Crohn’s disease, among others.
Turmeric has an antioxidant activity and can prevent blood flow to cancer cells.It has been helpful in fighting breast, prostate, colon, and skin cancers.
It has been used for centuries in India to treat stomach problems, being soothing for heartburn, nausea, and peptic ulcers. It helps stimulate bile production, which prevents gallstone formation. It is a proven liver detoxifier.
Other uses are topical. as Turmeric has naturally occurring antiseptic properties. It can be used to help cuts, burns, and scrapes heal more easily. It has been used to treat atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. It can also be used for oral health as a tooth paste.
Another promising area is in the treatment of Alzheimners as Amyloid plaque in the brain aggravates Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric can help remove it from the brain. This can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease or slow its progression. The wonderful thing is, if you try it, it won’t hurt you. What have you got to lose….NOTHING, and everything to gain.
……….. please take a moment watch this short (not even 3 minutes) video What is the #1 Natural Compound for Cancer……
You better believe I sat up and took notice. And immediately got myself some Turmeric. With TNBC, you don’t have a lot of choices. So I was open to trying most anything. I began taking Curcumin supplements and have done so every day for over three years now. I learned that with the addition of healthy fat (coconut oil in my case) and something called Bioperine (a component of black pepper) the curcumin is made more bio-available to your system.
Once again, the ancient, and not so ancient Ayurvedic practitioners got it right. And if you look at recipes using Turmeric, almost all of them have healthy fat in the form of coconut or ghee and some black pepper included in them.
My message here is that there is too much evidence out there to show that curcumin is an effective substance against many human ailments to not take it seriously. It is harmless to take and frankly, I adore Indian and turmeric spiced food! In my opinion it is the #1 supplement in my anti-cancer arsenal!
Our local Whole Foods and some of the smaller natural food stores carry fresh turmeric root. – a great way to get turmeric into your body – I have some in my fridge now, grated and stored in vodka for cooking purposes. I also have some stored in raw honey, and I continue to buy and use fresh when I can find it.
I have powdered turmeric in the spice cabinet, and I take supplements daily.
One word about supplements. Be careful what you are getting. READ YOUR LABELS – the cheapest supplement is many times a waste of your money and cut with fillers and things you don’t want to put in your body.
It took me a long time, but I have finally found an EXCELLENT curcumin, that includes the Bioperine in it. I love it so much that I not only buy all my own curcumin from them now, but they have given me the opportunity to pass on special savings to you (AND FREE SHIPPING) if you would like to try their product.
Dr. Danielle’s is 100% organic, made in the USA (although the Turmeric comes from Non-GMO growers in India), packaged in a vegetable capsule (“veggie cap”). with no Fillers, binders, or artificial ingredients.
Below the form, I have included links to more resources for studies on Curcumin and BioPerine, also the FDA guidelines on GMP manufacturing facilities.
Get Dr. Danielle’s Exclusive Discount and FREE shipping code
Note: Dr. Danielle has several other products. The coupon is good on any or all of them. – Making the offer even better!!
GreenMedInfo.com’s Turmeric Health Guide
Why Dr. Danielle? – About the products
For more information about BioPerine®, please visit their website: http://bioperine.com
For more information and details on GMP guidelines please visit FDA’s website: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/DietarySupplements/ucm238182.htm#IV
(As always, my opinions are my own. There are LOTS of great natural options out there for fighting cancer, Turmeric/Curcumin in my opinion is the best first line of defense, but it is not the only one. Please do your research and look into all the other options also if you are facing cancer or if you wish to be as healthy as possible. While I personally take this product, not being a doctor, I take no responsibility for any use of this product by anyone other than myself. Please consult your health care provider before taking any supplement of any kind)
One pot dish, Simple ingredients, easy preparation, huge flavor!
From Dr. Mercola’s site – Raw Kale, Grapefruit, and Toasted Hazelnut Salad, Crispy Tamari Kale Chips , Barley-Stuffed Poblanos and more!
A fantastic variety of recipes for this controversial vegetable for every taste.
Raw, paleo salad – With the quinoa you have a complete protein so this can be a main dish.
Sweet potato is the flavor focus here. A great hearty ‘beginner’ recipe
You’ll never even taste it!
(Video – awesome salad!) This one has a how to and great tips on techniques and nutrition. This one was as fun to watch as it was to make and eat!
Seriously Garlic and Indian Tandoori spices? How can you beat this!? ……. Ok, perhaps bacon, but we will save that for another dish!
When making this, I substitute Almond milk, use Gluten-Free crumbs and a tiny bit of grated Romano cheese in the breading process (instead of all the cheese called for) But the Pesto is out of this world. (HINT: All sorts of ‘Greens’ made into pesto are a great way to eat them when you don’t ‘like’ them…they taste amazing this way!)
(short video) – Avocado, kale, spinach, mandarin, kiwi, pomegranate -Creamy and YUMMMM… FAST!
18.-20. – Three more from mindbodygreen.
Shredded Brussels Sprout & Kale Salad With Oranges, Dates & Feta, Butternut Squash, Kale & Corn Sauté, Sautéed Kale with Apples, Cranberries & Walnuts