Superfoods: Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is one of the most bland looking, yet most talked about superfoods of the past 2 years. This is due to both its versatility in cooking and the fact that it is a gluten-free grain. It you suffer from celiac disease, consider adding this to your nutrition regime.

Other interesting facts about Quinoa:

High Protein – Quinoa is a great protein alternative for those looking to eat more vegetarian or simply those just wanting to eat more whole foods. Quinoa can promote weight loss, build muscle, alleviate migraine headaches, help diabetes, promote cardiovascular health and prevent hardening of the arteries. It does all this and more while it fulfills its role as a super antioxidant.

Unique – Quinoa is considered a balanced protein, as it contains most of the key life supporting nutrients, along with all eight essential amino acids. This balance makes it highly digestible and completely unique in the plant kingdom.

Rich in Vitamins – Aside from its high protein content, quinoa is high in fibre, and vitamins: potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, folate, and manganese. It is also abundant in linoleic acid, the essential fatty acid for the immune system.

Now for the best part.

It is very easy to cook!

An easy recipe that serves as a main or side dish, and leftover for lunch on its own or in a multigrain wrap:Continue reading

Superfood: Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is fermented and pickled cabbage that is quite popular as a condiment to hot dogs, sausage, corn beef, and other meat dishes. Sauerkraut is made by a process of pickling called lacto-fermentation and if properly made and air-sealed does not require refrigeration until once opened. The German method of making sauerkraut uses Juniper berries.

There are many great health benefits to eating fermented foods. Some of the awesome benefits of sauerkraut include:

1. Immune Booster – The naturally occurring phytochemical by-products of sauerkraut help boost the immune system which leads to a decrease in a number of health problems. The common cold, skin problems, and even weight gain are all aided by a healthy functioning immune system.

2. Cancer Fighter – The results of a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry concluded that the fermentation of cabbage produced a substance called isothiocynates, which prevents cancer growth, particularly in the breast, colon, lung, and liver. A recent study by the American Center for Cancer Research found that the lack of consuming sauerkraut, a traditional part of the Polish diet has a profound effect among Polish women in the United States who have much higher breast cancer rates due to the “Americanizing” of their diets. This dietary change was especially significant while they were in still in adolescence.

3. Digestive Aid – Sauerkraut is one of the few foods that contain the bacterium Lactobacilli plantarum. L. planatarum is a very dominant strain of healthful bacteria which helps your digestive system in the following ways: boost the immune system by increasing antibodies that fight infectious disease help inhibit pathogenic organisms including E.coli, salmonella, and unhealthy overgrowth of candida (yeast). It also creates antioxidants (glutathione and superoxide dismutase) that scavenge free radicals which are a cancer precursor. Sauerkraut transforms hard-to-digest lactose from milk to the more easily digested lactic acid. It neutralizes the antinutrients found in many foods including the phytic acid found in all grains.

4. Constipation reliever – A long standing folk remedy to keep the intestines clean and regular leading to an overall feeling of well-being. The fermentation process increases the nutrient value of cabbage, particularly the vitamin C levels. It also assists the breakdown and assimilation of proteins.

Interested in making your own sauerkraut? Alton Brown has an easy recipe that we love.

Try substituting sauerkraut as a side for any protein based meal particularly pork.

Try adding it to your regular grilled cheese sandwich. Try it in the morning alongside scrambled eggs with a piece of your favourite grain bread.

S.A.D. – It’s Real but Not Complicated – A Simple Explanation and Cure.

The internet and medical literature in general have a lot of complicated, misinformation about S.A.D.

The medical definition of SAD is: symptoms of depression which coincide with shorter days and less sunlight. In-turn this “affects” our biological internal clocks, or circadian rhythm, especially in women and younger children. Other symptoms may include a craving for sugary foods, and refined carbohydrates.

The root cause though is very simple. A lack of exposure to natural sunlight.

When you don’t get natural sunlight on your skin, you suffer from a nutritional deficiency, just as if you weren’t consuming vitamins or minerals.

It’s too bad the medical community just can’t call it what it is, a sunlight deficiency.

In order to reverse and prevent seasonal affective disorder, the only treatment necessary is to get more natural sunlight on your skin. Sunlight is the answer, and all one really needs to do is step outside and expose their skin to natural sunlight – without sunscreen – for a few minutes each day (10 to 15 is optimal), and their body and nature will take care of the rest.

But, if we all did this the pharmaceutical companies would not benefit. So, in the last 5 or so years prescriptions for antidepressants and hormone related disorders have skyrocketed to help S.A.D. sufferers.

If you make a point to get natural sunlight on your skin on a frequent basis – daily, when possible, a wide range of healthful benefits, including but not limited to: the ending of any state of depression, increased bone density and reversal of symptoms of osteoporosis, overall enhanced mood and brain function. So, reversing seasonal affective disorder is not only simple, it is also free.

For those living in darker areas, we suggest full-spectrum lighting boxes during the darker periods of time to help.

Prescription: 10-15 minutes of natural sunlight daily, without sunscreen (this is a whole other topic to discuss), exercise 30 minutes daily at least 5 days a week, and throw in eating more seasonal wholefoods.

Now go outside in the sunshine already!!!