Nutrition Coach Archives - ig2go

Food for Improved Cognition and Brain Health

Your command center, your noodle, your noggin, your seat of consciousness, whatever you want to call it, your brain is both a wonder of nature and a vitally important part of your ability to ‘be’. And just like every other part of our body, our brains rely on what we ingest in order to have the building blocks they need to function at their full capacity. Today we’re going to explore what key nutrients that specifically support brain health, and why they are so beneficial to our overall well-being.

Turmeric

You may already know that Turmeric can help with inflammation, but new studies show that this bright-colored spice may also benefit people with anxiety and depression by boosting serotonin and dopamine, and it’s linked to new brain cell growth, which may help delay age-related declines in mental functionality. Specifically, it is the compound Curcumin found in Turmeric that is responsible for these effects. Interestingly, this compound can cross the blood-brain barrier which means it can be easily absorbed into the brain to directly impact our brain cells.

Fatty Fish

Of course, fatty fish was bound to show up on this list due to its high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are used by the brain to build brain and nerve cells. Omega-3s are essential for learning, memory, and our capacity to control decision-making and emotions. Fatty fishes include Salmon, Trout, Tuna, and Sardines.

Coffee/Tea

There are so many complex compounds in both coffee and tea, and ongoing studies have shed more light on the long-term health benefits when consumed in moderation. Obviously, too much of a good thing can still have negative effects, but a cup of coffee or tea daily can contribute to better focus, improved mood, and increased alertness. There are also a lot of antioxidants found in both drinks that are also linked to overall improved health and reduced risk of neurological diseases.

Berries

Also very high in antioxidants, berries (specifically dark berries like blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries) provide many benefits to overall brain health. specifically, they are linked to increased communication between cells, reduced inflammation, delayed aging and reduced risk of disease, and better learning and adaptation capacity.

Oranges

We are mentioning oranges here because they are fantastic sources of Vitamin C, which is a key nutrient in preventing mental decline from aging. Vitamin C is also a natural antioxidant, which as we’ve already mentioned, can help prevent inflammation and the development of neurological diseases. You can also find high levels of vitamin C in bell peppers, kiwi, and guava.

Leafy greens

Hearty greens like kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli have all been shown to benefit brain health. These ‘superfoods’ have earned their name from the high levels of glucosinolates, which have an antibiotic-like effect that can help prevent infection and disease. These greens also tend to be high in antioxidants that further prevent inflammation and age-related degeneration.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are another great sources of healthy fats such as Omega-3 fatty acids, which as we mentioned before contribute to brain growth and new cell development. But on top of that, nuts and seeds are also a great source of Vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant that specifically helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s.

Eggs

Last on our list, eggs are great for brain health specifically because of the high concentration of Choline in the yolks. Choline is a building block your body uses to develop neurotransmitters that regulate mood and memory. Eggs are also high in B6, B12, and folate, which have all been linked to a reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

 

Summary

The foods on this list are good for you in more ways than one, and always we encourage you to fill your diet with variety to ensure you’re getting a well-balanced mix of nutrients from many different sources. Always consult your doctor or a nutrition professional if you have questions about a specific health concern or diet change. There is no better way to support your whole body’s health that to listen to what your body is telling you and do your best to give it what it needs to function the way it was meant to.

 

 

A New Definition of “Healthy”

We are used to seeing health claims on food packaging, and there are a lot of products that use these claims to mislead or bend the truth about the nutritional benefits of their products. Despite these claims often having a significant impact on consumer choices, regulation of these health claims is relatively new. Turns out that our evolving understanding of nutritional science is making waves and on Sept 28th, 2022, The FDA published a statement that may redefine what “Healthy” means when used on food packaging. Today we’re going to quickly review the new proposed definition, and help clarify what it means for our diets and habits moving forward.

Old Definition

The previous criteria for what is considered healthy was established in 1994 and set a maximum for fat content and minimum for daily vitamin content. This started the popularity of ‘low-fat’ foods that were somehow deemed to be “Healthy” despite high levels of sugar or sodium (for example, low-fat yogurts, or overly processed breakfast cereals). This also meant that healthy fats like Olive Oil couldn’t use the “Healthy” label because the fat content was too high.

What Changed?

According to the FDA statement, the proposed change means that any food with the claim “healthy” on the package needs to:

  • Contain a certain meaningful amount of food from at least one of the food groups or subgroups (e.g., fruit, vegetable, dairy, etc.) recommended by the Dietary Guidelines.
  • Adhere to specific limits for certain nutrients, such as saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. The threshold for the limits is based on a percent of the Daily Value (DV) for the nutrient and varies depending on the food and food group. The limit for sodium is 10% of the DV per serving (230 milligrams per serving).

What This Means

  • Under the new definition, the FDA recognizes that not all fats are created equal and that foods with high levels of beneficial fats, such as Omega 3, can now use the “Healthy” label. This means that foods such as salmon and whole nuts can be labeled as “Healthy”.
  • The new definition would also force manufacturers to modify their products so they contain more whole ingredients in order to meet the new standards for “Healthy.”
    • “For example, a cereal would need to contain ¾ ounces of whole grains and contain no more than 1 gram of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium, and 2.5 grams of added sugars.”
  • Different food groups would also be held to different nutrient density ratios, creating a more complete picture of what “Healthy” means for different categories of food. This means that Grain-based products have a higher sugar allowance than vegetable-based products. (For more examples you can view a chart made by the FDA here: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/use-term-healthy-food-labeling)

Ultimately, this new proposal is in alignment with more modern ideas of balanced health and nutrition. For years, nutrition recommendations have focused on whole foods, nutrient-dense meals, and minimizing processed prepackaged goods that contain high levels of stabilized, preservatives, or artificial ingredients.

If you’ve been following us for any amount of time, you already know we are huge supporters of fresh, high-quality, whole ingredients. We think this proposed change for what can be labeled “Healthy” is a positive step forward for consumer awareness, but ultimately it is still up to consumers to make healthy choices for themselves. Focusing on fresh whole ingredients, and knowing what works for your body and lifestyle is always going to be the most effective way to get the nutrients your body needs.

 

 

The Link Between Anxiety & Your Food Choices

Have you heard the news? A panel of medical experts recently announced that all adults under the age of 65 should consider getting screened for anxiety. The statement stems from concern that Americans as a whole have been experiencing stressors from all angles over the past few years, resulting in a growing number of mental health concerns. Despite some lingering stigma, new studies continue to show how important mental health is, and how it affects our lives on a day-to-day basis. The good news is, there are plenty of lifestyle changes you can make to help. Today, we are going to talk about changes you can make to your diet, and the science between nutrition, and your mental state.

 

Explaining Anxiety

Anxiety comes in MANY flavors. From Agoraphobia and specific Phobia’s to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, there are many different conditions that can fall under the umbrella of anxiety. Some forms are more obstructive to everyday life than others, and each person may experience different intensities of these disorders depending on a number of factors. The most common form of anxiety is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which is what we will primarily focus on in this article.

Generalized Anxiety disorder happens when there is an imbalance between your brains Prefrontal Cortex (the part of your brain responsible for cognitive control functions and decision making) and the Amygdala (the part of your brain linked to processing emotions and memories associated with fear or threats). Under normal circumstances, your Prefrontal Cortex regulates your Amygdala and is able to manage any threat responses that may be stimulated. However, the Amygdala of a person with Anxiety often goes unchecked, and the Amygdala may generate stress or fear signals even without an obvious physical threat.

Essentially what this leads to is a consistent feeling of fear or unease. Symptoms of this kind of Anxiety can include elevated heart rate, flushed skin, tense muscles, inability to concentrate or focus, irritability, insomnia, and general fatigue.

 

Anxiety, Neurotransmitters, and Your Second Brain

Second brain? Yes, you read that right. Believe it or not, your gut is embedded with some 100 million neurons (more than what makes up your spinal cord or peripheral nervous system) and is technically called the Enteric nervous system. Although this ‘second brain’ plays zero part in any cognitive functions, it does play a vital role in our mental state and combatting a number of diseases throughout the body (no surprise there).

This system sends and receives signals from the brain, and secretes neurotransmitters identical to those found in the central nervous system (eg, acetylcholine, dopamine, and serotonin). These neurotransmitters are the key connection between your diet, your gut, and your mental health. Studies have shown that there is a correlation between your gut’s microbiome, and it’s secretion of these neurotransmitters.

Low levels of serotonin specifically have been linked to higher levels of anxiety and depression. For example, many anxiety and depression prescriptions work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin so more of it remains in circulation throughout your body. Going back to what we said about the Brain, higher serotonin levels help the prefrontal cortex communicate and regulate the threat responses of the amygdala.

So to sum it up, a healthy gut = a healthy gut microbiome = healthy levels of important neurotransmitters = healthy communication in the brain = reduced chances of unnecessary or unregulated fear responses = reduced anxiety and anxiety symptoms.

 

That’s great, but how does our diet help?

So we’ve determined that our gut health is really important, and the best way to keep our guts healthy is to eat a wide variety of nutrient-dense whole foods. Specifically, look for food with the following:

  • Fiber – Helps the body slow down the absorption of glucose, which prevents spikes in blood sugar levels and avoids sugar crashes.
  • Antioxidants – Helps to prevent inflammation in the gut and throughout the body.
  • Folate – Promotes production of the neurotransmitter Dopamine.
  • Vitamin D – Promotes production of the neurotransmitter Serotonin.
  • Magnesium – Promotes healthy protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.
  • Fermented foods – The superfood of gut health, fermented foods are packed with probiotics, or healthy gut bacteria, that are essential to a healthy gut microbiome.

 

Foods that make Anxiety worse.

Although these foods don’t CAUSE anxiety, the effect they have on our bodies may mimic symptoms and make your existing anxiety feel even worse.

  • Processed food, and sugary drinks – an obvious culprit, as processed foods are usually lacking good fiber and nutrient density, while also being high in sugar, bad fats, and sodium. This leads to spikes in blood sugar levels and crashes where you feel fatigued more easily. They also provide very little, if any, nutritional benefits to your gut.
  • Caffeine – Often used as a stimulant to help people feel more awake, alert, or energetic, caffeine’s effects can quickly get out of hand and cause you to feel jittery, and irritable, and can increase your heart rate to uncomfortable levels.
  • Alcohol – Sometimes used as a way to cope with anxiety, alcohol’s long-term negative effects on the body can be serious, and often cause imbalances in bodily systems and sleep patterns.

 

Quick disclaimer:

As we stated at the beginning of this post, anxiety comes in MANY different shapes and sizes. And although we’ve explored how your food choices can help, it’s important to recognize that these lifestyle changes may not be enough in some circumstances, and we encourage you to talk to your doctor if your anxiety is disrupting your everyday life. Mental health is important, and we believe it should always be taken seriously.

 

 

What are ‘Macros’ and why should you care?

We all know nutrients and nutrient density is important. But are some nutrients more important than others? And how do you look at nutrients while keeping your long-term health goals in mind? We’re going to answer those questions today by looking at Macronutrient Tracking.

What are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are the primary essential nutrients that we need in order to survive. They are called “Macro” because these should make up the majority of the nutrients that you are consuming. Micronutrients, by contrast, are substances that are needed in far smaller amounts, like vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes.

There are three macronutrients; carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Contrary to what many diets will tell you, you do need all three for your body to function properly. Luckily, there are endless ways to include all three within your daily diet, as every food falls into one of these categories.

CARBS

Carbs, as we’ve discussed on the blog before, are your body’s primary source of energy. When you eat carbohydrates, your body converts them into glucose (sugar) and uses this sugar either right away or stores it to be used later. Carbs can be simple and easily digestible, or complex with dietary fiber that helps promote digestive health.

PROTEIN

Protein acts as a building block for your body, helping you to heal injuries and grow new tissues throughout every system in your body. Proteins come from a huge variety of sources, both animal-based and plant-based. Every protein is composed of amino acids. When we ingest proteins, our bodies break the proteins down into amino acids in order to use them to construct whatever protein structure our body requires internally. Human bodies require 20 different types of amino acids, 9 of which we have to get externally through our diets as the body cannot produce them itself.

FATS

Despite being shunned by diets for decades, fat plays a vital role in vitamin absorption, protecting your organs, assisting with cell growth, and hormone regulation. Of course, some fats are better than others, and it’s important to still limit ‘bad fats’ such as trans fats, as they can quickly contribute to a number of health issues is over-consumed.

All three of these macronutrients should be included on nutrition labels, and macros for whole foods, such as fruit and vegetables, are easily accessible with a quick google search.

What’s the benefit of counting Macros?

To begin with, tracking macronutrients provides people with a more detailed and structured option over simply tracking calories. A slice of cake and a poke bowl may have similar calorie counts, but the nutrients making up those calories are way different. If your aim is to reach 143.75g of protein, that cake slice is unlikely to help you hit that target.

By tracking your macros, you’re more likely to make healthier decisions overall. But as we’ve already mentioned, it can help if you have specific health conditions as well. For instance, if you need to follow a low-carb diet to help with epilepsy, or a low-fat diet to manage cholesterol levels. Athletes often adopt a high-protein diet so they can give their body the necessary amino acids to repair and grow muscles while following a demanding workout plan.

How to count macros, and how much do you need of each?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for this. As with most nutrition advice, everybody is different, and the macros you need may be heavily dependent on your health goals. A good starting place may be to look at the Federal Dietary Recommendations:

45 – 65% of your calories from carbohydrates

10 – 35% of your calories from protein

20 – 35% of your calories from fat

These recommendations are based on the idea that Carbs provide our body with the quickest source of energy, but that may not be what’s best for everybody.

In order to start tracking your macros, you’ll need to convert these percentages into grams, based on your daily target caloric intake. For instance, for a target of 2,300 calories, your daily intake may look like this:

50% Carbs = 287.5g

25% Protein = 143.75g

25% Fat = 63.8g

You can easily find calculators online that will do the math for you. HOWEVER, If you’re interested in finding your ideal Macro targets, we HIGHLY suggest you work with a certified nutritionist to go over your goals, your lifestyle, and any underlying health concerns that need to be considered when it comes to your dietary needs. An online calculator simply will not compare to talking to someone who is able to look at all the factors that come into play. If you’re local to the Tampa area, we recommend reaching out to Pulse Personal Training and talking to one of their trainers to get started.

One last thing

Of course, you do not NEED to count macronutrients to follow a healthy balanced diet. Counting macros is simply another tool you can use on your health journey. We believe it can be beneficial to anyone who’s looking for a more structured plan, but for many people, it can simply be a stepping stone to help them break unhealthy habits. You may even find you get comfortable enough to eyeball portion sizes, or you get familiar enough with the dishes you eat most often that you don’t have meticulously log every meal. the best nutrition plan is one you can actually follow, and hopefully, one that brings you joy, because food should be something we celebrate. It’s important to cultivate and maintain a healthy relationship with food, and always remember that paying attention to what we eat is important because it fuels our bodies to perform at their best. When we eat better, we feel better!

 

 

The Nutrition of our Favorite Fall Flavors

Although the Fall Equinox is not until Sept 22nd, we are already seeing the early excitement for all of our favorite fall necessities. Whether it’s the seasonal return of the PSL, pumpkin-themed craft brews, or bountiful fall harvests arriving at your market of choice, there is an undeniable shift happening. Today we’re taking a different approach. Rather than sharing our favorite fall recipes (that one’s coming later, don’t worry), today we’re going to dive into fall flavors. What are fall flavors? Where do they come from, and what are the health benefits? In doing so, perhaps we can harness these seasonal trends for the benefit of our health and overall wellbeing.

What qualifies as a ‘Fall Flavor’

The Fall season is harvest season, as many crops and products reach their peak in late August – October. So it’s safe to say that many of the flavors we associate with fall originate from the seasonal availability of these fruits and veggies. Some common fall crops include:

  • Apples
  • Winter Squash (butternut, pumpkin, acorn, etc)
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Persimmons
  • Grapes
  • Cranberries

But this is just half the story, as we also associate a lot of spices with fall. In fact, the flavor we call ‘pumpkin spice’ doesn’t actually include any pumpkin at all. Pumpkin spice is generally a mixture of cinnamon, allspice, clove, nutmeg, and ginger. But you’ll also find spices like cardamom and anise used in various fall recipes as well.

The are a few reasons these spices are associated with fall. To start, spices used to be a luxury item, used only for celebrations and significant events. Despite the modern accessibility of spices, the tradition of spiced holiday foods remains, and two of the biggest US holidays occur in the fall/early winter time frame. In addition, these spices in particular are considered “warming spices”, meaning they offer a sensation of warmth when added to food or drinks. You can find a lot of references to this in Ayurvedic traditions as well. This brings us to our next point:

What are the nutritional values of these foods

Let’s start again with the produce.

  • Apples:
    • High in fiber, excellent for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, diabetes-friendly from the low glycemic index, and can contribute to overall gut and digestion health.
  • Winter Squash (butternut, pumpkin, acorn, etc)
    • High in beta-carotene, lutein, and antioxidants. Can reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation, and lower blood pressure. Have also been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Carrots
    • Excellent for healthy eyes can help to support your immune system, can help regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, and can lower the risk of cancer. The abundance of calcium and vitamin K can also strengthen bones.
  • Potatoes
    • High in fiber which can help balance cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Can also aid in digestion by providing prebiotic benefits to the gut. Also high in potassium which helps decrease blood pressure.
  • Persimmons
    • Rich in vitamin C and vitamin A, which help with immune health and vision respectively. Also been shown to be beneficial for diabetes prevention, and reduced the risk of heart disease and Atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries).
  • Grapes
    • Extremely high in many antioxidants, which means they are great for brain health, and aging, and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Also great for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Cranberries
    • Also extremely high in antioxidants, and can reduce the risk of cancer and liver disease, while also boosting immune health and urinary tract and gut health. They can also be great for Oral health, as they reduce the amount of acid in your saliva, and keep it from sticking to your teeth.

    Just like all fruits and vegetables, these fall favorites are packed with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Many of these are specifically rich in dietary fiber and antioxidants, which means the fall season should be a great opportunity for us to manage our blood levels and our digestive health.

What about the spices? How do those benefit us?

  • Cinnamon
    • Extremely high in antioxidants, and can reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation. Also excellent for managing blood sugar levels. Potentially help to reduce the risk or effect of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Also had ani fungal and antibacterial properties, and can help prevent tooth decay.
  • Allspice
    • Technically derived from a dried berry, allspice has been used to reduce inflammation, and treat nausea. It’s also beneficial for infection prevention, pain relief, and reduction of menopause symptoms.
  • Clove
    • Can help balance blood sugar levels, prevent bacteria growth, reduce inflammation and reduce the chances of developing ulcers. May also be linked to liver health and reduced risk of fatty liver disease.
  • Nutmeg
    • Also high in antioxidants, and surprisingly found in several dental products, nutmeg has been shown to protect against oral pathogens that cause disease and bad breath. Nutmeg has also been used to improve or balance moods, and can possibly help improve sleep quality.
  • Ginger
    • Ginger’s main bioactive compound is Gingerol, which is a strong antioxidant with inflammatory properties. Excellent for treating nausea and motion sickness, and has been shown to help with indigestion and menstrual pains. Also great for balancing blood levels, cancer prevention, and protection against Alzheimer’s.

We’d like to mention that although the above spices do have health benefits, it’s important to not overdo it. Specifically with nutmeg, as consuming 2+ teaspoons in one sitting can be toxic.

We’d also like to come back to a point we mentioned earlier, that all these spices as considered “Warming spices” This means that they literally have the ability to raise your body’s internal temperature, which makes them perfect for cooler weather. The science behind this is slightly different for every spice, but the knowledge and use of these properties are far from new. Ayurvedic tenets hold that our metabolism needs to work harder in winter to fuel the inner digestive fire and that warming foods and spices are needed to stay healthy, with balanced energy systems. In Chinese medicine, these are referred to as yang foods, which are responsible for the activation and warming of bodily functions that keep us healthy and facilitate the flow of qi, our personal energy.

This is far from an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to explore more information on each item if it interests you. We hope if nothing else this has encouraged you to appreciate the flavors of fall with a new lens, one that shows the rich history, tradition, and nutritional science of why these flavors are so popular as the weather starts to cool down.

If you’re interested in indulging in some fall flavors, follow us on social media to see what we’ve got cooking, and watch for our seasonal specials, like mini apple cobblers, and cranberry pistachio muffins (all gluten and sugar-free, as always).

 

 

Re-Vamp Your Breakfast Recipes, try a Quinoa Bowl

Why try a quinoa bowl for breakfast? Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all 10 essential amino acids, and a high fiber content. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 5 grams of satiating fiber, having it for breakfast will help to arm your body with the tools it needs to get through the day and stay fuller longer. As an added bonus, quinoa is packed with health boosters like zinc, calcium, iron, riboflavin, heart healthy fats and antioxidants that have been found to reduce inflammation.quinoa bowl

Recipe: Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Prep Time: 5
Cook Time: 15
Yield: 2 bowls

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup canned lite coconut mylk + more for drizzling
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for sprinkling
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of dried unsweetened dark cherries
1 tablespoon of toasted pecans
1 tablespoon of toasted pumpkin seeds

Preparation:
Combine quinoa, coconut milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes until quinoa can be fluffed with a fork.
Divide quinoa into two bowls then cover with dried fruits, pecans, + pumpkin seeds and a few extra drizzles of coconut milk.

Chef Notes:  You can use a shelf stable organic Coconut mylk available at Aldi’s Markets. Or you can make your own Almond mylk but that’s for another blog.  Option to add  sweetener of choice,  we find it sweet enough with the coconut milk and fruit.

#Kidfriendly #addtoppingsofyourchoice #mixandmatchfruitsnutsandseeds #yearroundmeal

Nutrition: 302 calories, 10.3 g fat (4.9 g saturated fat), 99 mg sodium, 34.6 g carbs, 5.3 g fiber, 7.9 g sugar, 8.2 g protein

Reduce Inflammation & Improve Digestion with Easy To Make Bone Broth


Remember how soothing chicken soup is whenever you have a cold? Well, it turns out that broth, and especially bone broth (made from simmering bones and cartilage) really do have medicinal properties. I’m always on the lookout for foods that both nourish and heal your body, and while studying at the Institute of Integrative Health and Nutrition I was turned on to bone broth as a way of improving digestive symptoms such as bloating and pain.

Bone broth is experiencing a revolution right now, and for good reason. It can reduce joint pain and inflammation through chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, proline, arginine, and glycine which all have anti-inflammatory effects. It promotes strong, healthy bones through high amounts of calcium, magnesium, and additional nutrients that play an important role in healthy bone formation, and promotes healthy hair and nail growth thanks to the gelatin in the broth. It may even help you sleep better due to the calming effects of glycine. Wow. No wonder superstar Kobe Bryant is drinking it daily and it’s even gained a cult following in NYC!

Another important component of both broths are that they are rich in Humic + Fulvic minerals! What are those you ask and why should I want them?
Research is just beginning to show us the important role that fulvic minerals play and the information is amazing! These minerals like others support the body in a variety of ways including cellular health, brain health and digestion by helping the body absorb nutrients from food.
In a perfect world, our food would naturally contain high levels of minerals from the soil, but this is not usually the case with our modern food supply.

Ready to try this out? You can make bone broth at home (recipe below!) by simmering chicken, beef, or pretty much any type of bones in water for 6+ hours. At Intelligent Gourmet we use this recipe as a base in most of our stocks and it’s just plain delicious! No single theory of health is right for everyone, but we’ve seen bone broth work well for some people and not cause adverse symptoms for anyone, therefore we feel it’s safe to approve as a food that promotes digestive health.
Intelligent Gourmet’s Bone Broth Recipe

Ingredients

4-5.5 lbs. of Beef or Chicken bones (including joints, knuckles, necks etc.)
2 gallons Cold Water or enough to cover your bones (Why cold water? On a chemical level, it actually promotes the extraction of protein, helping to up the nutrient quotient of the stock.)
1 large Onion, coarsely chopped
2 Carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 stalks of Celery, coarsely chopped
4 cloves of Garlic, peeled
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tbsp of Vinegar* (such as Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar)
1 bunch of fresh Parsley
Optional: Thyme + Rosemary (I like to add thyme, bay leaf, and whole peppercorns, with maybe a sprig or two of rosemary. If you’re adding herbs and veggies to the broth, be sure to add them toward the end of cooking, especially if you’re doing a marathon stock making session.)

*A Note on Vinegar: This is not an optional ingredient. Not only is it ideal to combine fats with acids like vinegar, when it comes to making broth the goal is to extract as many minerals as possible out of the bones into the broth water and vinegar really helps to leech all those valuable minerals out of the bones. Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar is a good choice as it’s unfiltered and unpasteurized.

Preparation

In a large stockpot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to-low and simmer for 6 to 24 hours (the longer you simmer it, the more intense the flavor). Add water as needed to keep ingredients submerged. Strain stock into a clean pot or heatproof plastic container and discard solid ingredients. Let cool and refrigerate overnight. Leave the solidified fat on the top while storing as the fat acts as a protective layer and delays the formation of bacteria. Immediately prior to use, bring the bone broth to a gentle boil. Makes about 12 cups.

You can use this broth as a base for soups like we do at Intelligent Gourmet, or you can drink it straight as a restorative concoction.

Interested in learning more about foods that promote healthy digestion? Here are a few I can recommend:

Bananas
While all fruits and vegetables are generally good for digestion, bananas in particular are great because they don’t irritate the stomach. That’s why they’re part of the “BRAT Diet” (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, dry Toast), which has been suggested for folks suffering from vomiting or diarrhea.

Water
Water (which most people do not drink enough of) is excellent for the digestive process as it helps move things through the intestines. Drink an extra glass of water in the morning and evening, or carry a refillable water bottle that you can sip from throughout the day.

Ginger, Turmeric, Peppermint
Spices and herbs like ginger, turmeric and peppermint are great for settling an upset stomach. Try drinking ginger or peppermint tea, or sucking on a peppermint lozenge.

Yogurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Kimchi
Probiotic-containing foods like yogurt are good for the digestive system because they contain good bacteria that crowds out any bad bacteria that you may have in your gut. You want to look specifically for foods that contain live bacteria, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

Asparagus, Oats, Onions, Lentils, Whole Grains
Prebiotic foods like asparagus contain a type of fiber that probiotics feed off of to multiply, so it’s good food for your good bacteria. Prebiotics are found in foods such as asparagus, onions, lentils and whole grains.

Soup

JUICING WITH KIDS

Here is a fun family activity for the weekend, JUICE with your children.
You love your juice we see you and know you do, some of you even have kids we have met who like juice. IG believes in the nutritional benefits so much so that we want to share this article with more of you. We hope to teach you all that you need to know about the best ways to get kids to drink juice and what are the safest juices for them nutritionally along with some kid friendly recipes.
We are not suggesting juicing should  be used as a replacement for meals or fresh fruit and vegetables  for kids, but this is  a great way to get some extra nutrients into them, especially from produce that they may otherwise refuse to eat.
Some kids don’t need much persuasion to drink fresh juices, and some would not drink juices no matter what you do.  Here are some of our tips for introducing kids to juicing:

Intelligent Partners

The purpose of a partnership is to create something greater than we can create on our own. Not because of deficiencies or incompleteness we might have, but because we are each unique and bring with us different skill sets and knowledge. Through partners our efforts are increased and a complete resource is created for reaching your wellness goals.  Linda Baldwin, CHHC, AADP, Chef, Plant Based Chef, AANC + Creator IG,  2015

" Living and working in partnership means loving and serving ourselves and others, and that is key not only to a life well lived but also to global peace and prosperity as well."
” Living and working in partnership means loving and serving ourselves and others, and that is key not only to a life well lived but also to global peace and prosperity as well.”

Barre Central St. 6641 Central Ave. Petersburg FL. 727. 344.6641

Designed to be the go to spot for your mind body and soul connection. They offer to only Barre but also pilates mat, and yoga. We also have kids and family yoga classes. They offer many workshops including meditation, self defense, and aromatherapy. All ages are welcome.

Barre Fitness 3423 S. Manhattan Ave, Tampa FL. 33629 813.334.4165

Barre Fitness is a boutique fitness studio focusing on barre workouts. Our classes blend strength training and stretching in a fun, friendly, high energy class that will tighten, sculpt and lengthen your muscles. Our Barre classes are one hour classes and are an all encompassing full body workout .

Mantra Fitness 1710 S. Dale Mabry Hwy. Tampa, FL. 33629 1.941.201.1087

Expect 50-minutes of calorie-burning muscle-quivering, shirt-drenching, total -body conditioning. Start with the lowi-impact, muscle-toning principles of Pilates, add elements of cardio, crank up the intensity to full blast, add some great music and you have the Lagree Fitness Method.

Move Inspired Health & Fitness 3308 W. Knights Ave.Tampa, FL. 33611 813.690.1335

MOVE IS A LIFESTYLE: a full body workout that incorporates the most effective moves from all types of workouts- so you don’t have to spend your week driving around to different studios, trying to work different aspects of your body – MOVE is all encompassing! MOVE not only builds and maintains your muscles, but, at the same time, it fine-tunes the smaller muscles, which creates sexier definition for women, while maintaining strength.

Pure Barre 3830 W. Neptune Ave. Tampa, FL. 33629 813.254.8663

Pure Barre offers clients an effective, results-oriented workout that allows them to take control of their bodies and lifestyles

Shaker Spine & Sport Institute 3314 Henderson Blvd. Suite 203 Tampa, FL. 33609 813.876.9552
TRIGENICS®* is a Revolutionary new neurological treatment system – which can rapidly relieve pain, accelerate healing, and improve muscle strength and performance. With Trigenics* your nervous system is treated to reset the way your brain communicates with your body.

Spectra Wellness Solutions 509 S. Armenia Ave Suite 302 Tampa, FL 33609 813.319.0911

Led by Lisa Saff Koche M.D., Spectra Wellness is a cutting edge practice dedicated to utilizing the best of both traditional and integrative medicine to allow patients to achieve optimal health and well being. A team of providers utilize different modalities to ensure a quick and accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Patients are treated as individuals and have unique and personal programs. Our holistic/integrative therapies include testing and treatments such as saliva testing, nutritional analysis and replacement, detoxification, energy medicine, acupuncture, zyto testing and more!

The Soulful Seed: 5700 Lee St. NE. St. Petersburg FL. 727.902.0453

For thirty years, Susan has created thriving community, school, and home gardens from scratch, and has brought delicious, nutrition-dense, whole-food meals to the Tampa Bay community. She also created three cafes, including the first organic eatery in St. Petersburg – Integrity Organics.

Wholistic Tampa, FL. 1800.733.3333

Elena Bensonoff is a world renowned public speaker, pharmacist, clinical health practitioner and a fellow in Anti-Aging Functional Medicine. She offers instruction in chakra & aura balancing is a salt healer and has created a line of organic hand-crafted products that are formulated using only natural and organic ingredients according to the ancient system of holistic medicine

The Best Diet & Fitness Regimen for Happiness

Feeling out of sorts? Unfulfilled? Blasé? Bored? Depressed? Anxious? Frazzled? Sad?

Sure, you could take a pill for that and feel a little better – maybe – but I’ve got a better answer for you: Diet and exercise. Change your eating habits and your physical lifestyle, and you can completely change your outlook and your life! Mind and body work together to produce your emotions, and how you treat your body fuels everything that happens inside it. Don’t believe me? Try this for one week and report back:

Crunchy Chicken Tacos

Eating (and Drinking) for Happiness

Green tea is my coffee substitute of choice because, while caffeine can cause anxiety and jitteriness, green tea works as a stimulant and calms you down with an amino acid called L-theanine. One study showed that taking L-theanine before a test helped students stay calm.

Salmon, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, and flax seeds have some of the highest levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s help brain function, and as you know, your brain controls nearly everything. One study from Ohio State University found that students who increased their intake of Omega-3 fatty acids experienced a 20 percent reduction in anxiety.

Eggs, shellfish, tuna, and grass-fed lean beef are high in Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins. We need a wide range of B vitamins for our brains to function best, and when we’re not getting them, our brains can make us feel depressed, anxious, and irritable.

Avocados, legumes, bananas, fish and dark green leafy vegetables hare rich in vitamin B6, another B vitamin associated with improving mood and reducing anxiety and depression.

Yogurt and probiotics have been shown to reduce “behaviors associated with stress, anxiety and depression” in mice, according to a 2011 study published in Discover magazine.

For more tips on what to eat to improve your mood, click here! 

The thing about running quote

Exercising for Enthusiasm!

My favorite study reports that aerobic exercise is an effective treatment for many forms of depression. It’s not news – this study came out in 1999. Depressed adults who engaged in aerobic exercise actually improved as much as those on Zoloft. In 2006, another study was conducted that found that exercise led to a 30 percent rate of remission (which is as good, or better than, drugs).

You don’t have to take up one specific exercise – just pick one you enjoy. Jogging, swimming, long walks on the beach, hiking, tennis – anything that gets you moving!

For the best results, you need 3-5 workout sessions per week that last 45 to 60 minutes. Ideally, you should reach 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.