Nutrition Archives - ig2go

Sugar, sweets, and sugar substitutes

Just a spoonful of sugar helps the…muscles and body experience a boost of energy, and then likely crash shortly afterward. You know it, we know it, we’ve all experienced a sugar crash once in our lives. Today we’re diving into the sweet stuff to figure out if we really need to be so concerned with sugar, how much we should be including in our diets, and some great sources of natural sugar and natural sugar substitutes.

First off, what is sugar?

When you hear the word “sugar” you probably envision the refined white sugar crystals we all know and love. That would be correct, but more specifically that sugar is called sucrose, and it is also a type of carbohydrate. There are many different types of carbohydrates/sugars, Including Sucrose (refined table sugar), Lactose (found in milk and dairy), Fructose (found in fruit), and Glucose the simplest form of sugar. When you consume ANY carbohydrate, your body breaks it down into glucose, which then enters the bloodstream and provides energy to every cell in your body. Without glucose, your body’s primary functions can’t do their job, and this can quickly lead to life-threatening complications.

So needless to say, sugar is an important part of a functioning diet. That being said, not all forms of sugar are created equal.

As we mentioned, glucose is the simplest form of sugar your body can process. Your body doesn’t have to expend any extra energy to get it into the bloodstream. But the more complex the sugars and carbohydrates get, the more energy it takes to break them down into the basic building block of glucose. This is why you hear so many nutritionists vouch for “Complex Carbs”. These carbs are long complicated chains of molecules that take energy and time to break down. Complex carbs are found naturally in most whole plant foods we consume, such as beans, grains, vegetables, and fruits. So although we don’t usually think of grains, or vegetables as being “sugary” or “sweet”, they actually contain sugars, and you can meet your daily glucose requirements by eating these whole foods. the length of time it takes to break the foods down into glucose also helps mitigate the sugar crash. Rather than your body accessing a bunch of glucose (energy) all at once, that same amount of glucose is slowly released into the bloodstream over a longer stretch of time, providing a stable and consistent flow of energy to the body.

Why is sugar sweet?

So we’ve determined what sugar is, and how important sugar is to a healthy and happy body. And we can see that we don’t need refined simple sugar to meet our body’s needs. But our attachment to sugar goes beyond just our desire to fuel our bodies. There’s something about simple sugars specifically that our taste buds tend to get really attached to. So what makes refined sugar “sweet”?

The sweetness of refined sugar is the result of a chemical interaction between the sugar molecules and the taste receptor cells in our mouths. That specific chemical reaction creates a signal in our nervous system that tells our brain we are experiencing something “sweet”. Studies have shown that our brains are wired to release certain chemicals, such as Serotonin when we consume something sweet. Some theorize this is because it was a high-value food that was beneficial to seek out as humans were evolving before it became such a huge and easily accessible commodity. Either way, there are a number of reasons your body can crave sweet things, including:

  • Mineral deficiencies
  • Blood sugar imbalance
  • Nostalgia and triggered memories
  • Cultural norms and routines

Although we are huge supporters of listening to your body, giving into these cravings too often can be detrimental to your health. Sugar is necessary, but too much of anything is rarely a good idea. If you feel that you are craving sugar more often than normal, it would probably help to talk to a doctor or nutritionist about it, and dig a little deeper in case there is an underlying reason for it.

Sugar Substitutes

The good news is that there are some great sugar substitutes available that we can use in place of table sugar when we’re craving something sweet. Some of our favorites that we use in our recipes are:

  • Xylitol – A natural sugar alcohol found in many fruits and vegetables and contains about 1/2 or 1/4 fewer calories than table sugar. Although this is still technically refined sugar, it doesn’t raise blood sugar levels so it doesn’t count towards ‘Net Carbs’ from a nutrition standpoint. Xylitol also reduces levels of decay-causing bacteria in [saliva](http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/what-is-saliva), so it doesn’t cause the same tooth decay that table sugar does.
  • Monk fruit – Another natural sugar extracted from a small round fruit native to Southern China. The extract can be 150-200 times sweeter than table sugar, so less is needed when you are using this as a replacement in a recipe. Monk fruit sweeteners are made of compounds called mogrosides, which aren’t digested in the upper gastrointestinal tract, so it has no caloric value.
  • Agave – Agave is often sold as a thick syrup or nectar, and comes from the Agave plant native to Latin America. Agave is primarily fructose, and although it provides a wonderful sweet flavor, fructose doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. It is important to note that your liver can get overloaded if you consume too much fructose, so as with everything it’s still important to moderate how much agave you consume.
  • Honey – Likely the most well-known sweetener on this list, honey is produced naturally by bees and has many health benefits that make it a good substitute for table sugar. Although honey is primarily Sucrose, it also contains trace amounts of other minerals and antioxidants Honey also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, while at the same promoting the health of good bacteria in the digestive tract.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, you need some form of sugar to function, but it’s best to limit refined table sugar, and hidden simple sugars in heavily processed foods. We love each of our listed sugar substitutes for different reasons, and they all have a specific purpose in our recipes. It is important to pay attention to what you eat, but it’s also important to enjoy it. Life should be sweet! and we hope this deep dive into sugar has inspired to you appreciate what sugar and carbs provide for our bodies, and we hope we’ve inspired you to explore some sugar substitutes for your own sweet recipes.

Not all Gluten Intolerance is the Same

“Gluten intolerance”, “Gluten allergy”, “Celiac”, and “gluten sensitive”, you’ve probably heard all of these before but what do these terms mean, and what’s the difference?

Although the majority of people digest and process gluten with no problem, about 6% of the US population has some form of intolerance to gluten. And by intolerance, we mean that the body has an adverse immune response when gluten is ingested. But just like everything else, no body is the same, and everyone who lives with gluten intolerance experiences different levels of sensitivity.

We are going to demystify and de-stigmatize these different levels of gluten intolerance, and offer some tips to be more accommodating to gluten intolerant guests and people in your life.

 

One of the most severe forms of this immune response is Celiac disease. Effecting only about 1% of the population, symptoms of Celiac disease can be very difficult to manage without taking steps to minimize exposure to gluten. Most symptoms stem outwardly from an immune response that causes the body to attack the digestive tract when gluten has been ingested. This causes a cascading set of symptoms in other bodily symptoms such as:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Diarrhea and constipation

 

The second most severe form of Gluten sensitivity is Gluten Ataxia. Like Celiac disease, this is also an immune response that causes the body to attack your brain an neurological system when gluten is ingested. Although Gluten Ataxia is pretty rare, it is nonetheless very serious.

 

For some people, the immune response may not be as strong and aggressive. These people are considered to be “gluten intolerant”. Symptoms may not be as severe, and they may not be as sensitive to trace amounts of gluten as those with Celiac would be. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect their day-to-day lives, and that they shouldn’t still be careful. For people with gluten intolerance, symptoms might include:

  • Bloating or stomach pain
  • Diarrhea and constipation
  • Headaches or brain fog
  • Depression and anxiety

 

Last but not least, some people may not be sensitive to gluten specifically, but they could be allergic to wheat. This is more commonly seen in children under the age of 12, and only about 35% of children don’t grow out of the allergy as they get older. A wheat allergy causes symptoms similar to other allergic reactions, such as:

  • Skin rashes
  • digestive issues
  • Nasal congestion and Anaphylaxis

 

All that being said, gluten sensitivity is a serious condition that shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is important to understand that gluten-sensitive people do not have a choice in how their body decides to respond, and they have every reason to be cautious and proactive when it comes to what they eat when they are not cooking for themselves. Gluten is a sneaky food, that can often hide in unexpected places, such as soy sauce, deli meats, and even some flavored potato chips.

 

If you have a gluten-sensitive person in your life, you’re likely familiar with the steps you should take to prevent gluten contamination between foods. If you don’t, and accommodating a gluten intolerant guest is new to you, some of our top recommendations would be:

  • use separate, clean utensils when preparing or serving gluten-free foods
  • use separate serving dishes for gluten-free foods
  • substiture gluten-free ingredients to modify a recipe when needed. there are tons of amazing options available today.
  • Cook from scratch when possible
  • Read the ingredient labels thoroughly
  • Talk to the gluten-sensitive person to understand what their preferences are and learn from their experiences directly.

 

A Word From IG

At IG, we understand how important it is for our gluten-free customers to have options, and to trust the food that they buy is truly gluten-free if it’s labeled that way. We are strong supporters of our gluten-free community in Tampa, and we work diligently to provide a wide variety of Gluten free baked goods and dishes. Our recipes are the result of years of trial and error because we believe that just because a cupcake is gluten-free, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be delicious. Everyone deserves to eat what they love, and love what they eat.

IS YOUR GUT MAKING YOU CRAZY?

We Welcome Guest Blogger and Friend Sarah Bingham founder of Fast Food Healing.

Sarah is a licensed nutrition consultant with a master’s degree and more than thirty-five years experience counseling and lecturing on all aspects of nutrition throughout the country. Her current focus is in family nutrition, helping parents recover their children from conditions like autism, ADD, ADHD, asthma and other learning/behavior issues. She is also a dynamic and passionate speaker who communicates with clarity, humor and inspiration the simplicity of achieving wellness.

Sarah works as the Director of Nutritional Programs for Valle Counseling in Tampa, FL. She is a certified GAPS (Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome) practitioner (see www.gaps.me). Sarah is the founder of Fast Food Healing LLC, a personalized in-home nutrition counseling business. Sarah always addresses body, mind and spirit as they are all critical to a healthy body.

Following is an article Sarah shared with us.  Did you know that 80-90% of your neurotransmitters (chemicals that effect your mood and brain function) are created in your gut? Also, the seat of your immune system is in your gut. Hence, that old saying, “I’ve got a gut feeling” is quite accurate. Hence, what research is beginning to put together is if your mood, mind or behavior are off, you have a very good chance of having a gut that is off and a poor immune system.

What do I mean by “off”? Your gut is loaded (about 4 pounds) with good guy bacteria. This good guy bacteria keeps in check the potentially bad guy bacteria that is also present. All of these microbes have important functions, like creating B vitamins, neurotransmitters, and anti-cancer substances. When the good guys are winning, your mood and ability to think are in great shape. Your immune system is also in good shape. But, when the bad guys are winning, you could be suffering from any one of these conditions: Irritable bowel, reflux, ADD, ADHD, asthma, autism, bipolar disease, food allergies and intolerance, depression, dyslexia, autoimmune disease and more.

What causes your gut to become out of balance? Antibiotics, stress, the birth control pill, most prescription drugs and a diet high in processed foods. So, take a mother to be who has eaten a processed diet her whole life, has had a few courses of antibiotics and is now pregnant. Her gut “flora” or bacteria are more than likely out of balance. A baby’s gut is sterile until going through the birth canal. At this point, the baby swallows some of the mother’s vaginal fluid, which is reflective of her gut balance or imbalance. Thus, the baby’s gut is inoculated with either good guy bacteria or bad guy bacteria. And the cycle begins again.

Sometimes it’s easy to bring your gut back into balance using probiotics, lactic acid fermented foods and good whole foods and sometimes it takes a major effort to accomplish a rebalancing of the gut. When I look out at our society with lots of depression, rage, anxiety, immune dysfunction and irritable bowel, I think we all need a major revamping of our gut flora. As Hippocrates said back in 400 BC, “All disease begins in the gut.”

love your gut

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

Is Your Healthy Food More Hype than Health?

You order a sandwich on whole wheat bread with turkey, Applewood-smoked bacon, tomatoes and avocado. It looks delicious. It tastes delicious. And you savor every crumb, confident that you’ve just done something good for your body.

After all, you didn’t pick up this sandwich at any old fast food restaurant.

This restaurant’s website has an entire tab explaining their beliefs, which include a commitment to “Clean Ingredients.”

So why does your sandwich include sorbitan monostearate, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium phosphates, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, potassium sorbate and calcium disodium, and the mysterious moniker “natural flavor”?

Chances are, if you don’t know what an ingredient is, you wouldn’t recognize it as real food if it was served on a plate.

  • Sorbitan monostearate is an emulsifier that keeps water and oils mixed, and is also referred to as synthetic wax. Not so yummy.
  • Microcrystalline cellulose is wood pulp. It’s used as a texturizer and anti-caking agent, fat substitute and emulsifier. It’s also probably in your vitamin supplements.
  • Sodium phosphates act as preservatives, change texture of foods, keep processed meats moist, and are common food additives in processed foods. Food companies aren’t even required to list phosphate levels on “Nutrition Facts” labels, even though they have been linked to increased risk for kidney disease and heart disease. They’re also thought to accelerate the aging process, and they interfere with how your body processes and activates vitamin D.
  • Sodium erythorbate sounds terrible, but it’s actually taken from vitamin C and is used to keep foods fresh by inhibiting the oxidation of food. However, eating too much sodium erythorbate has been linked to causing kidney stones.
  • Sodium nitrite is used to cure meats like ham, bacon and hot dogs, and has been linked to cancer.
  • Potassium sorbate is another preservative that is used so frequently, in nearly every processed and canned food, that it’s shockingly easy to be overexposed which can lead to long-term health risks. It’s not only in processed foods – it’s also in cosmetic products and wine.
  • Calcium disodium prevents air from spoiling food and cosmetics. It’s also used to treat lead poisoning and mercury poisoning. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? What you may not know is that it robs your body of nutrients by making it more difficult for your body to use vitamin C, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and potassium.
  • Natural flavor is taken from an original ingredient found in nature that has been purified, extracted, and added back into the food. For example, “natural flavor” in a blueberry muffin actually means a chemical derived from blueberries that was enhanced in a lab.

In a Life by Daily Burn article, a scientist at the Environmental Working Group articulates why “natural flavor” is the fourth most common ingredient listed on labels: “The goal is to make a short intense flavor that quickly dissipates so you come back for more.”

What, exactly, is “clean” about this sandwich?

And, it’s not just the restaurant chains
This is what terrifies me about the hype we’ve created around health food. Companies can so easily take advantage of terms like “clean ingredients” without delivering on those promises. They fool our eyes and our tongues, but they can’t fool our bodies – these will ultimately pay the price.
I also see this in pre-packaged juices and “juice cleanses” where there may not be nitrites and phosphates, but in which so much sugar has been added that any nutritional benefit is offset.
The healthiest-seeming foods are often the worst culprits. An acai bowl, for example, uses frozen pureed acai (freezing kills acai’s superfood nutrients), and then adds berries, bananas, yogurt, granola with coconut on top. The result is a 600+ calorie, dairy inflammatory sugar bomb with more sugar in it than a slice of chocolate cake.
What you can do? 
Every dollar you spend is a vote for health and against hype. I know we can’t all cook whole foods for ourselves every day, but if we take the time to look closely at what we eat and only buy from trustworthy sources, perhaps the larger food corporations will add substance to their claims.
I look forward to a world in which a sandwich is just a sandwich, don’t you?
Until then, there’s Intelligent Gourmet.

Sandwich for blog

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

6 Reasons to Jump on the Turmeric Trend

Health benefits of turmericWhen mixologists start making cocktails out of something, you know it’s officially become a trend, and turmeric is right there. It’s been featured on NPR as “the new green tea,” and on Dr. Oz as the cure for seasonal depression (just as effective as anti-depressant medications, without the side effects). The health benefits of turmeric span thousands of years and dozens of studies. Are you ready for the new Super Food?

“It’s literally plant medicine!” – Dr. Oz

Turmeric has been used medicinally for almost 4000 years to cure everything from eczema to allergies, and even stopping poison in its tracks.

In Western medicine, turmeric hasn’t been studied nearly as extensively as it should be, but what they’ve found so far is nothing short of amazing.

6 Scientifically Backed-Up Health Benefits of Turmeric 

  • A powerful anti-inflammatory, used for arthritis relief, bladder infections, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis to name a few. And, it’s better for you than Aspirin.
  • A powerful antioxidant which can prevent infection and cancer growths.
  • A study showed that turmeric, when combined with chemotherapy, makes the chemo more potent while decreasing side effects.
  • An effective antibacterial (but if you use it topically to treat acne or sores, prepare to turn yellow!).
  • A liver-cleanser – Curcumin, the main component of turmeric, improves liver function, allowing the liver to get rid of bad cholesterol.
  • New studies have shown Turmeric may be able to prevent Alzheimer’s, and slow its progression.

At Intelligent Gourmet, we often put turmeric in with our fresh juices. Come by and try! Apparently, everyone is doing it (or soon will be!).

15 Fantastic Anti-Inflammatory Foods and Juices

Creamsicle orange juice

The more health studies and articles I read, the more one single fact becomes clear: Inflammation either causes or is part of nearly every serious health condition! High cholesterol and heart disease? Inflammation. Diabetes? Inflammation. Asthma, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, Obesity, and Osteoperosis have all been linked to – you guessed it – inflammation!

Fortunately inflammation can be lowered significantly through diet. Change your diet, and see if you don’t feel better after a week.

  • EAT: Avocado, nuts, and wild salmon are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E. Omega-3s reduce swelling and discomfort in the joints, while vitamin E helps with healing.
  • EAT: Brazil nuts, salmon, oatmeal and brown rice all contain selenium, a trace mineral that we don’t need a lot of, but deficiencies can lead to major problems. Surveys indicate that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers tend to have lower selenium levels in their blood. Selenium may reduce arthritis symptoms by controlling levels of free radicals. Skip the pricey supplement and eat one Brazil nut a day. It’s that easy.
  • JUICE: Pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes contain Carotenoids – ie. they’re orange. When your body eats orange, it converts the plant pigment into Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant that fights joint discomfort (and cancer!). Juicing is the best way to help your body absorb nutrients from orange vegetables.
  • JUICE: Grapefruit, papaya, oranges, and mangoes are rich in Vitamin C. A study from Duke University shows that the right amount of Vitamin C reduces risk of rheumatoid arthritis. However, too much vitamin C accelerates joint damage from osteoarthritis. The USDA recommends 75mg per day for women and 90mg per day for men as the happy medium between the two extremes.
  • JUICE: Turmeric, the yellow spice that gives curry powder its color, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that Ayurvedic healers have used for centuries to relieve arthritis pain. Other curry spices, like ginger, work well with turmeric to further reduce inflammation.

Essentially, a diet of mostly fruits and vegetables with lean meats and good fats is anti-inflammatory. But, even within a healthy diet, there are anti-inflammatory superfoods. Change your diet, and you very well may change your life. Ask us about our nutrition packed, delicious, and anti-inflammatory juices!

Pumpkin Power!

healthy vegan pumpkin soupPumpkin season is so packed with super-food goodness, I don’t know why we don’t eat pumpkins year-round. Did you know that just one cup of pumpkin contains half your daily recommended dose of fiber? It’s got antioxidants that prevent everything from wrinkles to cancer, contains more potassium than a banana, and is a great source of vitamin A and iron.

Pumpkin seeds are also incredibly good for you as a source of unsaturated fats and oils, zinc, and the amino acid tryptophan, which helps your body produce the feel-good chemical serotonin. In short, pumpkins make you look better AND feel better – but don’t help yourself to seconds on pie yet.

Whole V. Canned Pumpkin?

The argument against canned pumpkin is that the pumpkin goes through an intense heating process to pasteurize it for safe storage. Any cooking will, of course, destroy some of the nutrients, but considering that raw pumpkin just doesn’t taste the same (and I challenge anyone to make it into a pie-like substance), I’m going to say that it’s okay to cook this one. The canned version is usually sold with no preservatives or additives – so just be sure to look for “100% Pumpkin” on the label and check the ingredients list.

Canned pumpkin is also more concentrated, which means that one cup of canned pumpkin will actually have a higher density of nutrients than 1 cup of fresh cooked pumpkin.

Quick and Easy Vegan Pumpkin Soup

I love making a hearty Fall soup out of pumpkin using chopped onion, vegetable broth, ginger, nutmeg, salt and pepper – and, of course, a garnish of pumpkin seeds and crispy-fried sage leaves!

  1. Saute the onions in the pot first until they caramelize, then add the ginger and nutmeg, stirring until fragrant.
  2. Add 1 can of pumpkin (or the cooked meat of 1 small cooking pumpkin) and mash it together with the onion mixture.
  3. Pour in enough broth to get the creamy consistency you like best. Add salt an pepper to taste and cook for a few more minutes to let the flavors combine.
  4. While the soup is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet and fry a handful of sage leaves until crispy, sprinkled with a little salt.
  5. Serve the soup garnished with the crispy sage leaves and pumpkin seeds.

Five Superfoods In Your Kitchen Right Now

cherry tomatoesDon’t have time to stock up on SuperFoods? That’s okay, because you probably already have them on-hand. So this week, instead of telling you about foods you should eat and vegetables you should hunt down at the farmer’s market, let’s spend a little time shopping your kitchen.

Beans

Whether you have bags of dried beans or stacks of the canned kind, beans are incredibly rich in fiber, protein, iron, and folic acid. That fiber helps keep your digestive tract healthy, but it also can cause…how to put this delicately…well, you know.

Romaine Lettuce

If you have Iceberg lettuce instead of Romaine, you might want to make the switch on your next grocery run. Romaine lettuce has twice the protein and calcium of it’s globe-shaped relative, three times the vitamin K, four times the iron, and eight times the vitamin C. It’s also packed with vitamin A!

Tomato

Tomatoes are heart-healthy, bone-healthy and cancer fighting since even the less-red ones are packed with lycopene! In fact, if you like the more orange colored heirloom tomatoes (I do!), there’s good news: a recent study showed that lycopene from orange tomatoes was absorbed better than lycopene in bright red tomatoes.

Almonds

If you add just one superfood to your daily diet, you might consider almonds or pistachios. Almonds contain vitamin E and magnesium, as well as a host of disease-fighting antioxidants, and are a healthy fat. They make an energizing snack between meals too.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal may not be the most exciting breakfast, but it is one of the healthiest – especially when topped with Fall-friendly apples, cinnamon, and walnuts. Oats are high in fiber, rich in antioxidants, and help to lower your cholesterol. One bowl of oatmeal with all the fixings is a SuperFood-powered way to start your day!