Nutrition Archives - ig2go

Should You Worry About Hormones In Your Food?

Hormones are chemicals that our bodies produce to regulate the activity of cells. Hormones are also found naturally in food and balancing our hormones is an important part of managing our mood, metabolism, and sleep patterns.

Some of the most important hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Estrogen is the hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle and helps to maintain a woman’s bone density. It also has some role in brain development, mood, and memory. Progesterone is necessary for maintaining pregnancy and for regulating the menstrual cycle. Testosterone is responsible for male sexual characteristics and muscle development.

Vegetables contain estrogen-like compounds called phytoestrogens, which are plant-based sources of estrogen that mimic its effects in the body. Soybeans are a major source of phytoestrogens in our diets; they contain compounds called isoflavones that bind to estrogen receptors on cells throughout our bodies.

However, not all hormones are created equal. Many are hesitant to eat food that has been artificially modified, or injected with hormones.

The use of hormones in cows has been a controversial topic for decades now, with the main reason being that they are used at low levels to increase milk production. It has been shown that these hormones are safe and effective in increasing milk production, which makes them a good option for farmers looking to maximize their profit margins. The use of hormones in cows has been banned in Europe since 1989. Despite that, the US is one of the few countries that still allows it.

However, it has been found that these hormones can increase the risk of cancer in humans.

A study was done on over 13,000 women who were breast cancer survivors and the results showed that those who consumed high amounts of hormone-treated milk had a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence.

As for Chicken and Pork, is it illegal to use growth hormones within the US. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”

Soy, which is naturally high in estrogen, has also been the subject of much research and study, with the majority of studies indicating that soy consumption has a positive effect on health.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that soy consumption is associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Another study found that soy consumption is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer.

So what’s the verdict, are hormones in food good or bad?

Our answer is complicated. We certainly think naturally occurring hormones are unavoidable, as almost every food has some trace amount of hormones. But artificially injected hormones may not be the healthiest solution for our bodies, the animals, or our ecosystem as a whole. The best solution is still to stick to organic, hormone-free, and sustainably raised livestock.

We take all of this into consideration when we curate our recipes, or stock our grab-and-go coolers. At Intelligent Gourmet, we always use Free-range, Organic, Hormone-free, and Locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. From our prepared-to-order dishes to our standard provisions including organic eggs, butter, milk, and plant-based milk alternatives, we value the quality of the options we provide because we believe they taste better and are better for us.

How to Use Food to Rock Your New Year’s Resolutions, All Year Long

This post is NOT about losing weight. In fact, that resolution isn’t even going to be mentioned, because you know why? I’m SICK OF IT! Aren’t you? Of course, you can use food to lose weight (studies show it’s more effective to control your diet than increase exercise if you have to choose), but let’s dig a little deeper this year and go after what we really want to maintain your New Years Health goals.

1. Resolution: Be Happier 

It’s a simple one, but it’s what we’re really after with all the other resolutions isn’t it? Even when you have a great family, work you love, and live in a beautiful part of the country that hovers between 60 and 80 degrees in the dead of winter – you can still feel down more often than you’d like. Stop punishing yourself for being ungrateful – that’s not it. Unless you need to make real changes in your life (maybe you do!), these downtimes are chemical. And that means you can lift yourself back up with food. 

There was an interesting study on PBS recently that linked inflammation with depression. This means that an anti-inflammatory diet could significantly help symptoms of depression. Two especially powerful anti-inflammatory foods (or supplements) you can try are: 

  • Turmeric (curcumin) 
  • Omega-3 (fish, or fish oil) 

2. Resolution: Be Healthier 

Boost energy and fight disease this year by incorporating these 5 foods into your daily life. Yes, daily.

  1. Lemons – Anti-inflammatory, inhibits cancer cell growth, increases “good” cholesterol levels, vitamin C.
  2. Broccoli – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting rock-star, vitamin K & vitamin C combo builds healthy bones.
  3. Dark Chocolate – 1/4th oz daily reduces blood pressure & bad cholesterol, and improves your mood!
  4. Salmon/Fish/Flax Seeds/Walnuts – Omega-3 fatty acids help the brain work better, reduce bad cholesterol, and reduce the risk for heart disease. 
  5. Spinach – Anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, and eye-health-improving. Toss a handful in with your eggs every morning! 

3. Resolution: Spend More Time With Loved Ones 

Invite some friends over to cook a healthy meal together – and schedule these dinners as often as you’d like.  We’re all so busy that if we don’t schedule in time with friends and loved ones, it never happens. So put a few dinner dates on your calendar. Here’s an idea: Make a game of it by inviting a friend to walk through your local farmer’s market with you, choose some “mystery” ingredients, and see what you can do with them when you get back! 

Don’t like to cook, but still want the healthy dinner? We’ve got you covered. Just serve everyone Intelligent Gourmet! 

Share your new years health goals with us! What are your favorite tools and healthy habits?

SELF CARE RITUALS TO PRACTICE DAILY – THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

 

self-care-header-for-blogLEARN HOW IMPLEMENTING THESE 10 SIMPLE SELF CARE EXERCISES INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOR THE BETTER! .

We’ve been taught to show compassion for others, but how often do we afford ourselves with that same level of kindness?  Truthfully we don’t, and I frequently wonder why we don’t treat ourselves as our own best friend.  We’ve done some thinking and our team has created some quick and simple self care rituals that you  should practice on a regular basis.  By implementing these steps daily into your routine you will self soothe and make sure you’re at your optimum,emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Including these steps into your life will increase a little bit of love and attention for your own body, mind, and soul. With attention to your own self care you can begin to feel more connected to your inner self and what naturally follows in greater joy.
10 Self Caring Exercises that will Boost your Power

  1. Stand or sit in front of mirror Look into your own eyes and tell yourself, “I see you. You’re beautiful. I love you.”You can talk to yourself about how proud you are of a certain accomplishment or how you handled a situation at work or home. Speak about what gets you connected to the true reality of who you are an intuitive, strong, courageous being.
  2. Think Positively: Write yourself a list of positive affirmations things you are happy with right now and changes of where you want to be. Read them out loud to yourself daily. The power of affirmations is well documented the truth is that what we manifest becomes our reality!
  3. Do something grounding something that involves connecting your body with the Earth in whatever way makes sense for you. Lying on the ground in the grass and meditating for 10 minutes. Walking barefoot in the sand.
  4. Be grateful and say “thanks” for all the greatness in your life. Do this before bed and when you awake for the new day.
  5. Before you begin to eat, be mindful of your food. Take time to think about where it comes from or how it was grown, who prepared it with you or for you. Appreciate it, delight in the flavor and enjoy the food for what it is, fuel for your body.
  6. Use Laughter As Medicine: Laughter boosts oxygen levels and improves circulation and immunity response. Plus, you get a good belly workout!
  7. Get a massage regularly Getting a massage releases toxins from your body, which promotes relaxation.
  8. Try Acupuncture, acupuncture triggers your nervous system to send serotonin to your brain (instant relaxation!)
  9. Start a Journal: Journaling can help you make sense of your feelings. Simply start writing about how you feel go back and read it latter see if you don’t feel differently.
  10. A healthy diet is a big part of any successful self-care plan. Nutrition has been linked with emotional, physical, and cognitive health. Eating a healthy diet gives your brain and your body the vitamins and minerals needed to stay well.

 

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

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

Speed Up Healing Time with SuperFoods

Sweet potato pancakes

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

I’m a big believer that our bodies – our amazing bodies! – can heal themselves if we give them the right tools to use. No, I’m not saying we should never go to the hospital or get checkups, but we definitely shouldn’t rely on modern science for everything the body needs. There’s still so much scientists and physicians don’t understand about nutrition, health, and how the body works with natural foods. But, when we experience a serious injury, sometimes we need both medical care and nutrition for our bodies to bounce back.

So, if you’re reading this from bed with a twisted ankle, broken bone, or sprained wrist, here’s what to write down on your grocery list for the week.

superfood healing mix

Salmon, Walnuts, Flax Seeds

Put down the Aspirin and pick up the walnuts, because studies have shown that Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and pain so well that other over-the-counter pain killers might not even be necessary. Once your swelling is down, your body can begin the important processes of healing.

Citrus, Berries, and Broccoli

These fruits and vegetables are all rich in Vitamin C, which in addition to keeping colds at bay, helps build new protein for the skin, scar tissue, tendons, blood vessels and ligaments.

Pistachios, Almonds, Spinach

Vitamin E is what you’ll find in these nuts and leafy greens. Vitamin E speeds healing time for wounds by encouraging circulation in smaller blood vessels, which also results in less scar tissue. You’ll heal faster and better.

Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash

These Vitamin A-rich foods help increase production of white blood cells, helping your body fight off infection and viruses while you’re healing. Check out WanderFood’s quick and easy recipe for purple sweet potato pancakes, topped with walnuts, here.

With these healing foods in your kitchen, you’ll not only “Get Well Soon!” – you’ll get better faster.

Photo with permission from WanderFood

Top 5 Health Trends for 2014 – Predictions!

Rainbow chard organic produceFood trends come and go – hey, remember when we were all chugging wheatgrass? But while these trends usually have real merit, it’s the ones that we can incorporate into our everyday lifestyles that really have the power to make a difference in our health. With that in mind, let’s look at some health food predictions for 2014 from Innova Market Insights.

  1. More heirloom vegetables! Who doesn’t love heirloom tomatoes. The big, richly flavored, colorful tomatoes have created a permanent home for themselves in my kitchen. But they’re not the only heirloom vegetables out there, and we’ll probably be seeing more parsnips, artichokes and kale varieties in the coming year.
  2. “New” ancient grains. Quinoa has become a significant part of our diets over the past few years, and other grains are waiting in the wings to be the next big thing. You might start seeing chia and freekeh on store shelves soon.
  3. More gluten-free foods. With gluten free flours coming out in force, expect to see more GF offerings everywhere.
  4. Holistic diets. This is a trend we’ve all been waiting for. A more holistic approach to nutrition that doesn’t demonize entire cross-sections of the food pyramid, but instead respects that each type of nutrition has its place in a healthy, balanced diet. Even our juice cleanses are embracing this trend, since we aim for a more balanced approach than just straight fruit and vegetables (yay for nut milk and hemp protein!).
  5. More alternatives. Remember when soy was the only “other” milk? Not so anymore, and this trend towards nut milks and coconut milk will continue to grow.

What trends would you like to see happen in 2014?

We ♥ Heart Healthy Eating

Heart Healthy Salad from Intelligent Gourmet

Ancient Egyptians believed the heart contained the soul, and before entry into heaven, a person’s heart would be weighed against a feather. Today, we talk about people having heavy hearts or light hearts, but right now, let’s talk about healthy hearts.

From American Heart Association Research

  • For every hour of walking you can add 2 hours to your lifespan (Bonus! Exercise also increases brain size and memory)
  • For every pound lost you alleviate 4 lb. of pressure from your joints
  • Eating 2 servings of fish a week decreases your risk for heart disease by 23%

My rule of thumb is that if it’s from a box, it’s bad for your heart. Pre-packaged, mass-produced foods are created in labs to produce two outcomes:
1) They’ll last forever, packed with hydrogenated oils, trans fats, saturated fats and preservatives. They have to keep crunchy on store shelves, right?
2) To make you want more. They do this by pumping up the salt content.

Please hold the salt

Up to 75% of the sodium Americans eat comes from processed foods – and Americans are eating far too much. Most restaurants also over-salt their food to appeal to the typical American palate. What does all this salt do?

A healthy level of salt is vital. It helps regulate body fluids and blood pressure, and is necessary for muscle function and nerve impulse transmission. Active people who sweat a lot need more sodium.

Too much sodium (and the ADA says Americans typically eat over twice the daily recommended amount) contributes to high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, and heart disease.

Five Favorite Heart Healthy Foods

  1. Salmon & Sardines are loaded with Omega 3: good fats that help brain function and keep your LDL low and your HDL high. Wild Salmon and sardines are both low contaminate fish, meaning they don’t have PCB or dioxins (which can be found in farm raised fish). An inexpensive way to get Wild Salmon is to buy it canned. Look for Wild on the label, and if it says Alaskan, it is automatically wild.
  2. Oatmeal is a soluble fiber which attaches to cholesterol and escorts it out of the body. Don’t muck it up with too much sugar! Add chopped nuts for more Omega 3’s, berries for cancer-fighting anti-oxidants, and cinnamon – studies show that cinnamon also lowers LDL.
  3. Sweet potatoes help manage your blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. Sweet potato also contains soluble fiber but with the added benefit of Potassium. The trick to lowering blood pressure is to decrease sodium and increase potassium in your diet – and sweet potatoes are the perfect vehicle.
  4. Nuts are another great source of Omega 3s, but don’t overdo them. They’re calorie-dense, so a few will go a long way. Have a handful of almonds, walnuts, or cashews for a quick healthy snack that won’t spike your insulin (and make you crave more food). And, if you get a can of mixed nuts, know that eating just one of those giant Brazil Nuts fulfills your daily selenium requirement. Research suggests that selenium reduces risk for breast and prostate cancers.
  5. Wine! My favorite way to wash down a heart-healthy meal is with a glass of red wine. Antioxidants in red wine (such as resveratrol) protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart. Not a big drinker? Search online for wine flour made from red grape skins (they make terrific brownies).

Fun Zone

Summer is a time for playing outside and embracing your inner child. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little bit of pure fun and treating yourself to a day well spent. Finding joy in life isn’t a chore: it’s one of the reasons we are here!
Curious as to what you might do on one of these days out and about for a healthy yet free-spirited time? Perhaps you’ll enjoy what the sunshine has to offer (with sunscreen of course!) by playing Frisbee with friends at your local park. Or maybe you’ll let yourself take in a cup of frozen yogurt (I recommend Pink Berry) on a particularly hot and mellow afternoon while you’re doing errands. Or treat yourself to a dollop of Greek yogurt with a handful of berries, sliced mango and sunflower seeds – those are good fats too, when used sparingly.
Now get out there and live!
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