Should you drink Kefir?

Should you drink Kefir?

IMG_1234Have you heard about Kefir? If you have been wondering the aisles of the health-food store lately you most likely have seen some Kefir on the refrigerator aisle. Kefir is a cultured and microbial-rich food {mostly drink} that restores your inner ecology. It contains strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast {symbiotic relationship happening here} that give this drink antibiotic properties and {for some} the path to endless wellbeing and youth. Kefir can be made from water {sugar water, You Read it Right or coconut water} and milk {cows, goats and even coconut milk} and it’s pretty easy to make.

Made by gelatinous white or yellow particles {which are called grains or as we call them “magic bugs”}, they look like small pieces of cauliflower and come in different sizes {depending on how long you have had them for}. Once the grains ferment the liquid being used by incorporate their beneficial bacteria into the final product {24-48 hrs}, you can remove the grains, drink the liquid and start a new batch. I am telling you it is super easy to make, plus by making it your self you save tons of $ compared to the price in the store.

IMG_1241I know it sounds weird, but is true. You have more friendly bacteria {on healthy, nourished people, eating a well balanced diet- if not it could be the un-healthy bacteria living in your gut and causing a lot of trouble} living in your gut, than cells on your body. That is why it is CRUCIAL that you take care of it. Think of the healthy-bacteria as your army: they help you digest, keep your immune system working properly, they even communicate directly with the brain {preventing depression, anxiety and insomnia} so you have to take care of it, this means eating the right foods and drinks {specially fermented foods & drinks, plus a well rounded diet packed with green vegetables and very low in sugar}, maintaining stress under control and staying away from conventional medicine specially antibiotics {limiting their use until it is absolutely necessary}.

Are you still wondering if you should try some Kefir, here are some reasons why I think you should:

  • Tryptophan an amino acid that can have a relaxing effect is found in kefir.
  • The probiotics found in Kefir can help treat and diminish digestion problems {it helps support intestinal tract functioning, regulates bowel movements and keeps the digestive system healthy by balancing the gut-flora}
  • Kefiran is a polysaccharide produces by the kefir grains, and some research has shown it can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in our bodies, and it can also be found in kefir. This mineral is essential for our bodies to use carbohydrates and proteins for cell growth and energy.
  • Kefir helps support a healthy immune system {remember your immune system resides in your gut, a healthy gut means no more sick-days}
  • Kefir curbs unhealthy food cravings {because it helps in the absorption of nutrients}
  • Kefir acts as a natural anti0botic {preventing the growth of harmful bacteria}
  • It is an easy and in-expensive way to include probiotics into your daily life
Fight anxiety with your diet

Fight anxiety with your diet

Today everyone seems to be anxious – My ten yr old came back from school the other day, and told me how her friends where filling so “anxious” about the upcoming tests- really? Do 10 yr olds actually know what anxious is or feels like? And then one of our dogs was chewing the leash we use to walk them, and my husband said – I think she gets anxious and she chefs. Really, the dog? I know I have said it many times, and I think is all part of modern life. – the crazy go-go-go state, the non-stop social media, Internet, TV and trying to do so much in so little time, without actually enjoying anything. I am a firm believer that 5 min a day of meditation {sitting by yourself, closing your eyes and simply breathing} can do wonders for your anxiety. Also there are some foods that can help your body react better to anxiety and release it, so it doesn’t become a chronic state. Here are some of my favorite foods to help with that “anxious state”.

photo 2-       Grapes, a good source of B vitamins, keep the nervous system working properly and reduce anxiety.

–       Spinach, is high in folic acid which is tightly related to the secretion of serotonin {the feel good hormone, it helps you relax}

–       Lemon, helps decrease the secretion of cortisol {the stress hormone} also this hormone regulates the storage of fat in the body

–       Eggs- they are packed with vitamin B complex, choline, niacin and the amino acid tryptophan {when the levels of this chemicals are low in our body we tend to feel more “stressed”}

–       Banana, provides us with the amino acid tryptophan {when levels are low we tend to feel more stressed or anxious}

–       Passion fruit, alkaloids and flavonoids are present in this fruit. This work on our nervous central system and help us relax and calm down when we are feeling stressed.

As always your diet plays a big role on your life. The healthier you eat the better you feel, and the quality of your life improves. Working with a health coach can help you find the perfect food combinations for you and your wellbeing.

 

Ansiedad- un problema de la vida moderna- cuantas veces escuchas a alguien decir tengo ansiedad, sufro de ansiedad, me siento ansioso. Aunque soy fiel creyente que no hay nada como la #meditación para combatir la ansiedad y una buena dieta cargada de los nutrientes necesarios para que el cuerpo pueda adaptarse y no caiga en estado de estrés. Aquí les dejo una lista de alimentos que ayudan a mantener el nivel de ansiedad bajo.

–       Uvas, fuente de el complejo de vitaminas B, ayudan y mejoran el funcionamiento de el sistema nervioso central y disminuyen la ansiedad.

–       Espinaca, aporta acido fólico el cual esta relacionada con la secreción de serotonina {hormona que nos hace sentir bien y “relax”

–       Limón, ayuda a disminuir la secreción de cortisol {hormona que libera

nuestro cuerpo cuando se siente en estrés} la misma hormona encargada de indicarle al cuerpo que hay que “guardar” grasa para el futuro

–       Huevos, cargados de vitaminas de el complejo B, acetilcolina, niacina y triptófano {cuando los niveles de estas están bajos tenemos tendencias a sentirnos mas ansiosos}

–       Banana (guineo, cambur), cargada de triptófano un neurotransmisor importante en regular el humor y prevenir un estado de ansiedad en el cuerpo

–       Maracuyá, tiene alcaloides y flavonoides, estos actúan en nuestro sistema nervioso central y tiene un efecto de “sedante” otra vez nos ayudan a mantener un estado de “relax” ante situaciones estresantes.

Entonces como te dije, tu estilo de vida influye mucho en tu nivel de ansiedad y 5 min. de meditación {sentarte y respirar} todos los días son una de las mejores soluciones, y la dieta.

How much protein is too MUCH PROTEIN

How much protein is too MUCH PROTEIN

How much protein is too much protein? You know you need protein to stay strong and lean – and with the whole low-carb & high-protein diet craze- people are consuming more protein than ever- high amounts of protein {more than your body needs} can lead to weight gain, extra body fat, stress on your kidneys, dehydration, constipation, bad breath, digestion troubles and leaching important bone minerals-

Yes, your body needs protein {protein and all its amino acids are the primary building blocks for muscles, bones and many hormones, specially during pregnancy and aging you can not live without protein}- but there is a limit on how much protein your body can actually use.

photo 5When I talk about protein I am not only talking about animal protein. I believe we all need a little of animal protein, and in “animal protein” a little goes a long way. I usually use {and recommend my clients to see} animal protein as a flavor enhancer, or your side dish. N.O.T. your main dish. Your plate should be covered with vegetables and healthy {low glycemic} carbs, and then on the side some animal protein. Why? Because even though we need it, animal protein creates inflammation in our bodies, and has been link to cancer {when you eat it in big quantities, specially the one that is not organic packed with omega-6s, hormones and pesticides}. Recent studies also suggest that reducing your protein intake to “just what your body needs” may increase your longevity. When you reduce animal protein, you reduce the consumption of the amino acid methionine {which is high in meats} and creates stress on the cells.

Most people need around ½ gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. {40 to 70 grams a day is the general range} Remember all this depends also on your level of activity and the amount of muscle your have.

Now that you know how much protein you need, lets see how much is that amount in actual food. A protein serving should be around the size of a deck of cards.

When most people think about protein they think of meat, fish, eggs, legumes, dairy products, nuts and seeds. But did you know that some vegetables also contain protein, for example broccoli.

In the chart below you can get a better idea of how much protein is in each food group and how much you should eat.

Eggs 6-8 grams protein per egg
Red meat, poultry, pork and seafood 6-9 grams protein per ounce{ideal portion would be 3-4 ounce serving}
Seeds and Nuts 4-8 grams of protein per ¼ cup
Cooked grains {preferably whole} 5-7 grams per cup
Cooked beans {always sprouted} 7-8 grams per ½ cup
Most vegetables 1-2 grams per ounce

Other great sources of protein are:

–       Whey Protein- is a great source of protein. Easy and quick. You can add it to smoothies, or pancakes or bake with it. It is excellent for people trying to build muscle or lose fat, the body assimilates it very quickly {10-15min after eating it} and aids post workout recovery. The problem with Whey protein is that there are many un-healthy brands in the market. Two of my favorites are TerasWhey and Dr. Mercolas Protein. Please be sure to read labels, and look for products that are organic, minimally processed, and cows are not treated with hormones and are grass fed.

–       Hemp Seeds: They are considered a super food, you can use them to bake, add to your yogurt, smoothie, and granola. They are about 33% protein, and 3 tbs provide approximately 11grms of protein. They also contain all 20 amino acids and are packed with omega 3-fats.

–       Spirulina: Packed with chlorophyll, beta-carotene and GLA {a beneficial fatty acid}. It also contains 18 of the amino acids and all of the essential ones {essential amino acids are the ones our body doesn’t produce, so we need to get them from food}. A 10 grams serving provides 6 grams of protein. I recommend adding spirulina to your diet; it has an alkalizing effect, which creates balance in the body.

–       Chia Seeds: Great source of fiber, omega 3-fats, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and protein. 3 tbsp of chia seeds provide you with 4 grams of protein.

–       Bee pollen: Some consider this a perfect food. It is one of nature’s most complete foods and it is 40% protein. You can always sprinkle some over your smoothies, or yogurt. Or even have a spoonful of pollen with a little but of coconut oil before a workout for some extra energy.

–       Sprouts: Everyone talks about sprouts this day an is because once you sprout beans, nuts, seeds and grains their nutritional value improves, and the protein becomes more digestible.

I usually recommend my clients to have one serving of animal protein a day, and include plant base proteins in every meal. Remember that two small hamburgers (just the meat) have approximately 40 grams of protein. And for some people that is more than enough.

In the comments below let me know how much protein you consume and if you consume any type of vegetable protein.

A Treat or a Drug?

A Treat or a Drug?

Everyone loves Oreo’s – there is even a hand-clapping-game based on the cookie {Do you know how to eat an oreo- take out the top- put it inside out – creamy delicious … } believe me I have heard that song my fare share of times. All jokes aside, have you ever wondered why once you start eating an oreo you can’t seem to stop? Why it is so hard to just have one?

photoResearchers at Connecticut College found that the famous cookie activates the same (and sometimes more) neurons in the brain that are activated by cocaine- YIKES! And this is what we are letting our kids snack on- Scary. I know you can’t compare Oreos to Cocaine- based on the theory that drugs are detrimental to your body once you consume them. Can you say the same about the Oreos? Not sure you can actually prove the direct effect of Oreo’s on your wellbeing. We know they are packed with sugar and fat (not the good type), plus many other ingredients that are not considered healthy or natural. Many studies have shown that a diet high in sugar and oxidized fat’s has negative effects on the body and creates behavioral issues. I personally don’t buy Oreo’s  just reading the ingredient label is enough for me, and I am sure that in the long run they will affect negatively the health of my family. oreolabel

And I would recommend you stop consuming them too, specially if you are trying to get your kids to eat healthier foods. Eating Oreo’s will not help you in this matter. It will actually make it more difficult, as they are addictive.

So next time you are at the store look for healthier alternatives, and remember even though they are healthier that doesn’t mean you should eat them everyday!

Natures Path has a great Classic Crème cookie and WholeFoods has it’s own organic version. Give them a try and let me know what you think.

Are you a Chocoholic?

Are you a Chocoholic?

Are you a Chocoholic? It is a funny word, can you imagine how “addicted” we are to chocolate that it has its own addiction-word to reflect the urge we have for it. When I ask my clients about why they eat chocolate most of the time the story goes like this… “I was super stressed so I just wanted to eat some chocolate”, “I felt I was going to loose it so that is when I chowed-down the whole chocolate bar” or “you know it was that time of the month so I just needed to have my chocolate”, “It was a long day I just wanted a piece of chocolate and a place in front of the tv”. photo

Don’t get me wrong we eat chocolate when we are happy too, but pay close attention most of the time we can’t stop eating chocolate when we are in a stressful situation or we need to relax and disconnect.

Have you ever gotten super mad at your self for eating that whole bar of chocolate, do you feel like you failed your day because you couldn’t control the chocolate urge. Well let me tell you that there is a scientific reason (well two) why you eat and can’t stop eating chocolate. Scientist believe that craving a certain food can be a sign a of an acute nutritional deficiency, in the case of chocolate I think is a 50-50 deal.

First of all chocolate has gotten a bad reputation over the years (thankfully it’s name is being cleaned up) but in reality the actual cacao -where chocolate comes from- is REALLY good for you and some even considere it a super food. Cacao was found to be the number 1 antioxidant on the planet, by scientist measuring the power of antioxidants in different foods. It is packed with elements like: Chromium which regulates blood sugar, helps detoxify the liver, has blood cleansing properties. Phenethylamine (also known as PEA) which is the adrenal- related chemical produced naturally by our bodies when we fall in love, it also helps increase focus and alertness. Anandamide a endorphin that the human body naturally produces after exercise (Anandamide derives from the Sanskrit “ananda” meaning internal bliss).

One of the reasons we crave chocolate so much when we are in stress or need to relax is due to its Magnesium content, which helps you sleep and eases muscles (all related to PMS). So you are not that crazy, your actually is literally craving chocolate. But another part of the chocolate addiction is tide up to it’s sugar content. Many times we crave chocolate because our bodies are in need of a mineral it may contain, but once we have it sugar is to blame for unstoppable impulses to eat the whole bag. Yikes! So there you have it.

Remember that to get all the benefits you have to indulge on a 70% cacao chocolate (which means there is only 30% sugar) or even higher 80-85% cacao. And Raw is always best. Why you may ask? Raw chocolate has not been heated above 115 degrees, that means that all its nutritional values are not damaged by high heat temperatures.
So next time, you are craving some chocolate, don’t blame your self. Blame your body and reach for a bar that has a high cacao content and beat the sugar, so once your body is satisfied you can stash that bar for your next craving.

Beat the Full Moon bloat

Beat the Full Moon bloat

A super full moon is coming soon, August 10, 2014 to be more exact. We are in the last days before the moon reaches all its power and becomes fully illuminated, big and round. We could say it is filling up with energy and light. As we all now the moon is directly related to the sea, tides, it influences how bug the waves are, the rain, droughts and some doctors can tell you that when there is a full moon most of the hospitals are filled with women about to give birth. Knowing all this, it is no wonder that the moon also affects us in a personal level. Some of us feel the enchantments of the moon, and some others feel how the moon makes us more lethargic, sore, and bloated. It is a proven fact that we tend to retain more liquids the days before the full moon. Pay attention to your body, you might have not eaten more than you think, and your jeans are filling a little tighter. It might all this moon energy that is making you hold on to all those liquids.

fullmoonblog

So enough about the moon, lets find out how you can beat bloating and stopping feeling lethargic so you can be ready to party, or at least see that full moon with your favorite jeans on.

 

– First things first, drink more water. I know it sounds contradictory, but the more water you drink, the more toxins you flush, the less you retain. Is that simple.

– Stay away from the salt, salt makes you retain water and feel even more bloated. Need to get more flavor, add some herbs and spices like garlic, onions and celery, which will help with flushing toxins, and act as diuretic.

– Eat foods packed with potassium; this mineral suppresses the effects of sodium on water retention. Some of these foods are bananas, carrots, celery, broccoli, spinach and cabbage.

– Foods filled with water will hydrate you and act as a diuretic, watermelon, cucumbers, parsley, and cantaloupe.

– Drink warm water with lemon in the morning, this will help you get your digestive system going, and release toxins, which sometimes can retain liquids.

– Limit your alcohol intake until the actual full moon.

 

I find that before a full moon my body functions best on a raw food diet, or eating at least 80% raw food. Raw foods need less energy to be digested, and because they are not cooked they retain all their water (with exception of dehydrated raw snacks). Start your day with a green juice or smoothie. Have some fruit like papaya or pineapple mid-morning with a raw chia pudding (chia seeds and your favorite home made nut milk). This will keep you satisfied until lunch and will help with digestion. For lunch have a big salad, including some of the foods mentioned above and some protein. Mid afternoon have some nuts and carrots or green apple. And for dinner a soup (can be warm or cold) a salad, and some protein, or if you are not that hungry a smoothie mixing, nuts, seeds, fruits could also work.

 

I love starting my days with a green juice, this can do wonders for those pre-full moon days.

Full Moon Juice

2 cups green leaves (spinach, kale, chard)

1 cup celery stalks

½ cup parsley leaves

2 lemons

1 cucumber

½ cup pineapple

1 inch ginger root

½ tsp turmeric powder

1 tbs chia seeds

 

Place all ingredients on the juicer (exept for the turmeric and chia seeds wich you can add once the juice is done).

Have a happy un-bloated Full Moon.

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