Food Journal Day 10

About halfway to my 21 days with only one slip up. Feeling pretty good about that. I also feel pretty good even with the crazy amount of stress I am under. I am really looking forward to finals being over tomorrow so I can finally relax for a moment and catch up on some much needed pleasure reading and sleep.

Breakfast: I made a smoothie with frozen mango, a banana, and coconut milk. I put coconut milk in all my smoothies, but just so you know I am not referring to fresh coconut water. I wish, but it is too difficult and expensive to buy coconuts and hack them open everyday. I use unsweetened Coconut Dream. Whole Foods as well as a bunch of other food stores sell it. Overall it is a decent product. Not ideal of course, but for right now it works and it tastes good. Whenever I have coconut water on hand I use that instead. Fresh and natural is always best.

I drizzled some coconut milk on top to make it look a bit prettier, though it didn’t really do much.

Lunch: I made myself a salad with baby kale, baby lettuce leaves, avocado and cucumber. I used fresh squeezed juice from Myers lemons as my dressing. Very simple and tasty. Sorry for the lack of a photo.

Dinner: A whole bunch of strong caffeinated tea. I have two finals tomorrow and a makeup test. I’ll be up all night.

Healthy Digestion – A true immune system builder

I recently came across this post by Rockwell Blog, part of Rockin’ Wellness, and found it an excellent summation of all things digestion. I have been wanting to do a post discussing this as I, along with so many others, have suffered through digestive problems. This post offers some basic information on how our systems function and what natural sources can assist in digestive issues. I hope you find it resourceful.

Healthy Digestion – A true immune system builder

Posted by sethluker on March 14, 2011

Since battling a digestive disease for the last 6 years, healthy digestion has been a major focus in my journey towards optimal function. This is a subject that most folks fail to think about until a problem arises and then they just go the doctor and slap a band-aid on the gunshot wound and keep moving forward with eating the same detrimental regimen. So in this article, along with the help from an article by Dr David Foreman, I want to touch on a few points about healthy digestion and how it plays a major role in our entire existence.

Digestive Issues: Inside the numbers

  1. More than 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month, about 25 million are daily suffers
  2. Chronic gastrointestinal disorders plague more than 95 million Americans
  3. Two of the top five most widely prescribed prescription drugs in this country are for digestive disorders
  4. Digestion-related problems cost Americans more than 100 billion dollars annually
  5. Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths behind lung cancer.

I would hope that these numbers grab your attention, and that you can see why we should focus on our digestive process. Optimal nutrition begins and ends with healthy digestion. Instead of “death begins in the colon” we should say “life begins in the digestive tract.”

The 4 Functions of the Digestive System

  1. Digestion: breaks down food into micro-particles
  2. Absorption: Converts nutrients into absorbable forms
  3. Elimination: Removes waste / toxins
  4. Immunity: Protects from foreign microbes either in or on your foods

The Keys to Healthy Digestion

A healthy digestive system is built on 4 Pillars: Diet, Exercise, Spirituality, and Supplementation. We know that a diet high in fiber and water and low in bad fats and refined foods will lead to a healthier digestive system. We know that exercise will improve digestion (for multiple reasons).  We know that spirituality (reduction of stressors, etc) will dramatically improve the digestive process. Supplements can and do play a critical role for all of us, whether or not we have a digestive disorder.

Risk Factors for Digestive Problems

Before we get into what supplements we need, let’s take a look at what factors can increase your risk of developing digestive problems.

  1. Poor diet
  2. Pregnancy
  3. High Stress
  4. Overweight
  5. Dehydration
  6. Habitual eating on the go
  7. Dairy Consumption
  8. Use of antibiotics
  9. Use of OTC or prescription antacids
  10. Health issues (diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular, arthritis, depression, eating disorders, etc.)

The bottom line is this, it is believed that more than 70% of your entire immune system is based in your gut. In other words, if your gut is healthy there is a good chance that you are healthy as well. So let’s fix our digestive system!! There are a few key areas to look at in the supplement section of your local vitamin store: probiotics, digestive enzymes, fiber, cleansing supplementation are some great areas to begin.

Probiotics

In short, probiotics are a friendly bacteria that are found in your digestive system. They serve two purposes: they complete the digestive process and help protect against pathogens (disease-causing bacteria, fungus, yeast, etc.) found in your food. Without enough of these beneficial bacteria, you will be unable fully digest your food particles into “micro” particles, or convert some of those nutrients in the absorbable or usable forms that the body needs. Probiotics  are essential for the absorption of nutrients, and also help the body to synthesize Vitamin B and K, absorb minerals and digest proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fiber. Throw in the benefits to your immune system and we have a winner. Probiotics  are depleted by stress, aging, high carbohydrate diets, antibiotic use and also by consuming non-purified water and non-organic foods. Lack of proper levels of probiotics can also lead to overgrowth of E.coli and H.pylori.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are used to help support the breakdown of your foods. I often estimate that 70+% of your body’s energy goes into digesting foods. Coming up short on enough digestive enzymes will lead to nutrient depletion, and having foods particles go through your system undigested. this can lead to problems such as toxin buildup, flatulence, odor issues, allergies, sensitivities and more. The primary digestive enzymes are: protease (for proteins), amylase (starches), lipase (fats), cellulase (plant cell membranes). There are also targeted enzymes available for specific needs, such as lactase for lactose intolerance.

Fiber

Fiber should never be overlooked. The average diet contains around 20 grams of fiber each day yet we should be consuming 35+ grams per day. Fiber can help you manage your weight, balance blood sugar, lower cholesterol, keep your digestive tract clean, decrease constipation and diarrhea, and improve immune function, reduce your risk of heart attack and much more than is listed here. Fiber can be described as a toothbrush of the colon. Regardless, fiber is another critical component in digestive system health. If you cant get enough fiber from your diet (fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, legumes, etc.) then you need to supplement. The most popular fiber sources are psyllium and flax seeds. You can also find chia seeds, inulin and glucomannan at your local vitamin store. All of these are great fiber sources but I prefer flax and chia seeds.

Cleansing

Cleansing is something that often gets overlooked with regard to digestive maintenance and care. Colon cleansing and liver cleansing will help keep your colon, liver, and gallbladder clean and functional. We need to cleanse all systems, but for those with digestive issues, periodic colon and liver cleansing is even more important. Cleansing will help eliminate the buildup of environmental toxins, metals, airborne chemicals, water and foods we consume.  Cleansing will help improve energy, digestive function, immune function, nervous system function, hormonal balance, sleep, skin and a whole lot more!!!

Supplements

Finally, there are many other supplements that support healthy digestion. Many of these can be purchased separately (or in combination formula) to address your specific digestive issues. Here is a short list to get you started.

  1. Ginger: indigestion
  2. Slippery Elm: soothing
  3. DGL: heartburn and acid reflux
  4. Dandelion: constipation, indigestion
  5. Mastic Gum: heartburn and acid reflux
  6. Peppermint: indigestion, cramping, gas
  7. Magnesium: safe and effective for constipation
  8. Aloe: soothes inflammation and helps with constipation

Cellulite: A Natural Remedy

A raw food, vegan diet simply melts away cellulite. I have had cellulite on my upper thighs my entire life, even in high school when running track and jumping hurdles 6 days a week for 2-4 hours a day as well as lifting weights and eating a healthy lean meat and high vegetable diet.

It was not until my freshman year of college when I decided to originally go vegan (eating mainly salads and vegetables with little to no grain) that I lost the extra 5lbs I fought my entire high school career to lose and the little bit of cellulite on my thighs completely disappeared. These results plus a really high energy level convinced me that vegan was the way to go for my body. However, veganism did not last once I came home for the semester. The weight lost came right back as did the appearance of cellulite.

I am currently making the shift back into the vegan diet focusing intensely on high raw content as well as incorporating various superfoods.

For those of you unwilling to make such a significant dietary change, use essential grapefruit oil. The citrus oils increase circulation and tighten skin dramatically reducing the appearance of cellulite. I tried it myself in preparation for my Hawaiian vacation and noticed a dramatic difference in just a week. Cellulite completely disappeared!

Look for 100% pure and therapeutic grade essential oil. Apply a small amount to the problem areas and allow to fully absorb before getting dressed. You’ll notice the difference!

Remember that this is not necessarily a cure, but it will help with the appearance of cellulite. The best things you can do are change your diet and maintain an active lifestyle.

Workout Recovery Shake

After hitting the gym for an intense workout, many run to a powdered protein shake packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, but also loaded with fillers, sweeteners and artificial flavors. Some of these shakes are made from quality ingredients, but most are junk food in disguise.

A raw, natural and delicious remedy to your workout recovery is a shake I have been making for a while now and came across through the Renegade Health Show. I provided some links to their store, but all of these powders can be found on Amazon. Here is Kevin Gianni recipe:

After Workout Recovery Shake: 

  • 1 Mango
  • 2 Bananas
  • Water of 2 coconuts
  • 1-2 tablespoons of ground chia seed (I grind the seeds fresh in a mortar and pestle due to the instability of the natural oils)
  • 2 tablespoons chlorella 
  • 2 tablespoons plant protein (spirulina, Warrior Food, or Sun Warrior)
  • 1 tablespoon vitamin C
  • 1/2 teaspoon kelp powder

Blend and enjoy!!