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Women’s Health Week: Arthritis affects women 3 times more than men

… and now that our life expectancy has increased, is it inevitable that our quality of life will decrease thanks to the painful symptoms of arthritis? It doesn’t have to.

turmeric
Make it a morning ritual – hot lemon water with grated fresh ginger and turmeric, cayenne and raw honey.

Arthritis, like other conditions that end In ‘itis’ – sinusitis, laryngitis and colitis – are all inflammatory conditions.

Avoid
Refined and highly processed oils also need to be avoided. These are the type that usually come in big plastic bottles labelled vegetable, palm or canola oil, and margarine also has no place on this earth. GMO crops by their very nature are terribly inflammatory so really need to be watched out for and avoided.

They not only cause inflammation but also destroy any chance of proper mineral absorption, which can reduce bone density. Acidic foods will also cause cartilage to dissolve, causing bones to rub together and become even more inflamed. These foods have to be removed or at least seriously reduced. Red meat is another acid-forming food, as is cow’s dairy, refined white flourand grains and sugar.

Alkaline
There is so much food out there that we are only just starting to explore. This also means that we’ve been eating too much of the same food for far too long now. And it’s been mainly highly processed and refined food with a long shelf life. By the way, asparagus is the only truly alkaline vegie, and melons being the only alkaline fruit. Introduce sprouts, cereal grasses and sea vegies to alkalise your diet.

Chew
By chewing your food you are increasing its alkalinity, so slow down your eating by practising ‘mindful eating’ – be aware of chewing every mouthful and savour every flavour and texture. Meditation, peacefulness, love, yoga and kindness all have a wonderfully alkalising effect also.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking about one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar diluted in a third of a cup of warm or room temperature (clean or preferably alkaline) water once a day is a great way to aid digestion and alkalise your body. This stuff is magic. If you find it too difficult to ‘stomach’, then mix a little raw honey, as honey is neutral on the acid/alkaline chart.

Turmeric
Turmeric is a wonderful spice to add into your daily life along with its cousin, ginger. Either grate them into your smoothie or add either or both to your casseroles, grains, soups or roast vegies – perhaps add some garlic for it’s strong medicinal qualities also.

Aloe Vera
The pulp from this wonderful plant has ‘mucilaginouos’ qualities, which means it will help to bulid up cartlaige. For best results, drink the juice on an empty tummy.

Hemp
Hemp is wonderful for reducing pain and the other symptoms of arthritis, thanks to its wonderful
omega oils working their anti- inflammatory magic. Use the seeds in your smoothie or sprinkle them over just about anything, keeping them raw. The oil is wonderful to use in a salad dressing or topically on affected areas.

Zinc
Zinc improves immunity so include foods high in this mineral – pepitas, alfalfa, mushrooms, oysters and nuts.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory vitamin found in abundance in the Australian bush tucker food, gubinge (aka Kakadu plum). This stuff is seriously high in vitamin C. It comes as a powder from health food stores, so again add it into your smoothie, or sprinkle a teaspoon over your meals before serving. (Vitamin C doesn’t like to be heated.)

Micro Greens
Micro greens, such as barley, wheat grass and spirulina, are wonderful for not only their ‘cooling’ effect, but also due to their mineral and enzyme- dense nature, plus they’re alkalining.

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Beating the Blues

We all have bad days, some worse than others, yet some we just love to continue to revisit in our heads because they were just so darn wonderful. And then again, some days it’s hard to get out of bed. It seems easier when we know the reason why we’re feeling the way you do – low iron, a hangover, your pre-menstrual and feel like being alone, after a breakup – but It’s when you don’t know and that black cloud appears over your head, again, and it won’t go away, again, that we start to wonder what’s going on, and look for ways to get out of the hole, or away from the ‘black dog’ barking.

Beating the Blues

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Legume and Bean Week: Nutritional Value.

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Pulses are an extremely good plant based source of protein and fibre. They are one of the top 10 foods recommended for longevity. They are cheap, easy to grow and keep for ages in the pantry.

Mainly a mixture of protein and starch with many positive qualities as a food. They are low in calories and a good source of complex carbohydrates. They are fairly high in fibre, which may help intestinal action and even help reduce cholesterol. Soybeans and peanuts, (commonly thought of as a nut, but actually a legume vegetable) are the most complete protein of the legume and vegetable kingdom.

Combining benans (delete -beans such as mung, adzuki, lentils or black beans) with a grain such as millet, quinoa or brown rice in a 1:3 (bean to rice) ration, will provide a low gas food as complete protein. (See ‘Cooking Beans’.)

Includes kidney, haricot, pinto, navy, lima, butter, adzuki, mung, broad, garden peas, protein pea, chickpea, black eye pea, soy, peanut, lentils.

It is always better to soak any pulse overnight to remove any gas and increase their digestibilty. Beans & pulses are acid forming foods and our diet should consist of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic. All animal produce is acidic as are grains, so it is difficult to maintain a good ratio. Whilst some protein is lost in soaking, the remaining protein is about twice as digestible. Many vitamins are actually produced, especially vitamin C, B complex and vitamin E.
(Excerpt from my first book ‘Elixir’, the second edition.)

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‘Legume and Bean Week’: Preparing Legumes.
legumes2
Dried beans and legumes are easier to digest and the nutrients more available if they’ve been soaked in room-temperature water (preferably filtered or better still – alkaline), a step that also rehydrates them for more even cooking. Before soaking, pick through the beans getting rid of any discoloured or shriveled ones or any foreign matter like little stones. Depending on time, choose one of the following soaking methods -

1. Long soak. In a big pot, cover 500g of dried beans with 10 cups clean water. Cover (and refrigerate in warmer months) for at least 4 hours or overnight.

2. Quick soak. In a big pot, bring 500g of dried beans and 10 cups of clean water to a boil. Cover and set aside and let beans soak for 1 to 4 hours at room temperature.

legumes3

After soaking, rinse beans and add back into the pot. Cover the beans with three times their volume of clean water. Add about one tabelspoon of a seaweed like powdered dulse or nori or arame or wakame. This will help remove some of the gas legumes and lentils sometimes cause. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender. The cooking time depends on the type of bean, but start checking after 45 minutes. Add more water if the beans become uncovered. Drain once tender and they’re ready to use. I usually make a big batch and freeze them once they’re cooked. Red Kidney beans pictured below.

Legumes. How to Grow Red Kidney Beans from Dried

Tips –
- Don’t add salt until beans are soft. If you add it too early it can make the beans tough and slow the cooking process.
- Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork.
- 500g of dried beans yields about 5 or 6 cups cooked beans.

legumes1

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Mental Health Week: Omega 3 fatty acids.

‘How does omega-3 affect mood? There are several lines of evidence that suggest that omega-3 consumption may be associated with mood disorders. Research suggests that omega-3 is related to a number of biological processes that have been found to be associated with brain functioning.’ Black Dog Institute.

walnuts

Foods To Include – walnuts; hemp, chia and flax seeds; seaweed; algae; sustainably- caught fish’ or an ethically sourced supplement. #lifestreamsuperfoods

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Mental Health Week: B Vitamins.

An important group of vitamins, especially when it comes to emotional stress.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is beneficial during anxiety and panic because it facilitates Neurotransmitter Synthesis, promotes healthy nerve function, and converts carbohydrates in foods into energy. Foods like Asparagus, Soy milk, Barley, Oats, Wheat, Sunflower Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Rice, Avocados, Mussels. Or a supplement. Lifestream’s ‘Natural B Complex Powder’ made from sustainable sourced sprouted quinoa.

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Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is beneficial for anxiety and panic because it converts other B vitamins to useful forms so that they can do their work. In addition, since it aids in the production of infection-fighting immune cells, riboflavin helps bolster the immune system. Include Avocados, Clams, Yogurt and Mushrooms.

avo

Vitamin B6 helps the body to manufacture brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), such as serotonin, essential for the body to cope with anxiety and panic. Vitamin B6 may also help boost the immune system during times of anxiety. Include sweet potatoes, Avocados, Bananas, Mangoes, Sunflower Seeds, Chickpeas, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Potatoes, Bok Choy, Rice, and Barley.

mango

Vitamin B7 (Biotin) assists the body in metabolizing protein, fats, and carbohydrates from food. It is important during times of anxiety and panic because it plays a special role in helping the body to use glucose and promotes overall equilibrium along with the other B vitamins. Include Cauliflower, Organic Peanuts, Eggs, and Organic Cheese.

cauli

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) helps the body to cope with anxiety and panic because it works in concert with other B vitamins. B12 supports the nervous system and assists the body in converting food into energy. Miso, sourdough, tempeh, eggs, algae, shitake mushrooms, Yogurt, Oysters, Sustainable Trout, Crab, Clams. Below Lifestream’s ‘V-Omega 3′, made from algae.

V-Omega-AUS-range

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) is an important member of the B Vitamin family and is required along with the others when the body is dealing with anxiety and panic. Research suggests that folic acid may help relieve depression, which is often associated with anxiety and panic. Asparagus, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Bok Choy, Peas, Beans, Chick-peas, Organic Soybeans, Lentils, Oranges, Turkey, Cabbage, Savoy, Spinach, Broccoli, Avocados.

spinach

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) as a member of the B vitamin family, is required along with the other B vitamins when the body is coping with anxiety and panic. Niacin helps the body to release energy from carbohydrates, control blood sugar, and maintain proper nervous system function. Rice, Pomegranates, Whole Wheat.

rice

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid). The body relies on B5 to support the response to anxiety and panic. Pantothenic acid helps produce stress hormones during times of psychological difficulty (emotional upset, depression, anxiety), as well as during other types of strain, such as chronic fatigue and quitting smoking. Avocados, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Mushrooms, Sunflower Seeds, Yogurt.

mushies

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Mental health Week’: Reducing Inflammation using Diet and Exercise.

I’d like to again stress that I am not suggesting anyone quit their meds, especially without supervision. This week I am posting on how to deal with mild anxiety and depression using food as medicine, and lifestyle changes. My hope is that more of us will be better equipped to know how best to care for ourselves and not let that Black Dog in when he or she comes a knockin’. Image – A food market in France.

France

Many recent studies are showing a strong relationship between depression and inflammation, or even that depression is an inflammatory disorder. Depression is a state of immune activation, so there is a low-grade increase in the inflammation that occurs not only in depression but in most major psychiatric disorders. Image – The Chinese martial art, Qi Gong.

qi gong

People who have the best quality diet have the lowest risk of development of depression and anxiety. We also know that diet affects immunity. Similarly we know that people who are the most physically active seem to have the lowest risks of developing depression/anxiety. Again this ties to immunity. We know that exercise reduces levels of inflammation in people’s bodies. And let’s not forget getting enough quality sleep, regularly. 8 hours a night and an hours daytime nap. I hear you laugh at this – but it’s ideal. Any less than the 8 hours a day is likely to be adding to your toxic load, leading to oxidative stress (not good) and inflammation. Sleep! A lot! Image – orphaned orangutans in a safe place to sleep.

sleep

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Mental Health Week: Foods To Avoid.

quote

White flour and products • Chemicals in your food, animal products (raw meat is more alkaline than cooked) and packaged food. Go organic! • Too much alcohol • Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners • Sugar and other refined and highly processed foods. All junk food. Excessive sugar consumption increases blood lactate levels, which is acid forming. This also includes refined grins. • Too much caffeine, especially instant coffee – organic (and fair trade) is much less acidic • Processed and refined salt. In order to have a better chance at being free from mood disorders – keep your body, mind and spirit as healthy as you can, as much as you can.

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Mental Health Week: Cashews

cashew-nuts-growing-on-a-tree-this-extraordinary-nut-grows-outside-the-fruit

’2 handfuls of cashews is the therapeutic equivalent of a prescription dose of Prozac’. (‘Food Matters’) Cashews contain the amino acid L-tryptophan which is broken down into calming niacin (B3). Tryptophan is also made into serotonin, one of your body’s most important neurotransmitters. Serotonin gives a feeling of well-being and ‘ahhhhh happy’. Prozac and similar antidepressants usually either mimic serotonin or artificially keep the body’s own serotonin levels high.

cashew nut

You can do the same thing using food as medicine. Eat your cashews mindfully – as you’ll see in the images below, a lot of work goes into getting just one cashew into your mouth. Ideally buy them organic, eat them raw, or for increased nutrients and easier digestion – soak them (activate) for about 5 hours then drain. #mentalhealthweek #cashews

cooked-cashews

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Immune Boosting Week: To finish off from last week.

spelt

Spelt: whole-grain with a great capacity to strengthen immunity.

turmeric

Turmeric: is a great anti inflammatroy agent so will help stimulate immune function.

pepitas

Zinc: pepitas, oysters, wheat germ, organic miso paste, alfalfa, sardines, legumes, mushrooms, pecans, organic soybeans, sustainable seafood, sunflower seeds. #immuneboostingweek

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