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Recipes and Nutrition

Food Combining

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Food combining is something that I believe comes to us naturally yet in the modern world we live in is easily forgotten through the overstimulation of too many choices, all the time.  This method follows simple guidelines as to what digests best together for optimal pH in the intestinal tract, better digestion, more energy, and less bloat.

For instance, if you know you digest tofu and potatoes well but feel bloated after a tofu and potato scramble, it’s a function of those foods together and not an allergy or intolerance of either.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

The science behind food combining:

The main thing to consider when eating/drinking is that you want it out of your system in about 18 hours.  Our mouths physically digest food through chewing and chemically though excretions of salivary glands (amylase), passes through the esophagus and into the stomach where it turns into chyme.  Within the stomach is pepsin, an enzyme which helps break down proteins ingested.  The small intestine is where most of the digestion in the body takes place and many enzymes help the breakdown of food such as lipase (fats), nuclease (nucleic acids), pancreatic amylase (starches), maltase (starches) and peptidase (protein).

Overwhelmed by –ase words? Not to worry.  All that is to say that:

  • Carbohydrates= easy to digest because of the many enzymes along different “checkpoints” in the digestive tract.  Salivary amylase has a neutral pH
  • Proteins = take longer to digest because they start being broken down in the stomach and are chemically more complex. Pepsin is acidic, while the other enzymes that digest protein are basic.
  • Lipids/fats = last to digest in the small intestine, where enzymes with a basic pH exist.

So when we consume food that takes about an hour (fruit) to three hours (veggies) to digest alongside a more complex macronutrient (lipid, protein, nucleic acid), it can cause the other faster macronutrient to ferment and create gas.  As we all know, gas can cause bloating, inflammation, and can slow down the process of elimination — which again, is the name of the game!

Because of the pH of each enzyme that breaks down each compound and the time it takes to do it, the general rules of food combining are as follows:

  • Eat fruit ideally alone and on an empty stomach (best in the a.m to help move things out)
  • Do not combine protein (beans, tofu, all animal proteins, nuts, seeds) with starches.
  • Proteins pair well with leafy greens and. non-starchy vegetables
  • Starches pair well with all vegetables, so have at it!  But not with tofu or other legumes.
  • Eat raw before cooked (fast moving first, slow moving second).
  • Dried fruits and nuts are best combined with each other or with neutral vegetables (leafy greens).
  • Lemon water after a large meal to help digest.
  • My summer smoothie recipe 
  • Dried cranberry, walnut and arugula salad.

Some examples:  

  • Eat a leafy green salad before a cooked dinner either at home or at a restaurant.
  • Stick to a smoothie with fruit and greens for optimal digestion.
  • Pair a protein of your choice with a leafy salad or asparagus instead of potatoes.
  • For a vegetable casserole, avoid adding protein to it and let the nutrients of the veggies fill you up.
  • Enjoy some hydrating fruit first thing in the morning or mid-afternoon (around 4p) when lunch has “cleared out”.

While these guidelines have helped me tremendously, they are just that: guidelines.  Life is meant to be lived!

While these guidelines have helped me tremendously, they are just that: guidelines.  Life is meant to be lived and when we spend all our time hyper-focused on what we “can” and “cannot” eat, we are putting our bodies into a low-level but long lasting stress environment, secreting adrenocortical hormones (cortisone) from the kidney which creates inflammation and negates all the rules to which we so desperately cling.  Your food digests when we are parasympathetic dominant (rest & digest), so best to be kind, forgiving, and to enjoy the pleasures of nutrition!

 

Additional resources: 

Food combining chart

More about digestive enzymes

A more in-depth chart:

Summer Smoothie

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It’s the dog days of summer here in Memphis, and I always crave something hydrating and cool to combat the heat.  One of my favorite ways to get most of my nutrients for the day are smoothies!  Below is my go-to recipe this summer, while I take advantages of the beautiful peaches from our neighborhood farmer’s market.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup almond or oat milk
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1 cup blueberries, frozen
  • 1/2 peach
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 tbsp spirulina powder (I like EarthRise)
  • For a creamier texture, add 1/4 C coconut yogurt or avocado

For better blending, pour almond milk in first.  Enjoy!

 

What are your favorite smoothie recipes? Please share below in the comments!

Turmeric

By Recipes and Nutrition

FOOD. IS. MEDICINE. (One more time for the people in the back!)

Ladies, gents, and everything in between, let me present to you turmeric.

Turermic is a rhizomatous herbaceous plant of the ginger family Zingiberaceae.  Yeah, I had to look up all of those words, too.  Turmeric comes from the Curcuma longa plant grown in India and Southeast Asia; and as it turns out, Hawaii! My friend Adam Hay from Secret Beach Organics recently sent me a box of red turmeric and I could not be happier. I quite literally struck delivery gold.

Turmeric has been called “liquid gold” among the juicing community because of its many benefits.  In fact, it is believed to be the reason why India has almost no cases of Alzheimer’s Disease due to the use of turmeric in Indian cuisine.  Based on my family’s history, that was a major selling point for me.  (Sorry not sorry mom and dad for forcing turmeric shots on you whenever I’m home.) To read more about Alzheimer’s and turmeric, click here.

The MVP of turmeric’s composition is curcumin.  This antioxidant rich compound decreases swelling and inflammation, which is the cause of the majority of diseases.  In fact, laboratory research suggests that curcumin may prevent or slow the spread of cancer as well as aid chemotherapy and protect healthy cells from damage from radiation therapy.

Here are even more benefits:

  • Reduces Symptoms of Depression: Several studies conducted on laboratory animals (we’ll table that rant for later) prove that turmeric is effective in reducing depression symptoms by affecting neurotransmitter function. (click here for more)  Another study by journal Phytotherapy Research in 2014 found that curcumin was equally effective as PROZAC in treating the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). (click here to read more)
  • May Slow/Prevent Blood Clots: Curcumin modifies eicosanoid biosynthesis, an internal process associated with the natural inflammation process. Thromboxanes, one of the four eicosanoids, is responsible for clotting and is affected by curcumin. This is also why turmeric is an anti-inflammatory substance.
  • Fights Inflammation: Remember when that study was all over Facebook about how turmeric was over double as effective as aspirin and ibuprofen in treating inflammation?  Here it is.  Inflammation is HUGE, you guys.  Literally (had to).  Did you know that cancer, arthritis, high cholesterol, and ulcerative colitis are all associated with inflammation?
  • Skin Heath: “Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s that 16 pounds or turmeric she’s working through”.  Yes, that is also why my hands are stained bright orange.  BUT… IDGAF because I feel amazing!  Turmeric speeds up wound healing, decreases acne and acne scarring as well as controls psoriasis flares.

Are you sold yet? I know I am about to go back to the kitchen for round two of turmeric shots!

Where to buy:  You will spend a fortune buying it from Whole Foods.  You can buy in bulk and save a ton by going to secretbeachorganics.com.  Get 20% off your order when you use the code JUICE8 at checkout!  I’m not sponsored by them (#goals), I just really believe in what they’re about and can speak to the quality of the product.

How to optimize turmeric absorption

  1. Black pepper enhances the bioavailability of curcumin.  Sprinkle some on your shot or in your food.
  2. Turmeric is fat soluble, so take it with some healthy fat.  Here are a few ways to match the two:
    1. turmeric milk (see below)
    2. splash a drop of flax seed oil in your turmeric shot
    3. Use your fresh turmeric to make curry with coconut milk.

Juice Recipe: Spicy Sunshine

By Recipes and Nutrition

Hi guys!

I love juicing for several reasons.
First off, it gives your digestive system a rest. So much of our cellular energy is spent digesting food. When energy is not used for this, we have so much more energy for cell rejuvination and healing. Your skin will glow, your prana, or life force, will increase, and you will have more energy to really LIVE!

I love a good green juice. However, this recipe gives a spicy, sweet kick and is amazing for your skin. Some benefits of what is inside:

Carrots: Vitamin A. One cup of carrot juice contains 400% of your RDA! Good for your eyes and cell turnover.

Beets: High in calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and vitamins A,C, E and K. Sitmulates the liver and aids in detoxification. Increases the level of good HDL cholesterol.

Jalapeno: High in vitamin C. Capsaicin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. High in folate and folic acid.

Lemon: Vitamin C. Digestion: used in ayurveda to “ignite digestive fire”. Natural antiseptic.

Ingredients:

7-8 medium sized carrots
2 golden beets
1 jalapeno (seeds removed if you don’t want it too spicy)
1 lemon (peeled if not organic)

Directions:

1. Cut carrots (if needed), beets, jalapeno and lemon into small enough pieces to fit through your juicer.

2. Juice and enjoy!

Raw Chocolate Recipe

By Recipes and Nutrition

To me, treating yourself means to do something good for yourself that every cell will thank you for later. I think it should be done often and without any guilt associated in doing so. When we can take care of our needs and love ourselves enough to acknowledge even a small part of you that deserves praise and appreciation, we are more capable to receive that same affection from others and more readily give it away.

BEHOLD: Raw vegan chocolate. Packed with antioxidants, magnesium, iron (ladies, for that time of month/all day, err day), healthy fats, and adaptogens (more on these later).
I would love to know what you think! This has become my go to for parties, gifts, and late night cravings. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 cup solid cacao butter (broken into chunks, about 1 cup)
6-7 tablespoons raw cacao powder
3-4 tablespoons coconut sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt

*Tools needed: small pot and medium saucepan or heatproof bowl

Instructions

1. Fill the pot about an inch with water and bring to a bowl. Place the saucepan/heatproof bowl over the pot and add cacao butter. Heat cacao butter.
2. When cacao butter is melted, remove from heat and let the it cool slightly. Add cacao powder and coconut sugar and whisk until dissolved and well mixed. Add the salt and whisk again.
3. Line a small tray with parchment paper. I like to have a sheet longer than the pan so that no chocolate spills underneath. Pour the chocolate on parchment paper and spread into an even layer.
4. Place tray in freezer for 2 hours. Take out and break into bite size pieces. Eat up and enjoy! Will keep for a few weeks in the fridge or freezer.

*Optional: add any toppings you like! I like to spread a thick layer and add several different flavor combinations in rows, so when i break it there is a variety of flavors (and because I’m lazy and don’t want to make another batch).

*You can get fancy and use chocolate molds. Treat it the same and stick it in the fridge/freezer once poured.

*Some possible flavor combinations: goji berries and chia seeds, cinnamon and cayenne, fresh grated ginger and bee pollen, chopped raw pecans and himalayan salt, almond butter and himalayan salt, grated orange peel.