Allergies... Is your "allergy season" lasting longer and longer?

Have you noted more people sneezing or reporting sinus problems this year? Health experts agree, you are definitely not alone.

Have you been watching pollen levels? They have worsened in recent years and do not seem to be returning to previous lower levels. Scientists are studying the why, but an increase in pollution and weather patterns seem to be contributing. In addition, genetically modified foods, unwanted food additives, poor diet, and increasingly poor gut health may be lessening your inability to tolerate allergies. 

It's also important to consider you may also be experiencing a combination of environmental allergies, food allergies, food or chemical sensitivities, food intolerances or other health imbalances. 

Unfortunately, the typical antihistamines may not address the root problem and tend to have side effects including leaving some feeling tired and drowsy, jittery, or experiencing dry mouth. 

A Food as Medicine approach along with a healthy lifestyle may help you move through your day feeling more energetic and clear headed. 

Start early to optimize good gut health. I recommend including one to two servings everyday of a probiotic rich food such as sauerkraut, miso, kimchee, and kombucha. Make certain the label does not include vinegar as vinegar destroys the good gut bacteria. Some folks also tolerate small amounts of probiotic rich fermented dairy such as yogurt, kefir or fermented cheese.   

Take a good quality probiotic daily during your allergy season similar to the Innate Response brand on my Wellevate site - www.debrahilliardjonesnutrition.com/contact (click on butterfly link at bottom of page).

Reduce refined flours, added sugars, fried foods, unhealthy oils, and other inflammatory foods during allergy season to avoid extra challenges to gut health. 

Many people benefit from avoiding dairy products during allergy season. 

Drink plenty clean filtered water. Every biochemical reaction your body performs requires water. 

Eat a plant based diet including plenty leafy greens that will provide nutrients to strengthen your defense.

Enjoy a cup of tea 

    •    Nettle tea contains quercetin, an antioxidant that reduces symptoms of allergies by helping to prevent immune

         cells from releasing histamines. In other words, researchers believe it acts like a natural anti-histamine. 

    •    Holy basil tea helps calms stress and blunt negative effects of cortisol.    

    •    Marshmallow tea is soothing and healing to our gastrointestinal tract.

    •    Turmeric tea is anti-inflammatory and helps many areas including our digestive process. 

Minimizing stress is essential to good health. Stress effects increases inflammation, effects hormone balance, challenges immune health and could contribute to impaired gut integrity. 

Taking a night time shower will help rinse off pollens and help you breathe better during sleep. 

Change your pillow case daily to cut down on pollens near your face. 

 Sleep is essential to good health. 

When these strategies just are not enough, I work with clients individually to learn where the imbalance in their health may be. We can then target nutritional therapies to strengthen your body's ability to thrive. 

 

New Year, Starting

This year instead of focusing on rules, guilt or diets, I propose a toast. Definitely, let’s toast a cup of warm tea to the wonderful new foods we might try in 2017, the opportunity to drink clean water and the ability to effect our health simply by what’s on our plate.

Here are a few things I am looking forward to this year:

Water - I’ve been thinking quite a bit about water lately. As it turns out, while plentiful here in America, most of us do not drink enough.

If you divide your weight by two, this how many total ounces of fluid your body needs per day. Most of our fluids should be plain filtered water. Start with 6-12 ounces water upon waking. Turns out our kidney prefers we then drink small amounts of water throughout the day versus a large volume once or twice. Other fluids I recommend for most people are organic green tea, herb teas including holy basil tea, and fermented probiotic rich drinks kombucha tea (~1/3 cup), organic kefir (~1/3 cup) and miso soup (1-2 teaspoon in your serving). * I recommend 1-2 servings of a probiotic rich food most days.  

Food As Medicine - The ability to effect our physical, mental and emotional health by what we choose to eat is nothing short of amazing. 

What I love about this time of year is that we have likely had our fill of sweets and or processed foods and are ready at least mentally, even if not yet emotionally, to simplify or meals. This may just be the right time to challenge ourselves in ways that will change our life.  

Since a Food as Medicine approach is grounded in eating whole foods, and primarily seasonal plant based foods; how do you feel about a focus on eating mostly or all unprocessed unrefined natural foods for seven days? 

I expect you will feel such a difference in energy and wellbeing that you will be inspired to continue on… eating plenty whole foods and minimizing processed foods. 

Here’s What’s in Season (from Edible Dallas Fort Worth Winter):   

arugula                                        chard                   kale                                radishes 

beets and beet greens              cilantro                 kohlrabi                         rosemary

bok choy                                     citrus                    leek                               rutabaga

broccoli                                       collards                salad greens                 shallots

brussel sprouts                           dill                        mizen                             spinach 

cabbage                                     endive                  mustard greens             turnips/greens  

carrots                                        fennel                   peas (english, snap, snow)   

cauliflower                                 fenugreek             radicchio                        watercress                

 

Things you Knew, New Ideas, Eating Well: 

  • buy cauliflower, carrots, snow healthy dips such as hummus, avocado dip, homemade pintobean dip or salsa for afternoon snack (roasted carrots with leftover seasoned mashed pinto bean dip - better than you might think)
  • enjoy a morning porridge of oats, amaranth, quinoa, or buckwheat with chopped nuts, coconut flakes, seeds etc. instead of processed boxed cereals or poptarts loaded with refined grains and sugar
  • one of my favorite breakfasts is 1/2 diced avocado, a handful of nuts and a cup of fresh seasonal fruit (not melon or citrus though)
  • cook with more leafy greens, veggies, beans, peas, lentils (try adding fiber rich beans or peas to salads) 
  • eat a bit of fresh garden herbs every day such as mint, parsley, oregano, basil, parsley …  
  • pack a thermos with soup or stew for lunch
  • carry fresh fruit or a healthy food bar such as Lara Bar for away from home snacks
  • on the go, plan ahead to pick-up healthier options by having restaurant phone number and favorite healthy option at your fingertips 
  • try winter apples or pears dipped in almond butter w/ cinnamon, vanilla & chia seeds stirred in
  • during winter months focus on eating one piece of citrus fruit most days
  • enjoy a cup of dark chocolate hot cocoa or good quality yogurt and baked fruit for dessert 
  • venture to try a new winter squash recipe (https://www.pinterest.com/dhjlivewell/squash-and-pumpkin/)
  • try Japanese sweet potatoes in your next soup or stew 
  • make one large crockpot soup or stew each week and enjoy the leftovers :) 

Inspiration: 

Sleep, when adequate, helps you function better and make healthier eating choices

Exercise helps increase circulation, brain power, mood and tends to improve eating choices 

Gratitude lowers stress and increases joy also leading to better eating choices

Enjoying the foods put on this good earth, creates an appreciation for our opportunity to choose plenty wholesome natural foods 

With every healthy bite, drink of clean water, restful night, physical activity and good or grateful thought we are contributing to our bodies ability achieve better health.  

For recipes and articles see my Pinterest boards at www.pinterest.com/dhjlivewell

For recommendations personalized to your life and concerns, I’d love to work with you in individual consultation. Blessings, Happy New Year, Debra

 

 

 

Christmas

In preparing our family favorites for Christmas Eve evening, I am reminded that many across the world will not be so fortunate to enjoy a warm home and meal surrounded by friends or family this Christmas.  

In my office, the conversation focuses on sustainable whole foods, healthy eating, and often toward resolving particular health concerns. 

This Christmas, I would like to encourage a reminder of a meals most celebrated role… to bring people together over countless generations across this earth. 

May our tables be blessed with a sharing of our abundance, with peace, mercy, grace and joy.  People in need and people with something to share. 

Christmas Blessings, Debra

 

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 

One of my favorite traditions at Thanksgiving is when we go around the table, 

each telling what what we have been thankful for this year.  

This year I was reminded of something I had seen in a 

wonderful coffee & gift shop in Grapevine. 

It read: 

Thankful 

For this new morning with it’s light,

For rest and shelter of the night, 

For health and food, for love, family and friends. 

For everything Thy goodness sends.

We thank Thee, dearest Lord. Amen

I am also thankful for the opportunity to work with each of my clients. 

Blessings, Debra

 

Shopping List for Feeding Your Flora Well & A Fave Purple Hull Pea Soup Recipe Loaded with Prebiotics

It’s a good day every time a new study highlights the the role of prebiotic and probiotic rich foods in providing healthy fuel for our gut flora or microbiome.

We need not look further than our garden to improve our gut health.

So a prebiotic is undigested food / fiber found in fruit, vegetables, grains, peas and beans that provide fuel for our good bacteria. 

Probiotics are found in fermented foods such as kefir, miso or sauerkraut that contains actual live bacteria that contributes to good gut flora. 

The idea is to eat a large variety of foods rich in prebiotics while weaving in small amounts of fermented foods throughout your diet. This would contribute to a higher diversity and volume of good flora and a much stronger microbiome to support health. 

Strengthening our microbiome and gut health improves nutrient availability and absorption, hormone balance, immune health, gut integrity and brain health. The good guys also lessen opportunity for depression, anxiety, leaky gut, dysbiosis (imbalance of microbes present in gut flora), diabetes, obesity, crohns/colitis disease, hypothyroid, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, autoimmune conditions, infections, and cancer. The good news is that this list is not exhaustive. 

Essentially, the health or our gut microbiome effects every area of heath! 

You will love this…. Current study authors find that nuts, coffee, tea, dark chocolate, and even red wine also contribute to good gut flora or microbiota diversity. Studies also find that too severely limiting carbohydrate rich foods such as legumes, potatoes and grains result in a less diverse microbiota and not enough food to support optimal levels of good bacteria.

From your garden, local farmers market or healthy grocer, stock your kitchen with plenty plant foods including these top prebiotic rich foods and probiotic rich foods.

Prebiotic Rich Foods - veggie: asparagus, barley, beans, buckwheat, bulgar, dandelion greens, eggplant, garlic, fresh herbs, jerusalem artichokes, leeks, lentils, oats, onion, peas, rye, soybeans, spinach, sulsify, wheat berries, yukon and fruit: bananas, berries, cherries and remember dark chocolate, nuts, tea, chicory, and coffee, you may also see inulin a prebiotic used in a variety of products.  

Probiotic Rich Foods - fermented foods kefir, kombucha, miso, natto (fermented beans), olives, pickles (try Bubbies brand) sauerkraut (try Farmhouse Culture brand), tamari, tempeh, tofu and yogurt are a rich source of natural healthy probiotic cultures found in the refrigerator section of your market. 

Note that fermented foods are a specific method of pickling, but, quite different. Pickled foods are preserved in an acid medium like vinegar. Fermented foods do not contain vinegar and are meant to cultivate the live cultures or probiotics adding healthy flora to our microbiome.

Purple Hull Pea Soup: 

Add a batch of fresh purple hull peas to a large pot, add enough water to cover peas plus ~3 inches. Cook 30 minutes.  

Add: 

Sweet onion ( leek would also be great)

Celery, 3 stalks with leaves, diced 

Garlic, 2 cloves pressed

Carrot, whole, sliced thin

1 cup diced tomatoes with juice

Sea salt

Pepper, ground 

Honey, 2 teaspoons

Butter, grass fed, organic, one small pat

Other options could be: 

Japanese sweet potato diced (firmness holds up well in soups and adds a warm sweet flavor)

Apple chicken sausage , True Story brand, organic and nitrate nitrite free :)   

Cook until veggies reach desired tenderness

Simple and Yummy! 

Happy Shopping, God Bless, Debra

Sources:

Gut 2016;65:330-339 doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2015-309990; Recent advances in basic science

The gut microbiota and host health: a new clinical frontier

What dark chocolate and red wine can do for your gut microbiota

20 JUL 2016 | Cristina Sáez; Gut Microbiota, News Watch, Nutrition

Interview with Jeff Leach from the American Gut Project

https://chriskresser.com/you-are-what-your-bacteria-eat-the-importance-of-feeding-your-microbiome-with-jeff-leach/

Are Pickles Fermented? Pickled Vs. Fermented Foods

5/11/2015 12:02:00 PM

By Chelsea Clark, Natural Health Advisory Institute

Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford 

My list of fermented, prebiotic and probiotic rich foods compiled overtime. 

 

Turmeric, Time to Dust Off Your Spice Jar

Have you used your turmeric spice lately? You may want to dust off your spice jar and sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon of the gorgeous marigold color powder in a steaming cup of tea with a spritz of your local raw honey and lemon. Stir and sip along as you read this article. 

You may have read about one or more of the many health benefits of turmeric, rhizome or the underground stem of the plant curuma longa, and member of the ginger family. 

Holding a place of great respect in Ayurveda medicine, cultivating turmeric for healing dates back to ~500 BC.           Today, turmeric seems to be most well known for it’s anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting properties. 

According to an article by the University of Maryland Medical Center turmeric shows benefit in many conditions including digestive problems, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, stomach ulcers, and bacterial or viral infections. 

Alzheimer’s, a form of dementia is another important condition helped by turmeric. 

I have a diagram in my office showing over 50 biochemical pathways in which turmeric works for good in our body. It’s way more science than I’ll get into here, but here are a few findings that may motivate you to give turmeric a try.  

Traditionally in asian cultures turmeric was used regularly in cooking as well as medicinally. Thus people would get steady doses of the healing whole spice. Meals containing turmeric spice often contained black pepper or oil which we have since learned aides absorption.  

A study in the October 2014 Journal of Phytotherapy Research, highlights turmeric along with other herbs as having      anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects, specifically looking at benefits in rheumatoid arthritis. 

A study found in the August 2009 Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine publication finds that when compared to a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug for osteoarthritis of the knee, turmeric extract worked as well!

This is interesting, Johnson and Johnson Company makes bandaids that contain turmeric for their India market. 

A search on pubmed or vitasearch.com will provide multiple studies indicating the benefit of turmeric’s role in pathways that work toward apoptosis (killing cancer cells) and also in helping to prevent the spread of cancer (proliferation). 

I am a long time advocate for weaving whole spice turmeric into our life through teas, cooking and juicing.

It's been a blessing to hear many stories of how consuming turmeric in teas, cooking or taken in supplemental capsule form has helped many clients over the years.  

I have a wonderful turmeric tea recipe containing turmeric spice, honey, lemon and a dash of pepper if desired on my pinterest site: http://www.pinterest.com/dhjlivewell/teas-i-love/  

Try Veggie Juice with Turmeric Spice                                                                                                                                       (serves two)

8 small to medium organic carrots
4 stalks organic celery                                         
1/3 medium beet                                             
1 handful organic herbs such as cilantro, parsley, basil, or use kale                 
1-inch turmeric root ( found fresh in veggie section at markets )     

I’ve also been adding turmeric to soups and stirfrys. I start with 1/2 teaspoon of powder and adjust per taste. 

And From Lemons and Basil Blog, try this seriously yummy and healthy “Balsamic Almond and Turmeric” salad dressing by Kaylee Pauley  

Ingredients  

    1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

    1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

    1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    1.5 tbsp honey

    1.5 tbsp almond butter

    3 tbsp greek yogurt, plain

    3 tbsp water

    ¼ tsp garlic

    ¼ tsp smoked paprika

    ½ tsp turmeric

To Make 

Add all ingredients to bowl and whisk until smooth, creamy texture.

Or add all ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth.

Makes approximately ¾ cup or six servings.

Store in refrigerator up to one week.                                    

From my kitchen to yours, Enjoy! God Bless, dhj

The Good Food Message

I cannot think of a better way to begin my blog than to write about the good food God put on this good earth for us! 

I read an article about a chef and gardner that loves teaching folks how to grow and prepare good food well. I shared it with Richard my hubby right away. Before, I had a chance to say this sounds like me, he had already chimed in, that’s you, that’s definitely you. 

For many generations, our garden bounty has been at the center of gatherings and celebrations gracing tables with nourishment.  

So one of my passions is to impart the good food message, enjoying real food, mostly plants, weaved throughout day to day real life. 

It’s tricky though, 

It’s not so much that we don’t know deep down how essential good food is or  

That we don’t know that great food provides us with the needed nutrients to restore and heals our body mentally and physically.

It’s not even that we don’t think we can learn to love the taste of veggies :)

In my experience, the question has more often been,

"In my life, with my schedule and my resources, how can I get unadulterated real food fresh off the vine? How can I put together healthy meals, simply?"

It begins with a choice to do so, and the rest will be history… yours!

So the good food message then is for all... young, older, and yes, even the very busy. 

Growing veggies or herbs in the ground or in pots. Clipping swiss chard and chives for your salad, sage for Thanksgiving turkey, mint for Sunday tea, kale for a smoothie or bok-choy for your soup. 

Shopping at local markets that provide foods free of unwanted pesticides, chemicals, hormones and antibiotics and that have not been genetically modified.  

Instead of meeting friends at a restaurant, meet up in your home. Invite friends and family to join you in the kitchen for last minute chopping, stirring and tasting. 

If you were to interview people that have come through difficult health conditions, many would tell you about the healing aspects of getting their hands in the dirt and eating something they have grown. In more ways than one, food is medicine. 

Prioritizing meal time, this one is huge, history shows that those that choose good food prepared well, relax, and chew well, tend to have stronger digestive "fire" so to speak, making it easier for every thing else in our body to work well. Easier said than done right, I know. Did you know most people chew their food only four times versus the recommended 20 times? And many finish eating well before the 20 minutes it takes for your brain to send a fullness signal. 

Sometimes on hectic activity days, my kids thought they had it pretty tough. To their dismay, I had it down, showing them how long it took to go through the local drive thru versus all of us getting in the kitchen and putting together one of our quick go to meals, black bean taco salad. All of us washing and cutting this and that, me seasoning the beans… and wala! Seriously, in less than 15 minutes we had black beans, leafy greens, olives, diced avocado, cherry tomatoes, and slices radishes on our plate with a sprinkle of shredded cheese. I put olive oil, salsa, and fresh lime on the table to top our masterpiece. 

So this is the beginning of the good food message, prioritize, ditch unnecessary obligations and habits and from harvest to table commit to buying or growing good quality food. It is committing to the idea that real food takes a bit of time to prepare and slowing down to savor the experience. Cheers, God bless! dhj