Nutrition

How To Tell if Your Food is Real

Well, of course, your food is real if it is not packaged processed chemicals. Fruits and vegetables are hard to fake. Finding good organic sources might be a bit tougher, but at least you can’t (yet)make cardboard look like a banana.

But how about your fish and meat? How can you be sure that the expensive fish you are eating is really the type you ordered? According to Larry Olmsted, author of, “Real Food, Fake Food”, there are many scams being run on those willing to pay top dollar for highest quality food.

Olmsted claims that there is rarely real lobster in Lobster Bisque. Langostino is substituted, which is a type of crayfish, but not a type of lobster. And he says that there is almost no genuine red snapper, salmon or tuna used in Sushi restaurants.

Although beef labeled “grass-fed” may come from cows raised on grass, much of the time the cows are “finished” on grain to fatten them and increase weight before slaughter. (Note to anyone wanting to lose weight that it is grain that is used to fatten up farm animals.)

So, just when you are trying to do the smart thing nutritionally, and you are willing to pay top dollar, you find out that the gourmet food industry is also corrupt. You need to be educated and aware to weed out the pretenders.

Don’t go to the cheapest sushi restaurants. Real fish is expensive. Talk to the staff and see if they know the menu. Use your eyes and nose. How does the fish look and smell? Are there a lot of sauces and rolls using mayo and cream cheese and other non-traditional ingredients to cover up the fish itself? For more tips on good sushi go to www.thrilllist.com/eat/nation/bad-sushi-crappy-sushi-joints.

For real fish you can buy online from Vital Choice www.vitalchoice.com and Copper River Seafoods for salmon, cod and halibut www.copperriverseafoods.com. Never buy farmed fish, but only wild-caught.  Tilapia is always farmed and salmon is often farmed. These fish are raised in pens, not allowed to swim free. They are fed soy and chicken waste, as well as pesticides and chemicals. http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/10/8-foods-even-the-experts-wont-eat.html

Most shrimp sold in the U.S. is from other countries, and is unregulated. Beware of farmed shrimp, like that sold at Costco. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/4-things-never-to-buy-at-costco/  Trader Joe’s may be a better choice due to their pledge to supply only sustainable seafood.

Farmer’s Markets are good choices for poultry, meat and fish. Knowing the small local vendors and developing a relationship may provide peace of mind and value for your dollar. Burbank Farmer’s Market now sells beef from Autonomy Farms that is either grass or grain “finished”, with the grass-finished at a slightly higher price. This means that the cows are fed grass up until the time they are slaughtered. The steak from Autonomy Farms is some of the best I have ever eaten anywhere. They also offer ground beef with ground beef heart added. Native American Indians fed deer or buffalo heart to the warriors and hunters only so they could stay strong enough to feed and defend the whole tribe. The inferior muscle meat was given to the women and children. Autonomy Farms also offers chicken and lamb, as well as homemade sausage with ground kidney added. These organ meats are super nutrition.

So, now we have a new definition of real food as food that is all it is promoted to be. And even if you are willing to pay a premium for higher quality, you still have to be an educated, savvy consumer. Since nutrition is the major avenue for building and maintaining a sound, healthy body, eating well is the only option for our loved ones and ourselves. The other benefit to eating the “realest” food is that it is the most flavorful. Ground beef mixed with heart is an exotic tease for your taste buds, and just might bring out the hidden warrior you need to be for your own tribe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Eating Gluten-free Bread?

With all the concerns about wheat these days, many people are turning to gluten-free bread. Gluten is one of the proteins in wheat. It helps make bread dough elastic, and gives bread a light soft texture, instead of the heavy, chewier texture of whole grain breads.

What is it about bread that is so hard to give up? Toasted, snuggling up to sandwich ingredients, or slathered with butter, bread is a comfort food for many of us.

Modern commercial wheat has been genetically modified, laced with pesticides and stripped of nutrients. Even people who are not allergic to gluten, or to wheat, are turning to other flour choices for bread and crackers.

It is also possible to have sensitivity to other grains, or to grains in general. If eating grains in the form of bread, pasta, or crackers causes bloating, gas, constipation, indigestion, or changes in your stool, consider that your body may not do well on grains. Buckwheat, wild rice, and quinoa are not grains, and are good substitutes. One cup of quinoa contains 222 calories, 39 grams carb, 8 grams protein and 3 grams fat. It also has some vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy food. But the carb content means you should limit serving size. It is a better choice than rice for carbs and protein. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/10352/2

In order to mimic the light soft texture of standard American bread, manufacturers have turned to ingredients like tapioca starch and potato starch. Tapioca is a root and was often used to make a pudding in the past. It is the high starch content of gluten-free breads which can sabotage blood sugar and cause weight gain. Starch is metabolized like sugar, so can spike and drop blood sugar just like cake. Udi’s Gluten-free Bread has tapioca and potato starch as the first ingredients. For 140 calories (2 slices) you get 22 grams of carbohydrate. My personal favorite is Food for Life Gluten-free Bread. The first ingredient is rice flour, and it has safflower oil instead of canola oil. Two slices are 110 calories.

There are other healthy choices, especially if you bake at home. Gluten-free flours from Bob’s Red Mill or Pamela’s, coconut flour and nut flours have less starch and higher protein generally. They will not mimic soft white bread, but they can be used for cookies, baked goods and crackers. Here is an easy recipe to try. http://theprettybee.com/2013/10/easy-gluten-free-cracker-recipe.html

If you are trying to lose weight, the best thing is to break the bread habit completely, and that can take some time. It really calls for some creative solutions to drop out the sandwich and toast habit. Bread and flour products are very filling, so your body may try to tell you that you are hungry, even if you have had plenty of calories. Add some more healthy fat to your diet, and that will help satisfy your appetite. You can also eat veggies in bulk, maybe with some healthy dip, like guacamole or hummus. Sliced jicama, celery, and cucumber can be used as dippers or carriers for things normally eaten with bread, such as tuna salad or nut butters.

How to know how much bread, pasta and starchy carbs you can eat? If you can eat starches without gaining inches or weight, your activity level and metabolism can handle the starch. If you are at all over-weight, you are eating beyond your body’s metabolic needs. Even if you are eating “whole grain” wheat and bread, you may be getting too much starch that turns to sugar. Ezekiel bread is still too high in carb content for many, if not most. Our activity levels just do not support high grain diets these days. The nutrition benefits are not balanced by any weight-gain that signifies a sugar metabolism problem.

If you are concerned about your gluten tolerance, come in for a blood spot test that will identify your true food sensitivities. You may be surprised by the foods that your body can’t tolerate that you may not have suspected.

For a detox or blood sugar program that helps break the bread/starch habit, come see us or call the office. 818-562-1400.

It has been said that man does not live by bread alone, and you can prove it to yourself by breaking the bread habit.

 

 

 

 

 

Staying Strong For Men

When women age, we can talk about it freely because women are allowed to be concerned about their hormonal changes, their faces, and figures.  For men, the problems of aging may be just as concerning, but not so easily discussed.

Just like women, men have a need for hormone balance. The adrenal glands (those tiny but mighty glands sitting above the kidneys) make the steroid hormones that allow us to run faster in danger, monitor libido, and determine energy levels. Men and women both make hormones out of cholesterol. Then the cascade of hormones proceeds into progesterone, DHEA, testosterone and estrogen. Estrogen is lowest on the hormone chain, and estrogen is formed from testosterone.

An enzyme called aromatase causes the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. Aromatase can surge when too much sugar, alcohol or refined carbohydrate is consumed, spiking blood sugar. As more fat accumulates around breasts (man boobs) and belly, the fat can also produce estrogen, adding to the problem. http://blogs.christianpost.com/health/is-your-testosterone-turning-into-estrogen-5890/

All cells in the body have hormone receptors on them. For men, testosterone should be more dominantly parked in the cells. If there is too much estrogen, then the male sexual characteristics diminish. Muscles turn to fat and the prostate can enlarge. Too much circulating estrogen is a risk for prostate cancer. http://e.hormone.tulane.edu/learning/docking-receptor-binding.html

Higher amounts of circulating estrogen increase risk of stroke.  Estrogen dominance, which is the ratio of estrogen to testosterone, is a risk for heart attack and thicker arteries. Low testosterone levels can be associated with depression and anxiety. http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/low-testosterone-8/default.htm

Statin drugs decrease cholesterol, which in turn can decrease testosterone levels. This may lead to Erectile Dysfunction caused by low testosterone. Statin drugs have also been associated with higher risk of Diabetes Type II. Sufficient healthy fats in the blood keep blood sugar levels more balanced.

You can monitor your testosterone levels through blood or Salvia hormone testing. Another simple way is to have a zinc taste test. Adequate zinc is needed for testosterone. We offer all of these tests at Well Body Clinic.

We also have herbal DHEA and testosterone boosters, in cream and tablet form that will encourage the body to make more testosterone. A detox program for weight loss, or a Blood Sugar balance program, will help you kick the carb habit, stop the snack cravings, drop weight and lose the excess belly fat.

Lifestyle choices may influence your testosterone levels. Avoid excess alcohol, sugar and grains. Eat sufficient protein, but make sure it is digested well; so digestive enzymes can be used. Get plenty of cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels Sprouts to help the liver metabolize excess estrogen. Get moderate exercise and sufficient sleep. (Maybe Mom was right all along.)

No matter what kind of a job you have, life itself is an Olympic event and those who train for it usually come out ahead of the crowd. Breaking old habits is never easy until the new habits have replaced them.

For Father’s Day, and every day, stay strong and ready for the next event. Healthy guys are sexier. And out-running your kids is always satisfying.

Happy Father’s Day to all the great men in our lives.