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The Stripped Diet

The biggest challenge with The Stripped Diet is changing how you think about food.  We have been taught that fats and cholesterol are bad and grains are good and that in order to maintain a healthy weight we have to count calories.  The first step of The Stripped Diet is to strip these antiquated thoughts from your mind.  We will see in future posts why these notions are incorrect, but for now I’d just like to give you a basic overview of the diet as a foundation to build upon as we delve deeper in the upcoming weeks.
 
The next step is to strip your cupboards, pantry, and fridge of all processed foods.  When you shop stick to the periphery of the store.  Avoid anything packaged or ingredients you can not pronounce.
 
Let’s Focus on the items you need to strip from your diet
  • Dairy (Possible exceptions will be discussed later)
  • Grains
  • Sugars
  • Starches
  • Processed foods
  • Legumes (including peanuts and soy)
  • Bad fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils)
  • Corn
Now, the items you can redress your kitchen with
  • Healthy fats
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Lean grass fed Meats
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Nuts and seeds

When you follow this clean healthy way of life you will be supporting your body by decreasing inflammation which is thought to play a significant role in autoimmune diseases, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s Disease.  Other important benefits include increased energy, toxin elimination, decreased blood glucose, and optimization and utilization of important nutrients. Once your kitchen is stripped down to the bare essentials for optimal health you too can start your journey to redefine your life.  Along that journey you may even be able to relieve your pocketbook and save more time and money in the pharmacy by eliminating a medication or two. 

 


 

Strip Down Your Thanksgiving Dinner

I love Thanksgiving. I love having family over, people laughing, kids playing, and of course the yummy food. Believe it or not Thanksgiving dinner can be healthy as well as delicious. There are a few adjustments you may need to make but you will not feel like you are lacking this Holiday. Follow these tips to strip the unhealthy sides and desserts with ones that you will not feel the GI repercussions with later.

The easiest way to have a healthy Thanksgiving is to cook it yourself! That way you have control over what is served and can help yourself to everything. If you find yourself at a guest’s house there is still plenty of choices that won’t cause you harm. The turkey is usually the main dish so right there you are off to a good start. Load up on that but you may want to skip the gravy since that most likely has flour in it to thicken it up. Vegetables are usually held in high regard on this holiday so make sure to take advantage of those! We always serve broccoli, green beans, and sweet potatoes. I usually allow myself some mash potatoes regardless of who made them on this day too. I do not seem to be very sensitive to dairy so you should make that call on your own. I always avoid the stuffing and pies but I have some great recipes I will be sharing so that you do not feel like you are missing out. These make great options to bring to your host’s house so that you have something you can enjoy and are also contributing to the Holiday Feast.

These are my favorite substitutions for making Thanksgiving healthy:

  • Appetizers are pretty easy. You have the old stand by veggie platter that is always safe to go for but there are many awesome appetizers that you can make that don’t include sugar and grains! Check this tasty one out if you are a shrimp lover and this fried zucchini recipe is always a hit!
  • We get an amazing turkey from our farm share each year. Farm shares are awesome and I highly recommend them! We will be baking our turkey this year. We tried deep frying it a few years back in lard from the farm but the process was pretty lengthy to melt the lard down. Its took days, I might not do that ever again. We like to inject the turkey while it is baking with grass fed butter and seasonings. Last year we added some cinnamon essential oil to the butter mix and it came out delicious! I don’t like to miss out on the gravy so I make it without flour with this recipe.
Paleo Turkey Gravy
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Ingredients
  1. Drippings from cooking our Oven-Roasted Turkey
  2. Reserve 2 Tbsp Drippings from cooking Turkey
  3. 2 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder
  4. Optional: one sprig Rosemary and one sprig of Thyme (or a drop of these essential oils- but only 1 drop!)
Instructions
  1. Collect the drippings from the bottom of the pan from where you cooked your turkey and put it in a saucepan. If you like to have one constant consistency, blend it up in a Bullet first.
  2. Heat the drippings over medium-high (~7) heat.
  3. Mix together the arrowroot and reserved turkey drippings and stir until incorporated.
  4. Slowly add this slurry to the drippings while stirring over the heat. You can add a little at a time until the desired texture is achieved. (The arrowroot will not change the flavor, but will thicken the drippings into gravy. If you don’t mind thin gravy, you don’t need to add this at all).
  5. If you like a little more spiced gravy, add the bundles of spices or oils, turn the oven burner down to medium (~5) heat, and let cook, uncovered, for another 5 minutes – then strain the sprigs and serve!
Notes
  1. See more at: http://www.paleoeffect.com/recipes/paleo-homemade-turkey-gravy-a-thanksgiving-gravy/
Adapted from Paleo Effect
Adapted from Paleo Effect
The Naked Pharmacists http://www.thenakedpharmacists.com/
  •  I used to love stuffing and I still feel the need to partake in this holiday treasure so we have been substituting with this amazing recipe. It is a little labor intensive but so worth it. We always have mashed sweet potatoes with melted ghee and a drop of cinnamon essential oil, a cauliflower mash, and usually will have mash potatoes without the milk for those who want it.
  • I am a fan of dessert and I don’t like to skip that so I always have these delicious grain free recipes for options. This key lime bar recipe is always a hit and this is my apple pie replacement. My favorite pie of all time has always been pumpkin pie and for some reason since I was young I have always spooned it out and threw away the crust. Now I just don’t even bother with the crust and use this recipe (but skip the crust portion).
Paleo Pumpkin Pie
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Crust
  1. 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  2. 1 cup pecans
  3. 4 tablespoons melted butter or ghee
  4. Pinch of sea salt
Filling
  1. 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened organic pure pumpkin puree
  2. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  3. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  4. 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 1/2 cup raw organic honey
  7. 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Place the hazelnuts and pecans in a food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground
  3. Pour the ground nuts into a small mixing bowl, add the melted butter or ghee and salt, and mix into a thick dough
  4. Using your hands, spread the dough evenly into a pie pan and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust starts to brown.
  5. While the crust is in the oven, mix all of the pie filling ingredients with a hand-held mixer.
  6. Once the crust is out of the oven, pour the filling into the crust, return the pie to the oven, and bake for an additional 45 minutes.
Notes
  1. See more at: http://everydaypaleo.com/thanksgiving-menu-2013/
Adapted from Everyday Paleo
Adapted from Everyday Paleo
The Naked Pharmacists http://www.thenakedpharmacists.com/
 As you can see there are numerous ways to have a happy, healthy, and delicious Thanksgiving without wrecking havoc on your body! Enjoy, I know I will! How are you staying healthy during the holidays?

~Emily~

Why I Will Still Eat Bacon…

If you have been following our posts you may have noticed a recurrent theme. I LOVE bacon. I don’t eat it everyday but will have it alone or in a recipe a  couple times a week. Now it is being a labeled as a carcinogen and we are told to give it up? Am I going to throw all of my bacon in the trash? No, and here is why…

Finding a vice with the least risk: While being on the straight and narrow with all things healthy is ideal, it may not be possible for some people. I do not smoke, I avoid toxins in my home, I eat clean and stick to a stripped diet, and avoid the sugary alcohol I once adored ( I will still enjoy a few favorites drinks without the sugar). So I think I do pretty good decreasing the carcinogens in my life. Processed meat is said to increase colorectal cancer risk dependent on amount consumed. This small increase was shown in a population that may have had other risks factors as well. While I would prefer to not increase any cancer odds of course, it is sometimes hard to do. As soon as you walk outdoors and sunrays hit your skin, your cancer risk goes up. I believe the positive benefits of sunlight outweigh the risk of hiding from the sun. While I would not spend a whole day outside unprotected from a burn, I would also not eat bacon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For me, if I need my salty bacon fix when I limit myself everywhere else, this risk does not out weight the tasty benefit. I just make smart choices when choosing my bacon…

Not all bacon is the same: Processed food is bad, we all get that. You should avoid food that is man made, filled with chemicals, and packaged all pretty. This includes most bacon. A lot of grocery store varieties are filled with added sugar, artificial flavor, colors, nitrates and other chemicals or processes to preserve the meat. There is true bacon without all of this unneeded additives if you look hard enough. You need to look for the packaging that says “nitrate-free” and “uncured” bacon and make sure to look at the ingredients for other extras. Farm shares are also a great way to get unprocessed bacon that tastes amazing from healthy animals fed their natural diet.

If you are not a processed meat (bacon, sausage, hot dog, etc) eater now, I am NOT saying to run out and stock up because I believe it is perfectly healthy and needed part of the diet. It is better to stick to the grass fed/natural/free range meat and organic produce we are all eating now, RIGHT? If you are like I am with bacon, then I would not shed a tear and take the bacon out in the trash just yet. Just find the healthiest version and try not to overdo it. Know the risks and decide what is right for YOU.

~Emily~

Healthy Habits to Make and Bad Habits to Break…

I try my best to be healthy and to follow the advice I give others and know to be true. Sometimes when life gets crazy your good intentions go out the window and your suppressed bad habits reappear. My life has been super busy lately and before I slip and go the “easy” route of less than ideal health, I am taking control back. I am committing to these healthy habits I will be listing and letting you keep me accountable. Want to join me?

 

Bad Habit to Break:

Grabbing packaged “health” food on the go instead of taking the time to make something fresh. With three kids 5 and under it is sometimes hard to get them out the door on time. Since it takes less time to open a gluten free protein bar than to scramble up some eggs in the morning, I find myself munching on that while I get bags packed. The downside? First of all, I am missing time at the breakfast table with my kids.  Second, I get hungry mid morning where the eggs would have kept me satisfied until lunch. Lastly, protein bars equal processed food which equals NOT natural!

 

Healthy Habit to Make:

The solution and my commitment… I will be getting up 15 minutes earlier so I have the time to make a healthy breakfast for myself as well and eat it with my kids! Pretty easy huh? I adore scrambled eggs and love to add different things to them to change it up.  I have also realized I don’t mind left over scrambled eggs reheated so I will start making them in bulk to last a few days to give me even less of a lousy “no time” excuse.

 

I am going to give this healthy habit a week to settle in and then will add in another one. Who wants to join me and keep each other accountable? What habits are you needing to change?

~Emily~

 

Inflammation: The Good and the Bad

We talk about it often but do you know what it is?

Inflammation, when the body is functioning correctly, is actually a normal and healthy occurrence. If there is an injury or invasion of harmful pathogens/irritants the body will respond. The body aims to eliminate the cause of the cell injury and clean up the destruction. It then will start to repair the damage.

If this is not done effectively, the body will be unable to defend and repair itself. But, if your body is in a state of inflammation constantly, it can cause just as much damage.

When the body first responds (acute inflammation) to the potential damage, plasma and leukocytes invade the area. Biochemical events occur producing redness, pain, swelling, and heat. When this response last too long (chronic inflammation) it can cause stress to the body and change the cells present in the inflamed area due to the constant destruction and repair. Chronic inflammation can cause our immune system to malfunction and target other healthy tissues causing autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Type 1 diabetes.

Many people experience chronic whole body low level inflammation that they may not even be aware of. This can remain undetected and may lead to depression, heart disease, neurodegenerative conditions, and cancer.

How can you defend yourself from this quiet problem? It is not loading up on anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, it is DIET! Certain foods can cause inflammation in your body and when eaten regularly they can cause this low level inflammation constantly! Strip these pro inflammatory foods from your diet! Try an elimination diet to see what food affects your body negatively. Eat more Omega-3 Fatty Acids and antioxidants to decrease the inflammation that already exists. Defend yourself and support your immune function!

 

Tip # 32: Go Naked for 28 days- Strip your diet and listen to your body! It knows best!

When people are ill or their health is not what it once was, most do not look to the food they eat. This is unfortunate since nutrition is usually the cause. What we put into our bodies is what determines how well they run or how sickly they become. You might not notice the slight signals your body sends if something is causing you harm due to a diet so filled with food that can make you sick.

To figure out what may be throwing your body out of whack you can have food sensitivity testing done to see what things you may need to stay away from, but that can be expensive. The easiest and cheapest way is to do your own experiment, an elimination diet. You need to strip everything that may cause your body not to function properly for a period of time long enough to be able to function as it should. We find that 4 weeks or 28 days works best for most people. After your body is clear of all possible offenders you can add  foods in question back into your diet one at a time every few days and listen closely to how your body reacts. You will find foods that you may want to avoid in order to feel healthier and foods that do not seem to affect you much at all and can go back into your diet. It is a personalized food sensitivity testing that brings you one step closer to health.

Strip away the possible offenders:

Get this stuff out of the house or at least out of sight for these next 4 weeks. I find it easier to not even have these in my home so it is not there if you find yourself in a moment of weakness.

  • Grains: All grains including wheat, rice, rye, barley, corn, oats, even GF (Gluten Free) grains need to be avoided.
  • Dairy: This includes cheese, yogurt, sour cream, cream, or milk (cow, goat, sheep).
  • Sugar: This goes for all sweeteners, natural or not. Maple syrup, honey, agave, coconut sugar, and all artificial sweeteners are out!
  • Legumes: All beans, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, and lentils are out for these 28 days. This includes soy products as well!
  • Alcohol: Beer, wine, and liquor is out.
  • Nightshades: If you have autoimmunity issues avoiding peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes (sweet ok), paprika, goji berries, and cayenne may be a good idea as well.
  • Processed food: Avoid all processed, prepackaged food. We need to avoid all preservatives, food dyes, and additives during this period of time.

Go naked:

So what can you eat? A ton of awesome stuff that makes your body feel healthy and thrive!

  • Lean and Grass-fed meat: You are what you eat and this goes for the animals you eat as well! You don’t want to eat animals that have been fed grains if at all possible.
  • Fish/Seafood: Always try to buy the wild caught fish rather than the farm raised. Wild meat is lean in nature and containing high amounts of EPA and DHA omega fatty acids.
  • Fruits: Try to eat these in moderation since they are high in sugar but fruit will be your treat during this 28 day food “detox”.
  • Vegetables: Go crazy and eat these often. Switch them up, try a new vegetable every day! Season and sauté in ghee to your liking. Vegetables will never have tasted so good!
  • Nuts and Seeds: Don’t go “nuts” on these since they can be hard to have just a few. I like to get the unsalted raw almonds since they satisfy you without causing you to want more and more.
  • Healthy fats: Ghee, coconut oil, clarified butter, YUM! I tend to go a little crazy with my healthy fats but I don’t feel guilty about it one bit!

Once you have eliminated the potential problems foods for 4 weeks or more and your body is now thriving on healthy natural food, you can start to reintroduce some of the things you have been missing. Add one item first and then see if you feel different in the days after you ingest it. If you feel normal and fine after a few days then it is safe to add the next food item and see how your body responds. Everyone is different but most people feel much better without grains, sugar (maple syrup and raw honey are ok), and processed food. I would recommend everyone to avoid those at the very least. Some people do well with raw dairy and choose to add that back into rotation, listen to your body and decide for yourself.

It may seem hard at first but think of it as a health intervention. It is much easier than many procedures or medication regimens you may need if you don’t turn your health around. Just do it. There are so many things in life that you don’t have control over. You can control your diet and what goes into your body. Your outlook on life will change when you see what power you have had all along. Our bodies are born healthy and can remain that way once you get rid of all of the artificial stuff you have been feeding it! Take control and be healthy!      ~Emily~

 

Need support or help with questions? Contact us and we will be happy to help!

Omega-3 and Omega-6. What is the difference and does it really matter to you?

While natural remedies and supplementation have been under the microscope lately, you won’t find many people that disagree with this one. Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most important diet additions to improve health and prevent chronic disease. Many clinical trials have shown the benefits in reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease including a reduction in arrhythmias, blood clots, triglycerides, blood pressure, plaque formation, and inflammation. The decrease in inflammation is really the big one in my opinion. Inflammation in the body is the cause of  many disease states. You can make the connection that increasing your omega-3 consumption may help prevent or treat any inflammatory diseases in the body. That is pretty huge! Unfortunately, most people do not have enough Omega-3 fatty acids in their diet to reap these benefits but have plenty of Omega-6. This is actually making the situation even worse.

Here are the basics:

Omega-3 and Omega-6 are essential fatty acids that our bodies cannot make on their own.

Omega-3 are found in cold water fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines. The most important Omega-3 Fatty acids for health are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). A precursor to these fatty acids is ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which can be converted into EPA and DHA. ALA can be found in flaxseeds and walnuts. DHA and EPA are important building blocks for hormones that control blood clotting, immune function, and cell growth.

Omega- 6 fatty acids can be found in many places in our modern diet. They are found in seeds, nuts, vegetable oils, and processed food. Omega-6 also helps build hormones but these hormones can be detrimental to health by increasing inflammation in the body, blood clotting, and cell proliferation. They have the opposite function from our Omega-3 friends.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids can balance each other out when consumed in the right amount but with today’s modern diet, Omega-6 consumption is usually off the charts. This imbalance leads to inflammation and disease.

While supplementing your Omega-3 fatty acids by increasing your fish consumption or taking fish oil supplements is important and definitely recommended there is an even better option. Decrease your Omega-6 consumption! Get rid of the processed food and vegetable oils. Cook your organic produce, wild caught fish, and grass fed meat in healthy fats like coconut oil or ghee. The exciting part about all of this is that you have control over what you put in your body, so make the right choices! ~Emily~

 

Asta…what? Find out what Astaxathin is and what it can do for you!

Astaxanthin has been all the rage lately but does it really benefit you? We give this SUPER supplement four thumbs up. This powerful antioxidant is naturally found in krill and wild caught salmon. It is produced by a certain algae (Haematococcus pluvialis) which is eaten by these sea creatures and it gives that delicious salmon on your plate the reddish orange coloring. It is more powerful at eliminating free radicals than Vit C, CoQ10, and Vit E.

What does that mean for you?

Antioxidants eliminate free-radicals so they are unable to interfere with healthy cells and create inflammation and damage. Check out some great benefits of antioxidants here. Astaxathin may be considered a super antioxidant since it has a few special abilities.

  • It is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. This ability allows it to benefit the eyes and brain when most antioxidants cannot.
  • It acts as a natural internal sunscreen since it is able to reduce UVA skin cell damage. The algea that creates Astaxathin use this property to protect itself from sun and heat damage.
  • It improves recovery time for athletes by supporting mitochondria function and reducing the production and storage of lactic acid. This can reduce muscle soreness helping salmon swim upstream and has been shown useful for endurance athletes.

While you will ingest some of this beneficial antioxidant naturally when you eat wild caught salmon regularly (which we recommend!), you also may want to add Astaxanthin as a daily [easyazon_link identifier=”B006X1DCVO” locale=”US” tag=”thenakephar-20″]supplement[/easyazon_link].  I do!

 

Ikeuchi M, Koyama T, Takahashi J, Yazawa K. Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on exercise-induced fatigue in mice. Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Oct;29(10):2106-10.

Gene A. Spiller, PhD, Antonella Dewell, MS, RD, Sally Chaves, RN, Zaga Rakidzich. Effect of daily use natural astaxanthin on C-reactive protein. Health Research & Studies Center, Los Altos, CA. Study Report, January, 2006.

Suganuma K, Nakajima H, Ohtsuki M, Imokawa G. Astaxanthin attenuates the UVA-induced up-regulation of matrix- metalloproteinase-1 and skin fibroblast elastase in human dermal fibroblasts. J Dermatol Sci. 2010 May;58(2):136-42. Epub 2010 Feb 18.

 

You say potato, I say SWEET potato

You say potato, I say SWEET potato.  Normally, I wouldn’t recommend eating any starchy carbs but it turns out sweet potatoes actually have many health benefits.  

The reason people tend to shy away from carbs is due to the fact that they are all broken down into glucose which is actually a simple form of sugar.  Our bodies are capable of using glucose as fuel, however, it becomes toxic when the levels exceed what is needed.  Any glucose that is not immediately used is stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles.  There are only so many receptors for glycogen in the body and when they are full from the combination of the Standard American Diet (SAD) and lack of exercise it leads it to glucose being stored as saturated fat in our bodies.  Remember, fat is not the enemy, sugar (aka carbs) is really what’s making you fat!

That’s not the worst of it….

When your body senses glucose in the bloodstream it causes the pancreas to release a hormone called insulin to signal to the body that it needs to store the glucose as glycogen.  If all of the glycogen receptors are full it is unable to do this.  This perpetuates a vicious cycle as that glucose is still left floating in the blood and the body keeps producing insulin to try to corral it.  This leads to the cells eventually becoming resistant to the presence of insulin which can lead to diabetes, obesity, and cardiac disease.

Food for thought:

  • The glycemic index is a measuring system that  shows us how much a particular food will increase our blood sugar.  A high glycemic index will cause a spike in blood glucose and may offer a quick boost of energy. To every up there is a down and the fall in blood sugar is drastic and falls below where you were before.  Potatoes are one of the worst of the bunch.  The glycemic index of a white potato is 111.  The glycemic index of glucose (pure sugar) is 100.  That means the glycemic index of white potatoes is 10% higher than pure sugar!
  • The glycemic index of sweet potatoes, on the other hand, is 70.  While this is still a pretty high index it is 47% less than that of white potatoes.  
  • A serving of 100g of white potatoes contains:
    • 1 IU of vitamin A
  • A servingof 100g of sweet potatoes contains:
    • 19,218 IU of vitamin A

That means that one serving of sweet potato provides 384% of your daily value for vitamin A.  Vitamin A supports growth and development, eye health and the immune system. As it turns out, there is no other food on Earth that provides more vitamin A!  

  • White potatoes contain saponins, sweet potatoes do not.
    • Saponins derive their name from “soap” like foams that develop when mixed with water.  Certain potato saponins are referred to as glycoalkaloids.  Glycoalkaloids are enlisted to protect the potato by acting like a toxin.  They exert toxic effects by dissolving cell membranes.  The problem arises when humans eat potatoes and the tubers create holes in their gut lining causing permeability or leaky gut.  
    • I should note that most of the toxic glycoalkaloids reside in the potato skins.  I would highly recommend avoiding the potato skin appetizer which one could deem a gut grenade. 
  • Sweet potatoes contain a high content of beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A or acts as an antioxidant and protects cells against free radicals.  This may help with keeping a more youthful complexion.

I would never suggest white potatoes but I would recommend sweet potatoes in moderation.  Use them as a nice nutritious and sweet treat.  What’s your favorite sweet potato treat? ~Kris~

Tips to Avoid Your Pharmacy #28: Eat Your Antioxidants

Should YOU care about antioxidants? Yes, and this is why…

During normal metabolic processes our bodies produce oxidative molecules which are missing electrons and searching for replacements. These molecules can steal electrons from other molecules or substances in the body and produce free radicals. These new free radicals can go on to interfere with other molecular structures altering normal function.
When your body is in a healthy state it is able to create or metabolize enough antioxidant material (glutathione, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E) to terminate the chain reaction and neutralize the original oxidative molecules preventing free radicals. When our bodies are under stress and unable to keep up with the demand of antioxidants you experience oxidative stress. We now have an insufficient amount of antioxidants and the free radicals are able to damage or kill normal and necessary cells. This process plays a role in many diseases and conditions including aging, coronary heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, and cancer. There are many ongoing investigations and studies looking into antioxidants and what role they can play in treatments for these diseases.

What causes stress that leads to disease? 

Our busy modern lives are mainly to blame. Poor diet, physiological and physical stress, chronic inflammation, pollution, smoking, skin damage, disease, and even the consumption of charred meat may all be causes. These conditions cause more oxidative molecules to be produced throwing off antioxidant balance and our bodies are unable to keep up. 

What can we do to prevent this dangerous chain reaction? 

Try to change what you can. You may not be able to move away from the pollution and live a life in the woods with low stress but there are other factors you can improve on. 

Diet being first and most important in my book. Let your body function as it should and get rid of the inflammation causing food. We follow a “stripped diet” free of grains, sugar, and processed food. We eat plenty of protein and healthy fats. Eat food that is good for you! It is that easy. It can seem like the hardest change to make when you are having to give up your processed food friends but when you do you will realize what a huge detrimental effect these “friends” have had on you. You will begin to feel like you were meant to be…healthy. 

De-stress the best you can. That may look different to every person but a few of our favorites include reading, exercise/yoga, massage, float spas, or just sitting outside in nature. Find what gives you peace and do it often.

Get a nighttime routine and get as much sleep as possible. Lack of adequate sleep has a huge effect on your body. Quit smoking and doing activities that you already know are bad for you. Get your vitamin D from the sun but don’t stay out too long and burn your skin. Don’t overdo your exercise. Stressing your body past its normal innate limits  adds stress, which is bad in any form. Now that you are making healthy life choices you can up your prevention by adding antioxidants into your diet. These are some of our favorite (and yummiest) ways to defeat the free radicals.

Vegetables:  carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash, green peppers, artichoke, brussel sprouts, spinach, kale, green leafy vegetables
Fruit: goji berries, cantaloupe, strawberries, peaches, apricots, oranges, limes, grapes, cranberries, blueberries, pomegranate, grapefruit, watermelon, kiwi, plums, cherries, raspberry, blackberry, apples, elderberries
Nuts and Seeds: flax seeds, chia seeds, pecans
Meat and Fish: red meat, chicken, eggs, shellfish, fish
Spices and Flavoring: garlic, cilantro, clove, cinnamon, oregano, turmeric, cocoa, cumin, thyme, ginger, parsley, basil, cayenne pepper
Green tea
Dark chocolate
Red wine

You may have heard of the ORAC score before in reference to antioxidants. This refers to the oxygen radical absorbance capacity which is a method of measuring antioxidant capacity. They are still trying to determine what this rating means when introduced into the body so it is not used across the board or looked at as the definitive authority on antioxidant levels. It is however a tool you can use to compare certain food or spices. Looking at some of the above antioxidant rich foods you can see that a pomegranate received a score of 2,860 and a prune received a score of 14,582. The prune should in theory give you more bang for your buck as antioxidants go. Want to know what scored a 290,283 on this ORAC scale? Ground clove! More on this in a moment!

Want to add in more antioxidants than you are already getting in your diet?

Some people try to load up on supplements like glutathione to up their antioxidant levels, unfortunately, this is usually a waste of money. Glutathione is actually destroyed in the stomach before it can get to your cells and many other supplemental antioxidants can impair your body’s own response to stress. So save your money and buy healthy food.

One way to add some natural antioxidants into your body without having to force down more food is with essential oils. These therapeutic grade oils are very concentrated and much more potent than herbs. Remember how I said ground clove had an ORAC score of 290,283? Clove essential oil has a score of 1,078,700! So one ounce of clove oil could be said to equal the antioxidant value of 400 carrots or 28 quarts of blueberries. That is huge. Other essential oils with incredible amounts of antioxidants include myrrh, coriander, fennel, clary sage, cedarwood, and the list goes on.  Check out the chart below for more high scoring essential oils.
 Antioxidant-values-of-essential-oils
ORAC Values. Antioxidant Values of Foods Sorted by ORAC Value. Copyright © 2014Available at: http://oracvalues.com/sort/orac-value.
 
So we go back to the question: Should YOU care about antioxidants? Now you see clearly that the answer is yes. You have a way to combat free radicals and prevent disease, look and feel younger, and live longer and healthier. Why would you not care about antioxidants? You have the power to stop disease. Take this knowledge and take control!
~Emily~

For more information or questions on essential oils please contact us at info@thenakedpharmacists.com

Tips to Avoid Your Pharmacy #26: Find Out if Salt is Your Friend or Foe

What is the deal with salt??

I LOVE salt. I use it on almost everything, you won’t find me eating a meal without it within reach. I know I am excessive and have been catching slack for it all of my life. Now, salt has been in the news for not really being that bad after all…what is the truth? Believe me, I have done my investigation!

 

The Accusation:

You can’t believe everything you read. Public health campaigns have demonized many things we now know are healthy. Remember, fat is now our friend again! Is this the case with salt as well?

Salt has been used throughout history to preserve food and was cherished until a study in 1972. The study correlated sodium intake and high blood pressure in rats and the public was warned to reduce their salt intake. Unfortunately, these rats consumed an amount of salt that is very incomparable to what a human may consume on a daily basis (even me!). To reach the same levels that these poor rats did, one would have to consume 500 grams of sodium (the average intake is 3.5 grams a day in the US) equating to 4.5 cups of salt. Anything can harm a living being in extreme amounts. You can overdose on WATER, people! So obviously having 4.5 cups of salt (blah) in a day will cause some unfortunate side effects. Then in 1988 the INTERSALT study took place. This study measured the salt consumption and blood pressure in 52 groups from 32 countries. It looked specifically at how salt intake affected the increase of blood pressure with age and the median blood pressure of the group. The results showed NO particular correlation between salt intake and blood pressure. Unfortunately, the data was manipulated to include outliers (small amount of random numbers that are not statistically significant, usually excluded from analysis). With the outliers included the results were skewed to look like sodium did have an effect on blood pressure and the salt critics ran with it. The US government used this data for its dietary recommendations and salt was labeled the enemy. The National Institute of Health guidelines recommend 2.4 grams of sodium a day and the American Health Association limits it to 1.5 grams a day. The salt fear was questioned by many throughout the years including Gary Taubes. The DASH study did not change the salt restriction but showed that other dietary changes benefit blood pressure rather than changes to sodium intake. Studies in 2003 and 2009 argued that even with a salt restriction recommendation in place, American salt consumption has remained the same while high blood pressure is on the rise. There must have been some other cause.

 

The Truth:

Salt (Sodium) is a naturally occurring element that is found, to some extent, in most everything we consume. It is necessary for electrolyte balance and helps maintain the volume of blood plasma. It’s also important for nerve function, maintaining muscle, and aiding in digestion. The kidney is the primary organ that processes salt and maintains homeostasis. When a person is healthy the kidneys can adapt to a wide range of salt intake. With high levels of salt ingested the kidneys will excrete more sodium and when little is consumed your body will retain sodium to maintain fluid balance and blood pressure. Your body is unable to synthesize sodium so some salt is a necessity to be consumed. It has been argued that humans will naturally seek out a baseline of sodium ingestion due to inborn biological needs that do not change because of government restriction warnings. Without enough sodium in the diet there can be repercussions including altering the body’s response to medications, promoting insulin resistance, and increase risk of cardiac-related death in Type 2 diabetics.

 

The Conclusion:

Everyone always says “everything in moderation”. This goes for salt as well. Do not add 500 grams to your food daily but also do not severely restrict your salt intake. I feel if your body is seeking sodium, then your body may need sodium. Avoid the highly processed overly salted creations. These are not “real” food so your body can not judge what it is consuming and process your needs appropriately. Also, be aware that the normal table salt is not what our ancestors used. It is stripped of all of its natural nutrients but does add in another necessity, iodine. A natural sea salt will still contain trace nutrients but you will need to add an iodine supplement to your diet or eat foods rich in iodine like egg yolks, seafood, or kelp. If you have kidney issues, by all means cut back on your salt, your body may be unable to process the sodium levels as it should. For those with normal kidney function, feel free to grab the salt.

 

~Emily~

 

If you want to lower your blood pressure naturally try exercise, stress reduction, increased sleep, and read our other recommendations here.