5 Kitchen Companions for Health-Conscious Cooking

Got a foodie in the family? Give them the tools they need to make magic in the kitchen this holiday season. Google trends reported this past year that more users than ever before were searching for the term “vegan” on the popular search engine. A survey conducted by Interactive found in 2011 that 2.5 percent of the country identified as vegan. That might not seem like a lot, but the statistic was just 1 percent in 2009, meaning that the number of vegans has more than doubled in three years. It’s likely that you’ve got a vegan novice in your life, so here’s how to make their health-friendly diet better.

Eco-Friendly Nonstick Pan

Tofu isn’t exactly the stickiest food, but you can bet adding soy cheese to anything is going to leave a mark. BEKA’s Chef Eco-Logic Ceramic Nonstick Fry Pan ($64.99) is every vegan’s dream pan, with energy efficiency and a chemical-free composition. The aluminum exterior is exceptionally durable, with a three-year warranty just in case.

Vegetable Steamer

Did you know that cooking vegetables in a vegetable steamer can save more than half of the nutrients you lose with boiling? Since most vegans are extra conscious of their nutrition intake, a vegetable steamer is a great gift for helping your loved one live a healthier lifestyle. Go for the latest and greatest with the Hamilton Beach Steamer ($29.88), which comes with two tiers and a digital operating system. Theoretically, you could cook up a whole meal in the steamer, set the timer and enjoy your free time while your dinner is prepared.

Blender

Many vegans will mix up smoothies with protein powder and other nutritious goodies to keep energy levels up in a portable way. The NutriBullet Blender is one of the most popular and positively-reviewed items on the market right now. A built-in nutrition extractor ensures the user derives maximum nutrition value from fruits and vegetables in the device. Meanwhile, an extractor blade is powerful enough to slice through seeds and even tough outer skins. Best of all? It costs just $99.99.

Vegetable Chopper

On a similar note, vegans eat a ton of vegetables and fruits, which can lead to tedious slicing and dicing before each meal. A vegetable chopper gets the job done in one stroke, saving time and preventing accidents. The Proctor Silex Food Chopper is a favorite in the industry, with a 1.5-cup capacity in a conveniently transparent bowl. The stainless steel blade is removable and dishwasher safe, and the pulse function ensures that the user has maximum control over consistency. In addition to vegetables, users can also chop fruits, herbs, nuts, cheese, chocolate and more. The chopper ranks in at $14.29.

Storage Containers

Since there aren’t a whole lot of vegan-friendly restaurants out there, most vegans find themselves doing meal prep at least once a week to pack meals for the road. This is where storage containers can be handy pieces of kitchen hardware. Pyrex glass storage containers come in multiple sets depending on need, at $49.99. Best of all? Their glass construction makes it easy to microwave meals and serve on the spot. Non-porous glassware won’t absorb stains or odors from packed food, and a BPA-free plastic lid ensures healthy, safe transport from place to place.

Chiropractic and Healing Potential

by Dr. Judy Soborwicz

Chiropractic is a powerful way to preserve our connection to our internal healing systems. From our immune function, stress response, digestion, hormone health, to everything in between; our internal regulation and optimization occurs at the connection between our brain and body. Chiropractic health care focuses specifically on maintaining this special connection at the highest potential throughout our lifetime.

Our frame and structure are made up of finely sculpted boney connective joints/tissues with large and fine muscle groups for moving.  The immense precision intended during the creation of our structure induces wonder and respect by anyone who has taken the time to truly observe it in action.  In other words, our system is set up, self regulated—for expression of vitality and health.  To suffer with conditions of the body without addressing our prime regulator of health and well-being is akin to a novice baking a soufflé without direction.  When given the option to have help, we would no question, take it.

We are our most powerful at healing and vitality when we are using our design in a directed way to express our potential. Our movement and balance of our frame is one hundred percent initiated by our brain and relayed through our nerve system.  The direction of our body from our brain is mutually beneficial, as movement of our body also maintains size and quantity of nerve cells deep within our brain.  This input/output interplay between our brain and body is dependent on motion.

When movement patterns are altered due to sports injury, slips, falls, auto accidents, even the birth process itself, our brain begins an adaptive process.  This adaptation is based on our brains best alternative available at the time of insult.  At it’s best, the brain will preserve energy and insure survival.  When our brain directs our body in an adaptive state we experience a lowered state of health.  Arthritis, heavy legs, muscle pain, loss of energy, nerve pain, back pain, joint pain, high blood pressure, digestive issues are some signs of our body being unable to flip our switch to a more efficient, less stressful pattern.  Our body becomes less able to correct on its own when stress has been prolonged or injuries multiplied.

Chiropractic gait analysis allows for a window into the efficiency of our brain and body communication.  Movement of our frame reveals stress points, adaptations, and compensations, this observation is used to reveal injuries old and new, and reverse our inefficient energy draining patterns.  Identification provides a gateway to correction; the coordinated interplay between the brain, joint, and muscle patterns provides the method to identify faults.

Specific gentle chiropractic adjustments are used to address areas requiring correction. This process enhances our ability to express an overall optimal level of health. A seven year study showed that patients whose primary physician was a chiropractor, experienced: 60 percent fewer hospital admissions, 59 percent fewer days in the hospital, 62 percent fewer outpatients surgery, and 85 percent fewer pharmaceutical costs.

Chiropractic is an exceptional method to explore our fullest human potential and experience uncommon healing.

Dr. Judy has personally experienced the benefits of chiropractic care for years. Her inspiration to help build health through natural methods, led to Palmer College of Chiropractic where she obtained her doctorate degree.  Dr. Judy actively pursues advanced studies in chiropractic methods, nutrition and pediatric chiropractic.

Not Much Thanksgiving in Holiday Headaches

by Dr. Michael Court

The Christmas music is playing, the turkey is in the oven. Presents bought, but not yet wrapped…is this headache ever going to go away? I don’t have time for a migraine! It’s not even Christmas yet.

During the winter holiday season, our bodies are bombarded by the many new stressors of buying gifts, visiting relatives, traveling, change in daily routines, and disruptive sleeping/eating schedules. Migraine headaches cause suffering in so many across America. Studies say 9 out of 10 Americans suffer from headaches. Some other triggers could be candle scents and even string lights. Caffeine, chocolate, and cheese are also known as some of the nasty culprits of chronic headaches. With hundreds of causes for histamine responses inside the body, migraines can be one of the most difficult and frustrating conditions to deal with. With all of these stresses and stressors going on simultaneously, what can we do?

Many people choose Tylenol or other over-the-counter medications or prescriptions to help with their headaches or migraines. Is this the answer really good for you in the long-term? In a new study out of the University of Washington (UW) evidence showed that taking over-the-counter painkillers can increase your risk of developing cancer. Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study explained that taking acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, for extended periods of time can increase a person’s risk of developing blood cancer. In other studies, long-term exposure lead to kidney damage. To learn more, see naturalnews.com and search for Tylenol.

As a practitioner, I believe there is hope for help without using harsh destructive medications. The human body is designed to work to heal itself naturally. Sometimes, it can be as simple as eliminating those harmful foods listed above. Taking whole-food dietary supplements have proven to help eliminate migraines also. As a naturopath my goal is to enable each patient’s own internal intelligence to heal itself by designing a personalized, clinically designed program that takes in your unique body’s needs, stressors, and deficiencies.

If migraines are getting you down and taking the enjoyment out of the holidays, a doctor of nutrition may be able to find the cause of your migraines using NRT.  Nutrition Response Testing (NRT) uses your body’s own operating system to scientifically and precisely communicate what the problem is by using acupressure points to determine what the underlying weakness is in the body. To restore health, the patient would follow a highly personalized nutritional supplement schedule. www.holistichealingandnutrition.com/2011/12/what-is-nutrition-response-testing/ For more information on this topic, check out the book The Great Health Heist by Paul J. Rosen.

Getting spinal manipulations (chiropractic adjustments) have also been proven to relieve headaches and migraines. Oftentimes headaches occur because of muscle tension in the neck. Research on the American Chiropractic Association website cited that getting adjusted “is an effective treatment for tension headaches and that those who ceased chiropractic treatment after only four weeks experienced a sustained therapeutic benefit in contrast with those patients who received a commonly prescribed medication”. (www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=2186)  In addition, low-impact exercise and drinking lots of water should help to reduce headache pain.

One of my main purposes is to provide effective care for each patient, whether a nutrition patient or a chiropractic patient. Here’s what two former migraine patients are saying:

“My NRT doctor has helped me with migraine headaches!”

My NRT doctor has used nutrition to help me address the issues of concern at this stage of my life such as migraine headaches, stress, cholesterol, and weight. He also has helped me focus on generalized health improvement.  M. G.

“Taking the supplements and changing my eating habits and I haven’t taken any medicine for my headaches for three weeks now!”

I suffered from migraines all of my life. I took a lot of medicine for my headaches. I have been receiving treatment for three weeks now. Since I began taking the supplements and changing my eating habits, I haven’t taken any medicine for my headaches for three weeks either.     M. L. C.

It is possible to make the holidays fun again! One of the mistakes we can easily make is to undervalue our health and our ability to enjoy our lives. Don’t let a condition such as migraines keep you sidelined! Take action to get help at my clinic or with another local alternative health practitioner. There is hope for you to put the holly back into the holidays. This season take the worry out of wrapping. Seeing a chiropractor, massage/yoga therapist, acupuncturist, or naturopath may help prevent merry mishaps and turn those pesky problems into plum pudding.

Dr. Michael Court is a local naturopath and practices at Chippewa Valley Wellness in Chippewa Falls and Altoona, WI.  For information on whole-food nutrition, please see his website at CVWellness.net, attend one of his monthly workshops or call his clinic at (715) 723-2713 for a free, personalized health consultation or a free article on Synthetic versus

Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis

by Linda Foster,  E-RYT500

The practice of yoga originated in the distant past, but it’s completely relevant to daily life in the twenty-first century. As Western science has begun to acknowledge, yoga’s repertoire of stretches, twists, and postures accompanied by conscious awareness of your body and mind may be more than an “exercise routine.” In a recent study, people with MS who practiced yoga experienced, among other effects, a reduction in MS-related fatigue and depression.

Yoga uses unhurried movements, slow stretching, and breathing to reduce stress and release muscle tension. This allows you to address your individual needs and proceed at your own pace. If you’re having a bad day, you can modify your program and do something less intensive. On better days, you can challenge yourself to enhance your yoga capabilities.

Yoga can be beneficial to people with MS as long as they find the appropriate class, teacher, or video.
• Start slow and simple.
• As you progress, working toward advanced poses will help you gain strength and confidence.
• Restorative poses are very slow, relaxing, and refreshing postures.

There’s no right or wrong way to react after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis—everyone responds in their own natural way. It might reassure you to know that many people with MS have been able to successfully manage their symptoms. With the right support system, information, and treatment, you may be able to manage your MS successfully, too. It all starts with the right information.

How can someone with MS find the right type of yoga, the right class, and the inspiration to try it?

Different Yoga Styles

Some programs emphasize detail of alignment by holding poses (such as Iyengar); others run positions together in sequences (Flow and Ashtanga). Some are meant to be aerobic; others stress meditation. A teacher of one mode may not say that there are other kinds of yoga that might be more suited to your needs.

You’ll have to learn to ask questions.

All styles have qualities in common:
1. They use breathing techniques to focus the mind on the body (“union”).
2. They are individualized, non-competitive, and adaptable.
3. They emphasize alignment, which benefits posture and balance.
4. They educate about where muscles are and how to strengthen and stretch them.
5. They release tension so the body feels more energized.
6. They teach relaxation techniques to reduce stress.

Now for some background information about yoga: The word yoga has its roots in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. Literally, it means to “yoke” or to “unite.” It was created thousands of years ago to help practitioners feel “whole,” uniting mental, physical, and spiritual aspects.

Today, the yoga practiced in the West consists of poses, called “asanas,” and breathing techniques, called “pranayama.” Modern yoga is also deeply influenced by modern science—all of the things that have been learned about the body in the past one hundred years. Indeed, yoga-like postures, stretches, and positions are used today by athletes, in rehab programs, and in physical therapy. Today, in many classes, the spiritual aspect is left to the individual.

Yoga for MS? Yes, give it a try! But, as with any exercise program, check with your physician first.

To get the most out of a yoga class:
1. Look for an instructor who has experience teaching people with MS. If you can walk without assistance, try a regular class, but ask what will be expected and explain your condition. If the instructor doesn’t really listen or provide individualized attention, this is the wrong place.
2. Ask about an instructor’s experience. The Indian names don’t mean nearly as much as the length of time the person has taught.
3. If you use a cane or walker, try a class for seniors. Or try a class offered for people with special needs, such as arthritis. Many yoga stretches and poses can be done sitting down. Again, take the time to explain your MS to the instructor before taking a class.
4. Although groups are great, beware of peer pressure during class. If something doesn’t feel right, stick up for yourself, and stop. Sometimes your mind may be holding your body back. But your body may also be giving you signals to stop, which your mind wants to ignore! So, when in doubt, stop. If you feel pain, STOP!
5. Have realistic goals. Yoga won’t cure MS. But it can help you live more comfortably in your own body.

With MS, it is important to be proactive. Stay connected with others who are walking your same path. Give yoga a try. (And bring your spouse—he/she needs it too!)

Chair Yoga classes are a perfect place to start and are regularly offered at New Day Yoga & Wellness in Chippewa Falls on Fridays, from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. If you have any questions or would like information regarding the Chippewa Valley MS Support Group, please contact Linda at 715-861-5545.

Resources:
National MS Society
My MS Yoga, Baron Baptiste, Dr. Elliot Frohman

How Healing Your Gut Can Stop Multiple Sclerosis

by Heidi Toy, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner

Nutrition is a hot topic these days and with just cause. Nutrition is more than just the food that you eat, it is also the body’s ability to digest and absorb that food, in order to derive the nutrients it needs to build and grow. What you eat plays a crucial role in the management of chronic disease, including multiple sclerosis (MS); however, even the most perfect diet is seen as toxic if the integrity of your digestive tract is compromised.

If you have MS, you are well aware of what it is; however, for the folks who are unfamiliar with what this disease really is, let’s have brief discussion. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune process of the central nervous system that affects the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve due to the degeneration of the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is a protective layer of insulation like plastic around electrical wires. The nerve is the wire and myelin is the sheath that surrounds it and makes it so that it can conduct nerve impulses or signals. An autoimmune disease is when the body perceives its own healthy tissue as a foreign invader like it does with a virus, and mounts an attack against it. With multiple sclerosis the myelin is being attacked and destroyed, causing scarring and a miscommunication in the central nervous system.

Hippocrates said, “All disease begin in the gut,” and from my clinical experience I would have to agree, not just because of digestion and absorption of food, but because of the role our intestines play in our immunity.

If the absorptive surface of the intestinal tract was taken and laid out it would cover the size of a tennis court, but it doesn’t end there. The intestinal tract is covered with a protective thick band of beneficial bacteria, virus, fungus, and other organisms. Microorganisms are inhabitants of our body, and they outnumber our own cells 10 to 1 and we carry two to six pounds of bacteria in our gut.

These very microbes play a vital role in our health because they are our immunity, digestion and absorption, and neurotransmitter synthesis. It is estimated that 85 percent of our immune system is housed in our intestines. The beneficial bacteria of the gastrointestinal tract produce antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral substances and protect us from illness. Moreover our gut bacteria have an ongoing communication with the rest of our immune system, and it is the microorganisms in our intestine that keep it in balance.

A healthy gut ecosystem should consist of 85 percent beneficial microbes and 15 percent opportunistic or bad. This gut flora also serves as a protective barrier between what enters the gut and the gut wall. However, when this beneficial gut flora is damaged, for example, by a round of antibiotics, pharmaceutical grade drugs, or overconsumption of processed foods, the door has been opened for an autoimmune disease.

Once the good bacteria are killed off, the opportunistic or bad gut flora take over, the protective band is no longer present, and the integrity of the gut wall is compromised. In a healthy GI tract, nothing is able to leave the wall unless it is accompanied by an enzymatic escort, which packages it up and takes it through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. However, the bad gut flora have dissolved the band and left the intestinal wall bare and void of its protection. A healthy intestinal lining is made up of a tightly woven mesh called tight junctions that “glue” intestinal cells together. Opportunistic (bad) bacteria are able to dissolve the glue, and the wall of the intestine becomes permeable. This is called “leaky gut” or intestinal permeability.

Once the gut wall has been breached, food particles are able to leak out into the blood stream where they are not supposed to be. The body sees them as an invader and mounts an attack against them. Many food particles look similar to our own body tissue in their molecular structure, specifically foods with a protein component like wheat (gluten and gliadin). While, I’m a proponent of removing inflammatory foods like gluten from a person’s diet while they heal, it is not the end all be all. Healing and sealing the gut and re-inoculating the intestinal tract with good gut flora is.

The healing and re-inoculation of the gut is possible, and there is a method to it and it starts with what you eat. Namely homemade bone broth to heal and seal your gut lining and probiotics in the form of fermented foods. While probiotics purchased in capsule form can be a great supplement, the best place to get your probiotic is from your diet. It is more economical and fermented foods contain 100 times more probiotic than a supplement.

Fermented foods need to be introduced slowly. As mentioned above good gut flora’s job is to keep invaders out and bad bacteria is seen as an invader. When the opportunistic gut flora starts to die due to being killed by the good gut bacteria and also starvation from the of its food supply (i.e. sugar and processed foods) it is called “die off”.  Part of bad gut bacteria’s survival is to emit a gaseous toxic substance as part of this die off process, this is its way of fighting for survival. These toxins are what caused your health issues and myelin attack in the first place. If you have never eaten fermented foods before you need to start very slowly and gradually, adding only teaspoons of the food into your diet at a time. If you experience “die off” don’t stop, simply back off.

What Foods?

Eliminate inflammatory foods that feed opportunistic gut flora. All grains and anything made out of them: wheat, rye, rice, oats, corn for example. All starchy vegetables. Sugar and anything that contains it. All beans including soy and garbanzo beans (chick peas). Lactose found in dairy products, and anything that contains it.

Consume

Bone broth, the real stuff, not bullion from the store that is artificial and nothing but a chemical. Find a grass-fed cow, bison, or free-range chicken farmer and get long bones and knuckles from them. Slow cook them in a crock pot for 24 to 72 hours. This is just like your mom or grandmother used to do when she made homemade soup from a soup bone. This broth is loaded with amino acids, gelatin, glucosamine, fats, vitamins, and minerals that are beneficial to the gut wall and will heal and seal your gut.

Meats from pasture-raised animals like beef, chicken, and pork and line caught fish cooked in the bone broth.

Fermented foods provide an excellent source of probiotics. All of our ancestors ate a diet rich in beneficial bacteria, and every culture has fermented foods that they eat traditionally.  For example sauerkraut made at home, kept raw not pasteurized. Homemade kefir and yogurts are also rich in probiotics. Unfortunately, store-bought yogurts are too high in lactose and are pasteurized which kills the beneficial bacteria.

Stay tuned for Part 2 where we will learn about why we need gut flora to absorb vitamins and minerals.

Heidi Toy is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, and the owner of Educated Nutrition, located in Altoona, WI. Her focus is helping people heal holistically, with an emphasis on autoimmune disorders. See ad below.

References:
Alessio fasano m.d.. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://medschool.umaryland.edu/FACULTYRESEARCHPROFILE/viewprofile.aspx?id=1891
Campbell-McBride, N (2012). Put Your Heart in Your Mouth. United Kingdom: Mediform Publishing.
NIH human microbiome project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body. (2012, June 13). Retrieved from www.nih.gov/news/health/jun2012/nhgri-13.htm.
The human gastrointestinal (gi) tract. (2012, October 20). Retrieved from http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/G/GITract.html.
What is multiple sclerosis?. (n.d.). In NIH human microbiome project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body. (2012, June 13). Retrieved from www.nih.gov/news/health/jun2012/nhgri-13.htm.