Covid Recovery: What To Eat And Drink

Listen to the full episode.

Doctors+ | Show Notes | Interview With Dr. Esther Konigsberg, MD

In this Alternative Food Network podcast, Esther Garfin interviews integrative physician Dr. Esther Konigsberg, MD, about what people should be eating and drinking during COVID-19 recovery. Unfortunately, many COVID patients or long-haulers continue to have lingering symptoms. The doctor provides credible tips on fighting infection and treating fatigue, respiratory issues, gastro issues and muscle and joint pain resulting from this coronavirus.

What does the body need when fighting infection?
To give the body the best chance for recovery and to boost the immune system, Dr. Konigsberg reminds the audience of the basics:

  • Minimize stress
  • Rest
  • Physical activity to the extent it’s possible
  • Proper nutrition

When it comes to foods, there is much data on fruits and vegetables increasing immunity and decreasing inflammation. According to Dr. Konigsberg, “we really want to bring down the inflammatory response because that often is one of the main underlying phenomena for long-haul issues”. Fruits and vegetables are rich in a substance called flavonoids.

Also important are omega-3 fatty acids which are found in foods like cold water fish, legumes, flax seeds and walnuts. They help to bring down the inflammatory response which is desired for reducing pain and improving breathing ability, says Dr. Konigsberg.

Other tips from Dr. Konigsberg of what to include in your diet are:

  • Garlic
  • Medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake and maitake mushrooms
  • Turmeric

Foods to avoid include:

  • Processed foods
  • Saturated fats like red meat; If you’re going to eat meat, eat leaner meats such as white chicken
  • Sugar -viruses and bacteria love to grow in a sweet environment.
  • Dairy – For people having respiratory problems, sometimes too much dairy can increase mucus production.

Fatigue from Coronavirus
As in a lot of viral illnesses, one of the predominant features can be fatigue. Dr. Konigsberg suggests adaptogens or an adrenal support as potentially being beneficial for people recovering from COVID to help repair the body and help improve energy. One example is red ginseng.

It has anti-inflammatory properties, anti-blood clotting properties and helps to support energy and the adrenal system. 

Dr. Konigsberg stresses the importance of consulting a healthcare professional because sometimes supplements can interact with medications and certain conditions. It’s also important to consult with a healthcare professional who understands the role of adaptogens. In Dr. Konigsberg’s experience, she has found that adaptogens can help to improve energy in somebody who is recovering from COVID.

Prolonged Respiratory Issues from COVID
COVID tends to have some major effects on the respiratory tract. People during the recovery period may notice shortness of breath. They may notice a worsening of asthma especially if they already have asthma, or a chronic cough. According to Dr. Konigsberg, a wonderful supplement to improve respiratory function is boswellia. She states that boswellia does a great job of decreasing the inflammatory substances called cytokines and it works very well for the lungs. For people who have asthma it can help decrease their use of inhalers.

In addition to boswellia, another good supplement according to Dr. Konigsberg is NAC, N-Acetyl Cysteine. NAC can help not only reduce inflammation but also mucus production in the respiratory tract. So NAC is something else that could be used in addition to boswellia if predominant symptoms are the respiratory problems following COVID.

Digestive Problems After COVID
Dr. Konigsberg mentions that she has had some patients who have new issues with their digestive systems after COVID that they never had before. Examples include:

  • Indigestion
  • Suddenly becoming intolerant to foods that one had no problems eating before
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation

“Make sure you have fiber in your diet”, suggests Dr. Konigsberg.  She says fiber gets broken down in our gut to form the friendly bacteria and we really need that friendly bacteria in order to properly digest our foods. Therefore, having a lot of fiber in the diet, such as whole grains and fruits and vegetables, is beneficial.

In addition, boswellia can help to reduce inflammation especially for those who’ve had diarrhea.

For people who are having problems with indigestion, sometimes using a good digestive enzyme can help. In addition, having a little swig of apple cider vinegar and water before a meal can also help break down food better. By breaking our food down, it doesn’t come back up into our esophagus so we don’t get that reflux or indigestion.

Dr. Konigsberg mentions another supplement called deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) that helps to bolster the mucous layer of the digestive tract and helps to reduce indigestion.

Joint and Muscle Pain After COVID
Pain tends to be something that a lot of people notice after COVID. It could be joint pain. It could be muscle pain. Dr. Konigsberg mentions the role of exercise, specifically yoga for stretching the muscles and bringing blood flow to the muscles.

For people having muscle cramps, Dr. Konigsberg says taking a magnesium supplement can be very helpful. However, she cautions to be very careful with the magnesium you choose because some magnesium compounds like magnesium citrate can increase diarrhea. If you’re having issues with diarrhea, a magnesium bisglycinate is an option that does not create problems with the gut. Magnesium not only helps relax the muscles. It helps relax the mind and is fabulous for sleep as well.

Turmeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory that can also help to reduce inflammation and pain.

Regarding omega-3 fatty acids that can be found in fish, Dr. Konigsberg suggests that to really have it work on a medicinal level, one could also get omega 3’s in a supplement form to get a much higher dosage of the components of omega-3s that are important which are EPA and DHA.

Vitamin D
Quite a few studies have been done about Vitamin D and coronavirus, most of them observational says Dr. Konigsberg. Based on the studies, Dr. Konigsberg suggests that taking vitamin D would be prudent and continuing to take it if you get COVID would be prudent as well.

Dr. Konigsberg routinely tests the vitamin D levels of her patients as it gives her the opportunity to be more targeted in how much vitamin D an individual should be taking.

Dr. Konigsberg advises to consult with your own healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements.

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST EPISODE 13

All content provided or opinions expressed are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please see advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner.

The Hormone-Food Connection

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Doctors+ | Show Notes | Interview With Dr. Kyrin Dunston, Md

In this Alternative Food Network interview with Dr. Kyrin Dunston, MD, a board certified OBGYN and Functional Medicine practitioner, listeners will learn about the various hormones in our body and why diet can play an important role in hormonal balance. Dr. Dunston shares her own personal and professional journey to achieving better health outcomes and offers diet tips to balance hormones. 

Why Dr. Dunston switched from practising as an OBGYN to becoming a functional medicine practitioner
Dr. Dunston went into gynecology because she fell in love with the specialty when she was a medical student. She loved participating in women’s lives and being a part of their families in one of the most important events of their life. However, with a challenging schedule and a family of her own, her own health started suffering. She was overweight, suffered with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression. “I wasn’t able to participate in life. I wasn’t able to be a mom and a wife, and I really became a stranger in my own life”, says Dr. Dunston. She checked her thyroid at least 10 times, and it was “normal”. Other tests came back “normal”. She felt like she was living in a shell of a body that used to be vital and healthy and alive, and her vitality had just gone away. Upon her discovery of functional medicine, everything changed.

What is functional medicine?
According to Dr. Dunston, traditional Western medicine is all about symptom management. If your blood pressure is high, you’re given a medication to bring your blood pressure down. Nobody digs into why do you have high blood pressure.

Functional medicine is concerned with the ‘why’.
Dr. Dunston breaks down the ‘why’ into four categories:

  • Hormone imbalance
  • Toxicity
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Energetic imbalance

Dr. Dunston claims that mainstream doctors are not educated in this. “I don’t blame them. They’re doing the best that they can with the information they’re given, and that’s what I did for years. But like Oprah says, “when you know better you do better”.

When asked if most functional medicine practitioners are MD’s, Dr. Dunston says no. There are two main organizations that train and certify functional medicine practitioners and they allow different levels of medical providers to become certified.

Dr. Dunston wants listeners to know that if they have symptoms and their health is not vital and alive with bountiful energy, a normal weight and no prescription medications, then there’s a reason why they are not feeling well. “If you’re not getting the answers that you need at your regular doctor’s office, seek out other answers, and functional medicine just might be a part of the answer for you”.

What are symptoms of hormonal imbalance?
In a 20-year-old woman, she could have polycystic ovarian syndrome, which symptoms might be heavy, painful and very irregular periods, acne, bloating, and infertility. A perimenopausal woman at 45 could have heavy, irregular periods with moodiness and/or low sex drive. A menopausal woman who’s 60 could have lack of sex drive, poor memory and fatigue.

Every woman has estrogen, and there could be varying degrees of dysfunctional levels. Every woman has progesterone and there could be varying degrees of dysfunction. Every woman has the stress hormone cortisol and there can be varying degrees of dysfunction with that. There’s always root causes.

Types of hormone replacement therapy
Dr. Dunston says the average age at which menopause occurs is 51 in the United States, and perimenopause can start 5 to 10 years before that.

Hormone replacement therapy is designed to replace hormones that the body naturally makes when in an optimal state. There are different types of hormone replacement therapy explains Dr. Dunston. There’s the traditional mainstream hormone replacement therapy that includes what started over 50 years ago as horse estrogen which was taken from pregnant horses. The estrogen was extracted and they started giving it to women. But when it was realized there was an increased risk for uterine cancer, something was needed to counteract the effect of estrogen. So they went into the lab and took the body’s natural progesterone and chemically modified it. It is commercially sold as Provera with the goal of counteracting the effects of the estrogen on the uterus so women wouldn’t get uterine cancer. This has been shown in large scale studies to have serious side effects and increase the risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and strokes, and not to be beneficial to women according to Dr. Dunston. There was a big move many years ago with a Women’s Health Initiative study to get women off of this traditional hormone replacement therapy.

Another type of hormone therapy is bioidentical hormone replacement which means that hormones are replaced with something identical to what a woman’s body naturally makes. Dr. Dunston says there is enough data now to show that health outcomes for women and quality of life are markedly improved with biologically identical hormone replacement.

Dr. Dunston thinks women have been left out to dry and perimenopausal and menopausal women are totally underserved because there is no standard of care for checking hormone levels. A woman should have her hormone levels checked by someone who knows what they’re doing and then evaluated. Dr. Dunston indicates that she is by no means someone who says that every woman needs hormone replacement. There are some women who go through menopause and they’re fine. Dr. Dunston acknowledges that hormone replacement therapy is a very big and controversial topic.

At what age should a woman test her sex hormone levels?

It is Dr. Dunston’s position that women’s hormone levels should be checked throughout the life cycle. “We want to know where women are when they’re in their younger years and teens, and then we have something to compare it to. We want to know where they are in their twenties thirties, forties and fifties. It should be checked as standard of care.”

What are the various types of hormones?
There are many hormones, not just the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The other four major hormones that Dr. Dunston evaluates when assessing someone for hormone imbalance are: 1) thyroid 2) insulin 3) cortisol and 4) DHEA.

Hormonal imbalance and diet
When it comes to eating, insulin is the hormone that is primarily affected. A strategy for eating to help balance hormones involves helping insulin and cortisol to function better. One might think that sex hormones don’t have anything to do with these other hormones. They do. They’re all interrelated according to Dr. Dunston. So if you take care of your insulin and your cortisol, it helps your sex hormones and your thyroid.

Insulin is the hormone that is given the task of keeping blood sugar from going too high. Blood sugar is a main fuel source that cells use to make energy to do anything. A secondary fuel source is fat. Sugar comes from the food that we eat in varying degrees. Every time you eat, you get some degree of sugar. If you eat high glycemic index or high sugar content foods, you get more sugar, like white rice, potatoes, cakes, candies, cookies, bread and pasta. If you eat low sugar containing foods with a low glycemic index like broccoli and green beans, you get a bit of sugar.

Blood sugar roller coaster
Whatever you eat in a meal is going to give you your dose of sugar or glucose, and then your insulin is going to come in to tell you what to do with that glucose. It keeps your blood sugar from going too high because too high blood sugar is a problem. One of the biggest issues worldwide is diabetes. For the majority of people who have diabetes type two, they consume too much sugar, and the insulin cannot keep up with the level of sugar that they’re consuming. So insulin starts going up to try handle the high level of sugar, and eventually it can’t do its job and the cells in the pancreas that make insulin start dying because it’s like they’re being blown out.

The problem is that as insulin goes up, what goes up must come down. Blood sugar goes up and the higher it goes and the faster it goes up, the faster it goes down and the lower it goes. And when it comes down, there are a couple of hormones that are tasked with bringing it back up. One is glucagon and the other is cortisol.

Cortisol is the stress hormone. It regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It helps to regulate blood sugar, energy level, weight and how the immune system functions or does not function. Blood sugar has to be maintained in a very narrow range. You could die if your blood sugar goes too low. Your body considers that an emergency. Cortisol is the emergency hormone. You eat too many high glycemic index foods, blood sugar goes up, and then it crashes down and then cortisol is stressed out and you go up and down. This is the blood sugar roller coaster.

How does one know if they’re on the blood sugar roller coaster? You get hangry; you get angry, irritable and feel all out of sorts.

How should we be eating?

Dr. Dunston loves what she calls a modified paleo diet – primarily plant based.
In her opinion, vegan diets can have health benefits if you do them for 3, 6 or in certain circumstances, 9 or 12 months. But in her opinion, it’s not something that is a viable option as a lifestyle. She says there are certain nutrients that one can only get from animal protein. Supplements can be taken but Dr. Dunston thinks most people who are vegans do not supplement properly. (For another opinion, listen to vegan dietician Ashley in Alternative Food Network’s podcast, Plant Based Diet, episode 1.)

Dr. Dunston continues to explain that eating vegan is a tool to use, but as a lifestyle, to just do that and not do it under medical supervision without proper assessments and support, it’s probably in the long run going to cause problems.

It’s a volatile issue because people are very attached to their philosophical and political views and rightly so says Dr. Dunston. But as a physician, if you take dogma out of it, Dr. Dunston thinks the body really does need animal protein. However, she will sometimes suggest a vegan diet as a medicinal tool for a finite period of time as there can be a lot of benefit to it.  

The problem with today’s standard diet
Several hundred years ago, all we had was food from the earth. It was primarily plant food that was seasonal and local. We didn’t have meat in the degree that we now have. We way overeat meat. The standard American diet, which has been adopted by many countries around the world, is really pretty nutrient deficient and it’s just out of balance.
Dr. Dunston uses orange juice as an example. We love orange juice because we’re biologically predisposed to love sugar, and then we make that a part of our everyday, and what we’re not paying attention to is what this is doing to our body. It’s spiking our insulin and it’s dinging our cortisol and if we stay on that path to diabetes long enough, first we become insulin resistant, and then we become diabetic.

Dr. Dunston’s top food picks

  • Vegetables, vegetables and more vegetables – spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens. Dunson tells people to get nine servings of vegetables per day.
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Spices -turmeric, curcumin, oregano
  • Berries
  • Healthy proteins

Additional Resources
The Diet Deceptive Dozen: 12 Foods Flying Under Your Radar by Kyrin Dunston

LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST EPISODE 11.

 

 

Algae: The Food of The Future?

Listen to the full episode.

Plant Based Diet | Show Notes | Interview With Catharine Arnston, Founder & CEO Of Energybits

It has been touted as the food of the future and the most nutrient dense food on the planet. Algae is a food that’s “a gift to us from mother nature”, says Catharine Arnston, Founder & CEO of Energybits, who is interviewed in this episode.

What is Algae?
The type of algae discussed in the podcast is a food crop grown in fresh water. It is not grown in the ocean. It has a high content of protein, vitamins and minerals and is a multi billion-dollar industry in Asia.

Macroalgae and microalgae are two subcategories of algae. Macroalgae is what you see washed up on shore such as seaweed, dulse and kelp. Microalgae can be found everywhere, in the ocean, rivers and pools but it’s toxic to humans. Of the all the strains of microalgae, two types of microalgae are grown as an agricultural crop: 1) Spirulina (blue-green algae); and 2) Chlorella (green algae).

Difference Between Spirulina and Chlorella
Spirulina is technically bacteria. It has a very high concentration of protein and, according to Catharine Arnston, is known for giving a person energy and focus. Declared by the United Nations as “the best food for the future” and recommended to governments in a 2008 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, spirulina has the potential to fulfill food security needs.

According to Arnston, spirulina is a complete protein. Spirulina also has B vitamins and essential fatty acids like omega-3 and GLA (gamma linolenic acid) and is high in iron, among many other nutritional benefits. According to Arnston who calls spirulina “efficient nutrition”, spirulina algae can satisfy hunger without carbs so people also use it for intermittent fasting.  

Chlorella is completely different than spirulina. One unique characteristics of chlorella is its high concentration of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is important at the cellular level for getting nutrients in and toxins out. (For more on this, listen to Alternative Food Network’s Doctors+ podcast episode 10 on The Role of Nutrition in Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Chronic Disease with Dr. Mel Litman.) What kind of toxins? Arnston mentions its use after nuclear disasters, chemotherapy and even to avoid a hangover after drinking too much alcohol.

A second interesting characteristic about chlorella is that its chemical composition is similar to that of hemoglobin. Arnston points out that in WWI, when blood for transfusions ran out, the injured were given liquid chlorophyll.

Chlorella also is a natural source of Vitamin K2 which is important for heart and bone health says Arnston. Dietary sources of vitamin K2 include eggs, meat and various cheeses, foods which are lacking in a vegan diet.

Arnston also mentions that chlorella has been used to promote gut health.

How is Microalgae Processed?
Most microalgae is grown in Asia. It is grown in ponds and takes 1-2 months to grow. Then it’s dried into a powder. Energybits presses the powder into tablets, which tablets are imported into the US and tested by a third party lab.

2018 Farm Bill
The 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law in December 2018. It expanded federal support for algae agriculture, placing algae as one of the priorities for new crop development.

NASA’s Interest in Algae
Two of the reasons for NASA interest in algae are because of its nutritional density and oxygen generation according to Arnston.

Algae and COVID-19
Studies mentioned in the podcast:

  • University of Pittsburg algae nasal spray to prevent infection
  • Israel and Italy algae-based edible vaccine experiment
  • University of Western Ontario antibody test kit using algae

Who Should Not Consume Algae
According to Arnston, she has not heard of any allergies to spirulina. However, if someone is sensitive to vitamin K or beta-carotene, algae would not be appropriate.

Also, since chlorella pulls out toxins, Arnston did not know if chlorella identifies medication as a toxin. Therefore, Arnston recommends taking chlorella two hours before or after taking other medication. Arnston further says she’s “on the fence” about whether chlorella can treat auto-immune conditions despite it being an immune system builder.

Benefits of Algae if You’re Plant-Based
Of particular interest if you’re plant-based is that algae is a great source of omega-3’s, iron and chlorophyll. Arnston adds that today’s vegetables don’t contain the same nutrients as they once did so it’s difficult to get all the nutrients one needs with plants. Algae can be a great and easy source of nutrients.

Chlorella Detox
Since chlorella is a detoxifier, it is possible it could cause some short term distress according Arnston such as headaches, breakouts and stomach discomfort.

Algae for Immune Support
Algae provides great immune support, says Arnston. Algae has so many nutrients including zinc, vitamin A, B3, amino acids and chlorophyll that it makes it “easy to stay healthy”.

Future for Algae
We’re going to see it more and more in drinks and foods such as meat alternatives, soups, sauces and pasta. It’s even being used in food packaging. Unilever recently entered into a partnership with biotech startup Algenuity. They are exploring microalgae’s potential in food innovation. Algae represents an alternative source of protein which is key to feeding a growing population while reducing the impact on the environment.

Additional Resources
Microalgae: A potential alternative supplementation for humans https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453018301435

Building Better Life Support Systems for Future Space Travel https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/photobioreactor-better-life-support

Episode 5 – Algae: The Food of the Future?

Episode 5 – Algae: The Food of the Future

Listen to “Algae: The Food of the Future?” on Spreaker.

It has been touted as the food of the future and the most nutrient dense food on the planet. In this episode, Catharine Arnston, Founder & CEO of Energybits, discusses algae which she describes as a food that’s “a gift to us from mother nature”. Packed with vitamins, minerals and protein, it’s a multi-billion-dollar crop in Asia but not particularly well known as a food outside of Asia.

In this podcast you’ll hear:
1:15 – How Catharine got into the algae business
5:00 – Algae as a food
9:00 – Algae subcategories: Macroalgae and micro-algae
9:30 – 2 types of microalgae: 1) Blue-green 2) Green
10:15 – Difference between spirulina and chlorella
22:00 – How is microalgae grown and processed?
24:45 – Beware of heavy metals in algae
27:25 – NASA’s use of algae on space missions
28:50 – Products made from algae
29:45 – Algae trials related to COVID
30:30 – The science behind algae
31:15 – Are there health warnings?
33:45 – Benefits of algae for a plant-based diet
39:15 – Chlorella as a detoxifier and immunity booster
44:15 – Companies bringing algae to the mass market 

If you want to give algae a try you can visit the ENERGYbits® website at energybits.com. Use discount code AFN for 20% off your order!

If you use the discount code to make a purchase, Alternative Food Network will earn a commission at no cost to you. We do this only for products we like. 

Episode 4 – Plant Based During Coronavirus: Livestream with Fay and Ashley

Episode 4 – Plant Based During Coronavirus: Livestream with Fay and Ashley 

Listen to “Plant Based During Coronavirus: Livestream with Fay and Ashley” on Spreaker.

This is the audio version of a livestream virtual meetup with Fay and Ashely. We chat about their life during COVID-19, what they’re eating and what plant-based items they keep in their pantry.

 

Inflammatory and Anti-Inflammatory Foods

June 14, 2020

Having produced podcasts for the last couple of years related to food and health, there is consistent mention by our distinguished podcast guests and medical professionals of the connection between inflammation and diet. Based on information from these interviews, here’s a summary of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods as mentioned in Episodes 5 and 8 of Alternative Food Network’s Doctors+ podcast series and the Inflammation-Food Connection podcast.

Inflammatory Foods

  • Dairy
  • Alcohol
  • Processed meats, red meat
  • Refined sugar
  • Trans fats, saturated fasts
  • Refined carbohydrates e.g. white rice, white bread, white flour
  • Browned or burnt foods

Anti-inflammatory Foods

  • Monounsaturated fats e.g. olives, olive oil, macadamia nuts
  • Omega 3 fatty acids e.g. wild/unfarmed fish, pumpkin seeds, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, algae products
  • Whole or cracked grains e.g. quinoa, sorghum, millet, amaranth, bulgur
  • Naturally high fiber foods e.g. fruits, vegetables (particularly dark leafy greens)
  • Avocado
  • Legumes e.g. beans, lentils
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Nuts
  • Dark chocolate
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric + black pepper
  • Green tea
  • Blueberries

Sources:
Doctors+ podcast series, Episode 8: Food and Mood (Part I)
Doctors+ podcast series, Episode 5: The Gut-Brain Axis
Inflammation-Food Connection Podcast

Episode 3 – The Plant Based Diet: Healthy Fat

Episode 3 – Healthy Fat

Listen to “Healthy Fat” on Spreaker.

In this 20 minute episode, Fay and Ashley are back discussing fat, why our bodies need fat and what plant based foods have healthy fats. You’ll also get great information about cooking with plant-based oils and their smoke points. As a bonus for our audience, Fay and Ashley have provided some great plant-based recipes (below).

In this podcast you’ll hear:
2:45 What are the four types of fats?
3:20 What are saturated fats?
3:50 What are trans fats?
4:30 What are mono-unsaturated fats?
4:45 What are poly-unsaturated fats?
5:30 Coconut cream
7:40 Examples of plant-based foods with good fat
9:00 Avocado
11:30 Why do we need fat?
12:15 How much fat should someone have on a daily basis?
14:00 Cooking with plant-based oils and their smoke points
17:45 Baking and cooking with avocado oil
19:30 Ashley’s cashew cheese sauce
19:45 Fay’s coconut whipping cream

This episode’s show notes are brought to you by Vurbl. Vurbl is launching new technology for audio creators like us. Join the beta at https://vurbl.com/.

Recipes

CASHEW CHEESE SAUCE (courtesy of Ashley Kitchens)
Ingredients
2 cups soaked cashews
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. miso paste
Squeeze of lemon
Water to thin it out

Instructions
Blend ingredients.
Pour into a bowl. Add dash of cayenne pepper.

WHIPPED GUACAMOLE (courtesy of Fay Knights)
Ingredients
4 medium-large ripe avocados
1 organic lemon or 3 limes juiced
1 tsp organic garlic powder (or 1 crushed garlic clove)
1/2 tsp organic onion powder
1 tsp fine pink Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp organic ground black pepper
punch smoked paprika optional

Instructions
Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend on medium for 20-30 seconds.
Taste test and add more lemon/lime juice, salt, and pepper if desired.
With a rubber spatula, transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy!

COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM (courtesy of Fay Knights)
Ingredients
1 can full fat organic coconut milk
1-3 tbsp powdered organic cane or maple sugar depending on how sweet you like it – if you use maple, the whipped cream may have a more cream like colour instead of white.
1 tsp organic vanilla extract

Optional:
pinch cinnamon and/or fine pink Himalayan salt

Instructions
Refrigerate coconut milk can the night before.
Day of: start by putting a medium metal or glass mixing bowl in the freezer while gathering your ingredients and doing step 3.
Remove can of coconut milk from fridge, flip over and open the can from its opposite side. Pour out the water that has separated from the coconut fat. Tip: pour it in a sealable cup and store in the fridge to drink later or add to smoothies.
Remove bowl from the freezer. Scoop out coconut cream that is left in the can (after pouring out water) into the bowl and add organic powdered sugar and vanilla.
Beat on low with an electric mixer until well combined (maximum 1 minute).
Serve with your favourite fruit or dessert right away or cover bowl tightly with wrap and store in the fridge.

Notes
Lasts in the fridge for up to 5-7 days Do not over beat. If it’s over beaten the coconut fat will start to liquefy. You can substitute maple syrup, honey, or coconut nectar instead of powdered cane sugar but do not use more than 1-2 tsp because it will become too liquidy and will also separate a bit when stored in the fridge. Use a high fat coconut milk. These generally say “full fat” or “premium fat” on the can. Do not use cans that say “light” – light versions have very little fat content (not enough to make the whipped cream). 

Episode 2 – The Plant-Based Diet: Plant Based Meat Alternatives: Healthy or not?

Episode 2 – Plant Based Meat Alternatives: Healthy or not?

Listen to “Plant Based Meat Alternatives” on Spreaker.

We’re back with Fay and Ashley discussing plant based meat alternatives. We discuss ingredients of plant based burgers and whether the store-bought varieties are a healthy option.

We’re back with Fay and Ashley from episode 1 discussing plant based meat alternatives. We discuss plant based burger ingredients and whether the store-bought varieties are a healthy option.

What you’ll hear:
2:30   Why Ashley and Fay changed their meat-eating habits
5:00    Are plant based meat alternatives healthy?
6:30    What are plant based meat alternatives made of?
9:30    Homemade meatless alternatives
13:00  Store-bought meatless burger ingredients
14:30  Price comparison of beef v. plant based burger
16:45   Thumbs up or down on meatless burgers?

This episode’s show notes are brought to you by Vurbl. Vurbl is launching new technology for audio creators like us. Join the beta at https://vurbl.com/.

Mental Health: Coping Strategies For Children & Parents During Covid-19

In this unprecedented time, how can we enable success for our children and ourselves?

During Alternative Food Network’s livestream, child and adolescent psychologists Drs. Jennifer Felsher and Dahlia Fisher provide terrific insights about parenting during the coronavirus crisis.

How to Be Realistically Reassuring for Your Children
Realistically reassuring means being reassuring but truthful with your children and not making promises that you can’t keep. According to Dr. Fisher, when speaking with children about serious matters, “we can never guarantee to our children that everything is going to be fine but we can help our children base their thoughts and feelings on what’s most likely”. With the COVID-19 situation, there is so much uncertainty so it’s difficult to know what is “most likely”. Dr. Fisher recommends reassuring our children that we are doing everything that we can within our control, which includes washing our hands, socially distancing, limiting our exposure to the media and taking care of ourselves. As parents, “we can reassure our kids that they don’t have to run the show” and they have parents who are keeping them as safe as possible during this time.

Dr. Felsher recommends not using the term “the new normal” as in her opinion this is not reassuring for children. If your child asks when they can go back to school or when their sports or other activities will resume, don’t sugarcoat but reassure them that while we are not sure when, they will be able to go back to their activities when the time is right and when the officials let us know when it’s safe.

What does “I’m Bored” Really Mean?
While bored can certainly mean your child is just bored, Dr. Fisher says that sometimes it can mean “I’m lonely” or “I’m feeling isolated” or “I’m depressed”. While everyone is impacted by social isolation, for teenagers, for example, friends are their lifeline; though not everyone can navigate the shift from in-person to online. Not everyone is included in the same way. When kids aren’t in a natural environment of being together, it’s harder for some than others to stay connected.

For younger kids who may not have the words to describe exactly how they’re feeling, according to Dr. Felsher, “I’m bored” might mean they are missing what they are used to doing or they’re feeling stressed.

What should parents do when their kids say they’re bored? Dr. Felsher suggests helping children learn the appropriate language for their feelings. Investigate and ask “What do you mean by bored?” and suggest different feelings if their language isn’t developed enough such as “Does it mean you feel sad? Does it mean you’re feeling tired? Are you feeling scared?”. If it actually means bored, perhaps assist them in structuring themselves and organizing an activity.

Dr. Fisher adds that it’s ok to be bored too. It sometimes opens up the space for creativity. She adds that parents can also find an activity that the whole family can do together whether it’s going outside, playing a board game, doing a puzzle or calling family members. According to Dr. Fisher, it reminds children “I’m here. I might not be your first choice but I’m here”. While it may seem difficult to drop everything during the day and play with your children, according to Dr. Felsher, play is a good break for parents too.

Screen Time
“If you’re working and can’t physically be overseeing your child, especially if they’re younger, you’ve got to practice letting a lot of things go,” says Dr. Fisher. With older kids, help them recognize their patterns of behaviour such as grumpiness that can result from too much screen time in order to set them up for success the following day.

For adolescents who connect socially with their friends on screens, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing according to Dr. Felsher. As a parent, ask your teen what they are doing on the phone and with whom are they speaking. Have an open conversation with your child about what they do online so you as a parent understand better what their online world is all about. However, when it comes to a schedule for usage and whether screens should be taken away for bedtime, Dr. Fisher replies with a “hard yes”. Sleep is so important for physical and mental health.

Best practices for sleep hygiene include:
• Having a time for turning screens off.
• Stop screens at least an hour before going to sleep.
• No screens in bedroom at night and charge outside the bedroom.

When it comes to adolescents being excluded online by their peers, it’s important for parents to validate their child’s feelings. Ask the child if there is someone else they can call. It’s also important as parents to figure out if your child is actually being excluded or is your child retreating. Perhaps they would actually be welcomed by the peer group if they tried to engage.

Self-Care for Parents
Give yourself permission to prioritize family connections over an immaculate home. Get dressed in the morning. Have a routine. Go outside. “It makes the difference psychologically…when you do some basic self care,” says Dr. Felsher. Dr. Felsher also recommends exercising 3-4 times per week. It might be hard to get motivated right now but “it’s critical both for your physical health and also for your mental health.” Many online exercise classes are even being offered for free right now.

It’s also important for parents to manage their own anxiety right now. “Look at yourself and what’s keeping you up at night and find a way to manage yourself,” says Dr. Fisher. During this coronavirus, “it really is that much more important to make those efforts to do things that make you feel good,” says Dr. Felsher.

If you have a partner, work on being on the same page as your partner and take the time to have those conversations with your partner about what you need and what your partner needs. “The more you put your needs out there, the better chance you have of getting them met,” says Dr. Fisher.

Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle
In addition to good quality sleep, exercise and self-care, diet is also an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Esther Garfin of Alternative Food Network agrees and refers to the recent publication of her podcast interview about the connection between diet and mental health. Listen here to the 2-part episode titled Food and Mood which is part of Alternative Food Network’s Doctors+ podcast series.

Additional Resources

https://www.alternativefoodnetwork.com/doctors-plus/

http://www.childdevelop.ca/coronavirus 

https://jack.org/COVID

https://www.screenagersmovie.com/resources-2

https://www.screenagersmovie.com/tech-talk-tuesdays/digital-binging-is-it-a-problem?rq=covid

https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/COVID-19

To Ghee or Not to Ghee – That is the Question, but What is the Right Answer?

By Anita Mehta

To Ghee or Not to Ghee – That is the Question, but What is the Right Answer?

If your focus is health, wellbeing and embracing a better quality of life, then you have likely already heard of GHEE and its numerous benefits.  Used in Indian cooking for thousands of years, it is simply a clarified form of butter, heated to the point that the milk and water solids have separated and then removed, making it ideal for those lactose intolerant. Ketogenic and paleo diet friendly, it has a rich, nutty and caramelized type of flavoring, requiring no refrigeration.  Ghee made from cow’s milk is the best and readily available in grocery stores.

With its high levels of vitamin A, D, E, K, and CLA, a known anti-carcinogen, ghee delivers powerful benefits. It has been shown to rejuvenate and revitalize the whole body – from boosting immunity, decreasing inflammation, contributing to heart health, improving vision and promoting healthy hair and skin.  If that isn’t enough to convince you – it can even support weight loss as its amino acids help increase lean body mass while reducing the size of fat cells.  Essentially ghee acts as an instant energy source and is not stored as fat.

Ghee can be easily incorporated in your daily routine, either by itself or in cooking. You can take 1 tsp on an empty stomach each morning or blend into your tea, coffee or smoothie.  Using a blender to mix in the ghee creates a smooth, rich consistency, but without the dairy.  Easily used in stir fry’s, soups or pasta- it has a high smoke point, making it a healthier replacement to oils with a lower smoke point.  When an oil is thoroughly heated, it begins to smoke, break down and become oxidized. Research has shown that consuming oil that has been oxidized may create free radicals within the body, increasing the risk for developing cancer.

With so much to offer, it would appear to be a super food, however it is still high in saturated fat and should be used in moderation ideally 1-2 tsp a day, enough to still reap its wonderful rewards.

Turmeric Latte

  • 1 cup milk (dairy, coconut, almond, soy)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp ghee
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground fennel seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)

Whisk milk, spices, honey, ghee, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes.

Chocolate Fruit Dip 

Over low heat, stir together 1 tsp ghee, 1 tsp coconut oil, ½ tsp raw honey, and a handful of dark-chocolate chips until melted. 

References

What Is Ghee and What Are Its Benefits?
By Nicole Leatherman, Nutrition Writer and Editor
https://www.bijouxandbits.com/2017/01/golden-milk-recipe-turmeric-tea
https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/creative-ways-use-ghee
https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/ghee-better-than-butter
https://www.hindustantimes.com/fitness/ghee-for-weight-loss-nutrition-benefits-and-when-to-have-it/story-ufkPObq1I9NqOYqAZsnLWM.html
https://milkio.co.nz/ghee-smoke-point/

Anita embraces a variety of interests ranging from mentoring, travel & event planning, cooking, writing and volunteering.  Previously having worked in financial services, she now enjoys the freedom and versatility each day brings.