Questions from Clients: To Salt Or Not To Salt!

Each month I address a client’s burning nutrition question. July’s came from Luise (I just forgot to post it in my blog):

“Dear BuzzNutrition, What is the difference between Sea Salt and Kosher Salt?”

Thanks for the question, Luise! First of all, I’m glad you’re using salt. There’s a lot of fear around salt and its potential to raise blood pressure but the story is much more complicated than that. Plain table salt has one ingredient: sodium chloride. The human body thrives when it has an abundance of well-balanced minerals, but runs into trouble when one of those minerals dominates. When sodium dominates, balance is disrupted and there’s not enough of other minerals, like magnesium, potassium and calcium for the body to get its millions of jobs done. It’s more likely that this mineral imbalance contributes to high blood pressure, not salt itself.

So, to your question! While table salt is mined from underground salt mines and sea salt comes from evaporated sea water, kosher salt can come from either source. Another difference is that table salt contains a small amount of calcium silicate to prevent clumping, while kosher and sea salt have no preservatives. Kosher salt that comes from sea water differs from sea salt in that it’s gone through the koshering process (a requirement for some religions that has no effect on nutritional value). In summary, any salt that comes from sea water offers a more well-rounded group of minerals and no preservatives. The best sea salts are any color other than white and are slightly wet. Two good brands are Real Salt and Selina Celtic Sea Salt. 

New Year’s Resolution Armageddon-Style

fireworks free from shutterstockThe New Year has the potential for making you feel squeaky-clean and full of potential… so why take on the burden of a new resolution you’re not going to keep anyway? Inspired by the near miss we had with end-of-days :), I’m choosing to lighten up instead.

{ As a nutritionist, I’m supposed to urge you to resolve to cut out sugar or to exercise more or to eat local produce*… those are great ideas but I’m not that kind of nutritionist. You do what you want! I’m eager to help you if that’s what you want. }

I know I’m not the only one who makes resolutions, fails at them and then feels like a putz for it… that’s why I haven’t made one for years! But I still manage to feel like a putz sometimes for other reasons…

…with those reasons in mind, this year I’m turning the concept of resolution on its head.

This year, instead of making a resolution & adding a new thing to juggle, I’m downsizing & streamlining. Letting go of old baggage. Scraping off peeled paint. This will take 3 main forms:

  1. FORGIVING. First on the list is myself for all the silly stuff I’ve done. Next comes everyone else: the kid who rode over my foot with a Big Wheel in 2nd grade; the high school boyfriend who cheated on me with his coworker, the french fry frier, at McD’s; my dog who tore the head off my Raggedy Ann doll in 8th grade; my supposed best friends in 9th grade who secretly wrote love letters from me to the class nerd who showed up at our first date excited… and alone (i still haven’t forgiven myself for being too insecure to give those friends hell when I found out)… and other much more important stuff.
  2. DUMPING. In the coming months, Goodwill & Craigslist will be seeing a lot of me. Or, maybe the creative hOUR economy folks will have organized some kind of FreeCycle program. Whomever the donor, I’m going to streamline my material possessions.
  3. SHEDDING. Dead skin cells be GONE! When I lived in Seattle I’d go to this awesome Korean spa where I laid down on a stone slab and a lady scrubbed the *&$# out of my skin with a special washcloth. It hurt a lot!! I could see the dead skin balling up and falling away (gross? sorry.)  All worth it because when she was done, I felt like a cross between Cat Woman & a newborn baby! You can do this at home with much less pain. Maybe also consider a hair cut (many salons to choose from in Staunton- I entrusted Grail @ The Shop and he did a great job!)

The material bit in #2 is easy to understand: If you’ve cleaned out your garage lately, or donated a pile of “another person’s treasure” to a charity, you know the lighter, freer feeling that this Up-cycled Resolution can give you. But the emotional & energetic aspects of #s 1 & 3 are much more beneficial. Get ready for a liberating lightness, a soaring understanding of possibility, a gasping relief, a solid knowing that everything is in its place.

staunton wall

#1, Forgiveness, is the most important. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself. The other person does not need to be involved… they may not want to be and that doesn’t need to stop you. This is much harder than it sounds, though… much more than a little note written to all your exes saying “no hard feelings, dum dum”. True forgiveness goes much deeper and requires that you look at yourself intently… and forgive yourself for what you see. It takes bravery but, like the stone slab at the Korean spa, it’s enormously worth it.

Though I’m far from a guru and have lots to unlearn, I have some suggestions for achieving #1 in a painless way. The tricks I have up my sleeve have worked really well for me. And, of course, the mind and heart communicate better when good nutrition is on board… if you want help, I’d love to be there for you and tell you more!

The biggest advantage of the lightness gained from doing all this downsizing & streamlining is agility. A person made lighter from forgiveness and material/energetic purging is better able to respond to the world with compassion (instead of reacting for protection) and be more fully a part of it. A lot of people try to sell you new tricks and new information in order to be a better person… but I know that we’re all amazing people- it’s just that some peoples’ amazingness is buried deep underneath painful stuff. The key is not to get more info/skills/resolutions. The key is to get to the basics of who we are… and that begins with forgiveness.

Happy New Year!!!!!

*If you do want to eat more local produce, that’s easy @ Nu-Beginning Farm’s retail store!

A few gluten-free recipes for holiday desserts

ImageIf you’re trying to avoid gluten but also want to go to a holiday party, you might feel stuck. In order to avoid feeling left out, bring your own gluten-free deliciousness!

Bypass Bloating & Binging this Holiday Season

Holidays can either be a time of total hedonistic abandon (the world’s ending tomorrow anyway, right?) or an opportunity to appreciate the holidays for what they really are: a time to spend time with loved ones and appreciate all the beauty out there.

While food is under the umbrella of “all the beauty out there”, bloating and gas and indigestion is less than gorgeous.

Here are some tips to avoid feeling uncomfortable (and heavier) after the holiday frenzy has passed.

I wish you a happy holiday!  :)Anne

  1. Start now with probiotics. These little guys work non-stop to help you in many ways, one being keep digestions working normally.
  2. Keep it simple. Some stomachs get overwhelmed when asked to digest lots of new & different foods at once. The most common food combo that people have trouble with is fruit + meat. So if you’re having fruit, eat it first and wait about 30-45 minutes before eating the the meat… or skip the fruit. Just be sure to eat some green veggies! And skip fruit-based desserts.
  3. Put fennel seeds in your pocket before going to a party- chew on them after your meal and they’ll help settle your stomach. You might recall seeing a bowl of fennel seeds and other herbs at the entrance of an Indian restaurant… that’s why!
  4. Alternatively, come prepared with digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid (HCl) supplements… swallow with first bites of food. Save the HCl for your first bite of meat.
  5. Hydrate well during the day between meals and don’t drink too much while you eat. The liquid will dilute the digestive juices in your belly and make food sit there longer. Of course, this nutritionist did not just fall off a turnip truck- other holiday wine/brew is going to go down your gullet… it is the holidays after all!
  6. Keep your hands full. Carry a camera or a hand clutch (fancy-dancy purse). The more you have in your hands, the less you’ll be able to grab and put in your mouth.
  7. Try to skip foods with gluten/wheat. I know, you’re wondering what foods DON’T have gluten/wheat! Meat, veggies, sweet potatoes, fruit, nuts, seeds. Lots of good things.*
  8. Share the gluten-free love: Bake your own dessert and bring it to the party. That way you’ll be able to enjoy some cookies/brownies PLUS you can introduce the deliciousness to your friends/family… and you won’t feel left out. Find some recipes here!

*Why avoid gluten/wheat? It’s inflammatory, spikes blood sugar and can kickstart the immune system, which can cause damage… plus the wheat we eat is only 50 years old!… our bodies don’t know what to do with it. Tune into a live webcast all about gluten on 1/9 to learn more!

Splena’s new “natural” sweetener, Nectresse, is quite sour…

poison bandSplenda says their new zero-calorie sugar fix, Nectresse, is all-natural and comes from an Asian melon called monk fruit, or Lo Han. It’s a heat stable sugar that is safely extracted using water & heat instead of chemicals. That’s good… but there’s a sour side the story and I thought you’d like to know.

What makes Nectresse so bad? It’s very simple.

Ingredient #1 of Nectresse: erythritol, a sugar alcohol primarily derived from corn (very likely genetically modified corn).

Ingredient # 2 of Nectresse: sugar! Yes. Refined sugar, likely from genetically modified sugar beets.

And now, Ingredient #3: Here’s the Monk Fruit extract.

Don’t forget Ingredient #4: Molasses, which may as well be sugar & is also likely from genetically modified sugar beets.

Really? GM corn sugar, GM beet sugar, monk fruit and molasses? In my book, that’s a modern-day poison!

That’s the new product you’re so excited about, Splenda people?

May as well just use Stevia (a truly all-natural zero-calorie sweetener)… or even plain old organic unrefined sugar…

Consider, too, non-food sources of sweet! Sweet rewards can be found in a laugh with a friend, a game of catch with a dog (as long as you have one of those ball-picker-uppers lest you get syrupy dog slobber all over you) or listening to the sweet sweet guitar riffs of a heavy metal band.

 

GMO betrayal + Kale-Ginger Margarita

If life were chronicled in Batman comic, the frame showing GMO science slamming its fist into agriculture’s jaw would be followed by a large burst of orange italic letters: “GMO”

It’s a strongly polar topic: those who are pro-GMO either have lots of money in it, or don’t have the right information. The anti-GMO view is just so obvious… besides the fact we’re one of the very few countries that don’t require labeling, combining the DNA of plants and pesticides and then eating them or feeding them to babies is just… so… dumb.

I’m sharing this infographic done by NaturalNews.com followed by a recipe that it inspires me to make and guzzle.

1) Brands that funneled money into defeating GMO-labeling in CA

Source: http://www.naturalnews.com/Infographic-Natural-Brands-Betray-Consumers.html

2) Kale-Ginger Margarita

INGREDIENTS

1 cup ginger juice
½ cup kale juice
2 oz. blanco tequila
1 oz. lime juice
¾ oz. agave nectar
Salt, for rimming the glass
INSTRUCTIONS
  • Wash, stem, and roughly chop kale. Liquefy in a blender at high speed, straining out solids if desired.
  • Finely grate knobs of peeled ginger over cheesecloth; squeeze cheesecloth to strain out ginger juice.
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in ½ oz. ginger-kale juice, tequila, lime juice and agave nectar.
  • Shake well, and pour over ice into your salt-rimmed glass.

chilly day? chai it up!

Source: http://www.bastyr.edu/recipes/warming-chai-tea

This recipe is in honor of my friends nestled in the chilly hinterlands of Washington State… I wish you cozy blankets, nuzzling leg warmers and a steaming mug of chai!

A few notes from BuzzNutrition:

  • Not only is chai delicious & warming, its spices are medicinal!
  • Cinnamon and ginger are anti-inflammatory & generate heat in the body
  • If you choose not to drink animal milk, swap in coconut milk… In fact, why don’t you do that anyway? It’s much healthier…
  • Chai means tea… so when one says “chai tea”, they’re saying “tea tea”. Of course it’s okay to say whatever you want! 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • cups water
  • inches fresh peeled ginger
  •  cinnamon stocks
  •  cardamom pods
  • 12  whole peppercorns
  • 12  whole cloves
  • 1⁄2  star anise
  • Cheesecloth
  •  black tea bag (Ceylon/Darjeeling)
  • cups milk (cow or coconut)
  • tbsp sweetener (honey, brown sugar)

METHOD

  • Heat water in a medium pot.
  • In a food processor or with a mortar and pestle & some elbow grease, grind up the ginger, cinnamon, cardamom pods, whole peppercorns, whole cloves and star anise.
  • Add spices to water and let steep for 5-10 minutes on low heat.
  • Using a thin slotted strainer or cheese cloth, pour the water into another bowl and discard the spices. Pour the spiced water back into the pan and add the tea bag. Let steep for another 5 minutes.
  • Remove tea bag; add milk, honey and brown sugar. Let heat for 2 minutes, then serve.

High-Protein Egg-Free Breakfasts

ImageIt’s really important to eat a high-protein breakfast… cereal with milk just doesn’t cut it (but it does a great job of spiking your blood sugar and setting you up for a growling tummy and fierce doughnut cravings by 10 or 11am!)

Eggs are a great alternative (make a frittata ahead of time, grab a couple hard-boiled, scramble with fresh veggies), but if you can’t eat eggs (allergy or you just don’t like ’em), here are some options:

 

  1. Mustard-glazed chicken thighs + baked sweet potato + green vegetable
  2. Italian Sausage Patties (ground pork or other meat plus spice blend) + Swiss Chard + Avocado
  3. Ground beef with curry spice and cinnamon + butternut squash + broccoli
  4. Bacon-wrapped chicken thighs + plantains fried in coconut oil + steamed spinach
  5. Ground lamb with Moroccan spices + baked sweet potato + collard greens
  6. Wild canned salmon + chopped avocado, olives and lemon juice
  7. Ground beef cooked with chopped bacon & spices (sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cinnamon) + spaghetti squash
  8. Bacon or breakfast sausage + baked acorn squash with coconut butter and cinnamon
  9. Lemon rosemary broiled salmon + asparagus or steamed spinach
  10. Baked chicken thighs with curry powder + green apple + Swiss chard
  11. Greek-style lamb meatballs + cauliflower puree or steamed cauliflower
  12. Sweet potato hash with ground pork or beef, onions, garlic, rosemary + steamed spinach
  13. Baked chicken (with rosemary, sea salt, and black pepper) with vegetables

Source: http://balancedbites.com/2012/08/15-egg-free-paleo-breakfast-ideas.html