Category Health

Good Foods for a Healthy Liver

The liver is a very important organ in the body. It works hard to keep us healthy. So, in turn, we need to work hard at keeping it running in tiptop shape for a lifetime.

The liver is actually a gland. Glands secrete products that are needed elsewhere in the body. The liver produces bile, a substance that contains enzymes that break down fats for further use by the digestive system.

The liver is also a filtering organ. Have you ever heard someone talk about a person who drinks a lot? They say that they are killing their liver. That is a topic for another time, but actually they are.

Toxins that enter the body (like excess alcohol) all pass through the liver’s filtration system. Any toxic substances are passed through the body to be excreted. At any one time, twenty percent of the body’s blood supply is contained in the liver. As hard as it works, the actual organ is quite friable (bleeds easily).

To keep the liver working at optimum levels, it needs to be fed, so to speak. Everyone is finding out the important role that antioxidants play in the body. They inhibit damage to organs by free radicals. So, to help keep the liver healthy, one substance that is needed is antioxidants.

Where do you find these antioxidants? One of the best places is through fruits and vegetables. A healthy portion of fruits, mostly berries, is rich in antioxidants.

If you are looking for vegetables to add to your daily diet, try tomatoes (fruit or vegetable, who knows?), leafy green vegetables, carrots, cruciferous veggies, peppers and pumpkin. Whole wheat and nuts are also good sources of fiber. Fiber always aids in digestion by removing a measure of fat from the foods you eat as the insoluble portion passes through the digestive tract.

Any food that is high in B-vitamins promotes liver health. Think of eating more fish, eggs and dairy products. Salmon is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which are potent sources for heart health and liver functioning.

The liver can be overtaxed when there are a lot of toxic substances in our systems that need to be removed. The bile that it produces helps to cleanse the liver. Any foods that aid in removing waste from the intestines also helps reduce what the liver has to deal with. Nutrient-rich foods help the liver to do its job.

Drink lots of water to keep toxins moving out. Drinking sodas and alcohol are not helpful in excess. Alcohol will destroy liver cells, which can lead to cirrhosis or hardening of the liver.

How is your liver functioning? Blood work can tell if enzyme levels are within normal ranges. If they are fluctuating, consider changing your diet to help the liver keep your body toxin free.

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    How to Overcome Emotional Eating

    Eating is a part of life.  Your body gets its nutrients from food.  Sometimes we can go overboard with our eating habits and it can result in gaining weight.  One issue with food is emotional eating.

    The problem of emotional eating may end with the scale but it begins in the mind.  Stress takes its toll on your life.  When your defenses are compromised your health takes a hit and so do your emotions.

    Everyone has good days and bad days.  How we deal with the bad ones brings emotional eating into play.  You look for comfort for your hurts.  People who turn to food for comfort find a coping mechanism that won’t judge them, hurt them or tell them “no.” To complicate the issue, eating pleasurable foods can stimulate the release of endorphins just like exercise.  So, after you eat, you feel better.

    Emotional eaters use food to relieve stress.  They hide behind the food instead of seeking solutions to the problems.  This is not uncommon when the stressor is something horrible such as physical abuse or a death.

    But, how do you know you are using food in this way?  The first sign is obvious.  You will gain weight if you eat too much.  In light of the weight gain, examine other areas of your life:

    * Have you been under stress lately at work or at home?
    * Has anything traumatic happened in the last year?
    * Are you dealing with a problem but haven’t found a solution?

    Answering “yes” to any of these questions could mean that you are an emotional eater.  You eat but you are not necessarily hungry at the time.  The foods that you choose are what we term “comfort foods”:

    * High fat foods like French fries, fried foods
    * High carb foods like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes
    * Sugary foods like ice cream, donuts, cookies, cake

    There is help for emotional eaters.  The first step is recognizing that you have a problem.  You’ll experience feelings of helplessness and guilt.  The guilt is over potentially ruining your health and the helplessness lies in the fact that you don’t see a way out.

    Secondly, seek counseling.  There are many types of counselors out there that can meet your need.  Emotional eating has nothing to do with dieting or changing your eating habits but gaining control over your emotions.

    A counselor might suggest things like visualization, practicing problem solving skills, relaxation techniques and family support.  Visualization helps you to see your problems in a realistic way and not blown out of proportion.  You will also learn to see food as nutrition for the body and not an emotional crutch.

    Thirdly, your family can learn your triggers for stress and be on the lookout for changes in your eating habits.  They can help you be aware of the foods you are eating, assist you in making healthy food choices and exercise along with you.  Proper diet and exercise increases immunity, blood flow and positive thinking.  Yoga enhances the mind/body connection so you don’t eat when you aren’t hungry.

    Finding new ways to solve your problems and deal with stress will push food out of the equation.  You’ll feel good about finding solutions which will replace the dependence on food.

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      Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook

      Product DetailsAmerican Heart Association Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook: Delicious Recipes to Help Reduce Bad Fats and Lower Your Cholesterol
      By American Heart Association
      Harmony
      Retail Price:  $18.00
      Amazon Price:  $12.75

      Book Description:   The classic cookbook for achieving heart health and wellbeing through a diet that is low in cholesterol and saturated fat–updated and revised with 200 recipes (including 50 new to this edition)

      Lose the bad fats, but not the flavor.

      Now in its fifth edition, American Heart Association Healthy Fats, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook provides the most up-to-date information on heart health and nutrition. Good-for-you food should also be satisfying, and the American Heart Association reveals how easy it is to replace the bad fats in your diet with healthier ones. This classic cookbook offers more than 200 tempting dishes, 50 of which are new, including:

      ·         Fresh Basil and Kalamata Hummus
      ·         Triple-Pepper and White Bean Soup with Rotini
      ·         Taco Salad
      ·         Hearty Fish Chowder
      ·         Chicken Pot Pie with Mashed Potato Topping
      ·         Balsamic Braised Beef with Exotic Mushrooms
      ·         Grilled Pizza with Grilled Vegetables
      ·         Stovetop Scalloped Tomatoes
      ·         Puffed Pancake with Apple-Cranberry Sauce
      ·         Mango Brûlée with Pine Nuts

      Review

      This excellent cookbook is an impressive accomplishment of The American Heart Association. Simple, basic but mouth-watering recipes using all natural, fresh ingredients that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating! Anyone can cook with this book.   The recipes are straight forward with easy to follow directions using ingredients that are normally found in your pantry.  I’ve been very interested in healthy cooking for a long time because heart disease runs in my family and I don’t want to fall prey to it. While the recipes are great, this is much more than a cookbook.  It is a blueprint for a lifestyle that includes eating for heart health.  Don’t pass this one up!

      Reviewed by Denise C.

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        Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book

        Product DetailsDr. Susan Love’s Breast Book
        by Susan M. Love MD
        Da Capo
        Retail Price:  $24.00
        Amazon Price: $14.92

        Book Description:   For a woman faced with a diagnosis of breast cancer, the information available today is vast, uneven, and confusing. For more than two decades, readers have relied on Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book to guide them through this frightening thicket of research and opinion to find the best possible options for their particular situations. This sixth edition explains exciting advances in targeted treatments, hormonal therapies, safer chemotherapy, and immunologic approaches as well as new forms of surgery and radiation. There is extensive guidance for the increasing number of women living for years with metastatic breast cancer. With Dr. Love’s warm support, readers can sort the facts from the fads, ask the right questions, and recognize when a second opinion might be wise.

        Review

        A very good friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer recently so I purchased this book for her to help her understand the disease and make  complicated decisions.   This book shares important information about breast cancer and will answer almost any question for someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  This book helps identify questions or concerns to talk to your doctor about.  On a side note, Dr. Love also shares basic information about the breast, mammograms, etc, that is good info to share with other women.  I highly recommend this book.

        ~Reviewed by Rosie B.

         

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          Beeswax Alchemy

          Product DetailsBeeswax Alchemy
          By Petra Ahnert
          Quarry Books
          Retail Price: $25
          Amazon Price: $19.08

          Book Description:

          Modern beekeepers – take notice! Here we have the answer to one of the most common questions related to beekeeping: what do I do with all of this beeswax? In fact, the possibilities are seemingly endless! As beeswax has multiple holistic and decorative uses, projects can vary from beauty and health products to household items. Beeswax Alchemy is your first step towards using excess beeswax to make beautiful, useful gifts for friends, family, and even yourself. It offers a basic introduction to the art of extracting and purifying beeswax, as well as countless ideas for what to make with it. These include skin care creams, candles, and other home products like beeswax ornaments and wax fabric. So, get ready to suit up and collect some beeswax. There’s so much that you can do with it – and now you know how!

          Review

          This book was delightful!  There is  a bounty of information on how to use beeswax in a variety of different ways.    Beeswax is part of the rich harvest of the hive and is an entirely natural product that bees make from honey. For centuries it has been prized for making fine candles and preserving the rich shine on treasured furniture. But there is more to it than that. The recipes include health and beauty products, candles, ornaments and much much more.  This is a perfect book for those who want to live processed-free!

          ~Reviewed by Allie B.

           

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            Wheat Belly Total Health

            Wheat Belly Total Health
            By William Davis
            Rodale
            Retail Price $26.99
            Amazon Price: $17.07

            Book Description

            Wheat Belly Total Health answers the question, “What’s next in the battle against wheat?” In his follow-up to the mega bestseller, Wheat Belly, Dr. Davis helps his readers take command over their life and health in the aftermath of wheat. There are many strategies that will help heal the damage caused by years of a wheat-filled diet. And many of these lessons have been learned in the years since the original Wheat Belly was released, lessons played out on the broad public stage of over one million readers, all participating in this grand adventure.Reordering your life after wheat is about learning how to regain full metabolic, gastrointestinal, thyroid, cardiovascular, hormonal, sleep, neurological, bone, and joint health. Understanding the strategies and putting them to use can take health several steps higher, even if the reader has already had a major health success without wheat. In addition to achieving better health in many different areas, life performance also improves in virtually all settings. In the life after wheat, you’ll feel unrestrained, unimpaired, and unstoppable!

            Review

            If you have a wheat allergy, gluten intolerance, celiac disease, or you suffer from having  an autoimmune disease, diabetes, chronic headaches, inflammation, thyroid disorder, mood swings, low energy, then you will want to read this book and apply what you learn to your daily living.  Dr. Davis explains the medical problems associated with GMO wheat and shows you step by step how to make the transition to a wheat-free lifestyle.  This book is the perfect companion to his first book Wheat Belly and is the logical next step for anyone choosing to take charge of their health through nutrition.  He also shares the success that others have had with this lifestyle and these success stories will spur you on to make your own!  It was a great read giving you steps to take to improve your quality of life.

            ~Reviewed by Allie B.

             

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              The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet

              Product Details

              The Best Green Smoothies
              on the Panet
              by Tracy Russell and Kathy Patalsky
              BenBella
              Retail Price $16.95
              Amazon Price: $13.13

              Book Description: 

              Indulge in these easy, delicious recipes and discover the incredible health benefits of green smoothies!

              IncredibleSmoothies.com founder Tracy Russell tried just about every fad diet and expensive “superfood” supplement out there, with negligible results. It wasn’t until she discovered green smoothies that she lost 40 pounds, lowered her cholesterol by 50 points, and started running marathons.

              In The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet, Russell shares healthy, down-to-earth recipes made with unprocessed whole foods. Packed with fresh fruits and vegetables—particularly leafy greens—that you can find at your neighborhood grocery store or local farmers’ market, every recipe in this book contains nutrition information as well as options for substitutions and variations. Russell reveals optimal flavor pairings (which green goes best with which fruit and which fruits blend best together) and specific health benefits of key ingredients.

              Focusing on the many positive effects of drinking green smoothies, including detox and cleansing, natural weight loss, and mood enhancement, Russell offers nutrient-rich recipes with flavorful, fun combinations such as:

              Pineapple-Ginger
              Chocolate-Peanut Butter
              Mango-Avocado
              Cherry-Pomegranate
              Nectarine-Goji Berry

              With 150 delicious green smoothie favorites (enough smoothies for five whole months!), The Best Green Smoothies on the Planet provides recipes that can accommodate and enhance any individual or family diet. Whether you’re a smoothie veteran or trying something new, these drinks will wow you—with both accessibility and incredible taste.

              Review

              This is a very informative book for those who are trying to improve their health and/or lose weight.  If you’ve never tried smoothies before, this book is good for beginners as it gradually teaches you to add different fruits, veggies, proteins, and many other healthy products to your smoothies.  The recipes show you how to incorporate arugula, kale, collards, other greens and make digestible, nutrient filled and tasty smoothies that can add buckets of vegetables with all their vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your daily diet.  This book truly does offer something for everyone. Whether you are looking for recipes to support you in weight loss, energy boosting, or overall healthiness, you will find the recipes for you. It will become one of your favorite kitchen staples.  I recommend this book for anyone seeking variety in one place – variety in recipes including a variety of vegetables, fruits, tastes and textures.

              ~Reviewed by Allie B.


              Giveaway

              If you would like a chance to win a free copy of this book email us by the end of the month.  Be sure to include the name of the book in the body of the email along with your name and address

               

               

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                Fermented Vegetables

                Fermented Vegetables
                by Kristen K. Shockey and Christopher Shockey
                Storey
                Retail Price $24.95
                Amazon Price: $18.26

                Book Description: 

                Even beginners can make their own fermented foods! This guide includes in-depth instruction for making kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles and then offers more than 120 recipes, using the same basic methods, for fermenting 64 different vegetables and herbs. You’ll discover how easy it is to make dozens of exciting dishes, including pickled Brussels sprouts, curried golden beets, carrot kraut, and pickled green coriander. The recipes are creative, delicious, and healthful, and many of them can be made in small batches — even just a single pint.

                Review

                I love this book. It has wonderful photographs,  step-by-step instructions,  and is filled with flavor, style. and wisdom based on past traditions and common sense—the wisdom that we crave.  The authors take us from the local community and the garden to the kitchen and the table with a collection of delicious, nutritious, traditionally prepared fermented recipes.  This book is easy enough for beginners, yet diverse enough for the seasoned cook.   One of the things I liked best is that they gave instructions on how to make small batches as I don’t always can for the masses as I used to.

                ~Reviewed by Nancy S.

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                  The Very hungry Parasite

                  The Very Hungry Parasite
                  By Josh Miller and Aja Wells
                  Ulysses Press
                  Retail Price $14.95
                  Amazon Price: $11.15

                  Book Description: 

                  HOLD ONTO YOUR PANTS!
                  Your time on the toilet will never be the same when the colorful facts and stomachchurning trivia in this illustrated bathroom reader begin to scare the crap right out of you, including:
                  • The uniquely powerful diarrhea of Minnesota
                  • How a common STD can turn you into a disfigured walking tree
                  • The brain-eating amoeba that could be swimming in your pool
                  • How much mucus your body produces
                  • An untreatable disease that creates real-life zombies (with sex addictions)
                  • How a sexy fad nearly eradicated an entire species of lice

                  Review

                   

                  This is an adult book written in the format of a child’s book. It is short and to the point and loaded with facts about common parasites. While it is written in a light, humorous style, the facts laid out are shocking and you will learn so much. Some of the facts will help you to work on prevention, while others are there for shock value.  All in all it is an interesting book and makes great bathroom reading!

                  ~Reviewed by Allie B.

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                    The Health Benefits Of Eating Raw Food

                    What is a raw food diet?

                    You have probably heard about the Raw Food Diet. There are a lot of different variations on the Raw Food Diet depending upon the person advocating it.

                    The basic and common feature of most raw food diets is that they all advocate eating food in their natural state – that is, uncooked, unprocessed, organic and unexposed to herbicides and pesticides.

                    What does a raw food diet include?Rawfoodpyramid

                    All raw food diets include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
                    Some include unprocessed nuts and uncooked grains.
                    Some raw food diets are a variation on veganism which shuns all animal-based food.
                    Other raw food diets include eggs, milk, cheese and raw fish (sushi and sashimi).
                    Then there is just the simple action of eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables to retain all their nutrients. One example of this is the juicing lifestyle, where fresh homemade juices are made from both vegetables and fruits are the mainstay of one’s daily intake.

                    Reasons To Fill Your Diet With Raw Food

                    Weight Loss

                    The main purpose of most people who shift to a raw food diet is for weight loss.  It is true – eating raw food will facilitate weight loss because eating raw food will mean that you won’t consume as much fat and calories as with a regular diet.

                    Disease Prevention

                    Another main purpose of most people who shift to a raw food diet is to fight what is referred to as lifestyle diseases. Lifestyle diseases include hypertension, coronary artery disease and diabetes.  These lifestyle diseases are often caused by eating food that is too high on fat, sugar and cholesterol.

                    Chemical Free Eating

                    Some who go on a raw food diet do so because they want to avoid the accumulation of harmful chemicals in their bodies from food that is exposed to pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones.

                    Fruits and vegetables grown in commercial farms are usually treated with pesticides and herbicides to keep insects from feasting on the fruits and vegetables.

                    Livestock, pork and chicken grown commercially are treated with hormones and antibiotics to prevent disease and ensure optimal growth. Seedless fruit are sprayed with hormones as well.

                    Anti-Aging And Increasing Immunity

                    Still some people who opt for a raw food diet emphasize a healthy lifestyle that will keep them looking young.
                    They believe that fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables and grains boost the immune system which keeps infectious diseases at bay and it improves the body’s circulation and systemic functioning which gives them clear skin and radiant hair.

                    Is It Easy To Maintain A Diet Of Raw Food?

                    As with all diets, you must consult your doctor to see if you may shift to a raw food diet. And if you do shift to a raw food diet, perhaps it is best to do it gradually.

                    Start with juicing an assortment of fruits and vegetables to replace colas and desserts.  Replace your regular cooked meals gradually with a wide assortment of salads and grains and nuts.

                    The most difficult thing about going on a raw food diet is sourcing raw, unprocessed and chemical-free food.
                    If you like going out to eat, you will find it difficult to find restaurants that serve only raw food.

                    The next difficult thing is in preparing the food—it is time consuming.  It is easy enough to simply peel a banana or eat an apple for a snack but if you have to subsist on fruits and veggies, you will have to carry fresh fruits and vegetables with you throughout the day.

                    Another problem most people encounter with the raw food diet is that food grown organically is more expensive.
                    Also there is a real danger of malnutrition as there are nutrients and minerals which you cannot get from uncooked fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You will have to take a vitamin or food supplement for this.

                    You will have to eat fruits and vegetables that are unfamiliar to you. The texture of uncooked food may be difficult to get used to at first.

                    For those who advocate eating raw fish, eggs, milk and milk products, you might need to conquer your gag reflex first. There is also a real danger of food poisoning from food that is unpasteurized such as milk and milk products, so one needs to take care, though these days it is not as problematic since the there are many quality controls in place.

                    Final Thoughts

                    Shifting to a raw food diet requires a lifestyle change as well as a change in mindset. It will not work for everyone and some people can follow a raw food diet but not strictly. Ask your physician first.

                    There are so many benefits to eating raw food and one thing to keep in mind is that it need not be exclusive of other food, you can simply add more fresh, and raw fruits and vegetables to your diet on a daily basis and cut out processed foods. That alone is a huge step to improving your health, preventing disease and curtailing the effects of aging.

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