Grilling, Health, Health Food, Healthy, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Meat, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Summer, Vegetables, Wellness

To Grill or Grill Not…

Beef steak with grilled vegetables

By Cynthia Hill, NTP

As the first hint of summer makes its slow arrival in the Midwest,  I step outside late afternoon to enjoy the warming temps.  Immediately I begin to smell the most wonderful intoxicating scent.  It takes my brain a moment to identify what it is – oh yes! someone in the neighborhood has fired up their grill  – the  unmistakable smoky aroma of backyard grilling, summer and happiness! I realize momentarily how I have missed the smell & taste of grilled foods throughout the long winter months. Now this tantalizing scent beckons me, beckons me to release our own grill from its winter cover and  start planning a meal around it.   But wait… isn’t grilling food bad for you???

Grilling in general and especially grilled meat has had its share of bad press lately.  With the onset of warmer weather the warnings about the dangers of grilling and barbecuing return, and how doing so contributes to the formation of carcinogens (PAHs) and mutagens (HCA) in our food.

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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are present in the smoke created from fat dripping onto hot coals.  Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are produced when amino acids, sugars and creatine in meat react with heat.  Does grilling generate enough of these carcinogenic compounds to pose a threat to our health and steer clear of the grill forever?  Mark Sisson, primal living expert, and author of the Primal Blueprint writes he may have “overstated the danger of the carcinogenic compounds found in charred meat”.  In his article “How Bad is Charred Meat, Really?”  he references numerous studies that show the doses of HCA in animal testing to be 1000s of times higher than what we would get from grilling. (The National Cancer Institute also suggests that both HCA and PAH dosing in animal models is thousands of times higher than what we would consume in our diet).

Author Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, “The Naughty Nutritionist” states “it’s a myth that HCAs are mostly found in fried or grilled beef, poultry and fish.”  Her post “Barbecue Meat a Safer Choice than Packaged Protein Foods” explains why we are more likely to get more carcinogenic HCAs from processed and fast foods than from the grill.

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This leaves me with a burning question from an ancestral point of view – man has been grilling for a very very long time.  If it is so bad for us, why do the carcinogenic effects only appear to have happened in the last 150 years?  We must consider our current diet of high PUFAs, processed foods, grain fed animals and environmental toxicity as contributing factors.

Would I eat grilled foods every day? probably not as with most things moderation is key. I will continue though, to eat a cancer fighting nutrient dense whole foods diet (including plenty of protective vegetables) that supports optimal health and immune function which is always our best defense!

The following suggestions from the The National Cancer Institute may reduce HCA and PAH formation while grilling:

  • Avoiding direct exposure of meat to an open flame or a hot metal surface and avoiding prolonged cooking times (especially at high temps) can redue HCA and PHA formation.
  • Continuously turning meat over on a high heat source can substantially reduce HCA formation compared with just leaving the meat on the heat source without flipping it often.
  • Removing charred portions of meat and refraining from using gravy made from meat drippings.

 

Trimming the fat, and using marinades with herbs/spices and an acid component  like vinegar or citrus offers protection also.

Avoid overcooking and processed meats as they already contain cancer causing preservative substances.

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So will I be firing up the grill this Summer?  You betcha!

 

Sincerely in Health,

Cynthia

 

Note:  This site contains affiliate links.

Health, Health Food, Healthy, Healthy Fats, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic

Healthy Fats 101

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By Cynthia Hill, NTP

Olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, lard, tallow, butter…vegetable oils or  animal fats?  What should you choose?  What are good fats?  What are bad fats?   What are healthy? What are not?  What fats are safest to cook with and what are not?  To answer these questions let’s begin with a basic understanding of the composition and properties of fats and oils:

Fats are molecules consisting of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Fats are classified as saturated fatty acids (SFA’s), monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s).  All fats are a combination of fatty acids and are classified by the highest percentage of either sat, mono or poly:

Saturated fats are solid or semi-solid at room temperature. Saturated fats do not turn rancid easily even with higher temperature cooking.  Butter and coconut oil are examples of saturated fats.

Pure Monounsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and solidify at 39 degrees F.  Monounsaturated fats are  relatively stable and do not turn rancid easily.  Olive and avocado oil are examples of monounsaturated fats.

Polyunsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature or upon refrigeration and are highly unstable.  Polyunsaturated fats are fragile and are easily damaged by light and heat  turning rancid quickly. Vegetable oils and grape seed oil are examples of polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are broken down into two subgroups:  Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.

 

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So what fats are healthy? and what fats are safe to cook with???  Animal fats and tropical oils  that are high in saturated fat – yes saturated fat!  Your body needs saturated fat to function optimally! Saturated fats are the most stable for higher temperature cooking (baking, frying, broiling, grilling, sautéing and roasting). Some excellent choices are lard, Ghee (clarified butter), beef and lamb tallow, chicken, duck & goose fat (from grass-fed/pastured/organic animals), coconut & red palm oil (organic, virgin, sustainably sourced).  Vegetables roasted in duck fat are to die for!!!

 

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Monounsaturated fats can be safely used for brief stir-frying, light sautéing,  and slow simmering over low heat.  Good choices are pure unfiltered/unrefined/uncut olive oil (contrary to popular belief, olive oil is safe for light cooking less than 400 degrees), peanut oil (occasionally as it is high in PUFA’s), avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, and sesame oil. High heat cooking  may damage MUFA’s resulting in free radical damage.  Healthy monounsaturated fats support the immune system and joint health.

 

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Polyunsaturated vegetable oils including  flax, hemp, pine nut, pumpkin, grape seed oil and high oleic sunflower oil should never be heated or used in cooking  (despite what their labels may say). They should be stored in the refrigerator. Due to their high omega-6 content, these oils should be used sparingly and must be unrefined and unprocessed/cold pressed. (Which can be difficult to find).  Omega-3 rich flax oil should always be refrigerated and used sparingly in small amounts only (drizzle on salads, or in smoothies). High Oleic sunflower oil has some MUFA’s so very light heating would be acceptable.

Omega-6 liquid evening primrose, borage and black currant seed oils are highly reactive, and should never be cooked.  Use in very small amounts as in supplements only.

 

Fats I recommend AVOIDING completely:

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Vegetable oils  canola, soybean, cottonseed, safflower, sunflower and corn oil (including margarine/spreads made with them).  All of these (artery clogging  hydrogenated trans fats) oils are used in processed foods, fast food/restaurants.  They are cheap genetically modified highly processed industrial oils that have only been in the human diet for a short amount of time.  Our bodies do not recognize these oils as food and they are not fit for human consumption!  Canola oil is a marketing ploy at it’s best – touted for its omega-3 and MUFA’s it is a highly processed rancid oil, derived from the genetically modified rapeseed plant. It is often partially hydrogenated to increase stability turning the delicate omega-3 fatty acids rancid quickly (free radicals). Soybean, cottonseed, corn, and safflower oils (also gmo) go through similar processing leaving them vulnerable to oxidation and free radical production when exposed to heat and light.  Soy/Soybean oil in addition depresses thyroid function.  Processed Omega-6 vegetable oils promote inflammation in the body. Best to get your Omega-6’s from vegetables, raw nuts and seeds.

 

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I am a big fan of BUTTER!   Butter makes everything taste better and there is no reason to fear it!  Quality unprocessed real butter from grass-fed cows contains small amounts of omega -3 and omega-6’s in a healthy ratio along with Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) helpful for weight management, muscle growth and cancer protection.  Butter contains the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K which help us absorb and assimilate minerals.  Butter also has Butyric acid which provides protection from fungal infections and tumor growth. The Arachidonic fatty acids found in butter aid in proper inflammatory and anti-inflammatory processes.   Butterfat boosts cell membrane integrity and brain function. Margarines’ fat profile is a total fail in comparison!

 

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Embrace Healthy Fats!

Fats play a very important role in our health and bodies.  Healthy fats are imperative to good health and do not make you fat. Thanks to an inaccurate study done over 50 years ago, we were led to believe that consuming  fat was bad, and that saturated fat led to high cholesterol and heart disease.  This theory has been proven to be completely false.  We are now seeing the detrimental side effects and suffering of the low fat no fat era with countless degenerative diseases. So aim for a balance of healthy fats  (sat, mono & poly) and improve your omega 6 to omega 3 ratio by consuming less polyunsaturated (vegetable oils) in processed foods and fast food/restaurants. Source fats from quality grass-fed/pastured/organic animals, and oils that are organic/unprocessed/cold pressed and unrefined. Ditch the toxic vegetable oils. Good healthy fats are the preferred fuel of the heart and provide an excellent source of long burning fuel for the body.  Fat fear not!

To learn more about healthy fats and the important role they play in our health, please visit the Weston A. Price Foundation  for additional information.

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Sources:  Nutritional Therapy Association (NTA)

 

 

 

CSA, Detoxification, Farming, Gardening, Health, Health Food, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Soup, Vegetables, Wellness

Carrot Soup

Healthy vegetarian soup puree

By Cynthia Hill, NTP

“March” into Spring with a quick and easy velvety smooth carrot soup!  Just a handful of fresh ingredients makes this soup the perfect warm up for Spring.  Aside from tasting delicious, carrot soup is packed full of nutrients too.  Carrots are high in vitamin A and a very good source of biotin, vitamin K, fiber, molybdenum, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Collagen rich chicken stock/bone broth promotes healthy digestion, healthy hair and nail growth, and reduces joint pain and inflammation.  Onions and garlic are  rich in sulphur compounds and flavonoids.  Full fat yogurt provides calcium and good bacteria (probiotics).  Butter of course adds flavor (everything tastes better with butter!) and has a long list of health benefits including promoting  the absorption of minerals, high in vitamin A, E, K, selenium, CLA and antioxidants. And lastly, herbs contain antibacterial/anti-inflammatory/antioxidant properties.

Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

2 lbs. organic carrots, scrubbed and quartered lengthwise

4 cups chicken stock or bone broth (homemade, organic, free range is best)

1 cup finely chopped organic yellow onion

2 small cloves organic garlic

1 cup full fat yogurt (grass-fed or organic is best)

3-4 tbsp. butter (grass-fed or organic is best)

Fresh or dried thyme, dill or parsley

To make:

Salt chicken stock to taste. (a good quality sea salt is best)

Parboil carrots in chicken stock about 12 to 15 minutes until just tender.   Let cool.

While carrots are cooling, sauté the onion and garlic in butter until soft.

Purée  carrots, stock, sautéed onions & garlic and yogurt using a stick blender (or regular blender) until smooth.

Add some fresh thyme, dill or parsley  (or about  1 tsp. dried),  additional salt and pepper to taste.

Heat slowly over low heat until warmed through, or chill and serve cold.

For another pretty presentation, swirl a dollop of sour cream and add a thyme, dill or parsley sprig to individual bowls (optional).

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Recipe adapted from Jennifer Dillman, NTP

 

CSA, Detoxification, Farming, Gardening, Health, Health Food, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Organic, Vegetables, Wellness

Get Your Veggies On!

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We all know how good vegetables and fruits are for us.   From anti-aging, disease preventing antioxidants, to vitamins, minerals and fiber, fruits & vegetables are nutritional  powerhouses and the foundation of a healthy diet.  Antidote Wellness Therapies is super excited to be hosting a Summer and Fall CSA with Turtle Creek Gardens.  Turtle Creek Gardens is located just North of Delavan and is USDA/MOSA Certified Organic. Click here to learn more about Turtle Creek Gardens Farm.

Not familiar with a CSA?  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  A CSA is a great way to purchase local seasonal produce right from the farmer.  Purchasing a CSA allows you to know your farmer and how and where your food is grown, putting your dollars back into the community.

So how does a CSA work?  The farmer offers a certain number of shares to the public.  Shares typically include a box of vegetables but other farm products may be offered as well such as fruits, herbs, eggs, cheese, honey, meats and so on.  Buyers purchase a share or subscription/membership.  In return, the member receives a box of seasonal produce weekly or bi-weekly throughout the growing season delivered to a designated drop off site.

This arrangement is beneficial to both the farmer and the consumer.  The farmer can market during the off-season, receive payment early helping with cash flow, and get an idea on how much and what to plant, and has an opportunity to get to know his/her customers.  The consumer benefits by getting the freshest foods possible direct from the farmer, exposure to new vegetables and ways of cooking them and developing a relationship with the farmer who grows their food.

Turtle Creek Gardens CSA will be delivering right here to Antidote for easy pick up every other Wednesday from 4-6 pm. Wondering what you will receive in your Turtle Creek Gardens CSA box?  View a slide show here.

*The deadline is fast approaching and shares are limited.  Sign up today and enjoy fresh local produce from June to November!  Contact Antidote Wellness Therapies at 262.298.5055 for a sign up form or directly with Turtle Creek Gardens here. (Make a note on the application that Antidote Wellness Therapies is your pick up location).  Please join Antidote as we get our veggies on!

1446167307_d8acf70ad403By Cynthia Hill, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner at Antidote Wellness Therapies

 

Detoxification, Health, Health Food, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Wellness

Put a Little Love in Your Heart This Valentines Day

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By Cynthia Hill, NTP

Did you know that the health of the heart reflects the health of the entire body?    This is why it is so important to address and balance what we as Nutritional Therapists call the foundations of optimal health including diet, digestion, blood sugar balance, fatty acid balance, mineral balance, and hydration.

Each of these foundations contribute to heart health and together achieve optimal health. So what can you do to support these foundations?

Diet – Fuel your heart!  Choosing a properly prepared whole foods nutrient dense diet rich in vitamins and minerals is the single most important thing you can do for your heart and your health.  Ditch the processed and convenience foods (heart disease is a processed food disease!) and opt for fresh organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats, pastured eggs, and full fat organic and grass fed unprocessed dairy products (if you tolerate dairy).

Digestion –  Improve digestion!  Good digestion of proteins is essential to make amino acids like taurine (aids in heart rhythm) and carnitine (lowers blood pressure and cholesterol).  Proper stomach PH ensures digestion and absorption of calcium and B vitamins.  Good liver/gallbladder function is important to digest healthy fats and fat soluble vitamins.  Appropriate bowel flora is required to make vitamins B1, B2, B12, and K2  which help convert our food into fuel and reduce elevated homocysteine levels – a cardiovascular risk.  Dietary changes along with addressing food sensitivities and detoxing can heal the gut and promote optimal digestion.

Blood Sugar Balance – Balance blood sugar!  High blood glucose levels can make it more difficult for blood and oxygen to move in and out of the heart.  Blood sugar imbalances can lead to an overproduction of cortisol leading to insulin resistance which compromises mineral uptake by the cells.  High Insulin blocks the PG-1 pathway for prostaglandin  anti-inflammatory pathway production (hormone involved in the healing process). Inflammation is a common factor in heart disease.  Reduce consumption of processed high carbohydrate and sugar laden foods to help balance blood sugar.  B vitamins are especially important in the conversion of glucose into energy for cell utilization and blood sugar regulation.  Some good sources of B vitamins include liver, turkey, tuna legumes, and whole grains.

Fatty Acid Balance – Eat heart healthy fats!   Did you know that good healthy fats are the preferred fuel of the heart?  It’s true!  Fatty acids in the right proportion are critical to managing inflammation in the body. Fatty acids are a fundamental part of the cell membranes that make up the tissues of the heart and the coronary arteries.  Cold water fatty fish, & small amounts of raw sprouted nuts and seeds are good sources of fatty acids.  If you are eating processed food, you are most likely consuming considerable amounts of highly processed (rancid & free radical prone) omega 6 vegetable oils (throwing off the critical omega 3 omega 6 fatty acid proportion/ratio) and artery clogging artificial trans fats (margarines, hydrogenated fats).  Choose healthy  oils like coconut, avocado and olive oils and animal fats (lard, tallow, poultry fat) from healthy, antibiotic free, grass-fed, free range animals.

Mineral Balance – Increase mineral intake and absorption!  Calcium and magnesium are imperative for a healthy heart.  Both minerals work together to regulate contracting and relaxing of the heart and muscles. Calcium prompts the contraction and relaxation of the heart.  Magnesium is needed  for absorption of  calcium along with Vitamin D and K2.  An appropriate calcium-magnesium ratio is critical or the calcium will not work.  Low sodium levels can increase insulin resistance raising heart disease risk.  Eat the rainbow for plenty of mineral rich vegetables.

Hydration – Drink plenty of water!  Staying hydrated is key to good lymphatic flow and proper blood viscosity. (The thinner the blood, the less it resists flow, moving smoothly throughout the body). Dehydration causes the vascular system to selectively close some of its vessels, leading to hypertension and heart disease.  Proteins and enzymes depend on hydration to function properly in the body.  Reduce diuretics (coffee, tea, soda, juice) and increase pure water intake.

Maintaining  normal weight, cholesterol and blood pressure levels are also paramount in supporting the health of the heart and finally – exercise!  The heart muscle loves and benefits from regular movement!

So put a little love in your heart this Valentines Day.  Fuel your heart with the nutrients and love it desires and needs to be truly heart healthy!

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Health, Health Food, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Wellness

February is National Cherry Month!

cherries

By Cynthia Hill, NTP

From the dark black cherry to the delicate yellow Rainier, these heavenly little bite size jewels are unquestionably one of my favorite fruits!

Evidence suggests cherries have been eaten since prehistoric times.  Cherry trees were brought to America in the 1600s.   In 1912 Japan gifted 3,000 cherry trees to the city of Washington DC to honor a lasting friendship with the United States. The annual National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates this event.  A cherry tree in full  blossom is a sight to behold!

Michigan produces 75% of the nation’s tart cherries.  The average cherry tree produces enough cherries for 28 pies.

The word cherry is popular in catch phrases like “cherry picking”, “cherry on top”, ” “life is like a bowl of cherries”… and in song Neil Diamond sang “Cherry Cherry”.

Aside from their long history , beautiful blossoms and delicious taste, cherries boast a strong nutritional profile worth getting excited about!  Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants (especially high in melatonin – think healthy sleep!) Tart cherries are high in vitamin A and beta-carotene. They also contain fiber and anti-inflammatory properties that may relieve arthritis and gout pain. The vitamin C, carotenoids and anthocyanins in cherries help fight cancer and heart disease. So many good reasons to include cherries in your diet!

You won’t catch me eating fresh cherries in February, (I try to eat seasonal) but I do eagerly await cherry blossoms  in spring, and  fresh picked cherries in mid July.  I will eat my fill of these juicy little orbs during the summer and freeze some to enjoy in smoothies until the next cherry season!

Detoxification, Health, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy, Wellness

Top Five Reasons to Detox

 

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By Cynthia Hill, NTP

Have you ever thought about doing a detox or cleanse?  Have you ever wondered if you really need to do a detox and if you did, would you benefit from it?  Here are our top five reasons to consider a detox cleanse:

  1. Improve quality of life.  Our bodies do not function well when they are loaded with toxins.  We may experience headaches, lack of energy, joint pain, brain fog, digestive issues, allergies and are just not feeling our best.   These are all symptoms of a toxic body.  A detoxification cleanse can reduce your toxic overload quickly and help alleviate these symptoms.
  2. Lose weight.  The body stores toxins (substances it does not recognize) in adipose tissue.  Detoxing correctly releases and eliminates toxins stored in fat cells and boosts your metabolism by restoring balance to the body.
  3. Slow premature aging.  Detoxing can help rid the body of heavy metals and free radicals which contribute to the aging process.  Enhanced digestion, nutrient, vitamin and antioxidant absorption help fight oxidative stress.
  4. Strengthen the immune system.  An immune system that isn’t functioning properly makes us susceptible to colds and the flu.  Detoxing strengthens immune function which enhances our ability to fight off infections.
  5. Prevent chronic disease. Our bodies own detoxification function is overburdened from environmental toxins which are linked to many diseases.  A detoxification cleanse assists and improves what our overloaded system is naturally designed to do.

We are exposed to toxins (chemicals, pollution, pesticides, medications, etc…) day in day out 24/7.  Our overwhelmed and exhausted systems will benefit from a proper detoxification program that optimizes digestion, reduces inflammation, balances blood sugar and supports the organs of elimination giving your body a chance to heal and thrive!

Learn more:  Make Me Vibrant Cleanse Antidote Wellness Therapies