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

February is National Cherry Month!

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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

 

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

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market – A Review

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By Cynthia Hill, NTP

Like family and friends, I eagerly awaited the opening of the Kenosha Fresh Thyme Farmers Market grocery store.  With no Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods close by, a store providing  healthier options is definitely  a welcome addition to our area.

Once past the cute farm scene façade, I grab a shopping cart and make my way into the store.  I immediately find myself in the bakery department.  An admirable selection of packaged organic sprouted whole grains & gluten-free items grab my attention. I find most of the in store  fresh-baked & prepackaged goods contain the usual concoction of preservatives and/or inferior vegetable oils.

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Next up is the salad bar, olive bar and a selection of  prepared convenience foods; heat & eat Meals on the Go. Rotisserie chickens, soups, pasta dishes, potato salads, and grilled chicken breasts to name a few.  I had high hopes for the well stocked salad bar, but to my dismay not even the salad mix is organic.  I could not find a single bottle of salad dressing here or throughout the store that is made with healthy oils. The prepared foods (including soups) contain the same ubiquitous soybean and canola oils which I know are just about impossible to avoid in any commercial food, but hey  a girl can dream can’t she?  The rotisserie chickens like the prepared foods are conventional not organic.

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Suggestion:  An all organic salad bar with  some heart healthy  salad oil dressings. Stocking  Tessamae’s and Primal Kitchen salad dressings/mayonnaise would be a welcome choice!
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Some of the Fresh Thyme Kitchen Meals on the Go.

A generous selection of self serve bulk bins containing grains, nuts, coffee and candy with a few organic options anchors the middle of the store.  Hard to miss are the intriguing large stainless steel tanks with tap your own olive oil, canola oil (ugh!), vinegar, honey (local, but unprocessed?), maple syrup & agave syrup (ugh!).  Little information about origin or processing methods is displayed.

Next up is the fresh/frozen seafood & meat departments.  Fresh seafood  is both farm raised and wild caught with country of origin labeling. No wild caught salmon selections.   Fresh beef cuts appeared to be all conventional with one grass-fed option.  Poultry had a good selection of organic but no pasture raised and an all natural chicken option (whatever that means?).

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Fresh seafood – farm raised & wild caught.
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All conventional choices.
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A good selection of wild caught frozen fish.
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One fresh (previously frozen)  grass-fed beef option (does not specify if it 100% grass fed).
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A variety of organic chicken (no pastured options)  and all natural chicken (can still be factory farmed).
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A better selection of frozen grass-fed options but more expensive than my local source.
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A variety  of specialty and frozen wild meats next to the frozen processed foods  – interesting  they are promoting the meat as  gluten-free – I didn’t know meat ever had gluten in it…
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I liked the several options for duck including ground which I have never seen before and good prices.
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Let’s talk bacon – a good selection of no nitrate bacon, but no pastured options.

The Produce Department – now this makes me smile!!!

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A large assortment of Organic fruits and vegetables mostly sourced from the USA

Juice Bar!

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The raw juice bar has an inviting assortment of juice/juice blends to choose from. Disappointingly not organic with the exception of carrot juice.  If you have all this great organic produce, why not use it in the juicing???

I made my way to the Dairy cases next…

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Quite a few organic and grass-fed yogurt options including Traders Point Creamery, Kalona & Maple Hill.
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Obviously they haven’t received the message that butter is good! There were very few butter  choices with only one organic – Kerry Gold Grass Fed – Please! Also lacking are organic and raw cheese choices – did I miss them altogether?
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Milk is also very limited, with only one option that was grass-fed/non homogenized.  Everything else (including cream) is ultra-pasteurized.
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Eggs – one pasture raised option – good but more would be better!
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The fermented foods case is a let down.  While there is a good selection of probiotic beverages (GT’s kombucha was 2 for $4!) Bubbie’s sauerkraut & pickles is it for fermented foods.  Again with the Gluten free?!

The processed/packaged food aisles and frozen foods are stocked well with the usual brands finding a few really good choices here & there.  Fresh Thyme Broth – not so much…

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One of the very few Organic Fresh Thyme private label products – The ingredients are  downright scary in this broth! (Canola, soybeans, wheat, sugar, flour…)
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WOW!  Nick’s Sticks – yay!

On to the spirits…

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Generous selection of wine with a couple of organic & sulfite free choices.  Craft & local beers in addition to hard ciders too.

Finally, I enter the home stretch – vitamins/supplements, personal care, paper goods,  cleaning products & pet food (A variety of grain free pet food but no fresh/frozen options that I could see). Again, the usual products lines with a few really good choices here and there.

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Ancient Nutrition Bone Broth Protein, Tera’s Whey and another grass-fed whey option!
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Carlson Fish Oil
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A dizzying array of probiotics & omega oils
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A typical display of personal care & beauty products
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Some great book titles – if only Fresh Thyme & other grocery stores would incorporate some of the food concepts these books recommend!

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market is part Traders Joe’s, part Whole Foods, and part health food store.  They are strongest in organic produce, their (limited) grass-fed meat options, yogurt & eggs.  Also positive are the local choices throughout the store, although they tend to be conventional.  From a nutritional standpoint, the weakest areas lie in the bakery, convenience meals, packaged/processed food/products and dairy (lack of good choices with the exception of yogurt). For the most part they are not organic, contain unhealthy oils and preservatives/ingredients and/or are overly processed.

Overall, I find the prices average with some great sale prices.

While Fresh Thyme is certainly not alone, a particular grievance of mine is deceptive advertising.  Fresh Thyme has a lot of products that carry their brand name but for the most part are not organic and do not always contain acceptable ingredients.  Their weekly sales ads overuse of the word “natural” is particularly annoying as “natural” can mean anything and nothing!  Consumers can be mislead by the use of such words and pastoral images of barns, tractors and animals.  Looking past these images and reading the ingredients label is one of the most positive proactive steps we can take in improving our awareness and making wiser food choices.  We  should also speak with our $$ and educate the grocery stores as to  what we want and do not want in our food!

I will definitely visit Fresh Thyme Farmers Market again.  The Kenosha location  provides our community with some much-needed exposure to better food & environmental choices. I am optimistic that Fresh Thyme will continue to grow in a direction of healthier and more local sustainable options with our support.

Fresh Thyme Farmers  Market is located at 7100 Green Bay Road, Kenosha, WI  53142 http://freshthyme.com/

 

 

 

Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy

A Perfect Day

Wellness Stock Photo by Sash Photography http://wellnessstockshop.com

You wake up early in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to embrace the day and whatever may come your way.  You enjoy a delicious breakfast that is both satisfying and satiating – maybe pastured bacon and eggs or an organic mango coconut smoothie. You don’t feel tired and hungry two hours later and no sugar cravings!  In fact four hours later you are still going strong with no brain fog or reaching for that third cup of coffee or donut to boost your low blood sugar. You are no longer dependent on sugar or having to eat something every couple of hours because you are starving or feeling shaky.  You secretly smile as your coworkers are coughing and sneezing battling the latest cold or flu as you remember the day when you caught every little bug that came your way… You have a late morning dental appointment and again you have no cavities and the Dentist remarks how healthy your gums look!

 Midday is another meal you look forward to consisting of a grass-fed steak salad, avocado, and fresh fruit.  After lunch you go outside for some fresh air and a brisk walk, no longer suffering from seasonal allergies or asthma attacks. It is late January and you are not feeling sad or depressed as you usually do this time of year. You sail through the rest of the day alert and focused without the headache or midafternoon slump and don’t feel the need for a soda or candy bar to get you through the afternoon.  After another productive day, you look forward to your workout as you feel good while doing it, your muscles do not fatigue as easily as they use to and your knees, hips, and joints feel flexible and fluid with no aches and pains or stiffness.  You feel exhilarated rather than exhausted post workout.  You look forward to spending quality time with your family and friends instead of feeling crappy and burnt out barely making it through the day.

Dinner is a fulfilling meal that nourishes and balances, not depriving your body as you are giving it what it needs to function properly. A broiled Salmon filet and a baked sweet potato with real grass-fed butter, a fresh vegetable stir fry and don’t forget the chocolate mousse for dessert!  You do not experience bloating, gas and heartburn, no longer reaching for the TUMS after your meals. You also have regularity, no more mad dashes to the bathroom or feeling constipated.   Or maybe tonight you are getting ready for a night on the town and are applying your makeup and can’t help but notice how clear your skin is and that annoying acne is a thing of the past.  You also realize that you are no longer bothered with yeast infections or UTI’s and your periods are regular with no PMS. You are even enjoying intimacy again.  And don’t forget the little black dress – it looks amazing on you!  No more rollercoaster dieting, now your focus is on nourishing and loving your body.  Finally at bedtime, you have no problem falling and staying asleep, experiencing a deep, restful and restorative night.  Sweet Dreams!

Does this sound like a fairy tale to you?  We often think of our symptoms/conditions as “normal” and accept them as just part of the aging process – they really don’t have to be! While the above perfect day may be an exaggeration, I personally have experienced relief from many of these conditions/symptoms through eating a nutrient dense whole foods diet and Nutritional Therapy. Feeling energized and symptom free are attainable goals when digestion is functioning properly and you consume a nutrient dense diet that is appropriate for you providing the macro and micro nutrients essential to look and feel your best. It takes commitment and acceptance to cultivate a new relationship with your body, diet, and lifestyle. What would you rather do… invest in your health now or invest in your sickness later?

So what is Nutritional Therapy and how can it benefit you?  Nutritional Therapy can help you achieve your wellness goals by restoring balance to what we call the Six Foundations of Optimal Health.  They include Diet, Digestion, Blood Sugar Balance, Fatty Acid Balance, Mineral Balance, and Hydration.  Each of the Foundations is addressed through researching your individual needs based on an Initial Interview, Health History, Food Journal and a Nutritional Assessment Questionnaire. Improving digestion, blood sugar handling, and reducing inflammation is core to Nutritional Therapy along with identifying food sensitivities and detoxification.  A Customized Nutritional Recommendations Plan is created specifically for you including dietary and lifestyle changes and optional whole food supplements. Unique to Nutritional Therapy is an optional Functional Evaluation and Lingual Neuro Testing which further enables the Nutritional Therapy Practitioner to pinpoint where the body (organ or system) needs the most support and which nutrients will provide the best support.  This procedure eliminates guessing and consuming unnecessary supplements!  A no-one size fits all diet approach and bio-individuality plays an integral role in Nutritional Therapy.

Nutritional Therapy does not diagnose or treat disease/conditions; however, most diseases, conditions, and symptoms, are rooted in deficiencies in diet, digestion, blood sugar, fatty acids, minerals and hydration. Balancing these Foundations is key to your optimal health and wellness.

This is Nutritional Therapy and this is your perfect day!

Health, Health Food, Holistic, Nutrition, Nutritional Therapy

Pumpkin Custard

Pumpkin – we mostly think of it only during the holidays.   Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A  and antioxidant carotenoids. Pumpkin is also a good source of vitamins C, K,  E, and fiber along with magnesium, potassium, and iron. So why not enjoy this low carb winter squash more often?  This pumpkin custard is dairy and egg free and requires no baking! A healthy little winter dessert especially after the richness of the holidays.

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Cynthia Hill, NTP

Pumpkin Custard

4 Servings

1 -1/2 cups fresh pumpkin puree or 1 can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup or to taste (may also use a few drops of liquid Stevia)

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

½ tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup full fat coconut milk

1 tbsp. gelatin (preferably grass-fed)

Mix the pumpkin, honey (or sweetener of choice) pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla in medium bowl until well combined.

Heat the coconut milk in a small pan just until warm – do not boil.  Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the gelatin making sure it is dissolved and no lumps remain.

Add the coconut milk/gelatin mixture to the pumpkin puree mixing until well combined.

Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins.

Refrigerate until firm – about 2 hours.    For an extra treat, top with a dollop of coconut whipped cream and freshly grated nutmeg.

 

 

 

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

Why This Detox Works

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By Cynthia Hill, NTP

Wednesday, January 11th at 10am kicks off our 21 day detox cleanse at Antidote Wellness Therapies. To achieve a successful cleanse your detoxification pathways must be open! Our easy detoxification program sets us apart by supporting detoxification pathways and digestion so you may achieve a successful cleanse and then reap the benefits.  Let’s take a look at the critical role digestion and the elimination pathways play in detoxification:

Detoxification is the way the body heals and repairs itself.  The systems involved in detoxification include the cardiovascular, lymphatic, digestive, urinary and the skin.  Toxins have to actually be eliminated from the body, they don’t just magically disappear from your tissues when you do a cleanse. These detoxification systems pathways must be open to enable toxins to leave the body.

Detoxification will be severely impaired with poor digestion and elimination.  During digestion detoxification depends on two things – the integrity of the GI membrane and the precise bacterial and chemical environment.  An imbalance in the flora can injure the intestinal walls allowing undigested food and contaminants (toxins) to leak into the bloodstream.  If toxins break free in the large intestine, they will go back into circulation and will not be eliminated from the body.  

One of the many functions of the liver is to filter toxins from the blood and neutralize them for elimination. These toxins then pass through the gallbladder in bile.  If the bile is thick, viscous, and not free flowing the toxins will not be released and excreted from the body.

If food isn’t digested, even a good diet can clog detoxification pathways.   Some amino acids play important roles in the functioning of detoxification pathways in the liver.  Poor fat digestion can also clog the lymph, affecting the liver function.   Improper digestion can lead to vitamin/mineral deficiencies.  Toxins deplete minerals like magnesium which can lead to insufficiency of enzymes necessary for phase I & phase II liver detoxification pathways.  B vitamins are also needed for production of detox enzymes.

Good digestion of the proper macro and micro nutrients is essential to the body’s ability to detoxify.  If digestion & elimination are not initially supported, a successful detoxification will not occur