Monday, September 10, 2012

Four things you should add to your diet now

Maybe you are a little overwhelmed at the idea of drastically altering your diet right now.  I understand, it's was a HUGE life change when we decided to take gluten out of our diets.  I was overwhelmed at first, but with in a month or so we had adjusted and found a slew of alternatives to incorporate.  Later we stopped eating all grains and all processed foods, when we started the GAPS diet last fall.  I didn't throw away ALL the food in my pantry.   Some things I gave away.  I started by not repurchasing ANYTHING that came in a box.  When the kids finished off the last few boxes of gluten free cereal we didn't purchase anymore from then on out. 

Sometimes you have the ability to start slow.  Other times, when given the diagnosis of pre-diabetes or Myasthenia Gravis, you are told by the doctor you MUST change your diet now, or else!   Here are the four things that have impacted my health the most in the past eleven months and they are things you can start doing right now.

First, begin by taking a good probiotic.  A good probiotic supplement will contain many different species of bacteria not just lactobacilli.  After taking antibiotics your doctor might tell you to eat more yogurt.  This is not enough, you need a mixture of strains and at least 8 billion bacterial cells per gram (Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Campbell-McBride,p.  251)  Probiotics can also be taken in the form of probiotic foods such as sauerkraut and other fermented foods, kefir, yogurt and kombucha.   You can start first by taking the liquid or juice from the fermented foods and then work your way up to having more probiotic foods in your diet daily.  Probiotics are particularly helpful if you are suffering from either diarrhea or constipation.  Both conditions indicate that there is an imbalance within your gut. 

Secondly, make and drink bone broth.  Try to make broth from organic grass fed animals or fish broth from freshly caught fish, red snapper makes the best broth, while fatty fish like salmon is more difficult to perfect.   I make my broth first by roasting chicken in the oven with carrots, onion and garlic.  The family eats it as a meal and then afterwards I leave the meat on the bones and add water to cover the chicken and add a Tbs of salt and let it cook for another 12-24 hours.   If the broth has a layer of fat at the top and is gelatinous when cooled, you know that you've done it right.  Some people also add a Tbs of vinegar when cooking the broth to draw out more nutrients from the bones.  Try to take broth before every meal.    If you are not used to eating fatty foods, you may be nauseated when you first drink the broth.  Broth made from lamb and beef is particularly fatty and gelatinous and is more difficult to digest at first.  Add some of the probiotic juice to every cup of broth after it has cooled a little, so to aid digestion.  Sipping it rather than drinking it fast also helps it to be easier to tolerate.  If you always have bone broth handy you will be ready at the first sneeze to start giving more of it to your family to help boost immunity or sooth a sick tummy.  

Thirdly, add cod liver into your diet as a daily supplement.  Dr. Natasha recommends fermented cod liver oil.  I buy a flavored one from the health food store and haven't tried fermented yet.  Cod liver oil contains vitamins A and D.  Most of us are deficient in vitamin D.   Low levels of vitamin D can lead to chronic pain (which I was having before I started supplementing), muscle weakness, poor ability to fight infections, mental illness, anxiety and a host of other problems.   Vitamin A and D work together and Cod liver Oil contains both.  Make sure which ever source you buy is pure and GMO free.  Follow the dosing on the package. 

Lastly, pure virgin coconut oil.  Prior to starting GAPS I read a book called, Eat Fat, Loose Fat by Sally Fallon.  I had been complaining to a friend of mine of how fatigued I constantly felt.  She told me that coconut oil had been a miracle for her and to read the book.   I purchased it and took one Tbs in a cup of tea.  I was instantly sick, dizzy, and vomited!    Again,I can't emphasize enough start SLOW, especially if you are used to a low fat diet.  Coconut oil contains lauric acid which has antimicrobial properties that can help fight parasites, fungal infections, and viruses that cause food poisoning.  Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are easily digested compared to other fats.  Also, coconut oils structure does not change when it is heated as vegetable oils do.  Therefore it is healthier and safer to cook with coconut oil or lard than with vegetable oils.   Coconut oil can naturally lower your cholesterol, which has been exactly what it did for me.  Prior to using it, I had never been able to increase my GOOD cholesterol (HDL), even with exercise and weight loss.  After using it my numbers are right where they should be, I just had my blood work done last week to prove it!   Coconut oil prior to meals causes satiety or the feeling of being more full and you are likely to eat less than you would had you not had it.  Finally coconut oil gives me a rush of energy that I did not have prior to using it.  In fact, I have to be careful to not take it too late in the day, or I will be up all night due to it's energy boosting effects.   Coconut oil is amazing for the skin and hair.  Put it on your hair and face before bed, I put it all over as it helps with dry skin.  I also recommend it for diaper rash and eczema, as it has anti fungal properties and can help prevent yeast.  Recently, Henry had what looked like cold sores or blisters on the outside of his lips, I put coconut oil on them for the past two days and it did spread and is starting to heal.  Amazing!

Of all the dietary changes we've made, being consistent in taking probiotics, bone broth, cod liver oil and coconut oil have given us the most bang for our buck.   If I start to slack on any of these things, I feel it in my energy levels.  In general I have noticed that our family has been less sick with viruses, stomach flu and respiratory illnesses since we've been more consistent especially with probiotics and cod liver oil.   In my next post I'll discuss more on staying healthy this up coming winter!


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