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The Superfood vs the Real Food?

How necessary are these new exotic foods to an otherwise healthful diet filled with real whole foods? Do people need to supplement their lunches with pitaya and baobab? A new warning that a diet rich in regularly produced fruits and vegetables (you mean like carrots, broccoli, bananas?… like our whole foods supplements) is probably sufficient for health and energy and that unusual foods (think “superfoods”) can be unpredictable and even possibly harmful. Many of us don’t think about the way it could impact the absorption of our regular meals, or how it may interact unfavorably with your daily medication. Some would argue that because of serious soil depletion, toxic pollution, and fast moving pace in our lifestyles that in the modern world eating regular old farmed food just isn’t enough to be healthy anymore. I get that, we need to bridge the gap. So yes, supplementation is key. But that doesn’t mean we need to bridge the gap with some special, amazing foods from a far away land.

We were just talking the other day, myself, Dr. Mitra Ray, and another friend, Linda, about these foods from other countries and one of those is quinoa . So let’s talk about that because many of those that jump on the Transform 30 diet think “gluten-free = quinoa”.  Obviously it is a nutrient-dense, gluten-free grain. That’s why my family originally used it. It comes from the Andes, where it has grown alongside potatoes, with roaming llamas and alpaca for thousands of years. Guess what? My family doesn’t use quinoa at all anymore. With the huge demand in Europe and the United States to have more healthy, gluten-free grains, quinoa—which is very high in protein—has become very popular, especially among foodies.

So now, Bolivians cannot afford to buy quinoa, and the quinoa-growing region of the country is also the most malnourished because those who grow quinoa for export now purchase refined grains to eat from the store. In Peru, quinoa now costs more than chicken. As well their own soil now faces decreased soil fertility, as farmers mine their soil to grow quinoa year after year to meet our demand, instead of using traditional methods of rotating their crops with animal pastures to restore fertility and prevent erosion. Asparagus production for export in Peru as well has led to water shortages that locals need.

In India, farmers have seen groundwater levels drop, and have been forced to go further down for water. From 180 or 190 feet, and now even as far down as 550 feet. And the water is getting dirtier, and is polluted more and more with pesticides and chemicals.

Then we get into that which rises to buying local. Transportation costs of food is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions. A basic diet of imported products can use four times the energy and produce four times the emissions of an equivalent diet from domestic and local foods.

And many of our own precious resources have been “wildcrafted” to almost an extinction in their natural habitats, and this includes considering the growing essential oil business that I love.

Simply put, the richest nations in the world for the most part, are eating their way through ecosystems all over the world, and without a concern for where our future is going. If you want to be organic, you want to be engaged in the “green” discussion, then you have to admit that you are still a consumer, even if you are eating gluten-free quinoa and fair trade chocolate. Over-consumption and sustainability are not compatible to this lifestyle, no matter how eco-friendly we try to be about it. So we need to stop feeling like it’s our right to eat superfoods every day, on demand.

The people who grow it for us often don’t have enough to eat at all because of it. And we need to think globally starting now. That brings me to the Juice Plus+ farm to capsule initiative. Juice Plus+ starts with farm fresh produce that, whenever possible, is carefully grown by midsize family farmers for the best quality nutrition. To avoid shipping the fruits and vegetables long distances, which would compromise their nutritional value, The Juice Plus+ Company locates juicing and drying facilities as close to its farmers as possible. And when that’s not possible, they use a process called Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) to lock in the nutrients of each fruit and vegetable before they have time to degrade. This also allows for a consistent supply of Juice Plus regardless of the growing season. Think about the foods, and the vibrations that you get from it. Why it feels so much better to eat something you grew in your Tower Garden, instead of purchased at the store from the organic farmer in Chile. I know that I am one to talk, because I love my hemp milk so much… but at some point we have to reduce, and now may be the time.



Mushrooms Increasing Vitamin D Stores Helpful For SAD

I love that we’ve added Vitamin D to our Complete Shakes! So important in the winter for most of us, north of Atlanta. We just do not get that Vitamin D! Some research suggests that a vitamin D deficiency might underlie SAD and that supplementing with vitamin D might help.

So what exactly did we add? Well of course it is just the powdered portobello as it’s always whole foods that Juice Plus+ uses. Portobello mushrooms are the richest source of the vegan vitamin D precursor ergosterol, which converts in our bodies to ergocalciferols, also called provitamin D2 which we are hearing a lot of talk about in the research world

A recent study was randomized to take capsules containing 2000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D2, 2000 IU of vitamin D3 or 2000 IU of mushroom powder containing vitamin D2 once a day for 12 weeks during the winter. Baseline serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D which is a measure to determine a person’s vitamin D status, were not significantly different among the groups. This is so important!!

The serum 25(OH)D levels among the three groups gradually increased and plateaued at seven weeks and were maintained for the following five weeks. After 12 weeks of the vitamin D supplements, serum 25(OH)D levels were not statistically significantly different than those who ingested 2000 IU of vitamin D2 in mushroom powder. In fact they found ingesting mushrooms containing vitamin D2 was as effective in raising and maintaining a healthy adult’s vitamin D status as ingesting a supplement that contained either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3, and were capable of increasing total circulating 25(OH) D concentrations for at least 3 months! I find it so exciting!!

Often times that low Vitamin D measure has to do with digestion, or not getting enough of the right D, or sometimes it’s outside issues in our life that have caused simple kidney damage. Fruits and vegetables improve your kidney function. Such fruits include grapes, cranberries and blueberries; vegetables include fennel, onions, celery, beets, spinach, string beans and asparagus. I’d really love to see anyone dealing with low D to start on the whole food capsules from Juice Plus just to support your body. You need that healthy kidney function to activate the Vitamin D, did you know that? Of course you need the Vitamin D to promote calcium absorption in the gut and maintain adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone. You do not want soft bones in the next twenty years. I have also seen the lower B12 and iron stores because of the Vitamin D deficiency too. So always make sure you are talking to your doctor and that you are getting tested if you have not already.

I’m Feeling Greener I Transform 30 Nourishment Is Paleo Aligned


I’m Feeling Greener

I have been really laser focusing in on my nutrition the last few weeks. Sacrifice is making decisions, getting out of your comfort zone, and giving something up to get to where you want to be. That’s exactly where I’m going.

Part of that D.O.M (Daily Method of Operation) is planning out my nutrition in a way that makes it easy, makes sure I’m getting everything I need, and that makes the difference I am expecting. Expectation, isn’t that what this is all about? An expectation for a better quality of life.

So I thought I would share a great blender recipe.

I'm Feeling Greener I Paleo Vegeo Nourishment Barbara Christensen

1 cup of coconut water

2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 handful of kale or spinach
1 teaspoon of organic virgin coconut oil
1 scoop of plant based protein
¼ cup of frozen wild organic blueberries
1/3 of a frozen banana (or if you are allergic like myself a couple of dates or an apple or pear can sub in)
ice as desired

Put everything except the frozen fruit into the blender unless you have a high powered blender — blend to combine.

Add in the frozen banana and blueberries, blend.

Add ice as desired to thicken, blend. Pour and enjoy!


Back and Forth on the Undenatured Whey Rollercoaster I To Be or Not To Be Whey

To Be or Not To Be Whey

I go back and forth. I want to be fully vegan, I am most of the time fully vegan. And then I start to lift, and I worry that I am not getting enough. Also there is the glutathione boost. So what use is right for me? Keep in mind that when I use or recommend a whey protein shake, it’s A2, organic and free of toxins, from happy pastured cows. But that doesn’t change the fact that a lot of those people I know still can’t use whey protein because of the way their body responds to it.

So I am looking at several protein shakes. For my mom I have given her the complete protein because she needs to lower her cholesterol and research shows that soy protein can support this goal with a 5% reduction in the college students in the study. She doesn’t have the food allergies like I do, and she is post-menopausal and I so I figure it’s worth a try. I also read that it could help alleviate some of her osteoarthritis symptoms, which have been classified as severe for her. Anything that may help her feel a little bit better, I am all for trying.

Now the shake also has pea protein in it, which I know people cringe at because they don’t get pea protein. I love my pea protein. And a good non-gmo pea protein has a very mild, slightly sweet taste. It’s one of the better tasting vegan proteins out there. Pea protein is the concentrated natural protein fraction of the yellow pea. The process used for concentrating pea protein is water based, which is a lot different from most other protein powders out there. If you are looking for natural, this one fits the bill.

Rice protein is processed via an enzyme based protocol, and so unlike your average soy or whey protein, it is also very natural. Low temperature and chemical free processing prevents the denaturing (you have heard me talk about the cold processed undenatured whey protein before) of the amino acids. It is a very hypoallergenic protein, and I rarely see anyone that reacts to it… however the paleo community has been back and forth on rice. Currently as I am writing this white rice has been allowed to rejoin the foods on your plate. Especially since it only takes four hours to digest, and then it ferments and feed the good bacteria in your colon.

So what about soy?

The only soy protein shake that I refer friends to is the complete shake that has the rice, pea and the low processed, water-washed non-gmo soy and tofu protein blend. Of course I always recommend for those that use tofu to get non-gmo soy tofu or the new hemp tofu out on the market. The one shake I recommend that has this soy blend in it also is blended in with fruit and veggie powders, and complex carbohydrates. There is a lot to be considered when choosing what is right for you, and so I wanted to share this pdf explanation from my ingredient mentor. 🙂 I love that my passions have led me to someone to teach me even more in life.

Your Harshing On My Legumes I Why Paleo Is So Quick To Jump On Vegans

Always drama over legumes

The other day I shared this amazing broccoli and oregano hummus recipe from The Flexitarian on my Facebook page, knowing that the first comment I would get would be that “chickpeas aren’t Paleo”. I get this all the time in my large nutrition group as well. And my standard answer is from the “authorities” in nutrition because of course myself with a nutrition diploma and a lifetime of ingredient research cannot be the common sense for many of these folks. The people that hate on these sorts of posts are those that are very traditional in the defined roles of Paleo Vegan (Pegan as Dr. Mark calls it) as you can see the traditional below.

What I tell them is this:

It depends on where you get your information, ____. If you look at the Whole 30 Vegan/Vegetarian shopping list Tofu, lentils, and properly prepared beans are all acceptable paleo foods. Paleo Leap says, “Legumes and pseudograins (which include vegetarian staples like buckwheat and quinoa) are both promising solutions to this puzzle – as long as they’re prepared correctly.” 

And if you have read my basics you know that this Paleo Vegeo lifestyle is all about finding YOUR nutritional truth. That means for some people chickpeas would be fine, lentils would be fine, kidney beans would be fine, and GASP … organic tofu would be fine if it works for you. It doesn’t work for me, and I am not fond of soy in general personally. But it’s your personal truth not mine. I like the TEMPT Hemp Tofu… so yummy. But even some Paleo folks would want to toss me to the timbers for saying hemp is okay if you are paleo. The truth is as you know that you have to get to know yourself and that generally means doing at least 30 days elimination from all of these foods and then reintroducing one at a time to see how your body reacts to them.

It’s hard to be vegan. Don’t you agree? Especially if you have food allergies. Even harder to be paleo and on top of it vegan. And so for us we have to be aware of genetics, digestion, micro-nutrients and macro-nutrients even more so than your average Paleo off the street. Although many of those that are Paleo should be genetically tested ans see if there are any gene mutations first. If you have the right gene mutation you should be low protein, high fat. If you are eating bacon and ribeye at every meal you could be doing serious damage to your brain and not know it otherwise. That foggy feeling may not be overwhelming life after all.

And there are very few vegan protein powders for paleo folks to choose from. There is the Warrior Blend and Non-GMO Pea Protein, Hemp Protein, Sacha Inchi Protein… and I am just going to say it… there is also those with rice protein.

Yes I said it. I know that Paleo and Rice are not often said in the same sentence because it’s not generally allowed. But rice in the right form can provide you with a good resistant starch. The best sources of resistant starch is going to be from those supplementary isolated starch sources, and rice protein is a better option than cold cooked rice. So I don’t look at it in the same tones as I do eating rice.

But if you don’t react to a little rice or tofu you may have been looking at complet protein shake. However I would not recommend it for B12 MTRR clients because it does show in the ingredient panel b12 and I have been totally informed on it. And if that is the case, please let me know so that I can share some alternatives to throw into your mix.