Sunday
Jun242018

Salad For Breakfast!

“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.”

This quote is from the Old Testament Book of Daniel describing the time when the Israelites were exiled in Babylon and how Daniel and his friends were put into training to be in the royal court.  These fellows refused the king’s order to eat the same dainty rich foods and wine that the king mandated for the royal court.   Eating only vegetables and water they passed the physical fitness test and much more detailed later. 

Many clients complain that it is difficult to get enough vegetables into their diet.  They often say they are not hungry in the morning or have too little time to sit down to a meal.    

I’d like to share an easy solution.  All you need is a delicious, easy to digest, and great tasting raw food smoothie for breakfast.   Make a portable meal including therapeutic nutrition in your blender with a smorgasbord of greens and vegetables along with some other ingredients you may not have thought of.  

The following list is comprehensive.  I am a bit of a megalomaniac so you don’t have to include everything the way I do.  I start with some fresh or frozen organic berries (avoiding commercial pesticides and getting the most phytonutrients) for flavor and sweetness along with crushed ice in the blender.  Fresh fruit and perhaps a banana (not too moldy) make the salad tasty and lend insoluble fiber as prebiotics to feed your secret garden (gut flora).  You can include pomegranate or acai juice, and fresh squeezed citrus (A bit of citrus rind works great as a digestion stimulating bitter).  Include some fresh lemon or lime for zip, vitamin C, and bioflavonoids.  

Use some fresh ginger, for delicious anti-inflammatory and digestive properties.  Greens including cilantro, parsley, carrot tops, arugula, celery leaves, dandelion leaves, chard, etc. are great sources of chlorophyll, magnesium and antioxidants.  They also chelate toxic heavy metals out of your body!  Add organic raw carrots, cucumber, cabbage, celery, jicama, broccoli, and cauliflower.   

Good fats from avocado, coconut milk (or MCT oil), and olive oil, fuel and protect your brain and body.  Fermented food like goat milk kefir and yogurt are always a good idea to add probiotics and protein.  Chia seeds and pine nuts or nut butter are great sources of nourishing fat and protein to last you all morning.  

Lastly add all sorts of powdered or liquid nutrition supplements.  Clearvite is an Apex powdered product with hypoallergenic pea protein or aminos along with therapeutic amounts of vitamins and minerals.  Add Omega 3 oils like those in liquid Omega CO3, and Brain E (an Apex product high in DHA).  They are easily disguised and become tasty in your smoothie.  Powdered cacao and cacao nibs are really delicious and crunchy (but can be a source of cadmium). 

GI Repair, a powdered DFH product, has everything to repair your leaky gut lining.  Biofizz (from DFH) tastes great and is loaded with vitamin C and bioflavonoids.  Consider Apex Liposomal glutathione (GSH).  Glutathione is always depleted in a person with pain, stress, and inflammation. GSH is the king of antioxidants, an immune balancer, and a substrate for detox.  Turmeric powder, and resveratrol extract are very anti-inflammatory.    

Back to the book of Daniel, three of the Israelites were thrown into a fiery furnace as a punishment for disobeying King Nebuchadnezzar.   Currently our bodies, brains, and the whole planet are being stoked like the King’s fiery furnace by our incendiary foods, fuels, and thoughts.  Our royal lifestyle is promoting chronic degenerative diseases in the youngest individuals.  Almost no one is growing, cooking, and eating copious vegetables.  Like the Israelites who survived the fire with their clean food and lifestyle, you can be different.  Start quenching the fire and building your immunity today by mowing down some vegetables for breakfast.  

Tuesday
Apr242018

Finding Your Sole

Most people take walking completely for granted figuring that our big brains are made for thinking big thoughts while we stare at our little magic boxes.  Actually the greater part of our brain by far is used for our ability to balance upright and move.  Because we wear shoes, live in a world of flat surfaces, and ride conveyances, we can continue to ignore the larger part of our brains like this until we are in too much pain to walk.

Being a student of gait for 27 years, I understand that people wear out their parts not so much by what they do, but by how they do what they do.  You see our ancient ancestors were stimulated through their soles all the time by uneven natural surfaces and little to no footwear.  Thus the “Nobel Savage” had graceful movement that was instantly adaptive to the earth’s changing surface, skills necessary to move through wilderness and avoid injury.

 

The brain is designed around gait.  Practicing movement develops a child’s brain. However, in modern life children move very little and, of course, they model their movements and postures after their parents (gasp).  Is it any wonder that childhood developmental issues, orthopedic issues, and adult dementia are skyrocketing in our population?

 

 

Because we don’t use movement medicine to rebalance our brain all the time, the higher cortical centers become over-involved.  We tend to overreact to the trauma of relational stress, injury, surgery, or bad traffic.  Knee jerking postures of protection make us tilt, or twist, or walk with a bit of a limp, halt, or sway for a lifetime.  The chronic stress lights us up with inflammation and we degenerate…

If you have seen a reflexology chart you know that the body is mapped out on each foot.  In fact, every distortion in the body is reflected in the feet.  The spine runs up the outside edge of the foot from the heel, which correlates to the hip, then to the ball of the foot, correlating to the chest, and the toes, correlating to the head and neck.  With each footfall, each segment of the body passes in turn over the foot.  Most of us are just slapping our body against the ground with each hard footfall. 

The foot is where we get our stability and traction. Most of us are “driving with the brakes on” by flagging our toes upward to perfectly balance the stiffness and tension in our face, neck and arms.  Learning to move better requires getting in touch with your “paws” to dig and pull, thus engaging the strong back body and the power that lifts and propels us from behind.

To get a feeling for this movement, practice keeping your soles fully connected to the floor when you sit.  Form a little dome that lifts your forefoot while all the toe pads rest on the ground.  This dome is the foundation of the magical lifting arches we call transverse tissues.  Others are in the pelvic floor, respiratory diaphragm, shoulder girdle and palate.  These domes create the lifting that makes you radiate from the heart.  They keep us on the level, moving and adjusting so the bones can do the grounding and rooting for clear movement. 

Try practicing the “Mindful Walk” by walking as slowly as possible for a few strides (including the single foot phase).   This super slow movement challenges your brain to pay attention to the wobbly places it likes to skip.  Keep your toe pads down while allowing the domes to lift you. 

To learn more go to Vital Yoga or to M+ Pilates to practice the essentials of rooting and rising in a clear, graceful, connected and strong way.  You may need some Active Release Technique (ART) work from Dr. Vander Wall on your feet and legs to set you free from old scar tissue in muscles and ligaments and to reprogram your brain for the deeper journey to your sole.

Thursday
May182017

Homegrown Veggies

Do you ever wonder why homegrown vegetables like tomatoes taste so much better than store bought? It's the same reason why you are not seeing improved health even though you are eating more fruits and vegetables, and also why rates of disease are skyrocketing. The answer is in the soil.
 
Modern chemical intensive agriculture relies on synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to promote rapid growth, control pests, and maximize profit. Last year almost 1 pound of pesticide was used per person per year on crops worldwide, and the dose of poisons is nearly 4 times as much in the United States. These are chemicals that cause cancer, neurodegeneration, disrupt our endocrine systems, and destroy the environment. These methods have a detrimental effect on the health of the soil and the bacteria, fungus, insects, and other organisms that inhabit the soil. Our poisoned soil results in crops that look good but have far fewer alkaloid compounds, polyphenols, antioxidants, minerals, and other nutrients that benefit health and nurture our own probiotics.
 
Our food is stored and transported long distances so that it degrades and loses its nutrition by the time it even reaches store shelves.  Not to mention the petroleum and other resources used to transport it.  The only way to change the system and regain our wellness is to vote with our dollar and buy local, organic foods in season and to grow our own.    
 
If you really feel the craving for fruit and summer vegetables during the winter, it will be more nutritious and cheap to buy them in season and preserve them for later. Methods like freezing strawberries, spinach, or peaches are easy and will result in a gain of nutrients and flavor. Canning tomatoes, sauce, or salsas is another great way to enjoy your favorite flavors year round.
  Garden Veggies 16
Now; with the coming of spring, is a great time to fill up on fresh local food like asparagus, strawberries and leafy greens which are packed with nutrients.  Of course the best way to get great produce is to grow your own. You don't have to have a huge garden to enjoy fresh, nutritious food year round. Vegetables like snow peas, carrots and beets will thrive if planted now, before the last frost. Plants like tomatoes are extremely productive in pots and containers.

Adding natural fertilizers like coffee grounds, crushed eggshells, vegetable scraps, and manure to your soil will reward you with increased productivity and better flavor and nutrition, allowing all the health benefits of the fruit to shine.  Avoid synthetic fertilizers and potting mixes like Miracle Gro, which destroy the balance of bacteria and microbes in healthy soil, and therefore impact produce quality.

Make sure to buy heirloom seeds from companies like Baker Creek, Lake Valley, and Botanical Interests; even if you do not save seeds, because they will not be treated with chemicals that are harmful to your soil and affect the nutrition of your crops.

Avoid starters and seeds from big box stores; which are often chemically treated. Even if they are not many of the varieties, including well known ones like "early girl" and "better boy" tomatoes are patented by large companies like Monsanto that destroy the environment for profit.  If you cannot grow your own, be more aware of the source and freshness of your produce. Support local and organic farms, your health will benefit from it.
 
With each bite we change our health and either benefit or degrade the environment. Every time you eat you have an impact on our food system and the world at large. Choose to be more conscious about food and make positive changes that will benefit everyone.    

 

Dane Vander Wall, 
Food Lover
Monday
Jan092017

Why Organic?

We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is essential to maintaining a healthy body.  However, few of us realize the reason why many of these foods are beneficial is that they are supposed to be filled with minerals, antioxidants, phenols, fibers, and flavonoids that protect, nourish, and rejuvenate our cells. 

But, not all foods are created equal; and we now see scientific evidence that shows that organic foods have greater concentrations of these beneficial nutrients, minerals and antioxidants. Much like comparing a homegrown tomato with a GMO “flavr savr” tomato bought at the store in winter; there can be a huge difference in taste, appearance, and nutrition between vegetables.  One study shows that organically grown blueberries have much higher antioxidant, phenol, and anthocyanin content than conventional berries (1).  Another study shows that levels of beneficial flavonoids in tomatoes, such as quercitin, were 79-97% higher in organic versus conventional produce (2).   A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, meanwhile, confirmed that concentrations of antioxidants such as polyphenols were between 18-69% higher in organically-grown crops, not to mention that organics were 50% less likely to contain toxic heavy metals like cadmium (3).  Organic crops are more healthy because they are challenged by pests and disease, causing them produce antioxidants, phenols, flavonoids and other compounds to defend themselves.  These compounds are beneficial to our bodies in myriad ways. 

 VEG

There are many other reasons to choose organic over conventional.  A study based on USDA data found that 73% conventional produce was contaminated with at least one pesticide, compared to 23% of organic crops (4).  Many of the pesticides used today are known neurotoxins and endocrine disruptors.  Meta-data studies strongly correlate pesticide exposure to impaired brain development in children (5).  Choosing organic produce also lessens nitrate pollution from fertilizers that results in ocean dead zones, and promotes a healthy soil microbiome which reduces runoff, holds carbon, and offers more available soil nutrients for plants; and conversely more nutrition for us.  

Every time you buy organic food instead of conventional, you are improving your own health and that of the planet.  Please vote with your dollar next time you shop, or better yet grow your own! 

 

Dane Vander Wall, Food Lover


1)      http://ucanr.edu/datastoreFiles/608-48.pdf

2)      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17590007

3)      http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/news/2015/10/organicvsnon-organicfood/

4)      http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/08/us/study-finds-far-less-pesticide-residue-on-organic-produce.html

5)      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24121005

 

Wednesday
Oct122016

Real Pickles

Historically fermenting has been a way to preserve food in times of plenty. Now we know that fermented food like sauerkraut, pickles, and kimchi benefits us at all times because it is preserved with probiotic lactic acid bacteria that promote our health and good digestion. Commercial pickled vegetables made with vinegar (acetic acid) are sterile and do not provide these benefits. Fortunately making your own fermented pickles is easy and delicious with the following recipe from Dane Vander Wall.

Pickles 2016 (400X300)

Fermented Cucumber Pickles

Important Notes: Use thick skinned pickling cucumbers. If you use English or Persian cucumbers they will not be crunchy and may have off flavors. Use filtered, distilled, or spring water for the brine; chlorinated tap water kills probiotics. You should need about 2 cups of brine or less per quart jar of pickles if you pack them tight. Keep the pickles away from sunlight and at a temperature of 65-75 degrees while fermenting, in an environment like a pantry closet. Make sure the pickles are completely submerged in the brine to avoid mold. Finally, open the jars once every day or two to allow trapped CO2 to escape or they could explode.    

 

Ingredients:

1 Grape leaf or a couple of loose tea leaves (these provide tannins to keep pickles crunchy)

1 head of dill seed or flower, or 1 tsp or so of loose dill seeds

2-3 tsp pickling spices: These are available pre-mixed at places like vitamin cottage

(Alternatively use 1 tsp mustard seeds, a couple cloves, a small (1/2") piece of cinnamon, and a couple allspice berries), or whatever spices you want (panch phoron works well, as does a slice of ginger)

1 bay leaf

1 clove garlic, peeled

-A couple small jalapeno or Serrano slices, or red pepper flakes to provide heat

-Pickling Cucumbers- slice the bottom 1/16 of an inch off of the flower end to help keep them crunchy. Slice the larger ones in half or quarters lengthwise

-Brine to cover- I use 1 tbsp. or a bit more fine real orsa salt dissolved per 2 cups of water. If you use course grained salt you will need more. Do not use table salt or iodized salt, it will kill the probiotics.

Wide mouth Quart Jars, cleaned (make sure they have no soap residue)

Directions:

Prepare brine by stirring approximately 1 tbsp of salt per 2 cups of water to dissolve. Place the grape leaf, dill flower or seeds, pickling spices, bay leaf, garlic, and pepper (If using) at the bottom of the jar. Pack pickling cucumbers tightly into jar, with stem sides up. Pour the brine over the cucumbers so they are completely submerged, if any float up try to pack them down again or remove them to avoid mold. Move the jars to warm area away from sunlight like the pantry discussed earlier. The jars should get fizzy and cloudy as they ferment, with white bacteria clouds on the bottom of the jars, and the cucumbers change from green to yellowish green. If the mixture fizzes over onto your jar lids and bands, wipe them with a dry towel or they will rust.

Ferment the pickles for about a week, or more depending on how you like them.  I usually like them at about 5-6 days. Keep an eye out for off smells and mold, and discard your batch if it is suspect. Start tasting the pickles after a few days by slicing small pieces off the top. The cucumbers get more sour and funky the longer they ferment. Once they have reached the desired taste, keep them in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation and eat asap. They will keep for a while, but flavor does change over time as the bacteria continue to break down the cucumbers. There are many different vegetables you can ferment this way as well but some work better than others. Combinations of cucumber, kohlrabi, zucchini, and peppers have been most successful for me. Happy Pickling, and keep and eye out for an upcoming blog detailing the many benefits of probiotics.

Dane, culinary consultant