Naturopathic News for September 2012
Naturopathic News for September
Allergy-free lunches for adults and children: 3 surprising ingredients
It’s back to school and work time for most, (except us lucky home school/work at home people!), so it is time to think of healthy lunches that don’t violate the “no nut” rule, are healthy and easy to make, and appetizing to eat! Living gluten, dairy and soy free for a number of years we came up with some great travel ideas for meals. Here are three suggestions.
First is a nut alternative. Nuts are very healthy, but most schools and many workplaces have banned them due to the high incidence of nut allergy. A good alternative is to use seeds. Sunflower seed butter, pumpkin seed butter, sesame tahini all stand in nicely for peanut butter. Trail mixes, granola bars and cookies can also be made with these additives. Soaked pumpkin or sunflower seeds with some soy sauce or a little maple syrup and cinnamon added, then dehydrated are delightful. Flax, chia and salba seeds are other seeds that have a high nutrition value.
The second suggestion is to use beans. Bean dips, which with an assortment of healthy crackers or dehydrated flax crackers and vegetables make a great alternative to a sandwich. Think hummus, black bean dip and white bean dip. Beans can also be used as a spread in a whole grain tortilla and wrapped up. There is also always three bean salad, in fact beans make a great addition to any salad. Chickpeas can be roasted and salted and included to munch on.
The third is seaweed. What? Yuck! (The usual reaction of people not from the Maritimes or East Asia! ) . Start with Nori. Did you know you can get delicious snack size packages of roasted Nori at Superstore? They were on sale three for 88 cents this week! These are a great alternative to chips, full of minerals and low in calories. Other seaweed can take a little more time to get used to, but if a child (or adult), tries something frequently enough it can grow to be a favourite.
Simple remedies for cold/flu prevention
‘Tis the season for colds and flus. Your family may already have been struck down by illness with a return to work/school and germ infested areas. A few pointers on prevention: Wash, wash, wash your hands, (notice I didn’t say spray alcohol rub onto your hands.) This is OK in an emergency but keep in mind that that alcohol strips your skin of oils and beneficial bacteria and is not good to use constantly. We make it a point to wash our hands as soon as we step in the door of our house. We also try not to touch our face until we have done that. Nothing beats regular (not anti-bacterial), soap and water for washing away harmful bacteria and viruses.
Minimize sugar during cold/flu season. Remember that 1 tsp of sugar depresses the immune system for up to 6 hours. Just picture yourself or a child at a birthday party, someone (inevitably) has the sniffles and you or your child are eating cake, ice cream , pop, in other words almost eating almost pure sugar. There is a very good chance you will be missing some work or school with a cold in the next few days.
Get sufficient sleep. We hosted Asian students and one thing I noticed was that when they were tired or feeling a little ill they went to bed right away. They rarely woke up the next day with a full cold. This is a much better way to deal with an onset of a cold than to stuff yourself full of anti-cold medicines. Your immune system needs proper sleep to function optimally.
Begin digestive enzymes. The theory behind taking digestive enzymes to fight off a cold is that if you take them between meals they will “digest” virus particles. I don’t know if that is accurate or not, but this sure works for me and is safe for just about anyone. You start with two or three as soon as you feel a cold coming on, then take them every few hours as needed. Of course if you are allergic to any of the ingredients this is not recommended, nor should you take an enzyme with hydrochloric acid if you have had ulcers.
Homoeopathic flu and cold preparations work , possibly as well as, or better than the current influenza shots. Much safer too. Mucococcinum, Oscillum, Dolicocil and Influenzinum are a few of this type. Some you start at about the beginning of October and continue until end of May, some you can take with a cold of flu. Read package directions.
And, last but not least, lots of water! Fluid helps the body detoxify and wash away viruses. Herbal teas can be helpful too, peppermint is a good one for adults or kids.
A new way to move
There is new thought about exercise and movement. Going to the gym after sitting in an office all day and doing a workout just isn’t enough anymore for a person to stay fit and ward off the problems of inactivity. One website says we should spend at least 50% of the time we are awake standing or moving! New research is out showing that sitting for more than an hour or two increases the risk for diabetes. I am working on this by alternating an active and a passive activity. For example, an hour working on my newsletter, then 15 minutes washing dishes. I am certainly not at the 50/50 mark, but my awareness of the problem of inactivity has increased, and I do my best not to sit for more than an hour at a time. In an office situation this could translate to a water/bathroom break each hour, or a quick stroll up and down a hall or short flight of stairs. Part of a lunch hour could be spent walking a few blocks.
Call me a Flexitarian
I was asked for my nutritional philosophy the other day. I have been in the past: omnivore, vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, sugar free and gluten-free. I have experimented with food combining, eating in the zone, low glycemic diets, green smoothies and high raw diets. So, with almost 50 years of diet experimentation behind me, I have now, finally found my ideal. I am officially a Flexitarian. I think I am supposed to have a strong food philosophy, to be adamant in my commands to “eat this, never touch that”, but instead I tell people they can eat what they like, except for moderate to large amounts of sugar, refined and processed foods. Of course I adapt diets to health conditions.
I came across this definition a few months ago. It was something along the lines of ” A Flexitarian will eat meat, but prefers vegetarian when possible”. I am going to take the liberty of expanding the definition. Here is how I define a Flexitarian:
1/ Accepts that all true foods, (those not tampered with by man), can be part of a healthy diet.
2/ Accepts that different people have different needs from their diet, these may be cultural, health related, religious or emotional .
3/ Accepts that one diet isn’t superior to all other diets, that many different diets can meet our nutritional needs. That we shouldn’t judge or make others feel uncomfortable about their diet.
4/ That food that is organic, wild-crafted, hunted, fished, free-range, local ,lower on the food chain and sustainable is preferred since it is fresher, less contaminated , healthier for the planet and healthier for us.
5/ That most processed foods are not healthy for us.
6/That a variety of good foods are healthy for us.
7/That we can adapt our diet to our location, the season and our budget and still eat healthfully.
Miso is fermented soybean paste. It is simple to prepare as a soup, and very warming in the winter. A good soup for this transitional season as well.
Miso is available in a variety of colours and types ranging from light to dark.
Buy only organic Miso, since most soybeans are now genetically modified.
1 or 2 tsp of Miso
cup of boiling water
chopped green onion
Add boiling water to Miso and stir until dissolved. Add chopped green onion and chopped Nori. Optional – one of our Japanese students liked her Miso soup with an egg cracked on top. Cover and let the egg cook in the hot liquid.
Stayed tuned for details of a free probiotics seminar in January – there will be up to date information posted in each newsletter.
Feel free to comment on anything you have read today, and also to suggest articles you would like to see featured.
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