SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

June 18, 2009

(REAL) PROBIOTICS

I know, I know. . . . sorry,  its the second one today from Donna Gates!  But this is something We ALL seem so vitally interested in – I simply couldn’t help myself.  Especially after that ridiculous 4 – piece ASSOCIATED PRESS article which concentrated on supplementation.

As is probably evident,  I am a senior on social security which means that I don’t generally live too high on the hog.  Just graciously and as beautifully and completely as I can.  This is referenced for one main reason,  my mother (God bless her radiant soul) quite generally referenced me as a cheapskate.  I don’t agree, I have just always, always been basically a practical person (Virgo that I am).  Quality, value and utility and beauty are equally important to me (Libra rising). But these are trying times and one must try a little harder to make stuff come out neatly in the end.  So, with my practical nature in mind and dedication to all things healthful, I am totally committed to the practice of making my own fermented foods. I do this approximately every 6 to 8 weeks as my supply wanes.  My habit is to make a couple of gallons at a time put up in those  big quart and 1/2 jars with the rubber ring around the lip and a clamp down lid.  I put all in a portable cooler chest and leave in pantry about 10 days.  It lasts for months on end and just gets better with time.  NOTHING could be better for your gut or intestinal problems.  I did have a little anguish when I first tasted this stuff after all that work.  Lets just say that it took some getting used to, on the heels of which – addiction sets in.    Wouldn’t want to be without it now.  Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup with lunch and dinner and a spoon full or so whenever my tummy decides to feel funny.  Generally have a shot of Dong Quai to start the day.  So for me, I’ll always be grateful for learning about Donna Gates and her Body Ecology ways.  Its a good thing!  Enjoy.

Probiotic Liquids and Foods versus Probiotic Supplements: Which Is Better?

by BodyEcology.com

Did you know that many probiotic supplements on the market don’t actually contain all the beneficial microflora they claim to contain? Find out how to be SURE you get the probiotics you need to build your immunity.

If you look at the shelves of your local health food store, you may be confused by the vast array of probiotic supplements.

Probiotics are the buzz word in health these days for a good reason. With benefits ranging from boosting your immunity to easing Irritable Bowel Syndrome, treating autism and ending cravings, it’s no wonder we want our probiotics.

But how can you be sure that these probiotics contain all the friendly microflora necessary to populate your gut, build your immunity, and help you digest and assimilate your food?
The Business of Probiotics

Probiotics are big business, and sales of probiotics topped $243 million in 2005.1

In a lucrative market, it’s no surprise that supplement manufacturers would want a piece of the probiotic pie. Often, in the race to create a product with so many millions of beneficial bacteria strains and with little FDA regulation, one thing is becoming clear: not every supplement manufacturer understands the true nature of healing your inner ecosystem.

So while we know probiotics absolutely have nutritional value, what you see on the label may NOT be what you get.

In fact, two researchers at Bastyr University in Washington recently tested a wide variety of probiotic supplements and found that in four out of twenty products no sign of living friendly bacteria was present.2

The unfortunate truth is that too many probiotic supplements vary widely in quality and potency. Here’s why:

  • Many probiotic supplements cannot survive harsh stomach acid in order to get to your intestines.
  • Manufacturers talk about number of CFUs (colony forming units), but don’t always offer the types or combinations of probiotics that are ideally suited to human intestines. So while they have some value, they do not help re-colonize your inner ecosystem, which is the overall goal.

Just like the Earth has ecosystems that strive for balance, your body has it’s own “inner ecosystem.” At the heart of your inner ecosystem are probiotics, the beneficial microflora that keep you healthy and strong. Products containing these beneficial microflora are called probiotics.

After decades of studying exactly which microflora allow your inner ecosystem to thrive, Donna Gates developed the Body Ecology system with probiotic-rich fermented foods and drinks as one of the mainstays of health and healing.
Best Probiotics?

Fermented foods and drinks can be your best solution to ineffective probiotic supplements!

Here are some reasons that fermented foods and drinks are superior:

  • Beneficial bacteria and yeast in fermented foods and drinks are live and active! Whether you purchase fermented foods and drinks or make them at home, you are getting active bacteria.
  • Fermentation pre-digests vital nutrients for you. Packed with B vitamins, minerals and enzymes, fermented foods and drinks are whole foods full of nutritional value in their own right. On top of that, the microflora increase the bioavailability of the nutrients in all the foods you eat by hundreds of times.
  • Fermentation does not use heat. Your fermented foods and drinks retain their vital amino acids that can be destroyed by heat.
  • You get a variety of live cultures supplied by nature in fermented foods and drinks. Lab produced probiotics are often a single strain of bacteria, like Lactobacillus acidophilus.
  • Supplements contain bacteria only while fermented foods and drinks also contain “food” for the microflora to help promote their growth. It’s like sending the good guys down into your digestive tract with a lunchbox of goodies to sustain them on their long and perilous journey down under. Once they reach their destination (and IF they reach their destination) the microflora in a supplement need up to 6 hours to colonize in your intestines. The microflora in fermented foods and liquids are so hardy they start working at once.
  • Fermented foods and drinks are acid-resistant and are viable in your system from the time they touch your lips all the way down into your gut.
    Body Ecology is on the cutting edge of using probiotics to impact your health, and because we believe in the healing value of beneficial bacteria and yeast, we have created several different ways for you to get daily doses of high quality, potent microflora in your diet.

(If you are just starting to use probiotics, be sure to read Is It Possible To Get Too MUCH Fermented Food In Your Diet? by Dr. Leonard Smith.

Our probiotic liquids and culture starters fit every lifestyle and every taste to populate your gut with a variety of nature’s beneficial bacteria and yeast.

Dong Quai is a potent probiotic drink that gives your body beneficial bacteria and healing herbs at the same time. Try Dong Quai today!

Dong Quai is one our newest probiotic drinks that not only supplies your body with four active cultures but also gives you fermented dong quai, a prized herb known for its hormone stabilizing properties.

Our fermented Dong Quai contains all four of these live probiotics, uniquely designed to re-colonize your intestines:

Besides being a potent probiotic drink, Dong Quai is an herb known for its ability to:

Also be sure to learn about our top-selling probiotic drink “star,” Coco-Biotic.
Make Your Own!

You can also make your own fermented foods and drinks at home with Body Ecology fermented food and drink starters.

Our starters are carefully formulated so that you can reap the health benefits of probiotics at home by making cultured vegetables, cultured butter, Young Coconut Kefir and milk kefir.

Try these fermented food starters and have fun doing it yourself:

  • Kefir Starter is perfect for homemade milk kefir and Young Coconut Kefir.
  • Essential Duo has high levels of two essential bacteria and can be used for delicious fermented drinks.
  • Culture Starter makes delicious vegetables and whipped cultured butter or crème fraiche (aka sour cream). Try it today!

To learn more about each starter, read Which Fermented Food Starter Should You Use For What?
Probiotics The Easy Way

Until a supplement exists that delivers the beneficial bacteria and yeast you need for a healthy inner ecosystem, you can rely on our probiotic liquids, like Dong Quai and fermented foods and drinks that you can make yourself.

You’ll be sure that you’re getting potent probiotics every time!
Sources:
Condor, Bob, “Living Well: ‘Friendly’ probiotics have some cons, too,” Seattle P-I, 18 Dec, 2006. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/health/296142_condor18.html.

GO GREEN at the table

The Body Ecology Guide to the Ten Healthiest Greens

by BodyEcology.com

Crammed with vital nutrients for every body, greens just might be the healthiest food our planet has to offer!

Popeye wasn’t just a man with muscles. He was a man with brains, too. He knew the power of leafy greens could get him out of a jam in a flash. (Okay, he was just a cartoon character… but you get the idea!)

Going Green – A Whole New Meaning

Leafy green vegetables rule the roost in the vegetable kingdom. Nothing against rutabagas or cucumbers, but leafy greens have the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. 1 That’s enough to make any vegetable feel superior!

The Power of Green
Just check in with a bowl of greens and you’ll find they are brimming with vital nutrients that provide a variety of health, growth and fertility benefits.

Your Liver’s Favorite Color is Green

Livers love greens because they’re amazing detoxifiers. If you want to cleanse your liver, eat your greens!

A Lean, Mean, Green Machine

Just to give you an idea of how important they are to include in our diets at every meal, this is a sample of what you can expect with every bite of green goodness:

  • Fiber – A leader in blood sugar regulation, blood cholesterol regulation and bowel function.
  • Protein – Perfect for vegetarians! Who wouldn’t rather have a side of escarole than a tofu cutlet?
  • Calcium – That’s right, leafy greens are an excellent source of calcium. Cows will rejoice everywhere!
  • Vitamin A – Better to see you with, my dear. Vitamin A is essential for vision and bone growth.
  • B Vitamins – Vital for human health and nourishes the nervous system.
  • Vitamin C – Powerful antioxidants to supercharge the immune system. Great for strong muscles, bones and skin, too!
  • Vitamin K – Just what you’re looking for to help support the healing process. Leafy greens are your best source of vitamin K1 but vitamin K2 is synthesized in your gut by microflora. So eat greens and a probiotic diet together for both forms.
  • Iron – Fit for a strongman, this mineral aids in immune function, cognitive development, temperature regulation, energy metabolism and work performance.
  • Chlorophyll – Scan through your notes from your third grade science class and you’ll be reminded that chlorophyll is what makes leaves green. Chlorophyll provides oxygen that’s necessary for the healthy bacteria in your gut to grow and flourish. Go chlorophyll!

Experts Agree, Green is the Color for All Seasons!

Much research has been done on the benefits of greens. Take a look at what has been found when greens are put to the test:

  • Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that individuals who eat leafy greens had a 23% reduction in coronary heart disease.2
  • Scientists found that a diet rich in leafy green vegetables actually showed a significant reduction in the chance of developing colon cancer.3
  • Research shows that folate, one of the impressive B Vitamins in greens, may protect against cognitive decline in older adults .4
  • Studies found that caratenoids (powerful antioxidants) in green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer.5 Doesn’t it make you want to have a plateful of broccoli rabe right now?
  • Another study showed that women who ate the most leafy greens had half the risk of ovarian cancer compared to those who ate the least.6 Half!! Pile them on!

The Greener the Leaf, the Greater the Good

The darker the green in edible plants, the more nutrients they hold. Choose those that are lusciously deep in color and mix them with a variety of shades, textures and tastes for the perfect balance of vitamins and minerals.

Go Ahead, Eat Them – Nature Will Make More

The Body Ecology Diet recommends eating greens at every meal…yes even breakfast or at least for brunch. Starting your day with greens is an alkalizing, mineral-rich way to get your day going!

A steamy bowl of greens sautéed in coconut oil with a little garlic and Celtic sea salt is the perfect complement to a healthy lunch.

And if you’re like most people, dinner isn’t really dinner without a leafy green salad on your plate.

And now for what you’ve all been waiting for…
The Ten “Must-Have” Healthiest Greens for Every Nutritional Wardrobe

  1. Collards – These fan-like greens stand out as a nutritional superstar. Their vitamin K, A, C and magnesium levels are off the charts and their folate, calcium and dietary fiber content is nothing to sneeze at. 7Dinosaurs must have been gnawing on collard greens because they date back all the way to prehistoric times. They’re one of the oldest members of the cabbage family and a close cousin to the curly-headed relative, Kale. 8Known as a time-honored tradition in southern kitchens, collards are held in high regard as the green of choice and are at their best between January and April!
  2. Kale – Flat or curly, this vegetable is considered to be one of the most highly nutritious vegetables, with super strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 9Central and northern Europe as well as North America seem to be the breeding grounds for kale. On a quest for something bigger and better, kale is actually the result of man’s artificial selection for enlargement of leaves in the wild mustard plant. 10
  3. Spinach – The incredible shrinking vegetable! If you’ve ever prepared spinach, you know that the volume is decreased by three quarters when cooked.But that’s OK, spinach is loaded with enough vitamin C and fiber to survive the loss and make it worth every bite! While spinach is a good source of calcium it also contains oxalic acid that reduces intake of dietary calcium.Despite a popular misconception, spinach has only slightly more iron than most other vegetables.

    The mega-iron myth first began in 1870 when Dr. E. von Wolf misplaced a decimal point in his publication which led to an iron content figure that was ten times too high. Although investigated in 1937 by the Germans, the rumor remained strong for decades (thanks to a pipe-smoking sailor man).

  4. Chard – Packed with nutrients, chard is one of the most powerful anti-cancer foods due to its combination of traditional nutrients; phytochemicals, chlorophyll, other plant pigments and soluble fiber. 11Folks in the US love the veiny leaves for cooking while European chefs save the stalks and toss the leaves. Slightly bitter, the fresh young leaves can be steamed, sautéed or used raw in salads. (See note at end of article about the oxalic acid in chard.)A visual knock-out in your grocer’s produce section, chard is found in green forms as well as red-ribbed such as Ruby Chard, Rhubarb Chard and the always exquisite Rainbow Chard.
  5. Mustard – Also known as leaf mustard, Brassica Juncea and Indian mustard, mustard greens have a distinct horseradish-mustard flavor. In fact, the brown mustard we all grew up on is made from mustard greens.Mustard greens are particularly beneficial for women going through menopause. They’re a no-nonsense vegetable that can protect against cancer and heart disease and also support bone health.A little on the pungent side, mustard greens are typically mixed with other milder greens and are a favorite in soul food, Chinese and Japanese cuisines.12
  6. Broccoli Raab – Oh, that broccoli raab is such a trickster. Despite its name, look and taste, broccoli raab has nothing to do with broccoli. It’s really in the turnip family.Loved by Italian and Chinese cooks, broccoli raab, also known as rapini, is a great source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as potassium. 13A little on the bitter side with a rich, nutty flavor, broccoli raab can be an acquired taste. But once it’s acquired, watch out! It can be positively addictive.
  7. Dandelion Greens – Without a doubt, this leafy vegetable is one of the most nutritious foods you can pick.Dandelions support digestion, reduce swelling and inflammation, and treat jaundice, edema, gout, eczema and acne.A close cousin to the sunflower, dandelions can create the perfect spring tonic with their liver cleansing properties. Also known as a good laxative and diuretic, it’s French name, pissenlit (wet the bed), tells all. 14

    Find a field free of pesticides and forage away for a delicious salad or stir fry. A bit on the bitter side but tasty as can be with a little olive oil and lemon.

  8. Watercress – Yet another member of the cabbage family that’s doing amazing things with its vitamins B6, C, magnesium and carotene.Watercress is a fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by humans. It has a significant amount of folic acid and acts as a great digestive aid.With a perk-you-up peppery flavor, watercress is found on a lot of salad bars these days, but is best known for the cute little sandwiches served at ladies’ teas.
  9. Bok Choy – Bok choy is also considered a cabbage, although you would never know it based on its long stalks and slender leaves.High in vitamins A, C and calcium, bok choy is high in nutrients but low in calories.15 They make a beautiful presentation on any plate and are yummy in salads (but blanch and chill the bok choy first), stir-fries and soups. Bok Choy can be fermented like any other cabbage and is the main ingredient in Chinese Kim Chi.Cultivated in China since ancient times, bok choy is a favorite for its light, sweet flavor and crisp texture. Young, baby bok choy lightly sautéed and seasoned with a few shakes of shoyu just might be the most delicious food known to man.
  10. Chicory – This crunchy salad green can be divided into five groups: radicchio, sugar loaf, large leaf, cutting leaf and Belgian endive. The curly types are the most cultivated and often seen in a salad bowl.Rich in potassium, iron, beta carotene, vitamins A and B, chicory has more calcium than even kale and collards. This is the green for anyone who is looking for more calcium in their life.First introduced to England, Germany, Holland and France in the 13 century, the French used it primarily for medicinal purposes to “comfort the weake and feeble stomack and to help gouty limbs and sore eyes”.16
  11. Seaweed – What, did you think we were only covering leafy vegetables that grew on land?Seaweed, or sea vegetables if you want them to sound more dignified, is incredibly nutritious and provides many minerals (most notably from iron), a good supply of protein and fiber as well as vitamins A, B6 and C.Basically, sea vegetables are algae and are used in a number of processed foods as stabilizers and thickeners, not to mention a closet full of beauty products. 17

    Because of the staggeringly strong nutritional value of sea veggies, Donna Gates, author of the Body Ecology Diet recommends eating them each and every day. There are a number of species, each with slightly different tastes and characteristics and are great additions to soups and salads, or sautéed with other vegetables.

    Not everyone loves the taste or texture of sea vegetables, though, or has the time to create flavorful recipes. Our Body Ecology Ocean Plant Extract is a concentrated supplement that offers all of the valuable nutrients in sea vegetables without any preparation time needed.

  12. Cereal Grass – We really couldn’t end this list without at least mentioning healthy grasses. Known as one of the healthiest foods on earth, healthy grass is supersonic fuel for your body.To learn more about this miracle food, check out the Body Ecology article at http://bodyecology.com/07/08/02/healthiest_grasses.php

Don’t Go It Alone!

To get the most of out of your healthy greens, be sure to eat them with cultured foods such as raw cultured vegetables or young coconut kefir. Both pump the gut with friendly bacteria that is necessary for your body to get optimal performance out of B Vitamins and Vitamin K.

Pot Likker (or Liquor) is Quicker

A tradition all the way from Africa, pot likker is the juice from greens that have been cooked and saved at the bottom of the pot that is perfect to drink for a quick, super recharge. Don’t throw those precious minerals away!

But VITALITY SuperGreen Has It ALL!

Body Ecology’s VITALITY SuperGreen is a robust blend of mega-nutritious whole foods designed specifically to balance, heal and revitalize your body, with a special emphasis on nourishing your digestive tract.

Get all the vital nutrients of greens plus so much more with Vitality SuperGreen.

Learn More About Body Ecology’s Vitality and Order Now!

With all the benefits greens have to offer, Vitality SuperGreen is a smart and convenient way to include green goodness in your diet any time of day.

In addition to all of the vitamins and minerals found in leafy greens, Vitality SuperGreen is an outstanding source of complete, easily assimilated protein, enzymes, essential fatty acids, nucleic acids, and microflora, critical for a healthy inner ecosystem.

Our delicious formulation includes:

  • Fermented Greens (kale, parsley and spinach)
  • Fermented Algae
  • Fermented Soy Lecithin

Clearing Up Some of the Confusion around Green Veggies and Oxalates

Some greens like parsley, spinach and chard contain a significant source of calcium and also have a high oxalate content. Because about 80% of kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate there is both concern and controversy over eating these greens.

Is their oxalate content too high for some people? And should they be cooked or not?

Repeated food chemistry studies have shown no statistically significant lowering of oxalate content when green leafy vegetables are blanched or boiled. However, some green foods like collards and kale are difficult to digest and cooking breaks down cell walls so we can absorb the nutrients.

While many researchers do not believe that dietary restriction reduces the risk of stone formation, if you have kidney or gall bladder disorders, you may want to limit the amount of oxalate foods in your diet. This would include coffee and chocolate as well.

It is interesting to note, however, that black tea thought to increase stone formation because of oxalates actually appears in more recent research to have a preventative effect. So sorry, but we probably haven’t cleared the confusion at all since the science around this subject is still remains unclear.

Sources:

(1) Arts & Leisure, http://weeklywire.com/ww/10_25_99/alibi_veggies.html
(2) http://www.happystomach.com/scg.htm
(3) http://www.happystomach.com/scg.htm
(4) Science Daily, “Green Leafy Vegetables May Help Keep Brains Sharp”, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/09/050926082256.htm
(5) American Institute for Cancer Research, “Foods that Fight Cancer”, http://www.aicr.org/site/pageserver?pagename=dc_foods_greens
(6) American Institute for Cancer Research, “Foods that Fight Cancer”, http://www.aicr.org/site/pageserver?pagename=dc_foods_greens
(7) The World’s Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=138
(8) Collard Greens (mess o’ greens) History and Recipe of Collard Greens, http://whatscookingamerica.net/Vegetables/CollardGreens.htm
(9) Dr D.G.Hessayon (2003) The Vegetable & Herb Expert, Expert Books, ISBN 0-903505-46-0
(10)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale
(11) http://www.everynutrient.com/healthbenefitsofchard.html
(12) Brassicajuncea, Wikipedida, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brassica_juncea
(13) http://whatscookingamerican.net/vegetables.broccoliraab.htm
(14) Rebecca Wood – The Kitchen Dakini, Healing with Food, http://www.rwood.com/Articles/Dandelion_Greens.htm
(15) http://chinesefood.about.com/od/vegetablerecipes/a/bokchoy.htm
(16) http://www.innvista.com/HEALTH/foods/vegetables/chicory.htm
(17) National Geographic, The Green Guide, http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/97/seaweed

April 9, 2009

Green Tea & Mushrooms

Lee Swanson Research Update

Mushroom, green tea may reduce breast cancer risk

April, 2009

Consuming mushrooms and green tea may greatly reduce the risk of breast cancer, suggests a study that included more than 2,000 Chinese women.

Women who ate at least a third of an ounce of fresh mushrooms every day were 64% less likely to develop breast cancer, while those who ate dried mushrooms had about a 50% reduced risk. Women who ate mushrooms and drank green tea were nearly 90% less likely to develop the disease.

Previous laboratory tests on animals have shown that fungi may have anti-tumor properties and can stimulate the immune system’s defenses.

Reporting in the International Journal of Cancer, scientists involved in the current study wrote: “We conclude that higher dietary intake of mushrooms decreased breast cancer risk in pre- and postmenopausal Chinese women and an additional decreased risk of breast cancer from joint effect of mushrooms and green tea was observed. More research is warranted to examine the effects of dietary mushrooms and mechanism of joint effects of phytochemicals on breast cancer.”

International Journal of Cancer 124(6):1404-1408, 2009

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I was delighted to read this,  this morning in an email from Swanson Vitamins. I’m crazy about mushrooms and eat them often, but now I think I’ll up the quantity.  With the economy being the way it is,   I’m happy to know that to eat fresh mushrooms is so helpful as some of the mushroom supplements (especially from the rain forests) is quite costly).  As for the green tea,  well I already do that – –  doesn’t everybody?

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