Feeling Tired? It’s because you’re eating this

donuts

Feeling tired? Unmotivated? Blah? It might be a hormonal imbalance, it might be you’re trying to do too much, it might be stress, but it also might be something you ate.

UCLA researchers have found that sugary, high fat, and processed foods don’t just wreck your health and your waistline, they can cause fatigue, lack of motivation, and poor performance as well. The good news is that a splurge once in a while isn’t enough to do damage – it was only the subjects that ate junk food for 3 months straight that experienced obesity and cognitive impairments. It’s a good thing the subjects were lab rats!

But it begs the question – what happens to humans, especially children, who habitually eat high fat, sugary processed foods? This study at least indicates that the damage may be permanent, or at least very resistant to change.

If you’ve been eating a few too many fast food meals, try a whole foods diet for a week and see if you feel more energetic, motivated, and mentally sharp. Can’t take time to cook? At Intelligent Gourmet, we make healthy food as fast and as easy as take-out. And, we have kids meals too.

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Locally Grown: 4 Fab Florida Spring Superfoods

Kauai farmer's market

We’re lucky in Florida – our growing season is year-round for many fruits and vegetables, which means we can eat locally all the time! But, even in our agriculturally blessed state, Spring is a special time of year with some extra special Super Foods to offer.

1. The Ataulfo mango is the creamiest, least fibrous, and most delicious mango out there – and it hits its peak from March through July. But, don’t be too sad if you see more Haden mangoes than Ataulfos – they’re both wonderful. Mangoes are packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants and vitamin C, and you can even use them as a light all-natural facial peel.

2. Key limes aren’t just great in cocktails and in pie – they make a delicious and healthy smoothie too. Limes, and lemons, help your body chemistry become alkaline, and contain flavonoids that fight cancer. And, of course, they are high in vitamin C. Try combining:

  • 2 Tb key lime juice
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4th tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of baby spinach
  • with stevia to taste
  • blend with four ice cubes.

3. Blueberries start emerging in Florida from April through June, bringing with them lots of antioxidants.

4. Cantaloupe is high in beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is vital for healthy skin, which makes cantaloupe the ultimate look-good food!

Drinking for Medicinal Purposes: 5 Teas For Whole-Body Health

chai masala health benefits

We all know that green tea and black tea are full of antioxidants, but other teas are often overlooked for their health benefits and medicinal value. Here are four of my favorite herbal teas, and one tea that’s all spice!

Sleep well with Chamomile

Chamomile tea has been used medicinally since ancient Egypt and has gained a reputation throughout the centuries for helping to ease cramps, lower fevers, speed healing time from colds, and of course, to help people relax and sleep better. Some studies even show chamomile protecting against cancer cell growth.

Get a beauty boost with Rooibos

Rooibos tea is high in vitamin C and antioxidants, but its claim to fame is its power to help the skin fight signs of aging and common skin issues, like eczema, wrinkles and acne.

Focus with Lemon Balm

The problem with caffeinated beverages is that alertness comes with a cost: increased anxiety. With lemon balm, studies have shown that a 600 mg dose boosts your mood, increases the feeling of calm, and helps you stay alert. In fact, some studies indicate that lemon balm might help calm and improve brain function in Alzheimer’s patients.

Ease your digestion with Dandelion Tea

Some diets include drinking pitchers full of dandelion tea to help you lose weight. You will lose weight, or at least water weight. It’s a laxative! Dandelion tea’s health benefits also include decreasing inflammation, calming upset stomachs, easing gas pains, and aiding digestion in general.

Support whole-body health with Masala Chai

Masala chai is as close to a magic tonic as you can get – and it’s delicious! Real masala chai includes some of the best medicinal spices out there, combined with antioxidant-rich black tea and milk. Just be sure that the masala chai you buy gets its flavor from real ingredients and not artificial flavors and added sugar. Spices include:

  • Cardamom – cleanses kidneys, supports urinary tract health, and improves digestion.
  • Cinnamon – Lowers bad cholesterol, regulates blood sugar, anti-fungal.
  • Cloves – antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and antiseptic. They also improve the metabolism.
  • Ginger – prevents and manages stomach ulcers, anti-inflammatory, stimulates blood circulation, and protects against cold and flu.
  • Black pepper – a powerful antioxidant and antibacterial (especially helpful against respiratory conditions).

 

 

Spring Cleaning Starts On the Inside

whole meats make a difference

You might wonder what I mean when I say I cook “Clean” at Intelligent Gourmet. No, it’s not a reflection of how often we scrub down our kitchen (although we do keep our kitchen very, very clean). It’s a lifestyle choice that eliminates all processed foods, additives and refined junk. And it makes a world of difference in how you look and feel.

If you want to feel better than you have in years, and fit into your summer swimsuit, start now – this Spring – and see the difference eating clean can make in your life. What does a clean diet look like?

  • Whole meats – No “ground” unless you grind it yourself, no processed meats, no deli pre-sliced in a package turkey. You’d be shocked at how much junk is in those! Make friends with your local butcher.
  • Whole grains – Brown rice, whole wheat, bread you’ve either made yourself or from small local bakeries committed to “no junk added.” Get used to reading labels!
  • Food made from scratch using whole fruits and vegetables – Yes, you can still dine out *if* you know the restaurant is committed to making foods from scratch, and are completely transparent about what ingredients go in their food. At Intelligent Gourmet, you know exactly what ingredients we use – and if you don’t, we’re more than happy to tell you in detail!
  • Nuts, seafood, beans, and other whole healthy foods – You can eat nearly everything you want, unless what you want comes in a box or bag.
  • Fresh-squeezed juice – Store-bought juices hide preservatives and added sugars, plus, much of their nutrition is lost from days sitting on a refrigerated store shelf. Buy a juicer, or come by our store for real, fresh juice. You’ll be amazed by how much better they taste, and how much better you feel.

Why eat clean? Well, do you like the idea of eating “guar gum”? What is that anyway? But seriously, when you eat clean you’ll see the difference. You will:

Lose extra weight.
Feel energized.
Enjoy clearer skin and shinier hair.
Sleep better.
Feel happier.

It’s a total body and mind makeover just in time for summer.

Food Cures For 4 Common Health Problems

Turmeric pills

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates

It’s my favorite quote, one by which I live. It’s also the theory behind our Intelligent Gourmet juices and every single menu item we offer. While enjoying healthy food on a daily basis is the most powerful preventative we can give ourselves for every possible disease, sometimes, we need a cure for specific ailments caused by weakened immune systems, years of wear and tear, inflammation, or emotional imbalances. When that is the case, I love whole food – but nothing packs quite the same punch as a good supplement.*

Insomnia: First, cut out the caffeine – it’s the most common cause of sleeplessness. But after you’ve tried that, you may have a melatonin deficiency. As we age, our bodies make less melatonin, and taking a supplement can help regulate sleeping patterns. Take 1-3 mg 2 hours before bedtime.

UTIs: UTIs are caused by e-coli getting a foot-hold in your urinary tract. Antibiotics kill the bacteria after you’ve already suffered, but prevention is as simple as using cranberries. Cranberries make the walls of your urinary tract and bladder too slippery for bacteria to adhere to. Cranberries work best as a preventative, but can be taken after the fact as well. Typical store-bought cranberry juice has far too much sugar (and other added ingredients) to be effective, and even 100% cranberry juice has more sugar in it than you want (and sugar promotes bacterial growth). Supplements, however, are highly concentrated. Take 1 500 mg cranberry pill 3 times daily on an ongoing basis to act as a preventative (it’ll also support your, heart, liver and stomach health).

Arthritis: Turmeric (or it’s active ingredient, curcumin) is a powerful anti-inflammatory and blood thinner, which makes it almost like taking an Aspirin. If you’re on blood thinners already, consult a doctor before taking turmeric! Take capsules of 250 to 500 mg three times daily.

Mild to Moderate Depression: St. John’s wort has been proven to help reduce anxiety, depression, tiredness, loss of appetite and trouble sleeping (which, not coincidentally, are symptoms of depression). The plant’s hypericin and hyperforin chemicals help the nervous system regulate mood. Take 300 mg of St. John’s wort 3 times daily.

*I’m not a doctor, so please consult your physician before starting any routine supplement, especially if you’re on drugs with potential interactions.

And, for the best possible supplement for your health, come by for an Intelligent Gourmet juice today!

 

6 Reasons to Jump on the Turmeric Trend

Health benefits of turmericWhen mixologists start making cocktails out of something, you know it’s officially become a trend, and turmeric is right there. It’s been featured on NPR as “the new green tea,” and on Dr. Oz as the cure for seasonal depression (just as effective as anti-depressant medications, without the side effects). The health benefits of turmeric span thousands of years and dozens of studies. Are you ready for the new Super Food?

“It’s literally plant medicine!” – Dr. Oz

Turmeric has been used medicinally for almost 4000 years to cure everything from eczema to allergies, and even stopping poison in its tracks.

In Western medicine, turmeric hasn’t been studied nearly as extensively as it should be, but what they’ve found so far is nothing short of amazing.

6 Scientifically Backed-Up Health Benefits of Turmeric 

  • A powerful anti-inflammatory, used for arthritis relief, bladder infections, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis to name a few. And, it’s better for you than Aspirin.
  • A powerful antioxidant which can prevent infection and cancer growths.
  • A study showed that turmeric, when combined with chemotherapy, makes the chemo more potent while decreasing side effects.
  • An effective antibacterial (but if you use it topically to treat acne or sores, prepare to turn yellow!).
  • A liver-cleanser – Curcumin, the main component of turmeric, improves liver function, allowing the liver to get rid of bad cholesterol.
  • New studies have shown Turmeric may be able to prevent Alzheimer’s, and slow its progression.

At Intelligent Gourmet, we often put turmeric in with our fresh juices. Come by and try! Apparently, everyone is doing it (or soon will be!).