IS YOUR GUT MAKING YOU CRAZY?

We Welcome Guest Blogger and Friend Sarah Bingham founder of Fast Food Healing.

Sarah is a licensed nutrition consultant with a master’s degree and more than thirty-five years experience counseling and lecturing on all aspects of nutrition throughout the country. Her current focus is in family nutrition, helping parents recover their children from conditions like autism, ADD, ADHD, asthma and other learning/behavior issues. She is also a dynamic and passionate speaker who communicates with clarity, humor and inspiration the simplicity of achieving wellness.

Sarah works as the Director of Nutritional Programs for Valle Counseling in Tampa, FL. She is a certified GAPS (Gut and Psychology/Physiology Syndrome) practitioner (see www.gaps.me). Sarah is the founder of Fast Food Healing LLC, a personalized in-home nutrition counseling business. Sarah always addresses body, mind and spirit as they are all critical to a healthy body.

Following is an article Sarah shared with us.  Did you know that 80-90% of your neurotransmitters (chemicals that effect your mood and brain function) are created in your gut? Also, the seat of your immune system is in your gut. Hence, that old saying, “I’ve got a gut feeling” is quite accurate. Hence, what research is beginning to put together is if your mood, mind or behavior are off, you have a very good chance of having a gut that is off and a poor immune system.

What do I mean by “off”? Your gut is loaded (about 4 pounds) with good guy bacteria. This good guy bacteria keeps in check the potentially bad guy bacteria that is also present. All of these microbes have important functions, like creating B vitamins, neurotransmitters, and anti-cancer substances. When the good guys are winning, your mood and ability to think are in great shape. Your immune system is also in good shape. But, when the bad guys are winning, you could be suffering from any one of these conditions: Irritable bowel, reflux, ADD, ADHD, asthma, autism, bipolar disease, food allergies and intolerance, depression, dyslexia, autoimmune disease and more.

What causes your gut to become out of balance? Antibiotics, stress, the birth control pill, most prescription drugs and a diet high in processed foods. So, take a mother to be who has eaten a processed diet her whole life, has had a few courses of antibiotics and is now pregnant. Her gut “flora” or bacteria are more than likely out of balance. A baby’s gut is sterile until going through the birth canal. At this point, the baby swallows some of the mother’s vaginal fluid, which is reflective of her gut balance or imbalance. Thus, the baby’s gut is inoculated with either good guy bacteria or bad guy bacteria. And the cycle begins again.

Sometimes it’s easy to bring your gut back into balance using probiotics, lactic acid fermented foods and good whole foods and sometimes it takes a major effort to accomplish a rebalancing of the gut. When I look out at our society with lots of depression, rage, anxiety, immune dysfunction and irritable bowel, I think we all need a major revamping of our gut flora. As Hippocrates said back in 400 BC, “All disease begins in the gut.”

love your gut

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Is Your Healthy Food More Hype than Health?

You order a sandwich on whole wheat bread with turkey, Applewood-smoked bacon, tomatoes and avocado. It looks delicious. It tastes delicious. And you savor every crumb, confident that you’ve just done something good for your body.

After all, you didn’t pick up this sandwich at any old fast food restaurant.

This restaurant’s website has an entire tab explaining their beliefs, which include a commitment to “Clean Ingredients.”

So why does your sandwich include sorbitan monostearate, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium phosphates, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite, potassium sorbate and calcium disodium, and the mysterious moniker “natural flavor”?

Chances are, if you don’t know what an ingredient is, you wouldn’t recognize it as real food if it was served on a plate.

  • Sorbitan monostearate is an emulsifier that keeps water and oils mixed, and is also referred to as synthetic wax. Not so yummy.
  • Microcrystalline cellulose is wood pulp. It’s used as a texturizer and anti-caking agent, fat substitute and emulsifier. It’s also probably in your vitamin supplements.
  • Sodium phosphates act as preservatives, change texture of foods, keep processed meats moist, and are common food additives in processed foods. Food companies aren’t even required to list phosphate levels on “Nutrition Facts” labels, even though they have been linked to increased risk for kidney disease and heart disease. They’re also thought to accelerate the aging process, and they interfere with how your body processes and activates vitamin D.
  • Sodium erythorbate sounds terrible, but it’s actually taken from vitamin C and is used to keep foods fresh by inhibiting the oxidation of food. However, eating too much sodium erythorbate has been linked to causing kidney stones.
  • Sodium nitrite is used to cure meats like ham, bacon and hot dogs, and has been linked to cancer.
  • Potassium sorbate is another preservative that is used so frequently, in nearly every processed and canned food, that it’s shockingly easy to be overexposed which can lead to long-term health risks. It’s not only in processed foods – it’s also in cosmetic products and wine.
  • Calcium disodium prevents air from spoiling food and cosmetics. It’s also used to treat lead poisoning and mercury poisoning. Doesn’t sound so bad, right? What you may not know is that it robs your body of nutrients by making it more difficult for your body to use vitamin C, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and potassium.
  • Natural flavor is taken from an original ingredient found in nature that has been purified, extracted, and added back into the food. For example, “natural flavor” in a blueberry muffin actually means a chemical derived from blueberries that was enhanced in a lab.

In a Life by Daily Burn article, a scientist at the Environmental Working Group articulates why “natural flavor” is the fourth most common ingredient listed on labels: “The goal is to make a short intense flavor that quickly dissipates so you come back for more.”

What, exactly, is “clean” about this sandwich?

And, it’s not just the restaurant chains
This is what terrifies me about the hype we’ve created around health food. Companies can so easily take advantage of terms like “clean ingredients” without delivering on those promises. They fool our eyes and our tongues, but they can’t fool our bodies – these will ultimately pay the price.
I also see this in pre-packaged juices and “juice cleanses” where there may not be nitrites and phosphates, but in which so much sugar has been added that any nutritional benefit is offset.
The healthiest-seeming foods are often the worst culprits. An acai bowl, for example, uses frozen pureed acai (freezing kills acai’s superfood nutrients), and then adds berries, bananas, yogurt, granola with coconut on top. The result is a 600+ calorie, dairy inflammatory sugar bomb with more sugar in it than a slice of chocolate cake.
What you can do? 
Every dollar you spend is a vote for health and against hype. I know we can’t all cook whole foods for ourselves every day, but if we take the time to look closely at what we eat and only buy from trustworthy sources, perhaps the larger food corporations will add substance to their claims.
I look forward to a world in which a sandwich is just a sandwich, don’t you?
Until then, there’s Intelligent Gourmet.

Sandwich for blog

Intuitive Eating: The Un-Diet

intuitive eating whole food diet

At Intelligent Gourmet, we don’t jump on diet trends, and we don’t think “skinny” is the ideal. We appreciate good health in all its forms, so if you’re eating clean, staying active, and loving life, we support you! One aspect of health, however, is developing a healthy relationship with food. The “Intuitive Eating” approach aims to do just that by encouraging people to eat when they’re hungry, and stop when they’re full.

It sounds simple, doesn’t it? In my opinion, the best things in life always are!

In our social-eating society (and as an Italian, I understand social eating on a deep level), eating only when you’re hungry and stopping when your full can be a real challenge. But, if you can manage it, you might never need to diet again.

The Rules of Intuitive Eating

  • No foods are off-limits.
  • Eat want your body craves, but only when you feel hungry. No guilt allowed!
  • Stop eating when you no longer feel hungry.

Now, I would put a few caveats in place, because I believe this method works best when your body chemistry is balanced with good nutrition. If you eat nothing but brownies all day, or any other sugar and carb-filled processed food, science shows that you will actually feel hungrier than if you ate something more balanced (even a home-made brownie with walnuts is better!). I would also beware of sugary and alcoholic drinks that add calories without filling you up. However, if you pair the Intuitive Eating philosophy with a whole foods diet, I think it could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship – and a beautiful body.

Let me know if you try it!

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.