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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Use Your Noodle: Summer Squash

Vegan Zuccini pasta bowl

When you’re craving pasta, but are gluten-free or vegan (or both), here’s an idea to satisfy your noodle-lust: Zucchini noodles! In this bowl, we’ve piled carrots, cabbage, spring onions and almonds, and drizzled it with a little oil-based dressing for a meal that is filling, delicious, and oh-so good for you!

Not only is making Zucchini noodles easy – just buy a julienne peeler, peel only the outer layers (stopping before you reach the seeds), toss the strings with a little salt and wait 15 minutes – the outer peel of the zucchini is where the highest concentration of anti-oxidants are stored. This may be the best way you can enjoy zucchini!

Health Benefits of Summer Squash (aka. zucchini)

The high dietary fiber in zucchini can help prevent colon cancer, but it’s also packed with vitamins A, C and folate – other powerful cancer fighters – and phytonutrients that are especially good for promoting prostate health. Summer squash is anti-inflammatory, and since it’s rich in manganese, is great for creating healthy, glowing skin (and healing wounds).

Rounding out the zucchini with cruciferous cabbage, beta-carotene-rich carrots, and protein and good fat-filled almonds not only provides a satisfying crunch, they’re also powerhouses of health.

With summer in full swing, there’s no excuse not to enjoy the fruits – and vegetables – of the season! Come by Intelligent Gourmet and ask us what’s fresh (hint: the answer is everything!).

Bikini Season Brownies

Cacao

The days are heating up, the layers of clothes are coming off, and all I can think about is chocolate. It’s my theory that life is too short not to eat good food, and if that means a brownie now and then, well, that’s what’s happening.

Fortunately, there is a lot to be said for the health benefits of a good, gluten-free brownie. I like this brownie recipe from Elena’s Pantry, which includes creamy roasted almond butter, 2 eggs, agave nectar, vanilla extract, cacao powder, sea salt, baking soda and chocolate chips. It’s full of good fats, low on the glycemic index thanks to agave nectar, and most importantly, it is full of delicious dark chocolate.

The Power of Cacao

Not all cacao powder is created equal, so if you want the highest quality nutrients, get your chocolate fix from something like organic, raw Arriba Criollo Cacao Powder. Straight cacao, which is undiluted with milk and sugar, is packed with anti-oxidants and Phenylethylamine (a mild stimulant that boosts dopamine, serotonin and other feel-good chemicals). Hey, you already knew a brownie makes you feel better – and now you know why!

5 Health Benefits of Chocolate

  1. Cacao is an appetite suppressant, and it’s low on the glycemic index.
  2. Cacao is an excellent source of iron, magnesium and chromium.
  3. Cacao releases neurotransmitters that help endorphins and serotonin flow.
  4. Cacao is full of flavanoids which, like antioxidants, fight free radicals that damage cells.
  5. Cacao delivers a powerful punch of polyphenols which help fight heart disease and reduce inflammation.

Remember: Eat better, feel better, live better. And everything’s better with chocolate.

Four Fab Foods for Weight Management

Intelligent Gourmet Chicken Dinner

Weight management really is a mathematical equation. For woman it’s about 1200 to 1500 calories per day; for men 1800 to 2200 calories, depending on height, age, and activity level. While you can’t ever throw out calorie counting if you really want to see pounds drop, there are some foods you can have as much as you want without keeping track.

  • Non – Starchy Vegetables: Eat as many as you want in unlimited quantities (unless you are a brittle diabetic), as long as the preparation method is “clean”. No one ever got fat from a carrot or beet.
  • Boneless Skinless Poultry: One of the most versatile of all foods, chicken eaten plain, grilled, with salad and parmesan, or stir fried with fabulous red bell peppers, is a sure way to keep your energy up and lose weight.
  • Eggs, yolks and all: I am not afraid of yolks; they have great Vitamin D and Iron. Take 2 egg whites and whip with a whole egg and spinach (or other vegetables), top with 1 ounce of great natural whole cheese, and you’ve made a huge breakfast for yourself.
  • If you can’t drink enough plain water, slice up a cucumber and half a lemon and put the slices in a big pitcher with water, ice, and a few mint leaves. It’s natural flavored water that is far more refreshing, and fun!

Fun Zone

Summer is a time for playing outside and embracing your inner child. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little bit of pure fun and treating yourself to a day well spent. Finding joy in life isn’t a chore: it’s one of the reasons we are here!
Curious as to what you might do on one of these days out and about for a healthy yet free-spirited time? Perhaps you’ll enjoy what the sunshine has to offer (with sunscreen of course!) by playing Frisbee with friends at your local park. Or maybe you’ll let yourself take in a cup of frozen yogurt (I recommend Pink Berry) on a particularly hot and mellow afternoon while you’re doing errands. Or treat yourself to a dollop of Greek yogurt with a handful of berries, sliced mango and sunflower seeds – those are good fats too, when used sparingly.
Now get out there and live!
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