What’s the Deal With Seeds?

seeds

Short answer: Tiny but powerful

Seeds come in a variety of flavors, shapes and colours and all have varying nutrient content but one they all have in common is that they are convenient and healthy. Due to the fact that there is so much information on each of these amazingly healing seeds, this will be a series of posts about seeds and their benefits.

Today we’ll talk about one very powerful and commonly known seed called Flax Seeds (Linseeds).

flax seed

Flax (Linum usitatissimum) is a plant native to the Mediterranean that has been used as a food for well over 5,000 years. It became widely known throughout Europe after C.E., Charlemagne considered it so important that he passed laws and regulations requiring it’s consumption. It eventually was introduced to Canada in the seventeenth century.

Flax seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 essential fatty acids and protein, are high in dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. They are also a good source of minerals phosphorous, iron and copper. Hippocrates wrote about using flax for the relief of abdominal pains.

You might surprised to find out that flax oil  has nearly twice the level of omega- 3 fatty acid as compared to fish oils.

Flax contains ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. In fact, data derived from biopsies of breast tissue from women diagnosed with breast cancer compared to benign samples indicated that the women with breast cancer had a 64 percent lower ALA level. Another study concluded that the higher the ALA level in breast tissue, the less likely the cancer was to spread into the lymph nodes of the armpit.

Lowering cholesterol, weight loss, improving memory and brain health, reducing symptoms of Menopause and PMS are also a few of this tiny seeds capability.

brain health

What to buy and how to store Flax

Though you can eat them whole it’s much more nutritionally beneficial to grind them into a meal or powder.

I would recommend buying your flax whole if available in packaged form or bulk and preferably refrigerated. Just as you would with any other food if buying from bulk, make sure the bins are covered and that the store has a good turnover rate to ensure maximum freshness.

Look for evidence of any moisture and avoid if you see it.

Store your whole flax seeds in an airtight container in a dark, dry, and cool place, where they will keep fresh for several months.

You can choose to purchase ground flax seeds however, once ground they are much more prone to oxidation and spoilage. Whether you purchase ground flax or grind them your at home, once ground it’s important to store either in the fridge or in the freezer. Ground flax will keep in the fridge for about 6 months and in the freezer for about a year.

flaxgroundandoil

If flax seed oil is what you are looking for make sure to purchase only oils that are in a dark bottle and have been stored in the refrigerator. The oil should have a sweet, nutty flavour and you should never use flax seed oil in cooking but are able to add it to foods after they have been cooked.

 

How can I eat these wonderful seeds and what is a typical serving? 

Typical serving size for ground or whole flaxseeds is 1-2 tablespoons. Flax oil can vary, so read the bottle for more information.

Quick serving ideas:

  • Sprinkle ground flax onto your hot or cold cereal
  • Pump up volume of your smoothies or shakes by adding whole or ground flax
  • Use flax seed oil instead of other oils in salad dressings, bread dipping.
  • Drizzle oil or sprinkle whole or ground over vegetables, pasta or rice.

Is Flax safe for everyone?

Flaxseeds contain a moderate amount of oxalate. Individual with  history of oxalate containing kidney stones should avoid over consumption.

Here is list of other foods high in oxalates:

  • 100% pure cocoa
  • Spinach
  • Beet greens
  • Cashews

Thanks for reading everyone and remember if there is anything you would like to see a blog written about please email directly at alicia@completebodynutrition.ca

Live longer, healthier and happy

 

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Honey VS Sugar

honey

In this day and age everyone is looking for an easier way to eat healthy, or the quickest way to loose those extra couple pounds. Sometimes it’s not about the easiest or fastest way that gets you to your goals but eliminating refined sugar from your life could be one of those methods.

Try replacing your sugar with honey, not only are you eliminating something refined and void of any nutrients that is actually really bad for you but you are replacing it with something that will still give you that sweet tooth fix but is packed full of nutrients, good bacteria (that aids in digestion and that our body requires) and powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Antioxidants help to get rid of the free radicals in your body that cause diseases and pre mature aging. Let me make that crystal clear. Honey helps fight wrinkles and keeps you healthy!! Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too!!

Try to find a unprocessed honey, possibly organic although no honey can truly be organic if it’s labeled the producer may have done their best to try and accomodate that.

Enjoy!!!

Top 11 Worst “Foods”

frank

I put the word “foods” in quotes in the title cause I’m not sure I would even consider some of the following items food. As in good for you, has vitamins and minerals or even that should ever be putting in your mouth! From artificial flavors and colors to words you’d need an advanced degree in chemistry to pronounce, there are thousands of ingredients making their way into your food that are simply not, strictly speaking, food.

As always, everything in moderation…or almost everything but the more informed you are about what you are actually eating the better equiped you are for ordering of the menu or choosing items at the grocery store.

crab stick

1. Crab Sticks

Sushi lovers beware!!

You may be thinking that you eat crab in crab sticks, but this name is misleading. Crab sticks are actually manufactured from a processed seafood made of finely cheap pulverized white fish flesh (called surimi), with different edible additions (crab extract, crab flavor, seasonings etc). Surimi is available in many shapes, forms and textures, and is often used to imitate the texture and color of the meat of lobster, crab, and other shellfish. In crab sticks it is shaped to resemble leg meat of a crab. It enables food manufacturers to take cheap fish and upgrade it to a taste of the most expensive fish meats such as crab or lobster. This could have been worse as fish is considered good for us, but still it’s not a crab and it’s still a highly processed product with many additives. The assortment of additives may include other fish products, but it is usually egg whites, oils, salt, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and various starches and gums to create the expected texture.

echeese
2. Easy cheese

Easy Cheese is the trademark for a processed cheese product also referred to spray cheese or cheese in a can, and is a descendant of squeeze cheese packaged in a squeezable plastic tube. This product was created for people who like to eat cheese but can’t be bothered to get a knife and slice it for consumption. It comes packaged in a pressurized can, much like canned whipped cream and does not require refrigeration. Whereas cheese is made from handful of ingredients, Easy Cheese contains many additives such as whey protein concentrate, canola oil, milk protein concentrate, sodium citrate, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid, sodium alginate, apocarotenal, annatto, cheese culture and enzymes.

cheese whiz

3. “Cheez Whiz” cheese Dip

Cheez Whiz is a thick processed cheese sauce or spread, and many refer to it as ‘pseudo-cheese’. The yellow paste usually comes in a glass jar and is used as a topping for cheesesteaks, corn chips, hot dogs and other foods. The advantage of it is that it’s more spreadable and melts better then natural cheese. A single serving, which is defined as just two level tablespoons, contains nearly a third of a day’s recommended maximum of saturated fat as well as a third of the maximum sodium recommended for most of American adults. The problem is that if you sit in front of the TV and start dipping your crackers in it, it’s hard to stick to only 2 tablespoons. Also there are so many items listed in this product, starting with the watery by-product of milk called whey, canola oil, corn syrup, and an additive called milk protein concentrate, which manufacturers had begun importing from other countries as a cheaper alternative to the more expensive powdered milk produced by American dairies. So is it really a cheese, or perhaps more of a yellow-dyed paste?

tofurkey

4. Tofurky Italian vegan sausage

Tofurky is one of the leading vegetarian turkey replacement brands, and is made from a blend of wheat protein and organic tofu. You’ve probably heard that cutting back on meat (especially red meat) can help prevent heart disease and cancer in some cases, but replacing it with processed meat substitutes comes with its own price. Most meat substitutes are highly processed and full of artificial additives. Many are made from soy protein isolate, wheat gluten and other textured vegetable proteins, but also some questionable ingredients that help to mold them into meat-like shapes. So read the label on the package before buying. If the list of ingredients is long, it’s more likely there are additives and preservatives to stabilize the food, add flavor, or change its consistency. Some of these additives can include unhealthy amounts of extra salt, fat and sugar, as well as artificial additives. So why not just opt for tofu and green beans instead?

cnugg

5. Chicken nuggets

Usually chicken nuggets contain just 40-50% meat and have been battered and deep fried. The rest seems to belong more to an industrial factory but not to a food retailer. Chicken nuggets are sold in various portion sizes. We all know that white chicken meat is one of the best sources of lean protein, but what has happened is that some companies have chosen to use an artificial mixture of chicken parts rather then low-fat chicken white meat, batter it up and fry it. Chicken nuggets tend to have a high fat content because they are breaded and fried, and are high in calories, salt and sugar. Eating them occasionally will not kill you, but since they taste good, are cheap and convenient and kids love them, it’s easier to eat them more often.

tang

6. Tang fruit drink

This is a fruit-flavored breakfast drink that has been a part of many Americans’ breakfast since its release in the late 1950s. It was used by some early NASA astronauts in their space flights and was marketed as an astronauts drink. But you’re mistaken if you thought Tang was in any way related to fruit juice. For example, there is very little orange in the citrus flavored drink. According to its label, Tang contains sugar, less then 2% of orange juice solids, artificial colors and many other additives. Actually most of Tang’s flavor comes not from orange juice but from “natural and artificial flavor”. It is a drink that is engineered to taste like orange. You’d better have an orange with your breakfast to serve your body better. Instead of drinking this fake juice, go for real smoothie !

wbread

7. White bread

It has been known for a long time that white bread and refined grains in general aren’t particularly nutritious with all the nutrients taken out. As you know, whole grains are a good source of fiber and complex carbohydrates and can also improve your digestive system’s health, but when the flour is refined, it loses many of its nutrients. Refined grains are no longer a complex carbohydrate and are no longer a slow release source of energy. They need little digestion and are absorbed rapidly so increase glucose levels in the body. During the refining process of wheat, the germ and the bran is removed and this means that the most nutritious part of the grain including fiber, vitamins and minerals is lost. It can be fortified, but sometimes with cheapest form of minerals and vitamins that are poorly absorbed by the body.

unc

8. Uncrustables – peanut butter and jelly sandwich

These are massed produced sealed crust-less sandwiches. If you are too busy to spend 30 seconds making a fresh sandwich, then this product is for you. But look at the long list of ingredients and how processed this product is. The only thing on this list that looks like food is strawberries, but there is very little of it, and the rest are artificial ingredients that you’d be better to avoid, such as high-fructose corn syrup and heart-damaging hydrogenated oils.

gusher

9. “Gushers” fruit snack

Fruit Gushers are fruit snacks made primarily from sugar and fruit juice with other ingredients. The ingredient list for the strawberry flavor is long and doesn’t even mention strawberry but sugar, corn syrup, artificial colors and many other additives. So don’t fool yourself that this fruit snack is “fruity”. This is not a healthful snack product when, in fact, the product contains unhealthy partially hydrogenated oil, large amounts of sugar and artificial colors.

maple

10. Maple flavored syrup

Maple syrup is a syrup usually made from the sap of the maple tree, and many people love genuine 100% maple syrup, but the cheap, fake syrup that is a mix of water, high-fructose corn syrup and caramel coloring is not what you are looking for. In the United States, “maple syrup” must be made almost entirely from maple sap, although small amounts of substances such as salt may be added. On the other had “Maple-flavored” syrups include maple syrup but may contain additional ingredients. “Pancake syrup”, “waffle syrup”, “table syrup”, and similarly named syrups are substitutes which are cheaper then maple syrup, and in these syrups the primary ingredient is most often high fructose corn syrup and they have no genuine maple content.

donut

11. Top of the list for me would be donuts. With zero nutritional value, only trans fats, white flours, and waaay too much sugar. These in my opinion are by far the worst thing you can eat. Sure they may taste good but not worth it.

So choose real foods as much as possible and be more aware of what goes into your body. A treat now and again isn’t going to kill you but remember you either feed your body or feed disease with what you eat.

12 Foods To Control Diabetes

cinnre So what are the best foods to control diabetes and add to the menu? There are 6 foods that can help balance blood sugar in your body. These are olive oil, cinnamon, green tea, pulses, green vegetables and oats. These common foods that are already in our kitchen help maintaining adequate blood sugar and prevent diabetes complications:

olive
1. Olive oil
Oil lacks carbohydrates, and therefore does not raise blood sugar levels. In addition, it slows the absorption of foods eaten along with the oil. Olive oil is rich Omega 9 and Omega 3 which help maintain the flexibility of blood vessels, allowing good blood flow. Also oil does not increase insulin levels, thus reducing the non-insulin tolerance that exists in many people and causes an increase in blood sugar levels. Find here more information about the great health benefits of olive oil.

cinnamon
2. Cinnamon
Many studies show that consumption of one teaspoon cinnamon (5 mg) to three teaspoons a day has a positive effect on reducing blood glucose levels. It was found that the cinnamon can make your cells more sensitive to insulin. Thus, the cells convert sugar into energy more efficiently and control the amount of sugar level in the blood. Diabetics who received cinnamon extract daily for 40 days experienced lower levels of blood sugar after eating, as well as substantial improvements to the heart health. Read here more about how to use cinnamon as a medicine.

green tea
3. Green tea
Green tea contains the antioxidant EGCG, which helps to maintain the flexibility of blood vessels and stabilizing blood glucose levels. A recent study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania found that this element reduces blood sugar levels and prevents its sharp rise after a meal consisting mainly carbohydrates. Read here more about the amazing health benefits of green tea.

lentils
4. Pulses
Legumes such as lentils, peas, beans and chickpeas are low in fat and calories and also rich in fiber and protein. Dietary fiber slows the rate of sugar absorption into the blood and reduces the glycemic load. They are a great addition to soups, salads and a variety of other dishes.

green veggies
5. Green vegetables
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal fresh green leaves vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, spinach, Swiss chard and parsley, and other green vegetables (fresh, steamed or frozen) such as celery, cucumber, cauliflower, green beans and kohlrabi contain carbohydrates that release hormones in the gut that reduce appetite. In addition, the researchers found that these vegetables improves insulin sensitivity and thus better regulate blood glucose levels. Eating vegetables like asparagus, garlic and Jerusalem artichoke can help in cases of diabetes and obesity, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes because vegetables are rich in magnesium and are known as effective antioxidants.

oatmeal
6. Oatmeal
Oats contain a high percentage of fiber, B vitamins (especially B1), vitamin E and antioxidants. The large amount of fiber causes a slower absorption of glucose, and combining antioxidants makes the oatmeal recommended food to stabilize blood sugar levels. Click here to find easy and delicious porridge recipes with oatmeal.

red apple
7. Red Apples
A recent study conducted in Finland found that men who ate the greatest number of apples (and other foods rich in quercetin) had 20% less deaths related to diabetes or heart complications. Other good sources of quercetin are red grapes, tomatoes, onions, green vegetables and berries. You can find easy and nutritious berry recipes in my e-book The Healing The Healing Berry Guide. This e-book will teach you how to transform your health with berries, and is a must for berry lovers.

vitamin c
8. Vitamin C rich foods
Studies show that people with diabetes have lower levels of vitamin C in their body, so rich foods in vitamin C such as berries, citrus fruits, peppers, dark green leafy vegetables, kiwifruit, tomatoes, etc are loaded with antioxidants and are an excellent choice.

fish
9. Cold-water fish
Those who suffer from diabetes are twice more likely to suffer also from heart disease. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fish, can help to lower “bad “cholesterol and raise your “good” cholesterol. Seafood is a great source for omega 3, such as: halibut, herring, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and cod. Vegetables, especially green leafy ones, such as: kale, parsley, mint, Brussle sprouts, spinach and watercress, are rich in ALA, one form of omega-3 fatty acids (although ALA isn’t as powerful as the other omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA). Ground flaxseed is also a good source of omega 3. Read here more about the fantastic health benefits of omega 3.

dark choc
10 . Dark Chocolate
Researchers from Tufts University in Massachusetts found that dark chocolate improves cell sensitivity to insulin and significantly improves the chances of avoiding diabetes. In addition, dark chocolate lowers blood pressure and the amount of “bad” cholesterol in the body, and strengthens the blood vessels.

beef
11 . Grass fed beef
There are other things in beef other than protein, iron and vitamin B. There is an element which is part of the beef fat which is called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid). The most abundant source of CLA is beef from grass-fed cows. Experiments have shown that CLA works to correct improper utilization of blood sugar and helps fight cancer and heart disease. In a recent study in Norway scientists have added a few grams of CLA to the daily diet of 180 people. They reported that they lost 9% of their body weight in one year. Make sure that the beed is processed as little as possible, as it contains more CLA. Other food sources of CLA in smaller amounts include milk and eggs.

apple cider
12. Apple Cider vinegar (ACV)
According to webMD website, the effect of ACV on blood sugar levels is one of the best researched and the most promising. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For example, a small 2007 study with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%.

In summary, these best foods to control diabetes should be added to your daily menu. You can start the day with oatmeal porridge flavored with cinnamon, eat for lunch grass fed beef with poached green vegetables, drink afternoon green tea alongside a red apple, and in the evening eat lentil soup. At bedtime drink another cup of green tea in order to lower blood sugar levels and calm the digestive system before going to sleep.

All Natural Ways To Fight Arthritis

arthritis

I”m sure we all know someone who unfortunately has to deal with arthritis on a daily basis. Regardless if it’s our mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, friends or our neighbours. If you are like me, i’m always looking for ways to help people increase their lives so they can live longer,healthier and happier.

While I was doing some research to write this blog I came across a very well put together article and decided to link to it. Enjoy.

http://www.natural-homeremedies.com/homeremedies_arthritis.htm

Keep your eyes healthy for life

eye

I recently read an article about the 5 best foods to keep your eyes healthy. I took the best parts and shortened it down for a quick reference.

1. Leafy greens: Packed full of antioxidants they lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
2. Fatty Fish: Tuna, Salmon and Trout are rich in DHA, a fatty acid found in your retina. Low levels have been linked to dry eye syndrome.
3. Almonds: Filled with Vitamin E they have been shown to slow down macular degeneration. One handful provides about half of your daily dose of Vitamin E.
4. Citrus and berries: These fruits are powerhouses of Vitamin C, known to reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts.
5. Eggs: The yolk is a prime source of lutein and zinc which helps reduce macular degeneration.

Eat up and keep your eyes healthy!!!