Probiotics: Part Two – Supplements

There are quite an overwhelming number of probiotic supplements on the market. Pharmaceutical companies are aware of their vital importance in the human digestive and immune system. They each advertise their product as being the best, dazzling the consumer with various miraculous health claims neatly written on the labels. Choosing a good probiotic can be overwhelming and frustrating. I have poured over many labels in food stores, on line, and in various catalogs. There really isn't a perfect one that carries every single member of the probiotic family. But we can try to purchase one that carries at least the most important bacterial strains. ( To read part I of the Probiotics series go here) Source Here is some advice, based on my own struggles to find a good probiotic to rejuvenate and heal my gut flora: 1. When you are purchasing a probiotic, go for the one that has the most [...]

May 4th, 2012|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , , , |11 Comments

What in the World is Lacto-Fermentation?

Three years ago I suffered from a severe facial staph infection. Over the course of six months my face turned beet red with daily flair ups and dryness. At the time I had no idea what the cause of it was. I slowly gave up sugar, gluten, spicy foods, alcohol, all to no avail. I finally discovered the root of the problem when a dermatologist tested my facial dermis for a topical staph infection. Happy ending? Yes absolutely; my skin infection went away in a matter of weeks. But amidst the myriad of tests I had to take, I learned something that  totally shocked me: my gut flora was completely depleted of any good bacteria. In fact, the doctor asked me if I had taken any antibiotics recently because only someone who had been on an intense course of antibiotics could have as poor of gut flora as myself. I hadn't taken any antibiotics in at least [...]

April 23rd, 2012|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , , |5 Comments

The Problem with Milk Part II – Problem Solved

Most people believe that raw milk and cream causes high LDL, (also known as bad cholesterol) levels in their blood stream. The media has bombarded us with information that vilifies raw milk not only because it is dirty but because of its allegedly "artery-clogging" fats. So we drink our skimmed, irradiated, vitamin D fortified, pasteurized milk, and yet heart attacks and cancer continue to skyrocket since the turn of the century. One has to pose the question: what are we doing wrong and what did our great grandparents do right? (To read part one of "The Problem With Milk" where I explore the history of pasteurized milk go here.) My grandparents owned a flock of sheep their entire life. They consumed copious amounts of raw cheese, milk, butter, and cream. My eighty-nine-year old grandma just finished planting her vegetable garden. My grandfather passed away last year at the ripe age of ninety-seven. He [...]

April 5th, 2012|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

The Problem With Milk – Part 1

Recently while flipping through a magazine I stumbled across a "got milk" add featuring Taylor Swift with a milk mustache. On the one hand I was glad that such a teen idol was using her fame to encourage healthier habits in teenagers; on the other hand I couldn't help wondering what kind of milk was she advertising for. Skim milk, irradiated, homogenized, 2%, or raw? There seem to be so many different choices for milk now-a-days that simply advertising for "milk" is not enough. The food industry has created so many varieties, each with it's own myriad of  "health benefits" that it completely baffles the consumer. In this post I will begin to explore the origins of milk pasteurization and the real reasons for the huge switch from raw to pasteurized milk at the turn of the century. Before the advent of pasteurization the milkman would distribute jars of fresh, raw milk on every porch around [...]

March 29th, 2012|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , , |5 Comments

Why I Take Antibiotic Prescriptions Seriously

This past weekend I went in to have my two lower wisdom teeth removed. While some of you might cringe and shake your head in sympathy, the experience was not bad at all. I opted for conscious sedation, the doctor categorically refused to preform the surgery with only local anesthesia even though I tried to explain to him that in Europe it is a common practice. The whole experience was short and efficient. Post Surgery Face Afterwards, I was sent home with prescriptions for 15 Hydrocodone and 30 Keflex antibiotics. Before the surgery the nurse talked to me about the medicine I was to receive afterwards. Nurse: You will take the antibiotic after the surgery in case you get any infections in your mouth. Me: What if I don't get any infections in my mouth after the surgery? Nurse: We advise our patients to take it just in case. After mouth surgeries most people develop [...]

March 22nd, 2012|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , , |10 Comments

Steroids for Dinner Part II – Happy Meat

This is part 2 of Steroids for Dinner. I will be exploring alternatives to eating industrial meat products. However I will first explain a few things about the labels on meat products. They can be both confusing and misleading. What's What 100% Grass-fed It means that the animals were fed a diet of grass and hay which is the natural diet for ruminants.There was no corn or soy in their diets. This is a safe label if you are looking for animals that were not raised on steroids, corn, soy, or other alternative foods. The cattle will be given very little antibiotics if any.   Grain-finished Animals were fed grass and then fattened with corn and soy before being slaughtered. This label is confusing because there are no strict rules as to how much corn/soy was used or how early it starts to supplement the animal's diet. I already mentioned this in an earlier [...]

Steroids for Dinner

See Part II here.  Most of us know by now that while a McDonald's or Wendy's burger tastes delicious, there is something about the quality of the meat (not to mention the other ingredients!) that wreaks havoc on our digestive system. I sort of knew about that aspect for a long time but that didn't stop me from eating at fast-food joints, until I made some very concrete discoveries about the meat I was eating.   The whole concept of cattle-raising farms changed in the fifties with the advent of antibiotics, selective breeding, cheap pesticides, and nitrogen fertilizer - remnants from World War II. This was the dawn of a new era for the food industry. Farmers began raising animals fed on cheap genetically modified corn and soy. Meat products became a common staple food in American households. While before the 50's meat was on the tables three or four times a week, [...]

March 12th, 2012|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , , , , , , |2 Comments

What Does "Organic" Mean, Anyways?

In this post I will explain why choosing to eat "organic" has some great benefits as well as some substantial drawbacks. I will begin by defining the word "organic". This information is mainly focused on plants; dairy and meat products get their own treatment. According to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) the term organic is used to describe raw or processed agricultural products and ingredients that have been organically grown and handled in compliance with the standards of April 2001, which have been fully enforced since October 2002. These standards prohibit the use of: Most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides Sewer sludge fertilizers Genetic hormones Ionizing radiation Antibiotics Artificial ingredients There is a lot of confusion about the difference between "organic" and "made with organic ingredients" so here is a clear explanation of those terms: 100%  organic - must be made out of  95%-100% certified organic ingredients organic- must have at least 70% certified organic ingredients made with (specified) organic ingredients- organic ingredients will [...]

March 3rd, 2012|Categories: Nutrition|Tags: , |2 Comments
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