Gut Instinct

The next time you get that ‘gut feeling’, that something is not quite right, listen to your gut. As it turns out, our guts have the same size cortex as our pets do.

Our guts also contain their own type of ecosystem, called the ‘microbiome’. A community of 100 trillion microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) makes us more a bacteria, than we are human. There are 10 times more bacteria cells in our bodies, than human cells with up to 500 different species.

What does any of this have to do with Eating Right?

Well, the old saying goes, ‘You are what you eat.’ Probiotic foods, which I have discussed in this blog before, provide us with good bacteria that help boost our immune systems. But sometimes, we get so sick, that we need antibiotics to get well. The problem with antibiotics is that they don’t only kill the bad bacteria, they also wipe out the good bacteria too. That’s why some people get diarrhea or an upset stomach when taking antibiotics, because they interfere with the balance of the microbiome.

Stay clear of those ‘antibacterial’ products  for the same reasons. Whenever I walk into the doctor’s office, I get the germ heebie jeebies too and my first instinct is to lube up with the antibacterial gel, they conveniently have at the reception desk for all the  other ‘germ phobes’ like me , but the gel is taking away the good bacteria from our skin, making it more difficult for our skin to fight those viruses, which they come in contact with.

Eating natural food or using natural cleaning product is going to help maintain the equilibrium of our brain gut axis.

Since starting my Eating Right journey in January, I can now definitely feel the difference of eating healthy, compared to when I cheat and eat something made in a lab somewhere. I can say that my thinking is clearer, which would support the clean gut theory. After a few months your gut will start influencing what to consume or not.

For Thanksgiving this year we’re picking up our Organic Turkey at Costco at $2.99/lb and Trader Joe’s is about the only place you can get Turkey Stock. Cranberry sauce from scratch is a great departure from the old canned version. Stay clear of the chemical laden imitation pumpkin pies out there and pick up the natural Costco pumpkin pie instead.

We are big fans of left over sandwiches the next day or two. I will start with sourdough and add natural mayo, Braggs Amino Acid (instead of salt), black pepper, Hormel uncured bacon, avocado, Brie, Romaine Hearts with a nice dollop of cranberry sauce.

As we head into the holiday season, it’s going to be tough to eat all the right foods, but when possible I would recommend acting on those gut feelings for a better you and happy holidays.

Oktoberfest

It would be remiss of me not to include a review of eating a traditional Oktoberfest meal, since my wife is German. So, you might think we have some fancy German dishes, but actually we enjoy just the simple brats, sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, that any other American family might toss together to celebrate Oktoberfest and of course, don’t forget a good German Pilsner to wash it all down with.

But when we take a closer look at the ingredients of these three dishes, we move from minute to a plethora of nutritional values. Let’s start with brats. In general, any type of sausage should send up a red flag on the ingredients that are shoved into those intestinal casings. If you can’t pronounce them, don’t buy, let alone eat them! Brats should only have pork or veal and some spices, that’s it. Costco has some great ones on sale right now.

  • Boil the brats in water, wine or beer for about 30 minutes and then transfer them to the grill or skillet for another 7 minutes for a perfectly cooked brat.

Mashed Potatoes are never instant in our home and Yukon Gold are probably our favorite.

  • Cover the potatoes with at least a ½ inch of water, add a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, prick the potatoes with the tines of a fork to see if they are tender.
  • Strain the water out of the pot, add unsalted butter and whole milk or ½ & ½ and you can hand mash them first and then use a hand blender to smooth out any clumps. Add more milk or cream until you get your desired level of creaminess.

Sauerkraut, raw fermented cabbage, is where you will find a powerhouse of healthy bacteria to give you a nice healthy and happy gut. We Americans usually like to boil the shit out of the sauerkraut, but unfortunately by doing so, we are pasteurizing all that good bacteria out of the dish. We will eat it raw to get the full benefit of the sauerkraut, but if you would rather have it warm, heat it over a low heat.

Here is a funny riddle:

‘What do you call a grouchy German?’

‘A Sauerkraut’.  (I like this joke, my wife, not so much!)

Of course, don’t forget some good German Senf (Mustard).

I would recommend a good German Pilsner to compliment this wonderful German traditional meal, like Warsteiner, you can find mini-kegs at Trader Joe’s for about $10.

Guten Appetit and Probst!

 

Probiotics

Probiotics are healthy bacteria that promote a healthy digestive tract, where 60-80% of your immune system can be found. For good gut health the body needs good bacteria (probiotics).

Some excellent choices for adding probiotics to your daily diet include;

Ginger, Kefir, Kimchee, Miso, Sauerkraut, Greek Yogurt, Dark Chocolate (70+%), Green Beans, Olives, Sour Dough Bread, Cottage Cheese, Tempeh, Soft cheeses (cheddar, gouda, parmesan, swiss), beer and wine.

Here are some ways to enjoy these fantastic probiotics;

Grate Fresh Ginger: I add fresh Ginger to my juice schorle every day.

Kimchee: Pick up some at your local Asian store, I add some of Bragg’s Amino Acid to reduce the spiciness.

Miso: You can buy white or red miso paste at Sprouts. Add it to your soup broth or stirfry.

Beat Summer Heat

Here in Phoenix, when the average temperature runs around 110, we get a little sensitive about HEAT. We are so sensitized we can feel the heat from a light bulb inside the house, so you can imagine what stove top cooking does and we try to never use the oven in the summer.

When the sun sets, we fire up our grills and enjoy our family meals on the patio – ok, but it is still hot.

Grilling up some vegetable favorites one night, can be used for several lunches or dinners the following nights.

If you like a bitter lettuce, try Radicchio. Cut it into quarters, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with S&P. I use a small grill basket with holes in it to control the burning.

  • Remember veggies have a lot of water in them and need extra time to cook, so don’t put your meats on until your veggies are done, they can just hang out on your upper shelf to stay warm while you grill your meats.

Toss the grilled Radicchio with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add crumbled Roquefort or Goat Cheese and toss.

Try grilled Eggplant. Cut into ½ slices and before grilling sprinkle with salt and let sit for a while, this will help draw out the water. Pat Dry and place on a low flame.

  • These will take some time to soften and you will have to stay diligent about flipping them so they don’t get too charred. This goes great with your grilled meats or salad. I take the left over slices and place them in a zip lock and toss them in the fridge.
  • The next day I will prepare a baba ganoush adding chick peas, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and some salt and cumin, then hand blend it. This is a great side dish for meats.

Next try Sweet Roasted Mini Peppers, they come in bags at Kroger or Safeway, multi-colored mini sweet peppers.

  • I just throw them in the grill basket like the radicchio and toss them until they go limp, then I transfer them to the upper grill while I grill the meats. These go great with grilled meats or in salad. I toss the leftovers in a zip lock and use for sandwich toppings during the week.

Three easy grilling recipe ideas for helping you stay cool and nutritiously fed during these hot summer months! Enjoy!

Ginger

Used by the Chinese and Indians for about 5000 years, this root has powerful health agents to aide just about all that ills you.

Rich in antioxidants and anti-flammatory  qualities.

1.       Stomach

·         Reduce gas

·         Improve digestion

·         Help with diarrhea

·         Good for nausea

2.       Weight Loss

 *       You can actually burn calories eating ginger

3.       Blood Circulation

–          Increase blood flow

–          Relieves migraines

–          Menstrual cramps

–          Libido

4.       Other Health Benefits;

–          Lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL

–          Common Cold  remedy

–          Create odorless sweat

–          Joint pain and arthritis

Grind some into your AM juice or tea. I add it to my PM juice schorle. Very tasty and almost addictive. Enjoy!

Turmeric

The Indians have been using this medicinal herb for thousands of years. I read a story one time where an Indian recounted of when he broke his arm as a child and his mother would put a little Turmeric in his cocoa everyday to help heal his arm.

It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and super antioxidant, which is good for both your brain and body.

Helps block the plaque associated with Alzheimer and its anti-inflammatory agents are beneficial to arthritis sufferers.

 Turmeric is the color yellow in curry and American mustard.

 If you are not into Indian food, you can get in a capsule form (fermented Turmeric) or as a tea.

 I add it to my omelets or smoothies.