Thursday, February 4, 2010

Grains, the sun, and tooth decay.

We are constantly told that sugar is the main culprit for the rising incidence of tooth decay in modern times, and while a high sugar diet can contribute to tooth decay, I propose that it is actually phytic acid, a constituent in the hulls of grains, nuts and legumes, that is the real culprit.
Phytic acid is a form of phosphorus, an essential nutrient, that is not bio-available and actually chelates other essential minerals provoking vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Phytic acid can be broken down into an available form of phosphorus when placed into an acid medium, such as vinegar, or lactic acid (Although in Soybeans-the biggest phytic acid culprit, they must be cooked at high temps for 10 hours or more to mitigate the phytic acid content-although they are great cover crops for this reason as well). The latter being the reason the available vitamin and mineral content in lacto-fermented foods is so much higher than in the raw form, as well as the lactobaccillus producing phytase-an enzyme that naturally breaks down phytate and phytic acid. Sprouted breads and breads such as true sourdough (flour/grains soaked in cultured buttermilk for 8-12 hours) are much better nutritionally than standard breads-even 100% whole wheat, which is not very good for you generally speaking, but that is another blog topic.
Phytic Acid binds with Zinc, Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron rendering them useless to the body. Free Calcium and Phosphorus are necessary for proper remineralization of teeth, and the lack of the traditionally prepared foods of yore are leaving teeth sorely lacking in the proper ways to heal themselves. YES! Your teeth can heal themselves from decay. Cavities with 2 mm or less of decay have been known to completely remineralize themselves with proper nutrition. Normal tooth enamel is comprised primarily of Hydroxylapatite which is a mineral made of Calcium, Phosphorus, and a hydroxyl group. When the tooth decays (as a process of acid wastes from bacteria), the acid demineralizes the teeth, whereas alkaline minerals will facilitate remineralization. This is where Vitamin D3 (THE SUN!) comes in. The mechanism of Vitamin D (as discussed in a previous blog) is not well understood, but more and more information is coming to light, such as the fact that Vitamin D3 supplementation between 1-10,000 IU's can alkalinize your saliva (body in general). An alkaline salivary environment promotes faster and better remineralization (an alkaline body is also less prone to disease). It is also known that vitamin D helps catalyze calcium remineralization in bones and believed to be somehow involved with tooth healing as per this study,
Now there is one caveat. Phytic acid in low concentrations actually has been shown to lower your incidence of colon cancers in particular, and other cancers as a whole. The best way to resolve this is to have one meal/snack devoted to phytic acid, with raw foods such as broccoli, carrots, walnuts, and artichokes that contain other phytonutrients as well. Grains as a whole are really only necessary in small doses as these are the largest phytic acid contributors, are high in sugars, and create an acid environment in the body which is conducive to tooth decay (not to mention they promote obesity and gluten containing grains are irritating to the gut, but more on that next blog). If you can't avoid eating grains, remember to soak them in an acid medium, such as cultured buttermilk, yogurt/kefir, or apple cider/rice vinegar for you vegans.
Also brushing with some great remineralizing tooth powders such as Uncle Harry's and Eco-dent, that can replace your fluoride toothpaste (fluoride being neurotoxic and all) are a great way to introduce free calcium and phosphorus while also creating alkalinity to your mouth. Happy brushing!

Friday, December 25, 2009

My Review of Recycled Glass Mug

Originally submitted at Greenfeet - The Planet's Homestore

Made from Recycled GlassThese handmade, 100% recycled glass mugs are the perfect addition to any kitchen or office. Well made, these mugs are the workhorse of the kitchen and can be used for hot or co


By Katie "Organic freak" Buid'he from Seattle, WA on 12/25/2009


5out of 5

Pros: Perfect Size, Comfortable To Hold, Durable, Recycled, Dishwasher Safe, Great Price, Attractive Design, Thick Glass

Cons: Can't think of ONE

Best Uses: Home, Decorative, Commercial, Informal, Formal

Describe Yourself: Stylish, Bargain Hunter, Practical

I love this mug, it is a great size-larger than most conventional mugs, but not an overwhelming size, I use it for tea and coffee and the green glass imparts a great hue to the tea, very attractive-I love them! I found more at a co-op near me and bought 2 more to complete a "set" for me, as well as 2 to buy as a gift for a friend-I liked them that much!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Probiotic sounds sooo much better than antibiotic...

I have been a fan of Lacto-fermented food my whole life, in fact craved them, during all my pregnancies. What are "lacto-fermented foods", you ask? It is not the same as spoiled, as those foods that are properly lacto-fermented won't make you sick. The most popular lacto-fermented foods are yogurt, pickles (though not the kind you find on the food shelves these days), and sauerkraut. Lesser known, though gaining in popularity, are Chutneys, Kefir, and Kimchi. Virtually obsolete are the watermelon relishes, pickled beets, and pickled onion of yore.

What is so great about them is that they are CHOCKED full of healthy probiotics that keep your intestinal flora in balance, why this is important is that they compete with unhealthy bacteria for resources and when continually replenished can keep them in check, such as Candida and Strep B. They are also great because the "Probees" also predigest the foods they are fermenting, making them easily assimilated by the gut and keep the gut from becoming inflamed. When these probees colonize the gut in optimal numbers they can also do part of the hard work digesting foods to keep your gut from becoming overworked and irritated causing things such as IBS. It is thought that many digestive diseases of today (most especially auto-immune diseases such as Celiac's, Crohn's, and colitis), that weren't oft seen hundreds of years ago, are caused by the poor diet that modern man has adopted that precludes lacto-fermented foods among others. One of the largest problem with today's refined foods is pasteurization. While touted as one of the breakthroughs of the 20th century, it isn't necessarily a good thing. Pasteurization not only kills bad bacteria, but also GOOD bacteria necessary for proper digestion--these Lactobacillus are our Symbionts, and we have evolved over thousands of years with them in our bellies. Pasteurization kills many of the enzymes necessary for proper digestion as well. How to Prevent this? Make your own!

It is extremely simple to make your own lacto-fermented foods. While some recipes-largely those involving fruit- encourage you to add whey, you could also substitute Lactobacillus capsules (open and empty them into the mix)-or if you have plain yogurt-before you stir pour the clear watery stuff off the top into your mix-that is whey. Most of the time you just need a jar, your vegetable, whatever spices your require, a large amount of salt, and purified water. I HIGHLY encourage those that attempt this to use organic vegetables as the pesticides used on conventionally grown produce can and will interfere with proper fermentation, the same reason you want to use purified water. Here is a great link and 'how-to' on fermented foods.

If you want to attempt to make yogurt you will need unpasteurized or 'Raw milk' or find a yogurt making "packet" -which is really just the good bacteria that pasteurization burned off. While this may seem scary to some, those that have issues digesting standard milk from the store actually have an easier time digesting Raw milk due to the unadulterated enzymes within. While Raw milk cannot be store bought usually, you can pick it up from co-ops, farmer's markets, and directly from the farm. Here is a helpful link for those interested in finding Raw milk in their area.

My favorite fermented food, introduced to me by my half-Korean husband, is Kimchi. While the term Kimchi is often used to encompass all Korean fermented foods eaten at a typical Korean meal (technically referred to as 'banshan') the most significant is that of Napa Cabbage or Bok Choy.

Kimchi also has the most widespread health benefits I've seen yet from the already healthy status of fermented foods. It has Garlic and onions which fight infections, lower cholesterol, promote B-12 absorption, and regulate blood sugar. The hot peppers are noted for anti-inflammatory activity and cabbage has noted anti-ulcer activity, is high in Vitamin C, and as a whole it acts as a natural detox for your intestines clearing away unhealthy bacteria colonies and stagnation and promoting better nutrient absorption. It can fight obesity as the lactic acid produced by the probiotics promotes proper and quicker digestion which leads to shorter duration in the intestines. That isn't all! Kimchi is reported to prevent cancers of the digestive tract as well as keep skin healthy and young. For those interested in Kimchi (one of the easiest to make) here is a great resource on the nutritional profile and a recipe as well. There is much more than twice the probiotic content of yogurt to this edible delight that was rated as one of the top 5 healthiest foods by Health magazine (as well as 2 other fermented foods..huh?!). You should try it for yourself :)

Thanks to Nagyman @ Wikipedia for the pic :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lean Holidays...Fat Fun

So with the economy tanking (as much as the stock market has rebounded in the last 3 weeks, I am still reticent to believe that the United States, or other country's populations are seeing such a rebound locally) I have a feeling that the Holiday season we have all come to expect won't be quite the abundant and extravagant celebration. Instead of dwelling on the have not's this season, our family has decided to make the most of the loss of an untenable situation, and settle into "thrift".

A couple of ideas to get you through decorating, feasting, and gifting for whatever your particular Winter Holiday Traditions are:

  • Craigslist:

My favorite used shopping site, though newspaper ads and local bulletin boards are just as handy. You can find gently used decorations *cheap* in large lots, so as to eliminate the nickel and dime-ing of larger stores on per item purchases. You can find great gifts as well-remember gifts that are needed or useful don't have to be new-in fact, it is very eco-responsible to give those used tools, appliances, and RVs a new home rather than purchasing them new from the store. Many times you can find clothing lots in the size you need for children as well, that can get them through a whole season for the price of one outfit new as well. If you want to add your own creative flair, buy a bunch of different blankets and make a patchwork quilt or skirt to give to your Secret Santa this Christmas. The farm and garden section of this useful site also has great deals on produce that people grow and have surpluses on in their personal gardens-take advantage! For those that are having a hard time rubbing two pennies together, what do you have that you don't need anymore? Get rid of those things that are useful, just not to you, and use the barter section to get things to gift, eat, or pretty up your home, which brings me to my next idea.

  • Swap meets!

If you don't have one advertise (craigslist?) and start one. Bartering is a great tool for getting by in a rough economy, get rid of those high end shoes you wore once and trade for a 'new' bike for your tot.

  • Making do with what you have.

Get creative. Make a garland out of popped popcorn, and turn that too large dress into a hip skirt for your daughter, or a new board game out of scrap wood for your little boy. Cut down your own tree, or make one out of twigs and glue. Tie ribbons out of scraps from your sewing kit, and make ornaments out of old clothes and toys. Get the kids involved and let them get into the spirit of cooperation during the holidays. If you can't afford that Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey, make a chicken or a ham. Plump up your stuffing by dicing an apple you have lying around, or make dinner into a potluck with friends and family, so the financial burden is lessened on all, and make the holidays about community.

  • Give a little

Take the family to a soup kitchen to feed the homeless, or have your kids go through their old yet usable toys and give them to a child with less than yours. Buy that extra cranberry sauce and donate it to the food shelf. Times are tough for everyone, and if you have a little extra, be it time or money, to give to someone having a tougher time than you-do it! It puts a smile on everyone's face.

The Holiday Season doesn't have to be about the most lavish feasts and gifts, turn it back into a time of giving, family, and friends and dwell on what you have instead of what you might have lost.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vitamin D3...the new "IT" vitamin

It's been over a week since my last blog -I KNOW-I do have a life however :) And the vacation I took reminded me of this important vitamin as the last day I was there was also the sunniest and most beautiful day. What am I talking about? The "sunshine vitamin"--Vitamin D3!
Vitamin D3, also called cholecalciferol, is not really a vitamin, but a secosteriod and believed to also be a neurosteriod. It's function is widespread through all body systems (skeletal, circulatory, nervous, immune, digestive, reproductive, and is even mood altering)

Like a plant needs sun to produce Chlorophyll so do we need the sun for Vitamin D3.

The BEST and most efficient way to produce D3 is to go out into direct sunlight for about 20-30 minutes each day. In the summertime, your body will produce about 20,000 IU's of Vitamin D3 when fully exposed for 20 minutes (think: bathing suit). Now wait a minute, isn't that like...oh I dunno... ONE ONE-HUNDREDTH (1/100) of what the Adequate intake is, established by the FDA? Why yes, it is. Which is why I don't pay attention to that at all. I take about 16,000 IU's by oral supplement of D3 in the winter time, as 20 minutes of direct sunlight is just not an option here in the Pacific Northwest. I have had no issues with toxicity either. Current research is actually suggesting that the upper limit of 2000 IU's currently set is a minimum that our bodies need and that the actual requirements may be between 10 and 20 Thousand. However, make sure it is D three you are taking, as there have been mixed reviews about it's cousin D2 or ergocalciferol.

Through my research I have found that "megadoses" of Vitamin D3, in preliminary research, is a potent anti-cancer supplement as well as useful for staving off disease in general by supporting the immune system.
There have been numerous studies outlining the efficacy of D3 supplementation and the remission of cancer, and rather than link each one, I have found an amazing website dedicated to bringing the awareness of Vitamin D3 and it's potential uses and necessity in today's diet, if not derived from the sun itself.

Not only is D3 believed to be a potent anti-cancer supplement, but the deficiency of may also be linked to autism, depression, mental illness, hypertension, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, as well as chronic fatigue and pain. It is widely known-with no small amount of concern, that many of these noted disorders are on the rise; Could this, perchance, be in keeping with the generational turn for indoor pursuits rather than having a natural rapport with the earth and sun?

Most likely. 20 minutes of sun a day can't hurt if I'm wrong-so go work on that tan.