Genetics, the Next Nutrition Revolution

 

By Karen Kramser, MS, RD, LDN

Have you always had a feeling that there is no one-size-fits-all diet? Well new, cutting-edge science is proving your hunch was right. Why is it that certain foods nourish some people and harm others? The answer lies in genetics.

Science is quickly unraveling the mystery of how the environment around us, including what we eat, is affecting our health and well-being. Think of it like this, genetics loads the gun and the environment pulls the trigger. The name for this exciting new field of science is nutrigenomics.

Nutrigenomics is the interplay between what you’re eating and your own individual genetics. This is opening up a cutting edge, new field in health and nutrition. It’s like looking through a window, deep inside of your body’s DNA, knowing which foods are best for you.
Think of this new technology as a genetic blueprint to decode what your body needs to function at its finest.

Based upon your individual genetics, you might need more, or less of different vitamins and minerals. Iron and folate are two good examples.

One man’s food is another man’s poison. Example: For some people, moderate alcohol consumption can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while for most people, occasional alcohol consumption isn’t a problem. Healthy fats have been super popular lately, but is a high fat diet good for everyone? Some people are inclined to gain weight on a high-fat diet while others are not. Individual genetics will also impact how well vitamin D is absorbed. Even if you spend time in the sun and eat vitamin D rich salmon regularly, you might still need extra vitamin D.

Being aware of the interaction between your genetics and food choices makes finding what works for you a whole lot easier!

Know How 2 Nourish is excited to offer Nutrigenomic testing along with a diet plan based based on your individual genetics and DNA. Because there is no one-size-fits-all diet.

In Good Health,
Karen
XO

Your Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Your Complete Guide to Intermittent Fasting

By Karen Kramser, MS, RD, LDN

intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is a major trend in health and nutrition these days.  If you haven’t tried it, you almost certainly know someone who has.

Although it may seem like a hot new diet trend, intermittent fasting has been around for thousands of years. Many civilizations and religions incorporate fasting as a regular part of their customs. Scientists have confirmed the benefits of this specific, time honored, way of eating, ranging from improved blood sugar control to increased brain function and weight loss.

Almost any type of eating plan, including paleo or keto can be used with intermittent fasting. Not only is this way of eating easily adjusted to accommodate most eating plans, it is a powerful and effective tool for helping shed unwanted pounds and body fat.

The Know How 2 Nourish guide to intermittent fasting will answer all of your questions about this popular way of eating, including how to decide if it might be right for you.

What is Intermittent Fasting Anyway?

Intermittent fasting is a way of eating that breaks eating and fasting into certain blocks of time. In some variations of this diet you can rotate 12, 14 or 16 hour intermittent fasting with 24 hour fasting with fasting every other day.

It is thought that while fasting, oxidative stress on the body is reduced, offering protection at a cellular level. Scientists are still not 100% sure why intermittent fasting offers so many health benefits.

Throughout history, intermittent fasting has been a part of the human experience. It seems as though our ancient ancestors, who were forced to live off the land, eating what was available, were on to something beneficial when they didn’t have a steady supply of food on hand. Many time honored religions have also traditionally incorporated fasting as part of their spiritual practices for thousands of years.

In modern times, with so many different dieting options available, incorporating the ancient practice of fasting into any diet will magnify the results, both with weight loss and health benefits. With so many benefits and flexibility, it’s no wonder that intermittent fasting is gaining so much momentum in the world of health and nutrition.

Benefits of intermittent fasting

  1. Promising scientific evidence shows that intermittent fasting may help prevent cancer. It is thought that this benefit is due to the effects of fasting has on metabolism.
  2. Intermittent fasting benefits heart health by decreasing blood pressure, cholesterol levels blood sugar levels and inflammatory markers in animal studies.
  3. Research studies have shown that intermittent fasting can help to curb overall body inflammation while reducing oxidative stress.
  4. Weight loss is the biggest and most popular reason for intermittent fasting. This is accomplished by an increase metabolic rate and reducing the overall amount of food consumed.
  5. Scientists have discovered that intermittent fasting enhances brain function by reducing inflammation and lowering blood sugar levels.

Proceed With Caution

To determine whether or not intermittent fasting is right for you, you’ll need to answer a few questions first.

  1. Are you a woman who is postmenopausal? After menopause, most of a woman’s hormones are made by her adrenal glands. The adrenals require glucose to function properly. Intermittent fasting would deprive the adrenals of needed glucose, potentially worsening menopausal symptoms.
  2. Are you pregnant or breast-feeding? Fasting in either of these situations is not recommended, it could cause nutritional deficiencies for both the fetus and mother.
  3. Diabetics should avoid intermittent fasting because of obvious risks caused by rising and falling blood sugar levels.
  4. Those with thyroid disorders should avoid fasting.
  5. People with gallbladder disorders should not fast for prolonged periods of time.
  6. Teens and children need a steady supply of nutrition to ensure proper growth and are not candidates for intermittent fasting.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that intermittent fasting has great benefits, but it’s not for everyone. Daily lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, nutrient dense food, fresh air and plenty of sleep are the best ways to ensure overall health, wellness and vitality.

In Good Health,

Karen
XO

 

 

 

What's All the Hype About Eating Locally Grown Food?

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I’m sure by now you’ve heard or read that it’s good to “eat local” and shop at your neighborhood green market.

  • What are the benefits of eating local compared to eating food that’s been transported long distances, sometimes all the way across the country?
  • Where can you find the best and freshest locally grown foods?
  • Are there benefits to the environment if you and your family eat locally grown produce?

As it turns out, there are a lot of great reasons to eat locally grown foods. 

  1. Locally grown food is fresher than food that has been trucked or flown to your town from far away places. When I buy lettuce at the local Green market, it was just picked the day before my purchase and stays fresh in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. That would never happen when buying lettuce in any grocery store, no matter how organic or fancy that store is.
  2. There is something satisfying about visiting the farm where the food you’re eating was grown. Eating locally grown food creates a sense of community. I’ve actually gotten to know some of the farmers growing the food that my family and I eat. Sharing conversation at the Green market each week with local growers has created bonds and friendships with my food producers that I never would have had shopping in a conventional grocery store.
  3. The taste of freshly picked, locally grown food is delicious! The farm to table experience in your own kitchen can’t compare with food that’s been trucked or flown long-distances then sits on grocery store shelves for days before you buy it.  When it comes to the taste of fruits and vegetables, freshness matters.
  4. An often over looked advantage of eating locally produced foods is variety. The growers who sell at farmers markets often, supply local, farm to table restaurants want fresh, unique, organic foods. Specialty and gourmet restaurants demand high-quality unique ingredients. This leads to the cultivation of a greater variety of foods, some of these known as heirloom varieties of fruits and vegetables. Foods that many Americans haven’t had access to since our great grandparent’s day.
  5. A big carbon footprint is left behind every time food is shipped thousands of miles.  Taking the extra time to look for farmers who grow or source their products using sustainable and organic growing practices minimizes the environmental impact your food is having on the earth.

Hopefully, this has answered some of your questions about the benefits of “eating local”. I hope it’s inspired you to give your local green market a try. Drop me a line and let me know about some of the benefits you’ve experienced buying and eating foods grown in your area.

In Good Health,
Karen
XO

Your Highway to Health, Reversing Autoimmune Conditions Naturally

Highway to health 

Are you or someone you love experiencing an autoimmune condition or suffering from gastrointestinal distress of any kind? Not too long ago, I was in the same situation.  The diagnosis of an autoimmune thyroid condition left me puzzled and wondering what could possibly be the cause of an over active thyroid gland? I ate healthy, exercised, didn’t smoke or drink alcohol and was considered a health nut by anyone who knew me. I started digging for answers and was amazed by what I uncovered. Read on to find out about one of the key components I used to help reverse hyperthyroidism naturally!

A growing body of evidence is showing that the digestive tract or “gut” is at the core of human immunity. When the human gut is out of balance it’s considered to be in a state of “dysbiosis”.  Once a person’s gut is in a state of dysbiosis the good bacteria are out of balance with the bad or pathogenic bacteria causing a “leaky gut”.  Most people with autoimmune conditions, like hyperthyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis have a leaky gut.

What are some of the causes of a leaky gut that is out of balance?

  • Antibiotics, taken intentionally by prescription and antibiotics fed to livestock that we eat
  • NSAIDs (pain medications like Ibuprofen)
  • Prescription pain medications & steroid medications
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Alcohol
  • GMO’s (Genetically modified foods)
  • Parasitic infections & bacterial infections
  • Eating processed foods
  • Gluten containing foods such as wheat (bread, pastas, cookies, cakes, etc.)
  • Pesticides sprayed on foods that we eat
  • Eating too many refined, sugary foods (soft drinks, cookies, cake, candy, donuts, ice cream)

What can you do to fix a leaky gut and restore health and immunity naturally?  The best place to start is by eating whole food, as close to its natural state as possible. If your great grandparents ate it, then it’s probably good for you today. Remember that once upon a time, all food was organic. Leafy greens are especially important to eat every day. The fibers in leafy green veggies nourish the good gut bacteria. An easy way to incorporate more leafy greens into every day meals is by making smoothies. I have a green smoothie for breakfast every day. Check out this  past Know How 2 Nourish blog post for my favorite green smoothie recipe.

Taking the functional food, bovine colostrum along with with a good probiotic, every day is one of the cornerstones of healing a leaky gut.  Bovine colostrum is a universal colostrum donor to all mammals and is like a magic bullet for gut health. It contains growth factors and hormones to help repair the delicate intestinal lining, restoring gut integrity. Once gut integrity is resorted, the immune system will have the chance to heal, returning the body to a state of balance and normalized immune function . As an added benefit, colostrum has been proven to increase lean body mass after workouts! Body Boost is the brand of colostrum that I use.  The benefits of colostrum are too numerous to mention here, so I encourage you to do your own research.  You’re going to be amazed at what you find!

Improving the integrity of your gut lining, by focusing on eating whole, nutrient dense foods and incorporating bovine colostrum into your daily routine is a key component of restoring and maintaining proper immune system function.  Once your immune system is working properly, autoimmune conditions have a much better chance of going into remission. I’m thrilled that my thyroid hormones are completely back within the normal range and a big part of the credit goes to colostrum and probiotics!

Until Next Time,
Karen
Xo

 

References:
1. The effects of bovine colostrum supplementation on body composition and exercise performance in active men and women. Antonio J, et. al, University of Delaware, Sports Science Laboratory, Newark, Delaware 19176, USA; Nutrition. 2001 Mar;17(3):243-7
2. Playford RJ, Macdonald CE, Calnn DP, Floyd DN, Podas T, Johnson W, Wicks AC, Bashir O, and Marchbank T; Co-administration of the health food supplement, bovine colostrum reduces the acute nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug induced increase in intestinal permeability; Department of Gastroenterology, Imperial College School of Medicine, Hammersmith, Du Cane Road, London W112 ONN Department of Gastroenterology Leicester General Hospital and SHS International Ltd. Clinical Science (2001) 100, 627–633; The Biochemical Society and The Medical Research Society.
3. Carver JD, Barness LA. Trophic factors for the gastrointestinal tract. Clinical Perinatology, 23(2):265–-285 (1996).
4. Playford RJ, Woodman AC, Clark P, Watanapa P, Vesey D, Deprez PH, Williamson RC, Calam J.
Effect of luminal growth factor preservation on intestinal growth. Lancet, 341(8849):843–848 (1993).
5.Playford RJ, Floyd DN, Macdonald CE, et al. Bovine colostrum is a health food supplement which
prevents NSAID induced gut damage. Gut, 44:653–658 (1999)

 

 

Mindful Eating

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Let’s face, it  we all eat on impulse from time to time.  It’s helpful to recognize possible triggers to mindless overeating and stay on track with a healthy eating plan. Here are 10 takeaways to help practice mindful eating and walk away from temptations.

  1. Think about why you are eating. Are you eating because you have an empty stomach or physical hunger? Do you WANT to eat to soothe emotions such as boredom, loneliness, stress, happiness or anger? Do you WANT to eat for the taste? For example, you see a cookie and want to experience the flavors of the chocolate chips and walnuts?
  2. Use the hunger cues your body is sending you to decide when to eat and when to stop eating.
  3. Wait 20 minutes after finishing what is on your plate to decide if you are still hungry. This gives your stomach time to tell your brain that you are full.
  4. Eat slowly remind yourself that eating is not a race. Taking the time to savor and enjoy your food is one of the healthiest things you can do. You are more likely to notice when you are full, digestion will be better and you’ll begin noticing flavors you might otherwise have missed. Try eating with chopsticks as a fun way to slow things down.
  5. Turn off the TV and banish phones from the table. Many people eat with the TV blaring or play with their iPhone during meals. Make mealtime family time, or if you eat alone, make meal time a quiet time. Eat together, creating an electronics free atmosphere. Make eating in front of the TV the exception instead of the norm.
  6. Savor the flavor and sensations. The tangy and sour taste of a lemon, the spiciness of salsa, the crispiness a salad. Paying attention to the details of food can be a great way beginning to mindful eating. When you eat on the go, wolfing down a meal fast, it can be hard to notice what you are eating. Savor all the different sensations of eating a meal. Think more about the flavors and textures of food.
  7. Realize that you are in control of your food choices.
  8. Keep a food diary. Record your food choices and your emotions. This helps you make the connection between the two and helps you take notice of what triggers you to eat. Being near food? The influence of family or friends’ food choices? Food advertisements? Boredom, stress, loneliness? Record as much as possible, including sleep patterns.
  9. Routine Eating. Do you automatically snack every evening just because it’s time for your favorite show? Or do you eat based upon hunger cues? Ask yourself if you are really hungry or just in an “eating routine”.
  10. Cravings and emotions do not control your eating behaviors. You have complete power to walk away. Feel the emotion that is causing you to want to overeat and let it pass without giving in to temptation.

Probiotic Foods: An Important Key to Good Health

fermented food

For centuries, in every culture, people from around the world have included some sort of fermented food, teaming with probiotics, into their diets on a regular basis. As it turns out, there is a great reason for this ancient, universal dietary practice. Fermented foods are one of the best ways to get a healthy dose of probiotics. One serving of sauerkraut can have as many probiotic bacteria as an entire bottle of probiotic supplements!

I eat probiotic foods every  day. Here is a list of my favorite probiotic foods:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha Tea
  • Kiefer
  • Yogurt

All of these fermented foods are easy to make at home. Check out the recipe tab for my favorite fun and delicious fermented food recipes.

The Mother of All Superfoods

cow & colostrum

There are super foods and then there are SUPERFOODS. Colostrum, the first mother’s milk from a mammal after she gives birth is the mother of all super foods. Cow colostrum is the most common type of colostrum used for its miraculous health benefits. It is nearly identical in structure to human colostrum. There are a lot of great brands of colostrum on the market. I use Colostrum LD by Sovereign Labs. It is enhanced to make it more bioavailable. Body Boost is also a good brand of colostrum. It is not enhanced, making it more gentle.

 Here are a few of colostrum’s amazing benefits:

  •  Improved gut stability
  • Better nutrient absorption
  • Immune system balance
  • Increases energy
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Increases bone density
  • Increases lean muscle mass (Body Builders use Colostrum for this reason)
  • Promotes a healthy body weight
  • Contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids
  • Slows the aging process

Bovine (cow) colostrum is a universal donor making it transferable to all mammals, especially humans. It is much higher in immune factors than human colostrum.

Colostrum contains growth factors (IGF 1) and immune factors. These growth and immune factors are so powerful the pharmaceutical drug makers are attempting to isolate and market them individually. Drug manufacturers are already including colostrum in some Alzheimer medications. Fortunately, all you need to do to reap these benefits is to take colostrum. It contains the perfect complement of growth factors, interferon (inhibits viruses), antibodies (like gamma globulin) and protease inhibitors (inhibits viruses), conveniently packaged by nature.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, I think colostrum is amazing! I plan on taking it for the rest of my life. My entire family takes colostrum, even my chihuahua, Bosco.

Check out this video to learn more:

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1NC3Zkma6U[/embedyt]

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Healthy Grab & Go Snacks

kind-bars-nuts-spicesEnergy nut mix

Being on the go doesn’t always leave time for healthy meals. When my days get too hectic for a real meal I turn to a few healthy snack options.

My all-time favorite grab and  go snack is Kind Bars. Dark chocolate, nuts and sea salt or Caramel Almond and sea salt are the best! I choose the bars with only 5 g of sugar. They are amazingly satisfying, made with wholesome ingredients that fit right in with the Paleo lifestyle.

Trail mix is another excellent grab and go snack or meal replacement. I always keep some of this trail mix stashed in my purse.It’s easy to stay energized, healthy and vibrant when you know how to nourish!

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What a Dietitian Eats in a Day

Meals for a day

Meals for a Day

What does a dietitian eat in a typical day? This dietitian eats food that’s nutrient dense and uncomplicated. A rule of thumb, if it’s a whole food that my great grandparents would have eaten, it’s a food that I’ll eat too. Green vegetables, fruit, lean protein, healthy fats, nuts, seeds and quinoa are the go to, nutrient packed foods that I eat most often. 

Check out the three meals that I ate yesterday…

A delicious green smoothie is a part of every breakfast. Greens are one of your body’s best friends. Some mornings a green drink  is the star of the show, other days I’ll have a couple of eggs over easy or a bowl of quinoa topped with a healthy oil, nuts and berries. 

Today’s breakfast: a green smoothie alongside of a bowl of quinoa with coconut oil topped with strawberries and macadamia nuts. That’s right, coconut oil. It’s a saturated fat with amazing health benefits.

Lunch is usually leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. It’s a great idea to fix an extra large meal at dinner time so you’ll have a ready-made, healthy lunch the next day.

Today’s lunch: Herb baked chicken wings with yuca, sautéed garlic asparagus and freshly made ginger, squash & carrot soup.

Dinner is usually based around a lean protein like chicken, fish or turkey. Red meat is reserved for special occasions, rarely do I eat it more than once a week. 

Tonight’s dinner: Grilled, wild caught, Sockeye salmon and quinoa drizzled with olive oil. On the side… A bright green salad with watermelon radishes, a variety of colorful peppers, cherry tomatoes from the garden and anchovies. 

Snacks consist of a handful of nuts along with a few berries. Sometimes, a Kind Bar or a banana. If I have extra time, I’ll juice some kale with what ever vegetables are on hand for a shot of natural vitamins. When I’m running short on time, I’ll stop by a local juice bar. A workout at the gym always calls for a snack afterwards. On non-workout days, I don’t usually snack. 

Today’s beverages: herbal tea with breakfast, water and a small glass of Kombucha tea. (More about  Kombucha in a future post).

*If you purchase a product through any of these links to Amazon, KnowHow2Nourish will automatically receive a small referral fee.

Choosing the Right Diet for You

Food in baskets

What is the perfect diet? I get asked this question a lot. The truth is, a healthy diet is different for everyone. While the basics of healthy eating, like avoiding junk food and  eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are standard for almost everyone, specific diets are very different depending upon who you are. Some people have special dietary requirements because of medical conditions,  while other people feel best eating a certain way because of their genetic make up. Did you know that scientists have recently identified certain people who do better eating a vegetarian diet? Genetic researchers have also identified people who thrive and feel best by including meat in their diet. 

The bottom line is we are all unique individuals and the best diet for each one of us is unique! That’s why it’s helpful to consult with an expert in the field of nutrition, a licensed, trained  dietitian who can help you choose the best diet for your individual and unique needs.