Farm Fresh Foods throughout Florida

Raw Butter: The Healthy Fat Superfood

January 10th, 2017

Dietary fat has been villainized since the 1950s. The fact of the matter is, not all fats were created equal.  Fat from sources such as raw pastured butter, unrefined coconut oil, grass-fed beef, wild salmon, pastured eggs, and raw milk provide the body with vital macronutrients. From the endocrine system to cognition, healthy fats play a key role in functioning.

Raw butter: unheated, unprocessed, unpasteurized, un-homogenized, i.e. contains all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that nature intended. It is essentially a nutritional powerhouse, chock full of vitamins and nutrients.

Furthermore, many people who are “lactose intolerant” or “casein intolerant” are able to enjoy raw pastured dairy products such as raw milk, butter, cheese, kefir, and yogurt. This is because it is actually pasteurized dairy products that are to blame for these “intolerances.” The way they have been manipulated not only robs them of essential nutrients but also enzymes that aid the body in breaking them down and absorbing said nutrients.

Raw butter and dairy products are not only safe but overall superior food sources than their factory counterparts. In fact, raw butter and dairy from pastured cows, who are allowed to roam pasture and remain free from GMOs, chemicals, pesticides, and antibiotics, are real life superfoods. Raw butter in particular is rich in a multitude of nutrients that aid in the body in a number of ways:

  • Raw butter is chock full of highly absorbable forms of Vitamin A and iodine, which are both vital nutrients for thyroid health and functioning
  • Like unrefined coconut oil, raw butter is rich in lauric, which helps with digestive problems including candida
  • Raw butter is a rich source of antioxidants which have been shown to combat cancer and protect against artery weakening
  • Raw butter is a natural source of Vitamin D, which helps promote strong bones and teeth
  • The healthy fats in raw butter help facilitate hormone disbursement in the body, i.e. promoting endocrine health
  • The healthy fats in raw butter also help improve skin complexion
  • Raw butter is a source of Conjugated Linoleic Acid which is an anti-cancer agent as well as muscle
  • Raw butter is also rich in Vitamins E and K and the mineral selenium

Tips to Stay on Track with Healthy Eating this Holiday Season

December 8th, 2016

Here are some tips to stay on track – or get back on track – with healthy eating this holiday season:

  • Fill up on protein, healthy fats and veggies before going for the sweet stuff/carbs.
  • Eat a healthy, filling meal before going to holiday parties and events.
  • Keep your gut health in check – this can help with mood, cravings, and digestion.
  • Choose organic & grass-fed meats, dairy, fruits and veggies – especially apples, potatoes and other foods that don’t have a protective skin. Besides protecting you from the dangers of antibiotics and fillers, pesticides, GMOs and chemicals, grass-fed foods have also been shown to have a higher nutrient content, including vital nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), vitamins B, D, E, and K, magnesium, and more.
  • Substitute raw sugar in place of other sweeteners –it is chockfull of anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial benefits along with delicious taste.
  • Use pastured eggs in your baking – not only are they more flavorful and lower in saturated fat, they have more nutrients which many find makes them more filling – they are naturally rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin A, E, D, B12, beta carotene, and folic acid.
  • Choose grass-fed butter in your sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, cakes, cookies, pies, and more – it’s another great source of CLA, with a deliciously rich flavor – and the perfect ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids
  • Include probiotic-rich fermented foods like sauerkraut, kombucha tea, and kefir in your diet to promote healthy digestion and balance gut health.
  • Limit wheat, sugar and alcohol – and if you do choose to indulge, eat mindfully and follow up with probiotics, omega 3 fatty acids, and healthy meats and veggies to get yourself back on track.
  • Don’t skip meals or starve yourself with crazy diets/detoxes – just resume healthy eating, especially greens, healthy fats and proteins, and fermented foods: grass-fed beef and chicken, pastured eggs, organic coconut oil, pastured butter, avocado, organic spinach, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha tea, and other healthy options.

Wheat, refined sugars and alcohol wreak havoc on your health, throwing off digestion, ph levels, appetite, even mood and cognition. They are largely to blame for the holiday blues as they can leave us feeling moody, irritable, foggy, sluggish, anxious, irritable, depressed – and craving more for several days after indulging. Mood and cognition are dependent on the nutrients and messages from our gut; a healthy gut is key to getting back to our vibrant, energetic, happy selves.

Gut Health, Part II: Probiotic-Rich Foods & Repairing Your Gut

November 15th, 2016

Traditionally fermented, unpasteurized foods are key to optimizing gut health, as is limiting processed, refined, and pesticide/chemical-ridden food. Eating fermented foods like saukerkraut, raw kefir, grass-fed yogurt, and fermented vegetables are a great way to rebalance your gut bacteria and improve your overall health.

Destroys gut flora, avoid:

  • Antibiotics – avoid them unless absolutely necessary. Follow-up your treatment course with a hefty dose of fermented foods and/or high quality probiotic supplements.
  • Chlorinated Water
  • Fluoridated Water
  • Antibacterial Soup
  • Pesticides & Agricultural Chemicals
  • Processed Foods
  • Sugar
  • Factory-farmed, i.e. conventionally raised, meats, eggs, and other animal products – they are fed low-dose antibiotics and fed genetically modified grains.

Improves gut health, consume more:

Kefir is one of the most gut-friendly foods, with balancing and restorative properties. Kefir is a rich source of probiotics, enzymes, macro and micronutrients, and countless vitamins and minerals including vitamins B and K, folic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and proteins, including tryptophan, an essential amino acid known for its calming and relaxing effects. Kefir has been used to treat allergies, intestinal disorders, respiratory diseases, anemia, mood disorders, ulcers, reflux, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, colitis, leaky gut syndrome, UTIs, some cancers, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, Autism, depression, migraines, acne, eczema, psoriasis, candida overgrowth, osteoporosis, rheumatism, and more.

Kombucha tea is an adaptogen and supports healthy digestion, which in turn supports healthy brain functioning, mood, and cognition. Kombucha tea is a rich source of B vitamins and Vitamin C. B vitamins have been found to help stabilize mood, regulate anxiety, improve concentration, and even help fight depression. Vitamin C boosts immunity and suppresses the release of cortisol, i.e. stress-hormone that has been linked to stubborn belly fat, impaired mental clarity and functioning, depressed mood, and hypertension.

Grass-fed bone broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, amino acids, hyaluronic acid, gelatin and chondroitin sulfate. Besides boosting gut health and repairing digestive lining, bone broth boasts a range of other health benefits as well, including fighting inflammation, reducing joint pain, inhibiting infection, and promoting healthy bones, teeth, hair, and nails.

As always, support your local farmer and opt for grass-fed, organic sources. Besides being higher in nutrients overall, they aren’t broken down by over-processing, chemicals, pesticides, etc.

Gut Health, Part I: Benefits & Health Implications

November 1st, 2016

Research has finally begun to recognize the vital importance of a healthy gut. Imbalances in gut flora have been scientifically linked to a range of health issues, impacting everything from mood and inflammation to pain and weight gain. In particular, correlations have been found between gut health and the following:

Eating Disorders – Research has uncovered a very strong link between disordered eating behaviors and gut health, specifically the presence of a certain protein made by intestinal bacteria. The presence of this protein leads to an unfavorable reaction between antibodies and satiety hormones, impacting the regulation of “feeding, energy regulation and anxiety.” Yet another reason why a healthy microbiome, i.e. balanced gut health, is vital to your health and wellness, both physically and mentally. One major way to promote and improve gut health is by consuming more probiotic and prebiotic-rich foods to feed the good gut bacteria.

Mood & Cognition – Gut health has been linked with everything from Autism and ADD/ADHD to symptoms of depression, anxiety, brain fog, even memory issues. A healthy gut is necessary for your body to properly digest and process nutrients, including playing a major role in the processing and functioning of neurotransmitter activity, including serotonin levels which are responsible for mood.

Willpower & Cravings – Do you ever feel like sometime you have excellent “willpower” to abstain from eating unhealthy foods, whereas other times you feel out of control with cravings? Your gut health plays a vital role in this.

Immune System Functioning – Over 75% of your immune system is housed within your digestive system. When you take antibiotics or use antibacterial products you are killing the good bacteria, creating a breeding ground for the bad bacteria to take over. When properly balanced, there are trillions and trillions of good bacteria keeping you healthy. When you disturb this balance, you put yourself at risk for digestive problems, poor immune system functioning, and a range of other issues.

If you are having health issues, consider the state of your gut flora. Stay tuned for our next blog article which will outline ways that you can promote gut health and improve functioning.

Nutrition for Health: A Client’s Story

October 12th, 2016

This week I would like to share the story of one of my patients/clients. She came to me for acupuncture about 6 years ago, struggling with a number of issues. In addition to treating her with acupuncture and neurofeedback, I counseled her on nutrition. She began by engaging in some temporary trial and error with many of my suggestions; as time went on, she began to realize clear and significant differences in her symptoms and how she was feeling. Today she follows the nutritional approach that I introduced her to, sharing with others her incredible journey to the best health of her life.

-Steve

If you’re having digestive issues, mood issues, brain fog, pain, cravings, etc. consider your diet. Increase intake of REAL foods – mostly grass-fed meats and organic vegetables – and *decrease* your intake of processed, artificial, “food” – especially sugar, fake sugars, wheat, food coloring, words you cannot identify, etc. Also consider adding probiotic-rich foods to help repair the damage and promote gut health – which in turn promotes overall digestive health, good mood, focus, satiety (as opposed to cravings), and more.

I personally find that the drinkable kefir helps me a lot. I’ve taken to adding a few ounces to my post-workout protein shake, as well as after dinner as a way to seal the gut and curb evening cravings. I have found that when I am “craving” something it is usually a clear sign that something is off – and 9 times out of 10, drinking kefir or kombucha tea satisfies and re-balances my system, satisfying the sense of urgency to give in to cravings.

For years I struggled with my health, including intense joint pain, ADHD, depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. I went through every medication available; I even underwent in-patient treatment. When I came to Steve for acupuncture, I was distraught, nearly hopeless. He began treating me with acupuncture and neurofeedback, as well as counseling me on nutrition. At the time I was eating egg whites and rice cakes much of the time, then having uncontrollable food binges where I consumed just insane amounts of wheat and sugar. My weight fluctuated drastically week to week, and my mood was… Inconsolable. I was depressed, anxious to the point of feeling trapped inside my own body. There were days that I couldn’t get out of bed, where I couldn’t even speak.

Steve encouraged me to add healthy fats into my diet. I started with a slice of avocado every afternoon. I gradually added egg yolks back in.

He encouraged me to limit sugar, and even consider giving up wheat.

I tried it for 6 weeks. My weight began to stabilize. My mood and focus improved.

The holidays came, and I began eating all of the baked goods and holiday treats that we’ve come to associate with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hannukah.

For the next year I cycled up and down, until my weight climbed from the mid-140s to 178 lbs. Despite all of my efforts, I couldn’t get it back down below 165. I felt sick, sluggish, tired, moody, irritable. I was obsessively counting calories, living in the shame of an eating disorder.

I went back to the advice Steve had given me. I took a break from the dieting, from measuring and counting and obsessing. I began eating healthy, whole foods. Eggs and bacon for breakfast, meat and vegetables for lunch and dinner. The fog began to lift. The weight began to melt off. My overall health and state of being began to improve. And it has just gotten better from there.

Steve armed me with the tools necessary to get my health on track. He completely changed my approach to health, he has changed the questions I am asking. Now when I feel a symptom, I ask myself, what is my body trying to tell me? What am I missing, or consuming in excess? What am I doing differently? Have I taken any new medication that could be impacting my gut health? My health is what it is today because (1) I am asking the right questions and (2) I know the right answers.

If I eat unhealthy, i.e. bad oils, sugar, wheat, processed foods, I feel incredibly strong symptoms of depression, anxiety, ADHD, cravings/urges to binge, and an overall brain fog. I even find that I have difficulty with my coordination, dropping things, being clumsy. I suffer from bone pain as well.

If I eat healthy, i.e. healthy fats like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, full fat raw dairy, grass-fed meats, organic vegetables, and probiotic-rich foods like kefir and kombucha tea, with only a small amount of sugar or processed foods, I feel… Healthy. Energetic. Focused. Vibrant. Strong. Satiated. All of my issues resolve.

I would urge you to consider every symptom of your body – mental or physical – as a sign that something is missing or in excess from a nutritional standpoint, then work to bring things back into balance. This has resolved every symptom that has arisen for me, from intense bone and joint pain to feelings of depression, anxiety, OCD, lack of focus, brain fog, fatigue. The things is, the majority of our health concerns, physical and mental, are tied to nutrition. We can resolve many of our symptoms and complaints by cleaning up our diet. Steve is a major proponent of the traditional/ancestral diet, of eating real food, organic, grass-fed, free from chemicals, GMOs, pesticides. His food service Farm Fresh Direct 2U offers just that – he brings the best of the best from farms around the state right here to Orlando, Altamonte Springs, Saint Cloud, Windermere, Oviedo, all around Central Florida. He brings us the opportunity to improve our health from the ground up.

I have never been healthier than I am now. My entire quality of life has changed. I am forever in gratitude to Steve. With every delicious bite of grass-fed brisket and every creamy sip of drinkable kefir I say thank you.

-Jade Alexandra