Farm Fresh Foods throughout Florida

Gut Health, Part I: 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

Health & Nutrition: The Importance of Starting Young

September 30th, 2016

Children listen more than we even realize. They listen, learn, and model their behavior after the adults in their lives. This is doubly true for eating habits. Their childhood provides the building blocks for a lifetime of nutrition. The child who grows up eating grass-fed meats and dairy, organic vegetables, fermented foods, the child who eats real food, is going to grow up vastly different than the child who grows up eating processed food, GMO food, pesticide and antibiotic-ridden food. Besides the obvious nutritional benefits, a child who grows up eating grass-fed and organic will learn the importance of making healthy choices. They will also know where their food is coming from.

Most children nowadays can’t identify a cauliflower. Processed snacks are the norm, low-fat being one of the few standards of “health” that people abide by – which inevitably leads to more health problems and weight gain thanks to the increased sugar and chemicals. Never mind that the body actually needs fat to function properly, and that by choosing fats from healthy sources, i.e. grass-fed meat, pastured eggs, grass-fed butter and ghee, coconut oil, and the like. The last half century had it wrong, and the faulty research is finally being overturned. How do we keep this going? How do we push back against the obesity epidemic, diabetes epidemic, rising cancer rates, mood disorders, autoimmune disorders? By educating our children and arming them for a different kind of future, a return to the ancestral diet, to vibrant health and wellness, to locally owned, produced, harvested and farmed foods and goods.

A client of mine shared with me a story of her son, how he had been having arguments with people over health. He argued with his teacher over the merits of low fat “foods” which he knew were ridden were sugar and chemicals. He argued with another adult citing conventional grains, particularly wheat, as unhealthy. He was reported as having turned down sports drinks because of food coloring. He voiced a preference for pastured eggs. His favorite drink is the drinkable yogurt that he gets at his Mom’s FarmFreshDirect2U.com pick-ups every other week.

Your children are listening. You are impacting their choices and habits – even when they are not with you. They are sharing information – this is especially meaningful, for our children are our future. If we are not teaching them the importance of grass-fed and organic foods, of health and nutrition, of traditional sustainable food sources, of supporting local farmers and business owners, what will that mean for our future? More processed foods and GMOs, more obesity and cancers and diabetes epidemics. Ingrain healthy habits and arm them with knowledge for a better future – their own, and our culture at large.

Food for thought as you enjoy this week’s farm order with your family.

Holiday Eating: Tips to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues & Weight Gain

September 19th, 2016

As summer gives way to fall, the holiday season begins gleaming from just around the corner. Shelves are filled with holiday lights and trees, gifts and goodies. The holidays mean so much in so many different ways, family, togetherness, tradition, gratitude and giving – and let’s be honest – over-indulgence. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, days are filled with holiday gift baskets and gift exchanges while nights ring with the toasting of cheers, coupled with decadent holiday treats.

Many people find that they end up suffering from post-holiday blues (and weight gain!), a sort of emotional drop after the celebratory craze of Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas, and the like. What most people don’t consider is why they end up feeling this way. In fact, the post-holiday letdown seems to be offhandedly attributed to perceived social or cultural elements. What most fail to consider is that it is in fact the huge spike in indulgent eating and drinking from the end of November to the beginning of January.

High sugar, wheat, and alcohol, food coloring from red and green everything, and even more sugar – this is the true culprit for the post-holiday blues – and of course, weight gain.

Here are some tips to help you avoid, minimize, or at least bounce back from the holidays:

  • DO make moderation your friend. DON’T make November to January a free for all.
  • DO choose a few key days or events to allow yourself to indulge, i.e. actual holidays and holiday parties. Keep your in between eating extra healthy and SATIATING with grass-fed butter, meats, and eggs, organic greens, and fermented foods.
  • DO keep your gut health in check. Sugar, wheat, alcohol and processed foods wreak havoc on the gut, which in turn wreaks havoc on neurotransmitter functioning, which leads to cravings, brain fog, moodiness, irritability, and digestive complaints. Increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods like kombucha tea, grass-fed kefir, fermented sauerkraut and kimchi. Grass-fed bone broth is also highly beneficial to gut health and the digestive tract.
  • DO skip low-fat, high sugar, processed foods as much as possible – and opt for high quality fats such as grass-fed butter, pastured eggs, grass-fed meats and coconut oil. Not only will they keep you satiated but they will help manage potential blood sugar spikes from all the sugar and alcohol. Enjoy a bullet coffee or some grass-fed butter on butternut squash before heading out to your next holiday event. By going in with a high quality fat in your stomach you won’t be as tempted to high tail it to the dessert table – especially if your gut health is in check.
  • DO consume extra probiotics and omega 3 fatty acids after indulging. They will help repair some of the damage done and can help get you back on track so that one bad meal doesn’t turn into weeks of over-indulgence.
  • DO ask people to bring non-dessert items and/or non-traditional foods to holiday gatherings. Pinterest has so many cute, festive ideas using healthy foods. Enjoy a nice warm seasonal butternut squash soup or sweet potatoes with grass-fed butter. Make a holiday scene out of organic fruits and vegetables. Make a pumpkin yogurt dip using raw honey and grass-fed yogurt.

What tips or tricks do you use to get through the holidays without excess weight gain or post-holiday blues? Send us your suggestions!