Monthly Archives: February 2013

Kefir: Foundation Drink No. 3

I KEEP SEEING THIS IN THE STORE

That’s right, you can now buy “kefir” at the store! Liberté Organics has a version in a plastic jug that you can drink, and it’s also flavored with strawberry or blueberry. Try this if you are new to kefir. It’s just super sweet like YOP! Enjoy, preferably last thing at night before bed.

Once you are ready to graduate to the next level, try buying a better commercial version. Here in Ontario we have Pinehedge Farms, which makes a UNHOMOGENIZED WHOLE MILK version in a glass jar. They also have a low fat version but I do not encourage low fat products.

But I put “kefir” in quotes up above for a reason. The commercial “kefir” that you buy is made from a powdered compilation of beneficial bacteria and yeast cultures – usually containing about 9 strains combined. This is “better” than yoghurt, which usually only contains one or two varieties (Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus). Just as an aside, there is a story going around that yoghurt cultures are destroyed in the stomach and never make it to the intestines to flourish, but this study suggests otherwise. The cultures in commercial “kefir” are great, and like the yoghurt cultures, they make it through the digestive tract and live to colonize the intestines. The Pinehedge “kefir” is a fantastic product, thick, creamy and great tasting, and I would be happy if you ate a 1/2 cup every night before bed so that it can colonize you in your sleep.

WHY BOTHER MAKING MY OWN KEFIR THEN?

As much as I love the Pinehedge “kefir” (or similar glass-bottled whole milk unhomogenized products), they probably don’t have more than 10 strains of bacteria in their makeup. Whereas homemade kefir from “grains” contains 29 strains of bacteria and 27 strains of yeast. Want to see the whole list? Though please note that this isn’t a more = better contest. Actually, change that. It most certainly IS A MORE = BETTER CONTEST as far as intestinal bacteria is concerned. I mean, you want more of the “good bacteria” certainly and less of the “bad bacteria”, but what you are especially looking for is diversity. This is like the rainforest – lots of options give you adaptability but a monoculture or fewer species of bacteria limit your immune system’s ability to deal with all the environmental factors you throw at it. But even beyond this great diversity of bacteria and yeasts, homemade kefir from “grains” derived from the Caucasus Mountains have an even more profound advantage. In fact homemade kefir from these grains is such a very special creation that no commercial enterprise has been able to replicate it, though they have certainly tried and tried. Wikipedia calls kefir a unique “symbiotic consortia of bacteria and yeasts”. And what is most special about these Caucasian grains is that when allowed to ferment on the lactose of dairy milk, they create a substance called kefiran. And it’s all about the kefiran.

KEFIRAN

Kefiran is the polysaccharide that holds the “grains” of kefir together, and is created as a result of the unique relationships between kefir’s bacteria and yeasts. Kefiran tested on rats has reduced and eliminated tumors, induced systemic anti-inflammatory response, reduced serum cholesterol levels and suppressed increased blood pressure. In human studies, kefiran had a preventative effect against breast cancer cells without harming the healthy cells,  and it stimulated body cells to produce 14 times more Interferon-beta, a vital glycoprotein excreted by body cells to combat viral infection, and possibly combat cancer cells. Nobody has compiled the research on kefiran better than Kefir Mentor Dom Anfiteatro, who has the most comprehensive guide to kefir that exists, complete with references to every existing study.

But that two-page list of studies is all there is. Are there ongoing large-scale clinical trials on kefiran? Certainly not. There is no money in it as kefiran just cannot be made commercially. It has to be tended, like a pet, and it is very susceptible to changes in temperature, humidity and the ratios of milk to grains. Is this the inexpensive low-tech answer to curing cancer? I don’t know, but it doesn’t cause any harm (unlike all cancer medicines and conventional protocols),  and costs no more than good quality milk, some cool glass jars with flip-tops and a one-time purchase of grains (under $20 unless you can get them from a friend for free).

YEAST, YUK! RIGHT…?

I get it, you just spent  months on a Candida Cleanse to get rid of your yeast overgrowth, which was characterized by sharp pangs in your stomach (intestines) every time you ate too much sugar, and also by an anti-intuitive out of control craving for that same sugar. You cut out sugar, bread, beer, brewer’s yeast, fermented products of all sorts. So how on earth can it be beneficial now to ingest more yeast?

Well the 27 yeasts in kefir are generally “the good yeasts”! And they will fight off “the bad yeasts”(Candida albicons) that are controlling your sugar appetite and leading to yeast overgrowths. For this reason, sometimes when people start taking kefir, the new yeasts cause a die-off of the old yeasts, called a Herxheimer reaction. These dying Candida albicons can produce up to 79 short-term toxins and be kind of unpleasant (headache, fatigue, bloating) until they are all eliminated. One way to avoid this is by initiating your kefir protocol slowly, like a few TBS at night, and then only over a week or two work up to 1/2 cup or more. If you get constipated, you have taken too much too soon.

stovetop kefir

WHAT WILL IT DO FOR ME? BIG PICTURE

People, let’s start with the problems you don’t know you have yet. Consider that all auto-immune diseases start in the gut. Check out the long, long list of auto-immune diseases. You don’t have any yet? Well your mom or your uncle probably does. And I’m sorry to say this but on a Western diet, they’re coming for you. And what about allergies? If your gut health isn’t optimal, meaning if you don’t have the best balance of beneficial bacteria colonizing your intestines, then the walls of your intestines are leaking partially digested foods directly into your blood where they act as toxins. These toxins affect both your psychology and your physiology. There is a name for this occurrence, it’s called the Gut and Psychology (or Physiology) Syndrome – shortened to GAPS, and coined by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

Haven’t heard of GAPS yet? Have you heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome? It’s not exactly recognized by the conventional medical establishment, but it is understood to be the pre-cursor to every auto-immune system. Leaky Gut Syndrome is not a side effect that the medical establishment can treat with commercial drugs, so it doesn’t seem very interesting to them, and nor is healing the gut. In our system, a drug comes first and then an illness is discovered and marketed to sell the drug. The economic problem here is that it is drugs themselves, especially antibiotics, that create imbalances in the gut and harm it. But all that is an aside.  I am here to tell you that healing the gut is EVERYTHING.

WHAT WILL IT DO FOR ME? SMALLER PICTURE

Kefir is high in tryptophan, so has a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system and can help you get to sleep as well as ease depression and ADHD. It is easily digested, balances and cleanses the intestines with beneficial bacteria and yeasts, and builds up the immune system. The fermentation process creates complete proteins, reduces carbohydrates by pre-digesting sugars and lactose, boosts levels of B Vitamins – especially B12 and folic acid, and in particular creates the important Vitamin K2.

When you take kefir regularly (I prefer at bedtime when it has the best chance of colonizing the intestines) it will reduce gas, promote regular bowel movements and eliminate bloating and other intestinal issues.

ALREADY CONVINCED? WELL TRY MAKING IT

There are so many great sites online that show you how to make kefir. Let me direct you to Dom’s Kefir-Making Site, where he has step by step instructions with photos. If all that info is too much to handle, look at these simpler instructions at Nourished Kitchen.

WHAT I DO

I use 2 glass flip-top jars for the first fermentation and the second fermentation. I use a steel strainer and a wooden spoon. I use raw (unhomogenized organic whole fat) milk that I get in an alley from a cow that I share (thanks for the hassle, Ontario!). I also use lemon peels and sometimes basil leaves for the second fermentation.

FIRST FERMENTATION: WITH KEFIR GRAINS

  1. Before bed, I put a small handful of kefir grains in a flip-top 1 L jar and fill about 3/4 full (3 cups of milk). This is a very high grains to milk ratio, but I have a lot of grains and not a lot of room to store milk.
  2. I put the sealed jar into a dark cupboard, because that is convenient for me. A countertop is fine. When I remember and pass the cupboard, I give the jar a gentle shake.
  3. In the morning, about 12 hours later, I check the kefir. The milk is usually still runny, and it hasn’t thickened or shown signs of “legs” on the glass when shaken.  I put it back in the cupboard.
  4. Usually between 3pm and 6pm, the kefir has started to look like it is thickening up. But I usually don’t have time to deal with it right away. So I move it to the fridge until bedtime, to slow it down.
  5. At bedtime, let’s say 9 or 10pm, I take the kefir out of the fridge and check again to make sure it is ready. Usually the fridge seems to thicken it a bit more, I think because a different form of bacteria is allowed to propagate at the cooler temperature.
  6. At this point if it is ready (has legs, is thick) I pour it through a strainer into a bowl, stirring with a spoon to separate the grains from the kefir.
  7. I put the kefir grains back into the same flip-top jar without rinsing them or the jar (I rinse the jar every 3 or 4 turns), and fill back up with milk, then put the jar back into the cupboard to repeat at step 2 above. This jar is called THE FIRST FERMENT.

THE SECOND FERMENTATION: WITHOUT KEFIR GRAINS

  1. I pour the freshly strained kefir from the bowl into a second glass 1L flip-top jar, and add about a 1/4 of a lemon peel. Sometimes I add a basil leaf as well, or bee pollen and royal jelly. This jar is called THE SECOND FERMENT.
  2. I seal up this jar and put it into the cupboard next to the first ferment. And then I go to sleep.
  3. In the morning, I check both jars and maybe shake them a bit. I am checking for thickness, legs, or separation.
  4. Usually between 3pm -6pm, both the first ferment and the second ferment are ready or almost ready, so I put them both in the fridge. Again, the fridge just makes them a little more drinkable to me, a little smoother and creamier.
  5. At bedtime, I take out the second ferment and check it for doneness. Now is a great time to drink it! It should be bubbly like champagne, slightly tart from the sourness of the milk, zesty from the lemon and/or basil, and mild (to my taste anyway). It should not taste or smell revolting or overly sour. It should definitely not taste or smell like rancid milk.
  6. At this point I usually rinse or don’t rinse the second ferment jar, and pour the strained kefir from the first ferment into it. Etc.

grainsIt’s great when it all works like this, because I like to be able to drink my kefir at night, and do all the work at the same time. However sometimes it’s just not ready in time, and I have to wait until morning. Sometimes I wait until morning and then it has gone too far – characterized by separating into curds and whey. (If this happens, you can then strain the kefir through a cheesecloth and make cream cheese from the curds and drink the whey separately). Sometimes if it has only separated a little, you can put the jar in the fridge and it will sort of “come back together”. The fridge seems to smooth out a lot of human error, I find.

A NOTE ON JARS

You can do this in mason jars, so long as you don’t make them too tight. The fermentation process produces CO2 which can cause the jar to explode. But the problem with a loose mason jar lid is that it also lets random yeasts and bacterias in, which changes the final product (can make it extra sour etc.). The best results happen in an air-lock jar where the carbon dioxide can get out but nothing can get in. You can see every method of jar tested here, on 28-day sauerkraut. Even better results happen when there is a bit of pressure on the jar, but not enough to burst it. Which means you don’t have to spend big money on a fancy Pickl-it jar, as any old Fido or European brand of glass flip-top jars will do. Ikea jars, not so sure. Let’s leave the Chinese glass in China.

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Lemons All The Way

We all know about squeezing lemons into water and then downing the resulting drink as an alkalizer. But as I mentioned in my post about Apple Cider Vinegar, organic lemons are expensive and it seems kind of wasteful to just squeeze out a few tablespoons of juice and then throw the rest away.

Lemon

BUT SOME PEOPLE EAT THE WHOLE LEMON!

What?  That’s impossible!

Or at least gross!

Well I am here to tell you that I have figured out a way (thank you internet) to eat a whole lemon and it is soft, yielding, delicious, invigorating and has a host of other benefits.

HERE’S WHAT YOU DO

1. Carefully wash your organic lemon to make sure there are no waxes or residues on the rind.
2. Cut the lemon in half, squeeze each side into a cup and reserve the juice.
3. In a separate cup, fill with appropriate water and drop in the two spent lemon halves. Keep these lemons soaking in the water for at least 8 hours, either on the counter or in the fridge. Overnight is best.
4. Check on your cup of soaking lemons. Pull out one half and take a tentative bite… Not as sour and bitter as you thought, right? Kind of awesome hmmm?

WHY OH WHY SHOULD I DO THIS?

  • Detoxifies the body
  • Decreases tissue acidity / alkalizes the system
  • Enhances immune function
  • Promotes liver health
  • Assists with hormonal balance
  • Nourishes and strengthens cells and cell membranes
  • Improves and normalizes digestive health

More specifically, the oils in the peel provide essential fatty acids that boost immune function, benefit cell integrity, and improve skin quality. Specifically in the peel: D-limonene has anti-cancer properties; pectin helps emulsify oils and chelate toxins from the large intestines; oligomeric proanthocyanidins are antioxidants with powerful antihistamines.

But… don’t do this every day. Lemon peels are really high in oxalates, which are great for detoxing but they can also steal and bond with calcium, magnesium and iron from the body,which form crystals that can turn into painful kidney stones. So if you already have kidney problems, this is probably not for you. Same for anyone with gout or rheumatoid arthritis, most likely.

WAIT A MINUTE WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THE RESERVED LEMON JUICE?

Right. You might have noticed in the recipe above that I asked you to reserve the lemon juice. Why not put it in a small mason jar with a lid, fill to the top with appropriate water, and then add 1/8 teaspoon of dried cayenne pepper. Now replace the lid, shake it up, and sip it if you can! The Master Cleanse and just about every “juicing” program makes a version of this with added maple syrup or agave (no thanks) to “rev up” the metabolism. But I just don’t need the added sugar and carbohydrates, and nor do you. (However if you want to add warm water and substitute coconut oil for the maple syrup – I’m back on board).  For sure this is a next level drink, and if you can get used to it – what a rush! I love it, seriously.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Google will show you all sorts of links between cancer prevention, tumor reduction and eating whole lemons. But let’s go to Snopes to break down the myths from the research. And then also remember that there is never going to be any serious research or clinical trial that will prove that lemons can replace expensive medicines; that would be cray cray.

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Books: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox

There are thousands of books about what to eat, and while so many of them are essential reading, I think this one pulls it all together into a simple yet mind-blowing concept.

Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox

This book is written by an Ontario (shout-out for local) naturopath, Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue, who became fascinated by the x-factor of Vitamin K2 and the way it has eluded our modern foods and created a huge nutritional deficit and misunderstanding.

For starters, most books about building bone density (for example let me cite “The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach” by Annemarie Colbin) will talk about Vitamin K1 and totally miss or misunderstand Vitamin K2, which is completely different. These books will tell you to get your Vitamin K1 from leafy greens like kale and spinach. This is great advice on the surface, because our intestinal bacteria can convert Vitamin K1 into Vitamin K2 – so long as our intestinal bacteria is in tip-top condition (rare) and so long as we eat mountains and mountains of kale and spinach, which is probably going to degrade and disorganize our intestinal bacteria. In other words, we are not ruminants. We do not have the kind of stomachs and digestive systems that can efficiently create the amount of K2 that we need for optimal nutrition.

Now I want to step back for a moment because I hate the idea that there is a supplement out there or a specific vitamin that we “need” to fix everything going on inside us. I’m more of the school that if we start loading up on one vitamin, it is just going to throw our other vitamins and minerals out of whack and cause greater problems. So in general, I want all of my nourishment to come from whole foods, and not from supplements. And NEVER from synthetic vitamins and supplements, which studies have shown over and over to cause more harm than good.

SO WHY AM I SO ENAMORED WITH THIS BOOK, AND WITH K2?

Because Vitamin K2 is something that has been systematically (and let’s say accidentally) bred out of our food system by industrialization. And when we don’t get Vitamin K2 in our system, we have no way of sending calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin A to their proper locations where they can do the most good. Vitamin K2 is the organizer, the director, and without it, calcium binds to our soft tissues instead of our bones and causes heart disease. Whereas getting K2 back into the diet literally REVERSES heart disease.

Consider what conventional health protocols have us do: take calcium and vitamin D supplements every day of our lives. Without any consideration for Vitamin K2, all this does is increase our risk of heart disease, and actually increase our risk of brittle bones, fractures and osteoporosis. The conventional advice does the exact opposite of what it intends. The conventional protocol is outright dangerous and wrong.

HOW DID WE GET VITAMIN K2 BEFORE INDUSTRIALIZATION?

There are two factors that have contributed to removing K2 from our food supply. The first is factory farming, and the second is the advent of refrigeration. Because of the efficiencies of factory farming, our livestock is treated like a commodity and eats commodity corn and grains in order to grow bigger and fatter in a shorter period of time. The resulting fats from these animals do not contain Vitamin K2. Whereas if you can get your hands on pastured ruminants and pastured eggs (the animals need to literally eat grass from weaning to slaughter, or peck at insects in the field and feel actual sunshine on their backs), you will be getting a dose of Vitamin K2 in the fats and yolks.

Another point is that when we eat conventional animal foods, we are (correctly) advised to eat the lean protein and avoid the fat. This makes sense but not because of the “message” you have been hearing: not because saturated fats are bad for you or because they will make you fat. You must avoid these fats because conventional GMO grain-fed animals have to be saturated with antibiotics and other medicines to keep them alive until slaughter on a diet that fills them with disease – all those toxins are concentrated in the animals’ fat. If you eat that fat, you are getting a dose of the worst of the worst. Whereas the fat of a pastured animal, presumably (you’ve got to take responsibility and research your own food from the specific farm and area you are from) is free of antibiotics, toxins and GMOs and is rich in Vitamin K2, the best source of Vitamin A and a good source of Vitamin D. Amazing what a difference a little natural farming can make.

My second point was about refrigeration. Obviously we all love our fridge and it has created a million conveniences for us, and even scores of nutritional benefits. However because of these efficiencies, we no longer need to culture or ferment food to keep it from spoiling. But as it happens, culturing and traditionally fermenting food is a great way to increase access to locked nutrients in our foods, such as Vitamin K2 and a host of B Vitamins.

However it depends on the ferment and the culture. Some cheeses don’t contain any Vitamin K2, some contain lots (Dutch Gouda). Fermented or coagulated tofu made from soybeans doesn’t contain any Vitamin K2, whereas soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis creates Natto, and contains the highest amounts of K2. (The best K2 “supplements” you can buy are whole-food versions derived from Natto).

This book is so important I’m going to go all-caps and bold and call it a FOUNDATION BOOK. This will subvert your understanding of calcium supplementation, Vitamin D supplementation, saturated fats, fermented foods and even vegetable loading, to a degree. This book will show you how the conventional nutritional guidelines are leading us down the path to disease, and how a traditional approach to eating can actually reverse the damage done.

The great news is that the body wants to heal itself, and all we have to do is feed it human-appropriate food and get out of its way.

My mother and I found this book in the spring of 2012, and read it in tandem. Almost every day we were calling each other exclaiming, Did you read the part about the something or other?! Hopefully you will have the same thrill when you read this with all your friends and relatives… (!)

Jenny McGruther at Nourished Kitchen has put together some great resources about these concepts, as well as an interview with Dr. Rheume-Bleue. You can find out next-level info like making your own K2-rich cheese at home.

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1 Banana 1 Egg

This is a crazy simple breakfast. Let’s say you’re insane enough not to eat grains or refined sugar, but you can’t live without pancakes. This will solve all your problems.

Pancakes Bubbling

Directions: mash 1 ripe banana, blend in 1 egg. Fry the resulting batter in small batches (diameter of an apple?), and flip very gingerly (I use a non-stick pan and a fish spatula). Because there is no gluten, the pancakes are not as resilient as a grain pancake. But they look great, and taste great! The banana adds so much sweetness that you really don’t need any maple syrup on top. I like to top with some whole fat kefir or yoghurt.

FLAVOR VARIATIONS

I’m going to blow your mind here, but stay tuned. Grate in some lemon zest. Add vanilla. Delicious. Or go another way and add cinnamon. No matter what, add a little sea salt. Maybe melt in some grass-fed butter or coconut oil. Add wild blueberries. Go piña colada style and add grated coconut. Or go monkey-style and spread with peanut or nut butter, and roll up like a crepe.

TOO MUCH SUGAR?

I agree. 1 BANANA 1 EGG has 31g of carbohydrate, 17g of sugar, 4g of fiber, 8g of protein and 8g of fat = 214 calories. Serves 2 essentially.

Why not stretch the recipe a little further and try 1 BANANA 2 EGGS! This variation yields the same 32g carbohydrate, the same 17g of sugar, 4g of fiber, but increases protein to 14 g and fat to 15 g = 308 calories. But now it serves 3.

I’m not afraid of increasing fat, especially if it’s in the form of whole, naturally raised, small flock eggs. The individual serving count on the enhanced recipe is roughly: 10 g carbohydrate (5 g sugar, 1 g fiber), 5 g protein and 5 g fat.

Pancake StackFor a pancake treat, this is pretty good.

It’s also a terrific way to get my daughter to eat eggs for breakfast (she’s in a no-eggs phase).

If you are doubling or tripling the recipe for a crowd (I don’t know where you are going to find a crowd of people who don’t eat grain or refined sugar, but it could happen) try mixing the ingredients in your blender or Vitamix, because then you can pour the batter directly from the blender.

You can experiment with adding any kind of nut flour and milk, but I think the thrill of this recipe is its simplicity.

ONE LAST THOUGHT

Let’s say you want to really supercharge these pancakes with protein, but you don’t like protein powder (I don’t: too processed, rancid, denatured etc). So take the 1 banana, 2 eggs, add 1tbs nut butter and 3 tbs cottage cheese right into the batter. Let’s add 1 tbs of coconut oil while we are at it. Blend it all up! Now it serves 3 more heartily, and each serving has about: 7.2 g protein, 8.3 g fat and 11 g carbohydrate (5.8 g sugar, 1 g fiber). I can’t get the ratios much better than this. They are pancakes, after all.

AND BEST OF ALL…

Delicious.

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ACV: Foundation Drink No. 2

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, known to the in-crowd as ACV, is my second foundation drink, after the Crazy Hot Drink. I like to take about a tablespoon (or less if you are starting out) in a glass of appropriate water.  The taste is slightly tangy, like a weak, refreshing wine. Who doesn’t want to pretend they are drinking wine all day?

I just find that drinking water can get a little monotonous. But when I add some ACV to it, all of a sudden it is a flashy beverage! It’s my diet coke.

I have tried lots of different varieties of ACV, hoping to find an organic local version that I like. But it turns out the Bragg Organic, Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar with the “Mother” is my favorite.

WHEN AND WHY?

We’ve all heard that the best way to start your day is with a squeeze of lemon in a glass of water. Totally! But guess what? It gets kind of expensive to buy all these organic lemons and cut them up and sometimes forget about them. So while I love lemon in water, I save it for when I have leftover lemon kicking around, or when I am in a restaurant or traveling (let them spend the money on lemons!).

IMG_3117So instead I start the day with a glass of appropriate water and some ACV. This will restore your body’s pH balance, making it just slightly alkaline. Possibly this will give your kidneys a little breathing room. The ACV will also stimulate your stomach acid, which will help digestion. Since ACV is prebiotic, it will feed probiotics, which will strengthen your body’s immunity and gut health.

ACV should also be taken with a little water before meals, especially if you suffer from acid reflux or GERD. The idea is that the acetic and malic acids in ACV increase the acidity of the stomach, which signals the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) to tighten and strengthen to protect the esophagus. Raising the acid levels actually protects the esophagus and makes digestion more efficient. This higher acidity allows your body to better absorb essential minerals that are locked in foods. By contrast, taking antacids or acid-blockers lowers the stomach pH, which sends indifferent signals to the LES causing it to weaken and allowing stomach acid to slip up through it into the esophagus in a relentless cycle of pain, discomfort, malnutrition and eventual destruction of the esophageal lining.

As well as being full of enzymes, raw organic ACV is rich in potassium (11mg/TBS), which can help relieve symptoms of the common cold, allergies, mucus and sinus congestion. Tooth decay and brittle fingernails are another sign of potassium deficiency. ACV has also been used to treat headaches, depression, joint pain, kidney and bladder issues, depression and constipation. High levels of pectin in ACV, which act like high fiber, control blood sugar and make it an ideal supplement for diabetics. Taking ACV before meals has shown to lower blood glucose in both healthy people and diabetics, reducing the need for supplementary insulin. It is also known to cleanse the organs and blood by binding with toxins and breaking them down for elimination.

HISTORY

Not only did Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, prescribe ACV for everything, but the Egyptians were into it 3000 years ago, and there are indications it was being used to treat ailments at least 10,000 years ago. That’s a much better human record than a 6 month clinical trial.

BE SMART

Don’t drink ACV straight: too hard on the tooth enamel and linings of the mouth and esophagus. Don’t drink crazy amounts like a cup a day. Don’t get an ACV pill stuck in your throat. People did these things and it didn’t work out for them.

BONUS PROJECT

Almost finished your bottle of ACV? Still see a generous helping of “the mother”, that webby brown stuff, settled on the bottom? Then just top up your bottle with your favorite tasting raw, organic apple cider – cover the opening with a cloth and an elastic, and put it in the cupboard for 4 months. Look at what you just did! You made your own ACV, girl.

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Sardine Snacks For All

Maybe you think they are gross. But sardines are the greatest snack in the world, and it’s time to give them another shot. Here’s why:

For starters, sardines are a very tiny fish, so they carry a lower toxic load than a larger, older fish (I’m talking mercury and PCBs, people). They are lower down in the food chain, so it is considered more ethical to consume these wild fish as they are more available and replenish quickly.

Image

One can of sardines is about 90g by weight. That can is going to supply you with 135% of your Vitamin B12 for the day, 78% of your tryptophan, 68% of your selenium, 56% of your omega-3s, 44% of your protein, 44% of your phosphoros, 43% of your Vitamin D, 34% of your calcium (if you eat the bones, which you are going to obviously), 23% of your Vitamin B3 and 16% of your choline, and 8% of your iron.

Let’s go macronutrients. We’re talking 23g of protein, about 11g of fat if packed in oil (say no to canola/soy/industrial oils and yes to olive oil), and obviously no carbohydrates, sugars or fiber.

So let’s be fancy and transfer the sardines to a plate first. I eat everything – the tails, the crunchy bones, the skin. It’s even more lovely to squeeze a little lemon or drizzle some balsamic vinegar on them. Why not try harissa or hot sauce?  You just can’t go wrong.

If you are new to sardines, you might require a cracker. In this case, load some sardine onto a cracker like it’s paté. I prefer to use a wheat-free cracker like Mary’s Gone Crackers, or a low-carbohydrate version like Flackers.

The Bellevue restaurant in Toronto once served a sardine sandwich with peanut butter, sprouts and cucumber on rye. If you’re not in the area, it might be time to try it out at home – but go to the next level: skip the bread and make a nut butter and sardine lettuce roll-up.

I started feeding sardines to my daughter when she was about 18 months, so now she is used to the flavor and actually likes the idea of “sardine snacks”.

Fresh sardines are obviously delicious, and shockingly inexpensive. You can buy them at any good fish counter. They are a little larger usually, and you will have to ask to have them gutted for you. You can toss these in olive oil and lemon, and then grill them under the broiler until the skin bubbles. Again, try to eat as many of the crunchy bones as you can for the calcium content.

WARNING: fresh sardines grilled on the barbecue are incredible! But if you live near wildlife, they will freak out over the delicious aroma. We once woke up to a bear humping our barbecue. So that happened.

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