brain health

Taking Out the Trash ~ Real Food

Published February 24th, 2020 in Bon Appetit - Just Plain Good Food

by Tammera J. Karr

The 21st century has presented us with more than one challenger to our health. How can it be that what is seemingly innocent or benign factors could be the cause of so many health problems? Modern innovation has provided us with countless tools and conveniences that make our jobs and lives easier. The unintended consequences of innovation can be more plastic trash, fractured time, and industrial denatured foods. How do we take out the trash both figuratively and physically without driving ourselves and others, around the bend? I look back at what was the normal before …. Which often was simple, affordable solutions to everyday needs.

Our most proactive and sustainable changes for our health involve adding more vegetables and removing 300 calories a day.

Here is one example: I have a client who is a truck driver. He tries to eat as best he can on the road five days a week, but there is not much selection in truck stops. He tries to make some food he can take with him, but he only has a tiny refrigerator and no real way to cook on the road.

Solutions: Incorporate a shake once a day with freeze-dried fruit and vegetable powders. 12-volt blenders make smoothie mixes palatable, or blended coffees. The freeze-dried blends add in greater nutrient variety; they also can be used as a touch of seasoning flavor, provided they do not contain protein powders or other flavorings like strawberry and chocolate.

He plans 2 hours on a day off to make up small airtight containers with raw vegetables, nuts, and fruit. It is much easier to eat a handful of sugar snap peas, kohlrabi, turnip, broccoli stems or yam slices than to stop and peal or try and eat whole.  I recommend the glass Snapware brand because they seal tight and, they do not leak. Our experience has been the glass containers fit easily in a small soft-sided cooler and work in a HotLogic. Experience has shown us foods hold up in these containers in the fridge or cooler for 3-4 days.

Hard-boiled eggs in the shell, canned chicken, pork, beef or fish like sardines and salmon are easy proteins. The eggs are good in a small refrigerator or cooler with plenty of ice for three-four days. The low sodium canned meats do not require refrigeration and can be used with convenience store salads, rye crackers, or a loaf of hearty bread: pre-cook brown rice or red potatoes add more variety.

Next my client purchased a small HotLogic portable food warmer. Before heading down the road, he uses the prepped vegetables in their glass dish, a small sliced potato, one can of meat, with liquid, and plugs into the 12-volt outlet on his dash. In 2-3 hours, he has a meal hot and ready to eat when he fuels up or parks.

For this individual spending, a little time prepping for the coming week and investing in a couple of small appliances meant he dropped 400 calories a day without having to think about it or go hungry. He increased his vegetable consumption and found he passed up chips and snacks because he wasn’t craving them or fighting sleep. On his weekends, he enjoys eating with his family or friends’ guilt-free.

The increase in vegetables in his daily routine does more than act as fuel; they provide valuable fiber for removing harmful chemicals. They feed our brain for cognition, support healthy blood sugar, build the microbiome supporting our immune systems, remove excess cholesterol, and sodium while providing potassium and magnesium for heart health.

All we have to do is think back to times before, prepackaged processed foods, and fried convenience foods from gas stations. While those foods are easy, they are also at the heart of America’s growing health problems. Do you remember – Lunches of fried chicken, cold steak and potatoes, meatloaf, bread and butter, apples, carrots, tomatoes, biscuits and meat pies, and Stanly lunch boxes?

Returning to Real Foods for health.

Time Change and Spring Fatigue

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

Over the two weeks, I have heard countless clients complain over the time change. The following days have been the land of zombies in some folks minds. Additionally, spring is upon us and with that; tree, grass and flower pollen. Spring is a time of rebirth, and rebounding energy, or at least the energy is supposed to bounce back into our lives. But what if it doesn’t? Some individuals may feel like spring energy has passed them by and they are permanent members of the zombie community.

Spring is a perfect time to fast. Countless faith communities practice fasting during the days preceding Easter, other cultures practice fasting as a regular part of their diet. Today we have research on the benefits of fasting for brain and neurological health. Spring is also a perfect time to clean house in the o’l liver. Traditionally Spring brings with it bitter greens that help with detoxing and purifying the liver and blood.  Along with fasting, we have foods designed by the creator to restore energy and health while improving brain function;  clearing the fog, fatigue, and depression of zombie land away.

Brain food is a terrific example of what we can do every day and with every meal to change not only how smart we are but how likely we are to develop age-related brain dysfunction. Cultures throughout the world incorporate food into their “health care plan” since most of these countries have socialized medicine it is in the governments best interest to encourage “wellness care” versus “disease management.”

Spring Greens – dark bitter greens such as dandelion, kale, mustard, collard, endive, chickory, and spinach are all considered “bitter greens” and provide nutrients that improve liver and gallbladder function – even when you do not have a gall bladder, bitter greens improve pancreas function and bile production for improved digestion.

Blueberries—Research has found blueberries can reverse age-related declines in motor function, balance, and coordination. Blueberries have compounds that boost neuron signals and help turn back on systems in the brain that can lead to using other proteins to help with memory or other cognitive skills.

Wild Caught Fish— Researchers in 2011, reported people who eat baked or broiled fish at least once a week may be protecting their brains from Alzheimer’s and other brain degenerative conditions.

Coffee—Regular coffee drinking has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and other mental disorders.  Coffee appears to increase blood levels of a factor associated with improved cognitive function in Alzheimer’s.

Caffeinated coffee has also been associated with protection against Parkinson’s disease, the second most common neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer’s.  A study of 29,000 individuals found one to four cups daily decreased the risk of Parkinson’s by 47% and 5 or more cups reduced the risk by 60%.

Nuts— walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pecans, contain properties that help with everything from fighting insomnia to promoting mental clarity and sharp memory. Walnuts are rich in fatty acids while almonds contain natural mood-enhancing neurotransmitters.

Eggs—Yes I know the news told you researchers are back to saying eggs are bad for you – once again we are encountering faulty or bad research modules that lead to bad science. Egg yolks are rich in choline, an essential nutrient to improving memory function. B vitamins are a must for brain health, if you can’t eat eggs or don’t have a good free-range source for them, take a whole food B-complex.

Chocolate—Dark chocolate is magnesium and antioxidant-rich, it also improves focus and concentration. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, enhances memory and reaction time. (for you Marilyn, you can say ha to you know who now…)

Broccoli—Broccoli has been shown to improve memory function as well as slow the aging process. Broccoli is one of the most protective foods known to researchers today, it has been shown to activate more cell receptor sites – protecting your health, than any other single food next to pomegranates, and turmeric.

So there you have it the cure for zombie land and the time change is at your local farmers market or produce section. The more nutrient-dense foods incorporated into your diet, the better your energy and your allergies will be, then spring will have you bouncing like the lambs in the field.

 

“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people

 under the pretense of taking care of them.”Thomas Jefferson

 

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Editorial – Freedom of Choice Versus Vaccinations

Published March 5th, 2019 in Alternative Perspective, Editorial, Health Freedom

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

Our story begins with three men, heads together on a street corner, one wealthy and dripping with power, the next puffed chest, ingratiating smile and impotent and the last an obvious thug, muscle for hire. Down the walk enters a woman who looks at the world through rose-colored glasses, all is right, nary a problem. The thug steps away from his companions and escorts her away. She laughs and smiles as he tells her he will keep her safe and he knows best; All the while looking back over his shoulder to the other men, who nod in agreement.  The thug takes her home and hands her a drink; she accepts is and drinks it without a word of concern. She is found dead the next day; it is deemed natural causes — a tragedy.

While this could be from a western novel, it more closely resembles a gritty Clint Eastwood seen; our actors are the Pharmaceutical manufactures (wealth), The Politics of the land (the impotent), the state service programs (the Thug) and Rosy Vision (our rights). The Poison for many comes not in a glass but a syringe filled with vaccines.

Real life: There is tremendous controversy over childhood vaccinations, once again legislation is about to be forced on parents in Oregon and Washington that strips vaccination exemption. Exclusion laws already exist in Oregon if an outbreak occurs, so why do we need a draconian law, that can lead to a loss of revenue for schools? It is estimated that 31,000 children in Oregon have exemptions if they are removed from the school systems; it could equal a loss of $412,920,000.00 annually. All of this has resurfaced from a similar bill in 2015 due to a measles outbreak predominately in Washington state.

Over the years, I have gotten hepatitis and tetanus shots before overseas travel. The difference here is, I am an adult, I am capable of determining if the risks outweighed the benefits. After our son made it through his first years of public school and it was time for booster shots, we as his parents evaluated the risks after many hours researching and praying we had a waiver signed for the school district.  Keep in mind the number of vaccinations in the 1990s was considerably less than the number my grandson will be receiving this year.

The story will be very different in Oregon if House Bill 3063 and those that follow it – restrict/hinder parental choice over immunization. Not many people are willing to do a face off with a healthcare practitioner over cholesterol medication let alone a vaccine series for a child. Oregon’s bill would eliminate religious and personal or philosophical exemptions for all vaccines, a move intended to boost the state’s vaccination rate.

Lawmakers who support the bill say parents can still choose not to vaccinate — however; they will have to homeschool or find ways for children to go to school online. Isn’t this discrimination? What about low-income families who have a family history of autism or ADHD? If we make legal allowances for everyone else with a “special need” why are those not willing to vaccinate any different? Are they really a threat to public safety as stated by politicians? Whenever we cite science, we need to be sure of who paid for the science – and who is getting paid for citing it. How did we ever survive these normal and natural childhood illnesses before?

The cyclical outbreak of measles in the Pacific Northwest has prompted hundreds of additional residents to vaccinate this year over past years. I would like to point out it was a free choice, not a mandate.

School and state workers will and do believe they are working to protect children; Many families will choose vaccination because they believe in the system – which is their right. For others, they will make their choices based on beliefs, research, and medical history – which up until now has been their right. Ohh and just because you do not believe the science cited does not mean it is fake – it just means it is not following the politically correct party line.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen a bill that endorses vaccine instead of education,” said Rep. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, as he testified against the bill.”

Is this just a state issue? As I write this article, I have learned of a federal move to restrict medical freedom. “If states don’t tighten vaccine exemption laws, the federal government may step in, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said February 21, 2019”.

“Some states are engaging in such wide exemptions that they’re creating the opportunity for outbreaks on a scale that is going to have national implications,” the FDA head said in an interview with CNN.”

Lets put this in perspective; According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website:

In 2018, 372 cases of measles were reported in the U.S.. From Jan. 1 to Feb. 14, 2019, 127 cases of measles have been confirmed in 10 states.

Each year in the United States, about 1 million people have to seek care in a hospital due to pneumonia. The CDC says about 50,000 people die from the disease each year in the United States. Most of the people affected by pneumonia in the United States are adults.

I believe families should have the right to choose; I am not an anti-vaccinator anymore than I am a pro-vaccinator. My issue is about a local or federal government who takes money from pharmaceutical companies, mandating medical decisions. That is a conflict of interest and collusion.

 

To Freedom of Choice.

 

 

 

Sources

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/flu_pneumonia_mortality/flu_pneumonia.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/sosmap/flu_pneumonia_mortality/flu_pneumonia.htmhttps://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/21/fda-head-says-federal-government-may-take-action-if-states-dont-adjust-lax-vaccine-exemption-laws.html

http://www.oregoniansformedicalfreedom.com/tag/oregon-health-authority/

https://www.nvic.org/injury-compensation/origihanlaw.aspx

 

Lets Hear it for Real Fat!

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

Fats are hydrophobic. In other words, fats repel water. Even oil-based emulsions like mayonnaise rely on a third party to hold each tiny droplet of oil in suspension—egg yolk, mustard, or certain starches are common choices. Despite what some folks tell you, food fried at higher temperatures actually absorb more oil than those fried at cooler temperatures.  Natural oils and fats are traditional cooking mediums.  Today’s best options are cold pressed, extra virgin oils, and organic humanely raised animal fats.  The more filtered an oil, the lower the mineral and polyphenol content. Always buy oils that are solvent-free.

Fats conduct heat and can do so at higher temperatures than water. When you baste a roast in fatty pan drippings, that coating functions as a temperature buffer, allowing your food to heat evenly and preventing the exterior from drying out before the interior is fully cooked. Under normal conditions, water cannot be heated past its boiling point of 212° F at sea level, whereas fats can reach temperatures of 400-500° F.

Fats lubricate food preventing sticking to cookware surfaces.

Fats add or enhance flavor and enhance textural nuances of foods. This is vital for “mouth feel.” Many of the flavor compounds that make herbs and aromatics such compelling seasonings are what we call fat-soluble, meaning they will actually spread and coat your tongue better when they are immersed in lipids. Using fat in anything from marinades to braises helps coax out, layer, and evenly distribute flavors.

Monounsaturated oils, specifically olive oil increase the nutrients available through digestion. The tradition of tomatoes and olive oil is well supported by research; the antioxidant content of the tomatoes increases when combined with olive oil.

Traditionally, oils are extracted from nuts and seeds through mechanical crushing and pressing. If bottled immediately, the oil is a cold-pressed “raw” or “virgin” oil, which tends to retain its natural flavor and color. Virgin in the case of olive oil also signifies only the perfect fruits were used. Unrefined oils have higher levels of minerals, enzymes, and other compounds highly sensitive to heat and tend to be susceptible to rancidity; these are the oils best-suited to drizzling, dressings, and lower temperature cooking.

To produce oil with a high smoke point, manufacturers use industrial-level refinement; bleaching, filtering, and high-temperature heating to extract and eliminate extraneous compounds. This produces a neutral-flavored oil with a long shelf life and a higher smoke point.

Clarified butter and ghee follow the same basic concept: a process designed to extract more heat-sensitive components; milk solids—from fat to raise its smoke point.    When heated past its smoke point, fat starts to break down, releasing free radicals.

 

Health Benefits of Traditional Fats

Fats speak to the integral health of our whole body. Without healthy fats, we would not exist. [1]

 

Olive Oil is not only one of the oldest oils still in use for cooking, but it also has some impressive science to support its use for health. The unrefined olive oil contains minerals, vitamins and compounds that serve as anti-inflammatories. This is especially important when it comes to brain health. [2], [3], [4]  The antioxidants in olive oil are essential for aiding the digestive system in absorbing nutrients found in vegetables. Especially those high in carotenoids; winter squash, carrots, tomatoes, lycopene: tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, kale and xanthine; dark greens, cruciferous vegetables, chard.

For a maximum flavor reach for extra virgin olive oil, you may want several types on hand providing a delicate fruity or strong peppery flavor.  For times when you don’t want a lot a pronounced flavor, you can use “Classic” olive oil or “Pure.”

How you plan to use each type of olive oil matters because the flavor is affected by cooking. Olive oils, especially extra-virgin, have a varying range of smoke points, this depends on the type of olive, where it was grown, and how it was produced.

The International Olive Council (IOC) in Madrid, Spain, sets the grades and standards for world olive oil trade, which members of the North American Olive Oil Association agree to follow. [5]

To Traditional Foods made with Care and Intention, Flavored with Love.

 

Our Journey With Food Cookery BookExcerpt from Our Journey with Food Cookery Book

[1] https://www.eufic.org/en/whats-in-food/article/facts-on-fats-dietary-fats-and-health

[2] Extra-virgin olive oil preserves memory, protects brain against Alzheimer’s;  June 21, 2017,  Temple University Health System: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170621103123.htm

[3] Extra‐virgin olive oil ameliorates cognition and neuropathology of the 3xTg mice: role of autophagy; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5553230/

[4] Mediterranean-type diet and brain structural change from 73 to 76 years in a Scottish cohort; http://n.neurology.org/content/early/2017/01/04/WNL.0000000000003559.short?sid=f6a60041-6b89-41fe-827d-49a0f92359fa

[5] Grades of Olive Oil; https://www.aboutoliveoil.org/grades-of-olive-oil-video?utm_campaign=olive%20oil%20videos&utm_content=77894857&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

 

CLEANING HOUSE – BY REGULARLY DETOXIFYING

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

An effective detoxification program will not ask you to make any dramatic lifestyle and dietary changes. Healthier food and lifestyle choices are generally made on a subconscious level. Once the body begins to eliminate toxins, it will naturally start craving foods that will nourish it at an optimum level. That said, there are undoubtedly many things you can do to maximize the benefits of the cleanse you’re on from day one, and certain foods will help maintain the benefits of the detox for much longer.

A detox diet is a short-term diet, often 3- to 21 days, focused on removing toxins from the body. Although detoxification is ongoing in the body, toxins and stress prevent us from doing it optimally, which eventually affects our health. A detox diet allows our bodies to focus on self-healing, with the goal being to raise energy levels, stimulate digestive health, clear headaches, remove bloating, improve concentration and mood, avoid getting allergies, regain our natural ability to ward off colds and flu and prevent premature aging and disease.

In natural health writings from the 1900’s, it was common to see articles on digestive cleansing with tonics, enemas, fasting, and herbs. Detoxification has been practiced for centuries by many cultures around the world — including Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.

The sad but undeniable truth is many are living in an environment toxic to their bodies, take a look at the following information:

How does detoxification work?

Basically, detoxification means cleaning the blood. It does this by removing impurities from the blood in the liver, where toxins are processed for elimination. The body also eliminates toxins through the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph, and skin. However, when this system is compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered, and every cell in the body is adversely affected.

Many health ailments–headaches, exhaustion, and muscle cramps–are coming from toxicity. Toxins have been implicated in everything from increased risk of Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease to mental retardation and cancer.

A detox program can help the body’s natural cleaning process by:

  1. Resting organs through fasting;
  2. Stimulating the liver to eliminate toxins;
  3. Promoting elimination through the intestines, kidneys, and skin;
  4. Improving circulation;
  5. Refuel the body.

10 ways to detoxify

  1. Eat plenty of fiber, including brown rice and organically-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed.
  2. Cleanse and protect the liver by taking dandelion root, burdock, milk thistle, and drinking green tea.
  3. Vitamin C helps produce glutathione, a liver compound that drives away toxins.
  4. Drink at least two quarts of filtered water daily.
  5. Breathe deeply to allow oxygen to circulate more completely through your system.
  6. Think positive thoughts.
  7. Practice hydrotherapy by taking a very hot shower for five minutes, allowing the water to run on your back. Follow with cold water for 30 seconds. Do this three times, and then get into bed for 30 minutes.
  8. Sweat in a sauna to eliminate wastes through perspiration.
  9. Dry-brush your skin or try detox foot spas/foot baths to remove toxins through your pores.
  10. Exercise, yoga, qigong, mini-tramps or jump-roping are good. One hour every day.

Don’t forget

Eliminate alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, refined and artificial sugars, fake fats found in margarine, and unfiltered tap water all of which act as toxins in the body and are obstacles to detoxifying. Also, minimize use of chemical-based household cleaners and personal health care products (cleansers, shampoos, deodorants, and toothpastes), and substitute natural alternatives.

Stress triggers your body to release stress hormones into your body affecting every metabolic pathway necessary for detoxification. While these hormones can provide the “adrenaline rush” to win a race or meet a deadline, in large amounts, they create toxins and slow down detoxification enzymes in the liver. Consider cutting out the news at dinner and bedtime add music that is around 60 beats per minute to calm the central nervous system throughout the day, all these are simple and effective ways to relieve stress.

People who are exhausted with low blood pressure may have adrenal weakness or fatigue. A detox diet is usually done after the adrenal glands have been replenished.

 

Eat Your Nuts

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

One of my favorite nuts is pecans for baking and cooking. They are softer and do not cause canker sores in the mouth like walnuts can. The buttery rich flavor of pecans makes them one of the most popular nuts native to American. They are rich in nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are essential for health.

For over a millennia, pecans have been an important staple in the Native American food supply. Indigenous Americans are who taught early European colonists how to harvest, utilize, and store pecans as a vital source of nourishment through harsh winters.

Health Benefits of Pecans

Pecans offer unique benefits to the human diet; pecans are the top 15 foods known for their antioxidant activity, according to the USDA. Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.

A 2012 study reported eating a handful of pecans every day can help protect your nervous system by delaying age-related motor neuron degeneration, including ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

According to a study released in 2010 – “Epidemiologic studies have associated nut consumption with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease and gallstones in both genders and diabetes in women. Limited evidence also suggests beneficial effects on hypertension, cancer, and inflammation. Interventional studies consistently show that nut intake has a cholesterol-lowering effect, even in the context of healthy diets, and there is emerging evidence of beneficial effects on oxidative stress, inflammation, and vascular reactivity. Blood pressure, visceral adiposity and the metabolic syndrome also appear to be positively influenced by nut consumption.”

Pecans are very rich sources of important B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. Together, these vitamins work as co-factors for the enzyme metabolism inside the human body.

Another phytochemical contributing to its antioxidant activity found in pecans is ellagic acid, which keep several carcinogenic properties from proliferating. Beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin in pecans contribute to reducing the effects of free radicals, protecting from disease, cancer, and infection. These American nuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants. Regular addition of pecan nuts in the diet helps to decrease total as well as LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.

Pecans are rich sources of minerals. Manganese is excellent for your heart. Pecans contain copper, critical for energy production in your cells, magnesium (helping to maintain a healthy immune system, nerve function, heart rhythm, and muscle and bone strength) and zinc (for optimal immune function, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, cell division, and wound healing). The phosphorus, iron, calcium, and selenium content in pecans hold their own as nutritional assets.

Candied Maple Pecans

4 cups raw pecans

2/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon filtered water

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground clove

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pinch of Celtic sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and roast the pecans for 8 to 10 minutes, until slightly crispy and fragrant.

In a skillet over medium heat, warm the maple syrup and spices for about 5 minutes, until warm and slightly bubbling.

Stir in the warm roasted pecans and filtered water. Fold through for 3 to 4 minutes constantly stirring until the nuts caramelize.

Spread the pecans back on the lined baking tray, and allow to cool and harden for about 20 minutes.

Store in a sealed container.

Happy Holiday Season filled with real food, laughter, and love.

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/pecans.html#_edn1

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-nuts-linked-to-healthier-longer-life-201311206893

http://www.alz.org/research/science/alzheimers_prevention_and_risk.asp