Friday, September 27, 2013

Kelp -- A Health Gift from the Sea

Nutritious Gift
I ran across an article recently about kelp, a sea vegetable, being very helpful in weight loss.  Lots of things, it seems, are helpful in weight loss, always a popular topic, and I will share some of what this article a minute.

First, though, let’s talk about sea vegetables and algae in general.  “Yeeewwww!” you might  say.  I suppose I did, too,  several years ago when I was first delving into raw food eating.  But wait!  There is richness to be had in these somewhat salty greens from the ocean.  Read on.

Rich in Minerals

Seaweeds grow in the mineral –rich brine of the ocean and transform its fifty-six known minerals, including calcium, iodine, iron, potassium, and magnesium, into nutrients that we can assimilate.  In fact, seaweeds contain ten to twenty times more minerals than land-grown plants do.  Their abundant mineral content makes sea vegetables an important element of the raw foods diet.

Seaweeds offer many benefits to human health.  They increase metabolism, purify the blood, help break down fat, improve joint flexibility, and help heal mucous membranes.  They are naturally alkalinizing, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral.  They also strengthen kidneys and beautify the skin and hair. Additionally, and very importantly, they contain alginic acid, a compound that binds in the body with heavy metals, environmental toxins, and other chemicals, and then carries them from the body and out.
Kelp Granules  for salads, smoothies, etc.
Seaweeds are available commercially in dried form, often in small sheets.  You can crush and sprinkle them over salads, eat them plain as snacks, add them to soups as flavorings, or use them as wrappers to hold other raw delights.  If you use a bit of oil in the preparation of sea vegetables, it will enhance your body’s absorption of their minerals and vitamins A and D.
With that glowing introduction, let us turn to Kelp, and the special advantages it offers in weight loss endeavors.
Kelp is an excellent supplier of calcium.  You can expect stronger bones, nails and teeth along with weight loss.
Kelp is also known to improve your circulatory system and provide blood purification.
Kelp all dressed up
Kelp is enriched with Omega-3, Omega-6, linoleic acid, gamma linolenic acid, fucoidans,  22 amino acids, chlorophyll, and sterols.Kelp helps in the boosting of the immune system, fighting cancer, keeping cholesterol levels down, slowing ageing and improving metabolism.  It’s a good thing to keep in your diet at any time, dieting or not.
If you are not used to regularly  consuming sea vegetables, start off with 600 mg for each meal, and gradually   increase the dose to 1200 mg per meal.  Crush the kelp to fine powder.  It is salty in taste, and can be sprinkled on salad  or soup—anything that is not sweet.
It is available in capsule form, which is not nearly as much enjoyed as the real food.

Try this simple recipe to get you started on a healthy sea vegetable adventure.  Your body will be grateful for your effort!
Kelp Cucumber Salad 
Soak kelp in water for 15 minutes and slice it down to thin pieces.  In a bowl of whisked maple syrup or agave nectar, tamari, and vinegar, add kelp and thinly sliced peeled cucumber.

Stay tuned for more good news about Kelp and other Sea Vegetables.




Thursday, September 19, 2013

Eating When You Don't Want to Be? -- Try HALT!

Small Group  Support
I have spent some years of my life in wonderfully  healing Twelve Step Programs, and many more years counseling others who have also been in those groups in those rooms.  An acronym turned guiding philosophy in those programs is H.A.L.T., which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired.  These are the states to be guarded against if we want to avoid sliding back into addictive behaviors with whatever substance or lifestyle it is that pulls at us into what we mistakenly think will give us the peace, serenity, and the fully alive state we desire for ourselves.

In my last post, I shared some thoughts about cravings, and the fact that they usually come to us bearing a message.  I think that the message that they often carry to us is that we are, in fact, too hungry, too, angry, too lonely, and/or too tired.  Think about it.  Does this ring true for you?

Hungry? Angry,? Lonely,? Tired?
For example, consider your experience with anger for a moment.  As we grow and heal ourselves into greater and greater wholeness and health, anger is an important and vital force for us.  It is an appropriate emotion when it is used for our protection of ourselves and our loved ones, particularly our cubs.  However, anger can become an addiction unto its own, resulting from hanging on to long-time hurts and old pain.  At some point, forgiveness is essential to moving on with our lives and moving into health, letting go of our past, and allowing more good into our lives.

On the other hand, if we repress anger with food, as many of us do, we may be missing the important messages that it has for us.  The message may be as simple as, “You are angry,” in which case we can acknowledge the feeling for what it is and move on.  Or, it might be bigger, as in, “You hate your job and need to do something about it!”
Is it the job?
Whatever the case, it’s just very important do deal with our anger for what it is.  Avoiding it, stuffing it down with food instead of looking at it courageously will not make it go away.

So when a craving comes your way and you feel a big urge to overeat, stop and say, “HALT!  What is this about?  Am I too hungry, to angry, too lonely, too tired?  What?” 
Journaling can be a very helpful tool when dealing with any of these HALT warnings. If it is anger, to continue with our example, that keeps finding its way into our lives, pay attention to it, address it.  Try writing about it.  Talk to the anger.  Is it time to do something about your anger?  Is there some action that you need to take that confronts the anger directly rather than hiding from it with some comforting, and probably non-nutritious food?  Is it time to let go of the anger?  Have you been carrying it too long?  Brainstorm about possible actions to
take. Or write a letter to your anger, setting it free.
Journaling -- is good HALT tool
Then treat yourself to a well-chosen healthy snack or meal.  You’ll feel good in your everywhere!
I welcome comments and questions about this and all my other blog posts.  If you aren’t receiving this blog by email, consider filling in your email in the sidebar, and you’ll get it delivered to your fingertips.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Do You Really Want to Eat That?? Deconstructing Cravings

Cravings bring information
As a Health Coach, Ihear plenty about cravings.  Usually they are for things like bread, cheese, pizza, coffee, and so on.  And sometimes we give cravings more power over our lives and health than they have any business having.

Consider this thought.  The body is an amazing source of intelligence.  It is always there for you,  pumping blood,never skipping a heartbeat, digesting whatever food you put  in it and maintaining homeostasis.  Is this reliable, intelligent bio-computer making a mistake by craving ice cream or a hamburger or chocolate?  Are cravings due to lack of willpower or discipline?  I'dlike to suggest that cravings do not have to be a big problem.  They are, rather, critical pieces of information that tell you what your body needs.

The important thing is to understand why you crave what you crave.  Perhaps your diet is too restrictive or devoid of essential njutrients.  Perhaps you are living a lifestyle that is too boring orstressful.  Your body tries to correct the imbalance by sending you a message of

Have some water and wait
craving.  A craving fro something sweet could mean that you need more protein, more exercise, more water, or more live in your life.  Thekey to stopping the sugar craving is to understand and deliver what your body really needs.

No book or theory can tell you what to eat. Only awareness of yoru body and its needs can tell you.  Of all the relationships in our lives, the one with our body is the most essential.  It takes communication, love, adn time to cultivate a relationship with your body.  As you learn to decipher and respond to your body's cravings, you will create a deep and lasting level of health and balance.

The next tiem you have a craving, treat it as a loving message from your body instead of a weakness.  Try these tips to respond to your body.

     - Have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes. 

    - Eat a healthier version of what you crave.  For example, if you crave sweets, try  eating  more fruit and sweet or root vegetables.

     - What is out of balance in your life?  Is there something you need to express, oris something being repressed?  What happened in your life just before you had this craving?
     - When you eat the food you are craving, enjoy it, taste it, savor it, notice its effect.  Then you will become more aware and free to decide if you really want it next time.
     - Do you really need food righ now, or do you just need to go to bed and get a good night's sleep?  Sometimes we look for a bump in energy, when the best thing would be rest.

Most of all, remember that cravings come in service of  us being in balance, fully alive, filled with vim and vigor.  Listen to them.  Respond in the way that will give you what you most deeply desire.