In Search of the Perfect Brewer’s Yeast or Nutritional Yeast

256px-S_cerevisiae_under_DIC_microscopyToday’s post will highlight concerns regarding brewer’s and nutritional yeast.  They have the potential to offer great benefits, but they have some booby traps that I think we should all know about.  Because the line of distinction between brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast has been smudged and is no longer clear, I will refer to these products together simply as “supplemental yeasts.”  As always, a reminder that my blog and posts are stories of what I am learning, and they are not written for medical advice or treatment.

1.  Supplemental yeasts may be from genetically modified organisms (GMO) and/or may have been grown on GMO media. Yeasts can now be genetically modified, so it is possible that your supplemental yeast is a GMO.  Many supplement companies claim that their yeasts are GMO-free, and they may be.  After you verify the actual yeast is non-GMO, the next question on your radar will be, “Are the yeasts grown on GMO-free media?”  For example, both brewer’s and nutritional yeasts can be grown with molasses from sugar beets and sugar cane, two common GMOs.  (And if any grains were used, those can be GMOs too.)

2.  Supplemental yeasts may have synthetic vitamins added, particularly—but not only, vitamin B 12. Brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast intrinsically have LOTS of vitamins and minerals, even if they are not fortified.  Most of the vitamins and minerals come naturally from nutrients the yeast incorporates from the growth media (grain, sugar beet, or sugar cane products), but sometimes supplement manufacturers add synthetic vitamins and minerals to enhance their product.  The enrichment process can occur during or after the yeast growth period.

It is expected that nutritional yeast contains vitamin B 12 because vegetarians and vegans often rely on it for their vitamin B 12 requirements (thus their “nutrition” as in “nutritional yeast”).  Some brewer’s yeast brands can contain vitamin B 12 too, while others do not.  Yeasts have no need for vitamin B 12, so it must be added to the product in some way.  Synthetic cyanocobalamin is typically added and not the preferred methylcobalamin, an actual physiologic form.  Why is this a concern?  Well, some people do not convert cyanocobalamin well to the needed methylcobalamin.

(Tip:  As an aside that doesn’t really fit elsewhere, light can damage vitamin B 12, so supplemental yeasts should probably not be in a clear bag for maximal vitamin B 12 activity. )

Vitamin B 12 aside, each yeast brand will vary slightly in which vitamins and minerals it contains and how much of each vitamin and mineral it contains.  Content and amounts will depend on what the yeast is grown on (beer, grains, sugar beets, or sugar cane products), if any extra vitamins and minerals were added to the “broth” the yeasts were grown in, and if any vitamins and minerals were added at the end of the process as fortification.  By enriching the “broth” of the growth media, the yeast can be coaxed to take up some vitamins and minerals it doesn’t normally use much of, so sometimes manufacturers add vitamins and minerals to the growth medium.  The vitamin and mineral content of supplemental yeasts can be further enhanced by adding desired vitamins and minerals after growth.  I’m not a mycologist (person who studies fungus), but I would assume that any vitamins and minerals present in the culturing broth would be assimilated into the yeast in physiologic forms.  For example, folic acid would be converted to a form of folate.  However, if the vitamins and minerals are added after culturing, then the forms will be whatever forms the manufacturer chooses, much like a multi-vitamin.  Make sense?

Important note:  Many supplemental yeast labels which are NOT fortified list “folic acid” as an ingredient.  However, if the yeast is indeed not fortified, then the supplement in fact should contain “folate.”  The representative for Swanson’s brewer’s yeast informed me that they are not required to differentiate between folic acid and folate on labels.  Bummer.

3.  Supplemental yeasts may contain gluten. Some brands declare they are gluten-free, but other brands do not make that statement.  Because these supplemental yeasts, whether brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast, can be grown on grains, sugar cane molasses, and sugar beet molasses, it is important to verify gluten-free status if you need to be gluten-free.  When I called Swanson’s, the representative could not verify gluten-free status; even though most of their providers grow their yeasts on sugar beets, it was possible that the yeasts came from other sources.

4.  Supplemental yeasts contain glutamic acid (glutamate): All the supplemental yeasts (both brewer’s and nutritional yeast) have glutamic acid, an amino acid, in them because it is a part of the yeast cell’s proteins.  Upon processing, the glutamic acid may become “free glutamic acid,” similar to MSG (monosodium glutamate).  Free glutamic acid can act to stimulate neurons in the brain, and some people are either very sensitive to them and/or they don’t break the glutamic acid down well in their GI tracts.  (We actually have enzymes to deal with glutamic acid in our GI tracts, and we can break down a certain amount.  Some people, however, do not have either enough or good enough function of these enzymes.)  The glutamic acid then can lead to uncomfortable reactions like headaches, irritability, fatigue, and other reactions.

Some yeast products are heated to high temperatures during processing, and these temperatures can further increase free glutamic acid.  Some companies state that their products are not exposed to such high heat  (low heat processed), but I could not find a supplemental yeast that was not heated to at least pasteurize it.  (This does not seem like a raw food to me.)  Whether or not the free glutamic acid content is significant in supplemental yeasts seems to be up for debate.  Some people say that the glutamic acid in supplemental yeast is not free glutamic acid and therefore not problematic.  Others say it is free glutamic acid.  I couldn’t find a definitive source.  Of interest, many processed foods contain “autolyzed yeast” and “yeast extract” for flavor enhancement.  These often take the leftovers from true brewer’s yeast made on hops, break down the cell walls of the yeasts with enzyme, and use the peptides and cell wall constituents (including the now free glutamic acid) for flavoring.  These are basically equivalent to MSG.

5.  Supplemental yeasts can cause cross reactions in yeast and/or mold-sensitive people. Some people ask if these supplemental yeasts will make their Candida and yeast infections worse.  No.  They are inactive yeasts and cannot.  However, if people’s immune systems and gastrointestinal systems are very sensitive to yeasts, they may have a negative reaction!  It’s not that the yeast is growing in them, but due to a cross-reaction.  The body has learned to react to the yeast proteins (epitopes) in say, Candida albicans, and there will be yeast proteins in the supplement which can mirror Candida’s proteins.  Usually, if a person does poorly with something like kombucha (remember from an earlier post, it is just a strain of the same yeast), there’s a good chance they’ll do poorly with these yeast supplements.

6.  Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis Concerns: Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis patients have antibodies to Saccharomyces cerevisiae, particularly Crohn’s patients, so they should practice caution in trying supplements from these supplemental yeasts.

7.  Monoamine oxidase inhibitors and Demerol drug interaction: Patients on monoamine oxidase inhibitor drugs for depression (or other indications) and/or Demerol should avoid these yeasts.  Supplemental yeasts have high levels of the amino acid tyramine which can interact with monoamine oxidase inhibitor type medicines.

Closing:  Despite being the same type of yeast, each supplement is NOT the same!  Please know that you MUST treat each supplement, whether it is brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast, on an individual basis.  And one supplemental yeast that is good for Tom will not be good for Joe.  No matter what anyone says.

Next post, I believe, will summarize the points in this post before I then move on to why people use these products and what I found to support or refute the touted benefits.

Sources to follow at end of the series.  There are a lot.  In the meantime, please, if you want to know a source—ask!  I don’t mind.  Questions, comments, and corrections welcomed.

Terri

Sorting Out Brewer’s Yeast and Nutritional Yeast

256px-S_cerevisiae_under_DIC_microscopyWelcome and good day!  I’m continuing to write up my studies on brewer’s and nutritional yeasts as supplements.  (Don’t use this as medical or treatment advice.)  They are very, very similar products, and today I hope to clarify how they are alike and how they are different (as I understand it).  The distinctions between the two are muddier than a farm boy’s boots in the springtime.  Many supplemental items called “brewer’s yeast” are prepared in the same fashion now as “nutritional yeast,” and there seems to be no standard on what it takes to be called “brewer’s yeast” or “nutritional yeast.”  Where once only nutritional yeast had vitamin B 12, now both may.  Or may not.  If ever reading labels was important, it is crucial in the case of brewer’s and nutritional yeast.  I can’t stress that enough.

I’m sorry for stating the obvious.  Brewer’s yeasts and nutritional yeasts are yeasts.  Yeasts are fungi (plural of fungus), like the mushrooms you eat and the molds you clean out of your shower, but yeasts have just one cell.  They are everywhere, occurring naturally on the skin of fruits (like grapes and plums), circulating in the air (like those captured to make a true local sourdough bread), populating the soil, and even residing in and on us.  As a kid, I was always fascinated by the strange fact that fungi are neither plants nor animals.  (The human brain is always trying to box things, isn’t it?)  Humans figured out the advantages of domesticating yeasts, and thus we have wine, beer, and bread.  Yeasts metabolize sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide.  Yeasts need a lot of the same vitamins and minerals we need to survive and reproduce, like most, but not all, of the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, and folate).

Brewer’s yeasts and nutritional yeasts are in fact the same yeast.  They are both Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  You may read that brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast are different things.  We will get to their differences later, but for now let’s talk about their same-ness.  They are both the yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae).  The same yeast is used to make brewer’s yeast supplements AND nutritional yeast supplements—the same.  This versatile yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae can be used to brew beer, bake bread, and ferment sweetened tea to kombucha, although other yeasts and bacteria can be used along with it to develop desired characteristics of specific foods or drinks.  (Saccaromyces boulardii in kombucha is a strain of S. cerevisiae.)  Different strains of S. cerevisiae exist, and these different strains are very important for imparting different flavors and qualities to the products they are used to create.

When sold as supplements, brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast are inactivated, unlike the active yeasts used to make bread (baker’s yeast), beer (brewer’s yeast), and kombucha (S. boulardii).  The supplement forms are not “alive.”  The yeasts used for supplements are cultured and then they are inactivated, dried and ground up.  They cannot reproduce, and they cannot cause any type of infection.  You could not use the supplement called “brewer’s yeast” to make a home-brewed beer.  It couldn’t do it.  It is not alive.  You would need an active form of brewer’s yeast.  The yeasts needed for brewing beer, kombucha, and making bread must be live forms, termed “active yeasts.”  The loose terminology makes understanding a bit challenging.  When you read terms such as Saccharomyces and brewer’s yeast, you need to determine if active or inactive yeasts are being discussed!  Saccharomyces can be sold as a probiotic, in which case it is alive, but it is not “brewer’s yeast” or “nutritional yeast,” even though it is the same organism.  Another term you may come across is “spent yeast”; this refers to a yeast that has not been inactivated, but it has been “used” to do a job (like make beer).

  • Active yeasts: Live and able to reproduce. Capable of doing their jobs in food production.
  • Inactive yeasts: Not live and not capable of reproduction.
  • Spent yeasts: Yeasts that have been used to produce food and drink and are no longer needed.  Some brewer’s yeast supplements are made from spent yeast.  Some spent yeast goes to livestock.  It is usually very bitter and requires de-bittering for consumption.
  • Brewer’s yeast:
    1.  It can refer to live S. cerevisiae to be used for brewing.
    2.  It can be spent brewer’s yeast (S. cerevisiae) that is deactivated and ground for supplements.
    3.  It can refer to primary grown S. cerevisiae that is called brewer’s yeast.  (See more below.)
  • Nutritional yeast: S. cerevisiae that is grown primarily for supplemental use (so it has been inactivated and ground up), mostly on sugar beet or sugar cane products (molasses).  Usually this name implies that vitamin B 12 was added.

Brewer’s yeasts and nutritional yeasts used for supplements are now usually “primary grown.”  Primary grown refers to the idea that these Saccharomyces yeasts were grown specifically to be made into supplements.  Brewer’s yeast has been used for a long time as a supplement.  At first, it was available only as a by-product of brewing beer, and its nutritional highlights were second to the flavor of the beer it produced—kind of a lucky chance find!  Nutrition in waste.  To taste palatable, it had to have the bitter flavor removed.  Now, however, supplemental brewer’s yeast is often grown specifically (primary grown) for use as a supplement, and much thought is given to its nutritional content and taste!  Despite its name and history, it is no longer solely grown in beer and unless it has been, will not require de-bittering.  Nutritional yeast, as far as I could find, has only been grown for supplementation purposes (primary grown).

Brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast can be grown using different plant derivatives:  sugar beets, sugar beet molasses, sugar cane molasses, barley, and malt.  Brewer’s yeast can be grown on any of these, and so you must clarify which is used, particularly if you have issues with gluten!  Nutritional yeast is usually broadly categorized as gluten-free because it is usually grown on sugar beets, sugar beet molasses, or sugar cane molasses–not grain.  However, I think it is vitally important that you verify gluten status with the supplement maker, whether you are using brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast.  I don’t think you can be too careful.  For example, I purchased some Swanson’s brewer’s yeast, and its internet ad stated it was made from sugar beets.  Gluten-free, right?  (Wrong.)  The container I received did not state “gluten-free,” so I called to determine its status.  The woman told me they could not verify that it was gluten-free because they get their yeast from different producers, and it is possible that some could have been grown on grains.

If you are taking either brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast to get a specific nutrient, such as chromium or vitamin B 12, it is crucially important that you read the label.  Traditionally, brewer’s yeast was rich in chromium, but the newer supplemental brewer’s yeasts which are primary grown may not even have chromium!  (Usually, nutritional yeast does not have chromium.)  Many vegans rely on nutritional yeast for vitamin B 12, but unless the container specifically says that it has vitamin B 12, it cannot be counted on!  Do not assume that all nutritional yeasts have vitamin B 12.  Do not assume that all brewer’s yeasts have chromium.  Read every label, every time.

There is so much more to share!  In the next post(s), I’d like to discuss more specifics about the nutritional content of these supplemental yeasts and some additional points to consider (glutamates and GMO issues).  Until then, take good care!

Terri

A note on sources:  I cannot count the numerous sources I read to piece this information together.  At the end of the series, I am going to list all the pertinent sources.  They take up a lot of space, and so I don’t want them on each post.  However, feel free, at this time before I have the sources listed, to ask me where to find a piece of information.  I don’t mind.

Brewer’s Yeast and Nutritional Yeast

256px-S_cerevisiae_under_DIC_microscopyWow! Contradictory statements abound out there about brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast.  Why does there have to be so much contradictory information?  (Topic change:  This makes me think fondly of my dad.  My dad would answer, “Just to make you ask stupid questions.”  Anyone else get that line as a kid?)  I had to try to sort this supplemental yeast thing out for myself, and I thought I’d type it up.  The next post or two will be about brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast supplements.  I have not blogged for the last month due to a wonderful family vacation and due to the vaccination wars, which caused me to continue reading on vaccines.  If you think you have vaccines all figured out, whichever side you are on, you are sadly mistaken.  The lines are gray.  Or is it grey?

What are brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast?

Usually, in health circles, when people talk about brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast, they are talking about yeasts which have been grown, inactivated and ground up specifically for use as a supplement.  They are typically distributed in powder form to sprinkle on food and drink, but they can also be used in pill form.  Proponents of nutritional yeast seem to argue that nutritional yeast is a distinctly different entity from brewer’s yeast.  Historically, from a nutritional standpoint, that idea has some truth.  However, in today’s world, I would argue that the lines have become crossed, tangled, and blurred, and this statement is false.  Microbiologically, they are one and the same.

I became interested in supplemental brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast when I read Minding Your Mitochondria by Terry Wahls, MD and also when I read up on folate and methyltetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) disorders, which actually are pretty common in the general population.  These supplemental yeasts are powerhouses of vitamins and minerals in food-like form.  Did you read that?  Food-like form.  Aaaah.  Food.  Anytime you don’t have to pop a pill and can eat food instead is nice.  But let’s carry on.  Even if they are not pills, they are still supplements which should be examined for their risks and benefits.  (Don’t use anything in this post or on this blog for medical advice.  Run everything by your doctor to make sure it will not harm you.  Supplements, even natural ones, can be harmful.)

Anecdotal Medicine

It is VERY fun to read anecdotes on the internet.  People are generous with their comments and reports.  When I start researching a supplement or topic, I like to read Amazon reviews, visit forums, and scour blogs to read all the reports and information (and MIS-information) out there.  I read the five stars and the one stars and all the stars in-between stars and the weird and sketchy stuff (what I love to call “the voodoo”).  I try not to accept any of this information as truth or non-truth until I have done my research, even if I read it in Wheat Belly and Grain Brain (where it’s all correct, you know)  or on Dr. Oz (where it’s all wrong, you know).  As I read the anecdotes, I explore all around and see what primary research exists to substantiate and refute some of these stories.   Sometimes, in opposite fashion, I see a supplement in a primary research article which then sends me to forums, blogs, and Amazon reviews.  My research usually (maybe always) requires me to brush up on some “basic science” (chemistry, microbiology, physiology, plant biology, and so on).  Anyhow, the point of this is to tell you what I found for anecdotes when I browsed around the internet regarding nutritional yeasts and why I even read them.  Anecdotes often give me super leads to buried research that already exists, and in the case of supplemental yeasts, my findings were NO different.

Internet anecdotes:  Who reported using brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast and why?

Upon skipping through the halls of the internet, I found that users of supplemental yeasts were:

  • People who wanted a strong source of B vitamins and minerals in a “food-type form” rather than a synthetic vitamin.
  • People who were vegan and wanted vitamin B 12. (Please note now, and I will elaborate later, that not all supplemental yeasts contain vitamin B 12.  Read all your labels.)
  • People who were diabetic and wanted chromium to help regulate blood sugars.
  • People who wanted their hair and/or fingernails to grow and shine.
  • People who wanted their pets’ fur to grow and shine.
  • People who wanted more energy.
  • Lactating women who wanted to improve milk production.
  • People who wanted to repel mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks naturally—both away from them and from their animals.
  • People who were looking to get more amino acids and protein.
  • People who wanted to relieve acne.
  • People who were sick often and wanted to support their immune system.

Today’s Closing Thoughts

I never thought I’d be researching this kind of stuff. Mosquito repellant?  Isn’t that Deep Woods Off?  Relieve acne?  Isn’t that Retin-A cream?   Control blood sugar?  Isn’t that insulin?  The idea of “supplements” gives me two feelings:  1)  That I’m becoming my grandma and 2) That I’m some kind of health freak.  I never wanted to be a health freak.  I just wanted my GI tract to move and my head to be clear and not achy (after I realized those tension headaches were related to food).  But let’s move on.  On we will move.  Next post I will type up more details on brewer’s yeast and nutritional yeast for those who want to get to the bottom of the contradictory posts elsewhere on the internet.

Have a great day!  Help someone today, including yourself!  And never forget that there are two sides to every story.  Always make it such that you are informed enough to “walk around the elephant.”

Terri

Should We Homeschool?

 

spiderMe: If something suddenly changed, you couldn’t work, I had to go back to work for much less than I should theoretically make–and you had to be the one to stay home and homeschool–would you still be committed to it?

Husband: Yes. I think so. (Pause.) But I’d have to work on my patience and short temper.

Me: Yes. Right. But it’s that important to you now?

Husband: Yes.

Me: I thought so. But I wanted to be sure.

My husband and I have had a successful homeschooling experience so far. Based on that experience, we would make a lot of changes and sacrifices to keep homeschooling our kids, even if our world drastically changed now. We can say this in hindsight. I don’t know if we would have had the courage, however, to leap into homeschooling had we not started this way or if we would have had great barriers facing us originally. I’d like to think we would have, but we’re pretty practical people and it just may not have seemed like the right decision at that time.

We have had some barriers, don’t get me wrong. I worked part-time originally. We had a slow reader, and I was secretly worried I wasn’t doing enough. We had a couple of pregnancies and babies. We had a sick family member. We moved half-way across the United States. I had to decide how important working was to my self-identity. There are always barriers, I guess.

But I think what I’m trying to say today to you, is that knowing what I know now, both my husband and I agree that homeschooling provides benefits and opportunities for our family which we would be willing to drastically change our lifestyle for. However, in saying that, I am well aware of the self-journey it would take even for us committed homeschoolers. Having two cars is nice. Having one parent stay home is nice. Having cable TV and wireless internet is nice. Keeping my heat at 72 degrees is nice. Having earned my degrees and worked. These things are nice. The Terri Now knows, for us, it’s all worth giving up. The Terri Then would be scared. Maybe too scared.

What do I like best about our homeschooling family?  I like it when my husband gets home early, the kids are here to see him.  I like it that my kids are forced to get along, and that I am forced to find ways to make that happen.  I like it that we have much, much more time to pursue subjects earlier and incorporate them into school, like music, Spanish, sewing, astronomy, and typing.  I like it that we dictate our schedule; it doesn’t feel so frantic–and with kids of all ages, I know that they’d most likely be in three different schools.  I like teaching my kids how to cook and do laundry.  I like that they don’t eat processed foods. I like it that we’re not sick so often.  I like so many things about it.  My husband obviously does too.  And with a driven, perfectionistic surgeon’s mentality, yeah, he’d have to work on his temper.  It says a lot that he’d be willing to.

Lately, I’ve received some e-mails about homeschooling. I offer what I can from my point of view. But, I am only one. If you homeschool and have any thoughts to offer those contemplating changing their whole lives to do this–basically turning their families’ lives upside-down, what would you say? Would you share and say it in the comments?

Have a good rest of the week.  Effect positive change somewhere, in your own way.

~~Terri

Molly Green Magazine Published Twenty Tips I Wrote Up To Help Families With Diet Change

 

 

“Is this Your New Year’s Resolution?  Tips to Transition to a Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Lifestyle,” an excerpt from Molly Green Magazine

(an article by Terri Fites)

“. . . Expect resistance and outside cheating. There may be fits, pouting, defiance, and outside cheating. Failure, both intentional and unintentional, will occur. Be prepared to regroup, identify chinks in the plan, and get back on track. Remember how manyMG 1 times you had (have) to tell your kids to say “please” before they actually did (do) it!

Recognize the difference between an allergy and intolerance/sensitivity.

Tell kids what symptoms you’re watching for so they can recognize when they disappear or worsen in response to diet. Kids with uncomfortable symptoms like stuffy noses, sneezing, coughing, constipation, upset stomachs, headaches, eczema, reflux, and trouble focusing often will self-regulate their diets once they get to feeling better . . .”

Click HERE for the FULL ARTICLE.

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Molly Green MagazineIf you’re interested, I wrote an article for Molly Green Magazine, a magazine all about the home:  homeschooling, homemaking, home industry, and homesteading.  Titled “Tips to Transition to a Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Diet,” my article highlights what I learned as I transitioned my food-sensitive family to a whole foods, gluten-free, and dairy-free diet.  I do not get paid to write; it is a hobby I enjoy.  I just thought if you were struggling to pull your family along to better, whole foods eating, and working through some food elimination, you might enjoy the article.  (And I don’t think it’s fair to blog readers or magazine readers to replicate material verbatim.)  My kids and I did not really come willingly to this lifestyle, but even they can now admit that they feel better.  You can get this magazine edition for free.  There are some other great articles in there, too, which actually tie right in with the theme of this blog (nutrition, homeschooling, families, etc):

  • Cilantro/Coriander: One Plant with Many Applications
  • Why My Husband and I Still Hold Hands
  • Cultivating Talent and Passion in Children
  • Could You Grow Your Own Food in a Crisis?
  • Basic Hive Protection (about bees)
  • The Emotions of Butchering
  • Meal Planning 101: How to Get It Done
  • Fighting the Winter Blues

Molly Green Magazine 2I believe the editor told me they were going to make my article from Molly Green Magazine into a one-page lay out that may be hung on the refrigerator, in case that’s something that would interest you.  Although its title suggests that I’m simply interested in gluten-free and dairy-free changes, you’ll know from reading my blog that that is not the case.  So many of the health ailments of our society are directly linked to poor nutrition.  I focus on getting people to eat whole foods, lots of vegetables and fruits, and then watching out for side effects of foods, adjusting things as needed.

It is two weeks into January.  If you have failed, IT IS OKAY.  Do not use that chip as an excuse to throw away a perfectly good mug.  Get back to work.  One day at a time.  And weave that into strings of days at a time.  And eventually, create a masterpiece diet just for you to last a whole lifetime.  DON’T GIVE UP.  If you do, CPAP machines, multiple prescriptions, and a more and more sedentary life await you.

~~Terri

 

Keep Those Herbs at Hand

 

Keep the Herbs Handy

I like to use fresh herbs. But there’s been many a time that I’ve let them squander in the refrigerator drawer, wasted. I’ve taken to buying the two herbs I use most, parsley and cilantro.  To avert their tragic end, I now promptly wash them, cut off their ends, and put them into a cup of water. They sit cheerily on the counter, where I remember to snag some as I am cooking. Where do I use them? All over the place!

Parsley loves to be chopped or cut for soups, spaghetti sauce, baked cod and salmon, and on top of salads. If you serve potatoes and rice as side dishes, add some chopped parsley. Wherever you think the taste won’t interfere, add some! It also helps the kids get used to flecks of green in their food.

Cilantro gets cut and stirred into mashed avocado or served on top of cubed avocado. It accents soups. It adds a touch to a can of sardines. It, too, can easily be cut into a salad without overpowering the taste. Serve along side shrimp and other seafood.

In alternative circles, these two herbs are known for “detoxification.” They are reported to help with glutathione production (one of the most potent anti-oxidants in your body and made BY your body) and heavy metal chelation (like mercury). I’m not studied up enough to write on those factors yet, but I like these herbs and I know they offer anti-oxidants, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K.

I thought you might like to know how I make sure and incorporate a little of them into my diet and my family’s diet each day–and not let them waste in the fridge.

Preparation at a good time helps keep your perfect diet in motion at a bad time.

Did I mention that if you are in the midst of changing your diet to eat mostly fresh, whole foods, “YOU CAN DO THIS!”?  Don’t stop now!

Terri

Female Doctors in the Trenches of Home

Medieval_kitchenThere were four of us in medical school who studied together, drank coffee together, went to movies together, and ate at McDonald’s together.  Medical school was almost fun because of these girls.  We keep in good touch still.  They all work, trying to shuffle life, kids, and gainful employment.  When I stumbled upon dietary changes (big changes) to treat disease, I immediately shared my experience and research with my friends.  There is one in particular who I harped and harangued on, in no gentle terms (I was meanly blunt), to change her eating and her kids’ eating due to a family history of celiac and dementia.  She thought I was OVER THE TOP, and anyhow with working and moving, she just didn’t have the time. A year ago, she finally took the bull by the horns, caught THE KITCHEN ON FIRE WITH COCONUT OIL, and is as impressed as I am.  We are working on a third medical school friend now, Dot, trying to help her see what this diet stuff can “cure” for her.  On Monday, January 5th, Dot started “eating this way” as a two-week trial (Only two weeks?  I’ll take what I can get.), and she recruited a friend from her residency, Hannah, to come along.  All of us have been in communication by text and e-mail to support, cheer, and share ideas and recipes.  Here is a letter my friend wrote to encourage Dot and Hannah in their endeavors.  I am so proud of her!  It is not easy to work, raise four kids, and put low inflammatory foods on the table!  Or to defy the straight-jacket grip of traditional medicine.

Maybe the change in medicine’s stance on nutrition will occur in the home!  One mom, one family at a time.

I hope you’ll take a couple of minutes to read her letter.  It may be the encouragement you need to eat better and to convert your family.  I wish I could share all of our texts and letters to keep you motivated, too.  But this will have to do.  This letter is shared with permission, changed names, and some italics/bolding/underlining/coloring/capitalization to perk it up for aesthetic purposes.

HEY ALL!

Try not to get discouraged. Yes, sugar withdrawal is real! At least for me! In fact, Terri will remember that early in my journey I concluded that it was not the gluten that I was addicted to, but the sugar! I personally can’t believe how much I’m noticing it just from the holidays, even though in all reality I didn’t consume that much sugar (compared to years past) because so many treats have gluten, which I never eat, and dairy, which I try to avoid as well…

I know you guys have kind of gone COLD TURKEY on everything, which in some ways is easier, but in other ways it’s harder. I personally prefer a “WEAN” period before I go cold turkey…it seems to make the absolute a little easier for me. But, the fact of the matter is, somehow you just have to make it through a few weeks, and then the cravings get much, much better!

When I first started a year ago, my main goal was to completely eliminate gluten, processed foods, and all refined sugars, using only honey and maple syrup. I have antibodies and am considered “sensitive,” my sister has celiac, and another sister is like me. Both of my daughters have the same gene for celiac as my sister and at least one of them most likely has celiac–unfortunately in retrospect we didn’t do antibodies in kids, just genetics, prior to d/c gluten, making it too late to check antibodies now. Both of my boys most definitely have issues with gluten and stopping gluten has eliminated a multitude of medical issues, including 8 and 10 years of GERD requiring PPIs [proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec]–which they are now off of, headaches that were occurring several times a week, and some neurological weakness in my oldest.

Anyways, when I stopped the gluten,I LITERALLY DREAMED OF MUFFINS AT NIGHT.  I mean seriously, I am not making this up. It lasted about 2-3 weeks and then no more. It took several weeks to months and really the addition of no dairy to really feel better. My kids showed some improvements immediately (one daughter’s unexplained rash was gone within 3 weeks) and others over a longer period of time. I can absolutely tell when my kids get into food they shouldn’t. It’s way more noticeable now because it is a lot easier to pinpoint, and the behavior changes, etc are so much more pronounced. Food dye should be banned! I know Terri will second me on that! It’s waaaay worse than sugar, which I don’t worry all that much about with my kids!

It probably seems hard to do this forever (and the cooking is a pain in the butt, I will not lie) BUT eventually you will seriously feel so much better. And, you will likely bring your family along on your adventure, and they too will feel better. And, more amazingly, you will start to change your taste buds and actually prefer to eat this way! Terri and I comment all the time that we don’t realize how “weird” we eat. (Ok, for the record Terri eats way weirder than me! LOL!) We forget how far removed from the norm we are.

The craziest thing I’ve noticed is that despite complaints about too many vegetables and no junk food (total lie on my kids part, we have junk food, it’s just different than before!), MY KIDS ALSO PREFER TO EAT THIS WAY!!!! And, my oldest (11) will actually acknowledge he feels better (when he’s not being too sassy and disagreeable…). My kids do not eat very much at my parents or in-laws, and they normally pound the food at our house. We seriously think it’s because they now prefer fresh, unprocessed foods prepared the way we do (and don’t even get me started on our parent’s “attempts” at healthy…) Also, do not be discouraged if you have picky eaters! All 4 of mine would have qualified as EXTREMELY picky a year ago.

And, I might add that at the beginning dinners could be painful. HOWEVER, they seriously eat the food I fix. Now, not all of them eat all of what I fix. Everyone has their like and dislike list. However, they all eat way more vegetables than I could have ever dreamed of a year ago. When we first started, dinner every night was a meat and two vegetables. They didn’t have to eat both, but had to try one bite (occasionally I caved on the trying part) and then they could pick the one they wanted. People always say, my kids won’t eat that stuff, blah, blah. Guess what? Mine wouldn’t either, until there was NOTHING else to eat! Now, my oldest who hated broccoli (and still doesn’t like it) eats it without complaint. One day I commented on this, asking him if he’d grown to like it. His response, “well, I’ve had a lot worse.” Ha! He REALLY hates Brussels sprouts! It is a long process, and we so aren’t there yet at all in my house. I’m continually attempting to improve things. Just hang in there. It really does get easier.

And, Dot, no worries about the cookie bribery with your kids! I absolutely have been known to bribe veggie eating with dessert! In fact, especially at the beginning, I made quite a few almond flour cookies, muffins, etc, because I needed to keep my kids on board with this. And, I wanted the older ones to be willing to say “no” to the gluten treats at school, ballgames, etc, by providing non-gluten alternatives at home. I believe Terri has even been known to pay a kid to eat a vegetable! THE GOAL IS TO GET THEM TRYING THINGS, AND EVENTUALLY EATING THINGS.  My kids actually eat a much larger variety of food in general now than they used to. And so do I for that matter! When my kids complain something is awful, that I agree really isn’t very good (my recipes do flop sometimes) my response is, “You’re right. It’s not the greatest, but is it edible? Then eat it. We can’t always be eating our favorite foods!” We are most definitely still evolving though.

I will text you guys pics of a couple of recipes that I have used this week. I think they fit the parameters of your diet, but not positive. However, they are very kid friendly, not that complicated, and “normal food” if you’re cooking for the whole family. We had sloppy joe’s last pm (I serve on romaine lettuce boats, some kids prefer eating with a spoon, or for a real treat I serve with a few “Boulder canyon” potato chips for dipping, which are just potatoes, avocado oil, and sea salt) and a beef roast in the crock pot tonight, that is a very easy recipe and several of my friends whom I have made it for after babies, surgery, etc have liked, and they are used to eating a “normal American” diet, so your families should approve!

Hang in there ladies. I will have to admit that you guys are motivating me. I actually got my butt on the treadmill for 30 minutes yesterday, and plan to do the same again today. (I realize you do not know me Hannah, but I hate exercising more than I love sugar! LOL)

Good luck with your cooking!

X

From Terri (me):  So what do you think?  Can you overhaul your nutrition?  These medical doctor mamas are!  I’m doing my best, in a very slow manner I know because my own family comes first, to provide you the research to back it up.  To help you explain it to a spouse or a friend.  I wish I could be faster.  I try to remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  The research is there.  Eat real food.  Stay away from sugar and processed flours.  Funnel in produce, fresh meats, and seafood.  I know it’s hard.  I know it’s expensive.  But we cut costs when we quit buying junk food.  Quit eating out much.  And stopped paying like 12-15 copays a month.  You can do this.  ~~Terri