Tag Archives: comfort food

Food as Medicine: A Prescription for Clearing Acne

5 Jun

We have become so focused on satiating the tastes buds with fast, salty, sweet, and processed foods that we have forgotten the purpose of food: Food is medicine for the body. This concept seems to have become lost in both modern medicine and in our culture.

Rind  of orange cutaway in spiral shape

It is not just that we have forgotten the purpose of food. Our minds have become conditioned and in some ways addicted to eating foods low in nutrients, but high in satiating the taste buds and giving us emotional comfort. Eating like this when you have acne or any disease impedes the body’s ability to heal because you choose low nutrient-filled foods.

Low nutrient-filled foods do not have what it takes for the body to heal acne. As a result, maintaining clear skin is a constant battle as you yo-yo from one remedy to another with perhaps temporary results, but with no lasting results. Poor nutrition can also acerbate and contribute to the cause of acne.

Coconut Milk Fruit ShakeBy the way, nutrient rich foods also satiate the taste buds and emotions. It is a matter of becoming aware of your diet and adapting your mind to a different way of eating. Once you do, you will wonder how you ever ate any other way.

When the body is diseased in some way (acne is a disease), it needs all the nutrients it can get to heal. The current western diet that most people eat is for the most part nutritiously poor. The other problem with our misdirected perception of food and its purpose comes from the medical establishment. Many dermatologists and other doctors say there is no connection between acne and diet. They are wrong…period.Spinach

Their heads are in the sand. Hello! Scurvy is from a lack of vitamin C; rickets is from a deficiency in vitamin D, and some cases of blindness are caused by vitamin A defieiciencyy. So, logic dictates that if these diseases are cured or prevented when the body is supplied with them then food is medicine for the body and will help with other diseases.

The food, however, has to be nutrient rich. Food is not created equal when it comes to nutrients. The long-held misconception is that if we are eating then we must be getting the nutrients we need. Wrong thinking.

If your diet consists of food from fast food chains, out of boxes, foods processed with chemicals, pizza, pasta, soda (including diet), sugary drinks and food, then you are not getting enough nutrients need to clear your skin of acne. You need whole foods in your diet; foods that are fresh.

DSC_0044For way too long, the role of nutrition in clearing skin has been sorely neglected or ignored. However, there is a growing number of enlightened doctors who are teaching their patients that food is medicine. Nutrient rich food helps to prevent disease and aids in the body in maintaining homeostasis. Food as medicine for acne is very important because the body not only needs nutrients to maintain its balance; it also needs them to heal the skin at the same time. The nutrients are doing double duty.

It really is impossible to have great looking skin without proper nutrition. Besides individual choices when choosing what to eat, there are contributing elements that are creating detrimental consequences to the nutritional health of the country. More on this in the next post. For now, if you have acne take a hard look at your diet.

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YUM Friday Recipe – Berry Chia Oatmeal

22 Oct

You’ve probably heard it a 1,000 times and now it will be 1001; breakfast is the most important meal of the day to eat.  Think of breakfast as powering up your systems for the day.  Remember when you take care to put proper nutrients into your body, the benefits will show-up on your skin.

A breakfast of oatmeal, berries, chia seeds, and some walnuts is truly the breakfast of champions.  In one bowl, you get a powerhouse of nutrients.  Let’s start with oatmeal.  By the way, we’re talking whole grain oatmeal and not that gross stuff that is so processed that you basically end up eating sugary slime after adding the hot water.  As we’ve mentioned before, the further you get away from the food source, the less nutrients that remain in the food.  Okay, back to oatmeal nutrients.

Oatmeal has skin loving B’s, selenium, copper, K, and omega 3.  In addition, oatmeal also has omega 6, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, tryptophan, fiber, and the antioxidant compound, avenanthramides.  There are suggestions that oatmeal can also make the body less acidic and more alkaline; this is especially good for the treatment of dry skin and other skin problems.

Consider adding oatmeal to your diet for protection from the flu or to fight bacterial infection.  Oatmeal has the polysaccaride, beta glucan.  Beta glucans boost the immune system and helps the immune system fight bacterial infection by quickly delivering immune responders to the infection site.

Chia Seeds are the new super food–if you haven’t heard.   Chia seeds are a complete protein; they have the right balance of omega 3 and 6.  Because of omega 3, they fight inflammation. They are low on the glycemic index and have several minerals.  Chia seeds are a favorite of long distance runners because of the energy they provide and how they help keep the body hydrated.  Hydration is also very important for the skin.

One of the fruits we used in our recipe was dried elderberries.  Elderberries are also well known for their ability to to boost the immune system against flu and colds.  But, they also have some wonderful nutrients for the skin.  Elderberries have loads of vitamin A and C, some B’s, zinc, copper, selenium, omega 3, and flavonoid antioxidants.  Elderberries have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and may have anti-cancer properties.  Elderberries are also said to help Candida.  Candida symptoms can appear on the skin as red and itchy patches.

We also vary this recipe by using blueberry juice instead of water to cook the oatmeal.  Whatever berries or berry juice are used will have about the same nutritional value–vitamin A and C, some B’s, selenium, potassium, omega 3 and 6.  So, no matter what berry you use, you will get healthy benefits.

This dish is already packed with anti-inflammatory nutrients that help the body in so many ways and also helps the skin.  Adding some chopped walnuts to the dish really makes this a super anti-inflammatory meal.  Many health professionals think that many of our major health issues (including skin problems) are caused by inflammation in the body.  We can’t avoid inflammation in the body completely, but we can stack the deck in our favor by eating foods that fight inflammation and aid in balancing the body.

Yum Fruity Chia Oatmeal – serves 2
As mentioned earlier, we make this dish two ways.  One way is to use a berry fruit juice like blueberries; the other is to use a dried berry, such as elderberry.  Go wild and crazy…and make the oatmeal using both juice and berries.

Fruity Chia Oatmeal Recipe made with Fruit Juice
2 ½ Cups unsweetened juice, such as blueberry, pomegranate, or cranberry.
1 Cup of old fashioned oatmeal
2 4 Tablespoon chia seeds
1/3 Cup chopped walnuts (or other chopped nuts)
Maple Syrup
Ghee or pat of butter
¼ Teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, bring juice and salt to a boil.  Slowly add, the oatmeal and chia seeds; stir.  Turn heat down so that oatmeal simmers. Cover.  Cook until thick–10 to 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  You may need to add a little water if juice gets absorbed and oatmeal is not cooked.  Towards the end of cooking, add the chopped walnuts.  Remove from heat and spoon into bowls.  Add maple syrup to taste and a teaspoon of ghee or pat of butter.

Fruity Chia Oatmeal made with Dried Fruit
2 ½ cups water

1 cup of old fashioned oatmeal
2 Tablespoon chia seeds
¼ – 1/3 cup dried berries – (elderberries, blueberries, blackberries)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Maple Syrup
Ghee or pat of butter
¼ Teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil.  Slowly add, the oatmeal, chia seeds, and dried berries; stir.  Turn heat down so that oatmeal mixture simmers.  Cover.  Cook until thick–10 to 15 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  You may need to add a little water if the water gets absorbed and oatmeal is not cooked.  Towards the end of cooking, add the chopped walnuts.  Remove from heat and spoon into bowls.  Add maple syrup to taste and a teaspoon of ghee or pat of butter.

A Yum Scrub Organics Recipe

Reference:

“Elderberry”, University of Maryland Health Center http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/elderberry-002880.htm

“Nutritional Facts,Cereal, Oats…” Self Nutritional Data. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/breakfast-cereals/1597/2

“Oats,” The World’s Healthiest Foods. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=54

“Seed, Chia Seeds, dried,” Self Nutritional Data. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/breakfast-cereals/1597/2

Yum Friday Recipe: Vegetarian Portuguese Caldo Verde (Green Soup)

16 Sep

For some odd reason “green soup” conjures up in my mind the blue soup in Bridget Jone’s Diary.  Although, the blue in Bridget’s soup was the result of some awful blue string.  No worries here though.  Our soup doesn’t have one bit of blue string in it, but it does have a lot of green deliciousness.

Caldo Verde is considered by many Portuguese to be the national soup of Portugal; that’s how popular it.  It’s served everywhere in Portugal.  We like it not only for its healthy nutritional punch, but Caldo Verde is also a comfort food.  What better time to turn to comfort foods than when the chill of fall is in the air.  The traditional version of green soup has sausage; we use cannellini beans for the protein.

Our garden is bursting with kale, so making this soup was a great way to make use of the abundant kale crop.  Although kale is available year round, in the fall and winter it is the sweetest.  In the summer kale can be bitter.  But don’t shy away from kale in the summer, just don’t cook it longer than 5 minutes, and it won’t be bitter.

Kale is high in vitamin K.  And the skin just loves, loves, loves vitamin K.  It’s also very high in two other skin loving nutrients, vitamin A and C.  It even has omega 3; we need to get omega 3 from food sources since our bodies don’t make it.  Since most western diets lack omega 3, we need to make an effort to eat foods with omega 3.  Kale has a slew of vitamins from the B family along with some copper and protein.  Kale is also very good for lowering cholesterol.

Potatoes are the other main ingredient in Portuguese green soup.  Potatoes get a bum rap because of the carbohydrates. This is unjustified.  For one thing, your body needs carbohydrates for energy.  And for another, it’s the way most people eat potatoes (french fries, potato chip, mashed with gravy, loaded baked potatoes) that makes them unhealthy. The nutrient level of potatoes out weigh the fear from getting to many carbohydrates from them.

Recent research has identified over 60 phytonutrients in potatoes that rival those found in spinach and broccoli.  Two of these, the flavonoids quercetin and kukoamines have only been found in one other plant–the goji berry. Goji Berries are very popular because of their antioxidant properties. Potatoes also have high levels of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and copper.  In addition, potatoes are a good source of fiber; fiber removes toxins from the body so they don’t land on your skin.

Yum Vegetarian Portuguese Caldo Verde (Green Soup) – serves 6 – 8

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion – diced
3 – 4 garlic cloves – chopped or minced
32 ounces of high quality vegetable broth and 32 ounces of water
(Just water can also be used.  Using only water for the broth is the traditional way to make the soup)
8 medium size potatoes – cubed
(peeled or unpeeled – unpeeled provides more nutrients)
1 can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
¾ cup fresh cilantro – chopped
½ cup fresh parsley – chopped
¼ cup fresh chives – chopped
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
8 – 10 cups kale – chopped or julienne

In a large pot, heat the olive oil then add the onion and sauté until semi-soft.  Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth, 32 ounces of water (or 64 ounces of water if using all water as the broth), and the potatoes.  Cook the potatoes until they are very soft–about 40 to 45 minutes.  After the potatoes have become very soft and while still in the pot, mash them with a potato masher. You could also use an immersion blender to mash them; do leave some small pieces of potato.
Add the cannellini beans (juice included), cilantro, parsley, chives, hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the kale and simmer for another 5 minutes or until the kale is semi-soft.  Serve.

Gostoso! (Yummy in Portuguese)

Suggestions:
Serve with some crusty bread.
Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top.
Serve with a dash of Balsamic vinegar and/or cayenne pepper sauce
Non vegetarians can also use chicken broth

A Yum Scrub Organics Recipe – adapted by Lisa Mackenzie Karson

Reference:
“Worlds Healthiest Foods,” “Kale,” WH Foods. online: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?dbid=38&tname=foodspice

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