CROCKPOTS

English: Chef Pepín Slow Cooker

CROCKPOTS have to make my top 5 list for tools to make healthy living easier and more practical.

 

Is there anything these things can’t do?  Besides tasting amazing, what are some of the benefits of having one of these things lurking around your kitchen?

 

1. GOOD FOOD COMBINING and GOOD DIGESTION:  Cooking low and slow for hours creates an even “mixture” with whatever you decide to put in it.  Food is best eaten in simple combinations.  Often it is best to eat one food at a time, by itself.  However, cooking with a crockpot allows the food to “work out their differences” inside the pot.  Carrots, peas, chicken, onions, and garlic TRANSMUTES into “crockpot chicken and vegetables.”  This translates into better digestion.  Also, cooking things at a low temperature for hours is almost always better than quick-heat methods.  Cooking things (especially proteins) at very low heat is the best way to go.  This way, everything softens up for your digestion to go to work.  Ever have a burnt grilled chicken breast?  Not very appetizing to me.

 

2.  PRACTICAL:  These things are probably the most practical tool to have around the house.  Cooking and cleaning require little work.  There is no guesswork on timing.  They are super easy.  Instructions?  Chop up whatever vegetables sound good to you and your family.  Optionally throw in a piece of meat.  Set the timer.  DONE.  If you are fifteen minutes late from work or class?  Doesn’t usually matter.  Also, this is the perfect way to cook for large families without messing up the entire kitchen.  If you are single or in a small family, leftovers usually abound.  This is a great way to plan two days worth of food in a one time cook/clean job.

 

3. SAVES MONEY:  How many of us throw out old vegetables?  How about those rough cuts of meat we screw up?  This is a great way to start saving all that stuff.  Got some veggies that are starting to go bad?  Throw them in the crockpot.  Some cheaper cuts of meat are usually tough and chewy.  We can soften them up with the crockpot.  People have been doing this for thousands of years.  This is especially true of rough red meats and/or game meat.

 

There you have it folks.  I would recommend getting a LARGE crockpot.  It is better to have more room than you need to cook.  Sometimes we use ours to make giant meals with plenty of leftovers.  Other times, it can be used for simple vegetable dishes.  It depends what we are in the mood for.  Don’t be afraid to leave it on your counter.  It is easy to get hooked on the “crockpot meal.”

 

Happy Hunting =)

 

-JOE

 

 

 

ILEOCECAL VALVE?

English: A Globe Valve. The valve body is colo...

HUH?

I seem to be on a digestive kick guys.  What is the ileocecal valve?  Like hiatal hernia problems, this little guy goes relatively unrecognized.  His importance plays a big factor in our health.  Most people haven’t heard of the ileocecal valve before.  So what is it?  

ILEOCECAL VALVE:  This “valve” is a small, golf ball sized part of our lower digestive anatomy.  It connects our small intestines to our large intestines.  The point of this valve?  To keep the sewage from the large intestines separate from the stuff happening in the small intestines.  With unhealthy lifestyle choices this valve can get stuck open or closed.  This is a problem folks.  What do you get?  You can have sewage flowing into the area you are supposed to be absorbing your food.  You can also have waste not properly able to flow out.  Let’s look at a few reasons the valve gets stuck and what we can do to fix it.

CAUSES:  The culprits always seem to be the same don’t they.  These are a little different, yet still similar.  Processed foods are among the worst.  Gluten, pasteurized dairy, improperly prepared grains and cereals, sugar, etc.  Roughage can also irritate this valve.  Too much raw salads, raw carrots, or under-ripe  fruit can cause this valve to spasm a bit as well.  EXERCISE, or lack thereof is a huge issue as well.  Our systems are all PUMPS.  They are designed to be PUMPED!  Digestive system, detox system, circulatory system, lymph, etc.  Most of these systems have their own pumps.  But they are designed to have help.  Exercise stimulates digestion big time.  Mixing it up is always a good idea.  Bicycling may be especially good for this problem.  Stress is a big one too.  When we are stressed, we don’t digest our food properly.  What does this lead to?  A “back-up” in our bodies.  Traffic jams.  This is no good.  We want to be relaxed and well rested when we eat.  Ultimately, removing the sources of your stress is a big help with almost all problems in the body.  So what can we do about this issue?  There are a few simple steps.

SOLUTIONS:  The first solution is to remove the causes.  Clean up the diet.  Eliminate the roughage foods for a little bit.  Focus on soft stuff.  Try eliminating gluten, most grains, hard veggies, and irritating spices like hot peppers, etc.  Going off  these things for a few weeks can help calm this valve down.  Exercising more regularly, deep breathing, sleeping more, and getting rid of stress all will do wonders.  As with the hiatal hernia, sometimes our parts like a little help to regain proper functioning.  There are several techniques that you can do on yourself that help get this little guy back up and running.  There is another valve on the other side called the “Houston’s valve.”  The principle is the same.  Let’s look at how to find these valves and I will post a short video on massaging these spots.

LOCATION:  The best way to locate your ileocecal valve is to imagine a line connecting your belly button to the front of your hipbone.  Find the midpoint of that line with your fingers.  Next, go down an inch or two until you find a small, tender spot.  This is likely your ileocecal valve.  Most people have soreness or tenderness in this area.  The same is true of the Houston Valve.  So let’s look at a quick clip on how to fix this up.  Keeping your digestive system and all of its parts happy and healthy is a great defense against all types of ailments.  Let’s get the system back up and running on all 8 =)

VALVE CLOSING

-JOE

FOOD COMBINING.

Brown bear (Ursus arctos) feeding on salmon, t...

FOOD COMBINING.  What is that?

Food combining is an ancient technique.  It is really pretty simple.  How do we get healthy?  We follow nature.  We follow what our ancestors did for thousands of years.  Enter food combining.  The “Modern Paleo” movement needs this one big time =)  Mixing walnuts, carrots, eggs, oil, “nut flour,” maple syrup, raw honey, and butter may TASTE DELICIOUS. The principle is that different foods take different times to digest and require separate digestive processes than others.  For example; a potato takes a different type of digestive enzymes than a steak.  A piece of fruit is different from either of them. Let’s look at a typical “meal” at Olive Garden.  I have nothing against Olive Garden.  It is delicious in fact.  Following are some meals other animals or our ancestors may have eaten. 

OLIVE GARDEN FOOD COMBINING:  Salad, bread sticks, and soup for appetizers.  A course of baked salmon with bruschetta bread.  Finished off by a desert tart made with fruit.  All the while slugging down water, coke, or tea.

Is this a normal way to eat?  Is it feasting and is it fun?  Sure it is.  The point here is not to remove all our days of extravagance.  It is to improve our health over time by following these simple guidelines “most of the time.”  So what are these guidelines?  What is the best way to eat for energy, digestion, and health?  We are all different.  We have different digestive strengths and weaknesses.  Things are also determined by the health of our bodies.  There are some simple rules that everybody can achieve success with.  Let’s take a look.  This is in order of time it takes to digest.

WATER/JUICE:  There really is no digestion time here.  How quickly can your body absorb the liquid?  Usually about fifteen minutes or so with water.  You may give yourself a little extra time with juice.  Drinking liquids fifteen minutes before meals is great.  Drinking a lot WITH your meals is not so great.  A lot of liquid dilutes your own digestive enzymes and makes it harder to assimilate your food.

FRUIT:  This is probably the biggest one.  Fruit digests very quickly.  In a healthy body maybe half an hour to an hour.  Especially the good kind.  Juicy, plump, and soft.  So what happens when we eat fruit after other things?  It ferments.  It gets slowed down.  All the sugar stays behind.  It is generally best to eat fruit early in the day before we have eaten too much.  Eating fruit 2-3 hours after a meal is ok too.  The main idea?  Have an empty stomach with fruit.  I will admit this guideline makes me sad because this man loves trail mix =)

PROTEIN/STARCH:  Protein requires an acidic medium to break down.  Heavy carbohydrates a different one.  What is the result?  Unfortunately, our favorite foods go out the window.  Steak and potatoes.  Burgers and fries.  Pizza.  Wings and beer.  Mixing these types of food is generally not a great idea.  Protein is fine to eat with non-starchy vegetables.  Things like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, tomatoes, summer squash, etc.  Stewing foods or crock-pot meals tend to blend the lines here.  “The foods tend to work out their differences in the pot,” was a line from a book “Healing With Whole Foods.”  This is why crock-pot   meals are so tasty =)  Starches mix well with non-starchy vegetables and fats as well.  Soups are a great way eat most things together.

MONO-MEALS?:  What is a mono-meal you say?  Basically, just what it sounds like.  A mono-meal is eating one thing for a meal.  This is imitating nature at it’s best.  Look around.  All the other animals tend to eat ONE thing at a time.  There are no three-course dishes out there unfortunately.  This is something to be eased into.  Mono-meals is a completely different style of eating than most of us are accustomed to.  So what are some examples of mono-meals?  A bowl of blueberries.  An avocado.  1/3 pound of juicy lamb.  A big bowl of broccoli, zucchini, or peas.  Are mono-meals always needed?  I think it is a great thing to ease into.  Often times, mixing foods can actually HELP digestion.  What are some examples of this?  Adding healthy fats or broth with cooked meats will aid in digestion.  Using herbs with meals will often help as well.  Adding healthy fat to vegetables is great.

So in the end, we are all different.  We are working with different equipment.  The best analogy?  Think of your body as a conveyor belt.  What happens when something quick-moving gets stuck behind something slow-moving?  Traffic jams result.  Try to let your workers process the food you just ate before moving on to something else.  They need different “tools” for different jobs.  The way we eat in this country puts enormous stress on the entire person.  Let’s make our jobs a little easier and start implementing FOOD-COMBINING into our lives.  Oh, and don’t forget to break the rules every now and then =)

-JOE

 

 

INDIGESTION?

BK Meal

What about INDIGESTION?  Does it happen to everybody?  Do we even know what it means?  Maybe it is something most of us experience, yet view as a normal part of life.  Does it sound normal to you?  INDIGESTION?

I would wager to say that it is NOT normal.  It is not something to be experienced on a night out with the guys or date night with the girls.  What does indigestion really mean?  Well, it means what it sounds like.  Your digestion is not properly digesting, assimilating, and eliminating your food.  We can run into trouble at every step, but it really is all the same.  Where your system is weakest is where the chain will tend to break down.  So what is going on here?  Why do we “in-digest” and how can we fix it the natural way?

CAUSES:  We need to look at the causes of indigestion first.  Most of these aren’t too hard to guess on, but some are a little harder to avoid than others.  FOOD is obviously the primary culprit here.  Simple put?  WE EAT THINGS WE WEREN’T DESIGNED TO EAT!  So that puts us at a disadvantage already.  What are the worst offenders?  As usual; gluten, pasteurized dairy, processed foods, sugars, most quick-prep grains, overcooked food, “instant-food,” etc.  Surprisingly, high-fiber vegetables and fruit can be offensive as well.  Eating large amounts of high-cellulose salads, raw veggies, and unripe fruit can cause problems for people as well.  Add on to this the sheer BULK of food we eat at one time.  We often eat gigantic portions of food.  Usually we eat them in horrible combinations as well.  Do we really think a burger, fruit salad, french fries with cheese, and a large coke is a good thing?  You can add stress to the list of causes as well.  Eating while anxious, stressed, in a hurry, or emotional can all cause indigestion.  So what can we realistically do about all of this?  There are a few simple remedies that will keep indigestion at bay and keep you free from OTC medications.

DIET:  As usual, the diet is the biggest factor for most of us.  Cut out the offensive foods.  Eat smaller portions more frequently.  If roughage veggies and fruits bother you; don’t eat too much of them.  Juicers and blenders are great here as well.  Try to follow good food combining.  This is a post in itself (maybe tomorrow), but there are some easy things to remember.  Eat fruit alone on an empty stomach.  Fruit digests quick and will ferment and produce gas if it is eaten after a major meal.  Don’t mix heavy starches and proteins together at the same meal.  Unfortunately this cuts out most people’s favorites.  Mashed potatoes and steak.  Burgers and fries.  Pizza.  The list goes on.  Those are the biggies.

STRESS:  Figure out where your stress is coming from and try to eliminate it.  Don’t watch upsetting news or stimulating movies while eating.  Don’t argue with your spouse or children.  Try to create relaxed mealtimes.  Having family time and blessing your food is a great habit to get into.  If possible, don’t rush yourself.  How are you supposed to digest anything well when you are already somewhere else in your mind?  Plan ahead, cook in bulk, etc.  Do what you need to do to be able to have relaxed, pleasant mealtimes.

CLEANSE:  For most of us; some form of cleansing will be necessary to completely fix the problem.  Why is the diet not good enough?  Maybe it is.  Maybe it isn’t.  How clean are you willing to go?  The problem is that most of us have YEARS of bad habits behind us.  Think of adding up all the cereals, the cheese, the bread and pasta, the pizza, etc.  You get the idea.  So you end up with a big job on your hands.  Cleansing can speed up the process for most of us.  Simple things like herbs can really help.

So there you have it.  INDIGESTION.  As usual, eliminating the causes is the most important step.  The body will always heal itself when given the opportunity =)

-JOE

Hiatal Hernia?

 

What the heck is he talking about this time?

 

This is a common problem that goes largely unnoticed in our culture.  Nonetheless, it affects our daily health; sometimes dramatically.  Without going overboard on the technical drama, what is a “Hiatal Hernia?”

 

HIATAL HERNIA:  Basically, this is when a section of the stomach comes up past the diaphragm and ends up outside of where it is supposed to be.  It is supposed to be mouth, esophagus, DIAPHRAGM segment, THEN STOMACH.  Imagine how you would feel being clenched off in an area you aren’t really designed to be in.  How does this happen?  I don’t think anybody knows all of the reasons, but we can agree on a few common offenders.  STRESS (knot in your stomach, lump in your throat), Improper lifting and straining, constipation straining, improper breathing, shallow breathing, bad posture, etc.  

 

Author: National Institute of Diabetes and Dig...

Why is this bad for the body?  Our bodies don’t like to be held in tension.  We have muscled that are designed to do work for periods of time.  We like to be in positions of ease while we are resting and digesting.  Besides your mouth and esophagus, your stomach is where digestion starts!  So what is your stomach is constantly stressed because it is in the wrong position and cramped down?  Things don’t work so well.  Irritation happens.  Stomach acid has a hard time being produced.  Some people will tell you a large part of our society has this to some degree or another.  Symptoms may include an inability to digest protein very well, feeling bloated after meals, constipation, acid reflux, difficulty swallowing, feeling of fullness in the chest, etc.  Sound familiar?  So how do we fix it? This is a problem that is not created overnight.  It is however, relatively simple to work on and correct.  You can get professional help from people such as chiropractors, visceral manipulators, and massage therapists if you want.  There are also several “at-home” exercises you can do yourself.  Diet, stress, and doing these exercises seems to be the best method for correcting this problem.  Eating a lot of salads, grains, and “roughage” foods is not going to help.  Neither is gluten or pasteurized dairy.  Following good “food combining” may be very helpful for this condition as well.  Linked below is a video on techniques to correct this problem. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX0zKB2_-UM

Hope this sheds light on this large, unrecognized problem guys. -JOE 

BIOFILMS?

This image shows a whole and a cut lemon.

WHAT THE HECK IS A BIOFILM?

Like most things, biofilms can be made as simple or as complicated as we want to make them.  We can delve into science.  We can delve into fancy supplements, lab testing, and other new medicine type stuff to get to the bottom of things.  Our take?  Let’s assume that nature has provided us with a lot of things to help humans when we screw up (Not that we ever do).  So at the basic level, what is a biofilm?

BIOFILMS:  In my own words, a biofilm is a layer of sludge, slime, or coating that forms on the inner walls of our bodies.  This primarily includes the stomach, intestines, colon, liver, kidneys, etc.  This “sludge” is composed of a myriad of things.  Your guess is as good as mine.  The main ingredients?  We can break them down into two categories.  One is waste products. This is usually undigested food sludge that our bodies never assimilated.  The worst offenders would include high-heated fats, pasteurized dairy products, undigested animal foods, gluten, processed sugars, etc.  Our bodies are not made to digest this stuff.  What do you think happens to a car if you put the wrong gas in it over time?  Ok, so what else?  The other primary aspect of biofilms according to research happens to be structures “built” by parasites and bacteria to protect themselves from our immune system.  Pretty clever right?  

Bugs are smarter than we give them credit.  In my opinion, the food is the primary offender.  The bugs just show up when we have messed things up enough already.  So what problems does this cause?  Well, it makes it very hard to digest and assimilate our own food with a layer of film.  It also makes it hard to fight off the bugs that are embedded or buried beneath it.  A cozy warm home with plenty of food?  You would be hard-pressed to get me out either.  So how do we get rid of these critters and this “sludge?”  This is a relatively unknown topic, even in the health community.  Let’s look at a few ways to help get rid of this stuff.  My approach is to tackle things slowly and steadily, but there are other ways as well.

QUICK WAY:  This can be somewhat intense.  It usually will involve taking large amounts of food enzymes, supplements, or medications in an effort to literally “digest” the gunk and bugs.  Does your body really recognize all of this stuff?  Are we supposed to be throwing in large amounts of unknown substances into the body?  This may have its uses short-term but I would wonder about the safety and efficiency of a long-term protocol.

So what about other ways that may be easier to implement, safer, and not so complicated?  We take a look at some of natures most powerful remedies.

HERBS:  God’s medicine chest guys.  There are herbs for everything.  Some of the most useful herbs for breaking down biofilms are ironically the same herbs that are good for getting rid of parasites and other bugs.  Think intense.  Think potent.  GARLIC, GINGER, PEPPERS, BITTER GREENS, PEPPERMINT, OREGANO, PARSLEY, etc.

CITRUS/ACID:  These are also great biofilm busters.  LEMONS, APPLE CIDER VINEGAR, etc.  A great drink for biofilms?  Mix a tablespoon of raw ACV with half a lemon into a few ounces of water.  Drink in the mornings.  The citrus and vinegar really help acidify things and remove gunk.

FIBER:  This is a tricky one.  If your digestion is messed up, a TON of fiber probably isn’t the best idea.  On the other hand, fiber has the roughage to scrape the insides of your digestive systems, somewhat like a stiff brush or broom.  So how do we get around this?  Some people use actual fiber shakes.  I prefer blended salads.  This creates the same result.  Get a nutribullet or other powerful blender and mix up a good amount of “rough” vegetables.  Beets, spinach, greens, carrots, radishes, and celery are all great.  Drink a few of these a week.  Doesn’t need to be every day.  The idea is to sweep away the mess that everything is wiping up.

FATS/NUTRITION:  Nutrition is critical here as well.  The walls of your stomach and intestines heal pretty rapidly assuming there is nothing getting in the way.  What is some of their favorite things?  Fats are great here.  Raw coconut oil has been said to help biofilms as well.  Why?  Well I can think of two main reasons.  One is that it is said to not require “bile” from your liver to digest like some other fats.  The other is that it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial effects.  Other good choices include raw olive oil, avocados, raw butter, cod liver oil, and some rare or lightly cooked animal products.  Juicing also can have a huge effect here.  Juicing is a great way to get in all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to do  these activities.  Most raw fruits and veggies are going to have some mild components to help break these things down as well.

 

Basically what we are attempting to do here is to “clean” the heavy gunk that has accumulated in our engines.  The idea here is to slowly remove the waste and bugs.  This is not going to happen over-night.  We don’t need to make things super complicated.  The most important step will always be cleaning up the diet, working on our mental/emotional/spiritual health, exercising, sleeping more, etc.  Adding in some of these foods on a regular basis can help prevent the formation as well as breakdown some of these tough structures.  Putting together simple protocols is often a helpful way of keeping things organized.  HAPPY BUSTING.

-JOE

 

Be Careful with PALEO

Mmm... Cajun recipe sausage and eggs

 

“What can I get for you today?”

 

 “Yes, can I please have the well-done burger fried in vegetable oil with cheese?”  “Skip the bread though, I’m on a PALEO diet.”

 

Be careful with PALEO guys.  What is “paleo” anyways?  It is everywhere today.  Eat a paleo diet.  Well, what does that exactly mean?  Is it an excuse to eat fried chicken wings, bacon, sausages, lunchmeat, and cheese all day?  I think too many people get sucked into the paleo bandwagon without really understanding what it means.  Do I agree that we should all be eating a diet like that of our ancestors?  Absolutely.  Do I think that most modern paleo eaters eat a diet like that of our ancestors?  Absolutely not.  This bothers me sometimes as some people get sucked into believing they are eating a healthy diet.  To keep this short today, I will give a little list of traditional foods versus “modern paleo” foods.

 

TRADITIONAL:  raw or lightly cooked eggs with a little raw olive oil.  Crock-pot or slow cooked lamb and vegetables.  Raw dehydrated nuts and seeds.  Fresh or frozen fruit.  Fresh pressed juices.  Fermented cod-liver oil.  Fresh raw or cooked vegetables.  Raw dairy, cream, kefir, and butter.

 

MODERN PALEO: eggs fried in pasteurized butter. Fried steak in fried olive oil.  Roasted almond butter with maple syrup and vegetable oil.  Pasteurized fruit with added sugar.  Pasteurized fruit and vegetable juice.  High-heated fish oil “capsules”. Fried vegetable “chips” made from corn, sweet potatoes,etc.  Pasteurized yoghurt and cheeses.

 

The list goes on and on but you get the idea.  With this “paleo movement,” a lot of us got sucked into thinking some of the “junk-food” in our modern supermarkets and restaurants were healthy for us.  Let’s be careful with this bandwagon.  Let’s not let the “modern paleo” diet catch on for too long.  Is it fine for treats and cheat days?  Sure.  But let’s not pretend it is a healthy diet.  Junk food is still junk food, even if it is PALEO.  Let’s make our ancestors proud =)

 

-Joe