The Importance of B12 in Your Diet

Vitamin B12. It’s a vitamin that most of us have heard of at some point, however do we really know how important it is for our body? Unfortunately for ‘healthy eaters,’ we’re even more likely to be deficient in Vitamin B12.

29BROD-articleInlineJust because you’re eating tons of fruits and vegetables doesn’t mean you’re getting every vitamin your body needs to maintain itself. (And here we thought we were doing everything right!)

Vitamin B12 is an integral asset to the body as it helps make red blood cells, which carrie oxygen through the body, helps in the production of DNA, and maintains a healthy nervous system. Deficiency in B12 has been shown to show similar signs to what we would consider ‘aging‘ and most of the time it’s completely misdiagnosed.

B12 deficiency can lead to depression, paranoia, delusions, memory loss, inconstinance, loss of taste and smell, numbness, tingling, difficulty walking, balance issues, anemia, a swollen or inflamed tongue, yellow skin, weakness and even fatigue. If left untreated, the deficiency can cause severe neurological problems and blood disorders. 

Do I have your attention yet?

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Eggs are a great source of B12 – extra points for local, grass fed, organic!

I definitely applaud those of you who eat your vegetables and fruits with minimal meat (or no meat products). Being healthy is all about living a well balanced life that includes healthy eating, healthy relationships, and some sort of mind and body exercise. However, despite our best intentions, we’re thrown a monkey wrench with Vitamin B12, which can only be found in animal products including meat, eggs, and dairy. Our bodies cannot create B12 so if you’re not consuming animal products on a regular basis you may be deficient. Those with digestive issues such as Crohn’s disease may be more likely to be at risk because they are unable to absorb nutrients through their digestive track, exactly where B12 is extracted.

It’s recommended that we consume 2.4 micrograms per day of B12 – that’s it! Such a small amount does amazing things! You can take a multivitamin, which usually contain 6 micrograms of B12, more than enough for anyone. If you’re a vegan, be careful to read the label as some supplements have gelatin added.

Nutritional Yeast Contains B12 and is Vegan Friendly!
Nutritional Yeast Contains B12 and is Vegan Friendly!

Vitamin B12 is essential to our body’s functions, yet the questions remains for many vegans and vegetarians: how do I add B12 to my diet without having to rely on supplements?

Consider adding fortified foods such as fortified soy products, cereals, non-dairy milks, and meat replacements. My favorite addition would be fortified nutritional yeast however, in order to gain the most out of your B12, be sure to add additional fortified foods or a supplement to your diet.

The body is an amazing organism that reacts to countless types of input and output. If you’re interested in your body operating at its highest level, contact me.

As always ‘Bee’ Well,

Melissa

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‘Souper Soup’ to Fight Off That Chill

Luckily for me, I just returned from an amazing vacation skiing in British Columbia. Unfortunately for me, I caught something and am feeling a little under the weather. Not exactly what you need when you have to “get back in the swing of things.”

garlicThis year, despite the freezing temperatures and countless cold and flu warnings, I’ve been able to stay healthy all season, giving major credit to my kick ass immune system that I built up over the past few years, especially with Vitamin D supplements (more on that in another post). So how can I bump up my immune system? By making a nutrient packed ‘souper soup!’

My nutrient packed ‘souper soup’ is full of cold fighters and immune boosters including garlic, tumeric, cayenne, ginger and sweet potatoes. Here’s some tidbits about what these perceivably small ingredients do for your body in a big way!

Power Packed Ingredients

Garlic – A well-known antioxidant that also has antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties, garlic has been used as a decongestant and expectorant for decades. It packs a punch with Vitamin C, enzymes, and minerals, all which help you fight that cold. The best way to get all these effects is eating fresh raw garlic – yes, I know. For beginners, crush a clove and leave it for 15 minutes, then smear on a piece of toast with a bit of honey or olive oil to decrease the intense flavor and be sure to eat it with whomever you’re with that night otherwise you’ll be very lonely!

Turmeric-Root-and-Powder-1024x666Tumeric – This little root helps the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses, also providing sources of manganese and potassium (two immunity supporters).

Cayenne – Even if you’re not into a lot of spice, be sure to add a pinch of cayenne. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne, thins mucus in your nasal passages allowing you to breathe freely without the vapor rub! If you’re brave, try out a “flu shot” made with cayenne, lemon, ginger, and hot water. Don’t let your lips touch the cayenne – I warned you!

Ginger – Used by Chinese herbalists for centuries, ginger is an antihistamine and decongestant. It’s warming effect on the body also helps with chills.

Sweet Potatoes – They don’t just taste amazing, they’re loaded with beta-carotene which helps your body create white blood cells that help you fight off infections.

Ready to fight off that bug you’ve been combatting? Here’s an easy recipe for my ‘souper soup!’

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‘Souper Cold Fighting Soup’

Serves 4

4 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled, scrubbed, and chopped into bite size pieces
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, scrubbed, and chopped
1 cup cooked black beans
1/2 cup frozen kale (or 1 1/2 cups of fresh kale)
3 chicken breasts (poached then use a fork to pull apart)
2 cloves garlic, chopped and minced
1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and chopped or grated (use a microplane)
1 tablespoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne (or more if you like it hot!)
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil (you can substitute with olive oil)

Heat a dutch oven and add the coconut oil or olive oil. Toss in the onions until translucent (5 minutes), then add the garlic. When the garlic is fragrant add the ginger, tumeric, cumin, and cayenne. This allows them to “blossom” as the chefs say. Then add your sweet potatoes and carrots. Stir to combine and after a few minutes, add enough water (or broth) to cover the top of the potatoes. Once the pot has come to a boil, decrease the heat to simmer and put the top on. (If you’re using fresh kale, add that now in batches).

Once the potatoes are fork tender, add the beans, pulled chicken, and kale. Let sit for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Do you have a ‘go to’ cold fighting remedy that doesn’t involve over the counter medication? Let me know below!

Until next time, stay healthy and as always ‘bee well,’

Melissa

A Warming Persimmon Smoothie Recipe

ParsimmonThe other day I happened to read an article about the not well-known Persimmon. What is a Persimmon you ask? Well, it’s a fruit that is normally found in two varieties in U.S. supermarkets, Fuyu and Hachiya. The persimmon I’m specifically referring to in my smoothie recipe is the Fuyu that looks more like a squashed orange tomato.

These persimmons have a similar texture to an apple or pear (a little gritty in a good way) and are best when deep orange and firm. Storing them at room temperature allows the fruits to become softer and sweeter until you decide to eat one!

At the supermarket, you’ll usually find me looking around the tropical and “weird” produce bins for things that I haven’t yet tried. Persimmons were on my bucket list. I grabbed two and was on my merry way.

Persimmon SmoothieWhen using the persimmons you can eat the peel however, I prefer not to because it’s a little hard for my taste, but it’s totally up to you! While you’re cutting up the persimmons be sure to try a bite and see what you prefer. I’m telling you, it’s a fruit that’s worth your time.

The persimmons give off a warming feel reminiscent of ginger. It almost tastes like an ice cream shake, but it’s actually good for you! Persimmons are low in calories, but rich in dietary fiber. They also contain phyto-nutrients such as catechins, which have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic properties. These little powerhouses are a great source of Vitamin C (perfect for winter season) and also contain valuable B-complex vitamins such as folic acid.

There’s really nothing not to love about this underappreciated fruit. So the next time you’re at the store, try it out. You can thank me later.

Persimmon Smoothie Recipe

2 Persimmons (ripe)
1 Pear
½ cup frozen or fresh spinach
½ cup goat milk (or regular milk)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 tablespoon Maca powder (optional)
1 tablespoon DHA/EPA oil (optional)

Note if you’re not using frozen spinach, be sure to add a few ice cubes. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Bee Well,

Melissa

Get Healthy and Lose Weight – Naturally, No Diet Pills Needed

Just today I received an e-mail to a video describing the negative side effects of “fast fix” diet pills. Most consumers are lured into the “all herbal-diet-pillsnatural” label and think to themselves that it must be healthy because after all, it comes from green tea, which is healthy. Logical thinking, but that’s where we’ve been steered wrong! What most people don’t know is that these types of “all natural” diet pills are wreaking havoc on your body.

My “All Natural” Story

Years back, I was also lured in by the “all natural” and “quick fix” diet pill that would help me lose 10 lbs in a week. I was never obese or really overweight, however as most high school girls do, I struggled a bit with how I looked. According to magazines, models, and clothes – smaller was better. I was always moving and exercising so I figured maybe a little boost via this “all natural” pill would just help me shed those 10 lbs that I thought I desperately needed to shed. Well, I never got to lose those 10 lbs in that magical week, instead on the 3rd day I was running on the treadmill and had major heart palpitations. I hit the emergency stop button and tried to gain control of my breathing, hoping it was just a panic attack. What I had realized and didn’t want to admit to myself until then was that the pills were throwing my body for a loop. Luckily, it was just my body’s way of warning me to stop and I listened.

Unfortunately, for every one person who stops taking these pills when a side effect arises, there’s 100 more who don’t. A recent article in the New York Times told the story of a 17-year-old male who had to undergo a liver transplant after taking a “fat burning” supplement and he’s not the only one.

“Dietary supplements account for nearly 20 percent of drug-related liver injuries that turn up in hospitals, up from 7 percent a decade ago, according to an analysis by a national network of liver specialists.”              ~ New York Times 

 

Countless studies have shown how problematic they actually are. Common side effects of these pills include dizziness, diarrhea, and arrhythmia – and this is just if you’re a healthy person, imagine what it will do if your body is already trying to cure itself!  One study found that ‘fat burners’ and certain dietary supplements can cause acute liver damage.

“Usnic acid is a component of nutritional supplements that are promoted for weight loss and have been associated with liver-related adverse events including mild hepatic toxicity, chemical hepatitis and liver failure requiring liver transplantation.”

Despite all of these very serious issues, we are still spending $32 billion on these products every year! I’m here to tell you…

weight-loss-manteca-caThere’s a Better Way!

The first step is to have a realistic expectation of what your body’s optimal weight actually is – for example, your body may run at optimum performance 5 lbs over your “dream weight.”

I’m here to work with you on figuring out your goals, working towards your goals, and teaching you the tools you need to reach your goals.

Taking care of your body physically will help you lose weight naturally – no “fat blocking” pills needed. A holistic approach will teach you to listen to your body and give you longer lasting results.

As always “Bee” Well, 

Melissa

Interested in working with me? Contact me below!

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3 Healthy Tips to Get You Started in 2014

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2014 has begun and I’m know almost every single one of you has a bunch of resolutions that you’re looking to tackle. I’m sure there are a lot of resolutions that fall under the category of “lose weight and get healthy,” both of which are very vague if you don’t know how you’re going to achieve that goal. I’m here to give you three different changes you can implement in your life right now that will help you “lose weight and get healthy.” You can add all three now or you can add one each week, each month, each day, whatever floats your boat.

imgresIt’s so hard to actually be successful if you just say, “I want to lose weight.” There’s the whole how and why (yes, knowing why is a fundamental part of being successful!) So, make sure you understand why you want to make this resolution and then once you know why, you’re more likely to go to that thought and keep going, even when willpower is kicking your you know what. If you need help, contact me – I can help you on your way to a healthier life and be your support system!

Ok, so I promised you three things right? Here they are… simple and honest.

Try to eat as whole as you can. (No, I don’t mean the whole bag of pretzels). I mean, images-1try and eat more food that has just one-ingredient aka avocados, kale, carrots, turnips, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. I’m not saying to completely cut out processed foods (even though that can be a future goal); I’m saying cut out as much processed food as you can from your diet. This may mean instead of that bag of potato chips at lunch, try having a bag of celery sticks dipped in peanut butter. Just that one little change in your day will lead to bigger and better changes in your future.

Clean out your cabinets. It’s the New Year right? Out with the old and in with the new! Take out the temptation. (I know if there were a chocolate covered pretzel in my cabinet it would last about one day). When you’re mindlessly eating and you head to your cabinet instead of quick processed snacks you’ll find ingredients to make something. So you’ll either not be hungry anymore, you’ll still be hungry but lazy and go sit down, or you’ll go to your fridge where all those “one ingredient wonders” are such as cut up carrots, celery, nuts, etc.

imagesDrink more water! Yes, you who considers coffee, juice, soda and beer or wine to be your main drinks throughout the day. Most of the time when we perceive our body to be hungry, we’re actually thirsty! Aim for 8-10 glasses a day. Not a water fan? Flavor up your water with fresh cut lemons, limes, berries, or even juice. One of my favorite tricks for getting rid of soda? Take unflavored seltzer water and add a bit of juice (1-2 tablespoons for a 8-10 ounce glass). It’s sweet, sparkly and you’ll be happy!

So there are my top tips that everyone can do without feeling deprived. Remember, start out small and see where it goes. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

If you’re interested in learning more, send me an e-mail. I have plenty of healthy tricks up my sleeve!

Happy New Year!

Until next time, “bee” well,

Melissa