5-Minute Weekly Breakfast Meal Prep đźĄŁ

When it comes to eating a healthy breakfast everyday, we have constantly innovated new recipes and iterated efficiency ‘hacks’ so that none of us needed to be in the kitchen longer than 10 or 20 minutes each morning. While the mission has been successful, we have doubled-down on this quest. The result? ONE MINUTE each morning is all that is needed for us, and you, to have hot breakfast and coffee!

You might be asking yourself, by what kind of sorcery is this possible? It’s a fair question, as the laws of physics do continue to exist on my stove.

Fortunately, you will not require any spells or incantations for this enchanting breakfast outcome. All you need is five minutes on a weekend to make this magic happen. Here are some tips:

We love a lazy Sunday as much as the next person. To help pep us up for 5 minutes of breakfast prep, we have 1-2 favorite, energizing songs queued up. May we suggest “Si no le contesto” by Plan B or a long-time favorite “Drunken Lullabies” by Flogging Molly. Play beat-the-song as you put ingredients together.

It’s a good idea to have all your necessary containers clean and ready. We gathered glassware and lids for this little adventure.

Have a plan. We chose to have our ‘magic potion’ coffee and oatmeal. Basically, you choose what you want to have with your meal items and put the non-perishable ingredients in the containers.

Some ideas for the coffee cup: instant coffee, collagen, protein powder, herbs or adaptogens

For the oatmeal container: oatmeal, chocolate, greens powder, hemp seeds, goji berries or other dried fruit, nuts

That’s it! On the day of, just add hot water and fresh fruit, if desired. There you go, a healthy one-minute breakfast all in less time than it takes to do a drive-thru run. You’re welcome!

Have more time for delicious, semi-leisurely breakfasts during the week or weekend? Check out our other delectable and nutritious ways to start your day:

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Southwestern Skillet

Cherry Almond Pancakes

Great Goji Groatmeal

Enjoy!

Discover the Digestive ‘Galaxy’ 🌌

There is a whole world within us. Not only are we complex human beings in the way we think, feel, and interact – we contain a universe (of sorts) in our intestines. That’s right, the human microbiome contains an estimated 100 trillion microbes – most of which live in our gut (our largest organ, the skin, also contains a microbiome).

The microbiome influences our energy balance and metabolism (e.g. risk for obesity and Type 2 diabetes), gut permeability (and whether one develops “leaky gut” syndrome and/or food sensitivities), immunity, and inflammation.

What influences the microbiome? Our diet, genetics, antibiotics, and probiotic foods being some of the most important aspects.

What to learn all about your digestive ‘galaxy’ and the common issues along the journey? Let’s start at the top and work our way down:

Day 2 and Day 3 are on the same YouTube channel. This is like a mini college course – Digestion 101 so feel free to take notes as you learn all about your digestive tract and ways to improve it #nerdoutwithme

BONUS: for additional information, support, and community – consider joining our Go with your Gut Facebook group

Chocolate & Banana Nice Cream đźŤ¨

My guilty pleasure recently has been Ben & Jerry’s The Tonight Dough” our early morning client mentioned. “I think I need to break up with it though. I love the flavor but I don’t like how it makes me feel afterwards.”

We get it. Sometimes the foods we love taste good on the tongue and then hit us a bit later with a painful stomachache or bloating. Since we are on Team Ice Cream, we have learned to find, and make, better options.

It may be late summer, but it’s never too late for ice cream, in our humble opinion. What’s even better is when the ice cream loves you back – and for clients with lactose-intolerance or dairy protein sensitivity, or those who just want a healthier option, this is a recipe for you.

Oh, and for those of you who remember Smucker’s Magic Shell – you can have your own chocolate syrup that transforms into a crispy topping. Ready, set, let’s make!

Ingredients

1.5 bananas (ripe bananas are sweeter)

1/4 cup cashews

1/2 tbsp of maple syrup (optional)

3/4 ounce of chocolate (a few squares, depending on the brand)

Dash of sea salt

Instructions

Peel the ripe bananas and stick them in a bag and into the freezer. It will take about 12 hours for it to fully freeze, so this will either have to be planned in advance or keep a nice stock of peeled bananas for when the craving strikes. Stick chocolate pieces in a double boiler to melt down. When the bananas are frozen, put them into the blender along with cashews, and maple syrup. Blend until smooth, crystalline consistency. Transfer to a bowl and carefully pour melted chocolate on top. Sprinkle a dash of sea salt and enjoy this decadent dessert!

CNBC: Allergies & Gluten

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We recently had the pleasure of educating the public about the top food allergies as well as the difference between gluten intolerance or sensitivity and celiac disease in a segment this past weekend.

The segment aired on Saturday, October 26th on CNBC but you can watch them on the Advancements website and Vimeo. Learn more about this important topic with these additional questions and answers:

Q: How are food allergies and food sensitivities becoming a growing public health concern?

A: Food allergies and food sensitivities are becoming a growing public health concern because of how it affects us in healthcare expenditures, our communities, schools and even in our own homes if a family member or friend has food allergies and sensitivities.

Food allergies can cause anaphylactic shock and are a huge concern. The ‘big 8’ allergens in the U.S. are milk and eggs, fish and shellfish, tree nuts and peanuts, wheat and soy. In other countries, including the United Kingdom, they have even more common allergies including lupin, sulfites, and celery.

Q: How does gluten affect a person with celiac disease versus one with a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten?

A: In someone with celiac disease, eating gluten causes the body to attack and destroy the villi in the small intestine, causing nutrient deficiencies and gastrointestinal issues including diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and weight loss. Even skin rashes, lactose intolerance, infertility and bone loss can be symptoms.

For a person with gluten sensitivity, the symptoms can be similar to the ones present with celiac disease minus the damage to the villi of the small intestine.

Q: What are the benefits of a gluten-free diet to those who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivities?

A: Following a lifelong gluten-free diet is imperative and the only treatment (thus far), for those with celiac disease. The good news is that the villi of the small intestine can heal and one can absorb more nutrients, have a decrease or elimination of symptoms, and have a reduced risk for colon cancer.

The benefit of a gluten-free diet to those with gluten sensitivity can be a lessening or even elimination of symptoms including skin rashes, headaches and migraines, bloating, stomach pains, and fatigue.

Q: Who else can benefit from following a gluten-free diet?

A: Some people with autism, eczema, multiple sclerosis, and chronic fatigue syndrome report feeling better when eliminating gluten from their diets. It is possible that they could have a gluten sensitivity and this may help explain why their symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet.

Also, some people have gone on a gluten-free diet as a means for weight loss, but it is not necessary nor recommended.

 

Celiac vs. Gluten Intolerance

nomenclature

Source: Sapone A, et al. Spectrum of gluten-related disorders: consensus on new nomenclature and classification. BMC Medicine. 2012; 2013

Gluten is the scary gremlin on the health scene. Just because your best friend, neighbor, or favorite celebrity is gluten-free, does that mean you should be too?

What is gluten? It’s a collective term for a group of proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley and derivatives (i.e. spelt, einkorn). Gluten is well-recognized for giving breads a doughy, elastic structure; but beyond breads, it is used as a thickening agent and flavor enhancer.

Quick note: Gliadins and glutenins are the two main components of the gluten fraction of the wheat seed. Some experts maintain that gliadins are catalysts for problems typically attributed to gluten.

Celiac disease

For those with celiac disease (CD), exposure to gluten triggers an autoimmune attack on the intestines. When the villi (finger-like projections) of the intestines become damaged, the body cannot absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to malnourishment and serious chronic health conditions.

People generally develop celiac from a combination of genetic disposition for the disease, a stressful event triggering the genes, and a diet with exposure to gluten, wheat, gliadin, barley, etc.

The diagnosis of celiac disease can be challenging since it shares symptoms to other conditions such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis, and even lactose intolerance. Blood tests can reveal auto-antibodies to gluten and often an endoscopy follows; this is where a biopsy can reveal intestinal damage, if one hasn’t started a gluten-free diet already. The presence of genetic markers HLA-DQ2 and/or HLA-DQ8 only shows you may develop CD; it is not a confirmed diagnosis for CD as not all of our genes fully express. Because those with celiac are at risk of malnutrition , other auto-immune conditions, cancer, and osteoporosis, proper diagnosis and support is essential.

For those with celiac disease, it is essential to avoid gliadin/gluten for the remainder of life.

Wheat allergy

Wheat is one of the 8 most common food allergens in the United States. The reaction to ingesting wheat can include rashes, hives, swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, a rapid heart-rate and anxiety.

Unlike celiac disease, where there’s an immune reaction to all gluten-containing grains, for those with a wheat allergy there is only a reaction to the proteins in wheat. Wheat allergies can be diagnosed via a skin prick or blood test.

Sometimes wheat allergies are diagnosed in children but can fade in time.

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity

People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) may experience
similar symptoms as those with CD (including gas, bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, headaches, forgetfulness/foggy thinking), however, antibodies to gluten are not produced nor is there intestinal damage (two hallmarks of CD). There’s not enough evidence to know for sure if eating small amounts of gluten causes damage.

Interestingly enough, there is evidence linking gluten intolerance to a number of other health conditions including autism, depression, digestive disorders, even schizophrenia.

The symptoms often improve after removal of gluten from the diet.

Detecting gluten sensitivity is difficult since there is currently no accepted diagnostic test for NCGS. It is important to rule out celiac disease and wheat allergy. An elimination diet should be done under supervision of an expert nutritionist.

If you suspect you have celiac disease, wheat allergy, or gluten sensitivity, it is important to get a proper diagnosis and work with a qualified healthcare professional on an elimination diet and food sensitivity test as well as support for following a gluten-free diet.

gluten testing

The results of an individual’s food sensitivity testing showing gluten, gliadin, and wheat as issues.

#2 Problems Solved! Have the Perfect Poo

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If your bathroom visit has you feeling less-than-stellar, whether from incomplete bowel evacuation or runny rapid transit, you may wonder what’s going on with your gut. We will solve the mysteries of these #2 issues so that you can sit down and take action!

What’s your number?
If you’re looking at the stool chart feeling as through you run the gamut of each type, start to observe toilet clues and investigate reasons that may underlie issues of diarrhea and constipation. Like most changes, this starts with awareness. Track the number associated with the Bristol stool chart type that best matches your bowel movement.

Water makes all the difference. Diarrhea results when the intestine doesn’t have time to reabsorb all the water from the food waste before it exits. On the other hand, if too much water being reabsorbed, constipation occurs and results in hard, dry rabbit-poo-like stools.

When you can’t wait another second….diarrhea. Common causes of diarrhea include:
Food allergies or sensitivities
Lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance/Celiac disease, or malabsorption of fructose
Hyperthyroidism
Emotional stress
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Gastrointestinal infection

Sh*t happens….hopefully. Constipation involves the passing of hard, dry stools that resemble rabbit or deer excrement. Are you eating sugar, processed carbs, packaged foods? If so, you’re at higher risk for constipation. Or perhaps it’s one of these common issues:
Low fiber intake (or too much fiber and not enough water)
Food allergies (dairy and wheat can also lead to constipation issues for some)
Hypothyroidism & hormonal imbalance
Lack of physical activity
Dehydration
Issues with the nerves or muscles in the intestinal tract

Whoa! That stinks!
If you find that your flatulence clears a room or your BMs are so stinky they cause a plane to turn back, there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. For the deadly gas (silence optional), the problem has its roots in sulfur compounds. One reason why flatulence can flatten the mood: bacteria adds sulfates to trapped air bubbles in the gut, creating smelly farts. Food can lead to foul smells particularly when one is consuming foods high in sulfur (think Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, garlic, and onion).

Smelly poo can have its origins from food as well. Those who eat a lot of animal protein tend to have stinkier BMs. A weak digestive system will contribute to foods not breaking down well and putrefying in the gut. Poor diet and stress often have key roles to play as can food sensitivities and inflammatory bowel disorders.

Have the Perfect Poo
Though seemingly as mythical as unicorns, some people claim to have the perfect poos. You can too! First, you have to know what you’re aiming for. On the Bristol stool chart, a perfect poo would ideally be a 4, with 3 and 5 being strong contenders. Let your competitive side show as you try some of these tips to improve your digestive wellness.

  • Get more fiber (think fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains)
  • Drink enough water! Some people like to jazz it up with some lemon and/or mint.
  • Address any underlying thyroid issues
  • Consider eliminating gluten and/or dairy from the diet (both are a common cause of diarrhea and constipation) or other foods on your sensitivity results
  • Fermented foods (i.e. kimchi, yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut) may be beneficial as they can support the colonization of healthy bacteria in the gut. Consider a probiotic supplement.
  • Exercise!
  • Incorporate stress management techniques
  • Get enough sleep

It is important to give your body the tools it needs to be healthy. Every piece of food eaten is broken down and nutrients are absorbed. If it passes too quickly in the digestive tract, important nutrients are missed. If it takes too long, damage may occur in the colon (think diverticulitis as an example). Remember that there are plenty of neurotransmitters in your gut and the brain-gut connection is real. Your thoughts, anxiety, depression, stress, and mood impact your gut.  With all of the information and ideas presented, what step will you take to  achieve gastrointestinal balance? 

Dangers of Dairy

Most have see the “got milk?” campaign and heard the claim “milk does a body good”; the product is promoted for its benefits mainly related to the importance of calcium in the human body. The USDA pyramid calls for everyone over the age of 8 to have 3 cups of dairy per day. What does that translate to in terms of various milk products? From the ChooseMyPlate.gov website it could be “1 cup of milk, yogurt, or soymilk (soy beverage), 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese.” Yes, this counts:

photo source:  abcnews.go.com

photo source: abcnews.go.com

That’s ludicous enough, but here’s another fun fact: the US Department of Agriculture has both the duty of supporting agriculture as well as promoting the dietary guidelines telling Americans what to eat. Conflict of interest much? Quite a few nutrition experts we’ve learned from- including Dr. Hyman, Dr. Marion Nestle, and Dr. Walter Willet- suggest that the USDA’s recommendations mainly reflect politics, not science, and that dairy may be nature’s perfect food…

…for a calf.

As for humans, it may be worth exercising caution. Here’s why:

1. Not everyone tolerates lactose well. Many people who experience negative reactions to milk may not be allergic to it (though an intolerance to dairy is possibly) but they may have lactose intolerance, meaning that they aren’t able to digest the milk sugar found in the milk. These undigested sugars often end up causing gas, cramping, bloating, and diarrhea. Unfortunately certain ethnic groups such as Asians, Native Americans, and Africans have a higher rate of lactose intolerance than their Caucasian counterparts.

2. Bone Health? The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, including more than 75,000 women who were followed for 12 years, found that there was not any protective benefit of increased milk consumption on fracture risk. Surprisingly, the increased intake of calcium from dairy sources was associated with a higher risk. You can decrease your risk for osteoporosis by exercising and increasing calcium intake from plant foods such as leafy green vegetables, beans, tahini as well as calcium-fortified products.

3. Contaminants. Synthetic hormones, such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBST), are commonly used in dairy cows to increase milk production. This commonly leads to mastitis or inflammation of the cow’s mammary glands and the treatment involves antibiotics. Traces of hormones, antibiotics, blood, pus, and other dirty items can end up in milk – which is, in part, why it’s pasteurized or even Ultra High Temperature (UHT) pasteurized (this also helps keep it shelf-stable longer). All to keep you safe, right? Some argue that pasteurization kills the bad and good bacteria as well as denaturing proteins.  Also, cows are often fed GMO corn and soy products. These are all items for consideration.

4. Even without the addition of synthetic hormones, there are still anabolic hormones contained in milk and these are designed to take a just-born calf at about 85lbs and grow it into a 1000+ cow. What do you think it’s doing to humans?

5. Extra calories. In a time where we are experiencing an epidemic of overweight and obesity, do we really need more calories from beverages or cheese? With the former, consider that water and tea, even coffee, are much lower calorie alternatives.

6. Other connections. Over the years, we’ve seen that dairy can affect individuals in a variety of ways – sinus & ear infections, skin issues such as acne, as well as diarrhea and/or constipation. It’s important to pay attention to your individual results.

Milk and dairy products are not inherently evil but they also aren’t necessary for a healthy diet. Eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fruit (and fortified foods, if desired). They can help you reach your vitamin and mineral requirements without the potentially adverse effects of dairy.

If you desire to consume milk or dairy products, consider buying the highest-quality sources; other alternatives are using non-dairy milk, or going without.

Sources:

http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html
http://www.dairymoos.com/how-much-do-cows-weight/

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