How to improve digestive health in kids with 3 easy foods!

Every child experiences digestive health issues at one time or another.  By adding in the following foods to your child’s diet, you will help increase the health of the digestive system.   That way digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhea only come around once in awhile or not at all!

1)      Flax seeds– Extremely high in nutrients this superfood is great for children who need digestive support.  In my experience, many of my young client’s struggle with constipation and flax has been very helpful.    They are high in insoluble and soluble fiber and healthy fats (Omega-3 fatty acids) and therefore can support healthy elimination.  In fact, flax seeds are the richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids in plant-based form.  Flax seeds also contain a decent amount of protein and vitamins such as B1 and B6 as well as several minerals including manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, iron, potassium, copper, and zinc. Due to the high fiber content, if your child struggles with diarrhea you may want to skip flax seeds as it can further loosen stools. I recommend you use a coffee grinder to grind the seeds shortly before use as the seeds are difficult to digest whole and lose their nutrient value as they are stored as flax meal (ground up).  Then they are easy to sprinkle on oatmeal or add to smoothies.

2)      Prebiotic Foods– Say what?  Many people have never heard of prebiotic foods.  Prebiotic foods have been in the spotlight lately as more research is linking our health to a healthy gut microbiome.  Prebiotic foods nourish healthy bacteria in our gut.   These foods include garlic, onions, carrots, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, and jicama.   Some of these foods may be more kid-friendly than others, but get some in their diet if you can.  Carrot sticks are usually pretty easy to get kids to eat.  You could also make a soup of potatoes, carrots, peas, onions, garlic, asparagus, leeks, and salt and pepper and run it through a blender.  Yes the soup will be green, but if they can get past the color, I have found many of my young client’s love this soup, otherwise you can always try just potatoes, leeks, carrots, onion, and garlic to make it orange.

3)      Probiotic Foods– Foods that contain live bacteria is excellent for your child’s health, especially their digestive health.  These foods include non-dairy kefir or yogurt, kombucha, fermented vegetables such as pickles, beets, or carrots, miso, and raw apple cider vinegar.  Yogurt is probably the easiest to get into kids, just make sure there is not too much sugar or it defeats the purpose.  You can also buy unflavored and add raw honey and frozen fruit.  You can add a few of the fermented vegetables to salads or stir fries after cooking.  Try making your own salad dressing using half raw apple cider vinegar and half your preferred vinegar (such as balsamic), olive oil or avocado oil and spices.

It is important to maintain digestive health, but it may be even more frustrating or difficult if a child is taking medications, especially antibiotics.  Antibiotics work by killing all the bacteria in the body, unfortunately the healthy bacteria is destroyed as well.  The healthy bacteria help keep our kids from getting sick.  If we are not replacing the good bacteria they are more susceptible to illness.  This is often why you end up giving several rounds of antibiotics to your child to treat a reoccurring sinus or ear infection.   The gut microbiome must be balanced and incorporating these foods I discussed is a great way to start.

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Who else wants healthier kids?! 4 Best foods for boosting your child’s immune system during the cold & flu season.

Try these easy tips for healthier kids!

1)      Garlic– a natural antibiotic, garlic is also considered a pre-biotic food meaning it nourishes the healthy bacteria in the body’s complex microbiome.  This increases the functioning of the immune system. Throw fresh chopped garlic in soups and stews for maintenance, however, if a cold is onset, it’s best to consume raw.  You can chop finely and add to a teaspoon of raw honey to help the taste and add in additional nutrients.

2)      Camu Camu– This superfood you may have never heard of, but you should definitely add it to your list of immune boosters because this superfood boasts 60 times more vitamin C than an orange! This antioxidant-rich berry from the Amazon is also a plentiful source of potassium, calcium, protein, beta carotene, amino acids and powerful phytochemicals.  The fruit is not readily available in North America, but the powder and capsules are easy to find.  Just throw it in a smoothie or mix in applesauce.  Also as a side note, it may be best to give in the morning because it provides a natural energy boost that may not be ideal for kiddos in the evening if you are not into late bedtimes like most parents.

3)      Elderberry– There are many health enthusiasts who tout this superfood full of flavonoids which are known to boost the immune system when fall rolls around and kids go back to school.  There are lots of great recipes to keep your kids healthy for example this homemade elderberry syrup or try these flu-busting gummies.  Just know this is a great maintenance food taken once a day, but if a cold is onset you will want to increase to 4 times/day.

4)      Liver– This nutrient-dense superstar is certainly one of nature’s multi-vitamins. It is nature’s most concentrated form of vitamin A, which is very important for immune health.  It contains many b vitamins as well as trace minerals copper, zinc, and chromium all necessary for healthy immune function.  Liver is a highly usable form of iron.  If children are anemic their immune systems will be weaker, so liver is a great way to help ensure a proper hemoglobin count.  There is also an unidentified anti-fatigue factor to liver.  This is very subtle so shouldn’t keep your kids up all night.  If me talking about your family consuming liver makes you want to gag!  Don’t worry,  it is available in capsule or powder form as well, which makes it pretty easy to sneak into savory dishes.  Throw a little of the powder into your crockpot beef stew and you and your kids (hopefully) will be none the wiser.

These small changes can make a big impact in the health of your kids so that you can enjoy more fun time and less sick time this fall and winter!

 

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28-Day Cleanse! Only 28 days to a healthier you!


Are you ready for summer and beach season?  It was a very long winter and I bet we all ate a little more junk food than we should have.  Never fear…

Now offering the 28 Day Cleanse using functional foods and a modified elimination diet only from Xymogen and for a limited time 25% off!

You may be wondering am I a candidate for a detox program?

Yes, if you do not feel as healthy and energetic as you should be

Yes, if you are chronically exposed to a toxic environment

Yes, if you have had a recent acute toxic exposure

It is theorized that the elimination of certain foods and the provision of a low-glycemic, anti-oxidant rich diet supports general health.  This plan goes beyond dietary modification and strives to achieve an optimal health outcome.  It incorporates very high-quality, clinically tested functional food “shakes” and supplements that contain ingredients that research suggests supports healthy body composition and the body’s natural detoxification mechanisms.

A message from David Perlmutter, MD, FACN, Xymogen Chief Medical Officer

“The fundamental first step in any interventional program for toxicity-metobolic, or cytokine-related health issues is reestablishing both normal GI health and hepatic detoxification function.  The 28-day cleanse using i5 or the OptiCleanse formulas provides powerful and comprehensive approach to achieving these goals.  Our patients find these formulas simple to use and appreciate the efforts made to develop truly good-tasting products.”

Give me a call to learn more 203-710-3925!

Blissfully yours,

Gail Perrella M.S., C.N.S


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Super Food of the Week-Avocado!


This week I would like to discuss avocado which is one of the best sources of fat! Yes fat is essential for health, the right kind of fat that is. Avocado’s have an abundance of monounsaturated fats. Sometimes when people are trying to eat healthy they try to reduce fat as much as possible. In their minds eating too much fat will equal an increase of fat on their bodies. I will spare you the biochemistry lesson and simply tell you that the right fat can actually decrease fat storage on your body. Why? Because fat calories make you feel fuller longer and helps keep you from eating empty calories. There have been numerous studies pointing avocado consumption to reduced belly fat, that could partly be due to their high fiber content. Avocados are filled with vitamins A, C, E and K. From a mineral standpoint they contain potassium, copper, and iron. Avocados have one of the highest amino acid contents of all fruit, including glutamine, which is healing for the gut and helps protect skin from environmental damage. They are easy to digest and have anti-aging benefits. I recommend eating avocados at least twice a week. Stick to only 1/2 avocado per serving as they are still high in calories.

Avocado & Blueberry Salad:

3 cups blueberries

1 medium avocado, peeled and cut into 1-inch squares

3 Tbs. fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp. powdered stevia or about 10-12 drops liquid stevia

Directions:

Add the blueberries and avocado to a mixing bowl. Whisk together the lime juice and stevia, and pour over the fruit. Gently toss together, being careful not to smash the avocado.

Blissfully yours,

Gail Perrella, M.S., C.N.S


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Super Food of the Week-WILD Salmon!


This week I would like to discuss one of the most nutritious animal foods from the sea. You may have noticed I capitalized WILD and this was by no accident. There is a huge nutritional difference between WILD salmon and farmed salmon. For starters look at the color of the fish, both are pink, however the reason they are the same color are for two totally different reasons. WILD salmon is in its natural habitat in the ocean where it mostly eats smaller fish called Krill. Krill is naturally red and therefore naturally gives WILD salmon this beautiful hue. Why is farmed salmon pink? Well in short for marketing purposes, so you the unsuspecting consumer thinks its the same as WILD salmon. How do they do it? Farmed salmon is fed food with artificial coloring so you think they are naturally pink. Yuck! Farmed salmon is also higher in fat and toxins. If you are taking the effort to eat salmon I have to assume you are trying to be healthy by also avoiding artificial coloring and toxins as well. Make sure the next time you are at the fish counter you specify WILD salmon.

Nutritional benefits of WILD salmon include:

  • High quality protein
  • Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D-one of the highest sources found in foods without supplementation
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin E

Bottom line WILD salmon is anti-inflammatory. It can be said that disease stems from inflammation, so eating WILD salmon 1-2/week could help protect you from an array of illnesses including heart disease, stroke, Alzheimers, Type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, colitis, depression, asthma, and even certain cancers. Its high Omega 3 content is also crucial for brain development in infants/children and brain maintenance in adults.

Coconut encrusted seared WILD salmon

Ingredients:

4, 6 oz salmon fillets

3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1/4 cup of coconut oil (melted)

salt and pepper to taste

1 lime

Pre-heat non-stick pan low-med heat. Rinse salmon and place on prep plate. Drizzle coconut oil on flesh side and sprinkle with salt and pepper. On a separate plate, have coconut ready. Place flesh side of fish on coconut plate and it will stick. Coconut will be loose, so carefully put coconut side down, skin side up in warm pan. Repeat with other fillets. Flip after about 5-7 minutes. Amount of time for salmon to cook varies according to thickness and size. Average cooking time is 15 minutes. Fish is done when it flakes. Drizzle with lime juice when done.

Blissfully yours,

Gail Perrella M.S., C.N.S.


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Super Food of the Week – Kale!


Happy New Year! Its the beginning of 2014 and since most people have resolutions revolving around health and weight loss I thought I would help out by offering a weekly superfood + recipe for the entire year. Superfoods or nutrient-dense foods offer the biggest bang for their buck, in other words, they are packed with nutrients based on the volume you have to consume compared with other foods with a less stellar nutrient profile. Why is this important? Because the more nutrients you get the less your body will want you to overeat resulting in potential weight loss. Also nutrients are responsible for repairing and healing the body decreasing the chances for illness and disease.

I must start the year with one of my favorite foods kale. I love eating kale so many different ways. Kale chips, kale in fresh juice, kale in smoothies, salads and soups. Kale has an abundance of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C as well as large amounts of manganese, iron, copper, and calcium. Further kale is anti-aging due to powerful antioxidants knows as carotenoids and flavonoids which protect the body from oxidative stress. There have even been studies that have shown that there are specific flavanoids in kale that fight against the formation of cancerous cells. Kale is also rich in free-form amino acids helping build muscle. Kale is high in fiber that helps everything flowing properly which helps detox the body. Kale truly provides many amazing health benefits. I would recommend eating kale at least 2-3 times per week.

KALE GUACAMOLE (from Healthy Recipe Ecstasy)

Prep time:15 mins  Total time:15 mins

SnackServes: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • ½ of a medium shallot (yields approx. two tablespoons chopped)
  • 2 cups loosely packed kale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
  • 1 small jalapeno, chopped and seeded (I wanted a mild guacamole, but if you want more heat, keep the seeds and/or use a larger jalapeno)
  • 3 medium avocados
  • Half of a lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop the garlic and shallots. Chop the kale and remove the hard stems. Massage kale to help it break down.
  2. Add garlic, shallots and kale to the food processor along with one tablespoon olive oil. Process until smooth. Add cilantro, parsley, and jalapeno to the food processor and process until all the ingredients are combined.
  3. Put the kale mixture in a medium bowl. Roughly chop the avocados so they’re easier to mash. Add the avocados to the bowl. Add two tablespoons olive oil and mash the avocados and kale mixture until creamy and combined. Add lime juice from the lime half and salt and pepper to taste. Give the guacamole a final mix.

Blissfully yours,

Gail Perrella, M.S.  C.N.S.


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Healthy Living with Proper Nutrition & Diet


From a biochemical and physiological standpoint, natural remedies are essential for most people to remain in balance with our modern lifestyle. Our nutritional requirements vary person to person as much as one’s eye prescription. We are all aware that eyeglasses or contact lenses are personalized to each individual’s eye prescription; so why would we think that our personal nutrition is a one size fits all? The question is, which natural remedies does one need to supplement in order to correct and maintain healthy living? The answer is not so easy, it depends on many factors including genetic makeup, diet, environment, and even lifestyle such as stress and sleep.

That is why it is so critical to see a professional for nutritional consulting. At the end of the day you are wasting your money if you are taking a supplement you don’t need and/or an ineffective supplement due to poor quality. Furthermore, even though a food is considered “healthy,” if your body has an allergy or sensitivity to it, you should avoid or limit that food because the body will have difficulty with digestion and absorbing nutrients.

Gail’s Simple Rules for Healthy Living

  1. Drink more water.  The body is composed of 60-70% water and is required for many if not all functions of the body.  If possible only drink water with the exception of small amounts of coffee, tea, or red wine.  DITCH the soda both diet and regular as they are health disasters.  If you feel the need for carbonation try club soda or sparkling water garnished with fruit.  If you are drinking tap water I highly encourage a water system.  Ensure that it removes fluoride as some systems don’t.  You can get an under the sink filtration system online for around $200 and it is relatively easy to install (even my husband can do it.)
  2. Get more sleep.  I find it amazing how many people report they sleep only 5-6 hours per night.  Although researchers are still uncovering why sleep is so essential to health it’s not hard to find the health issues that may accompany lack of sleep including weight gain, moodiness, decreased sex drive, anxiety, and lack of concentration.  Get a minimum of 7, although 8 is better and if possible go to bed early.  Experts agree the quality of sleep is better earlier. It may have something to do with how our body is used to functioning. Before modern times we would go to bed when the sun went down and got up with the sun.
  3. Eat whole foods.  Unlimited vegetables, however keep the starchy vegetables to 1-2 serving per day which include sweet potatoes and butternut squash, some fruits, some raw nuts/seeds, small amounts of gluten-free grains, and small amounts of lean, high quality meat.  When choosing fruits and vegetables try to eat many different types of colors also known as the rainbow diet.  Also try to buy organic and local if possible.  Recent studies indicate that organic produce is 97% more nutrient than conventional produce. Try to eat a large portion of your foods raw as cooking destroys valuable nutrients including enzymes which are essential for digestion.  Remember the less ingredients the better.  Typically less ingredients = better digestion and food absorption as well as less toxins that our body has to process.  It is also important to include fermented foods in the diet on a regular basis in order to balance intestinal flora which is responsible for gut health.  These foods include kombucha, raw apple cider vinegar, kimchi, raw fermented veggies such as sauerkrat, and occasionally fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh, however please ensure they are made from organic soy.  You can typically find these foods readily available at your local health food store or Whole Foods.  
  4. Avoid genetically modified organisms (GMOs), gluten, dairy, processed sugar, partially hydrogenated oils/trans fat, food additives including msg, food coloring, all artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and high-fructose corn syrup. Why you ask?  Because these foods are inflammatory and toxic resulting in a variety of health issues.  Many are neurotoxic meaning they are poisonous to nerves or nerve cells which affects our nervous system.
  5. Remember the rule not the exception is the biggest key for creating a successful healthy lifestyle.  For success I don’t recommend “dieting,” calorie counting is a big waste of time and can make people crazy and quite possibly nutrient deficient.  Instead follow Rule #3 and #4 most of the time.  If you slip up no big deal, you can always eat better at the next meal.  Try and adhere to the 80/20 Rule which means eat very healthy 80% of the time and “cheat” 20% of the time.  Better still, I try to follow the 90/10 Rule.  Therefore you SHOULD have a piece of cake at your child’s birthday party (just make it a small piece and don’t forget your digestive enzyme).
  6. Avoid household chemicals whenever possible; these includes toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and makeup.  Your toothpaste should be fluoride-free and without harsh chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate.  Newer research indicates that fluoride has no benefit to protecting your teeth’s health.  Soap and shampoos can surprisingly contain many toxic ingredients. The skin is the largest organ so you’d better believe it’s absorbing whatever you put on it.  I even recommend a water filter for the shower.  The beauty benefit is softer skin and hair, but the health benefit is less toxins for your body to process when chemicals such as fluoride and chlorine are removed.
  7. Exercise on a regular basis.  Whether you feel drawn to yoga, cross-training, or walking, make sure you are able to find something that you enjoy because you are more likely to stick with it.  It may also be a good idea to switch it up sometimes so you may do one activity one day and another activity another day.  Increase the frequency to most days of the week if you are doing low-intensity work outs such as walking and you may decide to decrease frequency to 3-5 days a week for higher intensity work outs such as cross-training.  
  8. In addition to regular exercise find another way of reducing your stress.  Meditating is an excellent example of this and is why I am such a big fan of yoga because you are meditating and exercising at the same time.  If you are not into yoga take 10-15 minutes a day to just close your eyes, breathe deep, and just be.  You will be amazed at how much better you will feel after practicing this for a few days. Regular sex is also great stress reliever and can have positive benefits on your mood.
  9. Get a yearly physical including blood work, an eye exam, and have your teeth cleaned twice a year.  Yearly blood work will help keep a pulse on what is going on in your body so that you can be preventative vs.reactive to health issues that may arise.  There are many other wonderful assessment tools that can be utilized throughout the year to further gather information on how your body is functioning.  Many people don’t realize how important eye exams are for health. Regular eye exams can detect health issues very early on and are relatively non-invasive.  Proper maintenance of your teeth can also keep you healthy.  Poor oral health can result in issues such as gingivitis and is now linked to a variety of heart conditions.
  10. Although this is my last tip it is one of the most important ones.  Ensure proper bowel health. It is said that 70% of our immune system is held in the gut.  Further, new research indicates that the gut is actually the 2nd brain linking gut imbalances to brain imbalances.  It is recommended that you should be eliminating after each meal or at least twice a day.  Your bowel movement should be thick, brown and in the shape of an S.  It should flow easily and you should not have to strain.  Please, no reading the newspaper while doing the deed!  With proper bowel health you would only have enough time to read a couple of sentences. The Standard American Diet is not conducive to proper bowel elimination.  Almost all of my clients need work in this area and once gut health is addressed the rest of the body can then be balanced.

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Certified Nutrition Specialist versus Registered Dietian


A Registered Dietian (R.D.) focuses on following the food guide pyramid and ensuring clients get the proper breakdown of fats, carbs, and protein, and the correct amount of total calories. The food guide pyramid is not a formula for ensuring optimal health. Some R.D.s do continue their education above and beyond their undergraduate degree and licensing exams so that they are able to consult patients/clients in more specific areas, however food is typically where their expertise ends. Don’t expect a typical R.D. to be able to counsel you on nutritional, homeopathic, or botanical supplements. Further many R.D.s work for hospitals or other institutions, this means politics may unfortunately play into their recommendations.

In most states including Connecticut, a nutritionist is a term that can be used by basically anyone. It is important that you differentiate how your practitioner was educated and what credentials he/she holds.

A Certified Nutrition Specialist (C.N.S.) is a nutrition practitioner or a person who uses nutrition therapy to address health needs, according to clinical nutritionist and C.N.S. Corinne Bush. C.N.S.’s have an advanced degree (master’s level or above) in nutrition or a related field from an accredited university. C.N.S.’s must pass the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists (CBNS) examination on science-based nutrition therapy.
According to the Chicago Tribune you should always look at credentials and remember that a C.N.S. usually, but not always, has the most advanced science-based training.

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