Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's the Deal with Probiotics?

Tonight in the class I am teaching at the Boston Center for Adult Education, we talked about probiotics. Probiotics are generating a lot of buzz in the food industry lately; they're being added to products where they don't naturally occur, as they do in the most famous probiotic source: yogurt.

Well, let's start off with explaining what they are and why they're important. First of all, the term "probiotics" was coined to contrast "antibiotics". And it means "for life". Probiotics are a beneficial bacteria that are normally present in the digestive tract. They are vital for proper digestion, but they also serve other important functions such as synthesizing vitamins, supporting and fortifying a strong immune system, detoxifying the liver, alleviating inflammatory conditions, such as Crohn's Disease and for preventing the overgrowth of yeast. For people who've experienced chronic yeast infections, yogurt was seen as a panacea. Anyone who has attended one of my Sugar Solutions Workshops know my feelings on yogurt. I am talking about the commercial kind, which is full of unnecessary sugars - and lots of it. If people want to continue to have yogurt in their diet, the only kind I can recommend is plain. If you wish to sweeten it, do so by adding your own fruit or a gentle, natural sweetener, like agave nectar. Don't buy yogurt with sugar (most contain added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fructose and pectin). And remember, yogurt is not the only food with probiotics. There are various sources, all of which are cultured or fermented and they include:
  • sauerkraut (fermented cabbage)
  • kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage with spices)
  • miso
  • tempeh
  • soy sauce (choose low/no sodium variety)
  • umeboshi plum or other pickled fruit and vegetables
  • kombucha tea (raw, not hot)

Whenever I teach this class, I treat my students to a beverage that tastes great and has many benefits including probiotics and that is the final item on the list above; kombucha tea. The brand I recommend is GT Dave's, as it contains only raw, cultured kombucha and their Synergy version contains juice from whole fruits; no sugar or other ingredients are permitted! There are other cold kombucha teas available, but they are watered down and contain sugar and other ingredients that reduce the benefits of the kombucha itself. It's a fermented mushroom tea, made in small batches and can be purchased at health food stores, including Whole Foods, in their refrigerated beverages section. GT Dave's kombucha is all natural, organic, raw, vegan and kosher. It contains no caffeine, coloring, preservatives or additives. This tea has been used for hundreds of years and contains many healing benefits; some people call it miraculous. It's very unique taste will add a twist to your diet. It's the perfect way to add probiotics into your life. Try it today!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm a Little Neti Pot .....

I'm a little neti pot, short and stout

Here is my handle, here is my spout

When you are all stuffed up, put me in your snout

Tip me over and pour me out!

I've been really sick for over a week and I think I am finally starting to improve this morning! One of my homeopathic remedies includes the ancient neti pot; a centuries-old ayurvedic nasal irrigation tool for health. The pot is filled with warm water and salt. The spout is inserted in one nostril, with your head at an angle. The goal is to have the saline come out of the other nostril, thus moving the mucus out of your sinus cavity. This can be tough to master at first; worst case scenario, the water may come down your throat vs. your opposite nostril. This is okay, if you spit the mucus out, instead of swallowing it. This will still expel it from your body, until you finally do it the correct way.

My mother's remedy for sore throats was to always gargle with warm water and salt. As kids, we hated to do it, but it did work. So, much like the way the saline solution works on clearing the throat, it does the same for clearing the nose. No prescription required! And no side effects!

Consider adding a neti pot to your medicine cabinet; it might be tricky to master at first, but you will reap the benefits immediately!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Upcoming Events with Kathleen

Here is a listing of my upcoming classes and workshops:

Demystifying the Mediterranean Diet
Wednesday, September 24th @ 6:00 PM - Boston Center for Adult Education

Nutrition Made Simple
Tuesday, September 23rd - Tuesday October 28 @ 6:00 PM
6-week course at the Boston Center for Adult Education

Sugar Solutions: How To Tame Your Sweet Tooth
Wednesday, October 22nd @ 6:15 PM - Healthworks Chestnut Hill
Wednesday, November 12th @ 6:00 PM - Healthworks Porter Square
Wednesday, November 19th @ 6:00 PM - Boston Center for Adult Education

For class and workshop descriptions, please visit my website's events page by CLICKING HERE

Please join me for one of these classes. I promise that you will learn a lot, have fun and will begin to see how what we eat affects everything. Therefore, when diet changes, everything changes. Ready to make a change for the better? If so, I hope to see you in class!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Amplify Love, Dissipate Hate

Back in 2002 while visiting Ground Zero in Manhattan, amid the many thousands of memorials draped over the fence, I came across some home-made stickers, which encouraged observers to:

AMPLIFY: to expand, to make larger or greater

DISSIPATE: to break up and drive off, to cause to spread thin or scatter and vanish

So, amplify love, indeed. To dissipate hate, a must.

Today, on the 7th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, let us take these simple four words and put them into practice. The sticker I took has been on my fridge since the day I got back from New York back in 2002, reminding me to amplify love and to dissipate hate. I hope these words inspire and comfort you today.