Empowered Sustenance http://empoweredsustenance.com Eat well and heal!™ Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:44:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 15 Clever Tips for Allergy-Friendly Travel http://empoweredsustenance.com/allergy-friendly-travel-tips/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/allergy-friendly-travel-tips/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:43:52 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=7792 Today’s post is from my dear friend Shelby. Unlike other guest writers I’ve hosted, Shelby isn’t a blogger but offered anyway to share her tips for traveling on a restricted diet. She travels for her job each week, and we were talking about how she manages to stick to her dietary restrictions. I loved hearing her brilliant […]

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allergy friendly travel

Today’s post is from my dear friend Shelby. Unlike other guest writers I’ve hosted, Shelby isn’t a blogger but offered anyway to share her tips for traveling on a restricted diet. She travels for her job each week, and we were talking about how she manages to stick to her dietary restrictions. I loved hearing her brilliant suggestions and she generously offered to write this post for you!

shelby-8545-2Hi! My name is Shelby and I am one of Lauren’s good friends in Virinia. Like her, I’ve seen a tremendous health transformation from eliminating grains and following a mostly Paleo framework for my daily diet. Because my job requires weekly air travel, I have had to develop quite a few strategies to maintain my diet and health while I am on the road. Here are the top tips I recommend…

Things to bring…

1. A freeze-able lunch box like this one and some portable utensils like these –I don’t bring all my meals with me when I travel, but I do like to have some home cooked food with me. This lunch box allows me to keep the food cold while I am on the plane before I can put in in the fridge at my hotel. I often include it in my carry on and have no problem getting through security.

2. Protein to have on hand – Snacks like the bison epic bar, beef jerky, sardines and jarred tuna work really well if I get hungry while traveling, or if I need some quick protein for breakfast.

3. Good quality fats – I love these little packets of coconut oil that I can use to increase the staying power of meals or for oil pulling in the morning. I have also been known to fill a small glass bottle or two with good quality extra virgin olive oil before I head out each week.

4. A kit with real food snacks –Some of my favorites are dried fruits, freeze dried fruits, and Kit’s Organic Fruit + Seed Bars which are nut-free.

5. Strategic supplementation—I generally take more supplements while I’m travelling just to make sure I’m getting the appropriate amounts of nutrients, and these travel pill packs keep me organized.

6. Pure beauty products – Although I tend to be ingredient conscious about all the products I use, I try to be especially aware of what I’m using when I travel. 100% Pure makeup products are great, and I also love the travel size version of Dr. Bronner’s soap and Morocco Method sample-size shampoos.

7. Items that make my hotel feel like home – I have a travel candle and a picture from my wedding that I keep in my suitcase to make my hotel room feel more cozy.

To do while in transit…

8. Some airport food is okay to eat – Airports have recently come a long way when it comes to providing healthy food. A lot of shops have fresh fruit, fresh veggies, or dried fruit options like these chips. Several major airports also have CIBO Express stores which provide a wide array of health snack brands. The international terminal at JFK airport even has a nice salad bar.

9. While no airplane food is okay to eat – I have a strict “no eating airline food” rule. It is full of preservatives. Disgusting.

10. Make use of some airplane drink essentials – I love to add Natural Calm Packets, Matcha green tea packets, or Aloha juice powder to my water to get a nutrient boost during the flight.

At your destination…

11. Befriend your hotel – Since I usually go to the same city and same hotel each week, I store some items there over the weekend including my workout shoes and different kinds of tea. I also make sure that my hotel room has a fridge, and occasionally I will request a microwave.

12. Keep up detox practices – I can’t say I’m the best at keeping up with detox practices while travelling, but it’s very easy to bring your dry brush with you or bring a jump rope to do a little re-bound jumping. You can also bring packets of Epsom salt for a detox bath, and use your coconut oil packs for oil pulling

13. Make sure to stay hydrated – I like to bring a glass water bottle with me and try to hydrate smartly, according to Lauren’s advice.

14. Grocery store visit – When I have the time, I try to visit the grocery store in the city where I travel to pick up fresh fruits and veggies. The city I travel to now has a giant Wegman’s which has absolutely everything!

15. View menus online and call ahead when it comes to eating out – Travelling for work often necessitates a lot of eating out with co-workers. Rather than trying to avoid restaurants, I try to be strategic about it by suggesting restaurants that I think will have good quality options and that have separate gluten-free menus. It’s great that so many restaurants post their menus online so you can look at it beforehand and call with questions.

Do you travel frequently on a restricted diet? Do you use any of these tips?

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20 Plantain Recipes to De-Gluten Your Favorite Dishes http://empoweredsustenance.com/plantain-recipes/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/plantain-recipes/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:25:55 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=4131  20 Paleo Plantain Recipes I took my first bite of plantain only a few months ago, and now I’m hooked! Plantain, which is available in most large grocery stores as well as Hispanic markets, is a starchy fruit that looks like a banana. Bananas and plantains may look similar, but when it comes to versatility, […]

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plantain recipes to de-gluten your favorite dishes

 20 Paleo Plantain Recipes

I took my first bite of plantain only a few months ago, and now I’m hooked! Plantain, which is available in most large grocery stores as well as Hispanic markets, is a starchy fruit that looks like a banana. Bananas and plantains may look similar, but when it comes to versatility, plantains are the clear winner. Even better, they are cheap and healthy! 

For those cutting out the gluten, the variety of gluten-free flours lining your health food shelves may seem overwhelming. With these simple recipes, you can skip the majority of those unusual flours and rely on the unique baking properties of plantains. Some of the recipes here call for coconut flour, which is my favorite grain-and-gluten-free flour (read about the benefits of coconut flour here).

Important tip: when baking with plantains, be sure to use the directed color of plantains. Ripe and unripe plantains have different baking properties and can not be used interchangeably. Green plantains are the least ripe and most starchy, yellow plantains are more ripe, and speckled black plantains are the ripest and sweetest. If a recipe calls for green plantains, that means the plantain is unripe and starch-heavy. If a recipe calls for ripe (nearly black) plantains, do not substitute yellow or green ones.

1. Plantain Pancakes

paleo plantain recipes

Try Plantain Pancakes from The Healthy Foodie (contains coconut flour) or the Paleo Mom’s Plantain Pancakes (no coconut flour).

2. Plantain Tortillas

paleo plantain recipes

 Plantain tortillas from Fresh Tart are rollable, fillable and stuffable (and also egg free). You can also use it as a pizza crust.

3. Plantain Doughnuts

paleo plantain recipes

“Single Lady” Plantain Doughnuts with a Chocolate Avocado Frosting from Studio Snacks.

4. Plantain Rice

paleo plantain recipes

Plantain Rice from Inspiralized, made with a vegetable spiralizer, is a grain-free alternative to regular rice.

5. Plantain Lasagna

paleo plantain recipes

Try this Carribean Plantain Lasagna (a few tweaks needed to make it “real food” such as replacing the vegetable oil with a healthy cooking oil) or  Curry Plantain Lasagna from The Paleo Mom.

6. Plantain Waffles

paleo plantain recipes

Flourless Gingerbread  Plantain Waffles from Purely Twins.

7. Plantain Tortilla Chips

paleo plantain recipes

Plantain tortilla chips from Kate’s Healthy Cupboard pair perfectly with salsas or hummus.

8. Plantain Socca

paleo plantain recipes

Just three ingredients needed for this Plantain Socca – a multi-purpose flatbread – from Purely Twins.

9. Plantain Chocolate Chip Cookies

paleo plantain recipes

These Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies from Created To Be Paleo use fresh plantain and plantain flour, which can be found here.

10. Plantain Biscuits

paleo plantain recipes

These Sweet Plantain Biscuits from PaleOMG stand up to copious dollops of jam and butter.

11. Plantain Chocolate Cake

paleo plantain recipes

This grain free, egg free Plantain Chocolate Cake from A Clean Plate is topped with a creamy banana chocolate frosting.

12. Plantain Sandwich Rounds

paleo plantain recipes

Plantain Sandwich Rounds are an easy grain-free, egg-free sandwich solution from Delicious Obsessions.

13. Plantain Sandwiches

paleo plantain recipes

Jibaritos are a Puerto Rican tradition where bread is replaced by fried plantains. Try this Jibaritos recipe from The Healthy Beast.

14. Plantain Clafoutis

paleo plantain recipes

Clafoutis usually requires flour. Try this flourless Paleo Plantain Clafoutis from The Paleo Mom.

15. Plantain Nachos

paleo plantain recipes

 Plantain Chip Nachos from Against All Grain make a grain free version of nachos.

16. Plantain Brownies

paleo plantain recipes

Flourless Plantain Brownies with Caramel Sauce from So Let’s Hang Out.

17. Lemon Garlic Plantain Chips

paleo plantain recipes

Crispy, crunchy, and flavorful. Try these Lemon Garlic Plantain Chips from Meatified!

18. Plantain Fries

paleo plantain recipes

Plantain Fries from South Beach Primal.

19. Plantain Caramel Cake

paleo plantain recipes

Maple Plantain Cake from Ditch the Wheat

20. Plantain Crackers

paleo plantain recipes

Garlic Rosemary Plantain Crackers from Autoimmune Paleo.

plantain recipes to de-gluten your favorite dishes

What are you favorite plantain recipes? Don’t forget to share with your gluten/grain free friends!

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Tomato Free Barbecue Sauce http://empoweredsustenance.com/tomato-free-barbecue-sauce/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/tomato-free-barbecue-sauce/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:42:55 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=7717 The Paleo Approach Cookbook is here! Today, I’m sharing a recipe from The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne. Sarah is a pioneer in the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. This dietary approach, unlike the Western Medicine approach, targets the underlying cause of autoimmunity so the body can heal. It removes foods that perpetuate intestinal permeability – […]

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tomato free barbecue sauce recipe

The Paleo Approach Cookbook is here!

Today, I’m sharing a recipe from The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne. Sarah is a pioneer in the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. This dietary approach, unlike the Western Medicine approach, targets the underlying cause of autoimmunity so the body can heal. It removes foods that perpetuate intestinal permeability – the commonality between all autoimmune disease – and floods the body with the nutrient-dense food required to support balanced hormones.

The primary reason I began Empowered Sustenance two years ago was to spread the message that diet is the answer to autoimmunity. Four years after my diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease, doctors told me that invasive surgery and a lifetime of medications was my only. Determined to avoid these options, I threw myself into researching nutrition. For the past two years, I’ve been completely med free thanks to a grain free diet. My current diet looks like the Autoimmune Paleo Diet.

Sarah’s first book, The Paleo Approach, has a prized position on my bookshelf. This is a must-have guide for anyone with an autoimmune disease, and I believe it should be required reading for every health practitioner. She explains the causes of autoimmunity on a practical and cellular level and discusses the steps require to reverse autoimmunity through diet and lifestyle.

The Paleo Approach Cookbook, a companion guideincludes over 200 recipes, food lists, meal plans and shopping guides. All the recipes are grain free, nut/seed free, dairy free, egg free and nightshade free! From simple weeknight dinners to baked goods, you’ll never get bored or feel like you are deprived in your food choices.

The Paleo Approach Cookbook is available on pre-order here on Amazon and will be released August 26th (by pre-ordering the book, you’ll save 30%).

tomato free barbecue sauce recipe

Autoimmune Paleo Tomato Free Barbecue Sauce

Traditional barbecue sauce uses a tomato base and seed-based spices. Tomatoes are nightshades, which contain potentially irritating components, and are therefore excluded from the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. Nuts and seeds are also excluded from the protocol, although they can usually be re-introduced after symptoms have subsided. This tomato free barbecue sauce makes a perfect pair with grilled meats or fish.

Tomato Free Barbecue Sauce

20 minutes

20 minutes

Yield: Makes 2 cups

Tomato Free Barbecue Sauce

This recipe is courtesy of The Paleo Approach Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne, which is a companion guide to The Paleo Approach. Sarah is a trailblazer in the Autoimmune Paleo dietary protocol and outlines the protocol in her books. Because this barbecue sauce is free of the seed-based spices and nightshades found in barbecue sauces, it is suitable for those following the Autoimmune Paleo Diet.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons sustainably-sourced red palm oil, available here (or substitute coconut oil)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, available here
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Heat the palm oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 10 to 15 minutes, until caramelized.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and purée with an immersion blender.

Notes

According to Sarah, this barbecue sauce tastes best on meat cooked on a charcoal grill or in a smoker. If you plan to use an indoor grill or bake your meat in the oven, consider adding a drop or two of liquid smoke to the sauce.

http://empoweredsustenance.com/tomato-free-barbecue-sauce/

Enjoy the recipe and don’t forget to pre-order The Paleo Approach Cookbook here!

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DIY Hair Highlights with Neutral Henna http://empoweredsustenance.com/diy-hair-highlights/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/diy-hair-highlights/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 16:58:54 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=6932 Raw shampoo, boar brushes and detox… oh my! Over the past nine months, I’ve discussed the various steps in my journey to natural hair care. Before that, I struggled with various natural brand of hair care as well as DIY hair care, but I never found an option that met my ingredient standards while delivering optimal […]

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how to: diy hair highlights with henna!

Raw shampoo, boar brushes and detox… oh my!

Over the past nine months, I’ve discussed the various steps in my journey to natural hair care. Before that, I struggled with various natural brand of hair care as well as DIY hair care, but I never found an option that met my ingredient standards while delivering optimal results. As soon as I discovered the Morrocco Method,  a unique line of 100% raw hair care, I fell in love and never looked back.

The aspects of healthy hair care that I’ve covered to date include:

Today, I’m going to discuss another element that I use in my holistic hair routine: neutral henna.

What is neutral henna?

Morrocco Method offers a wide range of 100% pure plant hair colors, which you can find here. One of the unique hennas they offer is neutral henna, also called clear henna or colorless henna.

Morrocco Method uses the henna plant along with other botanicals to create the different shades of henna:

The henna in our product is Lawsonia inermis, which is naturally a red-orange dye. In order to achieve our variety of colors we use other plant powders. We have several different henna mixtures that are available, ranging from Light Blonde, which includes marigold and chamomile flowers, to Black, which includes indigo flower (Indigofera tinctoria). Our browns are mixtures of Lawsonia inermis and Indigofera tinctoria in varying ratios. Neutral Henna is pure Cassia obovata. Blonde Henna is actually Cassia obovata mixed with marigold and chamomile flowers. (Read more)

Neutral Henna for DIY Hair Highlights

Along with the other benefits for hair health, MM Neutral Henna works to DIY Hair Highlights – without any chemicals!

Neutral henna will not lighten your hair – henna just can’t do that – but for me and many people, it gives the illusion of highlights. That’s because henna coats the hair shaft, making the hair more reflective. By making hair shinier, it gives the illusion of  highlights. MM henna brightens your existing hair color and brings out the natural dimension in your hair.

Other benefits of neutral henna

how to: DIY hair highlights with henna! Deep conditions – in one phrase, a henna treatment is a deep conditioning treatment. In contrast to chemical hair dye which permeates the hair, henna coats the entire hair shaft which smoothes and protects the hair.

Adds volume – Just like the Zen Detox, MM henna delivers fabulous volume. I find the volumizing results last for about two weeks, but the conditioning/color results last much longer.

Emphasizes natural hair texture – You’ll find that MM henna brings new life into your hair texture. I have naturally wavy hair and after my henna treatment, the waves are stronger, bouncier and more defined. Henna treatments fills in the damaged pockets in the hair cuticle, strengthening the hair strands. (The added weight from true henna, lawsonia inermis, can actually RELAX wavy/curly hair.)

Non-toxicHair dye is notoriously dangerous. Europe is far ahead of the U.S. in addressing the toxins in hair coloring products. In 2007, the European Commission issued a ban on 22 hair dye substances. Unfortunately, even “natural” hair dyes often contain arylamides, which are potential carcinogens (source). Neutral henna (or colored henna) is a safe, 100% natural alternative to chemical hair dye.

There are some concerns that henna dyes contain the toxic ingredient paraphenylenediamine (PPD). This is found in commercial black henna, but not in MM henna. Also, many “henna” products contain chemical dyes or metallic salts, so always check if your henna is pure. MM henna, of course, is pure.

Lasting results - Henna coats the hair shaft and will eventually wear off. A henna treatment will generally last around 3 months, although you can fade your henna with hot oil treatments if you choose. If you use henna with Lawsonia inermis, it will lighten blonde/light hair colors.

Antimicrobial - Cassia has antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. Its active chemical, chrysophanic acid,  has been tested effective against psoriasis. Henna (Lawsonia inermis) is also antifungal and has been known to help with dandruff, ringworm and head lice (1, 2)

Affordable – MM henna is around $10 a container, and a container has enough for 2 uses or more, depending on your hair length. With a henna treatment lasting 2-3 months, that’s extremely economical.

How to use neutral henna for DIY Hair Highlights

These directions pertain to the neutral (colorless) henna, available here from Morrocco Method. If you are using colored henna, there are a few tweaks you’ll need to make to the below steps. Please read the instructions here if you use colored henna.

1. Start with clean, dry hair. If you have color-treated hair, wait 8 weeks after your coloring treatment. Use the following amounts of neutral henna depending on your hair length:

  • For fine, short hair: use 4 tablespoons
  • For fine, shoulder length hair: use 6 tablespoons
  • For thick, shoulder length hair: use 8 tablespoons
  • For very long or very thick hair: use 10 to 12  tablespoons

2. Mix your henna using a non-metallic (glass/plastic/wood) bowl and spatula. Gradually add water into the henna to create a body lotion consistency.

3. To apply the henna, I strip and stand on an old towel on my bathroom floor.  This way makes for the easiest cleanup and I don’t’ need to worry about getting it on any clothes!

Part your hair in four sections (or more, if you have thick hair) and work the henna from root to tip, fully saturating the hair.

I’ve never had a problem with the henna staining my hairline or skin, so I’m not to precise when I apply it. If you are using colored henna, then you’ll want to follow the directions HERE and be sure to use plastic gloves. 

4. Wrap your head with plastic wrap and let the neutral henna develop for 30 minutes but no longer than an hour. It can create a slight yellow tone if left for longer than an hour.

5. Thoroughly rinse your hair with warm water. It takes some time to rinse out, so just be patient. Let your hair air dry.

6. After 24 hours or more, which allows the henna to fully “set,” you can wash and condition your hair as usual. For colored henna treatments, it is recommended to wait 72 hours before washing, as the color continues to develop. I cannot emphasize enough the benefits of using MM shampoos/conditioners in conjunction with the henna, rather than a lathering shampoo. This will preserve and augment the effects of the henna treatment.

Trouble-shooting tip: You’ll find that your hair may be more difficult to brush directly after rinsing out the neutral henna. In my experience, this goes away after the next shampoo. Also, my hair feels a bit “chalky” the day following the henna treatment, but this goes away after I shampoo it. I would not recommend doing a henna treatment the day before a special occasion. I would say do the henna a week before you want your hair to be in prime shape.

How henna doesn’t work

A few months ago when I briefly touched on the topic of neutral henna in my No Heat Hair Care post, a reader left a comment that went something like this: “I want hair the same shade as Carrie Underwood, but with a slightly warmer tone. Will the light blonde henna do this? Should I pick a different color of henna?”

I’m no hair stylist, but I’m pretty sure than any hair professional would tell you that hair dye – be it artificial or henna – doesn’t work like that. Multiple factors including hair color and hair type must be taken into consideration and it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to exactly match someone else’s hair color. Neutral henna will not change the tone of your hair, it emphasizes your natural color in the most beautiful way by bringing out dimension and shine.

I spoke with my friend Katelyn at Morrocco Method and she has a great explanation of how henna color works:

Henna color largely depends on your base hair color. It’s like putting a marker to construction paper—if you have yellow-white construction paper and a red marker, the change will be obvious. If you have black construction paper and a red marker, you might see a slight tint change, but it won’t be obvious. If you have yellow-white construction paper and black marker, you might have to go over it a few times to get TRUE black.

How to color your hair with henna

If you are seeking to change your hair color, Morrocco Method offers a wide variety of colored hennas here. Again, there is not a foolproof formula for achieving a desired hair color with henna. It may take some experimentation to obtain your desired shade.

MM colored henna covers grey hair exceptionally well and can also be used to change your existing hair color. Also, you can mix two or more shades of henna to get a desired shade.

I have medium brown hair and I’ve used the light brown henna with great results. It seems to bring out the auburn undertones and brighten my hair even more than the neutral henna. I also use a blend of the black and dark brown henna to tint my blond eyebrows to match my hair color.

This chart is a general guide for selecting the right shade of MM henna, which are found here

henna_color_chart

If you wish to use colored henna, please read these very helpful tips from Morrocco Method on coloring with henna:

Where to get neutral henna + coupon

The only henna that I use and recommend is Morrocco Method henna, which you can find here.

The past MM coupons I’ve offered were such a hit that I’ve been able to get a new coupon for you! Enter coupon code “EMPOWER65″ at checkout to receive free shipping over orders of $65 at The Morrocco Method - for new and returning customers! This coupon is valid for continental US shipping only on the UPS Sure Post and UPS ground shipping options.

This is a one-time use coupon, and you must choose the option “create an account” at checkout to get the discount.  Be sure to hit the “save” button at checkout to apply the discount. 

 Have you used neutral henna or colored henna before?

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8 Ways to Improve Fat Malabsorption Naturally http://empoweredsustenance.com/fat-malabsorption/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/fat-malabsorption/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 16:20:22 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=5687 You may have fat malabsorption… and not know it Fat malabsoprtion, also called steatorrhea or fat maldigestion, is the inability to properly digest fats. Many people experience fat malabsorption without knowing it! Fat malabsorption contributes to common issues like hormone imbalance and is the primary cause of gallstones and gallbladder pain. I wrote this post […]

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8 ways to improve fat malabsorption naturally

You may have fat malabsorption… and not know it

Fat malabsoprtion, also called steatorrhea or fat maldigestion, is the inability to properly digest fats. Many people experience fat malabsorption without knowing it! Fat malabsorption contributes to common issues like hormone imbalance and is the primary cause of gallstones and gallbladder pain.

I wrote this post to explain the role of fat digestion and gallbladder health. You’ll learn if fat malabsorption is contributing to your health issues and learn how to address it.

What causes fat malabsorption?

Fat malabsorption results from poor digestion and specifically from one or more of these three causes:

  • Liver congestion – the liver can’t synthesize good bile
  • Poor quality bile – the gallbladder can’t release thick, sticky bile
  • Lack of pancreatic enzymes – these enzymes, along with bile, digest fat

Here’s how fat digestion works, if everything is working properly:

  1. The liver synthesizes bile. It packages up old hormones and toxins that need to leave the body in the bile. Then it ships the bile to the gallbladder.
  2. The gallbladder stores bile and secretes it into the small intestine when we eat a meal with fat. The bile breaks down the fat, so we can absorb it, and then the toxins in the bile exit the body with the feces.
  3. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine. Some of these enzymes, called lipolytic enzymes, further break down the fat and allow us to absorb it.

Symptoms of fat malabsorption:

  • Greasy, smelly, light-colored and/or floating stools
  • Gas and belching after meals
  • Very dry skin (indicates fat isn’t being absorbed or not enough is being consumed)
  • Gallbladder pain (right side, under ribs)
  • Gallstones
  • Nausea after eating
  • Hormone imbalances, because fat is necessary to synthesize new hormones and eliminate old hormones

Bile: The key in fat malabsorption

When it comes to fat malabsorption, the first step includes supporting healthy bile production and secretion. When we experience fat malabsorption, it means that the bile in the gallbladder is thick and sticky. The gallbladder tries to squeeze it out, but it can’t. In a vicious cycle, toxins and old hormones are re-absorbed because the bile isn’t leaving the body.

The main factor that causes poor bile quality is a low fat diet. The presence of fats in a meal signals the gallbladder to release bile into the digestive tract, and the bile emulsifies the fat so we can absorb it.

What happens when we only have a few measly grams of fats in our meal? Bile release isn’t signaled, so bile sits in the gallbladder, turning thick and viscous. Then, if we do eat a meal heavy in fat, the gallbladder can’t squeeze out the thick bile and the fat passes through our digestive tract undigested and unused for critical tasks in the body.

Are you ready to improve your fat digestion? Here are 8 ways to correct fat malabsorption 

1. Gradually increase the good fats

Quickly switching from low fat to a higher fat diet will temporarily cause fat malabsoprtion. This results because the bile will be thick and stagnant due to the low fat diet. For some individuals, the symptoms are slight and resolve quickly. For others, this transition causes severe symptoms of fat malabsorption.

Don’t go from 20 grams of fat per day to 80 grams of fat the next day. Gradually increase your consumption of healthy fats over a period of weeks. Healthful fats include traditional, unprocessed fats such as:

  • Butter, preferably from grassfed cows
  • Ghee, preferably from grassfed cows (I like this brand)
  • Pure olive oil (I like this brand)
  • Avocados and avocado oil
  • Whole nuts and seeds, in moderation
  • Cold-pressed nut and seeds, in small amounts
  • Pastured whole eggs
  • Meats and whole-fat dairy from grass-fed, pasture raised animals

Highly processed, non-traditional fats such as canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil and grapeseed oil exacerbate liver congestion and should be avoided.

Wait, isn’t canola oil heart healthy? And doesn’t the cholesterol in butter clog arteries? Nope, you’ve got your fats mixed up! We know from study after study, as well as the dietary patterns of traditional cultures, that unprocessed fats support all aspects of health. I share the science in my post 10 Reasons Why Low Fat is Not High Nutrition.

2. Include coconut oil in your diet

Coconut oil, one of the most healthful foods ever, consists primarily of medium chain fatty acids. Coconut oil fights candida, boosts the metabolism, fuels weight loss, and supports skin health. Because of the fatty acid composition, coconut oil is absorbed without bile. 

This is a good and bad thing. If you struggle with fat malabsorption, you will likely be able to absorb at least some of the fat from coconut oil. But because it doesn’t stimulate bile, you should consume it in addition to sources of animal fats.

3. Supplement with ox bile to improve fat malabsorption

8 ways to improve fat malabsorption naturallyOx bile is what the name implies - bile from oxen. Because it is so similar to human bile, it works by breaking down fats in your digestive tract. As a “band-aidsupplement,” it improves bile quality so you can digest fats better in the long run.

Take 1-5 tablets of ox bile – I recommend this one – with each meal. Use it for 2 weeks and up to 2-3 months. After 2-3 months, take a break from it for at least a couple of months, otherwise your body can get reliant on it and stop producing its own bile.

If you have had your gallbladder removed, then you need a permanent bile replacement to digest your fats. In that case, most natural health practitioners recommend taking ox bile with each meal.

4. Say Goodbye to “Healthy Whole Grains”

When we lack an healthy digestive system, as in the case of fat malabsorption, grain consumption causes problems. “Healthy whole grains” like fiber cereals, whole wheat breads and pastas contain numerous anti-nutrients such as phytic acid that only stresses the body.

Grains fuel a vicious cycle called carbohydrate malabsorption. This wears down the filaments in the small intestine, called microvilli, that are responsible for absorbing our food. As the microvilli become damaged, it leads to a syndrome called Leaky Gut when the tight junctions between intestinal cells loosen. This allows undigested food to leak from the small intestine into the blood stream, causing inflammation and food allergies.

All of the recipes on Empowered Sustenance are grain free, and you’ll find thousands of more grain free recipes on my Pinterest boards.

5. Use Gallbladder Flow™ Essential Oil

When I struggled fat malabsorption, I saw improvement within a week of using Vibrant Blue Essential Oil Blends. These pristine essential oil blends match the frequency of a healthy organ to help bring that damaged organ into balance. Since the benefits of essential oils are absorbed transdermally, I recommend using oils as part of therapy when digestion is damaged – such as the case of fat malabsorption.

The Gallbladder Flow™ blend  is designed to improve the viscosity of the bile. The first time I applied it, I immediately felt faint gurgling in my gallbladder! For best results, use it twice per day for at least two weeks  (learn how to apply it here). The bottle goes a long way, you only need a drop at a time. Also, it also works if you open it under your nose and inhale for 3-4 breaths.

Another complimentary oil from Vibrant Blue Oils is the Pancreatone™ Blend. It supports the pancreas and the production of pancreatic enzymes, including the lipolytic enzymes that digest fat. A diet high in refined carbs exhausts the pancreas, so it can’t keep up with producing enzymes. Like the Gallbladder Flow™, you can apply it topically or inhale it.

6. Enjoy fermented foods to help fat malabsorption

Naturally fermented foods pack a potent dose of probiotics, those friendly bugs that help restore balance in the digestive tract. Additionally, the enzymatic activity in the raw foods drastically increases during the fermentation process. These active enzymes support pancreatic health and improve digestion.

Low-fat, sugar-laden yogurts may claim “a rich source of probiotics” but don’t buy into this marketing hype. These highly-processed options pale in comparison to slowly fermented dairy and vegetables. Better options include making your own fermented veggies and dairy products.

Alternatively, you’ll find healthful options at your health food store. Look for naturally fermented sauerkraut and pickles, in the refrigerated section. Grassfed, full-fat yogurt and kefir also provide nutrient-dense options.

7. Supplement with pancrealipase for fat malabsorption

Pancrealipase is a pancreatic enzyme that helps digest fat. I use the supplement Beta-TCP, found here, in my Nutritional Therapy practice. It contains porcine-derived pancrealipase and this supplement makes a wonderful “transition supplement” to improve fat malabsorption. It can be taken alone or in conjunction with ox bile.

A general recommendation is 1-6 tablets with each meal, for a period of 1-3 months. After 2-3 months, take a break because your body can become reliant on the enzymes and get lazy with its own enzyme production. You can also take 1-6 tablets right before bed, to support liver health. As always, I recommend working with an experienced health practitioner when taking various dietary supplements.

For best results, chew the Beta-TCP tablets instead of swallowing them whole. They taste, um, not so good. But you can do it! When I used this supplement, I would chew them while holding my breath, swallow, chase with a sip of water, and then breathe. This helps :)

8. Improve overall digestion with hydrochloric acid

The stomach is supposed to be an acid tank. A very acidic stomach digests food and triggers the chain reaction of digestion. When the stomach isn’t producing enough acid, pancreatic enzymes and other digestive secretions are not signaled.

Doesn’t stomach acid cause heartburn? As a matter of fact, 90% of people with heartburn suffer from to little stomach acid! In this post, I explain how to correct low stomach acid naturally with foods and specific supplements including hydrochloric acid supplements.

 Do you think you may have fat malabsorption? Have you tried any of these steps? 

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{Autoimmune Paleo} Chewy Banana Spice Cookies http://empoweredsustenance.com/autoimmune-paleo-cookies/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/autoimmune-paleo-cookies/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 13:35:46 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=7594 Gelatin as an egg substitute  I’ve been experimenting with gelatin as an egg substitute for about a year, since I posted my Chewy Ginger Cookies. I love those cookies, but they contain ground sunflower seeds which don’t agree with my digestive tract. Also, I prefer not to bake with nut/seed flours due to their anti-nutrient properties. […]

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Chewy Banana Spice Cookies (autoimmune paleo)

Gelatin as an egg substitute

 I’ve been experimenting with gelatin as an egg substitute for about a year, since I posted my Chewy Ginger CookiesI love those cookies, but they contain ground sunflower seeds which don’t agree with my digestive tract. Also, I prefer not to bake with nut/seed flours due to their anti-nutrient properties.

This recipe is also partly inspired by Jennifer’s Silky Banana Bread Bites, which also use gelatin instead of eggs. I was also inspired by  the guest post I shared two weeks ago  for autoimmune paleo lemon cookies that also feature a gelatin egg substitute.

These not-too-sweet cookies provide a welcomed treat on a very restricted diet such as the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol, which I follow and recommend. I know how much of a comfort it is to eat any type of baked good on this healing protocol!

About the ingredients

Chewy Banana Spice Cookies (autoimmune paleo)Gelatin – Gelatin acts as the binder in this recipe and provides the chewy texture. You must use gelatin, another egg substitute will not work as I designed this recipe specifically around the gelatin. I prefer to use this gelatin from grassfed cows. Due to its amino acid profile, gelatin is uniquely healthful and supports balanced hormones (read about the benefits of gelatin here).

Coconut flour – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – coconut flour is my favorite flour! This grain free flour absorbs a considerable amount of liquid, so only a small amount of the flour is required in this recipe.

Arrowroot flour – A small amount of arrowroot flour, also called arrowroot powder, helps bind the cookies and keeps them from getting too sticky. I’ve made the recipe without the arrowroot flour before and it works okay, but the texture is not as good.

Chewy Banana Spice Cookies

Yield: Makes 12 cookies

Chewy Banana Spice Cookies

Free of grains, dairy, nuts/seeds, eggs and refined sugar. these cookies are suitable for the Autoimmune Paleo protocol. I enjoy the cookies without the sweetener and find that the banana and cinnamon is sweet enough. If you are used to sweet treats, however, you will probably prefer the version with sweetener.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium well-spotted bananas, mashed (about 3/4 cup mashed)
  • 2 Tbs. water for a not-very-sweet cookie OR 2 Tbs. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs. dry gelatin, I like this grassfed gelatin
  • 30 grams (1/4 cup) coconut flour - use a kitchen scale for the most accurate measurement
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp. arrowroot flour, which you can find here

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Stir together the mashed bananas, dry gelatin and water OR maple syrup in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Let sit for another 5 minutes.
  3. Roll the dough into balls and flatten into 1/4 inch thick cookies. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden around the edges.
  4. Cool at least 30 minutes before removing cookies from the parchment-lined baking sheets (otherwise, the cookies will tear).
  5. These chewy cookies are best consumed the day they are made however you can store them in an air-tight container at room temperature for a day or so.
http://empoweredsustenance.com/autoimmune-paleo-cookies/

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End this war. http://empoweredsustenance.com/end-this-war/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/end-this-war/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:47:38 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=7621 “I’m in the fight against cancer.” “I’m battling diabetes.” “I’m threatened with high blood pressure.” “I have an autoimmune disease, so my body is attacking itself.” This is what I call body war language. Our language so often falls short of describing truth, which may leads to minor misunderstanding or catastrophic results. In the case […]

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End body war

“I’m in the fight against cancer.”

“I’m battling diabetes.”

“I’m threatened with high blood pressure.”

“I have an autoimmune disease, so my body is attacking itself.”

This is what I call body war language.

Our language so often falls short of describing truth, which may leads to minor misunderstanding or catastrophic results. In the case of body war language, I believe that we set ourselves up for disaster by using totally inappropriate words to depict what is actually happening.

Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habit. Watch your habit, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” Lao Tzu said. When it comes to body war language, we reach the same conclusion in a different pattern:

Watch your words, they become your thoughts. Watch your thoughts, they becomes your health. Watch your health, it becomes your destiny.”

I am not a war zone

When I was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis,  an autoimmune disease, doctors told me it would be a lifelong battle to prevent my body from further attacking itself. I envisioned my body as a war zone, with my healthy colon tissue being destroyed by an innately evil part of my physiology, that had, until now, laid in wait. 

Just like our thoughts determine our words, our words shape our thoughts. When we use “war language” to describe health conditions, we illustrate a battlefield inside our body. We begin to understand our inner workings through a lens of “good vs. bad.”

In the case of cancer, we perceive the tumors as “bad” and other cells as “good.” When it comes to something as mild as cellulite, we describe our thighs with a torrent of negative language. Cottage-cheese thighs. Fat and ugly.

But I am not a war zone. You are not a war zone. 

Disease is not bad. It does not mean something went wrong. It means our body is working as it should, drawing on protective measures to prolong our life in the short-term. The human body is innately intelligent and each day, it prioritizes how to extend our life in the short term.

When our body is bombarded with stress, environmental toxins, poor nutrition and negativity, it is forced to borrow health from our future to keep us alive. When we provide our body with nourishment and balance, we furnish the materials it needs for immediate health so that the innate intelligence can invest in our long-term health.

Make love, not war, with your body

Here are four subtle but profound ways to kindle a relationship of love, not war, with your body:

1. Change your thoughts and language

Stop referring to your body as a battlefield. Don’t think of the duality of “good vs. bad” in your body. Rather, focus on balancing the areas of dis-ease. Instead of thinking, “I’m battling diabetes” you could say, “My body has trouble keeping my blood sugar balanced.”

2. Send love to your affected body part

Love is an action. Love is a feeling. Love is also a vibration, a vibration of profound healing energy. When we send love to a body part, we practice self-healing.

In the same way, hate is a powerful vibration capable of destruction. By hating a body part or body system that is imbalanced, we further impair our ability to heal.

Consider the (albeit controversial) “Rice Experiment” conducted by Dr. Emoto, in which rice pleasantly fermented when given words of love, but rotted when given words of hate.

If you have hypothyroidism, for example, don’t hate your thyroid, send it love. If you have a tumor, tell yourself that you love each cell in your body. Tell yourself that you love that your body is capable of re-balancing and healing.

3. Don’t take ownership of a disease

Sometimes this is unavoidable for the sake of practical conversation, but I try to avoid saying, “my Hashimoto’s” or “my ulcerative colitis.” By telling myself that these are “my” disease, my body will see these imbalances as a part of my identity.

They are not my identity. They are not my diseases.

4. Practice The Golden Rule

Do unto your body as you would have others do to you. Would you want others calling your stomach pudgy? Then don’t call your stomach pudgy! Don’t even think it. Love your body unconditionally and it will love you back.

Please join me in making body love, not body war!

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How I Found a Non-Toxic Mattress http://empoweredsustenance.com/toxic-mattress/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/toxic-mattress/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:41:57 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=7518 My toxic mattress made me sick I began cooking real food from scratch. I switched all my body care products and cosmetics to homemade or organic versions. I did the same for my household cleaning items. I filtered my drinking water to remove chlorine and fluoride. I started various food-based and homeopathic supplements. I thought […]

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Do you have a toxic mattress? Here's what to avoid and look for in a safe mattress.

My toxic mattress made me sick

I began cooking real food from scratch. I switched all my body care products and cosmetics to homemade or organic versions. I did the same for my household cleaning items. I filtered my drinking water to remove chlorine and fluoride. I started various food-based and homeopathic supplements. I thought I had most of my bases covered, in terms of my transition to a chemical-free lifestyle. Then, a few months ago, I began researching the chemicals I had been sleeping on day after day… the chemicals in my mattress! 

After learning about the toxicity of new mattresses, I experienced a lightbulb moment. I realized that the worst flare up ever of my autoimmune disease exactly correlated to the week that I started sleeping on a new mattress a couple years ago. There were other factors that contributed, like increased sress during that time, but I believe that the toxic mattress was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

Here are three reasons to re-think your toxic mattress, as well as the non-toxic mattress to which I recently switched.

1. Toxic mattresses contain a slew of fire retardants

When you think about the properties of a good mattress, what comes to mind? Probably comfort, durability, and support. But would you expect your mattress to be fireproof? By U.S. law, mattresses are required to withstand a two-foot wide open flame of a blowtorch for 70 seconds. Can you say overkill?

To meet this ridiculous standard, mattresses are drenched with toxic fire retardants as a last step in the manufacturing process. Horrifyingly, manufacturers are not required to disclose the fire retardants they use! Some of the fire retardants commonly used include:

  • Boric acid, a pesticide that the EPA classifies as Toxicity Category III for reactions like skin irritation (source)
  • Rayon treated with silica, which is unstudied for its toxicity effects. Rayon is a synthetic fiber treated with various chemicals during processing, and I avoid wearing synthetic fibers or using them for bedding (along with all other synthetic fibers – post on that coming soon!) (source)
  • Antimony, an element very similar to arsenic. Inhalation of antimony has been shown to cause respiratory in humans and tumors in rats (source)
  • Melamine resin, which contains formaldehyde although the EPA says that it poses little or no toxicity risks (source)
  • PCDE’s (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), which are highly toxic and used in mattresses before 2004. Due to its toxicity, most mattress manufacturers phased out their use of this fire retardant (source).

Fire retardants, as well as other toxic components of modern mattresses, off-gass and release chemicals into the air. New mattress smell is actually toxic mattress smell! In one study, researchers found that mice exposed to mattress emissions  experienced upper and lower respiratory irritation, as well as decreased air flow (source). Some researchers believe that the mattress toxins are also absorbed through the skin, since PCBEs are found in women’s breast milk.

Further, the EPA requires chemical companies to test the effects of a chemical on animals one chemical at a time. Many researchers are now hypothesizing that the “combined effects” of chemicals, such as the case of toxic mattresses,  is exponentially greater than added exposure to each individual chemical (source).

2. We are most vulnerable to toxic mattresses during sleep

Our nervous system has two states: sympathetic, the fight-or-flight mode, and parasympathetic, the rest-and-digest mode. Sympathetic mode evolved to allow humans to react quickly in life or death situations, such as escaping a rabid sabertooth. The body shifts focus from reparative processes to fuel muscles. In parasympathetic mode, the body can focus on growth, digestion, hormone-synthetic and repair processes.

When we sleep, particularly during REM sleep, we are in full parasympathetic mode. Because the body lets its guard down in parasympathetic mode, we are at our most vulnerable state to the effects of toxins. Parasympathetic mode + close proximity to toxic mattress off-gassing = bad combination!

3. Toxic mattresses pose higher risk for infants and children

When it comes to infants bedding, fire retardants compromise only a fraction of the off-gassing chemicals. Most crib mattresses are covered with vinyl cover. New crib mattresses off-gass a toxic slew of chemicals from the vinyl and fire retardants.

According to the EPA’s Hazard Summary on Vinyl Chloride,

    Cancer is a major concern from exposure to vinyl chloride via inhalation, as vinyl chloride exposure has been shown to increase the risk of a rare form of liver cancer in humans.  EPA has classified vinyl chloride as a Group A, human carcinogen.

Eliminating toxic mattresses for infants and children should be a higher priority than for adults for the following reasons:

  • Infants spend up to 18 hours sleeping, so their exposure to mattress off-gassing is vastly more concentrated
  • Because their bodies are rapidly developing and growing, their faster metabolic processes make them more susceptible to the toxins in their environment.

Further, a leading theory on the cause of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) blames toxic bedding materials. The chemicals in off-gassing mattresses, as well as fungal growth within the mattress, can interfere with respiratory function and cause nerve damage. A 10-year New Zealand program to encourage the practice of “mattress wrapping” – covering infants’ mattresses with multiple layers of non-toxic materials – significantly reduced SIDS. (Source)

4 non-toxic mattress options

What counts as a non-toxic mattress? There is no regulation for marketing terms like natural and non-toxic when it comes to mattresses. Here are four options: 

1. Certified organic mattressescertified organic mattresses must meet the standard of the Global Organic Textile Standards. The main problem with organic mattresses is the lack of adequate support and susceptibility to microbial growth (discussed below).

2. Wool mattresses - Since wool is naturally fire-retardant, some manufacturers say that no additional fire retardants are used in their wool mattresses. However, I’ve found other sources stating that wool alone does not meet the fireproof standards, so it is coated in additional fire-retardants (which do not need to be disclosed or put on the label).

3. Prescription for chemical free mattress – With a doctor’s prescription, you can purchase a mattress not treated with fire retardants. According to this article,

You must have a prescription from a physician licensed in your state that says “this patient requires a chemical-free mattress”. This can be written by any licensed physician, including medical doctors (MD), osteopaths (DO) and chiropractors (DC).

If you go that route, you want to make sure that the other mattress materials are not inherently toxic so avoid memory foam mattresses.

4. IntelliBED - After researching various options and multiple conference calls with the founders of this company, I decided to go with IntelliBED. IntelliBED is not an organic mattress, which made me hesitant until I learned why this makes the mattress better. It is designed to be completely non-toxic, which is the main reason why I chose it. During our conversation, one of the founders – Bob Rasmussen – told me that they cater to the most sensitive individuals and they have never had anyone experience an allergy or reaction to their mattress.  

Non-Toxic vs. Organic Mattresses

Mattresses can be certified organic and non-toxic. They can also be non-organic and non-toxic, and this is where IntelliBED fits. When I first looked into IntelliBED, I was hesitant to try a mattress that wasn’t certified organic. Isn’t organic always better? No, not when it comes to mattresses.

Bob explained that IntelliBED has two primary goals that must both be met for the best sleep quality: non-toxic materials and adequate support. IntelliBED has been able to meet both these goals due to the materials they use.

IntelliBED offers support and allows proper body alignment

Mattresses made with only organic materials break down quickly and do not provide the support that it key for deep, resorative sleep. When your mattress properly supports your body, it can revolutionize your sleep because you’ll stay in the stage 3 and 4 stages of sleep. Bob explained that when you toss and turn, you come out of the deeper stages of sleep. Because IntelliBED supports proper alignment during sleep, many people stop tossing and turning.

Although I’ve had my pillow from IntelliBED for months (it’s made with the same construction as the mattress), I only recently started sleeping on the mattress. Because the mattress actually supports you, it does feel different than a conventional mattress, almost like it is “pushing back.” For the first three days, as with my pillow, I was aware of sensation. But now I am hooked because it has drastically improved my sleep quality! My IntelliBED has made the most significant improvement in my lifelong insomnia, which had still lingered after my other health changes. I can’t imagine sleeping without my IntelliBED and I’m already trying to figure out how to get it into the dorm room that I’ll move into in September.

The main feature of IntelliBED is the pressure-relieving IntelliGEL. Because this patented gel re-distributes pressure so well, it’s used in hospitals for bed-ridden patients to prevent bedsores. Also, mattresses made with only organic materials can foster microbial growth, which is another reason why IntelliBED chose to use their non-toxic gel base.

Non-Toxic Materials in IntelliBED

IntelliGEL – Since IntelliGEL is made with mineral oil, it is not considered an organic material. But it is completely non-toxic and has been widely tested for safety and is approved for use in baby-bottle nipples. This gel doesn’t off-gass and won’t foster microbial growth. 

SAFE fire retardants – Like all mattresses, IntelliBED must meet the stupid fire-proof standards. They use natural silica, a fire-retardant mineral and the safest option available.

Steel springs and organic cotton – The springs are very important to help provide the support of the mattress. You can read more about the materials used in IntelliBED mattress here.

Non-offgassing polyurethane foam - Thank you in advance for letting me be human, because I made a mistake :) My previous information in this post about polyurethane foam was incorrect. IntelliBED does contain polyurethane foam in addition to the other components. However, my research was mistaken on the safety of the foam. Polyurethane foam is actually an inert, non-toxic and non-offgassing material only if it is not altered with other chemicals. This is what I discussed with Bob, who was kind enough to write his answer down for you because I couldn’t take notes fast enough:

The off-gassing problems in mattresses started occurring when various companies added compounds to alter the properties of PU foam for various reasons.  One was the additive that turns PU foam into memory foam.  Numerous individuals over the years have complained about the “odor” of memory form mattresses when new, but more alarming is the number complaining of headaches and other neurological problems (see www.chemtox.com and search for mattresses).  IntelliBED has not been able to determine that actual chemicals that are used to create the slow-rebound feature of memory foam but for the reason mentioned and to err on the safe side, IntelliBED won’t use any memory foam in our mattresses or pillows.

The off-gassing problem intensified with California’s effort to make mattresses meet a fire standard (Commonly known as TB-117).  This bill was later modified and expanded into a Federal requirement.  While there are many ways to make a mattress meet the fire standard, all foam manufacturers began adding ingredients to make sure that their foam met the standard, and this is where I believe the real problems with off-gassing began.  Many of these additives (Boric Acid and Antimony for example) are known carcinogens.  Incidentally, there is a significant effort afoot to overturn the Standard so these additives can be removed from foam.

Recently, IntelliBED went back to their all foam suppliers to ensure that there were no toxic materials in the foams the company uses.  All foam we use meet a standard called CertiPUR-US.  These are analyzed by an independent, accredited testing laboratory and are made without ozone depletes, PBDE flame retardants, heavy metals, formaldehyde and phthalates. The foams are also low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound – less than 0.5 parts per million (below 1.0 ppm is consider safe).

How to get an IntelliBED Mattress

Like I said, I’ve had multiple conversations with the founders of this company. The most recent was to correct my misinformation about the toxicity polyurethane foam. I’ve been blown away by the companys integrity and all the research they have provided me. I’m currently working with the company, but this post is not sponsored by them. If you use my referral link here you will automatically get 10% off your order. 

I did get sticker shock when saw their mattress prices. But then I realized, “I’m going to spend 1/3 of my life on my mattress – if anything deserves my investment, it’s my mattress!” Plus, IntelliBED is the only company to offer a 30 year warranty on their mattresses, even though they usually last much longer. For me, it makes sense to prioritize a non-toxic mattress.

With that said, Intellibed offers solutions for budgets of various sizes. To get the support properties, you can use their non-toxic mattress topper on top of a firm mattress. This might be a good compromise if you are buying a used conventional mattress to reduce off-gassing (see below). Also, their pillows are incredible, and made with the same non-toxic materials.  (Don’t forget to use my referral link because the 10% off will be automatically subtracted during checkout.)

You’ll also have a risk-free 60 day trial, and if you don’t like the mattress, they will refund your purchase and pay the return shipping fees. And they are able to offer this because hardly anyone ever returns their mattress.

Have you made the switch to a non-toxic mattress? Did you ever experience illness or symptoms after using a new mattress?

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Healthy Coffee Substitute Recipe http://empoweredsustenance.com/coffee-substitute-recipe/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/coffee-substitute-recipe/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:57:24 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=7601 Dandy Blend: An herbal coffee substitute I haven’t sipped a cup of coffee for years, but I still long for the flavor of coffee and the comfort of a latte on occasion. I’ve also received questions from readers about tips for overcoming coffee addiction. Recently, my friend Genevieve at Mama Natural introduced me to Dandy Blend […]

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Healthy coffee substitute recipe

Dandy Blend: An herbal coffee substitute

I haven’t sipped a cup of coffee for years, but I still long for the flavor of coffee and the comfort of a latte on occasion. I’ve also received questions from readers about tips for overcoming coffee addiction. Recently, my friend Genevieve at Mama Natural introduced me to Dandy Blend in one of her videos and I was instantly intrigued.

 

Dandy Blend is a powdered coffee substitute made with the extracts of roasted roots and grains. It is naturally caffeine free and tastes very similar to a cup of coffee! Here are some things to keep in mind about Dandy Blend:

  • Dandelion root is a traditional detoxifying herb with mild diuretic properties
  • Dandy Blend is suitable for a grain free diet because the “meat” of the grain – which contains the hard-to-digest components – is left behind during processing, and only the “juice” of at the grain is used in the final product (see below for more details)
  • Some people report a laxative effect (which can be helpful if things are backed up!) due to the detoxifying properties of the dandelion, so introduce it slowly
  • Even though Dandy Blend is tested to be gluten free, it is possible for sensitive individuals to react to other components of Dandy Blend

Dandy Blend is available here from Amazon and you can also find it at most health food stores. 

Is coffee bad?

I don’t believe coffee is inherently bad. As a matter of fact, numerous studies show that it may have a protective effect against diseases including Type II Diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

With that said, I don’t think one food is good for everyone. For example, nuts and seeds, including coffee, is excluded from the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol due to the potentially irritating properties of nuts/seeds. Additionally, you may not tolerate the caffeine in regular coffee due to impaired liver function. Did you know that symptoms such as jitteriness or shakiness after consuming caffeine indicates a lack of liver enzymes in the Phase 1 detox pathway of the liver? (Source)

Is it really gluten free?

Healthy coffee substitute recipeDandy Blend ingredients include: extracts of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root and non-GMO sugar beet. Barley and rye? How could it be gluten free? 

This is what they say on their website:

Dandy Blend is made of the water-soluble extracts of five ingredients; three roots and two grains (barley and rye), not from the ingredients themselves. The ingredients are roasted separately and then combined in prescribed proportions, placed into a vat, covered with hot water, and allowed to steep for a prescribed period of time. The water, with the soluble portions of all the components, is separated from the grounds and spray dried. The remaining fine brown powder left after the water is driven off is what becomes Dandy Blend. All the gluten and other water-insoluble substances are left behind in the grounds to be composted.
 
Hence, there is no gluten in Dandy Blend. Goosefoot Acres periodically submits samples of Dandy Blend to Elisa Technologies Laboratory in Florida, one of the most respected gluten testing labs in the United States for analysis, and so far, every test has come back gluten-free. Click to see test results letter.
 
Therefore, from the standpoint of containing gluten, Dandy Blend is safe for celiac sufferers and other gluten-intolerant individuals.

My experience with Dandy Blend Coffee Substitute

I was curious (and nervous) to see if I would react to the “juice” of the rye and barley in Dandy Blend, but I experienced no reaction! No puffy eyes, no hives, no stomach ache, no shakiness or other symptoms that I experience when I try a food that doesn’t agree with me.

Even better, my “latte” was delicious! I prefer it with a hearty dose of the Dandy Blend for a full flavor and a splash of coconut milk. It’s also naturally sweet due to the natural fructose in the roots.

Coffee Substitute with Dandy Blend

Yield: 1 serving

Coffee Substitute with Dandy Blend

Dandy Blend is an instant coffee substitute made with roasted roots and grains, including dandelion root which is revered for it's detoxifying properties. Although it contains rye and barley, it consistently tests to be gluten free because only steeped liquid from the grains - not the grain itself - is part of the final product. If you are sensitive or allergic to rye or barley, however, I wouldn't suggest this product.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot or cold water
  • Ice, if making a chilled beverage
  • 1 - 3 tsp. Dandy Blend, available here or at most health food stores
  • Coconut milk or milk of choice, if desired
  • Sweetener of choice, if desired (I use a dash of maple syrup to compliment the slightly roasted, nutty flavor of Dandy Blend)

Instructions

  1. To make hot "coffee" with Dandy Blend, stir the desired amount of Dandy Blend into a cup of hot water. Add milk and sweetener if desired. I prefer using 2 tsp. of Dandy Blend per 8 oz. for a full-flavored, naturally sweet drink. The more Dandy Blend you use, the stronger the flavor.
  2. To make a chilled coffee substitute, stir or shake together the Dandy Blend with cold water. Add ice, milk and sweetener if desired.
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Are you kicking a coffee habit? Have you tried Dandy Blend?

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5 Reasons To Switch To Natural Fiber Clothing http://empoweredsustenance.com/natural-fiber-clothing/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/natural-fiber-clothing/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:17:41 +0000 http://empoweredsustenance.com/?p=7362 My natural fiber clothing detox When buying clothes, I used to consider the following four points: appearance, comfort, size and price. I never considered the fabric of the clothing – as long as it fit my style, body and bank account balance, I was a happy camper. Recently, I’ve added one more condition that my […]

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why I detoxed my closet with natural fiber clothing

My natural fiber clothing detox

When buying clothes, I used to consider the following four points: appearance, comfort, size and price. I never considered the fabric of the clothing – as long as it fit my style, body and bank account balance, I was a happy camper.

Recently, I’ve added one more condition that my clothes must meet: they must be made of natural fiber such as cotton, linen, wool or silk. On my journey to a natural lifestyle in order to holistically address my autoimmune disease, I’ve adjusted many aspects of my life including my diet, my skin/hair/body care products, supplements, the quality of my drinking/bathing water and even my mattress. But until a few months ago, I didn’t think about detoxing my closet.

I don’t have the means to revamp my whole wardrobe, as limited as it is, with natural fiber pieces. As of 3 months ago, however, I made the vow to only purchase clothing made with at least 90% natural fiber. Slowly, I’m transitioning my closet to natural fiber pieces.

Side note: my clothing style is considered “The 2014 College Female” – i.e.,  yoga pants. My daily ensemble consists of yoga pants and a blouse/t-shirt/cardigan/sweatshirt. It’s much easier to find natural fiber alternatives for these basic pieces in comparison to more formal items.

 Natural fibers vs. synthetic fabric

Natural fiber clothing is made from natural materials that have been used to make clothing for thousands of years. Natural fibers include:

  1.  Cotton
  2. Linen (made from flax)
  3. Silk
  4. Wool
  5. Cashmere
  6. Hemp
  7. Jute (a very coarse fiber used for things like carpets, not clothing)

Synthetic fabrics could be considered plastic fabric. In a process called polymerization, chemically-derived fibers are joined together to create fabric. It requires a numerous chemicals and solvents to create any type of synthetic fabric (see #2 below). Common synthetic fabrics include polyester, rayon, modal, spandex and nylon.

Bamboo fabric, which is referred to as bamboo rayon or bamboo viscose, may sound like a natural fiber but it is produced more like a synthetic fabric which is why I avoid it. Bamboo fibers are extremely coarse and rough. As a result, it must undergo extensive processing with caustic chemicals to create a soft material. According to Patagonia, these are the steps required to produce bamboo rayon:

Cellulose material (such as bamboo) is dissolved in a strong solvent to make a thick, viscous solution that is forced through a spinneret into a quenching solution where strands solidify into fiber. This is sometimes called hydrolysis alkalization or solution spinning because the fiber is “spun” in a chemical solution. The solvent used for this process is carbon disulfide, a toxic chemical that is a known human reproductive hazard. It can endanger factory workers and pollute the environment via air emissions and wastewater. The recovery of this solvent in most viscose factories is around 50%, which means that the other half goes into the environment. Other potentially hazardous chemicals are also used in the viscose process, including sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid. (Source and read more)

The choice to purchase natural fiber clothing reduces your toxic burden and the toxic burden on the environment. Here are 5 reasons why I’m transitioning my closet to natural fibers!

1. I intuitively favored natural fiber clothing

The revelation that spurred my switch to natural fiber clothing happened just a few months ago. One day, I realized that I was reaching for the same clothing items over and over again while avoiding newer, nicer clothes that were just as comfortable. Why did I choose my threadbare cotton bathrobe over my fluffy fleece bathrobe? Why did I ignore the stretchy Athleta leggings that I had recently splurged on?

I realized that the items I obsessively wore were made from 100% cotton (plus my one and only 100% cashmere sweater). The clothing options that I intuitively ignored – even though they felt comfortable – were made from a blend of synthetic fibers such as rayon, polyester and nylon. This led me to research how synthetic fiber is made and how it may affect health.

2. Natural fiber clothing is less toxic than synthetic fiber

When it comes to body care products and cosmetics, we know that 60% of what we put on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream. If clothes are treated with chemicals, and then we put the clothes on our skin, will our skin absorb some of the chemicals? That’s my theory!

According to BodyEcology.com, these are some of the chemicals utilized in the production of synthetic fabric:

1. Polyester is the worst fabric you can buy. It is made from synthetic polymers that are made from esters of dihydric alcohol and terpthalic acid.

2. Acrylic fabrics are polycrylonitriles and may cause cancer, according to the EPA.

3. Rayon is recycled wood pulp that must be treated with chemicals like caustic soda, ammonia, acetone and sulphuric acid to survive regular washing and wearing.

4. Acetate and Triacetate are made from wood fibers called cellulose and undergo extensive chemical processing to produce the finished product.

5. Nylon is made from petroleum and is often given a permanent chemical finish that can be harmful.

6. Anything static resistant, stain resistant, permanent press, wrinkle-free, stain proof or moth repellant. Many of the stain resistant and wrinkle-free fabrics are treated with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), like Teflon. (Source and read more)

While we need more research to understand how wearing toxic fabrics can affect health, we do have hints of the dangers of the chemicals. This Canadian study found that women working in acrylic textile factories had seven times the risk of breast cancer than the normal population. Women working in nylon factories had double the risk of breast cancer.

Another point to keep in mind is the toxicity of chemicals used in dry cleaning. During the dry cleaning process, garments are doused with the toxic chemical perchloroethylene, or PERC, for short.

According to the EPA’s Chemical Fact Sheet on PERC:

Breathing PERC for short periods of time can adversely affect the human nervous system.[…] Breathing
perchloroethylene over longer periods of time can cause liver and kidney damage in humans. Workers exposed repeatedly to large amounts of PERC in air can also experience memory loss and confusion. Laboratory studies show that PERC causes kidney and liver damage and cancer in animals exposed repeatedly by inhalation and by mouth. Repeat exposure to large amounts of PERC in air may likewise cause cancer in humans. (Source)

 I avoid purchasing clothes that require dry cleaning to avoid exposure to PERC. Often, clothes that say Dry Clean Only can be hand washed carefully and laid flat to dry.

3. Natural fiber clothing is more sustainable

why I detoxed my closet with natural fiber clothingWhen it comes to the sustainability of clothing, natural fiber clothing is generally more sustainable than synthetic fibers which require high energy use and crude oil (source).

Additionally, because natural fibers are plant materials, they decompose quickly. Because synthetic fibers are essentially plastic, they are not quickly biodegradable.

When it comes to cotton, organic cotton is significantly more eco-friendly than conventionally-grown cotton. Conventional cotton uses more pesticides than any other crop, accounting for 10% of world-wide pesticide use (source). Further, almost 90% of non-organic cotton is genetically modified (source), which contributes to the high levels of pesticides and poses further environmental damage. Other plant fibers such as linen and hemp use very little pesticides and are not genetically modified.

4. Natural fiber clothing is a better investment

Have you ever noticed how well your favorite cotton t-shirt holds up over the years? I’ve found that my 100% cotton clothes hold up much longer than my synthetic clothes. The few items of linen clothing I have also seem to last forever in beautiful shape. On the other hand, synthetic fabric begins to break down much more quickly, especially with frequent washing. I’ve noticed that the fabric begins to “pill” – the fabric breaks down and gets fuzzy.

Natural fiber clothing may be more expensive up front, but I’ve found that it’s a better investment in the long run. Not to mention a better investment in the environment!

5. Natural fiber clothing has a “natural” vibration

Many of my readers demand, “show me the studies” whenever I discuss health and nutrition. While controlled, peer-reviewed studies often have an important role to play in our understanding of health, they will not provide answers or insight in all situations. This point is (as yet) non-scientific in the sense of Western science and may seem like an esoteric concept to some of you. However, it makes  a lot of sense to me! 

Do you remember from biology class that the atoms making up anything are always vibrating? Everything has a unique vibration. From each organ in your body to the chair in which you are sitting, everything resonates with a specific frequency.  Bruce Tainio, who build the first frequency monitor, found that a higher vibration correlates to better health – a concept that has been accepted for thousands of years in Chinese medicine. The idea of supporting the body’s vibration has been around for thousands of years in Eastern medicine, although it is newer in the Western world. Some people misinterpret this concept of vibrational medicine as woo-woo or a religious concept. It is neither – this is purely biology, and a biology that we are learning more and more about as our measurement technology improves. 

This point, to me, provides the most probable explanation for my intuitive transition to natural fiber clothing. As a highly sensitive person (a blessing and a curse!), my body has been very receptive to various types of vibrational medicine such as acupuncture. It makes sense that my body “asks” for the more natural vibration of natural fibers rather than synthetic fibers.

Where I’ve found natural fiber clothing

Fair Indigo – Fair Indigo calls their clothing “style with a conscious” for a good reason. They ethically source their materials, paying workers a living wage.  They offer a wide selection of 100% organic cotton blouses (I like the Circle Neck Organic T-Shirt). Their gorgeous selection of scarves are a blend of cotton, wool and/or linen.

Alternative Apparel – Many of their items contain recycled synthetic materials, which I still choose to avoid. However, they have some 100% cotton and linen items that I’ve enjoyed. Some of their clothes are made with organic cotton and natural dyes. Everything I’ve got there has been from the Sale section, which usually has a wide selection. The 100% linen blouses that I purchased are amazing – lightweight, super soft and wrinkle-free!

Blue Canoe – Blue Canoe uses organic cotton and/or bamboo rayon for their pieces. I’ve not tried a wide range of their clothes, but I do like their 100% organic cotton bras and panties. Much of their clothing is made from bamboo rayon, which is highly processed with chemicals as I explained above. I only stick with their 100% cotton options.

Department stores – Although the fabric will likely not be organic, you’ll be able to find 100% cotton blouses at most department stores, as well as some 100% linen pieces. Another option that you can find in your favorite department store is pure cashmere or wool cardigans/sweaters.

 Have you made the switch to natural fiber clothing? Is it something you want to try?

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