Wednesdays Without Barcodes: Teriyaki Bird Food

I have to admit, when snacking off the grid I sometimes feel like I eat a lot of bird food…so sometimes I have to get creative.  Nuts and seeds, when properly prepared are wonderful sources of healthy fats, complementary proteins and a host of micronutrients.

Sunflower seeds provide significant amounts of vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.  These nutrients are known to calm and detoxify the entire body, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol and help prevent heart both heart disease and cancer (source).

Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are another super seed which are known for promoting prostate health, increasing bone density and reducing inflammation better than pharaceuticals!

“The healing properties of pumpkin seeds have also been recently investigated with respect to arthritis. In animal studies, the addition of pumpkin seeds to the diet has compared favorably with use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in reducing inflammatory symptoms. Importantly, though, pumpkin seeds did not have one extremely unwanted effect of indomethacin: unlike the drug, pumpkin seeds do not increase the level of damaged fats (lipid peroxides) in the linings of the joints, a side-effect that actually contributes to the progression of arthritis.” (source)

Birds must be amazing healthy little critters, but I bet they are jealous that they don’t have these tasty seeds!

TERIYAKI BIRD FOOD
Ingredients

  • filtered water
  • 1 – 2 TBS Celtic sea salt
  • 1 lb raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 lb raw pumpkin seeds
  • 15 – 20 dates, soaked and drained
  • 1 TBS ginger
  • 2 TBS crushed garlic
  • 2 TBS soy sauce (use tamari for a gluten free version)

Preparation

  1. Place seeds in a large bowl and cover with filtered water.  Add 1 – 2 TBS of Celtic sea salt and soak 8 hours or overnight.  Drain.  Should be about 8 C soaked seeds.
  2. About an hour before seeds are done soaking bring a pot of filtered water to a boil and then remove from heat, add dates and cover.  Allow dates to soak for 1 hour.  Drain.
  3. In a food processor, process soaked dates until a smooth paste forms.
  4. Add ginger, garlic and soy sauce and continue to process.
  5. Scrape paste into bowl with soaked and drained seeds and mix well to coat.
  6. Place on non-stick dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for about 20 hours at 115° degrees. Or use the oven method (below)*.
  7. Store in air tight glass jars.

Eat Well, Be Well (Tweet, Tweet),
April

*OVEN DEHYDRATING METHOD
Spread items to be dehydrated out onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and place in the oven.  If you have a convection setting use it, if not, prop the door open using a small metal object such as a measuring cup to allow air to circulate.  Dehydrate at 150° (or your oven’s lowest possible temperature) for 8 – 12 hours or until crispy.  You will lose some of the enzymes with this method, but will still have a yummy treat!

This post was shared on Read Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

To B or Not to B: Micronutrient Deficiencies and Supplementation

© Dudau | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos
I was so caught up in the Real Food Summit last week that I hardly had time to post about it.  If you didn’t get a chance to check it out, you can purchase all 27 lectures plus a boatload of bonus materials for what I think is a steal considering the wealth of information that was covered over those nine days.  Anyway, one of the most interesting presentations, in my opinion, was given by Mira & Jayson Calton and was about micronutrient deficiency.  This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately as I’ve had some personal experience with deficiencies despite my real food diet.  It happens…to most of us in fact.  And whether we realize it or not our cells pay the price.  Never forget, we live and die at the cellular level.

Movie Night: Dem Bones

This video does a good job of explaining many of the players in bone health and how we can support bone health with other nutrients in addition to calcium.  You have to get past the fact that this an advertisement.  I am by no means endorsing his product (which might be very good…I honestly don’t know), but I do like his explanation of how nutrients enhance bone and joint health.

 
Here is a product I wholeheartedly endorse, which is awesome for bone health because of the vitamin A & D.  It’s also a great brain and immune booster for the kids.  My favorite brand is made by Green Pastures and I would recommend Cinnamon Tingle for the adults and the emulsified Peppermint for the kiddos.

I couldn’t resist…the kids will love this one.  Don’t worry it’s educational 🙂

Boning up on Calcium

©iStockphoto.com/itsmejust

Let me start by saying, I love Sally Field!  I think she’s adorable…can’t look at her without smiling. So if anyone could get me to take a Rx drug it would be her.  Brilliant marketing by Boniva I must say…especially considering that their own website and package insert makes statements such as:

  • It is not known how long BONIVA works for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis.
  • BONIVA can cause serious side effects including problems with the esophagus, low blood calcium, bone, joint or muscle pain, severe jaw bone problems, and unusual thigh bone fractures.
  • Severe jaw bone problems may happen when you take BONIVA.
  • Severe and occasionally incapacitating bone, joint, and/or muscle pain has been reported in patients taking bisphosphonates that are approved for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
  • Atypical, low-energy, or low-trauma fractures of the femoral shaft have been reported in
    bisphosphonate-treated patients.

Seriously…Boniva may cause low-trauma, thigh bone fractures!?!  Women are taking Boniva to prevent fractures and meanwhile they could be out walking their dog one day and have their femur snap for no reason whatsoever…WOW!  OK, so I’m being hard on Boniva, I know.  Really I’m talking about any bisphosphonate drug, of which Boniva is only one.  These drugs work on the principle that all minerals must be kept in the bone.  Therefore, they prevent the normal rebuilding & remodeling processes that naturally occurs when injured, damaged or just plain old bone tissue is replaced with new bone tissue.  So in an effort to maintain bone density there is the potential to end up with bones that are especially fragile and painful because they are not being properly maintained and repaired by the body.  That just doesn’t sit well with me. 

Another strategy for bone health is to take a calcium supplement.  Sometimes a doctor might recommend this, but often women just decide on their own to go this route.  I’m not knocking calcium.  It is definitely important for many bodily functions including muscle contractions and nerve impulse transmission. It is also a crucial building block of teeth and bones.  In fact calcium is so essential, that the body regulates calcium concentration in the blood more strictly than anything else…even glucose (blood sugar)!  This means that if the body gets too much of a good thing it has to stash it somewhere else to keep the blood calcium levels constant.  Here’s where we run into trouble with calcium supplements.  The hope is that when the blood calcium gets too high the body will send the calcium to the bones, but this is not always the case.  Sometimes the calcium is sent to blood vessels, joints and organs instead, causing problems such as kidney stones and heart disease (source).  Another issue with calcium supplements is that most contain inexpensive, poorly absorbed forms of the mineral such as calcium dicalcium phosphate.  So you are getting very little bang for your buck.

If you really feel you must take a calcium supplement, look for one in which the only source of calcium is microcrystalline hydroxyapatite concentrate (MCHC). MCHC is a complex crystalline compound composed of calcium (about 24 percent), phosphorous, delicate organic factors, protein matrix and the full spectrum of minerals that naturally comprise healthy bone (source).  Of course (as the American Dairy Association loves to remind us), dairy is an excellent source of calcium as well.  Despite your calcium source; however, the fact is this:  the US already has one of the highest calcium intakes in the world and one of the highest rates of osteoporosis…hmmm???


So at this point I should probably reiterate my usual disclaimer.  I’m not a doctor, this is for informational purposes only… BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.  But here’s my question.  Are doctors telling their patients about the potential (side) effects of bisphosphonate drugs and the potential risks of calcium supplements?   And here’s a better question.  Is anyone telling women and girls that there are ways to improve bone mineral density that don’t threaten your health?  I certainly don’t hear much talk about this.


I recently attended a lecture on calcium and bone health and in addition to some of the information discussed above, I learned some other interesting things about bone health. First of all, calcium is but one player in bone health.  Other nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, D & K, protein and collagen also play important roles.  Without collagen, bones may become too brittle.  Without vitamins A, D & K, calcium can easily become misdirected.  Without magnesium calcium may not be properly absorbed.  This is, of course, the very abridged version of the information presented, but the “take home” was that bone health is a group effort and if there is an imbalance in the building materials it can be bad news for the bones!

So here are my thoughts on the matter.  Everything is fortified with calcium these days but younger and younger women (even kids) are losing bone mineral density.   The rates of osteoporosis have increased dramatically over the past two decades.  So, we need to start thinking about bone health at a much younger age and not just through the calcium lens that we’ve been using but from a whole food/nutrition perspective.  By eating a wide variety of foods that include all of the “players” in bone health, we can begin to build stronger bones at any age.

“Soups and broths made from bone are best because they provide MCHC; followed by whole raw milk & raw milk products, sea vegetables such as kelp, Celtic sea salt, brewer’s yeast, green leafy vegetables and molasses (source).

Antioxidants such as lycopene may also have a special role to play in this area.

“A study was designed in which tomato and other dietary sources of lycopene were removed from the diets of postmenopausal women for a period of 4 weeks, to see what effect lycopene restriction would have on bone health. At the end of 4 weeks, women in the study started to show increased signs of oxidative stress in their bones and unwanted changes in their bone tissue.” (source)

Furthermore, bone density is a matter of gravity!  That’s why astronauts lose bone mass while in space and why thin women are typically the ones with osteoporosis.  If there is less weight on your bones you lose bone mass at a greater rate.  A great way to help build and maintain bone mass is by participating in weight bearing activities.  Children and adolescents that exercise prior to the closing of the epiphyseal (“growth”) plates can actually increase total bone mass prior to the natural reduction that occurs with aging.

Other lifestyle factors that can help include not smoking or drinking cola drinks which have been linked to loss of bone mineral density in adults and children (source).

So when you make your next meal plan think beyond protein and carbohydrates and start trying to include foods that contribute to bone health.  Remember bones are living tissue, and you can gain bone mass with simple diet and lifestyle changes.  What do you have to lose?



Eat Well, Be Well,
April

Thanks to Amy Berger of TuitNutrition for this excellent information!

This post was shared on Fight Back Friday with Food Renegade