The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet/Butternut Squash Soup

The Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet/Butternut Squash Soup
By Elaine Bryan

While there are many different styles of eating these days, as there has always been, research continues to validate the many health benefits of eating more plant-based.  And quite a few of us don’t even realize that the foods we eat often have more of an impact on our health than anything else in our lives.  Even over physical activity, managing stress, adequate sleep, social connectedness – because food also impacts all of those areas as well!  And each bite we eat moves us more towards health or disease – It’s all our choice.

What does plant-based even mean?  Dr. Colin Campbell, author of the book “The China Study” emphasizes this: “Nutrition must be wholistic: looking at countless nutrients and mechanisms that control many diseases”.  Over years of experience and research, it has been found that plant foods contain nutrients in the healthiest ratio (except B12 and D) for the human body.  Instead of focusing on individual nutrients, a whole food plant-based diet emphasizes the symphony of nutrient composition that has been proven to be optimal for human health.

For this reason, it has been said that a whole food plant-based dietary lifestyle then maximizes the intake of whole, plant foods and minimizes the intake of processed and animal-derived foods.  The diet lifestyle is centered around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, (legumes), herbs, spices, and nuts and seeds.

The benefits have been shown to be many and include a meta-analysis study done in 2017 at Imperial College in London.  This study looked at populations worldwide and included up to 2 million people and diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and more.  It analyzed over 95 studies on fruit and vegetable intake and found the greatest benefit came from eating the equivalent of about 10 portions daily.  In the research, which was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the team estimated approximately 7.8 million premature deaths could be potentially prevented every YEAR if people ate 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day!

This is significant information to know!

It makes sense because the plant-based benefits include many such as reducing chronic inflammation, decrease in cancer risk and slowing the progression of certain cancers, cardiovascular benefits, improvement in immune function, improvement in diabetes and blood sugar management, increase in energy, sleep, mood and mental clarity and much more.

It has been shown that anti-cancer molecules in certain plant foods can be used to create an environment that is hostile to tumors.  This daily intake of these incredible plant foods can then assist in creating the defense mechanisms and environment that can be more protective in the body overall.

One of the plant foods that is beneficial and widely available during the fall/winter and holiday season is squash.  One of the favorites is butternut squash and it can be used to make a warming, satisfying soup or even roasted and stuffed with kale, mushrooms including immune-boosting shitake mushrooms, garlic and onions, some nuts, and quinoa.  All with their own protective, beneficial plant molecules.

Butternut squash itself contains a substance called beta-cryptoxanthin that has been repeatedly found to lower the risk of lung cancer. By eating foods such as butternut squash, it has been estimated that the risk of lung cancer can decrease between 15-40%.  It has also been shown that taking supplements of these plant chemicals or phytochemicals (nutrients) that are in astounding numbers in these plant foods does not have the same effect as eating the plant in whole food and may even increase health risks.  Beta-cryptoxanthin can also be found in tangerines, persimmons, and spices such as cayenne pepper, paprika, and chili powder.

The butternut squash also has protective lutein and zeaxanthin that is found in yellow fruits and vegetables and can protect your eyes, and the beta carotene in these plants such as squash are beneficial for heart health as well as supporting the immune system. See below for a Curried Butternut Squash Soup that will help keep you warm and nourished this season!

Beta carotene has also been shown to promote communication between cells, which has been shown to quell the growth of cancer cells, according to a 2020 article in the journal Food Science and Nutrition.

Making these plant foods in a large variety of different colors every day into your diet lifestyle a huge win!

For more information about Elaine Bryan, and for even more yummy and nutritious recipes and tips, visit http://www.bodyandsoulnourishment.com/.


Curried Butternut Squash soup

2-3 Tbsp coconut oil or veggie broth, or Avocado oil spray

¾ cup onions or chopped leeks

1 teaspoon minced garlic

½-1 tsp curry powder

3 cups of vegetable broth

2-3 cups of filtered water

1 can of full fat coconut milk

1 medium-sized butternut squash (peeled and diced into 1-2 inch pieces)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)

 

Heat the oil, vegetable broth or use avocado spray in a saucepan and add the chopped onion/leeks, garlic and the curry powder (if desired).

Saute a few minutes until onion and garlic are fragrant.

Add in the cubed butternut squash, the vegetable broth and the filtered water to get to the consistency desired.

Note:  You can roast the butternut squash first if desired and then add to the soup and cook less time as the squash will already be cooked.

Cover and simmer until the squash is softened which will be about 20-25 minutes.

If you like the soup somewhat chunky, you can use a masher to mash the ingredients up, or use an immersion blender to blend, or transfer carefully to a high speed blender to blend together until smooth.

Transfer back to pot and add the thyme, salt and pepper, and optional nutritional yeast.  Remove from the heat and add the coconut milk.  Stir and serve!

 

How to Detox Your Body Every Day

How to Detox Your Body Every Day
By Harvey Slater, Holistic Nutritionist & Wellness Coach

Have you thought about doing a detox but don’t know where to start? The word detox is flying around quite loosely these days. People are talking about it a lot! The word “detox” gets almost 30,000 internet searches a month! Many of us come to think that “doing a detox” is some kind of big thing that we have to endure for a week or a month. There are certainly many detox methods out there that would require this kind of mindset. But what if I told you that our bodies were already designed to be in a perpetual state of healthy detox, and all you have to do is make some choices each day to support your body to do what it was naturally designed to do? Sounds too good to be true, right? It’s not! You and anyone can learn how to detox your body in your everyday life just by employing these simple habits, principles, and more.

8 Simple Practices to Support Your Body’s Natural Ability to Detox

  1. Stay Hydrated

A healthy body is considered to be made up of more than 50% water. When we are dehydrated our organs literally shrink from dehydration, and the toxins in our bodies become more concentrated. Hydration allows our body to function better and flush the toxins out instead of hanging on to them. Here is an article from the Mayo Clinic on how much water you should be drinking per day for your body and weight. Creating a simple habit of drinking more water can make a huge difference in how your body functions and how you feel.

  1. Drink Lemon Water in the Morning

Drink a glass of room temperature lemon water or hot water with lemon first thing in the morning.  The lemon alkalizes your pH and stimulates your digestion and liver cleansing function.

  1. Have a Plant-Based Smoothie for Breakfast

The traditional American breakfast is not what it’s cracked up to be when it comes to high quality, efficient nutrition. When you eat eggs, bacon, bagels, and cream cheese for breakfast, you are actually going backwards and bogging your body down from its ability to naturally detoxify. By starting your day with clean, plant-based, easy to digest food, you are giving yourself a morning cleansing boost. Use raw fruits and vegetables, a good, whole-food plant-based protein powder, and plant-based milk like almond, hemp, or coconut milk. You can also find raw greens and other “super-foods” in concentrated powders.

  1. Eat Raw Plants During Daylight

There isn’t some time of day mystic plant energy behind this. It is just a rule of thumb that I use to try to remember to eat raw, plant-based, cleansing foods throughout my workday. In his book, The Food Prescription For Better Health, Dr. Baxter D. Montgomery MD articulates the healing and cleansing benefits of eating plant foods in their raw state or as minimally processed as possible. This can be easily achieved because salad is already the main staple for most people’s lunch menus. Just take it a step further and try having some fun and exploring other ways to enjoy raw vegetables, fruits, sprouted legumes, nuts, and seeds.

  1. Try to Avoid or Reduce ‘The 3 A’s”: Addictive, Acidic, & Allergenic Foods

Some of the top contenders on this list are: Alcohol, coffee, refined sugar, commercial dairy products, highly processed gluten, to name a few. I know, I know! When we start getting into the territory of giving up the foods that we love it changes the entire context of this article from “simple daily habits” to “oh no I can never eat a doughnut again!” For the purpose of this article, just consider cutting back on one or two things here and there and see how much of a difference it makes for you.

  1. Eat Whole, Organic Foods

This is one place where you should definitely splurge at the grocery store. Here is my question: If the objective is to support your body’s natural ability to detoxify on a regular basis, why would you put environmental toxins like pesticides, hormones, and other harmful chemicals into your body? The further along society gets in this discussion, the more compelling the argument for an organic diet becomes.

  1. Drink a Detox Tea

We have a lot of bad daily drinking habits available to us, including but not limited to coffee, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, so why not make a daily habit of giving your liver and kidneys some daily, healthy, hydrating support? You can find a high quality, safe detox tea at your favorite healthy food market.

  1. Establish Sustainable Healthy Habits!

Our bodies are living organisms on a homeostatic continuum. The more healthful, supportive, and nourishing an environment you create for your body, the more easily it can maintain optimal health and wellness, and do its “detox, heal and thrive” thing! By mastering basic healthy lifestyle habits, you can move toward a life of health and vibrance, and away from a life of constantly battling autotoxemia and illness.

I offer a virtual coaching program (for a fee) that can teach you these skills and show you the pathway to mastering your own health and wellness! The program is called “Habitude.” Habitude is defined as: “A habitual tendency or way of behaving.” And that is the foundation of the program. We’ll spend one year, 25 tele-health support sessions, and all the support you need on my virtual “Healthie” nutrition coaching app, mastering a curriculum of healthy living skills that will support you to take the best care of your body possible.

If you’d like to explore this further, I’d love to invite you to a complimentary phone consultation. Schedule your consultation right here!

Meanwhile, enjoy your new healthy insights!

If you enjoyed reading about how to support your body’s natural detox functionality, you might enjoy my website at harveyslater.com

*Harvey also presented a workshop on how to support our own detox functions. To view the recording, visit https://vimeo.com/474879301.

Basic Tips to Improve Your 5 Detox Organs

Basic Tips to Improve Your 5 Detox Organs

By Jovanka Ciares

Your amazing body has natural built-in mechanisms for eliminating detoxing and self-healing. While your body is capable of eliminating the toxic substances that get in through or are generated through food, water, and other sources, that process can become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pathogens and eventually work less efficiently. When that happens, your body starts to store these potentially dangerous substances, eventually damaging connective tissues, hormonal production, and vital organs.

In the past 2 decades, the practice of detoxing has become more and more popular as people look for natural alternatives to reduce their toxic load. We started incorporating ancient detoxing practices like Ayurvedic Panchakarma, oil pulling, sweat lodges, and herbal wraps/baths in combination with elimination diets in an effort to support. These practices may also require an added investment of time and resources to complete them. However, there are other ways in which you can support your natural detox organs without making significant changes in your lifestyle and keeping your monthly food budget almost intact.

There are five primary organs in your body responsible for processing most of the toxins in your body: the gut, liver, lungs, kidney, and skin. In my experience making these basic changes listed below can help each of these organs process toxins and work optimally for you:

The Gut: We know the gut covers multiple organs, from mouth to anus, and as the 2nd largest elimination organ, it is critical that it works efficiently.

Eating more fiber is one of the easiest mechanisms to “brush” toxins out of your gut.

More than botanicals, probiotics can help absorb heavy metals and remove carcinogens from the gut.

The Liver: The liver is often seen as the primary detoxing organ, and for a good reason. It is responsible for filtering out toxins from your blood and eliminating toxins that may arise during the digestion process.

The best way to support the liver is with herbal remedies and supplements like gentle dandelion, milk thistle, and turmeric, this last one added to your meals.

The Kidneys: Your kidneys help to maintain the delicate pH balance in your body and are responsible for filtering out toxins from the blood and eliminating them in the form of urine.

Eating water-based veggies like cucumber, summer squash, leafy greens, and bell peppers can help reduce acid load and help the kidneys properly detoxify.

Stinging nettles is the quintessential herbal

The Lungs: Put simply, the lungs are in charge of filtering out all the pollutants that you inhale every time you take a breath and bring cleaner oxygen to your heart and body

Using essential oils that protect and clean the soft tissues around your respiratory system is a great alternative. Embrace rosemary essential oil as a stimulant, eucalyptus as protectant or astragalus to cleanse, protect and calm.

The Skin: Your largest detox organ, every inch of it helps push toxins out of the body. Because it’s also so large, it is also responsible for a lot of what gets inside your body.

Sweating is a great way to help push out toxins through the skin. Veggies like carrots, and other yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are a great place to start. Tomatoes and berries are great to protect and keep your skin healthy and beautiful.

Botanical oils used in the skin can have an amazing effect on your ability to push toxins. Include calendula and jojoba oil in your skin beauty regimen.

As we continue our October program theme of “Releasing, Cleansing and Detoxing Naturally”, we want to remind you that detoxing does not need to be intimidating and depleting. Instead, we want you to remember that our bodies are built for detoxing and we have the natural resources available in a variety of foods and herbs that help our organs and body systems do so in healthy ways!

The Foundation for Living Beauty is thankful for the wealth of information that integrative herbalist and wellness expert, Jovanka Ciares shares with us! For access to more information and to learn more about Jovanka’s practice, visit https://www.jovankaciares.com/.

To watch the full recording of Jovanka’s “Natural Detoxing with Herbal Medicine” workshop, click here!

Mindful and Proactive during Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

The Foundation for Living Beauty provides wellness support to women with any type of cancer and at any stage in their journey. October is breast cancer awareness month and as we work to support our “Living Beauties”, we would like to remind you that early detection and self-checking is an important part of preventing breast cancer. Living Beauty Board Member and Breast Wellness Expert, Brenda Smith shares 3 tips on how to take time and be mindful of being proactive in prevention.

Three important things to empower yourself:

1 – Take your Vit. D. Not only is it crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system but studies have shown that breast cancer cells do not thrive in a Vit. D rich environment. Take your blood levels as close to 50ng/ml as possible. D3 with K2 is the best combination for breast tissue as well as bone health.

2 – Do your self-breast exams regularly. Many women find their cancers even after clean mammograms. You know your body better than anyone. Becoming familiar with your normal density can make you more aware of changes. Keep in mind that cancer does not come and go so there’s no need to worry about lumps caused by hormonal fluctuations. While the majority of breast cancer diagnoses in the United States are in women over 50, eleven percent of new breast cancer diagnoses are in women under the age of 45. Women of all ages should incorporate checking their own breasts into their self-care routine! As you wind down for the evening and take some much-needed time for yourself, take a few seconds to perform a self-check to put your mind even more at ease knowing you are connecting with your body

3 – Especially in this time of Covid-19, release negativity and receive gratitude. We know there is a correlation between our emotions and our health. Breast tissue is susceptible to stuck emotions. As we are challenged in this moment in history, find ways to release your frustrations and anger. Get out in nature, if possible. Spend time with safe friends who are good listeners, journal, scream into a pillow! Get all the anxiety out of your body so you can relax and reduce stress hormones. Then find movement that you enjoy. Dance, walk, exercise doing something you like, and most of all, laugh. In spite of it all, we have so much to be grateful for.

For more information about The Foundation for Living Beauty, visit our website at livingbeauty.org.

 

Chadwick Boseman

Let’s Talk About Colon Cancer

Millions of people across the country are mourning the death of superstar Chadwick Boseman, who passed away at the age of 43 from colon cancer.  So many of us were shocked, because the Black Panther we knew and loved kept his painful journey a secret.

Those of us who are old enough to remember know that breast cancer used to be referred to as “the C word.”  Our mothers, sisters and friends were embarrassed to talk about breast cancer.  Today, we’ve embraced talking about breast cancer, how to prevent it, how to treat it and how to survive and thrive in spite of it.

Colon cancer does not have to be this generation’s “C word.”  Education, early detection and treatment are the keys to surviving colon cancer.  The American Cancer Society says that colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States.  Younger people are less likely to get tested early, because the industry norm is to begin colon cancer screening at 45.  But early detection in young people leads to significantly better outcomes.

How do you lower your risk of colon cancer?  Everyone knows the obvious –   eat a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, stop smoking and exercise. But most physicians and cancer centers now also acknowledge the need for more holistic wellness practices, like yoga, meditation and mindfulness.  Combining traditional techniques along with wellness practices will make you healthier overall, and help lower your risk of all types of cancer.

If you are diagnosed with colon cancer, seek support.  This is not a journey you have to take alone.  In addition to Living Beauty, there are nonprofit organizations that provide education and support, like the Colon Cancer Alliance, the American Cancer Society and The Cancer Support Community.

Chadwick Boseman’s professional film legacy as the Black Panther, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall, James Brown and others taught important lessons about racial inequality.  The personal legacy he leaves is that it is important to speak out, learn and seek support.  Colon cancer does not need to be this generation’s “C Word.”

Board Member Blog Spotlight – Brenda Smith

The following blog post was written by The Foundation for Living Beauty Board Member, Brenda Smith. Brenda B. Smith is an L.Ac. Licensed Acupuncturist, applied Clinical Nutritionist specializing in Women’s Health and Stress Management and has been in private practice for 19 years in Pasadena.  She wrote this blog for her audience, but the information was so great, that we asked her if we can share it with our audience as well! Read below for Brenda’s post.

So much has happened since I last reached out to you

I have been busy doing several things.

First, I have been on calls and webinars with my colleagues as we try to make sense of all the information that is coming out. I can honestly tell you that I am still not 100% sure of what to think about it all but I can also say with confidence that this is not the time to be consumed by fear. 

I understand that containment is important however, the fact remains that the recovery rate from contracting the virus is still 95-97% and the at-risk population is still older and compromised.

We also know that it is highly contagious and that is what we are trying to control. But understand that this is less about keeping people from catching it. Easily 50% of us will at some point. It’s more about not overwhelming our hospitals because we are unprepared, as a nation, to handle the volume. 

That said, the same rules apply – wash your hands and keep a distance. 

What we are learning in the acupuncture and herbal community is that the virus starts as an irritant in the throat and lungs then continues to move down into the bowels. (Some of the tests being developed are checking for the virus in the stool. These would be home test kits.) The stop in the stomach and digestion creates the fluid that moves up into the lungs. That fluid is what causes the shortness of breath. From our perspective, acupuncture treatment focuses on the lungs and the large intestine, strengthening the immune system, and making sure the stomach and digestive process is moving smoothly. 

The idea that drinking water and flushing it down into your stomach for stomach acid to kill it is not consistent with the bowel issues. Nor is there any evidence that stomach acid can kill a virus. I’m sure many for you have had the “Stomach Flu”. Sounds great but makes no sense. 

That said, we do know that it is vulnerable to heat so drinking warm or hot fluids is preferred to cold ones. It may or may not kill it but it may weaken it. 

I recommend ginger tea. Ginger is hot and spicy and is beneficial for lung health. Too much may upset your stomach, so don’t overdo it. 

From the viral perspective it turns out that the virus itself is not the issue. It produces proteins that are foreign to our bodies and our immune system overreacts causing severe inflammation. Since it enters through the lungs, that’s where the fluid builds up. 

From a nutritional perspective the question has been asked why children don’t seem to be affected. I found the answer to be very interesting. Children naturally have higher levels of melatonin. For years, studies have shown that melatonin reduces lung injury and inflammation. The older we get, the less melatonin we naturally produce. This is another reason why getting rest and proper sleep is so important to overall health. 

Yes, melatonin supplementation is helpful. 3mg or less is fine. 

I hope that you are keeping up with your vitamin D. Notice how the recommendation is that we get outside and get some sunlight. They are emphasizing the importance of vitamin D without actually saying it. Getting outside for 20 minutes is the best but additional vitamin D can’t hurt.  Also, Vitamin C to tolerance. The hospitals in New York are using IV Vit. C and patients are recovering faster. 

My friend and colleague Dr. Dennis Buckley has IV Therapy available in his office, which is near Lake and Washington. It is an IV drip Meyers Cocktail with glutathione. It’s a wonderful treatment to boost the immune system especially for those with chronic health issues. Give him a call, if you are interested and let him know I referred you. The number is (626) 798-7805 

I closed last week because I needed time to sort things out and get a better understanding of how to respond to all this. Some of my colleagues are open and seeing patients, others are not. The good news is that we are considered essential as healthcare providers so it is up to us to make the decision. I will be available to those who feel the need for treatment as long as you have been self-quarantined and feel well. I will open the calendar slowly as things unfold since everything is subject to change at any moment.

In the meantime, be strong and don’t panic. You have heard me say time and time again that stress lowers the immune system. 

Know that I am thinking of you all and praying for your safety. 

Brenda

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! In honor of this celebration of women, we’re reflecting on ten ways Living Beauties thrive and support each other through Sisterhood.

1. They share an instant connection through empathy and understanding.
Even if they’ve only met once, Living Beauties are instantly drawn to each other. Their shared experiences bring guards down and lead to deep, enriching conversations. Overnight retreats often build friendships that last forever.

2. They share and trust each other’s knowledge.
Living Beauties understand each other’s journeys, and they share information on doctors, treatments, recipes and holistic care. This knowledge is invaluable!

3. They praise each other’s inner and outer beauty.
During Days of Living Beauty, Beauties speak words of affirmation and inspire confidence in one another, whether it’s to remove a wig or strike a pose.

4. They prioritize keeping in touch.
Gatherings like First Wednesdays, sometimes even held in Living Beauties’ homes, allow Beauties to reconnect and talk in a relaxed, comforting environment.

5. They support each other’s undertakings, goals, treatments and dreams.
Some Living Beauties start businesses. Some work towards yoga teaching licenses. Others speak on Capitol Hill. Many complete rigorous courses of treatment. All the while, there’s a crowd of women cheering each other forward.

6. They learn together.
Living Beauties are open-minded and enjoy the process of education together. Whether it’s learning about nutrition, yoga, CBD, stretching or makeup techniques, there’s a vast array of knowledge that Beauties are eager to soak in.

7. They face changes – both good and difficult – with solidarity.
Whether it’s embracing a plant-based diet or adjusting to major life changes, Living Beauties can not only relate to one another, but encourage one another.

8. They give the best hugs. It’s true!

9. They bring out the best in others.
From board members to facilitators and local businesses, the joy and gratitude that Living Beauties radiate brings out the best talents and generosity in our community.

10. They’re bonded for life.
Even when life takes them on different paths, Living Beauties are consistently thinking of each other, sharing updates and encouraging one another’s journeys. There’s no mountain high enough for this Sisterhood!