All posts by Mira


About Mira

Mira Dessy is The Ingredient Guru. A holistic nutrition professional, author, and a popular public speaker, she knows that it's not just what you eat, but what's in what you eat. She is the author of The Pantry Principle: how to read the label and understand what’s really in their food. Dessy is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner whose mission is to educate and empower consumers. She curates the Lean Clean Green Subscription box, the premier, organic, earth-friendly, healthy, sustainable subscription box which can be found online at https://theingredientguru.memberbox.com

Refreshing Recipes To Celebrate National Avocado Day

Avocados are more than simply a delicious and creamy fruit. They're actually a wonderfully healthy addition to any clean eating nutritional plan.

Avocado nutrition profile

 

Avocados are an excellent source of fiber, pantothenic acid, vitamin K, copper, and folate. They are also a good choice for getting your potassium. Believe it or not, one serving of avocado has more potassium than a serving of banana.

One of the biggest benefits of avocados is that they are a very healthy source of beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids. This helps you to absorb more nutrients, like fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K). Fat is also important for helping your body to absorb carotenoids found in things like dark leafy greens. All of which makes adding avocado on your salad (and in other dishes) a really good choice.

Health Benefits of Avocados

 

Avocados have been shown to be good for heart health. Studies indicate that eating avocados can help to lower cholesterol. And eating them may also increase HDL (High-Density Lipoproteins, the “good” cholesterol) while reducing LDL (Low-Density Lipoproteins, the “bad” cholesterol), and triglycerides.

Another health benefit of avocados is their antioxidant benefits for eye health. They provide zeaxanthin and lutein which may reduce the risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration.

Contrary to popular beliefs about their fat content, eating avocados may actually help with weight management. This is because the healthy fat and fiber in avocados can help you to feel full after eating. It may also help decrease the desire to overeat. And, if that's not enough, this high fiber and healthy fat profile may also help to balance blood sugar. This is encouraging for those who want to add avocados as part of a weight management plan.

Celebrate Avocados

 

Chock full of nutrients and so very delicious, there are a lot of tasty ways to add avocados to your meal planning. I'm talking more than just using it for a salad or making guacamole and chips. Here are three amazing recipes to help you think differently about avocados and get more avocado goodness into your diet.

Avocado Kiwi Bowl

Everyone loves smoothies. They're a quick and easy way to get a lot of nourishing ingredients. In my opinion smoothie bowls are even better you can include some yummy toppings. Here's a simple and tasty bowl that's sure to be a summertime hit.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup kale leaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 small banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1 diced kiwi fruit
  • 1 tsp hemp seeds

Instructions
 

  • Put the coconut milk into the blender
  • Add the avocado, ice, kale, and 1/2 of the banana
  • Blend until fully combined
  • Top with raspberries, the other half of the banana- sliced, and sprinkled with the hemp seeds
    Enjoy!

Avocado Deviled Eggs

Who doesn't love deviled eggs? They're always a hit at any social gathering. If you're looking for a way to make your deviled eggs stand out try this tasty twist.

Ingredients
  

  • 8 large eggs

  • 2 medium

    avocados


  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 
1½

    tbsp

    
avocado mayonnaise*

  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 
½

    tsp

    
onion powder

  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 
½

    tsp

    
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley
  • minced
 sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste


Instructions
 

  • Place eggs in a large pot, cover by an inch or two cold water and bring to a rolling boil
  • Cover and turn off heat
  • Let the eggs sit, covered, for 11-12 minutes
  • Drain the eggs and rinse in cool water
  • Peel eggs and slice in half lengthwise

  • Remove the yolks and place in a small mixing bowl
  • Arrange the egg whites on a plat
  • To the yolks add avocado, lemon juice, avocado mayonnaise, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and red pepper (if using)
  • Season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • Mash all ingredients together until well combined
  • Spoon one tablespoon of mixture into each egg half
  • Top with fresh parsley
    Can be served immediately or refrigerated to serve later
    Enjoy!

Notes

*If you do not have avocado mayonnaise [link: https://amzn.to/3fMziWM] you can use regular mayonnaise. However, the flavor of the avocado mayonnaise improves the taste of these eggs

Avocado Carbonara

Who doesn't love a good carbonara recipe? The use of avocado in this dairy-free version is delicious and creamy without, well, the cream. And serving it over zoodles makes this a veggie-rich dish anyone would love.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 medium-sized ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup raw pepitas
  • 1/2 cup baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned, sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils (optional)
  • ground pepper
  • 2 zucchinis - zoodled

Instructions
 

  • Cook the pasta
  • Place zucchini into a colander
  • Drain pasta into zucchini
  • Rinse and set aside
  • In a separate pan saute mushroom slices in olive oil
  • When done take off the heat and set aside
  • Place lemon juice, garlic and olive oil in a food processor or blender, blend until smooth
  • Add avocado, parsley and basil, process until smooth
  • Gently fold together the sauce, pasta, and zucchini
  • Garnish with mushrooms, pepitas, and pomegranate
    Serve and enjoy!
Sources

Alvizouri-Muñoz, M et al. “Effects of avocado as a source of monounsaturated fatty acids on plasma lipid levels.” Archives of medical research vol. 23,4 (1992): 163-7.

Carranza, J et al. “Efectos del aguacate sobre los niveles de lípidos séricos en pacientes con dislipidemias fenotipo II y IV” [Effects of avocado on the level of blood lipids in patients with phenotype II and IV dyslipidemias]. Archivos del Instituto de Cardiologia de Mexico vol. 65,4 (1995): 342-8.

Delcourt, Cécile et al. “Plasma lutein and zeaxanthin and other carotenoids as modifiable risk factors for age-related maculopathy and cataract: the POLA Study.” Investigative ophthalmology & visual science vol. 47,6 (2006): 2329-35. doi:10.1167/iovs.05-1235

Khachik, F et al. “Identification of lutein and zeaxanthin oxidation products in human and monkey retinas.” Investigative ophthalmology & visual science vol. 38,9 (1997): 1802-11.

López Ledesma, R et al. “Monounsaturated fatty acid (avocado) rich diet for mild hypercholesterolemia.” Archives of medical research vol. 27,4 (1996): 519-23.

Wien, Michelle et al. “A randomized 3×3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults.” Nutrition journal vol. 12 155. 27 Nov. 2013, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-155

Avocado Carbonara Recipe courtesy of Linda Rosario

Healthy At Home Journaling Prompts

Journaling for better health

If you're looking to improve your health and wellbeing there may be a strategy to help that you're overlooking. Journaling. It turns out that there are a lot of ways that using a journal can be good for you. It can be a supportive strategy for stress relief, help you work out problems, boost your memory, and has also been shown to be good for mental health.

Does journaling really help?

There are a lot of studies that have been done around the idea of journaling and its benefits. Here are just a few ways that it can be helpful for you:

  • Health benefits – a study of undergraduate college students found that journaling increased wellbeing, decreased illness, and, over time, even helped to decrease the ill effects of dealing with trauma
  • Improves cognitive function – writing, as opposed to typing, has been shown to improve your ability to acquire, process, and recall information. One article found that writing was useful when it came to learning both math and science. 
  • Better learning skills – according to research published in Psychological Science students who wrote longhand, as opposed to those who typed using laptops, were better able to learn material. Journaling can be a way of recording and deepening your understanding of yourself and/or what you're writing about.
  • Remember significant events – life can be very full and there are lots of distractions. Journaling about moments, events, or people that are noteworthy or important to you can be a way to create an accurate accounting of what you want to remember accurately.
  • Organizing your thoughts – sometimes there's so much going on that it can be difficult to keep all of your plans and goals clearly in mind. Writing it down can be a positive way to stay on track. Plus writing down your goals increases your chances of succeeding at them.
  • Better healing – studies have found that journaling can have a positive impact on how well the body heals. According to the research this includes healing from IBS, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and wound healing.
  • Improves mental health – studies have found a positive shift in mental state among those who journaled, this included those with cancer, Parkinson's, and other health conditions.

Give it a try

With all these benefits from journaling you're probably curious as to whether or not it could work for you. Why not give it a try?  History is filled with people who journaled – Beatrix Potter, Marie Curie, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Lewis Carroll, Leonardo Da Vinci, Mark Twain and so many others. They wouldn't have journaled if they didn't get at some benefit out of it.

Take advantage of the fact that this is a low-cost, easy to do activity that can be good for your health. Spend the next 30 days engaged in a journaling practice and see how you feel at the end. Chances are you'll notice some benefits and want to keep going.  

I don't know what to write

If you're stuck for something to journal about I've got your covered.  Here are 50 topics, pick one at random and spend a few minutes each day journaling about it. 

1. What does it mean to you to be healthy?
2. What have been your biggest health struggles while being at home?
3. How has your mental health been?
4. What has been giving you anxiety?
5. What are your biggest fears during quarantine?
6. How has your physical health changed?
7. What weight trends have you noticed recently?
8. How has your diet changed since spending more time at home?
9. What is causing you the most worries?
10. How has your exercise routine changed?
11. Are there any home workouts you have tried?
12. Pick at least 3 new at-home workouts you can try in the next week.
13. Pick an exercise you can do with others you live with.
14. What do you think is the most important aspect of nutrition?
15. What are some healthier food items you can add while at home?
16. To improve your nutrition, try adding some structure to your day, then journal about your experience.
17. How have your cravings changed since you have been home?
18. Do you feel you are a boredom eater?
19. Have you noticed any emotional eating tendencies?
20. Go outside to walk and get fresh air, then journal how you feel afterwards.
21. What is a way you can embrace and take advantage of being at home?
22. What are the main sources of your stress lately?
23. What are some stress-relieving activities you have tried?
24. What hobbies have been keeping you busy?
25. How are you dealing with your kids’ health and wellness while being at home more often?
26. In what ways are your kids getting exercise?
27. How are you focusing on proper nutrition for your kids?
28. Try creating a new daily routine that encourages healthy habits.
29. What are 5 things you miss from before you were quarantined?
30. What are 5 things you look forward to when things get back to normal?
31. Name 5 people you can’t wait to spend more time with.
32. What are 5 things you can be grateful for right now?
33. Make a list of healthy snacks you can add to your diet.
34. How have you been socializing lately?
35. List some ways you can reach out to people more.
36. What is something you have always wanted to try?
37. If your productivity is suffering, what are some reasons you think that is?
38. Give yourself a break – what are some things you believe you have done right?
39. List self-care activities you have participated in it while being at home.
40. List some NEW self-care activities for your shelter-in-place time?
41. What is a creative activity you can try while being at home?
42. List the main things that have been on your mind lately.
43. When you think of how you spend your time when you are bored, what comes to mind first?
44. When the shelter in place orders are lifted, what is a way you can get out more?
45. How has quarantine changed your mindset?
46. What do you think you took for granted before quarantine?
47. Have you read any books while in isolation?
48. How do you think life will be different moving forward.
49. What are some changes you have made that have improved your health so far?
50. List 10 ways you can be physically and mentally healthier while at home.

Feel free to share this post, and list of ideas, with the people you love and enjoy journaling! 

Sources
 

King, L. A. (2001). The Health Benefits of Writing about Life Goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin27(7), 798–807.

Mueller, P. A., & Oppenheimer, D. M. (2014). The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking. Psychological Science25(6), 1159–1168.

Murphy, M. Neuroscience Explains Why You Need To Write Down Your Goals If  You Actually Want To Achieve Them. Forbes. April 15, 2018.

Willis, J. The Brain-Based Benefits of Writing for Math and Science Learning. Edutopia.org. July 11.2011. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Understanding Lipoprotein (a)

Understanding Lipoprotein (a)

[Note: This post is to help you better understand Lipoprotein (a). It is in response to this letter written April 3, 2020, by Sotirios Tsimkias, M.D., who is the Director of Vascular Medicine, Division of Cardiology and the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine]

You’re probably familiar with cholesterol testing. You know, that standard blood test where they look at your cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. And you have been told that LDL is the “bad” cholesterol so you want less of that in your system while the HDL is the “good” cholesterol and you want more of that. So why are we now talking about LP(a) and what is that anyway?

What are lipoproteins?

The L in LDL and HDL stands for lipoprotein. Low-Density Lipoprotein or High-Density Lipoprotein. But it turns out there’s more to the story than that.  Lipoproteins are made up of protein and fat. In the LDL category there are actually subtypes of lipoprotein. These other lipoprotein particles are a better indication of  risk factors for cardiovascular health issues. But your doctor may not automatically test these when looking at your cholesterol levels and cardiovascular risk factors. This is unfortunate because it turns out you can have “normal” cholesterol levels and yet still have a heart attack if your lipoprotein particle numbers are elevated.

Types of lipoproteins

There are several subtypes which are variants of LDL. These lipoprotein particles (LPP), according to the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), are potential risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Giving more detail than a typical cholesterol test, when you look at LPP the test measures the size, number, and distribution of  different lipoproteins including:

    • Small, dense LDL – these can easily form plaque and also oxidize easily
    • LP(a) – this is a small, dense particle that may be involved in forming blood clots
    • Remnant Lipoprotein – this particle appears to be a building block for plaque while at the same time having the same density and makeup of plaque
    • HDL2b – this show how well the body removes excess lipids

Looking more closely at LP(a), also referred to as apolipoprotein (a), there are a number of studies which indicate that elevated levels of LP(a) can increase the risk for stroke, atherosclerosis (arterial plaque buildup), and coronary heart disease. And it turns out that commonly used statin drugs may not help to lower LP(a) levels. As noted above, you can have a “normal” cholesterol and yet have elevated lipoprotein particles which can constitute a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other cardiac health issues.

How to test lipoprotein particles

Instead of testing only the core cholesterol factors it may be beneficial to ask your doctor to include more detailed measures and to look at your lipoprotein particles. There are a number of companies which do this testing. It is commonly available through LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics, Boston Heart Diagnostics and others. Your doctor simply needs to request it. This is a fasting lab so you will be required to avoid food and water for at least 12 hours before testing.

Holistic support for LP(a)

Although having a high LP(a) level is something to be taken seriously, there are things that you can do holistically that may help lower these levels. 

Increase antioxidants

Higher antioxidant levels have been found to be helpful for overall wellness and may help to lower Lipoprotein (a) levels. One way to increase antioxidant levels is to do a C Calibration Protocol using a buffered vitamin C powder (my preferred brand is Potent C Guard by Perque):

  • Begin first thing in the morning with a level half-teaspoon dissolved in 1-2 ounces of water every 15 minutes.
  • If after four doses there is no gurgling or rumbling in the gut, you should double the initial dosage and continue every 15 minutes
  • Continue with these instructions at the proper time intervals until you reach a watery stool or an enema- like evacuation of liquid from the rectum
  • Calculate 75% of the total ascorbate you needed to induce the flush. This is your daily dose. Divide this amount into 4 and take four times per day

Omega 3 fatty acids

It’s also important to make sure that you are getting appropriate amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids.  This can be done through supplementation.  If you’re going to take supplements however you want to make sure that you read the label to ensure that you are getting cold-water fatty fish, not less beneficial fats. The cold water fatty fish include salmon, sardines, anchovies, herrings, cod, mackerel, and tuna. You also want to avoid any negative ingredients such as soybean oil, sugar, or corn starch.

In addition to supplementing your omega-3, consider adding nourishing whole food choices: cold-water fatty fish (at least twice a week), walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and egg yolks.

Yes, you can have egg yolks. Studies have shown that consuming cholesterol does not heavily influence serum (blood) cholesterol levels.

For those who may not be used to eating sardines here’s a recipe for sardine pate which I’ve heard is very good (remember I can’t eat them due to a true food allergy so ymmv). Paleo Sardine Pate by Kelly Bejelly

Vegetables

If you're like most people you know you should eat more vegetables than you really do. This is not one of those health tips that we want to ignore. Eating veggies is definitely good for you and great for your heart.  Some delicious vegetables which are good to help support better lipoprotein levels are:

    • Dark leafy greens (mustard greens, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, kale, spinach, etc)
    • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)
    • Tomatoes
    • Colorful root vegetables (carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams)

Food journaling

The following are appropriate serving sizes for the foods referenced above. Food journaling can be a good way to monitor how much and when you are eating so you can build your nutritional plan to incorporate more healthy foods into your diet.  It's also a great way to see where you might be having just a little more of the unhealthy stuff than you really realized.

Leafy Greens – 3-4 cups per day

Colorful veggies – 2-3 cups per day

Complex Carbs – 2-3 medium root vegetables

Exercise

Let’s not forget exercise. Your heart is a pump, moving blood around the body. If you’re just sitting around on the sofa how hard does it have to work? [tip: not that hard]

We are meant to be in motion and physically active. Running, jogging, brisk walks, bicycling, swimming, or even weight lifting are all good forms of physical exercise.  That can help to support beneficial lipoprotein levels. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity 4 times per week.

More information

For more information about cholesterol and a functional viewpoint

Sources

 

Fernandez, Maria L. “Rethinking Dietary Cholesterol”. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012 Mar; 15(2):117-21

Kamstrup PR, et al.”Lipoprotein(a) and risk of myocardial infarction–genetic epidemiologic evidence of causality”. Scand. J. Clin. Lab. Invest. April 2011 71 (2): 87–93.

Nordestgaard BG, et al. “Lipoprotein(a) as a cardiovascular risk factor: current status”. Eur. Heart J. December 2010 31 (23): 2844–53.

Smolders B, et al.”Lipoprotein (a) and stroke: a meta-analysis of observational studies”. Stroke. 2007. 38 (6): 1959–66.

 

What Is Hummus?

by Mira Dessy, The Ingredient Guru

One of the easiest and healthiest snacks you can make is hummus. High in protein, fiber, vitamin 6, and manganese, it tends to be served either with pita bread, crackers, or with vegetables. Not only is hummus delicious and high in protein, it has a huge fan following.

There are songs/music videos (this is just one of them),  movies, and even culinary competitions, all devoted to this humble condiment.

Originating in the Middle East with the earliest known recipes appearing in the 13th century, hummus has become popular worldwide. Traditionally it’s made from cooked chickpeas which are ground up and then mixed with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and garlic. Purists also call for the addition of tahini, a sesame seed paste, when making traditional style hummus. It tends to be served as an appetizer or a dip. Sometimes it can also be served as a side dish with things like falafel, grilled chicken or fish, or as part of a meze plate

Where to get hummus

Want to know where my favorite place to buy hummus is? The best place on the planet to get it (in my humble opinion)? It’s a tiny little out-of-the-way, hole-in-the-wall place in the Old City in Jerusalem called Abu Shukri. I’ve been fortunate enough to eat there twice, both times with my wonderful Aunt Carol. 

The first time she took me there, in the mid 1990’s, it was a revelation of how amazing hummus, and the falafel and pitot that accompanied it, could taste. Quite frankly it spoiled me for falafel, hummus, and pita for years. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.  It took a very long time for the memory of that dish to fade to the point that I could eat that again anywhere and not mourn that it wasn’t from Abu Shukri.

The second time was fifteen years later when I went back to Jerusalem. Aunt Carol asked me what was on my list of places to visit. I told her I needed to go back to, “that amazing hummus and falafel place.” I had forgotten the name by then but not the taste. She laughed and said, “Do you mean Abu Shukri?” I said I thought that was it.

So one fine day we made our way to the Old City. After getting lost a couple of times (there’s lots of twisty turns and not well marked alleyways all over the Old City) we eventually found it. To my delight it still looked just as hole-in-the-wall-ish. The intervening years had done nothing for the décor. And their reputation, although still solid, had not encouraged the owners to “fluff it up” and try to make it more appealing to tourists. They have a good thing going and they obviously know it. 

The place even smelled just like I remembered (although I didn’t remember that until I smelled it again). I was salivating before we even got to the counter to place our order. We had a lovely lovely meal together, enjoying the food, each other’s company, and delightful conversation.

Sadly Abu Shukri is pretty far from where I live. I plan to get back there again eventually, but for now I remember it fondly and content myself with making my own hummus at home.  I’ve actually gotten better at making it over the years. I do wonder if part of the flavor at Abu Shukri has to do with the setting and the company (I’m pretty sure it does).

Buying Hummus

Hummus has become so popular that it’s easily available at the grocery store. There are a number of different companies that make it. It even comes in a wide variety of flavors. On a recent trip to the grocery store I was astounded to see the following varieties of hummus in the refrigerated case. Seriously, they had a whole lined up selection:

  • Traditional
  • Mediterranean
  • Greek Inspired
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Roasted Pine Nut
  • Jalapeno
  • Siracha
  • Sun Dried Tomato
  • Caramelized Onion
  • Roasted Garlic
  • Chocolate
  • Sea Salt Caramel
  • Cake Batter
  • Chickpea Nutty
  • Lemon Meringue

I confess I was a little puzzled by the Mediterranean style as I was pretty convinced hummus already was a Mediterranean food, but I guess it’s the spices that make the difference.  And I’m really not a fan of the dessert varieties. I confess I did try a chocolate one once (after all…chocolate) but it didn’t really impress me. I have no interest whatsoever in trying the other sweet varieties, probably because I love plain hummus so much that it just doesn’t appeal to me to have it as a dessert.

One of the problems with many commercial varieties is the ingredients. Things like the use of soybean oil instead of olive oil are not a great choice. The olive oil is a healthy monounsaturated fat which is a great source of vitamin E and highly anti-inflammatory. 

Soybean oil, on the other hand, is highly genetically modified.  Even if the variety used in the hummus you are buying is non-GMO, it’s still probably highly contaminated with glyphosate (sprayed to keep down the weeds), is high in omega-6 fatty acids, and consuming it may, over time, contribute to inflammation.

Another issue with commercially made hummus is the added preservatives. The ones that are most commonly used are citric acid, which may be genetically modified, and potassium sorbate. These are not good choices to have in your foods and I do recommend avoiding them.

Making it at home

Hummus is actually very easy to make at home. There are two strategies for making your own. The first is to seriously start from scratch and begin with dry chickpeas, sometimes called garbanzo beans. Rehydrating chickpeas is not difficult, it just takes a little time. One of the benefits of rehydrating chickpeas is that there are no added preservatives, it’s just the chickpeas. Another benefit is that you can make extra and freeze them. If you’re not into the idea of rehydrating chickpeas you can always use the canned variety.


Rehydrating Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Pick out stones or foreign matter from chickpeas
  2. Rinse well and drain
  3. Put into crock-pot with water and salt
  4. Cook on high 3 hours
  5. Remove crock from cooking element and pour chickpeas into a colander to drain
  6. Rinse well
  7. Chickpeas are now ready to use

Note: The rehydrated chickpeas will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. If you’d like you can let them dry more and then freeze them.  Frozen chickpeas will keep for up to 6 months


Homemade Hummus

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked, or canned, chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup water or whey
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on your preference)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive 
  • garnish: extra olive oil, paprika, and fresh chopped parsley

Directions

  1. Combine chickpeas, water/whey, and lemon juice in a food processor
  2. Blend together, slowing adding olive oil to the mixture until it starts to stick together
  3. Add remaining ingredients
  4. If needed add a little more olive oil to make it smooth
  5. Spoon hummus into a serving bowl or dish
  6. Drizzle with olive oil, garnish with a dusting of paprika and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley

Other ways to eat hummus

Whether you choose to buy your hummus pre-made (being sure to read the label and avoid negative ingredients) or make it at home, it’s a quick and easy way to add this delicious dish to your diet. 

Don’t forget that it can be more than just a snack with pita bread or veggies. Here are a few suggestions for other ways to eat this wonderful dish:

  • Use it as a salad dressing - it may need to be thinned just a little with olive oil 
  • It’s a fabulous marinade - perfect on chicken, let it marinate for 2 hours before grilling
  • Instead of mayonnaise - it’s a great way to add flavor to any sandwich or lettuce wrap
  • Eggplant roll ups - made with hummus instead of ricotta is a fabulous dairy-free option
  • Raw-fredo - instead of using a cream sauce try hummus on your pasta or noodles
  • On apples - instead of nut butter and apples, try hummus, you’ll be surprised how good it is
  • Condiment - adding a dollop of hummus on top of scrambled eggs is very tasty

How To Pick Healthy Non-Perishable Snacks

by Mira Dessy, The Ingredient Guru

Americans have a snack habit. We've become accustomed to eating multiple times throughout the day. Sometimes we snack because we're hungry. But more often than not it's because we are bored, thirsty, or possibly responding to emotional stimuli.

Occasionally we snack because we are on-the-go and are looking for something to tide us over until we can get to mealtime.While there's nothing wrong with an occasional small bite between meals, snacking can become a problem when it fills you up with empty calories. This means things like chips, crackers, muffins, or cookies. Another problem with snacking is if you eat so much that you are no longer hungry by the time you get to the real meal.

What's a snack?

Ideally, a snack should be small, just enough to blunt your hunger without filling you up, and balanced with protein and a little healthy fat. When snacking you want to make sure that you are eating clean, nutrient-dense foods rather than high calorie, low nutrition foods, sometimes referred to as energy-dense. Here are some great, non-perishable choices for healthy snacking:

  • Nuts – choose raw nuts as your best nutritional choice. Even better is if they are sprouted.
  • Nut butter – many of these now come in squeezable tubes and can be a quick grab-and-go non-perishable snack. Be aware that there can be a lot of sugar in some of these, choose the best option possible by reading the label
  • Canned fish – such as sardines are a great choice. These can be a nourishing snack and also provide some healthy omega 3 fatty acids
  • Jerky – this can be purchased or made at home. These days there's a wide variety of jerky products made from meats such as salmon, venison, lamb, bison, pork, turkey, and more. Check the label to be sure there are no added artificial ingredients
  • Energy bars – be sure to read the label and make check that you're getting a true protein bar, not a glorified candy bar with an excessive amount of sugar. Just like with the jerky, you want to make sure there are no added artificial ingredients (sweeteners, flavors, etc)
  • Dried and seasoned chickpeas – this can be a tasty way to get a crunchy snack on-the-go without having to worry about spoilage
  • Seaweed or kale chips – okay there's no protein in this one (so you may want to pair it with a handful of nuts or some jerky), but if you're looking for a good veggie-rich crunchy snack these can really hit the spot

Snacks to avoid

When choosing snacks be sure to read the label. Don't choose one just because it says "protein" or "# grams of protein" on the front label. You need to turn the package over and read the ingredients on the label. You also want to avoid the following in your snack products:

  • excess sugar (more than 4 g per serving)
  • artificial sweeteners
  • artificial flavors
  • artificial colors
  • ingredients you don't understand
  • starchy things (tapioca, potato, rice flours, etc)

You may be wondering why things like rice cakes, popcorn, puffed quinoa, puffed chickpeas, etc are not on this list. Sure, I get that they taste good. The problem, however, is that these exploded grains are very easily converted to sugars by the body. This means they hit the blood stream relatively quickly. There's also not a lot of nutrition in those puffed grain snacks. It's better to stick with something that's going to provide more of what your body really needs, protein and healthy fat.

Unplugging For Mental Health

by Mira Dessy, The Ingredient Guru

Keeping yourself entertained and keeping your mind active is important to overall wellness and mental health. In fact, I would argue that it’s more important now than ever before.

Most people are home by themselves or with a limited number of people. During this challenging time it’s easy to get sucked into the temptation to spend the entire day on the phone checking Facebook and Instagram every 10 minutes in case some posted something new. Or to veg out completely and binge watch Netflix for 12 hours a day.

As fun as that might sound for a little while, a steady diet of this is not good for your mental healthy, not to mention our eyeballs. Anne Lamott has a great saying, “Almost everything will work better if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” So here are some great activities to help you disconnect from the electronic tether. Take a break from the television, your phone, your iPad, your computer, whatever electronic devices you’ve got and just unplug for a little bit. You’ll probably feel better after you do.

Connection and Conversation

How fortunate are we to have uninterrupted time where we can actually talk with the people we are sheltering in place with (that’s assuming you’re not alone and it’s not just you and the dog or cat). Instead of everyone running in different directions taking care of their own busy lives, sit down and connect. Talk about how you’re feeling, plan a vacation, share your dreams of what’s next. There are lots of wonderful conversations you can have. If you’re stuck getting started try one of these.

 

Reading is fun!

 

I love books. There are so many wonderful books out there. Fiction or non-fiction, it’s your choice. But there’s an endless supply of wonderful things to read. If you’re an e-reader person I’d encourage you to try paper, just so you can unplug for a while. And who knows, if you look around at home you may find books you bought that you meant to read but hadn’t got around to yet. Use this as an opportunity to cut down on your tsundoku pile. Looking for a good book recommendation on health and wellness? Consider joining The Healthy Readers Book Club. 

Art Projects

This is a great time to reconnect with your artistic side. We are ALL artists (here’s an article that describes my feelings on this topic exactly. One of my favorite ways to create is to doodle. Whether it’s painting, drawing, coloring books, collage, knitting, sewing, anything, let your creative spirit soar. And the best part is that this doesn’t have to be a solitary practice. If you’re sheltering in place with other people, why not take time to be creative together?

Creative Writing or Journaling

We’ve gotten away from the art of journaling. Many of us think we’re too busy to take the time to set pen to paper. But now? Well, why not take advantage of the time. You can share your thoughts about this time in history, write a story, write poems, or even share stories about your life. You may discover a reconnection to your inner thoughts when you take the time to slow down and actually write. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be a Pulitzer prize winning essay. Just write from the heart and express yourself.

Board Games

When was the last time you took the time to play a game. To get caught up in the fun and laughter of a board game, or card game, or some sort of game? Why not haul out those boxes, dust them off, and make it a new family habit. Who knows, you may have so much fun that this becomes a regular weekly practice that you take forward into your new normal when this shelter-in-place situation is lifted.

Whatever your choose for your unplugging time, one of the best benefits is the healthy distraction from the cacophony of media overwhelm. At this point we’re all on the verge of burnout from the ever-increasing noise of the media. Not to say that you shouldn’t be informed, but let’s take a break, some emotional down-time, and unplug, just for a little bit.

How To Make Non-Dairy Milk

by Mira Dessy, The Ingredient Guru

If you are one of the approximately 65% of all adult humans who have trouble with lactose, you may have considered switching to non-dairy milk products. If nothing else, simply because you're tired of always paying more for lactose-free [insert dairy product here], or because you keep forgetting to bring your lactase enzymes with you.

What is lactose intolerance?

For those that may be struggling with this issue and learning about this for the first time, allow me to explain. Lactose intolerance is where the body cannot properly break down lactose, milk sugar. This can cause a number of symptoms including diarrhea, cramps, bloating, gas, nausea, and, although not frequent, vomiting.

Lactose, by the way, is why things like milk list 11g of sugar per cup on the label. There's no added sugar in the milk, it's part of the milk. Side note: if you're going to drink or consume milk, I strongly suggest that it be whole milk and organic, preferably pasture-raised. This also applies to or yogurt, or other dairy products. 

For those people who cannot tolerate lactose, most of the population, there is a solution. To purchase dairy products where the lactose has been split into it's component parts of galactose and glucose, making it easier to digest. Or taking lactase, an enzyme that their system lacks, which helps to break down the lactose.Other options

For those who would rather not deal with the issues around lactose intolerance there is another option. Plant-based milks. These are made by processing certain things like almonds, coconut, oats, rice, or hemp, and making a milk-like product. While it doesn't taste like milk, it's close enough that it's often an acceptable substitute.

Drinking plant-based milks can, however, come with it's own challenges. One is that because the plant-based options are thinner than milk, emulsifiers and thickeners are added. These are made from plant gums which can cause digestive upset if over consumed or for those with very sensitive digestive tracts.

Carrageenan in particular is strongly linked to digestive health issues and should be avoided in any product. Other plant gums can be just as overwhelming to the system, causing many of the problems that lactose does.

Making almond milk at home

Instead of buying plant milks at the store it is possible to make them at home. Almond and coconut are the easiest to make yourself. With just a little bit of time, a few healthy ingredients, and not a lot of equipment, you can enjoy your own delicious homemade milk.

Almond Milk

  • 2 cups almonds
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  1. Soak almonds in water overnight
  2. Discard soaking water and rinse almonds well
  3. Place almonds, salt, vanilla, and 4 cups of water in a high powered blender
  4. Blend on high speed for 2 minutes
  5. Strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag
  6. Solids can be refrigerated and used in baking within 4-5 days
  7. Refrigerate almond milk before serving

No Soy

You may be wondering why soy milk is not on my suggested list of plant-based milks. I don't recommend consuming it because soy tends to be one of the most highly genetically modified crops we have. Soy is also a phytoestrogen, meaning plant estrogen, and can disrupt hormones. Therefore it's best to avoid not only soy milk, but also the wide variety of soy-based products on the market.

Sources

 
Nardi, J. et al. Prepubertal subchronic exposure to soy milk and glyphosate leads to endocrine disruption. Food and Chemical Toxicology
Volume 100, February 2017, Pages 247-252. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691516304896

Vitamin D - sunshine

What’s The Deal With Vitamin D3?

Vitamin D3 Deficiency

Did you know that vitamin D3 is a super vitamin? Every cell in our body has a D3 receptor. In fact, it’s vitally important for our immune system to have sufficient amounts of Vitamin D3. Furthermore, depleted levels can lead to fatigue, bone pain, bone loss, hair loss, depression, and/or delayed healing.

Most of us don't tend to think about our vitamin D3 levels or how to support our bodies to get enough. But it's more critical than we think. Some of the contributing factors for vitamin D deficiency include: being darker-skinned, carrying excess weight, being elderly, not consuming a lot of cold water fatty fish, living further away from the equator (this means less exposure to the sun due to latitude), not spending much time outdoors, and using a lot of sunscreen. Side note: While it is important to use sunscreen, you should try to get 20 minutes per day of un-sunscreened exposure in order to absorb some Vitamin D3 naturally.

Vitamin D3 and Influenza

Respiratory ailments and influenza tend to be highest, in the colder season (Winter in the northern hemisphere, Summer in the southern hemisphere). These are the times of the year when most people have lower levels of vitamin D in their system. Either because they didn't have sufficient stores in their system to begin with or because they're at a latitude where they simply can't get enough exposure.

Over the years a number of studies have been done showing that increased Vitamin D3 levels are helpful to avoid or reduce symptoms of influenza. Results from one study shared, “Vitamin D deficiency predisposes children to respiratory infections. Ultraviolet radiation (either from artificial sources or from sunlight) reduces the incidence of viral respiratory infections, as does cod liver oil (which contains vitamin D). An interventional study showed that vitamin D reduces the incidence of respiratory infections in children.

COVID-19 Infection

A new study, released in April 2020, now indicates that higher levels of vitamin D may also reduce the risk of infections and death due to COVID-19. The supplemental recommendation from the study is, “To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d. The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40-60 ng/mL (100-150 nmol/L).” 

It's important to understand that the numbers listed in this study are based on allopathic medicine.  Functional medicine recommendations for Vitamin D3 are 50-75 ng/mL.

Making sure that you have adequate levels is definitely important for overall wellness.  With this recent information, we can see that it’s even more critical to make sure your levels are where they need to be.  Part of the challenge, however, is that it’s not a good idea to simply take high doses of Vitamin D without knowing what your levels are.

Testing your levels

When it comes to testing Vitamin D3 levels the best option is micronutrient testing. It looks at not only your Vitamin D3 levels, but also co-factors such as Vitamin K2, and Vitamin A. When doing micronutrient testing my preference is for intracellular (inside the cell) rather than serum levels as that gives a more accurate reading in terms of what the cells have available. 

It is possible to test for Vitamin D3 without testing your other micronutrients. This can be done either through a blood draw at a doctor's office or laboratory draw station. Another option is to get a fingerstick test, this is one that can be purchased as an at home-testing kit. [To get a 20% off discount on this test you'll need to enter 2 coupons – GURU20 + VITAMIND.  You must enter both coupons]

Increasing your vitamin D levels

While adding foods that are rich in vitamin D3 is always a good idea, it can be challenging to get enough through food alone.  These foods include: cold-water fatty fish – salmon, sardines, tuna steak – milk (organic, whole), eggs (pastured), and shiitake or portobello mushrooms.

Other options for getting vitamin D are:

  • Getting sunshine on a regular daily basis. This does mean getting outside with no sunscreen for at least 20 minutes per day (weather allowing).  However, the amount that you can absorb in the colder months, when you need it most, is very limited due to the sun being lower on the horizon and the days being shorter. 
  • Adding cod liver oil to your diet. This is an excellent source of both Vitamin D3 and Vitamin A. The best option is raw, extra virgin. There is a theory that because we no longer regularly dose kids (and adults) with cod liver oil in the winter and we slather sunscreen on every time we are outdoors we have created a vitamin D3 deficient population.
  • Adding supplemental vitamin D3. When choosing a Vitamin D to take it is important to get a high-quality supplement without negative-ingredient fillers. And it's important to note that we've been talking about Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol. This is the most bioavailable form and is more potent than Vitamin D2, ergocalciferol. Many people tend to rely on their multi-vitamin for the Vitamin D levels, not understanding that the form found in most vitamins is actually D2 unless they specifically state otherwise.

Summary

To wrap this all up in one nice neat little package here's what you really need to know:

  • Test your Vitamin D3 levels to find out what they are
  • Get outside and get some sunshine
  • Boost your Vitamin D3 to at least 50 ng/mL

 

Affiliate statement: It is important for you to understand that some of the links on this site are affiliate links for which I may receive a small referral fee at no extra cost to you. While I may sometimes be asked to review a book, product, or service, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  My promise to you is that I will only put links on this site that I believe in, feel I would support, or am willing to purchase or use personally.  Full Affiliate Disclosure

Sources

Cannell, J.J., et al. (2006). Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiology and Infection134(6), 1129–1140. doi: 10.1017/S0950268806007175

Grant, W.B.; Lahore, H.; McDonnell, S.L.; Baggerly, C.A.; French, C.B.; Aliano, J.L.; Bhattoa, H.P. Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. Nutrients 202012, 988.

crepes

Flourless Baking Ideas And Recipes

Out of flour?

More people are at home instead of out and about. Restaurants are offering limited service. Because of both those things that means more people are cooking at home. Including making desserts. But more people baking at home may lead to limited supplies at the grocery store for things like flour.  So there's an increased need for flourless baking recipes. Of course, flourless baking is nothing new if you're someone who usually eats gluten-free. You'll still find some delicious suggestions here.

For those who are just learning how to bake at home, you'll be happy to know that flourless baking is just as good. And it's not difficult. Sometimes it's even better than the floured variety for some baked goodies. 

I did a quick video about the idea of making sweet treats without flour

 

So if the supplies aren't readily available, it's time to look at different options. Luckily there are a number of them.  Here are my top seven suggestions for what you can make that don't require flour. 

Flourless Treats

  • Black Bean Brownies – these are absolutely amazing! Every time I make them for an event someone asks what the recipe is because these are so fudgy and just. that. good. When I tell them the secret ingredient is black beans people are surprised. But that doesn't stop them from having second helpings 🙂
  • Coconut Macaroons – This is another super easy 3 ingredient recipe that turns out delicious every time. Although these tend to be easily available around Easter/Passover time, the rest of the year notsomuch. It turns out they're so easy to make you don't need to wait for the right time of year to stock up.  Just be sure to buy unsulfured coconut shreds for the healthiest option.
  • Dessert Roll-ups – This is a delicious and easy way to use paleo-style pancakes as a dessert. 1 large banana, mashed + 2 large eggs, beaten + 1 teaspoon vanilla. Blend all ingredients together and then make thin pancakes with the batter. These can be filled with jam or chopped fresh fruit and then rolled up to eat. Or you can make a nut butter with jam or mashed fruit one. If desired top your crepes with a little whipped cream or a drizzle of honey. They're so delicious you may find yourself making another batch of batter.
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake – Warning, this is not a low-calorie recipe! But it is worth every single decadent bite. If you don't happen to have any it's possible to make your own almond flour using a vitamix or other blender. Just be careful because if you blend it too long you'll actually make almond butter (see nut butter cookies above).
  • Lemon Polenta Cake – Using polenta in place of the flour makes for a really delicious, moist cake. Just be sure to purchase non-GMO and glyphosate-free polenta. 
  • No-Flour Cookie Dough – Because sometimes you really just want to eat cookie dough. But these days, especially with the eggs, that's not really a good idea. So this flourless recipe is a great way to get that cookie dough texture and taste without risking salmonella.
  • Nut Butter Cookies – This is a really easy 3 ingredient recipe.  1 cup nut butter (I prefer almond) + 1/3 cup sugar + 1 large egg.  Mix all ingredients together.  Chill for at least 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line baking tray with parchment paper. Place heaping Tablespoons of dough on the paper.  Flatten with a fork (can criss cross for a pretty design). Bake 8-10 minutes.  Let cool 15 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

 

 

Fight Inflammation

Fight Inflammation – 12 Tips To Support Your Immune System

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a part of the body’s natural healing process. After a trauma of some kind, a cut, an injury, an infection (bacterial, parasitic, or viral), the body responds by sending nutrients and immune cells to clear damaged tissue or fight infection. It’s meant to be a short term response.

The challenge is that when inflammation goes on for an extended period of time it then becomes chronic.  If it continues the immune cells fighting the inflammation can be stimulated to then also attack healthy tissue.  Inflammation that continues for a long period of time is highly associated with a number of health issues. These are broad-ranging and include arthritis, cancer, depression, diabetes, fatigue, and heart disease.

Symptoms of chronic inflammation

Symptoms can be varied. Sometimes they also look like symptoms for other health issues. If you think you are possibly experiencing chronic inflammation it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional to get a proper diagnosis.

Symptoms include:

  • Aches and pains – these can appear anywhere in the body from joints to muscles to other soft tissue areas
  • Acne and other skin outbreaks
  • Anxiety and depression – inflammation can often interfere with neurotransmitter (brain chemical) health which in turn may cause mood disorders
  • Chronic infections – this can be in different areas of the body but seem to reoccur regularly
  • Cognitive decline – studies show that increased inflammation can impact brain health and reasoning skills
  • Congestion
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Dry eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal health challenges – this is wide-ranging from abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea, to acid reflux and chronic nausea
  • Obesity – weight gain can be due to what is sometimes referred to as “false fat” where the body holds onto water as part of the inflammatory process

How to reduce your risk

One way to lower your potential for chronic inflammation is to make changes to your diet and your lifestyle. These changes may not have an immediate effect but you need to remember that inflammation doesn’t occur overnight. Steady and regular focus on healthy choices and changes can have a positive impact and help to reduce chronic inflammation.

Foods That Reduce Inflammation

  • Choose healthy fats There are far too many saturated fats in our modern diet. The manufactured ones (margarine, trans-fats and vegetable oils) tend to increase inflammation. We need more omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats in our diet. These help to decrease inflammation. Good choices in this category include olive oil, nuts, and cold-water fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and tuna.
  • Forget frying How you prepare your food matters. Frying can create compounds that increase inflammation and negatively impact gut health. Rather than deep-frying, consider sautéing lightly, steaming, or grilling foods.
  • Get more garlic This highly anti-inflammatory vegetable is widely known for its wonderful flavor. Garlic is also anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal making it a delicious, and beneficial, addition to your cooking repertoire.
  • Reduce refined carbohydrates Food-like items such as breads, cakes, pasta, and other refined products have been highly processed. The processing removes nutrients and makes them quick for the body to break down into sugars. These energy-dense/low nutrient products contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and chronic inflammation.
  • Reduce or avoid inflammatory foods There are a number of foods that contribute to inflammation. These should be reduced or completely avoided in the diet.  They include: coffee, black tea, soft drinks, alcohol (sometimes found in over-the-counter medications or herbal tinctures) nitrates/nitrites, sugar (especially white sugar), vegetable cooking oils, trans-fats (anything marked hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated), artificial sweeteners, and monosodium glutamate

Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Inflammation

  • Avoid Toxins While you may be reading labels on your food products are you also checking personal care and cleaning product labels?  These things can have a high toxin load which is best to avoid. Reading the label and checking the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database for personal care products or their Guide to Healthy Cleaning will help you avoid many toxins.
  • Brush and floss Brushing and flossing your teeth is an important part of everyday oral health. It’s also effective at maintaining overall body health. This is because oral bacteria can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body. Studies show this bacteria to be linked to a number of inflammatory health conditions including gut disease. Recommendations are to brush at least 2 minutes twice a day and floss at least once a day.
  • Move your body Exercise is an important part of overall health. There may be a temporary inflammatory response to intense exercise, however, the long-term impact is improved blood flow, oxygenation, reduced inflammation, and improved mobility and quality of life. There is no one perfect exercise, simply the one that works for you.
  • Stay hydrated Hydration is an essential part of wellness. Dehydration has been shown to reduce metabolic function, increase the risk for a variety of diseases, and potentially to shorten life. Don’t stay thirsty, hydrate.
  • Stress less There is no such thing as a stress-free life. Ongoing, chronic stress has been linked to inflammation. It can be physical, emotional, mental, any form of stress that can have a cumulative impact.  There’s also no one-size-fits-all solution to lower our response to stressful situations. The best solution is to find a mindfulness practice that works for you and focus on taking some time to stress less.

  • Vitamin Zzzzz Most adults need somewhere between 7.5-9.0 hours of sleep each night in order to be rested and to support good physical and mental health. Practicing good sleep habits will have a beneficial impact on overall health and wellness.

You can lower your risk for the impacts of chronic inflammation by paying attention to what you eat, think, drink, and do.  Remember to make positive lifestyle choices and be proactive about your wellbeing. Choose to support your healthy aging by getting chronic inflammation under control.

Sources

Allen, M.D., et al. Suboptimal hydration remodels metabolism, promotes degenerative diseases, and shortens life. JCI Insight. 2019 Sep 5; 4(17): e130949.

Atarashi, K, et al. Ectopic colonization of oral bacteria in the intestine drives TH1 cell induction and inflammation. Science  20 Oct 2017: Vol. 358, Issue 6361, pp. 359-365

Bendsen, N.T., et al. Effect of industrially produced trans fat on markers of systemic inflammation: evidence from a randomized trial in women. October 2011 The Journal of Lipid Research, 52, 1821-1828.

Hall, A, et al. Garlic Organosulfur Compounds Reduce Inflammation and Oxidative Stress during Dengue Virus Infection. Viruses 2017, 9, 159.

López-Alarcón, M, et al. Excessive Refined Carbohydrates and Scarce Micronutrients Intakes Increase Inflammatory Mediators and Insulin Resistance in Prepubertal and Pubertal Obese Children Independently of Obesity. Mediators of Inflammation. 2014.

Mikkelsen, K, et al. Exercise and mental health. Maturitas. Vol 106, Dec 2017. pg 48-56.

Ozawa, M, et al. Dietary pattern, inflammation and cognitive decline: The Whitehall II prospective cohort study. Clinical Nutrition Volume 36, Issue 2, April 2017, Pages 506-512

Rohleder, N. Stress and inflammation – The need to address the gap in the transition between acute and chronic stress effects. Psychoneuroendocrinology. Vol 5, Jul 2019. Pg 164-171.

Zhang, J., et al. Thermally Processed Oil Exaggerates Colonic Inflammation and Colitis-Associated Colon Tumorigenesis in Mice. Cancer Prev Res November 1 2019 (12) (11) 741-750.