There is something so magical about the spring, all the beautiful new produce, the delicate, fresh and new little baby stuff especially makes me happy. It’s like seeing those adorable fuzzy little ducklings at the park following around their mama duck. They just suddenly appear out of nowhere and break your heart with sweetness. But, I also love that we still have the remnants of the long winter season, the hearty, long-lasting, robust foods of the colder time. Squash, the bright and fresh citrus, all the root veggies. Even though we are well into Spring at this point, the swing-season status of Spring lasts the longest of all, which I really adore. The crossover of produce makes for some of my favorite dishes.
We’ve been getting tons of beets in our weekly CSA boxes (community supported agriculture) from the farm and besides beet kvass, I have mostly been roasting them, as it’s my favorite way to enjoy the flavor of beets. The roasting actually brings out a subtle sweetness and takes down some of the earthiness for those that aren’t big fans of it. Plus roasting makes peeling beets a breeze, the skin literally slips right off. Beets are, in my opinion, a very underrated superfood, offering liver support by thinning bile to decongest a congested liver or biliary stasis or insufficiency. They also contain high levels of folate and manganese which support gallbladder function. Underground vegetables like potatoes, beets, carrots, etc – they also contain silica – important for collagen formation and for connective tissue’s elasticity and resilience. Silica also regulates calcium placement in bone and tissue. Beets also include fructooligosaccharides which is a great nutrient source for healthy micro-flora in the GI system. Finally, beets contain trimethylglycine, a methyl donor used in liver detoxification. Trimethylglycine is used by the body to detoxify substances by donating one of it’s methyl groups to the toxic molecule yielding a less toxic methylated substances and dimethylglycine. Dimethylglycine is also a methyl donor and is also used to stabilize toxic substances for further processing and elimination.
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Digestion 101: A North to South Process
Here we are, at the end of the road. The large intestine is the final step in the process of digestion. By this point you probably more than understand the concept of digestion being a north to south process. We have talked about it at length starting first the brain and the mouth, and the importance of being in a parasympathetic state and properly chewing your foods, then of course the stomach and the dire need for proper hydrochloric acid production, how the accessory organs, the pancreas, liver and gallbladder continue the process of digestion, releasing bile, enzymes, various hormones and allowing the small intestines to finish digestion but more importantly do it’s very important job of assimilating nutrients and finally last but not least, the large intestine.
See Part One: The Brain and The Mouth
See Part Two: The Stomach
See Part Three: The Accessory Organs: Pancreas, Gallbladder and Liver
See Part Four: The Small Intestine
How it Should Work
The large intestine, or the bowel, is compromised of 3 sections, the cecum, colon and the rectum. The leftover chyme from the small intestines, passes through the illeocecal valve and first into the ascending colon. At this point in a healthy digestive system, what is left as chyme (the digested food) after the small intestines, is indigestible fibers, lots of water, sloughed off cells and bile. The large intestine is all about absorption and recycling.
As in the esophagus and the small intestine, the contents of the large intestine are pushed forward by a sequence of muscular contractions called peristalsis (a type of motility or muscular movement). After passing through the illececal valve the remains travels from the ascending colon, across the transverse colon where waste forms, into the descending colon, to the sigmoid colon and then the stool moves out of the body.
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My Path to Becoming a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner – Months 5 & 6
This post continues to share my journey of becoming a Nutritional Therapist with the Nutritional Therapy Association, covering Months 5 and 6, February and March. To read more about how I came to selecting this program and to read about Month 1 of the program, see my first post. To read about months 2 and 3, read my second post and to read about month 4 read my third post.
The fifth month of this program was by far the most challenging for me, the content continued to roll in and simultaneously we were preparing for our mid-term examinations, the first weekend of March. Being a self proclaimed perfectionist I wanted to ace the exams, while of course, I also really wanted all of the content to be very clear to me. That meant lots of studying, lots of flash cards, memorizing and generally freaking myself out! It worked! I missed one tiny little thing on my written mid-term examination and had 1/2 point taken off on my functional evaluation practical exam. ACED!
The first weekend of month 6 was our second workshop weekend, 4 long days. First we had our exams and then we spent the remainder of the weekend going over the content we had covered since our last meeting as well as continuing to practice the functional evaluations (you can read more about function evaluations here). After the workshop weekend we were on term break for just under 1 month. [click to continue…]
Despite the fact that we are well into spring now, Southern California has had it a bit twisted. Since I arrived back home from my travels to NY last week, it’s been mostly grey, rainy and cool. While I would have loved this weather in December and January, I will take it now. It’s a really nice change of pace. A great reason to pull out some sweaters and it’s also a great excuse to enjoy some real comforting foods.
Of all things I was craving a casserole. I know. What is it 1985? There is just something so comforting and cozy about a meal you can dump into a pan, bake and enjoy. It’s childhood for those of us in our 30s. I was also dreaming of a good creamy spring risotto, one of my favorite foods. While rice isn’t off limits for me, I do try to be mindful of how many grains I consume. I just feel better when my belly isn’t bloated from the carbs. Hence why I am OBSESSED with cauliflower rice. It’s so crazy versatile, so super easy to make and it’s incredible how delicious it is. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, the Organic Frozen Cauliflower Rice is an amazing quick option for when you don’t want to lug out the food processor. I have used it in this recipe before and it’s perfect!
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