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Odds and Ends

These are all the other foods that you may be eating which don't fit well into another category.

Apple Cider Vinegar is a vinegar made from the cider of apples.  It has many health benefits and people have said that it helps with concerns including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, and weight issues. Some studies show that just half an ounce of  Apple Cider Vinegar  a day lowered cholesterol.  It can prevent indigestion, clear a stuffy nose, clear up your skin, and even get rid of dandruff. The acetic acid in Apple Cider Vinegar suppresses your appetite, increases your metabolism, and reduces water retention. Use it mixed with lemon and olive oil for a delicious salad dressing.


Bee pollen is the pollen ball that has been packed by worker honeybees into pellets. It contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and lipids and is rich in proteins.  Bee pollen has been used for many different things such as a remedy for diaper rash or eczema, alcoholism, asthma, allergies, health maintenance, or stomach problems.  It is is used to enhance athletic performance, reduce side effects of chemotherapy, and improve asthma. It can be taken in supplement form.  Do not consume bee pollen if you have a pollen allergy.


Kefir is a cultured dairy product that is one of the most probiotic rich foods on the planet.  It is a fermented milk product that tastes like drinkable yogurt. Its name comes from the Turkish work "keif" which means "good feeling." Kefir contains vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics. It has been shown to boost Immunity, build bone density, fight allergies, improve lactose digestion, and more. Kefir can be made into salad dressing, cheese, used on potato salad, in veggies dips, and in smoothies.


Kombucha is a beverage produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. It has a lot of benefits including improving digestion, fighting candida overgrowth, promoting mental clarity and mood stability. It contains amino acids, vitamins B2, B6, acetic acid, lactic acid, and active enzymes.  Kombucha aids in detoxification which produces healthy livers and aids cancer prevention. It is rich in anti-oxidants such as  vitamins E, C, beta-carotene, and other carotenoids which boosts your immune system and energy levels.  It also helps with asthma, joint problems, liver function, anemia, nervous system, hypertention, diabetes, and kidney toxicity. 


Locally produced honey contains plant pollens from local plants.  It has been found to help alleviate seasonal allergy symptom like sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes.  You must purchase honey from a local beekeeper or farm market; honey purchased in standard grocery stores is generally not locally made.  Ideally, you want to purchase local honey from within a 50 mile radius of your home.  
Manuka honey is produced in New Zealand.  It is thought to have higher antibacterial properties than regular honey and may help alleviate sore throats, and gastorintestinal bacterial overgrowth.  
Raw honey is unheated, unprocessed, unpastuerized honey.  It retains all of the enzymes, vitamins and phytonutrients and disease fighting properties that honey is known for.  It can, however, be a source of contamination because it is not pastuerized.  If you have a pollen allergy you should not consume raw honey.  No child under age 2 should consume honey in any form due to the risk of botulism.


Soy is considered the only plant based complete protein.  It is an excellent source of B vitamins, calcium and omega 3 fatty acids.  It helps alleviate the hot flashes and night sweats associated with menopause.  It may help with mental function in women under the age of 65.  Soy may reduce cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease.  It may also increase bone density which lowers the risk of osteoporosis.  Edemame, which is soybean in the pod, miso, tofu and tempeh are food sources of soy.  Because soy is also known as "plant estrogen" there is concern about its safety in estrogen dominant cancers.  Do not consume soy if you have been diagnosed with a female cancer without first speaking to your medical provider.


Agave is a sweetener that comes form the agave plant in southern parts of the Americas.  Agave is sweeter than sugar and comes from the same plant as tequilla.  Is it a healthier alternative to sugar? No, not really.  By the time agave gets to your table it is highly processed.  It might be lower in sugar than regular sugar, but it is much higher in fructose.  Fructose is a key component in systemic inflammation and increases your risk for heart disease.  Skip this sweetener.


Stevia is a sweet leaf sweetener that comes from the stevia plant.  Stevia is a natural alternative to sugar.  It is about 40 times sweeter than sugar and it has zero calories and zero carbohydrates.   Stevia may lower blood pressure and cholesterol and help stabilize blood sugars.  It comes in a liquid and powder form.  Stevia is a relatively new sugar alternative.  Current research shows a good safety profile.  More long term studies need to be done to ensure long term efficacy.


   Spirulina is a type of blue green algae that is rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins in the form of amino acids.  It contains B vitamins, copper and iron in addition to potassium, magnesium and manganese.  Spirulina is a powerful anti oxidant and anti inflammatory compound.  It can lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar in patients with metabolic syndrome.  Spirulina  is also effective against allergic rhinitis and can lower blood pressure.  Those with PKU and autoimmune disease should not take spirulina.


Salad dressings are usually vinegar based or cream based.  Vinaigrette is a combination of vinegar, oil and spices.  Creamy dressings use a base of mayonaise, sour cream, buttermilk or yogurt.  Commercially prepared salad dressings are probably not your healthiest choice.  They are full of additives and preservatives and are usually high in salt.  It is very eay and much healthier to make your own salad dressing.  If your prefer store bought, look for a dressing that has a short list of recognizable ingredients.  Be careful of low fat versions.  They tend to add sugar to make up for the loss of fat.  Sugar causes widespread inflammation in the body.  Boathouse Farms and Tessemae make some nice, healthy dressings.


In contrast to table salt, sea salt retains many of the natural minerals from the sea, including magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, zinc, bromide and iodine.  It is created by evaporating sea water, which leaves the crystal behind.  Common table salt goes through an extensive processing which removes any of its nutrient value.  The most common types of sea salt are Pink Himalayan  and Celtic sea salt.  Try to find the unrefined type, as it retains the most minerals.  Sea salt promotes vascular, gut, bone, muscle and respiratory health.  Traditional table salt can cause thyroid and cardiovascular issues.


Non dairy creamer like Coffeemate or International Delight, comes in a variety of delicious flavors.  It makes your coffee taste yummy.  But what exactly is in your non dairy creamer?  Here's the list (which may differ slightly depending on your brand of creamer).  Partially hydrogenated soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, dipotassium phosphate, mono and diglycerides, natural flavors like MSG and castoreum (which is anal gland secretions from beavers...ewww), sodium caseinate, and sodium sterol lactylate.  Many of these ingredients are also used in cosemtics and fertilizers.  Try switching to coconut, almond or hemp milk for a healthier alternative to non dairy creamers.  Or just use cream.


Hummus is a Middle Eastern spread made from chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.  If you are making your own, you can add many different vegetables, like beets or red pepper to change up the taste.  Hummus is considered a heart healthy fat and is a good source of protein.  It contains a decent amount of folate, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.  Use hummus as a dip for veggies or as a spread on sandwiches.


Greek yogurt is yogurt with the liquid whey strained out.  This gives it a thicker, creamier texture.  All yogurts are a good source of calcium, potassium, zinc, protein, vitamins B6 and B12.  Greek yogurt  has the added benefit of having twice the protein and much less lactose that regular yogurt.  It also contains probiotic cultures which aid in digestion.  Plain greek yogurt is an excellent swap for sour cream.  Add berries for a delicous protein packed breakfast.  Check labels on yogurts with fruit added to ensure the sugar content is not too high.


Juicing or making smoothies is an excellent way to get your leafy greens in.  Cold pressed juices retain a lot of the health benefits of the fruits and vegetable used, but must be consumed right away.  Juices can also spike blood sugar because the fiber from the plants is removed.  Smoothies use the whole fruit or vegetable, minus the skin of thick skinned plants, so they retain the fiber that juices lack.  Both can be a great addition to your day.  Make sure leafy greens are a part of your drink and try to keep the ratio 2/3 veggies to 1/3 fruit so the sugar content is not too high.  You can use water, coconut milk, coconut water or almond milk as your base in the smoothie.  Adding a healthy source of protein like greek yogurt or almond butter is a good idea.


The latest medical research shows that sugar, not fat, is the leading cause of heart disease in America.  Sugar causes widespread inflammation in the body, increases insulin resistence, and likely contributes to dementia and cancer.  Removing sugar from your diet is the singlemost important change you can make.  Please do not turn to sugar substitutes like Equal, Sweet n Low and Nutrisweet which are chemically created, synthetic sugar substitutes that have been linked to cancer, diabetes, and nerve disorders.  If you must use a sweetener, consider Splenda or Stevia which are generally considered safe, or uses a natural sugar like raw honey, maple syrup, dates or coconut sugar.