Seasonal Eating: Healthy Fats

Seasonal Eating Healthy Fats | The Organic Beauty Blog

Our bodies naturally need different foods at different times of the year, and it is remarkably beneficial for your body, skin, and overall health to be sensitive to these seasonal variations.  In the cold weather months, we naturally need more fat in our diets to insulate us against the heat, give us energy, and keep our system lubricated.  Year round, healthy fats keep our minds sharp, our hearts healthy, our hair shiny, our skin clear, and our waistlines smaller!  Amazing, right?

But obviously, not all fats are good fats!  When consuming fats, steer clear of saturated fats and opt for mono- or polyunsaturated fats instead.  Check out the handy charts for help choosing the right kinds of fat, and keep them to about 20% of your total diet.

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Are you finding it difficult to substitute saturated fat for healthier options?  Get some ideas below!

*Be mindful of your soy consumption, and try to eat mostly fermented soy, like tempeh, to avoid any dangerous hormonal effects.

Seasonal Food Focus: Thai Sweet Potato Soup

Thai Sweet Potato Soup  |  The Organic Beauty BlogSince it’s finally starting to feel like winter here in NYC, I am getting way more in the soup mindset.  Although with our busy lives (recurring evening workshops 3 days a week… oy) it’s not always possible to make soups from scratch, a new cookbook I received over the holidays, Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons, has really been motivating me to get souping!

The other night, we made a big batch of this Thai Sweet Potato Stew, and I’ll tell you what, it was warming, nourishing, and sooooo delicious!

Thai Sweet Potato Stew
Serves 6

Ingredients:

I made a few OB substitutions.. agave for sugar, almond butter for peanut butter, and left out the lemongrass and tofu… but you should experiment!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 to 6 cloves garlic
3 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups water
1 medium green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups frozen green beans
1/2 tsp (or more, depending on how spicy you want it) red curry paste
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp agave, optional
2 stalks lemongrass, optional
1 13.5 oz can organic light coconut milk
2 tbsp raw, organic almond butter
salt to taste
One 8 oz package baked tofu, optional
Cilantro leaves for garnish

Heat the oil in a soup pot.  Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until translucent.  Add the garlic and continue to sauté until both are golden.  Add the sweet potatoes and water.  Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are about half done.  Add the bell pepper, green beans, curry paste, sugar, and ginger.  If using lemongrass, cut each stalk into 3 or 4 pieces, and bruise by making long cuts here and there with a sharp knife.  This will help release the lemony flavor.  Stir into the soup pot and simmer for 10 minutes longer.  Stir in the coconut milk, almond butter, salt and optional tofu.  Return to a simmer and cook over very low heat for another 10 minutes, or until all veggies are tender and flavors well integrated.

Remove lemongrass pieces, taste to adjust seasonings, and serve at once, topping with a few cilantro leaves.

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NU Health & Wellness Healthy Fish Guide

 NU Health & Wellness Healthy Fish Guide | The Organic Beauty Blog

Fish is literally the healthiest animal protein on Earth (virtually the only animal flesh I, and countless other “pescatarians” eat), being the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and B2, calcium, and tons of minerals.  It has wonderful benefits for skin and hair, brain and heart health, sexual health, and prevents inflammation and disease.  BUT, there are a lot of fishies out there that do more harm than good!  It is really important to make sure the fish you are eating is low in mercury and other toxins, and was farmed in an environmentally responsible manner.  Use the handy chart above (which you can print out!) to make sure the fish you are eating is the kind that helps, not hurts, your body.  And make sure to monitor how often you are eating fish that is higher in mercury or other toxins.

Some signs of mercury toxicity are:
  • Memory loss
  • Hair loss
  • Compromised immunity
  • Mental instability
  • Numbness in arms and legs
  • Reduced motor skills
  • Learning disabilities
  • Damage to the central nervous system
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression, anxiety, and other psychological symptoms
If you are experiencing any of the above, obviously, first see a doctor, but then, you can typically detoxify your system from mercury relatively quickly (depending on the severity of the toxicity, of course), by eliminating ALL fish from your diet, and start taking some food-based or oral chelators like:
  • NU Health & Wellness Healthy Fish Guide | The Organic Beauty BlogChlorella
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine
  • EDTA
  • DMSA
The last four should be taken under supervision of a healthcare professional.

In general, adding chlorophyll, spirulina and/or chlorella to your supplement regimen is a great idea for anyone who eats a lot of fish, regardless of where the fish falls on the mercury spectrum.  These greens actually work to remove heavy metals that have accumulated in your body!

So, in short, fish is an amazing food that has a myriad of health benefits.  If you make educated decisions about the kind of fish you are eating, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of this beautifying food without compromising your health!

——-
Natasha A. Uspensky, CHHC, AADP
Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor

Food Focus: Smart Eating for Omnivores

Food Focus Smart Eating for Omnivores | The Organic Beauty BlogAs a nutrition counselor, I know that a plant-based (or even mostly plant-based) diet isn’t for everyone. Try as they might, some people just don’t feel their absolute best without some animal protein in their diets, and that’s ok! But there are definitely some steps you can take to be smarter and healthier when consuming meat. Here are some great rules of thumb to live by in the meat-eating world:

In general, try to make meat a complementary part of your diet, not the primary focus. The most health-supportive, energizing, nutrient-rich, and anti-oxidant foods out there are fruits and vegetables.

  • Always opt for grass-fed or pasture-raised meat. Animals raised in these ways are healthier, happier, and yield much better meat, that is much better for you!
  • Always look for meat that is hormone and antibiotic free. This will reduce your exposure to these harmful, altering drugs and chemicals, and will help to alleviate many hormone-related health problems, as well as resistance to antibiotics (for when you really need them!).
  • When possible, opt for organic meats. If you’re following the tips above, you’re already going to be consuming much healthier meat, but as always, organic is definitely a plus. This will ensure that the animal wasn’t fed foods that are laden with pesticides, fertilizers, and are genetically modified. Most commercially raised meats are fed low quality, GMO corn, and are exposed to other harmful toxins. Keep that out of your meat, and out of your body!
  • Stick to the leaner cuts.  Leaner cuts of meat will have less fat (obviously), which means less cancer-causing toxins in your body, less bad cholesterol in your body and less flab on your mid-section!
  • Go for meat that is low-sodium, nitrite-free, and never processed. This means avoiding foods like lunchmeats, hot dogs, packaged meats, chicken nuggets, or any other meat-based foods that have gone through extensive processing. There are little to no health benefits to these foods, and they actually do more harm than good to the body!
  • Incorporate Meatless Mondays into your week! Going 100% meat-free for just one day a week will do wonders for your health, as well as the environment. And taking the focus off of meat for an entire day’s meals makes you get creative with vegetable-focused cooking, which will improve your cooking, and help you change the way you eat the rest of the week. See more info on the Meatless Monday movement here.

Whether or not to eat meat is a very personal decision that takes many factors into account– your health, your ethical stance, your body type, and your lifestyle. No matter which direction you go in, you can be smarter about everything you put in your body. Those smarter choices will translate into noticeable results for your body and health, as well as the environment!