January, 2016

  1. Powerful Plant Protein

    January 25, 2016 by Heather

    Eat

    “I was determined to know beans.”— Henry David Thoreau, The Bean-Field

    How about you? How well do you know beans?

    Creamy cannellinis, meaty garbanzos, sweet adzuki, tender pintos, and so many more—beans are one of the most powerful, nutrient-dense plant foods around.

    Consider this: Beans are packed with tons of fiber, as well as plenty of iron and protein. They are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are low in calories.

    Plus, studies have found them to lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

    What To Do With Beans

    Many people avoid beans because they just don’t know what to do with them. Are you one of them? Keep reading:

    • Toss beans and diced veggies (such as celery, shallots, red peppers) with vinaigrette for a quick bean salad.
    • Blend cooked beans with tomatoes, onions, and your favorite seasonings to create a yummy bean soup.
    • Top a green salad with 1/3 cup of your favorite bean.
    • Puree beans with a bit of olive oil, a garlic clove, salt, and your favorite seasonings. Voila! A fast dip or sandwich spread.
    • Include 1/3 cup of beans with your other favorite toppings next time you make stuffed baked potatoes or sweet potatoes.
    • Add 1/4 cup pureed beans to your favorite pancake, waffle, muffin, or cake recipe. You’ll be surprised at how moist and springy baked goods are when baked with beans.

    If you’re new to cooking with beans, try these tips for delicious and well-cooked beans.

    • Be sure to wash and clean the beans first.
    • Soak dried beans for 8-12 hours before cooking (hint: cut a bean in half; if the center is still opaque, keep soaking).
    • After soaking, rinse, fill pot with fresh water, bring to a boil, then skim off the foam.
    • To aid digestion, add kombu, bay leaf, cumin, anise, or fennel to the water
    • Cover and simmer for the suggested time.  Skim off the foam off the top.
    • Remember: Only add salt at the end of cooking (about 10 minutes before the beans are done) or it will interfere with the cooking process.
    • Quick tips: For speedier prep, boil dried beans for 5 minutes, then soak for 2-4 hours. Or use canned beans instead (some people find them even easier to digest!). Be sure to avoid canned beans with added salt or preservatives and rinse thoroughly once removed from the can.

     

    How do you like to eat your beans?  Have you been afraid to eat beans because of their, ahem, gas producing effects? Try the tips above and let me know how you make out!  I’d love to hear from you!!

     


  2. Do you have enough stomach acid?

    January 8, 2016 by Heather

    Stomach acid

    How is your stomach acid?  Do you even know?  Today I wanted to bring attention to the importance of stomach acid and the role of Betaine HCL in increasing it.  Stomach acid really is good for you.  Without it, your health suffers.  Our digestion suffers and we are not able to absorb the nutrients from our food which results in further health issues.  In fact, gut issues are one of the root causes as to why we got sick in the first place.  Betaine HCL increases the level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach necessary for proper digestion and assimilation of nutrients from food. Normal levels of hydrochloric acid are required for complete digestion of proteins and absorption of amino acids. It’s also required for the extraction of vitamin B12 from our food. Betaine HCL helps to restore the proper acid levels in the stomach and maintain healthy GI function.

    So how do you know if you’re suffering from low stomach acid?  Here are some signs that you might be:

    Indigestion

    Gas

    Bloating

    Undigested food in your stool

    Acid reflux

    GERD

    Constipation

    Diarrhea

    Malabsorption

    Nutrient deficiencies

    I wanted to mention a few things about acid reflux.  Often we are prescribed proton pump inhibitors for this (pepcid, zantac, etc.)  This can cause a few problems.  If your acid reflux is as a result of insufficient stomach acid, the proton pump inhibitors will further decrease your already low stomach acid, further exacerbating the problem.  Proton pump inhibitors have also been shown to deplete B12 and magnesium, two things we, as Fibro peeps, are typically deficient in already.  

    So how can we increase our stomach acid?  One option is apple cider vinegar in the middle of a meal.  The other option is supplementing with betaine HCL with pepsin (make sure it has the pepsin).  A stomach that doesn’t produce enough HCL also won’t make enough pepsin.  Without pepsin, we can’t break down proteins into the peptides required for proper absorption. 

    Please note: those taking anti-inflammatory medication such as corticosteroids, NSAIDS etc. should not take Betaine HCL with pepsin unless they are working with a qualified practitioner.  These drugs can initiate damage to the GI lining that HCL might aggravate, increasing the risk of ulcer.  A safer bet, if on these medications, unless working with a qualified practitioner, is digestive bitters

    Here are a few tips on getting starting with Betaine HCL with pepsin.  If you are concerned or have questions, please reach out to me or contact your physician. 

    How to figure out your Betaine HCL Dose:
    Each person will have a specific supplementary HCL dosage. Unfortunately, there isn’t a special formula. It’s a case of trial and error until you get to the correct dosage. You must find the correct dosage. Failing to do so will be a waste of time and money.
    To figure out the right dosage:
    • Eat a meal that contains at least 15-20 grams of protein.
    • Start by taking 1 pill of Betaine HCL during the beginning of the meal.
    • Finish the meal as normal and observe your body for any changes in feeling associated with the stomach and belly button area. Things to look for: heaviness, hotness, burning, or other GI distress.
    • Stay at this dosage of 1 pill for another day of meals with protein and if you don’t notice anything on the 3rd day, try 2 pills.
    • Stay there for another day and then try 3 pills.
    • Keep increasing the number of pills taken with each meal until you notice some GI discomfort described above.
    • When this happens, you will know your ideal Betaine HCL dosage is 1 pill less.

    Things to note:
    If you eat a snack or meal without much protein, you won’t need as much Betaine HCL. For a small snack such as fruit, you won’t need any at all.

    When you experience the GI discomfort finding your correct dosage, you can mix ½ tsp of baking soda in 8 oz of water and drink it to help lessen the pain.

    A normal functioning stomach is capable of producing and handling extreme acid ranges. If your dosage starts getting extremely high without any GI distress, you must use your GI symptoms as a guide instead. These include burping, bloating, gas and stool consistency. In this case, try to find the minimum dose needed to help your GI symptoms.

    As you start to heal your gut, your bodies ability to produce its own stomach acid will improve. You may need to tweak your Betaine HCL dose from time to time to compensate for this. This is a good thing!!

    I’d love to hear about your experiences with Betaine HCL.  Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or comments.  I also work with many clients on issues such as low stomach acid.  I’m here to help!

    Peace & Love,

    Heather

     

    Note: the above post contains affiliate links.  If you use the links to purchase the products I mentioned, I earn a small commission that goes toward running this site.  I only recommend products I use.