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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Food Cravings

Blame It on the Bacteria in Your Gut

by Judy Chambers RNCP, CPT

Chocolate may seem pretty hard to avoid, but some people crave it every day! New research shows that it might not be lack of willpower that makes you give in to the cravings... your body's bacteria may be to blame!

Chocolate, sweets, carbohydrates, caffeine and alcohol.

Many people actually crave these things, sometimes on a daily basis.

Call it lack of willpower, bad habits or addiction, but the fact remains that some people find the urge to consume these treats too difficult to resist.

Now a new study points to a biological basis for chocolate cravings that has major implications for your health and your weight.

Cravings and Bacteria

A team in Switzerland studied two groups of men, those who crave chocolate daily and those who consider themselves indifferent to it. They found that "people who crave daily chocolate show signs of having different colonies of bacteria than people who are immune to chocolate's allure."

Researchers are not sure if chocolate consumption alters the bacteria content of the intestines or if the bacteria changes, thus triggering the cravings.

Either way, the bacteria/cravings connection is an important one.

Other research shows that the bacteria content of the intestines is different depending on body weight. Normal weight people have one kind of dominant bacteria while obese people's intestines are populated by a different strain.

Again, researchers are not sure what happens first: weight gain or a change in intestinal flora.

Regardless, the findings illustrate that cultivating a healthy colony of beneficial bacteria is a key part of maintaining a healthy weight and freeing yourself from cravings.

Grow Your Beneficial Bacteria to Banish Sugar Cravings

A healthy inner ecosystem is made up of the friendly microflora (good bacteria and yeast) that aid your digestion and help you get the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Unfortunately, most North Americans today have an imbalanced inner ecosystem, which can lead to food cravings and obesity.

By re-establishing a healthy inner ecosystem, you can free yourself from chocolate and sugar cravings as well as maintain a healthy weight.

The easiest ways to encourage the growth of good bacteria is to add fermented foods and probiotic supplements to your diet.

Fermented foods and probiotic supplements are carefully cultured with strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast to populate your gut and enhance your health.

Long a tradition of ancient cultures, fermented foods and drinks are becoming more popular in the health-conscious Western world.

Fermented foods and drinks include:

  • Cultured Vegetables (unpasteurized sauerkraut)

  • Young Coconut Kefir

  • Yogurt or Milk Kefir

  • Cultured Kimchi

  • Fermented Kombucha

Probiotic superfoods innoculate, colonize and feed the growth of good microflora in your body. Yes, they are a must for boosting your immunity, but they are also essential for stopping those cravings for the sugars that sabotage your ability to lose weight and stay healthy.

Keep in mind, though, that a desire for the sweet taste is quite natural. Finding pleasure and a sense of satisfaction in the sweet taste and constant cravings for sugars or alcohol, however, are definitely not the same.

We humans were created to actually enjoy that sweet taste (part of the five elements – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and pungent) but do so with whole foods that don't harm us or age us quickly.

Easy Probiotics

With the stress of everyday life it is oftentimes difficult to take care of your health AND everything else. We know that you are serious about supporting your inner eco-system with healthy fermented foods and drinks but may lack the time or equipment to prepare them.

That's why many modern manufacturers have created naturally fermented foods, beverages and probiotic supplements for you, such as; unpasteurized sauerkraut, kombucha soda by Fairy Tonic and the latest living probiotic supplement ProAlive Probiotic by Ascended Health.

Living ProAlive Probiotic is an all natural, vegan liquid which contains beneficial flora, along with a high concentration of the various by-products from these friendly bacteria, such as "B" vitamins, enzymes, natural support elements (bacteriocins) which defend against the bad bacteria, yeast and fungal inhibitors plus other substances necessary for inner balance or homeostasis.

One of the main flora (Paracasei) is a healthy cleansing flora that works in the liver and digestive tract to help flush out toxins and works as an anti-fungal agent. Research indicates that the Curvatus lactic acid microbe has the ability to produce anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-mold agents to inhibit detrimental organisms from flourishing in your system.

So it's not about willpower. It's actually about what you are feeding your body and whether you are consuming foods and drinks that create or upset your inner ecosystem - balance in body, mind and spirit.
Spring into action with a probiotic-rich, wholesome diet designed to create a balanced inner eco-system. Dynamic by Nature is commited to supporting you in this quest... to learn more about balancing your personal eco-system, cutting-edge workshops, eco-products or to subscribe for FREE tips, check out today!


Borenstein, Seth, "Scientists Explain Chocolate Cravings,", 12 Oct 2007.

How the Bacteria in Your Gut Affect Your Body Weight - And How to Get the Balance Right

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fun-damentals of Healthy Eating for Kids Workshop

Fed up with trying to get your kids to eat healthy? Join Judy for a fun food adventure filled with tips, tricks & recipes for transitioning kids to a healthy whole foods way of life! Tasty tidbits included!

Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Time: 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Place: Terra Breads Falsecreek Location
Head Office Test Kitchen (2nd floor)
53 W. 5th Avenue (5th & Ontario),
Vancouver, BC
(Enter through Front Administration Door, next to the Café)

Cost: $35 (+GST)

You can pre-register at

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Secrets to Super Natural Immunity

WAIT! Before you’re scared into believing you’re at risk for getting the H1N1 flu, read this article on the realities of natural prevention and super food immune support. You may find that probiotics, a healthy diet and plenty of rest are the best ways to boost your immunity and protect yourself.

If you’re among the many who are worried about the flu this season, you have probably read a lot on this topic already. But I’m certain you’ll appreciate the following tips on how to naturally support and boost your immune system using powerful food solutions.

5 Super Natural Ways to Strengthen Your Immunity and Prevent Flu:

  1. Consume Probiotic-rich Fermented Foods and Beverages

    Probiotic Rich YogurtThe best way to boost immunity for the flu season (and all year round) is to introduce naturally fermented foods into your diet. The probiotics (healthy or beneficial bacteria) found in these foods are far more effective than any supplement.

    A new study published in Pediatrics shows that a daily dose of probiotics may reduce the incidence of cold and flu-like symptoms in children by 50 percent.

    If your new to a natural whole foods diet, or don’t have time to ferment at home, I highly recommend you stock up on naturally-fermented or cultured fruits, vegetables & drinks such as unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, sauerkraut, coconut kefir or kombucha soda. Just 2 oz. per day is all you need to boost immunity.

  2. Pay Attention to Your Vitamin D

    Vitamin D influences immunity and is best taken in a supplement form in conjunction with food sources such as organic butter, eggs & wild fish. Adequate vitamins A and D have been strongly associated with flu prevention and better outcomes in studies (see Vitamin D council website). A good prevention strategy is 1 tsp. of High Vitamin Cod Liver Oil and 2,000-5,000 IU Vitamin D3 per day during the winter season. Starting right now!

  3. Eat a Healthy Whole Foods Diet and Avoid Sugar

    Local Greens
    Super natural immunity begins with the bounty of nature (whole or unprocessed). First choice should always be what’s fresh, local and seasonal.

    Then get cooking with quality Unrefined fats (i.e. virgin coconut oil, organic butter or cold-pressed olive oil) and natural Unrefined seasonings (i.e. “Le Paludier” sea salt).

    Word to the wise… remember to limit the white stuff as well, 1 tsp. of refined white sugar has been shown to suppress your immune system for up to 5 hours!

  4. Get Plenty of Sleep and Reduce Stress

    Surf with Friends

    A good night’s sleep strengthens your adrenals. Strong adrenals are essential for creating the energy to run your body on each day, managing stress and to fight an infection.

  5. Support Your Body’s Natural Detoxification Systems

    Lemons and WaterThere are many benefits to cleansing toxins or pathogens naturally. If you feel like you are coming down with the flu, be sure to include plenty of the following foods; filtered water with lemon, chlorophyll-rich foods (dark leafy greens, seaweeds & green herbs), berries (especially elderberry), fresh ginger and turmeric.
So if you want to stay healthy this flu season, you can start by following the steps above. Concentrate on boosting your immunity with a healthy whole foods diet which includes plenty of naturally-fermented probiotic-rich foods.

Don’t panic or let the media scare you. Instead learn everything you can about the realities of the flu . And above all, Prevention is Key… and that means healthy diet, good attitude and balanced lifestyle. Exhaustion, fear and anxiety weaken your immune system so don’t work yourself into the ground or let fear and anxiety build up in your body!

Hopefully, the flu won’t be a reality for you this winter. Either way, start building your immunity NOW with a healthy kick start and rest easy knowing you’ve given your body a leg up on good health.

© Judy Chambers RNCP, CPT
Photo Credits: Insiya Rasiwala-Finn (

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Secrets to Super Natural Immunity Workshop

Interested in learning about how to effectively protect and boost your immune system using key natural foods? Join me for an inspiring, informative and playful workshop featuring super food samples!

Date: Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Time: 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Place: Terra Breads Falsecreek Location
Head Office Test Kitchen (2nd floor)
53 W. 5th Avenue (5th & Ontario),
Vancouver, BC
(Enter through Front Administration Door, next to the Café)

Cost: $35 (+GST)

You can pre-register at

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Monday, November 2, 2009

Fed Up? Tips and Tricks for Integrating Healthy Eating with Kids

With childhood obesity, autism and other childhood disorders on the rise, everyone from doctors to teachers and parents are seeking solutions for better health. At the most basic level, everyone can agree that kids benefit from healthier whole foods eating.

Truth is, with all the glitzy candy and processed foods competing for your kids’ attention how do you get them to eat healthy natural meals?

Over the years, we’ve all heard various solutions, but I’d like to share several creative tips I’ve explored for making healthy food for kids.

Here are 7 powerful ways to get your kids to eat healthy:
  1. Make new twists on old favorites. Think about the foods your kids love and make something that looks and tastes similar, but upgrade the ingredients. For example… when making your kids favorite baked treats try using coconut oil instead of industrially-refined vegetable oil, quinoa flour instead of wheat flour or pureed dates instead of white sugar.

    With a little practice, you might find it easier than you think to make yummy, healthy foods for kids.

  2. Be creative. Use some of those “tricks” being used by advertisers to make things sound exciting to kids and creating fun shapes. A couple of ingenious methods, that utilize fun kitchen gadgets, are to make pasta out of zucchini by using a spiraler (turning vegetable slicer) or a mandolin to make veggie chips and then bake them vs. deep frying.

    Let’s face it, kids tend to gravitate towards the fun wrappings and cool names on packaged foods, so if you are making sweet pea humus, you might call it “lucky dip” or “Popeye spread”.

    Who knows, your kids just might find excitement in eating vegetables again.

  3. Take your time integrating the changes. If your kids are used to eating candy and chips, it may take time to get their taste buds to adjust to the healthier foods… especially those foods with a sour taste… like fermented foods. Instead of rushing it, keep it simple and consider taking it slowly, building over time. Trust that every small step you take toward healthy whole foods eating will have big rewards over a lifetime.

    Add some new foods into those “old favorites” a little at a time and see what happens. One clever idea is to add organic coconut milk to your kids milk one tablespoon at a time and continue to increase the amount until you are able to substitute entirely with a wholesome non-dairy source. This is an extremely nourishing alternative for kids who are lactose intolerant.

  4. Arm yourself with fresh recipes. Gather up some healthy recipes and experiment until you find the ones your kids take a liking too. Make small amounts and have “taste tests” with your kids and invite their friends!

  5. Practice the art of camouflage. Sometimes kids won’t eat a food because of how it looks or sounds, but they are actually fine with the taste. Fermented foods and greens are full of healthy benefits… but they may seem difficult to add to a child’s diet. The good news is that many parents have had success with the art of camouflage. But make sure once they have taken a liking to the new foods you fill them in on the details.

    One idea for getting your kids to eat Probiotic-rich Cultured Vegetables, such as naturally fermented/unpasteurized sauerkraut, is to blend them into salad dressings or use in a burrito instead of salsa.

    As for sneaking greens into your kids’ meals, try adding Spirulina powder to a fruit or vegetable smoothie as a fun food upgrade.

    Probiotic Foods (rich in beneficial bacteria) and Greens Powders (nature’s multi-vitamin) are getting a lot of attention these days because they help boost immunity, aid digestion, build energy and balance blood sugar – all things that today’s kids need to stay slim and healthy!

  6. Include your kids. Encourage your kids to become involved in choosing and making healthy meals. Conscious parents can support kids in healthy habits and it can help build self-esteem for a lifetime.

  7. Keep it simple and have fun! Changing habits and making meals can feel daunting when they are complicated and full of too many ingredients or steps. Focus on keeping it simple. Learn slowly, at your own pace. Focus on picking the easiest step, the easiest meal and maybe just one meal per day to begin. Above all, enjoy the journey.

When you take a playful, kid-like approach to helping your kids eat healthy, it can be as good for you as it is for them!

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