The Village Way™: Increase Longevity and Vitality Through Food http://stellametsovas.com Stella Metsovas shares her diet for a lifetime Wed, 10 Dec 2014 16:08:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Broth-Shots for Optimal Digestive Healthhttp://stellametsovas.com/optimal-digestive-health-broth-shots/ http://stellametsovas.com/optimal-digestive-health-broth-shots/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 17:48:30 +0000 http://stellametsovas.com/?p=5265 Did you know that just one meal could change your gut microbes for the good or the bad?  Seriously. I’m not kidding.   What if your attempts at trying to eat healthy are sabotaged by deceptive ingredients (like processed gluten-free products), or lifestyle recommendations who promise you cardiovascular protection—like the advice of consuming any type of wine […]

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Did you know that just one meal could change your gut microbes for the good or the bad?  Seriously. I’m not kidding.

 

What if your attempts at trying to eat healthy are sabotaged by deceptive ingredients (like processed gluten-free products), or lifestyle recommendations who promise you cardiovascular protection—like the advice of consuming any type of wine in moderation? Your wine could have been doused with fungicides and herbicides, and now you’re consuming chemically-laced wine—definitely not the type of wine Mediterranean’s were drinking in longevity villages long before the advent of modern day farming.

 

Without knowing this, “healthy” people consume these foods daily, not understanding the destruction this causes to our microbiome (microbiome is defined as the microorganisms that literally share space within our body).

 

What research is starting to tell us, is that most dietary recommendations of the past 50-years went totally wrong—like your worst nightmare.  Also, agricultural practices have strayed far away from what farming should be, constantly bombarding our bodies with really bad stuff, and ultimately hurting the immune system found in our gut.

 

So, can you undo the past or change the future?  I say yes to both, because research is now combining ancient wisdom with modern science—like studying our gut for clues.  And this, my friends, is great news.

 

Fact: Optimal health depends on your digestive tract.

 

If you want to change the health of your gut, are you detoxing all wrong?

 

Look, I’m not a huge fan of juicing.  There, I said it…now you know where I stand.

 

Let me tell you why: It’s totally unnatural to bombard the digestive tract with juices as a primary source of fuel. < BTW: I have a totally different opinion on intermittent fasting >

 

Sure, you’ll lose weight because you’re skimming on calories, but what about all those studies comparing “fat” versus “thin” microbes?

 

Do you really think cultures that are notably leaner and who live longer consume $8.00 veggie juices?

 

I can tell you right now they don’t.  In fact, you’d be shocked at what they do eat and how little of calories–compared to us–they consume for the amount of walking they do out in nature. And trust me, I’ve seen it firsthand.

 

I just gave you three hints on why they’re lean and healthy: 1) source of calories matters most and that includes fats, pastured animals, and high fiber vegetables grown in quality soil, 2) walking in nature throughout the day, and 3) the calorie burden of sedentary, modernized lifestyles do not exist.

 

Most people who take up juice cleanses are actually skimming on over 80% of their caloric intake and go back to the original diet that is typically processed, or might include a healthful strategy Monday through Thursday’s, followed by the common weekend binges.  How is a veggie juice going to repair the damage you just caused to your intestinal lining?  It won’t and you could actually make it worse with this destructive cycle.

 

The Right Way

For almost 10-years now, I’ve been practicing the importance of building digestive health as “Rule One” for all casework in my private practice. In 2013, I developed the Digestive Health Detox with Botanic Choice™ to make my plan accessible to the public.

 

In January 2015, GUT-PACS™, in conjunction with the Digestive Detox will come to market.  I’ll keep you posted! 

 

When I advise on the best form of digestive detoxes, my number one rule is to intake powerful ingredients in combination with plant fibers to repair, restore, reinoculate, and rejuvenate (also known as the 4 R’s in functional medicine).

 

I have (6) levels of detoxes I recommend, and all of them will be featured in my book that’s publishing very soon (project number 2 that I’m really excited about!).

 

My introductory, basic level cleanse introduces you to ingredients that are known for boosting intestinal health.  You’re consuming steamed seasonal greens, organic protein from my approved list of farmers, fresh garlic dressing made with cold pressed olive oil, nori sheets, Broth-Shots, and unsmoked Yerba Matte or ginseng tea (serious coffee drinkers have the OK to dilute organic coffee into equal parts warm water).  *And yes, you guessed right–these foods are consumed for breakfast as well.  

 

Depending on what level you’re on, supplements are always incorporated as “in addition to” your cleanse.  The supplements in level (1) are intended to stabilize blood sugar, help to assist you in the elimination process, and try to remove pathogens known to cause leaky gut.

 

The recipe I include here for Broth-Shots is included in all my levels of digestive detoxes.  Broths help to lubricate the intestinal lining and have a massive dose of collagen and trace minerals known for their nourishing properties.

Digestive Health Recipes

Start to Finish

6 hours

Things Needed

Large stockpot

1 teaspoon, olive oil

2 large onions, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 leek, chopped

3 stocks celery, chopped

8 oz., organic mushrooms of choice, chopped

Filtered water

Your choice of organic chicken, beef or fish bones weighing approximately 6-8 oz.

Handful, fresh rosemary and thyme

2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated.

Broth Soup Stock

 

Directions

1. Heat the large stockpot over medium-high heat and gently coat the pan with olive oil.

2. Add the onion, garlic, leek, celery, and mushrooms; cook for 1 minute.

3. Take the filtered water and fill the large stock pot 2 inches from the top and add the chicken or beef bones; bring ingredients to a boil.

4. Reduce the pot to simmer.

5. Place the grated ginger and fresh herbs in the pot, cover and allow to simmer on low for 6 hours, checking every hour or so.

6. Once the broth is cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool and drain into a large bowl.

7. Freeze the remaining broth.

For the Broth-Shots

Take a shot glass and fill with the broth.  Add 1-teaspoon fresh ginger or turmeric and stir.

Best to consume 1 “shot” in the morning, 1 in the afternoon, and 2-hours before bedtime.

 

 

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Pho Broth for Digestive Healthhttp://stellametsovas.com/pho-broth-digestive-health/ http://stellametsovas.com/pho-broth-digestive-health/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:52:19 +0000 http://stellametsovas.com/?p=5203 I’m announcing my new favorite cheat food: Organic Vegetarian Pho Soup Base by Pacific Foods. That’s probably not what comes to mind when you think of a “cheat food,” but let me tell you, I became a culinary superstar during my Vietnamese-themed dinner party last weekend! The truth is, I love building my own broths from scratch […]

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I’m announcing my new favorite cheat food: Organic Vegetarian Pho Soup Base by Pacific Foods.

That’s probably not what comes to mind when you think of a “cheat food,” but let me tell you, I became a culinary superstar during my Vietnamese-themed dinner party last weekend!

The truth is, I love building my own broths from scratch and run out quite often–especially during the cooler, winter months.

Promise you’ll love this recipe; enjoy!

Stella

 

 

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Iodine and You: The Oft Forgotten Nutrienthttp://stellametsovas.com/iodine-oft-forgotten-nutrient/ http://stellametsovas.com/iodine-oft-forgotten-nutrient/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 15:12:55 +0000 http://stellametsovas.com/?p=4284 In case it’s been awhile since you’ve taken a Chemistry course (or you never took one at all!) you should know about a particular non-metallic trace element that has secretly been doing you quite a bit of good: iodine. What is Iodine? It’s mostly found in oceans and rivers, but—more importantly—it’s an essential component of […]

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Health Benefits of Iodine In case it’s been awhile since you’ve taken a Chemistry course (or you never took one at all!) you should know about a particular non-metallic trace element that has secretly been doing you quite a bit of good: iodine.

What is Iodine?

It’s mostly found in oceans and rivers, but—more importantly—it’s an essential component of your thyroid hormones. Furthermore, it’s also needed by your body to facilitate the normal metabolism of cells (create energy!) —so while it is not often discussed; it should be. What people tend to discuss even less today however, is just how big of a problem iodine deficiency is in most of the word—even the post-industrialized areas.

Dr. Michael Bruce Zimmermann, M.D., of the Human Nutrition Laboratory at the Institute of Food Nutrition and Health in Zurich Switzerland decided to update the scientific literature on the status of iodine in the world today (2012 to be exact). He compiled the most recent data from the workings of UNICEF (and the WHO Micronutrients Database) and analyzed them. His results: “Thirty-two countries are iodine deficient based on the national median UIC. Globally, 29.8% of school-age children (246 million) are estimated to have insufficient iodine intake…Overall, ≈70% of households worldwide have access to iodized salt.” Thus, he concludes that nearly 1/3 of the population is currently iodine deficient. If you’re living in the United States or Europe you probably have access to iodized salt, the easiest and most efficient way to spread iodine into the population (when it’s added to the soil, natural erosion tends to make it “wear away rather rapidly—that’s why the Andes, Alps and other mountainous regions are some of the most iodine deficient in the world).

Let’s assume you’re receiving enough iodine from your daily salt intake, living in an industrialized world may mean that’s not enough. Dr. Olayiwola Alatise at the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Health Sciences at Awolowo University looked at the suddenly high rates of breast cancer in modern Nigerian women. It turns out, their rates of breast cancer rose (in a correlational manner) over the past 3 decades in tandem with their rapid industrialization. Industrialization in their region meant exposure to Pb (lead)—which even in trace amounts is incredibly cancer tumor inducing. Low level (continued exposure) speeds the growth of tumors. Furthermore, according to the good doctor, it “also interact[s] with iodine, another vitally important essential trace element believed to protect against breast cancer development”—thus it has the ability to counteract the anti-carcinogenic effects of the good nutrients and minerals you do ingest.

Other industrial metals have similar effects, though not with such thorough results. . For many of us in the post-industrialized world we have a far more limited exposure to such toxins, but it isn’t nonexistent. If you’re job puts you in the presence of heavy metals frequently, or perhaps your neighborhood, it may be wise to ensure you’re getting enough iodine in a more proactive way than adding salt to your dinner dish.

Here’s another fascinating study from Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, on Urine Iodine, Estrogen, and Breast Disease.

Studies examining the health of Nigerian women aren’t the only ones looking into the potential benefits of iodine for women. Dr. Carmen Aceves of the Neurobiology Institute at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico used her research to ask the question “is iodine a gatekeeper of the integrity of the mammary gland?” Her findings revealed that iodine is “an antioxidant and anti-proliferative agent contributing to the integrity of the normal mammary gland”. She concluded that I(2) (a form of iodine) supplementation had a significant suppressive effect “on the development and size of both benign and cancer neoplasias”—finally suggesting that iodine be used in breast cancer therapy. Iodine doesn’t just play a role in preventing cancer, it also is linked with issues that result from diabetes mellitus type 2 (T2DM). According to the research of Dr. Os Al-Atlas of the Biomarkers Research Program at King Saud University “patients with diabetes mellitus are at an increased risk for thyroid disease”. It turns out that those with T2DM had significantly lower levels of iodine in their systems (and thus in their urine) than your typically healthy patient. These findings “negatively correlated” with hip and waist ratios as well as glucose and insulin levels. Such love levels of iodine was concluded to have “deleterious effects on metabolic function” and lead the good doctor to call for “a systemic approach for thyroid screening in diabetic patients”.

If you happen to be diabetic, or at risk it may be wise to increase your iodine intake—and more importantly, to get your levels test in the first place. If your tests show low iodine levels, or you happen to know you eat a more natural salt option that hasn’t been iodized (like some sea salts) there are other ways to get your fill without resorting to pill-popping or “supplementation”. Iodine rich foods abound, they just don’t often receive credit for their secret ingredient.

My top choices for iodine rich foods are as follows:

Health Benefits of Seaweed1. Seaweed- the “king” of iodine purveyors. According to the aforementioned Dr. Carmen Aveces (of Mexico) seaweed is a “rich source of iodine in several chemical forms”. Furthermore, “the high consumption of this element [in Asia] (25 times more than in Occident) has been associated with the low incidence of benign and cancer breast disease in Japanese women”. Do as the Japanese do (and they have the highest iodine intake in the world), and snack away on one of the oceans many treats!

 
2. Fish-speaking of ocean related goodness, fish are also a great source of iodine. Dr. Joerg Oehlenschlager of the Institute for the Safety and Quality of Milk and Fish in Hamburg German lists high iodine concentrations as one of the many scientifically backed benefits of fish consumption. The Office of Dietary Supplements (of the National Institute of Health) suggests eating, cod, tuna and shrimp for the biggest impact (though all fish are good sources).

Salmon Fish
3. Eggs- the work of Dr. M. Haldimann at the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health sought to examine the iodine contents in different food groups. While they concluded that the riches source of iodine was marine fish (concentrations were found between the 0.39-6.9 mg/g range) eggs were in hot pursuit—with a concentration of 0.15-2.1 mg/g (the suggested intake for the average adult is 150 mcg daily). Results in eggs can be even higher if the laying hens imbibe iodine enriched feed (though their meat concentration levels will be unaffected). If seafood doesn’t sound like something you can stand to eat, turn to the egg, it’s a winner in its own right.

4. Yoghurt- last but certainly not least, there’s the king of dairy products. The aforementioned Office of Dietary Supplements notes the importance of dairyproducts (milk and cheese are also on their list) but they don’t pack all the extra probiotic goodness that the live strains in yogurt do. Yoghurt can also be Health Benefits of Eggsfurther enriched based on the feed of the cow that produces the milk (cheese cannot—as most of the enrichment is found in the whey which is removed during processing) and is a great choice of snack if you’re not into a glass of milk a day, or want a snack that’s good for you on a variety of levels. Iodine has many benefits, and could be classified as an unsung nutrient that we all should be readily ingesting. It should be noted, that you can overdose on iodine (for adults anything higher than 1,100 mcgs can be just as harmful as not getting enough) so check with your doctor if you’re unsure about your levels. If it turns out you do need a boost, incorporate my top 4 into your diet and may you be iodine rich for the rest of your days!

 

 

 

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Village Style: Greek Lemon Chicken Soup (VIDEO)http://stellametsovas.com/village-style-greek-lemon-chicken-soup-video/ http://stellametsovas.com/village-style-greek-lemon-chicken-soup-video/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 22:20:42 +0000 http://stellametsovas.com/?p=5169 Hello!  Today, I’m bringing you one of my favorite soups from the villages of Greece. It’s a Greek cream of chicken soup with lemon and egg. It’s actually called Avgolemeno and what that means is, avgo which means “egg,” lemeno or “lemon,” and then, a consomme.  So, it’s this beautiful broth that is technically the […]

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Hello!  Today, I’m bringing you one of my favorite soups from the villages of Greece.

It’s a Greek cream of chicken soup with lemon and egg. It’s actually called Avgolemeno and what that means is, avgo which means “egg,” lemeno or “lemon,” and then, a consomme.  So, it’s this beautiful broth that is technically the version of chicken soup, but it’s really a Greek-style chicken soup; every Greek I know has some sort of variation with the lemon.

My grandmother would add tons of lemon when we would get sick because she believed the lemon and the broth was essential to keeping your digestive tract nice and healthy. She believed if you got sick, it was attributed to your digestive tract, interesting.

 

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/video_12339132_greek-cream-chicken-rice-soup-recipe.html

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Details Magazinehttp://stellametsovas.com/details-magazine/ http://stellametsovas.com/details-magazine/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 16:30:41 +0000 http://stellametsovas.com/?p=5161 The Best Way to Lose Weight Is Already in Your Kitchen You may think you know their benefits, but the probiotics found in yogurt and ginger beer and added to your cold-press are actually the new secret to shedding pounds. Skeptics warn that more research is needed to find out which strains do what. Plus, […]

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The Best Way to Lose Weight Is Already in Your Kitchen

You may think you know their benefits, but the probiotics found in yogurt and ginger beer and added to your cold-press are actually the new secret to shedding pounds.

Stella Metsovas Featured in Details MagazineSkeptics warn that more research is needed to find out which strains do what. Plus, probiotics aren’t regulated by the FDA, meaning manufacturers can make vague claims without backup. Still, the anecdotal evidence is persuasive. Stella Metsovas, a certified nutritionist and author of The 21-Day Digestive Health Detox, prescribed a half-cup of probiotic-rich foods daily to a group of clients, who lost an average of 21 pounds over six months without cutting calories. “The right types of probiotics can absolutely improve metabolism and help with weight loss,” Kellman says.

Read complete article by clicking here.

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Could Artificial Sweeteners Make You Fat?http://stellametsovas.com/artificial-sweeteners-make-fat/ http://stellametsovas.com/artificial-sweeteners-make-fat/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:44:53 +0000 http://stellametsovas.com/?p=5139 Stella Quoted in Shape Magazine (January 2012): “I’m against artificially sweetened anything. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to disrupt beneficial bacteria in your gut, and optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients begins in a healthy gut,” Metsovas says.   Many of us have seen the food pyramid—the original guide to balanced eating. You know, the […]

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Stella Quoted in Shape Magazine (January 2012):

“I’m against artificially sweetened anything. Artificial sweeteners have been shown to disrupt beneficial bacteria in your gut, and optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients begins in a healthy gut,” Metsovas says.  

Artificial Sweeteners and gut bacteria.

Many of us have seen the food pyramid—the original guide to balanced eating. You know, the one that has lauded the benefits of fruits, veggies and grains and vilified “sugars”—after all, sugars are reserved for the very tip of the structure and thus, we are told, should make up a very small part of our diet (here’s more on that here).

This makes sense; refined sugars are addictive and linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, and tooth decay. They’re also considered one of my “Foul Four” foods to be avoided!

This societal distaste for refined sugar has led to a desire for something sweet, without the calories.  Out of these desires the artificial sweetener was born—a non-caloric “healthy” alternative. Added into everything en masse (remember the 1990’s fat free craze?), these alternatives have become the most widely used food additives worldwide, and it’s considered the better option for lean and obese individuals alike. But is it really beneficial, or is that all just hype? 

Even worse, could they actually be doing more harm than good?

The Not so Sweet Truth: 

It turns out that non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS for short) could very well be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  In fact, years ago, one of the first dietary changes I would make with clients was to remove NAS completely for their diet–even removing gum from their diet. 

The new controversy of the moment has shown a direct association between NAS consumption, weight gain and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Straightforward? Hardly. NAS, it turns out, tends to be consumed by those individuals who are already suffering from metabolic syndrome manifestations. Thus, it’s the chicken and the egg conundrum: what came first, the sweetener or the disease?  

While researchers may not have the answer to the aforementioned conundrum yet (although I have my 2-cents), they do know the real problem with NAS consumption. Most NAS passes through our GI tract without being digested, by us anyway. We rely on the natural microbiotic community we host in our intestines to do the dirty work. 

Everyone has a microbiotic community (the flora in your gut), and they’re responsible for regulating multiple physiological processes. What strains of bacteria your microbiome consists of is modulated by your diet and alterations to it have been associated with a propensity for metabolic syndromes like diabetes.  Did you know that one bad day of eating processed foods can alter the internal ecosystem of your gut?

What does this have to do with eating NAS? Well, its ingestion alters your microbiota. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that feeding Sucralose, saccharin and aspartame to mice left their specimens with “marked glucose intolerance”.  

Sidenote: While it’s true that human studies are always the most treasured in research, we cannot deny the examinations provided here in this study. 

The researchers concluded: “NAS promote metabolic derangements in…diets paralleling human conditions, in both the lean and obese state”.  

Microbiota: Key Player or Bystander?

NAS consumption, the researchers found that ingesting saccharin leads to a microbial imbalance (an increase in strains from the Bacteroidetes phylum and a decrease in strains from the Firmicutes to be exact) that increases our glucose intolerance.

*My recent conference with Genova Diagnostics on gut health characterized Bacteroidetes as the “fat” bugs and Firmicutes as the “thin” bugs.

Of Mice and Men:

At this point you may be wondering what studies on mice eating human like diets has to do with you. Well, those Israeli researchers wondered the same thing. They looked at the differences between long-term NAS consumers and non-diabetic individuals.

The clinical results: long term NAS consumption was positively correlated with increased weight, higher fasting blood glucose and the elevation of an enzyme that is a warning sign of liver damage not associated with alcoholism (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease).

They then took 7 non-NAS consumers and provided them with the maximum allowable daily intake for a week. Despite the short exposure period, they developed “significantly poorer glycemic responses”. 

So What?

All those poor responses and glucose intolerance are signs of the onset of diabetes mellitus type 2. The onset of this condition is preventable. In fact, it’s an “intestinal illness” or what I call the “undercover digestive ailment”. 

The Verdict:

Over a century ago we tried to replace sugar in our lives, hoping it would lead us down a healthier path. However, a growing body of scientific literature is starting to prove otherwise—non-caloric sweeteners, if nothing else, aren’t what they’re cracked up to be! If you want to live a truly sweet life, it’s time to cut the NAS out of your diet; your GI tract will thank you for it. 

 

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THE FALL TABLE: GLAZED PARSNIP AND SWEET POTATOhttp://stellametsovas.com/the-fall-table-glazed-parsnip-and-sweet-potato/ http://stellametsovas.com/the-fall-table-glazed-parsnip-and-sweet-potato/#comments Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:22:59 +0000 http://stellametsovas.com/?p=2520                           Parsnips are packed with nutrients, making this dish a super healthy addition to your fall table! INGREDIENTS 2 parsnips 1 tablespoon brown rice syrup 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 Japanese sweet potato 1 tablespoon coconut oil Salt and pepper to season Olive […]

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PARSNIPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parsnips are packed with nutrients, making this dish a super healthy addition to your fall table!

INGREDIENTS
2 parsnips
1 tablespoon brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 Japanese sweet potato
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Salt and pepper to season
Olive oil to dress the dish
Fresh sage as garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Wash and scrub the parsnips and sweet potato; dice both and place in mixing bowl. Add the brown rice syrup, mustard, coconut oil, sea salt and pepper to the mixing bowl and evenly coat the parsnips and sweet potato.
Spread the parsnips and sweet potato evenly across a baking tray.
Bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes, or until cooked. Dress with fresh olive oil and sage.

TIPS
You can substitute the brown rice sugar with maple syrup.

NUTRITIONAL INFO
Serving size: 1/4 bowl
Total servings: 4
Calories: 154
Total fat: 7.4g
Saturated fat: 3.1g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Total carbohydrate: 21.8g
Dietary fiber: 3.5g
Sugars: 12.5g
Protein: 1.5g
NUTRITIONAL PERCENTAGES
Fat 19%
Carbohydrate 56%
Protein 3%

Recipe prepared by Stella Metsovas B.S. for  http://www.completenutrition.com/foodie-fix

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SPROUTED WHEAT TORTILLAS PIZZA RECIPEhttp://stellametsovas.com/sprouted-wheat-tortillas-pizza/ http://stellametsovas.com/sprouted-wheat-tortillas-pizza/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 01:33:39 +0000 http://stellametsovas.com/?p=2549                           Sprouted Wheat Tortillas Pizza Recipe Start to finish: 25 minutes Servings: 2 Skill: Easy Things Needed 1 sprouted wheat tortilla 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1 medium tomato 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 8 (30g) California olives (black) 2 teaspoons dried oregano […]

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SPROUTED PIZZA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sprouted Wheat Tortillas Pizza Recipe

Start to finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 2
Skill: Easy

Things Needed
1 sprouted wheat tortilla
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium tomato
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
8 (30g) California olives (black)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions
Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 2
Lightly oil a pizza baking stone. Place the sprouted wheat tortilla in the middle.

Step 3
Mix the tomato paste and 1 teaspoon of oregano in a small bowl. Add a tablespoon of water to create a smooth paste. You might need to add more than 1 tablespoon of water to loosen the consistency of the paste. Cover the top of tortilla with the tomato paste.

Step 4
Top the tomato paste with half of the mozzarella cheese. Slice the fresh tomato thin and arrange neatly around the tortilla. Top with olives and the remaining portion of the mozzarella cheese.

Step 5
Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

Step 6
Top with remaining dried oregano and serve immediately.

Nutritional Data
1 serving = 2 slices or 1/2 pizza
Calories: 220
Total fat: 10g
Saturated fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 20mg
Sodium: 1200mg
Total carbohydrate: 21g
Dietary fiber: 5g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 11g

RECIPE BY STELLA METSOVAS B.S. FOR COMPLETE NUTRITION  http://www.completenutrition.com/foodie-fix

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Daily Digestion: The Challenges behind Carbohydrateshttp://stellametsovas.com/daily-digestion-challenges-behind-carbohydrates-2/ http://stellametsovas.com/daily-digestion-challenges-behind-carbohydrates-2/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:00:38 +0000 http://stellametsovas.com/?p=4632 You’ve all probably heard by now the best way to losing weight is going “low carb.” A recent study from the American College of Physicians tested obese people with a low-carb diet and found restricting “carbohydrates” is more beneficial than a low-fat diet for losing weight. I have a few opinions (and probably more than a few!) […]

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You’ve all probably heard by now the best way to losing weight is going “low carb.”

Low Carb Diet and Weight Loss

A recent study from the American College of Physicians tested obese people with a low-carb diet and found restricting “carbohydrates” is more beneficial than a low-fat diet for losing weight.

I have a few opinions (and probably more than a few!) regarding clinical studies who take otherwise unhealthy people and make them better by restricting ‘X’ (in this case, carbohydrates).

  1.  When the media gets ahold of scientific studies they tend to exploit the study causing confusions (in this case) around healthy versus unhealthy carbs.  The public becomes fearful of all things carbs, restricts, then binges back into their carb-party.
  2.  What did the subjects consume for X amount of years to become obese–clearly, not all carbohydrates are created equally.  Research is now showing that even your great grandparents have a say on how your genes showcase your health.
  3.  Why aren’t longevity studies of rural villages throughout the world being discussed?  Shouldn’t we use time-tested information on humans, health and longevity to guide us?

The fact remains: 95% of your health depends on your diet, and the source of carbohydrates can make or break your attempts at losing weight, keeping the weight off, and becoming lean.

In this article, I’m going to address starch metabolism and digestion–a key player in creating a common denominator for these low-carb studies and your deck of cards (aka, your DNA).  Please try and read through the complete article, I’ve really tried to tone down the biochemistry 101 lingo.

Digestion and Carbohydrates 

Digestion isn’t equal—in the land of nutrients not all are the same.

Carbohydrates can be particularly pesky—and it’s their cumbersome nature that may be behind the increase in global obesity. Each of us carries at least one AMY1 gene, which allows us to digest foodstuffs high in starch (think carbs). The original school of thought preached that we each carried 2 copies of the gene; research has recently found that number to be highly variable however.

AMY1 is responsible for allowing us to produce a salivary enzyme known as amylase: a key player in starch digestion. As our meals have shifted towards starch heavy fair, we’ve selected for a more copies—but not all of us have hopped on the genetic bandwagon.

Amylase is only one enzyme, AMY1 only one gene, what does it matter if you’re only carrying 1 copy?

Well, researchers at Imperial College London looked at the gene variables of citizens from Singapore, Sweden, France and the UK. They found that the fewer copies you had, the higher your risk of obesity.

In fact, a person with less than 4 copies of the gene was 8 times more likely to be obese than their counterparts with 9 copies or more. With each additional copy, a person’s chances of becoming obese decreased by 20%. Those with fewer copies also tended to be glucose resistant, so the gene’s presence (or lack thereof) may also be connected to the onset of other metabolic disorders like diabetes. This then, is one instance where more really is better.

Genetics, Amylase and Carbohydrates 

So what the heck is going on here?  Does the genetic card you’re holding get worse and worse throughout generations?  Do the genes get fired on with modern implications like processed carbohydrates (leave potatoes and rice out of this!), sedentary behavior, leaky gut, and so on?

While genetics can be an excellent predictor of the shape that we’ll find ourselves in, it certainly isn’t the be-all-end-all determining factor of our health and well-being.

Food is important, not just what we put into our bodies but what our mothers put into them as well. It turns out pregnant women’s diets have epigenetic effects on their offspring—meaning how they eat can cause heritable changes to your DNA structure.

If a mother happens to create a hyperglycemic environment during pregnancy by consuming processed foods and sugars, the environment in utero has a pronounced effect on the child’s “adiposity and metabolism”, according to Dr. Toni I. Pollin of the American Diabetes Association.

Don’t worry!  My mother had an addiction to chocolate mousse while pregnant with me and gained over 60-pounds. There was, in fact, a way for me to switch off my ‘chocolate mousse genes’ and live, what my doctor calls, the pillar of health. *P.S., mom was okay with me discussing her sweet addiction!

His research found that maternal nutrition could trigger a fetal epigenetic event that led to an increased chance of obesity and the onset of metabolic syndromes like diabetes.  The good doctor concluded that the findings bolstered the idea that nutritional counseling during pregnancy was far more important than previously thought. Malnutrition has an effect too.

In my article “Good Parenting at the Genetic Level: How your Diet effects your Family” I mention that famine in the Netherlands caused people born during the period to have a lifetime’s worth of health problems—all because their mothers didn’t have access to adequate nutrition while pregnant.

The good news about an epigenetic effect? Unlike changes to the sequence of your DNA they can be changed or reversed under certain conditions or in certain environments.  You can come back from the bad genetic cards you’ve been dealt—with proper nutrition.  See, I told you!

Reducing or eliminating your processed foods (especially if you suspect that you may be in short supply of the AMY1 gene) is one step of the Paleo-Mediterranean diet you can adopt.

Digestive Health 101 

Gut health is also key. As I noted before in my article “Gut Bacteria: The Unsung Hero” , there are specific strains of bacteria that aid in the digestion of carbohydrates—if we eat to cultivate their proliferation. “Simplified gut flora”—or flora we cultivate by eating large amounts of processed foods—has also been linked to obesity. If you think your cards are stacked against you, eating diversely and healthfully can aid in counteracting your chances of gaining weight in more ways than you originally assumed. To kick start gut bacterial diversity, I recommend imbibing probiotics or fermented veggies (think kimchi) to introduce new strains holistically—once there you can upkeep them by eating a variety of simple, healthful one-ingredient foods.

Or, you can take my Digestive Health Detox protocol I’ve been using successfully for over 10-years in private practice to see just how sensitive you are to starch and sugar based carbohydrates.

21 Day Digestive Detox

The power of gut bacteria is incredible—as such it’s time we bulk up those strains! To do so we need to stop focusing on calorie restriction and start focusing on what we’re actually bothering to chow down on. As I mentioned before probiotic is the way to go (and not the powder, whole foods are best); it can be as simple as eating more yogurt or trying sauerkraut (or the aforementioned kimchi!).

Genetics are important, there’s no bones about it—but they don’t have to be some harbinger of metabolic doom. You can take your phenotypic destiny and alter it; there is a variety of ways to go about this.

Finally, as a diet for a lifetime, my Paleo-Mediterranean approach takes the best of several worlds and melds them together for optimal gut health, and ultimately, optimal overall health. It’s often said that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”—ancestral eating like the Paleo and Mediterranean diet is time tested and time approved, so if you are what you eat—eat well and be well, just like your ancestors and their diet intended!

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Greece: Resilience and the Art of Bouncing Backhttp://stellametsovas.com/greece-resilience-art-bouncing-back/ http://stellametsovas.com/greece-resilience-art-bouncing-back/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:52:56 +0000 http://stellametsovas.com/?p=5088 Greece has been facing a lengthy 6-year recession, and is the country with the highest unemployment rate in the entire EU—according to the European Union’s Eurostat database. Despite this, the Greeks have been making a comeback and are as resilient as ever. As a proud Greek-American, with a soft spot for how they’re managing a […]

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Greece has been facing a lengthy 6-year recession, and is the country with the highest unemployment rate in the entire EU—according to the European Union’s Eurostat database. Despite this, the Greeks have been making a comeback and are as resilient as ever. As a proud Greek-American, with a soft spot for how they’re managing a “come back” I’ve provided a clear-cut explanation of the situation in Greece below.

The Current Economic Situation:

Eurostat has been assessing the state of the European Union economy and recently released their 2014 report. As of March Greece has the highest unemployment rate in the EU at 26.8%–followed closely by Spain. Even more alarming is their unemployment rate among young adults (25 and under)—at 57.7%.

The country’s state isn’t without silver linings however. The Global Competitiveness Report released by the World Economic Forum revealed this year that Greece has moved up to 91/148 countries—increasing their global competitive edge. The report notes that “Greece has started to show improvements in a number of other areas….Slight improvements are seen in the country’s institutional environment, the efficiency of its labor markets, and technological adoption.” Furthermore the report states that Greece has a number of strengths it can monopolize on; including a “reasonably well educated workforce that is adept at adopting new technologies.” At the moment, they just need access to financing. Financing may eventually become available: the Bank of Greece expects the economy to expand by 0.5% and finally break through the 6 year recession.

The Growing “Fix”

The path to a potential boom is being led by the young adults with the excellent education and ability to adapt—the good they’re peddling: the classic Mediterranean diet; with great success. They’re taking their passion for their ancient way of eating and sharing it with the world.

To witness this passion one need only to look at Athinagoras Kostakos who may only be 30 years old but he’s cooking like an old soul: Kostakos’s culinary home at Bill and Coo Hotel, Mykonos, Greece, uses local recipes, ingredients and folklore to provide culinary treats with ancient roots. He may well become Greece’s version of France’s Paul Bocuse—the man responsible for bringing a “nouvelle” twist to “classique” cuisine.

Athinagoras Kostaskos Bill and Coo

Of his Chef—and the current state of affairs—General Manager of the Bill and Coo Hotel, Panagiotis Sopiadis puts it succinctly: “It is during the difficult times that we appreciate and respect our tools and efforts. Greece as a brand name is stronger than ever and it is our responsibility to keep it this way providing our best characteristics hospitality and culinary services.” Kostakos is not alone in his pride—young Greek entrepreneurs throughout the country are finding ways to export Greek staples. With innovative young chefs and entrepreneurs on the rise, it’s easy to see Greece’s future is bright. Products from the likes of Mario Batali and Gordon Ramsey (other foreign super chefs) are popular around the world and so are the types of food they tout.

The United States (among other regions) is receptive to this dietary “exportation”: Dr. Artemis Simopoulos author of “The Omega Diet” led a culinary team to Capitol Hill in 2013 to extol the virtues of the Mediterranean diet in correlation with the “Let’s Move!” program started by Michelle Obama.

The event was planned by the Hellenic Caucus with the aim to raise awareness about of the myriad health benefits of the traditional Greek diet and strengthen and promote the exportation and trade of all the healthy food products these young super stars are providing. One of the attending chefs noted “This event will show that eating healthier doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. The Greek Mediterranean Diet can play a big role in promoting a healthier lifestyle.” Indeed, with the Mediterranean diet eating well has never been so tasty.

The Hellenic Caucus isn’t the only group that recognizes how special Mediterranean eating is. UNESCO listed The Greek Diet as an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” in 2010 stating it needed to be recognized “as a great contribution to the World, for the population’s health, quality of life and well-being.”

Conclusion:

There’s no question that Greece has been through some rough times—but there may well be a light at the end of the tunnel. The Bank of Greece, World Economic Forum, and European Union Eurostat seem to agree. If the young culinary-mind Grecians have anything to say about it, there certainly will be. As a proponent of Greek eating, and a proud Greek American myself, I’m thrilled they’ve started to benefit from all the greatness provided by the Greek Diet—and not just healthfully!

Originally feature in the Pappas Post 

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