Another Probiotic Review

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I believe probiotics are very very important.  And I eat and drink several high probiotic foods to ensure that I get a regular supply.  But sometimes it is not possible to get enough probiotics in our food.  Perhaps we just have not time to make fermented vegetables or water kefir or kombucha.  Or life is very high stress and the probiotics are just not keeping up with life’s demands.  Or our bodies are not tolerating the homemade goodies because there are so many toxins we are fighting off.  In those situations I recommend probiotic supplements.  It is hard to know what options are good among all the choices out there.

I had the opportunity to review the supplement Advanced Probiotic Ultra from Optimal Healthcare Labs. 

 

Probiotic ultra

When I use a probiotic I am most interested in the strains of bacteria present in the supplement and in whether they are alive when I am taking them.  This particular supplement has 7 different strains of bacteria including the well known L. Acidophilus.  It also includes L. Rhamnosus, L. Casei, B. Longum, L. Plantarum, B. Breve, and Bacilus Subtillus.  (Who comes up with these names anyway?)   

I am picky about what else is included in my probiotic supplement and this one stands a chance.  The other ingredients include magnesium stearate, vegetable cellulose, and stearic acid.  It does say that it contains milk in the lactose fermentation process.  So it would be a problem for those with dairy intolerances like my daughter but it is not a problem for those with a gluten intolerance.

The recommended daily dose is 2 capsules/day and there is a maximum of 60 capsules in a bottle.  So ideally a bottle would last a month.  At about $20/bottle this is doable for many people.

I would rate this product as a 4 out of 5.  I have no reasons to doubt that it is doing its job.  And I do think a probiotic is important for all of us to be getting regularly.  But I do not like that it is not useable for those with a dairy intolerance.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Dehydrating the Summer Harvest

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Dehydrating the Summer Harvest:  Purposeful NutritionI made a big splurge this month and bought the Excalibur Food Dehydrator.  This is something I have wanted for several years.  It is considered the “Cadillac” of the food dehydrator world.  I am not disappointed especially since I caught it on a great sale on Amazon.  I got it for $200 and at the time of this post it is still on sale for that price.  This is a $100 savings from what it normally costs.  I am linking my affiliate link if you would like to purchase your own.  (IF you reading this post some time after it is published the price may not be so good, but check it out and see.)

 

In celebration of my new dehydrator I have a round up of posts from other health and food bloggers with their recipes of great foods to preserve from the harvest.  (All images and recipes are used with permission.)

Vegetables

Sun Dried Tomatoes

  Easiest Sun-Dried Tomatoes from Whole New Mom

How to Make Tomato Powder from It’s a Love Love Thing

Kale Chips from Whole New Mom

Garlic Herb Raw Kale Chips from Recipes to Nourish

Salt and Vinegar Kale Chips from Oh Lardy

Cheesy Garlic Zucchini Chips from Happy Mothering

How to Dehydrate Beets from It’s a Love Love Thing

How to Dehydrate Radishes from It’s a Love Love Thing

Sweet Potato Chips from  Paleo Gone Sassy

Fruits

How-to-Dehydrate-Fruit-3

 

How to Dehydrate Fruit from Don’t Waste the Crumbs

How to Dehydrate Fruits from Kitchen Stewardship

Includes grapes, bananas, blueberries, peaches, persimmons (never even had those fresh),  pineapple, and mango.

How to Make Homemade Fruit Rolls from Kitchen StewardshipI made plum fruit roll this past week with the dehydrator and it came out great.  I put in 1 banana in relation to about 3 cups of plums and it came out great.

Healthy Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups from  It’s a Love Love Thing

Making Fruit Powder from It’s a Love Love Thing

How to Dehydrate Kiwi from It’s a Love Love Thing

Nuts and Other Foods

Crispy almonds

Salted Crispy Almonds from Raising Generations Nourished

Crispy Nuts from Kitchen Stewardship

How and Why to Soak and Dehydrate Nuts and Seeds from Whole New Mom

Carob or Chocolate Coated Almonds from Whole New Mom

How to Soak and Dehydrate Oats from Kitchen Stewardship

How To Make Coconut Flour from Raia’s Recipes

The Easiest Way to Preserve Herbs from Whole New Mom

How to Make Beef Jerky from Oh Lardy

My son wants to make rabbit jerky from our rabbit meat.  IF he does I will give a special post just to that.

Good-Girl-Gone-Green-Mini-Carrot-Cakes

Raw Vegan Carrot Cake from Good Girl Gone Green

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GAPS Diet Story – Ily

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GAPs Diet Stories, Ily - Purposeful NutritionIly has been 3 years on the GAPS diet and found healing from eczema, IBS, and Sjogren’s, and significantly reduced his symptoms of Raynauds’ Syndrome.   The photo is a picture of his cat who has not been on the GAPS diet but none the less seems to be quite healthy.

1. How long have you been on the GAPS diet?

Three years ago, I started by wading into certain components of the GAPS Diet instead of diving right into the Intro or Full programs.

2. What was going on that made you decide to pursue the diet?

 I was born with Raynaud Phenomenon. However the symptoms were not anything you could see until four years ago, when one by one all of my fingers turned bright red! I went to a rheumatologist who said “You have severe Raynaud.” She handed me a prescription, but instead of driving straight to a pharmacy to get it filled, I drove to Whole Foods Market, where I bought some kefir. Two days later, the redness on my left hand had diminished by 50% and the right hand 30%. A month later, the left hand showed no symptoms and the right hand had improved by 70%. I was a believer in the power of fermented foods!
3. Did you start with Full GAPS or Intro first? How long have you been on each?

I then added sauerkraut to my diet and saw a GAPS Practitioner who gave me some pointers. By then, I was attracted to GAPS because I felt that my autoimmune condition (Raynaud) could be improved if not cured completely by healing and resealing my leaky gut. I did not have any proof that I had leaky gut, but the whole Dr. McBride premise behind leaky gut syndrome being the root problem of virtually all autoimmune diseases resonated with me. I also began to drink raw milk, eat avocadoes, and also raw egg yolks for breakfast. So I was slowly becoming more GAPS-like without diving into Intro. I simply would choose foods that I liked, and then I made sure they were GAPS-friendly by checking Dr. McBride’s FAQ section of her site.

4. What kind of progress or healing have you seen?

About two years ago, I developed eczema in several places on my body. The itchiness was annoying. Six months later, I decided it was time to get serious with my diet. At that point, I was maybe 90% organic and the rest processed food. I then went to 100% organic and zero processed food. One month later, my eczema went away for good. About a year ago, I decided to add bone broth on a daily basis. I did this because it is known to accelerate the process of sealing the gut lining. Well, after one day of bone broth, the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that I’d had for about a year disappeared for good. And after one month of drinking two cups of bone broth a day, my Sjogren’s Syndrome went away. So I’ve been able to get rid of eczema, IBS, and Sjogren’s, and reduce the symptoms of a fourth autoimmune disorder, Raynaud, by about 90%.

5. What other strategies have you implemented along with GAPS? Why?

Another part of my health plan is LDN (low dose naltrexone). It is and FDA-approved medication that is very useful for modulating the immune system and reducing inflammation. The FDA approved it years ago (the ‘Eighties, I believe) in a 50mg dose for use by alcoholics and heroin addicts to help with their detox. Since then, a doctor discovered that at a much lower dose of 4.5mg it reduced symptoms experienced by sufferers of autoimmune diseases. No one has ever died from LDN and the only side effects are interrupted sleep and vivid dreams, both of which normally only last a week or so, initially. Most doctors are unaware of it. It requires a prescription that can only be filled at a compounding pharmacy. Plenty of people take it as a prophylactic (preventative). Other parts of my health plan include sleeping in a grounded bedsheet, making sure my Vitamin D level is > 50 ng/ml, and taking curcumin (anti-inflammatory), among other things. I also juice vegetables every day, which is an amazing way to get lots more veggies in your body than if you were to eat them.

6. Are you off the GAPs diet?

I remain on the GAPS Diet so that I can remain free of autoimmune disorders. Once you’re on it, you realize how much healthier you feel, so you don’t feel like going off it and returning to your prior state.

7. Are there areas where you have not seen healing so far?

Every area I wanted to see healed was healed by GAPS.

8. What has been the hardest thing about following the GAPS diet?

The hardest part of GAPS was giving up bread and cereal. However Dr McBride says that after being on the diet for some time it is acceptable to eat seeds like quinoa and millet. I have found bread made with these two seeds and no grains, so I no longer have to do without bread.

9. What has been the best thing about following the GAPS diet?

The best part of GAPS is seeing my autoimmune conditions heal, and realizing I did it the healthy way, not the way most people do it, which is to take medications – nearly all of which have side effects.

10. Do you have any advice for a person considering going on the GAPS diet?

My advice to anyone contemplating the GAPS Diet, and even those who are on it, is to make sure you follow the instructions. This means you absolutely must have the Big Three Foundations of GAPS: 1) fermented foods, 2) healthful fats, and 3) bone broth. More than likely, some who claim the diet did not help them did not consume all three foundations.

 

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37 Amazing Homemade and Healthy Candy Recipes

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I enjoy candy, especially if it has chocolate in it.  I don’t buy candy though.   I usually just eat chocolate chips when I need a candy fix.  But I have found some great candy recipes to make “healthy” versions of some of my favorite treats.  I have listed many of them below for your easy reference.  It really does help to keep on track long term with a healthy diet if there are some “legal cheats” to have along the way.

37 Healthy Candy Recipes from many different bloggers.

37 Healthy Candy Recipes from many different bloggers.

1)  Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

      a)  Whole Food Mom on a Budget’s Copy Cat Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

      b)  Whole New Mom’s Homemade Reese’s Candy

Reeses-Nut-Butter-Candy-2-Wmk-e1399748909776    c) Gutsy by Nature’s Paleo “Peanut Butter” Cups.

     d)  Stir It Up Dark Chocolate Cups with Nut Butter Filling

     e)  Intoxicated on Life’s Sugar Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Candy

     f)  Homemade Reese’s from Real Food and Real Fitness

     g)  Paleo Peanut Butter Cups from Gutsy by Nature

 paleo-peanut-butter-cups

2) Almond Joy and Mounds Bars Copies

     a)  Homemade Almond Joy and Mounds Bars from Mama Marina

     b)  Whole New Mom’s Almond Joy Bars

3)  Grain-free and Dairy-free Coconut Chocolate Candies at Natural Family Today.

coconut-chocolate-candies-24) ” Cocoa Crack” from Intoxicated on Life.

5)  Fudge

     a)  4 Ingredient Healthy Raw Fudge from Edible Harmony

     b)  Easy Peanut Butter Fudge from Whole Food Mom on a Budge

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge 2

       c)  Coco-Sunbutter Freezer Fudge from Love  Love Thing

       d)  Peanut Butter Chocolate Freezer Fudge from Raia’s Recipes

       e)  Pumpkin Fudge from Love Love Thing

       f)  Rustic Lovers Cordial Goji Fudge from Jaro Honey

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       g)  Quick and Easy Nut Butter Freezer Fudge from Delicious Obsesions

       h)  3 Ingredient Fudge from Real Food RN

6)  Delicious Obsessions Chewy Pumpkin Spice Candy

7)  Delicious Obsessions Lemon-Lime Coconut Candy

LemonCandy2-28)  Delicious Obsessions Coconut Cream Truffles

9)  Delicious Obsessions Apple Pie Bites

10)  Chocolate Candy

     a)  Cacao Kisses from It Takes Time

Cacao Kisses

     b)  Healthy  Dark Chocolate Truffles from Spirit Healers

     c)  Living and Yearning’s  Dark Chocolate Bar

     d)  Chocolate Bark from The Organic Kitchen

     e)  Dark Chocolate Maca Love Truffles from Happy Health Nut

 darkchocmacaruffle2

      f)  Homemade Chocolate from Economies of Kale

      g)  Dark Chocolate Coconut Bars from Delicious Obsessions

      h)  Peppermint Bark Stir Sticks from Jaro Honey

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 11)  1 Ingredient Maple Candy from Life Made Full

12)  Gummies

     a)  Healthy Gummie Candy from Whole New Mom

     b)  Ginger Honey Gummie Snacks from Love Love Thing

gummies13)  Coco-Honey Fat Bombs from Love Love Thing

14)  Caramel Glazed Candied Macadamia Nuts from Delicious Obsessions

15)  Jaro Honey’s Hazelnut Silk Petit Fours

hazelnut-silk-petit-fours-832x1024

 Shared at Wellness Wednesday Wildcrafting Wednesday, Natural Family Friday.

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High Protein Lentil Burgers (Grain Free, GAPS)

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 (This post may contain affiliate links which will benefit me if you purchase through them.)

Lentil Burgers - Purposeful Nutrition

 I love lentils.  They are easy to prepare, very versatile, and cheap.  One of our go-to dinners and lunches this summer is lentil burgers.  I came up with my own recipe that my gluten-free, grain-free daughter can eat using almond flour (I get mine from Honeyville Food Products)  and some spices to jazz it up a bit.  I cook up a big pot of lentils and then mix some lentil burgers up and cook them.  I sometimes even put extra cooked lentils in the freezer as they are easy to thaw out and mix together for a quick and tasty meal.

Lentil Burgers, The Entwife's Journal

High Protein Lentil Burgers
Serves 6
A tasty and easy to cook up lentil burger that is high in protein. GAPS friendly and gluten free.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups cooked lentils
  2. 1 cup almond flour (I get mine from Honeyville Grains)
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 tsp sea salt
  5. 1 tsp cumin
  6. 1/2 tsp chili powder
Instructions
  1. Soak 2 cups lentils in 2 cups water with a splash of vinegar to help break down hard to digest parts of the lentil.
  2. After soaking for several hours or overnight, add another 1-2 cups water and cook lentils for 30-45 minutes until soft and easy to mash.
  3. Mix the lentils and all other ingredients together until well mixed and easy to form a patty with.
  4. Form 6 patties and cook in frying pan with lard or another fat of choice until browned on one side.
  5. Turn over and cook on the other side.
  6. Serve with ketchup, creamy salad dressing or plain in a homemade bun.
Purposeful Nutrition: Healing With Food. http://www.purposefulnutrition.com/
Shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday, Wellness Wednesday, Natural Family Friday.

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Currants: An Old Fashioned Fruit

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Wildcrafting Wednesday Featured Blogger

Do you eat currants?  Did you know it is currant season in Pennsylvania and New York, right now in early July? 

currants at Purposeful NutritionI grew up with currants as my dad planted them on his property early on in my growing up.  I don’t remember being too excited about them, but my mother made a tasty currant jelly which we all enjoyed.   They are a part of the gooseberry family and are native to parts of western Europe.   In the 1920′s currants were a popular fruit grown in the United States, but a disease outbreak led to a federal ban on the planting of currant bushes. The ban was lifted in 1966, but the fruit never rebounded to its original popularity level.

Since caring for my own home and buying my own produce I have rediscovered currants and found them valuable for several things.  My favorite local farmer also grows them and so I was able to get some this evening when I stopped by.  He didn’t have any picked but let me come down to the field with him to get 2 quarts of red currants.  As I stumbled through the fenced in chicken area, where the currants and gooseberries are, he was busy telling me he doesn’t offer this to just any customer who comes by.  But I am a 6 year faithful customer, stopping in weekly to get whatever he has in season. 

Benefits

So why bother with currants?   They aren’t particularly sweet but they pack a pungent punch of great nutritional value which makes them worthwhile to incorporate into our diet in the few weeks of the year that they are available.   One of my favorite ways to use them is to add them to smoothies, along with a sweeter berry or the ever faithful banana. (Did I mention we go through 5-7 lbs of bananas a week there at our house?  No, well we do.)

Currants are available in several colors – red, white, and black.  I picked red most recently but I can get all 3 colors at my farmer’s house.  Red currants are high in Vitamin C . Eat just 2 oz. of red currants and you’ll have gotten 40 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin C. These fruits have four times more vitamin C than oranges do, according to Cornell University’s Chronicle Online. They are also high in fiber, Vitamin K, iron, antioxidants,

Black currants are high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A.  100 g fresh berries provide 230 IU of vitamin A.  They are also high in flavonoids which are anti-oxidants.   They contain iron and good amounts of Vitamin B compounds, especially B1, B5, and B 6.  Black currants have anti-oxidant value (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity- ORAC) of 7950 Trolex Equivalents per 100g, which is one of the highest value for fruits after, elderberry, and cranberries.  Red currants, however, possess comparatively less ORAC value at 3387 TE than the black variety.

For more info:   http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/black-currants.html

Red Currant Smoothie
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup red currants
  2. 1-2 ripe bananas
  3. 2 cups water kefir
  4. 1 cup water
  5. 2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1/4 cup water until gelled
  6. 1 tbsp matcha powder
  7. 1 small handful kale or spinach leaves
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until all ingredients are well mixed.
  2. Serve immediately.
Purposeful Nutrition: Healing With Food. http://www.purposefulnutrition.com/
Recipes from around the Web with currants:

From Organic Authority:  Cooking With Currants

From 101 Cookbooks:  Quinoa with Currants, Dill, and Zucchini

From HeatherHomemade:  Red Currant Pie

From Wee Kitchen:  Current Cordial

From Calculus to Cupcakes:  Fresh Red Currant Scones

From Honest Cooking:  Red Currant Mousse

From Leite’s Culinaria:  Sweet Saffron Rice Pilaf With Nuts and Currants

From Rules of Dieting:  Quick & Simple Oaty Sultana Cookies (Just substitute dried currants for the sultanas)

Shared at Wildcrafting Wednesday Wellness WednesdayNatural Family Friday.

 Wildcrafting Wednesday Featured Blogger

 

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