Why Eating In-Season Is Trendy Now

Why Eating In-Season Is Trendy Now

by Yuri Murakami, ND

The beauty of eating in-season does not stop at its great taste, it is also great for our health and the earth’s health too. Here are 3 main health benefit of eating in-season:

 

1) Adapting to the Weathersalad-dish-1366992-m

Many of the vegetables in-season help our body to regulate and adapt to the weather. For example, the vegetables in the summer season, like cucumber, corn, and watermelon tend to cool the body, and opposite is true for the winter vegetables. In the spring and fall, there are many vegetables that help to detoxify our body, helping to prepare the body for the next season to come.

 

2) Vital Energy 

Vegetables are all alive! Eating in-season brings the health benefit of their live energy to the full scale. This live energy of the plants are something that is not talked commonly in the nutritional field, however in many traditions, it has been valued. Our body’s healing energy is empowered so much more when the food is alive and vital!

 

3) Benefit for the Earth

Eating in-season is a simple act, but does helps the environment because the process of foods does not require a high energy (water, light, temperature control etc), also most likely the food come from local farm or back yard, saving the emission from the transportation of the vegetables.

The easy way to start on eating seasonal vegetables is visit the farmer’s market. Talk to the farmer and learn what’s in season! Other option is grow your own food. This comes with so much rewards too!

Spring Detox? Here are the top 5 herbs

by Yuri Murakami, naturopathic doctor

Doing a gentle detoxification (detox) is a helpful way to recover the body’s vitality, especially the people with chronic disease like sinus congestion, mild allergy, fatigue, over weight, and so on. It can also help to prevent further worsening of the condition.

There are many ways and school of thoughts to do detox, but the very basics are the same. First step is to avoid the toxins that go into the body by eating healthy food for example, and second is to support the body to eliminate toxins efficiently.

Many herbs can be used to help the body effectively removing toxins and here are Top 5 common herbs for the detox.

fern-1429164-m1. Dandelion
Both root and leaves of dandelion can be used for the purpose of detox. Root is an excellent supporter for the liver to heal, protects from the damage and also stimulates the bile flow to improve digestion and weight loss by removing toxins. Leaves can be eaten as salad or lightly steamed. It is high in potassium, and is a good diuretic to support the kidneys.

2. Schizandra
Schizandra berries are one of the multi tasking herbs that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for ages. this herb supports all the pathways (Phase 1 & 2) for the liver detox. It has been used to treat in severe liver issue by normalize liver enzymes and regenerating the liver. It can be also used to adapt to stress easily by increasing endurance. Schizandra is also high in vitamin C and E to fight the free raicals.

3. Milk thistle 
This herb is well known for benefiting the liver, but it also helps the spleen, kidneys and digestion. There are a number of studies have done on the milk thistle and its therapeutic use. The most amazing fact about this herb is its ability to protect the liver such from chemotherapy, free radicals, heavy metals to name a few. It also help to regenerate the liver, and able to increase glutathione level in the body by 35%! 

4. Turmeric
Turmeric is another powerful liver detox herb and also known as a anti-inflammatory herb used commonly in treating jaundice, rheumatoid arthritis, and IBD. It has been also getting attention on its anti-cancer effect. It is a bitter in taste which stimulate both digestion and the gallbladder function. There are number of both traditional and new recipes that you can enjoy turmeric more in your food!

5. Marigold Flower
This beautiful orange flower is like a sunshine in the early spring melting down the snow. The main action is de-congesting lymphatic system and liver by removing toxins and inflammation. It is also a healer for the heart, skin, uterus, and veins.

We have a special herbal tea blend, “Rainbow Detox” that includes some of the herbs above and supports a variety of organs  for safe toxin removal available at our naturopathic clinic in Danforth, Toronto for $10. Contact us for the purchasing detail: yuri@yurisvillage.com or 416-466-5773

Stress, Fatigue, or IBS? – these herbal teas can help!

YURI’S VILLAGE HERBAL TEAS!

923814_joyThis holiday season, we are happy to introduce our new medicinal herbal teas – Yuri’s Village Herbal Teas! Plants have been used as medicine since ancient times, and can bring gentle yet effective benefits. Herbal teas are a wonderful way to bringing balance & health this winter!

Yuri’s Village Herbal Teas are available in 9 different assortments geared towards common health concerns. These can also be used for general health & prevention. These are fresh loose-leaf teas, sourced from predominantly Canadian organic herbs. Naturally caffeine-free except for those containing Cocoa nibs (Winter chocolate). Learn more about our teas below:

1) RAINBOW DETOX 

This multicolored tea incorporates 8 different flowers, roots, leaves & fruits to detox. Supports liver & kidney detoxification, blood cleansing and stimulates lymphatic drainage. Can be used as a gentle daily detox tea that has a mild taste.

2) HAPPY TUMMY

Calm your nerves & soothe your digestion with this herbal tea made with 4 of the top herbs for nervous system & digestive tract. Great for people with IBS, gas & bloating, and people that are eating on the go. Great tea for holiday overeating!

3) BRAVE HEART

A beautiful calming & heart nourishing tea – made with hawthorn, holy basil, rose buds and more. Strengthens the heart & can lower blood pressure. Also has a gentle calming and cooling effect.

4) COOL AID

Fruity tea for kids – with chunks of mango & orange peel, this is a great replacement to sugary drinks and artificial juices. A great way to rehydrate kids who are active, and warm them in the winter. Rich in antioxidants, minerals & vitamins. Sweeten naturally if desired with stevia, maple syrup or honey.

5) SWEET DREAMS

A calming and uplifting tea to help wind down at the end of the day, or to relax the nerves on busy days. In larger amounts, can support sleep. Skullcap additionally supports tense muscles and lemon verbena adds a delicious lemon flavour.

6) WINTER CHOCOLATE

Rich in antioxidants, this chocolately tea is reminiscent of an after dinner mint chocolate. A natural alternative to hot chocolate, with cacao skin & nibs and a hint of mint and orange. A great tea for after dinner.

7) DAILY IMMUNEherbal teas

Support the immune system and increase resilience to stress with astragalus and codonopsis in this formula. Elderberries fight cold & flu and provide antioxidants and Vitamin C along with Goji berry. Naturally sweet & delicious.

8) HEALTHY BONE SUPPORT

This tea is rich in minerals which supports bone health as well as hair & nail health, general fatigue or weakness. High in Vitamin C with Rosehips, Silica with Horsetail and tonic herbs such as Red clover and Alfalfa.

9) LOVING MOTHERHOOD

A tea for pregnancy & breastfeeding and overall women’s health. Contains mineral-rich herbs as well as herbs that support breastfeeding.

General Directions: For daily wellbeing, use approx 1-2 tsp or herbs steeped in boiling water for 15-20min. For long-term use for specific health concerns, it is best that you consult with your Doctor/Naturopath.

Top 5 Kitchen Remedies for Cold & Flu

Kitchen Remedies

Autumn is a beautiful season and also a season of cold & flu.

sneeze-894326-mSometimes you just do not have the energy to or a chance to go to the doctor, but you still want to treat yourself or your family right away. These are 5 helpful home remedies in your kitchen to help treat and sooth your cold & flu symptoms.

1) Onion – for ear ache

This is by far the most useful treatments for children who just started the ear infections and are crying or screaming. This help soothing the pain quickly, reducing the inflammation, and also because onion is antimicrobial, it treats the infection, too.

Direction:

Chop about 1/2 of onion finely (any kind is fine, but juicy the better). Place this in a cheese cloth, a thin towel, or a handkerchief to wrap the onion. Make sure the cloth is thin enough that the vapour of onion can reach to the ears. Put this cloth against affected ear(s). If you know the ear drum is intact, then you can just put a few drops of onion juice directly into the affected ear(s) instead.

2) Ginger – for headache, sore throat, cough, diarrhea, nausea, indigestion, warming the body, and fighting against human respiratory syncytial virus

Ginger is such a helpful herb to have in every house hold! As you can see in the list above, it can help so many things! The easiest way to take ginger is in a tea. You can chop  about 1/2 to 1 tsp of ginger finely and put it in a tea cup. Add hot water to make a tea. You can also add lemon juice and honey for additional benefits to treat cold.

3) Garlic – for fighting infection and improving immunity

Garlic is one of the herbs that has so many “anti-“s. Both bacteria and viruses just do not like it at all (also the fungus do not like garlic!). There is a study done with 142 people, split into groups receiving either a placebo or a garlic supplement. The placebos group had a total of 65 colds, while the garlic group only had 24 colds, so garlic can be also used as prevention. To use the fresh garlic, try to use finely graded or chopped garlic on top of the soup as a garnish, mix it in the salad dressings or the dips.

sneeze-894326-m4) Sage – for sore throat, cough, and sinus congestion

Sage is great for upper respiratory infection. The easy way to use is making a tea. I usually mix with ginger and honey to add the benefits!

5) Salt – for sore throat and preventing cold & flu

Well, if you do not have any fancy things in your kitchen, you can use the salt! Add 1 tsp of water in a small glass (about 4 oz) of warm water, dissolve the salt and gargle! According to the study done by University of Connecticut, gargling with warm salt water helped sooth the throat by reducing swelling and break down secretions. Warm salt water also has an antibacterial effect so if your family is sick, this is a classical yet a great way to prevent you from getting sick!

Healthy Shopping List on a Student Budget

I believe the true healthy eating is accomplished when it becomes the habit. To build the good habit, it is the best starting at early age. So I believe it is very important for children to be a part of meal preparation; not just healthy cooking, but also healthy shopping, and if possible, growing the food. This early ingraining of healthy habits really help to continue support the wellness even when they leave home — like university/collage time.

salad-dish-1366992-mFor students to eat healthy, they need to know how to cook, but also essentially what to buy in their budget! So here is a guide to help the students, but also can be for anyone, to have healthy food shopping according to own budgets!

This is also an honest, but helpful tips on “How to Eat Healthy” by York University Student on TED >> Click to watch the Video

General Guide:

  • Vegetables are your friends! It is low in cost and high in nutrients
  • Instead of buying frozen food or vegetables, freeze them by yourself (left over can be frozen in one portion, vegetables in season/ or on specials can be bought and steamed to freeze, berries can be freeze directly)
  • Check before heading to the cashier, do you have a colourful shopping basket? — Try to have at least 4 different colours in your shopping basket (green, yellow, red, and orange etc).
  • Whenever possible, chose organic, locally grown food in season especially for fruits, meat, and dairy. — Make a habit of  choose at least one item in organic etc.
  • Go to shopping when you are not hungry or with high cravings – This really helps not to choose fast, ready-made food, junk foods, or other unhealthy food
  • Read the ingredients: Buy the products with foods in ingredients. — “If you cannot pronounce the name of ingredients, then don’t buy them!”

Recommended Guide (underlined ones are especially budget friendly and high in nutrition):

Fresh Vegetables
Dark Green (Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Romaine, Collards etc)

Green (Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Green Bell Peppers, Asparagus, Avocado, Cabbage, Celery, Green Beans etc)
Dark Orange/Yellow (Butternut & Acorn Squash, Zucchini, Carrots, Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes)
Red (Tomatoes, Red Peppers, Beets,)
Starchy (Potatoes, Corn)

Fruit
Fresh Whole Fruit (Apple, Orange, Pear, Banana, Grape, Pineapple, Mango, Papaya, Kiwi, Melon, Lemon etc)
Berries (Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries etc)

Grains
Whole Wheat Bread, Tortillas etc
Oatmeal
Brown Rice
Whole Wheat Pasta, Couscous
Millet – millet is much cheaper than quinoa, and you can substitute millet for most of quinoa recipe!

Protein
Fresh or Frozen meat
Bones, Organ Meat (Liver, Kidney etc) – learn how to make the gourmet pâté, bone soup etc, these are actually quite exciting food items!
Fresh or Canned Fish
Dairy – Eggs are especially versatile and budget friendly protein
Dried or Canned Beans & Lentils – recommend to cook dried beans in a large quantity,  and freeze them.

Healthy Fats & Oils
Nut Butter without sugar
Nuts & Seeds (Cashews, Pistachios, Walnuts, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds etc)
Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Butter – for cooling, for salad etc

Other
Fresh or dried herbs (you can also grow your own!)
Apple Cider Vinegar – if you have this and oil, no need of salad dressings!
Condiments: try to make your own as much as you can also read the label

Harmony in Gut

This is from Yuri’s Village Feburary 2012 Newsletter. Sign-up Free for health tips, latest events from here

You already may know my special interest in fermented foods and probiotic; here, I want to share a little taste of why I get so excited about these bacteria!

For each of us, the gut is home to about 100 trillium bacteria with which we live inharmony. They are first line of protection against infection, help optimal immune function of the body, aid digestion, provide nutrition to the cells, produce vitamins, eliminate toxins, keep disease causing bacteria in control, prevent allergy, and of course more! In a mice study, it was found that chemicals that associate with emotion and behaviour, such like serotonin and dopamine are regulated by gut bacteria, showing the connection with brain function and gut bacteria (1). There are even mounting evidence that a healthy gut bacteria help maintain a healthy weight by bacteria extracting calories from the food we eat. Further more, multiple studies have shown that people with obesity have different intestinal bacteria than slim people (2, 3).
So these bacteria are vital to our health, and any disruption can result in life threatening conditions tochronic diseases.

There are actually quite a lot of factors that disrupt our health of gut bacteria such factors are: use of antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills, and drugs in general, consuming a poor diet & alcohol, also exposure to pollution, and radiation.

It is best to get bacteria from healthy balanced food (2). There are about 800 bacterial species with more than 7,000 strains in the average gut. Some of them are similar, but their functions are different. Supplementation with probiotic is useful when we need a specific strain to help the body fight or heal, however, compare to fermented food in where these bacteria naturally live, supplementation only gives you one or a few strains.

Further more, by fermenting the food, it increases nutrition of the food (ie. sauerkraut has more vitamin C then raw cabbage), and makes easy to digest and assimilate nutrients by the body.
Just make sure your fermented food has living bacteria. The best way to make sure if you make your own! (See how to make it: click here)Body is like our planet earth. We can find many of the same materials, elements, or chemicals on the earth in our body. Also just like human beings are living on the earth, bacteria live in us. If you want the environment (your body) to be healthy place, you want to make the residents (bacteria) happy and healthy! We live in a mutually beneficial state with bacteria, so we need to co-operate as a one unit.

References:

  1. Rochellys Dias Heijtz, et al. “Normal gut microbiota modulated brain development and behaviour”. PNAS, online early edition 31 January – 4 February 2011.
  2. Medical College of Georgia, “Eating Right – Not Supplements – Is Best At Keeping Your Good Bacteria Healthy, Dietitian Says”. ScienceDaily, 21 October, 2009.
  3. Joesph Mercola, “Dietitian Says Eating Right is Best Way to Optimize Good Gut Bacteria”. Mercola.com, 10 November, 2009.

“Can we eat to starve cancer?” by William Li

The idea of “Food is Medicine” has becoming a general knowledge, but how is it so? and is it really?

I watched this clip a while ago, and fascinated by what simple, common food can do to protect ourself from developing cancer. I hope this motivate you to eat a plenty of veges today as it did to me!!

William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer? (click to watch)

This video was filmed in Feb. 2010 by TED.

Mushroom: Benefit to human and the earth

Mushrooms have been recognized as a food and medicine for long time. Especially in Asian medicine, mushroom has been used as a tonic for more than 3000 years. Nowadays, the scientists are finding the compounds in mushrooms that can stimulate the function of the immune system and can inhibit tumor growth, contribution the possible usage on mushrooms in cancer treatment.

There are further possibilities in mushrooms….such as using as an energy source, cleaning the soil etc. The pioneer of this research is Paul Stamets and you can see him in this video:” 6 ways mushrooms can save the world” from TED, 2008.

The new article of Paul Stamets wrote in response to Fukushima nuclear power station crisis was that he believe that mushrooms can be very useful in cleaning the soil by planting the specific species that reported to absorb radioactive Cesium 137, and re-bulising the foundation of natural forest ecosystem. (Click to: Read full article of Paul Stamets)

Just like our health, the best of what we can do is the prevention, so that the crisis does not happen, but when it actually occur, it seems that when we look into the natural ecosystem, where the perfect harmony exists, then we find the answer…

Food Additives to Avoid

The biggest concern in pre-cooked or pre-packed food is the food additives. Many company use food additives to make the shelf life longer, to make it tasty/pretty, cut the cost down, and/or to make people addictive to the products. There are now so many of them…but here are a few of them that you want to avoid and reason why.

1) Aspartame

Usually this is contained in “low calorie” or “diet” food as a sweetener. It may cause neurological problems such as dizziness, seizures, or hallucination, also mood issues such as irritability, anxiety and may cause cancer.

2) MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

This chemical is used to fatten the lab rat. This can damage brain cells and eventually desensitize the signals that we feel “full”. Thus this chemical has been associated with obesity and related diseases. Some people also may have an immediate allergic type of reactions. MSG are now in many processed food (soup, dressings, flavorings, chips) and most fast food.

The labeled name can be followings: Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Yeast Extract etc.

3) Trans Fats

This has been proven to have a link between cardiovascular diseases. Restaurant food, margarine, pastries, processed food, fast foods, and deep fried foods are generally containing this type of fats. Also called Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

4) High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

This is a type of sugar our body cannot use and this is the most common cause of the liver producing excess cholesterol (especially triglyceride) and linking to cardiovascular diseases, and liver disease (non-alcoholic fatty liver). Also because the body cannot use the fructose (insulin cannot recognize it), blood sugar can go up, and may contribute to diabetes

Common sources: soft drinks, pops, fruit juices, canned fruits, baked goods, jams, gums. Hidden sources are ketchups, mayonnaise, dressings

5) Cancer Causing Agents

  • Sodium nitrate: used to keep the colour of meat, found in hams, hotdogs, luncheon meat etc
  • Food Colourings: Blue1,2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6
  • Potassium Bromate: used to increase the volume of flour, usually in baked goods
  • BHA and BHT (Butylated hudroxanisole): used as a preservatives in cereals, chips etc

How to avoid these additives?

  • Home cooking as much as possible! Especially the sweets and snacks! Not-so-healthy sweets can be way healthier when you make it from scratch!
  • Read the label, get to know the sources and company who makes them. Usually smaller, old fashion company/business uses home style cooking methods.
  • Don’t be fooled by sales catch! “organic”, “natural”, “low calorie”, “diet” etc

Slow Food Weekend

When the weather is getting chilly like this, I like staying in home and do something fun at home.

On a cosy weekend, I used to love when my family spontaneously decide to make some “challenging” food together from scratch…like Indian dinner (of cause with home made naan!), taco shells, udon noodles…etc. We search the recipes, go to shopping, and enjoying the time of making food together. It was a whole day family activity, and in the end of the day, we always had a great family dinner!

Those are still great family memories to me, and also that is where I learned to appreciate food and cooking. I believe we all benefit from experiencing the effort, time, and love it takes to make a whole meal, especially when you make something you usually buy in a package at the super market.

Slow Food:

You may heard about Slow Food before. Slow food is not a type of food; rather it is a movement that has started in Italy for people to appreciate the local and/or traditional food instead of pre-cooked or fast food. It is also a choice of people to “cook own food”.

I do recommend especially kids to have a SLOW FOOD WEEKEND. You just decide to make something together with a whole family. To appreciate the slow food, try to make something from local and/or seasonal ingredisnts and also try to make your favorite packaged-food from scratch. It can be simple like pancake, bread to pasta or you can also have fun going into a research on cultural food that is SO different from yours!

I still do this spontaneous slow food weekend…the next food to make on my list is Ethiopian food (and make Injara, fermented pancake like bread, myself!)

I hope this Thanks Giving weekend is Giving you some Slow, Quality time!