Gut Microbiota

A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains allows beneficial bacteria to dominate and inhibits the growth of  harmful strains. Here are some general tips for helping microbes in our body, however more research is needed on what the optimal solution is:

  • Focus on fruits and vegetables: A plant based diet rich in vegetables, fruit, legumes and high in dietary fiber and polyphenols seems to help the microbiota. These foods offer prebiotics.
  • Fermented foods may affect microbiota by influencing the gene expression of the bacteria that already exists. Yogurt and kefir are both naturally fermented foods with live active cultures and sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and raw vinegar are high in Lactobacillus bacteria.
  • Garlic and leeks contain natural sources of prebiotic inulin.
  • Focus on minimum processed foods and limit sugar and unhealthy fats.
  • Consider taking a probiotic supplement (L. acidophilus, L. reuteri, B. longum and B. bifidium) — during and after antibiotic use to help manage antibiotic-induced diarrhea. Antibiotics kill all bacteria (good and bad!), so it is helpful to take probiotic supplements two hours before or after taking antibiotics.

Food & Nutrition May/June 2015. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Clean Eating


1. Eat 5-6 small meals each day

2. Eat breakfast everyday within 1 hour of rising

3. Eat a combination of lean protein and complex carbohydrates

4. Eat healthy fats every day

5. Drink water often

6. Carry a cooler or bring with you to work clean foods every day

7. Vegetables and fruits should always be on your top list

8. Always be aware of your portion sizes


1. Over-processed foods especially white flour and sugar

2. Foods containing perservatives

3. Artificial sugars

4. Artificial foods

5. Sugar-loaded beverages

6. Excessive amounts of alcohol

7. Calorie-dense foods containing little or no nutrients

8. Super-size your meals!


Top 10 Tips to Eliminate Sugar

If you haven’t already read Get The Sugar Out by Ann Louise Gittleman, MS, CNS — I suggest you do! Here are 10 great tips she gives on eliminating sugar in your diet.

1. Stop adding sugar to your foods like cereals and fruits as well as drinks like tea and coffee! Keep it out of sight to avoid being tempted by it.

2. Refined carbohydrates like white rice, white bread, and white pasta are covered with sugar. Stick to whole grain carbohydrates to help eliminate sugar.

3. Poultry, meat, fish, and eggs are SUGAR free. Legumes, grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits may have natural occurring sugars but they are all full of nutrients and fiber to help balance blood sugar.

4. Dilute concentrated sweeteners like honey with water or mix sweeter foods like granola with plain cereals and nuts.

5. Fat-free foods aren’t always the best. Sometimes there is two or more times more sugar found in fat-free foods than regular versions of food.

6. Always go for unprocessed. The more natural, the better. For example, choose an orange over orange juice, and an apple over applesauce.

7. Pay attention to food labels. Look at how many grams of sugar are listed on the food label as well as the ingredients!

8. Remember, your tastes can change. Eating a high sugar diet can result in nutrient deficiencies. Stick to lowering your sugar, your body and mind will thank you in the long run!

9. Stabilize your blood sugar by listening to your body. Keep a diary and see when your body is trying to tell you something after eating a certain food.

10. Always aim for balanced meals. You will have better energy, moods, and be able to focus more clearly without the temptation of sugar around!

Steps To Cut Out Processed Foods

Sometimes it’s good for our bodies to cut out processed foods every once in awhile. It’s easier to take small steps rather than doing it all at once. Here are some great tips by Lisa Leake to cut out processed foods in weeks.

Week one: Eat a minimum of two different fruits or vegetables (preferably organic) with every breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.

Week two: Beverages will be limited to coffee, tea, water, and milk (only naturally sweetened with a little honey or 100% pure maple syrup)

Week three: All meat consumed this week will be locally raised and will be limited to 3-4 times per week

Week four: No fast food or any foods that have been deep-fried in oil.

Week five: Try a minimum of two new whole foods that you’ve never had before.

Week six: Do not eat any food products that are labeled as “low-fat,” “lite,” “light,” “reduced fat,” or “nonfat.”

Week seven: All grains consumed must be 100% whole-grain.

Week eight: Listen to your internal cues and stop eating when you feel full.

Week nine: No refined or artificial sweeteners.

Week ten: No refined or hydrogenated oil

Week eleven: Eat at least 1 locally grown or raised food at each meal.

Week twelve: Avoid all added sweeteners.

Week thirteen: Avoid any and all packaged food products that contain more than five ingredients no matter what ingredients

clean eating

Author: Lisa Leake– Lisa Leake is a wife, mother, foodie, and blogger who chronicles her family’s journey on as they seek out the real food in our processed food world. Projects include a 100-day pledge to avoid all processed foods and refined ingredients as well as another 100-day pledge on a food stamp budget. Leake’s award-winning blog is receiving national attention from big names like Rachael Ray, Jamie Oliver, and Yahoo! and has also been turned into a nationally syndicated newspaper column.

For more information:

The Salty Six

Our bodies need sodium to help maintain water and mineral balances and blood volume, but too much can have negative effects on your health. Experts recommend that adults consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily—that’s about 1 teaspoon of salt. Learn how excess sodium in the following foods can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Breads and rolls:  These are some foods that you eat several times a day– but watch out because eating a lot can add up the sodium content you are consuming. Always check labels and aim for the lower-sodium varieties whenever possible!

Cold cuts and cured meats: One 2 oz. serving or 6 thin slices of deli meat can contain as much as half of your days worth of recommended dietary sodium.

Pizza: One slice of pizza can contain as much as half your recommended dietary sodium for the day. Limit the cheese and add more veggies!

Poultry: Sodium levels can vary based on preparation methods. It’s important to choose wisely!

Soup: Sodium in one can of soup can contain 100 to as much as 940 milligrams which is more than half of your dietary recommended intake. Check labels and aim for lower sodium options!

Sandwiches: A sandwich or burger from a fast food restaurant can contain more than 100% of your daily recommended sodium intake. Go for a half of a sandwich with a side salad instead!

Tips to cutting back sodium:

  • Introduce additional flavor to your foods with herbs and spices like garlic, oregano, basil, pepper, thyme and sesame. These all add flavor without the extra sodium.
  • Processed foods (anything in a box or bag) tend to be high in sodium because it helps preserve foods longer and increase flavor.
  • Remember that “low-fat” or “low-calorie” doesn’t mean healthy. These diet foods can also be higher in sodium because manufacturers hope that added sodium, a flavor-enhancer, will bring back the flavor.
  • If you can’t find sodium-free varieties of canned vegetables, rinse the can’s contents in a colander under water before cooking to remove excess salt.


For more information, check out The American Heart Association website:

Processed foods are easier to overeat!

When you take a look at the media, where mostly every commercial is supporting unhealthy eating.. there’s no wonder why we eat so many processed foods!

The best snacks are ones that have many different nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Appropriate snack portion size varies, depending on the kid’s age and activity level. If kids are eating healthy snacks, like cut-up fruits and vegetables, they’ll naturally stop eating once they’re full

Processed foods, the ones that tend to be low in fiber, are much easier to overeat than healthier options because the lack of feeling full afterwards.

It’s also important to make sure that you or children aren’t eating in front of the TV and computer because it’s easier to be distracted by what you are actually consuming– so you end up eating more than you should!

Finding new recipes to make with children, and making food from scratch are all ways to help stay nutritious and become creative at the same time!

Here is a sample recipe: 

Granola Fruit Nut Crunch

Prep time: 5 minutes; total time: 25 minutes; serves 6.

Provided by Chrisetta Mosley, author of “Shop, Cook, Eat: Outside of the Box.”

2 cups old fashioned or quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

½ cup whole or sliced almonds

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons honey

½ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup dried apricots, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss the oatmeal, coconut, almonds, oil and honey until combined.

Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until golden brown and crunchy, about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven. Let cool on sheet pan.

Once cool add dried cranberries and apricots. Serve immediately, or the granola can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

For more information: By Marissa Harshman  Columbian Staff Reporter

No Processed Food Diet

Wednesday starts my annual no processed food diet for about 2 months! I love doing this because my body feels like a whole different person! Even though I have to strictly watch that I am eating enough calories, it is well worth it in the end. The more I study nutrition, the more I’m convinced how bad these processed foods are to put in our bodies. I believe this is a diet that every healthy individual should try if only for a couple weeks to see how much better you feel in the end.

Some people are confused of what really is considered “processed.” Processed foods are any foods that have been altered from their natural state for safety or convenience reasons. Some methods used for processing foods are canned, frozen, refrigeration, and dehydration. However, some processed foods aren’t entirely unhealthy for us. For example, milk is considered to be processed because it’s pasteurized to kill bacteria and homogenized to keep fats from separating. Also, while fresh vegetables are definitely better for our health, freezing them actually preserves vitamins and minerals to have them conveniently all year around. However, many processed foods are made with trans fats, saturated fats, and large amounts of sodium and sugar that people are unaware of or just don’t care enough to stop consuming these foods. These types of foods should be avoided or eaten sparingly, but we see an over consumption of these processed foods a lot in our society.

Fast food is one of America’s biggest weaknesses when it comes to eating. In 1968 McDonald’s had one thousand restaurants and today there’s about 30,000! America is always looking for the fastest and easiest option when it comes to eating, and fast food is the exact definition of this. Also, America seems to be consuming most of their diets high in sugar due to all the chemically, sugared beverages we consume. Soda is a big problem here.  Just by cutting these high beverages out could lead you to lose up to 12 pounds a year and may reduce your risks of developing a chronic disease. Do the math, the typical 20 ounce soft drink contains 250 unnecessary calories and about 16 teaspoons of sugar!  This just goes to show you why our obesity rates are so high, along with our risks for developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Sure, processed foods and pre-packaged meals are convenient and popular, but it’s important to keep in mind if you are going to shop for these kinds of foods to choose whole grain products, low sodium, lower calorie, low saturated fats and free of trans fats. It’s also important to realize that when you walk into a grocery store, the more processed foods are in the center of the store, while the fresher foods are on the outer part. So another hint for shopping for foods is to stay on the outer perimeter of the store to buy healthier options. Another helpful hint is to look at the ingredients before eating a food. The food is most likely not safe to eat if you can’t even pronounce the words listed or it contains more than 3 ingredients. Also, when you see the word hydrogenated listed in the ingredients it is important to realize this is a type of trans fat hidden secretly. Also, serving size is important to realize because we tend to overeat our servings everyday.

So I recommend that if you have been eating a high toxic, processed food diet to try a no processed food diet for a couple weeks and see how much moreenergy you have and how much better you feel! It’s a challenge, but it’s definitely worth trying!