Why You Should Care About Seasonal Eating

Why You Should Care About Seasonal Eating By Sarah Abedi, MD “When we eat seasonally, not only are foods more nutritious and flavorful but are also cheaper and better for the environment.” Seasonal eating encourages consuming fruits and vegetables during the time of year when it’s naturally ready for harvest. Although we now have access to many fruits and vegetables in grocery stores, not all of the produce has grown in season. When we eat seasonally, not only are foods more nutritious and flavorful but are also cheaper and better for the environment. Seasonal eating is a beautifully simple food philosophy but has become complicated through our global food market systems. “Not only are peak season broccoli more nutritious but they will also have more flavor.” Seasonal eating will harvest produce when nutrients are at their peak. One study looked at the vitamin C content of broccoli and found that peak season broccoli grown in fall had a higher vitamin C level than during other seasons. Not only are they more nutritious but they will also have more flavor. Chef Thomas Keller who runs the world famous The French Laundry restaurant boasts the importance of seasonal eating in his Michelin star restaurants- seasonal food just tastes better. “Eating seasonally helps the environment.” Eating seasonally helps the environment. Imagine the fuel emissions associated with getting an apple from Mexico to the United States. Compare that to picking up that same apple from your local farmer’s market. When produce is shipped from long distances, particular post-harvest treatments are used to maintain freshness. These include heating processes, edible films, and ripening agents. These processes help slow the ripening process and protect the produce from pathogens. Studies show these ripening agents can decrease the nutrient content of produce. “When produce is in season, it is abundant and therefore cheaper.” When produce is in season, it is abundant and therefore cheaper. It’s simple supply and demand. When we buy produce that is out of our local season, it will be sourced from locations with different climates and can also be stored for long periods of time to offer people year-round produce. When produce is stored, some antioxidants such as folate, carotenes and vitamin C can rapidly decline. Eating healthy can be expensive but eating with the seasons can help with savings. Seasonal eating has been naturally practiced for centuries and only in the last hundred…

What Is All the Hype About SIBO?

What Is All the Hype About SIBO? By Emeran Mayer, MD As the COVID-19 pandemic has engulfed the world, there has never been a time in which topics like Gut Health, Immune Support, Gut Cleansing, and Improvement of Gut Health have been more popular. Suddenly self-declared experts from different fields of medicine, nutrition and wellness have all jumped on this new trend to explain old symptoms and to promote novel treatments. Podcast, master classes, social media posts and advertisements, bestselling books have all driven the frenzy around these topics, while scientific evidence from well controlled human studies have been lagging behind. In the last issue of Gut Health Insights, I have discussed the flawed concepts about the need for “Immune Support” to make it through the pandemic. “There are few concepts and syndromes in Medicine and particularly in Gastroenterology which have gone through a similarly remarkable historical transformation as SIBO”. Another one of these highly popular, yet controversial topics is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, better known by its acronym SIBO (other references: 1, 2). There are few concepts and syndromes in Medicine and particularly in Gastroenterology which have gone through a similarly remarkable historical transformation as SIBO. The term first emerged in the literature more than 80 years ago and was a relatively rare diagnosis. However, the concept was adopted more recently by functional and integrative medicine practitioners, by the lay media and even the medical establishment and the pharmaceutical industry and has been promoted in social media as a diagnosis explaining some of the most common symptoms of abdominal discomfort. Unfortunately, it has led to the widespread and in my opinion unnecessary use of antibiotic treatments for symptoms most likely unrelated to gut microbes. “…the diagnosis and overall conception of SIBO has become mired in uncertainty and controversy…” SIBO is a clinical disorder that was first described in the 1930s in patients with serious symptoms of malabsorption, bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, following surgical alterations of the gastrointestinal tract. However, since these early descriptions, the concept of SIBO has undergone significant change and challenges in light of emerging insights and speculations from studies into the gut microbiome. The diagnosis of SIBO which originally was limited to a small number of individuals with a specific medical history, has all of a sudden been given to a large number of patients complaining of such common, non-specific symptoms of abdominal bloating, sensations…

Beet Hummus

Beet Hummus By Marta Díaz Megías This is a great recipe, even if you are not a fan of beets, you should try it, I am sure you’ll like it. It has a delicious taste, and you will love the beautiful color. Ingredients: 14 oz cooked garbanzo beans 7 oz boiled beets cut in pieces 1 oz lemon juice 70 grams extra virgin olive oil 5 tablespoons tahini 1 garlic clove 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cumin powder Toasted sesame seeds to decorate Preparation: 1. Put all ingredients except the sesame seeds in a powerful blender and turn it on high speed for one minute. 2. Stir and blend for more time if necessary, until it acquires a smooth creamy texture. 3. Serve in a bowl and decorate with toasted sesame seeds. Marta Díaz Megías was born and raised in Madrid, Spain and is as an official Translator/Interpreter from the Catholic University of Paris. She has always had a personal passion for cooking and started her own catering company in Madrid, and taught cooking courses for several years as well. Marta now lives in Southern California and loves promoting Spanish cuisine.

Pink Argentinian Shrimp

Pink Argentinian Shrimp By Elisabetta Ciardullo What a treat we had last night! I discovered this variety of shrimp that is excellent: wild Argentinian pink shrimp. I always preferred wild caught shrimp, the only one I knew until a few years ago, as it is sometimes difficult to get knowledge of where the farmed shrimp comes from and what the rules are for farming in a particular country. Which is essential information when you read that farmed shrimp are often treated with antibiotics, and some of those antibiotics will end up in your body with all the consequences that you can imagine: resistance development and residual build up. Not to talk about the environmental consequences of unregulated farming. Shrimp farmed in the US are by law never treated with antibiotics, but constitute a tiny slice of the market as production costs are too high. There is a ban on imports of treated shrimp, but only a small percentage of imports are actually tested. Wild Argentinian pink shrimp originates from the natural ocean habitat, so this is an added guarantee of superior quality. This Argentinian variety is very flavorful, almost sweet, and reminds me of the flavor of the Mediterranean shrimp. I found them thawed at the Santa Monica Seafood store and saw them also at Ralphs in the frozen section. They are slightly more expensive, already cleaned, deveined, and can be used in a multitude of ways. As an alternative I suggest the wild Louisiana shrimp, which usually comes shell on and not cleaned, so requires a little more effort; all completely worth the flavor though. If you are lucky enough to live near a coast rich with shrimp you might be able to get them fresh. Shrimp has a very high level of cholesterol, which for a long time made it a banned food for a lot of people. But in the last years I read more and more articles saying that the dietary cholesterol is only accountable for a small percentage of our total cholesterol, thus allowing for more food items previously considered as bad for your health, like eggs and ... shrimp. This is good news as shrimp is very rich in protein as well and very low in fat and calories, becoming a great selection for an entrée. I think, as always, that the secret is in eating it with moderation, which means a portion of…

Meeting The Change in Seasons with Equanimity

Meeting The Change in Seasons with Equanimity By Amanda Gilbert Fall is my favorite time of the year. There is something about the slow letting go of the lush colored foliage and long ripe nights of summer that equally inspires an internal slowing down within me to feel the transition at hand. Some years, I meet fall with more of a celebration of harvest, delicious pear and apple pickings, and the endearing excitement of seeing the black oak acorns covering the golden turning Topanga ground beneath my feet. While other years when fall arrives I feel thrown into the state change abruptly, wishing summer was not ending and feeling uncertain about meeting the natural cycles of death and rebirth that are right around the calendar corner with winter. For this reason, I often revere the inherent unpredictability and uncertainty that fall brings to me. Because it gives the great opportunity to take a look at how my inner-equanimity is doing during any given year, by asking the pivotal question: how am I meeting change right now? Am I welcoming this transition from known to new while seeing it clearly? Or am I feeling decentered and disoriented by this change? Or, even resistant to change? One of the most helpful ways I have found to approach this seasonal question is by bringing my mindfulness practice to it. And, by focusing on the direct cultivation of equanimity. Especially if the recent inner questioning had brought about the response that more grounding and adaptability amidst change is presently required. In my recent book, Kindness Now, an entire section is solely devoted to the practice and deeper understanding of equanimity. Depending on the translation from Pali or Sanskrit (the languages ancient Buddhist texts were written in) the word symbolizing “equanimity” is transcribed as “balance” or “evenness” - particularly an internal state of evenness known as an evenness of mind and heart in the midst of life’s endless ups and downs, pulling toward and pushing away, liking and disliking, wanting, and wishing away. Equanimity centers us in the reality of things exactly as they are. It gives us the skillful means to see our own hearts and minds clearly so we can ultimately be in authentic alignment with exactly where we are internally. This way of thinking about equanimity has always been helpful to me as feeling equanimous reminds me a lot of that feeling…