Why Nutrients Count….

Why Nutrients Count….

You know how you just feel starving after having a huge meal of low carb, low fat, low calorie diet food?
There is a reason why nutrients count and not just calories!
Find out what the most important nutrients are and what they do for your body & what food to find them in.

Nutrients vs. Empty Calories

Empty-calorie foods are highly processed foods that contain added fat, salt & sugar. Examples include baked products such as cakes, cookies, pies and pastries as well as puddings, doughnuts, fries, jams, syrups, jelly, sweetened fruit drinks, breaded fried burgers and ice cream. Empty-calorie foods also make up most of the long shelf life foods and beverages sold in vending machines such as chips, salted snacks, candy, soda, energy and sports drinks. Although empty-calorie foods are cheaper and more readily available than nutrient-dense foods, regular consumption of these foods can have a negative effect on health.

Eating a balanced diet of nutrient-dense foods provides many nutrients that are required to maintain health. This means planning meals that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, seeds, These foods provide fewer calories but are excellent sources of nutrients such as the B-vitamins, vitamins A, C, D and E, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids. Fruits and vegetables also contain phytochemicals that may help reduce the incidence of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Top 10 Nutrients and where to find them

1. Vitamin A

This essential vitamin plays an important role in general growth and development, including proper vision, healthy teeth, glowing skin, strong bones and more.

Some foods rich in vitamin A are carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, pumpkin, spinach, watermelon, kale, papaya, peaches, apricots, tomatoes, dried beans, lentils, red peppers, guava and broccoli.

2. Vitamin C

This water-soluble vitamin is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from free-radical damage, lowers the risk of different types of cancer, regenerates your vitamin E supply, and improves iron absorption. It also keeps the gums healthy, aids in healing wounds, boosts the immune system, and keeps infections at bay.

Your body can’t store vitamin C or make it, so you need to consume some every day. Some foods rich in vitamin C are red peppers, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe, broccoli, guava, grapefruit, Brussels sprouts, parsley, lemon juice, papaya, cauliflower, kale and mustard greens

3. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is the collective name of eight fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant activities. This particular vitamin protects the skin from harmful ultraviolet light, prevents cell damage from free radicals, improves communication between cells, and protects against prostate cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Some foods rich in vitamin E are spinach, chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, cayenne pepper, almonds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, asparagus, bell peppers, whole grain cereals and safflower oil.

 

4. Dietary Fiber

The definition of fiber is complex carbohydrates that the body can’t digest or absorb. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, and colon and out of your body.

A high-fiber diet normalizes bowel movements, helps maintain bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels, helps control blood sugar levels, and aids in achieving healthy weight. It also lowers the risk of developing chronic conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

Some foods with high fiber content are whole grain crackers, quinoa, millet, barley, cracked wheat, wild rice, black beans, chickpeas, turnip greens, oats, flaxseed, mustard greens, collard greens, navy beans, eggplant, raspberries, and cinnamon.

5. Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

Folic acid, also known as folate, is a form of the water-soluble vitamin B9. Folic acid supports red blood cell production to prevent anemia, prevents homocysteine buildup in your blood, and helps the nerves function properly. It also prevents osteoporosis-related bone fractures and dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The body cannot store folic acid, so it is highly essential to consume it every day to maintain an adequate amount in your system.

Some good food sources of folic acid are romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, parsley, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, lentils, asparagus, cabbage, egg yolks and lettuce.

6. Iron

Iron helps make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. It is also necessary to support proper metabolism for muscles and other active organs. A lack of iron in the body can lead to iron-deficiency anemia that can result in fatigue, weakness, and irritability.

Some iron-rich foods are oysters, red meats and chicken liver, but there are many vegan alternatives such as soybeans, fortified cereal, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils, spinach, nuts, dried apricots, brown rice, watercress, kale, Swiss chard, thyme, asparagus, cumin, turmeric, tofu, blackstrap molasses, collard greens, leeks, oregano, black pepper, basil and turnips.

Also increasing the amount of vitamin C in your diet will help your body absorb iron more effectively.

  1. Magnesium

Magnesium contributes to bone strength, enables energy production, boosts the immune system, and normalizes muscle, nerve, and heart functioning. In fact, this mineral is highly essential for a normal heartbeat. Foods that are high in fiber are generally also high in magnesium.

Some good foods to eat to get magnesium are legumes, whole grains, broccoli, squash, spinach, almonds, cashews, peanuts, soymilk, black beans, avocado, brown rice, oatmeal, kidney beans, banana, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids

They are considered essential fatty acids (ALA, DHA and EPA) that help build cells, regulate the nervous system, strengthen the cardiovascular system, build immunity, and help the body absorb nutrients.

They also reduce the risk of becoming obese and improve the body’s ability to respond to insulin. They even help prevent cancer cell growth.

Some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, sardines, soybeans, halibut, scallops, shrimp, canola oil, linseed, tofu and olive oil.

  1. Calcium

The mineral calcium plays a key role in maintaining healthy teeth and bones. It also promotes healthy nerve and muscle functioning, helps maintain the pH balance in the blood, and helps the body convert food into energy. It has been found that adequate calcium intake also lowers blood pressure, as well as controls weight.

Some calcium-rich foods are tofu, black molasses, sesame seeds, sardines, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens and scallops.

  1. Protein

 

Protein helps the immune system function properly; maintains healthy skin, hair and nails; and, assists the body in producing enzymes.

Protein is considered the building block of life because the body needs it to repair and maintain itself. Protein is important to support proper growth and development during childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy.

Some high-protein foods are spinach, tofu, mustard greens, asparagus, soybeans, mushrooms, eggs, summer squash, split peas and garbanzo beans.

Be sure to get the right amounts of these essential nutrients in your diet every day!

A Day in the life at Santosa

A Day in the life at Santosa

I let my legs glide through the sand to the rhythm of the crashing waves. I sink my toes into the sand, letting it engulf my feet. I look up to see the waves beating to the rhythm of their own drums. It’s as if there is a heartbeat within each wave. I breathe in the pristine air of Thailand during our early morning beach walk before we make our way back to the beautiful resort that is Santosa. I take my sandals off and I make my way to the morning meeting.

As I sit there within our group of detoxers I get ready to drink my vibrant green wheat grass shot and my ginger tea. As it races through my body I prepare to make my cleanse drink all while revealing my very own oracle card and conversing on topics such as super foods or finding out more about chemicals in our daily lives.

I then find myself shuttered with excitement as I make my way for my coffee break, more formally known as a colonic! Not knowing what to expect on my first day doing a juice detox I was surprised to find how energized I felt. After my colonic I strutted my way to the juice bar and picked up my coconut juice and as I downed my nutrition pills I already begin to sense my excitement for the next exotic juice that Santosa provides.

I then get ready to release the strains in my body with Bliss Yoga. I struggled controlling my breathing all whilst stretching my limbs to the max. As I sit with my head resting on the mat and my legs far above my head I struggle keeping my body up, but with more aimed effort I am able to control my body and mind and put my body into a raised stasis. I let the sweat of pure effort drip down my face while I allow my muscles to cool down with my much awaited Juice.

As the juice rolls its way down my tongue I taste the pomelo as it has a rendezvous with my tastebuds, I taste the apple and mint medley as it weaves in between my taste buds, and this happens all while I get ready to relax for my warm oil massage. I lay in the room while I feel the fingers run up my back, like a massage from a divine spirit. I lay there unable to move, not because I can’t, but because the divinity of the massage is too pure.

Moments later in the Sauna, I find myself surrounded in herbal infused steam as it detoxes my body and releases unneeded toxins. As the heat rises, I run to the ice bath and I plunge my body into the arctic pool. Goosebumps manifest, my body’s circulatory system is jumpstarted just before I run back into the sauna for another round of a sweating detox. After I leave the sauna I find myself strolling into Santosa’s gorgeous restaurant to pick up my warm broth. As I sit in the restaurant savoring the taste of the warm broth at the end of the day, I look out from the restaurant to see the eccentric view and feel the sublime of living here. Tomorrow I embark on a new journey in the wonderful world of Santosa, and I suspect every moment of tomorrow will be just as resounding as today.

Eating healthy even on the plane!

Eating healthy even on the plane!

Millions of people travel every day, coming in and out of the airports. They think they have no choice, but to eat the airport and airplane food because it is the only thing available.
But what if you don’t want to give up your health just because you’re travelling?

Find out the nifty tricks you can apply!

Now that many companies have introduced the vegetarian/vegan/raw/no dairy/no fish/no whatever else you can think about choice, it’s getting easier and, as I think there is always space for improvement and transformation, I’m still very careful and I take precautions.

Remember that most of the time we are talking about pre-packaged, pre-cooked food. We don’t know what is inside and the food is often heavily processed with additives and preservatives.

So, as a chef and coach, I would like to share with you my tips and suggestions about how to survive airport and airplane food, simply by bringing your own food on board. The only thing you have to make sure is that your food won’t be confiscated at the security checks (you can ask your travel agent to provide you with this information).

Here are some items that don’t get confiscated but be sure to check the quantity you are allowed to carry on board.

– crunchy snacks like crackers, kale chips, raw crackers, veggie chips (you need a dehydrator for that; for some recipes you can use the oven so you can bake delicious crackers and granola bars)

– homemade sandwiches wrapped in paper and transparent plastic bags of appropriate size. Remember not to use any foil, as they will ask you to open the bag and check because the foil hides the content to the x-rays machine. Some (vegan) ideas for sandwiches: vegetable ham, hummus and salad; vegetable mayo and grilled veggies; homemade peanut butter sprinkled with sesame seeds and salt and fresh apples; homemade veggie burger and mayo and salad…..

– fresh fruit and veggies. Bananas and oranges are perfectly “packaged” by Mother Nature as a great travel snack! Cherry tomatoes, grapes, carrots, are other great examples. If you feel brave you can also bring avocados on board and eat them with the spoon provided by the company.

-trail mix: I like to make my own at home, rather than having the one from the shop; my fav recipe is this: ½ cup each of raisins, blueberries, prunes,  almonds, pumpkin seeds and coconut flakes. It gives me energy and it is nutrient-dense. If you put more dried fruit like dates or apricots you can prepare fruit bars.

-tea bags of your favorite brand, to make hot tea and sip it during the flight and if you carry your fav book and/or your music it will be (almost) like at home!

What happens when you eat such food? Besides the obvious of not eating food laden with chemicals and preservatives, you will feel much better upon arrival to your destination and the jet-lag won’t be that horrible because your energy level will be higher than usual.

…and if you add probiotics to your fruit bars, it will be even better!

Happy Travelling, Your Susanna.

True Colors – How to put rainbows in your diet and feel better, everyday

True Colors – How to put rainbows in your diet and feel better, everyday

Santosa Detox Wellness Spa Phuket Mixed Fruits

What is “color”?

According to books, the definition of the word color is “a phenomenon of light (as red, brown, pink, or gray) or visual perception that enables one to differentiate otherwise identical objects”

In food color compounds can be natural, from the food itself or artificially added, in order to give food a better taste; scientists did many experiments and found out that if we serve a strawberry juice colored with green pigments, people had the tendency to not perceive the taste as much as when the juice kept its natural red color.

In this article I will write about the natural color present in food, thanks to enzymes and phytochemicals.

According to Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD, “We eat foods primarily based on their taste, their cost, and how convenient they are,” she notes. “The food manufacturers have done a great job of creating many foods that are easy to eat, inexpensive, and rich in sugar, fat, and salt so that they taste good. Starches, fats, and sweets are the least expensive foods in the diet, so it’s easy to see why we lean toward these ‘brown/beige’ foods. They fill us up for very little monetary cost, but there are significant health costs to a diet that is so high in refined carbohydrates and devoid of the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals that are so abundant in plant foods.”

So what does color have to do with diet anyway?

One word: photochemical. These substances occur naturally only in plants and may provide health benefits beyond those that only essential nutrients provide. Color, such as what makes a blueberry so blue, can indicate some of these substances, which are thought to work synergistically with vitamins, minerals, and fiber in whole plant foods to promote good health and lower disease risk. Acting as antioxidant they protect and regenerate essential nutrients and work to deactivate cancer-causing substances.

A rainbow diet can provide a variety of those nutrients and phytochemicals.

The golden rule here, from my chef-point-of-view is to use creativity and to play with food colors and food plating.

Also in our present culture the color of the food has so many symbolic meanings, like red and white are associated with important events like weddings or holidays, and green and brown are associated with everyday food or simple food: think for example to salads and whole bread or whole pasta.

According to the WHO we should eat all the colors, everyday, and as much as possible.

WHITE: it’s a symbol of purity and simplicity. Think about wedding cakes, or simple foods like rice and milk.

White foods, like almonds, apples, pears, onions, daikon, turnip, garlic, celery, fennel, cauliflower, banana, cashews, endive, coconut, lychees, and rambutans are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers. They are helpful against cellular aging and circulatory pathologies. They are also bone-strengtheners.

ORANGE AND YELLOW: these two colors make us think about energy, about solar light, gold, saffron, vitality and happiness! In some traditions, like the Roman, yellow pigments were used to dye the clothes used in rituals and ceremonies.

Orange and yellow food contains beta-carotene, which is a precursor of Vitamin A and a powerful antioxidant. They are immunity boosters, help with eyesight and cell reconstruction.

Some foods of this group are: apricot, carrot, cantaloupe, pumpkin, orange, lemon (also rich in Vitamin C), bell pepper, mango, pineapple, etc.

GREEN: green is a symbol of birth, spring, rebirth, strength and Mother Nature. The most significant nutrients are chlorophyll and magnesium, both very helpful in cancer prevention and used as a metabolism booster.

Some examples: broccoli, courgettes, avocado, kale, parsley, spinach, kohlrabi, rocket, basil and other herbs, cucumber, all the varieties of salads (romaine, chard, iceberg, green oak, frisee, escarole) and fruits like grapes and kiwi, amongst many. All of them are very rich in Vitamin C, one of the most powerful antioxidant ever.

RED: it is the color of fire and blood which, on a symbolic level, represents energy and the power to generate it.

Think of watermelon, red beetroot, tomato, red radish, raspberry, cherry, strawberry, red papaya. Their use can help us reduce the risk of cancer and circulatory problems.

BLUE AND PURPLE: they are associated with relaxation, sleep and balance.

The blue and purple foods are used for blood circulation and for eyesight.

These color bombs can include blueberries, blackberries, plums, grapes, eggplants, red dragon fruit (which is more purple than red) and some varieties of figs. They are rich in potassium and are very helpful for general well-being and for the circulation.

So, put as much color on your plate as possible and pamper yourself with the rainbow diet!

Buon appetito!

How to do a Liver Detox at Home

How to do a Liver Detox at Home

As we learnt in the last Blog Post how important the Liver is, today we will look at a home detox protocol for the liver.

There are many, many Liver detox out on the market and here at Santosa we incorporate a gentle Liver Flush on the 4th day of your detox to assist your overall experience.

Yet the one I am about to describe is a detox that I have done consistently over the years and have seen amazing results from reduced muscle & joint pain, migraines disappearing, digestion improving and losing weight and improving skin – just to name a few.

Do you have a deeper interest in clearing out your liver of thousands of toxins?
Read on and do this Amazing Liver Cleanse.
This Cleanse helps you eliminate the toxins that are supposed to be transported out of your body through your bile but have turned into “stones” of various sizes.
If our Liver and Gallbladder are congested with these stones it can be very painful and these organs cannot perform their usual functions. And as we learnt in the last post they do a lot for your body!

The Amazing Liver Flush Protocol

The liver cleanse requires six days of preparation,

This is followed by 16-20 hours of actual cleansing.

Things you’ll need:

  • Apple juice 6 x 1-liter containers (fresh pressed is even better but for convenience organic store bought works well too)
  • Epsom salts – 4 tablespoons dissolved in three 250ml glasses of water
  • Virgin olive oil, cold-pressed One-half glass 125ml
  • Either fresh grapefruit (pink is best), or fresh lemon and orange combined
    Enough to squeeze 2/3 glass of juice (160ml)
  • 1 liter jar and a small (250ml) jar with a lid

*Look for oral Epsom salts – not bath flakes!
*Don’t worry if you can’t find grapefruit – the other citrus fruits have the same effect!

Six Days Preparation period

  • Drink 1 liter of apple juice per day for a period of six days. (You may drink more than that if it feels comfortable). The malic acid in the apple juice softens the gallstones and makes their passage through the bile ducts easy. Drink the apple juice slowly throughout the day, between meals (avoid drinking the juice during, just before and two hours after meals, and in the evening). This is in addition to your normal water intake.
  • Dietary recommendations: During the entire week of preparation and cleansing, avoid taking foods or beverages that are cold or chilled; they chill the liver and, thereby, reduce the effectiveness of the cleanse. All foods or beverages should be warm or at least room temperature. To help the liver prepare for the main flush go vegan so try to avoid foods from animal sources, dairy products and fried food items. Otherwise, eat normal meals, but avoid overeating.
  • Be good to yourself

Day 6 of drinking apple juice:

If you feel hungry in the morning, eat a light breakfast, such as a hot cereal or fruit.
Avoid sugar or other sweeteners, spices, milk, butter, oils, yogurt, cheese, ham, eggs, nuts, pastries, cold cereals – basically stay vegan and eat whole foods!
For lunch eat plain cooked or steamed vegetables with white rice and flavor it with a little unrefined sea or rock salt.
To repeat, do not eat any protein foods, butter or oil, or you might feel ill during the actual cleanse.
Do not eat or drink anything, except lots of water after 2PM, otherwise you may not flush out any stones!
Follow the exact timing given below to receive the maximum benefit from the liver flush.

The Actual Cleanse (day 6 of drinking apple juice) Evening

6:00PM: Add four tablespoons of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) to three 250ml glasses of filtered water in your 1 liter jar.
This makes four servings, ¾ glass each. Drink your first portion now.
You may take a few sips of water afterwards to get rid of the bitter taste in the mouth or add a little lemon juice to improve the taste.
Some people drink it with a large plastic straw to bypass the taste buds on the tongue. It is also helpful to brush your teeth afterwards or rinse out the mouth with baking soda. One of the main actions of Epsom salt is to dilate (widen) the bile ducts, making it easy for the stones to pass. Moreover, it clears out waste that may obstruct the release of the stones.

8:00PM: Drink your second serving (¾ glass) of Epsom salts.

9:30PM: If you have not had a bowel movement until now and not done a colon cleanse within 24 hours, take a water enema; this will trigger a series of bowel movements.

9:45PM: Thoroughly wash the grapefruits (or lemons and oranges). Squeeze them by hand and remove pulp.  You will need ¾ glass of juice. Pour the juice and ½ glass of olive oil into the small jar.

Close the jar tightly and shake hard, about 20 times or until the solution is watery. Ideally, you should drink this mixture at 10:00PM, but if you feel you still need to visit the bathroom a few more times, you may delay this step for up to10 minutes.

10:00PM: Stand next to your bed (do not sit down) and drink the concoction, if possible, straight. Some people prefer to drink it through a large plastic straw. If necessary, take a little honey between sips, which helps chase down the mixture. Most people, though, have no problem drinking it straight. Do not take more than 5 minutes for this (only elderly or weak people may take longer).

LIE DOWN STRAIGHT AWAY! This is essential for helping to release the gallstones! Turn off the lights and lie flat on your back with 1-2 pillows propping you up. Your head should be higher than the abdomen. If this is uncomfortable lie on your right side with your knees pulled towards your head. Lie perfectly still for at least 20 minutes and try not to speak! Put your attention on your liver. You may even feel the stones traveling along the bile ducts like marbles. There won’t be any pain because the magnesium in the Epsom salts keeps the bile duct valves wide open and relaxed, and the bile that is excreted along with the stones keeps the bile ducts well lubricated (this is very different in the case of a gallbladder attack where magnesium and bile are not present). Go to sleep if you can.

If at any time during the night you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, do so. Check if there are already small gallstones (pea green or tan colored ones) floating in the toilet. You may feel nauseous during the night and/or in the early morning hours. This is mostly due to a strong, sudden outpouring of gallstones and toxins from the liver and gallbladder, pushing the oil mixture back into the stomach. The nausea will pass as the morning progresses.

The Following Morning

6:00-6:30AM: Upon awakening, but not before 6am, drink your third ¾ glass of Epsom salts (if you feel very thirsty drink a glass of warm water before taking the salts). Rest, read or meditate. If you are very sleepy, you may go back to bed, although it is best if the body stays in the upright position. Most people feel absolutely fine and prefer to do some light exercises, such as Yoga.

8:00-8:30AM: Drink your fourth and last ¾ glass of Epsom salts.

10:00-10:30AM: You may drink freshly pressed fruit juice at this time. One half-hour later you may eat one or two pieces of fresh fruit. One hour later you may eat regular (but light!) food.
By the evening or the next morning you should be back to normal, and feel the first signs of improvement. Continue to eat light meals during the following days. Remember, your liver and gallbladder underwent major surgery, albeit without harmful side effects.

If you want to know more – read the book ‘The amazing Liver Cleanse’ by Andreas Moritz where you can find more detailed information. This cleanse should be done every 3 months until no more stones appear. Then a bi-annual cleanse is recommended.