Bones do a lot for us. Without them, we would probably look like blobs and have to roll around to get places. Our muscles wouldn't be very effective, either. Besides structure, the bones do even more. Along with our teeth, bones hold 99% of the calcium in our bodies! Calcium is pretty important because the body uses it to keep our blood from getting too acidic. Here's how: when there's too much acid floating around in your blood, calcium gets pulled out of your bones to neutralize the acid. That calcium then ends up in the urine and is flushed out of the body. For more reading about calcium, diet, and bone health, here are a couple links: See what Harvard has to say about dairy. Great article on acidity, calcium resorption, & diet. A nerdy, scientific article from the American Society for Nutrition. All about Calcium, Dairy & Osteoporosis from the American College of Nutrition.
With Halloween and the holidays right around the corner, it might come in handy to speak the language of your intestines. Do you have any food allergies? Do you know the difference between allergy, intolerance, and sensitivity? According to Wed MD, almost 30% of Americans think they have a food allergy, but only 4 to 5% have true food allergies. Allergies cause the immune system to get involved. This means your body makes histamine, which starts an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can show up as hives, eczema, itchy mouth, nausea, diarrhea, sneezing, and even anaphylaxis. Food intolerance, on the other hand, is caused by not having enough of the specific enzymes needed to break down what you ate. The most familiar example is lactose intolerance, which can be fixed by taking lactase enzymes when eating dairy. Other tell tale signs of intolerance include diarrhea, gas, bloating, stomach pain, nausea, headaches, and migraines. See the University of Maryland's write up about common food intolerance culprits here. Lastly, food sensitivity is a general term that includes any adverse reaction to a food (unless, of course, you get food poisoning, which is caused by eating spoiled food). Do you have a favorite dessert recipe that makes your intestines happy? I'm dying to make this raw, vegan, non-gluten, no refined sugar dessert (Has nuts, though). Let me know if you try it!
Need more energy in the morning? Consider starting your day off with a smoothie! According to a great article by Wed MD on energy, "You feel better, mentally and physically, when you've had a meal that combines carbs and protein." Fruits are a great way to get carbs without processed sugars and flours. Now for protein, how do you know if you're getting enough? See this handy article that explains how much protein you need and where to get it, even if you're vegetarian. Below are some smoothie ideas that combine carbs + protein. If you have a favorite smoothie recipe, please share! Oatmeal Smoothie 1 cup Water 1 cup Oats 1.5 cups Kale or Spinach 2 cups Chopped Fruit (1 banana, plus berries or whatever you have lying around) 1/4 cup Peanutbutter Add 4 Ice cubes (add ice after everything else is blended; it will add a nice texture & cool things down) Berry Smoothie - Easily disguises tastes like kale and flaxseed, Hooray! 1 or 2 Bananas 1/2 cup Frozen Berries Almond Milk (or Water - gives it a thinner consistency. Add ~1/4 cup at the beginning. At the end you can add more if you want it thinner) 1 spoon of Peanutbutter (gives a nutty taste, if you're into that sorta thing, plus a smoother texture) Kale or Spinach (optional, but adds a ton of nutrients, fiber, and a great plant source of calcium. The taste is hidden by the rest of the ingredients) Flax seed (optional. A plant source of Omega 3 fats. Also makes your hair + nails grow strong and faster!) 1 other fresh fruit of your choice (Optional, but makes it even more delicious! Choose from: peeled orange, pineapple, or any fruit sitting in the fridge that needs to be eaten) A few ice cubes (add at the end for texture) Want more? See this woman's facebook page - a ton of smoothie ideas here!