By now, most intelligent people (that’s you) understand that our medical system is breaking under the burden of health issues we Americans face. Globally, America is the 37th healthiest country despite spending 2.5 trillion a year on healthcare.
Where did we go so wrong?!
One of the ways we’ve lost our health is by forgetting our cultural wisdom around cooking and eating in favor of processed foods most of which are stripped of nutrition, grown in poor soils, loaded with herbicides, fungicides and toxins, laced with chemical concoctions and often containing genetically modified ingredients.
Wow, horrible, right?!
Other than voting with our dollars and simply not buying what BigFood, BigAgra and the BioTech monopolies produce there’s not much we can do to fix the system.
But, we can help ourselves by taking a look backwards in time at what foods cultures around the world have revered and the reasons why.
Today I want to shine the spotlight on Chia, “The Ancient Superfood of the Future”.
These seeds were valued by the Aztec and Mayan civilizations as a dietary staple. They were used in barter as well as religious ceremony. Chia was so integral to their existence that when the Spanish Conquistadors conquered the area that one of the first things they tried to do was wipe out the chia fields!
Thankfully they failed and Chia survived to come under scientific scrutiny. We now know why it was considered essential to MesoAmerica. Chia Seeds are little nutritional powerhouses!
There are so many reasons to eat it regularly I can’t list them all in one post.
Today I’ll share why Chia is considered a dieters dream food!
The reasons are many. For instance, Chia is 40% fiber! All that fiber causes the Chia to pass through the system more slowly helping you feel fuller longer. That amount of fiber also helps remove cholesterol, support normal blood glucose and insulin levels by slowing the impact and release of sugars into the bloodstream while helping to reduce cravings for sweets and junk foods through it’s ability to slowly release carbohydrate energy for your bodies needs. All the while, Chia provides plenty of roughage to keep the colon moving detoxing our bodies of waste and weight. Chia’s ability to retain as much as 10 times each seed’s weight in water benefits digestion and constipation, also key factors in loosing weight.
I can’t prove it, but somehow I doubt there were any fat Aztecs!
Get Happy ~ Get Super Happy!
Do you ever feel depressed or disconnected from your daily life, as if you’re just going through the motions?
Are your relationships suffering because you feel numbed out and joyless?
Do you forget appointments or events and then wonder why?
Do you have a child who seems to cry easily, feel sad a lot or just seems withdrawn?
If so, you are not alone. Depression rates in the U.S. “have roughly tripled over two decades,” according to several studies and reported in CBS News TV show “Sunday Morning,” which aired on March 18.
That translates to 27 million Americans taking pharmaceuticals such as Wellbutrin, Celexa, Pristiq, Cymbalta, Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and Prozac.
Studies show that these antidepressants work for only 30 to 45% of people and many of these drugs come with serious side effects such as suicide, violence, psychosis, abnormal bleeding and brain tumors.
There are many valid reasons why people could become depressed such as the economy, death of a loved one, foreclosure and abuse to name a few. However, turning to these mood-altering drugs doesn’t appear to offer a healthy solution. In fact, most of those drugs target Serotonin (feel good hormone) uptake while new studies show that depression is linked more closely to too much Cortisol (stress hormone) in our system.
In fact, studies show that there are many lifestyle adjustments that can be applied for free that help to lift our mood from “can’t get off the couch” to moving through our day with a smile of accomplishment.
A few changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in your mental/emotional state. Try spending time in nature or with a pet, taking a long walk, moving your body in some form of exercise you enjoy, turning off depressing news reports, finding a spiritual path that speaks to you, Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation and engaging in supportive relationships.
By far, one of the most disturbing facts on depression rates is that pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for antidepressants claims a study published in “Psychiatric Services”, April 2004.
What?! The preschool years have always been among the most innocent and joyful times of life!
At least four percent of preschoolers, over a million, are clinically depressed. The rate of increase in depression among children is an astounding 23%, claims a Harvard University study reported in “Harvard Mental Health Newsletter”, February 2002 and currently escalating. Some might claim that doctors are simply getting better at diagnosing depression.
I have a different opinion and it involves nutrition or the lack thereof.
Our brains, especially our growing brains need good fats to be healthy.
No wait a second – don’t run to the freezer for ice cream quite yet! While ice cream is fatty and does taste great it will only make you feel good for a little while….
What I’m talking about are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s).
Of all our many body parts, it’s the brain that’s most in need of high-quality fats. In fact, the brain is made up of 60% fat, mostly an Omega 3 fat called DHA. Its job is to support cellular communication and when present in the right ratio it produces happiness while increasing learning and memory skills. If our brains are deficient in Omega 3’s we can experience depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder.
Not surprisingly, Americans are deficient in Omega 3’s. Some reports indicating 95% of us lack enough Omega 3’s to support our brains!
One reason for this is our reliance on processed nutrient deficient foods. Ask any kid what his favorite foods are and you’ll probably get a long list of junk foods like Cheezits and Ring Dings! Not only are processed foods lacking in Omega 3’s, but are also high in Omega 6’s which unbalances the ratio of EFA’s and is the leading cause of inflammatory issues.
Once again looking to the past to solve a present day crisis provides a solution. In ages goneby, we had an understanding that food was medicine. When we return to the way our ancestors ate including many natural whole foods into our diet the dense nutrition begins to balance our brains and the rest of us as well!
The lowest rates of depression are found in societies with the highest consumption of EFA rich foods.
One of the biggest sources of Omega 3’s is from fish, particularly salmon, sardines and halibut. Wild caught fish are far healthier than farm raised. Some people don’t like the taste of fish and choose to supplement with fish or krill oils. Choosing a highly purified version of fish oil is wise as many are contaminated with PCP’s and mercury, resulting in a very expensive toxic sludge.
Walnuts are also a good source of Omega 3’s, but be sure to buy them raw for the biggest impact.
Soy is also high in Omega 3’s. However, Soy is among the most genetically modified (GM) foods on the market, GM foods contain proteins not found in nature and for many they lead to digestive issues as these strange proteins are not easily broken down. The UK experienced a 50% rise in pediatric allergies the year that GM foods were introduced in their markets. Coincidence? I think not.
Flax Seeds are also a great source of Omega 3’s. To access all the nutrition they hold you must be sure to grind them up. Refrigerating Flax is a must because the oil quickly becomes rancid.
Lastly, Chia Seeds, natures forgotten Superfood are so chocked full of Omega 3’s they are sure to put a smile on your face! As a nutrition coach I feel Chia is the superior choice for Omega 3’s. They contain 30% EFA’s and the most antioxidants of any food researched, including blueberries. Not only does that mean the oil stays very stable without the seeds needing refrigeration, but it also imparts anti-aging support to your brain and the rest of your body as well. Because the seeds have an extremely thin outer shell (unlike flax) they needn’t be ground, they are completely bio-available. Another wonderful aspect of Chia Seeds is that bugs don’t like the plant. This means you needn’t worry about herbicides, pesticides, mercury, PCP’s, rancidity or genetic modification.
How’s that for a Superfood?
Eat some and get happy – Super Happy!
Sherry Guastini ~ Insightful Wellness