Have you ever thought about the quality of your produce and where it comes from? I want to share with you a good, better, best approach to picking your produce. First, let’s talk about the common ways to buy produce. You can get it fresh in the produce section at the grocery store, canned in the dry goods section, frozen in the freezer section, from your garden or from your local farmer’s market. I want to eliminate one of these options right from the start. Canned vegetables are often picked at the peak of freshness but are then highly processed reducing the nutrients and often include additives. Additives aren’t good for our bodies nor do our bodies know how to process them.
So, let’s talk about the GOOD option. A good option is to get your vegetables in the produce aisle of your grocery store and buy organic whenever possible and cost effective for your family. The downside to this option is that the produce tends to be picked too early and before the nutrients are fully developed. Not only that, but the produce is then put on a truck or some form of transportation and moved from where it was grown to your location – this can take days or even longer. The longer the produce is in transit the more it degrades, depleting the nutrients even more. However, buying from the produce section is still a better option than no veggies or the processed and canned version most of the time.
Next let’s talk about the BETTER option. A better option is frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables are picked at the peak of freshness and usually blanched preserving the freshness. Now, some nutrients are potentially lost in the blanching process, but no additives are included and, for the most part, the produce still holds the majority of its nutrients and is fresher than the “fresh produce” found in the produce section at your grocery store. Often, frozen produce may actually be cheaper than fresh, and it has a longer lifespan. When buying frozen vegetables, you still want to aim to purchase organic to avoid a plethora of nasty chemical additives used in the growing process.
Lastly, let’s talk about the BEST option. The best option is to raise vegetables yourself and eat them fresh from your own garden. This option isn’t always feasible, so an alternative is to find a local organic farmer or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to acquire your produce. In addition to this being the freshest, most nutrient dense option, this also encourages you to eat in season produce and explore new veggies. Another side perk is that you are also able to support a local farm and stimulate your local economy!
Here are a few resources to help you find some local produce options!
Did you know that calcium is found in the bones AND in the blood? A process called Calcium Homeostasis keeps the pH of the blood and the bones in the appropriate range. For example, when the body is fighting a fever the bones will release calcium to the bloodstream because the pH of the bloodstream has become too acidic. The main hormone that regulates your body’s calcium absorption is the parathyroid hormone (PTH) that is produced in the parathyroid glands. When the PTH picks up decreased levels of calcium the PTH increases production of cyclic AMP which increases the amount of PTH in the blood stream and triggers the increased release of calcium from the bones to the bloodstream increasing the blood calcium level. When increased PTH is flowing it also triggers the body to form calcitriol, which is a hormone that increases absorption of calcium from the GI tract.
Just as the body obtains calcium from the bones when it is lacking in the blood stream and the pH is too acidic, once the blood stream is brought back to appropriate pH and becomes too alkaline, the bones then begin reabsorbing calcium from the blood. This very precise balancing act helps us to maintain the most basic functions of life to include the heart pumping and allowing us to breath. As you can see, calcium is a key mineral to maintain general health and the body has many processes to help adjust and maintain calcium levels based on the fluctuations of the body’s pH.
Curious what some of the signs are that you might need more calcium? If you are craving fatty foods, alcohol, soda or other carbonated drinks consider adding some of the following to your plate: mustard and turnip greens, broccoli, kale, legumes, cheese or sesame. Simple little additions to your plate can change the vitamin and mineral content and help your body balance and absorb what it needs. It is always ideal to get the majority of your vitamins and minerals from food because that is the most natural form that your body was made to make use of. By listening to your body and the simple signs it provides you, you can make simple adjustments to your daily fare instead of just adding another pill to your regimen!
Hello and welcome to Working Natural Wellness! I’m Karly Baughn an FNTP (Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner). Thanks for joining me for my first blog post! I want to start by sharing my story and how I came to start Working Natural Wellness. It all began about a decade ago in 2010 when I got super sick after a really stressful move and some life changes. I spent months seeing doctors who did test after test and continued finding nothing. I gained about 30 lbs in a month or two, was in constant stomach pain and constipated to the point of an x-ray showing what they feared was an impacted bowel. I was on prescription strength laxatives and high doses of fiber for weeks with zero change. They tested my thyroid and my levels were a little off and my thyroid was enlarged. They did an ultrasound and then a fine needle biopsy on some nodules they found and they all came back normal. Finally, as a somewhat last-ditch effort they decided to do a Celiac Panel. I went home and looked up Celiac Disease and immediately stopped eating Gluten and within a week I was feeling so much better. Shortly after this I got pregnant with our first son and 2 years later we had our second son. Fast forward to 2017 - I was having a ton of joint pain, exhausted, mood swings, anxiety, depression and random fevers multiple times a week that wiped me out. I went to the Dr. over and over for months (it felt like déjà vu from the years prior). Again, they ran a ton of tests and I was told repeatedly that I was fine, I just needed to rest… This went on for about a year and a half before my husband insisted I do something more aggressive – either see a psychologist or maybe consider going back to the Functional Doctor I saw when I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I opted to go see the Functional Doctor. Upon review of my symptoms and all of my bloodwork it was found that I had Hashimotos Thyroiditis (which the other doctor’s missed on my blood work), Epstein Barr Virus, and it was also suspected that I had Lyme disease. In addition, my blood sugar handling was a mess, my adrenals were shot, and I was living life on a roller coaster physically and emotionally.
It was time to do the hard work… I thought I was already doing the hard work – I was going to the gym and busting my rear 3-4 days a week. I ate a mostly Paleo diet, I ran my own business, we were a chemical free home, I was taking care of my family and managing my autistic son’s wellness - all while doing my best to be a supportive wife to my medically retired former Army Officer – who, by the way, was in the midst of his new career and starting graduate school. My hard work started with switching from high intensity gym work outs to very gentle leisurely walks and some yoga. Next came starting the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Diet to figure out what was causing my inflammation and additionally inflaming the tickborne illness that I tested positive for. I also did 30 days of raw celery juice to help my body begin to heal. In addition to all of these changes I had to slow down and I had to start prioritizing what had to happen in my life and where I needed to start saying NO. I had to make myself the priority, then my family and, outside of that, not a whole lot else got done for a while. Slowing down and learning to meditate and find a calmer head space was important and a required part for me to heal my body. In addition, I have taken the right supplements to support my body and to support my healing journey – which, I can proudly say, I am starting to be able to reduce and still feel like a productive human being that is actually FUNCTIONING, not just a zombie wandering through life.
Every day is a new experience and each day requires grace for me, my body and for my family. We aren’t all perfect and many days my husband gives me the look or the gentle coaxing that maybe it is time to slow down and maybe not take on so much. Maybe it is time to reevaluate the projects and the items on my To Do List. I take a lazy day every few weeks and literally do nothing, I give myself grace to sleep more and not feel guilty about it.
I know you are wondering how I decided, with all of these changes, that I should go back to school. Well…I have experienced so much improvement when I got serious about the quality and types of food I was buying and eating. Following the Autoimmune Protocol and reintroducing foods back into my body, made me realize that people don’t necessarily see how different foods and different food qualities affect them. It made me realize that I wanted to help more people find the freedom to feel their best and to use real food to do it. I am passionate about finding ways to to indulge ourselves and our families, while also eating for wellness and being your best self without feeling deprived of the good stuff!
Karly is a Wife, Mom, Entrepreneur, FNTP and Non-Toxic Living Specialist and Lover of Food - living in a small suburb of Austin, TX.