7 Little Known Reasons NOT to Avoid Bacteria

“Anti-bacterial. Kills bacteria in one spray. Removes unseen bacteria, protecting you and your family.”

That’s what all those sterilizing cleaning products promise. But what if bacteria wasn’t something to be feared and squashed at every opportunity? What if your body’s relationship to bacteria was a symbiotic one instead.

Let’s explore this relationship we have with bacteria, and uncover the 7 misunderstood reasons why bacteria are actually good for you.

1. Bacteria and Fungi Lead to Fermentation

Microscopic bacteria and fungi are responsible for the fermentation of foods and drinks. They produce alcohol, lactic acid, and acetic acid that act as preservatives so that foods retain nutrients.

Our ancestors used fermentation, and thus bacteria, to preserve excess bounty for the long winter months. Fermented foods were also very useful during long voyages at sea because they retained nutrition for a long time.

2. Bacteria Make Foods Digestible

I talk a lot about eating foods that are easy to digest, and fermented foods are certainly more digestible.

Essentially, bacteria are acting as little helpers that work to pre-digest foods for us. This is incredible, since we often expend a lot of energy on digestion. So eating more fermented foods will lead to increased energy.

3. Fermentation Creates New Nutrients

Wild Fermentation

How could it be possible that a little fermentation could increase the amount of nutrients in food? Well the interesting phenomenon of microbial cultures proliferating actually creates B vitamins and even antioxidants.

4. Toxic Foods Become Edible

Another surprising benefit to bacteria and fungi fermentation is the removal of certain toxic elements.

Grains contain a compound that blocks the absorption of minerals into the body. However, with a little bit of fermentation these grains are now neutralized and edible.

5. Eating Live Bacteria Is Good For Your Stomach

The term “live” in live foods refers to eating foods that have not been destroyed, and in this case the bacteria is still alive.

Eating fermented living foods gives your stomach the intestinal flora that is necessary for digesting foods and absorbing nutrients.

Watch out for pasteurized foods, since these do not contain any live microorganisms.

6. Healthy Bacteria Compete with Harmful Strains

By eating fermented foods, healthy bacteria like Lactobacillus compete with diarrhea-related bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli.

That’s like having your own army to fend off competing invaders, instead of leaving your body to fend for itself.

7. Fermented Foods Help Protect Us from Disease

There are tons of ideas on how to prevent disease, but how many of them use probiotic organisms to do the work for you?

The body is not an isolated test tube, it is an ecosystem with many different factors at play. That’s why supplying it with health-supporting bacteria is a sure way to give your immune system a hand.

Here’s to Fermenting!

Wild Fermentation

In the book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz, there are literally 100 recipes on how to leverage healthy bacteria to make yummy fermented foods.

I highly suggest you pick it up to get an even deeper understanding on how simple and delicious fermented foods can be.

What’s your take on fermentation and bacteria?

Let me know in the comments, and share your favorite fermented foods with me!

Love, Nathalie

Are You Missing Out on Important Nutrients Because You Don’t Supplement?

Could your health be suffering because you don’t supplement with vitamins and essential minerals?

When I first went raw, I thought vitamins and supplements were for the birds. Or rather that we didn’t need them. After all, I had my blood levels checked after I went raw and everything was fine.

Since then I’ve done a lot more research into the benefits of supplementation with vitamins and minerals. One of my most shocking discoveries was that modern day food doesn’t have the same level of nutrition that it once had because of modern farming practices.

Another realization was that most of us are not absorbing as many of the nutrients from our food as we should be. So in my opinion, I think it’s a good idea to supplement with a quality product that is highly bioavailable.

Supplements: Which Ones, and Why

I often get asked what supplements I take, and whether people should take supplements if they embark on a raw diet. The answer will depend on you, but I think that most people can’t afford to go cheap when it comes to their health and wellbeing.

I used to believe that we could get all the nutrition we needed from whole foods. However, more and more research is coming to light proving that produce doesn’t have nearly as much nutrition as it did years ago.

If you’re buying organic produce, or growing your own food, then the quality of the produce will be far better. However, I think that most people can still benefit from supplementation where certain vitamins are concerned.

Most Recommended Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin D3 is highly recommended, especially if you live in a cold climate where you don’t get at least 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight outside every day.

Vitamin D3 is synthesized by your skin when it is in contact with the sun. Vitamin D3 has been linked to cancer prevention and essentially tells your cells when to die after their lifetime is up – which is very important for cancerous cells.

Vitamin B12 is another vitamin that I think people should really consider. Since we’re mostly eating “sanitized” food we don’t get much B12 from our food. That’s why supplementing with B12 is important. It’s something that even meat-eaters should consider, since everyone is susceptible to a lack in Vitamin B12, not just vegans or vegetarians.

Vitamin C is super important for keeping your immune system strong, and can help with acne. I’ve seen really high recommended doses of Vitamin C, and it makes sense we would naturally get a lot by eating fruits.

There are tons of other vitamins and minerals out there too, but at a minimum these would be the ones to focus on.

Best Types of Supplements

Most people take supplements in solid pill form. However, the nutritional absorption of pills is very low… somewhere between 20-25% is actually absorbed into the body.

On the other hand, liquid supplements have a higher absorption rate of about 90-98%, and can be absorbed more quickly.

Think of liquid supplements as being very similar to juiced vegetables. The reason we juice vegetables is to get all the pure nutrients of the vegetables directly and bypass the digestion process. That’s why liquid nutritional supplements are ideal.

I think it’s really important to invest in a proven supplement, because not all supplements are made equal. I’ve tested several types of supplements on myself over the past year, and Vemma is the only supplement that I’ve gotten results with and can recommend.

There may be other great supplements out there, so definitely do your research.

Have An Awesome Day!

I hope this article gave you some food for thought on nutritional supplements.

Love, Nathalie

Why You Need Antioxidants & How to Get Them Naturally

We hear nutrition buzz words like antioxidants, free radicals, and oxidative stress all the time… but what do they really mean, and more importantly what does it mean for your health?

What are antioxidants?
Photo by Darren Hester

What Are Free Radicals?

Free radicals is a chemistry term that describes a molecule that is unstable. A molecule is unstable when it has an uneven number of electrons, and is constantly searching to bond with other molecules to gain that electron.

When an unstable molecule bonds with an existing stable molecule, it “steals” the electron it needs and causes a domino effect by making the once-stable molecule turn into a new free radical.

The term “free” refers to the fact that these molecules are traveling throughout the body looking for a fix (an electron).

Sounds innocent enough, but free radicals are responsible for:

  • Accelerated aging
  • Destruction of DNA
  • Clogging of arteries
  • Tissue damage

I should add that our body naturally produces free radicals when it needs to fight off viruses and bacteria. However, most of us have way too many free radicals due to environmental factors like pollution, radiation, smoking or inhaling smoke, pesticides, herbicides, and stress.

What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are phytochemicals, vitamins, and other nutrient dense substances that fight free radicals. Antioxidants to the rescue!

How can you tell if a food has antioxidants? Colors!

Plants create different colorful pigments to protect themselves from the sun’s UV rays. Plants too can develop free radicals if they are under too much ultra violet sun light. That’s why they develop bright and colorful antioxidants.

Lucky for us, we can eat these colorful plants and fruits and gain the beneficial antioxidants to help us fight free radicals.

Ever notice how all of these “antioxidant superfoods” are dark and colorful like pomegranate, blueberries, acai, etc? Yep, it’s those color pigments that have the antioxidant properties we’re looking for.

Antioxidants act like scavengers for free radicals, giving them one of their electrons. The key is that antioxidants continue to be stable even if they donate an electron. Hence antioxidants have a stabilizing effect, that can repair damage and prevent more from happening.

Antioxidants also improve your body’s immune system, helping you fight off colds and out of control cell reproduction.

Antioxidants are colors
Photo by Doug Wheller

How Do You Get Antioxidants Naturally?

I’ve already hinted at this in the previous section, but the trick to getting your antioxidants in naturally is to eat lots of colorful plant based foods.

Think in rainbows. Dark blues and purples, shimmering reds, yummy oranges, delightful yellows, powerful greens.

When you shop at the farmer’s market or grocery store, look for the bright colors. Manufacturers try to lure you in with brightly designed boxes and cans, but if you let your instincts kick in you’ll be drawn to the naturally beautiful colors of fresh organic produce.

Studies have shown that eating more than 5 portions of fresh fruits and vegetables each day can cut down your risk for heart disease and stroke by 25%.

I think these natural antioxidants are working their magick!

Leave a comment

What’s your favorite colorful fruit or veggie? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Love, Nathalie

What Does a Raw Food Coach Do?

This is a question I get asked whenever I explain what it is that I do. What do you do when you coach people who want to eat more raw food, and not necessarily 100% raw? What is a raw food coach exactly?

Let me illustrate this with…

The Unavoidable Sports Metaphor

Sporty, sports.

Look, I hate sports metaphors as much as the next gal. But here’s the deal: all of us can use a coach at one point or another in our lives.

A teacher. A mentor. An adviser. A consultant. A coach.

You might not know this, but I’m a black belt in the martial art of Tae Kwon Do. As a youngster I used to compete in tournaments, and even went as far as the United States Nationals.

My favorite part of competing was the patterns competition. Though I did enjoy my share of sparring.

Until quite recently, I don’t think I ever really appreciated the importance of having a coach. In the ring, when you’re fighting and just trying to catch your breath you really don’t think about your coach much.

When you win, you don’t attribute it to your coach. If you lose, you don’t blame your coach. You know you’re the one doing the butt kicking (and receiving it!).

But it sure feels good to know that there’s someone on your side. Someone watching your back. Someone who is keeping her eyes on your strengths and weaknesses, and telling you about it.

Your coach has a higher vantage point than you do. Instead of being caught up in all the action, your coach can see what’s coming. She knows what you need and she can guide you to excel.

On top of all that, your coach is experienced. More insights, a sharper eye, and targeted advice just for you.

Who Needs a Coach, Anyway?

We’ve all become accustomed to the idea of athletes getting coached. Tiger Woods, one of the best golf players of all time still has a coach.

Do you think that Tiger Woods could do alright without coaching? Sure he could. But he doesn’t, because he is committed to being his best and he knows a coach is the way to keep him accountable and continuously growing.

Actors get acting coaches, business owners get business consultants, and yes if you want to eat healthy high-raw meals you get a raw food coach.

When Things are Humming Along

I remember after I first went raw as an experiment for 30 days, I felt incredible! I was practically floating. I was getting better grades, losing that excess weight… and just feeling good in general.

That’s when I decided to “indulge”. While in New York City, my mom and I decided to visit The Magnolia Bakery. I hadn’t had anything super sugary (other than my beloved raw treats and desserts) for at least two months by then.

I ate three bites of a chocolate cupcake. It was the cutest cupcake I’d ever seen. But my body had such a violent reaction, I instantly regretted it.

I got the worse rash I had ever seen. My stomach got completely red, full of little bumps. I didn’t feel so hot myself, and I just put the rest of it back in the box.

Honestly, I realized it wasn’t worth hurting myself over a cupcake. Not when there were plenty of delicious and healthy raw alternatives. The type that didn’t give me major rashes or cause me to breakout like nobody’s business.

Woops, There Goes the Wagon – and You’re Not On It Anymore

Falling off the raw food wagon?
Photo by Renee

I’ve fallen off the wagon many times. I’ve had those days (or weeks!) when I thought maybe this whole raw food thing wasn’t for me.

Then there were times when I just wished I could get back into eating more raw foods. I literally stayed awake in bed imagining eating sweet and savory foods.

I didn’t have anyone to keep me accountable or keep me on track when I was going raw. I had never even heard of coaching at the time, well except for sports coaches.

A Raw Food Coach Can Keep You Accountable

Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables has been the biggest turning point in my life. There were times I wish I had someone to keep me accountable, to listen to my binging horror stories, and to steer me in the right direction.

Luckily, I learned from my mistakes along the way. Now I can help others who may be struggling with their direction and old habits.

If you’d be interested in learning more about raw food coaching, leave a comment below or email me and we’ll go from there.

Love, Nathalie