Ep. 194: My Favorite Healing Foods

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On today’s solo episode, I’m going to be chatting all about my favorite healing foods!  We’ll dive into what they are, how they work, and how to incorporate them into your daily diet.

Favorite healing foods

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Episode 194 transcription

Cassy Joy: Today’s show is brought to you by the Nutritional Therapy Association! The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants with a nutritional foundation that emphasizes the body’s innate intelligence and bioindividuality. Because they know that a one-size fits all approach to nutrition does not exist.

The NTA curriculum focuses on the importance of properly prepared, nutrient-dense whole foods, paired with a well balanced lifestyle. Sound familiar? I love this program so much. Throughout their program, students learn a wide range of educational tools and techniques to identify and correct nutritional imbalances and deficiencies. And students graduate with the education and skills needed to launch a successful career in holistic nutrition.

May enrollment for the NTA’s nutritional therapy practitioner program, or their fully online nutritional therapy consultant program, is currently open through April 26. You can head to www.NutritionalTherapy.com to get more info. The NTA’s annual conference, Roots, is also happening March 1st through the 3rd in Portland, Oregon. I’ve attended in the past, and can honestly say it was one of the most educational and inspirational nutrition conferences I have ever been to. No joke. You can go to the NutritionalTherapyConference.com to register. You do not have to be an NTP to go; all are welcome.

Cassy Joy: Welcome back to another episode of the Fed and Fit podcast. I am your host, Cassy Joy Garcia. And today we are going to dive into some geeky nutrition science. Are you ready for this? Are you holding onto your seats? Are you on the edge of your seat holding onto it? {laughs} I’m not quite sure which analogy to use in this instance, because I’m sitting on the floor in my guest room at my house, because this is where I record podcasts for some reason. It’s because it’s the only door now that we have a little baby that I can really hide behind that’s far enough away from her where I’m not going to wake her up with my exuberant chitter chatter.

Ok, so. {laughs} I’m excited about today’s episode because it really plays the heartstrings of the deepest part of my nutritionist soul. You know, when I first started Fed and Fit, the blog; when I very first started Fed and Fit, I still have days where I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. But when I very, very first started, my original concept was I was going to share a dinner recipe. Every single post that I would post would include an entire dinner menu.

I think I started off with a fourth of July burger spread, and I was going to do the burger recipes, and the toppings, and the sides, and the dessert, and even a drink. And I did that one time, and I never did it again! {Laughs} Because I was sharing four or five recipes in a single post. And then it evolved. And the 2.0 version of my vision for my Fed and Fit, the blog. If you’re wondering, we’re probably on vision 27.0 at this point. {laughs} Just keep getting better and better, and improving, and staying vigilant and humble and coachable.

But 2.0 version was I wanted to share a recipe. And we still do this from time to time. But we wanted to share a recipe that; it was just myself at the time. I would write a recipe, and then I would use it as an opportunity to showcase some really powerful, healing foods that were included in that recipe. So for example, think about meatballs that contain pastured chicken livers in there. Just sneaking power foods in foods. And then explaining in the post why they are such powerful, wonderful foods.

I remember writing articles about pumpkin seeds. The wonders of a pumpkin seed. The wonders of fresh ginger. The wonders of kale. Which we’ve talked about extensively. All of these wonderful, fun facts. And I just find those endlessly interesting and entertaining.

So today we’re really going to give you a compilation of some of the most healing foods and fun facts about them. And this is really meant to be a; you know, stick this in your back pocket. I’m not saying that you need to be eating these things all day every day, but I think it’s good to just give you a brief overview. We’re going to talk. We’re going to zero in on six different kinds of really healing food categories. And it’s not going to necessarily be what you think. Or may not be; it might be right in line with what you think I’m going to talk about.

I think it’s just good stuff to be aware of and to incorporate when you’re curious, and when you have time. And if you’re looking for a swap for that afternoon cup of coffee, because you just wanted something warm in a mug. Maybe swap in a mug of bone broth. Which we’ll talk about in a second. So this is really what this is meant to be, just a nice dose of; if you’re looking for a way to optimize nutrition further, and heal further, and enjoy some really tasty things while you are doing that, this is a good short list to reference.

Alrighty. So let’s get into it. Number one; I already mentioned it. We’re going to chat, most healing foods, we’re going to talk about bone broth. You will always see this listed as; oh, gosh. What do they have it? All over the place. There’s stock, which is really meant more for cooking. That’s where you’re really going to infuse other vegetables and leftover type veggies, rinds, peels into some sort of a brothy type substance.

Bone broth is really where you’re putting in; I’m imagining I have a freezer full of bone broth bones. I buy them from US Wellness meats. They are grass-fed, pastured, depending on what kind of animal. And I have these stew bones, or these bone broth bones. And what I do is I stick them in my Instant Pot, my pressure cooker, or you could put them in the slow cooker. Heck you could even put them right on the stovetop in a nice big stockpot.

You add a bunch of water, you add a little bit of apple cider vinegar to help pull out some of the nutrients from the bones. You can add some bay leaves; whatever floats your boat. Maybe a little garlic. Whatever kind of flavor you want. You can cook with this stuff, or if you really want to just make sure you’re incorporating it daily, I encourage you think about drinking it as; like I said, instead of that afternoon hot cup of coffee, have a cup of bone broth.

Really, what the whole purpose of drinking bone broth is to get into some really wonderful minerals and to get in some readily available collagen peptides, in addition to other healing compounds. Glutamine, glycine, proline. The collagen in bone broth can really help heal. And the other nutrients in bone broth can really help heal your gut, and can help reduce inflammation.

For example; when do I incorporate bone broth? Yes, I would love it if I had a hot mug of fresh bone broth every afternoon. One day maybe if; I don’t know. I always say one day maybe I’ll get my act together and I’ll be able to make those things more regularly. But you know, such is the carrot on the end of the stick.

I think this is one of those things that if I get home from a big weekend out, or a very indulgent night out date or week or vacation or whatever it is. That is the time that I like to incorporate bone broth. When I’m feeling a little like; my stomach feels bloated and I know I just ate a bunch of foods. Maybe it’s alcohol. Maybe it’s too much sugar. Maybe had wheat gluten when I normally definitely would not. And I know that my gut, maybe because of stress and lack of sleep and lack of hydration. I’ve probably done a little bit of damage to my gut. I know that I want to get in, and swoop in, and heal that as quickly as possible. And bone broth is the way to do that.

So I will take those stock bones; those broth bones out of my freezer. Stick them in my Instant Pot, just like I described. And cook it up. Really, really good bone broth will actually gel when it’s refrigerated. And that’s when you know you have a really good concentration of those proteins that I just rattled off. So that’s one thing to consider.

You can absolutely buy bone broth these days in the store. Best is always going to be making it from home. It’s going to be cheaper if you make it from home. It’s going to be better quality. You’re probably more likely to have that nice gel when you’re making it from home. But there are some options that you could try Bonafide Provisions is really great. There are all kinds of them out there. Epic, I believe, makes some really good broth. So, go ahead and experiment, see what’s out there that you like.

Next most healing food we’re going to chat about is collagen. It’s one of my favorites. So very similar benefits to the bone broth. And collagen particularly; it is a protein. And it comes in a protein powder form. Which is how most people usually take it. And I like to add unflavored collagen, just the regular old grass-fed bovine collagen right in with my coffee in the morning. Mix it in hot coffee. Although it is soluble in cool waters, I prefer it in hot. And as long as you’re not pouring it into scalding liquid, like a boiling cup of water or a really, really hot cup of coffee. It actually does not smell beefy. Which I know that has really intimidated or turned off some people in the past.

Now, I have found that if I pour collagen into my hot coffee, and then I stick it in the microwave because I want to heat it back up. Because life with a 1-year-old. I probably didn’t get to finish my cup of coffee on time. When I stick it back in the microwave, and if I overheat it, then it will start to smell a little beefy. So just don’t overheat it. So that’s a really great one.

The benefits of collagen. Though it is a protein powder, it’s not the kind of protein that your muscles are going to make use of, necessarily, for building bigger muscles or replenishing and repairing after a workout. It’s not that kind of protein. The best kind of protein for that would be either meat; looking at some sort of tissue. Like chicken, beef, pork, you name it. Or some sort of a whey protein powder would be the one that you want for something like that.

But what collagen does; collagen goes to help with all of the connective tissues. It’s the inner workings of your body. It’s the gut lining, yes. It’s your hair, it’s your nails, it’s your skin health. All of those things are very closely tied. And collagen is a really easy thing to incorporate on a daily basis.

Ok, next most healing food; healthy fats. The reason I want to highlight healthy fats. This is definitely something I think everybody can think about a little bit more closely. And this could have a huge impact on somebody’s health. But the reason why health fats are so important is because we’re trying to reduce inflammation. That’s the name of this entire game.

And it’s not that healthy fats contain these miracle nutrients that are going to help us for one reason or another. It’s honestly because if we’re using healthier fats; meaning omega-3 rich fats, then it probably means that we’re now excluding more omega-6 concentrated fats from our diet. So when we swap in a really healthy olive oil instead of that vegetable oil that we’ve been using, just by making that trade of an omega-3 rich fat acid versus the omega-6 rich fat. Goodness, gracious, I think I may need that afternoon cup of coffee I was just trying to talk myself out of. {laughing}

When we make that swap, just the fact that we have omitted the vegetable oil, we’re healing ourselves. We’re replacing it with one that; yes, does have healing properties. But the name of the game is we have too many omega-6 in our diet. And that is causing a lot of inflammation and disease is caused by inflammation.

The optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is 2 to 1. I’ve heard 3 to 1. We will still have omega-6 to omega-3. It’s just by nature it’s how it’s going to happen. Omega-6 usually come from seed oils, for example, and omega-3 acids will come from fish, animal sources. It can be found in avocado, olive oil, things like that. But in the Standard American Diet, because vegetable oil, canola oil, vegetable oil that’s’ been mixed with olive oil. Because these kinds of fats are so readily available and inexpensive. And we have been told that they are heart healthy.

Oh my gosh; I saw an advertisement for corn oil. I’ve been seeing it all over the place that it’s heart healthy and it’s the best one out there for you. It makes me want to throw something at the TV. Because I just want people to buy that. That’s marketing. That’s not actually what’s going on. If you really want a heart healthy oil, then go back to what your grandmother would find on her table. She probably did not have refined corn oil on her table.

Because the current Standard American Diet, that omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is somewhere around 20 or 50 to 1, depending on the person. So this is a huge opportunity to really heal ourselves, just by making a swap.

Again, where do we get these healing healthy fats? We’re going to go to fatty fishes. Think albacore tuna, wild salmon, herring, mussels, anchovies, sardines. Those, of course, can be found in cans. Sustainable, wild canned options. They’re really inexpensive, and it’s a really great way to get it in.

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Cassy Joy: Organic grass-fed fatty meats. So if you’re going to have a fatty steak, think of a ribeye or something that has a lot of marbling; that’s the time to spring for grass-fed. Because the fat is really going to hold onto a lot of those inflammatory compounds that could come through based on what the cow is eating.

So the fattier cuts of meat from a conventionally raised cow that was fed corn, grain, and soy is going to have a higher rate; higher concentration of omega-6 fatty acids versus a truly grass-fed cow that got to just eat green, green grass and roam around and have all the nutrients and bugs and whatnot that actually made it down. That’s going to have a higher concentration of healthy omega-3 fatty acid. It’s going to have a better profile.

Grass-fed animal fats. Again, we talked about budgeting. Prioritizing your budget around proteins. I think it was last week, or a few weeks ago. Adding into that conversation; even if you can’t or are not ready to justify the spending on pastured, grass-fed animals, or wild, or whatever it is, for the proteins; spend it on the fat. Because you really want to invest. This is really high caloric, in a good way, an opportunity for really getting a lot of wonderful healing micronutrients in your diet. Splurge on the fats. If you’re going to splurge anywhere on your grocery bill, splurge on the healthy fats.

I’m talking about lard, for example. Duck fat. Did you know that if you buy a pastured, wild duck, for example. Again, this is not an advertisement for them, but US Wellness Meats sells frozen ducks, and I’ve gotten them. I get them a couple of times a year. Because what I can do is I will roast my duck, and we have a roasted duck recipe available for you on Fed and Fit. But I will roast my duck, and from that duck I will get anywhere between 4 and 6 cups of duck fat. And that becomes a jar of fat that I get to use for several weeks, if not months. So think about something like that.

Of course, you can buy it. But making it, you get to have a lovely duck meal, and you get to have the fat leftover afterwards. So healthy animal fats. Grass-fed dairy is another way you can get another really good healthy fat profile. Fresh avocados. And then oil. These are what people think of when we think fats, right? Fats in the kitchen.

We’re thinking about those jars of yellowish amber-toned liquid. So what do we use instead of vegetable oil, canola oil, and oils that have been blended with olive oil to give us; again this is really just marketing. People trying to sell you cheaper olive oil that they’ve just cut with something else.

We want to use coconut oil would be a really good, healthy safe one. True olive oil. Kasandrinos is my favorite place to get really healthy, reliable olive oil. Avocado oil. There’s not a whole lot of research out there on avocado oil, because it’s pretty new to market. But that is one option from what I’ve learned about it so far. And then really try to avoid those seed oils. Those hydrogenated fatty oils. Vegetable oils, etc.

And then of course you can go towards true nuts and seeds, but again those are going to have more omega-6 than omega-3, which is fine if you’re actually chewing on the actual nut and seed. But really try to prioritize fattier fish; fattier, healthy animals, and then those animal fats.

Ok, our fourth category that we’re going to talk about of healing food are going to be power greens. You might think that I’m going to talk about kale, but I’m not. Because although the cruciferous vegetables; those big, leafy greens, are really wonderful and really good for you, I really want to zero in on some of these bonus healing foods that we can incorporate.

So, the first one would be a sprout and/or a microgreen. Microgreens are actually becoming more and more available. I see them in stores all over the place. What is it? It’s like, a very, very young green. A microgreen. I think I recently saw micro cilantro in the store. And it’s essentially just really baby cilantro. And these are just; it’s a little condensed form, micronutrient wise. It’s a more condensed package of these really wonderful, healing properties. And it offers just a really unique opportunity to get certain micronutrients on your plate that can have really wonderful heart, brain, and other detox benefits.

So, think alfalfa. Other little microgreens. Grab those. Grab one of those maybe once a week. Try a different one, whether it’s a box of sprouts or a box of microgreens. And then sprinkle them on your salad at the end of the day. Sprinkle them in your sandwich. Sprinkle them as a garnish for a casserole that you’re putting on the plate.

Another power green would be sea greens. Kelp, seaweed, dulse, for example. These have really wonderful detox properties. They’re iodine rich, mineral rich. These, especially iodine. It’s a nutrient that we are not getting elsewhere in our diet, and it’s really important that we have it. Because a lot of people are not using iodized salt, for example, anymore. So sea greens is a really great way to grab that.

You can use SeaSnax. There are these little crunchy, yummy little snacks. My favorite is a lime version. Those are really great just to get in a little bit of that. I also have a dulse soup recipe on the blog. I think it’s a slow cooker recipe, and that’s a really great way to get it in as well.

Alrighty. Probiotic rich foods is the next category we’re going to talk about. Of course, I’m sure y’all thought this one was coming. Again, gut health is really linked to overall health. It’s between the health of our gut and overall body inflammation. Which really determines how healthy we are. How prone we are to disease. So on and so forth.

So what are some probiotic rich foods? We’ve got kefir, which is kind of like a yogurt drink. It’s over in the dairy aisle by the yogurts. I’m sure you can find some there. See what’s available. I know that Whole Foods, for example, has some really great grass-fed kefir options, so you can try that. Always try to grab one that doesn’t have a lot of sugar in it.

Yogurt, or course, is a really great option. There are some wonderful yogurts available these days. Again, go for the ones with the least number of ingredients on the label. You want to avoid those that have a whole bunch of sugar. Avoid those that have a whole bunch of food dyes.

There is kraut; sauerkraut, for example. Yes, you can make your own. Of almost all of these. All of these you could make your own. I prefer to buy it. Kraut, if you really want it to be alive kraut, then you buy it in the refrigerator section. So if you want to get the probiotic benefits of sauerkraut, then you need to make sure you’re buying it at the refrigerator section. The kind that you find in the jars on the aisle, that is dead kraut, essentially. It’s been cooked to a certain temperature for the canning process. And preserved. So that you’re not really getting the probiotics that you would if something were alive that you could buy in the refrigerator aisle.

I interviewed the founder of Farmhouse Kraut recently; several episodes back on the Fed and Fit podcast, so you should look that up if you’re interested in learning more about the probiotic benefits of fresh sauerkraut.

And then lastly, kombucha is another example of a probiotic rich food. Kombucha is, if you’re unfamiliar, it’s a fermented tea essentially, and it is made with usually white tea, maybe sometimes black tea, green tea. A little sugar, a little fruit. And they put the sugar in there, so that these cultures have something to eat. Their byproduct is going to be this really fun, bubbly, effervescent profile that you get when you open the bottle. There are all kinds of flavors of kombucha these days. And it’s also very easy to find.

How do you incorporate probiotic-rich foods in your diet? I think try a little bit of everything. There are so many different; our gut. The way that we really break down food in our body, and the way that we actually have nutrients that are available for our body to use, it’s because of the little guys living in our intestines. Those are the ones that actually digest. If you really want to get down to it. Those little guys really are the first line of defense. They break down the food. They protect us. And they pull out these nutrients that then we can use.

And we want to keep replenishing that profile of little; I don’t want to call them bugs because I don’t want to freak you out. But all the little guys in our intestines. And the way that we can keep that profile very diverse is by trying probiotic rich foods across the spectrum. So maybe one week grab a kombucha from the store. Maybe the next week grab a bag of Farmhouse Kraut from the refrigerator section. Maybe the next week, grab a kefir and just try that. So just try a little bit of everything.

And then lastly, we’re going to talk about grass-fed finished, organic, organic meats. Oh yes, we’re talking about offal. Or is it “awful”. I never know. So this is the heart, the kidneys, the giblets, the liver. These are the organ meats; and I really, really recommend only having organ meats if you’re pulling them from grass-fed pastured animals. I really encourage; because a lot of these organs filter out the toxins of the animals. We really don’t want to be eating a liver from a cow that was fed a very conventional diet of wheat, grains, soy, and corn. We don’t want to necessarily; they also maybe had antibiotics and hormones. Some of those residual compounds can be found in these organ meats.

So I really recommend, when you do eat these, spend the extra money and buy them from a reliable source. I, again, get mine from US Wellness Meats. It’s where I get all my weird things. I get my duck from US Wellness Meats, I get my bones for bone broth, and I get my organ meats from them.

So that’s one to definitely splurge on a little bit. Even though it’s an organ meat, so it’s really not that expensive. And how do you incorporate them? Every once in a while, just drop a chicken liver; pastured chicken liver, into your meatloaf. It mashes up really easily. You’re never going to know it’s in there. Maybe in your meatballs. Maybe in your burgers. I’m not very fluent in eating a lot of the other organ meats, because liver is really the biggest hitting, nutrient dense one you can have. Lots of vitamin A. Lots of really, really wonderful things in there.

And if you’re not up to eating it; if you just don’t think you can hack it, you can also try desiccated liver pills. Vital Proteins, for example, makes liver pills. And they work. That’s just one way to get them down. So these are all wonderful ways to really, again, boost the healing profile of the foods that are showing up on your plate. Boost the nutrient profile of a cup of coffee by pouring some collagen in there. Swap out the inflammatory really damaging fats for healthier omega-3 rich ones. Maybe have a cup of bone broth every once in a while. Maybe grab a bottle of kombucha. Sprinkle those microgreens on your salad. These are all ways that you can really help amp up the healing power of what you’re putting on your plate, and in your cups. And ultimately, it’s helping you feel better.

So I really recommend playing around with this stuff. Don’t feel overwhelmed by it, but have fun. Experiment. See what you like. And then go back for more. It doesn’t have to be this rigorous set. It’s not all or nothing. There’s no bandwagon when it comes to just upping the nutrient density profile of your foods. It’s a game we can play forever.

Alrighty, that wraps it up for today. Thanks for tuning in. As always, you can find a full transcript over at www.FedandFit.com. We’ll be back again next week.

Meet the Author
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Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
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  1. Montana says

    Montana —  03/01/2019 At 11:40

    Unfortunately, I do not like most probiotic foods 🙁 Have you done any research, discussed with experts, or suggested probiotic supplements at all before? Also – thoughts on prebiotics (and supplements if we happen to not like food prebiotics)? Thanks!