Going Bananas

There is no good health without good mental health.

Anxiety, depression and stress are pretty common conditions especially in today’s fast paced world.

It’s hard to slow down and appreciate the little things like birds chirping, pretty flowers and the beautiful buzzing of bees when you’re worried about your job, money, illness and/or body issues.

It’s really hard.

Fortunately for us sad sacks just trying to cope there are minor adjustments that can be made to help the sun shine a little brighter.

Bananas contain tryptophan.

What’s tryptophan?

Tryptophan is a natural amino acid that is a component of most proteins.

But why is tryptophan important?

Tryptophan Your body needs tryptophan to produce serotonin, that oh-so-wonderful happy hormone.

Current studies indicate that low levels of tryptophan may be the cause of common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

An easy way to incorporate tryptophan into the duet is to eat bananas.

Bananas are super.

It’s as simple as that.

You can eat them whole.

You can cut them up into your cereal.

You can make smoothies or nice cream.

Or you can make vegan pancakes which is what I do.

Just try adding bananas to your diet or supplementing with tryptophan itself.

While you’re at it, add some dark leafy greens, some whole grains and a few glasses of water to balance things out.

Here’s a recipe for chocolate banana nice cream because . . . why not?

 

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Update

I recently finished my Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition.

This blog was a part of my Capstone project.

Once the project was done and I finished the program I decided to take a break.

I have no idea what to do now.

I feel the same way that I felt when I finished my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.

I’m overcome with the “what now” feeling.

Until I figure things out I’m going to continue with this blog because why not?

Book Recommendations

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

In defense of Food focuses on the history of food, how we see it, how we eat it and how our collective view of it has changed over the years. Pollan explores everything in this book and it is an enjoyable read.

The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell

In this book the authors discuss the relationship between nutrition and diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It’s a great read that is both accessible and informative. There is also an accompanying cookbook to ease the transition into eating with disease prevention in mind. IT IS NOT A DIET BOOK. This book offers a grounded look at the nature of disease and how it can be treated and prevented with good nutrition.

Gut by Giulia Enders and Jill Enders

I love this book. In short this books gives the reader a closer look into the digestive system. This book explains the nuts and bolts of the digestion process in a way that is easy to grasp. From seeing and smelling food to extracting nutrients and finally excreting waste, this book leaves nothing to the imagination. I mean that in a good way. Wondering about probiotics? Read this book. Curious about gas? Read this book. Have you ever thought about the connection between your gut and your mental health? Read this book. Seriously, you won’t regret it.

Eating Between the Lines by Kimberly Lord Stewart

This book is a good primer for deciphering nutrition labels and health claims that are found on the foods we buy in the grocery store. Reading this book will help the reader to understand the difference between organic and natural. How does a food get the sought after organic label in the first place? What are health claims? What does free range mean? It’s all in this book.

The American Way of Eating by Tracie McMillan

In this book, Tracie McMillan explores the American food industry by working in three major facets of the industry. McMillan works in the fields of California, harvesting fruits and vegetables. She works in a Detroit Wal Mart with the produce. Lastly she finds employment at a New York City Applebees. In her journey through the food industry, McMillan chronicles exactly what happens to the food before it gets to your plate. She also explores issues of food scarcity, food deserts, and the high cost of eating healthy.

Fart Free Vegan by Jonathan Symons

This book is about food combining. If you’ve ever wondered why you’re gassy and uncomfortable after eating, then you should probably read this book. There’s a lot of information out there on food combining but I found this book to be concise and easy to read.

Raw, Vegan, Not Gross by Laura Miller

I love her youtube channel. I bought this book because she’s relatable and down to earth. Plus, all of the recipes I’ve tried from her youtube channel were delicious. Raw, Vegan, Not Gross combines the author’s own journey through food and wellness with fantastic recipes.

Thug Kitchen by Thug Kitchen

I Know this book is controversial but you cannot deny these recipes.

Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero

If the book is on this list then I love it, so I’ll stop saying it. Truly I adore this book. I love Latin American food, but I was always to intimidated to try to cook it myself. This book makes it easy and delicious. I’m moving through each recipe myself and have found them to be simple once you get the hang of it. I’ve made the refried beans and tostones several times along with homemade corn tortillas and salsa verde. I’m obsessed.

The Urban Vegan by Dynise Balcavage

CafĂ© Culture, Lunch Cart, and Soup Kitchen are the names of a few of my favorite chapters of this cookbook. This book teaches you to cook some of your favorite foods that you would find in a hip and thriving city. Yes, I said HIP as in cool because I like that word and can’t think of a better one.

 

Vitamin C and Cervical Cancer

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Studies regarding the efficacy of vitamin C in the treatment of cervical cancer are similar to that of beta-carotene. Both nutrients are important as preemptive protectors against cervical cancers but should not be utilized to treat cancer, rather supplementation should be used as a preventative measure only.

Research indicates that adequate plasma vitamin C reduces the risk of developing cervical cancer by 60%. According to Pizzorno & Murray (2012), inadequate vitamin C intake is an independent risk factor the development of cervical cancer. Vitamin C, like beta-carotene has antioxidant properties, so it strengthens epithelial tissue which protects it against cervical cancer. Vitamin C also inhibits carcinoma formation and enhances immune function which is essential for preventing infection and chronic disease (Pizzorno & Murray, 2012). By ensuring adequate consumption of foods rich in vitamin C, the risk of developing cervical cancer can be significantly decreased.

 

For further reading . . .

Pizzorno, J. E., & Murray, M. T. (2012). Textbook of natural medicine. Paradise Valley: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.

Vitamin A and Cervical Cancer

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Low levels of dietary vitamin A has been linked to the risk of invasive cervical cancer.

Current research indicates that retinols are not identifiable as protective against cervical cancer.

However, a diet rich in beta-carotene are highly protective against invasive cervical cancer due to its anti-oxidative properties (La Vecchia, et al., 1984).

Carotenoids and retinols improve the functionality of epithelial tissues. Cervical cancer attacks the integrity of the epithelial tissues in the cervix in its early stages. Making sure that the diet is rich in beta-carotene is a good way to protect the epithelial cells of the cervix.

According to Pizzorno & Murray (2012), 6% of patients with untreated cervical cancer have deficient serum levels of vitamin A, however 38% of patients diagnosed with cervical cancer have stage-related abnormal levels of beta-carotene. Unfortunately, these findings seem to only be useful for preemptive purposes. Intervention with carotenoids have not proven to be successful.

It seems that beta-carotene levels must be maintained as a preventative measure in order to lower the risk of developing cervical cancer. Beta-carotene supplementation alone is not a viable treatment protocol for cervical cancer. Supplementation with beta-carotene is advantageous for the prevention of cervical cancer but cannot be utilized in lieu of allopathic protocols.

For further reading . . .

La Vecchia, C., Franceschi, S., Descarli, A., Gentile, A., Fasoli, M., Pampallona, S., & Tognoni, G. (1984). Dietary vitamin A and the risk of invasive cervical cancer. International Journal of Cancer, 319-322.

Pizzorno, J. E., & Murray, M. T. (2012). Textbook of natural medicine. Paradise Valley: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer Facts . . .

  • Cervical cancer is the most preventable type of cancer especially if it is diagnosed in its early stages (Smon, 2012).
  • Pre-invasive cervical cancer does not produce any symptoms but is often detected during routine Papanicolaou test otherwise known as the pap test. The pap test screens for abnormal changes in cervical cells which may indicate the development of cervical cancer. Women are encouraged to schedule annual pap test after they begin engaging in vaginal intercourse or after they reach age twenty-one.
  • Cervical cancer most often begins to manifest itself as pre-cancerous abnormalities that are present in the thin layer of cells called the epithelium. Cervical cancer progresses slowly and can take up to twenty years to develop (Smon, 2012).
  • Pre-invasive cancer does not produce any symptoms which is why it is important to undergo annual pap tests to screen for abnormal epithelial cells. Once symptoms begin to manifest it is usually an indication that cervical cancer has surpassed its early stages.
  • Symptoms of early invasive cervical cancer include vaginal bleeding, constant discharge, pain during intercourse and bleeding during and after intercourse (Copstead & Banasik, 2012).
  • Once cervical cancer becomes invasive, it spreads directly through extension to the vaginal wall. Metastasis of invasive carcinoma of the cervix to the pelvic lymph node is most common (Copstead & Banasik, 2012).
  • Allopathic treatment of cervical cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radical surgery including removal of all pelvic organs. Treatment depends greatly upon the stage of diagnosis. According to research there are no alternative modalities that will completely eradicate cervical cancer however there are preemptive strategies that can be used to lessen the chances of developing cervical cancer.

For further reading . . .

Copstead, L.-E. C., & Banasik, J. L. (2012). Pathophysiology. St. Louis: Elselvier.

Smon, H. (2012, December 20). Cervical Cancer. Retrieved from University of Maryland Medical Center: umm.edu/health/medical/reports/articles/cervical-cancer

 

 

 

Green Tea Extract

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Another treatment protocol for uterine fibroids is the use of green tea extract.

Epigallocatechin gallate has been identified as the major catechin in green tea which is responsible for many of its benefits such as its use as an anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and antioxidant effects (Rosndy, Rajaratnam, & Al-Hendy, 2013).

Studies show that women who consumed 800mg of green tea extract daily for a period of four months experienced a reduction in uterine fibroid volume. In addition to the reduction in uterine fibroid volume, women who consumed 800mg of green tea extract also reported having fewer symptoms. These results indicate that green tea is a viable protocol for the treatment of uterine fibroids.

For further reading . . .

Rosndy, E., Rajaratnam, V., & Al-Hendy, A. (2013). Treatment of symptomaticuterine fibroids with green tea extract: a pilot randomized controlled clinical study. International Journal of Women’s Health, 477-486.