Nutrition Archives -

How Your Pup Can Enjoy Ice Cream in Williamson County

A-little-Ice-Cream-for-the-Puppy.

A Sweet Treat for Your Pup:

Your Pup Can Enjoy Ice Cream in Williamson County

We’ve been having a blast coming up with different home-made ice creams this month! 

And for National Ice Cream Day, we have a special treat for that four-legged furry family member. Home-made dog-friendly ice cream. The first ingredient is yogurt. Choose one without artificial preservatives and added sugars. Yogurt is high in calcium and protein. And if you get one with active bacteria, it can act as a probiotic which is good for your dog’s digestive system. The second ingredient is bananas. High in potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Recommended as an alternative to fatty, salty treats. And lastly, peanut butter. Make sure to use one that is Xylitol-free. This is a sugar-replacement sweetener that is in hundreds of products. It’s labeled as an “all-natural” sugar substitute but can poison your dog. Use one that its only ingredient is peanuts.

1 Banana cut into small pieces

½ Quart of plain yogurt

½ Cup of peanut butter

Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Place in small individual cups and put in the freezer. Makes about four 4 oz servings. With any treat, give to your pooch in moderation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refresh and Be Hydrated with Flavored Water

Happy Infused Water Hydration WilcoWellness

What is the best option when we are thirsty and need to hydrate?

 

Texas summers are upon us and we all need to think about staying hydrated. Water is life. Not all water tastes the same and for a few folks, they just do not like the taste of water. A wonderful option is a fruit-infused flavored water. Very simple to make. Full of nutrients and your body will love you for giving nature and her natural benefits a try.

Let’s take a quick look at why staying hydrated is so important.  Approximately 60% of the human body is comprised of water. Our bones, skin, brain, and internal organs all need water to function. When we are properly hydrated the benefits are amazing:

  • Bones and joints are better cushioned improving mobility and decreasing pain
  • Digestion improves by increasing nutrient absorption, aiding in weight loss, and boosting metabolism and energy.
  • Our skin cells and our appearance rely on hydration to be plump and vibrant.
  • If you want to be on top of your cognitive game, our brains need water to perform. Dehydration of the brain leads to poor memory, lack of focus, confusion, and fatigue.

 

When it comes to beverages, we have many to choose from today

There are so many options, why should we choose something simple like a glass of water? The facts and information are on the labels. If a beverage is provided by mother nature it most likely has benefit to the human body. Milk, juice, coffee, and tea all contain a certain amount of water and aid in hydration. What about those sweet soft drinks and sports drinks? How healthy are they really, and is there a better way to enjoy a naturally sweet and refreshing beverage while improving our energy levels and our elevating our mood!

Fruit and Herb-infused Water – vs – Diet Soft Drinks

 

Diet Soft Drinks and their Ingredients

Processed drinks contain substances that may taste good, but many of the ingredients that are in diet soft drinks have been found to damage the body.  Substances like aspartame are found to alter our behavior as it affects the nervous system; specifically, it can weaken spatial orientation and increase irritability and depression. Other ingredients may lead to cancer risks and chronic inflammation.

Take a quick look at what you are drinking in a diet soda

Carbonated water – A refreshing beverage that is a good ALTERNATIVE to a sugary soft drink

Caramel color – linked to exposure to a chemical (4-MEI), which increases our risk of cancer.  A 2015 study published in PLoS One found that the consumption of products, like diet soft drinks, led to 4-MEI exposure that exceeded the acceptable levels set by U.S. federal regulatory agencies.

Aspartame – An artificial sweetener that is about 180 times sweeter than table sugar.  This substance has been linked to increased blood sugar levels, oxidative stress, and potential for the development of obesity and metabolic syndrome when exposed long-term.

Sucralose – Often the alternative to Aspartame,  is an artificial sweetener that is about 600 times sweeter than table sugar (sucrose) and is used in thousands of products today.  A review published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health found sucralose was able to elevate glucose and insulin levels in women who were at risk for weight gain and diabetes.

Potassium benzoate – Used as a preservative and serves as a substitute for sodium benzoate. Noted by Livestrong.com, this preservative could lead to low-grade inflammation chronic in people with obesity.

 

Fruit & Herb-Infused Water

Fruit Infused Water WilcoWellness

First, let’s define infusion.  An infusion occurs when we soak something, in this case – the fruit and herbs – into a liquid (the water) to extract the flavor and healing properties of the substance that we are soaking.  So, when we soak fruit and herbs in water, some of the nutrients contained in the fruit and herbs pass into the water.  Then, we consume the infused water and get more micronutrients and healthy substances from drinking!

Now let’s take a look at a couple of examples of fruit & herb-infused water, and the benefits of consuming them

Orange- Infused Water can come together quickly overnight, just slice one orange, squeeze each slice into a large pitcher and drop the slices in, fill with clean water and place the pitcher into the refrigerator.

  • An Orange will provide nutrients like vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and improves immune function.
  • As a citrus fruit, the orange provides many bioflavonoids, like hesperidin and hesperetin, shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative damage to our cells.
  • In addition to these benefits, oranges provide us with micronutrients such as folate (B9), thiamine (B1), vitamin A, vitamin B5, and B6, and minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, among others.
  • So, consuming orange-infused water can provide nutrients that will act as antioxidants, enhance our immune system, improve heart and skin health, and improve brain function.

Watermelon – Basil- Infused Water

watermelon-and-mint infused water wilcowellness

Ready in an hour and provides great rehydration of your muscles after a sweaty workout or a morning of yard work. Fill a water bottle or a pitcher 1/2 way with ice, add crushed basil and a few small chunks of watermelon, top with ice, and pour in cool water to the top of the container. Let this sit a spell while you get busy with your morning routine. When you are good and thirsty, give your water bottle a shake or stir up the pitcher and enjoy.  This refreshing drink will be the perfect beverage and might even become a summer favorite go-to!

  • Watermelon provides micronutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and B vitamins like B1, B5, and B6.
  • The antioxidant nutrients, like vitamin C, found in watermelon, can help reduce inflammation and protect our cells from oxidative damage.
  • Minerals, like potassium and magnesium, can help regulate blood pressure and are associated with improved heart and kidney health.
  • The phytonutrients in watermelon, like lycopene, can lower oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.  Further, lycopene has been found to protect against cancer and heart disease is effective against macular degradation and reduces diabetes as it improves fat and sugar metabolism.
  • Basil is an herb of the mint family that contains many micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and phytochemicals like eugenol, rosmarinic acid, apigenin, luteolin, and linalool.
  • Basil is effective as an antibacterial herb and has been found to possess the ability to inhibit the growth of E. coli strains.  Basil’s phytochemicals have been found to induce the death (apoptosis) of harmful cells and stop cancerous tumors from spreading.  Further, types of basil like holy basil (Tulsi), have been found to increase antioxidant activity, which helps the body adapt to stressors.

 

IN SUMMARY

Choosing to drink for our health can be quick, easy, and taste great, like when we choose to create an infused water that will hydrate the body and supply nutrients and phytochemicals that our bodies need to be healthy.  And, in creating our fruit & herb-infused water, we control what goes in and leave out the added fake sugar that most commercial brands include.

Choosing to drink diet soft drinks means that we will be consuming substances that can be harmful to the body, like artificial colors, sweeteners, and preservatives.

If you’ve never tried to create a fruit & herb-infused water, pick your favorite flavor and give it a try

you may find a new favorite hydration drink that does more than just fill you up!

A TOAST to your HEALTH

Strawberries 101: A Healthy Snack in Williamson County

Strawberries 101 Healthy snack WilcoWellness

Sweet treats which we enjoy on special occasions and celebrations!

When we think of strawberries, we generally associate them with desserts. The truth is that these small, sweet, and delicious berries are nutritional powerhouses and do the human body a world of good. The strawberries that we know and love today are hybrids of wild strawberries found in Chile and North America. The plump, juicy, sweet, and red strawberries we find on grocery store shelves, known as Fragaria Ananassa, originated in Europe way back in the 18th century.

Good news, these juicy red powerhouses make a great snack. Despite being very sweet, strawberries have a low glycaemic index and are much lower in naturally occurring fructose sugars than many other fruits out there.

 

What is it about strawberries that makes them so nutritious and beneficial from a health perspective?

Let’s find out, shall we?

Before we take a look at the main health benefits of strawberries, we’re going to look at some of the critical nutritional info of these juicy sweet treats.

 

Strawberries are rich in vitamin C

Vitamin C is a vitamin that plays a vital role in the strengthening of the immune system. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect the cells, boost immunity, and improve skin health.

 

Great source of Folate

Folate, or vitamin B9, is another vitamin found in strawberries. Folate plays a crucial role in cellular health and function and helps boost metabolism and ensure it works as it should.

 

Heaps of Potassium

Potassium is found in strawberries in large doses, and it too plays numerous roles in our health and wellbeing. In particular, potassium helps to regulate our blood pressure which in turn makes it heart-healthy

 

Key health benefits of strawberries

 

Low in sugars

People often assume that strawberries are going to be sugary because they’re so sweet and fragrant. In truth, strawberries are low in fructose sugars because of their high water content, making them a great hydration source.

They have a GI score of below 40, which is considered relatively low compared with other fruits. The lower the glycaemic index (GI), the better for the body, in most cases. It is unhealthy to consume so much sugar.

 

Boost the immune system

Strawberries contain vitamins, including vitamin C like we previously looked at, and they are among the most beneficial fruits when it comes to immunity.

Your immune system is your body’s natural defense mechanism against illness and disease, the stronger your immune system is, the healthier you will likely be.

 

Reduce inflammation

Strawberries contain active compounds which provide anti-inflammatory benefits to those who consume them.

The anti-inflammatories found in strawberries not only help to ease headaches but can also help to alleviate joint pain and discomfort such as arthritis.

 

Protect cellular system

Finally, strawberries are a powerhouse for nutrition because they have been found to protect the body’s cellular system.

Strawberries are rich in antioxidants that destroy dangerous free radicals that would ordinarily attack our cells and damage them via oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can lead to cellular degradation, death, and even mutations which could potentially cause diseases such as cancer.

The antioxidants in strawberries protect our cells and prevent free radicals from attacking them and damaging them.

Enjoy strawberries as a sweet summer treat or right off the vine. You can find these delicious powerhouses in the summertime at one of our fabulous local farmer’s markets. Be sure to snap a picture and tag us on Facebook, so we know you’ve read our article and are reaping the benefits of these summertime berries found in our Organic Produce section of this Directory.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to read this article. If you found it helpful, please share it online.

Fight Stress, Anxiety, and PTSD with these Must-Have Herbs and Spices

Herbs-and-PTSD Wilcowellness

 

You may add herbs and spices to everyday dishes, but their power has so much unspoken healing potential

  Did you know that herbs and spices date back thousands of years in history as-as a form of medicine? Herbs and spices can act as an aid or a natural remedy and brain-boosters for those who suffer from stress, anxiety, and a disorder known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). First, let’s take a look at what exactly this disorder entails…  

What is PTSD?

According to Atlanta Black Star, “Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a psychiatric condition that often arises after an individual witness or is involved in a life-threatening event such as a disaster, rape, or violent assault.” This type of disorder does not target a particular age group. Children and adults can relive the trauma through flashbacks, nightmares, or behavior disorders like depression, crying, or insomnia. People who have PTSD may feel detached from their surroundings or estranged from pets, friends, or family members. In many severe cases, people suffer profoundly in their everyday life. Living with PTSD, sometimes known as battle fatigue, survivor’s guilt, or traumatic neurosis, is not a new thing. It’s been around for quite some time, often defined by these symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Easily startled
  • Hypervigilant
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Mood changes
  • Fearfulness
  • Numbness
  • Inability to experience joy or pleasure
  • Loss of memory
  • Avoiding area associated with trama

 

Homeopathic Remedies for PTSD

Homeopathic or natural remedies can help ease these symptoms and offer support to those that suffer through the healing process and make their way to recovery. In many cases, herbs and spices are known for their ability to relieve anxiety, stress, and other overwhelming feelings, which may be found under the scope of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Adding herbs to your diet can be simple, by enjoying their flavor and relaxing effects in tea form or tossed in with food, like a salad.

Plan an afternoon and spend some time in an apothecary or herbal store. Speaking with the herbal specialists about your concerns and what you are looking for in an herb. It is important to know how to utilize an herb properly and when is the best time of the day to add the herb to your daily diet. Be sure to discuss any medications you’re currently taking to avoid possible side effects when used in conjunction with your herbal remedy. We recommend going online and checking out Austin’s very own Herb Bar. A true apothecary with trained professionals. It is worth the trip into town! In Round Rock, you may contact the Wellness store Healthy Indeed with any of your questions. Wanting more information on herbs in Texas, we found this great store and website hosted by Cindy.  Located not far from Shiner Texas on your way to Houston.   http://www.theherbcottage.com/welcome/.

 

A list of plants and their properties is listed below used throughout history to address neurological symptoms:

Stramonium (jimsonweed) – helps with night terrors and nightmares, especially if a child (or sometimes an adult) is afraid of the dark. Helpful for people who experience anguish, fear, violence, and sleeplessness within their anxiety disorder.

Gelsemium – quells anticipatory fears something drastic or bad will happen. The impending dread of the future often makes an individual feel weak, with heavy eyelids, occipital headaches, and the possibility of diarrhea.

Staphysagria- helps adults and children who have been distressed due to violence. People who find comfort in Staphysagria are often those who previously are left feeling powerless and unable to defend themselves. You may find these people described as sweet but unable to deal with grief or anger as they suppress it until it erupts in outbursts of rage.

Chamomilla – brings a sense of ease and calmness. People who experience trauma and later become hypersensitive or hypervigilant find comfort in chamomilla teas. They may be oversensitive to noise and music and complain of stomach aches. Being rocked or “tickled” on the back often brings relief.  

In addition to these herbal remedies for PTSD, we encourage you to enjoy these beautiful herbs and spices that support brain function and health:

  • Ashwagandha: Think: Mental clarity. It boosts the brain’s memory and helps keep the immune system. Considered a nervine, it protects the brain against cell deterioration.
  • Common Black Pepper: Use as an excellent for improving brain function and combats headaches. Piperine, the compound responsible for peppers’ taste, is an anti-inflammatory and also aids in the absorption of other nutrients, including curcumin found in turmeric.
  • Cinnamon: Commonly found to be a natural antiviral, antimicrobial immune-boosting spice. Sprinkle a bit in your coffee or cereal to help fight off bacterial infections and make you a bit more alert. It is also known to slow the absorption of sugar and is considered one of the best foods for type 2 diabetics.
  • Cloves: Use as an excellent mental stimulant and aide in reducing oxidative stress when used in coffees or cookies (or both!)
  • Ginkgo biloba: Commonly used for cognitive function by promoting blood flow and served as a tea.
  • Ginseng: Use as an anti-inflammatory and reduced level of beta-amyloid, which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Gotu kola: Improves blood circulation and memory, balancing all aspects of brain function.
  • Holy Basil: Helps circulation, sprinkly in pastas generously.
  • Lemon balm: Dry and put in a tea to improve cognitive function, reduce anxiety and insomnia.
  • Oregano: Fight free radicals by using on a cauliflower pizza.
  • Sage: Enhance memory by sprinkling sage on a turkey or chicken.
  • Saffron: Mix chicken, saffron, and garlic for a new take on depression (and an improvement during dinner!)
  • Tagara: Commonly known as Indian Valerian, mix with meat and veggies to aid emotional and nervous conditions.
  • Thyme: Don’t run out of “thyme.” Roast some potatoes and sprinkle this herb to increase omega-3 acids, which helps protect the brain from common aging disorders like dementia.
  • Tulsi: Order a Tulsi Herbal Chai (coffee) to increase the brain’s oxygen levels and improve circulation.
  • Turmeric: Cook up Tadka Dhal, a famous Indian recipe to reduce inflammation and a savory meal.

 

Natural herbs and spices are known for aiding in anxiety and stress relief. In the best case, these natural remedies help ease restlessness, nervousness, and stress.

If you’re experiencing symptoms, it is essential to follow your doctor’s recommendations and remain educated and focused on the best medical plan for you. If you do not have a current physician, please visit our directory for a complete listing! We can connect you with wonderful Functional Integrative Health Practitioners in Williamson County, TX.  

References: Atlas Black Star: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder  

Eating Seasonally and Why It’s Important.

Isle Acre Farm Leander Tx

We believe that knowledge should be shared, especially with those who can gain from it without learning it the hard way!

That’s why we’d love to share Isle Acre Farms Post,

“The One Thing They Don’t Tell You About Eating Seasonally and Why It’s Important.”

 

As respected friends, bloggers, farmers, and lovers of the planet, we cannot thank Becky and Pete enough for sharing their knowledge

 

Be sure to stop by their farm for fresh produce (or their site for more information!)
They raise real food, no chemicals right here in central Texas. They’ll teach you how to feed your family the best you can, plus a “zillion recipes that make dinner a breeze!”
Click on the photo below to head over to Isle Arce Farms.com and read the full scoop on Eating Seasonally

Isle Acre Farm eating seasonably “The One Thing They Don’t Tell You About Eating Seasonally and Why It’s Important.”

Parenting a Picky Eater: Dietary Considerations for Autism

ASD Picky Eaters WilcoWellness

Parenting children with ASD can be challenging on many levels, and healthy eating is no exception

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological condition that usually appears before a child turns three years old. It affects the brain, particularly in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Children with ASD often prefer to play, demonstrate very repetitive behaviors, and restricted (sometimes unusual) interests. These types of behaviors can affect eating habits and food choices. As a result, parents with children diagnosed with ASD face challenges at mealtime. Issues, such as picky eaters. Some might dislike a few foods, and some might hate all foods placed before them.

These types of behaviors can lead to the following health concerns:

 

  • Strongly Dislike Foods due to Sensitivities: Due to sensitivity with taste, smell, color, or texture, some children with autism may express a solid dislike for certain foods or limit their food selection. They may choose to avoid an entire food group, like fruits or veggies. It’s common for textures, such as soft or slippery foods, to become real crowd displeasures! Additionally, strong-flavored foods like onions or peppers may put a meal to a halt.
  • Doesn’t get enough to eat: Focusing, even sitting still for a few minutes, comes as a challenge for children with autism. Mealtime is no exception!
  • It’s hard to go #2: Whether it’s due to the child’s limited food choice, low physical activity level, or medication, children with ASD tend to express issues with constipation. Adding dietary fiber, such as veggies or bran cereals, may help remedy the situation. Additionally, regular activity and staying hydrated with plenty of liquids will help.
  • Medication interactions: Some stimulating drugs used with treating symptoms of autism can suppress appetite. Lowering the amount of food a child eats may affect growth. Other drugs may increase hunger and affect the absorption of specific vitamins and minerals. Ask your physician about the possible side effects of stimulant drugs.

 

Parenting children with ASD can be challenging on many levels, and healthy eating is no exception. By creating a nutritious, yet balanced autism diet meal plan can help create a routine while assisting emotional management and process information. Consider this! Children with ASD may not be receiving all the nutrients they need because they often avoid certain foods or limit what they’ll eat. If you know a child like this, give these nutrition strategies a-go:

Consider what foods are good for autism

Some of the best foods for children with autism are ones that help with inflammation, like omega 3 fatty acids. Studies suggest low consumption of this nutrient has been linked to autism, dyslexia, depression, ADHD, dyspraxia, and anxiety. Give foods like fatty fish a try.  Salmon and canned tuna in water can be mixed with crunchy veggies and turned into patties on the grill. At breakfast or lunch, give fortified eggs, soy milk, or yogurt a chance. Walnuts, Broccoli, and cauliflower are also a good source and can be eaten raw tossed up in a little walnut or flaxseed oil and their favorite special spice mix.

Consider sustainably raised animal proteins to enrich the child’s meal plan. Local Farm-raised beef or chicken are less likely to contain additives, like hormones and antibiotics. Behavior-wise, this can make a huge impact for children with food sensitivities and health conditions, like autism.

 

Farmer’s Market Prepares a Picky Eater

Food may taste, smell, look or feel undesirable to children with ASD, which poses a big problem for parents. A child’s sensitivity to foods limits their willingness to try new foods, especially if the texture is slippery or soft. Some children may even avoid entire food groups!

Speaking to the child outside the kitchen is one of the easiest ways to tackle these situations. Take a field trip to the Farmers Market and stop by the produce stand. Be sure to prepare the picky eater before heading out the door on your exploration. Once the food is selected, hop on the computer and do a bit of research together and prepare the meal as an activity. After preparing the meal or snack, ask the child to try it! If they don’t like it, don’t sweat it! By creating a low-pressure, positive atmosphere, will help familiarize new foods while creating flexibility in what they’ll eat.

Pro-tip: If you’re picking up food, say strawberries from the Farmer’s Market, consider striking up a conversation with your child and the vendor. The child may find interest in learning about the strawberry (or other food).

 

Mealtime Routines

Between timers beeping loudly and bright lights, the kitchen is a busy, sometimes overstimulating place to be for a child, especially those with sensory issues. All of these stimulates, even the way a dishtowel is hanging, are potential stressors making mealtime hard. Making mealtime predictable by sticking to a routine can help. One of the simplest ways to reduce stress while cooking up a meal is to do so at the same time each day. Also, consider making accommodations, like dimming the lights for bright sensitivity making mealtime more enjoyable for the entire family.

A creative way to involve the child is allowing freedom to choose a favorite seat, utensil, or food they enjoy each time they sit to eat. Make an effort to include a variety of colors on the plate and let the child choose their fruit or vegetable color. Remember to limit snacks before mealtimes. A child going to a table a little hungry will encourage a child to eat what is offered at dinner. Provide small bite-size portions and stick to a routine.

 

Seek Guidance for Special Diets

Change in diet can improve symptoms of autism. In fact, a quick google search of “what foods should be avoided with autism” brings up several recommendations for choosing a diet free of gluten and casein. Gluten is a type of protein, often in barley, rye, and wheat. Casein is a protein found in milk products, like low-fat or whole milk. Often known as GF/CF diet, eliminating these two items may help change the behaviors or symptoms of autism. Some reviews claim improvements in learning, social skills, and behavior.

Reminder! Restrictive diets require close attention and careful planning to ensure your child’s nutritional and health goals are achieved. To avoid any side effects and potential shortfalls, be sure to reach out to a reputable registered dietitian nutritionist before making changes to a child’s meal plan.

 

Working With a Specialist in Williamson County

Picky eaters? We know one; we love one. Many children, with or without autism, can be particular about the foods they eat. By working with a pediatric nutritionist in Williamson County, you’ll be able to identify nutritional risks based on how the child eats. He or she will answer questions about the effectiveness, safety of nutrition therapies and offer advice on supplementation. Call someone today! Get your picky eater back on track to living a healthy life.

 

Williamson County Resources for autism:

 

 

INSPIRATIONAL LINKS:

https://www.wrtsfranchise.com/autism-terms/

https://www.autismspeaks.org/expert-opinion/what-it-about-autism-and-food-0

https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/diet-and-autism

 

 

 

Ultimate Guide to Farm to Table in Williamson County

Farm to Table Guide WilcoWellness

Total body health and wellness begins with the foods we eat

Everyone measures success differently; while some measure success in the things they own, others measure success in travels, laughter, and friendships. But if there’s just one factor that we can all agree on, it is most certainly health. After all, we won’t enjoy anything else in life if our health is compromised.

Total body health and wellness starts with the foods we eat; unfortunately, eating healthy isn’t as simple as picking up produce from the local supermarket. Anytime you choose to purchase fruits or vegetables from the supermarket, particularly those that are not organic, you are at risk of being exposed to harmful pesticides. The concept of Farm-To-Table manifested both to promote overall health and to bring economic stability and self-reliance to communities.

How is Farm-To-Table different from what we are doing now?

The farm-to-table movement promotes the delivery of food straight from the farm to your dinner table. The produce we purchase at many big chain supermarkets ships from farms to distribution centers where it is stored before being shipped across the country to various grocery stores. With cross-country distribution, much time elapses between the harvest and the product’s placement on grocery store shelves.

Food quickly loses its freshness and nutritious value in the journey to reach our dinner tables. The farm-to-table movement’s goal is to eliminate the middleman and re-establish the connection between farmers and the people in their community. Instead of using preservatives and non-GMOs to keep food fresh longer, food is eaten sooner while it is still fresh.

The History of Farm-To-Table

The history of the farm-to-table movement begins with industrialization, as people moved away from the farms and into the city to find jobs. With more people in the cities, the 1950s saw a boom in food processing and storage, particularly with canned food items and frozen dinners.

In the 1970s, people started to demand a return to nutritious, natural eating. The Texas Department of Agriculture was the first state to certify an Organic Label for Produce. It was during the Jim Hightower administration that Susan Kaerka, a representative for the TDA went and spoke with the California Growers Association and reported, “they were fascinated with the idea that the state of Texas was interested in  bringing the power of the state behind a state-certified Organic Label for produce, they were just shocked by that.”  Fast-forward to the 2000s, when schools pushed to use locally-grown foods in cafeterias, and people demanded to see “Non-GMO” labeled food products. By 2010, plant-based restaurants were growing in popularity. Since then, the movement has only become more mainstream.

Texas State Organic Label

 

What are the Core Principles of the Farm-To-Table Movement?

Beyond eliminating the middleman and strengthening the connection between farmers and consumers, the farm-to-table movement is built on several core principles:

#1 – Food Security

By developing local food systems, the entire community is strengthened. Low-income families receive the same access to healthy, organic food that the wealthier are. The principle of food security looks at how the community as a whole can benefit. Because food production, processing, distribution, and consumption all occur within the same community, there are more jobs within the community and more healthy meals for everyone.

#2 – Proximity

Keeping food production and distribution local reduces the environmental impact and forges connections within the community. Rather than purchasing food items from mass producers, restaurants build relationships with the farmers they buy directly from. In doing so, they reduce the carbon footprint of mass distribution, but it also puts the money right in the hands of local farmers.

#3 – Self-reliance

This component of the movement encourages communities to work together in meeting food needs rather than looking to outside resources. In doing so, people can reconnect with one another along with the very earth that is tilled in their communities as well.

#4 – Sustainability

The farm-to-table movement encourages people to support locally-grown organic food and to purchase only that which is needed. When national distributors haul massive amounts of food across the country, not everything makes it to the destination without spoiling. Distributors end up tossing large quantities of products regularly. By cutting out the middleman, less food goes to waste, and more fresh food reaches tables.

How the Farm-To-Table Movement Benefits Your Health

The sooner food is consumed after the harvest, the more nutritious that food is. Most fruits and vegetables lose upwards of 30% of their nutritious value just three days after it is harvested, and that number increases with ensuing each day. By purchasing food from local farmers, food is consumed shortly after the harvest and consumed while still fresh.

Furthermore, by purchasing locally, consumers know exactly where their food is coming from and what practices are used to harvest it. The farm-to-table movement gives power back to the people and helps them to make more informed choices about what they eat.

Switching to a Farm-To-Table Lifestyle

Making the switch begins with a little research, a little exploration, and a plan of action. Moving to a farm-to-table lifestyle entails eating what’s in season, and that’s exactly what you will find at local farmer’s markets. In embracing this, start by researching what produce is in-season where you live and finding new recipes that utilize those seasonal food items. Next, learn more about the farmer’s markets near you, along with farm-to-table restaurants that you can trust to serve natural, seasonal food.

Farmers Markets in Williamson County, Texas

Williamson County hosts numerous farmer’s markets every week, which means that your farm-to-table lifestyle can start right away. To find a farmers market nearby, check out our directory of Farmers Markets, and make sure to save a date in your itinerary to dine at Greenhouse in Round Rock, where you will be sure to find inspiration for your locally-grown seasonal recipes. Finally, establish a relationship with a local farmer in Williamson County from whom you can purchase products directly. You won’t just be eating cleanly and confidently, you’ll be making a new friend in your community, and that’s what farm-to-table is all about!

We also recommend a few Farm to Table restaurants in your town:

Farm to Fork in Leander – Texas Southern Homestyle cuisine with a little French flair in a new location – Yep, the Texas winter blizzard zapped the pipes, and Farm to Fork is in the process of relocation. New atmosphere and more great local food to come. Watch their posts for grand reopening! 

Mouton’s -cajun and country fusion cuisine A very cozy Southern Style Bistro serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, In Leander and Cedar Park. 

2020 Market Scratch Kitchen & Bar in Georgetown – Chef Jaime and Chef Luis’ will never let you down! Always ready to share where they picked up their local cuisine and flair. Live music and a great patio – need we say more.

The Grove wine bar /Kitchen – Located in Cedar Park, this fabulous little joint serves up American Fare paired with an extensive wine list. Stop by for a few tasty happy hour bites and a fantastic meal paired with your favorite glass, bottle, or flight of wine.

Foxhole Culinary Tavern tucked in between North Austin and Cedar Park just off 183/Lakeline rd.   A small sample of one of their many specials is social hour 3-6:30 p Tues – Friday featuring Tavern Tacos, Ponderings, flatbread snacks, and more.

Plowman’s Kitchen – A favorite spot in Taylor, serving Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, this family-owned restaurant has the best menu and collection of foodie love.

Be Kind to Good Strangers Cafe in Taylor, Texas – a great little lite breakfast and sandwich Café on W. 2nd street. Stop by for a bite or order online for the office lunch treat.

Inspirational Links:

Farm to Table Tx  Delivers to restaurants from local farmers all over central Texas

https://www.greenmatters.com/food/2017/05/03/ZlGaIU/farm-to-table

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/blog/postdetails.cfm?post=1532

 

10 Foods to Improve Your Sexual Health

Enhance Your Romance WilcoWellness

Having a healthy libido is linked to feeling emotionally and physically healthy.

It comes as no surprise that the foods, like Truffle Mushrooms and Oysters we eat play a role in boosting our sex lives.

Sex! No need to feel ashamed or embarrassed for peeking into this article. We’re all sexual beings! In fact, just like physical and emotional health, sexual health is critical to overall health and well-being. Having a healthy libido or sex drive is linked to feeling emotionally and physically healthy. It comes as no surprise that the foods we eat play a role in boosting our sex lives.

This list of foods to improve your sexual health may help improve your life dramatically. What do you have to lose? Dive deeper into this blog to find out more about sexual health and foods that can help improve your overall sexual health: 

What is the importance of sexual health?

First and foremost, sex is not just about knockin’ boots not having intercourse. It’s about taking charge of your reproductive health and advocating for your emotional well-being surrounding intimate relationships.

According to the American Sexual Health Association, someone who is sexually healthy will process the following characteristics, behaviors, and belief systems in regards to sex and relationships:

  • Sexuality is a natural part of someone’s life
  • Sexuality involves more than sexual behavior
  • Everyone has sexual rights
  • Make safe, reliable efforts to prevent STIs and unintended pregnants (and seek care and treatment, if needed)
  • Experience sexual pleasure, satisfaction, and intimacy when they desire those type of experiences
  • Openly communicate about their needs with an intimate partner and healthcare providers when needed

These are goals to strive for provided by the ASHA, but know you do not have to check off everything from this list to have good sexual health. As they continue, “Each person has different ideas and standards for sexual health, and it is an incredibly personal part of a person’s identity and behavior.” But as a rule of thumb, safety, both emotionally and physically, and happiness for everyone in an intimate, sexual relationship keeps living a sexually healthy, authentic life.

When people have healthy, fulfilling relationships, it can improve their overall quality of life, physically and mentally, and may even extend their life.

How can you improve sexual health?

There are many pathways to improving sexual health, like managing stress and eating a proper diet. In fact, a diet rich in nutritious foods can benefit your sexual life in various ways:

  • Improve libido
  • Boost blood flow and heart
  • Improve stamina

Vegetables, lean proteins, and low sugar and saturated fat help prevent disorders that affect sex drive, like hormonal conditions and metabolic syndrome.

What are the best top foods for improving sexual health?

#1: Flaxseeds

Flax seeds have notable sexual benefits in both men and women. Sometimes known as linseed, these little brown seeds increase libido by increasing testosterone, the male sex hormone, in the body. It’s primarily responsible for most sexual functions. The presence of fatty acids in flax seeds also serve as building blocks for sex hormones.

Flaxseeds also increase sperm count and promote fertility due to the presence of L-Arginine. The blood flow also increases to sexual organs by flaxseed oil, thus keeping an erection longer.

#2 Red wine

Pour a glass of red wine, perhaps merlot, to naturally boost testosterone levels, which promote sexual function and sexual desire. Red wine also contains polyphenols, which help reduce the risk of erectile dysfunction.

 Keep in mind; drinking shouldn’t be in excess as it may lower levels of this sex hormone.

#3 Oysters

Zinc is abundantly present in oysters. This chemical element promotes sperm health, testosterone production and boosts fertility in men. The amount of testosterone present in women is less than in men, but it still plays an essential role in female libido.

Interestingly enough, oysters contain dopamine, which helps influence sexual desire in men and women.

The presence of zinc in oysters promotes blood flow within male sex hormones, helping sexual health and behavior.

#4 Pumpkin seeds

Like flax seeds, pumpkin seeds have a great deal of zinc within them, and the above benefits are quite alike. For instance, the male prostate gland benefits greatly from pumpkin seeds due to rich zinc and magnesium.

Pumpkin sees it contain antioxidative, antihypertensive, and cardioprotective nutrients, all essential for optimal sexual health. 

Pumpkin seeds also reduce the chances of prostate cancer, increase sperm production, count, and motility.

#5 Beets

Lettuce, Turnip, the BEETS! These packed veggies have aphrodisiac properties and contain nitrates, which promote healthy blood circulation.

#6 Pomegranate seeds

Testosterone, the primary sex male hormone in men, is responsible for various things, such as regulating estrogen levels and playing an essential role in female sex drive.

Pomegranate seeds are chock-full of polyphenols, a compound associated with reducing the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. They also help relax blood vessels and boost blood flow to the brain and heart. If polyphenols improve blood flow in these areas, why not to other areas below the belt?

Not only do polyphenols help with blood flow (below the belt), they are packed with flavones, which promote erectile health, and vitamin C, which helps decrease stress and builds stamina.

#7 Avocado

Did you know the word “avocado” is derived from the ancient Aztec word meaning “testicle?” Consequently enough, avocados are an excellent source for testicle health (or for what lies inside of them).

Avocados are packed with Vitamin C, a crucial ingredient to helping widen blood vessels and potentially lowering the risk of certain heart diseases.

Other perks of this south-of-the-border treat include boosting energy and providing an overall sense of well-being.

Related Read: Men’s Nutrition 101: What to Eat, Where to Get it

#8 Salmon

This fishy-dish helps increase dopamine levels in the brain because it contains omega-3s, making you more energetic and sexually active. We understand that omega-3s help benefit the circulatory system run smoothly, helping lower the risk of certain diseases that may affect sexual health. Eat this pink-fleshed fish, as well as halibut, sardines, and tuna may help you keep your body and sex life healthy!

#9 Apples

“An apple a day may keep the gynecologist away.” That’s the phrase, right? We all know apples have many health benefits, but did you know they may help you “in the sack?” Yes! A compound is known as Quercetin, a flavonoid that acts as an antioxidant and is found in many apples. Quercetin helps manage prostatitis symptoms, treatment of erectile dysfunction, and supports overall circulation within the body.

#10 Truffle Mushrooms

Get your old huntin’ dog out and search for truffle mushrooms if you’re looking to promote sexual feelings, including sexual desire.

During the love-making phase, few odorous substances secreted, which are similar to testosterone, are called alpha-androstenol to attract females.

These edible aphrodisiac mushrooms should be at the top of your list!

Conclusion

Like our physical and mental health, sexual health is equally vital for achieving a happy, healthy life. By reducing stress and eating a nutritious diet, it’s easy to promote the health of those organs below the belt.  Countless natural sources promote your sexual performance by treating erectile dysfunction, improving blood circulation, or boosting libido.  On top of these nutritious tips, we encourage you to speak to a health clinician about your sexual health.

Local Resources:

Check out these additional resources:

Inspirational Links:

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/foods-for-better-sex

https://www.healthline.com/health/7-foods-enhance-your-sex-life#bottom-line


 

The Amazing Grapefruit

19 Grapefruit Tips WilcoWellness

Nineteen Ways Using Grapefruit Can Transform Your Health

And Home

Grapefruit is a stunningly colored citrus fruit grown in subtropical climates with a sweet and tart taste. First documented in Barbados in 1750, the grapefruit has often been referred to as the forbidden fruit.

As delectable as they are, grapefruits have 50% more citric acid than oranges. For that reason, they are also known for making those who eat them grimace with the sour sensation they provide.

Even if their bitter taste isn’t your jam, regularly eating grapefruit is mighty beneficial for your body, and thanks to its antimicrobial properties, it also makes for an incredibly eco-friendly cleaning agent. And that’s just the start!

Ready to take the grapefruit challenge? See if you can incorporate each of these 19 grapefruit uses into your life for a healthier body and a sparkling home:

#1. Sheds Extra Weight

Eating just half a grapefruit before or after each meal may reduce insulin levels and encourages weight loss. A 12-week study led by Dr. Ken Fujioka found that participants who ate just half a grapefruit with each meal lost an average of 3.6 pounds.

#2. Lowers Cholesterol

Grapefruit consumption may lower cholesterol and may reduce the risk of heart diseases. In fact, incorporating grapefruit into your diet for just one month can reduce cholesterol by as much as 17%.

#3: Boosts the Immune System

Grapefruit packs a heavy dose of both vitamin A and vitamin C and helps close the gate to various illnesses.

#4: Helps Control Blood Pressure

High levels of potassium in grapefruit help reduce systolic blood pressure in patients up to four degrees. Many scientists consider grapefruit as the miracle fruit for lowering blood pressure, as it is so powerful that many patients choose to stop taking the pills and eat grapefruit instead.

#5: Creates A Youthful Glow

An antioxidant powerhouse, grapefruit may help reduce wrinkles when consumed or used topically. Grapefruit-enriched topicals improve pigmentation, discoloration, and dull complexion. Making detoxifying grapefruit topicals requires minimal ingredients too!

#6: Is a Delicious Tea

After enjoying the grapefruit’s insides, the peel itself can be brewed into a throat-soothing tea. The peel is especially dense with antioxidants, making this one of the best teas we can improve the immune system. Pick up an extra sparkle of taste by adding a little spoon full of honey from your local Bee Farmer at your local Farmers Market.

#7: Makes Cookware Sparkle

Pots and pans made of copper, brass, or aluminum can become dull over time. To make them shine like new, simply rub them with a halved grapefruit or grapefruit seed oil, then dry with a clean cloth for a glossy finish.

#8: Polishes Furniture

Both grapefruit seed oil or the combination of olive oil and grapefruit juice make for top-notch furniture polish, particularly for wooden pieces. Spray this sustainable mixture onto a surface and buff away.

#9: Regulates Digestion

Drinking grapefruit juice for breakfast or after meals may be an excellent way to kickstart the digestive system or assist with constipation. Grapefruit juice is also known to reduce inflammation, making it a simple solution for soothing irritable bowels.

#10: Promotes Radiant Skin

Exfoliate the skin with a halved grapefruit thoroughly and see a difference that glows. The burst of vitamin C helps nourish sun-damaged skin while increasing collagen production and improving overall skin tone.

#11: Prevents Hair Loss

Washing your hair with antioxidant-rich grapefruit juice twice a week enables hair regrowth and fights bacteria that causes dandruff. Additionally, massaging the scalp with grapefruit seed oil gives dull hair a lustrous sheen that is super soft to the touch.

#12: Repels Pests

A little-known fact about insects is that they commonly despise citrusy scents. Rather than introducing harmful chemicals into the home, place dried grapefruit peels by walls, in cracks, or anywhere that ants or other pests make their appearances.

#13: Assists with Diabetes

Grapefruit boasts a low glycemic index of about 25, compared to high GI foods such as white bagels (72) or even a banana (48). Consuming just one half of a grapefruit drastically reduces insulin levels in the bloodstream.

#14: Heals Wounds

Applying grapefruit juice cuts, scrapes, and even post-surgical wounds are said to promote healthy scar tissue and blood vessels, thanks to all that vitamin C again.

#15: Prevents and Slows Cancer

Certain studies show that the high citric acid levels in grapefruit reduce inflammation and stop cancer cells from multiplying and spreading. The cancer-fighting properties of grapefruit are especially helpful with fighting prostate and pancreatic cancer.

#16: Improves Eyesight

We’ve learned by now that grapefruit is a great source of vitamin A, even more so than oranges. In fact, one helping of grapefruit contains 28% of the recommended value for daily vitamin A consumption. But grapefruit also hosts a heavy dose of beta carotene, which combines with vitamin A to improve eyesight.

#17: Detoxes the Liver

Grapefruit is one of the main ingredients used in many detoxes. The fruit’s antioxidants and phytonutrients play a major role in cleansing the liver and fighting against liver disease.

#18: Decreases the chance of Kidney Stones

Drinking half a glass of grapefruit juice every day may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones by increasing hydrating and stimulating urination. Drinking grapefruit juice is so effective that it is considered one of the best treatment options for preventing and eliminating kidney cysts.

#19: Safely Cleans Pet Toys and Cages and Cleanses Wounds

Next to vinegar, the grapefruit seed oil is widely considered the safest cleaning agent for any product that a pet (or, for that matter, a baby) comes in close contact with. So much so that it is preferred in the avian community to clean and treat open wounds without the risk of poisoning the animal with toxic chemicals.

When confronted with health issues, kitchen messes, and beauty blunders, there is just one doctor we can always turn to for an eco-friendly, toxin-free solution: Mother Earth.

Before opting for expensive medicines with questionable ingredients, it’s best to seek out natural remedies in the form of plant medicines, such as grapefruit. This wondrous fruit heals the body while boosting the immune system and is available locally. Find it fresh and take a delicious step towards a healthier life.


Brake the Diet Mentality by Understanding Intuitive Eating

Intuitive Dieting WilcoWellness

Facing The Challenges Of Intuitive Eating With

Interoceptive Awareness

Crash dieting rarely leads to successful weight loss, and when it does, it’s rare that the results last. Instead, crash dieting creates a mean cycle of shedding weight, then packing it on, exhausting the body with a pattern, and binging and starving the body of the calories it needs to thrive.

With regards to healthy eating, two of the biggest questions we should be asking ourselves are these: how did we become so out-of-touch with our bodies? And when was the last time we listened to what our bodies are telling us? A healthy life begins with a healthy diet, and a healthy diet is one that consistently feeds the body with what nutrients the body is asking for.

What Is Interoceptive Awareness?

Long before fast food and modern medicine came along, humans were more clued-in on the dietary needs of the body. Believe it or not, it’s possible to sense when the body needs protein as opposed to carbohydrates or when one area of the body is the cause for pain felt in every limb.

The body does not lie; however, our perceptions of the body’s requests can be easily misinterpreted. For example, if you find yourself constantly craving chocolate and sugary treats, your body may actually be requesting magnesium or more sleep. Just as well, your body may be signaling that it is mineral deficient or that there is a blood sugar imbalance.

The practice of interoceptive awareness helps people to properly perceive and interpret the various sensations of the body, both physical and emotional. The practice is often taught by therapists who work with their patients to focus attention on one area of the body at a time and thereby understand its triggers and signals.

How Does Interoceptive Awareness Relate To Intuitive Eating?

Interoceptive awareness can help practitioners focus attention on many ailments that require listening to the body, such as diabetes, anxiety disorders, and chronic pain disorders. Intuitive eating, on the other hand, utilizes Interoceptive Awareness to interpret which nutrients the body is specifically asking for.

Unlike crash dieting, intuitive eating actually gives you the freedom to eat whatever you feel your body needs without having to overthink what you can or cannot have in order to lose weight. Whereas Interoceptive Awareness helps practitioners follow the inner trails of their pain, Intuitive Eating honors the body as its own best guide to better health, rather than some crash diet designed by a complete stranger.

How Exactly Is Intuitive Eating Healthier Than Crash Dieting?

  • Crash diets make the body feel deprived by limiting the nutrients it needs. You might be surprised to learn that a little bit of sugar is actually good for the body, and the same goes for carbohydrates- both of which are the most common pieces eliminated from crash diets.
  • Intuitive eating returns power to the practitioner by allowing them to eat without restricting any particular food group when it’s needed. This helps people feel emotionally and physically satisfied as it reduces the likelihood that a diet will be broken with emotional eating.
  • The severe nutritional deficits created by crash dieting may promote very short-term weight loss. However, crash dieters become lethargic as the body fails to receive the caloric energy it needs. Intuitive eating boosts energy without abusing the body.

What Are The Guidelines Of Intuitive Eating?

In 1995, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch coined the term “Intuitive Eating.” The term’s origins reach much further back to previous concepts, though. The practice is centered upon the idea that thoughtful eating habits maintain a healthy lifestyle. The 10 basic guidelines to intuitive eating as outlined in their book, Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works, are as follows:

  • Crush the Diet Mentality
  • Respect Your Hunger
  • Make Peace With Food
  • Challenge The Food Police
  • Respect Your Fullness
  • Discover The Satisfaction Factor
  • Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food
  • Respect Your Body
  • Exercise And Feel The Difference
  • Honor Your Health With Gentle Nutrition

Easier Said Than Done, Right?

When converting to an Intuitive Eating lifestyle, there will be many ups and downs at first, but with time, you will develop more faith in your ability to listen to your body and respond to its needs. Some of the main challenges associated with Intuitive Eating include:

  • Thinking about food all the time. If you are encountering this issue regularly and aren’t sure why, it’s worth it to talk it out with one of the many incredible Nutrition Specialists located in Wilco, who can assist you with understanding your emotional eating triggers. Once you find those triggers, you will be able to incorporate non-eating solutions to working through emotions, such as exercising or journaling.
  • Lacking confidence and body shaming. We are experiencing a self-esteem crisis in the United States, an issue that is positively correlated with anxiety and depression. Intuitive Eating trains practitioners to listen to the body and respect it as the temple that it is. The practice reveals the power of the body to show you exactly what changes can be made to bring greater happiness and health to your life.
  • Lost interest in food at all. It’s an effect of intuitive eating that can be alarming at first, as practitioners may worry that they aren’t thinking about the body’s nutritional needs enough. In reality, this is an effect of Intuitive Eating that tells the practitioner they are learning to use food as an energy source rather than an emotional band-aid.

Breaking The Diet Mentality For A Better You

The beauty of mastering Intuitive Eating through Interoceptive Awareness is that it gives practitioners their life back and shows them what foods they should shop for to improve their unique body’s wellness.

By breaking the diet mentality, practitioners learn to distinguish between emotional needs and nutritional needs and to stop letting food distract them from living their lives.