If any of you have maintained a blog for years, then you understand the realities of coming and going in your blog life due to literally anything else in the world. Although I have been in and out, I have (or at least tried to!) […]
This one goes out to all my fellow runners out there! How many of you have experienced the dreaded side stitch? I personally would rather have aching, sore legs during an entire run than experience a side stitch. I can push through sore legs. Side stitch? Not […]
I’m sitting here on this gorgeous Saturday morning taking my first couple sips of hot coffee. If you’re a coffee lover like me, you know that bliss. There’s nothing like the smell and taste of hot coffee on a Saturday morning. But I had to travel all the way to Whole Foods in order to get organic, fair trade coffee grounds. [This weekend I am house sitting Taylor’s parents house and they do not have organic coffee. So yes, I traveled all the way to Whole Foods just to get some.]
After being a loyal customer to Grounds for Change for almost two years now, it’s difficult to accept anything less. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I won’t have some Starbucks or something else once in a while (by the way today I purchased Allegro’s organic fair trade coffee from Whole Foods: this flavor). But I’m really passionate about supporting organic, fair trade, shade grown, and carbon free coffee. What makes the difference between the quality of coffee depends on it’s production and growing process; literally before it reaches your cup is what matters the most.
Grounds for Change is a sustainable business, and when food production is sustainable, it “preserves the land’s capacity to grow and nourish food into the future. Sustainable agriculture does not damage the environment or harm human health, and offers a safe work environment and a fair wage to the farmer, supporting and enhancing rural life. Because sustainable farmers see nature as an ally rather an obstacle, they are able to produce more wholesome food using less fossil fuel, thus contributing less to climate change. Unlike industrial farming, sustainable farming does not rely on synthetic pesticides, artificial hormones, or routine use of antibiotics.”1
What contributes to their sustainability is producing coffee that is fair trade and organic certified, carbon free, and shade grown.
Fair trade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), fair trade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers, and enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.2
Certified organic coffee is grown by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality. Grounds for Change coffee is grown without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, thereby assuring the health of the soil, the forest and the farmers.3
Shade grown: Traditionally, coffee was shade-grown on biodiverse farms, which preserved animal and bird habitats, but the demand for coffee has fueled the creation of “sun grown” monoculture plantations, which means a number of bad things for the environment, including clear cutting of native forests and intensive fertilizer and pesticide use.4 In addition, Rainforest Alliance certification is focused on the ecological effects of coffee-growing – their major goals are protection of biodiversity and stopping deforestation.
Carbon free certified: Grounds for Change utilizes Carbonfund.org’s reforestation program to offset the complete carbon dioxide footprint of their coffee production.
Overall, I urge you to look beyond just taste when you decide on a coffee brand. I discovered Grounds for Change when I started making French Press coffee at home and sought out organic coffee. But this company goes beyond organic; I fell in love with their philosophy and became a dedicated customer immediately. If you are currently purchasing a conventional brand, please reconsider! As you can see, your purchasing decisions have an impact on the Earth & environment, our health, and farmers around the world. You’re supporting so many awesome things when you purchase sustainable coffee. If you want to switch up your coffee brand, your best bet is to research and look into the coffee brand online so you can read about their philosophy and production practices. Then you can make an informed purchasing decision. [Hint: look for brands who really emphasize their sustainable practices!] Although some small farmers are simply not financially capable of the certification labels, consider purchasing a coffee brand that has the certifications listed in this article.
Note: I was not asked to write this post and I am not being paid for it either. This post is out of sincere loyalty to Grounds for Change + all other coffee producers who support sustainable practices. 🙂
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Last week I watched a webinar about leaky gut with Dr. Josh Axe. It was super interesting (nutrition nerd alert), & I made sure to take notes in order to simplify this very interesting topic for you that I know everyone else is so curious about! 😉
First of all, what is leaky gut? Leaky gut is referred to as intestinal permeability. Okay, now I know what you’re thinking…
What the heck does intestinal permeability mean? Our gut is meant to be semipermeable, meaning the lining of our intestines allow certain substances to pass through, and not others. Permeable on the other hand, is letting all substances to essentially pass through the gut and into the rest of the body AKA the bloodstream. Leaky gut = intestinal permeability = letting all substances pass through.
The next question is…. is this a problem? Well, what if the gut leaks EVERYTHING into the rest of the body or bloodstream? The membrane of our gut usually prevents toxins, bacteria, yeast, and other large molecules of food (such as undigested food like proteins, including wheat, which is a protein) from passing through the barrier. But when these things are able to pass through the gut, they have consistently shown to trigger autoimmune reactions and cause mild to severe health problems. Some believe that EVERY health problem begins in the gut and whether the gut is functioning properly or not. This includes whether the semipermeable membrane is doing its proper job. After all, 80% of your immune system is located in your gut.
“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates
According to Dr. Axe’s webinar, a leaky gut affects the whole body, everything from the skin, thyroid, colon, adrenals, joints, sinuses, mouth, brain, etc. It is the root cause of food intolerance, immune system complications, inflammation, and autoimmunity.
Dr. Axe also claims that the leaky gut triggers include:
- GMO foods, which might potentially kill the good bacteria in the gut
- Antibiotics, which he refers to as “ABombs”
- Gluten, for those with gluten sensitivity, which is not broken down properly and may cause inflammation
- Processed sugar, which feeds yeast in the body, causes candida yeast overgrowth
- Conventional dairy. dairy (and meat) these days frequently contain antibiotics, hormones, and other harmful substances due to the common farming agricultural practices.
- Food sensitivities or allergies (leaky gut can essentially cause food sensitivities or allergies, but if you genuinely have a food sensitivity or allergy and continue to eat the food, it will cause leaky gut. For example if you have Celiac and continue to eat wheat, it may cause leaky gut, but leaky gut does NOT cause celiac)
*Not apart of this webinar, but according to Michael Gregor, M.D., (see video here): animal fat causes the gut lining to become leaky and contributes to the breakdown of intestinal barrier. Studies showed that the bloodstream became abundant in edotoxins (bacterial toxin) following a high animal fat meal (I think the meal was McDonadls sausage and egg McMuffins), which causes inflammation and the immune system going abrupt. These endotoxins come from the gut!
Dr. Axe’s 5 steps to heal leaky gut:
- Know your gut type (he did not go into detail about gut types)
- Remove inflammatory food triggers, which is different for everyone
- Nourish your gut lining with key nutrients
- Treat specific organs with supplements
- Rebalance microbes and probiotics
Not but not least, his top healing foods include:
- Bone broth. Contains proline, glycine, and L-glutamine. These amino acids are abundant in bone broth, but they are also found is many foods, including a plant-based foods. They are also not essential amino acids, which means they can be produced by the body. Just a little side note: When we get sick, chicken noodle soup is the go-to, right? But back in the day chicken noodle soup was very different than chicken noodle soup today. Today, chicken noodle soup has processed chicken, or chicken that was pumped with antibiotics or growth hormones and are fed a grain diet. What the chicken eats and the antibiotics/hormones they receive are most definitely translated to the food product you are eating. Not to mention the noodles in chicken noodle soup, which is processed grain, ultimately devoid of any nutrients the grain originally had. Can you tell I am totally against the “chicken noodle soup cure”? Chicken noodle soup today does not equal chicken noodle soup hundreds of years ago, which was essentially “bone broth.” The point is, while proline, glycine, and l-gutamine are important amino acids (as are ALL amino acids), they can be obtained from a varied diet based on healthy, whole foods. You don’t need to go out and make some bone broth in order to get them, although there are some people who might benefit from a bone broth concoction depending on their health condition and needs.
- Coconut oil. According to Dr. Axe, coconut oil kills of yeast, especially for those with “candida gut.” I need to do more information seeking on this.
- Sauerkraut & fermented veggies. These are very good prebiotics (food for probiotics that live in the gut).
- Goats milk, kefir. These are probiotics. *To understand the difference between probiotics and prebiotics, check out my previous article on the topic.
- Blueberries. Which contain resveratrol, flavanoids, and other antioxidants, and lower in sugar compared to other fruits. (Okay, in my opinion, blueberries are definitely great for you but as are ALL fruits. Don’t just eat blueberries and think you’re doing yourself a favor. A diet including all fruit, which contains many different antioxidants and phytochemicals is ALWAYS the best idea.).
- Orange/yellow foods. Especially squash family.
+ Supplements. Varies greatly per person, but Dr. Axe recommends:
- Probiotics. 50 billion IU/daily. (Need to say SBO – soil based organisms & food based strains)
- Digestive enzymes. These help break down food and gives the gut a rest, especially when consumed with meat or starch products.
- Adaptogenic herbs. He mentions Ginseng, Ashwagandha, and Licorice root.
- L-Glutamine. He claims this amino acid supplements is a “band-aid” for the gut lining and helps repair the small intestine.
Supplements should only be taken after you have seen a health professional!
To wrap up, I just want to clarify that this article is based off of the webinar from Dr. Josh Axe. These are not necessarily my opinions, although I did include my opinion where I felt it was needed. I just wanted to share my notes with you. I do think leaky gut is very real and such a major contributor to disease and health complications. This is why I consistently recommend a diet based on whole foods, because a diet based on whole foods will contain all the essential nutrients for a proper functioning gut!
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