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Show Off Your Cooking Skills With This Braised Ginger Chicken Recipe


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

Recipe From Pete Evans

 

Chicken is one of the most loved
meats in the U.S., especially with our surplus of fast food chains that offer
buckets and buckets of fried chicken. The bad news is that these fast food
choices may also expose you to numerous possible harmful substances. But just
because you want something savory doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your own
health.

This braised ginger chicken recipe
is the perfect example of a meal that’s both delicious and healthy. With its numerous
nutrient-filled ingredients, this chicken dish will surely prove to be a treat
for your taste buds.

If you’re looking for more
ketogenic recipes like this, brace yourself for the upcoming release of my
collaborative work with world-renowned chef, Pete Evans. The “Fat for Fuel
Ketogenic Cookbook” offers numerous tasty and nutrient-packed ketogenic recipes
that you can try at home. It will be released November 14, so you only have to
wait a few days before you can start cooking up a storm.

Ingredients

4 pounds organic
free range chicken
, cut into 8 pieces

1 tablespoon tapioca flour,
optional

3 tablespoons coconut
oil
or good-quality animal fat, melted

1 onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely sliced

2-inch piece of ginger, cut into thin
strips

Sea salt and freshly ground black
pepper

1 1/2 cups chicken
broth

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon tamari or coconut
aminos

3 long red chilies, deseeded and
finely sliced (leave some seeds in if you like it spicy)

4 scallions cut into thin strips

1 bunch of bok choy, trimmed

Lightly toasted sesame seeds, to
serve

Procedure

1.      
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.      
Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Add
the tapioca flour (if using) and toss to coat.

3.      
Melt the oil or fat in a roasting tin over
medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes
until translucent. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute until
fragrant.

4.      
Add the chicken pieces, skin-side down, season
with salt and pepper and cook for three minutes until lightly golden.

5.      
Pour in the broth, fish sauce and tamari or
coconut aminos and scatter over the chili and spring onion.

6.      
Cover and braise in the oven for 45 minutes.

7.      
Remove the chicken from the oven and mix in the
bok choy. Cover and return to the oven for 15 minutes until the chicken is
cooked through.

8.      
Season the sauce if needed. Sprinkle the sesame
seeds over the braised chicken and serve with a side of Asian greens.

What Does Braising Mean?

If you cook regularly, there’s a
high chance that you already know how to braise meat; if you love to eat,
you’re also probably familiar with this cooking method. But what does braising
really mean?

The word “braise” comes from the
French word “braiser,” which is a cooking process that consists of both dry and
moist heat. This method has been used around the world by chefs and cooks for a
number of years, but started getting popular in the 19th


century. It was used to cook veal
and other meats. The process of braising also allows the cook to add more
flavor to the meat if it’s bland.[i]

The process of braising consists
of lightly searing the meat with oil and then adding broth, wine or water into
the mix. You can also add spices and other ingredients to flavor the dish. The
slow cooking will help the flavor distribute more equally and make the meat
tender enough to be cut with a table knife.[ii]
One of the most popular dishes that uses braising as a mode of cooking is the
pot roast, with the term “pot roasting” being used interchangeably with
braising.

Get Your Hands on Pasture-Raised Organic Chicken

If you’re shopping for groceries,
you’ll probably be faced with the tough choice of which meat you should purchase
for you and your family. Meat choices usually consist of cheap conventional
meat or organic free-range meat. If you’re faced with this dilemma, just
remember that quality should always be your priority when choosing ingredients.

A large amount of chicken meat in
markets worldwide unfortunately comes from concentrated
animal feeding operations (CAFOs)
. This means that while you’re saving
money by buying these conventional meats, you’re also exposing your family to significant
amounts of contaminants and antibiotics, not to mention hormones.

Studies show that not only are
pasture-raised chickens free of contaminants, but their meat also contains
higher amounts of vitamin D2, E and omega-3 fatty acids.
Pasture-raised chickens are also fed a species-appropriate diet instead of grain-
or soy-based feeds, and are raised in a humane environment, in contrast to
CAFOs where the animals are stuffed in cages and forced to walk around in their
waste. So the next time you’re buying chicken for dinner, make sure you buy the
organic, free-range pasture-raised kind.

Here’s Why You Should Be Using Coconut Oil

Throughout the years, various
kinds of oils have been utilized in the culinary world, with each vying for the
position of the healthiest type of oil. If you’re looking for the best oil to
cook with, coconut oil may be just the answer to that.

Coconut oil has been
undeservingly demonized for numerous years, with health organizations claiming
that it’s fattening or that it heightens your risk of heart disease and heart
attacks by clogging up the arteries. These claims are all rooted in the fact
that coconut oil is filled with saturated fats. While this is true, saturated
fat in coconut oil is not the danger that conventional medicine has claimed.

While other oils contain
long-chained fats, coconut oil contains medium-chain fats or medium-chain
triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are important in the body because unlike
long-chained fats, MCTs can be directly absorbed in the digestive tract without
needing to be combined with bile and digestive enzymes. These are then
transformed into ketones, which is a better energy source for the brain than
glucose.

Coconut oil is also a rich source
of lauric acid. Once digested, lauric acid can help clean out harmful bacteria,
fungi and parasites from your gut. Moreover, coconut oil doesn’t oxidize when
exposed to high temperatures, unlike other types of cooking oils.

About Pete Evans

Pete Evans is an internationally renowned
chef who has joined forces with Dr. Mercola to create a healthy cookbook that’s
loaded with delicious, unique Keto recipes, ideal for people who want to switch
to a ketogenic diet.
The “Fat for Fuel Ketogenic Cookbook” will be released November 14.

Pete
has had numerous noteworthy contributions to the culinary world. He has not
only cooked for the general public, but he’s also cooked a royal banquet
for the Prince and Princess of Denmark, a private dinner for Martha Stewart,
and even represented his hometown at the gala G?Day USA dinner for 600 in
New York City. Pete’s career has moved from the kitchen into the lounge room
with many TV appearances including Lifestyle Channel’s “Home show,” “Postcards
from Home,” “FISH,” “My Kitchen Rules” and “Moveable Feast.”


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An Attitude of Gratitude Can Help You Live a Longer, Happier Life


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

This article previously ran a few years ago but there are so many good reminders about the benefits of gratitude, I decided to share it with you again this year with a new video. I am grateful beyond words for your support, and for partnering with me to help people all over the world take control of their health.

Besides sharing time with family and friends over food, the primary ingredient of the American Thanksgiving holiday is gratitude. While it’s certainly good to have an annual holiday to remind us to express gratitude, there’s much to be said for the benefits of cultivating the spirit of thankfulness year-round.

People who are thankful for what they have are better able to cope with stress, have more positive emotions, and are better able to reach their goals. Scientists have even noted that gratitude is associated with improved health.
As noted in the Harvard Mental Health Letter,1 “expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better:”

“The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness (depending on the context). In some ways gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible.

With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

…People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. They can apply it to the past (retrieving positive memories and being thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings), the present (not taking good fortune for granted as it comes), and the future (maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude).

Regardless of the inherent or current level of someone’s gratitude, it’s a quality that individuals can successfully cultivate further.”

Gratitude — It Does a Body Good

Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, head of biologic psychology at Duke University Medical Center once stated that: “If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world’s best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system.”2

One way to harness the positive power of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal or list, where you actively write down exactly what you’re grateful for each day. In one study,3,4 people who kept a gratitude journal reported exercising more, and they had fewer visits to the doctor compared to those who focused on sources of aggravation.

As noted in a previous ABC News article,5 studies have shown that gratitude can produce a number of measurable effects on a number of systems in your body, including:

Mood neurotransmitters (serotonin and norepinephrine) Inflammatory and immune systems (cytokines)
Reproductive hormones (testosterone) Stress hormones (cortisol)
Social bonding hormones (oxytocin) Blood pressure and cardiac and EEG rhythms
Cognitive and pleasure related neurotransmitters (dopamine) Blood sugar

Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

Cultivating a sense of gratitude will help you refocus your attention toward what’s good and right in your life, rather than dwelling on the negatives and all the things you may feel are lacking. And, like a muscle, this mental state can be strengthened with practice. Besides keeping a daily gratitude journal, other ways to cultivate a sense of gratitude include:

  • Write thank you notes: Whether in response to a gift or kind act, or simply as a show of gratitude for someone being in your life, getting into the habit of writing thank-you letters can help you express gratitude in addition to simply feeling it inside.
  • Count your blessings: Once a week, reflect on events for which you are grateful, and write them down. As you do, feel the sensations of happiness and thankfulness you felt at the time it happened, going over it again in your mind.
  • Pray: Expressing thanks during your prayers is another way to cultivate gratitude.
  • Mindfulness meditation: Practicing “mindfulness” means that you’re actively paying attention to the moment you’re in right now. A mantra is sometimes used to help maintain focus, but you can also focus on something that you’re grateful for, such as a pleasant smell, a cool breeze, or a lovely memory.

Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude

Three years ago, the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California,6 in collaboration with the University of California, launched a project called “Cultivating Gratitude in a Consumerist Society.” This $5.6 million project aims to:

  • Expand the scientific database of gratitude, particularly in the key areas of human health, personal and relational well-being, and developmental science;
  • Promote evidence-based practices of gratitude in medical, educational, and organizational settings and in schools, workplaces, homes and communities, and in so doing…
  • Engage the public in a larger cultural conversation about the role of gratitude in civil society.

In 2012, 14 winning research projects were announced, with topics covering everything from the neuroscience of gratitude, to the role of gratitude for the prevention of bullying. The organization has a number of resources you can peruse at your leisure, including The Science of Happiness blog and newsletter,7 and a Digital Gratitude Journal,8 where you can record and share the things you’re grateful for. Scientists are also permitted to use the data to explore “causes, effects, and meaning of gratitude.”

For example, previous research has shown that employees whose managers say “thank you” feel greater motivation at work, and work harder than peers who do not hear those “magic words.” As noted in a previous Thanksgiving blog post in Mark’s Daily Apple:9 “[R]esearch10 has shown that being on the receiving end of a person’s gratitude can boost subjects’ sense of self-worth and/or self-efficacy.

It also appears to encourage participants to further help the person who offered the gratitude but also another, unrelated person in an unconscious ‘pay it forward’ kind of connection.”

Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude as Part of a Healthy Lifestyle

Starting each day by thinking of all the things you have to be thankful for is one way to put your mind on the right track. Also, remember that your future depends largely on the thoughts you think today. So each moment of every day is an opportunity to turn your thinking around, thereby helping or hindering your ability to think and feel more positively in the very next moment.

Most experts agree that there are no shortcuts to happiness. Even generally happy people do not experience joy 24 hours a day. But a happy person can have a bad day and still find pleasure in the small things in life.

Be thankful for what you have. When life gives you a 100 reasons to cry, remember the 1,000 reasons you have to smile. Face your past without regret; prepare for the future without fear; focus on what’s good right now, in the present moment, and practice gratitude. Remember to say “thank you” — to yourself, the Universe and others. It’s wonderful to see a person smile, and even more wonderful knowing that you are the reason behind it! And with that, I wish you all a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!


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Foods That Prevent Inflammation Also Enhance Your Brain Function


Article Source: Health And Fitness Journal

By Dr. Mercola

It is important to realize that chronic inflammation often leads to chronic illnesses and health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and immune-mediated conditions. In fact, inflammation plays a significant role in seven of the top 10 leading causes of death.1

Inflammation is a normal part of your body’s response to the environment to protect you from foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. However, chronic, long-term inflammation increases your risks for devastating health conditions that may change the way you live or may even lead to death.

Many times, inflammation starts in your gut. Your intestines are a large and complex organ designed to pass nutrients to your body and gather waste to pass from your body. What you eat has a considerable effect on the permeability of your intestinal walls and how much waste or toxins may leak into your body. This leakage is a substantial driving force in the development of chronic inflammation.

The degree of permeability is in direct proportion to chemical mediators inside your intestines and in your bloodstream, in real time. This means that you can affect permeability immediately with the choices you make. However, repeated damage reduces the ability of the intestines to respond properly.

Eventually this may lead to impaired absorption of nutrients and overburden your immune system. Inflammation also has an effect on your brain. Recent research has found those with inflammatory markers in their 50s experienced a reduction in the size of their brain 24 years later.2

Inflammation May Lead to Reduced Brain Volume

This study provides more evidence that systemic inflammation may have lifelong effects on your health. The researchers took blood samples from a large, biracial community and analyzed five inflammatory markers at the start of the study and then again 24 years later. Those markers included levels of fibrinogen, albumin, white cell count, factor VIII and von Willebrand factor.3

Using these levels, the researchers created a composite score they could compare against other participant scores and MRI images taken at the conclusion of the study. The participants were divided into three groups based on the level of their inflammatory markers.4 When the group with three or more elevated biomarkers was compared against the group without any elevations, they found the group with higher inflammation experienced a 5 percent reduction in brain volume.5

Brain areas with reduced volume were in the hippocampus and other areas associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Those with higher levels of inflammation also performed poorer on a memory test given to the participants.6

Lead study author Keenan Walker, Ph.D., from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said the effect of one standard deviation increase in inflammation, appeared to correlate to having a copy of the gene that increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and was associated with a decrease in size of 110 cubic millimeters of the hippocampus.

Although the results from this study support evidence from others that inflammation negatively affects brain volume7 and cognitive performance,8 the authors acknowledge this study used inflammatory markers from only one point in a 24-year timespan.9 

There are several factors that affect the degree of inflammation you may experience in your body and brain. When you address these factors, you may be able to reduce the long-term effects of inflammation, including cognitive decline, cancer, immune-mediated disease, Type 2 diabetes and numerous other health conditions.

Sleep Clears Your Mind and Detoxifies Your Brain

Achieving quality sleep may be one of the most important factors in developing optimal health. A lack of sleep can have many ramifications, ranging from short-term to lifelong. Research has found sleep loss for just one night may increase the inflammatory response in your body, and a good night’s sleep can reduce your risk of heart disease and autoimmune disorders.10

Subclinical shifts in basal inflammatory cytokines have also been noted in those whose sleep was restricted between 25 and 50 percent of normal.11 The mechanism explaining the alteration in inflammation is not known, but the researchers theorize it’s likely related to metabolic changes. In a recent meta-analysis of 72 studies involving more than 50,000 participants, the data demonstrated that both too much and interrupted sleep had the effect of increasing the inflammatory response.12

Dr. John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry, commented on the meta-analysis, stating,13 “It is important to highlight that both too much and too little sleep appears to be associated with inflammation, a process that contributes to depression as well as many medical illnesses.”

Adequate amount of quality sleep not only reduces inflammation, but also helps clear your brain of toxins and metabolic waste products. Sleep is critical to keep your brain’s unique waste management system fully functional. Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center14 found this system is activated during sleep when your brain cells shrink nearly 60 percent, making waste removal easier.15

For example, during sleep your brain removes amyloid-beta in greater amounts than when you’re awake. These are the proteins that form in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. If you have trouble sleeping or would like tips on how to improve the quality of your sleep by addressing your environment, please see my article, “Want a Good Night’s Sleep? Then Never Do These Things Before Bed.”

Too Much or Too Little May Increase Inflammation

Your body works optimally in moderation. In other words, too much or too little sleep and you’ll increase your inflammatory markers. The same is true for exercise. You may think of this as a Goldilocks effect — in other words, not too much and not too little will allow you to reap the greatest benefit.

Consistent overexertion at any exercise can lead to chronic inflammation. The aftereffect of overexertion may also lead to overuse injuries or illness. Fatigue, dehydration and other injuries16 may follow a single intense workout, while chronic secretion of cortisol from overexertion may also negatively impact your immune system and lead to colds and other illnesses.17

Cortisol is released during a physical or psychological stressor. It has different functions throughout your body, such as regulating blood sugar, reducing inflammation and assisting in memory formation.18 Researchers have found that prolonged stress may alter the effectiveness of cortisol by reducing your cells sensitivity to cortisol and increasing the inflammatory response.19 Lead author, Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University, commented on the link between stress and the immune system, saying:20

“The immune system’s ability to regulate inflammation predicts who will develop a cold, but more importantly it provides an explanation of how stress can promote disease.

When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease. Because inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, this model suggests why stress impacts them as well.”

Often the greater risk lies in a sedentary lifestyle. Sedentary behavior has influenced inflammatory markers in participants, independent of obesity, single workout during the day or blood sugar levels.21 Sitting during the day has been associated with a 66 percent higher risk of certain cancers, including endometrial cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer.22 For suggestions on how to increase movement in your day, see my previous article, “Here’s What Sitting Too Long Does To Your Body.”

Inflammatory Response to Food

The foods you eat may have a major effect on the inflammation in your body. The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases wrote about the common Western diet and the relationship to inflammation:23

“While today’s modern diet may provide beneficial protection from micro- and macronutrient deficiencies, our over-abundance of calories and the macronutrients that compose our diet may all lead to increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease.”

Foods that increase the inflammatory response in your body include:24,25

Sugar

High fructose corn syrup

Artificial trans fats

Processed vegetable and seed oils

Refined carbohydrates

Excessive alcohol

Processed meats

Oxidized omega-6 fats

The Nitric Oxide Dump

In this video, I demonstrate a simple exercise called the Nitric Oxide Dump that has several benefits. This three-minute exercise, done three times a day, will stimulate the release of nitric oxide to support your immune system, lower your blood pressure and decrease platelet aggregation. Nitric oxide also helps you to develop more lean body mass.

Since it’s a short exercise you do several times per day, it reduces the potential for overexertion and helps you keep moving throughout the day. You’ll want to wait at least two hours between each session. The exercise doesn’t require any equipment and can be done anywhere you happen to find yourself. A combination of exercise with dietary restriction may increase your benefits and mobilize adaptive cellular stress-response pathways that involve DNA repair, mitochondrial biogenesis and anti-inflammatory cytokines.26

Anti-Inflammatory Foods Help Reduce Inflammation Markers

Just as some foods may increase the inflammatory response in your body, others have an anti-inflammatory effect. According to Harvard Medical School, one of the most powerful tools to fight inflammation does not come from a pharmacy, but rather from your grocery store.27 Some of the top anti-inflammatory foods include: 28,29

Garlic

Strawberries

Blueberries

Cherries

Almonds

Walnuts

Olive oil

Spinach

Kale

Salmon

Mackerel

Sardines

Cloves

Ginger

Rosemary

Turmeric

Keep in mind that while fish is traditionally recognized as a primary source of healthy omega-3 fats that help reduce inflammation, eating seafood from contaminated waters offsets any benefits. You risk polluting your body and damaging your health with chemicals and heavy metals the fish have absorbed from their environment.

Unfortunately, a large majority of wild-caught fish are too contaminated with mercury, heavy metal and chemicals and farm-raised fish carry their own list of risks from pharmaceutical treatment, overcrowding and unsafe contaminants.30

As a general rule, I recommend eating only authentic wild-caught Alaskan salmon or smaller fatty fish with short life cycles, such as sardines, herring, mackerel or anchovies. These are good choices to get omega-3 fats while avoiding as many toxins as possible.

Although not a specific food, eating a diet high in healthy fats and low net carbohydrates and moderate amounts of high-quality protein has also demonstrated a significant effect at lowering your inflammatory response. Also called a ketogenic diet, recent research from the University of California San Francisco uncovered a potential mechanism that helps explain why the ketogenic diet so effective in reducing inflammation in the brain.31

In short, this mechanism explains how alterations in glucose metabolism influence inflammatory responses in your cells. I would recommend you consider implementing a ketogenic diet in your nutritional plan. My previous article, “A Beginner’s Guide to the Ketogenic Diet: An Effective Way of Optimizing Your Health,” will show you how to apply it to your lifestyle and the positive benefits you can reap from it.


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