Here our Registered Dietitian, Kristen Johnson answers some of our most popular questions.
Can I cook with flaxseeds?
When it comes to omega 3 fats—like fish oil, flax and chia seeds--heating will destroy their healthful benefits. We recommend you consume them in their natural state and avoid heating. You could add ground flaxseeds to salads, smoothies, oatmeal, a shot of pomegranate juice, raw snack bars, etc. (We have some great recipes in our new cookbook, Target To Table featuring lots of superfoods and healthy ways to consume them).
Is it normal to experience feelings of nausea and GI discomfort from taking these superfoods?
As far as the wheagrass and spirulina/chlorella goes—yes people could experience feelings of nausea or having to go to the bathroom. This is usually a sign that these are working and detoxifying the body. If this is the case, we would recommend you start small and build up. Perhaps you are starting with 2 wheatgrass ice cubes versus 3 and 10 tablets of spirulina/chlorella versus 20 right from the bat. After a week or two you can build up. These superfoods will drastically improve your gut health and should strengthen your system so that you no longer feel this detox effect. You will soon find that Superfoods sure are magical!
I recently purchased the spirulina/chlorella capsules as well as cod liver oil and wanted to make it a trifecta and buy the wheatgrass, but I am highly allergic to grass (I receive weekly allergy shots for grass among a myriad of other environmental allergens). I was wondering if you had any suggestions for alternatives to wheatgrass?
That is so exciting that you purchased the cod liver oil and spirulina/chlorella! I love that you are so eager to purchase the wheatgrass too—it is def a powerful thing but unfortunately if you have a grass pollen allergy it is not recommended that you consume wheatgrass. (Although, we haven’t seen any issues with people who are allergic to grass and consume wheatgrass). Because these superfoods (especially wheatgrass) help to build and strengthen the immune system—you will find that after consuming these overtime, you will be less likely to have allergies at all. The benefits totally out weight the risks.
I would recommend you start with the cod liver oil and spirulina/chlorella regularly for a few months to strengthen your immune system and then give wheatgrass a try (start with 1 ice cube at a time and build up to 3).
Is there gluten in wheatgrass?
Most people who have gluten sensitivities think they cannot consume wheatgrass although there is actually no gluten in wheatgrass. Wheatberries on their own contain gluten but the way the wheatberries are sprouted to make wheatgrass allows the protein molecule (gluten) to be absent from the wheatgrass itself.
I love your On Target Living book. I've made many adjustments including taking wheatgrass daily. My question is for my 14 year old son who is a basketball player who trains 6 days per week. He has really good eating habits but he had a growth spurt and now he's 6'2 and 155lbs. It's hard to maintain and even gain weight because of all the exercise. Any suggestions on a natural way to get him more protein and can he take all of the superfoods you recommend?
The On Target Living book is a fantastic guide to learning the foundations of this healthy, fun and repeatable lifestyle. Absolutely, I would recommend these superfoods for your son! (Especially the top 3—wheatgrass, spirulina/chlorella, and cod liver oil) Since they are real, whole foods, they are safe for anyone. You can think of these items as your super power multivitamins.
The body has amazing way of doing what it needs to when you give it the right ingredients--even if that is gaining weight. I would recommend your son include a variety of nuts, dried fruits (like figs, dates) and healthy seeds like flax/chia into his diet. Trail mix is a great snack to take on the go and would be a good pre/post workout snack--as well as a healthy smoothie. I would also recommend your son add in more hemp seeds into his diet—could be thrown in a smoothie as well. These are super high in absorbable protein unlike processed whey protein powders that are very acidic on the body. Oatmeal with nuts, dried fruits and cacao would be a great thing to have for his breakfast. (Our oatmeal on the run recipe from our Target To Table Cookbook, is our favorite go-to breakfast recipe). Use the Food Target as your ultimate food guide. All items can be found on our shop page as well: http://www.ontargetliving.com/shop/ --we even have packaged trail mix combinations and other delicious snacks.
The body has an amazing way of doing what it needs to when you give it the right ingredients- even if that is gaining weight. Superfoods like wheatgrass, spirulina/chlorella, and cod liver oil are essential for getting and keeping the body healthy and energized. Plus, since they are real, whole foods, they are safe for anyone. You can think of these items as your superpower multivitamins. The Honey Flax Energy Bites from the cookbook would also be a healthy and delicious snack to include.
I am a big workout-er and struggle with low iron, stress fractures, and fatigue. However, my blood work doesn’t show anything out of the norm. Do you think you could help me to understand why I may be experiencing these symptoms?
Sometimes standard blood tests are not always the best indicator of total health. Below you will find the blood tests that we usually recommend people get as a more accurate way to measure their overall health. For example: most people think cholesterol is a bad thing when cholesterol is quite healthy—it is the building block for our hormones. High sensitive C-reactive protein is a test used to measure inflammation in the body.
There may be a better way to approach these health issues rather than blood tests, medication, etc.
What training and recovery are you currently doing? Sounds like you may be training hard but not taking enough recover time hence your stress fractures.
- I would recommend she take an Epsom salt bath a few times a week. Epsom salt is extremely high in the calming mineral magnesium, which is great for stress and the recovery of muscles. Simply add 2 cups to a bath and soak for 10-15 minutes.
What stretching, strength training, and flexibility exercises are you doing? If the body is constantly doing the same thing over and over—there is bound to be some injuries. Think of runners—running does not stimulate the glutes or the hamstrings and can make the IT band and hip flexors very tight leading to low back and knee pain. It is important to incorporate strength training and different planes of motion (side to side movements) as a way to strength then body and prevent injury. This is why we recommend a fitness program that incorporates balance, flexibility, strength training, cardio, and cool-down. You can find the complete program here.
- The dynamic warm-up and foundation pose exercises would be a great place to start.
- Adding magnesium rich foods would also be helpful for stress and relaxation. Magnesium rich foods include cacao nibs, figs, dried fruits, leafy greens, wheatgrass. Magnesium stimulates calcitonin, which is needed to absorb calcium. If the body is deficient in magnesium it can’t absorb calcium leading to stress fractures, and poor bone health. (This is why calcium supplements are usually the best option or improving bone health)
Foods for Healing
- Aim for 20-30 tablets of spirulina/chlorella every day (high in iron, protein, and immune boosting chlorophyll)
- Cod liver oil is high in vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium. It is also great for lubricating the joints and preventing inflammation.
- Wheatgrass would be a great way to add more minerals like iron, magnesium, and calcium along with improving digestion and inflammation.
The body always has a way of talking back. Sometimes, we just need to stop, listen, and treat the body with a little R&R.
Questions? Email Kristen at email@example.com