FALL IN LOVE WITH THE SUPER FOODS OF FALL (PART II)

Ginger

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     Known to aid in digestion, relieve symptoms of nausea, treat severe menstrual pain, and reduce inflammation, ginger is an amazing food to incorporate in your diet year round.

     Ginger contains both phenols and gingerols. The phenolic compounds in ginger help relieve irritation in the stomach and intestines, and aid in digestion by stimulating saliva and bile production. Chewing raw ginger or drinking ginger tea helps treat nausea naturally, and is commonly used by pregnant women experiencing morning sickness. Gingerols, naturally occurring oils in ginger, are potent anti-inflammatories, and fresh ginger has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation. Recent studies have shown that ginger may help treat more serious inflammatory conditions such as Cancer, although further research is necessary. For women experiencing severe pain with menstruation, ground ginger taken in the form of capsules has been shown reduce the pain's severity.

     Ginger root is typically harvested in then fall and winter months. Freshly cut ginger is a perfect addition to tea, and as temperatures begin to drop hot beverages are more and more appealing.  Lemon-ginger Green Tea is one of my favorite nutrition-packed beverages for fall, and can help boost our immune systems for the "cold and flu season" ahead. 

Kale

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     Kale is one of my favorite dark, leafy greens. Commonly harvested in the fall, it provides a wide variety of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Incorporating kale into your diet can aid in digestion, improve issues associated with diabetes, help protect again bone fractures, and maintain healthy skin and hair. 

     The high amount of fiber in kale ( g per serving), along with its high water content, helps promote digestive health and prevent constipation. High fiber diets have been proven to reduce blood-glucose levels, and may even improve the lives of Type 2 diabetics by stabilizing blood sugar, insulin, and lipid levels. Kale also contains the antioxidant alpha-lipoic acid, which has been found to lower glucose levels while also increasing insulin sensitivity. The high amount of vitamin K found in kale (550 micrograms: 680% of our daily requirements) improves calcium absorption and strengthens bone matrix proteins, helping protect against bone fractures. Our skin and hair benefit from eating kale as well. Collagen levels are maintained best when vitamin C is readily available from sources such as kale. Having adequate collagen helps skin stay supple and hair remain strong. Skin also benefits from kale, because it contains high amounts of vitamin A and iron. 

    Eaten cooked (in soups, stews, or stir-fry) or raw (in salads or as a taco-topper), kale incorporated into your diet can benefit health year-round.

Mushrooms

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     Mushrooms aren’t plants so they don’t contain the phytonutrients (nutrients specific to plants such as beta-carotene) associated with my other “Superfoods of Fall”. They do however provide immense nutritional value from the vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients they contain.

     Mushrooms have a higher level of antioxidants than many plants, including green peppers and zucchinis, due to their high levels of polyphenols.  One powerful micronutrient found in high concentrations in mushrooms is the antioxidant ergothioneine. Cooking actually releases this powerful nutrient from the mushroom cells, and increases its anti-inflammatory effects. Mushrooms are a common part of homeopathic medicine and have been used in natural remedies for centuries. Certain compounds in mushrooms are now being studied scientifically by researchers to determine their anti-inflammatory effects. A few of the bioactive compounds discovered include polysaccharides, phenolic compounds, steroids, and lectins. 

     Along with the antioxidants listen above, mushrooms are also a good source of B vitamins (niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin) and contain the minerals iron, and selenium. Mushrooms contain no fat, are low in carbohydrates, and high in fiber. They are a definite “superfood” to include in your diet this Fall.

Rutabagas

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     Rutabaga, first discovered growing wild in Sweden, are cruciferous vegetables related to broccoli, cabbage and kale. They are a root vegetable harvested in the fall and have a similartaste to turnips. They are a great source of potassium and phosphorus, vitamin C and iron, and also the cancer-fighting substance glucosinolate. Rutabaga is wonderful cooked and served warm like mashed potatoes, cooked in soups and stews, or eaten raw as a salad topper to add a bit of crunch.

     Potassium found in rutabaga (8% RDA in one cooked-cup) aids in protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and helps maintain proper fluid balance in the body. Rutabaga also contain 10% of your daily recommendation for phosphorous. Phosphorus aids in the metabolism and synthesis of proteins, and is an important mineral to maintain strong bones. Proper neurotransmitter function and collagen production both require adequate levels of vitamin C. 20-30% of your daily vitamin C requirements can come from eating just one serving of this “super food”. The vitamin C in rutabaga also allows for greater absorption of iron. One rutabaga contains about 5% of your daily needs. 

     Rutabaga has proven beneficial in protecting against cancer-causing carcinogens, and even aids in the reduction of colon and prostate cancers. Cruciferous vegetables, such as rutabagas, are excellent sources of sulfur-containing substances called glucosinolates. These compounds are responsible for the bitter taste and pungent aroma of cruciferous vegetables. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, glucosinolates may help eliminate carcinogens before they can damage DNA or alter certain cell-signaling pathways. In turn, normal cells aren't transformed into cancerous cells.

     Mild and sweet, rutabaga is a great comfort food for fall.

 
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Renee Peters

Renee Peters is a NYC-based model, blogger, and advocate of mindful, sustainable living. She strives to be a role model by using her platform for positive change. Through her blog, Model4GreenLiving, Peters seeks to reshape the way people think about environmental issues and provide practical tips and everyday actions for readers.  Peters uses social media to promote that same message, as well as one of self-love and body-positivity. She also volunteers, is an environmental activist, and is an avid learner of anything relating to the planet and its health. For booking inquires visit Muse Models NYC or Nomad Management Miami.

THE BEST DOCUMENTARIES ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY AND HEALTHY LIVING

     Living sustainably and eating a healthy vegan diet were not inherent parts of my life growing up. As a child of America in the 90s, I was first and foremost a consumer. A consumer of fast fashion, fast food, and meat... lots of meat.  The journey to where I am now has been a long one: A journey filled with personal change and progress... a journey of ups and downs... But ultimately a journey to a healthier, happier, and "more sustainable" me.

     The person who I am today has been fueled not only by my travels and the people I have met, but also in large part by my constant seeking of knowledge. I started at first by reading books such as The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan; Eating Animals by Johnathan Safran Foer; Eat Right For Your Type by Dr. Peter D'Adamo; The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; and many more. These books made references to documentaries, peaking my interest to explore further. I have since watched hundreds of documentary films on a wide array of subjects surrounding sustainable living.

     Ranging from diet and health; environmental protection and sustainability; living with less; the fast fashion industry; the way we interact with one another; to the awe and beauty of the world we live in.

Here are my Top Documentaries that Inspire Sustainable, Healthy Living:


Forks Over Knives

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 A film explaining why a plant-based diet, free of processed foods is necessary for optimal health. It focuses on the ethical principles of veganism, but more so on the scientific proof that plant-based diets work best for our bodies. "Examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods." - Brian L. Wendel


That Sugar Film

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"One man's journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as 'healthy'. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves"- Madman Entertainmen


Cowspiracy: the Sustainability Secret

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"The World's largest environmental organizations are failing to address the single most destructive force facing the planet today. Follow the shocking, yet humorous, journey of an aspiring environmentalist, as he daringly seeks to find the real solution to the most pressing environmental issues and true path to sustainability." -Imbd.com


 Racing Extinction 

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"Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) assembles a team of artists and activists intent on showing the world never-before-seen images that expose issues of endangered species and mass extinction. Whether infiltrating notorious black markets with guerrilla-style tactics or exploring the scientific causes affecting changes to the environment, RACING EXTINCTION will change the way we see the world and our role within it." -Imbd.com


Dirt! The Movie

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 "DIRT! The Movie brings to life the environmental, economic, social, and political impact that the soil has. It shares the stories of experts from all over the world who study and harness the beauty and power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with soil. ...DIRT! The Movie is a call to action. 'The only remedy for disconnecting people from the natural world is connecting them to it again.' What we've destroyed, we can heal." - Common Ground Media, Inc.


Mission Blue

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"Legendary oceanographer and TED prize winner Dr. Sylvia Earle is on a mission to save our oceans. Mission Blue is part action-adventure, part expose of an Eco-disaster. More than 100 scientists, philanthropists and activists gather in the Galapagos Islands to help fulfill Dr. Earle's lifelong wish: build a global network of marine protected areas, like underwater national parks, to protect the natural systems that keep humans alive. As the expedition ends, Sylvia and an environmental dream team race around the world trying to defend her 'Hope Spots'." -imbd.com


True Cost

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"This is a story about clothing. It's about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?" -Michael Ross


We the Tiny House People

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"TV producer and Internet-video personality Kirsten Dirksen invites us on her journey into the tiny homes of people searching for simplicity, self-sufficiency, minimalism and happiness by creating shelter in tiny spaces." -Imbd.com


Unity 

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 "Despite the advent of science, literature, technology, philosophy, religion, and so on -- none of these has assuaged humankind from killing one another, the animals, and nature. UNITY is a film about why we can't seem to get along, even after thousands and thousands of years." -Nation Earth


Samsara 

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"Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders." -Imbd.com


I hope you are as moved by these documentaries as I have been. And as always thanks for reading.