The Truth About Sugar

JANUARY 20, 2011 on DR OZ IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Sugar Is Linked To High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Liver Disease And Insulin Resistance

The #1 Food Dr. Oz Wants Out Of Your House is SUGAR; Research has linked eating too much sugar with the major killers of mankind.  We are eating over a pound of sugar a week, that’s more than triple the maximum amount of sugar the American Heart Association recommends. Did you know that sugar can damage your liver the same way alcohol does? Sugar is addicting.

1. Sugar Causes High Blood Pressure – According to CNN Health writer, Amanda Gardner:

“Eating too much sodium can push your blood pressure into the danger zone. Now, researchers are reporting that eating too many sweets–or drinking too much soda–may have a similar effect.

People who consume a diet high in fructose, a type of sugar and a key ingredient in high-fructose corn syrup, are more likely to have high blood pressure (hypertension), according to a new study.

Drinking 2.5 cans or more of non-diet soda per day–or consuming an equivalent amount of fructose from other foods–increases your risk of hypertension by at least 30 percent, the study found. What’s more, the increased risk appears to be independent of other dietary habits, including sodium, carbohydrate and overall calorie intake.”

2. Sugar Causes High CholesterolArticle from WebMD – High Sugar Diet Linked to Cholesterol

“Excess sugar is known to contribute to obesity, diabetes, and other conditions linked to heart disease, and now new research links it to unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels…

People in the study who ate the most added sugar had the lowest HDL, or good cholesterol, and the highest blood triglyceride levels. People who ate the least sugar had the highest HDL and the lowest triglyceride levels. Eating large amounts of added sugar more than tripled the risk of having low HDL, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Vos and colleagues analyzed data on 6,113 adults who participated in the large, ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999 to 2006.

The lowest consumption group got less than 5% of their daily calories from added sugars, while the highest consumers got 25% or more of their daily calories from sugar. Sugar consumption appeared to be directly related to HDL and triglyceride levels. The more sugar the participants ate, the lower their HDL and higher their triglycerides. Compared to people who ate the least sugar, people who ate the most sugar were three times more likely to have low HDL levels.  Our findings strongly support the AHA recommendations to limit added sugar.”

3. Sugar Causes Liver Disease:  From the Dr Oz article

Dr. Vos explained that “sugar exacerbates fatty liver disease.   If someone already has a liver disease, sugar can make it worse. That’s probably because sugar stimulates all the production of triglycerides in the liver then out to the blood stream. The similarities between alcohol and sugar is that they’re both carbs, they both stimulate belly fat and they both can cause liver disease.  The mechanisms are similar.” A diet high in sugar is believed to exacerbate fatty liver disease. Too much sugar spikes insulin and drives fat into the liver cells, which causes inflammation and scarring, eventually causing the liver to become cirrhotic.

Dr. Greene; “Some researchers believe that Sugar is the major cause of non alcohol, fatty liver disease.  Fatty liver disease happens when the liver builds up with fat and the cells stretch which causes scaring. Think of it as getting stretch marks on your liver but these are serious stretch marks, which cause cirrhosis, a terrible disease. Now researchers are thinking that too much sugar is actually the leading cause of non alcoholic fatty liver disease and cirrhosis.”

4. Sugar Causes Insulin Resistance: From the Dr. Oz Article

When sugar enters the body, insulin opens the door to allow sugar into the cells. However, when there are continuous sugar spikes, insulin becomes less effective. Sugar can’t get into the cells and becomes “stuck” in the body, producing toxic effects that lead to obesity and the threat of diabetes.

Dr Greene; “Insulin is the main director of our metabolism.  It rises and falls as we eat. If you eat too much added sugar, it spikes and pushes the sugars out of your bloodstream and into the cells where it belongs. The problem is, if it spikes too often then our cells began to lose their sensitivity.  It’s like if you go to too many rock concerts your, ears get less sensitive. Our cells get less sensitive to insulin and the average sugar in the blood starts to go up and if it gets to high you have Diabetes.  Some of the biggest complications we have with insulin resistance include Athrosclerosis the harding of the arteries.”

When purging your kitchen, be on the look out for these names:

  • Fructose (High Fructose Corn Syrup)
  • Maltose
  • Sorbitol
  • Evaporated Can Juice
  • Syrups
  • Xylotol
  • Sugars ending in “ol” or “ose”

*Please examine the health risks linked to artificial sweeteners before consuming them. They’re not always the healthier option.  Watch this video to learn more about Aspartame (in diet drinks and sodas).

Dr. Oz Tips for sugar substitutes:

  • Try adding cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla or allspice to your coffee, cereals and baked goods.
  • Raw Honey – Unlike white table sugar, honey is a complex food. One teaspoon contains 25 other compounds including proteins, amino acids and trace minerals.
  • Agave Nectar (not syrup) – A distilled sweetener derived from the blue agave cactus, agave has a low glycemic index.
  • Stevia – A low-calorie sweetener that comes from a plant native to Paraguay and Brazil, stevia is 200 times sweeter than table sugar, so a little goes a long way.

Source: JANUARY 20, 2011 in DR OZ IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

More articles on sugar:


Refined Sugar – The Sweetest poison of All…

Why Sugar is Toxic

Sugar May Be Bad But This Sweetener Is Far More Deadly (HFCS)

How Eating At Home Can Save Your Life

How Eating At Home Can Save Your Life

By Mark Hyman, MD
Click here to read the original article
published in theHuffington Post on January 21, 2011

The slow insidious displacement of home cooked and communally shared family meals by the industrial food system has fattened our nation and weakened our family ties. In 1900, 2 percent of meals were eaten outside the home. In 2010, 50 percent were eaten away from home and one in five breakfasts is from McDonald’s. Most family meals happen about three times a week, last less than 20 minutes and are spent watching television or texting while each family member eats a different microwaved “food.” More meals are eaten in the minivan than the kitchen.

Research shows that children who have regular meals with their parents do better in every way, from better grades, to healthier relationships, to staying out of trouble. They are 42 percent less likely to drink, 50 percent less likely to smoke and 66 percent less like to smoke marijuana. Regular family dinners protect girls from bulimia, anorexia, and diet pills. Family dinners also reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. In a study on household routines and obesity in U.S. preschool-aged children, it was shown that kids as young as four have a lower risk of obesity if they eat regular family dinners, have enough sleep, and don’t watch TV on weekdays.

We complain of not having enough time to cook, but Americans spend more time watching cooking on the Food Network than actually preparing their own meals. In his series, “Food Revolution,” Jamie Oliver showed us how we have raised a generation of Americans who can’t recognize a single vegetable or fruit, and don’t know how to cook.

The family dinner has been hijacked by the food industry. The transformations of the American home and meal outlined above did not happen by accident. Broccoli, peaches, almonds, kidney beans and other whole foods don’t need a food ingredient label or bar code, but for some reason these foods — the foods we co-evolved with over millennia — had to be “improved” by Food Science. As a result, the processed-food industry and industrial agriculture has changed our diet, decade by decade, not by accident but by intention.

That we need nutritionists and doctors to teach us how to eat is a sad reflection of the state of society. These are things our grandparents knew without thinking twice about them. What foods to eat, how to prepare them, and an understanding of why you should share them in family and community have been embedded in cultural traditions since the dawn of human society.

One hundred years ago all we ate was local, organic food; grass-fed, real, whole food. There were no fast-food restaurants, there was no junk food, there was no frozen food — there was just what your mother or grandmother made. Most meals were eaten at home. In the modern age that tradition, that knowledge, is being lost.

The sustainability of our planet, our health, and our food supply are inextricably linked. The ecology of eating — the importance of what you put on your fork — has never been more critical to our survival as a nation or as a species. The earth will survive our self-destruction. But we may not.

Common sense and scientific research lead us to the conclusion that if we want healthy bodies we must put the right raw materials in them: real; whole, local; fresh; unadulterated; unprocessed; and chemical-, hormone- and antibiotic-free food. There is no role for foreign molecules such as trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup, or for industrially developed and processed food that interferes with our biology at every level.

That is why I believe the most important and the most powerful tool you have to change your health and the world is your fork. Imagine an experiment — let’s call it a celebration: We call upon the people of the world to join together and celebrate food for one week. For one week or even one day, we all eat breakfast and dinner at home with our families or friends. For one week we all eat only real, whole, fresh food. Imagine for a moment the power of the fork to change the world.

The extraordinary thing is that we have the ability to move large corporations and create social change by our collective choices. We can reclaim the family dinner, reviving and renewing it. Doing so will help us learn how to find and prepare real food quickly and simply, teach our children by example how to connect, build security, safety and social skills, meal after meal, day after day, year after year.

Here are some tips that will help you take back the family dinner in your home starting today.

Reclaim Your Kitchen

Throw away any foods with high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats or sugar or fat as the first or second ingredient on the label. Fill your shelves with real fresh, whole, local foods when possible. And join a community support agriculture network to get a cheaper supply of fresh vegetables weekly or frequent farmers markets.

Reinstate the Family Dinner

Read Laurie David’s “The Family Dinner”. She suggests the following guidelines: Make a set dinnertime, no phones or texting during dinner, everyone eats the same meal, no television, only filtered or tap water, invite friends and family, everyone clean up together.

Eat Together

No matter how modest the meal, create a special place to sit down together, and set the table with care and respect. Savor the ritual of the table. Mealtime is a time for empathy and generosity, a time to nourish and communicate.

Learn How to Cook and Shop

You can make this a family activity, and it does not need to take a ton of time. Keep meals quick and simple.

Plant a Garden

This is the most nutritious, tastiest, environmentally friendly food you will ever eat.

Conserve, Compost and Recycle

Bring your own shopping bags to the market, recycle your paper, cans, bottles and plastic and start a compost bucket (and find where in your community you can share you goodies).

Invest in Food

As Alice Waters says, food is precious. We should treat it that way. Americans currently spend less than10 percent of their income on food, while most European’s spend about 20 percent of their income on food. We will be more nourished by good food than by more stuff. And we will save ourselves much money and costs over our lifetime.

To learn more tips for taking back the family dinner and using your fork to effect change in our world visit www.drhyman.com.

Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, M.D. is a practicing physician, founder of The UltraWellness Center, a four-time New York Times bestselling author, and an international leader in the field of Functional Medicine. You can follow him on Twitter, connect with him on LinkedIn, watch his videos on YouTube, become a fan on Facebook, and subscribe to his newsletter.

Urban Permaculture

Urban permaculture – 10 ebooks about sustainable city strategies, community and guerrilla gardening

In urban situations, space is limited, there may be little or no access to land, and various regulatory restrictions when it comes to gardening or backyard animals. We want to share some of the concepts that people have used in urban settings which allow them to circumnavigate these obsticles. Below is a list of some solutions practiced by various groups in cities across the nation. It is a mix of approaches, ranging from gardening to co-parenting, going across of aspects of sustainability.

Inspirational ebooks on Permaculture Media Blog:

Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden And Your Neighborhood into a Community – Food Not Lawns doesn’t begin and end in the seed bed. This joyful permaculture lifestyle manual inspires readers to apply the principles of the paradise garden—simplicity, resourcefulness, creativity, mindfulness, and community—to all aspects of life. Plant “guerilla gardens” in barren intersections and medians; organize community meals; start a street theater troupe or host a local art swap; free your kitchen from refrigeration and enjoy truly fresh, nourishing foods from your own plot of land; work with children to create garden play spaces.

Cities as Sustainable Ecosystems: Principles and Practices– shows how cities and their residents can begin to reintegrate into their bioregional environment, and how cities themselves can be planned with nature’s organizing principles in mind. Taking cues from living systems for sustainability strategies, Newman and Jennings reassess urban design by exploring flows of energy, materials, and information, along with the interactions between human and non-human parts of the system.

Community Gardening (Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guide) – This all-region guide, filled with hands-on tips, offers a snapshot of today’s vibrant North American community gardening movement. Whether you are already a member of a community garden, want to get involved in one, or are just curious, this guide will inform and inspire you. Models include vegetable gardens, aesthetic and art gardens, children’s and youth gardens, and several others. Using real-life case studies from around North America, the expert contributors show how community gardening produces safe, eco-friendly food; brings neighbors together; offers valuable lessons for children; and gives each participant the personal satisfaction that comes with cultivating the land and making things grow.

Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway– This extensively revised and expanded second edition broadens the reach and depth of the permaculture approach for urban and suburban growers.

Many people mistakenly think that ecological gardening—which involves growing a wide range of edible and other useful plants—can take place only on a large, multiacre scale. As Hemenway demonstrates, it’s fun and easy to create a “backyard ecosystem” by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions, including:

* Building and maintaining soil fertility and structure
* Catching and conserving water in the landscape
* Providing habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and animals
* Growing an edible “forest” that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods

Critical Mass: Transport, Environment and Society in the Twenty-First Century – This book, pointing out that car-dependency is shared throughout Europe, Asia and North America, argues that the problems can only be solved globally by a shared recognition of common needs. In addition, with transport inextricabley linked with consumerism and the lifestyles that car ownership has created, the book argues that the challenge is to replace the current technology with an alternative that is sustainable and will solve the fundamental problems of poverty, inequity and social development.

City Farmer: Adventures in Growing Urban Food – celebrates the new ways that urban dwellers across North America are reimagining cities as places of food production. From homeowners planting their front yards with vegetables to guerilla gardeners scattering seeds in neglected urban corners, gardening guru Lorraine Johnson chronicles the increasing popularity of innovative urban food growing.

“Vibrant and alive… a spirited journey to meet those who are rediscovering the economic, social, and healing power of growing food in the city”

Ecocities: rebuilding cities in balance with nature– is about re-building cities and towns based on ecological principles for the long term sustainability, cultural vitality and health of the Earth’s biosphere. Unique in the literature is the book’s insight that the form of the city really matters – and that it is within our ability to change it, and crucial that we do. Further, that the ecocity within its bioregion is comprehensible and do-able, and can produce a healthy and potentially happy future.

Sustainable urban planning: tipping the balance – introduces the principles and practices behind urban and regional planning in the context of environmental sustainability. Its publication reflects a growing recognition in the fields of planning and environmental studies that cities, where the majority of humans now live, need to be developed in a sustainable way. The text takes a balanced approach, weaving together the concerns of planning, capitalism, development, and cultural and environmental preservation. It helps students and planners to connect the needs of the environment with the need for financial gain. This approach is mirrored in the structure of the book which is divided into two parts, one focusing on theories and the other on techniques.

Climate Resilient Cities: A Primer on Reducing Vulnerabilities to Disasters – provides city administrators with exactly what they need to know about the complex and compelling challenges of climate change. The book helps local governments create training, capacity building, and capital investment programs for building sustainable, resilient communities. A step-by-step self-assessment challenges policymakers to think about the resources needed to combat natural disasters through an innovative hot spot risk and vulnerability identification tool. This primer is unique from other resources in its treatment of climate change using a dual-track approach that integrates both mitigation (lowering contributions to greenhouse gases) and adaptation (preparing for impacts of climate change) with disaster risk management.

Resilient Cities: Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change – The authors of this spirited book don’t believe that oblivion is necessarily the destiny of urban areas. Instead, they believe that intelligent planning and visionary leadership can help cities meet the impending crises, and look to existing initiatives in cities around the world. Rather than responding with fear (as a legion of doomsaying prognosticators have done), they choose hope. First, they confront the problems, describing where we stand today in our use of oil and our contribution to climate change. They then present four possible outcomes for cities: ”collapse,” “ruralized,” “divided,” and “resilient.” In response to their scenarios, they articulate how a new “sustainable urbanism” could replace today’s “carbon-consuming urbanism.”

Read Original Article Here

Saving Money with a Supply Journal

Several of you have asked me about our food budget and how much we are spending on this or that.  Honestly, I need to start a supply journal so I can answer some of your questions accurately.

Right now, we spend on average $1,200.00 a month on food and supplements (not counting eating out once a week).    That is about 20% of our budget which is comparable to what people in other countries spend (the percentage, not the amount).  The average American spends less than 10% of their budget on food.  I used to believe that buying the cheapest food was the way to go.  Now I realize that I can’t fuel my body with cheap junk and expect excellent health, lots of energy, clear thinking and longevity.  Why are we so willing to pay top dollar for stuff (tvs, computers, houses, etc…) while treating our own bodies so poorly.  We certainly wouldn’t put cheap fuel in our gas tank if we knew it would burn up the engine quickly, require more time at the shop and shorten the lifespan of the car by decades. So, yes, we spend a lot on food but I’ll be exploring more ways to get the same quality of food for less as I continue on this journey.

Some strategies I’m planning and already starting to implement are; eating less meat, buying in bulk and using coupons for supplements whenever possible.   I’d love to hear some of your tips for saving money while eating healthy.

There’s a lady in my community who has a blog called, ‘Little House in the Suburbs’.  I’ve actually visited her suburban, backyard farm.  She’s into simplicity, frugality, raising chickens, and goats, and gardening.  I love her blog and I found this post quite helpful.

Save Money with a Food Journal, from ‘Little House in the Suburbs’.

by Ivory Soap on 05/11/2010

 

I’m so jealous when I watch Jane Austen-ish movies and Father furrows his brow and says something like, “We won’t have enough to buy coal through the winter.  We’ll be out by December.”  Huh? How does he know that?  And the general store managers on pioneer shows that know exactly how many bootlaces Mr. Smith buys each season.  And the farm wife of yesteryear who knew how many eggs her hens laid and how many bags of flour and salt it took to get through a year.

According to my reading, they did it through little monthly lists, kinda like this:

I couldn’t stand not to know anymore.  So, I started keeping my own supply journal.  Here’s how you do it.

1.  Get a half sized spiral notebook.  Label one page per category for May 2010:  meat/dairy, fresh/frozen produce, beverages, paper/plastic products, baking aisle, convenience foods and impulsive trash, etc. (You’ll start a new set each month.)

2.  Record the quantities and prices for the different categories.  No obsessing.  This isn’t your budget, it’s just an expense record.  Leave out the tax.  If it says 1.98, feel free to write 2.00.  K?

3.  Be shocked at the inordinate number of tiny chip bags your family goes through in a month just trying to keep the kids quiet in the store.  I had no idea Mr. Ivory did that too!  (I should break up a larger bag into serving size and keep them stashed in the back with the reusable shopping bags.)

4.  Be appalled at the number of times you and your hubby run to the store without having hydrated and attack one of those mini-fridges for an over-priced bottle of water.  (Throw some water bottles in the back too.)

5.  Be impressed at how much you could cut your spending if you wanted to…  Look at all the things I could make myself if I needed to.  Look how much of our food budget goes to laziness or impulse.  We’d save a fortune if I’d just make a bunch of freezer pizzas a month ahead of time.  And did Mr. Ivory really buy jerky?

6.  And finally, say things like “WOW, we eat a lot of almonds and walnuts! Six pounds in one month?  Seriously?  I had no idea.  We killed twelve pounds of produce in five days?  True we had company and all, but that plus the five pounds of strawberries I picked out of the yard?  We are some plant-eating people!  And olive oil.  We just bought 17 oz on Friday and it’s half gone.  CRIPES!”

Kid you not, it will change the whole way you look at your grocery list.  I expect in one year to say something to Mr. Ivory like, “We ate sixty pounds of chicken thighs last year, but only 15 pounds of beans.  We really should have a bean night every week, like we do fish.  And with the fluctuations in poultry prices…it will probably save us (fill in the blank).”  I’m so excited!!!!

So, you can do it to save money.  You can do it to reduce your carbon footprint.  You can do it because of good stewardship.  You can do it because, like me, you were born 100 years too late and it irks you to not know how often you buy socks.  Heck, you can do it to find out what a three month’s supply actually looks like so you’ll be prepared for that impending zombie apocalype my husband keeps training for on the XBox.  But, regardless, I highly recommend it.

Transitioning to Clean Food

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. ” (Genesis 1: 29)

I’ve always been a health nut.  In college I was a vegetarian and I used to run 6 miles a day.  I love fruits and vegetables and I’ve never cared much for sweets.  After I had my second child, I discovered that my cholesterol was very high (260) and I was diagnosed with GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease).  I also had 15 lbs to lose.  I was dealing with allergies and insomnia and was on benedryl for sleep and sucked on losenges all night to keep from coughing which led to my first cavities.  I also had irritable bowel syndrome which disrupted my life.  My doctors put me on statins (cholesterol) and anti depressants (for IBS).  At the time I really thought that my diet was healthy but in hindsight I can see how unhealthy it really was. It has taken me several years to learn the truth about food and apply what I’ve learned.  My biggest learning curve has taken place in the past 7 months as I have really began to study nutrition on my own and take my family’s health seriously.

I can honestly say that since I’ve made these changes in my diet and lifestyle I feel amazing!  All the above symptoms are gone and I’m not on any medication whatsoever.   My doctor was even amazed that my cholesterol ratio was excellent!  All I changed was what I put in my mouth and I started to exercise regularly.  I’d like to share what I learned about food and how eating a clean diet has restored my health.  I firmly believe that clean, whole foods, pure water and exercise are the best preventative medicines available to us all.  I took control of my health and so can you.

Statistics that concern and motivate me to carefully navigate the minefield of modern food and make wise choices:

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What I’ve Learned about Food:

1) Avoid GMOs – The first time I heard the phrase, “Genetically Modified Organisms”, I was sitting on my couch watching ‘Food Inc.’.  I remember asking the grocer at Kroger where the non-GMO bread was and he looked at me funny.  He had no idea what I was talking about.  So how is it that I live in a country where most of the processed food in the grocery store has GMOs in it and people, including myself and the folks who are selling it  have no idea what it is? So what is a GMO?

Definition: Meat and edible plants radically modified through genetic engineering (GE). Although humans have genetically modified animal and plants since the beginning of civilization, they did it through selective breeding possible only within the same species through natural reproduction over decades or centuries. GE techniques, however, can transfer genetic material from any source to another to instantly create utterly different variants. Since alien genes are not welcomed by the existing genes, suppressive GE techniques must be used to force the animal or plant to accept them. Such artificially mutated foods are a source of unresolved controversy over the uncertainty of their long-term effects on humans and food chains.  Read the entire article here.

Why should you care? “Genetically modified foods have been linked to toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals. The effects on humans of consuming these new combinations of proteins produced in GMOs are unknown and have not been studied.” Click here to learn more about the health risks of GMOs

Source: According the Jeffery Smith, Author of ‘Seeds of Destruction’“The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has called on all physicians to prescribe diets without genetically modified (GM) foods to all patients.1 They called for a moratorium on genetically modified organisms (GMOs), long-term independent studies, and labeling, stating,”

“Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.

…There is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation…”

There are numerous books, films, websites, news sites and blogs dedicated entirely to the subject of GMOs.  The most comprehensive site that I have found is, ‘The Institute for Responsible Technology’. GMOs are banned in many countries but are not even labeled in America.  Read: GMO lies: Deliberate misuse of the term “genetically modified” designed to mislead people.

Current GM Crops in the U.S.:  (from The Institute for Responsible Technology)

Soy (91%) Cotton (71%) Canola (88%) Corn (85%) Sugar Beets (90%) Hawaiian papaya (more than 50%) Alfalfa (at Supreme Court), Zucchini and Yellow Squash (small amount) Tobacco (Quest® brand) – (Number in parentheses represents the estimated percentage that is genetically modified.)

Other Sources of GMOs:
• Dairy products from cows injected with the GM hormone rbGH
• Food additives, enzymes, flavorings, and processing agents, including the sweetener aspartame (NutraSweet®) and rennet used to make hard cheeses
• Meat, eggs, and dairy products from animals that have eaten GM feed (factory farmed meats)
• Honey and bee pollen that may have GM sources of pollen
• Contamination or pollination caused by GM seeds or pollen

Some of the Ingredients That May Be Genetically Modified: Vegetable oil, vegetable fat and margarines (made with soy, corn, cottonseed, and/or canola)

Ingredients derived from soybeans: Soy flour, soy protein, soy isolates, soy isoflavones, soy lecithin, vegetable proteins, textured vegetable protein (TVP), tofu, tamari, tempeh, and soy protein supplements.

Ingredients derived from corn: Corn flour, corn gluten, corn masa, corn starch, corn syrup, cornmeal, and High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).

Learn more about the dangers of soy by clicking here.

I’m using this to help make healthy choices: Non-GMO shopping guide.

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2) Choose Organic Food Whenever Possible:

Learn more by reading – Cancer Report:  Toxic Chemical Pesticides Cause Cancer (click on this link)

The Organic Premise: Many people are aware that food grown according to organic principles is free from exposure to harmful herbicides and pesticides, but that is only one small aspect of organic agriculture. A larger part of organic agriculture involves the health of the soil and the ecosystem in which crops and livestock are raised. Organic farmers recognize that healthy, vibrant, and live soils and ecosystems significantly benefit crops. Natural, undisturbed soil is alive with microbiotic organisms that exist in harmony with the native plant life and the inorganic minerals that provide the soil’s substrate.

Synthetic chemicals (such as herbicides, pesticides, and/or fast acting inorganic fertilizers) applied in or around crops interrupt or destroy the microbiotic activity in the soil. Once the microbiotic activity in the soil has stopped, the soil becomes merely an anchor for plant material. In this conventional method of agriculture (in use for only the past 75 of 10,000 years of recorded agriculture) plants can receive only air, water, and sunlight from their environment — everything else must be distributed to plants by farmers, often from inputs transported thousands of miles to reach the farm. Plants are commonly fed only the most basic elements of plant life and so are dependent on the farmer to fight nature’s challenges, e.g. pests, disease, and drought.

An organically cultivated pepper will be healthier and more nutritious than a conventionally cultivated pepper. By growing in a living soil where microbiotic activity constantly breaks organic matter and solid minerals into nutrients a plant can use, an organically cultivated pepper plant always has exactly what it needs to grow, from germination to fruit set, and the plant will be healthier throughout its lifespan than a conventionally grown pepper plant. As a result, the organically grown plant will be able to add more and complex components to all of its parts, including its fruit, resulting in a pepper chock-full of micro-nutrients and trace minerals that are important for human nutrition.

We can’t afford to buy organic all of the time so I use the dirty dozen list to guide my shopping.  The items on this list have the most contamination from pesticides and the residues are on the skin and inside the fruit/vegetable.  You can’t wash it all off!

1. Celery – Celery has no protective skin, which makes it almost impossible to wash off the chemicals (64 of them!) that are used on crops. Buy organic celery, or choose alternatives like broccoli, radishes, and onions.

2. Peaches – Multiple pesticides (as many as 62 of them) are regularly applied to these delicately skinned fruits in conventional orchards. Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include watermelon, tangerines, oranges, and grapefruit.

3. Strawberries – If you buy strawberries, especially out of season, they’re most likely imported from countries that have less-stringent regulations for pesticide use. 59 pesticides have been detected in residue on strawberries. Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and pineapples.

4. Apples – Like peaches, apples are typically grown with poisons to kill a variety of pests, from fungi to insects. Tests have found 42 different pesticides as residue on apples. Scrubbing and peeling doesn’t eliminate chemical residue completely, so it’s best to buy organic when it comes to apples. Peeling a fruit or vegetable also strips away many of their beneficial nutrients. Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include watermelon, bananas, and tangerines.

5. Blueberries – New on the Dirty Dozen list in 2010, blueberries are treated with as many as 52 pesticides, making them one of the dirtiest berries on the market.

6. Nectarines – With 33 different types of pesticides found on nectarines, they rank up there with apples and peaches among the dirtiest tree fruit. Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include, watermelon, papaya, and mango.

7. Bell peppers – Peppers have thin skins that don’t offer much of a barrier to pesticides. They’re often heavily sprayed with insecticides. (Tests have found 49 different pesticides on sweet bell peppers.) Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include green peas, broccoli, and cabbage.

8. Spinach – New on the list for 2010, spinach can be laced with as many as 48 different pesticides, making it one of the most contaminated green leafy vegetable.

9. Kale – Traditionally, kale is known as a hardier vegetable that rarely suffers from pests and disease, but it was found to have high amounts of pesticide residue when tested this year. Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include cabbage, asparagus, and broccoli.

10. Cherries – Even locally grown cherries are not necessarily safe. In fact, in one survey in recent years, cherries grown in the U.S. were found to have three times more pesticide residue then imported cherries. Government testing has found 42 different pesticides on cherries. Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include raspberries and cranberries.

11. Potatoes – America’s popular spud reappears on the 2010 Dirty Dozen list, after a year hiatus. America’s favorite vegetable can be laced with as many as 37 different pesticides. Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include eggplant, cabbage, and earthy mushrooms.

12. Grapes – Imported grapes run a much greater risk of contamination than those grown domestically. Only imported grapes make the 2010 Dirty Dozen list. Vineyards can be sprayed with different pesticides during different growth periods of the grape, and no amount of washing or peeling will eliminate contamination because of the grape’s thin skin. Remember, wine is made from grapes, which testing shows can harbor as many as 34 different pesticides. Can’t find organic? Safer alternatives include kiwi and raspberries.

When buying organic, look for the following regulated terms on food labels:

  • Food labeled “100% organic” has no synthetic ingredients and can legally use the USDA organic seal.
  • Food labeled “organic” has a minimum of 95% organic ingredients. It is eligible to use the USDA organic seal.
  • Food labeled “made with organic ingredients” must contain at least 70% organic ingredients. It is not eligible for the USDA seal.
  • Meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy labeled “organic” must come from animals that have never received antibiotics or growth hormones.

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3) Avoid Plastic (BPA): Tips to Avoid BPA

From Buzzle: Scientists say that a common ingredient in most plastics, called Bisphenol A, or BPA, mimics estrogen and causes reproductive harm in rats at levels below what most humans are exposed to every day.  In fact, BPA was first developed in the 1930s as a synthetic estrogen. For whatever reason, someone decided that it would make a great liner for canned food products and an additive for plastics manufacturing.  As a result, 95% of adult Americans have a measurable amount of BPA in our blood and urine.

A study performed by Randy L Jirtle at Duke University in North Carolina and reported in the June 2006 issue of Science News revealed that pregnant mice who were fed low doses of BPA in their food gave birth to offspring who showed genetic changes, such as a tendency toward obesity.  Another study, published in the July 2007 issue of Reproductive Technology, was performed by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The NIEHS team conducted a short-term examination of newborn female mice exposed to varying levels of BPA. When those mice were re-examined at mid-life, they had reproductive anomalies that were not found in the control group, such as ovarian cysts and uterine growths.  The amounts of BPA given to mice in the NIEHS study fell below levels found in most humans.

What does this mean for humans? The good news is that humans metabolize BPA at faster rates than rats do, so the chemical leaves the body fairly quickly. The bad news is that we are continually exposed to levels of BPA above those which correspond to reproductive harm in rodents.  Experts report observing estrogenic-like changes in wildlife that are similar to the effects seen in lab animals exposed to BPA, revealing possible evidence that the chemical has leached into ground water and plants consumed by animals in the wild.

What you can do to reduce their exposure to BPA:

* Avoid canned foods such as soups and tomato-based pastas, which had the highest levels of BPA, and canned infant formula, which had over 200 times the recommended safety levels of BPA.

* B-vitamins seem to neutralize the effects of BPA, so take your vitamins!

* Baby bottles and sippy cups had high levels of BPA as well, so avoiding these might be a good idea. Pliable, “cloudy” plastics such as the Medela brand baby bottles don’t contain BPA.

* Some plastic wraps contain BPA, so check the labels for “BPA-free” wraps.

* Consider using an alternative to plastic water bottles. Consider natural plastic alternatives. Biota makes a corn-based plastic for its natural spring water. The bottle dissolves in 70-80 days, and uses no petroleum products in its manufacturing process. Other companies are experimenting with compostable or biodegradable plastics made from corn, hemp, or potatoes.

Or think about stepping out of the Plastic Age, as much as is possible. Glass food or beverage containers can make as much sense as plastic, so consider the possibilities for expanding beyond the overwhelming use of plastics. It’s better for you, and better for the planet.

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4) Eat Raw Food Frequently:  Visit ‘Starting a Raw Food Diet’

Health Benefits of Eating Raw Food:  From: GHC Natural Health and Organic Living Site

Raw foods are also extremely high in nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, fiber and plant phytochemical. A report from the Journal of Nutrition stated that increased use of raw foods in our diet lowers both cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body, some of the main indicators for heart disease, obesity & high blood pressure.

If you slowly begin to eat in this fashion, you will be amazed at your increased energy levels, youthful appearance and decreased visits to the doctors office. Increasing raw food intake has also been linked to a decreased need for sleep, with many reporting that they have more energy when they wake up in the morning, and that they find it easier to get out of bed!

Other benefits of following a raw food diet include improved skin appearance, excess weight loss, improved digestion, the reduction of many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer, as well as many other health debilitating ailments. Raw foods typically do not have as many trans and saturated fats, as compared to most cooked foods, especially fast food, junk food and any other processed foods.

Watch ‘Raw For 30 Days’ to see how this diet cured 6 people of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.  Cooking food destroys all the enzymes and most of the nutrients in the food.  I try to get at least 50% of my calorie intake from raw food daily.

My favorite way to eat raw food includes:  Smoothies, fresh, organic juices, salads, fruit and raw nuts and seeds.

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5) Choose Free-Range, Grass Fed and Pastured Meat, Milk and Eggs:

One of the staples of my diet is eggs, free range, organic eggs that is.   In fact, I eat at least two eggs a day.  Here’s what I’ve learned about eggs:

According to BRYAN WELCH: Our testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:

• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene

WebMD says: “But just how can you tell what you’re buying, when you’re shopping for eggs? What do terms like cage-free, free-range, organic, and others mean?”

Cage-free eggs are eggs from birds that are not raised in cages, but in floor systems usually in an open barn. The hens have bedding material such as pine shavings on the floor, and they are allowed perches and nest boxes to lay their eggs.  However, they may still be at close quarters with many other hens — just not in cages. That depends on the farm.

Free-range eggs are laid from hens that have the opportunity to go outside. Smaller farms may keep birds outside under a canopy area. They may travel in and out of a barn at free will or spend some portion of their day roaming outdoors.

Organic eggs are laid from hens that may be kept in any kind of caging system, but generally are cage free. They eat an organic feed and don’t receive vaccines or antibiotics.In order to qualify for USDA organic certification, the grains used for the hens’ diets must be produced on land that has been free from the use of toxic and persistent chemical pesticides and fertilizers for at least three years.  Genetically engineered crops are not permitted, and hens must be maintained without hormones, antibiotics, and other intrusive drugs.

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My family and I have been drinking raw milk for a year now. We love it and have never had any reactions to it.  I purchase all of my raw milk, free range eggs and grass fed meats from West Wind Farms.  Just make sure to drink your milk while it’s fresh.  Ours stays fresh for 7-8 days.

Raw Milk Facts – The Benefits of Raw Milk (click here to read the whole article) Few people are aware that clean, raw milk from grass-fed cows was actually used as a medicine in the early part of the last century (2)(3). That’s right. Milk straight from the udder, a sort of “stem cell” of foods, was used as medicine to treat, and frequently cure some serious chronic diseases (4). From the time of Hippocrates to until just after World War II, this “white blood” nourished and healed uncounted millions.

Clean raw milk from pastured cows is a complete and properly balanced food. You could live on it exclusively if you had to. Indeed, published accounts exist of people who have done just that (5)(6).  What’s in it that makes it so great? Select the above link to look at the ingredients that make raw milk such a powerful food.

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6) Drink Pure Water:  See my post ‘Water’ to learn more…

For more information read: The Dangers of Fluoride and The Dangers of Chlorine (just click on these links)

According to Paul Bragg, author of, “The Shocking Truth About Water”: “Drinking the right kind of water is one of your best natural protections against all kinds of virus infections such as influenza, pneumonia, whopping cough, measles and other infectious diseases. Doctors advise bed-rest and plenty of water for the flu. When the body’s tissues and cells are kept well-supplied with ample water, they can fight viral attacks more efficiently. If the body’s cells are water-starved, they become shriveled up, parched and dry, making it easy for viruses and diseases to attack.

Always bear in mind the important functions of the right kind of water in your body. Water is a vital component of all body fluids, tissues, cells, lymph, blood and glandular secretions. Water holds all nutritive factors in solution and acts as a transportation medium to the various parts of the body for these substances. The mucous membranes need plenty of water to keep them soft and free from friction on their delicate surfaces.

Water Flushes Toxins Out of the Body
One of the most important functions of water is to flush the toxins and salt from the body.  Pure water keeps the body’s cells healthier and prevents dehydration. The face and neck remain more free of ageing lines and wrinkles, while the entire body retains its youthfulness longer!

The 70% Watery Human

The amount of water in the human body, averaging 70%, varies considerably and even from one part of the body to another area. A lean man may hold 70% of his weight in water, while a woman—because her larger proportion of water-poor fatty tissues—may be only 52% water. The lowering of the water’s content in the blood is what triggers the hypothalamus, the brain’s thirst center, to send out its familiar urgent demand for a drink of water

Water is Important to Superb Health
People who ingest a sufficient amount of the right kinds of liquids (distilled water, fresh fruits and vegetables and their juices) have better body functioning and circulation overall, which are most important to Super Health and Long Life.”

For pure water, we use a Reverse Osmosis System.  This is to remove the chlorine and fluoride from our water. Distilled water is also a good choice but is devoid of any minerals so make sure you get yours from supplements and plenty of organic fruits and vegetables.

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7) Avoid Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and Artificial Sweeteners. See my post, ‘The Truth about Sugar’ to learn more.

Original Sources: Refined sugar contains no fiber, no minerals, no proteins, no fats, no enzymes, only empty calories. What happens when you eat a refined carbohydrate like sugar? Your body must borrow vital nutrients from healthy cells to metabolize the incomplete food. Calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium are taken from various parts of the body to make use of the sugar. Many times, so much calcium is used to neutralize the effects of sugar that the bones become osteoporotic due to the withdrawn calcium.

Likewise, the teeth are affected and they lose their components until decay occurs and hastens their loss.  Refined sugar is void of all nutrients, consequently it causes the body to deplete its own stores of various vitamins, minerals and enzymes. If sugar consumption is continued, an over-acid condition results, and more minerals are needed from deep in the body to correct the imbalance. If the body is lacking the nutrients used to metabolize sugar, it will not be able to properly handle and rid itself of the poisonous residues.

These wastes accumulate through the brain and nervous system, which speeds up cellular death. The bloodstream becomes over-loaded with waste products and symptoms of carbonic poisoning result.

Sugar also makes the blood very thick and sticky, inhibiting much of the blood flow into the minute capillaries that supply our gums and teeth with vital nutrients. Therefore, we wind up with diseased gums and starving teeth. America and England, the two largest sugar consumers, have horrendous dental problems.

Diabetes is another commonly known disease caused by sugar. Diabetes is caused by the failure of the pancreas to produce adequate insulin when the blood sugar rises. A concentrated amount of sugar introduced into the system sends the body into shock from the rapid rise in the blood sugar level. The pancreas eventually wears out from overwork and diabetes then rears its ugly head.

Hypoglycemia occurs when the pancreas overreacts to the large amount of sugar in the blood and releases too much insulin leaving one with the “tired” feeling as the blood sugar level becomes lower than it should be.

“A recent article in the British Medical Journal, entitled The Sweet Road to Gallstones, reported that refined sugar may be one of the major dietary risk factors in gallstone disease. Gallstones are composed of fats and calcium. Sugar can upset all of the minerals, and one of the minerals, calcium, can become toxic or nonfunctioning, depositing itself anywhere in the body, including the gallbladder.

“One out of ten Americans has gallstones. This risk increases to one out of every five after age forty. Gallstones may go unnoticed or may cause pain-wrenching pain. Other symptoms might include bloating, belching, and intolerance to foods.” (3)

Another serious problem with sugar that is now coming to the forefront is the various levels of mental problems. Our brains are very sensitive and react to quick chemical changes within the body. As sugar is consumed, our cells are robbed of their B vitamin, which destroys them, and insulin production is inhibited. Low insulin production means a high sugar (glucose) level in the bloodstream, which can lead to a confused mental state or unsound mind, and has also been linked with juvenile criminal behavior.

Dr. Alexander G. Schauss, brings this solemn fact out in his book, Diet, Crime and Delinquency. Many mental ward and prison inmates are “sugarholics” and erratic emotional outbreaks often follow a sugar binge.

Watch:  ‘The Truth about Aspertame’ with Dr. Russel Blaylock, and read The Case Against Aspartame

A good documentary about Aspartame is Sweet Misery a Poisoned World

High Fructose Corn Syrup
Take a couple items from your kitchen and look at the ingredients. The majority of items sold contain “high fructose corn syrup” and some items you would never expect to have this ingredient do… so please listen up.

High fructose corn syrup causes:
Obesity
Diabetes
Cancer
Insulin resistant
Heart Attack
Stroke
and….  High Fructose Corn Syrup is contaminated with Mercury and promotes obesity and liver damage

Manufacturers are using this ingredient because it costs them less money.  I’ve chosen to avoid it all costs.

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8. Eat More Healthy Fats:  For more information, read:  The Cholesterol Myth That is Harming Your Health

Fats To Eat

Fats To Avoid

  • Soy oil (GMO, can contain trans fatty acids and can cause heart lesions)
  • Corn oil (GMO, can contain trans fatty acids and can cause heart lesions)
  • Cottonseed Oil
  • Canola Oil (GMO, can contain trans fatty acids and can cause heart lesions)
  • Hydrogenated Oils
  • Trans Fats
  • Most other vegetable oils, especially when not cold pressed (they are rancid and therefore a carcinogen)

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9) Avoid Fast Food and Processed Food:  ‘Watch Super Size Me’ to learn more about fast food

Fast foods and processed foods are loaded with all the additives, unhealthy fats, chemicals, GMOs, salt and sugar that we are trying to stay away from.

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10) Avoid MSG, Food Colorings and other Harmful Food Additives

If you have time Read, The Dangers of MSG and  The Truth about Aspartame, MSG and Excitotoxins

Here’s a list of Food additives to avoid from ‘Healthy Reader, A guide to healthy lifestyle’

1. Sodium Nitrate/ Sodium Nitrite
What is it? Nitrates/Nitrites preserve, flavor and maintain a red color in many processed meat products.
You can find them in: Processed meat products-Bacon, sausage, ham, hot dogs, lunch meat, pepperoni, smoked fish, corn beef, canned meat. It’s also found in some cheese.
Why you should avoid them: Nitrites can form potent carcinogenic nitrosamines in the body. Nitrosamines are among the most powerful carcinogens known and even small amounts can lead to cancer. Studies confirm that nitrates and nitrites can cause prostate, breast and stomach cancers in humans.  Nitrates are associated with increased miscarriages, fetal deaths and birth defects in laboratory animals. Both US and Canadian regulatory agencies have lowered the permissible levels of nitrates/nitrites for use in processed foods.
Alternatives: Health food stores offer a variety of nitrite/nitrate free meats.

2. BHA and BHT – (Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene)
What is it? BHA and BHT preserve many common processed foods
You can find them in: cereal, chewing gum, potato chips, and vegetable oils.
Why you should avoid them: Repeated studies show that BHA and BHT increase the risk of cancer and accumulate in body tissue, causing liver enlargement. They also slow down the rate of DNA synthesis and cell development.

3.Propyl Gallate
You can find it in: some processed meat products, chicken soup stock and gum.
Why you should avoid it: Propyl Gallate is a suspected carcinogen. It is also known to cause kidney, liver and gastrointestinal problems.

4. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
What is it? Monosodium glutamate enhances flavors
You can find it in: most canned soups, salad dressings, chips, crackers and frozen foods. It is also found in most spice and flavoring blends.
MSG can be legally concealed on food labels behind harmless-sounding names like “natural flavoring”, “spices”, “seasonings” etc…
Why you should avoid it: MSG can cause severe reactions in some people- headaches, nausea etc… Animal studies link it to damaging nerve cells in the brains of mice.

5. Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
What is it? Hydrogenated vegetable oil sometimes goes by the name “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.” It is more commonly known as a trans fat.
You can find it in: Processed chips, microwave popcorn, crackers, cookies,pastries, pies, cakes, most fast foods, butter, margarine, lard, coconut oil, cottonseed oil & palm kernel oil etc…
Why you should avoid it:Trans fats raise levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, which increases your chances of developing heart disease,having a heart attack, stroke or kidney failure.
Alternative: Monounsaturated fats like Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, help to lower bad LDL cholesterol and raises good HDL cholesterol.

6. Aspartame:
What is it? A genetically engineered artificial sweetener.  Aspartame is sold by the brand names Nutrasweet and Equal. It’s found in 6,000 products worldwide.
You can find it in: Diet foods- diet soft drinks & drink mixes, low calorie desserts, gelatins, puddings, frozen desserts, yogurt, some childrens vitamins etc…
Why you should avoid it: Aspartame is responsible for 80% of the complaints that the FDA receives. The FDA has compiled a list of 92 Aspartame poisoning symptoms, from over 10,000 consumers. These complaints include- headaches, memory loss, seizures,  vision loss, coma, and cancer.
Aspartame was once listed as a “Biochemical Warfare Agent” by the Pentagon.  For 8 years The US Food and Drug Administration did not approve Aspartame because of the evidence that was brought to light by numerous scientists, litigators and consumer groups, that aspartame damages the central nervous system and causes cancer in animals.
Alternatives: Stevia and Xylitol are low calorie, natural sweeteners

7. Acesulfame-K…(Sunette, Sweet-n-Safe, Sweet One)
What is it? This is a relatively new artificial sweetener, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1998.
You can find it in: Diet soft drinks, baked goods, chewing gum, and gelatin desserts.
Why you should avoid it: Acesulfame-K often is on many top 12 lists of additives to avoid because further study is needed in order to decide whether or not it is harmful to humans. Some studies showed this additive causes cancer in rats.
Alternatives: Stevia and Xylitol are low calorie, all natural, safe sweetners.

8. Food Colorings: Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6
Blue 1 and 2: used in beverages, candy, baked goods and some pet food. It has been linked to cancer in mice.
Red 3: used to dye cherries, fruit cocktail, candy and baked goods. Causes thyroid tumors in rats.
Green 3: used to color candy and beverages. Has been linked to bladder cancer.
Yellow 6: used to color beverages, sausage, gelatin, baked goods, and candy. Causes tumors of the adrenal gland and kidneys.

9. Olestra (brand name is Olean)
What is it? Olestra is a synthetic fat that prevents fat from getting absorbed by your digestive system. It also prevents valuable fat-soluable vitamins (A,D,E & K) and carotenoids from being absorbed by the body.
You can find it in: some brands of potato chips
Why you should avoid it: More than 15,000 consumers have filed complaints saying that Olestra has caused health problems- gas, diarrhea and abdominal cramps so severe that they had to go to the emergency room.

10. Potassium Bromate
What is it? Potassium bromate is a bleaching agent in white flour.
You can find it in: breads, rolls and pizza dough
Why you should avoid it: It is known to cause cancer in animals and humans. It is still legal for it to be used in the United States and Japan. The state of California has it listed as, “chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity” and requires a cancer warning on products that have Potassium Bromate as an ingredient.
Alternative: Look for flour and bakery products marked “UNBROMATED”

11. White Sugar/ High Fructose Corn Syrup
Why you should avoid it: Too much white sugar/high fructose corn syrup in the diet puts on the pounds, causes depression, rots teeth and messes with blood sugar levels, which can lead to diabetes. It also leaches valuable vitamins and minerals out of the body.
Alternatives: Maple Syrup (not the kind with High Fructose Corn Syrup, dye & synthetic “maple flavoring”), Raw Honey, Brown Rice Syrup, Sorghum Molasses, Barley Malt Syrup and Date Sugar are all nutritious sweeteners that won’t put you on a blood sugar rollercoaster ride.

12. Sodium Chloride
What is it? Sodium chloride is more commonly known as table salt. It enhances flavor and acts as a preservative. Processed foods have extremely high levels of sodium, so read those labels carefully.
Why you should avoid it: Refined, table salt is 99.9% sodium chloride. During the refining process, naturally occurring minerals and trace elements are stripped away, then it’s blasted with high heat, bleached and chemicals like aluminum and anti-caking agents are added to it.
Too much processed table salt intake burdens the kidneys and adrenal glands, depletes calcium and interferes with the absorption of essential nutrients. It also causes high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke. “Low-sodium salt” is even more toxic than table salt. More chemicals are added to the mix, in order to remove the sodium and stimulate the synthetic taste of salt.
Alternatives: Flavor your food with herbs, a squeeze of lemon or lime, unrefined sea salt, Spike (an all natural salt substitute that has 37 herbs and spices) or Herbamare (a blend of sea salt and 14 herbs).

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12) Include Super Foods:  This List is from David Wolfe, Rock Star of the Raw Food Movement

Maca – A thyroid supporting food with 18 amino acids. Supports our hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Increases vigor, vitality, helps us adapt to stress.

Acai – A miracle superfood that fights 80% of cancers and promotes longevity. Has a blue pigment in its skin that is highly beneficial to our immune system and cell production. High in omega 3s. Higher demand for acai could help to save the Amazon rainforest that the acai berry calls home.

Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly – Both promote longevity. Beekeeprs live long due to their intake of bee pollen – the most complete food in the world according to David. A complete protein with 50-60 minerals, and highly bioavailable.

Raw Honey – Our #1 source of digestive enzymes. Helps the body remove metabolic waste, and has been known to increase the IQ of children by 10 points!

Aloe Vera –  Anti-fungal, contains polysaccharaides that protect our immune system.

Raw Cacao – Contains magnesium, chromium, iron, zinc and copper. Great for your brain and heart (the main mineral in our heart is magnesium). “Cacao is #1 in the world for antioxidants of any fruit/nut.”

Goji berry – a complete protein, high in antioxidants, amino acids and polysaccharides. “Eat them raw and have the best day ever.”

Noni juice – Fresh noni or fresh noni powder, high in vitamins and minerals, helps repair our cells inside and out.

Coconut oil – Thyroid supporting. Coconut oil is the best for your skin. Contains medium-chain fatty acids that hydrate tissue and support immune system. Our bodies will push poor oils out of our system, drive residue out, and replace it with the healthier coconut oil. The high quality nutrients will be absorbed, and the body will push out the “toxic imposters.”

Kelp – Full of nutrients – contains iodine – saved people from radiation sickness during Hiroshima.

Blue Green Algae and Spirulina – Full of amino acids and antioxidants – amazing for the immune system and helps produce stem cells. Combined with the camu camu berry, this is the “best immune system weaponry.”

Marine Phytoplankton – The basis for the world’s food chain. Contains ATP, which is the energy currency of our body. The ATP will give you instant energy with no stimulation.  We’re alert, awake – but not stimulated like we would be with caffeine.

Moringa – Known as the miracle tree, moringa has been used as food and medicine in Asia and parts of Africa for thousands of years.

Other Superfoods: Camu, Chlorella, Lucuma, Spirulina, Chia and Kale

Super Herbs: Amla, Ashwagandha, Bacopa, Bitter Melon, Carulluma, Gingko Biloba, Gotu Kola, Graviola, Guggul Extract, Gymemna, Holy Basil, Lucuma, Mangosteen, Mucuna, Neem, Rosehip Extract, Shilijit Extract, Turmeric Extract, Valerian Extract, Oregano Oil.

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13) Take Supplements

Here are 7 good reasons to take supplements and we do.

1. Food irradiation: is a food processing technique to extend the shelf life of food by destruction of harmful microorganisms and delay of ripening. The food is exposed to ionizing energy and radiation. However, this process also eliminates the essential nutrients especially water soluble vitamins and antioxidants. Food irradiation is widely used in products like chicken, meats, and vegetables. This technique is approved and used in more than 40 countries world wide.

2. Environmental Pollution: Everyday millions kilograms of chemicals are dumped into our environment. These wastes go to the air, water and food that we eat. For example, if you eat fish, you are quite likely to consume excessive mercury at the same time. Studies show that environmental pollution is the main cause for degenerative diseases. Thus, you need quality and potent health supplements to detoxify your body against the pollution and boost immune system.

2. Genetically modified (GM) foods: are crop plans created for human or animal consumption with advanced technology. GM foods are created to improve crop protection and improve the nutritional value. Although all GM foods you see from the market passed risk assessment, there is no long term study indicate that they are safe to human. In fact, GM foods can cause allergic reaction in some people. In addition, rat studies have shown that consumption of GM foods increased intestinal infections and reduce immunity.

3. Soil depletion: Aggressive farming, acid rains, use or artificial fertilizers and synthetic pesticides have caused soil depletion. These activities deplete the essential nutrients in the soil. As a result, nutritional values of fruits and vegetables are greatly reduced. In fact, the vegetables you eat today taste bland due to lack minerals in the soil. According to a recent study sponsored by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), about 17% of land in the world has been damaged. However, soil remains is either slowly losing nutrients, or no longer contain the essential nutrients.

4. Lifestyle: Depending on your lifestyle and behavior, you may need nutritional supplements. For example, smoking destroys certain vitamins. Both first hand and second hand smokers need to take extra antioxidants to protect the body against free radicals. Excessive alcohol consumption impairs the body’s ability to absorb many nutrients and inhibits the production of digestive enzymes. In the above mentioned situations, taking supplements is MUST to stay healthy. Other examples that require extra supplementation include: athletes, pregnant ladies, people who work in radioactive environment and those who work in physically demanding occupation.

5. Stress: is not an unusual terms to many of us. Stress can deplete your energy, lead to acceleration of aging process and degenerative diseases. The symptoms of stress include fatigue, depression, panic, anxiety, loss of appetite, and insomnia. Fortunately, there are supplements that can work to effectively reduce the detrimental effects of stress, and also relief the symptoms of stress.

6. Pesticides in foods: Pesticides are widely used in agricultural activities to control and destroy pests. Pesticides are poisonous and reside in our foods. According to a study by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the health benefits of fruits and vegetables are reduced by use of pesticides. When you eat foods that contain pesticides, they may cause health problems to immune system, nervous and hormonal system. Unfortunately, there is no way you can detect pesticides in foods.

7. Food Processing: Most of the foods from supermarkets are processed. Processed foods are not fresh and contain fewer nutrients compare to fresh foods. For example, grain peels which contain natural fiber are removed in the processing stage. Processed foods also contain no live enzymes. Enzymes are necessary for digestion and metabolic function. Lack of enzymes can cause degenerative diseases. In addition, processed foods contain refined sugar, extra salt, unhealthy fat, and chemical additives. These substances may bring negative impacts to your body.

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We take several supplements in our family:

Read Dr. Mercola’s – If I Could Recommend My Top 5 Supplements, what would they be?

Here’s the list of supplements that we take.

Not all supplements are created equal.  Make sure your supplement has the Unites States Pharmacopeia (USP) seal. This means that the supplement has been tested and that it actually contains the amounts of vitamins and minerals that are listed on the label. I purchase  my supplements from companies that I’ve researched and trust:

I’ve found that the easiest way to avoid unhealthy food additives and chemicals is by eating raw and organic whole foods.  I try to prepare most of our meals at home where I know what ingredients are in our food.  It is time consuming but definitely worth the effort.  My husband, who had to give up playing basketball five years ago because of pain and inflammation, is now back on the court several days a week.  I now weigh what I did in college and my girls, who had many health issues early in life, are in fabulous health.  Eating a clean diet has definitely increased our quality of life!
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14) AVOID WHEAT like the plague!
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5 Reasons to Ditch Gluten  – Here are 5 reasons why going gluten-free can burn fat, eliminate symptoms, and feel and look your best.

  1. Gluten creates gut permeability. Gluten contains a protein with the unwieldy name zonulin, which damages the tight junctions in your gut. Things not intended to slip through your gut wall suddenly get through, creating an immune response. Delayed reactions, which can occur hours or days later, include joint pain, brain fog, gastrointestinal problems, anxiety, and depression. You may not connect, for instance, the headache you have Wednesday morning with the wheat pasta you ate the night before.
  2. Gluten triggers inflammation. Besides the immune-related delayed symptoms, gluten-induced leaky gut creates inflammation. Chronic inflammation contributes to every degenerative disease, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and obesity. A study in theJournal of the American Medical Association found that people with gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death. The results were shocking: while people with full-blown celiac had a 39% increased risk of death, that number increased to 72% for people with gluten-triggered inflammation!
  3. Gluten is low in nutrients. Someone on my social media recently commented that without gluten, you’re missing out on key nutrients. Au contraire! Gluten-containing foods are notoriously low in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients compared to vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Don’t believe me? Compare nutrient rock stars like spinach or almonds with whole grain bread or wheat pasta. Whole foods like spinach and almonds come loaded with naturally occurring nutrients, whereas breads, pastas, and other processed gluten-containing foods contain small amounts of cheap, fortified nutrients.
  4. Gluten inhibits nutrient absorption. Not only does gluten not bring much nutrient-wise to the party: it also steals nutrients other foods bring! Gluten-triggered permeability, for instance, inhibits your gut from absorbing nutrients and making vitamin B12. Gluten also contains phytates, an anti-nutrient that can block mineral absorption.
  5. Eating gluten makes you fat. Gluten contains lectins, which can bind to insulin receptors and create insulin resistance.  They can also bind to your intestinal lining, causing you to store more calories as fat.  To make things worse, lectins can trigger leptin resistance, which makes you hungrier even after you’ve eaten a full meal. Couple lectins with leaky gut, inflammation, and poor nutrient levels that can stall metabolism, and you’ve got a surefire way to pile on weight. Most gluten-containing carbohydrates also raise your blood sugar, which triggers an insulin response. Higher insulin levels do one thing really well: store fat. When people with weight loss resistance pull gluten, they feel night-and-day better and the scales start moving again.

For more information read the Gluten Files.

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15) Eat Fermented Foods

What exactly are fermented foods? Wine, beer and cider are fermented. Leavened bread is fermented. Dairy products such as yogurt, kefir and some cheeses are fermented. Pickled vegetables can be fermented. When fermentation occurs, the sugars and carbohydrates in a food convert into something else. For instance, juice turns into wine, grains turn into beer, carbohydrates turn into carbon dioxide to leaven bread and vegetable sugars become preservative organic acids.

Why does this process help people stay healthy?

Fermented foods aid in digestion and thus support the immune system.

— Imagine a fermented food as a partially digested food. For instance, many people have difficulty digesting the lactose in milk. When milk is fermented and becomes yogurt or kefir, the lactose is partially broken down so it becomes more digestible.

— Organic or lactic-acid fermented foods (such as dill pickles and sauerkraut) are rich in enzyme activity that aids in the breakdown of our food, helping us absorb the important nutrients we rely on to stay healthy.

— Fermented foods have been shown to support the beneficial bacteria in our digestive tract. In our antiseptic world with chlorinated water, antibiotics in our meat, our milk and our own bodies, and antibacterial everything, we could use some beneficial bacteria in our bodies.

— When our digestion is functioning properly and we are absorbing and assimilating all the nutrients we need, our immune system tends to be happy, and thus better equipped to wage war against disease and illness.

Read – The Incredible Health Benefits to You of Traditionally Fermented Foods.

I know that this is a lot of information and there’s no way anyone can follow all these guidelines all of the time.  I certainly don’t!   I do my best to implement what I can afford and what I have time for.  I promise that it get’s easier with practice and persistence.
TO YOUR HEALTH!!
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My Favorite Health and Wellness Sites and Products

Water

If you know me at all, you know that I’m passionate about water, pure water that is.  For five years my youngest daughter suffered with chronic eczema which caused frequent infections, discomfort and extreme pain whenever any lotions or creams were applied to her skin.   Bathing in warm water was painful and often just getting into the bath was a nightmare for her.  We frequented the doctor’s office and spent thousands of dollars on expensive creams, steroids and drugs to treat her skin.  Then I just happened to watch, The Beautiful Truth, where I learned about the dangers of fluoride.  I remember running to the bathroom to check my toothpaste and sure enough, right there in fine print were the words, “Call poison control if you swallow any toothpaste.”   That’s when I realized that my girls had been swallowing their toothpaste for years since they didn’t know how to spit yet.  They had also been drinking fluoridated water forever.

I went to the grocery store that day and bought distilled water and fluoride free toothpaste.   After drinking the distilled water for less than 24 hours, Grace came to me and said, “Mom, look, my eczema is gone!!”  Her skin was beautiful and clear for the first time in 5 years.  Once I ran out of distilled water and bought a Brita water filter but in just 12 hours, Grace was once again covered in eczema.  The scourge was even on her face and  then quickly became infected.  Brita filters don’t remove fluoride but they do remove chlorine.  That’s when I knew for sure that fluoride was the culprit.  I did some research and found a reverse osmosis system for our drinking water.  Grace’s eczema is gone and her asthma has improved as well.  We went from visiting the doctor several times a month to, well, we haven’t been since she started drinking pure water 7 months ago.  In fact we are all healthier.

So here’s what I think everyone should know about Fluoride.  What the government has finally admitted to (on NBC news this week) is that fluoride levels are too high and have resulted in fluorosis of the teeth in 41% of children in this country.

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I’ve copied the following list of adverse effects of fluoride from The Center For Natural Dentistry

Adverse effects from fluoride ingestion have been associated with doses attainable by people living in fluoridated areas. For example:

  1. Risk to the brain. According to the National Research Council (NRC), fluoride can damage the brain. Animal studies conducted in the 1990s by EPA scientists found dementia-like effects at the same concentration (1 ppm) used to fluoridate water, while human studies have found adverse effects on IQ at levels as low as 0.9 ppm among children with nutrient deficiencies, and 1.8 ppm among children with adequate nutrient intake. (7-10)
  2. Risk to the thyroid gland. According to the NRC, fluoride is an “endocrine disrupter.” Most notably, the NRC has warned that doses of fluoride (0.01-0.03 mg/kg/day) achievable by drinking fluoridated water, may reduce the function of the thyroid among individuals with low-iodine intake. Reduction of thyroid activity can lead to loss of mental acuity, depression and weight gain (11)
  3. Risk to bones. According to the NRC, fluoride can diminish bone strength and increase the risk for bone fracture. While the NRC was unable to determine what level of fluoride is safe for bones, it noted that the best available information suggests that fracture risk may be increased at levels as low 1.5 ppm, which is only slightly higher than the concentration (0.7-1.2 ppm) added to water for fluoridation. (12)
  4. Risk for bone cancer. Animal and human studies – including a recent study from a team of Harvard scientists – have found a connection between fluoride and a serious form of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in males under the age of 20. The connection between fluoride and osteosarcoma has been described by the National Toxicology Program as “biologically plausible.” Up to half of adolescents who develop osteosarcoma die within a few years of diagnosis. (13-16)
  5. Risk to kidney patients. People with kidney disease have a heightened susceptibility to fluoride toxicity. The heightened risk stems from an impaired ability to excrete fluoride from the body. As a result, toxic levels of fluoride can accumulate in the bones, intensify the toxicity of aluminum build-up, and cause or exacerbate a painful bone disease known as renal osteodystrophy. (17-19)^

Unfortunately, most filters do not remove fluoride from the water.  Look for a water distiller (which, unfortunately also removes minerals from the water) or a reverse osmosis system.

Fluoride information, news and resources:

Best Documentary’s About Water:

Sustainable Food

Today I’m expanding my sustainable food horizons.  I’ve been on a path to better health for my family and the environment by choosing to purchase organic and locally grown food whenever possible.  So far my food search has led me to Whole Foods, local farmer’s markets, Kroger’s organic section and West Wind Farms .  I purchase my raw, organic milk, cheese, butter, eggs and grass-fed/pastured meats from West Wind, a Tennessee Farm, and my farmer delivers them to my doorstep.  Now I’m ready to start purchasing larger bulk items like grains, beans, fruits, nuts and legumes from another local farm that offers bulk natural foods.  I just ordered 10 lbs of raw, unpasteurized almonds.  I’ll let you know how they taste.

Last year I purchased a worm composter with 1000 red worms and they have been working very hard for me.  By spring I hope to have plenty of compost for my backyard garden. This year I’m really hoping to put in a rainwater harvesting system so I’ll have plenty of water for my garden in the event of another drought like last summer.  In the spring we will be building a chicken coop.  I’ve been wanting to raise chickens for their eggs and to help with our fly and mosquito problem for some time now.  I know my girls will enjoy petting the hens and collecting their eggs.

Helpful links:  (You can also click on them in the text above)

West Wind Farms

Bulk Natural Foods

Abundant Earth Can-O-Worms

Why ‘Transition Now’?

You are probably wondering why I named my blog, ‘Transition Now’.  What is the transition that I’m referring to? According to the Transition Network Site,

A Transition Initiative (which could be a town, village, university or island etc) is a community-led response to the pressures of climate change, fossil fuel depletion and increasingly, economic contraction. There are thousands of initiatives around the world starting their journey to answer this crucial question:

“for all those aspects of life that this community needs in order to sustain itself and thrive, how do we significantly rebuild resilience (to mitigate the effects of Peak Oil and economic contraction) and drastically reduce carbon emissions (to mitigate the effects of Climate Change)?”

I have started this process with my family here but I’m hoping that this effort will grow into a movement in our community.   There are many great resources that are available for anyone who is interested in building resilience.

Definition of Resilience: The capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and re-organise while undergoing change, so as to retain essentially the same function, structure, identity and feedbacks.

 

Here are a few of my favorite resources:

Transition USA – Providing inspiration, encouragement, support, networking, and training for Transition Initiatives across the United States

Resilient City

Transition Culture – An evolving exploration into the head and hands of energy descent

Post Peak Living – Everything you need to know about Peak Oil and how to prepare for post peak life.

Resilience Thinking

Beyond Peak – A Guide to Self-Sufficiency and Sustainable Living

Recommended Reading List for Transitioning to Post Peak Living – This list is put together by Transition USA

Films – Comprehensive list of documentaries also put together by Transition USA

Why Community Matters

Resilience Science

 

More on Peak Oil and why we need to build resilience:

Peak Oil News – The latest on peak oil news, information resources and articles

If Oil Runs Out – BBC video on Peak Oil

The Oil Drum – For news and insights and peak fossil fuel production

Why Peak Oil is Serious (Video)

Peak Oil For Dummies

Wolf at the Door – A beginners guide to peak oil

Dry Dipstick – A Peak Oil Metadirectory

TED  TALKS – Rob Hopkins: Transition to a world without oil

“Pondering our Post-Petroleum Future” with Michael Ruppert (Video)

Addicted to Oil ( Video)

 

New Beginnings

It all started for me when I watched, ‘A Crude Awakening, the Oil Crash’ and ‘The End of Suburbia’ back in June of last year.  That was my first exposure to peak oil and the depletion of fossil fuel that’s coming.   Since then I’ve been thinking, reading and learning everything I can about becoming resilient and living sustainably.   A few months ago I put together a five-year plan for my family that I hope will prepare us for any disaster or emergency, including skyrocketing oil and food prices.  So here’s my long-term plan:

Five Year Plan for Becoming Resilient

My Goals:

1. Be 80% Energy independent (housing and transportation) by 2017
2. Have 6 months of food and seed storage in place by 2012
3. Have water collection and water storage in place by the summer of 2012
4. Have a complete long term emergency supply kit in place by the summer of 2012
5. Have 60% of our land in use for food production by the spring of 2013
6. Become educated about permaculture, food preservation, food storage and basic survival skills (ongoing).

7. Join or build a community of like minded individuals to work together toward a brighter, more sustainable future.

Steps for becoming energy-efficient:

1)    New roof with radiant heat barrier.
2)    New heater or heat pump (energy star) more attic insulation, all devices on power strips including garage doors and kitchen appliances. Put fridge and freezer on timers.
3)    Purchase clothes dryer spinner
4)    Research and purchase solar panels or solar windows by 2015.
5)    Research and purchase electric car and battery-powered bike or scooter by 2015.

Steps for food storage:

1)    Decide on location (clean and organize)
2)    Learn what food stores best
3)    Find a bulk provider
4)    Begin purchasing storable food
5)    Order seeds from the seed vault

Steps for water collection and storage:

1)    Put in a rainwater collection device and purchase water barrels.
2)    Put in an irrigation system from water storage to the garden.
3)    Purchase water purification tablets or water purifier/distiller
4)    Purchase reverse osmosis for drinking water
5)    Put in a well (if necessary – do the research)

Steps for creating an emergency supply kit:

For the car:

1) 2 gallons of water, survival manual, first aid kit, spare clothes, water filter, flashlight, rope, blanket/sleeping bag, granola bars, batteries, crank radio, knife.

72-hour “Grab and Run” Emergency Kit:

1)    Purchase LED or crank flashlights, batteries, crank radio, water filter, iodine tablets, waterproof matches, long butane lighter, sleeping bags and wood/pile blankets, headlamp with LED light, candles, basic toiletries, cooking device, first aid kit, duct tape, survival manual, 25 gallons of water, waterproof/fireproof container with important documents,  (and ask my survivalist friend Joe what else I need)

2)   Purchase firearms for self defense.

3)  Purchase a generator and 5 gallon can of gasoline

Steps to convert land for food production:

1)    Till all farm-able land and mix with compost and yard waste
2)    Build more raised beds
3)    Build better composting system
4)    Use 100% of kitchen scraps for compost
5)    Plant fruit trees in the front yard.
6)    Raise chickens and rabbits for food.  Use manure for garden.
7)    Build fence to enclose the entire back yard.

Steps to furthering education:

1)     Participate in local classes on gardening and sustainable living. Visit organic farms and learn what they are doing. Purchase resource materials at garage sales. Start resource supply list (books, DVDs, blogs, newsletters, etc…)
2)    Spread the word.  Build community around sustainable living and the gospel.
3)   Start a blog to use as a resource center and journal of my progress in this endeavor.