Health Tip #53

health-tip-53

Article to come…

Health Tip #50

health-tip-50

Article to come…

Health Tip #44

health-tip-44

Many artificial colors, artificial flavors and food preservatives commonly found in processed foods have been linked to various forms of cancer, asthma, allergic type reactions, behavioral changes, lowered IQ, hyperactivity and more.

The more additives we avoid the better.  Here is a list of just some of the additives to try to avoid:

  • Sodium Nitrate (also called Sodium Nitrite) found in cured meats like bacon, ham and lunch meats.
  •  BHA and BHT (Butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydrozyttoluene) found in cereals, chewing gum, potato chips and vegetable oils.
  • Potassium Bromate found in baked goods to add volume.
  • TBHQ (tertiary-butyl hydroquinone) found in instant noodles, crackers and other prepared foods.
  • Sodium benzoate found in fruit juice soft drinks and salad dressings.
  • Azodicarbonamide used as a dough conditioner in baked goods.  Also found in yoga mats.
  • Artificial Flavors found in nearly all processed foods with no way of telling what “artificial flavors” actually means.
  • Food Colorings (dyes): Blue 1, 2; Red 3; Green 3; Yellow 6 found in candy, beverages, baked goods and pet foods.

Health Tip #34

health-tip-34

Soft drinks are addictive

If you are a regular soft drink consumer, one of the best things you can do for your health is to stop drinking soft drinks.  Soft drinks contain sugar, in the form of fructose, caffeine and a number of unsavory chemical flavors, coloring and preservatives.  Sugar and caffeine are very addictive substances.  In fact, sugar consumption increases dopamine and stimulates pleasure centers in our brains exactly the same way heroin does.

Soft drinks cause blood sugar dis-regulation

Consuming caffeine and sugar in this way can set you off on a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows as your body struggles to return to homeostasis after  their consumption.  Blood sugar rises rapidly.  The pancreas creates insulin to deal with the sugar.  As the blood sugar spikes, the liver deals with the sugar by storing it as fat.  The caffeine creates a stress response which raises blood pressure and the liver dumps more sugar into the bloodstream.  An hour later our blood sugar crashes leaving us looking for another sugar high.  The sustained level of sugar intake of a regular soft drink consumer, makes it impossible to lose weight and can lead to diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Fructose makes us fat

Most soft drinks are sweetened with fructose which is far worse for our health than regular sugar because fructose must be processed by the liver which then stores it as fat.  For this reason, fructose consumption has been associated with obesity.  Fructose has also been linked to increased levels of triglycerides which increases risk of heart disease.  The blood sugar roller coaster effect after fructose consumption also puts us a risk for insulin resistance and decreased leptin signaling.  Leptin controls appetite and fat storage.

Artificial sweeteners are no better

Finally, if we think we can avoid soft drinks negative effects by choosing the diet version, think again.  Diet sodas are often sweetened with Aspartame.  Aspartame has been associated with neurological disorders, brain tumors, liver problems, birth defects, diabetes, and other ailments.  Artificial sweeteners also disrupt appetite regulation and sends messages to keep eating more.

Healthier alternatives

The best thing we can do for our health when it comes to soft drinks is to just avoid them all together.  Try switching to spring or sparkling water, adding cucumber, lemon or lime for flavor.  Chilled herbal teas are flavorful and refreshing. Lacto-fermented drinks like kefir or kombucha can also be a healthier alternative.

Health Tip #30

health-tip-30

“There must be something sacred in salt: It is in our tears, and in the ocean.”  Kahlil Gibran

Why We Need Salt

In fact, salt is in our blood, sweat and tears.  And salt, or sodium,  is also needed to regulate our fluid levels and blood pressure, help the brain communicate with muscles through nerve impulses, the contraction and relaxation of muscles, adrenal function and the uptake of nutrients into the cell.  That’s all pretty important stuff.  Salt cravings can be a sign we are lacking in needed minerals or that our adrenals need nourishing.

Don’t Forget The Potassium

So why are we told to seriously reduce or eliminate salt from our diets?  This is because of sodium’s job of regulating fluids and blood pressure.  It is believed that too much salt in the diet results in high blood pressure which in turn increases our risk of heart attack and stroke.  Studies have shown that a diet too low in salt could be as unhealthy as diets too high in salt.  And that the unhealthy effects of salt consumption could have more to do with our sodium-potassium balance than with too much sodium alone.  Adequate potassium levels have been associated with a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.  Potassium can be obtained from vegetables and fruits including: avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes, coconut water, white beans, bananas, acorn squash and dried apricots.

Ditch The Table Salt

The other problem with salt is that most of the sodium in our modern diets comes from processed table salt added to nearly all processed foods.  Table salt is highly refined and stripped of nearly 60 trace minerals, leaving it devoid of nutrients.  Table salt contains sodium chloride, added iodine and many man made chemicals including anti-caking agents, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, and preservatives like aluminum hydroxide.

Choose Natural Salts

Natural salts such as pink Himalayan salt and sea salt contain sodium chloride but unlike table salt, they also contain their natural trace minerals including phosphorus and potassium.  Iodine is not present in significant levels in these salts but iodine can be obtained by adding sea vegetables to our diet. Locally, Harmonic Arts has a sea-vegetable blend that can be added to soups and stews to up the mineral and iodine content of our meals.

Health Tip #26

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Eat The Old-Fashioned Way

This  post is a continuation of the post about basing our diet on simple, old fashioned foods.  As much as possible we should try to eat natural whole foods that our grandparents and great grandparents and great great grandparents would have recognized.

Foods Are Like Drugs

The foods that we eat and the beverages we drink make up every cell of our bodies.    Foods are like drugs, and they send powerful chemical messages all over our bodies, including our brains.  Everything we choose to eat and drink has a huge impact on our health and how we feel physically and mentally.

Taking Stock

As we are in January and beginning a new year, and as we want to make better choices for ourselves and our family in the coming year, it’s time to take stock of what it is we have in stock.

Out With The Old and What Is Not Serving Us

We already talked about cutting out the diet foods and overly processed sugary foods and processed carbohydrates.  We talked about replacing the damaged processed fats with healthy fats. Now is the time to consider clearing out all the products from our pantries, refrigerators and freezers that aren’t serving us in our endeavor for weight loss and overall health.  Ditch the energy drinks and candy bars.  Ditch the breakfast cereals loaded with sugar.  Breakfast cereal out of a box really isn’t the best start to our day anyway.  Ditch the bags of chips and salty snacks, particularly the ones flavored with MSG or hidden as “yeast extract“.

Become A Food Detective

In general, go through your kitchen and be a bit of a detective.  Read the labels.  If there are ingredients in your food that you have never heard of and have no idea what they are, get rid of them.  Why would we eat things when we don’t even know what they are?  And why the heck do we need modified corn starch, propylene glycol, carrageenan and gelatin in our  0% fat yogurt?  Ironically these ingredients don’t belong in our yogurt but the fat does!  Did you know we can’t even utilize the calcium in the yogurt without the fat anyway?  Choose a yogurt that is just real, whole yogurt.  Locally where I live, Tree Island Yogurt is my choice.

If you want to know more about reading labels and the about the detrimental ingredients in our foods, check out Vani Hari at the Food Babe.