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Disguised Dehydration – Your Body’s Hidden Symptoms

Dehydration is a concept that we don’t really consider all too often.  It actually seems absurd if you think about it!  How can one be dehydrated in America today?  Seriously, we have BIG GULPS and SUPER SIZED drinks on every corner ready and waiting for us.  Yet, SADLY, most of us Americans are walking around EXTREMELY dehydrated as a direct RESULT of these very BIG GULPS and SUPER SIZED drinks.  Many people fill these ENORMOUS cups full of DEHYDRATING beverages such as soft drinks, sugary juice drinks and caffeinated teas.  These types of beverages actually DEHYDRATE the body and are DETRIMENTAL to your hydration status.

Have you ever noticed how your mouth still feels dry after drinking a soft drink?  Even though the drink is a wet liquid, after swallowing, your tongue can still stick to the roof of your mouth!  It has been YEARS since I have touched a soft drink, but I used to LIVE on them.  I remember feeling fatigued most of the time even though I was addicted to caffeinated Mountain Dew.  Little did I know that my body really was desperate for water.  My fatigue would have greatly diminished through the simple act of drinking pure filtered water!

WATER IS THE MOST COMMON NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY IN THE AMERICAN POPULATION.

That is right, folks!  bigstock-Footprints-on-sand-dune-Sahar-16402469We all might as well be lost and stranded in a desert because our body’s FEEL like we are! Think about that the next time you are taking a big sip out of your BIG GULP.

Water is THE most important nutrient out of all of the nutrients available to our bodies.   In fact, the body can go 8 weeks without food, but only days without water.  Something that I found to be most interesting in my nutritional training was that our bodies are actually made up of 60% water.   This equates to 10-13 gallons of water!  Take a moment and open your fridge, look at your gallon of milk and consider the fact that you are made up of 10-13 of those in water!

What is particularly intriguing about water is that our body cannot make it – we have to get it from the foods that we eat and the beverages that we consume!  Let me stress this very important point one more time!  OUR BODIES CANNOT MAKE WATER.  WE HAVE TO REPLENISH THE 60% OF OUR BODY COMPOSITION IN WATER BY THE FOODS THAT WE EAT AND THE BEVERAGES THAT WE DRINK EACH DAY….

One of the problems of modern foods that most people consume on the SAD is that these foods are usually very dry.  These fake processed and packaged foods are made to be dry to help preserve them and give them a longer shelf life.  However, these foods don’t do much for PRESERVING your health in any way.

In contrast, our Paleolithic ancestors actually ate a lot of the foods that were water dense.  REAL foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are WATER DENSE. Water dense foods can contribute to our body’s water supply and overall well-being.   Juicy produce like cucumbers, apples and oranges are extremely helpful!

In terms of dehydration, if the body’s 60% water content drops by as little as 2% it will cause fatigue.  A drop of 10% can cause significant health problems such digestive issues, cardiovascular complications, immune and musculoskeletal issues.  Losses greater than 10% of water can result in death.*

So, if water is the number one nutritional deficiency in America, how is it that so many people don’t know that they are dehydrated?  The simple truth is that many have lost touch with their innate intelligence telling them that they need water and they are not “reading” their body’s signs!  The most common misconception about dehydration is that people think that they will feel thirsty if they need to drink water.  This is not true!  We have lost touch with our sensation of thirst due to all of the caffeinated and sugary drinks that we drink while living on the SAD!  Check out some of the most common signs of dehydration below:

Some EARLY signs of dehydration:

  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Cravings
  • Cramps
  • Headaches

Some MATURE/LATE STAGE signs of dehydration:

  • Heartburn
  • Joint Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Migraines – Fluid volume in the blood may be low and dilation and constriction of the vascularity in the brain is impacted due to this low volume.
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Constipation
  • Colitis – There is a relationship between inflammation and dehydration – when the colon is dehydrated it becomes inflamed

So, now you know the signs.  The EARLY signs look a lot like PMS symptoms!  Women out there, you know that I am right!  This brings me to an interesting point on PMS and how hydration can even help these nasty time-of-the-month symptoms.  During PMS, due to hormonal changes, the body may dip down into a more dehydrated state.  By keeping water consumption up, you may be able to diminish these annoying symptoms.

Fatigue is the truly the most common symptom of dehydration.  However, fatigue is a tough symptom to filter out from all of the other potential causes of fatigue such as stress and the daily grind.  One thing I can promise you is that you will greatly REDUCE your fatigue level just by ensuring that you have enough water in your body.  This is a controllable in your life – where as other causes of fatigue may not be within your control.  Give your body and your life a boost just by choosing to drink more water.

Migraines are another sign that I see frequently in my practice.  This is a MATURE sign of dehydration.  Mature signs such as joint pain, heart burn and migraines may take longer to heal with rehydration.  However, I will say I have seen fast responses to hydration in terms of migraine relief in my practice.  Colitis is another area that seems to respond fairly quickly to rehydration.  It is amazing to me how complicated we make things when really the solution may be as simple as drinking pure water!  Truly!  I have SEEN many of these symptoms go away in my very own practice just by rehydrating my dehydrated clients.

Another interesting fact to share with you is that people with Parkinson’s disease tend to not want to drink water.  However, water can be extremely helpful in preventing Parkinson’s disease as well as maintaining health after diagnosis.  Often times clients will tell me that they don’t like the taste of just water because it is BORING.  I ask them if they think Parkinson’s disease is fun?  Obviously they say no, but when I tell them that an aversion to drinking water is a sign of Parkinson’s disease they tend to start to think that water looks a lot more appealing!

bigstock-Summer-Drinks-With-Ice-47343724Water is very refreshing and can be made to taste interesting based on fruits that you allow to infuse in it!   Simply fill a container with fresh filtered water and poor in some cut up organic fruit or use frozen organic fruit and let it sit for a few hours in your fridge!  It is amazing how fun, delicious and beautiful something as simple as fruit infused in water can be!  Top spas and resorts have these types of waters on hand for their guests and you can make these very simply and inexpensively in your own home.  Kids love them too!  I have a client with a little girl who loves what she calls “princess water”  which is water infused with strawberries and raspberries!

So, just what is the RIGHT amount of water each day for optimal health?  There is a simple calculation that you can follow to help your body function optimally for your health and well-being.  The calculation:

 

  • Take your body weight and divide it by 2.  That resulting number is the number of OUNCES of water that you need each day minimally.
    • For example:
      • A 140lb person would need to drink 70 ounces of water minimally in a day.

 

  • Keep in mind, that for every ounce of coffee, soft drink, bottle fruit juice and/or caffeinated tea (even black tea) you will need to ADD an ADDITIONAL  1 & ½ more ounces of water to your minimum balance
    • For example:
      • A 140lb person needs 70 ounces of water minimally in a day
      • This person also drinks 8 ounces (1 cup) of coffee each morning
        • Take 8 X 1.5 = 12 ounces
        • They would add 12 ounces to their 70 ounce minimum in a day
        • Total ounces needed for that day = 82 ounces of water
          • This compensates for the dehydrating effects of their caffeinated beverage

It should be noted, that unless you are an elite athlete, the MAX amount of water that anyone should drink in a day is 100 ounces.  This is because you can overdue water and that in turn can DEHYDRATE you.   You know that saying about how you can never get too much of a good thing?  Well, whoever wrote that was lying!  You can get too much of a good thing!  Water included!

During the first two weeks of incorporating more water into your diet, don’t be surprised if you find yourself running to the bathroom to urinate frequently.  This often happens because your body is extremely dry and it doesn’t know how to receive the water you are giving it!  This concept is much like dry ground during a drought.  When the rains eventually come, it bounces off of this extremely dry ground instead of absorbing into it.  This is how your cells and your body respond during your initial rehydrating stage.  Your body may push out the water you are giving it through frequent urination but this frequency will subside within a week or two when your body regulates.  In fact, I have had many clients find that they lose 5lbs of weight just simply by drinking the right amount of water!  This happens because the body has been holding on to this little amount of water for survival and it will no longer need to hold on when it detects that it is receiving the water that it needs.

Stay posted for more on hydration.  Next we will talk about electrolytes and their role with hydration.  I will also share with you the best sources of water as well as some flavorful ways to incorporate water into your daily diet.  You will LOVE these refreshing recipes and your kids will too!  Until then, take your body weight, divide it in half, and drink that water up!  Stop wandering around in a desert and let your body enjoy an oasis full of fresh water!

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Blessings and health,

Jen

CHEW Your Juice! Why JUICING Might Not Be The Best For You…..

Juicing…the fad that will always be in vogue!  Many of us have been there.   We have felt unhealthy due to over-indulgence in not-so-healthy foods or beverages, so we have sought out a magical remedy to fix the problem.  Many find their quick-fix to be juicing.

However, a lot of my clients find themselves somewhat shocked by my stance on traditional juicing.  Traditional juicing is where a fruit or vegetable is pressed or shredded to remove all pulp and leave only the juice.  However, this type of juicing is not ALWAYS the best for a person’s health.  Don’t misunderstand me;  I do believe that AT TIMES traditional juicing is very beneficial – especially in detoxing.  However, traditional juicing where all the pulp is removed can be detrimental to health in certain people – especially in people with sugar sensitivities.

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Confused yet?

Let me clear things up by talking about nature.  Nature gave us fruits and vegetables in their whole form.  We were made to eat these foods in their whole form – as nature intended.   When we eat fruits and veggies in their whole form we are getting pulp and fiber to help slow down the absorption of natural sugars in these foods.  When we juice in the traditional way, we remove the pulp and fiber.  This allows for easier digestion due to the lack of fiber slowing down the assimilation of the nutrients in the food.  During a detox, this can be temporarily helpful to the body because these vitamins and nutrients can reach the body quickly and be fully absorbed.  However, long term, this can be somewhat harmful.

Nature put natural sweetness and sugar in fruits and veggies so that we would be drawn to eating them and ultimately benefit from their abundance in vitamins and nutrients.  Unfortunately, the sweetness of these gifts of nature has been diminished for our taste buds due to our large intake of refined sugars!  I challenge you to remove all refined sugar in your diet for just a week.  After just a single week of no refined sugar, you will taste the sweetness of a simple apple like you never have before!  This natural sweetness is a wonderful gift when it is consumed in its whole form.  However, when the sweetness is extracted purely as with traditional juicing, without the pulp, it can cause blood sugar imbalance.   This can be detrimental to those with hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, diabetes, adrenal fatigue or even just sugar sensitivity.

I, myself, suffer from sugar sensitivity.  I have to be very cautious about my intake of sugar in ALL forms.  If I let myself go and have too much sugar, even from fruits and veggies, I can turn into an irrational and irritated person aka “The Incredible Hulk.”  Yes, when my husband burrows his eyebrows, rounds his back, deepens his voice and starts to mimic the Incredible Hulk’s famous “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” line, I know that I have crossed my threshold into Hulk territory and that I must have over-done it on sugar somewhere.

My Incredible Hulk has come to surface in the past after juicing beets, spinach, celery and kale.   My unexpected reaction really cautioned me to the impact that drinking straight juice can have on the body.  Even something that is considered HEALTHY CAN BE UNHEALTHY if the body doesn’t respond to it well.  It is important to recognize that veggies and fruit do have fructose and the impact on the body can be an overload when you remove the fiber that nature put in it to slow down the sugar absorption.  In fact, many refined sugars that you buy in the store are processed directly from BEETS. Beets, in whole form, are one of nature’s most nutritious foods provided.  They are very helpful to the liver and gallbladder and provide numerous benefits to your body.  However, beets are very high in natural sugars and can set people off when the pulp is removed.

This leads me to another topic concerning juice.  Parents out there, watch out for your children with juices!  They are sugar bombs.  I can’t tell you how SAD I am whenever I go to Starbucks.  It never fails!  While standing in line, I ALWAYS come across a parent with kids grabbing juice boxes.  Juice boxes and pastries!!!  Parents, how can this be healthy for your kids?  You are feeding them STRAIGHT SUGAR!

Take notice the next time you are in line at Starbucks or a tea/coffee shop.  Shamefully, watch what happens to these kids within a few minutes of eating these foods.  They inevitably get super hyper and start misbehaving or crying.  Then watch as these same parents blame it on bad behavior!  They punish these kids for ACTING UP.    I want to wring these parent’s necks!!!!  How can they not consider the link between what they are feeding their children and their children’s resulting actions?  These parents need to be punished – not their kids – for BAD nutrition and being a BAD PARENT!  This is an entirely different topic, but I can’t help myself from going here at the moment.  Please parents, wake up to what you are feeding your kids.  Watch their reactions after eating foods….your kids may not be just acting-up, rather they may be responding to what YOU gave them to fuel their little bodies.

Alright, back to juicing!  I can’t stress enough how the whole fruit or veggie is truly beneficial to your body.  Most people are extremely deficient in fiber due to their SAD diets.  In traditional juicing, the fiber is removed and this element of the food is very much needed by the body for healthy bowel movements.

Technique is also important to discuss concerning consumption of juice.  Did you know that most of the digestion of carbs that you eat occurs in your MOUTH BEFORE SWALLOWING?  Salivary Amylase is the enzyme that secretes from our saliva to digest carbohydrates that we consume.  If we don’t chew our food enough before swallowing, our carbs go into our stomachs mainly undigested.  This can cause a host of problems for our health, such as LEAKY GUT SYNDROME and bad bacterial overgrowth = CANDIDA.  It is recommended that you chew your food – especially ALL CARBS – for 30 bites prior swallowing.  This is true also for juice!  Instead of just slamming it down through a straw, take a half of a minute and swish it around or CHEW it as long as you can before swallowing.  Let your Salivary Amylase go to work and do its job for you!

So, what is the solution to getting the benefits of juicing but still balancing blood sugar?  Over the past several years, in consulting with holistic nutrition experts as well as through personal experience, I have found the following suggestions to be very helpful when pertaining to juicing:

1)      If juicing in the traditional manner, by removing pulp, only do this temporarily as part of a temporary detox.   In a temporary fashion, this can be beneficial to your body and health.  However, long term is not recommended.

2)      If you love juicing in the traditional way, by removing the pulp, consider adding a Tablespoon of coconut oil to the bottom of the glass you are juicing into.  Stir in the coconut oil prior to drinking.  The added coconut oil is very beneficial to your body, but it also helps to slow down the sugar absorption of the fructose in the fruits/veggies.

3)      Invest in a Blendtec (what I have) or a Vitamix high powered blender.  These blenders have an option of WHOLE JUICING.  Instead of removing the pulp, it will blend the pulp very finely in with the juice and you can make a WHOLE JUICE that contains the pulp, which is very beneficial to you.  I also will add coconut oil to my WHOLE JUICE in order to reap further health benefits as well as help further slowdown the fructose absorption.  Even though there is pulp in WHOLE JUICE, I find the added coconut oil to be very beneficial.

4)      You can FERMENT juice for 3-6 hours prior to drinking by adding some of the contents of a probiotic capsule to the freshly made juice and putting a lid on it (I like to use a standard mason jar for this) and let it sit on your counter for 3-6 hours before drinking.  These beneficial bacteria in the probiotics eat the sugar and create a probiotic by-product that will actually enhance your juice!  This will leave you with a juice that has substantially less sugar plus added probiotics.  Sometimes it even gets a little fizzy carbonation and it becomes a spritzer!  This is delicious!  (Watch out and don’t let it go too long in fermentation – if it does it can become slightly alcoholic because fruit ferments quickly.)

5)      CHEW your juice.  Whether traditional juicing or whole juicing, be sure to swish/chew the juice in your mouth for as long as you can before swallowing.  This ensures adequate digestion.   Let your Salivary Amylase do its job!

 

Blessings and health,

Jen

Does Your Baby Have Acid Reflux?

This topic has come up a lot lately both in my practice, as well as in my circle of friends.  Acid reflux is bad enough when it happens to you, but when it happens to your baby, it is even WORSE!

baby upset

Unfortunately, out of desperation, many mothers seek relief for their babies through harsh pharmaceuticals.  However, practicing as a Nutritional Therapist, I have successfully dealt with babies suffering from acid reflux through a holistic way without having to put the baby on drugs.  If you have a baby that is suffering, please consider some of the following suggestions:

Food Sensitivities:  The baby having acid reflux is actually a sign of the mother having food allergies and the baby is responding to it. Mothers HAVE to look at their own diet and eliminate any potential food sensitivities.  Remove all gluten and dairy for starters.  You may need to possibly remove more foods if necessary (corn and all corn byproducts, sugar, even possibly eggs). Gluten and dairy are the biggest culprits. This is very important and if mothers want to see results with the baby’s spewing, they will try this immediately.

Digestion:  Babies get nutrients from their mother’s milk.  If a mother isn’t digesting her own food well, the baby will also have digestive complications.  Commonly, with acid reflux in babies, the main cause is the mother’s poor digestion of her own food.  A baby’s digestive tract is still developing for up to 36 months, and it’s normal for children to spit up some of their food as their body learns to digest.  However, the acid reflux and projectile vomiting of a baby is a sure sign of a mother’s food sensitivities.

Body Care Products:  Also please be careful also about what products you put on your skin, as well as on baby’s skin.  Get the chemicals out and use only 100% toxin free body products, if any at all.

Chiropractic Care:  The baby will most certainly benefit from an adjustment and chiropractic care can go a long way to help alleviate acid reflux in babies.  The mother may want to consider an adjustment for her own overall health improvement also.

Other Nutritional Recommendations: 

For the duration of nursing, Mom should be taking a full adult dose of hydrochloric acid (HCL – Betaine Plus HP from Biotics Research) to aid digestion.   Even just taking 3-4 tablets of a low dose hydrochloric acid (like Hydrozyme from Biotics Research) at every meal would help.

Also consider using digestive enzymes in addition to the hydrochloric acid. (Bromelain Plus CLA or Bio6Plus are good choices from Biotics Research).

The mother should also use Vitamin B12.  The dose is not specific as it’s pretty difficult to overdo B12 but a suggestion is a B12-2000 Lozenge 2-3x/day.  I also like Dr. Mercola’s B12 Spray which can be purchased at www.mercola.com.

Probiotics are also essential for relief.  A suggestion is to put Organic Coconut Oil on the nipple before nursing, sprinkle on some grains of a probiotic supplement (open up a probiotic capsule and sprinkle the contents out onto the skin), and then let baby nurse and receive those nutrients.  Part of developing a baby’s good digestive capabilities is also building their bacterial (probiotic) colonies.  Mom and baby should both use supplemental probiotics.  Dr. Mercola has a great Complete Probiotic supplement that I would also recommend which can be purchased at www.mercola.com.

Blessings and health,

Jen Herlevi NTP, CHFS

Are you the PROACTIVE or the REACTIVE Type?

Wow!  It has been a busy couple of weeks for me.  We have been in the middle of finally moving into a home that we have been renovating for the past 7 months.  Anyone out there who has ever moved can relate to the overwhelming trial of having to put EVERYTHING into boxes and then having to take EVERYTHING out of boxes!!!  It has been quite an ordeal.

Additionally, smack in the middle of our move, we came to learn of an unexpected health issue that one of our dear friends had come to face.   Our friend had gotten a mystery infection that had gone to his heart and had damaged the aortic valve in his heart.  At only 40 years old, our friend was faced with the necessity of open heart surgery and valve replacement.  When these life changing events happen, they tend to stop one completely in their tracks!

I have made frequent visits to our friend in the hospital over the past few weeks.  On one particular visit, as I stood and waited for the elevator to arrive, I couldn’t help but analyze the other people waiting around me.  It was quite interesting, actually!   One man stood with a beverage carrying case with 4 large cups of freshly squeezed juices from the Daily Juice (an organic juice shop in our area) while another man had a bag of greasy McDonalds.  I couldn’t help but internally chuckle at the extreme differences between these two men!  I silently applauded the man with the organic juices while chastising the poor man holding the bag of McDonalds!  Yes! I WAS being judgmental!  We were in a hospital after all!!! Sick people (ALL people actually) should be getting the BEST nutrition – not fake greasy Frankenfoods!

I thought about this man with the juice and wondered if he was being REACTIVE now that his loved one was in the hospital.  Or, had this man always been focused on good nutrition with a PROACTIVE approach….It was a mystery to me.   I had to hold myself back from actually letting my curiosity get the better of me and asking him!

Regardless, it got me thinking about how we have the CHOICE in life.    We can CHOOSE to be PROACTIVE and feed our bodies well to help PREVENT illnesses and diseases that may put us in the hospital.   Or, we can be REACTIVE, and once the illness and disease catch up to us we can try to REACT with great nutrition to fight the illness.  Worse yet, we could choose to be like the man holding the greasy bag of McDonalds and continue to be IGNORANT about nutrition and its impact on health.  The ignorant path is a definite set-up for misery and illness.

Whether it is easy to admit or not, the truth is that whatever we put into our mouths and our bodies WILL MOST CERTAINLY  have an impact on our health!  Maybe you won’t see the impact immediately, but over time your body will surely let you know how you have been treating it.  Food is very powerful and it will either contribute to your well being or it will be detrimental.  There are only these two categories.

So the question that you need to ask yourself is which one are you?  Are you the PROACTIVE type or the REACTIVE Type? 

Never before in history have we had so much information at our fingertips!  You can learn and CHOOSE to better your health through knowledge concerning good food choices!  I encourage you to take the time NOW to PROACTIVELY care for your body, as well as those depending on you, such as your family!

These past few weeks I would give myself a B in terms of being PROACTIVE regarding my nutrition!  I knew in advance that our move was coming up so I did make several DOUBLE batches of meals and had them ready and waiting in my freezer for us as I knew that my time would be limited in terms of food prep.  However, I did fall short for my family on a few occasions and did act REACTIVELY.  We did eat out at not so great restaurants a few times as we were coming back from a hospital visit or an errand concerning our move.

I will note that my husband mentioned several times how different he felt the next day after eating a meal less nutritious the night before!  It is interesting the way that nutrition works.  The body actually gets used to feeling a certain way!  When you treat it well with good food your body will run smoothly.  Yet, when you deviate you will FEEL the difference.

The same is true for when we eat consistently poorly.  The body adapts and you can get used to feeling less optimal when eating bad food on a day to day basis.  You actually feel “normal” but your “normal” is NOT good!  Your body has just adapted to feeling bad so that you can function in your day to day.  You certainly are not caring for yourself optimally in this situation.  Don’t you think that you DESERVE more?  Don’t you think that you DESERVE better?

As I wrap up my thoughts this Monday, I really encourage you to ask yourself the question regarding what you want to be.

  • Do you want to be PROACTIVE with your health through nutrition and live as healthy as you can in your life? 
  • Or do you want to be REACTIVE to the hand that life deals you. 

It is all up to you and you have complete control over this aspect of your life

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I choose to be PROACTIVE!  If that is your choice, take a minute and look at my NUTRITION tab and learn about good healthy options for you.   If you are a member, you can follow my WEEKLY TRANSITION PLAN to easily and slowly transition your diet over to healthy choices over a period of roughly 5 months.  Members can also follow my Weekly Meal Plans to help get ideas for balanced nutrition throughout the week.  If you need some great recipe ideas, follow me on PINTEREST!  I have awesome recipes compiled that are packed with both nutrition and taste!!!!

Enjoy your life and take care of your body!  Be good to it and be PROACTIVE!

Blessings & health,

Jen

Sugar’s NOT So Sweet Side – Why It Hurts Your IMMUNE SYSTEM

Have you ever noticed how everyone seems to get sick around the fall or start to winter?  Before I worked in the medical industry, I always chalked this winter time sickness up to the change in weather for the winter season.  However, interestingly enough, I came to learn that this isn’t the cause at all!

No, in fact, the true start to “Sick Season” (as we Pharmaceutical Reps used to call it) is actually kicked off by a VERY FRIGHTFUL event that comes once every year.   This SCARY event is actually HALLOWEEN and CANDY SEASON.   If you go into any Pediatrician’s office they will all tell you that they definitely have increased sick patient visits starting right after Halloween.

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The Sugar Train doesn’t start and stop with Halloween.  No, the Sugar Train chugs along well through the end of December.  People in America sure do get their fill of festive holiday sweets.  Everyone crams as much in as they can before they decide to get virtuous with New Years!  Just the thought of the restrictions of New Year’s resolutions is enough to send a person on a junk food rampage the very months before!

When I worked as a Pacemaker Rep, we always saw a spike in the increase of heart patients directly after Thanksgiving.  People actually throw themselves into heart disease by overconsumption of unhealthy foods in one single holiday weekend!  I am not kidding, truly!!!!  People who were already compromised prior to the holiday due to years of unhealthy eating, were already vulnerable in their health.  The gorging that generally occurs around holidays can  set a person like this over the edge in terms of their health.    It should be stressed that what you put into your mouth is powerful and even one meal (especially a rich holiday meal) can make an impact on your health.

The connection between Sick Season and sugar consumption is not a coincidence folks!  As long as sugar consumption remains an issue, the Immune system will fight an uphill battle in protecting the body.  This happens because the body considers sugar to be an actual STRESSOR. Stress depresses the Immune System.  When stress is on, the Immune System is off.  This is our body’s natural mechanism for survival.  Our body’s inner intelligence assesses situations second by second and makes decisions on what is needed for survival.  If it detects stress, it will shuttle all resources to “Fight or Flight” that stressor in order to survive.  All other functions, such as Digestion and Immunity, take a back seat.

Also, sugar assaults the Immune System directly by wearing out the Neutrophil population.  This is the most plentiful White Blood Cell in our bodies.  These Neutrophil cells fight infections.  When they are depleted, the body can’t fight bacteria and fungus as it normally would.  This depletion of neutrophils, combined with a depressed Immune System, sets the stage for illness.

Sugar not only diminishes the Immune System but it also is the most perfect foods for pathogens.  Our intestinal health and Immune System is governed by something called our Microbiota.  This is the environment in our intestines that balances our good bacteria (probiotics) with our bad bacteria (pathogenic bacteria).  Our Microbiota is a continual war zone with probiotics staged against pathogens.  We always want to support our probiotics and limit the growth of our pathogens.  Unfortunately, sugar turns our pathogens into super warriors!  This throws off our delicate bacterial balance and also sets the stage for illness and Immune System suppression.  This further contributes to another reason why people get sick after eating too much sugar.

Additionally, sugar causes significant INFLAMMATION in the body.  This also wreaks havoc on your Immune System as it tries to fight the inflammation, even during an already depressed state.  Systemic Inflammation increases your chance for sickness even further.  When this type of inflammation occurs chronically, this is when Auto-Immune Disorders often times come into existence.

Besides depressing our Immune System, feeding our pathogens in our Microbiota,  and causing Inflammation, Sugar also feeds cancer.*  There have been numerous studies displaying how cancer cells and tumors actually FEED off of sugar.  It makes sense when you think about the nature of yeast/bacteria and tumors in relation to sugar.   Think about bread.  When you make bread, the yeast feeds on the sugar to RISE.  This is the same concept when it comes to cancer and tumor growth.   Truly, if you or a loved one are faced with cancer, the best first defense is to remove ALL SUGAR (including carbs, fruit and starchy veggies) from your diet.

So, as you can see…sugar isn’t as sweet as it actually tastes!  I would recommend that you consider bartering your kid’s Halloween Candy this coming Halloween.  The saying of “Trick or Treat” is actually messed up!  It should be “Treat and Trick”!  Try to get your kids to trade their candy for something else such as a prized toy or a special event like a movie that they might want to see.  This will spare them from joining the many “Tricked” kids that will be headed to the Pediatrician’s office.  Also, you can try to make healthy treats with your kids.  My Pinterest page has awesome recipes using natural sweeteners.  This caramel apple recipe is one of my favorites!  http://pinterest.com/pin/185280972142897858/

 

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Really, you don’t have to give up taste for your health!  The best sources of sugar are NATURAL sources because many of these sources have other protective nutrients in them to help provide nutrition to your body.  Good natural sources for sweeteners are raw honey, organic maple syrup (grade B is best due to higher minerals content), fruit, stevia, coconut sugar and dates as a substitute.

Just the other day I made a wonderful homemade vanilla ice cream with organic whole milk and cream.  I used maple syrup as my sweetener instead of sugar.  It was a hit and no one knew that it wasn’t “sweetened” with sugar. (Again, check out my Pinterest Board for the recipe!)

Truly, I advise all of my clients to completely remove ALL REFINED SUGAR from their diets.  If you want to significantly enhance your health and the health of your family, I greatly encourage you to do the same!  Just step away from candy and refined sugary treats today.    Ditch the SAD and make life easier on yourself!  Don’t wait until New Year’s to better your life!  Every day is a new day and a new chance to make life better.  Why not just start right now by making better choices for your health and your body?  After all, you only have one body and one life to live.

Blessings and health,

Jen

 

Check out this link to learn more about the sugar and cancer interaction.  http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/cancer-sugar-strategy-selective-starvation-cancer

Fat Friday – Clearing Up Confusion on Types of Fat

Happy Fat Friday!!!

There is a lot of confusion out there concerning fat.  A devastating mistake recently occurred in the fast food and restaurant world!  Tragically,  during the misguided crusade to get  Saturated fats out of fast food, the industry took saturated fats out that do well with frying and replaced it with hydrogenated Polyunsaturated fats! This is completely detrimental to our health because as you will learn today, these Polyunsaturated fats are very delicate.  When heated they morph into TRANS FATS.   (These trans fats are also often times used in most processed foods like potato chips too…)

This is like adding fuel to the fire of heart disease!  If I was a conspiracy theorist (I  am not saying that I am NOT one) it would be easy to consider the possibility of the Pharmaceutical industry perhaps partnering with the FDA to orchestrate the swap out of Saturated fats with Trans Fats in order to sell more Cardiovascular drugs….This is entirely another topic of conversation.

No matter what, this swap out of fats used in our food supply is damaging to our health and these trans fats are what are causing the steep rise in heart disease.  Pure animal based saturated fats are actually HEALTHY for our bodies if consumed in moderation.  We need these fats, along with a balance of the Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats in order to function optimally!  I hope to bring some clarity on this wonderful nutrient today.

To start, I want to emphasize the reality is that FAT IS NOT BAD! Fats are good for you when chosen well and in when consumed in balance with the other nutrients. So many people are fat phobic!  They have been brainwashed by the food industry to think that in order to be thin that they must avoid eating fat!  This is not true!  In fact, quite the contrary.

 

In order to understand fat and your body’s need for it, it is important to know the general composition of our bodies.   In general, the average body is composed of:

  • 60% Water
  • 18% Proteins
  • 15% Fats (We need this fat in order for our bodies to function well!)
  • 4% Minerals
  • 2% Carbohydrates (This shocked me as I pondered just how many living the SAD consume a majority of their nutrients as CARBS – and we are only 2%!)
  • <1% Vitamins

In the average person, fats compose about 15% of their body weight.  People that are obese have way more than this while others who are fat phobic may have way less.   Either way, having too much or not enough is harmful to your health.  Fat serves a lot of important roles for your body, see the last Fat Friday post to be reminded of the important roles of fat.

It is important to know that contrary to popular belief, a fairly high percentage of GOOD HEALTHY FATS are required for optimum health.   In fact, in America, healthy fatty acid deficiency is epidemic!  This causes a myriad of health issues such as:

  • Musculoskeletal issues

 

  • Endocrine Issues
    • Most hormones require fat in order to be made! Without fats these hormones can’t be made.  This results in endocrine dysfunction and hormone imbalances (i.e. low testosterone).

 

  • Cardiovascular Issues
    • The idea that in order to have heart healthy diet you need to eat low fat is not true!   Eating low fat/non-fat in general is not good!  Yes, there are fats such as the trans fatty acids, hydrogenated oils & highly processed oils that are very detrimental to our health.

     

    • However,  the heart is a muscle that actually prefers FAT as a source of energy!  Yes, you read that right!

     

    • The heart has a very demanding job to pump blood and oxygen throughout your body.  It NEVER takes a vacation!  It has to perform its job every second in order for you to survive.   This type of demand requires good energy and the heart  doesn’t do a good job with a diet high in refined carbs.  You truly need good fats to keep the heart healthy.   Monounsaturated fat  (olive oil/avocados/nut oil) is particularly good for the heart.

 

  • Immune Issues
    • There is a huge connection between fats and the ability of our immune system to function well.  There is a relationship between appropriate fatty acids and the processes of inflammation.  This can impact our immune system greatly if not balanced well with healthy fats.  Healthy fats help us manage inflammation and aid our body in the healing process.  Cod Liver Oil is wonderful and a great fat to help in particular with inflammation and healing.  A good source can be purchased at  http://www.greenpasture.org/utility/showProduct/index.cfm?objectID=741

 

  • Allergies, Skin problems
    • You can actually feel deficiency in the skin due to poor fatty acid balance.  Skin that isn’t maintained well with good fat assimilation is dry.  Muscle tone is also very different in fatty acid deficient people.

     

    • Inflammation and histamine reaction can be managed thoroughly when appropriate fatty acids levels are maintained in the body.

 

  • Depression and Mental Disorders

 

As you can see, good and healthy fat consumption is essential to balancing the health of the body.  So, let’s talk about how fats are different and how they are categorized. When thinking about fat, keep in mind that if something is a solid at room temperature it is considered a fat, but if it is liquid at room temperature, it is considered an oil.   Fats are classified according to degree of saturation in their molecule chains.  There are 3 major classifications of fat:  Saturated, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated.

  • Saturated Fats
    • Highly stable

 

    • Do not go rancid easily

 

    •  Store well

 

    • They are good for cooking and frying

 

    • Solid or semi-solid at room temp (Coconut oil is saturated and is one exception to this rule=  it can be liquid in warm climates)

 

    • Considered non-essential technically because the body can make saturated fats from other fats in your body

 

    • Found in animal fats (eggs, butter, dairy, bacon, lard, tallow) and tropical oil

 

    • Almost all animal fat to a large degree is considered saturated – but not completely!  Animal fats can also have polyunsaturated fats and essential fatty acids (we need to get these from foods because our body can’t make them) in it

 

    • Tropical oils like coconut oil and palm kernel oil are the two primary saturated fats that are consumed around the world as part of the human diet.  I get my coconut oil online from Tropical Traditions.  I prefer the Organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil because it doesn’t have a coconut taste when used in baking and cooking.   Link to purchase:  http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/virgin_coconut_oil.htm

 

  • Monounsaturated Fats
    • Relatively stable (although still somewhat sensitive to breakdown when exposed to light and heat)

 

    • Olive oil has gotten a lot of press over the years due to it’s health benefits.  People who consume Mediterranean-type diets thrive on olive oil.  However, these types of oils (such as olive) do best in COLD uses (like salad dressings) because they are somewhat delicate.

 

    • Monounsaturated fats are less stable than a saturated fat because they are not as saturated.  The more saturated a fat is the more stable it is and the better it can withstand heat without going rancid or damaging the cellular make-up.   Monounsaturated fats are more stable than Polyunsaturated fats (the next classification).  If you are going to sauté something lightly for a short period of time,  it is acceptable to use Monounsaturated fats (like olive oil) for heating to a mild degree but it is  not good for deep frying or cooking extensively.   It is actually best to throw in some real butter with the olive oil if you are going to use it for cooking because the butter helps protect the molecules of the olive oil.  This is what I do when I want to use a little olive oil for sautéing.

 

    • Monounsaturated fats do not go rancid easily

 

    • You can reasonably keep olive oil in a unrefrigerated state as long as it is protected from air and light.  Be sure to purchase an organic cold pressed olive oil contained in a dark glass bottle to protect from light. 

 

    • Liquid at room temperature

 

    • Non-essential because the body can make these from the essential fatty acids.  (We’ll get to these on the next classification of Polyunsaturated fats.  Note:  the body can’t make essential fatty acids/polyunsaturated fats – we have to consume them from foods.)

 

    • Found in olive oil, avocados and nut oils (almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts)  (Reminder:  These are best in COLD uses!)

 

 

  • Polyunsaturated Fats
    • Relatively UNSTABLE they get damaged VERY easily

 

    • We need to treat these oils gently because they are fragile.   When polyunsaturated fats are in food manufacturing, they are altered chemically so that they are stable enough to use in foods for a long period of time.  This altering is NOT good and is often times a TRANS FAT!

 

    • Polyunsaturated fats do go rancid easily

 

    • They are always liquid in form

 

    • Two types of polyunsaturated fats are ESSENTIAL.   It is important to understand in nutrition what essential means.   A fat is essential if:
      1. You can’t live without it
      2. You can’t manufacture it internally within your body – you must get it from your diet = an outside source

 

    • Linoleic Acid (LA) =  Omega 6  & Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) = Omega 3  oils are the two ESSENTIAL OILS

 

    • NEVER heat or use these types of oils in cooking.   When heated, these oils are converted into unhealthful oils.  They turn from healthy fats into trans fat and an oxidized state of rancidity.

 

    • Found in flax, nuts and seeds along with fish oil

 

    • The Omega 3 and Omega 6 Essential Oils  are very important in our diet in the appropriate quantity.   Remember, these are very fragile oils!  It is a mistake to fry things in polyunsaturated fats!

 

So, today you have learned about the 3 types of fats, as well as some examples for each type.  You also have learned about how to use these fats in your diet in order to maximize their health benefits!  As we start to uncover more on healthy fats and how your body benefits from them, remember to only use healthy Saturated fats (like real butter, lard, bacon grease and coconut oil) in COOKING  and try to use healthy Monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, avocados, and nut oils) as well as ESSENTIAL Polyunsaturated fats (like fish and flax oils) for COLD uses only!

 

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Happy Fat Friday!!!!

Blessings & health,

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

The Not So Skinny on Sugar – Why it makes you FAT

As I am sitting here, writing this post, I am enjoying an amazingly rich brownie and I don’t have an ounce of guilt about it!  This brownie is one that I just made…and it isn’t filled with anything bad for me like gluten, refined sugar, trans fats or preservatives.  No, this brownie is amazingly perfect!  Actually, it is even better than perfect (if that is possible)….because these brownies are healthy for me!

To start out my post on obesity and sugar, I am going to share with you a decadent recipe that you can feel  good about making for yourself and your family.   In order for a recipe to “make it” on my Pinterest board it has to be delicious, healthy & easy!  This brownie fit the bill perfectly.   This recipe uses healthy fats found in nuts and coconut oil.  Also, it is naturally sweetened with dates, raisins and maple syrup!   Keep this recipe handy when you are craving something for dessert yet still want to be good to your body!  It is important to know that to Ditch the SAD you don’t have to give up taste or pleasure from food.  In fact, quite the contrary!  You will have far more pleasure and enjoyment in eating real food because it is HOW WE WERE MADE TO EAT!

 

HEALTHY & EASY DECADENT BROWNIES

(Recipe below adapted from Going Raw, Quarry Books 2011)

Makes 12 to 16 servings

Prep time: 30 minutes

Chill time: 1 to 2 hours

 

 

INGREDIENTS (BROWNIE BASE)

4 cups walnuts*

2/3 cup raisins

2/3 cup Medjool dates (pits removed)

2/3 cup cacao powder

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt (optional)

2 tablespoons water

 

*preferably soaked 6-8 hours and dehydrated but not crucial

 

INGREDIENTS (FROSTING)

1/2 cup maple syrup or agave nectar

1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid

2/3 cup cacao powder

 

INSTRUCTIONS (BROWNIE BASE)

Place walnuts into a food processor and grind into the consistency of a meal. Don t over process or it will release too much oil.

Add the raisins and dates and process until the mixture is well combined.

Add the cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt and process again until mixture is sticky yet still crumbly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add the water and mix well using your hands. It should start to resemble a dough.

Press mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking pan lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap.

 

INSTRUCTIONS (FROSTING)

Add maple syrup to the blender first followed by the coconut oil and cocoa powder. Blend well until smooth.

Spread topping over brownies and chill at least 1-2 hours.

Remove brownie by lifting up the parchment paper and slice into desired size pieces.

 

Store these in the refrigerator for up to one week.   Or, you can store it in the freezer for one month.  (I actually like to eat these frozen in the summer when I want a cool fudgy treat!)

 

As I take another bite of brownie, I can’t help but think about all of the people out there living the SAD and jumping from one diet to another.  I used to be one of those people.  I was lured in and enticed by new fads just like everyone else!    I can’t tell you how many different diets that I tried.   The psychology of the diet industry is both fascinating and saddening.  These fad diets prey on hopeless and desperate people.  Each glistening book offers up the hope of finally finding the true way – the way to all happiness in life through weight loss.  Each fad claims to have discovered the real secret key to weight loss that the other previous fads hadn’t yet uncovered.   Yet each fad comes and goes….another one bites the dust….and the scales in America keep on tipping up higher and higher….

Just about everyone out there is either trying to lose weight or trying to keep from gaining weight.   If you happen to not be in one of those two categories, you are a one rare lucky bird!  Currently, 66% of Americans are considered over weight, with 35% considered obese! * It is staggering to know that more than ½ of the American population has a weight issue.

 

Sugar & Obesity

Sugar & Obesity

What is most sad about this stat, is that people are not truly aware of just how damaging this extra weight is to their health.  They have no idea that they are slowly killing themselves by allowing their bodies to be in such an unhealthy state. They are on the path to serious diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.  Even sadder is that often times these very people are actually TRYING to lose weight.  Unfortunately, they are getting bad information.

Most of the blame for such an unhealthy population can be directly pointed to the low fat craze.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, when food is made to be low fat or no fat, sugar is generally added to the food in order for it to still taste good and still sell at the grocery store.   These fat free and low fat foods are LOADED with extra sugar!  Yes, sugar is technically fat free, but truly this is a deceitful claim.

Our bodies take anything that we eat with sugar in it (including starches like bread, pasta, chips, cereals, crackers and potatoes) and convert that sugar into glucose to be used by our body.  Glucose can be used immediately for quick energy needs, stored in the liver and muscle as glycogen for emergency energy reserves, or stored as fat (when our energy reserves in the liver and muscles are already full).   Glucose is a great help to our brains and does serve a purpose for energy and brain function when eaten in moderation and derived from natural sources (such as veggies, fruit, honey and maple syrup).

However, most people get way too much glucose  because sugar is added to SO many things.   When we consume too much sugar, our energy reserves are already full so the glucose goes directly into storage mode as unhealthy fat.   In America, sugar is added to things that you wouldn’t even expect it to be added to such as ketchup, salad dressings and spaghetti sauces!  Food manufacturers and restaurants do this because they know that sugar makes food taste good and it is also addictive.  This is what continues to drive the sale of their products!

Sugar seems to be EVERYWHERE and in EVERYTHING that we eat – especially foods that are considered convenient.  When looking at the ingredients of a food, if sugar or a sugary ingredient is listed as one of the first 3 ingredients, it is likely that the product is high in sugar.  Here are some things to look for:

  • Names for Sugars:  brown sugar, powdered sugar, turbinado sugar, white sugar, cane sugar, beet sugar, corn sugar, date sugar, maple sugar, turbinado sugar

 

  • Hidden names for Sugar:  high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, disaccharides, molasses, succanat, polysaccharides, sucrose, fructose, invert sugar, dextrose, sucrose, glucose, lactose, sorbitol, mannitol, honey, malt, malt extract, maltose, rice extract, xylitol and golden syrup

It should be noted that since high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)  has recently received a lot of attention for being so damaging to health, the industry has slyly changed their name for it!  High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is no longer called HFCS; instead, it is simply called CORN SUGAR.  Whenever you see Corn Sugar as an ingredient, it is actually HFCS.  (A quick side note on HFCS – it is should be known that HFCS is extra damaging to the body.  Not only is it damaging because of the refined sugar content, but also because it is really high in MERCURY!  High levels of mercury have been linked to the cause of  Autism and many other disorders.)

Did you know that our bodies technically don’t need us to consume sugar or starches/carbs?   Our bodies are amazing and they can make glucose directly from proteins and fats stored already in our bodies!  This concept is what spurred on the big Atkin’s diet fad.

Now, I should be very clear that I am not an advocate of the Atkin’s diet.  I believe that humans do need healthy forms of sugars and starches to keep a good balance of nutrients.   However, people on the Atkins diet do have great weight loss success due to their simple avoidance of sugars and starches. Ultimately, just by focusing on eating real food (not processed) and a balance of 40% unrefined complex carbs (think veggies, some fresh fruits, some gluten free grains, brown rice or potatoes), 30% healthy fats and 30% animal proteins, you can achieve very similar weight loss without compromising the balance of nutrients needed by your body.

The reason why sugar and excessive starch (breads, pastas, crackers, potatoes) consumption is so heavily linked to weight gain is because many of these calories are what are called empty calories.  We actually call these calories NEGATIVE calories in our nutritional community because they ROB & TAKE AWAY vital minerals and vitamins from our bodies in order to digest and process them!  These negative calories also don’t make you feel satisfied and full.  Since you don’t feel full, you continue to feel hungry and you continue to eat more than you should!

When people eat sugars and excessive starches, they are often times not balancing the other needed nutrients of animal proteins (30%) and healthy fats (40%).   The recommended ratio of 40% carb/30% fat/30% protein helps the body stay balanced and actually helps you feel fullWhen you eat a diet based heavily on empty sugar/starch calories you ALMOST NEVER FEEL FULL (remember it is FAT that makes you feel full) so you eat more of the sugar and starches then you normally would had you chosen to balance it well with good protein and fats.  This is a viscous cycle that results is an obese society!

Did you know that fat is actually a way for your body to protect itself?  Fat storage is the body’s way of protecting our bodies from toxins.  A good example is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  High fructose Corn Syrup, the preferred sweetener of soft drinks, candy bars, chips, sauces and most processed foods, has been shown to contain mercury.  The body will store this in your fat reserves in order to protect your muscles and tissues from the toxins.  Fat literally keeps  toxins away from your body’s vital components.   When you eat empty/negative calories that come from such tainted sources, you are inviting your body to add extra fat as a protective measure!

Right now you may be wondering what to eat in order to get your 40% ratio of carbs per meal!  Good carb choices are vegetables, fresh fruits, some gluten free whole grains (like gluten free oats or brown rice),and  potatoes/sweet potatoes .   Potatoes and sweet potatoes are considered starchy carbs.  Try to keep your consumption of starchy carbs down to 15% of the 40% ratio.  The body converts these starchy carbs into glucose and uses it very similarly as it does refined sugar.   A great substitution for potatoes is actually cauliflower!  Cooked cauliflower that is mashed like potatoes with the same type of toppings you would put on your mashed potatoes tastes almost exactly the same believe it or not!  Check out my Pinterest page for some recipe ideas under the FOOD – Sides category.

When choosing a sweetener for a sweet treat, only use natural organic sources such as raw honey, pure maple syrup (grade B is best), fruits such as dates and coconut sap/sugar.  These are pure natural sources and nature knows best in terms of what is healthiest for us!

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If you want a treat and can’t find one in the store using these sweeteners, learn to make some yourself!  This can be a fun date night activity or family bonding time.  Check out my Recipe section on my site and also my Pinterest page for some great recipe ideas.  Remember, real food tastes great!  You don’t have to compromise taste or treats in order to experience health through nutrition.  You just have to make better CHOICES.  As a bonus, your health, energy level and your waist line will be much improved in the process!

Blessings & health,

Jen

America’s Sugar Crisis – A STICKY Subject!

Oh my, whenever this topic comes up it seems to instantly create anxiety for my clients.   I completely understand their fear, being that I used to be the biggest sugar addict out there!  The topic of sugar really is a sticky one.   In fact, on my transition plan (Members – Ditch the SAD Transition Tab), you will see that refined sugar is the very last transition to make.  It is also the one transition that has the most time allotted for it.  Ramping people up by first successfully transitioning all other areas of  nutrition helps prepare them for the challenge of sugar transitioning.  This approach has proven to have high success rates because it is easier for people!

When dealing with the topic of sugar, I think it is very important to address two points up front.  The first point is that I am not a Sugar Cop and I am not going to bust you or  tell you not to have something.  What you choose to do with your body and what you put in it is your choice.  My goal is simply to educate you and help you choose substitutions for something that you may be craving as you transition.

As a Nutritional Therapist Practitioner, trained by NTA, we were taught a major principle to NEVER TAKE AWAY A FOOD– instead find a healthier SUBSTITUTION.    My goal will be to work alongside of you to help you learn options for better choices.  Instead of reaching for an Oreo cookie, I will encourage you eat a homemade chocolate chip cookie made with organic coconut flour, natural unrefined sugar (such as honey or maple syrup) and organic chocolate chips.

The second point that is necessary to discuss up front, is that refined sugar (standard white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) is truly a poison to our bodies.  I will say this again….REFINED SUGAR IS A POISON TO OUR BODIES.  Our bodies were never made to consume such large amounts of sugar.

Refined sugar got introduced to human diets in the early 1600’s.  That really wasn’t all that long ago if you think about the history of mankind.  Actually, in 1821, the average consumption of sugar was just 10 lbs. of sugar per person per year.    We are way beyond that now!  In 1980, the average was 120 lbs. (alot of this was due to the low fat craze – we will discuss that in a bit) and in 2004 it averaged 141 lbs. of sugar a year per person.  To top that, American consumption of sugar currently averages 196 lbs. of sugar a year per person! This is out of control.

Never before in the history of mankind have we had an EMERGENCY need to lower blood sugar.  The stats in terms of Diabetes are absolutely horrific.  Did you know that on average, 1 in 3 children in the US born in 2000 will become diabetic?**  1 in 3 children!  Parents!!!!  Wake up!!!!  PLEASE don’t feed your children sugary pasteurized fruit juices, processed cereals, cookies, crackers, chips and sugar laced pastries!   Help your children be healthy and live full lives! Help them by giving them REAL food and less processed sugary junk.

In terms of adults and diabetes, the stat is not much better.  In people over the age of 20, diabetes has increased from 1.6 million cases in 1958 to 18.8 million in 2010.***  The question that I keep on asking is when are people going to wake up and put a stop to this madness?  However, maybe the solution isn’t so simple….

I don’t believe there is a more powerful substance in our food supply than sugar.   Truly, people are ATTACHED to it! From early childhood, sugar and sugary concoctions are connected with rewards and comfort.   This connection is very powerful and the attachment to sugar moves beyond just a physical response (which you will learn is already extremely powerful on its own) to an entirely different level with an emotional component.

It is almost impossible to think of most major life events such as birthdays, weddings & holidays without thinking about some type of sugary treat attached to it.  The range is broad if you really stop to think about it for a minute.  Starting with Valentine’s Day and the heart shaped boxes of chocolates, to Easter baskets filled with jelly beans, 4th of July whipped cream cakes and ice cream, Halloween candies, Thanksgiving pies to Candy Canes and cookies for Santa and his Reindeer…. It is amazing to realize how much sugar is involved in emotional events.

Take the simple, yet grand, tradition of the celebration of life with birthday cake.   Just the thought of the entire experience, starting with the cake coated with sugary buttercream frosting, evokes the feeling of love and happiness.  The glow of the sparkly candles goes hand in hand with the warmth of loved ones singing well wishes.   This is just one single example showing how tradition of food tied with emotion runs deep!  (Although if you only had a special treat of cake once a year on your birthday – you would be doing pretty good!  I think you would be under the 1821 average of 10 lbs. per person per year if you did that!)

bigstock-Happy-Birthday-1076413

All of these holidays and life events create an unavoidable emotional attachment to certain foods.  Unfortunately, most of these foods are sugar based.   Would it be the same warm experience to have Birthday Barbeque Chicken?  I don’t think so!

Even further complicating the bond that people have to sugar is the fact that the bond generally surpasses emotional attachment.  The scary fact that we have come to learn from science is that our attachment to sugar is due, in a majority of cases, to an actual ADDICTION! * Refined sugar, often times referenced as WHITE POISON  by the holistic community, has been proven in clinical studies to be more addictive than cocaine!*  Certainly, after learning about how damaging it is to our bodies, I do believe that refined sugar, especially High Fructose Corn Syrup, should also be considered illegal!

 

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Never before in the history of mankind have we had an EMERGENCY need to LOWER blood sugar in society.  How can it be that we have increased so dramatically in just under 200 years from an average of 10 lbs. of sugar a year to 196 lbs. of sugar per person per year?   A major cause of the sharp increase came around the 1980’s with the LOW FAT CRAZE!

The low fat fad hit the markets and overnight everything became low fat or no-fat.  However, food manufacturers were very smart.  They realized that when they took fat of out foods, that the food lost its flavor!  Fat gives food flavor and low fat food didn’t taste as good!  You actually might remember back to that time in life (if you are old enough) and may remember seeing “New & Improved” on cartons and packages that were toting the low fat line.  The food manufacturers quickly learned that to make food taste good after fat was taken out, that they had to add sugar.  Sugar seemed to fit the bill for a perfect flavor substitute for fat.   It was both cheap and fat free.  However, this substitution was deceitful.  Yes, sugar is fat free but the body stores excess sugar as fat!   Can you say false advertising?

Another bonus that food manufacturers learned during the low fat fad is that people bought higher quantities of the low fat foods.  People were purchasing more of the food not solely because of the fad, but also because they were getting addicted to the extra sugar and they weren’t feeling full.  To compensate, they ate more servings and in response serving sizes got BIGGER. (As a side note:  check out this interesting post on McDonalds and Sugar….http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201108/7-things-mcdonald-s-knows-about-your-brain)

Fat is the nutrient that makes you feel full when you eat.   Since fat was removed from the low-fat or no-fat food, the feeling of fullness never arrived!  This then created the downward spiral of overeating, over consumption of sugar and the obesity and metabolic syndrome epidemic that we SADLY have in society today.

Over the next several days, I will be spending time on the Foundation of Blood Sugar Balance, nutrition and your health.

In the meantime, check out my NUTRITION tab to find healthy Carb and Natural Sugar options to guide you as you learn about sugar and nutrition.

 

Blessings & health,

Jen

 

*Sugar/Cocaine Reference http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0000698

** JAMA 2003;290:1884-1890

*** http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2011.pdf

 

The Scoop on Poop – The Grand Finale to Digestion!

Do you happen to have a pet?  Have you ever noticed how right after feeding them, they ALWAYS have to head to the litter box or need to be taken out to “do their business?”   This is perfect example of how our digestive system is also supposed to work.  Nature intended our bodies to respond in this way!

It is both healthy and normal to have regular bowel movements after EVERY meal.  However, this is not what most of us actually experience living in today’s modern era.  Many of us consider ourselves exceptional if we even have a regular event every single day!

roll of toilet paper on a toilet, concept for constipation and bowel movement

This can all be traced back to process of digestion.  Truly, elimination is the grand finale to your body’s full cycle of digestion.  Once food and nutrients are absorbed from the small intestines, any remaining fibers, bile, water and nutrients move on down the GI tract to the large intestines.

The large intestines perform the final functions of digestion by recycling any leftover water, supporting probiotic proliferation (most of your probiotics are housed in the large intestines) and also capturing any lost nutrients that are still available to convert  to vitamins (specifically Vitamins K, B1, B2, B12 and butyric acid).  After those three tasks are performed by the large intestines, anything left over is expelled by the body as feces.

Something interesting to note is that most cells in the body are nourished through our blood circulation. However, the colon is different!  The colon is poorly vasculated.   Instead, it is nourished by a nutrient called butyrate.  Butyrate, a nutrient first discovered in BUTTER, is produced by the actual cells in the colon and this is what the colon uses for energy instead of nutrients from the blood. (Butter is good for you, folks!)

Also interesting to note is that most of your immune system, which is known as your microbiota, is housed in the large intestines.  Your microbiota is ultimately the composition of your body’s gut bacteria – both good and bad!  Beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, exist here, as well as pathogenic bacteria.  There is a continual war between your good bacteria and your bad bacteria.  Depending on what you are eating, you are helping to feed and strengthen one or the other based on each and every meal.

When digestion is working as it should, once food is ingested, it pushes everything through the entire process so that anything in your system from a previous meal gets pushed further on down the tract.  When this happens, as we see with most of our pets, the urge to “do your business” occurs right after consumption of a meal.  This is how nature intended it to be!

A reason why we don’t recognize this type of frequency of elimination as NORMAL is due to the fact that most of us have dysfunctional digestion!  Food doesn’t move fluidly through our digestive system as it should.  Instead, it just sits and gets stuck in the process.  Therefore, most of us experience CONSTIPATION more frequently than actual healthy elimination!

Constipation is largely due to poor hydrochloric acid production by the stomach.  When you don’t have enough stomach acid, the process of digestion doesn’t get stimulated properly.   This slows down the movement of food through your digestive tract.  Have you ever noticed how after drinking coffee, you tend to have to go and take care of your business?  That is because the caffeine acts as a stimulant to your GI tract and actually starts to move food that was otherwise stagnant.

Another issue with low stomach acid, besides slow movement through the tract, is that food doesn’t actually get broken down.   When undigested food arrives to the large intestines, the intestines have to work in overdrive to break down whatever it can. This is unnatural.  The process is supposed to be easier with food already digested by the small intestines.  This can dramatically slow down the elimination process.

However, the problem of undigested food arriving to the large intestines is two-fold.  Not only does the process get backed up (no pun intended) but it also tends to bring parasites and pathogenic bacteria with it.  These parasites/pathogens should have been killed by hydrochloric acid in the stomach, but if there isn’t enough hydrochloric acid, this doesn’t happen.   This leads to a weakening of the balance of good bacteria and bad bacteria.  You are increasing the bad guys!  Your probiotics take a hit and your immune system also becomes affected when this happens.

Also, when probiotic production is down in your large intestine, butyric acid production is down also because probiotics help manufacture butyric acid.  Ultimately, nourishment to your colon’s cells is significantly hindered.  The colon inevitably is weakened.  It leaves the colon subject to inflammation, diverticulitis (pockets that form that get packed with undigested food) and loss of tone.

If you have ever experienced Irritable Bowel Syndrome, you truly know the discomfort that a weakened colon can inflict.  Irritable Bowel Syndrome is often times the precursor to disorders such as Diverticulitis, Crohn’s Disease, Colitis, Celiac Disease and Cancer.  These disorders CAN BE AVOIDED simply by having good digestion and good stomach acid.

A simple solution to dramatically help constipation, as well as MANY other digestive issues, is to increase your stomach acid production by taking 1-2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar prior to each meal.  Or, you can choose to take a hydrochloric acid supplement prior to each meal instead.  Our family personally takes Hydro-Zyme or Betaine Plus HP, prior to each meal.  By increasing your stomach acid, you will help keep your system flowing and running like a well-oiled machine!

Another major cause of CONSTIPATION is poor hydration.  Constipation is a mature sign that the body is DEHYDRATED.  A person experiencing constipation can be guaranteed that they are certainly dehydrated.  By simply increasing fluid intake constipation can be significantly alleviated.  The proper amount of fresh filtered water a person should consume in a day is based on body weight.  Take your body weight and divide it by 2.  That is the minimal amount of water that you should drink in a day!

If you have any diuretics such coffee, tea, pasteurized juices or sodas, you will need to increase your water intake to add 1 & ½ times the amount of whatever diuretic drink you had.  I personally enjoy a good 8 ounce cup of black coffee every single morning.  I am just over 100 lbs.   I minimally drink 55 ounces of water a day, PLUS 12 more ounces (8 x 1.5 = 12) to make up for my coffee because it dehydrates!  I guarantee that if you just focus on your water intake alone, you will feel the difference in the frequency of your elimination!

Another great way to help with constipation is to support your large intestine with good probiotic supplementation.  You can get probiotics in either pill formulation or through food sources.  In terms of pill formulations, I recommend Dr. Mercola’s Complete Probiotic, which can be purchased at www.mercola.com.   However, the very best way to get probiotics into your system is actually through FERMENTED foods.

I may have lost you here…many of you haven’t heard of fermentation because it is a process of preparing foods that somehow got lost by the way side when technology came along (such as the refrigerator) to help us preserve foods.  However, this ancient practice of preserving foods actually promotes the growth of good bacteria and yeasts on foods, otherwise known as probiotics.  YES, BACTERIA & YEAST CAN BE GOOD.  There are thousands of different strains of each – some are good and some are bad.  The trick is to encourage the growth of the good.

An example of a fermented food is yogurt.  If you look at any good container of yogurt it will reference the fact that it contains strains of live cultures.  These live cultures are bacteria – or otherwise known as probiotics.  In working with fermentation, we are controlling the environment to promote the growth of only the good bacteria.  We have learned these techniques from our ancient ancestors as this art has been practiced for thousands of years.   In general, fermentation involves submerging a food (such as carrots) under brine made of filtered water and salt.  The carrots are left for several days or even weeks to sit and FERMENT.  During this time, good bacteria and yeast are feeding off of the carrots.  These bacteria and yeast multiply and strengthen to produce a very potent super food for you to eat.  These foods actually taste great, too!  Most fermented veggies have a slightly sour and salty taste – much like what pickles taste like.

There are several types of fermented foods that you either purchase or make yourself, ranging from yogurts to fizzy soda like drinks that taste like champagne.  Check out my Nutrition Tab to learn more about great sources of probiotics.

Also, join my on-line webinar on August 10, to learn how get started by making your own delicious fermented condiments!  In the webinar you will learn how to make Fermented Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo and Salsa!  Condiments are an easy and delicious way to introduce yourself and your family to fermented foods.  The movement of fermentation used to be somewhat underground, however, it has come back in vogue and there are a lot of wonderful resources, as well as products available, to make it a very convenient process to embrace!

Blessings & health,

Jen

 

 

 

Digestion: Food & Farting – Why IT Happens!

A great friend of mine recently called me to tell me how she has been changing her diet and eating better.  She started by telling me what she had made for breakfast that morning.  She chose to make scrambled eggs as she was trying to eat more protein and healthy fats.  I always celebrate this type of news and love knowing that people that I care about are making great decisions for their nutrition and health. 

As we were talking she said that she could already feel the gas starting to build up and that she knew that tooting wasn’t far from happing!  I couldn’t help but laugh.  Has this ever happened to you?  Are there certain foods that seem to unavoidably make your rear end act like it’s on a try out for American Idol?

Food & Farting:  Why IT Happens!

Food & Farting: Why IT Happens!

 

When this happens, it is actually mostly due to your digestion, or lack thereof!  The fats that you are eating are not being broken down properly.  Fats are emulsified by our body through bile.  Free flowing and healthy bile is a like beautiful river that helps detoxify the liver as well as aid fat digestion.  It is interesting to know that bile actually is made in the liver but it is stored in the gallbladder. 

When you eat fat, your body senses it in your system and your small intestine gears up to release a hormone called Cholecystokinin (CCK) to invite your gallbladder to send stored bile to the party of digestion.  The bile then flows to your intestines to break down the fats that were in your food.   However, if you have slow and sluggish bile, it ends up showing up too late to the party of digestion and you end up having undigested fats sitting in your intestines. 

When this happens, this is tragic to your body because you are not able to fully emulsify and utilize fats for the health of your body.   Instead, the fat rancidifies and causes that dreaded SYMPHONY of musical notes from your rear end = GAS.  This is detrimental to your health because fat plays a major role cellular protection and activity.  If you remember from this last Fat Friday’s post, fat has major roles in contributing to our health!  In summary, fats:

  • Provide a source of slow and steady energy

 

  • Are building blocks for cell membranes and hormones
    • Every cell in our body is made lipid bi-layers that make up the walls of every cell

 

  • Help aid inflammation and healing through prostaglandin production

 

  • Are required for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A,D,E & K

 

  • Are required for the adequate use of proteins
    • If you don’t have enough fat you can’t use your proteins

 

  • Serve as a protective lining for the organs of the body

 

  • Play a role in slowing the absorption of food and proper energy regulation
    • When you consume sugars with fats, it slows the uptake of the carbs so that you get a more steady supply so you don’t over spike your blood sugar and insulin
    • Fats make you feel satisfied and full

 

  • Make food taste good!
    • When you take the fat out you have to put something else in to make people want to consume it – people put sugar in it!  We are getting way too much sugar!

Some problems that our society experience living on the SAD, is that many people eat low-fat or NO fatWhen people don’t eat fat, or eat very little fat, bile is never invited to the party of digestion by the intestines.  It isn’t needed to do its job of digesting fat.   Over time, the unused bile becomes thick and viscous as it just hangs around unutilized in the gallbladder.  Just like most things, if you don’t use it, you lose it.  Or, it gets lazy.  The same is true with bile. 

If someone barely eats fat and then has that special holiday where they go to town on rich foods, their system really takes hit.  Their bile is too thick and slow – it never makes it fully to the party to participate in digestion!   The fat in the food doesn’t get digested and anyone near that person finds themselves listening to (or smelling) a song that they never wanted to hear….!

At this point, you may be wondering what happens, other than setting off a protest from your rear end, when the fat that we eat isn’t digested properly.  The pancreas can come to the rescue to a small degree.  The pancreas releases the digestive enzyme lipase to help aid fat digestion.  However, if you remember from our earlier post, Digestion:  The GIFT of Great DIGESTION, the pancreas only releases its enzymes if the food entering the small intestine is acidic enough.  If you don’t have enough acidity to the food entering the small intestine, the pancreas never will release its enzymes. 

So, if the gallbladder and pancreas don’t come to the rescue, you are unknowingly giving yourself a front row seat to a concert, not just a single song, from your rear end.  And, worse yet, your body is not able to use the nutrients found in fats to perform its many important roles. 

Do you have gallbladder issues or have you had your gallbladder removed?  Gallbladder issues can be painful due to the buildup of stones from overly-viscous (unused) bile.  Also, the gallbladder may be swollen with too much bile since it hasn’t been needed!   Interestingly, the liver continues to produce bile even though the gallbladder may be too full.  It does this because bile is also a way for the liver to detoxify itself.  When this happens, the swelling can be very painful!  Many people who experience this discomfort choose to have their gallbladders removed.  However, if you can avoid this, it is best!  Your gallbladder is there for a reason and it has a very important job to perform.  See further down for some natural solutions to help your gallbladder recover.

Stomach Ache

If you have had your gallbladder removed, bile is still available but it isn’t stored for you like someone who actually has their gallbladder.  This makes your accessibility to bile very challenging.  Truly, for people without gallbladders, bile salts and supplemental therapy is almost always needed before EACH meal in order to digest fats appropriately.

Some natural solutions to help aid bile utilization and the gallbladder are to incorporate BEET JUICE into your diet.  Beet juice can thin bile and help with gallbladder stones.  You will also want to slowly incorporate healthy fats (see my list from this past Fat Friday post, June 14, 2013) while adding the juice to your diet.  Please note that when you do this, you may feel sick initially because bile also stores toxins that the liver is trying to get rid of, in addition to helping with fat digestion.   When the bile does start to show up to the party of digestion in your small intestines, your small intestines may sense the toxins in the bile from the liver.  This may cause temporary diarrhea.    It is gentler to ease into this healing process by going slowly.

Supplements that you can take to aid bile production:

  • Bile Salts are definitely needed before each meal for those without a gallbladder.

 

  • Beta TCP or Beta-Plus, from Biotics Research, are also very good options. 
    • TCP stands for Taurine, Vitamin C from beet source and beet concentrate and Pancrealipase.  

My family personally takes 2 Beta TCPs before most meals.  This has proven to work great for us!  It keeps the peace in our house.   My husband used to be the WORST at putting on unwanted concerts.  (I love you, honey.) Thankfully, the tour has ended!

Stayed tuned for tomorrow’s post on the “Grand Finale on Digestion:  The Scoop on Poop.”

Blessings & health,

Jen

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