5 Strategies for Balancing Blood Sugar, Burning Fat, and Protecting Yourself from Disease

By Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, MS, DC, CCN, DACBN

So what do excess belly fat, blood sugar imbalance and serious diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes have in common?  Poor regulation of insulin, a hormone secreted by your pancreas, appears to be a connecting force.

Insulin gets secreted in response to elevation of your blood sugar.

This can be after a meal or as a result of stress.

The relationship between cortisol and insulin is circular. Increased cortisol raises blood sugar which causes an increase in insulin which causes cortisol to go up.

Under normal circumstances, after a meal, the increased glucose in your blood causes your pancreas to secrete insulin.

The more glucose in your food, the more insulin that’s produced. Insulin binds to the cell membranes and triggers the cell membrane to open up and let the glucose in. Glucose, amino acids, fats, magnesium and other nutrients are then transported into the cell, the mitochondria produce energy and everyone is happy.

Once the nutrients are cleared from your blood, your pancreas stops secreting insulin.

As vital as insulin is to keeping you alive and kicking, even under normal circumstances, insulin has some undesirable effects.

Like most things in your body insulin is a double edged sword. It has its good side and its bad side. Insulin is absolutely necessary to get the sugar out of your blood and into the cells where it can be converted to energy. Without insulin, your blood sugar would skyrocket and you’d become diabetic.

Among the negative effects of insulin are

- Preferential use of glucose over fat as fuel
- Inhibits the burning of fat by the cells
- Inhibits growth hormone
- Slightly depresses thyroid effects by blunting conversion of T-4 to T-3.

Insulin is chronically elevated when you eat foods high in carbohydrates that stimulate a rapid rise in glucose, and when you eat your meals too close together. When this happens, you are in a constant state of inhibited fat burning, low growth hormone and lowered metabolic rate.

The end result is you can’t lose the belly fat. Excess insulin can cause your blood sugar to get too low, leading to the brain fog, irritability and ravenous appetite caused by low blood sugar.

On top of everything else, after a while the insulin receptors on your cells get tired of the constant insulin stimulation and they basically put their hands over their ears and say: Enough!

When your cells become resistant to insulin, three things can happen.

1) Insulin can’t keep up with the demand and your blood sugar starts to rise, leading to diabetes.

2) Insulin gets really good at clearing the blood sugar triggering fat storage and your midsection grows steadily.

3) Insulin gets too good at clearing the glucose. Not only does your fat storage increase, your blood sugar plummets and you experience the symptoms of reactive hypoglycemia.

The problem happens when you eat a lot of foods that trigger insulin to be released or when you’re chronically stressed and cortisol causes your blood sugar to elevate.

The result is the inability of circulating insulin to properly bind to the insulin receptors on the cell resulting in inefficient transport of nutrients and glucose into your cells. This causes your pancreas to continue to secrete more insulin causing high levels of insulin for a long period of time before nutrients are cleared.

As a result you experience deficient function in insulin resistant cells, like your liver, fat, and untrained muscle due to insufficient energy production. It also results in the anabolic effects of excess insulin, namely increased body fat, especially around the middle.

Not all cells become insulin resistant. The cells lining your blood vessels don’t become resistant to excess insulin. They they suffer the adverse effects of excess insulin, namely oxidative damage to blood vessel linings.

This can result in thickening, narrowing and plaque formation resulting in atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack. Excess insulin can also result in the adverse systemic effects of inflammation, water retention, suppressed fat burning, blunted growth hormone and low thyroid hormone.

SO…what should you do?

First and foremost, get off ALL sugar and processed foods. That means no bread, even gluten free, no cookies, crackers (except raw dehydrated ones, made from vegetables, nuts and seeds) no cakes, pastries, candies and fruit juice.

These foods trigger blood sugar spikes which trigger excess insulin release. You also need to restore your cell’s receptivity to insulin. There are a number of nutrients like chromium, magnesium, glutamine and zinc that are important here.

5 Surefire Strategies for Restoring Insulin Sensitivity and Balancing Blood Sugar

–  Remove all foods that trigger blood sugar spikes: sugar, all grains, potatoes, fruit juice, dried fruit and high glycemic fruits like bananas and grapes. I recommend my patients purchase a glucose meter and test the fruits to determine which ones they need to eliminate. I also recommend that whenever fruit is consumed it’s taken with green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach and sprouts.

–  Supplement with the vitamins and minerals needed to restore insulin sensitivity. These include  chromium, magnesium, glutamine, zinc and the B vitamins. It can vary from person to person.

–  Supplement with DHA, an omega 3 fat that’s vital for insulin sensitivity. The best source is algae or its oil. Algae oil DHA supplements are readily available.

( Editors note: we recommend the one at www.bestvegandha.com )

–  Exercise, especially short, intense bursts.  Trained muscle is much more sensitive to insulin. High intensity, short burst exercise stimulates the release of growth hormone and suppresses appetite.

–  Space your meals.  Eating every couple of hours keeps insulin levels elevated all day long, leading to insulin resistance.  Constantly elevated insulin leads to insulin resistance, suppresses fat burning and keeps you in a constant state of fat storage

Insulin resistance and blood sugar level imbalance are not minor inconveniences that can be ignored. The long term consequences are serious and life threatening.

Retrain your tongue and get your blood sugar and insulin under control so you can live a long and happy life with a flat belly, clear head and a renewal enjoyment of your life.

 

Blue Green Algae and Wheatgrass Juice – Are They Really Worth Buying?

Superfoods have become a big trend lately, but is there scientific backing to the nutrient contents of these foods?

The reason some foods are termed superfoods is because their nutrient content exceeds in comparison to other foods. Let’s take a look at two popular superfoods and weigh out their benefits and drawbacks.

This is Part 1 of a series we will be publishing. In upcoming blog posts, we will evaluate maca powder and hemp seeds.

Blue Green Algae - most commonly known for its help with weight loss and cancer, has grown popularity over recent years.

Blue green algae are microscopic plants that grow mostly in brackish ponds and lakes all over the world. They can vary considerably in shape, color and size.

The most common type of blue green algae used for human consumption is spirulina. Spirulina has been proven to have a superior nutritional content in comparison to other foods. Spirulina is 65%-71% complete protein; in comparison beef is only 22% protein.[i]

Little scientific research has been conducted on blue green algae using human subjects, but animal and laboratory studies have shown the plant can be beneficial in treating several different conditions.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center says that blue green algae are used to both prevent and treat cancer. Again, although no human studies have been done, studies done on animals suggest that blue green algae can help to protect healthy tissue from the damaging effects of cancer drugs, radiation and chemotherapy.[ii]

According to Medline Plus studies, spirulina has been shown to reduce sugar levels for people with diabetes and lower cholesterol levels. 

Many recommend blue green algae to aid with weight loss. It seems to act as an appetite suppressant and supports your body in weight management. At this time there aren’t scientific studies to help prove this, only anecdotal evidence (individual success stories).

Studies on animals have shown results with cancer prevention and treatment, lowering sugar levels, reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol levels. That´s the good news. But there have also been studies done on blue green algae’s negative side effects.

Blue green algae supplements could be contaminated with toxins called mycotoxins as well as harmful bacteria. A study published in May 2000 by Environmental Health Perspectives found that 85 of 87 samples of blue green algae supplements tested contained mycocystins, which are toxic to the liver.[iii]

So when choosing supplements make sure you are choosing a company you trust.

In addition, according to The University of Maryland Medical Center, people with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis, should beware of taking blue green algae products because they stimulate the immune system, potentially worsening these conditions.[iv]

Wheatgrass- known for its support with boosting the immune system, purifying the blood, improving digestion and fighting chronic illness.

Wheatgrass is a young grass that is part of the wheat family. Though many connect wheat grass to the wheat grain which contains gluten, wheat grass is actually considered to be gluten free since it isn’t sprouted.

Wheat grass is usually pressed or blended in to a juice and served as a 2 ounce shot accompanied by an orange slice. It is also used in supplement form.

The active ingredients in wheat grass are vitamins A, B, C and E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, natural enzymes and chlorophyll. Wheat grass is said to be 70% chlorophyll.

Many say that wheatgrass has miraculous benefits. According to the American Cancer Society, the plant was used in folk medicine to help treat chronic skin problems, cystitis, constipation and gout.[v]

Wheat grass has also been linked with helping cancer patients. Nutrition and Cancer published a study in 2007 which found that breast cancer patients had lowered blood toxicity with regular wheat grass juice administration. [vi]

Columbia University's Health Internet service states that wheatgrass helps to neutralize body odors. In addition, the high chlorophyll levels can help reduce bad breath and dental decay. Dentists sometimes use wheatgrass juice to treat patients with mouth infections.[vii]

Many people have individual success stories with this superfood; unfortunately there have also been negative accounts with it as well.

Since wheatgrass is grown in moist conditions it can lock in mold which after ingested can lead to sickness. In additio,n wheatgrass can breed bacteria which can cause headaches and gastrointestinal issues. To avoid this, make sure to wash the wheatgrass carefully before juicing.

Even though wheat grass itself does not contain gluten, there is potential for cross contamination in the growing process, leaving it unsafe at times for people who have celiac disease or an allergy or intolerance to wheat.

Wheatgrass has also been said to cause nausea for some people. According to Harley Matsil, president of wheatgrass grower Perfect Foods Inc., wheatgrass juice doesn't mix well with other foods. Wheatgrass should be ingested on an empty stomach, plus you should also wait at least an hour to eat after drinking/taking a wheatgrass supplement.[viii]

There have been amazingly positive results and some negative results with these superfoods. With more research done in the near future we can assess the power of these superfoods and how to best incorporate them without any negative accounts.

Until then make sure that you trust the supplement company that you are purchasing from and that you do your research on how much to ingest.    

10 Steps To Kitchen Space & Clarity; Part Two

By Raederle Phoenix

Click Here For Steps 1-6

Step Seven: Keep The Dishes Clean & Orderly

Avoid leaving dirty dishes around your kitchen, especially if space is limited.  A dirty kitchen disinclines you from making a healthy meal because it means cleaning up a big mess before you even get started.  Try to 'clean as you go' as you prepare meals.

For example, if you're going to chop up a bunch of produce for a salsa, you might currently leave a cutting board, a couple knives, lemon peels, the hand juicer, food processor and so forth, all dirty to be cleaned up after the meal.  Instead, try this:

Ensure that your drying rack and sink are clear and clean.

Wash your produce. Chop your produce. Put produce into the food processor.

Wash your cutting board and knife(s).

Set out your serving dish or eating dishes.

Pulse your ingredients into a sauce or chunky salsa.

Put salsa into a serving dish or directly into the dishes that are being eaten from.

Wash the food processor.

Wipe down the counters and table.

Eat your meal and enjoy it.

Wash the plate(s)/bowl(s) and utensils used for eating.

In the above example, the washing is spread out. This means nothing sits around getting sticky and difficult to wash. This also means nothing gets forgotten. Also, it feels much less overwhelming to wash a couple items than it does to wash an entire sink full.

If drying rack space is limited, wire frames can be used to somewhat extend the space.  This is especially helpful if you often don't have room to dry your large appliances.  If on Saturday you make a smoothie for breakfast, juice for brunch, and use your food processor to make a grated salad for lunch, you'll quickly run out of places to put appliances to dry.

As shown to the right, a small wire extension can make a large difference. The blender in the photograph would otherwise be entirely unable to fit. Shown in the third photo, the simple addition also gives a few more inches off the edge of the sink, covering up a worrisome gap between sink basin and wall.

If your drying space can not be extended, you can place kitchen clothes on the counter or within shelves so that appliances can be put directly into their place without creating pools beneath them.

Step Eight: Filling Hollow Spaces

If you've got a microwave, an oven, a dehydrator, a cooler, a rice-cooker, a large cooking pot, etc, then you've got a lot of hollow spaces in your kitchen.  You can store dry goods, pots and pans, cutting boards, knives, tea boxes, etc, in these hollow spaces to create more free space for preparing food.

For example, if you own a rice cooker, you can store the bags of rice inside the actual cooker.  When not currently drying food in your dehydrator, you can store dry foods in sealed bags within.  When not using your oven, you can keep it full of pots, pans and baking trays.  

A cooler may be filled with napkins, disposable cups and plates and other items you may have around specifically for when you go on a trip.  You may even use your cooler to store your reusable grocery bags (as long as it is easily accessible).

Step Nine: Square Containers

If you're using circular containers, consider switching to square.  The more square they are (not tapered down to a smaller size at the bottom) the better.  Circular containers leave a lot of empty space between them.  When you store your nuts, seeds, powders, spices, teas leaves, sprouting seeds, grains, dry beans, dried fruits, etc, in square containers instead, you get the most out of your space.

Another option is to use bags with a clip, rubber-band or tie.  Bags will fit into whatever space you put them in.  This is especially advisable if you're using the drawer of a fridge to store your dry goods.  If you're prone to in-fridge spills, consider double-bagging dry goods within the fridge.

When traveling, carrying square/rectangular containers in a square/rectangular bag is very convenient.  Instead of containers sliding around and turning over in the bag, they sit snugly together without wasting any space.  One standard-sized rectangular reusable bag with a reinforced bottom can be filled with an entire set of rectangular glass-lock containers.  You'd be able to take enough food for an entire day for two people in just one bag.  (I know, I've done it over and over again.) 

The largest rectangular container may be used for a large salad (drizzled with fresh lemon juice for freshness), the other two rectangular containers for salsa-type dishes, the large square containers for fruit salads, the small square containers for trail-mix-type snacks, and the smallest rectangular containers that come in one set of glass-lock containers may be used for hummus, seed cheese, or some other dip or spread.

Insulated reusable bags are a great alternative to coolers. The bags fold up and vanish from sight, whereas the coolers take up a lot of space in the kitchen.

Step Ten: Look Deep Into Your Fridge & Freezer

Do you have a large fridge or a tiny one?

If your fridge is large and spacious, and usually sporting excess space, then relocate dry grains, nuts, dried fruit, vinegar, condiments and spices to the fridge until your fridge is periodically full.  A full fridge is more electricity efficient.

If your freezer is spacious, you may put fruits, nuts and seeds that you intend to cook or blend in your freezer.  Frozen bananas make an excellent base for a vegan and raw ice cream.  I usually have ten bananas in my freezer.

A tiny freezer can be frustrating, but because frozen items don't really get “squished” you don't have to stress about a small freezer. You can fill metal bread pans will fruit, cover with parchment paper, and then throw bags of frozen produce on top, or a bowl of leftover ice cream.

The tiny freezer to the right can hold six small bags of frozen berries, two bread pans filled with approximately twenty five frozen bananas, and three to four pounds of nuts in the door.

In a small fridge, consider rotating condiments.  For example, this week use horseradish, next week ketchup, the week after sauerkraut, vinegar the week after that, and so forth.  With some creativity and the help of the internet, you can use one condiment twenty different ways throughout the week until it's gone and then replace it with something different.

Also, consider what you may be keeping in your fridge that would do just as well on the counter. A citrus bowl of grapefruits, lemons, limes and oranges on your dining table is festive and practical.

Another festive addition to your table can be greens put into vases.  Instead of tossing kale, chard or celery into the fridge, cut a very thin layer of the bottoms of the chosen green and then put it into a decorative vase on the table or counter.  

This will remind you of the beauty and health that greens have to offer while leaving more room in your fridge for tubs of pre-washed spinach or jars of kim chi.

Using seasonal food as decoration as well as eating the food gives you a perpetual small creative “chore” that provides a continually changing atmosphere. I find this not only helpful with limited space, but with finding peace in the home.

I wish you merry holidays, a clear-of-clutter kitchen, healthful eating patterns, and an excellent digestive system.  Namaste.  

~ Raederle Phoenix

Secrets To Saving Time In The Kitchen

By Jo Stepaniak  www.vegsource.com/jo

Chop fresh onion and keep it in the refrigerator for ready use. Have a special glass container with a tight-fitting lid designated for the onion so the smell is contained and does not permeate the refrigerator or your other containers. Chopped onion will keep for 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator.

Mince fresh garlic and keep it in the refrigerator for ready use. Have a special glass container with a tight-fitting lid designated for the garlic so the smell is contained and does not permeate the refrigerator or your other containers. Minced garlic will keep for 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Juice lots of fresh lemons or limes at a time, and store the unused juice in the refrigerator in a sealed container. This will save several minutes of preparation time when putting together salads, dressings, and other recipes. Fresh lemon juice will keep for about 10 days.

Prepare several salad dressings in advance and store them in the refrigerator (see The Saucy Vegetarian by Jo Stepaniak for countless recipes and ideas). Depending on the dressing, it will keep for at least a week, although some can be stored for a month or longer. Dressings are versatile and can be used not only on salads but to also dress up simple vegetable and grain dishes and add a quick boost of flavor.

Prepare larger amounts of brown rice, beans, and other longer-cooking foods and freeze them in small portions so they will defrost more quickly when you need them and will be the right amount required for the number of people you will be serving.

Use leftovers in soups or casseroles for a quick, creative meal.

Blanch fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market or your garden, drain them well, and freeze them in heavy-duty zipper-lock storage bags. That way you can have farm-fresh produce year-round. To blanch vegetables, clean and trim them as needed and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain in a colander in the sink, quickly cool them under cold water (or in ice water), drain again, pat dry, and freeze.

Learn how to use a pressure cooker. Pressure cooking can cut standard cooking times by about two-thirds while preserving more nutrients than conventional cooking methods.

Eat more raw foods, simply prepared, and salads (no cooking time required).

This is just a fraction of what you'll find in our full lesson on this topic. In Lesson 42 of The Mastery Program, you'll also get the best-kept secrets of Nomi Shannon, Lara Adler CHHC, Jill Nussinow RD, and yours truly.

Do you have comments? Or suggestions of your own? If so, please post them below!

How To Keep Your Healthy New Year Resolutions

 

 

The beginning of a new year is exciting and leaves room for new opportunity and growth. It excites us all to think of reaching a health resolution that we set out for the year to come. But rather than succeeding our goal for the year, many people fall short within a matter of weeks.

 

Here are the top four mistakes people make when choosing a health resolution, followed by eight secrets to achieving your resolution.

 

Mistake #1: Choosing too many resolutions

 

Are you more ambitious than others when it comes to New Year’s resolutions? You may have realized that there are multiple changes you want to make to your health and what better time to start than the New Year!

 

Unfortunately, putting too much on your plate could have the opposite effect and leave you stagnant; confused about where to start and what to do next. Stick to the most pressing resolution for now. Once you succeed in that resolution, the momentum will propel you to move forward to the next one.

 

Mistake #2: Choosing a resolution that is too vague (Example: Lose Weight)

 

A vague resolution is all encompassing; it’s too hard to figure out what actions will make it a reality. Get very specific about your resolution. Such as “lose 20 pounds within 3 months, in time for Roger’s birthday.”

 

Mistake #3: Choosing a resolution that is unattainable

 

Example: A person who doesn’t currently have a workout routine makes their resolution to exercise 5x a week. In this case, you are setting yourself up for failure because you made a commitment too big for your lifestyle and your body.

 

Your body will not commit to exercising 5x a week if you don’t even currently exercise 1x a week. You would be in too much physical pain your first week of the New Year and then give up and feel like a failure.

 

Most people don’t follow through with their resolution because they choose something too far out of reach. Choose a resolution that is achievable.

 

Mistake #4. Choosing a resolution you think you HAVE to do

 

Example: A vegetarian who eats mostly cooked food makes a resolution to become a raw fooder because she thinks she “should”, not because she wants to.

 

If you are making a resolution that you think you “should” do, but don’t really want to do, you are not being true to yourself or your body. According Harvard Medical School, researchers say that you’re more likely to achieve your resolution if you choose one based on your own interests and values rather than on expectations and pressures. [i]

 

Eight Secrets to Achieving Your New Year’s Resolution:

 

1.  Make an attainable, specific New Year’s Resolution

 

2.  In your journal, describe WHY you want to achieve this goal. How will it benefit your life? How will your life be better?

 

3.  Create a plan. If you want to start cooking homemade meals 5x a week, look at your calendar. What days are you free to cook? Is it possible to cook 5 days a week? Or can you condense the cooking and eat leftovers 2x a week?

 

Look at what works in your life, and make sure you can do it, before committing to it. Also consider obstacles that have stood in your way in the past. What obstacles or challenges do you anticipate? Decide how you will overcome them. Then turn your answers into commitments. For example:

 

Obstacles: it’s hard to wake up earlier, and I’m too tired to exercise after a long workday.

 

How to overcome: I’ll put my alarm clock on the opposite side of the room, so I have to get out of bed to turn it off. I’ll plug my ipod into my alarm clock. So instead of a beep, I’ll be woken up by my favorite uplifting song. I’ll put a picture of me five years ago (when I was slender) on my bathroom mirror.

 

4.  Write down your goal (and deadline for completion) and post it up where you can see it. Writing something down solidifies the intention and having it in sight is a great daily reminder.

 

5.  Tell everyone you know. Keeping a resolution hidden will make it less real. The more people in your life that know about your intention, the better. Plus it’s great to have support if you fall behind or need some encouragement.

 

6. Write out affirmations describing the life you have, now that you’ve reached your goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds within 3 months, your affirmations might include:

 

a)      I love to exercise

b)      I love the “runner’s high” I get from exercising

c)      I can run a mile without stopping

d)      I love looking at myself in the mirror

e)      I turn heads when I walk in a room

f)       I easily fit into my sexy clothes from five years ago.

 

Each day, read your affirmations to yourself out loud. The best times to do this are right after waking up and right before going to sleep. If you have too many affirmations and not enough time, record yourself speaking them. Then listen to the recording at least once a day.

 

7. Imagine you’ve achieved your goal. Then spend 20 minutes journaling about what your life is like, now that you’ve achieved your goal. For example, if you’re a single woman, your journal entry might look like this:

 

“I just ran a mile without stopping. My heart is beating fast. I’m breathing heavily. I feel alive. Now I’m looking at myself naked in the mirror. I look great! Heck, I could be a model! Every day, handsome men are noticing me, flirting with me, and asking for my number. Now I’m putting on the sexy clothes I wore five years ago, and they fit me perfectly. I have plenty of energy to last through my workday. (Etc.)” \

 

This journaling exercise puts the law of attraction to work for you. When you vividly picture the life you’ll have, once you’ve achieved your goal (and feel the emotions that come with it), your positive thoughts will manifest. Do this journaling exercise everyday if you can – if not for 20 minutes a day, then at least for 10 minutes a day.

 

8. Reward yourself. Each time you reach a milestone on the way to your resolution, reward yourself. For example, is there something a little pricy you’ve been wanting to buy yourself? Make that something a reward you get, once you reach the halfway point. Then decide on another reward for achieving your goal. These extra incentives motivate you further.

 

As an example, I once set a goal of waking up at 7:30am every day for a month. Each day I failed, I would give my roommate $10 (as a penalty). However, if I succeeded six days out of every week, then at the end of the month I’d buy myself a $200 dehydrator.

 

Positive reinforcement goes a long way. Most of us set out to reach plenty of goals all the time, but never leave room for celebrating our accomplishments.

 

“Sustainable” is the key word here. Most people try to make health changes but don’t think about how to weave it into their lives as a habit.

 

If you don’t have a workout regimen, choose a physical activity you love or at least like, and do it 1x a week. Then increase it a few weeks later. Gradual is key because by the end of the 6 months, small changes become huge changes. And most importantly, those changes are sustainable.

 

In addition when you make a commitment, no matter how small, you feel accomplished. That accomplished feeling gives you momentum to achieve more. So you naturally reach for higher goals from that momentum.

 

On the other hand, if you make a commitment that’s out of reach, you are likely to fail and beat yourself up about it. Once you are in that low state of mind, no positive changes will occur. Guilt does not compel you to reach a goal; accomplishment from small goals does.

 

Another good thing to remember… we don’t always stay on track. It’s how you react to that “failure” that can make or break your resolution. Do you beat yourself up about it? Or give yourself compassion and move on? If you focus on the changes you are making (no matter how small) – instead of what you haven’t achieved yet – you’re on your way to success.

 

Do you have any other suggestions? If so, please post them below!

 

Which Is Better… Vitamins & Minerals From Whole Foods Or Supplements?

The sale of vitamin and mineral supplements is drastically increasing annually. In 2006 Americans spent $7 billion on supplements in hopes of preventing colds, cancer and other diseases.[i] But are supplements enhancing our diet? Or replacing our natural vitamin intake?

Let’s look at both sides of this debate.

First, the argument against them…

Vitamins and minerals derived from whole foods contain enzymes, trace minerals and antioxidants that help ensure proper absorption of the vitamins they contain. Our bodies are designed to absorb them.

By contrast, vitamins and minerals isolated into pills by man-made processes are harder for our bodies to process. Many are incomplete and missing the elements for proper absorption.

This is the case specifically with nutrients that rely on synergy for digestion. For example, calcium needs vitamin D for proper absorption. Many people take isolated calcium supplements. But the calcium can’t be completely absorbed without adequate vitamin D.

It’s also important to remember that your body does not absorb all vitamins in the same way. For example certain vitamins like vitamin C are water soluble, meaning that they dissolve in the fluid of your body and require daily replacement. Vitamins A, D, and E are fat soluble vitamins, so they are absorbed as body fat dissolves which means that daily intake can cause overdose.

In addition, vitamins and minerals are usually processed, heated, and/or have added fillers, in order to make them into pills.

 It's unlikely for you to have too much of one vitamin present in your body by consuming whole foods. On the other hand, it's possible to overdose on supplemental vitamins.

According to Colorado State University Extension, a vitamin D overdose may cause symptoms ranging from nausea to serious cases of mental or physical retardation. Taking too much supplemental vitamin E can lead to fatigue and excessive bleeding. In addition, if you exceed the safe amount of vitamin A (which is over 3x your daily recommended intake) you may be at a greater risk of getting a hip fracture.[ii]

In order to ensure the right dosage when searching for a multivitamin, make sure the multivitamin has 100% the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for most vitamins.  Be careful of supplements that have greater than 200% of the DRI because you are more likely to take more than you need.[iii]

 Now the argument in favor of supplements:

Though supplements are at times used as a quick fix, they are in no way useless in our society. Many people require supplemental vitamins because of restricted diets, poor diets, medical conditions, or deficiencies. In these cases supplemental vitamins can be extremely beneficial.

For example, vegans should know that Vitamins B12 and D, and the essential fatty acids EPA/DHA, are virtually non-existent in the plant kingdom.

The exceptions are as follows. Dulse and nutritional yeast contain B12. Light-zapped mushrooms (exposed to UV light) contain Vitamin D. And certain kinds of algae contain DHA. All this is detailed in our free nutrition guide which you can get at www.veghealth.com/vegan2.php

Packaged foods like cereals and non-dairy milks are often fortified with B12 and D. But if you shun these in favor of whole plant foods, then ironically, you have a greater need for supplemental B12 and D.

The brand “Silk” offers a DHA-fortified soy milk. Unfortunately, it’s not organic. And its DHA comes from algae, so it’s no more “natural” than the standalone algae supplement from www.bestvegandha.com .

If you’re an ovo-lacto vegetarian, know that most pasteurized milk is fortified with Vitamin D. And a few egg manufacturers offer DHA eggs. Sadly, the only DHA eggs we’ve found are not organic.

Although you can get Vitamin D from the sun, that's no longer considered a reliable source for most people. (To get enough, you'd have to live south of Atlanta, Georgia and spend hours in the sun every day with no sunblock. And even then, you could only get enough in the summer months.)

For all of the reasons above, we recommend this multi-vitamin supplement for vegans and vegetarians: www.veganmultivitamin.com . It contains plenty of Vitamin B12 and D, and unlike most supplements, which contain animal-based Vitamin D3, it's 100% vegan.

People suffering with compromised immune systems may have issues absorbing vitamins properly from food sources and need to add supplemental vitamins to their diet. Or people with specific vitamin deficiencies can use vitamin supplements to create balance in their body.

Pregnant women or women that are breastfeeding may also require supplemental vitamins in order to ensure the health of their baby.

Though getting all of our vitamins from food is best, it is not always an option in our society. Understanding what you are lacking in your diet as well as the synergy of vitamins working together is helpful to reaching your optimal health with your food. That’s why we created The Vegan Mastery Program.

One final point. Plants obtain minerals from the soil they grow in. Unfortunately, today’s soil – even when it’s organic – has fewer minerals than soil did 100 years ago.

As a result, today’s fruits and vegetables – even when they’re organic – contain fewer minerals than they originally did.  Taking supplements is one way to compensate for this. Another is to juice vegetables daily. Juicing vegetables enables you to consume more of their vitamins and minerals than you’d get eating them whole.
 

[i] http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Health/story?id=1749813#.TuKAarJCoWE

[ii] http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09315.html

[iii] http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/questions/vitamin-questions/
 

Does Healthy Chocolate Exist?

By Revital Aranbaev

Cacao vs. Cocoa?

A slight change in spelling but a complete change in nutritional value.

Raw cacao is cacao in its purest form. It has not been processed, recreated or combined with other chemicals.

How is cacao processed into cocoa? The Cacao is cooked to high degrees and becomes a paste which is then further processed in order to separate the oils. The oils are left behind and the remaining solids are made into conventional cocoa powder. Alkaline salts are then added into the cocoa in order to make it dissolve easily in water.

The nutritional value of cocoa is further lessened when it is called “milk chocolate,” which means that powdered milk is added to it. In milk chocolate, rather than cocoa being the main ingredient, processed sugar is the main ingredient with a small percentage of cocoa added to it. For example Hershey’s milk chocolate bar contains only about 10% chocolate liquor [i] (chocolate liquor is pure chocolate in liquid form).

Many negative things attributed to chocolate bars such as weight gain, diabetes, cavities are more likely caused by the processed dairy, sugar and preservatives added to the dark chocolate.

These two terms are so different in fact that some people living with a “chocolate allergy” have found out that they can consume raw cacao without any allergic symptoms!  They were probably allergic to the milk, sugar or chemicals mixed into the production of chocolate bars. This just proves how much the process if an ingredient is as vital as the ingredient.

There are numerous studies out there investigating the benefits of cacao. Cornell University food scientists found that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times what is found in green tea. Plus a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has shown that the consumption of cacao improves heart health.[ii]

In addition cacao has one of the highest sources of magnesium. Raw pumpkin seeds, which are revered for being high in magnesium, contain 47.7 mg per tablespoon, while cacao contains 84 mg per tablespoon; that’s almost double the amount!

Additionally, there is a reason why people feel good after eating chocolate or why people crave chocolate when they’re feeling down. Raw cacao contains PEA which is sometimes called the “love” or “happy” chemical. Your brain naturally releases PEA on its own when you are enthusiastic, excited or sexually aroused.

Something to remember though is that even though cacao has more antioxidants than blueberries it also has caffeine which blueberries don’t. Caffeine is a stimulant and can create a high and then a low in energy.  So is cacao a stimulant or superfood?

Well, in comparison to coffee it is not as simulating. The average size dark chocolate bar contains between ten to sixty milligrams of caffeine. The normal cup of coffee has 175 milligrams.[iii] Just keep in mind moderation is always key.

Storing-

Cacao powder should ideally be stored in airtight glass jars. Do not keep cacao powder in the fridge because the moisture can trigger mold formation.

Recipes with Raw Cacao-

Rather than missing your chocolaty friend that has been with you since childhood, learn how to create a new relationship with raw cacao. Over the past years raw food has really become so popular that there are tons of yummy recipes you can make at home to satiate that chocolate craving.

 

[i] http://www.hersheys.com/nutrition-professionals/chocolate/composition/chocolate-types.aspx

[ii] Baba S, Osakabe N, Kato Y et al.Continuous intake of polyphenolic compounds containing cocoa powder reduces LDL oxidative susceptibility and has beneficial effects on plasma HDL-cholesterol concentrations in humans.Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Mar;85(3):709-17

[iii] http://www.interesting-health-facts.com/2011/02/raw-cocoa-super-nutrition.html
 

5 Ways To Multiply Your Income With Your Own Recipe Book

Do you have your own recipes? If so, creating a recipe book is an easy way to multiply your income. And right here in this blog post, I'll reveal five specific ways to do that…

Best of all, you don't need a ton of recipes. Our friend Lisa Books Williams has a mini-recipe booklet with 24 recipes. And our friend Nomi Shannon has several booklets with just 10 recipes each. Both Lisa and Nomi sell these booklets for $7 each.

You don't have to be a nutrition expert or even a good writer. You just compile your recipes and "Voila"… you're an author!
 
Benefit #1: Get more signups for your classes
 
You can offer your book as a "special bonus" to anyone who signs up for your class by an early bird deadline. Or anyone who signs up for a series of three classes. Or anyone who brings a friend.
 
Because books have big profit margins, they also have a high "perceived value". In other words, a $15 book seems like a lot of added value to a $45 class… even if it only costs you $3 to produce.
 
It's always a good idea to inflate the retail price of your books. Then you can "discount" them and make customers feel like they're getting a bargain.
 
So if you're willing to sell a book for $15, price it at $25. Then you can offer $10 off to anyone who signs up for next month's class before leaving this month's class. Or anyone who enrolls in a series of three classes.
 
Benefit #2: Increase your revenue at classes

Suppose six people take your class and pay you $45 each. That's $270 in revenue. Now imagine you have a book to sell, and four students buy it for the "discounted" price of $15. That's another $60 in revenue, with no additional time or effort on your part. Your hourly wage just increased!

Benefit #3: Get exposure to a ton of new customers… through affiliates

With your own affiliate program, other people can earn money for promoting your book on their blogs and websites, or recommending it to their email subscribers and social media fans.

You can have hundreds of affiliates who are highly motivated to tell the world about your book. Best of all, you don't pay out a dime until after the sales have been made.
 
Two companies that can help you set up an affiliate program are www.topwebcart.com and www.clickbank.com . Whichever you choose, your affiliate software will automatically calculate the commissions you owe each affiliate. 
 
Benefit #4: Make money as a guest speaker

People who run Meetup groups, potluck groups, and other monthly groups like to bring in guest speakers. Being an author boosts your credibility. So you'll be sought after as a guest speaker. After you give a talk – or a recipe demonstration – attendees will want to buy your book.

Meetup organizers sometimes even charge admission, and they'll give you at least half of the door money (often more). So if 30 people each pay $15 to attend, generating $450 in admission fees, your half would be $225. And if you sold 15 books, you'd collect another $225 in revenue.

Benefit #5: Plant seeds for future sales
 
People who buy your book are more likely to buy your more expensive products and programs in the future. Even if they haven't met you in person, they'll come to know you, like you, and trust you. They'll feel like they have a relationship with you.
 
Then when you develop more expensive products and programs in the future, such as a tele-seminar series or coaching program, they'll be much more apt to buy.
 
Do you find these tips valuable?
 
If so, I've just scratched the surface here. In our programs Raw Food Riches and Cooking Class Riches, we go much deeper.  To check out either of these programs, click the appropriate link below:
 
 
 

How to Stay On Track, Kick Coffee, And Be Happier Overall

Today's tips come from our friend Jinjee Talifero. These tips are part of an incredible 28 day cleanse we'll be telling you about shortly…

Exercise: Remind Yourself Why – So You Stay On Track

Create your "Why". To stay on your healthy path, you'll want to have a good list of "Why I eat only whole foods" or "Why I'm committed to healthy eating".

You can also keep a list of "Why nots". For example: "Why I don't eat unhealthy foods"…or "Why I'm committed to avoiding flour products".

You can review these in moments of confusion and get clear! Jinjee keeps her list in her bathroom drawer so she remembers to read it every morning and evening.

How to Kick Coffee

Quitting coffee can be quite daunting due to the coffee-withdrawal-headaches/migraines. But there is help! Yerba Maté tea!

It also has caffeine and tastes great, but it has a lot of healing properties. It's the national drink of Brazil. You can buy it loose — or in teabags — at most health food stores.

By doing this, you won't get the coffee withdrawal headaches. And Yerba Maté is easy to quit, so you can do that after a couple of months no problem!

If you're a raw fooder, you can drink it as a sun-tea (just let the teabag sit in a glass of room-temperature water for 10 minutes, or 5 minutes in the sun)….Blend in a teaspoon or two of honey, and enjoy!! Delicious! Almost has a roasted flavor (but it
isn't roasted)
 
Exercise: Cultivating the Heart of Gratitude

Nothing contributes to a person's overall long-term happiness more than Cultivating The Heart of Gratitude!

When you're grateful, beauty, happiness, and inner health pour out of our eyes. Your life is more blessed, more magnificent, more beautiful, more harmonious, more right, more perfect.

To begin to seeing all this, start being grateful for what you can see. Here are several  ways to cultivate gratitude and a grateful heart.

- Each morning list 10 things you are grateful for
- Each morning give thanks for everything you can think of
- During your day, take time to look around and notice all the things to be happy about
- When you are having a happy moment or a peaceful moment, take a deep breath of appreciation
- As you notice you are becoming more grateful, give thanks for the ability to be thankful!
- Notice the positive upward spiral you are in, and be grateful for it!
- You will still have some downs, we all do, but know that they will be short-lived, that they will pass, as you continue to cultivate the Heart of Gratitude!

10 Steps To Kitchen Space & Clarity; Part One

By Raederle Phoenix

If your kitchen is cramped and cluttered, it's hard to prepare healthy meals. Your surroundings affect your attitude. A cluttered environment subtly sends the message that your life is cluttered. The following ten steps will guide you in cleaning up your kitchen, clearing some counter space, and creating some sanity in your meal preparation.

Step One: Create More Cupboard/Shelf Space

Many articles on "creating space" talk about building shelves. This is an excellent thing to do, but often building shelves doesn't match up with your schedule, comfort zone or available tools. Or, perhaps you already have lots of shelves, but have trouble utilizing them.

A great solution is wire inserts that you put into your existing shelves.  If a shelf is taller than necessary, you instantly create two shelves.

 

Metal or wooden inserts are excellent for dry goods as well as produce. The air flow beneath a shallow layer of goods makes it less likely for pests to nest in your food unnoticed, and also makes fruit ripen more evenly.

Step Two: Create Priorities

If your counter is cluttered by a tea kettle, a juicer, a blender, a food processor, a microwave, a microwave oven, a knife block, a some dirty dishes besides, then creating priorities may be the most powerful shift you can make in your kitchen.

Prioritize smoothies, juices, salads or salsas. You can choose a different priority for each week of the month.

If you choose to prioritize smoothies, find a shelf or cupboard for your juicer, cutting boards, food processor, microwave, microwave oven, toaster, and so forth so that all that is left on your counter is your blender. During the work week when you're busy, make smoothies.  Soak figs overnight and add them to make an extra-sweet smoothie with a dose of calcium, or add a teaspoon of chia seeds for time-release energy.  If you want your smoothie to give you a 'pick-me-up' like a morning coffee, use cacao powder or maca powder.

During the weekend, use the toaster, tea kettle, and so on, as you like, but just keep putting them back away and leaving one appliance on your counter.  At the end of Sunday, decide whether to keep the blender on the counter, or trade it out with a different appliance for the work week.

If you choose to prioritize salsa, leave out your food processor and put everything else away. During the week, throw in tomatoes, avocados, garlic, onions, kale, and so forth, and enjoy salsas and sauces all week long. You can try guacamole on Monday, spicy salsa on Tuesday, a apple-oatmeal porridge pulsed in the food processor on Wednesday, a spicy guacamole on Thursday, and a bruschetta on Friday.

If you choose to prioritize juices this week, then put away all appliances except your juicer. For breakfasts during the week you could have kale-pineapple juice Monday, lettuce-celery juice Tuesday, apple-broccoli juice Wednesday, parsley-lettuce-cucumber juice Thursday and orange-grapefruit-lemon juice on Friday.

If you choose to prioritize salads, leave your largest cutting board clean in the middle of your counter with a salad spinner beside it. With a clean counter, knives, cutting board and vegetables waiting on display on your counter, you'll feel more motivated to make salads. Try apple-walnut-kale salad, citrus fruits and spinach salad, cabbage and chia seeds salad, cauliflower, hemp seeds and sprouts salad, and so forth.  Get creative and make it a game to make a salad you've never made before each day.

By choosing to prioritize juice, smoothies, salads or salsas, you automatically make your weekdays healthier. If you only pull out the toaster and microwave on weekends, you'll find yourself eating more fresh produce and less processed foods. If you're working toward raw foods, perhaps it's time to giveaway the toaster oven, microwave and crockpot. You can use your stove if you get a hankering for a bowl of quinoa or oatmeal.

Step Three: Consider Trading Out Your Oven & Stove

If you don't bake often, and often feel frustrated by cooking, perhaps you're interested in more raw food, and less cooked food.

Or, if you're considering becoming a raw foodist, perhaps you rarely use your pots, microwave, toaster, oven, and so forth, at this time.

If either of these is the case, take stock of how much space cooking devices take up in your kitchen.  

A small induction burner costs $60 to $100 a takes up hardly more space than cutting board. It heats up faster than a stove, is easier to clean, and can be put away to create more counter space.  

To create a massive addition to the space in your kitchen, you can replace your oven and stove with a single induction burner plate. If you occasionally want to bake a yam, potato or squash, you can still do so on the single burner.  Simply use a large iron pot and put a wire grate in the bottom. Put water beneath the metal grate and put the yams, potatoes, squash or other item to bake on the grate inside the pot. Put on a lid and cook at 700 on the power setting.

An induction burner can be put away and forgotten if you're aspiring to raw food, but then be taken out at a time when you want to cook something, either for yourself or someone else.  Or, even if you cook daily and have no aspiration of being a raw foodist, it still has many advantages over using the typical stove top and oven.  

On the few occasions when I've wanted to cook two things at once, I've been able to cook something half way, keep the lid on and move it to a hot pad and then cook something else halfway and switch back.  The induction burner is faster because of the way the heat transfer works, so even cooking two dishes on one burner in a short period of time isn't an issue.

Whether you decide to ditch your oven and stove or not, you may want to consider the pots, skillets or pans you rarely use. Think hard about the meals that you prepare in them. Are these still meals you love to prepare that make you feel healthy and happy? If the answer is "no" then consider making a "gift pot" (like a gift basket, but in a pot). 

Place other items from your kitchen that you no longer use in tissue paper within the pan or pot and gift to a friend who is short on kitchen items. If you don't have a friend who is short on kitchen items, consider donating to a church or a local "food not bombs" group.

Step Four: Consider Other Possible Gifts

Do you own an extra set of dishes you never use?  Perhaps a holiday mug set, or decorative dishes you like but never have an occasion for?

Get those dishes out that you never use and put them in prominent places for a week or two.  If you still don't use them, consider who else might like them.  Gift them or donate them.  If you're not using them, then they're using your space to nobody's benefit.

If you have "nice plates" you use for special occasions, and "dull plates" for ordinary use, consider the possibility of donating your dull plates and always using your nice plates. For some, this may make occasions seem less special, but you may find that it makes your ordinary day brighter.

When you clear out some excess from your cupboards, you'll create a place for those appliances that you're not prioritizing this week.

Step Five: Be Present

When you're making food while stressing about work, school or family, you're likely to leave your kitchen a mess and make mistakes that are bad for your health and peace of mind.  Try to think about preparing food, creating a clean kitchen, and being healthy while you're in your kitchen.  

Clean the dishes with an intention to be fast, efficient, and unperturbed.  Chop produce with the intention to slice evenly, safely and without spilling anything onto the floor. Prepare and eat with the intention to the enjoy the food and be nourished by the food.  

Keeping these thoughts in mind will help prevent mindless slips of the hand that create extra work and more clutter.

Step Six: Examine Bulk Purchases

Are you benefiting financially from your bulk purchases?  If you buy an item in bulk, but don't get a discount, consider buying less at one time to save space. However, if you get 20% off when you buy produce in bulk, consider creative ways to store it: 

  1. Fruits may be frozen and dehydrated.  
  2. The dehydrator may be used for storage of dry goods in containers while not in use.  
  3. Metal bread pans may be used to store sliced fruit in the freezer; an excellent option if you're buying bananas by the case or picking your own berries in the summer time.
  4. Many items last for a long time on the counter, such as apples and bananas. If stacked carefully, you can make massive fruit purchases decorative as well as out-of-the-way.

Continue Reading For Steps 7-10

~ Raederle Phoenix




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