Is Your Nutritional Bank Account in the Red? Week 39 of 52 Weeks of Wellness

Our body is like a bank account.  We have approximately 3-5 times per day (meals and snacks) to make a deposit. Will it be a good deposit (whole, clean food) or NSF (non sufficient nutrient food)?

Along with deposits, we make withdrawals as well.  We expend energy through daily mental and emotional activity as well as physical.  From a physical standpoint, we run, jog, bike, hike and maybe lift weights which we feel makes us “healthy”. When we expend energy either through emotional or physical activity, this requires additional nutrients from food.  However, it seems stress pushes us towards craving excess NSF’s like sugar, processed foods and caffeine. This creates an even greater nutrient deficit.

For those engaged in high intensity physical activity, these folks focus on high intakes of animal protein based on the belief that our bodies require more and that animal protein creates more muscle than plant foods.  However, there are plenty of research studies that prove antioxidants from fruits, vegetables and greens grow muscle faster than animal protein.

Excess animal food will create yet an even larger antioxidant deficiency.  We then attempt to make up for the deficit by ingesting mass quantities of synthetic supplements adding additional toxins foreign to the body.  Americans are NOT experiencing a vitamin and mineral deficiency, we are experiencing a whole food deficiency mainly from fruits, vegetable and greens!

The latest dietary guidelines state that 50% of our daily intake should be from fruits, vegetables and greens.  We also need to receive the nutrients from a wide variety of these wonderful plants instead of eating the same same 2-3 plant based food choices we gravitate towards.

Week 39 Action Step:

How to we obtain the required 7-13 fruits, veggies and greens per day? Isn’t that virtually impossible Bonnie?  Not at all!

Here are a few tips to challenge you to create positive changes that I hope will help on your journey:

  • Keep fruit out and clean where you can see it.  Place it on the counter in a beautiful basket or bowl, clean and ready to eat.
  • Eat a piece of fruit between meals as most fruits digest better independent of other foods.
  • Bag the potatoes. White potatoes are a low nutrient food so consider switching to sweet potatoes or another root vegetable.  Some of my other favorite root veggies include turnips, daikon radishes, and beets. Check out this super easy recipe for roasted root veggies which is my favorite.
  • Create a Meatless Monday.  Prepare a vegetarian dish like vegetarian chili, bean soup or a veggie wrap or salad.

Next week we’ll delve into more specifics on the benefits of plant phytonutrients.

Are You Unknowingly Keeping Yourself Sick and Miserable? Week 24 of 52 Weeks of Wellness

Are you feeling sick, fatigued or just plain miserable? You should know that…

80% of disease is preventable by lifestyle choices.

Meaning diet and exercise (or FSA as I like to call it, “fun sweaty activity”) is the key. If you continue to believe that there is nothing you can do to prevent disease and you don’t make wellness a priority you could have some serious health issues in the future to combat.

We just finished up talking about how the majority of available “convenience foods” are terrible when it comes to your health. The “Pantry Purge” I suggested you tackle is the first step towards the lifestyle changes necessary.

Squash those temptations

Ridding yourself (and your family) of the opportunity to eat poorly is what I recommend to clients. This isn’t done overnight since it often takes each person time to learn the good and bad when it comes to food.

  1. Start slowly and purge everything that contains the handful of problem ingredients that you know of. Refer back to the week 23 post if you need a reminder of some of the most common things to avoid.
  2. Once you purge the bads tackle replacing those purged items with the whole, clean food alternatives.

A good example of this is the Campbell’s Cream of [insert flavor] soups. Many contain MSG and their sodium levels can also be quite high. Once you’ve gotten rid of those convenient little soup cans you might be at a loss when certain recipes call for the use of one of those cans, say in a casserole recipe.

A solution is this nifty little homemade dry mix that works just as good, yet doesn’t contain all the artificial or chemical stuff. Be sure to use an organic dry milk as well as the cornstarch. Better yet, arrowroot powder is a good substitute for cornstarch.

Planning

This is an obvious one, but planning ahead and takings steps to make your changes more convenient can make or break your attempts. Say you are converting from prepackaged oatmeal to homemade, from scratch oatmeal….

Doing a bit of research on homemade oatmeal can reveal some great ideas for simplifying and even removing cooking all together. Have you heard of overnight oats for example? You mix them up the night before, refrigerate them and in the morning they are ready to eat!

Another preplanning meal tip is make you Quinoa in advance and store it in the fridge (plain) so that you have it ready for breakfast, for making simple afternoon salads and more. Making it ahead saves time rinsing and cooking.

Having things ready to go when hunger strikes gets you fed faster, it takes the stress out of working new healthier foods in your diet and it encourages you to eat those good foods. Read more about time management and wellness here in The Time Management and Cancer Correlation.

Week 24 Action Step:

Pick one or two items to purge and replace and make those items ahead so they are ready to go for you. What items have you picked to purge and replace? What are you replacing them with? Do you have a tip for simplifying their prep? Share with us in the comments below.

Are You Unknowingly Keeping Yourself Sick and Miserable? Belief Without Research – Week 23 of 52 Weeks of Wellness

Are you feeling sick, unhealthy or miserable? Then you are likely (unknowingly?!) doing some counterintuitive health related things that have kind of be ingrained in us.

For the new few weeks I’d like to debunk and discuss these hidden roadblocks to wellness in an attempt to educate and empower for better health and wellness.

To start out I’d like to address the issue of Belief Without Research.

Are you believing the media, ad agencies and food packaging when they tell you what foods are healthy?

So many of us truly believe that the foods in our grocery stores are safe and ignorance is bliss, it’s also extremely detrimental to your health.

Do the words “fat-free”, “sugar-free”, “added fiber”, “All Natural”, “low carb”, “no trans fats” etc. make you feel good about buying a product?The product makers sure hope they do.

In fact, for most products, extensive research studies have been done to formulate the specific wording on and packaging design for products to maximized like-ability. They are literally designed and labeled to get you to buy them, not to inform or disclose product specific information.

Do you really think they have your best interest in mind when ultimately their decisions are stemmed in making money off you?

Usually these healthy claims are to make up for something bad, plus many of the claims aren’t even actually healthy. Why is added fiber better than consuming naturally occurring fiber in foods? Sugar free might seem like a good idea until you consider what the sugar substitute does to the body and your wellness efforts.

If you a blindly buying things based on what you’ve seen without doing due diligence and researching beforehand then this could be why you are feeling sick, unhealthy or miserable.

Don’t trust the food packaging, instead take a look at the listed ingredients for that food product. As a general rule of thumb I steer clear of anything listing:

  • “Natural Flavors”  is another way for food manufacturers to fool you when it comes to disclosing ingredients because “natural flavors” are basically the result of something natural being toyed with in a lab and then put in your food. The flavors can contain any number of undisclosed preservatives, enhancers and the flavoring formulations are proprietary so they want to keep their details a secret.
  • Artificial food colors. These have been shown to lead to allergies, asthma, and hyperactivity; they are possible carcinogens.
  • MSG better known as “monosodium glutamate”. Common allergic and behavioral reactions include headaches, dizziness, chest pains, depression, and mood swings; it is also a possible neurotoxin.
  • High fructose corn syrup or “corn sugar”. These may lead to obesity, dental cavities, diabetes, and hypo glycemia as well as to increased triglycerides (blood fats) or candida (yeast).
  • Preservatives such as BHA, BHT, EDTA, THBQ and others. These may cause allergic reactions, hyperactivity, and possibly cancer; BHT may be toxic to the nervous system and the liver.

Week 23 Action Step:

Do your own “Pantry Purge” and check out the labels of the stuff you already have on hand. How much of it contains the above ingredients? What can these food items be replaced by? Tell us in the comments below.

Chewing your food 100 times…seriously? – Week 22 of 52 Weeks of Wellness

Continuing our journey down the digestive tract, here are a few more tips to assist with digestion. One of my downfalls is that I’m a fast eater. Remember, our stomach doesn’t have teeth so you need to chew thoroughly. The old rule that your grandparents or parents may have instilled to chew 100 times before you swallow is EXTREMELY important to assimilating nutrients. A few more rules of proper digestion is to not read or watch television while you eat. Focus on your food and the amazing wealth of nutrients it is providing (assuming it is!) and enjoy.

One of the reasons I LOVE my Vitamix is that it breaks the foods down for me to release the nutrients to ensure I am receiving everything that I can. If you are not juicing today or making smoothies, I encourage you to try it. Check out my video (can be viewed here) for this super simple starter smoothie.

To assist with proper digestion:

• Eat raw vegetables with every meal preferably organic
• Consider juicing or green smoothies
• Relax, eat slowly, chew well and appreciate your food.
• Consider using a digestive enzyme
• 6-8 glasses of purified water daily (flush toxins)
• Consuming a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar may help
• Pineapple and papaya are rich in digestive enzymes.
• Consider a fast, juicing or elimination diet.
• Consider liver, colon or gallbladder cleanses.
• Teas of the following can be beneficial: peppermint, ginger, anise, fennel, and chamomile.
• Take a plant-based digestive enzyme specific to your needs. Urinalysis Testing can help you determine which specific enzyme you need to best support your body. We provide healthcare professional grade products (vegan and gluten-free) which are much more powerful and usually safer than conventional retail products.

P.S. Hidden food allergies or sensitivities can trigger issues that often snowball so please, please stop masking and ignoring the body’s cries for help. Common problem foods are dairy, wheat, corn, eggs, preservatives and additives. Symptoms vary from person to person ranging from minor stomach discomfort, skin problems, etc. to more severe bloating, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea.

Let me know what changes you made this week. Are you taking time to chew your food? Or did you make a green or fruit smoothie? Tell us in the comments below!

Week 22 Action Step:

Reduce digestive stress by slowing down to chew your food (yes, 100 times), by putting real thought in to what you are preparing and serving and by avoiding problematic foods. Easing the digestive stress is as simple as taking it one suggestion at a time and implementing one thing at a time. Just start now and continue to make those positive changes.

The KISS Rule for Digestion – Week 21 of 52 Weeks of Wellness


Now that we know how the digestive system works and the importance of removing additives, preservatives, sugar, fats that the body can’t or will struggle to digest, here are a few Keep It SIMPLE Sweetie (not a fan of the other S word) tips to improve digestion and reduce symptoms connected with poor digestion.

How to reduce or eliminate digestive issues:

  • Avoid processed, instant, sugar-laden, chemical-laden, hydrogenated/trans fats, “lifeless” foods
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, soda
  • Avoid antacids
  • Reduce or eliminate drinking iced or hot liquids immediately before, during or 30 minutes after a meal. Consider drinking 4 ounces or less of room temperature water as to not disrupt the digestive process
  • Eat fruit separate from meals especially citrus like oranges and grapefruit
  • Avoid high amounts of red meat & dairy
  • Avoid gluten
  • Avoid chewing gum (unnecessarily simulates enzymes)
  • Don’t eat meat and starches together
  •  Don’t eat numerous different types of foods. Buffets, carry ins, holiday dinners, etc. are danger zones for creating digestive upset.
  • Reducing the number of different foods on your plate in a meal is a simple habit to implement.

Clients are always asking what to eat and I tell them to keep it simple!Fish or chicken with a green vegetable or quinoa with pasta sauce with vegetables would be two simple dinner options. Lighten your digestive overload by reducing the number of foods you include in a meal.

Week 21 Action Step:

Tackle lightening your digestive overload using one or as many of the above suggestions as you can. What is a simple dinner or lunch item that you use to keep it simple? We would love for you to share it in the comments below.

What you learned in 5th Grade about Digestion – Week 20 of 52 Weeks of Wellness

So, you may have learned how the body digests food in 5th grade but did anyone listen or care back then? I certainly did not! Luckily, most children properly digest their food until their bodies are corrupted with excess sugar, fats, additives and preservatives. However, I’m seeing more and more digestive issues in young people that is frankly a bit disturbing!

By the time we reach the age of 30-40, our bodies are really struggling to break down food. Then we start to experience gas, bloating, heartburn etc. that tells us something is not working. However, instead of looking at our diet for clues, we take antacids or the magic purple pills that further breakdown the immune and digestive system and only mask the symptoms instead of resolving the issues.

Here is a reminder of how complex the body is and how important it is to feed your body, whole clean food.

Five steps of digestion and absorption

1. Sight and smell—these sensations stimulate the flow of saliva to prepare for
incoming food.

2. Mouth—teeth chew the food into semi-liquid texture to expose more of the food
surface to the enzyme activity in saliva. Saliva contains the digestive enzyme amylase, which begins the breakdown of carbohydrates only, therefore, the more you chew and mix the food with these enzymes the better you breakdown of carbohydrates. Starches will begin to taste sweet if they are chewed long enough to begin their breakdown into simple glucose/sugar molecules.

3. Stomach—(holds approximately 1 gallon of food)

a. Depending on the food it can take between 15-minutes or 5 hours.

i. Liquids take minutes
ii. Fruits: 15-30 minutes if eaten alone
iii. Veggies: 30-50 minutes depending on preparation and type
iv.Grains/starches: 90-120 minutes
v. Animal proteins: 4-6 hours
vi. Fats: slowest of all foods

b. Stomach produces HCl and enzymes (pepsin), which break down proteins. Overall levels of HCl can decrease if a diet high in red meat; dairy and processed food is consumed. Protein, calcium and iron require a good acid/HCl soak to break down properly.

c. HCl levels decrease with age

i. Over 40 yrs. old, levels can be half of an 18 yr. old
ii. Over 60-65, dramatic decrease so it is important to use digestive
enzymes. Carbohydrates are not digested in the stomach. No food is absorbed into the body
from this organ.

4. Small intestine (the body’s major digestive organ).

a. 3 sections include duodenum (10 in), jejunum (8 ft.) and ileum (12 ft.)
b. Depending on the meal it takes between 2-6 hr. journey
c. Tiny fingerlike projections (villi) line the inside of the small intestine increasing the absorption area. The villi can be damaged or flattened by constipation, highly processed food, alcohol, drugs, lack of good bacteria. This can contribute to malabsorption (IBS, Chron’s, colitis) and other disease.
d. The small intestine can only process small amounts of food at a time. The
small intestine is where chemical digestion of food really begins. When
the acidic chime enters the duodenum (1st section of small intestine) its
acidity triggers the release of two extremely important digestive juices.

i. Pancreatic juice (from pancreas) is very alkaline and contains
amylase for carbohydrate digestion, lipase for fat and proteases for
protein.
ii. Bile (from liver and stored in gallbladder is an emulsifier and
acts as a detergent to break down large fat globules and expose
them to lipase. Bile is necessary for the absorption of the fat-
soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K).

5. Large intestine (colon or bowel)

a. Larger than small intestine, no villi and about 5 ft. in length
b. Journey thru colon take 8-12 hours
c. Produces no enzymes and contains 500 bacteria which involve:

i. Production of vitamins K, B12
ii. Control the colon’s microflora (balance of good/bad bacteria)
iii. Metabolize remaining nutrients (releasing gases, esp. if
microflora imbalance)

d. Feces contain undigested food residues, mucous, millions of bacteria and
enough water to allow smooth passage. The longer feces remain in the
colon, the more water the colon absorbs from the stool and the harder
it becomes. This may result in constipation. If passage is too quick, not
enough water, results in diarrhea.

Week 20 Action Step:

Take a close look at the your digestion this week. My favorite saying is we need to “get the colon rollin”. Examine your bowel movements (and yes, I mean that literally) to determine your frequency and consistency. If you eat three meals, you should have three bowel movements.

The feces should be brown, well-formed and about the size of a banana. If you feel, you need to get your colon rollin, consider Hair Mineral or 24 Urinanalyis Testing and stay tuned for next week where we will learn solutions to digestive issues.

Digestion and the link to Wellness- Week 19 of 52 Weeks of Wellness

We used to say, “you are what you eat” and now we say, “you are what you digest.”

You can eat clean, whole, natural and organic food all day every day but if your body can’t digest it, you are not going to experience optimal health. If your food is not broken down by chewing then your body will not be able to use it.

When digestion isn’t happening correctly your body no longer provides the appropriate amount of enzymes to break food down and you will not be able to use the food for energy and to rebuild and your good eating habits will be doing no good.

Did you know most children properly digest their food until their bodies are corrupted with excess sugar, fats, additives and preservatives? Our bodies know how to digest foods and have the abilities to do so until we disrupt the process with excess foreign substances and toxins.

Surprisingly, most people don’t recognize digestive disruption and therefor don’t pay attention to the body’s cries for digestive help.

Can you recognize the signs of improper digestion? Which of the following do you think aren’t signs of digestive issues? Tell us which you think aren’t signs in the comments below to be entered to win our monthly giveaway.

  1. Gas, belching after meals, bloating
  2. Indigestion or sourness 2-3 hours after eating
  3. Heavy, tired feeling after eating
  4. Chronic thirst
  5. Meat is no longer appealing or easily digested
  6. Constipation or diarrhea
  7. Early satiety, or fullness after a few bites
  8. Consistency of your stool
  9. Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  10. A chronic dry cough, sour taste in the mouth
  11. Frequent periods of nausea or excessive gas

Week 19 Action Step:

Take a close look at the body’s messages regarding digestion this week. Keep a journal of the foods you eat and how they leave you feeling so you’ll be able to easily pinpoint problems.

Week 18: Top (food) Toxins to Avoid – 52 Weeks of Wellness


We’ve covered MSG and chemical sweeteners in the past few weeks but there are many others to be aware of.

The food we eat could have one or more of the more than five hundred chemical pesticides routinely used in conventional farming. Pollutants in the air, water and soil including toxic levels of mercury and arsenic contaminate our waterways and impact our health. Anything that filters through the environment ultimatly infiltrates our bodies.

Pollutants store in our tissues causing damage to our immune system impairing our ability to digest, absorb and utilize the nutrients we consume. Pesticides and herbicides are just the beginning as manufactures may add these problematic toxins as well:

  1. Artificial food colors. These have been shown to lead to allergies, asthma, and hyperactivity; they are possible carcinogens.
  2. Nitrites and nitrates. These substances can develop into nitrosamines in the body, which can be carcinogenic. Found in most processed meats, lunch meat, bacon, etc.
  3. Sulfites (sulfur dioxide, metabisulfites and others).These can cause allergic and asthmatic reactions. Found in wine and dried fruits.
  4. Preservatives (BHA, BHT, EDTA, THBQ, and others). These may cause allergic reactions, hyperactivity, and possibly cancer; BHT may be toxic to the nervous system and the liver.
  5. Artificial flavors. These may cause allergic or behavioral reactions.
  6. Olestra (an artificial fat).This may cause diarrhea and digestive disturbances. Look for these in “light” versions of salty snacks.

Other concerns:

  • •Food waxes. The protective coatings applied to produce, as in cucumbers, peppers, and apples, may trigger allergies and can contain pesticides, fungicide sprays, or animal by-products.
  • Plastic packaging. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is car-cinogenic and may cause immune reactions and lung irritation.

What can you do from an environmental standpoint to reduce toxins?

Here are some ideas to help…

Buy local, pesticide free foods. Aim to switch all your food buying habits so that you are preventing toxin exposure.

Also consider stoping or reducing the spraying toxins on your lawn or garden, seek alternative options or ask your pest control company for natural safer options. Ask your carpet cleaner to reduce or eliminate the chemicals in their cleaning solution. Switch personal and home care to safer, natural ones. Stay away from commercial air fresheners, scented candles and such.

Remember, our choices today impact our children and grandchildren for years to come.

Week 18 Action Step:

How have you limited your toxic exposure in foods or in your environment or what ways to do you think we can all do so? Tell us in the comments below.

Week 17: Hold on to those brain cells! – 52 Weeks of Wellness

 

MSG or monosodium glutamate is an addictive flavor enhancer used in many processed foods. It can be listed under 20-30 different names so it is very difficult to detect.

Those warm, fuzzy ingredient names such as natural flavorings, spices and seasonings can do some major damage to our body.

One major concern with MSG is that it has been labeled an excitotoxin. You may remember reading in week 8 we learned that according to Neurosurgeon, Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., Neurosurgeon, says excitotoxins like MSG, overstimulate neural cells and cause other nervous system issues. MSG causes brain cells to fire rapidly, become exhausted and die.

They literally are killing off your brain cells.

“What are excitotoxins? The word excitotoxin is derived from two words, excite and toxin. A ‘toxin’ is a poison. So excitotoxin is a poison that excites any brain cell it encounters until it dies. These substances are usually amino acids – sounds rather natural and harmless but when these react with specialized receptors in the brain in such a way as to lead to destruction of certain types of brain cells.” Quote source and much more excitotoxin info can be read here.

MSG can impact hearing, destroy nerve cells, heart rate, lungs, brain, digestive system, blood pressure. Another area of the body that is impacted is vision. There are glutamate receptors in the retina and laboratory studies on animals have shown the retina to be damaged by MSG. We can also see how this impacts other health epidemics. Glutamate stimulates the pancreas and may cause Type II diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance. Need I go on? Not much safe or natural about it!

So what can you do to ensure you and your family are not consuming this substance?

Eat whole, clean foods grown locally or purchase certified organic. Stick to foods in natural state and not in bags or boxes. Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens, whole grains, and nuts/seeds (unroasted and unsalted) are pretty safe bets!

The following list of ingredients may contain MSG:

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Plant Protein Extract, Sodium Caseinate, Calcium Caseinate, Yeast Extract, Textured Protein, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, broth, boullion, natural flavorings, seasonings, spices,whey protein concentrate, soy protein isolate.

Week 17 Action Step:

Challenge this week, see how many items you can load up your cart with that aren’t in a bag, box or package! What did you score, how did you make a meal of it? Tell us in the comments below.

Week 16: “Can’t Stop Eating Them”! MSG Manipulates & Harms – 52 Weeks of Wellness

Many think MSG or Monosodium glutamate is a preservative or that it contains nutritional value, they are mistaken.

MSG is used in the food industry as a “flavor enhancer” which is a BIG red flag. If you have to enhance the flavor of something, there’s something wrong with it.

Real food shouldn’t need much enhancement. In fact, chemically MSG is an “excitotoxin”  or neurotoxin that has a negative impact on the brain and nervous system.

Some of you may remember in week 8 we learned that “according to Neurosurgeon, Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D. these have been labeled excitotoxins because they over stimulate neural (brain) cells to the point of killing them.”

“What are excitotoxins? The word excitotoxin is derived from two words,excite and toxin. A ‘toxin’ is a poison. So excitotoxin is a poison that excites any brain cell it encounters until it dies. These substances are usually amino acids – sounds rather natural and harmless but when these react with specialized receptors in the brain in such a way as to lead to destruction of certain types of brain cells.” Quote source and much more excitotoxin info can be read here.

MSG can also be quite addictive which is rather convenient for the food manufacturers that put it there did you think? Remember the potato chip commercial, “you can’t stop eating them”?  It was quite literally  portraying the chips,  the MSG made you keep wanting more. No false advertising there! Seems fitting considering he manufacturers want you to over eat their products.

“One of the primary and most consistent effects of MSG and other excitotoxins is triggering “an insulin/adrenalin/fat storage/food craving response.” That response is what causes the, “I’m hungry again an hour after I eat Chinese food,” quandary. It is also why some of us crave potato chips and other snack foods that contain monosodium glutamate, even though we’re full.” Quote source and much more excitotoxin info can be read here.

Also, some people have reactions to MSG and experience symptoms that include headaches, chest pain, heart palpitations, nausea, and other health problems.

In the report “Sensory And Autonomic Nerve Changes In The Msg-Treated Rat : A Model Of Type II Diabetes” by Morrison JFShehab SSheen RDhanasekaran SShaffiullah MMensah-Brown E At UAE University,  they showed that MSG treated animals develop a form of type II diabetes by about 60 weeks of age.

Whatever your wellness goals, eliminating MSG should be a priority! Especially if you’re looking to drop weight, manage or prevent diabetes.

So Where is MSG Lurking?

MSG is typically used in Chinese food, salty snacks, processed meats, canned soups, salad dressings and most all processed foods. The problem is they don’t list it on the ingredient label as MSG. MSG is found listed under many different names to keep you fooled.

The following list of ingredients may contain MSG:

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Plant Protein Extract, Sodium Caseinate, Calcium Caseinate, Yeast Extract, Textured Protein, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, broth, boullion, natural flavorings, seasonings, spices,whey protein concentrate, soy protein isolate.

The problem is that most of these names all sound pretty healthy!

Week 16 Action Step:

Read the ingredient labels of the food you have in your cabinets and see if you find any hidden MSG! What percentage of your food supply contains these hidden culprit?

Tell us in the comments below.

Week 15: The Toxins in Our Foods – What is the big deal about MSG anyway? – 52 Weeks of Wellness

 

I was asked by a cardiologist what are the top three additives to avoid in food. My response was high fructose corn syrup, MSG (monosodium glutamate) and chemical sugars. His response was , “Good answer.” Sounds like one savvy cardiologist to me!

Since we covered chemical sweeteners previously, let’s look at Monosodium Glutamate next. First, before we can dive into the problems behind the use of MSG we must first understand what it is.

MSG = Monosodium glutamate | Steer Clear!

According to The Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients:

 “Monosodium glutamate can generally be produced by three methods. Currently most of the world production of monosodium glutamate is by bacterial fermentation.

In this method bacteria (especially strains of Micrococcus glutamicus) are grown aerobically in a liquid nutrient medium containing a carbon source (e.g., dextrose or citrate), a nitrogen source such as ammonium ions or urea, and mineral ions and growth factors.

The bacteria selected for this process have the ability to excrete glutamic acid they synthesize outside of their cell membrane into the medium and accumulate there. The glutamic acid is separated from the fermentation broth by filtration, concentration, acidification, and crystallization, followed by conversion to its monosodium salt [monosodium glutamate].”

Well, I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t sound like FOOD to me. Sounds like another chemistry experiment that I’d rather not put in my mouth. And if that wasn’t enough, the bacteria used are often, if not always, genetically engineered (GMO).

Manufacturers also hide MSG as part of “natural flavorings,” because it is a natural product when listed in ingredient labels. But being natural is not the same as being harmless.

Next week we’ll look at the numerous other names that MSG is hiding in.

Week 17 action step:

Read ingredient labels and while eating out, ask if  you are meal’s seasonings contain MSG or “natural flavorings”. Better yet, ask to have your food prepared without additional sauces or seasonings as this will eliminate the risk all together.

Tell us in the comments below which foods you were surprised to learn contain MSG.

In the coming weeks will cover:

  • Why food manufacturers use MSG?
  • What other names is MSG listed as on food labels?
  • Why avoid it.
  •  What body systems are impacted by MSG?

Week 14: The Fiber Dilemma – 52 Weeks of Wellness

This month as part of the 52 Weeks of Wellness program we are discussing real sources of fiber, and why it’s crucial to our diet.

Last week we learned what fiber is specifically and how it aids the body.  We also discussed increasing fiber intake for optimal health and I cautioned against popping the fiber supplements as a quick fix to fiber deficiencies.

The absolute best way to go about increasing fiber intake is through consumption of plant foods.  Fruits, vegetables (don’t forget green leafys), whole grains, nuts and seeds because they often contain both types of beneficial fiber.

However, fiber isn’t the only component to digestion and this is why I recommend diet changes to increase fiber as opposed to fiber supplements. Our bodies need enzymes to properly digest and absorb nutrients as part of the digestion process and fiber supplements do not contain these crucial enzymes like plant foods do.

Also, fiber supplements typically only contain one of the 2 types of  fiber, our bodies needs both to function properly. Plus, plant foods contain important vitamins and minerals that we need.

Like I said last week, nature has the balance all figured out for us already.  We just have to be making the right choices instead of the quickest or most convenient choices.

Week 14 action step:

What fiber containing foods are your favorites? Do you have any favorite combinations  that you’re now hooked on? Tell us in the comments below.