Archive for May, 2012
Did you know that the U.S. government has been issuing official warnings about the vitamin & mineral content of our food supply since 1936? The U.S. Senate Document #264, published by the 2nd session of the 74th Congress in 1936 stated the following:
“Most of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which cannot be remedied until the depleted soils from which our foods come are brought [back] into proper mineral balance. Foods, fruits, vegetables and grains that are now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain needed minerals, are starving us – no matter how much of these foods we eat. Leading authorities state that 99% of the American people are deficient in these minerals, and that a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease. Any upset of the balance or any considerable lack of one or another element, however microscopic, causes problems and we sicken, suffer, and shorten our lives. Lacking vitamins, the system can make some use of minerals; but lacking minerals, vitamins are useless.”
In an effort to make up for the lack of nutrient content found in foods grown as monocrops on large plots of mineral-depleted soil, fortification (the addition of synthetic vitamins and minerals into processed foods like flour, bread, cereal, and milk) has become commonplace. Synthetic iodine was added to sodium chloride (refined table salt) to prevent goiter, synthetic folic acid was added to bread and cereal to prevent cleft palate, synthetic vitamin D was added to milk and non-dairy milk substitutes like almond milk and soy milk to prevent rickets, and calcium was added to some brands of orange juice and breakfast items such as frozen waffles for the prevention of osteoporosis.
Now scientists and many nutrition experts know that these synthetic vitamins and minerals that have been added to our foods may actually be doing more harm than good. Our bodies simply do not recognize synthetic nutrients to be able to utilize them properly; synthetic nutrients are instead viewed as foreign invaders that must be attacked. If these foreign invaders are not appropriately digested and eliminated from the body we may be at an increased risk for developing viral and bacterial infections, Lyme’s disease, or even cancer.
Most (if not all) of the vitamin and mineral supplements sold at drug stores, discount superstores, grocery stores, and even natural foods stores are made from synthetic vitamins. Those “organic” breakfast cereals, gluten-free breads, boxes of almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, etc. that are sold at premium prices in health food stores all contain synthetic vitamins as well. So how can you be sure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs for optimal health AND avoid the side effects caused by taking in synthetic nutrients?
Fortunately there ARE vitamin and mineral supplements available that are made solely from 100% organic raw foods. You can click here to read more about how one company that does this actually produces their supplements from real food. To purchase vitamin and mineral supplements made from real food (and not synthetically produced in a lab), simply visit the Holistic Chinese Herbs Store or PaleoCleanse. I make it a point to only recommend top-of-the-line products that are helpful — not harmful — to your health. That means no synthetic ingredients, no gluten, no dyes, and other “usual suspects” found on the labels of most store-bought supplement brands.
Do you use a multivitamin, herbal product, or other type of nutritional supplement? Is it made from food-based nutrients or is it synthetically produced? Do you purchase fortified foods? What are your thoughts after reading this article? Please post your comments below!
Myth #1: Increased sun exposure increases your risk for cancer.
Actually, logging more hours of fun under the sun actually decreases your risk of developing cancer. A study conducted on 49, 261 women in Sweden found that women who spent more time sunbathing had a greatly reduced chance of developing lung cancer and breast cancer. Numerous studies have found that increased levels of vitamin D in the blood (produced upon exposure to the sun) reduce the risk of all types of cancer.
Myth #2: Saturated fat (primarily found in red meat, cheese, and coconut) increases your risk of developing cancer.
Saturated fat has never been found to cause cancer. However, polyunsaturated fat (found primarily in nuts, seeds, and the oils obtained from those foods), as well as monounsaturated fat (found in olive oil, macadamia nut oil, and avocados) have both been found to raise your risk for developing breast cancer. Another interesting study found that coconut and red chilis might be protective against colon cancer.
Myth #3: Coffee is bad for your health.
Coffee lovers and caffeine fiends, rejoice! Coffee and caffeine have both been found to possess health-promoting properties that usually outweigh any risks. (The same cannot be said for alcohol, which is probably riskier than beneficial.) One study found that women who drank coffee had much less incidence of stroke than women who drank little to no coffee. Also, people who drank around 200 – 300 mg of caffeine per day in a case-controlled study did not develop Alzheimer’s Disease. Study participants who did develop Alzheimer’s had a history of not drinking much caffeine, if at all.
Over the past several years, I’ve had numerous conversations with many different people on the topic of wheatgrass. In fact, wheatgrass juice has become so ubiquitous in my life that sometimes I forget that there are still those who have never even heard of it — and many more who have never tried it simply because “grass” is just about the last thing on anyone’s list of favorite foods.
Wheatgrass juice became popular as a cure-all back in the 1960′s, and those who promoted it typically attributed its healing properties to an abundance of chlorophyll. Others falsely stated that wheatgrass is a rich source of B vitamins, including B12. Claims that wheatgrass juice helped many people heal from cancer and other illnesses haven’t been taken seriously by conventional medicine because chlorophyll can be found in a variety of other plants and because the claims about certain vitamins in wheatgrass are erroneous.
However, there is some recent solid scientific research that strongly suggests that wheatgrass does indeed have some powerful healing properties. One study at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center found that regular usage of wheatgrass significantly reduced signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis in study participants. Another study found that children with thalassemia (a hereditary type of anemia) showed a reduced need for blood transfusions when they drank 100 ml of wheatgrass juice daily. Breast cancer patients who drank wheatgrass juice showed a decreased need for medications. In vitro studies have found that wheatgrass kills leukemia cells.
In my conversations with people about wheatgrass, I have found that those who have tried it either love it or hate it. Nobody is ever on the fence about what they think of wheatgrass! And honestly, most people say they hate it; the mere smell of the stuff sends chills down their spine and makes them feel like they’re gonna puke! In my experience with wheatgrass, I’ve definitely gotten nauseated after drinking it a time or two — especially when it’s wheatgrass from Jamba Juice or the Whole Foods juice bar. I couldn’t help but wonder: “Why is it that sometimes wheatgrass can feel so energizing and taste so smooth and sweet, while other times it tastes bitter and nauseating?”
It turns out that wheatgrass that is grown indoors on trays is highly susceptible to being contaminated with mold. If you’ve ever tried wheatgrass juice and then felt sick after drinking it, chances are that you got a hefty dose of mold in your grass. Pretty gross. The good news is that you don’t have to start growing your own outdoor wheatgrass in order to get the benefits of wheatgrass without the toxic mold. PaleoGreens has wheatgrass (as well as a bunch of other great stuff) in it, and each batch is tested for mold contamination (as well as gluten contamination from the incidental grain of wheat). Another great thing about PaleoGreens is that it comes in three great-tasting flavors (lemon-lime, mint, and original) that you can add to a 16 oz. glass bottle of water for a quick and refreshing juice with only 35 calories.
I’ve gotta have my PaleoGreens every day. It’s the first food that goes into my body when I wake up in the mornings and probably the reason why I never “need” coffee or caffeine to up and at ‘em like the energizer bunny! (Yes, the one side effect of drinking PaleoGreens as soon as you wake up every day is that it might make you a slight nuisance to friends and co-workers who don’t “do” mornings. Whatever you do, don’t hide their donuts.)
What you don’t know about gluten might be causing you to suffer unnecessarily from fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headaches, arthritis, thyroid disease, depression, brain fog, memory impairment, skin problems, and more! Read on to separate myth from fact and save your health.
1. Gluten-free is just a marketing trend/fad diet/way for picky eaters to turn down cake at parties.
The number of people eating a gluten-free diet is growing as awareness about the dangers of gluten continues to rise. Gluten-free is by no means a fad that is going to go away. Many of the chronic health problems that people seek prescription drugs for can actually be avoided by eating a gluten-free diet.
2. Gluten sensitivities and celiac disease are problems that people develop as children.
Gluten sensitivities and celiac disease can occur at any time of your life. You may develop a sensitivity to gluten as an adult even though you had no problem with gluten as a child. No one really knows for sure what causes the onset of celiac disease, though some suspect that exposure to genetically modified foods may permanently alter your body and start a cascade of autoimmune processes.
3. Sensitivities to gluten are allergic reactions.
Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is not a food allergy. Allergies cause immediate reactions that may include hives, sneezing, itching, or even anaphylaxis. Common allergens include pollen, mold, cat dander, peanuts, chocolate, and shellfish. In contrast, gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks itself every time it is exposed to gluten. You may not notice an immediate reaction after eating a piece of wheat bread, for instance, but one week later you may develop a headache or swollen joints. In If your body attacks its own intestinal villi, you can develop a malabsorption problem that could cause you to suffer from B12 deficiency, anemia, or other vitamin/mineral/macronutrient deficiencies. Some people notice mucus in their stool as a result of eating gluten, but pass this off as meaning they need to stop eating meat or do a colon cleanse or liquid diet to get rid of the mucus. In actuality, they just need to stop eating gluten.
4. If a food is wheat-free, it doesn’t contain gluten.
Gluten is present in a variety of grains, including wheat, barley, rye, kamut, spelt, triticale, and malt. It may also contaminate some oats, rice, corn, soy, beans, nuts, or any other foods that were processed in a facility that also processes gluten-containing grains. Any prepared foods that are rolled in flour or contain gravies or sauces containing flour also contain gluten. Some vegetarian “faux meats” such as seitan and Quorn use gluten as a source of protein. Always read the labels of any processed foods before purchasing them to make sure questionable ingredients have not been added.
5. Eating a gluten-free diet is too expensive.
There are many gluten-free breads, pancake mixes, cake mixes, cookies, desserts, and other “treats” made from rice flour, soy flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, cassava, and other gluten-free starches available in stores nowadays. These products can be highly overpriced! I don’t generally recommend these products because they are typically highly processed items with very low nutritional value, and tend to be loaded with high-glycemic carbohydrates that can send your blood sugar soaring — then then crashing down two hours later — making you crave more. If you feel that you absolutely have to eat bread, cookies, cakes, and other treats, you can easily make your own with coconut flour, almond flour, nut/seed mixtures, and even vegetables & fruits that you can process into “flours” using a food processor and a food dehydrator. There are plenty of free recipes for “grainless raw bread,” for instance, that you can find on the internet. With a little creativity, you can make everything from pancakes to pasta without having to resort to grains or overpriced commercial foods ever again.
6. Only a small number of people suffer from celiac disease.
While the “official” estimate is that about 1 out of every 100 people has celiac disease (autoimmune disease diagnosable by identifying damage to the intestinal villi through endoscopic examination), this does not include those who merely have a gluten sensitivity (autoimmune reaction to gluten that doesn’t include damage to the intestinal villi). And because both celiac disease and gluten sensitivit y are often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, depression, eczema, hypothyroidism, or any other illness that occurs as a result of the gluten intolerance, many sufferers don’t know they have it. If they would just stop eating foods containing gluten, the health imbalances caused by eating gluten will typically go away within six months to a year of consuming a 100% gluten-free diet.
7. When gluten causes a health problem, it is a digestive problem.
Gluten sensitivity may give rise to over 300 different symptoms! While constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, mucus seen in bowel movements, diarrhea, heartburn, GERD, and other gastrointestinal symptoms may occur as a result of gluten intolerance, many sufferers may not have any digestive symptoms at all. Chronic pain, diabetes, weight gain, mental and psychological problems, and even cancer can result from eating gluten.
8. A gluten-free diet causes weight loss.
While celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can disrupt thyroid function, make you too tired/sore to exercise, cause blood sugar fluctuations, and other conditions that may lead to weight gain and difficulty losing weight, going gluten-free is not just another fad diet for weight loss. As you begin to experience more energy and vitality on a gluten-free diet, you may be able to shed unwanted pounds that you had previously been unable to get rid of. However, if you are already at your ideal weight and body composition, you can still maintain your weight on a gluten-free diet if you simply eat enough food! Since you won’t be getting your calories from wheat bread, breakfast cereal, pancakes from IHOP, and hamburger buns, you’ll need to get your calories from other foods such as nuts/seeds, coconut, vegetables, butter, cream, fish, meat, fruit, and other delicious, nutrient-rich, wholesome foods.
9. If you’re gluten-sensitive, just one bite of birthday cake or fresh-baked sprouted grain bread won’t hurt.
Eating just one bite or one small treat is not a “cheat.” It’s self-mutilation. If you react to gluten, there is no such thing as a safe level of gluten exposure. Even if you made your own wheat flour from soaked, sprouted grains, and baked your own bread or cake with LOVE, that one bite of gluten can set you back 6 months in your healing process. Giving gluten up entirely is the only safe course of action.
A 100% gluten-free, grain-free diet saved my life and has worked for me for over 8 years. Therefore, I take the word “gluten-free” very seriously and don’t see it as a marketing term or passing fad. I make sure that ALL products in the Holistic Chinese Herbs Store are gluten-free and from reputable companies with stringent quality control measures to make sure what’s on the label is actually what you’re getting in the product. This includes facial and body care products, too, because I believe that what you put on your skin can and is absorbed by the body just like anything you eat or drink.