Friday, September 3, 2010

Vitamins EVERY PERSON Should be Taking!

Every person should be taking these 4 supplements DAILY:

1) Vitamin D3
2) B12
3) Chlorella
4) CoQ10

These four vitamins and minerals are essential to living a truly healthy life! These 4 supplements help reduce the signs of aging, help boost your energy, detoxifies your liver, keeps you mentally focused, and so much more!! 

Vitamin D3 is essential for bone health, immune system support, and reduces/minimizes skin cancer. Vitamin D3 is hard to get in your everyday life, that is why a supplement is necessary. I suggest liquid Vitamin D3 or softgels for optimal absorption. Read my D3 Blog Post. I take the following D3: Vit. D3 and/or Vit D3 softgels.
B12 is for overall energy. Have you noticed all of the 5-hour energy commericals? Well, the key components are B vitamins. B12 helps prevent anemia by helping with the production of red blood cells, aids in metabolizing proteins, carbs, and fats, and it also helps develop nerve cells. I like the B12 supplements that dissolve under your tongue. They go directly into your blood stream and are readily absorbed! Trader Joe's has some that I like because they do not contain magnesium sterate!

Chlorella is nature's perfect superfood. Chlorella naturally detoxifies your body and supplies you with essential daily nutrients. I suggest Chlorella Sun A granule packets. Here is a link that will give you more details on this beneficial and necessary superfood: Chlorella.

CoQ10 is a naturally occurring compound in your body; however, most people are low in this. Taking a CoQ10 supplement helps with a lot of conditions, such as, cancer, heart problems, boosts energy, and helps restore your body after exercise. If you are healthy you can just take the recommended dose; however, if you have or have had skin cancer or other diseases that deplete CoQ10 you can take a little more (200 mg). CoQ10 has been linked to helping prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

I have been taking the above supplements and I personally believe that CoQ10 and Vit D3 have decreased sun burns. I have noticed that I don't need as much sunscreen after taking these for months. I have read in my Life Extension magazines that these two supplements act as an internal sunscreen. More info will be coming on if that is a proven fact or not!

Things to remember when choosing/ordering your supplements:
1) Make sure there is no magnesium sterate in the ingredients
2) Order softgels or liquids OVER capsules and tablets. 
3) You should be getting MOST to ALL of your vitamins and minerals from your everyday diet (i.e. greens, fruits, fresh squeezed juice), so make sure your body is depleted of that vitamin/mineral before you take it!

I order all of my supplements from This website has the best products, for the best price!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Want to Lose Weight?

The typical American has no idea what is in their food. They think that since the foods in their grocery stores are edible, they are okay. Well, I am here to inform each and everyone of you that if you ELIMINATE these 5 things that you WILL LOSE weight and start leading a healthier life:

1) High Fructose Corn Syrup (minimize FRUCTOSE in any form: fruit, honey, agave nectar etc...)
2) Artificial Sweeteners (Splenda, Aspartame, Equal, diet sodas)
3) Trans Fats (partially hydrogenated and fully hydrogenated oils)
4) White, starchy foods (white bread, white flour etc..)
5) MSG

These four things are making Americans fatter and more unhealthy each and everyday. You need to read ALL of your ingredient labels and make sure that none of these ingredients are in your foods.

Trans Fats are VERY tricky because they will list ZERO trans fat on the nutritional label, but it will contain partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredients. This is because if food has less than .5g of trans fats in their product they can list the product as having ZERO trans fats. The problem here is if you eat MORE than one serving, which most Americans do, then you will be consuming multiple grams of trans fat.

Artificial sweeteners are extremely poisonous to your body. Not only are they extremely harmful chemicals, they trick your body into thinking it is receiving calories when in reality you aren't. See my post on Aspartame.

White starchy foods are empty calories with no nutrition.  They bleach the flour, which chemically alters the ingredients they use in your food.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My New Addiction--TJ's Powerberries

Wow! Trader Joe's NEW Powerberries are an excellent treat. They are gluten free, an excellent source of vit C, and are made with natural sources of antioxidants (dark chocolate and "power berries:" acai, pomegranate, cranberry & blueberry juice concentrates).

The dark chocolate mixed with the tart, chewy berry filling is a delight in every bite! BEWARE though because these are VERY addicting. Once I start eating them it was very hard to stop!

I also spiced up my TRAIL MIX with this sweet treat.

I highly recommend these as a sweet treat in the evening or a great addition to a gift basket. 

41% cocoa
128 cal per serving

Green Beans as a Snack?

Okay, so many of you know that I am trying to limit (NOT eliminate) the amount of gluten in my diet. I don't have a wheat intolerance. I am just doing this for my health.  It has been hard, but I have been able to find some good snacks in the process. One of them being GREEN BEANS!

Many people don't think about picking up green beans as a snack, but I found some that will make you do just that! Crunchy Green Beans @ Trader Joe's! If you are chip eater like myself, then these will definitely satisfy your salty and crunchy cravings. They have good fat, 4g of fiber, and 15% Vit A. All-in-all these green beans make for a delightfully light, semi-healthy snack minus the fact that they are not organic and are cooked/fried in canola oil!!

3/4 cup (4 servings per bag)
130 calories
4.5 g fat
1.5g PolySat
2.5g MonoSat
20g carbs
4g of fiber
5 g of sugar
2g of protein
15% Vit A
4% Calcium
4% Iron

Ingredients: green beans, Canola oil, dextrin (tapioca starch), salt.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Neti Pot, Holistic Approach to Clearing up Allergies, Earaches, & Sinuses

History of the Neti Pot
The neti pot was used in India during their yoga practices. They would use the neti pot to clear the nasal passages since clear breathing is essential to yoga. The neti pot was introduced to the West only about 30 years ago!

What is a Neti Pot?
A neti pot is a small pot that is used to clear out a persons nasal passages. You mix warm water with a saline solution  (do not use regular table salt, it can be too harsh on your nasal passages) together in the neti pot and pour through your sinus cavities.

How to Use
Mix warm water and 1 tsp of the saline solution (I usually add a little more). Place the pot in your nostril and tilt your head slightly to the side and forward (you should be at an angle where the solution will pour through your sinus cavity and out your other nostril WITHOUT going down or burning your throat)! BREATHE through your mouth.  Practice this until you get the perfect angle. I do half of the pot and then use the other half on the other nostril. If you are really clogged up do the process again!

Neti pots help relieve allergies, prevent allergies, help treat hay fever, nasal problems, colds, and mild sinus infections. Anytime I feel a cold or allergies coming on I use this! Even on those days where I just wake up stuffy I use the neti pot to just relieve my stuffy nose and help me breath better!

My Opinion?
I think every household should own one of these! They are inexpensive (I bought the plastic-travel one from Whole Foods along with a bag of neti pot salt for about $13), easy to use, studies have proven that it works, and it just feels good to have your nasal passages cleaned out every once in a while!

Jewelry for SALE by Yaya's Dream

Monday, June 7, 2010

What's all the Hype about Stainless Steel Water Bottles?

I don't know if you are aware of all the stainless steel water bottles being sold at almost every store, but I am! I also was almost tricked into buying an ALUMINUM water bottle, thinking it was a stainless steel bottle (DO NOT buy ALUMINUM water bottles)!!!! Well, I am going to give you a few reason why you should OWN a stainless steel water bottle and where to buy them!

1) Eco-friendly. I know everyone now-a-days is trying to be as green as possible, so let this be your first step in that direction. These water bottles are re-usable, durable, and depending on the brand you buy, recyclable. They will save on MONEY and PLASTIC.

2) Flavor Free. Stainless steel water bottles don't need a liner like their aluminum buddies, so they don't retain any flavors, odors, or tastes! The water tastes FRESH and CLEAN!

3) Dishwasher Safe. This makes for easy cleaning, but if you want to you can just use warm water and soap to rinse them out!

4) Easy to bring along. Depending on the brand you buy you can get sports caps, loops for attaching to bags, or just a simple cap! No matter which cap you choose these bottles are easy to fill up with your filtered water and bring along on any adventure!

5) CANCER FREE. As we all know plastic has many ingredients in it that causes cancer, esp if you reuse your plastic bottles, leave the bottle in your car in the heat, or re-use and wash Nalgene bottles!  Plastic has been linked to many health problems, so why not continue being healthy by staying away from as much plastic as you can (that includes Tupperware)!!! 

Where to Buy

1) Klean This is the first place I purchased a stainless steel water bottle and I have NOT been disappointed. Everything the website says is true. The 40 oz. bottles run about $25 each or $49 for 2. 

2) You can find Klean Kanteen or other stainless steel water bottles for the same price of less.

3) TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I have found a few cute stainless steel water bottles at these stores for way less. They aren't as good quality (thinner stainless steal, not as durable), but they do their job for the most part. The prices range from around $7.99-$15.99 for the smaller ones. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Health and Religion, Is This Just One More Element to Being Truly Healthy?

I realize that my blog posts are about health, great foods, good medicines, and natural remedies; however, I have been thinking about how I can bring some of my faith into a blog post and I think I found it! I decided to research the links between a person's health and their religious connections.  The research I have found suggests that along with a healthy diet and exercise that there is a THIRD element to being healthy and that is, being religious.

The link between spirituality and health was "found by the National Institute for Health Care Research (NIHR). This nonprofit agency headed by Dr. David Larson has funded numerous studies examining the role of spirituality in health and healing. Their research confirmed that both mentally and physically, religious people enjoy better health than their nonreligious friends."

Dr. Jeff Levin, a social epidemiologist and former medical school professor, has been researching the relationship between spirituality and health since the mid-80s...he discovered an article that hundreds of adult men who frequently attended church services maintained lower blood pressure than those who didn't attend, even when controlling for age, smoking, and socioeconomic status" (Religion and Health CBS article).

These findings seem to make sense to psychologists and  health professionals because religion seems to give people a reason to live, a positive self-image, access to support groups, prayer and meditation, and the encouragement to avoid tobacco, alcohol, sex and/or drugs.

People who attend religious services have the tendency to live longer lives says Mark Stibich, Ph. D.. Although most of the studies are observational, the stats still lead everyone to the same conclusion--that religion plays a part in a healthier, longer life.  But why? 

My personal opinion is that God looks after his own children.  Even though all Christians are not in perfect health, it does lead one to believe that the overall religious community is healthier than the non-religious.  Now does this mean that you start attending church just to get healthy? I would say, no--unless you want to, but incorporating the things that religious people seem to get by attending church (i.e. support groups, prayer, meditation, positive self-image, being around good friends) could help you live a longer fuller life as well.

Makes sense doesn't it? I mean, anyone who has a positive self-image, refrains from unhealthy behaviors, prays, meditates, and has a reason to live would seem to live a happier, fuller, longer life right? Regardless if you are religious, it does seem to make sense that if you incorporate the above lifestyle into your personal daily life that you too could possibly reap the same benefits?


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BEWARE of Magnesium Stearate!

What is Magnesium Stearate?
Magnesium stearate is a potentially toxic metal additive; however, FDA says that it is OKAY for us to consume it because a person's average intake is only 300mg or less . Now, I don't know about you, but would you feel SAFE consuming something that has severe and fatal outcomes in high doses?? (FDA Mag. Ste.) And this is just ONE of the many reasons I do not trust anything that the FDA has to say!!!

Magnesium Stearate and stearic acid are found in the coating of MANY pills/supplements.  Mag. Stearate helps lubricate the pill so that the substances do not stick to the machinery during production (seems like an easy fix on the production company's part to me). Stearic acid is the by-product of all of the hydrogenated oils that lubricate the machines, so stay away from this metal enhanced, fatty acid in your supplements as well. Although studies have shown that LOW levels of magnesium stearate, such as in your daily supplements, is OKAY I do not advise consuming this ingredient!

My advice is to AVOID this ingredient at all costs. Regardless if you are UNDER the fatal intake of mag stearate, overtime the more you consume the more potential health problems you will incur! CHECK YOUR SUPPLEMENT LABELS and get rid of anything with this in the ingredients! I found 2 supplements that I had purchased from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods and they both had this ingredient in them! BEWARE even at the health food stores! FINISH UP YOUR VITAMINS/SUPPLEMENTS BUT START PURCHASING ITEMS WITHOUT THIS INGREDIENT IN THE FUTURE! 

This is another reason why I am a proponent of LIQUID vitamins!

This ingredient is yet another chemical added to the list of things that FDA approves being added to our foods and supplements!  And we wonder why we have so many more kids with autism, allergies, cancers, and other health related problems?????


Zinc (NSI OptiZinc):
Other Ingredients: Kosher gelatin (capsule), rice flour and magnesium stearate.
Nature's Plus Vitamin C Chewable Tablets:
Other Ingredients: Fructose, natural orange flavor, citric acid, magnesium stearate, natural color, beet juice and C-Source (proprietary whole food complex: grape seed [Vitis vinifera extract], bilberry [Vaccinium myrtillus extract] and concentrates of mango, papaya, guava and pineapple).
Source Naturals B12 Tablets:
Other Ingredients: Mannitol, sorbitol, natural cherry flavor, stearic acid, and magnesium stearate.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stearic Acid and Saturated Fats

After having a great health food discussion with a co-worker, I realized that I had some research to do regarding STEARIC ACID. I knew that some of the ingredients and preservatives in supplements and foods were naturally derived, but what I didn't know was what stearic acid was and how it affects us!

What is Stearic Acid?? 
Stearic acid is a natural, organic compound that is found mainly in animal fats (beef fats) and some vegetable fats. Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid. The majority of stearic acid actually gets converted into oleic acid (monounsaturated fat). Oleic acid DOES NOT affect your cholesterol levels nor does it raise LDL levels (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Article). Palmitic and Lauric Acid are known to raise cholesterol; however, because they raise LDL and HDL levels you end up actually decreasing your chances of heart disease.

Benefits of Saturated Fat

  • The preferred fuel for your heart, and also used as a source of fuel during energy expenditure
  • Useful antiviral agents (caprylic acid)
  • Effective as an anticaries, antiplaque and anti fungal agents (lauric acid)
  • Useful to actually lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids)
  • Modulators of genetic regulation and prevent cancer (butyric acid)
(Dr. Mercola, "The Truth About Sat. Fats)

Saturated fats have gotten a bad name after the very popular low-fat, sugar free days; however, saturated fats can actually benefit you!  You need saturated fats to help digest and absorb vitamins and minerals in your body, as well as, filling you up so that you eat less!

Now, if you don't exercise and eat a well-balanced diet I suggest that you do not eat a lot of saturated fat; however, if you are active and eat well hen I suggest adding saturated fats into your diet, if you haven't already. You will eat less during the day because you will be fuller longer, which in return will lead to weight LOSS. Because as we all know, the LESS calories you eat the more weight you lose!!!!! I also want to reiterate that you eat things AS CLOSE TO THEIR NATURAL STATE AS POSSIBLE! 

  • Nitrate FREE Bacon
  • Organic, all-natural, nitrate FREE hot dogs
  • Grass fed beef
  • Butter
  • Yogurt (raw goats and cows milk)
  • Raw milk
  • Raw or all-natural cheeses

I actually just purchased some RAW GOAT'S MILK yogurt and it is FANTASTIC! I literally just drink it out of the jar and it fills me up for hours! It is so creamy and delicious! I also just put myself back on the RAW MILK list and will be purchasing raw milk again! I can't wait to start getting all the natural, essential vitamins and minerals back into my diet!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quick Breakfast and Lunch Recipes

Almond Butter and Honey Toast

Toast Sourdough bread with butter on it until crispy.
Smother in Almond Butter and Raw Unheated Honey. Feel free to sprinkle organic ground flax seed over the almond butter and honey or freshly sliced organic strawberries!

Hot Dog Avocado Wrap

1 slice of Yogurt pepper jack cheese
1 Avocado

Break the tortilla into 4 pieces and toast it. Melt the cheese on two of the slices. Heat up the hot dogs in the microwave, oven, or stove top. Slice hot dog to fit the wrap (I usually slice it long ways and then in half) Slice avocado. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Why Gluten Should Be Avoided!

Gluten is the protein within wheat, barely, and rye. It was thought that about 1 in 10,000 people suffered from gluten intolerance, but it was soon discovered that it is closer to 1 in 100 people.  The reason the stats were off by so many was that Doctor's were not diagnosing the problem as a wheat tolerance, but were prescribing other drugs and remedies to cure the patient's aliments.  Two very common diseases that require you to ELIMINATE gluten from your diet are:

Celiac disease is an inherited inability to digest the gluten protein within the small intestine.  When a person with ceiliac eats gluten their body attacks the small intestine and prohibits their body from absorbing the beneficial vitamins, minerals, carbs, and fats from their food. The cause of celiac disease (CD) is unknown; however, severe emotional stress, pregnancy, surgery, and viral infections can lead to this.

Symptoms: diarrhea, bloating, abdominal discomfort, fatigue, foul smelling gas, vitamin deficiency (D3, B12, K), anemia, infertility, autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis, neurological diseases, and in rare cases cancer etc...

Crohn's Disease is an disorder that causes inflammation to the digestive tract.  This disease can affect anywhere from your mouth to a person's anus, but most commonly it affects the small intestine.

Symptoms: persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, arthritis, weight loss, fever, sores within mouth etc...

****If you have of the above symptoms you can go to your doctor and get a test done to determine if you have CD or Crohn's Disease**** 

Contains Gluten:
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Durham
  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Matzo meal
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt (a form of wheat)
  • Triticale
  • Wheat
  • Malt
  • Starches
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Natural Flavorings
  • Texturized vegetable protein (TVP)

    Gluten Free:
    • Amaranth
    • Arrowroot
    • Buckwheat
    • Corn
    • Cornmeal
    • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
    • Hominy grits
    • Polenta
    • Pure corn tortillas
    • Quinoa
    • Rice
    • Tapioca
    • Potatoes
    • Rice
    • Wine and distilled liquors (bourbon, brandy, cognac, Kahlua, vodka, rum, whiskey, sherry, tequila etc..)
    Regardless if you have CD or Crohn's Disease you should avoid grains.  Grains are not bad when they come from your own farm, but it is the processing of the grain to your grocery shelves that has created this gluten intolerance.  

    "Before the advent of factory farming, grain was partially germinated (sprouted). This resulted from being sheaved and stacked in fields, which stood for several more weeks before threshing. During this period, the grain seeds were exposed to rain and dew which soaked into the sheaves. The grain could pick up this moisture and, with heat from the sun, conditions were ideal for favoring a degree of germination and enzyme multiplication in the grain.3
    The process of sprouting not only produces vitamin C; it changes the composition of the grain in numerous ways that make it more beneficial as a food. For example, sprouting increases the content of such vitamins as vitamin B, B2, B5 and B6. Carotene, which is converted to vitamin A, increases dramatically -- sometimes eight-fold.

    Phytic acid is present in the bran of all grains, the coating of nuts and seeds and inhibits the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. It is recommended that you soak your seeds and nuts for 8-12 hours before consuming them" (Dr. Mercola-You are What you Eat).

    If you are interested in starting a Gluten Free Diet then I suggest you go to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's!  TJ's has this amazing Gluten-Free list that you can follow. Print it out and take it to your local TJ's for a healthier way of life! 

    My Personal goal is to cut out as much gluten as possible.  I love bread too much to be on a completely gluten-free diet, but I think that a healthier lifestyle will come from limiting gluten.  I will start sharing some gluten-free suggestions and diets with all of my friends with Crohn's Disease and CD! :)

      Thursday, April 22, 2010

      LaraBar Recipe

      Quick and Easy Larabar Granola Cereal! 

      Combine the following in your favorite cereal bowl:
      • All-natural granola (I have used plain granola or flax seed granola cereal, I try to keep the sugar count under 10g per serving) 
      • Milk
      • Crumble your Favorite LaraBar (suggested: Chocolate Mole, Chocolate coconut, Cashew Cookie, or Ginger Snap)
      • Add cinnamon if using plan granola (optional)
      Enjoy! :)

      Wednesday, April 14, 2010


      Larabars were suggested by a friend for a quick, all natural treat, so I decided to check them out.  I am always skeptical of anything in a package, especially "healthy" bars.  I was shocked to find out that not only do these bars taste EXCEPTIONAL, but they are literally ALL NATURAL.  Now, you are probably thinking, "What do I mean by all natural?" or "A lot of products say they are 'all-natural' but they really aren't." Well, I am here to tell you that by all-natural I mean that the bars are made up of 100% fruits, spices, and nuts! Check them out for yourself!

      The calorie count is anywhere from 190 to 240 calories. Each bar is packed with protein, vitamins, fiber, and good fats!  These bars are a great pick-me-up anytime you are in a hurry!  In every bar there is NO MORE than 2 to 6 ingredients!!!

      MY favorites so far are the COCONUT CREAM PIE, and CASHEW COOKIE, but to be honest every one I have tried has been FANTASTIC! I have tried the following: Cherry pie, Jocalat chocolate cherry, & Apple pie.

      Here are the nutrition facts for COCONUT CREAM PIE:
      220 Calories, 11 g Fat, 7 Sat. Fat, .5 Poly Fat, 2 Mono Fat
      300mg Potassium
      31 Carbs, 6 g Fiber, 24 g  Sugar
      3 g Protein
      2% Calcium, 6% Iron, 2% Vit E, 2% Thiamin, 2% Roboflavin, 2% Niacin, 4% Vit B6, 2% Folic Acid, 6% Phosphorus, 10% Magnesium, 4% Zinc, 10% Copper

      Dates, Unsweetened Coconut, Almonds, Cashews, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

      I suggest taking a piece of dark chocolate and a bite of the coconut cream pie and eating it together!  It tastes just like a mound candy bar!  This is a great TREAT if you want something sweet and healthy!

      Where to buy them?
      -Whole Foods
      -Trader Joe's
      -Online @ (discounted)
      -Local Health Food Stores

      Friday, March 26, 2010

      Hidden Names of MSG

      Have you gone through your pantry and cleaned out all the products that contained MSG (monosodium glutamate) and thought to yourself, "I'm finally on the right track to getting healthy?"  Well, that is a GREAT start, but what you DON'T know is that MSG comes in MANY different forms and a TON of different NAMES! 

      What is MSG?
      MSG is a food enhancer.  If you go to your local Asian market you will find it in the spice aisle!  It makes food taste better because it is an EXCITOTOXIN. This is the process where your brain cells are OVER-ACTIVATED! Glutamate is a prime example of an excitotoxin in the brain. Most MSG is now made from BACTERIAL FERMENTATION--YUCK! 

      Are there any side effects? 
      MSG has been linked to headaches, eye problems, depression, disorientation, fatigue, and weight gain.

      Excitoticity has been "involved in spinal cord injuries, stroke, traumatic brain injury, neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, alcoholism, and Huntington's disease. Other common conditions that cause excessive glutamate concentrations around neurons are hypoglycemia and status epilepticus (Excitotoxcity in Wikipedia).

      Marketing Deception
      MSG comes in MANY different forms and under other names.  If you want to completely eliminate MSG from your diet make sure you AVOID the following ingredients as well:

       Helpful hints
      If all of MSG's alias' are giving you anxiety, then I suggest doing a few of the following until you get familiar with all of the names and terminology:

      1. Print out the MSG  Cheat Sheet and study it
      2. Bring the Cheat Sheet to the grocery store when you go shopping
      3. Buy all-natural, whole foods and LIMIT any packaged foods esp the following:
        1. Dressings
        2. Bouillon cubes
        3. Asian store sauces
        4. Packaged spices and dips
        5. Flavored chips
        6. Stocks and Broths
      4. Key words to AVOID:  
        1. Hydrolyzed
        2. Autolyzed
        3. Yeast Extracts
        4. Protein Extracts
        5. Caseinates!
      Link for More information on MSG

        Friday, March 12, 2010

        High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)

        Have you ever looked around and wondered why we have so many more cancer patients, children allergies, diabetics, obese children and adults etc...?  I mean, I can't even bring in homemade cookies to my Sunday School class because so many kids have food allergies.  That was never the case 20 years ago!  I have come to realize that WE ARE WHAT WE EAT!

        American Diet

        First, let's look at the average American diet.  One-third of Americans get their daily caloric intake from junk foods. Over 7% of our calories are from soft drinks (Natural News) and up to 10% for children and teenagers (NY Times 2/15/10). Americans eat 19% MORE sugar than we did in 1970.  Men are consuming 187 more calories each day and women 335 calories more than we did 25 years ago (Dr. Mercola).  All of these statistics make you realize why 30% of Americans are OBESE and that's not even counting the percentage that are just OVERWEIGHT

        These statistics are astonishing, but more than that, we aren't just consuming table sugar like we did 25 years ago.  We are now consuming a whooping 141 pounds of sugar per person per year, and 63 pounds of that is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). If you look on the back of every label in your home you will see HFCS in almost every packaged item.  I even discovered it in my canned tomatoes!!!


        The biggest problem with HFCS is the fact that it is 20% sweeter than regular table sugar.  Sugar is addictive, but HFCS is even MORE addictive because it is a processed fructose.  Fructose is a derivative of sucrose and is related to health problems because of its similarity to alcohol within the human digestive tract.  The majority of fructose is converted into FAT instead of being digested.  Fructose is also related to metabolic syndrome.

        Table sugar is 50% sucrose and 50% fructose, while HFCS is 42% sucrose and 55% fructose!

        Since fructose occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables, and honey it is healthy and fine to consume it in its natural state; however, even natural fructose needs to be LIMITED and consumed in MODERATION! The health benefits of fruits and vegetables outweighs the negative metabolic affect of the fructose; however, HFCS has NO health benefits, therefore, it has nothing to outweigh the metabolic affects on your digestive tract. 

        Fructose is also one of the main ingredients in AGAVE NECTAR.  We have heard so many ads saying how healthy agave nectar is and how "natural" it is.  Well, I hate to break the bad news, but agave nectar is NOT NATURAL, even if you buy the organic brands.  To get agave nectar they PROCESS the sap from the agave plant which kills all of the healthy benefits of the agave plant. Not to mention, agave nectar is extremely high in fructose.  Although this is the case, I do still consume agave nectar because it tastes so great in my teas, oatmeal, and recipes, but I do so in moderation!


        HFCS should be cut out of your diets completely if you ever want to lose weight and stop craving all of those granola bars, cereals, canned tomatoes, sauces, and MORE!  Natural FRUCTOSE should be limited, so don't go thinking that an all fruit diet is healthy! The best fruits to eat are all berries, Granny Smith Apples, apricots, nectarines, cantaloupes and peaches.  

        So what is the best way to CUT FAT off your body and get that summer body you have always WANTED????? Limit natural fructose AND cut HFCS out of your diet COMPLETELY.  Pair that with a 3 day a week or more workout routine and you will be BEACH READY in no time!

        Tuesday, February 16, 2010

        RAW Milk

        Raw milk has been getting a lot of bad reviews in the media, not to mention that it is illegal for 22 states to even sell it!  Now, when there are so many illnesses that seem to be creeping into our local grocery stores, why would the FDA and other government run health organizations make it illegal? Why not just let the consumer make the decision and put warning labels on the products? I am here to give you multiple reasons on why RAW milk is safe and extremely beneficial to your health.  Now, don't get me wrong, some milk can make you sick, but so can the local bagged spinach, beef, and other foods that are mishandled and sold to the consumer.

        I personally have drank raw milk for months.  The only reason I stopped purchasing it was because, to be honest, it was getting way too expensive ($10 a gallon).  I now purchase organic milk, but I miss the amazing benefits and feeling that raw milk gives you.  My mom and grandfather both drink raw milk and have been for months now.  My mom has been looking for local farmers to supply her with raw milk for years and now she finally found one.  After months of consuming raw milk, we all have NEVER had one incidence where we got sick or had any problems with the milk and here's why! 


        Pasteurization slows the process of microbial growth in food. It is not intended to destroy ALL pathogenic micro-organisms, but does destroy some of them. Many of these anti-microbial and immune-enhancing components are greatly reduced in effectiveness by pasteurization.  Ultra-pasteurized milk kills all beneficial bacteria and micro-organisms so that the milk can be preserved even longer! Milk is brought to very high temperatures to reach the regulated "pasteurization" standard. Pasteurized milk is also linked to Crone's Disease. (Scientific American, December 1995; British J of Nutrition, 2000:84(Suppl. 1):S3-S10, S75-S80, S81-S89).

        Vitamin C Raw milk but not pasteurized can resolve scurvy. “. . . Without doubt. . . the explosive increase in infantile scurvy during the latter part of the 19th century coincided with the advent of use of heated milks. . .” (Rajakumar, Pediatrics. 2001;108(4):E76).
        Calcium Longer and denser bones on raw milk (Studies from Randleigh Farms).
        Folate Carrier protein inactivated during pasteurization. (Gregory. J. Nutr. 1982, 1329-1338).
        Vitamin B12 Binding protein inactivated by pasteurization.
        Vitamin B6 Animal studies indicate B6 poorly absorbed from pasteurized milk (Studies from Randleigh Farms).
        Vitamin A Beta-lactoglobulin, a heat-sensitive protein in milk, increases intestinal absorption of vitamin A. Heat degrades vitamin A. Said and others (Am J Clin Nutr. 1989;49:690-694. Runge and Heger. J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Jan;48(1):47-55).
        Vitamin D Present in milk in protein-bound form, assimilation possibly affected by pasteurization. Hollis and others ( J Nutr. 1981;111:1240-1248).
        Iron Lactoferrin, which contributes to iron assimilation, destroyed during pasteurization.
        Iodine Lower in pasteurized milk. Wheeler and others (J Dairy Sci. 1983;66(2):187-95).
        Minerals Lactobacilli, destroyed by pasteurization, enhance mineral absorption (MacDonald and others. 1985).

        Homogenized milk is where it is processed so that it is the same throughout.  This is basically removing the natural separation of raw milk. Because of this process the store bought milk will not have the thick cream on top of the milk (this cream can be taken off and used as cream, or shaken up and drank with the rest of the milk--it is VERY yummy)! 


        Raw milk has been shown to prevent or help cure the following symptoms:
        1) Asthma
        2) Allergies
        3) Lactose Intolerance
        4) Osteoporosis
        5) Tooth decay
        6) Skin problems
        7) and many more....

        Have you ever wondered why so many children have so many health issues like asthma, allergies, food allergies, lactose intolerance etc...? I believe that it is contributed to the lack of essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy bacteria in our foods due to the efforts of trying to make products have a longer shelf life!! Not only is it contributed to our milks, but all the processed and UN-natural foods that stock our grocery store shelves. 

        The great thing about raw milk is the fact that if it "sours" you can still use it? You can also FREEZE raw milk in portion size containers (no plastic) and use it at leisure.  

        ANY DANGERS?
        With anything, there are dangers to having your product exposed to diseases and harmful bacteria; however, through research and personal experience I would have to say that the dangers are MINIMAL. If you know WHERE you are getting your milk and that the farm is HEALTHY and CLEAN then you will have a very slim chance or contracting a serious illness. 

        The dangers from using homogenized and pasteurization processes is not to the human, but to the cow or goat.  This is because the farmers are OVER MILKING their animals.  They know that the milk will be pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized so over milking the animal won't affect their final outcome.  If the farmers had to sell raw milk, they would not be able to over milk their cows because it would contaminate the milk with puss and other harmful bacteria that would make the consumer sick.  The other reason these processes are harmful to the animal is the artificial hormones the animals are given to make their utters produce more milk than a "normal" cow/goat can produce.  All of this is done not for the health of the consumer or animal, but for the greed of the farmer. 

        YOU CHOOSE
        Although it will be hard to gain access or find a farmer near-by that will sell you raw milk, I do believe that the health benefits FAR OUTWEIGH the potential danger.  So, if you do have access to raw milk I would say give it a try. Yes, raw milk is thick, but it DOES NOT taste or go down like whole milk from your local grocery store.  The cream on top can be scooped off and used for baking, while the body of the milk tastes more like a mixture of 1 and 2% milk. 

        If you are interested there are many websites that talk about raw milk and its benefits.  One website is the Real website below.  Check it out and let me know what you think! 

        If you don't have access to raw milk then I would suggest getting ORGANIC milk that is NOT ultra-pasteurized and make sure you SUPPLEMENT your diet with a multi-vitamin (not a compacted store bought vitamin)  since you will not be getting them from your milk!

        Thursday, January 28, 2010

        Teavana Teas

        Tea has been around for thousands of years.  The earliest record of tea consumption dates back to the Chinese.  People swear by its magical powers and health benefits.  So, I am going to write on the new teas I bought and see if they help amplify my already healthy lifestyle! Well, my "working my way to a healthier lifestyle." It's not perfected yet!


        INGREDIENTS: The tea is a combination of coconut bits, hibiscus, rose hips, apple bits, and pineapple pieces.

        HEALTH BENEFITS: The tea is full of vitamins, minerals, & antioxidants. It is naturally caffeine free.

        STEEPING: I boiled water and let the tea steep for 5-8 mins. I also added a pinch (1 tsp) of organic coconut flakes to up the coconut flavor while the tea was steeping. After I strained the tea I added a little agave nectar.

        The tea smells amazing in the bag and brewing!  It reminds you of the yummy summer pina coladas you drink by the pool, but then you get a whiff of the rose hips and it turns your thoughts to a rose garden instead of a pool side pina colada.  The mixture of ingredients are so delightful.  The fruit adds a tiny bit of natural sweetness and fruity flavor (so if you like to drink your tea plain--like I do then this tea would be fantastic plain because of the natural sweetness).  My husband and I would definitely recommend this tea to anyone interested in trying some NEW teavana teas! 

        PRICE: $4.50 for 2 oz.(20-30 cups of tea)


        The Rooibos plant has been consumed in South Africa for hundreds of years.  It is brownish-red in color and in the legume family. 

        INGREDIENTS: The tea is a combination of green rooibos, rhubarb pieces, red currants and pink rose petals.

        HEALTH BENEFITS: The tea is full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and flavanols.  It is caffeine free, helps relieve allergies, strengthen teeth, and improve hair, teeth, skin, and bones.
        STEEPING: Boil water and steep the tea for 5-6 mins.

        The tea has an amazing aroma that fills your nose the moment you open the bag.  Once I brewed the tea the smell reminded me of caramel. I know that is an odd description coming from a rose tea, but that is what I smelled. The taste is naturally sweet.  I did not add any extra sugar and the tea tasted naturally sweeter than the pina colada tea.  The tea is extremely smooth and not overpowering with flavor.  The fruity, floral combination is very appealing to the nose and tongue.  I definitely recommend this tea!

        PRICE: $2.40 for 2 oz.


         INGREDIENTS: Mate, Yunnan black tea, chocolate, nuts, and a touch of spice. CONTAINS 100% of the caffeine that is in coffee. 

        HEALTH BENEFITS: This tea may help lower cholesterol, suppress hunger, regulate blood sugar levels, fight colds and allergies, and aid in weight loss.  This tea contains 21 vitamins and minerals, along with antioxidants.  

        STEEPING: Boil water and steep 1.5 tsp. for 5-6mins

        This tea is nothing special when you drink it plain.  No flavors or spices jumped out at me when I opened the bag or steeped the tea, however, when you add agave nectar to it it is extremely flavorful.  It does have a lot of vitamins and minerals that coffee does not have, so if you are looking for a coffee replacement, without the coffee taste, then you have found it right here.  I love the taste of coffee, so by drinking this tea I am really missing out on the coffee flavor, but for the health benefits I would recommend you replace a few cups of coffee a week with this tea! I would recommend this tea, but out of the three I have tasted so far it is definitely last on the list!

        PRICE: $6.80 for 2 oz.


        INGREDIENTS: Oolong tea, candied papaya, candied pineapple, apple bits, orange peel, cinnamon, and rose bud.
        HEALTH BENEFITS: This tea helps lower the fat intake from a high cholesterol meal, speeds up your metabolism, reduces cholesterol and is good for your skin. This tea has 10-15% of the caffeine that is in a cup of coffee. This tea is also known as the "dieter's tea."
        STEEPING: Boil 8 oz. of water and steep for 4-5 mins.

        I absolutely love this tea.  The sweet smell of the candied pineapples and papaya take your mind to the beaches of Hawaii.  This tea is fantastic with a little agave nectar.  If you are in need of a tiny, but healthy caffeine kick this tea would be my suggestion.  I usually drink this tea plain because of the natural sweetness from the fruits. I definitely recommend this tea if you are a fruit lover!  
        PRICE: $8.00 for 2 oz.

        Coming Soon: 

        Rooibos Chai

        Friday, January 22, 2010

        Splenda & Aspartame: Splendid or Stupid?

        I don't know about you, but I personally have had horrible side effects from Splenda.  I used to believe that a fat free-sugar free diet was the best way to stay healthy and lose weight; however, I was constantly bloated, got severe headaches,  gained weight, and I was hungry all of the time.

        After years of research and actually putting what I read into play, I realized that living a healthy, active life isn't as hard as people think!  I now am living proof that eating things in their most NATURAL state will get you the results you have always wanted!  All natural products that contain more fat keep you fuller longer.  They are digested very easily in your body; however, products with artificial, and chemically enhanced ingredients will take longer to digest and will almost always cause a side effect. The WORST part about chemically enhanced products is that they change molecular structures while being digested in your body.  Let's take a look at two things that are running rampant in the food industry.

        What is Splenda & Aspartame?

        is a sugar molecule that is manipulated into three chlorine atoms instead of the normal three hydrogen-oxygen atom.  Natural sugar is a hydrocarbon, but when turned into Splenda it is a man-made chlorocarbon. A chlorocarbon is a compound that contains at least one chlorine atom. The carbon-chlorine atom adversly affects a humans metabolism because our molecular structure is made to digest and metabolize organic, all-natural molecules like oxygen, hydrogen, etc...

        is the methyl ester of a phenylalanine/aspartic acid dipeptide.  A methyl ester increases a compounds ability to dissolve in fats, oils, and lipids and reduces its solubility in water.  When aspartame is metabolized into the body it creates multiple by-products, one being phenylalanine.  "Upon ingestion, aspartame breaks down into natural residual components, including aspartic acid, phenylalanine, methanol, and further breakdown products including formaldehyde, formic acid, and a diketopiperazine" (Wikipedia). Aspartame is broken down into methanol in your small intestine, then 40% of the methanol is converted into formaldehyde then formic acid in your body.  These same chemicals are also used to make plastics, explosives, paints and textiles.
        Methanol has a HIGH TOXICITY in humans if ingested!!!!

        There have not been any long term studies done on Splenda.  Duke did a study on Splenda and discovered a direct link between weight gain and consuming Splenda (Duke Study on Splenda).

        The study "Splenda Alters Gut Microflora and Increases Intestinal P-Glycoprotein and Cytochrome P-450 in Male Rats"  determined that digesting Splenda caused the following: 1) good bacteria in your body to SIGNIFICANTLY decrease, 2) fecal pH to increase, and 3) limits the bio-availability of orally administered drugs.  The bio-availability of prescription drugs is when a pill administered orally will have some incomplete absorption in your body; however, Splenda causes prescription drugs bio-availability to be LIMITED meaning that MORE of the drug is being absorbed in your body than is suppose to.  Bio-availability is "one of the essential tools in pharmacokinetics, as bioavailability must be considered when calculating dosages for non-intravenous routes of administration" (Wikipedia).

        Some studies show that if you are healthier and have a good digestive tract, then you are MORE prone to absorbing MORE of the aspartame and Splenda chemicals into your system, thus potentially causing more side affects! 

         Side Effects:

        There are MANY different side effects from Splenda and/or Aspartame.  Some side effects occur immediately, while others take there time to show up.  Here are just a few that most people experience:
        1.  Gastrointestinal problems (nausea, abdominal pain, bloating)
        2. Skin allergies (hives, itchy rashes, asthma)
        3. Headaches
        4. Insomina
        5. Dizziness
        6. Numbness 
        7. Possibly Cancer
        8. List of Symptoms sent to FDA 
        9. Additional Health Risk Articles

        Are there any healthy Sugar substitutes?

        Yes, I recommend the following sugars and sugar substitutes:

        1. All Natural (Raw), Un-heated, Un-filtered Honey
        2. Stevia (no calorie sweetener found in NATURE)--I prefer liquid stevia
        3. All natural Sugar Cane 
        4. Agave Nectar

        So, should I limit my Splenda/Aspartame Consumption?

        I don't think that you should just limit your consumption, I think you should completely eliminate both products from your diet; however, if you feel you do not have any side effects from either product I would suggest you at LEAST MINIMIZE your usage.  

        Although Splenda claims to be "from nature," it is nothing even remotely close to being all natural sugar.  Splenda DOES come from sugar, but after scientists chemically enhance the sugar molecule you get nothing more than man-made cholorcarbons.  

        After doing my research, I have concluded that FDA is definitely the one to blame for the above products being on the market.  Along with false advertising and FDA approval, these companies have been able to market products that might be "okay" in small yellow and blue packet doses, but overtime will ultimately cause cancer and health issues.  So, if I were you I would completely eliminate ALL ARTIFICIAL SUGARS from your diet and start living a life that God intended, a life where we eat things FROM NATURE, in there All-natural, non-man-made form!