Why Sugar Makes Us Sleepy (And Protein Wakes Us Up)

Lisa Says:  Great article from Wired.com on how what we eat affects us at the most fundamental levels.

Sugar Makes Us Sleepy (And Protein Wakes Us Up)

  • By Jonah Lehrer Email Author
  • December 6, 2011  
  • John Updike, in his short story “Plumbing,” summarized human nature thusly: “We think we are what we think and see when in truth we are upright bags of tripe.” This is a tragic fact that we spend most our lives trying to forget. Although we like to imagine ourselves as the driver – our consciousness is in full control – that belief is a lovely illusion. In reality, we are mere passengers aboard the body, strapped to a fleshy engine that is driving us.

    Consider the orexin system. Secreted by a small cluster of neurons in the hypothalamus, orexin is a neuropeptide that regulates an astonishing array of mental properties, from sleepiness to hunger. People with chronically low levels of orexin suffer from narcolepsy and obesity; many also have cataplexy, which occurs when the experience of strong emotions triggers a sudden weakening of skeletal muscles. (Laughter makes them go limp.) Studies have shown that injecting mice with orexin increases metabolism, largely because it makes the animals more active. The reverse is also true: low levels of orexin make people feel rundown and tired. This helps explain the mechanics of sleep deprivation, as keeping monkeys awake for extended periods all but silences their orexin cells. (However, studies show that the exhaustion can be quickly cured with an injection of the peptide.) In many respects, orexin acts like an internal gas pedal, as even slight twitches in the system can dramatically shift levels of activity.

    The reason the orexin system is so important is that it links the needs of the body to the desires of the mind…… Continue reading »

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    Twinkies for breakfast?

    Lisa Says:  In these days of sky rocketing childhood obesity, this data from Environmental Working Group is a review of 84 popular cereal brands have as much, if not more, sugar than Twinkies and Chips Ahoy cookies.  It pays to read your labels !  Enjoy the article.

    Sugar in Children’s Cereals  by EWG.org December 2011

    Popular brands pack more sugar than snack cakes and cookies

    Parents have good reason to worry about the sugar content of children’s breakfast cereals, according to an Environmental Working Group review of 84 popular brands.

    Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, at nearly 56 percent sugar by weight, leads the list of high-sugar cereals, according to EWG’s analysis.

    A one-cup serving of Honey Smacks packs more sugar than a Hostess Twinkie, and one cup of any of 44 other children’s cereals has more sugar than three Chips Ahoy! cookies.

    Link to article

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    Hit Reset On Cancer Screening: ‘Tests Not Perfect’

    Lisa Says:  This Associate Press article appears to give a balanced view of cancer screenings (when likely indicated and when not based on individual circumstances).  The info helps someone make a more informed decision. One of the most compelling quotes, “We can find cancer early. We can reduce the burden of the disease. But along the way, we’re learning our tests are not as perfect as we’d like,” says the American Cancer Society’s Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, a longtime screening proponent. “We’re learning that we’re now finding cancer that would in fact never cause harm.”   Enjoy the article.

     Hit Reset On Cancer Screening: ‘Tests Not Perfect’

    by The Associated Press WASHINGTON November 7, 2011, 02:35 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (AP) — It turns out that catching cancer early isn’t always as important as we thought.

    Some tumors are too slow-growing to ever threaten your life. Some are so aggressive that finding them early doesn’t make much difference. And today’s treatments are much better for those somewhere in the middle.

    Those complexities are changing the longtime mantra that cancer screening will save your life. In reality, it depends on the type of cancer, the test and who gets checked when.

    “We can find cancer early. We can reduce the burden of the disease. But along the way, we’re learning our tests are not as perfect as we’d like,” says the American Cancer Society’s Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, a longtime screening proponent. “We’re learning that we’re now finding cancer that would in fact never cause harm.” Continue reading »

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    Lisa Says:  one of the most common, preventable health issues in America is actually dehydration (affecting every body system and causing symptoms like headaches, confusion, constipation, and fatigue).  An easy way to get up to 20% of the water your body is CRAVING in your diet is to eat foods like lettuces and broccolli which are 90% water.  Enjoy this short article.

    Drink Your Water and Eat it, Too!  (published by DATS of National Institute of Health)

    Drinking water isn’t the only way to stay hydrated. What we eat can significantly affect our daily fluid needs. As a matter of fact, what you eat and drink each day, besides water, may satisfy your daily fluid needs more than you think.  (Click here for the rest of the article)

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    They Say it’s Safe – But it’s Unknowingly Destroying Your Liver

    Lisa Says: I don’t usually post directly from other websites, but this is good info from Mercola.com about the physical effects of consuming fructose and high fructose corn syrup and how it contributes to multiple health issues, sometimes permanent.  See the brief but compelling news video in the link provided below.

    They Say it’s Safe – But it’s Unknowingly Destroying Your Liver

    Posted By Dr. Mercola | August 19 2011

    Obesity levels are now so high that many children are suffering from disease more commonly associated with alcohol abuse.  Many of them will develop cirrhosis, and some will require liver transplants.

    Studies show that millions of children in the U.S. are suffering from “non alcoholic liver disease” which is caused by a build-up of fat within liver cells. This prevents the organ from functioning properly.

    According to the Telegraph:

    “The condition increases the risks of heart disease, strokes and type 2 diabetes, and can lead to cirrhosis — scarring of the liver — which is often not detected until it is too late … There is no medical treatment for the disease, but the extent of it can be reduced by weightloss and improvements in diet.”


    Click here  to see the SHORT NEWSCLIP INTEVIEW WITH DR. LEVINE and the rest of the article.
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    Recipe for Peach Jam

    Lisa Says:  Got this great, QUICK (17 minutes) recipe from the awesome Two Girls and a Hammer, and if you don’t want to ‘can’ it, it can go straight to freezer and you don’t even have to cook it (follow directions on pectin package).  I personally used local honey (Callie and Noor’s from Old Beach Farmer’s Market) instead of sugar.

    Recipe for Peach Jam- yield about 6-1⁄2 pint jars

    4 cups ripe peaches, peeled and roughly chopped (FREEstone-not clingstone- and boil for 45 seconds only – skin peels right off!)

    0-3 cups sugar (depending on taste preference-we use 2 cups)

    1 packet Ball pectin No Sugar Needed formula

    tiny bit of butter

    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon is preferred if available.

    Wash and peel peaches. Chop roughly and crush to desired consistency. Put crushed peaches (4 cups should be aprox 7-8 peaches) into a stockpot, gradually add pectin, add cinnamon, and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat. You may add the butter to reduce foaming if desired.

    This jam need 10 minutes processing time at sea level. Different times are needed for different food at different altitudes.

    If you want to make freezer jam , you don’t need to cook it but make sure you use the quantities of sugar & peaches on the back of the instant pectin packet and adjust the cinnamon amount if the amount of peaches is very different.

    Cooked jam & freezer jam have different sugar requirements because the pectin reacts differently.  Cooking uses some of the natural pectin in the fruit.

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    New Research: Healthier Lifestyle can help prevent Alzheimer’s by 50%

    Lisa Says: Need another reason to upgrade your healthier lifestyle?  This Associate Press article details a new research that shows that you can cut the chance of Alzheimer’s by 50% by curbing risk factors such as “high blood pressure, smoking, obesity and lack of exercise.”    The research was revealed at the Alzheimer’s Association Internation converence 2011 in Paris July 20, 2011.  Check out this Associate Press Article by MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Medical Writer    Study: Healthy living can help prevent Alzheimer’s

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    How words have the power to heal

    Lisa Says:  Here’s a CNN article on powerful research on how the body responds physically to spoken words (healing or harmful) and how to use activities such as journaling to improve your health.

    How words have the power to heal  By Amanda Enayati, Special to CNN     June 29, 2011

    Editor’s note: Freelance writer and breast cancer survivor Amanda Enayati contributes regularly to CNNHealth.com.

    (CNN) — The first thing I did after receiving what is surely one of the top two or three most terrifying medical diagnoses was pick up the telephone to call my husband to tell him to come home, and my brother to ask him to call my parents, because I couldn’t bear their grief as well as my own.

    The second thing I did was open a document in Word and name it: The Second Half of My Life.

    Putting negative experiences into words seems to have positive physical and psychological effects..And these are the words I wrote in those first few minutes:

    You probably wouldn’t believe my life. In a certain light it would read like an encyclopedia of tragedy: revolution, disease, isolation, dysfunction, terrorism, failure and withdrawal. Before you check out, let me also tell you that if you were to meet me, you may think a sunnier person never lived. Continue reading »

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    Family Kitchen: Grilling to reduce carcinogens

    Lisa Says: We love to grill and these are great tips to make it even healthier based on a UCLA grilled-burger study published in the American Journal for Clinical Nutrition last May.   Enjoy the article.

    Family Kitchen: Grilling to reduce carcinogens

    By by Kim O’Donnel, USA TODAY        Updated 05/24/2011 7:44 PM


    Like a lot of other American dudes (and I apologize for generalizing, but grilling is by and large a dude thing), he’s setting his sights on the upcoming holiday weekend and a summer of flame wrestling.  Meanwhile, I plot how to make our summer grilling expeditions a tad more healthful. My guy is one open-minded eater who’s eating more plants and whole grains these days, but when he dons that grilling hat, it’s all about the meat, baby.


    But here’s the thing about grilling meat that we’ve known for a number of years and conveniently ignore when we’re romancing our grates: It makes chemicals that cause cancer. In a nutshell, high heat applied to animal protein makes carcinogens called Heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Add meat drippings to the mix, which create smoke, and you get a mess of polcyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

    For advice on scaring away the nasties, I turned to my friend Wendy Bazilian, a Southern California-based dietitian, author and all-around nutrition smartypants. She had one word for me: polyphenols. Translation: These are the disease-fighting antioxidants found in fruit, vegetables, tea, wine, soybeans and, intriguingly, herbs and spices.  Continue reading »
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    Benefits of Local Raw Honey

    Lisa Says:  we LOVE our local raw honey and are thrilled to have several hard working locals within just a few miles of us to keep us supplied.  Honey is FAR more than a sweetener:  Allergy Protection,  Cough Suppressant (even more effective than over the counter products), Digestive Aid, Topical Salve, and contains Antioxidants, Phytonutrients, Vitamins and Minerals.  Check out all the health benefits in this article.

    Benefits of Local Raw Honey 

    www.livestrong.com   Article reviewed by Janine Baer | Last updated on: 06/14/11

    Benefits of Local Raw Honey

    Honey is much more than just a sweetener. It has been used for centuries for healing and rejuvenation. Most of the honey sold in stores has been heated and pasturized. This processing destroys many of the enzymes and beneficial compounds that make raw honey so nutritious. Regular honey often looks clear and syrupy. Raw honey has not been treated with heat; it is often more buttery, solid and opaque than pasteurized honey and often contains “cappings,” or small pieces of beeswax. It is completely left in its natural state and therefore contains pollen, enzymes, antioxidants and many other beneficial compounds that researchers are just beginning to learn about. Be sure not to give any honey, either raw or treated, to a child under the age of 12 months. Continue reading »

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