Tag Archives: health

(Food) Rules Worth Following, for Everyone’s Sake

Lisa Says: here’s a New York Times article published last week highlighting Michael Pollan’s new book “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual,” as a response to the rapidly declining health in this country. Many of these suggestions are similar to how we addressed Rex’s cancer naturally and have had such success reclaiming our health. [...]

Lisa Says: here’s a New York Times article published last week highlighting Michael Pollan’s new book “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual,” as a response to the rapidly declining health in this country. Many of these suggestions are similar to how we addressed Rex’s cancer naturally and have had such success reclaiming our health. Enjoy the article, and thanks for the info Bert !

Rules Worth Following, for Everyone’s Sake Published: February 1, 2010 By JANE E. BRODY
New York Times

In the more than four decades that I have been reading and writing about the findings of nutritional science, I have come across nothing more intelligent, sensible and simple to follow than the 64 principles outlined in a slender, easy-to-digest new book called “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual,” by Michael Pollan.
Mr. Pollan is not a biochemist or a nutritionist but rather a professor of science journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. You may recognize his name as the author of two highly praised books on food and nutrition, “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” and “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” (All three books are from Penguin.)

If you don’t have the time and inclination to read the first two, you can do yourself and your family no better service than to invest $11 and one hour to whip through the 139 pages of “Food Rules” and adapt its guidance to your shopping and eating habits.

Chances are you’ve heard any number of the rules before. I, for one, have been writing and speaking about them for decades. And chances are you’ve yet to put most of them into practice. But I suspect that this little book, which is based on research but not annotated, can do more than the most authoritative text to get you motivated to make some important, lasting, health-promoting and planet-saving changes in what and how you eat.

Reasons to Change

Two fundamental facts provide the impetus Americans and other Westerners need to make dietary changes. One, as Mr. Pollan points out, is that populations who rely on the so-called Western diet — lots of processed foods, meat, added fat, sugar and refined grains — “invariably suffer from high rates of the so-called Western diseases: obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.” Indeed, 4 of the top 10 killers of Americans are linked to this diet.

As people in Asian and Mediterranean countries have become more Westernized (affluent, citified and exposed to the fast foods exported from the United States), they have become increasingly prone to the same afflictions.
The second fact is that people who consume traditional diets, free of the ersatz foods that line our supermarket shelves, experience these diseases at much lower rates. And those who, for reasons of ill health or dietary philosophy, have abandoned Western eating habits often experience a rapid and significant improvement in their health indicators.

I will add a third reason: our economy cannot afford to continue to patch up the millions of people who each year develop a diet-related ailment, and our planetary resources simply cannot sustain our eating style and continue to support its ever-growing population.

In his last book, Mr. Pollan summarized his approach in just seven words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” The new book provides the practical steps, starting with advice to avoid “processed concoctions,” no matter what the label may claim (“no trans fats,” “low cholesterol,” “less sugar,” “reduced sodium,” “high in antioxidants” and so forth).

As Mr. Pollan puts it, “If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”

Do you already avoid products made with high-fructose corn syrup? Good, but keep in mind, sugar is sugar, and if it is being added to a food that is not normally sweetened, avoid it as well. Note, too, that refined flour is hardly different from sugar once it gets into the body.
Also avoid foods advertised on television, imitation foods and food products that make health claims. No natural food is simply a collection of nutrients, and a processed food stripped of its natural goodness to which nutrients are then added is no bargain for your body.

Those who sell the most healthful foods — vegetables, fruits and whole grains — rarely have a budget to support national advertising. If you shop in a supermarket (and Mr. Pollan suggests that wherever possible, you buy fresh food at farmers’ markets), shop the periphery of the store and avoid the center aisles laden with processed foods. Note, however, that now even the dairy case has been invaded by products like gunked-up yogurts.

Follow this advice, and you will have to follow another of Mr. Pollan’s rules: “Cook.”

“Cooking for yourself,” he writes, “is the only sure way to take back control of your diet from the food scientists and food processors.” Home cooking need not be arduous or very time-consuming, and you can make up time spent at the stove with time saved not visiting doctors or shopping for new clothes to accommodate an expanding girth.

Although the most wholesome eating pattern consists of three leisurely meals a day, and preferably a light meal at night, if you must have snacks, stick to fresh and dried fruits, vegetables and nuts, which are naturally loaded with healthful nutrients. I keep a dish of raisins and walnuts handy to satisfy the urge to nibble between meals. I also take them along for long car trips. Feel free to use the gas-station restroom, but never “get your fuel from the same place your car does,” Mr. Pollan writes.

Treating Treats as Treats

Perhaps the most important rules to put into effect as soon as possible are those aimed at the ever-expanding American waistline. If you eat less, you can afford to pay more for better foods, like plants grown in organically enriched soil and animals that are range-fed.

He recommends that you do all your eating at a table, not at a desk, while working, watching television or driving. If you’re not paying attention to what you’re eating, you’re likely to eat more than you realize.

But my favorite tip, one that helped me keep my weight down for decades, is a mealtime adage, “Stop eating before you’re full” — advice that has long been practiced by societies as diverse as Japan and France. (There is no French paradox, by the way: the French who stay slim eat smaller portions, leisurely meals and no snacks.)

Practice portion control and eat slowly to the point of satiation, not fullness. The food scientists Barbara J. Rolls of Penn State and Brian Wansink of Cornell, among others, have demonstrated that people eat less when served smaller portions on smaller plates. “There is nothing wrong with special occasion foods, as long as every day is not a special occasion,” Mr. Pollan writes. “Special occasion foods offer some of the great pleasures of life, so we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of them, but the sense of occasion needs to be restored.”

Here is where I can make an improvement. Ice cream has been a lifelong passion, and even though I stick to a brand lower in fat and calories than most, and limit my portion to the half-cup serving size described on the container, I indulge in this treat almost nightly. Perhaps I’ll try the so-called S policy Mr. Pollan says some people follow: “No snacks, no seconds, no sweets — except on days that begin with the letter S.”
More Articles in Health » A version of this article appeared in print on February 2, 2010, on page D7 of the New York edition.

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Easy Ways to Balance an Acidic Diet

Lisa Says: when Rex started addressing his cancer naturally, he started by balancing his pH, or acid-alkaline, level. Think of it as balancing your body chemistry, and if this isn’t balanced, your cells aren’t getting the right amount of oxygen, and that causes inflammation which leads to all KINDS of trouble (like diabetes, [...]

Lisa Says: when Rex started addressing his cancer naturally, he started by balancing his pH, or acid-alkaline, level. Think of it as balancing your body chemistry, and if this isn’t balanced, your cells aren’t getting the right amount of oxygen, and that causes inflammation which leads to all KINDS of trouble (like diabetes, cancer, etc). The typical American diet/lifestyle is very acidic which is contributing to the host of ills plaguing our country now. But you have the power ! The lifestyle changes we made were gradual and now second nature. The health benefits have been amazing, resolving not only Rex’s cancer, but multiple issues (like allergies) that have plagued us for years. If anyone would like individual suggestions, email us at hungerforhealth@verizon.net.

ARTICLE from NaturalNews:
Easy Ways to Balance an Acidic Diet
by Dr. Phil Domenico, citizen journalist
See all articles by this author
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(NaturalNews) The American diet is anything but balanced. The mass consumption of meat, grains and processed foods causes the body to become overly acidic, which strips it of minerals. Over the long haul, those who do not balance their diet with alkaline foods (fruits and veggies, primarily) become prone to weak bones, joints and muscles, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and a host of other health problems. In other words, long-term health and longevity have everything to do with acid-alkaline balance.

Consider the Inuit (a.k.a., Eskimos), who do not have access to many fruits and vegetables. Their diets consist largely of seal meat, fish and whale blubber. While they eat few grains, their diet is nevertheless highly acidic. Though a sturdy bunch, with healthy hearts, their bones start breaking down prematurely. Indeed, the Inuit people have the worst longevity statistics in North America.

In contrast is Okinawa, where more people live to 100 years of age than anywhere in the world. While meat, rice, soy and seafood (highly acidic foods) are squarely in the diet, so are a vast range of different vegetables and fruits, rich in anti-oxidants, as well as minerals that counteract acidity. A wealth of fascinating anthropologic and scientific evidence exists that supports the acid-alkaline theory of health and longevity; there is much information to research this further.

The typical American diet is similar to that of the Inuit in that there is entirely too much meat and not enough alkaline vegetables to balance it. Factory farms in the US manufacture meat and animal products in unhealthy ways, leaving them loaded with toxins and inflammatory compounds. Furthermore, charring meat adds flavor, as well as cancer-causing substances.

To make matters worse, the acidity of the American diet is compounded by all the starches and sweets consumed. Many of these processed foods can be as acidic as meat, chicken, fish and seafood (colas are even more acidic), but are not nearly as full of nutrients. Acidic foods are also generally lacking in fiber, which helps control blood sugar and improves bowel health. The friendly bacteria in the gut need fiber to function. Without them, not only does the digestive system suffer, but also the immune defenses.

The problem is not so much any particular food, but rather the cumulative effect of a highly acidic diet over many decades that eats away at our health. For some, the answer is to give up meat. However, this choice is not that easy or fun, and could lead to protein, zinc, iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies. There is also nothing easy about giving up sweets and starches, as most people crave these foods, especially if there is delicious fat, salt, or caffeine in them. The food industry knows how to get us hooked, and it is not easy going cold turkey.

So, where does that leave us? What can we do to reduce the impact of an acidic diet? For one, reduce the serving sizes of the acidic foods, while increasing the amount of greens and other alkaline veggies during a meal. Think of it as a deck of cards (the acidic food serving size) surrounded by a forest of greens. This markedly reduces the total number of calories consumed, while reducing the acid impact. Eating organic foods (especially animal foods) helps, because it reduces the toxins present while increasing the nutritional content and alkaline balance. Learning about what foods are highly acidic or alkaline can help one balance the diet better.

Yet, to make it easy, here are a few highly alkaline foods that – if used liberally at breakfast, lunch and dinner – would go a long way towards improving the diet. It is as easy as sprinkling a bunch of black pepper on everything. Consider adding paprika, parsley and horseradish as well, or squeeze lemon or lime juice on fish, salads, or in your beverage. Add onions to everything. Munch on pumpkin seeds, or add them to the salad. Use sea salt (Celtic, French or Himalayan preferred) rather than regular table salt. Substitute sweet potatoes for white potatoes. Use Apple cider vinegar rather than Balsamic vinegar. Choose miso soup with seaweed. Drink ginger tea, or add crushed ginger to your morning eggs and other foods. If you like radishes, eat them like candy. If you want something sweet, eat unsweetened pineapple, mango, cantaloupe, tangerines, mandarin oranges, kiwi and assorted berries. Let watermelon or vegetable juice be your summer thirst quencher. Quell a hunger with celery smeared with nut butter. Smear half of an avocado on toast, rather than margarine. Add asparagus, winter squash and chestnuts to round out the list of extreme alkaline foods.

Along with green leafy vegetables (especially collard or mustard greens, endive and kale), the foods mentioned above can make a major difference in the balance of things, and protect the bones, joints, muscles, heart, brain, liver and kidneys. Alkaline bodies are also much more resistant to infection and cancer.

As diets go, these are not boring foods by any means. Indeed, there is a great variety to choose from, and hundreds of simple recipes to play with. In addition, many other healthy and tasty foods are alkaline forming, though not with the same impact as the foods listed above. There are also alkaline mineral supplements, such as the citrates of potassium, magnesium and calcium, which can have profound effects on health and well-being.

Who knows? You may enjoy these foods and the health benefits so much you will wean off the refined grains, sodas and toxic meats – the easy way…one alkaline food at a time.

Sources:

http://www.diseaseproof.com/…/die…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/…

http://www.naturalnews.com/023478.html

Former FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler: “The End of Overeating” Rodale Books, 2009.
Susan E. Brown & Larry Trivieri, Jr., “The Acid-Alkaline Food Guide” SquareOne Publishers, 2006.

http://www.naturalnews.com/Report_a…

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High Glycemic Foods Damage Arteries

Lisa Says: Here is a New Study of data published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “For the first time, scientists have documented how eating these foods can directly damage artery walls and cause cardiac problems,” reports NaturalNews.com in this article below. Those ’stuck’ on white bread/white sugar tend to [...]

Lisa Says: Here is a New Study of data published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “For the first time, scientists have documented how eating these foods can directly damage artery walls and cause cardiac problems,” reports NaturalNews.com in this article below. Those ’stuck’ on white bread/white sugar tend to not believe you can transition to whole grains – I certainly used to think that. But if you start gradually with “white” wheat, then ‘light wheat’, etc., it really does work. If I can convert teenage boys, ANYBODY can do it.

High Glycemic Foods Damage Arteries
by S. L. Baker, features writer

(NaturalNews) Anyone interested in healthy and nutritious foods has probably heard that whole grains are far better for you than the processed variety like white bread and sugar-laden cereals. There are several reasons for this, including the fact whole foods tend to be richer in fiber and they also have low glycemic indexes. That means they keep blood sugar and insulin levels steady without wide fluctuations. But a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology concludes there’s another important reason to avoid high glycemic foods like white bread and corn flakes. For the first time, scientists have documented how eating these foods can directly damage artery walls and cause cardiac problems.

“It’s very hard to predict heart disease,” Dr. Michael Shechter of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine and the Heart Institute of Sheba Medical Center, said in a statement to the media. “But doctors know that high glycemic foods rapidly increase blood sugar. Those who binge on these foods have a greater chance of sudden death from heart attack. Our research connects the dots, showing the link between diet and what’s happening in real time in the arteries.”

For his study, Dr Shechter and colleagues worked with 56 healthy volunteers who were divided into four groups. One group ate cornflake cereal mixed with milk, a second consumed a pure sugar mixture, the third group ate bran flakes and the last group took water (as a placebo control). Over the course of four weeks, Dr. Shechter applied brachial reactive testing to the research subjects in each group. This test, a clinical and research technique pioneered by Dr. Shechter’s laboratory, uses a blood pressure type cuff on the arm that is able to visualize what happens inside arteries before, during and after eating various foods.

Before any of the study participants ate, the function of their arteries was essentially the same. After eating, however, all except the placebo group had reduced arterial functioning — especially the research subjects who ate cornflakes and sugar. In fact, the testing documented that during the consumption of these foods high in sugar, there was a temporary and sudden dysfunction in the endothelium, the thin layer of cells that line the inside of arteries and reduce turbulence as blood flows throughout the entire circulatory system.

This is a critical finding because, when repeated over time, a sudden expansion of artery walls can cause a host of negative effects on health including damage to endothelial cells. That can reduce elasticity in arteries, resulting in heart disease or even sudden death. In fact, according to Dr. Shechter, endothelium dysfunction can be traced back to almost every disorder and disease in the body.

“We knew high glycemic foods were bad for the heart. Now we have a mechanism that shows how,” Dr. Shechter explained in the press statement. “Foods like cornflakes, white bread, French fries, and sweetened soda all put undue stress on our arteries. We’ve explained for the first time how high glycemic carbs can affect the progression of heart disease.”

Dr. Shechter agrees with natural health advocates who have long advised staying away from highly processed, high glycemic foods and eating a diet rich in low glycemic whole foods such as oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts. In addition to helping protect your heart, this style of eating has other advantages. According to the Harvard School of Public Health web site, these healthy foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of important phytonutrients.

On the other hand, white bread, white rice, pastries, sugared sodas, and other highly processed foods tear down instead of build health — they contribute to weight gain, interfere with weight loss, and promote diabetes and heart disease. As reported earlier in Natural News, processed foods have also been linked with an increased risk for cancer (http://www.naturalnews.com/022025.html) and recent studies indicate many processed foodstuffs, from bread to candy bars, may be contaminated with toxic mercury, too (http://www.naturalnews.com/025442_m…).

For more information :

http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?pag…

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutriti…

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Save money, the environment and improve health by growing your own food

Lisa Says: Americans being so out of touch with their food supplies has taken a huge toll on our health and the environment. The average ‘food’ travels 1500 miles to the average American. Growing some veges is so easy, no matter how big or small a sapce you have. The world [...]

Lisa Says: Americans being so out of touch with their food supplies has taken a huge toll on our health and the environment. The average ‘food’ travels 1500 miles to the average American. Growing some veges is so easy, no matter how big or small a sapce you have. The world is ‘going green’ so it’s CHIC and this is an easy way to save money, get far more nutritious foods that TASTE so much better, and help the environment.

If anyone has any questions from how to plant a patio tomato to installing raised gardens (really easy), just let me know and I’ll be happy to give individual advice.

Here’s a plug for bringing back ‘Victory Gardens”. A time during WWII when the country rallied together during such difficult times.

http://www.revivevictorygarden.org/

What is a Victory Garden?

During World War I and World War II, the United States government asked its citizens to plant gardens in order to support the war effort. Millions of people planted gardens. In 1943, Americans planted over 20 million Victory Gardens, and the harvest accounted for nearly a third of all the vegetables consumed in the country that year. Emphasis was placed on making gardening a family or community effort — not a drudgery, but a pastime, and a national duty.

Why plant a victory garden?

Today our food travels an average of 1500 miles from farm to table. The process of planting, fertilizing, processing, packaging, and transporting our food uses a great deal of energy and contributes to the cause of global warming.

Planting a Victory Garden to fight global warming would reduce the amount of pollution your food contibutes to global warming. Instead of traveling many miles from farm to table, your food would travel from your own garden to your table.

Our current economic situation is other good reason to start a Victory Garden. Every time that food is shipped from the farm to the store and your table, gasoline is used. As gasoline prices rise, food costs rise.

How can my actions make a difference? I’m only one person.

Each one of us may only be one person. However, we each have an impact on the environment and can make changes to reduce our impact.

I have no backyard, what can I do?

You can combine vegetable plants with flowers in your frontyard.
You can plant containers on your porch, patio, or balcony and can grow sprouts indoors.
Check to see if you have a community garden available.
Perhaps a neighbor or friend without time or ability would let you garden their yard, in exchange for some produce.
If these options are not available, you can also choose to purchase foods which are grown close to home by visiting your local farmer’s market or joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). If local foods are not available to you, choose foods which use fewer chemical pesticides – such as organics, are in season, or have minimal packaging.

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Utilize Yoga to Help Heal Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Rex Says: Yoga has been an instrumental part of addressing my cancer naturally. I’ve posted multiple articles on it’s benefits for both body and mental function, even detoxing. Are there any negatives? Search ‘yoga’ on this Harvard Medical School link below – they have mulitple articles. Namaste…
Utilize Yoga to Help Heal [...]

Rex Says: Yoga has been an instrumental part of addressing my cancer naturally. I’ve posted multiple articles on it’s benefits for both body and mental function, even detoxing. Are there any negatives? Search ‘yoga’ on this Harvard Medical School link below – they have mulitple articles. Namaste…

Utilize Yoga to Help Heal Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
by Sheryl Walters, citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) Yoga has long been known for having healing powers. Recently Yoga has begun to be used as a treatment to aid in healing those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Practitioners of Yoga claim that it aids them in feeling grounded and in the present, gaining awareness of their bodies and the strength of their bodies, feeling calmer, and being in control of their thoughts. Bessel van der Kolk, a psychiatry professor at Boston University School of Medicine was involved in a recent study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. This study showed that Yoga can aid in PTSD recovery. In this study a group of female patients suffering from PTSD were taught Hatha Yoga in eight sessions while another group of female patients underwent eight sessions of group therapy. Those who finished the Yoga training showed a substantial improvement in symptoms such as “the frequency of intrusive thoughts and the severity of jangled nerves” in comparison to those who underwent group therapy. Van der Kolk had the following to say about the relationship which Yoga can play on aiding PTSD suffers, “The memory of the trauma is imprinted on the human organism. I don’t think you can overcome it unless you learn to have a friendly relationship with your body.”

One of the benefits of Yoga practice is that it can aid in toning down maladaptive nervous system arousal which helps in reducing perceived stress. Because of this effect Yoga could be helpful especially in patients suffering from PTSD. One randomized study followed a group of disabled Australian Vietnam veterans who were diagnosed with severe PTSD. A group of patients underwent a five day course which taught them “breathing techniques, yoga asanas, education about stress reduction, and guided meditation” and a control group received no education. By six weeks into the study the group that had received the education on yoga had decreased from moderate to severe PTSD scores to mild to moderate PTSD scores while the control group scores remained the same. Recently the United States Army has committed to spend $4 million dollars in research to find ways to aid veterans suffering from PTSD. This research will including looking into such things as “spiritual ministry, transcendental meditation, [and] Yoga” and “bioenergies such as Qi gong, Reiki, [and] distant healing.”

Yoga appears to be a natural and safe way for people suffering from PTSD and other stress and anxiety related disorders to help reduce symptoms allowing them to live more normal lives.

(1) http://www.yogajournal.com/health/2532

(2) https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/…

(3) http://www.veteranstoday.com/module…

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Healthy Eating: Top Ten Food Additives to Avoid

Lisa Says: our bodies were not meant to be nourished by chemicals. period. Why do we think it’s not going to have an impact, EVEN IF there’s no government study yet? Do you need a government study to figure out what would happen if you put soda in your car’s gas [...]

Lisa Says: our bodies were not meant to be nourished by chemicals. period. Why do we think it’s not going to have an impact, EVEN IF there’s no government study yet? Do you need a government study to figure out what would happen if you put soda in your car’s gas tank?

Healthy Eating: Top Ten Food Additives to Avoid
March 13th, 2009 by Paula in Food, Red Tag Crazy, health, paula, red tag crazy blog
As you all know, if you have read my other blogs, I think that the most important thing to eating healthy is to fill your body with as much fresh foods as possible. Processed foods, aside from being loaded with sugar and salt, will also include a variety of various chemicals and additives. The more you free your body from having to deal with excess and foreign materials, the better it is able to function. Therefore, I have compiled a list of the top ten most dangerous additives to be on the look out for. Most of this information came from two articles I keep for reference (thus the numerous scientific terms!!).

1. Propyl Gallate:

This preservative, used to prevent fats and oils from spoiling, might cause cancer. It is used in vegetable oil, meat products, potato sticks, chicken soup base and chewing gum and is often used with BHA and BHT (see below)

2. BHA and BHT:

Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) are used similarly to proplyl gallate – to keep fats and oils from going rancid. Used commonly in cereals, chewing gum, vegetable oil and potato chips (and also in some food packaging to preserve freshness), these additives have been found by some studies to cause cancer in rats. If a brand you commonly buy uses these additives, look for a different brand as not all manufacturers use these preservatives.

3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

MSG is a flavor enhancer in many packaged foods, including soups, salad dressing, sausages, hot dogs (don’t even get me started on the evils of hot dogs), canned tuna, potato chips and many more. Many people have personally experienced varying degrees of ill affects from MSG including headaches, nausea, or vomiting after eating foods containing MSG. On a more serious side, some doctors believe there is a link between MSG (and artificial sweeteners) and sudden cardiac death, particularly in athletes, as well as excitotoxic damage (excitotoxins are a group of excitatory amino acids that can cause sensitive neurons to die). Sound bad? Well, what is even worse is that food companies have found a way to hide MSG in their ingredients! Although MSG is a chemical compound, it is derived from natural ingredients. Therefore, the FDA allows the food companies to label MSG as “natural flavorings”. This will usually be listed as the last ingredient in the description and may or may not include MSG! Look for your processed food items in a health food store where you can be sure the processed foods will be MSG (and trans fat) free.

4. Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet)

This artificial sweetener is found in Equal and NutraSweet, along with products that contain them such as diet sodas, and other low-cal and diet foods. This sweetener has been found to cause brain tumors in rats as far back as the 1970’s, however a more recent study in 2005 found that even small doses increase the incidence of lymphomas and leukemia in rats, along with brain tumors. Some people, who are sensitive to aspartame, may also suffer from headaches, dizziness and hallucinations after consuming it. Be wary of labels that say “No Sugar Added!”. This usually means that the produce is using aspartame as the sweetener. Truthfully, you would probably be better off with the sugar!

5. Acesulfame-K

Acesulfame-K is an artificial sweetener that is about 200 times sweeter than sugar. It is used in baked goods, chewing gum, gelatin desserts and soft drinks. Two studies involving rats have found that this substance may cause cancer, and other studies to reliably prove this additive’s safety have not been conducted! When Acesulfame-K breaks down, it has been found to affect the thyroid in rats, rabbits and dogs.

Recent studies have shown that the artificial sugar substitutes used primarily in soft drinks may interfere with your body’s natural regulation system and result in your overindulging in other sweet foods and beverages! Nice, huh!!

6. Sodium Nitrate

Sodium Nitrate is used as a preservative, coloring, and flavoring in bacon, ham, hot dogs, luncheon meats, corned beef, smoked fish, and other processed meats. These additives can lead to the formation of cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosames which promote the growth of various cancers. It is no comfort to know that the USDA actually tried to ban the use of Nitrates in the 1970’s, but were preempted by the meat processing industry who rely on the chemical as a color fixer to make their meats more visually appealing. Nitrates are especially dangerous to expectant mothers, infants, and children where there can be a heightened risk of brain tumors to the fetus or child. Sadly, nearly all school lunch programs use products containing sodium nitrates. I would say that this is one of the most dangerous chemicals being used in the food market today and should be avoided at all costs!

7. Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

The process used to make hydrogenated vegetable oil (or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil) creates trans fats, which promote heart disease and diabetes (and good old weight gain). The Institute of Medicine has advised that you should eat as little trans fat as possible (duh!). Anytime you see these ingredients on the label you should avoid them. Trans fats can be found in some margarines, vegetable shortening, crackers, candy, snack foods, cookies, baked goods, salad dressings, canned soups, bread and much much more! It is used by the food industry because it reduces cost and increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods. Check with your local health food store for trans fat free options.

8. Blue 1 and Blue 2

Blue 1, used to color candy, beverages (yes, those sport drinks), and baked goods may cause cancer.

Blue 2, found in pet food, candy and beverages, has caused brain tumors in mice.
9. Red 3 and Yellow 6

Red 3 is a food coloring that is used in cherries (fruit cocktails), baked goods and candy. It causes thyroid tumors in rats and may cause them in humans as well.

Yellow 6 is the third most often used food coloring and is found in baked goods, candy, gelatin and sausages. It has been found to cause adrenal gland and kidney tumors, and contains small amounts of many carcinogens. (carcinogen refers to any substance that is directly involved in the promotion of cancer).

10. Potassium Bromate

This additive is used in breads and rolls to increase the volume and produce a fine crumb structure. Although most bromate breaks down into bromide, which is harmless, the bromate that does remain causes cancer in animals. Bromate has been banned throughout the world EXCEPT for in the United States and Japan! (yes, it is even banned in Sri Lanka and China). In 1991 instead of banning the harmful additive, the FDA decided (without much success) to urge bakers to “voluntarily” stop using it. In California, however, a cancer warning would likely be required if it were used, which is why it is rarely used in that state (Hurray for California!!).

In conclusion, try to remember one thing when you are shopping and looking at the labels. No matter what the packaging promotes, bottom line is that food companies are in the business of making money. They are not concerned about your health, or your family’s health. They just want to sell a product regardless of how, as long as they fall within the FDA guidelines (which, as you have seen, are not limiting enough!). You have to be your own healthy food advocate. As much as you are able, buy organic, purchase as many items as possible through a health food market where many of those food companies are attempting make a better and healthier product, and eat as many fresh and unprocessed foods as you can! Happy Eating.

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Making The Change to a Mediterranean Healthstyle

Lisa Says: This was very much a part of our lifestyle change after Rex was diagnosed. It’s intimidating at first so starting with one or two things at a time is PERFECTLY OK. At least start getting the chemical cuisine out of what you eat – there are many natural alternatives for [...]

Lisa Says: This was very much a part of our lifestyle change after Rex was diagnosed. It’s intimidating at first so starting with one or two things at a time is PERFECTLY OK. At least start getting the chemical cuisine out of what you eat – there are many natural alternatives for snacks but BEWARE and READ THE LABEL. See our post on “Top 10 food additives and what they do to your body”.

“Making The Change to a Mediterranean Healthstyle” excerpted from What Would Jesus Eat by Dr. Don Colbert

1. Eliminate all processed foods from your cupboards, and start over. Toss all potato chips, corn chips and other snack foods with hydrogenated fat, cookies, cakes, candies, crackers, high-sugar cereals, white bread, highly processed foods, and high-sugar foods.
Also toss all oils other than olive oil, including any salad dressings, lard, Crisco, and other products that have hydrogenated fat.
Begin to buy only whole-grain food items and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Stock your shelves with olive oil, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

2. Cook and bake with whole-grain products. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, and nuts.

3. Substitute olive oil for butter, margarine, salad dressings and other oils. Avoid all fried or deep-fried foods.

4. Limit cheese intake to small amounts of parmesan or feta cheese (used on main dishes or salads). Do not eat block cheese.

5. Eat low fat, plain yogurt, add fruit, and sweeten with Stevia (a natural substitute for sugar that has no harmful side effects).

6. Choose fish and poultry over red meat, and eat meat sparingly.

7. Cut out sugary sweets.

8. Enjoy a glass of red wine with lunch or dinner.

9. Exercise regularly – walk more.

10 Make dining an experience that you enjoy with others. Slow down your eating, savor your food, and enjoy sharing life with family and friends.

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Just Being Overweight Shortens Life: Effects of Excess Weight may Match Smoking

Rex Says: 2/3 of Americans are now overweight. TWO THIRDS. We are killing ourselves, but we have the power to change this. I certainly did, and my hope is that others don’t have to have a diagnosis of cancer or such, like I did, to get motivated.
Thursday, March 26, 2009 by: Reuben [...]

Rex Says: 2/3 of Americans are now overweight. TWO THIRDS. We are killing ourselves, but we have the power to change this. I certainly did, and my hope is that others don’t have to have a diagnosis of cancer or such, like I did, to get motivated.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 by: Reuben Chow, citizen journalist
(NaturalNews) A study conducted in Sweden spanning almost four decades has suggested that overweight persons, and not just those who were obese, may also be subjected to increased risk of premature death. It also suggested that the adverse effects of excess weight on mortality may be as significant as smoking cigarettes.

Details and Findings of Study

Published in the British Medical Journal, the study had been conducted using data from Sweden’s military service conscription register, census as well as cause of death register. In all, after excluding certain persons due to incomplete data, 45,920 men were tracked for a period of 38 years; the average age of the men at the start of the study was 18.7 years. During the period, 2,897 of the men passed on.

Body Mass Index and Mortality

Having accounted for age, socioeconomic status, muscle strength and smoking, the researchers found that men who were overweight (body mass index, or BMI, from 25.0 to 29.9) during adolescence at the point they joined the Swedish military in 1969 and 1970 had a 33% higher rate of mortality during the study period, as compared with their counterparts in the normal weight range (BMI from 18.5 to 24.9). Obese men (BMI of 30 or more) had even higher risk – a whopping 114% elevated likelihood of death during the period. Similar relative estimates were obtained when smokers and non-smokers were analyzed separately. Figures also did not differ by much when smoking was not adjusted for.
Underweight men (BMI less than 18.5) did okay, although those who were extremely underweight (BMI less than 17) had 33% increased mortality, too, similar to overweight men.

Smoking and Mortality

The study subjects had declared their smoking habits when they attended mandatory military conscription tests back in 1969 and 1970. Using this information, and after adjusting for age, socioeconomic status, muscular strength and BMI, the study team also found that, compared with their non-smoking counterparts, light smokers (1 to 10 sticks of cigarettes per day) experienced 54% increased rate of mortality during the period. Not surprisingly, heavy smokers (more than 10 sticks of cigarettes each day) fared worse, suffering heightened mortality rate of 111%. Again, the figures were similar even when BMI was not adjusted for. Although the magnitude of risk increase differed across BMI categories, they featured in the same direction.

Combined Effects of Smoking and Weight

Using normal-weight non-smokers as the reference group, the relative risks of mortality of almost all the other groups were large (at least 31% higher) and highly significant. Only two groups were spared – moderately underweight non-smokers and extremely underweight non-smokers. Overweight heavy smokers experienced heightened risk of 155%, while obese heavy smokers suffered the worst, having a risk close to 5 times (4.74) that of normal weight non-smokers.

Significance of Findings – Discussion

These findings are significant in two main ways. Firstly, they suggest that persons who are overweight but not obese could also be subject to increased risk of dying early; other recent studies had been divided on whether overweight people may experience such elevated risk as compared to their healthy-weight counterparts.

According to Martin Neovius, a postdoctoral fellow at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute and the leader of the study, his team’s findings confirm the discoveries of the Nurse’s Health Study conducted at Harvard. With one study having looked at women and one having covered men, the two studies complement each other. “We find exactly the same in men as they did in women,” he said.

The team’s findings also suggest that the impact on mortality of excess weight could be as significant as smoking, a big assertion considering that smoking is widely believed to be the single most important factor for many diseases and premature death. “What we show is that for the overweight, there is a significantly increased risk of premature death, similar to smoking one to ten cigarettes a day,” said Neovius.

It is possible, however, that the study exaggerates the impact of being overweight. A major limitation of the analysis is that the study subjects’ weight was only known at the start of the study period, or the point at which they joined the military. Generally speaking, people put on weight as they grow older, and some of those who were overweight during adolescence may have “graduated” to obesity in adulthood. If that were the case, their increased risk of premature death would be attributable to obesity, and not to merely being overweight during their younger years. This point was raised by David F Williamson, a visiting professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

Conclusion

Obesity has become an epidemic worldwide, with rates of the condition soaring in recent decades, in particular among children. Together with smoking, these two are the major behavioral risk factors for chronic degenerative diseases and premature death in developed nations today. Neovius feels that policy makers should take note of the findings of his team’s study and work towards raising awareness of the dangers of being too heavy, as well as being severely underweight.

“Anti-smoking campaigns have been very successful. But we don’t have any good preventative programmes for overweight and obesity,” he said, in reference to his native Sweden, although things are not very different in other countries.

“We know that health behaviors are established early on in life,” he also said. This tells us that adolescents must be targeted in educational efforts. Adults, too, should note that smoking and excess weight are dangerous factors, and even more deadly when put together.

References

Neovius M et al. Combined effects of overweight and smoking in late adolescence on subsequent mortality: nationwide cohort study. British Medical Journal 2009;338:b496.

Obese Teens as Likely as Smokers to Die Early, Study Finds (www.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/health/0…)

Just being overweight can shorten lifespan: study (www.google.com/hostednews/afp/artic…)

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Baked Chicken Breast with Honey Mustard Sauce

courtesy of www.whfoods.com
This special honey-mustard sauce enhances the flavor of the chicken breast, while serving with spinach adds even more nutrition to this great-tasting recipe.

Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients:

4 boneless, chicken breasts with skin
2+1 TBS fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups chicken broth
2 ½ TBS honey
2 TBS Dijon mustard
¼ cup sliced dried apricots
2 TBS coarsely [...]

courtesy of www.whfoods.com

This special honey-mustard sauce enhances the flavor of the chicken breast, while serving with spinach adds even more nutrition to this great-tasting recipe.

Quick Broiled Chicken Breast with Honey Mustard Sauce

Prep and Cook Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, chicken breasts with skin
  • 2+1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 2 ½ TBS honey
  • 2 TBS Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup sliced dried apricots
  • 2 TBS coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 TBS chopped parsley
  • 4 bunches fresh spinach, stems removed and rinsed thoroughly
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Quick Broiled Chicken

  1. Preheat the broiler on high and place an all stainless steel skillet (be sure the handle is also stainless steel) or cast iron pan about 6 inches from the heat for about 10 minutes to get it very hot.
  2. While the pan is heating, rinse and pat the chicken dry and season with 2TBS lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Leaving the skin on, place the breast (skin side up) on the hot pan. It is not necessary to turn the breast because it is cooking on both sides at once. Depending on the size, it should be cooked in about 7 minutes. Begin preparing the sauce.
  4. The breast is done when it is moist, yet its liquid runs clear when pierced. The inside temperature needs to reach 165 degrees farenheit or 74 degrees celcius. Remove the skin before serving; it is left on to keep it moist while broiling.

Honey-Mustard Sauce and Spinach

  1. For honey-mustard sauce, combine broth, 1TBS lemon juice, honey, and mustard in a small saucepan. Whisk together and bring to a boil on high heat. Once it comes to a boil, simmer for about 20 minutes. You want it to be reduced to a little less than half the volume you start with. This will thicken and intensify the flavor.
  2. Add apricots and cook on high for another 5 minutes. When sauce is done add chopped walnuts, parsley, salt and pepper.
  3. Bring large pot of water to boil
  4. Cook spinach for only 1 minute. Drain and press dry.
  5. Season with a little salt and pepper.
  6. Divide spinach onto 4 plates.
  7. Slice chicken breast and place over beds of spinach. Spoon sauce over chicken and spinach.
    Serves 4
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Acidic and alkaline foods – balancing your pH

more info on pH today.
Rex Says: again it’s common sense.  The first thing I did in curing my cancer was to balance my pH.  In the first 3 months, I lost 40# naturally, my cholesterol and liver functions normalized dramatically, and conditions like my allergies have just disappeared.  WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE SIGHT LISTED FOR [...]

more info on pH today.

Rex Says: again it’s common sense.  The first thing I did in curing my cancer was to balance my pH.  In the first 3 months, I lost 40# naturally, my cholesterol and liver functions normalized dramatically, and conditions like my allergies have just disappeared.  WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE SIGHT LISTED FOR NATURAL HEALTH SCHOOL in this article.  We’ve been through their tutorial ALL FREE and routinely use their info.

article courtesy of www.whfoods.com

Can you please direct me to where I can find a list of alkaline foods to help balance the excess acidity?

The issue of acid and alkaline foods is a confusing one, because there are several different ways of using these words with respect to food.

Acidic and alkaline foods

In food chemistry textbooks that take a Western science approach to foods, every food has a value that is called its “pH value.” pH is a special scale created to measure how acidic or alkaline a fluid or substance is. It ranges from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline) with 7.0 being neutral. One way of thinking about it is that as you get closer to 7.0 from either end, the food becomes less acidic (6.0 vs 5.0, for example) or less alkaline (8.0 vs 9.0, for example).

Limes, for example, have a very low pH of 2.0 and are highly acidic according to the pH scale. Lemons are slightly less acidic at a pH of 2.2. Egg whites are not acidic at all, and have a pH of 8.0. Meats are also non-acidic, with a pH of about 7.0.

Many vegetables lie somewhere in the middle of the pH range. The pH of asparagus, for example, is 5.6; of sweet potatoes, 5.4; of cucumbers, 5.1; of carrots, 5.0; of green peas, 6.2; of corn, 6.3. Tomatoes fit on the pH scale on the lower end of most vegetables. Their pH ranges from 4.0 to 4.6. This range is higher (less acidic) than pears, for example, with a pH of 3.9, and also higher (less acidic) than peaches, with a pH of 3.5, or strawberries (3.4) or plums (2.9).

Acid-forming and acid-ash, alkaline-ash foods

Another way to talk about food acidity is not to measure the acidity of the food itself, but the body’s acidity once the food has been eaten. In other words, from this second perspective, a food is not labeled as “acidic,” but instead as “acid-forming.”

Similar to this “acid-forming” concept is the “acid-ash, alkaline-ash” concept, in which a food is not chemically broken down in the body, but instead burned, leaving an ash residue, which is then measured for its mineral content. Acid-ash foods are foods that leave high concentrations of chloride, phosphorus, or sulfur in their ash. These foods are called “acid-ash” because chloride, phosphorus, and sulfur are minerals that are used to make acids in the body (namely, hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, and sulfuric acid). Alkaline-ash foods are foods that leave high concentrations of magnesium calcium, and potassium in their ash. These foods are called “alkaline-ash” because these minerals are used to form alkaline compounds (called bases) in the body (including magnesium hydroxide, calcium hydroxide, and potassium hydroxide).

The acid-ash model of measuring food acidity is not, of course, what happens inside a living person. We don’t burn our food, and ash is not all that’s left after we eat. In fact, the whole concept of acid-forming foods is a much more complicated idea than the pH idea, since “acid-forming” is process that happens inside a living body.

How well a food is digested, for example, can influence the degree to which it is acid-forming or not. Many foods, including tomatoes, have preformed acids in their composition that would normally be altered during digestion. However, in a person with problematic digestion, these acids might not get transformed, and the acid-forming properties of the tomato would be increased.

Research on the acid-forming and acid-ash, alkaline-ash foods principle

Although there are many popular diets that revolve around the principle of acid-forming foods, there are virtually no research studies that have focused on this issue. A survey about dietary patterns and lifestyles carried out in China in the early 1990’s has shown that higher intake of animal foods and animal-derived proteins results in increased loss of calcium and acids in the urine, while increased intake of plant foods and plant proteins results in lower calcium and acid loss. Presumably, the loss of acids in the urine reflected increased formation of acids in the body that needed to be excreted, and decreased urine acids reflected less formation of acids in the body. Vegetables were one of the major groups of plant foods focused on in the study, and vegetables are a group of food that have been described in many alternative dietary approaches as being non-acid-forming.

List of alkaline foods

You asked us where to find a list of alkaline foods, and according to this second way of looking at alkalinity and acidity, you can find lists at the following websites:

http://www.naturalhealthschool.com/acid-alkaline.html

http://www.price-pottenger.org/Articles/Acid_alk_bal.html

Macrobiotic eating plans often focus on this issue of acid-forming foods, and the need to find balance in the diet and avoid extremes.

Concerning tomatoes

Finally, on to your question about lowering the acidity of tomatoes. First, from a pH perspective, tomatoes fall into the 4.0-4.6 range, and are not nearly as acidic as most fruits. From a strict pH perspective, reducing excess acidity in the diet would mean eliminating foods with the lowest pH, including limes, lemons, vinegars, cranberries, plums, soft drinks, grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, peaches, cherries, olives, pears and grapes. All of these foods have a lower pH than tomatoes.

We would not recommend that all of these foods be eliminated from a person’s diet! (We might be o.k. with the elimination of soft drinks, however). Many of these foods are among the World’s Healthiest Foods and they have been shown to have cancer-preventing and cancer-treating properties. But tomatoes are unlikely to be the most acidic components of most meal plans, if you are evaluating these meal plans from a pH perspective.

Second, the acidity of tomatoes is closely associated with their degree of ripeness. The more mature and ripe, the lower the acidity, approaching the 4.6 pH end of the range described earlier. For this reason, if a person is looking for ways to lower the pH of his or her tomatoes, we would suggest buying only the ripest ones, and steering clear of anything less than fully ripe.

Canned tomatoes are almost always more acidic than fresh tomatoes because of the impact of the canning process. The pH of canned tomatoes can dip down into the 3.2-3.5 pH range. For this reason, avoiding canned tomatoes would be another recommendation if a person were trying to consume foods with a higher pH.

Finally, from a pH perspective with respect to cooking, we haven’t seen any evidence that cooking of tomatoes can significantly increase their alkalinity above the 4.5 range. But we also don’t think of the 4.5 range of fully ripe, fresh, organically grown tomatoes as a problem, particularly when combined with other vegetables in our recipes that bring in plants whose pH is in the 5-6 range.

If we switch to consider tomatoes from an acid-forming perspective, it’s important to realize that tomatoes are actually considered non-acid forming, i.e., alkaline, in most macrobiotic and Chinese medicine traditions. For example, tomatoes are often viewed as being able to alkalize the blood in these traditions and are sometimes recommended to lower the excessively acidic blood that is understood to be characteristic of gout and rheumatic conditions. From this acid-forming perspective, tomatoes would already be considered alkaline and you would not need to worry about doing anything to them on the stove to increase their alkalinity.

References

Hu, J. F.; Zhao, X. H.; Parpia, B., and Campbell, T. C. Dietary intakes and urinary excretion of calcium and acids: a cross- sectional study of women in China. Am J Clin Nutr. 1993 Sep; 58(3):398-406.

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