Trouble Losing Weight: Pick your Poison

I’m sure I don’t have to convince you that stress is harmful to your health. An article in the Huffington Post said it this way:

“Stress is a factor in five out of the six leading causes of death — heart disease, cancer, stroke, lower respiratory disease, and accidents. An estimated 75 percent to 90 percent of all doctor visits are for stress-related issues. … The culprit behind so many of our health problems is staring us in the face.”

Ok, so we are in agreement that stress causes health problems. But a recent study indicates that too much stress may be as destructive to health as junk food. So when I say pick your poison I am referring to stress and junk food!

What I found especially fascinating about the study was that stress and a junk food diet had different effects on males and females. Male mice on the high-fat diet* showed more anxiety than females on the high-fat diet, and high-fat males also showed decreased activity in response to stress. However, it was only in female mice that stress caused the microbiome composition in the gut to shift as if they were on a high-fat diet. Stress changed the bacteria to resemble that of obese mice!

*Keep in mind when they say a high fat diet it is not referring to healthy fats, but to the kind in processed, fast and junk foods.

So many women I happen to know and some I work with, are under so much stress on a daily basis, they find it becomes almost impossible to lose weight. (See this previous post to understand some of the issues.) Then they become frustrated and discouraged and that adds more stress – a vicious cycle. And even when they clean up their diet and begin eating well, some still find it very difficult to lose weight and begin blaming themselves when it could all come down to too much stress.

If that sounds too simplistic – consider this: Due to the hormonal changes it causes, stress causes cravings and continual feelings of hunger, making it much more difficult to lose weight; high stress makes it almost impossible for your body to break down fat, so you end up storing more; stress is linked to mood disorders like depression, anxiety and unhappiness which can be triggers for overeating; and stress hinders the ability to sleep, raising cortisol levels which is linked to weight gain.

Obviously this study was done with mice but the researchers felt confident it could have important impacts for us as well.

My take-away is this: Yes, it is important to eat a clean, whole food diet but it is just as critical to be aware of other factors, like stress, which we all experience to one degree or another, and to acknowledge how it could be affecting your efforts at weight loss and health.

Here’s to becoming aware of stressors and finding effective ways to deal with them.

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.

Posted in Digestive Health, Emotional Health, Nutrition, Overall Health and Wholeness, Weight loss, Women's Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Healthy Living: The Choice is Yours

We are all familiar with genes and DNA. We inherit certain genetic characteristics from our parents and other ancestors. You may have your father’s nose, your mother’s eyes or your grandmother’s body type. It was believed that whatever genes you inherited, you were stuck with. So if there was a genetic predisposition for diabetes or cancer that ran in your family line, it was believed you were doomed to get that disease.

Research has proven that this is not the case. We are not just the sum of our genes. The field of epigenetics has shown that things like lifestyle, relationships, stress, nutrition and environment can switch certain genes on or off. So if you have a predisposition to diabetes it doesn’t mean that you will definitely develop this disorder. You can effectively switch off that gene by the diet and habits you choose to practice. Just because all the men in your family died young with heart disease, it doesn’t seal your fate. That’s great news!

So I think of epigenetics as sort of a translator. If you are in a foreign country and don’t understand the language, someone who speaks both languages can translate for you so that you understand. Epigenetics acts as an interpretor of certain factors, determining how they will influence genes and ultimately health.

New research is showing that these epigenetic modifications can also (like genetic predisposition) be inherited by children and even grandchildren! This research shows we not only inherit our parents’ genetic code we also can inherit certain “instructions” that determine which genes are expressed or not expressed.

So the efforts you make to create healthier habits may not only positively impact your life, but the lives of your children and grandchildren. I don’t know about you, but that is very exciting to me. If you ever needed motivation to make better choices, this could be it.

It is a fact that a mother’s nutrition level at the moment of conception can influence the way her child’s genes are interpreted. Her diet can change the expression of genes in her unborn child.  It now seems that those lifestyle habits and environmental influences can also be passed down through generations.

I find this information very encouraging. If you were to believe that whatever your DNA was programmed for was what you would have, it would make you a victim. You would be at the mercy of your genes – good or bad. But even if your parents or grandparents didn’t have the best genes or habits, you still have control over what you do and that can influence your genes – positively or negatively. The choice always ends up with each of us.

Here’s to making positive, life-enhancing choices for yourself and your family.

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.         

Posted in Children's Health, Diabetes, Emotional Health, Heart Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Nutrition: How to Store Produce Properly

We go to the trouble of buying organic or locally grown produce. That’s wonderful! However, all too often we don’t store it properly and waste more than we end up eating. And that’s not good. It’s also not necessary. I’m going to share some basic food storage tips in this post that will help you make the most of your produce purchases.
First some overall basics:
Fruits and veggies don’t play well together, so when refrigerating produce, separate fruit and vegetables into different drawers for 2 reasons.
First certain fruits give off high levels of ethylene (the ripening agent) can prematurely ripen and spoil surrounding vegetables.
Also fruits and veggies require different levels of humidity so set the humidity control appropriately:
Fruit needs low humidity; Veggies need high humidity
Vegetables need to breathe. Poke holes in the plastic bags you store them in, or keep them in reuseable mesh bags. An airtight plastic bag is the worst choice for storing vegetables.
Wash your produce when you are ready to eat it – not before you store it. Dampness encourages bacterial growth making them more likely to spoil. This is especially true of berries.
Don’t crowd your fruits and veggies – be sure they have room to breathe. The more closely you pack them in, the more quickly they will rot.
Don’t store onions and potatoes together – the onions will cause the potatoes to sprout. Garlic and onions can be stored together.

Now for some specifics: This originally appeared in the No-Nonsense Nutrition Report so you can read the rest right here. Simply scroll down to this issue.

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.         

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Happy Thanksgiving 2017

As we prepare here in the US to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who takes time out of their busy lives to read what I have to share. I truly appreciate it more than I can say. I hope you are looking forward to celebrating this beautiful holiday with loved ones whether family or friends or both.

I hope you take the time each day to be grateful for all your blessings in life. We all have challenges and times of difficulty, and seeing some of the things happening in the world can be discouraging, but there is always something to be thankful for.

Below are links to some past blog posts on this very subject, and I hope they bless you – again!

Health and Well-Being: More Effective than Any Drug

Brain Health: Why Gratitude is Powerful

Healthy Living: Gratitude Can Slow Aging

Health and Longevity: More Gratitude Benefits that May Surprise You

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.

Posted in Emotional Health, Gratitude, Overall Health and Wholeness, Soul Health, Spiritual Health | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dental Health: 3 Surprising Ways Food Impacts It

If I asked you what you thought was the most important diet/dental link, what would you say? Would you say not eating candy and sugary foods because they cause cavities? You certainly wouldn’t be wrong. If you said eating a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits is good for healthy teeth, again you wouldn’t wrong. The typical high sugar, Western or SAD diet are definitely working against dental health.  But for most people, it would end there.

Certainly eating a lot of processed foods which typically contain artificial additives and sweeteners (in lieu of sugar, but not any better!) will not provide the nutrition to keep your teeth healthy. Unfortunately in this fast-food world in which we live, many people default to fast foods or processed foods because of being perpetually busy and short on time. We are all busy and we all have the same 24 hours so for me this isn’t a good enough excuse. We make time for whatever we deem to be important. So it’s more about setting priorities but that’s a topic for another post.

What we are learning now is that the kind of food you eat affects your mouth in another way. It changes the composition of the bacteria. Consider this statement by Professor Alan Cooper, ACAD Director:

“The composition of oral bacteria changed markedly with the introduction of farming, and again around 150 years ago. With the introduction of processed sugar and flour in the Industrial Revolution, we can see a dramatically decreased diversity in our oral bacteria, allowing domination by caries-causing strains. The modern mouth basically exists in a permanent disease state.”

DNA preserved in calcified bacteria on the teeth of ancient human skeletons reveals how the changing diet and behavior from the Stone Age to the modern day has impacted dental health. It shows how the dietary shifts as we moved from hunter/gatherers to agricultural to manufactured foods has caused negative changes in our oral bacteria.

1.Carbohydrates like grains and refined sugar cause a specific type of oral bacteria to be released in order to digest the particles or ‘residue’ of carbs that are left behind on your teeth after you eat. This particular bacteria mixes with your saliva and forms plaque, which eats away at tooth enamel and causes cavities.

Cavities became common when grains were introduced into our diets.

Often when people avoid animal protein in an effort to improve their health, they add in grains to replace them. We begin digesting grains in our mouths so when you increase how much you consume you are doing a lot of this digestive work and it can’t help but affect your teeth. If you are getting more cavities, maybe it is in part due to increasing the amount of grains you are eating.

2.Also, it may surprise you to know eating a low fat diet can negatively impact your dental health. You need healthy fats in order to absorb and utilize fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. Vitamins D and K are especially critical to dental health since they are needed in order to absorb calcium and deposit it where it is needed – in bones and teeth.

3.If you eat a mostly plant based diet that includes beans, legumes, nuts and seeds, you should be aware that those very healthy foods contain phytic acid which inhibits your ability to absorb the minerals in those foods.  It’s also been found to hinder absorption of vitamin D as well.You don’t have to stop eating them, you just have to soak and/or sprout them in order to deactivate the phytic acid so your body has access to the minerals so important to your gums and teeth.

Is it possible your diet could be causing your dental problems?

**It’s cold and flu season but you don’t have to catch every bug that comes your way. I share my best recipes and strategies to keep yourself and your family healthy and avoid all the nasty bugs going around. Find it all here in my e-book, Natural First Aid Kit.

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.      

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Nutrition: Do Vegans and Vegetarians Live Longer

I know and work with people who ascribe to all different diets for various reasons. I don’t particularly like to use labels because I think diet should be fluid and change as the needs in life arise. I don’t consider myself any specific label. A gentleman asked me if I was a WFPB eater. I had no idea what that was so I looked it up and I think it comes closest to describing how I eat most of the time – whole food, plant based, but with quality animal protein.

In the past I’ve even called myself a “qualitarian” – the quality of the food whether animal foods or produce is what matters most to me. A vegetarian who eats genetically modified fruits and vegetables and lots of grains is definitely not going to be healthier than someone who chooses grass-fed, pasture-raised and wild-caught animal foods along with organic produce. So it’s not quite as cut and dried as some would have you believe. That’s why I say:

Eating meat as opposed to a totally vegetarian or vegan diet doesn’t matter as much as the quality of the food.

Dr. Mark Hyman author of Eat Fat, Get Thin says:

“It’s not easy to know for sure what is the ‘truth.’ Vegan diet studies show they help with weight loss, reverse diabetes, and lower cholesterol. Diets high in fat and animal protein seem to do the same thing. Essentially, each scientist (or even each person reading the research) with a point of view adheres to his or her position with near religious fervor. And each can point to studies validating his or her perspective.”

I think Dr. Hyman hit the nail on the head and I totally agree. Besides the fact that quality of food is of the utmost importance, each person’s metabolism and biochemistry is different. And their system can change over time and during specific seasons in life. What worked well in your 20’s may not be so good for you at 45. That was certainly my experience and how I came to develop my Today’s the Day Plan.

While studies show vegan diets help with weight loss, it is not true for me. This is why I do not think anyone can say with 100% certainty that any one particular diet is “best” for everyone. This study bears that out. Regardless of what diet you choose or prefer, the ultimate goal is to live a longer, healthier life. And this study concluded “there was no significant difference in all-cause mortality for vegetarians versus non-vegetarians.”

So why don’t we stop trying to convince each other our way is best and each just make the best choices available for ourselves. It’s not a contest after all – we all seem to want the same thing: to live a long, healthy, active life. It makes no difference if we approach it in slightly different ways as long as the result is the same.

What constitutes a healthy diet for you?

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.

Posted in Nutrition, Overall Health and Wholeness, Weight loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Is Organic Worth the Extra Money

*This originally appeared in my weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report. Sign up here to be the first to get this exclusive content!

Every week I share information about a different food and almost always I strongly recommend buying organic. You may have wondered if it makes much of a difference so I thought I should address that issue. 

Before I even talk about whether purchasing certified organic foods is worth any extra money they may cost, it’s important to understand exactly what that label means. 

Right now it is the most meaningful label on your food, in terms of upholding specific government requirements. For a product to be certified organic, it’s required to meet specific standards: 

Organic crops cannot be grown with synthetic fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or sewage sludge. 

Organic crops cannot be genetically engineered or irradiated. 

Animals must eat only organically grown feed (without animal byproducts) and can’t be treated with synthetic hormones or antibiotics. 

Animals must have access to the outdoors, and ruminants (hoofed animals, including cows) must have access to pasture. 

Animals cannot be cloned. 

Why it’s Healthy:

If you are truly serious about preserving and restoring your health, nutrition is where it all begins. Think about it – from conception until the day we die, nutrition is foundational. So choosing clean, pure, nutrient-dense foods to truly nourish us at the cellular level is where physical health begins. 

There are definitely ways to save money and still buy organic and I’ll share some of my favorites below in the Secrets and Tips section. So here are the most important reasons to choose organic whenever you are able to: 

1)You reduce your toxic load by significantly lowering your exposure to pesticides and other harmful chemicals used in conventional agriculture. Why is that of utmost importance? Long-term pesticide exposure has been linked to infertility, birth defects, endocrine disruption, neurological disorders, and cancer. 

Organophosphates are among the most commonly used pesticides on American farms. Researchers evaluated the diets of nearly 4,500 people living in six US cities, assessing the level of exposure to organophosphates through their food consumption. 

Their findings were not surprising: those who ate conventionally-grown produce had high concentrations of these organophosphate metabolites, whereas those who ate organic produce had significantly lower levels. Those who “often or always” ate organic had about 65% lower levels of pesticide residues compared to those who ate the least amount of organic produce. 

Glyphosate, is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling herbicide Roundup. It is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world, both on conventional and genetically engineered plants. It is estimated that the average American eats several hundred pounds of glyphosate-contaminated food every year. It’s important to know that recently glyphosate was classified as a Class 2A probable carcinogen by a division of the World Health Organization.  

This refers specifically to organic produce, but in the case of meat and dairy, livestock are given all organic, hormone- and GMO-free feed; they are raised in their natural habitat, which means access to outdoors and disease is prevented with natural methods such as clean housing, rotational grazing, and healthy diet rather than antibiotics and other drugs. We now know that the use of antibiotics is creating antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. 

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or genetically engineered (GE) foods are plants whose DNA has been altered in ways that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding, most commonly in order to be resistant to pesticides or produce an insecticide and when you purchase certified organic food, you are also purchasing non-GMO food. By the way, no long term studies have ever been conducted to confirm the safety of GMO use, while some animal studies have indicated that consuming GMOs may cause internal organ damage, slowed brain growth, and thickening of the digestive tract. 

The only US beef that has been free of the fatal prion brain disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob, is organic. 

2) Organic foods provide more nutrients than conventionally grown.  (Continue here)

Want to see more articles like this?   Subscribe to this blog (just click on “Follow”) and get each new post delivered to your email or feed reader.  To follow me and get even more tips on how to live your life in 3-D, including improving your diet, choosing cutting edge nutritional products and effective weight loss strategies be sure to like me on Facebook here and here, sign up for my FREE weekly No-Nonsense Nutrition Report (and get a free gift!), follow me on Pinterest and Twitter!

Make gradual changes. Boost health, vitality and energy. Become your best YOU.

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