Turn the Worry off and Eat Mindfully.

As a holistic nutritionist and self experimentation addict, I have tried so many different ways of eating. This is where it’s gotten me.

In my past I have worried incessantly about sugar. I have worried about buying conventional grapes over organic when I know organic is better. I have worried about not taking the plunge into eating 100% gluten free with my kids. I’ve worried about eating pizza when I should be eating a salad. Then there was that year and a half when I went vegan and worried about eating cheese. Then I was vegetarian and worried about eating meat. My worry even went as far as to worry about eating cooked food when I went “raw”! It’s insane!

Today I am convinced that worrying about your food hurts more than whatever food you are about to eat. I don’t worry about anything I eat anymore. Ever. I bless it and I enjoy it. If I had to label the way I eat today, I would say that I eat mindfully. I listen to my body and eat accordingly.

The number one thing our bodies need is water. We all wake up dehydrated due to air exchange during the night. So, when I wake up I drink 2 glasses of water with either lemon or apple cider vinegar squeezed in. Both are alkalizing and detoxifying. Then I drink plenty of water throughout the day, with lemon or ACV occasionally (about ¼ cup total).

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Once your body is well hydrated, choosing the right food becomes a lot easier. Your intuition will start to control your eating. For instance, I used to eat a lot of chocolate. But once I took care of my hydration, I would find myself reaching for the chocolate out of habit and not because I actually wanted any. It didn’t take long before I stopped reaching for it all the time, and saying no was easy.

However, when the kids have me stressed out and I need a moment to myself, I’ll grab a piece of chocolate, pop it into my mouth, close my eyes, and relax for 30 seconds. I use this moment as a quick grounding ritual. I close my eyes and set the intention to connect to my higher self and God. I breathe in love and peace and ask for the patience to respond to my children with love. I come out of it a lot better than I went in, and I’m a much better parent for this little ritual.

In general, I eat more fruit, vegetables, and protein than carbs. We drink green juice in the mornings and follow that up with protein powder later on. Then we eat lunch and then dinner. We don’t usually eat dessert, but I went through a phase in the summer where I ate ice cream every night! And then, one night, I didn’t want it anymore. My body needed to detoxify from the dairy, and I listened.

When you have a treat, eat it mindfully with joy. Know that it is exactly what your body and soul need at that moment! Eating with joy is probably the most important thing next to water. And when it doesn’t bring you joy anymore, then stop, as I stopped eating ice cream.

I set the intention every day to eat foods that heal my body and soul, and ask Archangel Raphael for help in breaking bad habits. I ask my body what it needs, and more often than not the answer is water. Ask your body questions and then wait for the answer. You may think the answer or feel the answer, but if you ask a question, know that the answer will be given. Look for it.

Angel Prayer: “Archangel Raphael, I ask that you guide me to foods that nourish my mind, body, and soul. I ask that you help me to incorporate movement into my day and that you help me to stay hydrated. And so it is!”

After you ask for guidance, be sure to listen for those subtle hints during the day. When you have a thought that pops into your head that you should drink some water, drink some water! If you feel that you should have a salad for lunch rather than your usual burger and fries, listen! Start to pay attention to your body, ask it what it needs, and then listen for the answer. Drink plenty of water and above all, enjoy your food!

Sucralose: Silent Killer

Sometimes I find inspiration, and sometimes it finds me.  I was recently contacted to endorse a product that flavours and sweetens water.  Product names such as natural lemon and natural peach seem legit and at first everything was just, well, peachy! Then I stumbled upon that nasty little “sweetened with sucralose” line that makes me cringe! There is nothing natural about sucralose, otherwise known as Splenda. Use your brain on this one:

Artificial sweetener = Substance messed with using chemicals = Not fit for human consumption!

The creation of sucralose involves substituting 3 hydroxyl groups (hydrogen + oxygen) on the sugar molecule with 3 chlorine atoms. Have you ever felt the need to drink chlorine? Alternatively, sucralose can be made from ingredients that don’t even include sugar! Sucralose was intentionally and improperly named with the suffix -ose, a move that serves to fool you into believing it is natural (such as fructose, sucrose, and glucose).  The reason sucralose contains no calories is because the molecule has been changed so much that the body doesn’t even recognize it as food!  Manufacturers claim that this alien molecule passes through the body unchanged.   Animal researchers have found that it does not, in fact, just pass through the body.  And, some of it breaks down into a molecule known as 1,6-dichlorofructose (just think chlorine + fruit sugar). There have only been a handful of human studies on sucralose, and no long-term studies at all. Better yet, there have been no long-term independant studies.  This means that most studies have been controlled by the manufacturers, who desperately do not want to show that sucralose is harmful to the body! Before sucralose was even approved for human consumption, animal studies indicated potential toxicity! It’s aspartame all over again.

Adverse effects reported in pre-approval research include:  Shrunken thymus glands (by up to 40%!)(E056), enlarged liver and kidneys (E057 and E161), atrophy of lymph follicles in the spleen and thymus (E051, E056, E0151), increased cecal weight (E151), reduced growth rate (E057), decreased red blood cell count (E055), extension of the pregnancy period and aborted pregnancy (E134), decreased fetal body weights and placental weights (E032), and diarrhea.

I believe most of these adverse effects are due to the body expelling this toxic substance. (Note: liver and kidney enlargement and atrophy of cells in the lymphatic organs,the spleen and thymus)  Diarrhea is obvious…the body is saying “GET OUT!” The body knows when it is in a good enough state to produce a body, and since it is trying so hard to rid itself of this toxic substance, it will have less energy to grow a baby!  If you’re having trouble conceiving, I suggest you get yourself to a holistic practitioner straight away, and get your body healthy before heading to a fertility expert.

There are many alternatives to drinking poisonous diet drinks that will keep your waistline slim.  Water is the most hydrating and slimming thing I know! But what if you don’t like drinking water, you ask?  Well, do you like being alive? Then I’m sorry to say you’re going to have to suck it up and drink up!

But seriously, try these tricks to jazz up your water:

  • A squeeze of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit.
  • Cut up some cucumber and marinate it in a big jug of water.  So yummy!
  • Got a blender?  You can obtain natural peach, kiwi, mixed berry, etc. just by throwing some fruit into the blender with your water.
  • On the run?  Throw any of the above into a water bottle and you’re good to go!

Personally, I am not willing to be a guinea pig and wait 10 or 15 years to see what this toxic substance does to my body! I’ve already felt the effects of aspartame, so I’m on a chemical-free diet these days.  Are you?

Sources:

Food and Drug Administration “Final Rule” for Sucralose, 21 CFR Part 172, Docket No. 87F-0086.

Hull JS. Splenda – Is it Safe or Not? The Pickle Press, New York: 2004.

Lord, GH, Newberne PM. Renal Mineralization – A Ubiquitous Lesion in Chronis Rat Studies. Food Chem Toxicology 1990 June; 28:449-455.

Labare MP, Alexander M. Microbial Cometabolism of Sucralose, a Chlorinated Disaccharide, in Environmental Samples. Applied Microbial Biotechnology. 1994 Oct;42:173-178.

Hunter BT. Sucralose. Consumers’ Research Magazine, Oct 1990,Vol. 73, Issue 10, p.8-10.

Maudlin RK. FDA Approves Sucralose for Expanded Use. Modern Medicine, Oct 1999, Vol. 67, Issue 10, p57.

Sucralose – A New Artificial Sweetener. Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics, 07/03/98, Vol. 40, Issue 1030, p.67.

Q&A: Is Newly FDA Approved Sweetener Sucralose Good For You? Executive Health’s Good Health Report, Nov. 1998, Vol. 35, Issue 2, p.6.

Gain B. FDA Approves J&J Sweetener. Chemical Week, 04/15/98, Vol. 160, Issue 14, p.27. 

Lose Weight With Water

FitnessHungry?  Grab some water!  Reaching for a glass of water instead of food can save you many, many unwanted pounds over the years.  Why does this work?  The sensations of thirst and hunger are one and the same, generated whenever the brain is in need of sugar or water.  So why do you choose food over water?  Because food is so addictive!
I am certain this is due to the highly processed foods we eat.  Let’s take white bread for example, a highly processed food that does not exist in nature.  Its lack of nutrients and fiber causes it to act like a drug within your body.  Broken down quickly, the simple carbohydrates enter your bloodstream and cause a fast rise and fall in blood sugar.
The fall causes the feeling of hunger, causing you to eat in order to increase blood sugar.  The need for water goes overlooked because you have created a more pressing need for sugar!  This will make you more likely to choose a sugar-laden drink over water and pack on unnecessary pounds.  This yo-yo battle with blood sugar can result in constant dehydration since you will overlook the need for pure water.  If you ate whole foods (like your ancestors did before the invention of the grocery store) you would keep more constant blood sugar levels and stay in tune with your need for water.
Another mistake that leads to weight gain is assuming that manufactured beverages can replace your need for water.  Our bodies need water, not just liquids.  Drinking 8 glasses of bottled juice, 8 cans of pop, or any other highly processed drink will not hydrate you.  They have many other ingredients that influence body chemistry, none of which do you any good! I’ve come across many people who are adamant about telling me that as long as a beverage contains water, it’s just as good as water.  You can fool yourself, and you can argue with me all you want, but it won’t change the fact that every cell in your body needs a pure source of water!
Now, let’s look at someone who drinks upwards of 8 Diet Cokes a day and no water. The caffeine found in coke acts directly on the brain, like a drug.  Caffeine also acts as a diuretic, increases urine production, and leaves the body in a constant state of dehydration.  This is why you can drink so many sodas and never satisfy your thirst.  Then, when you feel “hungry”, you will assume you have drank enough “water” and assume you need food, when your body may actually need water.  Overeating and weight gain is caused by the confusion between thirst and hunger.  Water 1, Opponents 0.
Let’s talk about another constituent of diet coke: aspartame.  Aspartame converts to aspartate, phenylalanine, and methyl alcohol (formaldehyde) in the small intestine.  The first two are highly excitatory neurotransmitter amino acids, and cross the blood brain barrier.  There is a claim that the body renders the methyl alcohol non-toxic, but their claim has yet to be proven.  According to the video “Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World,” aspartame complaints represent 80-85% of food complaints to the FDA, due to its multiple neurotoxic, metabolic, allergenic, fetal, and carcinogenic effects.  Aspartame is known to erode intelligence and affects short-term memory!  The most frequent complaints about aspartame include brain tumors, birth defects, lymphoma, diabetes, MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety attacks, epilepsy/seizures, migraines, numbness, hearing loss and ringing in the ears, blindness, blurred vision, other eye problems, and stomach disorders.  Artificial sweeteners stimulate the appetite by spiking insulin levels, which will uptake any blood sugar into the cells, leaving you hungry shortly after eating because your blood needs more sugar. This leads to an increase in carbohydrate cravings and the increased intake of food will stimulate fat storage and weight gain.
Here is my story:
Before learning about the effects of aspartame, I drank about 4 cans of Diet Coke per day.  Like many others, I assumed a toxic substance would never gain allowance into our food supply.  I was dead wrong.  For 2 years I suffered from cloudiness in my eyes.  I always had one eye that was so fuzzy that I could not see properly!  Now, I cannot tell you that Diet Coke was for sure to blame, but 6 months after I stopped drinking it I realized my vision was completely fine!  I don’t believe it is a coincidence.  I also have short-term memory problems which I’ve had for as long as I can remember (note: long term memory still intact!) which may be due to heavy Diet Coke consumption – since I started drinking it when I was age 6 or 7.  Aspartame is a man-made chemical and has no place whatsoever in your body.  Water, on the other hand contains no aspartate, phenylalanine, or formaldehyde.
Water 4, Opponents 0.
The biggest problem with juice is that it is pure sugar and nearly zero nutrients once it has finished being processed.  The nutrients that are added back in after processing are often man-made and are not naturally assimilated by your body. Too much sugar in juice form will be absorbed into the blood stream, causing a drastic spike in blood sugar.  The drastic spike causes a drastic fall, leaving you craving more sugar.  This may lead to drinking even more juice, adding even more calories!  Let’s take Ocean Spray’s white cranberry juice for instance.  Ingredients: Filtered water, white cranberry juice from concentrate, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavors, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and citric acid.  In addition to the concentrated juice, there is more added sugar as well as high fructose corn syrup!  The term “natural flavors” can mean anything.  It can even mean MSG has been added.  It is amazing what companies can categorize as natural. Water has no added sugar, no fillers, and no preservatives.
Water 7, Opponents 0.
If you want juice, buy a juicer and make it yourself.  It will then be full of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes which are needed for every single function in your body.  If you have a blender, than try making blended smoothies with fresh ingredients!  One of my favourites is this:
Spinach Pear Smoothie
3 cups spinach
1 pear, cored
1 apple, cored
1 banana
¼ cup parsley
juice of half a lime
2 tbsp hemp seeds
add water to cover
Just throw everything in a blender and enjoy the yummy nutrients!  Don’t be scared and just try it!  You will be amazed.  Add more water if necessary!
Even if you already drink water, you need to think about the source of that water. Drinking any old tap water is not good for your cells.  Tap water has chlorine, among other things (such as hormones from birth control pills which are not filtered out), added to kill bacteria.  The problem here is that it kills both bad and good bacteria.  Your body needs good, friendly bacteria to be healthy.  Drinking chlorinated water is like taking antibiotics every day.  So, it is important that your drinking water is filtered using a respectable filtration system.  I prefer carbon filtered water. Specifically I prefer the technology of Nikken’s Pimag™ water system, which reduces volatile organic compounds, lead, cysts, MTBE, turbidity, chlorine, bad tastes, odors, and particulate matter.  It literally energizes your water.  My mom was in a health food store with her Pimag™ water last week when the man running the store offered to test it.  The water scored off the charts in energy, and she hasn’t changed the filter in 2 years!  Nikken recommends changing the filter once every year.  I’m not sure what the Coca Cola Company does to its water, but I’m sure it’s not going to score very high on any energy test.  Water 8, Opponents 0.
How much water do you need to drink?  An often agreed amount of water is half your body weight in ounces per day.  So, if you’re 160 lbs, you need 80 oz. of water each day.  That breaks down into 10 8 oz. glasses or 10 cups of water. You must be sure to sip water throughout the day and not chug 2 or 3 glasses at a time to “make up” for lost glasses. Water taken this way may not become assimilated into the body and pass through the system relatively unused.  You need to drink water first thing in the morning, since your body becomes dehydrated through your breathing at night.  I personally drink 8-16 oz. of water when I wake up before I eat anything.  It will also stop you from overeating!
Water is good for so many things in addition to dropping a few pounds, so you may notice other problems get better, like asthma, hiatus hernia, and pains in the lower back, neck, and heart!  Get headaches?  Drink water!  You will be amazed at the results!

Coffee and the Caffeine Blues

 coffee

I hate to break it to you, but I am hard core against coffee for many, many reasons.   If you “just have to have it,” enjoy a cup of organic joe once and a while, but try to make those occasions few and far between.  As a holistic practitioner, my goal is to get you flinging out of bed full of energy in the morning, without the coffee! 

First of all, most of us have to mask the taste of coffee with cream/milk and sugar just to get it down our throats, especially if it’s not organic.  When I stopped eating dairy, my coffee consumption fell dramatically because my tastebuds just wouldn’t have it!  Thank you taste buds.  The result: consistent energy and avoidance of the caffeine blues.

If you proudly say that you don’t do drugs, but you “do” caffeine and coffee, then you are a drug addict my friend, plain and simple!  After all, caffeine is a stimulant drug that acts on the central nervous system.  Have you ever felt the effect of caffeine withdrawal?  Exactly.  Don’t think that because you drink decaf you are off the hook – I’ll deal with you later!

What does abstaining from coffee have to do with weight loss?  PLENTY!  When you drink anything containing caffeine (especially when you load your coffee with sugar) the adrenal glands are stimulated to increase adrenaline (by an average of 40%) into your blood stream, which increases your heart rate, blood pressure, nervousness, irritability, and releases your energy stores by breaking down glycogen into glucose.  This increase in blood sugar signals the release of insulin to take glucose back into the cells.  At this stage, hypoglycemia may set in, which is characterized by dizzines, light-headedness, and blood sugar so low that you’ll grab anything to bring them back up.

Odds are you will grab something sweet during this time – such as candy, a coke, a doughnut, or a white bagel, and continue the up and down cycle since these highly processed and refined products quickly dissolve into your blood stream like cotton candy in water, spiking your blood sugar and setting you up for a big fall once again.

But the problem with coffee doesn’t stop there!  Caffeine also depleats the “feel good” brain transmitter known as GABA.  GABA blocks nerve impulses in the brain, and has a calming influence.  Without it, nerve cells fire too easily and far too often.  This is yet another reason you may find yourself reaching for the snacks after having a coffee.

Caffeine is also a diuretic.  For each cup of coffee you consume, you should drink 3 cups of water to even things out.  Since we should already drink approximately 8 cups of water a day, if you add 2 cups of coffee, you’ll have to drink 14 cups of water, which you and I both know is not likely to happen!  Most people drink an average of 2 glasses of water each day!  Some people drink none at all.  I know someone who drinks about 8 diet cokes a day, and calls it water consumption…not so! 

Water is essential if you want to lose weight.  Not water in the form of coffee, diet coke or juice, but pure water.  Pure spring water has feelings.  It is alive.  Think of it like this: if you were water and someone boiled you, threw in some carbon dioxide or other toasted, roasted chemicals, would you be happy about it?  No, you’d likely be very angry water.  You are what you eat, consume, assimilate, and digest.  It’s all energy.

If your cells are in a constant state of dehydration, they will not perform efficiently.  Cell function will be slow, like a  low river pushing pebbles along its bottom.  Fill the river up, and things will move much, much faster.  You can therefore raise your metabolism by properly hydrating yourself!

Other negative effects of coffee include an increased risk of ovarian, bladder, and kidney cancers, a 50% higher risk of heart attacks, a reduction in fertility (more than one cup a day makes a woman half as likely to conceive),  a significant loss of nutrients, especially magnesium, potassium, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins (especially inositol and biotin), and an interferance with iron absorption.  Coffee also contains cadmium, a carcinogenic heavy metal that supresses the immune system and promotes growth of the prostate and growth of cancer cells.  And caffeine contains polycyclic hydrocarbons, a carcinogen that one of the most widespread organic pollutants.  A quick definition of carcinogen: anything directly involved in the promotion of cancer!

If you drink decaf coffee you should know that it could contain methylene chloride, (Dichloromethane) a toxic solvent.  Methylene chloride is metabolized by the body into carbon monoxide.  It may be carcinogenic and has been linked to cancer of the lungs, pancreas, and liver in laboratory animals, and is able to cross the placenta having direct access to unborn babies.  If you buy decaf coffee make sure that it is Swiss water processed as it is a much safer method of caffeine removal. 

I admit that I have the occasional cup of organic coffee, as I often recommend if  my clients enjoy coffee, but after writing this article, I think I may just reach for a glass of filtered water instead, and I think you may do the same!