“Like heroin, cocaine, and caffeine, sugar is an addictive, destructive drug, yet we
consume it daily in everything from cigarettes to bread.” -William Duffy. Have you heard that sugar is just as if not more addicting than cocaine? Research proves that it lights up the same part of the brain that of when someone is taking cocaine. Therefore, this statement is unfortunately true. Our world is being faced with obesity like never seen before. And what do you think the culprit of that is? You guessed it, SUGAR. Now I am not saying sugar takes full responsibility for this but it sure does take the bulk of it.
In our supermarkets, there are over 600,000 products that you can buy. Eighty percent of those products have added refined sugar. So you can see why it’s difficult to stay away from this readily available “drug”. Now the food industry has come up with over 20 names of sugar that make it even more difficult for you to read if a certain product contains sugar or not. Due to all these hidden sugars and our high consumption of processed foods, the average american eats over 30 tsp of refines sugar a day!
We have also come into a time where they are marketing sugar replacements called artificial sweeteners. These products are called Nutrasweet, Equal, Sweet-N-Low, Splenda, Stevia and many more. Unfortunately these products come with negative side effects. Some of these sweeteners contain aspartame which is a well-recognized neurotoxin which cause mood swings, headaches, memory loss, PMS, fatigue, joint pain and countless other side-effects. Splenda turns into formaldehyde when digested and Stevia mutates DNA negatively. Sweetening up your drink is not the only thing these sugar replacements are doing.
Refined sugar raises blood sugar levels which causes high production of insulin which then turns into fat. It also happens to be cancer’s favorite food. I can go on and on about sugar but I think you can start to see that sugar reeks havoc on the body. Can we completely stay away from bad sugars, no. Therefore it’s important to know what are some healthier sugar swaps:
- coconut sugar
- date syrup
- raw organic honey
- maple syrup
- agave syrup
- vanilla extract
- spices like cinnamon and cacao powder
These sugar swaps have higher vitamin and mineral content than your typical Refined sugar or corn syrup.
Keep in mind that sugar in fruits are good. And sugars in other natural Whole Foods are considered good as well. When ingesting fruit, the sugar is released along side with the fiber to help mitigate those spikes in blood sugar and insulin which turn into fat. Fruit also has high amoutns of phytonutrients, vitamins and mineral content which help nourish the body on a cellular level.
As always, stick to natural Whole Foods that aren’t processed and you won’t run into this refined sugar issue.
“If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place” Lao-Tzu. What you think you become. It sounds so simple but it’s so true. One though can create something beautiful or can destroy so much ahead of you. Some of the most powerful words in the English language are “I am.” These two words can proceed with a negative or positive thought. Many of us default to negativity which causes many issues that eventually manifest. Negative thoughts can manifest illnesses, a troubled relationship, financial distress, etc. There was a study done on a group of people who had cancer. The controlled group was given chemo pill and the other group was given a placebo. The group that was given the placebo, 30% of them had lost most of their hair like if they actually had been given chemotherapy pills. Negative thinking is equally powerful in controlling your biology as positive thinking.
There are many studies out that show how the power of belief has the ability to heal or destroy. Once a through is created in the mind, neurotransmitters begin sending signals to the body to do what it is you just thought. We have the power to heal where the body needs healing, raise dopamine levels to treat depression, grow hair where hair was once lost, and so much more. We are very powerful beings; it is only our belief that is undermining our biology.
Everyday we wake up with a choice; either the choice to see the beauty within each day and hold a space of gratitude or the choice to see the negativity of certain aspects of your life which result in words of complaint. So today and everyday, practice positive thinking. Tell yourself words of affirmation, words of success, words of healing. If you don’t know where to start, start with ”I am.” Fill the rest in with exactly you want to manifest in your life, even if it’s your wildest of hopes and dreams. The power of the mind has no limitations. Believe that!
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.” Gandhi
Our immune system is the core to our health and well being. Without a strong immune system, we become susceptible to the constant wave of viruses, bacteria and infections. Back in the day, our ancestors were able to boost their immunity by simply eating more nutrient dense foods that came straight from the earth. There was more small farming, soils were rich in minerals, toxicity in the world was lower, etc. Our grandparents use to go straight to the garden and pick those vibrant fruits and vegetables. Minimal washing, if any, was done which left a little dirt on them. Have you ever heard “a little dirt never hurt anyone?” Well that’s because back then the dirt would be a host for minerals and microbes that would then be ingested and serve a powerful purpose for our gut and immune system .
Unfortunately, this is not the same story now-a-days. We receive most of our produce from the local market whether it be Wal-Mart, Kroger, Publix. This means the fruits and veggies came from large scale agriculture production, soil is most likely depleted, long transportation occurs and shelf-life also begins to tick. All of these added sum up to our fruits and veggies not having high-density nutrients within them. If you don’t believe this, buy yourself a Brix meter which test the nutrient density in your foods.
We are not living in the same world our grandparents or even parents lived in. Therefore, we most educate ourselves, and search for ways to receive more nutrient-dense foods into our daily lives. This begins with organic plant-based foods. Supporting your local farmer at the farmer’s market is a great way to get higher quality fruits, veggies and meats into your diet. Buying organic is also crucial if you can spare the extra change each time you purchase your meats and produce. This eliminates all the toxins, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, steroids, estrogen, and bovine growth factors that can come with your non-organic meat, cheese and produce. Adding in a plant-based supplement into your daily regiment will also fill in the gaps that your foods cannot fulfill anymore. Remember, not all supplements are created equally, so do your research. Check out my last post for a list of great plant-based supplements.
When it comes to supplements, it can be very overwhelming. So at times, it’s just best to focus on the areas of most need. America’s top nutrient deficiencies are Vitamin D and the B Vitamin family.
Vitamin D is one of the best supplements to keep sickness at bay and cancer as well. Vitamin D helps with brain function, immune support, hormone balance, bone structure and much more. Most Americans spend their time indoors and when they go outside they lather themselves with toxic sunscreen that blocks your body from receiving the most Vitamin D possible. Your daily intake of Vitamin D should be 2000-5000 IU a day. It can be increased even more when you are beginning to feel sick.
The next top nutrient deficiency are the B Vitamins. There are 8 different types of B Vitamins:
- Thiamin (B1)
- Riboflavin (B2)
- Niacin (B3)
- Pantothenic acid (B5)
- Pyridoxine (B6)
- Biotin (B7)
- Folic acid (folate or B9)
- Cyanocobalamin (B12)
These groups help support the brain, nervous system, hair, skin, nails, blood cells, metabolism, the use of energy and so much more. The reason why we can become so depleted in B Vitamins is because we don’t store it very well due to over stress, alcohol, unhealthy eating practices, and being sick. Taking a plant-based supplement to help add to your already existing diet is best.
Remember that take a plant-based supplement is best absorbed and assimilated by the body. Some great brands are: Food research, Biotics, Standard Process, MediHerb, Mannatech and Usana.
Greens are truly the most common missing food in most Americans. Dark leafy greens are essential to replenishing the body, detoxifying, building up immunity and also giving you that beautiful glow that people crave to have. Greens are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, folic acid, chlorophyll, and many other nutrients that may be missing from your diet. There are a variety of ways you can play with greens in your meals. You can steam them, sauté them, make a stir fry, bake them or for maximum nutrients, you can eat them raw with some hummus or dressing. If your looking for a good list of greens you can start with these: spinach, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli, and cabbage. Remember, all you need to do is just add one of these greens to your meals everyday and you are already on your way to a better, more rejuvenated you! One of my favorite ways to incorporate greens is sautéing some Kale and Swiss chard with some Braggs Aminos (substitute for high sodium soy sauce), minced garlic, a small amount of chili garlic sauce, dash of red wine vinegar, S&P, and some fresh grated ginger. I love adding this side when making an Asian dish. Another way I incorporate greens is in my smoothies which I make almost everyday. All you need to do is add a few variety of green leaves, add a little banana, maybe some blueberries, chia seeds, some ginger, almond milk, ice and waalaaa!!
You’ve probably heard of probiotic at some point in your life, but what are they really? Essentially they are the “good” bacteria that helps balance your gut and keeps your digestive system in check. It also assist in the absorption of nutrients and helps fight infection. Prebiotics on the other hand are the fibers or “food” that feeds the probiotics that live within your gut.
The probiotics benefits begin in the gut. The gut (digestive tract) is responsible for 70-80% of your immune system. That is an astounding percentage. Not to mention, the gut is responsible for 80-90% of your serotonin levels. That is your “feel good” hormone. Have you ever thought your depression could directly be correlated to the health of your gut?
So let’s list off some of the benefits:
- Better mental clarity
- Digestive Health
- Immunity boost
- Healthier looking skil
- Fights off free radicals
- Decrease in antibiotic resistance
- Decreases infammation
- Controls food allergies
- Helps with prevention of diabetes
- Dental Health
- Weight loss
HOW TO GET THEM IN YOUR SYSTEM?
- Eat more fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, kefir)
- Take a quality pro-biotic supplement
- Feed to good bacteria with high fiber food (flax seed, chia seed, organic fruits and veggies)
We all know that most Americans are living in a constant state of stress. Many of us don’t even know that herbs can help our bodies fight the cortisol that is released from stress. There are some useful plants out there that can help us deal with this. These are called adaptogenic herbs. But first what is an adaptogen? It is something that certain herbs have that increases your body’s ability to adapt and handle stress. These herbs help allow your body find balance as a whole instead of just focusing on one particular area like you’re heart or liver. It allows the body find homeostasis because of the whole body approach the herbs are able to achieve.
These are some of the adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms you can use daily to help your body deal with the daily stress life can throw at you.
Ginseng– the most popular of the group that promotes calmness and also aids with memory.
Holy Basil (Tulsi)– Ayurvedic medicine use this for stress because of the three anti-stress phytochemical compounds.
Ashwaganda– considered the Indian ginseng also has a great combating effect on cortisol (stress hormone).
Licorice– protects the thymus from being affected by cortisol.
Cordycep mushrooms (reishi, chaga and lions mane)– these medicinal mushrooms not only have adaptogens but are some of the most powerful foods you can incorporate to increase immunity, antioxidants, cancer fighting cells and much more. You can get them in tea bags which usually activate these compounds more due to the warm/hot water, powder for smoothies and now they even make coffee with these mushrooms in them.
Who would’ve though some type of grass could’ve been so powerful. To tell you the truth, lots of grasses and “weeds” are some of nature’s finest medicine. Wheatgrass however takes the thrown. When wheatgrass is juiced, it delivers a powerful punch of vitamins, mineral, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and enzymes. Not to mention it’s incredibly strong properties that allow high levels of detoxification for the liver and blood.
Wheatgrass is one of those drinks that can help deliver vitamins and minerals if your diet is lacking in fruits and vegetables. This grass has high levels of vitamin A, C, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and so much more. If you live an an area with high levels of environmental toxins, wheatgrass is a great toxin neutralizer. It’s also a great protector against carcinogens.
If you are wanting to get more wheatgrass in your diet, buy raw wheatgrass powder so that you can take a shot of that every morning. It may not taste like a yummy cup of tea but the benefits most definitely out weigh the taste.