Whatever diet you follow, the holidays can be tough to stick to it. When I say diet, I am talking about your normal every day eating plan. With the holidays comes a lot of parties and food. How do you navigate?
Below are a few tips to help you navigate the holidays so you don't need to "diet" after:
Use a smaller plate. This can help in every day life too. By using this technique, you are making it look like there is more on the plate. But, just because the plate is smaller doesn't mean you should pile on the food.
Don't forget to exercise. The holidays are busy, but don't let your exercise routine fall by the wayside.
As a vegan, these few tips have helped me survive many parties. Not just the holidays, but all year long. The good news is you don't have to be vegan to follow them!
It is the fall, so everywhere you look are signs to get the flu shot. A direction you may want to reconsider given the fact that our body is capable of fighting off these flu viruses as long as we nourish ourselves.
Why does the flu have a season?
Think about it. We have viruses (including the flue virus) around all year long. So what makes September through March flu season? Well, there's a few theories:
What can we do?
We can support our immune system. After all, the immune system was designed to be our defender. You do this by cleaning up your diet and eating more fresh vegetables, especially leafy greens and limiting sugar as much as possible. Did you know that for two hours after a sweet treat, your immune system is sluggish?
One more thing you can do is educate yourself so you can make an informed decision whether or not you want to receive the vaccine. The Center for Disease control (CDC) reports that the flu vaccine is only 60% effective. Possibly because it is almost impossible to figure out which strain is going to be most active since there are over 200 strains of flu-like viruses. There are also questionable ingredients in the vaccine that actually tax our immune system, not making it stronger.
Give your immune system the support it needs. Follow these tips this flu season and give your body the extra support it needs.
If so, he has probably been put on a medication because it is perceived that this eases school disturbances and makes them more manageable. But, should they be on medication? Hyperactivity and behavior issues are not diseases and some of the medications come with serious side effects. What if changing your child’s diet helped?
ADD is diagnosed by a specialist who compares the behavior of your child with the criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association. The diagnosis of children with ADD/ADHD is rising. Characteristics include: excessive fidgeting, trouble paying attention, easily distracted, restlessness, irritability, excessive crying, temper tantrums, excessive talking, poor sleep with night awakenings, inability to perform simple tasks that are developmentally appropriate, inattention when attention is needed, out of control impulsivity. There is no known cause as to why children exhibit these behaviors but there are very strong links to underlying nutrition deficiencies/excesses, heavy metal toxicity, food allergies, reactions/toxification of vaccines, food allergies etc.
By using nutrition intervention many children can experience improvement in behavior. The following are some suggestions of what you might want to eliminate:
For the above whole foods I would recommend an elimination/provocation diet to see if these foods affect your child. When doing the elimination/provocation diet make sure to eliminate all supplements because some vitamins in the supplements may increase the behavior problems.
What to include:
It's October, so you know what that means? It's breast cancer awareness month and everything is pink to bring awareness to breast cancer. Did you ever wonder how October became breast cancer awareness month?
It all started in 1984 by Zeneca Pharmaceuticals when they came up with the idea to focus on breast cancer. Sounds like a good thing right? But it was really self serving on their part by creating breast cancer awareness month, they were able to influence everything you see regarding breast cancer. This same company sells Tomoxifen, the worlds leading anti-cancer/breast cancer "prevention" drug and they are the people educating you on breast cancer. Maybe this is why we don't really see any information on how to actually prevent cancer...just screen for it and take their pharmaceuticals once we get it is found.
I do think we should have awareness, but the way that it is being done is creating too much fear. If we take the fear out of the picture we might be able to have the clarity to make an informed decision.
It has been said by many gurus in the field of cancer, that "no one has ever died of cancer...they die from the direct effects of the cancer treatment".
Maybe what we need is a change in perspective? Instead of looking at cancer as something you have no control over, take back control. Maybe look at it as a lifesaving effort on the part of your body. Your body is designed to thrive and it will give us many warning signs that something is not in balance. It may start out as a pain and increase until your body is basically yelling at you....listen to me, I need help!
So how do we take the fear out of cancer? Education.
So let's talk about what cancer is. According to conventional medicine, it's a tumor. The measures taken to get rid of this tumor is surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. If you are able to choose surgery. if the tumor is removed successfully, you are considered cancer free. But, if they can't surgically remove the tumor, they radiate you, or give you chemotherapy. But this doesn't get to the real reason why you got that tumor...the underlying cause.
This tumor is full of rogue mutant cells, these cells have escaped the immune systems surveillance and rapidly multiply. These rogue cells don't communicate with other cells, they resist dying and even create their own blood supply so they can take up all the nutrients ingested. And cancer cells thrive on sugar. The tumor itself is not the problem...it's a symptom. It's a wake up call to listen to your body. Your body is now yelling at you that it needs help! Please listen to your body.
There are many reasons why a tumor may form, poor nutrition, poor absorption, toxicity, lack of iodine, lack of vitamin D, hormonal imbalances, mercury poisoning etc. This is where the focus should be placed, not on cutting out the cells and declaring a war.
We live in a toxic world so we need to focus our energy on clean living and nutrient dense foods as a way to survive in it. A lot of the food that we consider food, is NOT food and can pave the way for these rogue cells. Cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment, so food should be your first line of defense.
I don't want people to think I am against conventional medicine. I'm not, they have their place and I think the doctors are truly caring people and trying to save lives, but have somehow forgotten that the body is a whole, complex organism that needs to be dealt with as one.
This is a question I get asked all the time. There are a few things that you can do to ensure your child eats healthy.
Start early. After 12 months of age, your child can eat pretty much anything you do. Introduce leafy greens and the more bitter greens so they acquire a taste for them. It's ok if they don't like them right away.
Keep healthy fruits and vegetables in the house. If they are not there, they cannot be eaten.
Eat fruits and vegetables yourself. Your children will mimic what you do, if you are giving them vegetables, but eating chips. Your children will want the chips.
Don't give up! It takes at least thirteen times of an introduction to a new food for them to decide if they like it.
Offer the healthy foods often, it should be their main source and try your best to stay away from concentrated sweets. If you do offer your little one a sweet treat, make sure it is AFTER they have had their healthy meal.
When your child is old enough, encourage them to help you cook.. I had my children at the counter helping (or watching) as soon as they were old enough to stand. Another approach is to ask your child to pick out one new vegetable at the supermarket and find a new recipe to make for that vegetable.
Let your child explore the new foods and have fun! This is one of the best ways to encourage healthy eating. As long as you are giving your child all healthy foods, they can eat as much of it as they like.
Grow a garden! This is so much fun to do with little ones. They are more inclined to eat vegetables after taking car of them and watching them grow. I started planting a garden because I wanted my little ones to see where their food came from. We still have one!
Don't let the dinner tabel become a battle ground! Keep the atmosphere light and playful with your child.
If your child decides to test you, and they will, have a plan and stick to it. For example: I have a rule, that I am only making one meal. If my children do not like this meal, they don't have to eat it, but they are not getting anything else. I have never had to follow through. They may refuse the meal, take the meal that you have made and put it in the refrigerator for the next time your little one is hungry. This is their meal until it is eaten. I promise they won't starve; they will get the point that their meals are important.
By keeping healthy foods in the house for your child (and yourself) to choose, you will have less of a battle at the dinner table because the child only knows what you supply.
It seems most of us only become aware of the fact that we should protect our bones as we age. The reality is, we should be thinking of building healthy bones for our children while they are still inside the womb. It is more important to protect and build bones when we are young, than to worry about it later in life. Here’s why: we have until the later teen years to build bone density. Bone density is built by consuming nutrient dense foods (leafy green vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts/seeds, sea vegetables and grains). If our children do not reach an optimal peak bone mass, they may wind up with Osteoporosis later in life. Bone loss is a natural part of aging so starting out high is a good thing.
We build bones early in life, and after our mid-thirties bone loss starts. In our fifties bone loss becomes more rapid, and settles down by our sixties. There is good news! Bone loss can be minimized by eating plant foods.
Our bones are meant to last a lifetime and beyond, but today children are breaking bones all the time. Why? Because they are filling up with junk! Many people today have somehow lost the ability to tell food from non-food and wind up eating lifeless food from packages. We need to get back to nature and eat the foods that nature provides us.
But, it’s not just food. Our lifestyle plays an important role. Do you get enough sleep and exercise or drink too much caffeine? Are you under a lot of stress? Are your hormones in balance? Are you digesting your food properly? These are all factors of building bone or breaking them down.
I’m sure you have heard that calcium is good for building bone, but it’s not the only nutrient. There are 21 nutrients including calcium that work synergistically to build bone. Vitamin D and K2 are just as important as calcium because without these two, calcium can’t get into our bones. We have an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency, could this be why so many children are breaking their bones today? Vitamin D is the only vitamin that we can’t get much from food, we need to get it from the sun or take a supplement.
There are many factors to look at when building our bones. I have only touched the surface, but by feeding our children fresh, whole foods we are taking a great first step to building healthy bones that will last them a lifetime!
This Friday we are going to talk about artificial colors.
Artificial Colors - are used in processed foods to give a bright appearance to the food. This can help influence our perception on taste. Manufacturers use artificial colors because they are easier to manufacture and more consistent than natural colors. There is a link between artificial colors and ADD.
The most common artificial colors used contain benzidene which is a known human carcinogen. Many of these were also banned in other countries. Below are the most common used, but anything with a color and a number is artificial. These are clearly labeled on the ingredients list and found in so many items on store shelves like pickles, salad dressing, marshmallows, pie fillings, jelly, juices, vitamins, mouthwash etc.
Again, there are alternatives, you just need to know what not to have on the ingredient list and it's easy to find an alternative!
Natural colors are usually created using beets, spinach, carrots, saffron or turmeric. I have even boiled up cabbage and used the water for a purple color. These colors may not be as bright as the artificial colors but so much better for your health.
Source: The Pantry Principle, Mira Dessy
In my sunscreen post, I talked about sunscreens causing a deficiency in Vitamin D that can lead to diseases. So I wanted to talk about how important vitamin D is to us.
If you haven't heard already, Vitamin D is actually a hormone because it has binding proteins that carries it to target organ which in turn respond to it. But it is called a vitamin nonetheless. It is called the "sunshine vitamin" because that is our best source. There are food sources but they don't compare to the sun. Food sources include: salmon, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, cod, eggs and fortified foods. I wouldn't go with the fortified foods because they are usually highly processed.
We need to get unprotected sun for about 10-15 minutes per day between 10:00 and 2:00 pm during the months mid-March through mid -September (in NJ) to get the benefits. The average amount produced during this time is 15,000 - 20,000 IU's and because it is a natural source when you have had enough sun, the body starts to break down the precursor of vitamin D so you are no longer producing activated vitamin D. This benefit of does not happen when supplementing or using fortified foods. Isn't the body amazing?
A simple blood test from your doctor will tell you if you need to supplement. Conventional recommendations are to have levels between 35-50 ng/ml, but functional medicine says it should be higher - between 50 - 80 ng/ml. The average blood levels when tested are usually below 35 ng/ml.
So, to get back on topic, we are using sunscreen ALL the time and creating an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. This is not good because Vitamin D affects every cell of our body!
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms
What does Vitamin D do?
Have you had your Vitamin D levels tested lately?
The Vitamin D Solution, Michael F. Holick Ph.D,
This week I want to focus on additives. This one word encompasses both intentional and unintentional additives. I am only going to speak of the intentional additives, the unintentional is more disturbing.
Flavorings - these are used to boost the flavor of a product so our taste buds think it is a real food, when in reality it is not. These are usually made in a lab and many are linked to toxicity. A few to look for on your ingredients label:
Preservatives - usually used to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria, to keep food from decomposing or to stop the ripening process. Many increase allergy symptoms, asthma, eczema, migraines and can cause digestive distress. Some are even toxic! If you see abbreviated words like BHA, BHT, EDTA, TBHQ avoid them. The manufacturers are abbreviated them for a reason. Other preservatives to look out for: benzoates, proprionates, nitrates and sulfites.
Emulsifiers - these keep foods from separating, have anti-caking or anti-foaming properties. Some also control the rate of crystallization in a processed food. Some may not appear on the food label at all because it is considered an "incidental food additive" The emulsifiers are usually found in ice cream, yogurts, cakes, salad dressings, pre made cookies etc.
You want to look at your ingredients list for the above offenders, but don't worry, there are natural solutions to all of them and don't seem to carry the toxicity issues of their chemical counterparts.
This is our focus this week, go to your pantry and check your items. By now your pantry should be getting cleaner. The unfortunate thing is, even if you are buying better, cleaner products, some of these still tend to sneak in. Occasionally,when I review my products, I still find an item that slips by. It is something you need to be vigilant on because manufacturers are always making changes!
With the summer in full swing, you are going out in the sun and having fun. But because of some bad media attention, we are afraid to leave our house without sunscreen on. This sets us up for Vitamin D deficiency which in turn, can set us up for disease states which include cancer. The very reason the media has warned us to stay away from the sun!
Before the 80s, you never heard anything about the harmful effects of the sun. I grew up without wearing sunscreen, in fact I can't count the amount of times my shoulders were burned. Ouch! Now burning skin is not good, but getting 15 minutes a day without sunscreen is beneficial!
Some myths surrounding the sun:
So my questions is: Is it the sun that is causing our problems or the sunscreens?
Before sunscreen use, we had very little skin cancers because people were working outside and building up a tan (not burning). Starting in the 1950s, the first sunscreens only protected against UVB rays setting us up 30-40 years later for skin cancer. Now (beginning in the 1990s), there is broad spectrum sunscreens that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
I am not against wearing sunscreens, in fact, you SHOULD wear a broad specturm, after you get your 15 minutes or so of Vitamin D. That said, not all sunscreens are not created equal!
Let's take a look at what is in your typical sunscreen:
If you look at the ingredients in typical sunscreens you will see a host of ingredients you can't even say never mind what they mean! I have talked about the skin absorbing what we put on it, right? So why wouldn't it absorb the chemicals in sunscreen?
What you can do:
As with any other label, read the ingredients. Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide should be the main ingredient. Look for sunscreens with minimal other ingredients and make sure you know what these ingredients are or at least can pronounce them! Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) puts out a list every year that can help you in your search.
A few brands that I like:
California Baby, Badger, 100percent pure, Jason. These can be purchased in most health food stores.
And a more recent discovery, scratch momma. She has a website where she sells products made from scratch, but you can also purchase the products. I purchased her homemade sunscreen made with only a few ingredients and I love it! I'm not sure how water resistant it is, but it should be fine.
Just a quick note on the above products. These are products that I have used and have not reacted to, they also pass my "screening" as cleaner products. There may be others on the market that I have not used that are just as good (clean). I tend to stick with products when I like them, but I do not have any affiliations with any of these companies, I am here to raise awareness. You can take this information and start looking at labels. Do your research and find the best products for you.
Sources: The Vitamin D solution, Michael F Holick; Cosmeticinfo.org