What the food industry put on their packaging can be confusing at best, misleading at worse. They can give consumers a false sense of eating healthy; leading them to eat more processed and packaged foods – which ultimately lead to a slew of health issue that our nation is facing right now.
- Fortified, enriched, added, extra, and plus = nutrients such as minerals and fiber have been removed and vitamins added in processing.
Look for 100% whole-wheat bread, and high-fiber, low-sugar cereals.
- Fruit drink = probably little or no real fruit and a lot of sugar.
Look for products that say "100% Fruit Juice", and consume in moderation. Even better, eat a piece of fruit instead.
- Made with wheat, rye, or multi-grains = have very little whole grain.
Look for the word "whole" before the grain to ensure that you're getting a 100% whole-grain product.
- Natural = the manufacturer started with a natural source, but once it's processed the food may not resemble anything natural.
Look for "100% All Natural" and "No Preservatives.”
- Organically grown, pesticide-free, or no artificial ingredients: Trust only labels that say "Certified Organically Grown” and look for the USDA seal.
- Sugar-free or fat-free: Don't assume the product is low-calorie. The manufacturer compensated with unhealthy ingredients that don't taste very good and, here's the kicker, have no fewer calories than the real thing.
- The term “whole grain” is allowed to be used very loosely. The nutrition value of flour made from whole grain is quite different from when you eat the grain in its entirely – such as when you cook quinoa, brown rice, or millet.
I don't know about you but I can sure tell when my blood sugar starts to fall. First I notice a little bit of hunger, or maybe I don't notice until suddenly that feeling of hunger is overwhelming. Then one of two things happens next: I eat anything that's not nailed down or I become an irritable bundle of Grouch! Even if I can get past that and eventually eat an appropriate meal, my energy is shot for the rest of the day. This is one trigger to avoid if you are serious about your weight loss!
Hypoglycemia – a fancy name for low blood sugar level. Hypoglycemia occurs when:
- Your body's sugar (glucose) is used up too quickly
- Glucose is released into the bloodstream too slowly
- Too much insulin is released into the bloodstream
Although it is most common in people with diabetes, it can happen for healthy people from time to time as well, especially when there is big fluctuation in blood sugar level, or if a person hasn’t eating for a long period of time.
Skipping meals, not eating enough during meal, genetic tendency for low blood sugar and not compensating by adding extra meals or snacks can all contribute to hypoglycemia. High sugar foods or high glycemic foods can trigger an excessive insulin release, suddenly bottoming out blood sugar levels.
There are a few ways to alleviate mood issues caused by hypoglycemia:
Eat meals that are low in glycemic load: substitute refined grains with whole
grains, include a generous amount of vegetables, and a moderate amount of
protein and good fats which can slow down the absorption of carbs.
To keep blood sugar level even, experiment with having 5 – 6 small meals or snacks
a day, instead of 3 big meals. Add protein to every meal or snack.
Avoid ,as much as possible, all processed foods, and anything that contains sugar and
You can avoid this trigger by taking charge of your food plan and your health! Weight loss and maintaining your ideal weight comes down to the choices you make to fuel your healthy, active, and slender body!
To keep your digestive system humming smoothly, there are three main strategies that you can follow:
*Adding probiotics to your diet to build healthy gut flora
*Eat alkalinizing foods to balance your blood pH
Removing toxins from the digestive tract, especially the colon, can facilitate digestion,
absorption, nutrient assimilation and elimination. Detox can double up as an elimination diet, during which you eliminate certain foods from your diet and add them back in after a week or two, one by one, to see if you are allergic to certain foods – some of these sensitivities can irritate and damage intestinal linings, causing leaky gut syndromes or other digestive ailments.
Here are a few examples of cleansing and detox protocols:
[More details can be found in Digestive Wellness by Liz Lipski, p.134 – 138]
Fruits and Vegetable Cleansing
Vitamin C Flush
These protocols should be conducted with the supervision of a wellness professional to ensure safety and efficacy.
At home, you can try carrot and apple juice (aids colon detox), or starting your day with a cup of warm water with juice of half a lemon first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (supports liver).
Healthy Gut Flora
Add foods that are rich in probiotics into your diet, namely cultured and fermented foods, examples include:
Yogurt and kefir
Alkalinizing blood pH
Create an alkaline internal environment – it is particularly great for facilitating elimination:
“Green juice” made from algae, spirulina, leafy greens etc. (You can get them in powder
form in canisters or packets)
Lemon juice in warm water, most effective when taken in the morning on an empty
Fruits and vegetables – besides the alkalinizing properties, the fiber can aid
elimination while the enzyme from raw fruits and vegetables can aid digestion
Did summer mean a few added pounds and a little less attention to your weight loss plan? Summer is nearly over. Did it bring all of the potential weight gain slips that vacations, busy schedules, and changes in your routine can bring? Not to mention the summer parties and neighborhood barbeques!
Take a few moments to think about your busy lifestyle and stay in charge of your food choices. After all, you want more energy for your all of your activites, right?
Avoiding refined sugar is one of the best ways to minimize blood sugar spikes and crashes, which cause a drastic change in energy level. The most effective way to get off sugar is to get to the root cause of your sugar cravings. Here are a few strategies:
1. Eat sweet vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, corn, winter squash, sweet potatoes and onion to satisfy our body’s need for sweet taste (which is normal)
2. Eat meals with low glycemic load to avoid fluctuation in energy and blood sugar level. When we crash, we reach for sugar for quick fixes. Combine whole grains and vegetables (high fiber foods) with a moderate amount of good fats and lean protein.
3. Stay hydrated – thirst is sometimes mistaken as hunger, which leads to cravings.
4. Investigate sugar cravings as a result of nutrient deficiency – e.g. chromium and tryptophan.
5. Nourish your soul – some people crave sweets out of boredom or loneliness.
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Even during the wonderful months of summer, we can get overwhelmed with life's demands. Does it sometimes feel like going on vacation is more stressful than your every day life? The week before leaving on vacation and the week after returning from vacation often undo the quiet relaxation of the vacation itself.
Do you find yourself coming back to your work and your usual routine feeling jangled and on edge? Is that first week back fraught with overwhelm and exhaustion?
Taking care of your nervous system can help you restore and replenish your energy, stay focused without the caffeine jitter, and feel calm and relaxed so that you can get the rest you need when you need it.
Here are 4 approaches to help care for your nervous system for increased energy:
1. Strengthen the nervous system with herbs such as burdock, dandelion, gingko, nettle, oaks and Siberian ginseng.
2. Encourage calm and relaxation with chamomile, valerian, lemon balm and oats.
3. Explore coffee alternatives such as Yerba Mate, green tea, black tea, or Rooibos (African Red Bush) to avoid the caffeine jitter.
4. Calcium has a soothing effect on the nervous system. Eat calcium-rich food for dinner (e.g. leafy greens, bone broth). If you take a calcium supplement, take it with dinner. An alternative is to use a soluble calcium packet in your water and make sure you are fully hydrated with 60-80 ounces of water in your day.
A little self care can make all the difference in your abiltiy to cope with stressors and bounce back from challenges.
Over a quarter of Americans are obese - and with that comes many weight-related health issues. Here are the top 10 reasons why America has become a nation of overweight people - avoid them and you can free yourself from our nation's "fat trap":
1. Too much processed foods – they are cheap and convenient, but they are also full of sodium, sugar, chemicals and empty calories. When your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, it will crave more food.
2. Low intake of fresh, whole foods – they are nutrient dense, and when your body gets the necessary nutrients, you will have fewer cravings.
3. Sedentary lifestyle – many people are taking in more than they burn.
4. Supersized portions – the larger the portion in front of us, the more we eat.
5. Supersized dishware – our plates has become larger and larger. We need more food to fill the plate. Our perception of portion size apparently is affected by the size of the plate.
6. Advertising and marketing – big corporations throw a lot of marketing money on processed foods.
7. Misinformation and disinformation – people are confused what to eat. Unfortunately the labels on processed and packaged foods are not always telling the whole story.
8. Cost of food – processed, mass- produced food, and foods made with subsidized crops are cheaper than fresh produce and other sustainably grown whole foods. High fructose corn syrup is a great example – it is found in a lot of food items we get in the store.
9. Time management – most people are always on the go. They eat while they are doing other things, and this mindless eating often makes people overeat. Many people don’t have time to cook – they depend on fast food, take out, or dining out – most of the time such foods are loaded with fat, sugar, sodium, and hidden calories.
10. Stress – when we are stressed, our body produces the stress hormone cortisol, which packs a triple whammy. Cortisol slows metabolism, affects blood sugar level, increases fat storage, and promotes cravings for fatty, salty and sugary foods.