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The Truth About Sugar Substitutes

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The Truth About Sugar Substitutes

Food Fact Friday! 

Many people are still under the impression that Truvia is Stevia or worse yet, a 'health food'. This couldn't be farther from the truth!  

Today in Food Fact Friday you'll learn two truths about popular sugar substitutes.

First up is Truvia.

Let me shout it from the roof tops: Truvia is NOT a health product!

  • Manufactured by Cargill Chemical Company. 
  • Does not contain Stevia. 
  • Contains Erythritol (a sugar alcohol) which leads to a host of different health problems and contributes to disease. 
  • Erythritol is produced with GMO corn through a hydrogenation process. 
  • Sugar alcohols, such as Erythritol, Xylitol, are disruptive to the oral and gut microbiome. Meaning that sugar alcohols destroy the gut/immune system.  
  • Truvia Baking Blend (different product than Truvia) is: Erythritol, Sugar (GMO sugar beets), Stevia Leaf Extract. 
  • Highly processed (Stevia is a green leaf...how does it turn into a white powder?!).
  • If you have this product in your home, please do your health a favor and toss it out ASAP.

The second one is Agave. 
Also a popular 'health' food but it is not. 

  • Highly processed (again, how does a green plant turn into syrup?)
  • Higher in fructose than HFCS (!!!)
  • bBecause it is so high in fructose it leads to many health problems including diabetes.

I don't recommend agave as a sugar substitute.

The only sweeteners I recommend (and use myself) are 100% pure maple syrup (none of the fake syrup crap please!), organic coconut sugar (try Big Tree Farms), raw (local preferably) honey. Organic applesauce, organic dates, and organic fruits are also great ways to sweeten baked goods. Or if you're on a run, bike ride, physically active, before yoga practice.  Basic rule of thumb: if God made it and man didn't tamper with it, it's good for you. 

This should go without saying, but please don't use white sugar (GMO sugar beets) or the blue/yellow/pink sugar packets. Splenda will destroy your health. 

Does honey have fructose? Yes. But the amazing thing about raw honey (again, not to be confused with conventional, pasteurized, filtered honey) is that the fructose found in honey is metabolized differently by the body. God knows what our body needs! There are many health benefits to raw honey. [see resources below]

If you have Truvia in your kitchen, go throw it out right now. And then take a photo of it in your trashcan and share with me on any of my social networks! 

A few brands that are Sarah Stanley Approved:

Big Tree Farms [coconut sugar]
Really Raw Honey

Resources:

>> http://www.drweil.com/…/…/Whats-Wrong-with-Agave-Nectar.html 
>> http://www.dietitiancassie.com/the-truth-on-truvia/ 
>> http://butterbeliever.com/is-honey-really-healthier-than-s…/ 
>> http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/

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Living An Environmentally Conscious Life

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Living An Environmentally Conscious Life

We are days away from opening the door on 2015 (wasn't it just Y2K?!) and with every passing day we have more challenges and but also more opportunities to make environmentally-conscious choices. The first step to living an environmentally-conscious life is to be connected. How connected are you to what you purchase? Living an environmentally-conscious life requires us to be connected to whatever we are doing. From what we buy to what we eat to how we live, our choices not only impact our earth but also our fellow mankind.

Questions to ask yourself:

- Do I know who made this?

- Do I know how it was made?

- Do I know how far it traveled?

The second step to living an environmentally-conscious life is to be knowledgable. Knowledge is power. And when you are empowered you take action to live a better life. Did you know that chocolate and coffee are two of the top crops that are grown using unfriendly environmental methods (pesticides, endangering rainforests) as well as slave/child labor? Palm oil is another crop that is destroying our precious rainforests. Big Food companies routinely harm our earth as well as our health. Your purchases have power to create change or they have power to keep people sick and harm the environment.

Questions to ask yourself:

- Where does my meat come from? How was it grown, raised?

- Where does my chocolate come from?

- Where does my coffee come from?

The third step to living an environmentally-conscious life is to be aware. When we are aware that our actions and choices are impacting so many things, it forces us to make conscious choices. Are we leaving lights on in the house needlessly? Leaving the TV on in empty rooms? What kind of products are we buying? Can we buy local? Can we get to know our local, organic farmer who doesn't use toxic pesticides and support them?

Questions to ask yourself:

- Can I buy local this Christmas season?

- Can I turn off the TV and go outside for a walk?

- Can I buy products that support my values and ethics?

Learn more about enrollment in Windsource!

Cover photo credit: Najarich

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Xcel Energy. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Beauty Care 101

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Beauty Care 101

“If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.” Did you know that your skin is the largest organ of your body? Your skin absorbs at least 60% of what you slather on it and is absorbed right into your bloodstream. Store shelves are filled with toxic products which includes beauty products. Even many “healthy” people don’t realize what they are putting on their skin. Up to 95% diseases are preventable (NIH) and they are preventable through lifestyle. What you put in your mouth (cigarettes, gum/mints, alcohol, Rx & OTC drugs, artificial ingredients) and what you put on your skin is directly related to either sickness or health. Many people do not bother to read the ingredients on non-edible products and don’t realize they are putting carcinogens right on their skin. Wellness and healthy living is not exclusive to just one thing.

IN THE
IN THE

Wellness is many holistic things: drinking pure, filtered water (not from a plastic bottle), fitness, eating organic food, supporting local organic farmers, massage, chiropractic care, sustainability, making sure our purchases care for the earth, acupuncture and using non-toxic skin care products.  When buying beauty products i.e. shampoo, conditioner, face cleanser, lotion, cosmetics, toothpaste, mouthwash, lip balms/chapstick, baby products, body butter, perfumes, deodorants, tampons, be sure to read the labels carefully. Ingredients to watch out for and to avoid at all cost:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • FD&C Color and Pigments
  • DEA (Diethanolamine)
  • MEA (Monoethanolamine)
  • TEA (Triethanolamine)
  • Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl)
  • Propylene Glycol (PG)
  • Butylene Glycol
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
  • Dioxin
  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
  • Triclosan

Personal products also include tampons and pads. Conventional brands (Tampax, Kotex, Playtex, o.b.) that use toxic ingredients in their tampons include dyes, bleached GMO cotton, synthetic materials such as rayon, polypropylene, plastic. Our friends at Veeda tell us more “pads often contain blends of chlorine-bleached pulp that include dioxin, a substance not only linked to TSS, but also to cancer, endometriosis, immune system depression, infertility and hormone disruption. Dioxin is a carcinogen that settles in fat cells and builds up over time.

Many forget that they are literally what they put in their body!

The average woman uses 12 personal care products a day exposing herself to 168 chemicals such as formaldehyde, phthalates, parabens, that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, hormone disruption.

Here are some Sarah Stanley Approved brands that are good for your health, the planet, and won’t contribute to disease.

Pads/Tampons

OrganycVeedaSeventh Generation

Face Care

Balanced GuruThe Orange Owl

Lips

Eco Lips

Deodorant

Primal Pit Paste (great for men too!)

Shampoo/conditioner

Desert Essence

Toothpaste

Revitin (great for everyone!)

Soap/body wash

Flagstaff Soap Company

----- Cover photo credit: Liga_Eglite

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Make It A Meatless Summer

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Make It A Meatless Summer

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  Summertime is a great time to explore more meatless meals, especially with the abundance of fruits and vegetables in the Farmer’s Market! Over the past few months, I have written several blogs about the many reasons to cutback on eating meat and adopting a plant-based lifestyle.

  1. HEALTH. Meat, especially red and processed meat increases the risk of cancer. A new report on the cancer guidelines suggests cutting back on meat. Eating more whole, plant-based foods not only decreases your risk of chronic diseases like cancer, but it also can increase the amount of fiber and phytochemicals in your diet (My blog on Cancer).
  2. COST. I took a grocery store tour several months ago and decided that I could feed about 60+ people quinoa and lentils for $18.48 vs. a 3.5 pound bag (about 6-9 breasts) of organic chicken at $20- $21. Swapping expensive meat with economical plant-based proteins can help save money and/or increase spending on organic fruits and vegetables! Farmers markets or CSAs are great ways to support your local communities and take advantage of great prices on fresh food! (my blog on myths about protein).
  3. ENVIRONMENT. Livestock and animal products are not sustainable; at least at the rates Americans (and other “developed” countries) eat them. Not only do meat and animal products contribute to green house gases, larger farms have also created astronomical environmental impacts, such as dead zones in the oceans and rivers from manure runoffs. (My blog on stewardship).
  4. INCREASE FOOD PRODUCTION FOR HUMANS TO EAT. Lowering the production of meat and dairy, Round River Farmers in Minnesota discovered that the region of Western Lake Superior would be able to produce enough food to feed the entire community. A Standard American Diet (SAD) would require over 500,000 acres of land and would only produce enough food for 83% of the region. Conversely, a diet lower in meat and dairy would require about 375,000 acres of land and would feed 100% of the region! Shifting towards a plant-based diet would decrease the supply and demand of animal products. means less land needed to grow feed for animals and less land needed to house animals in Factory Farms or land for grazing. Instead of using the land for soy, corn, and animals, the land could be used to grow enough organic fruits and vegetables to meet dietary recommendations for Americans...... because currently, we fail at that. (My blog from the Healthy Lives Conference).

Learning about healthier meatless options and exploring new recipes can be an exciting adventure! Reframe your perspective--- think about it as adding flavor and health to your life!! 

Great plant-based sources of protein: beans (chickpeas, black beans, soybeans, edamame, kidney beans, mung beans…..), lentils, split peas, tofu, nuts, seeds (chia, hemp), quinoa, nutritional yeast, and tempeh!

Here are some meatless-meal ideas to get you started:

1. Swap the Burger for a bean burger or a Portobello mushroom.

Portobello Mushroom and Cashew Cheese Burger

Italian Bean Balls

Black Bean Quinoa Burger

Spicy BBQ Chickpea Burgers

Quarter Pounder Beet Burger

2. Grill  fruits and veggies rather than meat.

Grilled Veggie Kabobs

3. If you don’t have celiac disease, try some homemade seitan!

Seitan ribs

Seitan Negimaki

4. Try a quinoa salad!

Quinoa salad with black bean and mango

Grilled Asparagus and chili orange quinoa spring rolls

Curried Coconut Quinoa

5. Almond or pistachio crusted tofu instead of fish

My pistachio crusted tofu recipe

6. Tempeh instead of chicken

Sweet and Sour Tempeh

 7.  Bean or Lentils for a fiber and protein packed meal

Lentil Tacos

BBQ Chili (my brothers love this one over baked sweet potato fries!)

Lemon dill bean salad

Spicy Lentil Sloppy Joes

Chickpea “tuna” Salad

8. Zucchini "pasta" salad with a peanut sauce

Zucchini noodles with a peanut sauce

9. Sarah and I also dig these Mung Bean and Black Bean pastas. 23-25 grams of protein per serving!

mung beans
mung beans

Super tasty with a peanut sauce, tomato sauce, homemade pesto, cashew "blue cheese" dressing, or homemade salad dressing!

10. Check out my Pinterest Boards or the Meatless Monday Pinterest Board for more Meatless Summer ideas! 

kAD
kAD

In good health,

Kristina

To learn more about plant-based living, find me on Twitter and Facebook!

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Real (Fast) Food

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Real (Fast) Food

Today's fast "food" is not food at all but fast disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, ADHD and ADD, mood disorders, headaches, autoimmune diseases....the list is long. Ingredients can either give you life+health or disease. Read this just released by Food Babe about Taco Bell.  I had fast food today. Yes, you read that correctly! Real, fast, fresh food as in organic raspberries, organic mushrooms, organic avocado, organic garlic, organic bee pollen, organic hemp hearts, organic walnuts, organic apple. And all arranged nicely on a breakable plate!

Each of these real fast foods contains essential nutrients the body needs to fight disease and free radicals. Just another thing Taco Bell, Wendy's, McDonalds, Silver John's, Red Lobster, Chili's, etc is lacking! What they serve will actually age you. It's not a coincidence that people think I'm at least 10 years younger than my current age! Organic real food promotes healthy, youthful skin! Who doesn't want that?! :)

In addition, fast "food" creates trash and pollution. There is a reason I use breakable things like glass. :)

This plate took about 4 minutes to prepare and cost around $9.55. (Keep in mind that I ate this after a morning of training.)

Menu:

Organic avocado ($2.00): anti-inflammatory, essential healthy fat, heart health, fiber, vitamin K, B6, E, C, copper, folate, regulates blood sugar

Organic raw garlic ($0.25): manganese, B6, vitamin C, heart health, selenium, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial

Organic raspberries ($1.50): antioxidant, fights fat cells, fights cancer (we all have cells that can turn to cancer when we eat the wrong things), anti-inflammatory, high in vitamin C, manganese, fiber, omega-3. (note: organic raspberries are higher in antioxidants than toxic pesticide raspberries)

Organic hemp hearts ($1.75): essential fat, protein, omegas, helps heart health, digestion, energy, regulates cholesterol, balances blood sugar, contains all the essential amino acids

Organic walnuts ($0.75): vitamin E, omega-3's, copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, magnesium, protein

Organic bee pollen ($0.80): contains all the essential amino acids, protein, energy, anti-inflammatory, skin enhancer, helps digestion, immune booster, heart health, more about this superfood here.

Organic apple ($1.50): antioxidant, fights cancer, promotes heart health, anti-asthma, vitamin C

Organic mushrooms ($1.00): one of the most beneficial natural medicines, manages weight, vitamin D, boosts immune system, helps those suffering from autoimmune diseases (i.e. RA) and damage from stroke, anti-inflammatory, helps with asthma, antiviral, antibacterial

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When I choose foods to eat I think about the nutritional and health benefits they will provide my body. I think about preventing disease. I think about future generations. Because what I eat today doesn't just impact me it also impacts the next 5-6 generations! I want to leave a healthy inheritance! In addition, I also pick foods that are local (low carbon footprint) and that support local, organic farmers. The foods and nutrition profile I listed above all contain essential nutrients to prevent disease, fantastic blood work, clear skin, energy, etc. There is no nutritional profile with "fast food". It's a wrapper that will give you and generations to come, disease. Now, that's not a very kind thing to do is it? Commit to making real, fast organic food your meals from now on! I know you can do it. :)

Cheers! xo

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Your Easter Candy Guide

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Your Easter Candy Guide

What’s in your Easter basket?

Holidays- Halloween, Valentine’s Day and of course Easter- are synonymous with candy and that means consuming chemicals, toxins and of course ungodly amounts of sugar. There is nothing wrong with having a sweet treat (yay!), but what is wrong is the ingredients IN those Big Food candies. Here are three reasons why most candy & chocolate on the supermarket shelves should not be bought, eaten, given and additionally a guide of what candy and chocolates that you can enjoy every now and then!

 

1) Ingredients 

It’s probably not a surprise that the ingredients in candy are not good for the human body. Made with GMOs, artificial dyes, flavorings, preservatives, hydrogenated oils- what makes up the candy you are eating is more like eating a sweet treat of death! Artificial dyes alone are a known carcinogen (cancer) and have also been linked to tumors and hyperactivity. GMO ingredients have been linked to infertility and reproductive problems, cancer, leukemia, allergies, alters our DNA, immune problems, fast aging- the list is quite appalling and long. GMO ingredients are in 80% of processed food-like products. Another reason to eat real food!

 

2) Unethical 

Many don’t stop to think “how was this made?” when they pick up a bag of Cadbury Eggs or Hershey Kisses. But sadly the majority of the products on commercial supermarket shelves are made with unethical labor and also unethical sourcing of ingredients. Cocoa (chocolate) and coffee are the two most popular crops that are produced with less than desirable ethics. Sustainability is very important and the sustainability of small farms in developing countries is a justice issue that concerns you. Hershey’s is one company that has frequented the news headlines with their use of child labor in harsh conditions. Additionally, Big Food companies routinely participate in land grabs, driving out small farmers, their communities and their way of making a living. So that bag of candy you buy is either keeping people trapped in poverty and unfair conditions or giving them a fair living. it is imperative that chocolate (and coffee) are bought with the fair trade label. Like Fair Trade states “every purchase matters”. Consumers can change the world through what they buy. Our purchases say much about us. What people buy reflects how they live and view life. How can you change what you buy to make a positive, sustainable statement?

3) Sugar

No doubt you know that sugar is addictive and the research that goes along with that. Sugar has also been said to be more addictive than cocaine! The health risks of consuming sugar (artificial sweeteners included) range from obesity (which will then cause heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease), weight gain, headaches and mood disorders. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is not a GMO ingredient but has been linked to a host of health problems. It’s a cheap filler and is many, many Big Food candy and chocolate products. It’s okay to have a sweet treat on occasion but for optimal health, make sugar a rare part of your nutrition.

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If you are thinking “but you just took away my favorite candy!” do not fear! We’ve created a special Ethical Easter Candy Guide just for you (all the links are below). And here are some additional ideas for your Easter baskets:

Gardening:organic seeds, indoor garden kit, shovel, veggie crayons

Cooking: kid size cooking utensils, apron, kids cookbook, herbs

Play+fitness: kites, jump rope, organic cotton socks, pedometer, yoga mat

Easter Candy Guide links: (click to enlarge)

Seed and Bean 

UNREAL

OCHO

Newman's Own Organics

Surf Sweets

Justin's

SunRidge Farms

Torie & Howard

Alter Eco

Have a wonderful Easter and may you experience His love and grace!

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Lotions and Potions: What's Really In Your Skin Care?

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Lotions and Potions: What's Really In Your Skin Care?

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“If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.”

Did you know that your skin is the largest organ of your body? Your skin absorbs at least 60% of what you slather on it and gets absorbed right into your bloodstream. Commercial store shelves are filled with toxic products including beauty products. Even many “healthy” people don’t realize what they are putting on their skin. Up to 95% of diseases are preventable (NIH) and they are preventable through lifestyle. What you put in your mouth (cigarettes, gum/mints, alcohol, Rx & OTC drugs, artificial ingredients) and what you put on your skin is directly related to either sickness or health. Sadly, many people don't bother to read the ingredients on non-edible products and don’t realize they are putting carcinogens right on their skin.

Wellness and healthy living is not exclusive to just one thing. Wellness is many holistic things: drinking pure, filtered water (not from a plastic bottle), fitness, eating organic food, supporting local organic farmers, massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture and using non-toxic skin care products. Here are the top 12 ingredients to look out for when buying beauty products i.e. shampoo, conditioner, face cleanser, lotion, cosmetics, toothpaste, mouthwash, lip balms/chapstick, baby products, body butter, perfumes, deodorants to name a few.

Benzoyl Peroxide Commonly found in acne products, MSDS reports that it is a possible tumor promoter. It can also act as a mutagen, produces DNA in human cells. It’s also toxic by inhalation. Eye, skin and respiratory irritant.

FD&C Color and Pigments This ingredient is used in almost all Big Food food-like products, gum, Altoids and also commercial skin care products. These artificial colors derived from coal tar contain heavy metal salts that absorb directly into the skin, causing skin sensitivity/irritation. Absorbing this can cause depletion of oxygen and even death. Almost all animal studies show that they are carcinogenic.

DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine) A foam booster, it is a skin/eye irritant and causes contact dermatitis. It is quickly absorbed through the skin and collects in body organs and the brain.

Parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl) Used as preservatives and they aren’t always labeled. An ingredient in commercial deodorants and other skin care products. Found in breast cancer tumors. Attributed to sterility in males, hormone imbalance in females and early puberty.

Propylene Glycol (PG), Butylene Glycol Petroleum plastics. The EPA considers PG very toxic it requires gloves, clothing, goggles and disposal by burying. The EPA also warns against skin contact to prevent brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities. PG can be found in beauty products as well as food-like products such as dried blueberries in cereals.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) Found in car washes, engine degreasers, garage floor cleaners, and 90% of personal-care products that foam. Associated dangers: eye damage, skin irritation, depression, trouble breathing, death.

Dioxin Not labeled as an ingredient and found in antibacterial ingredients like triclosan, emulsifiers, PEGs and ethoxylated cleansers like Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Dangers: linked to cancer, reduced immunity, nervous system disorders, miscarriages and birth deformities.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) Produced by ethoxylating Propylene Glycol this chemical is found in cosmetics, beauty care products, baby care products and sunscreen. Possible links to cancers (including breast cancer) and tumors. It’s even found in some natural beauty products.

Sunscreen Chemicals Avobenzone, benzphenone, ethoxycinnamate, PABA are the most common ingredients in sunscreen and are known as free radical carries and reported to damange DNA and lead to cancers. Another topic for another but the sun is not the problem; commericial sunscreens are. See below for safe sunscreens.

DMDM Hydantoin, Urea (Imidazolidinyl) These 2 preservatives release formaldehyde which can cause joint pain, cancer, skin reactions, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness, insomnia.

Phthalates Generally not found on labels because it’s classified as proprietary. It’s used an ingredient to enhance fragrance and/or make it last longer. Used in perfumes, fragrance, hair products, deodorants, body lotions, nail polish. Health concerns: damage to liver & kidneys, birth defects, decreased sperm counts and early breast development in boys & girls, disrupt DNA, cause cancer. Avoid buying products with ingredients labeled ‘fragrance’ or ‘perfume’.

Triclosan This synthetic antibacterial ingredient is found in toothpaste and beauty products. The EPA registers it as a pesticide as it poses health risks to humans and the environment. It’s classified as a chlorophenol and suspected to cause cancer in humans.

Even so-called "natural" beauty products still contain some of the above mentioned ingredients. Beauty products are not regulated. So what lotions and potions are safe? Here are a few Sarah Stanley Approved brands:

approved
approved

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How To Have a Healthy Valentine's Day

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How To Have a Healthy Valentine's Day

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Once a month I get the honor of being a guest on Everyday Health #HealthTalk on Twitter. Today we chatted about how to have a healthy Valentine's Day. Here's the recap (and a few bonus thoughts that just wouldn't fit in 140:))! Eating on Valentine's Day

photo (80)
photo (80)
  • Don’t let a holiday ruin your healthy eating plan! Use it for a chance to cook with real food.
  • Splurging doesn’t mean consuming harmful ingredients like coloring dyes, HFCS, BHT. Choose to eat real ingredients from real food!
  • Having a sweet treat is fine, it’s what kind of sweet treat it is. A cookie made w/ real organic ingredients (organic whole wheat flour, raw honey, Celtic sea salt, grass-fed butter, pastured eggs, cacao nibs) is very different than an oreo that is made in an industrial plant with harmful ingredients that cause diseases.
  • Healthy Valentine’s date ideas: acroyoga, cooking class, cook a made-from-scratch red theme meal (red beets, kidney beans, strawberries, rhubarb, red apples, pomegranate, raspberries, heirloom tomatoes, red onions, red fingerling potatoes).*Make sure they are organic!
  • Make an aphrodisiac food meal at home! Avocado, banana, almonds, raw honey, basil, arugula, figs, and cacao are all aphrodisiacs.

Which chocolate is healthier- dark or white?

  • Answer: Dark chocolate is healthier! It contains antioxidants (helps remove free radicals in body) and flavonoids (for a healthy heart).
  • White chocolate isn’t actually chocolate. It’s just cocoa butter, milk, sugar. No health benefits in that!
  • Cocoa butter is used as an ingredient in chocolate, but straight cocoa butter is not chocolate.
  • When buying chocolate be sure to look for the fair trade and organic logos. Chocolate is routinely produced by slave labor.
  • When buying chocolate be sure to read the label ingredients. Should not contain cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, lecithin/soy lecithin, vanilla, milk fat, artificial flavors.
  • Some brands we recommend are Ritual Chocolate, Righteously Raw, Alter Eco.

Do you know the difference between cacao and cocoa?

  • Cacao is not just a different spelling of cocoa! The two are vastly different.
  • Cacao is raw and contains the essential nutrients whereas cocoa is processed, stripping away all the good stuff.
  • Raw cacao contains iron, magnesium,polyphenols, flavonols, antioxidants, theobromine and omega fatty acids. Three cheers for raw cacao!
  • You can bake with cacao just like cocoa. You may need to adjust the sweetener as cacao is more bitter than cocoa.
  • You can get raw cacao and cacao nibs from Navitas Naturals

If you are single, do you plan any fun, healthy activities with your friends? If married, do you stay in or go out?

  • Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be single awareness day! Invite some other single friends for dinner, meet up at local cold-pressed juice shop.
  • Instead of candy hearts, have conversations with your friends! Invite over to your home for board/card games. Serve red veggies and fruits. Pomegranate Mocktails, anyone?
  • Going out to eat is out, cooking at home is in! Try some new recipes at home. Buy a cookbook and cook recipes from it together.

What are 3 of your heart-healthy, sweat-producing, favorite fitness activities?

  • February is heart month, so why not get active this Valentine’s Day? A healthy heart is a happy heart!
  • Snowshoe, run, rock climb, deep water run, yoga, Pilates, ride a bike, walk...there are plenty of ways to move your body!
  • There are new fitness spaces opening up all the time- many offer a free first class or a special discount for new members. Take advantage of them!

Recipes!

We love to create new recipes! Here are some of our favorites:

Chocolate Bliss Bites

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Popcorn

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Almond Cacao Truffles

Cover photo credit: epSos.de

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Are You Brushing Your Teeth with Cancer?

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Are You Brushing Your Teeth with Cancer?

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Last week we wrote about oral health and oil pulling. (If you don’t know about oil pulling, make sure you read this.) Oral health is just as important as daily sweat fests, eating real food, drinking pure water and thinking positive thoughts. Brushing and flossing our teeth is part* of a healthy oral routine. 

*Nutrition plays a major role in our oral health. In fact, our oral health begins before we're even born! Mothers begin to establish their children's DNA and oral health. Another reason to "eat for health"!  

But have you ever looked at the ingredients at the tube of toothpaste?

If you haven’t, run to your bathroom right now and read the label.

(We'll wait for you.)

Okay, now that you have the box or tube in your hands, read the label. See the ingredients? These ingredients are toxic and some of them are known to cause cancer.

Yup, cancer.

Does putting known toxins and carcinogens into your body sound healthy? No, of course not! When we consume toxins whether it’s through our mouth from things like toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, mints, prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, food-like products or on our skin like lotion, perfumes, colognes, our body absorbs them. And it's causing many health problems.

A quick rundown of the some these ingredients that are found in toothpaste (and a host of other products like anti-bacterial soaps and hand sanitizer, body & face lotion, shampoo, food products to name a few):

Triclosan

This toxic chemical is in antibacterial soaps, dish soaps and hand sanitizers and Colgate still puts in toothpaste. Triclosan is a pesticide and a fungicide. Studies have also shown that triclosan disrupts the endocrine systems of rats -- including thyroid function and production of sperm, testosterone and estrogen. Another startlingly fact? This chemical can be found in the urine of 75% of Americans (CDC) and the EPA has registered triclosan as a dangerous pesticide. And yet people are still ingesting it and wonder why their health is not good. See how wellness is not singular? It’s plural- mind, body, spirit.

What happens when you are exposed to this chemical? It damages the liver, kidneys, heart and lungs, suppress the immune system, and cause hormonal disruption, paralysis, sterility and brain hemorrhages.

If you are sweating daily, eating real food but still having chronic pain and other health issues, look at your toothpaste, soaps, body care products. Your endocrine system controls so much of your wellness (like metabolism for example).

Bottom line: read labels and get rid of anything that contains triclosan. This means no antibacterial soaps, antibacterial hand sanitizer, popular dishwashing detergents, etc. Note: germs aren’t the enemy, deadly chemicals are.

Propylene Glycol (PG)

Another toxic chemical is found in many Big Food products as well as body care products is propylene glycol. This is used in antifreeze, in “blueberries” in some Big Food products, and yes, even toothpaste.

This chemical has been shown to cause allergic reactions in patients with eczema and other skin allergies.

Sodium Fluoride

This is another dangerous chemical. Do you eat rat poison? Before you say “no way!” sodium fluoride is in toothpaste and rat poison. This is why you see the warning label on commercial toothpaste boxes.

But did you know that most popular toothpastes contain enough fluoride to kill a small child within 2 to 4 hours?!

What are the consequences of this chemical? In children and youth, minimal ingestion of sodium fluoride causes salivation, nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, and diarrhea. Large doses of the carcinogen may cause paralysis, muscular weakness and clonic convulsions, followed by respiratory and cardiac failure. Source.

Sodium fluoride is also used in rat and cockroach poisons, and a key component in anesthetic, hypnotic, and psychiatric drugs and sarin nerve gas! Yikes!

Important note: Fluoride has never shown to reduce cavities and scientists link fluoride to dental deformity, arthritis, allergic reactions and about 10,000 unnecessary deaths each year from cancer. And the FDA has never approved fluoride.

Note: kids and pregnant moms should be careful using oral fluoride (toothpaste/mouthwash). Fluoride is useful in preventing tooth decay so using a natural source of mouthwash or adding to the toothpaste recipe below is helpful in preventing cavities. Natural Dentist Healthy Teeth Fluoride Rinse is a good option. Made with quality and safer ingredients (no coloring dyes or alcohol) it will be helpful in keeping teeth cavity free. You could also supplement brushing with a natural toothpaste (although many natural toothpaste at the health food stores do not contain fluoride because of the associated risks). We don't want unwanted trips to the dentist!

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

American College of Toxicity has stated this chemical is corrosive and harmful to skin tissue.

Even more appalling is that the journal of the American College of Toxicology reports that SLS can penetrate and be retained in the eye, brain, heart, and liver with potentially harmful long term effects. This ingredient is also found in most shampoos including "no tears" baby shampoos, SLS can keep children's eyes from developing properly, can cause cataracts in adults, can retard healing, and can impair hair growth. Source.

Other toxic ingredients in popular toothpastes are coloring dyes like FD & C Blue Dyes 1 & 2 is just like ingesting crude oil (petroleum) or coal tar, hydrated silica, parabens to name a few. If you didn’t think toothpaste was toxic before reading this, you do now!

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So now that you are going to throw out your toothpaste RIGHT NOW, what will you brush with? Here is a recipe for toothpaste that I created. Safe, very effective with no death, blindness or cancer as side effects. Before you make this, I also suggest that you begin the healthy ritual of oil pulling every morning upon rising. Read how to do it here.

How to make toothpaste

Ingredients:

½ cup Baking soda

5 drops Tea tree oil (antiseptic, anti-fungal, infection-reducing, antibiotic)

2 tablespoons EVCO (Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral)

1 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt (not table salt) (Celtic Sea Salt contains 82 trace essential minerals for human wellness and longevity)

1-2 tablespoons water

For peppermint toothpaste add

3 drops of organic peppermint extract (fights cavities, fresh breath, reduces stress, whitens teeth)

For cinnamon toothpaste add

½ teaspoon organic ceylon cinnamon (antibacterial, anti-fungal, supports immune system)

Method:

Mix all together in a small glass bowl to form a paste. Adjust water and baking soda amounts as needed.

(I personally add both peppermint and cinnamon as the health benefits from both are fantastic.)

To use:

Simply scoop a little of the paste on your finger and onto toothbrush.

After you brush your teeth, simply rinse with water and then use this mouthwash (making sure not to eat or drink for 30 minutes after rinsing) and rinse well with water. And, of course oil pulling is another healthy oral practice!

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Healthy habit tip: if you aren’t in the habit of reading the label of everything you buy and knowing exactly what that ingredient is, start doing so right now. So much of what is marketed to us is toxic and disease, cancer-promoting. Be an educated consumer!

Cover photo credit: Narin-flicker

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