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The Dirty Dozen Food Additives to Avoid at All Costs

 

 

When you consider the 5,000 additives actually added to food along with the additional 5,000 that leech into food from packaging, we are regularly exposed to 10,000 food additives in the US—the bulk of which have never undergone any safety testing. And, almost none have been tested for the way in which they impact the body in combination. Given these factors, it is difficult to choose the 12 worst food additives to avoid, but here are my selections:

ARTIFICIAL COLORS

Since the medical journal the Lancet first published a study on the effects of artificial colors being linked to hyperactivity, groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest—a consumer advocacy group—has called for a ban on the use of artificial dyes in food. Yellow 5 or tartrazine, is derived from coal tar, and blue dye number 1 and 2 have been linked with cancer in animal tests, while red dye number 3 causes thyroid tumors in rats. Green dye number 3 is linked to bladder cancer, and yellow dye number 6 is linked to tumors of the kidneys and adrenal glands. Check out my blog “The Dark Side of Food Colors.”

ASPARTAME

Not only has aspartame been linked to headaches, according to Lynne Melcome, author of Health Hazards of White Sugar, aspartame’s effects can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy, Epstein-Barr virus, Huntington’s chorea, hypothyroidism, Lou Gehrig’s disease, lyme disease, Meniere’s disease, multiple sclerosis, post-polio syndrome and sensitivity to mercury amalgam fillings. Aspartame is now known as Neotame or NeoTame. It is considered a cancer-causing ingredient that is added to many foods, particularly diet foods. It has also been linked to premature puberty in girls and blood sugar imbalances that lead to obesity.

BHA

BHA is an artificial flavor. It stands for butylated hydroxyanisole and is a suspected carcinogen and hormone disruptor.

CARBOXYMETHYLCELLULOSE

According to research at the Georgia State University Institute for Biomedical Sciences, this emulsifier alters microbes in the gut, which contributes to the risk for colorectal cancer. Dr. Viennois, head of the study identified that a key feature in colorectal cancer is the presence of altered intestinal microbes that create conditions for the tumors to develop.

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HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP

While it is difficult to pin our overweight and obesity problem on just one food additive, high fructose corn syrup would be it. That’s because HFCS has been linked a wide variety of serious health concerns, many of which are linked to weight gain, including: diabetesfatty liver diseasereproductive disorderscancerobesity, cellular energy depletion (adequate cellular energy is essential to all bodily functions), chronic inflammationlearning impairment and high blood pressure and heart disease. Check out my blog “9 Reasons to Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup like the Plague.”

MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE (MSG)

This chemical is a well-established neurotoxin, meaning that it is damaging to the brain and nervous system. Most fast food companies simply list “Spices” in their ingredients as they are not required by law to actually list this harmful ingredient outright. As a result, there is no way of knowing which companies use MSG or not based on their ingredient lists. Because the ingredient is so ubiquitous it is highly likely that most fast food burgers contain MSG. Monosodium glutamate is frequently used in laboratories to create obese animals for testing. Here are two examples of this practice. Additionally, research links MSG consumption to initiating or aggravating fibromyalgia symptoms.

NITRITES AND NITRATES

The World Health Organization classified bacon and other processed meats as “Group 1” carcinogens, along with cigarette smoking and asbestos. Group 1 carcinogens are those that have what the WHO describes as “sufficient evidence” on humans that the consumption of processed meat causes colorectal cancer. The common link between bacon and processed meats are the presence of the preservatives known as nitrites and nitrates.

POTASSIUM BROMATE

It sounds like a harmless mineral, but don’t be fooled: this ingredient is added to most of the commercially-prepared baked goods and breads, including many “freshly-baked” breads available in grocery stores and some bakeries. It has been linked to cancer in animal studies.

POTASSIUM SORBATE

Potassium sorbate has been shown in human studies to be both genotoxic and mutagenic, meaning that it damages our genetic material which can lead to genetic mutations that are linked with disease. It is also a suspected carcinogen.

POLYSORBATE 80

These nanoparticles are associated in animal studies with brain cell death and brain inflammation and have been shown to, not only gain access to the brain, but to deposit themselves in the frontal cortex of the brain. It has been linked to liver damage when used in medications.

SODIUM BENZOATE

The Lancet also found that a commonly-used preservative, sodium benzoate, is linked to hyperactivity in children, suggesting the chemical has neurological effects. Sodium benzoate is known to form benzene in the body in the presence of vitamin C. Benzene has been linked to leukemia.

TERT-BUTYLHYDROQUINONE (TBHQ)

TBHQ is a petroleum-based, butane-like (yes, that’s lighter fluid!) ingredient used as a preservative in vegetable oil used for frying. I think it goes without saying that maybe we shouldn’t be eating lighter-fluid-like chemicals.

Keep in mind that there are many other chemicals to avoid but these are my top picks for the dirty dozen to avoid at all costs.

Keep your eating as clean as possible to avoid an over worked liver and immune system. You will lose weight more efficiently, and be healthier overall. Another reason to buy local and eat clean unprocessed foods!

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HOLIDAY COOKING (and eating)TIPS

 

 

 

Turkey Dinner

Turkey – lean protein, roasted, so no problems here!

Stuffing – make it healthier by using sprouted grain bread (Silver Hills). To make breadcrumbs, simply gradually add pieces of bread to blender. Let sit in open air until dried out. Add seasonings etc as you normally would.

Cranberry Sauce – use ½ the sugar and add stevia to desired sweetness, cutting the carbohydrate content in half!

Gravy – not much fat in turkey juices, but you can skim off any fat that is there. Pour juices in a clear pitcher/container. Fat will rise to the top. Thicken with a mixture of wheat or chickpea flour.

Starch – remember that sweet and white potato, squash and stuffing are all starches, so try to have only 2 choices here. If the stuffing is a must, choose from white or sweet potato and squash.

Vegetables –  try to have as much green as yellow and orange vegetable. You may like carrot, turnip and green beans or broccoli for example.

Dessert –  Do you really need it? This is always a large meal that all are quite adequately stuffed afterwards. If you must, go for a low fat trifle, or a crustless pumpkin flan or pudding. Even easier would be fresh fruit with soft cheese.

 

Leftovers – use leftover turkey wisely by making pot pies, soup, Divan and even saving some for salad. Hot turkey sandwiches on Silver Hills are great as well, but don’t have potatoes as this will double your starch intake!

If you are on a low carb plan: NO stuffing, NO potato or squash, thicken gravy with chickpea flour, or better yet, guar or xanthan gum. have plenty of green veg, cauliflower and/or turnip. Cranberries should be sweetened with stevia, xylitol or erythritol only. You may have extra turkey!

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Health Tips and Tricks!

*Curcumin, the plant chemical that colors turmeric, helps block plaque related blockages in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s. Do like they do in India, use turmeric like salt!

*The presence of a worm (or worm hole) in an apple ensures the lack of pesticides used!

* One tsp of thyme has as much antioxidant as 1/2cup of chopped tomatoes!

*Try this for a natural diuretic: 1 litre water, sliced cucumber, squeeze of lemon juice t taste and some fresh sliced ginger root. Tastes great too!

*According to German researchers, if you drink 16 ounces of cold water 1st thing in the am, you will boost your metabolism by 24% for a full 90 minutes! Why not try it; it’s good for you anyway!

*Your body effectively uses 94% of the protein in a whole egg!

*Red peppers have 9x the beta carotene, 10x the vitamin A and double the vitamin C then green peppers

*Drinking strong green tea within 2 hours after eating helps the break down of fat by 30%!

*Eating sugar at night causes hormones to shift into fat storing mode. Try to stick to protein and dairy of night snacks!

*Dark chocolate, tomatoes, pomegranate and green tea all contain a type of antioxidant that migrates to the upper layers of your skin and boost your resistance to damaging ultraviolet rays

*Consuming 2000mgs or more of vitamin C daily will boost your collagen production and thus cause your skin to age (wrinkle) more slowly

*Studies show that women who consume 2 tsps or more of olive oil per day have a 73% reduced risk of breast disease then women who take in little or no olive oil

*The kind of starch found in bananas (especially slightly green ones) is called resistant starch; it passes through the digestive tract largely undigested, and helps feed the GOOD bacteria in your gut

*Pure natural, raw cocoa is higher on the ORAC (antioxidant) scale then blueberries or blackbeans

*Research says that alcohol combined with artificial sweeteners gets you almost twice as drunk as booze mixed with normal sugar

* Diet sodas confuse our brains into thinking we ate sweets, but when the calories aren’t there to catch up, we crave more and more sweets to satisfy the deficit

*Sugar weakens the skin, causing wrinkles and sagging. Eat less sugar, age slower

*Sweet potatoes have fewer calories, more calcium and more vitamin c then white potatoes, and are loaded with beta carotene

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BUILDING IMMUNITY FOR THE WINTER SEASON

1/ VITAMIN D

If you are not already taking vitamin D, or taking it sporadically, now is the time to get into a daily routine of taking it. Among many other things, vitamin D is a huge immunity builder. We get vitamin d from some seafood, but can not ever eat enough to obtain adequate levels. Our bodies manufacture D from sunlight, another thing we do not get enough of during Canada winters. It must be supplemented.

Vit D is a fat soluable vitamin; meaning it must be ingested with fat in order for our bodies to absorb it. Some brands are sold with D in an oil solution in a gel cap, which allows for absorption. Others are sold as a tablet, which must be taken with food containing fat, or in combination with an omega 3 oil supplement.

Adults need 3-5000 iu’s per day. If you have never taken it, take 5000 iu/day. If you are already a believer and have been in a routine of taking D, take 3000iu/day over the winter.

2/ ZINC

Zinc is a huge factor in keeping our immune systems strong, and aiding in warding off bugs and viruses. Zinc may be obtained from oysters, dark poultry, eggs and seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin. It is wise to supplement for the winter months, as we do not eat enough of these foods to get an adequate supply of zinc, unless you consume an ounce of seeds daily! (see recipe for Snicker Snackers!)

About 15mgs/day for adults is the proper dose. As zinc will deplete copper, you should also take 3mgs of copper every 2nd or 3rd day to ensure you don’t get deficient. NOW brand sells a combination zinc/copper supplement.

3/ VITAMIN C

Vitamin C is huge at keeping our defense system charged for fighting off bugs. Simple ascorbic acid is all you need. Take 2000 mgs/day when you are feeling well. Increase to 5000 mgs/day if you feel the start of a bug affecting you. Try to buy a C with bioflavanoids for increased absorption. NOTE: The only fruit rich enough in Vit C is locally grown, fresh fruit. We cannot get this in the winter in Canada.

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Vitamin D- More then the obvious

We know that vitamin D is crucial for bone health, immunity, weight loss and more…. deficiencies can wreak havoc.

Further studies now conclude that it is beneficial in treating depression and anxiety. Click on the link to be directed to an article by Dr Mercola that will explain this in detail:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/08/21/vitamin-d-depression-dementia.aspx?e_cid=20140821Z1_DNL_art_1&utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20140821Z1&et_cid=DM54156&et_rid=630035275

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BEVERAGES

Coffee and Tea:

In general, caffeinated coffee and tea are not healthy. In moderation (1-2 cups/day) they are just ok. Many people enjoy a good cup of coffee r tea in the morning. Choose a good Fair Trade Organic coffee and you are better off. For tea, Earl Grey ahs the most healthy properties of all the black teas.

Decaffeinated are usually no better, as the chemicals used in the decaffeinating process are as, or more, harmful then the caffeine. The Swiss Water Process of decaffeination is the cleanest. Swiss Water decaf can be purchased at most grocery stores. Herbal teas are naturally decaffeinated, and are your best choice in tea. You can customize your herbal tea purchases to various individual health needs as well; such as herbal diuretic, calming, energizing, even cleansing for specific organs. Green tea has a small amount of caffeine(unless you buy caffeine free, which is fine), and is by far the healthiest tea you can drink. It contains other healthful properties, such as anti-oxidants and metabolism enhancing ingredients! So, try to like it. We have available to us naturally flavored green tea. My personal favorite is peppermint. A nice evening/after dinner tea is naturally caffeine free Chai or Bengall Spice, with a little honey and milk it is flavorful and gives the palate the sensation of dessert!

Water Flavorings:

Mio, Nestea juice flavored crystals, Crystal Lite, flavored waters…to name a few. These ALL contain chemicals that are harmful to us; artificial sweeteners and color (dye). I recommend avoiding them. Flavor your water naturally! Some ideas are fresh mint leaves, cucumber, lemon or lime…

Emergen-C is the exception to water flavorings. It is a powder that contains vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. It comes in a variety of flavors, and is available at most grocery and drug stores, as well as the Bulk Barn. My personal favorites are the lemon-lime and the pink lemonade. The bulk barn sells them individually; an opportunity for you to try a few flavors!

My absolute favorite drink, hot or cold, day or night, is a honey/lemon/ginger drink. Organic dried ginger can be purchased in bulk at the health food store. Put about 1 tsp in a small tea ball. Add this, along with 2 tsp honey (local, unpasteurized) and no more then ¼ c lemon ( I buy organic in the health food section of the grocery store) in a large cup filled with boiled water. This drink is cleansing, calming, anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and very tasty!!

Soda:

Drinking regular pop is like drinking a cup full of sugar, with added chemicals and dyes. It is without a doubt one of the worst things you can consume. Diet sodas are not much better, as they contain artificial sweeteners, as well as dyes. Really, just get off the pop! If you like a bubbly beverage, club soda is fine, as it is simply carbonated water. You can flavor it up with fresh lemon or lime slices, or even a touch of pure pressed cherry or cranberry juice and some stevia(natural sweetener). Zevia is soda pop sold at Sobeys. It is sweetened with stevia. If you find it too sweet, cut it with club soda! Tonic Water is pop, as much sugar as pepsi or sprite.

Juices:

Fruit juice is loaded with calories and fructose (sugar). Fructose is natural fruit sugar, but sugar nonetheless. Sugar, when not burned for energy, gets stored as fat; fructose gets stored the fastest. You are far better off eating whole fruit, adn avoiding fruit juice.

Vegetable juice, as long as it is low sodium, is a good choice. Each ½ cup of vegetable juice is 1 serving of vegetable. You can even buy “high fibre” juices!

Pure pressed cranberry and cherry juice are very concentrated and have no added sugar, so are quite pungent and bitter. They are useful for gout (cherry) and urinary health (cranberry) and also for adding flavor to plain or carbonated water, but they are not calorie free.

Alcohol:

One bottle of beer, one ounce of liquor, five ounces of wine, are all equivalent in calories. It is what you add to them that can make all the difference. Wine is easy, has some healthful properties, and can be diluted with carbonated water to make a spritzer (add ice and lemon too!)

Lite beer is easy, if you like beer, try to drink lite. Most of the imported beer is lite, although it is not labeled as such.

Vodka is versatile; Caesars or Mary’s are tasty and not over the top in calories. It is also good with water (carbonated or not) and lemon or lime. Any alcohol mixed with water and ice is obviously ok.

Liqueurs are OUT. High calorie, loaded with sugar.

PURE WATER, HERBAL TEA, GREEN TEA, HONEY LEMON GINGER DRINK, & SODA WATER ALL COUNT AS PART OF YOUR DAILY WATER INTAKE. ENSURE THAT YOU ARE GETTING ADEQUATE AMOUNTS. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS CANNOT BE OVERSTATED!!

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HONEY

Use honey for all of your sweetening. Do not touch artificial sweeteners or sugar (natural or not). 1 teaspoon of honey is only 15 calories, and full of health benefits. Read on and you will be sold!

When we look at the word “raw”, we associate it with the preservation of important vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Just as raw vegetables are preferable because of their nutritional content, the same is true of honey. Raw honey is honey that has not been heated, pasteurized or processed in any way. The differences between raw and pasteurized honey are substantial. Raw honey is an alkaline-forming food that contains natural vitamins, enzymes, powerful antioxidants and other important natural nutrients. These are the very nutrients that are destroyed during the heating and pasteurization process. In fact, pasteurized honey is equivalent to and just as unhealthy as eating refined sugar.

Raw honey has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It promotes body and digestive health, is a powerful antioxidant, strengthens the immune system, eliminates allergies, and is an excellent remedy for skin wounds and all types of infections. Raw honey’s benefits don’t stop there. Raw honey can also stabilize blood pressure, balance sugar levels, relieve pain, calm nerves, and it has been used to treat ulcers. Raw honey is also an expectorant and anti-inflammatory and has been known to effectively treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma.

Raw honey purchased from a local source is an excellent way of treating seasonal allergies. Local honey is preferred for treating allergies because the likelihood is great that it will contain small amounts of the specific pollens an individual may be allergic to.
Raw Honey is an effective natural remedy for a variety of conditions

For centuries, honey has been used to treat all sorts of ailments. It can be applied topically to heal wounds and rashes, or it can be taken internally to treat infections and address other health concerns. Although there are numerous remedies, the following are popular remedies for common everyday conditions.
For skin burns, rashes, and abrasions, place a honey poultice over the affected area.

Raw honey is also an effective treatment for acne. A small amount placed on blemishes and acne nightly will often clear the skin in a short period of time. Washing your face with honey will also leave you with sparkling, clean, soft skin.

Raw honey’s antibiotic properties are effective in treating colds and sore throats. Raw honey coats the throat and reduces irritation. For blocked sinuses, mix a teaspoon of honey in a pot of hot water, put a towel over your head, and just inhale the steam.

To treat allergies, take a teaspoon of raw honey a couple of times a day starting a few months prior to allergy season.

The many varieties of honey

There are many varieties of honey, some of which are used to treat specific health conditions. Manuka honey has strong anti-bacterial properties and is used to treat a variety of conditions which include colds, sore throats, indigestion, stomach ulcers, and acne.
Acacia honey cleanses the liver, promotes intestinal health, and reduces inflammation in the respiratory tract.
Buckwheat honey, a strong tasting and dark honey, has strong antioxidant properties. Unfortunately, Buckwheat Honey is very scarce, especially in the United States. An alternative would be Red Gum Honey that also has strong antioxidant properties.
Eucalyptus honey can be used to prevent colds and headaches.
Heather honey has been used since ancient times for its medicinal properties. This honey contains a high level of protein.
Linden honey is known for its sedative and antiseptic properties. It is used to treat anxiety, insomnia, colds, coughs, and bronchitis.

WHAT/WHERE TO BUY HONEY ON PEI

Sobeys- Island Gold

Superstore- Presidents Choice Organics Unpasteurized

Island tailored Meats- Island Gold (jars and 5-10 lb pails)

Farm Gate from your friendly neighborhood/country beekeeper! Ask around…Stan Sandler/Murray River, Liquid Gold, Rustico are 2 sources on PEI

N.B. Stevia is a non toxic, zero calorie sweetener that s not bad for you, and may be used when you are eliminating sugar from your diet completely.

How to use honey (other than the obvious J )

  • Apply honey liberally on a wound to speed healing.
  • Apply honey to a rash, burn or scrape, and cover loosely.
  • A tsp taken 3 times per day can help prevent seasonal allergies.
  • A tbsp of raw honey sprinkled with cinnamon taken 3 times per day can boost the immune system and fight off a cold or sore throat.
  • A spoonful of honey can soothe a cough caused by a tickle or sore throat.
  • A couple of tablespoons of honey stirred into hot tea can lessen the symptoms of a cold or flu.
  • Honey mixed with equal parts coconut oil makes a wonderful skin conditioner.
  • Some studies say that honey can help control blood sugar fluctuations.
  • Raw honey increases the production of antioxidants in the bloodstream.
  • Recent studies proved that honey reduced overall cholesterol levels when taken daily.
  • Honey applied topically to a wound or incision moistens the skin and helps prevent or reduce scarring.

 

Recipe: Homemade Cough Syrup

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons, scrubbed and thinly sliced (organic please, or buy the organic juice)
  • 6 tbsp of grated ginger root (grate from frozen on fine side of grater)
  • Honey as needed

Directions

  1. In a glass jar, layer the lemon slices and grated ginger until the jar is full.
  2. Pour honey into the jar, using the blade of a kitchen knife to move the lemon and ginger around and make room for it.
  3. Store it in the fridge for at least 2 weeks before using it.  Then, take 1-2 tsp 3 times per day, as needed, for coughs or sore throats

 

You can also stir a few tablespoons of the syrup into hot water for a homemade “Neo-Citran”-style hot drink without all the nasty chemicals. It is delicious as an evening tea; also great for digestion.

When you feel nauseous, drink this instead of sugar laden ginger ale!!

Lemon juice has valuable liver cleansing benefits, and is alkalizing for the body. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, great for digestion and alkalizing. Consider starting your day with this nutrition packed beverage. You can have your CUP of coffee or tea afterwards!

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