Archive | October 2013

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9 Common Foods That Are Making You Fat and Aging You (and Delicious Replacements!)

spraying pesticide on soy field-shutterstock_117866482

 You’ve heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” But most people consciously would not want to “be” made up of the chemical and synthetically processed chemicals that make up many of the foods they eat. Sadly, certain foods somehow stumble into positions they don’t deserve, positions that place them front and center as health food picks, good on-the-go choices. Some of those foods can make you gain weight and absolutely destroy your skin.

Their detrimental qualities are somehow overlooked. Replace them with Beauty Foods to look and feel your best!

http://kimberlysnyder.net/blog/2013/10/24/9-common-foods-that-are-making-you-fat-and-destroying-your-skin-and-delicious-replacements/#i.16pdtr71amrd

Yogurt

Yogurt gets you from two angles. The dairy itself is difficult for most everyone to digest (remember it’s not human food, it’s made for a baby cow), thereby contributing to potential issues like bloating and acne, and the sugar that’s often paired with the flavored yogurts is highly acidic in the body and take it down to junk food level. Artificial sweeteners in “sugar free” yogurt are no better.

When dairy is digested, it leaves a very acidic residue. Not only can can an overly acidic body detrimentally affect your health, but it can have direct effect it has on your skin. The resulting wrinkles, premature lines, acne, and under-eye circles make it clear that this is no Beauty Food, whether you prefer the flavored stuff or plain Greek yogurt. It’s still all dairy- and dairy was never intended in nature to be consumed by humans.

Sugar is also highly acidic and high in empty calories, so it will cause inflammation in your body and thereby premature aging, as well as weight gain. Artificial sweeteners still have the acidity, but they’ll actually make you eat more and store more fat while you’re at it. Aspartame, for example, increases the release of insulin and leptin, which in turn make your body store more fat. Not only that, but it pushes serotonin levels down and makes it harder to notice when you’re full (you’ll also experience more cravings!). You could still feel hungry even though you’ve eaten.

Yogurt (and all other dairy) is really the biggest disaster of all.

Delicious replacements: Almond yogurt, coconut yogurt, banana “ice cream” from frozen bananas run through the food processor

Whole Wheat Bread/Pasta

Whole wheat has maintained a sparkling reputation over the past few years, but it’s hardly the knight in shining armor carb lovers have been looking for. In fact, it can make you gain weight because the more wheat you eat, the more you want to eat (of everything you shouldn’t have, like refined sugars and carbs). Did you know you can actually get addicted to wheat? It’s possible, so even if you wanted to consume whole wheat products in small quantities, the wheat itself would make it difficult to keep that in check. Most wheat bread and products may also be made up of a high amount of refined and white flours and other fillers, and be dyed to look brown. Sneaky!

Wheat is also commonly associated with inflammation all over the body, allergies (which can make your skin look dull, splotchy, or red). Not to mention, some products that say “whole wheat” on the label actually contain sub-par ingredients, like enriched flour, that drain your Beauty Energy because they need to be digested, but are nutrient-free.

Delicious replacements: Quinoa (or quinoa pasta), amaranth, millet, or gluten-free bread

Protein Bars

protein barsUgh! It bugs me that I see so many people everywhere eating these processed foods as if they were good for them. First, they’re popular because of the protein crazegoing on today, but they’re also chock-full of things you really shouldn’t need to be putting into your body. They are not whole foods. Let me say it again, processed protein bars are not whole foods!!

If you’re not very careful, you’ll be consuming whey (a dairy protein) or soy (highly GMO, contaminated with pesticides),artificial sweeteners, peanuts or peanut butter, polyunsaturated vegetable oils  and tons of other sub-par ingredients and fillers.

Delicious replacements: Power Protein Smoothie with vegan protein powder, or a handful of nuts or seeds.

Trail Mix

Trail mix you make yourself is fine as long as you’re choosing dried fruits without added sugar and raw nuts that aren’t covered in salt. It’s when you pick it up in the grocery or convenience store that it begins to veer into not-so-healthy territory. Milk chocolate chips, candy, peanuts, salt, and sugar.

Delicious replacement: Trail mix you make at home so you can control the ingredients. Use items like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, a few organic golden raisins, etc.

Veggie Chips

Veggie chips may have started out as vegetables, but they’re far, far away from that natural source by the time they’re chips you can buy at the store. They’re essentially mostly all vegetable oils, and potato and/or corn flours. And refined salt!

Delicious replacement: Kale chips made at home with very little oil and some nutritional yeast, raw veggies and hummus (to get the crunch the chips provide)

Smoothies You Didn’t Make at Home

smoothie barUnless you’re getting your smoothie from a place that uses all organic, fresh ingredients (like Glow Bio, which is 100% organic and all our recipes are perfectly food combined!), your chances of getting something that’s actually healthy are slim to none. Smoothie shops often load up their beverages with sugar, chemicals, powders, and dairy. For example, one 20 oz. smoothie at Smoothie King designed to build up your immune system contains a total of 380 calories, 77 grams of sugar, and 57 grams of sodium, and is made up of ingredients such as refined turbinado sugar and soy protein.

Jamba Juice and Planet Smoothie have options that probably sounds innocent enough if you judge it by what most people think is healthy–peanut butter, strawberries, bananas, lowfat milk, vanilla, and yogurt–but with that one, you could be taking in aflatoxins from the peanuts, pesticides from the strawberries, and all (all!) of the downsides that come from yogurt and milk.

And definitely don’t reach for Naked or other shelved smoothies- which are often made of an itty bit of powdered green powder and fruit puree, and pasteurized. Save your money and go for real foods!

Delicious replacement: Whole fruits, Glowing Green Smoothie, protein smoothies made with vegan protein powder and greens

Soy Milk

Feet on scalesMost of the soy products in the US are GMO and heavily sprayed with pesticides, but too much soy itself can contribute to trouble with digestion and assimilation of proteins, damage your thyroid, and the phytoestrogens in it can disrupt the endocrine system (which wreaks havoc on your hormones). Hormone trouble alone can cause you to break out and gain weight, and depressed thyroid function can also cause dry skin, unexplained weight gain, and a puffy appearance to the face.

The toxins (pesticides) in soy encourage the body to hold onto fat. Fat cells expand in order to house the toxins and acidic waste so they’ll stay away from your organs. However, because these toxins are still being stored in your body, you’ll age faster and have more trouble losing weight. Beauty Detox helps you get rid of those toxins, acidic waste, and other chemicals so the excess fat can disappear and you can look younger.

Organic soy milk is always a better option than any type of dairy milk, so if it is a choice go for that. Occasionally it isn’t the absolute worst, but go for the much better choices below, which are far better to stock at home and consume on a regular basis.

Delicious replacement: Almond milk, coconut milk, or hemp milk

Granola Bars

Granola bars have a reputation as a great health food when you’re on the go or looking for a light snack or meal replacement, but they can actually be full of sugar and sodium. They may also contain peanuts, which tend to harbor mold and fungus, along with highly processed ingredients, like puffed rice, chocolate chips (which are different from cacao), syrup, oil, GMO soy, and rolled oats.

Delicious replacement: Trail mix you make at home, a bowl of oat groats or at least steel cut oats if you typically grab a granola bar for breakfast, whole fruit, a square of dark chocolate if you’re using granola bars to tackle your craving for something sweet, or a bar that hasn’t gone through a lot of processing (Some flavors of Lara Bars are decent, or a DIY version with dates, dried fruit of your choice, and nuts blended in the food processor)

Sushi

sushi roll ricePotential contamination issues related to the fish aside, sushi’s not as good of a choice as people seem to think it is. The rice is often mixed with refined sugar, and many rolls contain deep-fried tempura, the potential for cream cheese and fatty sauces with mayonnaise, and the pairing of a protein with a starch (which results in less than optimal digestion, bloating, gas, and discomfort), etc. Bad news all around. It’s possible that the only healthy thing there is the seaweed wrap.

Delicious replacement: If you want to have the fish, pair it with steamed vegetables instead of rice and all the other sauces that come with sushi. You can also order veggie rolls with no mayo, and some places will even make brown rice sushi rolls.  You make your own sushi (sans-fish) at home with a Beauty Grain (quinoa works great!), some sheets of nori, a little avocado, and your choice of thinly sliced vegetables.

Are you surprised that some of the most common health advice and some of the foods generally accepted as “healthy” really aren’t that healthy for you at all? By making actualhealthy replacements in your diet, you’ll see weight fall off and your skin will begin to glow.

10 TOP BLOOD TESTS TO TAKE FOR YOUR BEST

HEALTH

WEDNESDAY OCT 23, 2013 | BY  | No Comments

Blood Tests

What should you look for when getting your blood tested? 

A blood test can tell you a lot about your health. In fact, nearly two-thirds of the data for accurate diagnosis and health management is in your blood, and this data is important not only for treating disease, but for overall health and wellness.

So which blood tests are critical for you to take? We gathered the evidence here to help you plan for your doctor visits in the coming year.

Blood Tests and Desirable Results

Though we’re talking about a number of lab tests here, these can all be done off one simple blood draw. In other words, you need take only one actual blood test, and then just ask the doctor to be sure the laboratory technicians check the following levels.

  1. Lipids: These are the fats in your body. Measuring the lipids in your blood tells you cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which both have an impact on the health of your heart. You need to fast before this test for about twelve hours. Results total cholesterol: Low risk: < 200 mg/dL. (Desirable is 150 or less.) Borderline high: 200-239 mg/dL. High: >240 mg/dL. Results LDL “bad” cholesterol: Low risk: < 100 mg/dL. (Optimal is < 79.) Near optimal: 100-129 mg/dL. Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL. High: 160-189 mg/dL. Very high: > 190 mg/dL. Results HDL cholesterol: Poor: < 40 mg/dL (men), < 50 mg/dL (women). Better: 50-59 mg/dL. Best: 60 mg/dL and above. Results triglycerides: Desirable: < 100 mg/dL. (Optimal is < 50.) Borderline high: 150-199 mg/dL. High: 200-499 mg/dL. Very high: > 500 mg/dL.
  2. C-reactive protein (CRP): This is a measure of the inflammation in your body. Recent studies have found that inflammation is key to the progression of many diseases, including coronary artery disease, infection, inflammatory arthritis, lupus, and pelvic inflammatory disease. The test won’t tell you what’s causing the inflammation—only reveal the presence of inflammation in the body.Results: Low risk: < 1.0 mg/L. Average risk: 1.0–3.0 mg/L. High risk: > 3.0 mg/L.
  3. Fibrinogen: This is an important contributor to blood clotting, but if levels are high, it can indicate inflammation. High levels can also point to potential heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and kidney inflammation. Results: Normal: 193-423 mg/dL. Optimal: 295-369 mg/dL.
  4. Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP): This measures the status of your kidneys, liver and ecotrolyte and acid/base balance, as well as all of your blood sugar and blood proteins. It’s a quick snapshot of your body’s chemical balance and metabolism. Results show levels of your sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, carbon dioxide, glucose, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, protein, albumin, bilirubin, and liver enzymes. Normal results: Normal levels are as follows. Albumin: 3.9-5.0 g/dL. Alkaline phosphatase: 44-147 IU/L. ALT: 8-37 IU/L. AST: 10-34 IU/L. BUN (blood urea nitrogen): 7-20 mg/dL. Calcium: 8.5-10.9 mg/dL. Chloride: 96-106 mmol/L. CO2: 20-29 mmol/L. Creatinine: 0.8-1.4 mg/dL. Glucose: 100 mg/dL. Potassium: 3.7-5.2 mEq/L. Sodium: 136-144 mEq/L. Bilirubin: 0.2-1.9 mg/dL. Protein: 6.3-7.9 g/dL.
  5. Complete blood cell count (CBC): This measures your concentration of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets in the blood. This helps the doctor check for things like anemia, infection, and other potential health problems behind symptoms like fatigue, weakness, and bruising. It can also indicate the presence of blood cancers. Normal results: Red blood cells: 4.32-5.72 trillion cells/L (men), 3.90-5.03 trillion cells/L (women). Hemoglobin: 13.5-17.5 grams/dL (men), 12.0-15.5 grams/dL (women). Hematocrit: 38.8-50.0 percent (men), 34.9-44.5 percent (women). White blood cells: 3.5-10.5 billion cells/L. Platelets: 150-450 billion/L.
  6. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH): This is the test that checks the function of your thyroid, and how well it’s doing at producing hormones. The results can help a doctor diagnose hypothyroidism (where the thyroid is underperforming), which can cause symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, constipation, and hair loss. It can also illuminate hyperthyroidism (where the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone), which can cause heart and bone problems. Normal levels: 0.4-4.0 mlU/L. Desirable: 3.5 mlU/L or less.
  7. Hemoglobin A1C: This test is used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes, or to gauge how we’ll you’re managing your disease. It shows your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. More specifically, it measures what percentage of your hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen) is coated with sugar. The higher your A1C level, the higher your risk of diabetes. Results: Normal: 4.8-5.6 percent. Prediabetes: 5.7-6.4 percent. Diabetes: > 6.4 percent.
  8. Vitamin D: This test is specifically important as you get older, as a deficiency in vitamin D can increase your risk of osteoporosis. Results: Best: > 39-74 ng/mL. (Optimal 60-80.)
  9. Homocysteine: This test measures the level of the amino acid homocysteine in the blood. It helps identify deficiencies in vitamin B12 or folic acid. High levels can indicate risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Results: Best: < 7.0 umol/L. (Optimal is < 6.0.) Normal: 4.3-15.3 umol/L (men), 3.3-11.6 umol/L (women).
  10. PSA test: This test can indicate high levels of PSA (prostate specific antigen) in the blood, which can indicate the presence of cancer cells, a benign enlargement of the prostate gland, an infection of the prostate glance, or inflammation. A high level does not mean you have prostate cancer, but can be an indicator of overall prostate health. Checking for changes from year to year is best.Results: Best: 1.0-4.0 ng/mL. (Read more on Dr. Williams’ post, “How About a National Campaign on Prostate Health?”)

For more detailed information on blood testing and to find out what diet, supplements, and lifestyle changes are right for you, see our Blood Test Blueprint.

Have you taken these blood tests? Did you discover health problems as a result? Please share your story.

Colleen M. Story

COLLEEN M. STORY

Colleen M. Story, a northwest-based writer, editor, and ghostwriter, has been creating non-fiction materials for individuals, corporations, and commercial magazines for over 15 years. Her specialty is in the health and wellness field, where she writes and ghostwrites books, e-books, blogs, magazine articles, web copy, newsletters, research-based projects and more.

Colleen is a self-described health nut, and understands from experience that “junk” foods and lack of sleep lead to fuzzy thinking, which isn’t helpful when facing project deadlines! She enjoys interviewing top scientific researchers, alternative medicine gurus, and cancer survivors from all over the nation who have overcome great challenges to find new purpose and vitality in life. In telling their stories and sharing their insights, she feels a sense of belonging in a wider community of individuals who seek to experience life in the most vibrant way possible.

Colleen’s fiction writing has won numerous awards, with her pieces appearing in Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother’s Soul, the Arizona Literary Magazine, Country Extra, and more. She lives in Idaho where she enjoys teaching French horn students, taking walks with her German Shepherd, and watching for moose, wolves, and swans, all of which stop by now and then.www.colleenmstory.com

Science Confirms Turmeric As Effective As 14 Drugs!

Science Finds Ancient Spice Turmeric As Effective As 14 Drugs

Turmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today.  Its medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies.  In fact, our five-year long research project on this sacred plant has revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects. This entire database of 1,585 ncbi-hyperlinked turmeric abstracts can be downloaded as a PDF at our Downloadable Turmeric Document page, and acquired either as a retail item or with 200 GMI-tokens, for those of you who are already are members and receive them automatically each month.

Given the sheer density of research performed on this remarkable spice, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including:

  • Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication): A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from Turmeric compared favorably to the drug atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) on endothelial dysfunction, the underlying pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, in association with reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients. [i]  [For addition curcumin and ‘high cholesterol’ research – 8 abstracts]
  • Corticosteroids (steroid medications): A 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the primary polyphenol in turmeric, the saffron colored pigment known as curcumin, compared favorably to steroids in the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease.[ii]  A 2008 study published in Critical Care Medicine found that curcumin compared favorably to the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone in the animal model as an alternative therapy for protecting lung transplantation-associated injury by down-regulating inflammatory genes.[iii] An earlier 2003 study published in Cancer Letters found the same drug also compared favorably to dexamethasone in a lung ischaemia-repurfusion injury model.[iv]  [for additional curcumin and inflammation research – 52 abstracts]
  • Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine  (antidepressants): A 2011 study published in the journalActa Poloniae Pharmaceutica found that curcumin compared favorably to both drugs in reducing depressive behavior in an animal model.[v] [for additional curcumin and depression research – 5 abstracts]
  • Aspirin (blood thinner): A 1986 in vitro and ex vivo study published in the journalArzneimittelforschung found that curcumin has anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects compared to aspirin, indicating it may have value in patients prone to vascular thrombosis and requiring anti-arthritis therapy.[vi]  [for additional curcumin and anti-platelet research]
  • Anti-inflammatory Drugs: A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) were effective alternatives to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and tamoxifen in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells.[vii][for additional curcumin and anti-proliferative research – 15 abstracts]
  • Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug): A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that curcumin compares favorably with oxaliplatin as an antiproliferative agenet in colorectal cell lines.[viii] [for additional curcumin and colorectal cancer research – 52 abstracts]
  • Metformin (diabetes drug): A 2009 study published in the journal Biochemitry and Biophysical Research Community explored how curcumin might be valuable in treating diabetes, finding that it activates AMPK (which increases glucose uptake) and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression  (which suppresses glucose production in the liver) in hepatoma cells. Interestingly, they found curcumin to be 500 times to 100,000 times (in the form known as tetrahydrocurcuminoids(THC)) more potent than metformin in activating AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). [ix]