January 24, 2017

5 Reasons You Need Aquafaba In Your Life Right Now!

Cooking with Chickpea Liquid is A New Trend You’ll Love

by Jeff Saunders

After 7,500 years lurking in salads… or mashed into a spread for pita, the chickpea has finally revealed its unique power. This power sets it apart from the rest of its family of legumes. It’s the liquid —chickpea water–called aquafaba. Just 3 tablespoons of this golden chickpea liquid is all it takes to outperform 1 mighty egg.

You can count on this nutrient-dense food to deliver if you want to:

  • Get stronger
  • Boost your immune system
  • Think faster
  • Detoxify
  • Lose inches around your waist

Just a few simple changes, like adding aquafaba into your diet, can help you:

  • Put that youthful glow back in your complexion
  • Thicken your hair, and bring back the shine again
  • Get out of bed without feeling stiff or achy
  • Put your clothes on without feeling bloated
  • Go for a walk without running out of breath

But to fully understand this awesome discovery in all its glory, you have to ask yourself…

Who’s in your Village?

We all have a drive to survive. The survival of our ancestral tribes depended largely on the wisdom and strength of its members. This meant having a great deal of trust and faith in one another. In modern times, we interpret this to mean following the doctor’s orders to swallow prescription drugs when we’re sick. These drugs are supposed to improve our quality of life, thus, perpetuating our survival.

After all, don’t modern conveniences like prescription medications and frozen dinners save us time and add quality to our busy lives? Of course the answer is a resounding “NO.” But we eat processed and packaged food anyway, because of their convenience. Sure we know about red dye #7, the additives, preservatives, and sugars they shove in to make them more appealing.

But I’m going to introduce you to a different tribe… a village of folks who understand the importance of excellent health in a way that may shock you… but in the end, you’re going to thank me.

First let me explain something

You see…

Numbers Don’t Lie

With science, data trumps human intuition. Science demonstrates that things aren’t always as they appear. For example, research reveals that chronic illness is directly related to the type and amount of food you consume.

The numbers also indicate that 9 out of 10 people with a chronic illness will die from the drug treatments they receive rather than from the disease itself.

A significant study in Finland revealed that changing to a plant-based diet was effective in:

  • Lowering plasma cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure levels
  • Improving cardiovascular health

This study showed that heart disease is not inevitable and that the disease’s roots are lifestyle related. But trying to halt the progression of cardiovascular disease with medications such as antilipids and hypotensive drugs is ineffective. You could say…

The Proof is in the Pudding

Enter the golden chickpea liquid.

The chickpea, and its liquid called aquafaba, contains saponins that provide long-lasting soft peaks for mousses and meringues. But the true power lies in their ability to react with cholesterol in blood plasma. Saponins prevent cholesterol from being absorbed into your blood. As a result, they lower your risk of coronary artery disease.

And saponins can kill cancerous tumor cells by deactivating the nucleus. Phytochemicals like these are powerful antioxidants that protect us from environmental pollutants in the air we breathe and the foods we eat. Without them we are as vulnerable as our planet is without the ozone layer.

For some time we have known that certain plants have saponins that foam up when mixed with water. Plants like soapwort and Yucca root produce a rich lather used in soaps, shampoos and other detergents. But this class of plants is also known for their potential toxicity and bitter taste. Making meringue out of their phytochemicals would be a bitter experience. Further studies on a wide range of edible plants revealed phytochemicals with powerful health benefits that had foaming properties and were mild tasting.

This opened the floodgate to trial and error. Health-conscious culinary enthusiasts began their quest to find a more organic approach to preparing our favorite foods. We needed taste. We craved texture. And we love the aromas that captivate our senses.

In short, we needed the perfect plant-based way to high-peaking meringue, thick soups and gravy and with the binding power of gluten—but without the gluten.

We needed all this without the slimy, lumpy, hydrogenated tastes and textures associated with the byproducts from protein isolates in egg whites and egg replacers.

And let me tell you…

When “Word of Mouth” teams up with the World Wide Web amazing things unfold

After nearly 4 decades, the quest to find a plant-based egg replacement came to pass in February 2015 with a thread of serendipity and a dash of insight. The news was intercepted from a woman in Indianapolis who mentioned to her husband that she had seen an interesting blog about cooking without eggs on www.revolutionvegetale.com written by Joel Roessel, a freelance surgeon from France.

As fate would have it, the news landed in the hands of Mr. Goose Wohlt, an American software engineer, vegan, and author of Goose’s Vegan Cookery (no foul jokes, please). Thus, he began to harness the power of this perfectly “saponified” chickpea. He found that when soaked and cooked in water, chickpeas release a golden broth that will emulsify, stabilize, fluff, aerate and hydrate. This golden broth does this all while delivering a health shield of key nutrients and phytochemicals that reduce your risk of chronic disease.

The chickpea accomplishes all this in the form of pure decadence. Whether you have a sensitive constitution or a slight penchant for food with culinary flare, you will be stunned by its versatility. The almighty unassuming chickpea became the winner at surpassing the egg white and all of its culinary potential.

In our world of meatless, meat-looking substitutes…

How Does a Veggie Blog Create Bliss Among Vegetarians?

science-of-making-aquafaba_chickpea-liquidSo glad you asked!

Within a month, a virtual community was born of a single blog. There are now 50,000 contributing members in this Facebook group, Vegan Meringues – Hits and Misses!

You see, our inherent desire to feel connected to others fuels this movement. It’s the perfect opportunity to be part of an exciting journey that satisfies on 2 distinct levels:

  1. Our need to belong and connect with people and possibly cultures around the world.
  2. A person’s desire to be healthier and move away from animal proteins and the gristle and fat and meat-born illnesses that come from them.

By joining in you’ll see what usually interesting and always healthy concoctions people are cooking up in faraway places, such as France, Wales, Australia, Ethiopia, and Denmark.

In these exclusive groups, you can try the recipes, give your feedback, ask questions, test new ideas and get feedback from others.

I call it a “living laboratory” that’s in the midst of researching and developing a paradigm shift that offers the hope of happiness and awareness to safeguard us from chronic illness.

Join me now and…

Watch the Chickpea Liquid Transform… and Perform its Magic

There are 3 reactions involved in this process:

  • The whipping unfolds the proteins.
  • They then bend to form new bonds trapping air bubbles in the process.
  • Dissolved starch holds the bubbles together and saponins act as an emulsifier, like fruit cocktail suspended in Jello.

Three crucial steps:

  1. Drain a can of room temperature chickpeas, retaining the bean liquid, or aquafaba. Heat and reduce the aquafaba. Simmering removes excess water and creates a thick foam when mixing.
  1. In a bowl (we used a Kitchen Aid, but any mixer will do), mix aquafaba on med/low to trap the most air bubbles and yield the highest peaks, making it light and fluffy. You’ll see!
  1. Don’t forget the potassium bitartrate (cream of tartar). It preserves its shape during the cooking process. Keep the temperature to 120F or less. Otherwise, it will quickly shrink like a deflating bounce house. Initially, it’s pretty cool to see, but the rest is anticlimactic.

Now we’re ready for the good stuff…

Kick it up a Notch with Mousse

vegan-chocolate-mousseVegan Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup aquafaba (room temp)
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 tbsp. coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 oz. dark chocolate

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate carefully so it doesn’t burn. Remove it from the heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, start mixing the aquafaba and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. (5-15 min)
  3. Add coconut sugar and vanilla and whisk for another minute.
  4. Drizzle in chocolate and gently fold into meringue.
  5. Pour into glasses and chill for 4 hours.
  6. Garnish as desired.

Chickpea Chocolate Ganache Cake

Ingredients:

  • perfect-vegan-dessert-chickpea-chocolate-ganache-cake2 tbsp. flax meal
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 6 tbsp. aquafaba
  • ½ cup rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Line pan with parchment paper.
  3. In small bowl combine aquafaba and flax meal; allow 5 minutes to thicken.
  4. In a separate bowl combine almond milk and vinegar cup coconut sugar mix and allow to curdle.
  5. In a large bowl, combine coconut sugar, rice flour, cacao powder, baking soda and salt.
  6. Add aquafaba mixture and almond milk mixture to dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
  7. Bake for 30-40 minutes until toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Go to gretchensbakery.com for a rich delicious Vegan Swiss Buttercream Recipe.

The Health Benefits of One Piece of Cake

Imagine a piece of moist dark chocolate cake filled with creamy ganache and topped with a light and airy mousse.

Go on… take a bite. It’s sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with fresh blueberries. You just took in 50% of your daily dietary fiber and lowered your cholesterol with every bite!

It’s a rich taste that nourishes your body by delivering nutrient-dense food for long lasting energy too…

Observe:

  • The selenium prevents inflammation and improves liver function.
  • Folate repairs DNA and prevents cancer cells from forming.
  • Choline helps you sleep, repair and build muscle tissue, improve memory by speeding up neurotransmission. Choline also helps the cell membrane with the absorption of fats and reduces inflammation.
  • B6 helps regulate hormonal function, which helps you feel happy, repairs kidney function and helps alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome and more.
  • Manganese will create enzymes needed to build and maintain healthy bones, lowering your risk of osteoporosis, as well as increasing your metabolism, so you can stay lean.
  • Potassium enhances electrolyte function, necessary to keep all organ systems working together.
  • It rehydrates your body while replenishing your calcium channels, helping your muscles to contract, sharpening your thinking by speeding up neuro transmission and keeping your hormones in check.
  • You will supply your body with essential amino acids that you need to build muscle, and speed up your metabolism.

But wait… there’s MORE!

Need Mayonnaise?  Make Some Fabanaise.

vegan-fabanaiseCheck out Sir Kensington’s mayo recipe! What’s the allure of veganism? If you don’t believe your eyes then just listen to your taste buds!

Fabanaise Phase 1

Mix these ingredients together in an immersion blender:

  • ¼ cup aquafaba
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dry mustard

Fabanaise Phase 2

  1. While blending, slowly drizzle ¾ cup of sunflower oil in a thin stream.
  2. Blend at high speed for 3-4 minutes.
  3. As it emulsifies it will thicken.
  4. Stop blending when it reaches the consistency of mayonnaise.

Voila! You have fabanaise!

As we’ve observed in Home Cures That Work on many occasions…

Hippocrates once said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food…”

If the “Big Idea” behind food is that we eat to feel good, then living in a culture that goes to great lengths in manipulating nature’s simplest is a double-edged sword.

Adding chemicals, enriching products by removing live grains, and adding corn syrup exhausts our insulin supplies, saps our energy, and leads to chronic health disorders.

It’s no wonder we can get confused about what and what not to eat and why we have to take probiotics and enzymes and fiber capsules if we want wellbeing.

No matter where we are in our lifespan, knowledge is strength and power. And that knowledge is best acquired in joining a number of like-minded folks.

Check out Aquafaba.com and see the staggering numbers of bloggers across the globe helping each other shift old habits, adopt new ones, and share ideas so we can break free from the dangerous mindset that food is food… and it doesn’t matter what we eat.

As I said, this is a real-time research and development, a living laboratory of epic consequence for our lives. It’s fueled by enthusiasm, care, empathy, and was set up to nurture our very heart and soul. It shines as an example that the interconnectedness of humanity can work just as it did for the survival of our ancestral tribes… and it can all start with a simple chickpea. Delicious, versatile, and nutritious… packed with good Karma.

 

Hunting for vegan recipes? Check out these pulses, perfect for busy weeknights. And if you’re into aquafaba but still want to get your healthy fats, check out the avocado recipes and nut milks to help you out.

 

 

Sources:
New World Encyclopedia.org Chickpea
Nutrition.UCDavis.edu/Phytochemicals
Food Chemistry vol 7, issue 1, July 1981,19-40
Food Research International
www.organicfacts.net/healthbenefits
www.nutritiondata.self.com
Daily Values for Food Labels, courtesy of FDA
Aquafaba nutrition analysis courtesy Aquafaba.com
Facebook.com Vegan meringue
RevolutionVegetale.com
Cooking NewYork Times.com
Todays Dietician, vol 14No 12, Pg 32-50
Cancer: fighting cancer with what you eat, Nematian, Elika, Nutrition 411, Oct 2013
WHO (World  Health Organization), programs and projects .1 The global burden of chronic Disease
Lipschhitz, David. Breaking the Rules of Ageing. Lifeline Press, 2002.
American Journal of Epidemiology Copyright © 2001 by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health All rights reserved 854 Vol. 154, No. 9 Printed in U.S.A. Performance of Comorbidity Scores Schneeweiss et al. Performance of Comorbidity Scores to Control for Confounding in Epidemiologic Studies using Claims Data Sebastian Schneeweiss,1,2 John D. Seeger,2 Malcolm Maclure,2,3 Philip S. Wang,1,2 Jerry Avorn,1 and Robert J. Glynn1,4 Comorbidity is an important confounder in epidemiologic studies. The authors compared the predictive performance of comorbidity scores for use in epidemiologic research with administrative databases.
The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 2012 Feb;46(2):169-75. doi: 10.1345/aph.1P592. Epub 2012 Jan 17.
Adverse drug reaction deaths reported in United States vital statistics, 1999-2006.
Shepherd G1, Mohorn P, Yacoub K, May DW.
Recipes
www.crazyvegankitchen.com
www.mycocosugar.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Everyone Should Eat More Avocados

by Jessica Thiefels

They’re creamy, they’re fatty, and the best part: they’re good for you.

Avocados are a naturally nutrient-dense food and contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. They are a great source of vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and potassium. They also provide lutein, beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids. Avocados can act as a “nutrient booster” by helping increase the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like Vitamins A, D, K and E.

Health professionals have known for a long time that avocados fit within a balanced diet, but their naturally high fat content may have you wondering whether they are in fact healthy.

Luckily, that high fat content, along with a variety of other attributes, make avocados a great food to consume regularly. Here’s the proof that you need, along with a few fun recipes, to buy a few avocados on your next trip to the grocery store.

Types of Avocados

Avocados come in many shapes and sizes, the most common of which is the Hass.

Different varieties are best for different uses:

  • Hass is a creamy, nutty-flavored avocado that has become the standard by which most Americans now judge avocados.
  • Gwen is slightly larger than the Hass, but shares many of the same texture and taste qualities. However, it has a slightly smoky flavor, somewhat akin to that of chipotle chiles. It has a silky flesh and is delicious on its own or spread on bread like butter.
  • The Pinkerton has a longer, thinner “neck” and high oil content. It also has a richer, fuller flavor than the Hass. Unlike a Hass avocado, the Pinkerton skin does not turn black when ripe!
  • The Reed has firmer flesh, making it better for cutting. Its flesh has a good quality with a nutty taste. All you need is a sprinkle of sea salt and a spoon to scoop out its creamy goodness.

The Benefits of Avocado

These days, the avocado has become an incredibly popular food among health conscious individuals. It is often referred to as a superfood… which is not surprising given its health properties.

1. High Fat Content

Yes, this is a benefit. Fat is necessary for the body. Fat helps protect organs, keep your body warm, increase energy, and support cell growth. In fact, fat provides more ATP (energy) for your body than proteins or carbohydrates.

In fact, 75%-80% of the calories in avocados come from fat. The bulk of these fats are healthy and what your body needs more of. More than two-thirds of the fats found in avocados are monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fat helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood, reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke. Fear not the fat in avocados!

2. Naturally Sodium and Cholesterol Free

It seems as though these two things—sodium and cholesterol—are a constant topic of conversation in the health world, and for good reason: high levels of sodium can be found in even the healthiest foods, like nut butter or pre-made soup. But avocados are sodium-free.

Avocados contain cholesterol-smashing beta-sitosterol that reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food. The combination of beta-sitosterol and monounsaturated fat makes the avocado an excellent cholesterol buster.

Swap your peanut butter for avocado on your toast one day a week to reduce sodium intake. Top your toast with tomato slices or salt and pepper for a bigger flavor punch and even more healthy nutrients.

3. High Potassium Levels

Potassium is a crucial nutrient, playing key roles in muscle strength, nerve function and heart health. And if you don’t get enough—4,700 mg a day—it could lead to a deficiency, complete with fatigue, muscle cramps, heart palpitations and dizzy spells.

The banana has been king of potassium for a long time, but not anymore. A single avocado has 975 milligrams of potassium, while a large banana offers 487 milligrams. Even if you only eat half an avocado, you’re still getting the equivalent potassium of a whole banana. Avocados offer a good way to give your body a different, and significant, source of potassium.

4. High Protein Levels

Avocados are technically a fruit. But as such, they have the highest protein content of any fruit—4 grams. In comparison to chicken or fish, this may be a small amount of protein per serving. But avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult to digest, the body readily absorbs avocado protein because it contains fiber.

Protein is a critical macronutrient for repairing muscles and helping you focus, among other things. Thus, getting a little protein with every meal and snack is important. For a protein-packed breakfast, make a smoothie made from avocado, blueberries and sunflower seeds.

As with anything, it’s important to eat avocados in moderation. While they have a variety of amazing health benefits, they are high in calories. Stick with a 1/2-avocado serving size to reap the benefits without loading on the calories.

It’s time to start thinking of avocados as a regular diet supplement. Get them into your daily diet in salads, on sandwiches or just plain guacamole. Here are a few ways you can get more avocados in your diet.

Deconstructed Guacamole

Deconstructed GuacamoleServes 5-10 people

Ingredients:

  • 5 small avocados
  • 2 medium-sized roma tomatoes, chopped small
  • 1 red onion, chopped small
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup black beans
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice (add more as needed)

Directions:

  1. Cut all avocados in half and remove seed.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, gently mix all other ingredients together.
  3. Situate avocados on a tray, and fill seed holes with the tomato mixture.

Creamy Asparagus Soup

Serves 2-4 people

Adapted from CookEatPaleo.com.

Creamy Asparagus SoupIngredients:

  • 6 large bunches of asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups broth (chicken, vegetable)
  • 1 medium-ripe avocado, cubed
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prep asparagus, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and minced garlic, and place on a sheet pan.
  2. Roast at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Blend finished asparagus with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Add water or more broth if needed, and heat over stove before serving.

Farro Salad With Avocado Dressing

Serves 1

Farro Salad With Avocado DressingFarro salad ingredients:

  • 1 cup farro
  • 3 cups broth or water
  • 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, cumin
  • 3 cups kale, ripped into large pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas

Dressing ingredients:

  • 1/4 medium avocado
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Add raw farro to 3 cups water or broth adding half the salt and pepper, and all of the cumin. Cook uncovered, over medium heat for 30 minutes.
  2. While that cooks, add kale to a sauté pan, toss with olive oil and the rest of the salt and pepper, cooking until kale leaves have wilted.
  3. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas. Remove when tomatoes have blistered slightly.
  4. Put all dressing ingredients into a food process and blend until smooth.
  5. Add 1 cup of cooked farro to a bowl or plate, top with the kale mixture, and drizzle with the creamy dressing.

Avocado is not only good for you, but has seemingly endless applications in the kitchen. Try a few of these recipes and experiment to see where avocados fit into your daily diet. With extra protein, healthy fat and plenty of potassium, you’ll love these little creamy treasures of nature.

If you like this article, then you’ll love these:

 

Jessica Thief's v2

Jessica Thiefels is the head trainer and owner of HonestBodyFitness. When she’s not teaching group classes or working one-on-one with clients, she’s writing and marketing for various businesses. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram

Metabolic Syndrome: A Recipe for Disaster

It’s a recipe that no one chooses; yet so many people have all the right ingredients. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of risk factors that, when combined, have the potential for deadly consequences. Plainly put, if you have metabolic syndrome, you are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke!

Below is the list of conditions that can make up metabolic syndrome:

  • Central or abdominal obesity (measuredby waist circumference):
    • Men – 40 inches or above
    • Women – 35 inches or above
  • Triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 milligrams per deciliter of blood
  • HDL cholesterol:
    • Men – Less than 40 mg/dL
    • Women – Less than 50 mg/dL
  • Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85
  • Fasting glucose greater than or equal to 100

Having 3 or more of these conditions constitutes metabolic syndrome. Together, they greatly increase your risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Even diabetes

However, you can avoid these conditions by following a proper diet. Dramatically reducing your risk for these top three health problems can be as simple as changing what you eat.

Breaking Down the Big Mac

breaking down the big mac ingredientsWith today’s modern diet, it’s no wonder that more than 1 in 3 Americans have metabolic syndrome! Having this deadly combination of risk factors was far less common 30-40 years ago.

Processed and fast foods now dominate the food market. Health has taken a back seat to convenience in this shift in food culture. Buying pre-cooked meals from a drive-thru is far more convenient than going home to cook meals from scratch. These meals may seem inexpensive, but they truly come with a price. And that price can be the loss of your health or even your life!

Have you ever taken the time to read the ingredient list for the fast foods you eat? What about the boxed or canned items you pick up at the grocery store? Most people look at the calories or fat content, but don’t take the time to read any further to find out what the actual ingredients are.

I’ve probably said it hundreds of times by now, but it’s worth repeating. One of the easiest ways to transition to a healthy diet is to follow the rule: “If you can’t pronounce it, then don’t eat it.”

Fast foods and other processed foods are packed full of ingredients that aren’t food at all! The artificial flavorings, preservatives, and artificial colors masked as ingredients are not fit for human consumption.

Each artificial food additive has the potential to cause metabolic syndrome. The toxins in artificial ingredients encourage unnatural processes in the body, which lead to:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • And much more

All together, a packaged food product creates a package for chronic disease. Click to Tweet.

Just to get an idea of the plethora of artificial ingredients contained in fast foods, let’s take a look at the ingredients in a Big Mac.

The Bun

McDonald’s Big Mac Bun Ingredients:

Enriched Flour (Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup and/or Sugar, Yeast, Soybean Oil and/or Canola Oil, Contains 2% or Less: Salt, Wheat Gluten, Calcium Sulfate, Calcium Carbonate, Ammonium Sulfate, Ammonium Chloride, Dough Conditioners (May Contain One or More of: Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, DATEM, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Mono and Diglycerides, Ethoxylated Monoglycerides, Monocalcium Phosphate, Enzymes, Guar Gum, Calcium Peroxide), Sorbic Acid, Calcium Propionate and/or Sodium Propionate (Preservatives), Soy Lecithin, Sesame Seed.

I’m not sure about you, but I struggle to pronounce at least half of the bun’s ingredients. If this seems to be an unnecessarily long list of ingredients for a couple of pieces of bread, then you’re right! I can hardly refer to many of these ingredients as “food” as they are far from natural or providing your body with any form of nutrition.

Bread should only consist of about 4 or 5 ingredients. Instead, these buns have over 20 ingredients! The added chemicals condition the dough and more importantly preserve the buns so they can sit on the shelves for months at a time. Some of the most dangerous ingredients include:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup: Causes metabolic disturbances that can lead to obesity, high triglycerides, diabetes, cancer and more!
  • Soybean Oil/Canola Oil: Increases cholesterol, hormone disturbances, and auto-immune disorders http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18648182
  • Mono and Diglycerides and Ethoxylated Monoglycerides: These are technically trans-fats, although the government doesn’t require that they be labeled as such. Trans-fats raise bad LDL cholesterol, lower the good HDL cholesterol and raise triglycerides.
  • Azodicarbonamide: This ingredient is also found in yoga mats and other rubber and plastic products. It is a delicious (note the sarcasm) bleaching agent and a known carcinogen. It can also cause respiratory issues, immunity decline, and lowered hormone production.

High fructose corn syrup and canola oil sound tempting? Those ingredients are two of the best serial killers in the world! They get away with murder, causing an epidemic of obesity and seeing a nation struggling with heart disease and diabetes. So why do they put it in? Because it’s addictive and makes your body crave more!

The Cheese

McDonald’s Big Mac Cheese Ingredients:

Milk, Cream, Water, Cheese Culture, Sodium Citrate, Contains 2% or Less of: Salt, Citric Acid, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Lactic Acid, Acetic Acid, Enzymes, Sodium Pyrophosphate, Natural Flavor (Dairy Source), Color Added, Soy Lecithin (Added for Slice Separation).

Though not near as lengthy as the bun, the cheese still contains preservatives and unnecessary ingredients that don’t belong in the human body. The advantage of this processed cheese is longer shelf life and product uniformity. These features make such products convenient for the consumer, but the presence of artificial ingredients introduces certain health risks, like damage to the kidneys.

The substitutes used for making natural cheese are artificial and may trigger allergic reactions and cause diarrhea. The added color has been shown to promote tumor growth in the adrenal glands and kidneys in animal studies.

The Sauce

McDonald’s Big Mac Sauce Ingredients:

Soybean Oil, Pickle Relish (Diced Pickles, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar, Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate [Preservative], Spice Extractives, Polysorbate 80), Distilled Vinegar, Water, Egg Yolks, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Onion Powder, Mustard Seed, Salt, Spices, Propylene Glycol Alginate, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Mustard Bran, Sugar, Garlic Powder, Vegetable Protein (Hydrolyzed Corn, Soy and Wheat), Caramel Color, Extractives of Paprika, Soy Lecithin, Turmeric (Color), Calcium Disodium EDTA (Protect Flavor).

If you look closely, you can spot a few “real” ingredients intermixed with the many chemicals that make up the Big Mac Sauce. However, the bulk of the “special sauce” isn’t that special at all! Two of the harmful ingredients contained in the bun, soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup, also make up the base of the sauce. The other artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives can cause autoimmune issues, allergies, and even cancer.

Is the sauce a culinary masterpiece? Not by any stretch of the imagination!

The Meat

McDonald’s Big Mac Meat Ingredients:

100% Pure USDA Inspected Beef; No Fillers, No Extenders.

Prepared with Grill Seasoning (Salt, Black Pepper).

In 2011, McDonald’s vowed to stop using the ammonia treated pink slime in their meat products. Though this is a huge step in the right direction, they still continue to purchase their beef from large corporate beef factories. The condition of these factories is beyond comprehension. Thousands of cattle are shoved into lots, side by side with little room to move and the ground is covered in manure.

These cows are then pumped full of antibiotics to survive the horribly contaminated conditions. This leads to the possibility of being exposed to antibiotic resistant microbes through the meat. Then, they aren’t just given feed; they are given feed alternatives to promote weight gain. Although the beef patty is comprised of 100% beef, there is much more there than meets the eye!

The Pickles

McDonald’s Big Mac Pickle Ingredients:

Cucumbers, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Salt, Calcium Chloride, Alum, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Natural Flavors (Plant Source), Polysorbate 80, Extractives of Turmeric (Color).

Sadly, even the Big Mac’s pickles aren’t safe. How can a food this simple and traditionally healthy like pickles end up being so harmful for your health? Just read through this ingredient list and you’ll find much more than just cucumbers, salt, and vinegar!

These ingredients found in a Big Mac are not uncommon in other fast foods. Let’s not forget the fries and the drink! Most people combine their burger with French fries and a soda, adding even more fuel to the fire of poor health. Needless to say, if your diet consists of burgers and super-size sodas, your meals may be cheap, but it is also excessively high in grains, sugars, and factory-farmed meats. This is a recipe for metabolic syndrome, a condition that commonly befalls those who consume the Standard American Diet.

Eating fast food leads to all 5 of the conditions of metabolic syndrome:

  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • And high triglycerides

It may sound extreme, but skipping the drive thru and going home to prepare a meal, or even packing your lunch, can be the difference between life and death! Healthy eating is actually far easier than most people think.

Sweet Deceit

Avoiding fast foods and processed foods is definitely a top priority when it comes to regaining your health. However, there is one additional change that is necessary for eradicating metabolic syndrome. Eliminating this risky food from your diet may seem difficult at first. But, the decision will add years to your life and literally transform your body!

This treacherous food is: SUGAR! Everyone loves the taste of sugar! But trust me, the health consequences aren’t worth its sweet taste!

Sugar causes metabolic syndrome by:

  • Creating hyperglycemia, which leads to insulin resistance and then to diabetes!
  • Causing weight gain, specifically in the high-risk area of the abdomen. This is a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Raising triglycerides, which ultimately leads to heart disease.

Simply put, metabolic syndrome originates by consuming too much sugar and simple carbohydrates! Though white sugar is the most common culprit, “sugar” comes in other forms, as well. For instance, processed and refined grains act just like white sugar in the body! Instead of eating white flour and white sugar include these foods into your diet:

Whole Grains: Quinoa, oatmeal, and brown rice are great sources.

Fruits and Vegetables: These contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are important in preventing metabolic syndrome.

Natural Sweeteners: Stevia and xylitol and great substitutes for baking or sweetening drinks.

A great rule of thumb is to always make sure grains are the smallest portion on your plate at mealtime. Instead, fill the majority of your plate with vegetables and lean meat. This will keep your blood sugar balanced, encourage weight loss, and keep your triglycerides down!

Powerful Metabolic Syndrome Risk Reducing Foods

There are 3 specific foods that have the innate capacity to lower your risk of metabolic syndrome. These foods have unique properties that work like natural medicine inside the human body! Incorporating these foods into a nutritious balanced diet can be the breakthrough you need to get your health on track and avoid metabolic syndrome!

Cinnamon

If there were a miracle food for metabolic syndrome, then it would definitely be cinnamon. Cinnamon contains a group of flavonoids called Type A procyanidins, which mimic insulin in the body. These flavonoids function like insulin by aiding in transporting glucose into our cells and by helping to synthesize glycogen. This makes cinnamon a powerful weapon against insulin resistance and diabetes. It’s effects are so powerful, in fact, that if you use insulin or another blood sugar medication, you’ll need to monitor your doses closely in order to avoid having too low of blood sugar. Cinnamon also naturally enhances the effects of insulin medications in the body.

But, that’s not all! Cinnamon is also beneficial for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, two other risk factors for metabolic syndrome. It naturally lowers the bad LDL cholesterol in the body that can lead to atherosclerosis. It also was found in studies to lower systolic blood pressure. Cinnamon can be added to your morning coffee and incorporated into delicious baked goods like the cinnamon roll recipe below![1]

grapefruit benefitsGrapefruit

It seems as though the creator of the old “Grapefruit Diet” was on the right track. Recent studies have shown that grapefruit has the capacity to:

  • Lower blood glucose levels
  • Promote weight loss
  • Lower cholesterol

Grapefruit contains a specific antioxidant called naringenin, which aids the liver in breaking down fats. In turn, the liver can better process LDL cholesterol, reducing the chances of atherosclerosis. Naringenin also promotes fat metabolism instead of fat storage and naturally lowers insulin sensitivity. In studies, those who ate half of a grapefruit before meals experienced significant weight loss compared to the group who did not eat grapefruit! Talk about a fat-burning food! Try eating a half of a grapefruit at least twice a day before meals to benefit from its wonderful qualities.

Coconut Oil

Many people are fearful of fats and oils because they believe they cause weight gain and high cholesterol. The truth is it fat doesn’t cause these issues; it’s sugar. Cutting out sugar and incorporating healthy fats like coconut oil into your diet actually stimulates weight loss!

Coconut oil is rich in healthy medium chain fatty acids. These fatty acids promote the increase of healthy HDL cholesterol, which in turn naturally lowers health damaging LDL cholesterol.

Coconut oil also boosts the metabolism and is very effective at reducing abdominal fat that is typical of metabolic syndrome.

In a recent study, both men and women with abdominal obesity saw a significant reduction in waist circumference in just a few weeks by consuming just one ounce of coconut oil a day!

Coconut oil also helps stabilize blood sugar in the body, preventing insulin sensitivity. A study conducted in 2009 at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia by Dr. Nigel Turner and Associate Professor Jiming Ye demonstrated that a diet rich in coconut oil protects against ‘insulin resistance’ in muscle and fat.4 A diet rich in coconut oil, which is high in medium chain fatty acids, also prevents the accumulation of body fat caused by other high fat diets of similar calorie content. These findings are important because obesity and insulin resistance are major factors leading to the development of metabolic syndrome.[2]

It is very easy to incorporate coconut oil into your daily diet. You can sauté your food in it, add it to baked goods instead of butter, or add it to your morning coffee! Just one ounce a day is enough to reap its health promoting benefits!

Recipes for Health

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love a warm cinnamon bun. There’s even an entire food chain, Cinnabon, based around this delicious baked good! However, cinnamon buns are the furthest thing from “good for you.” They are loaded with refined carbohydrates and sugar, which will send your blood sugar sky high and widen your waistline.

Below is a healthy, grain free, low carb cinnamon bun that you can whip up in just a few minutes! These cinnamon buns contain both cinnamon and coconut oil, which are important in preventing metabolic syndrome.

Grain Free Cinnamon Bun in a Mug

grain free cinnamon bun in a mugIngredients:

  • 2 tbsp. coconut flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Dash salt
  • Dash nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. almond milk (unsweetened) or organic milk
  • 1 ½ tbsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for the icing:

  • 1 tbsp. coconut butter or organic butter
  • 1 tbsp. almond milk (unsweetened) or organic milk
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice

Instructions:

Mix all of the cinnamon cake ingredients in a coffee mug, mixing in the baking powder last. Microwave for 2 minutes. Mix all of the icing ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over the hot mug cake. Enjoy!

spiced grapefruit ciderI personally enjoy warm, nourishing drinks in the cold winter months. This grapefruit cider is a twist on hot apple cider. It contains both the benefits of grapefruit and cinnamon, making it great for stabilizing blood sugar and aiding in weight loss. This drink is a snap to make and is even a great option for holiday parties!

Spiced Grapefruit Cider

  • 2 cups ruby red grapefruit juice (squeezed from 2 grapefruits)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries

In a medium pot, combine juice, honey, cinnamon, allspice, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat; strain and discard solids. Serve warm in a mug.

Having the risk factors for metabolic syndrome may be a recipe for disaster, but now you know the recipe for good health! This recipe involves avoiding the drive thru, cutting out refined carbohydrates and sugar, and incorporating foods like cinnamon, grapefruit, and coconut oil into your daily diet. Making these beneficial changes to your diet can propel you towards health and away from disease. Avoid metabolic syndrome and it’s deadly outcomes by transforming your health and, in turn, transforming your future.

 

If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:

 

 

Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

References:
Preuss HG, Richard B, Polansky MM, Anderson R. Whole cinnamon and aqueous extracts ameliorate sucrose-induced blood pressure elevations in spontaneously hypertensive rats. J Am Coll Nutr. 2006 Apr;25(2):144-50.
Kochikuzhyil BM, Devi K, Fattepur SR. “Effect of saturated fatty acid-rich dietary vegetable oils on lipid profile, antioxidant enzymes and glucose tolerance in diabetic rats.” Indian J Pharmacol. 2010 Jun;42(3):142-5.

The Important Functions of Cholesterol

by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

For this article, I conducted a short survey with some of my patients. I asked, “What is cholesterol?” The following answers come from a college-educated woman:

  • “Bad fats.”
  • “Clogs up your veins.”
  • “You have to eat healthy to not get it.”
  • “You get it from trans-fats.”
  • “Bad for your heart.”

Actually, cholesterol isn’t a fat, nor does it come from eating fat. In fact, every cell in the body makes cholesterol. Cells engage in a long process and use their energy to create cholesterol from triglycerides (oils). If we eat more cholesterol, our cells make less. If it were bad, why would our cells be making it?

Cholesterol is a different kind of lipid that is essential to the functioning of cells. All animal cells make cholesterol, since it is vital to every cell membrane.

The fat we eat has very little cholesterol in it. However, all animal products contain some cholesterol. Plants don’t make cholesterol; they make something similar called phytosterols.

Important functions of cholesterol include:

  • Synthesizes vitamin D – important for calcium regulation and immune function
  • Produces Co-Q10 – re-energizes your cells
  • A precursor to testosterone – keeps your strength, stamina and muscle mass up
  • A precursor to progesterone – important for brain function, as well as regulation of menses in women
  • A precursor to estrogen – allows a woman to do all the functions of females
  • Derives adrenal hormones (cortisol, aldosterone) – regulates metabolism, immune function, minerals, and many other processes
  • Produces bile – aids in the absorption of oils, fats, and vitamins A, D, E, and K
  • Forms myelin – A sheath that protects nerve conduction like the plastic around an electrical wire
  • Regulates cell signaling – the ability of the cells to receive signals from hormones and proteins

Besides that, cholesterol is essential for keeping the cell membranes stable. Cholesterol decreases the fluidity of the cell membrane to get nutrients into the cells and keep toxins out.

This cholesterol functions like your skin. If you didn’t have the protein, keratin, in your skin, then it would tear easily and not be able to protect your body from invasion by germs or toxins. Cholesterol is that important for the integrity of every one of your cells. You cannot make any cells, or keep them alive, without cholesterol.

Lack of Cholesterol Dangers

Dangers of low cholesterolWhen people don’t have enough cholesterol, the production of hormones, energy, cells, and immunity go down as well. A cholesterol deficiency produces:

  • Early aging – Cells cannot reproduce when they lack cholesterol
  • Immune dysfunction – This includes frequent infections and hypersensitivity reactions, such as allergies. (The instability of immune cell membranes causes the excessive release of chemical granules that cause a reaction.)
  • Brain dysfunction – Nerve cells require cholesterol to conduct and generate an impulse. For example, multiple sclerosis shows areas where there is a lack of myelin in the brain.
  • Depression and anxiety – Without sufficient cholesterol, serotonin doesn’t bind to its receptor.
  • Muscle fatigue/pain/cramps/cell death- Mitochondria require cholesterol to make energy from lipids. Without enough energy, the muscle cell fatigues easily, cramps, and dies.
  • Hepatitis – Without cholesterol, the liver cannot produce energy. Moreover, the fluid cell membranes comprise the cell. Liver cells cannot get rid of toxins efficiently so they may build up.
  • Low testosterone – Many men may worry about low testosterone. They may not realize that medications that lower cholesterol also lower testosterone.

Dangers of Statin Side-Effects

Compare the cholesterol deficiency list to the side-effect profile of a “STATIN,” or a drug that lowers cholesterol. This is taken directly from the package insert:

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Better Cholesterol With Butter?

 by Amanda Box

As a natural health practitioner, I get asked all sorts of questions about what I eat.

  • Are you a vegan?
  • Do you eat only raw foods?
  • Are you gluten-free?

However, nothing shocks people more than when I confess my favorite and most consumed food: BUTTER.

By now, I’m used to the gasps and the questioning looks I receive upon my confession. I’ve been given speeches about how it is going to clog my arteries or cause me to gain weight. But my favorite response has got to be, “You’re young; it is going to catch up with you some day!”

I wholeheartedly disagree. I don’t fear butter, or most fats for that matter. My family line is plagued with heart disease, strokes, and high blood pressure. Yet I refuse to change my butter-loving ways. That is because I know something that most people don’t.

Eating saturated fat does not raise your cholesterol, nor does not contribute to heart disease!

The low-fat revolution is a BIG FAT LIE!

Before you stop reading because you think I’ve completely lost my mind, I urge you to give me a chance to explain myself. I know doctors tell you differently, but I want to invite you to join me in debunking the myth that saturated fat is bad.

Read on and by the time you’re finished with this article, you may be tossing out your low-fat foods and replacing them with their full-fat counterparts!

Hydrogenated Oils

Saturated fats have long been demonized as the heart clogging “bad” fat. The famed “heart healthy diet” is typically low in fat and does not allow any unsaturated fat.

It prohibits animal-based fats like butter, meat, and whole milk products. Tropical oils like coconut oil are also a saturated fat and considered to be heart clogging. Instead, the “heart healthy diet” replaces naturally sourced fat with man made lower-fat alternatives and deems them more heart healthy.

When the shift away from animal fats became popular, vegetable oil based products began to flood the market. We no longer ate the natural sourced foods that have been around for thousands of years. Margarine and low-fat milk became the so-called healthier alternatives. And society bought the lie hook, line and sinker.

Interestingly enough, Procter and Gamble, the maker of Crisco, a vegetable based alternative to lard and butter, helped launch the American Heart Association. As a result, it wasn’t too long before doctors began to recommend vegetable oils instead of animal fats in their patient’s diets.

For close to 60 years, we favored hydrogenated fats like Crisco and margarine because we believed they were healthy. Luckily, research has recently proven that artificially manufactured hydrogenated oils are far worse for our health than any other fat on the market!

Hydrogenated oils are chemically altered and are closer in composition to plastic than oil.[1] Consuming hydrogenated oils in food is literally like eating fake food! It may taste good to you, but you might as well take a bite out of a plastic toy hamburger!

Eating food that is chemically structured like plastic is extremely dangerous! It can change the viscosity of our blood, which is the biggest threat. If blood becomes thicker and harder to pump, then our blood pressure automatically rises.

Plus, blood thick with hydrogenated oil damages the artery walls. The workload forces your arteries to pump with increasing pressure. The increased workload and pressure to pump causes damage to the arteries. What comes to repair the arteries? Cholesterol.

Let me clarify this for you. Cholesterol is often blamed for clogged arteries. But cholesterol is simply showing up to fix the damage. It is doing nothing more than it’s God-given job.The real culprit in this situation is hydrogenated oil.[2]

The Truth About Unsaturated Oils

Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are commonly identified because they are solid at room temperature, and unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Saturated fat may seem like a poor choice compared to the thinner, liquid unsaturated fats. However, this difference is in their chemistry.

The difference between saturated fats and unsaturated fats is that saturated fat is “saturated” with hydrogen atoms. This keeps the fat intact. Unsaturated fats have less hydrogen. This allows for free radicals to attack where there is no saturation.

Polyunsaturated Fats

Polyunsaturated oils also have unprotected areas that are easy targets for oxidation and free radicals. These oils are, unfortunately, often touted as the healthiest fat you can consume. This couldn’t be much further from the truth.

Their chemical composition makes them highly unstable. They can easily go rancid or oxidize. Heat, moisture, and exposure to oxygen promote this detrimental change in chemical structure. Simply cooking with unsaturated oils produces oxidation.

Rancid and oxidized oils contain free radicals. Free radicals act like pillagers by attacking cells, damaging DNA and causing inflammation. Our bloodstream absorbs these oxidized cells, which then deposits LDL (bad) cholesterol on our artery walls, causing damage and plaque buildup.

polyunsaturated fats are responsible for health problemsThe consumption of polyunsaturated fats is behind many health problems including:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Liver damage
  • Weight gain
  • Digestive problems

The typical American diet contains around 30% polyunsaturated oils a day! These oils hide out in processed foods and fast foods. The most common polyunsaturated oils are:

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Canola
  • Safflower

Avoiding these polyunsaturated oils is important for keeping cholesterol build-up at bay. But it is also crucial for preventing many other health conditions the oils can contribute to.

Many believe because these oils are vegetable based, that they are a healthier choice. However, these oils can cause damage from being chemically unstable. To make matters worse, they are also highly processed and covered in pesticide residues.

If at all possible, cut these harmful polyunsaturated oils from your diet! Don’t forget to read the labels on all the food you buy. Canola and safflower oil are even found in “health food” products!

Monounsaturated fats

Monounsaturated oils are far healthier than polyunsaturated oils. Though still unsaturated, they experience markedly less oxidation during cooking. Some healthy sources of monounsaturated fats include:

  • Olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Avocado oil

These oils are great for sautéing and baking. Let me give you one valuable piece of advice. Avoid frying with monounsaturated oils at high temperatures because this can cause oxidation and lead to inflammation. Remember, saturated fats are you friends when it comes to fats!

The Benefits of Saturated Fat

Saturated fat does not cause heart disease, nor does it raise your cholesterol. Studies have begun to surface supporting this. The Annals of Internal Medicine most recently published an article here that supports change in fatty acid consumption to promote cardiovascular health.

Saturated fats can benefit our health in many ways. You might have noticed the rise in popularity of coconut oil. For years, we regarded it as dangerous and damaging to our health. But once we discovered its amazing medicinal properties, coconut oil demand skyrocketed![3]

A recent study added a soybean oil or coconut oil to the diet of 40 women. Not surprisingly, the women who consumed the coconut oil had a significant decrease in their waist circumference with increased weight loss, as well as increased HDL (“good” cholesterol) and decreased ratios of “bad” to “good” cholesterol.[4]

benefits of saturated oilCoconut oil is only one tropical oil that is healthy saturated fat. The best sources of saturated fat from animals are eggs, grass-fed beef and buffalo, organically-raised chickens and wild-caught fish.

Some of saturated fats roles in the body include:

  • Bone strength
  • Cell membrane integrity
  • Increased immunity
  • Contributes to weight loss
  • Improves lung health
  • Protects the Liver

As it turns out, people who have the highest percentage of saturated fat in their diets have the lowest risk of heart disease. Some saturated fats contain specific fatty acids called palmitic and stearic acid, which can LOWER cholesterol levels!

Sugar: The True Culprit of High Cholesterol

Though polyunsaturated oils and hydrogenated oils can contribute to cholesterol buildup, there is a culprit that is far worse. Carbohydrates!

Processed carbohydrates, which many Americans eat today in place of fat, increase the risk of obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol.

Some physicians with all their training, knowledge and authority don’t often admit they are wrong. But there are a few doctors who have had it right from the beginning.

While some doctors were promoting low-fat diets, Dr. Atkins and Dr. Weston Price had diet plans that encouraged the opposite. Although, Price had passed away before the low-fat revolution, Sally Fallon took over his cause. Both Atkins and Price touted a higher-fat, lower-carbohydrate diet for health and wellness. Neither were fearful of saturated fats. Both believed that refined sugar and processed carbohydrates were behind the breakdown of health.

sugar contributes to heart diseaseThough a can of soda may not contain an ounce of fat or cholesterol, it is far more dangerous than high cholesterol foods like the incredible edible egg.

Sugar contributes to heart disease by[5]:

  • Increasing LDL cholesterol
  • Decreasing HDL cholesterol
  • Raising triglycerides levels
  • Increasing inflammation

These side-effects make sugar nothing short of deadly. Thankfully, The American Heart Association has finally caught on. It now recommends a low sugar diet after years of promoting sugar instead of fat.

White flour and processed foods can act identical to sugar in the body. A carbohydrate in wheat, called amylopectin A, is more easily converted to blood sugar than just about any other carbohydrate. Two slices of bread made with whole-wheat flour raise blood sugar higher than six teaspoons of table sugar and higher than many candy bars. [6]

An easy way to avoid refined carbohydrates is by substituting vegetables for grains at mealtime. Eating a salad or adding an extra portion of green beans to your plate is much better than a slice of bread.

benefits of butterBack To Butter

In my defense of my favorite food, butter, I want to list some of the amazing benefits of this saturated fat.[7]

  • Helps the body to absorb and utilize minerals
  • Protects against infections in the intestinal tract
  • Protects against plaque build-up in the arteries
  • Increases brain function
  • Stimulates weight-loss (via CLA found only in grass or pasture-fed butter)
  • High in fat soluble vitamins A, E, and K
  • Prevents cancer[8]

Butter, in my opinion is a health food. So, do you still think I’m crazy?

I want to clarify that not all butter has these amazing health benefits. Most of us can agree that the nutritional content of the animal’s flesh depends on the content of its diet, and the same goes for butter.

Only grassfed or pasture butter contains health promoting CLA (conjugated linoleum acids) and high levels of fat-soluble vitamins. CLA has been linked to superior heart health, suppression of tumors, reduced belly fat and greater fat loss in the obese and overweight. Most milk cows are pasture raised, but are also fed a diet high in soy and corn. But without a primarily grass based-diet, these cows will not produce milk high in nutrients. Pasture feeding leads to dairy CLA levels 3-5 times that of grain-fed cattle.[9]

You can actually see the difference in color between grassfed butter and regular butter. Grassfed butter is bright yellow in color. It’s yellow because it has more carotene (think carrot, think orange) and Vitamin A. Regular butter is nearly white unless food coloring is added. Kerrygold is a great brand of grassfed butter and is typically found at most health food stores.

If you’d like to make your own butter, it’s really quite simple. The hardest part is finding quality cream. Raw, pastured cream from a local farmer is best. However, if you can’t find a source, you can also use organic cream.

Homemade Butter

how to make homemade butterIngredients:

  • 1 pint organic, pastured, heavy whipping cream
  • 1 pinch salt (optional)

Directions

  1. Pour cream into a blender, food processor, or large, empty jar with a tight fitting lid. Secure the lid and turn the processor on at its lowest setting. It will only take a minute or two before you have whipping cream.
  2. For salted butter, stop your processor and add a pinch of sea salt, to taste.
  3. Secure the lid again and continue to blend on low. In another minute or two, you will start to see a lot of liquid. Once you have this liquid, you’re done!
  4. Take a large cup, or bowl, and place some cheesecloth, a paper coffee filter or a small, fine-meshed sieve in it. Pour the butter into the cloth and let it drain. Carefully squeeze out some of the remaining buttermilk. Gently unwrap the cheesecloth and transfer the butter to your butter dish.

Adapted from www.thegraciouspantry.com

You don’t have to stop there! You can add herbs, spices, and fruits to your butter for delicious creamy goodness. Flavored butters are absolutely amazing and the combinations are endless! Add a touch of elegance to your next meal with your own homemade flavored butter. Use flavored butters on breads, sandwiches, or, with vegetables, meats, fish or eggs.

Here are a few recipes. But don’t be afraid to experiment and create your own flavor combinations!

Ingredients:

Raspberry Walnut Butter:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup raspberries
  • ¼cup finely chopped walnuts

Lemon Pesto Butter:

  • 1 cup butter
  • Clove of garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil

Honey Mustard:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoon honey

Pumpkin Pie:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoon canned pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Let the butter thaw to room temperature and using a stand mixer, whip until fluffy (just ten seconds or so). Add ingredients and whip until combined. You can do this by hand, but the mixer just makes it easier.
  2. Once combined, either spoon into little glass dishes and store in fridge, or prepare in logs.
  3. To prepare logs, place whipped butter on parchment paper and cool in fridge. When the butter has cooled a little, roll it into a log inside the parchment paper. It will harden in the fridge. Slice off just the amount you need for a serving.

This grain-free cookie recipe contains no refined sugar and incorporates plenty of my favorite ingredient…butter! A low-sugar, healthy diet does not have to be bland. Everyone needs a little sweet in your life, and these cookies are just that!

Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • ½ cup salted butter, cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, place almond flour and salt and pulse briefly. Add butter, honey, and vanilla and pulse until ingredients are well blended. Separate dough into 2 balls and place each on a piece of parchment paper. Cover each ball of dough with another piece of parchment paper and roll out to your desired thickness. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter or the top of a 2-inch wide jar cut out cookies. Bake at 350° for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add butter, honey and vanilla and pulse until ingredients are well blended.
  3. Separate dough into 2 balls and place each on a piece of parchment paper.
  4. Cover each ball of dough with another piece of parchment paper and roll out to ½ inch thickness.
  5. Place in freezer for 30 minutes.
  6. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter (or the top of a 2-inch wide jelly jar) cut out cookies and place on cookie sheet.
  7. Bake at 350° for 5-7 minutes.

Adapted from www.elanaspantry.com

Icing (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon of melted butter
  • 2 teaspoon honey or ¼ teaspoon of liquid stevia
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients together and spread over cooled butter cookies.

Life presents us with wonderful serendipities… like making butter that’s good for you! Butter is truly a superfood. So what are you waiting for? Go make a batch of homemade butter and put a generous helping on your vegetables!

This article may be opposite of what you have believed for years about cholesterol. But, wouldn’t you agree that it is good news!?

You no longer have to deprive yourself of some of the most delicious foods, including butter! Saturated fat doesn’t have to be your enemy any longer.

Instead, avoid hydrogenated and polyunsaturated oils if you have cholesterol concerns. Protect yourself from heart disease by reducing your sugar and carbohydrate intake.

The true way to achieve healthy cholesterol, and overall well-being, is to eat the fresh and healthy foods of our ancestors.

Do you agree that butter is a superfood? Then use the sharing icons below to spread the word!

 

 

 

Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

 

Sources:
[1]http://www.uihealthcare.org/2column.aspx?id=236829
[2] http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/trans-fats-science-and-risks
[3] http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1092-coconut%20oil.aspx?activeingredientid=1092&activeingredientname=coconut%20oil
[4] Assuncao ML, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, et al: Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Lipids 44:593-601, 2009
[5] http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20100420/high-sugar-diet-linked-lower-good-cholesterol
[6] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/sugar-heart-attack_b_4746440.html
[7] http://www.bulletproofexec.com/butter-is-better-for-your-brain-and-now-your-heart/
[8] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1753-4887.1995.tb01525.x/abstract
[9] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/03/23/conjugated-linoleic-acid-from-grass-fed-beef.aspx

Free Your Heart of Cholesterol Worry

by Michael Tyrrell

I love writing for Home Cures That Work. Why? Because I am confident that we do our best to demystify the confusion surrounding many of today’s common illnesses. Cholesterol is no exception.

Here in America, heart disease is still the number one killer; it accounts for one in four deaths.[1] This statistic remains unchanged, even with:

  • Billions of dollars spent on research
  • Countless clinical trials
  • Over-hyped medications
  • Strict dietary restrictions

It seems to me that if we continue doing the same thing with little to no change, then shouldn’t we be trying something else? After all, this is the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

For decades, Big Pharma has told us that saturated fats, like butter, are BAD. Yet Time magazine recently recommended that we eat butter![2] Maybe it is time for a change!

Most of us grew up being told that foods like butter, red meat, eggs and bacon raise our cholesterol levels. Doctors have demonized cholesterol and created a one-size-fits-all “safe” level of cholesterol. But they don’t think twice about taking into account an individual’s constitution or heredity.

Let me use myself for an example! If you were to meet me, you would never guess my age. I have blood pressure and heart markers that of a teenager. Even though my family has always had elevated cholesterol levels, there is no family history of heart disease.

statins are linked to diseaseBut what if I ignored my robust health and followed the guidelines of the American Heart Association for elevated cholesterol levels? [3] I would be on statin drugs to lower my cholesterol!

If you research statins, then you will be shocked to discover that they are linked to:

  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • And a host of other degenerative conditions

Brain Drain

Just this afternoon, my mom called me because of a commercial she had seen that made her laugh. Inspired by Snow White, it featured a woman gazing into the mirror saying, “Mirror, mirror on the wall…Why am I so fat?” The answer: We equate eating fat with getting fat. We are afraid of fat!

As long as the medical world condemns cholesterol and fats as evil, and continues to scare you into removing them from your diet, another very important part of your body will pay the price…your brain!

Your brain is primarily made of fat and cholesterol. The bulk of the fatty acids in your brain are actually saturated.[4] A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fat robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally.

Is it any wonder that statins, which dramatically lower your cholesterol, are linked to Alzheimer’s disease? Since statins hit the market, Alzheimer’s diagnosis has spiked.[5]

Searching online for “How much of the brain is saturated fat?” would lead you to an excellent article by Dr. Mercola explaining why saturated fats are essential.[6] Yet right below Mercola’s article, WebMD would tell you just the opposite! It’s no wonder that the public is so confused, misinformed, and afraid…Who do you believe?

Unfortunately, innocent and unsuspecting people fall prey to the professionals they trust for their health and well-being.

They tell you that you must lower your cholesterol and shun saturated fats. But saturated fat is imperative to brain health! This is outrageous! A recent Mayo Clinic study found that those individuals consuming the most saturated fat experienced a 36% reduction in risk for developing dementia.[7]

Doctors blindly enforce an impractical theory that adheres to the same stringent health markers across the board. But isn’t every single person different and deserve individual attention? I know this may sound a bit harsh, but it is a trifle maddening.

Where is our common sense? Health is not an issue of “all or nothing at all.” It is about balance.

Obviously, we don’t need to seek out more saturated fats. Yet we should also not obsess about removing them from our diets either.

Our family has been blessed to have three centenarians. They lived with sharp minds and healthy hearts past a hundred years of age. Wouldn’t common sense tell you that you could learn a lot more from someone who outlived all his or her physicians?

Years ago, on a visit with my Grandma, she shared some pearls of wisdom on our last drive together. Though there were no signs that she was slowing down, Grandma said,

“Dear, remember, don’t eat more than you need. If you want it sweet, use a little sugar. If it’s too bland, add a little salt. Don’t use any artificial things. You know, some day they’ll come up with fat-free potato chips, don’t eat them.

And don’t worry so much, dear. You are the most talented young man in the world. Everything will always work out for you.”

Grandma's Advice 2Amazingly, two years after Grandma went home to be with the Lord, Procter and Gamble invented Olean. Olean was used to create fat-free, cholesterol-free potato chips that literally caused irreversible intestinal issues and was banned as a toxic substance.

Thank you, Grandma, for everything. My Grandma’s generation didn’t use the Food Pyramid. They simply employed common sense, a limited commodity in today’s culture.

When it comes down to it, we all want to live a long, healthy life. We are brought up our whole life surrounded by guidelines that help us get to where we want to go. But if these guidelines are incorrect, they lead us in a direction we don’t want to go.

We cannot sit around and allow people to be pointed in the direction of poor health. Let the statistics in this article shock you and open your eyes. Don’t become a statistic. I for one want to be one who eats healthy, exercises and has a healthy heart.

A Healthy Heart is Free of Worry

But is a healthy heart merely a byproduct of what we eat? I don’t believe so!

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?”Matthew 6:3

The key word here is worry. Natural health and medical practitioners agree that stress is a killer. Stress is the nemesis of a healthy heart.

If you knew that your needs would be taken care of and that there was NEVER a reason to worry about anything, how would that make you feel?

Here is the rest of the story in Matthew 6.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I don’t have to tell you that life has its share of troubles. Just watch the news: countries at war, civil unrest, economic instability, and racial tension. Trouble is difficult to ignore.

Interestingly enough, the Bible predicted a time that would be hauntingly similar to what we’re experiencing today. It goes on to say, “Men’s hearts would fail them for fear.” Luke 21:26

But, there is a way to live at peace in the midst of turbulence and keep your heart and mind intact. Invite Jesus to live in your heart and you will finally know what it’s like to “Cast ALL of your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

no worriesHe is our only hope in a world sadly devoid of it.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12

Most of us think of our emotional or spiritual heart when we read this, and that is certainly appropriate. But science is now proving that what this verse says is true of our physical hearts, as well. Hope deferred creates a diseased heart, both emotionally and physically.

I hope you follow the way to a healthy heart and truly feel the benefits that come along with the freedom that God brings from worry.

I love to hear from you, please feel free to write me at, Home Cures That Work and let me know if my words have been a help to you.

 

Michael TyrrellMichael Tyrrell, www.michaeltyrrell.com is the founder of the Network Center Inc., a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2001 which works as an advisory agency to local churches, faith-based ministries, Para-church ministries, schools, home fellowships and music ministries in connection with their outreach ministries or missions based activities.  Michael has been committed to training their key leaders and members to deliver the message of their Christian faith in order to reach the lost, the disenfranchised, the sick and the hurting through the organic roots of the Christian faith and other areas as needs arise.  Michael has been in full-time ministry for the last 27 years and is a writer music producer and well-known musician.

 

Sources:
[1] http://www.theheartfoundation.org/heart-disease-facts/heart-disease-statistics/
[2] http://time.com/286227/ending-the-war-on-fat/
[3] http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/What-Your-Cholesterol-Levels-Mean_UCM_305562_Article.jsp
[4] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/09/22/7-reasons-to-eat-more-saturated-fat.aspx
[5] http://healthimpactnews.com/2012/the-clue-to-why-low-fat-diet-and-statins-may-cause-alzheimers/
[6] Mercola
[7] http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-optimalist/201310/your-healthy-diet-could-be-quietly-killing-your-brain

7 Ways to Optimize Your Cholesterol

by David Kekich

The most effective way to optimize your cholesterol profile and prevent heart disease is with diet and exercise. Did you know 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels? (1)

Therefore, if you optimize your insulin level, you will automatically optimize your cholesterol and reduce your risk of both diabetes and heart disease. The underlying cause is insulin resistance caused by eating too many sugars, grains and especially fructose.

7 ways to optimize your cholesterolThe best ways to safely regulate your cholesterol and reduce your risk of our #1 killer, heart disease, include:

  1. Gradually reduce, until you eliminate grains and fructose from your diet.
  2. Get plenty of high quality, animal-based omega-3 fats, and reduce your consumption of damaged omega-6 fats (trans fats, vegetable oils).
  3. Include heart-healthy foods in your diet, such as olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds and organic grass-fed meats.
  4. Optimize your vitamin D levels.
  5. Exercise six to seven days a week.
  6. Don’t smoke, and moderate you alcohol consumption.
  7. Get plenty of good quality sleep.

 

 

David KekichDavid Kekich is President/CEO of Maximum Life Foundation that focuses on aging research, a 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to curing aging-related diseases. MaxLife.org is helping to make the anti-aging dream a reality with cutting edge Bio-Engineering research and products.

 

 

 

 

Sources:
(1) http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/cardiovascular/cholesterol/difference-between-ldl-and-hdl-cholesterol1.htm

Liver Cleansing for Optimal Health

by Amanda Box, N.D.

“I can’t eat that! I’m on a detox.” You’ve probably heard this phrase by now. Detoxing and cleansing have become quite the trends lately. As natural health methods and healing become more mainstream, I partly find this exciting, but, I also want to roll my eyes.

I have found, for the most part, that people who are detoxing don’t fully understand why they are doing what they are doing. They blindly jump on the detox bandwagon because they hear it can help them lose weight.

Although detoxing can help you lose weight, there are so many more benefits to a good clean out. But, it is a process that should be carefully considered and taken seriously. Detoxification is far more than an attempt at weight loss. It is a process that can change your life.

Most detoxes and cleanses today focus on: eliminating something (e.g., sugar, gluten, etc.); weight loss (via fasting or juice cleanses); or colon cleansing. Although these are fantastic cleanses, they only scratch the surface of detoxification.

In the deluge of detoxes, one of the most important organs goes unnoticed: the liver. This large and overloaded organ truly deserves its turn at detoxifying.

The word “liver” is derived from the word “life”, and rightly so! Your liver literally gives your body life every single day by performing over 300 functions! Some of the liver’s functions include:

  • Storing iron for hemoglobin production
  • Filtering out bacteria and resisting infections by producing immune factors
  • Helping to regulate blood sugar levels
  • Contributing to digestion
  • Regulating amino acids (building blocks of protein) in the blood
  • Removing toxic compounds from the blood
  • Removing and inactivating excess hormones

Signs of a Stressed Liver

signs of a stressed liverLiver detoxification is essential for keeping your liver at optimal functioning capacity. Because the liver filters so many toxins day in and day out, it can become sluggish and struggle to work efficiently. You may begin to show signs of liver impairment like:

  • Hormonal imbalance (PMS, Menstrual cramping, PCOS)
  • Acne, rosacea or psoriasis
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Joint Pain
  • Allergies
  • Digestion problems (diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating)

Chinese medicine recognizes some interesting signs when your liver is under stress.

The first symptom is waking up between the hours of 1 and 3 am every night. According to the Chinese medicine’s meridian clock, each organ has a 2-hour time segment in which it is most active. The liver belongs to the 1-3 am time frame.

Secondly, your face can also tell you if you have some liver impairment. Vertical lines between your eyebrows are often referred to as the “liver lines.” I personally saw my liver line fade dramatically after completing a liver cleanse.

Wrinkles aren’t just a part of aging. In Chinese medicine, the lines in our face tell a story of what is happening in our body! Broken capillaries and redness of your left cheek towards the bridge of your nose can be a sign of inflammation or congestion in the liver.

Lastly, your eyes can manifest symptoms of liver dysfunction. Many of you know that if the whites of your eyes change yellow, it is a sign of jaundice. The liver’s inability to properly break down bilirubin in the blood causes jaundice.

A white ring around your iris can be a sign of fatty buildup in the blood. Since the liver breaks down fat and cholesterol, this can also be an indicator that the liver isn’t working as it should.

Cyour liver is stressed ifhinese medicine also assigns different emotions to different organ systems. Anger, frustration and resentment are emotions associated with the liver. If you often find yourself dealing with these emotions, your liver may need some attention. Beyond the relational, psychological, and spiritual reasons for not holding onto anger and resentment, there are real physical reasons as well. Carrying around these emotions can cause liver problems. Forgiving and letting go of these toxic emotions can keep you healthy physically and in every other respect!

Clean Eating for Liver Health

I believe that every adult could benefit from liver detoxification. We live in a toxic world and no matter how hard we try, we are exposed daily to chemicals and harmful substances. Our liver is the organ responsible for filtering these destructive components out of our body. It bears the brunt of these toxins to save us from being poisoned on a regular basis.

But the liver, being self-sacrificing, can become damaged from toxic exposure. It can also become congested from the massive amount of fat and cholesterol it has to process. Thankfully, the liver is an organ designed to regenerate.

The liver can reconstruct and restore healthy liver cells to optimal function if given the proper attention. This amazing process is the reason why liver detoxification can change your life!

Not every organ in your body can return to normal after being damaged or impaired. Giving the liver a healthy reboot can move you from a diseased state to one of good health.

Liver detoxification starts with what you eat. You cannot expect your liver to repair itself if it continues to be bombarded with toxic substances from the food you eat. Perhaps you have heard of Clean Eating. Clean Eating is a style of eating that truly encompasses its name. “Clean” means free from contaminates or unwanted matter. Eating a clean diet is one of the best ways to repair and rejuvenate the liver. To engage in a clean diet:[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

  • Eliminate processed foods: This includes packaged, canned, and frozen meals. Also, avoid white flour, white sugar, and artificial ingredients of any kind.
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake: Adding two to three servings of veggies to each meal can boost your intake and fill you up. For a healthy snack between meals, choose fruit.
  • Cut out unhealthy fats: This includes hydrogenated oils, most vegetable oils, and fried foods. You can, however, use olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil in moderation.
  • Eliminate Alcohol Consumption: A glass a day of red wine is typically okay. However, alcohol puts stress on the liver and should be completely eliminated while detoxing.
  • Exclude sugar and artificial sweeteners. Use other sweeteners like honey and stevia sparingly.
  • Reduce your grain intake by at least half and cut out gluten completely. Instead of wheat, incorporate a little quinoa, rice, or oatmeal into your daily diet. Grains should be a small part of your daily food intake.
  • Limit your dairy intake and only use organic or rBgh-free dairy products. Raw dairy from a local farmer is best. Using grass-fed butter is also fine. But while liver detoxing, lowering your intake of healthy fat can be helpful in giving the liver a rest.
  • Consume only healthy sourced meats: Feedlot meats contain antibiotics and growth hormones. Not to mention, the conditions are dreadful and unsanitary. Find a local farmer, or quality meat at a local health food market. Farmer’s markets often have locally raised beef and chicken. Also, be wary of high mercury fish like salmon and tuna.

Herbs for Liver Detoxification

Eating a clean diet can dramatically benefit your liver by decreasing its toxic load. But, detoxifying herbs and supplements can take your liver from being exhausted, to rejuvenated! There are specific herbs that stimulate liver cells to regenerate, neutralize toxins, cleanse and unclog the liver.

I must note that you should never begin a liver detox before first cleansing the colon. If your colon is not cleansed, toxins on their way out of the body from your liver get stuck in your waste. When this happens, your system reabsorbs these toxins and you lose the progress you’ve made. Having a clean, functioning colon helps facilitate these toxins out of the body where they belong!

I recommend beginning your clean diet a week before starting a liver cleansing supplement regime. During this week, you can take supplements, which stimulate bowel movements and help clear the colon, readying it for the liver cleanse. One great supplement is Renew Life’s Cleansemore or Bowel Cleanse. You can continue colon-cleansing supplements after you begin to add the liver cleansing herbs. This will keep toxins moving efficiently out of the body.

There are 5 specific herbs that I recommend for liver detoxification.

5 herbs for liver detoxDandelion

This pesky weed is a very effective herb for your liver! It not only helps cleanse the liver, but also contributes to regenerating liver cells! Dandelion removes excess water from the body and increases bile production. Increasing bile boosts detoxification of toxic substances out of the body.

Milk Thistle

This herb is by far the #1 used natural remedy for the liver. In Europe, doctors prescribe milk thistle to treat hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, and alcohol-induced liver damage. It has the remarkable ability to both protect the liver, as well as stimulate regeneration of damaged liver tissue. Milk thistle is also an antioxidant and protects the body’s cells from free radical damage. Silymarin is the active component in milk thistle. For optimum results, look for milk thistle containing at least 80% silymarin.

Burdock root

Primarily known as a blood purifier; burdock is also a fantastic liver cleanser. It stimulates bile flow and protects liver cells with its many natural antioxidant compounds.

Artichoke

Artichoke contains compounds called caffeoylquinic acids, which have liver restorative properties. They both protect liver cells and prevent further damage. Artichoke also stimulates the flow of bile, thereby helping the liver and gallbladder break down fats.

Turmeric

This bright orange spice is one of the most potent antioxidants available. It not only protects the liver, but also stimulates the restoration of healthy liver cells. Turmeric aids in liver detoxification and reduces inflammation. The active component in turmeric is called curcumin. Turmeric that contains at least 90% curcuminoids produces the greatest results.

Most quality liver cleansing supplements will contain at least three of these five powerful herbs. My personal favorite is by Enzymatic Therapy. I have used it several times and often recommend it to others. It contains all five herbs and is a two-week regimen that can be repeated, as necessary. Taking the time to cleanse and detoxify your liver can bring new life to your whole body!

Give your liver the restoration it needs by eating a clean diet and using liver cleansing supplements. Your skin will clear, your energy levels increase, and your digestion will be strengthened. Many also see their cholesterol and blood pressure drop to healthy levels after a liver cleanse. Don’t ignore your liver any longer! Begin your journey today towards a cleaner, happier, and healthier life!

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Amanda Box, N.D.Amanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

 

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7 Things You Need to Know About Your Liver

by Sarah Stanley

When we think of our health, we don’t tend to think of our health in separate parts.  We usually eat with our eyes. “Look, a pretty donut!” But, we fail to realize how a donut will affect our heart, cholesterol, blood, and yes, even our liver.

Each of the health choices we make is a drop in the bucket that adds up over time. The thoughts we think, the food we eat, the beverages we drink and how we move our body is all connected together either for disease prevention and good health, or for disease and poor health.

  • If we don’t have a good immune system, then we’ll be more susceptible to diseases and get sick often.
  • If we have lung problems, then it will be challenging to walk up stairs or a small hill.
  • When a part of our body isn’t functioning properly, other parts have to work extra hard to compensate. They become drained and fatigued as a result.

Everything works together. This is why it’s important that we live a life that supports holistic wellness. God designed our bodies with intricate detail and it’s up to us to treat our bodies the way he intended: with great care and thought.

7 things you need to know about your liverWhich brings us to a part of our body that does so much for us: our liver! You might think about your legs, arms, brain, and beating heart frequently. But, when was the last time you thought about your liver? Our liver plays a vital role in keeping us well. What makes our liver so special? Here are 7 important things you need to know about your liver!

#1. Key to life

Without a healthy liver, a person cannot survive! The liver might only weigh about 3 pounds, but this organ is essential to our life and well-being. The liver plays a crucial role in helping our body fight disease, get rid of toxins (i.e., detox), and support our immune system.

Because we live in a toxic world, our liver is constantly working to keep us healthy. From the food we eat, the air we breathe and even the water we drink, the liver is one of the most important organs in our body’s natural detoxification system.

Thankfully, the liver regenerates itself so we can keep on living our lives. But, if we don’t take care of it and abuse this wonderful part of our body, our liver will slowly start to deteriorate.

#2. Key to metabolism

Everyone wants a better metabolism, right? Did you know your liver could help with that? It’s true!

Our liver has hepatocyte cells, which perform most of the liver’s functions. These cells metabolize carbs, protein and lipids (fats and fat-soluble vitamins) into energy.

This is why eating real foods is so important. When we consume things that aren’t healthy, the liver has to work extra hard at processing these toxins. Over time, the liver breaks down from processing prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs and junk food.

Oreos are an example of junk food. I’m sure we can all agree they are an unhealthy “food.” Organic vegetables would be an example of a good, or real food that gives us energy. We keep our liver alive with real foods, so the liver can keep us alive.

What our liver does with cholesterol is interesting for our metabolism.  Generally speaking, most people fear cholesterol. This is due in part to misleading information from Big Food. Products claiming to be cholesterol free are, in fact, filled with additives, coloring dyes and other toxic ingredients. Sorry, but Fruit Loops will never be a healthy item. Don’t be fooled by marketing!  People need to know that man-made cholesterol is never a good thing.

But we do need God designed-cholesterol for health and vitality. Cholesterol is essential because the liver uses it to produce bile, which is then stored in the gallbladder. Why is this important? Because the body needs bile to digest fatty foods. How Stuff Works describes bile as an emulsifier.(1)

The liver produces and metabolizes cholesterol. When we eat real, organic sources of cholesterol (like eggs, for example), the liver produces less cholesterol, which makes for a happy organ!(2) As you can see, our liver is really an amazing part of our body!

#3. Key to digestion

You may not have thought about how your liver helps digestion, but the liver plays an important role! Although the digestive system has many parts (mouth, stomach, small intestine, and pancreas to name a few) the liver helps process what you consume. Your liver digests fat, minerals and vitamins for your body to use. It contributes to good eyesight, clear thinking and a healthy heart. So the next time you take a bite, thank your liver for giving you life.

#4. Key to detox

When you hear the word “detox,” your mind probably thinks of going on a 7-day juice binge because you are going to the beach next weekend. And you’re dreading being hungry all the time! But, don’t think of detox this way. Instead, detox should be something we think about on a daily basis, not just in swimsuit panic mode!

If a person eats an unhealthy diet, then the liver cannot possibly “detox” all that junk in a short period of time. It’s already been working overtime to keep the person alive! Drinking alcohol, taking over the counter drugs and prescription drugs are all heavy toxins to the liver and body.

If you ask a person why they are detoxing, usually it is to lose weight. But weight isn’t gained in 3 days, so it is unrealistic to think it will come off in 3 days! (Note: people will lose weight on a detox, but it’s mainly water weight as opposed to true weight loss.)

A proper detox focuses on cleansing the liver, blood, brain (via the second brain, the gut), kidneys and colon. Plus, the time frame is longer than just 3 or 5 days.

This is why I am a proponent of living a detox life. What does this mean? It’s simple. Whatever you put in your mouth, ask yourself if this is serving your body well. Does this have to make my liver work harder or is it happy that you are nourishing it?

If you routinely rely on short detoxes throughout the year as a quick fix for the problem, then switch to a detox lifestyle. A detox lifestyle means:

  • Eating real organic foods
  • Limiting alcohol consumption (try a kombucha instead!)
  • Avoiding OTC drugs
  • Making lifestyle choices that enable you to stop the use of prescription drugs

Your liver is begging you to make wise, healthy and natural detoxing choices!

If there’s one thing that most people understand about the liver, it’s that it serves as the body’s liquor control board. Alcohol is the one thing that bypasses the normal digestion process when consumed and goes straight to the liver. If you continue to drink excessively, you’re making your liver work overtime.

While the liver is working diligently to process the sugar and carbs from the alcohol, it will have consequences on your health.  Because the liver has to process other environmental toxins, the liver dreads when alcohol is consumed! So when the liver starts to shut down, health problems begin to happen: food intolerance, trouble falling asleep, allergies, acne, exhaustion and hormonal imbalance.

To embrace a detox lifestyle, I recommend incorporating these organic real foods on a daily basis, or at least 4 times a week:

  • detox the liver withParsley
  • Avocado
  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Beets
  • Lemons (squeeze fresh lemon juice into filtered water)
  • Turmeric
  • Seaweed (One of my absolute favorite snacks is Sea Snax. Try it and you’ll see what I mean!)
  • Filtered water (Check out these awesome water purification sticks for your reusable water bottle!)

Detoxing shouldn’t be a crunch time decision. Be kind to your liver on a daily basis and, in turn, your health will be rewarded!

#5. Key to immunity

Remember how everything is linked together? Although 80% of the immune system lives in our gut, our liver helps process what is in the GI tract.(3) When the liver isn’t working right, foreign invaders bypass the liver, enter the bloodstream, and overtax the immune system. Cleaning out the liver with a good liver detox program improves your liver’s ability to produce immune factors and remove bacteria from the blood.

So if your liver isn’t strong and healthy, then your immune system is compromised and your gut health will suffer, too. See how everything is connected?!

#6. Key to storage

What happens to the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you are eating? The liver is storing what it needs and also getting rid of what doesn’t serve it. The liver delivers (say that 10 times fast!) the vitamins and minerals such as A, D, E, K to the tissues of the body that need it. When you eat for health it means you are eating to nourish each part of your body and your liver helps keep your body healthy.

#7. Key to health

The liver also produces several important vital proteins in blood plasma that keep the body from infections and blood disorders. These proteins help form blood clots. They also work to keep the body in perfect balance by making sure the cells of the body don’t gain or lose water in essential body fluids.

Another thing your liver does is to balance your hormones. And as mentioned before, the liver helps to burn fat, keeps libido functioning, and can either speed up or slow down aging. So, if you experience things such as mood swings, low sex drive, or are aging more quickly than you should, then you might want to eat some liver-nourishing real organic foods!

As you can see, the liver is a VIP! After reading this, I hope you won’t take your liver for granted again. I also hope you took some sips of filtered H2O and began to think of how you can change your lifestyle to support a healthy, happy liver to live a healthy and happy life!

 

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SarahStanleySarah Stanley is a wellness educator, endurance athlete, speaker, author, and founder of #wellnesschat & {wellprint}. Passionate about healthy living Sarah lives what she speaks about, practicing a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle that fuels her ultrarunning adventures. Her goal is to empower others to be knowledgeable about what they put in & on their body so they can live healthy, disease-free and happy life. She’s been featured in SELF, SHAPE, Ladies’ Home Journal and Washingtonian. Find Sarah on Twitter (@SarahStanley)G+ (+SarahStanley) and visit SarahStanleyInspired.com to start your wellness journey today.

 

(1)http://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/cardiovascular/cholesterol/how-the-body-uses-cholesterol.htm
(2) http://authoritynutrition.com/how-many-eggs-should-you-eat/
(3) Campbell-McBride, 2010

 

 

 

Weird Remedies That Work

By Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

I read all sorts of literature on healthcare and I’m continually amazed at the number of remedies that exist for ailments.  I have tried countless remedies with my patients and have found some really crazy ones that work!

In medical school, sometimes we called weird remedies that worked “the placebo effect.” But, that doesn’t really matter, does it?  If something works, it works, no matter how or why!  Just because I can’t explain it chemically, doesn’t mean a remedy doesn’t have value.

For example, I give vitamin B12 shots for all sorts of neurological problems. But, one of my colleagues believes I shouldn’t be doing that because it’s just a “placebo” and isn’t widely accepted by the medical community.  However, to that thought I responded, “I promise I will stop using it as soon as it stops working!”  I’m still giving those shots because they work – weird or not!

Weird Cures That Work

Humans all over the world for thousands of years have used weird disease cures and methods to become and stay healthy. While modern Western medicine has evolved into a system of doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical drugs, other remedies— some pretty silly remedies — are still in use around the world.

Here are 6 weird remedies that actually happen to work, no matter how foolish you feel.

1. Lemon peels for headaches

In a small book on home remedies, I read about using lemon peelings for headache.  Years later, I had a woman with chronic headaches who had a very hard time with the medications she took that didn’t really work very well. I mentioned the lemon peel trick: peel a lemon and take the white part of the peeling and rub it on your temples, massaging it in to the skin on both sides.  Within a minute or so the headache will be gone!  She did it and it worked – better than the drugs she had been taking.  Now she always has a lemon with her, in case she gets a headache.

2. Soap for cramps

One woman came into my office because of nighttime leg cramps.  I know what to routinely do for leg cramps:

  • Take coral calcium, magnesium or potassium.
  • If that doesn’t work, I tell people to drink more water to assure hydration.
  • Some are low in sodium, so I tell them to use more salt on their food.  A good trick is V-8 vegetable juice, which has sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium all together.

However, none of the usual remedies worked.  She tried increasing her stomach acid for better absorption, without any help.  I also tried glycine and taurine to relax the muscles but to no avail.  We then tried medications for Restless Legs Syndrome, but that didn’t help either.

I didn’t see her for a while and then when she came in to see me for something else I asked her about the cramps.  She said a neighbor told her to put a bar of soap under her sheet by her legs. She did – and she slept all night without cramps!  After a few months she started getting cramps again and the neighbor told her to change the soap.  She swapped out the bar of soap for a new one and hasn’t suffered with leg cramps since discovering this weird remedy.

Another patience of mine had the same problem with leg cramps, so I told her about the soap trick, which she said she had used in the past and it worked.

Diatomaceous Dirt for Diarrhea

3. Dirt for diarrhea

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