January 20, 2017

Healing Lyme Disease With Foods

Nutrition for Lyme Disease Recovery

by Jessica Sanders

For those suffering from Lyme disease, what you eat can have a huge impact on your body, causing inflammation and a depressed immune system. Luckily, diet is something that’s within your control, and if you eat the right foods, you may see some of your most uncomfortable symptoms disappear.

To heal Lyme disease, you need to build a strong immune system, minimize inflammation and limit your intake of gluten. Here’s how you can achieve all these goals with a few simple diet modifications and some recipes to try at home.

Build a Strong Immune System

healing lyme disease with foodsA healthy immune system is critical for Lyme disease patients because the bacteria that cause the disease have the ability to stop the immune system from launching a proper defense, according to research done at the University of California, Davis.

While tests in the UC Davis study were done on animals, researchers concluded that this finding could answer the question of why Lyme disease patients are so vulnerable to multiple infections from the same strain of bacteria.

In order to stop multiple infections from happening, it’s important to focus on building your immune system, which will have a better chance at stopping the bacteria from infecting you again and again.

The role of nutrition is central not so much in the actual bug killing, but in the underlying strength and resilience of your health. Add the following foods to your shopping list to start building a healthier immune system:

Sweet Potato—High in Vitamin A

Vitamin A has been found to improve immune responses in animals, as well as children.

Sockeye Salmon—High in Vitamin D

Vitamin D works to improve and maintain neuromuscular and immune function.

Reduce Inflammation

Most inflammation symptoms related to Lyme disease are a cause of “inflammatory cytokines,” according to Dr. Bill Rawls. Luckily, diet can make improve the pain and inflammation you feel.

An anti-inflammatory diet heals the joint pain, swelling, fatigue, brain fog and headaches, and unhealthy cell function associated with Lyme disease.

Giving your body what it needs to fight inflammation includes eating:

Flaxseed—High in Omega 3

When broken down in the body, omega 3 works to reduce inflammation. Always buy ground flaxseed; whole flaxseeds don’t absorb as well in the body.

Spinach—Vitamin E

Not only is spinach loaded with omega 3s, but it’s also high in Vitamin E and B vitamins, all of which reduce inflammation in various ways within your body.

Limit Your Intake of Gluten

A large portion of the U.S. population is gluten intolerant, even if they don’t know it yet, because the human body has a hard time breaking down wheat. For some people, sprouted wheat is okay, because the sprouting process breaks down enzymes that are difficult to for our bodies to digest.

However, those suffering from Lyme disease are best to avoid gluten altogether. Fortunately, this is easier to do than you might think. There are many gluten-free products on the market, and a variety of delicious foods that can replace your usual gluten go-tos. Here are a few gluten free options to stock up on:

gluten free for lyme diseaseFood for Life Brown Rice gluten free bread

The texture and taste are better when toasted. Top with nut butter for a gluten free breakfast.

Brown Rice

Brown rice is naturally gluten free, and versatile. Add it to stir-fry or make it as a side for your chicken and vegetables.

Explore Asian bean noodles

These noodles are made with bean flour, so not only are they gluten free, but they’re high in fiber and protein. They taste like whatever they’re paired with, so you can make them with all your favorite noodle sauces including marinara and peanut.

With all these foods in your kitchen, it’s time to make a delicious meal. Try these two recipes to implement the Lyme diet in your everyday life.


Roasted sweet potato saladRoasted Sweet Potato Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1-2 tablespoons EVOO oil
  • 2 large sweet red peppers
  • 1/2 lb  fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • White balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Sweet Potatoes: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Toss the sweet potatoes with the oil and gravy herbs. Spread on a greased baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes – check the potatoes for doneness, gently stir, and return to oven. Repeat this process every five minutes for about 15 more minutes (total roasting time should be anywhere from 30-45 minutes). Turn up the heat to 475 and roast for a final 5-10 minutes to really brown them nice and pretty. When they’re done, they should be visibly browned and relatively “dry” to the touch so that once you loosen them you can shake the pan and they slide back and forth easily.
  2. Red bell peppers:  Grill red peppers over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the skins blister, turning frequently. Immediately place peppers in a large bowl; cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Cut into slices.
  3. Assembly: Place roasted sweet potatoes and grilled red peppers over a bed of spinach and sprinkle with white balsamic vinegar.
  4. Serve this as side dish or add goat cheese and grilled chicken for a satisfying lunch.

Flax Seed Toast

Ingredients 

  • 2 slices gluten free bread
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon organic jam
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

Directions

  1. Toast your bread and top each one with half of the almond butter, jam and ground flaxseed. Enjoy this for breakfast or a hearty snack.

While the Lyme disease may feel impossible to cure, diet is something that’s within your control. With the right foods you can reduce major symptoms, such as inflammation and depressed immune system. Avoid highly pro-inflammatory foods like gluten, in favor of good fats like ground flaxseed. Add salmon and sweet potato to your weekly shopping list and you’ll begin to feel relief.

Healing is Possible. All you need is the right guidance, right foods and the information and support from Home Cures That Work.

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Lower your Risk of Disease with Lots of Fresh or Frozen Produce

How to Add a Variety of Fruits and Vegetables to Your Diet to Protect Your Health

by David Kekich

The quarter of the population eating the fewest fruits and vegetables has over three times as much heart disease as the quarter of the population that eats the most. Eat a minimum of six servings of fresh vegetables per day. This isn’t as much as it seems. One serving equals only one-half cup or one cup if they are leafy vegetables. A good rule of thumb is to stay with brightly colored veggies. And eat a wide variety—mostly raw and organic, if possible.

Also add one to three servings of fresh fruit per day. Again have a wide variety—and again, raw and organic if possible. Buying local produce may be more important than buying organic, since freshness is so important. You’re better off buying fresh, vibrant, conventionally grown produce than wilted organic.

How to Add a Variety of Fruits and Vegetables to Your DietStay away from white potatoes, too. Your body reacts to them like it reacts to white bread. Increasing vegetables and fruits from two servings to only five servings a day can cut the incidence of many cancers in half. That’s only two and one-half cups. Consider getting a Vita Mix. It’s like a kitchen in one appliance and is the best juicer on the market.

Make sure you get your money’s worth from your juicer. Drink five glasses of fresh juiced fruits and veggies every week. I combine them in my drinks, changing the mix each time. As an alternative, you might get a high quality “green drink” in powder form. Mix with water and drink every day. There are lots of good ones on the market. I use Barlean’s Greens and Life Extension’s Vital Greens Mix.

The human body evolved with a diet that was high in fruits and vegetables. If you fight nature with your diet, your health and energy level will tank. People are shocked at how much better they feel after substituting high-fiber foods for fast foods and processed foods. You need fiber to regulate your bowels, for good colon health and for weight loss if you are overweight. Eating fruits and vegetables increases your fiber intake. Juicing makes it easy.

How you combine your foods is also important. The best combinations are proteins or fats with vegetables, vegetables with simple carbohydrates or vegetables with fat. Combining your fruit with protein and healthy fats slows sugar/carbohydrate absorption. In fact, make protein the first bite of each meal to slow absorption even more. That means less fat storage, longer lasting energy levels and fewer food cravings shortly after you eat. And you will easily accomplish that by eating less. In fact, even if you eat unhealthy food from time to time, eating less of it at each meal can be almost as important as eating the right food.

Remember to lower your carbohydrate intake by replacing high-calorie, low-nutrient carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, rice, table sugar, soda, candy) with low-calorie, high- nutrient carbohydrates (brightly colored fruits and vegetables and sweet potatoes).

If you add sweeteners to anything, the healthiest sugar substitute we know of is stevia. Stevia is a delicious natural herb sweetener with added health benefits. You can find it your local health food store. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Most are toxic and can undermine your health.

splenda dangers 2For example, high doses of aspartame may lead to neurodegeneration. Aside from the damage it can do to your brain, aspartame can cause cancer. One well-controlled, peer- reviewed, seven-year study even found that as little as 20 mg per day can cause cancer in humans. One 12-ounce diet soda contains about 180 mg of aspartame, so you do the math for that risk!

It can also lead to multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, memory and hearing loss and hormonal problems.

How about Splenda? That’s harmless, right? Well, look at what a recent study, published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health found. Splenda reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50 percent, contributes to weight gain, increases the pH level in your intestines (bad for your digestion) and affects a glycoprotein in your body that can have crucial health effects, particularly if you’re on certain medications.

Diet soda anyone?”

In addition to changing what you eat, consider changing when you eat. The fluctuations in your insulin levels, which are so damaging to your system, can be controlled by eating smaller, more frequent meals. This will also boost your metabolism, causing calories to be burned faster, and will raise your energy level.

Research indicates that eating certain foods can help lower your risk of several diseases.

Eat at least four servings of vegetables a day — Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals, contain fiber, have no cholesterol, and are low in fat and calories. They’re a great source of many nutrients that appear to help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Eat a variety of vegetables to get all the health benefits.

Eat at least three servings of fruits a day — Fruits are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Except for a few, such as avocado and coconut, they’re virtually free of fat. Fruits are a major source of nutrients that may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Choose a variety of fruits to get the most health benefits.

Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acidsEating at least two servings (about 4 ounces each) a week of fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids — such as salmon, trout, tuna, herring and sardines — can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Instead of frying, bake or grill the fish. Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children to avoid king mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish (golden bass or golden snapper), which are higher in mercury. Tuna steak and albacore tuna generally have more mercury than canned light tuna. Plant sources of omega-3s may not have the same effect. These include canola oil, soybeans (whole and oil) and walnuts (whole and oil).

Choose whole-grain foodsEating whole grains may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. In addition to the more familiar wholegrain breads and cereals, add variety to your diet with hulled barley, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta and wild rice.

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David KekichDavid Kekich (Living Healthy to 120: Anti-Aging Breakthroughs) is President/CEO of Maximum Life Foundation that focuses on aging research, a 501(c)(3) corporation dedicated to curing aging-related diseases. For more information, visit: www.MaxLife.org. David contributes to our column Living Healthy to 120: Anti-Aging Breakthroughs. MaxLife is helping to make the anti-aging dream a reality with cutting edge Bio-Engineering research and products.

The Incredible Brain – And How to Keep Yours Working

Your Brain Repair Program

by Dr. Scott Saunders

The brain is arguably your most important organ. Primarily because it controls everything else. Compared to all the other tissues of the body, it uses the most energy and circulation by far. What’s more, a hard shell protects the brain, which sits in water for added shock-absorption.

It is important to protect your brain in other ways, as well. The “blood-brain barrier” prevents unwanted material, like viruses and bacteria in the blood, from crossing over into the brain tissue. The brain even requires a very specific protein to transport glucose to itself from the blood. Clearly it is important to protect your brain!

brain repair program However, in spite of all this protection, so many of us have brain dysfunctions, such as:

  • Loss of memory
  • Dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Strokes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Gradual brain shrinkage

In fact, half of all Americans who reach the age of 85 have Alzheimer’s disease. [1] How can all this happen if the brain is so well-protected?

Even though the array of factors that can cause brain dysfunction is vast, I want to provide you with the most potent brain-protecting information.

The most important issues for the brain are:

  • Nutrition
  • Energy production
  • Free-radicals
  • Toxins
  • Exercise

Nutrition for the Brain

The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and sugar for energy. In fact, every essential nutrient is used to fuel the brain. Amino acids that come from the protein you eat are the building blocks of your brain’s network. They help make your neurotransmitters.

If your brain is lacking amino acids, then the deficiency reflects in emotional and behavioral dysfunction. Click to Tweet.

If your brain becomes malnourished from low oxygen, lack of nutrients, or toxins, then it atrophies and you lose brainpower. Some of the brain cells may die, but they can also go into an unconscious state, called “senescence.”

The brain functions that are lost first are the non-essential ones, such as memory. The essential functions of muscle control, and sensory input are the last to be affected. Thus, a loss of memory may be an early sign of a lack of energy to the brain. Just as our brain influences our health, so our health influences our brain.

What Causes the Brain to Atrophy

1. Lack of oxygen

  1. Smoking
  2. Lack of exercise
  3. Carbon monoxide poisoning
  4. Vascular disease
  5. Strokes

2. Lack of nutrients

  1. Proteins due to diet or poor digestion
  2. Good fats
  3. B-vitamins (especially folate and B12)
  4. Anti-oxidants
  5. Magnesium, zinc, and trace minerals

3. Toxins

  • Alcohol
  • Aspartame (and other sweeteners)
  • MSG
  • Caffeine
  • Stimulants
  • Sugar
  • Heavy metals:
    – Mercury
    – Lead
    – Arsenic
    – Aluminum
  • Drugs/medications
    – Sleeping pills
    – Allergy medications
    – Cholesterol medication
    – Pain medications
    – Depression medications

 4. Inflammation

The above factors (such as cigarette smoking, medications, obesity, disrupted sleep patterns and poor dietary habits) compromise the integrity of your brain. These irritants stimulate inflammation.

The brain is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage. Energy is generated from food, and regulates growth and change of cells. Too much energy for the brain causes oxidation, damage, or “rust.”

For example, when you have a nice car, you wash and wax it regularly so the paint doesn’t oxidize. Oxidation occurs when energy from the sun and oxygen combine and break down the molecular structure of the paint.

There is no way for the car paint to protect itself. So we keep the car in the garage, put a cover on it, or wax it regularly. The wax absorbs the energy, oxidizes, and comes off – then we replace it. You may not like to wax your car, but it’s better than replacing the paint!

Likewise energy is generated from food, and regulates growth and change of brain cells. Too much energy causes oxidative damage by “oxygen free-radicals.” These are high-energy molecules that damage everything they touch – like the sun. They are especially dangerous to DNA because the damage may cause entire loss of the cell. Losing brain cells is not good for memory! Research has shown that simply eating too many calories can increase the amount of damaging molecules like free radicals that can build up in the brain.[2] When these dangerous little free radical particles become too numerous for the brain to remove, they can lead to problems in cognitive function, death of neurons, premature aging, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.

All aging is caused by damage to DNA in different cell types of the body. But the brain is especially sensitive to damage because brain cells don’t divide or regenerate. That decay is evident in brain tissue with selective loss of brain cells in areas associated with mobility, learning and memory. This is why those functions deteriorate most rapidly with aging.

We can prevent the “aging” of the brain the same way we can prevent the “aging” of the paint on our car. We just need to know how to do this so hundreds of thousands of Americans like you aren’t robbed of joy and satisfaction in life each year.

We need energy to survive, but energy causes damage! Click to Tweet

The brain’s appetite for energy is great. Thus, we need enough, but not too much energy. How do we walk this fine line?

While there is still a lot to learn about our brain’s metabolism, I have worked out a few ways to help keep your thinking organ in shape, now and as you age.

The Principles of Preventing Cellular Brain Damage

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Nutrition for Increasing Brain Function

Foods to fuel your brain, increase your mental performance and sharpen your memory

by Amanda Box

Although each of us is a person made of parts, there is a single part of our body that defines who we are—the brain. It governs our personality, our thought processes and our memories.

The brain is by far the most complex organ within the human body. However, often in our quest to keep our body healthy, we overlook our brain. Typically, our focus concerning health centers on preventing things like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. When it comes to diet, most of our healthy choices have to do with the cardiovascular and digestive systems. The reality is we are ignoring the very part of our body that makes us who we are!

Giving our brain the nourishment it needs should really be our foremost concern. This will preserve our memory, give us the focus we need for daily tasks and keep us in good spirits. Even as we age, having a strong, energetic brain is possible with the proper nutrition!

The brain is a unique organ in that it does not have the ability to store nutrients. This makes it imperative that your daily diet contains the proper nutrition that the brain needs. The brain requires a constant stream of oxygen and nutrients from the blood. What you eat throughout the day directly affects the health of your brain and its ability to function at maximum capacity.

Basing your diet around your brain’s needs can improve your:

  • Memory
  • Focus and concentration
  • Alertness
  • Mood

Just think, the food you’re eating could be contributing to that foggy feeling, depression, or anxiety that you battle. Furthermore, what you eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner can directly act on your brain’s capacity to remember.

You have the power to change the way you think, simply by changing your diet!

Eating the right foods can provide anti-aging effects inside your brain keeping you alert, focused and mentally invigorated long past retirement!

Macro and Micro Nutrition

high blood sugar leads to brain shrinkage and memory lossA healthy, optimal functioning brain needs nutrition from both macro and micro sources. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Micronutrients are much smaller molecules like vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Though most foods contain some sort of macro and micro nutrition, only a specific combination of these two forms can create the perfect combination for brain health.

The Macronutrients of Brain Function

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are important for providing a steady stream of glucose to the brain. Glucose literally acts as a source of fuel by powering the brain and keeping brain cells alive. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. It is only complex carbs like those found in whole grains and vegetables that keep your blood glucose levels stable. They provide a constant flow of glucose to keep the brain alert and functioning at maximum capacity.

However, simple carbohydrates like those found in refined grains and white sugar can lead to spikes in blood glucose. Over time, the brain can actually become damaged from chronically high glucose levels. Studies have shown that those with diabetes and unstable blood sugar are at risk for developing cognitive impairment and dementia![1] Another study found that high blood sugar led to brain shrinkage that resulted in loss of memory![2] Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is extremely important in preserving the brain’s functions and memory.

Interestingly there’s little evidence that consuming a lot of carbohydrates is necessary for fueling the brain. The brain can also run on ketone bodies, which are an alternative fuel when glucose is not available. However, you still must provide the brain with healthy fat in order to have ketones available.

Limit your carbohydrates to those found in whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Following the Barton Publishing Food Plate provides a great visual for how much of the diet should include carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The Barton Publishing Food Plate offers a great improvement over the outdated and unhealthy US Food Pyramid.

Proteins

Proteins are important in the diet because they are the building blocks of amino acids. Amino acids from proteins are used to make neurotransmitters, which allow your brain to network and communicate.

A common neurotransmitter is serotonin, which is helpful for sleep patterns, blood pressure and a calm mood.

Eating protein also increases the levels of the amino acid tyrosine in the body. Tyrosine converts into dopamine and norepinephrine, which contribute to alertness and promote mental energy.

Barton Publishing Food PlateIt is estimated that 86% of Americans have suboptimal levels of neurotransmitters.[3] Eating adequate levels of protein increases neurotransmitters and therefore increases brain activity.

Great sources of protein include:

  • Free range eggs
  • Grass fed beef
  • Free range chicken
  • Unsweetened organic yogurt or kefir
  • Quality whey, rice, or hemp protein powder

Most people require about 40-60 grams of protein a day according to their weight. Remember, although plant protein found in beans and nuts is beneficial, it is missing important amino acids. Vegetarian proteins are not complete proteins. Incorporate plenty of animal sourced complete proteins into your diet in order to maintain the levels of amino acids needed for the brain’s neurotransmitters.

As always, it’s a matter of balance. Eat foods that provide the full spectrum of amino acids your brain needs for an appropriate harmony of energizing and calming neurotransmitters. Pay attention to what you eat and how you feel afterward. Learn what works best for you according to your daily activities and need for rest.

Fat

Fat is the most important macronutrient needed by the brain. The human brain is composed of around 60% fat, making dietary fat incredibly important for brain health! The low fat diet trend in recent years has starved the brain of necessary fat and cholesterol. Instead, low fat diets promoted carbohydrates, which raised blood sugar causing both damage and atrophy of the brain.

Mayo Clinic research found that individuals who ate high carbohydrate diets had a remarkable 89% increased risk for developing dementia! Conversely, those whose diets contained the most fat had an incredible 44% reduction in risk for developing dementia.[4]

Two forms of fat are necessary for the brain:

  1. Saturated fat
  2. Cholesterol

I understand that promoting these two forms of fat in the diet probably goes against everything you’ve been taught about a healthy diet. However, facts are facts.

The brain uses saturated fats as the building blocks of its cells. Click to Tweet.

Just think about it. What is human breast milk primarily comprised of? Saturated fat! An infant requires this high fat content to meet the needs of its brain growth and development. This form of fat is not enemy #1, rather the form of fat that nature provides to promote growth of the human brain!

Cholesterol is essential for the brain as well. Often demonized as the culprit behind heart disease and even strokes, cholesterol actually protects the brain! The brain contains 25% of the body’s total cholesterol.

Therefore, it is no surprise that cholesterol-lowering medications now warn against memory decline. Click to Tweet.

Interestingly, those with the highest levels of cholesterol may have the lowest risk of dementia.[5] Remember, cholesterol isn’t the bad guy! It actually keeps your brain healthy and young.

When incorporating fat into your diet, always stay clear of trans-fats and hydrogenated oils. These are not natural forms of saturated fats and can cause damage and inflammation throughout the body. Margarine, shortening, and many fried and fast foods contain this dangerous fat.

healthy fats to enhance mental performance and preserve memoryDon’t be afraid any longer to add healthy sources of saturated fat into your diet!

Build your brain with fat! Click to Tweet.

Some of the best saturated fats to include in your diet are:

  • Extra virgin coconut oil
  • Grass fed beef
  • Free range eggs
  • Pasture butter (Kerry Gold is a great brand)

Putting these brain-boosting fats onto your plate and into your body will enhance brain function, increase mental performance and preserve memory.

Specialized Micronutrients for Brain Power

There are 3 very important micronutrients that provide the brain with specialized nutrition:

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Omega 3 DHA (technically, a fatty acid)

Each one of these specific nutrients has an important job in the brain by impacting the way we think, feel and remember.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are often referred to as the “anti-stress vitamins” because of their ability to increase our tolerance for stress. This group of vitamins also helps lift our mood and provides mental energy for the brain.

However, that’s not all! A recent study revealed that B vitamins slow brain shrinkage that can occur with age. Furthermore, these vitamins specifically slowed shrinkage in brain regions known to be most impacted by Alzheimer’s disease![6]

The B vitamins are your brain’s vitamins! Click to Tweet.

Vitamin B12, in particular, is of greatest concern because deficiencies in this important vitamin are associated with dementia, memory loss, depression and even schizophrenia. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include: fatigue, shortness of breath, diarrhea or constipation, problems concentrating and pale skin.

As we age, we often lose the ability to absorb B12 properly, so blood testing is important in maintaining proper levels. B12 shots may be needed to boost this crucial vitamin.

Vitamin B12 is solely found in animal products like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. So it may be necessary for strict vegetarians and vegans to supplement B12, since it can be difficult for them to get enough of the vitamin.

Folic acid is another important B vitamin for the health of your brain. Folic acid is imperative for the nervous system at every age. However, folic acid deficiency contributes to aging brain processes, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia especially among the elderly.

folic acid food sourcesFolic acid is found in:

  • Leafy greens
  • Oranges
  • Oatmeal
  • Asparagus
  • Many varieties of beans

Keeping healthy levels of all of the B vitamins is extremely important for brain health. If you have any concerns about your B vitamin levels, it is a good idea to get them checked.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, though not found naturally in many foods, is another important vitamin for the brain. Low levels of vitamin D can cause confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating. Many tissues in the brain contain vitamin D receptors, which when activated by vitamin D, encourage nerve cell growth. Some researchers believe that vitamin D also helps repair damaged neurons in the brain![7]

Increasing your vitamin D is done easily by exposing yourself to sunshine for just 20-30 minutes a day. However, supplementation is also helpful if your vitamin D levels are extremely low. Taking 35 IU per pound of body weight is a great daily dose to keep your blood levels within a healthy range. Free-range eggs are also a great source of dietary vitamin D.

Protect your brain against cognitive deficits with vitamin D.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, are the building blocks of the brain. Brain cells, otherwise called neurons, transmit messages throughout the brain and to other parts of the body. The membrane around these neurons is made up of fat, 60% of which is DHA.

In order for the neurons to communicate properly, these membranes need to be flexible. If these membranes become stiff, molecules cannot pass through the neurons correctly and can result in mood imbalances, difficulty learning, and impaired recall. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet can restore the flexible nature of the neuron cell membranes. This results in increased cell communication, memory and brain function!

Omegas also seem to ward off the cognitive decline that often comes with age. Omega-3 fatty acids with DHA are found in fatty fish such as:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Herring

Consuming a diet that promotes a healthy, focused and energized brain takes a diet that is balanced in both micro and macro nutrition. The Barton Publishing Brain Health Solution Kit contains a list of the top 20 memory boosting foods. This makes a great reference and shopping guide for those of you just beginning your journey towards a healthy, balanced diet.

Below are two recipes that incorporate foods that are low in carbohydrates, rich in healthy fats and brimming with vitamins and minerals. These foods will fuel your brain, increase your mental performance and sharpen your memory.

Start out your day right with a Brain Boosting Smoothie! This easy-to-make meal is great for breakfast or a quick on-the-go snack. It contains healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals, which nourish your brain cells and provide the mental energy it needs to focus.

Brain Boosting Smoothie

brain boosting smoothieIngredients

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder (no sugar or artificial sweeteners added)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 banana (optional)
  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup ice
  • Flavor of choice: 1 TBSP organic cocoa powder, ½ cup strawberries, 1 tsp cinnamon, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Put all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.

This recipe can be adapted to fit your preferences.[8] You can use cold brewed coffee, tea, almond milk, or coconut water as the base and add other fruits or flavors.

Note on Egg Yolks: Many people feel uncomfortable using raw egg in any form. I believe you must trust the source of your eggs. However, do your own research before consuming any food raw!

This next recipe contains omega 3 rich salmon along with quinoa, a protein-rich grain. This healthy dinner provides you with the healthy fats, protein and vitamins to boost brainpower.

Salmon Kabobs with Quinoa and Grapefruit Salad

Salad Ingredients:

  • Salmon Kabobs with Quinoa and Grapefruit Salad1 medium grapefruit
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 small serrano or jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 2 scallions minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Fish:

  • 1 1/2 pound skinless, center-cut salmon, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Wooden skewers, soaked

Directions

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a bowl and drain. Put the quinoa in a small saucepan with the water and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Boil over high heat, and then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl and fluff with a fork. Cool.
  2. Segment the grapefruit over a bowl, reserving the segments and juice separately. Whisk 3 tablespoons of the grapefruit juice with the vinegar, honey, ginger and salt to taste in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in 3 tablespoons the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a stream to make a slightly thick dressing. Season with pepper to taste.
  3. Toss quinoa with the dressing, chiles, scallions, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Preheat a stovetop or outdoor grill to high heat. Thread the salmon cubes onto the skewers. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon grapefruit oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill the skewers, turning as each side browns, while keeping the salmon moist, about 3 minutes.
  5. Toss the grapefruit segment into the salad, divide among 4 plates, and top with the salmon kebobs. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Are you looking to improve your brain function, preserve your memory and increase your focus and concentration? Begin by changing your diet! Your brain will respond to the macro and micro nutrients you feed it.

Incorporate healthy fats, protein, omega 3s, B vitamins and vitamin D into your daily life and feel your mind transform. If it is truly our brain that makes us who we are, then in fact we truly are what we eat.

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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.

 

Sources:
[1] http://www.neurology.org/content/63/4/E9.full
[2] http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-discussions/general/16604-blood-sugar-and-brain-damage
[3] https://www.neurogistics.com/TheScience/WhatareNeurotransmi09CE.asp
[4] http://advances.nutrition.org/content/4/3/294.abstract
[5] http://www.neurology.org/content/64/10/1689.abstract
[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23690582
[7] https://beta.mssociety.ca/research-news/article/cell-based-study-reveals-that-vitamin-d-can-drive-the-activity-of-neural-stem-cells-that-promote-myelin-repair
[8] Recipe adapted from Wellnessmama.com

How to Naturally Protect Your Kidneys

Innovative Strategies for Kidney Health

Ray was 56 years old and facing dialysis. A recent diagnosis of type 2 diabetes had him in a downward spiral of blood sugar issues, pain in his feet, and now kidney failure! Leading up to this, Ray’s prediabetes and nearly “normal” blood sugar allowed his kidney damage to go unrecognized.

Even when diabetes is not full blown, high sugar levels in prediabetes can cause problems throughout the body.

One of the main organs damaged by high blood sugar is the kidney. Over time, the high levels of sugar in the blood damage the millions of tiny filtering units within each kidney. This eventually leads to kidney failure.

The heart, and nerve cells are also sensitive to fluctuations in blood sugar because they don’t store any form of energy. Diabetes cannot turn the sugars you eat into useful energy. The consistently high levels of sugar cause a constant supply of oxygen free-radicals that result in gradual damage to the nerves and blood vessels. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are injured, your kidneys cannot clean your blood properly.

Most of the time, those who experience kidney failure already have signs of it before they are even diagnosed with diabetes. In fact, the most common cause of kidney failure is diabetes mellitus (type 2 diabetes).

Since Ray already had signs of renal failure, we immediately started him on intravenous alpha lipoic acid. Alpha lipoid acid is a super nutrient and turns “used” antioxidants into “available” antioxidants for your body to use for making energy.

At the same time, we recommended dietary changes such as eating fewer carbohydrates, and drinking water instead of soda. He also needed to give up beer and ice cream.

How Your Kidneys Work

Saunders Kidney diagramProtecting your kidneys is so important. Our kidneys are the constant filter of the body. Healthy kidneys maintain all the things our cells need to function in the blood, while letting go of waste and toxins. The design is amazing!

  • Blood runs through a filter (5)
  • Filtered water goes down the tube (4)
  • Blood, protein stay in vessels (3)
  • Water and nutrients leak out into the kidney tissue (2)
  • Nutrients that the body wants are re-absorbed into blood vessels (1)
  • Waste is sent to the bladder (6)

First, there are millions of filters called the glomeruli. These tiny filters let fluid out of the blood, but keep cells and proteins. The glomeruli function very much like a coffee filter. Whatever is dissolved in the water of your blood goes through the filter, but particles stay in the blood. Then, the fluid goes through tubes where sodium, potassium, amino acids, water, and so forth, are re-absorbed into the blood. Your kidneys will release them to return to the body when the need arises.

All that is left is a little water and filtered wastes, which then move down to the bladder and are released into the toilet (or wherever☺) as urine.

Essentially, each of your glomeruli acts like a sieve that helps keep normal proteins and cells in your bloodstream and allows wastes, excess fluid and other substances to pass. In this way, your kidneys regulate your body’s level of these substances.

The remarkable nature of this system is that it allows the body to keep all the nutrients it needs, while allowing any sort of waste or toxin to be washed out of the body. The kidneys don’t have to know what is bad, only what is good – waste is whatever is not wanted.

It is essential that we consider the health of our kidneys. According to CDC data, since 1999, the age-adjusted death rate for kidney disease has increased by 11.5 percent, compared to downward trends for heart attacks and strokes.[1] Of course, most of these are due to the increasing rate of diabetes, but there are many with renal failure who don’t have diabetes.

Another Cause of Kidney Failure

Sometimes the filters (glomeruli) don’t work for other reasons. Josie came in with swelling of the legs and feet. She had been to several doctors and was told she had Nephrotic Syndrome: damage to the clusters of small blood vessels in your kidneys that filter waste and excess water from your blood.

This damage allows protein normally kept in the blood to leak into the urine in large amounts, which reduces the amount of protein in your blood. Since the protein in the blood helps keep fluid in the bloodstream, some of this fluid leaks out of the bloodstream into your tissues, causing swelling.

Imagine using coffee filters that had little pinholes in them so you keep finding sediment in your coffee. The “pinholes” in the glomeruli of the kidneys are generally caused by what we think are “immune complexes” or autoimmune disease. Antibodies against either the kidneys or other cells can “poke holes” in the filters, causing them to leak.

The problem with kidney failure is that there are no symptoms until about 80% of normal kidney function is lost. This means that, unfortunately, many people never realize they have a kidney problem until a symptom such as back pain or blood in the urine appears. By then, it’s usually too late to restore normal function.

Thus, the key to avoiding kidney disease is PREVENTION!

We had to work with Josie to calm down her immune system and stop the leaks. Then, we restored kidney function just enough so she no longer has swelling. She still loses a little protein in the urine, but the liver can make enough to keep up with it.

The glomeruli are the most important part of the kidney to protect. Like Ray and Josie, most kidney problems are from the waste filters. Protection of your kidneys is not hard, and doesn’t take a great deal of time. You don’t have to think about it, just follow good health practices.

How to Naturally Protect your Kidneys

Low salt diet leads to early deathTwo of the most important functions of your kidneys are:

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2 Ways to Maintain a Low Acidic Diet for Optimal Kidney Health

by Jessica Sanders

One in 3 American adults are at risk for developing kidney disease, and 26 million currently have it, though many don’t know it yet.

These statistics are staggering, not just because kidney disease is often a result of poor health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, but because these two bean-shaped organs do a whole lot more than you might think.

Their list of duties, includes:

  • Filtering 120 to 150 quarts of blood daily to produce 1 to 2 quarts of urine.
  • Keeping the body’s level of electrolytes stable, such as potassium and phosphate.
  • Making hormones that help regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells and keep bones strong.

kidneys make bicarbonate One of the most important duties is controlling the acidity balance of the blood. If the blood is too acidic, the kidney makes bicarbonate to restore the blood pH balance. If the blood is too alkaline, then the kidney excretes bicarbonate into the urine to restore the balance. In fact, the kidneys produce nearly half a pound of bicarbonate a day to help neutralize acid in the body.

Patients with kidney disease have poorly functioning kidneys, resulting in acid build up and high levels of metabolic wastes in the blood. In most cases, those suffering from kidney disease are placed on dialysis, which takes over the function of the kidneys. This is an expensive treatment with many unappealing side effects including multiple catheter changes throughout the day, bloating, weight gain, blood clotting and itchy skin.

Luckily, if you treat your kidneys well on a daily basis, you can avoid kidney disease or kidney stones. And, no, you don’t have to start taking expensive supplements. Here are two natural, inexpensive ways to keep your kidneys working properly.

Baking Soda

One of the products you can use to maintain optimal kidney health is likely sitting in your home already: baking soda.

That familiar, orange Arm and Hammer box is much more powerful than you might first imagine. While yours sits in the fridge as an odor catchall, hospitals use it in the emergency room as an intensive care medicine.

The main ingredient, bicarbonate, is a naturally occurring alkaline substance found in all body fluids and organs that helps to maintain a balanced pH and buffer acids. (Remember, the kidneys produce nearly half a pound of bicarbonate daily).

Baking soda helps current kidney disease patients mitigate the kidneys’ inability to neutralize acids without the unappealing side effects.

A British study of 134 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) found that a small daily dose of oral sodium bicarbonate tablets, along with the treatment they were already undergoing, greatly reduced the rate of kidney decline. Decline was about two-thirds slower than the group that didn’t take the tablets. These patients also saw improvements in overall nutrition.

Though medical professionals have long known of the value of baking soda in kidney health, this study, conducted in 2010, was the first of its kind.

This natural health remedy, when used as a preventive measure, can also reduce your chances for getting kidney stones, which 1 in 10 Americans will get in their lifetime.

You can take baking soda in the form of a drink or a tablet. General recommendations advise taking 2 rounded teaspoons of baking soda mixed with 2 cups water and sipping over the course of an hour or two. If the kidneys are compromised, you can do this up to 3 times a day. Please consult with a healthcare professional before adding baking soda to your diet.

Alkaline Diet

The phrase, an apple a day (and other fruits and vegetables) keeps the doctor away, has never been truer than when discussing kidney health. These foods have been found to improve kidney health because they are more alkaline, less acidic.

Eating foods with less acid means your kidneys don’t have to work as hard to maintain a balanced pH. The main nutrients in these alkaline foods are, potassium, calcium and magnesium.

It only makes sense to conclude that acidic foods, on the other hand, put your kidneys to work. If you eat too much of these foods, the kidneys cease to be able to process the acids and your body can become susceptible to kidney stones or kidney disease.

With an alkaline-based diet, you can be sure you’re treating your kidneys well. Here are three simple steps to improve your diet.

1. Eat more fruits and vegetables, which are less acidic. Some foods to indulge in, include:

  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Broccoli
  • Potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Beet greens

2. At the same time, it’s also important to reduce your consumption of highly acidic foods that could throw your pH off balance and cause your kidney’s to go into overdrive:

3. Some other acidic foods and drinks to reduce are:

  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Coffee

While you don’t need to cut these foods out altogether, remember to eat them in moderation. Your health practitioner can help guide you to determine exactly how much of these foods to eat based on the particular needs of your body.

Remember, your kidneys do a whole lot more than you might think, including filtering waste and keeping your pH levels balanced and in a healthy range. Take care of them with these natural remedies. With a little baking soda and a diet rich in alkaline foods you may be able to prevent or slow down any kidney disease.

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Sources:
https://www.kidney.org/news/newsroom/factsheets/FastFacts
http://drsircus.com/medicine/sodium-bicarbonate-baking-soda/healing-the-kidneys-with-sodium-bicarbonate
http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100927/Daily-dose-of-baking-soda-affects-kidney-function-Study.aspx
http://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/20/9/2075.abstract
http://www.naturalnews.com/038749_alkalize_pH_balance_disease_prevention.html
http://blogs.davita.com/kidney-diet-tips/?p=883

 

What Your Skin Reveals

Skin is so revealing!

Our skin is the largest organ of the body, performing multiple tasks. Skin:

  • Protects us from our environment
  • Regulates our body temperature
  • Warns of etanger
  • Prevents infection
  • Senses the world around us
  • Reveals what is going on inside our bodies

treat rosacea with betaine hcl pepsin and trypsinWhen I was in medical school we had a dermatology class by a professor in his 80s, Dr. Newcomer. He was hilarious. He would never touch the skin of the patients. Instead, he would have them show him what their rash or skin lesion looked like. He would often say, “Yuck-a-roo! You’ve got a rash there!” He would then turn to us and give us the diagnosis of what kind of rash. Whether it was eczema, seborrhea, psoriasis, or urticaria, he told us the symptoms of each skin condition.

But these skin rash names and symptoms did not denote the cause. Thus, we were only taught how to treat the symptoms of skin problems. Over the years, I have found that the skin reveals what is going on inside the body. Using the old system of diagnosing symptoms wasn’t helpful to find the cause, nor to relieve the condition.

One man, John Kortum, who is not a doctor or practitioner, has written a book in which he describes how he can diagnose internal illness simply by looking at the face. He can tell by the texture of the skin in certain locations on the face if a person has thyroid, adrenal, cancer, or other problems.

There may be no end to using the skin for diagnosis, but it’s not easy. The specific skin lesions may reveal that something is wrong, but do not tell us what specifically. We still need to dig to find the underlying cause of the illness.

The skin tells us there is a problem, but doesn’t say what is causing it because it is only one symptom. All symptoms do is tell us that there is a problem. If you have pain, then something is wrong. The pain may tell you where, but not what the problem is. Likewise a rash, or other skin lesion, may indicate that there is a problem, but not what or where the problem is.

Flush Food Sensitivities and Relieve Rosacea

I find food sensitivities to be a common cause of skin problems. One skin ailment I frequently see is rosacea, an inflammation in the skin of the face that causes:

  • Pimples
  • Enlargement of blood vessels
  • And sometimes a bulbous tip of the nose

Dermatologists recommend antibiotics or anti-inflammatories in pills, creams, or gels to try to relieve the symptoms. However, I find that going to the source is much more helpful to prevent permanent skin damage.

Rosacea seems to stem from poorly digested proteins in the digestive tract. Click to Tweet.

The cause may be a lack of

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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.

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

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

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