Let’s Define Healthy

It is interesting to think about how my definition of “healthy food” has changed over the last two years.  At first I thought if a product was wheat free, it was healthy.  After all, wheat has been so changed by hybridization, it is no longer recognized by the body as real food, and is one if the main sources major inflammation in the body.  I have realized that I do not want to eat wheat!

Then I realized that corn and soy, along with sugar beets, and canola are heavily sprayed with Round-up as they grow.  Since these products are in more than 7 out of 10 food items in the grocery store, I began reading every label, and eating more fresh food that has not been genetically modified to survive Roundup. 

Then I realized that any food that is processed, such as brown rice or tapioca, when it is made into flour, the body turns it to glucose way too quickly to utilize its nutrients.  Processing food makes it unnatural, and difficult for the body to use for fuel. 

Finally, I began focusing on keeping my gut healthy with prebiotics and probiotics that build my immunity and sense of well being.  My tastes have changed to appreciate fermented foods, sugar free foods, and raw foods. 

After almost two years of trying to define “healthy food,” I am still working on it.  I’ve made up my mind to eat what my body needs for the best health possible.  I think I will be working on that definition for the rest of my life!

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Healthy Babies

ImageI read an article today that helped to open my eyes. It was an article in the New York Times on the benefits of giving probiotics to babies. The study was conducted in Italy and it followed over four hundred babies. Half were given a specific dose of Lactobacillis (a probiotic) daily and the other half were given a placebo. They were followed all the way through three months old and what they found surprised me. First, the times of inconsolable crying were reduced in the  infants taking probiotics and the bowel movements were more regular. At three months the babies taking probiotic supplements did not spit up as much and had far fewer visits to the doctor. 

Two questions I would like to answer are first, what is a probiotic and second, why does this study matter? A probiotic is a good bacteria in your gut. It aids in the digestion and breakdown of your food. Because eighty percent of your immunity is in your gut, it is absolutely vital to build up the healthy bacteria in your gut. Many people think about health and wellness being a problem for adults. We feed our children GMO foods and sugar, which are damaging their brains, but we worry about ourselves when it comes to eating clean. So many people think, “Oh, I do not want to deprive my child of the “good things” in life” i.e. sugar and fat. We have to start thinking about health and food as fuel at the youngest age possible. Take this study– yes our bodies maintain some probiotics naturally, but even as babies we need the extra boost for our gut health. If you look at our food, it is so incredibly depleted of nutrition and every year it just gets worse. The nutrients are gone from the soil because industrial farming does not rotate crops or replenish the soil and the food that was amazing to eat for our grandparents are no longer chalked full of the nutrients our bodies crave. Did you know that in 2012 the US spent 11.5 BILLION dollars on supplements! That is billion with a B! It is estimated that in 2017 supplement sales will hit over 15 billion!

If newborns are benefited by boosting their gut flora with probiotics, it means the mother also has abnormal gut flora and has not passed on the needed immunity to her baby.  Everyone needs to boost their gut flora, where 80 percent of our immunity lies, and 95 percent of our serotonin is produced which gives us a sense of well being.  I love Arbonne’s digestion plus, a supplement of probiotics that keeps your gut healthy and boosts every body system.

My Stand on Soy

Time and time again I find that the media and what we are told about “healthy foods” are not so true. I love to take time and research and find where I stand on different health issues. One controversial issue of health is the topic of Soy. If you google soy, you will find countless websites telling you that soy is the best for you. Then again you will also find that there are many websites that tell you just the opposite. At one point you have to take the information that you can find and pick a side. A few weeks back I found out how much of a controversial issue this can be, so I set out to do more and more research and take a stand. I have looked at those many websites and I think I have come to the conclusion that I will not allow soy in my life in any way ever! I found that 99% of soy is genetically modified. When I first read this statistic I did not believe it, but then I saw it again and again, site after site. Why does this matter? Well, our bodies were not made to eat genetically modified foods. That is the very definition: humans took the DNA of food and altered it to yeild the most crop, and make the most money. Eating foods that we were not made to eat throw every body system out of proportion. In animal testing there were links between GMO foods and infertility and baby abnormalities. It all makes sense if you know that food is fuel to your body. It is just like a car;. If you try putting dirt in your car you are not going to get very far. Also if you try putting junk in your body, you will not get very far.

soyAnother danger to our bodies is that soy is full of phytoestrogens. This means that once it gets past your mouth it acts as estrogen in your body and throws your hormones out of balance. Your hormones control every aspect of your body. Dr. Mercola, a well know nutritionist, shared research of a bird farmer who bought a large stock of soy based feed for his birds. Well, you see when certain birds come to full maturity, they turn beautiful colors. With regular foods it took the birds somewhere between four and a half months and six months to come to full maturity. When the birds were eating food high in soy (and false estrogens) the birds turned the pretty colors in as soon as three months. What does this mean? It means that the soy caused a hormone imbalance to cause the birds mature extremely early. Now I know that we are not birds, ok? But I know that a phytoestrogen is a phytoestrogen and I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is dangerous for my body. Next time you go to the grocery store, try reading your labels. I know that I was astonished at the amount of soy in the products that I ate everyday. NO MORE!

If you aren’t convinced about soy yet, take some time to look at research from Dr. Mercola on the dangers of soy. I was on the fence, but I not anymore. It is our challenge in this life to know what we are putting in our bodies. Take the time to research and stay informed!!  

 

Sources:

http://www.mercola.com/article/soy/avoid_soy2.htm

http://thedeliciousrevolution.com/

http://www.wanttoknow.info/

Squats, Squats and More Squats

I have recently started working out with a personal trainer. I have been working with him twice a week learning different exercises and stretching techniques to really help me to burn fat and look my best. One of the foundations of every workout has been the infamous squat. Now I never knew what a real squat was, or how to do a proper squat moreover. In the past I thought that a squat was bending half way down with my knees extending over my toes and struggling to stand back up again, like the middle picture below. I have now found out that it is always better to do less reps of a more difficult move, like the move on the right, than more of a very easy move. Does that make sense?

front-squat_w-kettlebell

This great exercise really does target your “thunder thighs” as I lovingly referred to mine. I have always had larger hips and if I was honest, I had given up on ever getting rid of them. Now the more that I focus in on a strategic workout, the more I see my fat melting away. If you are not on a exercising routine, I strongly recommend it… Over my journey to health I have come to love working out. The old me absolutely dreaded working out. In fact for the first couple months of my journey, I really did not work out as much as I should have, but now I find myself looking forward to my time of the day that I get to workout and really feel my best. I have always talked about my palate changing when it comes to food, but in reality my palate has changed in many many areas of my life. I now look forward to eating salads, working out, going running or hiking and getting out with friends. I actually find myself on the go and much busier than I used to be because I now have the energy. I want to challenge you that if you are not on a workout routine, try to make it a goal of yours that this week you will do at least 30 minutes three times. I want you to fall in love with working out like I have.

Fiber… Who Knew?

Tonight I want to take a minute and talk to you about fiber. For a long time I never asked any questions about fiber. I just thought, “Well, I heard once that it is good for your system, so let’s take it!” I knew sooner or later my curiosity would catch up to me, and alas, here it is. I was thinking yesterday as I was adding fiber into my daily routine, and I realized that fiber was something that I did not truly understand. What is fiber? How does it affect your body, and why is it beneficial to me? Well I went to work and here is what I have found:
As to what is fiber, I found a great article on medical news today that described fiber as the “indigestible part of plant foods” This means that through the foods we consume, our bodies are able to break down many parts and absorb the nutrients as needed for energy. As our bodies break down the food throughout the intestines, the fiber does not break down, but absorbs water as it moves through the digestion process. Fiber is broken down into two subcategories, soluble and insoluble. This simply means that one dissolves in water and one does not. Both are critical to our health and both can be found in the foods we eat. Many people find that when they switch from a SAD (standard American diet) to a high protein diet, they struggle with digestive issues like bloating or constipation. As I understand it, when you are having these issues you need more fiber in your diet. The fiber will bind with the protein in the digestive process and help to eliminate the waste in your colon. isn’t that fascinating? I know it may be a little color to talk about, but it amazes me how something that no one really thinks about helps to digest our food.
 untitledA couple other facts I found along the way about fiber. Did you know that soluble fiber, the kind that dissolves in water, can actually help to control blood sugar? The fiber helps your body to break down the carbs slower thus turning it into sugar slowly. What I have noticed most about fiber on my weight loss journey was that it helped me to feel fuller longer. In fact for the first few months I was drinking two shakes a day and one meal a day and enjoying my dietary plans. I was told that fiber was important to my health so I started adding it to my morning shake. I found quickly that I was having to remind myself that it was lunchtime, because I was not hungry! Isn’t is amazing to think about how food was created to be our medicine. In ancient times people did not have the option of supplements nor did they need them. Why? They were in our food! Now in todays times we have to be sure to stay on top of things and make sure we have all the vital supplements in our everyday diet. I am a believer now that fiber is absolutely vital.