The hot days of Summer allow us plenty of outdoor activities. It doesn’t matter if you are an outdoors enthusiast for your exercise or you find yourself doing massive amounts of yard work and gardening.It is also a time for BBQ’s and fun food with friends. It can also be a stressful time as we need to juggle our schedules and occupy the kids until school starts back up. Whatever your Summer activities are your body is paying the price with a sometimes silent condition that can do major damage to your health.
INFLAMMATION is the body’s attempt at self protection. When you injure yourself the inflammation process starts, which signals the body to start healing. It is part of the bodies natural immune response.
Acute inflammation starts rapidly and quickly becomes severe but lasts only a few days or weeks as the body heals. A cut or bruise is an example of acute inflammation. When the cut or bruise becomes inflamed it is the sign that your immune system is sending white blood cells to the wounded site to repair the injury.
Chronic inflammation is long term inflammation that can last for months or even years if you don’t make the changes necessary to correct it. It can lead to chronic disease and conditions such as Asthma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Colitis, Diabetes and many auto immune diseases. When the inflammation hangs out long term it confuses the natural immune response you are supposed to have. This kind of inflammation comes from injuries that never healed properly, poor diet, environmental toxins and even stress.
This chronic inflammation is probably the biggest health crisis we all face today. It is the start of many issues that we can choose to address. If we don’t control the inflammation it can be the start of the conditions mentioned above.
You can also have silent inflammation. You wont have a bruise or cut but inside your body can be on fire. It can be from food allergies, gut issues, chronic infections, poor diet choices (processed food), sedentary lifestyle as well as stress and exhaustion. These things are all risks to your long term health.
Good news is that all of this inflammation can be corrected. Reducing stress both mental and physical is key to good health which gets rid of the damaging inflammation. Choosing a whole food, mostly plant based diet is key for nutrition. Focus on your gut health. Adding enzymes, probiotics and proper supplements will ease the inflammation. Find out if you have food allergies. If you continue to eat what your body is rejecting the inflammation just grows. It is the same for chronic infections. You must address the causes of these and eliminate the problem. Also because our skin is the largest organ in our body we need to pay attention to what we touch and apply to our skin. Make sure you read labels on your skin care as well as household products. Learn what is healthy and what chemicals and ingredients you should avoid.
Becoming aware of inflammation in the first place is a great start. Work on each step to improve your diet and your lifestyle. By keeping inflammation to a low level in your body you ensure a longer healthy life free of joint pain and chronic conditions.
Our bodies need exercise. We were designed for it. You can tell by how stiff and sore you get after sitting for a long time. Our muscles, bones and ligaments need to be stretched and strengthened on a daily basis. We have heard it can be as simple as a walk around the block or using stairs instead of elevators. That’s a great start but we need to push ourselves more than that to achieve optimal health. Whatever you choose to do the important thing to remember is to do it consistently so that you get results and find something that works for you so you stick with it.
I have always hated exercising. I had heard over and over, once I got consistent, I would learn to love it. Well, I am consistent 5 days a week now and I can’t say I love it BUT I can say my body loves it… and needs it! I finally found what works for me and my body is responding. The best thing I realized was I was never pushing myself hard enough because I thought I was going to reinjure my back or hurt something else. What happened when I did push myself was all my back pain and aches are gone. I concentrate on keeping my core strong by combining cardiovascular and resistance training.
The main reason people exercise is to burn calories and lose weight. But really there are so many more reasons for doing it. It makes your heart strong. It increases your lung capacity. It reduces your risk for heart attacks. It helps control diseases and conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also relieves stress and helps you sleep better. It just makes you feel GOOD!
The combination of several different types of exercise is so important. Even runners who treck many miles a day will benefit from adding resistance training. Take a look at a list of different exercise modalities you can choose from to ensure overall health. Changing your routine from time to time will keep it from being boring PLUS there is evidence that shows that confusing the body by changing routine will get you through plateaus and keep muscle growth steady.
Aerobic exercise… also known as cardio, is the most used form of exercise that is done. Mainly because it includes walking, running, climbing or biking. It’s what we do to lose weight, burn fat and improve our health. The goal is to do it long enough and hard enough to get into your target heart rate zone. This is why taking a slow walk around the block may not be enough. Instead of walking try power walking, jogging or running. You can do jumping jacks or jump a rope. The first time I tried jumping a rope I couldn’t do more than 2 or 3 jumps. After alot of practice I can do 150 or so at one time. Talk about getting your heart rate up. Have a staff member at a gym help you figure your target heart rate (you can also Google it and figure it out) or use an easy tool we all have… our breath. Most peoples target heart rate will be when you are exercising hard enough to talk but in broken sentences. If you can carry a normal conversation, step up the pace. If you can barely speak or can’t speak at all, slow down the pace. If you haven’t exercised in awhile take it easy and build up to a faster pace.
Resistance training or weight lifting is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance for strength, toning and building muscle mass. The external resistance can be dumbbell weights, weight machines, resistance bands or any object of weight that causes your muscles to contract. Your own body weight is one of the best tools to use. A pushup is a great example of a resistant exercise. No equipment needed to do sit-ups, squats and lunges. They build muscle and keep your core strong which keeps you from injuring yourself with everyday activities. Most women avoid this type of exercise or avoid lifting too much weight because they think it will make them bulky. This is not true as it takes huge amounts of weight to achieve this. If you don’t push yourself and increase the weight as you go you will not see the results that can be achieved with heavier resistance. Natasha Turner ND writes in her book “The Hormone Diet” that resistant training can help women overcome adrenal fatigue and that a combination of resistance training and cardio balances our hormones. She also recommends Yoga for both men and woman.
HIT stands for High Intensity Training. This is not a new concept in exercise but it is the latest thing you hear about fitness right now. This is the exercise routine that got me moving and seeing the results I mentioned earlier. It is based on old “bootcamp” style training where all aspects of exercise are incorporated into a shorter time frame. The idea is to give it all you got, using all muscle groups and heart pumping cardio for a minimum of 20 minutes and a maximum of 45 minutes. Head into any gym and you will see trainers guiding people this way. You can choose 3 or 4 exercises (running, squats, lunges and jumping rope as an example) and repeat 3 or 4 times resting briefly between sets to achieve that cardio target heart rate. You are building muscle with the resistance plus getting the benefits of cardio by not stopping between exercises. Do this 3 or 4 times a week and it will be all you need. I started out doing this in a group training session. I was with 5 to 8 other people and the trainer moves us from one exercise to the other together. I got the benefits of a trainer ( expensive!) but at one quarter of the cost. Plus exercising in a group creates competition and you try harder. I also love the accountability that I have to show up for the group and now I also have several routines I can do right on my living room floor. I have found this style of exercise gets real results and I don’t have to walk on a treadmill (boring) or analyze which body parts I need to pick today to work on. It incorporates it all and fast.
There are so many ways to get fit. The main thing is to find what works for you, change it up now and then and do it consistently. This is not just to burn calories or lose weight…this is for the overall state of your health. The number one cause of death in America is heart disease. That is caused from poor diet and lack of exercise.
Lets get moving!!!!
Cindy can be reached by phone at 602-989-0599 or
Please visit my website www.cynergyhealthandwellness.com
The process of breaking down food by mechanical and enzymatic action in the alimentary canal to break down food substances that can be used by the body.
The process of treating a substance by means of heat, enzymes, or a solvent to promote decomposition or extract essential components.
So we know that digestion is a normal body function we all have. Our miraculous bodies do it automatically so we really never pay attention to it until we actually feel bad. We might develop a stomach ache or pain. We most likely will experience gas, belching and bloating as well. You might even think these are normal bodily functions especially if it happens right after you eat. You might even take the famous purple pill (Nexium) or pop a roll of Tums in your mouth. You might not even have any symptoms at all.
What we can learn is that as we age and as we lead an unhealthy lifestyle, our bodies quit producing those so important enzymes that we need to digest the food. We also can quit popping those pills to cover up our symptoms and get to the root of the issues and start correcting the imbalance instead. If we don’t correct gut dysfunction our illness shows up in other areas too. Auto immune diseases, Diabetes, Obesity, sugar imbalances, joint pain and arthritis just to name a few.
My own health journey involves digestion and that purple pill. When I first started to feel bad about the time I turned 50, I had an Aunt who was only 4 years older than myself. She had ill health most of her life as did all of her sisters except my Mother who is 15 years older than her. I did know that she had digestive issues and her Doctor prescribed Nexium to her years ago before you could by it over the counter. What he didn’t do for her was to talk about her diet. She knew red wine and beef caused the terrible pain in her gut but instead of removing it from her diet she took the pills. They took away the pain until the next time she ate. She also ate from fast food restaurants and never exercised. Unfortunately my sweet Aunt died at the age of 54 from 2 kinds of cancer, the one in her stomach being the disease that her body couldn’t handle anymore.
What this did for me was give me a big wake up call! I had lost 3 other people in my life that year and it made me realize a few common denominators that my other Aunt, her sister and my uncle plus a good friend had. They all had horrible diets, never exercised, were all overweight plus they were on a myriad of prescription drugs since they were young. It made me realize I wanted a different plan for me and my family.
I found out that I was suffering from several food allergies or intolerances and lacked the acids and enzymes my stomach needed to digest the food I was taking in. Thank goodness I was always involved in natural health and I looked to Dr Kelly to help get to the root of my issues.
I would have to be a scientists and write for days to give all the information that is available on digestion and gut health. Just understanding the basics may help you identify if your gut is what might be ailing you.
Here is what Dr. Mark Hyman writes about why our digestion is off.
“ New evidence points to an unexpected source of metabolic problems and diabesity(disease) … a toxic digestive system.
Our diet has changed dramatically in the last 100 years with the industrialization of our food supply. This highly processed, high sugar, high fat, low fiber diet has substantially altered the bacteria that historically grew in our digestive tracts, and the change has been linked to weight gain and diabetes. Many modern inventions, including antibiotics, acid blockers, anti inflammatory medications, aspirin, steroids, antibiotics in our food supply, chronic stress all injure the gut, alter our gut flora, and lead to systemic inflammation.”
So we know that what we eat and take in medications is the major cause of our digestive issues. The good news is there are things we can do to ensure you are giving your gut everything it needs to function optimally.
A healthy diet… Eat real food with as few or no chemicals additives as possible. Eliminate sugar. Also if a certain food causes you distress then quit eating it. You can do an elimination diet to narrow down what foods you don’t tolerate or better yet get tested. (Emley Chiropractic has amazing resources for this) If you continue to eat untolerated foods your gut will react by sending the undigested particles to other areas of the body, which causes a whole realm of other issues. Eat fiber. We need fiber to add bulk to our stools for proper elimination. Fruits, vegetables and grains are your best sources for this. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are excellent foods to eat as they put back the proper beneficial bacteria to our gut. Yogurt can also do this but be weary of dairy as it is also a main allergen for most people.
Eliminate sugar…I know it was in the previous paragraph but it is so important that it deserves a paragraph all of its own. Most Americans consume way too much sugar. It alone upsets the body chemistry and the immune system. It is addictive and can destroy a persons health. It causes unhealthy yeast overgrowth in the gut and is a main problem with digestive tract issues.
Exercise… Exercising improves all body functions! We need both aerobic exercise and resistance training in order for our cells to function. Without it we become stiff and sore. A walk around the block is great but not enough. Next month we will cover the details of incorporating a good consistent exercise program into your healthy lifestyle. In the meantime go work up a sweat!
Drink water… Without water our bodies become dehydrated and everything we eat gets stuck in our intestinal track. Dr F. Batmanghelidj writes in his book “Your Bodies Many Cries For Water” that most diseases are started from chronic dehydration. Coffee, teas, alcohol, and all the crazy chemical laden vitamin and energy drinks DO NOT replace water. Quite the opposite… they dehydrate you even more. A good formula is to take half your body weight and drink that many ounces a day.
Supplement… When we lack the ability to produce natural enzymes and stomach acid we can take whole food supplements to give our gut what it needs to digest the particles and repair any harm that has already been done. Unlike the purple pill these supplements add in what you need rather than cover up the symptoms. Most people benefit from natural enzymes, betaine hydrochloride, and probiotics. They work synergistically to break down the food plus put back the good bacteria for a healthy gut. Standard Process supplements covers all of these even putting them together in formulas to make it easy. This is the key for me to stay healthy. I include enzymes and HCL plus probiotics with my meals.
Reduce stress… Stress is one of the major five causes of disease. Along with poor diet, toxins, microbes and allergens, chronic stress causes our DNA to change our gene expression to turn on or off different genes and messages that affect our metabolism. When those systems are out of balance disease occurs. * Makes you realize we should all really do something about less stress not just talk about it!
I love what Nancy Appleton PhD sums it up by saying “ You can see how your health can be jeopardized by eating sugar and a variety of other abusive substances, and by upsetting your body chemistry through stress and other bad habits. To summarize the chain of events:
When the body is abused, its minerals become deficient. Since enzymes are dependent on minerals to function, they do not function optimally. This, in turn, causes incomplete digestion of food. Undigested food gets into the bloodstream .The cells cannot get the nutrients they need from the food in this undigested form. As a result, our immune system must come to our defense and escort this foreign protein (the undigested food) out of the body. The immune system, which was not meant to do this continually, becomes exhausted. The exhaustion of the immune system is the beginning of the degenerative process.”
Really it all goes back to the same thing we are all trying to achieve. A healthy lifestyle. Choosing to explore your digestion issues might be the key to other challenges as well.
Happy Spring… (finally!)
Standard Process recommendations:
The staff at Emley Chiropractic will help you determine which of these will suit your needs.
Check out more articles and recipes for healthy living at
Cindy can be reached by phone at 602-989-0599 or
Please visit my website www.cynergyhealthandwellness.com
- Dr Mark Hyman… The Blood Sugar Solution
Have you ever lain in bed at night only to watch the clock turn to 1:00 am, 2:00 am and all the way until just before the alarm goes off to start another day? It’s the reason the phrase “the longest night of my life” was invented! Do you fall asleep the minute your head hits the pillow only to wake at 2:00 in the morning and just decide you are up for the day? Do you wish you could be Sleeping Beauty and have a fairy put a spell on you for at least one night? Insomnia or sleep deprivation hits all of us once in awhile but is affecting more and more people now than ever. Getting a good nights sleep is the single most important thing we need for a healthy life.
There are many reasons why a lack of sleep can affect our health. The good news is we can change some habits and overcome almost all of them to create a restful deep sleep night after night.
Repercussions of insomnia are more than just feeling out of it or cranky the next day. Because our bodies’ repair and our cells regenerate when we are sleeping, it is vital to our regular cycle of life to allow this to happen.
Dr Mark Hyman writes in his book, The Ultramind Solution, “ Our bodies and biological rhythms, which keep us healthy, produce cyclic pulses of healing and repair hormones, including melatonin and growth hormone. When those rhythms are disturbed by inadequate or insufficient sleep, disease and breakdown get the upper hand. Sleep also helps us maintain optimal levels of cortisol-the stress hormone that makes us depressed and fat.”
Stimulants and stress are 2 main reasons we can’t sleep. Stimulants should be the easiest thing to correct. Caffeine, sugar, nicotine and alcohol are all mood-altering drugs. We take them to get moving in the morning and to relax at night. All 4 are addictive AND they are the main reason we can’t sleep. Cutting back or best of all eliminating them will get you to sleep. When you hear someone has 4 or 5 cups of coffee a day and then has insomnia… no more questions need to be asked. If you are under stress in any area of your life these stimulants only add to that by disrupting your hormones like Dr Hyman says. If your child can’t get to sleep at night because he was allowed to much sugar to late, you start eliminating it early in the day or altogether. If we would do this for our child we should obviously do it for ourselves as well.
Women are the biggest risk for insomnia. Again it is usually due to hormonal changes plus as we age we just don’t require as much sleep. Taking charge of your hormone issues will dramatically improve sleep as well.
Other more serious illnesses and conditions like asthma, heart disease and neurological disorders can cause insomnia. There are different kinds of insomnia as well. Liver and Adrenal issues cause sleep disturbance that wakes you the same time every night. Finding the best way to cope and heal those issues also improves sleep. When these conditions are left untreated, ignored or covered up by pharmaceutical drugs it only exaggerates the bad side effects like insomnia. Taking another pharmaceutical drugs to sleep at night only worsens the long term effects of the original disorder. Always getting to the root cause of the symptoms is the best course of action.
We all know and have heard over and over several ways to remedy our sleep disturbances. Most really work and we need to take action and find which ones work best for us as individuals. Create good sleep hygiene.
Lose the stimulants! Keep track of what you use and see if it coincides with a night of no sleep. You wont be surprised they usually go together.
Create routine. Just like our children, we all need a regular bedtime. That routine signals our body to slow down and unwind.
Unwind before bed. Too much on our minds keeps our brain going. Take a hot bath, read a book…. you know the list…. Relax
Unplug. Avoid all electronics before bed. Keep the bedroom free of smart phones, televisions, computers, video games etc. Even moving your clock radio away from your face is better for you.
Eat early…eat healthy. It takes several hours for our dinner to digest. Eating and then going to bed also disrupts sleep as the gut is trying to do its job. Eating real food is just easier on the body so eating processed unhealthy food and going to bed is a double NO-NO. A good example is having Mexican food and a couple of margaritas at 9:00 and then go to bed by 10:00. Not a good idea!
Exercise daily. The results about exercise in our lives is real. If you exercise you are healthier… if you don’t your health will suffer. I will add that if you exercise you will sleep better as well! Exercise can correct all of the above issues. It eases hormone issues, helps to lose weight, cuts your desires for caffeine and sugar. Take a walk or a jog before bed is a great way to unwind, unplug and get the digestion going.
Supplement naturally. Avoid taking a prescription sleep aid drug, which has its own side effects and can be addicting. Use natural whole food and herbal remedies proven to help.
Melatonin… Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland in our brain. It helps control sleep and wake cycles in our body. We lose it naturally as we age. You can also find it in small amounts of food such as meat, grains, fruits and vegetables. It is also available as a supplement. Start with a small dose (1-3 mg) before bed . You can also have your melatonin levels checked by saliva testing. Get accurate results and then accurate dosing to make up what your body is lacking.
Cortisol lowering supplements. There are many things here to help. Again saliva testing is the best way to determine what will work for you. Ask the Drs and staff at Emley Chiropractic to help set up testing and get real results to determine everything from adrenal fatigue to liver issues… main causes of insomnia.
Standard Process SP Kava Forte… Kava root calms the nerves, eases tension and stress plus promotes relaxation and sleep.
Natural ZZZ… Orthomolecular Products combine valerian root, jujube seed andL-theanine to promote relaxation, less stress and anxiety and calming effects on the body.
Both of these works like Valium only no harmful side effects or addiction.
Standard Process Cleanse. Doing a 21 day cleanse can be the best way to get started on a regime to end the chronic cycle of unhealthy habits that lead to all of the issues that cause the insomnia. Whether you have never done the cleanse or you want to repeat it every few months… it is a guarantee for successful change.
All of these products and testing are available at Emley Family Chiropractic. To ensure your success the Drs are offering the SP Cleanse at 10% off this month.
We might not have Sleeping Beauty’s fairy to help us sleep but we do have all of the proven elements to design a plan of action. Understanding and addressing your issues, get help and enjoy the rewards of your efforts.
Cindy can be reached by phone at 602-989-0599 or
Please visit my website www.cynergyhealthandwellness.com
My Healthy Kitchen
I was recently paid a nice compliment. I had guests for dinner and when one of them asked to help I took her up on it. She reached into the freezer and this was her comment. “ I have never seen a freezer like this ever before! There is absolutely no cardboard packages or junk food anywhere!” So what exactly is in my freezer?
Healthy cuts of lean protein which includes grass fed beef, organic chicken, ground turkey and several varieties of wild caught fish. There is also frozen bags of fruit for shakes we have for breakfast and last there is freezer bags of leftovers from all the real food meals I cook at least 5 nights a week. I make the extras on purpose so we can have them another time when I don’t have time or I don’t feel like cooking or we eat it for lunch.
The reason it felt like a compliment is because I walk the talk. After years of health issues and joint pain I now know that food is my medicine. When I eat real food I feel great. When I eat processed, artificial or fast food I feel bad. All of the past issues creep back in to remind me my body doesn’t digest or tolerate the fake stuff. The reason I can stick to my healthy way of eating is because I have created an environment in my home that makes cooking a normal part of my hectic busy life.
I start with those freezer items I mentioned. Even though my vegetables are the mainstay of my diet I decide each day the protein for the day. I either defrost it or put it in the crock-pot. Don’t worry if you can’t get grass fed beef or organic chicken. Choose lean cuts and look for NO HORMONES or ANTIBIOTICS on the packaging. Most good brands are going that way as we, the consumers, are starting to realize what is really in our food or what they are feeding the animals. Use crock-pot recipes for cheaper cuts of meat and for easy soups and stews you can do early in the day. You will be so happy when you walk in the door at night that you planned ahead!
My refrigerator holds the bulk of my weekly groceries. I buy lots of fresh vegetables. I do buy some organic, as there are at least 12 fruits and vegetables that are loaded with pesticides from farmers spraying. (Check out the Dirty Dozen list I’ve attached below) Because of my health issues I want to avoid the harsh chemicals. Other fruits and vegetables aren’t sprayed that much or they have a thick skin that you can peel. I make sure I have enough for making big salads and cooked vegetables for dinner. Plus I like to snack on baby carrots, celery with hummus and I keep sliced cucumbers, red bell peppers and jicama for dipping just like chips! I do have that frozen fruit but I buy apples and oranges and most fruit in season. I do limit myself to 2 pieces a day as I am watching my weight and sugar. Fruit is a great natural sugar but can still cause issues for some if you eat too much.
I have an allergy to dairy so I always have my milk substitutes available. I use almond milk and coconut milk. Even my husband is dairy free. He has never been tested for a food allergy like me but all forms of dairy are a common allergen for most people. It can be the cause of a multitude of symptoms like nasal congestion and stomach distress just to name a few. Try eliminating it for a week or two and see if you notice a difference. It is actually really easy to do since all grocery stores carry the substitutes now right in the dairy case.
I also have condiments that I enjoy. I usually make my own salad dressings but I still keep a few bottles of store bought for those crazy days. This is where you want to read the labels! There are so many hidden ingredients in condiments. One of the main ingredients in ketchup is high fructose corn syrup. Organic ketchup has fewer ingredients and a small amount of real sugar and costs exactly the same as the other ketchup. Same for salad dressings. They usually contain bad, cheap oils so look for olive oil as the oil of choice. Again the cost is the same. Be a label reader for optimal health. The same goes for dry spices. Keep them on hand. Make sure the ingredients are real names you recognize and avoid MSG (monosodium glutamate), another bad chemical used often. These spices will be the difference of a bland meal or flavorful one.
My pantry is similar to my refrigerator. Very few packages. I keep cartons of vegetable and chicken stock for stir frying vegetables and meat. I always have my favorite fire roasted tomatoes for the salsa I make plus I put them in soups and chili. I also have dried beans and grains I cook from scratch but I keep a few cans of beans on hand in case I don’t have time to cook them. Oatmeal is a breakfast staple for me. Because I keep these stocked I can walk in any time of evening and throw together one of our favorite fast meals in less time than it would be to drive to fast food place, wait in line, and then drive home to eat the soggy unhealthy mess.
Of course we have some snacks too. Our favorite is my homemade tortilla chip and salsa. I used to deep fry the chips like the restaurants do but now I bake them. I find the tortillas with the least amount of chemicals possible and cut them in triangles and bake them for 10 minutes. We eat them hot with salsa. I also keep hummus which is a healthy dip made for chickpeas (garbanzo beans). You can have it with vegetables or the chips. If I am craving a sweet treat I bake an apple with cinnamon on top. If I want something less than healthy I save it for my times out when I spurge then. Not having it everyday or on a regular basis is the key to a healthy lifestyle.
Eating real food is easy. By creating a healthy environment in your kitchen and planning ahead to have your favorite ingredients on hand you will be able to throw together a quick and healthy meal in no time at all. Start with 3 or 4 recipes you can master and then add to that and eventually you will have 6 or 8 tried and true meals to access over and over. It is not about being a good cook or a bad cook. It is about being organized and creative.
Clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Get rid of everything unhealthy. Make a list of all the things to keep on hand for your new recipes. Go shopping to stock your new kitchen. Plan ahead for your next meal. Cook and enjoy!
The “Dirty Dozen”
Whether you are on a budget and need to prioritize your organic purchases, or you would simply like to know which type of produce has the highest pesticide residues—and which do not—the following guide from the Environmental Working Group will help.
|12 Most Contaminated Peaches
Sweet Bell Peppers
12 Least Contaminated
Sweet Corn (Frozen)
Sweet Peas (Frozen)
For easy reference, download a copy of the wallet guide!
Environmental Working Group
The Dirty Dozen chemicals to avoid in food
Packaged and processed foods get many a family through the day. They are convenient and portable, and they stay fresh for a long time (thanks to all those preservatives). The additives put into processed foods to make them look and taste better include unhealthy amounts of salt, fat and sugar – and those are the ones you can pronounce. These additives, however, have a price that may include side effects, food allergies, increased waistlines, decreased absorption of minerals and vitamins, cancer and more.
Below is a list of the 12 most pervasive and detrimental food additives and substances you can eat, in no particular order.
1. Artificial Sweeteners:
Artificial sweeteners are a combination of chemicals that exist to make our foods sweeter without the calories of sugar. Most artificial sweeteners have side effects, and their chemical breakdown in the body can be toxic. In addition, in combination with other food additives like artificial colors, artificial sweeteners can have a much more potent effect on nerve cells. Artificial sweeteners link to over 90 side effects.
2. Refined Sugar:
People in the US consume 150 to 175 pounds of sugar per year. In other words, people are consuming half a cup of sugar a day and most aren’t even aware of it. Due to its insidious nature and the fact that it can be found in virtually all processed foods, unless they say “sugar-free,” we subsist on sugar. High consumption of sugar and the corresponding elevated insulin levels can cause weight gain, bloating, fatigue, arthritis, migraines, lowered immune function, obesity, cavities and cardiovascular disease. It can also disrupt absorption of nutrients, possibly leading to osteoporosis, depression, PMS symptoms and stress.
3. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG):
MSG is an excitotoxin used to bring out the flavor in foods. Excitotoxins are toxins that bind to certain receptors (e.g., certain glutamate receptors). According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, an author and neurosurgeon, excitotoxins can cause sensitive neurons to die. Many people experience a host of other side effects like headaches, itchy skin, dizziness and respiratory, digestive, circulatory and coronary concerns.
4. Artificial Colors:
Artificial colors are synthetic chemicals that do not occur in nature. Most are derived from coal tar and can contain up to 10 parts per million of lead and arsenic and still be generally recognized as safe by the FDA. Artificial colors can cause allergic reactions and hyperactivity and ADD in children, and may contribute to visual and learning disorders or cause nerve damage.
5. BHA and BHT:
BHA and BHT block the process of oil rancidity. These additives seem to affect sleep and appetite, and have been associated with liver and kidney damage, hair loss, behavioral problems, cancer, fetal abnormalities and growth retardation.
6. Sodium Nitrate and Nitrite:
Sodium nitrate and nitrite are preservatives that are added to processed meat products. These compounds transform into cancer-causing agents called nitrosamines in the stomach. Noticeable side effects include headaches, nausea, vomiting and dizziness.
Caffeine is an addictive stimulant found in soft drinks, gum, diet pills and pain relievers; it naturally occurs in coffee, cocoa and tea. Caffeine causes calcium to be excreted from the bones, which can lead to osteoporosis and increase infertility.
8. Olestra (Olean):
Olestra is a calorie-free fat substitute used as an ingredient in snacks and chips. Olestra inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients. It can also cause diarrhea and anal leakage.
9. Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO):
Brominated vegetable oil is used to keep flavor oils in soft drinks in suspension. When consumed, it is stored in fat and over time can accumulate. This additive can lead to reproductive interference and birth defects. It has been banned in 100 countries.
10. Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil:
Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is made by reacting vegetable oil with hydrogen. When this occurs, the level of polyunsaturated oils (good fat) is reduced and trans fats are created. They are associated with heart disease, breast and colon cancer, atherosclerosis and elevated cholesterol.
Every year more than two billion pounds of pesticides are added to our food supply. That’s about 10 pounds per person per year. Many of the pesticides used throughout the world are carcinogenic. Pesticide accumulation also undermines our ability to resist infectious organisms, may impair fertility and contributes to miscarriages and birth defects.
12. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs):
GMOs are plants or animals that have had their DNA modified. In the US, the majority of the corn, soybean, cotton and canola crops are now genetically modified, and one or more of these can be found in nearly every processed food. GMOs have not been proven to be safe and some studies show GMO’s may decrease immunity to diseases in plants as well as humans, may cause resistance to antibiotics and may have a negative impact on genetic function. Plants that are genetically modified to be resistant to disease, pesticides and insecticides could diminish the need to use these strong chemicals, or adversely, may build up a resistance and therefore require even larger amounts of chemicals than before. It is still too soon to tell: there is no long-term supporting evidence at this time.
Excerpted from a post in the January 2008 issue fooddemocracy.com by Kelly Scotti, and supplemented with information by the Center for Science in the Public Interest http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm
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