Wednesday, April 09, 2014
Are you ready to shed the heavy, protective feeling of dampness and the darkness of winter?! Yes, it’s been a cold, dark, and long winter for most of us. Spring is here, and many of us are seeing the first small signs of spring. Have you done your spring cleaning of your house?
If you spring clean your house why not do the same for your body? We depend on our body to do so much for us, and after the long winter’s nap our body has taken, it could use a little charge to help get itself back on track. So if you have been feeling lethargic, heavier than usual, or seem to lack your usual luster, now is the time for a little spring clean-up that will give you a new spring glow, and put the spring back into your step!
Benefits of Spring Cleaning the Body:
• Renewed energy, concentration and immune functions
• Regenerate your cells,rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit
• Lose some extra weight and regenerate your skin
• Reset your appetite and your body’s internal clock
• Reduce puffiness, bloating, aches, and pains
• Revitalize your natural joy for life
• Rejuvenate, relax, and renew
Let’s begin with the food we put in our bodies. After my last two blogs about the engineering of foods formulated to entice us to eat more, let’s start limiting the intake of foods containing chemical preservatives, salt, sugar, and limit our fried foods. To help quell our natural feeling of deprivation, we’ll add in raw fruits and vegetables that are hydrating and nourishing and provide a soothing rest for your digestive system. As you make this switch you will begin feel a sense of rejuvenation.
Fresh fruits and veggies are key foods in our spring cleaning menu because they contain lots of water and that helps our body to flush out toxins, while adding valuable phyto-nutrients and detoxifying enzymes. The chlorophyll of the green leaves is the literal energy of the sun, in edible form. Greens represent a convenient, essentially non-caloric, nutrient-dense source of otherwise hard to obtain minerals, like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Green juices made with about 50 percent greens, fruits and veggies are easy to make, and will give you a much needed boost whatever the time of day by keeping your electrolytes balanced and your cells plumped up and hydrated.
Cheer Up with Some C:
Dig into some pineapples! With more than 130% percent RDV of vitamin C, they can help boost moods, especially during the winter when many people feel depressed or anxious due to less natural sunlight, and shorter days. Don’t like pineapple? Kiwi, mango, broccoli, and red and yellow peppers are all excellent food sources of vitamin C, too.
Keep Your Sunny Side Up:
Make sure you are getting your daily dose of Vitamin D. Not only is Vitamin D important for strong bones, but it plays a vital part in helping the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D has other roles in the body. It is used in the maintenance of several organ systems as well as the immune system. Because of its important functions, vitamin D deficiency can lead to many other health problems. Heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer have been associated with a lack of vitamin D. the recommended dosage to age 50 is about 200 IUs a day, and from 50 to 70 about 400 IUs a day. Additionally, new studies suggest that vitamin D may play a role in protecting against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. On average 15 minutes per day of full sunlight is thought to provide enough of this sunshine vitamin for the average adult.
Good food sources of Vitamin D include milk, and fish, especially ones with high fat content such as salmon, catfish, and tuna. Whole eggs and fortified cereals are also good sources of vitamin D.
Be Sure You Are Getting Enough B-vitamins:
The B vitamins are among the first vitamins depleted under stress when toxins are present. It's important to replenish the B-complex vitamins during your spring cleaning program.
Here are a couple of simple, delicious recipes to for you to enjoy during this time:
Pineapple contains proteolytic enzymes, which means it helps to break down stored proteins in the body and can reduce inflammation.
1/3 pineapple, skin removed and cored
1 cup of parsley or kale
A few leaves of fresh mint
Juice all the ingredients. Drink immediately and receive a transfusion of active, detoxifying enzymes. This is the kind of cocktail you can drink all day long and feel good about later!
This is a simple, fast and delicious pudding that is sweet and tangy and contains no dairy, gluten or added sugar.
1 to 2 mangoes, peeled and pitted
1 ripe banana
1 lime, squeezed
½ cup of spinach or parsley
Blend ingredients until smooth and creamy and savor with a spoon. This little treat will give you energy to dance all night long!
While allowing your body a little R&R by eating to cleanse and rejuvenate here are some ideas to enhance your experience:
• Clear your pantry and cupboards of temptation, and cut out clutter. Clutter is a drain on your energy so try to keep your space as uncluttered as possible. Now that you’ve done that realize how good you feel!
• Unplug from media and reconnect with nature. Go for walks in the fresh air and sunshine, or for a real “positive ionic” change, a walk in the rain. Enjoy the regenerative nourishment of silence, solitude, and rest.
• Add some lavender scented sea salts, clay, or Epsom salts to your bath. If you are one who takes a daily shower, opt for a relaxing evening bath a couple of times during the week. As an added bonus, you might be able to sneak in “an extra forty winks” the next morning in place of that shower! On the days that you continue your morning shower routine, you could enjoy a warm, scented foot bath in the evening while watching TV, reading a book, or just sitting and relaxing. You can also add other pure essential oils such as rosemary, sage, spruce or lemon, to your bathwater, or foot-bath. For an invigorating and energizing bath add some oil of peppermint, or eucalyptus. Light a candle and bathe in a glowing peace and warmth. Light some candles in your environment, and bask in their soft, relaxing glow.
• Be aware of your emotions, and let them materialize if they so desire. Emotions come to the surface in many forms, and one of the most common are our tears. Remember there are tears of joy as well as tears of sadness, so it may be in the form of a brief, sun shower, or a much needed torrential downpour. Tears are a very healing medicine, and you may feel a little drained and dehydrated afterward. Treat yourself to one of the recipes above, or a nice soothing cup of green, ginger, or your favorite tea. Be tender with yourself and your heart.
• Write down your thoughts, feelings, and notes of gratitude in a journal - a real one, not on the computer or your tablet, because you are supposed to be unplugged – remember? Write down any vivid dreams you might have while sleeping, or your daydreams, too.
You may have lost touch with your inner self during the winter, but a simple Spring cleaning of the body can wake up your vitality and radiance and let them shine for all to see.
Thanks for stopping by!
Friday, April 04, 2014
Did you realize that taste receptors are not just limited to your mouth? Scientists have discovered that they are located all over the body. We also have, as you are probably aware, taste sensors in our nose. Smell is a huge factor in our response to food. That’s why when you have a cold, and your nose is stuffed up, your taste for food is greatly diminished. We also have these sensors in our stomachs, our small intestine, and throughout our gut. But taste is innate, and passed on from our mothers through breast milk. The flavors of childhood foods seem to leave an indelible mark, and adults often return to them, without always knowing why. These "comfort foods" become a source of pleasure and reassurance - a fact that fast-food chains use to their advantage. Deliciousness of food is also as much mental as it is chemical.
Hyper-palatable food products fall into this category and fit the bill, and they act as rewards in and of themselves. A majority of our foods are scientifically engineered to make us feel hungrier than we really are. Even if you're not hungry, you'll still keep on eating after you're full. They are almost as "rewarding" as the drug cocaine. Now if you are dealing with stuff almost as "rewarding" as cocaine, you are dealing with an addictive substance. That particular food gets your attention, it stays in your memory, it changes your mood and it becomes your focus. This is why if potato chips are a trigger food for you it is nearly impossible to not put one in your mouth. This is why the food industry advertising uses emotional, rather than nutritional, appeals to promote their products.
“Consumers prefer to see natural flavors on a label, out of a belief that they are more healthful. Distinctions between artificial and natural flavors can be arbitrary and somewhat absurd, based more on how the flavor has been made than on what it actually contains. "A natural flavor," says Terry Acree, a professor of food science at Cornell University, "is a flavor that's been derived with an out-of-date technology." Natural flavors and artificial flavors sometimes contain exactly the same chemicals, produced through different methods. Either way it smells and tastes the same. A natural flavor is not necessarily more healthful or purer than an artificial one.
This is why it is not about willpower. The deck is automatically stacked against you because your brain and stomach’s sensors are unconsciously triggered. If you try not to eat a particular food, your brain signals deprivation, and so the reward value of that food increases dramatically. Eventually, you see that food again, and so you decide to eat “just one”. Immediately you feel that omnipotent momentary pleasure of all of the above, and so you eat another, and the cycle replicates itself. So the best defense is not to try to limit yourself to just one or two of your “trigger foods” because if the reward is very potent - as we now know that it is - and no matter how good your intentions are, you are not going to be able to control it. For an in-depth study, and a link to the most popular trigger foods, check out Steven Witherly’s report, “Why Humans Like Junk Food”:
It’s not that you need more willpower. When you get stressed, your brain releases specific chemicals, specifically, opiates and neuropeptide Y. These chemicals then trigger further mechanisms that are similar to the cravings you get from fat and sugar, and you are naturally drawn to foods that contain these things, and the associated junk food.
But guess what?! Once the food industry started to be criticized for the creation of the obesity epidemic, it had to polish off its tarnished image. So it “came to our rescue” on that front too. Don’t believe for a second that they are doing it in the best interest of you and I becoming healthier. No, it was nothing personal – it was once again just business, and the bottom line. They began to begin the low-fat, fat-free, healthier, natural food marketing scheme we’re seeing today. And the real eye opener is that they co-exist silently side-by-side in your local supermarket.
In a nutshell, what you see when you walk into a supermarket today is the sphere and picture of obesity in a single glance. “The whole panorama of fattening you up, and slimming you down, owned by food conglomerates which have analyzed every angle and money-making opportunity. The very food companies charged with making us fat in the first place are now also making money from the obesity epidemic.”
Now that you know just how innate, complex, and contrived our eating habits can be, and that you’re every move has been analyzed before you even think about it, you can begin to take the steps necessary to reprogram them. But you must realize that it’s not just habits we’re trying to reprogram, we also have to reprogram our genetic make-up. That is why we can not help ourselves sometimes, and why this whole process is so painstakingly difficult. So don’t be so hard on yourself and beat yourself up the next time you “fall off the wagon”.
Thanks for stopping by!
www.caltonnutrition.com/ from-the-bliss-point-to-th e-breaking-point-americas- war-on-the-extraordinary-science-of-addict
www.webmd.com/food-recip es/features/fast-food-kill ing-sense-taste?page=2
Wednesday, April 02, 2014
How many times have you criticized yourself for falling into the junk food trap? We’ve all been there with armed with our best intentions, feeling good about ourselves, and then before we can say, “Girl Scout Cookie Time.” we realize that we’ve fallen off the wagon once again.
What if I told you that no matter how hard you tried, or how much willpower you have exhibited that it’s not your fault?
Believe it or not there is a whole science devoted to making our food taste simply irresistible. These taste engineers are called flavorists. A flavorist is a chemist with a trained nose and a poetic sensibility. Flavors are created by blending scores of different chemicals in tiny amounts. “One flavorist compared his work to composing music. A well-made flavor compound will have a "top note" that is often followed by a "dry-down" and a "leveling-off," with different chemicals responsible for each stage.” There is much time, effort, and money spent on making many of the foods we eat more tasty and thus, more addictive. The foods we eat are being designed to purposely be addictive.
Watch this short video and you’ll see why:
Your brain likes a variety of different foods. If you eat the same foods over and over again, you find that they soon become less tasty, and mundane. For me this is a BIG factor in my eating. I don’t know about you, but I cannot eat the same food in succession. If I have leftovers from dinner one night, I will not eat it the next day; I will wait at least two days before I want to eat that food again. I can not eat chicken for lunch and then again for dinner. It’s just not happening . . .
Knowing most of us want variety in our foods, they use and combine a myriad of factors in our favorite foods that we find so very tempting. One of the best ways is to use a combination of sugar, salt and fat to maximize the impact these foods have on our taste receptors and reward pathways in the brain.
Adding artificial flavors to the mix along with various textures just makes these foods too good to resist. The food industry takes full advantage of this - not because it is a big conspiracy, but because they’ve learned what gets the consumers to buy more.
• First there is the combination of different tastes combined into one little silver bullet that include sugar, salt, MSG, and other flavor active compounds.
• Taste and texture are next in line, and this includes various flavor and visual contrasts.
• The food must bring forth previously conditioned pleasurable memories for us as we eat it. This can include the food itself, the environment, and many other factors. The higher the number of factors present, the more irresistible the food becomes. This is where the psychobiology of junk food and cravings really works against you. When you eat something you love, like potato chips, your brain registers that feeling. The next time you see that food, smell it, or even read about that it, your brain automatically starts to “trigger” the memories and responses that you experienced when you ate it. These memories can actually cause physical responses like salivation and create the “mouth-watering” craving that you get when thinking about your favorite foods.
• Food Pleasure is next. If a food is lower in fat or calories you must add more sensation to it, and that usually means sugar or salt. The food industry managed to fit a round peg into a square hole. If you compare the original with the low far or “healthier version”, you will find the later often contains more sugar in it than the original, but is solely marketed for weight loss, and here is the key, “as part of a calorie-controlled diet”. So, yes, less calories, but more of the things our body naturally looks for and craves.
• Caloric Density is factored in next; how it is perceived by receptors inside our stomach and our brain. This connection convinces your brain it is getting enough of the nutrition it needs. Water scores a 0, junk food scores between a 4 and 5, and pure fat scores a 9. The exceptions to this rule are high volume foods such as popcorn that melt in the mouth quickly. Junk foods provide just enough calories that tells your brain that this food will give you some energy, but not enough to tell your brain you’re full, and to stop eating. As a result, you crave the food, but it takes a long time to feel you’ve had enough.
• Lastly is the emulsion quality. Our taste buds like emulsions, especially the pairing of salt and fat or sugar and fat combinations. Butter, chocolate, cream, salad dressings, and mayonnaise all excel in this one characteristic.
When we eat food there are 6 sensations that are triggered by our taste buds and sent to the brain. These include sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami, or savory. The brain especially loves mixtures of salt, sugar and fat, and the emulsive textures of butter, mayonnaise and chocolate. That would explain why no known salad can hold a candle to a plateful of French fries for some of us. Believe it or not, there is a "bliss point" for sugar, salt and fat, where they each taste divine; we don't love a food if it has too much or too little sweetness, saltiness or fattiness.
When we eat a combination of sugar, fat and salt we get a huge synergistic bang, first in the parts of the brain that register pleasure, and then in the gut, which detects and responds more favorably to the high calories in sugar and fat. The Snickers bar, for instance, is extraordinarily well engineered. As we chew it, the sugar dissolves, the fat melts and the caramel traps the peanuts so the entire combination of flavors is blissfully experienced in the mouth at the same time.
It's caveman stuff, going back to when we learned to eat big-calorie foods to survive, but our brains are intentionally being manipulated to override what our brain and our gut tells us.
Come back tomorrow and we will continue to see how science, engineering, and food manufacturing companies all work in collusion to achieve that elusive "bliss point' in all of their products with the express intent of increasing what is known as their products 'stomach share', the amount of digestive space any one company’s brand can grab from the competition. That’s right, these manufacturers are vying for digestive space in your stomach.
Thanks for stopping by!
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Do you think you're pretty knowledgeable about sugar and sweeteners? Are honey, and agave nectar healthier than table sugar?
Understandably, those who are diabetic, have type 2 diabetes, or want to reduce their intake of carbohydrates likely choose a sweetener over sugar. We all are trying to eat healthier and make healthier choices in our diet, but how do all of the possible sweeteners we can use stack up?
Take this quiz and find out:
If you'd like to know more about the numerous sugars and sweeteners out there, check out this slide show:
Thanks for being so sweet, and stopping by!
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