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Food Synergy: Cooking Grains

COOKING TIP! Next time you cook your quinoa, or any other grain, throw in some garlic or onion into the water too. It mitigates the “anti-nutrient” effect of phytic acid (a potent anti-cancer phytonutrient that binds with certain minerals).

When prepared with onion or garlic, the bioavailability of iron, zinc, and other minerals in grains is significantly enhanced.

And it makes the house smell so yummy!

A Pink Ribbon Culture: Pinkwashing

My grandmother had breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and I can still vividly see the empty space in her clothing.

I was nineteen when I had a lump removed from my breast. I remember the day I felt the hard mass. I was eighteen and it was a cool November evening. It was a daily bedtime ritual for me to check for any unusual lumps. I remember the panic rise in my throat. Any chances of a good night’s sleep were just sabotaged by the thoughts that were running through my brain.

My mom took me to the doctor that week and since she is in the medical field, I was taken to the best physician on the subject. I was checked and he concluded that it was nothing to worry about. I knew my body. I have always been very aware of it and my gut instinct told me something was not right.

I insisted on a biopsy. It was benign, thank goodness, but I still wanted it removed; solely for my peace of mind. My surgery was scheduled a month after the biopsy. It was supposed to be a quick procedure and they were not expecting to find what they found when they opened me up. It had grown from the size of the tip of my thumb to the size of a softball. I had an aggressive fibroadenoma. Needless to say, I wasn’t administered the correct amount of anesthesia and I woke up in the middle of the surgery.

“Doctor, she’s awake… ” …and fade back to black. That was not a pleasant experience.

Yearly mammograms were expected of me post surgery especially because I had a family history. I haven’t had one yet for reasons that I will talk about in another post, but fear being the main culprit. Fear of them finding something.

All of that being said, I was a big Pink Ribbon supporter. Emphasis on the WAS. When an opportunity presented itself, I contributed to the breast cancer advocacy movement. That was up until I met my friend Angela. She is the mother of three young, beautiful girls, an Emmy award winning makeup artist and a two-time breast cancer survivor. Our conversations at work lifted the “pink haze” that clouded my view and gave me an authentic perspective. I have seen the scars on her body, a daily reminder of the worst year of her life. But you would never guess that she had this ugly disease. She is a ray of sunshine and I always find it a pleasure to bask in her strength and endurance.

Angela and I

Angela and I

Coming soon to the blog – she will share her experience with us and the monstrous face of breast cancer. Her view of all this Pink Ribbon “awareness” will make you reevaluate your standpoint on the matter. What also fueled many of our conversations was her decision to opt out of chemotherapy and choose a natural approach to treatment. Using food as medicine was a common thread between us.

We are all aware of this cancer but do we really know what it is? I think it is also important for us to see the faces of those who have or have had this cancer. We should not only be aware but we need to know WHAT it is.

Pink heralds that October is here. Pink ribbons everywhere, football players wearing pink garb, hundreds of people coming together to Walk or Run For a Cure, people sporting bracelets with the slogan “I (heart) Boobies.” I noticed though that Breast Cancer Awareness Month has extended itself to more than just October, making it more of a Breast Cancer Awareness season. And as of late, I feel like the Pink Ribbon has become more of a brand, just like the swoosh of Nike or McDonald’s golden arches.

If given a choice, people would rather give their money to a good cause. But have you ever thought about where the money actually goes and how much goes to the actual research? There have been campaigns from big corporations whose contribution was a penny for every purchase. A penny? Really? Wouldn’t it be easier to just write a check or donate directly to the organization?

I started to dig deeper into this thing called “pinkwashing”. There is a great documentary on YouTube called “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” that I highly recommend.

Also, as people are becoming more aware of what is happening to our food supply, companies are using marketing strategies that tug at our heart strings to help increase sales on the very products that cause cancer. So they make the product pink or they slap a Pink Ribbon on the packaging. There is a great article about this on the Huffington Post called “Think Before You Pink: Stop the Distraction.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karuna-jaggar/think-before-you-pink-sto_b_5910696.html

In the 1940s, a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer was 1 in 22. In 2011, it is 1 in 8. The risk factor? Being a woman. But this disease does not discriminate. We have yet to find a cure because we have yet been able to pinpoint the cause. There are so many factors that contribute to this disease. So what is the best course of action? Because I believe we need to start DOING MORE THAN JUST THINKING PINK.

Your thoughts?

The Junk Food Generation

In my last post, Killing Me Sweetly – Breaking My Sugar Addiction, I talked about sugar’s addictive and toxic nature. I want to dive a little deeper with you into the subject of sugar because it is not just about sugar. It is also about our processed food epidemic.

We are the Junk Food Generation.

Everyone says that everybody should be able to choose what they put in their mouths. I agree 100%. The problem is that you have already been told what to put in your mouth by the food industry because of this change that has occurred over the past 40 years as processed foods and sweets have basically taken over the entire grocery store.

If you go into a supermarket pretty much anywhere in the country and you pick up an item with a food label, the odds are very high that it will have some form of added sugar – most likely high fructose corn syrup, but there are many others as well.

There are around 600,000 food items available in America and, according to the most recent data, 77% of those 600,000 items are laced with added sugar.

What this means is that people can’t find products that would actually be healthy because they have all been adulterated.
It actually limits choice. We need to be able to make choices as to whether to put it in our diet rather than the food industry deciding it for us.

The food industry now employs a whole new breed of mad food scientists that they call “craveability experts.” Their job is to invent addictive, hyper-palatable processed junk foods to ensure that their employer gets the biggest market share – what the insiders call “stomach share.”

If it is true that sugar and highly processed foods affect our brains in ways that drive addiction, then it seems to me that we must, at some point, face the moral question inherent in feeding our children and adults, for that matter, substances that kill more people than smoking, alcohol, cocaine and heroine combined.

A little sugar is okay and had been for generations, really for hundreds of years, but a lot is not.

We have a limited capacity to metabolize this stuff in the same way that we have a limited capacity to metabolize all poisons. The dose determines the poison.

The food industry has learned that when they put the right amount of sugar in any given food, we go hog wild. There are now neuroimaging studies that demonstrate this phenomenon. This hog wild phenomenon – which they call the “bliss point” – is where the dopamine (the pleasure neurotransmitter in our brain) is most active. The problem is not that it causes pleasure. The problem is that it down-regulates its own receptor, which means that the next time you get a hit, you need a larger dose in order to accomplish the same effect.

A new study published online in the journal Archives of Diseases in Childhood indicates that obese children and adolescents have less sensitive taste buds compared to their lean counterparts. The science shows that people who go off sugar redevelop tastes for other foods.

As processed food has taken over the grocery store, our taste buds and our health, there has been a tremendous increase in obesity and diabetes and other related disorders.

Why is sugar such a problem?

Sugar is empty calories – the only thing sugar provides us with are extra calories. But the food industry’s mantra is, “Well, you can get your extra calories wherever you choose. You can get it from carrots, you can get it from cheesecake, you can get it from Coca-Cola, because a calorie is a calorie and it doesn’t matter where those calories come from. Therefore, why would you pick on any individual food stuff or any individual food additive, for that matter, like sugar?”

If sugar were just empty calories, they would be exactly right. However, that is not what the data shows.

The science says something completely different because of the way sugar is metabolized.

The molecule in sugar called fructose, the sweet molecule in sugar, is metabolized by the liver, completely differently from the other molecule in sugar called glucose, which is the energy of life.

Because of the way fructose is metabolized and the amounts of sugar many of us are consuming today, it overloads your liver and causes liver fat to accumulate which then leads to all of the chronic metabolic diseases that we know about: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and likely cancer and dementia as well.

In America, 33% of Americans now have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Considering this was a disease that didn’t even exist in 1980, the fact that 33% of Americans now have it is the true epidemic. Many of them will go on to develop cirrhosis and ultimately either die of liver diseases or require a liver transplant.

Fatty liver disease comes from sugar consumption which then causes the pancreas to make extra insulin to make the liver do its job. That raises insulin all over the body. When your insulin is high, it drives all of those diseases and it drives weight gain.

This is the first generation of American children to live shorter lives than their parents.

Childhood obesity has nearly tripled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.

Why is there so much sugar in our foods?

One of the answers to that is because the food industry learned that it is a preservative. It changes the water activity so that it is much less likely that foods will go stale. Because high fructose corn syrup is miscible in food, they can actually add more to extend its shelf life. It works for the food industry, but it doesn’t work for your health.

If sugar is costing society in a big way, shouldn’t we be doing something to intervene?

When you say that sugar is not just a guilty pleasure and it is not just the source of empty calories but it is a health disaster, you are going up against enormous industries with trillions of dollars at stake.

You are also going up against the resistance that each of us feels to giving up the highly sweetened foods that we have come to enjoy and may have come to be addicted to.

Is the food industry violating our health by adding so much sugar to the food products they sell to us? I would love to hear your thoughts on this by commenting in the box below! 🙂

Eat well. Be well. Vote with your fork!

Xo, Kristine

Stay Hydrated with Celtic Salt

It’s the middle of August and it is hot. And when it’s hot, what are we told? Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water!

From the neck down, our body is 75% water and from the neck up, our body is 85% water. We have no reserve tank so the only water our body can use is the water we put in.

Our bodies will secrete about 2 1/2 liters of water a day so it is important that we replenish that loss.

Here’s what I like to do after a workout or if I’ve been sweating a lot: take a crystal or a pinch of Celtic salt, put it on your tongue, let it dissolve a bit and then drink a glass of water.

Why celtic salt?

Celtic salt is very moist because it contains three types of magnesium:
1) Magnesium sulphate
2) Magnesium chloride
3) Magnesium bromide

Magnesium is a very water hungry molecule. Wherever there is magnesium, water is drawn to that area.

So when you take that crystal of Celtic salt, put it on your tongue and drink a glass of water, the magnesium pulls the water into the cell. It is the fastest way to hydrate a dehydrated body!

Here’s the kind of Celtic salt I like to use
image

Here’s a fun fact: Cleopatra found that the slaves worked harder if she gave them salt and water instead of just water. That’s because that salt gets that water into the cell and replaces the lost electrolytes.

Sodium is the main transport system of nutrients and water across the membrane lining of our cells. It is vital for our bodies to function! We are salty people. Our blood is salty, our tears are salty, the fluid that a baby swims in when he or she is in its mother’s womb is salty – it has the same mineral balance as salt water.

But we need to take sodium into our bodies as it is found in nature – in its balanced form – not from a factory where it is bleached and refined, aka table salt.

I will go into the difference between table salt and other salts, like Sea Salt, in another post and explain why table salt is a dangerous and slow poison.

Also, it’s important to note that if you are drinking a lot of water and urinating a lot, the water is not getting into your cells!

So go ahead and try it! I would love to hear from you guys! Let me know how it goes!

Xo, Kristine