health

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!

The Truth About Breast Cancer

Last month was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. “Think Pink,” “Run For The Cure.” There are all of these different campaigns aimed at bringing awareness to breast cancer, which is not a bad thing.

We want to bring awareness to cancer. Today, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will have cancer.

But there are a lot of lies and deceptions associated with cancer. Sickness is the biggest business on earth.

My grandmother had breast cancer. I have very vivid memories of her and the one side of her clothing that always laid flat against the mastectomy she had to undergo. So naturally, I was a huge supporter of the “Pink Movement.”

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Me at 5, with my grandma and grandpa.

There was always that fear that lived inside of me that I may one day have breast cancer.

When I was 19, I had surgery on my left breast. I remember the night I found the lump like it was just yesterday. I was 18 and it was mid November and, as per my nightly routine, felt around for lumps before I went to sleep. For those of you who have had these “this could never happen to me” situations, have an idea of the emotions coursing through me when I made this discovery. Needless to say, I hardly got any sleep that night.

The doctors told me not to worry about it, that it will most likely just go away. Something didn’t feel right though and I pushed it. My mother was in the medical field and she was able to get me a second opinion with the top surgeon in the field. I made them do a biopsy. It was tiny, about the size of a nickel. It wasn’t cancerous and they wanted to leave it but you know that feeling you get sometimes? The one that taps you on the shoulder and tells you that something isn’t right? I wanted it taken out.

My surgery was scheduled 8 months later. A week before my wedding.

I woke up during my surgery. It was suppose to be a quick one, but when they cut me open they found it had grown quite large. The size of a softball. So the surgery went longer then expected and not enough anesthesia was administered. “Doctor, she’s awake… ”

I had a benign, yet aggressive fibroadenoma. I was advised to have yearly mammograms after that. I’m now 31 and still have not had one. Once I had all the facts and a better understanding of cancer and prevention, I was able to make a more well-rounded decision.

Today, 1 in 8 women will have breast cancer.

A couple of years ago, there was a lot of Hollywood hype around the BRCA gene. Angelina Jolie had this gene and she thought that they only way for prevention was to undergo a prophylactic double mastectomy.

She should have been told that our genes do not control our life. You can activate genes and deactivate them. What her doctor should have told her is that the way she lives her life will alter the expression of those genes and her risk of cancer. If we deactivate our genes with our healthy lifestyle, we do not get cancer.

She removed healthy breasts. The BRCA genes are actually cancer-protective genes. They are tumor suppressive, protective genes. They help to repair DNA damage, but if it mutates, then it can cause a problem possibly. But what causes it to mutate?

So do you inherit breast cancer genes? Is it genetic?

“Well, my mother/grandmother had breast cancer so I’m probably going to have breast cancer.”

But we now know through the study of epigenetics, which is the science of looking into gene expression, and nutrigenomics, which is the study of food, we know that we can change our gene expression by what we eat, how we sleep or don’t sleep, and how we manage or don’t manage our stress.

We should not be dying of cancer. The body knows what it’s doing. Nobody believes this anymore. Our bodies are designed to thrive, if we give it half the chance.

First of all, what is cancer? We’ll dive into that next week.

How To Practice Self-Compassion

Health isn’t just physical – it’s also mental and spiritual. It overrides the food that we eat. I’ve healed many physical ailments by addressing my primary food.

When we have or repress negative emotions, they are like a poison inside of us. Although we may not always be aware of it, our subconscious mind is always aware of their presence and is expending large amounts of mental energy to keep them from your consciousness. img_2623

The most harmful effect of having these repressed negative memories and emotions is the fact that they “leak” out in ways that may damage your relationships and your life without your knowing it!

This is a wonderful piece of advice on the art (and science) of self-compassion by Anna Vital. Do you practice self-love?

 

Matcha Green Tea – A Magic Elixir

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I never leave home without my tea. Tea is one of the easiest ways to incorporate the healing power of plants into your routine. Herbs work synergistically on mind and body, healing more than just physical ailments.

I decided to take just one type of tea with me on my trip this week and there was little debate in my mind that it would be Matcha Green Tea. Matcha is the highest quality green tea available and is one of the most powerful superfoods Mother Nature has to offer.

Because Matcha is made from high quality tea, and the whole leaves are ingested, it is a more potent source of nutrients than steeped green tea.

Green tea contains a specific set of organic compounds known as catechins, which, among antioxidants, are the most potent and beneficial. One particularly noteworthy catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha. EGCg is most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties. Scientists have found that Matcha contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market.

During the last 3 weeks before the tea is harvested, it is covered to deprive them of sunlight. This causes a tremendous increase in chlorophyll production in the new growth of these plants. The resulting high levels of chlorophyll make it a powerful detoxifier, capable of naturally removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.

Trying to lose some weight? Matcha has also been shown to increase metabolism and help the body burn fat about four times faster than average.

Samarai Warriors drank Matcha before going into battle due to the tea’s energizing properties. While all green tea naturally contains caffeine, Matcha’s energy boost is largely due to its unique combination of other nutrients. This increased endurance can last up to 6 hours! And because of the effects of L-Theanine contained in the leaves, Matcha drinkers experience none of the usual side effects of stimulants such as nervousness and hypertension. It’s good, clean energy.

One thing I would like to point out for my Matcha drinkers out there is to limit it to one cup a day. Even organically grown green teas have been shown to contain lead, which is absorbed by the plant from the environment, particularly tea grown in China. When traditional green tea is steeped, about 90% of lead stays in the leaf, which is discarded. With Matcha, since the whole leaf is consumed, you will ingest more lead. One independent group, ConsumerLab.com, which tested teas, estimates that a cup of matcha may contain as much as 30 times more lead than a cup of green tea. Therefore, they recommend drinking no more than one cup daily, and not serving it to children.

Any fellow Matcha drinkers out there?

The Healing Power of Exercise, Part 2

Research has proven, within a shadow of a doubt, that if you sit down for more than 8 hours a day, you will lose up to 4 years of your life. There’s no reversing it. Although exercise can reverse major problems, there is no reversing that aging process. We’re not made to sit down all day. image

For those of you that have a desk job – who drive to work, sit down at work, drive home and sit down for a meal – you’re sitting 8 to 10 hours a day. You can still exercise 60 minutes a day but it won’t reverse that damage.

We have to make movement a way of life.

Last time, we talked about how important it is to move our bodies. Every day. We need to get that heart rate up.

My husband has a physically demanding job and he tells me that his job is his exercise. Sorry Bubba, I hate to tell you this but it’s not the same thing.

Doing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, containing 20 minutes of aerobic exercise with 30 second intensity bursts will kick you into aerobic running, or aerobic cardio.

Why is it called aerobic? Because it gets more oxygen in, because you breathe in deeper.

And cardio is referring to the cardiac muscle, the heart muscle.

When you start moving, that heart muscle starts pumping a little bit faster.

Intensity is the other part of the formula. Intensity is no gentle straw. It is.. hard work! It means going at it as hard as you can! But don’t run away just yet!

Along with periods of intensity you must also have periods of rest. The rest is just as important as the intensity.

Rest = Recovery

Rest does not mean stopping. It means giving the body some recovery time = circuits.

A 30 second intensity burst gets the blood to the muscles and wakes them up! Gives them a shock! They tear (micro-tear) but when the micro-tear happens then the body needs more fuel and so the person starts to eat more. They’re not putting on weight, the fuel is going to the muscles and the muscles start building and getting stronger.

So, again, what wakes the muscles up is a 30 second burst of intensity.

The pain you feel the next day are microfibers that have torn and are now rebuilding in a stronger way. The metabolic rate of that energy cycle in the cell has woken up and it is ready for fuel. Just like a fire – the more wood you put in, the more fire and the hotter it burns.

Weight loss is 80% diet, 20% exercise.

You get a fuel that is not going to be stored. It’s going to the cells to be burned and turned into muscle.

The intensity burst allows your body to kick into the fat burn.

Also, by doing interval training, you release a hormone called the Human Growth Hormone.

Why are we wanting our bodies to release this hormone? I’ll tell you why next time! Stay tuned! 🙂

The Healing Power of Exercise

About 33 years ago, a lazy farmer was given 6 months to live. He was in his late 60’s and he had cancer. In his distress, he put a few of his belongings in a wheelbarrow and decided to walk. He was going to walk around Australia.

It took him 2 years.

How long did the doctors tell him he had to live? Six months.

When he got back, he felt fantastic and he felt vibrant. His body no longer moved slowly but almost sprinting. The energy it took to sprint was less than when he first started to walk.

Amazing things start to happen in the body when we move it.

He was tested. No cancer.

This is a true story and it made headlines again just recently in an Australian paper.

Movement. It is one of the cheapest remedies there is. Movement is life. Stagnant pools breed disease and stagnant bodies breed disease.

Because activity is not a necessary part of most people’s lives, many people are getting sick because their bodies are not moving.

Blood is the river of life because wherever the blood touches it brings life. It brings nutrition, it brings water, it brings oxygen and it takes away waste from every part of the human body.

Any of you have cold feet? Our toes should be as warm as every part of our body.

Perfect health needs perfect circulation.

At night, everything slows down a bit. That’s when the body starts to revive and recharge. The river of life slows down to a nice, slow pace.

When you wake up in the morning, the blood has pooled to the internal organs. The best time to exercise is in the morning because it brings the blood out to the extremities.

In order for exercise to be a powerful, healing remedy, it must be done in the morning and it must be done regularly = FREQUENCY.

It takes 20 years of not maintaining your body before it breaks down quite badly. Fortunately, it does not need 20 years to get it better again. Take a month for every year you’ve done it wrong. image

Blood is a healer and anything that stimulates the blood moving a little bit faster is square one. It is paramount. A half hour of exercise a day will keep our body in good working order and one hour of exercise a day will reverse major problems. What problems? You name it.

How many hours are there in a day? It’s not much, is it?

Exercise causes our body to release a certain and important hormone and we will talk about it in my next post.

 

Vani Hari, aka the Food Babe: Real Food Superhero, Warrior, Defender

The first time I ever heard of the Food Babe was about two years ago. I was researching the different baby formulas and was trying to figure out which was the best formula to put my daughter on after I was done nursing her.

Being in the entertainment industry, especially in the beauty aspect of it, I felt the pressure of losing the baby weight as quickly as I could. I had decided that I was going to breastfeed my daughter for a month-and-a-half, maybe two, and then I was going to switch her to formula. I was determined to lose the baby weight before I started my show which would start production four months after I had her.

I stumbled across an article by the Food Babe that she had written literally two days before the birth of my daughter called “How To Find the Safest Organic Infant Formula” that completely horrified me. I spent many sleepless nights afterwards researching absolutely EVERYTHING about baby formula and my different options. My findings turned me into a very angry mom and sparked my fierce crusade in the movement to better our food supply and to enroll in nutrition school to deepen and better understand food and our body chemistry.

When that month-and-a-half came and I had to decide whether to continue breastfeeding her or not, it was in that moment that I decided that my daughter’s well-being was way more important than trying to fit back into my size 3 jeans and I was going to nurse her for as long as I possibly could. I was not going to poison my daughter. It was also in that moment that I learned to TRULY love my body – the body that told the story of carrying two amazing and beautiful human beings.

I did eventually have to introduce formula after six months of exclusive breastfeeding when she started to wean herself off of me, but I was able to make an informed decision on the best baby formula for her.

Since reading that article by Vani Hari, the Food Babe, I have followed her fearless in-depth food investigations and campaigns. Hari brings transparency to our food system and holds food manufacturers accountable for the food products that are making us sick.

I view Ms. Hari as a pioneer in the food movement. To her critics, registered dietitians and food scientists say she lacks the credentials to speak with authority. But there is a reason big food companies are terrified of the Food Babe. She holds food companies accountable and exposes the truth about what is in your food.

As a certified holistic health coach who has studied over 100 dietary theories with some of the world’s top health and wellness experts, I can say that you don’t need my type of training or a degree to figure out how to be healthy. Anyone can pick up a food item, look at the food label and figure out whether it’s going to harm you or benefit you. Vani Hari is a fearless leader in this food revolution movement.

In her new book, The Food Babe Way, which releases today, Vani outlines the dangers that lurk in your food, shows you how to decode food labels and offers advice on what to eat and how to shop healthy and organic without hurting your pocketbook.
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I received an advanced copy of the book by Ms. Hari and I highly recommend it for anyone who needs an easy-to-follow reference and guide in navigating the thousands of food products lining our store shelves and takes the guesswork out of shopping for healthy and nutritious food. So if you’re tired of your taste buds being hijacked by the food industry and you want to take matters into your own hands and become your own food investigator, nutritionist and food activist, The Food Babe Way will show you how to live a more energetic and vibrant life while still being exposed to our current food system.

Hari lays out a 21-day flexible eating plan with dozens of recipes along with a list of pantry staples and a snack list. She will take you step-by-step through 21 simple changes that will help rid your body of toxins, lose weight without counting calories and restore your natural glow. These fundamentals are so much more affordable than expensive supplements, workouts and gym memberships.

In The Food Babe Way, you’ll learn how to:
~ Avoid the top 15 ingredients that wreak havoc on your weight, beauty and health
~ Develop 21 simple, lasting habits that will get you off chemical-laced food for good
~ Spot manipulative marketing and manufacturing techniques the food industry uses to get you to eat processed foods or hide questionable ingredients
~ Replace the foods that make you fat, look older and sap your energy with helpful, delicious substitutes
~ Prepare dozens of additive-free meals with easy and delicious recipes

Order your copy of The Food Babe Way here:
http://thefoodbabeway.com
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Eat well. Be well. Live your most beautiful life!

Xo,
Kristine

‘We the People’ not ‘We the Corporations’

Before I had kids, I had the worst diet imaginable. I just didn’t really think much about it. As long as it tasted good, it was fast and it was convenient, I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I was clueless about nutrition and the powerful effect food has on us and I didn’t know the ugly truth about the food industry.

The birth of my first child, however, inspired an urgency in me because I now had to make decisions on his behalf. And if you are a parent, I am sure you can understand where I am coming from. One of my jobs is to provide him with the very best and to protect him from anything that could possibly harm him.

On top of that, I wanted to have the energy and vitality to keep up with him. I wanted to be my healthiest and live as long as I could to be there for him through this difficult life and to live long enough to see my grandkids.

Not only are those some of the things that propelled me down this path of health and wellness, but what also triggered it is that many people that I loved and cared about have been taken too soon from disease or cancer, or suffering from it. It got me thinking and I started to question what was causing this rampant plague that was ravaging people all over the country.

Is it fate – our genes? Is it what comes with age? I needed to know.

All directions kept pointing me towards our diet and lifestyle.

When it comes to the food that we eat, it is very important that we know where it comes from, who grows it and what the ingredients are. I know I sound like a broken record but I just can’t stress it enough!

Food is a very powerful thing!

The food that we eat becomes us.. literally! It becomes the substance of our muscles, our skin, our hair, our bones – basically every cell of our body. We gain the qualities of the food. Not to mention that our brain, which is a very hungry organ, absorbs around 60% of the food that we eat – and, yes, you’re connecting the dots here – there is a food/mood connection as well.

Our lifestyle and the foods that we eat, have the ability to turn genes on or off. Genetics load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger.

As I mentioned in my post The Junk Food Generation, there are 600,000 food items in America today.

Last week, General Mills announced they were buying Annie’s for 820 million dollars. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Annie’s, it is a natural and organic food company who is best known for their macaroni and cheese line.

As people are becoming more and more conscientious of their health, the organic and natural foods industry is steadily growing and going mainstream. We live in a world in which food companies are extraordinarily competitive with each other. Their job is to sell more product; and if they are a publicly traded company, they have shareholders to please. And organic is profitable.

Most of the iconic organic brands today have been bought and are now owned and controlled by the titans of the junk food industry.

Coca-Cola owns:
• Honest Tea
• Odwalla
• Zico Coconut Water
General Mills owns:
• Cascadian Farms
• Muir Glen
Pepsi owns:
• Naked Juice
Colgate now owns:
• Toms of Maine, the toothpaste company

Some say that it is a good thing that the natural foods industry is growing. Others say it is in danger of losing its very soul.

What goes through your mind when you see corporate America taking over the natural and organic food business?

These corporations like Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola and Monsanto and others poured 22 million dollars into fighting the GMO labeling battle. How does that make you feel that the profits that they are earning from the organic brands they now own are being used to fight our access to information?

Why are they fighting tooth and nail to keep this information from us?

We don’t all need to reach the same conclusions but there are beliefs that we all share. There are certain decencies that matter to all of us.

Do we choose to close our eyes and ears to it? Or do we choose to engage in it? These are not radical positions. They are not Democratic or Republican positions. They are not old or young or urban or rural positions. They are fundamental human concerns.

I have strong opinions and I hope that my kids will share my opinions but I wouldn’t insist on it. I am not trying to create an ethical replica of me and it is not to create somebody who acts on my beliefs. It is to help somebody to become an adult who can act on his beliefs. I want my kids to be aware of the choices that are in front of them, be aware of their ability to makes choices and to be confident when making choices that are outside of societal norms.

The extent to which there is corporate control of our food policy and of our food supply has massive implications to the health of the people. What bothers me the most is the enormous effort that food companies are doing to try and sell their products, regardless of the effects of their products on health.

I just want to say, though, that they are not out to poison the world. They will sell whatever sells.

Food choices – how we eat, what we eat and what we buy is a form of activism. When people buy organic, more farmers will produce organics. When people complained that tomato pickers weren’t getting paid enough money, Walmart raised their wage to a penny more per pound.

Think about women’s rights or even slavery. Slavery didn’t end because people started buying sugar-free foods. It happened because people advocated to make it unacceptable and to end it legally.

Anthony Gucciardi said, “There’s a reason that mega corporations like Monsanto are afraid of you, the activist. They know that despite their billions, despite their deception, that you as a consumer ultimately control their fate. Because by changing a single purchase at the grocery store, you change the world.”

So eat well. Be well. Vote with your fork!

Xo, Kristine

Free Workshop – Health Food Store Tour

The first time I ever went to a health food store it was a little intimidating. It is a whole different beast than mainstream grocery stores! I mean, they have a completely different set of foods. It is very important to keep in mind that even though it is a health food store, does NOT mean that everything in there is good for you. Even if it proudly displays a USDA Organic certified seal of approval on its packaging does not mean it deserves a place in my shopping cart.

I try to provide my family with as healthy of foods as I possibly can, but I know that to completely remove certain foods out of their diet is unrealistic. So I have scoured the grocery shelves and scrutinized the information on the packaging of chips, cookies, pastas, candies, pantry items, frozen foods and the personal care section to make sure that the damage is as little as possible.
Many times, I have stood in a grocery aisle and watched people stare at all the different brands of shredded coconut or canned goods trying to decide which one to buy and I have gladly offered my advice, much to their relief.

I know many people want to be healthy and they want to provide their families with the best food… but they need a little guidance. I want to share my knowledge with you so that you can do that and so that your money is spent in the best way possible.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, I will be holding a free workshop – a Health Food Store Tour at Sprouts in Woodland Hills on Saturday, September 27 at 11:30AM. If you are interested, please email me at theroguevegan@yahoo.com by Wednesday, September 24. We will stroll through the different aisles to discover which foods are the healthiest.

Transform your plate, transform your life.

Eat well. Be well. Vote with your fork!

Xo, Kristine

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