GOOD It’s good news that Aspartame is being dropped by Pepsi. Aspartame has been considered by many to be toxic – do a web search yourself for aspartame toxicity or visit websites like SweetPoison.com which “provides a variety of aspartame information.” I highly encourage you to do some research yourself and if nothing else, be aware than there is a lot of controversy surrounding aspartame. I’m personally not interested in taking the risk of consuming it.
BETTER Ditch the diet soda habit.
As noted in previous posts here and elsewhere on the web, diet sodas seem to contribute to obesity and belly fat. There have been numerous studies that link consumption of diet soda to increased weight gain and abdominal fat. For example, a recent study released by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, there is a direct relation between increasing diet soda intake and escalating abdominal obesity. I recommend that you read the studies yourself, cut back on soda, and if you *have to* have a soda, skip the diet drinks and go for one sweetened with real sugar. By the way, as noted in this article in Self Magazine – weight gain is only one of the risks associated with diet soda – many other concerns and questions about diet soda have been raised as well.
Skip the soda altogether.
This is one of the simplest things you can do for yourself to increase your health. You face the choice of either artificial sweeteners and their unknown or unwelcome side effects, empty calories soda sweetened with High Fructose Corn Syrup or sugar sweetened soda.There are so many other healthier alternatives besides soda – besides, and many studies have indicated Americans don’t drink water, so thats the best alternative.
It’s good news for your health that Pepsi is ditching aspartame. Make it better news by ditching diet soda altogether and enjoying an occasional soda sweetened with real cane sugar. Make the best choice for your body by giving up soda altogether – you won’t miss the calories, and you certainly won’t miss some of the negative effects it can have on your health.
Spelt is very much like wheat with just a few important differences, as a matter of fact spelt IS an ancient form of wheat. For this reason it shares many attributes with wheat, and foods made with spelt are very similar (and taste similar) to those made with wheat.
Spelt enjoyed greater popularity as a grain for several centuries, but was replaced by wheat over the last century for a number of reasons. However, spelt has recently had a resurgence in popularity primarily because of some of it’s healthy attributes.
Spelt has a great taste – although the flavor has been described as a bit nuttier than wheat, spelt is actually very wheat-like in both it’s taste and texture. Spelt has also gained a reputation for being a healthy for grain since it is often raised without the same herbicide load as wheat. Much of the spelt grain and flour found in stores is actually organically raised, eliminating the concerns that go with herbicides, pesticides, and specifically glyphosate (the primary ingredient in Roundup).
You can now find a variety of spelt flours and spelt products (bread, crackers, rolls, etc) in many of the mainstream grocery stores, not just in specialty or health food stores. Nutritional content and calorie count are very similar to wheat.
It’s important to note that spelt does contain gluten, but many people who have troubles when eating wheat do not have the same problems with spelt. This may be because of the way the spelt grain has remained largely unchanged for so long, or due to differences in farming practices. As noted previously, glyphosate (Roundup) is sometimes applied to wheat before harvest (though wheat treated this way is never labeled as such, and may be included in the flour or wheat based products you purchase). This is not the case with Spelt and may account for the differences in digestive problems or gut irritation. Find out more about spelt and consider trying some spelt products yourself. I personally bake all of my recipes that call for wheat flour with at least a partial blend of spelt flour.
Questions or comments – use the form below – I’d love to hear from you!
Wheat has come up in discussion recently in some conversations about diet, carbs, etc. Although I limit the amount of carbs in my diet, I have not eliminated wheat from my diet. BUT – I have done my best to limit myself to organically raised wheat.
I do this for several reasons, but the main reason I want to focus on now is glyphosate.
Glyphosate is the primary active ingredient found in the herbicide Roundup from Monsanto. You can do the research yourself and decide what you are willing to consume, but I made the choice to avoid foods raised with or deliberatly exposed to glyphosate – See more at: http://wp.me/p3m5tK-cI
Why mention glyphosate in a conversation about wheat? Because it is one of the chemicals sometimes applied to wheat before harvest. While there is not currently a “Roundup Ready” wheat on the market or approved for human consumption as of 2015, Roundup is used on wheat to get fields of wheat uniformly ready for harvest. It does this by killing the wheat plant and causing the kernels to be at the same stage of readiness for harvest.
Which non-organic wheat is treated this way? Might glyphosate residue be in your flour? Hard to know for sure, unless you using organic flour or products made from organic wheat. Organic wheat cannot be raised with or treated with glyphosate.
“Glyphosate and glyphosate formulations induced DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, and in human and animal cells in vitro”. I’d prefer to play it safe and stick with organic foods – in this case organic wheat.
One last note – it’s interesting that some people find that their wheat sensitivity goes away when they use organic wheat. Have you had this experience or do you know someone who has? If so, I’d like to hear from you – use the form below to share your results.
Just a short post to point out the continued concerns with glyphosate- the primary chemical in the product Roundup.
Previous posts have pointed out some of the concerns about pesticide and herbicide residue in food and feedstock items.
Unfortunately, this has not changed – and recent articles and studies underscore this concern. A recent article on the website of the Independent – a British newspaper – contained the headline: “Scientists urge caution over experts’ claims pesticide is ‘probably’ carcinogenic”.
It goes on to reference a report from The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) – a the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization. What stands out to me is the statement: ” The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is that the herbicide glyphosate is classified as probably carcinogenic to humans”.
Take the time to read the linked articles and studies for yourself.
In my mind, the information that there is a probable link to cancer from this substance and as referenced in the Lancet Journal of Oncology – “Glyphosate and glyphosate formulations induced DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, and in human and animal cells in vitro”. Yikes!
I’d rather not ingest anything that damages might damage my dna or chromosomes, or is “probably carcinogenic”. If you’re concerned about herbicide residue in food, or this type of potential damage to your body, I’d urge you to do the same. Next up – how to avoid exposing yourself to glyphosate (think organic).
Questions? Comments? Use the form below – I’d love to hear from you!
This now brings us to the subject of ketogenic diets. Many people will immediately think of the Atkins diet, but there are many other diet plans besides Atkins that based on ketosis. One of my personal favorites is the Southbeach diet. I like the description as noted by USA Today in a recent article, it emphasizes “…avoiding carbs like pasta and potatoes and eating the right carbs” and helps you choose the “right kinds of fats” but doesn’t worry as much about limiting fats. I do think it’s important to point out that none of these diets will work well at producing lasting results if you don’t change your lifestyle. As previous posts have pointed out, diets don’t work. Only lifestyle changes will work to produce sustainable lifelong changes in health (and weight).
There are *many* diets out there that base themselves on some of these same principles, even if they don’t label themselves as ketogenic – they work because of the metabolic effects that come about when you restrict carbs and when your diet includes higher levels of (healthy) fats. In future posts we’ll look at some of the differences in these diets and dive a little deeper into more specifics on metabolism and the factors that some of the hormones related to digestion play in all this.
Along with the subject of the foods that you do (or don’t) consume, it makes sense to also consider whether or not you need supplements; vitamin, mineral, herbal. The whole reason to tweak or change your diet is to move toward a healthier lifestyle – that is the same reason you should consider which supplements you might will help you – and which ones you may need.
There are several reasons you should consider adding nutritional supplements to the food and beverages you consume, but the biggest reasons are to add in nutrients that may be lacking or in short supply in your diet (there are many reasons behind this), and in order to address with specific physical issues.
Seriously – there seems to always be some new diet that is all the rage; some diet or hot new method to lose weight, cleanse your body, detox … you get the idea. All it takes is a glance at the magazines at any grocery store checkout to see what the celebrities consider to be the latest and greatest way to shed some pounds. The promises are many – this is the hidden secret, this is the one that doesn’t make you change what you eat, this one lets you eat as much (fill in the blank) as you want, the Paleo diet, Keto diet, Low Carb diet, All Carb Diet, Gluten Free Diet, Peanut Butter Diet, All Veggie Diet, and the list goes on and on and on.But do these really work, and are they good for you?
Upcoming are several posts that will deal with these questions, questions about diet, diets, and dieting, and also some guest posts that will give you some real-life firsthand accounts of experiences as a result of various diets and approaches to a healthier lifestyle.
As a foundational truth though – remember that diets don’t work – not in the long term and not for lasting change toward a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes they can be helpful (and just the thing you need) to shed a few pounds or kick start a change in lifestyle – but “going on a diet for a while” is almost always destined to fail since you’ll eventually end up right back where you started (or worse off) once you return to your old ways.
The bottom line – “diets” in the traditional sense don’t work – but a change in your diet can work if you incorporate those changes into your daily life and make them foundational for a new lifestyle. If you do that – there are several different dietary approaches out there that do work. Upcoming posts will take a closer look at these questions, provide some real-world feedback, and attempt to address any questions you might have.
Questions or comments – please use the form below – I’d love to hear from you.
It’s such a tempting idea – something for nothing – all the sweetness of sugar and none of the calories or problems that come from eating lots of sugar, drinking sugary drinks, and eating sweets, etc.
It sounds too good to be true! And it is.
Research continues to show that there is a cascade of bad effects that happen when you take in artificial sweeteners.
You won’t necessarily drop over from drinking one diet soda – but if they’re bad for you why drink even one?
Consider this: most rationale people wouldn’t eat a slice of cake or a brownie baked from a mix that only had a few – maybe even only 1 or two mouse droppings – because even in that small amount, we know it is not good for you. So why include diet soda or products with artificial sweeteners in your diet at all.
Listen to your body – it sends you signals about what you eat, how you eat, and how much you eat.
If you pay attention, it lets you know when you should stop eating, which foods agree with you or which foods cause you to not feel good, These are all signals your body is giving you to try to protect you from foods you shouldn’t eat and to guide you to eat the right amount of things it needs.
1. Take your time eating, thoroughly taste and chew each bite – this gives your body a chance to begin the digestion process in the right way, and also gives it a chance to signal you when you have eaten enough. There is a feedback mechanism built into your body – specific hormones that turn hunger on and off (ghrelin and leptin) – learn to “feel” and listen to these hormones and other signals that your body gives you that you have eaten enough.
2. Pay attention to how you feel after you eat certain foods.
Headache in the afternoon some days? Upset stomach? Gassy? Stomach that “just doesn’t feel right” or is flip-flopping? You might find an interesting correlation between certain foods and when these symptoms occur. This is another reason why it’s a good idea to keep a log of the foods you eat as you start to make changes to move you toward a healthier lifestyle.
Your body is talking to you all the time – you may need to relearn to hear it, and then listen to what it’s saying. This is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining and protecting your health.
This may be the most important part of what you need to do in order to begin to move toward a healthier lifestyle. You have to decide what is really important to you – once you do this, you can begin to move toward it and eliminate the things that stand in your way.
You have to decide what is most important because that is will define what is not as important. I know some people that can hardly ever pass a donut shop without stopping. If donuts are your “thing” or you feel like you can never pass up chocolate cake, certain physical or fitness goals are probably out or reach. If a certain level of physical health or athletic performance is your goal, it won’t seem like such a great sacrifice to give up some of the sugary treats and other things that you might otherwise eat. To put it another way, think about whether the daily things you do from a dietary and fitness standpoint move you toward or away from a healthier lifestyle. Did the dietary and exercise choices you made yesterday move you toward being healthier and feeling better, or was it just more of the same way you’ve done things for the last month, year or many years.
If your top priority is to wake up and feel healthy, strong and vital every day, to reduce illness and/or injury and to avoid the bad effects of the typical western diet, you begin the measure your meals and snacks and the things you do (or don’t do) against that goal. I personally stay focused on how good I feel every day, and I don’t want anything to derail that or keep me from that. In order to do this, I think it helps to keep this at the front of your mind with a simple phrase or reminder.
If you’ve never felt that, or if you wake up not feeling good every day, I’d challenge you to consider changing your goals. Don’t expect everything about your body and health to change overnight – because it won’t. But you can begin today to make little changes that will move you toward a healthier lifestyle one little step at a time. Remember that you didn’t get to where you are today overnight either. Set your sights on a lifetime goal of healthy living and feeling good.