Is Your Food Really Natural?

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It’s great that people are migrating toward organic and natural foods, but sometimes they come with a false sense of security. The term “organic” is monitored by the FDA and requires certification, but “natural” and “all natural” aren’t regulated at all.

According to the USDA, 88% of corn and 94% of soybeans that are grown in America are genetically modified. In fact, Frito-Lay was recently sued for putting the “all natural” label on products that contain genetically modified corn. At that point, it’s hard to tell whether the company was deliberately lying, or whether they honestly thought that genetically modified corn could still be considered “natural.” Regardless, neither excuse is a good one, and it shows that someone needs to make sure these companies are sticking to their word.

Roughly forty other countries already require labels on genetically modified food. It’s impossible to say when America will be one of them, so it’s important to shop with caution in the meantime.

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Picking the Right Sweetener

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There’s been a lot of controversy about sweeteners lately. People are starting to realize the dangers of high-fructose corn syrup, but aren’t always learning more about the alternatives.

Agave, in particular, has been getting a lot of attention. This Mexican plant is best known for its nectar, which is a popular sweetener, and also for being the chief ingredient in tequila. As Dr. Joseph Mercola wrote, not all agave nectar is the same– it often has a much higher fructose content than high-fructose corn syrup. The thing that makes this kind of agave so dangerous is that it’s marketed as being healthier. This deception lures people into thinking it’s a healthy option when they don’t investigate further.

For agave, it must be organic and raw, otherwise it falls in the same category as other high-glycemic sweeteners. Here are some alternative sweeteners I recommend:

Raw, organic honey — This is the natural sweetener of choice. Look for wild honey: it’s lower in fructose and higher in trace mineral content, especially the richer, dark varieties. It also has many other medicinal benefits.

Maple syrup — It’s a little known fact, but maple syrup is the only sustainably harvested, large-scale forest sweetener in the world. It has one of the richest sources of minerals found in any sweetener. Look for organic maple syrup, and maple crystals as an ingredient.

Unsulfured, organic, sugarcane molasses — This one is fairly rich in vitamins and minerals and has been purported (like fresh sugarcane) to have “anti-stiffness factors” that break down detrimental calcification.

Coconut palm sugar — Don’t let the name fool you– coconut palm sugar tastes more like brown sugar than coconut. Try to find raw coconut palm sugar and avoid the heated version.

Lo Han Guo — This is a non-glycemic sweetener made from a type of wild cucumber. It’s been used for many years in china to treat coughs and laryngitis.

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Is Fast Food Real Food?

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Anymore, it’s not enough to say that fast food is unhealthy– it’s more accurate to say it isn’t even food.

Of all the ingredients that make up a McDonald’sChicken McNugget, for example, only 50% is actually chicken. The rest is a combination of preservatives, sugars, corn derivatives, and other chemicals that cause a variety of health problems, ranging from nausea to tinnitus. In one particular case, the chemicals found in a McDonald’s burger allowed it to look the same for 14 years.

Think of it this way: For every two Chicken McNuggets you eat, one is pure chicken, and the other is an equal amount of corn-based additives and synthetic ingredients.

These are foods that you could try to cut back on, but it’s better for you and just as easy to stop eating them entirely. There’s never a good reason anybody should have to eat fast food– so don’t!

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How to Eat a Pomegranate

Over the past few years, pomegranates have grown quite lot in popularity, and for good reason. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also a terrific source of antioxidants and have many overall health benefits.

Still, a lot of people don’t know how to properly prepare a pomegranate, or what part of the fruit you’re supposed to eat. This instructional video answers all these questions so you can start enjoying this wonderful fruit today!

The Dangers of Soda

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The negative effects soda can have on your body are extremely underestimated. This infographic does a great job of reminding us just how bad soft drinks really are. (source)

7 Not So “Healthy” Foods

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When it comes to food, “healthy” is relative. A food that gives you just the right amount of one nutrient may give you too much of another. Our bodies require a balance and react according to the ratios between each nutrient– not just how “much” or how “little” we may have of one in particular.

For that reason, a lot of foods that are marketed as “healthy” actually have several negative effects that outweigh the few good ones. Here are seven such foods, chosen by Today Health, that it’s better to avoid:

1. Pretzels – It’s true that pretzels are low in fat, but they don’t offer much else. Other than that, they’re basically processed carbs that are high in sodium.

Alternative: Popcorn

2. Splenda (and other artificial sweeteners) – While sugar substitutes have less calories than real sugar, they actually make you crave sweets even more. Your body thinks it’s getting calories, but it’s not, so it makes you want to compensate for it. In most cases, this actually leads to weight gain.

Alternative: Honey.

3. High-fiber cereals with sugar – High-fiber cereals can help prevent heart disease, but the sugar content counteracts that benefit by raising your blood sugar considerably.

Alternative: Shredded Wheat, no sugar

4. Diet soda – This one acts similarly to artificial sweeteners, because that’s what diet soda is loaded with. It also can raise your risk of vascular problems.

Alternative: Good old water!

5. Frozen yogurt – A big part of what makes yogurt so healthy is the bacteria that help the digestive and immune systems. However, many frozen yogurts don’t have these. From there, when you compare the fat, calorie, and sugar content, frozen yogurt isn’t much better than ice cream.

Alternative: You might as well go with ice cream, at that point.

6. Veggie chips – After all the processing that goes into most veggie chips, the vegetables’ original vitamin content is lost. Many of them actually have the same amount of sodium as potato chips!

Alternative: Make your own veggie chips!

7. Turkey burgers – Many of the turkey burgers made in restaurants are comprised of the fatty dark meat and skin, not making it much better than a regular hamburger.

Alternative: Make your own turkey burger out of lean turkey.

Remember: some of these options are slightly better than the options they are supposed to substitute, but that isn’t saying much. Is it really worth choosing between the lesser of two evils when there are much better options?

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The Worst of the Worst

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We all know that fast food is bad for us. Still, despite all the awareness that is constantly raised on the subject, we don’t all grasp just how unhealthy fast food really is. This infographic shows some of fast food’s most offensive sandwiches, and helps put their danger into perspective. (source)

 

Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid

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Dr. Andrew Weil recently posted this food pyramid on his website as a guide for those who suffer from inflammation. This could be used as a great starting point for diet plans, as well as what food to avoid! (source)

 

The Shocking Truth About Milk | Part 3

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Ironically, milk can help cause the same conditions it’s supposed to prevent. According to Cindy Jones-Shoeman of NaturalNews.com and Robert Cohen of NotMilk.com, here’s a list of a few of the health risks that can be associated with the overconsumption of milk:

  • breast cancer
  • diabetes
  • kidney stones
  • acne
  • heart disease
  • osteoporosis
  • multiple sclerosis
  • stroke
  • rheumatoid arthritis

Keep in mind that these aren’t all due to the nutritional makeup of milk. A lot of it has to do with the chemicals that are put into the cows, as well as the number of processes the milk goes through before it hits the shelves. Don’t let the fads fool you: stop drinking milk and start living a healthier life today!

Part 1 | Part 2| Part 3

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The Shocking Truth About Milk | Part 2

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As we mentioned in our last blog, the consumption of cow’s milk is unnatural for two important reasons: 1) we’re supposed to be weaned off of milk at a young age, and 2) cow’s milk is nutritionally designed for cows, not humans.

But beyond these two reasons is a third that is even more overlooked: the milk sold in stores isn’t even natural cow’s milk! In fact, it’s so far from its original condition that you can hardly call it the same thing.

While raw cow’s milk is still not recommended, the over-processed milk we have today is even worse. Processes like homogenization and pasteurization increase the acidity of milk, which amplifies its negative effects.

Unfortunately, that’s not all. Milking cows are often injected with several growth hormones, which can appear in the milk and have devastating effects on those who drink it. Some are linked directly to several kinds of cancer.

There are several alternatives to milk, such as almond and soy milk. Try out some of the different options, and find which one best suits your lifestyle!

Part 1 | Part 2| Part 3

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