The Best New Year’s “Resolution” Of All? Plus A Free 31-Day Healthy Eye Challenge

 

At a time of year when many people are starting to make resolutions about exercising more and eating healthier (both good things to be mindful of!), there’s something else that could likely be a more direct and lasting way to bring about a healthier, happier you….

 

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Growing up in a society that is so focused on outer appearances often makes it very difficult to really accept and love ourselves just as we are, especially for females, who are repeatedly bombarded with images of how they “should” look from TV, magazines and elsewhere. It’s said that being able to love yourself is the key to how everything else in your life unfolds and is necessary for being able to truly love others.  So why not forget about making a lot of “surface-oriented” resolutions and just promise yourself and your body that you will focus on loving who you are and your body as it is and see what happens? You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

p. s. If you DO make a list of resolutions, then you might find this blog post that lists 22 ways to stick to them helpful:

https://www.foodmatters.com/article/22-ways-to-stick-to-your-new-years-resolutions

Related Self-help Health posts that focus on how our thoughts and feelings affect our overall health and well-being:

Gratitude & the DNA Connection

Get Healthier With Gratitude

Emotions & the DNA/Reality Connection

Kind Words = Better Health

And here’s an invite from energy medicine guru Donna Eden for a free event I signed up for that some of you may be interested in as well…..

Join the 2019 31-Day Healthy Eye Challenge!

We’re inviting you to join us January 1-31 for the Healthy Eye Challenge, a five-minute daily routine to help improve your eyesight and bring fresh vitality to your peepers!

This is a FUN “challenge” for you for one entire month — specifically dedicated to activating, inspiring, and enlivening each person in our community and beyond.
Tune in to our EEM Programs Facebook page OR our YouTube channel through the month of January to view the videos!

This is a free program with videos created by Donna & David, our staff, students, teachers, faculty, and family members for YOU! Make this commitment to yourself and join us every day and experience better eye health!!!

Salud and Happy New Year!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained health care practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

 

A Quick Fix For That Sugar Craving?! Works For Other Foods As Well…..

 

As someone who came out of the womb saying “Dessert, please!” this caught my eye. I’ve heard about something similar to this before. but have never remembered to actually try it. But I could tell by the reaction I had just in reading the words and thinking about doing it as I read, it might be pretty effective. You’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a try and supposedly it works on all sorts of food cravings, not just sweets……

stop sugar cravings
Photo: junce/istockphoto

The 5-Second Trick to Stop a Sugar Craving

“If you just can’t stop yourself from eating one more doughnut, imagine sprinkling a tablespoon of coarse iodized salt (I’m not talking about delicious, flaky fleur de sel) on it and imagine what it would be like to take bite after bite, swallow after swallow of the ‘pinch your tongue’ super-saltiness. Do this visualization when the urge to consume the sweet stuff comes up, and you’ll have some serious problems just thinking about having a taste.”Moalem speaks from experience. “The first time I tried it, I was at dinner at a friend’s house, and they had made homemade doughnuts topped with Nutella for dessert,” he remembers. “I did the visualization with the salt shaker, imagined unscrewing the top, dumping it on the doughnut and taking a bite, and it immediately elicited a little bit of a gag reflex. I don’t think I could have eaten one if I were forced to.” We had a similar wow-that-actually-worked moment one afternoon when chocolate chip cookies were calling our name.

The reason the trick works is because even though most of us like salty foods, humans have a natural aversion to overly salted eats (think so much salt that your face contorts like you just ate something bitter). That may be because extremely salty or bitter foods signaled danger for our ancestors, as those foods were more likely to be poisonous, says Moalem, a neurogeneticist and evolutionary biologist by trade. Just thinking about what a cookie covered in salt would taste like is enough to make you turn away. It’s not limited to sweets either–the trick should work with whatever type of food you’re trying to cut back on, like any and all kinds of cheese (just us?).

For really hard-to-break cravings, you can even take it to the next level and actually pour salt on the food in question and take a bite (Moalem did it to cure his ice cream addiction and says it did the trick.) Once you take a bite of that now disgustingly salty treat, your brain will remember how much you disliked it. So the next time visions of candy, ice cream, cookies or whatever food floats your boat start dancing through your head, you’ll be a lot less likely to give in to the craving.

Salty Sweet Visualization Exercise reprinted from The DNA Restart by Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD. Copyright © 2016 by Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD. By permission of Rodale Books.

 

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health_wellness/stop-sugar-cravings-sharon-moalem#ixzz5L33w56zd

Another thing to try when it comes to food cravings/addictions, or struggles to lose weight, is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, aka “tapping”). There are lots of free resources for learning the process at EFT Universe, The Tapping Solution, and elsewhere on-line. Here’s an article about how it helped 3 people overcome holiday over-eating:

https://www.eftuniverse.com/addictions/eft-tapping-reduces-cravings-for-holiday-goodies

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Still Eating Margarine? Please Read This!

 

A number of years ago I became aware of the fact that margarine was actually not good for us, but was still shocked by some of the details mentioned in this post by Jeff Passofaro. I grew up in the era when margarine first came on the scene and gained wide popularity as a cheaper, healthier alternative to butter. At one point I even preferred using it on toast and other things….probably because my taste buds were manipulated by the artificial flavorings and other ingredients that can have an addictive-like effect on the body.

But I’ve been back on the butter band wagon for years now, especially if it’s grass-fed, and if you aren’t already on board, too, then this post might do the trick. Who needs horror movies when there’s so much scary stuff in our food and water supply these days?!

 

 

This is interesting . .. .

Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.

It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavorings….

DO YOU KNOW.. The difference between margarine and butter?

Read on to the end…gets very interesting!

Both have the same amount of calories.

Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams; compared to 5 grams for margarine.

Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.

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Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.

Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and only because they are added!

Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.

Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years .

And now, for Margarine..

Very High in Trans fatty acids.

Triples risk of coronary heart disease …

Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)

Increases the risk of cancers up to five times..

Lowers quality of breast milk

Decreases immune response.

Decreases insulin response.

And here’s the most disturbing fact… HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC… and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT.

These facts alone were enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).

Open a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:

* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)

* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value ; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow.

Why? Because it is nearly plastic . Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast? Of course not, so share this with your friends…..(If you want to butter them up :-))!

Pass the BUTTER PLEASE!

Related Self-help Health post: Healthy Fats, Plus Butter vs Margarine

And check out my What’s New page for details about the upcoming free Holistic Oral Health Summit. Oral health is the most overlooked health issue in conventional and integrative medicine, even though 80% of disease symptoms are caused by problems in the mouth. Plus, millions are exposed to disease-promoting dental procedures every day. So Jonathan Landsman has gathered 33 of the world’s top experts to show you the best ways to improve oral health, prevent and reverse disease symptoms, and save thousands of dollars in unwanted medical expenses. A wide variety of topics will be covered, including oil pulling, harmful toxins like mercury, problems with root canals, cavitations and implants, proper heavy metal detoxification and much more.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Mycobacterium vaccae: Bacteria That’s GOOD For Your Brain!!

 

Reading this article will give you yet one more reason for spending plenty of time outdoors, whether walking through the woods, working in the garden, or making mud pies with the neighborhood kids. 🙂

 

Get Outdoors and Try to Get “Infected”
With These Brain-Healthy Bacteria

We know that eating a variety of organic fruits and vegetables promotes good health…

We also know spending time in nature, whether it’s walking through green spaces or spending time in the garden, can increase feelings of well-being and reduce cortisol, the stress hormone.

Now researchers have discovered another reason why spending time outside makes us feel so much better: Soil contains a beneficial strain of bacteria that can improve cognition and lower some risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Read on to learn more about this friendly microbe and how it can keep your brain strong…

The helpful bacterium is known as Mycobacterium vaccae (or M. vaccae). It’s abundant in soil. When we’re outdoors we breathe it in the open air…

As you may know, science is homing in on the connection between our microbiome – the beneficial microbes in our gut — and brain function. Some researchers even go so far as to call the gut the second brain. (For more information on gut and brain health, see Issue #205.)

A 2013 study published in the journal Behavioral Processes provided more evidence for this theory when researchers Dorothy Matthews and Susan Jenks fed a group of mice live M. vaccae bacteria and then had them run a maze. A control group ran the maze without the benefit of the microbe.

The results were stunning. Mice that ate the bacteria before and during the trials “completed the maze twice as fast as controls and with reduced anxiety-related behaviors.”

M. vaccae acts like an “old friend”

The “old friends” or “hygiene” hypothesis of stress-related diseases states that, because we spend less time in nature and overuse antibacterial soaps and other germ-killing aids, our bodies no longer reap the benefits of microbes like M. vaccae, which have helped humans survive and thrive for thousands of years.

The hypothesis gets its name from the strategy of ‘reintroducing’ humans to their old friends [beneficial bacteria] to promote optimal health and wellness.

Without them our bodies fall prey to the negative effects of stress and chronic inflammation, and this adversely affects our bodies’ own ability to prevent diseases.

Chronic inflammation also contributes to depression, which is not only a danger in its own right, but is also a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia (see Issue #117).

In a 2016 study published in the journal Trends in Immunology, researchers “immunized” mice with M. vaccae and found that their exposure to the microbe (or infection, if you will) prevented stress-induced colitis and reduced fear, anxiety, symptoms of inflammation and poor stress management.

The Connection Between M. Vaccae,
Serotonin and Alzheimer’s Disease

The reason for the animals’ decreased anxiety in the above studies is that ingestion of M. vaccae stimulates the release of serotonin in the brain. Higher levels of this neurotransmitter elevate mood and decrease anxiety.

Serotonin is the “feel good” neurotransmitter that’s also essential to synaptic functioning. Your neurons need serotonin to communicate with each other. This molecule also plays a crucial role in memory and learning.

Serotonin production naturally slows as we age. Research suggests that this decrease could be linked to depression, decreased cognition, memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

Studies of autopsied brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease have shown serious serotonin deficiencies. Being low on serotonin doesn’t necessarily cause cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, but it is an indicator that overall brain health and functioning has been compromised.

Big Pharma has been trying to create drugs that boost serotonin, but so far they haven’t been effective. So your best bet to prevent low levels of serotonin is to actively stimulate its production with M. vaccae – and by other means.

How to Increase Your Intake of M. vaccae

Spending time in green places, city parks and uninhabited woods alike, increases your exposure to M. vaccae. Get outside and breathe the fresh air as often as you can.

Eating fruits and vegetables directly from the tree, shrub or vine also helps you to ingest beneficial quantities of this microbe. As long as they’re grown without pesticides and herbicides, you’ll be pretty safe to eat them without washing. (I’d be wary of vegetables grown in or near the ground, especially in manure-rich soil. Those I’d wash.)

Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that gardening or otherwise closely interacting with the earth gives you even more M. vaccae.

Long-time gardeners swear that spending time among their plants is therapeutic. Now we have a new reason to think so.

Spend some time playing in the dirt with your kids or grandkids. Try planting a small flower garden that you all can tend together. Grow one or two vegetable plants and eat the produce right off the plant. Or visit a local farm and sample their wares.

As long as you’re outside, eating organic fruits and veggies and getting dirty once in a while, you’ll be doing your brain a favor.

 Source: Brain Health Breakthroughs Newsletter by Lee Euler

Related Self-help Health posts:

Walking: Just Do It (In Nature!)

Natural Ways To Treat Alzheimer’s

Trees: They’re Not Just For Hugging

FYI, there’s a free on-line series starting on the 12th that ties in nicely with the idea of spending more time digging in the dirt. It’s the 3rd Annual Home Grown Summit. which will feature 38+ presenters sharing their best “secrets” about growing food, living sustainably, creating community, and more….

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You can go to my “What’s New” page to find out more about the summit, plus see the list of e-books and reports the Grow Network offers for free.

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to give Self-help Health a follow so you don’t miss out on future posts. Also check out the To Your Health page at my website Evolution Made Easier and my other blog for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please not that any information provided here is as a guideline only, and not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

So What’s REALLY In Your Tea?!

 

For years now it’s been easy to find articles extolling the benefits of certain types of tea, especially green and white. I’ve even featured a couple of posts on the topic myself. But unfortunately things are not as straightforward these days when it comes to knowing if something is really healthy or not. Just read my posts on Water, Water Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Drink?!  and When Organic Isn’t What It’s Cracked Up to Be to get a sense of how many highly-touted bottled waters or organic foods actually contain all sorts of contaminants. And recently it was revealed that many of the high-priced protein powders containing rice (even organic ones) contained heavy metals, mainly because so much of the rice used comes from toxic-laden China. And apparently almost anything containing wheat these days is to be avoided like the plague.

And now it seems you really need to beware of what’s going on with the tea you’re drinking, even, in some instances, if it’s organic. For me, this article by Food Babe does a great job of presenting possible issues you should be aware of…..

 

Food Babe's Tea Drawer

Do You Know What’s Really In Your Tea?

(by ) Tea is something I drink every single day. It’s sacred at my house – I even have a whole drawer devoted to it! I drink it because it is amazing for your health. There are so many varieties of tea that can improve digestion, metabolism and even prevent certain diseases. This investigation into tea ingredients has been in the making for a long time. What I’m about to share with you totally rocked my world forever and I’ll never look at tea in the same way again. Do you really want to know what’s in your tea?…Then read on.

The ancient Chinese tradition of drinking tea dates back thousand of years to the early Chinese dynasties and aristocrats who drank the beverage for its medicinal properties. In ancient times, leaves from the Camellia Sinensis (the tea plant) were either ground into a powder or placed as loose leaves directly into water to infuse it with herbal essence. Unfortunately, modern day tea is nothing like the unadulterated version of old tea. Many of today’s tea brands are operating under the guise of providing health benefits and promoting clean living, but are actually laden with pesticides, toxins, artificial ingredients, added flavors and GMOs.

CrazyChemicalsInTea2

Conventional Teas – An Abundance of Pesticides

Did you know that most tea is not washed before it is put it into bags? That means if the tea was sprayed with cancer-causing pesticides, those pesticides go directly into your cup. And this is the reason why tea is on my organic shopping priority list. To prove this point, here are some shocking facts about one of the most well-known tea brands – Celestial Seasonings.

A recent third-party analysis by Glaucus Research found that 91 percent of Celestial Seasonings tea tested had pesticide residues exceeding the U.S. limits. For example, Sleepytime Kids Goodnight Grape Herbal contained 0.26 ppm of propachlor, which is a known carcinogen under California’s Propsition 65.

The “Wellness” tea line was found to contain traces of propargite, also a known carcinogen and developmental toxin. The FDA has already issued two warning letters to Celestial Seasonings in regard to poor quality control. Imagine what happens when pesticide-laden tea is steeped in boiling water.

If grocery store brands don’t provide a clean option for you, perhaps a high-end loose leaf tea would circumvent some of the issues of grocery store brands. Right? Wrong! Take Teavana, which is found in malls across North America for example. Teavana taps into tea culture with the “Teavana Experience.” Convincing their employees to take customers on a sensory journey – they open a huge canister of loose leaf tea and wave the top of the canister so you can smell the tea – touting all of the wonderful health benefits of tea complete with samples and manipulative demonstrations that end in an expensive visit to the tea shop. Is all the extra money worth it? Are customers getting a superior tea product? No.

Teavana tea was tested by an independent lab and 100 percent of it was found to contain pesticides. One tea in particular, Monkey Picked Oolong, contained 23 pesticides. 77 percent of the teas would fail European Union pesticide import standards, and would be banned from import. 62 percent of the teas tested contained traces of endosulfan, a pesticide that has been banned by the U.S., China, the E.U., and 144 other countries because it has been linked to impaired fertility and could harm unborn babies.

Teas Can Contain Artificial Flavoring, Natural Flavors, and Hidden GMOs

Furthermore, a majority of Teavana teas contain added flavor – specifically “artificial flavoring.” If their tea is so high end, why would they be adding ingredients produced by fractional distillation and chemical manipulation of various chemicals like crude oil or coal tar? Coal tar in my tea? No, thanks.

PopularTeaBrandIngredients

Many popular tea brands get away with using the ingredient “natural flavors” to trick the consumer into thinking they are buying better, cleaner ingredients; however companies are just covering up the inferior taste and low quality of their tea. Fortunately, there are brands that are putting the kibash on the use of natural flavors and using all real ingredients. I was happy to learn that Ahmed Rahim, CEO of Numi Teas is just as disgusted by this ingredient as I am. He said to me “You can breakdown anything that is found in nature and if it ends up tasting like the flavor you wish to use – you can add it to any product and call it NATURAL FLAVOR on the ingredient label. It could come from a stone in the ground and you’d never know.” This is why when I see the words “natural flavor” listed on a label – I put the product down and run far, far away. I want to know what I am eating! Don’t you?

Additionally, the added risk of consuming possible GMOs is not something many people think about when consuming teas. Before this investigation and witnessing tea companies using modified corn starch and soy lecithin in tea (additives likely made from genetically engineered corn and soy), I didn’t think about it either! I can’t imagine having a serious soy allergy, considering all the places companies try to hide it.

TjsTea

Why The Tea Bag & Packaging Matters

A recent article in The Atlantic discusses the “silky sachet” and “luxurious mesh bags” that hold loose leaf teas (like in brands Tea Forte and Mighty Leaf). Turns out, these modern day bags meant to showcase the tea leaves, are made of plastic.

PLA (polylactic acid) is a (likely GMO) corn-based tea bag material that has attracted major tea companies due to its nice look and its claims of biodegradability. Terms like “silky sachets” and “corn-based biodegradable tea bags” mislead customers into believing a product is more natural and sustainable than it really is. While the processing for PLA removes all traces of genetic material, it is still made with genetically modified corn. Although the actual tea bag is not an ingredient like teas and herbs, it is an element that is put into boiling water.

According to The Atlantic, tea bags are most commonly made from food grade nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which are two of what’s considered the safest plastics on the scale of harmful leaching potential. However, Dr. Mercola disagrees, he states:

“While these plastics are generally considered among the safest in terms of leaching potential, the molecules in these plastic tea bags may still in fact break down and leach out when steeped in boiling water…” Well, isn’t that how tea is prepared?

Another temperature consumers need to worry about in tea is the “glass transition” temperature. Here’s the science behind the glass transition temperature or, Tg, and why it becomes dangerous according to The Atlantic:

“That is the temperature at which the molecule in certain materials such as polymers begin to break down. As a rule, the Tg of a material is always lower than the melting point. In the case of PET and food grade nylon (either nylon 6 or nylon 6-6), all have a Tg lower than the temperature of boiling water. For example, while the melting point of PET is 482 degrees Fahrenheit, the Tg is about 169 degrees. Both nylons have a lower glass transition temperature than PET. (Remember that water boils at 212 degrees.) This means the molecules that make up these plastic tea bags begin to break down in hot water.”

So, while the plastic itself won’t melt in your tea, the glass transition temperature could potentially leak out harmful phthalates if there are such things in your tea. Another thing to worry about is that some of the newer tea bags are made with a variety of plastics. Some plastics are nylon, some are made of viscose rayon, and others are made of thermoplastic, PVC or polypropylene.

Beware of paper tea bags too, which can be worse than plastic tea bags.

GET THIS: Many paper tea bags are treated with epichlorohydrin, a compound mainly used in the production of epoxy resins. Considered a potential carcinogen by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health2 (NIOSH), epichlorohydrin is also used as a pesticide. When epichlorohydrin comes in contact with water, it hydrolyzes to 3-MCPD, which has been shown to cause cancer in animals. It has also been implicated in infertility (it has a spermatoxic effect in male rats) and suppressed immune function.

So what do you do the next time you want a cup of tea? Antioxidant rich teas aren’t going to do much to counterbalance the chemicals, additives and artificial flavorings in today’s modern teas.

First, I recommend looking at this chart below to see how your favorite tea brand stacks up:

Tea 2

And then when brewing and picking out the safest tea remember these tips:

1. Choose an organic & non-GMO certified brand of tea. (My favorites are Numi, Traditional Medicinals, and Rishi Tea (loose leaf).

2. Check the ingredient list on the back of the tea package to make sure there are no added flavors, GMO ingredients like soy lecithin and corn starch added to the tea leaves.

3. Make sure the brand you buy uses a safe form of packaging material or buy loose leaf tea and use a stainless steel or glass tea strainer. Have the company verify that bags do not contain epichlorophydrin, and avoid plastic tea bags all together. (Numi and Traditional Medicinals are some of the only brands I trust in this category because they have publicly stated they do not use this harmful ingredient or GMO packaging and are Non-GMO Project verified.) 

4. The majority of restaurants use some of the most pesticide-ridden tea and brands that have harmful packaging like Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, Bigelow, etc. Don’t fall victim to this. Bring your own tea when eating out or going to restaurants and ask for pot or cup of boiling water (remember to leave a good tip if you do this). I even do this at Starbucks because I like to vote with my dollars and not buy tea brands that are harmful. If you drink iced tea, brew your own at home and carry an *insulated water bottle  with you. 

*Personal Note: I recommend using the water bottles from Vibes Up; they help neutralize harmful toxins and balance and harmonize whatever liquid is put in them.

5. Remember these temps and times for brewing the perfect cup of tea

TeaBrewTimes

If you know someone who loves to drink tea, please share this post with them. I was just as shocked as you probably are about all of this craziness – knowing what’s in our tea and what we put in our body matters! Let’s change the world together.

Additional information:

http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/green-food/10-fair-trade-tea-brands-with-smart-sustainable-practices/

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/tea-types-and-their-health-benefits?page=2

http://ecoyogini.blogspot.ca/2013/02/artificial-flavouring-in-davids-teas.html

http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/are-teavana-and-celestial-seasonings-teas-safe-to-consume

http://www.examiner.com/article/dangerously-high-pesticide-levels-found-celestial-seasonings-teas

http://www.herbs-info.com/blog/warning-shocking-toxic-chemicals-found-in-teas/

For a “second opinion” on which teas and bags are safe, you may want to read this article:

http://national.cleanplates.com/health-nutrition/these-teas-are-toxin-free/#.VQCg2fnF-So

And here’s what I found on one site about the dangers of tea bags:

As tea bags evolved, many companies tried different styles and designs of tea bags which led to pillow styled tea bags, rounded tea bags, and even pyramid shaped tea bags. Different tactics were taken to make tea bags more appealing and this resulted in companies that chlorine bleached their tea bags so that customers would find the cleaner look to be more visually appealing. However, the bleaching method comes at a heavy price to consumers. Chemicals linger on tea bags that are bleached and when steeped, these chemicals seep into the water of the tea and are then ingested into the body. This exposes the body to harmful toxins like dioxin. Dioxin, a common chemical that is found on bleached tea bags, lingers in the body for up to 11 years and cannot be dispelled through the detoxification process of the liver. This chemical builds up in the fat tissues of the body where it agitates and disrupts cell distribution leading to hormonal and behavioral disorders as well as increases the body’s risk to harmful cell deformities and cancers. — www.wildcherrybark.net

 

**Personal Note: I highly recommend always using structured water for brewing your tea; it truly hydrates, neutralizes toxins, and has a balanced pH, so it will help off-set any worries about the tea you are drinking. Hmmm, and I just had a thought….the BerryBreeze™ refrigerator unit (I LOVE mine!) has the ability to neutralize the pesticides and harmful bacteria/fungus on the produce you store there. Wonder what it would do to teabags or a cup of brewed tea?!

Related Self-help Health posts:

https://selfhelphealth.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/tea-medicine-in-a-cup/

https://selfhelphealth.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/green-tea-drink-up-for-weight-loss-dental-health-cancer-prevention-and-much-more/

https://selfhelphealth.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/rooibos-tea-how-does-a-bush-taste-so-good/

https://selfhelphealth.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/a-revolutionary-way-to-save-on-food/

https://selfhelphealth.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/water-water-everywhere-but-not-a-drop-to-drink/

https://selfhelphealth.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/structured-water-h2omg/

 

Of course you can get organic teas in any good health food store or supermarket, however, I always buy mine on-line because it’s much less expensive that way. One of my favorite discount places to shop is iHerb.com; use code CJG192 if you are a new customer and spend more than $40 and you will get $10 off, plus you can take advantage of their wonderful specials and trial offers sections. Shipping is free on orders of $20 and up. There’s an extra 5% off on orders over $60.

Vitacost.com is another on-line favorite of mine; if you are new to Vitacost and make your first purchase of $25 or more through the link on my webpage you will receive a $10 off coupon. Woohoo! 

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my Evolution Made Easier blog for helpful tips, tools and information on health and well-being, expanded consciousness, spirituality and more.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

McDonald’s French Fries: It’s Much Worse Than I Thought

 

Did anyone else see this eye-opening, scary article from The Alternative Daily about what’s in McDonald’s french fries? Yipes! I grew up in the era when McDonald’s was just taking off and almost everyone thought it was a great thing to have access to fast food. I remember when getting food from the drive-up window was a special family treat (yeah, I know I’m old and came from a home where no one had a real understanding of what good nutrition was).

Anyway, I used to eat my fair share of filet of fish sandwiches and fries, but as I became more aware and health conscious, I stopped. However, I have to admit that since then I would still partake of an order of fries once or twice a year for that taste and trip down memory lane. I knew the cooking oil McDonald’s used was likely very unhealthy, but figured that eating something that was basically just cooked potato couldn’t be all that bad. OMG! Wrong!

This article shows just how far away we in the US have gotten from real food. I still can’t believe, though, that something with all that stuff in it could taste good to my palate. Have to hand it to the “mad scientists” that came up with the recipe!

 

 

(photo from foodnetwork.com)

The Fourteen Ingredients in McDonald’s Fries Revealed!

Making a french fry is a pretty simple process. All it really takes is potatoes, some kind of fat, and salt. Some people may sprinkle a few spices on top for flavor. While the deep-frying process is definitely unhealthy, at least we all know what potatoes, oil and salt are.

McDonald’s, on the other hand, doesn’t keep their fries that simple. The franchise, amid plummeting sales, has released a series of videos showing how their foods are made, aiming to give consumers greater peace of mind.

In one video, Grant Imahara, the former host of the popular series “Mythbusters,” sets out to solve the mystery of the McDonald’s fry. However, while the tone of the video is assuring, and all 14  of the ingredients are described in innocuous terms, what the video actually accomplishes is showing us exactly why we should not be eating these little sticks of poison.

The first ingredient on the list

Potatoes: Ok, McDonald’s, you’re good so far…

Now, what about the oil used to partially fry them, before they are frozen?

Canola oil: You lost us, McDonald’s, and it didn’t take long. Canola oil, which doubles as an insecticide, is often made from GMO seeds, is highly processed, and often contains obesity and heart disease-promoting trans fats.

Soybean oil: As over 90 percent of the soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified, the oil most often is, too. Plus, it’s highly processed. Not good.

Hydrogenated soybean oil: Same processed soybean oil, processed even more to include trans fats. If you see “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” on a label, stay away.

Natural beef flavour: Wait, what? That’s right – McDonald’s fries contain traces of beef – or highly processed beef byproducts. Vegans and vegetarians, take note. Even if you’re fine with beef, when it comes to natural flavors, they can come from virtually anything.

Hydrolyzed wheat: Really? Not gluten free you mean? Are all those gluten intolerant and celiac sufferers out there aware of this? Bad choice again, McDonalds! To be fair, the acrylamide-producing, trans fat laden high heat oils used to cook the fires likely denature the proteins in the gluten – derisking it somewhat (or possibly entirely) for celiac and gluten intolerant individuals – but still – why even ‘go there’?

Hydrolyzed milk: Hydrolysis is basically an industrial process of “digesting” foods – in this case it is wheat (previous ingredient) and milk – with chemical agents. Yuck.

Citric acid: This one’s not too bad, as citric acid is naturally found in fruits and veggies. However, you can bet McDonald’s probably uses a processed version.

Dimethylpolysiloxane (a.k.a.Silly Putty): This is an anti-foaming agent also found in silly putty, plus various sealants, adhesives and lubricants. The processing of this agent allows for small amounts of formaldehyde to be present.

Now, a few more ingredients, sprinkled on the fries themselves…

Dextrose: A form of sugar. As we know, sugar is a major player in obesity, type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease, and more. A health nightmare.

Sodium acid pyrophosphate: This chemical stabilizer is added to the fries, according to the video, “to keep them from going gray.” In its raw form, sodium acid pyrophosphate can lead to severe inflammation, but for some reason, the FDA says it’s okay in our food in small amounts.

Salt: Salt in itself is essential to life, and real, unrefined salts are nutritious. However, refined, processed salt is a far cry from real, and a far cry from healthy.

Moving forward, the following ingredients are in the frying oil…..

Corn oil: Very likely made from GMO corn, through industrial processing.

TBHQ: This mysterious little ingredient is tertiary butylhydroquinone, a preservative derived from butane. In high doses, it is linked to DNA damage, behavior changes and other detrimental symptoms in lab animals. Appallingly, in the video, Imahara refers to TBHQ as, “an antioxidant that helps to preserve the freshness of the oil.”An “antioxidant” made from butane? C’mon.

Well, there you have it, folks. Does this recipe sound appealing to you? At the end of the video, Imahara reassuringly smiles at the camera and says, “so at the end of the day it’s not a Franken-fry composed of chemicals.”

Umm… Mr. Imahara, did you read the ingredients?

-The Alternative Daily

Update 2/9/15: I just came across this article that contains similar information, but answered one of the questions I had……I’ve read a number of times that food chains from the US serve healthier versions of everything at their locations in foreign countries. Amazing, but true! So I was wondering about the ingredients for their fries being sold elsewhere. It just goes to show how lax the laws are here for safeguarding our food and how apparently other countries have taken a stand and demanded better and gotten it, whereas the people in the US have not. Here’s the quote I’m referring to and you may want to read the rest of the post because it elaborates on certain ingredients:

Interestingly, Hari notes that McDonald’s fries are worse than those made in Europe. She writes that, compared to the U.S., french fries in the UK are primarily made of a few basic ingredients such as potatoes, vegetable oil, and some sugar and salt.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/048553_french_fries_McDonalds_tertiary_butylhydroquinone.html#ixzz3RGyt6xbC

And another article that not only mentions companies having a healthier ingredient list for the products sold outside this country, but also touches on how flawed our food regulation system is:

http://www.naturalnews.com/048575_BHT_breakfast_cereals_food_additives.html

Related Self-help Health posts:

More On McDonald’s Fries & Toxins In Our Food

Foods You Should Avoid

What You Should Know About Wheat

Healthy Fats; Butter vs Margarine

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts. Also check out my new website Evolution Made Easier and blog of the same name for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained health care practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

Don’t Throw Away That Peel!

 I love citrus and the fact that it’s good for you and has such a wonderful smell. I’ve been a big fan of using the peel of oranges, lemons and limes in recipes for a long time, but after reading this article from The Alternative Daily I now have even more ways I can put it to use!

 

 

Famous for their ability to add a burst of freshness to any dish, sweet or savory, citrus fruits including lemons and oranges are well-known for their many health perks. The most pronounced of these is their high concentration of immune-boosting vitamin C.

We have written quite a bit about various citrus fruits, including the many benefits of drinking warm lemon water in the morning. While citrus fruits are very popular, and are widely embraced by many home cooks, too many of us are still throwing away the peels. This is unfortunate because much of the antioxidant content of these fruits is concentrated in the peel.

The following are seven reasons – culinary and other – that you should never throw away a lemon or orange peel again.

Embrace the zest

Use the zest of lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits to flavor your meals. Simply grate the peel and use fresh, or dry for later. Citrus zest tastes amazing in a wide range of dishes – including poultry, fish, pasta, grilled meats or vegetables, salads, soups, stews—the list goes on. In order to avoid any unwanted pesticides, always choose organic citrus.

Not only does it taste great, it provides you with fiber, antioxidants and essential oils. One of the main antioxidant groups found in citrus is known as limonoids. Limonoids have been linked to combating many forms of cancer, including breast, mouth, lung and colon cancers.

Orange peels have the added benefit of the antioxidant hesperidin. The authors of a 2011 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology wrote, “orange peels are considered to be a cheap source of hesperidin, which may be used in the pharmaceutical industry as a natural chemo-preventive agent. Hesperidin and orange peel extract could possess antioxidant properties with a wide range of therapeutic applications.”

Note: If you have any kidney or gallbladder illness, ask your doctor before enjoying citrus zest.

Amplify your olive oil

Add a few organic orange or lemon peels directly to your bottle of organic, extra virgin olive oil. The longer the rind sits in the oil, the more it will become infused with the citrus flavor. This will add an exciting dimension when you drizzle it onto fish dishes and salads before you serve. You could also experiment with using it in your next batch of hummus.

Tone your skin

After you squeeze your lemon or orange, you can rub the inside of the peel directly on your skin. This will tighten your pores and serve as a toner. As it is more acidic, lemon will be more potent, while orange will be milder. Rinse well after applying to your skin.

PERSONAL NOTE: I’ve also read that fresh lemon juice can be used to fade age spots.

Create fresh-scented instant humidity

Simmering a large pot of water, and adding some lemon and/or orange peels can instantly make your kitchen – likely your entire home – smell fresh. If you keep it simmering on the heat for a while, the steam will also add some humidity into dry, stale air.

Keep bugs at bay

Many types of insects are naturally repelled by citrus peels. Slicing lemon peels and using them to line the doors to your home which lead outside can help keep ants from entering. If they are already inside and congregating in specific areas of your home, simply leave some lemon peels there, too – they will likely evacuate quickly.

For garden slugs, a layer of orange peels over the soil can help deter them. Orange peels can also help keep mosquitoes away; simply rub the inside of a peel on your skin.

Note: Do not rub citrus on exposed skin before going into direct sunlight.

Deodorize your garbage and garbage disposal

Keeping a few citrus peels in your trash cans, underneath the bag, can help to combat nasty garbage odors. Similarly, if your garbage disposal smells, running a few lemon or orange peels through can quickly neutralize the stink.

Make your kitchen sparkle

If the chrome in your kitchen is looking less than shiny, simply rub with a lemon rind, then rinse and buff with a cloth. This can also be effective for a stainless steel sink.

The above options are just a few of the vast uses for citrus peels – they can be handy nearly everywhere, and absolutely do not belong in the trash! -The Alternative Daily

http://www.thealternativedaily.com/7-cool-ways-use-lemon-orange-peels/?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=N140829

 

Check out the recipe in this previous Self-help Health post for healthy “orange creamsicles” that I always include at least  1/2 tsp of freshly grated orange peel in. An absolutely delicious way to get all those nutrients into your diet!

Healthy Blueberry Muffins & Orange Creamsicles

Other related Self-help Health posts:

Lemons: They’re Not Just For Lemonade

Sassy Water

Lemon Water

Don’t Underestimate The Power of C

UPDATE: I often squeeze fresh lemon juice on my salads as a part of the “dressing process,” but since I’d just posted this earlier in the day I decided to grate some zest onto everything, too. I have to say that, along with some fresh basil from my balcony, it added such a nice high end note. Reminded me of when I go out to eat somewhere and wonder what secret ingredient they’ve added to make their salad taste so good and out of the ordinary. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Or leave a comment about ways you’ve come up with to put more zest in your life (pun intended :-)).

 

Salud!

p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts. Also check out my new website Evolution Made Easier and blog of the same name for more helpful information, tips, tools and resources.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.

 

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