Chocoholics Beware

I don’t want to rain on any chocolate-lovers parade especially because I am one, too, but I found some pretty interesting information on it while reading a book called SUGAR SHOCK! by Connie Bennett, C.H.H.C. 

While I believe that knowledge is power….nothing in the food world has more power than chocolate so I have by no means stopped eating it due to this info, especially when the kids drive me to the cupboard where I search for sanity and only find it in chocolate.  But, as a health blogger, I thought I should put the info out there and let you do with it as you will.  Can’t say I didn’t warn you!

History says that Anne of Austria would only marry Louis the XIII of France in 1615 if she could bring her stash of chocolate with her.  The love of chocolate goes back very far!

“Gotta have it” is the prevailing thought I get when I see, smell, hear the word or touch chocolate.  That is also a common thing addicts think for their drug of choice.  It overrides all other thoughts or rationalism.  The need to taste the soft, smooth, decadence of chocolate is sometimes overbearing and maybe embarrassing.  Michael has gone out more times than I can count to pick me up some chocolate.  He understands.  He can see the difference in me, which does scare me a little.  Chocolate makes me happy.  Not having chocolate makes me not happy.  The longest I have gone without chocolate was 14 days when I was trying to cut it out of my life.  On the 14th day, Michael brought me home some and begged me to eat it.

Ok, he didn’t beg, but he strongly urged me. 

                      Ok, he didn’t strongly urge…..

I ripped it from his hand and ran to a quiet spot and relished in my long-lost friend, refusing to share with my kids who had wondered what happened to their mother.

Fourteen days was too long and I understand now I could never do that again.

I also understand that I can’t eat it for every meal, although I would if I could.  Moderation has become my middle name in my quest for health.  To go for a long time without something I love, that isn’t that bad for me, is pointless.  I actually lasted longer with no pizza than I did no chocolate with a whopping 21 days off of that.

But let’s get to the facts…isn’t that why you’re here?  Dr. Barnard, author of Breaking the Food Seduction writes that “Chocolate isn’t a drug, it’s a whole drugstore!”  He is not referring to the sugar and fat in chocolate, he is referring to the psychoactive substances found in chocolate:

  • Theobromine- is a stimulant that means: “food of the gods”
  • Phenylethylamine- this is an amphetamine-like compound that’s also chemically similiar to the street drug- ecstasy. (similiar…..doesn’t mean it is)
  • Anandamide- this chemical has relations to marijuana’s active ingredient whose name means “internal bliss”
  • Caffeine- of course we all know of this stimulant in chocolate

Notice the words in the definitions above- “related to”, “like”, and so on.  None of these things are actual drugs, but are similar to them, so don’t think you are addicted to a drug in chocolate which is where I almost went when I first read this.

The most important thing when dealing with anything sweet, from licorice to chocolate is moderation.  Sugar and fat are attributed to a lot of diseases in the body, from insulin resistance which is a prelude to diabetes, to heart disease which doctors are now finding more related to sugar than fat.

I am not cutting out sweets, I am not able to at this point in my life.  Maybe when the kids are grown and there is less stress in my everyday world.  I am not embarrassed to admit that it makes me feel good.  There are chemicals in it to do just that….but moderation is important.  Remember if you are eating a ton of sweets, including chocolate, than you are probably cutting out the vital foods that your body needs like veggies and fruit.  I limit myself (when I am being good) to one sweet a day.  This way, I know I am getting all the food groups in and not torturing myself with nothing sweet.

Food is meant to be enjoyed….chocolate is a food.  If the world were how I could have it, chocolate would be a food group and veggies would not.  God created veggies to do more for our body than chocolate does, though.  I believe the lesson learned here, again, would be the magic word MODERATION! 

Now excuse me while I go search the house over for chocolate…..all this talk about it has gotten me craving it!

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Published in: on March 18, 2011 at 2:06 PM  Leave a Comment  

Last Night….I exploded.

I have learned a lot over the past 3 weeks.  Mostly about myself and the torture I put myself through.  It’s time to write it down…to vent. 

As mentioned in a previous post I went to the holistic doctor and was put on a strict diet of what I can and can’t eat.  I was ready, I was prepared and the fridge and cupboards were stocked with what I COULD eat and the supplements I needed to take.  It started…I felt great, I felt different and I lost weight.  The first week was just that. 

The second week, I went in the complete opposite direction and ate horrible all week.  I still took my supplements, but I ate horribly. 

The third week, I got back on track….kinda….eating super healthy at meals and failing at night or in between lunch and dinner.  It was a rollercoaster and I started stressing out about everything that went in my mouth. 

Last night…I exploded.  It takes time for me to gather how I feel sometimes, but when it happens, it really happens.  I have been so stressed out with what I put in my mouth that I am ultimately rebelling against it and making excuses for it.  I have had such anxiety about going back to the doctor. and having to tell him how I tried, but sometimes failed, that I turned this thing into an eating disorder….constantly thinking of food.  I will not have that, so it ends now….well…last night. 

Let me just say that this is not an excuse to eat what I want.  No, this has been a serious lesson for me.  Moderation has always been a big word for me….and it has just been reinforced again over these past few weeks.   

I thought the doctor would judge me and think I am not serious about my health if I told him I failed.  Well, I am serious about my health and this is why I can’t have this turn into something that could hurt me in the long run.  I am not an obsessive person, I don’t have an addictive personality and the fact that I was obsessed with everything I ate tells me that’s not healthy.  So, I will not be going back to that doctor. 

I went in that little barn-of-a-home doctor’s office with a diagnosis I had given myself.  I was right, I was given supplements and given a list of things not to eat.  Done.  That doctor’s purpose for me was fulfilled.  I now know what I need to limit in my diet and the supplements I need to take and there is no reason for me to go back there.  I can’t, there is too much pressure….maybe from him, probably from myself but I am done with him.

I enjoy food and I believe that’s how God created it.  If I have to worry about everything I eat, that is not enjoyable and no way to live.  

I am healthy.  I exercise 6 days a week, my family has done a complete food makeover over the past 2 years and will continue to make changes to become more healthy as I continue to learn.  BUT

….cookies need to be made on snow days….

…. ice cream needs to be eaten on beach days and sometimes…. 

Who could say no to that?!

….cinammon rolls need to be eaten for breakfast. 

Today is a new day, I ate an egg for breakfast and it was liberating.  I feel good and free.  Not shackled by the weights of food. 

Lessons: 

1. Have POSITIVE thoughts about being healthy. 

2. Eat healthy food.

3. Exercise. 

In that order.  And don’t freak out if you have something not so healthy.  Enjoy it.

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 9:52 AM  Leave a Comment  

Wake Up Calls

Ok, next journal entry on this whole holistic doctor lifestyle change.  I have been eating right and on my supplements since Friday.  I feel completely different.  COMPLETELY.  I’m not talking placebo effect, either….because I was totally skeptical and didn’t think a few supplements and a diet change could change my attitude, short-temper and impatience.  It has.

Let’s go back to the beginning of all of this…2 years ago when I realized I needed a life change.  At that time, there was a big thing going around about how we should be walking up to 10,000 steps a day.  This made me curious to see where I was at.  The average person walks about 5000 steps a day, so I figured I was right around there.  I bought a pedometer and walked around with it for a few days….I averaged…..wait for it……..300 steps a day, not 3000….300.  That was my first wake up call.

My second wake up call was when I would sit down to eat my food.  At each meal, I would ask God to bless my food to my body.  One day, ever so quietly and slowly (God is so gentle) it dawned on me that I was asking God to continually perform a miracle in my body.  Here I was eating non-foods….literally, not an ounce of real food in my meal.  I would eat frozen pizza seven days a week for lunch.  A bagel, waffles, cinammon rolls or doughnuts for breakfast and who knows what for dinner.  I was asking God to take a non-food and convert it to real, nourishing, sustainable food in my body at every meal.  I was seriously burdened by this and that along with my lack of movement made me realize, I was going to die if I didn’t get a handle on this.  I was headed for an early death and complications until then.  There is only so much damage you can do to your body before it has had enough!  Not to mention I have cancer and heart disease in my family history!

I also have been terribly irritable, impatient and volatile.  I could be fine one minute and freaking out the next.  I always assumed I wasn’t cut out for mothering because I am a neat freak and can’t handle loud noises and as you know….kids are messy and loud.  I thought maybe I was depressed, but I wasn’t unhappy, just stressed out all the time.  My mother noticed it, my family was suffering through it…something had to give.

Knowledge is power, I have always heard that, but never really practically understood it.  I started researching and studying everything that had anything to do with nutrition and exercise.  Needless to say, it motivated me.  I started exercising and eating healthier, trying to incorporate something into each meal that was a real food.  I took everything processed out of my freezer and replaced it with fruit and vegetables in my fridge.  I made small steps at first.  It is very difficult to eat food that tastes really good to eating food that tastes like ground.  I had to always keep in mind that I am eating for health.  That was a few years ago and I have been making small changes continually since then….and it gets easier each time.

I still had the problem though of my attitude and impatience and just not happy.  I started reading books on endocrinology which is the study of hormones.  This was another wake up call as I realized all that was going on inside my body (we are fearfully and wonderfully made!), how it all worked together and had to be in sync to perform properly in your body.  I learned that your metabolism is made up of hormones and I soaked it all up like a sponge, I was and still am so interested in endocrinology.  This told me a lot about how I was eating and more changes that needed to be made.  It also gave me some explanation as to why I was an emotional rollercoaster.  As mentioned in a previous post, I considered that I may be estrogen dominant.  Don’t judge……there is high potential that you are too.  There are foreign forms of estrogen that seep into our body from using anything from a plastic drinking cup to putting plastic wrap over our food when we heat it up in the microwave.  It’s not a womanly issue….men are capable of having this too.

I started really looking into this and studying it more and more….and I made an appointment with the holistic doctor.  He agreed with my diagnosis and put me on supplements.  It all seems like a whirlwind as I write this, but it was a long journey and you have to be very proactive with your own health and body.  Well….this brings me back to the very beginning of this post and my journey for that matter.  Kinda full circle I guess.  

Since I have started taking the supplements and cutting simple carbs from my diet, I have found that things I would usually freak out about (a spill in the fridge, laundry in the hamper, the kids running around being kids) has not had such a negative effect on me.  I saw a sunrise the other morning and felt like it was the first time I had  seen color.  I laughed so hard at my husband the other night and have found my emotions to be much more stable….how they were before I had kids.  Having children has a serious impact on your body.  Some people go back to normal and some people are more effected by it.  I think a combination of the way I was eating and all the foreign “food” in my body, and lack of exercise coupled with having children messed a lot of things up that I am just now realizing and trying to fix.

This is where it’s at so far.  I feel awake again.  Not so foggy in my thinking, and more aware.  I have more energy and I am happy….something that I feel like has been missing for a long time.  It has only been a short time, so I look forward to more changes and more stability and hopefully being able to show my children that their mother isn’t the most impatient person in the world. 

It all started with that prayer before eating, so I give all the glory to God that I was able to really get to the root of my issues.  He has made everything we need on this earth to correct our ailments.  He has also given us the food we need to nourish and sustain our bodies.  I love fake food….I love french bread pizza (which I have not had in over 2 years), I love Zingers and most things processed.  It is so good and made to be that way so you come back for more.  But God only gave me this body and it is my responsibility to take care of it.  Zingers are ok once in a while….if I didn’t allow myself that stuff once in a while, I would go crazy and pig out, but for the majority of the time eating healthy is the way to go.

I write this in blog form because…well…it’s easier than writing in a diary and if I am able to help someone through my story than it is all worth it to me.  Maybe someone who reads this has felt the same way.  Never did it cross my mind that my irritableness and emotional instability was due to a hormone imbalance.   I am thankful for all I have learned and love to share it and hope that in some way it can help others.

Published in: on January 19, 2011 at 11:54 AM  Comments (1)  

Continuum

Yes, I know I chose a John Mayer album title for this blog post, but I felt it was appropriate for the next stage in my quest for true health.  I am not starting a healthy lifestyle, nor am I beginning again, I am continuing. 

This new post is just a diary for myself really.  If you are interested, feel free to tag along, but I am going to post some entries to help me stay motivated and encourage me to continue on because this is a big test for me.

Explanation?  Sure.  I went to a doctor the other day who practices holistically.  A real MD who has decided to veer away from the traditional practices of treating the symptoms with drugs and chemicals and instead going through the things given to us on this earth.  Now, I am not opposed to medication, or the traditional way Dr.’s do things.  I definitely think there is validity to it, but I think the two work well together.  For example, in 1995, when I was in high school, my father was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer.  He had an operation that took cancer the size of a grapefruit from his colon.  Unfortunately, it had leaked into his body; the doctors gave him one year to live.  My dad asked if chemo or radiation would help, they told him no, go home and enjoy the rest of your life. 

My mom and dad knew a woman who worked in a holistic food store….this was before the Whole Foods time and was very different from that type of grocery store.  She talked to my parents about holistic healing.  My dad was not able to work and my mom worked part-time as a church secretary.  We had no money, so this woman bought us a juicer, this potent tea called Essiac Tea (made from a bunch of things from the earth and sold in Canada) and started my dad on juicing carrots, spinach and apples daily.  Within 3 weeks…..he was cancer free.  Wow, right?  I love to tell this story because so many people think that this whole eating healthy and juicing is the latest craze…but this was in 1995 and I have been learning ever since. 

Now, I would take the approach of healing holistically first and foremost before trying any type of medication.  BUT, I understand that this is a personal decision and do not judge others who decide to take a different path.

Anyway, back to the holistic doctor.  So we drive to this place in Foster, RI and I’ve been warned….”this guy is different”, my friend tells me….”he’s quirky.”  That’s cool, I think, I am all about accepting people for who they are.   So we drive down this long weather-beaten, snow-covered path to a….house.  Yes, it looks like a historical, classic New England old red home.  We step in through the doors that have old-fashioned handles onto a creaky living room floor.  I knew it would be different and I knew it would be in an old home so I am ready, but still, I thought it would be a little more professional with a receptionist or something.  Nothing, except a fireplace with a reading chair next to it and what looks to be an antique couch. 

I finally meet with the doctor who doesn’t check my blood pressure with a cuff, or look in my eyes or check my heartbeat.  I wondered if this was standard procedure, because I honestly was a little put off by the lack of professionalism.  But I wasn’t going to give in to that, I wanted to stick with it, see past my own ideas of what a doctor should be like and give this guy a chance.  So, we started to talk, I told him of my womanly issues, I also told him of my battle with healthy living.  How I’ve been aggressively working out for over 2 years straight and am still overweight.  I told him of my studies and how although I am not a doctor, I believed myself to be estrogen dominant.  He agreed. 

B-6, Magnesium, Flaxseed Oil and Primrose are all supplements I have to take.

He put me on a strict diet for the estrogen dominance which he referred to as a lack of fatty acids in my system.  For this, I am not allowed to have milk, hard cheeses or ice cream, no fried foods, including stir fries and eggs, no chips, and no chocolate.  He also stated that I need to eat more sour foods like pickles and add lemon or lime to my water.  I am assuming he didn’t mean Sour Patch Kids, although that was my first thought when I heard “sour things”.  He also gave me some supplements that I found out are horsepills when I bought them yesterday.  I have a hard time with pills so this could present a problem.

Next, we discussed the weight issue, he told me I sounded like I was carb intolerant.  similar to lactose intolerant….but with carbs.  So he put me on a no carbs diet and no grains, crackers, bread, cookies, cake, wheat, gluten, etc.  Any complex carb that I had -meaning fruit or vegetable- I had to have with a protein which would help to break down the carb.  UGH…you can imagine what I’m thinking….what am I supposed to eat?!  No pizza and no chocolate is no way to live!

I have to try it, though.  I have to see if it works, thus the reason for this blog/diary of this journey I am embarking on.  Although this seems like a personal hell with none of the things I enjoy life with, I have to, at least, see if it works.  I am going to have to find other things to enjoy life with besides food.  So I guess it could be a spiritual journey as well….learning that I find all my joy in Christ….not pizza or chocolate.  With all that said, I have to write, I have to journal how this goes to see changes for myself on “paper” right in front of me.

Day 1

I had strawberries and cottage cheese for breakfast and worked out like normal.  Swallowed the horsepills and will have turkey and cheese rollups with mustard and pickles for the sourness and try to swallow the pills again.  I also added lemon to my water.  Dinner will consist of a salad filled with veggies, feta and chicken and some more pills.  And even though I can’t have ice cream or chocolate….frozen yogurt was never mentioned as a no-no so I will enjoy some of that!  And a regular yogurt as a snack.   Not too bad and not too different from how I normally eat…..just a little more thinking involved and keeping the pizza cravings under control.  I am actually more worried about those than chocolate!

So, come with me if you want.  Maybe you think you suffer with the same things…if so, I will be your guinea pig.  Let me be tortured first so you can see if you can do it.  I am supposed to do this for 3 months.  Right now, day 1, I am not sure I will make it.  I am going to allow myself pizza once a month or I will go crazy, but other than that, I am heading into this focused and ready for anything.  Hopefully, I will be feeling better and my hormones will thank me.

Published in: on January 14, 2011 at 11:45 AM  Leave a Comment  

Juice Fast, Day 4….what has happened….

Ok, so I’m on Day 4.  I have thought about quitting…probably… every hour… and that’s why I am not.  I want to break myself of the habit for food, and that is exactly what it is.  I do not need to eat as much food as I do.  Here’s how it’s been and what I’ve learned.

Symptoms I have felt during the last 4 days have not been too bad.  The first day, I was determined.  The second day, I was hungry for food to chew, as in, the habit of eating.  I was not really hungry except at usual times like after church.  That day, I was sweating all day.  I kept asking, “Is it hot in here?”  I realized this is due to the fast and my body is releasing toxins.  At the end of the second day, I told myself, “this is it, I’m done.”  I would get overwhelmed at the thought of how many days I had left.  I stopped thinking about it and have continued on, always giving myself the option to stop when I want.  This has helped me, I am not doing this because I have to, but because I want to.

The third day, I had an energy overload.  I clean for 8 hours straight and only had a smoothie and one juice around 2.  I was not hungry the rest of the day and I started to feel like I could do this for a while.  It is starting to get easier and it is nice not to be chained around the ankle to food.  This is one of my purposes for doing this.  I probably would not recommend the cleaning thing while juice fasting.  Although I have a really clean house….I had a breakdown around 6pm because one of the kids was in my newly cleaned and made bed.  I freaked because I had used up all my energy, and I only had one juice that day and I was crabby.  Luckily, the kids were very gracious and I apologized and then we all made fun of each other doing impressions.  The best part was Michael…..because my husband knows me so well, when I was freaking out, he asked if I wanted to order a pizza.  While this made me so mad when he said it (because my anger and freakout was totally “legitimate”) I laugh at how much he loves me and just wants me to be happy.

Day 4 and I am happy.  I feel a balance.  I’m not talking an enlightenment or a looking-out-of-my-third-eye balance, but a balance physically and emotionally.  I think my hormones were really messed up lately.  I would cry driving down the street for no reason.  This is not like me.  I probably cry 1-2 times a year.  Hormones can get terribly screwed up because of food, after all, hormones are what make up your metabolism.  Today, I feel stable, calm and strong. 

What I have learned about myself is that I love food.  I realized last night that I transfer some of my love for Michael to food.  Since I have been fasting, I have had such a strong desire to be with him, hang out, spend time together.  Either my hormones were messed up and it was affecting this, or I was loving on food too much!  That is powerful to me….it tells me something.  Also, I have learned that, as mentioned above, I really don’t need as much food as I eat and the food I eat is not always the best.

Many of the foods we eat have addictive additives in it.  The companies that make our food put things in them that make you continually come back for more.  MSG is one of those additives….hence the slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one!”  Chips are the main culprate that holds MSG, but it is in nearly everything with many different names so as to confuse the buyer.  From pizza to sweets, I kept coming back for more, and while I still would love a slice of pizza right now, I have the ability to say no because my body is in balance.

I also have learned that I eat out of habit.  Around 7pm, when the kids were in bed and I would be relaxed, I wanted a snack to enjoy.  I thought I was dying of hunger when in fact, I just enjoyed sharing that time with….not Michael….food.

I can’t say when I will stop this juice fast….maybe today, maybe a few more days, but I really want to be sure that I am broke of my habits and love of food.  My grandfather once told

That looks so good!

me, “There are people who live to eat and there are people who eat to live.”  I want to be one who “eats to live.”  I am hoping this fast curbs that.  I’m human, I am sure I will fall back into bad eating habits I have had over the years.  But I have also considered doing a 2-3 day juice fast at the beginning of each month to remember how and what to eat.  It sure does humble me when I know how bad I’ve eaten and how I should eat from the food God has given me.   ….of course I say that now, if I saw a pizza, I may drop to the dukes to get it.

Published in: on January 4, 2011 at 10:08 AM  Leave a Comment  

Day 1 Done….and I want food.

Here is what I am thinking about right now as I write this:  I want pizza, the leftover Chinese food from yesterday, the donut sitting on my counter staring me down, string cheese, chocolate…and the list goes on to include everything in my fridge and cupboards.  But….I am doing it.  I am fine…I am in the midst of breaking myself of wanting all that junk.  My insides are singing the Hallelujah Chorus.  Everything is working together to clean up, organize and repair all the broken down stuff inside my body.  The to-do list is finally getting some action. 

So, as I mentioned before, I will give a run down of what I juiced and what it does for the body.  

Breakfast- A smoothie consisting of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, organic plain yogurt and flaxseed

Strawberries: Rich in Vitamin C, Calcium, Phosphorus and Potassium.  This fruit is a natural painkiller and is a natural cleanser to the blood, tissue and muscles.

Blueberries- SUPERFRUIT!  High in antioxidants- a cancer fighter!

Raspberries and blackberries- Contain flavonoids and phytochemicals- also cancer fighters

Organic Plain Yogurt- contain live cultures- acidophilus which is a good bacteria that fights bad bacteria in your digestive system and helps regulate your digestive system

Flaxseed- There is evidence this small seed can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes.  It contains Omega 3- which is good for the heart and also good for those who don’t like seafood and need to get their Omega 3 elsewhere.

Lunch- carrots, beets, beet greens, cucumber, cherries, an apple, lemon juice and olive oil

Carrots- Vitamin A, B, C, D, E and K as well as Calcium, Phosphorous, Potassium and Sodium and Magnesium.  The Calcium and Magnesium help soothe and tone the intestinal walls.  They also help to strengthen bones and teeth and beautify hair, skin and nails.  It also is a mild diuretic, but its claim to fame is the cleansing effect it has on the liver.  Through regular use, carrots help to release stale bile and excess fats, in turn reducing cholesterol levels. 

Beets- I am gonna skip beets and encourage you to read a past blog I wrote on beets….so I don’t sound redundant.

Cucumber- This veggie is a natural diuretic and helps to dissolve kidney stones.  It is rich in Potassium which promotes flexibility in the muscles and gives elasticity to the cells that compose the skin.  Which is a major reason spas use cucumbers…..it is anti-aging.

Bing Cherries- These made the juice taste really yummy….if you can say a juice could be yummy.  Rich in Vitamins A and C and also B-1 and B-2, folic acid and niacin.  Minerals include calcium, cobalt, florine, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium.  It is an alkalizer which reduces the acidity in the blood…for this reason, it is very good for people who have arthritis.

Apple- Rich in Vitamins A, B-1, B-2, B-6, C, biotin, folic acid, pantothenic acid, chlorine, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sodium and sulfur.  Apples are excellent for hair, skin and nails.  They help prevent colds, flu and intestinal infections.  Also, there is a large amount of fruit pectin in apples, pectin forms a gel in our intestines, absorbs and dissolves toxins and stimulates the wavelike motion of the large intestines that help it move food through.

Lemon juice- see past blog

Olive Oil- Now you may think olive oil in a juice drink is strange and so did I, but the great thing about olive oil is that it catches toxins that are often stored in fat and helps to eliminate it through the liver and intestines.  Anything that catches fat, I am all for!

Dinner- Carrots, celery, papaya, mixed greens and cranberries

Celery- Celery juice has a calming effect on the nervous system.  The minerals contained in celery juice make the body’s use of calcium more effective, balancing the bloods pH.  Celery also curbs the appetite for sweet things, so it can be used in weight reduction.

Papaya- When I was younger, I always had stomach issues.  I remember my mom had bought organic papaya pills and they always helped me feel better.  Papaya holds Vitamins A and C and contains calcium, chlorine, iron, phosphorous, potassium and silicon .  But it is known for its enzyme called papain which is a protein digestant.  It also has energy boosting natural sugars.  Papaya juice strengthens the bloods coagulation ability.  It is a laxative, and cleanser of the kidneys, liver and intestines.

Spinach and other mixed greens- Dark leafy greens are an excellent source of chlorophyll, it also has Vitamins A, B Complex, calcium, iron magnesium, phosphorous, and the list continues.  Its cleansing and building properties stimulate and tone the liver, gall bladder, lymph and blood circulation and large intestine.

Cranberries- Fresh, organic cranberries are rich in Vitamins A, B Complex, C and Folic Acid and many minerals.  Cranberry juice contains vasodilators which open blood vessels.  When blood vessels are open in the chest, breathing is easier.  I did cranberries mainly for Michael who has had a cough he can’t shake for over 2 months. 

So, that’s it.  That was my first day.  I am not hungry, I feel slightly light-headed, but nothing to worry about.  As I wrote about all the vitamins and minerals and goodness in the juices I drank, I am amazed at what my body has consumed today.  All this stuff that is going to make me healthier.  I am not exercising this week except for some light walking.  Because I am juicing, it is recommended I don’t do vigorous exercise, but to take things lightly and drink tons of water.  I’m ok with that.  Like I said before, I do want junk food, but it is mind over matter and I will not give in!  Based on what we consumed today, I am not sure we will have enough to make it the full 7 days, probably 4-5.  We’ll have to see because we went through 5 pounds of carrots today and I only bought 4 bags!

All info is provided via The Juicing Book by Stephen Blauer

Published in: on January 1, 2011 at 5:10 PM  Leave a Comment  

Juice Fast Day 1- The Benefits of Juicing

Since I talk and write so much about juicing, and I am starting a juice fast today, I thought it would be an excellent time to go into the benefits and what actually happens in your system when you juice.  I also wanted to document my juice fast, kind of like a diary, for those of you who may be thinking of doing a juice fast but are nervous. 

To begin, lets talk talk about your body.  It is important to understand that all of your bodily functions are related and help one another.  Your immune system is directly related to your digestive system.  Why is that important to know?  Well, when you eat, your immune systems stops working to repair ailments in your body and helps the digestive system digest food.  With all the junk we eat and how often we eat it, that does not leave a lot of time for your immune system to do its job.  White bleached sugar, white bleached flour, (yes, that’s real bleach, so go grab a cup of bleach from your laundry room….it is the same thing!) processed food, frozen food loaded with salt, candy, and even meat take a long time to digest.  This is why dieticians are constantly telling you to eat protein, because it takes so long to digest it keeps you full for longer; although now they are realizing that you should get your proteins from plants as it is easier for your body to digest.  In regards to the other stuff, your body’s hormones don’t recognize and don’t know what to do with the chemicals in processed foods….same goes for refined sugars and flours, and fake salt.  Your hormones (which make up your metabolism) meet up with these foods, don’t know what to do with them and just put them anywhere (usually your hips, stomach, and butt).  Needless to say, it is best to stay away from those foods. 

Fruits and vegetables on the other hand were created with enzymes in them to break themselves down in your system, the only thing your digestive system has to do is process the fiber.  By the way, fruit is the best place to get fiber….so grab an apple!

But lets get to the juicing.  All of this information is needed to understand why juicing is so good for you.  When you juice, you remove the fiber from these foods, you are getting a condensed version of all the vitamins, minerals and live enzymes from what you juice, but because you are taking out the fiber, you can have high amounts of the juice without becoming full. 

 The FDA recommends having 3-4 serving of vegetables a day, one carrot is one serving of a vegetable.  If you started eating a carrot, you would probably become full after 1 1/2-2 depending on your size.  When I juice, I can get up to 9 carrots, 3 handfuls of spinach and a full beet in about 2 cups of juice.  You can imagine all the goodness in that cup, but incase you don’t know, I will be giving you the rundown when I tell you what I juiced for the day. 

What happens when you juice is that neither your digestive system, or your immune system has to do a thing to digest this juice.  Carrots are the closest thing to blood there is in nature.  The juice goes into your stomach straight into your small intestines and performs reverse osmosis directly into your bloodstream.  In turn, this gives your immune system a chance to heal and fix any problems in your body….from cancer to fibromyalgia.  Please note, I am not a doctor, but I have seen it first hand.  My father had colon cancer back in 1995.  He was given a year to live with the advice that chemo and radiation would not help.  “Go home and enjoy the rest of your life” he was told.  He met with a woman who talked to him about the benefits of juicing and drinking a special tea.  He started juicing 5 pounds of carrots a day along with spinach and apples….this was all he ate.  And while he juiced and rested, his body healed.  He was cancer free in 3 weeks.  Yes, you read right, 3 weeks!  Naturally, we believe this to be a miracle from God, but God gave us these foods to heal his body.  So I know it works, first hand!

You can be assured, juicing is extremely good for you and this is what started my adventure in learning about health and how your body works.  My father is alive and well- over 15 years later.  The doctors said, “He is not in remission, it’s like he never had it!”  It amazes me how everything God made for us to eat has so many health benefits in all of it!

So now that you know how juicing works, why it is so beneficial, and even an example of its work in action, I hope this gives you the courage to either get a juicer or start a small juice fast giving your body the opportunity to heal itself.  Even if you don’t have a major sickness it can help stabilize and regulate your systems and metabolism. 

Let the fun begin!

Published in: on January 1, 2011 at 10:29 AM  Comments (1)  

Beets

Beets, of the spinach family, are definitely not the prettiest root going, they’re not all the rage in the nutrition world, but what they provide is simply so astonishing that I had to write about them. I started looking into beets when a friend gave me a juicing recipe for a liver cleanse. First ingredient….beets. I thought it was so strange and had never had a beet up until that point. The only thing I remember about beets was my 3rd grade teacher telling the class how she choked on one, once. I tend to lean towards hypochondriac so I never went near them, but when I heard I could juice them, I figured I would give it a try.
This isn’t a recipe blog, so I can’t tell you how to make them…..many of you know I make no claims of being a good cook….or a cook at all, so this blog will be about why they’re so good for you, but it is up to you to figure out how to get them into your diet. Good luck with that, I’ll stick to juicing!
There are three main areas a beet covers: blood, liver and heart.

Blood:
Good news for us anemics out there, beets hold more iron than spinach, plumping up the red blood cells, making us healthier and able to fight off sickness caused by the environment. It is a blood cleanser. It also offers us more energy. Being anemic, I am constantly pumping protein into my body so I’m not sleeping on the couch all day. When I do the liver cleanse, I am bouncing around the house full of energy. (By the way, iron supplements are not good….your body begins to think you have enough and will stop recognizing the real stuff from the synthetic stuff….which is not good) Anyway, for a long time, I thought spinach was the way to go for iron….any dark leafy vegetable is good, but beets are power-packed with iron and your body is able to break it down easier because of the copper content in them.

Liver:
Because of the cleansing properties in beets, they are able to cure certain diseases in the liver, from jaundice to food poisoning. The liver is the most important organ in our body for getting poison out. Beets help the liver by thinning out the bile helping things to run more smoothly into the small intestines. This also helps with gall stones which is caused mainly by buildup. Although there is not a huge amount to write about in the liver, again, I need to add how important the liver is to the body and if something as easy as adding a beet to your diet can purify your body….I am all for it!

Heart:
I had a friend who nearly died from an aeortic aneurism, after researching beets, I immediately texted his wife who has been juicing daily for him and told her to pump up the beet intake! I was seriously impressed with the effects a beet can have on the heart. Don’t misjudge this root and what it can do for your heart, whether you are in danger or not, prevention is the key to health! There are pigment antioxidants present in beets that offer protection against heart disease, stroke, and blood pressure issues. It also has anti-aging properties which is always good to know. Without getting into all the unfamiliar technical forms of this stuff, beets are able to remove plaque in the arteries and also regulate blood pressure, whether your blood pressure is high or low. If that doesn’t sell you, I don’t know what will!

There is a ton of other things that beets do for your body. Are you surprised? I’m not, nearly everything God has made has something valuable to us.
Beets are also an excellent source of folates which are necessary for DNA synthesis in the body. They are rich in Vitamin C, which rids the body of free-radicals (cancer causing cells). The root is also rich in Potassium which lowers the heart rate and stabilizes the metabolism inside cells by counteracting intake of sodium.
Wow, right? Who knew that ugly little dirt covered root has so much. And believe me, this isn’t all it does, but I would be here all day blabbing about things that happen in your body that I don’t even understand. So, we’ll stop with those things that most people encounter in their life.
Bottom line……get beets into your diet. Even if it’s organic beet juice. Your best bet is to eat them raw. Ever wonder why veggies are better for you when raw? Here’s the answer, enzymes in the vegetable that make them so good are extremely heat-sensitive. So although you are still eating healthy if they are cooked, most of the good enzymes die when they hit a certain temperature. And if they aren’t at their optimum halth, why bother eating them, right? I, for one, can’t stand vegetables, so if they aren’t power-packed with everything they should be, I’m not eating them. So go out and buy some beets….and P.S……if your urine turns pink, don’t worry, it’s totally normal in 10-15% of people who eat them. That was free.

Published in: on December 2, 2010 at 4:45 PM  Comments (1)  

The Tasteless Miracle Drink

Water….you knew it would come eventually. The importance of water in your diet, and wow, it is so important. Doctors tell us to drink half your weight in ounces of water a day, so if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be gulping down 75 ounces of water everyday. Right now, if you’re not drinking a lot of water, that sounds very daunting, but you can be sure it is for a good reason. Let’s discuss this simple drink and how it affects your body.
First, we have to cover your liver. Your liver’s job is to convert stored fat to energy, which sets your metabolism, but another one of its jobs is to help out the kidneys if they don’t get enough water. If the kidneys lack water, then the liver has to help out, this in turn reduces the amount of fat that can be turned into energy, which ultimately lowers your chance of losing weight by continually storing fat.
When you start drinking water, of course you spend the majority of your day in the bathroom. This can be annoying, time consuming and make you want to quit, don’t do it, this will only last for a few days. Its scientific name is “The Breakthrough,” when your body finally realizes that it has enough water, doesn’t have to store it in places like your hips, thighs and face, and can release that extra storage. Your body has cleansed itself of toxins and will continue to do so as you keep the water coming.
The benefits of drinking water are worth considering, too. Of course on the inside, you are flushing out toxins, and giving your liver a break so it can do what it needs to do, but on the outside there are a ton of benefits, too. Your skin will begin to clear up, you’ll feel more awake, your appetite will decrease and it also improves muscle tone making you look good!
So, if you have a hard time drinking this tasteless miracle drink, remember all it does for your body. If you think it is too boring, add a lemon, lime or cucumber slice. Do whatever you need to get your body filled with fresh water so in turn it can flush out all the old stuff. You will notice a difference almost immediately and feel good about helping your body be the best it can be. Don’t give up because of the constant trips to the bathroom, that will end and your body will thank you in more ways than one!

Published in: on August 24, 2010 at 9:07 AM  Leave a Comment  

Grapefruit and Weight Loss

I LOVE grapefruit, the smell, the taste and since I’ve looked into them more, what they do for your body! 

Grapefruits are consistently being linked to weight loss due to the fat burning enzymes found in them.  More on that later….but I had to get you hooked, right?  Grapefruits are low in calories at 37 calories for half, so enjoy them when you want.  A half grapefruit is one full serving of fruit.  They are also low in sodium and high in water which helps to flush out excess salt from high sodium foods you may have eaten. 

Grapefruits are 90% water which assists in your daily water consumption, but just because a fruit or vegetable is mostly water does not mean it doesn’t have a ton of goodness in it!  Studies have shown that increasing water consumption (drinking 1/2 your body weight in ounces daily is about right) can help increase your body’s metabolism and boost energy levels, not to mention, it flushes out toxins and promotes healthy function of liver and kidneys….I would say that’s worth it, right?

But let’s get back to the real reason most of us would choose a grapefruit for breakfast rather than a nice bagel with cream cheese- the weight loss!  Grapefruit has fat-burning enzymes that has to do with the hormone- insulin in your body.  Researches have found that the chemical properties in grapefruit reduce insulin levels.  Meaning, the smaller the insulin spike after a meal, the better the body is able to process the food for energy and less gets sent to storage as fat.

In 2004, a pilot study done by Dr. Ken Fujioka monitored weight and metabolic function of 100 people, men and women who participated in the Scripps Clinic ‘Grapefruit Diet’ study.  They found that on average, those who ate 1/2 a grapefruit with each meal lost 3.6 pounds.  Remember, this is a controlled study, meaning these people were doing everything the same but adding the grapefruit.  Those who drank a serving of grapefuit juice with every meal lost 3.3 pounds, but the study also showed that many of the people lost over 10 pounds.

With all this information regarding weight alone, it makes me want to go cut one up right now.  But since I have been studying how food affects you down to the molecular level, and since grapefruit helps all the way down to the hormonal level affecting your insulin….I’m in.

One final boost to make you reconsider adding grapefruit to your diet, as if the weight-loss wasn’t enough, grapefruit has the cancer fighting compounds of liminoids and lycopene (usually found in tomatoes, watermelon…naturally red fruits and veggies).  It has also been known to lower triglycerides.

Grapefruit is a dieter’s superfruit!  Go get some, deal with the tartness of it and know it is so worth it….for all it offers your body!  There is also a body wash by St. Ives that has the scent of grapefruit and some research has shown that smelling like grapefruit (kinda strange, I know) attracts men to women and makes women seem 6 years younger.  Seriously.  I don’t know about all that, but….just sayin’.

P.S.- Hope the colored grapefruits made you think of the beauty and deliciousness of the fruit!  Put it on your grocery list!

Published in: on July 20, 2010 at 4:15 PM  Comments (1)  
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