Why Economics Drives Most Food Options You Have NEW
Being overweight is not just a disease; it's a symptom of many other things that are wrong with your diet. And much of the blame for the current American diet comes down to economics.
In a $10 trillion economy, $1 trillion goes to food companies and $2.5 trillion goes to health care. Food companies, like any good businesses, are always seeking to increase the consumption of their product. But in food, there's an unwritten law of marketing called potato chip marketing equations.
That means that 10 percent of your customers buy 90 percent of the product. You may go out and buy one or two bags of potato chips a month. But somebody else is buying one bag a day -- 30 bags every month.
When you add that extra 20 percent extra to your weight, you don't increase your food consumption 20 percent a day. You double it to 200 percent a day. Your caloric intake to maintain 180 pounds is almost twice the caloric intake you need to maintain 150 pounds.
Think of that from the standpoint a food company. Food companies, as a result, market to people to make everyone part of their potato chip marketing equation. They spend their marketing dollars getting existing customers to buy more of their product.
At what point after two, three, four, 10, 12 bags of potato chips do they no longer taste good? How about McDonald's French fries? All processed foods never get tiring -- they have chemically altered the food substances in that food to make sure you're never tired of it.
The problem with obesity, which is ultimately caused by poor diet, is really an economic problem. And when people consume this terrible diet, they end up with all types of medical problems, and they go to the doctors for treatment.
But the medical companies are in effect in a conspiracy of sorts with the food companies. They've almost said to the food companies, "We'll treat the symptoms of this bad diet. We will never treat the cause, your bad food."
Sources: AdvantEdge Newsletter
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Renowned economist Paul Pilzer has done an excellent job of revealing what's going on behind the scenes when it comes to food production and marketing in the United States. I encourage you to read the entire article by clicking on the link above.
Regular newsletter readers know that I'm fond of exposing how much the drug industry spends to manipulate and distort your perceptions about health care. Well they only spend $20 billion a year. The food industry is spending TWICE that much to convince you and your kids to choose highly processed convenience foods that will accelerate a massive decline in your health (and facilitate your need to use drugs to control your symptoms).
You can watch this terrific video series by Peter Jennings to find out just how the food industry is quietly sabotaging your health. For instance, 90 percent of foods Americans purchase every year are processed foods, and in 2006, 2,800 new candies, desserts, ice cream, and snacks were introduced to the marketplace, compared to just 230 new fruits or vegetable products.
Food marketers do a masterful job at making it seem like fast foods and junk foods are the obvious choice. They're relatively inexpensive, they taste good, and they make fixing dinner a snap. No longer do you need to fuss with actually cleaning or chopping a vegetable. Simply pop their prepared boxes of food in the microwave and you're ready to go.
What the food industry neglects to tell you is that there is a heavy price for consuming this terrible diet. It is one of the major causes of a slew of chronic diseases facing the United States. So for the sake of convenience or good taste now, you are trading the most valuable asset that you have: your health.
Why do You Eat so Much Junk Food?
As I said above, 90 percent of the money Americans spend on food goes toward processed foods. This is, in large part, due to the successful marketing of agribusiness They have also cleverly designed your food shopping experience at most supermarkets to increase the sales of higher profit junk foods, instead of farmer's markets that display whole foods.
Another significant part of the food equation is that most American food crops are currently subsidized by the U.S. government: such as corn, wheat, soy and rice. Growing little else but corn and soy translates to a far higher likelihood we will eating more processed foods.
And then there are the food additives, chemicals added to the foods to make you want more. I found this to be one of the most interesting and spot-on parts of Pilzer's article. When people struggle with food cravings and overeating, it is typically because they are craving something unhealthy like potato chips, French fries, soda or candy.
I doubt if any physician or nutritionist has seen someone come in complaining about their desire to gorge themselves on spinach and asparagus. It just doesn't happen.
This is because your body will naturally crave a variety of different foods to keep you healthy. That is, if you eat unprocessed whole foods. Processed foods are typically chemically altered to increase the appeal to your taste buds, so they can override your body's signals in your body that would otherwise tell you it's time to stop eating and try something else.
These foods are pumped full of unnatural amounts of sugar, corn syrup, salt, MSG and many others, which radically increases the likelihood of becoming addicted to them.
In one study of rats fed a diet containing 25 percent sugar, they became anxious when the sugar was removed -- displaying symptoms similar to people going through drug withdrawals, such as chattering teeth and the shakes.
The researchers conducting the study found a link between opioids, your brain's 'pleasure chemicals,' and a craving for sweet, salty and fatty foods. It is thought that high-fat foods stimulate the opioids, as when researchers stimulated rats' brains with a synthetic version of the natural opioid enkephalin, the rats ate up to six times their normal intake of fat.
Further, long lasting changes in rats' brain chemistry, similar to those caused by morphine or heroin use, were also noted. According to researchers, this means that even simple exposure to pleasurable foods is enough to change gene expression, which suggests an addiction to the food.
Meanwhile, refined sugar, which is in just about every processed food out there, because it is cheap and improves the flavor of the food, has been proven to be more addictive than cocaine! Your body's sweet receptors (two protein receptors located on your tongue), which evolved in ancestral times when the diet was very low in sugar, have not adapted to modern times' high-sugar consumption.
Therefore, the abnormally high stimulation of these receptors by our sugar-rich diets generates excessive reward signals in the brain, which have the potential to override normal self-control mechanisms, and thus lead to addiction.
This is why, if you regularly eat a diet of processed foods, whole foods seem to lack flavor. You have become conditioned to think that these chemically altered foods are the norm, when in reality the opposite is true.
When you switch your diet to one focused on whole, unprocessed foods, such as the one I recommend in Take Control of Your Health, your ability to appreciate natural flavors will rapidly return. Suddenly you'll experience how delicious fresh produce can be. And a piece of fruit will taste very sweet. Once you are eating this way, if you then eat a candy bar or a potato chip, you will frequently be shocked by the excessive sweetness and saltiness.
This is Not About Self-Deprivation
Many people feel that if they can't eat their favorite junk foods, they are being deprived. In reality, the sooner you switch your eating habits, the sooner you'll enjoy increased energy, normalized weight, a better mood and improved health overall.
Knowing this, many initially succeed at implementing an improved diet, but then fall back into old habits... and therefore, the "old" body.
This is largely due to emotional barriers or injuries that were never healed. This is why to truly succeed at revamping your eating habits, and breaking free from the onslaught of marketing messages telling you otherwise, I highly recommend you work on overcoming your emotional eating challenges.
There are clearly many useful and effective strategies in this area. In my clinical practice, I have tried a variety of methods, and have been exposed to many more (both traditional and alternative) but none have come close to the success rate I have experienced with the Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT. This form of psychological acupressure can help you to reduce food cravings, remove negative emotions and implement positive goals so that you are ready to make a change.
Remember, subsisting on junk foods alone is a surefire way to accelerate your aging process and compromise your health. (To get an idea of how quickly and dramatically this happens, watch SuperSize Me.) There is just no way around it -- if you want to reap a healthy life, you and your family need to focus your diets on fresh, whole foods.
Rawfood Diet- Enzymes & ProteinNEW by Tara Bianca Tiller
Enzymes are proteins composed of amino-acids, and proteins are present in all living things. All enzymes are proteins, but not all proteins are enzymes.
When you eat, enzymes break down the food into tiny particles which can be converted into energy in the body. The breakdown of food is necessary to convert food into energy. Undigested food is unable to pass on the energy stored within it.
Digestive enzymes carry out the breakdown of the food particles so that they can be easily converted into the essential energy needed by all parts of our body. Enzymes are the only substances capable of digesting food. Without enzymes you would die from starvation.
A very important benefit of eating fresh whole foods is that they contain enzymes. These are substances that help the body digest food and are found only in living food. High temperatures kill enzymes so most processed food require a lot more effort by the liver to digest them.
So, the key element here is that enzymes must come from a living source. If our food is dead from cooking, then the protein is denatured and largely unusable.
What living sources have protein?
Avocados provide all of the essential amino acids, with 18 amino acids in all, plus 7 fatty acids, including Omega 3 and 6. Avocados contain more protein than cow's milk. A small avocado will provide more usable protein then a steak because cooked protein in meat is denatured and mostly unavailable to our liver, the organ that makes all of our body's protein.
Ripe, raw avocados furnish all the elements we need to build the highest quality protein in our bodies. Avocado is an enzymatically-alive fruit, it ranks as the most easily digested rich source of fats and proteins in whole food form. The ripening action "predigests" complex proteins into simple, easily digested amino acids.
Other than avocados, where can a person get their protein?
Out of the 22 amino aids found in the body, 8 must be derived from food. All 8 are abundantly available in raw plant food, especially greens. As suggested by David Wolfe, "green leafed veggies are the true body builders" (p186, The Sunfood Diet Success System). Examples of animals who build enormous musculature on green leafy vegetation include: gorilla, giraffe, hippo, elephant, horse. People think they need flesh protein to build flesh protein. If that were true then cows would need to eat flesh to get protein. Usable protein is the key. Cooking denatures protein molecular structure and creating free radicals, which destroy enzymes, amino acids & other cellular elements.
"There are many different kinds of protein, which can basically be split into two groups: 1. The first group covers the structural proteins, which are the main constituents of our bodies. 2. The second large group of proteins covers the biologically active proteins.
All known enzymes are proteins and can occur in the body in very small amounts. Enzymes catalyze all processes in the body, enabling organisms to build up chemical substances such as other proteins, carbohydrates or fats that are necessary for life.
Most of these catalyze biochemical reactions in cells. In short, all enzymes are proteins, but not all proteins are enzymes. If a protein can catalyze a biochemical reaction, it is an enzyme."
Enzymes and Raw Food - Can You Cheat Time and Stay Young for Longer?
I'm going to be a bit radical here, but know that I'm only encouraging you to question and think and ideally do your own research, both theory and practice. I'm pretty confident that you'll thank me for it. WHAT IF THE SO-CALLED 'AGING PROCESS' WAS A CHOICE?
Clearly, we can't stop time from moving on. When we have a birthday, we are another year older. That's a fact that, for the moment at least, we cannot change. But what if the weakening organs, bones and tissues and all the 'usual' signs of old age were not actually a part of the aging process we've come to accept as 'normal'? Have you ever considered that these conditions are simply symptoms of us mistreating our bodies over the course of our lives to date? Wouldn't our senior years be a whole lot more fun if we were pain and disease free and could jump around with the energy and vitality of a teenager?
WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?
That this is a crazy, impossible idea borne out of fantasy? Or are you willing to open your mind and accept that actually, if you treat your body right and nourish it properly, it may in fact be possible? And this is where Enzymes come in...
In his book Intuitive Eating, Dr Humbart Santillo MD writes:
"A human being is not maintained by food intake alone, but rather by what is digested. Every food must be broken down by enzymes to simpler building blocks. Enzymes may be divided into 2 groups, exogenous (found in raw food) and endogenous (produced within our bodies). The more one gets of the exogenous enzymes, the less will have to be borrowed from other metabolic processes and supplied by the pancreas. The enzymes contained in raw food actually aid in the digestion of that same food when it is chewed. One can live many years on a cooked food diet, but eventually this will cause cellular enzyme exhaustion which lays the foundation for a weak immune system and ultimately disease."
Put simply, we are born with a finite supply of endogenous enzymes. It should be enough to last us a lifetime based on current life expectancy, but if we don't supply some exogenous enzymes through our diet, we will use up our original supplies and that's when we become susceptible to the accepted 'signs of old age' including premature death! And the fact is that when we cook our food, we kill all enzymes instead of allowing them to boost our immune system, our brain function and our energy levels.
Another doctor, Edward Howell, has written a book called Enzyme Nutrition. In it, he says:
"Humans eating an enzyme-less diet use up a tremendous amount of their enzyme potential in lavish secretions of the pancreas and other digestive organs. The result is a shortened lifespan (65 years or less as compared with 100 or more), illness, and lower resistance to stress of all types, psychological and environmental. By eating foods with their enzymes in tact and by supplementing cooked foods with enzyme capsules we can stop abnormal and pathological aging processes."
THESE SCIENTISTS ARE NOT CRACK-POTS WORKING ALONE
The raw food movement is gathering pace and the practice is becoming more mainstream now. In her book You Are What You Eat, Gillian McKeith places raw or living foods at the top of her list of Good Foods and has a section entitled The Case Against Cooking. Now don't get me wrong; I'm not suggesting that you switch overnight to a 100% raw food diet. Though plenty do and never look back, it's not always wise. Instead I would give the same advice as Gillian in urging you to eat something raw with every meal.
Just before I sat down to write this, I ate a yummy Quinoa Avocado Salad which other than the cooked quinoa was loaded with raw, enzyme-, EFA- and nutrient- rich foods. I ate it on its own, but you could serve it alongside a piece of grilled chicken or fish instead of dead, heavy, sugar-rush potatoes which do little more than bloat you up.
So you thought you knew everything about chocolate... wait till you read this...
Examining the Properties of Chocolate and Cacao for HealthNEW by Teya Skae
Are you one of the rare individuals on this planet who does not like nor ever craves chocolate at some point in your life? But, if you are like most of the Western world, have you ever wondered why chocolate can be so addictive, apart from its rich sweet lingering taste? Well, it has to do with your brain chemistry and brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters.
What are neurotransmitters? They act like messengers or little power-brokers that run around in our brain telling the body what to do. They orchestrate our moods, influence our thought patterns, and affect our energy levels, states of alertness, concentration and drowsiness.
So what does chocolate and neurotransmitters have in common? Chocolate affects the brain by causing the release of certain neurotransmitters which can trigger emotions, one of which is euphoria; maybe that's why it is so desirable?
The health-benefits of chocolate have been known to us for some time now, but there is more to chocolate that we need to know. For instance, did you know that chocolate and cacao are not the same? True, there is a clear distinction between commercial chocolate which has no health benefits and organic dark chocolate, ideally with no added sugar. Yet if you're a chocolate lover, consider small amounts of raw cacao as a better option.
The reason why raw cacao is the best choice for healthy benefits is because raw cacao contains the very popular antioxidants (anti-aging guys) that make raw cacao a superfood. But there is more to know than just this.
Let's have a look at raw cacao:
Cacao is derived from Theobroma Cacao beans, which literally means "Food of the Gods". Cacao contains over 300 compounds including: protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium. Magnesium helps to build strong bones and is a muscle relaxant associated with feelings of calmness. Cacao is also high in sulfur, which helps form strong nails and hair.
In addition, cacao also contains the chemicals phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide. PEA is an adrenal-related chemical that we create naturally when we're excited. It also plays a role in feeling focused and alert because it causes your pulse rate to quicken, resulting in a similar feeling to when we are excited or fall in love!
Another 'bliss' chemical found in chocolate is the lipid anandamide. It's there in our brain when we feel great. Anandamide is also called "chocolate amphetamine" as it causes changes in blood pressure and blood-sugar levels, leading to feelings of excitement and alertness.
Anandamide works like amphetamines to increase mood and decrease depression, but it is not addictive like caffeine or illegal with undesirable side-effects like amphetamines. Anandamide is quite unique in its resemblance to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), a chemical found in marijuana.
The good news is that even though the anandamide in chocolate helps to create feelings of elation, the effect is not the same as the THC in marijuana. It would take approximately twenty five pounds of chocolate to achieve a 'high' similar to marijuana and the nausea would overpower any feelings of bliss at all.
Are there any controversial compounds in Cacao?
Yes, out of 300 plus compounds found in raw cacao there are at least two:
Lets look at the most controversial – theobromine. Theobromine makes up between 1-2% of the cacao bean and it stimulates the central nervous system and dilates blood vessels. Theobromine has about 1/4 of the stimulating power of its sister molecule caffeine.
Theobromine is a mild diuretic (increases urination) and has been used as a medical drug to treat heart attacks that have resulted from an excessive accumulation of body fluid.
It's interesting to note that dogs should not eat cacao or chocolate because they lack the necessary enzymes to metabolize theobromine in excess of 100-150 mg per kilogram of the dog's body weight. If dogs eat this much cacao it can cause cardiac arrest.
Probably the most controversial of theobromine effects is that it can cause some people to feel hyper and then lethargic, in a very similar way to caffeine. Also, theobromine can cause headaches in some individuals. There has been some debate as to whether or not caffeine really exists in chocolate. Some scientists believe that it is the theobromine which is solely responsible for its caffeine-like effects.
Caffeine and Cacao:
- According to the Chocolate Information Center, sponsored by Mars Inc., a 50-gram piece of dark chocolate (about the size of your average chocolate bar) will yield between 10 and 60 milligrams of caffeine, while an average 150 ml cup of coffee can yield up to 175 milligrams.
- 40 grams of dark chocolate contains the same amount of caffeine as one cup of decaffeinated coffee, and yet it will stimulate sensitive individuals.
- A cup of hot chocolate usually contains about 4 or 5 milligrams of caffeine, which is about 1/20 that of a cup of regular coffee.
So what is the story with Oxalic Acid found in cacao?
Although both cacao and chocolate are rich in calcium, they contain oxalic acid as one of their 300 plus compounds. Oxalic acid interferes with the body's absorption of calcium. Not only does oxalic acid prevent cacao products from being good sources of calcium but oxalic acid also interferes with calcium absorption. If you are consuming traditional chocolate with sugar then calcium loss is even greater as sugar excretes calcium reserves from our body even more so than oxalic acid.
Other foods that contain moderate amounts of oxalic acid are rhubarb stalks, star fruit, black pepper, parsley, poppy seed, amaranth, spinach, chard, beets, most nuts and beans.
Is Cacao the best antioxidant on the market?
That all depends on what kind of cacao, where it is grown and how it has been treated. If it is certified as Organic Raw Cacao then it is an excellent source of antioxidants and if it is not then you are consuming a whole lot of chemicals from irradiation and spraying of chemicals which are standard practice in growing cacao beans.
In the ORAC chart raw cocoa powder is at the top of the antioxidant list with almost four times the amount of antioxidants as Goji Berries.
The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture to measure the effectiveness of antioxidants to absorb free radicals that cause cell and tissue damage. The higher the ORAC score, the higher the level of antioxidants present in the food.
Even though cacao is much higher in antioxidants than goji berries, it does not mean that it is better. Why? Because consuming 100 grams of goji berries is quite beneficial whereas consuming 100 grams of raw cacao is too much in one day in one go, and the benefits would turn into side-effects. Cacao is simply very powerful on your central nervous system and with this much cacao, the content of oxalic acid would interfere with calcium retention. Yet, consuming 40 grams of raw cacao at the most or a 50 gram organic, dark, sugar-free chocolate is beneficial and quite enjoyable.
ORAC scores for the Top 10 Antioxidants Foods (per 100 grams)
Source: US department of Agriculture/Journal of American Chemical Society
Finally, choosing raw organic cacao powder and having approximately 40 grams at most, equivalent to 4–6 heaped teaspoons, throughout the day is ok. Replacing your morning coffee with a raw cacao drink would be a much healthier alternative as it is loaded with antioxidants and bliss chemicals. An ideal and healthy way of having hot cacao is with some organic coconut milk and stevia with some cinnamon added on top, a recipe for a "pick me up and feel good" without the hype and jitters.
Please bear in mind that having too much cacao in one go can overstimulate your central nervous system, as well as your heart and your brain. This can cause you to feel quite hyper and then drowsy at some point after. That is the side-effects of having too much. Be aware that cacao nibs are quite potent and having 4-5 is probably enough, having a handful is overdoing it.
If you love chocolate as most of us do, pick a dark organic variety with no added sugar. Raw cacao might just perk up your mornings and elevate your moods in times when you want to stay productive.
Aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods
Aspartame is the technical name for the brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure. It was discovered by accident in 1965 when James Schlatter, a chemist of G.D. Searle Company, was testing an anti-ulcer drug.
Aspartame was approved for dry goods in 1981 and for carbonated beverages in 1983. It was originally approved for dry goods on July 26, 1974, but objections filed by neuroscience researcher Dr John W. Olney and Consumer attorney James Turner in August 1974 as well as investigations of G.D. Searle's research practices caused the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to put approval of aspartame on hold (December 5, 1974). In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle and made Searle Pharmaceuticals and The NutraSweet Company separate subsidiaries.
Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.
According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame: Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, parkinson's disease, alzheimer's, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.
Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. The book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," by James and Phyllis Balch, lists aspartame under the category of "chemical poison." As you shall see, that is exactly what it is.
What Is Aspartame Made Of?
ASPARTIC ACID (40 percent of Aspartame) Dr. Russell L. Blaylock, a professor of neurosurgery at the Medical University of Mississippi, recently published a book thoroughly detailing the damage that is caused by the ingestion of excessive aspartic acid from aspartame. Blaylock makes use of almost 500 scientific references to show how excess free excitatory amino acids such as aspartic acid and glutamic acid (about 99 percent of monosodium glutamate (MSG) is glutamic acid) in our food supply are causing serious chronic neurological disorders and a myriad of other acute symptoms.
How Aspartate (and Glutamate) Cause Damage Aspartate and glutamate act as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate or glutamate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate and glutamate is why they are referred to as "excitotoxins." They "excite" or stimulate the neural cells to death.
Aspartic acid is an amino acid. Taken in its free form (unbound to proteins) it significantly raises the blood plasma level of aspartate and glutamate. The excess aspartate and glutamate in the blood plasma shortly after ingesting aspartame or products with free glutamic acid (glutamate precursor) leads to a high level of those neurotransmitters in certain areas of the brain.
The blood brain barrier (BBB), which normally protects the brain from excess glutamate and aspartate as well as toxins, 1) is not fully developed during childhood, 2) does not fully protect all areas of the brain, 3) is damaged by numerous chronic and acute conditions, and 4) allows seepage of excess glutamate and aspartate into the brain even when intact.
The excess glutamate and aspartate slowly begin to destroy neurons. The large majority (75 percent or more) of neural cells in a particular area of the brain are killed before any clinical symptoms of a chronic illness are noticed. A few of the many chronic illnesses that have been shown to be contributed to by long-term exposure to excitatory amino acid damage include:
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
The risk to infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly and persons with certain chronic health problems from excitotoxins are great. Even the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), which usually understates problems and mimics the FDA party-line, recently stated in a review that:
"It is prudent to avoid the use of dietary supplements of L-glutamic acid by pregnant women, infants, and children. The existence of evidence of potential endocrine responses, i.e., elevated cortisol and prolactin, and differential responses between males and females, would also suggest a neuroendocrine link and that supplemental L-glutamic acid should be avoided by women of childbearing age and individuals with affective disorders."
Aspartic acid from aspartame has the same deleterious effects on the body as glutamic acid.
The exact mechanism of acute reactions to excess free glutamate and aspartate is currently being debated. As reported to the FDA, those reactions include:
Fatigue (blocks sufficient glucose entry into brain)
One common complaint of persons suffering from the effect of aspartame is memory loss. Ironically, in 1987, G.D. Searle, the manufacturer of aspartame, undertook a search for a drug to combat memory loss caused by excitatory amino acid damage. Blaylock is one of many scientists and physicians who are concerned about excitatory amino acid damage caused by ingestion of aspartame and MSG.
A few of the many experts who have spoken out against the damage being caused by aspartate and glutamate include Adrienne Samuels, Ph.D., an experimental psychologist specializing in research design. Another is Olney, a professor in the department of psychiatry, School of Medicine, Washington University, a neuroscientist and researcher, and one of the world's foremost authorities on excitotoxins. (He informed Searle in 1971 that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice.)
What are healthy sugar alternatives?
Made from fermented grains whose starches have turned to sugars, barley malt tastes slightly like malted milk balls.
Loaded with natural enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, honey comes in a variety of colors, ranging from intensely flavorful dark brown to lighter (and milder) shades of gold. Always go organic, and because raw honey contains live spores, never use it to sweeten the food of an infant or toddler without consulting a doctor first.
Brown Rice Syrup
The rich butterscotch taste of this syrup, derived from cooked brown rice, mixes well with oatmeal and other hot whole grain cereals.
From a South American herb, Stevia rebaudiana, stevia is much sweeter than sugar and has a slightly bitter licorice taste. Available in powder and liquid forms, it's good for diabetics because of its mild effect on blood sugar levels.
A potent and highly nutritious sweetener, molasses contains all the beneficial stuff that's stripped out of sugar cane during the refining process, including iron, manganese, zinc, copper, and chromium.
This ancient sweetener made from finely ground dates offers all the fruit's vitamins and minerals, plus the calming amino acid tryptophan.
With 40 percent fewer calories than white sugar and a low score on the glycemic index (which ranks a carbohydrate's effect on blood sugar and insulin), this sweetener, also known as xylitol, occurs naturally in tree fiber, corn, and some fruits.
Look for organic, 100 percent pure maple syrup, which contains only the sap of maple trees-and no added corn syrup.
Sweeter than refined sugar and with a lower rating on the glycemic index, the juice of the agave cactus is a good choice for diabetics or anyone seeking to avoid a sugar rush.
42 Flowers You Can Eat By Dr. Mercola
Edible flowers are ordinarily associated with haute cuisine and wedding cakes, but you may have several tasty varieties right in your own backyard.
Adding flowers to your meals will not only make an ordinary dish look gourmet, they can be quite flavorful and nutritious.
Historically speaking, many different cultures valued fresh flowers in their culinary endeavors; rose petals were popular among Asian Indians, daylily buds often appear in oriental dishes, Romans used violets, and stuffed squash blossoms were popular in Italian and Hispanic cultures.
If you're used to adding fresh herbs to your food, adding in a sprinkling of fresh flowers is not much different, but there are some unique guidelines to be aware of.
Not Every Flower is Edible
Before eating any flower, you need to make sure it is edible. As a general rule, assume any flower from a florist, nursery or garden center is not edible, as these are nearly always heavily treated with pesticides. The same goes for flowers you find near a roadside or in any garden that has been treated with chemicals. Stick to organically grown flowers, or those you grow yourself (without pesticides/herbicides).
Some flowers, however, even organic ones, can make you very sick if eaten. Daphne, foxglove, daffodils, and hyacinths are just a few examples of poisonous flowers that should not be used for food purposes. The slideshow above contains 42 examples of flowers that are safe to eat, but there are many others. Consult a reference book on edible flowers, or ask an expert in this area, before branching out further, and if you're not sure, don't eat it.
Flower Power: Are Flowers Good for You?
Flowers are natural plant foods, and like many plant foods in nature often contain valuable nutrients for your health. For instance, dandelions contain numerous antioxidant properties and flavonoids, including FOUR times the beta carotene of broccoli, as well as lutein, cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin. They're also a rich source of vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, pyroxidine, niacin, and vitamins E and C. Other examples include:
Violets contain rutin, a phytochemical with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that ay help strengthen capillary walls
Rose petals contain bioflavonoids and antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, B3, C and E
Nasturtiums contain cancer-fighting lycopene and lutein, a carotenoid found in vegetables and fruits that is important for vision health
Lavender contains vitamin A, calcium and iron, and is said to benefit your central nervous system
Chive blossoms (the purple flower of the chive herb) contain vitamin C, iron and sulfur, and have traditionally been used to help support healthy blood pressure levels
Flowers are Fragile, Handle with Care
Flowers are extremely perishable and do not do well when stored in the refrigerator. Ideally, pick them fresh and serve them as soon as possible (store them upright in a glass of water while preparing). If you must store them, place them carefully between two moist paper towels, wrap in plastic or place in an airtight container, and put them in the fridge. When ready to use, rinse each flower gently with water, and blot it carefully dry. You can use a knife or tweezers to remove the stem, leaves and pistil, then separate the petals (generally only the petals are eaten).
Flowers can be eaten raw in salads (nasturtiums, dandelion and primrose are popular for this purpose), added to appetizers or infused into sauces and other dishes. Every flower has a unique taste, so you will find the ones that appeal to you most just like any other herb or spice. For instance, bee balm tastes similar to oregano, carnations have a clove-like flavor, and marigolds are sometimes called "poor man's saffron" because of their peppery, saffron-like flavor.
If they're not available for free in your own backyard, you can find edible flowers at gourmet food shops, farmers' markets and other specialty food shops.
Start Slowly When Eating Flowers
Flowers are tiny but they can pack a powerful punch, especially if they're new to your diet. Introduce them sparingly at first to avoid any potential digestive upset or allergic reactions. This is especially important if you have allergies to pollen, as eating flowers may exacerbate your symptoms. Even high-quality, nutritious edible flowers can cause an unexpected reaction in some people. Try them one at a time and in SMALL amounts to see how your body is going to react.
there is just a short video that reminded me of my grandma's garden on our dacha. we used to put lots of different flowers in our salads including that blue cucumber tasting flower in the video.
it also reminded me of a story my mom told me. when they were small kids they used to go to the forest to play and to eat flowers in spring as there was no bread in the house after the war...and she hated doing this. her mom and my babushka used to cook with flowers and it was considered poverty. now we think it's a treat... :)
Super nutritious morning eats
What health lessons can we take from traditional breakfasts around the world?
Complete Breakfast, Turkey This heart-healthy spread features fiber, antioxidants and vitamins from fresh cucumbers and tomato slices, as well as the monounsaturated fats found in olives. Monounsaturated fats can help to reduce overall cholesterol levels and, more specifically, the "bad" kind of LDL cholesterol. That, in turn, can reduce your heart disease risk. Add some protein-packed fresh sheep's cheese and, sometimes, a boiled egg, and you've got a delicious and nutritious breakfast.
Hafragrautur And Lýsi, Iceland Hafragrautur is a traditional oat porridge, made with either water or milk and often topped with fruit and nuts. The oats provide a healthy dose of soluble and insoluble fiber and have been proven in studies to help prevent high cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and improve digestive health.
Lysi, or cod liver oil, delivers omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, which are essential for cell development. The oil is also rich in dietary vitamin D -- a hormone sorely lacking in the dark winters of Scandinavia.
Complete Breakfast, Japan Savory, filling and low-calorie miso soup, pickled veggies, seaweed, tofu, salad and cured and raw fish comprise this common morning meal in Japan.
Thanks to omega-3 fatty acids in the fish and seaweed, fiber in the pickled and fresh veggies and the protein in the fish and tofu, this is a nutritious, low-fat, health promoting meal.
Nasi Lemak, Malaysia Steamed rice and fried fish provide carbohydrates for energy and protein for endurance. And the spice from sambal may help rev up metabolisms.
Fūl Medames, Egypt Could there be anything more health-promoting than a bowl full of beans, chickpeas and lentils, served with a heaping portion of pickled veggies and arugula?
The common Egyptian street food, fūl medames, is a protein-packed, fiber-filled breakfast of champions.
Khichdi, Pakistan Lentils and whole-grain rice are spiced and cooked together and then served alongside pickles, veggies and occasionally yogurt for a vegetarian protein powerhouse.
Syrniki, Russia Unlike American flapjacks, these Russian pancakes have a low-fat protein as their base: farmer's cheese. Though they are sometimes fried, they are traditionally baked, making them a little friendlier to a healthy diet.
Top it off with some vitamin-filled fruit and you've got a delicious and far more nutritious take on pancakes.
Coffee And Papaya, Brazil Papaya -- the healthful fruit that grows fresh throughout the country -- is a popular breakfast staple, delivering huge doses of vitamins A and C to diners. And coffee, for which there are myriad benefits, is a must.
It's also true that Brazilian breakfasts often contain the less-than-healthy grilled "pão frances," or french bread, with margarine.
Is healthy fast food really healthy?
Many of us feel better about choosing a ‘healthy’ takeaway option instead of the obvious poorer food choices like Big Macs. However, you still have to be careful about what you choose. Eating takeaway every now and again is no big deal and definitely falls into the 20% treat part of a healthy diet. Just make sure you and your family are not eating these foods daily thinking they are a great option. Here are the top three ‘healthy’ fast foods that I think are not so healthy after all.
1.Sushi. While sushi can be healthy, there are some things you should watch out for:
Deep fried fillings are more than likely fried in a cheap, nasty vegetable oil.
Fake crab fillings are high in sugar and salt and are full of artificial ingredients.
Mayonnaise can contain artificial ingredients, including MSG.
Tuna can contain high levels of mercury and usually it is taken from cans.
Soy sauce is really high in salt, can contain GMO and wheat.
Sushi white rice can contain high levels of sugar.
When choosing sushi for takeaway, try to stick to plain vegetable and avocado fillings and get brown rice sushi. Better still, make sushi at home using quality organic ingredients (it tastes better too!)
2. Subway. You only need to check out the ingredients list at the Subway website to see what is wrong with Subway! There are so many artificial ingredients and numbers (including preservative 282 which is a known problem for kids), soy, canola, palm oil, sugar and hydrogenated oils. It is actually scary looking at all this list! If you have to go to Subway, stick with a plain salad, no meat, cheese or dressing or condiments.
3. Healthy Pizza. The ‘Good Choice’ range from Dominoes with 97% fat-free pizza sounds pretty good right? And didn’t the Biggest Loser, Shannon Ponton advertise them? Well, Dominoes won’t actually give you an ingredient list. They give out nutritional information, allergy advice (yep, soy is in everything) and an additive list. You can bet on the ‘Good Choice’ range being full of numbers, processed meats, trans fatty acids and sauces full of sugar and salt. They might claim salt reduced, but it’s still high in salt compared to fresh foods. I think the only way to get a truly healthy pizza is to make it yourself with the wholewheat flour or find an old-fashioned pizzeria that makes them from scratch.