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Kick Sugar for Good – Tips & Tricks for a Healthy Life

Saturday, August 15th, 2015

Our last article explored the dangers of sugar. This week we are sharing some tips and tricks to help you cut sugar out of your diet and get healthy. By minimizing sugar, wheat and processed foods and not depriving yourself of healthy, grass-fed, and whole food sources, you should find that your weight naturally stabilizes. You may even find your overall health improve, including mood, focus/concentration, digestive health, inflammation, and even pain.

Tips to Cut Sugar:

Craving chocolate? Have some magnesium!

Nourish your gut flora with probiotics – grass-fed/pastured and fermented, unpasteurized food sources are best, including grass-fed kefir, pastured cheese, and sauerkraut, though high-quality probiotic supplements can help as well; improved gut health has also been associated with better mood and even increased feelings of willpower. If you can’t absorb and process the nutrients you are eating, than your body and brain can’t function properly. Gut health is strongly linked to neurotransmitter functioning, as well as absorption and processing of vital nutrients.

Increase healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, grass-fed meats, pastured cheese, grass-fed butter  – they are nutrient rich and satiating – and contrary to popular belief, health fats don’t make you fat – but sugar and processed “foods” do!

Increase your grass-fed meats and pastured dairy products – they are much lower in saturated fat and significantly higher in vital nutrients including magnesium, omega 3’s, B vitamins, and conjugated linoleic acid which has been found to reduce cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and body fat.

Go cold turkey – because eating sugar, wheat and processed foods makes you crave more sugar, wheat, and processed foods. It also makes you hungrier.

Have a protein-rich breakfast.

Choose healthy carbohydrates and pair them with healthy fats and proteins. Enjoy a sweet potato with grass-fed butter and a delicious grass-fed steak.

Be prepared – pack healthy snacks, prep meals for work, plan out your menu for the week.

Eat when you’re hungry, and don’t get obsessive about calorie counting – instead, focus on eating foods that are real, whole, and natural. Get back in touch with your body’s natural hunger cues – and listen to them! Eating healthy fats and protein with healthy carbohydrates will naturally be more satiating – the worst thing you can do is starve yourself of nutrients, especially when trying to clean up your diet.

Rest and destress – try yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, acupuncture, massage, etc. to stave off stress-induced binges. Make sure you are getting adequate rest, as not sleeping enough can throw off leptin and ghrehlin levels which are responsible for appetite/satiation.

Don’t punish, guilt or shame yourself for making mistakes, just take a step towards getting back on track, and another step, and another. Before you know it you will be making progress towards a sustainable healthy lifestyle.

If you feel a craving and want to give in, wait it out. Sit with the feeling for 5 minutes, no judgment, just feel it. Just because a feeling arises doesn’t mean that you have to act on it, this too shall pass.

The Devastating Truth about Sugar

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

Sugar has been linked to a host of health issues and side effects, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Poor Concentration
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Forgetfulness
  • Mood Swings
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Digestive Disturbances
  • Crying Spells
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation

Overconsumption of sugar also diverts and/or depletes your body of vital nutrients, including mood-enhancing B vitamins, chromium which is responsible for stabilizing blood sugar, and magnesium, which many people are deficient in and causes a host of health issues ranging from chronic pain and poor sleep to depression, low energy, and muscle cramps.

What’s more, eating bread, pasta, and other processed carbohydrates has the same effect on the body; two slices of wheat bread raise your blood sugar as much as a candy bar.

Sugar feeds disease, impairs brain functions, and is devastating to your health. Sugar impacts your health in countless ways, including:

Gut Health – Fructose feeds the pathogens in your gut, which enables them to overtake your good gut bacteria.

Mental Health – Sugar suppresses activity of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a key growth hormone in your brain. Critically low levels of BDNF have been associated with depression, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders

Appetite/Satiation – Sugar and grains contribute to insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and impairments in signaling, which can interfere with appetite suppression and satiation cues as well as mental health

Brain Function – artificial sweeteners and artificial food ingredients, particularly aspartame or amino sweet, have been found to cause depressions, panic attacks, anxiety, and other negative side effects to brain function and mood. Artificial coloring has been linked with attention problems, poor impulse control, and mood issues as well.

Blood Sugar fluctuations affect neurotransmitters, especially in people who consume low amounts of protein. Studies have shown that children consuming sugary snacks after a carbohydrate-rich meal became hyperactive, restless, and moody. However, their reactions were much less severe when sugary snacks were given after a high-protein meal.

Mood & Energy – Research has repeatedly linked sugar consumption with mood swings, depression, and low energy. It has been found that dopamine and serotonin levels are released as part of the “sugar rush” you get when consuming high amounts of sugar, causing you to feel happier, and even calm – at first. However, this is followed by a crash in mood as the receptor sites slow down production to regulate endorphin levels. This sugar crash is typically felt as fatigue/lethargy and depressed mood. In fact, it has been found that people who drink 4 or more cans of soda or fruit punch a day are 30-40% more likely to suffer from depression than people who did not consume sugary drinks. Furthermore, diets high in processed foods were 58% more likely to suffer from depression, while people who consume more “whole foods,” i.e. fish, fruits, vegetables, etc. had a 26% lower risk of depression.

– – –

The verdict? If you suffer from mood swings, low energy, cravings, or other sugar-related side effects, cut out the likely culprits: sugar, wheat and processed foods. Eat more whole foods, and whenever possible opt for nutrient-rich, hormone free, GMO free, pesticide free, chemical free, i.e. grass-fed, pastured, and organic.

Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Monday, November 24th, 2014

Guest Post from Flourish Nutrition Centre:

Here are some simple substitutions to make your Thanksgiving meal even more delicious – and a little bit more nutritious:

  • Eat the protein, veggies, and healthy fats first to fill up your stomach, then go for the sweet and carb-ridden items
  • Choose organic wherever possible – especially with turkey, apples, potatoes, and other fruits and veggies that don’t have a protective skin. This is the best way to ensure higher nutrient content without the added dangers of antibiotics and fillers, pesticides, GMOs and chemicals
  • Substitute white sugar with raw honey and enjoy the anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial benefits along with delicious taste
  • Skip the runny, flat, tasteless factory eggs and try a plump, nutrient-rich pastured egg instead – more flavor, more filling, and naturally rich in omega 3 fatty acids, beta carotene, vitamin A, E, D, B12, and folic acid, and is lower in saturated fat
  • Opt for grass-fed butter in your mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, pies, and more – it’s chock full of CLA, rich flavor, and the right ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids
  • Stomach hurting after indulging in that 3rd piece of pie? Try some sauerkraut or another probiotic-rich fermented food to promote healthy digestion and restore gut health.
Bonus tip:
Wheat and refined sugars wreak havoc on the body, throwing off your gut health, ph levels, appetite, and even mood and cognition.
How can you bounce back faster after a post-holiday food hangover?
Instead of reaching for a helping of leftover pumpkin pie or going on a drastic starvation diet, try these simple solutions to restore balance in the body:
  • Eat lots of greens to rebalance ph levels and minimize sugar cravings
  • Eat fermented foods to restore gut health – and mood
  • Eat healthy fats like avocado, pastured butter, and coconut oil to keep your hunger satiated

Raw Honey vs. Fake Honey

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Scary but true, most of the honey available for consumer purchase is counterfeit, fake, and potentially dangerous. The majority of honey sold at chain stores is pollen free, meaning it is devoid of the health benefits associated with honey. Instead, it is some ultra-filtered combination of illegal, artificial, and unsafe sweeteners, antibiotics, and heavy metals.
Raw honey is incomparable to other sweeteners – fake or real. So rich and sweet, it only takes a touch to add deliciously satisfying flavor to any dish. You can add it to your morning oats for a natural and tasty boost of energy, or slow cook some crock pot honey chicken for dinner. Besides the energy boost – instant and sustained – raw honey replenishes glycogen storages so your body doesn’t produce more stress hormones in response to intense exercise.
Raw honey is chock full of healing, providing natural anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial benefits to the body. It has been used to treat acne, sinuses, sore throat, ulcers, allergies, infections, and more. Rich in antioxidants, b vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, raw honey can improve health at the cellular level, fighting free radicals and boosting the immune system.
If you want to enjoy the myriad of health benefits along with the richly satisfying and delicious flavor, you’re better off skipping chain store bought “honey” bear and going for the real thing, pollen-rich raw honey. Buy local, support the “little guy,” and rest assured that you’re getting the real deal, i.e. actual food, not unsafe substances masquerading as honey.
Sources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/smuggled-honey-ultra-filtered_n_1079948.html
http://www.naturalnews.com/040520_honey_supermarkets_counterfeit_food.html
http://www.naturalnews.com/035493_raw_honey_health_benefits_antibacterial.html#ixzz2pFsOqVxE
http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/6170
http://sprouthealthlifestyle.com/2012/05/01/why-you-should-eat-raw-honey-and-bee-pollen/

Aspartame

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Written by Kenda Roberstson and Steve Moreau

Aspartame: A Formaldehyde Cocktail

Chances are you have consumed the sweetener aspartame without even knowing it. As the most widely used non-nutritive sweetener in the world, aspartame, sold as NutraSweet or Equal, can be found in thousands of foods, personal care products, and pharmaceuticals.

Though it is FDA approved, aspartame is far from safe. In fact, the FDA has received more complaints about adverse reactions from the artificial sweetener than for all other food additives combined.

While the FDA reports it has received thousands of complaints about aspartame, they admit that only 1 percent of those who experience a reaction to a product ever report it. In other words, millions of people may have experienced headaches, mental confusion, seizures, depression and even blindness and brain cancer, as well as gastrointestinal symptoms related to aspartame without reporting it.

Researchers believe ingesting aspartame is much like drinking a “formaldehyde cocktail.” When the sweetener breaks down in the body, it is absorbed as methanol. Methanol can spontaneously break down to formaldehyde, which can accumulate in your cells and cause health problems. Formaldehyde, which is used in paint remover and embalming fluid, is a poison several thousand times more potent than ethyl alcohol.

Formaldehyde creates the waste product formate. An accumulation of formate in your body can cause excessive acidity in your blood, which can result in blindness, fatal kidney damage, multiple organ system failure, and death.

And if it doesn’t maim or kill you, aspartame can still make you fat. The two main ingredients in aspartame, phenylalanine and aspartic acid, stimulate the release of insulin and leptin. These are the hormones that tell your body to store fat.

Better to stay with old fashion sweeteners liagave, raw honey, rapadure and of course in strict moderation.