Read Your Labels!

Are you eating artificial food colors?  When explaining to my grandchildren why they shouldn’t consume foods or beverages containing artificial colors, I ask them if they should eat their crayons?  They usually get the point–do you?  From 1955 to 2007, the amount of food dye consumed by American children increased from 12 mg. per day to 59 mg. per day.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest has claimed that eight food dyes approved by the FDA caused hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in children.  These dyes include Yellow 5, Red 40, Green 3, Orange B, Blue 1, Red 3, Blue 2, and Yellow 6.  They add no nutritional value, only toxicity that can lead to disease.  Some have been shown to be carcinogenic.

The following is a list of some common cereals and candies that contain one or more of these questionable food dyes:  Apple Jacks, Froot Loops, Fruity Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles, Trix, Starburst Chews, Skittles, and M&Ms.   Even vitamins and minerals, as well as over-the-counter medications, can contain these dyes.  Just because something is FDA approved, doesn’t mean that it’s good for you.  You have to take responsibility for what you put into your mouth and the mouths of your children.

Read your labels!  If you see any of the above dyes or the word “artificial”,  put it back on the shelf.  Don’t be fooled by the word “natural”.  That could mean any number of things.  A rock is natural, but we aren’t supposed to eat it.  Be strong when your family cries out for those colorful toxins.  It may not be obvious how chemical additives are affecting your health, but over time, their steady accumulation will take its toll.

Eat God’s colors:  fresh fruit and vegetables!  Each natural color has its own health benefits.  Look for children’s vitamin and mineral supplements that contain no artificial dyes.  Sunshine Heroes Multiple Vitamin & Mineral for children by Nature’s Sunshine derives its natural colors and flavors from fruits and vegetables.  Check it out at

Keep Learning to be Healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist

The Essentials–Detoxification

Your body will be healthier and less prone to disease if toxins are eliminated quickly.  Toxic buildup contributes to weight gain, fatigue, allergies, depression, and chronic disease, as well as making us more vulnerable to viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungus, etc., which contribute to more toxicity.  Automobiles run better with regular oil changes, plumbing works better when pipes are unclogged and drains are clean, and electronics function more efficiently when dust is regularly removed.  Our bodies are amazing self-cleaning machines when given the correct cleansing materials.  If not, toxic overload can occur, and things begin to break down.  Warning signs include constipation, headaches, skin eruptions, allergies, fatigue, depression, weight gain, joint pain and stiffness, hormonal imbalances, etc.  Your choices include suppressing symptoms with medications and surgeries or detoxifying the body so it can repair itself.

The best and most natural ways to cleanse the body of harmful wastes is by drinking enough pure water and eating sufficient fiber.  Most people are constipated for lack of fiber, lack of water, and magnesium deficiency.  Eating daily servings of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds will provide essential fiber to bind toxins for elimination.  Drinking approximately half your weight in ounces of pure water is essential for flushing these toxins out of the body via the kidneys, bowel, and respiration.  Drinking tap water contributes additional toxins.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are filled with nature’s distilled water!

Americans are missing the mark when it comes to adequate fiber.  Refined and processed foods containing white flour, white rice, and sugar are practically devoid of fiber, and animal foods contain none.  Whole plant foods should be eaten at every meal to provide this cleansing essential.  Fiber binds toxins so they can’t be absorbed into the bloodstream.  It helps reduce cholesterol levels, slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream, reduce gut inflammation, and provides food for friendly bacteria.  Among its many health benefits, fiber reduces the risk of colon cancer and helps prevent diverticulitis and hemorrhoids.  Basically, it’s cheap health insurance!

How much?  Eliminating intestinal waste two to three times a day is important to keep your internal environment clean.  Start by adding more whole foods to your meals, along with drinking more water.  Without adequate water, fiber can bind to you and cause discomfort.  If you need to add a fiber supplement, avoid stimulant laxatives.  These work by inhibiting the absorption of water and electrolytes from the colon and can be irritating.  Also, repeated stimulation can cause exhaustion, leading to dependency on the laxative.  When looking for a fiber supplement, read the label!  Don’t buy products with added colors, sugars, preservatives, etc., as these add more toxins.   Consider magnesium as a natural stimulant.  Work on correcting these deficiencies–whole food, water, fiber, magnesium, enzymes, probiotics, essential fatty acids!

Recommended Nature’s Sunshine Products for cleansing the colon:  Everybody’s Fiber–a gentle fiber blend powder suitable for inflammatory conditions in the intestinal tract, containing chamomile flowers, flax meal, fennel seed, malic acid (helps with energy production), marshmallow root, peppermint leaves, stevia leaves, asparagus stem, cat’s claw inner bark, natural peach, apricot, and plum flavorsNature’s Three–a bulk laxative powder that contains substances to help lower cholesterol and alleviate constipation and/or diarrhea, containing psyllium hulls, apple fiber, and oat branGentle Move Capsules–an effective alternative to herbal stimulant laxatives that helps hydrate the colon and improve bowel tone to promote natural elimination.  It can be used to wean off of stimulant laxatives and restore normal tone to the colon, containing magnesium hydroxide, which attracts water to the bowel, making stools easier to pass.  Straight magnesium hydroxide, such as found in milk of magnesia, can cause diarrhea and loss of potassium, as well as interfere with the absorption of iron and folic acid.  Gentle Move uses a smaller amount, along with herbs that help tone and rebuild the colon, making it safe for long-term use.  Its ingredients are magnesium, triphala extract (fruit blend), yellow dock root (natural source of iron), ginger, marshmallow root, slippery elm bark.  Use this product with plenty of water and fiber to enhance its effects.

Keep learning to be healthy!  Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist                                                                            “Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to God’s glory!”  1 Cor. 10:31


The Essentials–Antioxidants

Oxidation is what causes the flesh of a cut apple to turn brown.  Most researchers today believe that oxidation is what causes the body to deteriorate and develop degenerative diseases as we age.  Free radicals cause inflammation throughout the body, and antioxidants are needed to quench these inflammatory “fires”.  It is estimated that 50 to 80% of chronic disease, including cancer, arthritis, macular degeneration, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and dementia, are caused by oxidative stress, also known as free radical damage.  This same oxidative stress contributes to dry skin, wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging.

The good side of oxidation is that it helps break down what we eat and convert it into energy, as well as breaking down toxins to be eliminated.  Oxidation also helps our immune system to destroy microbes and fight infections.  So what’s the problem?

Antioxidants are needed to keep oxidation in check, acting as the body’s cooling system.  These are abundant in fresh, unprocessed plant foods.  Fresh wheat contains the antioxidant vitamin E, which begins to deteriorate within a few days after grinding, leaving it vulnerable to free radical damage.  This may be one reason wheat allergies are so common.   Lemon juice contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that prevents the cut apple from turning brown.   Foods like refined sugar, white flour, hydrogenated oil, trans fats, and chemical additives, contribute to damaging inflammation.  Without enough antioxidants to cool these “fires”, you may begin to experience chronic aches and pains, fatigue, constipation, headaches, weight gain, difficulty concentrating, gum disease, etc.  Instead of suppressing these warning signs with medications, cool the body with antioxidants.  The best source is your diet!  Unfortunately, Americans are eating highly inflammatory diets, and as a result, are suffering from chronic, degenerative diseases.

Eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in every color.  Organically and locally grown are your best choices.  Locally grown produce, in season, usually has to be treated with less chemicals to preserve it.  Also, the farther it is shipped, the greater the nutrient loss.  Each color group has its own types of disease-fighting chemicals, protecting the body’s DNA from damage.  Aim to cover your plate at each meal with 40 to 50% of fresh vegetables and fruits.  Add vegetables to salads, soups, sauces, etc. Squeeze fruit juice into your drinking water–lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, tangerine, kiwi.  Cook with fresh herbs, garlic, onions, and ginger.  Eat sprouts, which are highly nutritious.  Add a variety of raw nuts and seeds to your daily diet.  Snack on antioxidant-rich foods.  Your body will thank you!

If you are not regularly eating at least five to seven servings of fresh and/or frozen produce daily, you might need to consider supplementing with a good antioxidant.  Some recommendations from Nature’s Sunshine:  Co-Q10, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Thai-Go, Super ORAC, Super Antioxidant, and Sunshine Heroes Whole Foods Antioxidant.  To learn more about these antioxidants:

Keep learning to be healthy!  Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist,


The Essentials–Vitamins and Minerals

The best way to get vitamins and minerals is through foods God created for our health.  Unfortunately, foods today contain less of these essential nutrients for many reasons.  Processing is a huge problem, destroying many vitamins and minerals during refining and packaging.  A plant is only as good as the soil it is grown in, and modern farming practices reduce mineral content in the soil, as well as utilize chemicals that further deplete nutrients.  Picking produce before it is ripe and shipping it long distances adds to the reduction of vitamin and mineral content.

Remember, God formed man from the dust of the earth, and healthy bodies need healthy minerals found in soil.  We get these minerals when we eat plants that have absorbed them from the soil.  Organic produce usually has a higher nutrient content than conventionally grown, but there is still the problem of how long it takes to get it from the field to your table!

Not all supplements are created equal.  Synthetic vitamins and minerals made in a laboratory may not be the right “software” for our bodies.  If something is unable to be absorbed and used, it may become toxic.  Or, if you take mega-doses of one vitamin and not enough of another, imbalances can occur, leading to health problems.  Whole, God-made food (vs. mad-made) contains the perfect package of nutrients that work together for health.  Eat the best foods that you can in a variety of colors, including a daily dose of green vegetables.  Supplements may be necessary to fill in the gaps.

Know the company before purchasing supplements.  The FDA doesn’t monitor our supplements the way they do drugs.  One in four of more than 3,000 supplements tested had problems.  Forty percent of multi-vitamins failed their tests.  Some had many times more of a vitamin than stated on the label.  Higher than recommended amounts of lead were found in one calcium with vitamin D supplement.  Too much lead can build up in the bones and actually cause calcium loss, as well as raise blood pressure and decrease mental function, especially in children.  Supplements were also tested for absorption.  If not well absorbed, you may not be getting what you think you are, and unabsorbed matter that is not excreted may be storing in joints, blood vessels, or other areas, causing inflammation.

My number one choice for supplementation is a good concentrated source of whole “superfoods”.  These are the proper “software” for the body.  Ingredients like spirulina, barley grass, flax seed, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, red beet root, kale, etc., are some examples of nutrient-packed foods that we should be eating for their high vitamin and mineral content.  These “superfood” supplements can be purchased in bulk powder or capsule forms.  They are good insurance against missing nutrients in today’s foods.

I recommend Nature’s Sunshine Products, because they have strict testing and quality control measures.  If a supplement does not meet their standards for purity and correct potency, it is sent back.  Many companies are waiting to snatch up what they reject and sell it, regardless of quality.  Know the integrity of a company and its commitment to your health before you buy.  Check the label for confirmation that it has been tested by an independent third party.    Learn more at

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist,