Sugar-eating season: add a little protection!

You know it’s hard not to indulge in a little sweetness this time of year (October 31 through January 1). Unfortunately, too much sugar compromises our immune system’s ability to keep us healthy. It also feeds the bad bacteria in the gut, where most of the immune system is located. This leaves us more vulnerable to digestive problems. Could this be one reason we see more illness this time of year? Here are my recommendations for protecting your immune system so that you can enjoy the holiday season even more!

1. Eat a little sugar, not a lot! Make your own goodies as often as possible.
2. Read labels on packaged candy. Opt for those without artificial colors and flavors. Never (or hardly ever) eat those containing hydrogenated fats or partially hydrogenated fats.
3. Avoid those made with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
4. What’s left? Chocolate (especially dark–70% or more), nuts (protein helps balance blood sugar), and hard candies made with colors from fruits and vegetables instead of toxic chemicals.
5. Have a family tea time at the end of the day to help unwind from sugar overload. Chamomile, peppermint, ginger, and slippery elm may help ease digestive distress, and passionflower can help calm the mind.
6. Fortify your immune system with a good probiotic.

Before and after you indulge, consider taking a probiotic to help populate your gut with friendly bacteria. This will help protect the body from infections and allergic responses. I recommend Probiotic Eleven Capsules. Make this a staple in your holiday travel bag. At the first sign of digestive trouble, take a few capsules. They can also be opened and mixed with food or water and are tasteless. For those who prefer a yummy tasting chewable, Sunshine Heroes Probiotic Power is an excellent formula, designed with children in mind. It not only contains eleven strains of beneficial bacteria, but also is an antioxidant blend of mangosteen, cranberry, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, carrot, tomato, acai fruit, pomegranate, white grape, apple, pear, orange, pineapple, cherry, strawberry and blueberry fruit concentrates, and amino acids. Both of these products can be ordered at www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com.

Keep learning to be healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist
http://www.learningtobehealthy.com
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

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Fish–the best and the worst choices! What’s your grocery store’s scorecard?

Known as “brain food,” fish can have some amazing benefits, including those wonderful omega-3 fatty acids needed by every cell of the body! In order to gain the health benefits and reduce the risks of toxicity, consider the following information as reported by rodalenews.com to help you make the best choices.

Imported Catfish: 90% comes from Vietnam where they use antibiotics that are banned in the United States. Since catfish is a bottom feeder and doesn’t have scales, I don’t recommend it. If you eat it, choose domestic farm-raised catfish.

American Eel (aka yellow or silver eel): This is often found in sushi, and is highly contaminated with PCBs and mercury.

Imported Shrimp: This seafood has been found to be the dirtiest of all! 90% is imported from farms that have used antibiotics and is found to be contaminated with residues from chemicals used to clean pens, filth (mouse and rat hair, insect parts), and E. coli. Only 2% of all imported seafood (shrimp, crab, catfish, etc.) gets inspected. I personally avoid shrimp, but a better choice is domestic shrimp. 70% comes from the Gulf of Mexico. Pink shrimp from Oregon is certified under the guidelines of the Marine Stewardship Council.

Atlantic Flatfish (flounder, sole, halibut): These fish are heavily contaminated. Better choices include Pacific halibut or domestically-farmed tilapia.

Atlantic Salmon (wild-caught and farmed): It is illegal to capture wild Atlantic salmon due to their low numbers. Farm-raised salmon are crammed into pens which leads to disease and parasites. Antibiotics and pesticides are used. The FDA is moving forward to approve genetically-modified salmon (“Frankenfood”). It can be sold unlabeled and plans to be farmed off the coast of Panama. Currently, all fish labeled “Atlantic Salmon” come from fish farms. A better choice is to buy wild Alaskan salmon.

Shark: This predatory fish is high in mercury. Better choices are Pacific halibut and Atlantic mackerel (low in contaminants).

Orange Roughy: Contains high levels of mercury. A better choice is yellow snapper.

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna: Contains the highest levels of mercury of all tuna. Choose American or Canadian (not imported) albacore tuna. This tuna is caught while young, so it contains less mercury.

Chilean Sea Bass: High in mercury. U.S. hook-and-line caught haddock is a better choice.

One way to help eliminate mercury from your body is to eat cilantro! Eat it on the side, mix it into salsas and sauces, or just sprinkle it onto your fish or mix into tuna salad. It’s that easy! Green herbs like cilantro also help the body to absorb calcium from fish more efficiently.

To see the 2014 scorecard rankings of 26 major seafood retailers, go to http://cato.greenpeaceusa.org. Whole Foods Market came in at #1, and Kroger at #21. Trader Joe’s–#4, Aldi’s–#7, Target–#8, Walmart–#12, HEB–#13, Costco–#15.

Beware of “organic” seafood, because organic fish farms aren’t certified by the U.S. Also, look for sustainably farmed fish (refer to your grocery store’s scorecard). Farmed fish tend to be contaminated with parasitic sea lice, requiring treatment with high-dose toxic chemicals.

Supplement recommendation: Nature’s Sunshine is a trusted source for quality control. Their Super Omega-3 EPA Softgels are a good source for getting more of these anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids, along with DHA for the brain. NSP also makes Flax Seed Oil (liquid or gelcaps), a good vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids. You can make “Better Butter” by combining 1/2 cup of unsalted organic butter with 1/2 cup of liquid flax oil. Whip until creamy, and store in the refrigerator.

Keep learning to be healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist
www.learningtobehealthy.com
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

Exercise alert: could you be harming your dental health?

Many studies indicate that endurance athletes have a higher risk of dental problems due to drinking sugar-laden sports drinks and breathing through their mouths. Sugar feeds bacteria that promote tooth decay, and sports drinks contain lots of sugar. Breathing through the mouth causes a dry mouth condition, which reduces the flow of saliva. This allows bacteria to thrive and do their damage.

Drink water! Add some lemon or lime for vitamins and minerals, as well as for the alkalizing effects. See my recipe for a Homemade Electrolyte Sports Drink on www.learningtobehealthy.com. Practice breathing through your nose. If your nasal cavities seem dry, you may need more water and essential fatty acids.

Solstic Energy is a healthier alternative to energy drinks. It contains guarana, a natural source of caffeine, green tea extract, ginseng, natural lemon, mandarin orange, and pineapple flavors, and stevia. You just empty the contents of a packet into 14-16 ounces of cold water and mix. This product is not recommended for children under 18 years of age, or those sensitive to caffeine. Find it at www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com.

Keep learning to be healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist
www.learningtobehealthy.com
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

Breast cancer awareness month! Let Food be Your Medicine!

Beware of diets that greatly reduce the consumption of fruits and vegetables and recommend large amounts of animal protein. In large enough quantities, fruits and vegetables can protect against all types of cancer, including breast cancer. A produce-deficient diet is a major cause of disease in America.

All unprocessed plant food offers protection against cancer. These include fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Refined grains promote disease and weight gain. Whole grains promote health. Unfortunately, so much of the wheat is being grown with toxic chemicals. This is creating inflammation in the digestive tract, which leads to many problems such as Chrohn’s, IBS, Celiac, etc. Also, many packaged whole-grain products contain many disease-promoting chemicals–artificial colors, flavors, MSG and its many names, sugars in all forms, genetically-modified ingredients, and the list goes on! When the digestive tract becomes compromised, so does your health!

I recommend the Daniel Plate model: Fill 1/2 of your plate with colorful non-starchy vegetables (salad greens, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, peppers, etc.); fill 1/4 of your plate with starchy vegetables (potatoes, winter squash, beets, etc.) and/or whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, whole oats, etc.) and 1/4 of your plate with higher protein foods (fish, meats, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds). Eat fresh fruit as a side. Eat good fats like avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds with your vegetables. Good fats help with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K. If this model represents your eating habits 80% of the time, you will go a long way in reducing your risk of breast cancer!

Recommended powerful anti-cancer whole-food supplement to fill in nutritional gaps: Ultimate Green Zone from Nature’s Sunshine contains amaranth seed, brown rice, flaxseed, spirulina, fructooligosaccharides (feed good bacteria), quinoa, chia seed, chlorella, millet seed, alfalfa juice concentrate, licorice root, lecithin, carrot root, lemon grass, papaya fruit extract, artichoke leaves, spinach leaves and stems, broccoli flowers, kale leaves, asparagus stems, red beet root, bromelain (pineapple extract), chicory root, acerola fruit extract, horsetail (from a plant, not a horse!), lemon bioflavonoid extract, parsley leaves, and pau d’arco (powerful antifungal herb).

This can be ordered in capsules or a bulk powder to be stirred into food, water, or smoothies. It nourishes and detoxifies and helps to alkalize an overly acidic condition. I give this to my grandchildren by stirring it into their applesauce, yogurt, sweet potatoes, or by making green lemonade. It can be ordered at www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com

Keep learning to be healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist
http://www.learningtobehealthy.com
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”