A healthier Memorial Day hot dog?

You can make most things healthier, and the humble hot dog is no exception.  Dr. Oz recently reported that enough hot dogs are made every minute to reach the top of the Empire State Building.  Hot dogs aren’t going away.

Some tips for making a healthier hot dog:

Choose all-beef (ideally organic, grass-fed), nitrate/nitrite-free.

Look for a few simple ingredients on the label:  beef, water, sea salt, spices like garlic, onion, paprika, and celery powder (a natural form of nitrites).

Avoid those with corn syrup, starch, and preservatives.

Serving your hot dog:

Look for whole-grain buns without preservatives and other additives.

Wrap it in a romaine lettuce leaf.

Serve it without a bun, topped with beans and other healthy toppings.

Condiments:

Ketchup is commonly made with sugar, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup.  It may contain as much as 25% sugar.  Buy organic ketchup that has no type of corn syrup added.

Sweet relish also usually contains sugar, corn syrup, and high-fructose corn syrup, and possibly yellow food coloring.  Read labels and search for a healthier version.

Yellow mustard is the winner among condiments!  It contains vinegar, water, mustard seed, salt, turmeric, and paprika.  Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and liver-protective properties.  Be sure to read the ingredients label to make certain that nothing else has been added, and check the amount of sodium in each serving.  I try to find varieties made with apple cider vinegar and whole-grain mustard.

Some healthy toppings:

Sauerkraut, onions, cilantro, jalapeños, kimchi, mushrooms, tomatoes, salsa, avocado, guacamole, hummus, pickles and pickled vegetables (some contain food coloring), alfalfa sprouts, sunflower seeds, radishes, goat or feta cheese, arugula, caramelized onions, artichoke hearts, beans (if using canned, read the ingredients and avoid hydrogenated fats and sugar).  If you like a sweet dog, try some raw honey instead of ketchup.  It’s actually good.

Skip the chips!  Add lots of crunchy vegetables instead.  These will add nutrients and fiber to give you energy to enjoy other Memorial Day activities!  If you must have a few chips, stick to plainer varieties, like potato and corn chips, and avoid those full of food colorings, artificial flavors, MSG, sugar, etc., etc.

Crunchy raw vegetables:

Carrots, sweet peppers, jicama, radishes, asparagus, celery, cucumbers, beets, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, snow peas, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes (they’re not crunchy, but add delicious sweetness), etc.

Whatever you decide to eat or not to eat this Memorial Day, I hope you enjoy the love of family and friends!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Heart Disease and White Bread

As some of you know, my husband recently had a heart attack, and a stent was put into his left coronary artery (aka “the widow maker”) to open a 100% blockage.  We are beyond thankful for access to quick, skilled, and lifesaving medical care.

While in the hospital, I observed his daily meals. With most meals, he got some form of white bread or rice.  He was told to eat a low-fat, low-sodium diet, with no recommendations about his sugar intake.  Sodas and candy were considered fine as long as they were low in sodium and saturated fat.

What I’ve learned is that refined sugar can quickly increase blood sugar levels and create inflammation in the body.  Inflammation can contribute to increased triglycerides.  High triglycerides (fats in the blood) can contribute to heart disease.  White bread is mostly starch, along with added sugar, with high-fructose corn syrup being the most common.

White bread and white rice have had the fiber removed.  Fiber helps slow the rise in blood sugar (not to mention that it helps to reduce the absorption of toxins and unhealthy fats that contribute to inflammation).  Removing the fiber and adding sugar creates a recipe for inflammation!  Artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame can also interfere with blood sugar regulation and cause inflammation.

Besides fiber, other heart-healthy nutrients, including vitamin E, are refined out of white bread.

To make bread white, chlorine oxide is used to bleach it.  This chemical is dangerous when inhaled!  Do you really want to eat bread that’s been bleached?  Toxic chemicals can cause inflammation, which can lead to arterial damage.  Check the ingredients label and buy “unbleached” flour.

Another additive to look for on the ingredients label of packaged breads:  azodicarbonamide.  When you can’t pronounce something on the label, it’s probably best if you don’t eat or drink it.  This toxic chemical is banned in both Europe and Australia.  It can disrupt hormone regulation, weaken the immune system, and trigger asthma symptoms.  Even some whole-grain breads contain this ingredient.

My personal favorites are sprouted grain products from Food for Life.  They come in assorted varieties, including sesame seed, raisin, English muffins, and tortillas.

Action steps:

Go read the labels on your bread and other grain products.

Always read the ingredients on packaged foods and drinks before you buy them.

Look for 100% whole-grain on the label.  The word “wheat” without the word “whole” in front of it means refined or “white”.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

 

Fix Your Gut, Fix Your Health

Once our food has made its way to the 20-foot long small intestine, enzymes are secreted by the pancreas to further digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.  The pancreas also makes insulin, which helps to control blood sugar.  Too many processed foods can weaken the pancreas over time, and digestion, as well as insulin production, can be adversely affected.  You may need to support your pancreas when you eat processed foods by taking digestive enzymes.

About 90% or more of the nutrients from what we eat is absorbed in the small intestine, which is lined with finger-like villi.  These villi contain digestive enzymes that finish preparing the food for absorption.  Villi also help prevent “leaky gut” by letting in the good and keeping out the bad, similar to using a strainer.  When villi become damaged due to inflammation, they can no longer do there job efficiently.

Damage resulting from inflammation can come from many sources, including the malfunction of other organs, like the stomach not producing enough stomach acid or removal of the gall bladder.  Other pro-inflammatory conditions include a poor diet (including food sensitivities), fungal and parasitic infections, medications, and toxins.

When the villi can no longer properly absorb nutrients and keep out what doesn’t belong in the bloodstream, inflammation can affect the entire body.  This can trigger an immune system response, and, when chronic, can turn into an autoimmune condition.

Some ways to stop inflammation and improve a “leaky gut” condition:

Remove food sensitivities (you may need to get an IgG Antibody Test).  You can also use a food journal to write down what you eat and drink, how you feel, and poop observations.  Eliminate any suspect foods for two weeks, and then reintroduce them, one at a time, over a three-day period, to see if you have any negative reactions.

Eat fresh produce, organic meats, fermented foods, and bone broth.

Stop eating hydrogenated oils (soy, canola, corn, vegetable, cottonseed, etc.).

Stop eating refined sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup).

Stop eating fast foods and packaged foods.

After nutrient absorption, what remains enters the large intestine, or colon.  Some additional nutrients are absorbed there, especially fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).  This is where beneficial bacteria (probiotics) assist in digestion–about 90% are located in the colon.

The final step in digestion is the timely elimination of waste.  The average time for stool to pass through the colon is about 36 hours.  If constipation is a problem, probiotics may help, as well as flax or extra-virgin olive oil, which help to lubricate the colon for easier passage.  Fiber, found in whole plant foods, is important for moving waste along, as well as for feeding the good intestinal bacteria.  Water is another crucial element for helping to prevent chronic constipation.

Some ways to help remedy constipation:

Include healthy fats in your daily diet, eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber, drink approximately half your body weight in ounces of pure water, and take probiotics as needed.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant

1 Corinthians 10:31–Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

Fix Your Gut, Fix Your Health–the Liver and Gall Bladder

Once your food leaves your stomach, it makes its way to the small intestine, where nutrient absorption will take place.  On its way, it receives bile from the liver that mixes with other enzymes to break down fats so they can be properly digested and absorbed in the small intestine.

The gall bladder is a pear-shaped organ that sits next to the liver.  It stores and recycles excess bile from the small intestine to be used for future meals.  When the gall bladder is not functioning correctly or has been removed, it may become difficult to digest fats in the diet, like avocados, olive oil, and nut butters.  In this case, supplementation of bile salts and the enzyme lipase may become essential to aid the digestion of fats.  This is especially important if you are eating a high-fat diet (like Paleo or GAPS).  Coconut oil is easier to digest and requires less work for the liver.

If fats are not digested properly, a deficiency of essential fatty acids could occur, as well as a build up of undesirable fats.  The body uses fats to build cell walls, including those of the brain.  Some deficiency symptoms of omega-3 fatty acids might include dry, itchy, scaling, or flaky skin; soft, cracked, or brittle nails; hard earwax; tiny bumps on the backs of the arms or torso.

Your liver is also responsible for cleansing and purifying the blood before it gets to the small intestine, as well as detoxifying everything else that comes into the body.  It breaks down and stores amino acids which become protein, and it metabolizes cholesterol.

One way to support the liver is by reducing the burden of toxins it has to detoxify.  This includes eating organic foods, avoiding meats and dairy products that have been raised with antibiotics, growth hormones, and steroids, and that have been fed a diet of genetically-modified corn or soy.  Read the labels, and avoid processed foods that contain artificial ingredients, refined oils, hydrogenated fats, sugar, and all kinds of chemical flavors, colors, and preservatives.  Read the ingredients!

Some foods that support the liver and gall bladder are artichokes and beets.  Bitter foods like radishes, horseradish, dandelion greens, kale, arugula, mustard greens, collard greens, endive, turnip greens, watercress, celery leaves, and parsley help stimulate bile flow.  Sour foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, raw apple cider vinegar, yogurt, and kefir can also aid digestion.

Milk thistle, dandelion root, and turmeric are beneficial herbs for liver and gall bladder support.  You can find these, as well as digestive enzymes, at www.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Natural Health Consultant

1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”

www.learningtobehealthy.com

www.facebook.com/learningtobehealthy

www.pinterest.com/healthywithlisa

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease.  It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need.  Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.