Food and Energy

We all want energy. I can’t recall meeting anyone who didn’t want energy. Food is a necessary component of energy, but it can both provide and rob us of energy. Let’s take a closer look.

Calories are fuel we get from proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, but “empty” calories can only take us so far. Calories from food that provides vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber give the body energy to work, play, think, fight off disease, and build healthy cells. In addition, we need enzymes to digest and absorb these nutrients, or they don’t do us much good.

Two key points for more energy: Eat nutrient-dense foods and cultivate a healthy digestive system.

Eat twice as many nutrient-dense plant foods as animal foods. These include unprocessed whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Eat them as closely to the way God created them as possible. Eat a variety of colors for a variety of nutrients.

Proper digestion and absorption of nutrients from food depends upon a healthy digestive system. Eating some raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds provides enzymes for digestion. Most cooked and processed foods contain no enzymes, so the body has to provide them via the pancreas, liver, small intestine, and salivary glands. Too much processed food, over time, can overwork these organs.

Healthy gut bacteria also plays an important role in digestion. Many factors can affect the gut microbiome and lead to digestive issues. Among those are the use of antibiotics and other medications, drinking fluoridated water, eating refined foods (sugar, flour, oils, chemical additives, etc.), artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors, MSG, genetically-modified foods, a lack of fiber, water, and nutrients that nourish healthy bacteria, and chronic stress.

Improperly digested foods and an unbalanced microbiome can lead to inflammation in the digestive tract. Chronic inflammation can contribute to a “sick” gut. A “sick” gut interferes with digestion and absorption of nutrients. A lack of nutrients results in less energy.

Healthy Actions:

Chew food well to give starch-digesting enzymes in saliva time to mix with food before it’s swallowed.

Eat some raw, colorful fruits and veggies every day. Refer to the Dirty Dozen List (ewg.org) to avoid those most heavily sprayed with chemicals.

Eat a handful of raw nuts and/or seeds on most days. Add them to salads, oatmeal, or smoothies.

Eat enough fiber-rich foods to help feed the good bacteria in your gut. Drink enough water. Fiber and water work together to keep the digestive system healthy.

This is a good start! Give your digestive tract time to adjust as you begin to make changes. It may respond with some bloating and other discomforts as it starts to “clean house”. You may need to take a plant-based digestive enzyme with meals and/or a multi-strain probiotic until things settle down.

If you need a plant-based diet with meal plans, grocery shopping lists, recipes, and daily email coaching tips, check out my 6-Week Health Transformation Online Program.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

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

www.learningtobehealthy.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 healthcare provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

The Flu Vaccine–Yes or No?

It’s that time of year to decide whether or not you will get a flu vaccination. My advice as a health coach is to always make an informed decision about anything that affects the health of you and your family.

Information comes from everywhere–the internet, television ads, magazines, billboards, doctors, pharmacies, people you know, etc. Consider the sources–are they trying to sell you something or were they educated for marketing purposes (e.g. pharmacy companies educating doctors and clinics)?

Are you being made aware of any adverse effects? Are you reading the labels? Is what’s right for someone else right for you?

I believe in self-education, because no one knows your body like you do. Learn more about the flu vaccine at National Vaccine Information Center (www.nvic.org).

Personally, I do not get the flu vaccination. Instead, I strengthen my immune system to help fight viruses. My biggest concern with vaccines is the many toxic additives (like aluminum) that may contribute to chronic disease.

Here are a few things that I do at the first sign of illness:

Drink a cup of water with the juice of half a lemon and a dash of cayenne pepper. Sometimes, I add a little raw honey.

Take elderberry, which has been studied and shown to reduce the “shelf life” of viruses. It comes in syrup, tea, capsules, tinctures, and chewables.

Take vitamin D3 to help support my immune system. Have your levels checked every six months or so to see if you fall within the optimum range of 50-60 ng/ml. In the absence of adequate sunlight, especially during winter, levels can drop, providing less protection against the flu and other viruses.

Eat seasonal foods rich in vitamin C: citrus, organic peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, organic potatoes.

Eat seasonal foods rich in sulfur: onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables, eggs, sardines (eggs and sardines also contain vitamin D3).

Make sure that my digestive system is working well to eliminate toxins by eating plenty of fiber-rich plant foods and taking a probiotic, since 70 to 80% of the immune system is in the gut.

Hydrate with lots of water and nourishing soups to help flush toxins and keep mucous thin so secondary respiratory infections don’t easily take hold.

Take very warm detox baths with a few drops of lavender essential oil, which has anti-viral and calming properties. Diffusing eucalyptus essential oil is wonderful for a stuffy nose and congestion.

Stop eating refined sugar. Instead of reaching for carbonated soft drinks, popsicles, ice cream, etc., try bone broth, fruit and veggie smoothies, homemade soups, green tea, and herbal teas (God’s pharmacy). I like peppermint, ginger, chamomile, raspberry leaf, elderberry, and holy basil (tulsi). Try stirring a little ground cinnamon into a cup of warm water with some raw honey.

Have some natural cough syrups on hand. Two I like are Olba’s Cough Syrupand Zarbee’s Naturals Kid’s Cough Syrup + Mucous.

Rest, pray, and nourish my spirit with the Word of God–“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

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

www.learningtobehealthy.com

Register now for the free online Autoimmune Revolution from November 5-11.

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.

Links to Some of My Favorite Products

 

People often ask me for product recommendations, so today I am giving you a list with links to a few of my favorite products that I order from Amazon and Nature’s Sunshine. If you have any questions about any of the items, please feel free to ask me!

Here’s the link: List of Links to Some of My Favorite Products

Autoimmune conditions are on the rise, affecting old and young alike. For free education about this growing health concern, check out the free online Autoimmune Summit from November 5 to November 11.

Here’s the link: Autoimmune Summit

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

www.learningtobehealthy.com

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

This information is for educational purposes only and is not to intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.

The Case for Taking Vitamin D Separate from Calcium

Vitamin D is essential to the optimal health of nearly every organ and tissue in the body. Studies have found vitamin D supplementation to be beneficial in strengthening bones, boosting the immune system, reducing the incidence of high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, inflammation (the root of chronic disease), and many other health conditions.

Here’s the paradox: Vitamin D is essential for calcium metabolism and, when taken simultaneously with a calcium supplement or calcium-fortified food, increases the absorption of calcium from the intestinal tract. This might seem like a good thing, except that it may be adding to the already excessive calcium levels in the body. We want calcium in our bones, not calcifying our arteries and triggering inflammation that leads to more calcium loss from the bones. (See Why I don’t Take Calcium).

Studies have indicated that adequate vitamin D blood levels lower the risk of fracture and improve bone mineral density.

Other studies show bone loss and calcifications throughout the body when there is an excess of vitamin D, much like an excess of calcium.

Calcium taken alone showed no protection against fractures. Vitamin D taken apart from calcium showed the same degree of protection against fractures as when it was taken with calcium.

Bottom line: We need optimal levels of vitamin D for good health, without supplementing in a way that contributes to excess calcification in the body. Excess vitamin D levels can pull calcium out of bones. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body for many months and slowly released, even after supplementation has been discontinued.

To know if you have optimal levels of vitamin D, have your blood levels checked every two or three months until you are in the optimal range. Then, continue to monitor your levels about every six months.

The current recommended target range for vitamin D levels is between 40 and 80 ng/cc. Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, recommends a long-term maintenance range of between 50 and 60 ng/cc. The best tests measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the preferred form, not vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).

Read the ingredients on food and beverage labels for the common additive of vitamin D2. Also, consider avoiding these products when calcium has also been added. This is commonly found in plant-based milk alternatives.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

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

www.learningtobehealthy.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.

Magnesium’s Role in Balancing Calcium

For a review of why I don’t take calcium and how an excess is linked to osteoporosis and other chronic degenerative diseases, read Why I don’t Take Calcium Supplements #1, #2, and #3.

When calcium blood levels are high, you’ll most likely have a magnesium deficiency. Magnesium has been called nature’s calcium channel blocker, helping to keep calcium levels in check.

Studies have shown that excess calcium can contribute to calcium deposits (like kidney stones and atherosclerosis) and that magnesium helps dissolve calcium deposits.

Magnesium helps reduce inflammation by lowering excess calcium in cells that induces inflammation. This, in turn, helps keep calcium in the bones and reduces the risk of other chronic degenerative diseases.

Chronic inflammation due to calcium excess is frequently found in those with cancer. Studies have shown that those with a higher magnesium intake seem to have less risk of colon, lung, and rectal cancers. One study showed that post-menopausal women with breast cancer had a higher calcium to magnesium ratio than those without breast cancer.

It is difficult to take toxic levels of magnesium (check with your doctor if you have kidney problems). As long as an excess of calcium is present inside the cells, magnesium is needed to balance it.

Just like prescription calcium channel blockers, magnesium supplements may lower blood pressure temporarily. In those with already low blood pressure, this may be a problem. If this happens, stop taking supplemental magnesium until your blood pressure returns to normal, and then reduce the amount until it doesn’t have a negative effect on your blood pressure.

Just like vitamin C, if you experience diarrhea when taking magnesium, you can adjust the amount until you achieve bowel tolerance.

The word following magnesium (oxide, citrate, glycinate, malate, phosphate, carbonate, etc.) is called an anion. The anion helps you choose the best supplemental form. Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, recommends magnesium glycinate in his osteoporosis treatment protocol. He says it is well absorbed, is less likely to cause diarrhea, and is made from the amino acid glycine, which has other nutritional uses in the body.

My least favorite forms are carbonate and oxide, and I take Magnesium Complex, which is a combination of malate and citrate.

A good starting point is to get your blood levels checked for calcium. If you have excess blood levels, consider taking a magnesium supplement. If you do take calcium supplements (I don’t), be sure to take additional magnesium. Calcium helps muscles contract, and magnesium helps them to relax.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

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

www.learningtobehealthy.com

The Addiction Summit is online and free this week!

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.

Why I don’t Take Calcium–#3

In Why I don’t Take Calcium–#1 and Why I don’t Take Calcium–#2, we looked at how excess calcium in the body is a likely indicator of calcium being pulled from the bones, and that it can also contribute to inflammation in the arteries and other parts of the body, raising the risk of chronic degenerative diseases.

Next, we learned that optimal levels of vitamin C help to reduce inflammation, keep calcium in the bones, lower the risk of fracture, and reduce excess deposits and calcifications in other places. Calcium-laden kidney stones are one example of a vitamin C deficiency.

Let’s look at some various forms of vitamin C supplements:

Ascorbic acid is a common form of vitamin C, but it can upset some people’s stomach due to its acidity. Synthetic vitamin C is usually made from corn, which may be genetically modified. Look for companies that make certified non-GMO products.

Sodium ascorbate is a form of ascorbic acid that is more alkaline, so it is better tolerated when taking large doses. It does not raise blood pressure or cause fluid retention like sodium chloride.

Calcium ascorbate is a combination of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and calcium. This form is often used to help buffer excess acid, making it easier on the stomach. If you are concerned about excess calcium, this would not be the desirable form of vitamin C.

Magnesium ascorbate is a non-acidic combination of magnesium and ascorbic acid, making it easy on the stomach. Many of us are deficient in magnesium, which is also needed for bone health, making this a desirable form. Unfortunately, magnesium ascorbate can be more expensive.

Potassium ascorbate contains both vitamin C and potassium, so it should be taken only under the advice of your health care provider. Too much potassium can cause health problems, especially if you are taking large amounts of potassium ascorbate and/or taking other supplements or medications that contain potassium. On the other hand, if your lab tests show that you need potassium, this may be a beneficial form of vitamin C for you.

Ascorbyl palmitate is a fat-soluble form of vitamin C that provides extra anti-oxidant protection to cells that most water-soluble forms of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) cannot offer. Liposomal delivery (helps with deeper penetration of the nutrient) of ascorbyl palmitate has been used to slow skin aging and has been demonstrated to kill cancer cells in vitro and slow tumor growth in mice more effectively than with ascorbic acid.

Read the labels of all your supplements, medications, and even the food you eat. See if they include any of the above forms of vitamin C.

Dr. Levy, in his book Death by Calcium, recommends a Multi-C Protocol,using liposome-encapsulated vitamin C, sodium ascorbate powder, ascorbyl palmitate, and even intravenously administered vitamin C. For more information on his protocol, see his book.

Note: Vitamin C is safe and non-toxic, even in large amounts, but those with chronic kidney problems need to always check with their doctor before taking any supplements.

If you are looking for a whole-food form of vitamin C, you might consider one made from amla berries.

The free Alzheimer’s and Dementia online summit starts Monday, July 23!

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

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

www.learningtobehealthy.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.

Why I don’t Take Calcium–#1

Throughout my nutritional studies, I learned that whole food, in its original God-created form, is the perfect “software” for our bodies. The design is perfect! I also learned that man-made synthetic supplements are not the perfect “software”. At best, they are only partially assimilated, so even if the label says 100% of the recommended daily value for a nutrient, you may only be absorbing about 10%. What’s happening to the other 90%?

The other consideration when taking supplements is that neither too much nor too little is beneficial. Both an excess and a deficiency of nutrients are determined by a fairly narrow range. Random supplementation can upset this balance. Small insufficiencies and excesses can contribute to many health problems.

Often, people ask me about taking calcium and other supplements. As a rule, I don’t recommend isolated supplements. Instead, I recommend eating a better diet and using supplements made from real, whole foods.

With that said, I am going to devote the next several newsletters to why I don’t take calcium and how it can actually be toxic in excess. I will be referencing the book Death by Calcium by Thomas E. Levy, MD, JD, which is based upon much scientific research and many clinical studies over 25 years.

People in the US take more calcium than anywhere else in the world and have the highest incidence of osteoporosis. We are ranked 33rd in life expectancy and yet are number one in how much we spend on health care.

The current paradigm says that if we have weak bones, we must have a calcium deficiency, so therefore, we need to take calcium. Dr. Levy does not agree with this model.

To clarify, calcium is essential for bodily function but can be toxic in excess. It can promote disease where this excess accumulates. The crazy thing is that these calcium deposits can trigger more calcium to be released from the bones!

Almost without exception, those with osteoporosis have toxic levels of calcium outside of bone tissue. This excess can contribute to heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, high blood pressure, and cancer. Excess calcium has also been implicated in fueling and accelerating chronic diseases.

Fifteen independent clinical studies indicate that taking an extra 500 mg. of calcium per day can increase the risk of heart attack by 30% and the likelihood of a stroke by up to 20%. There is also a greater risk of death from coronary heart disease and cancer. To make matters worse, the calcium supplementation failed to improve bone strength.

A study of more than 61,000 people over 19 years reported that those with a calcium intake of over 1400 mg. per day had a 40% increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 114% increased risk of death from reduced flow of blood to the heart muscle.

Over one-third of Americans over the age of 45 have some arterial calcification. Much of this plaque is the accumulation of calcium salts.

Advanced MRIs found calcifications in 95% of malignant prostate glands.

Calcifications are frequently found on mammographies of women with breast cancer. Many breast biopsies are done due to these findings. Studies show that breast cancer patients who have calcifications are less likely to survive the disease than those who don’t.

A recently published study found a strong association between increased calcium levels and death from any cause.

Inhibiting calcium uptake seems to make cancer less invasive and less prone to grow new blood cells.

Chronically high levels of calcium in cells seems to play a significant role in degenerative neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s (ALS).

Calcium channel blockers are a group of drugs designed to inhibit the uptake of calcium into cells. They have been used effectively to treat high blood pressure and to reduce the events associated with high blood pressure. By limiting the uptake of calcium into cells, calcium channel blockers have an anti-atherosclerosis effect.

Studies that were done involving over 175,000 patients, using three common calcium channel blockers, found that all three significantly reduced death from all causes.

You may be wondering why you’re not hearing about this from your doctor. Between 2010 and 2013, there has been much published in medical literature journals about how calcium can accumulate in the body and become toxic from supplements and excess dairy consumption. Sadly, this information is buried and seldom read. Not to mention, that it is an overwhelming task to change the current business model that includes the medical establishment, dairy industry, and supplement companies, to an individual healthy lifestyle approach.

So, the real problem seems to be not that we have a lack of calcium in our diets, but that calcium is being relocated from our bones to other areas of the body. I’ll continue to explore this further in future newsletters.

If you want to start a conversation about this topic, feel free to post your questions or comments in the Facebook group.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach

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

www.learningtobehealthy.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.