Synthetic Food Dyes–the Toxic Truth!

How can something so pretty and colorful be so bad for you?  Synthetic dyes, also known as artificial colors, are made from coal tar and petrochemical residues.  Thousands of foods and drinks contain added colors.  These toxic chemicals can also be recognized by their numbers, like FD&C #5.

Food dyes are proven carcinogens, and some people are more sensitive to their effects, especially children.  The following conditions could possibly be triggered by artificial colors:

attention deficit disorder (ADD)

learning/behavior problems

migraine headaches

colds/flu (the body’s way of detoxifying)

sinus and respiratory problems

joint problems

joint pain

irritability

fatigue

depression

seizures

Those with asthma seem to be particularly sensitive to food dyes, with many fatal and near fatal reactions reported.  Yellow Dye #5 (also known as tartrazine) seems to be the main culprit.  It is a coal tar derivative that belongs to the aspirin family, proving especially dangerous for those with aspirin sensitivity.

The accumulation of these dyes over time can lead to chronic disease, including cancer.  Eating a whole-foods, unprocessed diet can help detoxify and protect the body against damage from toxic chemicals.  Including six or more daily servings of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables is a good natural defense against disease.

Eat a rainbow of colors found in nature–green spinach, yellow squash, oranges, purple eggplant, red beets, blueberries, and white onions.  These colors contain God’s pharmacy of nutrients to detoxify, repair, and build our health.

Read the ingredients on all packaged foods and drinks!  You’ll find artificial colors in an enormous number of products:

pickles/relish

ice cream/frozen treats

chips/crackers

candies/cookies/snack bars

frozen and canned foods

cereals (especially those marketed to children)

salad dressings/sauces

cake mixes/frostings

sports/energy drinks/sodas/fruit punch

supplements/medications

chewing gum/mints

puddings/yogurt/gelatin

some butter and cheese products

breads/biscuits

pie fillings/canned fruit/maraschino cherries

For more information:  List of food dyes to avoid

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!”

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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.

 

Focus on learning with healthy fats!

Besides water, our brains are composed of mostly fat.  They need both to properly transmit signals.  When these signals are weak, it becomes more difficult to concentrate, remember things, and to control moods.

Omega-3 fats play an important role in allowing brain cells to transmit signals.  They also help the body to release serotonin, which can improve moods and relieve depression.

Children’s brains need omega-3 fats to help them stay calm and focused in the classroom.

Wild-caught fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are excellent sources of healthy fats.  Avoid farm-raised fish.  If you choose to take a fish oil supplement, buy one that’s certified mercury free.  I buy Sunshine Heroes Omega-3 with DHA to give to my grandkids.

Avocados contain omega-3 fats.  Serve slices with eggs for breakfast, or send some guacamole in your child’s lunch.  By the way, omega-3s are in the yolks of eggs, so if you’re just eating egg whites, you are throwing away “brain food”.

Nuts and seeds are easy and convenient sources of omega-3 fats, especially walnuts, hemp seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds.  Create your own trail mixes for school lunch boxes.  I fill a shaker bottle with raw hemp seeds to sprinkle on waffles, pancakes, peanut butter toast, oatmeal, etc.  My grandkids love them and call them “sprinkles”.

Flax Pancake (one serving):

1 egg (from pasture-raised chickens)

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

1 tablespoon unsweetened full-fat yogurt (with live probiotics)

1/2 teaspoon unsweetened almond extract (or vanilla)

a dash of mineral-rich salt (optional)

Whisk ingredients together and cook in a little unsalted organic butter, ghee, or coconut oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side.  Top with some pure maple syrup, hemp seeds, walnuts, berries, yogurt, applesauce, almond butter, cinnamon, etc.

Note:  You can substitute the yogurt with applesauce or plant milk (hemp, oat, almond, etc.).  It can be a little tricky to flip, so check for doneness on one side before you turn it.  Also, slide the spatula fully under the pancake and turn it quickly.

Variation:  Use 2 eggs and an additional tablespoon each of ground flax seed and yogurt.

Everyone needs omega-3 essential fatty acids, not just kids!  I often take a flax oil supplement, which is an incredibly rich source of omega-3s and has also been shown to help balance hormones.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

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

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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.

 

Fish for breakfast?

“Jesus said to them, ‘Come and eat breakfast.’ . . . .Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.”  John 21:12a, 13

Jesus and His disciples started the day with a power breakfast to sustain their busy ministry.  Fresh fish is a healthy source of protein, potassium, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Whole-grain bread provides energy and fiber.

People who eat lots of fish seem to have thinner blood.  Norwegian scientists discovered that eating three ounces of mackerel daily could thin the blood within six weeks and reduce the risk of clogged arteries, heart attacks, and strokes.  Mackerel has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help lower blood pressure.

One study in Great Britain, involving hundreds of participants, showed that those who ate a diet heavy in fish developed higher levels of the good HDL cholesterol, even higher than those of vegetarians.

A study in The Netherlands compared those who ate one ounce of fish a week to those who ate none.  The risk of heart disease was 50% less among those who ate just one ounce of fish weekly!

Fish oils also seem to help reduce the risk of many cancers, including breast, lung, pancreatic, prostate, and colon.

A study at the University of Cincinnati of people with chronic migraines reported that 60% of those who took fish oil capsules had a reduction in both severity and frequency of headaches over a six-week period.  The average number of migraines dropped from two a week to two every two weeks.

Fish is often called ‘brain food’ for good reason!

Fish and its oils contain tyrosine, an amino acid that stimulates the brain to produce neurotransmitters that help us feel more alert.

DHA is a type of omega-3 fat that helps enhance brain health, including learning and memory.  It helps keep the lining of the brain cells flexible so memory messages can pass easily between cells.  The brain and retina of the eye contain the highest amounts of DHA of any tissues in the body.

Studies also indicate that taking fish oils can have positive anti-inflammatory benefits for skin and respiratory conditions, kidney disease, and menstrual cramps.

Tips for consuming fish and fish oil:

Choose wild-caught over farm-raised fish.

Mercury levels can be higher in larger fish like orange roughy (sea perch), blue fin tuna, yellow fin tuna, albacore tuna, bigeye tuna, ahi tuna, swordfish, shark, marlin, king mackerel, grouper, and catfish.

Lower levels of mercury are found in salmon, flounder, freshwater trout, mackerel, haddock, herring, mahi mahi, tilapia, whitefish, whiting, sole, pollock, and sardines.  Canned chunk light and skipjack have lower levels of mercury than other tunas.

Eat cilantro with your fish to help remove mercury.

Choose fish oils that are certified mercury free.

Eat fish with fins and scales, as they protect the fish from mercury, worms, parasites, and disease.

Cilantro Pesto

Process in blender until smooth:

1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves (preferably organic)

1/2 cup raw almonds

3 large garlic cloves (peeled)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon mineral-rich salt (more or less to taste)

1/4 cup organic parmesan cheese (optional)

To make it spicy and add a circulatory boost, add a few dashes of cayenne pepper.

Serve with fish, pasta, or fresh veggies.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

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

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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.

Eat artichokes to help protect your liver!

This delicious, fiber-rich vegetable contains silymarin, which has been studied and found to reduce inflammation and growth of tumor cells in the liver.  These studies showed benefits for alcoholic and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, liver toxicity due to drugs and chemicals, and increased survival time among patients with alcohol-induced liver cirrhosis.  Silymarin also helped improve insulin resistance.  (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21466434).

A widely used source of silymarin is from the seeds of the milk thistle plant, commonly taken as a supplement.  Milk thistle can also be brewed as a tea.

Artichokes also contain silymarin!  They aid the liver and gallbladder by helping to break down fatty foods, which can help with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, and help to lower cholesterol.

Artichokes are a good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and folate, all of which are important for heart health.

You can cook fresh artichokes, buy them frozen, or keep canned artichoke hearts on hand. Canned ones (I prefer those in glass jars) should be packed in water or extra-virgin olive oil.  Read the labels!

I often top my pizza with artichoke hearts to add fiber and help digest fat in the cheese.  Many pizza places offer artichokes as a topping.  Add them to a green salad, chicken or tuna salad, eggs, meat and pasta dishes, or eat them with cheese and crackers, etc.  Try the easy recipe below for a quick dip, spread, or pesto.

Amazing Artichoke Topping

Blend until smooth:

Approximately 10 jarred artichoke hearts (drained)

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 tablespoon dried Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, etc.)

1/8 teaspoon mineral-rich salt

1 or 2 cloves of garlic (pressed)

Eat as is, or get creative and blend in some fresh spinach or parsley, pine nuts, or beans.  Adjust liquid (a little water or liquid from the jarred artichokes) and seasonings to taste.  Add a dash of cayenne for a spicy version.

Eat with 100% whole-grain crackers, cheese from grass-fed cows or sheep, and/or raw veggies.  Use as a sandwich spread.  Mix into pasta or rice, or use a topping for chicken, fish, or beef.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

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

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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.

Blueberries–also known as “brain berries” and “youth berries”

It’s blueberry season, so stock up!  One study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate 1 cup of blueberries a day had increased blood levels of antioxidants that may play an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, senility, cancer, cataracts, and macular degeneration.  Other studies have shown that high blood levels of antioxidants have played a role in the prevention of breast cancer.  (Check out 7 Proven Reasons to Eat more Blueberries.)

Historically, blueberries were pounded into dried meat to reduce its rate of spoilage.  The berries and leaves were also used to make tea as a remedy for diarrhea.

Blueberries are rich in tannins that can help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, and they also contain pectin, a soluble fiber that helps to relieve both constipation and diarrhea.

Like cranberries, blueberries are beneficial for the urinary tract by reducing the ability of E. coli bacteria to adhere to the lining of the urethra and bladder.

Anthocyanins give blueberries their deep blue color and contain powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from damage that can lead to degenerative diseases.  They also contain the flavonoid quercetin, which has significant anti-inflammatory abilities.

Research done on rats by the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, at Tufts University, directed by Dr. James Joseph, showed better brain performance and improvement in coordination and balance in the rats that were fed the human equivalent of 1 cup of blueberries a day.  The study also showed that their brains seemed to communicate better, had less damage, and they even developed new brain cells!

Blueberries seem to have a positive effect on the areas of the brain that control movement and have shown positive effects on those with multiple sclerosis.  Some early studies on people who consumed a cup of blueberries a day showed improved performance on tests of motor skills.

Blueberries contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that has been shown in studies to reduce cancer rates in people who consumed the most dietary ellagic acid.  They were 3 times less likely to develop cancer.

Other fruits with similar health properties:  raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, purple grapes, cranberries, and boysenberries.

Eat a variety for all of their various health benefits.  Keep fresh, frozen, and dried fruits on hand.  Buy them unsweetened and without added preservatives or flavorings.  Remove any moldy berries before storing in the refrigerator.

Check the EWG’s 2016 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to see which ones are on the Clean 15 and Dirty 12 Lists.  The good news is that blueberries are not on the Dirty 12, but strawberries are number 1 this year for being highly contaminated with pesticides.  Grapes come in at number 6 and cherries at number 7.  I recommend that you buy these two fruits organic.

Red and blue berries are perfect for adding a patriotic touch to your fourth of July celebration!

Happy Independence Day!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist, CNHP

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

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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.

Fix Your Gut, Fix Your Health–the Stomach

Last week, we covered the importance of chewing your food long enough to allow it to mix thoroughly with the carbohydrate-digesting enzyme, amylase, before it enters your stomach.  Hopefully, you’ve been practicing this first step in digestion.

After chewing, the predigested food enters your stomach, where it is mixed and ground into a liquid called chyme (Greek for “juice”).  Hydrochloric acid (HCI) and pepsin help to accomplish this second step of digestion, as well as helping to digest proteins.   HCl is strong enough to corrode metals, so it is beneficial for killing pathogens like parasites, bacteria, and viruses.  Digestion may be inefficient at destroying these pathogens and breaking down proteins when there is insufficient hydrochloric acid and pepsin.

Acid Reflux is most likely caused by a lack of stomach acid, rather than too much.  Taking antacids may offer temporary relief but do not get to the root of the problem.  As we age, the stomach may produce less HCl.  This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, including protein and calcium.

Belching could be a sign of poor digestion.  If the belching is accompanied by a rotten egg odor and/or a taste in the mouth, this may be a sign that proteins are not being properly digested.

Self-test:  First thing in the morning, before you eat or drink anything, drink 4 to 6 ounces of water to which 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda has been added.  Don’t gulp the water.  Time yourself for up to 5 minutes.  The sooner you belch (within 1 to 2 minutes), the better the indication that you have a good amount of stomach acid.  The longer it takes (3 to 5 minutes), the lower your stomach acid may be.

Some tips:

Chew your food well before swallowing.

Eat smaller meals (overeating is hard on the stomach and requires more digestive juices).

Don’t drink large amounts of liquids with meals.  Drink a glass of water before a meal, and then just sip as needed during a meal.  If you are staying well hydrated throughout the day, you shouldn’t be thirsty while eating.

Consider taking plant-based digestive enzymes with meals (1 or 2 as needed) to help break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

If you have low stomach acid, you may need digestive enzymes that contain HCl and Pepsin.  Don’t take these if you have ulcers.  Start with only 1 capsule when you eat a meal that contains protein.  Next time, take 2, then 3, etc., until you feel a warm sensation in your stomach.  Back up to the number you took before you felt the warm sensation.  This will be your optimal amount.  Don’t take these long-term.  The goal is to strengthen your production of hydrochloric acid and pepsin through a healthy diet and lifestyle so you won’t be dependent on supplements.  An exception might be for the elderly who are in a chronically weakened condition.

Take a tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in 4 ounces of water before a meal, or mix it in a salad.  This not only aids digestion, but it has also been proven to lower blood sugar by as much as 30% when taken a few minutes before a meal.

Enjoy a cup of organic peppermint leaf tea to help with indigestion.

Aloe vera juice is very soothing in cases of indigestion and Acid Reflux.

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.learningtobehealthy.mynsp.com (Proactazyme Plus Plant-Based Enzymes, PDA Combination with HCl and Pepsin, Papaya Mint Chewables Digestive Aid, Aloe Vera Juice)

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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.

Aluminum additives in food and personal care products can accumulate in the body, including the bones!

Aluminum toxicity accumulates over time and can be difficult for the body to eliminate.  Beware of your exposure from various sources!

Aluminum hydroxide is used in many antacid medications.

Aluminum phosphate and sodium aluminum sulfate are used as stabilizers in many processed foods.

Aluminum salts are found in many antiperspirants (aluminum chlorhydrate, aluminum chloride, aluminum hydroxybromide, aluminum zirconium) and can be absorbed through the skin.

In one study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, researchers found that women with breast cancer had a higher accumulation of aluminum in their breast tissue.  Aluminum salts can also mimic estrogen, which has been shown to increase the risk for breast cancer.

There is growing evidence that chronic aluminum exposure can be a factor in many neurological diseases, including dementia, autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s.

A study from Keele University in the UK shows high levels of aluminum in the brain of an individual exposed to aluminum at work, who later died from Alzheimer’s disease.   In 2004 high levels of aluminum were found in the tissues of a British woman who died from early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Cooking with aluminum foil and/or aluminum cookware increases absorption of aluminum into food and beverages.  This includes making coffee in an aluminum espresso maker.

Aluminum can be inhaled through cigarette smoke.

Read labels and avoid ingredients containing forms of aluminum.

Some foods that may contain aluminum:  baking powder, self-rising flour, salt, baby formula, coffee creamers, processed foods

Foods and drinks in aluminum laminated pouches or aluminum cans

Toothpaste containing aluminum oxyhydroxides

Deodorants, antiperspirants, cosmetics, lotions, sunscreens, shampoos, bath salts, and other personal care products

Over-the-counter medications and/or dietary supplements containing aluminum, including the additive magnesium stearate

A healthy digestive tract will help move most of ingested aluminum out of your system before it gets absorbed.  This means that you need to eat in a way that doesn’t leave you reaching for antacids or make you constipated for days.

Eat foods rich in fiber, especially vegetables, and avoid processed carbohydrates that are high in sugar and low in fiber.

To help restore a healthy balance of gut bacteria, eat some fermented foods like sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar.  Add foods that contain live probiotic cultures like unsweetened yogurt and cottage cheese.  Choose products from grass-fed cows and those not raised with antibiotics or growth hormones.  If you don’t consume dairy products, consider taking a probiotic supplement.

Consume bone broth to help repair the gut and to supply collagen, shown to reduce the loss of bone mass and the likelihood of hip fractures.  There’s a basic recipe on my website.

Eat foods high in sulfur like garlic, onions, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, broccoli, avocados, bok choy, sweet potatoes, nuts, turnips, and watermelon.  Sulfur helps the body to produce the antioxidant glutathione, which is essential for protecting the body from damage caused by chemicals like aluminum.

Drink enough pure water (tap water can also be contaminated with aluminum).

Get enough daily exercise and practice deep breathing to help remove toxins through perspiration and respiration.

Keep learning to be healthy!

Lisa Hernandez, Certified 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 with your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.