Skin Soothing Salad

Hi Everyone,
This is one of my favorite green salads that helps to nourish the skin from the inside out. The salad greens are loaded with antioxidants which are your defenders against free radical damage which can cause inflammation and age the skin. The fiber in okra helps lubricate the large intestines due to its bulk laxative qualities.

Avocado contains Vitamin E which is one of the most important fat-soluble antioxidants to retain your skin’s moisture. Onions contain sulfur compounds which help cleanse the liver and rebuild the skin’s connective tissue known as collagen. The essential fatty acids in the hemp seeds help to reduce inflammation and provide luster to the skin. Hemp seeds contain all twenty-one or so known amino acids, and essential fatty acids, including the eight essential amino acids our bodies cannot produce. We must obtain them from our diet.

The lemon in the vinaigrette is anti-bacterial, promotes regular elimination and helps flush toxins from your system. To nourish and support your liver, drink a glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it first thing every morning.

The garlic is another sulfur containing food which is called a “natural antibiotic” due to its antibacterial and anti-viral properties. Extra virgin olive oil is a healthy fat that provides lubrication to your skin cells. Celtic Sea Salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements that provide the necessary nutrients and protect the body from the harshness of sodium chloride that we consume from commercial table salt.

Ingredients:
4 to 5 handfuls of spring mix salad greens (you can use whatever salad greens you like)
1 cup sliced raw okra (I love the crunch of the okra)
1 lemon (squeeze juice and set aside)
½ small avocado cut into chunks (squeeze fresh lemon juice over avocado)
½ onion (sliced thin into half moons)
1 tbsp. hemp seeds

Lemon Vinaigrette Salad Dressing Recipe
Ingredients:

2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 small garlic clove minced
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.

Place spring mix in a bowl with okra, avocado and onion and lightly drizzle lemon vinaigrette and sprinkle hemp seeds over salad.

Here’s to beautiful skin!

Live Beautifully,
Tracy

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Meatless Monday : Vegetarian Chili

ChilliThis time of year, our bodies naturally crave  heartier and warming foods . This chilli is bursting with flavor from the simple ingredients and bold flavors from the spices that give it that kick.
Since going gluten-free, the foods I put in my body, have to satisfy my taste buds. I never feel deprived when I’m eating delicious whole foods.
Ingredients
1 large sweet onion, cubed
1 yellow, red or orange pepper, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 carrots, cubed
3 celery stalks, cubed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup filtered water
1 jar diced tomatoes
1 jar tomato paste
8oz. bag pinto beans (soaked overnight)
8 oz. bag kidney beans (soaked overnight)
*If you’re short on time, you can also use canned beans. I like Eden Organics because they have kombu seaweed which helps you digest the beans better. 
1 tsp. chili powder
4 Tbsp. cumin
1 Tsp. smoked paprika
A pinch of Celtic or Himalayan sea salt at the end
1 cup cooked brown rice (optional)
 
Rinse soaked beans and cover beans with water to about one inch above the beans. Cook beans until tender. (Do not add salt to the beans until completely done. Adding salt before hand , will not allow the beans to cook all the way through and they will be tough to eat.)

Combine the first 5 ingredients in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and saute on medium to low heat until tender

Once beans are done, combine in sauté vegetables

Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste to vegetable mixture

Add 1 cup of filtered water

Mix thoroughly and add chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika and a pinch of sea salt

Cook on low heat for 1 hour
Here’s to your Marvelous Monday!
With health and beauty,
Tracy
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The Transformation Of My Hair

Hey There

In today’s article, I want to share with you why it was so important in 2010 that I did everything possible to reduce my stress, get more sleep and really figure out why my hair was falling out.

It’s really interesting how the body will give you warning signs that something isn’t quite right and for me the warning sign came when I was sitting in my hairstylist chair at Paradise Hair and Braids. My stylist decided to snap a picture so that I could see the back of my hair. Maybe on some level, I knew my hair was thinning, because I would put it into a ponytail and I noticed that the ponytail got smaller and smaller. I was shocked, embarrassed and so sad that this was happening to me. I remember Kim saying that stress and having a relaxer in my hair was like dynamite. Going “natural” was not an option, I had to do it.  I didn’t know what I was going to do and I wanted another option.

I remember hearing my stylist say, “you have to cut all of your hair off Tracy”. I wasn’t ready for that, so I asked if there was another option. I knew the answer, but I was praying that she would perform a miracle so I didn’t have to cut it all off. I was so afraid to cut off the length, even though everything in the crown of my hair was gone. The rest of it was long, but so straggly and my ends looked terrible. I finally agreed to the cut, but inside I kept thinking, how un-attractive I would be, how could I go in public and how could I go on a business retreat in a week and sit in a room full of women feeling like I lost my best friend (my hair). Of course, now I realize that I had put way too much value in my hair.  I’m so glad I’ve been freed from that thinking.

I remember calling my husband and telling him that I cut my hair off and how sad I felt and he said, “you look beautiful no matter how long your hair is”, but all I wanted was my hair back. That night, my then 4 year old son ran up to me, rubbed his hand on my hair and said, “mommy your hair is so pretty”. I thought that was the sweetest thing he could have said to me.

The next day, I decided I would research what could be going on with my health and after many test, I found out that I was experiencing adrenal exhaustion and low thyroid and now everything I had been experiencing for the last year made sense. I was pushing my body way past the point of being healthy by experiencing a high amount of stress from running a business and balancing work with my family life and not getting enough sleep and it had taken its toll on my body.

As women we think we are superwomen and can do it all and have it all. In my mind, I loved having a balanced life, but was I actively doing everything possible to nurture my mind, body and spirit.  Probably not. My hair loss was a result of adrenal exhaustion which lead to a high cortisol level and low thyroid.

Adrenal Exhaustion 

So let’s talk about what Adrenal Exhaustion is all about.  Daily living causes a lot stress, which is not easy on the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are the triangle-shaped endocrine glands that sit atop the kidneys. They are chiefly responsible for regulating the stress response through the synthesis of corticosteroids and catecholamine, including cortisol and adrenaline.

The adrenal glands affect the functioning of every tissue, organ, gland and cell in the human body. They also have important effects on the way a person thinks and feels. The body could not survive without the adrenals. Likewise, the proper functioning of the adrenal glands depends upon the nourishment provided to them. Whether nourishing, deficient or downright toxic—the adrenals are intensely affected by the food a person eats as well as your lifestyle. Adrenal gland health and thyroid health are closely linked so in my case, my adrenal exhaustion affected my thyroid which contributed to low thyroid.

Purpose of Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are vital to many important functions in the human body including the production of cortisol, sex (estrogen and testosterone) and steroid hormones (for strength and endurance) as well as the utilization of carbohydrates and fats and the conversion of fats and proteins into energy. The adrenals also oversee the distribution of stored fat (especially around the waist and at the sides of the face), help regulate blood sugar levels, maintain proper cardiovascular and gastrointestinal functions, and are responsible for the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant hormone secretions that are involved in allergic reactions.

From speaking with my doctors, my adrenal exhaustion lead to being diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. And so, experiencing hair loss, mental fog, fatigue, constipation, weight gain and depression were all attributed to low thyroid.  The thyroid gland  makes and stores hormones that help regulate the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and the rate at which food is converted into energy.

Thyroid hormones are essential for the function of every cell in your body. They help regulate growth and metabolism in the body.  The thyroid gland is located in the lower part of the neck, below the Adam’s apple, wrapped around the windpipe and has a shape that is similar to a butterfly formed by two wings.

The thyroid gland is like a factory working to produce iodine which is mostly found in seafood and sea vegetables such as seaweed (especially kelp).  The two most important thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The numbers 3 and 4 refer to the number of atoms of iodine in the hormones. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones.

The hormone with the most biological power is actually T3. Once released from the thyroid gland into the blood, a large amount of T4 is converted to T3 – the active hormone that affects the metabolism of cells throughout our body.  Of the two hormones produced, T3 is more active than T4, but is produced in much smaller quantities. T4 has a lesser effect, but most is converted to T3 by enzymes that remove one iodine atom. The greater the amount of T3 and T4 circulating in the blood, the faster the metabolism. Lower amounts of T3 and T4 result in a reduced metabolism.

One of the best things you can do for your thyroid is to give it the nutrition it needs. The liver is a very important organ to nourish your thyroid.  Your liver cleans your blood, produces an important digestive liquid called bile and stores energy in the form of a sugar called glycogen.

Your liver helps maintain good blood sugar levels, metabolizes fats and proteins, helps eliminate toxins via the bile, stores important vitamins and minerals, and makes cholesterol–the pre-cursor for estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA, and aldosterone.

The most important nutrients for good thyroid health are iodine, vitamin A, zinc, tyrosine and healthy doses of antioxidants, selenium, iron (have your health practitioner check your iron level before deciding to take iron supplements) and B complex vitamins.

So now that you have a foundation as to what was happening with my health, I’d like to share with you a few things that I did to repair my health, grow my hair back to now living a healthy vibrant life.

* Sleep 7 to 8 hours most nights

* Upon rising I drink a cup of room temperature water infused with fresh squeezed lemon.  Fresh lemon is great at cleansing your liver

* I also drink a cup of water with one tablespoon of organic raw apple cider vinegar 30 minutes before eating to improve my digestive health.

* I drink a green smoothie daily and change up the greens I use weekly.  Dandelion is a leafy green that really nourishes your liver and it is part of my smoothie regimen weekly. When I first started drinking green smoothies, I started out with organic spinach since it is milder in taste than leafy greens such as kale, collards and dandelion. Below is a basic green smoothie recipe that I started out with. Note – Kale is considered a goitrogenic food which could suppress your thyroid hormone if your thyroid is in poor health.  Goitrogen’s are substances that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones and interfere with iodine metabolism, thereby interfering with your thyroid function.

Green Smoothie Recipe – use organic ingredients 

Ingredients: one cup water, 1 bunch spinach, one apple, one lemon (skin peeled), one inch piece ginger, one pear, 1/2 tsp. MSM (organic form of sulfur, great to improve hair, skin and nails), stevia to taste (my favorite brand is NuNaturals). Blend to a creamy consistency.

* Practice Cobra Yoga Pose to open up the neck region to nourish the thyroid

* Apply a nourishing hair tonic (Jojoba oil and rosemary essential oil) nightly to my scalp and edges of my hair to stimulate blood flow

*Eat 4 to 5 Brazil nuts daily (Selenium nourishes the thyroid)

* I cut out all forms of soy. Every now and then I will use Tamari (wheat-free) in a recipe. Most soy in this country is processed and comes from genetically modified soy beans. Fermented soy such as natto, miso and tempeh are easier to digest.

* Eat salads daily and sprinkle chia seeds on them (chia seeds stabilize blood sugar, contain essential fatty acids, contain fiber, contain high quality protein, are anti-inflammatory and help to move toxins out of the body)

*Slowly reduced the amount of gluten in my diet (gluten is an irritant to not only your thyroid, but your digestive tract. This has been a process for me to remove all gluten from my diet). Be patient with yourself as you slowly phase gluten out of your life.

* Add sea vegetables to my salads weekly, especially kelp which is high in iodine. Sea Vegetables, better known as seaweed are high in minerals which are wonderful for your skin, hair and nails

* Went natural and stopped using a chemical relaxer on my hair. What freedom!!

* Use shampoos that are free of sodium lauryl and sodium laureth sulfate, parabens, propylene glycol and silicone

* Use raw shea butter to nourish my hair

* Sit in a Far Infrared Sauna weekly.  Far Infrared therapy (FIR) involves the use of Far Infrared rays to gently heal, soothe, stimulate and detox the physical body. Far Infrared Rays are invisible waves of energy that have the ability to penetrate all layers of the human physical body, penetrating into the inner-most regions of the tissues, muscles and bone.

* I work with an Acupuncturist weekly to balance my hormones. Hormone health plays a major role in the health of your thyroid. Work with your health practitioner to balance your hormones.

So now that you’ve seen what I did to heal my thyroid and grow my hair, please realize it is an emotional process and be gentle with yourself.  If you are experiencing thinning hair or hair loss. There is hope so don’t give up. Search out the best health practitioner so you can finally have answers to what you’ve been experiencing.

You know, I would hear my grandmother say, “God never gives you more than you can handle”, I believe that. I’m not sure if I would have been so dedicated and did all the things to repair my health if it hadn’t been for the fact that when I looked in the mirror at my hair, I didn’t like what I saw. That was my “WHY”.

Once you know what’s going on, get help, make a plan and stick to it. You can do it!

Please comment if you have any questions regarding your own health and please share this information with your family, friends, colleagues and clients.

I wish you the best healthy vibrant life possible!

With love and beauty,

Tracy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Beauty, Health and Wellness, Recipes, Skin Care Tips, Smoothies | 16 Comments

Five Minute Salad

Delicious Greens Recipe

Here is a recipe that is super simple to make and bursting with flavor. Even your children will love it!

Ingredients

One bunch salad greens (choosing salad greens with different varieties of lettuces is beneficial to your health)

Asian Vinaigrette Recipe

One bunch cilantro (great to cleanse your body of heavy metals)

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

1/4 c. nama shoyu (it is not gluten free, so you can use wheat-free tamari instead)

1/3 c. filtered water

1 to 2  inches fresh ginger (You can use less ginger if you like. Remove skin)

2 tsp. stevia (or your favorite sweetener)

Combine 1 to 2 tablespoons viniagrette and mix with salad greens. Store vinaigrette in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This vinaigrette is also great drizzled over steamed veggies, poultry or fish.

 Bon Appétit!

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Chocolate Radiance Smoothie

Enjoy this satisfying, delicious chocolate smoothie full of beauty ingredients. All of the pleasure, none of the guilt!

Ingredients:

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon chia seeds (soaked in almond milk for 20 minutes)

1 tablespoon raw cacao powder

1 tablespoon hemp seeds (grind them)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons stevia

Soak chia seeds in 2 cups almond milk for 20 minutes. The longer you soak the chia seeds, the thicker the consistency. Place all ingredients in blender and blend to a creamy consistency.

Here’s To Beautiful Skin!

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Daily Glow’s List Of The Best And Worst Cities For Your Skin

Check out Daily Glow’s list of the “55 Best and Worst Cities for Your Skin”

Where you live may play a bigger role on your complexion than you think. Find out how your city ranked.

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Cool Your Digestive Fire

This recipe will help to reduce inflammation and boost your immune system.

Aloe vera juice is a powerful digestive aid. It has many health benefits including the ability to ease constipation, cleanse the colon, boosts the immune system and reduce and calm inflammation in the skin.

 

Bromelain an enzyme found in pineapple juice and in the pineapple stem has the ability to reduce inflammation in the body.

Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently thus controlling constipation and diarrhea.

Lemons contain high amounts of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that is needed to manufacture glutathione. Because glutathione is used to neutralize toxins, lemons help the liver with detoxification.

Of all apple varieties, green apple has the most Vitamin C. Green apples contain a lot of fiber which helps digestion, relieve constipation or diarrhea. The carbohydrates in green apples effectively stabilize blood sugar level. Green apples are rich in Manganese, Iron, Potassium, Copper, Zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6.

Ingredients (organic):

2 oz. (1/4 c.) aloe vera juice

1 c. pineapple (fruit not juice)

Juice of 1 lemon

1 green apple (remove seeds)

Blend all ingredients and drink immediately

Enjoy!

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Foods That Detoxify The Body

There are so many ways to detoxify the body and one of the best ways to cleanse the body is to add in more foods that have many detoxifying properties.

Here are foods that support  elimination and release toxins from the body

Fruit

Fruits are very cleansing to the body with their high water content and help wash away toxins. They also can be easy to digest and full of antioxidants which help to guard against free radical damage. Antioxidants  have the added advantage of protecting your skin cells from premature aging

Green Foods

Green foods such as leafy greens, blue-green algae, spirulina, chlorella, barley, and
wheatgrass are very high in chlorophyll and detoxify the body of harmful environmental toxins such as pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and heavy metals.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits aid the body in flushing out toxins, and the enzymes in these fruits jump start the digestive system to allow your small intestine to absorb the nutrients in these foods. They are very good at cleansing the liver. Start each morning with a warm glass of lemon water.

Garlic

When you think of garlic, do you immediately think of the smell? Well believe it or not, there are many in the natural health world that call garlic a “natural antibiotic.”

Garlic is one of the best detox foods and helps stimulate the liver to detoxify and filter out toxins in the digestive tract. Raw garlic has the best detoxifying properties and if it is too pungent for you, add it to cooked foods.

Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli sprouts, similar to other sprouts, are an immature seedling of the broccoli plant.

Sprouting increases the digestion and health benefits of whatever is sprouted.

In 1996 there was an outbreak of salmonella  and E coli food poisoning which was traced to a few batches of raw bean sprouts. The food poisoning could have happened by runoff water from animal production facilities, poorly balanced manure fertilizer, or unsanitary seed harvesting. Because of the bad press, commercial non-organic sprouts are rinsed with chlorine to get rid of offensive bacteria.

In 1997, John Hopkins’ research concluded that broccoli sprouts promoted much more cancer protection and antioxidant activity via sulforaphane than broccoli alone. Sulforaphane is a potent inducer of protective enzymes that provide defense against cancer-causing chemicals.

It is a good idea to sprout your own or buy organic sprouts.

Raw Vegetables

Raw vegetables are full of enzymes which help to cleanse the body of  toxins.

What many of the foods listed below have in common are naturally occurring sulphur and glutathione. The combination of these will help your liver detoxify harmful chemicals.

  • garlic
  • kale
  • onions
  • broccoli
  • kale
  • water cress
  • cabbage
  • asparagus
  • brussel sprouts

Juicing or eating these food raw is a wonderful way to get the full benefit of the healthy nutrients in these foods. If you have a weak digestive tract, start slowly until your stomach is able to handle a larger percentage of raw foods in your diet.

One word of caution if you are experiencing thyroid issues. Many of these foods contain goitregens which suppress the thyroid hormone. Although these are very healthy foods, be mindful of how much you consume them weekly.

Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids  have a number of health benefits. They are thought to play an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body — in the blood vessels, the joints, and elsewhere.

Acne, eczema and psoriasis are an indicator that the body is experiencing inflammation.

While cleansing, it is a good idea to add foods like avocado, hemp seeds, and chia seeds to your diet. They will lubricate the intestinal wall which will help to eliminate toxins through the large intestine

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6 Foods That Contribute To Poor Health

When I think about the foods that contribute to poor health, they usually are foods that we crave and we crave them because our body is screaming for nutrients and until we feed the body foods that are full of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, our bodies will continue to crave them.

  Here are six foods that contribute to overall poor health

1. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

According to the The Grocery Manufacturers Association, about 75 percent of processed foods found at the supermarket contain GMOs. And the scary thing is that you would never know that these foods are genetically modified because they do not have to be labeled.

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) reported that “several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system.

2. Processed Foods     

Our bodies were designed to eat natural foods. Today we get most of our foods from boxes, bags, or drive throughs. If you walk down any grocery aisle, you will see shelves full of  brightly colored packaged foods just waiting to be bought.  In today’s society we look for convenience and simplicity when it comes to the next meal.

It is so tempting to buy all of these foods because as consumers our taste buds have been trained to crave foods which are sweet, salty, spicy, and probably unhealthy.

The typical American diet consists of mostly processed foods containing carcinogenic and/or heart threatening additives. There are many risks associated with processed foods and include cancer, hypertension, obesity and heart disease.   According to industry estimates around ninety percent of the food budget is spent on processed foods.

I am so happy that  Slow Food, an international grassroots movement with thousands of members in over 150 countries, links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. Slow Food was founded in 1989 to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. I love this quote from USA Today, “Slow Food aims to be everything fast food is not”

 3. Dairy 

There is so much discussion on the topic of dairy in the diet. Cow’s milk is designed by nature to be the perfect food — for calves, not for human beings.

Studies show that approximately 70% of the population worldwide is lactose intolerant. Lactase is the enzyme that digests the milk sugar lactose. If lactose remains in a dairy product you need to have this enzyme present to metabolize this sugar.

Growing up, we’ve been taught that milk is the best way for our children to get their calcium, but dairy’s high calcium causes relative deficiencies in magnesium and other bone-building minerals, and its high phosphorus and animal protein reduces calcium availability.  There are fewer nutritional or other health advantages to giving cow’s milk to children than is generally believed, while there are certainly many risks. Milk causes an inflammatory response in the body that can lead to a number of health issues including acne and respiratory issues.

Human milk and vegetable sources are superior to dairy for calcium and other nutrients in many ways. Studies show that it’s better for us to get calcium, potassium, protein, and fats from other food sources, like whole plant foods — fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed.

In place of dairy, there are many milks on the market such as coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk and hemp milk, that have a delicious taste and are a good addition to foods.   Be aware of the amount of sugar in these milk products and if you are into making your own milk, there are numerous recipes for that.

4. Gluten

When I think about gluten what immediately comes to mind is “Glue.” Glue sticking to things is a great visual on the impact of gluten in the body.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. There are companies that are processing oats on dedicated machines that have not been cross contaminated with gluten.

Gluten is hidden in many foods such as pizza, pasta, bread, wraps, rolls, and most processed foods. Research shows that an estimated 99 percent of people who have a problem with eating gluten don’t even know it. They ascribe their poor health to something else.

Personally speaking whenever I’ve eaten gluten, it has been the quickest way to put on weight. In working with clients, I’ve found when replacing the gluten in their diet with other gluten free hearty grain foods such as quinoa or brown rice, they have seen a dramatic difference in not only their weight, but also in the quality of their skin.

5. Caffeine

Caffeine is a diuretic that can dry out the skin and is very acidic to the body and research shows that acidity causes inflammation and inflammation causes a number of health issues.

Cardiovascular Problems

Caffeine increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure and can contribute to the development of heart disease. Drinking both decaf and regular coffee may increase cholesterol and homocysteine, the biochemical that science has linked to increased risk for heart attack.

Stress

Caffeine stimulates the excretion of stress hormones, which can produce increased levels of anxiety, irritability, muscular tension and pain, indigestion, insomnia and decreased immunity. Increased levels of stress can keep you from making healthy responses to normal daily stress.

Emotional Disturbances

Anxiety and irritability are hallmark mood disturbances associated with caffeine consumption, but equally important are depression and attention disorders. Depression may occur as part of the letdown after the stimulant effects of caffeine wear off. It may also appear during the recovery period after quitting caffeine while the brain’s chemistry is readjusted. Rather than increasing mental activity, caffeine actually decreases blood flow to the brain by as much as 30% and negatively affects memory and mental performance.

Blood Sugar Swings

Diabetics and hypoglycemics should avoid caffeine. Caffeine stimulates a temporary surge in blood sugar followed by an overproduction of insulin, which causes a blood sugar crash within hours. This rollercoaster causes weight gain since insulin’s message to the body is to store excess sugar as fat.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Many people experience a burning sensation in their stomach after drinking coffee because coffee increases the secretion of hydrochloric acid, which leads to an increased risk of inflammation of the stomach. Coffee, including decaf, reduces pressure on the valve between the esophagus and the stomach so that the highly acidic contents of the stomach pass up to the esophagus, which can lead to heartburn and gastro-esophageal reflux disease.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Caffeine inhibits the absorption of some nutrients in addition to causing the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, trace minerals and all essential elements necessary for good health.

Aging

Many people find that in their 40s, they can no longer tolerate the same level of caffeine consumption they could in their 20s and 30s. Production of DHEA, melatonin and other vital hormones decline with age, but caffeine speeds up that process. Caffeine dehydrates the body and contributes to aging of the skin and kidneys. It has been shown to inhibit DNA repair and slow the ability of the liver to detoxify properly.

Adrenal Exhaustion

Caffeine consumption leads to eventual adrenal exhaustion, which can leave you vulnerable to a variety of health disorders related to inflammation and fatigue.

6. Sugar

The United States is the largest consumer of sweeteners and one of the largest global sugar importers. We started in 1689 when the first sugar refinery was built in New York City. Colonists soon began to sweeten their breakfast porridge with refined sugar, and within 10 years individual consumption had reached 4 pounds a year. The average

American now consumes more than 100 pounds of sugar and sweeteners per year. In contrast, Americans consume an average of about 8 pounds of broccoli.

The USDA recommends we get no more than 10 teaspoons per day which in my opinion is way too much, yet most Americans eat about 30 teaspoons per day—that’s three times the liberal recommended daily value.

Humans love sweet things. Even before we started refining sugar, we sought out foods with sweet tastes. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that occurs naturally in foods such as grains, beans, vegetables and fruit. When unprocessed, sugar contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and proteins. When brown rice or other whole grains are cooked, chewed and digested, the natural carbohydrates break down uniformly into separate glucose molecules. These molecules enter the bloodstream, where they are burned smoothly and evenly, allowing your body to absorb all the good stuff.

Refined table sugar, also called sucrose, is very different. Extracted from either sugar cane or beets, it lacks vitamins, minerals and fiber, and thus requires extra effort from the body to digest.

The body must deplete its own store of minerals and enzymes to absorb sucrose properly. Therefore, instead of providing the body with nutrients, it creates deficiency. It enters swiftly into the bloodstream and wreaks havoc on the blood sugar level, first pushing it sky-high—causing excitability, nervous tension and hyperactivity—and then dropping it extremely low—causing fatigue, depression, weariness and exhaustion.

Sugar qualifies as an addictive substance for two reasons:

1. Eating even a small amount creates a desire for more.

2. Suddenly quitting causes withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, cravings and fatigue.

Today, sugar is found in many of the usual suspects, like cakes, cookies and candy. But you will also find it in canned vegetables, baby food, cereals, peanut butter, bread and tomato sauce. It is often disguised in fancy language, labeled as corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, glucose or fructose.

Even some so-called healthy foods contain sugar. As you walk down any aisle at the supermarket, beware of the words “natural” or “organic” on food labels.  Just because it is organic, doesn’t mean that it is healthy. The snack aisle is full of processed foods that are full of sugar and salt.

Food manufacturer’s are very clever about how they market their foods, so a good rule of thumb is to look at the ingredient list when you buy packaged goods. If there are more than 5 ingredients, you may want to think twice about eating it.

You may think your afternoon cup of coffee only has a little sugar, but a 16-ounce Starbucks Frappuccino actually contains 44 grams of sugar, or 10 teaspoons—that’s like eating three donuts! Overconsumption of refined sweets and added sugars found in everyday foods has led to an explosion of hypoglycemia and type 2 diabetes.

The bottom line is that life is about balance and there are going to be those days when you may want that muffin, believe me, I’ve been there.  When you’re eating healthy foods, the body remembers that and you will get back on track quickly.

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The Sweet Taste Of Lemon

In celebration of my son’s Opening Day at baseball, I made lemon coconut bars for friends and family.

Lemon Coconut Bar Recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 c  coconut oil
1/3 c sucanat
1 c ” Perfect Flour Blend” by Namaste (gluten free flour) or any gluten free flour

Mix together as a crumble mixture. Press evenly to cover the bottom of 9×13 pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees

Beat the next ingredients well and spread on top of crust

2 eggs
1 c. sucanat
1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1 c chopped walnuts
1/2 c chopped raisins (optional)

Return to oven and bake 20 – 25 minutes or until edges are brown. Cool slightly, then cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator

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