I love the holidays, it seems there are more opportunities to spend quality time with friends and family. And, always, along with that quality time there is a meal, or finger foods or some sort of refreshment. Who doesn’t enjoy such occasions? Even an introvert can find opportunities to enjoy themselves in a small intimate gathering.

The gift giving and big sit-down meals of Christmas are a wonderful thing. And so is a simple bowl of soup shared during a warm conversation with a friend. I think sometimes we push ourselves more than is necessary when hosting these events. I don’t believe that we necessarily do these things from a sense of prideful boasting, but more from a desire to please. None-the-less, in an increasingly complex and complicated world, let’s move toward the basics. A simple meal, shared with friends, regularly. There is some science to prove this act alone could extend your life!

Keep on reading!

Food is essential for life. We are born hungry, and proceed to eat at almost every opportunity for the rest of our lives. Here in the US, where I live, food is plentiful and inexpensive. Well, at least food-like substances are.

We all eat, our brains drive us to seek food as nourishment, energy, and for pleasure. Some of us eat to relieve stress or emotional pain, some of us eat to live, some of us eat for the pleasure it can provide. And none of us would have developed to the state we are now without the food we have perhaps unthinkingly eaten. In the end, we are what we eat.

Keep on reading!

Most people would say I keep a pretty tidy house. They might even say it is very clean. Unfortunately for me, I don’t agree. See, I’m the sort that sees, and notes, every little detail that is out of ‘alignment’ with what I learned in the Marine Corps. Attention to detail, shine that shower stall with lemon pledge, dust the plumbing under the sink, fold your spare blankets to make the shape of the lower-case “e,” lace your boots right over left, trim all strings off your cammies or you are dangling Russian rappelling ropes. You get the idea.

Continue reading “House Cleaning”

Joshua Rosenthal is the founder and director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and the author of this book. The book is 13 chapters and 290 pages before you get to the recipe section. This book is a wonderful introduction to topics ranging from dietary theories and what they mean for you to basic Ayurvedic practices, exercise to spirituality and all life-related topics in between.

Continue reading “Book Review: Integrative Nutrition”

As my regular readers know, I recently completed my Integrative Nutrition Health Coach program @Institite for Integrative Nutrition. One topic we covered during my education was the microbiome. Well, I’m not a doctor or a scientist, but I find this area of self-knowledge amazingly interesting, therefore the topic of today’s rather long and detailed post. Please hang with me to the end, you will be so glad you did!

Continue reading “Fermenting Frenzy”

Recently I met a friend and went on a treetop adventure. I had never done so before, nor had I tried a zip line. Now, don’t go thinking bad thoughts about me, I had done rock climbing and repelling years ago as a young USMC Corporal. And, if you must know, I loved the experience.

But, those stories are for another time. This story is about my experience in the tree tops.

Our adventure began on a deck about 3 feet off the ground, and culminated in practicing clipping on and off the cable, and taking my first little zip. It was pleasant and seemed completely sensible and do-able. 

Then we walked over to a big pine tree with a ladder up its side, and a platform a few feet above my head. My friend did not want to go first, so up the ladder I went. Then clipped onto the cable, and worked my way around the tree on the rather small platform. Now those little challenges that looked so simple, and not so far off the ground look a little more threatening when I got right up to them.

As I waited for my friend to climb up to the platform and get clipped in I had plenty of opportunity to look over the hazard ahead. The first step off the platform was down, and out about 2 feet. I’m short, a 2 foot stride is a bit of a big step for me. The platform was suspended on chains from a cable above my head. As I looked at it I began to wonder if I was strong enough. What if I stepped out there and the platform moved forward too far, I’m not a splits kind of girl, that could go sideways pretty quickly. What if the first platform banged into the next one, and then everything was moving. Oh, my mind was beginning to evaluate, and suggest, all the ways this could go poorly. These moments to dwell on my impending first step felt like minutes.

And then it was time for action. My friend was on the platform, clipped in, and ready to watch me sink or swim, or actually walk or fall. I moved my clips to the challenge cable. “Stop!” she said, “I want to take a video.” Oh great, now my mis-steps will be recorded for all time. The pressure to succeed or at least not make a fool of myself builds.

Once she’s in place and gives me permission to go I take that first step. Not too bad, I get one foot and then the other on the first platform with only a little forward and backward swing. Two steps forward and I need to step to the next hanging platform. My first attempt, holding the chains of both doesn’t seem sufficiently stable. It needs to be an all or nothing plunge forward. Taking a deep breath I reach one hand and then one foot forward, straddling the platforms. For just a moment my feet want to extend forward and behind me, but that quick tightening of my whole body in fear takes care of it. As I stabilize my footing on the new platform I find myself moving my other hand and foot forward and regain stability immediately. Somehow, without my consciously knowing what I’ve learned I move forward, crossing the remaining platforms and arriving at the tree in moments.

Why have I taken a few moments to tell you this little tale? It has a big life lesson in it, one I think is worth sharing. You see, I’ve been in school to become an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. My reasons will need to be in a separate post, to come soon, I promise. Now I’ve completed my schooling, my business cards are done, as is my brochure, my web site is up, and it is time for the next step.

That next step is so fraught with danger, I could fail, I could do a bad job, it could not go according to my plan. Or not.

In the midst of all these thoughts and this musing on a Saturday morning with my chai tea getting cold, I do believe there is some deep truth about human nature in that little step from the tree platform – solid, safe, secure, not changing, immobile; and the swinging platform – fluid, free, dangerous, and new. Most of us are risk adverse. And yet, when we take those risks, most of the time they work out, they bring growth, freedom, and exciting new experiences.

It is time to step out.

If you want to watch the video, check out my YouTube channel, Pam Lady On A Quest.

If you need to step out, and want a supportive community, share your intention below.

Mountain R&R


Earlier this month I celebrated my last birthday of my 50’s. My husband and I went camping in our cute Little Guy Max, an over-sized teardrop camper. We took along our new bicycles so we could ride along the New River State Park  bike trail.

Our first evening was quiet and uneventful – exactly the way a camping trip ought to be. We had a slow peaceful start to my birthday. I wandered around the camp site taking pictures andvideos as I sipped at my chai tea.  

Our first full day, and the only day we’d be there without the rest of our gang, we decided to take an extended bike ride along the New River trail – from our campground in Fries, VA to Galax, VA, two small towns in the southern Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. It was 17 miles, one way, to Galax, which didn’t seem like very far to me. Ha! I learned better by the end of the day.

What a beautiful day for a bike ride along wide gravel trails, following an old converted rail way along one of the oldest rivers in the US. In no time we were at Fries Junction. From here we could turn one way and head toward Galax, a short 12 miles away. The first amazing scenery was the bridge spanning the river, it was very wide at that place and the bridge was paved with boards. Unfortunately, the old iron walls were still in place, so we couldn’t look at the river as we rode across it. About a mile or so further on we came to the tunnel. 

This was one big, dark tunnel. It was so dark that as you entered you left daylight behind, and only when you were nearly half-way through the tunnel and rounded a slight curve did you see the daylight of the exit many yards ahead. Had there been anything or anyone hiding in the midst of that tunnel I would have never seen them, and had they been in my path, they would have been run over. 

After the tunnel it was uneventful riding with a tributary to the New River along first one side then the other of our trail. We twisted and switch-backed our way through about 1,000 feet of elevation climb until we were suddenly back among civilization, and then at the
Galax end of the trail. About 17 miles, and it had taken nearly 3 hours to complete it. Now, I must say we rode steadily, but not in a rush, but I certainly didn’t expect it to take that long for us to complete the outward portion of our trip.

Much later, after dinner, my thighs began to ache. Just a dull sore kind of ache. I avoid using OTC medication like aspirin or other NSAIDs, but I adore my doTerra essential oils. I hadn’t packed well on this trip; I had forgotten shampoo, deodorant, and many of my go-to essential oils. But, I did have lavender. I applied a couple drops to each thigh. Ah, in a few minutes the pain was mostly gone. What pleasant relief. We enjoyed our evening with our camping buddies, and then it was off to bed. 

Around 2am I woke to cicada songs, and to an incessant ache in my thighs. Tossing and turning I just couldn’t get back to sleep. At 3 I got up, rustled through all my essential oil supplies for something stronger than lavender. Ah, I found it, a small sample of doTerra’s Deep Blue. I applied just a small dot, the size of a pea, to each leg, and in moments the pain was gone, and did not return. Nor was I tight, sore, or achy the next day. What a wonderful blessing! I’ve always heard others tell their tales of Deep Blue‘s pain relieving abilities, but didn’t truly appreciate them until I got to experience them for myself. 

 

 

 

 

 

We all have one. We’re born with it, and we have it to be very end, or at least most of it, or maybe some of it. Our brain is hidden from sight, and can take decades of abuse before it begins to fail us. How often do we think about taking care of it?

Researchers are beginning to see a link between obesity, depression, and Alzheimers. All three are considered expressions of unhealthy lifestyles. And all three don’t happen the first time you have a donut for breakfast, or drink too much beer. Single events are not a lifestyle, until they become a lifestyle.

So, what are you doing in your every day life that could be, shall we say, not so great for your brain health and longevity? Think about all those things you’ve heard everyone saying for years are related to poor health. There are all the known things like drugs, alcohol, smoking, excessive caffeine, toxins in our food and environment. Then there are things we don’t think about much, like previous brain injuries, high stress, lack of exercise, even unhealthy peers.

Yes, let’s talk about our peers for a moment. Recall when you were in school your mom was concerned about who you socialized with? The thought was always that whomever we spend time with is who we will be like. Well, that old adage remains true years later. If you primarily socialize with people who make healthy choices, you will tend to be healthier, and if not, well, you made your choice.

So, getting back to our brains, how can we help them out? By making good decisions, engaging with a positive peer group, minimizing toxins in our food, water, environment, increasing the omega 3’s in our diet, and regularly exercising. These things in addition to the basics of good living like a great diet, enough sleep (count that as 8 hours), maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and practicing gratitude.

Of that rather long list let me pick out omega 3’s. There is a difference in pasture raised eggs, dairy and meat. Do your own searches, there is a vast array of information out there. Once you’ve made up your mind, then seek out places you can get higher quality more nutritious foods. Your brain will thank you. 

What other foods support your brain? Well, we can paint with a broad brush and suggest the Mediterranean diet in general. Or we can select individual foods to add into our existing diet. If you want individual foods consider green tea, walnuts, avocados, and blueberries. 

And finally, while it does seem to be true that we are what we eat. We are also who we socialize with, as mentioned before. Humans are social creatures, so be sure to get out and spend pleasurable time with others frequently, it is good for your brain. Exercise is also great for the brain, it reduces the risk of depression, but also helps boost memory and coordination. And follow your passion when it comes to creative hobbies – from painting to dancing or playing music, these hobbies allow you an outlet for self-expression as you keep your brain challenged.

 

If you like what you read here, and want to dig deeper, let me know!

For the last few years lots of people “in the know” have been encouraging coconut oil as a more nutritious option. Then in July someone posted a YouTube claiming it is poison!!! Well I can tell you I use it extensively and haven’t suffered any ill effects.

So what is up? Read the article below for a glimpse into the hidden world of the science and lies about our food, our bodies, and our healthy options.

Once again it appears big business pulls the strings for the puppets at our federal agencies and even universities to spin things their way.


How in the world can margarine- a wholly man-made food-like substance ever be better for you than a natural plant-based food consumed by civilizations for centuries???

I may not be an Ivy League professor, but I do have common sense. Please take a look at Dr. Mercola’s videothen share it, comment, and voice your opinion!!!

 

 

Want to learn more? Sign up for my newsletter here!

 

A long time ago, literally over 20 years, I ran across some information about fluoride that said it was a toxic byproduct of the manufacturing process. Yuck. I thought, what is it doing in our toothpaste?

As I did more research I found that it was ‘easier’ to sell it to municipalities to dump it in drinking water than to dispose of it. Double yuck.

So, while raising my children they did NOT use fluoride toothpaste, nor did I allow the dentist to give them fluoride treatments. Of the six children we raised only 1 had any cavities, and frankly, I just couldn’t get that one to brush her teeth as regularly as she ought to. [I still love you girlie!]

And here we are, years later. No one has ‘blown the whistle’ on fluoride. 

You know, one of the things I read all those years ago was that Hitler’s organization intentionally put fluoride into the drinking water of populations they were seeking to control. Just as farmers had known for years that a little fluoride makes a bull more docile, Hitler sought to take over entire populations with little to no resistance. Check out Bryson’s book, The Fluoride Deception, for the details. These ideas makes me cringe, I wish it was not true.

Doesn’t that just make your blood boil? How many American communities are poisoning our water with toxic chemicals which have very little if any proven value in our bodies? Where has the American spirit of independence, that idea of picking ourselves up by the proverbial bootstraps and making something of ourselves gone? 

I don’t mean to be political, nor do I want to ruin anyone’s day. But please, do your own research, check out far more famous folks than me and see what they say about fluoride. Then run as fast as you can to your bathroom cabinet and carry those tubes of poison laced toothpaste out to the trash can. I use, love, and recommend doTerra’s onGuard toothpaste. It includes essential oils which not only taste great but support your health and wellness. 

See what Vani Hari, Food Babe says about fluoride.

See what Dr. Axe says here

Fluoride

And print and share this infographic with anyone you know who brushes their teeth. 🙂

What have you done to reduce toxicity in your daily life? I’d love to hear from you, post your comments below.

Health Coaching

Eos

© Lady On A Quest

“Blossom where you’re planted.”

Daisy’

Saturday morning musings

Late Summer

It is late August. Several months ago we made our final mortgage payment on our dream home. It sits on almost 6 acres, partly wooded, partly fields, and partly ‘yard.’ There is something about the feeling of knowing you own your home, each blade of grass seems special, when a month ago it wasn’t. It is an odd, but wonderful feeling. All my adult life I’ve paid rent or a mortgage. Now, in my very late 50s, that phase of my life is done. I don’t think I’ll miss it.

So, now that we own it, let’s make it work for us. Let’s do something that will support us into our middle years (planning on a life well beyond 100, so I can say that, I suppose.) Anyway, we have decided to expand on our little farm. For the last 5 years I’ve done a garden, about 20, 4’x4′ raised beds with various beds bordering them. Each year we have volunteer tomatoes, and some squash, greens, beets, okra, peppers and the like. This summer I’ve dried some herbs: basil, thyme, and mint. 

We’re expanding. In the past we had a ‘lower garden’ in a different location on the property. I put bigger plants there, zucchini, okra, corn, even watermelon. Let me digress for a watermelon story. I didn’t plant seeds, but rather bought baby plants at a local Amish nursery. It was a hot afternoon when I got home so I put the flat in the shade next to the garage while I planted the flowers. [See, ladies, I do have my priorities right!] Anyway, while my back was turned so to speak, my lawn-mowing hubby came by and started into my flat of baby plants. He realized the error of his ways quick enough, backed up and went on. Meanwhile, in a frenzied attempt to save the plants I stalked out to the raised beds and plopped all the plants in the ground – temporarily. Time passed.

One day I determined to revitalize the lower garden, and it just made sense to move something big like watermelon out to the lower garden. So I did. The rows were covered with a woven landscaping fabric to keep the weeds at bay. It was black. Next morning my little 3′ watermelon vines were limp and burned up. Quickly I placed some straw between them and the hot fabric. Grabbed my watering can and attempted to drown them in an effort to ensure they revived.

More time passes. The watermelons revive, limping along, beginning to fight with the crab grass which seems like it wants to take over the whole world. Then comes the day we decide to expand the lower garden. Well, you can’t cut down trees and brush, chip the branches, grind the stumps, and till the area with the plants in place. So I moved them, again. Yes, that makes 3 times. 

The watermelons are not doing great. But they are also not dead. I suppose there is a lesson in there, something like – blossom where you’re planted, or it is important to put down roots, or maybe, moving around a lot isn’t great for your vitality.

Back to today’s story. It is a nice overcast day, hot, but not 90 degrees and sunny. I worked in the garden some this morning, used the blower to clear the fresh cut grass off the driveway. Removed an old rotten board from the edge of the garlic and herbs area along the south side of the little garden. Cut some thyme and put it in the dehydrator. Cut the seed heads from the Black-eyed Susans next to my little shed and up by the studio; then strategically scattered them along a bank on the front side of the big field. Next year we should have a whole wall of sunshine there. Around about 11:30 I was starting to get really hungry. That’s when I realized I had a bowl of thawing blueberries and raspberries sitting on the counter, since about 7 this morning. So, after starting a load of laundry I added my walnuts, chia seeds, bee pollen, and yogurt to the berries and gave them a stir. In between bites I put together the ingredients for my chai tea. Yes, we’re finally getting to the recipe now. As I was working through the recipe, and eating a bite of my berries, nuts, and yogurt I took a quick run out to the compost heap. When I came back into the house, the aroma of the hot spices assaulted me with such glorious goodness I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Once the tea ingredients were assembled I brewed up a pot in my very favorite dragon-fly cast iron tea pot, and sat down to tell you this story.

This recipe makes about 2 cups of tea. Originally I received this tea as a gift, I loved it so much I asked for the recipe. I’ve made it several times, and generally am a bit generous with all the spices and herbs. My current batch is made with Anthony’s organic English Breakfast tea. For my preferences I like more spices and less tea. I don’t use sweetener, just a big splash of local Amish grass-milk

 

Ingredients

36-40 green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns (or a mix)
3 tablespoon fennel seeds
1.5 teaspoon coriander seeds
1.5 teaspoon whole cloves
4 4-inch cinnamon stickhome123

6 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
1.5 cup loose black or green tea (I prefer about 1/4c green, the rest black)

With a sharp knife, split the cardamom pods in half, long way seems to work best.

Wrap the cinnamon stick in some cheese cloth, or even a paper towel, lay it on a chopping board and give it a few good whacks with a meat tenderizer, rolling pin, or hammer. The goal is to get small pieces, not dust! The more surface area you create the more opportunity there is for cinnamon essence to permeate your tea. NOTE: Once I tried using powered cinnamon, don’t. Something strange happens to powered cinnamon when it sits in a tea pot for an hour or so, the word slimy does seem appropriate in that condition, and it makes the last little bit of tea quite unappetizing. 

Place the cardamom in a small cast iron skillet along with the peppercorns, fennel, coriander, cloves and cinnamon. Stirring occasionally, toast over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the spices are fragrant. Remove and cool a couple minutes.

Then the original instructions say to crush spices lightly with a rolling pin or in a mortar and pestle. I use the pestle in the cast iron pan.

In a bowl, toss the spices, candied ginger and tea together until blended.

The original recipe said to use about 1 tablespoon of tea for a cup. I use my lovely pot, which holds about 28 ounces of water, so I use 2-3 tablespoons.

In Japan the Tea Ceremony is very ritualized. At my house, the tea ceremony is pleasant and relaxing, using a pretty pot and tiny cast iron cup makes the whole experience special. 

Please share your comments about how you enjoy your tea or how you like this recipe.

 

Microbiome.
It may be a new word to some, but it is a key to wellness and health. Our bodies are a temple, our Bible tells us this. And, science has been exposing that there is truth in the Bible we do not yet understand. And, I don’t know how to get this across and not seem loony but I’m going to try to explain this idea here, briefly. Then I encourage you to access additional information either at the links below or other sources.
Our bodies are amazing feats of ‘engineering’ which science has yet not been able to completely understand. But, understanding is growing.
I would not call myself a scientist, but, I understand some. And what the science related to our microbiome is telling us is that we have more of a symbiotic relationship with all the little bugs that live in us then we ever thought.
For example: There is a bacteria in our gut which releases a compound which our body uses as a signal to create

serotonin

a compound present in blood platelets and serum that constricts blood vessels and acts as a neurotransmitter. 

 

Check out this website hosted by Jeffrey Smith for a wealth of information on GMOs, microbiome, and more!

Or see what Dr. David Perlmutter has to say about the growing list of microbiome threatening drugs.

Or check in on Dr. Axe, who has an article about eating dirt to improve our health.

Or Dr. Oz has a bunch of resources, like this one about what your gut reveals about your health.

Check my other blogs about microbiome and fermented foods, or even see my yogurt, sauerkraut, or fermented veggies recipes.

Let me begin by saying I am not a web developer, or at least I never thought of myself as one, nor did I ever really aspire to be one. However, I am also a penny pincher sometimes, and am unwilling to pay others for something I can do for myself.

So, today I had the dubious pleasure of messing with this site, trying to get my blog posts to nicely sort themselves into nice clean pages based on their category. All the help files spell it out as a simple two step process. But it wasn’t working. No matter what I did I got the dreaded 404 error – this page can not be found. Ugh!!!

I tried over and over. I added new pages, configured them every which way imaginable, put them in the trash, and then, lest they negatively impact something with their ghost, returned to permanently deleted them.

All to no avail.

I searched the web, my search phrase, “category and page” come up all sorts of ways, always the same simple two step process that wasn’t working for me. Then I stumbled across something too ‘techy’ for me to understand clearly – BUT – it had a new phrase describing my malady, perhaps it would be a valid search phrase to generate the information I lacked.

Well, things got even more ‘techy’ with reference to themes, php pages, and editing templates. All my common sense rebelled at this information – after all, it is a two step process. How difficult can it be?

And then I saw it, the comment that some website templates have a bug when it comes to displaying blogs by category.

At this point I was about 5 hours into a project I previously thought would take, oh, maybe 30 minutes. My frustration was through the roof. I had even sent a note to my “Happiness Engineer” – after 2 hours he hadn’t responded yet either.

And then, a reference to permalink… hum… I know the issue is related to the link. I may as well check it out. Well, what I discovered was enough to fix the problem. Yes, I had the bug in my theme, Wedge, in case you also have it. Buried deep in the permalink screen was a field for category links, and it had a period in the field. Should not have been there.

Removed that errant dot and then everything began working as it ought to. 🙂

About 3 hours later my “Happiness Engineer” got back to me, I told him what the problem was, and suggested they have whomever maintains the theme update it so others don’t suffer the same wasted Saturday afternoon I did.

So, did this experience make me think maybe next time I should pay someone. No, maybe it should have, but it more convinced me if I mess with something, even something I don’t really know or understand, eventually I can figure it out. 

And, all that reminds me of this really good Bible study in the YouVersion called The Last Arrow. It is about not giving up, not quitting. Success may be almost in our grasp, just a micro-inch away, but if we quit before our time, we can’t succeed. We are called to succeed, to move forward, conquer obstacles, and give those things we have committed to our all.

As an student of integrated nutrition, I recently read a book called “The Case Against Sugar” by Gary Taubes. It is a great book – another one of those books that makes you think, how in the world can some people go to bed at night knowing they do these things? So, generally sugar has been around a long time. As individuals, and societies became more affluent sugar consumption tends to increase. The first sign of a sugar problem a few centuries ago was bad teeth. But obesity and diabetes were not far behind.

Sugar is a ‘natural’ food, right? How could it be bad for us? In the 1970s there were questions raised about sugar, was it truly safe? 

The sugar industry won that battle in the 1970s. In doing so, it managed to shape both public opinion on the healthfulness of sugar, and how the public-health authorities and the federal government would perceive it for the next quarter century, if not, perhaps, ever since…

By the mid-1980s, academic or government researchers who suggested that sugar could be a cause of heart disease or diabetes said they were risking their credibility in the process.

We hear it in the news all the time, maybe we ought to cut back on sugar, maybe it is linked to this or that. But, the food industry, and the sugar industry in particular are quick to counter any argument against sugar in our diet. And the sickening of all those who follow a ‘Westernized’ diet continues.

In this great read, not overly scientific or difficult to understand, Gary takes us from the early days of the sugar industry right up to the present. He explores the industry, the science, and the efforts that have been made to keep sugar front and center, and expanding as part of our diets.

At one time a bit of sugar was recommended for women who were excessively slender, it was believed a little fluff on the upper arms/shoulders was more feminine. And yet just a few decades ago popular nutrition had us cutting fat to loose weight rather than sugar. If nearly 2 centuries ago they knew sugar would add a little ‘fluff’ – what in the world has prevented us from acknowledging that to loose a little (or a lot) of fluff, we ought to try cutting sugar?

Here’s another way to think about the idea that a cluster of chronic Western diseases associate with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and diabetes and hence sugar consumption: Diabetes, though a discrete diagnosis by our doctors is not a discrete phenomenon in which bad things suddenly start happening that didn’t happen before. Its part of a continuum from health to disease that is defined in large part by the worsening of the metabolic abnormalities – the homeostatic disruption in regulatory systems – that we’ve been discussing and that are associated with insulin resistance, if not caused by it, and so part and parcel of metabolic syndrome.

As we become ever more insulin-resistant and glucose-intolerant, as our blood sugar gets higher along with our insulin levels, as our blood pressure elevates and we get ever fatter, we are more likely to be diagnosed as diabetic and manifest the diseases and conditions that associate with diabetes. These include nto just heart disease, gout, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and  the cluster of Western diseases that Burkitt and Trowell included in their provisional list, but all the conditions typically perceived as complications of diabetes: blood-vessel (vascular) complications that lead to strokes, dementia, and kidney disease; retinopathy (blindness) and cataracts; neuropathologies (nerve disorders); plaque deposits in the arteries of the heart (leading to heart attacks) or the legs and feet (leading to amputations); accumulation of advanced glycation end products, AGES, in the collagen of our skin that can make diabetics look prematurely old, and that in joints, arteries, and the heart and lungs can cause the loss of elasticity as we age.

So, what to do? Do we need to change our diets? Probably. How should we change our diet? More vegetables and fruits, healthy meat choices, and good fats, maybe a few whole grain carbs, if your body does well with them.

Gary ends with this thought after suggesting sugar may be toxic, and consumers ought to weigh the benefits and risks.

To know what those benefits are, though it helps to see how life feels without sugar. Former cigarette smokers… impossible to grasp intellectually or emotionally what life would be like without cigarettes until they quit…

A similar experience is likely to be true of sugar– but until we try to live without it, until we try to sustain that effort for more than days, or just a few weeks, we’ll never know.

Here is a great little document explaining the types of sugar, how much we’re actually eating (150+ pounds per person per year!!! – that’s 6 cups of sugar a week- a mountain of empty calories.) and some great ideas for eating whole foods and fruits rather than sugar-fortified options.

 

The Case Against Sugar

“The glucose we consume– in starch or flour or as half of a sugar molecule– will be used directly for fuel by muscle cells, the brain, and other tissues… But the fructose component of sugar has a much different fate. Most of it never makes it into the circulation; it is metabolized in the liver.  Page 192

“this implies, of course, that if insulin-resistant, obese, and/or diabetic mothers give birth to children who are more predisposed to being insulin resistant, obese, and diabetic when they, in turn, are of childbearing age, the problem will get worse with each successive generation.”          Page 223

“… perhaps three out of every four cases of cancer in the United States might be preventable with appropriate changes in diet and lifestyle…” Page 258

“If the sugars we consume – sucrose and HFCS (High fructose corn syrup) specifically – cause insulin resistance, then they are prime suspects for causing cancer…”               Page 263

“I’ve argued here that enough evidence exists for us to consider sugar very likely to be a toxic substance, and to make an informed decision about how best to balance the likely risks with the benefits.”      Page 273

I’ve just been doing a little light reading, and watching. There is so much that we need to know, that is not shared on the daily news. Take GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and our microbiome for example.

Take a look at the Institute for Responsible Technology site. This page addresses the “Big GMO Cover-up. GMOs are so much more than just a little bit of changed DNA.

In the U.S., three major commodity crops are raised predominantly from GMO seed:  field corn (92%*), soybeans (94%*), and cotton (94%*).  *percentages are based on U.S. acreage as of 2015 (USDA)

There is the fact that the plant is no longer what it once was, literally. At one time the argument for going GMO was to increase crop yield, addressing world hunger and all that. But science has since shown that crop yields are not expanded as a result of GMO, and in some cases drop.

GMO typically allows the farmer to use glyphosate, or ‘Round Up’ as Monsanto (now purchased by and hidden inside the Bayer corporation – who include crop science in their list of business groups). And many farmers are switching to organic as a result of becoming sick (poisoned) by the pesticides and herbicides they use with GMO crops.

Glyphosate weakens the immune system of plants while also enhancing the undesirable microbes in the soil. When glyphosate is applied to the plants, it is absorbed. And it is in our food. It (both GMOs and the glyphosate that comes along with it) are linked to: brain fog, weight gain, gastro-intestinal issues, autism symptoms, asthma, diabetes, irritable bowel, and at least a half a dozen additional chronic health issues. Veterinarians have reported that pigs who had experienced diarrhea for years on a GMO grain diet returned to normal bowel function within 2 days after changing to a non-GMO diet.

Glyphosate is a strong antibiotic, meaning it kills bacteria. In humans it seems to kill the good gut bacteria. If you know anything about our microbiome (gut bacteria) you know that science is continuing to discover reasons we ought to keep it happy and flourishing. As reported in The Human Microbiome Project

In fact, humans rely on microbes to perform many important functions that we cannot perform ourselves. Microbes digest food to generate nutrients for host cells, synthesize vitamins, metabolize drugs, detoxify carcinogens, stimulate renewal of cells in the gut lining and activate and support the immune system.

Moral of this short story? Read more – check out the Institute for Responsible Technology, and feed your microbiome some organic pre-biotics like kale.  🙂

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