Foods, Uncategorized

Homemade Marshmallows

marshmallows

Homemade Marshmallows

 

Vegetarian Marshmallows

 

(from U of Indiana)

 

This recipe uses agar agar, which is vegetarian, instead of gelatin. If you want to use gelatin, use 4t of gelatin for every 1 t of agar agar (2T for this recipe).

 

Finally, my boys can have marshmallow treats… and they’re better than store bought! Substitute vanilla with candy oils (peppermint is my favorite) and add food coloring for a nice touch. You can make whatever shapes you want: I like snowflakes for Christmas! They keep for over a week in Tupperware. The longer you have them, the crunchier they get, making them perfect for hot cocoa.

 

1 1/2 t. agar

 

1 t. pure vanilla extract

 

1 1/2 C sugar vegetable-oil cooking spray

 

2/3 C light corn syrup

 

1/8 t. salt corn starch

 

Coat a 12 x 17 inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.

 

Place 1/3 C cold water into bowl of electric mixer. Sprinkle with agar agar. Let mixture soften for 5 minutes.

 

Place sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/3 C water in small to medium saucepan (if you use to large of a saucepan, the thermometer will not be covered by mixture). Cover. Bring to a boil. Remove lid. Cook, swirling occasionally until syrup reaches 238 degrees (soft ball stage) (~5 minutes).

 

With mixer on low speed, whisk agar mixture while slowly adding syrup in a steady stream down the side of the bowl. Gradually increase mixer to high. Beat until mixture is thick, white and has almost tripled in volume (~ 12 minutes). Add vanilla (or other flavoring/food coloring) and beat 30 seconds more.

 

Pour mixture into baking sheet and smooth with spatula sprayed with cooking oil. Let sit (uncovered) overnight.

 

Cut out with cookie cutters or cut with kitchen scissors, sprayed with cooking oil. Roll marshmallows in corn starch to keep them from sticking to each other. Store in air tight container, with wax paper between layers.

 

Happy Holidays

 

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Uncategorized, Health and Disease

Foods That Fight Back Pain

Foods That Fight Back Pain

Foods That Fight Back Pain

 

As reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center, back pain is the second leading cause for doctor visits, with up to 80% of adults in the United States suffering from this type of pain. Inflammation is a common cause for back pain. While inflammation is a natural response to disease or injury in the body, making small changes to your daily diet can help reduce this inflammatory response.. There are many different types of foods that help fight inflammation and reduce back pain. Dietary changes can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments as recommended by your physician.

 

Fatty Fish

 

Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce both inflammation and pain in the body, and can be especially effective for non-surgical back pain according to research at the University of Pittsburgh. However, there is a risk of bleeding with certain forms of omega-3 fatty acids that may be increased if you take blood-thinning medications so check with your doctor.

 

Red Grapes

 

Red grapes contain a compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to help prevent deterioration of tissue and damage to cartilage in the back. Other foods that contain this beneficial compound include blueberries, cranberries, and red wine (but not too much!).

 

Cherries

 

Tart cherries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation, joint pain, and muscle pain.

 

Berries

 

Berries contain high amounts of antioxidants, helping to reduce inflammation. Certain berries also contain anthocyanins and ellagitannins, which can fight inflammation and pain. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, acai, and pomegranate all have pain-fighting components.

 

Pineapple

 

Pineapple is well-known for helping to relieve pain due to the enzyme, bromelain. Bromelain helps suppress the inflammatory response, can reduce swelling, and ease pain. However, bromelain can increase bleeding, affect ulcers, and interact with medications, including certain antibiotics.

 

Broccoli

 

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane that can reduce inflammation before it starts and block certain damaging enzymes to help prevent destruction of joint tissue.

 

Spices and Herbs

 

How you season your food can help fight pain as well. Use herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, boswellia, white willow bark, and devil’s claw. Some herbs may interact with medications, so check with your doctor before you start taking any new supplements.

 

Foods that Create Inflammation

 

Just as there are foods that can fight inflammation and pain, there are also foods that can potentially trigger an inflammatory response from the body, increasing inflammation and pain. The Cleveland Clinic recommends avoiding gluten, tobacco, and foods from the nightshade family, including the following:

Tomatoes

Peppers

White Potatoes

Eggplant

Paprika

 

Because all individuals react differently to different foods, try avoiding these foods for a couple of weeks to see if the pain improves. This can help you to identify your dietary inflammatory triggers.

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Uncategorized, Health and Disease, Lifestyle

Whole Person Cancer Care

Whole-Person Cancer Care

Whole-Person Cancer Care

 

 

Why lifestyle-based therapies — including nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, and other alternative practices — are becoming essential components of traditional cancer treatment.

 

When I was a kid, my dad spent a lot of time in the bathroom. He didn’t have a large intestine, so things moved through him fast. The loo was his home inside our home.

 

He lost his colon, piece by piece, at his other home, Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, Minn., where he sought treatment for a rare genetic condition that causes polyps to grow in the intestinal tract. Every year, his gastroenterologist would do a series of scopes and cut the polyps out. A couple inches of intestine usually went as well. Eventually he had no colon left.

 

My dad didn’t seem to mind the hospital or the bathroom. He loved to read, and both places gave him ample opportunity. My mom, my brother, and I found the whole situation unfortunate, but also something to tease him about. Leave it to my dad to get the world’s least romantic disease, one that entailed an annual colonoscopy.

 

We joked, that is, until his Peutz–Jeghers syndrome (PJS) was reclassified as a hereditary cancer disorder. It turns out the gene mutation that triggered those annoying but benign polyps also increased his cancer risk manyfold.

 

My dad didn’t have a lot of time to ruminate on his new circumstances. Just as PJS was getting reclassified as a cancer syndrome, his lungs proved the point. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that same year.

 

He died six months later, and he left a legacy: I have PJS, too.

 

Cancer, Then and Now

My dad was diagnosed 20 years ago by the calendar, but light years away in terms of cancer research. Back then, the disease was considered primarily genetic, and genes were viewed as an immutable part of our biological architecture: The only cancer-prevention strategy was to cross your fingers and hope you didn’t get it. If you did get it, the only treatment options were chemo and radiation, so you crossed your fingers again and hoped they worked.

 

Today, we know that genes are only a part of the picture, and that there is a lot we can do in our daily lives to prevent cancer. Even more promising, many of the strategies that help prevent cancer can also help combat the disease if it crops up.

 

“It seems like the big, bad cancer-cell story is just that — a story among stories. It holds up when viewed from certain angles, but it doesn’t hold up when viewed from every angle,” says Michelle Gerencser, MS, a nutrition consultant in North Logan, Utah, who specializes in cancer nutrition and nutritional immunology.

 

While most medical protocols for curing cancer are still based on the timeworn theory that the disease is a genetic mutation, Gerencser says, that theory is no longer supported by contemporary research.

 

There are plenty of reasons to question the genetic hypothesis: Cancer can be triggered by smoking or viruses like human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein-Barr. Conversely, the damaged nucleus from a cancer cell can be injected into a healthy cell and not turn the healthy cell cancerous. Genes may play a role, but they don’t tell the whole story.

 

So what does?

 

Almost all cancer experts agree on one factor: inflammation.

 

“Inflammation is fertilizer for cancer,” says Colin Champ, MD, a radiation oncologist and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. He notes that pathologists often find inflammatory cells near cancerous sites on pathology slides. “The more inflammation people have, the more likely they are to get certain cancers.”

 

Many factors fuel inflammation, including toxic exposures and chronic stress. But one of the biggest drivers is imbalanced nutrition — consuming too much nutritionally bankrupt food and not enough whole, unprocessed fare.

 

Researchers have also examined other potential triggers for cancer: mitochondrial function, microbial DNA, even the effect of our thoughts and beliefs on the immune system.

 

We still don’t know if cancer is the result of one, some, or all these things. We do know, however, that it’s a condition that involves multiple changes in health over time, and that the environment and our daily habits and behaviors are important factors.

 

As such, there’s good reason to think that the nutrition and lifestyle choices we make can improve our chances of avoiding the disease — and minimize its progress if it does take hold.

 

Better Together

Significant research in recent years has shown that lifestyle interventions and complementary therapies can help prevent and heal cancer. Most practitioners, however, insist that these are not replacements for conventional therapies — the two approaches are often most powerful when used together.

 

“There are plenty of lifestyle approaches that show promise,” says Champ, who’s a strong advocate for paleo-style nutrition to support cancer patients. But he’s firm about employing a multipronged plan. He dreads hearing from patients who had a treatable cancer a year earlier but refused standard treatment in favor of a ketogenic or vegan diet — and have recently learned the cancer has spread.

 

Acknowledging that cancer has environmental and lifestyle components does have a downside: a temptation to blame the victim. “We’re a society that likes to assign guilt,” says Cheryl Johnson, an oncology massage therapist and president of the National Alliance of Medical Massage and Bodywork. “We want to say that patients ‘did something wrong’ or ‘made bad lifestyle choices.’ But illness is not a punishment.”

 

For my part, I was diagnosed with cancer in 2012 and was shocked at how quickly I slipped into self-blame. Was cancer brewing because I hadn’t meditated or exercised enough? Was I doomed because of my genes? No, no, and no. But it took time to realize this — as well as to wrestle back the frightening idea that torrents of stressful thoughts might make me even sicker.

 

Rather than continuing to accuse myself, I soon started to focus on the degree to which I controlled my situation. I fell back on my health-journalist training and set out to learn about everything I could do to prevent cancer’s recurrence. I’ve kept up the high-risk screenings that I get for PJS, while researching every other means of cancer prevention and support, much of which I’ve integrated into my daily life. Here are some of the practices with the strongest research backing.

 

Exercise: Keep Moving

A wide body of research shows that movement has a powerful, positive impact on cancer prevention and treatment. The National Institutes of Health is especially laudatory of exercise’s positive effects, highlighting studies that show exercise can lower insulin and estrogen, both of which have been linked to cancer development and progression. Exercise also can reduce inflammation, improve immunity, and alter how the body handles bile acids that have been linked to gastrointestinal cancers.

 

A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that qigong improved symptoms, side effects, and quality of life for cancer patients. And studies show that regular exercise of any kind lowers breast-cancer risk in women by up to 20 percent, while decreasing breast-cancer-specific mortality risk.

 

“The improvement in the quality of life that exercise provides is well known. For some reason, we often forget that exercise can provide the same benefits for the cancer patient,” writes Champ on his website, CaveManDoctor.com. “Living longer is great, but living longer and feeling better is a whole different level of happiness.

 

“Cancer treatment is no walk in the park. It is clearly a physically and emotionally taxing time,” he continues. “However, whether it is during treatment or after, maybe we should take more walks in the park — and vigorous ones at that.”

 

Nutrition: Eat Your Plants

With the recent surge of research on nutrition and cancer, it’s tempting to believe in magic-bullet foods and miracle diets — but paths that lead to cancer are multiple and overlapping, and every body, and every cancer, is different. There’s no one “right” anticancer diet.

 

“Don’t listen to anticancer claims that tell you what to eat,” says Gerencser. The right nutritional approach will be based on an individual’s specific needs, she adds, not on “one study, or on doing what someone else did.”

 

Although there’s no one magic diet, some approaches are more effective than others. While no integrative oncologist encourages consuming crates of doughnuts, most will emphasize the need to eat more plants. The antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber in dark leafy greens, vegetables, and deeply hued berries are unmatched in their capacity to fight inflammation and support overall health. (For more on this, see “Cancer-Fighting Diets,” below.)

 

Experts also tend to agree on a couple of other tenets for cancer prevention and support during treatment:

 

  • Ditch the sugar. Low-glycemic dietary protocols help keep insulin and inflammation in check. These protocols emphasize proteins and fats — avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, and grassfed meats — and steer clear of foods that spike blood sugar, including processed grains and sweet fruits.

 

Still, experts note that even blood-sugar regulation is highly individual.

 

“I have clients with perfectly low blood sugar who eat white rice three times a day,” says Gerencser. “Then I have other clients who seem to become prediabetic from just looking at a sweet potato.”

 

She encourages experimentation with starches and fruits to test your tolerance, rather than blindly following any one protocol. Pay attention to whether certain foods tank your energy, and, above all, monitor your efforts with blood work. Regardless, cutting out high-sugar processed foods and beverages is key.

 

  • Fast intermittently. A 2016 meta-analysis found that periodic fasting — even brief fasts of 16 to 18 hours — improves insulin resistance and supports mitochondrial health. (For more on fasting, see “The Insulin Connection,” next page, and “The Case of Intermittent Fasting“.)

 

“Fasting isn’t fun,” says Thomas Seyfried, PhD, professor of biology at Boston College. “But it works really well.” Fasting stimulates a cellular process called autophagy, which destroys junk cells and clears their debris, he explains. Researchers theorize that this process helps eliminate malfunctioning cells that might otherwise become cancerous.

 

Acupuncture: Go With the Flow

Many hospitals now offer alternative or complementary treatment options for battling cancer. Chief among them is acupuncture.

 

Research backs its effectiveness in relieving cancer-treatment side effects, including radiation-related hot flashes, dry mouth, peripheral neuropathy, and fatigue. A 2017 report published in Current Oncology found that acupuncture significantly reduced gastrointestinal symptoms from chemotherapy.

 

“It’s not a magic bullet and it doesn’t work for everyone,” says M. Kay Garcia, DrPH, LAc, associate professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “But for many patients, it works when nothing else does.”

 

Acupuncture tends to be inexpensive, especially compared with pharmaceutical options. And for some patients, it can provide as much pain relief as opioids do, with fewer side effects.

 

Studies emphasize acupuncture’s utility in relieving side effects of treatment, but show it can be part of a preventive strategy, as well.

 

“Cancer is usually the result of a lot of imbalance that has been going on for a while,” says Tomás Flesher, LAc, owner of Three Treasures Natural Healing in Minneapolis.

 

“We often hear people say, ‘It just came out of nowhere,’ but it didn’t really.”

 

The body is a collection of dynamic energies, Flesher explains. Acupuncture practitioners often compare these energies, called chi (pronounced “chee”), to a river in the body: When it’s high, everything flows as it should; when it’s low, debris gets stuck, causing illness.

 

Acupuncture works to balance those energies before disease sets in.

 

“What’s interesting about acupuncture and other energy medicine,” Flesher says, “is that they seek to influence the changes that are happening in the body way before they manifest symptomatically.” (For more, go to “Acupuncture: Getting to the Point“.)

 

The Best of the Rest

Acupuncture is one of the most common alternative interventions, but it’s not the only one. While clinical evidence for other therapies lags behind public demand, the anecdotal evidence that they work is strong.

 

The following are a few less-studied, but often effective, therapies.

 

  • Oncology massage: Cancer patients are like the athletes of the medical world — their treatment schedule is physically taxing, and massage can mitigate the side effects. It helps reduce anxiety, support relaxation, and boost immunity.

 

“After a medical massage, cancer patients often express appreciation for being reminded that they still can feel good in their body,” says Johnson. “I don’t know if it’s a physical response or a psychosomatic effect, but if they feel better, that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?”

 

Oncology massage may feel a lot like conventional massage, but therapists are specially trained to work around active treatment sites and modify touch for each client’s needs. They also help patients tap into their bodies’ intrinsic self-healing wisdom.

 

“I don’t interpret what I do as ‘me healing someone,’” says Nissa Valdez, a holistic and oncology massage therapist in Minneapolis. “The person’s body is already set up to do that on its own. I’m there to help them be closer to parts of themselves, so they can heal themselves.”

 

Patients in active treatment should check with their oncologists first to make sure massage is safe. (If they’re in the middle of a course of radiation, for example, it could feel miserable.) They should seek only certified therapists.

 

“The bottom line is to find someone experienced to work with,” says Valdez. “Even if someone has been your massage therapist for 15 years, if he or she hasn’t worked with someone with cancer, I’d think twice about continuing.” (The Society for Oncology Massage website, http://www.s4om.org, offers a list of certified practitioners.)

 

  • Music therapy: Now used at most integrative cancer centers around the country, music therapy may help reduce acute, cancer-related pain, according to a 2017 study published in the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. A 2017 survey of integrative interventions during breast-cancer treatment found that many doctors recommended music therapy — which typically involves listening, singing, and improvisational dancing — for anxiety and depression during treatment. In addition to boosting mood and relieving pain, singing and movement often help cancer patients express difficult emotions.

 

Board-certified music therapist Sara Fisher works in three Denver-area hospitals. She doesn’t need research findings to know that music therapy works. She relies on the feedback of those who work most closely with the patients: nurses.

 

“A nurse will grab me and say, ‘You need to go work your magic on so-and-so. They just got a tough diagnosis and they won’t talk to anybody, but they’ll talk to you,’” she says.

 

  • Psychoneuroimmunology: Though only recently named, the connection between emotional and spiritual experiences and the immune system has been recognized in some cultures for hundreds of years.

 

“The idea of immune surges that lead to immediate healing has been around since the 13th century, or the beginning of recorded cancer,” says researcher Kelly Turner, PhD, author of Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds.

 

Turner began her career as a thera-pist working with cancer patients. After encountering hundreds of terminal patients who had exhausted conventional treatments but then found their cancer in inexplicable remission, she started studying their cases by asking them what they believed helped them heal.

 

“When we think about cancer, we think of a problem with the physical body,” Turner explains. “So, I expected people to tell me what they did to their bodies.”

 

But most patients recounted emotional changes — how they’d forgiven an ex-spouse or found antidotes to their boredom. Some were confident that watching four minutes of funny cat videos a day had made a difference. Others told her that gardening or burning ceremonies or having a weekly “girls’ night” had helped put them into remission — because these things helped them come into the present moment.

 

“Our emotional state impacts our immune system, often instantly,” says Turner. “It’s immunotherapy — just the natural version.”

 

Turner identified eight common factors in radical remission cases: Survivors took control of their health, deepened spiritual connections, overhauled their diets, used herbs and supplements, got more social support, increased positive emotions, followed their intuition, and found strong reasons for living. Of these, only two were physical: changing diets and taking herbs and supplements.

 

The rest were emotional and spiritual, and the details, highly individual. Whatever connected a person with the present moment — whether growing dahlias or playing with dogs — seemed to do the most good.

 

“Cases like these are plentiful,” says Turner. “They’re just severely underreported. The real problem is that we’re not studying them, and we should study everyone who has healed from cancer.”

 

The New Anticancer Life

My genes predispose me to cancer, but I don’t live in abject terror.

 

I feel empowered because the research of the past 20 years tells a new and different story. I know that I can talk to my genes through food and lifestyle medicine. I balance my energy with acupuncture and yoga. I avoid dairy and eat more vegetables in a day than I used to eat in a week. I still don’t meditate, but I’ve embraced the spiritual outlet that works for me: dumb action movies. I relax on a deep cellular level (and thrill like an 11-year-old boy) whenever I watch  Vin Diesel race across Siberia in a Dodge Charger.

 

The cancer that came for me in 2012 has (blessedly) remained at bay. I’ve got some suspicious spots in the rest of my body, so I embrace my PJS-screening protocol, and I watch and wait. Every year, like clockwork, I drink a giant jug of laxative and get a colonoscopy, while my long-suffering gastroenterologist tolerates my efforts to fight him off — kung-fu style — each time I go under anesthesia. Then I go home, chug a low-glycemic green smoothie, and cue up an action film.

 

Cancer is a multidimensional disease. I want a multidimensional plan of attack.

 

The Insulin Connection

The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin every time we eat. Insulin’s main role is to escort glucose into our cells, where it can be used for energy.

 

No matter what we eat, the pancreas releases insulin, but it releases more of it when the foods are sweet. When the body produces substantial amounts of the hormone for too long, cells stop responding, becoming insulin resistant.

 

“High insulin levels and insulin resistance are closely linked to mitochondrial damage,” says Jason Fung, MD, coauthor of The Complete Guide to Fasting. “Damaged mitochondria might be the underlying problem with cancer cells.”

 

Too much insulin may cause another problem, too. “Insulin is a growth factor, and cancer is uncontrolled growth, so anything that causes growth can make things worse,” he explains.

 

Brief periods of fasting can help lower insulin levels and reduce insulin resistance. Nutritionist Michelle Gerencser, MS, notes that it can produce beneficial metabolic changes in as little as 13 hours (which can include sleep time). So, if you stop eating at 7 p.m. and don’t resume again until 8 a.m., you can help restore lower insulin levels.

 

Low-glycemic foods — dark leafy greens and vegetables, grassfed meats, and low-sugar fruits like berries — also keep insulin in check and help reduce inflammation.

 

Cancer-Fighting Diets

Eating more plants and less sugar, while avoiding processed foods and beverages, is the foundation of all cancer-fighting diets. From there, the best approach is the one that works best for you.

 

So how do you know what that is? When you try a new anticancer food protocol, work with your healthcare provider to test your inflammation and blood-sugar levels after a few weeks. When your blood sugar and fasting insulin are well controlled and your inflammatory markers are low, you’ve likely found an effective food plan.

 

You can also use your current health status or treatment protocol as a guide. You might generally eat an anti-inflammatory diet, for example, but if you enter active treatment and your platelets are low, you might want to temporarily kick up the sesame oil and tahini, both high in inflammatory omega-6 fats, to help the platelets recover.

 

These are three of the top nutrition protocols you can use to prevent and heal from cancer.

 

Vegan

  • What it is: A 100 percent plant-based diet that eliminates meat, dairy, and honey.

 

  • Benefits: Plants and more plants supply a load of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fiber.

 

  • Challenges: Blood sugar can be harder for some to control on a vegan diet. It’s critical to get enough healthy fats for blood-sugar regulation and to avoid processed foods like faux meats.

 

Paleo

  • What it is: A nutrition protocol that focuses on grassfed meats and wild-caught fish, high-quality fats and oils, and as many plants as you can eat; avoids dairy, cereal grains, legumes, potatoes, and refined sugar.

 

  • Benefits: A diet rich in healthy fats and lean protein helps keep blood sugar under control. The omega-3 fats in grassfed meat and coldwater fish like salmon are anti-inflammatory. The absence of sugar keeps insulin well-regulated.

 

  • Challenges: There’s a tendency to overconsume meat and neglect vegetables. Consuming meat from factory-farmed animals, which contains fewer omega-3s and more omega-6s, can promote inflammation. Healthful paleo eating means sticking with grassfed and wild-caught protein, in modest amounts.

 

Ketogenic

  • What it is: A metabolic therapy that requires getting 75 to 80 percent of daily calories from fat, 10 to 15 percent from protein, and 5 to 10 percent from carbohydrates. Periods of fasting also boost nutritional ketosis, a state in which your body burns fat for energy.

 

  • Benefits: Tightly restricting glucose while increasing fat intake forces the body to switch from burning glucose to burning fat; this improves mitochondrial health and puts stress on tumor cells. (Fasting also puts stress on tumor cells.)

 

  • Challenges: It’s hard to eat so much fat and so few carbs. If you decide to adopt a full ketogenic protocol, it’s best done under the care of an experienced health practitioner. And if you do not have cancer, most researchers advocate avoiding prolonged periods of ketosis, as it can lead to phytonutrient deficiencies. “It may be good to go in and out of nutritional ketosis for general health and cancer prevention, but it may not be optimal for those using it for clinical management of existing disease,” says Dominic D’Agostino, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of South Florida. He suggests intermittent fasting and low-glycemic-index diets as a good alternative.

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Diets and Weight Loss, Foods, Uncategorized

Fill Up With Walnuts

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Walnuts Can Help Fill You Up

 

Research from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center reveals that consuming walnuts affects a brain area that regulates hunger and cravings. This finding emerged from a study of 10 obese volunteers who spent two 5-day sessions in the hospital’s Clinical Research Center. During one of these sessions, the participants drank daily smoothies containing 48 grams of walnuts. During their other stay, the smoothies tasted the same and were nutritionally identical but contained no walnuts. At the end of each session, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to monitor the volunteers’ brain activity while they viewed images of hamburgers, desserts and other desirable foods as well as neutral items such as flowers, rocks and foods considered less desirable. After drinking walnut smoothies, the images of desirable foods triggered increased activity in a brain area called the right insula, which helps regulate appetite. This activity was much less pronounced in the fMRI monitoring that followed consuming smoothies that were walnut-free. Neither participants nor researchers knew during which session the walnut smoothies were served. The volunteers also reported that they felt less hungry during the session they received the walnut-rich smoothies.

 

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Truvia Sweetener A Powerful Pesticide

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Truvia Sweetener a Powerful Pesticide

 

Truvia sweetener a powerful pesticide; scientists shocked as fruit flies die in less than a week from eating GMO-derived erythritol

 

Truvia sweetener is made from about 99.5% erythritol (a sugar alcohol), and 0.5% rebiana, an extract from the stevia plant (but not at all the same thing as stevia). A shocking new study published in the journal PLOS ONE (1) has found that Truvia, an alternative sweetener manufactured by food giant Cargill, is a potent insecticide that kills fruit flies which consume it.

 

The study is titled, Erythritol, a Non-Nutritive Sugar Alcohol Sweetener and the Main Component of Truvia, Is a Palatable Ingested Insecticide.

 

The study found that while fruit flies normally live between 39 and 51 days, those that ate the Truvia ingredient erythritol died in less than a week.

 

Erythritol made from yeast fed genetically modified corn derivatives

Erythritol is often indirectly derived from genetically modified corn, by the way. Cargill was forced to settle a class action lawsuit last year (2) for labeling Truvia “natural” when it’s actually made from a fermentation process whereby yeast are fed GM corn maltodextrin.

 

Cargill plays word games with this process, insisting that “erythritol is not derived from corn or dextrose feedstock; it is derived from the yeast organism.”

 

Yeah, okay, but the yeast are fed GMOs. So they’re playing mind games with their explanations.

 

There is a verified non-GMO erythritol available today, by the way, and it’s made by Pyure Brands, based in Florida.

 

Pyure Brands offers alternative sweeteners for the health-conscious marketplace, and their product is USDA Organic certified and Non-GMO Project Verified.

 

Truvia a really amazing insecticide

This story on Truvia’s insecticidal properties has really caught the attention of the public. Even CBS News (3), a mainstream media outlet that rarely covers the dangers of food additives, covered this story, reporting:

 

Erythritol, the main component of the sweetener Truvia, has a new, unexpected application — it may be used as an insecticide. …Researchers found that fruit flies fed with food that included erythritol or the erythritol-containing sweetener Truvia died much sooner than flies fed with food containing other types of sweeteners.

 

“The more you get [fruit flies] to consume erythritol, the faster they die,” Sean O’Donnell, a professor of biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, told CBS News.

 

“We are hoping to develop it into a human-safe insecticide,” O’Donnell later says in the story.

 

The abstract of the published study concludes, “Here we show that Erythritol, a non-nutritive sugar alcohol, was toxic to the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.”

 

No other sweetener killed the fruit flies

Fruit flies were also subjected to feeding tests with sucrose and corn syrup, but those sweeteners didn’t kill them. Only erythritol had this effect, as it shown in the chart below:

 

 

 

Erythritol also interfered with the flies’ motor coordination, as stated in the study text:

 

…adult flies raised on food containing Truvia displayed aberrant motor control prior to death. We therefore assayed motor reflex behavior through climbing assays. Flies raised on food containing Truvia showed a significantly decreased ability to climb.

 

Researchers were also able to determine that stevia was not the cause of the problem. They also tested Purevia and found it was safe for fruit flies. Only erythritol, the main component of Truvia, replicated the toxic effects on fruit flies.

 

Erythritol also exhibited a dose-dependent death response, meaning the more that was consumed by the flies, the more quickly they died.

 

What to make of Truvia’s usefulness as a pesticide?

The FDA has declared Truvia to be safe for human consumption. Then again, the FDA has also declared aspartame to be safe for human consumption, so that doesn’t carry any real credibility.

 

Sugar alcohols are widely consumed by millions of people, but that also isn’t any guarantee of their safety because Vioxx was also widely consumed by millions of people (while killing tens of thousands of them via heart attacks).

 

Most people believe sugar alcohols are safe to consume, and perhaps they’re right. But maybe there’s some yet-unknown contaminant in erythritol that’s causing these toxic effects. Or perhaps it’s the GMO connection, since most erythritol comes from genetically modified corn. A really interesting study on this would test GMO-derived erythritol vs. non-GMO erythritol to determine if there’s any difference.

 

Many scientists might also argue that perhaps erythritol is perfectly safe for humans and only selectively toxic to insects because of their different physiology. That would be the best-case scenario.

 

If true, it opens up a positive conclusion to all this: What if erythritol could be used as a natural pesticide that replaces the toxic chemical pesticides sold by companies like Monsanto and DuPont?

 

Imagine, if you will, a natural, plant-based pesticide that could be sprayed on crops to kill insects, yet still eaten by humans in trace amounts with no ill effects. That’s the hope of this discovery: maybe sugar alcohols can be sprayed on crops or used in organic food production.

 

By the way, the idea for this research came from a sixth-grader named Simon D. Kaschock-Marenda, once again proving that science is available to everyone, including children. This is why I have openly called for enhanced science education in America — in the hope that more children can learn about scientific investigations and use their knowledge to help achieve a safer, less toxic world.

 

 

 

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

What to Eat to Strengthen Those Arteries and Vein.

butchersbroom

What to Eat to Strengthen Those Arteries and Veins

 

Butcher’s Broom?

Butcher’s broom is a low-growing common evergreen shrub. It is widely distributed, from Iran to the Mediterranean and the southern United States. The plant develops edible shoots that are similar to asparagus in form. Butcher’s broom has tough, erect, striated stems with false thorny leaves. The name of this plant should not be confused with broom (Cytisus scoparius) or Spanish broom (Spartium junceum).

 

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

  1. aculeatus was given its common name, butcher’s broom, because its stiff twigs were bound together and used by butchers in Europe to keep their cutting boards clean. The plant has a long history of use. More than 2000 years ago, it was noted as a laxative, diuretic, and a phlebotherapeutic (beneficial to veins) agent. Extracts, decoctions, and poultices have been used throughout the ages, but the medicinal use of this plant did not become common until the last century. Early investigations during the 1950s indicated that extracts of butcher’s broom could induce vasoconstriction and therefore might have use in the treatment of circulatory diseases. The increasing popularity of natural and herbal remedies in Europe in the 1970s reaffirmed its position in modern medicine. Novel uses for this plant have included its use as an anti-inflammatory agent and to prevent atherosclerosis.

 

Venous conditions

A variety of compounds have been isolated from butcher’s broom. The 2 primary active saponin compounds are ruscogenin and neoruscogenin. Butcher’s broom is the active component in several produce formulations and topical treatments for venous diseases and venous insufficiency, such as varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Limited results showing some promise from clinical trials are available. The German Commission E approves oral use for supportive therapy for discomforts of chronic venous insufficiency and complaints of hemorrhoids. Butcher’s broom also may be useful for orthostatic hypotension, although data is limited.

 

Other uses

Novel modern uses for this plant have included its use as an anti-inflammatory agent and to prevent atherosclerosis. The discovery of new pharmacological activity of butcher’s broom, particularly as a cytotoxic agent, demonstrate the need for continued research on butcher’s broom.

 

What is the recommended dosage?

Extracts have been dosed at 16 mg daily for chronic phlebopathy, while a topical cream formulation was used to apply 64 to 96 mg of extract daily.

Pregnancy/nursing

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. Avoid use.

Cup of tea, teapot and branch of clover on wooden background

Butchers Broom Tea

Preparation Methods & Dosage: To make a tea from chopped root, place 1 teaspoon of the herb in a cup of boiling water and allow to steep in a closed teapot for 10 minutes.

 

Orange Peels

Yes, add those orange peels to any tea and it will help with strengthening the veins.  Orange peels can be put into desserts and when cooking meat, and get all the same health benefits for your veins,.

 

Grapes

If you have vein and or artery issues, or have had a heart attack, grapes with seeds is the route to go.  Try never to buy grapes without seeds, for there are too many hidden chemicals in those grapes.

 

Just a few things to help you out!

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Eat Dark Chocolate and Olive Oil Together!

choc

Those with a high cardiovascular risk profile should eat dark chocolate with olive oil, new study finds

 

In recent years, the medical community has put a lot of effort into educating people about reducing their cholesterol levels in order to protect their heart health. Of course, those who do have elevated cholesterol levels are often prescribed statin drugs like Lipitor, Zocor and others to lower these levels. In fact, these are among the most prescribed drugs of all time.

 

Nonetheless, these toxic drugs carry serious side effects, including muscle pain and weakness, increased liver enzymes, asthma complications, and birth defects in pregnant women, to name just a few.

 

This doesn’t mean, though, that there isn’t a healthy solution to reducing cholesterol levels naturally. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, a recent study has unlocked another key to taking care of your heart: eating dark chocolate and extra virgin olive oil together.

 

The study, undertaken by researchers from the University of Pisa in Italy, who presented the results at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in August, concluded that dark chocolate enriched with extra virgin olive oil can lead to improved heart health and a better cardiovascular risk profile.

 

“A healthy diet is known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Rossella Di Stefano, a cardiologist at the University of Pisa, and the lead author of the study. “Fruits and vegetables exert their protective effects through plant polyphenols, which are found in cocoa, olive oil, and apples. Research has found that the Italian Panaia red apple has very high levels of polyphenols and antioxidants.”

 

The researchers set out to determine whether a combination of either dark chocolate and olive oil or dark chocolate and Panaia red apple might halt the progress of atherosclerosis (a build-up of plaque on the artery walls, causing obstructed blood flow, and potentially a life-threatening blood clot) in otherwise healthy people with cardiovascular risk factors.

 

The ESC explained in a press release:

 

The randomised crossover study included 26 volunteers (14 men, 12 women) with at least three cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, or family history of cardiovascular disease) who received 40 grams of dark chocolate daily for 28 days. For 14 consecutive days it contained 10% extra virgin olive oil and for 14 consecutive days it contained 2.5% Panaia red apple. The two types of chocolate were given in random order.

 

Progression of atherosclerosis was assessed by metabolic changes (levels of carnitine and hippurate), lipid profile, blood pressure and levels of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs). EPCs are critical for vascular repair and maintenance of endothelial function.

 

The researchers took urine and blood samples at the beginning of the study and again at the end. The urine samples were analyzed for endogenous metabolites using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and circulating EPC levels were evaluated with flow cytometry. Body mass index (BMI), blood pressure levels, smoking status, lipid profile and glycaemia, were also carefully monitored for all participants.

 

The results were quite astounding. At the end of the 28-day study, the researchers found that EPC levels were significantly increased after consumption of the olive oil-enriched chocolate. Carnitine and hippurate levels were considerably decreased – which is a good thing – both in comparison to baseline figures and to the apple-enriched chocolate.

 

Most encouragingly, consumption of the olive oil-enhanced chocolate resulted in significant increases in high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and sizable reductions in blood pressure levels. (Related: Olive oil antioxidant naturally kills all cancer cells tested within an hour.)

 

So, if like millions of others you’ve been advised to take steps to decrease your cholesterol levels, you now have a fantastic excuse to increase your consumption of delicious dark chocolate. Just make sure you take some pure virgin olive oil with it! Perhaps melt that chocolate in a little olive oil and pour over fresh strawberries? Yum

 

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Foods, Uncategorized

Eat Real Butter

eatrealbutter

Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back.

It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavorings….

 

DO YOU KNOW.. The difference between margarine and butter?

 

Read on to the end…gets very interesting!

 

Both have the same amount of calories.

 

Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams; compared to 5 grams for margarine.

 

Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.

 

Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.

 

Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few and only because they are added!

 

Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.

 

Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years .

 

And now, for Margarine..

 

Very High in Trans fatty acids.

 

Triples risk of coronary heart disease …

 

Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)

 

Increases the risk of cancers up to five times..

 

Lowers quality of breast milk

 

Decreases immune response.

 

Decreases insulin response.

 

And here’s the most disturbing fact… HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!

 

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC… and shares 27 ingredients with PAINT.

 

These facts alone were enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).

 

Open a tub of margarine and leave it open in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will notice a couple of things:

 

* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)

 

* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value ; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow.

 

Why? Because it is nearly plastic . Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

 

 

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Can Eating Walnuts Lower Your Cholesterol?

walnuts

Can Eating Walnuts Help Lower Your Cholesterol?

You Only Need a Handful of Walnuts Each Day

 

Walnuts are not only good for cooking – they are healthy nuts that can also help your heart.

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recognizing the cholesterol-lowering properties of walnuts, accepted a petition filed by the California Walnut Commission in March 2004 to list the health claim that walnuts can aid in reducing cholesterol levels on product labels.

 

The discovery of the benefits of walnuts come from many clinical studies performed by various research institutions all over the world.

The results show consuming walnuts is beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels.

Walnuts are also noted for reducing the risk of heart disease and inflammation.

 

Walnuts Are Heart-Healthy

Walnuts demonstrate heart-healthy benefits due to the presence of high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and phytosterols.

 

Omega-3-fatty acids reduce triglycerides levels and slightly reduce LDL levels (low-density lipoproteins, also know as the bad cholesterol). In fact, walnuts contain the highest amount of omega-3-fatty acids in 1 ounce of nuts (i.e. one handful) in comparison to other nuts (2.5 g of omega-3-fatty acids versus less than 0.5 g found in other nuts).

 

Phytosterols appear to slightly lower LDL cholesterol levels, however, the mechanism by which it does this is not entirely known.

In addition to heart-healthy ingredients, walnuts also contain a wealth of other nutrients, including vitamin E, the B vitamins, fiber, and several minerals.

 

Lower Your Cholesterol with Walnuts

Many studies on walnuts suggest that you only need to consume a handful of walnuts each day to receive the cholesterol-lowering benefits of these tree nuts.

 

The FDA agrees with this health claim, which will be on every bag of walnuts you purchase and will state the following: “supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 oz of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

 

The Proof Walnuts Lower Cholesterol

 

Many studies indicate the usefulness of walnuts in reducing cholesterol levels. Some of the most important include:

 

The first study involving the benefits of walnuts was from Loma Linda University in 1993. This study revealed a controlled diet containing walnuts reduced LDL cholesterol significantly in comparison to the Step One diet produced by the American Heart Association. The controlled diet was a modified version of the Step One diet, with the exception that walnuts replaced the fatty acid portion in the diet.

A Harvard study outlining the benefits of nuts concluded that high dietary nut consumption decreased the risk of sudden cardiac death in 2002. In addition to this, many studies have elucidated the benefits of consuming walnuts and other omega-3 fatty acid-containing foods, citing that consuming high amounts of these products reduced the risk of stroke and clogging of arteries.

The bottom line is that walnuts are a healthy snack packed with important nutrients that can help keep cholesterol levels — and your heart — healthy. It’s amazing that most studies have shown that it takes only one handful daily to achieve this beneficial effect.

 

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