We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website Close

You Are What You Eat

You’ve certainly heard the expression many times, “
You are what you eat.” Have you ever really thought about what it means? And do you think about it when you’re making food choices?

In some ways, we do become what we eat, literally. Have you ever seen an example of your blood plasma after eating a fast food hamburger? What was previously a clear liquid becomes cloudy with the fat and cholesterol that’s absorbed from eating a high-fat hamburger.

And when you think about it, we also become what we don’t eat. When we switch from eating meat to a
vegetarian-based diet, we become less fat, less prone to many types of cancers. Our cholesterol can improve. When we’re leaner and eating fewer animal products, then many other health and fitness issues are reduced. The incidence of Type II diabetes is reduced. Blood pressure falls into normal ranges. When you’re healthier, you’re taking fewer medications. Even if you have a prescription drug benefit in your health plan, you’re still saving money with fewer co-payments on medications.

If you have a family history of high cholesterol or high blood pressure, then it’s particularly incumbent on you to revise your eating habits. Moving towards a more vegetarian diet has been shown statistically to reduce the incidence of so many of the diseases of industrialized countries. Vegetarians are statistically healthier than omnivorous persons; they’re leaner and live longer.

Isn’t it time to think about what you want to be and to eat accordingly? Do you want to be sluggish and fat? Do you want the risk that goes with eating animal products, with their high fat content? Or do you want to look like and be what vegetarians are? Leaner and fitter with a longer anticipated lifespan. It’s never too late to change what you’re doing and increase your chances for a longer, fitter life.

The Dangers of Processed Meats

Sodium nitrite is a preservative in the food industry and is used to cure meats such as bacon, hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meat.  It gives cured meats their pinkish color and lengthens their shelf life.

There was an attempt by the USDA in the 1970’s to ban the use of sodium nitrite.  Unfortunately, food processors managed to block the ban, arguing that they had nothing else to use to preserve packaged meat products.
Sodium nitrite is a color fixer that keeps the bright red color in meats.  It makes older meat products appear fresh, which will appeal to more people.

Another chemical found in many processed meats is monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer.  This can also appear on labels as hydrolyzed vegetable protein.  This chemical appears in an abundance of processed foods such as soups, canned gravies, chips, frozen dinners, and the list goes on and on.  It is also found in many restaurant foods.  Many people are sensitive to MSG and can experience several different reactions including:  numbness, burning sensation, tingling, headache, nausea, facial pressure, chest pain, drowsiness, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing for those with asthma.

Scientists use MSG to create obese rats for their studies.  Rats are not naturally obese, so young rats are injected with MSG to fatten them up.  It is believed that MSG is addictive in humans, causing people to eat more of the foods that contain it.

BHA and BHT are synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives.  They are used in foods and cosmetics to keep fats from going rancid.  Besides meat products they can be found in things such as potato flakes and breakfast cereals.
While the USDA has allowed that these chemical additives are safe for human consumption, there have been studies conducted around the world that suggest that this is not necessarily the case.  Processed meats have been linked to increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Besides the chemicals added to our meats to increase shelf life and enhance flavor, conventionally raised beef, pork, and poultry are raised in deplorable conditions and fed growth hormones, antibiotics, and other unnatural substances such as ground up animal byproducts and chicken manure.  They are also fed grains that are grown conventionally which means they are genetically modified and contain high levels of pesticides.  After doing the research to write this article, the thought of what I have been eating over the years makes me feel rather ill.
While my family has cut down on meat consumption considerably, we still have an occasional meal with a little meat. 

It is possible to get meats that are organic, grass fed, and free range.  They are more expensive, but the quality is superior.  You can definitely taste the difference.  There are uncured hot dogs, bacon, and lunch meats.  When I purchase these I have found it is best to consume them right away or freeze them.  You usually can’t find these items in regular supermarkets, but they are available at organic markets and many food co-ops.

Brain Nutrition

Everyone believes that our intelligence comes from the genetics we receive from our parents through their parents, on up the line.  We believe there is a direct connection to genetic inheritance for intelligence.  This may not be totally true for each one of us.

Study after study indicate that we actually derive our
intelligence from at least three sources:  our lifestyle, our genetics, and the nutrients we get from what we eat.  So, can we start eating a certain type of food to enhance our intelligence?

Study after study indicate that what we eat causes different actions and reactions in our brain.  In essence these foods and supplements causes our neurotransmitters to fire in different ways and at different speeds.  All this is called chemical reactions in our brains.

So, can food actually have a positive or negative effect on our brain function?

Yes.  Research has shown that omega-3 oil from fish will help stimulate the brain and help you create a balanced and positive mood.  Omega-3 fish oil will give our brains a boost to the omega-3 fatty acids already in our brains.  Various cultures, including the Egyptians, thought that fish was actually brain food.

Proteins are also a very good and valuable substance for the brain.  Proteins such as those found in chicken and beef contain tyrosine, an amino acid.  Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and cells and may also help your neurotransmitters send and receive signals and information.  They may also assist you in handling stress and help the body maintain a balanced blood sugar level.

Food such as avocados, raisins, apples and nuts contain a substance called boron which has the potential to increase your memory and attention.

Choline, which has also been proven to improve brain function, can be found in such foods as eggs and milk.  Fruits  and vegetables are also extremely important in protecting your brain.  Fruits and vegetables have a high degree of anti-oxidants which protect your cells and brain from free radicals which cause your cells to be damaged and age faster.

Blueberry and blackberry are especially good for your brain since they contain Anthocyanins which is the most powerful form of anti-oxidant.

Other fruits and vegetables that have been found to have a high amount of anti-oxidants are strawberries, cranberries spinach, raspberries, brussel sprouts, plums, broccoli, oranges, red grapes, red bell pepper, cherries and kiwis.

Probably the number one ingredient for proper brain function is water.  Since your brain is 80% water it is imperative that one keeps themself and their brain hydrated.  Even a slightly dehydrated brain can raise the stress hormone in a person causing them to not have clarity of thought. Just observe people living in the desert in summertime and see the stressful actions of people and one can see how dehydrated people are stressed.

There are also foods to avoid and foods that can actually slow down the brain function.  Food which are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates which can give you an instantaneous surge of energy but then leave you in an daze.
It is also recommend not to consume food high in saturated fats.  Sure your body needs fats, but it needs the good fats found in avocados, nuts and fish.

Also avoid eating heavy meals.  It has been proven that reducing your calories will extend your life and the quality of you life.  It is also a benefit for your brain function.  The digestion process takes a lot of energy which in turn takes the energy away from your brain functions.

So as you can see there is a brain food recipe.  By eating the correct foods you can actually protect your brain and keep it healthy.  You can also provide the added substances the brain needs to improve your memory, mood and the speed in which your brain functions.

So, what happens when you start having memory loss?  There have been three types of memory loss identified and they are:

1. Age associated memory impairment
2. Mild cognitive impairment
3. Alzheimer’s disease

With age associated memory impairment you may find yourself wondering where you left things or remembering things.  This could be your favorite picture, the book you are currently reading, your keys, and in today’s times all the stuff you are supposed to remember on how to do something.

With mild cognitive impairment you may not remember how to get from point a to point b, such as from your home to the local grocery store.

A recent study has indicate that approximately 12 % of folks who have this impairment go on to have Alzheimer’s disease.  This disease has been identified as a mixture of lifestyle, genetics, and nutrition.  Studies indicate that a high fat diet will lead to memory loss because of cell inflammation and the production of free radicals.

Alzheimer’s disease comprises Plaques and Tangles that make up a scar-like picture on our brain cells.  This helps in causing our brain cells to die.  Another effect is that it causes a reduction in memory chemicals that affect our neurotransmitters.

One of the early treatments that we can induce for prevention or interruption of this process is to increase the flow of blood to the brain.  We can increase our intake of antioxidants to reduce the free radicals in our brains.  We can also start replacing the nutrients that make up the brain cell membranes.

How we use a diet can largely affect the process of
memory loss.  We can lower our calorie intake, moderate our carbohydrate intake and our intake of animal protein.  This last one means increase our intake of non-animal protein which will lessen our prospects of memory loss.

We can eat raw vegetables and lightly steamed vegetables such as spinach and other green leafy vegetables.  We can eat yellow turnips and sesame seeds and sesame seed butter and blue berries.  We do know there are many fruits and vegetables that will help reduce the population of free radicals in our bodies.

The vegetables and fruits we should always eat are all organic in nature.  That way we will not have the pesticides and other toxins prevalent in the current production of much of what is on the open market today.

Eggs- Good or Bad for You?

When I was growing up eggs were considered to be extremely good for you.  A really
healthy breakfast was something like eggs, bacon or sausage, and pancakes or waffles with plenty of butter and syrup.  And the eggs were usually cooked in the bacon or sausage grease.  We now know that this is not the way to eat.

Then for a long time, eggs were considered extremely bad for you.  We were told we should avoid eggs  because they would raise our cholesterol and contribute to heart disease.  Or if we ate them, to only eat the whites.  Now we are once again being told that eggs can be healthy (in moderation of course).

So, what’s an egg lover to do?

The Pros

One egg contains about 6.3 grams of protein and only about 68 calories, making it a low cost source of protein.  One egg also contains about 113 mg of choline.  Choline is one of the B vitamins.  It’s important to brain health, nerve-muscle function, and chronic inflammation.

It’s believed that more than 90% of Americans are choline deficient.  Insufficient choline is especially concerning for pregnant women because it is important in fetus brain and memory development.  Many older people also have a deficiency in choline.  All of the choline is found in the egg yolk.

There are other foods that are high in choline.  These include beef liver, dried soybeans, wheat germ, cod, chicken, and salmon.  The recommended amount of choline is 550 mg a day for men and 450 mg a day for women.
Eggs are high in cholesterol, but nutrition experts now believe that a healthy person who eats a low fat diet can consume one or two eggs a day with no considerable change in their blood cholesterol levels.

Egg yolks also contain lutein, which is a carotenoid that helps prevent age related macular degeneration and cataracts.  Studies have shown that while there is less lutein in eggs than in supplements or spinach, the egg lutein is more readily absorbed.

The Cons

People with
heart disease should limit their egg consumption.  There are also many people who are allergic to eggs.
Because of the risk of salmonella, eggs should not be eaten raw.  Make sure that they are cooked till well done.  Leaving the yolk runny is risky.

Buying and Storing Eggs

I have heard it said that brown eggs are more nutritious than white.  Brown chickens lay brown eggs and white chickens lay white eggs.  That is the only difference.  I have noticed that organic eggs tend to be brown, and that is just due to the type of chickens that are organically raised.  I buy organic eggs.  While they are a bit more expensive, I believe the benefits outweigh the additional cost.  Organic eggs contain no antibiotics or arsenic.  Chickens that are pastured are happier chickens who lay higher quality, nutritious eggs.  If you have the opportunity to get your eggs from a local farmer who will let you see how the chickens are raised, that is the best, since organic chickens must be allowed access to the outside, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they ever go out.

When you purchase your eggs check to make sure none are cracked.  Store them in the refrigerator in their carton or another container, not in the egg holder in the door.  Fresh eggs will last up to a month in the refrigerator.

In Conclusion

Unless you have allergies or another health issue that prohibits egg consumption, the general consensus now is that eggs are fine and can be part of a healthy diet.

10 Small Steps to Improve Your Health

Many people make a health resolution quite easily and others don’t. Some make them every day and some make one once each year. These resolutions may be to lose weight, quit smoking cigarettes or join a health spa or club.

Unfortunately too many people set a lofty
goal and never reach it. Pretty much all experts suggest to set a series of small goals that will lead into a larger one that will then lead to the end goal. They say doing this will probably do more for our goal setting and result in better health.

Breaking large goals into small “steps” make them more achievable. They are easier to fit into any health plan or resolution you have made and work great with your daily routine. Hill, Ph.D., director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center says they are less overwhelming than a big sudden change to your system. Here are ten that you can try:

1. Stop gaining weight. Even if you have only gained one or two pounds per year, over the years the weight will add up quickly over time.

2. Take small steps and more of them. Use a pedometer. Count how many steps you take daily. One mile equals approximately one mile.

3. Eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast will usually weigh less and more than likely have better results in their diets. You can top your whole grain cereal with fresh fruit and low-fat milk.

4. Take all grains out of your diet, especially the GMO grains. Eat grains that contain no gluten and try to take all gluten out of your diet.

5. Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad is filling and may help you eat less than you normally would during the meal. This will also help you with your five daily cups of fruits and vegetables.

6. Trim the unhealthy fat. Fat has a lot of calories and remember, calories do count. When you buy meat make sure they are the not necessarily the leanest cuts possible, but do have organic healthy fat. Eat your chicken with the skin, especially organically grown chickens. Make sure your beef is organically grass fed from birth to death. Make sure all your meat is organic.

7. Consider calcium by including two or three servings of organic raw milk or yogurt daily. Your daily servings of calcium may help you lose weight and will also be good for your bones.

8. Downsize. The small portions you eat will depend on the size of the serving. The smaller you go the less you will eat daily. Use a smaller bag, bottle or bowl.

9. Lose anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of your current body weight.
Some of the health benefits will be a lowering of your blood pressure, lowering your blood sugar, lowering your cholesterol and lowering your triglycerides.

10. Keep track of all you eat. Look for problem spots in your eating habit over the next few days and try to correct them. Writing down what you eat daily will often help you eat less than you used to.

These are just some ideas you could do to increase your healthy lifestyle, certainly not all that can be investigated. Talk to an organic food nutritionist or a
functional medical doctor for more information. You can do a number of things to increase your optimal health.