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Stevia: Safe & Healthy Alternative to Sugar

Stevia: Safe & Healthy Alternative to Sugar

We’re in the midst of the holiday season and with it an increased consumption of sweet and baked goods.  At a time where so many of the foods commercially available are laden with sugar, and excess sugar consumption has been found to be detrimental to our health, it is important to find alternatives.

There are, of course, many alternatives to sugar, including honey, agave, molasses as well as sugar substitutes that don’t add caloric content to the food.  However, most of these calorie-free sugar substitutes come with consumer alerts.  The latest one I saw was on a toxic chemical released in Splenda when it is heated.  Studies found that dioxin, a cancer-causing compound, is released when Splenda, particularly sucralose, is cooked (Ji, 2018).

On the other hand, stevia is touted as the healthy alternative to sugar (Santana, 2018).  I decided to learn more about it, and here is what I found.

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More Reasons to Stop Consuming GMOs

More Reasons to Stop Consuming GMOs

Earlier this summer, Monsanto was ordered to pay over $250 million in damages to a groundskeeper who developed terminal cancer. He used Roundup weed killer an estimated 30 times a year, and the defense team was able to prove that his cancer was not just linked to its use but could have also been prevented if Monsanto had proper warnings on the product label (Robbins, 2018).

Why does this matter and what does it have to do with consuming GMOs?  One of the main reasons GMOs or genetically modified organisms have been created in agriculture is for them to be resistant to Roundup type products.

Roundup is sprayed over crops to prevent weeds, insects, and other pests and diseases to develop in the crop.  But, they are so effective they can also kill the crop. Crops from GMO seeds are able to withstand the onslaught from Roundup.

The problem is that we then consume produce and food that is laden with Roundup and other pesticides.  The journal Environmental Sciences Europe predicted that 1.8 million tons of chemicals similar to Roundup were used in 1974 compared to 9.8 million in 2016 (Main, 2016). This chemical is named glyphosate.

Glyphosate is sprayed on 89% of corn and 94% of soybeans grown in the United States (Robbins, 2018).  It is so prevalent in our food, that in a recent test conducted by the Environmental Working Group, the chemical was found in 31 out of 45 breakfast cereals (Robbins, 2018).

One of the most effective ways to avoid consuming glyphosate is to avoid consuming GMOs.  Here I list the most important foods to avoid.

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What is an Eating Disorder?

What is an Eating Disorder?

I recently got an email from Emily Z, a 14-year old who is aspiring to be a mental health professional.  She alerted me to an informative webpage on eating disorders.

Emily’s enthusiasm inspired me to look more into the topic, especially in how it relates to teenagers since they are more susceptible to develop them.  I have however, also included some information about how eating disorders affect adults.

An eating disorder happens when a person develops an unhealthy relationship with food and can involve under eating and/or over eating.  Often, eating disorders are associated with distorted body image (Maryville University, n.d.).

There is no identifiable cause for eating disorders, although there are factors that have been linked with eating disorders. I will explain these here, as well as possible treatment options.  I will start by explaining the more common eating disorders.

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Forget Diets: Eat Intuitively

Forget Diets: Eat Intuitively

Our bodies communicate regularly with us.  They tell us when things are going well.  We feel comfortable in our own skin, we move with ease, and we do things freely.  We go on with our lives without much thought.

They also tell us when things are off.  We feel tightness, aches, pains, illness, or discomfort.  We know there is something amiss, and we rest, we take supplements and/or medication, we exercise, and we do what we feel is necessary to take corrective steps.

The same thing happens to us with our food.  When we eat something, and it works well for our bodies we respond well. In fact, we don’t even think about it. But, when we eat something that is not good for us, we feel discomfort.  Often, we get so used to the discomfort, either because it happens frequently or because there is too much going on in our lives, that we stop listening.

The key behind getting control of our diet is remembering to listen to our bodies. That means learning to eat intuitively. I mentioned eating intuitively in an article about how to get vitamins from our diet, and I mentioned I would dedicate a separate article on how to eat intuitively, and here it is.

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How Do We Get Vitamins from Our Diet?

How Do We Get Vitamins from Our Diet?

I wrote about vitamins back in December, and I explained the different kinds of vitamins.  I also shared with you that if we are relatively healthy, I do not believe we need to take vitamins tablets or other supplements.  Instead, we can get the vitamins we need from our daily diet.

Recently, I came across 16 Best, a website that specializes on doing research on a myriad of products from clothing and travel to food items.  They curate the internet to find the best options available, and vitamins was one of the topics they wrote about.

The snapshot of the infographic above is included in its entirety below.  It goes through the vitamins we consume, their uses, signs to know if we are deficient, and natural sources where we can find them.  You will have to scroll down a bit below to see the wealth of information they provide on each of the vitamins.  I do recommend you look at it as it provides succinct, yet valuable information.  The image is courtesy of 16 Best.

Here is some more about what they have to say.

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Candida? This is How to Deal with It

Candida? This is How to Deal with It

Candida albicans is a type of yeast that lives naturally on our skin, mucous membranes, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract.  In fact, there are nearly two dozen types of Candida species that live in our bodies.

This type of yeast, which I will refer to simply as Candida, normally does not cause harm, and in fact is beneficial to the body. However, when there is an overgrowth of yeast it can lead to infection, most typically affecting the mouth, throat, or vagina.

In order to treat a Candida infection, it is possible to prescribe allopathic medications, such as fluconazole or mycostatin, but these only serve to keep a current infection at bay, and do not generally provide a cure unless taken for a long period of time.

Long-term use of these drugs may cause liver damage, as well as nausea and skin rashes (Buckle, 2003).  A holistic protocol that involves food and lifestyle changes rebalances the yeast back to a healthy state.  It also provides a healthier option with long-term beneficial effects.  I will describe what it might entail.

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Low Thyroid Function? Pay Attention to These Foods

Low Thyroid Function? Pay Attention to These Foods

According to the American Thyroid Association (n.d.), about 20 million people in the United States have a thyroid condition.  Women are more likely than men to develop a thyroid condition.  It is also more common for a thyroid condition to develop later in life.

I have had low thyroid function, also known as hypothyroidism, for over 10 years.  Common symptoms include low metabolic rate, difficulty in losing weight, feeling cold, feeling tired or lethargic, hair loss, and dry skin, although there can be others.

Since I was first diagnosed, I have researched thyroid function and different factors that affect it.  Keep in mind that every person is different, and what works for one person may not work for all of us.  In general, there are certain foods that people with hypothyroidism should pay attention to.

Before I tell you about these foods, I’ll tell you about the thyroid gland, and provide you with more information about hypothyroidism.

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How to 'Get Off Your Acid'

How to 'Get Off Your Acid'

The book Get Off Your Acid- 7 Steps in 7 Days was published on January 9, 2018. Dr. Daryl Gioffre offers a solution on how to create a balance in the body for too much acidity or alkalinity. I wrote about our diet’s acid and alkaline balance a while ago. Although I was familiar with the topic of the book, I was curious to see what else I could learn. The book did not disappoint.

The article I wrote before introduced the concept of acidity and alkalinity in the body, how to know if our bodies are acidic, and provided a basic way in which to adjust the balance towards a more balanced pH in the body. The truth is that most people’s bodies are too acidic, and we need to learn to balance towards a more alkaline body. Get Off Your Acid agrees with this, and goes more in depth.

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What We Need to Know About Vitamins

What We Need to Know About Vitamins

Many people have asked what my thoughts are on taking vitamins and supplements. Although I support the use of vitamins, supplements, and other forms of herbal remedies, I advocate for these when we need physical, mental, or emotional support. But, if we are perfectly healthy, I do not believe we need supplements, including vitamins, in the forms of a pill.

Instead, I believe we should get them through our food. If we consume a colorful diet, where are at least half consists of fruits and vegetables, albeit mostly vegetables, we should be getting the vitamins we require. That is a gross generalization, and I repeat, one that should work if we are generally healthy. If we have a deficiency, then of course it is important we supplement.

I understand that our lifestyles make it difficult to keep a healthy diet where we eat mostly plant-based foods. Thus, the only alternative is to take vitamins. If that is the case, I will share what we need to know about vitamins.

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Our BMI Can Tell Many Stories

Our BMI Can Tell Many Stories

BMI or Body Mass Index was developed in 1871, and was implemented to help determine if an adult’s weight was appropriate for their height (Mahan, Escott-Stump, & Raymond, 2012; Schlenker & Roth, 2011).

Although BMI does not directly measure body fat, it has a high correlation with the amount of fat in the body. Usually, the higher the BMI, the more fat the person carries. However, BMI does not account for higher weight due to an increase in muscle mass as opposed to fat, so this correlation is not always accurate (Mahan et al., 2012; Schlenker & Roth, 2011).

A person’s BMI can be an indication of several factors, including under-nutrition, over-nutrition, and obesity, and these may tell us clues about our health. In this week’s article I will tell you about these factors. I will, however, start with telling you more about BMI.

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