Genetically Modified Foods: What You Need to Know

What are Genetically Modified Foods?

Genetically Modified (GM) foods are the result of gene technology collaborating with modern agriculture to produce what is perceived as hardier plants. These plants typically have altered DNA that is combined with DNA from viruses, bacteria and other organisms in order to make the plant more disease, drought, and pest resistant. Many producers will argue that gene modification improves food crops. However, several animal studies have linked GM foods to disruption in the immune system, increase in allergies, damage to internal organs, changes in metabolism, and increase in oxidative stress. This type of damage is especially dangerous because it affects so many systems in the body.

Tips to avoid Genetically Modified Foods for better health!

Long-term studies on the safety of human consumption of GM foods have not been conducted. We have been eating GM foods for only about 20 years, and it has only been in the last 10 years that the rate of consumption has increased due to advances in gene technology. There is no way to determine the long-term effect of eating these kinds of foods until it is studied in more depth.

I personally choose to avoid these foods as my gut feeling is nothing good can come of messing with mother nature in this way and I don’t believe our bodies are equipped to process these altered organisms. I’ve come up with these tips to help you if you feel the same way.

To keep your family safe from GM foods, here are some tips:

1. Buy Organic. Any food labels that say organic on them cannot by virtue of being organic contain any GM foods. This is will be true for produce, as well as meats and dairy. Considering that soy is often a GM food crop, make sure to buy organic for tofu, non-dairy alternatives, and other soy-based products.

 

non genetically modified foods label

2. Look for GMO-Free Labels. Look on the food label to see if it says whether its GMO free or not. One organization helping with food labeling is the Non GMO Project (http://nongmoproject.org). They verify individual products from food to health and beauty so that you know it is GMO free. Look for their label.

3. Avoid Common GM Foods. Some common GM food crops are corn, soybean, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash. These foods need to be purchased organically. One problem, is that many of these are used as ingredients in other foods, such as the oil used in a bag of pita chips, or the sugar to flavor a chocolate bar. It’s important to read labels and look for both organic and GMO-free labeling.

4. Use a Shoppers Guide. One great shopping guide is the Non GMO Shopping Guide (www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/Non-GMO-Shopping-Guide.pdf). This will give you a list of verified products from condiments and other food items to health, beauty, and hygiene products.

References

20 Questions on Genetically Modified Foods. n.d.World Health Organization Website. http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/

Genetically Modified Foods. n.d. American Academy of Environmental Medicine. http://www.aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

Non-GMO Shoppers Guide. n.d. NonGMOProject.org www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/Non-GMO-Shopping-Guide.pdf

5 Tips To Support Your Lymphatic System and Ease Your Candida Cleanse

 

5 Tips To Support Your Lymphatic System | Candida Programs | Natural Health Answers

The key to improving your body’s immune function is to nourish your lymphatic system.

 

Sometimes referred to as the body’s secondary circulatory system, the lymphatic system carries away toxins and metabolic waste from the body’s tissues. The lymphatic system is made up of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen and the thymus gland, and it helps regulate tissue pressure, immune functions and fat absorption in the intestine. If your lymphatic system is not healthy, toxins can build up and result in lower immune function.

It’s important to understand that the lymphatic system is not like the heart muscle where it pumps automatically.  We have to move, breath and use massage to help improve our lymphatic drainage.

When doing a Candida Cleanse it can be overwhelming for the body to excrete all of the toxins that are stirred up and can cause a Herx reaction where you feel nausea, fatigued, have headaches and experience rashes.  Incorporating these 5 tips into your program along with supporting your liver and kidneys can make a world of difference in how you feel and the speed of recovery.

 

Lymphatic System | Candida | Natural Health Answers

TheEmirr/Wikipedia

 

 

Here are 5 tips to help you care for your lymphatic system.

1. Eat potassium-rich foods. Your lymphatic system thrives on potassium-rich foods. Dark leafy greens, broccoli, yams and sweet potatoes (phase 3)  and seafood, like wild salmon, are some excellent choices to consider.

2. Reduce toxins. Additives and preservatives cause swelling and fluid retention. One such additive, monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG, is often disguised among other ingredients and can have degenerative and deadly effects on the brain and nervous system. Watch out for hydrolyzed anything, autolyzed anything, natural flavor, seasonings and spices, commercial soup or sauce bases, bouillon, broth and stock, gelatin and even aluminum cookware. All these can introduce toxins to your body that cause your lymphatic system to work overtime.The best way to avoid these is to simply get back to the basics and use all natural, unprocessed ingredients in your cooking.

3. Exercise…breathe. It is no secret that exercise is good for you, but did you know that even light exercise can benefit circulation of both your blood and lymph? Your lymphatic system relies on muscle movements to keep lymph moving through its vessels. Even light exercise such as standing calf raises or a walk around the neighborhood will stretch and contract your muscles, triggering the circulatory function within your lymphatic system. Exercising on a Rebounder or mini trampoline for 3-6 minutes with only your heels moving is also a good choice for getting the lymph moving. Moreover, deep breathing, which is often recommended as a technique for stress relief and boosting blood circulation, will also help release toxins and increase lymphatic circulation.

4. Skin brushing. Dry skin brushing increases blood and lymph circulation and boosts organ function by stimulating sweat glands and opening pores. It also softens skin and improves the complexion. On dry skin, before bathing, brush with a natural bristle brush gently over the skin. Start with your extremities and work your way to the center of your body, avoiding your face, always moving in the direction of the heart.  Wikihow has detailed instructions on how to dry skin brush.

5. Lymphatic massage. This therapeutic massage technique, also known as lymphatic drainage, uses gentle kneading motions to stimulate muscles and in effect, lymphatic vessels and flow. Just as with skin brushing, the motion should always be towards the heart (lymph openings). You can do this yourself or  find a massage therapist skilled in this type of  therapy.

Reader Feedback: Were you aware of how important your lymphatic system was to the health of your body?  The ability to help you move through a candida cleanse?  What is your favorite tip that you’re willing to incorporate ASAP?

 

Resources

Support the Lymphatic System – Your Secondary Circulatory System, Gloria Gilbère, N.D.,D.A.Hom., Ph.D. American Holistic Health Association.
http://ahha.org/articles.asp?Id=113.

Lymph flow dynamics in exercising human skeletal muscle as detected by scintography. Journal of Physiology (1997), 504.1, pp.233-239.
http://jp.physoc.org/content/504/Pt_1/233.full.pdf.

Pizzorno, J. E., & Murray, M. T. (1999). Textbook of natural medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Hudson, A. (2001). Lymphatic drainage: Therapy I. Castlecrag, N.S.W: Triam Press.

Candida Diet Approved Sweeteners

 
Candida Diet Approved Sweeteners | Natural Health Answers

When starting a Candida diet or even when a person wants to eat a healthier diet, I always get questions concerning which sweeteners are a good choice:

  • Can I have honey?
  • Okay, I’m giving up sugar but is there something else that I can use as a substitute?
  • Will an artificial sweetener make Candida yeast grow?

The good news is there are some good options but first I will share the sweeteners you’ll want to avoid.  Even if you aren’t on a Candida/Yeast clearing program this information is beneficial for everyone. Sugar in excess in anyone’s diet is a hazard to your health.  

The No No’s

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is at the top of that ‘NO’ list as far as I’m concerned. This means no commercial sodas — which all contain HFCS.

There has been a flurry of interest in a cactus-based sweetener called agave nectar, because of its low glycemic index (which means it does not cause a spike in your blood sugar levels like honey or sugar might.) Unfortunately, agave is a processed food, and it has a higher fructose level than HFCS (57% to 90%). It does have a low glycemic number, but its use can actually create insulin resistance, which can lead to Type II diabetes over time.

Artificial sweeteners are also on my “NO” list. Beware of the phrases “Sugar Free” or “No Sugar Added” (commonly seen in baked goods, like pies). This is code that the product is sweetened artificially with products like Sweet ‘n Low (saccharin), Splenda (sucralose), aspartame, etc.). Though you will hear much controversy regarding these products the studies on the ‘positive’ side most likely will be funded by the industry that manufactures the artificial sweetener.  Several interesting studies have shown that artificial sweeteners are counter-productive for weight loss because they actually trigger the desire for sweets — without satisfying it.  That’s the last thing you need!

Makeup of Sugar

The newest studies on regular sugar show that it’s fructose that is the biggest problem. Table sugar (sucrose) is made up of 2 sugars called glucose and fructose in roughly equal parts. Honey is 70% fructose and though it has some healthful properties it should be avoided when on a Candida diet and used in moderation for most people.

If you get most of your sugar from natural sources like fruits and vegetables you are going to be okay, especially if you take a quality probiotic supplement because the sugar from these foods won’t interfere with the action of the probiotic. If you want sweetener in your coffee, tea or lemonade then there are some much healthier choices than those on the ‘no’ list above.

Acceptable Sweeteners on the Candida Diet

Sugar Alcohols

Xylitol and Erythritol are from an interesting family of sweeteners called ‘sugar alcohols’. The body processes them in a completely different way than it does sugar. In fact the body doesn’t really see them as sugars and mostly won’t digest them. In large quantities they can cause diarrhea and/or gas but in small quantities they can make a nice sugar substitute, with the side benefit that they don’t promote tooth decay. In fact, Xylitol is antibacterial and anti-fungal.

There are many different sugar alcohols but Erythritol and Xylitol are my first choice. The others you see (all ending in -itol) are cheaper to make: forms like sorbitol, mannitol, etc. Erythritol and Xylitol (choose sources made from birch instead of corn) can be found in your health food store or online and is close to being as sweet as sugar.

I recommend Xyla brand because it’s made from the purest North American Birch. and non-GMO. I toured their plant in Broomfield, CO and was extremely impressed with the integrity of the company. It was really interesting to see the machines cranking out their tasty little mints and candy. It smelled heavenly in that warehouse!  

*Important note: Sugar alcohols are NOT safe for animals.

SteviaSweeteners to Avoid & To Use on Candida Diet | Stevia | Natural Health Answers

One last and probably the best natural sweetener to use is Stevia. This plant-based sweetener is available at your health food store or online. This is a very good sweetener but it does have a bit of an aftertaste that some don’t like. It will depend on the brand you buy just how much or little of an aftertaste there is. The more pure the processing of the plant (using just the leaves and not stems for instance) the better it will taste. I use SweetLeaf Stevia because to me it has no bitter aftertaste.

The food industries are starting to patent various forms of Stevia which are reduced to just the sweetest compound chemicals of the Stevia plant. Truvia is one you might see; another is PureVia. Although these manufactured sweeteners start with the Stevia plant, they add additional ingredients and processes so they can patent their products. I recommend you avoid these and stick with the natural forms of Stevia.  
 

 

Here’s a handy chart to use for Stevia to Sugar conversions in your recipes:

 

Stevia Conversion Chart | Candida Diet | Natural Health Answers

 

Looking for a sweet treat that’s Candida Diet approved? Check out my delicious Coconut Cupcakes recipe which uses only a candida diet approved sweeteners.

If you have insulin issues, you should avoid sweeteners altogether, including Stevia, as they all can decrease your sensitivity to insulin (insulin resistance).

I hope this has helped you have at least a fairly sweet life despite having to fight off Candida overgrowth. Don’t be discouraged: the good news is that as you get the Candida under control, your craving for sweets will become much less. Hang in there, steady and focused wins the race.

Keep taking your preventative supplements and eating the recommended foods and stay ahead of the yeast’s attempts to come back. 

 

Reader Feedback:  Have you tried Xylitol, Erythritol or Stevia yet?   If so, how did you like them?

 

 

Understanding Healing Crisis

 

 What is a healing crisis?

 

 

When Changing Your Diet or Doing A Cleanse You May Have What’s Called A Healing Crisis or Herx Reaction

When a person begins using herbs and begins to make healthier food choices they may have a healing crisis indicating they are starting the detoxification process. Most people stop using the herbs as they think the herbs were making things worse. It’s really the exact opposite and they would be wise to return to those herbs, usually starting at a lower dosage and then increasing back to the suggested amount, to ride out the cleansing and healing process.

Many people are caught off guard and fail to understand and interpret the symptoms and changes which follow a change to a healthier lifestyle. Many of these symptoms and changes are unpleasant but they are short in duration and are sporadic and are a necessary part of the healing process.

Here are 8 reasons why this may happen:

  1. The body and mind begin to show changes because the quality of nutrients coming into the body is of higher, quality than the tissue of which the body is made. The body begins to discard the lower grade materials to make room for the superior materials. The discarding of the material can come through the bowel causing diarrhea, through the kidney causing back ache, through the respiratory system causing a cold or through the skin causing boils, acne, rashes, psoriasis, etc.
  2. Indigestion, heartburn, flatulence, bloating and burping usually starts soon after you start herbs. This happens because your body is not used to digesting these nutrients which often indicates that you have been deficient of these nutrients for a long time. The body’s digestion usually improves in a week or two. Taking the herbs with meals or with papaya mints will often help.
  3. Suppressed body functions will be stimulated to detoxify the body, sometimes inducing colds, diarrhea, fevers, swelling, acne, boils and vomiting. This is temporary and is part of the healing process. The body will return to at least the same level of health as before if not superior health UNLESS you do something to suppress this progress.
  4. Nervousness, headaches, fatigue, irritability and depression often happen when you cut out any artificial stimulants such as sugar, chocolate, coffee, tea, soda, tobacco, caffeine or recreational drugs. You will not get the desired result if you substitute one artificial stimulant for another. It is important at this time to rest and sleep more. Once the artificial stimulants are eliminated the body is ready for the building process. The energy of a healthy, well-nourished body is superior to any artificial stimulant.
  5. Moderate weight fluctuations often occurs (either weight loss or weight gain). If you continue the healthier lifestyle the weight will stabilize.
  6. Skin eruptions, warts, boils or acne. The skin is the largest eliminating organ, so the concept of toxins coming out through the skin is easily understood, even if it is hard to face.
  7. Aches, pains and arthritis will often get stirred up, even if you haven’t been suffering with it for years. This happens because uric acid and toxins aggravate these conditions as they are cleansed from the body.
  8. Fevers are not uncommon when dormant bacteria and virus are being cleaned out.

This sounds discouraging, but the healing crisis doesn’t last very long and the benefits of cleaning the body of these toxins and disease elements are vitally important. These bacteria, virus or toxins are going to show up sooner or later. You can either have a healthy body handle them on your terms or it will come out when it overpowers your weakened body. It is better to go through small healing crises than a full blown health crisis.

Be sure and read my post,5 Tips To Support Your Lymphatic System & Ease Your Candida Cleanse for things you can do to improve the detoxification process.

If you are in doubt about whether what you are experiencing is a normal part of healing seek professional guidance.

 

Immunity Boosting “Better than Chicken Soup” Soup Recipe

"Better than Chicken Soup" Soup Recipe | Natural Health Answers

 

Following in the foot steps of my last post about Immune Boosting Foods I thought I would share an Immunity Boosting Soup recipe that is so yummy and good for you!  It’s full of ingredients that will help keep your immune system humming along this fall and winter season. 

If you are dealing with Candida and are in the initial stages of the cleanse then you’ll want to leave out the mushrooms.  You could substitute another one of your favorite veggies like cabbage or celery if you like. 

The reason to leave out the mushrooms may not be what you think.  Yes, mushrooms are a fungus but they don’t feed Candida, however, those who have  Candida overgrowth can be very sensitive to a lot of foods and mushrooms are one of them.  They can cause allergy type reactions in someone who is experiencing Candida. So I always err on the side of caution and leave them out when doing a Candida cleanse. 

Then after things have settled down and your gut is more balanced I would start with a small amount of mushrooms and see how you feel. If you have any type of reaction to them (headaches, fatigue, bloating, gas, rashes, etc.) that can happen up to 4 days after eating then it’s recommended to leave that food out of your diet.  You could wait a few months and try this again to see if you indeed do have an intolerance to this food. 

This immunity-boosting soup is made with a virtual garden of powerful ingredients that contain beneficial nutrients for your immune system:

  • Turmeric adds a subtle flavor and a beautiful yellow color. The active ingredient is curcumin, a powerful antioxidant.
  • Black pepper also has antioxidant properties.
  • Cayenne pepper can clear congestion due to the main active compound capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Shiitake mushrooms are rich in vitamins and minerals and contain unique phytonutrients that contribute to good health.

 

Immunity Boosting "Better than Chicken Soup"
Serves 4-6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  3. 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  4. 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  5. 8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  6. 4 cups low-sodium mushroom, vegetable, or chicken broth
  7. 1 1/2 cups finely sliced kale
  8. 1 cup cubed butternut squash
  9. 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  10. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  11. 6 slices astragalus root (optional)
  12. 1 fresh lemon, Juice of
  13. 1 teaspoon miso
Instructions
  1. In a sauce pot over medium-high heat, add oil and cook onion and garlic, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in turmeric and mushrooms, and cook 2 minutes more.
  3. Add broth, kale, squash, ginger, cayenne, and astragalus. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, add lemon juice and miso. Cover and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. Nutrition Information per Serving: 90 calories (5 from fat), 0.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 160mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 5g sugar), 2g protein
  2. Dairy-free, Sugar-free, High fiber, Vegetarian
http://www.naturalhealthanswers.com/
 Whole Foods Market Soup Recipe

 

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite cold weather soup recipe?   Link us up!