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?

 

 

What Causes Candida Overgrowth?

What causes Candida overgrowth? Fill out this Candida questionnaire to find out of Candida may be an issue in your health challenges.

 

Many things can cause Candida overgrowth leading to an imbalance.

Some of them include:

  •  Over use of antibiotics without replacing the lost beneficial bacteria (probiotics)
  •   Nutrient Poor Diet:  that is rich in refined sugars and refined carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, rice pasta, ice cream, sodas, processed foods, etc.)
  •   Constipation: this common problem can be caused by Candida. However constipation can also lead to Candida. A digestive tract which is constipated is slow moving and becomes very alkaline. The more alkaline the digestive tract the more Candida growth.
  •   Parasites and Intestinal Worms: Some researches have estimated that over 85% of all people living in North America and Canada have parasites. These unwelcome guests destroy friendly bacteria in the intestines making yeast overgrowth possible.
  •  Excessive Stress: Stress can cause yeast growth for several reasons. It raises cortisol, a stress hormone, which depresses the immune system, raises blood sugar which feeds yeast cells allowing them to grow quickly. Another thing to be aware of is that cortisol can be addicting to the body. It raises sugar and relieves inflammation. There are several simple nutrients that help lower cortisol levels back to normal by telling the nervous system to relax.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: It has long been recognized that an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone can be a cause in yeast overgrowth.
  •  Birth Control Pills or Device: Oral birth control pills are mostly the hormone estrogen. Supplemental estrogen in the synthetic form has been found to promote the growth of yeast. A common complaint of women on birth control pills is yeast infection. The copper IUD is another possible promoter of yeast.
  •  Hypothyroid: The thyroid gland has an important effect on the immune system and digestive system.
  • Heavy Metals: Toxic metals show up consistently in people experiencing Candida. They are Mercury, Copper and Arsenic. These metals disable the exact part of the immune system that seeks to control Candida! They are often found in dental fillings and in tap water. As they pass through the intestinal tract they can stimulate the growth of more Candida. It’s important to get rid of the yeast before removing heavy metals since clearing them first will spread the yeast!
  • Other things that may contribute to Candida overgrowth include drugs and alcohol, antacid use, diabetes, hypothyroidism, excessive bowel cleansing, an imbalance of minerals such as copper dysregulation.

Wondering if your health could be affected by Candida overgrowth?

Here are some questions that can help determine if you may have Candida overgrowth:

1. Do you have skin issues like acne, eczema, psoriasis, rashes?
2. Do you have mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression?
3. Are you typically bloated, especially after meals?
4. Do you have trouble losing weight?
5. Do you have constant cravings?
6. Do you have thrush (a white coating of the tongue)?
7. Do you suffer from frequent colds or flu?
8. Do you have night sweats?
9. Have you used antibiotics or birth control pill in the last 2 years?
10. Do you have gas or bloating?
11. Do you have sugar cravings?
12. Do you have low blood sugar?
13. Do you have history of yeast infections, vaginal, oral, athlete’s foot, or
jock itch?
14. Does your partner have a history of yeast infections, vaginal, oral,
athlete’s foot, or jock itch?
15. Are you sensitive to smells?
16. Are you sensitive to alcohol?
17. Do you suffer from symptoms that your doctor cannot explain like;
headaches, migraines, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, IBS (Irritable Bowel
syndrome), itching, menstrual or sinus problems?
18. Do you feel fatigued all the time?
19. Do you have a hard time concentrating?
20. Do you just not feel right?

If you said “yes” to any of these questions it would be in your best interest to make sure Candida isn’t part of the problem.

Fill out the full Candida Questionnaire.

If you scored high on the questionnaire and need help with getting it under control you are welcome to schedule a free 30-minute Health Discovery phone session with me to see how I can help you get things balanced with a program designed just for you.

Read the first part of this post “Is Candida Sabotaging Your Health?” to learn more about Candida and it’s symptoms.

 

My Favorite Immune Boosting Foods

 

Salmon, herbs, olive oil - Immunity boosting foods.
Salmon, herbs, olive oil – immunity boosting foods.

Eating Well for Super Immunity

 A healthy immune system is vital for helping your body deal with infections caused by viruses, bacteria, candida, and environmental toxins. As the winter months approach, it becomes even more important to support your immune system by consistently eating a balanced diet, exercising, and making healthy lifestyle choices. But the real fuel for a strong immune system is using food as medicine.

Super Soup

An immunity-boosting diet includes light, easily digestible meals throughout the day, especially soup. A myriad of health benefits and flavors are derived from the herbs, vegetables, and broth. Soups also can help curtail the onset or ease the symptoms of colds and flu. Look for soups that include immunity-enhancing ingredients such as ginger, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and a variety of veggies and herbs in a broth-base. As always, food made from scratch is best!

Super-Immunity Diet Guidelines

  • Include healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil.
  • When it comes to seasoning your foods, incorporate a variety of herbs and spices for flavor.
  • For veggies, choose steamed broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes.
  • Fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, kim chi (click for recipe) and yogurt help promote healthy intestinal flora and combat harmful bacteria in the GI tract.
  • Limit red meat; instead, eat moderate amounts of fish and poultry.
  • It’s also smart to limit sugar in your diet. Studies have shown excessive sugar intake can interfere with optimal immune system function.
  • As far as beverages, the constituents in green tea have been shown to be both anti-inflammatory and immune enhancing.

More Immune Boosting Foods

  • Cabbage (Vitamin U), cooked or raw. (Use cooked if you have hypo-thyroid issues).
  • Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), especially as found in cold water, deep ocean fish such as herring, salmon, mackerel, sardines. Other sources of EFAs include fish oils; organic, clarified butter (Ghee), extra-virgin olive oil and organic virgin coconut oil.
  • Garlic, raw or in supplement form.
  • Fiber from fresh, organically grown vegetables and fruits. As you increase fiber in your diet, you need to increase your daily intake of pure water.
  • Seaweeds such as kelp, Nori, Dulse, Kombu, Hijiki, etc.
  • Sprouts from seeds, beans, peas, and grasses
  • Freshly made Juices from organically grown vegetables, fruits, and grasses
  • Mushrooms (Shiitake, Maitake, Rei-Shi, Ling-Zhi, etc.

Be sure and check out my “Better than Chicken Soup” immunity boosting soup recipe.

 

Cheers to your good health this winter!

 

What’s your favorite immunity-boosting food or soup? Share in the comments below!

 

References

  • Eating Well. “Healthy Immunity Diet Guidelines.” Accessed July 2015. http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/immunity/healthy_immunity_diet_guidelines 
  • Harvard Health Publications. “How to Boost Your Immune System.” Accessed July 2015. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
  • Mars, B., and C. Fiedler. The Home Reference to Holistic Health & Healing. MA: Fair Winds Press, 2014. 129-144.
  • Meydani, S.N., and K.L. Erickson. “Nutrients as Regulators of Immune Function: Introduction.” The FASEB Journal 15, no. 14 (December 2001): 2555. http://www.fasebj.org/content/15/14/2555.full
  • Myles, I. A. “Fast Food Fever: Reviewing the Impacts of the Western Diet on Immunity.” Nutrition Journal 13 (2014): 61. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4074336/

Image: klenova/bigstockphoto.com

 

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