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Ahhhh sugar! We have had a long romance with sugar, and it has been oh so sweet. We love it so much we put in our coffee, tea, cakes, candy, donuts, breads, and cereals. And as it turns out, it has been added to nearly all processed foods.

Our sweet little lover however, has been deceitful, distracting us and tantalizing our taste buds with delight while wreaking havoc with our health and our waistlines. That’s right, we have been in bed with a charismatic, poisonous rat!

Our obsession with this elusive white gold however, is not entirely our fault. We had the wool pulled over our eyes for a very long time. But the veil is lifting, and what we have discovered is not pretty.

Sugar has a dark and sordid past, not unlike drugs, alcohol, tobacco, cotton, or other big industries. The story goes back to the 18th century and it involves slavery, wretched and impoverishing working conditions, cartels, lobbyists, and politicians. It’s all about money and power, and unbeknownst to most people, the sugar shenanigans are alive and well today.

Here are two documentaries that might interest you: “Big Sugar” Sweet, White & Deadly, by Brian McKenna presents the history of sugar in all its dark glory from the 18th century to contemporary times, and Hungry for Change exposes the dangers of sugar and how we’ve gotten ourselves into a dieting “trap” that guarantees to keep us fat and sick.

So, it seems that the time has come for the romance with sugar to come to an end. It is a bittersweet ending and there will be lots of mourning and a lingering desire for another fling for some time to come. However, we will survive. And, we will walk away healthier, happier, and more beautiful than ever!

I hope you found todays post informative and interesting. Thank you for reading!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

 
 
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Hey everybody!

Finally we are starting to get a break in the weather. What a relief to have some sunshine and warm temperatures!! But you know what that means, don’t you? Yep, you will be stripping down to your shorts and bathing suits before you know it.

If your response to my last sentence was “uggghhh”, then take a moment to recommit yourself to any goals you set for the new year or, set some new goals now. Or, you could simply commit to taking some sort of consistent action that will get you closer to where you want to be.

Here are some simple things you could do to get prepared for bathing suit season:

  • start a couch-to-5K running plan
  • download a fitness app to your phone and try it
  • hire a trainer (btw, I am available J )
  • throw out all processed foods in your cupboard
  • buy fresh local produce instead of canned, frozen, or bagged
  • plan your meals and snacks in advance
  • think “lean and green” when preparing or buying meals
  • meditate (even 5 minutes perday helps!)
  • be kind to yourself, negative inner chatter is demotivating
  • start juicing
  • have a green smoothie for a meal once or twice per week
  • learn to garden (physically and emotionally rewarding)

And, if you feel really stuck, like you’ve just let yourself go so far that the hurdles are too big to overcome, watch the movie Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. It is very motivating to see the main character transform his life and subsequently transform the lives of others. And, it is always good to be reminded that you can do anything you set your mind to. That’s right, you can do it!

The key here is in taking action, do something about it. The most difficult part is starting. Don’t think about it, don’t evaluate it, don’t analyze it, don’t “try”, just do it!

And, if you haven’t done so, you might also consider joining our free Healthy Lifestyle Initiative. By joining you will gain access to free resources that can help you plan your meals, set goals and follow through with them, and receive more in-depth information about certain topics that affect your health and well-being. If f this interests you, sign up here.

I hope you found this week’s newsletter helpful and motivating.

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

 
 
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Following up on last week’s article about organic produce, I want to discuss other sources of substances that you are regularly exposed to that may be putting your health (and your children’s health) at risk. Here’s the short list:

·      Water (tap water, bottled water, showers, pools, etc.)
·      Food/Beverage (processed foods, juices, sodas, GMO’s, etc.)
·      Personal products (hair products, perfumes, soaps, deodorants, toothpaste, etc.)
·      House cleaning products (detergents, air fresheners, furniture polish, etc.)
·      Drugs (over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, vaccines, alcohol, etc.)

Now, I am not saying that any one of these specific items will cause you harm in isolation. In fact, most of the items on the list do more good than harm. I mean seriously, you couldn’t live without food and water, many people rely on drugs to sustain their quality of life temporarily and/or long term, and besides that, who wants to live in an unclean environment or scare people away with bad breath??!!

The problem is cumulative exposure to micro-amounts of harmful substances over time. Our bodies are well equipped to deal with exposure to these substances; that is what they are designed to do—protect you from harm and support your life.

Unfortunately, with the advent of technology, many of us have saturated our bodies and our natural filtration systems with these substances beyond our ability to cope. Just like a car engine, if you have too much junk in your gas (e.g., sugar in your blood) or too much oil in the engine (e.g., toxins in your food/water), the engine breaks down.

The good news is, you can do something about it. You can protect yourself from harm. You can avoid unnecessary disease and suffering. And, you can improve your situation, no matter how bad you think it is. If you don’t believe me, ask Tony Robbins, Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer, Oprah Winfrey, or Eckhart Tolle. (And that’s the short list!)

In order to do so, however, you must make better decisions. You will not get a different result by doing the same thing you have always done. Sorry, but it is true.

I could go on and on about this subject, but I will spare you my rants for now. Just know that all I am saying is this: you are going to eat, drink, shower, bathe, clean your home, medicate, deodorize, and do many other things on a regular basis that expose you to micro amounts of unsavory substances. If you are cognizant of this, you can minimize your exposure to the damaging particulates and protect your health by doing things like selecting organic produce, purchasing products that do not contain hazardous ingredients, filtering your water, detoxing, and using apps that help you make safer purchases (e.g., the Environmental Work Group’s Food Scores app and Skin Deep personal products app). 

Take control of the helm and you can steer yourself in the direction you wish to go. The good and bad news is this: it is up to you.

I hope you found the content of this post helpful and informative. Thank you for reading!!

Yours in health and well-being,

Allison

 
 
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By far, the most common complaint I hear about organic produce is the difference in price. Yes it’s true, organic produce costs more than conventional produce. But, due to the benefits of eating organic, it costs sooooo much less in the long run that you might even consider it to be an investment, like a health savings account of sorts.

Let’s get to the basics. What does “conventionally grown” mean? It is a method for growing food that utilizes synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, hormones, fertilizers, and antibiotics and/or genetically modified organisms to increase the crop yield and shelf life of the product.1

Unfortunately, these chemicals and modified organisms are known to cause some disturbing and increasingly common health problems, including diabetes, food allergies, cognitive issues, obesity, and cancer.2

Given that information, it’s probably safe to assume that these substances could be considered poisonous. And by definition, poison is “a substance with an inherent property that tends to destroy life or impair health.”3

Let me ask you this, would you choose to eat food that contains a substance that tends to “destroy life or impair health” just because it’s cheap? Would you feed that to your children? I am sorry to say this, but eating conventional produce is basically equivalent to eating low doses of poison.

I know many people are struggling financially right now. If you cannot switch to 100% organic (or local produce from trusted farmers), you can hedge your health bets by completely avoiding certain conventional produce. And there are some conventionally grown items that retain almost none of the chemicals that they are exposed to. For more information, check out the Dirty Dozen (the most important ones to avoid) and the Clean 15 (the ones with the least amount of toxins). Using these lists to guide your purchases may reduce your exposure to pesticides by 80%!!4

Important note: sweet corn and papayas are on the Clean 15 list. Unfortunately, most of the corn and papayas grown on large farms in the United States are genetically modified. To avoid these issues, learn to read your produce sticker PLU numbers. A five-digit number that begins with a 9 indicates the produce is organic. A five-digit number that begins with an eight indicates the produce has been genetically modified. And, a four digit number that begins with a 3 or a 4 indicates the produce was conventionally grown.5

There are no guarantees. You may get sick no matter what you do, and unless someone discovers the key to eternal life, eventually you are going to die. However, choosing not to ingest synthetic chemicals or genetically modified organisms will certainly hedge your bets for a healthier and more pleasant future. And who knows, that regular investment in healthy food may just save you a significant amount of money on medical expenditures down the road,  very possibly more than the difference in the cost of making better food choices.

Resources:

1. Conventionally grown. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conventionally_grown. Accessed March 2, 2015.

2. Leah Zerbe and Emily Main. 10 Crazy Things Pesticides Are Doing to Your Body. http://www.rodalenews.com/agrochemicals Accessed March 2, 2015.

3. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/poison. Accessed March 2, 2015.

4. Jackie Pou. The dirty dozen and clean 15 of produce. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/health/the-dirty-dozen-and-clean-15-of-produce/616/. Accessed March 2, 2015.

5. What do PLU codes say about your produce? http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2010/05/what-do-plu-codes-say-about-your-produce/index.htm. Accessed March 2, 2015.