Category Archives: Life

Run, Forrest, Run

It’s a somber day at best as we wrestle with the type of person who places bombs at the end of one of the most prestigious running events in the world. As a runner, I can only imagine how quickly joy and exhilaration turned to terror and dismay, and I am brought to my knees. As a human being, seeing the bloody photographs and knowing, amongst others, that a little 8 year old boy is dead, I am brought to tears. Prayers and blessings to all those affected and to our nation.

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Stay Vibrant!
Tonya

Are We Really This Stupid?

Happy Friday Everyone! I hope fresh, fabulous food is part of your plan this weekend.

As some of you already know I’m about to embark upon another educational journey. When all is said and done I will have a degree in naturopathy, allowing me to educate and support the health of my fellow-man in a broader sense. My books for the first of my classes arrived yesterday and being a classic Type A-I-Can-Do-It-All-Woman, sat down immediately to read. After getting through the introduction, and two prefaces, the book actually begins on page three. By page four I was seething. My poor husband who had to endure the ensuing ten minute rant about Americans being blind sheep who seem to believe EVERYTHING our blind, ignorant government (FDA, USDA, etc…) tells them. Phew. That feels better. I said it again. Here’s why I’m mad and I quote:

“Deterioration has been forced on our population by the creation of artificial foods lacking in natural vitamins and minerals. Processed food manufacturers have dissipated and distorted nature’s quality control by removing nutrients and adding artificial substances and flavorings-most notably and most detrimentally, sugar. Why is this continuing?”

Why is this continuing? Isn’t that the $20,000 question? The book I quoted from is written by Abram Hoffer, M.D.,Ph.D. and Morton Walker, D.P.M. and is called Putting It All Together: The New Orthomolecular Nutrition. As I got further in the book, I had to keep checking the copyright date, as the information seemed so relevent to today’s degenerative diseases. This book first came out in 1978. The second edition, 1996. Really, people? Even with two-time, Nobel prize-winning, Linus Pauling writing the introduction advocating a better way to health? And no one listened? No wonder we are the fattest and sickest we’ve ever been. Dr. Hoffer mentions…”senility, cardiovascular conditions, arthritis, schizophrenia, learning and behavior disorders, cancer of the colon, peptic ulcer and many other individual problems…”

Hello? Does that sound eerily familiar to anyone? How long will it take? How many children need to be diagnosed with diabetes? How many more people need to go blind, or need dialysis, or need a wheelchair because of neuropathy, or have a heart or a stroke because they can’t give up the one thing that is doing the most damage to their health, sugar. I know it’s hard folks, I’ve been there. But it is so worth the rewards of renewed energy, a bit of weight loss, better sleep, stable moods (although I’m almost Pollyanna-happy anyways).

Don’t be fooled. Sugar is sugar is sugar. Organic, raw, turbinado, cane juice, agave nectar, maple syrup, fruit and their juices, all sugar. Grains,sugar. Most commercial dairy,sugar. Don’t be fooled. I’m human and like the occasional sweet thing. However, I still tend to choose stevia for most things but I do so love raw honey and organic maple butter from time to time too.

The answer to me is so clear. And I will say it again and again to as many people who will listen. EAT REAL FOOD. Preferably organic and non-GMO but those are other blogs.
If it grows, flies, swims, or walks eat it. If it doesn’t, don’t.

"The real villain, the catstrophic deterioration in the quality of our food, is ignored"

“The real villain, the catstrophic deterioration in the quality of our food, is ignored”
-Dr. Abram Hoffer 1917-2009

Stay Vibrant!
Tonya

Nutrition or Corruption?

Good day to you gracious readers. After reading the latest newsletter by Dr. Mercola, my stomach is churning and I once again feel the need to comment about genetically modified or engineered food. Sorry to be redundant for those of you that are in the know but for those of you who aren’t, this is for you.

Genetic modification enhances specific desired traits such as “improved nutritional content” and “increased resistance to herbicides.” Genetic engineering creates plants with exact desired traits, think Bt corn. Genetically modified foods are supposed to increase crop production, decrease pesticide use and is allegedly safe for human consumption and harmless to the environment. “Current GE crops that enter our food supply are essentially free of the engineered DNA and are identical to ingredients made from non-GMO”s”, according to Greg Jaffe in a recent on-line article for The Atlantic.

Tell that to the people in the village of Malvinas Argentinas, which is surrounded by GE soy crops, where the rate of miscarriage is 100 times the national average. Cancer, birth defects and sterility are also on the rise, with Roundup’s glyphosate being blamed for the the dramatic increase. So much for decreased herbicide use.

A recent 2012 nutritional analysis between GMO and non-GMO corn, shows a significant difference in the amounts of calcium (437 times more), magnesium (56 times more), and manganese (7 times more). So much for improved nutritional content.

I’m not an alarmist. I’m not a scientist. I’m not affiliated with any particular political party. Like you, I simply work hard, play hard and try my best to eat clean and love my neighbor. Easy, right? It is if you realize the only one looking after you is YOU! Not the government, not your doctor, and certainly not most of your food producers!

There are NO lifetime feeding studies on animals or humans regarding the potential health effects of consuming GMO foods. In the meantime, while you are waiting for your favorite food companies to label their GMO laden Frankenfoods, eat organic. It’s the only way to know for sure.

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Stay Vibrant!
Tonya

Fat Is Where It’s At!

You know how to win hearts, break hearts and steal hearts but what do you really know about protecting the health of your heart? One in every three deaths is from heart disease or stroke. That’s 2,200 people dying each and every day from a combination of poor dietary habits and misinformation. Addressing one will fix the other.

First, let me introduce you to the man responsible for the disastrous nutritional course our country has been on for the last sixty years or so, Mr. Ancel Keys. He was a research scientist convinced there was a connection between saturated fat and cholesterol intake and heart disease. He came to a conclusion that we all have taken for granted and to which there is NO scientific evidence and that is a low-fat diet protected against heart disease while a diet high in animal fat led to heart disease. Not so folks!

The real truth is saturated fat provides the building blocks for a variety of hormones, provides a concentrated source of energy, cushions the organs and keeps skin healthy. Saturated fat helps to maintain the stiffness and integrity of cell membranes. Fat is the carrier for the fat soluble vitamins A,E, D, and K as well as other nutrients. Fat protects the liver and enhances the immune system. Our heart prefers saturated fat and the lion’s share of saturated fatty acids are in the brain, which is largely made up of fat and cholesterol.

Speaking of cholesterol, it is a precursor to stress hormones, vital corticosteroids, sex hormones and vitamin D. Cholesterol is needed to protect the body. You read that right. I said protect. As an antioxidant, cholesterol protects your body from free radical damage and tends to be high if thyroid function is low, a protective measure that provides the needed materials to heal tissue and fight infection. Cholesterol and saturated fat have distinct health benefits and support a variety of metabolic processes. Let’s take a look at the real transgressors.

First up is free radical damage. You’ve heard of free radicals. No, not the latest punk rock band or group of extremists. Free radicals are “cellular trash”, unstable and highly reactive oxygen molecules. They “attack” and “steal” from other electrons in order to gain stability, which, if left unchecked, start a dangerous chain reaction of oxidative damage. You’re more familiar with oxidative damage than you think. A freshly cut apple that turns brown or an old car rusting in the junkyard are common examples of oxidation. Free radical sources are both internal and external and include chemicals, tobacco, drugs (recreational and medicinal), stress and of course the pollutants in the air, food and water. Oxidative stress damages culler proteins, DNA and can lead to the second biggest transgressor: inflammation.

What is inflammation? It is the body’s attempt at self-protection from irritation, toxins and foreign invaders and a natural by-product of normal cellular processes.For instance, if you are catching a cold, your immune system switches into gear and triggers a pro-inflammatory response to clear the infection. This is matched by equally anti-inflammatory compounds that move in to start the healing process. It is your body’s natural defense. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body and would not accumulate in blood vessel walls.
Short term inflammation = healing
Long term inflammation = disease

And the biggest contributor to inflammation? SUGAR and S.A.D. That’s right sugar in ALL it’s forms, yes, even organic. As little as two teaspoons can upset your body chemistry. The Standard American Diet with its heavy emphasis on refined grains and processed foods weaken your body tissues and white blood cells. Elevated blood sugar and insulin levels intensifies the production of free radicals that promote and sustain inflammation.

So what can YOU do? Start by ELIMINATING sugar in all its forms as well as all vegetable oils, refined grains and processed foods. EAT a colorful variety of fresh vegetables, cold water fish, especially salmon, lean meat, preferably from grass fed animals and healthy fats-butter, coconut, olive, flax and hemp oils. Snack on fruit, nuts, seeds and olives and limit dairy, which is a common allergen. As far as EXERCISE, author and blog writer Mark Sisson says it best,”Lift heavy things, move frequently at a slow pace and run really fast once in a while”. Like Nike says, whatever form of exercise you choose, JUST DO IT!

Smoking, stress and genetic predispositions are also associated with heart disease and must be addressed but there is a vast array of antioxidants, blood sugar balancing nutrients, herbs, vitamins and minerals that can be used along with quality nutrition to transform the health of your heart.

Make it simple. Eat real food. Get regular exercise. Supplement as needed and don’t smoke. Remember, it’s up to you to do your part to love your heart!

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Stay Vibrant!
Tonya

They Call Me Dr. Tonya

Or at least they will in the future. I took a big step today, dear readers, and enrolled in a Doctor of Naturopathy program. Can I even describe how excited I am? As a perpetual student, this is an idea I’ve been tinkering with for quite a while. My immediate family has fondly referred to me as “Dr. Quinn” for years. (Remember the old television series, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman?) In fact, whenever my mom or sister calls and prefaces the conversation with “Dr. Quinn?”, I know they have a health related issue.

For those of you who don’t know, a naturopathic doctor works by identifying and removing obstacles that impede optimal health. ND’s do this using a variety methods, facilitating the body’s inherent ability to heal. This includes but is not limited to: dietary recommendations, supplemental nutrients, exercise, herbal preparations, homeopathic remedies and other “unconventional” tools. Currently, as a Nutritional Health Coach, I can only educate people on how food and supplements support the health of the body. As a naturopathic doctor, I will be able to do so much more. Since mainstream medical treatment is the third leading cause of death, the focus in naturopathy is on proactive prevention rather than disease management. The naturopath takes the whole person- physically, emotionally, spiritually, into account and tries to get to the root of illness, not just manage symptoms. I’m especially excited because with “Obamacare” looming around the corner, more and more people will be looking for a better alternative. Soon enough, that alternative will be me!

Wish me luck, I’m diving in!

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Stay Vibrant!
Tonya