Tag Archives: health

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!

20130326-113256.jpg

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!

20130319-140256.jpg

Stay Vibrant!
Tonya

Detoxification vs. Cleansing: What’s the Difference?

Renewal, growth and hope are abundant with the coming of spring. It’s a time of thorough cleaning, ridding your house and yard of the grime, dirt and old junk that has been collecting through the winter. Well, just like your house, your body is exposed to a barrage of dirt and grime in the form of pesticides, synthetic additives, environmental pollution, processed food, vaccines, chlorinated-fluoridated-and-who-knows-what-else water, heavy metals and so much more. Don’t you owe it to yourself to rid your body of these health depleting toxins?

Let’s first talk about the differences between “detoxing” and “cleansing”. Detoxification is something the body does naturally, neutralizing and eliminating toxins from the body. The heart of detoxification are the six channels of elimination. Namely, the liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, lymph and skin. Detoxification occurs in two phases. Phase I modifies a toxin directly and sends it to Phase II, where chemical groups are added, transforming them into harmless substances that can be easily excreted. Picture it like this. Say you have a bunch of garbage piling up in the kitchen (phase I). You then bag it all up and take it to the curb for the garbage collector to haul away (phase II). Seems easy enough, right? It is if your liver is in good health. The liver, when working properly, clears 99% of the bacteria and other toxic substances from the bloodstream before allowing it to circulate back through the body.

Cleansing, on the other hand, refers to the numerous tools and therapies available that help clear out stored waste and restore balance to the gastrointestinal tract as well as the rest of the body. The goal in cleansing is to release the poison stored in your cells in a manner that your organs can safely keep up. Releasing too many stored toxins at once may put a strain on an overworked system resulting in what is referred to as a “healing crisis”. Symptoms can include but are not limited to headaches, gas, skin breakouts, etc. Cleansing can make sick people sicker so it is imperative that you choose a program that’s best for you. Check with your health care practitioner before embarking on any program, as cleansing may not be appropriate for people with certain health conditions.

Detoxifying the body is a nutrient driven process and water fasting is generally not advised. The greater the toxic load, the higher the need for macro and micro nutrients. The documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, has recently made juicing the most popular way to purge the gunk as well as increase energy and lose weight. Although juicing supports the body with live enzymes, antioxidants and phytonutrients, keep in mind that strictly juicing lacks protein, essential fatty acids and fiber. For most people, a raw foods or whole foods cleanse is the perfect place to start. Simply reducing your exposure to hormone-laden dairy, factory-farmed meats, pesticide-laced produce as well as sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods can give the body the chance it needs to eliminate years of toxic buildup.

Since the average person has at least 116 synthetic compounds in their body, reducing the toxic burden is so much more than just the food you eat. Toxins disguise themselves in air fresheners, cleaning and body care products, furniture, perfumes and 1,000’s of other places. Simply put, if you can’t eat it, don’t put in on your skin or clean your house with it. Remember too, as you’re purging the impurities from your body, take some time to address emotional and spiritual cleansing techniques as well. Yoga, meditation, infrared sauna, massage, reflexology, acupuncture and other forms of healing are highly recommended. This is vital to restoring the connection between body, mind and spirit.

Whatever path or program you choose to preserve and improve your health, a more natural, less toxic life will benefit you AND the planet!

photo

Stay Vibrant!
Tonya

Spring Cleaning: Ridding Yourself of Toxic People

Seven days. Just seven more days until we claim ALL of our house back. You may have noticed that my weekly blog hasn’t been so weekly. In fact, it hasn’t even been monthly. Back in January, my husband and I moved from our tiny, cozy apartment into a gigantic 3,000 square foot house situated on almost three acres. Along with Trent, who’s 15 and already lives with us, we invited our almost 20 year old daughter and her on-again-off-again “boyfriend” to move in as well. My husband and I thought this was a great idea as they would have their own space, be able to save some money, and if they “broke up” at least she would be home and he would have to go.

Well. Here we are two months later and we are counting down the days until they move back out. I love her to death, him not so much. I was willing to put how I felt about him aside and come from a place of understanding and compassion because it seemed the right thing to do. That lasted five minutes. I won’t bore you with the myriad of reasons why I can’t even tolerate being in the same room with this kid. But I do know this. Having tension and negative energy permeating my home has taken its toll on ALL of the occupants, even my pets! I am not a hater and I refuse to let the immature actions of someone I don’t care to know make me into one.

Negative energy, people, relationships can all have an effect on your health just as much as crappy food and sitting around the house watching television. Today’s moral? Rid yourself of anyone in your life who does not encourage, support or add anything positive to your life. The sooner the better. For us? Just seven more days…

20130308-103347.jpg

Stay Vibrant!
Tonya

Margarine Benched, Butter Up!

“Parkay.”
“Butter.”
“Parkay.”
“Butter.”
“No, it says Parkay right on the label.”
“Butter.”
“Mmmmm… smooth,creamy. Butter.”
“Parkay”

Any baby boomer will remember the classic talking tub of margarine pretending to be real butter. Many of you may have even had this in your own refrigerator growing up. Even now you may have some sort of vegetable oil concoction disguising itself as butter. After all, most of your parents believed all the media and government hype about the ramifications of cholesterol and saturated fat.

Let’s take a look at the ingredient lists on two supermarket brands of margarine:
marg2

marg3

The first, Promise Fat Free, promises to give you no fat of course, in assition to some sodium and synthetic vitamin A, a yummy chemical laden spread. Nothing resembling food at all. The second, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light, is nothing more than GM hydrogenated soybean oil, artificially flavored and preservative filled. Look at the label closely. Don’t be fooled. No trans fat? Anything made with hydrogenated oil is going to contain trans fat! It’s a loophole manufacturers use. If a serving contains less than 0.5g they can declare “No Trans Fat” on the label. Here’s what’s wrong with that. The trans fat in the hydrogenated oils, contribute to a host of diseases along with the very heart disease it’s supposed to protect you from! Trans fat is made when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. It increases shelf life and stability of not just oils but many processed foods including crackers, cookies, baked goods, and fried foods. These butter imposters contain a host other non-nutritive substances that create free radicals and increase the body’s toxic load.

Let’s take a look at butter’s ingredient list:

butter

What? Only three ingredients? And they’re all real food? What’s that you say? All that saturated fat? Well, let me set things straight about that. The vilification of saturated fat began with Dr. Ancel Keys in 1963. His flawed findings that saturated fat causes heart disease caught on quickly and has continued ever since. Here are some real, science-based facts about saturated fat:

1. It protects the heart and contributes to higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
2. Saturated fat transports calcium to our bones, preventing bone loss.
3. There are important, specialized saturated fatty acids such as lauric and caprylic, which are naturally antifungal and antiviral.
4. It feeds your brain, which is mostly fat. It needs saturated fat more than any other kind.

Besides being a source of healthy fat, butter also contains the fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K. It contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), an important muscle builder. It is rich in the minerals selenium, iodine and lecithin for a healthy cell membranes. Of course, raw organic butter is best because pasteurization destroys enzymes and nutrients.

For sources of raw butter, visit www.realmilk.com. You can also try your hand at making cultured butter at home. Body Ecology Culture Starter is a good brand to try. Simply add to organic cream, let sit for 24 hours at room temperature, chill, beat and you have some delicious, probiotic-rich butter.

Whatever butter you choose to use, it is clearly the hands down winner against margarine any day! Butter up!

Be Vibrant!

Tonya

Knowledge is Power!!

Happy New Year gracious readers! As 2013 begins, I invite you to join me on a year long journey down the road of knowledge. I will cover everything from antioxidants to zinc in a fun and informative way and will include some of my favorite recipes! Together, let’s make this our healthiest year yet!

20130101-170658.jpg
Be Vibrant!
Tonya

Yes, I’m Human!

This past Thanksgiving my family and friends were surprised to find that I too, on occasion, eat foods that have more to do with comforting my soul than nourishing my body. Thursday’s list included all the traditional favorites: delicious homemade stuffing, classic green bean casserole, (a healthy version of course!), fluffy mashed potatoes, oh-so-sweet, sweet potato pie, Pammie’s creamy, side-dish-of-goodness made of all things corn, honey-glazed ham for the turkey haters, and of course, the bird with its golden, crispy crust and moist, tender meat.(Thanks to brining!) Being as I rarely indulge in grains and sweets, this meal was a treat! Since I was in charge of all things cooking, I could’ve made cauli-tatoes, baked my own grain-free bread to make the stuffing, skipped the corn casserole, etc…but…I didn’t. And it was soooo goood!

You see, I don’t have the issues that keep some people from being able to eat from the more common food groups. I mostly, (that’s right, mostly) avoid grains, beans and dairy because I believe there are better food choices that encourage and promote health. It doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy an occasional burger WITH the bun or, and I know this is crazy, a scoop of rocky road ice cream complete with cone! This is shocking to those I work with who’ve come to know me as the “food police” and to the students who fill my classes with their eagerness to learn how food can impact them in a positive way. I encourage them to live by the 80/20 rule. If 80% of the time you’re doing what you know you should: eating “right”, moving your body, drinking plenty of clean water, than the effects of the “other” 20% won’t be as bad.

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE FOOD!. I’m all about fresh, organic-as-much-as-possible, sustainable food. But I live more by the 95/5 rule which makes me a freak. I practice what I preach. I walk the talk. But yes, Virginia, I AM human.

Be Vibrant!

Tonya

“Food” for Thought

GMO. BPA. MSG. Foreign, toxic, highly allergenic ingredients most of you eat or are exposed to daily. You know about pollutants in the air you breath and the chemicals in the water you drink. Conventional produce. Vaccines. Amalgams. All deadly to your wellbeing. But you are further poisoning yourself by what you expose your thought life to. The movies you watch. The music you listen to. The news you read. The job you do. The people you choose to spend time with. Was that movie inspiring?  Is the music uplifting?  Does your job give you purpose? How about the people you hang out with, do they motivate you to be your best self?

Now, I don’t know about y’all, but I do know one thing. I don’t roll out of bed in the morning and head straight for the television. And for some reason, the last few weeks, my husband is obsessed with the Today Show. No offense, Matt, Savannah, Natalie, Al, but I really prefer the early morning quiet with my cup of hot tea while I’m making breakfast for the boy, instead of the sound of my über sensitive husband crying on the couch because of yet another tragedy. The disappearance and consequent murder of little Jessica. The soon-to-be-extinct red orangutans. The unfairness of Natalie at the news desk instead of as co-host. He insists he NEEDS to keep up with current events. Fine. I get that. But he has USA Today on his phone. And all the news updates he could ever want on the new computer in his office. On the giant, up-close-and-personal, 32″ monitor no less. Why, oh, why does he have to expose me to it? There’s no escaping. The living/kitchen area is connected and the T.V. is right there in my face. I am well aware of the murder and mayhem, crime and corruption, worries and war that are happening in the world and in my neighborhood. I just don’t want to hear about it on a daily basis. Especially first thing in the morning. Please, honey.

And what about the silent movie that plays over and over again in your own mind? The constant drone of not being good enough. Or pretty enough. Or thin or happy or rich enough. Well, dear readers, guess what?  Your health is as affected by the thoughts you think as by the foods you eat. Garbage in. garbage out. Forget about your weaknesses and focus on your strengths. Reassess what is relevant and valuable to your life and ditch the rest. Surround yourself with positive people. Know your purpose. Every day is a new chance to remake, recreate and redirect your thoughts and energy. The ability to transform your life starts NOW!

Be Vibrant!

Tonya

Mary Poppins Was Right

” A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” sang Mary Poppins innocently enough. The bitter truth is, your sweet friend sugar is trying to kill you. Look around. Sugar, in all it’s forms, is in everything. Your soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, “vitamin” waters and is hidden in most other processed food. Infant formula is now loaded with sugar equivalent to a can of soda. Isn’t that great? Let’s start poisoning our young from birth. Because that’s what sugar is. A metabolic poison. It promotes weight gain, feeds cancer cells, and accelerates aging. You don’t have to be smarter than a fifth grader to see the ever expanding waistline of America. My husband and I people watch at the mall from time to time, and here in the panhandle, where beef and more beef rules, 1 out of 2 people and entire families are overweight. He sometimes has to keep me from accosting people. I prefer to think of it as reaching out. I just want to ask a simple question. What is stopping you from taking better care of yourself?  I ask this in coaching sessions with my clients. Reasons are many and varied. Emotional eating. Budget. Stress. Time. Some just don’t know. These things I can address but some really don’t care which really makes me sad, because I can’t help that.  Even sadder still, obesity increases the risk for deadly diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease.

Let’s avoid the sweet confusion by taking a look at sugar in its various forms.

  • Simple sugars – Dextrose, fructose and glucose. Your body metabolizes these differently.
  • Sucrose (table sugar) – 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
  • High fructose corn syrup – 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
  • Sugar alcohols – Xylitol, erythirtol, mannitol, sorbitol, and glycerol, Incompletely absorbed in small  intestine. Causes gas and bloating in some.
  • Agave Nectar – Falsely advertised as natural. Highly processed and up to 80% fructose.
  • Honey – Has many health benefits in its raw form,  in moderation.
  • Stevia – A South American herb whose leaf is 300 times sweeter than sugar, safe and natural.
  • Lo han – A safe, natural sweetener from the Chinese fruit luohan guo, used for years in TCM.
  • Sucralose (Splenda), aspartame, saccharin and acesulfame k (Sweet One, Sunett) are ARTIFICIAL sweeteners and should be completely avoided due to detrimental health effects.

Nearly every cell in the body utilizes glucose. With fructose, however, the metabolic burden falls on the liver. And because most people are now consuming about 130 grams of fructose per day versus the 15 grams or less per day a mere 300 years ago, well, you can imagine how your poor liver feels. So, where does the excess fructose go? To your backside. Your belly. Your thighs. It is turned into FAT. And triglycerides. And VLDL, the very bad low-density lipoprotein that increases the risk of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Still make you want to have a glass of orange juice and a toasty, frosted pop-tart for breakfast? Only 41 grams of sugar folks! To make matters worse, the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you want, the more effective your body becomes in absorbing it, the more metabolic damage occurs. Try eggs with some veggies and sliced avocado. Or plain, greek-style yogurt with sliced almonds and fruit.  Fair warning. Be careful with fruit consumption. Although fruit contains fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients it also contains fructose and it’s the cumulative effect of fructose that is toxic. Berries of all kinds are the best choices with most being 8 grams or less per cup, Your average apple has about 9 grams. Dried fruits are much higher and should be consumed in limited quantities.

Do yourself a favor. Take a 21 day sugar-free vacation. Try limiting yourself to 25 grams a day or less. Maybe then you’ll be singing, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” instead.

Less of this

More of this

Be Vibrant!

Tonya