General Topics

The Cholesterol Fearmongering Campaign… Enough is Enough!

I see the latest volley has been fired in the war against saturated fat and cholesterol. Evidently, the low-fat corporations are losing ground, so they have rolled out their paid-for media spin doctors to put out another piece of propaganda to knock the high-fat diet craze down a few pegs. Regardless of the damage they’ve knowingly done to our nation’s health over the past 40 years, they continue to ignore any evidence that goes against their doctrine promoted by the diet-heart hypothesis [1] and continue to publish anti-saturated fat fabrication that feeds (quite literally) the obesity epidemic that plagues North America.

Years of unbiased scientific research has proven saturated fat to be one of the most protective and healthy fats known to man. Always was… and always will be. Time and again they have tried but have never found any supporting evidence that saturated fat consumption causes heart disease or stroke. [2] Quite the contrary. They’ve continually proved that long-held fabricated theory to be completely wrong.

Always piggy-backed with their attack against saturated fat are the warnings about cholesterol, the other multi-billion-dollar myth they have been “selling us” for years. In 2012 alone, sales of cholesterol-lowering drugs in the U.S. was $17 billion, and global sales reached $30 BILLION! It doesn’t take much to figure out why they continue to scare people into believing cholesterol is the devil incarnate that needs to be exorcised. The tobacco industry used the same deceptive marketing for years, the sugar industry still does, and these guys have certainly taken notes.

A diet LOW in carbs and HIGH in fat is what our ancient ancestors lived on for countless thousands of years, until the agricultural revolution around 12,000 years ago. They only had the scant amount of carbs they could gather from wild plants and tubers. Animal fat (highly saturated) was their main fat since there was little else to choose from, and along with a generous amount of protein is what our bodies still need to be truly healthy.

As humans, we did not evolve on the high-carb diet that has been literally shoved down our throats by all the government-backed dietary guidelines. In the future, when we look back at this period in history, we will see that this has caused the healthcare crisis we now live in. Our epidemic levels of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many other chronic conditions can be attributed directly to low-fat/high-carb diets. We can only hope that this latest defensive attack on cholesterol is this deceptive beast’s final death throes. It’s past time it was dead and buried for good!

Here are the real facts about saturated fat and cholesterol they don’t want you to know, and my two cents on Keto diets…

Saturated Fat (Fast Facts) –

– There has been absolutely NO clinical evidence linking saturated fat to heart disease.
– The misguided “diet-heart hypothesis” was based on faulty and unsupported evidence [3]
– Became mainstream in the 1970’s when Dr. Ancel Keys convinced the government his theory was true.
– The low-fat propaganda began full-force in 1977
– Tracking the data since 1977, there is a direct correlation between the implementation of the low-fat guidelines and the spike in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many other chronic conditions. [4]
– Low-fat = high-carbs, sugar, and chemical additives (fat brings flavour and texture to foods)

Cholesterol (Fast Facts) –

– People might know about HDL and LDL cholesterol, but most people don’t realize there are two kinds of LDL (small, dense, damaging particles that penetrate artery walls, and large, fluffy ones that don’t) [5]
– Low-fat/high-carb diets raise small LDL, increasing arterial damage and inflammation. [6] [7]
– Arterial inflammation is what cholesterol is trying to repair when it is found in your arteries. [8]
– The key to reducing arterial damage and heart disease is to have a few small LCL as possible.
– Less arterial damage means less cholesterol build up.
– Saturated fat raises both LDL & HDL in equal proportions
– Here’s the biggie… saturated fat converts small LDL to large, harmless LDL! [9]

Keto or LCHF?

– Keto is great as a carb-cleanse to break the addictions they cause, but I only recommend it for short-term, about a month or so. Staying on strict keto is hard to maintain for the long-term, and most people have a problem with all the fat they need to remain in ketosis.
– Most people don’t follow keto properly. They eat only fat and meat products and don’t get enough fibre from low-carb vegetables. After a time, their digestion stops working properly and they wind up quitting. They blame it on keto itself, but it’s their own fault for not educating themselves on what their body needs to function.
– For a life-long sustainable way of eating I recommend a diet which is low in carbs and high fat (LCHF), but not in the 70+% range of fat that keto requires. The macronutrient ratios I recommend are 20% low glycemic carbs / 20-25% protein / 50-55% fat (including generous amounts of saturated fats)
– In a LCHF meal plan there is lots of protective fat, including saturated fat, and the right amount of fibre for proper digestion. There is also a lot more flexibility in food choices, making it easier to maintain.
– Keto options fit perfectly into the LCHF meal plan, but they’re just not the only foods that do.

“While the content of this article is based on clinical research it is intended for educational purposes only, NOT to provide you with medical advice, or to be misconstrued as such. It may certainly help you become healthier and have more wellbeing, but no promises or expectations of healing are ever indicated on my part. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your own research in a cooperative partnership with a qualified health care professional that has your best interests at heart. If you feel that your problem is medical in nature, you should first seek the advice of your physician or health care practitioner before using this information to self-diagnose and treat your particular issue.”

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20888548
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-studies-on-saturated-fat
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4836695/
  4. https://opencommons.uconn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1482&context=srhonors_theses
  5. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.atv.0000154144.73236.f4
  6. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/01.atv.12.2.187
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10075324
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986484/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8299884

Full Spectrum Oil vs CBD Isolate – A Fact-Based Report

Medical Cannabis Is Nothing New –

Since the dawn of time humans have used plant-based medicines for healing, and historical records tell us that cannabis has been used as medicine for five thousand years. [1] The early Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Egyptian practitioners used it to treat rheumatism, anxiety, epilepsy, gout, malaria, and many other conditions. These ancient cultures had an intimate relationship with the cannabis plant, as did many others before records of its use were kept. Since the cannabis plant has been around for millions of years, far longer than mankind has been, it’s not that difficult to understand why early societies held it in such high regard.

Unlike us, early humans co-existed with nature and revered the Earth Mother and all she provided them. Cannabis was something other-worldly, a plant with nearly magical healing properties, and it was cherished as a gift from the gods. While few people these days respect nature as it once was, we are at least discovering more and more about how powerful cannabis is for treating our health problems naturally, and many are turning to it as their choice of medicine.

After having been suppressed for almost 100 years, cannabis research is now growing by leaps and bounds. Discoveries are being made daily, and some in the medical profession have even started to use cannabis in place of pharmaceutical medications as the safest and most effective treatment for many chronic conditions that they would have otherwise prescribed drugs for. Considering this was the case in many over-the-counter medications before the 1920’s, it’s about time. [2]

The Magical Powers of Cannabis Explained –

Of course, we now know that the healing properties of cannabis are not magical, but they are certainly considered miraculous for those who have found relief after suffering for years with chronic conditions. Cannabis has been shown to help with arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders. CBD has also shown great results in protecting the brain and nervous system and has powerful cancer-fighting abilities. [3]

These healing properties come from the cannabinoids, terpenes, and phenols each plant contains. Every cannabis strain has unique amounts and ratios of these in their genetic makeup. However, the way each is grown, harvested and processed also affects the content of the finished product, making it difficult to accurately predict how it will work for each individual. Depending on their individual needs and physiology, each person reacts differently to each component, making cannabis more of a personally chosen treatment plan than a simple medical protocol.

Medicinal Cannabis Compounds –

Creating cannabis-based medicines is a very precise science. It involves the combination of selective plant breeding, environmentally controlled growing operations, precise timing of the harvest for optimum yield, proper extraction methods to release the medicinal compounds, and the blending of those extracted compounds into the most effective form for maximum benefit. The cannabinoids, terpenes, and phenols in cannabis each have unique and powerful therapeutic properties that need to be considered carefully.

Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System

Unknown until 25 years ago, we have within us an endocannabinoid system [4] (endo meaning internal) that processes cannabinoids through two different receptors. CB1 receptors are mainly located in the nervous system, connective tissues, glands and organs. CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system, spleen, liver, heart, kidneys, bones, blood vessels, lymph cells, endocrine glands, and reproductive organs.

As you might imagine, the CB1 and CB2 receptors have very different functions, and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) has far-reaching effects within the body. The ECS is the largest self-regulating system in our bodies and controls all other body systems, working constantly to achieve homeostasis, which is maintaining complete balance within our bodies. The ECS regulates such functions as mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, blood pressure, body temperature, and pain and immune response. Cannabinoids work within your body through the actions of the ECS, working to naturally balance deficiencies throughout the body, which is why it seems to be able to heal many chronic conditions. A chronic condition is usually the result of long-term deficiencies and medical use of cannabis is the safest and most effective way to reduce your symptoms and bring your body back to balance. [5]

Although few people know this, our bodies make their own cannabinoids, which are chemicals that send signals through our ECS creating various responses. These are called “endogenous” cannabinoids, and when we have deep feelings of bliss, peace or well-being this is the process creates it. The Hindus called it “Ananda”, the Sanskrit word for bliss, and it is scientifically known as anandamide. Spiritual meditation, holding your new-born baby, or watching a glorious sunset all bring about these feelings, and those are your own cannabinoids at work.

Mimicking this action, the plant-based cannabinoids in cannabis flood the ECS with the same chemical signals, and each cannabinoid in cannabis has a different target causing a slightly different effect on our neurochemistry as a result. With over 100 known cannabinoids contained in cannabis, these effects are far-reaching, and the science is so new that we are just now finding out the many things they can do. The two most well-known cannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), but others showing medical properties are THC-A, THC-V, CBD-A, CBC, CBN and CBG. (Cannabinoid chart follows for easy reference)

THC targets the CB1 receptors found mainly in your brain and central nervous system causing the feelings of euphoria (high) when you take it, the main focus of recreational users. Medically though, it has shown to reduce pain and muscle spasms, and can reduce nausea and stimulate appetite in those who need it such as cancer patients on chemotherapy.

Oddly enough, CBD doesn’t work with either CB1 or CB2 receptors, but works to assist all other cannabinoids bind easier to their receptors. As a result of it not being able to bind to CB1 receptors, pure CBD can never make you high since it doesn’t impact those receptors in any way.

Cannabinoid Receptors and Their Individual Targets Within the Endocannabinoid System


Image Courtesy of www.iusvitae.co.uk

Ground-breaking research is now revealing the impact the endocannabinoid system has on our overall health. It has been called the biggest scientific discovery of the past century by leading cannabis researchers, and by those in the medical profession who are just now becoming enlightened about this previously unknown internal mechanism.

One very recent discovery is the CB3 receptor, or the GPR55 receptor. This CB3 receptor is triggered in times of acute pain, as in a traumatic physical injury, or in when you are suffering intense inflammation. Clinical studies are now showing that THC and other specific cannabinoids can reduce the neurological signals from your brain, thereby reducing the pain it causes. This may pave the way for cannabis to become a mainstream medical practice in treating pain and help patients avoid opioids and addictive pain medications with their devastating side-effects. [6]

Cannabinoids have such a wide range of targets across the body that it has led to challenges in determining which does what. Most cannabinoids affect our neurochemistry by activating neurotransmitter receptors, and by doing so they can calm down our immune systems and pain levels. CBD alone has more than 65 different functions, many of which overlap with other cannabinoids. This led researchers to believe that CBD offers the most relief when directly compared to any single cannabinoid. However, recent studies are showing that although CBD is effective for some people as an isolated compound it is even more effective for treating ailments when used in a blended combination with other cannabinoids. This blend is known as “Full Spectrum CBD Oil”.

You’ll see that many cannabinoids share common health benefits. It would be easy to assume that each could function on its own, but studies have shown that is not the case. More to follow on this below…

Terpenes –

Terpenes are the largest group of phytochemicals that cannabis produces, with over 140 currently known, and that number is still climbing. They come in various shapes and sizes, with the smallest ones being the most fragrant and pungent. These make up the essential oils of the cannabis plant. Larger terpenes are less fragrant, but instead contribute to color or the stickiness of the cannabis resin. [7]

With their powerful aromas, one of the most obvious functions of terpenes is through the nose, where fragrant terpenes signal our brains to relax, focus, or fire off neurons for other effects. Within our bodies, terpenes can also activate neurotransmitter systems and other receptors, much like cannabinoids do.

Many terpenes in cannabis have direct anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and analgesic properties. Others work within the ECS to enhance cannabinoid functions. having essential oil capabilities, terpenes are also used in cannabis oil formulations to help move other molecules across the skin and blood-brain barrier. Using this ability, terpenes make cannabinoids more bioavailable and effective, as seen with dermal patches for pain relief with menstrual cramps.

Phenols (including flavonoids)

Phenols are present in all plants, allowing us to determine the nutritional content of the ones we eat. Phenols are mainly antioxidants which defend the plants from harm, but also give foods like vibrant red and purple berries, dark green veggies and green tea their super-food status. When food turns brown and loses flavor it means the phenols have spent their antioxidants and the food has lost nutritional quality.

The most bioactive cannabis phenols are flavonoids that are found in other edible plants, including apigenin, luteolin, kaempferol and quercetin. Flavonoids that are only found in cannabis are called cannaflavins, which have incredible anti-inflammatory properties. [8]

As with terpenes, phenols often affect us through their aromas. Once they have been absorbed by our bodies, they begin to fight inflammation and even help prevent the growth of cancer cells. The unique cannaflavins have the added ability to block enzymes from producing tissue-damaging inflammatory prostaglandins.

Putting It All Together –

If there seems to be an echo of health benefits between terpenes, phenols, and cannabinoids, it’s no coincidence. Cannabinoids are compounds created by combining a terpene and a phenol. This is yet another way that nature works together to create the medicinal properties that cannabis can provide. This process of each compound working together in synergy for maximum health benefits is called “The Entourage Effect”. [9]

With all the information laid out, we can now look at the big picture. By doing so, we can see that removing one single molecule from the full spectrum of the cannabis plant’s medicinal compounds can significantly alter its effectiveness. Extracting single compounds may be beneficial in some instances, but to get the most from the cannabis plant it is best used as a whole plant extract.

Is Full Spectrum Cannabis Oil Your Best Choice?

Although I could go much deeper into the science behind what makes cannabis such a powerful medicinal plant, we’ve gone over it enough to give you a good understanding. Knowledge is power and it’s important to have solid facts to base any opinion on. Setting this aside for a minute though, let’s look at it from my opening remarks…

As I alluded to in my opening comments, mankind has been using cannabis for thousands of years. Long before it was set down on record, tribal cultures throughout Asia used cannabis for ceremonial rites, burial rituals, and mystical vision quests by Shamans and village healers. Traces of ancient cannabis remnants and seeds have been found in archaeological finds dating back over 10,000 years indicating this is the case. Studying today’s tribal cultures, we know it was the psychoactive properties these early people were using it for, but there is really no way to know if they also used it for pain relief or any of the other recently known health benefits it can provide.

One thing we can safely assume is that they didn’t extract single compounds to use as we do today with our modern technological approach. The early tribal cultures lived as one with the Earth and considered themselves to be part of the natural world. They may not have understood some natural phenomena as we do today, but they knew they were not separate from it. This connection with nature and their simplistic approach tells us they would have only used cannabis as the whole-plant medicine it is meant to be. We may consider ourselves to be far more advanced than our ancestors, but our analytical practice of breaking down and refining everything nature provides us does not work well when it comes to cannabis.

And The Winner Is… Full Spectrum Cannabis Oil!

As you’ve learned, the compounds in cannabis work together synergistically as nature intended, each supporting the function of the other to create powerful healing processes within our endocannabinoid system. I firmly believe that cannabis is the safest alternative to pharmaceutical medications, and a medicine we’ve used for our whole existence as humans. Properly grown and produced, full-spectrum cannabis oil has the optimum combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, phenols and plant nutrients your body needs to feed your ECS and bring about healing. [10]

In order to advise my clients accurately I am constantly researching, and new studies on cannabis and CBD are published regularly. Following the latest evidence, at the time of this writing the only times I recommend using a single isolated cannabinoid (as is the case with CBD isolate oil) is for:

1. Treating children and teenagers under the age of 18 due to the possible effects of THC on the developing brain;

2. People that need to avoid failing drug screening by their employer; and

3. Determining how well CBD isolate may work on its own before adjusting to a different formulation.

“While the content of this article is based on clinical research it is intended for educational purposes only, NOT to provide you with medical advice, or to be misconstrued as such. It may certainly help you become healthier and have more wellbeing, but no promises or expectations of healing are ever indicated on my part. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your own research in a cooperative partnership with a qualified health care professional that has your best interests at heart. If you feel that your problem is medical in nature, you should first seek the advice of your physician or health care practitioner before using this information to self-diagnose and treat your particular issue.”

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02861426
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5312634/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202504/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4789136/
  5. https://norml.org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2268199/
  7. https://www.alchimiaweb.com/blogen/marijuana-terpenes-effects/
  8. https://www.medicinalgenomics.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Chemical-constituents-of-cannabis.pdf
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334252/
  10. https://file.scirp.org/pdf/PP_2015021016351567.pdf

“Breath of Spring” Salad

 

“Breath of Spring” Salad
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Delightful spring salad

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 259 kcal
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp Lemon juice About one lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 Cup olive oil
  • 1 LB asparagus small, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 LB snow peas
  • 8 Cups baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp roasted red peppers cut into strips
  • 1/4 Cup pine nuts toasted
Instructions
  1. Bring 2 litres of water to a boil over high heat and add a teaspoon of salt. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water boils, add asparagus. Boil until tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a strainer, remove asparagus from boiling water and plunge into the ice water. Drain and set aside.

    Peel any tough strings from snow peas. Place them into the boiling water. Cook until tender-crisp, about 1 minute. Remove and immediately plunge into the ice water. Drain and pat both asparagus and snow peas dry with a paper towel. Leaving much water on them will dilute your dressing.

    In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice with maple syrup, Dijon, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil.

    Place baby spinach in a bowl, on a platter, or on individual plates. Top with asparagus, snow peas and strips of roasted red pepper. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Nutrition Facts
“Breath of Spring” Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 259 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 34%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Sodium 215mg 9%
Potassium 594mg 17%
Total Carbohydrates 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
Sugars 5g
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 104.2%
Vitamin C 87.7%
Calcium 9.5%
Iron 26.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Healthy Holiday Eating

Unwrap The Gift of Health & Happiness This Holiday Season

It’s here again. The hectic holiday season is upon us with all the rushing around, eating out, shopping, decorating, entertaining, going to parties, and ALL THAT FOOD to tempt you every time you turn around. Throw in the added stress of managing it all and you have the perfect conditions for over-eating, gaining weight, and feeling like crap afterwards.

Some holiday traditions are great to hold on to, but not this one. Just because you’ve always suffered from the consequences of a turkey dinner coma and pumpkin pie overload you don’t have to suffer that way every year. These are just repeated behaviors that become normal through repetition, but these habits will, at some point, develop into serious health issues unless you get control of them. With some focus on what’s truly important (your own health & wellness), some helpful advice on ways to deal with the temptations of holiday bingeing, and positive self-talk to keep yourself on track, you can cruise into the New Year lighter in both mind and body. With some simple steps you can come through the next few weeks looking and feeling your best!

Setting Realistic Goals –

Many people resign themselves to gaining weight over the holidays and then trying, usually unsuccessfully, to lose it in the New Year. This doesn’t have to be the norm. You could certainly fall off the wagon and devour all the lobster dip by yourself, but the trick is not to beat yourself up over it too much. Moments of weakness are simply lapses of judgment that happen to EVERYONE now and then.

Realistically, if you can maintain an 80/20, healthy/not-so-healthy diet then you’re probably doing better than the other 80% of the population. If you overeat a bit occasionally it’s OK… just forgive yourself and move on! Don’t use this as an excuse to continue bingeing through the rest of the holidays. If you can be less hard on yourself, you are far less likely to continue down the path to gaining those extra pounds. Self-talk is the main factor to staying on track with ANY personal growth, so keep yours positive and supportive. Remember, you’re human, and allow yourself to make mistakes. 

The Gift of Being Present –

There is a practice I like to recommend to my clients that are considerably overweight and need to get control of their food consumption. It’s called mindful eating, which is the act of slowing down while you eat and focusing on the actual process of eating itself. It involves chewing slowly and thoughtfully instead of gobbling down food without enjoying the tastes and textures. This usually causes the person to appreciate their food more and most of the time reduces the amount they eat.

Looking at this process from a physical point of view, it allows your stomach to slowly stretch, which is one signal your brain uses to tell you you’re full and to stop eating. If we eat too fast, we override this and always eat far more than we should since your stomach doesn’t have time to send the signal to your brain for you to stop. Also, by eating too fast we stop our “fullness hormone”, leptin, from working, which is another neurological signal our brain uses to tell us we’re full. Over time, this conditions our body to stop producing leptin, and is one of the main reasons people become obese. By slowing down, and chewing thoughtfully your body can do what it is supposed to do… digest efficiently. 

Sugar Addiction –

Sugar and carbs are two of the worst culprits to watch out for when it comes to weight gain and low energy, and holiday treats are usually loaded with these. Cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, chocolates and candies are EVERYWHERE, and the temptation is the downfall of even the most health-conscious individual. When you consume these your blood glucose spikes and about 30 minutes later it crashes leaving you flat and looking for more. Also, sugar causes a neurological cascade of pleasure in your brain making you want more and more. Therein lies the trap of these addicting little morsels.

So, what’s a person to do? Abstinence isn’t always possible, but limitation is. Choose your battles wisely when it comes to these high-sugar, high-carb goodies and only have one or two of your very favorite and most irresistible of these, then move on. It’s harder than it sounds for many, but you’ll thank yourself once you get control of this addiction… and Yes, it is a true addiction.

If you can, opt for natural sweeteners when making treats and desserts, and low-carb as well. Substitute honey or maple syrup for refined sugars. Mashed bananas work well for sweetener in baked goods, as do pureed dates. Gluten-free flours are a good option to replace wheat products, but these can still raise blood glucose levels. Low-carb flours like coconut or almond are a couple ways to avoid this. If you focus on ketogenic or Paleo recipes you’ll find lots of natural healthier options to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Fats, The Good and the Bad –

Fats have always been looked at as causing most of the weight gain people experience, and since fats carry over twice the calories that either protein and carbs do some caution and portion control must be used when eating fattier foods. However, fats actually keep you feeling fuller longer since they take longer to digest than any other food, so will actually cause you to eat less over the run of the day IF you give them time to digest before grabbing for more snacks out of habit.

When it comes to fats, what kind you consume is as important, if not more so, as how much. Real, unprocessed fats are what your body needs, and focusing on getting ample Omega-3 fats into your diet is crucial. Our food system is overloaded with refined polyunsaturated oils such as soybean, canola and others that throw our bodies out of balance. Our bodies are designed to eat saturated fats such as butter, beef, chicken & pork fats, and coconut oil for a healthy immune system, our cardiovascular health, and brain function. We also need Omega-3 fats (also known as EFA’s or essential fatty acids) for the same reasons, which you can get from cold water fish such as salmon and sardines, flaxseed and some nuts such as walnuts. However, with all the polyunsaturated oils in our foods, and even worse, hydrogenated & trans fats, most people are deficient in these essential fats. Think real and unrefined and you’ll avoid most of these other unhealthy oils. 

Down-size Your Plate –

This is one of the oldest diet tricks in the book, but it really does work for those who need to get control of the amount of food they eat. Instead of taking a 9-inch (or larger) plate for dinner, choose a 7 or 8-inch one. One small step for eating less… a giant leap in gaining control of your food consumption.

For finger foods, use a small 6-inch appetizer plate and try to limit yourself to whatever comfortably fits on that plate. Making a tower of treats won’t help you eat less, so don’t pile things mile-high to fit on the plate. Keep this in mind… many one or two bite appetizers are about 60 calories each, so five of these equals 300 calories, which is about half of what dinner should be.

Saving It Up –

You’re going out for the evening and you know the food will be awesome, so you don’t have much to eat all day, choosing instead to save your appetite for the buffet. When you get there, you have a glass of wine on an empty stomach (which hits you like brick), and you then proceed to devour plate after plate because everything tastes so good. Been there? You’re not alone…

Avoid this recipe for disaster by eating normally throughout the day and have a small nutrient-dense snack before you head out. This will give the alcohol something to slow down its absorption and reduce your appetite so you’re not ravenous.

Carry Emergency Rations –

We’ve all been there. You’re out shopping and running around and lose track of time. Your belly reminds you though and starts to growl like a bear. To shut it up you grab for the first thing you see, which is usually easily available junk food since that stuff is EVERYWHERE.

Avoid this trap by carrying emergency rations in the form of healthy snacks. Maybe some fruit like apples or clementines; veggies like carrots, celery sticks, or broccoli florets; mixed nuts with dried fruit; or a quality energy bar. By packing a snack-pack whenever you’re out and about you will reduce the chances of eating junk and empty calories.

Choose Wisely –

No matter how much you try to avoid it, you WILL be tempted by mounds of whipped potatoes and Mom’s famous dressing. Instead of filling half your plate with these and that juicy turkey first (leaving little room for anything else), choose instead to fill half your plate with veggies first. Take a “reasonable” scoop of potatoes and dressing and then finish off your plate with protein. Cutting back on carbs, which both potatoes and dressing are, will help keep them from sticking to your ribs (and other unwanted places).

Be strategic when confronted by a finger-food buffet. It’s no sense filling up on things just because they’re there. Pick things you really like and leave the others alone. Whenever possible, choose raw veggies, marinated veggies like olives and pickles, fruit, and lean meats from appetizer trays. And again… use a small plate and don’t overload it. Sample small portions of the foods you want to try, then go back for a “bit” more of your favorites, using moderation as your mantra. 

The Alcohol Conundrum –

As with nearly everything, moderation is the key when it comes to alcohol, and within that, it depends on what kind you’re drinking.

Wines, and especially red wine, provide antioxidants and resveratrol and are good for most people at around one glass per day. Dark beers provide some B vitamins and enzymes, but are carb-heavy and carry about 150 calories per 12 ounce glass. Spirits and hard liquor are harder on you as they tax your liver to remove the alcohol which is actually a neurotoxin in your body. So less is best on these.

Along with alcohol providing additional and what are known as “optional” calories, it also reduces inhibitions, which in most cases cause you to eat more, something we usually don’t need help with.

If you want to reduce your alcohol consumption you can switch out some of your drink for sparkling juices or cider, or even add kombucha as an alcoholic drink replacement. Kombucha provides valuable probiotic bacteria and beneficial organisms to help with your digestion, increasingly important if you are eating things your body finds harder to break down. You can also simply have a glass of water in place of every second drink, which will help to flush your system and hydrate you, making “the morning after” much easier to face.

Organize to Avoid Stress –

As a long-time Chef and caterer, I am never without a well-detailed plan and organized lists to keep me on track as the event gets closer. It is the key to being successful and avoiding pitfalls, and I advise this for anyone planning an event of any size, even smaller dinners that you want to be extra special.

Prepare a schedule or timeline to organize your shopping and prep. Much of your cooking can probably be done a couple of days ahead, and maybe even weeks before and carefully frozen to be reheated. Anything you can do ahead without compromising the quality of the food saves you time and rushing around on the day of the event. Also, you may be able to take advantage of special pricing to save you money as well.

“Wrapping It All Up”…

The holidays can be stressful enough without adding more to your plate (literally). Following these tips will certainly help a lot, but simply remember to do your best and you’ll do fine. Relax and allow yourself to enjoy some of the goodies that usually only come around this time of year. Trying to maintain an extremely strict diet in the face of so much temptation will probably drive you a bit crazy, and chances are you’ll take somebody else with you along the way. No one is perfect, but by using some willpower, focusing on portion control, and avoiding the worst of the sugary/starchy foods you’ll still be merry and bright when it is all over for another year…

Have a “Super, Natural” Day!
Kevin

 

 

 

Oil of Oregano – The Power of Ancient Healing

According to historical records, oregano has been used for 5000 years, first by the Assyrians. In ancient Greek and Roman times, it was one of the most commonly used herbs for health and medicinal purposes, and with good reason. Studies have proven that the health benefits of oil of oregano are powerful and far-reaching. This medicinal activity come mostly from carvacrol and thymol, powerful plant phenols with the ability to kill harmful microbes in the body, which can provide many healing benefits, including:

  • Gut Dysbiosis
  • Toxic Bowel Syndrome
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Fungal Infections
  • Parasites
  • Viruses
  • Inflammation
  • Candida Albicans yeast overgrowth
  • Fungus
  • Allergies
  • Upper Respiratory Infections

    Buy Oil of Oregano Here…

Oil of oregano has anti-biotic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties, capable of fighting infections, colds & flu viruses, allergic reactions, and reducing fevers.

Digestively, it has been shown to kill unwanted enteric (gut) bacteria, intestinal parasites, and even Candida Albicans yeast overgrowth, a particular hard condition to treat for many.

Topically, it works as an antiseptic for cuts & scrapes, pimples, psoriasis and other skin conditions, warts, fungal nail growths, cold sores, etc. When rubbed directly on swollen lymph nodes or sore throats oil of oregano can clear many of these infections in one or two applications.

To further receive the topical healing benefits, massage some oil of oregano with a bit of carrier directly into the soles of the feet.  Massaging the soles of the feet can benefit various body systems, as the practice of reflexology has proven.

Dosage information:
Internally, the best way to take oil of oregano is sublingual, or under the tongue. It is very strong and will be very hot and spicy until you get used to it. I recommend diluting it drop for drop with olive or coconut oil, and take 4-5 drops at a time, 3-4 times a day if you are treating an infection of some kind. It is best to hold it under your tongue for a few minutes for maximum absorption. If you find this too hot and powerful you’re probably best to take it in capsules form since it doesn’t get any better… just more tolerable as you become used to it.

Words of Caution:
Since it is very powerful, oil of oregano is recommended for short term use as an “on-and-off” remedy as it can potentially damage sensitive tissues, both inside and outside the body. Therefore, a rest period between treatments is necessary to allow your body to build up natural healthy bacteria and for skin tissue to recover.  Be sure to avoid contact to eyes, the inner ear canal, and inside the nose.  Higher doses may cause blood thinning, so beware of drug interactions. oil of oregano is not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Being able to treat such a wide range of conditions, and very quickly, oil of oregano is a popular go-to in many natural practitioner’s wellness protocols. It certainly is in mine, especially this time of year with flu and cold season upon us. Drop me a line with your questions, how to order, or any other comments…

All-Natural Flu Shot

Flu shot or no flu shot, that is the question…

It’s started again. By that I mean the mass media marketing campaign promoting this year’s pharmaceutical cocktail they call “The Flu Shot”. Thanks for the dire warnings, but I’ll pass, thank you. Why you might ask? Well, one reason is that I’m opposed to putting chemicals and dead viruses in my body for a 50% chance of avoiding the flu. The second reason is that I’ve got a secret weapon that works better than any flu shot, and YOU need to know about it.

First off, let me qualify this article by saying that this is not a recommendation for you to avoid getting the flu shot. It is my personal decision not to, based on my own research into alternative natural ways to enhance my innate immune system, which is the body’s own natural defense system. It is my opinion, and that of most natural practitioners, that a healthy, optimally functioning immune system is by far the best way to avoid getting seriously ill from germs, viruses and microbes. What follows is one of the best way to do so, based on solid scientific research…

My secret weapon is a naturally sourced immune modulator which acts to enhance the intelligence of your immune system, educating it about what to attack, and what to leave alone, which for the purpose of this article is the flu virus. This is NOT to be confused with an immune stimulator, as there is a huge difference between the two processes. Constant immune stimulation is actually dangerous for extended periods as it wears down your immunity by tiring it out from being on guard constantly. Modulation simply puts X-ray goggles on your immune response cells allowing them to see better, and then allows your immunity to function as it should in recognizing viruses and foreign antibodies and formulating its own attack mechanisms, including memorizing this for later use. This is especially important for things such as the flu virus and other infectious entities that can reoccur later, as your immune system needs to be able to recall the best way to deal with these.

The mechanism by which this works goes something like this. Every cell in your human body is covered with glycans, a layer called the glycocalyx. Since the immune system’s job is to patrol and inspect every cell in your body for antigens and harmful entities this glycocalyx layer will be continuously contacted when immune cells go about their business doing their job. At the very moment when an immune cell encounters a suspected problematic cell glycans on the surface of that cell activate a signal to help determine how immune cells will interact. By modulating the response to that signal we can enhance the efficiency of the immune system and create the best chance that it will do what it was designed to do… protect us from invaders.

So now that I have your attention, I’m sure you’re asking… OK, what is your secret weapon? Two words… Beta Glucan. In particular, Beta 1, 3-D Glucan, derived from the cell walls of baker’s yeast, which is the most effective immune modulator on the market. Of these, Transfer Point Glucan 300 has been scientifically proven to be the gold standard by which all others are measured. It is the most potent and pure of all beta glucans available on the market, and Transfer Point in the U.S. provides this product as Beta Glucan 300 to it’s American customers. Beta Glucan Canada has partnered with Transfer Point to provide these benefits to Canadian clients, and so I buy mine here .

Along with protection from viruses, supplementing with Glucan 300 has the unique ability to help with a host of chronic conditions through immune system modulation which helps the trillions of white blood cells throughout your body become smarter and more efficient. There have been thousands of studies showing this product can protect against infections, lower your cholesterol, lower blood sugar, reduce stress, increase your antibody production, heal wounds, help radiation burns,  overcome mercury induced immunosuppression (like thimerosal used as a preservative in vaccines), help with diabetes, and even naturally prevent oncogenesis (the development of cancer cells) and metastasis (the spreading of cancer itself).

Once beta glucan goes to work in streamlining the efficiency of the immune system, the body can then move toward homeostasis (balance), thereby allowing innate healing processes to begin. It is drug-free and affordable way to combat infection, reduce inflammation, and insure long-term health.

I always welcome your comments and questions. Feel free to contact me here for more info…