antioxidants

The Soy Debate – Is It Good For You Or Not?

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The Soy Debate – Is It Good For You Or Not?

The soy controversy is highly debated these days among nutritionists. On the one hand, soy has become extremely popular, and on the other hand, the potential health risks have also become widely recognized. So, is it healthy or not so healthy to consume soy products?

The known benefits to soy:

  1. It can be prepared in many different ways as an alternative to meat products.
  2. It’s a source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.
  3. Soy milk is a common alternative to cow’s milk for people who are lactose sensitive or lactose intolerant.
  4. Some studies have shown that consuming soy is helpful in increasing HDL (our good cholesterol) and possibly it has antioxidants that protect an increase in our LDL levels (the bad cholesterol).
  5. Even more recently, there have been some studies done on the isoflavones found in soy. Their estrogen like properties can support bone strength and improve the symptoms of women going through menopause.

The potential health risks to soy:

  1. Soy that is grown in America is genetically modified and usually not labeled as such.
  2. There are recent studies showing that soy contains phytoestrogens. If you consume too much soy in your diet you can actually produce too much estrogen in the body, which is especially unhealthy for young children and males. In women, this can lead to an increased chance of developing breast cancer or uterine fibroids.
  3. Soy phytoestrogens can also cause thyroid disease and an increased risk of autoimmune disease, especially in babies or young children. It’s a very popular alternative formula for infants when they can’t tolerate regular cow’s milk products.
  4. Many of the meat replacement soy products, such as soy burgers, are highly processed containing unnatural toxins and can contain high levels of unhealthy preservatives and high levels of sodium.
  5. Some people have an allergic reaction to soy and don’t feel well after consuming it or even develop hives or general itching. You may not realize it is the culprit because soy is hidden in a lot of processed foods.

The best you can do is educate yourself so you can make your own informed decision on whether or not soy is good for you and your family. If you do choose to consume soy, edamame is a good choice because it is not processed, as well as fermented tofu.

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Organic?

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What Are The Benefits Of Eating Organic?

When it comes to fruits and vegetables especially, eating organic is highly beneficial. The main difference between eating conventionally farmed produce and organic is that organic growers do not spray their farms with herbicides and pesticides. The chemicals used have been positively linked to numerous health problems such as cancer, unhealthy hormone changes and toxicity in the nervous system and brain. These toxic chemicals were designed to kill small pests instantly, so how can it be healthy for people to ingest? Washing the produce before eating it helps, but definitely does not remove all of it. A toxic chemical residue remains.

Some great reasons to eat organic:

  1. You avoid all pesticides and herbicides.
  2. The produce is typically 25% more nutritious with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so it’s worth it to pay a little more! You’re still getting your value from it.
  3. It supports responsible and sustainable farming techniques, eliminating these toxic chemicals from getting into our environment (air, soil and water supply). In turn, the farmers are also protected from their toxicity.
  4. It actually tastes better!

The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, keeps a great list of absolute foods that you should ONLY eat organic, called The Dirty Dozen, and also a list of the Clean Fifteen that are the conventionally grown foods that are safe to eat. Here is a link to their website http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php

Based on their recommendation, here are the foods you should always eat organic:

  • Strawberries
  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Celery
  • Summer squash
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Potatoes
  • Hot Peppers
  • Nectarines
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Zucchini

A few of my favorites from the Clean Fifteen list:

  • Avocados
  • Mushrooms
  • Kiwi
  • Mangoes
  • Onions
  • Asparagus
  • Papayas
  • Sweet potatoes

You should always wash your fruits and veggies with a veggie wash before eating them, but at least buying all of these foods as organic, assures you that you’re not consuming ANY bad chemicals!


Support a responsible organic farmer and buy organic today!

Avocados And Many Of Their Amazing Health Benefits

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Avocados And Many Of Their Amazing Health Benefits

Avocados have a high fat content, but it is a super healthy fat. They were once put on the bad foods list for this fact and yet now they are one of the most popular foods because of their wonderful nutritional value. They are literally packed with the healthy monounsaturated fat, lutein, potassium, folate and numerous other vitamins and nutrients. Avocados support your entire body, from your heart to your eyes.

What are some specific things avocados can do for you?

  • Heart protection – the high amounts of potassium regulates blood pressure, which helps to prevent heart disease and strokes, and even lower cholesterol. The folate in them also contributes to lowering your chances of getting heart disease and heart attacks.
  • Your vision – A fabulous ingredient in avocados is lutein, numerous antioxidants and zeaxanthin……all that protect your eyes from macular degeneration and even improve your eyesight.
  • Cancer prevention – The numerous antioxidants in avocados are a great cancer prevention. Oleic acid that is prevalent is known protection against breast cancer.
  • Great source of fiber – Consuming healthy amounts of fiber is a major component in the prevention of chronic disease. Avocados are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers.
  • Low glycemic index – This helps to control your blood sugar levels, preventing the onset of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Rich in Vitamin K – This great vitamin plays an important role in our ability to have functional blood clotting and wound healing. It is also very important to help build strong bones.
  • Rich in Vitamin B6 – This directly supports your nervous system, your teeth and gums and your numerous red blood cells and can reduce morning sickness.
  • A stronger immune system – The high amount of antioxidants directly supports the immune system.
  • Lose weight – The high amounts of monounsaturated fats in avocados actually speeds up your metabolic rate which can help with weight loss.
  • Prevent halitosis – Believe it or not, but avocados can get rid of bad breath! It is able to effectively remove intestinal putrefaction and decomposition which is the actual cause of bad breath and a coated tongue.
  • A protein source – They provide ALL 18 essential amino acids we need for our bodies to form a complete protein, that is just amazing! Also, the protein in an avocado is easy to digest and readily absorbed due to their fiber content.

We all love a delicious guacamole, but adding a little avocado to your daily meals can benefit your health tremendously! Add it to a burger, a salad, slice it up on the side with a little salt and pepper or use it as a condiment.

 

They are delicious and so good for you!

8 Great Herbs To Spice Up Your Cooking!

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8 Great Herbs To Spice Up Your Cooking!

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Herbs, fresh or dried, are a wonderful addition to your home cooked dishes. They are great for adding flavor and to help to bring out the seasonings and flavors of other ingredients in your meal. Herbs can help increase flavor without needing to add salt and they add to the nutritional value.

Spices all originate from plants: flowers, fruits, seeds, barks, leaves, and roots. They can help preserve foods for longer periods of time and many have antibacterial and antiviral properties. The aromatic flavorings can transform a dish without adding calories or fat.

Here are 8 great herbs to try:

Cinnamon

It has the highest antioxidant value of any spice, with the amazing ability to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels.  It helps alleviate nausea, increases sensitivity to insulin and aids in the burning of fat and provides you with manganese, iron and calcium. Because it has antimicrobial properties, it can help extend the life of foods you add it to.

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Thyme

It is a member of the mint family and is well-known for being used in French cooking and goes nicely with poultry. The essential oils in it have strong antibacterial properties and are often used to treat sore throats or mouth infections. It is known for its cancer fighting properties.

Basil

The bright green leaves are tasty and rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which promote heart health. It has both anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and has been known to aid in resolving digestive disorders. It’s most known for using in Italian cooking, but it is a versatile herb that can be added to practically anything. Fresh is the best.

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Dill Weed/Seed

It is most known for its stomach settling ability (possibly one reason why pregnant women crave pickles?). It contains a variety of nutrients and is best used in uncooked recipes or in foods cooked at low temperatures to retain them. It is a great addition to any type of dish with fish, to dips and dressings, to omelets or to chicken dishes. It has wonderful antibacterial properties.

Parsley

It’s very rich in vitamins C, B 12, K and A. It acts as a diuretic, so it’s great to add into your diet if you are feeling bloated or water-logged. It’s great to add to a green juice or smoothie.

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Oregano

This herb is commonly used in Italian sauces. It’s rich in antioxidants and also has powerful antibacterial properties. It is an antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer and antibiotic! It has been known to treat Giardia better than any other medicine. It is just packed full of antioxidants as well. Its oil and leaves are known medicinally for cough, fever, congestion, and body aches. A couple teaspoons added to a soup will help recovery from illness.

Cilantro

This refreshing herb is a bright addition to Mexican dishes and salsas because its fresh flavor lends itself well to many of the spicy flavors often used in Latin dishes. It is rich in magnesium and iron, it’s a good source of fiber, lowers blood sugar and helps the body fight against salmonella.

Rosemary

It has a high concentration of the antioxidant carnosol, which new research is showing that it may have benefits in cancer treatment. It’s easy to grow, low maintenance and fast growing.  It has a pungent unique pine/lemony scent that tastes delicious sprinkled on any meats or vegetables, whether roasting in the oven or on the barbecue. Water boiled with this can be used as an antiseptic.

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When it comes to buying fresh herbs, a great rule of thumb is to look for whatever is in season in your area. Most herbs are available year round, but they can be expensive. Try growing your own herb garden! It’s a blast and so easy. Fresh herbs are the best and not only add wonderful flavor without calories, they may also serve up health benefits as healing foods.

What is your favorite herb to cook with?

Mmmm……Smoothies!

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My FAVE!!! Be fearless in trying great smoothie recipes! The most important ingredient to remember is your whey protein powder, so try these great recipes!!

A Banana Smoothie With Oats

Lots of great amounts of potassium in bananas protects the heart, promotes calcium absorption. Great before a workout — it will keep up your blood sugar and stop you from getting any muscle cramps.

  • 2 scoops of whey protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 2 bananas (frozen is best)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup of ice cubes

Berry With Grapes Smoothie

Great amounts of vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and other antioxidants plus the protein you’ll need.

  • 1 teaspoon dry chia seeds
  • 2 scoops of whey protein powder
  • 1 ½ cups seedless red or purple grapes
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (frozen is best)
  • 1 teaspoon flaxseed oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup of ice (optional)

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Orange Creamy Smoothie

  • 2 scoops whey protein powder 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chilled water
  • 3 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2 banana (frozen is best)
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 cup of ice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)

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Peach And Greens Smoothie – Protein packed!

  • 2 scoops whey protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup peaches (frozen is best)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple (frozen)
  • 1/2 banana (frozen)
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

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Basic Banana Protein Smoothie

  • 2 scoops whey protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 banana (frozen)
  • 2 cups ice
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate And Peanut Butter Smoothie

  • 2 scoops of whey protein powder
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 banana (frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 cup of ice

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Yum! These are just suggestions, change them or add other ingredients as desired! Enjoy!!

Amino Acids Amazing Abilities

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Amino acids are known to be the “building blocks” of life, but what most people don’t know is their long list of therapeutic roles in recovery from illness and contributing to good health.

They keep the gastrointestinal tract working, prevent aging and degenerative diseases, they have powerful antixodant properties, support the immune system, heavy metal detoxification, support the heart and nervous systems, regulate blood sugar (energy) and can restore vitality when needed.

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Here is a list covering some of the main amino acids and just some of the things they do or help your body:

Alanine

  • metabolism of glucose

Arginine

  • tumors and cancer.
  • function of the immune system
  • liver detoxifier
  • increases sperm count
  • healing/repair of skin and connective tissue
  • muscle metabolism
  • proper nitrogen balance
  • weight loss by increasing muscle mass
  • regulation of many enzymes and hormones
  • release of growth hormone
  • new bone and collagen

Asparagine

  • balance within the central nervous system
  • amino acids convert to what they are supposed to in the liver

Aspartic

  • stamina
  • metabolism
  • chronic fatigue
  • neural and brain disorders
  • removes excess ammonia from the body
  • cell function and function of RNA and DNA
  • produces immunoglobulins and antibodies

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Carnitine

  • transports long-chain fatty acids to provide muscle energy
  • uses fat as an energy source
  • diabetes
  • alcohol-induced fatty liver
  • heart disorders
  • blood triglycerides
  • weight loss
  • muscle strength

Citrulline

  • energy
  • immune system
  • detoxifies ammonia

Cysteine and Cystine

  • detoxifier
  • strong nails, skin and hair, produces collagen
  • free radicals
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • hardening of the arteries
  • heavy metals chelation
  • iron absorption
  • fat burning
  • breaks down mucus
  • strengthens white blood cell activity

GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)

  • neurotransmitter
  • anxiety, stress-related nervousness
  • epilepsy and hypertension
  • relaxant, increases libido
  • enlarged prostate
  • ADD

Glutamic

  • builds proteins
  • metabolism of sugars and fats
  • transports potassium across the blood-brain barrier
  • brain fuel
  • personality and childhood behavioral disorders

Glutamine

  • most abundant in the body, protein building block
  • can convert to glucose
  • energy source
  • fuel for cells lining the intestine
  • anti-inflammatory
  • mental functioning, helps with depression
  • athletic performance
  • gastritis, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis

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Glutathione

  • antioxidant produced in the liver
  • detoxifies
  • supports red and white blood cells
  • carbohydrate metabolism
  • Anti-aging
  • breaks down oxidized fats that lead to atherosclerosis

Glycine

  • prostate gland
  • muscle degeneration
  • construction of DNA, RNA
  • synthesis of nucleic acids, bile acids
  • hypoglycemia
  • epilepsy
  • bipolar disorder, hyperactivity
  • low pituitary function

Histidine (or Histadine)

  • growth, repair of tissues
  • T-cell function
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • maintenance of the myelin sheaths protect the nerve cells
  • sexual arousal
  • indigestion
  • production of red and white blood cells
  • removing heavy metals

Isoleucine

  • hemoglobin formation
  • blood sugar, energy levels
  • energy,endurance, healing, repair muscle tissue
  • mental disorders

Lysine

  • nitrogen balance
  • muscle mass, collagen formation, tissue repair
  • high serum triglycerides
  • concentration
  • bone and growth development in children
  • antibodies, hormones, and enzymes
  • calcium absorption

Methionine

  • pancreatitis
  • liver function
  • clogging the arteries
  • breakdown of fats
  • detoxifies heavy metals
  • brittle hair
  • osteoporosis
  • powerful antioxidant
  • excretion of estrogen
  • schizophrenia
  • tumors

Ornithine

  • muscle-building
  • immune system, liver function
  • detoxifies ammonia
  • liver regeneration
  • damaged skin, connective tissue

Phenylalanine and D,L-Phenylanlanine (DLPA)

  • alcohol withdrawal
  • osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
  • vitiligo
  • mood elevator
  • sexual arousal
  • hunger, cravings for food
  • menstrual cramps, migraines, pain

Serine

  • metabolism of fats and fatty acids
  • growth of muscle
  • immune system
  • immunoglobulins and antibodies
  • moisturizing capabilities

Taurine

  • absorbing fats and fat-soluble vitamins
  • cardiac arrhythmias
  • cell membrane stability
  • brain cell overactivity
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • building block for other Amino Acids
  • bile (digestion of fats)
  • serum cholesterol
  • edema, hypoglycemia
  • anxiety, poor brain function, seizures

Threonine

  • protein balance
  • collagen, elastin
  • liver, lipotrophic function
  • fatty liver
  • antibodies, immune system

Tryptophan

  • B3 (Niacin)
  • serotonin
  • normal sleep
  • depression and insomnia
  • mood stabilizer
  • hyperactivity in children
  • relieves stress
  • heart health
  • weight control by decreasing appetite
  • migraine headaches

Tyrosine

  • mood elevator
  • key component of melanin
  • suppresses your appetite, reduces body fat
  • adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands
  • metabolism
  • chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, allergies, headaches
  • alcohol, cocaine, addictive drugs withdrawal support.

Valine

  • stimulant
  • muscle metabolism, tissue repair
  • nitrogen balance
  • energy source for the muscles

Amino acids are powerful. They help cure disease, prevent disease, alleviate many symptoms, elevate our mood, and help us live longer and healthier lives! So go eat your healthy protein or drink a whey protein smoothie…. and give your body the tools it needs!

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Boost Your Energy With 5 Healthy Foods For 2014!

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We all suffer from the afternoon “slump”, but coffee and soda are not necessarily the answer (except I LOVE coffee in the morning). We each have a unique body clock that is also regulated by our individual hormones, sleep patterns, temperature and our environment. A very typical fluctuation in this is between 2-4pm…..and well, we sort of can just “crash”. The healthy way to boost this is with a healthy food, not artificial lifts that actually can make it even worse.

Here are some great foods to turn to in order to “boost” that slump!

Kiwi. These unique tropical fruits are packed full of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. They are bound to give you that great pick-me-up from a quick afternoon snack….and they are so yummy and easy to eat!

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Kale, spinach, swiss chard (especially rainbow). These are easy immediate energy boosters because they are simply LOADED with so many essential vitamins and minerals that we need to stay energized. Steam it the night before and bring it with you as an easy cold snack.

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Eggs. Honestly, how many articles can we write about eggs?? They have gotten such a bad rap over the past few decades, but they are truly the world’s “perfect food”. They are loaded in protein, the kind that releases energy slowly, filled with healthy fats, and the rich B vitamins that we need every day. Hard boil them and they are easy to pack and go for a late afternoon snack.

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Apples. “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. I’ve always loved that saying. I know there’s something to it….well, lots actually, apples are amazing. As far as energy goes, they have wonderful natural sugars and they are very high in antioxidants. I’ve read some amazing things on apples (another post for another day). They are an easy on the go snack and a quick energy booster!

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Raw almonds. Go nuts over nuts! These are packed full of healthy fats, slow digested protein for longer lasting energy and fiber. It’s an easy snack for a quick jolt.

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The best lesson to remember is to feed your body consistently, and that doesn’t always mean just breakfast (or coffee for many of us), lunch and dinner. Learn to feed your body some healthy boosting snacks in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon to keep your metabolism revved and give you that great energy boost that you need to finish your day.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!! ( :