Pass the sugar, Sugar!

UnknownSweet things are good. Nicknames like “sweetie pie” and “sugar” have more than positive connotations. But, the tables turn when we’re talking about food & nutrition.

Humans have primal impulses to seek out foods that are sweet because they were harder to find in Nature. Really, what were the choices? Berries, honey & sugar cane. When we found those sources of pure energy, our brains rewarded us with dopamine, the pleasure chemical, so that we’d do that sugar thing again.

Fast-forward to today when we have Ho-Hos and Skittles and Twizzlers and tubs of icing and bags of actual straight-up sugar right around the corner in a store that’s open 24/7… but despite that, we STILL have the primal urge to seek it!

Let’s get philosophical for a moment. Food is not just about nourishing the body. It nourishes the soul, creates bonds and externalizes celebration. Sweetness is also a metaphor & symbolizes the “sweetness of life”. Sometimes it’s hard to find sweetness inside, so bringing it in from the outside is a close, though fleeting, second.

Many people who contemplate reducing their sugar intake (similar to perusing the gluten-free aisles) have an emotional response that screams “NO! Don’t take my sweetness away!” But, that despair is not real. It is a distraction created by your brain because it thinks you really can’t survive without sugar. Your poor, deluded, beautiful amazing, behind-the-times brain.

When you do decide to give a low-sugar diet a try, pat your brain gently and say to it, “Sweetie, just trust me for a little while and you’ll feel better than you’ve ever thought you could.” It probably won’t listen to you.

Then, try this: read to it. Specifically, read your brain this well-written, “fact-ion”-packed book by Margaret Wertheim, MS RDBreaking the Sugar Habit: Practical Ways to Cut the Sugar, Lose the Weight, and Regain Your Health. She’ll tell your brain directly and politely why lots of sugar isn’t helping your brain (or any other part of your body) + how to reduce the sugar in your life while retaining some safe sweetness.

Cell phones are a detriment to sleep

Sleep is more important than good nutrition. That’s a weird thing for a dietitian to say, but it’s true.

We detoxify & organize our memories during sleep. One poor night of sleep can make your body act pre-diabetic. Cutting-edge neurobiology teaches us that during sleep, cleansing spinal fluid is released from little compartments in the brain to give your brainy bits a little bath.

Many things get in the way of sleep, but this study highlights one of the most modern and pervasive: technology.

Research: Using a Smartphone After 9 pm Leaves Workers Disengaged

Here are the main points:

  • A well-rested employee is a better employee (supported by extensive research: insufficient sleep has been linked to more unethical behavior at workcyberloafing, andwork injuries, and less organizational citizenship behavior).
  • Smartphones are almost perfectly designed to disrupt sleep: keep us mentally engaged with work late into the evening & make it harder to psychologically detach from the most pressing cares of the day so that we can relax and fall asleep
  • Hypothesis of study (which was proven correct): a greater number of minutes spent using smartphones after 9pm would more negatively affect sleep; that this in turn would leave people feeling tired in the morning; and that, as a result, they would be less engaged at work the next day.
  • Smartphones (and laptops) expose us to blue light– even small amounts inhibit the sleep-promoting chemical melatonin.
  • Solution: have management-defined “predictable time off” during which emails/updates are not sent. OR have defined expectations of when employees are expected to respond (ex. email comes in at 10pm, but it’s okay to wait until 9am to respond)

If you HAVE to use your phone after 9pm, try f.lux. It’s an app for your computer (PC & Mac) & iPhone/iPad that dims the light it emits after a certain time (specified by you). This prevents the “blue light” wavelengths from stalling out your production of melatonin.

Nighty night!
:)Anne

Americans eat poison that’s banned in other countries

The familiarity of your Grocery Store Landscape can make you think it’s a reasonable representation of “food”… but if you live in the USA, that’s not necessarily the case. Let’s put our food in perspective.

Would you like to globalize your perspective on “normal food”? Let’s take a look at 8 foods that are common here, but are banned in other countries:

1) Artificial Food Dye (aka “post-Froot-Loop milk”: Found all over the place (cake mixes, sports drinks, cheese, candy, packaged mac & cheese), dyes are linked to brain cancer, nerve-cell deterioration, and hyperactivity in children. {Banned in Norway, Finland, Austria, France, and the U.K.}

2) Olestra (aka. Olean, aka. “fat substitute that can cause anal leakage”!): Found in fat-free versions of potato chips & french fries, Olestra prevents your body from absorbing nutrients and, in excess, can cause a bathroom-bound water slide. {Banned in the U.K. and Canada.}

3) Brominated vegetable oil: Found in brightly-colored beverages (because it causes food dye to stay dispersed in liquid), bromine is a flame retardant linked to organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss. {Banned in >100 countries.}

4) Potassium bromate (aka. bromated flour): Found in bread products, like wraps, rolls, bread crumbs, bagel chips, flat breads, bromated flour decreases baking time and reduces costs, but may cause kidney damage, cancer, and nervous system damage. {Banned in Europe, Canada, and China.}

5) Azodicarbonamide (aka. chemical used to bleach flour and plastic): Found in breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods, azodicarbonamide can induce asthma. {Banned in Australia, the U.K., and most European countries.}

6) BHA & BHT: Found in cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat & dehydrated potatoes, these preservatives are known to cause cancer in rats. {Banned in the U.K., Japan, and many other European countries.}

7) Synthetic growth hormones, rBGH & rBST (aka. growth hormones injected into cows so their bodies think they’re pregnant and will produce milk): Found in dairy products, rBGH & rBST potentially cause infertility, weakened muscle growth, and a whole array of cancers. {Banned in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the EU.}

8) Arsenic (aka. straight up poison!): Found in industrial poultry (added to chicken feed to make meat appear pinker and fresher), arsenic is linked to… death if you ingest enough. Plus, think about the health of the chicken that you’re eating… {Banned in the EU.}

Source

Putting our food in perspective (What do we eat that’s banned in other countries?)

The familiarity of your Grocery Store Landscape can make you think it’s a reasonable representation of “food”… but if you live in the USA, that’s not necessarily the case.

Would you like to globalize your perspective on “normal food”? Let’s take a look at 8 foods that are common here, but are banned in other countries:

1) Artificial Food Dye (aka “post-Froot-Loop milk”: Found all over the place (cake mixes, sports drinks, cheese, candy, packaged mac & cheese), dyes are linked to brain cancer, nerve-cell deterioration, and hyperactivity in children. {Banned in Norway, Finland, Austria, France, and the U.K.}

2) Olestra (aka. Olean, aka. “fat substitute that can cause anal leakage”!): Found in fat-free versions of potato chips & french fries, Olestra prevents your body from absorbing nutrients and, in excess, can cause a bathroom-bound water slide. {Banned in the U.K. and Canada.}

3) Brominated vegetable oil: Found in brightly-colored beverages (because it causes food dye to stay dispersed in liquid), bromine is a flame retardant linked to organ system damage, birth defects, growth problems, schizophrenia, and hearing loss. {Banned in >100 countries.}

4) Potassium bromate (aka. bromated flour): Found in bread products, like wraps, rolls, bread crumbs, bagel chips, flat breads, bromated flour decreases baking time and reduces costs, but may cause kidney damage, cancer, and nervous system damage. {Banned in Europe, Canada, and China.}

5) Azodicarbonamide (aka. chemical used to bleach flour and plastic): Found in breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods, azodicarbonamide can induce asthma. {Banned in Australia, the U.K., and most European countries.}

6) BHA & BHT: Found in cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat & dehydrated potatoes, these preservatives are known to cause cancer in rats. {Banned in the U.K., Japan, and many other European countries.}

7) Synthetic growth hormones, rBGH & rBST (aka. growth hormones injected into cows so their bodies think they’re pregnant and will produce milk): Found in dairy products, rBGH & rBST potentially cause infertility, weakened muscle growth, and a whole array of cancers. {Banned in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and the EU.}

8) Arsenic (aka. poison!): Found in industrial poultry (added to chicken feed to make meat appear pinker and fresher), arsenic is linked to… death if you ingest enough. Plus, think about the health of the chicken that you’re eating… {Banned in the EU.}

Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ashleyperez/8-foods-we-eat-in-the-us-that-are-banned-in-other-countries

Do you pathologize yourself?

free NA confused worry http-::www.clker.com:clipart-confused-man.htmlThe label of a health-related diagnosis is like a tattoo on your subconscious mind. But it’s not who you are.

If you’re dubbed a “Diabetic”, or “Heart Patient”, or “Obese”, or even “Schizophrenic”, is that different than being called a “person who has Diabetes“? You betcha.

Just as you’re not “John’s wife”, “Patricia’s husband”, “Albert’s husband” or ” “Natalie’s mom” (you are you!), you are not your condition.

The condition you’re managing is happening in a snapshot of time, which happens to be now. It likely wasn’t always there, and it doesn’t always have to be there either. Something triggered it and your body responded to keep you going. If you identify & remove the trigger, your body will adapt again!

The longer a condition has been activated, the longer the physical changes will take as your body regains its balance. But the most important first step is to adjust your perspective so the condition does not intrude on your identity.

If you often tell people about your condition, consider stopping that. Tell them something else that has to do with who you are deeper down inside (You play the cello? You taught your dog how to use the toilet? You’ve finished each crossword puzzle for the last month?).

If you do mention your condition, you might try phrase it a bit differently (maybe practicing in the mirror first?) For example, “I’m currently managing diabetes” (take care not to say “my diabetes“). Or, “My body is holding on to some extra weight” (not “I am obese” because that’s not who you are).

After this initial step of changing your perspective, you may feel motivated to seek some help in finding the root cause and learning how you can remove it and rebalance your loyal and hard-working body. Consider consulting a qualified healthcare practitioner, like me at BuzzNutrition.

Kids’ Night in Downtown Staunton!

Last night at Kids’ Night, I had the pleasure of edutaining (educating & entertaining) a constant stream of bright-eyed, curious, enthusiastic and well-mannered kids!

Image

My table at 16 West Beverly, home of Virtually Sisters, was eventually covered with dirt because of the kids who wanted to hold a worm… Using a lesson thought up by Pat, the creator of this summer’s nutrition education series at the Boys & Girls Club, I showed the kids a picture of the components of a cheeseburger and we worked backwards to the source of the ingredients. Guess what…{Spoiler alert}… it’s worms! 

After the kids learned that there’d be no food without worms, I figured they’d want to thank some. (One little girl even took 2 of them home to put in her garden!) So before I left for the event, I plucked a few willing participants out of my worm compost bin. (At Staunton’s newest shop, Harmony Moon on New Street, Sally had a demonstration with live bees, another insect that we rely on to pollinate our food.)

The kids also played a game of Tic Tac Toe, in which they had to guess a fruit or veggie by touch only (quite a challenge!) All the kids, and even many of the parents had a great time testing out their produce-sensing abilities.

I was very impressed by the kids. Staunton has some good eaters who, very surprisingly, love broccoli!

 

Let’s Talk Thyroid

ImageLet’s Talk Thyroid 

Have you ever pondered your thyroid? From its perch at the front of your throat, this butterfly-lookin’ endocrine gland monitors your body’s metabolism, aka how every single cell creates & uses energy. 

Metabolism is often thought of along with weight loss, but it’s also important in temperature regulation, growth/development, immune regulation and digestion… pretty much anything that requires energy, which is everything. 

Wow. That’s quite a responsibility.

Luckily, the thyroid doesn’t work alone. It’s intimately connected to your adrenal glands, digestive system and various brainy bits. When one member of the team falters, the others must pick up the slack. And over time, all the teammates can get tired and peter out.

While there are at least 5 reasons why the thyroid can peter out, most doctors only test for one lab value that doesn’t give the whole story. Thyroid health responds well to nutritional changes (especially going gluten-free), but it’s imperative to dig for & treat the root cause. The root cause determines the best treatment, and determines which common treatments could actually be harmful! 

Here’s list of some common signs & symptoms of thyroid dysfunction:

  • Cold hands/feet
  • Poor eyebrow growth (outer third is thin)
  • Swelling under eyes, or of eyelids
  • Hoarse voice
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss (especially around the face)
  • Brittle nails
  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry skin
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor memory
  • Infertility
  • Irritability
  • Low blood pressure
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Slower heartbeat
  • Throat pain
  • Weight gain

Go ahead. Lovingly pat the front of your neck. Tell your thyroid you’ve got its back. You appreciate it and will do your best to give it what it needs. Give me a call if you need help with figure out what that is!