Wheat - the good, the bad, and the ugly



Wheat is getting roughed up lately by all kinds of people, from gluten free advocates to medical professionals. There certainly is no shortage of ammunition to call out wheat products as dangerous to your health, but do we really know the whole story about this popular grain?

Perhaps it is time to investigate all the features of wheat so you can get a more accurate picture and make better decisions.

   The good

Believe it or not, there are benefits to wheat, even though the risks of modern wheat often far outweigh the nutritional value. However, if you source an ancient grain like Einkorn wheat, the health benefits go up tremendously and the downsides are substantially diminished. This becomes even truer when this kind of wheat is used to produce sour leavened bread, as opposed to those produced with commercial yeast.

Some of the nutritional benefits of whole grain wheat include:


~ Good source of B-vitamins including niacin, thiamin, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, folate, and pantothenic acid
~ Solid source of minerals, including manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc

~ Quality source of protein

~
Great source of fiber



In order to receive the majority of these benefits through bread, choose an ancient grain and use a sourdough starter to naturally leaven it, which will significantly lower the gluten content and activate food enzymes to make it much more digestible. In fact, research in Applied and Environmental Microbiology found that, when wheat bread is thoroughly fermented, gluten content drops to 12 ppm - a level that is deemed gluten-free!


   The bad

Unfortunately, wheat is not what it used to be and as a result of our overconsumption of it, many people have slowly destroyed their digestive systems to the point that they have been diagnosed with various intestinal disorders, including celiac disease.

As a result of the decades of hybridization of ancient grains, today's wheat no longer resembles the wheat our digestive systems were intended to handle relatively easily. This hybridization has resulted in wheat with a much higher gluten content, which has caused symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, rashes, migraines, fatigue, arthritis, emotional issues, and intense intestinal discomfort.

With wheat flour as the basis of so many products, it becomes very difficult to avoid and has made food options a bit trickier for those who are gluten intolerant.


   The ugly

Most people focus on gluten when demonizing wheat consumption, and even though it definitely is a big factor, it may not be as perverse as a very common practice that many are unaware of that's happening across the United States and the United Kingdom.

This practice is the direct application of Roundup (glyphosate) to wheat fields just prior to the harvest stage in order to allow an earlier, easier, and bigger harvest. This dousing of poison directly on wheat kernels has been routine for the past 15 years and was suggested as early as 1980.

Interestingly enough, the incidence of celiac disease has risen substantially and with a significant correlation to the increasing application of glyphosate since 1990. Although some maintain that glyphosate is not harmful, it's becoming clear that it disrupts the proper functioning of the gut and contributes to the permeability of the intestinal wall, which can cause subsequent expressions of autoimmune disease symptoms.

Considering that the gut is often considered the gateway to health, this practice has profound implications for anyone consuming conventional wheat products. This makes going organic and investigating ancient grains and traditional methods of preparation all that more important.

To find out more about traditional foods coming back into vogue, and how to make wheat a healthier habit, visit Five Traditional Foods That Everyone Should Be Eating. If gluten has been a problem for you in the past, make sure your intestinal system is healthy and balanced.



Sources:

http://www.healingthebody.ca

http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com

http://nutritiondata.self.com




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Foods that detox heavy metals



In today's toxic world, we absorb, inhale, and ingest chemicals and heavy metals on a daily basis. Bad bacteria and Candida ooze toxins as a part of their metabolism and as they die off. Bi-annual detoxes help to cleanse your body and remove these highly toxic substances, but what about the other 363 days out of the year when we accumulate toxins?

What if the food we include in our daily diet not only nourishes our bodies but binds to those toxins and helps cleanse our tissues? What if our nutrient dense diet became a daily detox? With the following foods, it can.

~ Chlorella
~ Spirulina
~ Garlic
~ Cilantro
~ Wheatgrass


  Pass the pond scum, please!

Chlorella and spirulina, two amazing superfoods, are actually pond scum that grow in fresh water. Chlorella is a round, single cell organism rich in chlorophyll that contains 20 vitamins and minerals and all of the essential amino acids. Spirulina is a spiral, multi-celled organism that is also rich in chlorophyll, and it contains 18 vitamins and minerals, 8 amino acids, and omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

                                     spirulina powder

Both of these superfoods are high in protein and antioxidants. Both do a remarkable job of absorbing heavy metals and other toxins. They are so good at absorbing metals, it is vital to purchase your chlorella and spirulina from a trusted source to ensure you do not buy product that has absorbed heavy metals from the environment where it was grown.

   Garlic

Garlic is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. It's active ingredient, a sulfur compound, allicin, provides the primary healing aspects of garlic. Garlic prevents or reduces the severity of viruses like the common cold and the flu, lowers blood pressure, lowers LDL cholesterol, and is an antioxidant. It is also antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic. Amazingly enough, it also binds heavy metals and helps us todetox. It's best effects come from eating 3 or more cloves each day. Always wait 10 minutes or so after cutting or crushing garlic to cook it or eat it raw to allow the allicin to form.

   Cilantro


Cilantro binds to heavy metals, pulling them from blood and body tissues, and eliminates them from the body. It is a strong antioxidant known to help with sleep, to reduce anxiety, and to lower blood sugar. What we call cilantro is actually coriander--the same plant from which we harvest coriander seeds. It is also known as Chinese parsley

   Wheatgrass


Wheatgrass contains calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It is a powerful detoxifier that neutralizes toxins with enzymes and cleanses the body of heavy metals and other toxic substances stored in tissues and organs. Like spirulina and chlorella, it is a wonderful source of chlorophyll.

   Total Tonic Recipe


This tonic helps detoxify heavy metals and it offers a lot of?other benefits too.

~ 1 handful of garlic cloves
~ 1 handful of chopped onions
~ 1 handful of chopped ginger
~ 1 handful of chopped horseradish
~ 1/2 handful of chopped habanero peppers
~ Raw apple cider vinegar


Throw in a blender and cover with an inch or two of organic raw apple cider vinegar. All ingredients should be organic, but don't let that stop you from making this great formula (as long as the garlic is not from China). You can use the mash right away or wait two weeks and allow it to turn into a tincture.

Try this followed by a shot of fresh pressed wheatgrass and a shot of turmeric juice. This tonic is great for the immune system, and it also works well to pull heavy metals with Total Nutrition Formula (recipe that contains chlorella spirulina, wheatgrass, and more), and this Cranberry Stevia Lemonade Recipe.


   Sources:

http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com

http://www.healingthebody.ca

http://www.herbwisdom.com

http://authoritynutrition.com






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Olive oil - the healthiest choice



  Olive oil is the healthiest choice when it comes to frying food, study finds

A new study published October 22 reinforces once again that olive oil is one of the best oils for cooking compared to other seed oils. Researchers based their conclusion on a few different factors, including nutritional content and the oil's ability to maintain quality under high temperatures.

Published in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists note that various oils have different physical, chemical and nutritional properties that can be degraded under high heat and repeated use.

Many cooking oils can become impaired while heating in the pan or frying, and the food that you're cooking can actually also lose its nutritional content, making your choice of oil critical for producing a healthy dish.

Mohamed Bouaziz, one of the study's authors, and his colleagues say that when some oils are heated to certain temperatures they can change form and create new compounds that are potentially toxic to consume. These byproducts contribute to the reduction of the food's nutritional content.

  Olive oil withstands high temps, maintaining its impeccable, healthy qualities, scientists say

"The researchers deep- and pan-fried raw potato pieces in four different refined oils -- olive, corn, soybean and sunflower -- and reused the oil 10 times.

"They found that olive oil was the most stable oil for deep-frying at 320 and 374 degrees Fahrenheit, while sunflower oil degraded the fastest when pan-fried at 356 degrees," stated the ACS press release.


"They conclude that for frying foods, olive oil maintains quality and nutrition better than seed oils." Olive oil is one of those ancient gems of a food that has been around for centuries, particularly in the Mediterranean.

The best type to use is "virgin" or "extra virgin" olive oil, as fewer chemicals have been used for extraction. The more chemicals involved in extracting the oil from olives, the more it loses its nutritional value, according to a Natural News report published last May on the oil's benefits.

"True virgin olive oil has an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory properties. Because it is derived directly from the fruit of the plant, it also helps with digestion."

  Olive oil extremely useful in treating a variety of ailments, studies find

The health benefits don't stop there.

Oleocanthal, the phytonutrient in olive oil, actually mimics the effect of ibuprofen in that it reduces inflammation and can decrease women's risk of developing breast cancer and its recurrence, according to the Olive Oil Times.

Scientists are also studying other compounds found in the ancient oil including squalene and lignans, which could possibly help fight cancer. Olive oil is rumored to reduce the risk for heart disease, as it lowers the body's levels of total blood cholesterol. Regular consumption may decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, scientists say.

One "prominent cardiologist" recommends consuming up to two tablespoons a day to fully enjoy the oil's various benefits, reports the Olive Oil Times.

"Although the reasons are still not fully clear, recent studies have proved that people with diets containing high levels of olive oil are less likely to develop rheumatiod arthritis.

"A high consumption of olive oil appears to improve bone mineralization and calcification. It helps calcium absorption and so plays an important role in aiding sufferers and in preventing the onset of Osteoporosis."


Older individuals who consume olive oil daily are better protected against having a stroke, according to a recent study conducted in France and published in the online issue of Neurology. The "intensive" consumers of olive oil experienced 41 percent fewer strokes compared to those that didn't use the oil at all.





 
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Ending the War on Fat, Part 3



   The Truth About Fat 

The idea that saturated fat is bad for us makes a kind of instinctive sense, and not just because we use the same phrase to describe both the greasy stuff that gives our steak flavor and the pounds we carry around our middles. Chemically, they’re not all that different. The fats that course through our blood and accumulate on our bellies are called triglycerides, and high levels of triglycerides have been linked to heart disease. It doesn’t take much of an imaginative leap to assume that eating fats would make us fat, clog our arteries and give us heart disease. “It sounds like common sense–you are what you eat,” says Dr. Stephen Phinney, a nutritional biochemist who has studied low-carb diets for years.

But when scientists crunch the numbers, the connection between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease becomes more tenuous. A 2010 meta-analysis–basically a study of other studies–concluded that there was no significant evidence that saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Those results were echoed by another meta-analysis published in March in the Annals of Internal Medicine that drew on nearly 80 studies involving more than half a million subjects. A team led by Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury, a cardiovascular epidemiologist at Cambridge University, concluded that current evidence does not support low consumption of saturated fats or high consumption of the polyunsaturated fats that are often considered heart healthy. Though the authors came under criticism for the way they evaluated the evidence, they stand behind the conclusion, noting that the aim of their study is to show the need for more research. “The main message is that there’s a lot more work that needs to be done,” says Chowdhury.


Given that the case on saturated fat was long considered closed, even calls to re-examine the evidence mark a serious change. But if the new thinking about saturated fats is surprising, it may be because we’ve misunderstood what meat and dairy do to our bodies. It’s incontrovertibly true that saturated fat will raise LDL-cholesterol levels, which are associated with higher rates of heart disease. That’s the most damning biological evidence against saturated fat. But cholesterol is more complicated than that.
Saturated fat also raises levels of the so-called good HDL cholesterol, which removes the LDL cholesterol that can accumulate on arterial walls. Raising both HDL and LDL makes saturated fat a cardio wash.

Plus, scientists now know there are two kinds of LDL particles: small, dense ones and large, fluffy ones.
The large ones seem to be mostly harmless–and it’s the levels of those large particles that fat intake raises. Carb intake, meanwhile, seems to increase the small, sticky particles that now appear linked to heart disease. “Those observations led me to wonder how strong the evidence was for the connection between saturated fat and heart disease,” says Dr. Ronald Krauss, a cardiologist and researcher who has done pioneering work on LDL. “There’s a risk that people have been steered in the wrong direction by using LDL cholesterol rather than LDL particles as a risk factor.”

It’s important to understand that there’s no such thing as a placebo in a diet study. When we reduce levels of one nutrient, we have to replace it with something else, which means researchers are always studying nutrients in relation to one another. It’s also important to understand that the new science doesn’t mean people should double down on cheeseburgers or stir large amounts of butter into their morning coffee, as do some adherents of ultra-low-carb diets. While saturated fat increasingly seems to have at worst a neutral effect on obesity and heart disease, other forms of fat may be more beneficial.
There’s evidence that omega-3s, the kind of fat found in flaxseed and salmon, can protect against heart disease. A 2013 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a diet rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats significantly reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events.

And there is variety even within the category of saturated fats. A 2012 study found that fats in dairy - now the source from which Americans get most of their saturated fat–seem to be more protective than the fats found in meat. “The main issue here is comparative,” says Dr. Frank Hu, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health. “What are you comparing saturated fat to?”

   The Unintended Diet 

The food industry is nothing if not inventive. Faced with a fatwa against fat in the 1980s, manufacturers adjusted, lining grocery shelves with low-fat cookies, crackers and cakes. The thinking for consumers was simple: Fat is dangerous, and this product has no fat; therefore it must be healthy. This was the age of SnackWells, the brand of low-fat cookies introduced by Nabisco in 1992 that within two years had surpassed the venerable Ritz cracker to become the No. 1 snack in the nation. But without fat, something had to be added, and Americans wound up making a dangerous trade. “We just cut fat and added a whole lot of low-fat junk food that increased caloric intake,” says Dr. David Katz, the founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “It was a diet of unintended consequences.”

Those consequences have been severe. From 1971 to 2000, the percentage of calories from carbohydrates increased nearly 15%, while the share of calories from fat fell–in line with expert recommendations. In 1992, the USDA recommended up to 11 servings a day of grains, compared with just two to three servings of meat, eggs, nuts, beans and fish combined. School districts across the country have banned whole milk, yet sweetened chocolate milk remains on the menu as long as it’s low- fat. 



The idea here was in part to cut calories, but Americans actually ended up eating more: 2,586 calories a day in 2010 compared with 2,109 a day in 1970. Over that same period, calories from flour and cereals went up 42%, and obesity and Type 2 diabetes became veritable epidemics. “It’s undeniable we’ve gone down the wrong path,” says Jeff Volek, a physiologist at the University of Connecticut.

It can be hard to understand why a diet heavy on refined carbs can lead to obesity and diabetes. It has to do with blood chemistry. Simple carbs like bread and corn may not look like sugar on your plate, but in your body, that’s what they’re converted to when digested. “A bagel is no different than a bag of Skittles to your body,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, the incoming dean of nutrition science at Tufts University.

Those sugars stimulate the production of insulin, which causes fat cells to go into storage overdrive, leading to weight gain. Since fewer calories are left to fuel the body, we begin to feel hungry, and metabolism begins to slow in an effort to save energy. We eat more and gain more weight, never feeling full. “Hunger is the death knell of a weight-loss program,” says Duke’s Westman. “A low-fat, low-calorie diet doesn’t work.” Because as this process repeats, our cells become more resistant to insulin, which causes us to gain more weight, which only increases insulin resistance in a vicious circle. Obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high triglycerides and low HDL can all follow–and fat intake is barely involved. All calories, it turns out, are not created equal. “When we focus on fat, carbohydrates inevitably increase,” says Ludwig, who co-wrote a recent JAMA commentary on the subject. “You wouldn’t give lactose to people who are lactose intolerant, yet we give carbs to people who are carb intolerant.”

Ultra-low-carb diets have come in and out of vogue since Dr. Robert Atkins first began promoting his version nearly 50 years ago. (It has never been popular with mainstream medicine; the American Diabetic Association once referred to the Atkins diet as a “nutritionist’s nightmare.”) Studies by Westman found that replacing carbohydrates with fat could help manage and even reverse diabetes. A 2008 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that looked at more than 300 subjects who tried either a low-fat, a low-carb or a Mediterranean-style diet found that people on the low-fat diet lost less weight than those on the low-carb or Mediterranean diet, both of which feature high amounts of fat. Those results aren’t surprising–study after study has found that it’s very difficult to lose weight on a very low-fat diet, possibly because fat and meat can produce a sense of satiety that’s harder to achieve with carbs, making it easier to simply stop eating.

Not every expert agrees. Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute, whose low-fat, almost vegan diet has been shown in one study to reverse arterial blockage, worries that an increase in animal-protein consumption can come with health problems of its own, pointing to studies that link red meat in particular to higher rates of colon cancer. There’s also the uncomfortable fact that meat, especially beef, has an outsize impact on the planet. Nearly a third of the earth’s total ice-free surface is used in one way or another to raise livestock. Even if eating more fat is better for us–which Ornish doesn’t believe–it could carry serious environmental consequences if it leads to a major increase in meat consumption. “These studies just tell people what they want to hear,” says Ornish. “There’s a reductionist tendency to look for the one magic bullet.”


The war over fat is far from over. Consumer habits are deeply formed, and entire industries are based on demonizing fat. TV teems with reality shows about losing weight. The aisles are still filled with low-fat snacks. Most of us still feel a twinge of shame when we gobble down a steak. And publishing scientific research that contradicts or questions what we have long been told about saturated fat can be as difficult now as it was for Willett in the ’90s. Even experts like Harvard’s Hu, who says people shouldn’t be concerned about total fat, draw the line at fully exonerating saturated fat. “I do worry that if people get the message that saturated fat is fine, they’ll [adopt] unhealthy habits,” he says. “We should be focusing on the quality of food, of real food.”

Nearly every expert agrees we’d be healthier if more of our diet were made up of what the writer Michael Pollan bluntly calls “real food.” The staggering rise in obesity over the past few decades doesn’t just stem from refined carbohydrates messing with our metabolism. More and more of what we eat comes to us custom-designed by the food industry to make us want more. There’s evidence that processing itself raises the danger posed by food. Studies suggest that processed meat may increase the risk of heart disease in a way that unprocessed meat does not.

How we eat–whether we cook it ourselves or grab fast-food takeout–matters as much as what we eat. So don’t feel bad about the cream in your coffee or the yolks in your eggs or the occasional steak with béarnaise if you’ve got the culinary chops–but don’t think that the end of the war on fat means all the Extra Value Meals you can eat. As Katz puts it, “the cold hard truth is that the only way to eat well is to eat well.” Which, I’m thankful to note, doesn’t have to include skim milk.





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Ending the War on Fat, Part 2



   The Fat Man

We have long been told that fewer calories and more exercise leads to weight loss. And we want to believe that science is purely a matter of data–that superior research will always yield the right answer.
But sometimes research is no match for a strong personality. No one better embodies that than Dr. Ancel Keys, the imperious physiologist who laid the groundwork for the fight against fat. Keys first made his name during World War II, when he was asked by the Army to develop what would become known as the K ration, the imperishable food supplies carried by troops into the field. It was in the following years that the fear of heart disease exploded in the U.S., driven home by President Dwight Eisenhower’s heart attack in 1955. That year, nearly half of all deaths in the U.S. were due to heart disease, and many of the victims were seemingly healthy men struck down suddenly by a heart attack.

“There was an enormous fear overtaking the country,” says Nina Teicholz, author of the new book The Big Fat Surprise. “The heart-disease epidemic seemed to be emerging out of nowhere.”

Keys had an explanation. He posited that high levels of cholesterol–a waxy, fatlike substance present in some foods as well as naturally occurring in the body–would clog arteries, leading to heart disease. He had a solution as well. Since fat intake raised LDL cholesterol, he reasoned that reducing fat in the diet could reduce the risk of heart attacks. (LDL cholesterol levels are considered a marker for heart disease, while high HDL cholesterol seems to be cardioprotective.) In the 1950s and ’60s, Keys sought to flesh out that hypothesis, traveling around the world to gather data about diet and cardiovascular disease. His landmark Seven Countries Study found that people who ate a diet low in saturated fat had lower levels of heart disease. The Western diet, heavy on meat and dairy, correlated with high rates of heart disease.


That study helped land Keys in 1961 on the cover of TIME, in which he admonished Americans to reduce the fat calories in their diet by a third if they wanted to avoid heart disease. That same year, following Keys’ strong urging, the American Heart Association (AHA) advised Americans for the first time to cut down on saturated fat. “People should know the facts,” Keys told TIME. “Then if they want to eat themselves to death, let them.”

Keys’ work became the foundation for a body of science implicating fat as a major risk factor for heart disease. The Seven Countries Study has been referenced close to 1 million times. The vilification of fat also fit into emerging ideas about weight control, which focused on calories in vs. calories out.
“Everyone assumed it was all about the calories,” says Lustig. And since fat contains more calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates, the thinking was that if we removed fat, the calories would follow.

That’s what Keys, who died in 2004, believed, and now it’s what most Americans believe too. But Keys’ research had problems from the start. He cherry-picked his data, leaving out countries like France and West Germany that had high-fat diets but low rates of heart disease. Keys highlighted the Greek island of Crete, where almost no cheese or meat was eaten and people lived to an old age with clear arteries.
But Keys visited Crete in the years following World War II, when the island was still recovering from German occupation and the diet was artificially lean. Even more confusing, Greeks on the neighboring isle of Corfu ate far less saturated fat than Cretans yet had much higher rates of heart disease.
“It was highly flawed,” says Dr. Peter Attia, the president and director of the Nutrition Science Initiative, an independent obesity-research center. “It was not on the level of epidemiology work today.”

Keys’ unshakable confidence and his willingness to take down any researcher who disagreed with him was at least as important as his massive data sets. (When the biostatistician Jacob Yerushalmy published a 1957 paper questioning the causal relationship between fat and heart disease, Keys responded sharply in print, claiming that Yerushalmy’s data was badly flawed.) Keys’ research also played into a prevailing narrative that Americans had once eaten a largely plant-based diet before shifting in the 20th century to meals rich in red meat. Heart disease followed, as if we were being punished for our dietary sins.

The reality is that hard numbers about the American diet are scant before midcentury and all but nonexistent before 1900. Historical records suggest Americans were always voracious omnivores, feasting on the plentiful wild game available throughout the country. In his book Putting Meat on the American Table, the historian Roger Horowitz concludes that the average American in the 19th century ate 150 to 200 lb. of meat per year–in line with what we eat now.


But the antifat message went mainstream, and by the 1980s it was so embedded in modern medicine and nutrition that it became nearly impossible to challenge the consensus. Dr. Walter Willett, now the head of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, tells me that in the mid- 1990s, he was sitting on a piece of contrary evidence that none of the leading American science journals would publish. “There was a strong belief that saturated fat was the cause of heart disease, and there was resistance to anything that questioned it,” Willett says. “It turned out to be more nuanced than that.” He had been running a long-term epidemiological study that followed the diets and heart health of more than 40,000 middle-aged men. Willett found that if his subjects replaced foods high in saturated fat with carbohydrates, they experienced no reduction in heart disease. Willett eventually published his research in the British Medical Journal in 1996.

In part because of Willett’s work, the conversation around fat began to change. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats–the kind found in some vegetables and fish–were found to be beneficial to heart health. The Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, nuts, vegetables and olive oil, surged in popularity. And it’s worth noting that the Mediterranean diet isn’t low in total fat–not at all. Up to 40% of its calories come from poly- and monounsaturated fat. Today, medical groups like the Mayo Clinic embrace this diet for patients worried about heart health, and even the fat-phobic AHA has become receptive to it. “There is growing evidence that the Mediterranean diet is a pretty healthy way to eat,” says Dr. Rose Marie Robertson, the chief science officer of the AHA.

But what about saturated fat? Here, the popular wisdom has been harder to change. The 2010 USDA dietary guidelines recommend that Americans get less than 10% of their daily calories from saturated fat–the equivalent of half a pan-broiled hamburger minus the cheese, bacon and mayo it’s often dressed with. The AHA is even stricter: Americans over the age of 2 should limit saturated-fat intake to less than 7% of calories, and the 70 million Americans who would benefit from lowering cholesterol should keep it under 6% of calories–equal to about two slices of cheddar per day. Some experts say they just aren’t comfortable letting saturated fat off the hook. “When you replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, you lower LDL cholesterol,” says Dr. Robert Eckel, a past president of the AHA and a co-author of the group’s recent guidelines. “That’s all I need to know.”

But that’s not the full picture. The more we learn about fat, the more complex its effects on the body
appear.


Will continue...


Part 3 -  here




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Ending the War on Fat


By Bryan Walsh

For decades, it has been the most vilified nutrient in the American diet. But new science reveals fat isn’t what’s hurting our health

The taste of my childhood was the taste of skim milk. We spread bright yellow margarine on dinner rolls, ate low-fat microwave oatmeal flavored with apples and cinnamon, put nonfat ranch on our salads. We were only doing what we were told. In 1977, the year before I was born, a Senate committee led by George McGovern published its landmark “Dietary Goals for the United States,” urging Americans to eat less high-fat red meat, eggs and dairy and replace them with more calories from fruits, vegetables and especially carbohydrates.

By 1980 that wisdom was codified.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its first dietary guidelines, and one of the primary directives was to avoid cholesterol and fat of all sorts. The National Institutes of Health recommended that all Americans over the age of 2 cut fat consumption, and that same year the government announced the results of a $150 million study, which had a clear message: Eat less fat and cholesterol to reduce your risk of a heart attack.

The food industry–and American eating habits–jumped in step. Grocery shelves filled with “light” yogurts, low-fat microwave dinners, cheese-flavored crackers, cookies. Families like mine followed the advice: beef disappeared from the dinner plate, eggs were replaced at breakfast with cereal or yolk-free beaters, and whole milk almost wholly vanished. From 1977 to 2012, per capita consumption of those foods dropped while calories from supposedly healthy carbohydrates increased–no surprise, given that breads, cereals and pasta were at the base of the USDA food pyramid.

                                                           Photo: USDA (flickr)

We were embarking on a “vast nutritional experiment,” as the skeptical president of the National Academy of Sciences, Philip Handler, put it in 1980. But with nearly a million Americans a year dropping dead from heart disease by the mid-’80s, we had to try something.

Nearly four decades later, the results are in: the experiment was a failure. We cut the fat, but by almost every measure, Americans are sicker than ever. The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes increased 166% from 1980 to 2012. Nearly 1 in 10 American adults has the disease, costing the health care system $245 billion a year,and an estimated 86 million people are prediabetic. Deaths from heart disease have fallen–a fact that many experts attribute to better emergency care, less smoking and widespread use of cholesterol- controlling drugs like statins–but cardiovascular disease remains the country’s No. 1 killer. Even the increasing rates of exercise haven’t been able to keep us healthy. More than a third of the country is now obese, making the U.S. one of the fattest countries in an increasingly fat world. “Americans were told to cut back on fat to lose weight and prevent heart disease,” says Dr. David Ludwig, the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. “There’s an overwhelmingly strong case to be made for the opposite.”

But making that case is controversial, despite the evidence to support it. The vilification of fat is now deeply embedded in our culture, with its love-hate relationship with food and its obsession over weight. It has helped reshape vast swaths of agriculture, as acre upon acre of subsidized corn was planted to produce the sweeteners that now fill processed foods. It has changed business, with the market for fat replacers–the artificial ingredients that take the place of fat in packaged food–growing by nearly 6% a year. It’s even changed the way we talk, attaching moral terms to nutrients in debates over “bad” cholesterol vs. “good” cholesterol and “bad” fat vs. “good” fat.

All of this means the received wisdom is not going to change quietly.
“This is a huge paradigm shift in science,” says Dr. Eric Westman, the director of the Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic, who works withpatients on ultra-low-carb diets. “But the studies to support it do exist.”

Research that challenges the idea that fat makes people fat and is a dire risk factor for heart disease is mounting. And the stakes are high–for researchers, for public-health agencies and for average people who simply want to know what to put in their mouth three times a day.



We have known for some time that fats found in vegetables like olives and in fish like salmon can actually protect against heart disease. Now it’s becoming clear that even the saturated fat found in a medium-rare steak or a slab of butter–public-health enemies Nos. 1 and 2–has a more complex and, in some cases, benign effect on the body than previously thought. Our demonization of fat may have backfired in ways we are just beginning to understand. When Americans cut back, the calories from butter and beef and cheese didn’t simply disappear. “The thinking went that if people reduced saturated fat, they would replace it with healthy fruits and vegetables,” says Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. “Well, that was naive.”

New research suggests that it’s the overconsumption of carbohydrates, sugar and sweeteners that is chiefly responsible for the epidemics of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Refined carbohydrates–like those in “wheat” bread, hidden sugar, low-fat crackers and pasta–cause changes in our blood chemistry that encourage the body to store the calories as fat and intensify hunger, making it that much more difficult to lose weight. “The argument against fat was totally and completely flawed,” says Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatrician at the University of California, San Francisco, and the president of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition. “We’ve traded one disease for another.”

The myopic focus on fat has warped our diet and contributed to the biggest health crises facing the country. It’s time to end the war.


Will continue...      


Part 2 - here








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Asparagus delivers extraordinary health benefits



After consuming asparagus, many people notice that their urine has a distinctly different odor. While not on par with inhaling the pleasant aroma of rose petals, it's a normal process in the body and is not cause for concern.

  The reason urine smells different after eating asparagus

According to Dr. Roshini Raj, assistant professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center, "Your body breaks down asparagus during digestion into sulfur-containing chemicals that give your urine a distinctive odor."(1) Furthermore, the World's Healthiest Foods website states that people should go on eating the vegetable despite the odor in urine that often develops after consumption since no studies show a correlation between eating the food, the urine smell, and any resulting health risks.(1)

While the urine odor that many people experience after eating it may not be welcome, its health benefits are a breath of fresh air.

Here's a look at some of the top benefits of eating asparagus.

  Health benefits of eating asparagus

Improves digestive health

Asparagus contains an unusual carbohydrate called inulin, which, unlike most carbs, does not break down in the first parts of the digestive tract.(2) Rather, it's not until it reaches the large intestine that it gets digested, making it the perfect food source for certain bacteria, which in turn helps with nutrient absorption, reduced colon cancer risk and allergy relief.(2)


Cancer-fighting abilities

According to the World's Healthiest Foods web site, "asparagus and asparagus extracts can change the metabolic activity of cancer cell types, and these changes are protective in nature and related to better regulation of inflammation and oxidative stress."(2) However, while much has been discussed about asparagus, specifically pertaining to lung cancer and leukemia, it's important to point out that more research needs to be conducted to be fully conclusive.(2,3)

Still, asparagus does contain anti-inflammatory properties and since inflammation is associated with acting as a risk factor for cancer, it's a food that many people choose to add to their diet to ensure an optimally-functioning system.

Better eye and skin health

Asparagus contains vitamin A, which is not only known to boost eye health, but to improve skin, lung and intestinal tissue lining.(4)

Better bone health, wound healing

The vegetable is very rich in vitamin K, which has been linked to helping prevent osteoporosis. Additionally, it's helpful when it comes to assisting with blood clotting, so it's also effective in helping wounds heal.(5)

Sure, there may be an unusual odor to contend with after urinating, but the health benefits of eating asparagus sure outweigh that experience!


Sources for this article include:

(1)  http://rawandnaturalhealth.com

(2)  http://www.whfoods.com

(3)  http://www.livestrong.com/article/431816-asparagus-and-lung-cancer/

(4)  http://www.naturalnews.com

(5)  http://www.livestrong.com







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A few good reasons to avoid eating pork




It is a well known fact that several religious texts forbid the eating of pork. According to Leviticus, the third book of Judaism's Torah and Christianity's Old Testament, pork is an "unclean" meat and is non-kosher, since pigs do not "chew the cud."

Meanwhile, the eating of pork is condemned no less than four times in the Qur'an of Islam. While no direct reason is given for this condemnation, many Muslims believe that it is because pigs are disease-ridden animals.

   The religious texts are correct

Though science and religion rarely share a similar perspective, there are many scientifically valid reasons for this religious condemnation of pork. Pigs really are dirty, unclean animals that eat almost anything, including rotten food, urine, feces, maggot-infested carcasses and even cancerous growths. That is the nature of the scavenger, and being raised on an organic, sustainable farm will not change that nature.

This unpleasant diet wouldn't necessarily be a problem for humans if pigs had a digestive system that effectively removed the toxins from their bodies, but therein lies the problem: They don't. Unlike ruminant animals such as cows, sheep and goats, which can take up to 24 hours to digest their vegetarian food, pigs digest their foul food within a mere four hours.

This is not nearly long enough to remove excess toxins, so those toxins are stored within the fat cells and organs of the pig itself. Worse still, pigs do not have sweat glands (which are important agents for detoxification), further compounding their toxic load.


Consequently, pigs are walking vessels of parasites, viruses and other destructive organisms. A few of the many organisms that pork can transmit to humans include:

~  Taenia solium -- An intestinal parasite that can cause cysticercosis (tissue infection) and loss of appetite.

~  Menangle virus -- An unpleasant virus that can cause fever, rashes, chills, sweating and headaches for between 10 and 14 days.

~  Hepatitis E -- A viral liver inflammation that can trigger jaundice, fatigue and nausea. Chronic instances can lead to liver fibrosis and cirrhosis.

~  Trichinella -- A parasitic roundworm that can cause fever, malaise, edema and myalgia.

~  Yersinia enterocolitica -- A volatile bacterium which, according to an investigation by Consumer Reports, was present in 69 percent of all raw pork samples tested. It can cause gastrointestinal distress, fever and, in the most extreme cases, fatal infections.

Moreover, unlike most other meats, there is no safe temperature at which pork can be cooked to guarantee that all these organisms and their eggs will be killed. Even freezing pork doesn't ensure that all organisms, especially certain species of worm, will be killed. As a result, even the most meticulously prepared pork will often contain harmful parasites and viruses.

Still want to eat that organic bacon?




Sources for this article include:

http://draxe.com

http://www.consumerreports.org

http://www.oie.int [PDF]

http://www.ensignmessage.com

http://science.naturalnews.com



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Start the day with warm lemon water



   The health benefits of starting the day with warm lemon water

 The benefits of drinking warm water infused with lemon has been touted by many as a healthy way to kick-start the day. Beginning the day in this manner has been embraced in Ayurvedic (literally meaning "life" and "knowledge") philosophy, a way of life that focuses on interconnectedness, balance, and an overall harmony between thoughts, action and feeling that fosters emotional and physical healing.(1)(2)

However, one does not have to subscribe to every detail behind this way of life to reap the benefits; many people simply enjoy knowing that sipping warm lemon water has many health benefits.

   The incredible health benefits of drinking warm lemon water

According to Dr. Joel Kahn, an integrative cardiologist and clinical professor of medicine, starting the day with this soothing drink has several health benefits. He says, " . . . if you can only make time for one ritual that will improve your health, let it be this: start the day out with a mug of warm water and the juice of half a lemon."(1)

For starters, lemons are loaded with vitamin C, which plays a role in everything from boosting the immune system to providing people with clearer skin.(1)

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, flushing the body of free radicals that can damage cells and lead to conditions such as cancer and arthritis, plus it's essential for cell and tissue growth.(3) Additionally, when toxins are purged from the blood, the skin is not as prone to blemishes and wrinkles.


The potassium content of lemons also makes this drink an ideal choice to help heart health since potassium helps regulate the heart's electrical activity.(3)

Furthermore, lemon juice is known to keep the urinary tract healthy. Dr. Kahn explains that lemons increase the urination rate in the body, and that frequent urination can help flush out toxins and lead to a healthier urinary tract.(1)

As for the water aspect, it's essential for any person seeking optimal health. About 60 percent of a person's body weight is comprised of water, which is necessary for organs and cells to function effectively.(3)
Drinking more of it helps the body manage its natural state.

Warm water helps to ensure a properly-functioning digestive system by it stimulating the digestive tract so that toxins are loosened and removed.(1)

So what are you waiting for? Start the day with warm lemon water to boost your overall health and keep your body functioning at its best.


Sources for this article include:

(1)  http://www.mindbodygreen.com

(2)  http://www.healthandhealingny.org

(3)  http://www.livestrong.com/article/111175-benefits-lemon-water/






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The blood type diet eating guidelines




There are many theories on how an individual should eat, and many diets have been created as a result of these beliefs. Whether a person eats vegetarian, vegan, Paleo or intuitively, it is a very personal decision based on experience and individual needs. However, if someone prefers a more scientific approach, perhaps they should consider the potential merits of the blood type diet.

   Blood Type O

The type O diet focuses on lean, organic meats, vegetables and fruits and avoids wheat, corn, oats and dairy, which can be triggers for digestive and health issues in type Os. Also, type Os should avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine can be particularly harmful because of its tendency to raise adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are already high for type Os.

Type Os seem to have a higher need than other blood types for healthy fats. They tend to thrive on raw butter, coconut oil, cod liver oil, flaxseed oil, pumpkin seed oil and extra-virgin olive oils.


Type Os tend to have sluggish thyroids, so it is advised to not eat members of the Brassica genus, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and mustard greens, because they suppress the thyroid. However, if these vegetables are steamed or cultured, they appear to be permissible.

   Blood Type A

Type As flourish on a vegetarian diet due to the fact that they have an inadequate amount of stomach acid even from birth and do not digest animal protein or fats very well. If a type A is accustomed to eating meat, they will find that they have more energy once they eliminate them from their diet.

It is particularly important for sensitive type As to eat their foods in as natural a state as possible: pure, fresh and organic. This is a critical dietary adjustment for the sensitive immune system of type As. It will help charge their immune system and potentially short-circuit the development of life-threatening diseases.

   Blood Type B

For type Bs, the biggest foods to avoid are corn, wheat, rye, buckwheat, lentils, tomatoes, peanuts and sesame seeds. Each of these foods affect the efficiency of their metabolic process, resulting in fatigue, fluid retention and hypoglycemia -- a severe drop in blood sugar after eating a meal. When they eliminate these foods and begin eating a diet that is right for their type, blood sugar levels should remain normal after meals.

Type Bs should also avoid pork and chicken. These foods form a dangerous lectin that attacks your bloodstream. Opt for wild game, seafood, lamb, venison and beef on occasion. Type Bs can also enjoy a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats such as olive oil, flax oil, ghee and almonds. Sunflower seeds are on the avoid list.

Type Bs fare better than all the blood types when it comes to dairy foods. However, it's important to focus on quality and moderation.

   Blood Type AB

Type AB reflects the mixed inheritance of their A and B genes. They have low stomach acid, but also have type Bs adaptation to meats. Therefore, they lack enough stomach acid to metabolize them efficiently and the meat they eat tends to get stored as fat.


Type ABs should avoid caffeine and alcohol, especially when they are in stressful situations. Type ABs should focus on foods such as tofu, seafood, dairy and green vegetables. Avoid all smoked or cured meats. These foods can cause stomach cancer in people with low levels of stomach acid. There is a wide variety of seafood that is good for type ABs, and it is an excellent source of protein. Some dairy is also beneficial for type ABs -- especially cultured dairy such as yogurt and kefir.



Read more about Kefir -  here.

If you want to know all about blood types -  read here.






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Coconuts can boost cardiovascular health



Few tropical fruits are as versatile as coconuts. These unique, round drupes, whose name likely derives from the 16th-century Spanish word for "head" or "skull," are processed around the world to make coconut milk, flour, sugar and butter, countless soap and cosmetic products, and, of course, coconut oil -- one of the greatest superfoods on Earth. In fact, coconut products have become so popular in the West that we often overlook the fruit in its natural state. However, according to the Coconut Research Center, a huge proportion of the world's population depends on fresh coconuts for nourishment -- nourishment that they provide in abundance.

   Research into coconuts

Weight management - Coconuts are rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of dietary fat that is known to trigger weight loss due to the speed with which our bodies metabolize them. One study published in the June 2006 issue of the Ceylon Medical Journal, for instance, showed that MCTs convert into free medium-chain fatty acids and monoglycerides during digestion -- two substance that our bodies use immediately rather than store as fat. Moreover, MCTs are known to curb hunger more effectively than long-chain triglycerides (found in rich foods like meat and cheese), preventing us from overeating and reducing our calorie intake over time.


Boost cardiovascular health - The high amounts of MCTs in coconuts have also been linked to improved cardiovascular health. According to Dr. Marie Pierre St-Onge, lead researcher of a study published in the October 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, volunteers who were fed MCTs as part of a four-month weight-loss plan experienced a noticeable reduction in total cholesterol and harmful LDL cholesterol concentrations. Therefore, if you suffer from high cholesterol, adding more coconuts to your diet could help stabilize it.

Excellent source of fiber - According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of coconut meat contains 7 grams of dietary fiber. Though most people know that fiber sweeps the intestinal tract and can help treat constipation, an article published in the April 2009 edition of Nutrition Reviews shows that fiber-rich diets also reduce our blood sugar, guard us from diabetes, boost our immunity and -- as with MCTs -- lower the levels of LDL cholesterol in our bloodstreams. In fact, coconuts are one of the best foods that we can eat for maintaining blood health.

Improve brain function - One serving of fresh coconut meat provides us with 17 percent of our recommended daily intake (RDI) of copper, an essential trace mineral that activates enzymes responsible for the production of neurotransmitters -- chemicals that our brains use to transfer information from one cell to another. For this reason, copper-rich foods like coconut can help shield us from age-related cognitive decline. Moreover, an October 2013 study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease shows that the oil in coconut meat can help guard nerve cells from protein plaques, which contribute to the progression of Alzheimer's.


Mineral content - Since coconuts are mostly comprised of fat, their mineral profiles fall short of other tropical fruits. That said, coconuts do contain respectable levels of potassium, iron, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and the important antioxidant selenium.

Additionally, one serving of coconut meat also supplies us with 60 percent of our RDI of magnesium, a mineral that facilitates numerous chemical reactions in our bodies and in which a huge number of us are unknowingly deficient.







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Veggies suffer more health problems



Vegetarians are more likely to suffer from allergies, cancer and mental problems including depression and phobias.

The wide-ranging study on diet and health was carried out by the Institute for Social Medicine and Epidemiology (IFES) at the Medical University (Med-Uni) in Graz, Austria.

Study coordinator and epidemiologist Nathalie Burkert said that it had been a surprise when they had evaluated the data to discover that people who live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle had a subjectively worse health situation than others who had a mixed diet. In conclusion, as well as suffering from allergies, cancer and psychological problems, the perceived quality of life vegetarians had was also generally lower.

She said: "We found the results from the data very exciting, which is why we decided to publish it."

But she denied that the results meant vegetarians should once again start eating meat.


She said: "There have already been press releases claiming our results are an advert for the meat industry, but our study hasn't proved that. We have already distanced ourselves from this claim as it is an incorrect interpretation of our data. We did find that vegetarians suffer more from certain conditions like asthma, cancer and mental illnesses than people that eat meat as well, but we cannot say what is the cause and what is the effect. There needs to be further study done before this question can be answered.

"What we did not look at was whether vegetarians opted for the diet because they had a lower quality of life or whether being a vegetarian caused the lower quality of life. This was not something that we evaluated."

The healthiest diet appeared to be the so-called Mediterranean diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and a moderate consumption of meat.

She said: "It was clear from our results that a diet that includes a moderate amount of meat rich with fruit and vegetables was reflected in a generally healthier person. They had better health, and a better quality of life and fewer visits to the doctors. That was simply what the data portrayed, that those on a mixed diet had the advantages."

But she said that the research also showed that there needed to be urgent further studies done on the relationship between cause and effect in relation to nutrition: "Vegetarians freely admitted that they seemed to go to the doctors often because of physical problems, although they less often went for check ups and immunisations."


The study seems to contradict claims by example by Noble prize winner Harald zur Hausen said that eating red meat could cause cancer, but Burkert said the two studies did not contradict each other as her team had not looked at whether they actually ate red meat, or other meat like chicken and turkey.

She said: "We started off with 15,000 case studies and we divided these up into nutritional groups. We selected 343 vegetarians and we then looked at their ages, their sex and their social and economic background (SES), which included the level of education, the income and their career. We then compared the vegetarians with somebody who matched them in the other three nutritional groups."

She added that although her study was focused on Austria she believed it was relevant for anybody considering their diet and said she would advise vegetarians that by opting not to eat meat they were running the risk that certain key elements might be missing from their diet.

She said it was possible for vegetarians to find substitute sources and that being a vegetarian was not in itself yet proven to be unhealthy, even though her study had shown that subjectively vegetarians were less healthy and felt that they had a lower quality of life than others who had a different diet.










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Why I eat butter



The Diet Dictocrats told us to drop butter decades ago and switch to a so-called healthier substitute called margarine made with what they claimed would be less harmful polyunsaturated fats. Their promise was it would prevent disease. People around the globe questioned this advice, especially those who have valued butter for its life-sustaining properties for millennia. Today we know that butter is light years healthier than margarine ever could be. It’s a lesson to never go against the wisdom of our ancestors and always distrust corporate and malicious propaganda designed to generate profits not health.

Heart disease was rare in developed nations at the turn of the century. Between 1920 and 1960, the incidence of heart disease rose precipitously to become the number one killer. During the same period butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four.

It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in statistics to conclude that butter is not a cause. Actually butter contains many nutrients that protect us from heart disease. First among these is vitamin A which is needed for the health of the thyroid and adrenal glands, both of which play a role in maintaining the proper functioning of the heart and cardiovascular system. Abnormalities of the heart and larger blood vessels occur in babies born to vitamin A deficient mothers. Butter was and is still is recognized by many as the most easily absorbed source of vitamin A.


Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.

Butter also contains a number of anti-oxidants that protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens the arteries. Vitamin A and vitamin E found in butter both play a strong anti-oxidant role. Butter is a very rich source of selenium, a vital anti-oxidant–containing more per gram than herring or wheat germ.

Butter is also a good dietary source cholesterol. What?? Cholesterol an anti-oxidant?? Yes indeed, cholesterol is a potent anti-oxidant that is flooded into the blood when we take in too many harmful free-radicals–usually from damaged and rancid fats in margarine and highly processed vegetable oils. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine. It’s not surprising when you see how margarine is actually manufactured.

People who eat mostly processed polyunsaturated oils have a greater risk of heart attack and cancer, the exact opposite advice by nutritionists just a few decades ago.

Despite its best efforts, the margarine lobby has failed to convince us that its synthetic concoctions taste anywhere near as good as butter. People eat spreads on sufferance, having been browbeaten into believing butter is bad for us. But forgoing this versatile, natural fat that graces every food it touches is a misguided penance.

These days there are other con artists such as Earth’s Balance deceiving consumers and convincing perhaps millions of unsuspecting vegetarians and vegans into thinking they have the next best spread to replace butter when all they contain is genetically modified ingredients and more toxic oils like Canola.

  Why You Should Avoid Margarine, Shortening and Spreads

There are a myriad of unhealthy components to margarine and other butter imposters, including:


Trans fats:  These unnatural fats in margarine, shortenings and spreads are formed during the process of hydrogenation, which turns liquid vegetable oils into a solid fat. Trans fats contribute to heart disease, cancer, bone problems, hormonal imbalance and skin disease; infertility, difficulties in pregnancy and problems with lactation; and low birth weight, growth problems and learning disabilities in children. A U.S. government panel of scientists determined that man-made trans fats are unsafe at any level. (Small amounts of natural trans fats occur in butter and other animal fats, but these are not harmful.)

Free radicals: Free radicals and other toxic breakdown products are the result of high temperature industrial processing of vegetable oils. They contribute to numerous health problems, including cancer and heart disease.

Synthetic vitamins: Synthetic vitamin A and other vitamins are added to margarine and spreads. These often have an opposite (and detrimental) effect compared to the natural vitamins in butter.

Emulsifiers and preservatives: Numerous additives of questionable safety are added to margarines and spreads. Most vegetable shortening is stabilized with preservatives like BHT.

Hexane and other solvents: Used in the extraction process, these industrial chemicals can have toxic effects.

                                  See what ants only eat

Bleach:  The natural color of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil is grey so manufacturers bleach it to make it white. Yellow coloring is then added to margarine and spreads.

Artificial flavors:  These help mask the terrible taste and odor of partially hydrogenated oils, and provide a fake butter taste.

Mono- and di-glycerides: These contain trans fats that manufacturers do not have to list on the label. They are used in high amounts in so-called “low-trans” spreads.

Soy protein isolate: This highly processed powder is added to “low-trans” spreads to give them body. It can contribute to thyroid dysfunction, digestive disorders and many other health problems.

Sterols: Often added to spreads to give them cholesterol-lowering qualities, these estrogen compounds can cause endocrine problems; in animals these sterols contribute to sexual inversion.

   There Is NO Substitute For Butter

Actually one of the healthiest butters is ghee. Clarified butter is butter that has been melted over low heat and allowed to bubble and simmer until most of the water has been evaporated. Ghee is essentially clarified butter, although traditional ghee-making processes (originating in India, where ghee is very commonly used in cooking) place a focus on exact steps and specific qualities of the clarified butter. The cooking process is usually extended for a longer period of time with ghee, eliminating more of the moisture and also causing the milk solids to caramelize for eventual removal from the ghee through strainers. The highest-quality ghee is obtained when the long-simmered butter is allowed to cool and only the top-most layer is skimmed off.

When comparing ghee to butter in terms of health, one reason for the more favorable past research record of ghee versus butter might be the increased amount of medium- and short-chain fatty acids in ghee. Butter contains about 12-15% of these medium-chain and short-chain fats, whereas ghee contains about 25%.

At levels under 10% of total calories, ghee appears to help lower cardiovascular risks, especially when other fats consumed during the day are exclusively from plants or plant oils. The benefits of butter at moderate levels do not yet have the same level of research backing as ghee. However, there is increasing research interest in butter as having some unique potential benefits of its own, particularly in relationship to its vitamin K and vitamin D content. This content may vary, however, depending on the diet and living circumstances of the dairy cow.


   Do You Need Organic Butter?

Yes, absolutely. The quality of your butter is highly dependent on the source. Cows fed GMO grains, drugged, vaccinated and kept in small quarters their whole lives will only result in toxic milk and consequently, toxic butter. If people were willing to pay a good price for high quality butter and cream, from cows raised on natural pasturage and through reputable organic practices, the health benefits are endless.

Since conventional butters often contain dangerous pesticides, antibiotics and added growth hormones, you must pursue organic sources for optimal nutrition.

Indeed, the Pesticide Action Network North America ranked non-organic butter as one of the top 10 foods most contaminated with persistent organic pollutants (POPs), toxic chemicals linked with breast cancer, immune system suppression, nervous system disorders, reproductive damage, hormone disruption and more!


                              The ingredients of margarine

Besides containing toxins, non-organic butter also is less nutritious than organic butter… less creamy… and less tasty. Is there any reason to buy any butter that’s not organic? Well, organic butter is more expensive than conventional butter — but the difference in a household’s overall budget is truly small, especially now that national grocery chains, such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, are offering their own organic store brands.


   Butter’s Amazing Compounds 

Butter consists of butterfat and trace amounts of milk proteins and water. You may be surprised to hear that butterfat is butyric acid, which is basically the same substance that mothers produce to nourish their babies.

Butter’s beneficial components include…


~ Antioxidants. Beta-carotene, selenium and other antioxidants shield the body from free-radical damage. 

~ Butyric acid. This short-chain fatty acid supports colon health.

~ Conjugated linoleic acids. CLAs fight cancer, build muscle and boost immunity.

~ Iodine. Butter is rich in iodine, which is essential to thyroid health.

~ Lauric acid. A medium-chain fatty acid, lauric acid encourages the body’s immune system to fend off yeast and other infections.

~ Lecithin. This phospholipid protects cells from oxidation and may contribute to cholesterol metabolism.

~ Vitamin A. Butter contains the readily absorbable form of vitamin A, which is a must for eye and endocrine health.

~ Vitamin D. This vitamin helps your body absorb calcium to maintain strong bones and plays a role in reducing your risk for chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, heart disease, and colon and other cancers.

~ Vitamin E. Anti-inflammatory vitamin E speeds wound healing, promotes skin health, enhances immunity and may protect against a host of illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

~ Vitamin K. Proper blood clotting and bone health are among the benefits offered by fat-soluble vitamin K. 

Saturated fat and cholesterol have been falsely demonized by manufacturers of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Since butter is typically used in small amounts, this can be a good place to get the fat your body needs, not only for optimal health but for life itself. Every cell in your body contains saturated fat and cholesterol, which contribute to proper digestive function, growth and other essential processes.


   Butter for Growth & Development

Many factors in butter ensure optimal growth of children. Chief among them is vitamin A. Individuals who have been deprived of sufficient vitamin A during gestation tend to have narrow faces and skeletal structure, small palates and crowded teeth. Extreme vitamin A deprivation results in blindness, skeletal problems and other birth defects. Individuals receiving optimal vitamin A from the time of conception have broad handsome faces, strong straight teeth, and excellent bone structure. Vitamin A also plays an important role in the development of the sex characteristics. Calves fed butter substitutes sicken and die before reaching maturity.

The nutritional gospel that saturated fat is unhealthy and fattening is melting away. A recent review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded: “There is no convincing evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease.”

Who benefits from the propaganda blitz against butter? The list is a long one and includes orthodox medicine, hospitals, the drug companies and food processors. But the chief beneficiary is the large corporate farm and the cartels that buy their products–chiefly cotton, corn and soy–America’s three main crops, which are usually grown as monocultures on large farms, requiring extensive use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. All three–soy, cotton and corn–can be used to make both margarine and the new designer spreads. In order to make these products acceptable to the up-scale consumer, food processors and agribusiness see to it that they are promoted as health foods. We are fools to believe them.

If your faith in the official health agencies that shape our nation’s health policies is not melting away faster than…well, butter off a hot knife, get your head out of the sand and look at their track record.






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What is quinoa?



Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa willd) is actually a "pseudo-grain", not belonging to the true grass family but a member of the goosefoot plant family, which includes spinach and sugarbeet.

Its exceptional nutritional qualities led NASA to include it as part of its astronauts' diet on long space missions. A 1993 Nasa technical paper says: "While no single food can supply all the essential life sustaining nutrients, quinoa comes as close as any other in the plant or animal kingdom."

Quinoa is the only plant food that contains all 10 essential amino acids for the human diet. Its protein content (between 14%-18%) surpasses that of wheat, rice, maize and oats, and can be a substitute to animal protein. Its calorific value is greater than that of eggs and milk and comparable only to that of meat.


It is a source of vitamin E, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and contains more minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus than other grains.

Recent research found quinoa contains phytoestrogens, which are said to prevent or reduce osteoporosis, arteriosclerosis, breast cancer and other conditions that can be caused by lack of oestrogen after the menopause.

   Quinoa brings riches to the Andes

A burst of colour on a monochromatic panorama, a field of flowering quinoa plants in the Bolivian desert is a thing of beauty. A plant ready for harvest can stand higher than a human, covered with knotty blossoms, from violet to crimson and ochre-orange to yellow.

Quinua real, or royal quinoa, flourishes in the most hostile conditions, surviving nightly frosts and daytime temperatures upwards of 40C (104F). It is a high-altitude plant, growing at 3,600 metres above sea level and higher, where oxygen is thin, water is scarce and the soil is so saline that virtually nothing else grows.


The tiny seeds of the quinoa plant are the stuff of nutritionists' dreams, sending demand soaring in the developed world. Gram-for-gram, quinoa is one of the planet's most nutritious foodstuffs. Once a sacred crop for some pre-hispanic Andean cultures, it has become a five-star health food for the middle classes in Europe, the US and increasingly China and Japan.

That global demand means less quinoa is being eaten in Bolivia and Peru, the countries of origin, as the price has tripled. There are concerns this could cause malnutrition as producers, who have long relied on the superfood to supplement their meagre diets, would rather sell their entire crop than eat it. The rocketing international price is also creating land disputes.

"Royal quinoa has given hope to people living in Bolivia's most destitute and forgotten region," says Paola Mejia, general manager of Bolivia's Chamber of Quinoa Real and Organic Products Exporters.

Royal quinoa, which only grows in this arid region of southern Bolivia, is to the grain what beluga is to caviar; packed with even more protein, vitamins and minerals than the common variety.

Averaging $3,115 (£1,930) per tonne in 2011, quinoa has tripled in price since 2006. Coloured varieties fetch even more. Red royal quinoa sells at about $4,500 a tonne and the black variety can reach $8,000 per tonne. The crop has become a lifeline for the people of Bolivia's Oruro and Potosi regions, among the poorest in what is one of South America's poorest nations.

A woman carries quinoa in Bolivia. The 'pseudo-grain' may be the most nutritious foodstuff in the world. Photograph: Laurent Giraudou/Corbis

It is quinoa's moment on the world stage. Last year is the UN's International Year of Quinoa  as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation recognises the crop's resilience, adaptability and its "potential contribution in the fight against hunger and malnutrition".

Evo Morales, the Bolivian leader whose government suggested the special recognition for the grain, said: "For years [quinoa] was looked down on just like the indigenous movement To remember that past is to remember discrimination against quinoa and now after so many years it is reclaiming its rightful recognition as the most important food for life."

However, there are concerns the 5,000 year-old ancestral crop is being eaten less by its traditional consumers: quinoa farmers. "They have westernised their diets because they have more profits and more income," says Mejia, an agronomist. "Ten years ago they had only an Andean diet in front of them. They had no choice. But now they do and they want rice, noodles, candies, coke, they want everything!"


Daysi Munoz, who runs a La Paz-based quinoa farming collective, agrees. "As the price has risen quinoa is consumed less and less in Bolivia. It's worth more to them [the producers] to sell it or trade it for pasta and rice. As a result, they're not eating it any more."

Bitter battles are being fought over prime quinoa-growing land. Last February dozens of people were hurt when farmers fought with slings and sticks of dynamite over what was once abandoned land.

Many people who migrated to cities in search of a better life are now returning to their arid homeland to grow royal quinoa, says Mejia. Most land is communally owned, she adds, so "the government needs to set out the boundaries or there will be more conflicts".

In the village of Lacaya, near Lake Titicaca, the farmers have recently sown quinoa. It grows faster in the wetter conditions but the variety quinua dulce is less sought after than royal quinoa.

Under the perpendicular rays of the intense altiplano sun, Petrona Uriche's face is heavily shadowed by her felt bowler hat. She says in the three years her village has been farming quinoa it has become the biggest earner. "We produce quinoa just for export, it's more profitable," she said. An 11.5kg arroba sack of quinoa can fetch eight times more than it did a few years ago, around $2 a kg, she adds.

But the Bolivian government – which like its neighbour Peru is heavily promoting quinoa nationally to combat malnutrition – insists Bolivians are eating more of the grain. Annual consumption per person has increased fourfold from 0.35kg to 1.11 kg in as many years "in spite of the high international prices", Victor Hugo Vásquez, Bolivia's vice-minister for rural development and agriculture, said.


Previous government figures, however, indicated domestic consumption had dropped by a third in five years.

Judging by the supermarket shelves in Bolivia's de facto capital, La Paz, where quinoa-based products from pizza crusts and hamburgers to canapes and breakfast cereals are displayed, Bolivia's growing middle class appear to be the principal consumers.

Meanwhile in the Peruvian capital, Lima, shoppers at food markets complain quinoa is becoming a luxury product. Selling at around 10 Peruvian soles per kg (£2.44) it costs more than chicken (7.8 soles per kg) and four times as much as rice. Official figures show domestic consumption has dropped.

"Unfortunately in poorer areas they don't have access to products such as quinoa and it's becoming more and more expensive," Peru's vice-minister for agriculture, Juan Rheineck, said at a breakfast for under-fives at the Casa de los Petisos children's home in Lima. The children are fed boiled eggs and quinoa and apple punch, part of a government programme to promote nutritious breakfasts. "That's what we have to avoid, we have to produce better and more," he said.

Peru's government cut chronic malnutrition in under-fives nationally to 16.5% in 2011 but it is still widely prevalent in poorer Andean regions. According to the World Bank, 27.2% of under-fives in Bolivia suffered chronic malnutrition in 2008.

Peru's telegenic first lady, Nadine Heredia, is championing a colourful campaign to promote the Andean diet, of which quinoa is a key element, to combat infant malnutrition. In 2012 Peru banked nearly $35m from quinoa exports, tripling what it earned three years ago. In Bolivia exports tripled to around 23,000 tonnes, contributing some $85m to the country's economy,Vásquez said.

But experts say both countries need to boost production to meet the rising external demand and provide the grain at lower prices for internal consumption. Bolivia, which produces nearly half the global supply, says it has given more than $5m in credits to 70,000 quinoa producers and wants to industrialise production to bring added value rather than just exporting the raw material.

Hydrocarbons and minerals are Bolivia's two key exports, but Mejia believes if the country aggressively promoted quinoa agriculture "in 10 years it could easily surpass the income from gas and minerals".


Note: This article was amended on 15 January 2013 to remove the following line: Studies at Kings College London have shown quinoa helps coeliacs (people intolerant to gluten) to regenerate gluten tolerance. This was removed because there is debate about the accuracy of the statement.






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