Resist the Halloween Candy

 

How does one resist Halloween candy? Well…I’m not sure.  I’ve found that if I eat just one, my body usually goes crazy for 100 more. This is my first Halloween while taking Plexus, so I’m hopeful that I won’t go nuts over Snickers and any chocolate / peanut butter combination this year.

What about calories in the candy?

Halloween candies are tricky, because they are often so small!  I think: I’ll eat just one.  But it’s easy to do that 10 times a day…or more.  How many calories do the little candies have? How much extra work is it to get rid of those extra calories? Is it worth it?

I say yes, once a year I’m going to eat sweets.  I don’t let my kids eat the crappy candy and generic stuff that just tastes bad anyway.  Some candy is gross, but the kids eat it because its sweet and free.  So, we usually pick out the good ones, pay the tax-man (me)… And give the rest to the Halloween Witch.  She comes out after bed time and takes all the left-over candy to build her candy house. By this, I mean, we give all the candy to the teen-agers that come out late at night.

Here’s a list of calories and work required to negate those calories…  It is amazing how much work it takes to get rid of something that only lasts for a short while.  That’s the thing about candy…it fires up the taste buds, but then disappears…leaving your tongue and brain wanting more.  Why do we only do that with high-calorie foods? It’s the sugar, fat, and salt.  We don’t usually over-indulge with celery or broccoli…but high fat, loads of sugar, tons of salt? Give. Me.  More.

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So…there it is.  The Halloween candy calorie chart. This is telling.  And, I also know that with trick or treating, costume preparation, and my kids running amuck, I won’t be eating a healthy dinner.  Probably some fast food or pizza delivery at a neighbor’s house.

 

So, maybe I will forgo the candy this year.  Oh dear, this doesn’t even count all of the drinks I’ll have.

 

Trying to stick to a 1200 calorie diet? Here’s some help.

 

Diet Pills

 

The truth about diet pills

I’m coming from experience in wanting to shed some unwanted weight quickly.  I gained 75 pounds with my first pregnancy…and eventually lost most of it.  I got all but 5 or so off.  That being said – I had started off at 103 pounds.  At 5’2″ – that’s a good weight for me.  So…I got up to 178ish. AND… that was in 1997! So, I was in my early 20s, worked out 5 times a week, lived off of popcorn and margaritas, and just lived life.  After getting pregnant, I ate everything I could. Five or six slices of pizza was not an issue. I was pregnant, for Pete’s sake! I was eating for two! I kept peanut butter and jelly mixed together in the fridge for a quick fix.  I kept melted ice cream and peanut butter mixed together in the fridge for a midnight snack. I drank juice like it was going out of style. And – I ate a lot of everything! But – that was 17 years ago.  Fast forward to pregnancy number two: I was almost 30 now, weighed in at about 110, and was determined not to balloon up to 180. However…although I ate fairly well, got some exercise, and tried to not indulge…I STILL got up to 180! 180 on a small frame is a lot! I was in pain. My hips and legs kept me from every being comfortable.  Still, I lost most of it…getting down to about 112.  Not to shabby.  Then…I turned 35.  I started gaining without being pregnant! With two kids and a full-time job, I didn’t have time to exercise (or so I believed) and I was stress eating all of the time.  So, I got up to 140.  Otherwise healthy, the weight just wouldn’t come off. I had all of my systems tested…and they seemed to be working fine.  I was just getting fat.

Then…baby number three at 39 years old.  And yes…I got up to 180 again! Even though this time, I knew I would have trouble getting it off – I gained weight like it was nothing!  After the baby…I was determined to get back to 140 – at least. So I did. Then I got down to 130ish. But – I could not lose any more.  I looked at diet pills – but my husband wouldn’t let me try any.  I thought about sneaking them, but if something bad were to happen, no one would know. I needed to get my blood sugar, my weight, my moods, and my sleep back under control.

My husband and I decided that I wouldn’t take any fad diet pills. That I should stay away from all of the dangerous options out there:

Concerning ingredients to watch for in diet pills:

Ma huang/ephedra/ephedrine/pseudoephedrine – Ma huang, a species of ephedra, frequently contains ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which can affect the nervous system and result in high blood pressure, increased heart rate, irregular heart rhythm, heart attack, stroke or death. Ephedra has been banned in the U.S.

Bitter orange/synephrine – Bitter orange contains a chemical called synephrine, which is similar to ephedra and can cause increased heart rate, headaches, vomiting, insomnia, high blood pressure, fainting, heart attack and stroke.

Sibutramine – Sibutramine is a powerful stimulant that may significantly increase the risk of heart attacks, arrhythmias or strokes, in addition to causing a long list of side effects. It was removed from the market in 2010. Several weight-loss drugs have been found to be illegally spiked with sibutramine.

Fenproporex – Fenproporex is a stimulant not approved for use in the U.S.; it is converted to amphetamine in the body and may cause heart arrhythmias and possibly even sudden death. It may also be addictive.

Phenolphthalein – Phenolphthalein is an ingredient that was in some laxative products until 1999, when the FDA declared that it was “not generally recognized as safe and effective.” It has been found to be a hidden ingredient in several weight-loss pills.

There are lots of scary stories out there: people die!

Best diet / Quick weight loss

What is the best diet for quick weight loss? No such thing.  Think of diet NOT as a way to lose weight, but as a way of eating. Eat for nutrition…eat for energy…eat for health.  With healthy eating, hard work, exercise, and some will-power, I did it.  I might not ever get down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I’m happy where I am right now.

I work out for 30 minutes a day, I juice, I eat right, I feed my family right, and I occasionally cheat with chocolate and peanut butter…but that’s okay.

Fast weight loss diets don’t work…they won’t last…you can’t sustain the requirements.  Think of the best diets to lose weight fast as the best way to gain back fast…the best diets to set yourself up for failure.  Rethink diet! Eat real foods, exercise, and stop eating sugar.

As for diets that claim to work fast…for real. I challenge you to stop eating sugar, processed foods, and junk for two weeks.  See how much weight you can lose.  Stop eating chips, fast food, restaurant food, cheap breads, snacks, and soda…even diet soda…for two weeks.  You’ll drop pounds. I promise.

Thankfully, a well balanced diet requires none of those ^^ ingredients.  If you are looking for quick weight loss, the best diet… join us on our next Clean Eating Challenge.

You can do it, too!

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14 Day Clean Eating Challenge!

 

Natural Ways to Relieve Joint Pain / Arthritis

 

 

Natural remedies for:

Joint Pain and Arthritis

There are many pharmaceutical ways to relieve joint pain and arthritis. But what about natural ways? More and more people are turning to natural sources for health management. One issue with pharmaceuticals…they usually just  mask the symptoms. Also, the side effects of pharmaceutical and prescription medication can be harsh. herbal remedies for arthritis, joint pain, help for joint pain

By joint pain and arthritis, I mean Rheumatoid Arthritis,  Lupus, Osteoarthritis, and Fibromyalgia for starters. There are over 100 different types of arthritis and joint pain causes and disorders!

 

Here are some natural and safe methods for pain relief:

Weight loss to help with joint pain and arthritis

For many, this is hard to hear. There are few people who don’t need to lose weight. Whether you are looking at 10 pounds or 100+ pounds, this is a great place to start. There are natural ways to curb appetite, suppress hunger, feel fuller before – during – and after eating, speed up metabolism, and eat better. Look into these options. Losing as few as 5 – 10 pounds can relieve stress and pain in your joints. Controlling your blood sugar, getting rid of Candida, and using a good detox will also help with weight loss through better eating. A good multi-vitamin will deliver important vitamins and minerals to your brain and body – so you will have less cravings.

Exercise to relieve joint pain and arthritis

Regular exercise will help with flexibility in joints. Stronger muscles will allow for more joint support. An added bonus of exercise is weight loss, but the other perks of exercise will add more to your pain-free regimen. Swimming, aerobics, biking, and elliptical machines can all be useful in keeping your joints and muscles limber…but getting your heart rate up a little will also help with circulation. Getting more blood and oxygen to move through your body will help with over-all pain free living and health.  If you are suffering with a lot of pain, start slow and improve your diet. You’ll feel better quickly. If you need an energy kick-start – there are plenty of natural energy boosters available.

 Herbal anti-inflammatories offer relief for joint pain and arthritis

There are a variety of herbal supplements that claim to help with pain and inflammation.  They contain many herbs and vitamins that are proven to reduce inflammation and pain.

Key Ingredients

ETArol™: green lipped mussel contains all the potent and wide-ranging properties of its sources, including joint support.

Turmeric Extract: A powerful anti-inflammatory used for centuries in Ayurvedic and other traditional medicine systems. Modern studies overwhelmingly show turmeric is beneficial for natural pain relief.

Serrapeptase: Known as the “Miracle Enzyme,” this anti-inflammatory agent, with more than 25 years of research in Europe and beyond, delivers significant relief without the usual side effects.

Bromelain: Another enzyme shown to possess substantial anti-inflammatory and anti-pain properties for protection of the entire body.

Topical ointments for joint pain and arthritis

There are plenty of topical ointments and lotions that will help with pain.  Fast Relief Cream offers an amazing combination of herbs and minerals that combat pain and discomfort.

Key Ingredients

ETArol™: this extract of the New Zealand green lipped mussel contains all the potent and wide-ranging properties of its source, including anti-inflammatory support, pain relief and tissue regeneration. Scientific findings show ETArol™ is the superior source of the green lipped mussel.

Whole leaf aloe gel: Shown by various studies to provide significant anti-inflammatory support, as well as the ability to minimize discomfort and other varying benefits.

MSM: A widely studied compound that is key for optimal joint and muscle function; also helps soothe pain.

Menthol: An FDA-approved pain treatment agent.

Sea Kelp Extract: Contains micronutrients that neutralize free radicals and support joint health and optimal nervous system function.

Green Tea Extract: Powerful antioxidant that can support optimal inflammatory response, relieve discomfort and protect tissues.

Oleoresin Capsicum: Another FDA-approved pain relief agent and long-used traditional treatment for minor aches and discomfort.

Chondroitin, Glucosamine & Hyaluronic Acid: Scientific findings show these compounds can effectively protect and repair joint tissue and increase mobility.

Probiotics for relief of joint pain and arthritis

Probiotics are another great way to combat joint pain.  Arthritis is an auto-immune disease. It’s a condition where your body is basically attacking itself for any number of reasons.  If your immune system is working correctly – it will stop the process of self-destruction. Probiotics are a great first step in joint and pain relief.

Hot and cold therapy for joint pain and arthritis

A heating pad or electric blanket will help ease the pain of getting out of bed in the morning – and will also help you rest better at night.  A warm bath or shower will also loosen you up.  For specific joint pain, an ice pack will reduce swelling for quick relief.

Fatty acids might help with joint pain and arthritis

While most people could benefit from an omega-3 fatty acid supplement, those with joint pain need this even more.  Fish oils may reduce stiffness and pain. Additionally, gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, is a fatty acid source.  Found in black currants and other plants, this is a great supplement.

Bottom line for natural remedies – joint pain and arthritis

Natural and safe – these types of supplements and tools are something to consider when treating joint pain.  While there are a lot of options out there, you must start with a healthy, balanced diet.  Be sure to join our next Clean Eating Challenge!

 

 

The Best Diet … Counting Calories

 

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Counting calories can be very complicated. There are so many things that go into figuring out how many we are supposed to have daily, how much each activity burns, and the “good vs. bad” calorie…where do we even start?

Calorie Counting through the Ages

Although it may seem like you’ve been counting calories forever…it’s a relatively new idea.  Around the beginning of the 20th century, scientist Wilbur Atwater created a machine that burned and measured food ashes to find out how much energy was released and how much energy was in the food. This was the beginning of a calorie – and counting them.

Is there a difference between different types of calories?

Pretty much, a calorie is a calorie.  Some foods might make you feel fuller – so you will consume fewer calories, but overall – the energy needed to burn the calorie is the same.  A calorie of celery is the same as a calorie of chocolate.  Common sense tells us that there is a lot more celery in one calorie than chocolate. Carbohydrates and proteins have four calories per gram. Fats have nine calories per gram. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram.

Eating foods high in fat – or drinking alcohol will cause you to use up your calorie allotment much quicker. Say you eat eggs and bacon, with a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast…and you’re wanting to lose weight by only consuming 1200 calories per day…you’ve used up most of your calorie intake by 8:30 am.

  Where “a calorie is a calorie” doesn’t apply

Different foods product different effects on the body – some foods cause the body to release hormones that say store fat…some say release sugar…some say build muscle. Different proportions of fat, carbs, and proteins will result in different amounts of lost weight.

Why It’s Hard to Keep Count of Calories

 Most Americans claim to count calories – however most calculate incorrectly. People either have no idea how much calories they need daily or how much they are actually consuming.  We need about 2,000 calories on average to maintain life.  If you consume more calories than you burn – you are going to gain weight.

Restaurant entrees and bigger portions make it more difficult to gauge the calories in a meal. For example – most people are able to guess about how many calories are in an egg or an apple. But, lasagna, apple pie, omelets, and a cheeseburger? People greatly underestimate the calories of these dishes.

Calorie Counting Alternatives

Start counting calories burned for workouts.  We usually pay attention to our heart rate, time, or distance during exercise.  We should look at how many calories we are burning.  Instead of saying, “I’m going to get on the treadmill for 30 minutes.” We should say, “I’m going to get on the treadmill until I burn off 300 calories. (which is a soda and an extra slice of cheese on a sandwich)”

Here are some tips on what to do instead of counting calories:

  • eat smaller portions. 
  • choose foods that use more calories. (high-fiber, protein foods)
  • make sure you consume the right kind of calories. (nutrient rich foods instead of sweets and alcohol)

Don’t worry so much about counting calories. Consider making your calories count!

What can you do if you’re convinced that counting calories is the way to go? Read this!

What are the benefits of Coconut Oil?

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What are the benefits of coconut oil?

We’ve all been hearing about how amazing coconut oil is for our body, mind, skin, and overall health.  I’ve heard that it can cure cancer, obesity, thyroid disease…etc. But, really? Is any of that true or is it just another band wagon that health and even food chains love – as sales seem to pick up dramatically with any new “discovery”.

 

The first thing to look at is clinical trials vs. testimonials. There are few clinical trials that would support (or really spend the money to find out) the truth behind these types of health claims.

 Continue reading below…

What Is Coconut Oil?

Pure virgin coconut oil, containing no hydrogenation (the process of adding hydrogen to make a liquid fat hard), contains 92% saturated fat — the highest amount of saturated fat of any fat.

Coconut oils are saturated fats that are technically oil – but can be liquid, a mix between liquid and solid, or solid – depending on room temperature.  The oils that we are most familiar with are animal products and also contain cholesterol. Coconut oils do not contain cholesterol.

One interesting difference between coconut oil and other oils is that coconut oil has an unusual blend of fatty acids – which might offer some health benefits. But, just because coconut oils comes from plants does not mean that they are healthier than other oils.

Another fact that many people may not realize: all fats have the same number of calories per gram.  Oils don’t contain any vitamins or minerals.

Is Coconut Oil Better Than Other Fats and Oils?

Coconut oil is better for us than butter, but it is still a saturated fat that needs to be limited.

All Fats are not Created Equal

Many believe that the short-term medium-chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs) in coconut oil is a more “healthy” form of saturated fat compared to trans fat. Depression and increased cholesterol is linked to trans fatty acid use. It could be that the liver will immediately convert these types of fat into energy opposed to storing it as fat.

What Do People Claim that Coconut Oil Does?

Does Coconut Oil Controls Weight?

Some testimonials show that with coconut oil use, a reduction in abdominal weight occurred. Since coconut oil is easier to digest and is claimed to protect the body from insulin resistance – working one to four teaspoons into your daily diet may have some benefits.

Does Coconut Oil Ease Digestion?

Digestive issues and bloating have also been shown to improve with coconut oil. Candida, parasites, and bacteria all cause digestive disorders – and since coconut oils are said to have anti-microbial properties, you might find relief.

Does Coconut Oil Manage Type 2 Diabetes?

Manage might be a strong word…but a recent study by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research discovered that insulin resistance might be avoided through the use of coconut oil since the fats in coconut oil are easily absorbed into the cells where they are converted to energy instead of stored as fat. Fat can increase insulin resistance – which leads to Type 2 Diabetes.

Does Coconut Oil Support the Immune System?

Coconut oil  is a healthy fat (including lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid) which contain antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral properties. These of course boost the immune system. Interesting to note that many products also contain healthy acids.The body turns this fat into monolaurin –  which is claimed to help heal viruses such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, helicobacter pylori and candida.

Does Coconut Oil Boost the Metabolism?

There have been some reports of studies done that concluded the increase of metabolism with the consumption of small amounts of coconut oil. I couldn’t really find information that supported these claims – as far as any science-based facts…just that those who consume coconut oil seem to be thinner than those who don’t.

Does Coconut Oil Slow the Appearance of Wrinkles?

I’ve used coconut oil for a moisturizer and hydrating treat for my skin, too. Hydrated skin is less likely to sag and wrinkle – just a little goes a long way with this moisturizer. I would recommend that you stick with virgin organic – with nothing added.

Does Coconut Oil Stop Sugar Cravings?

Since coconut oil tastes very coconutty – it’s a nice little treat instead of hard candy, candy bars, or other sweets (cookies, jelly beans, etc). High quality fat is more satiating than carbs, so by cutting down on sugar you will feel less sugar cravings. Something yummy to try is one teaspoon of coconut oil mixed with a high-quality Dutch Cocao.  It’s super yummy and good for you – better than processed sweets.

What are Uses for Coconut Oil?

What are some of the other uses for coconut oil? Share! I’d love to hear what else you all have come up with for this amazing “new” product.

 

 

What are Probiotics

 

What are Probiotics?

What is a Probiotic?

Certain yeast and bacteria are healthy organisms that can improve health. These are commonly known as probiotics.

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How do we consume probiotics?

Supplements and food sources are two ways that we ingest probiotics. Yogurt, cheese, fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are ways that humans have been consuming probiotics for centuries. Recently, we have started consuming probiotics via supplements.

You should always supplement your probiotics with prebiotics and enzymes! Did you know that? What are prebiotics and enzymes – fuel and carriers for the probiotics. You can get them all naturally in one healthy shake…combined with 70 superfoods…shop HERE!

What do probiotics do?

Over 500 different types of bacteria and yeasts live in the digestive system.  They keep the intestines and colon healthy. Also, probiotics (these organisms) assist in digesting food and help the immune system function.

How do probiotics work?

Science is showing that some digestive disorders occur when the balance of bacteria becomes uneven: when there is more bad bacteria and less good bacteria. Infections, poor diets, and antibiotics can lead to this problem, but also any damage done to the intestinal lining – like after having a virus or pH issue. Probiotics help restore the proper balance.

Probiotics and the Immune System

The immune system is another delicate part of our body. The immune system is what fights viruses, bacteria, infections, “bugs”, and disease. Probiotics help maintain a healthy, strong immune system by offering challenges to the system in healthy ways. With extremely good hygiene (like we have in The United States), the immune system is never truly challenged. That leads to an increase of autoimmune and allergic diseases. Introducing friendly bacteria may help challenge the immune system without compromising the person’s health.

Probiotics could help with many health issues

Science is discovering that gut health is the root of multiple diseases and issues – and that with a quality probiotic regimen, these issues are / might be helped if not “fixed” all-together.

  • childhood diarrhea
  • eczema associated with cow’s milk allergy
  • diabetes
  • antibiotic-associated diarrhea and infectious diarrhea
  • necrotizing enterocolitis, a type of infection and inflammation of the intestines mostly seen in infants
  • immune system
  • pouchitis, an inflammation of the intestines that can follow intestinal surgery
  • ulcerative colitis
  • migraines
  • thrush
  • cradle cap and dandruff
  • vaginitis and yeast infections in women
  • “jock itch”
  • athlete’s foot and toe fungus / including nail and nail bed issues
  • the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
  • bacteria related diarrhea
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • food and environmental allergies
  • gas
  • constipation
  • weight loss
  • acne
  • psoriasis
  • brain “fog”
  • candida
  • asthma
  • heartburn
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • bloating
  • bad breath
  • sweet cravings
  • joint pain
  • sinus congestion
  • ear infections
  • strep throat
  • colds
  • itchy ears
  • itchy eyes
  • hair loss
  • vision problems
  • Autism
  • leaky gut
  • Celiac
  • indigestion
  • PMS and menstrual issues
  • cavities
  • blood sugar issues
  • as a supplement to HIV, cancer, MS, Lupus, etc. treatments

Can you believe that list?!?

Now do you see that your total health begins within the gut?

By starting a simple supplement…these issues might be helped or eliminated from your life.  Please ask me if you have any questions!

Cautions About Probiotics

Few people experience side-effects from taking probiotics. Humans around the world have been eating foods with probiotics for centuries.  If you do have any side-effects from probiotics, it’s more likely than not to be die-off symptoms. Die off symptoms are an increase in the effects of candida and an imbalanced system as the bad yeast and bacteria die off.  For example – if you suffer from eczema, as you kill off the yeast that causes eczema – that yeast will work its way out of your system.  As the yeast dies, it will release toxins that will make the eczema worse for a little while.  Using a detox is useful to lessen these symptoms.

What is the best diet…Gluten Free Diet

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What is the best diet…Gluten Free Diet

Gluten is a protein that is found in grains like wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (which is a cross between wheat and rye).

A gluten free diet is typically used by those with Celiac disease. Those affected by Celiac disease will have inflammation in the small intestines if they consume gluten – which will cause all sorts of problems.

While only about 1% of the population has true gluten allergies or Celiac disease, we spend between $4m and $10m per year on gluten-free products. It has become a new trend to eat Gluten-free as a dieting lifestyle – but basically it is the avoidance of carbs that help with weight control.

More on what gluten is…here

It is my belief that gluten is way overused in our diets. I also feel that we would all benefit from cutting way back on gluten products – and all flour products. They are mostly highly processed foods that offer little nutrition. Instead of breads and pastas, eat fruits and veggies.

With the new trend in gluten-free dieting, I wanted to address gluten free as a weight loss tool. I do feel that going carb-free (which would included eliminating gluten) is a valid diet tool, being just gluten free AS A WEIGHT LOSS AID might not be the best choice.

Eating gluten free pancakes and gluten free brownies will not help you lose weight.

Gluten Free diet

***Diet details

This post is going to discuss gluten-free as a weight / health choice…not a medical necessity. Meaning, I’m not talking about those that MUST not eat gluten because of an allergy, but those who choose not to eat gluten for health and weight loss reasons.

If you’re just starting with a gluten-free diet, it’s a good idea to consult a dietitian or physician who can answer your questions and offer advice about how to avoid gluten while still eating a healthy, balanced diet.

Foods you can eat that are gluten-free
Many healthy and delicious foods are naturally gluten-free:

  • Beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
  • Fresh eggs
  • Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Most dairy products

The key word here is fresh. Make sure that the foods you eat are not processed or mixed with gluten-containing grains, additives or preservatives. If you are going “gluten-free” just to stay away from carbs, you’ll have to be careful: there are a lot of grains and starches can be part of a gluten-free diet. And, those gluten-free products don’t have fewer calories. People think that by going gluten-free that they are going to lose weight. That might be true, but if you just substitute gluten for other flours and starches – you’re going to consume the same amount of calories and maybe more sugar.

If by gluten-free, you mean low carb…that’s different. Check out this reference to a low-carb / no carb lifestyle.

Things to avoid while Gluten-Free

  • Beer
  • Breads
  • Cakes and pies
  • Candies
  • Cereals
  • Cookies and crackers
  • Croutons
  • French fries
  • Gravies
  • Imitation meat or seafood
  • Matzo
  • Pastas
  • Processed luncheon meats
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces, including soy sauce
  • Seasoned rice mixes
  • Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
  • Self-basting poultry
  • Soups and soup bases
  • Vegetables in sauce

So…bottom line is that while there are a few (1%) of the population that require gluten-free, the overall health of specifically gluten-free is still out for debate. Carb free…processed food free…sugar free…those things are valid lifestyle changes that are good for your health, good for your body, good for your mind, and good for your weight…

But, gluten-free specifically just to be gluten-free? That’s a fad that will die away before too long.  You’d be better off just staying away from all refined sugar and flour all together.

And remember when the United States went “fat-free” in the late 1980s?  The food industry just started replacing animal fat with vegetable fat and sugars.  That small switch actually did way more harm than good.

 

Stevia vs. Sucralose

 

Here’s some interesting information on Stevia vs. Sucralose

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If you are interested in research – there is a lot of it out there on natural and artificial sweeteners.  I came pretty close to being overwhelmed with all of the information available. However, I narrowed it down to these two main sweeteners that are used in “natural” and “healthy” foods. When you Google Stevia vs. ***, you’ll get “sugar”, “Splenda”, “Truvia”etc.  This tells me that MOST people know that things like Equal and aspartame are not natural…or even close to being good for you. Hopefully, this information will help you decide which is better: Stevia or Sucralose (Splenda).

First…a little history on sugar.  Check out this post on sugar if you’d really like to read more about that dirty little food industry secret.

Sugar…

But,  a summary is that most times when you think you are eating something with sugar, you are most likely consuming high-fructose corn syrup – which has replaced sugar in many processed foods and soft drinks. High-fructose corn syrup first made its way into American foods from 1975 – 1985.  Sugar became very expensive during this time…so food manufacturers started using corn as a source of sweet. Corn is kept at about half the cost of sugar (because of government subsidies paid to growers). In other countries, Pepsi and Coke use real sugar – but in the US: high-fructose corn syrup.

Just for a reference: the average American consumes about 38 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup annually vs. 47 pounds of sucrose.

Recently, high-fructose corn syrup has gotten a bad reputation – being blamed for an increase in obesity and obesity-related diseases, but there isn’t much evidence to support this claim.  Apparently, it’s just as bad for you as sucrose or other simple sugars. It’s more the amount of sugars that we are consuming…that number has greatly increased over the years…not just the type of sugars.

Anyway…let’s get to the fact that we know sugar is really bad for you: it offers no nutritional value, it creates a cyclical craving system, it provides empty calories that just add the amount of cardio and work we have to do…and it just wreaks havoc on our blood sugar level and brains.  We should only have about 1 tsp of sugar in our system at a time…a soda has 35 grams of sugar…10 grams OVER THE DAILY RECOMMENDED AMOUNT. Let me repeat that: a person who takes in 2000 calories a day should limit sugar to 25 grams… A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola has 35 grams of sugar, which is 10 grams over the allowance

And…let’s reiterate that aspartame and artificial sweeteners are also bad for you. You should know this, but I’m telling you again. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS LIKE ASPERTAME ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOU.

Here are a few:

Aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet):

  • A combination of two amino acids — phenylalanine and aspartic acid
  • 220 times sweeter than sugar
  • Loses its sweetness when exposed to heat
  • FDA approved

Sucralose (Splenda):

  • 600 times sweeter than sugar
  • Used in many diet foods and drinks, chewing gum, frozen dairy desserts, fruit juices, and gelatin
  • Can be added to food at the table
  • FDA approved

Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin, NectaSweet):

  • 200 to 700 times sweeter than sugar
  • Used in many diet foods and drinks.
  • May have a bitter or metallic aftertaste in some liquids.
  • Not used in cooking and baking
  • FDA approved

Acesulfame K (Sunett and Sweet One):

  • An artificial sweetener
  • Is heat-stable, so can be used in cooking and baking
  • This sweetener can be added to food at the table. It is marketed for this use under the name Sweet One.
  • Used together with other sweeteners, such as saccharin, in carbonated low-calorie beverages and other products
  • FDA approved

Neotame:

  • Artificial sweetener
  • Used in many diet foods and drinks

Cyclamates:

  • 30 times sweeter than sugar
  • Banned in the United States because they were shown to cause bladder cancer in animals

Here are some natural sweeteners that are safer than artificial (and better for you than sugar):

Stevia (Truvia, Pure Via, Sun Crystals):

  • Non-caloric plant-based sweetener
  • Made from the plant Stevia rebaudiana, which is grown for its sweet leaves
  • Common names include sweetleaf, sweet leaf, sugarleaf, or simply stevia.
  • Rebaudiana extract is approved as a food additive. It is considered a dietary supplement.

Monk Fruit (Nectresse):

  • The powdered extract of monk fruit, a round green melon that grows in central Asia.
  • 150 to 200 times sweeter than sugar
  • Heat stable and can used in baking and cooking and is more concentrated than sugar (¼ teaspoon equals the sweetness of 1 teaspoon sugar)
  • FDA approved

Bottom Line:

Stevia vs. Sucralose

Sugar substitutes can assist you with weight loss and calorie control.

Calories and Use

Both Stevia and Splenda, also called sucralose, are calorie-free sweeteners.  Neither one of these choices tastes exactly like sugar. To some consumers, Stevia sometimes gives foods a bit of a bitter flavor, and sucralose has an artificial flavor.

Source and History

Sucralose comes from sugar but isn’t absorbed by the body in the same way – a majority of it leaves your body without being digested, which results in fewer calories.

Stevia is derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. Whole stevia leaves and other types of stevia extracts are only approved for use as dietary supplements.

 

Effects on Blood Sugar and Fullness

Eating foods sweetened with stevia may be just as filling as eating foods sweetened with sugar, according to a study published in “Appetite” in August 2010. A similar study published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” in May 2011, however, found that Splenda may not have the same benefit. Both Splenda and stevia can be helpful for diabetics because they give a sweet flavor without adversely affecting blood sugar levels.

Potential Risks

The main concern about sucralose safety: it contains chloride and some other compounds containing chloride have been shown to increase the risk of cancer. However, since it doesn’t really enter the body through the digestive system, the risk to chloride exposure is most likely minimal.

What’s your opinion? Do you have a preference? What do you know about sugar, substitutes, and what about just going without?

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What is the best diet…The Biggest Loser Diet

 

What is the best diet?

In my review of different diets and eating lifestyles, I’ve come across several interesting diets…some that claim far-fetched results, and some that are just common sense.  The Biggest Loser Diet is under the common sense category.

The Biggest Loser Diet

The idea behind the Biggest Loser diet is to spend six weeks of eating healthy and exercising regularly.  This is a great way to lose some weight, but also a great way to kick-start some permanent lifestyle changes.  Cutting the risk of cancer, diabetes, poor immune system, dementia, and heart disease…this is a perfect way to look at nutrition and body health.

The Basics Behind The Biggest Loser Diet

Just like with every healthy eating plan – the biggest loser diet claims that we eat too much bad food, not enough good food, and we don’t move around enough. This diet recommends to eat regular meals that emphasize filling calories from fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, and whole grains; practice portion control; use a food journal; and get up off the sofa.

How does the Biggest Loser Diet work?

The actual Biggest Loser Diet starts with the purchase of a book. There are several to choose from, but they are all mostly the same. They include success stories and menu development help, and exercise suggestions.

Will you lose weight on the Biggest Loser Diet?

If you stick with the diet plan – you shouldn’t have trouble losing weight.  Just like most successful diets: this one is based on fewer calories in and more calories out.

Sample The Biggest Loser Menu

The “real” diet is for six weeks. The lifestyle changes are supposed to be forever…but there are shorter and longer versions available.  From http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/weight-loss/plans/the-biggest-loser-7-day-diet-plan/ - here’s a sample of one day’s menu:

Just because you’re not a contestant on the show doesn’t mean you can’t win your own weight-loss battle at home. To help you get started, we asked The Biggest Loser nutritionist Cheryl Forberg, RD, to design this seven-day meal plan, which is just like the one that helps the competitors slim down. With delicious recipes and easy tips, you’re sure to lose weight in no time.

Monday

This is no deprivation diet: You’ll eat three meals and two snacks daily, plus each dish packs a filling balance of 45 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 25 percent healthy fats. When it comes to drinks, Forberg recommends sticking to no- and low-cal picks like coffee, tea, and water. And to accelerate weight loss, The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper suggests doing 60 to 90 minutes of moderate exercise four times a week. So get motivated, get started, and get ready to watch your weight drop!

Breakfast
1/2 cup egg whites scrambled with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon chopped basil, 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan, and 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1 slice whole-grain toast
1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup skim milk

Snack
1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt topped with 1/4 cup sliced strawberries

Lunch
Salad made with 3/4 cup cooked bulgur, 4 ounces chopped grilled chicken breast, 1 tablespoon shredded low-fat cheddar, diced grilled veggies (2 tablespoons onion, 1/4 cup diced zucchini, 1/2 cup bell pepper), 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro, and 1 tablespoon low-fat vinaigrette

Snack
2 tablespoons hummus and 6 baby carrots

Dinner
4 ounces grilled salmon
1 cup wild rice with 1 tablespoon slivered toasted almonds
1 cup wilted baby spinach with 1 teaspoon each olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and grated Parmesan
1/2 cup diced cantaloupe topped with
1/2 cup all-fruit raspberry sorbet and 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts

To me, that seems like a lot of food. I usually stick around 1000 – 1500 calories per day, but of course, I don’t get the 60 – 90 minutes of recommended exercise 4 – 6 days a week – so I will need fewer calories.  The food does look yummy!

Have you tried this diet? Any feedback?