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What are Probiotics and why do you need them?

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What are Probiotics and why do you need them?

The short answer:
Your gut is filled with bacteria, good and bad. Good bacteria aids digestion, boosts immunity, and combats a number of gut-related illnesses. Emerging research shows it may also impact weight loss and influence mood. Bad bacteria hampers good bacteria and can make you sick in an assortment of ways, oftentimes involving repeated trips to the bathroom.

The two fight constantly.

Probiotics contain good bacteria. You’ll find them either in supplement form or through real foods like yogurt, tempeh, kimchi, miso, and kombucha. By taking them, you’re fortifying the troops. While they’re generally an excellent idea, they’re particularly important after you’ve had an infection or you’ve taken a round of antibiotics, because these things tend to wipe out the populations in your gut.

The long answer:
The therapeutic use of probiotics is an excellent example of ancient wisdom existing long before Western science could pull its head out. There are references to curdled milk in the Bible (Genesis 18:8 and Isaiah 7:15 if you’re keeping score), but the party really got started around the start of the 20th century when Nobel Prize–winning scientist Dr. Elias Metchnikoff reported that Bulgarian shepherds tended to live almost twice as long as urban Parisians where he was living. He pinned this on the formers’ intake of fermented milk, which he felt contained “good” and “anti-putrefactive” microorganisms.

It’s unclear how Metchnikoff made the connection between these two rather disparate groups, but it gave birth to the modern investigation of probiotics, so let’s not complain. For the last hundred plus years, science continues to discover more and more good things about the bugs living in our intestines.

The 100 trillion (give or take a trillion) bacteria that live in your gut can be divided into over 500 types. Many of the important ones fall into one of two genera, Lactobacillus andBifidobacterium. Under that, there are several species, many of which have specific benefits. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus has been shown to be especially effective in combating lactose intolerance and Montezuma’s Revenge (or “traveler’s diarrhea” if you want to be boring about it). However, unless you have a specific issue that you’re trying to address, you probably don’t need to stress about all the species.

Fun fact one: the bad bacteria you’re working to keep in check include Helicobacter pylori,Escherichia coli (E. coli), and salmonella.

Fun fact two: we’re born without bacteria in our guts, but the populating begins when we pass through the birth canal. Our first gasps of air provide yet more bacteria, as does breast milk, which is especially rich in probiotics.

It’s well-established that probiotic consumption helps with almost any intestinal issue you can think of, including constipation, lactose intolerance, GI infections, gas, diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, IBS, and IBD. It’s been shown to be effective in treating vaginal and urinary tract infections and atopic eczema. There’s also research showing probiotics may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

There are a few theories as to how this all happens. One is that good bacteria simply take up the space in the gut that the bad bacteria would take over. There’s also the fact that some good bacteria stimulate the immune system by promoting the release of various white blood cells that kill pathogens. A third idea is that many bacteria use the same fuel sources. For example, Clostridium difficile, which causes diarrhea and inflames the colon, is dependent on sugar—but so are many good bacteria. It all comes down to balance. If you have plenty of good bacteria in your gut, they’re going to dominate the monosaccharide buffet.

Look beyond GI issues, and current science on gut bacteria and probiotics gets even more amazing. A Washington University study on identical twins—one overweight and one thin—showed that they had entirely different gut microbiota, suggesting certain bacteria in your system promotes weight gain. (A separate UC Berkeley study suggests the evolutionary reason for this is that people in northern climates need more body fat, so their gut bacteria actually shifts to promote weight gain.)

But if you think popping the right probiotics will soon be the key to dropping pounds, don’t get too excited. Yet another study on mice shows that “weight loss bacteria” doesn’t seem to thrive on a high in saturated fat, low-fiber diet. However, they tend to propagate when fed a diet filled with fruits and veggies.

Researchers are also looking seriously into the gut-brain axis. In other words, those little bugs in your belly might actually have a say in your decision-making process. For instance, gut bacteria produce 95% of your serotonin, a powerful “feel-good” neurotransmitter.

And a Texas Tech University study on mice found that feeding mice the bad bacteriumCampylobacter jejuni drove up their anxiety levels.

So, yes, you should consume probiotics. How many depends on your situation. Antibiotics wipe out the microbes in your gut, so a supplement is an excellent idea after a round of those. Beyond that, if you have a gut-related issue, it’s worth researching which probiotic might help and supplement thusly.

Quality probiotic supplements can be pricey though. For most people, a solid diet filled with probiotic foods should do the trick. (For the record, Shakeology contains Bacillus coagulans, an especially hearty probiotic that can survive at room temperature when many probiotics require refrigeration.)

Yogurt is also a great source. However, it’s important to read the label. The bacteria that make the flavor and texture that Western society considers yogurt can’t survive the voyage through our GI tract, so manufacturers enhance the stuff with other strains, including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum.

Kombucha, or fermented tea, is another great probiotic food that’s especially trendy right now. It may take a while to learn to appreciate its tangy taste, but it’s worth it. Another benefit of kombucha is that it’s incredibly simple to make.

Beyond that, there are tons of other foods out there that are technically probiotic, including tempeh, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, and various cheeses. Unfortunately, these foods are often heated or pasteurized in such a way that kills the bacteria, so check on the label to verify if the probiotics are still active. Another option is to seek out a boutique producer who deliberately maintains the bacteria in their foods. Or you might want to make them yourself.Sandor Ellix Katz’s The Art of Fermentation is an excellent resource for your bacterial DIY needs.

On a final note, remember that fruit and veggie thing a few paragraphs up? Well, it applies to all the benefits of probiotics. Gut bacteria thrives on certain foods called prebiotics, so it’s crucial to make them part of your diet. Foods especially high in prebiotics include asparagus, onion, leek, garlic, artichokes, oats, and bananas. Yacon root, which you’ll find in Shakeology, also contains prebiotics.

So make prebiotics and probiotics a cornerstone of your diet because if you’re good to all those little bugs in your gut, they’ll return the favor tenfold.

Ready to try adding some amazing probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, and whole-food nutrition to your diet? CLICK HERE!

Will alcohol keep me from reaching my fitness goals?

 

Ready to start on YOUR fitness journey? CLICK HERE.

 

Want to clean up your eating? Click HERE for a FREE 14 day meal planner.

Ask the Expert: Will Drinking Alcohol Hurt My Results?

By Steve Edwards

When it comes to getting fit and healthy, alcohol is one of the first things you’re told to eliminate from your diet. Yet studies regularly show that those who drink live longer and healthier lives than those who don’t. So, what’s the deal? Is alcohol a magic potion for a long and healthy life, or is your fitness the only thing it’s going to take the edge off?


Woman Sunning Near a pool with a Glass of Wine


The consumption of alcohol in some form or another has been around since the first caveman left some fruit in the sun too long, causing it to ferment (what a crazy night around the fire that was). Since we’ve always had it and, if history is any indication, we always will, we should have a strategy about how to use it.

What is alcohol?

Alcohol starts out healthy enough, as a plant, where it’s the byproduct of the decaying process (fermentation). Although it’s technically a depressant, its effect on the human body manifests as making you feel giddy, powerful, and awesome on the dance floor. And because it’s natural, you know, like tobacco and opium, it’s got to be good, right? Oh, wait. Maybe not.

And just like other natural things, the food industry has found unnatural ways to create alcohol that tend to be cheaper and even less healthy. But, I’m nitpicking because ultimately alcohol is alcohol. You’re going to get hammered whether you drink Night Train or single-malt Scotch—although all the chemicals in the rotgut might give you a worse hangover.

Glass of LiquidAnd for you out there who think you’re beating the system with your Diet Coke® and rum, alcohol has calories. A lot of them. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol has more calories by volume than both carbs and proteins and slightly less than fats. (Plus, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine,1 drinking diet soda with alcohol could get you drunk faster.)

More importantly, these calories have no food value. That’s right. Nada. Zilch. You’re adding calories to your diet, the only performance enhancing quality of which is to help you brag about yourself down at the pub.

The big question people usually ask me is whether or not they should drink alcohol while doing P90X®, INSANITY®, or one of our other boot camp–style programs. When you’re trying to change your body, the crux is making the nutritional switch from high-calorie/low-nutrient foods to low-calorie/high-nutrient foods. Since alcohol is a very high-calorie/no-nutrient food, you can see why it never ranks very high onMichi’s Ladder.

Keep in mind that we’re not telling you to abstain from alcohol forever. We’re advising you cut down on it—or completely cut it out—while you’re trying to transform your body.

What about all the studies showing alcohol is good for you?

The lifestyle studies that show up on the wires almost ubiquitously champion alcohol consumption because moderate drinkers always outlive everyone else. In fact, one major study showed that even excessive drinkers lived longer than teetotalers. There is no scientific surface explanation as to why this would be the case, so most experts chalk it up to lifestyle. Those who drink tend to be less stressed about life, in general, and stress is intricately linked to shorter life spans.

This is why our nutrition guides also generally give parameters for moderate drinking. If it makes you happy then, by all means, don’t quit. Just learn to be a healthy drinker.

But as I said above, when you’re doing one of our programs, the rules of nutrition shift slightly. You’re pushing your body harder, so it behooves you to keep nutrition tiptop. Furthermore, if you can’t go 90 days without a drink, you might want to consider your relationship with alcohol. It is, after all, an addictive substance.

The Dark Side of Drinking

And on that topic, alcohol has a dark side beyond calories. It can easily lead to an excessive path. If you’re a clever writer, you might make a nefarious career out of being a boozer, but it wreaks havoc on most of us.

Behavioral issues aside, let’s take a quick look at how alcohol can add up from a dietary perspective. A 12-ounce beer is about 150 or so calories. Ditto a 5-ounce glass of wine. One shot (1.5 oz) of the straight stuff has between 85 and 115 calories, depending on what proof it is.

Man Lying on the Floor next to a Glass of LiquidUnfortunately we tend to have more than that one serving. Often a lot more. Those longevity studies give the best numbers to folk who have 1–2 drinks a day, not those taking the Silver Bullet Express to every sporting event on TV.

When you pound a twelver during a weekend double-header, you’ve done serious dietary damage. Factor in that in our tendency to offset a drunken state-of-grace with greasy indulgences and it’s easy to see how Monday Night Football® at Cheers might result in unnecessary roughness. And despite the advice you’ll get on Good Morning America®, a quick jog the next day is not going to fight the beer belly you’ll get from those binges.

So the short answer here to whether it’s okay to drink when you’re working out is, “Sure. In moderation.” If you don’t already drink, I don’t think you need to start, but if you’re already a drinker, limit your intake and take the occasional time off, especially if you’re into a serious training cycle.

Do that, and I’ll raise a glass to you!

 

Want to clean up your eating? Click HERE for a FREE 14 day meal planner.

The Blog is Live! Free menus, recipes, grocery list, and more!

Welcome to our new, improved fitness and nutrition blog.  This is about more than a diet- this is life-changing!  This is about teaming up with others in a supportive, sharing environment to establish positive, lifelong habits that will lead to better health for both your physical and mental well-being.

Where to start?  There is so much in the world of fitness and nutrition to be excited about right now.   We look forward to sharing it all with you, from fitness programs, to nutritional supplements, to workout gear.

But first things first! You’ll only get out of your body what you put into it.  Having a nutritious, well-balanced diet is fundamental to physical and mental health.  But it can be so confusing- especially when you consider that 80% of the food sold in our grocery stores contains added sugar, processed carbs, and other unhealthy ingredients.

So what now?  A wise person once said that the longest journey begins with the first step.  So we are here to help you with that

single…

but oh so important…

FIRST STEP!

Click on the link below to get access to our free Clean Eating menus, recipes and grocery shopping list It’s everything you need to eat a healthy, nutritious, well-balanced diet.  And it is absolutely FREE!

And its not just a document, you can also join our Facebook fitness and nutrition support page.  Join others who have embarked on the same life-changing journey.  It’s additional support to help you stay on track!

Yes, it is all free.  Always!

Click here now and take your first step!

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14 Day Clean Eating Challenge!

 

Join us for the 14 Day Clean Eating Challenge!

Click on the picture to get your meal plan!

14 Day Clean Eating Challenge!
14 Day Clean Eating Challenge!

To get started down the path to a healthier you, click on the image above to get immediate access to a meal plan and grocery list.  It includes great-tasting recipes from our 14 day Clean Eating Challenge.

Get yours today.  It’s FREE!

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We hate spam as much as you do.  We will not send you unsolicited e-mails or sell your e-mail address to others.

Blending and Juicing Tips

 

 

Juicing and Blending Tips

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If you are considering – or if you have already started – juicing or blending for clean eating, health and wellness, or weight loss - this is a great spot to start!

Blending and / or Juicing Tips

1. Don’t combine too many fruits with your vegetables (unless it’s apple). This will affect how well your digestive enzymes function.

When working with green juices and smoothies, it’s not quite as important, but starchy vegetables like carrots, beetroots, broccoli and zucchini don’t mix well with fruit due to their high starch content.  Mixing starchy foods with fruit may cause fermentation and gas. Green leafy veggies like kale and spinach combine well with pretty much everything.

2. Drink your juice or smoothie right away. After 15 minutes, light and air will begin to break down many of the nutrients.  If you are planning on storing your drink, fill it up to the top (to reduce exposure to oxygen) of a dark, airtight container.

The Right Equipment for Juicing and Blending


Juicing Machines

To get the most benefit from your juices and smoothies, it’s important to use the right equipment.  As far as blending and juicing tips, there is a lot of thought that goes into your purchases. A good-quality juicer is worth every penny. The less expensive, centrifugal juicers introduce heat and oxygen and destroy the enzymes and nutrients in your fruits and vegetables. A top of the line, cold-press juicer will create a superior-quality juice and allow you to extract more from your fruit and vegetables, saving expense in the long-term. 

Also true for a blender. A gentle blender that doesn’t heat the enzymes is key.

When buying something that you will use daily – you’ll want to buy something great. You are making a long-term investment in yourself and loved-ones.  If you break down the cost, it’s really not that bad.

I’m not talking about buying a commercial $1,200 juicer. But a $300 juicer should do the trick.  That’s less that $1 a day…if it only lasts a year.  I’ve had mine for almost two years, I use it five times a week – that’s $.50 per day.  It’s totally worth it. I imagine that I’ve saved quite a bit of money on health items and doctor appointments as well. I’m sure it evens out in the wash.

Clean eating…at its best!

Check out prices on Amazon, Overstock, and even eBay. They will often have great prices on last-year’s item.

Be sure to buy new!

Here are some more clean eating tips: https://www.pinterest.com/normamac/clean-eating-tips-tricks/

Also, we watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead…that was a huge game changer for us.  We looked up Fat Sick and Nearly Dead recipes and 3 day detox juicing recipes…and really studied everything we came across.

Hopefully, these juicing tips for beginners will help you get started.

Comment below – what is your favorite juicing or blending recipe? What is your number one tip?

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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 Gluten, anyway?

 

Did you know that gluten comes from the Latin word for glue?

So, honestly – I research a lot.

I love to Google things. I am addicted to my smart phone – as I can Google anything.

For example:

of what continent is Greenland a part?

what is the population of Death Valley?

who is the real Ethan Allen?

show me all the satellites orbiting the earth

what is the average rain fall in Dublin…on September 15?

what is … Well, you get the point. I could go on.

They call me Google Sr. But, in all my Googling and researching and talking about healthy diets and nutrition, I never REALLY understood what gluten does. I even…several years ago…was tested for Celiac’s. It came back negative, but I believe that I do have a sensitivity to gluten. But why? I have no idea. I mean, of course I don’t really know why I might have a sensitivity to gluten. But, the point is – I’m not sure what makes me THINK I have a sensitivity to gluten. What reactions? don’t know. What adverse affects? don’t know.

Then I realized that maybe I was jumping on a bandwagon just because.  I had become that person. So…in complete awe of my lack of knowledge, I finally Googled it AFTER my husband asked me…

What is Gluten, anyway?

Basically, gluten is a protein in wheat (durum, emmer, spelt, farina, farro, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale. I only understand what wheat, faro, rye, and barley are for sure. The other names … I’ll get to them eventually. But for now, I’m focusing on what I already know (wheat, rye, barley, and faro. I’m afraid to go any deeper. I get lost easily). So – gluten is like a glue of sorts. It’s what holds a lot of bread-type foods together. Wheat is commonly found in:

  • breads
  • baked goods
  • soups
  • pasta
  • cereals
  • sauces
  • salad dressings
  • roux

Barley is commonly found in:

  • malt
  • food coloring
  • soups
  • malt vinegar
  • beer

Rye is commonly found in:

  • rye bread, such as pumpernickel
  • rye beer
  • cereals

Oh! and then I found it: Triticale is a newer type of grain that has been formulated to be easier to grow in different environments and conditions. Again, I’m not going to get into that TOO much…but now I’m wondering if that means it’s a GMO grain. I did discover that it’s found in cereals, pastas, and breads. I wonder if I’m looking for wheat and rye – in order to avoid those ingredients – if I would even know to look for triticale? Probably not. And gluten is in salad dressing? I didn’t know that either. So – I’m learning a lot as I go.

What all has gluten?

I’m not going to get into all the obvious things that have gluten: normal breads and pastas, pastries, cereals, and crackers…etc. Basically, anything that has flour of any type has gluten. But, something that I didn’t even really think about is all the hidden stuff that has gluten. Fortunately, these days, most things that are gluten-free are labeled.  But, that wasn’t always the case. Here are some big surprises for me: beer has gluten! rice cakes can have gluten! corn flakes can have gluten! soy sauce can have gluten! anything made with a thickener / roux has gluten! Of course this is true…but I just didn’t think about it.  I sometimes use a cornstarch to as a thickener…not flour. But – there you go!

Other possible sources of gluten:

French fries, potato chips, processed lunch meats, candy, candy bars, brown rice syrup, scrambled eggs from restaurants, sauces, milk shakes, cheesecake filling, meat substitutes (like veggie burgers and tofu). Even some medicines have gluten. Again…these MIGHT have gluten, but WOW!

What are gluten-allergy symptoms?

gluten-free, what is gluten, what is gluten-free, what are the symptoms of gluten allergy, what are the symptoms of celiac's There have been more than 250 symptoms of gluten sensitivity reported: bloating, abdominal discomfort or pain, constipation and diarrhea being the most common. Other symptoms besides the intestinal kind might also be present: muscular disturbances and bone or joint pain. Apparently, ingesting gluten – if you are allergic or sensitive – can cause major inflammation and nutritional absorption issues. These two things alone can be the cause of a multitude of other issues including migraines, depression, ADHD, moodiness, acne, fatigue, sleep disorders, congestion and mucus / coughing, aches, pains, and some believe also very serious diseases – like rheumatoid arthritis.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Celiac’s – Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin, a prolamin (gluten protein) found in wheat, and similar proteins found in the crops of the tribe Triticeae (which includes other common grains such as barley and rye).[5]Upon exposure to gliadin, and specifically to three peptides found in prolamins, the enzyme tissue transglutaminase modifies the protein, and the immune system cross-reacts with the small-bowel tissue, causing an inflammatory reaction. That leads to a truncating of the villi lining the small intestine (called villous atrophy). This interferes with the absorption of nutrients because the intestinal villi are responsible for absorption. The only known effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet.[5] While the disease is caused by a reaction to wheat proteins, it is not the same as wheat allergy.

That’s a lot of information and sciency stuff – but, now we know what Celiac’s and gluten is and why we might be sensitive. What do I take away from all of this? I think I’m going to go gluten-free for just a few weeks. I’m going to continue on with my Plexus stuff, but taking away gluten is my next big step toward health. I know that hypoglycemics shouldn’t have flours and processed carbs, anyway. So this will be super great for me! I’ll report back, but do you all have any thoughts on this? Experience with gluten-free? Connections with other diseases or disorders? Inform me! [contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form] Here’s my product page, if you’d like to get started on a healthier you! Here are some links to other pages / posts about: IBS and Crohn’s Skin issues related to Candida Auto-immune Allergies and Asthma

How to quit drinking soda

 

First of all – congratulations! You are on the right track to a healthier you! It’s important that, like with all recovery situations, you acknowledge the problem.  It sounds silly, like an intervention, but by searching ways to quit drinking soda, you are admitting that there is a problem.

soda, how to quit soda, how to quit drinking soda, how to stop drinking soda, diet soda, dangers of soda,

Soda is Addictive

Over half of Americans drink soda every day.  That’s 7.5 billions of gallons of soda every year…just for Americans. That’s literally tons of soda. Why is it so addictive? For some people to quit, they need to understand what makes it addictive in the first place.  It’s like when my husband finally decided to quit smoking: it wasn’t the money, the stained teeth, the smelly clothes, the health implications even…it was the science behind the addiction that made him quit. Once he discovered that his addiction was a game that the tobacco companies where playing with his mind, body, health, and wallet – that’s when he had to quit.  He didn’t like being a puppet.  So, even if that’s not what motivates you to quit – maybe it will help you to understand why you are addicted.

Why is soda bad for you?

It’s a very simple mixture of extremely dangerous ingredients: extremely high levels of sugar / high fructose corn syrup, corrosive phosphoric acid, ‘natural’ caramel coloring, and a well-known drug that has a powerful effect on your brain chemistry – caffeine.

A regular Coke (I’ll talk about diet sodas later) has about 10 – 17 teaspoons of sugar. At any given time, we should only have about one teaspoon of sugar in our blood.  That means – our body is able to healthily handle just a smidge of sugar…and ideally that sugar would come from fruits and veggies, but even straight up sugar or corn syrup…one teaspoon is about all it needs to function.  What happens to that extra sugar? It makes your blood sugar crazy – causing highs and lows, mood swings, hunger binges, diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, and hormonal imbalances. You become addicted to the sugar in ways you can’t understand without a science degree.

What about diet sodas? The lack of sugar doesn’t make it any better. The aspartame or artificial sweetener can kick start kidney problems, cause metabolic syndrome, disrupt your body’s method of processing calories, damage cells, and rot your teeth. Not to mention that drinking sweet stuff promotes sweet addiction – so you’ll still crave sweets in other forms.

The phosphoric acid in soda is a 2.5 ph…battery acid is a 1 and water is a 7. The body uses other much-needed minerals to bring that acid to safe levels…minerals that are needed to keep osteoporosis and bone fractures at bay. If you are pulling those minerals out of your system to combat acid…they aren’t doing their intended job.

The ‘natural’ caramel coloring in sodas like Pepsi and Coke is made by reacting sugar with sulfites and ammonia under high temperatures – which, even though I can research how this is bad for us, I don’t need to. It just sounds wrong.

Then…there’s CAFFEINE.  Caffeine is, besides sugar, one of the most addictive things we put in our body. It’s legal and most (80%) of Americans use it daily.  Again, I can tell you all about adenosine and how its job is to slow down nerve activity…and caffeine blocks that from happening…so you speed up. But, caffeine is addictive…like sugar. So – you’re addicted to soda. Your brain is dependent on soda. It craves soda. It needs soda to function at a “normal” level. And it’s extremely difficult to break that addiction. Read here for more on addiction.

So, How Do I Quit Drinking Soda?

HYDRATE

Drink at least half your body weight in water each day. If you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink a minimum of 75 ounces of water daily.

SEEK SUPPORT

If you drink soda in social settings, tell your friends to help you stop. Sometimes, joining a Facebook or online support group is enough to hold you accountable. Or – just being verbal about your desire to quit is enough. Do lots of research about it.

OTHER CAFFEINES

There are lots of safer ways to get caffeine than a soda. The sugar, chemicals, and “refreshing” nature (carbonation) of soda also play into their appeal – but play into their dangers as well.  Green tea and cacao  – even coffee – offer safer alternatives to soda. Caffeine isn’t the only bad thing in soda. It’s a complete, awful package all rolled into one.

The Number One Way that I Kicked my Soda / Diet Soda Habit

A balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables.  Join our next Clean Eating Challenge or check out our Facebook Support Group here:  http://facebook.com/groups/fitnessandnutritionsupport

 

How to keep to 1200 calories to lose weight

 

First, most people have no idea how many calories they consume every day.  I am never honest with how many calories I eat - I usually restrict my meals, but snacking is what gets me.  At night, while fixing my kid’s sack lunches for the next day, I’d eat a spoonful of peanut butter…that’s about 200 calories right before bed.  Then I might eat a little jelly, or a little more peanut butter…it was awful for me! While I’d fix dinner, I’d snack on some tortillas or cheese, or even veggies / fruit. Then I’d eat dinner – then eat a little of what was left on my kids’ plates…then a bite or two of left-overs (that’s not enough to save for tomorrow, but not enough to throw away!) then I’d eat that peanut butter.  No exercise.  Maybe a glass of wine or a cocktail…I’d sabotage every effort that I made that day during a two or three hour time-frame at night.  That’s one of the main reasons that I decided to give Plexus Slim a try. I needed to feel fuller, stop the cravings, increase my will power, and just feel better about life and myself so I’d be less likely to emotional-binge.  And it worked! Plexus products really made a difference – so much that I did more research on what all it takes to lose that extra weight.  Here’s what I discovered:

Calorie needs

I went to a calorie needs calculator to find out about my caloric needs. I googled “calorie needs calculator” and this is what I decided to use – there are 100s of options – I just picked the first one.

http://caloriecount.about.com/tools/calories-goal

Then, I filled out the little form. I’m 5’2″ and currently weigh 120 pounds. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s 12 pounds more than I want to weigh. Keep this in mind: if you are 5’8″, you are 6 inches taller than me.  Each inch over 5 feet is about 5 pounds.  That means that I weigh the equivalent of you weighing 150 pounds.  I want to weigh 108 – so that’s the equivalent of 138.

So, the form determined the following:

Results

You should consume about 1,200 calories a day to reach your goal weight of 108 lbs . This is at a reasonable weight loss average of 0.38 lbs per week, which should be reached by February 20, 2015.

Experts recommend weight loss at the rate of 0.5-2 lbs/week. Remember that this estimate is based on your body weight, height, age, gender, and activity level. It may vary slightly depending on other factors.

Generally, women should not consume any less than 1,200 calories per day, and men should not consume less than 1,500 calories per day.

Read that again…    .38 pounds per week!  That’s such a small amount – and they recommend that I take until February to lose 12 pounds.  WOW!

Keep in mind that I’ve already lost 20 pounds since starting Plexus products in February 2014 (it’s July 2014 now)…and I’d lost 14 pounds two years ago from using a super low-calorie diet.  I had a baby in 2009 (and as with the other two pregnancies, I bubbled up to 175 pounds). Since I was almost 40 for the last baby, it was 50 times more difficult to drop that last baby weight.

How much is a pound?

Another thing I discovered is that 3500 calories equals one pound. So – overeating 3500 calories will result in gaining a pound.  Not burning 3500 calories results in gaining a pound. Restricting your calories by 3500 calories will result in losing a pound.  Burning an extra 3500 calories will result in losing a pound.

BUT…consider the fact that if you’ve been gaining a two pounds a month…you are eating 7000 calories too much every month.  If you want to maintain your current weight, you’ll need to cut out 7000 calories every month.  But if you want to lose two pounds a month – you’ll need to cut out 14,000 calories a month from what you eat right now!  Read that again.  That’s a lot of calories.  Now – what if you want to lose two pounds a week?  That’s a lot to cut out!

So – losing .38 pounds per week sounds like nothing, but it’s (as we know) harder than it sounds…it always is.

I’ve decided to count calories for a month to see what I really eat and what I really burn.  I’m supposed to eat 1200 calories a day to lose weight. They say not to consume less than 1200 calories a day (in order to stay healthy), but I also believe a day or two of fasting is good for me.  If I need consume less than 1200 calories in order to lose weight – I’m making a commitment to actually burn the extra. So – I’m going to focus on a 1200 calorie intake – with a 300 calorie burn every day.  I’ll see where that takes me.

Calorie counter

I’m going to use MyFitnessPal to count calories when I can’t use my pre-counted food.

I’ll post my pre-counted food for the week tomorrow – since I’ll be grocery shopping, juice-prepping, and bagging up everything. Also…my walking / mom-ercise will start…more on that tomorrow as well.

If you are curious about how I lost that 20 pounds, or what I’m doing to feel so much better about life, and more motivated to get healthy – browse around this blog. There is a ton of health and science information concerning my recent journey.

Follow this blog to follow my next weight-loss challenge and success (or failures) to come!