26 January 2012

Top Ten Lessons on Diet & Longevity From Non-Industrialized Cultures...

Photo courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

Characteristics of Traditional Diets

  1. The diets of healthy, nonindustrialized peoples contain no refined or denatured foods or ingredients, such as refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup; white flour; canned foods; pasteurized, homogenized, skim or lowfat milk; refined or hydrogenated vegetable oils; protein powders; artificial vitamins; or toxic additives and colorings.
  2. All traditional cultures consume some sort of animal food, such as fish and shellfish; land and water fowl; land and sea mammals; eggs; milk and milk products; reptiles; and insects. The whole animal is consumed­--muscle meat, organs, bones and fat, with the organ meats and fats preferred.
  3. The diets of healthy, nonindustrialized peoples contain at least four times the minerals and water-soluble vitamins, and TEN times the fat-soluble vitamins found in animal fats (vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin K2--Price's "Activator X") as the average American diet.
  4. All traditional cultures cooked some of their food but all consumed a portion of their animal foods raw.
  5. Primitive and traditional diets have a high content of food enzymes and beneficial bacteria from lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages, dairy products, meats and condiments.
  6. Seeds, grains and nuts are soaked, sprouted, fermented or naturally leavened to neutralize naturally occurring anti-nutrients such as enzyme inhibitors, tannins and phytic acid.
  7. Total fat content of traditional diets varies from 30 percent to 80 percent of calories but only about 4 percent of calories come from polyunsaturated oils naturally occurring in grains, legumes, nuts, fish, animal fats and vegetables. The balance of fat calories is in the form of saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
  8. Traditional diets contain nearly equal amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids.
  9. All traditional diets contain some salt.
  10. All traditional cultures make use of animal bones, usually in the form of gelatin-rich bone broths.

Dietary Guidelines

  1. Eat whole, unprocessed foods.
  2. Eat beef, lamb, game, organ meats, poultry and eggs from pasture-fed animals.
  3. Eat wild fish (not farm-raised) and shellfish from unpolluted waters.
  4. Eat full-fat milk products from pasture-fed cows, preferably raw and/or fermented, such as raw milk, whole yogurt, kefir, cultured butter, whole raw cheeses and fresh and sour cream. (Imported cheeses that say "milk" or "fresh milk" on the label are raw.)
  5. Use animal fats, especially butter, liberally.
  6. Use traditional vegetable oils only--extra virgin olive oil, expeller-expressed sesame oil, small amounts of expeller-expressed flax oil, and the tropical oils--coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil.
  7. Take cod liver oil regularly to provide at least 10,000 IU vitamin A and 1,000 IU vitamin D per day.
  8. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables--preferably organic--in salads and soups, or lightly steamed with butter.
  9. Use whole grains, legumes and nuts that have been prepared by soaking, sprouting or sour leavening to neutralize phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors and other anti-nutrients.
  10. Include enzyme-enhanced lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits, beverages and condiments in your diet on a regular basis.
  11. Prepare homemade meat stocks from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb and fish and use liberally in soups, stews, gravies and sauces.
  12. Use filtered water for cooking and drinking.
  13. Use unrefined salt and a variety of herbs and spices for food interest and appetite stimulation.
  14. Make your own salad dressing using raw vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and a small amount of expeller-expressed flax oil.
  15. Use natural sweeteners in moderation, such as raw honey, maple syrup, maple sugar, date sugar, dehydrated cane sugar juice (sold as Rapadura) and stevia powder.
  16. Use only unpasteurized wine or beer in strict moderation with meals.
  17. Cook only in stainless steel, cast iron, glass or good quality enamel.
  18. Use only natural, food-based supplements.
  19. Get plenty of sleep, exercise and natural light.
  20. Think positive thoughts and practice forgiveness.

Dietary Dangers

  1. Do not eat commercially processed foods such as cookies, cakes, crackers, TV dinners, soft drinks, packaged sauce mixes, etc. Read labels!
  2. Avoid all refined sweeteners such as sugar, dextrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup and fruit juices.
  3. Avoid white flour, white flour products and white rice.
  4. Avoid all hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats and oils.
  5. Avoid all refined liquid vegetable oils made from soy, corn, safflower, canola or cottonseed.
  6. Do not use polyunsaturated oils for cooking, sautéing or baking.
  7. Avoid foods fried in polyunsaturated oils or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  8. Do not practice veganism. Animal products provide vital nutrients not found in plant foods.
  9. Avoid products containing protein powders as they usually contain carcinogens formed during processing; and consumption of protein without the cofactors occurring in nature can lead to deficiencies, especially of vitamin A.
  10. Avoid processed, pasteurized milk; do not consume ultrapasteurized milk products, lowfat milk, skim milk, powdered milk or imitation milk products.
  11. Avoid factory-farmed eggs, meats and fish.
  12. Avoid highly processed luncheon meats and sausage.
  13. Avoid rancid and improperly prepared seeds, nuts and grains found in granolas, quick rise breads and extruded breakfast cereals, as they block mineral absorption and cause intestinal distress.
  14. Avoid canned, sprayed, waxed and irradiated fruits and vegetables. Avoid genetically modified foods (found in most soy, canola and corn products).
  15. Avoid artificial food additives, especially MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein and aspartame, which are neurotoxins. Most soups, sauce and broth mixes and most commercial condiments contain MSG, even if not indicated on the label.
  16. Individuals sensitive to caffeine and related substances should avoid coffee, tea and chocolate.
  17. Avoid aluminum-containing foods such as commercial salt, baking powder and antacids. Do not use aluminum cookware or deodorants containing aluminum.
  18. Do not drink fluoridated water.
  19. Avoid distilled liquors.
  20. Limit use of a microwave oven.

10 January 2012

Safer skin care - do you know what's in your products?

Photo courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

Recent studies have shown that we actually acquire more toxins through skin absorption and inhalation than we do through the foods that we eat. This makes our personal care products a big contender in our overall health and well-being. If you feel like you are eating healthy and taking the right supplements but still lacking in energy or having health challenges, take a look in your bathroom and see what is in all those products that are used daily.

Since the skin is the body's largest organ, there is a substantial surface area through which toxic chemicals can enter the body. When you rub chemicals on to the skin, they can pass straight through and enter the bloodstream within MINUTES! That’s scary, but think how nourishing it could be if you used coconut oil and essential oils with medicinal properties instead.

Everyday we use products on our skin that we think are safe. The truth is that products are not always safe, and manufacturers don't have to tell us so. The federal government does not require companies to provide full disclosure on what chemicals are used to make personal care products. In 1938, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted self-regulation to the cosmetic industry. This means personal care products can be marketed without government approval of ingredients, regardless of what tests show!

There are more than 80,000 chemicals used in our everyday skin products that have not been tested for long-term effects. Even fewer have been tested in combination with other chemicals. In a typical day, you might be exposed to hundreds of different chemicals, many of which are suspected of promoting cancer or disrupting hormones.

Early on, I admit, I was completely overwhelmed with the fact that I needed to not only change everything I was eating, but also needed to switch out all my personal care products. Was it really that important? It seemed a little overboard to me at first, until I started to dig deeper. As I was switching out all of my products, I was completely blown away by how toxic they were - both conventional and "natural" products!

Petrochemicals are a toxic group of chemicals that are rampant in personal care products. Petrochemicals are derived from petroleum or natural gas. Some do not absorb into the skin very well, so they smother the skin and can keep it from functioning properly, while other petrochemicals can absorb straight through the skin and scalp directly into the bloodstream, weakening the body and promoting disease.

Studies have found that oral and topical application of petrochemicals in rodents resulted in anemia, kidney degeneration, and nerve damage to the brain and spinal cord. Even more disturbing was that several animals died before the study ended!

Here are some Common Petrochemicals to Watch Out for:

Isopropyl alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol is found in hair color products, body lotions and perfumes, as well as shellac and antifreeze. What makes them think this is a good ingredient to add to items we put on our skin? It causes the skin to age more rapidly than it otherwise would, because it is a drying, irritating solvent that strips the skin of moisture, creating vulnerability to bacteria and viruses.

Propylene Glycol (PG) and Butylene Glycol
: These are also found in anti-freeze. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers propylene glycol so toxic that workers are required to wear protective clothing when handling it, and it is disposed of by burying it in the ground. PG is found in a lot of food as well!

Mineral Oil
: Found in products like body oil, bath oils, and baby oil, mineral oil is derived from crude oil. While it may seem to leave the skin initially soft and smooth, it coats it like plastic. This hinders your skin's ability to breathe and eliminate toxins. Mineral oil also causes premature aging of skin.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate
: These are used in 90% of cosmetics that foam. This is the second most concentrated ingredient in shampoos. It’s also commonly found in shower gels, bubble baths and toothpastes. Among a host of other side effects, SLS can damage the immune system as well as cause separation of skin layers, causing inflammation to the skin.

Diethanolamine (DEA), Monoethanolamine (MEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)
: These are hormone disrupting chemicals that can form cancer-causing nitrates when combined with other chemicals. Found in shampoo, shaving cream, bubble baths and lotions for softening skin. They've been banned in Europe, and they've been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

Found in hairsprays, lipstick and nail polish, these may not be listed on labels, since they can be hidden under the term "perfume" (just as food chemicals are hidden under the name “natural flavors”). Phthalates affect the lungs, liver and kidneys and have been linked to fertility issues. DEHP has been classified as a "probable human carcinogen" by the EPA.

This is used in almost all antibacterial soaps and products. The EPA registers Triclosan as a pesticide, and it is suspected of causing cancer.

: This petrochemical allows liquids to flow more easily, but when it is used in conjunction with other chemicals, studies show they may be carcinogenic.

DMDM and Imidazolidinyl (Urea)
: These are preservatives that often release formaldehyde and may cause many symptoms, including joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, and chest pains.

Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
: This carcinogenic petroleum ingredient leaves skin vulnerable to bacteria.

Parobens are found in underarm deodorants and other cosmetics. These chemicals have been discovered in breast cancer tissue.

1,4- Dioxane:
It’s found in ingredient lists under these names and suffixes: myretholethlaureth, ceteareth, any other ethPEGpolyethylenepolyethylene glycolpolyoxyethylene, or oxynol. 1,4-dioxane is a chemical "known to the State of California to cause cancer". It is also suspected to be toxic to the kidneys, respiratory system and nervous system.

The most frustrating part is that 1,4-Dioxane and all of its incarnations are not only showing up in conventional personal care products, but also in leading "natural" and "organic" branded products.  They are readily available, so many people get tricked into thinking that these are better options. Some leading "natural" or "organic" brands found to contain 1,4-Dioxane are Giovanni Organic Cosmetics, JASON; Organic, Kiss My Face, and Nature's Gate Organics.

Read the ingredient list of a health and beauty product as if each ingredient were something that you might put in your mouth. These ingredients will have familiar names, not 30 letter words that we can’t pronounce. Many natural soaps contain olive oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter, and organic botanical extracts.