Tag Archives: Weight Management

Natural Energy for You and Your Little House- Spring 2013 Catalog

Natural Energy for You and Your Little House

Nancy Webster

Ma Ingalls and her girls gave their house a thorough scrub-down every spring. But if you’re like me, you’re exhausted at the mere thought of doing a Little-House-onthe-Prairie style spring cleaning on top of the regular dishes and laundry. You may also wonder exactly why it seems so hard to accomplish the things on your to-do list.

Do your hair and nails look as dragged out as you feel? Are seasonal allergies your excuse? Or maybe you’re pregnant and just counting down the months until you can feel like yourself again—who cares about clean windows anyway?

Off to a Super Start

Even if you’ve made great changes in favor of eating more nutrient-dense, whole foods, it also takes superfoods to help your body stay in top health. These days, pollution, stress, your past history of junky eating and pharmaceutical use all work against every glass of raw milk or organic veggies you consume. Superfoods, though, are super full of nutrition, and because they are nature-made, your body can easily absorb and use their goodness.

So where do you start with adding superfoods to your diet? Which one will jumpstart your system and help you feel like washing windows after folding four loads of laundry, cooking for a crowd, and/or a long day at the office? Spirulina!

This humble, algae-like plant (called a cyanobacteria) is one of the most potent protein and nutrient sources available. And boosting energy is just one of its many abilities. Spirulina also works to relieve congestion, sniffling, and sneezing caused by all types of allergies. It boosts the immune system, helps control high blood pressure and cholesterol, protects from cancer, and more.

How does spirulina come by this impressive resume? As a source of protein, it is 65 percent complete protein. By comparison, beef is only 22 percent complete. This also makes it a far healthier choice than those much-touted, dubious protein powders, especially when you consider all the other goodies you get with spirulina (see http://holisticsquid.com/the-problem-with-protein-powders/). Spirulina contains all the essential amino acids, plus some, and provides a healthy portion of Omega-3 (like in salmon) as well as Omega 6 and 9. Omega-6 is gamma linoleic acid (GLA), known to be anti -inflammatory (for arthritis relief!), to increase fat burn after exercising, and to make beautiful hair and nails.

Spirulina is high in chlorophyll, which removes toxins from the blood and boosts the immune system. Chlorophyll and iron are a great friend to pregnant mamas, as the tendency for anemia at this season of life is significant. That’s why spirulina is a main ingredient in Beeyoutiful’s SuperMom multi-vitamins. The easily absorbable, non-constipating iron content of spirulina is 58 times that of raw spinach and 28 times that of raw beef liver 1. Spirulina is replete with vital minerals most of those pretty veggies at the store can’t provide any more, thanks to being grown in depleted soils.

 Better Off Teeth, Nerves, and Both Brains

 If weeds get the best of your garden, or your kids (or you!) don’t like vegetables, or you simply wish you could juice but just can’t swing it, handy, mineral-rich spirulina is the way to get your cancer-fighting daily quota of greens. Calcium and phosphorus are two of the major mineral players in this fantastic superfood. If these minerals are lacking or out of balance in the blood, tooth decay is in your near future. So spirulina is also recommended as part of a tooth remineralization program. And because the calcium content is more than 26 times that of milk, spirulina is excellent for children, the elderly, and pregnant women, and especially for folks who are casein- or lactose-intolerant.

If your nerves are on edge or your digestion is off, you need spirulina for all the B complex vitamins it contains. Our gut is our “second brain,” and it needs the B’s to work well. Do you have candida? Most people do these days, and spirulina has been shown to encourage and support the growth of healthy bacterial gut flora, which helps keep candida overgrowth under control. Because candida will cause and worsen symptoms, this is especially important if you have an autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s, chronic fatigue, lupus, or fibromyalgia.

Yet another feature of spirulina is its ability to chelate arsenic from the body. Hair analysis on one of our daughters showed her to be loaded with arsenic, which mystified me until I learned of the many places she might have encountered it in her young life. Arsenic is often present in well water, in pressure-treated wood like that at playgrounds, and in insect and rodent poison (used in public places even if not at your house). Last year, the news came out that it can be present even in rice, which especially impacts the gluten-free crowd. Yet the good news for my family was that after taking spirulina for six months, repeated tests showed the arsenic had cleared from my daughter’s body!

“But wait….There’s more!”

Spirulina’s antioxidant ability ranks 24,000 on the ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical A irulina’s antioxidant ability ranks 24,000 on the ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), right up there with weird spices we might use only in teeny amounts and four times the ORAC score of blueberries. Feed your eyesight with spirulina’s antioxidant-rich carotenoids (nutrients found in green and brightly-colored vegetables) including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein. The high antioxidant amounts in spirulina also lower risk of strokes, inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, and regulate blood pressure. They also normalize extreme cholesterol levels without the need for dangerous statin drugs 2.

spiru;ina

Although the sixteenth century Aztecs harvested and ate spirulina from Mexico’sLake Texcoco, Spirulina is now often grown in protected, organic ponds. Otherwise, spirulina from polluted sources can cause excess levels of lead, mercury, and cadmium in the body. Beeyoutiful does multiple sample mass spectrometer testing on each and every batch harvested to assure that no environmental, pesticide or heavy metal contaminants are present in the end product they offer their customers. So you can have peace of mind knowing it is truly pure and safe! Spirulina does wonders for almost everyone, but if you are prone to gout, have hyperparathyroidism, PKU, or a seafood or iodine allergy, you should avoid it. Because it does have some carbs, you should also consult a physician before using spirulina if you have Type 2 diabetes.

So how much spirulina do you need to get you going? A therapeutic serving size is between three and five grams, preferably broken up throughout the day. Since six tablets of Beeyoutiful brand spirulina equal three grams, a bottle will last one person approximately one month. For more serious health conditions, take the higher amount, but build up slowly to this dose to avoid detox reactions. Once you re-energize with spirulina, you’ll be ready to tackle that makeover spring cleaning—and to give Ma Ingalls a run for her money!

 Nancy Webster is a homeschool mother of eight and leader of the Southern Middle Tennessee chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation. She is an ardent researcher on nutrition and alternative approaches to good health.  Nancy lives with her family on their “partially working” farm in Tennessee.


[1] But don’t let these facts keep you from taking cod liver oil daily and eating liver weekly as well. Liver, also a superfood, contains full-blown vitamin B12 and vitamin A—not the pre-cursors present in spirulina. The pre-cursors are generally usable in the body, but young children and many adults with even mild digestive issues have trouble converting beta-carotene into vitamin A. Also, since it is disputed whether or not the body is able to absorb the B12 found in spirulina, animal products are necessary, too.

[2] The Weston A. Price Foundation says “young and middle-aged men…who have cholesterol levels just below 350 are at no greater risk than those whose cholesterol is very low. For elderly men and for women of all ages, high cholesterol is associated with a longer lifespan.”

Sweet Memories – Spring 2012 Catalog

Sweet Memories

Putting Sugar Addictions Behind You

By Nancy Webster

I used to think the best time to go on a diet was May through August, the only months without the temptations of a major, sugar-related holiday. Even then, summer offers apple pie and ice cream on the Fourth and perhaps family birthdays here and there. I also used to think the only reasons I would worry about eating too many treats and desserts were getting fat and getting cavities.

That was years ago, when my youth covered for the regular indulging of my sugar cravings and when I didn’t know about the consequences already taking place in my body—and in my present and future children’s bodies. Yes, I battled ten or fifteen extra pounds, but compared to most overweight people, I reasoned, that wasn’t so bad.

Worse Than I Thought

Sugar-induced weight gain and cavities are only the beginning of problems caused by sugar. Back then, I didn’t know:

  • Sugar lowers immunities for six hours because infection-fighting white blood cells get tied up attacking the inflammation sugar causes and can’t protect against strep and other opportunistic germs. (No wonder my family was ravaged by a stomach bug or strep every Christmas season!)
  • Sugar encourages the development of cancer and feeds cancer cells.
  • Sugar sets your blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster, First, they must go sky high, forcing the pancreas to secrete copious amounts of insulin. Which then drops levels so low and so fast the adrenals have to serve as a trampoline to bounce the levels back up again. Since this happens over and over, the pancreas wears out, and you get diabetes. The adrenals wear out, and you get major hormone problems (even men!). And you and your children go back and forth from dragged-out to hyper, anxious, inattentive, sleep-deprived states.
  • Sugar messes up the acid/alkaline and good/bad bacterial balance in your gut, causing a range of problems from indigestion to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Sugar makes it hard for your body to absorb the protein your eat.
  • Sugar is often the culprit behind food allergies.
  • About tooth decay: You may not know the truth about how sugar really contributes to dental problems. It’s not because you didn’t brush your teeth well enough. Actually, decay forms because sugar upsets the body’s mineral balance, causing important minerals like calcium to be pulled from the teeth (and bones—think “osteoporosis”). As a result, teeth rot from the inside out.

Any sugar causes these problems, but what’s worse is that almost every sugary food or drink today contains high fructose corn syrup, which weakens the body even more than regular beet or cane sugar.

Some people, including diabetics who follow a conventional doctor’s orders, think they’ll get around sugar’s detrimental effects by switching to artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose, or sugar alcohols like malitol and xylitol. They chose “smart” foods and drink labeled “sugar-free” or “diet”. But research shows that artificial sweeteners not only don’t prevent weight gain, but actually induce a set of physiological and hormonal responses that make people gain weight. Even stevia produces this effect and should be avoided until users get their blood sugar under control.

Although I knew enough to be afraid of sugar subsitutes, as I became more health-conscious, I started replacing white beet sugar with mineral-rich dehydrated cane crystals, raw honey, molasses, and even date sugar and rice syrup. (I never used agave, which because of processing methods, is as harmful as high fructose corn syrup.) I switched frm using white flour (sugar’s close cousin that causes many of the same problems) to fresh-ground, whole wheat four. We cut way back on candy, but we baked as much or more than before. I didn’t know those healthier sweeteners were still hitting our bodies as hard as regular sugar. And I still partied hardy at every holiday and birthday party (I couldn’t resist!).

Where There’s a Will, There’s No Way

I had no idea there was anything besides my (very weak) willpower to help me overcome my love for candy corn, Hershey’s kisses, my mother’s incredible Christmas Cookies, those colored Valentine hearts with corny sayings (especially the yellow ones), chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, much less the ice cream my husband and I shared late at night after the kids were in bed. How could a fresh apple or orange compete with those delicacies?

I had the “white plague”. I was an addict. And no wonder. First of all, everyone has a natural preference for the sweet taste. Second, sugars make us feel good—for a while. As Julia Ross points out in The Diet Cure:

“For some of us, certain foods, particularly ones that are sweet and starchy, can have a drug-like effect, altering our brains’ mood chemistry and fooling us into a false calm, or a temporary energy surge. We can eventually become dependent on these drug-like foods for continued mood lifts.”1

Third, according to research by the Weston A Price Foundation:

“…sugar begets more sugar. Eating sugar clearly throws one’s body chemistry into a tailspin. Tag on poor sleep habits, adrenal fatigue, and an overload of stress, and intense cravings for sugar (or other substance like alcohol or drugs) can easily develop. Insulin imbalances and a lack of the happy-brain chemical called serotonin are often the underlying culprits. Essentially, the sugar being consumed perpetuates the vicious cycle of more intense sugar cravings.”

Except for food memories of special treats and worries about not gratifying my baking friends and family by eating their goodies, I have gotten over my love affair with sugar and white flour. Educating myself on the dangers of sugar addiction was a start, but because I was as physically addicted to sugar as an alcoholic is to alcohol, I needed more help.

Please don’t wait as long as I did to get a handle on your sweet tooth—for your own sake and for your family’s. There are many pleasures you can enjoy more fully when you are healthy and free from sugar addiction. For your long-term health, the most important holiday you may ever take is the holiday you take from sugar—and that’s something to celebrate!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sugar Free Tips

I have detailed below a collection of tips I used to kick the sugar habit.

Tip 1: The 5-Step Program to replace refined sugar with natural sugar:

1)      Eliminate all sugar drinks. Replace them with water, herbal teas, and fermented drinks like kombucha and fermented ginger ale.

2)      Next, limit sugar foods to 3x/week. Keep a food journal for accountability and to note how you feel physically.

3)      Eat at least three nutrient-dense meals each day, including lots of healthy fats (butter, sour cream, lard, tallow, coconut oil, palm oil, and olive oil). Fats slow the rate at which sugar hits the blood stream and reduce the need for pick-me-up coffee breaks. Fats also satisfy your appetite for a longer time—I eat a spoonful of coconut oil when a craving threatens.

4)      Then replace white sugar with natural sugars like maple sugar, dehydrated cane crystals, and raw, unfiltered honey (beware: most grocery store honey is imported from questionable foreign sources and often watered down with sugar and HFCS).

5)      Finally, limit the use of natural sugars to 3x,week in moderate amounts. Eat them in conjunction with a whole meal, which lessens the impact on blood sugar levels.

Tip 2: Include fermented foods (like plain yogurt, kefir, lacto-fermented sauerkraut, and fermented drinks) with your meals. Their good bacteria helps offset the sugars you ingest.

Tip 3: Keep tempting foods out of the house.

Tip 4: “Prepare meals with all six tastes: Ayurveda is a six-thousand year old philosophy on life, health, and food preparation. Practitioners of this system believe that when each taste is present in a meal—sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent—the body becomes more balanced, ultimately minimizing cravings, stabilizing appetite and perfecting digestion.”

Tip 5: Eliminate or at least seriously moderate caffeine use. Caffeine aggravates blood sugar regulation and depletes good-mood neurotransmitters.

Tip6: Get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids as found in cod liver oil. Among other benefits, this helps fight carbohydrate cravings and balances blood sugar.

Tip 7: Try taking an anti-candida product like Beeyoutiful’s Yeast Assassin. A good probiotic (like Tummy Tune-Up or Gut Guardian) also helps overcome the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut which make you crave sugars, too. There are some supplements (for sale online and through health food stores) which can be taken temporarily to help manage sugar cravings as you are transitioning to a nutrient-dense, healthy fat-rich diet. These  are self-weaning and normally aren’t needed more than three weeks, according to Nora Gedgaudas in her book Primal Body Primal Mind, which recommends dosages and other supplements.

For example:

1)      L-glutamine, an amino acid, can stop cravings for sweets, starches, and alcohol immediately, because the brain can use L-glutamine instantly for fuel. (Do not use this if you have cancer!)

2)      The herb, Gymnema sylvestre, usually eliminates most cravings for sweets.

3)      L-tryptophan, another amino acid, helps calm carb cravings and restore serotonin function (“happy mood” hormones), especially when a person is lacking adequate protein.

Tip 8: Get plenty of uninterrupted sleep. Too little sleep affects blood sugar regulation and, when chronic, can lead to diabetes and adrenal fatigue.

Tip 9: Address the emotional reasons you love sugary foods. This is especially important at holiday times, family gatherings, and when you are stressed. Some people wrongly see food as their friend and try to overcome lonely feelings with it. Prayer works wonders here.

Tip 10: Some people overcome cravings and pain by using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a form of self-administered acupressure explained at www.eft.mercola.com. This is also called “tapping”.

Tip 11: Before tempting social occasions, be a Boy Scout (even if you are a girl!) and “be prepared”. Prepare your mind by replaying why you want and need to eat better. Prepare your body by eating a healthy-fat filled snack like an avocado drizzled with olive and coconut oil dressing, some cooked veggies or eggs slathered in butter, or a spoonful or two of coconut oil. Those measures will help you choose carrot sticks and cheese over cookies and cake.

Tip 12: Use things other than food to reward yourself and your children: A special game, a bubble bath, a movie, an extra chapter in that good book you’re reading, a nature walk, a trinket, etc.

Footnotes:

1 Julie Ross, The Diet Cure: The 8-Step Program to Rebalance Your Body Chemistry and End Food Cravings, Weight Problems, and Mood Swings – Now (New York, Penguin Books, 1999), 8.

2 Article at http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/zapping-sugar-cravings

3 Article at http://www.westonaprice.org/making-it-practical/replacing-refined-sugars

4 From http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/zapping-sugar-cravings

Wonderful Water- Spring 2008 Catalog

by Stephanie J. Tallent

Steph J

“How much water are you drinking each day?” asked my health care professional. You see, I am expecting our second child and have placed myself in the hands of a dear lady for my own health as well as that of my unborn baby. With test results in her hand showing that I was not drinking enough water I had to fess up. “Probably not enough,” I replied sheepishly. Looking me square in the eyes she said, “I want you to drink at least three quarts a day. Get three, one quart jars and fill them up each morning. Then make sure you drink them each day.” Although she said it very nicely, I knew it was more of a prescription than a request.

While I know water is important, she had me wondering why it is so necessary that she would practically order me to drink sufficiently each day. So I did some research, and here is what I found.

 

Hydro-Significance

Did you know that nearly three-quarters of your body is made up of water? It infuses every cell and tissue. Each day our body can use 64 ounces of water just for basic body functions such as regulating temperature, aiding in digestion, keeping skin hydrated, and giving us energy. Water is the foundation of our blood. It helps maintain strong muscles, lubricates joints, hydrates organs, flushes toxins, and much more. Without water, your body simply cannot function.

Water is the most common and important compound on earth and is made of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen-hence the familiar chemical formula H2O. Studies confirm numerous health benefits of water. Because our bodies are made up of so much water and because it is responsible for almost all the vital processes that occur, it is important to replace, replenish and rehydrate each day.

As we grow older it becomes more important to pay attention to water intake. Mature adults retain less cellular water. A major contributor to this loss of water is the lack of sensitivity to the body’s cues for thirst. For instance, we often misinterpret the feeling of hunger. Sometimes we think we are hungry when our bodies are actually crying out for water. Try this to see if you confuse your signals: next time you crave a snack, take a drink of water and see if you remain hungry. Your body may be needing water, not food, especially if it is not meal time yet. Because fruit is largely made up of water, it is often a perfect choice for a snack if you still think you are hungry.

Studies have shown that most of us require 6 to 10 glasses of water a day for proper hydration. The more you drink, the more you help your body cleanse itself of toxins absorbed from the environment. Since some of these toxins can show up in skin, drinking more water may rejuvenate your skin and help ward off some types of facial acne. Is your hair dull and lacking the luster it used to have? Drinking enough water each day may help bring that shine back to your hair.

Because of the rapid cell growth and reproduction that takes place when moms are expecting, water intake needs to increase for the demands of the growing baby. In fact, Dr. F. Batmanghelidj in his book You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty, believes that morning sickness is a thirst signal for both the mom and the unborn baby. Increased water intake is also needed during lactation as we provide both water and food for our babies.

 

No Substitutions, Please

What if you’re “just not a water drinker?” Can other fluids take its place? In a word, no. Other fluids cannot replace the results we can get from water. Juice contains water, but your body will get more nutrients from eating the actual fruits. Milk provides needed calcium and Vitamin D but is still not a replacement for water. In fact, drinking too much milk can have a constipating effect-the opposite of what water helps your digestive tract to do.

What about coffee, tea, and sodas? Though they have a water base, they are actually diuretics and will dehydrate you. For every 6 ounces of caffeinated or alcoholic drink a person consumes it requires an additional 10 to 12 ounces of water to re-hydrate.

Are other health benefits obtained from drinking water? In days past, our parents and grandparents recognized the importance of water, and today, we hear the message from nutritionists and health experts. They confirm that the health benefits of water are numerous. Yet our most common health problem is dehydration.

Dehydration occurs when the body starts drawing water from its own tissues, cells, and skin to replenish itself. Although a very serious condition, it can be avoided simply by drinking the proper amount of water. Since water aids in flushing toxins from our bodies, it is helpful for proper functioning of our kidneys and liver, whose job is to capture and cleanse our bodies of those toxins.

Water has also been shown to possibly reduce heartburn. Heartburn signals a water shortage in the upper gastrointestinal tract. The use of antacids or other medications does not correct the dehydration so the body continues to suffer from a lack of water. Over time, these corrective medications will cause other problems that could have been avoided by drinking a glass of water.

Water can help reduce the pain of arthritis and lower back pain which are also possible signs of a water deficiency. Lack of water in the spine, spinal column, and discs is very painful. The discs are water cushions that support the weight of the body. Intake of water and small amounts of salt have been shown to help reduce some of the pain of arthritis and lower back problems.

Colitis can signal water shortage as well. It is associated with constipation and dehydration as the body squeezes every last drop of water from the excrement. This extraction in turn causes pain as the body tries to eliminate non-lubricated feces. This can potentially lead to diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, polyps, and other more serious gastrointestinal problems.

 

How Much, How Fast?

But can you drink too much water? Surprisingly, it is indeed possible, though rare. The condition is called Water Intoxication and is caused by drinking too much too fast. The recommended daily water intake is 8 to 12, 8 ounce glasses spaced throughout the day. When you drink too much water-a gallon or more in an hour- Water Intoxication can set in. The debilitating results range from swelling of blood vessels to brain swelling and kidney overload.

Water Intoxication occurs when too much water enters the body’s cells. The tissues swell with excess fluid. As the over abundance of water accumulates the normal saline serum in your body is diluted. Your body tries to compensate for this by sending in more of the saline solution to help balance the excess water. While your body does its best to compensate for the excess water, sometimes it cannot. For already saturated cells, too much water can be like drowning.

Symptoms of Water Intoxication include irregular heartbeat, fluid in the lungs, and fluttering eyelids. The swelling of cells can put pressure on the brain and nerves which can cause seizures, coma and even death. A complete recuperation can occur if water is restricted and additional salt and electrolytes are administered.

But the problem lies not in how much you drink, so much as in how fast you drink it. Your kidneys can process 15 liters (roughly 4 gallons) of water a day, so you are unlikely to experience Water Intoxication as long as you drink over a period of time. Most adults need about three quarts a day. You might need to drink more in warm weather to compensate for perspiration or if you have been exercising or are on certain medications. In my case, though-and likely some of you other busy moms-we suffer from not drinking enough water rather than intoxication.

 

Quality, Not Just Quantity

The quality of water also matters. If you live in the city, your water has been cleaned and infused with many different things which may include chlorine and fluoride. If you live in the country, you may have well water that should be tested on a regular basis for impurities such as sulfur. No matter where you live, it is a good idea to invest in some form of water purification system to insure that you and your family have the purest water possible. Incidentally, my last checkup showed that my water intake had properly increased! How about you? Do you drink enough? Make sure you get plenty of wonderful water during your day!

 

(If you would like to further explore the wonders of water, you might want to read for yourself some of the sources I used for this article: Your Body’s Many Cries for Water and You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty by F. Batmanghelidj, M.D.; Also Dr. Ben Kim and Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., for articles on Water Intoxication.)