For those of you having gluten sensitivities due to an allergy or celiac’s disease will be very happy to know that gluten-free products have taken an evolutionary leap with Udi’s Gluten Free products.
As a Naturopathic physician with a holistic based practice, I often have to deliver the “bad news” that a person should avoid gluten product, my next task is teaching my patients how they can avoid gluten while maintaining a diet worth eating. The earliest attempts to make gluten-free breads were not impressive - think cardboard. Thankfully over the years the gluten-free product market has expanded dramatically!
This past Sunday, I decided to try gluten-free bagels made by Udi. In my mind I had already compensated for “gluten-free” taste, but in all honesty I actually forgot I was eating a gluten-free bagel, it completely tasted like a normal, gluten-filled bagel.
So, if you want to eat gluten-free and enjoy the full bagel experienced I recommend Udi’s bagels. You’ll find them in most health food stores, a list of stores carrying Udi’s gluten-free products is located in the page linked above.
Shopping Smart and Healthy with the EWG Safe Produce Guide
Why Choose Organic?
The benefits of eating organic foods, especially produce are many. First studies have found that organic produce is likely to have up to 50% more vitamins than “conventional” produce.
Furthermore, the pesticides, fungicides, and artificial fertilizers can have a negative impact on human health, including the nervous system of both adults and especially the developing nervous system of children. Be aware that the body can often have a problem processing these chemicals and as a defense mechanism it may store these offending substances in the fat - this can lead to increased fat production!
Finally, Organic is better for both the environment and better for the economy as it creates more jobs. Since organic farms don’t use pesticides they rely on more traditional methods of cultivation which is more labor intensive.
Eating Organic on a Budget
However, in this economy many people have to think about their budget just as much as their health. The good news is that you can eat healthy AND save money by knowing exactly which vegetables should always be organic and other vegetables that are safe to eat as non-organic.
The following is a list of vegetables that you should always eat organic as research has found they are far more likely to absorb pesticides than other produce. The list is in order of organic necessity (e.g. apples must always be bought organically as it easily absorbs pesticides). The Environmental Working Group refers to this list as “The Dirty Dozen”.
Produce That Should be Organic:
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Snap peas (Imported)
- Hot Peppers
- Kale/Collard Greens
For those on a budget, the following list are the fruits and vegetables found with the least amount of pesticide residues. They are listed in order of “cleanliness” thus earning the moniker: “The Clean Fifteen”
Produce Least Affected by Pesticides
- Sweet Corn*
- Sweet Peas
- Cantaloupe (Domestic)
- Sweet Potatoes
*Conventional sweet corn can be GMO. Currently 1% of corn-on-the-cob is GMO, while up to 40% of frozen and canned corn is GMO. All papayas from Hawaii are GMO.
Being aware of these general rules can help you improve your health while living within you budget.
Get the Dirty Dozen Shoppers Guide app for iOS or Android, or visit the Environmental Working Group for the latest updates.
Many people have heard of at least one or two negative aspects to the artificial sweetener aspartame better known by the product names Equal and Nutrasweet. The truth is far more shocking than what you may have been told. The following is a must-see video explaining the history of the sweetener as well as the many health issues that can be either caused or worsened by aspartame.
Green tea, a long-time staple of Asia has been found to have many health benefits and if new research holds true then we may need to add “anti-cancer” to the list of its positive health aspects. (more…)
One of the most challenging aspect of being a holistic practitioner is providing sound nutritional advice. As we all know there are literally thousands of diets - many of them faddish “flash-in-pan” diets made popular by “downwardly mobile” celebrities. Additionally the science behind many of these diets are faulty - grasping to one or two unproven medical theories that entire books are built around. I have found patients who have caused themselves physical damage following some of these diets. (more…)
Exercise Does Matter
First off, I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Danny Cahill, The winner of the latest season of “The Biggest Loser” and all those who participated in that program. Let them be an inspiration to everyone who wants to lose weight. Mr. Cahill lost 239 lbs by eating a proper diet AND exercise!
This flies in the face of the recent article entitled “Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin” by John Cloud in the August, 17th 2009 edition of Time Magazine which will be the focus of this post.In this article, Mr. Cloud reports that recent research suggests that exercise not only doesn’t help you lose weight but will stimulate your hunger and make you cheat on your diet. This, of course, is total nonsense. Here’s why:
The Benefits of Exercise
Exercise has long been a vital part of, not just weight loss, but maintaining your overall health. There have been so many studies that consistently prove this premise that you should honestly ignore the Time magazine article entirely. I’ve created a list of the benefits of exercise; some of these will surprise you!
Consistent exercise increases your energy and stamina by stimulating the production and release of energy promoting neurotransmitters in your brain, which in turn, provides you with more motivation to keep exercising and losing those unwanted pounds.
Burns Calories Faster
Losing weight is a simple matter of burning more calories than you take in. Exercise helps you prevent unneeded calories from being stored as fat. Another approach to weight loss involves limiting caloric intake – which can be helpful in many cases – HOWEVER, dieting without exercise leads to a loss of muscle and fat. Including exercise prevents the loss of muscle.
Contrary to the Time magazine article, at least one study found people who use exercise along with proper diet had less hunger than those who relied on diet alone for weight loss. Furthermore, you are more likely to choose more appropriate foods when exercising.
As mentioned before, dieting without exercise can lead to muscle loss – and this can further slow your metabolism. Therefore, exercise – especially muscle building activities can stimulate your metabolism which in turn cranks up the fat burning processes in the body. Remember more muscle = higher metabolism!
Regular physical activity has been found to help serious mood-disorders such as depression and anxiety. It is a very effective way of dealing with stress and can prevent binge or stress eating.
This one actually surprised me. Research has discovered that regular exercise can lead to an increase in neurons in mice, discovering that mice given an exercise wheel were able to learn new tasks better than sedentary mice. It stands to reason really, we as a species are meant to move – for thousands of years we were nomadic in nature – our muscle structure alone promotes internal health when properly exercised.
Burns Belly Fat
Numerous studies have found that regular moderate to heavy intensity aerobic exercise helps burn abdominal fat, which has been identified as a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.
Fat vs. Muscles – What The Scale Reads…
One aspect of the TV shows like The Biggest Loser that has bothered me is their excessive use of the scale. It’s important to remember that muscle weighs more than fat, without realizing this some people may get discouraged unnecessarily as they may have only lost 1 pound according to the scale, but in reality, they may have lost 4 pounds of body fat while adding 3 pounds of metabolism-boosting muscle. This is really a 7-pound net improvement in their health.
What is The Best Exercise Program?
Ultimately, one hour of exercise per day is the best for weight loss. An interval-based exercise which combines intense exercise with specific rest periods has been found the most beneficial. The intensity should be based on what you can handle, remember safety and good form is essential. I recommend finding a local fitness trainer specializing in interval exercise.
Time magazine has really done everyone a great disservice with the publication of this misinformed and poorly written article. Exercise has always and will remain a vital part of the weight loss process. Furthermore, it is simply impossible to achieve optimal health without exercise. It’s as simple as that.
Time Magazine, August 9, 2009
Fitness Magazine, August 19, 2009
USA Today, September 21, 2005
photo credit: mrhayata