Nutrition

10 Surprising Ways the Wellness Industry Fooled You Big Time For Profit

1. Selling you "raw" superfoods which should be cooked!

Let me just use one example to illustrate my point: Maca. This Peruvian root has been a medicine to its traditional people for thousands of years. It has always been cooked. The reason for this is that its so called "active properties" (must refrain myself here from ranting on treating herbs as though only one or one group of their chemicals are important) must be cooked because they are heat-activated. This article does an excellent job of explaining in further detail with reference to the actual chemical reactions that take place. The bottom line is that to obtain any benefit from maca and not stress out your digestive system- the plant must be gelatinized, extracted in alcohol or cooked. The health industry has made raw food diets and veganism so trendy that people on the raw-food-only bandwagon are convinced that cooking food destroys it and that all foods are better raw. Unfortunately, this is just untrue and there are people behind that marketing that are laughing all the way to the bank.

2. Turning traditional foods into trendy superfoods in the first place.

I'll stick with the example of maca. 30 years ago, only traditional Peruvian people in the Andes knew what maca was. Since its discovery as a "superfood", the crop has been exploited for profit to the point that now the price of maca has soared so high that local people in Peru cannot afford it. For a detailed account of the economic and social problems the hype of this crop has caused, read here

I have watched this industry turn chia seeds from a funny clay pet you gave your grandma that liked gardening for her birthday, to another huge commodity in the health industry. Like maca, marketers even went as far as to try and make outrageous distinctions between color (black or white chia seeds or red, black or yellow maca). Sure, these foods may be very good for you, but at what cost? I'm not talking about the balance of your checking account. I'm talking about the environmental and social impacts. Wherever you are, you have "superfoods" growing right in your neighborhood, for free. I'm talking about common weeds like dandelion, chicory, burdock, and chickweed. The earth is abundant with free food and medicine and we don't need to exploit anyone to maintain our health. We are a culture obsessed with defying age and the wellness industry knows it- in truth, they are banking on it. But in the end, we will all die, no matter how many superfoods we consumed. Seek health, but do it with awareness and a conscience. 

3. Essential oils.

You don't have to take several thousands of pounds of flower petals or plant parts to get one ounce of oil to receive health benefits from plants. Now, don't get me wrong, I actually do love and use essential oils. They make lovely natural perfumes, add wonderful scent to natural beauty care remedies and I appreciate aromatherapy. I also find particular oils especially useful during acute lung and sinus congestion as they can be very penetrating compared to use of a tea or decoction, topically, and can be more easily applied. However, there are some very outrageous claims circulating about the use of essential oils. Exercise extreme caution if told to ingest essential oils, as due to quality or production methods, many of them are highly poisonous if used internally (just look up pennyroyal's history). Most brands of essential oils are diluted with fillers, extenders and perfumes to make up for their poor distillation practices and are unsafe for ingestion.  There is no reason to spend a fortune on certain expensive essential oils to reap similar benefits that can be had from using an inexpensive (or free if you grew it!) tea or infusion made from the same plant. I think JP Sears hit the nail on the head with this video.

4. Agave nectar: 

The name would have you believe you're getting some kind of juice from a succulent plant-- wrong! It's actually a highly processed, high-fructose sweetener made from the starchy root ball. Read more about it in my previous blog post about the health hazard that is agave. The point is, this sweetener stresses out your liver and is not a healthy sweetener and yet it is added to all kinds of foods in health food stores that are marketed as being better for you like vegan ice cream, protein bars, raw food desserts and juice and smoothie bars across the nation. Call them on it, by not buying their products (or at least don't consume them under the pretense that they're a health food). 

agaveno.png

 

5. Convincing you to take synthetic vitamins.

While it is true that due to soil depletion and the way our modernized foods are processed, packaged and stored, our foods contain less vitamins and minerals than they should which can contribute to nutrient deficiencies. What isn't true is that you have to consume vitamin pills to correct the problem. 

When we eat foods, the nutrients those foods contain are in a perfect combination to help your body utilize them. Vitamins and minerals work synergistically (which means they need each other to be properly absorbed and utilized by the body). Most of the vitamins consumed by pill form are simple excreted via urine & feces and never actually utilized by the body at all. (1)

Taking massive doses of synthetic vitamins does not necessarily mean you will absorb them, and worse, if they do go in, your body may have trouble using and excreting them. In order to absorb and use supplemented vitamins, your body may have to rob the necessary co-factors from body stores to come back to homeostasis and this is like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

There are multiple sites online that do a better job of explaining this huge topic. Check out Dr. Mercola's to start.

The bottom line is, your body needs nutrients from food. So use that money you were spending on expensive urine to buy fresh, nutrient rich foods. Also, use herbal mineral powerhouses like nettle and oatstraw in tea form and if you must take pills, use "whole-food" vitamins such as Megafood

6. The word "natural". 

The word "natural" is completely unregulated. Companies can pretty much put it on anything and it so this claim means absolutely nothing. Check your labels. Reading the ingredients on a package is the only way you can be sure whether or not something is good for you or not- not because of fancy packaging with fad words or images. Remember, just because you bought it in a health food store doesn't make it healthy. For your entertainment, watch this hilarious video about the word "natural".

7. The word "organic".

Organic is not synonymous with healthy. Being in a health-food store does not give you a licence to stop reading labels. Examples: Organic corn syrup, organic canola oil and organic sugar are still not good for you, whether or not they were grown and processed without chemicals. There is no need to elaborate. 

8. "Gluten Free"

Unless you are truly Celiac, gluten is not your enemy. Simply replacing a diet high in gluten containing grains with gluten free starches and grains is not going to solve your issues. Your diet, whether because of excesses or deficiencies has led to an imbalance in your intestinal tract and whether you react to gluten or any other food is not merely the fault one one big bad protein that has always been there.

I don't want to hear the argument "but wheat is just not the same as it used to be!". You know what's really not the same? The entire standard diets of the modernized world. We opt for convenience over quality and quantity over suitability. You cannot demonize gluten and call a gluten free diet the answer to health. The wellness industry has made such a commotion over gluten that people avoid it without even really knowing what it is in the first place.

For the record, I am not knocking carbs. I love carbohydrates and I consume them daily. The larger issues are how grains and legumes are prepared in the first place and what else is missing from the picture. I soak, sprout and sour almost all of the grains, legumes and nuts/seeds we consume in our household. We also use a lot of mineral rich herbal infusions, broths and seaweeds in our cooking and daily routines.

If you have a healthy digestive system, you don't see food intolerance. Strong digestion is normal for healthy people. If you are reacting to gluten, or any other foods, you have some work to do with healing your digestive tract and the flora that reside there. That may mean temporarily cutting out many foods, including gluten-containing grains, but with proper support, you should be able to include them again once healing has occurred. 

9. Taking Advantage of your vulnerability.

I worked in health food stores for nearly a decade and being in this industry, you start to realize that though most of the people in the wellness industry are well-meaning, they are still trying to make money. They have bottom lines, employees to pay, a huge overhead and expiry dates to contend with.

Even though many of the products they carry could potentially improve your overall health- that doesn't mean they are necessary or that the same benefits couldn't be reaped, if not improved upon, by simply eating real food or weeds like dandelion and chickweed that are growing freely in your yard. Worse, there are many supplements that actually can impact your health in a negative way and there IS such a thing as over-doing it.

While I want to believe that most of the people in this industry really do want to help you, even if they reap financial gain in the process, there are still charlatans out there that pray upon vulnerable people. There are many people that come to "natural health" at the end of their ropes because nothing else has helped them and they are absolutely lost and willing to try anything to achieve relief from their ailments. These can be physical, emotional or other ailments, but it doesn't change the fact that when these people come seeking guidance and expertise, there are people out there who are only too happy to empty their pockets and send them on their way.

Here is a personal example: When I was divorced from my husband 6 years ago, a man who calls himself a shaman and a healer in my community told me that I needed to take his 600.00 course or there was no way I could ever have a healthy relationship again and that I would just repeat all of my previous mistakes. If someone tries to convince you that their product or advise is the only way to fix your condition, run. There has never and will never be a one size fits all approach to health, and neither is there only one person that can solve anyone else's problems. Ultimately people can help guide each other towards helpful remedies and lifestyle choices or help each other shift how we think, but it is still the individual that heals him or herself. 

10. Convincing you only expensive, rare and exotic plants can "cure" you. 

You don't need that rare plant that grows half way across the world and therefor costs a fortune or that is extracted in such a way that it has a patent, to "cure" you. Likely comparable remedies lay waiting within 50 ft of your front door or local park. I will say that our herbal traditions in the West are not as old and therefor we haven't always found exact substitutes for some plants, but that doesn't mean they don't exist or that you can't simply use a handful of other ones in a larger dose to affect a similar result. 

So think before you buy. Your body and your planet are counting on you!

Boost & Ensure: Junk "foods" Masquerading as Health Products

        My grandmother was diagnosed with esophageal cancer three years ago; she could barely swallow. The emotional stress of being diagnosed with cancer coupled with the physical stress caused by the invasive treatments of chemo, radiation and surgery left her further weakened and with little appetite- and still a very difficult time eating and drinking, let alone just swallowing. 

       My grandmother put all of her trust and good faith that the doctors would "cure" her. She truly believed that they knew best and that it was their job to get rid of the cancer. When she was first diagnosed, I wanted so badly to help her understand cancer through a more holistic approach; help her understand about the interplay between our environment (both internal and external) and its effects on our genes, about oncogenes and proto-oncogenes, nutritional deficiencies and especially about the immune system and how malfunctioning of the immune system is most likely one of the most important factors that lead to cancer. 

      I brought over books and DVD's to help inform my grandmother- but all this accomplished was drastically raising her blood pressure. Grandma was in her early 70's, she did not want to make drastic dietary and lifestyle changes. She was stressed out, and scared. It was then that I realized that my methods were not going to help my grandmother. I realized that all I could do was be there and love her.

     It broke my heart, however, to see the way the hospital was feeding her- with sugary liquids containing little to no real nutrition. I comforted myself that when she came home, that would change- but the doctors sent her home with bottles and bottles of "Ensure" and recommendations for "Boost". I had my grandfather try to make smoothies, broth and soups (which he did), but she kept on drinking the Boost and Ensure despite our attempts.

This is the ingredient list and nutrition facts on Boost:

These are labels from Ensure products:

       To give you something to compare this to, keep in mind that a 50g Coffee Crisp Candy Bar contains 32g of total carbohydrate. The Ensure 57g serving contains 34g of total carbohydrate and the Boost contains 41g of total carbohydrate! Aside from water, the main ingredients in this disgusting concoction are all just forms of sugar (from GMO corn to boot!). 

      Ensure is owned by Abbott Nutrition²- a giant food corporation trying to greenwash you into thinking their products are health foods. Abbott Nutrition is part of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and Abbott has given nearly a million dollars to fight GMO-labeling¹(not surprising given that most of their ingredients come from GMO crops). 

Lets look closer at some of these nasty ingredients:

Corn Syrup Solids: This is made by dehydrating corn syrup. It's 100% glucose. 
Corn Syrup: There are many studies linking corn syrup and corn syrup solids to diabetes and cancer (that's right, cancer, the very ailment my grandmother was trying to overcome). See this article.

Corn Maltodextrin: Read "sugar" with a high glycemic index. Read here for more information about maltodextrin and it's hazards to health. 

Corn Oil: Ignoring for a moment all arguements for or against GMO's, I want to highlite that corn oil is primarily made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids most of which are called "omega 6" or Linoleic Acid. Your body will convert this acid into GLA which will in turn convert to smaller amounts of arachidonic acid as well as prostaglandins (eicosanoids). An important enzyme, D6D (delta-6 desaturase ) is required to produce eicosanoids and if D6D is impaired, then the body is not able to use the Omega-6 it’s getting to produce the required prostaglandins. For the majority of people, this isn't a major problem- but diabetics and people with thyroid conditions commonly have difficultly making adequate amounts. Overeating, undereating, nutritional deficiencies, overconsumption of alochol and sugar can also all affect D6D production. In North America, most people already consume far too many omega 6's in relationship to omega 3's (largely because of vegetable oils in processed foods). Basically the corn oil in this formula is a highly processed oil that should be replaced with healthier alternatives.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/302830-health-risks-of-corn-oil/
https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/know-your-fats/gamma-linolenic-acid/

Cupric Sulphate: A fungicide that is toxic and can cause gastrointestinal issues, anemia, and even death at high doses. It is also genotoxic, meaning it can cause the cells to mutate due to genetic damage.  ³

Natural & Artificial Flavors: Can include dozens of different chemicals derrived from inorganic or organic materials that can all negatively impact our health.

Chromium Chloride: Toxic. See here.

Sodium Selenate: Some question this byproduct of copper metal refineries and believe it to be toxic. Read here.

Synthetic forms of vitamins and poor quality minerals: Synthetic forms of vitamins do not work as well in our bodies. Period. They are harder to absorb, harder to eliminate and can actually contribute to other nutritional imbalances. All of the vitamins and minerals in Boost and Ensure are synthetically produced or derived and of the cheapest quality. 

In conclusion, Boost & Ensure are not healthful products for anyone- let alone sick or dying people. Their cheap ingredients bring them millions of dollars in sales (Ensure brought in 1 billion in sales in 2009 and has been steadily growing) but won't bring you the results they advertise on their packaging. You would be better off to throw some fruit, milk, maybe a greens powder supplement, or some herbal infusion into a blender and drink that. Broth has historically been consumed as a healing food for the sick- and with good reason. Properly prepared bone broths contain large amounts of gelatin and easily absorb-able minerals as well as other nutrients from the marrow. Ditch the inadequate sugary substitutes, break out your blender and eat some soup! 

 

 

Soy: Cautions & Truths

         In North America, soy foods have appealed to vegetarians and health conscious men and women for decades now, as more and more people seek alternatives to animal products and seek to make substitutions for dairy due to allergies. 

         There is this huge misconception that the Asian populations have been consuming soy for thousands of years and that they consume it in place of meat. The reality is that soy was originally used as an important rotation crop for the Chinese populations in order to fix nitrogen into the soil. It was only after the discovery of important fermentation techniques something during the Chou dynasty (1134-246 BC) that soy became a popular food in the form of highly fermented tempeh, natto and tamari. 

      The average consumption of soy in China is actually only about two teaspoons per day and one or two tablespoons per day in Japan. Soy is considered more of a condiment and definitely not as a replacement for animal foods, as it is most typically consumed in a mineral rich fish broth. 

        The truth is, over consumption of soy foods can lead to mineral deficiencies, a depressed thyroid (hypothyroidism), disrupted endocrine function and potentially infertility and breast cancer. 

       Soy contains the highest levels of phytates of any grain or legume that has been studied and unfortunately those phytates are incredibly resistant to normal reduction methods such as sprouting and long, slow cooking and are only minimized during an extended and lengthy period of fermentation. Phytates interfere with mineral absorption and block enzyme activity. 

       Soy foods also contain Trypsin inhibitors, phytoestrogens as well as the isoflavones, genistein and daidzein, which are potent inhibitors of thyroid peroxidase, an enzyme involved in the synthesis of the thyroid hormones.

        In this author's opinion, fermented soy foods such as miso, tamari, natto and tempeh are they only safe soy foods. I encourage anyone consuming soy to treat it as a condiment, the way the Asians do, and to consume it along with mineralizing fish or bone broths. 

Sources:

http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/the-ploy-of-soy/

http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert/

http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/soy-alert/thyroid-cancer-on-the-rise-is-soy-a-cause/

        

       

The Shocking Truth About Heart Disease

     Rudolf Steiner (if you don't know him, look him up!) had ideas that the three most important ways for humanity to reach further evolution were: 1. That people stop working for money. 2 That people realize there is no difference between sensory and motor nerves and 3. The heart is not a pump. 

     After reading the latest addition to my personal library, Human Heart, Cosmic Heart by one of my personal heroes, Dr. Thomas Cowen, MD and anthroposophical physician, I felt very called to bring further awareness to his research and try and give a very oversimplified summary of the information presented in this book, with a sincere hope to inspire further curiosity in readers that might lead to improved health benefits and disease prevention. 

      I'll try and boil it down for you. The true causes of heart disease are as follows: Hypertension, smoking, diabetes, physical & emotional stress, a sedative lifestyle and a poor diet. Don't roll your eyes at me yet. The exciting and new revelation about these causative factors is that they are causing heart attacks, not because of blocked arteries, because of cholesterol, (According to Dr. Cowen, more than 50% of people that have heart attacks don't have sufficient stenosis as to cause a heart attack) but because these factors are throwing off balance in the sympathetic nervous and parasympathetic nervous systems. Dr. Cowan points to four studies showing that "patients with ischemic heart disease have, on average, a reduction of parasympathetic activity of more than a third. Typically, the worse the myocardial infarction, the lower the parasympathetic activity" (56). 

     Basically, if you are chronically in "fight or flight", your body is always using it's sympathetic nervous system and unable to rest and heal from the parasympathetic nervous system. Heart attacks do not occur in people with healthy parasympathetic activity whom experience high levels of stress. It is only when the parasympathetic nervous system is chronically unable to nourish itself and that its overall activity is reduced, or down-regulated due to poor lifestyle choices, which leaves a person suffering from severe stress very vulnerable to a myocardial infarction. 

     When the person with a lowered parasympathetic activity is exposed to severe stress (emotional or physical), the increase in adrenaline directs the cells of the heart to break down glucose (sugar) using aerobic glycolysis, rather than it's preferred fuel of ketones and fatty acids.. Dr. Cowan states that "[a]s a result of the sympathetic increase and resulting glycolysis, there is a dramatic increase in lactic acid production in the myocardial cells... This increase in lactic acid results in localized acidosis, which makes calcium unable to enter the cells and the cells less able to contract".  This causes edema and diminished muscle function and the build up of lactic acid in the cells leads to cell death "which we call a heart attack". (58)

     Dr. Cowan states that "known things that nourish our parasympathetic nervous system are contact with nature, loving relations, trust, economic security, and sex". He stresses the importance of a diet high in good quality fats (especially grass fed butter) and low in sugar and refined carbohydrates. 

     A simple theory- and yet it makes more sense than anything else I've ever read in medical texts or physiology books. Dr. Cowan's book also provides the most shocking, yet naturally logical scientific theory on the role of the heart. He talks about Steiner's theory about the heart as a seven sided form in a box as well as the fourth phase of water.

     To quickly summarize, when water is exposed to sunlight, the earth's energy, or energy from other living things, and touching a hydrophilic surface, it forms a fourth phase in which the water touching the hydrophilic surface becomes negatively charged in relation to the water not touching the surface. The negatively charged water excludes any toxins or other particles. When that hydrophilic surface is a tube (such as in our circulatory systems) a perpetual motion "machine" is created in that the positively charged water in the center is propelled upwards.

      Our heart isn't really "pumping" blood at all- in fact, when our blood reaches the capillaries, it stops and then gradually picks up speed again as it heads back for the heart. It is the structure of the water in our cells that propels our blood, not the heart. Dr. Cowan agrees with Steiner, who suggested that the heart is more like a hydraulic ram. In allowing the chambers of the heart to fill with blood, create a negative pressure and then flow on and vortices are created.  

      I feel that I am still digesting and integrating this knowledge. I encourage everyone to read Dr. Cowan's book, "Human Heart, Cosmic Heart" for more information! I hope all of you will take the time after reading this to go outside for a forest walk, hug a loved one and enjoy a healthfully prepared meal together!

     

Grains, Legumes & Nuts: A Guide for Proper Preparation

     It is a huge accomplishment and something to give yourself credit for when you make the switch to from white flour products and refined grains to whole grain flour and grain products. I love when I hear about people snacking on almonds instead of potato chips. You are doing your body a big service by ditching the refined stuff that does nothing for you (except rob you of much minerals & upset your blood sugar), yet, there are other important steps to preparing grains, nuts and legumes, that must eventually be incorporated into any holistic lifestyle approach. Without taking these steps, those whole grains may actually lead to mineral deficiencies and associated issues such as tooth decay! Not what you are going for!

     Grains, nut and legumes contain anti-nutrients (substances that interfere with nutrient absorption or cause us to lose more nutrients than we gain by eating them) such as phytic acid (phytates) &  lectins, the primary anti-nutrients I am going to focus on in this post. These anti-nutrients bind important minerals and prevent them from being absorbed as well as can act as enzyme inhibitors, interfering with digestion. The good news is that there are plenty of things we can do when preparing foods to minimize the presence of phytates and lectins. 

      Firstly, let's deal with the issue of trying to neutralize or reduce the overall amount of phytates in our grains, legumes and nuts. There is an enzyme called phytase that neutralizes phytates. Human's do not produce enough of it to safely consume high volumes of phytates, and different grains contain varying levels of the enzyme. Furthermore, heat destroys it. For grains, sprouting (malting) reduces some of the phytates by activating phytase, but fermentation is the best way to reduce the most phytates. I generally try and sprout my grains, or start with a sprouted flour and then put that up for a long soak with sourdough starter, freshly ground rye flour (rye contains the most phytase enzyme) or whey before cooking. Oats contain almost no phytase and require a very long soak with rye starter. Rice also contains very little and requires a long soak in hot water (a mason jar with a lid will do). Be sure to cook brown rice in bone broth with kombu sea-weed and add a generous amount of butter. Remember, we are not trying to eliminate all phytates, but simply trying to reduce them to safe and acceptable levels.

     For beans, sprouting seems to reduce phytates the best. Soak your beans over night and then sprout them using proper sprouting guidelines for 2-5 days. When my beans are finished sprouting, I soak them again for 12-24 hours in warm water with a few tablespoons of whey before cooking. 

      Nuts require a long soak (18 hours) before dehydrating and a light roasting to minimize phytates as much as possible. It is not recommended to eat more than a handful of nuts or seeds per day- especially if they have not been properly soaked first.

Here is a table to help you remember general soaking guidelines: 

td>
Grain/Legume Soaking Times Neutralizer & Water Amount Cooking Guidelines
Rice & millet 8-12 hours minimum at least twice as much water: grain 40-60 minutes
Quinoa 24 hours min w/ 1x rinse 1:3 water + 1 Tbsp acid (whey, ACV) 30min
Oats 12-24hours warm, add acidic, add rye 20-40min
All other grains 12-24 hours 1:2 water; add something acidic 20-60 min
Lentils 7-24 hours, warm add whey, APV or lemon juice 45-60min
Garbanzos 24-48 hours in warm (rinse every 7 hrs) Add whey, ACV, or lemon juice 4-6 hours, shorter the longer soaked
Kidey-shaped beans 18-24 hours warm recommend to use 2 Tbsp Baking Soda for every cup Simmer 4 hours or until soft
Nuts & seeds 18-24 hours warm Add salt & something acidic Dehydrate & gentle roast

       The soaking and fermenting of these foods will help reduce anti-nutrients such as phytates and lectins and increase the available mineral content of the foods. To minimize the risk of these anti-nutrients further, cook with bone broth and sea-weeds for added minerals, add grass-fed butter and make sure your diet contains plenty of vitamin D, vitamin A and Vitamin C. These nutrients have all been shown in studies to help mitigate the effects of phytates. For example, vitamin D is used up in the body to reduce impacts by phytates and consuming extra vitamin D had a positive effect on phytate impact. For more information on this, research the Mellenby Studies. 

       Soaking and fermenting grains and beans may seem like a lot of work- but once you start doing it, you'll realize that it actually saves you cooking time and improves the flavors in the food- two added bonuses that make it well worth the extra few minutes it requires to improve the nutritional content of your food! 

      

What's in YOUR Nutritional Yeast?

      According to Norm LeMoine, President of Radiant Life and Kayla Grossmann, RN there is only one brand of nutritional yeast currently on the market that is both non-gmo and non-fortified. You may be wondering why fortification is or isn't important and why I would bother writing a blog post about it.

       While nutritional yeast is a great source of many vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, iron, selenium, zinc and potassium. It is not, however a good source of any significant folate, nor does it contain B12 (of which the active form of is only found in animal products). Due to this, many companies decide to fortify their products with synthetic folic acid and/or vitamin B12 among others. According to LeMoine and Grossmann, if you see those nutrients on nutritional yeast labels "it is fair to assume they have been added". 

       While some companies openly admit to using synthetic nutrients (in which it is my professional opinion that only naturally derived nutrients are ideal for health) others claim to use naturally derived nutrients. The problem is that anyone can slap the word "natural" on anything because natural isn't regulated. This makes determining the quality of any naturally derived fortified nutrients really difficult to determine. 

     The other major issue when selecting a brand of nutritional yeast is whether or not it is grown on a genetically modified medium. Most nutritional yeast is cultured on sugarcane/ and or molasses. Since most of the sugarbeets grown in the United States are genetically modified or contaminated with genetically modified materials (95 % according to researchers at the Non-GMO Project) it is important to ask manufactures about their growing medium and GMO standards. There have been no non-GMO certificates granted to any producers yet, though many claim to be non-GMO. 

The following table has been excerpted from the Fall 2016 Issue of Wise Traditions, pg 43, published by the Weston Price Foundation. 

Company Name Fortified with Nutrients GMO Status
Bob's Red Mill Fortified with Synthetic nutrients Not Available
Bragg Fortified with natural nutrients Non-GMO
Frontier Fortified with Natural nutrients Non-GMO
Harmony House Fortified with Natural nutrients Non-GMO
NOW Foods Fortified with Synthetic nutrients Not Available
Red Star Fortified with Synthetic nutrients Not Available
Sari Only Naturally Occuring Nutrients Present Non-GMO

      Remember when shopping to take nothing at face value. Read labels and ask questions and remember that whatever you buy directly impacts your health, but also dictates which foods are in demand, how consumers what those foods produced and processed. Purchasing anything is like voting and the voice of the consumer matters. If products aren't selling, they will cease to be manufactured and if consumers demand higher quality foods and more transparency in order to purchase- companies will meet those demands in order to gain sales.

      A little bit of yeast may not appear to have a large impact on your health as far as synthetic nutrients or GMO is concerned, but when taking into consideration all the other sources of possible consumption of these things, you can see those levels start to rise and rise relative to an individual's intake. In any case it is some food for thought because at the end of the day "Nutrition Matters". 

Why Your Body Needs Carbs and the Dangers of Avoiding Them

        There was recently an article published in the Weston Price Wise Traditions Newsletter, titled "Why We Need Carbs" by Chris Masterjohn, PhD. It was great to see an article bringing attention to the importance of carbohydrates when there are so many people out there following highly restrictive diets that are severely minimizing or completely restricting carbohydrates, under the recommendations of many health advocates who mean well, but are misinformed or have been misguided. 

      While there are populations of people (such as diabetics, as an example) who absolutely need to pay close attention to their carbohydrate intake and restrict carbohydrates when necessary- the vast majority of people need not restrict or eliminate carbohydrates all together- but should instead focus on the quality of the carbohydrate (whole grain, sprouted, sourdough) while selecting a broad range of different sources of carbohydrates depending on what is locally available and in keeping with an individual's traditional background. 

       In the Wise Traditions article, Chris Masterjohn PhD reminds us that carbohydrates are integral to the body for structural purposes (for example,in DNA/RNA, in energy carriers, ATP, in extracellular matrices, and glycoproteins) for energy metabolism (especially for anaerobic glycolysis) and for antioxidant defense and nutrient recycling. 

        Many advocates of low-carb or zero-carb diets argue that we don't need glucose because our body can make it from proteins or fat via a process called gluconeogenesis. It is true that our well-designed bodies have made it almost impossible that we would ever actually suffer a deficiency of glucose- but gluconeogenesis has its downsides and forcing your body to compensate for excluding one of the key, basic dietary requirements may result in undesirable consequences to one's health.

         Chris Masterjohn PhD explains, "Gluconeogenesis in primarily stimulated by the adrenal hormone cortisol. Cortisol antagonizes thyroid hormone [they compete for receptor sites] and, when chronically elevated, impairs immunity. As we move away from burning glucose and toward greater reliance on fat, free fatty acids elevate. Cortisol augments this rise even further by causing us to release free fatty from adipose tissue. High levels of free fatty acids can impair thyroid hormone's ability to carry out its physiological functions within our cells even if blood levels of thyroid hormones remain normal". 

         It is not recommended to restrict carbohydrate intake below 100 grams per day. If someone wishes to do so Chris Masterjohn PhD recommends "a prudent approach to safety[:]... monitor stress, thyroid, and sex hormones, to ensure they all remain in optimal range." He also stresses that "physically active people...need considerably more than 100 grams [of carbohydrate per day] to prevent these hormones from going out of range.

          The most important advise anyone can receive in regards to nutrition is to listen to their body. Everyone is unique and therefor require varying levels of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Take into consideration where you come from, what your ancestors ate, as well as where you are living now and what is locally available. Those factors offer important clues for what constitutes an ideal dietary intake for someone. When it comes to choosing foods, it is always my recommendation to choose the most fresh, nutrient dense and properly prepared foods as possible. This ideally constitutes local, unsprayed vegetables and fruits, wild or organically raised, free ranged animal products and appropriate whole grains, lentils or pulses which have been soaked, sprouted or fermented prior to cooking and consuming.

         There is so much conflicting information available out there now. It is not surprising that many people are feeling frustrated when it comes to the simple question of what to eat. Remember that beginning on December 9th, 2016 I will be available to help you with all of your "Nutrition Matters".