I read a book recently called 'In Defense Of Food, An Eater's Manifesto'. It was very interesting. It tells how we as a nation have gone from eating whole foods that come from the earth to eating man made food like substances. Our food supply is becoming increasingly toxic and ever less nourishing. And....it's all political.
Do you know that disease is on the rise? According to the CDC in the 1960s the cancer rate was 1 in 300. Now the cancer rate is 1 out of every 2 people! It makes me wonder if in a few years, it will be 1 out of every 1!! Not only that, MS, Parkinson's, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Alzheimer's, and a host of other diseases is on the rise. Think about it. You can't throw a stick without hitting someone with a disease. That number continues to rise. You probably know lots of people suffering from one of these diseases. They are all caused from inflammation and they are all linked to diet.
That's good news and bad news and bad news for us. The bad news is that our food supply is increasingly toxic. The good news is that diet is the easiest thing we can do to to prevent disease.
It can be overwhelming to try to radically change your diet in one day. It helps to do one or two things at a time so that it becomes a healthy lifestyle change. That's what we've done. I'm going to write a series of articles so that you can easily begin to make positive changes in your family's health.
The first thing is your sweetener of choice. There are so many great all- natural sweeteners there is no reason to put nasty chemicals in your body. For instance, if you read a label on the majority of food in your grocery store you'll see that one of the first 5 ingredients is high fructose corn syrup. I'm being very generous here because generally, its in the first 3 ingredients!
HFCS has a host of negative effects on our bodies. According to The Well Being Journal, HFCS is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. It can cause fat cells to grow around the organs. In The Times, Lois Rogers writes "Fructose bypasses the digestive process that breaks down other forms of sugar. It arrives intact in the liver where it causes a variety of abnormal reactions, including a disruption of mechanisms that instruct the body whether to burn or store fat." Don't confuse High Fructoes Corn Syrup with fructose, the natural sugar found in fruit. Dr Roger Rinn claims that fruit is the most essential part of our diet.
Another very dangerous alternative to sugar are artificial sweeteners. You really should avoid putting anything artificial in your body, but one of the worst things to consume is aspartame. Aspartame is said to be toxic to the nervous system. I've seen firsthand what aspartame can do. I was at a nutrition seminar several years ago and a nurse told me that a neurosurgeon saw her drinking a diet coke. He told her that he can tell from the integrity of the brain if a person consumes artificial sweeteners. OUCH!!
Then of course, the most commonly known sweetener is sugar. It IS all natural. However, it is highly processed and highly inflammatory. You can read anything published by Suzanne Sommers, Dr Mercola, Dr Perricone, and Dr Atkins to learn more about the inflammatory effects of sugar. The basic thing you need to know about that is inflammation causes disease. Also,cancer needs sugar to thrive.
So, what's a body to do?? Well, there are so many delicious and safe alternatives. First of all is honey!! What could be more all natural than honey. It is high on the glycemic index but it is full of b vitamins and is anti-viral. It's perfect in your tea when you're feeling under the weather. It is not recommended for infants, though. Maple syrup and Molasses are also very sweet and natural and won't harm your body other than spike your blood sugar. Agave nectar has the same syrupy consistency as honey and maple but the really cool thing about it is its very low glycemic so it won't spike your blood sugar. It comes from a cactus. Stevia is a very sweet herb and tastes a bit like aspartame. I love it!! You can get it in powder, liquid, and my favorite, herb form. You only have to use a little. It's extremely sweet. Xylitol is good option. It is low glycemic and is proven to help prevent tooth decay. You can also order Somersweet from Suzanne Somers website. It comes from a mung bean extract. It's very sweet, low glycemic, and you can bake with it. She even has a dessert cookbook using Somersweet.
Be proactive about your health. Read lots and remember that food really does matter. All the cells in our bodies use food as the building blocks for every tissue. It only makes sense to put in the things it can use instead of chemicals that it has to try to decipher and filter.
I will be writing more about nutrition and health in the coming weeks. So, stay tuned if you want to take charge of your health and become less dependent on our new government run healthcare system.