27Oct/140

Piña Colada Smoothie Recipe

October 27th, 2014

This smoothie combines the flavors of fresh pineapple and creamy coconut. Pineapple is full of beneficial digestive enzymes, such as Bromelian. Bromelain helps fight inflammation and can improve food digestion. It also can be helpful in fighting off viral and bacterial infections.

Coconut also has powerful antiviral and antibacterial properties. Additionally, coconut contains medium-chain fatty acids, which are sent directly to your liver where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat. These medium-chain fatty acids also actually help stimulate your body’s metabolism, leading to weight loss.

Read more on the benefits here and here.

Ingredients (Gluten-free, Soy-free, Vegan)

  • 2 cups fresh organic pineapple, cubed
  • 1 frozen organic banana, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup organic coconut milk
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • Ice (optional)

Before my bananas go bad, I cut them up into pieces and freeze them. I then throw them into smoothies, especially if I don’t have ice.

Directions

Put all ingredients into a blender, and blend until smooth. Add ice as needed.

20Oct/140

Argan Oil: Liquid Gold

October 20th, 2014

Referred to as “liquid gold,” argan oil is relatively new to cosmetic shelves.  It has many benefits, and can be beneficial for different skin types.

Moisturizer
Argan oil contains sterolins, which help promote skin cell metabolism and helps the skin retain moisture.

Diminished acne and acne scars
A big factor in acne is the overproduction of skin sebum from sebaceous glands, which can clog pores and cause acne. Argan oil helps to regulate sebum production, thereby reducing acne. Argan oil helps remove acne scars over time because it’s full of antioxidants, such as Vitamin E.

Anti-aging properties
As mentioned above, argan oil contains antioxidants which help prevent the oxidization of your skin cells.  Your skin cell DNA can be damaged from radiation, pollution, toxins, etc, and antioxidants help reverse this damage. Vitamin E and fatty acids help improve skin elasticity and repair wrinkles.

Argan oil can assist with dry skin because of its moisturizing properties. It can also help with sensitive skin, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea are common skin conditions that may be benefit from regular applications of argan oil.

Living in Florida, the weather can be very hot and humid.  I was a bit apprehensive to try argan oil on my face, because I do have oily skin. I found that the acne I did have slowly started to clear up. That is because my skin sebum is being regulated, and it seems less oily now.

Any organic brand would work, but I really enjoy the Acure brand, and the clear glass bottle looks nice on my bathroom counter.  It can even be used as makeup remover.  If you decide to hop on the argan oil bandwagon, please be sure the brand you choose is organic and all-natural with no added filler ingredients.

10Dec/110

The Most Powerful Antioxidant

December 10th, 2011

AstaxanthinFrom Mercola.com:

Astaxanthin is produced only by the microalgae Haematoccous pluvialis when its water supply dries up, forcing it to protect itself from ultraviolet radiation. It’s the algae’s survival mechanism—Astaxanthin serves as a “force field” to protect the algae from lack of nutrition and/or intense sunlight.

There are only two main sources of astaxanthin—the microalgae that produce it, and the sea creatures that consume the algae (such as salmon, shellfish, and krill).

Astaxanthin is now thought to be the most powerful antioxidant found in nature.

This pigment is the most commonly occurring red carotenoid in marine and aquatic animals and is what gives salmon their characteristic pink color. Astaxanthin is leaps and bounds more powerful than beta-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, lycopene and lutein, other members of its chemical family. It exhibits VERY STRONG free radical scavenging activity and helps protect your cells, organs and body tissues from oxidative damage and inflammation.

Astaxanthin is by far the most powerful carotenoid antioxidant when it comes to free radical scavenging: astaxanthin is 65 times more powerful than vitamin C, 54 times more powerful than beta-carotene, and 14 times more powerful than vitamin E.

Astaxanthin is far more effective than other carotenoids at “singlet oxygen quenching,” which is a particular type of oxidation. The damaging effects of sunlight and various organic materials are caused by this less-stable form of oxygen. Astaxanthin is 550 times more powerful than vitamin E and 11 times more powerful than beta-carotene at neutralizing singlet oxygen.

Astaxanthin crosses the blood-brain barrier AND the blood-retinal barrier (beta carotene and lycopene do not), which brings antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection to your eyes, brain and central nervous system and reducing your risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, blindness, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Astaxanthin is soluble in lipids, so it incorporates into cell membranes.

It’s a potent UVB absorber and reduces DNA damage and the signs of normal aging.

By adding antioxidants to your diet to help combat sun-induced free radicals in your skin, you can help to potentially avoid…

  • Premature skin aging
  • Excessive wrinkling
  • Skin Dryness
  • Excessive number of age spots
  • Proliferation of freckles

All of that sounds great, right?  Well it is, only if you get your astaxanthin from natural sources, not synthetic sources.  Why? Because synthetic astaxanthin is made from petrochemicals.

From Mercola.com:

Some aquaculture companies are beginning to use natural astaxanthin instead of synthetic, even though it costs more, because it’s better for the health of the animals, and it’s far superior for pigmentation. Animals fed fish food with natural astaxanthin have higher survival rates, better growth rates, better immunity, fertility and reproduction.

Unfortunately, synthetic astaxanthin still dominates the farmed salmon industry worldwide.

If your salmon label does not read “wild” or “naturally colored,” you’re probably going to be eating a coloring agent somewhat closer to motor oil than antioxidant. Natural astaxanthin is more than 20 times stronger as an antioxidant than synthetic astaxanthin.

Wild salmon are 400 percent higher in astaxanthin than farmed salmon, and 100 percent of their pigment is natural astaxanthin, rather than synthetic. Plus, wild salmon have much higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than the farmed version.

But even if you are successful in purchasing genuine wild salmon, there is the problem with high levels of mercury and other unwanted toxins, not to mention the skyrocketing prices.

Synthetic (laboratory-made) astaxanthin is now commonly used worldwide to supplement fish feed lots in order to help them obtain the desired pinkish to orange-red color. You really should avoid synthetic astaxanthin because it’s made from petrochemicals.

I have been taking an astaxanthin supplement from GNC, and it’s been making me feel awful.  I am assuming it is a synthetic version.  It seems like almost all of their supplements are really low-quality.  Be sure to choose supplements from a reputable company like Mercola or Solgar.

Read more:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/06/30/astaxanthin-the-antiinflammatory-nutrient.aspx

http://www.algatech.com/astax.htm

20Nov/110

The Dangers of Consuming Soy

November 20th, 2011

Soy has been masquerading as a health food for a while now.  I actually decided to do research on soy when I first became a vegetarian, but that was only after I had experienced its havoc on my body.  I came to find out that it actually can be dangerous to consume.

I thought it was healthy for me. It’s pushed so much by vegan animal rights organizations.  People are tricked into believing that soymilk, soy cheese, soy ice cream and yogurt, and soy meatless items are good for them.

Why?  This is because of a huge investment in advertising by the soy industry that’s been very successful.  From 1992 to 2006, soy food sales went from $300 million to nearly $4 billion.

Soy Dangers

The Truth About Soy

Consumption of soy foods has been linked to:
  • Breast cancer
  • Brain damage
  • Infant abnormalities
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Kidney stones
  • Immune system impairment
  • Food allergies
  • Impaired fertility
  • Danger during pregnancy and nursing

What makes it so dangerous?

1.  91% of soy grown in the United States is genetically modified.
You can read more on GM foods and why you shouldn’t consume them here:  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/27/19-studies-link-gmo-foods-to-organ-disruption.aspx.
2.  Soy contains natural toxins known as “anti-nutrients.”
Soy foods contain anti-nutritional factors such as saponins, soyatoxin, phytates, protease inhibitors, oxalates, goitrogens and estrogens. Some of these factors interfere with the enzymes you need to digest protein. While a small amount of anti-nutrients would not likely cause a problem, the amount of soy that many Americans are now eating is extremely high.
3.  Soy contains hemagglutinin.
Hemagglutinin is a clot-promoting substance that causes your red blood cells to clump together. These clumped cells are unable to properly absorb and distribute oxygen to your tissues.
4. Soy contains goitrogens.
Goitrogens are substances that block the synthesis of thyroid hormones and interfere with iodine metabolism, thereby interfering with your thyroid function.
5. Soy contains phytates.
Phytates (phytic acid) bind to metal ions, preventing the absorption of certain minerals, including calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc — all of which are co-factors for optimal biochemistry in your body. This is particularly problematic for vegetarians, because eating meat reduces the mineral-blocking effects of these phytates (so it is helpful—if you do eat soy—to also eat meat).
6. Soy is loaded with the isoflavones genistein and daidzein.
Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, which is a plant compound resembling human estrogen. These compounds mimic and sometimes block the hormone estrogen, and have been found to have adverse effects on various human tissues. Soy phytoestrogens are known to disrupt endocrine function, may cause infertility, and may promote breast cancer in women.  Drinking even two glasses of soymilk daily for one month provides enough of these compounds to alter your menstrual cycle. For some people, it can even be after one day of drinking soymilk.  Although the FDA regulates estrogen-containing products, no warnings exist on soy.
7. Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12.
8. Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D.
9. Soy has toxic levels of aluminum and manganese
Soybeans are processed (by acid washing) in aluminum tanks, which can leach high levels of aluminum into the final soy product. Soy formula has up to 80 times higher manganese than is found in human breast milk.
Soy infant formula puts your baby’s health at risk.  Nearly 20 percent of U.S. infants are now fed soy formula, but the estrogens in soy can irreversibly harm your baby’s sexual development and reproductive health. Infants fed soy formula take in an estimated five birth control pills’ worth of estrogen every day.  Infants fed soy formula have up to 20,000 times the amount of estrogen in circulation as those fed other formulas!
10. Soy is processed with hexane.
The majority of soy is processed with hexane, which is a chemical that is a byproduct of gasoline treament. It is very toxic to your brain.

Soy Products to Avoid

Unless soy is fermented (tempeh, miso, natto, or traditionally made soy sauce), you’re better off avoiding it.

Soy foods to avoid:
  • Tofu
  • TVP (texturized vegetable protein) or soy protein isolate, which contains a large amount of msg, which you should definitely not consume
  • Soybean oil (most “Vegetable Oil” is 100% soybean oil)
  • Soymilk
  • Soy cheese, soy ice cream, soy yogurt
  • Soy “meat” (meatless products made of TVP)
  • Soy protein
  • Edamame
  • Soy infant formula

Sources/Read More here:

Studies Showing the Toxicity of Soy in the USDA’s Poisonous Plant Database: http://www.westonaprice.org/images/pdfs/fdasoyreferences.pdf

I also recommend signing up for Dr. Mercola’s daily email newsletter here.

19Nov/110

Synthetic Additives in Organic Milk?

November 19th, 2011

Recently there has been a trend of adding DHA to milk, especially organic milk. We’ve been told that it’s a natural, positive additive. However, it seems that the opposite is true. The Cornucopia Institute has made it aware that the DHA in milk is really an omega 3/omega 6 oil synthesized from fermented algae and soil fungus. It’s genetically modified and extracted from the algae and fungus by using hexane, which is a byproduct of gasoline refinement. It’s toxic to your brain (almost all non-organic soy is processed using hexane as well).

According to Mark Kastel, the co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute, manufacturers have already added it to almost all infant formula in the U.S, even the organic brands. The only organic brand that doesn’t use it is “Babies Only” which contains DHA from eggs.

What can we do about this?

Next time you go to purchase organic milk, be sure to pass on the ‘DHA added’ options.  Remember that you vote with your dollars.

You can also help by checking out the proxy letter from the Cornucopia Instutite  to help protect organics from synthetic additives and factory farms (which Horizon has):

http://www.cornucopia.org/2011/11/action-alert-protect-organics-from-synthetic-additives-and-factory-farms/

and sending it to:

The Cornucopia Institute
PO Box 126
Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827

Sources:

http://www.cornucopia.org/2011/11/action-alert-protect-organics-from-synthetic-additives-and-factory-farms/

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/19/mark-kastel-cornucopia-good-food-movement.aspx?e_cid=20111119_DNL_art_1