Tag Archives: sugar

7 Easy Ways to Avoid Your Sugar Cravings

cookies

(The following is adapted from the new book Cravings Boss: The REAL Reason You Crave Food and a 5-Step Plan to Take Back Control by Natalia Levey , CHC, CNC)   

Sugar is found in almost every processed food on the market today. It is used as a flavor enhancer more often than any other seasoning, including salt. I can almost guarantee that if you grab an inexpensive processed food from your local grocer, it will be loaded with sugar. Manufacturers are well aware of sugar’s addictive quality  People who are caught in this addictive loop usually drink several sugary sodas per day or consume large quantities of candy, processed sweets or packaged, ready-to-eat goodies. If you recognize yourself in these words, you’re not alone.

Did you know the average American eats 152 pounds of sugar per year? One hundred and fifty two pounds. POUNDS! A baby giraffe weighs that much! That’s approximately twenty- two teaspoons per day and it only takes about two cans of soda to reach this daily maximum.

Here are 7 surefire strategies to get your sugar cravings controlled… Continue reading

The Beauty of Silence, Meditation and Donuts

IMG_3402There’s nothing like a donut to bring two people together.

I brought my truck in for a long overdue oil change yesterday.  My five year-old son came with me and we decided the one hour wait would be a perfect opportunity to visit the donut shop next door.  We hustled in from the cold and ordered up a couple of hot chocolates and sweet treats.

I invited my little man to choose our table and he pointed toward a two-top in the far corner.  The space felt noticeably peaceful.  Nearby three old men sat reading the paper, enjoying a warm ray of sunlight shining through floor-to-ceiling windows.  We smiled at them as we passed and I followed my son to the corner, listening to the quick, rhythmic shoosh-shoosh-shoosh of his snow pants he walked through the quiet shop.

We sat down and got cozy, shaking off our jackets and releasing shocks of staticy hair from under our hats, then reached for our goodies.  I unwrapped my go-to flavor, Boston Cream, and he slowly revealed own his favorite, Strawberry Sprinkled.  He laid the pink donut on a napkin and sipped his cocoa, “Too hot!”  I peeled off the cap and poured in a little more milk.  He tried it again.  “Mmmmm.  ‘S good.”

“What happened in school today, buddy?”

No answer.

“Did you learn anything new?”

Shrug.

He was not interested in conversation.  He pushed his cocoa aside and turned his focus on the awaiting spongey delight.  I decided to stop talking and simply enjoy the sight of my little guy wholly engaging in an exquisite eating meditation.

With deep concentration he examined his snack on the table.  He picked it up and sunk his teeth in.  When a tiny red jimmy toppled onto his napkin, he pinched it between his thumb and forefinger and meticulously nestled it back into the icing.  He chewed and paused and chewed some more.  He lifted the donut high above his head with one hand, clearly in awe of its deliciousness.  He held it up to me as if to say, Look, Mamma, isn’t it beautiful?  But he didn’t utter a word.  He just returned his full awareness to the slow and methodical extinction of one pink donut.  He carefully selected which portion to bite, mindful to save the sweetest bit for last.  He chewed and relished and appreciated the donut so entirely, I could only imagine that for him, in those moments, not one other thing existed in the whole wide world.

The last bite was upon him.  He popped it into his mouth, chewed for a long while, swallowed, then tossed his head back in the chair, staring at the ceiling, seemingly reconciling the experience.

I paused to take in the warm hush of the donut shop.  And I realized that silence is a pretty amazing way to communicate.

I smiled then laughed out loud.  I told him I loved him.

“I love you, too, Mamma,” he finally responded.

IMG_3418IMG_3421

 

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Sweeten Up Your Fall with Cinnamon Baked Apples and Cashew Cream

baked-apple-2sm-1024x682Cinnamon and apples are two of my favorite fall flavors. There are a lot of savory things that come with the cooler temperatures – pumpkin and squash, stuffing recipes, etc, which are great for the holidays. But I think fall also lends it self to amazing desserts, and why shouldn’t we give in to our sweet tooth every now and again? Together apple and cinnamon create delicious sweet treats that are still healthy.  Using cashew cream also erases some of the guilt you’d get from pairing with regular ice cream. This recipe is a great fall dessert – and it’s vegan. It is definitely enough by itself but you could also pair it with a nice apple pie if you are feeling indulgent.

Cashew Cream 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Soak the cashews for at least 4 hours.

Rinse the cashews until the water runs clear.

Put cashews, water and salt in blender.

Blend until smooth. It will have the consistency of heavy cream.

 

Cinnamon Baked Apples with Cashew Cream

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375

Wash and core apples

In a bowl combine all ingredients except the cashew cream and the honey.

Mix well.

Stuff the apples with the mixture

Pour @1/2 cup of water into the bottom of the baking dish and add the apples.

Cover with tin foil

Bake for @20 minutes or until the apples are soft

Put oven onto Hi Broil, remove tinfoil and broil the apples for @ 3 minutes or until the oats look brown and toasted.

Take the apple out and place in individual bowls.

Drizzle each one with a little bit of the liquid from the bottom of the pan.

Drizzle each one with one tablespoon of cashew cream.

For an added bit of decadence, drizzle with a little bit of raw honey.

Yum.

Originally posted on my website, Tapp’s Tips.com

The Perfect Gluten-Free Dessert with a Secret Ingredient

brownies-blue2sm-682x1024Calling all sweet tooths! Brownies are a dessert staple – right after cake, ice cream and pie. There are so many variations of the brownie recipe that it can be difficult to carve out your own, but after many attempts I think I’ve done it.

It took a while to get this recipe right, but I found that spinach, of all things, is the key. Not only does it add a little nutrition to the treat but it also helps keep the brownie moist. I’ve also added Cardomom, which is a bit of an exotic spice. If you don’t have it in your cupboard you can skip it, but I think it rounds out the taste nicely. Oh, and these brownies are also gluten-free! Does it get any better than that?

Perfect Gluten-Free Spinach Brownies

makes @16 brownies

Serve with Almond Milk

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Line an 9×12-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Steam the spinach until wilted (about 2 minutes).

 In a mixing bowl whisk together the raw cacao, almond meal, sorghum flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and baking soda.

 Put the maple syrup and the spinach in a blender and blend until pureed.

 Make a well in the center of the mixing bowl and add the beaten eggs, vanilla extract, sesame oil and maple syrup-spinach mixture. Beat on low-medium for two minutes, until the batter begins to come together. At first it will seem thin but keep beating until it thickens and becomes smooth and glossy. It might seem a little soupy to you but that is ok. It will come together in the oven.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

 If you are adding nuts, stir in the nuts by hand. Even out the batter with a silicone spatula.

 Stud the top with some dark chocolate chips and press in slightly.

 Bake in the center of a preheated 350ºF oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the brownies are set. The top will crack, like a flourless chocolate cake. You will know it is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Originally posted on my website, TappsTips.com 

10 Ways To Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats

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According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Food Corporations Turn to Chefs in a Quest for Healthy Flavor,” Big Food companies like PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and even fast food giants like Taco Bell, are changing their ways in response to the increasing public demand for healthier food options. To improve their image as healthy food manufacturers, Big Food corporations have called upon top chefs to help them create healthy menu makeovers, infusing real, fresh, whole food into old recipe favorites.

Why is this happening now? Intense pressure brought on by politicians and their constituents (you and me!) has given these food manufacturers no choice but to respond to the public outcry for healthier food. It’s no longer enough for these companies to earn a profit by selling food that tastes good. People are beginning to use the power of the pocketbook to show these companies that the food they sell must also be nutritious.

That’s because people everywhere are waking up. They are beginning to see the dangers of genetically modified ingredients and all the sugar, salt, and fats hidden in our food supply. From fancy restaurants to fast food chains, chefs are catching on that people want their food to make them feel good, not just while they are eating it but hours, days, and years afterward.

Really, this news shouldn’t make the headlines. This is common sense! Paying for food that makes us sick is as crazy as shooting ourselves in the foot. It just doesn’t make sense.

Big Food is finally getting the message and getting on board.

But remember, no processed or fast food option will ever be better than a healthy home-cooked meal. The best way to ensure you are eating the highest quality, most nutritious food possible is to prepare your own food in your own kitchen. We are all chefs. You don’t have to be trained at Le Cordon Bleu to know your way around a kitchen. You just need a little knowledge, some imagination, and a sense of adventure.

A desire for real food is a fundamental part of our basic biological blueprint. Given the chance, our taste receptors will naturally gravitate toward the inherent sweetness found in vegetables, fruits, and even nuts and seeds.

So, how do you reprogram your taste buds to ditch the cravings for sugar, salt, and fats? You can start by eating real, fresh, whole foods. Avoid fake, commercialized foods that come in convenience packages or are made in a lab.

Here are 10 more tips to get you excited about ditching the sugar, salt, and fats:

  1. Sauté or roast your veggies to bring out their natural sweetness. Properly searing your chicken or meat brings out the inherent sweetness by way of the Maillard reaction. This is a fancy name for what happens when you create that nice, brown crust on your meat. Want more cooking tips like this? Check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  2. Play with herbs like cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, and oregano to add flavor and phytonutrients! Finish a meal by adding fresh herbs before plating or serving. This last-minute addition kicks the flavor up a notch!
  3. Healthy fats found in avocado, coconut, and tahini not only increase the flavor of your meal, they also add that creamy, luscious texture found in many rich foods. See for yourself just how healthy and tasty desserts can be by trying my Dark Chocolate Silk Pudding from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook!
  4. Try creating a savory, umami (Japanese for “delicious”) flavor. Add moderate amounts of tamari, umeboshi plum paste, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste, dried mushroom, or sea vegetables to your next stew, soup, sauce, or stir-fry.
  5. Cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and even cayenne or chipotle pepper powder are all extremely flavorful additions to a meal. Spices like these excite your taste buds and grab your attention. This is helpful, because, as studies show, when we are focused on actually tasting our food rather than mindlessly gobbling it up, we actually need less food to feel satisfied.
  6. Befriend some kitchen must-haves like real vanilla extract or vanilla bean or coconut butter. Or use common, every-day foods like lemons in some creative ways. For example, use lemon zest to add real zing to any meal!
  7. For the most flavor, eat seasonally and locally. Canned or packaged foods or foods that have traveled great distances in the back of a truck just can’t compare to the succulence of a fresh piece of locally grown fruit.
  8. Check your hydration. Digestion starts in your mouth with your saliva, which helps us taste all the magnificent flavor in food. If you are dehydrated and not producing enough saliva, you won’t really be able to enjoy your food.
  9. Check your medications. Believe it or not, most medications interfere with the body’s ability to taste and smell. Some of them can even create an unpleasant metallic taste in the mouth. Wondering how you might decrease the number of pills you take? Learn more about functional medicine.
  10. Got nutrition? Nutrient deficiency is an important cause of improper taste perception. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can markedly impair your ability to smell and taste food. Most Americans have several nutrient deficiencies, but there is one in particular that can especially keep you from enjoying your next meal: zinc. Try adding foods like oysters, pecans, sunflower seeds, and lentils to increase your daily intake of this important mineral. Try the recipe for Hearty Lentil Soup from The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. If you are deficient, you might also need to take a zinc supplement. Work with one of my nutrition coaches to ensure your nutrition status is up to par.

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For more ways to use your kitchen to take back your health, check out The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook. Get tips and tricks for making healthy and tasty meals. Learn what foods you should eat to boost your metabolism, balance your blood sugar, and lose weight. Try more than 175 tasty recipes that appeal to a variety of budgets, taste preferences, health goals, and lifestyles.

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com.

Coca-Cola Wants You to Think Aspartame Safe

Cokey Low-keyIf the Coca-Cola company were first and foremost concerned with public health, they would have picked a different product. There’s just no way to argue that soda is healthy by any stretch of the imagination, and we doubt anyone is kidding themselves that it is.

With an ever-increasing interest in health and wellness, including an understanding of the dangers of sugar, refined carbohydrates and toxic chemicals, the most Coke can do is mitigate the public’s worry. In a new ad defending their use of low- and no-calorie sweeteners, the company seemingly acknowledges the widespread concern over calorie intake and artificial sweeteners, but brushes the issue aside.

Our use of high-quality, low- and no-calorie sweeteners, including aspartame, allows us to give people great-tasting options they can feel good about. Time and again, these low- and no-calorie sweeteners have shown to be safe, high-quality alternatives to sugar. In fact, the safety of aspartame is supported by more than 200 studies over the last 40 years.

They reference the International Food Information Council Foundation, and it’s hard to resist feeling swayed by the apparent soundness of their argument.

ABC News also commented,

Many large public health organizations say the sweeteners have no adverse health effects when used in moderation. The Food and Drug Administration, for example, regards aspartame as a safe food ingredient. The American Cancer Society notes that most studies don’t associate aspartame use with an increased risk of cancer. The American Heart Association, The American Diabetes Association and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics all have published position statements supporting the moderate use of artificial sweeteners.

We’ve been taught for years, though, that most artificial sweeteners are damaging to our health (just as we are now coming to fully understanding the risks associated with natural sugars, as well!). So what are we to think?

Truth be told, there are considerable studies pointing to the relative harmlessness of artificial sweeteners. But they are by no means healthy, either. Sucralose, for instance, has been associated to increased migraines. And according to Professor of Food Science Dr. Woodrow Monte, aspartame tastes sweet because it is attached to methanol, known to easily convert to cancer-causing formaldehyde. This alone might not be proof enough of the carcinogenic nature of aspartame, but it certainly begs some caution on the consumer’s part.

Ultimately, it is imperative to remember that Coca-Cola is selling a product. They are a multi-billion dollar corporation focused more on revenue than on public service. They should by no means be a go-to sources for health information. Do some research and determine for yourself whether artificial sweeteners are healthy for your diet.

Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

3 Mouthwatering Desserts You’d Never Guess Were Vegan

heart-pie-1024x7681I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that all vegan food is bland and boring. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! In my experience, it’s not hard to make delicious vegan food, and it starts with knowing how to work with a few key ingredients.

As a mom, I love making tasty desserts for everyone to indulge in, and there’s no reason these can’t be vegan. For vegan desserts, it’s a good idea to get comfortable with things like dates, cashews, and maple syrup – healthy, natural ingredients that will add sweetness, texture, and depth to your treats.

Here are three of my favorite dessert recipes – so gooey, delicious, and flavorful that no one will guess they’re vegan!

4-truffles-on-plate1. Chocolate Truffles

Yields @20 truffles

Ingredients:

  • dates – 1 cup
  • cashews – raw, 1/2 cup
  • almonds – raw, 1/2 cup
  • raw cacao powder – 3/4 cup
  • coconut – shredded, unsweetened 1/2 cup
  • maple syrup – 1/2 cup
  • vanilla extract – 2 teaspoons
  • salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • almonds – raw- extra 20 for inside truffles

For Topping:

  • coconut – shredded 1 tablespoon
  • cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
  • raw cacao powder – 1 teaspoon

Instructions:

In a high speed blender or food processor, blend together the dates, cashews and almonds until they form a crumble-paste. Add a little warm water if the paste is too thick – it shouldn’t be totally smooth and it shouldn’t be wet; it should be crumbly with nutty pieces in it.

Add the raw cacao powder and blend.

Add in the  maple syrup, vanilla, coconut and salt and blend until completely incorporated. Make sure you stop and scrape down the sides of the blender a few times to keep the mixture moving.

Measure the truffle mixture out as 1 tablespoon each.

If the dough is too sticky at this point, put it in the freezer for 10 minutes; it is easier to manage when it is cold.

Place one of the raw almonds into the middle of the truffle and roll into balls. Coat with shredded coconut, cinnamon or raw cacao.

I find the easiest way to coat the truffles is to put whatever topping you choose into a plastic or paper bag. One by one put the truffles in and shake. Kids LOVE this part.

While the truffles can be eaten right away, they are better when eaten cold. For best results, place the truffles in the freezer and allow them to harden for at least an hour. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months (though they would be lucky to last until the end of the day). Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.

2. Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • Crust
  • pecans – 1 cup
  • sunflower seeds – 2 tbsp
  • medjool dates – 5 large, pitted
  • salt – pinch
  • water – 1 tsp
  • Filling
  • cashews – 2 cups
  • maple syrup – 2/3 cup
  • water – 3/4 cup
  • vanilla – 1 tbsp pure
  • raw cacao powder – 2/3 cup
  • himalaya salt – 1/8 tsp
  • coconut oil – 1/3 cup,melted
  • coconut butter – 1/4 cup, melted

Instructions:

Crust

In a high speed blender or food processor grind the pecans and sunflower seeds.

Chop the dates and add to the nuts and seeds with the salt. Grind again into crumbs.

Add the water and zap again until the mixture turns into a moist dough that holds together when pressed.

Press into the bottom of a spring form pan, mini pans, or small silicone muffin cups.

Set aside.

Filling

Blend all but the oil and butter until smooth and creamy in a high speed blender.

On stove stove, heat the oil and the butter until it is melted. Then, add to the mixture and blend again.

Pour over the crust.

Set in the fridge for at least 8 hours.

I add fresh fruit and coconut whipped cream for taste and decoration. It’s so much fun to play with and the fruit is perfect with the density and texture of the chocolate. Add the coconut whipped cream and you have yourself a winner. I have turned coconut haters into coconut lovers with this dessert. Really, it’s that good.

3. Chocolate Cashew Butter

Ingredients:

  • cashews – 1 cup
  • maple syrup – 1/3 cup
  • raw cacao powder – 1/2 cup
  • coconut oil – 2 tbsp
  • coconut butter – 1 tbsp
  • water – 1 tbsp
  • salt – dash

Instructions:

Add everything except the coconut butter and coconut oil to a high speed blender. Blend until completely smooth. Melt the oil and the butter on the stove and add to the blender and blend until the ingredients are combined.

Put in an airtight container (preferably glass). It will keep for a few months in the fridge or a few weeks in the pantry, though it won’t last that long. The jar is empty in about a week in our house. Spread on toast, dip fresh fruit in it, add it to coconut milk ice cream, quinoa crepes, waffles, use it as an icing or anything else you can imagine spreading chocolate on. Most of all, enjoy!

 

Originally published on my website, Tapp’s Tips.

5 Anti-Inflammatory Diet Tips That Will Leave Your Body Feeling Brand New

Strawberry #2

As herbalist Kathy Abascal pointed out in a recent article with Spirituality & Health magazine, most weight-loss diets out there tend to focus on one thing (be it gluten, dairy, glycemic rating, etc) and are therefore ineffective. Weight does not exist in a vacuum, which is why isolating certain aspects of the diet for the purpose of losing weight simply doesn’t work. Achieving overall health through lifestyle changes is the only way to see the kind of results you want. And, according to Abascal, there is one extremely effective way of doing that.

It’s called the TQI Diet, which stands for “To Quiet Inflammation.” From her expertise in biochemistry and herbalism, Abascal discovered that inflammation was one of the most common symptoms associated with poor health and extra weight. Having struggled with her own weight issues and eager to make a change, she developed an anti-inflammatory diet plan that is responsible for remarkable results among its followers.

Here are 5 of the 10 tips Abascal shares with Spirituality & Health on how to reduce inflammation and start losing weight:

  1. Eliminate inflammatory foods, like those high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, as well as alcohol.
  2. Eat healthy fats like nuts, avocados, and seeds.
  3. Eat breakfast soon after rising.
  4. Eat consistent meals without grazing throughout the day.
  5. Eliminate bedtime snacking.

For the rest of Abascal’s tips, as well as her description of how she developed the diet and why it’s so effective, check out the interview in the July/August issue of Spirituality & Health magazine.

Have you struggled with inflammation in the past? What have you done to reduce it? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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SH_JulyAug_CVR_lrgSpirituality & Health is a magazine for people who want to explore the spiritual journey and wake up to our capacity for self-healing, vitality, and resiliency. Read the entire conversation with Christine Northrup in the July-August edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! Get your first issue FREE here.

Would you like to win a FREE year-long subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine?

This month, Intent is giving away 5 year-long subscriptions to Spirituality & Health magazine. To enter, simply comment below with your favorite empowering quote. Be sure to include your name and email so we can contact you if you win.

 

18 Healthy Snacks to Ensure You’re Never In a “Food Emergency” Again

Marcona AlmondsIt may seem as though we live in a land of plenty. Everywhere you look there are vending machines, restaurants, and stores offering an endless assortment of quick and cheap snacks and meals.

And yet, the reality is that everyday most Americans live in a constant state of emergency. Either they skip breakfast or they put themselves at the mercy of the local coffee chain feeding them high-sugar coffees and donuts or muffins or scones (which sound like a French health food but are really giant sugar cookies). And then, at work, there are bowls of candy and vending machines full of soda and on the way home, there are fast food restaurants and convenience stores luring you in. We live in a toxic nutritional wasteland where finding real, whole, fresh food is difficult if not impossible for most people to find.

What is a food emergency? When your blood sugar starts to drop, you are hard-wired to eat anything (and everything) in sight. To think you can use willpower to control your hunger or cravings contradicts the science of how your brain controls your behavior. The more willpower you use, the more it backfires, eventually. You find yourself automatically overeating and binging or just eating whatever happens to be in front of you.

But there is a solution, a simple, practical idea that most of us never think about: planning and bringing food with us.

If you were a type 1 diabetic, you would not leave the house without your insulin syringe or a packet of sugar. If you did, your life would be at risk. If you had a severe bee or peanut allergy, you wouldn’t go anywhere without your EpiPen. One sniff of peanut dust and you could die without your protection.

While you may not die in an hour, you will get sick and fat and live a shorter, poorer life if you regularly find yourself in a food emergency. You will repeatedly choose poor quality, high sugar, refined foods and eat more than you need.

Emergency Life Pack – Your Food Safety Net

That is why I recommend that everyone create an emergency life pack, a food safety net. Each person has to find their favorite things to include, and the choices are almost infinite. You need to stock your home, your travel bag or purse, your car and your workplace with key rations for any food emergency. What if you didn’t have time to have breakfast? What could you grab for the car? Or if you get busy at work, what can you find in your drawer to get you through the day? Or what is at the ready in the late afternoon if you start to droop?

I definitely recommend including protein snacks, because protein controls your appetite and balances your blood sugar over long periods of time. These are snacks that keep on giving but don’t give that quick rush and crash we get from most “snack foods,” which leave us even more hungry and tired. If you wait until you are hungry, you will make irrational decisions. Just set yourself up to make better choices by having good things around you.

Here are easy-to-make or easy-to-buy foods that you can grab and go anywhere with. We all travel out of the house frequently, and with a little bit of planning and shopping, we can stay healthy and keep ourselves out of food emergencies. Get a few glass containers with lids and Ziploc baggies to put your snacks in. Buy an insulated lunchbox or mini-cooler to put your food in. These are just ideas and you can innovate, but make sure you include food with good-quality protein and fats that are also low in sugar.

Things That Last Forever:

  • Canned wild salmon or sardines
  • Flax or seed crackers (Mary’s Gone Crackers)
  • Jerky (bison, grass-fed beef or turkey—try Krave or Grass Fed Jerky Chews
  • Salmon Jerky (Vital Choice)
  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts and pumpkin seeds)
  • Nut butter packets (almond, pecan, macadamia nuts—Artisana makes individual packs)
  • Coconut butter packets (Artisana brand is great)
  • Whole food or raw food protein bars (Raw Revolution and LÄRABAR are my favorites)
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Roasted red peppers

 Easy-To-Prepare On-the-Go Snacks:

  • Garbanzo beans with olive oil, lemon, garlic and salt
  • Hard-boiled omega 3 eggs
  • Hummus (Try Wild Garden single-serve packets that last a long time)
  • Cut-up carrots, cucumbers, peppers and celery in Ziploc baggies
  • Apple or pear

Treats:

  • Dark chocolate (70%)
  • Dried figs
  • Dates

Dr. Hyman’s Go-To Travel Food Emergency Pack

When I am on the road, I find it a dangerous place: airports, hotel mini-bars, bad restaurants, food deserts. My health is in jeopardy every time I step out of my controlled environment. So I bring food with me and make it a rule never to eat on planes or in airports (although increasingly, there is edible food in airports—you just have to know how to hunt and gather!). I never leave home without these things, and I keep a good stock in my pantry, so I can just throw them in my bag. They take up little space and pack a powerful nutritional punch.

  • Wild salmon jerky from Vital Choice or Patagonia
  • Grass-fed beef or turkey jerky by Krave
  • Packets of coconut butter and macadamia nut butter by Artisana
  • Raw Revolution protein food bars
  • Organic almonds
  • Organic macadamia nuts
  • Organic dates

For help creating your own emergency food pack, watch my how-to video here. Remember, with a little bit of planning, you can save yourself from food emergencies and stay healthy and well nourished wherever you go.

Now I’d like to hear from you …

What do you like to include in your emergency food pack?

Have you found some good sources of healthy, whole foods even while out on the road?

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

Got Proof? The Lack of Evidence for Milk’s Benefits

Got milk?There is no biological requirement for cow’s milk. It is nature’s perfect food but only if you are a calf. The evidence of its benefits is overstated, and the evidence of its harm to human populations is increasing.

The white mustached celebrities paid by the Dairy Council promote the wonders of milk in their “Got Milk” ads. Scientists are increasingly asking, “Got Proof?” Our government still hasn’t caught on, in part because of the huge dairy lobby driving nutrition guidelines. When I once lamented to Senator Harkin that all we wanted to do was to make science into policy, he cocked his head and with a wry smile and said, “that would make too much sense.”

And the media is also influenced heavily by advertising dollars. Once, when I was on Martha Stewart’s television show, the dairy lobby sponsored the episode, and her trainer was forced to mouth the talking points of the Dairy Council touting milk as a fabulous sports drink. Studies may show some benefit, but studies funded by the food industry show positive benefits eight times more than independently funded studies.

In a new editorial by two of the nation’s leading nutrition scientists from Harvard, Dr. David Ludwig and Dr. Walter Willett, in JAMA Pediatrics, our old assumptions about milk are being called into question. Perhaps it doesn’t help you grow strong bones, and it may increase the risk of cancer and promote weight gain.

It is bad enough that the dairy industry recently petitioned the FDA to sneak artificial sweeteners into chocolate milk. They want their “shake and eat it, too” by pushing milkshake-like flavored milk drinks into schools as a “healthier” option, even though they have 30 grams of sugar per cup. By cutting the sugar and adding artificial sweeteners to low fat or non-fat milk drinks, the idea is that they would be healthier. Except for the fact that recent studies have found that one diet drink a week increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 33 percent and a large diet drink increases the risk by 66 percent.

What about low fat milk or non-fat milk? These are the healthier options, right? Wrong.

Ludwig and Willett note that there is scant evidence that fat makes you fat, despite this commonly held mistaken belief. Reducing fat in milk reduces its ability to satisfy the appetite (which fat does) and can promote overeating and hunger. Often, the fat in the diet is replaced with sugar and refined carbohydrates, which clearly has been shown to promote obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Studies show that reducing fat in the diet, which parallels an increase in starch and refined carbohydrates in the diet, not only increases hunger but also may actually slow metabolism. In one study, Dr. Ludwig found that those who ate a low fat, higher glycemic diet burned 300 calories less a day that those who ate an identical calorie diet that was higher in fat and lower in glycemic load. For those who ate the higher fat, lower glycemic diet, that’s like exercising an extra hour a day without doing anything!

More concerning still is that, in studies of kids and adults, those who consumed low fat milk products gained more weight than those who ate the full fat whole milk products. They seemed to increase their overall intake of food because it just wasn’t as satisfying as the real thing. In fact, those who drank the most milk overall gained the most weight. It makes logical sense. Milk is designed to quickly turn a little calf into a big cow and contains over sixty different hormones, most designed to boost growth.

But shouldn’t we stick to low fat milk to reduce our intake of saturated fat? The fact is that, while your LDL or bad cholesterol goes down by reducing saturated fat in the diet, the protective cholesterol, HDL, actually goes up by eating saturated fat improving the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol, which is the most important marker of your risk of heart disease. Switching out saturated fat for carbohydrates actually increased the risk of heart attack in a 12-year study of 53,544 adults. In fact, the whole story of the evil of saturated fats is in great debate. The evidence for linkage to heart disease turns out to be pretty weak indeed.

If you ate only whole foods, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains (not whole grain flour), you might be better off overall (although a recent scientific review of saturated fat dismissed the very notion that is it bad for you). But sadly, that is not what most Americans do when they switch to low fat.

The sad thing is that many schools and “healthy” beverage guidelines encourage the idea that flavored milk is better than soda and that getting kids to drink more milk by any means is a good idea. This is dangerously misguided.

There are 27 grams of sugar in 8 ounces of Coca Cola and a whopping 30 grams of sugar in 8 ounces of Nestlé Chocolate Milk. Sugar is sugar and drives obesity and diabetes. It is not a good way to get kids to drink milk.

But that begs the bigger question. Do kids need milk? Is milk necessary for healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis? The data are clear, but our government polices don’t reflect the science.

Dairy and milk products do not promote healthy bones. In a large meta-analysis, milk did not reduce risk of fractures. Other studies have shown it can increase fracture rates. And the countries with the lowest milk consumption have the lowest risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Calcium is not all it’s cracked up to be. Studies show that higher calcium intakes are actually associated with higher risk of fracture.

Milk may not grow strong bones, but it does seem to grow cancer cells. Milk increases the hormone called IGF-1 or insulin-like growth factor, one that is like Miracle-Gro for cancer cells. Dairy products have been linked to prostate cancer. And cows are milked while pregnant (yes, even organic cows), filling milk with loads of reproductive and potentially cancer-causing hormones.

There are other problems with milk, too. It increases the risk of type 1 diabetes. Dairy is a well-known cause of acne. And of course, dairy causes millions around the world (75 percent of the population) to suffer digestive distress because of lactose intolerance. It causes intestinal bleeding in 40 percent of infants leading to iron deficiency. Allergy, asthma, and eczema all may be triggered by dairy consumption.

The US Department of Agriculture’s new My Plate initiative recommends three cups a day of milk for everyone! If you are two to nine years old, you get away with only two to two and a half cups. And the “key consumer message” is to switch to 1% or non-fat versions.

There is absolutely no biological requirement for milk, and the evidence for low fat milk is lacking, along with the bone benefits. The dairy lobby has its tentacles deep in the US Department of Agriculture. One scientist friend who advises the government on food policy confided to me that when he protested that there was no evidence for the government’s recommendations that we all drink three glasses of milk a day and that, in fact, it may be harmful, he was patronized with a “yes, we know, but the dairy lobby makes it difficult to make science into policy.”

Let’s just forget the science and spend taxpayer’s dollars to promote foods that we know are harmful, because money runs politics. To heck with the health of our citizens.

Bottom line: Milk is not nature’s perfect food unless you are a calf and should not be consumed in large quantities by most people, because it can promote weight gain, cancer, and even cause osteoporosis. Write to your congressmen to encourage them to support changes to our food and farm bill policies that shape our nutritional guidelines and make them evidence based. The answer to the question, “Got Proof?” Heck no!

Now I’d like to hear from you…

Do you think we need to drink milk to be healthy?

Do you agree that getting kids to drink more milk is a good idea?

Have you recently cut dairy from your diet, and if so, do you feel better?

What are some good dairy alternatives that you’ve discovered?

 

Originally published on my website, DrHyman.com

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