11 foods that may not be what they seem… –

11 foods that may not be what they seem... -

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Much has been made in recent years about whole food, slow food and organic fare, which is being sold for a premium in many supermarkets and restaurants across the United States. But how can you tell what’s real and what’s not so real?

You may be saying to yourself, “Why is this a big deal?” but the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sends out scores of alerts each year warning consumers about foods that are being sold as mislabeled, misbranded, adulterated and even contaminated.

Common ‘fake’ foods list: Are you buying these unaware?

There are common foods we buy on a regular basis simply because we believe that they have a level of quality that — gasp! — in many cases can’t be proven. With that in mind, here are several edibles that deserve a closer look in determining whether they’re really what they say they are.

Honey

Reports in recent years have pointed out that much of the honey we buy in our favorite supermarket isn’t pure honey at all, or at least not much of it. While the FDA allows adulteration of honey, any additives must be expressly declared on the label. The FDA’s guidance says that, “Identifying a blend or a mixture of honey and another sweetener only as ‘honey’ does not properly identify the basic nature of the food. You must sufficiently describe the name of the food on the label to distinguish it from simply ‘honey’.”

Kobe steak

You don’t see Kobe steak on a whole lot of restaurant menus, but when you so, tread carefully — it might be a scam. The fact is that not much of Kobe steak, which is super-expensive, leaves Japan. Kobe beef is taken from purebred Japanese cattle and is strictly regulated in that nation. Exported only since 2012, the meat has to be certified by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Association.

On that agency’s website, which you’ll need to translate from Japanese, it says that the cattle are so well-taken care that there may even be small herds that are reared listening to music. Talk about exclusive!

Soy sauce

There are different variations of soy sauce, particularly the distinct ways it’s produced in Japan, China and other Asian countries. But you’d be surprised how much soy sauce is watered-down or downright fabricated. In 2016, FDA inspectors concluded that more than half of randomly selected soy sauce products failed government standards, according to the Taipei Times.

Tuna

Fraud is rampant in the global seafood industry. Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported one of the world’s most reputable seafood distributors was pulling a tuna ruse on what consumers and buyers thought was “local, sustainable” fish. Turns out the fish were from halfway around the world, caught by poor fishermen working 22-hour days. Aside from affecting the supplies of some of the nation’s top chefs and restaurants, the repercussions are still rippling across the industry.

 

What was uncovered in the investigation “throws quite a wrench” in the narrative that these tuna catches come from small fishing villages that make their living by it, award-winning TV chef Rick Bayless was quoted as saying. To make matters worse, much of what’s purported to be tuna on the world market is actually escolar, a fish the FDA says can contain toxins and should be avoided.

Tilapia

Ah, tilapia. Despite being the fourth-most popular fish in the United States, tilapia is a species much maligned by conspiracists and people who like to share dubious memes on Facebook. Contrary to those well-circulated claims, tilapia is easy to farm but can also be found in the wild. According to researchers with the MIT Sea Grant Program, the fish originated from the Middle East and Africa, but was introduced to the United States, particularly the Southeast, for weed and insect control.

 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, tilapia is one of those fish that many people associate with nefarious Chinese farms. It’s true that the USDA has previously warned against eating seafood from those origins because of some of the practices of China’s fishermen, but in recent years the agency has avoided making generalizations about that country’s farm-raised species. Still, here are the FDA’s warnings to its inspectors about tilapia imports.

Olive oil

We’ve told you about how one of the most popular brands of olive oil was recently involved in a class-action lawsuit due to its claims of selling “extra virgin” and other issues. Turns out, for olive oil to get the elusive “extra virgin” status, it has to pass lab tests administered by the Madrid-based International Olive Council.

According to Forbes, a food fraud study published in the Journal of Food Science showed that olive oil was “the single most commonly referenced adulterated food of any type” over a 30-year span ending in 2010.

‘Plumped’ chicken

That big, healthy piece of chicken you’re eyeing in the meat section at the grocer is likely full of water, especially if it’s frozen. That’s because of “plumping,” which is the common practice of injecting your chicken with water and other ingredients. Not only does this make it look bigger — and meatier — than it really is, but plumping adds up at the cash register when you pay by the pound. A video that purports to show a worker at a processing plant plumping chickens with a solution went viral in 2015. Injecting chickens with water is legal, as long as the ingredients are on the label. Just know that you may be paying for a chicken who owes as much as 30% of its weight to water.

Pink salmon

Think that farm-raised salmon you watched the fishmonger cut for you is naturally pink? Not likely. “Almost all farmed salmon are fed feed that contains artificial color additives,” according to a bulletin from the Seafood Products Association. Indeed, the FDA has rules that expressly address the color sometimes added to the feed of salmonid fish to enhance the “pink to orange-red color” of the fish’s flesh. The product label must state the color additive with general words to the effect of  “Artificial Color,” “Artificial Color Added” or “Color Added.”

Red meat

Grocery store beef, like other foods on this list, may be artificially colored so as to look red or fresh. After all, people shop with their eyes first and foremost. “Often an attractive, bright color is a consideration for the purchase,” the FDA says. The agency has no qualms about this and says in its guidance on food coloration that, “Color additives are now recognized as an important part of practically all processed foods we eat. Without color additives, colas wouldn’t be brown, margarine wouldn’t be yellow, and mint ice cream wouldn’t be green.”

Lobster

People often brag about forking over big money for a lobster dish at places like Red Lobster and other restaurants — but they might have nothing to boast about. See, they may not even be eating lobster at all. Instead, many eateries are serving them langostino, a similar-looking but smaller and cheaper crustacean. Sometimes restaurants will just add the word and people will only see “lobster.”

Parmesan cheese

Several years ago, the FDA sent a warning letter to a company telling it to get its act straight. “Your Parmesan cheese products do not contain any Parmesan,” it said. Some companies were even called out putting wood pulp in their cheese. In 2016, Bloomberg News tested various store-bought brands of grated cheese for “wood-pulp content” and the additive cellulose, which is safe at 2 to 4%. This is what they found:

Essential Everyday 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese, from Jewel-Osco, was 8.8 percent cellulose, while Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s Great Value 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese registered 7.8 percent, according to test results. Whole Foods 365 brand didn’t list cellulose as an ingredient on the label, but still tested at 0.3 percent. Kraft had 3.8 percent.

Know any other foods with dubious origins? Let us hear about it in the comments!

 



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The Decades-Old Foodie Favorites That Are Hot Again –

The Decades-Old Foodie Favorites That Are Hot Again -

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Decades of devotion to convenient, mass-distributed, processed foods turned the national larder generic and bland. But by embracing local food sources, slow-food tenets, and ecologically sound methods, we’re rediscovering deliciousness from back in the day. Here’s a taste of nine new-old trends.

1/ BITTER FLAVORS There’s a bitter-flavor boom under way thanks in part to bitters, the alcohol-based botanical concoctions, and a gorgeous riot of purple and green speckled chicories. Use them to add color and crunch to gratins and sautés. Try this: Rosso Tardivo radicchio, melissas.com

2/ HEIRLOOM APPLES Johnny Appleseed didn’t just plant Red Delicious trees. Our continent has hosted more than 15,000 apple varieties over its history. Today’s forward-thinking growers have restocked their farms with Nodheads, Granite Beauties, Pitmaston Pineapples, and hundreds of other varieties. Find them in the late summer, fall, and winter at your farmers markets.

3/ NEXT-LEVEL BREADS Tangy, chewy sourdoughs—mixed with whole grains, leavened with wild yeast, and left to ferment—represent ancient baking tradition, though we’re just starting to appreciate it again now, thanks to small artisanal bakeries sprouting like wheat berries nationwide. Look for micrograin mills suited for home kitchens (and cricket flour!) as interest grows in baking with fresh-milled whole grains.

4/ ANCIENT GRAINS In the beginning, there was amaranth (black barley, farro, and spelt, too). Many years later, we worshipped corn, rice, and white flour. Now, the health benefits and the new world of the oldest whole grains have made us disciples once again.

5/ HERITAGE MEATS Breeders raising old-line animals—Ossabaw and Berkshire pigs; White Park cattle; Blue Andalusian chickens; Bourbon Red turkeys, to name but a few—bring to market incredibly flavorful protein, a stark contrast to the lean hybrid commodity meats in supermarkets. Try this: Poulet Rouge Fermier, joyce-farms.com

6/ CHARCUTERIE AND SALUMI Once exclusive to bistros and trattorias, house-cured meats have become a passion project for many American chefs. The movement falls directly in line with farm-to-table and nose-to-tail principles the food world has espoused for years now. Try this: Saucisson les Diots, salumeriabiellese.com

7/ BYCATCH AND OILY FISH Savvy restaurants now offer species once discarded as “trash fish,” touting their tastes and eco-friendly pedigrees. The crusade is also a net gain for previously unfashionable oily fish loaded with omega-3s, like sardines, anchovies, mullet, and mackerel. Try this: Small Mackerel in Olive Oiljosegourmet.com

8/ FERMENTED FOODS Snappy, slightly effervescent Korean kimchi, unpasteurized sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha are among the most popular items laced with good-gut bacteria, proving healthy food can—and should—be the boldest-tasting, most delicious stuff you eat. Try this: Mother-In-Law’s Kimchimilkimchi.com

9/ AQUACULTURE After a century-long lull, oysters beds are repopulating our coastlines as bivalves come back in vogue. Look for more sustainably farmed finfish like catfish and troutand ocean farms of seaweed to help replace the demand for declining stocks of wild fish. Try this: Sewansecott oysters and clams, hmterry.com



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The BEST Foods For Fighting Inflammation –

The BEST Foods For Fighting Inflammation -

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The following story is excerpted from TIME’s special edition, 100 Most Healing Foods, which is available in stores, at the Meredith Shop and at Amazon.

Inflammation is our body’s healthy response to fighting disease. But when it gets out of hand, inflammation can become chronic and lead to a whole host of health problems, from autoimmune diseases to cancer. Foods high in sugar and saturated fat are thought to contribute to inflammation, which is why some people who have inflammatory conditions and autoimmune disorders try out low-sugar diets. On the flip side, there are also foods to pile onto your plate that may actually tamp down inflammation. Read on for the latest science on anti-inflammatory options, plus how to enjoy these picks.

Bell peppers

How to eat them: Chop up bell peppers and serve them with hummus or drizzled with a little red-wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Why they’re good for you: Bell peppers—especially the bright-red ones—are high in antioxidants and low in starch. Similar to spicy peppers, sweet bell peppers contain the chemical compound capsaicin, which is known to help reduce inflammation and potentially even pain.

Pears

How to eat them: Slice up pears and add them to a salad with walnuts and a soft cheese.

Why they’re good for you: If you’re concerned about inflammation (say, if you have arthritis or diabetes), eating high-fiber foods like pears is a natural way to fight the problem. Fiber-rich diets contribute to a healthy microbiome and promote satiety—helpful when trying to lose weight.

Mackerel

How to eat it: This fish is a Mediterranean staple. Roast a fillet of mackerel (or the whole fish if you’re adventurous) with a generous helping of herbs, olive oil and lemon.

Why it’s good for you: The high fat in mackerel helps fight diseases characterized by high inflammation, like heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Mackerel is also a source of vitamins B12 and D, the latter of which can be hard to find naturally in foods. Vitamin D is important for maintaining strong bones and immune-system function, as well as helping the body absorb calcium.

Spinach

How to eat it: Make a spinach salad with a high-fat food like avocado in order to take full advantage of the veggie’s nutrients.

Why it’s good for you: Spinach deserves its reputation as a power food. It is a good source of vitamin E, which may help protect the body from inflammation-causing molecules called cytokines. The dark color lets you know that it is nutrient- dense, like other leafy greens.

Black tea

How to drink it: Black tea tastes great on its own as well as with a bit of milk and honey, or you can add some lemon and pomegranate juice for a refreshing beverage.

Why it’s good for you: Green tea usually gets all the attention, but black tea (which comes from the same plant) also has benefits. Drinking black tea may help keep arteries open, and it contains antioxidants that are known to protect cells from damage. One study linked black tea to a substantially lower risk of ovarian cancer.

Buckwheat

How to eat it: Buckwheat is used to make soba noodles, which you can get in grocery stores and use in soups. You can also buy the grain on its own and eat it in place of rice.

Why it’s good for you: Eating grains may reduce blood levels of a marker for inflammation called C-reactive protein. Buckwheat is also gluten-free, making it a safe option for people with celiac disease (double-check labels, though).

Pomegranate seeds

How to eat them: Many grocery stores sell prepackaged pomegranate seeds, but if you want to start with the full fruit, cut it in half and spoon the seeds into a bowl to munch on or add to salads.

Why they’re good for you: Pomegranate seeds are a good source of antioxidants that can lower both cholesterol and blood pressure. In fact, experts think that a compound in them called punicalagin targets inflammation in the brain, which could help slow the progression of brain-related decline.



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Do I Need It? –

Do I Need It? -

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Ketopaleogluten-free. There’s always an “it” diet that pops up every year, sporting an extensive list of can and can’t-eat foods that makes grocery shopping a minefield.

In his book, The Plant Paradox, Steven Gundry, M.D., a cardiologist and heart surgeon based in Southern California, claims that any food with the plant protein lectin is your worst enemy when it comes to weight loss.

But here’s the thing about lectins: They’re found in foods you’ve always thought good for you—like whole grains, squash, tomatoes, beans, nuts, and a lot of animal proteins. And that’s just the short list.

Gundry claims that humans weren’t intended to eat foods containing lectins and that eliminating those foods can decrease inflammation, boost weight loss, and lead to an overall healthier lifestyle. But is this really legit? We talked to Gundry and a few experts to find out.

So, what are lectins?

Lectins are proteins naturally found in many foods, especially grains and beans. They like to bind to carbohydrates, which can help cells interact and communicate with each other.

In plants, lectins play defense.They’re how plants protect themselves against being eaten. By making insects and animals feel sick to their stomach, lectins discourage them from eating lectin-filled plants again.

In humans, Gundry says that eating lectins provokes an inflammatory response—which can lead to weight gain and other serious health conditions, such as leaky gut and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What is the lectin-free diet?

“The lectin-free diet takes out high lectin foods like grains, quinoa, legumes, and nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant,” says registered dietitian Amy Goodson.

Also on the do-not-eat list: dairy, out-of-season fruit, and conventionally-raised meat and poultry. Womp, womp.

Instead, the diet suggests you load your plate with low-lectin foods like leafy greens, veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, and asparagus, mushrooms, nuts and seeds, millet, pasture-raised meats, and wild-caught fish.

Can it actually help you lose weight?

Gundry says that he’s personally lost 70 pounds on a lectin-free diet, and that he’s put many of his patients on this plan as well. “The amazing thing is when people change nothing except removing major lectins, they start losing weight and they still are eating lots of calories, but we’re not storing it as fat anymore,” Gundry says.

He also cites a 2006 study that indicates that a lectin-free diet can have a positive effect on people with cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome (a group of conditions indicated by increased blood pressure, high blood-sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels).

However, other experts are skeptical about how effective it is. “Anytime a diet starts to take out a massive amount of food groups, it’s a little more faddish by nature,” says Goodson. “The benefits of eating whole grains and vegetables, which provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber, significantly outweigh the risk that a small amount of lectin will cause GI issues.”

Plus, most foods with lectins can be super beneficial for weight loss, says Samantha Cassetty, R.D. For example, one 2017 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linked whole grains with weight loss. And another study published in the same journal found that people who consumed pulses over a six-week period (a.k.a. beans, lentils, chickpeas) lost significantly more weight than those who didn’t consume any pulses.

However, Leah Kaufman, R.D., has seen weight-loss success in patients with IBS through eliminating certain lectin-containing foods via a low FODMAP diet, which cuts out foods like beans and starchy vegetables.

Goodson does admit that lectins can be troublesome in high quantities, or when you eat lectin-rich foods raw. “But I don’t know who eats chickpeas or quinoa raw,” she says. In fact, simply soaking beans and grains overnight and cooking them reduces the amount of lectins that can cause GI distress. Peeling and de-seeding nightshades can help too.

Plus, there are many different types of lectins. Some are anti-microbial and may have anti-cancer potential (woot!), while other lectins aren’t so good for you. But research is a little iffy on both sides. “The majority of research [on lectins] have been animal and in vitro studies, not studies in humans,” says Goodson. So take the findings with a grain of salt.

Should you ditch lectin?

While going lectin-free may help some people, it likely won’t solve everyone’s stomach issues. “It’s not one of those things that should be applied globally,” says Goodson. “If you’re having serious issues, talk to your doctor or see a registered dietitian.”

Plus, only 10 percent of Americans get the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables, says Goodson, so we should eat more, not less produce. “If you look at the benefits of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for heart health and lowering disease risk, I’m going to argue that a little bit of fruit and vegetables are going to help people versus harm them,” says Goodson.

LIMIT THE INTAKE OF THE LECTIN-RICH FOODS

1. Beans & Legumes – Beans carry more lectins than any other food. Do your best to limit beans, peas, lentils, and other legumes or cook them in a pressure cooker. Also, some legumes hide as nuts – so it’s best to cut out peanuts and cashews as well.

2. Grains – For the most part, grains are a relatively new food to us. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors didn’t search for grains. Plus, most grains are lectin bombs, as well as gluten-free grain substitutes. It’s best to limit grain intake. If you must, eat white flour over wheat.

3. Squash – An easy rule to remember is that any vegetable with seeds is actually considered a fruit. Such is the case with squash, pumpkins, and zucchini. The seeds and peels of these foods are full of lectins. If you MUST eat squash, make sure to toss the peels and seeds aside.

4. Nightshades – Nightshades are vegetables that include eggplant, any kind of pepper, potatoes, and tomatoes. The peels and the seeds of these plants contain loads of lectins, too. Make sure to peel and deseed them or pressure cook or ferment them. All these techniques reduce the amount of lectins.

5. In-Season Fruit – Again, it’s nature’s candy, so you’ll want to limit the quantity you eat, but when it’s in season, fruit is okay to add to your diet.



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Exotic Superfood Swap! –

Exotic Superfood Swap! -

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It’s probably impossible to count all the times you’ve run across an article or study featuring this or that “superfood” found only on some exotic island or in the wilds of China. Information about many superfoods is everywhere, and while they’re interesting and their nutritional profiles may be impressive, aren’t there any superfoods near where you live? How odd is it that everything that seems to be the best at aiding weight loss, preventing cancer and boosting brain power comes from halfway around the world?

Every state in America has a list of native foods offering impressive vitamins, minerals and other elements essential for health, so wherever you live, there are local foods you may not have thought of to augment your health. Below are five local-for-exotic superfood swaps that not only may surprise you, but will get your culinary juices flowing.

Super Swap: Lemon Balm for Cacao

Not many would think these two could be interchanged, and maybe the flavors aren’t so similar, but the effects they provide seem to be. If you’re a chocolate lover, you know one of the reasons people crave it: It’s soothing and even somewhat stress relieving. Comparatively, lemon balm — emphasis on “balm” — does what it’s said to do, lifting your spirits but without the stimulation from caffeine.

Native to the eastern Mediterranean and West Asia, Melissa officinalis, like so many other herbs, has been used for centuries as a therapeutic remedy due to its antiviral, antibacterial, antispasmodic and antidepressant compounds. Its modus operandi, according to Natural Living Ideas,1 includes stress relief, relief of pain from indigestion and improving your appetite.

Another use for lemon balm is to promote sleep. You can chop the leaves and steep them in boiling water to make a tea or rub a few leaves on your skin to allow the natural oils to seep into your bloodstream, which helps you relax. In fact, a University of Maryland study found that 81 percent of the participants who used lemon balm with valerian root got a better night’s sleep than those on a placebo.2

And a Northumbria University study reported that experiments with lemon balm returned memory-strengthening and improved problem-solving abilities when they took capsules filled with the dried herb. The subjects also performed “significantly” better when taking standardized computer tests on memory in comparison with those given a placebo.3

One of the great things about lemon balm, a perennial herb and member of the mint family, is how easy it is to grow, particularly in the spring. It can be sown from seed, or you can buy a small plant from a farmers market or nursery, and you’ll be amazed how quickly it grows and spreads.

Acai Berries Can Be Swapped for Blueberries

Acai berries (pronounced ah-sah-EE), a sort of cross between a grape and a blueberry, look very much like the latter and, oddly, taste a little like a berry dipped in chocolate. They’ve been used in traditional medicine to treat infections from parasites, ulcers, hemorrhaging, ulcers and diarrhea. Acai berries come from the Amazon region. Besides the berries themselves, the juice and pulp are commonly added to teas, fruit drinks, fruit bars and other products geared toward health and vitality.

Nutritionally, these little berries contain high levels of antioxidants, flavonoids and anthocyanins. But as beneficial as acai berries are, their nutritional profile is very comparable to that of blueberries, grown on both U.S. coasts and all over the heartland. The two types of blueberries are differentiated as highbush and lowbush, the latter being the wild variety and higher in anthocyanins. According to the Blueberry Council:

“The first commercial crop of little blue dynamos traveled from farm to table 100 years ago … Native to North America, blueberries have been around for more than 13,000 years — so they have deep roots in our country’s history. Today, we’re still reaping the health benefits of blueberries, and are discovering they have more to offer than our ancestors could have ever imagined.”4

Blueberries have truly remarkable benefits for cardiovascular health, as well as for your brain, insulin response and even cancer prevention. Packed with vitamin C, which boosts your immune system and helps collagen to form, they’re also loaded with fiber for greater regularity, impacting your heart health, and manganese, a mineral noted for energy conversion and proper bone development.

Chickweed: The New Wheatgrass

As green as any grass you’ve ever seen, wheatgrass has been a main event in health food circles for decades. People will line up to pay big bucks for a small shot of the stuff, which tastes pretty much like you’d imagine, similar to the aroma of new-mown hay; as one company describes it, “unfamiliar, but not unpleasant.”5

Several of this commodity’s features include fighting aging by revitalizing skin cells, cleansing the blood and fighting tumors. Clinical studies show that it contains 90 minerals, 20 essential amino acids, 13 vitamins and 80 enzymes.

But it’s the 70 percent ratio of chlorophyll, structurally similar to red blood cells (hemoglobin), that makes it a superfood. World Lifestyle notes that once it’s absorbed, it converts to hemoglobin, mimicking red blood cells and carrying oxygen to vital areas of your body, and may even kill off cancer cells because “cancer cells can’t survive and thrive in oxygen-rich environments.”6

But get this: Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a wild, edible plant (beautiful, too, by the way) growing prolifically in every area of the world other than those that are coldest, like Antarctica. Besides decreasing insect damage to other plants, it’s chockfull of many vitamins, minerals and, like wheatgrass, chlorophyll. Chickweed stems and flowers can be used raw in salads and sandwiches, tossed into soups and stews or added to cooked dishes (but at the end as the stems and leaves are delicate).

Frontier foragers learned that when they gathered chickweed, almost exclusively in the spring, it was useful as both food and medicine. As a food, Foraged Foodie7 observes, the raw form is covered with a fine layer of fibers, which are minimized when they’re gently chopped and sautéed or wilted. Natural medicine expert Dr. Josh Axe notes:

“Chickweed is taken by mouth to treat stomach problems, intestinal complaints such as constipation, disorders of the blood, arthritis, lung diseases including asthma, kidney disorders, inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract, rabies, and scurvy or vitamin C deficiency. It is also used to relieve extreme exhaustion. Chickweed is applied on the skin relieve various skin conditions such as skin wounds, ulcers, burns, arthritis pain and symptoms of eczema.”8

Rose Hips Can Take the Place of Goji Berries

Goji berries are renowned for having a lot of vitamin C. Originally from Asia, they were used by the ancients to replenish body fluids, improve skin and soothe jangled nerves. The bush-like plant belongs to the nightshade family of plants with tomatoes and peppers and is reputed to be beneficial for insomnia, tuberculosis and to increase testosterone.

On the other hand, rose hips, the fruits or seed pods of the wild roses you see growing everywhere throughout the U.S in late summer or fall, contain so much vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid, they’re actually known to be the most abundant source in the world, which explains why they’re so sought after by many markets.

It was only in the last several decades that anyone thought to consider if there might be actual nutrition in rose hips. Once used in animal food, today they’re an ingredient in jams, jellies and pie, as well as soups, bread and wine. Bon Appetit adds:

“The hips, like the petals, are high in flavonoids, those small but mighty antioxidant friends. Like nettle, rose hips are anti-inflammatory. The pectin in rose hips also make it a heart healthy medicine … “9 

Mother Nature Network10 adds vitamins A and E to rose hips’ benefits, so they can be made into tea or even eaten to help treat colds and sore throat. Because they also contain free radical-fighting antioxidants, the anti-inflammatory properties can even treat rheumatoid arthritis.11

The odd pods also contain pectin, which is good for your heart. Organic Facts12 reveals more advantages of consuming rose hips in some form, including an ability to optimize cholesterol, boost your immune system, prevent chronic disease such as cancer, regulate your blood sugar and eliminate toxins.

Nettles Compared to ‘Superfood’ Spirulina

Although spirulina technically does grow in ‘the States,’ it’s only one: Hawaii, as well as other exotic areas of the world, so it’s understandable that many think of it as not exactly around the corner. But first of all, what is it? If you’ve heard of blue-green algae, you’re halfway there. Spirulina’s deep blue-green color reveals its active ingredient — chlorophyll — clearly. Health.com13 explains it as one of the oldest life forms on Earth and possibly consumed in Aztec and African diets centuries ago.

Today it’s touted for its ability to strengthen the immune system, reduce fatigue and combat allergies. Nettles are another plant with chlorophyll that even rivals the amount found in spirulina, but they’re often found in ditch banks, forests and riverbanks. It’s sometimes called “stinging nettle” because it does just that; if you touch it without wearing gloves, the tiny hairs on every surface sting like a bee due to the presence of formic acid, leaving small red welts. But internally, Bon Appetit asserts, it acts like a tonic:

“Taken over time, nettle will strengthen your circulatory, immune, and endocrine systems to promote peak function. The stronger these systems, the better position our bodies are in to deal with whatever might come our way.”14

Cooked or dried, though, this pesky stinging problem goes away completely; good thing, too, because this free foraging food is highly nutritious, containing fiber, lecithin, chlorophyll, sodium, iron, phosphorus, sulfur, potassium and vitamins A and C, according to Mother Earth News. It’s been used in birth rooms and battlefields to stop bleeding, both internally and externally, and is considered to purify blood, as well. As a tea:

“It has been found to help cure mucus congestion, skin irritations, water retention and diarrhea … stimulate the digestive glands of the stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas and gall bladder. Applied externally, nettle tea … relieves rheumatism in both people and animals, makes a first-class gargle for mouth and throat infections, helps to clear up acne and eczema and promotes the healing of burns.”15

The top two or three pairs of leaves are the most tender. Again, use gloves then tongs to transfer the saw-toothed leaves from your gathering bag to the sink for rinsing, and to the pan for sautéing, say, with onions and garlic in oil, sea salt and Parmesan cheese.

What About Common, Local, Easy-to-Grow Superfoods?

Among all the vegetables grown in the U.S. (although elsewhere, as well) broccoli is arguably one of the most nutritious. You don’t have to look far for the reason: sulforaphane, an organic sulfur found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. Not only does it support normal cell function and division, it helps your body detoxify and reduces inflammation and damage from reactive oxygen species (ROS).

Broccoli sprouts — the nutrient-dense superfood starter from broccoli seeds — are linked to the prevention of many serious diseases, from heart disease to diabetes. They, too, can help detoxify even such environmental pollutants as benzene and protect against cancer. Besides sulforaphane, this is also due to powerful compounds such as the glucosinolate glucoraphanin, which helps improve blood pressure and kidney function, and isothiocyanate, known to normalize DNA methylation.

Arugula is another powerhouse veggie, often known as “rocket” due to its spicy flavor. As a green, it’s very versatile. As another brassicaceae along with cabbage and broccoli, it has many of the same nutrients and healing compounds, including fiber, vitamins A, C (to boost the immune system) and K (for bone strength), folate, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.

One study shows arugula to be a powerful aid against gastrointestinal ulcers, psoriasis and skin, lung and mouth cancers. Many more vitamins and minerals help lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel function. The amazing thing is this fancy-looking green is very easy to grow and, like many others, can be mixed with other greens with supportive nutritive value.

Then there’s avocado, or Persea Americana, used by the Mayans as an aphrodisiac. Loaded with fiber, one avocado contains 36 percent of the dietary reference intake (DRI) in vitamin K, 30 percent of the folate and 20 each of pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium. Plus, avocados have more than twice the potassium of a banana. The avocado’s nutritional benefits rival any exotic food on the planet, as it has multiple beauty uses as a mask and facial scrub, natural sunscreen and moisturizer.

It’s also one of the only fruits (this one’s a drupe) offering plentiful and beneficial monounsaturated fats and helps optimize cholesterol levels. You can only skim the surface to imagine what all those other compounds do to boost health and fight disease. So, you don’t have to eat foods grown 3,000 miles away. You can often find them growing, or at least being sold, within an hour of you. Look around and see what’s available.



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Top 8 organic MISTAKES most people make because they have not done the research –

Top 8 organic MISTAKES most people make because they have not done the research -

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There are no absolutes when it comes to a healthy lifestyle and clean eating. Many foods that were perfectly wholesome just months ago may be tainted and contaminated now if the farmer, company or corporation that makes them changed even just a few key ingredients, or worse yet, sold out to “Big Food.” Nothing is 100 percent reliable either. People jump on diet bandwagons and think some new fad is the “be all, end all” of diets and if they can just stick to it they’ve “got it made.” Wrong.

There are holes in every game, and exceptions to every rule. There are major problems with labels like “all natural” and “gluten free,” but we’ll save those topics for another article. If you thought going 80 percent or 90 percent or even 100 percent organic was “all good,” then you’ve got a bit more homework to do, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Let’s talk about organic mistakes millions of people are making and exactly why, so we can all stay on track with eating clean daily.

#1. Buying from organic companies that sold out to Big Food’s evil corporations

If you’re one of those smart shoppers who buys mainly organic, you better take a second look at “who” you’re buying, instead of just “what” you’re buying. Over the past few years, several smaller organic companies sold out to huge corporations so they could retire and enjoy the good life. Problem is that “good ole” company is now a bastard child of Big Food, and you can bet all the products that were once clean are now polluted with toxic foods, even though they’re still organic. Yes, it’s true. Big Food loves to push unfermented soy and rapeseed (canola) on us, and even when they’re organic they’re still bad for the body over the long term. Watch out for those high estrogen levels and that coagulating blood! Nothing good comes from it.

Here are some examples in case you aren’t up to date on the “who owns who” of the organic world of tainted food. Purdue Farms owns Hans. Coca Cola owns Suja juice, Green Mountain Coffee and Honest Tea. Not so “honest” anymore, huh? Campbell Soup Company owns Wolfgang Puck, Plum Organics and Bolthouse Farms. Nestle owns Sweet Leaf Tea and Tribe Mediterranean Foods. Pepsi owns Naked Juice and Stacy’s Pita Chips.

Wait, there are more. Hain Celestial owns Spectrum Organics, Garden of Eatin and Ella’s Kitchen, just to name a few. Kellogg owns Bare Naked, Kashi and Morningstar Farms. Did you know J.M. Smucker owns Santa Cruz Organic? You should also know that General Mills owns Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, LaraBar and Annie’s Homegrown – the latter of which might not be so “homegrown” anymore.

#2. Buying organic foods that contain canola

Organic or not, canola oil is synthetic oil bred from its parent rapeseed. Big Food needed a cheap substitute for imported coconut oil and palm oil and bam! A creative Canadian scientist took the most toxic of all food-oil plants and reduced the toxicity to meet FDA “standards” (nothing to write home about). Canola oil is still toxic even when it contains zero pesticides, and that’s why it doesn’t matter if it carries the “certified organic” seal of approval from the USDA.

Studies of rats consuming canola revealed degeneration of the heart, kidneys, thyroid gland and adrenals. As soon as the scientists withdrew canola from the rats’ feed, the health damage rescinded. Don’t forget, humans are animals too, with 96 percent the same DNA as the rest of the animals on planet Earth, so don’t think this alarming canola research doesn’t apply to us. Canola oil is high in glycosides, which means it inhibits enzyme function and destroys the protective coating surrounding your nerves, and once that sheath is gone, you’re done for. Nerve damage sets in.

Canola oil, over the long term, can cause emphysema, constipation and respiratory distress. Don’t be fooled by the happy little term “expeller pressed.” It doesn’t matter because canola still carries the mutated rapeseed genes. Big Food still has to bleach it and deodorize it to remove the stink. Almost all organic mayonnaise products and organic salad dressings are loaded with canola or soy or both! Watch out.

#3. Buying organic foods that contain unfermented soy

Just since the year 2000, U.S. food manufacturers have introduced over 3,000 soy-based foods, many of which are labeled “certified organic,” but does that even matter? Any soy that is unfermented, whether organic or not, is linked to immune-system malfunctions, thyroid dysfunction and cognitive decline. In fact, no soy was fit to eat until the discovery of fermentation techniques during the Chou Dynasty. Anyone eating unfermented soy would suffer from eating anti-nutrient toxins that block the enzymes humans need for protein digestion, and that’s at just two tablespoons a day.

Hundreds of health studies reveal infant abnormalities, kidney stones and food allergies thanks to soy consumption. If you read or hear about the benefits of soy, they’re talking about fermented soy only. Most organic mayonnaise products and organic salad dressings are loaded with canola or soy or both! Watch out.

#4. Buying anything “certified organic” that was grown in China

With three times the population of America, China suffers major environmental pollution problems, including waste management, industrial and agricultural contamination, pharmaceutical contamination, plus inadequate water treatment. At least 70 percent of China’s water is so polluted it’s deemed unsafe for human contact. Some of the rivers there have such high metal content that they literally run red from rust. That means even if food is grown organically without pesticide use, it’s still contaminated across the board.

#5. Assuming that “USDA certified organic” means no heavy metal toxins

The USDA does not inspect certified organic food for heavy metal toxins at all. That would include lead, aluminum, mercury, nickel, copper, tungsten and arsenic. Can you believe it? You can have your levels tested by a Naturopathic Physician. Your best bet is to avoid all organic food that’s imported from China – the most polluted industrial nation in the world.

#6. Putting organic food in the microwave oven

The “nuker” not only destroys nutritive qualities of food within seconds, but produces wave energy radiation that interacts with food molecules, changing their polarity from positive to negative at millions of times per second. This severe agitation and friction bombards the food and forcefully deforms it. The scientific name for this is “structural isomerism.”

#7. Cooking organic meat on an outdoor grill

Even if meat is organic, when you grill it at high temperature and fat drips onto the heat source, potent carcinogens are created called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s). There is also a chemical reaction between the amino acids and creatine in the meat that forms dangerous heterocyclic amines (HCA’s). Lastly, you’re increasing the amount of advanced glycolytic enzymes (AGE’s) already present in the meat, causing inflammation and oxidative damage to tissues in your body.

#8. Boiling organic vegetables in water you got from the tap

You can’t boil out cancer-causing, IQ-lowering sodium fluoride from tap water. You need a high quality water filtration system like Big Berkey to do that. Don’t pollute your clean food with toxic tap water. Enough said.

Sources for this article include:

Cornucopia.org

NaturalNews.com

Koshland-Science-Museum.org

NaturalNews.com

FDA.news

News.BBC



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3 Weight Loss Success Strategies to Lose the Last 15 Pounds –

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Weight-loss success is much more likely if you follow some important behavioral strategies in addition to the choices you make for every meal. Based on my many years of experience working with hospital patients and the clients in my private practice, We’ve identified 3 Success Strategies that go a long way toward helping people stick to a weight-loss plan.

These strategies are simple—no need to reorganize your life to fit them in. Just start working them into your daily routines, and before you know it, you’ll be much better positioned for weight loss success.

When you are at rest, your body wants to conserve energy, so your metabolism slows down. Just as you shut off the lights when you sleep, your body turns down many of the processes involved in metabolism. When you wake up, you want to turn everything up and start burning calories and fat as soon as possible. That’s why I recommend eating breakfast within one hour of waking up.

By eating a nutritious, energy-revving breakfast (try these 20 flat-belly breakfasts), you are jump-starting your metabolism. When you add healthy food to your tank, so to speak, you prime your engines and get them ready to go, go, go for the day, so you can do everything that you have to do as well as those things you want to do, while feeling energetic.

Despite what you may have heard or read, it still stands that if you skip breakfast, you’re telling your body to stay in conservation mode. You’re setting yourself up to feel tired, lethargic, and irritable. When no fuel comes into your tank, your body starts thinking about holding on to calories and fat rather than burning them because it doesn’t know when more food will come. This is absolutely not the way you want to start your day. Even if you don’t feel like having breakfast, push yourself to have something—an apple, an orange, some yogurt, maybe a glass of vegetable juice. Something is better than nothing.

healthy lunch

Many people follow this kind of daily eating plan: They either skip breakfast or have a small bite in the morning. They go light on lunch. Then their hunger roars like a starved lion in the middle of the afternoon, at which point they start eating sweet/salty junk food. Then at dinner, thinking they didn’t really eat much during the day, they help themselves to giant portions of their evening meal, followed by dessert and bowls of ice cream and chips while sitting around watching TV for a few hours before bed.

This is not the way to eat.

It’s much better for your body to eat early and often. That means having a healthy, lean, green breakfast; a morning snack to keep your metabolism humming; a healthy lunch; an afternoon snack; and a dinner that’s smaller than you’re probably used to, with a small snack in the evening. Ideally you should eat the bulk of your calories at breakfast and lunch.

Researchers have found that people who consume most of their calories before 3 p.m. are more likely to be successful at weight loss than those who pile on the calories later in the day. And get this: It takes 24 hours for your blood sugar to stabilize after a late-night meal. Eating earlier gives your body plenty of time to burn up calories and stabilize your blood sugar before you get into bed.

sleeping

We Americans are an exhausted bunch of people. Although sleep researchers recommend 7 to 8 hours per night, studies show that 30 percent of us get fewer than 6 hours of sleep a night. Being chronically tired truly interferes with your health. Lack of sleep is associated with higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, depression, obesity, and cancer. In fact, studies show that getting fewer than 5 hours of sleep per night is associated with a higher body-mass index. The more sleep-deprived you are, the higher your risk of obesity. Insomnia causes hormonal changes and cravings for carbohydrates. And when you deprive yourself of adequate sleep, fatigue lowers your ability to resist trigger foods. Instead of eating, try taking a power nap for a bigger, more effective payoff.

Nighttime sleep even has an effect on daytime hunger, influencing the production of the hormones that regulate appetite. When we’re over-tired, we tend to eat more than we do when we are well rested. Overall, people who sleep less appear to weigh more. Be sure to get your 7 to 8 hours a night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, see your doctor; you may have a sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. If you have trouble getting the sleep you need, try these fabulous sleep boosters.

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