Is Sugar Toxic?

Greetings Friends and Health Nuts!

I recently watched a 60 Minutes Episode titled, “Is Sugar Toxic?” While I have always thought this to be true and my research has led me to conclude this fact, this news clip is outstanding. What I thought most thought provoking was the research that Dr. Kimber Stanhope was doing @ UC Davis. She has created a controlled environment with teenagers and the results are amazing and conclusive! Please take the time to watch this clip, it is less than 13 minutes long.

A calorie is not just a calorie. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and sugar can be dangerous. They have no nutrient value for your body. With sugar, you must try to limit your intake. With HFCS, try to avoid at all cost. Your body does not recognize this man-made substance (HFCS) and processes it differently. It has been linked to an increase in triglyceride levels and overall harm to your health. HFCS is found in most refined and highly processed foods like: soda, syrups, breakfast bars, jellies/jams, canned soup/fruits, and frozen foods.

Sugar is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Research has shown that sugar can actually feed tumors in certain kinds of cancer.

Dr. Robert Lustig, a Pediatric Endocrinologist from UC San Francisco has co-authored a report for the American Heart Association recommending a significant decrease in the amount of calories from sugar consumed. For men, the recommendation is no more than 150 calories/ day : for women, the recommendation is no more than 100 calories/day. That is less than what is found in one can of soda! One can….. Sugar does have an addictive quality, like a drug.

Why does eating have to be so complicated? It does not have to be….eat whole foods and you can’t go wrong! Put good things in your body and your body will reward you with good health, energy, and a clear mind.

A calorie of sugar is different. Be aware. I know I am a crazy fanatical nutrition nut, but I just want you to be informed. Once you see the research, you can make an educated decision on your own. My goal is to share the information, to educate you, and hope that you take something from this blog. For myself, I have cut out most processed and refined foods. I do treat myself to ice cream or a pastry on special occasions. But everyday sugar consumption has been drastically reduced in my household. Of course, I do have a teenage son who drives…..

Please, please take the time to watch the video- let me know what you think! Be well, love and respect yourself and enjoy every moment of your life!

Is Sugar Toxic?

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Live with Intention

I am resurrecting my favorite quote to help explore the meaning of courage.  I think how joyful I am when I live out this motto.  Alas, everyday life gets in the way and I forget how to live!  Your life is now, today… wake up and give it your full attention!

How can we live like this every day?  You can live this way when you live your life with courage.  What is courage?  According to Osho, “The word courage comes from the a Latin root cor which means “heart”, so to be courageous means to live with the heart.  To live through the heart is to discover meaning.  Everybody in the world wants to be true… and if you are authentic about your joy, your tears, your dance sooner or later there will be people who will start understanding you, who may start joining your caravan.  Follow your heart; don’t go against it…. because doing so is destroying yourself.”

When you start to follow your heart, you awaken your spirit.  I have found this to be true in my own life.  The intensity of my light increases when I make choices with my heart. Slowly, I am redefining my life with small changes I make every day.  I am amazed at the number of people around me who are on my same path.

Maybe I have made some bad decisions along the way, but I don’t regret the choices I have made.  Because all failures become victories when you learn from them.  I believe we are all trying our best here in this life. We make decisions based on the information we have at the time.  So maybe we fall on our face….. we get back up!  We didn’t come to this world to be perfect.  Let go of that expectation.  We came to be, to love, to grow, to learn, to be who we are…. our imperfections make us all unique and human.  As long as we live a life that is true to ourselves and others, we can be authentic.

So do you like my favorite quote? I would add to that…. “live with courage and love with all your heart!”

Open your heart and live an authentic beautiful life, it’s there waiting for you….

Namaste my dear friends!


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Genetically Modified Foods… What Are They?

Genetically modified (GM) foods or Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) are plants or fish that have had their DNA altered by genetic engineering techniques. Bacteria and viruses are introduced into their DNA to make them grow faster, larger, and disease resistant. The GM plants have built–in pesticides.

We have been eating GM foods since the mid-1990s.  The main GM foods are soy, corn, canola, and sugar beets. Scientists have repeatedly warned us about the dangers of GM foods.  GM foods can create unpredictable side effects that may not be obvious at first, but can manifest in allergies, new diseases, and nutritional deficiencies; as well as liver, intestinal problems, tumors, and organ damage.  Some GM crops have been linked to sterility and death.  Please view the video/articles on the website. They have several articles on GM Foods and the dangers.

Over 50 countries in the world including China, EU, and Russia have strict labeling laws for their GM foods.  We are one of the only industrialized nations that do not require labeling of GM foods.  In the US, our citizens are unaware of which foods contain GM organisms and which do not.

California will be the first state to address the GM foods issue.  The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act is simple: The initiative would simply require food sold in retail outlets to be labeled if it is produced through genetic engineering.
California Proposition 37 (Yes on Proposition 37) is a campaign to label genetically engineered foods in California.  Californians will be voting on this proposition on their November 2012 ballot.  Even if you do not live in California, encourage your friends and family that live there to vote “Yes” on Proposition 37!  We have a right to know whether our food contains GMOs.

If Proposition 37 would pass, that would be a huge step for our country to begin labeling GM foods.  We must label these foods so we can make informed choices.  As more evidence becomes available about the dangers of GM foods, I am hopeful that our citizens will say “no” to this type of food production.

Genetically altering whole foods and animals are not natural. The aftermath of this giant experiment that we have been participating in since 1995 will have long term effects for generations to come.

We have a right to know what is in our food system.  People are starting to realize that we need to take responsibility for our own health and well-being.  More and more people are shopping at farmers’ markets and planting their own gardens.  The farmers’ markets that I visit have had a steady increase in crowds over the last few years.

I am thrilled to see such an interest in growing our own food!  I work with a local school district’s “Good Food Project.”  They have a greenhouse that produces a surprising amount of produce that they use in the school lunch program.  The above picture was from the first “Farmer’s Market” from the greenhouse!  I am proud to be a part of a school district that values health and proper nutrition for their students!

The following pictures are from my little garden.  I am growing beets, potatoes and tomatoes.  It is an absolute joy to pull food out of the ground and cook it up in the kitchen!!
I am so passionate about helping people find better ways to stay healthy, by eating well, exercising, and discovering your true self.

Continue to grow everyday ~ knowing that each new day brings an opportunity to learn!  Take care friends!  Eat well, play, get plenty of rest and love one another!

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“The Privilege of a Lifetime is being who you are.” – Joseph Campbell

As you continue to follow your heart, I hope you are beginning to find your true self. Surprisingly, I have talked to several people who are really struggling with life’s challenges this week. People who are living in quiet desperation, trying to do the right thing but feeling like they have lost themselves. Having feelings of sadness and loss are hard to process – I am speaking of loss of self. After years of being who you thought you should be, a change will not happen overnight. It is a process, a journey.

Begin taking care of yourself by doing little things that make you feel true again. Take a class, go on a road trip, go to a concert, eat a delicious treat, or take time to read a book! Your soul needs your attention. Discover what treasures lie within. Yes, you have responsibilities that include your family, your relationships, your job, etc.; but you also have a responsibility to make an investment in yourself. Find your spirit again and nurture your soul. When you feed that part of yourself, you become a better person. A person who can share their authentic self with others will radiate an internal light. This will enable them to love themselves and others more deeply. Being who you are is truly a privilege not everyone can obtain. Attempt to find that person.

It may take a lot of soul searching, work, and dedication to find that person again, but take the time to start the process……

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Following your Heart

Follow Your Heart!Always follow your heart…                             everything else will come

I recently had some wonderful conversation with a dear college friend, who is in the middle of making some big decisions in her life. Basically, trying to decide to move forward in a current relationship or not.  She has been in this exclusive relationship for several years and describes it as, “great and stable.” Yet, she has not wanted to take the next step. To me, a hesitation like that speaks to the heart. There is a reason and she must confront that and accept that maybe moving forward is not so wise, at this time. Sometimes choosing with the heart is the road less traveled, but in the end, that decision is really the best one for you.

If she searches deep and looks at the situation long enough, I think the answer will be apparent to her. If she is honest with herself, she will see that her heart has been speaking.  This friend is a beautiful soul who has so much to share and offer to so many people; I send her love, energy and positive thoughts to help her on her journey. A journey of self-discovery awaits her!

I love to watch little children play; there is no hesitation, no sensors, – just joyful bliss! Children also listen to their hearts. They tell it like it is and feel it like it is! They scream, they cry, they laugh out loud and speak the truth. Those emotions come from the heart.  As we become adults, we stop listening to our hearts and stop playing. Our minds begin to take over and we lose sight of those basic instincts. Playing and listening to our hearts will bring more joy and happiness to our lives.

I challenge you to start listening to your heart again. Maybe starting out with little decisions, and then moving on to bigger more important decisions in your life. When you choose with your heart, life does not seem so complicated.

Begin to take the time to play every day! Play with your romantic partner, your co-workers, your children, and any one you might come in contact with!



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Summer news

   Hello Friends & Nutrition Colleagues!

It’s been a while since I have been in touch. This summer we had some devastating wild fires in our area of Colorado. The fire came within 30 feet of our home so we were extremely lucky. There are bittersweet feelings. While we were spared, the neighborhood next to ours was completely devastated. I continue to pray and send positive energy to those who lost so much.

While I was gone for several weeks in the summer, I was still able to hit the farmer’s markets here in the Springs! This summer I found a great soy-free egg hook-up. I have to get there early, as she runs out fast. I am able to buy from her outside the farmer’s market so that is sweet! I have kept boiled eggs in the fridge all summer long for the kid’s breakfast. That system seemed to work well for us as we frequently got up at different times in the morning. It was nice to know that they could peel an egg and have that burst of protein right away in the morning!

I hope you are continuing to improve your health and find ways to nourish your body! I have chatted with numerous friends throughout the summer that recently gave up gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat. As we get older, some of us find it harder to digest this protein. Some people have a very obvious reaction to gluten which include: rashes, hives, itching, congestion, diarrhea, vomiting. Others may have more subtle signs such as fatigue, bloating, headaches, mood swings, muscle pain, constipation and dark circles under the eyes.

If you truly do have an allergy or sensitivity to wheat, the constant irritation from the exposure to wheat will create inflammation to the entire digestive system. The digestive tract is a delicate and intricate part of your immune system. Irritation and inflammation can cause a breakdown in your immune system which can possibly manifest in an autoimmune disorder or other chronic disease. If you think you might have an allergy/sensitivity to gluten, try cutting wheat from your diet for two weeks. Pay attention to how you feel once you eliminate gluten from your diet. You may surprise yourself!
You can still enjoy baked goods. The secret is to create recipes that are gluten-free if you have this allergy/sensitivity. My latest recipe is a gluten-free chocolate chip banana bread recipe. While I advocate eating mostly whole foods, a treat once in a while is OK

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I am currently working on a protein bar treat. My co-workers have been my guinea pigs and I am almost there!

Peace, love and healthy eating till we connect again! Continue to create positive thoughts with good intentions!

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Recipe

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Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) or Feedlots


Hello my good friends and health nuts!

I am on holiday for my 25th college reunion. I had a wonderful time visiting with some dear friends and stayed with my sister near the countryside. On the way to my nephew’s school today, I was appalled by this stench that filled the car as we were on the road. The smell was from a chicken Confined Animal Feed Operation (CAFO).

This particular CAFO or feedlot is owned by a major chicken producer in the United States. This is an operation where animals are raised in very close quarters. So close that they are barely able to move! This type of industrial farming is practiced rampantly in our country! Growth hormones and antibiotics are routinely administered to these feedlot animals.

The chickens in this type of operation grow with such speed that they are basically ill and unable to walk. These poor animals are confined in these ammonia filled, windowless sheds. Because of the growth hormones that are administered, these chicks grow from chick to chicken at the rate of 6 to 7 weeks, as opposed to 5 months, like free-range antibiotic-free chickens. The waste from this type of animal farming produces excess pollution.

There are better ways to grow food and animals.

Throughout the United States, there are people and farmers who are recognizing the need to go back to the original way of farming food and animals. They have local farms that sell produce and animals that are humanely raised. Patronize your local farmer’s markets and restaurants that purchase from local producers of food while supporting the local economy. Not only will you be buying the freshest agriculture available to you, but you will also be doing your part in lessening the harmful effects of feedlots to our environment. Buy Local! My sister and her husband will be soon be selling these terrific “buy local” t-shirts, where part of the proceeds from these sales will be donated to efforts that support the growth of the local food movement.

Check out the movie, Fresh (instant play on Netflix). I watched it with my family this weekend. This film really brings home the local farmer perspective. Let me know what you think!

That’s it for now! Eat Local! Eat Fresh (really)!

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