8 Foods You Think Are Healthy But They Aren’t!

I did a new video last week on 8 foods you may think are “healthy” but the evidence shows they AREN’T. Check it out. 

How many of these do YOU eat on a regular basis? If your answer is ZERO, you get 100 GreenSmoothieGirl points! 100 more if you drink your quart of green smoothie every day!

Have a wonderfully healthy week!

Great infographics on SUGAR consumption

SugarScience.org has some great infographics on the effects of sugar for humans eating a processed diet. Here are some of them, hope you can share with your kids and reflect on the benefits of eating greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, instead of processed foods produced by Big Agra!

SugarScience_BeveragesSugarScience_HealthSugarScience_HiddenSugarScience_Sick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exactly Why Artificial Sweeteners Are Terrible

sweet miseryAspartame (or brand name Nutrasweet).  Joe Mercola says it’s the most dangerous substance added to foods. I might quibble with that, because mono sodium glutamate is a neurotoxin every bit as deadly. And the nitrates and nitrites in cured meats are potently carcinogenic.

I’d agree that aspartame is a TOP THREE worst things, to avoid at all costs.

A chemist discovered this concentrated sweetener when testing a drug. Although it was approved in the 70’s, a neuroscience researcher and a consumer attorney objected, and the FDA put the approval on hold.

aspartame3Unfortunately it would not be on hold forever, because chemical company Monsanto bought it and the rest is history. We have over 4,000 food additives approved for use by our FDA, and literally the majority of complaints to the FDA about health problems caused by food additives, are related to aspartame alone. There is far more evidence of the harm caused the American public by aspartame than there ever was about saccharin, which was Americans’ chemical sweetener of choice prior to the 1980’s.

The main complaints to the FDA are related to death, and seizures. Headaches and migraines are also common. When I stopped drinking diet soda many years ago, even though I drank only 3-4 sodas a month, my own migraines stopped completely, never to return.

Others of the 90 documented symptoms of aspartame consumption include dizziness, depression, weight gain, rashes, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision and hearing problems, loss of taste, memory loss, joint pain, breathing problems, heart racing, vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hormone problems, and many more.

Why would ANY of these symptoms be acceptable to us, in order to eat a toxic chemical? And those are just the symptoms we FEEL. What is happening underneath the hood, that we don’t see or feel? What is happening to our disease risk? There is strong evidence that our soaring Multiple Sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases are related to massive consumption of aspartame (and MSG) in North America and Europe.

Physicians and researchers have also documented how chronic conditions can be triggered or worsened by eating this deadly chemical. Those include brain tumors and lesions, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Disease, and more.

ExcitotoxicityNeurosurgeon Russell Blaylock, M.D., has been a tireless researcher, publishing his results of the effect on the American public of the twin neurotoxins that nearly every American eats: monosodium glutamate and aspartame. He references nearly 500 scientific articles about the neurological damage and other symptoms

He calls them excitotoxins, which means that they “excite the nervous system to death.” Don’t you want your nervous system, myelin sheaths intact, to keep you calm and happy for many years to come? If so, stop eating all Nutrasweet. You’re killing neurons every time you eat it.

Even gum. It’s got to go. It was the last thing to go, for me. But gone it is. No more diet sodas. Anything in a regular store that says “sugar free,” check the label, and avoid all aspartame and Nutrasweet 

splendaSplenda is new enough that data isn’t available. Give it another decade. But saccharin was pushed out of the market by the manufacturers of the patented chemical Nutrasweet. The Nutrasweet bullies, trying to make an exclusive spot in the marketplace for their product, leveraged a study showing that massive quantities of saccharin caused cancer in rats. A much higher level of saccharin than any human could ever eat. I’m not saying this to defend saccharin. For all we know, low doses cause cancer too. It’s a safe bet that eating chemical sweeteners is a bad idea in general. But I’m making you aware of why the entire marketplace shifted from thousands of products sweetened with saccharin, to thousands now sweetened with aspartame.

It’s becoming widely known that aspartame, now, is phenomenally neurotoxic. So the fight to molecularly alter a sweetener, patent it, and foist it on the American public, is underway.

rats in maze

Enter Splenda. Be cynical here. This is where your critical thinking skills serve you well. Watch what has gone on, which is a fight over the money made on addiction, nothing more or better than that, and stay out of consumption of these foods. To participate is to be no better than rats in a maze.

truvia deceptionTruvia. Truvia is the newest of the chemical sweeteners. It’s rather insidious marketing ploy is to align itself with stevia, which Americans began using later than much of the rest of the first world, due to the government strong-arming tactics of Nutrasweet’s owner, Monsanto. This isn’t stevia. It’s molecularly altered FROM stevia, so now it’s a synthetic chemical with sweetening properties.

Ask yourself. WHY would a manufacturer take a legitimate herb like stevia and change it? There’s one answer. PURE PROFIT. Because you can patent it and make a billion dollars. Don’t buy in. Your body does not recognize a synthetic chemical as food. It does not digest, assimilate, or eliminate non-food items. We have learned this from long, hard, sad experience.

We will find out only later what THIS white chemical does to the people who jumped in the maze and willingly started running around in it, gobbling up the pellets.

Be a free mouse. Run around in the field, eating grass and normal mouse food. Stay out of the maze.

malitol

Maltitol. It wrecks your gut. It’ll give you horrible gas, and your stomach will do flips. How can this be anything but bad for you? I can find little published on the health effects of sugar alcohols, but if you eat something with maltitol, the immediate effects give you clues that this is problematic as a “food.” 

steviaStevia. Use it if you want. But try to get away from everything needing to be super-sweet. I haven’t seen real evidence, but I’m reading more claims that your pancreas is stimulated by the SWEETNESS of a food, so replacing one toxic sweetener with a nontoxic one may not solve all our problems. Learn to love the taste of real food.

Stevia, at the end of the day, is still a crutch. I don’t know of any ill-health effects reported from its use. Still, only the refined version avoids “aftertaste,” so that’s mostly what’s being used. The less you use it, the better, if you’re serious about a whole-foods diet. However, I’m not concerned about it as a very minor part of the diet, and it would be my sweetener of choice in those I’m reviewing here.

Saccharin. It’s made a slight, half-hearted attempt back on the market. It was put on a rail out-of-town for causing cancer, but the studies did use massive amounts of the sweetener. That said, I wouldn’t call it safe. It’s probably preferable to aspartame, but that’s akin to saying it’s better to have prostate cancer than colon cancer. That’s true, but why have any cancer at all?

In conclusion, I’d far rather have you eat SUGAR than aspartame (Nutrasweet) or Splenda or Truvia. Sugar is deadly for your health, don’t get me wrong. But, eating neurotoxic chemicals is even worse.no sweeteners

fruitdatesnatural-sweetenersThe best sweeteners are fruit and dates. Those are whole foods with fiber (to slow impact on the blood sugar) and many health benefits. The next-best are coconut sugar (my current favorite, lower glycemic index and high in minerals, neutral flavor), raw/organic agave, Grade B maple syrup, raw honey, brown rice syrup, or molasses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plants can’t be franchised! Canada part 2 of 2

A question I’m asked a lot is, “My green smoothies are always different and sometimes I don’t like them. How can I make sure they always ‘turn out?’”

Well, that’s the thing. We’ve standardized our tastes. Ray Kroc did it famously, with the first McDonald’s. The idea was to develop a burger and fries that appealed to the taste buds, then make sure that all the franchises produced exactly the same product. People could count on getting precisely the same thing at any McD’s they went to.

Kale just isn’t like that. It grows in different soils, in different climates, in dozens of different varieties. Different colors of green. Flatter leaves or curlier. Red or white with the green, or just deep evergreen, almost black.

It’s the beauty of the thing, frankly, in a Mickey-D’s world of homogeneity. I like the surprise of my salad or my green smoothie being different every day. I notice it and try to identify and appreciate the variety. Bitter herbs have healing qualities, I remind myself when my greens are less sweet and have more kick.

I try different greens, different superfoods. Arugula or carrot tops or radish tops. Fennel or lavender oil. Bee pollen or maca or aloe vera.

Sometimes our new, vegan, super-healthy GreenSmoothieGirl protein powder if I’ve been eating too much fruit.

In a salad, I toss in fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, vegetables, depending on what I crave, which sometimes tells us what we might be deficient in.

Here’s a photo of Kristin in a Toronto market, holding heirloom tomatoes. I love their crazy shapes and colors and the way you have to get creative with a knife to cut them.

I imagine most Americans wouldn’t even buy an heirloom tomato. They might be scared of what looks like a Frankenstein vegetable, wouldn’t recognize it as a tomato, because hybridized, homogenized, irradiated, gas-ripened, waxed produce of very few varieties are now “normal.” Back before we controlled our crops with chemicals and hybridization, we had interesting, varied, multi-color tomatoes like these. Fortunately, variety is starting to make a comeback!

Thick slices of heirloom tomatoes made another appearance in this amazing salad I ordered at the 360 Degree restaurant, the turning, panoramic-view tippy top of the CN Tower overlooking the city.

Thank you, our friends in Toronto who ventured the drive into what turned out to be a seedy part of town, for welcoming us to your country. First time ever. We hope to visit more of Canada in the next year.

Let’s celebrate and embrace diversity, not just the colors among people, but the colors in our food. I’ve said it before, and here it is again.

Buy local. Buy organic. Grow your own. Use heirloom seeds. Store them. Avoid GMO at all costs. Join the anti-GMO movement. Teach it all to your children.

Canada and the U.S., part 1 of 2

Niagara Falls, it turns out, is WAY cooler on the Canada side. The U.S. has spent more on its view of the falls, and even puts people on a ferry to go closer to it. But on the Canada side, you’re really close to the top of the falls.

Also. They have black squirrels in Toronto. The first one I saw, on my run along Lake Ontario, I thought was a genetic anomaly. Then I saw a few more.

They put extraneous vowels in words, the Canadians.

Inexplicably, they have the monarch of another nation on their currency. (Well, I GET it. Historically, I know where that comes from. But I don’t really get it—in 2012!)

Driving into Toronto at night is just breathtaking. The freeway comes in elevated, so you’re driving in, at high speed, through the middle of skyscrapers. Kristin and I were awestruck.

The CN Tower is the tallest building in North America. (Except the new Twin Towers currently under construction are going to be taller, which we saw a few days later in NYC.)

Kristin lay on the glass at the top of the CN Tower and I took a photo. From a safe distance, standing back from the dizzying height.

But, really, everything else looks…..very American. They have the same Taco Bell, KFC, McD’s on every corner. They have the same weight problems, and in the class I taught, the same issues with lupus, chronic pain, arthritis, cancer. And so much more misery, thanks to the second sentence in this paragraph.

I remember in Thailand climbing a thousand steps, past many Buddhist and Hindu shrines and temples, to the top of the famous Marble Mountain. There I found a local woman selling young coconuts to tourists, with a straw poked in the top. Her 2-year-old son was riding around on a tricycle. Drinking Pepsi from a can. I smiled at him and he tilted his head back and gave me the most adorable ear-to-ear grin. Revealing that all of his teeth were black and rotted.

American marketing genius knows no bounds. At times it seems to lack any moral decency, in the name of profit. Our biggest, most successful companies determined long ago to rot the teeth of toddlers in even third-world countries, introducing diabetes and cancer to populations who never knew it before.

And third-world parents let it happen, assuming that good things come from the richest nation in the history of the world.

Canadians, opt out of the worst my country has to offer. I love capitalism. We get to discern, within that sea of choices. Don’t choose our greasy, sugary, early death. It’s the underbelly of our prosperity. We’d be so much more noble and great without it.

As you can see from this photo right outside our hotel, the Westin Harbor Castle on Lake Ontario, Canadians do too far too much of what we Americans started.

 

Cows raised for slaughter fed candy mixed with “ethanol byproduct”

If you need yet another reason to stop eating cows, check out this short news story, sent to me by Canadian reader Darlene U.:

Click here to view video article on rancher’s new way to feed cows.

Ranchers are now feeding cows CANDY mixed with an ETHANOL BYPRODUCT, instead of corn feed? What have we come to, that bucketsful of rejected gummy worms now substitute as FOOD for any living creature?

I think the rancher’s brains might be a little foggy from eating some of the candy himself?

 

A FISH STORY: the food, and the oil supplements

The debate over fish, and fish oil, is to me one of the most interesting ones in nutrition in its complexity. We have to ferret out, from the debate, the sophisticated marketing of the fish industry, which capitalized on emerging data 15 years ago that red meat is bad for us. (But fish is good for us, they clamored—and scrambled to provide “data” that this is so.)

Then we must evaluate the sources of fish, in a planet where virtually every waterway is highly contaminated and fish retain mercury at high levels off the coast of every continent. (Canned tuna is one of the most high-mercury foods you can find. I recommend you eliminate it from your diet.)

Then we have to look at farmed fish—even more problematic because they are fed ground-up fish pellets, made of guts and skin and bones. (Also chicken feces and genetically modified corn, soy, and canola oil.) These fish products, then, actually containconcentrated environmental pollutants.

Farmed fish is well documented to be higher in PCBs, dioxins, and other carcinogenic chemicals than wild fish. Most of the fish consumed by humans is now raised in farms. Wild “free range” fish eat plenty of toxins, too—but not concentrated in “fish pellets” like on the farms. Fish in farms are fed chemicals to make them pink rather than their natural grey color, are low in Omega 3’s due to their lack of a natural diet, and are given antibiotics at a higher rate than any other livestock!

And we have to look at the nonsense about fish oil. Does it really prevent heart disease? Everyone accepted this quickly as “settled science” mostly because a few data points were being repeated by so many doctors and so many supplement companies. But now we have 20 years of data and those who look at longitudinal trends know that fish oil has saved us from nothing.

What if a fish died and was floating in the water? Would you eat that fish’s flesh, or squeeze oil from it to eat, even 12 hours later? Of course you wouldn’t. It would be rancid. So says Dr. Brian Clement, N.M.D. and PhD, with whom I spoke in Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale. What if it sat for days, and then you deodorized and purified it, highly refined it, put it in gelatin capsules, and put it into distribution so it sat another several months before you ate it?

You’ve noticed that you burp up rancid fish oil taste for hours after you take yours? Rancid oils are carcinogens. The pharmaceutical companies that produce the vast majority of the fish-oil pills will pacify you by saying, “But we deodorize the oil.” Ah, so they use petroleum products, like coal tar, to mask the rancidity. I ask again, do you want to refine a fish-oil product and cover up the obvious signs that it is putrefied and not appropriate as food?

This is not an effective way to get Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet. Especially when there are perfect plant-food sources that don’t cause you to burp up rancid nasty.

Flax, chia, and hemp seeds are fabulous sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. I recommend having all three on hand. I love sprouted flaxseed to add to green smoothies. (I know of 28 anti-cancer compounds in flax. And this product is sprouted, which increases not only fiber, but also explodes vitamin and mineral content. Flax has 7x more lignans than the next-highest source—these compounds are highly breast-cancer protective.)

You get no fiber in your rancid fish oil caps. I really don’t think it’s a good source for anyone, of Omega 3’s. Save your money and eat some good whole foods instead:  greens have Omega 3’s in small but highly bio-available amounts.

And chia, flax, and hemp are perfect green smoothie ingredients, but I eat them in lots of ways:  roll raw cookies in them or put them in baked products. I love chia drinks from the health food store (one variety of Synergy kombucha is full of it). A spoonful of chia seed at night, chewed well and swallowed, and chased with a big glass of water, will fill up your stomach and get rid of your hunger.

 

My least-favorite things in Africa, part 4

Things I don’t love in Africa:

1.           Eating the Mopanie Worm. It’s a delicacy, the roads are covered with them, and locals eat them dried. Supposedly they’re very nutritious and high in protein. I have a personal philosophy of NOT eating caterpillars–in the photo below, I’m only hamming it up in my “kiss and release” program.

2.           Sugar companies and cane fields. It’s where much of the mischief begins (see me in front of the sugar cane field below).

3.           Townships. Over half a million live in this one, near Pretoria, in the photo below. I hate that so many live without things I take for granted every day.

4.           Malaria. I refused to take the pills. I bought some all-natural bug spray but used it only once. I guess I trust my immune system more than the drugs that make you nauseous, sensitize you to the sun, and you have to take for a month before and a month after.

5.           Ostrich and buffalo billatong (jerky), for sale everywhere. No thanks.

6.           The fact that making the “Go Texas Longhorns!” sign is flipping someone off. It seemed like such a friendly gesture, before, and now it will be forever vulgar in my mind. (I had a long debate with our guide regarding my opinion that the American gesture for that sentiment is so much more intuitive.)

7.           Elephant dung–it’s everywhere in the streets “on safari” and you have to dodge it. But, check out my video of a male dung beetle making good use of it, rolling the female dung beetle along, eggs safely inside the ball of elephant poo.

American processed-food outreach knows no bounds

I seem to be rather clumsy. First of all, I’ve been initiated as a cyclist:

After three months and about 1,000 miles, I finally wrecked my bike. Thanks to a kid changing lanes as I hauled down the canyon at 15+ mph. (Kid was fine.)

See the photo of us on the balcony (on our cruise vacation we just got back from). You can see the road rash on my shoulder. (I have some other banged-up parts that don’t show. Ow.)

Emma and I may or may not have sung karaoke Love Story (Taylor Swift) with an audience of several hundred and a live band including backup singer, see photo below. I may or may not choose to put the video up on YouTube.

But then I was swimming in Cabo a few days ago, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific at a place called The Arch, see photo of Emma below. (Sea lions! Sea turtle! Many beautiful fishies!) And I accidentally got smacked into a reef because I was checking out said beautiful fishies and apparently got too close just as a wave came in.

Anyway, my arm was all cut up. I don’t think my fellow passengers minded, since they figured THEY’D be safe in a shark attack. But the inflatable-boat captain who drove us out to Chileno Bay gave me a lecture, probably for everyone’s benefit, about staying away from the reef.

That’s why we call it ECO SNORKELING, he said.

Well, that’s just rich, I thought. A lecture on keeping the wildlife healthy, from a guy dumping Frito-Lay products by the bagfuls to feed the fish, to entertain the tourists. (Not that I didn’t feel guilty for donating part of my forearm to the coral–I very much regret any harm I may have unintentionally inflicted on it.)

Turns out that saltwater fish feel the same way about Frito-Lay that folks around here do. It was an all-out feeding frenzy.

I’ve been in over 20 countries in the past 3 years. In December I go to Africa. One thing that strikes me in my extensive travels is the Monroe Doctrine of the vast American processed-food empire. American outreach–the worst parts of our culture inflicted on helpless others–knows no bounds. I thought I’d seen it all in rural Vietnam when I saw a two-year old with black, rotted teeth, riding a tricycle and drinking Coke. I’ve seen impoverished Mexican mothers feeding their newborn infants Similac–no doubt given them free in the hospital to encourage them to bottle-feed rather than breastfeed.

And now we’re feeding the tropical fish fried corn chips.

free movie: Food Inc. showing next Saturday

I mentioned seeing Food, Inc. (here on the blog) last year. Had to go to a seedy little theater an hour away to find it, as it was the only showing anywhere around here.

Because I’m steeped in this industry (counterculture, anti-S.A.D. nutrition) and have read widely on the subject, I didn’t see anything new in the film. For most of America, though, I believe it will be enlightening.

I was a bit disappointed. The film slams modern Goliath Monsanto (deservedly), modern agribusiness that has turned our food supply into a thousand permutations of corn and soy, and deplorable poultry/livestock practices. But then it doesn’t leave the viewer with anything uplifting to really DO about the problem.

However, it’s a good first step towards getting us away from accepting the offerings of fast food, refined food, and animal products in America.

I would absolutely recommend taking your child or teen for a primer on what has happened to food in America.

I was at The Good Earth today and a reader approached me about posting this on my blog:

You can see Food, Inc. for FREE on

May 15 (Sat.) from 1-4 p.m.
with a panel discussion with local chefs and area farmers afterward

At Meridian School in Orem, UT:
280 S. 400 E.

More info at meridianschool.org.