Paul writes to Panera Bread

Panera_Shakopee_2007Just to celebrate that some of my readers stand up to food companies and ask them to eliminate toxic ingredients, and request better ones, I’m sharing Paul in Michigan’s letter to Panera Bread. (Paul has recently followed up with his request and hasn’t heard back yet.)

Hi Folks, my wife and I love Panera and my men’s group Bible study is at a Panera every other Wed. I have a request, as some of your competitors are doing, would it be possible to stock Stevia as an alternative to the artificial sweeteners and sugar that you stock for coffee.  It is a natural plant-based sweetener vs the chemical based artificial sweeteners.  Many of us try to stay away from artificial ingredients and have moved to more plant-based and that would sure help!!

Hi Paul,stevia2

What a wonderful suggestion! We want your visit to Panera Bread to be warm and relaxing with friendly service and deliciously handcrafted food you can enjoy and feel good about. I have noted your suggestion to offer Stevia to our Product Development Department for review and consideration of your request. I hope your next visit with your Bible Study Group is fantastic!

Sincerely,

Alexis
Panera Bread Customer Care

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipes from CHI! Part 1 of 2

“Going off sugar” has always been hard for me, because the way I eat really healthy even in the face of temptation, is to tell myself, “I could have that if I wanted to. I choose not to.” (I list reasons in my head, if I’m tempted.) Or, occasionally, I say yes rather than no, and I eat chocolate! I “went off” junk food years ago, but I have never stayed completely away from sugar for more than a few months at a time.

So to tell myself, “You can’t have that” does a weird number on me psychologically, brings out my demonic inner rebel. However, I’m up for the challenge. And having things to eat, that you love, that contain no sugar or chemical sweeteners, is key! Here are some ideas I came back from CHI with.

Joyce Oliveto’s Favorite Dessert

Joyce puts a 1 quart fresh blueberries in the blender, with 3 Tbsp. date paste (you can make this with dates and a little water), and a pinch of cinnamon and vanilla powder. Layer it with soaked, chopped raw almonds. (I made this for Matthew, on my YouTube video posted yesterday!)

Chef Madeline

As I told you, Madeline is 67. Here she is in a photo with director Bobby Morgan and raw-food book author Hiawatha Cromer. When I found out how old Madeline was, I shrieked, “SHUT! UP!” (It’s a really dumb thing to say, but I live with three teenagers and stuff like that comes out of my mouth.) I finally have the picture of what I want to be when I am a full generation ahead of where I am now! She golfs competitively. She’s organized and ego-free and constantly learning and an articulate teacher. She’s just a positive-energy dynamo, and she’s sexy as heck, too. Her husband is almost 80 and is the same way!

For her recipes, there are some superfoods you might not recognize. Research them if you want—but they’re cool foods with a David Wolfe-like twist: that in the modern age, the privileged and the educated can leverage all the powerful nutrition secrets from all over the globe. (I stick to the basics because I consider my audience the Average “Jo” who needs to get more simple and cheap spinach, apples, and flax in the diet FIRST.

But maca is the best libido-enhancer I know, lucuma is a low-glycemic sweetener from a Peruvian fruit that makes caramelly-tasting raw desserts, and mesquite is from a pod in North American trees, high in protein and minerals, that regulates blood sugar and sweetens with a molasses-like caramel note.)

Madeline loves to buy stuff on Vitacost.com—so much so that she had a laminated page she’d hold up at CHI every time there was an ingredient…in response to the question “Where do I buy that?” I just ordered some lucuma and toffee-flavored stevia there, myself, and am making this shake today. I’ve added my own twist of freezing some of it so it’s a frozen shake rather than a thinner drink like Madeline makes it.

Choca-Laca-Maca Shake

2 cups sweetened almond milk (see tomorrow’s blog)

1 frozen banana

1 Tbsp lacuma

1 Tbsp raw cacao nibs (optional)

8-10 drops toffee-flavored stevia (vitacost.com)

2 tsp maca

1 Tbsp. mesquite

½ tsp vanilla

Freeze half the almond milk in ice cube trays. Blend frozen cubes with all remaining ingredients till smooth in BlendTec and drink immediately!

This is a delicious way to use your RAW almonds from our annual group buy, which we will kick off on approx. Oct. 1. (Almonds you buy in the store have been pasteurized, killing enzymes and making soaking them overnight mostly pointless because life, or germination, cannot occur.)

More garden recipes, and a bedside update….

Thanks for all your kind emails and Facebook messages. I’ve been sleeping 12 hours a night since my accident Saturday; still unable to walk or do much of anything without acute/stabbing pain in my lower back/hip, and I wonder if it’s nerve damage, as I landed approximately on my hip’s sciatic nerve. I am hoping to get a PT friend of mine to come over today and start thinking about a diagnosis. My tennis team forfeits tomorrow without me. I am so used to boundless energy; thus this has been humbling. (I still plan to be in Boise and Twin Falls this weekend!)

Now, more from Michelle Jorgenson’s garden creating:

“So, next in the garden is rhubarb.   My family loves rhubarb, but you can only do so many things with it!   I’m still working to perfect the healthy rhubarb crumble, so I’ll send that some other time.   But, I did come up with a tasty fresh fruit crisp and some rhubarb strawberry jam.”

Rhubarb and Berry No-Bake Crisp

1 1/2 C chopped rhubarb

1/2 C water

1  T agave

1 C strawberries, sliced

1/2 C blueberries

1 C oatmeal

1/2 C pecans or almonds

1/4 C wheat germ

1/4 C coconut oil

1 T honey

pinch salt

1 t cinnamon

Put chopped rhubarb , agave and water in a small saucepan to cook.   Bring to boil and cook until rhubarb breaks up- about 3-5 minutes.   Remove from heat and cool.    Mix oatmeal. nuts, wheat germ, coconut oil, honey,  salt and cinnamon together in a bowl.  Add strawberries and blueberries to the cooled rhubarb.   Serve berries topped with the oatmeal mixture.   Can put plain yogurt sweetened with maple syrup on top.

Sugar Free Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer jam

4 C chopped strawberries

3 C chopped rhubarb

2 C water

2 T orange juice

6 T honey

6 packets stevia

2 packages unflavored vegan gelatin

Sprinkle gelatin over surface of water in a saucepan and let sit for a few minutes.   While it sits, chop the fruit.   Add chopped fruit and juice and bring to a boil.   Reduce to a simmer and cook until rhubarb starts to break up – 5-10 minutes.   Remove from heat and add sweeteners to taste.   Transfer to canning jars and close with lids.   Cool, then put in refrigerator or freezer.   Will thicken as it cools.

Makes about 5 pints

When you think Tim McGraw, I hope you think of me

That’s a line from a Taylor Swift song, by the way.

I think Tim McGraw has given up the “ninety-nine cent heart attack” he sings about. Somebody on the GSG fanpage says he quit smoking a few years ago.

My goodness, he looks ridiculous. I heard he lost 30 lbs for his tour. Not the same guy who played Sandra Bullock’s husband in The Blind Side. Anyway, my gf’s and I had a blast at his concert this weekend.

Thanks to three readers who stopped me to say hello, and sorry to the two I didn’t get to stop and chat with. One, Alisa, was on the blanket next to ours. She wanted to be on my blog so her daughter would see it. See photo below.

Another wanted to tell me her DH’s favorite post on this blog is Do The Opposite.

If you were at the concert in SLC, I was the one whoopin it up when McGraw mentioned graduating high school in ’85. Me too! We should all look as amazing as he does heading into our 40’s, a topic I will be blogging about soon. It’s never too late to turn your habits around and begin to look and feel good.

Well, OCCASIONALLY it’s too late, like perhaps when you get diagnosed with stage-4 cancer. Let’s avoid that and start on the straight-&-narrow now.

(Speaking of this, consider these photos of me the “BEFORE” as I am about to have a makeover—GULP!—I’ll explain later.)

I am typing this in the car leaving the concert so that I remember to mention Vitamin Water was handing out drinks called Zero that are calorie free and sweetened with STEVIA. (And the water is reverse osmosis filtered, with extracts of acai and other fruits.)

Yay! I am glad to see mainstream drinks replacing aspartame, which is a neurotoxin responsible for more complaints to the FDA than the other U.S.-approved 4,000 chemical food additives combined. Japanese companies have been using herbal stevia instead of chemicals for many years.