Since When Is Cotton a Vegetable?

I'm reading Dr. Mercola's new book, Fat for Fuel, and am really excited by the insights it provides about fat... One thing that was eye-opening to me was the history of cottonseed oil. Here's a short excerpt:

The History

In the late 1800’s, the majority of Americans were farmers or lived in rural communities that depended on farmers for their food. The majority of foods on American tables were whole, unprocessed, and locally grown. Interestingly, that made them organic as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides had not yet been introduced.
Cottonseed oil, before appearing in American kitchens in the familiar Wesson bottle, was a waste product of the cotton industry that was used primarily in soap and as fuel for lamps. But as electricity became more available and affordable during the early 1900’s, manufacturers had a glut of cottonseed oil on their hands—an ample supply in search of demand.

Cottonseed oil in its natural state is cloudy and has a red tint due to the presence of gossypol, a naturally occurring phytochemical that is toxic to animals. (See, God knew what he was doing in creating plants with defense mechanisms.)

This required that manufacturers develop a deodorizing and bleaching process to make cottonseed oil palatable as a food product.

PUFA - WHA?

Cottonseed oil wasn’t only unpalatable in its natural state. It came with serious health issues due to the fact that it, like nearly all vegetable oils, is a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA). Without boring you with the chemistry details, let me assure you that eating too many PUFAs poses a health hazard! They become incorporated into your cell membranes and because these fats are unstable, your cells become fragile and prone to oxidation, which leads to all sorts of problems, such as chronic inflammation and atherosclerosis.

These unstable oils also are prone to going rancid with no shelf life. This made them less appealing to food manufacturers.

Back to the history....

In 1907, the Cincinnati-based SOAP company Procter & Gamble was approached by Edwin Kayser, a German chemist who claimed he had developed a process for making liquid fats solid and shelf stable. The company purchased the U.S. rights to the process and began experimenting, at first in search of a way to make cheaper and more appealing-looking soap.
Once hydrogenated cottonseed oil was developed, P&G realized it had the same luminous white look as lard, which was the most popular cooking fat at the time.
Why not sell it as a cooking fat? In 1910, P&G applied for a patent for CRISCO-hydrogenated cottonseed oil, what we know today as a transfat—and the shift away from animal fats to industrially processed vegetable fats began in earnest.
When Procter & Gamble debuted Crisco in 1911, they introduced it to the public as “the ideal fat,” notable for its “purity” and for being “absolutely all-vegetable.” As a result of these marketing efforts, sales jumped from 2.6 million pounds in 1912 to 60 million pounds four years later.  

You see, today we struggle with marketing words like “organic” and “natural”—words that are not regulated by the FDA. But “ideal,” “pure,” and “absolutely all-vegetable” are not regulated either.

(Remember when Doctors endorsed cigarettes?)

Did you grow up in a household with a can of Crisco? Did you even know what it was?

My point is this: Have you ever eaten a cotton ball? Why was the American public sold this idea of cotton as a vegetable?

Canola Oil

The same story of overabundance of a waste product being turned into a food product has been repeated with Canola Oil—or as it is formally called “rapeseed oil.” The American government continues to subsidize Canadian farmers for production of rapeseed. And that story goes back to WWII, when we needed rapeseed oil as a lubricant for our naval and air force machinery.

These oils are Omega-6 fatty acids and at the root of all our chronic inflammation. What and where is inflammation found? Well, it could be joint inflammation, one that most of us are aware of and experience. But it also includes gut (small intestine and large intestine) inflammation. Our skin is also damaged by excessive Omega-6 fatty acids. How about arterial inflammation? Brain/neural inflammation?

The unfortunate truth, is that cottonseed oil and other so called vegetable oils are cheap to produce, and are found in everything packaged today. From cookies, crackers, breads, to popcorn, and frozen foods. As a result, the American public now eats Omega-6 to Omega-3s in a ratio of 30:1. And that is where trouble begins.

You must get diligent about reading labels.

Now is the time to reduce your risk of chronic disease and inflammation by significantly reducing your intake of Omega-6s, and increase your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids. We want a ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s of about 2:1.

Examples of Omega-3s:

Marine algae and phytoplankton are primary sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Common sources of plant oils containing the omega-3 ALA fatty acid include:

Sources of animal omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids include:

Our body is a symphony and all the players in the orchestra must be in place for beautiful music to be played and heard. Omega-3 and Omega-6 or better known as essential fatty acids, work in harmony with Vitamin D3, K2 to prevent inflammation and osteoporosis.

Are you taking a supplemental fish oil? If so, which one? Many are already rancid before they hit the store shelves. And just as in an orchestra, the other players must be there. Vitamins D3 and K2.

If you would like some suggestions, email me for a complimentary consultation: leslie@redeemingwellness.com

The Big Stink About Secret Fragrances

Ever looked at the ingredient lists on the back of your personal care products?

More often than not, you’ll see “fragrance” listed as an ingredient on everything from lotion to shampoo to soap. But “fragrance” isn’t really a single chemical ingredient.

It’s a black box that can encompass any number of more than 3,000 different secret chemical ingredients, including some linked to endocrine disruption and serious allergies.

For decades, federal regulations have allowed companies to use the word “fragrance,” hiding the identity of multiple potentially hazardous chemicals. But that could be about to change.

Unilever, the multibillion-dollar company behind popular brands like Dove, Lever 2000, and NEXXUS, has announced a plan to provide more details about the fragrance ingredients in all of its products. This is a HUGE step forward and a big opportunity to encourage other companies to follow suit.

Click here to sign EWG’s petition urging all personal care companies follow Unilever’s lead and disclose fragrance ingredients to consumers!

As consumers, we have a right to hold corporations accountable and demand the information we need to protect ourselves and our families from harmful chemicals.

A 2010 EWG study found that on average, products listing the ingredient “fragrance” included 14 secret chemical ingredients not listed on the labels.

The secret chemicals identified in the study included diethyl phthalate, a notorious endocrine disruptor, as well as 24 different sensitizing chemicals that can cause allergic reactions.

Do you know what endocrine disruptor means? It’s a mechanism that up or down regulates and disrupts optimal hormone production and communication.

And that, my friend is a scary thing. 

That means: weight gain, acne, excess estrogen, loss of libido, and bone loss just to name a few symptoms.

For my clients with autoimmune conditions and cancer, this is one of the first places we start—checking out the cleaning products and personal care products, and replacing any that have questionable ingredients or mystery fragrances with all-natural alternatives.

If you're dealing with an autoimmune condition or cancer and want my support, please reach out and set up a time for us to talk! This is my passion and my purpose. 

Are You Ready for the "Season"?

I don’t know about you, but if I wake up with any of the following:

  • scratchy throat
  • fever
  • diarrhea/vomiting
  • flu-like symptoms

I want to know that I am prepared with all the right ingredients in my cabinet.

Suffering from a cold or flu is uncomfortable and inconvenient. If you’ve got young ones at home, you’ve probably already learned that avoiding a cold or a flu from time to time is nearly impossible!

So I thought I’d share a few of my recommended essentials with you.

We know that washing your hands is the #1 protective measure you can take to avoid germs.

The second best protective measure is a nasal saline wash.

Xlear nasal spray. One of the MOST preventive things you can do is to irrigate your nasal passages with Xlear nasal spray at the end of every day, and after any potential exposure (work, school, playgroups, plane travel, etc.). This is a saline nasal spray with xylitol and grapefruit seed extract, both of which have antimicrobial properties. You cannot overdo it, and will not get “addicted” to it. Other options for nasal irrigation are a regular saline spray, or a Neti pot.

Apart from regular hand washing, I believe that daily and frequent nasal irrigation is one of the MOST important things that we can do to prevent influenza and other infections from taking hold.

This is because after exposure to a virus, the virus tries to invade and multiply in your nasal passages for at least 1–2 days before you develop any symptoms. Nasal irrigation can wash away viral particles before they have the opportunity to take hold, and thereby prevent many infections from happening in the first place!

I always carry a spray with me when traveling by air. So do yourself a favor, and spray your nose with a saline spray before heading out of doors every day during this season. 

Stay well-hydrated. Stick to water, coconut water, herbal teas, and bone broth.

Bone broth has been used throughout the ages to nurse someone back to health when in the throes of cold or flu. This is in part, due to how rich in minerals bone broth can be. Chicken bone broth especially adds the much needed nourishment to your body when you’ve come down with something because it contains an amino acid called cysteine. Cysteine can help thin out the mucous in your lungs making it easier for you to expel from your body. Other amino acids and fats help lower inflammation levels, while the broth itself is simple for the gut to digest. Eating simply in times of illness gives your body an edge to focus on regeneration and healing rather than directing that energy towards digestion.

An apple-a-day keeps the doctor away! Eat lots of colorful fruits and vegetables. They are full of antioxidants which will destroy the free radicals that weaken our immune system and are responsible for making us feel sick when we catch a bug. Each color provides different antioxidant power—so be sure to eat a rainbow every day!

Vitamin C. Take a whole food Vitamin C in powder or capsule form. Nature’s Way Alive or Garden of Life up to 6,000iu spread throughout the day is my normal go-to.

Manuka Honey. Manuka honey is a raw honey produced in New Zealand that is much richer in enzymes than most other raw honeys and carries an impressive antimicrobial profile. It tastes medicinal in nature and it’s also quite expensive so this isn’t a honey you want to use frivolously; instead, keep it on hand as a medicinal food. Manuka honey is a potent source of vitamins and minerals, which can help your body build resistance to the common cold and flu. Try adding 1 tablespoon into elderberry tea when you’re feeling sick to boost your recovery and ease your system.

Elderberry Syrup. These little medicinal berries are traditionally concocted into a syrup and consumed during times of cold and flu. Rich in Vitamin C, elderberry helps to boost the immune system and lowers inflammation, too! In Panama in 1995, they used Elderberry to treat a flu epidemic and it’s been used throughout the ages for this very purpose. You can use the dried berries to make a tea, or more commonly cook them with honey to make an elderberry syrup that can also aid a sore throat.

Ginger. While the medicinal benefits of ginger are no longer active in store-bought ginger ale, you’re wise to incorporate fresh ginger root into your healing regimen when you’ve got a cold or flu. Full of antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties, ginger really works. You can slice it and boil it in hot water, and use ginger powder or fresh grated ginger in your recipes. For a cold remedy, mix a few drops of Doterra Ginger essential oil in warm water with lemon and Manuka honey for an antifungal, bacteria-killing recovery tea.

Garlic. A compound called allicin is largely responsible for the antibacterial effects found in garlic. Numerous studies have been conducted on garlic and its impacts on the cold and flu. In one study with a focus on aged garlic extract, colds were shown to reduce in length up to 61%.

Add crushed garlic to your bone broth soup and supplement with aged garlic extract when you’re feeling low to recover more quickly and kill off bad bacteria in your body. Be sure to supplement with probiotics during this time as well to create harmony in your gut.

Probiotics. My favorite is Biotics BioDoph 7, a broad-spectrum probiotic to repopulate the gut. The probiotic strains found in BioDoph7 are part of the normal bacteria of the mouth and throat. When taken as a supplement, it helps to fight strep bacteria and restore normal microbial balance. It shows antiviral activity by increasing interferon production, a key antiviral protein that stimulates the immune system.

Medicinal Mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, cordyceps, maitake, coriolus, agaricus, umbellatus, and others promote immune cell activity and support immunity against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders. They also promote recovery by helping to strengthen areas of the body that are weak due to stress, injury, or illness.

My absolute MUST-have is Biotics Bio Immunozyme Forte, which contains cordyceps. Cordyceps is proven helpful for combatting a flu and may also help support the lungs when under stress.

Essential Oil. The DoTerra essential oil OnGuard has been shown to be antiviral and antibacterial. I spray a diluted solution on all public spaces in my house. Topically, I place a couple drops on the bottom of my feet. And very carefully, I will put 2 drops in 4 ounces of water to swish, gargle, and swallow a couple times a day.

  • DoTerra Purify – for cleansing the home of germs
  • DoTerra DigestZen – for upset tummy
  • DoTerra Ginger – for nausea
  • DoTerra Breathe – for respiratory support

Get adequate sleep. An increase in sleep actually increases the number of your white blood cells. On the other hand, loss of sleep even for a few hours at night, increases inflammation in your body which makes you more susceptible to catching the flu and having more severe symptoms. So make sure your whole family is getting enough zzzz’s! Try DoTerra Serenity for a good night’s sleep….. 

You can place an order for Doterera essential oils at www.mydoterra.com/redeemingwellness

If you’d like to add any Biotics products to your cabinet, let me know, I will order and drop ship to your home. Send me an email with your request at leslie@redeemingwellness.com

As always, I am available for a complimentary Nutritional Consultation. 

A Bump on the Head—or Something More?

It all started with a bump on the head….

Well, I should say a rapid, head-first “mousetrap” type fall. Tripping over the 4-month old puppy who had gotten underfoot.

I’ve never fallen like that before, and it was quite a shock. The goose egg on my forehead went from hair line to brow line. I iced it and licked my wounds/pride over this incident.

It never occurred to me that this was a serious injury. Despite the fact that I ended up with not one but TWO black eyes for several days, I had no lingering headache or vision problems.

But then I started to fall apart. First, I developed a chest cold. Then I woke up with fever blisters and a shingles-type rash on my neck. This happened while on a conference in Phoenix. I was reading two very interesting books by Donna Jackson Nakazawa: “The Autoimmune Epidemic” and “The Last Best Cure.” I was trying to get my head around autoimmune diseases and in particular Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). The author had suffered two rounds of GBS and several other very serious autoimmune conditions.

Basically what she discovered is that our immune systems can take a hit from both physical and emotional trauma. Wow—could that be happening to me?

So I went to my trusted physician/chiropractor who confirmed that I was concussed. Yikes! The acupuncture needles in my legs were oscillating by themselves due to trapped energy in my body. He made the appropriate adjustments and I went home to fall into a deep sleep. By week’s end, I felt great and completely well.

However, a very peculiar symptom surfaced: Heartburn. I haven’t suffered from GERD or acid reflux in two years, since going on a gut healing protocol, eating clean, and taking the appropriate supplements. But now I was suffering terribly. And my fingernails weren’t growing-they were splitting. One of the sure signs of poor digestion and malabsorption of nutrients is poor nail growth. What’s up with that?

The very next day I received a newsletter from Dr. Jill Carnahan, out of Boulder Colorado, titled: “Brain Injuries and your Gut.”  In her article, she explains the relationship of our brain to our gut health and how trauma or injury impairs our digestion and immune system.

I love how God puts answers in front of us, if only we are open to seeing them.

Have you suffered a head injury or concussion? Have you ever thought that you can link your recurring and unexplainable symptoms back to that injury? Give it some thought….

Meanwhile, I’ll be back on my gut healing protocol, drinking lots of bone broth, taking my digestive supplements, and getting chiropractic adjustments to get my body back to homeostasis.

Be good to yourself,
Leslie

Safer Sunscreens

It’s no secret that the sun provides all sorts of health benefits, including helping our bodies manufacture vitamin D. With beach season right around the corner, though, many people are looking for the best sunscreens to cut their risk of sun overexposure, sunburns, and possibly skin cancer.

Back when we spent lots of time at the beach, I had a system for applying sunscreen to the babies. Coated them up completely while naked, then let them put on their suits. As they got older and presumably more responsible they took on that job. I remember the Easter/spring break when “daughter unit” said “I’m old enough to do this myself, Mom.”

Actually, she did a great job covering her body in sunscreen—she just forgot her face. She spent Easter Sunday in bed, with cold packs, and Aloe gel on her face. That was a bad burn. But we live and learn.

Today when traveling to the beach or pool, I see lots of Moms spraying their children with sunscreen. I have to say, that in observation, most of it is blowing in the wind. Did you know that pediatricians and dermatologists specifically advise against spraying? The propellants used to make the spray are extremely toxic to the lungs. And more importantly, I don’t want to breathe your secondhand sunscreen. It’s nasty.

A Toxic Brew
It’s second nature for most of us to apply sunscreen before long days spent in the sun, or even on a daily basis, to protect our skin from sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer, but have you ever really stopped to look at what’s in the stuff? Ingredients like oxybenzone, homosalate, and octinoxate are ubiquitous. These chemicals work by absorbing UV light, but they also penetrate the skin, enter the bloodstream (and in some cases, breast milk), and act as endocrine disrupters, interfering with normal hormone function. (An endocrine disrupter messes with your hormones, causes weight gain, early puberty, and “man boobs.”) 

These chemicals can also create damaging free radicals in the skin—the very thing they are supposed to protect us from. There is a better choice. Mineral-based sunblock utilizes titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, two FDA-approved sunscreen ingredients that block both UVB and UVA rays, do not enter the bloodstream, do not have hormone-disrupting properties, and do not create free radicals. They work by reflecting UV rays away from the skin, preventing them from penetrating the skin in the first place. 


Did you know that sunscreen manufacturers can make advertising claims unsupported by mandatory testing? Claims like “all day protection,” “waterproof,” and “sweatproof” mean nothing. 

More important than seeking out ultra-high SPF products is that you apply your sunscreen generously—the average adult requires approximately 2 tablespoons (about a shot glass worth) to adequately cover the body. Reapply every two hours or after sweating, swimming, or towel drying. 

All Sunscreens Are Not Created Equally
In fact, a spring 2016 report from Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 72 percent of sunscreens tested contain harmful ingredients or inadequate sun protection. This is EWG’s 10th annual Guide to Sunscreens report, and the results show that while there have been major improvements over the last decade, the vast majority of sunscreens available for purchase in the U.S. still contain toxic chemicals or fail to offer enough protection against ultraviolet rays.

It’s important to note that there is no perfect sunscreen. Many contain harmful chemicals, and even mineral-based ones often contain nanoparticles, minute ingredients that can cross the blood-brain barrier and also harm aquatic life. EWG rated 750 sunscreens, more than 500 SPF-labeled moisturizers and 100 lip products based on safety and how well they actually worked, helping consumers find (while not perfect) better options. 

Toxic Sunscreens to Avoid
EWG focused even more closely on children’s sunscreens this year, in part because children are more susceptible to certain toxic chemicals during development and because blistering sunburns early in life can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer down the line. While other brands received low scores, EWG specifically called out the following brands because they earned the worst scores. 

Worst Sunscreens for Kids

  • Banana Boat Kids Max Protect & Play Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 100
  • Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
  • Coppertone Sunscreen Continuous Spray, Kids, SPF 70
  • Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion Kids, SPF 70+
  • Coppertone Foaming Lotion Sunscreen Kids Wacky Foam, SPF 70+
  • Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 70+
  • CVS Baby Sunstick Sunscreen, SPF 55
  • CVS Kids Wet & Dry Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+
  • Equate Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 55
  • Hampton Sun Continuous Mist Sunscreen For Kids, SPF 70
  • Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70+
  • Neutrogena Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Stick, SPF 70+

Sunscreen should be used as a last resort. Sun-protective measures like hats, sunglasses, seeking shade, and avoiding peak sunlight for extended periods of time should be used before turning to sunscreen, and when you do choose sunscreen, make sure it’s one of the best sunscreens.

In my practice, after teaching about nutrient-dense, whole-food diets, hydration, and detoxification, there always seemed to be the question: “What do you use for sunscreen?” And I never had an answer that I felt confident with. Until now. I have personally tested this product on the white sands of the Florida Panhandle and the Caribbean beaches: 

Beauty Counter Broad Spectrum SPF 30 All Over Sunscreen

__________________________________________

Reference Lindsay Wilson for Natural Grocers
Reference Dr. Josh Axe
Reference EWG.org

Can You Eat Your Way to Beautiful Skin?

Five years ago, when I started on this journey of Redeeming Wellness, one of my main concerns was that as women, we were self-sabotaging our beauty. I desperately wanted to tell you that while “beauty can be skin deep,” and that beauty starts on the inside, all of that is for naught if you have a poor diet.

Everyone has a favorite face cream or treatment, but beautiful skin starts with nourishment from within. Eat the correct balance of foods and you'll feed your skin the vital nutrients it needs to help it stay soft, supple, and blemish-free.

Just like you can’t exercise away a poor diet, you can’t slather countless skin products on with a poor diet and expect great results. The majority of us never learned in school what our skin is made of. Well, here it is: fat cells. Skin cells (in a perfect world) have juicy, plump cell membranes. These membranes are designed to let in water, nutrients and hormones, and expel toxins and waste products. Older cells are constantly shed and replaced by younger ones and a steady supply of micronutrients is essential to support this rapid growth.

But what if you bought into the “low-fat/no-fat diet” for all these years? Then you haven’t been feeding your skin what it needs to retain its shape and texture. And your cell membranes deflate, dry up, and can’t take in nutrients or expel toxins. Think dry, scaly, and wrinkled.

According to Dr. Mercola:

“What you eat has a lot to do with the appearance of your complexion, and a number of skin problems, such as acne, can be cleared up simply by altering your diet.
As a general rule, a diet high in fresh vegetables, which are rich in bioflavanoids, and plenty of omega-3 fats will lay the necessary groundwork for a healthy, youthful complexion.”

Foods for beautiful skin:

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is also a super antioxidant. It is needed for a strong immune system, radiant skin, and it helps blemishes heal properly. Vitamin C aids in your body's production of collagen, which is the protein that forms the basic scaffolding of your skin. Collagen breakdown can leave your skin saggy, and vitamin C can help tighten it back up. The best sources are blackcurrants, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi fruits, oranges, papaya, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes. They all help to produce collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the skin.

Antioxidants
Eat a rainbow of colorful vegetables and aim for at least five portions a day. Beta-carotene, found in pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes, and lutein, found in kale, papaya, and spinach are potent antioxidants, important for normal skin cell development and healthy skin tone.

Don't be afraid of fat
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats—the types found in avocados, fish, nuts, and seeds— provide essential fatty acids which act as a natural moisturizer for your skin, keeping it supple. These fats also come packaged with a healthy dose of vitamin E (a vitamin many of us lack), which will help protect against free-radical damage. 

Omega 3
This essential fatty acid must come from our diet and fish has always been the No. 1 source of animal-based omega-3. Fish high in omega-3 while being low in toxins like mercury include wild-caught Alaskan salmon (not Atlantic salmon, which is typically farmed), and small fatty fish like sardines and anchovies.

Drink up
Skin needs moisture to stay flexible. Even mild dehydration will cause your skin to look dry, tired and slightly grey. Drink six to eight glasses of water a day—all fluids count towards your daily allowance, but water is the best. If you work in an office, keep a large glass or steel bottle of water on your desk to remind you to drink. Or download the smart phone app “Waterlogged” to set up a reminder. Herbal, caffeine-free teas are good too. Try to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, both can age the skin.

Healthy Skin Is Created from the Inside Out
By keeping your insides healthy and clean, your skin will have no choice but follow suit and mirror your internal state. To accomplish this, you need to pay careful attention to what you put into your body.

Once you make changes to your diet, don't expect an overnight miracle. It takes six weeks for new skin to emerge up to the surface, so the visible benefits from dietary changes will take just as long.

One addition to your diet that I always recommend to help improve the health and vibrancy of your skin is a product called Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides; it's derived from grass-fed / pasture-raised cows, and makes a great protein boost for your morning smoothie! Click here to check out my Favorites page, which features Vital Proteins products as well as a link to purchase. 

Do you think of food as part of your skin-care routine? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this... Leave a comment below and we'll get the conversation started!

Got Milk? I Hope Not!

By now, most of my friends and family members know my position on drinking milk.

I tell them that we are the only species on the planet that drinks another species’ milk even after we are weaned.

(And if you know anything about the history of milk production in this country, you’d be horrified.)

You know, I spent an early teen year on a dairy farm and it was idyllic. This family had maybe 100 cows, that they lovingly attended. From Spring to Fall, these cows spent all day eating grass. We’d ride out bareback on ole Cinnamon and Butter (slow, easy horses) to call the cows in every evening. 

happy-cows-at-harmony-organic.jpg

But that was then. Now cows are on huge factory farms, fed soy, corn, and strange parts of animals. And they are given growth hormones to come into early production. Pushing a cow’s milk production makes them susceptible to infections of the udders, so they add antibiotics to their feed. And most of the cows that are brought into early maturity end up with liver disease.

100 years ago, milk was drunk in its organic, raw form—rich with enzymes and good for you. But more importantly, our ancestors extended the life of the dairy by producing butter. Butter from grass-fed cows is rich in Vitamins A, D, and K, nutrients we need for healthy digestion and strong bones. They also extended the dairy by fermenting, creating yogurts, cheeses, and kefir.

Today’s milk is pasteurized; the heat process destroys any of the beneficial enzymes. And Big Food adds inexpensive, synthetic vitamins to say that the product is “fortified.”

Reconsidering Full-Fat

A 2016 study published in Circulation is a strong reminder that nutritional policymakers need to reconsider their stance against full-fat dairy. Looking at more than 3,300 people, researchers found that people with the highest byproducts of full-fat dairy products enjoyed a 46 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to people who ate less full-fat dairy.

While it’s not entirely clear how whole fat milk is helping to lower risk of diabetes, it’s possible that it’s working on several different levels to regulate insulin and glucose. At the simplest level, people eating more high-fat dairy products feel satiated by the extra calories so they won’t crave additional calories from sugary foods.

It’s also possible that the fats in dairy may be acting directly on cells, working on the liver and muscle to improve their ability to break down sugar from food. And then there’s the possibility that for certain high-fat dairy foods, like cheese, which is fermented, microbes may be working to improve insulin response and lower diabetes risk too.

Did you know that skim milk was actually a waste product from cream and butter production?

The first skim milk was gray and watery. So the producers actually add back dried milk solids and coloring to make it marketable, not to mention SUGAR to make it taste good. That’s because when you remove the fat from a food, you always end up removing flavor.

The Harvard School of Medicine has announced that school children who drink skim milk every day are more inclined to becoming obese. And schools are pushing strawberry and chocolate skim milk, laden with sugar.

The Bottom Line

If you’re consuming milk, yogurt, butter, and cheese produced from conventionally raised cows that are fed a steady stream of antibiotics, your dairy intake may be playing a role in antibiotic resistance. Not just for you, either—also for your family and everyone else in the community. Conventional dairy may also increase your risk of being overweight and even of getting cancer.

The pasteurization process that most conventional dairy products undergo destroys essential enzymes and probiotics, as well as alters vital amino acids. Nearly all commercial milk is also homogenized, a process that oxidizes fats and creates free radicals. Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that are known to weaken the immune system and result in intestinal inflammation, leading to leaky gut.

Do you know anyone who is lactose intolerant?

Actually, we all are. Just to different degrees. You see, upon birth, we all have the enzyme lactase to assist with breast milk digestion. But as we age, our bodies stop producing lactase. And in some folks, the consumption of dairy really sends them running: severe cramping, nausea, and diarrhea are the end result. The rest of us have kept consuming milk not experiencing those particular symptoms, and yet not connecting the dots on our other symptoms back to our dairy consumption. Symptoms like migraines, acne, sinus problems, and joint issues.

So how do proceed from here? Well, baby steps:

1.     Transition from skim or low fat milk to whole fat milk.
2.     Purchase only organic whole milk, cream, half and half, and yogurt.
3.     Look for grass-fed pastured dairy products: butter, yogurt, and cheeses.
4.     Try whole-fat goat* yogurt for your granola cereal and smoothies.
5.     Locate a local dairy farmer who is selling raw, organic milk.
6.     Try a quality almond, cashew, or coconut milk. (Not soy.)

A note on goat yogurt. Goats are typically raised on small, family farms, given access to grass to eat. They are not pushed into mass milk production and therefore, not laden with antibiotics. They are happy, grass eaters who provide us with healthy vitamin rich dairy products.

But where will I get my calcium?

Surprise! There are many foods available that provide more calcium than milk.

·      Collard Greens
·      Broccoli
·      Kale
·      Bok Choy
·      Figs
·      Okra
·      Oranges
·      Sardines
·      Salmon
·      White beans
·      Almonds

Are you ready to make milk a thing of your past, for the sake of your health? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

 

 

Why You Need to Choose Organic Strawberries

How many strawberries do you eat each year? 

Earlier this week the Environmental Working Group released EWG's 2016 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™. Hundreds of thousands of consumers like you are turning to this important resource to shop smarter and cleaner by avoiding fruits and veggies most likely to be laden in pesticide residues. 

This year’s response is staggering. 

For the first time ever, strawberries lead EWG’s Dirty Dozen™ list for the product with the highest number of pesticide residues, displacing apples, which headed the list for the last five years running.

Check out these surprising facts to learn more about conventional strawberry production in the United States:

What can you do to minimize your exposure to potentially harmful pesticide residues? The answer is simple: Shop organic (especially when the fruits and veggies you want fall on EWG’s Dirty Dozen™ list).

I know that you can’t always find or afford organic produce. That’s why they've created EWG’s Clean Fifteen™ list - highlighting the conventional fruits and vegetables that are least likely to have pesticide residues.

To read more about strawberry production and how to inform your friends and family, click here. 

Are you surprised by this announcement?

Do you already buy organic strawberries? If not, will you make the switch?

I'd love to hear more from you about this — use the comments section below to chime in!