But, It’s Only 2g of Blood Cancer…

I know, I know, it’s easy.

You’re sitting there, about to go on a date with some stud muffin guy you just met, and you realize your breath stinks.

You ask your friend for some gum, and she hands you an Eclipse.. or a Wrigley’s… or some Trident.

You know, because you’ve read all about it, that sugarfree gum…and sugarfree everything for that matter, has Aspartame. But you say to yourself, well, it’s only 2 grams of sugar alcohol… and I’m gonna get cancer anyway… and he’s really cute.

So you take the gum.

And you say to yourself, “Just this one time”.

And then, the next week, you’re at the movies, and your friend is drinking Diet Coke. She offers you a sip, and you say ah, why not. But then you realize, Diet Coke has Aspartame in it, and you’ve learned that Aspartame has an ADH enzymes… which change methanol, a by-product of aspartame metabolism, to formaldehyde in the body.

… and feel guilty, but not too guilty, because it’s just a sip.

And the next day, you see “Sugar-free” Lemon Sorbet at the grocery store, and absolutely must have it…and the next month you buy everyone at the party Coke Zero because they’re watching their weight….

But, I wonder, how many times do you say that? And what is it going to take for you to get so scared of the prospects of the unnatural ingredients in your gum, and the artificial colors and flavorings in your food, and the toxins in your shampoo, and everything else you use on a daily basis to actual stop using them?

Well, maybe this study will finally do the trick.

Here I am, about to show you an article that may just scare you, maybe not enough for you to give up on those little bits that turn into big problems, but enough to validate even further how real the problems with giving into these food additive tempations are. Because we all know those small occasions add up…

After 22 years of research, a study by Dr. Eva S. Schernhammer of the Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, researching with 77,000 women and 48,000 men, has confirmed that there are strong links between Aspartame and Blood Cancers.

And that Aspartame actually causes people to gain weight more easily than pure sugar….and that it causes neurological problems….

To dive right in, in fact, what is Aspartame? Well, this paragraph sums it up nicely:

“Aspartame is the excrement of genetically modified E. coli bacteria [Sounds dreadful, right?!]. It is comprised of 40 percent aspartic acid, 50 percent phenylalanine, and 10 percent methanol. Aspartic acid acts as a neurotransmitter, and too much can actually over-excite the cells (known as an “excitotoxin”), thus stimulating them to death. Keep in mind the blood brain barrier cannot prevent this in many, as it does not fully protect all areas of the brain, especially in people already suffering from other chronic diseases and disorders, and is not fully developed in children. While phenylalanine is an amino acid already present in the brain, excess levels can cause serotonin to decrease over time, which can lead to chemical imbalances that cause depression and other mood and emotional disorders. Methanol is an industrial solvent, is used as fuel and antifreeze, and is a main ingredient in many paints and varnish removers. The EPA warns that methanol ingestion may result in neurological damage (specifically “permanent motor dysfunction”) and visual disturbances leading to blurred or dimmed vision and eventually blindness.” (Melton).

Not only does it cause cancer, but it also makes you feel like crap in the mean time.

Dr. Mercola notes that aspartame actually accounts for over 75 percent of adverse food additive reactions reported to the FDA, including:

“Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.”

After noting that, read the entire article here. And then… read the full scholarly study here.

Now how are you feeling about those small choices? If you’re like me, you’re probably feeling guilty…frustrated…ready to go eat a whole bag of all natural apples maybe… or some raw sugar donuts?

Well, I’m sorry, not for scaring you, but that if you are scared, (which you should be) you now have an obligation to pay more attention to the decisions you do everyday that affect your health. I encourage you, be aware of the small steps you take everyday, get angry, fight back by signing petitions, don’t buy sugar-free foods, read labels before you consume, and TELL people about what you have learned so that they can be one step closer to preventing cancer in the future.

And please, for the love of REAL food everywhere, stop telling yourself “I’m going to get cancer anyway”… when there is clear evidence that it is not coming from your organic green beans. This stuff, is too malicious for nature to make, so instead we factories do it for that lovely Mother Nature. ❤

Oh, and at the movie theater… try an all natural mint instead.

Bon appétit et bonne sante,

Trish

p.s. If you want to try a challenge, to see how you feel without these cancer-causing sugar-coated killers give this a look….

Are Your Health Problems Related to Artificial Sweeteners?

Many people belatedly realize they’ve been suffering reactions to one artificial sweetener or another. If you suspect an artificial sweetener might be to blame for a symptom you’re having, a good way to help you weed out the culprit is to do an elimination challenge. It’s easy to do, but you must read the ingredient labels for everything you put in your mouth to make sure you’re avoiding ALL artificial sweeteners. To determine if you’re having a reaction to artificial sweeteners, take the following steps:

  • Eliminate all artificial sweeteners from your diet for two weeks.
  • After two weeks of being artificial sweetener-free, reintroduce your artificial sweetener of choice in a significant quantity (about three servings daily). Avoid other artificial sweeteners during this period.
  • Do this for one to three days and notice how you feel, especially as compared to when you were consuming no artificial sweeteners.
  • If you don’t notice a difference in how you feel after re-introducing your primary artificial sweetener for a few days, it’s a safe bet you’re able to tolerate it acutely, meaning your body doesn’t have an immediate, adverse response. However, this doesn’t mean your health won’t be damaged in the long run.
  • If you’ve been consuming more than one type of artificial sweetener, you can repeat steps 2 through 4 with the next one on your list.

Let me make it abundantly clear that even though you may not show immediate signs of any noticeable reaction after consuming artificial sweeteners, please don’t make the mistake of telling yourself “they must be OK for me”. I strongly urge you to avoid them at all costs. They are toxic to all humans and will not help you in any way, shape, or form.

Also, if you do experience side effects from aspartame, please report it to the FDA (if you live in the United States) without delay. It’s easy to make a report — just go to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator page, find the phone number for your state, and make a call reporting your reaction. There’s no telling just how many reports they might need to receive before taking another look at aspartame’s safety and reconsidering their stance. But I CAN tell you, the more reports they get, the more likely that is to happen. So if you suspect you have experienced an adverse reaction from aspartame (or any other drug or food additive), please take a moment to make this important call.

xox

Trish

Prepare for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day 2013

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Hi All,

We in the Ambassador world with Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution are getting ready to prepare for the upcoming Food Revolution Day this May.

I have some ideas for you that have really helped me look at food differently in the past.

Below are some examples that I think you’ll find very interesting, engaging, and even life-changing.

Movies:

  • Food Inc
  • Forks Over Knives (I regret to say I have not yet seen this, but everyone recommends it)

Books:

Blogs:

Challenges:

I tried both of these, and it was an amazing learning experience for me. I am much more aware of what I am eating, and what eating ‘healthy’ food means. You’ll notice differences in your mood, appearance, and energy.

If you try these first, and then start planning for your events to celebrate Food Revolution Day 2013, you’ll be much better equipped to teach others, and you’ll have more motivation yourself.

Lastly, remember to ‘like’ the Wilmington,DE Food Revolution page on Facebook and follow @FoodRevWilm for Wilmington, DE updates, and use #FoodRevolution on Twitter to show your support.

xox

Trish

France’s Healthy (and Not-So-Healthy) Habits

It’s true, the french are much thinner, have far better complexions, and live much longer than we do. Their population life expectancy is 81.46 (male: 78.35 years female: 84.73 years (2012 est.) , as compared with the US, at 78.6 years.

Although, for a population with such healthy eating habits (and yes, I am including their consumption of fatty foods in healthy), they certainly could use some help in some areas. For one thing, I haven’t been able to walk past the french high school once without having to dodge cigarette buds on the ground or cigarette smoke wafting through the air on every side of me. Not only that, but most french students that I have met, have told me they’ve been drinking alcohol since before they were legally allowed. Which, of course, is normal for us in America too, but that usually means we get a little crazy in the last few years of high school…not age 14, which is the age most french students I’ve spoken to have started “partying”. This could be a good thing, in that it’s not seen as so foreign to drink, and perhaps it encourages frenchies to relax around alcohol and not abuse it like which happens often in the US at frat houses, binging pre-games. But, based on scientific studies, alcohol does inhibit brain development, especially in adolescence, and both smoking and alcohol can cause mouth, liver, throat, lip cancer. Aside from the smoking and drinking, though, and their extreme lack of desire to exercise, the rest of the french lifestyle appears to be extremely positive in terms of good health.

And, I think it’s important to recognize that this “French Paradox” isn’t really all that difficult to understand after all. Take away the smoking and alcohol and observe, as I have after living here for about 3 months now, the rest of their lifestyle and you’ll see they’re quite good at living. In fact, every other part of their lifestyle proves perfectly why they live as long as they do and why they are healthy.

It is easier to eat healthy in France than it is in America as well, because the abundance of unprocessed, healthy, fresh foods is more prevalent.

Here are my observations of the healthy french lifestyle:

1. Less stress. The French walk more slowly, take time to smell the roses (literally), enjoy sitting down to eat, and overall keep things in perspective more than Americans, in my view. It’s extremely rare to find a french person walking down the street with a coffee-to-go cup or eating a sandwich while standing up. It’s also rare to see a person running down the street to get to their job. Stress has been shown to increase blood pressure, lead to heart disease, and even obesity (go figure).

When’s the last time you took a stroll in the park, or ate your sandwich on a blanket? Sat down at a cafe for a good 2 hours? We are often so caught up with success in America, that we forget to appreciate the beauty of life and relaxation in general. To an extent, it seems that even though the french hold jobs, every day is a little bit of a vacation.

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2. They’re not afraid of fat. Fat is good for you. Wait, what? Who said that? I did. Saturated fat has been wrongly accused of wreaking havoc on our health in the states, but in fact there are a lot of reasons which make fat good for you. Fat lets you know you are full, it is essential for brain development, and aids in digestion and absorption of important minerals and vitamins. For example, when consuming whole milk and whole fat cheeses, lactose (the sugar naturally found in dairy), is more easily digested. Also, Vitamins A and D are also fat-soluble vitamins, which makes Skim milk with Vitamins A and D added a huge joke. The body cannot absorb either of these vitamins without fat to aid in the process.

The french eat fat all the time– butter in the morning, pastries galore, cheese sandwiches, cheese plates with dinner, nuts, olive oil, milk, cream, you name it.

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3. Their portions are smaller. They eat nutrient-dense foods in small portions. In America, we’re used to eating on the run, and there is not usually a routine. We’re fully comfortable with snacking throughout the day, eating huge portions in restaurants, including adding “dessert” to our meal after lunch nonetheless. If we order a pasta dish, it takes up the entire plate. Here, they believe in portions. A handful of pasta, a handful of salad, a handful of veggies. Then a wedge of cheese and a  fruit….then maybe a small chocolate cake.

4. They eat at the same time every day. Having a routine really helps to concentrate your focus on other things besides food. Waking up, eating breakfast before 10am, lunch between 12 and 2, dinner at 7pm every day has enabled me to get used to minimal snacking, and my body has as well. After dinner I’m not hungry to snack anymore, because I’m not used to having food after that time, which makes me get better sleep too.

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5. They walk. I live 30 minutes away from where I go to school and it’s all uphill, so in the morning after breakfast it’s easy for me to work off those calories. For the rest of the day until I return back home for dinner, I am walking constantly, whether it is to classes or the post office, or just meandering around the town.

6. They buy their groceries often, and they don’t come from bags and boxes. The fresh markets here are everywhere and happen daily. My host mom likes to get endives, cheese, fruit, salad, fresh meats, nuts from the markets and then she makes her own yogurt homemade every week. Spices and herbs are essential in french dishes, and are anti-inflammatory, healthy. It’s been a quite cleansing experience being away from the gross processed food that dominates our plates in the US and is all too easy to purchase. In fact, on the occasion that she gives us “Danette” or chocolate pudding with our fruit for dessert, I always pass it down with a “non, merci” because I can’t stand the taste of the additives.

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7. They are Non-GMO and proud of it. The GMO debate is less known by Americans, and less cared about. Here in France, however, it’s a different story. People know that GMOs are bad, and will tell you right away that they do not want to eat them. Everyone I’ve talked to about it agrees. Laws were passed in France that prohibit GMO food from being sold in restaurants, grown in France in general, so it’s been comforting not to need to check labels here or ask farmers, you just know.

8. They enjoy a healthy amount of wine.

And perhaps, more importantly to note, the quality of the grapes used to make the wine. After taking a tour of an organic vineyard in the south of France, I learned a lot about how the traditional methods used to grow the grapes for the wine has been tarnished by industrialism in many ways. In an effort to feed the growing demand of Rose for example, many vineyards were neglecting the essential methods needed to get the correct color and flavor, and instead compensated by selling lower quality Rose with red coloring and fake flavoring. The old methods are best for taste and flavor. For the most part, France is excellent in this sense, and due to the awareness of this trend in the past 10 years, most of the wine you’ll find here is very high quality.

9. Their products and lifestyles lack chemicals.

Check the ingredients on anything here– from soap to cookies at the local grocery store– and they’re usually fewer than 5 ingredients at the most. Chemicals have come up as sources for cancer over and over, and we are overwhelmed by their presence in the States. Here it’s easy to see the sources of food and materials, and it’s quite comforting.

Because people demand good quality food, they get it. In America, we have so many industries telling us what to eat, who make it cheaper to eat unhealthily. It is unfortunate that if we want to eat non-GMO food, we have to buy organic at a much higher price. It is also unfortunate that many don’t know what the difference is.

For the greatest country on earth, we as Americans could really use some tips from the French on how to live healthier lifestyles.

Xox

Trish