ARE THE FOODS YOU’RE EATING SLOWLY KILLING YOU? PART 3: Ingredients

Welcome to Part 3…finally! 😉 I know it has been a minute, but if you need a refresher, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 and then come back to read all about ingredients!

So let’s jump right on in! As previously mentioned in my other posts, I don’t read the nutrition label…ever. I ONLY read the ingredients. The ingredient list tells me what my food mostly contains, if it is safe or full of cancer-causing ingredients, if it is clean or full of additives, etc. So what are some ingredients that you want to avoid? Let me start by saying that the ingredients label will now become your best friend. Ingredients are listed from greatest to least, so if an ingredient is first on the list that means it is most prevalent. The ingredients section is so much more important and informative than calorie content or fat content.

There are so many ingredients that can be added to our food and what I am sharing with you today is just some of the big no-nos. This is your basic list and a good starting point. I’ve used research from Vani Hari and the Dirty Dozen List of Food Additives to Avoid to compile this list (please feel free to visit their websites to learn more about any of the ingredients mentioned).

Carrageenan

Carrageenan is a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) ingredient found in most milk substitute products, infant formulas, toothpaste, deli meats, cottage cheeses, some flavored coconut waters, supplements, juice…the list goes on. Even if food is organic, carrageenan can still be in it!! It has been known to cause digestive problems and intestinal inflammation as well. For a detailed shopping list of specific brands to avoid that contain carrageenan and what products to purchase instead, see Cornicopia.org.

Artificial Flavors

Artificial flavors are just that – artificial. They are synthetic flavors made from chemicals. They are used to make fake food taste good. And we are not just talking a single ingredient either. Each “flavor” can contain hundreds of ingredients, including synthetic chemicals, preservatives, and solvents, parabens and more. 

Artificial Sugars & Aspartame

Again, just like artificial flavors, artificial sugars are just that – ARTIFICIAL. Just stay away from anything that says artificial. Artificial sugars stimulate the brain to actually want more sugar! Aspartame is the same way. It has been linked to an increased risk of brain tumors, lymphomas, leukemia, and heart disease. The University of Texas conducted a study that showed replacing sugar with aspartame actually increased hunger and the subjects compensated by eating even more calories…thus not so “diet” anymore, is it? 

BHT & BHA

BHT is a synthetic preservative (you will see a lot of synthetic preservatives in this list). BHT is an endocrine disruptor. BHT in particular has been shown to affect the signaling from the gut to the brain that tells us to stop eating. It has also been linked to cancer in some animal studies. The EWG has listed BHT on their Dirty Dozen List of Foods Additives to avoid, thus stay away! 

BHA, much like BHT, is a synthetic preservative that is also an endocrine disruptor and also linked to cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies BHA as “possibly carcinogenic to humans”. SO WHY IS IT IN OUR FOOD? If agencies and food organizations can show that an additive is cancer-causing, how on earth is it still allowed in our foods? More reason to just avoid heavily processed foods whenever possible. 

Canola Oil

Step away from the canola oil! Throw away this highly refined GMO-laden oil! If you are going to make one change in your cooking, make this your thing! Swap canola oil for organic avocado oil or organic grapeseed oil…but please, no more canola! Why you ask? Canola oil goes through a huge amount of processing with chemical solvents before you purchase it. The FDA does not require food manufacturers to test for hexane residue and canola oil is basically bathed in it. Switching to a healthier oil, like avocado oil, is super easy and no one will notice the difference.

Nitrates and Nitrites

Nitrates and nitrites are synthetic preservatives and are commonly found in deli meats. They have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. When purchasing deli meats, make sure it clearly reads ‘No Nitrates’ or ‘Nitrate Free’. Don’t assume “natural” means that it doesn’t have nitrates. Make sure to read the label!

Natural Flavors

Oh those good ol’ “natural” flavors! What are natural flavors? Well, it could literally be anything! Castoreum (or beaver butt excretions) is just one of the ingredients that could be called a “natural flavor.” We’ll never know what natural flavors are because the food companies won’t tell us as they consider this information proprietary.

According to the FDA, natural flavors can include:

“…the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22).

Soy Protein Isolate

I know! You think you’re doing good buying that protein powder because ‘Soy Protein Isolate’ sounds so much better than others. Let’s first discuss soy. Soy can possibly cause hormonal disruptions because it has estrogen-mimicking properties and in women it can cause an increase in estrogen, thus increasing your risk for PCOS, breast cancer, cervical cancer and other hormonal-imbalance disorders. Soy is also almost always made from GMO soybeans (unless it is certified organic or Non-GMO Project verified). Most soy products are terrible for your health (this includes soy protein and soy milk) because of the phytoestrogens and being genetically modified, however, not all soy is bad. Organic (meaning no chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides) fermented soy is actually good for you because of the increase of probiotics that occurs when fermented. Organic fermented soy is loaded with Vitamin K2, and probiotics. I personally like tempeh, a fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and nutty, mushroom-like flavor. When marinated, it takes on the flavor of the marinade and tastes delicious!

Stevia Extract 

I know many of you are confused…so let me state there is a difference between WHOLE LEAF stevia and stevia EXTRACT. I am passionate about avoiding stevia extract! If you don’t know if the product you are buying is using the whole leaf or extract, just avoid it. When I was shopping for protein powders, a lot of them list ‘stevia’ as an ingredient and I personally reached out to the representatives of a very large company to see what was being used (the extract or the whole leaf). They couldnt say! They said their information was “proprietary” so telling me if it was the extract or whole leaf I guess means I can basically copy their recipe, right?!

Back to the extract…

The extract is highly processed! We’re talking a 40-step method using chemicals to process the extract from the leaf, chemicals like acetone, methanol, ethanol, and others! And the chemicals they are using are known carcinogens! So again, when purchasing, make sure it says “Whole Leaf Stevia.”


I know this may seem overwhelming and for quite a few of you, shocking. But honestly, if you are eating organic, healthy, fresh food, you don’t have to worry about all those cancer-causing ingredients and additives. And, sadly, the list above is only about ¼ of the ingredients you want to avoid. Those are just some of my top ingredients to avoid, but certainly not all. If you are interested in a more in depth list, check out Food Babe’s list and also the EWG’s Dirty Dozen: Food Additives.


If you are needing a CLEAN plant-based protein powder that doesn’t contain any of those nasty ingredients mentioned above, then check out my girl Vani Hari’s company, Truvani.

I have shared a few recipes on my blog using her protein powder and I seriously LOVE it! It is clean, organic, healthy and tastes delicious! I drink a shake everyday and honestly start panicking when I am nearing the bottom of the bag!

If you want to snag your own Truvani protein powder, click here and save BIG when you sign up for a subscription. While you wait for your order to be delivered, check out my smoothie recipes here:

Vanilla Almond Smoothie

Y’all. This is my new favorite smoothie!! It is so so easy to make and tastes like an almond butter vanilla dessert. I can’t even describe it well because it tastes so dang good! You could easily swap the almond butter for peanut butter or other nut butter of your liking. I used only seven … Read More

My Favorite Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

Since battling Candida and other health issues (which I will address all of this Wednesday), I had to avoid most all fruit (until recently). Which meant I could not have my normal fruit-loaded smoothies. I also struggled to find a protein powder that tasted delicious and was safe for my Candida. That is until Truvani! … Read More

Not Your Traditional Vanilla Latte

I am loving starting my day with a smoothie and having so much fun playing with different smoothie add-ins and options! The other day I was missing coffee…which I haven’t had since November! My husband grinds the beans fresh every morning and the smell of fresh brewed coffee enveloped and consumed me! I decided to … Read More


You Are So Priceless

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)

Glorify God in your body.

Did I do that as a teen? Nope. Do I do it as a grown woman? No again. I am definitely better at treating my body like the holy temple it is, that God has created. I tell myself often that I was given this one body and I am to take care of it. I have learned so much through the years and most definitely do a better job eating and watching what ingredients I am putting in my body than in the past. Now I know to avoid carrageenan, because it is a cancer-causing ingredient. I personally avoid “natural flavors” because that could still be a slew of chemically processed ingredients. For the most part I avoid things that are fake or processed. But do I do it all the time? No. But now that I am aware of these bad things, I slow down my consumption of them or avoid them all together. 

That was not the case when I was younger.

I was naive.

I was more concerned with being thin. And to me, being thin meant I was fitting in and accepted.

I didn’t care that I was putting my body through hell. I didn’t think that there would be consequences to my actions. 

Boy was I wrong. 

Growing up, being “thin” was all there was to be. The household I grew up in was a very critical household, especially when it came to weight. I would like to give my parents grace here because I feel that they honestly didn’t know better and didn’t realize how often they judged others based on their weight…or how often I noticed it. I think when they were growing up, they witnessed the same thing and it just tricked down because that is all they knew. So I am trying to give grace. Does that change the perception I had of myself? Absolutely not. I did not know God like I know Him now. Don’t get me wrong, I went to church and was aware of Him, but I didn’t KNOW Him. My value was in other people. Not in Him. And to be totally honest, I still struggle a bit with this (I mean, I am a 2w3 on the Enneagram, y’all).

I have mentioned in previous posts about taking diet pills when I was a senior in high school. Well, it wasn’t enough. I started watching my calorie intake. And by watching, I mean severely limiting my calorie intake and writing down everything I ate. I was only consuming 1,000 calories a day and was always counting. I could still tell you how many calories a banana has. Or an apple. But thankfully not much more. I use to be able to count it in my head because it was all I saw in food. I didn’t see the value of food. I only saw calories. 

One night, I exceeded my self-induced calorie allotment for that day and I felt guilty. I felt miserable and shameful. So I purged. I made myself throw up. I remember crying and feeling horrible for what I did, but at the same time I felt justified because I went over my calorie allotment so I needed to take care of it. 

It is very hard to write that.

The girl I was at that time is not the same woman that is sitting here typing this today. She was insecure, lost, searching for worth in the wrong places and never feeling satisfied or content. I was miserable. Now, I know my worth cannot be found in men or in my body or how I look. My worth is found in God. I have a peace that is incredible. I am content. I am happy. Even though I am chasing after children and cooking and cleaning and keeping up our home, I feel at rest. I am not constantly chasing after something that cannot be obtained. I am loved by God. And more importantly, I am forgiven by God. I use to have shame for my sins and my old self. But I am free from that shame now. I still feel guilty occasionally, but I fell that that is good. It is the Holy Spirit nudging me letting me know that what I say or do is wrong and so I stop and repent. I am still a sinner. And I will always be a sinner. I will always fall short of the glory of God. But I am forgiven and loved and made new everyday. I get a fresh start everyday to be a better mother, a better wife, a better example of God’s love and grace and mercy. 

Once I made myself throw up for the first time, that was all it took. Anytime I overate, or indulged in a “bad” food, I would just throw it up. Y’all, it was gross. Not going to lie. It was a very gross thing to do and it wrecked my body.

My mom was bulimic, too. I learned about her bulimia sometime in high school or right after college. I don’t know if that is how the idea was implanted in my head or what, but the first time I threw up I was missing my mom terribly and I remember feeling a connection to her, even though she was not here. It was a very odd and weird feeling. Like by throwing up, I was with her and felt her. I think part of me was longing for her and by throwing up I was like her and wanted her with me.

My bulimia continued for a few years and eventually told my soon-to-be husband, Stephen, about it. That was a very hard, emotional conversation for me. Here is this man that God has given me, who is handsome and strong and smart, and I felt very insecure and ashamed. What if I tell him this secret and he breaks up with me? What if he laughs at me? What if he now watches everything I eat and then pays attention to me going to the bathroom? 

I didn’t want to worry him but I also knew that I needed to tell him and get help. Stephen was the sweetest, of course. Just talking to him helped me so much. It helped me to break free from the secrets and feel like I could move on. I brought the dark to the light and felt so much relief!

The last time I threw up was the night before my college graduation. I remember feeling like I needed to be “thin” for the next day and told myself that that would be the last time. I look at my college graduation pictures and can see the pain in my eyes. I look like a completely different person now. I had a college graduation party and the pictures just get me every time. I can see into my soul with those pictures and see how tortured I was by my weight, and my self-confidence was at a record low. I was determined after I graduated to never do it again.

And I haven’t since. 

After a couple of months of healing and learning how to eat without thinking about calories and wanting to purge, I bought a book about eating clean. It was a game changer. I learned how to eat, what to eat, and how to live a healthy lifestyle. I don’t count calories. I don’t obsess over food. I eat fresh, organic foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible. I don’t drink sodas or juice. When I want a treat, I make one and enjoy it! I want my boys to live a healthy life as well. I feed them the same good foods that I eat and I am cautious about my words. I don’t want my boys to grow up in a house that focuses on the body. I want our boys to know God. To know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that they are perfect in God’s image.

Be kind to your body.

You get only one.

If you or someone you know is struggling with food issues, please help them! Find a Christian counselor, a pastor, a friend that can help them get the help that they need. Be kind and don’t negate their feelings. What they feel is real.

I am always here to lend a listening ear and I hope that my story helps heal those that are also suffering. Know that you are strong. You are worthy. God made YOU. And YOU are loved!


Are the Foods You’re Eating Slowly Killing You? Part 2: Sugar

In this new series of posts, I am debunking common myths about food, beliefs that I use to have myself. If you didn’t catch Part 1, you can go read it here.

Today I am sharing all about an important topic that seems to be the hardest one to get out of our diets: sugar! Why should we avoid sugar? How do our bodies react to sugar? And what can we eat in replace of sugar?

I’m sharing all of that today! So let’s dive right in…

Just Say No to Sugar

You probably guessed it already, but sugar is the enemy, not fat, as I mentioned in my last post.. And sugar goes by a variety of different names making it easy for manufacturers to hide how much sugar is truly in a given product.

ThatSugarFilm.com stated:

“When reading a label, it’s important to check the ingredients list and look out for any of the sugars listed. Often SUGAR will be on the list but companies are getting cheeky now and are using these other names like ‘evaporated cane juice’ or ‘organic palm sugar’ as a disguise and to avoid the word SUGAR. These are still an added ‘free sugar’ and usually contain fructose as a sweetener.”

Dangers of Sugar

There are many dangers to having too much sugar. For one, it may cause heart problems. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey gathered information to identify what could happen when we consume too much sugar. Their results indicated “that most U.S. adults consume more added sugar than is recommended for a healthy diet, resulting in a higher risk cardiovascular disease mortality.”

Diabetes is probably the most concerning when it comes to excessive amounts of sugar. Our liver converts sugar into energy, but when we consume too much sugar, our liver simply cannot metabolize it, thus metabolic syndrome occurs and our bodies become insulin resistant. 

Another trend on the rise is Candida overgrowth, which can occur because of too much sugar, stress, antibiotics, and other factors. I personally was diagnosed with Systemic Candidiasis in November of 2019. It had been growing and happening for a few years. Sugar, even in natural form from fruits, can be damaging when excessively consumed. I was in survival mode as a mother and heavily neglected my body. I ate too much fruit and not enough vegetables and drank too many sweetened caffeinated drinks from a popular coffee chain. I knew I was harming my body, but I kept on consuming and eating too much sugar. I knew better. I go into more detail about my healing journey with Systemic Candida here:

What is Candida?

My Healing Journey I’ve stated in the past that I have been battling many health issues. One of which is Systemic Candida…that means it is in my blood. Everyone, EVERYONE, has Candida. However, it is contained in the gut and in a good balance. However, as soon as you add antibiotics, sugar, gluten, stress, anxiety, … Read More

Since eliminating sugar from my diet (including most fruits) in November of 2019, my Candida is almost completely healed! I have been able to reintroduce some more fruits into my diet as well as other foods that were “banned” from the strict Candida Diet. I went hardcore into the diet and followed it to a T, from November of 2019 to May of 2020. I still follow it a bit (since I still have some Systemic Candida), for instance I am not consuming many high starch vegetables (like potatoes) and only consume a 1/4 of a very ripe banana maybe once a week. I still follow (and always will) a gluten-free, dairy-free, added sugar-free lifestyle.

Honestly, I don’t miss much. My energy levels are so much better than they use to be, my skin has cleared up tremendously, my tastebuds are insane (even the slightest sweet food is crazy sweet!), and food just tastes better in general.

What Sugar Can I Consume?

The most common comment I hear when I tell people I am sugar-free is, “Wow! I could never do that!” And a part of me wants to say, “Your right! If you believe that you won’t be able to do it.”

You HAVE to change your mentality. Just knowing that sugar causes cancer, how it causes your body to react just like if you did a line of cocaine, that it is more addictive than drugs, that it causes inflammation in your body, and that is causes a SLEW of other health issues should be enough for you to drop it cold turkey. But again, you have to completely change your mindset. Instead of focusing on all the foods that you canNOT have because it contains sugar, focus on all the foods you CAN have! You can still eat fruit (now, I can’t in high doses because I have Systemic Candida, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can’t…and once my Systemic Candida is healed I will consume more!), replace your cane sugar with raw, natural honey, and it is safe to bake with organic, whole-leaf stevia. I still get to indulge in sweet treats, like mug cakes and chocolate fat bombs.

And when the holidays roll around, I will bake my own sugar-free desserts and bring those for others to eat as well.

My go-to thought that I share often is that we get this one body. God gave you a vessel to live in on their earth and you are to take care of it. Love it well by fueling it with healthy, organic, natural foods that He gave us.

YOU CAN DROP SUGAR!

It is possible!

If you want to watch something to get you fired up some more, I highly recommend the documentary Fed Up.

Another good one is The Sugar Film:

Ingredients

What are some ingredients/additives that you want to avoid? Let me start by saying that the ingredients label will now become your best friend. In my next post, ‘Are the Foods You’re Eating Slowly Killing You? – Part 3’, I will go into actual ingredient names that you want to avoid and why, as well as answer any questions that you have for me via Instagram and Facebook. Look for those polls to come in my stories this week!

Until next time! Have a blessed, sugar-free day! 😉


Are the Foods You’re Eating Healing or Killing You? – Part 1: Calories and Fat

I have shared briefly about my rocky relationship with food in the past and how I did not have a healthy relationship with food. I had enough of battling my eating disorder and unhealthy lifestyle, but didn’t know where to start or how to have a love for food. I thought “fat-free”, “light”, “skim” was what was best…that was all I knew!

I did some research and found the book The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno and absorbed all the information like a sponge! It finally made sense! I learned all the basics to eating clean and what that term actually meant. Reno states that “clean eating is avoiding all processed food, relying on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains rather than prepackaged or fast food. It may sound counterintuitive, but eating clean allows you to eat more and weigh less because you are making smart food choices.” For me, that also means that what I am eating is organic and free of GMOs and pesticides (which I will go into more detail in my next posts). It took some prep work and planning, but I loved eating clean! I loved feeding my body nutritious, wholesome food!

Then about seven years ago I started following Vani Hari (aka The Food Babe) on Facebook and started reading her blog. Man, did that open a can of worms…in a good way 😉 Haha! I learned so much more about ingredients and additives…which then led me to watch more and more documentaries (like What the Health, Food Inc.Forks Over Knives, GMO OMG, and many more!) and researching more about our food and where it comes from and how it is made/raised. To me, eating healthy is more than just “eating clean.” It is plant-based, organic, pesticide-free, eating sustainably. It is a lifestyle. It is necessary. It is important. God gave us this one planet and this one body, and in order for it to work with us and for us, we need to fuel it the best way we can. In order to prevent illnesses, cancers, diabetes, obesity, we need to give our body wholesome, nutrient-rich foods, free of cancer-causing ingredients. 

Over the next few months, I will post some myths about food and share more of what I have researched over the last seven years, including factual information from reliable sources.

This post we are looking a two big myths:

  1. That calories are created equal and
  2. That fat makes you fat.

So let’s dive right in!

Calories are Not Created Equal

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“While cutting calories might help you lose weight in the short-term, it can be horrible for your long-term health. This is because the ingredients that the industry is packaging up for us are designed to increase their profits while expanding our addiction to their “food-like” concoctions – which eventually expands our waistlines too. Many packaged low-calorie diet foods contain ingredients that can rob us of our health, some cause us to eat more than we should and most of which you would never cook with at home.”

The Food Babe

I use to be obsessive about counting calories and would restrict myself to a completely unrealistic number of daily caloric allowances. If only counting calories, I could eat two chocolate “fat-free” cookies and be thrilled because I stayed under 300 calories…or I could drink a massive chocolate protein shake that is full of healthy, nutritious ingredients with no added sugars and still be at 300 calories. Dr. Mark Hyman stated, 

“It is true that, in a vacuum, all calories are the same. A thousand calories of Coke and a thousand calories of broccoli burned in a laboratory will release the same amount of energy. But all bets are off when you eat the Coke or the broccoli. These foods have to be processed by your metabolism (not a closed system). Coke and broccoli trigger very different biochemical responses in the body—different hormones, neurotransmitters and immune messengers. The Coke will spike blood sugar and insulin and disrupt neurotransmitters, leading to increased hunger and fat storage, while the thousand calories of broccoli will balance blood sugar and make you feel full, cut your appetite and increase fat burning.  Same calories—profoundly different effects on your body.”

Please, stop counting calories! Healthy food is just that – HEALTHY. Stop counting and start living! Enjoy your food! Enjoy the goodness that comes from great nutrition.

Fat is Not the Enemy

Image: Brook Health

In the 80s/90s, “fat-free”, “reduced-fat”, and other “health” trends emerged and we all quickly jumped on board thinking that fat was the enemy. We started drinking the skinny drinks and eating the ‘fat-free’ items, but for some reason obesity was on the rise faster than ever.

Coincidence?

Dr. Mark Hyman stated, “When people eat less fat, they tend to eat more starch or sugar instead, and this actually increases their levels of the small, dense cholesterol that causes heart attacks. In fact, studies show 75% of people who end up in the emergency room with a heart attack have normal overall cholesterol levels. But what they do have is pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.”

A review of all the research on saturated fat published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease.

Let’s shout that out again…

There is no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease.

As with all foods, quality becomes key here. The fats in a fast-food bacon cheeseburger will have a completely different effect than the saturated fat in coconut oil. So we need to stop classifying it as all the same.

However, some fats are unhealthy, like trans fats and inflammatory vegetable oils, like corn, soy, and safflower oils. “These fats have increased in our diet and foods and they actually make us fatter and cause a rise in inflammations, and that plays a role in most every chronic disease found on the planet. Trans fat is the only kind of fat that has been shown to be categorically detrimental to health.”

You probably have seen the term “partially hydrogenated oils” on some of your food labels. That is a byproduct of an industrially produced trans fat. This ingredients was so common and found in so many processed food items that it was linked to more than a half a million coronary heart disease deaths worldwide…in just one year.

Think the food system won’t do you in like that? I mean, if the FDA allows it in our food, we should be ok, right?

WRONG.

Just look at this data that another reporter found:

“Industrially produced trans fat was banned in the US in 2015, and all products were supposed to be phased out by June 2018, but manufacturers received an extension until January 2020.

Here is the ACTUAL FDA statement from their website:

“In 2015, FDA released its final determination that Partially Hydrogenated Oils (PHOs) are not Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). The determination is based on extensive research into the effects of PHOs, as well as input from stakeholders during the public comment period.

PHOs are the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat in processed foods. Removing PHOs from processed foods could prevent thousands of heart attacks and deaths each year. To learn more about trans fat, see our Trans Fat page. It’s important to note that trans fat will not be completely gone from foods because it occurs naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy products, and is present at very low levels in other edible oils.

Implementation

FDA is extending the compliance date for certain uses of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). For the majority of uses of PHOs, June 18, 2018, remains the date after which manufacturers cannot add PHOs to foods. However, to allow for an orderly transition in the marketplace, FDA is allowing more time for products produced prior to June 18, 2018 to work their way through distribution. FDA is extending the compliance date for these foods to January 1, 2020 (there is a chance that some products you are currently buying could still have PHOs and may still be on the shelves!). This action balances the health benefits of removing PHOs from the food supply with the need to provide an orderly transition in the marketplace.

At the same time, the FDA is denying a food additive petition from the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) requesting approval for certain limited uses of PHOs. To allow for time for reformulation, the agency is extending until June 18, 2019 the compliance date to stop manufacturing foods with these specific, limited petitioned uses of PHOs, and until Jan. 1, 2021 for these products to work their way through distribution.”

https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/final-determination-regarding-partially-hydrogenated-oils-removing-trans-fat

The FDA is aware that PHOs are BAD for you and can KILL you, and have known this since 2015…but products can still be on the shelves till 2021…SIX YEARS.

It just makes me so mad. And unfortunately, it is not just with PHOs, but a slew of ingredients that are banned in other countries but allowed here.

And the thought that eating fat makes you fat is completely WRONG. We have GOT to get that OUT of our heads!! Dr. Mark Hyman states that eating fat can actually make you lean:

“Healthy cell walls made from high-quality fats are better able to metabolize insulin, which keeps blood sugar better regulated. Without proper blood sugar control, the body socks away fat for a rainy day. The right fats also increase fat burning, cut your hunger, and reduce fat storage.  Eating the right fats makes you lose weight, while eating excess sugar and the WRONG types of fat make you fat.”

Also, did you know that your brain about 60% fat? Yup! 60%! “Of that percentage, the biggest portion comes from the omega-3 fat called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Your brain needs DHA to spark communication between cells. Easy access to high-quality fat boosts cognition, happiness, learning, and memory. In contrast, studies link a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia (Dr. Mark Hyman).”

The right fats can improve your mood, skin, hair, and nails, while protecting you against Type 2 diabetes, dementia, cancer, and so much more.

Now when it comes to cooking, there are some great healthy oils that are a must to use…and some that you need to toss in the trash immediately.

Canola oil is one of the highest GMO, chemically-laden oils on the market. If you change ONE thing, please swap out your canola oil for avocado oil. It is so simple and the swap is created equal…you won’t even notice it…but your heart and body will feel sooooo much better! I personally love organic avocado oil to cook and bake with, and I also use it to season my cast iron skillets. Organic unrefined coconut oil is another great oil. I use that in baked goods and even raw in my smoothies (and I use it to take my eye makeup off at night!). Organic olive oil makes its way into my diet daily as well! I use it for my salads with a squeeze of lemon and sometimes use olive oil it to bake and cook. Organic grapeseed oil is another good one for baking.

To read more about cooking oils, read The Food Babe’s post about it here (click the image):

To sum up…

Calories are NOT created equal. So don’t worry about how many calories a food has…worry more about where it comes from, how it is cooked, the ingredients and if they are organic or highly processed. Stop counting and start enjoying.

Fats will NOT make you fat! Enjoy healthy, high quality fats, like avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut, hemp, flax, and more! Stop using the highly processed, GMO-laden corn oils, peanut oils, cottonseed oils (don’t forget to read your labels on shelf-stable foods, like bars, cereals, breads, chips, etc. as many companies use these oils because it is cheap. They don’t care about the health effects it has on you…they just want your money).


I hope that this helps to answer some of your clean eating questions and helps to squash some unhealthy thoughts you had about food.

Check back next time for ‘Are the Foods You’re Eating Slowly Killing You? – Part 2: Ingredients’ where I will share a list of ingredients to watch out for and why.

See you all back here Wednesday for my ‘What’s Up Wednesday: July’ post!

Sources:

Top 20 Nutrition Myths

Dr. Mark Hyman: Separating Fat from Fiction

Dr. Mark Hyman: Time for an Oil Change

Dr. Axe: Top 8 Healthy Cooking Oils


Hydrating Ginger Lemonade

This yummy, refreshing Ginger Lemonade is full of metabolism boosting, anti-aging, blood purifying, bloat-minimizing ingredients! And it is oh so simple to make!! This immune-boosting, hydrating delicious lemonade is only made with five simple ingredients!

Hydrating Ginger Lemonade

Makes 2 large servings (drink one fresh and store one for the next day!)

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water
  • 2 TB fresh grated ginger root
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • For serving: 2 tsp raw honey (or more to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Place the water in a saucepan over high heat and let it come to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, add your fresh grated ginger and let simmer for about two minutes.
  3. Take off heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
  4. Once cooled, add the lemon juice and cayenne pepper and mix.
  5. Strain the ginger lemonade into a large jar (with lid). Let cool completely.
  6. When ready to drink, pour your fresh Ginger Lemonade over a bit of ice and add just a squirt of local raw honey and mix. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!

*Recipe adapted from EarthyAndy


Immune-Boosting Jamu Juice

This Indonesian anti-inflammatory elixir is so refreshing and full of fabulous immune-boosting ingredients and phytochemicals! Traditional Jamu Juice, or Jamu Jamu, is an Indonesian medicine made from natural ingredients, like roots, fruits, flowers, seeds, and leaves. More recently, Jamu has been kicked up a notch with the addition of turmeric. Jamu is a natural anti-inflammatory tonic that boasts a ton of health benefits. You can drink it cold, how I like it, or warm it up like a tea.

This recipe will make you more than enough to get you through your week! I usually freeze a jar and keep another fresh jar in the fridge.

Immune-Boosting Jamu Juice

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup fresh organic ginger roots
  • 1-2 TB organic turmeric powder
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 fresh organic small pineapple
  • Juice from one organic lemon
  • 1/8 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 TB raw organic honey

Equipment Needed:

  • Heavy-duty large blender, like a Vitamin, or a juicer
  • Fine mesh strainer and spatula
  • Quart-sized jars with airtight lids

Instructions:

  1. Pull out your large heavy-duty blender (or you can use your juicer instead) and have it ready!
  2. Wash your fresh ginger roots really well with warm water and slice into disks (no need to peel). Toss into blender.
  3. Add in the turmeric powder and 3 cups of water.
  4. Slice up your pineapple and add it to the blender.
  5. Add in your fresh lemon juice and 1/8 tsp black pepper and honey.
  6. Blend on high speed for about one minute.
  7. Grab a fine mesh strainer and pour the blended Jamu through the strainer into a large bowl for a smooth drink (you might need to smash the pulp through the strainer with a spatula to get all the goodness out of it!). From the bowl, pour your strained Jamu into large jars with lids!
  8. Now it’s time for SHOTS! 😉 Pour a bit in a glass and enjoy hot or cold!

Store in the fridge with an airtight lid or in the freezer and thaw a couple nights before drinking!

Cheers my friends!

Did you make this recipe?

Tag #lifestylewithlauren on Instagram!


Holly Tanella’s Top 4 Summer Skin Care Tips

If you’ve been following my posts, you read here that I have fallen head over heals in love with my new skincare routine! Holly Tanella is the founder and medical esthetician at Boho Med Spa in Allen, Texas. She has helped transform my skin and it is looking better than ever!

Since we are entering summer and spending more time outside in the hot summer sun, I asked Holly what tips she has to help keep our skin safe. Here are Holly’s top four summer skincare tips:

Avoid UV damage as much as possible.

UV rays can actually damage your DNA when you get too much sun exposure without any protection (over 15 minutes from 11 am – 3 pm). UV damage causes premature aging and sun damage that shows up on the skin as brown spots and fine lines. UV damage is one of the top reasons that cause our skin to age prematurely.

How to avoid UV damage:

  1. Wear SPF as it blocks the rays which cause damage to your skin. While in the sun, you should re-apply your SPF every 2-3 hours depending on how much you are sweating. Choosing the right SPF is critical. ​Wearing a physical block sunscreen, like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, is better for you as the SPF ingredients do not mess up your hormones like chemical-based sunscreens. Avoid sunscreens that have ​avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone. My personal favorite SPF’s are ​Zinc It Over, which is a mist that is super easy to apply and even use on the kids, and Rhonda Allison’s ​Daytime Defense SPF 30, which is a lightweight cream.
  2. Wear hats and sunglasses to physically block the sun. Find the biggest, floppiest hat you can and sit in the shade as much as possible. Wearing sunglasses outside is also a must. Not only will this protect your eyes but it will also prevent you from squinting which can cause crows feet (lines around our eyes). Get spray tans instead!

Add a vitamin C serum into your skincare regimen.

​Vitamin C is high in antioxidants that reduce free radicals that cause your skin to age. This is a great ingredient to add to your skincare regimen for it will reduce premature aging that we commonly get from the sun. The best forms of vitamin C are ​magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, both of these forms are converted to natural acid vitamin C in the skin causing no irritation, unlike most vitamin C’s on the market. These forms are also the most potent and high-grade you can get. My two personal favorites are Circadia’s Vitamin C Reversal Serum ​and BOHO’s ​YTH Serum.

Stay cool as much as possible.

For years it was thought that direct UV exposure was the only thing that increased pigmentation. We now know that heat also makes pigmentation worse by increasing the activity of melanocytes. This could be from being outside on a hot day. These all increase the skin’s internal temperature. Try to avoid these as much as possible if you’re serious about avoiding getting pigmentation.

To correct pigmentation, Circadia’s White Veil Brightener ​is a must-have product. This product tells your body not to make pigmentation. It inhibits your body from sending messages to the melanocyte to create pigmentation. So if you get too hot, your hormones go crazy, or you get a little too much sun, your body will not form that unwanted pigmentation. Another idea is to use a mister fan to help stay cool while outside.

Drink plenty of water.

Water is the cheapest form of skincare. When we are dehydrated not only do we feel bad but we also look bad. Being dehydrated, which easily happens in the summer, causes dehydration lines. These show up as tiny lines that look like elephant skin close up. Fear not! They are not here to stay as long as you drink the amount of water your body needs, they will go away immediately. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces every day. If you work out that day, add an additional 20 ounces. If you are outside, make sure you are drinking water every hour!


I hope you found these summer skin care tips as helpful as I did!!

Don’t forget to check out Holly’s gorgeous spa in Allen and tell her I sent you!

Have a blessed, beautiful, glowing summer friends!


What is Candida?

My Healing Journey

I’ve stated in the past that I have been battling many health issues. One of which is Systemic Candida…that means it is in my blood. Everyone, EVERYONE, has Candida. However, it is contained in the gut and in a good balance. However, as soon as you add antibiotics, sugar, gluten, stress, anxiety, it can cause your Candida levels to get out of control. Throw in leaky gut (which is basically little holes in your gut), and now the Candida is free to move out of its home (your gut) and travel into your blood, and even into your brain and other organs.

Amy Meyers MD’s website states it well:

Candida has the unique ability to change shape in order to protect itself from harsh environments. It responds to a shift in temperature or acidity levels by transforming from a rounded yeast cell into an elongated hyphal cell. These elongated cells have the ability to permeate the gut lining, causing leaky gut. Once in the bloodstream, Candida can invade other tissues. This means that Candida can quickly transition from a gut problem to a full-body problem. It can colonize the skin, mouth, ears, thyroid, reproductive organs, or elsewhere. For this reason, symptoms of Candida overgrowth can be experienced in many different forms.

I was finally diagnosed with Candida in November 2019. This was after spending YEARS getting blood work and seeing doctor after doctor, trying to figure out what was wrong.

Candida symptoms vary for each person and you don’t always get them all. I didn’t get a lot of the tell-tell symptoms (like yeast infections). I was just tired. Not just mom-tired. I was exhausted when I woke up. Lived on caffeine. I would drink 5 cups of black coffee in the morning, drink a Starbucks in the afternoon, and crash as soon as my kids went to bed at 7pm. I would sleep all through the night and still wake up tired. That’s not normal.

In addition to extreme exhaustion, I was experiencing horrible breakouts. I also had digestive issues, which is very common with a bunch of other ailments and thus why I did a comprehensive food allergy testing…and guess what? It came back CLEAR! At that point, I was literally about to cry. I had all this other blood work telling me everything was mostly normal (other than some hormonal imbalances and thyroid not optimal…I’ll get to that in a minute). I was sure I had Celiac or Crohn’s…but nothing. No food allergies. I was desperate for answers and knew something was wrong.

After feeling defeated, I figured I could start with healing my thyroid, so I joined a holistic thyroid Facebook group to try to find a doctor and glen from others. My GP (General Practitioner) told me that my thyroid was not great but never mentioned getting on a medication or something else to help heal it. He focused more on my hormonal imbalances, thus why I joined the Facebook group. I called a few doctor offices and left messages but never booked anything…doctors were too far away, first appointment would be 5-6 months later, etc. I posted again in the Facebook group and asked specifically for a doctor that could help my thyroid and hormones that was close by. One lady commented about an OB/Gyn that specializes in hormonal and thyroid imbalances. I looked up her information online and decided to give it a go. I made my appointment for about a month later, which was a lot faster than seeing a thyroid doctor. In the meantime, I got more blood results back and shared it in my portal with this new OB. I added all my symptoms and she emailed me back asking for me to get one more test done (yup…she added the test for Candida).

The time came for my first appointment with my new OB and I felt welcomed and knew in my gut that I made the right decision by going this route first. As soon as she walked in, she introduced herself and then went right into it. “Know wonder you are exhausted! You have Systemic Candida!” She then showed me all of my blood work, and boy was I a mess!!

In addition to the Systemic Candida, I also had pretty much no testosterone, hypothyroidism, low estrogen, a ton of vitamin deficiencies, adrenal fatigue, MTFHR mutation, and Epstein Barr Virus (a few of these things I found out later with a different integrative doctor that did more extensive blood work and microscopy blood work).

Our first item to tackle was the Candida. She believed that that was the root cause to a lot of other issues I was experiencing. If we could get that in control, then hopefully the other issues would start to balance out.

My Symptoms

There are so many symptoms of Candida overgrowth. These are just a few of the many and these were the ones I was experiencing:

  • Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue
  • Digestive issues (bloating)
  • Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, and/or brain fog
  • Skin breakouts
  • Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, depression
  • Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings
  • Sinus infections (I was getting a TON of them!)
  • Weakened immune system (I was getting sick all the time)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sleep problems and night sweats

How Do You Test for Candida Overgrowth?

Blood tests check for IgG, IgA, and IgM Candida antibodies in your blood, and they can be performed at most any lab. High levels of these antibodies indicate that an overgrowth of Candida is present somewhere in the body and that your immune system is reacting to it.

Remember, Candida has the ability to suppress the immune system so it is important to ask your doctor to test your total IgG, IgA and IgM levels along with the Candida antibodies.  Low levels of total IgG, IgA or IgM could cause a false negative response to the Candida antibodies, meaning you have Candida but since your immune system is lowered, you are unable to produce a response and your blood test comes back negative. I see so many patients with suppressed immune systems, so I find that blood tests can often be negative even when the stool or urine tests are positive.

From Amy Myers MD

Mine was found in blood work. I now see an integrative doctor that works on whole body healing and specializes in cancer treatments, healing Candida, and other health issues. Since seeing him, we’ve been tracking the Systemic Candida with microscopy blood work. It is the coolest thing ever! The nurse pricks my finger and places a small drop of blood on a slide, then places it under the microscope. We are able to look at the blood right then and there! The nurse is able to point out Candida, toxins, and allergens. My blood looked so much healthier at my last visit (at the end of March) – blood cells were larger, spaced out more, and moving much better than last time! It is seriously amazing to see! I still have some Candida floating around but not as much, toxins still present (we are doing a push-metals test next visit), but overall it is looking promising!

“How Did You Get Sick When You Eat Healthy Foods?”

I have been asked this numerous times. Or, “why do other people not get sick when they eat crap foods all day?”

Honestly, I don’t know the definitive answer to this because everyone is different. But I will share my thoughts.

I believe a lot has to do with your genetics and how you ate growing up. I ate a TON of McDonalds and Kids Cuisine in my formative growing-up years. My dinner almost every night (up until 5th grade) was a Kids Cuisine, sitting in front of my great-grandmothers tv, watching Wheel of Fortune. I ate McDonalds breakfast on the weekends, chicken nugget kids meal way to frequently, and the Filet-O-Fish.

In the grand scheme of things, I only recently started eating clean. I ate processed, sugar-loaded, chemical-laden food from childhood all the way into my late 20s. I am 36. So I have only had good, clean food for a few years.

I was also abusive to my body as a young adult. I took more diet pills than you can imagine, I suffered from bulimia in college, and would punish myself with over-exercising (I will go into these things in a later post). In recent years though, I was so tired and reliant on my caffeine to keep me going. I would drink a Starbucks Venti light-ice Pink Drink about 4-5x/week. I knew better!! Those things have over 35 grams of sugar (keep in mind that the suggested amount for women a day is 25 grams). I got MORE than that in 15 minutes! In addition to sugar, I was consuming GMO’s, chemicals, and other horrible ingredients. I was also consuming way too much sugar in other foods. My body had no chance!

Stress is also a HUGE factor. And I have had my fair share. I didn’t deal with it well and my body took the toll.

As stated before, I was getting sinus infections a lot. I was always catching something. It seemed like my kids would get a little cold and would get better in a day…I would catch the same thing and it took me 3-5 days to get better. So when I would get sinus infections, I was placed on antibiotics. Antibiotics destroy your gut flora and I was not replacing it with pro/prebiotics, so my gut was never going to fully repair.

How Do You Heal Candida?

First, you need to starve the Candida by removing the foods that feed it from your diet: all sugar (even from fruits), alcohol and limiting carbohydrates such as fruit, starchy vegetables, grains, and legumes. I followed The Candida Diet (which is a low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet that promotes gut health and eliminates the sugars that feed Candida) to a T. I started as soon as I walked out of that doctors office in November (though it did cross my mind to have just one more Starbucks). I went home, purchased their eBooks and guides. I stuck to it though Thanksgiving, Christmas, even a cruise that we took in January!

Photo by John Lambeth on Pexels.com

I also took prescription anti-fungals (Nystain and Diflucan), as well as a slew of vitamins, 100 Billion CFU probiotic, and another sporebiotic.

For the last couple of months I have not taken any anti-fungals or Candida Cleanse supplements. I am continuing my regular vitamins and supplements, including a really clean probiotic, as well as continuing to eat good, whole, organic foods. I am not sticking to The Candida Diet anymore and able to eat more organic fruits and vegetables. I still see my integrative doctor for follow-ups and I get an IV every visit. So far I have had an H2O2, Ozone, and Diflucan IV therapy treatments. I have one more test to complete in July, along with a follow-up and more blood work to see how my thyroid and hormones are doing. Then we’ll go from there!

How Are You Feeling Now?

Y’all.

I use to LIVE on caffeine and still pass out at 7pm. Now, I don’t drink any coffee or tea and I still have energy at the end of the day to workout after my kids to bed at 7pm. Almost every night after putting our boys to bed, I am sweating it out to a good Tone It Up workout, followed by a quick additional weight-lifting session from Body Beast, and then cap it with yoga or a walk with friends. All without caffiene.

In addition to more energy, my skin has improved SO MUCH! I posted my new skin care routine last week and that has definitely helped to repair, but I am certain that healing the Candida as well as repairing my gut has been the biggest help. Take a listen to this podcast for more about acne and the connection to your gut.

I will have a few other posts to follow up with this one that will go into more details of my diet, how I am continuing to heal, as well as healing my other health issues that we are working on.

Hopefully this helps to answer some of your questions regarding Candida and maybe even shed some light on something that you may have been questioning.

If you have battled Candida or wondering if you have it yourself, feel free to message me and I’d love to help you find answers! If you live in the Dallas Metroplex, I would love to share my integrative doctor with you! He is awesome!

Check back in on Friday for my weekly Friday Favorites! Till then, friends, stay healthy!

xoxo Lauren