Post-Workout Parfait

yogurt sweet potato parfaitSometimes I just get tired of making a protein shake when we get home from the gym. My solution? Just to eat something that is protein rich! My closest solution is European style whole fat yogurt. I chose this because it is a runny style yogurt, so it is still fairly liquid and will absorb quickly like a protein shake would.

For this parfait, I used Straus Family Creamery yogurt, and Farmer’s Market Sweet Potato purée. I topped it with some organic chia seeds and honey. All together, it came out to be about 14 grams of protein, which isn’t anything super impressive, but I am a smaller frame and also not trying to bulk. I also started the morning with a slice of bacon and 2 eggs, so I had gotten some protein then as well. (if you need more protein, you can even mix in a little bit of protein powder to your yogurt. Just make sure the powder you are using is clean and not full of additives and extra *stuff* you don’t need).

sweet potato parfait yogurt

Food Aesthetics

viking platter food

Anyone care about the aesthetics of your food? It may not be the most important aspect of what you eat, but I believe it matters.

Digestion starts in the brain, so if your brain is visually triggered by food, then all of your senses are triggered. The sight and smell of food starts transmissions from the brain to the rest of the digestive system to get ready.

This triggering of the digestive system does a few things. It starts the flow of saliva in the mouth to help with the initial break down of the food as you chew (more important than people assume!). It also begins to release the proper stomach acid and enzymes to prep the stomach for the food that it is about to receive. All of these steps are essential, as the food must be broken down properly and at the right pH level before it can properly move on into the intestines.

Another important step in prepping the digestive system is allowing it time to switch over to the parasympathetic mode. This requires a certain level of relaxation, as it allows the body to focus its resources on digesting, and not other activities. This is why it is so important to actually sit and enjoy a meal. To have food that you appreciate and look at first, it gives your body the chance to switch the nervous system over and be completely ready for its important task at hand. For this reason, eating on the go and eating fast food and junk food does not allow for this, and it messes with the natural process by which we need to properly digest the food we eat.

Speaking of food aesthetics, check out this Viking Platter from Odin Brewing Co, captured by hayden_bllck

Five Reasons Not to Take SSRIs

(Article from Psychology Today, written by Lennard J Davis. -These are not my own words!- Read the full article here)

five reasons not take ssri

For the past five years, and in my recent book Obsession: A History, I have been questioning the effectiveness of Prozac-like drugs known as SSRIs. I’ve pointed out that when the drugs first came out in the early 1990’s there was a wildly enthusiastic uptake in the prescribing of such drugs. Doctors were jubilantly claiming that the drugs were 80-90 percent effective in treating depression and related conditions like OCD. In the last few years those success rates have been going down, with the NY Times pointing out that the initial numbers had been inflated by drug companies suppressing the studies that were less encouraging. But few if any doctors or patients were willing to hear anything disparaging said about these “wonder” drugs.

Now the tune has changed.

Reason One: A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (link is external)says that SSRI’s like Paxil and Prozac are no more effective in treating depression than a placebo pill. That means they are 33 per cent effective, which is the percent of patients who will respond well to a sugar pill. The article goes on to say that although SSRI’s are effective to some degree in treating severe depression they don’t have any effect on the routine type of depressions they are most often used to treat. The take-home message is—don’t take SSRI’s if you have normal, mild, or routine depression. It’s a waste of money, and the drugs have serious side-effects including loss of sexual drive.

Reason Two: A January 4 article in MedPage Today (link is external) cites a study done at Columbia University and Johns Hopkins. The study says that doctors routinely prescribe not one but two or three SSRI’s and other psycho-pharmological drugs in combination with few if any serious studies to back up the multiple usage. It’s pretty obvious that the reason for these multiple prescriptions is that if one drug doesn’t work, then perhaps two or three will. Doctors are in essence performing uncontrolled experiments on their patients, hoping that in some scattershot way they might hit on a solution. But of course drugs have dangerous interactions and most physicians are shooting in the dark with all the dangers that attend such bad marksmanship.

Reason Three: More and more psychiatric disorders are appearing that might be called “lifestyle” diseases. What was called shyness, sadness, restlessness, shopping too much, high sex drive, low sex drive, and so on have increasingly been seen as diseases and many more will appear in the new DSM, the diagnostic manual of psychological and psychiatric disorders. Increasingly the criteria for inclusion in the DSM involves whether the disorder responds to a category of drugs. If, as we’ve just seen, one of the key class of drugs that for 20 years has been considered effective now fails, what does that say for this idea that if a disease responds to a particular drug, then it is a particular disease? We have to rethink the whole biological basis for lifestyle disorders.

Reason Four: We’re an over-medicated society, and the goal of drug companies and a compliant and harried medical establishment is ultimately to have some drug coursing through every individual’s bloodstream. It’s a lot easier to quickly pop a pill or prescribe than it is to explore the reasons for a person’s distress. Many of us remember the scenario in 1960’s science fiction movies of a dystopic future or Soviet-style world with drugs used to control minds. Well, that future is here and the social control we dreaded is now accepted in the form of a pill.

Reason Five: The whole serotonin hypothesis is challenged by these findings. What this new information shows is that there may be some help using SSRIs if there is a severe shortage of serotonin, but the average person’s depression cannot simply be related to a “chemical imbalance.” The human brain is too complicated and so are we to have a simple, quick explanation related to serotonin alone. We have no way of measuring serotonin the brain of a living person, short of cutting open the skull. We have not come up with what a normal level of serotonin should be and below which we can say that you would be depressed and above which we can say you will be happy. People with high serotonin levels can be depressed and those with low levels can be happy. Serotonin inducing drugs like ecstasy can make you feel very happy, but so can alcohol and heroin. We have to go back to the drawing boards on this one, so don’t ever let anyone say “I’ve got a chemical imbalance” without asking them what they actually mean and where is the science to prove that statement.

What Should You Do? Think twice, be skeptical, and question a simplistic diagnosis you might receive after discussing your condition for a short time with a rushed practitioner. If each person takes a stand, is willing to engage in therapies beyond drug-taking, we might actually have a responsible and informed public confronting an increasingly powerful medical-pharmalogical establishment. Drugs may not be the answer for you, and now it turns out that some drugs may not be the answer for almost anyone.

 

10 Things Marketed to Women That May Not Be So Great

1. NAIL POLISH

The majority of nail polish brands use an ingredient called triphenyl phosphate, or TPHP, that makes it last longer on the nail and prevents chipping. (This same ingredient is also used as a fire retardant)! It is known as a hormone disruptor, and it affects the function of hormones.

Researchers have linked hormone disruptors such as TPHP to early onset of puberty, neurodevelopmental problems and obesity. The last thing girls need in their bodies as they are developing rapidly is something that may play havoc with their hormones. (ewg.org)

Encouraging young girls and women of all ages to apply something onto their body that will mess with their hormones is such a disservice. And do not think that just because it is on a hard nail that it will not end up in your blood stream. Keep in mind that every inch of your body is made up of cells, and cells absorb everything that is put on them!

2. ENERGY BARS

Most energy bars/breakfast bars/weight loss bars that are clearly marketed at women are almost always soy protein based. Soy contains phytoestrogens. This chemical mimics the hormone estrogen, but is not the same as the estrogen made in the human body. When continuously consuming something that your body sees as a hormone can throw your balance out of whack. Hormones are in a constant harmonious balance, and anything that throws off that balance can cause a number of issues, especially for women. Estrogen, in case you did not know, is a key player in the woman’s reproductive system. Imbalances of estrogen can effect menstruation, mood, fertility, acne, hair growth, and menopause symptoms.

These phytoestrogens are actually a defense mechanism for the plants.

In their natural state, phytoestrogens exist within plants as a natural defense against herbivores. Plants secrete these hormones to modulate the fertility of animals that may eat them to reduce further attacks. (draxe.com)

So basically the plants give the animals their own form of biochemical warfare. They attack the fertility of the animal, therefore it is less likely to reproduce and create another animal that may eat the plant in the future. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to not eat plants that will attack me from the inside and purposely attack my future..

3. DEODORANT

Conventional deodorants use the heavy metal aluminum to block the pores to prevent odor.

Some research suggests that aluminum-containing underarm antiperspirants, which are applied frequently and left on the skin near the breast, may be absorbed by the skin and have estrogen-like (hormonal) effects. Because estrogen can promote the growth of breast cancer cells, some scientists have suggested that the aluminum-based compounds in antiperspirants may contribute to the development of breast cancer. (cancer.gov)

The rest of this article brushes the concern away, but for me, I am not willing to take the risk. In this active fight against breast cancer, isn’t it worth it to consider every possibility? Our pores are not designed to ever be blocked (see acne). Any toxins or excessive heavy metals found in the body are stored in the lymph to protect the body, and eventually be expelled through the urine or sweat. Plugging up pores does not allow the things to come out that need to come out, and instead, they are stored in lymph nodes.

Do you know where we have a lot of lymph nodes? In the breast tissue. Therefore, I will not be taking the risk of applying a heavy metal that may end up sitting under the breast tissue and not being expelled. Deodorants also contain parabens, which I will go over more in the next section.

4. SKIN CARE/MAKEUP

Sweet smelling perfumes and body lotions contain a multitude of dangerous chemicals, but one concern is parabens. Parabens are used in almost all makeup, skin care, and body care products. It is added to prevent bacteria and mold growth, to give the product a longer shelf life.

Parabens are disrupting to the endocrine system (hormones). They have been found in cancer tissue, and as their use increases, so has the number of breast cancer cases, and the age that it starts has also lowered.

The connection between endocrine disrupting chemicals and cancer is of particular concern. Children who are exposed to these chemicals from a young age may be predisposed to cancer at increasingly earlier ages. (mercola.com)

Parabens are found in deodorants and antiperspirants, shampoos and conditioners, shaving cream, toothpaste, lotions and sunscreens, make-up/cosmetics, pharmaceutical drugs, and food additives. (mercola.com) Most of these products also include ‘fragrance’ which is a loose, unregulated word. Companies can claim a fragrance as a ‘trade secret’ and therefore not have to disclose the ingredients. You never know what you are getting when the word fragrance is on the bottle.

5. VEGAN MEAT ALTERNATIVES

I will not go into all the reasons that I am technically anti-vegan, but one of the main reasons I will not buy meat alternatives is the ingredients. There are two things I avoid as much as possible, and that is soy and gluten. The problem is, these two ingredients are the ‘bread and butter’ of meat alternatives.

I have discussed soy above, and it’s effect on a woman’s hormones. Gluten is a part of wheat and other grains that is very hard for the body to digest. When the stomach tries to break it down, it actually damages the stomach lining and begins to allow food particles through into the blood stream prematurely (leaky gut symdrom), and can lead to autoimmune diseases or just irritated digestion. There are other things that gluten does in our body, but this one is most prominent, in every body and not just those who are allergic to gluten.

6. FRESH-PRESSED JUICES

For starters, I don’t believe all fresh-pressed juice is bad and that you should avoid it. That said, I do believe that it is a trend that has been taken out of context. Fruit has a high fructose level, but in its natural state, this fructose is packaged with the appropriate level of fiber and solid particles that must be chewed and causes the fructose to hit the blood stream at a slower rate. The issue with juice is that it takes that whole system and throws it out the window. Now you are consuming the fructose without the fiber, and in liquid form. Since there is less digestion to slow it down, the sugar is almost immediately hitting your blood stream, causing your blood sugar levels to spike more than they would have if you had just eaten the fruit whole.

With juice bars being such a trend right now, many people are downing a bottle on the regular. I do want to say though that there are worst things that they could be consuming, obviously. You still get most of the vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant benefits of the fruit, which is great. I just believe that they should be eaten in their original form to get all of the benefits. Also, doing a juice cleanse for a couple days can be beneficial as well to give your digestive system a break. But it should never be long term, and it should be more vegetable heavy, with some fruits included.

7. WEIGHT LOSS SHAKES

My first issue with weight loss shakes is the deception that if you just add in this one product, you will just start shedding pounds without making any other changes to your lifestyle. I believe this is one of the most pushed lies, and it is at the cost of the women who believe the lie. Stored fat is there for a few different reasons: hormone imbalance, poor diet, or lack of movement. All of these factors will continue while you spend all your money on shakes that are not miracle cures.

My other concern is that most of these shake are not even make with clean ingredients, and most of the time are loaded with sugar to make them appealing. Also, chewing your food is so much better for activating your digestive system and metabolism than constantly drinking your food in liquid form.

8. ACNE REGIMENS

Most highly-marketed acne regimens are just money-making schemes. They are so full of harsh chemicals, that they work for a time, but it comes back in full force once you stop using the product. (Proactiv anyone??) Skin is a delicate organ that is made to function a certain way, and quick fixes will always must make the matter worse in the long run.

Healthy skin must always start with a proper diet, and properly functioning hormones, which is something that is not taught. Instead, young girls and women are just sold products that just band-aid the problem, and live their life believing that it is something that they just have to live with.

9. CANDLES

Conventional candles are full of all kinds of chemicals, and very strong artificial scents. Most people don’t think about candles, since they are not going onto the skin and are not being ingested, but everything you burn, you are breathing it in. Every ingredient in that candle goes into the air when it is burned, and from there it goes into your lungs, and then into the bloodstream.

Opt for natural candles made of beeswax, palm oil, or soy if you must. Most natural candles are naturally scented, so you don’t have to worry about breathing it in.

10. FAT-FREE/SUGAR-FREE

This section is definitely one that I could go on and on about, but the very idea that fat-free and sugar-free items are marketed to women is so upsetting, because it is misleading, and actually more harmful than the fat and the sugar that they would normally be ingesting.

As for sugar-free, it can be a good thing, and simply have a natural alternative such as Stevia, which can definitely be a better option. However, most of the time, especially with sweeteners such as Equal and NutraSweet, the sugar is replaced with aspartame, which is considered by some a carcinogen.

Here is a list of adverse effects of aspartame, according to (mercola.com)

  • Brain tumors
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Mental retardation
  • Lymphoma
  • Birth defects
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes

And as for fat-free, the myth that fat makes you fat is the worst thing that has happened to our health, in my personal opinion. As fat consumption was demonized, chronic disease has increased. However, when fat-free is marketed to women, it is usually for the sake of weight loss.

High quality fat is essential for weight loss, but people are taught the opposite. When you take something out, something else takes its place. In the case of diet, sugar and refined carbohydrates almost always take the place of fat in one’s diet. Without going into depth on how the body uses fats and carbs when it comes to energy and fat burning (read more here if you would like!)

The issue with an uptake in carbohydrate intake in a fat-free diet is that an excess of refined carbs is one of the key players in body fat storage. Carbohydrates turn into glucose in the body, so when they are constantly consumed out of balance with fat (and protein of course), the body can only use so much. The extra glucose that is not needed is then stored as body fat.

Carbohydrates are also very quick burning fuel for your body. It burns up the energy so quickly that you either need to eat more, or you will get hungry sooner than you would with adequate fat in the diet. Dietary fat is a slow-burning fuel for the body, so you stay full longer, and do not need to eat as much to be satiated (feel full).

DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH

Don’t take my word for it, find one of these issues that resonate with you and look into it yourself. The market for products targeted at women is a huge industry, with billions of dollars being made on potentially harming the health of women, young and old.

When it comes to what we are putting in and on our body, we should be the most concerned. Chronic diseases, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are some of the top killers in our country, and it directly correlates with the decrease in quality of our food and our products, all of which are produced in factories using chemicals to extend the cost and shelf life.

We all deserve better! Take your health into your own hands! And if you need help along the way, or have questions, please feel free to contact me, that is what I am here for.