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Aluminum Foil & Health

Recently I have been cooking meals and freezing them for a very sick friend. I like to do my part in helping others feel comfort, peace and love. In doing this I have used foil pans a few times for convenience both for my friend and myself. This got me wondering about aluminum foil though so I did a little research and this is what I found.
Aluminum foil is convenient to use when we bake or grill foods in allowing for quick clean-up and keeping moisture in but here is why you should stop using it.

Our bodies can excrete small amounts of aluminum efficiently but exposure to excessive amounts are harmful. Studies have shown that too much aluminum in our bodies increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, anemia, bone disease and dialysis encephalopathy. Less common sensitivities resulting in recurring eczema come from continuous application of aluminum containing antiperspirants, topical solutions and occupational exposure to aluminum dust.

Aluminum exposure increases depending on the cooking temperature, length of cooking time and type of food being cooked. Higher temperatures raise the amount of aluminum leaching into the food at double the rate. Higher acid foods allow aluminum to leach into food at a higher concentration as does added acids and salts. Red meat has a higher pH than white meats, therefor will leach more aluminum into the food. Chicken breast meat has been shown to have a higher concentration than the darker meat. The same goes for baked or grilled fish in aluminum, and also increases with acidic additives and marinades. Also, it doesn’t matter if you use the shiny side or the dull side, the results are the same in all applications.

Aluminum foil used in cooking provides an easy route for aluminum to enter your body. Higher temperatures and higher acids increase the amount of aluminum you will ingest.
Parchment paper is a better alternative but it’s not completely innocent either. Parchment paper is coated with silicone and is put through a sulfuric acid bath and/or zinc chloride. If you use parchment, use it only occasionally and choose unbleached paper. You can also find nontoxic baking/cooking supplies at If You Care

Tips to flush your system of aluminum:
Silica for aluminum flush [different from silicone – silicone is a synthetic polymer of silicon-unhealthy for us]
Silica (silicon dioxide) is a compound of silicon and oxygen (Si02)
• Silica can also be found in certain foods including cucumbers, oats, brown rice, wheat, strawberries, onions, avocados, and root vegetables.
• The silica content in natural waters is commonly in the 5 to 25 mg/L range, although concentrations over 100mg/L occur in some areas.

Resources| http://www.electrochemsci.org/papers/vol7/7054498.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782734/

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Habitual Eating

What is habitual eating?
We each have hundreds of habits that we do daily; they’re not all bad. Many of our habits help us get through our day; they’re the things we do regularly that we don’t have to think much about. Some habits we have aren’t good for us though and while we often realize this, we find it difficult to break them.

Why do we keep doing things we don’t particularly want to keep doing?
Well, when it comes to eating too much or eating when we’re not hungry, it most often is because food is available everywhere. No matter where you live you can always find food stands around every corner. You can buy food that isn’t in season because it is shipped nationally and internationally. We find ourselves indulging because it’s there. We see it and want it. How many times have you made a grocery list that you vowed to stick to only to find that you strayed outside the list and bought compulsively? The snack for later, the candy bar for the ride home, the bad of chips… which in the end leaves you feeling defeated by non other than yourself.

We eat when we’re with family or friends, we have another drink, another bite, half a scoop, a tiny slice for the fourth time this sitting. We don’t really taste or register what or when we are eating. We eat that snack while watching our TV shows – every night! We want to stop the madness, we need to stop it!

But why stop?
First and foremost, our body needs a break. It needs to have time for fasting every day, even a few times a day. A small hunger pang before each meal is a healthy thing. I’m not suggesting that you become famished, but allow yourself to be hungry, truly hungry. Secondly, weight. It’s important to maintain a healthy weight, for your organs, blood, energy level and even your emotional well-being.

How can you stop?
Now that you know why you should stop habitual eating the next step is how. How can you stop habitual eating when it feels comfortable & familiar like a best friend or an old pair of jeans that are worn in, soft and snug in the right places? Stopping bad habits is never an easy task but it is always worth it. When you stop things that aren’t good for you, you open up a whole other world of possibilities. Change takes time and practice so be patient and forgiving with yourself.

Begin breaking your bad habits by first listing a few of the major habits you’d like to break and next to them, the reasons you want to break them and then the benefits you will gain by breaking each habit.
Next, find a phrase that will help you feel aware of your actions each time you are tempted to eat out of habit; use a phrase that is supportive/positive. And thirdly, take small steps. Small steps help you feel less deprived while staying connected with your personal goals and intentions. For instance, if you’re meeting friends at an eatery, set your intentions beforehand to order a salad or something from the healthy options section, stick with that plan no matter what. I know it’s tempting to order something deep fried, cheesy, gooey, rich and dripping with sauce once you are with friends but use your self-control; we all have it, we just don’t always use it. At home take smaller portions, leave pictures or messages in sight as reminders to eat mindfully and not habitually. Easier said than done, but eliminate junk and unhealthy snacks from your home, replace them with healthy options like nuts, fruit, plain yogurt that you can sweeten with cinnamon, honey, nuts, fruit, berries, seeds. Think before actions take over. Realize what you’re doing; be aware of why you’re doing it, why you should stop and what to do instead of eating it.

List habits you want to stop. Set and stick with your intentions. Take smaller portions. Get rid of the triggers that lead you to eat habitually. Be mindful every time you eat. Get help to guide you through the steps with ease. Do it for your mind, body and spirit.

In love & light!

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Living in the Sludge Fog

sluggishSludge: thick, soft, wet, semi-solid, mud, dirty oil, muck are among the descriptive words for sludge. I hear and see people who feel like they have no energy, slow energy, tire easily, and have no “will-power” to do much of anything especially cooking meals and getting a little exercise into each day. Does this sound like you?

Try something new. Try to clean out the sludge that the foods you’re eating may be causing inside your veins, intestines and organs and even your brain causing foggy thinking. Cleaning out the sludge is pretty simple if you’re dedicated to doing it and staying “sludge-free” is important to keeping up your energy and best health.

What types of foods cause this sluggish feeling? You’ve probably heard it many times but processed foods that are filled with chemical preservatives, high sodium, high fats are all a large part of it. Fast foods that you can get at a drive through and from most chain restaurants are also a big part of that unhealthy, bloated, sluggish feeling inside. Chain restaurant commercials sell themselves by showing greens and reds alongside or in their foods and groups of friends laughing…etc. it all looks healthy, care-free and happy, just like life should be. In reality, when you go to those places for a meal it most often is not what you expected. The food doesn’t look quite as appetizing and it’s often swimming in heavy oils, thick ‘fake’ cream sauces and the so-called healthy chicken is pressed into breast-shapes but laden with salt with the texture of chewing a sponge. These things are not healthy meals!

Here’s how to clean out the “sludge”. There are two ways, 1 – quit cold turkey and a detox, 2 – small, steady steps & making changes each day and each week. If you want to go the “cold turkey route, it’s not impossible, it requires more detail so contact me, I’m here to help you. If you choose the small, steady step route, here are a few tips.

  • Eat out less days per week so you have control of what you’re putting into your body; this includes lunch-time at work, bring your lunch.
  • Eat smaller portions of meat and be sure to eat lean meats only.
  • Eat more beans, there are so many different varieties and they are all easy to toss into practically any dish. If you use canned beans, be sure to rinse them well to remove excess sodium before using.
  • Add extra vegetables to every meal. Add a handful of greens such as leafy lettuces, spinach, kale, arugula and broccoli, these items are quick to grab and toss into a salad, onto a sandwich or in any dish you’re preparing.
  • Snack on walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, fruit, plain yogurt with flax, nuts or seeds and fresh fruit added yourself.
  • Eat less breads and bready type foods such as muffins, pastry, cake, cookies; eat less white pasta, rice and potato chips and fries.
  • Don’t overeat. Stop when you are full and satisfied. Save whatever you don’t finish for another meal or for a snack – after-all, it’s healthy food now.
  • Drink more water. Water flushes toxins out of your system, it helps remove excess salt from your system and it keeps your body lubricated and running smoothly.

Cooking at home doesn’t have to be a chore. When you plan your week of meals ahead of time, preparing them is easier. Choose one or two days during the week or on the weekend to eat out, to give the cook a break, but when you do, choose to eat at the local family owned restaurant over the chain restaurants.

Think of food simply as fuel for your body to run optimally. What you put into your tank is what you will get out of it. Lighter, airy, more colorful foods will lead to a lighter more airy sense of being; it will put a skip in your step and brightness on your face.

As always, if you’re unsure of how to make changes or of you simply want guidance and accountability, you can work with me in one of my programs that will get you to exactly where you want to be.

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Food is My Bodyguard

I’m not famous, I’m not rich, but I do use a bodyguard. Food is my bodyguard.

Without whole foods the human body begins to weaken a little bit at a time. When you choose to eat foods that are processed, chemically enhanced, deep-fried, microwaved, over-cooked, preservative-laden, overly salted, and contain unhealthy oils your body reacts negatively to it. Your body was built to work with whole foods to maintain optimal health. When companies who process and package foods that once were whole began popping up in the late 1940’s early 1950’s, human health began to decline. Among many food related diseases are type 2 diabetes, heart disease, kidney and liver disease, digestive diseases and even brain function.

What can you do to bring back your best health?

Get back to basics. Begin eating more whole foods, especially foods that are in season and local since they are picked at their ripest and hold their full nutrient load. Cook at home more so you have control over artificial ingredients, oils and salt. Choose better restaurants when you eat out; chains tend to have high fat and high sodium content as well as ‘fake foods’. Shop at your local farm stand and farmers’ markets and buy lots of colorful vegetables and fruit. Eat raw or lightly steamed so nutrients are retained. Find out what foods are best for your body and your lifestyle. Raise your activity level at least 3 days a week for 30 minutes each.

Getting on track

We all form habits, some are good and some are not-so-good. Beginning a healthy lifestyle might sound overwhelming and confusing especially when you start to research different ways through the internet. Getting healthy doesn’t have to be a chore or a complete life-changer. By learning what is best for you personally and learning how to incorporate better choices one step at a time, you will find that good habits are easy to adopt. When you begin making changes for the better your body will react immediately and you’ll be amazed at how great you can feel.

As a personal health coach, I will help you make the transitions wisely, easily and without extra work and overwhelm. Consider your health a top priority. Protect your body with proper nutrition so that you can live a longer, healthy and happy life.

 

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Six Seeds of Goodness

The seeds that are in most pantries but get little attention and have BIG benefits.

Chia– high in protein, calcium and fiber; helps stabilize blood sugar, lower risk of heart disease

Fennel– relaxant, helps reduce water weight, decreases food cravings, reduces allergy inflammation and breaks up fat deposits

Celery– reduces inflammation, helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol clears toxins from the digestive track, relaxant, and anti-depressant (avoid during pregnancy as it can promote bleeding)

Sesame– high in minerals, lowers bad cholesterol, helps reduce hypertension & stress and inhibits the spread of cancers.

Poppy– helps lower cholesterol, soothes nervous irritation, and has B-Complex vitamins and minerals.

Anise– helps digestion helps control fungus, bacteria, urinary track infections and yeast. Anise is toxic to wasps and mosquito larvae.

 

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Your Liver and Weight Loss

Do you watch what you eat, try to lose weight but just can’t? Are you being kind to your liver?

The liver is the major fat burning organ in your body. It also pumps excessive fat out of your body through bile. A healthy liver removes dead, unhealthy cells, toxic chemicals, heavy metals that are in our air, water and food and clears out bacteria, parasites and fungus and fat globules. The liver filters oxygen, toxins and waste products from the blood; pumping through it about 3 pints per minute! Your liver also releases glucose to be used by the body. The liver is the main detox center in the body. If your liver is swollen with fat it cannot filter properly and your immune system will be weakened.

Poor liver function can trigger high blood pressure, skin problems, abdominal water weight & “pot belly”, trouble losing weight especially while dieting; it can lead to diabetes, high cholesterol, shortened tendons in palm & fingers, fatigue, reflux/heartburn, excessive sweating, headaches, nausea, depression, sleep disturbances, low testosterone low libido and so much more.

How does your liver get under duress and fatty? Simply by eating processed foods, high fat, greasy foods, sugary baked goods, simple carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, chips, soda and other sweet drinks, as well as artificial sweeteners (which are chemicals and not food at all- by the way), lots of caffeine and alcohol. The water we drink and the air we breathe also plays a large part in helping our liver becoming sluggish.

You can help your liver which in turn will help you burn off more fats through eating a healthy diet and by following a liver detox for a time if you’re so inclined. If you would like guidance in a liver detox contact me at Dawn@InitiateWellness.com.

Eating for your liver health consists of whole natural foods, and drinking at least 8 ounces of lemon infused water each morning either hot, warm or cold. You can also drink it throughout the day if you like it; lemon and water are terrific detoxifying foods.

A short list of other foods with a big benefit on liver health includes:

Garlic(it removes mercury, additives and hormones), onions, fresh lightly steamed or raw vegetables, fruits, berries-especially blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries), bitter spring greens, dill, caraway, turmeric and cayenne, Omega 3 fats from wild caught small fish, seeds, nuts, flax and grape seed oils, Chia, flax, avocado and fish oil supplements.

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Have a Healthy Flu Season

It’s winter, it’s flu season-and this year the flu virus has been finding so many of us. Because of this, I feel that it’s important to share some information and tips on keeping your immune system healthy and strong.

The job of your immune system is to “serve and protect”.  It is in the form of cells, tissues and organs throughout the body. Your lymph system plays an important role in finding virus’ and bacteria in your body; it’s like the virus alert system that looks for foreign material through the lymph nodes.  When the lymphatic system is healthy and strong it can usher unwanted bacteria and virus out of the body.

Knowing how the lymphatic system works let me share a few tips on how to keep it strong and healthy. There’s fluid in the lymph system and when that can flow freely and smoothly it can do its job properly.

Exercise plays an important role in keeping the flow going. The diaphragm is the most important muscle in your immune system. it’s located between the lungs and abdominal cavity. Vigorous deep breathing enhances the flow of lymph fluid. This can be accomplished by brisk walking, bicycling, running or any other aerobic type activity and through diaphragmatic or belly breathing.

Diet also plays an important role in keeping a strong immune system.

  • Refined carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats, caffeine and alcohol can harm the immune system so these things should be limited or eliminated completely.
  • Foods such as low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, eggs, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, garlic, onions, sprouts, honey and un-sulfured molasses are great immune system supporters.
  • A good quality daily vitamin helps as well as stress reduction/management. Some stress reduction practices used are meditation, yoga, exercise, journal writing, and activities that are fun and help take your mind off the stressors.

Drinking enough water is always good for the immune system and all other systems of the body. We don’t tend to drink as much plain water in the colder months but it’s still as important as warmer weather months. We still get dehydrated due to artificial heat in our homes and other buildings.