Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kraft Jello Drops GMO Sugar, Artificial Food Dyes & BHA

Exciting news for the Food Babe Army!!! First, I want to let you know – our next major campaign is coming. Subscribe to my email newsletter so you will be the first to know when we go live! It’s almost … Continued

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Did the US Dietary Guidelines Cause the Obesity Epidemic?

A popular argument holds that the US Dietary Guidelines caused our obesity epidemic by advising Americans to reduce fat intake.  Does the evidence support this idea, or is it simply a fantasy?

Introduction

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This post was written by Stephan Guyenet for Whole Health Source.


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The Definitive Guide to Wine

The Definitive Guide to Wine in lineFor years, wine was my stress reliever at the end of a long day. Having given up grains and grain-based beverages over a decade ago, I swapped beer for wine. It was my frequent dinner companion. Grilled grass-fed ribeye wasn’t grilled grass-fed ribeye without a glass of California Cab. And then I suspected my 1-2 glass a night habit was impairing my gut health and affecting my sleep. I ran a quick experiment, determined that the nightly wine indeed was having bad effects, and stopped drinking altogether.

It worked. My gut health and sleep improved. Yet I still missed wine. I missed pitting the crunch of an aged Gouda’s tyrosine crystals against a big red, lingering over a glass with an old friend, clinking glasses, giving toasts. I missed what Hemingway called “one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things in the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection.” But I didn’t miss the poor sleep and gut disturbances.

Then I met Todd White of Dry Farm Wines at the Bulletproof Conference. He introduced me to “natural wines” which use organic, dry-farmed grapes, interesting varietals, and ancient, low-input fermentation methods to produce lower-alcohol wines with greater complexity and fewer adulterants than mass-market wines. When I drank some of the wines Todd suggested, I experienced none of the gut or sleep disturbances. Wine was back.

Still, I was cowed. I’d been guilty of doing what I’ve always recommended against: blindly accepting wine without doing due diligence.

So let’s do that due diligence today. What’s so good about wine?

In a word: polyphenols.

I’ve spoken at length about polyphenols, the colorful plant compounds that reduce inflammation, prevent oxidation, and provoke beneficial hormetic responses from our bodies. Grapes are already rich in polyphenols, and the fermentation process creates even more.

Red wine is far higher in polyphenols than white wine, as most of them reside in the skin pigments. So much that red wine extract protects lipids against against oxidative damage, while white wine extract does not.

You can make white wine more like red by letting the skins steep awhile before removing them and adding more alcohol, which increases polyphenol extraction, but most white wine is far lower in polyphenols. That’s okay—”lower” isn’t zero and the alcohol itself has some benefit in low doses—and shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying white wine. If you want to try a red-esque white, go for something like this “skin ferment” Roussanne.

But red wine is undoubtedly more polyphenol-dense. If many of the health benefits associated with wine consumption come from the polyphenols, red wine is the clearly superior choice.

What are the health effects of wine consumption—positive and negative?

A vast amount of observational evidence suggests that wine consumption is good for us. These types of studies cannot establish causality, but plausible mechanisms exist which strengthen the associations.

Cardiovascular disease: Wine consumption has a J-curve relationship to cardiovascular disease. One study found that 150 mL (5 ounces) of wine per day is better than none, while high intakes are worse for mortality. 1-2 glasses per day for men and 1 per day for women as optimal.

Stroke: Wine consumption is linked to a lower risk of ischemic stroke.

Diabetes: Light or moderate wine consumption is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Wine versus other alcohol: Compared to other types of alcohol including beer and hard liquor, red wine has the strongest and most consistent relationship to health benefits. That may indicate there’s something different about wine, or something different about wine drinkers.

What do interventional studies show?

Red wine reduces postprandial inflammation. When people drink red wine with their meals, the meal gets healthier:

Their LDL particles become more resistant to oxidation and their inflammatory genes turn off. In regular wine drinkers, anti-oxidized LDL antibodies—a class of immune molecules the body dispatches to protect LDL particles vulnerable to oxidation—drop, indicating wine reduces the threat of oxidative damage and the need for protective antibodies (cigarette smoking, meanwhile, increases anti-oxidized LDL antibodies).

Red wine can even inhibit the postprandial oxidative damage to blood lipids and inflammatory gene expression you get after a trip to McDonald’s.

And as I’ve mentioned before, these anti-oxidative effects extend to cooking with wine. Using wine in a marinade or braise reduces the formation of carcinogenic compounds and inhibits oxidation of fats in the food.

One study compared grape extract to red wine made with the same types of grapes, finding that red wine provided benefits the grape extract did not. The researchers suggest this was wholly due to the alcohol content, but I think they’re overlooking the importance of the unique polyphenols that form during wine fermentation.

One way to see how wine affects people is the “initiation of red wine drinking” study. They take people who hadn’t been drinking wine, have them “initiate” wine drinking, and follow them and their biomarkers for several months.

Blood pressure: In people with (but not without) a genetic propensity toward efficient or “fast” alcohol metabolism, drinking red wine at dinner seems to lower blood pressure.

Type 2 diabetics: Type 2 diabetics who initiate red wine drinking at dinner see reduced signs of metabolic syndrome, including moderately improved glycemic control and blood lipids. Another benefit that surprised me was the improvement in sleep quality compared to the “just water” group. Another study found that while initiating red wine consumption while dieting doesn’t improve fat loss, it also doesn’t hinder it for type 2 diabetics.

InflammationA study found that non-drinkers who begin regularly drinking moderate amounts of Sicilian red wine enjoy reduced inflammatory markers and improved blood lipids.

Now, the negatives.

The alcohol is the major problem. Ethanol is a poison. Let’s just face it. Alcohol:

Depletes glutathione—the master antioxidant—from the liver. Once glutathione runs out, liver damage sets in.

Damages your liver. Alcohol puts your liver through a lot of stress. Full blown cirrhosis of the liver takes a long time and a lot of liquor to reach, but smaller amounts can still do damage.

Gives hangovers. Nothing worse than feeling depressed, anxious, confused, and sleepy with a massive headache while trying to piece together what happened the night before.

Can be addictive. According to this study, alcohol is less addictive than nicotine, crystal meth, and crack, but more addictive than heroin, intranasal amphetamine, cocaine, and caffeine. Most people who drink don’t develop it, but alcohol dependence is a real problem for those vulnerable to it. Nothing should own you. 

Is linked to depression. While moderate drinking is linked to a reduced risk of depression, higher intakes may increase the risk.

Those are dangers of alcohol in general. Wine may mitigate some of the risks, but high intakes of even the most polyphenol-rich wine won’t negate the damage of all that ethanol.

Wine is usually healthier than other types of liquor, but there are some unique components that may give you trouble.

Pesticides. Being delectable little balls of sugar water that pests can’t resist, grapes use a lot of pesticides. In France for example, wine grapes account for 3.7%  of the nation’s agricultural acreage but 20% of the pesticides used. A recent study found that the majority of French wines tested had detectable (under 10 ppm) and/or measurable (over 10 ppm) levels of pesticides. Organic wines and wines from certain regions (Cotes du Rhone, Languedoc) had lower levels than other regions.

Wetter regions will generally have more fungus and other pests and require that grows use more pesticides. Absent detailed pesticide residue data, aim for wines grown in drier regions. Wines from the dry areas of Argentina, Chile, and California should in theory have lower levels of pesticides; one study of wines from Italy found very low levels of pesticide residue.

But pesticides are used in every wine industry. You can usually snoop around and find pesticide use data by county, city, state, and country. You can’t really glean much actionable info from this data, but the point is clear: wine growers use pesticides.

Does it even matter? These are relatively minute amounts of pesticides.

While we don’t have many quality studies on pesticides in wine, I always err on the side of “fewer pesticides are better.” Call me a Luddite. Call me anti-science.

I just feel better drinking the “natural” wines.

Maybe it’s not even the lack of pesticides that do it; it could be any number of things, including the lower alcohol content, the lack of other chemical inputs, the increased polyphenol content from not over-watering the grape.

Headaches. The red wine headache is a real thing, even if the proximate cause remains unknown. Could be the tannins. Could be the ethanol. Could be the sulfites. Could be the tyramine increasing histamine release. We just know it happens in a significant number of people.

How can we maximize the benefits and minimize the negatives?

Water your wine. The Greeks and Romans added water to their wine in a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio, considering those who drank it undiluted to be barbarians. While the barbarians eventually triumphed, diluting one’s wine is an easy way to stave off dehydration, and even improve flavor. I prefer using sparkling mineral water, specifically Gerolsteiner (a German brand with high calcium and magnesium content). Yes, even with red.

Drink it with food. Wine is meant to be consumed with food. Not only does drinking wine with food improve your sensory experience of both and reduce postprandial oxidative stress, having food in your stomach slows alcohol absorption and gives your body more time to deal with it.

Drink it with tea. Fortifying alcoholic drinks with tea upregulated antioxidant production and protected binge-drinking mice from liver injury. If you go to one of those bespoke cocktail bars tended by guys in suspenders and mustaches, you’ll probably find a tea-based cocktail (for $16).

Know your genetic risk. Some genetic variants speed up alcohol metabolism, while others slow it down. A common variant in East Asian populations inhibits the detoxification of acetaldehyde, a toxic metabolite of ethanol; people with this variant who drink alcohol are more likely to get bad hangovers, experience negative symptoms, and even develop certain cancers. If you don’t have your genetic data handy, the presence of “flushing” when you drink alcohol is a good indicator that you have a deleterious variant. Alcohol addiction is often hereditary, too, so exercise caution if you have a family history of alcoholism.

Drink “natural” wines. Watch for these terms: natural, organic, biodynamic, dry-farmed, low-sulfite. They all indicate less human input and a greater expression of the grape’s grapeness. Coincidentally, these types of wines are often the most interesting. I personally drink Dry Farm Wines, since they meet all of these specifications. If you’re a wine drinker and want a steady supply, I recommend them as a go-to.

Gird your liver. If you’re going to drink enough to feel the effects, preparing your liver can assist alcohol detoxification and even prevent a hangover. Staying away from omega-6 fatty acids (saturated and monounsaturated fats can prevent ethanol-induced liver damage), eating polyphenol rich foods (ginger, turmeric, and dark chocolate are all excellent), eating some collagen (glycine helps form glutathione), taking NAC (NAC helps form glutathione), exercising, and getting good sleep the day of your drinking session are all integral parts of any effective alcohol prehab program.

Avoid cheap wine. Inexpensive wine is fine and often quite tasty. But truly cheap wine may harbor unwanted contaminants like arsenic.

Wine can be a beautiful thing. Moderate consumption (1-2 glasses a day) appears to reduce the risk of certain diseases, and it almost certainly makes a given meal healthier and less inflammatory. Is it necessary? No. If you don’t like wine, should you pick up a habit? Absolutely not.

But as long as you’re not experiencing direct negative effects (bad sleep, gut health, headaches, hangovers, a glass or two of the good stuff several times a week is probably fine, and possibly good for you.

What’s your favorite wine? How has it impacted your life?

Thanks for reading, everyone.

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Market Watch: Kabocha Squash

This lesser-known variety of winter squash is having its heyday at local farmers markets right now. Don’t be intimidated by its dark and rough exterior; inside is a gourd full of goodness.

Kabocha Facts
A Japanese variety of squash, kabocha resembles a squatty, dark green pumpkin. Its outer skin is rough and bumpy, but inside hides a vibrant pale-orange flesh that tastes like a cross between a sweet potato and a pumpkin. Kabocha also delivers in the nutrition department, offering plentiful amounts of vitamins A and C, folate, potassium and fiber.

What to Do with Kabocha Squash
Much like pumpkin and butternut squash, kabocha can go in a wide variety of culinary directions. As with many winter squashes, the biggest challenge is dealing with the tough outer skin. Peeling it won’t be easy, so it’s better to cut it open, remove the seeds, and peel away the skin after boiling or roasting — you can also make it in a slow cooker.

Once mashed or pureed, the squash yields an incredibly light, silky and flavorful flesh that permeates your senses with the smell and taste of fall. Use it as a main ingredient for soups and sauces. You can enhance its flavor with earthy accoutrements like sage, cardamom and cinnamon or take things in a completely different direction with citrus and coconut milk. Kabocha’s natural sweetness and creamy texture also work nicely in muffins, breads, pie, panna cotta and ice cream.

See our tips for breaking down a kabocha squash.

Recipes to Try:

Kabocha Squash Mash
Southwestern Winter Squash Soup
Spiced Squash with Yogurt Dressing
Sweet Kabocha Ice Cream
Squash Tartlets with Kale Pesto

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.



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The 20s Total Body Workout + Special 40% Off Discount

A big THANK YOU to HYLETE for teaming up with me for this workout and blog post! 

Good morning!

I have an awesome quickie workout for you guys. It’s just 20 minutes, but it’s high-intensity and works your entire body from head to toe, which means you’ll get a seriously effective workout in a short amount of time. And the combination of exercises (kettlebell swings, walking lunges, and Burpees) is challenging, requires your full-body, and will give you the most bang for your buck! Enjoy!

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How to do this workout: Set a timer for 20 minutes. Begin by performing 20 Kettlebell Swings (both American and Russian work). Once you finish the Kettlebell Swings, move immediately to the Walking Lunges with a plate. Hold the plate above your head and perform a total of 20 reps (10 each leg). After that, you’ll move onto 20 Burpees. This movement can be performed with or without the plate. If you choose to use it, be sure that your chest touches the plate and you stand up with it at your chest. You don’t need to jump with the plate overhead (unless you really want to!). Once you’ve complete all three movements, start at Kettlebell Swings for round 2. Repeat this sequence until 20 minutes is up. Be sure to keep track of how many round you complete. Happy sweating!

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Wearing: invex II crop in black/eclipse gray // insignia racer tank mint/eclipse gray

So, let me tell you about my gear from HYLETE that I’m sporting in the workout above. I actually haven’t stopped telling people about HYLETE since I first tried it. The leggings are so soft and move well during my workouts. They’re not super tight by any means, but they don’t fall down either. I also love the way they look and how they go with just about everything I own. The tank tops are also really great. They’re lightweight, comfy, and perfect for my CrossFit workouts. And, of course, I love how affordable the gear is from HYLETE (details below). Clearly, I’m a HUGE fan (I already want to get a few more items), and I especially love what the brand is all about.

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HYLETE is actually a “community brand,” which means they encourage input and feedback from their customers and then incorporate it directly into their product updates and new products. (HYLETE project provides the community with a voice to unite and support the products they want to become a reality. Learn more here.) And since HYLETE is only available online at HYLETE.com (and not sold in stores), they’re able to remove the resellers mark-up, which means these savings are then passed on to the customer. When you join HYLETE, you can save up to 40% off every order as part of the community.

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Wearing:  invex II crop in black/eclipse gray // script tri-blend tank in vintage sage/agean

How it works: Purchase 2 to 3 items and receive 20% off your order, purchase 4 or more items and receive 40% off your order. Mix and match any items or choose from a variety of pre-built looks.  Here’s where you can create your account at http://ift.tt/2dSb6UK. *** SPECIAL OFFER FOR CNC READERS: For a limited time, you can receive 40% off your first purchase! No minimum order quantities! Just use promo code CNC.

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Wearing:  invex II crop in black/eclipse gray // icon quad-blend hooded henley in black/stealth black <— This henley is one of my favorite tops ever! I’m actually wearing it right now with leggings as I type this post. It’s an awesome lifestyle piece, too! 

Follow HYLETE on social: Instagram // Facebook // Twitter 



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Clean Eating Mexican Zpaghetti Recipe

Clean Eating Mexican Zpaghetti Recipe

This post brought to you in collaboration with Foster Farms to celebrate Turkey Tuesday.
All opinions are my own.

You guys know that I’m a big proponent of organic foods. Not just because of the… Read more →



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Ideas For A Fun Rainy Day

This post is sponsored by Toca TV

Ideas for a Fun Rainy Day

Mazen and I have a lot on our schedules this fall. Between his school and extracurriculars (yes, he has them already – theater, fitness class and art three afternoons a week!), afternoons he spends with Matt, and outings we do with our friends, we don’t have many days to sit at home and just veg out together. It’s kind of funny because on the days when the rain does force us inside, we go a little crazy with energy to burn! The sky is always bluer, I suppose. I thought I’d share some of the ways we play together, including sharing a new app that we’re digging, Toca TV. On a recent rainy Monday afternoon, here were some of our inside adventures. (Photos are symbolic because I didn’t want to have to worry about getting the ‘perfect shot’ the whole time!) 

Build A Fort

Mazen is so imaginative, and he loves to build forts, space ships, boats, and the like. This usually involves all the pillows in the house plus several big blankets. I love fort building because often after the fort is made I can relax inside it for a bit while he goes in and out! (This photo is a year old, and it’s one of my favorites of all time!)

Fort

Watch Fun Videos and Make Our Own!

Inevitably all that building revs up the appetite, so we pause for a pumpkin smoothie. We try not to spend too much time on tablets, but snack time is when I say it’s totally fine. I catch up on work and Mazen is occupied for a bit with a little entertainment. I have let him watch YouTube in the past, and the related videos they suggest can stray from the G-rated kids shows I feel comfortable with. This is how we learned about Toca TV!

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Toca TV has thousands of curated videos in a 100% ad-free, safe, and fun environment. Aimed at kids from 4-9 years old, the app was tested with hundreds of kids to be as user-friendly to that age group as possible. The videos are super cute and range from crafts to animals to real people to animation. 

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And rest assured, every video has been handpicked and screened by a member of the Toca Boca team to ensure it’s awesome and appropriate for kids. Plus there are zero ads, which is the trade off to paying a little each month to use it ($4.99).

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There is even a little video recording tool with filters kind of like Snapchat, which is definitely Mazen’s favorite part! You can turn the camera around on you, record a video and then add silly filters like an ice cream cone plopping down on your head, little animals and other silly overlays. Save and share with grandparents and friends! 

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Download Toca TV today from the App Store to get three free sessions by clicking here

Play Dress Up

We have several costumes in our closet, and I get to be served, or arrested, or rescued from a burning building, or captured by a pirate : )

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Jump Around

This trampoline was a gift from a friend, and we only use it on rainy days mostly because it gets forgotten about until then. This is a GREAT way for him to burn off some energy! (And me too!)

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Bring Out Hidden Games

I keep a lot of his games tucked away so they remain special (and so the pieces don’t end up scattered everywhere during play dates!) My mom always had a wardrobe that she could access for special prizes and games, so I like to keep that tradition going with a selection of things I bring out only when we need a little extra entertainment. (Note his attention to this bug game – and the Christmas tree!) 

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Cook!

Two birds, one stone. When we have a long afternoon inside I turn dinner prep into an activity. Sometimes he is eager to help out and other times he’d rather keep playing pirate in the pillow boat, but hey, that gives me time to cook alone!

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Thanks to Toca TV for sponsoring this post. Click here to get your three free sessions! 

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Episode 338 – Nadine Grzeskowiak (Gluten Free RN) – Gluten Intolerance