So what's the deal with cereal?

I think it's safe to say that most of American children's diets include this food category (if you can really even call it food...it's definitely not REAL food) and it's a contributing factor to the growing epidemic of autoimmune conditions among our pediatric populations, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The Food Babe, has done a nice job of sharing her thoughts and research of why this American breakfast staple has such detrimental effects here so I won't reinvent the wheel but only offer a few facts about our ever declining pediatric health because it just makes me so darned mad.

Did you know that

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. 1

  • Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. 2

  • Recent research suggests that diabesity, as it's referred to by Chris Kresser,  is characterized by chronic, low-grade inflammation and a continuous stimulation of the innate immune system. 3 

  • Inflammation nearly always accompanies both obesity and diabetes and is independently capable of causing it without overweight – as evidenced by the presence of T2DM in Asian populations that are relatively lean. 4

Generally, in most parts of the world, whenever cereal-based diets were first adopted as a staple food replacing the primarily animal-based diets of hunter-gatherers, there was a characteristic reduction in stature, an increase in infant mortality, a reduction in lifespan, an increased incidence of infectious diseases, an increase in iron deficiency anemia, an increased incidence of osteomalacia (softening of bones through vitamin D deficiency), porotic hyperostosis (porous bones of the cranium) and other bone mineral disorders and an increase in the number of dental caries (cavities) and enamel defects. 5 All of these tend to be indicative of nutritional disorders and in anthropology, the presence of these conditions has been considered evidence that a past population suffered chronic or episodic malnutrition.

Not only were we not meant to eat cereal grains, but they have significant nutritional shortcomings. They are absent of Vitamin A, C, D and B12 as well as beta-carotene. As we add more and more of this nutrient empty source of food to our diets, they displace the calories that would otherwise be provided us by nutrient dense foods like meats, fruits and vegetables.6

"But my cereal says  it's Fortified"
Unfortunately there is just no good substitute for the real thing. Researchers have long argued the value of synthetic supplementation which is exactly what fortification is. This is the case for cereal as well. When cereals are fortified with synthetic vitamins to "boost" their nutrient value on paper, your body doesn't recognize the vitamin as a natural source because it is absent of it's usual cofactors. Often times, the body treats synthetics like a toxin and quickly expels them. 

The Food Babe also talks about the huge problem with this packaged product called cereal: GMOs. This is a HUGE problem, in my opinion. I'd argue that largest portion of the American diet that contains GMOs, comes from cereal. I'll have a longer post about GMOs in the future but for now, just realize that the major components of cereals are from GMO sources: corn, soy, canola, rice and sugar beets.7

For an explanation of why GMOs are so horrible for your health, causing allergies, allergic reactions to other foods, liver problems, reproductive issues, as well as permanent digestive issues you can read here and here and here

So, "what", you ask, "should one actually eat for breakfast?"
That's great question. I always encourage people to get back to the basics. Like cooking. Yes, you will need to turn on the stove and actually make some food. How about a couple of healthy pastured eggs with a nice orange choline-packed yolk. How about some bacon or sausage to go with it? Not a fan of cooking in the mornings? Try a shake with a grass-fed protein powder or nut butter, some full fat coconut milk, a few frozen organic berries, a banana and some spinach or kale. I don't tolerate eggs (as much as I wish I could) so I often saute veggies together with some butter or ghee and some leftover meat from dinner. Don't get stuck in the breakfast box! Breakfast can look like any other meal. 

My general rule of thumb for every meal is make sure it contains lots of fat (butter, ghee or lard), some vegetables and some protein. So skip the cereal and you'll be better for it and so will your kids! Your blood sugar will thank you, too! 

1: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm

2: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm

3: http://chriskresser.com/the-autoimmune-inflammatory-model-of-diabesity

4: http://chriskresser.com/the-autoimmune-inflammatory-model-of-diabesity

5: http://www.2ndchance.info/birdlover-cerealsword.pdf

6: http://www.2ndchance.info/birdlover-cerealsword.pdf

7: http://naturalsociety.com/kelloggs-cereals-double-dose-gmo-pesticides-antibiotics/

 

Importance of sleep

One of the most important parts of living a healthy life is actually not eating all the right food and getting the right exercise, although those are a very close second. Experts are now calling sleep the number one most important factor in leading a healthy life. 

Dr. Mercola, in his recent article about the detriments of sleep deprivation on your health, lists the following health consequences of poor sleep:

  • Inhibits your body's ability to properly regulate hormones, specifically melatonin, which is responsible for stopping cancer cells proliferation. 

  • It decreases levels of your fat-regulating hormone leptin while increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. 

  • Increases the activity in genes associated with inflammation, immune excitability, diabetes, cancer risk, and stress.

  • Found to be the strongest predictor for pain in adults over 50.


There are plenty of reasons to make sleep a priority because putting it bluntly, lack of proper sleep can increase your risk of dying from any cause! 

I believe that sleep is especially important for children. It is well documented how poor sleep patterns can harm the brain by halting new neuron production. Sleep deprivation can increase levels of corticosterone (a stress hormone), resulting in fewer new brain cells being created in the hippocampus. Animal studies show that younger animals are more sensitive to the effects of mild sleep deprivation than older ones. Between 2 and 5 years old, children are supposed to spend equal amounts awake as they do asleep! We need to give our children's brains the best chance at operating at it's highest potential from the start! 

We all know what sleep deprivation feels like and how poorly we feel following an interrupted night of sleep. Multiply that by a hundred and that is how our children must feel who have poor sleep habits. 

So what do we do about it? Good news. There are quite a few things we can do to encourage healthy sleep. 

Establish a night time routine and stick to it. 
This may look like a bath or shower each night. Reading a book for 15 minutes (not on an electronic device preferably). A quick body massage by a parent or spouse. Or all of these. Whatever it is, plan to do it every night. 

Go to bed at a decent hour. 
This applies to children and adults and seems like a no-brainer but I can't tell you how many parents I speak with who do not establish a reasonable bedtime for their children and wonder why their days are filled with tantrum city. My children (5 and 7yo) go to bed at 7pm during the school year. We do not participate in activities that will prolong their bedtime. I feel very strongly about their brain's need for sleep that this is a rule for them. 
Many adults are guilty of late nights too. Leave your work for tomorrow and know that you'll be operating on all cylinders because you went to bed on time.  

Everyone sleeps in their own bed. 
We do not co-sleep with our children. I know...and I call myself a natural mama! Gasp! This was a decision that I made very early in my parenting. I know my body and how I respond to interrupted sleep by having a child's body kicking me throughout the night or nursing all night long. This was a personal decision for both myself and for my marriage and for what I feel was best for my children.  I also have strong opinions about not feeding on demand during the night for very similar reasons but I'll open that can of worms later, or maybe I won't. 

Magnesium is crucial to healthy sleep. 
Dr. Mark Hyman calls magnesium the most powerful relaxation mineral available and I'd wholeheartedly agree. Anything that is tight, irritable, crampy, and stiff — whether it is a body part or even a mood — is a sign of magnesium deficiency. Everyone of us is deficient of this mineral as our soil is so depleted of minerals now. You can read all about how important and crucial this mineral is to your health on Dr. Hyman's blog here
If you or your children struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep, night terrors, leg cramps or restless legs, I recommend adding epsom salt to your bath, taking a chelated magnesium supplement and using a topical magnesium spray on your legs before bed. For children who can't swallow tablets, Natural Calm makes a magnesium citrate powder that can be added to water or coconut milk and taken before bedtime. 

Apply essential oils before bed. 
I make a sleep spray that I douse all the bed linens and pillows with right before we start our slumber. My children ask for it each night and my husband swears by it. You could also diffuse a number of oil blends next to your bed. RutaVala, Cedarwood and Gentle Baby by Young Living are my favorites. For more info on essential oils, go here

Get regular sunlight exposure. 
Your circadian system (the clock in your brain) needs bright light to reset itself each day. Ten to 15 minutes of morning sunlight will send a strong message to your internal clock that day has arrived, making it less likely to be confused by weaker light signals during the night. More sunlight exposure is required as you age.

 

Turn off artificial light. 

Numerous studies suggest that blue light in the evening disrupts the brain’s natural sleep-wake cycles, which are crucial for optimal function of the body. Artificial light from the use of artificial lighting and electronic devices, emit light of a blue wavelength, which tricks our brains into thinking that it is daytime. If you are not ready to turn off those electronics at a decent hour, I'd suggest getting some blue light blocking glasses to wear at night.

 

And finally, Just Eat Real Food. 
Otherwise known as "jerfing" (just eat real food-ing), this has been my mantra for some years now. You may wonder how food has anything to do with your sleep, well, let me explain. One of the most common causes of feeling tired or run down during the day is post-meal hypoglycemia, which is related to your inability to effectively burn fat.

By eating real food that is nutrient dense and you guessed it, mainly low-carb, you are switching your body over from primarily burning carbs to primarily burning fats for fuel or becoming “fat adapted." This will virtually eliminate such drops in energy levels. To switch to fat-burning mode, you’ll need to swap out unhealthy carbs (i.e. non-vegetable carbs such as grains) with healthy fats, which include the following: olives, olive oils, raw nuts and nut oils like almond and hazelnuts, coconut and coconut oil, grass-fed butter, pastured eggs, avocados, grass-fed and grass-finished red meats, and pastured white meats. 

This is especially crucial for children who tend to be picky eaters, sustaining themselves on crackers, chips and breads (white foods) all day long. If you have a child who seems always hungry and asks for a carbohydrate snack what seems like every second of the day, then your child is not getting enough fat in his/her diet. Cut back on the carbohydrates and increase the fats and proteins. A great way to do this is by replacing the typical Standard American breakfast food, cereal, with a fat and protein loaded smoothie or some nutrient dense eggs with the yolk.  Read my thoughts of cereal here

I hope this has given you some ideas to help with some sleep issues that you or your family may be facing. If so, please let me know by leaving a comment. For some light reading (sarcasm), you can find a clinical guide for practitioners here called A Clinical Guide to Pediatric Sleep Management by Jodi A. Mindell PhD and Judith A. Owens MD MPH. 

Consider your skin another mouth!

One of the hills I'll likely die on is my passion to educate friends and families about what goes on your skin. 
 

There are so many, many toxic ingredients in our food and we've become more and more aware of the detrimental effects of those chemicals. We've started buying organic produce, choosing eggs from pasture raised chickens eating a natural diet and are learning that cows are meant to eat grass and not grains. 

Photo by Comstock Images/Stockbyte / Getty Images
Photo by Comstock Images/Stockbyte / Getty Images

Then we go and clean our homes with 409, Lysol and Windex and coat our kids and ourselves with chemical-filled sunscreens. Whoops!! Somehow we didn't make the connection that chemicals on and in our food are just as harmful in your environment and on your skin. You've heard the age old saying that your skin is your largest organ. Well, that is true but what that means is that your skin is taking in what we put on it just as a mouth would if you placed food in it. You can also use that analogy for our lungs. How do you think black mold gets in your body? Right. Through you breathing it in. The same goes for chemicals in your house cleaners and in your beauty products. 
New synthetic chemicals are entering the market at an average rate of 3 per day! They add to the thousands of synthetic chemicals that are already in use today. Nobody knows exactly how many we are exposed to. 

Results from WWF's first European-wide family blood testing survey found a total of 73 man-made hazardous chemicals in the blood of 13 families (grandmothers, mothers and children) from 12 European countries. Every family member tested was contaminated with a cocktail of at least 18 different man-made chemicals, many found in everyday consumer goods.

Likewise, a WWF-UK study of human contamination found evidence of DDT and PCBs, two dangerous chemicals banned decades ago, in 99% of the 155 people they tested. Women who had breast-fed their babies had lower levels of certain pcbs than men, indicating that they had 'off-loaded' these chemicals on to their babies. (Note: experts agree that breast milk is still best for young babies).

Human Health effects that have been associated with exposure to man-made chemicals include:

Men:

  • testicular cancer

  • undescended testicles

  • low sperm counts

  • non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

  • multiple myeloma

  • work related asthma

  • workplace cancers

 

Women:

  • breast cancer increased 50% since 1971

  • non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

  • birth defects, spontaneous abortion

  • work related asthma

  • workplace cancers

Children:

  • dramatic rise in childhood cancers

  • learning disabilities (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)

  • weakening the immune system so more susceptible to common diseases

  • premature puberty

12.2 million adults – one of every 13 women and one of every 23 men – are exposed to ingredients that are known or probable human carcinogens every day through their use of personal care products.


On average, women use twice as many personal care products as men, applying far more chemicals to their bodies. Between cosmetics, perfumes, personal care products and feminine hygiene products, women in the US apply an average of 168 chemicals to their faces and bodies every day, according to new research by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. 

To date, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has only reviewed a few hundred chemicals for safety. There are more than 80,000 chemicals currently being used in consumer products that the federal government and consumers know little to nothing about.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been given great responsibility but little authority to enforce Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Enacted in 1976, this current law was broken from the start, grandfathering thousands of chemicals already on the market. This law is so broken and so weak that the EPA could not even ban asbestos, a cancer-causing substance that is still in use and killing thousands of Americans each year.

Sunscreens are a whole nother issue that needs to be addressed. Please, please, please, do your and your family's health a favor and look up the risks of your chosen brand of sunscreen to see what is actually has in it. The ingredients that have known health risks are often in those popular and well known sunscreen brands you grew up using. The EWG has put together a guide solely for SUNSCREEN. That's how big of an issue it is! 

EWG’s Sunscreen Hall of Shame draws attention to products that promise safe sun protection and don't deliver. This year, one brand stands out – Neutrogena.
 ----> Click here for the guide<-------

So what can we do about all this? 

Simple. 

  1. Use your dollars to initiate reform by demanding safer products. 

  2. Choose products that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has deemed low-risk by scanning products into their databases before you buy them and choosing the products with ratings 0-3. There's even an app for it! Click here for database for skin/beauty products and here for cleaning products and here for sunscreen.  

  3. Get crunchy and make your own! I use ingredients that I know are safe to make my own cleaning products and beauty products. Getting started with essential oils is the first step.  There are plenty of recipes for a safe and natural sun protectant. 

  4. Ultimately, eating a diet of real food is gonna be your best bet. More on that here.


Read about issues with these known chemicals and WHY you should avoid them at all cost. Educate yourself and tell others!
Chemical Policy (TSCA)
2,4-D
Arsenic
Asbestos
BPA
Chromium-6
Dioxin
Fire Retardants
Lead
Mercury
Nanomaterials
Nonstick Chemicals
Perchlorate
Pesticides
Phthalates
Triclosan

Resources:
http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/teacher_resources/webfieldtrips/toxics/chemicals_affect_you/#sthash.hHTq87Th.dpuf
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/19/us-chemicals-idUSBRE91I0NJ20130219
http://www.ewg.org/key-issues/toxics/chemical-policy
http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/top-tips-for-safer-products/
http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/report/executive-summary/

Oil Pulling

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic ritual for oral care that dates back to over 3,000 years ago.   It involves taking about a tablespoon of organic, cold-pressed coconut oil or sesame oil and swishing it in your mouth, pushing and pulling between your teeth, for 10-30 minutes.  

Why?

Our mouths are homes to all kinds of bacteria, fungi, viruses and toxins and this is the best way to detox what’s going on in there.  As the oil gets swished around, it collects all the unwanted guys hanging out in there like a vacuum, which helps free up our immune systems and aids in overall well being.  

Thieves® essential oil:

Go one step further and add Young Living’s essential oil blend Thieves® to the mix.  It’s a carefully thought out blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary, and the result is powerful! Thieves® essential oil blend was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination they used while robbing the dead and dying during the plague. Because Young Living’s coveted precious distilling process, Seed to Seal, these oils are as pure as they can get which means they are safely ingestible. So why not add this to your oral routine?  By doing so, you are not only eliminating the bad stuff, but also supporting the immune system through healthy oral care.


The many benefits of Oil Pulling:

Detox – Because there is so much bacteria and fungi hanging out in our mouth, if left alone, this can lead to all kinds of illness.  Removing the bad guys before they get a chance to continue through the body will help promote a healthier immune system.

Kills Bad Breath – bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth! Keeping those populations in a healthy balance will result in better breath (and probably more friends). 

Reduces Headaches – sometimes headaches occur from the body being under toxic stress.  By oil pulling and removing those toxins, it gives your body a chance to take a break from fighting all the time.  

Energy Booster – much like how oil pulling can reduce headaches.  When your body is working overtime to fight off unwanted bacteria and toxins, it becomes very tired and draining.  Eliminating that process will boost your energy level.


Promotes Overall Oral Hygiene - 

Reduces gingivitis
Whitens teeth
Strengthen gums
Prevents cavities and tooth decay
Remineralizes teeth

Here’s how:

It’s best to do this in the morning right after waking up, but before you eat or drink anything.  But in reality, just adding it in somewhere in the day is better than nothing. 

 

 

  • Put 1-2 drops of Thieves® (get essential oils here) on a tablespoonful of coconut oil.  If your coconut oil is solid from it being cooler than 76 degrees in your house, you many want to melt it slightly before putting it in your mouth.  But it will eventually melt if you start swishing.  

  • Swish the oil around, in between teeth for 10-30 minutes.  The longer, the better. The goal is at least 10 minutes. I do this in the shower so times passes without thinking about it.

  • Spit the mixture out into the trash (not the sink or drain, it can clog your pipes) and do not swallow it.  You don’t want to ingest what was just pulled out of your mouth.  

  • Rinse your mouth with water and brush teeth like normal.  

  • Repeat as often as you like, although 4-5 times per week is highly recommended.  

 

 


Things you should know:

You might feel the health benefits right away, or it might take a few days or even weeks.  Hang in there!

If you have a sensitive gag reflex, start with a smaller amount of oil and work your way up to a full tablespoon.  You will get used to it.  Oy you can try sesame oil which is liquid at room temp.

Diet has a ton to do with oral health--big surprise. And I don't just mean sugar. One of my favorite bloggers, Wellness Mama, has a great article on diet and oral health and her personal success with remineralizing her teeth. Find that article here.

I did a periscope about how I oil-pull. Check it out here:




References:
http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/the-7-health-benefits-of-oil-pulling and
http://draxe.com/oil-pulling-coconut-oil/
http://www.maryvancenc.com/use-thieves-oil-improve-oral-health/
http://wellnessmama.com/3650/remineralize-teeth/

 

 

 

 

Hydration is a key component to feeling WHOLLY WELL!

Staying hydrated is so important for every human being.  Water is crucial to our health because it carries nutrients and oxygen to cells.  This helps regulate our body temperature, increase lubrication in our joints and detoxifies unwanted waste in our bodies.  It also boosts and maintains our metabolism, which in return gives us more energy. It's important at every step.

According to this article, Dr. Batmanghelidj, insists we should eliminate all caffeine-containing and non-water fluids. To determine the amount of water you should have, in nutritional therapy, we recommend taking half of your body weight and dividing it by 2 to get the amount of ounces of water you should consume per day.  Example: You weigh 160 pounds, you would need 80 ounces of water per day. Dr. Batmanghelidi also recommends for adding a tsp of sea salt to keep the sodium level appropriate. 

If you find that you don’t drink enough water because you prefer a flavor (I am raising my hand here), try adding essential oils.  By adding essential oils to water, you are not only enhancing the flavor, but getting the many added benefits as well.  Citrus oils contain high amounts of naturally occurring constituent called d-limonene. Studies have shown that d-limonene has properties that not only inhibit cancer, but also can regress it.  

Here is a breakdown of d-limonene percentage in several citrus oils:

Orange – contains up to 95% d-limonene

Grapefruit – contains up to 92% d-limonene

Tangerine – contains up to 80% d-limonene

Lemon – contains up to 72% d-limonene

Lime – contains up to 65% d-limonene


Other essential oils you might consider adding to water:

Rosemary – Helps support a healthy lifestyle regimen,* supports overall well-being,* includes the naturally occurring constituents eucalyptol and alpha-pinene. 

Peppermint – Supports gastrointestinal system comfort,* promotes healthy bowel function,* enhances healthy gut function,* maintains efficiency of the digestive tract,* and may support performance during exercise.*

Ginger – May calm occasional nausea.*


Essential Oil Infused Water Recipe

Note – always drink citrus essential oils from a glass container as they can break down plastic.

16 oz of filtered water OR 16 oz sparkling mineral water 

4 drops of your favorite citrus essential oils**


Optional Add-ins:

4 drops Organic Liquid Stevia

Fresh or frozen fruit (organic, of course, since we are trying to detoxify, not add to the chemicals in our bodies)

Slique Essence™ is a specially formulated essential oil blend that combines Grapefruit, Tangerine, Lemon, Spearmint and Ocotea with stevia extract in a unique blend that supports dietary health. It can be ordered with an account from Young Living.    



References:

http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/52/14/4021.short

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs002800050793?LI=true

http://kellybroganmd.com/article/perils-of-dehydration/