Genetically Modified Foods: What You Need to Know

What are Genetically Modified Foods?

Genetically Modified (GM) foods are the result of gene technology collaborating with modern agriculture to produce what is perceived as hardier plants. These plants typically have altered DNA that is combined with DNA from viruses, bacteria and other organisms in order to make the plant more disease, drought, and pest resistant. Many producers will argue that gene modification improves food crops. However, several animal studies have linked GM foods to disruption in the immune system, increase in allergies, damage to internal organs, changes in metabolism, and increase in oxidative stress. This type of damage is especially dangerous because it affects so many systems in the body.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Long-term studies on the safety of human consumption of GM foods have not been conducted. We have been eating GM foods for only about 20 years, and it has only been in the last 10 years that the rate of consumption has increased due to advances in gene technology. There is no way to determine the long-term effect of eating these kinds of foods until it is studied in more depth.

I personally choose to avoid these foods as my gut feeling is nothing good can come of messing with mother nature in this way and I don’t believe our bodies are equipped to process these altered organisms. I’ve come up with these tips to help you if you feel the same way.

To keep your family safe from GM foods, here are some tips:

1. Buy Organic. Any food labels that say organic on them cannot by virtue of being organic contain any GM foods. This is will be true for produce, as well as meats and dairy. Considering that soy is often a GM food crop, make sure to buy organic for tofu, non-dairy alternatives, and other soy-based products.

 

 

2. Look for GMO-Free Labels. Look on the food label to see if it says whether its GMO free or not. One organization helping with food labeling is the Non GMO Project (http://nongmoproject.org). They verify individual products from food to health and beauty so that you know it is GMO free. Look for their label.

3. Avoid Common GM Foods. Some common GM food crops are corn, soybean, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, papaya, zucchini, and yellow squash. These foods need to be purchased organically. One problem, is that many of these are used as ingredients in other foods, such as the oil used in a bag of pita chips, or the sugar to flavor a chocolate bar. It’s important to read labels and look for both organic and GMO-free labeling.

4. Use a Shoppers Guide. One great shopping guide is the Non GMO Shopping Guide (http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/Non-GMO-Shopping-Guide.pdf). This will give you a list of verified products from condiments and other food items to health, beauty, and hygiene products.

References

20 Questions on Genetically Modified Foods. n.d.World Health Organization Website. http://www.who.int/foodsafety/publications/biotech/20questions/en/

Genetically Modified Foods. n.d. American Academy of Environmental Medicine. 

Non-GMO Shoppers Guide. n.d. NonGMOProject.org  http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/

5 Tips To Support Your Lymphatic System and Ease Your Candida Cleanse

 

5 Tips To Support Your Lymphatic System | Candida Programs | Natural Health Answers

The key to improving your body’s immune function is to nourish your lymphatic system.

 

Sometimes referred to as the body’s secondary circulatory system, the lymphatic system carries away toxins and metabolic waste from the body’s tissues. The lymphatic system is made up of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, tonsils, spleen, and the thymus gland, and it helps regulate tissue pressure, immune functions and fat absorption in the intestine. If your lymphatic system is not healthy, toxins can build up and result in lower immune function.

It’s important to understand that the lymphatic system is not like the heart muscle where it pumps automatically.  We have to move, breath and use massage to help improve our lymphatic drainage.

When doing a Candida Cleanse it can be overwhelming for the body to excrete all of the toxins that are stirred up and can cause a Herx reaction where you feel nausea, fatigued, have headaches and experience rashes.  Incorporating these 5 tips into your program along with supporting your liver and kidneys can make a world of difference in how you feel and the speed of recovery.

 

Lymphatic System | Candida | Natural Health Answers

TheEmirr/Wikipedia

 

 

Here are 5 tips to help you care for your lymphatic system.

1. Eat potassium-rich foods. Your lymphatic system thrives on potassium-rich foods. Dark leafy greens, broccoli, yams and sweet potatoes (phase 3)  and seafood, like wild salmon, are some excellent choices to consider.

2. Reduce toxins. Additives and preservatives cause swelling and fluid retention. One such additive, monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG, is often disguised among other ingredients and can have degenerative and deadly effects on the brain and nervous system. Watch out for hydrolyzed anything, autolyzed anything, natural flavor, seasonings and spices, commercial soup or sauce bases, bouillon, broth and stock, gelatin and even aluminum cookware. All these can introduce toxins to your body that cause your lymphatic system to work overtime. The best way to avoid these is to simply get back to the basics and use all natural, unprocessed ingredients in your cooking.

3. Exercise…breathe. It is no secret that exercise is good for you, but did you know that even light exercise can benefit the circulation of both your blood and lymph? Your lymphatic system relies on muscle movements to keep lymph moving through its vessels. Even light exercise such as standing calf raises or a walk around the neighborhood will stretch and contract your muscles, triggering the circulatory function within your lymphatic system. Exercising on a rebounder or mini trampoline for 3-6 minutes with only your heels moving is also a good choice for getting the lymph moving. Moreover, deep breathing, which is often recommended as a technique for stress relief and boosting blood circulation, will also help release toxins and increase lymphatic circulation.

4. Skin brushing. Dry skin brushing increases blood and lymph circulation and boosts organ function by stimulating sweat glands and opening pores. It also softens skin and improves the complexion. On dry skin, before bathing, brush with a natural bristle brush like this one gently over the skin. Start with your extremities and work your way to the center of your body, avoiding your face, always moving in the direction of the heart.  Wikihow has detailed instructions on how to dry skin brush.

5. Lymphatic massage. This therapeutic massage technique, also known as lymphatic drainage, uses gentle kneading motions to stimulate muscles and in effect, lymphatic vessels and flow. Just as with skin brushing, the motion should always be towards the heart (lymph openings). You can do this yourself or find a massage therapist skilled in this type of therapy.

Reader Feedback: Were you aware of how important your lymphatic system was to the health of your body?  The ability to help you move through a candida cleanse?  What is your favorite tip that you’re willing to incorporate ASAP?

 

Resources

Support the Lymphatic System – Your Secondary Circulatory System, Gloria Gilbère, N.D.,D.A.Hom., Ph.D. American Holistic Health Association.
http://ahha.org/articles.asp?Id=113.

Lymph flow dynamics in exercising human skeletal muscle as detected by scintography. Journal of Physiology (1997), 504.1, pp.233-239.
http://jp.physoc.org/content/504/Pt_1/233.full.pdf.

Pizzorno, J. E., & Murray, M. T. (1999). Textbook of natural medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

Hudson, A. (2001). Lymphatic drainage: Therapy I. Castlecrag, N.S.W: Triam Press.

Candida Diet Approved Sweeteners

When starting a Candida diet or even when a person wants to eat a healthier diet, I always get questions concerning which sweeteners are a good choice:

*Can I have honey?

*Okay, I’m giving up sugar but is there something else that I can use as a substitute?

*Will an artificial sweetener make Candida yeast grow?

The good news is there are some good options but first I will share the sweeteners you’ll want to avoid.  Even if you aren’t on a Candida/Yeast clearing program this information is beneficial for everyone. Sugar in excess in anyone’s diet is a hazard to your health.  

Candida Diet Approved Sweeteners

The No No’s

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is at the top of that ‘NO’ list as far as I’m concerned. This means no commercial sodas — which all contain HFCS.

There’s a flurry of interest in a cactus-based sweetener called agave nectar, because of its low glycemic index (which means it does not cause a spike in your blood sugar levels like honey or sugar might.)

Unfortunately, agave is a processed food, and it has a higher fructose level than HFCS (57% to 90%). It has a low glycemic number, but its use can create insulin resistance, leading to Type II diabetes over time.

Artificial sweeteners are also on my “NO” list. Beware of the phrases “Sugar-Free” or “No Sugar Added” (commonly seen in baked goods, like pies). This is code that the product is sweetened artificially with products like Sweet ‘n Low (saccharin), Splenda (sucralose), aspartame, etc.).

Though you will hear much controversy regarding these products the studies on the ‘positive’ side most likely will be funded by the industry that manufactures the artificial sweetener. 

Several interesting studies have shown that artificial sweeteners are counter-productive for weight loss because they actually trigger the desire for sweets — without satisfying it.  That’s the last thing you need!

Makeup of Sugar

The newest studies on regular sugar show that it’s fructose that is the biggest problem. Table sugar (sucrose) is made up of 2 sugars called glucose and fructose in roughly equal parts.

Honey is 70% fructose and though it has some healthful properties it should be avoided when on a Candida diet and used in moderation for most people.

If you get most of your sugar from natural sources like fruits and vegetables you are going to be okay, especially if you take a quality probiotic supplement because the sugar from these foods won’t interfere with the action of the probiotic.

If you want sweetener in your coffee, tea or lemonade then there are some much healthier choices than those on the ‘no’ list above.

Acceptable Sweeteners on the Candida Diet

Sugar Alcohols

Xylitol and Erythritol are from an interesting family of sweeteners called ‘sugar alcohols’. The body processes them in a completely different way than it does sugar. The body doesn’t really see them as sugars and mostly won’t digest them.

In large quantities, they can cause diarrhea and/or gas but in small quantities, they can make a nice sugar substitute, with the side benefit that they don’t promote tooth decay. In fact, Xylitol is antibacterial and anti-fungal.

There are many different sugar alcohols but Erythritol and Xylitol are my first choice. The others you see (all ending in -itol) are cheaper to make: forms like sorbitol, mannitol, etc.

Erythritol and Xylitol (choose sources made from birch instead of corn) can be found in your health food store or online and is close to being as sweet as sugar.

Recommended brands made from 100% Pure Birch Xylitol: Anthony’s, Health Garden, Morning Pep, Sweet Nature and Zveet.

Stevia Plant

*Important note: Sugar alcohols are NOT safe for animals.

One last and probably the best natural sweetener to use is Stevia.

This plant-based sweetener is available at your health food store or online. This is a very good sweetener but it does have a bit of an aftertaste that some don’t like.

It will depend on the brand you buy just how much or little of an aftertaste there is. The purer the processing of the plant (using just the leaves and not stems for instance) the better it will taste. I use SweetLeaf Stevia either in liquid (which is my favorite) or powder form because to me it has no bitter aftertaste. 

The food industries are starting to patent various forms of Stevia which are reduced to just the sweetest compound chemicals of the Stevia plant. Truvia is one you might see; another is PureVia.
 

Although these manufactured sweeteners start with the Stevia plant, they add additional ingredients and processes so they can patent their products. I recommend you avoid these and stick with the natural forms of Stevia.  Another option is all-natural stevia that is not processed but has mixed reviews.

Here’s a handy chart to use for Stevia to Sugar conversions in your recipes:

Stevia Conversion Chart

Looking for sweet treats that are Candida Diet approved?

Check out my delicious Coconut Cupcakes or Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding recipes which use only a candida diet-approved sweeteners.

If you have insulin issues, you should avoid sweeteners altogether, including Stevia, as they all can decrease your sensitivity to insulin (insulin resistance).

I hope this has helped you have at least a fairly sweet life despite having to fight off Candida overgrowth.

Try not to be discouraged: the good news is that as you get the Candida under control, your craving for sweets will become much less. Hang in there, steady and focused wins the race.

Keep taking your preventative supplements and eating the recommended foods and stay ahead of the yeast’s attempts to come back. 

Please share on Pinterest!

Jar of sugar cubes with tongs

Reader Feedback:  Have you tried Xylitol, Erythritol, or Stevia yet?   If so, how did you like them?

Resources:

Pearlman M, Obert J, Casey L. The Association Between Artificial Sweeteners and Obesity. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2017 Nov 21;19(12):64. doi: 10.1007/s11894-017-0602-9. PMID: 29159583.

Swithers SE. Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Sep;24(9):431-41. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2013.05.005. Epub 2013 Jul 10. PMID: 23850261; PMCID: PMC3772345.

Suez J, Korem T, Zilberman-Schapira G, Segal E, Elinav E. Non-caloric artificial sweeteners and the microbiome: findings and challenges. Gut Microbes. 2015;6(2):149-55. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2015.1017700. Epub 2015 Apr 1. PMID: 25831243; PMCID: PMC4615743.

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing

This dairy-free ranch dressing is the bomb dot com!

I recently found this recipe from Ashley over at Blissful Basil and wanted to try it ASAP.  

I didn’t have the fresh ingredients that she had listed for the recipe but my creamy ranch craving took over and I dove in any way.  

I raided my herb cabinet and scanned for the closest ingredients to the original recipe. Boom. Nailed it.   

Of course, if you have all the fresh ingredients please create your masterpiece from Ashley’s original recipe.

You can mix and match and make this recipe your own with tweaks to your taste buds liking.

Even my hubby offered the “this is really good” and “what did you say was in this?” comments while inhaling the tangy creaminess on a blue corn chip.  

He’s not a fan of coconut and is a dairy fan so I thought this was a bit of a coup for my kitchen skills.

I made this again today and forgot the nutritional yeast that I had added on my first batch and I noticed that I liked it a bit better with the nutritional yeast added.  

Nutritional yeast is a seasoning that does not contain yeast and does not contribute to Candida overgrowth.  

If you haven’t tried it yet, it has a “cheese-like” flavor although I really don’t think it tastes that “cheesy” to me.  

Although nutritional yeast does not contribute to Candida overgrowth it’s important to be aware that some will be sensitive to it while dealing with a Candida imbalance.

When trying any new food on the Candida diet it’s best to start with a small amount to see if you react in any way to the food.   

Some of the things to watch out for are fatigue, racing heart, brain fog, headaches, stomach upset, diarrhea, gas, etc. after eating a new food which will alert you to a sensitivity.  

Also, you may not feel the effects of the food for up to three days later!  

So only introduce one new food at a time so you will know exactly which food is causing the symptoms.  

It’s best to leave out any foods that cause any problems until further along in your healing.

If you’re not into making your own because you’re pressed for time, don’t want to buy all the ingredients, or just want to make life easier I found this dairy-free ranch dressing that I was ecstatic about because it doesn’t have any sugar, hydrogenated oils and tastes good.

Oh, and it’s healthy for you!

So with all of that being said, I hope you enjoy this recipe, with or without the nutritional yeast!  

 
Reader Feedback: Are you a ranch dressing fan?  Have you been missing the creaminess of dairy on the Candida diet?  Let me know if this gives you hope! 😉

Useful kitchen tools to help you make healthy meals including this recipe:

Please share on Pinterest!

Jar of Dairy-free Ranch Dressing

 

Candida Diet Approved – Kale Chips Recipe

Sugar-free Candida diet snack recipe - Kale Chips

Have you tried Kale Chips Yet?

I’m a fan of snacks.

I know some people who don’t really need to snack and others who feel like a snack keeps them going during the day.  I have one snack during the day between lunch and dinner and then something small after dinner. 

Sometimes I think it can be a habit but I also feel better when I have something small to tide me over until dinner since I feel it keeps my blood sugar more stable.

Also, snacks just taste good! 

You’ve probably seen a lot of Kale Chip recipes all over the web but I wanted to share this one with you just in case a) you may not have seen this recipe before and b) it may inspire you to make these, like now!

I really, really dig Kale Chips.

They are crunchy which is my fave and also salty another fave. I also like eating them with or in a salad.

Since giving up pretzels, potato chips, crackers, and other crunchy, salty, and otherwise unhealthy snacks I was glad to have tried Kale Chips. 

If you’re just now transitioning to a more whole foods diet and are ready to give the regular chips the ole heave-ho may I caution you to wait a bit to try Kale chips.

They are sometimes an acquired taste but if you season them correctly they can be a fantastic replacement for the snacks that are loaded with harmful fats, refined salt, and high in carbs.

Be aware of this.

Another thing to be aware of is that our taste buds usually adjust to the change in diet after about 3 weeks and then they’ll be ready for some yumminess that is Kale Chips.

Reader Feedback: Have you tried Kale Chips yet?  Yay or Nay?

Kale Chips
Serves 2
A delicious, healthy alternative to chips, crackers and pretzels.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 bunch kale (washed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces)
  2. 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  3. 1 tsp Garlic Powder (or to taste)
  4. ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 250°
  2. Place kale in a large bowl
  3. Drizzle 1/2 the coconut oil over kale, massage into kale
  4. Sprinkle 1/2 the garlic powder over kale along with 1/2 the salt
  5. Massage into the kale and then repeat steps 3 and 4
  6. Place kale on parchment lined baking sheet
  7. Bake at 250° for 8-10 minutes until kale is dark green and crispy (check often so they don’t turn brown as they will taste bitter)
  8. Cool and serve
Notes
  1. You'll want to eat these the same day you make them. I've tried saving them for the next day and they lost their crunch.
  2. Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Dairy-free.
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