Lorie Johnson

CBN News Medical Reporter

Read Lorie's Bio

E-mail Lorie Johnson

Subscribe RSS

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe to this Feed

View All CBN News Blogs

View All CBN Blogs

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Sunscreen Dos and Don'ts

Many sunscreens do not offer the protection we think they do, or even what they claim to offer. Therefore, while we should definitely continue to use sunscreens, we need to avoid developing a false sense of security about their ability to protect us and our loved ones.

Such a miscalculation can lead to sunburns, which can cause deadly skin cancer....not to mention a world of hurt.

There are two types of rays: UVA and UVB. Until recently, health experts thought only the UVB rays were dangerous. For that reason, the SPF number on a sunscreen only refers to how well it protects against UVB rays.

Now we know that the UVA rays are also dangerous. That means the first thing you must do when choosing a sunscreen is make sure it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, by choosing one that offers "broad spectrum" protection.

Secondly, choose one with an SPF of at least 30. But be careful not to be fooled by an extremely high SPF numbers, such as 50.

Consumer Reports tested 34 sunscreens and found that one-third of them failed to meet their SPF and water-resistant claims...some were way-off, up to 70 percent wrong.

Most of those failing products had an SPF of below 30. Then there were errors on the other side. Coppertone ClearlySheer for Beach and Pool SPF 50+ tested as an SPF 37 and Banana Boat Sport Performance with Powerstay Technology SPF 100 tested as an SPF 36.

Another problem Consumer Reports uncovered was that the sunscreens didn't hold up very well in water. The lesson learned from that is that we should indeed purchase waterproof sunscreens, but make sure to re-apply them after getting out of the water.

Towel-dry first so that you apply the sunscreen to dry skin. Even if you're not in the water, make sure to re-apply sunscreen at least every two hours, but more frequently if you do get wet, which includes sweat.

As any parent knows, applying sunscreen every time their child comes out of the water is nearly impossible. That's why it's best not to rely too heavily on sunscreens to protect your youngsters. We must take other precautions.

This goes not only for kids, but for all of us. In fact, research show that people who rely on sunscreen alone tend to burn more than those who stay in the shade and wear long sleeves.

Try to avoid the sun or stay in the shade when the sun is the strongest, which is from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wear a hat and clothing made from tightly woven fabric. Dark colors are better at blocking UV rays. Hold clothing up to the light. If you can see through it, the rays can get through it, too.

In order to avoid the common mistakes people tend to make when it comes to applying sunscreens, keep these tips in mind:

  • Apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside.
  • Make sure you use at least one teaspoon of sunscreen on each body part. The face, head and neck counts as one body part, as does one arm. Also one leg. The chest and abdomen count as one body part. The back plus the back of the neck is another.
  • Watch out for spray-on sunscreens due to the risk of inhaling toxic ingredients. In fact, Consumer Reports recommends avoiding the use of spray sunscreens on children, who are at the gratest risk of complications from inhaling them. If you absolutely must use a spray sunscreen on a child, at least spray it into your hand first, then rub it on your little one. Sprays tend to miss their mark when it's windy. Don't spray directly on your face. And since spray sunscreens are flammable, don't go near an open flame until it dries on the skin.

So when it comes to outdoor activities, make sure to wear sunscreen...shoot for one that offers "broad spectrum" protection with an SPF of 30 to 50. Choose a lotion and use lots of it, reapplying early and often.

But whatever you do, don't rely on that sunscreen as your only protection against the harmful rays of the sun. Try to avoid the harshest midday rays. And while outside, wear protective clothing and seek shade whenever possible.

posted @ Wednesday, May 27, 2015 2:21 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Dangers of Fruit Juice and Fruit Juice Concentrate

By now you've heard about the dangers of sugar, particularly added sugars. It's a genuine health crisis. The average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. That's drastically more than our bodies are equipped to handle.

As a result, this excess sugar literally destroys our bodies in nearly every way imaginable. We're just not designed to process that much sugar.

Experts now know that heart disease is caused by inflammation, as are a whole host of other health problems. Inflammation is caused by a diet too high in sugar. Too much sugar leads to obesity, which in turn puts us at high risk for a myriad of other health problems, such as cancer, diabetes,and arthritis.

As a result of increased education about the dangers of sugar, more people are trying to steer clear of the stuff. That's good.

However, there is a certain type of sugar that is flying under the radar. People are eating it thinking it's healthy, but it's not. Far from it. In fact, it's worse than regular sugar.

It's called fructose.

Fructose is what makes fruit taste sweet. Fructose, which comes from fruit, is different from glucose, which is in table sugar. Our bodies react to fructose and glucose in different ways, and as you'll see, fructose is usually worse.

For starters, our body metabolizes fructose differently than glucose. Fructose goes straight to the liver, where it is promptly converted to stored fat, particularly belly fat, which, because of its close proximity to vital organs, is an especially dangerous type of fat, as opposed to fat in the hips and thighs.

Unlike glucose, fructose doesn't raise leptin. This is very bad because leptin is a hormone that tells us when we're full. That feeling of fullness, the feeling of satisfaction is called "satiety."

It triggers your brain that you've had enough and you don't want more. Fructose does not activate that trigger, so you just want more and more of the stuff. There's no "off" switch! Fructose does not tell your body that it's satiated.

Fructose also can lead to insulin resistance. Like leptin, insulin is a critical hormone (actually all hormones are critical!) that, when working improperly or not at all can cause chaos throughout your entire system. Insulin is necessary to lower the impact of sugar in our blood. Another drawback to fructose is that is goes through a negative process called glycation, much more than glucose. The result is advanced aging.

By now you are probably thinking, "Wait, if fructose, the sweetener from fruit, is so bad, why do all these health experts tell us to eat fruit?"

When people advise eating fruit, they are talking about fresh, whole, fruit, or fresh-frozen, whole fruit. That's the only kind of fruit we should be consuming. That's because the negative impact of the fructose in fruit is offset by the wonderful fiber in fresh fruit.

Fiber is the "meaty" part of the fruit...the pulp, if you will, that is so good for us. Fiber slows down the digestion of the ultra-sweet fructose. Fiber is absolutely necessary when consuming fructose, and that fabulous combination is found only in fresh fruit.

Also, fresh fruit contains all kinds of wonderful vitamins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and minerals.

Still, even with all the benefits of fresh fruits, most nutrition experts advise limiting the amount of fresh fruit we eat because of the negative impact fructose has on the body. If you are trying to lose weight, stick to no more than a cup of fresh fruit. Remember, you can still get fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients by eating vegetables.

Different fruits have different amounts of fructose. Berries and cherries contain the least amount. Therefore, when you choose to eat fruit, choose those kinds if at all possible. Fresh fruits that are high in fructose are pears, grapes, bananas, and apples.

So that's fresh fruit. It's not so terrible. But what truly is terrible is fruit in any form but whole, such as fruit juice and fruit concentrate.

These items have all the negative aspects of fresh fruit, namely fructose, without any of the added benefits of fresh fruit such as the fiber and nutrients. Fruit juice and fruit juice concentrate have been stripped of the fiber and nutrients. And as the name suggests, not only is fruit juice stripped of everything good, it's also concentrated fructose.

So, for example, you could eat one apple and get a fair amount of fructose that is balanced by fiber and nutrients. That's not so bad. On the other hand, you could drink apple juice, which has virtually no fiber and nutrients, but the fructose of several apples. The same thing goes for fruit juice concentrate. It contains the fructose of many apples and none of the benefits.

The bottom line is, if you are eating any fruit product other than fresh, whole fruit, you are getting tons of fructose and very little if any fiber and nutrients.

As you can see, fruit by-products are very harmful to our health. However they are marketed as healthy foods. Food manufacturers know that most people do not understand the health hazards associated with fruit juice and concentrated fruit juice.

The people who make fruit juices and all the hundreds of fruit products from fruit roll-ups, to gummy fruit to breakfast bars know full-well that if you put the word, "fruit" on a product, people will mistakenly think it's healthy. Don't be fooled!

Don't fall for their other trick: "No Sugar Added." Super-sweet concentrated fructose, such as the kind in fruit juice, does not contain added sugar. But the fructose itself, in its stripped, concentrated form, is worse than sugar!

Check the list of ingredients. If you see any type of fruit syrup, fruit concentrate, or fruit juice, put it back. Parents, if you think you are doing your kids a favor by feeding them fruit leathers or fruit snacks (there are a million of them in the grocery store, all marketed like health foods) you might as well just give your kids candy. Their bodies react to them the same way.

The bottom line is this: stay away from all fruit juices and other fruit by-products. The food manufacturers try to make us think they're healthy, but the only type of healthy fruit is fresh, whole fruit or fresh-frozen whole fruit. And even then, we should eat that sparingly.

posted @ Wednesday, May 13, 2015 2:24 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Probiotics Are a Smart Choice

One of the most important things anyone can do to improve their health is take a probiotic. Probiotics help restore the proper balance in one of the most crucial parts of our body…many health experts say THE most crucial part of the body: the gut.

Only recently have doctors discovered that a staggering 85 percent of our health problems originate in our gut, also known as intestines. Likewise, 70 percent of our immune system is in our intestines. Shocking!

This is actually a good news/bad news scenario. The good news is establishing good gut health is relatively easy and cheap. The bad news is that those of us who do nothing are at great risk of having some type of health problem originating from the gut.

Here’s the bottom line: we have literally trillions of bacteria in our gut. Many, many of them are essential to our overall good health. These are called "good" bacteria. The problem is, our American lifestyle has killed many of these good bacteria. When that happens, all kinds of problems can erupt. The quick fix is to put back those good bacteria.

The easiest way to do that is with a pill. A probiotic. There are lots of them on the market, such as the supplement called Acidophilus. Then there private brands from which to choose.

There are also foods that add good bacteria back into our gut, such as yogurt. The problem with yogurt is that most brands are loaded with sugar, often as much as one-and-a-half ice cream cones! So if you choose yogurt, choose the plain kind, then if you want to add sweetness, throw in some berries.

Fermented foods are great probiotics. Topping the list is the Korean favorite Kimchi, which is available at most grocery stores. There are lots of ways to prepare it, such as adding it to scrambled eggs in the morning or to soups. Some people eat it right out of the jar.

As for me, I find it just safer and easier to take a probiotic supplement so I don't have to constantly keep track of whether I've eaten probiotic foods, and whether I've had enough of them. Plus, lots of us steer clear of dairy, so that means no yogurt.

You may be wondering how we got into this mess in the first place. How is it that so many of our good, life-sustaining bacteria are being wiped-out? There are several culprits.

The main one is our SAD diet. Remember, SAD stands for Standard American Diet. In other words, processed foods kill our good bacteria…things like soda. Honestly, that stuff is poison.

Another huge good bacteria killer is antibiotics. Any time you take an antibiotic you should be aware that it is not only killing the bad bacteria for which it is intended, but it is also killing the good bacteria. These days wise doctors who prescribe antibiotics are telling their patients to also take a probiotic, such as Acidophilus for at least the entire run of the antibiotic, often longer.

A third major cause of the destruction of our good bacteria is all the antibacterial products we use, such as antibacterial soaps. Similar to antibiotics, these soaps kill not only the bad bacteria, but also the good ones. Many doctors will tell you the non-antibacterial ones are better because they still clean your hands sufficiently, while at the same time leaving your good bacteria intact.

So if you are wondering why you don’t feel as good as you should, the answer probably originates in your gut. By taking a probiotic, over time, you will restore the good bacteria you need to maintain the proper health.

posted @ Thursday, April 30, 2015 8:48 AM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

E-Cigarette Use Tripled Among Teens

The number of high school students smoking e-cigarettes tripled in just one year and the number is even worse for middle school, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. 

These startling statistics have alarmed health officials across the board. 

"We want parents to know that nicotine is dangerous for kids at any age, whether it's an e-cigarette, hookah, cigarette or cigar," CDC Director Tom Frieden said.

The numbers look like this:

The of e-cigs by high school students shot up from 4.5 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014, rising from approximately 660,000 to 2 million students.

Among middle school students, e-cigs skyrocketed from 1.1 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2014, an increase from approximately 120,000 to 450,000 students.

In contrast, the use of traditional cigarettes is sharply down among teenagers.

Experts say the decrease in regular cigarettes coupled with an increase in e-cigarettes is due to the fact that e-cigarettes are easier for minors to purchase, coupled with the perception that they will not harm your health. 

The use of e-cigarettes is an activity known as "vaping." 

In an interview with CBN News, Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said many teens are dangerously unaware of the health hazards associated with e-cigarettes.

 "One of the arguments has been that when you're vaping nicotine, you are not inhaling all the combustion products from tobacco leaves that you get from a regular cigarette," she said. 

"The problem has to do with the fact that if these e-cigarettes are improperly manufactured, then they can deliver toxins from leakage from paint or other materials that are used in their production," Volkow explained.

While e-cigs don't contain tobacco, they do contain the addictive drug nicotine, which can have negative effects on a teenager's brain and can even lead to overdoses.

"Adolescence is a critical time for brain development. Nicotine exposure at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use," Frieden warned.

Health experts worry the use of e-cigarettes will lead to regular cigarette use. In fact, the 2012 Surgeon General's Report found that about 90 percent of all smokers first tried cigarettes as teens, and that about three of every four teen smokers continue into adulthood.

The CDC says educational campaigns helped curb the use of regular cigarette use among teens, and plans on using the same strategy against e-cigs.  Therefore, the CDC released its first anti-smoking ad featuring an e-cigarette user.

"Then I tried using e-cigarettes, but I ended up just using both," the ad says.

Traditional cigarettes are currently subject to the FDA's tobacco control authority.  But the agency has not yet regulated e-cigarettes.  Some states have passed laws establishing a minimum age for purchase of e-cigarettes or extending smoke-free laws to include e-cigarettes.

Although the use of e-cigarettes poses a clear danger to people, such as teens who have never smoked at all, they are proving effective as an aid to help smokers quit the habit.

Doctors are pleased with the effectiveness of e-cigarettes among their patients who are trying to stop smoking, especially when compared with the smoking cessation drug, "Chantix," which has been proven to help adults stop smoking, but comes with concerning side-effects.

posted @ Thursday, April 23, 2015 9:15 AM | Feedback (0)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Viruses to Treat Cancer

A promising new weapon in the arsenal to fight cancer is emerging at a number of medical centers across America. The idea sounds radical, but it's working...not on everyone, but on enough people who previously had no hope that doctors are saying this could be the breakthrough for which they have been looking.

Right now these treatments are in their trial phase.

They're injecting viruses into the cancerous tumors and seeing them shrink, even to the point of remission. The viruses stimulate the patient's immune system so that it attacks cancer cells and leaves the rest of their body alone. Again, these stunning results are being seen in people for whom surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy proved ineffective in the long term.

The viruses are genetically modified in a laboratory so that they do not infect the patient's entire body, but rather just the cancer.

Doctors at Duke University Medical Center have witnessed remarkable success by injecting a modified polio virus into brain tumors. It's taken the Duke team years to arrive at this level of treatment, and they are still trying to perfect it, because still too many of the patients who try it do not survive.

Meanwhile, at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, doctors are using a form of the HIV virus to kill leukemia. The trials are being led by Dr. Carl June, who reports success in 70 percent of the patients. One young leukemia patient, Emily Whitehead, has been in remission for two years.

The Mayo Clinic is also reporting success in using a virus to treat cancer. Stacy Erholtz had tumors on her forehead, collarbone, and spine that went away after she was injected with a modified measles virus. She had battled multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of blood for 10 years, trying chemotherapy and two stem-cell transplants, to no avail.

The Mayo Clinic's Dr. Stephen Russell said of the treatment, "We recently have begun to think about the idea of a single shot cure for cancer. And that's our goal with this therapy."

posted @ Friday, April 10, 2015 7:01 AM | Feedback (0)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Dealing With Allergies

If you suffer from allergies you are not alone. It's estimated one out of every four people suffers from either pollen from trees, which is common in the springs, grass in the summer or weed pollen in the fall. Some people, poor things, deal with all of the above!

CHECK THE FORECAST
If you tend to sneeze and wheeze, check your local weather forecast to see when the pollen is going to be the highest. Rainy days, or shortly after a rain are the times when it's the lowest, as well as days when there isn't much wind.

CLOSE THE WINDOWS
Since pollen is in the air, close your windows and use your air conditioning. It helps to cool, dry and clean the air. Same thing with your car: windows up, air conditioning on.

KEEP POLLEN OUT OF YOUR HOME
Change your clothes when you come inside, because you're likely covered in pollen, which you don't want to bring into the house. Don't forget to wash your skin and hair. Also wash your bedding frequently in hot water.

MANAGE OUTDOOR TIME
Pollen is at its worst from 5:00 to 10:00 in the morning. So if possible, wait until later to go outside. Go the extra mile if you will be outside for a long time doing an activity such as gardening or mowing the lawn, by wearing an N-95 mask for added protection. You can find these at most home improvement stores. They're especially useful if you plan on mowing the grass or gardening, although if you can afford to, it's best to pay someone to perform these tasks and save yourself the discomfort.

ANTI-ALLERGY DIET
Believe it or not, your diet can help reduce outdoor allergy symptoms. Adding Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly fish oil, can reduce inflammation. The best fish are cold water ones, such as salmon or tuna. Fish oil supplements also do the trick.

Antioxidant foods can relieve your allergic symptoms, too. That includes a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Topping the list are broccoli and blueberries.

SUPPLEMENTS
Also quercetin helps. This is found in foods like onions and apples and is also available in supplement form. Vitamin C, in foods or supplements, including the powdered form, is also helpful for combatting allergy symptoms.

PHARMACEUTICALS
Over-the-counter medications sometimes help allergy sufferers, although many people do not find relief from them. Claritin and Allegra are popular because they typically do not cause drowsiness the way some other allergy medications do. Be careful not to over-use nasal sprays, because they can lead to dependence on them. Those warnings are listed on the product's package.

If over-the-counter drugs don't relieve your symptoms, see your doctor. Sometimes prescription medications work.

However, the most effective treatment is immunotherapy, otherwise known as allergy shots. The injections contain tiny, but increasing, amount of the allergen, which increases the immune system's tolerance so over time you can decrease or eliminate your symptoms altogether. Patients start off by getting a shot once a week, then taper-off to once every six weeks.

posted @ Monday, March 30, 2015 12:01 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Go Barefoot Outside for Better Health

Now that the weather is turning nice, make a point to walk barefoot outside. It’s so good for you!

Most of us just call it “walking barefoot,” but the health experts have fancy names for it such as “grounding” or “earthing.” No matter what you call it, it’s simply connecting your bare skin with the earth.

It makes sense for most people to just walk barefoot, but you’ll get the same benefits by lying on the ground in a t-shirt and shorts staring at the clouds (remembering doing that as a kid?) and so forth.

Obviously, “grounding” or “earthing” is a great stress reliever, just think about how your cares melt away during a walk on the beach. We all know that stress is a major killer. But the benefits go way beyond stress relief.

Walking barefoot actually reduces inflammation, according to 30 years of research on the subject. Inflammation is now considered to be the No. 1 cause of heart disease, which kills more Americans than anything else. Inflammation is blamed for many other health problems from cancer to arthritis. Knowing that a simple walk in your bare feet can reduce inflammation sounds almost too good to be true.

Scientists say the reason “grounding” reduces damaging inflammation is because the earth contains electrons, which are negatively charged. These electrons are constantly replenished into the earth through solar radiation and lightning strikes.

We need these electrons in our body. The good news is our bodies naturally absorb these particles when we make physical contact with the ground.

The reason we need these electrons in our bodies is to neutralize all the harmful free-radicals racing around inside our bodies. These free-radicals are highly inflammatory. They come from things like trans fats and pollution. They happen to be positively charged. So the negatively charged electrons from the ground neutralize or “cancel-out” the positively-charged free radicals.

The electrons gained through grounding also helps keep your body’s innate electrical circuitry properly balanced. All of these effects of grounding are extremely beneficial to heart health.

Without a regular connection to the Earth, people can develop an electron deficiency. In turn, this can lead to imbalances in the body and potentially to significant health problems. For example, many health experts believe chronic inflammation, which is increasingly being identified as the cause of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders, may be a result of a lack of connectedness.

In addition to stress relief and lowered inflammation, grounding also has been shown to thin the blood, which improves blood pressure and circulation.

If you are interested in partaking of this old, yet new, health practice, just make sure you do it long enough. Simply walking in your yard from the porch to the curb won’t cut it. You need to spend about 40 minutes a day walking in the grass, sand, or dirt. You actually don’t need to be moving…but that exercise certainly is a good thing.

Some health professionals say walking on concrete works, such as the sidewalk, but NOT wood or concrete. These are the same folks who say if you can’t get to the great outdoors a warm basement with a concrete floor will also work.

Sit there and read or just relax with your bare feet resting on the ground.

posted @ Wednesday, March 18, 2015 8:01 PM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How to Get a Good Night's Rest

Lack of sleep is a serious problem in the United States. Recent surveys indicate almost half of all Americans do not get enough shut-eye. Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems. Lack of sleep often causes us to overeat because when we’re tired the hunger hormone kicks into high gear.

Some people get less sleep than they need by choice. These are the people who make the conscious decision to stay up late working (or playing) then get up early. Those people would be wise to re-think their choice to burn the candle at both ends and exercise self-disciple by getting the proper amount of sleep.

In the short-term as well as in the long-run, they will reap the health benefits. You know you are not getting enough sleep if your do not feel refreshed in the morning. Other clues are irritability, grogginess, difficulty concentrating, or staying awake during meetings or classes, and trying to catch-up on sleep on weekends.

Aside from people who choose to get less sleep than their body requires, there are millions of people who would like to get a full eight hours of sleep and try to do so but can’t. This is called insomnia. There are two types of insomniacs: people who can't fall asleep to begin with, and people who fall asleep just fine but who wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep.

Since so many people have difficulty sleeping, sleeping pills are some of the most widely prescribed medications in America and some of the best-selling over-the-counter medications. Sadly, however, sleeping pills usually do more harm than good. For many, the first step tends to be sleeping pills when, in reality, it should be one of the last. According to sleep experts, this medication is addictive, can have serious side effects, and can cause drowsiness during the day.

Instead of taking a sleeping pill, it’s better to figure out what’s causing the sleep trouble and fix that. Many sleep disorders are brought on by underlying physical problems, like obesity or emotional issues like depression. Doctors say by addressing those root causes and changing some lifestyle choices, you can get the sleep you want and need without drugs.

DIET
One reason for sleeplessness can be eating or drinking the wrong things. Too much caffeine can be a culprit so cut out coffee, tea, soda, even chocolate, eight hours before bedtime or better yet, altogether. Don't eat within two hours of bedtime and avoid big meals and alcohol, which can knock you out but later wake you up. Nix the spicy or fatty foods. They cause heartburn, which interferes with sleep.

ENVIRONMENT
In order to really get a great night's sleep, turn your bedroom into a true sleep chamber. That means eliminating anything your brain associates with wakefulness. So when you're in bed, don't do things like watch TV, pay the bills, or have tense conversations.

In fact, if you worry in bed, think about something calm or get out of bed and go to another room. Then once you are in that other room, get a pen and literally write down your problems. This subconsciously transfers them from your mind to the paper, relieving stress so you can go back to bed.

Prayer before bed and when you have difficulty sleeping is very effective. As the Bible says, “cast your cares upon Him, because He cares for you.”

EXERCISE
Regular exercise, particularly in the afternoon, can have you sleeping like a baby. Many people find they no longer need sleep aids or anti-depressants after starting and sticking to a regular exercise program that involves at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise daily as well as weight training. Finish your work-out at least two or three hours before bedtime.

BATHING
Taking a warm shower or bath before bed is a great way to calm and soothe. Using fragrant bath products can also help.

TEMPERATURE
Make sure your bedroom is cool. The temperature should not exceed 68 degrees. Do not use a lot of heavy blankets. A cool temperature aids a good night’s sleep. Many people don’t realize they wake-up because they are too hot. There are even cooling pillows available at home stores.

SIGHT AND SOUND
Make sure your bedroom is dark. Avoid night lights, light from other rooms or the hallway and electronics. Make sure no light is coming in from outside the window. You may want to invest in some thick curtains or blinds. Use a sleep mask or earplugs if necessary.

White noise machines are very helpful to block out sounds that might wake you, such as traffic, snoring, or the air conditioner or heater turning on and off.

CONSISTENCY
Make sure you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Our bodies do better when we stick with the same schedule.

STOP SMOKING
Cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a stimulant, meaning it keeps us awake, just like coffee.

SLEEP APNEA
If these tips don't work, see your doctor about getting tested for sleep apnea. This is a condition where a person’s oxygen supply is cut-off many times during the night, preventing a restful night’s sleep. Sleep apnea is caused by the airway closing during sleep.

A good way to recognize sleep apnea is the person gasps and chokes during the night. People with sleep apnea are usually prescribed a C-PAP machine to use at night, that keeps the airway open. People with sleep apnea often find that when the use the C-PAP machine they experience restful sleep and have increased energy and lose weight.

posted @ Tuesday, March 10, 2015 10:32 AM | Feedback (0)

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Eat Foods with a Lower Sugar Impact

Many people would like to lessen sugar's impact on their body to lose weight and reduce the risk of many health problems, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, even colds and flu.

However, there appears to be a lot of confusion about which foods have the greatest sugar impact. Below are some foods that have a low sugar impact, as well as some ones with a high sugar impact that may be surprising.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH
This is a great substitute for regular spaghetti, which has a high sugar impact. Just cut it in half (carefully!) scrape out the ;seeds and pulp, oil the cut part, then put each half, cut side down, on a baking sheet and roast at 375 for 40 minutes.

HOMEMADE SALAD DRESSINGS
This is a lower sugar impact substitute for bottled salad dressing. Just whisk together one part vinegar (not balsamic) and three parts olive oil and season to taste. Salt and pepper are fine, I also add some Dijon mustard, crushed garlic and Italian Seasoning.

HOW TO SOAK BEANS
(excerpted from JJ Virgin's Sugar Impact Diet)
If you can, buy your beans dry, and rinse and soak them before cooking them. They'll be more nutrition, lower in salt, and less expensive than canned beans. Soaking also ensures they'll cook evenly and cuts down on the gas they generate.

There are two main ways to soak beans: the long soak methods and the quick soak method.

  • LONG SOAK
    To long soak, rinse the dried beans, put them in a bowl, and add enough water to cover them by about 3 inches. Then just put them in the fridge overnight, and they'll be ready for you to drain, rinse, and cook in the morning.
  • QUICK SOAK
    When you're in a hurry, pour the bean into a large pot and add water until they're covered by about 3 inches. Boil for 1 minute, then cover and let stand for an hour. When the beans are tender and have doubled in size, they're done and ready to drain.

Here are the sugar impacts of several types of foods

VEGETABLES
LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• Acorn squash
• Artichoke
• Asparagus
• Bok Choy
• Broccoli
• Brussels Sprouts
• Butternut squash
• Cabbage
• Carrots
• Cauliflower
• Celery
• Chard
• Cucumber
• Eggplant
• Kale
• Kale chips
• Lettuces
• Mushrooms
• Okra
• Onions
• Peppers
• Pumpkin
• Snow peas
• Spaghetti squash
• Spinach
• Turnips
• Zucchini

MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• Beets
• Parsnips
• Rutabaga
• Sweet potatoes
• Yams

HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• Beet Juice
• Carrot juice
• French fries
• Mashed potatoes
• Potato chips
• Root veggie chips
• Sweet potato fries
• White potatoes

FRUITS

LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• Acai berries (no sugar added)
• Avocado
• Blueberries
• Cantaloupe
• Cranberries
• Gazpacho
• Grapefruit
• Guava
• Lemons
• Limes
• Nectarines
• Olives
• Oranges
• Peaches
• Persimmon
• Raspberries Star fruit
• Strawberries
• Tomatoes

MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• Apples
• Apricots
• Bananas
• Cherries
• Dates
• Fresh figs
• Grapes
• Honeydew
• Kiwi
• Mango
• Papaya
• Pears
• Pineapple
• Plums
• Pomegranate
• Sundried tomatoes
• Tangerines
• Tomato juice
• Tomato paste
• Tomato sauce
• V8 juice
• Watermelon

HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• All dried fruit
• Fruit leather
• Fruit juices
• Jams
• Preserves and conserve
• Nectar
• Sorbet
• Fruit juice concentrates
• Canned fruit cocktail
• Fruit juice Popsicles

SWEETENERS

LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• 100% dark chocolate
• 85% dark chocolate
• Erythritol
• Inulin
• Chicory
• Monk fruit
• Stevia
• Xylitol

MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• 70% or higher dark chocolate
• Blackstrap molasses
• Cane syrup (non-GMO)
• Coconut palm sugar
• Coconut sugar
• Glucose (aka dextrose(non-GMO)
• Local organic raw honey
• Mannitol
• Raw brown sugar (nonprocessed)
• Rice syrup
• Sorbitol

HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• 70% dark chocolate
• Acesulfame-K
• Agave
• Candy
• Caramel sauce
• Chocolate syrup
• Crystalline fructose
• Fruit juice concentrate
• High fructose corn syrup
• Honey (processed)
• Licorice
• Maltodextrin
• Maple syrup
• Marshmallows
• Milk chocolate
• Molasses
• Neotame
• Processed brown sugar

DAIRY

LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• Flax milk (unsweetened)
• Full-fat cheeses (avoid blue cheese due to gluten)
• Full-fat cream cheese
• Full-fat grass-fed milk
• Full-fat organic milk
• Full-fat plain cottage cheese
• Monk fruit sweetened coconut ice cream
• Mozzarella
• Coconut creamer (no sugar added)
• Coconut, cashew or almond milk (no sugar added)
• Organic creamer
• Organic, plain full-fat Greek-style yogurt
• Plain dairy or coconut kefir
• Ricotta cheese

MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• Cream cheese spread (low-fat or full-fat)
• Half-and-half
• Low-fat cheese
• Neufchatel cheese
• Organic low-fat or non-fat plain Greek-style yogurt
• Part-skim mozzarella
• Part-skim ricotta
• Soy cheese
• Sweetened coconut milk creamer
• Unsweetened rice milk
• Whipped cream cheese

HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• 94% fat-free microwave popcorn and/or kettle corn
• Breakfast bars
• Carnation Instant Breakfast
• Creamsicles
• Dried fruit snacks
• Ensure
• Fat-free baked chips
• Fat-free muffins
• Fat-free pudding
• Flavored almond milk yogurt
• Flavored kefir
• Frozen yogurt
• Fruit-added cream cheese
• Fudgesicles
• Gelato
• Granola bars
• Hot cocoa
• Ice cream
• Lite Cool Whit
• Low-fat and Fat-free cookies
• Low-fat graham crackers
• Low-fat or fat-free ice cream
• Low-fat or light frozen dinners
• Low-fat Oreos
• Low or reduced-fat crackers
• Non-fat cheeses
• Non-fat cream cheese
• Pineapple cottage cheese
• Pretzels
• Protein bars
• Pudding
• Reduced-fat macaroni and cheese

DRESSINGS AND CONDIMENTS

LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• Avocado oil
• Hot sauce
• Macadamia nut oil
• Mustard
• Olive Oil
• Olives
• Pesto
• Salsa
• Sesame
• Sour Dill pickles
• Tabasco
• Tapenade
• Vinegar
• Walnut oil
• Wheat-free tamari

MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• Bread and butter pickles
• Caesar dressing
• Fish sauce
• Green curry sauce
• Italian dressing
• Marinara sauce (no sugar added)
• Pickle relish
• Red curry sauce
• Sweet pickle relish
• Sweet pickles
• Tomato sauce

HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• Asian-style salad dressing
• Balsamic vinaigrette
• Balsamic vinegar
• BBQ sauce
• Blue cheese dressing
• Brown sauce
• Catalina dressing
• Cocktail sauce
• French dressing
• Hoisin sauce
• Honey mustard
• Honey mustard dressing
• Hot and sour sauce
• Ketchup
• Marinara sauce (sugar added)
• Peanut sauce
• Ranch dressing
• Raspberry vinaigrette
• Steak sauce
• Sweet chili sauce
• Tartar sauce
• Teriyaki sauce
• Thousand Island dressing
• Worchestershire sauce

DRINKS

LOW SUGAR IMPACT:
• All teas
• Green drinks (greens only-no fruit, carrot, or beet added)
• Green tea (no sugar added)
• Coffee and decaf coffee
• Sparkling mineral water
• Unsweetened coconut water
• Unsweetened fruit essence teas
• Water

MEDIUM SUGAR IMPACT:
• Tomato juice
• V8 (not with fruit juice)
• Kombucha tea (no sugar added)

HIGH SUGAR IMPACT:
• Capri Sun
• Carnation Instant Breakfast
• Carrot juice
• Commerical "smothies"
• "Enhanced" waters (with sweeteners)
• Fruit juices
• Fuze
• Gatorade
• Kool-Aid
• PowerAde
• Rockstar energy drink
• Slim-Fast
• Sobe
• Soda
• Sweet tea
• Sweetened coconut water
• Vitaminwater and most vitamin-supplemented waters

posted @ Sunday, March 01, 2015 5:00 PM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Danger of Sugars and Where They're Hidden

Americans have a serious sugar addiction. The worst part is that we don’t even realize the horrific amounts we consume and how it is destroying every part of our lives.

Right now many Americans consume a cup of sugar every day. That has doubled in the last 100 years. Almost everything we put in our mouths contains sugar, including foods that we think are healthy. We may feel good about ourselves when we eat a food with whole grain, for example, or something with calcium or Vitamin C, not realizing it is also super-charged with sugar. The manufacturers don't advertise that fact on the label.

Food manufacturers don't want you to know the bad things about their foods. So in a sense, that sugar is hidden, even though it is, by law, on the Nutrition Facts and in the list of ingredients. You have to look for it.

So what's so bad about sugar, anyway? Why all the fuss?

First, sugar is a highly addictive substance. In fact, scientists discovered it’s as addictive as cocaine! Brain scans reveal the pleasure and reward centers light-up in the exact same way when people consume cocaine as they do sugar.

Furthermore, we become a slave to sugar. It puts us literally in bondage, both physically and emotionally. When we eat sugar, it raises our blood sugar level, which causes insulin to be released. This is what we call a "sugar high" followed by a "sugar crash."

That sugar crash causes us to crave more sugar, and so the cycle continues. That's the physical component.

The emotional aspect is that sugar affects our mood the same way. We’re energetic, then lethargic. We're not ourselves. Sugar controls our behavior…the way we work and relate to others.

Sugar has been linked to some deadly health problems like cancer and heart disease. Researchers tell us that cancer cells thrive on sugar. Sugar "feeds" cancer cells. Many doctors tell their patients to abstain from sugar because this literally starves cancer cells.

I have witnessed patients who have taken that advice and their cancer has not returned. One man had such severe bone cancer he was only given months to live. In desperation, he cut-out all types of sugar and is still alive and kickin' years later.

Sugar is now considered to be the true cause of heart disease. Many doctors say it's sugar, not cholesterol, that destroys our arteries.

Sugar causes inflammation, obesity, and weakens our immune system, putting us at risk for dozens of health problems, such as arthritis, high blood pressure, even the common cold and the flu.

So how do we get rid of sugar? Obviously, we stop eating desserts like ice cream, cake, cookies, and candy. But that's only part of the problem. We have to tackle those hidden sugars in places you’d never suspect.

Low-fat and fat-free foods have very high amounts of sugar, because when you take the fat out of something, you are either left with just concentrated sugar, or you add sugar to what remains to give it the flavor that's missing because the fat is gone.

Skim milk actually contains a surprising amount of sugar, just like lots of other dairy products such as fat-free cream cheese. Certain fat-free yogurts contain as much sugar as one-and-a-half ice cream cones. Many fat-free salad dressings are one-third sugar.

Products that boast "fruit" and "juice" or "no sugar added" on the labels are perhaps the biggest scam. People think if they see those words, a product is healthy. Not true! They contain highly concentrated fructose, which is arguably even worse than straight-up sugar!

Food manufacturers take actual fruit, which is good for us, but they take out the best parts, the nutrients and the fiber. What's left is the super-sweet fructose in highly concentrated forms.

This is what you find in all those juices, fruit leathers, fruit snacks and so-forth. Parents think they are giving their kids healthy foods, when they might as well be giving them candy. The same thing goes for dried fruits, too, the raisins, dried cranberries, pineapples, and so on.

Refined carbohydrates are often a huge source of sugar. These are the white breads, bagels, pizza crust, pretzels, pita chips, tortillas, white flour, white pasta, crackers and so forth.

Even though these foods do not taste sweet, when you eat them, your body responds to them just like you ate pure sugar. That's because they are made with grains that have been stripped of the fiber and nutrients, so what remains is pure starch, which your body reads as pure sugar.

Be careful when switching to whole grains, because even though these are better than the refined carbohydrates, whole grain foods are often loaded with added sugar. For example, two slices of whole wheat bread can contain the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar.

Foods that appear healthy, such as instant oatmeal, often contain lots of added sugar. One pack of it can contain 12 grams of sugar. If you want oatmeal, the slow-cook oats, which have just one gram of sugar per serving are better.

Protein shakes and bars as well as lots of healthy-sounding breakfast foods like muffins are too frequently jam-packed with as much sugar as a hot fudge sundae.

If you're confused about a food's sugar content, look at the "Nutrition Facts" label and go to the "Sugars" line. Aim for two grams or less. Get ready to be shocked at how high some of those numbers go. Recently I saw a protein shake with 44 grams of sugar!

Another great resource is the book, J.J. Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet. She divides foods into high, medium and low sugar impact, to help you decide what’s best. For instance, a white potato is high, a sweet potato is medium, and pumpkin is low.

White rice is high, brown rice is medium, and wild rice is low. Pasta sauce with sugar added is high, pasta sauce with no sugar added is medium, and crushed tomatoes with olive oil and basil is low.

posted @ Tuesday, February 24, 2015 6:51 AM | Feedback (0)