Splenda (Sucralose) Found To Have Diabetes-Promoting Effects


Splenda (Sucralose) Found To Have Diabetes-Promoting Effects

Promoted for decades as a “safe” sugar alternative, presumably to prevent or reduce symptoms of diabetes, Splenda (sucralose) has been found to have diabetes-promoting effects in human subjects.

The artificial sweetener sucralose, which is approximately 600 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), and marketed under a variety of brand names, such as Splenda, Cukren, Nevella and SucraPlus, has recently been found to have diabetes-promoting effects in human test subjects, despite containing no calories and being classified as a ‘nonutritive sweetener.’

A new study published in the journal Diabetes Care, lead by researchers at the Center for Human Nutrition, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, set out to test the metabolic effects of sucralose in obese subjects who did not use nonnutritive sweeteners.

Seventeen subjects underwent a 5-hour oral glucose tolerance test on two separate occasions preceded by consuming either sucralose (experimental condition) or water (control condition) 10 min before the glucose load in a randomized crossover design.

The results were reported as follows:

Compared with the control condition, sucralose ingestion caused 1) a greater incremental increase in peak plasma glucose concentrations (4.2 ± 0.2 vs. 4.8 ± 0.3 mmol/L; P = 0.03), 2) a 20 ± 8% greater incremental increase in insulin area under the curve (AUC) (P < 0.03), 3) a 22 ± 7% greater peak insulin secretion rate (P < 0.02), 4) a 7 ± 4% decrease in insulin clearance (P = 0.04), and 5) a 23 ± 20% decrease in SI (P = 0.01).

In other words, a single dose of sucralose lead to a .6 mmol/L increase in plasma glucose concentrations, a 20% increase in insulin levels, a 22% greater peak insulin secretion rate, and a 7% decrease in insulin clearance, an indication of decreased insulin sensitivity.

They concluded

These data demonstrate that sucralose affects the glycemic and insulin responses to an oral glucose load in obese people who do not normally consume NNS.

Discussion

Despite the fact that preapproval research on sucralose found a wide range of adverse health effects in exposed animals [see The Bitter Truth about Splenda], national and international food safety regulatory bodies, including the FDA, now consider it completely safe for daily human consumption.*

The same applies for synthetic sweeteners like aspartame, which despite its well-known link with brain damage and over 40 documented adverse health effects, is safety approved in 90 nations.

Industry influence largely accounts for the fact that synthetic chemicals like asparatame, neotame, saccharin and sucralose are being foisted onto the public as ‘safe’ non-calorie sweeteners, despite obvious research to the contrary, and the fact that stevia, the non-calorie natural alternative, has over 1500 years of documented safe use.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA), for instance, does nothing to hide its explicit partnership with McNeil Nutritionals, maker of Splenda, despite the obvious conflict of interest. On its website, the ADA describes McNeil Nutritionals as a “national strategic partner ” and lauds them as “committed to helping people and their families with diabetes by focusing on the overall nutritional needs of the diabetes community.”  McNeil Nutritionals sponsors the ADA’s “Recipe of the Day,” along with a variety of educational tools and information for consumers and healthcare professionals.

Despite these cozy relationships, the research on sucralose’s adverse health effects continues to accumulate.  Some of the more recent research on the chemical indicate that it may contribute to the following health and environmental problems:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A researcher from UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark NJ, proposes that sucralose may be causing a global increase in cases of IBS, including both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. [i] In an article titled “What made Canada become a country with the highest incidence of inflammatory bowel disease: could sucralose be the culprit?”, author Xiaofa Qin describes how Canada, which once had one of the lowest rates of IBS in the world, attained the highest levels after being the first country in the world to approve the use of sucralose in thousands of consumer products in 1991.[ii]
  • Harms Gut Flora and Gastrointestinal Health: A 2008 study found that the administration of sucralose to rats at a dose far below the US FDA Acceptable Daily intake level resulted in: 1) a decrease in the numbers of a wide range of beneficial gut bacteria. 2) “increase in fecal pH.”  3) “enhanced expression levels of P-gp, CYP3A4, and CYP2D1, which are known to limit the bioavailability of orally administered drugs.”[iii]
  • Migraines: A report was published in the journal Headache in 2006 indicating that physicians should be mindful of the possibility that sucralose can trigger migraines.[iv]
  • Environmental Persistence: Like many persistent organic pollutants in the pesticide category, sucralose is exceptionally resistant to degradation, both through environmental processes (microbial degradation, hydrolysis, soil sorption) and advanced treatment processes (chlorination, ozonation, sorption to activated carbon, and UV radiation). Sucralose, after all, was discovered accidentally by pesticide researchers, and is chemically related to DDT, a chlorinated hydrocarbon.  Some researchers now consider it an ideal “tracer of anthropogenic activity,” which is true also of lethal radioisotopes such as uranium 238 and plutonium 239, due to their resistance to degradation. [v]  Indeed, recent research found that sucralose has a low rate of removal (11%) in drinking water tested that presently serves 28 million people.[vi]
  • Environmental Toxicity: Sucralose was recently found to alter the physiological and behavioral status of crustaceans, leading researchers to warn that the chemical will likely have wider ecological consequences.[vii]

Resources

*The FDA approves 1.1 mg/kg bodyweight, or the equivalent of 75 mg a day (about 6 packets) for a 150 lb adult.

Splenda Found To Have Possible Neurotoxic Properties In Animal Study


Splenda Found To Have Possible Neurotoxic Properties In Animal Study

It seems like every six months a new study is published on the bitter truth about Splenda’s lack of safety, which is still marketed to the world as a safe alternative to relatively calorie-rich sweeteners like sugar and honey.

Now a new study published in the open access journal PLoS titled, “Sucralose Induces Biochemical Responses in Daphnia magna [water flea],” indicates that the artificial sweetener sucralose – sold under the trade name Splenda and approved for consumption in at least 70 countries – may have sublethal adverse effects on animal behavior and physiology due to its oxidative and possibly neurotoxic properties.

The researchers described the nature and intention of their study:

“To our knowledge, this is the first study examining biomarker responses in aquatic organisms exposed to sucralose. Based on the observed swimming abnormalities inDaphnia exposed to sucralose [7] and recent findings that correlate AChE (acetylcholinesterase) activity with oxidative stress in humans [29], [31], we hypothesized that these behavioural effects are related to alterations in AChE and oxidative status.”

Sucralose — a sucrose containing three chlorine atoms — despite being marketed initially by the manufacturer as somewhat natural (i.e. “it tastes like sugar because it is made from sugar”), is an extremely synthetic chemical compound highly resistant to biodegradation, and like other compounds within the organochloride class of chemicals, which include pesticides like DDT, it persists for a long time in the environment. [i] For instance, a recent study found it detectable in offshore waters, such as the Atlantic Gulf Stream.[ii] Indeed, it is because of its exceptional non-biodegradability that it has been proposed to be an ideal tracer for human (anthropogenic) activities.[iii][iv]

This extremely popular sweetener has already been identified to have potential diabetes-promoting and carcinogenic properties. For instance, preliminary research in animals indicates it may be a cause of leukemia,[v] which motivated the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), last year, to downgrade its safety rating from “Safe” to “Caution.”

One of the possible mechanisms behind its purported leukemogenic activity may be due to it producing one of the world’s most highly toxic manmade compounds – dioxin — when heated.[vi] Sucralose has also been proposed to be behind a global uptick in inflammatory bowel disease, most particularly evident in Canada. Considering the intimate relationship between the ‘enteric brain,’ or gut microbiome, and the central nervous system, this connection may reveal hitherto unrecognized neurological and behavior altering consequences of the use of thisartificial sweetener.

What the Sucralose Study Found

The new study looked at the effects that sucralose had on the following measurable parameters in Daphnia magna, or water flea:

  • Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) – an enzyme which hydrolyzes acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter essential for terminating synaptic transmission, a primary target of nerve agents and pesticides.
  • Oxidative biomarkers (oxygen radical absorbing capacity, ORAC, and lipid peroxidation, TBARS)

After exposing the animals to sucralose (0.0001-5 mg L-1), they found that,

“The sucralose concentration was a significant positive predictor for ORAC, TBARS and AChE in the daphnids. Moreover, the AChE response was linked to both oxidative biomarkers, with positive and negative relationships for TBARS and ORAC, respectively.”

They concluded from these observed effect that,

“These joint responses support our hypothesis and suggest that exposure to sucralose may induce neurological and oxidative mechanisms with potentially important consequences for animal behaviour and physiology.”

Discussion

Like so many novel patented chemicals released onto the market without adequate pre-approval safety studies, we do not know if this preliminary toxicological research will be applicable to human exposures.  In fact, there are only 318 study citations (as of 5/10/14) on this chemical in existence since it first began to be researched in the 70’s. This most recent study is the first in existence to look at its effect on the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which is found in all animals. This information deficit is all the more remarkable when you consider there are over 7,000 published studies in existence on either turmeric or its primary polyphenol curcumin, which is still not readily administered by the conventional medical establishment mostly due to ‘safety concerns,’ despite what the voluminous positive data on its relevance to over 600 health conditions indicates.

When it comes to the accumulating research on sucralose’s potential adverse health effects, the precautionary principle dictates that when an avoidable chemical exposure has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on the manufactures, regulators and/or marketers who are claiming it to be safe.  Given the significant body of research on sucralose’s possible non-safety, the choice is clear. The use of time-tested, natural non-caloric or low-caloric sweeteners is best, especially considering that one can derive profound health benefits from natural sweeteners like honey and stevia.

Sucralose’s (Splenda) Harms Vastly Underestimated: Baking Releases Dioxin


Sucralose's (Splenda) Harms Vastly Underestimated: Baking Releases Dioxin

A new, in-depth review on the synthetic sweetener sucralose (marketed as Splenda), published in the journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, is destined to overturn widely held misconceptions about the purported safety of this ubiquitous artificial sweetener.

Found in tens of thousands of products and used by millions of consumers around the world, sucralose’s unique ability to dissolve in alcohol and methanol as well as water, makes it the most versatile and therefore most widely used artificial sweetener in production today. And yet, its popularity is no indication nor guarantee of its safety, as is evidenced by the widespread use of other artificial sweeteners like aspartame, which while being safety approved in 90 nations around the world, has been linked to a wide range of serious health conditions including brain damage.

But the tide may be turning…

Already this year, the Center for the Public Interest in Science downgraded Splenda from “safe” to “caution,” citing their need to evaluate a forthcoming Italian study linking the artificial sweetener to leukemia in mice as a basis for their decision.

Another recent human study linked Splenda to diabetes-associated changes, calling into question its value as a non-calorie sweetener for those suffering with, or wishing to prevent, blood sugar disorders.

The new study, however, may be the most concerning yet to surface in the peer-reviewed literature. Titled, “Sucralose, a synthetic organochlorine sweetener: overview of biological issues,” it reveals an extensive array of hitherto underreported safety concerns, not the least of which is the formation of highly toxic chlorinated compounds, including dioxins, when Splenda is used in baking, an application which its manufacturer, McNeil Nutritionals (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), actively encourages it to be used for. [see: Cooking and Baking: SPLENDA®]

A Dizzying Array of Splenda (Sucralose) Safety Concerns That Have Never Been Adequately Tested

The study argues that, despite its widespread approval and use, further scientific safety research is warranted due the following significant findings:

  • “Sucralose alters metabolic parameters and its chronic effects on body weight are unknown”: both animal and human research indicates sucralose may raise blood sugar and insulin levels, indicating it may have diabetogenic properties.
  • “Sucralose alters P-gp and CYP expression”: While classified as a food additive, sucralose’s organochlorine structure indicates it interferes with a wide range of organochlorine class drugs, and activates detoxification pathways and enzymes, in a manner similar to these xenobiotic chemicals.
  • “The metabolic fate and health profile of sucralose metabolites are currently unknown”: Contrary to statements in the research literature that sucralose passes through the body in the feces ‘unchanged,’ metabolites have been detected in the urine and feces of both animals and humans, the nature and health consequence of which have never been studied
  • “Sucralose alters indigenous bacterial balancein the GIT”: Sucralose (delivered as Splenda) has been found to reduce the number of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointesintal tract (e.g., lactobacilli, bifidobacteria), while  increasing the more detrimental bacteria (e.g., enterobacteria). One study found the adverse effects on flora did not return to normal (baseline) after a 3-month recovery period. Sucralose also altered the pH of the gastrointestinal tract.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly:

  • “Numerous toxicological issues regarding long-term exposure to sucralose are unresolved”: 1) DNA damage (genotoxicity), and possible adverse epigenetic alterations. 2) The generation of toxic compounds during baking, including chloropropanols, 1,6-DCF and dioxins. 3) The bioaccumulation of sucralose and/or its metabolites 4) The interaction between sucralose and/or its metabolites with drugs have not yet been studied or evaluated

Cancer-Causing Dioxins and Dioxin-Like Compounds Formed When Splenda (Sucralose) Is Cooked

As the reader can plainly see, the picture is a complex one, and there are more unresolved questions than answers. But perhaps the most concerning issue addressed in the report is the ‘Safety of Sucralose That Has Been Heated.’ According to the paper, historically, sucralose was reported to be heat stable at temperatures used in cooking. But they cite a number of reports from independent laboratories showing that sucralose undergoes thermal degradation when heated. One study showed that the stability of sucralose decreased as the temperature and pH increased, with the breakdown process commencing at 119 degrees Celsius and temperatures of 180 degrees Celsius causing its complete degradation at all pH levels with the release of chloride ions.  Additionally, they refer to research showing that sucralose can break down into the following concerning compounds when heated:

  • Chloropopanols are generated when sucralose was heated in the presence of glycerol. Chloropopanols are a group of contaminants that include known genotoxic, carcinogenic and tumorigenic compounds.
  • Other chlorinated compounds formed when sucralose is heated in the presence of food include dibenzo-p-dioxins, dibenzofurans, dioxin-like polychlorinated bisphenyls and polychlorinated naphthalenes.

Chlorinated compounds like dioxins and DDT are notorious for being both highly toxic and resistant to breaking down once released into the environment, which is why they are classified as ‘persistent organic pollutants.’ Splenda was launched in 2000 with tagline “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar,” until it retired this slogan in 2007 after settling with its rival, Merisant Co., the maker of Equal, who accused the makers of Splenda of intentionally confusing consumers into thinking its product was more natural and healthier than other artificial sweeteners. Long gone are the days that this artificial sweetener can be marketed as natural, safe and a healthy alternative to sugar. To the contrary, today’s research clearly indicates that sucralose is a toxic chemical that we should go to great lengths to avoid exposure to rather than something we should intentionally add to our food. You will also find a growing body of research that indicates that sucralose not only does not break down in the environment, but survives water treatment plant purification techniques, with the inevitable consequence that it is accumulating in concentrations in our drinking water and the environment that may adversely impact humans and wildlife alike.

The discovery that thermal breakdown through cooking can lead to the formation of highly toxic and equally persistent chlorinated compounds, including dioxins, should raise a series of red flags for consumers, manufacturers and regulators as the information becomes more widespread. A cursory perusal of the World Health Organization’s description of ‘Dioxins and their effects on human health,’ which lists it as belonging to the “dirty dozen” of the world’s most dangerous pollutants, will see what is at stake here. For more information on the formation of toxic chlorinated byproducts following the heating of sucralose read a 2013 study published in Scientific Reports titled, “Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans formed from sucralose at high temperatures,” which goes into the topic in greater depth.

The Acceptable Daily Intake of Splenda (Sucralose) May Have Been Set 100’s of Times Too High To Ensure Safety

Lastly, an equally concerning issue addressed by the paper is the problem of the acceptable daily intake (ADI). The FDA approved an ADI for humans of 5 mg/kg/day in 1998 based on toxicity studies in rats by determining a no-observed-effect level (NOEL) of 500 mg/kg/day, and then applying a 100-fold safety factor. Since then, research has emerged showing that the NOEL in the microbiome (‘gut bacteria’) of rats for Splenda is actually as low as 1.1 mg/kg/day – 454 times lower than first determined – and 3.3 mg/kg/day for changes in intestinal P-gp and CYP – 151 times lower than first determined. Therefore, if the biological effects of sucralose in rats and humans are the same, or similar, then significant effects would be expected in humans far below the ADI.

For additional research on sucralose’s adverse health effects, visit our research page that collates peer-reviewed research on its toxicological properties. Also, for research on natural sweeteners not associated with these adverse effects, take a look at the following alternatives:

The emergence of sucralose came from the fight against obesity, but did we trade one problem for another?


In the United States, sucralose (the sweet tasting chemical in Splenda brand artificial sweeteners) was approved for use by the FDA in 1998. It was deemed safe, but we no have over a decade’s worth of research to prove that sucralose affects health in a very negative and very unique way. The only effect they thought it would have on health was that it could potentially trigger migraines in a small percentage of people. This, they decided, was a small enough issue that the FDA allowed the substance into the marketplace, citing obesity as a more pressing issue. They could not have been more wrong.

One of the major complications that can come from obesity is diabetes, where the body no longer responds to insulin properly. Originally meant to combat issues like obesity-caused diabetes, lab tests show that insulin resistance increases by as much as 20% after ingesting the sugar substitute. The cause can be traced back to gut bacteria and how sucralose and other artificial sweeteners can alter their environments. For example; Aspartame is another type of artificial sweetener which studies have shown is metabolized in the body as formaldehydea known carcinogen.

Furthermore, alterations in gut bacteria are also very likely the culprit behind the rise in inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease. In every part of the world where sucralose has been approved, inflammatory bowel disease has increased. Clearly, there is a causal link between this substance and the health of our gut. Though the alternative to sugar was created in an effort to combat obesity, with all of the complications and damage it can cause, it’s clear that how sucralose affects health – negatively. This just further proves that we can all do ourselves a service by sticking to natural foods whose benefits don’t have to be decided on by a committee.

Watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/nuMt7wFarrw

Whose Voice Are You Listening To?


Throughout my life, there had been no short supply of voices coming from both outside and inside of me pulling me in different directions. Sometimes the voice was gentle like a whisper from a lover, sometimes it was harsh and demanding especially when confronted with a fight or flight situation. The voices took on different roles such as the soother, the sergeant, the seductress, the teacher and they knew exactly when their presence was required. Most of them functioned on autopilot that I never truly stopped and questioned the origins of these voices until my awakening.

Whose Voice Are You Listening To - Allow thoughts to come and go, just don't serve them tea - Shunryu Suzuki

As if having woken up from a dream after a long night, I suddenly noticed not all voices were created equal, that is, some of them clearly did not have my best interest at heart despite the fact they all claimed they were looking after me.

Questioning the voices:

One by one, I began questioning each voice every time when it spoke to me. I would ask where it came from and have a conversation with it. Some of them, the self-deprecating and self-denying ones desperately wanted to be heard and they brought with them a ton of excuses, justifications and explanations as to why I must follow their lead or else I would end up with unimaginable catastrophes.

There was the constant nagging one that sounded perfectly soft and sincere, “You can’t do it because you are not good enough.” If only I could plant a tree every time that voice was uttered in my world! Lo and behold, it was the answer to almost every idea I wanted to manifest that was outside of my comfort zone for three decades of my life. I never questioned that voice because I believed it was protecting me and serving my highest good even though it most often reduced me to curling up in a corner of a cage made of self-loathing and tears.

The first time I questioned it was when I was over at my parents’ house one day. I shared some of my ideas with them about a project I had in mind and immediately, my dad’s reaction was, “Who do you think you are? You can’t do it because you are not made of that material.”

Freeze framing the movie scenes:

Right then and there, I saw a movie titled “I’m not good enough” playing scene by scene in my mind. Some of the scenes were from childhood when I hopelessly tried to defend myself in front of dad, but most of the scenes comprised of those moments in my adult life such as the one when I chose a career that was safe rather than one I was passionate about so I wouldn’t end up on the street, or the one when I held onto a failing relationship because I told myself I would never find a partner who wanted to be with me, on and on it played as that moment froze and time stayed still.

How many other voices were there trying to stop me from living my life? And how much was I holding onto that was not mine?

Those two questions initiated an intense healing process that was not unlike spring cleaning accompanied by long periods of soul searching, heartaches and the tears.

It was the beginning of my awakening.

When we go through our lives set on auto pilot – which by the way is a necessary mechanism for us to not having to relearn how to walk and brush our teeth every day – the trade-off is, we are also living on a subconscious level. Without the awareness, we allow our lives to be dictated by outside influences such as values and beliefs from our parents, teachers and culture that we have come to internalize. The result of moving through life reacting based on our past experiences rather than creating from who we are today, makes us feel like powerless victims simply because the life that “just happens to us” is not the one of our choosing as the voices we listen to clearly have no idea what is best for us today, at this moment!

Releasing the chains that bind us to the past:

This is perhaps one of the most empowering and liberating realizations one can have, for the chains that bind us only have power over us for as long as we remain unaware. The second we see them for what they are, a necessary tool, or I prefer to think of them as the greatest gift that allows us to learn what doesn’t work for us in life so we can discover what does work, they will simply shatter into a million pieces and dissolve into thin air.

Once we become conscious of how a voice impacts our decisions, it then becomes our choice whether we will follow that voice, or adjust its volume so it cannot take over.

Free-willing our way forward:

This is the magnificent power of our free will. Our brain is hardwired like a disc that can be both programmed and erased once the data is no longer needed. Once we press the delete button, we will end up with an infinite amount of free space – space to rewrite our stories and our lives.

There are many ways to identify disempowering voices, my favorite one is to just listen to our feelings as they are language of the soul. Whenever an out of tune voice shouts out a command, we experience a moment of “yuck.” Those are usually the voices that trigger fear and anxiety, make us want to scream and run, cause us to lose sleep at night, drag us into a sea of depression and manifest as physical pains and illnesses, the list goes on.

Once those voices are identified, befriend them and talk to them. They are our internal barometers that have been working tirelessly day and night to indicate to us what we truly desire in life. They are our cheerleaders that use any means necessary to get us to run that extra mile so we can reach our milestones. They are the x-ray glasses that allow us to see beyond the surface so we can move into our consciousness and elevate it. This is our time to give them our most heartfelt gratitude for having illuminated the paths in front of us so we can now travel in light, or enlightened.

Eventually, we will discover the one voice that has been singing to us all along – the voice of love, joy and healing that has never judged or abandoned us since the day we began our journeys. As the silence inside of us grows, that voice will become clearer and more expansive and fill us with endless inspiration.

We will say to ourselves, “But I’ve known this all along! I just didn’t listen to it.”

Follow that voice — the voice of the heart.

The Value of Breathing Consciously


Every minute of every day we breathe, what a joy to feel our breath, to feel our aliveness and vitality. It is the manna or life source that enables us to exist and is essential for our survival.

Conscious breathing is said to be one of the best antidotes tostress, anxiety and depression. For many years I have given much consideration to the food and drink that I consume, yet paid little attention to my breath. We can survive for days without food and even water, though only minutes without oxygen. Our breath is vital to our physical existence, the oxygen we inhale helps to build our very cells. It is a process that continually happens often without our conscious awareness.

Breathe

Due to the wondrous nature of breathing, it’s no surprise that many healing and esoteric practices emphasis focusing on the breath as part of a path to wellbeing. While most of us never give breathing a second thought, the way we draw breath can affect our physical and mental well-being. It has an impact on our energy levels and functioning.

Breathing properly can reduce stress levels, improve workouts and boost your immunity to infections and illnesses. Poor breathing can contribute to panic attacks and even conditions like insomnia and depression. Conscious breathing is a great form of meditation that can be easily practiced anywhere, anytime! It could be in the office, waiting for a bus, in a busy restaurant or wherever you happen to be. Simply pause and become aware of the inhale and exhale, the rise and fall of the chest as you breath. Allow the breath’s rhythm to centre, ground and calm you.

Thich Nhat Hanh on Breathing

Here are two quotes on breath from Thich Nhat Hanh, the famous Buddhist monk and peace activist, he clearly appreciated the positive benefits of conscious breathing:

“Breath is the bridge which connects life
to consciousness,
which unites your body to your thoughts.
Whenever your mind becomes scattered,
use your breath as the means to take hold
of your mind again.

“Feelings come and go like clouds in a
windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

Ways to utilise the breath for your benefit

The following are some practices through which you can use the breath for your well-being and benefit:

  • In any moment, whatever you are doing there is an opportunity to pause and watch the breath. Simply observing the breath can sometimes be enough to enhance your state of wellbeing and induce a sense of calm.
  • Take a deep breath in and consciously let go with the outbreath. This simple exercise helps me let go of any tension that I may be holding onto.
  • Use the breath to encourage mindfulness. One definition of Mindfulness is “the gentle effort to be continuously present with experience.” Simply observe the breath as it enters and leaves the body. Pay attention to the experiences associated with breathing, perhaps how the breath passes through the nostrils and the physical sensations there, for example the difference in air temperature of the breath as it enters and leaves the body or the sensation as it passes over the skin.
  • Deliberately take some deep in-breaths. When we are tense we tend to take shallow breaths. With a deep conscious breath we allow the stale air that may have accumulated in our lungs to be released and be replaced with fresh, rejuvenating manna.
  • Yawn – just because it feels good (and sometimes you can’t help it!) Yawning is a way of the body getting more energy into it’s system. Often when I yawn it is a sign of releasing energy from the field. Another great way of releasing is to sigh.
  • The use of breath is a dominant factor in the practise of yoga, use yoga breathing techniques such as pranyammato unwind and dissolve that which doesn’t serve you and encourage unfoldment.
  • Find and participate a movement practise that incorporates breath, such as Pilates, Yoga or Openhand’s Soulmotion.

The Link Between Nightshades, Chronic Pain and Inflammation


Few people are familiar with the term nightshade vegetables, and many will be surprised to learn that consuming foods from this plant group may be contributing to their pain and inflammation.

Nightshades belong to the Solanaceae family which includes over 2,000 species. They also include some of the most popular foods consumed today; such as tomatoes, potatoes, all types of peppers, and eggplant. Although not truly nightshades, blueberries, huckleberries, goji berries and ashwaganda all share the same inflammation-inducing alkaloids.

The Link Between Nightshades, Chronic Pain and Inflammation

The Solanaceae family contains cholinesterase inhibitingglycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids including, among others, solanine in potato and eggplant, tomatine in tomato, nicotine in tobacco, and capsaicin in garden peppers. The glycoalkaloids in potatoes are known to contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and negatively affect intestinal permeability. (1,2) According to Dr. Marvin Childers, “When these inhibitors accumulate in the body, alone or with other cholinesterase inhibitors such as caffeine or food impurities containing systemic cholinesterase inhibiting pesticides, the result may be a paralytic-like muscle spasm, aches, pains, tenderness, inflammation, and stiff body movements.”  (3) These symptoms may dissipate in a few hours or days if ingestion is stopped, based on the sensitivity of the individual, the amount of nightshades consumed on a regular basis and their level of inflammation. However for some heavy consumers of nightshades the process of inflammation and pain reduction can take up to 3 months.

After reading the symptoms associated with nightshade consumption, it is easy to understand why one of the major problems attributed to nightshade is arthritis. Arthritis is also the most common disability in the U.S. (4,5) Statistics from a 2007-2009 study show that doctor diagnosed arthritis affects 49.9 million people in the United States alone (6).Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting more than 20 million people. More than 2 million people are affected by rheumatoid arthritis, the most disabling and painful form of arthritis. Arthritis has no boundaries to gender, race or age, it affects young and old alike. (5, 7) In fact it may be surprising to some that an estimated 294,000 children (age 18 and under), have some form of arthritis. (7) In 2003 the medical cost of arthritis alone was approximately 128 billion annually.(4) Since 1994, disability-related costs for medical care and lost productivity have exceeded an estimated $300 billion annually in the United States, this includes arthritis and other rheumatoid related illness (8) Add to these numbers the report released in 2011 by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, where an estimated 116 million adults live with chronic pain, which costs the United States $635 billion annually in health care and lost productivity. (9) So the question is how much of these problems are nightshade related? That is the question some researchers are asking, as they believe that arthritis is often misdiagnosed in people who may in fact be experiencing severe side effects of nightshade consumption.

Many who suffer with arthritis or an arthritis related disease such as lupus, rheumatism, and other musculoskeletal pain disorders, have found that consuming foods from the nightshade family is in fact adversely affecting their health. Norman F. Childers, PhD, founder of the Arthritis Nightshades Research Foundation stated: “Diet appears to be a factor in the etiology of arthritis based on surveys of over 1400 volunteers during a 20-year period. Plants in the drug family, Solanaceae (nightshades) are an important causative factor in arthritis in sensitive people.” (3)

Three Month Challenge

If you want to know if nightshades negatively affect you, take the three month challenge. Avoid all nightshades for three months. (It’s called a challenge for a reason). Be careful to note the nightshade list, and become a label reader as some homeopathics, prescriptions, over the counter medications as well as numerous processed foods contain nightshades. Prescriptions and over the counter medicines may require a discussion with your pharmacist or a phone call to the manufacturer of your over the counter medicines to determine ingredients.

After three months, begin to reintroduce one nightshade at a time. Take note of any aches, pains, stiffness, and loss of energy, headaches, respiratory problems or any other symptoms. You may find as many others have, that the quality of your daily health will dramatically improve after eliminating nightshades from your diet.

The Link Between Nightshades, Chronic Pain and Inflammation - FB

The Nightshade List

  • ­ tomatoes (all varieties, including tomatillos)
  • ­ potatoes (all varieties, but NOT sweet potatoes or yams)
  • ­ eggplant (aubergine)
  • ­ okra
  • ­ peppers (all varieties such as bell pepper, wax pepper, green & red peppers, chili peppers, cayenne, paprika, etc.)
  • ­ goji berries
  • ­ tomarillos (a plum-like fruit from Peru)
  • ­ sorrel
  • ­ garden huckleberry & blueberries (contain the alkaloids that induce inflammation)
  • ­ gooseberries
  • ­ ground cherries
  • ­ pepino Melon
  • ­ the homeopathic “Belladonna” [note: this is highly precautionary as homeopathics contain virtually no measurable “active” chemical]
  • ­ tobacco
  • ­ paprika
  • ­ cayenne pepper

Soy sauce made in the U.S. is generally made with genetically modified (GMO) soy beans, which are cut with the nightshade plant Petunia.

The condiments black/white pepper and pepper corns are not nightshades.

Other Iingredients and Products to Avoid

  • ­Homeopathic remedies containing Belladonna [note: this is highly precautionary as homeopathics contain virtually no measurable “active” chemical]
  • ­Prescription and over-the-counter medications containing potato starch as a filler (especially prevalent in sleeping and muscle relaxing medications)
  • ­Edible flowers: petunia, chalice vine, day jasmine, angel and devil’s trumpets
  • ­Atropine and Scopolamine, used in sleeping pills
  • ­Topical medications for pain and inflammation containing capsicum (in cayenne pepper).
  • ­Many baking powders contain potato starch
  • ­Don’t lick envelopes, many adhesives contain potato starch
  • ­Vodka (potatoes used in production)

Read labels carefully because you could be doing everything else right, and still be sabotaged by one small amount of an ingredient.

Never buy a food has that uses the generic term of seasoning or spices… nightshades may be included in the ingredients.

The Healthy Reality Diet – What We Feed Our Mind and Soul is Just as Important as What We Eat


People are more interested in nutrition than ever before. According to Euromonitor, the health and wellness industry is projected to be a trillion dollar industry by 2017. Aware that the quality of the food we put into our systems will have an important impact on our state of health, consumers who have embarked on a wellness journey are increasingly seeking out high quality alimentary products. It seems fairly obvious that if our diet is comprised of crappy processed, chemically laden food our health will ultimately suffer; while if we consume fresh, high quality wholefoods our state of health surely must improve.

The Healthy Reality Diet - What We Feed Our Mind and Soul is Just as Important as Our Diet

But what about those people who counter all intuitive logic and seem to thrive on a diet that should be a recipe for disease and early death? We’ve probably all heard of those centenarians who when asked their secret to longevity reply that they smoked their whole life and ate whatever they felt like. I personally know a man who seems to exist on copious amounts of artificially sweetened instant coffee, ice cream, coca cola, red meat and cigarettes; he’s in his late seventies and is one of the most robust people I know.

Is there any way to explain this bizarre phenomenon? Genes undoubtedly play an important role in this equation, but studies with identical twins who share the same gene sequences show that genes do not provide the complete answer.

An important missing piece of the puzzle may be lumped in with what science labels ‘the placebo effect’ — the power of the mind.

Ever since I was a child I was intrigued by the esoteric, unexplained aspects of life. Whenever I would mention something to my family that was not explainable by science but seemed to have an effect on people, my father would sing out… “placeeeebo…”, as if that meant the topic was unimportant and did not warrant serious discussion. However, to me that attitude seemed oddly limited. If the mind had the power to affect the body so significantly that many carefully manufactured drugs performed only marginally better, wasn’t this something of extraordinary potential value that merited further exploration? I wondered what would happen if instead of dismissing this intriguing phenomenon, we were taught from childhood how to nurture and develop it.

Later, when I came to understand that our current social system is dictated by opportunities for financial gain, it made sense why we were not exploring this avenue, and instead pouring our resources into drugs that create an ongoing cash flow for the super-rich. However, as we are currently transitioning out of this old fear-based paradigm, to a new love-based one, more empowering information is rapidly emerging into popular awareness.

Brain Chemicals

We are now starting to understand a lot more about the hormones and natural chemicals that are produced by the body. We know that chemicals like cortisol, which are released into our systems when we feel stressed, are damaging to our physical body, and can lead to the development and exacerbation of disease. We also now understand the ways happy chemicals like oxytocin, dopamine, endorphins and serotonin assist the body to heal and remain healthy.

Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin MD is a medical doctor who was not afraid to question her training and explore beyond the confines of the accepted medical arena. In “Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself” Lissa explains how her willingness to question convention led her to investigate cases of spontaneous remission, and how this research assisted her to reach the conclusion that the medical profession was neglecting a key component of healing.

Most western doctors are trained to see patients as a series of symptoms that need to be individually treated. This compartmentalised, clinical approach encourages detached objectivity and fosters a tendency for practitioners to forget about the whole human being. Dr. Rankin realised that this clinical way of thinking often led doctors to minimise the importance of extending empathy, care and sensitivity when approaching a patient. From her new understanding, she could see that by ignoring these attributes doctors were inadvertently increasing fear levels in patients which puts the body into a state of high stress, and ultimately contributes to the problem of declining health. Lissa celebrates the ‘placebo effect’ and encourages a new medical model that supports the body’s own ability to heal.

(For more, I highly recommend reading “Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself” or watch Dr. Rankin’s video presentation below.)

The Mind

As we come to better understand the connection between mind and body, the mystery as to why some people seem to be able to successfully exist in a state of apparent health, even when they go against the very basis of current nutritional wisdom, begins to become somewhat clearer. The mind is not some human operating system that works independently of the body and vice versa. The mind/body connection is an intimate, dynamic one that goes both ways. The mind has the ability to regulate the production of chemicals produced by the body, and even affect genetic expression, both of which have profound and direct effects on our state of physical health.

Reality Diet

When we take this aspect of health into consideration it becomes apparent that those who focus solely on their nutritional diets are missing a key component of the wellness picture. It would seem that a healthy reality diet, i.e. what we feed our minds and souls, might be just as important as what we put in our body. We could be eating a perfect diet of top quality, organic super-foods, but if our day is filled with negativity, stress and/or anxiety, we may be sabotaging our wellness journey. Also, ironically, stress can arise from being too stringent, or obsessive in relation to what we are consuming; so in an attempt to attain perfect health we could end up compromising it.

Balance is key.

I believe everything comes back to balance. If we want to live a vibrant life we need to take responsibility for what we introduce into our systems, whether it be dietary or reality. There’s nothing like a few hours of wallowing in bitterness, jealousy or self-pity, a long violent video game session, over-exposure to world problems, a nasty gossip fest, or a messy, chaotic home environment to bring our vibration down and negatively affect our mindset, and thus ultimately our health. Whereas activities like creating, laughing with friends, expressing gratitude, walking in nature, enjoying art, playing, indulging in an occasional decadent treat, following our dreams, meditating, being silly, and admiring beauty are uplifting activities that contribute greatly to our general sense of wellbeing. Ultimately, from this expanded perspective, we see that the road to health is not a linear one. Rather it is a multi-dimensional journey in which joy, laughter, beauty and beliefs are likely just as important as vitamins and minerals.

8 Ways to Achieve Big Hairy Audacious Goals


8 Ways to Achieve Big Hairy Audacious GoalsBig Hairy Audacious Goals or BAHGs are ambitious and inspiring. Setting them is important, but only the first step. Here are 8 traits you must cultivate to achieve Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

8 Ways to Achieve Big Hairy Audacious Goals:

1. Persistence

Some people will not believe in your goals as much as you do. Some people will tell you you’re going in the wrong direction, and some people will say “no” when you ask them for help.

In the face of all that, say yes. Persist towards your goals in the face of that opposition, remember why you want to achieve them, and go do it. People who are successful and achieve their goals are extremely persistent. That doesn’t mean they don’t feel like quitting sometimes – it’s normal to feel discouraged when you get bad news or negative feedback. But more importantly, those people know how to take it in stride and persevere.

2. Focus

If you want to achieve big hairy audacious goals and make your dreams a reality, you need to learn how to focus. People who are successful have learned how to tune out the background noise and work on whatever needs to get done. In addition to knowing how to focus, they know how to pick what to focus on. If they have a lot on their plate, they know how to analyze what will be the most worth their time and devote all their attention to it. They don’t waste time trying to finish three tasks at once while also messaging their friends on Facebook – they go through one task at a time until they’ve successfully completed everything they set out to do.

3. Optimism

Have you ever noticed how obsessing over the negatives never gets you anywhere? Optimism is extremely important, because it’ll keep you focused on your dreams, get you through the obstacles in your way, and push you through those tough times.

This isn’t blind optimism, of course. This is realistic optimism. If you get negative feedback, take a serious look at it and see if you can rework your plans to respond to it. Negative people will be tempted to give up – optimistic people will appreciate the feedback and alter course if needed.

4. Flexibility

A common misconception about those people who live the life of their dreams is that they stay focused on their goal in the face of all opposition – not true! In fact, to achieve your goals, you must always be open to revising your original plans.

Gaining more knowledge and experience may change your goals as well. Your industry will always evolve, and maybe it will change into something that won’t support your goals. Maybe you, or the people around you, will change too much to continue pursuing the original plan with them. In any case, always keep an eye on the motivation behind your goals, and how your goals fit into the big picture, and be ready to chart a new path at any time if necessary.

5. Self-Reliance

Sometimes things are out of our hands, but successful people are great at taking responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Instead of blaming it on others, they recognize when something is their fault, and commit to doing better in the future (and actually follow through on that). Being able to rely on yourself is critical in achieving your goals.

When you make a hard decision, you’ll be able to stand by it and defend it, because you know you’ve put a ton of thought into it. When you take on a responsibility, you know you will follow through and deliver results successfully. When you set big hairy audacious goals, you know you’re willing and able to put in the time and effort it will take to get there. That reliance on yourself is what will get you to the finish line.

6. Passion

If you don’t care about your goals, you won’t be able to make other people care. You have to be totally committed to your goals and passionate about them to the point that you can convince other people they are achievable and worthwhile.

Have you ever tried to sell a product you didn’t care about? It’s almost impossible. If you aren’t passionate about what you’re trying to accomplish, it will affect every aspect of your attempt to achieve it. It will be difficult to focus properly on it, persist through tough times, and stay optimistic about it. In fact, it will run counter to all those things. So, cultivate your passion, and it will help you reach your goals.

7. Detail-Oriented

There is no getting around it – if you want to be successful, you need to be detail-oriented. Every goal has a million moving parts, and you have to be able to keep track of them and see how they all fit together. Being detail-oriented will help you manage all those moving parts without getting overwhelmed or forgetting crucial steps.

Breaking up your goals into manageable pieces is another benefit of being detail-oriented. Want to lose 30 pounds? Start by working out 15 minutes a day. Seeing your goal as one huge behemoth entity can make it feel like you’re climbing Mount Everest – instead, focus on the smaller sections of that goal and climb each small hill one at a time. Before you know it, you’ll be at the top of that mountain.

8. Dissatisfaction

If you’re easily satisfied with what you accomplish, how will you keep moving forward? Learn to appreciate and enjoy your accomplishments, but look forward with excitement and anticipation at what is still to be achieved. Always set a new goal when you achieve one, always aim higher, and you’ll reach your goals and so much more.

Growing is essential. Cultivating dissatisfaction for that sense of stasis will help propel you forward to new places, new heights, and bigger, hairier goals than you ever thought possible.

Are Ancient Grains Better for You?


Are Ancient Grains Better for You?

Overview

The expression “everything old is new again” certainly rings true when it comes to grains, with a growing number of people pushing their grocery carts past modern wheat breads, cereals and crackers and loading up on products made with ancient grains.

What Exactly Are Ancient Grains?

Often also referred to as “heirloom” grains, the term “ancient,” generally refers to grains that have remain unchanged from their original form from centuries ago. In contrast, most of the wheat products on grocery shelves today are made with modern, or “dwarf” wheat, which is a hybrid of several different ancient wheat varieties. Ancient grains include the original strains of wheat: einkorn, spelt and emmer, plus non-gluten options like amaranth, teff and quinoa.

Einkorn

Are Ancient Grains Better for You?

Thought to originate in the Tigris-Euphrates region, einkorn is considered the oldest variety of wheat, first domesticated around 10,000 years ago. Einkorn only has two sets of chromosomes, while modern wheat has six sets, due to cross-breeding. Of all the grains, einkorn has the highest amount of the antioxidant lutein — it also has more protein, potassium and vitamin E. Einkorn has less starch and absorbs liquid slower than wheat, so when making breads, einkorn may seem sticky at first and need a longer rise time.

Emmer

A staple in Italy, where it’s known as farro, emmer is a particularly hearty grain that has a high resistance to disease and can thrive in poor soil conditions. It’s also rich in fiber, protein, magnesium and B vitamins. Ancient Egyptians used emmer to make beer and bread.

Spelt

This grain has been around since approximately 5000 B.C. and is even referenced in the Old Testament. It originated in the Near East and later spread to Europe. Spelt was introduced to the United States around 1900, but it was replaced with modern wheat in the 20th century. It has a tougher husk than modern wheat, which helps it to retain more nutrients. Spelt contains gluten, but lower amounts than modern wheat, with a delicately sweet and nutty taste.

Amaranth

Are Ancient Grains Better for You?

This is not a “true” cereal grain, but rather a pseudo-cereal. A native crop to Peru, amaranth was domesticated about 8,000 years ago. The ancient Aztecs relied on it as a major food group, and it also played a part in religious ceremonies.

The meaning of the word amaranth in Greek is “one that does not wither,” because amaranth is a tall, hearty plant with brightly colored flowers or deeply colored leaves that retain their beauty even after harvesting.

Naturally gluten-free, amaranth is a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium and is remarkably high in protein. Studies have also found that the phytosterols in amaranth have cholesterol-lowering properties. Amaranth is very hydrophilic — meaning it absorbs a lot of water — so it requires a much more water than other grains when cooking.

Teff

A staple of Ethiopian culture for centuries, teff is rather new to the U.S. But because it’s naturally gluten-free and highly nutritious, it’s quickly growing in popularity. The word teff means “lost,” because it is so small that if you dropped a grain it would likely be lost. A very nutritious grain, teff is an excellent source of iron, magnesium, protein, calcium, vitamin B6 and zinc. It has a slightly sweet, mildly nutty flavor and makes a delicious porridge or a traditional Ethiopian bread called injera, which is a fermented flatbread.

Quinoa

Not technically a grain, quinoa is a pseudo-cereal that is a relative of Swiss chard. Naturally gluten-free, quinoa is high in fiber and minerals and is a complete protein source. Its origins are in mountainous Andean regions of Peru and Bolivia, and it’s believed to have been domesticated between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago. Quinoa is grown at high altitudes and ranges in color from light brown to red and black.

The grains are covered with a bitter coating called a saponin, which protects it from birds and the sun. The saponin is removed during processing, but to achieve the best-tasting quinoa, give it a good rinse before cooking. Quinoa is a versatile grain: It can be tossed into salads, served as a side dish and ground and used as flour or made into porridge. Some other grains considered ancient include: kamut, triticale, sorghum, millet, buckwheat, blue corn and black barley.

Are Ancient Grains Better for You?

Modern, or dwarf, wheat has been bred to withstand pesticides, and it also contains higher amounts of gluten and starches than its predecessors. Because it contains more starch, modern grains will be higher glycemic, which means they spike the blood sugar more than some of the ancient grains.

Meanwhile, ancient wheat grains have been found to have higher amounts of antioxidants, protein, vitamins and minerals and lower amounts of gluten.

Sprouting and Fermenting Grains

One way to make all grains more nutritious and digestible is to soak or sprout them prior to cooking with them. This reduces antinutrients like phytic acid in the grain, which interferes with the absorption of the mineral content. Another way to improve the nutritional content of grains is to ferment them, as with sourdough.

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