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It's About FOOD!

 

Health. Feeling good. Enjoying life. Right down at the core of this is FOOD. This includes “Primary Food”--all those parts of life that give it meaning: relationships, satisfying work, a sense of purpose.

 

Yet the actual FOOD that we eat is what makes our bodies “tick”. Our DNA provides the blueprint. How well the body expresses this blueprint depends in large degree on the quality of the building materials we put into it. We have at our service the Master Architect: Mother Nature herself.

 

If we hire an outstanding architect to design our home, yet entrust the construction of it to a builder that uses shoddy materials, what happens? The house may seem pretty okay for a while, but after a time it starts breaking down. Without adequate supports, parts start to sag.

 

Various pieces malfunction. It becomes more and more of a headache to live in and manage, until we are spending major amounts of time and money getting it repaired.

 

If that house is built, from the start, of excellent materials that are appropriate for what they are forming, it is strong and durable. Parts that begin to wear out are faithfully replaced by new material as needed, making it an enduring structure.

 

Even outdoing that well-built house is the amazing human body. Its gift of self repair and self renewal seems miraculous. How can it know how to do all that?”  As in all biological systems, its workings, right down to the tiny structures within each cell, are enormously complex. Its ways of processing the food we put into it, to carry out all its intricate functions, are jaw-dropping if you are new to the study of biology and physiology. Besides transforming our breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks into human tissue, it continuously REPLACES each cell as it ages. 

 

In order to do all this, it requires a number of specific nutrients. What if our food doesn't supply all of these? The body is capable of manufacturing many of these, but this extra manufacturing process requires more expenditure of energy. If it still doesn't have what it needs, the body makes do somehow. But not as well as if it had what it needed. And eventually, breakdowns can occur, i.e., disease.

 

Not only does this marvelous organism do all that, but also it must cope with whatever toxic substances it encounters in food and all around us. Over 80,000 synthetic chemicals have been created since World War II. Unfortunately, many of these are used in processed food products, personal care products, cleaners, and other manufactured items. Then there's the toxic pollution issuing from coal and oil burning, and from the processes of manufacturing just about everything.

 

At this point you may feel like shuddering and thinking about something else instead. But wait! You can take control of your own health. Knowledge is power.

 

The purpose of this blog is to offer you knowledge you need in order to take charge of your body and your life. With each post I'll call your attention to facts you may not know, with resources for further information. I'm happy to receive your comments, questions, and suggested topics you'd like to read about here. Thank you!

Marilyn

 

4 Reasons to Celebrate Non-GMO Month

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Did you know that October is the official Non-GMO Month? This month, retail stores nationwide will celebrate the consumer's right to be informed of foods and products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

What exactly are GMOs again?

GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms, are products of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE), which creates new combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes by combining DNA from one species with DNA from another. The result: new organisms that do not occur in nature.

GMOs are often not labeled as such. In many developed nations, GMO products are heavily restricted or banned altogether because they have yet to be proven safe for people's health and the health of the environment. However, in the U.S. there is a dearth of public awareness of the potentially harmful repercussions of GMO products.

Here are four more reasons why you should celebrate Non-GMO Month this October and empower yourself to make the right decisions for you and your family.

1. Human Health

What Role Can Corporations Play in Solving the Global Health Crisis?

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Yesterday, Walmart announced an initiative to improve the nutrition of the food they carry while lessening its environmental impact. This is just one more announcement in a series of big name brands waking up to the dual global crises of health and the environment, and responding with corporate action.

Walmart's goal is to help the environment as well as the health of their consumers, and they’ve established four “pillars” to help them achieve that goal:

Are Synthetically Modified Foods the New GMOs?

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This Non-GMO Month, we’re thinking a lot about the genetically modified organisms that make their way into our food supply, and what they mean for our environment and our health. It’s a complicated and controversial issue, as we explored last week—and looks like it’s about to get even thornier.

A technology has just hit the market that brings new questions and concerns to the GMO debate. Synthetic biology, or “synbio,” doesn’t just change the makeup of certain natural entities, it actually grows new organisms that make things more efficiently than nature does.

Without getting too deep into the science, here’s how synbio works: By taking genes from a plant and giving them to yeast, scientists employ the process of fermentation to create the same compound that plant produces.

VIDEO: Are GMOs Useful or Unsafe?

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October is Non-GMO Month, which means it’s a perfect time to ask the perennial question: are genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) useful, or are they unsafe?

The parties on both sides feel strongly about the answer, and the complex science, politics, financial interests, and environmental implications of GMOs make it difficult to parse out who is correct.

Anti-GMO activists claim that these organisms are an environmental trigger for the growing health crisis, that genetic engineering is not natural, and that we don’t know the long-term health effects of eating GMOs. Scientists, on the other hand, point to thousands of studies that show the safety of GMOs, and say that labeling GMO products would cause people to avoid them out of unfounded fear.

This thorny issue involves the FDA, big corporations like Monsanto, farms small and huge, as well as everyone who eats fruits and vegetables. In the video below, 2009 graduate Robyn Youkilis explores the two sides of this debate. Watch now, and then tell us what you think in the comments.

National Kale Day: Could Kale Be the Next Beef?

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Today is our favorite day of the year: National Kale Day! First of all, how great that our country, despite all its health problems, has a designated day for the king of all leafy greens, right?

In Integrative Nutrition’s Health coach Training Program, kale holds an equally prominent place, with a special part of the curriculum devoted to it. One of the aspects we focus on is the surprising ways in which kale is actually a superb substitute for animal protein, something that most people don’t know.

So how does a bunch kale stack up against that slab of steak? Let’s take a look:

Deepak Chopra on What NOT to Do to Succeed

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When you look at the most successful people you know, you probably focus on what they did to achieve their success. But what about what they didn’t do? According to Integrative Nutrition visiting teacher Deepak Chopra, those non-actions play just as significant a role in determining career success.

In an article on LinkedIn last week, Deepak laid out the three biggest mistakes he sees derailing people’s potential:

  1. Setting your expectations too low.
  2. Feeling that you have to be certain.
  3. Not seeing how much you will grow.

A visionary in the world of holistic health and mindfulness, Deepak may not immediately seem like someone who would be giving tips for professional success. However, his advice—as well as the arc of his own life—is proof of the fact that it’s not only possible but even easier to achieve success if you listen to your inner voice.

Integrative Nutrition's World Heart Day Tips for Heart Health!

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Happy World Heart Day! Sponsored by the World Health Federation, today is an occasion to raise awareness about cardiac health and what people can do to reduce their risk of suffering from heart disease.

This is incredibly important, given that heart problems are the leading cause of death in the world, and the number of people who die from heart disease annually is projected to reach 23.3 million by 2030. And though heart disease is declining in developed countries, it’s increasing in virtually every other region of the world.

Fortunately, preventative measures are low-cost (or free!), so people in developing areas can reduce their risk of heart disease. The challenge is increasing awareness.

World Heart Day provides a powerful platform for this, spreading information about what causes heart disease and what people can do to fight it. The theme this year is “Heart Choices not Hard Choices,” with an emphasis on creating heart-healthy environments through day-to-day decisions.

They identify four factors that contribute to heart disease:

Will the iPhone 6 Make Us Healthier?

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The iPhone 6. Whether you have one yet or not, you likely haven’t been able to escape the buzz about it. And sure, it has some nifty features that mark big strides for mobile communication, photography, and information consumption.

But here’s why we’re interested: it also has the potential to do major things for people’s health by putting a Health Coaches in their pocket.

The new iPhone comes with a native Health app, which collects all of the user’s health and fitness data and presents it in an easy-to-read dashboard. Plus, Apple has unveiled a new platform called HealthKit, which developers can use to create wellness-focused apps that utilize all of the data from Health. Sounds promising!

Enterprising, health-minded developers are already raring to take advantage of these new technologies, and we’re sure to be seeing a lot of wellness apps coming down the pipeline in the near future.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Making Us Fat? Keri Glassman Weighs In

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“People don’t understand that artificial sweeteners make you gain weight, they do not make you lose weight.” This is one of the most common nutrition myths that Integrative Nutrition visiting teacher Keri Glassman says “makes her shake” when she encounters it in clients.

With a new study from Nature in the news recently asserting that artificial sweeteners interfere with the friendly bacteria in our guts, thus causing our blood sugar to spike and potentially fueling the obesity and diabetes epidemic, hopefully she’ll encounter this myth less frequently. However, as she explains in the video below, outdated dietary misconceptions abound!

In this interview, Glassman explains how she turned her innate passion for nutrition into a fulfilling and lucrative career that combats these myths, and the work she sees ahead for herself and other wellness crusaders. Watch now!

Khmer Tofu and Aubergine Curry

Khmer Tofu and Aubergine Curry

(Serves 4-5)

While many non-native foods reached Cambodia from other lands, a wealth of sugar palms, coconut trees, papayas, mangoes, and bananas are indigenous and thrive happily in the warm region. Vegetables are colorful, plentiful, and often grow wild. Bright displays of lufa gourd, eggplant, water spinach, yard-long beans, mushrooms, cabbage, bamboo shoots, Chinese broccoli, carrots, garlic, and snow peas are readily available at open-air farmers' markets.

I've adapted this typically spicy Cambodian curry to be far milder than its original fiery version but every bit as delicious. In addition to their frequent use of chilies and black pepper, Southeast Asian cooks turn to fresh herbs, which they use liberally to infuse their foods with enticing flavors`. Because fresh herbs love Cambodia's hot, humid climate, they grow with enthusiasm. Serve this tasty curry over brown rice or rice noodles.

Using Kaffir Lime Leaves

Endowed with a uniquely delicious flavor, these aromatic leaves add a desirable touch to Southeast Asian soups, curries, and sauces. Look for fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves in Asian markets. If the leaves are fresh and pliable, use them whole or slice them into 1/8 -inch slivers and add to stirfries or soups as directed. If the leaves are dried, use them whole in recipes with plenty of liquid, such as soups or saucy dishes. Discard before serving.

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