What is the Secret to Vibrant Health?

Do you want to know the secret to vibrant health? The secret is—there is no secret! What works for me may not work for you. Do you want to know why?

Every Body is Different

When I was struggling with a painful psoriasis flare on my hands, I tried different things for six months. The major changes that helped me were changes to my diet, a visit to a Functional Medicine practitioner, and a cleanse. When I visited the Functional Medicine practitioner, my lab results revealed Epstein-Barr reactivation and possible MTHFR mutation. Another person with psoriasis would have different laboratory test results, which is why my protocol might not work for another person with psoriasis. Some people with skin problems might only need to make minor changes to their lives, while others might need to make more drastic changes.

Everybody Has A Different Health Background and Environment

Some people had some health disadvantages starting at an early age because they were born via Cesarean section or because they only drank formula when they were babies. Some people constantly ingest antibiotics and medications that are harmful for their gut health. Some people are exposed to occupational hazards or many poisonous chemicals in their homes. Some people are exposed to toxic people at work and at home, leading to excessive emotional and physical stress. The fixes that I have found for my particular health background and environment would not apply to you because your health history and environment is different than mine.

So, the bad news is that there is no secret sauce for vibrant health. But the good news is that vibrant health is attainable.

Be Your Own Lab Rat

Start by making some small changes. If you don’t get the results that you want, add another small change. Add more water to your diet, add some greens to your diet, get rid of endocrine disruptors in your home, eliminate some processed foods from your diet, learn a new stress management technique, or start doing yoga. Keep track of how you feel after you add something new or take something away.

Visit A Functional Medicine Practitioner

A conventional physician will spend a few minutes with you and write a couple of drug prescriptions for you (in the long run, these drugs might do more harm than good). A Functional Medicine practitioner will spend a lot of time with you, (the consultations with my practitioner lasted for 60-90 minutes) will work to find the root cause of your symptoms, and will create a special care plan for you. My decision to see a Functional Medicine practitioner was one of the best decisions that I made for my health.

Keep learning and listening to your body. Vibrant health is within your reach. Don’t give up!

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Aspartame: AKA Fake Food or Poison

Years ago, I remember talking to my friend about healthy eating and how he managed to lose a lot of weight. He said that avoiding junk foods became easier when he stopped seeing junk food as real food. He realized that most junk food is not real food—most of it has been processed so much that it contains little to no nutritional value. Unfortunately, a lot of this “food” contains dangerous chemicals or poison. I would categorize aspartame as poison.

What is aspartame?

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener (fake food) with many names.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, also referred to as Acesulfame potassium (K), AminoSweet®, Neotame®, Equal®, NutraSweet®, Blue Zero Calorie Sweetener Packets™, Advantame®, NutraSweet New Pink, Canderel®, Pal Sweet Diet® and AminoSweet®. It’s used in a variety of food and wellness products like diet soda, gum, candy and vitamins.

-Draxe.com

What are some of the possible dangers of aspartame?

Systemic Inflammation

Inflammation is the cause of many diseases. A study suggested that aspartame causes systemic inflammation—even when dosages did not exceed the recommended safety dosages.

Cancer

One study showed that aspartame produced carcinogenic effects in rats and mice.

“Metabolic Derangements”

Evidence suggests that people that consume artificial sweeteners regularly may have an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and metabolic syndrome. Another study with animals showed that animals were more prone to develop obesity and metabolic syndrome if they had long-term exposure to aspartame in the womb.

Neurobehavioral Effects

In one study, a high-aspartame diet resulted in irritable mood, depression, and a worsened performance on spatial orientation tests. What is disturbing to me is that the dosage of aspartame given to the subjects was well below the maximum recommended daily level. I wonder what would have happened if the subjects were given the maximum recommended daily level.

Early Puberty

In a study done with nine and ten-year old girls, it was found that consumption of aspartame (from artificially sweetened soft drinks) was positively associated with a risk of early puberty. According to draxe.com, “long-term risks of early puberty include breast cancer, HPV, heart disease, diabetes and all-cause mortality.”

Almost Every Health Issue Known to Man

Aspartame interference in these functions may directly or indirectly evoke the development of many adverse symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, tinnitus, memory loss, learning disabilities and joint pain.

-Folia Neuropathologica

What are some natural sweet alternatives to aspartame?

Stevia, honey, coconut sugar, and dates are delicious and healthy in moderation.

I used to be an avid junk food eater that hated cooking and baking. When I started to have health issues, I cut sweet foods and other unhealthy foods out of my diet. Once my health began to improve, I started baking desserts with natural sweeteners. They taste incredible! I know that it is hard to avoid aspartame and other fake foods, but if I can do it, anyone can do it!

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References

Araujo JR, Martel F, Keating E. Exposure to non-nutritive sweeteners during pregnancy and lactation: impact in programming of metabolic diseases in the progeny later in life. Reprod Toxicol. 2014; 49, 196-201. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25263228/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Choudhary AK, Pretorius E. Revisiting the safety of aspartame. Nutr Rev. 2017; 75 (9), 718-730. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28938797/?from_term=aspartame&from_pos=1. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Edwards, Rebekah. Aspartame: 11 Dangers of This All-Too-Common Food Additive. Draxe.com. https://draxe.com/nutrition/aspartame/. Published May 13, 2019. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Lindseth GN, Coolahan SE, Petros TV, et al. Neurobehavioral effects of aspartame consumption. Res Nurs Health. 2014; 37(3): 185-193. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24700203/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Mueller NT, Jacobs DR, MacLehose, RF, et al. Consumption of caffeinated and artificially sweetened soft drinks is associated with risk of early menarche. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015; 102 (3): 648-654. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26178725/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Rycerz K, Jaworska-Adamu JE. Review paper effects of aspartame metabolites on astrocytes and neurons. Folia Neuropathologica. 2013; 51(1): 10-17. https://www.termedia.pl/Review-paper-Effects-of-aspartame-metabolites-on-astrocytes-and-neurons,20,20489,1,1.html. Published March 28, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Soffritti M, Belpoggi F, Manservigi M, et al. Aspartame administered in feed, beginning prenatally through life span, induces cancers of the liver and lung in male Swiss mice. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2010; 53 (12). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ajim.20896. Published September 30, 2010. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Swithers, SE. Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013;24(9):431-441. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23850261/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

There’s Always Been Gold Among Us

It’s hard to believe that breastfeeding was once uncommon and that it was not encouraged by the medical community in 1956. This was the year that La Leche League International was formed—seven mothers created this organization so that they could provide support to women that wanted to breastfeed their babies.

Before my first child was born, I remember my lactation consultant telling me that breastmilk is like “liquid gold” for babies. I find it fascinating that the composition and quantity of breastmilk changes depending on the time of day and the age of the baby. For example, if the mom is exposed to a specific bug, the composition of the breastmilk will change to protect the baby from that specific bug!

Not only is breastmilk wonderful for the baby, breastfeeding helps the mom as well. Breastfeeding helps with weight loss and mood management. It also helps to prevent cancer.

If the medical community overlooked the amazing benefits of natural breastmilk, what are they overlooking today? If you are struggling with your health, I hope that you will not overlook natural methods of healing—God has provided us with a lot of “gold” that can help our bodies to heal and thrive! I also encourage you to find a provider that is a free thinker—a practitioner that will question the status quo for the sake of helping you find what will help your body to heal.

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He Quacked Like A Duck

Handwashing has become quite second nature to us, especially these days. Do you know about the man that started it all?

In 1846, Ignaz Semmelweis wondered why so many mothers were dying from postpartum infections. After trial and error, he came up with the idea that the doctors that were performing autopsies were transmitting microscopic parts of the dead bodies to the pregnant women. After the doctors started washing their hands with chlorine solution, the postpartum death count dropped dramatically.

Unfortunately, the idea didn’t stick, and doctors stopped following Semmelweis’ advice. After continuous conflict with colleagues, in 1865, Semmelweis was admitted into a mental hospital. Ironically, he died from an infection. After his death, the simple method of handwashing was finally accepted by the medical community.

This tragic story makes me want to listen to the “quacks” in our society. If we want to improve our lives, we must always be willing to listen and learn from others. This story also makes me want to stick to some of my strong convictions—sometimes it’s the people with the strong convictions that end up changing the world forever.

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Apple Cider Vinegar for Amazing Health

Whenever the skin on my hands becomes overly dry and irritated, I can tell that my gut needs a little help. In addition to increasing my water intake, I have started drinking apple cider vinegar again. I drink one tablespoon of Bragg apple cider vinegar—organic, raw, and made with “mother” enzymes”—in one cup of water before breakfast and lunch. Apple Cider Vinegar has many amazing uses—below are three of my favorites!

Bacteria Killer

In the time of Hippocrates and The Old Testament, apple cider vinegar and honey were used to fight infection and to clean skin wounds. According to one clinical study, apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial effects on E-coli, S. aureus, and C. albicans. It can help the body get rid of bad bacteria in the gut. A healthier gut leads to a healthier you!

Diabetes Fighter

Vinegar helps to lower blood glucose in people that have type 2 diabetes or people that are at-risk of developing type 2 diabetes. One study showed that a change in diet and one tablespoon of vinegar twice per day led to a greater decrease in fasting blood glucose than daily rosiglitazone or metformin use.

Weight Loss Helper

In one study, researchers concluded that apple cider vinegar reduced the risk of obesity in rats. In another study that lasted for 12 weeks, obese human subjects that consumed 15 mL or 30 mL of vinegar had significantly lower weight, body mass index, visceral fat, waist circumference, and triglyceride levels than subjects that did not consume vinegar.

Before you decide to consume apple cider vinegar, you might want to consult with your healthcare professional. Also, be sure to dilute it in water and do not overdo it. Over-consumption can lead to stomach upset, erosion of the enamel of your teeth, a decrease in your potassium level, and other unwanted effects.

What do you think of this natural remedy?

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