Doctors “Prescribing” Fresh Foods From Food Banks

Food Banks in the US are stocking more nutritious foods for their clientele.

These organizations across America help the homeless and those with low incomes to eat affordably or for free. Food banks, in association with local farmers, are offering more fresh produce these days. And doctors are collaborating with food banks, prescribing fruits and vegetables to improve overall health.

Feeding America

Feeding America is a nonprofit organization who took a survey of 200 food banks. They discovered that one-third of households participating in food banks have at least one member who is diabetic. More than 50 percent have a member with high blood pressure.

When questioned, 55 percent of the families responded that they would love to have fruits and veggies, but felt they couldn’t afford them. They may get their wish soon. Over 30 food banks in the Midwest refuse to accept “sweets” into their supplies. They are trying to carry healthier foods like lean proteins and produce as opposed to grains and empty-calorie foods.

Doctors Partnering

Chicago-area clinics, for example, have hosted events where truckloads of fresh foods are brought in. The Chicago Food Depository provided over 100,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables over the past year. This helped feed over 3,000 families.

Doctors in Idaho with low-income patients are beginning to add pantries in their clinic. They can “prescribe” fresh foods on the spot. In Delaware, a family can get up to 25 pounds a month from the local food bank with their doctor’s prescription.

Cost-Worthy

Food banks get their food from sources that they’d otherwise throw in the trash. (It’s perfectly fresh, but it may not look the “right” color or shape for commercial sale.) Additionally, money received from donations help purchase food for the facility. Nutritious foods can cost more, but researchers are examining the benefits of preventative spending. A family who eats better (so it’s hoped) will have fewer medical bills and less work-loss due to illness.

Currently, a clinical study is underway measuring if proper nutrition offered at food banks can help those with diabetes. In five years, the amount of fresh produce that’s become available in food banks has doubled. From July 2015 through June 2016, over one-billion pounds were distributed throughout the US.

It looks as if we’re heading in the right direction—food-wise and health-wise.

For more info on nutrition, best health practices, and current medical studies, check out www.GetThrive.com

CanaGel Melts

 

Has Our Diet Gotten Healthier? Yes and… No

A new study on the diet of Americans reveals they have gotten slightly healthier, but in other ways they’ve gotten worse.

Unhealthy Diet Going Down

The results of the food-intake study were recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Over a 13-year period, thousands of people across the country were asked about what they had eaten in the last day. National surveys were studied and the findings were not that uplifting, unfortunately. As it turns out, 46% of Americans still eat an unhealthy diet. The good news is the figure used to be 56%. So that’s one positive aspect.

Another slightly inspiring finding is that Americans are drinking less soda and eating fewer refined grains and white potatoes. There was also a small rise in the amount of yogurt, nuts, and seeds the participants consumed. That’s another glimpse of movement in a positive direction.

Progress Lacking

Frighteningly, overall, Americans showed no decline in consuming meat (processed or fresh) or sodium. Eating red meat and an overabundance of salt is linked to heart disease and high blood pressure. Additionally, the amount of fruits and vegetables consumed did not rise at all. (Two essential food groups for optimum health!) How can we begin to lower chronic disease in this country when eating habits continue to remain so unhealthy?

Class, Ethnicity, and Social Disparity

The study’s results also presented a different, yet equally significant problem. White Americans positively altered their diets more than any other group. Minority and lower socio-economic groups improved their habits only at a miniscule level. And worse, Mexican-Americans actually increased their consumption of refined grains, and black Americans ate more white potatoes. A person’s level of education and income played a part in the way he/she improved (or did not improve) his/her diet.

What’s the Fix?

We all know diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are rampant and killing way too many Americans. We can improve our health by “fixing” our diet. But how come not enough people are doing it?

Many doctors, health advocates, and even public policy makers believe government needs to step in more. The argument is that we have safety guidelines for cars, toys, and workplaces, but the ones for food are weak. The food industry basically polices itself and there’s a call for stronger government policy in this area.

Dr. Kelly Brownell, a leading advocate for good nutrition, has written papers and lobbied for stronger federal policy. The sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) tax has shown to be slightly effective in decreasing consumption of soda and sugary drinks. The problem is that the tax is not enough to make the drink economically restrictive. And if it is for some people, they just go to a nearby county where there is no SSB tax. Although this may be one small effort, it’s not strong or pervasive enough to affect great change.

Hopefully, you are on a path of nutritional improvement. Your health matters. For more info on food and good health check out www.GetThrive.com

 

How to Improve Your Wellbeing and Become a Home Juicer

Are you tired of feeling physically uncomfortable, mentally foggy, and downright disgusted? Making changes to your diet has been found to radically reverse poor emotional health, the inability to lose weight, and even chronic illness. Home juicing just may be the catalyst you need to help restore your health—and maybe improve your overall wellbeing

Man Cannot Live on Juice Alone

The concept of juicing at home does not mean you give up on “food.” Juicing is a practice whereby you remove the juice from whole fruits and vegetables, often combining them into a refreshing beverage. This process provides vitamins and nutrients you may not be receiving otherwise. However, a superior juicing recipe may also include the pulp, seeds, and/or skin of your produce so that you garner other important elements such as fiber and minerals.

Why Juice?

The purpose of juicing is to provide valuable compounds your body needs and craves in today’s toxic world. Whether we realize it or not, we are bombarded with pollution. It’s very difficult to avoid the poisons traveling through our air, soil, and water at home and in the environment. We need extra doses of beneficial nutrients to combat toxins and protect our precious cells.

Vegetables and fruits contain flavonoids and anthocyanins. These are compounds that help guard our cells from damage. Extensive and/or chronic cellular damage can lead to cancer, heart disease, inflammatory disease, and other unwanted physical ailments. Ingesting anti-oxidants are essential nowadays for keeping the peace within our body.

Polluted Body?

If you know you’re eating fast food over twice a week, not exercising more than twice a week, drinking alcohol, smoking, and not sleeping enough, you can pretty much count on toxicity within. You may already be feeling the signs:

-always tired

-can’t lose weight

-get sick often

-have unexplained pain in joints

-constant gas, heartburn, constipation, or diarrhea

Your poor system is probably suffering from inflammation. You may even notice outward signs like poor skin color and texture, more wrinkles, tooth or gum pain, and no energy.

What To Do

You may try gathering information from trustworthy Websites such as GetThrive and VeryWell. Also, check with medical practitioners you trust. Ask friends or co-workers who juice and inquire about their experience.

Another idea is to look up some popular recipes for juicing at home. It’s simple and not very time-consuming. Make a commitment to juicing at least once a day for a month. Remember, it took a long time to get sick. Be patient with your healing process. Not far off, you may start noticing:

  • clearer, brighter skin
  • a calmer tummy
  • weight loss from bloat
  • fewer food cravings
  • a stronger immune system
  • more energy
  • overall more contentment

If adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can improve your physical and mental health, why not try it?

Juicing can be used as a cleanse, a health boost, and a supplement to your regular healthy diet. Always check with your health care provider before embarking on any significant dietary shift. And also, health experts suggest including protein, low carbs, and good fats into your non-juicing meals.

A healthy diet, exercise, and a positive attitude significantly reduce your risk of contracting or developing disease. So think, adding juicing just may improve your internal and external health—a bonus to your overall wellbeing.

Dr. Dave Campbell Commentary

Juicing is one part of a healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle that provides nutrients and is low in calories. It is also a habit that tends to foster other health optimizing habits. Juicing takes time, effort and energy. Spending a few extra minutes a day washing, scraping, cutting and then plopping the fruits and veggies into the juicer will make you think twice later-on when a high-calorie, poorly nutritious, sugar-laden food is calling your name from the fridge. Juicing takes a bit of work. Why waste it on dessert.  Juicing has a myriad of positive health benefits and essentially no downside. When combined with good tasting, filling and well-balanced foods, regular modest exercise, and keeping a lid of unhealthy lifestyles like smoking and drinking too much, feeling better is surely just around the corner.

 

Estrogen, your female hormones and how is it effecting your weight?

Can there be anything more frustrating than exercising, eating properly, and STILL not losing a pound? Many of us have been there (or are here) and want to know, “What’s going on? What am I doing wrong?”

You’re not doing anything wrong—consciously. What you may not know is that due to an imbalance of hormones, your body is resisting weight loss. We’re not just talking about estrogen; there are many hormones that work together, all supplying assistance to different parts of your body.

Let’s first discuss the estrogen issue. It’s impossible to state that too little or too much estrogen conclusively acts a certain way for each woman, across the board. One woman, for example, may be sensitive to soy (including soy milk), which may increase estrogen levels.

Too much estrogen puts a strain on cells that produce insulin. If less glucose is traveling to your liver, then more winds up in your bloodstream. The excess glucose in your bloodstream is then stored as fat.

Too little estrogen may also cause the body to use starches and blood sugar less effectively. This too may increase fat storage. So, now we’re back to scratching our heads. Before committing to hormone replacement therapy, you may want to examine the possibility of other hormones being out of whack, which may contribute to an estrogen imbalance.

We know stress is a killer. Finding successful ways to combat stress is a constant exploration and practice. When we get stressed out, our cortisol levels increase. Cortisol is the “protect yourself from threat” hormone. When it’s released, your body automatically goes into “survival” mode, and it starts storing fat cells.

Meditation, exercise, vacation—they’re all great for stress reduction, but if you’re drinking eight cups of coffee a day, you’re undoing your healthy efforts. Moderating or greatly limiting caffeine intake can help keep cortisol levels in check.

Other hormone levels worth checking, (which greatly affect weight gain or the ability to maintain a desired weight) are insulin and TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone.) Blood tests can reveal the levels, which will inform you if there’s an imbalance. Diet and exercise play a tremendous part in their functionality.

Another lesser-familiar hormone, Leptin, lets your brain know when you’re full. When there’s too much leptin, your brain cannot receive its important message to stop eating. Fat produces leptin. Excessive sugar and processed foods contain an abundance of fructose.

Too much fructose and your liver can’t filter through it fast enough to create it into fuel for energy. The overload is converted into fats. More fructose, more fat, too much leptin, hence, more overeating.

As with the overabundance of any hormone, our brains become less impervious to the messages being sent. So, if we want estrogen to do its job, we don’t want high levels of it. One reason for increased estrogen levels is not ingesting enough fiber.

Vegetables and other fiber-rich foods keep bowel movements regular, which allows for any excess estrogen to be discarded. Eating a diet high in animal-based foods subjects your body to all the antibiotics, steroids, and other chemicals that were fed to the animals. Also beware pesticides used on fruits and vegetables.

All of those chemicals (including others used in skin care products, shampoo, cosmetics, plastics, and the list goes on…), they act like estrogen when they’re absorbed into the body either by eating, drinking, through our skin, and even through the air we breathe. These chemicals are considered endocrine disruptors and affect our balance of estrogen as well as most of our hormones.

This may all sounds so scary, but there is a light somewhere in this hormonal tunnel. Mindful eating can certainly help. Mindful product shopping can also be added to your list. Continue to get daily exercise and keep stress levels at a minimum.

Stick with your program and it may be possible to rebalance your hormonal system. Before too long, you should notice the shedding of unwanted pounds—and then be able to keep them off.

 

Mental Health Improved With 2 Servings of Produce Daily

Fruits and vegetables already top the charts for most beneficial foods for physical health. A new study provides yet another reason to indulge in produce daily. Just two servings, even over the course of only two weeks, reveal an increase in psychological well-being.

What’s Suggested

The U.S. dietary pyramid guideline recommends a total of seven servings of fruits and vegetables daily for a young adult. It sounds overwhelming, but really, one fruit serving can be an apple or banana, And, a serving of veggies could be a cup of raw spinach or a few baby carrots. Having a salad and a smoothie in one day more than covers the suggested quota of produce. Thinking of it in those terms, it doesn’t seem too difficult to accomplish, correct?

How it’s Working

So how many people actually follow the recommendation? According to researchers from the CDC, only one in 10 Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables. California has the most produce eaters, and even then, only 13% of Californians eat enough veggies.

Studies show that young adults, especially, are least likely to gravitate towards fruits and vegetables. In most cases, even when given vouchers for free produce, those between the ages of 18 and 25 will not opt for those foods. However, when directly providing the produce, the younger set will eat the items—and the results show signs of improved wellbeing.

Happier Young Adults

A recent study published in a current edition of the journal PLOS ONE, explains the many mental benefits from eating fruits and vegetables. Their research included over 170 males and females between the ages of 18 and 25. Those who consumed “an extra two servings of produce a day (for 14 days), reported an increase in psychological well-being.”

Evidence is also pointing to a decrease in depression and anxiety in those who eat a significant amount of veggies and fruits. This particular study reports that higher consumption of produce correlates to an increase in happiness and greater life satisfaction.

Even over just two weeks (which is a relatively short amount of time) the young adults in the higher-eating produce group reported additional mental benefits. Besides feeling “happier”, they expressed a sense of greater energy and vitality, along with improved levels of motivation.

What’s Next?

It sounds so simple to say, “If you eat your veggies, you’ll be a happier person.” Perhaps because it’s difficult to believe? We have veered so far away from ingesting what is natural to our bodies. Some experts believe there needs to be a culture shift.

Instead of cracking open a bag of chips, grab an apple. It’s much more nutritious and actually, costs less. It’s a process that takes time and practice. We must retrain ourselves to treat our bodies nutritionally. If you had the choice to eat a carrot and feel alert, or eat a bag of Doritos and feel (fill in the blank), which would you choose?

Check out GetThrive for the latest updates on health, nutrition, and wellbeing.

Sources:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0171206

https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2000/document/build.htm

https://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/centers-for-disease-control-news-120/only-1-in-10-americans-eats-enough-fruits-and-veggies-cdc-701213.html

 

 

More Danger Linked to Eating Red Meat

Although there have already been plenty of reports encouraging the avoidance or decrease of red meat consumption, there’s one more to add to the list.  Men, in particular, who eat a considerable amount of red meat are at higher risk of developing a painful, chronic colon condition.

What We Already Know

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a variety of foods, mostly plant-based. Ideally, one’s plate would be half vegetables and fruits, a quarter whole grains and legumes, and a quarter protein. Unfortunately, many Americans are still plating up unprocessed red meats (burgers and steaks) as their protein of choice.

Choosing lean meats (poultry), fish, and beans as a protein is better overall for heart and colon health. One theory for the disturbance that red meat causes in the body is that it interferes with the gut microbiome. This negatively affects proper digestion. Other evidence points to consumption of red meat fueling low-level inflammation. Chronic inflammation, at any level, is dangerous and has been known to increase risk of cancer.

So, Now What Are They Saying?

A new study out of Boston found that men who ate over 10 servings of red meat per week were over 50% more likely to develop diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is a pouch in the lining of the colon that becomes inflamed of infected. Food and bacteria get trapped in the pocket(s), which creates the perilous condition.

This inflammatory disease of the colon causes extreme pain, constipation, and nausea. Diverticulitis can result in dangerous complications such as blockages and/or tears in the colon wall. If the increase of heart disease or cancer didn’t scare you, perhaps the results of this study may.

Senior researcher Dr. Andrew Chan noted that in this study, there was no link between poultry or fish and the risk of diverticulitis. What this means is that trading out a piece of grilled chicken for a hamburger can greatly decrease a man’s risk of developing diverticulitis. The study was conducted over a 26-year period and included over 46,000 male participants.

How to Proceed

If you love a good steak or burger, you don’t need to remove it completely from your diet (unless your health practitioner has made that recommendation.) Aim to keep your servings to three or less per week. There are many delicious and nutrient-rich replacements for high protein dishes besides red meat.

A plant-based diet will keep you heart-healthiest, but chicken, turkey, and fish are completely acceptable sources of main protein on your breakfast, lunch, or dinner plate. Whichever you choose, remember to combine double its portion with vegetables and fruit. For more articles on healthy eating, check out www.GetThrive.com

Sources:

http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2017/01/10/Red-meat-consumption-may-be-linked-to-gut-disorder-in-men/1341484071725/

The Vitamin You Need But Don’t Know About

When it comes to vitamins, we read labels, blogs, and listen to advice from health experts. But there’s one necessary vitamin we are short on, and probably never even heard of. Its name is Vitamin K2.

Vitamin K1 and K2

We’ve heard of Vitamin K1 from cereals and health-oriented sources. It’s well known for its ability to assist with proper blood clotting. It can be derived naturally from green leafy vegetables, cruciferous veggies, and in smaller amounts from fish, liver, eggs, and cereal.

Most people on a Western diet do not consume enough foods containing K1. Even with supplements, most Americans are deficient in that particular vitamin.

Vitamin K2 is actually made from Vitamin K1. But because most are lacking in K1, there is no way that our bodies are creating enough K2.

Vitamin K2’s job is to carry calcium to the proper places such as your bones, joints, and teeth. When we are K2 deficient, calcium gets moved to other places like your arteries—which creates a negative affect for your heart and brain.

Why Aren’t More People Talking About This?

There have been numerous recent studies on the valuable importance of Vitamin K2. Mostly all of the findings point to adequate intake of K2 being a worthy prevention for Heart Disease.

Vascular calcification can be diminished when Vitamins K1 and K2 are in abundance as our biological functions require. One study out of Rotterdam, which analyzed almost 5,000 participants, showed that coronary heart disease mortality was reduced in those with proper amounts of Vitamin K2. And, a risk of acquiring heart disease was lessened by over 50%.

Atherosclerosis is the hardening of the arteries. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to your brain, heart, and other areas of your body. The “hardening” is actually plaque build-up. The blood has difficulty getting where it needs to go when there are blockages. Plaque consists mostly of fat, cholesterol—and calcium.

How is that calcium getting into the bloodstream? One reason is because it’s not being transported to the places it should be going (ie. teeth and bones), due to a shortage of Vitamin K2 to lead it there properly.

Other Vitamin K1 and K2 Benefits

Diabetes risk can be decreased by as much as 51% with increase ingestion of K1. It plays a role (along with other mechanisms) in regulating glucose.

Autoimmune Diseases may be helped to be put into remission. One study presented that osteoporosis may be preventable from those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. It also showed that Vitamin K2 may even help put rheumatoid arthritis into remission.

A German research group discovered that vitamin K2 provides substantial protection against prostate cancer.

Studies analyzing CT scans are looking for signs of coronary calcification reversal. Along with a healthy diet and exercise, Vitamin K2 may help decrease plaque and prevent build-up in the first place.

Getting Vitamin K2 from Food

The daily requirement for K2 can be nebulous, but many health experts recommend between 100 and 200 mcg (although the RDA requirement is significantly much lower.) No matter if you eat K2-rich foods or take a supplement, you need to take/eat it with a good fat. Vitamin K2 is fat-soluble, and you won’t fully absorb it unless it’s paired with fat.

Here are some food suggestions: Natto (a fermented Japanese food that tastes bitter), hard and soft cheeses, egg yolks, butter, chicken liver, grass-fed beef, and organic chicken breast.

Green leafy vegetables are terrific too, like spinach, kale, collard greens, etc. But you need a ton to get close to fulfilling enough Vitamin K2 in your diet.

Controversy?

We hear doctors telling us not to eat to eat egg yolks because they are full of cholesterol. But Vitamin K2 is found in yolks, and we need that vitamin. So is the egg yolk causing clogged arteries? Or is the lack of a natural digestive substance causing calcium build-up in the arteries and also preventing the body from maintaining its intended healthy process?

For other thought-provoking articles and tips on best health practices, see our collection at www.GetThrive.com

Raw or Cooked: Which Food is Healthier?

One of the greatest trends of this millennium has been the so-called “raw” movement. With variation diets like caveman, Paleo, ancient, and vegan, the raw food craze has hit a fever pitch. But does this seemingly healthy way of eating benefit our health as much as it’s promoted?

Is Less More?

Raw can be great nutritionally, but several recent studies have shown that “all-raw” eaters may be shorting themselves on some key nutrients and antioxidants. Elements such as lycopene and carotenoids might be lacking when certain produce is not cooked.

The raw food folks counter with the claim that cooking destroys critical enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. So, what’s the best way to eat your fresh food? Cook it like a “civilized” human, or go all caveperson and eat it raw?

To Cook or Not to Cook?

Cooking most foods, be it a juicy grass-fed steak or a stalk of asparagus, can alter and diminish certain nutrients and enzymes.  Many vitamins, like Vitamin C and B-1, and some anti-cancer components, like glucosinolates, are indeed diminished when exposed to heat.

Since humans have evolved from hunter-gatherers, the raw promoters claim we’re designed and equipped to handle raw food and process it effectively.

Here are some benefits to eating raw foods:

  • Better digestion due to the concentration of enzymes
  • More vitamins and minerals are preserved in raw foods
  • Lower risks of certain cancers have been tied to raw food consumption

Now Let’s Cook!

There are certain risks involved with eating certain raw foods particularly proteins like meat, seafood and dairy, which can carry harmful and potentially deadly bacteria and parasites.

Proponents of cooking use the bacteria and parasite issue as one of the key arguments for cooking most foods, but everyone agrees that many fruits, vegetables, and nuts are perfectly fine eaten raw.

Cooking can aid in digestion, as it helps break down fibrous cell walls and makes foods easier to chew. Cooked food is also more palatable to many people, particularly the young and the aged. If it looks good, it’s more likely to be eaten, which is sometimes half the battle.

The Cooked and the Raw

With all the arguments pro and con, the choice is ultimately up to you and perhaps your nutritionist and doctor as to how much raw vs. cooked food you want to incorporate into your diet.  One thing that all health professionals agree upon is that we should all be eating more fruits and vegetables regardless as to how they are prepared. If you need some advice on which foods offer more benefits when cooked or raw, below are some guidelines.

Foods that do well under heat:

  • Tomatoes – heat releases more lycopene; use them roasted or even in sauce
  • Carrots – cooking them makes the beta carotene more available
  • Asparagus – supplies more antioxidants when steamed or roasted
  • Spinach, mushrooms, peppers and cabbage all do well cooked

Foods that are most beneficial when consumed raw:

  • Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Most leafy greens like lettuces, herbs, cabbage and watercress
  • Garlic
  • Carrots

Double Dipping

Aha! Carrots and cabbage are on both lists! Yes, it’s true—some vegetables and fruits offer benefits when consumed raw or cooked. It’s like the old saying: variety is indeed the spice of life. To get the most benefits of many foods, you should eat them in a variety of ways, sometimes cooked and sometimes raw. It can get confusing, but as long as you are eating more vegetables and fruits, don’t stress too much over the raw vs. cooked battle—just enjoy!

Digestion Suggestions

The following tips will help you stay safe and healthy as you go raw or stay away from the Neanderthals and continue to cook your food:

  • Always wash all produce thoroughly.
  • Buy local (and organic) when possible to maintain the nutrients.
  • Practice good food safety when dealing with raw meats and seafood.
  • Chew raw (and cooked) foods well; cut raw foods into smaller pieces.
  • Use low heat, steam, or oven roasting to maintain the most nutrients in your produce
  • Raw nuts are an excellent way to go raw safely, and they offer many healthy benefits beyond just being raw.
  • Frozen produce is an acceptable substitute when fresh is unavailable.

Whether you’re eating raw or cooked, best health practice is to know your food sources. Keeping organic is your best choice, and educating yourself on nutrition will always benefit you and your family. For other recommendations and tips on nutrition and health, check out www.GetThrive.com