by Kathleen Barnes
“Am I a sugar addict?” There’s an easy way to tell.
“If you have to ask yourself, you are,” advises Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, a renowned integrative physician in Kona, Hawaii, and author of Beat Sugar Addiction Now!
The dangers of excessive sugar consumption, especially of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), are well known. Yet such cheap corn-based sweeteners account for nearly 56 percent of all sweeteners, especially in beverages.
In summer, when many fruits, herbs and vegetables are at their peak, it makes sense to harness their power for the family’s benefit. “Some people flock to plant-empowered living for better health, others because of their spiritual beliefs, to support animal welfare, respect the environment or, best of all, because it tastes great,” says wellness activist Kris Carr, a documentary filmmaker, New York Times bestselling author and the educational force behind KrisCarr.com.
Carr joined the wellness revolution after being diagnosed with a rare disease. It proved to be the incentive she needed to change her eating habits and find renewed power and energy. Her new book, Crazy Sexy Kitchen, with recipes by Chef Chad Sarno, celebrates the colors, flavors and powers of plants that nourish us at the cellular level.
by Claire O’Neil
In outdoor spaces from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Arch Cape, Oregon, produce is growing and grill embers are glowing. Growing a garden and grilling its bounty have never been more popular.
For the first time since 1944, when 20 million “Victory” gardeners produced 44 percent of the fresh vegetables in the United States, food gardening is outdistancing flower gardening. In its latest survey of garden retailers, the National Gardening Association found that consumers’ spending for growing their own food hit $2.7 billion versus $2.1 billion for flowers.
In addition to relieving symptoms of menopause and andropause and helping maintain a normal, balanced hormone system, healthy eating can yield many other benefits. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine research reports that are freely available at GreenMedInfo.com, these include weight management, bone health and fertility, and natural defenses against breast and prostate cancers and osteoarthritis symptoms.
Despite drug-free approaches to hormone health that predate synthesized 20th-century hormone replacement therapy, the pharmaceutical industry has all but vanquished eating appropriately nutritious foods as a means to balancing hormones. Why do people embrace external sourcing when natural internal functioning is the better, less costly and more permanent solution? Even the current bio-identical upgrade of hormone replacement therapy guarantees an eventual biological dependency on these substances, plus possible accumulation of potentially toxic hormone metabolites, according to research published in the journal Maturitas in 2007.
With 5.4 million Americans already living with Alzheimer’s disease, one in five suffering from mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and the 2012 failure of several targeted pharmaceutical drug trials, many brain health experts are now focusing on food as a critical defense against dementia.
“Over the past several years, there have been many well-designed scientific studies that show you are what you eat when it comes to preserving and improving memory,” says Dr. Richard Isaacson, associate professor of neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and author of The Alzheimer’s Diet.
A stressful day might have us seeking solace in ice cream, pizza or potato chips. At other times, we may consider a second donut or high-calorie treat our just desserts for a task well done. Occasional food indulgences are one of life’s pleasures, but habitually eating in response to our emotions can cause weight gain and health problems.
“Emotional hunger represents an appetite, craving or desire to eat in the absence of true physiological hunger cues,” explains Julie Simon, author of The Emotional Eater’s Repair Manual: A Practical Mind-Body-Spirit Guide for Putting an End to Overeating and Dieting. “Emotional hunger often feels the same as physical hunger,” she adds, yet it might represent an unconscious longing for pleasure, calm, comfort, excitement or distraction.
Eating green isn’t limited to salads. It means that sustainable thinking goes into a meal at every stage, from the use of local ingredients and energy savings to recycling and composting waste. Delicious food, served thoughtfully, is the goal of today’s environmentally conscious restaurant. Look first to local mom-and-pop eateries that are doing it right, but there are some chains worth considering, as well.
With more than 25 million cups of wake-up java sold each day, coffee shops have a perfect opportunity to start a good day by example. California-based Green Café Network consults with owners and baristas to reduce the environmental impact of member shops. Efficient equipment, biodegradable cups and renewable products for flooring and tables make the coffee house experience more sustainable, especially when buyers select shade-grown, organic, free-trade beans.
Health experts agree that many foods can play multiple roles in weight loss.
Starting in the 1970s, natural foods advocate and journalist Kathleen Barnes, of Brevard, North Carolina, avidly practiced vegetarianism, yet through the years she still gained weight. Searching for answers, she shared her findings in an array of books that include 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health: A Take Charge Plan for Women (co-authored with Dr. Hyla Cass) and Rx from the Garden: 101 Food Cures You Can Easily Grow.
“When I at last learned which key foods to add to my diet, I lost 100 pounds—and kept them off,” says Barnes.
There’s nothing so comforting as the scent and taste of home-baked treats. To fill your a home with cheer, try these delectably healthy recipes. Some are gluten- or diary- free, others pack less butter and sweeteners (thus fewer calories) than their typical counterparts, and a few are vegan (containing no animal products, including honey). All are perfect for holiday celebrations, hostess gifts or exchanges.
Gluten-Free Apricot Scones
These scones freeze well and taste even better the next day, warmed for 30 seconds in a microwave. Serve with apricot jam or honey.
Many Americans occasionally complain of having a lack of energy, and for some it’s a daily experience. Low energy levels can arise from a number of underlying factors, but poor diet and ongoing stress are the most likely culprits.
A consistently healthy diet can be the missing key ingredient to maintaining high energy in the long term, along with short-term energy dips. A diet featuring antioxidant-rich vegetables, healthy carbohydrates, low-fat proteins and healthy fats will not only keep energy levels high, it’s also essential to long-term health, according to Dr. Christine Gerbstadt, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.