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Still believe a calorie is a calorie?

Dr. Robert Lustig released a new article today titled Still Believe a Calorie is a Calorie? I have to admit…I was a little giddy when I read his article.  First of all, he is a nutrition rock star. He’s edgy and controversial and pisses a lot of people off.  That may be the reason I like him?  Any way…I digress.  He is the crazy sugar guy…he believes that sugar should be regulated like tobacco and alcohol (I told you he was controversial). 

I’m not advocating that this is the right approach; however, I think his science is accurate and he’s trying to make a point that sugar is everywhere and way too many places it doesn’t belong.

Back to why I was giddy…I did a talk last week on The Seven Myths of Healthy Eating.  My number one myth (and my biggest pet peeve) is that we assume a calorie is a calorie.  It’s not.  Our bodies are not designed to digest everything exactly the same way.  There are so many factors involved in digestion and absorption.  I wish as a society we could focus our efforts on the nutrient density of food vs. the calories.  It would be a far more accurate comparison.

I’ll let you read his article for his examples.  Beware- his last bullet is a sugar rant, so you can ignore if not interested.  I do love his other examples.

Happy reading!

As always…please let me know if you have any questions.

-kristina

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Super food lurking in your pantry

I want to share Dr. Ben Kim’s latest blog post.  This is a fantastic reminder that we don’t have to be eating all the exotic-only-grown-in-remote-rain forests super foods to receive tremendous healing and nutrition from certain foods.  Now, I’m not dissing raw cacao or the healing powers of maca, but the little black bean is pretty incredible.

Enjoy!

********************

Dr. Ben Kim’s Natural Health Newsletter
February 5, 2013

Dear Reader,

I’m all for eating foods that are naturally abundant in health-
enhancing nutrients, but there are times when I feel that the
search for quick remedies to health challenges can make people
vulnerable to the hype that can saturate the natural health universe.

Yes, acai berries are wonderfully rich in antioxidants, but are
they really so much better than blueberries or blackberries
that grow in your area?  Sure, Himalayan pink salt is unique, but
is it worth its per-ounce cost vs. less expensive varieties
of sea salt, particularly if you use condiments sparingly?

Rather than stock the pantry with the top superfoods from around
the globe, I think it makes a lot of sense to make staples of nutrient-
rich foods that are readily available to most of us at a fraction of the
cost of imported “rare” goods.

Black beans, commonly called turtle beans, are a good example
of an inexpensive food that has incredible health-promoting qualities.
Ounce-per-ounce, it’s one of nature’s very best food sources of
quality protein and flavonoid antioxidants.

If you’re open to including black beans in your weekly regimen but
don’t have any ideas on ways to enjoy it, I hope that you’ll have a
look at our most recent recipe pictorial here:

http://drbenkim.com/how-make-korean-black-beans

It’s a simple way to prepare black beans Korean style, the way they’re
often served as a side dish to steaming bowls of rice and soup.

Also included in the post above are the key health-enhancing
properties of black beans for those who lack motivation to enjoy
this widely accessible superfood.

That’s all that I have for today.  If you give this black bean dish a
try and care to share feedback, I’d love to hear from you.

Wishing you and yours a safe and healthy week ahead,

Ben Kim

***

Thought Of The Moment:

“If you are comfortable with being vulnerable, you will attract love.”

– Deepak Chopra

***

The incredible edible egg

Right?  I don’t know.  I have doubted the benefits of the egg the past few years as I deepened my pursuit of health.  I never actually came across any research about the harmful effect of the egg…but in my quest to eliminate more animal products from my diet and focus on the benefits of a plant strong diet, I seemed to have pushed aside the egg.  

But wait, you are saying “what about cholesterol”…aren’t egg yolks full of artery clogging cholesterol?  Isn’t this why I’ve dulled down my omelets of late (when I indulge) with only egg whites?  

I’ve experienced one of those weeks where from three totally different searches, for three different clients, I came across several articles promoting the egg and how it has attained a bad rap for all the wrong reasons.  When this happened again this morning…I felt like I needed to share my findings in case others were under the same impression.

Here’s a quote from Penny Kris-Etherton PhD, R.D., distinguished Professor of Nutrition at Penn State University:

“For most of us the cholesterol we eat—in eggs or any other food—doesn’t have a huge impact on raising our blood cholesterol; the body simply compensates by manufacturing less cholesterol itself. The chief heart-disease culprits are trans fats, which have much greater impact on raising blood cholesterol.” 

I have to admit…that surprised me a bit.  Seen through that lens, eggs look more benign: a large egg contains 2 grams of saturated fat (10 percent of the Daily Value) and no trans fats. 

I did know, even though I had some egg confusion, that cholesterol plays a vital role in the healthy functioning of our bodies.  

Here are some further riveting cholesterol facts from the work of Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD and author of The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease.

Facts from his book:

  1. Cholesterol is not a deadly poison, but a substance that you need to be healthy. High cholesterol itself does not cause heart disease.
  2. People who have low blood cholesterol have the same rates of heart disease as people who have high blood cholesterol.
  3. The cholesterol found in your blood comes from two sources: cholesterol in food that you eat and cholesterol that your liver makes from other nutrients.
    The amount of cholesterol that your liver produces varies according to how much cholesterol you eat. If you eat a lot of cholesterol, your liver produces less. If you don’t eat much cholesterol, your liver produces more. This is why a low cholesterol diet does not typically decrease a person’s blood cholesterol by more than a few percent.
  4. Drugs that solely lower your cholesterol do not decrease your risk of dying from heart disease, nor do they increase your lifespan. These drugs pose dangers to your health and may decrease your lifespan.
  5. The newer cholesterol-lowering drugs – called statins – do reduce your risk of heart disease, but through mechanisms that are not related to lower blood cholesterol. And alarmingly, statins like lipitor mevacor, zocor, pravachol, and lescol are known to stimulate cancer in rodents.

 If you want to go a bit deeper on the science behind cholesterol and look at LDL/HDL facts, check out this blog post by Dr. Ben Kim on “What Most Doctors Won’t Tell You About Cholesterol”.

Okay, so back to the incredible edible egg.  Yes, I am going to add eggs back into my diet.    I feel bad about banishing them without the real facts.  They are a great source of healthy fats and protein.  Now, this doesn’t mean I’m whipping up a 3 egg omelet every morning, but in moderation, I think eggs are a great way to keep our diets well rounded.  Have I mentioned how important healthy fats are in our diet?  Another time…stay tuned.

As always, if you have any questions about cholesterol, or anything related to your desire to seek a healthier life, please call me.

 

Kristina

Confused about Calcium?

I receive many questions about dairy products and calcium.  This is a complicated topic as nutrients (calcium) do not work in isolation inside our bodies and not all calcium is created equal.   A simple calcium supplement is not comparable to  how our body digests and absorbs calcium from food.  During digestion, calcium works in conjunction with other nutrients and minerals (especially vitamins D and K).  In addition, calcium absorption is tricky as it can be difficult for our body to absorb depending on the food/circumstance (for example, most dairy products).

Interested in learning more?  Here’s a great article about calcium and food sources.  If you want to go deeper on calcium, here is a blog post from a Naturopath that discusses calcium, proper doses, and vitamin D and how they work together.

One more tidbit on calcium, the US consumes more dairy than any other country by a longshot, yet we have the highest propensity of osteoporosis?!?  I’d be remiss in not mentioning in the calcium conversation that dairy is not the best way to meet our  recommended daily calcium requirements.  Check out dark leafy greens and beans…two wonderful ways to receive and absorb what our bodies require for healthy development along with the other nutrients that help calcium end up where it belongs in our bodies.

As always…please let me know if you have any questions.

Best,

-kristina

Sorry about the partial post yesterday…major computer issues! For those of you interested in the article…please see updated post, thank you!

Light On Nutrition

I unforuntately have some recent first hand familiarity with this dilemma.  I’m usually one to always push through and work out, but I have to say, the flu was a different experience.

Do you wonder when you are feeling a bit off if it’s best to hit the gym (or yoga mat in my case)?  Here’s an article with some great reminders. As always, if we tune into our bodies, we will find the right answer.

Hope you are staying healthy this season.

Best,

-Kristina

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To excercise or not when sick?

I unforuntately have some recent first hand familiarity with this dilemma.  I’m usually one to always push through and work out, but I have to say, the flu was a different experience.

Do you wonder when you are feeling a bit off if it’s best to hit the gym (or yoga mat in my case)?  Here’s an article with some great reminders. As always, if we tune into our bodies, we will find the right answer.

Hope you are staying healthy this season.

Best,

-Kristina

What is all the hype about Yersinia?

Have you heard the news about Yersinia?  The antibiotic resistant bacteria found on raw pork.  Are you wondering how concerned to be over this latest installment of bad food news? 

Over 80% of all antibiotics in the USA are fed to factory farm animals.  Why is this a problem?  We now have bacteria that have mutated to resist antibiotics.  The food processing industry has created an entirely new and very scary problem for which the magnitude of the consequence is unknown.

If you are interested in learning more about this particular story click here.

The Yersinia bacteria is found on pork in factory farms.  If you want to enjoy pork without worry, contact a local organic farm.  

As always, if you have any questions or comments…I’d love to hear your feedback.

Best,

-kristina