Pharmacy to Farmacy

Many of you may know Erin-- the fabulous Pharm D that worked in our office a few years back.  Erin is a phenomenal gal and we embarked on the journey  into natural medicine around the same time.  As we both Read more

When Should I Take My Supplements?

If you are like me -- you are just starting to realize why it is important to add supplements to your diet.  Even if we are eating a clean, healthy and unprocessed diet;  the mineral content of the soil Read more

Natural Tips for Avoiding Colds

This cold and flu season is still upon us and unfortunately, many patients are still being plagued by these nasty viral symptoms.  Here are a few tips to try if you feel like you are coming down with something. Of Read more

More Homemade Salad Dressings

Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar 1/4 cup avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp local honey 1/3 cup blackberries   Process all the ingredients together in a blender and then season with ground pepper and sea salt The beauty of this recipe Read more

Healthy Mayo and Ranch Dressing

This stuff is a must -- If you read labels these days you will be hard pressed to find a mayonnaise or salad dressing that doesn't contain some type of vegetable oil.  Even the commercial mayos that advertise to Read more

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

So I got a little wicked crazy this weekend and decided to splurge on some pizza.  We do gluten-free carry out around here sometimes, but my future son-in-law inspired me to make my own cauliflower pizza crust. He made Read more

Pumpkin Chai Smoothie

Here's a throwback post that is certainly appropriate for this October weekend.  This smoothie matches the season and will be a great way to start the lovely fall day. Thanks to Smoothie Queen Amy for this great recipe I can't wait Read more

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread

Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread So I have been struggling with gluten-free baking because honestly -- I've never been good at baking!!  Then when I try to modify recipes using flours I'm not familiar with, it just makes  a perfect storm of Read more

nutrition

Pass the Salt

90% of Americans age 2 and older eat too much salt!  In fact, the average American eats around 3436mg daily!!!  This is amazing considering that less than 1500mg daily is required for prevention of high blood pressure.  In a nutshell, here is what high sodium intake does to the body.

1.  Extra sodium alters the sodium/potassium balance that is necessary for the kidneys to remove extra fluid from the body.  The extra fluid increases blood pressure and strains the blood vessels supplying blood to the kidney

2.  The higher blood pressure puts a strain on the arteries causing the tissue to become thicker and stronger which then even elevates the pressure more.  If left untreated, the arteries can burst or become clogged allowing for decreased nutrients and oxygen flow to organs

3.  High blood pressure ultimately damages the arteries to the heart and brain which can eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke.

 

Salt/Sodium Labeling Woes

Sodium free—-this means there is less than 5mg per serving—-

Very low sodium—this means 35mg or less per serving

Low sodium—means 140mg or less per serving

Reduced sodium—means it is reduced by 25% per serving

Light sodium—is reduced by 50%

 

Here are some little tips to reducing your sodium intake:

Rinse canned foods (vegetables, beans, tuna etc)

Take the salt shaker off the table

When eating out, ask the waiter to hold the salt

Read the food labels!!!!

Shoot for less than 3000mg daily

Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, disease, Nutrition, vegan, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Fiber One Bars–Epic Fail

The mornings can be hectic getting ready for work, rousing a 5-year-old for Kindergarten, and calming a preteen in outfit crisis.  I hit the grocery last week in hopes of grabbing something healthy for the kids to eat quickly if that unexpected event put us in time crunch mode.  Wow, I should have used my fooducate app at the store before bringing these goodies home.  They get a “D” rating which is downright awful.  Who knew?  Read those labels!
 Contains controversial artificial colors
 For dieters: FoodPoints value is 2
 Controversial additive BHT present
 Serving size unusally small
 Dare you to count how many sugar— ings here?

NUTRIENTS

Value My Daily Value
Calories 90 Kcal ?
Total Fat 2.5 g ?
Saturated Fat 1 g ?
Trans Fat 0 g ?
Cholesterol 0 mg ?
Sodium 80 mg ?
Total Carbohydrate 17 g ?
Dietary Fiber 5 g ?
Sugars 5 g ?
Protein 1 g ?

INGREDIENTS

Chicory Root Extract, Rice Flour, Sugar, Whole Grain Oats, High Maltose Corn Syrup, Milk Chocolate Chunks (Sugar, Whole Milk Powder, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate Liquor, Soy Lecithin, Milkfat, Salt, Natural Flavor), Honey, Puffed Wheat, Palm Kernel Oil, Glycerin, Roasted Peanuts, Maltodextrin, Canola Oil, Cocoa, Peanut Butter (Peanuts, Salt), Soy Lecithin, Salt, Nonfat Milk, Malt Extract, Whey, Natural Flavor, Reduced Minerals Whey, Peanut Flour Partially Defatted, Cellulose Gum, Fructose, Color (Yellows 5 & 6 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 1 Lake and Other Color Added), Baking Soda, BHT and Mixed Tocopherols Added to Retain Freshness.
Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Nutrition, vegan, Whole Food 2 Comments

Game Day Nutrition

Coming off a great Colt’s victory in honor of coach Pagano recent diagnosis of acute promyelocytic leukemia, I thought an appropriate post to honor his fight against disease would be sports related.  Kevin Deeth shares a powerful blog this week emphasizing the importance of nutrition and the proper way to prepare for exercise.  He explains nicely how to get nutritional carbs into your diet.  Thanks Kevin and be sure to visit his site.

GAME DAY NUTRITION

The idea for this blog came about from a call I got from a professional athlete this week who told me their “nutritionist” recommended fig newtons, vanilla wafers, and carbo-loading with pasta when suggesting things for this professional team to eat. WOW!

The average American consumes 20 pounds of pasta noodles each year — and most of it is the refined white stuff.

Most athlete’s  eat close to 10 times this much with their generic “pre-game” and “post-game” pasta dishes that have become common place in many athletic diets. In my experience in collegiate and professional hockey, we were served processed-white noodles 5 times during a weekend series! (Thursday night, Friday pre-game meal, Friday post-game meal, Saturday pre-game meal, and Saturday post-game meal). Looking back it is no wonder why sometimes I felt bogged down or felt like I had a tough time recovering. It’s obvious to me that “refueling” and “preparing” my muscles with starchy and processed-white noodles, that are stripped of almost all their nutrients and minerals due to the amount of processing they go through. probably wasn’t doing the trick. To top it all off(literally) I would dress these noodles with high sugar/high sodium/artificial sauces that spike your blood sugar and send your insulin levels on a roller coaster ride. My question is, why do athletes continue to “carbo-load” with these types of food?

Key Points

  • Glycogen is the key energy source your muscles use during most sports activities. These glycogen levels are filled up and stored up to 48 hours before your event. What you eat the day prior and night prior to your game or event is as/more important than what you eat on game day. Your game day meal is intended to supplement glycogen levels, keep you satiated, and stabilize blood sugar levels.
  • What you eat means nothing if your muscles aren’t properly hydrated. Again, the day before is just as important. Aim for 1/2  your body weight (lbs) in ounces from just water.
  • Allowing time for digestion is vital but eating too far an advance will cause you to feel hungry before/during the game. My suggestion is to aim for a medium to large meal 4 hours before game.
  • Your meal should consist of 50% carbs, 25 % protein, 25% fat.
  • 60-90 minutes before the game consuming a simple carbohydrate such as a piece of fruit will help provide extra energy that will be available during the game.

Typical Pregame Meal

The Problem

1. The Size: Processed carbohydrates like pasta noodles don’t keep you satiated. In order to feel full from pasta you have to eat a lot. This problem is amplified in athletes  because they generally have a huge appetite and require mounds of pasta consumed to meet their needs.

2. The Composition: Standard pastas are made with refined wheat flour. During the refining process, the nutrient-rich outer bran shell and inner germ layer are removed from the grain, leaving just the starchy endosperm. This process strips the wheat of much of its fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, leaving you with a much weaker product, nutritionally speaking. Some nutrients, including iron and a handful of B vitamins, are added back during manufacturing (hence the term “enriched flour”), but these represent only a fraction of what is initially removed from the grain.

3. The Carbohydrate Complex: Pasta is a simple carbohydrate. It breaks down to sugar in your body quickly and often does not satisfy your appetite as long as a more complex carbohydrate such as sweet potatoes. Whole wheat pasta takes a bit longer and some has a protein content that keeps you satisfied longer. This is why many athlete’s who eat pasta find themselves getting hungry before or during the game. Yes, a carbohydrate is a very important macro-nutrient  supplying your body with glucose, which is the favored fuel for your muscles, brain, and central nervous system. Choosing a carbb that will deliver a steady stream of glucose to your body will help regulate your energy levels.

4. The Toppings: Most Pasta is cooked in unhealthy vegetable oils and topped with a canned Alfredo or marinara that is loaded with sugar, sodium, and other artificial ingredients.

5. Your Body’s Ability To Adjust: Most conscious and high level athletes try and eat a clean diet made up of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. Filling your body with refined pasta noodles for an entire weekend can send your body into shock and cause digestive issues. Your digestive system can react negatively to the amount of processed food that has been consumed because it is used to otherwise whole/natural foods. This can cause bloating, stomach issues, and have lethargic implications.

What To Eat Instead

Complex Carbohydrates From Unprocessed Sources

Quinoa-A healthy complex carb that is actually a seed and can be made a complete protein when paired with other foods.

Amaranth– Technically, it’s not a grain; it’s the fruit of a plant. And that’s the reason it contains a more complete protein, and more of it, than other traditional grains.

Barley & Steel Cut Oats– A great option in the morning of a game day that will deliver a steady supply of glucose throughout the day.

Legumes– Black beans, chickpeas, and lentils are all great options for complex carbs that also provide a steady supply of protein and fiber.

Starchy Vegetables- Foods like sweet potatoes and squash that are usually shunned by low-carb lovers are  acceptable for athletes who will use the large amounts of carbs from these whole foods as energy for game time.

All Vegetables- Getting your carbohydrate sources from whole foods such as vegetables will ensure you are receiving the adequate vitamins, minerals  and nutrients that accompany natural-base carbohydrates. Unlike refined flours and pastas,which are stripped of most of the essential vitamins and nutrients that provide your body with energy, vegetables are natural foods from the earth that are identifiable for our digestive system and wont cause any gastrointestinal problems that are associated with many processed foods.

Lean Meats– While protein takes longer to digest, it will keep you satiated during the game and provide your muscles with a steady influx of protein to help with muscle recovery and muscle maintenance.

Great Examples

1. Chicken Breast with baked sweet potatoes and green salad.

A Pre-Game Meal for the Phillies

2. Chicken breast with Quinoa and asparagus.

3. 2 pieces of cod over a mixed green salad with carrots, parsnips, and potatoes.

Conclusion

Many athletes still dont understand what they need to properly fuel their bodies. Unfortunately many of the nutritionists and chefs that cook or prepare meals for this demographic don’t understand macro-nutrient profiles of foods either. My suggestion to all the athlete’s and people I talk to is ask questions and do your own research. If a nutritionist recommends to eat pasta on a game day ask them why and see what kind of answer you get. Unless you are running a marathon or playing a double header soccer game I never recommend “carbo-loading” with pasta. Most sports, like hockey, require shorts bursts of energy over a 2 hour time period. Eating 200 carbs in the form of pasta for a pregame meal is excessive for most athletes who wont even come close to tapping into all that stored glycogen from a large pasta meal. Keep it moderate and substitute some of my suggestions listed above. Remember, each athlete has their own individual preferences and requirements. Adjust your needs as you see fit and experiment with different foods to see what makes you feel the most energized and helps you recover the fastest.

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions.

From South Bend,
Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, disease, Exercise, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Why I Hate Diabetic Educators!

No offense.  It’s not their fault.  We don’t teach them real nutrition nor do we teach any healthcare providers real nutrition.  For years, out of standard of care compliance, I have referred my diabetics to educators to learn how to eat and balance carbs/proteins.  For a very few patients, scared enough by the actual diagnosis, the diabetic education is all they need.  They forge head on counting calories and planning meals.  They check their sugars and put an obsessive compulsive plan into action.   Here’s the real problem.  We haven’t really taught any of these patients that they can reverse their disease by eating whole foods (including fruits) without counting every calorie and carb.  It wasn’t until we started our wellness program that we were forced to take into account that most patient’s don’t have time to count every carb, weigh every meal, read every label.  This plan is really hard for most with busy schedules and complicated lives.  Eating whole, non-processed food straight from the earth does not raise your blood sugar.  It’s nothing like the low-fat, low carb, processed foods that continue to deteriorate the body with additives and artificial substances.   Most dietitians and doctors are recommending these without really knowing the potential danger.  This is where we are erring with these diabetics;  telling them to get sugar-free, artificially sweetened products instead of eating real fruit is a mortal sin committed against curing their disease.  Sure, we may control their sugars but ultimately, we haven’t done any thing to provide them real nutrition and reverse their disease process.  Consider looking into “Forks Over Knives” and “Hungry for Change” if you are a newly diagnosed diabetic–you are in charge of your own destiny and unfortunately you may have to take matters into your own hands.

Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, disease, Nutrition, vegan, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Cow Farts

“I’ll never stop eating animals, I’m sure, but I do think that for the benefit of everyone, the time

has come to stop raising them industrially and stop eating them thoughtlessly.” (Mark Bittman)

Mark Bittman is a bestselling cookbook author, journalist and television personality. His friendly, informal approach to home cooking has shown millions that fancy execution is no substitute for flavor and soul.  Listen to this entertaining and informative talk on the necessity of changing our diets for the future of mankind.

Posted on by Angela in Call to action, cancer, Diet, disease, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Crazy Sexy Kitchen–by Kris Carr


I can’t wait for this!  I think I have a girl crush on Kris Carr because of her fabulous fun-loving attitude and charisma–watch the trailer to her new book which is available to order at her website http://www.kriscarr.com

Posted on by Angela in Body, cancer, Diet, disease, Mind, Nutrition, Organic, vegan, Whole Food Leave a comment

Fall Exercising

A big thanks to Kevin Deeth for another great exercise post!

Transitioning Your Workout Routine From Summer To Fall

This week’s post was written by guest blogger Jim Rollince who’s fitness and nutritional goals parallel my own. He is the head of the creative writing department at gymsource.com and I want to thank him for his time.

Now that the warmer weather is coming to an end, many people are confused about their workout routines.  You might have spent your entire summer swimming laps in the pool or using treadmills in an air conditioned gym just to stay cool.  With the weather changing to a cooler temperature, many exercise fanatics are finding it difficult to transition.  Believe it or not, autumn is one of the best seasons to workout.  There are quite a few benefits to exercising in this season and there are also a lot of different workouts that you can do to take advantage of the changing temps.

One of the major benefits about working out in the fall is that the temperatures outside are a lot more tolerable.  If you enjoy running or walking but have been forced to use home gym equipment because of hot temperatures, now is your time to get out into the fresh air and enjoy your exercise in a new environment.  Switching your environment when working out is essential for staying on track.  People, in general, tend to get very bored rather quickly.  This can be a recipe for disaster if you are trying to establish a steady and solid workout routine.

Another benefit for working out in the fall is that you will find it easier and more enjoyable to workout.  Just imagine yourself taking your daily hour walk, but this time you are walking in a beautiful park that is laden with autumn leaves.  The weather is cool, but you have your warm sweater on to keep you cozy.  This whole scenario will make you hungry to exercise and it will make your at-home treadmill seem boring and useless.  One way to really enjoy the fresh, crisp new weather is to take a gorgeous nature hike.  Find a hiking trail near your home and dedicate a full day to enjoying its beauty.  You will really be able to see the changes of the season when taking a hike.

Autumn really allows you to enjoy your exercise regimen more so than any other season.  If the weather outside is getting a little too chilly for your liking, do not hesitate to use treadmills, ellipticals or other equipment at home.  Instead of using an air conditioner, conserve energy by opening up some windows and smelling that delicious autumn air.  Fall is a great time to also explore your town or city.  The temperatures are just right for walking or jogging a local park or simply taking a walk down your road.  Looking at all of the fall decorations and holiday decor will also help to make your workout a little more interesting.

In general, you should take advantage of the changing season and make sure to change your workout routine with it.  Get some comfy and heavy workout clothes and do your exercises outside as opposed to staying cooped-up in the house.  You will find that you are actually looking forward to the fall weather and not missing summer all that much.

My Take

I think Jim makes a compelling argument for training in the fall. My experience in the fitness industry has shown that people tend to work out the hardest and most dilegentely from January to April due to New Years resolutions and preparing for beach season. My thoughts are with new seasons should come new challenges and goals. Personally, I intend to use the fall to try to put on a few pounds of healthy muscle. Setting fitness goals and tracking progress will help you to stick with a routine and ensure you don’t ruin everything you worked for in the spring and summer.

The main section of this article that resonated with me was the exercise outside portion. I have made it a weekend staple to wake up early on Saturday mornings and go for a run with a few friends on our football Saturdays. Running around campus and dodging the early tailgaters makes for great scenery and can turn a 30 minute grind into a 15 minute leisurely jog. So, my challenge to readers is find your own “Saturday morning run” that you actually enjoy and make it a routine.

 

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions.

From South Bend,
Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Exercise, Nutrition, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Intimidated by an Eggplant

So I received an eggplant in my Green Bean Delivery organic veggie bin and I had no idea what to do with it.  I have ordered eggplant parmesan out at a restaurant before and liked it.  However, my novice cooking skills have made me quite intimidated to buy one and actually cook it myself.  Not to mention my girls have automatic scowl mode ingrained when they see a plate that isn’t filled with mac-n-cheese or pizza.  Here is a great recipe by Irene Young passed down by her mother Linda from the village of Mesta, Xios, Greece.

 

 

 

Linda’s Summer Vegetables

1 lb eggplant cut into chunks

1 zucchini, cut into chunks

       sea salt

olive oil- 1/2 cup

1/2 lb trimmed, fresh green beans

2 large potatoes diced

2 large bell peppers diced

2 large carrots sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic

2 medium onions

6-8 mushrooms

2 lbs ripe tomatoes quartered

1/2 cup parsley chopped

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Clean eggplant and zucchini and cut into chunks and salt—then let sit for 1-2 hours–this is called bleeding the eggplant which helps take the bitterness out of the meat and draws the moisture out so that the eggplant doesn’t absorb too much liquid when cooking.

2.  Pat the eggplant dry and saute in olive oil.  Then add a dash more oil and add the green beans, potatoes, peppers, carrots and mushrooms;  cook for 15 minutes and then add onions and garlic; cook 5 minutes and add tomatoes and parsley; cook for 10 more minutes.

3.  Place the vegetable mixture in an oven-safe dish.  Cover and bake for 45 min at 350 degrees.  Add cheese and bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.

Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, disease, Nutrition, Organic, vegan, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Manifesto

I absolutely love this gal!  She is an inspiration and I believe everyone is affected by cancer in their lives at one point or another.  It may be a friend, loved one or themselves and it is always game changer.  Kris stands for empowering yourself against disease and facing it with positivity.  Her movie, books, newsletters, and blog are a daily inspiration for me and my patients. Take some time to watch this superhero gal in action in the trailer from her movie “Crazy Sexy Cancer”.

 

 

I’m Kris Carr, author of the New York Times Best Seller, “Crazy Sexy Diet,” and founder of Crazysexylife.com, an award-winning and fantabulous wellness site with daily articles from leading experts and cutting-edge resources for building vibrant health and happiness. My wake up call – a stage 4 cancer diagnosis, with no cure and no treatment (Zoinks!) – ignited a personal revolution and taught me how to take responsibility for my well-being at the deepest level imaginable. Now I want to show you how to step into your destiny and become the CEO of your own health. Radiance is your natural state. You can banish the blocks that hold you back with a plant-powered diet and Crazy Sexy lifestyle!

Each and every one of us has the power to ignite a wellness revolution in our kitchens. Change now. Get juiced now. Learn to live like you really mean it and teach others to do the same. By joining the revolution, you vow to wake up and take a stand for your well-being. No one can take better care of you than wise, brilliant, capable, and STRONG you.

This self-care thing is bigger than many of us imagine. The pursuit of personal health, spiritual wealth and happiness is actually a political statement, a peaceful protest and a powerful act of love. Why? Because in order to care for ourselves in a full-tilt-boogie-I’m gonna-walk-the- talk sorta way, we must rebel against the broken systems that support dis-ease and dismantle the status quo. We can’t wait for special interests, government policies, subsidies, agribusiness, factory farming, pharmaceutical industries and advertisers to change. But we can get off our sofas, vote with our forks and knives and heal the way we eat, drink and think.

Read the guiding principles of the Crazy Sexy diet and lifestyle I’ve outlined below and make these simple health habits stick. Get inspired – print it out, hang it on your fridge and read it daily! This step alone will have a huge impact on your life.

Keep in mind, this is just an overview of the guiding principles. To dig deep and make lasting changes, grab your copy of “Crazy Sexy Diet” here.

Make juice not war and remember, you are the change you’ve been waiting for… Peace & Revolution,

Kris Carr

Posted on by Angela in Body, cancer, Diet, Exercise, Guest Blog, Nutrition, Uncategorized, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment

Chew that Gum!

Thanks Kevin for helping me choose a healthier alternative to my chewing gum fetish!  I have always been a huge fan of chewing gum because I come from a family of excessive talkers!  Yes, I do have a habit of running my mouth to extremes!  But a fear of bad breath also drives my need for chewing gum.  Thankfully, Kevin has some good alternatives to some of the sugar free gums for us to try.

The Truth About Chewing Gum

One of America’s favorite passtimes and quick fixes for bad breath, chewing gum is a daily ritual for millions of americans. Ever wonder what is in the gum you are chewing or what effect it has on your health?

Quick Stats

  • More than 100,000 tons of chewing gum being consumed every year.
  • Every year over 374 trillion sticks of chewing gum are made.
  • In the next 5 years, over 1 million metric tones of chewing gum will be produced.
  • The Chewing Gum Industry is profitable market. The world’s chewing gum industry is estimated to be worth approximately US $19 billion.

Potential Health Benefits of Chewing Gum.

Chewing gum improves memory

Some suggest that chewing gum can help in improving memory and enhance cognitive powers.  Research studies show that people who chewed throughout standardized tests produced significantly better scores than people who did not. Some attribute this to an increase in the stimuli produced in the area in our brain linked to memory, the hippocampus, when you continuously move your jaw.  Chewing gum can also increases blood flow to the brain. Some studies have reported that blood flow to the brain increases by as much as 25 to 40 percent during gum chewing. Also the act of chewing speeds up our heartbeat and blood pressure just enough to wake up both left-and right hemispheres to work together.

Check out this site for one of the first studies showing actual evidence of this.http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2039-chewing-gum-improves-memory.html

Chewing gum reduces symptoms of stress

Research has shown that the rhythmic motion of chewing gum has a stress-reducing effect because relaxed and satisfied feelings. Psychiatrists and psychologists believe that chewing gum can help reduce tension and help to release nervous energy. Chewing gum may provide an outlet for frustration and irritation while also increasing alertness and concentration.

For more on this http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/119826.php

Chewing gum helps to manage weight

With a low-calorie count (5 to 10 per serving), chewing gum is an inexpensive snack. According to some studies, adults who chewed gum ate 36 calories less of the snack than adults who did not chew gum. Both regular and sugar-free chewing gum helped adults to eat less by helping to curb their appetite. The physical act of gum chewing may help to reduce your cravings for high calorie snacks. Some reports show that chewing gum can burn around 11 calories per hour. (IE not to be used in place of actualy exercise)

Chewing gum improves digestion

Chewing gum helps to improve intestinal motility and also helps to increase saliva flow which promotes more frequent swallowing. This helps to prevent reflux of acid from the stomach back into the throat.

Chewing gum improves oral health

The results of scientific research demonstrate that chewing gum is good for oral health and teeth specifically. Chewing gum increases saliva, which is the most important component of oral health and powerful protector of the oral cavity. Stimulated saliva corrects a potentially harmful environment using its high concentration of buffers, minerals and antibacterial components. That helps to flush sugars, food debris and decay-causing acids out of the mouth. Chewing gum also freshens breath, whitens teeth by reducing stains and preventing stains from accumulating and reduces plaque.

Potential Health Risks of Chewing Gum

The basic make up of gum: gum base, softeners, sweeteners and flavorings. Ever wonder what makes up the sweetener and flavoring part?

The Ingredients

Sweeteners are added to gum to give it that sweet flavor. Those ingredients are usually sugar, corn syrup and even beet juice. Sugar is probably the healthiest off all sweeteners. Sweeteners such as  xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol and aspartame are also used, which have been linked to several long-term health effects that are also found in diet sodas.

Some gum ingredients are suspected to be carcinogens or have been linked to various health conditions. Sugar can cause cavities and lead to health issues such as diabetes, while aspartame, a popular artificial sweetener, has been linked to cancer, diabetes, and neurological disorders. Chewing gum containing such ingredients can have dangerous and long-lasting health effects.
What about Sugar-less or Sugar-free gum?

 Sugar-free chewing gum has a number of dental benefits. Sugar free chewing gum doesn’t cause tooth decay. It demineralises tooth enamel and has an antimicrobial effect. Those who chewed sugar-free gum after eating had fewer cavities than those who did not. HOWEVER, Sugar-free gum often contains either aspartame or sorbitol, the first being  potentially toxic and increasing your hunger, and the second becoming a  dangerous laxative in large doses. For me, it’s very similar to comparing soda to diet soda.

Jaw Related Issues
One of the most common health issues related to chewing gum is muscle fatigue due to overuse of the jaw muscles. This is known to lead to chronic headaches. The action of chewing gum can also cause unnecessary wear on the cartilage in the jaw joint. Frequent gum chewers may be more likely to develop problems in the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ

My suggestion
Most health nuts will advise you to switch to something outrageous like licorice root, parsley, or chewing on a natural tooth pic. I actually believe the benefits outweigh the negatives in terms of chewing gum. I suggest looking for a gum sweetened with erythritol ( a natural sugar alcohol which has recently gained popularity because of its inclusion in a few mainstream stevia based sweeteners),stevia, or lastly xylitol at a natural foods store. Identifying products with no sugar additives or artificial sweeteners is important with all food selections and should not be any different for gum. While it is more expensive, this type of gum is more safe and less likely to cause adverse health effects. Make your pack last twice as long by chewing half a piece a day versus a whole piece.
Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions.
From South Bend,
Posted on by Angela in Body, Diet, Exercise, Nutrition, vegan, Weight Loss, Whole Food Leave a comment