The Wonders of Olive Leaf

Most people know about the wonders of olive oil but have you ever thought about the olive leaf?  Olive leaf comes from the leaves of an olive plant and contains an active ingredient (oleuropein) that has been shown to be a very powerful antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory.  The Mediterranean diet has been linked to a decrease in chronic disease, especially heart disease because the belief is that one of the things they eat is olive oil.  However, they not only use olive oil, they also use the fruit and the leaf, and have been using them for centuries.  Olive leaf is anti-microbial.  This means it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-yeast etc.  Because of this it is used for a wide variety of illnesses from the common cold to serious infections.  In fact, olive leaf is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial without any harmful effects on beneficial microbes, which means that it will not induce the types of side effects associated with antibiotics (especially secondary infections).  Additionally, certain types of bacteria are resistant to many antibiotics but these same bacteria remain vulnerable to olive leaf extract.  Olive leaf increases the activity of phagocytes (where white blood cells consume harmful bacteria) keeping our immune system strong and effective.  Olive leaf is very heart protective and helps specifically with not only reducing existing high blood pressure but also helps to prevent high blood pressure.  It has also shown to be helpful against diabetes, cancer, neurological disorders and even arthritis.

What to Look for in an Olive Leaf Supplement

Not all olive leaf is created equal.  It is important to get one that is 500mg and has a standardized dose of Oleuropein of at least 15% or more.  This is the active ingredient of olive leaf and the reason you’re taking it.  You can also get it in liquid form.  If you are coming down with a cold or are fighting any type of infection, take 2 capsules twice daily until you feel better.  Then for a maintenance dose, take 1-2 per day.  This will help you increase the immune system so you are protected against the microbes coming your way, especially during cold and flu season.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms

I’m not talking about the mushrooms that have a psychedelic effect…these mushrooms don’t get you high.  If you’ve ever hiked in the woods, you’ve probably seen lots of Turkey Tail mushrooms around because they grow abundantly on dead and fallen trees, branches, and stumps.  These mushrooms also grow almost anywhere in the world as long as there are trees, making them one of the most common mushrooms found today.  It’s called Turkey Tail (aka Trametes Versicolor) because this mushroom resembles the colorful feathers of a wild turkey.    Turkey tail mushrooms have been brewed for thousands of years by the Chinese as medicinal teas, in fact as early as the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty in China.  The Japanese have also been aware of the powerful health benefits particularly in boosting the immune system and now it is the center of attention for many health professionals for many years.  But why are we interested in this and other mushrooms?  Paul Stamets, PhD and master mycologist (someone who studies fungi) is well known for his strong belief in the power of mushrooms.  He has written numerous books on mushrooms and has been awarded 9 patents with more to come; specifically, he has discovered 9 antiviral molecules that are in the mycelium of the mushroom as it rots in the wood it has inhabited.   Many of his studies are on how medicinal mushrooms such as Turkey Tail, Red Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms can prevent and cure cancer.

How do Mushrooms Work?

Turkey Tail mushrooms are powerful immune system boosters due to their content of B-glucans and polysaccharides, as well as proteins, minerals, and vitamins B and D.   It is loaded with enzymes, antimicrobial agents, and antiviral compounds and helps to neutralize toxins in our immune system.  It provides anti-inflammatory properties, restricts blood vessel growth feeding tumors (anti-angiogenesis), causes programmed cell death of cancer cells (apoptosis) and restricts the growth of pathogenic bacteria.  Turkey Tail also improves the ability of the immune system’s natural killer cells to attack cancer cells.  You can get Turkey Tail in capsule form so you do not have to brew your own.  There have been no reports of negative side effects of mushrooms but it is always safe to talk to your doctor first if you are on any medication or are have any health issues.  Personally I take Turkey Tail every day along with another mushroom blend that has 17 different mushrooms in it.  It can’t hurt to be proactive in your health for prevention of disease, rather than wait till you have something that you have to now fight.

Have You Heard of the Keto Flu?

The Keto flu is the symptoms of withdrawing from carbs and a natural reaction to entering ketosis.  Your body goes through changes when it switches from burning glucose to burning fat.  These withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, drowsiness, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, brain fog, sugar cravings and irritability.

All of these symptoms are a completely natural reaction to the changes your body is facing.  Keto flu symptoms usually occur within the first day or two of starting a ketogenic diet, and the severity and length of symptoms vary per person. Some people may have no symptoms at all, while others could experience several for up to a week or two.  Either way, the symptoms shouldn’t last more than a couple weeks and should go away once your body is adapted to burning fat for fuel.

Can I Avoid the Keto Flu?

You can avoid the keto flu by doing a few things.

  • Stay hydrated: Carbs usually help your body hold water so when you are not eating carbs, you lose water. Also, since you will be losing a lot of fat, the cells in your body will start replacing that fat with water, which is another reason why drinking a lot of water is extremely important.
  • Replenish electrolytes: An electrolyte (magnesium, potassium & sodium) imbalance can cause flu like symptoms. You can avoid this simply by taking a daily multi vitamin and mineral supplement
  • Eat more fats: MCT oil is the best fat to get more of in your daily diet.  You can pour it over your steamed veggies, make a vinaigrette dressing, add it to your shakes or simply take a shot of it with every meal.  Start off with a smaller amount of MCT oil as too much at once will give you gas and diarrhea
  • Exercise more and meditate
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep

Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself

There is a low carb and gluten free alternative to pretty much every food you want, even junk food!  I have made low carb mashed potatoes, rice and pizza with cauliflower and my husband and family loves them all.  I have hamburgers made with almond flour and I even bring my own buns to a restaurant when I feel like a hamburger with a bun and not just lettuce.  I have the most moist banana bread and cheesecake or cookies, all low carb and gluten free.  My point is, don’t give up your favorite foods.  Take some time one day per week (or less) and make those buns or bread you want, pizza and whatever you crave.  It’s just a matter of not being lazy and preparing foods ahead of time.  You can do it!  I have posted all of my recipes on my blog so just scroll down to find them.  One of my favorite places to get recipes is on divalicious.com but there are so many sites that post recipes that are keto friendly and gluten free.

The Magic Pill – Movie

I remember when the Atkins Diet gained popularity there were many health professionals that tried to debunk the diet saying it was unhealthy and you were going to get heart disease.  Many years later you will still not find any hard evidence that the diet is unhealthy and in fact, many health professionals were completely surprised that the diet had the opposite effect.  People were getting healthier, losing weight, lowering cholesterol and eradicating diabetes.  Recently I have been doing a lot of research on some long term studies of the ketogenic diet and published one the other day.  Today I found a movie on how the keto diet can literally save thousands of lives and that we all should be eating this way.  Basically meats, vegetables and good fats.  Remove sugar completely and watch serious diseases disappear.  I suggest that you just watch this 2:25 minute trailer on the movie called The Magic Pill:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61GitUC_678    Copy and paste this link into your browser.

Just 2 minutes of your time will hopefully prod you to watch the movie.  I would love to hear what you think of the movie if you watch it, especially if you have any health issues or your family has health issues.

And by the way, the Ketoba product is now in stock and I started to take it today.  I will keep you all posted on my weight loss results.  I have a good 30 pounds to lose and if this does it, I am going to buy shares in the company lol.  Will keep you posted!

Just Out…New study: is low carb sustainable in the long run?

Recently Diet Doctor posted this article on a new study of whether or not staying on a low carb diet is healthy in the long run.  “One of the big criticisms of low-carbohydrate diets is the claim that they are unsustainable long term, so it’s great to see teams of researchers carrying out studies to find out about the effects of following a low-carbohydrate diet over longer periods of time.”  Here is the article and the links if you want to read the details.

“A team of researchers in Japan has been studying low carbohydrate diets. In a study published in January 2014, the researchers had already found that a moderately low-carbohydrate diet is more effective than calorie restriction for improving lipid profile and blood sugar control in type-2 diabetics.

Now, in a new study, the team set out to find out whether eating a moderate low-carb diet is sustainable, effective and safe long term.

The researchers followed 200 patients with type 2 diabetes over a period of three years. They found that a moderate carbohydrate restriction (70–130 g/day) was enough to have a positive effect on the patients’ health markers, and that the diet is “highly effective, safe and sustainable”. They added that:

Over 36 months, the [moderate low carb] intervention showed sustained effectiveness (without safety concerns) in improving HbA1c, lipid profile, and liver enzymes in Japanese patients with type 2 diabetes.

Nutrients: Efficacy of a Moderately Low Carbohydrate Diet in a 36-Month Observational Study of Japanese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

 

Artificial vs. Natural Sweeteners

Have you ever read the back of a package of sweeteners found on the dining table in restaurants and coffee shops?  These are the little blue, pink and yellow packages?  Some of them have warning labels that say “This product contains 28% sodium cyclamate.  Cyclamates should be used only on the advice of a physician.”  Some others say “Use under medical supervision.”  Have you ever read that?  I have to wonder why they would put these warnings on the packages.  How do we know which sweeteners are safe and which ones aren’t?  People are often surprised at how often dangerous artificial sweeteners are included in prepared foods, medications and beverages.  Here are a few surprising examples of where to check for the dangerous sweeteners: chewing gum, cough syrup, no-calorie drinks, breakfast cereals, yogurt, frozen yogurt and other frozen deserts, candies, baked goods, toothpaste and mouthwash and medications, to name a few.  If you want to learn more about any one of these sweeteners, you will have to research them individually.  There are tons of information on each one listed below.  I will also help you decide which ones are the safest to take, in my humble opinion.  Let’s look at some of them briefly but before we do, know that there are plenty of natural, healthy sweeteners available that provide essential nutrients and taste great which I will also list below.

Aspartame:  Aspartame is currently used in more than 6,000 consumer foods and drinks, and over 500 prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.  Some health professionals say this is the most dangerous sweetener on the market.  Some of the technical names for aspartame are NutraSweet and Equal.   Aspartame accounts for over 75% of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA.  Aspartame is comprised of approximately 50% phenylalanine, 40% aspartic acid, and 10% methanol.  Aspartic Acid (Aspartate) which acts as neurotransmitters in the brain by facilitating the transmission of information from neuron to neuron. Too much aspartate in the brain kills certain neurons by allowing the influx of too much calcium into the cells. This influx triggers excessive amounts of free radicals, which kill the cells. The neural cell damage that can be caused by excessive aspartate is why they are referred to as “excitotoxins.” They “excite” or stimulate the neural cells to death.  Some side effects of aspartame include headaches/migraines, anxiety, dizziness, rashes, heart palpitations, joint pain, vision problems, seizures and much more.

Acesulfame potassium (acesulfame-K):  This is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen. Long term exposure to methylene chloride can cause headaches, nausea, emotional imbalances, and damage to the liver and kidneys.  Acesulfame-K has been shown to produce breast tumors, lung tumors, and other types of tumors, leukemia, and chronic respiratory disease in rodents.

Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low):  In the 1970s, saccharin and other sulfa-based sweeteners were believed to possibly cause bladder cancer, and it was required to carry the following warning label: “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals.”   The FDA removed this warning, but many studies continue to link saccharin to serious health conditions. Sadly, it’s the primary sweetener for children’s medications, including chewable aspirin, cough syrup, and other over-the-counter and prescription medications. It’s believed that saccharin contributes to photosensitivity, nausea, digestive upset, tachycardia and some types of cancer.

Sucralose (Splenda): Sucralose, derived from sugar, was originally introduced as a natural sugar substitute. However, in reality, it’s a chlorinated sucrose derivative. Yes, chlorine, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet. Sucralose was originally found through the development of a new insecticide compound and wasn’t originally intended to be consumed.  It’s uncertain as to why the FDA approved sucralose knowing the nature of chlorine. You should know too that it was approved even though the pre-approval research revealed possible toxicity of the substance.  Some of the side effects some people experience with sucralose include migraines, intestinal cramping, rashes, dizziness, bloating, acne and chest pain to name a few.

Agave: Agave is a sweetener commercially produced from several species of the agave plant. This sweetener has more concentrated fructose than high fructose corn syrup and has been shown to alter liver function, promote obesity, and increase insulin resistance for both diabetics and non-diabetics.

There are many more sweeteners that are possibly dangerous…too many to mention but know that there are also some sweeteners that are ok to have.  Here are some of them:

Stevia:  Stevia is not an artificial sweetener but actually a plant which happens to taste 200-300 times sweeter than sugar.  It has been used for hundreds of years in South America to support healthy blood sugar levels and prompt weight loss.  Today, stevia is available in liquid drops, packets, dissolvable tablets and baking blends. It has zero calories, zero carbohydrates and none of the nasty side effects of artificial sweeteners, making it an ideal natural sweetener.  You can even buy diet pop which is sweetened with stevia called Zevia.  I buy it myself and they have some great flavors to choose from and taste great.

Raw Honey:  Raw honey is a true superfood.   It’s packed with enzymes, antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin B6, riboflavin and niacin. Together, these essential nutrients help to neutralize free radicals while promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract.

One tablespoon of raw honey has 64 calories and has less impact on the glycemic load than a single banana. It’s important to note that these are the benefits of raw honey. Once honey has been pasteurized, it loses the many of the health benefits that raw honey brings to the table.  Look for local raw honey at farmer markets and directly from local beekeepers.   Also, the darker the honey, the richer the flavor and the greater the health benefits.

Sugar alcohols:  Sugar alcohols like xylitol, erythritol, sorbitol and mannitol have been around for decades without safety problems. But some people do experience stomach discomfort or diarrhea after eating sugar alcohols. If they give you trouble, try sticking with only erythritol, which research shows is not fermented by gut bacteria, meaning it may cause fewer digestive woes.

Coconut Sugar:  Most people have heard about the benefits of coconut water, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour and, of course, fresh coconut.  Now, more and more people are using coconut sugar as their natural sweetener of choice because of its low glycemic load and rich mineral content.  Packed with polyphenols, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, antioxidants, phosphorous and other phytonutrients, coconut sugar is versatile and now readily available. Coconut sugar is extracted sap from the blooms of the coconut and then heated. Next, through evaporation, we get coconut sugar.

There are other natural sweeteners available but the ones listed above are my personal favorites.  Give some of them a try and see how you like them too!