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© Enlightened Health 2017

10 Steps to a Healthier You!

Updated: Dec 15, 2017

A How-to Guide for Transforming Your Health!

1. Begin eliminating Smoking, Alcohol, and Caffeine from your diet.  Do we have to go over why you should quit smoking to improve your health?  Now is the Time!  A lack of commitment is a form of self-abuse. Commit to your health, and explore the best option for you to quit smoking starting right now, (1)!  There are many options available such as nicotine patches, medications, gums, and even yogic breathing exercises that can help you quit.  There is some nutritional value such as b vitamins, trace minerals, and antioxidants that are provided in some wines and ales, but for the most part alcohol should be limited or totally eliminated to avoid the negative side effects from alcohol consumption. Caffeine is an adrenal stimulant that can drive the production of unnecessary cortisol in the body.  Cortisol  contributes to estrogen/ progesterone, or testosterone imbalances.  It can keep excess weight around the vital organs/belly fat area, and it can affect your REM sleep. “Cortisol is the infamous hormone you release when you’re stressed. In high doses it inhibits brain function, slows metabolism, breaks down muscle, and increases blood pressure. This means for people who sip coffee throughout the day, there is a good chance their body will respond by eventually producing more cortisol encouraging weight gain and/or the development of type 2 diabetes, especially those who are hypertensive,”(2).

2. Skip the Fast Food. Fast food is usually loaded with Trans fats.  Even if a company pledges that they are not using trans fats for their cooking oil, these restaurants are all using canola, soy, peanut, or some-kind of seed oil.  These oils, even if they are not a trans fat to begin with, are turned to a trans-fat in the cooking process.  These oils have a low flash point, which means that they can only withstand a low temperature heat.  When these oils are heated to high temperatures in the cooking or frying process, they are hydrogenated or become a trans-bonded or trans fat.  These fats are highly inflammatory because they have a higher affinity to all of our cells, but don’t perform the essentially needed chemical bonds that our bodies require.  They take up the position on our cells and our body has a difficult task of getting rid of them so that good essential fatty acids can do their jobs. “The manufactured form of trans fat, known as partially hydrogenated oil, is found in a variety of food products, including:

  • Baked goods.  Most cakes, cookies, pie crusts and crackers contain shortening, which is usually made from partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. Ready-made frosting is another source of trans fat.

  • Snacks. Potato, corn and tortilla chips often contain trans fat. And while popcorn can be a healthy snack, many types of packaged or microwave popcorn use trans fat to help cook or flavor the popcorn.

  • Fried food. Foods that require deep frying — french fries, doughnuts and fried chicken — can contain trans fat from the oil used in the cooking process.

  • Refrigerator dough. Products such as canned biscuits and cinnamon rolls often contain trans fat, as do frozen pizza crusts.

  • Creamer and margarine. Nondairy coffee creamer and stick margarines also may contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils,”(3).

3. Avoid Sugar, additives and preservatives – Sugar is highly inflammatory.  It can contribute to many different symptoms and diseases such as gout, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and type II diabetes, just to name a few.  Sugar cane is also known as one of the top crops to contain glycosphate, a major ingredient in Roundup.  “Glyphosate is not only used for genetically engineered (GMO) crops created to be resistant to it, but it is also used on non-GMO crops including sugar cane fields prior to harvest as a ‘ripener.’ So, even when you buy pure cane sugar to avoid genetically engineered sugar beets, you still get a good dose of Glyphosate in your package.  Sugar cane and stevia, which make up a much smaller percentage of our sweetener sources, but are still used, are directly sprayed with glyphosate as a drying agent during harvest.  So ALL our sugar sources except for organic crops, are contaminated with glyphosate, especially GMOs, which are repeatedly sprayed,” (4).   This glycosphate is now thought to contribute to many digestive disorders, cancers, and nervous system or brain disorders.  Equally as dangerous are additives and preservatives that are in our foods. “Cancer is a serious side effect associated with the use of preservatives. In fact, the National Toxicology Program reports that propyl gallate -- a preservative commonly used to stabilize certain cosmetics and foods containing fat -- may cause tumors in the brain, thyroid and pancreas.  Similarly, In Chem -- an organization that provides peer-reviewed information on chemicals and contaminants -- notes that nitrosames, including nitrates and nitrites, can lead to the development of certain cancer-causing compounds as they interact with natural stomach acids. Nitrosamines are found in a variety of foods, including cured meat, beer and nonfat dried milk.”(19). A diet rich in grassfed meats and organic fruits and vegetables will greatly reduce your exposure to these harmful substances and significantly reduce your chances of developing diseases associated with chronic inflammation. “Chronic inflammation is a common theme in a variety of disease pathways, including autoimmune diseases,”(20).   MSG is the number one offender when it comes to additives that should be avoided.  One study previously reported that injection of monosodium glutamate (MSG) in ICR mice leads to the development of significant inflammation, central obesity, and type 2 diabetes. To directly address the long-term consequences of MSG on inflammation, we have performed serial analysis of MSG-injected mice and focused in particular on liver pathology.  These results take on considerable significance in light of the widespread usage of dietary MSG and we suggest that MSG should have its safety profile re-examined and be potentially withdrawn from the food chain”(20). Don’t wait for the FDA to take MSG off the market, eliminate it today!

4.  Drink more water – Some sources have reported the need of at least ½ a person’s body weight, in ounces, is necessary to carry out vital pathways in every system in the body.  The very energy in every cell is generated from hydrostatic power.  “Cells that don't maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes, shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. In a study of young women, fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration, and increased the frequency of headaches,” (5).

5.  Get in your Healthy Fats – Every new cell in the body needs fat for its membrane or outer container.  Fats contain essential nutrients such as vitamin E, D, and A.  Some fats contain more of these nutrients than others.  Chlorophyll and Grass-fed ghee or butter oil can contain higher concentrations of these vitamins than many of the other healthy fats including: flax, coconut, olive, avocado, and wild fish.  Grass-fed animals store chlorophyll’s nutrients in their fat, which makes it readily available to use when consumed. “When butter comes from cows eating green grass, it contains high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a compound that gives excellent protection against cancer and also helps your body build muscle rather than store fat. The short- and medium-chain fatty acids in butter have strong anti-tumor effects. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in butter from grass-fed cows also gives excellent protection against cancer,” (6).Therefore, when choosing fats, consider these nutrient dense options.

6.  Wheat Belly– Gluten is the protein found in wheat and certain other grains’ products.   “Gluten can also be found in other grains such as Rye, Barley, Bulgur, Couscous, Farina, Graham flour, Kamut Matzo, Semolina, Spelt, and Triticale,”(7) The processing of these grains into flour can have an effect on how much gluten a wheat based food contains.  This protein oftentimes is not properly digested and broken down in the small intestine correctly due to lack of sufficient enzymes,  and can adhere to the digestive lining where it can contribute to several different digestive disorders.  Wheat is also a top crop for glycoshpate contamination. “Using Roundup on wheat crops throughout the entire growing season and even as a desiccant just prior to harvest may save the farmer money and increase profits, but it is devastating to the health of the consumer who ultimately consumes the glyphosate residue laden wheat kernels,”(9). “Many people find that eliminating gluten from their diet helps with Allergies, Chronic Fatigue, Insomnia, Auto-Immune Conditions, Attention Deficit Disorder, Asthma, Memory loss, Focus issues, Headaches, Rashes, Joint Pain, Bloating, Gas, Malaise, Anxiety, Depression, Cravings, and Exhaustion,”(8). Try using organic sprouted grain products like Ezekiel 4:9, which contain grains that have not been milled.  However, to avoid glycosphate completely you should avoid all wheat products. 

7.  No more Cheese, Please– Dairy is also an high inflammatory food.   Pasturization and homogenization can greatly alter the chemical structure of milk.  “Pasteurization destroys nutrients such as Vitamins B-12, B-6, C, A, beneficial bacteria, as well as denatures delicate milk proteins and vital enzymes. Because of the denaturization of proteins and the destruction of enzymes, pasteurized dairy promotes the growth of pathogens and potentially harmful bacteria. In humans, pasteurized dairy is a DIRECT CAUSE of sinus and respiratory infections, tooth decay, allergies, colic in infants, stunted growth, intestinal and digestive issues, leaky gut, heart disease and osteoporosis. Because pasteurized dairy lacks enzyme activity, it turns putrid rather than sour. Processors must remove pus through a process called centrifugal clarification. Homogenization causes a release of an enzyme, Xanthine Oxidase, which is harmful once artificially broken down into a smaller state. Xanthine Oxidase has been shown to adhere to arterial walls and is identified as causative in heart disease,” (10).  “The lactase enzyme, which is required to break down lactose, a sugar found in milk, is usually not sufficient enough to completely break down lactose, causing digestive issues. People who do produce enough lactase enzyme but still react poorly to milk are responding to the two proteins found in milk, casein and whey. Casein is a protein with a very similar molecular structure to gluten and 50% of people who are gluten intolerant are casein intolerant as well,”(11).  As if that wasn’t enough, “American dairy farmers have long been injecting cows with a genetically engineered bovine growth hormone called rBGH to increase milk production. This forced increase in milk production often leads to an udder infection in cows called mastitis, which is then treated with courses of antibiotics, which can make their way into your dairy products,”(11).  Don’t think dairy is a problem?  Even if you are somehow in the rare percentage of people that are not affected by lactose, casein, whey, hormones, antibiotics, pasteurization, and homogenization; milk, yogurt, and cheese does have a thickening effect on all mucus membranes.  Experiment and see how no dairy in your diet affects your sinus, breathing, and skin… I’m sure you won’t want to add it back in!

8.  Corn, Soy, Peanuts – How often do you see these items in everything you eat?  Soy, Corn, and peanut oils when heated hydrogenize into trans fats, they are highly contaminated with glycosphate, and are usually GMO. “The research showed that glyphosate residues, found in most processed foods in the Western diet courtesy of GE sugar beets, corn, and soy, enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease,”(12). “Soy has been linked to thyroid suppression or goiter, breast cancer, prostate cancer, early onset puberty, low testosterone, and infertility,”(13). “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GMO) food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GMO foods,” (14). “Peanuts, which are actually a legume that grows in the ground, have a soft, absorbent shell. Peanut crops are often rotated with cotton, which receives applications of glyphosate, a herbicide that damages beneficial microorganisms in the soil. This leads to more diseases attacking the peanut crop, which requires more pesticides. The USDA found 8 pesticides in peanut butter, and piperonyl butoxide, a carcinogen, was found 26.9 percent of the time. O’Brien cites a farmer who says, “It is common to see a conventional peanut crop sprayed with some type of pesticide every 8-10 days during the growing season. Then there’s also the problem of “aflatoxin,” a poison that’s released from a fungus that grows on peanuts,”(15). 

9.  Wild Caught is best- Farmed raised fish is more prevalent in grocery stores these days, but if you enjoy fish as a healthy protein choice, wild caught is your best choice.  There is a significant difference not only in the price, but also in the nutrient value.  “A 2003 report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that seven out of ten farmed salmon purchased in grocery stores in San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Portland were contaminated with cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at levels that raise health concerns. Additionally, farmed salmon has been found to contain toxic chemicals methylmercury and dioxins, and farms have been accused of polluting the oceans, fostering disease, and spreading sea lice. Salmon farms have also been criticized for other questionable practices, including the content of the feed, which is often supplemented with chemicals to give the fish their pink color (wild salmon develop it naturally),” (16). Something interesting to think about is that most farmed fish are also raised on corn or soy, wild caught fish eat algae and insects.  “Recent studies have concluded that eating tilapia may worsen inflammation that can lead to heart disease, arthritis, asthma and a world of other serious health problems. In fact, a scientist from Wake Forest University has found that the inflammatory potential of tilapia is far greater than that of a hamburger or pork bacon!”(17). Bottom line, wild caught fish is better for you.

10.  Stress Relief- We all may have experienced the detrimental effects of stress on our health such as increased cortisol production, sleeplessness, weight gain, depression, immune system suppression, high blood pressure, and panic attacks, just to name a few.  Although the amount of stress that we encounter in our life many now be able to be altered, how we perceived stress and how we counter our stressors can greatly increase our health.  Exercise, journaling, yoga, and other self care practices are necessary to include in our daily practice for improved health and well being. Health truly is a combination of body, mind, spiritual well being.  “Research shows that people who are more religious or spiritual use their spirituality to cope with life. They’re better able to cope with stress, they heal faster from illness, and they experience increased benefits to their health and well-being. On an intellectual level, spirituality connects you to the world, which in turn enables you to stop trying to control things all by yourself. When you feel part of a greater whole, it’s easy to understand that you aren’t responsible for everything that happens in life.”(18.)  “University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health. Scientific evidence supports that journaling provides other unexpected benefits. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you,”(18). Even if is only 5 minutes every day, it is so important that you take the time to put your health and your needs first, check in and evaluate your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well being at least once per day.  This self awareness is the key to keeping you on a healthy path.

  1.  http://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/quit-smoking

  2. http://www.naturalnews.com/034674_coffee_cortisol_weight_gain.html#

  3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/trans-fat/art-20046114

  4. http://nourishingliberty.com/gmo-glyphosate-sugarcane-dessicant/

  5. https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/

  6. https://renewingallthings.com/lifestyle/diet/nutrient-dense-foods/

  7. http://www.drperlmutter.com/eat/foods-that-contain-gluten/

  8. http://www.gaia.com/article/why-gluten-cause-so-many-digestive-issues

  9. http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/real-reason-for-toxic-wheat-its-not-gluten/

  10. http://metabolichealing.com/the-putrid-truth-about-pasteurized-homogenized-dairy/

  11. http://www.amymyersmd.com/2013/04/the-dangers-of-dairy/

  12. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/05/20/glyphosate-roundup-levels.aspx

  13. http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/170-scientific-reasons-to-lose-the-soy-in-your-diet/

  14.  http://www.aaemonline.org/gmo.php

  15. http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/whats-causing-all-these-peanut-allergies.html

  16. http://www.onemedical.com/blog/live-well/farmed-salmon/

  17. http://draxe.com/eating-tilapia-is-worse-than-eating-bacon/

  18. http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/

  19. http://www.livestrong.com/article/29302-dangers-preservatives/

  20. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18178378