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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Obesity Now a Disease? WHAT?

The American Medical Association has deemed that obesity is now classified as a disease. 35% of adults and 17% of teens are now considered obese in America, but I am having a hard time understanding why a side effect of unhealthy living (weight gain) which brings with it the onslaught of disease such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. is being labeled a disease by itself.

With this classification, the doors swing wide open for surgeries, diets, drugs and other extreme measures to be recommended for people who are obese including lap band surgery, liposuction, prescription drugs and unhealthy and extreme fad diets. All of these methods are a short term solution to a long term issue. When are we going to talk about the ELEPHANT in the ROOM? Obesity is 100% preventable and it is reversible based on our lifestyle.

So if insurance companies start providing options for things like lap band surgeries and liposuction or extreme diets, HOW IN THE WORLD is this addressing the core issue which is LIFESTYLE? You know, drinking water instead of soda, eating whole foods instead of processed, making a dinner at home with your family versus drive thru's? At what point are we going to STEP UP and take personal responsibility for the state of our health and the health of our families?  Oh, WAIT, because there is a HUGE DOLLAR sign on obesity already, but now it's a disease! Look at ALL THE MONEY that can be made now with new drugs and surgeries and therapies.

My husband and I make decisions everyday on what to eat (or whether to eat) breakfast, I make decisions on what goes in my cart at the grocery store, I make decisions on whether to spend my time watching TV or taking a walk or jog, I make decisions on whether to feed my emotions or deal with my emotions. Food doesn't climb up me and jump in my mouth. Food doesn't knock on my door and when I open the door, it flies into my cupboards. Until we start supporting people in taking personal responsibility, holding them accountable for their own life and health and helping them deal with emotional and physical food addictions, this is the beginning of a battle that will never be won but it will destroy millions.

There is over 60 billion dollars spent on diets, yearly. As a society we are getting fatter, more depressed, more medicated and more disconnected from our bodies. Two-thirds of people that go on a diet fail and gain even more weight. This approach is a band aid to a deeper issue. We are passing these beliefs and patterns to the next generation that will suffer from diseases in their teens and early twenties instead of their fifties and sixties.

It's time to stop listening to the lies about diets and surgeries and drugs and what they are promising. Instead of getting wrapped up in the outcome they are promising, look to your day to day choices. Our health is based on what we do MOST of the time, not what we do SOME of the time. The journey doesn't need to be perfect, but it needs to be headed in the right direction.

I love what I do. I love the way I live. I love what I eat. I spent too many years of my life wondering if this was all there was to life...gaining and losing weight and obsessing over a body that I wish I had. There is freedom and a solution available and it's not found in a diet or a pill, it's within yourself. If you uncover your potential, nourish the amazing body you have been given and heal the brokenness of the past and present, it is possible to reflect on the outside the amazing person you are on the inside. For more information on how to take this journey, check out The Healthy Edge or contact support@getthehealthyedge.com and request to talk to someone about how to take the first step.

I’m freaked out! My grill might cause cancer?

Summer is here and barbequing is my favorite! I love the smell and taste of any type of food that comes hot off the barbeque, especially salmon and bratwurst! Lately I have been researching and discovering some of the dangers of grilling and possible exposures to carcinogens from grilling. WHAT? NO! I didn’t want to hear any more, but I couldn’t deny what I was finding.  

Here’s a bit more scientific of an explanation of what I found.

Grilling protein-filled foods such as meat, chicken and fish creates two kinds of chemical compounds that may contribute to cancer: heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). HCAs form in meat when it's cooked at a high temperature. While frying and broiling produce these chemicals as well, those charred bits at the edges of barbecued meat contain HCAs in their purest state. HCAs, which are also found in cigarette smoke, have been shown to cause cancer in organs including the stomach, colon, liver, and skin-but only in animal studies. It's unclear whether HCAs cause the same problems in people. Still, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has stated that the chemicals are "reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens." PAHs, the second type of compound, are formed when juices from meat drip onto coals or other hot surfaces and create smoke. The smoke contains these carcinogens, which are deposited onto the surface of meat as it swirls around the food.

So for those of you who are completely lost after reading that rather heavy explanation, let’s talk about being proactive…which is what we are ALL about. Have no fear there are several techniques and tips for grilling safely and eliminating or significantly lowering you risk of being exposed to HCAs or PAHs. Here are four tips for safe grilling from The Healthy Edge. You can get access to even more tips in their July Health Series, but we will focus on these four today.

TIP #1: Grill vegetables 
and fruit. 
Unlike meats, vegetables and fruits do not produce these by-products when cooked. YEAH!  I loved grilled peaches, pineapple, corn on the cob and Portobello mushrooms just to name a few. It’s also great to put cut up fruit and vegetables on kabobs. 

TIP #2:    Add the BBQ sauce during the last 2 minutes of grilling. 
Many barbeque type sauces are sugary and promote the burning and charring.  Add a layer at the end of grilling and then have extra BBQ sauce to add after it has been removed.
TIP #3:    Marinate your meat. 
Whatever meat you choose, use a marinade made with vinegar or lemon to act as an "invisible shield" that changes the acidity of the meat and prevents PAHs from sticking. Keep the meat marinating in the fridge while you prepare the sides. Marinating meat has also been shown to reduce the formation of HCAs. Precisely why marinades are protective is still under investigation; some evidence points to the acids (vinegar and citrus) or the antioxidant content.  Even just 30 minutes in the marinade can help. The Healthy Edge is offering the Top Ten Marinades and Sauces for the grill as part of their July Grilling Series

TIP #4:    Partially cook your meat.  
You can partially precook meat in the microwave, oven or stove to help reduce the amount of time the meat sits on the grill exposed to high heat as well as allowing some juices to flow out the meat that might otherwise leak onto the grill and cause flames. To ensure safe food handling, just be sure to put the partially cooked meat on the preheated grill immediately to complete cooking.

For more healthy grilling ideas, recipes and tips, check out the economical monthly subscription from The Healthy Edge including over 250 recipes, health videos, audios, meal plans, product reviews and a new health series each month! It’s under $10.00 and you can cancel anytime.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Breaking News on Splenda!

FINALLY! For those of you following us for a while, you KNOW how we feel about artificial
sweeteners. All the taste with zero calories? Zero calories does NOT mean zero side effects. 
I personally was a Diet Coke ADDICT for most of my 20's and couldn't understand why I had ongoing skin issues, bouts of depression, insomnia, foggy thinking and a slew of other things I just considered "part of life". After tragically losing my mom to breast cancer at the young age of 45, a spark ignited to really understand and research the foods (or rather "Frankenfoods") I was putting in my body. WOW, did I get a wake-up call. I kicked my Diet Coke habit, literally "cold turkey" and haven't looked back. Many of you know, The Healthy Edge vision and now online community was born out of the mental and physical transformation that took place in those years of finally taking personal responsibility for the decisions I have to make everyday when it comes to my health (or lack of health). 

Artificial Sweeteners are a sore subject for me because the RESEARCH is there and these chemicals are not proven safe (and the government knows it). Teens, children and even babies, are being exposed to these chemicals on a daily basis or multiple times during the day because they are literally EVERYWHERE: gum, soda, energy drinks, coffee drinks, hot cocoa, cereals, juices, diet foods, snack bars, cookies, ice cream, puddings, jello, crackers, salad dressings. 

Splenda has been advertised as natural and "derived" from sugar and so many people I talk to consider it safe because that is what they have been told over and over again. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit watchdog group, said just a couple of days ago that it was downgrading its safety rating of sucralose from "safe" to "caution," meaning that the additive "may pose a risk and needs to be better tested."

The change was spurred by a recent study from researchers in Italy that found that sucralose caused leukemia in mice, according to the CSPI. This study has not been published, and needs to be reviewed by other scientists to determine whether the findings are credible.
Here's something that we already knew about Splenda, which posed BIG FLAGS for me. Splenda was created accidentally when some chemists were trying to produce an insecticide.  Here is the process by which they produce the formula sold in stores:
“1.  Sucrose is tritylated with trityl chloride in the presence of dimethylformamide and 4-methylmorpholine, and the tritylated sucrose is then acetylated with acetic anhydride.
2.  The resulting sucrose molecule TRISPA is chlorinated with hydrogen chlorine in the presence of tolulene.
3.  The resulting 4-PAS is heated in the presence of methyl isobutyl ketone and acetic acid.
4.  The resulting 6-PAS is chlorinated with thionyl chloride in the presence of toluene and benzyltriethylammonium chloride.

5.  The resulting TOSPA is treated with methanol in the presence of sodium methoxide to produce sucralose.”  (Note that methanol, wood alcohol aka paint remover,  is one of the questionable ingredients in aspartame.)
What part of this five step process is "natural" and simply "derived" from sugar? I'm just excited that there is FINALLY some attention given to Splenda. Sadly, WE (humans) are the guinea pigs for what these substances are going to do long term to us and future generations that are yet to be born. This is not about minor exposure any more when it comes to these chemicals. This is about daily, ongoing exposure to chemicals that are not found naturally on earth. 
Artificial sweeteners are OBVIOUSLY not solving the obesity epidemic (they can actually cause weight gain) and energy drinks don't replace the need for sleep and sound nutrition which both naturally derives energy. Thank you to those of you who follow us that are looking for REAL health support, ideas and advice and willing to take personal responsibility for this aspect of your life. 
Amber Thiel is CEO and CoFounder of The Healthy Edge. If you are looking for support and transformation in your lifestyle and you KNOW it's just as much mental as the how-to's. Check out www.getthehealthyedge.com for a free trial to a powerful online health community OR contact support@getthehealthyedge.com if you need one-on-one guidance through your transformation. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Favorite Salad Toppers

An amazing part about summer has always been the fresh produce from the garden.  Last year we planted 6 strawberry plants as they have grown and expanded, we are excited that we already enjoying some of the fruits of our laborAs the summer days continue, we will soon be enjoying tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers free of sprays and pesticides and full of flavor.

Fun Shapes are Always a Winner for Kids!
With all these healthy goodies growing in the back yard, we have declared Tuesdays and Thursdays "Salad Dinner Days"!  Now I do have to admit, my kids were not exactly excited about this idea so I have to be creative when it comes to them.  The trick is to let them pick what goes on their salads, and also to cut the greens into small pieces.  When they see some of their favorite foods in salad form, it makes dinner time much more enjoyable!

Here are our 12 Favorite Salad Toppers to keep your everyday salad EXCITING and SATISFYING!

1. Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
2. Grapes or Raisins
3. Citrus (oranges or grapefruit)
4. Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds or Sunflower Seeds
5. Hard boiled eggs
6. Avocado
7. Beans (Black beans, Garbanzo Beans or Kidney Beans)
8. Quinoa
9. Organic Chicken or Turkey
10. Wild caught Salmon or Tuna
11. Salsa
12. Hummus
Now I have to admit, when I was younger, the only way I would touch a salad was to soak it in my favorite dressing.  This kind of defeated the purpose of a healthy salad.  But now, after adding some toppings that I never would of thought to put in a salad, I notice that I can eat them with either no dressing, or with a much healthier homemade dressing.  Here is the salad dressing that I prefer to use:
Bonus Dressing

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
cracked black pepper (to taste)
pinch of sea salt
1 fresh lemon squeezed

Whisk all ingredients together for delicious and super simple dressing.

What is your favorite Salad Topper?
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