Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Controversial World of Fish!

I like to include fish every once in a while in my diet to get my Omega-3 fatty acids, but I have been confused for some time on what kind of fish is best to buy.  One time I saw organic fish on the shelf at the grocery store, but I saw that it was farmed raised, and that just confused me...

As you can see I've been debating with seafood for some time.  Which one should I buy? Farm Raised? Wild Caught? Organic? Sustainably Fished?  I decided to begin my research with Organic seafood and I was surprised at what I found, initially I thought there could be nothing more organic than wild caught seafood, since the seafood is in its natural habitat and not being fed pellets of man-made food.  But that was not the case.

According to the New York Times, The Agriculture Department has determined that fish have to be farmed and fed organic food to be classified certified organic, this is very simple for vegetarian fish like Tilapia and Catfish that can be easily fed an organic vegetarian diet, but it becomes more complicated for carnivorous fish, like Salmon which apparently cannot be called organic because they have to eat other fish (and there is no telling if the fish being fed is organic to begin with.)

What about Sustainable fishing?  Sustainable fishing is environmentally friendly and specific fish are caught in creative ways to avoid disruptions of other fish species not designed to be fished, not only that but the fishermen only fish a specific amount of fish and do not over-fish. This method of fishing is particularly good when the seafood is fished in the United States. We specially want to make sure that we avoid buying seafood from China, because their seafood is mainly farm raised or fished in unsustainable ways.

So which seafood is best? Well, that is a tough call!  Personally I prefer Sustainable Fishing because fish are in their own habitats and are not fed man-made foods.  But Organic Farm-Raised fish are also good.  We definitely want to avoid buying farm-raised, or Asian (wild-caught or farmed-raised) fish because this fish is caught and farmed in unsustainable ways and was probably fed genetically modified food, and we definitely don’t want that with our healthy fish meal!

I hope this helps in your quest to finding the right seafood, just make sure you ask questions, ask where your fish comes from, where it was caught, how it was raised, because you are paying for it, and it’s your right to know!

Monday, May 21, 2012

"Nah..I don't drink Coke, I get Diet Coke instead!"

Why do we inevitably fail to pass the sugar free test! Yes it is amazing, to drink an amazing sugar-free drink that tastes almost like the real thing, or to chew gum that is sugar free! But this sugar free craze sounds too good to be true.  We have seemingly found the way to trick our body and be able to drink or eat an unlimited amount of sweet things with this amazing 0 calorie substitute that won't make us gain weight???!!!

Amazed by how wonderful all of this sounded, I decided to do research on the matter and what I found was that the Sugar-Free substitutes were indeed, too good to be true.  So my suggestion for everyone is DO NOT FALL FOR THEM!!

We know them as NutraSweet, Sweet N' Low, Equal, or Spoonful...those bright colored packets in every restaurant's sugar holder.   In all of these sugar substitutes we find the key ingredient, ASPARTAME. 

We can also find aspartame in many sugar free drinks or foods, such as diet drinks, chewing gum, energy drinks, jell-o, snacks, and even vitamins. (like those Flintstones vitamins)

Now here is something really interesting about aspartame, according to BHawk Industries "When the temperature of Aspartame exceeds 86 degrees F., the wood alcohol in Aspartame converts to formaldehyde and then to formic acid, which in turn causes metabolic acidosis.  (Formic Acid is the poison found in the sting of fire ants.)"  This is insane!  So, yeah it has 0 calories, but it turns into formaldehyde when you put it in your coffee?!! And it contributes to acidosis? Why would we do this to our bodies just to have more guilt-free artificial sweets?

People that have made aspartame part of their daily diets have a higher risk of being diagnosed with systematic lupus and multiple sclerosis, and if they are diabetics it can even be deadly! 

In my opinion,  Sweets are not worth it! Why not just cut back on sugars to begin with? 
The bottom line is that Aspartame is not good for our health and we should not consume it.  But if we must consume a substitution to sugar, the best substitute is sugar from the Stevia plant.  This is the most natural 0 calorie approach to sugar and it's often a suggestion for those with diabetes. Please read the article The Truth about Aspartame, it is very informative and sheds light on this harmful sugar substitute!

Thank you all for reading, and don't forget to eat healthy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Whol-ey Grains!!!

I remember when I would go to the grocery store to get my ingredients for my delicious sandwiches, I would go by the bread section and pick the bread that looked the healthiest, which was often wheat bread.  I didn't bother to check the ingredients label, because I didn't think I had to. It was wheat bread, what's so bad about that?

But did you know that wheat bread is no better than white bread.  As a matter of fact, molasses are used to give wheat bread it's brown shade of color, so it's not "grains" like we are led to believe.  The truth is that these breads use enriched flours, these are flours that are altered, the healthy parts are removed because they reduce the shelf life of a bread.

The process of enriching happens when the bran and germ are removed from whole grains, leaving only the starchy endosperm as the main ingredient.  This gives bread a lighter texture and a longer shelf life, but of course it's less nutritionally dense.  The nutrients removed are eventually added again in smaller quantities to meet food standards, but it's just not natural.

What we need to look for is the word "Whole Grain" or "Whole Wheat" as the first ingredient in our bread label.  This ensures that we are getting a product that has not been altered.  With whole wheat or whole grain breads we are getting fiber, vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and chromium.

And according to Vegetarian Times, in a 10-year Harvard study completed in 1994, men and women who ate high-fiber breads had fewer heart attacks and strokes than those whose tastes ran to bagels and baguettes.

So the benefits of whole grain or whole wheat breads are truly amazing.  These breads taste delicious and are a healthier choice.  Specially for people who love to make sandwiches, like myself!  I just find it amazing to know that our health can be improved by simple food choices.

I would love to share my Fabulous Diana Sandwich recipe with you all! I hope you like it!
Here is what you'll need:
  • Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread
  • Veganaise
  • Organic Mustard, Dijon Mustard
  • Lightlife Smart Deli Roast Turkey Deli Slices 
  • Veggies: (all organic) Romaine lettuce, Large tomato, Pickles, Alfalfa, Avocado, Purple Onion, Yellow Peppers (pepperoncinis) .
  • Galaxy Nutritional Foods Pepper Jack Vegan Cheese
  • You can add organic Ketchup if you like ketchup in your sandwich.
You can have an optional side of sweet potato fries with this sandwich... and now I'm hungry again!!

Hope you all enjoy this delicious vegan sandwich, see you next time!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Costa Rica Love!

Something wonderful happened yesterday! I had the privilege to speak to a wonderful lady from Costa Rica by the name of Vilma Marin.  She has been working really hard in Costa Rica, developing ways to help the environment and promote products that are environmentally friendly.  She currently has developed a wonderful program called the ECO GREEN CARD program, to participate you have to donate $30 a year, and your contribution will help grow a tree and you will also be helping to sponsor a child in Costa Rica! This is wonderful!  I was so excited to have talked to the founder of this amazing program, I just get this amazing feeling when I talk to people in other parts of the world that want to help make the world a better place, it sends a message that we are all working together to make it happen!  If you understand Spanish watch the video below, it gives more information about ECO GREEN CARD.  Come on everyone, let's work together, let's make this world a better place!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Beauty Starts from Within!

I wanted to talk about this because, I used to be one of those crazy make-up shoppers (MAC shopper, to be more exact),  that would spend hundreds on new make-up, moisturizers, and all that face mumbo jumbo.  But I noticed that the more stuff I put on my face, the more break-outs I would get, then I began to notice lines, and one day I looked at myself in the mirror and thought... "OMG! I look older age!"  This is when I realized that all these beauty products were aging, and damaging my skin.  I began to do some research on the subject, make-up... and I was shocked to see what I found, most of these products are not regulated by the government, and as far as the cosmetics industry is concerned, they really don't care if the products they sell to their public are harmful, and I could see that when I found all of the ingredients they put in cosmetics.  I found they have Heavy Metals such as Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, Antimony,  Cadmium, Petroleum, Formaldehyde, Preservatives, Dyes and Nano Particles in our makeup!  These toxic ingredients can cause serious health problems! This is terrible!  I couldn't believe that I had been putting all of these harmful toxic chemicals on my face for so long.  So I decided that it was time for a change!

 I wanted to change these harmful habits and then I realized that it's all as simple as eating healthy.  Eating more fruits and vegetables.  I found several articles by dietitian Kimberly Snyder and I instantly fell in love with her amazing diet suggestions!  I learned that beauty, true beauty can only be acquired when we eat healthy and take care of our bodies.  What ever we put in will reflect on the outside, so if we put good and healthy food in, we will look and feel amazing!

Check out Kimberly Snyder's website, blog and book The Beauty Detox Solution to see her amazing suggestions!

And also watch this very interesting video about cosmetics made by the Story of Stuff Project!  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

This one is for the meat lovers!

Most of us might not be aware of this, but meat sellers, and restaurants around the U.S. are using Transglutaminase or “Meat Glue” to glue meat scraps together to sell them as top quality steak cutlets.  This is also the case for some seafood, chicken, lamb and pork meats in the market as well!

 According to
In commercial food processing, transglutaminase is used to bond proteins together. Examples of foods made using transglutaminase include imitation crab meat, and fish balls. It is produced by Streptoverticillium mobaraense fermentation in commercial quantities or extracted from animal blood, and is used in a variety of processes, including the production of processed meat and fish products.
Transglutaminase can be used as a binding agent to improve the texture of protein-rich foods such as surimi or ham.
Transglutaminase is often used in these applications:
  • Improving texture of emulsified meat products, such as sausages and hot dogs.
  • Binding different meat parts into a larger ones (“portion control”), such as in restructured steaks. Transglutaminase is one of several forms of “meat glue”.
  • Improving the texture of low-grade meat such as so-called “PSE meat” (pale, soft, and exudative meat, whose characteristics are attributed to stress and a rapid postmortem pH decline)
  • Making milk and yogurt creamier
  • Making noodles firmer
The manufacturers of this product seem to think that it has amazing properties since users are able to maximize the sales of meats and reduce waste.

Although the FDA considers it “generally recognized as safe”, this enzyme has been known to cause blood clots in the body.

Not only is that a factor but there are also bacteria in glued meat that will not be killed if the meat is eaten rare or medium rare, this of course puts customers in a danger zone and makes them vulnerable to getting food poisoning.

So are you eating glued meat? Well, that will probably be unknown, since the meat manufacturers are not required to list tranglutaminase when used in meats.  Our only suggestion is to shop organic when buying meats and ask questions, since you are paying for good quality meats.

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