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10 health foods that
cause weight gain,
faster aging, and
Water &
Diet Soda
People often drink diet soda because they think it is
going to help them lose weight. Since the product has
almost zero calories, the belief is that it won’t affect
body weight. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. Not
only does research show that diet soda makes us gain
weight, it also illustrates that it may cause many other
health problems as well.
Let’s take a closer look at what diet soda is really made
of to see if it looks good naked.
Diet Soda Actually Makes You
Gain Weight!!
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but obesity is on the
rise! According to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, 69.2% of Americans are overweight or
obese (2010 statistic). This is shocking!!! One of the big
culprits for this weight gain is an overconsumption of
sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. One might think
then that the invention of diet soda is an answer to our
prayers. After all, it contains almost no calories. Let’s strip down the ingredients of a popular diet soda
to see if it looks good naked.
Ingredients of Diet Coke:
Carbonated water, caramel color, aspartame,
phosphoric acid, potassium benzonate, natural flavors,
citric acid, caffeine.
As far as beverage manufacturers are concerned, the
real star of diet soda is the artificial
sweetener (in this case aspartame).
It is the big differentiator between
this product and it’s sugar filled
sibling. It allows these companies to
market their beverage as caloriefree and create a product to market
to the large population of people
interested in losing weight.
What is Aspartame?
Aspartame is made from protein by-products. They
then add methanol which is a very toxic alcohol.
Examples of other uses for methanol included paint
thinner and fondu fuel. It’s probably no surprise that
methanol is not something we want in our body. When
it goes through our body, our liver changes it into
formaldehyde. YIKES! Formaldehyde is ultra-toxic to
the human body. Some studies have shown that it can
affect our brain cells, vision, etc. Another use for
formaldehyde is for embalming bodies. You might be
asking yourself, why would a product that seems so
harmful to our health be allowed in our food/beverage
products? The reason is that there isn’t enough
evidence to prove that consuming this product in the
recommended doses causes significant enough harm
to the human body in the short term. Meaning that our
bodies are amazing and have the ability to handle this
in small amounts. However, there also are no studies
that show the cumulative effect of a lifetime of
exposure. This is a scary thought since many people
are consuming this product daily or even multiple
times per day.
Aspartame and weight gain
In addition to the potential health problems associated
with aspartame consumption, it may not even be that
helpful at helping us lose weight!
A study conducted at the University of Texas Health
Science Center in San Antonia found that people who
drank both sugar-sweetened and diet sodas gained
weight. However, they also found that diet soda
drinkers were more likely to become obese. In
addition, the more diet sodas the participants drank,
the greater their weight gain. Consuming 2 or more
The artificial sweetener used in Diet
Coke, Coke Zero, and many other
diet soda’s is aspartame. Let’s first
take a look at what aspartame is.
cans per day increased waistlines by 500%. Although
human studies of this nature are observational, animal
studies have found the same effect.
Since diet soda contains almost no calories, experts
believe that the sweet taste of the beverage tricks the
body’s ability to properly regulate calorie intake.
Therefore, the body senses that it is eating something
sweet (something that contains calories) and prepares
itself to manage it. When those calories never actually
arrive the result is often increased cravings and
overeating later on.
In addition, soda leads to weak teeth and bones
Soda is EXTREMELY acidic. When we consume highly
acidic foods in our diet our body needs to use buffering
minerals to neutralize the body so it stays balanced. One
of these buffering minerals is calcium. If need be, the
body will pull calcium from the bones and teeth to
ensure it maintains its pH balance. This can lead to
tooth decay and osteoporosis.
Some experts suggest that caffeine in soda interferes
with calcium absorption and can also lead to tooth and
bone density problems.
Other potential health concerns
Other research illustrates that diet cola consumption
leads to increased concentrations of parathyroid
hormone (PTH) which can lead to bone breakdown and
calcium excretion. It is thought that this is because the
cola contains phosphoric acid as an ingredient which
when consumed in excess can lead to PTH production
and the loss of calcium from bones.
Yikes!! This product is not looking too hot! If wight
gain and bone loss isn’t enough, there are many other
potential health concerns that could dissuade you
from grabbing for a can of diet soda. Experts suggest
that it could increase your risk of heart disease, type 2
diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. It is also suggested
that it could cause kidney function decline.
In conclusion, diet soda doesn’t provide us with
any necessary health benefits. In fact, it only
offers real and suggested health problems.
If your health is of any concern to you I would
recommend staying far away from this harmful
beverage. Plus, if weight is of concern to you,
don’t be tricked into thinking this will help. The
companies are very sneaky at making us think
that it’s cool to drink their beverages, that’s
why they use celebrities like Taylor Swift in
their commercials. They are selling you an
image and an emotion, in addition to a product
that kills the human body. Not really my idea of
Granola bars are a very common snack food. Often
thought of as being a healthy snack. While there are some
bars on the market that are made with healthy
ingredients, it’s essential that you read the label to
understand what’s really inside the wrapper. In many
cases, the bar is so unhealthy and loaded with sugar and
other unwanted ingredients, it is comparable to eating a
chocolate bar.
Let’s undress a common granola bar on the market, the
All-Bran bar, to see if it looks good naked. The
commercials definitely make us believe that they are
going to be a healthy choice. One that is going to help
boost our fiber content and help with regularity.
5 Reasons I Avoid All-Bran Bars
Like The Plague
Reason Number 5 – Processed Wheat
The first ingredient is “Wheat Flour”. This is not
whole-wheat flour, the type that actually contains
fiber. This is the processed wheat flour that has the
fiber removed.
This may lead to the question, “if they removed the
fiber from the wheat, how do these bars contain
fiber?” Great question! What they have done is they
have processed the wheat and removed the bran
(which is the fiber) and the germ (which contains a lot
of nutrients). Then they went and added back in some
of the bran so that the bar would have fiber and they
could advertise it as such.
The problem is that the wheat is not in its whole form
and is not as nutritious. I would prefer to stick to the
whole grain as nature intended.
I just finished enjoying my morning fiber-rich snack that
I made myself with buckwheat, chia, hemp seeds, goji
berries and cinnamon. As I was sitting here feeling my
bowels thank me, I got to thinking, “what is it that many
other people eat for a snack if they want to increase the
fiber in their diet?” I asked around the office and a
common response was All-Bran bars or Fiber1 bars. The
names themselves scream, “You need to eat me! I’m
healthy and full of fiber!” Being the skeptic that I am
when it comes to product packaging and marketing, I
decided to look into what these products contain to see
if they lived up to all their claims. Let’s have a look at
what I found out about the All-Bran bars when I started
to undress their dirty little secrets.
Ingredient list for All-Bran Bars (Chocolate Chip)
Wheat flour, sugar/glucose-fructose, cereal (wheat
bran, sugar/glucose-fructose, malt [corn flour, malted
barley], salt, vitamins [thiamine hydrochloride,
pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, d-calcium
pantothenate], iron), vegetable shortening (contains
palm and palm kernel oils, TBHQ), chocolate chips
(sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, soy lecithin,
vanilla extract), oat hull fibre, dried whole egg, milk
ingredients, natural and artificial flavours, salt, baking
powder, soy lecithin.
Now that we’ve seen what is in this product, I’m going to
share with you the 5 main reasons why they wouldn’t
find their way into my grocery cart.
Reason Number 4 – High-fructose Corn Syrup
The second ingredient is sugar/glucose-fructose. In
Canada glucose-fructose is another name for highfructose corn syrup. Eating a lot of processed sugars
that are nutrient-depleted can lead to problems like
high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, heart disease,
diabetes, obesity, etc. These should be avoided at all
I do want to mention here that just because processed
and refined sweeteners (the ones that mess up our
sexy bodies) should be avoided, doesn’t mean that we
can’t have some sweetness in our lives. Honey and
maple syrup when used in moderation are great
additions to a healthy diet. They not only provide us
with important nutritional benefits, they taste great
Reason Number 3 – Chemical Preservatives Made
From Petroleum These bars contain something called TBHQ (Tertiary
Butylhydroquinone). This is a chemical preservative, a
form of butane, and is used to extend the shelf life of
the bar and delay rancidness. The American and
Canadian governments have allowed companies to put
this preservative in foods but have strict restrictions
on how much they are allowed to add.
I find it ironic that something could be deemed safe for
human consumption and then so strictly regulated to
make sure we don’t
co n s u m e to o m u c h .
What would happen if
we did eat too much?
The problem as I see it is
that when these limits
are determined, they are
determined for a ‘standard’ adult. What if you are a
baby and are consuming these preservatives? What if
you are consuming a large number of products that
contain this preservative and are getting more than the
amount found in one All-Bran bar? Or what if you are
already full of toxins in your body and consuming this
puts your body toxicity levels over the top? The truth is
we don’t actually know the answers to these questions.
Everyone is different. We are different sizes, we eat
differently, and we have different tolerability levels for
toxins. What might be an okay level for one person is
different for the next. Therefore, I have a hard time
trusting the safety limits that are set for a ‘standard’
adult, especially when it comes to feeding these
products to children or people who are ill/toxic (which
unfortunately is a large portion of the population).
Personally, I try to stick to foods that are fresh and don’t
contain chemical preservatives, especially those that are
derived from petroleum.
Reason Number 2 – Artificial Flavors
When we heavily process foods, they lose their flavor.
This is why processed foods contain added flavoring. If
they didn’t, the food wouldn’t taste very good. These
flavors are made in chemistry labs and often contain a
whole host of various
chemicals. For the most part
they are considered safe until
there is some concrete
evidence that they are harmful.
Personally, I think this method
is flawed. I think they should be
deemed unsafe until proven
safe. (Note: Some studies may
have been done on a number of
these added ingredients but not
enough to determine that they are safe when used
cumulatively, long term and on various individuals)
The other issue with the term “artificial flavors”, is
that we actually don’t know what this means and what
chemicals are involved. They lump a whole bunch of
chemicals into that one term and don’t have to list
them separately.
An example of a chemical that hides under this name
is by a company called Senomyx. They work with
Kraft, Nestle, Coca Cola, and Campbell Soup. When
this chemical is put in the food it helps to mask the
bitter flavor of the food. It does this by turning off the
bitter flavor receptor on our tongue. This allows the
companies to reduce the amount of sugar and sodium
in the product without actually affecting the flavor. It
seems like these companies then grab their
megaphones and proudly tell the world that they have
low-sodium and low-sugar products. This all sounds
fine and dandy, but is this new chemical that is being
added to my food safe? Apparently there was a 3month safety study done on rats that resulted in this
being safe for long-term human consumption
(including children). Seems odd to me.
Personally, I would rather stick to the true natural
flavors of foods instead of having my taste buds
tricked by chemists in a white lab coat.
Reason Number 1 – There isn’t even that much
The amount of
fiber you get in
one of these bars
is 4 grams. This is
the same amount
of fiber you would
get in 1 medium
The next time you reach for an All-Bran cereal bar,
keep in mind that you are actually getting processed,
refined, and nutrient-poor wheat, high-fructose corn
syrup, petroleum preservatives, artificial chemical
flavoring agents, and the equivalent amount of fiber to
a medium sized apple.
What will you have for your next snack?
You may be surprised to see smoothies on this list! The important
thing to be clear about is that not all smoothies are created equal.
Smoothies that you make at home can be extremely nutritious and
beneficial for our health. The smoothies I’m talking about here are
many of the store-bought or take-out smoothies. It’s important to
find out what’s in your smoothie to see if it looks good naked.
Often times smoothies have added ingredients like sugar, high
fructose corn syrup, flavors, thickeners, preservatives, fruit
concentrates or purees instead of real fruit, etc. These types of
unhealthy smoothies should be avoided. The best smoothies are
the ones that contain only whole food, natural and unprocessed
Let’s undress the McDonald’s Real Fruit smoothie to see if it looks
good naked. I think you will be surprised with how deceiving the
marketing for this product really is.
Undressing McDonald’s Real
Fruit Smoothie
There are also many high quality vegan proteins on the
market for those looking for a vegan or vegetarian
source. Be sure that there is a complete spectrum of
essential amino acids to keep your body healthy,
happy and strong.
Healthy fats like flax or chia seeds for brain
function and to reduce inflammation
Fats are an important part of our diet. Eating fat is not
only good for us it is essential for our health. The key is
getting the right kinds and in the right amounts. Check
out The Naked Label blog for more info on fats.
So, when we take a look at the smoothie’s offered at
McDonalds, here’s what’s wrong with them in my
Article Contributed By: Dr. Seth Yates, ND
The word ‘smoothie’ sounds healthy doesn’t it? Keep
reading to get the scoop on McDonald’s real fruit
smoothies. Be prepared to take a big ‘gulp’ when you see
it undressed. When I make a nutrient dense smoothie for breakfast I
make sure to throw in high quality ingredients to start
my day off right.
The best ingredients for smoothies:
Things like frozen fruit for antioxidants and fiber
Frozen blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, grapes
and acai are just some of the many kinds of fruits that
are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help to fight
free radicals in our body and help prevent disease. They
are extremely beneficial for our health.
The Lowdown on McDee’s Smoothies
They add cornstarch to thicken the smoothie, this is an
ingredient that is certainly not needed if you are using
real frozen fruit.
Dimethyl what?!
In the smoothie there is an ingredient listed called
‘dimethylpolysiloxane’. This is an ingredient commonly
used in silicones, adhesives, and caulking. Not an
ingredient that I would ever recommend ingesting.
Sugar content:
The large blueberry pomegranate smoothie contains a
whopping 70g of sugar! That much sugar will disrupt
your blood glucose levels.
Fruits are also a great source of fiber! Fruits provide so
many great things, and they add a luscious flavor to your
Very little protein:
High quality whey protein to feed muscles
Last but not least, these “real fruit smoothies” only
contain on average 4g of protein, which is just not
enough to counter the excessive sugar.
Adding a high quality protein to your smoothie helps to
slow down the absorption of the natural sugars from the
fruit so that insulin levels don’t spike out of control,
leaving you in a slump later in the day.
Having a full spectrum of amino acids is great food for
muscles and brain function.
Although the word ‘real fruit smoothie’ sounds
healthy, it’s important to take a look at all the
ingredients when undressing any kind of product. In
this case, make your own smoothie using the
guidelines above to create the best healthy smoothie
for your body. They’re super easy to make and your
body will love you for it.
Diet Foods
I see a lot of products marketed as low-calorie. Since weightloss is the number 1 health goal, these types of products tend to
attract the diet shopper. Often times these diet foods contain
harmful ingredients (like the artificial sweetener aspartame)
which are calorie-free but extremely unhealthy. Or they put
the product into smaller packages so they can market it as a
low-calorie diet food. The important thing to remember is that
calories are essential for our health. If we are eating low-calorie
diet foods we may be doing more harm than good.
Below is an article that undresses the 100 Calorie Diet Foods to
help you understand what a calorie is, why is’s so important,
and why low-calorie diet foods are tricking you into believing
they are something they are not.
100 Calorie Snacks Have Attacked!
Find out why they are harming us.
I wanted to bust through these myths to show you just
how bogus this way of thinking really is.
So, what is a calorie? In simple terms a calorie is a unit
of measurement that indicates the amount of energy
that food will produce in the human body.
Therefore, the more calories a food item has, the more
energy it produces in the body.
Based on this explanation of a calorie you can see that
calories are good! Not only are they good, they are
essential for the human body. If we don’t consume
calories, we won’t have any energy, and we won’t
So if calories are so important for us then why does
the ‘diet’ industry demonize calories and tell us to
reduce them?
When it comes to promoting low calorie snacks it
appears that the magic number is 100. I have noticed
that calorie counting has become a very popular trend in
the diet industry. This has opened up a great
opportunity for food processors to profit from this by
creating low-calorie snack options. Unfortunately, many
of these snacks are doing more harm than good. Let’s
undress this low-calorie trend to see what’s happening
behind the scenes. First things first. What
the heck is a calorie?
Before we dive into
undressing these
products, it’s important to
make sure we fully
understand what a calorie
actually is and what it
does in the body. I often
hear people say that they
are on a low-calorie diet,
or that they are avoiding
certain healthy foods (e.g.
nuts, avocado, oil, etc)
because they are high in
calories. I’ve also heard
people ask how many
calories are in a specific
food because they are
determined to avoid high-calorie foods since they
equate them with weight-gain and poor health.
Great question! The important thing about calories is
that we only need a certain amount of them. If we get
too few calories from our food then our body can’t
function properly. However, if we consume more
calories than our body needs it has to do something
with the excess calories. What it does, is it stores
them as fat.
So as you can see, calories are
VERY important, however, we
want to make sure that we are
consuming the right amount.
Since the majority of people in
North America consume more
calories than they are using
(or put another way, consume
more energy than they are
burning), we end up storing
excess fat in the body. This is
why the diet industry focuses
so much on calorie-cutting.
When we stop consuming too
many calories we can start to
burn the fat stores in the body
and lose weight.
Kidding ;-)
How do I know how many calories I should be
They are carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. When it
comes to calories:
A quick way to figure this out is to calculate your Basal
Metabolic Rate (BMR). You can find calculators online
for free that allow you to calculate your BMR.
The BMR is a calculation of how many calories your
body will burn if you stayed in bed all day. It’s important
to make sure you consume that many calories because
that is what your body needs to function. The more
physical activity you do the more calories you should
consume during the day.
Consuming the right number of calories is only half the
Every gram of carbohydrate ALWAYS contains
4 calories
Every gram of protein ALWAYS contains 4
Every gram of fat ALWAYS contains 9 calories
This is an essential part of the puzzle because it shows
that when we see how many calories are in a specific
food it is not an indication of how healthy that food is,
it is just an indication of how many grams of these
macronutrients are in the food, multiplied by the
number of calories per gram.
The most important lesson here
I get frustrated when I hear people assessing the health
of a food item solely based on the number of calories it
contains. For example, you may have heard someone say
that a specific food is ‘bad’ because it is high in calories.
Or heard someone compare two foods and say one is
better than the other specifically because it is lower in
There is one more VERY important piece of the puzzle I
need to explain so you can understand why this type of
thinking frustrates me so much.
There are only 3 macronutrients when it comes to food.
The key takeaway I want you to get from this is that
the number of calories a food item contains is not
enough on it’s own to determine the health of that
food. The most important thing to look at is the
nutrient density of the food.
We want to make sure we are eating foods that
contain a high amount of micronutrition (vitamins,
minerals, phytonutrients, and enzymes) per gram.
For example, if you take 100 calories worth of Doritos
chips (which is only a few chips) and compare that to
now have the cake, cookies, chips, etc you
want but in a portion size that leads to you
weighing your dream weight. Often times
people feel better about themselves just
by buying this product!
100 calories worth of apple (2 apples) you can see that
although they are both 100 calories, you are going to get
far more nutrition from the apples. The apples are going
to be nutrient dense (meaning they contain high
amounts of micronutrition per gram), where as the
Doritos would be considered a processed food that is
nutrient depleted.
The key is that if you only have a certain number of
calories to consume in a day, it is important to make
sure that you are getting as many micronutrients into
your body without going over your calorie limit.
Often times people are only focused on weight loss as a
goal. When they eat these low-calorie unhealthy foods
and they start to see weight loss, they get excited.
However, even if weight loss is important to you, your
health should always be number 1. Being skinny but sick
is no fun.
The choice is yours. If your health, how you feel, your
energy levels, skin, etc are not important to you
and all that matters is the weight on the scale
then only focusing on calories could do the trick.
However, if you do care about your health and
how you feel, then focusing on eating foods that
are nutrient dense is going to rock your world in
a good way!
The problem is that these are the same
manufacturers who spend millions of
dollars trying to make their products so
irresistible that you CAN’T just have 1 bite,
1 cookie, or 1 snack pack. These products
are specifically designed to convince you
to eat more, more, more. After finishing
the last bite you will likely find yourself
licking your fingers and reaching for
another. If you are able to hold yourself back, you may
feel emotions of deprivation. One part of you will be
feeling like you really want more and the other side is
telling you that you can’t have it because you need to
lose weight. This is not a very enjoyable experience.
These products don’t satisfy us and as a result can
lead to weight gain, poor health, and emotional eating.
In addition these products may contain only 100
calories per package, but they are also nutrientdepleted, bad for the environment (because of all the
excess packaging), and on top of that the companies
charge a premium so you actually pay way more per
gram of food.
My recommendation is that you ignore the marketing
hype. Turn the package over and read the ingredients.
If it contains food that is processed, refined, nutrientdepleted, synthetic, or artificial, leave it on the shelf.
Instead, aim to fill up your calorie tank with foods that
are going to actually fuel your body, not just feed it.
Why I hate these 100 calorie snacks
Food manufacturers wanted to profit off of the
diet industry and it seems that 100 calorie
snack packs was one of their tactics. The
marketing that goes along with these products
makes you believe that these snack packs are
the solution you have been looking for. You can
Muffins are commonly thought of as a healthier
breakfast or snack option. Often times people view
them as healthier alternatives to donuts and cake.
Unfortunately, most muffins we see on the
market today are no better. They are loaded with
refined flour, sugar, genetically-modified oil,
artificial flavor, and chemical preservatives. Not
only should they be considered a dessert, they fall
into the category of unhealthy desserts I avoid.
To give you an example, let’s undress the Tim
Horton’s Blueberry Muffin to see if it looks good
Tim Horton’s Blueberry
Muffin Undressed
Article Contributed By: Amy Height, Holistic Health Coach
Tim Horton’s: they’re everywhere in Canada and have
now started to expand in the US. An easy morning graband-go option (or a convenient mid-afternoon snack
attack remedy), this chain of coffee shops has become
ubiquitous in Canadian culture.
The ‘always fresh’ giant has a wide array of goodies,
some obviously not great for us (donuts, cookies,
timbits), and some whose health factor is a little harder
to figure out. In fact, the menu features a “healthier
options” section, made up of yogurt + berries, bagels,
and muffins.
But how healthy are these, really?
Today, we tackle one of Tim’s biggest sellers – and one
of the more deceptively unhealthy items on the menu –
the blueberry muffin.
Tim Horton’s Blueberry Muffins Undressed – Do they
look good naked?
So what’s in it?
According to the nutrition calculator on the company’s
website, one blueberry muffin contains:
330 calories
460g of sodium
25g of sugar (which is the equivalent of 5 teaspoons)
Although Tim Horton’s doesn’t list their ingredients on
their website, they have a customer service line where a
cheerful representative will read you a list of exactly
what’s in your favorite products. I called to inquire about
the blueberry muffins, and here’s what I found they
Enriched wheat flour (niacin, thiamine
mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, reduced iron)
Soybean oil and/or canola oil
High fructose corn syrup
Dried liquid eggs
Levening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum
Modified corn starch
Corn syrup solids
Natural and artificial flavors
Sodium benzoate
Soy lecithin
Let’s break this down
A look at the Enriched Flour
As any devoted reader of The Naked Label knows,
refined, enriched flours aren’t real food. Synthetic
vitamins and minerals aren’t the same as the real
thing, and the body doesn’t absorb them in the
same way. Plus, refined, milled grain delivers an
instant shock of sugar to the bloodstream and can
create blood sugar irregularities if consumed in
excess. This type of sugar in the bloodstream
often converts to fat and stores as such, usually in
those places we don’t want it.
Holy moly that’s a lot of sugar!
Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are
the second and sixth ingredients on the list (no
wonder that sugar count is so high!). Corn syrup
solids also appear towards the end of the list.
Sugar has been linked to all kinds of health
problems, from diabetes to cancer to immune
suppression. Swapping refined white sugar –
including HFCS – out for natural sweeteners like
honey, maple syrup, dates, or molasses can lessen
the stress placed on the body, as these natural
alternatives also break down more slowly in the
system, preventing that spike-and-crash we
experience with the white stuff.
What about Modified Corn Starch?
Modified corn starch is likely genetically modified,
and as a simple sugar, doesn’t provide a ton of
nutrition to the body. The ‘modification’ comes from a
chemical or enzymatic process that changes the nature
of the starch: it’s not the same as eating a kernel of
corn, as the starch produced is tougher to break down.
This is not a real food.
What’s the deal with Soybean and Canola oil?
Soybean oil and canola oil are highly refined derivatives
of plants, often used in commercial baking to extend
shelf life and provide an unusually moist texture to
goodies. While the representative was unable to tell me
if the oil used in these muffins was hydrogenated or not,
the nutrition calculator on the website indicates there’s
0.2g of trans fat per muffin (and it likely comes from
these ingredients). While some trans fats occur in
animal products, most found in commercial products
come from a man-made process: oil is infused with
hydrogen, rendering it solid at room temperature. The
resulting substance is difficult for the body to break
down or use and it can hang out in the body for years,
causing arterial blockage and toxic overload. A better
option – in cooking and baking in general – would be
non-hydrogenated unsaturated oils: olive oil,
pumpkinseed oil, or sunflower oil. Or a saturated oil
that is made of medium-chain fatty acids (which
converts easily to energy in the body) such as coconut
What are monodiglycerides?
Monodiglycerides is an artificially created substance
that improves the crumb texture of baked goods. It’s
essentially a fatty acid that acts as an emulsifier for
other ingredients (usually to hold oil and water
together). Monodiglycerides can come from cows, pigs,
or plants, or can be synthetically created from nonfoods. Most companies, like Tim Horton’s, won’t
disclose where theirs come from; best to avoid if you’re
following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, and best to
avoid in general if you’re trying to eat real food and not
Sodium Benzoate undressed
Sodium Benzoate is a chemical preservative
commonly found in processed foods and drinks,
especially those with high acid content. In these
conditions, sodium benzoate inhibits growth of
bacteria, mold and yeast, extending a product’s
shelf life. While benzoic acid is found naturally in
low levels in some whole foods like cranberries, the
sodium benzoate listed on a product’s nutrition
label is typically synthesized in a lab. Introducing
any ingredient whose purpose is to starve bacteria
and create an inhospitable environment isn’t going
to be ideal when introduced to the human body. I
like to use a simple rule when it comes to these
kinds of ingredients: if it wouldn’t help a singlecelled organism to survive, it probably won’t be
great for my cells.
Soy lecithin
Soy lecithin is the final ingredient on the list. Like
monodiglycerides, it’s an emulsifier, and acts to
create even product texture. Lecithin is extracted
from soy using a chemical solvent (usually hexane),
which allows the lecithin to separate from the rest
of the oil when it’s mixed with water. The dried
product we might see in the bulk food section,
protein powders, or in baking, is the end product
following drying and bleaching. Because lecithin is
not a substance the body naturally encounters in
isolation, it can cause confusion and imbalance
within the system. Our bodies are unable to identify
the strange substance and can create relative
deficiencies in other nutrients as it searches for the
pieces it’s missing. This can mean an increase in
cravings, too. Also, since there is no regulation on
the amount of hexane that can be present in a food
product, we run the risk of ingesting residual
noxious compounds leftover from the extraction
So what can we do instead?
How about the natural and artificial flavor?
Natural and Artificial Flavor – this could include
anything from mink oil (extracted from the animal),
soaked charred sawdust, to extracts of crude oil or tar
that – to our senses – taste or smell the same as a
‘natural substance’. While anything labeled ‘natural
flavorant’ must be derived from something commonly
considered edible, artificial ingredients don’t have to
come from a food source.
Baking at home – and knowing just what’s going into
your muffins – is always a better option than
p u r c h a s i n g s o m e t h i n g p r e - m a d e . Av o i d
preservatives, synthetic emulsifiers, artificial
flavors, and trans fats by selecting ingredients you
can purchase individually: real eggs instead of dried
liquid ones, non-hydrogenated oils, and organic
produce and natural sweeteners where possible.
Back in the 1980’s food manufacturers started taking the fat out
of food because people believed that the fat they were eating
was making them fatter! Over the years we have proven this
theory to be false, however, producing these foods is still a
massive industry today. The problem is that when we take the
fat out we need to replace it with something else. Ironically,
the ‘something else’ they replace it with leads to more weight
gain than the fat did when it was in the product.
Check out the article below that undresses this fat-free food
phenomenon to see why these foods do not look good naked
and why they should be left on the grocery store shelf.
Fat-free foods actually
make us fatter!
First, let’s look at some of the benefits of fats so
you can see why they are friend, not foe:
Back in the 1980’s the government started telling
everyone that we should be avoiding fat in our diet. The
general thought was that fat is bad and is making us fat.
Unfortunately, this was not the whole story. We were
grossly mislead and as a result got fatter than ever! Let’s
undress the fat-free product craze and see what went
down. Do these fat-free products that line our grocery
store shelves look good naked? Do they actually make
us fatter!? Let’s find out!! Let’s start by getting one thing clear about fat
The general statement or opinion that “eating fat makes
us fat” is completely wrong. It’s not like the fat in the
avocado goes straight to our butts and bellies. There are
only 3 macronutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and
proteins. All of them are essential for our survival. If we
cut any of them out of our diet our health will suffer.
People tend to gain weight because they are eating more
calories (from fat, proteins, and carbohydrates
combined) than they are burning in a day. In addition,
the foods they are eating that make up their daily
caloric total often lead to increased fat gain. For
example, processed high-glycemic foods like sugar,
white flour, high-fructose corn syrup, pasta, bread, etc
spike our blood sugar and promote fat creation in the
Brain: Essential for brain function.
Cells: Fat helps cells stay moveable and
Heart: 60% of heart’s energy comes from
burning fats. Healthy fats help keep the heart
beating in a regular rhythm.
Nerves: Helps insulate and protect the nerves.
Digestion: Fat slows down the digestion
process so the body has more time to absorb
nutrients. It also helps provide a constant level
of energy and keeps the body satiated for
longer periods of time. Fat-soluble vitamins (A,
D, E, and K) are absorbed with the presence of
Organs: Cushion and protect internal organs.
Immune System: Some fats ease inflammation,
helping our metabolism and immune system
stay healthy and functioning.
Fat is definitely important, I think we have confirmed
that. So what is the deal with these fat-free foods. It’s
starting to look like they aren’t that healthy for us!
Undressing Fat-Free Foods
Food processors absolutely love when there is a new
dietary trend that they can capitalize on. This is
exactly what they did when fat-free became a health
trend. People thought they should be reducing fat in
their diet and food processors were right there with an
answer to their problem. Suddenly you could buy your
favorite cookies, cheese, salad dressing, buttery
spread, etc all in fat free! People started buying these
products thinking they were opting for healthier
YIKES!!! High-glycemic foods are actually more of a
culprit for packing on the pounds than fat is. Later in
this article you will find out why this insight is
completely ironic and shocking, especially when looking
at fat-free foods.
Unfor tunately, these
products are not healthier. In
fact, these new fat-free
products often lead to weight
gain and more health
problems than their original
Let’s look at why that is.
As I mentioned before, there
are only 3 macronutrients:
fat, carbohydrates, and
protein. If you take out the
fat, you need to replace it
with something. The problem
is that fat provides a specific
type of texture and flavor to
the product. So if you want
the product to still taste
good and have a similar
consistency you need to add things like sugar, flour, thickeners, gums, emulsifiers, salt, etc.
Typically what you end up with is a product that is more heavily processed and higher in carbohydrates (the
refined high-glycemic variety). These products don’t contain fat but the end result is a product that contains
virtually the same number of calories (they replace the fat calories with carbohydrate calories). This increase in
refined carbohydrates used to replace the fat can have a negative impact on blood sugar which can lead to fat
development in the body.
WHAT!! People usually buy these products to lose weight but the product is actually causing us to pack on the
pounds. We need to vote with our fork and stop buying these products. Companies won’t stop making them until
we stop buying them.
It seems like everywhere you look these days there are
gluten-free options. More and more people are
developing allergies and sensitivities to gluten. As a result
companies are coming out with many gluten-free
alternatives to our favorite foods. The problem is that
many of these alternatives are actually worse for you
than gluten! It’s important to understand the whole story
before deciding if gluten is right for you.
Gluten is a protein found naturally in many whole foods.
So why is it considered bad for us? Let’s take a closer look
at what gluten is, why it get’s such a bad rap, and who
should be avoiding it.
Is gluten bad? Is it really the devil
it’s made out to be?
The other day I was walking through the grocery store in
my neighborhood and I was pleasantly surprised to see
so many gluten-free food options. For people who need
to be gluten-free, these food products appeared to be an
incredible alternative. From bread and cereals to
cookies, waffles, and wraps, the options were many.
With so many new gluten-free products coming to
market it makes you wonder, are more people requiring
gluten-free foods, is this just a health fad, are these
gluten-free foods healthier or are they healthy at all?
Let’s strip away the confusion and undress this issue. What the heck is gluten anyways?
First we need to understand what the heck gluten
actually is. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat,
rye, barley, kamut, spelt, and triticale. You can think of it
like a glue. In fact, the word glūten is actually a Latin
word, meaning glue. It is the gluten that allows your
favorite bagel to have that chewy texture, for your loaf
of bread to rise and hold together, and for your waffles
to be delicate and fluffy.
So what’s the deal with this gluten stuff? Is it good or
There are a number of reasons that gluten gets a bad
rap. For one, it’s very hard to digest. Also, according to
the Journal of the American Medical Association, it may
increase your risk of heart disease and cancer.
Furthermore, a review paper in The New England
Journal of Medicine listed 55 symptoms/diseases that
could be caused by the consumption of gluten. Yikes!!
Some of these include, irritable bowel disease, fatigue,
osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune
diseases, etc. It also has a negative impact on our
brain and new studies are starting to link gluten to
Years ago we didn’t hear that much about gluten. It
seems like it’s a new fad. However, part of the reason
we are hearing so much more about it is because more
and more people are being negatively affected by this
protein. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are on
the rise! It is believed that this increase in sensitivity is
due to the increased consumption of highly processed
gluten foods and the tinkering with the genetics of
gluten grains (like wheat), using sophisticated
hybridization techniques. Wheat for example, is often
consumed in the Standard American Diet at every
meal and in a processed form. For example, cereal for
breakfast, a granola bar for snack, bread at lunch,
crackers for a snack, and a burger (with bun), pizza,
pasta, etc for dinner. Plus don’t forget the cake,
cookies, and pastries for dessert! Food science has
tinkered with these foods and food marketers have
pushed their consumption on us for years. It seems
like our bodies may be retaliating.
So… should everyone avoid gluten or just people with
Celiac disease?
This is a tricky question. One that sparks much debate
in the holistic community. Based on everything that
I’ve read and learned on the subject, my opinion is as
Gluten for people with Celiac disease
For people who have Celiac disease, it is 100%
necessary to avoid all forms of gluten. Celiac disease
is a medical condition where gluten actually damages
the surface of the small intestine. This impairs the
person’s ability to absorb the nutrients from their
food. This is a very serious condition and therefore, no
amount of gluten should be consumed by these
Gluten for people with gluten sensitivity
For people who have gluten sensitivity / gluten
intolerance, they experience unwanted symptoms
when consuming gluten and feel better on a glutenfree diet. The severity is not as pronounced as people
with Celiac disease but it is still advisable to avoid all
sources of gluten in this case as well.
Gluten for people who are not well but don’t have
diagnosed Celiac disease/gluten sensitivity
If you are dealing with unwanted health conditions
outside of Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, you may
want to try avoiding gluten. As I discussed above, gluten
can cause or irritate many other health conditions.
Removing it from the diet may help the body heal faster
and help you feel better too.
Gluten for people who are healthy
If you are feeling like you are in tip top shape, and you
don’t notice any difference in how you feel after you eat
gluten, you may be able to consume gluten in
moderation. However, keep in mind, gluten is not an
essential nutrient for the body, like water is for example.
Therefore, if you don’t consume gluten, your health will
not be negatively impacted, and in fact it may actually
be positively impacted. If you are going to consume
some gluten, I would recommended that you stay away
from processed grains like white flour and instead stick
to whole foods. I would also recommend that where
possible, you opt for eliminating wheat and instead
choose other grains like rye. This is because rye has not
been as heavily altered through hybridization.
How is it possible to go gluten free? What would I eat?
Since the Standard American Diet is so heavily focused
on gluten grains like wheat, you may be puzzled at first
as to what you would actually eat if you went gluten
free. The biggest mistake I see people make is going to
the store and simply swapping out the same foods they
ate before, with gluten-free alternatives. For example,
instead of buying the wheat waffles, they opt for the
gluten-free variety. While it may be gluten-free it
doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. You still have to
keep your label reading hat on and assess if the product
is healthy or not.
Since so many people are in need of gluten-free foods,
processors have started creating gluten-free options.
Unfortunately, many of these products contain items (e.g. potato starch and tapioca starch) that can have a
significant impact on blood sugar levels and are heavily
processed. They may be a good option when used in
moderation (especially if you have Celiac disease or
gluten sensitivity) but going overboard on them is not
So if we were to minimize or eliminate gluten products
as well as the heavily processed gluten-free
alternatives, what’s left? The good news is, lots!!
Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, animal
products, and many grains (e.g. rice, quinoa, millet,
buckwheat, corn, amaranth, and teff) are all glutenfree!!!
Therefore, if you stick to a whole foods diet made of
the foods I just listed in the above paragraph, you will
find that eating gluten-free is not that difficult.
Speaking from experience, I find it actually pretty easy
to consume a gluten-free diet at home. The biggest
hurdles are when we go out to eat. Sometimes it’s easy
to avoid the obvious sources of gluten like bread and
pasta, but the problem is that gluten is often used as
an additive in many sauces, gravies, breadings, etc. If
you are a Celiac this can be especially dangerous.
Luckily, restaurants are starting to take notice and
make some awesome changes to be able to offer true
gluten-free options.
The burning question I always get is whether I eat
gluten. So I figured in the name of transparency I
would tell you what I do. At home I maintain a 95% or
higher gluten-free kitchen. The 5% is made up of the
occasional homemade spelt pizza, Dimpflmeier 100%
rye bread with flax seed, or sprouted Essene bread.
When I go out I often eat gluten-free but I’ll be honest,
I’m not perfect and I try not to stress myself out about
it too much.
Therefore, in conclusion, if you are a Celiac or gluten
sensitive, avoid it completely. If you are not feeling
your best, try eliminating it to see if you feel better. If
you want to eat some gluten foods and you are a
health machine who is feeling fabulous, then having
some gluten from whole food sources should be fine.
This is a personal decision everyone makes for
Vitamin Water
& Sports Drinks
Vitamin Water and Sports Drinks are marketed as healthy
beverages. Companies want us to believe that drinking vitamin
enhanced water is a great-tasting way to get added vitamins into
our diet. They want us to think that this is better than just drinking
water because of the added vitamins. When it comes to sports
drinks, companies would love us to believe that these are the
drinks of athletes and since athletes drink them they must be
healthy for us. At first glance this may make sense, but when we
look a little closer at the ingredients used in these products we
discover that they are full of processed sweeteners like highfructose corn syrup and artificial food coloring. Even the vitamin
waters don’t contain that many vitamins to warrant the fancy
marketing hype.
VITAMINWATER does not look good naked. Let’s undress it to see
what it’s really made of and why it’s so bad for us.
VITAMINWATER Shame on you!
Let’s face it, most of us like to reward ourselves with a treat once in a
while. This may be a homemade chocolate chip cookie, a piece of pie, a
few potato chips, soda, or maybe a handful of french fries. I don’t have a
problem with the occasional (key word being occasional) treat of
something that really brings a smile to my face. The trick however, is in
understanding what goes in the treat pile and what belongs in the “good
for me” pile. Unfortunately, companies work very diligently to blur the line between
what is and isn’t healthy and they try to convince us that their product
belongs in the “good for me” pile. VITAMINWATER is a classic example
of this line blurring. The company claims it is healthy. They would like us
to think it should be part of our daily routine to improve health because it
contains vitamins. The facts show otherwise. Let’s undress this colorful
product to see what it looks like naked. Below I have compared VITAMINWATER, Coca-cola, and Water.
Undressing the claim:
VITAMINWATER claims that we should drink their
product every day to help ensure we get our daily
vitamins. Here is what they say on their website about
one of their products:
“In today’s multi-tasking world, it’s not easy getting all of
the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. That’s why
we created this product. VITAMINWATER 10 multi-v is
packed with vitamins a to zinc … and it’s naturally
sweetened … and it’s great
tasting. We like to think of
it as the jack-of-all
nutrients. And the best
part is that it’s only 10
calories per serving…” As I read this, the two
things that jumped out at
me as marketing mumbojumbo were“naturally sweetened” and “jack-of-all
nutrients”. I decided to look further into what the
company had to say about these claims. Here is what I
COMPANY CLAIM about being the “jack-of-all
“It’s also packed with the vitamins
and nutrients you need throughout
the day. It is specially formulated
with 11 essential vitamins and
minerals, from vitamin a to zinc, to
provide the body with nutrients
needed to remain healthy and
There is a lot of debate
about how many
vitamins we need to
consume and whether
or not we get enough
from the food we eat. I
won’t open up this can
of worms today, but
assuming we do need
to take daily vitamins,
let’s look at how many
you really get in a bottle of VITAMINWATER. For this
comparison I used the VITAMINWATER sold in
Canada because it lists actual amounts instead of the
percentages found on the USA bottles. Here is what I
found when I compared some of the vitamins in
VITAMINWATER (which aren’t many) to the amounts
offered in the daily serving of a high quality
To put things in perspective. If you wanted to get the
same amount of B6 that is offered in the daily amount
of the Douglas Laboratories supplement, you would
need to drink 200 bottles of VITAMINWATER per
day. This would equate to 6,500 grams of sugar!!! I
think I’ll stick to the supplements. COMPANY CLAIM about their main “natural
sweetener”, crystalline fructose:
“Crystalline fructose is a pure,
natural sweetener. It is the same
as the sugar that’s found in many
fruits, vegetables and honey, only
in a crystallized form.”
Undressing the claim:
In the USA, VITAMINWATER is sweetened with
crystalline fructose (as mentioned in the claim above).
Although they make it sound healthy in their claim, the
truth is that it is actually an “unnatural” and highly
processed product made from fructose-enriched corn
syrup, not fruit. In Canada, VITAMINWATER is
sweetened with cane sugar. Both are considered sugar
and consuming too much of either overloads our system
and our body turns the excess into fat. Yes folks, this
eventually leads to weight gain, but more importantly it
can also put you at risk for a number of serious diseases. Here’s a quick sugar overview showing a key difference
between crystalline fructose (used in the USA product)
and cane sugar (used in Canada). It’s a bit ‘sciency’ but
try to bear with me. Cane sugar contains 50% fructose
and 50% glucose (same as the sugar found in your
baking cupboard). Crystalline fructose on the other hand
contains almost 100% fructose. Now I know I am
throwing a lot of percentages at you and you are
probably wondering what this all means? Well, glucose
and fructose are processed differently by the body.
Glucose goes into the blood stream, insulin jumps in to
lend a helping hand and the glucose is turned into energy
for the body. Fructose on the other hand can only be
processed by the liver and requires the body to work
much harder before turning it into energy. Although
having too much of either glucose or fructose leads to
the body creating fat, studies show that consuming too
much fructose is harder on our systems than consuming
excess glucose. This is one of the main reasons
crystalline fructose is considered worse for us than
traditional sugar. With the above being said, it is important to note that
this information does not mean fructose should be
blacklisted. After all, many fruits and vegetables contain
fructose and we know that we need both to live a
healthy lifestyle. The trick is quantity, quantity,
quantity. Consuming too much of either glucose and
especially fructose, is hard on our system and leads to
poor health. Drinking VITAMINWATER too often will
result in the consumption of too much sugar (aka
fructose and/or glucose). Conclusion
In conclusion, VITAMINWATER should be placed in
the treat category along with soda, cookies and french
fries. It is a sugar filled drink with very small quantities
of very few vitamins. It should
not be part of a daily routine to
boost health because in fact, it
does just the opposite. The good news is that water is
cheap and VITAMINWATER is
expensive. Not only will
drinking water be healthier for
us, it will also put money back
in our pocket. Cheers to being
healthy and saving money!
Meal Replacement
While there are some healthy meal replacement beverages on
the market, sold by well respected supplement companies,
many of the meal replacement beverage products you see at
the grocery store are garbage. Two popular brands that should
be avoided are Ensure (which claims to be complete and
balanced nutrition) and Carnation Breakfast Essentials (which
claims to be a delicious and nutritious way to start the day
right). Both of these products are LOADED with processed
sweeteners, preservatives, and other unhealthy additives and
Let’s undress Carnation Breakfast Essentials to take a closer
look at exactly why this popular meal replacement beverage
does not look good naked.
Undressing Carnation
Breakfast Essentials
Is Nonfat Milk really so great?
Nonfat milk is the transport device for all of the
“nutrients” in Carnation Breakfast Essentials. Nonfat
milk is a whitened, skimmed version of whole milk:
when the full fat is removed, so are many nutrients.
The nutrients have to be added back in artificially
(read on for some examples of how Carnation does it).
Manufacturers also add sugar to replace the flavor of
dairy fat. Also, the removal of full fat means we’re less
likely to feel full from consuming something, and the
addition of sugar means we’re likely to need more of it
to feel satisfied.
Sugar content
Article Contributed By: Amy Height, Holistic Health Coach
Nestle recently launched an aggressive, celebrity-laden
campaign to promote its Carnation Breakfast Essentials,
a pre-made drink intended to make breakfast more wellrounded and convenient for adults and kids. Their
marketing is particularly aimed at parents of
young ones, and suggests that the drink has
everything a child needs to thrive. There are definitely some key things to consider
when preparing kids for the day with food: eating
breakfast has been linked to higher performance at
school, better social interactions, fewer instances of
attention issues, and better weight maintenance. That
is, of course, unless breakfast is a highly processed
sugary cereal, toaster pastry… or the liquid equivalent.
Carnation Breakfast Essentials is fortified with a number
of synthetic ingredients suspended in not-so-nutritious
f o o d - e s q u e
ingredients, which
makes them pretty
much like liquefied
Count Chocula. Let’s
look at how these
convenient cans and
powders break down;
then we’ll explore
some other ways to
work the same
nutrition into your
child’s day without
quite so many
preservatives and
artificial additives. Sugar is listed as the second, third, and fifth
ingredients: not promising for a product that claims to
deliver “balanced nutrition so [kids] can be at their
best”. Sugar is linked to attention deficit disorders and
hyperactivity disorders, poor nutrient absorption, and
not surprisingly, childhood obesity.
phosphate 101
Dicalcium phosphate, the
purported calcium supplement in this drink, is a
compound formed when calcium and phosphoric acid
are combined. The result is a substance virtually
insoluble in water (meaning it doesn’t dissolve or
absorb into the body’s tissues easily). Interesting to
note, too, that this particular substance is
recommended for use under doctor supervision only.
Natural and Artificial
Flavor – this could
include anything from
mink oil (extracted
from the animal),
soaked charred
sawdust, to extracts of
crude oil or tar that –
to our senses – taste
or smell the same as a
‘natural substance’.
While anything
labeled ‘natural
flavorant’ must be derived from something commonly
considered edible, artificial ingredients don’t have to
come from a food source.
Vitamin sources
CBE also includes isolated synthetic supplemental
sources of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A,
B1, B6, B12, D, K, and folic acid.
Carrageenan, which has seen much media attention
lately due to studies that suggest it’s an unsafe food
product, is a highly processed derivative of red seaweed.
It has no nutritional value and is used as an emulsifier. It
has been linked to inflammatory conditions and to
glucose desensitization (a precursor for diabetes) in
animal trials.
There are several ways to work these essential nutrients
and lasting energy into your child’s morning without
resorting to pre-packaged drinks like Carnation
Breakfast Essentials. It’s important to know that your
child doesn’t require ALL of the vitamins on the nutrition
spectrum in each meal; rather, aim for representation of
each across a 24-hour period. You have two more meals
(and snacks) throughout the day to cover their
nutritional bases, so don’t worry too much about
working in everything in one meal.
Where to get your essential nutrients
Unspoiled on the shelf for months!
To remain unspoiled on a shelf for many months, as
Breakfast Essentials must, the manufacturer adds
emulsifiers and stabilizers: these keep the product’s
consistency for upwards
of a year. (What does
that mean they’re doing
inside our bodies?) Soy
Lecithin is a yellowbrown fatty substance
extracted from plant
tissue. It’s often highly
processed. It’s used
here as an emulsifier, to
hold all of the other
compound ingredients
When it comes to providing ample energy to get through
until lunch, aim for healthy fats and lasting protein.
Avocado, almond butter, and flax meal provide a good
dose of filling fat; nuts, seeds, whole grains, and yogurt
alternatives provide protein.
Calcium can be found in leafy greens, almonds, and
yogurt made from soy or almond milk.
Similarly, AlphaTocopheryl Acetate is
stabilized vitamin E.
Th i s fo r m i s m o re
commonly used in
cosmetics and is not
generally effective as a
source of nutrition.
Vitamin A is what gives orange veggies their bright color: think sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, and even apricots.
Vitamin B can be tricky on a plant-based diet, but incorporating nuts, seeds, spinach, banana, avocado, and
nutritional yeast in addition to a B12 supplement can round out this nutrient in the diet. Vitamin D is widely
available in fish as well as in mushrooms, and our best source of Vitamin K1 is leafy greens. (Seeing a pattern?).
Folate naturally occurs in staple plant foods like beans and greens (think: foliage), and in this form is more
absorbable than when it comes from synthetic folic acid.
And if you need to add some real natural flavor, try vanilla bean, cinnamon, or nutmeg.
Considering all of these, some easy breakfast options include:
butter, and
flax meal
Quinoa with
milk, nuts or
berries, and
Brown rice or
quinoa flour
made with
berries and
An egg or tofu
scramble with greens, mushrooms,
and sprinkle of nutritional yeast
In my opinion, the biggest benefit to avoiding premixed drinks like this one is the opportunity to limit sugar intake.
Especially first thing in the morning, staying away from added sugars can promote better food choices throughout
the day, fewer cravings, and better focus and attention at school.
Whole foods help kids develop a great relationship with real food and how it fuels them. It might take an extra
minute to toss ingredients in the blender rather than pop open a can of Carnation Breakfast Essentials, but the
long term benefits are worth it! Set your little ones up for a great day, and a healthy upbringing, by incorporating
real foods as often as you can.
Wheat is a fairly controversial topic. There are many differing
opinions, even within the natural health community. Some
people say that it’s okay to eat wheat in moderation and some
say we should eliminate it all-together. At the end the answer
to this question depends on two factors: number one is how
your individual body handles wheat, and the second is the type
of wheat you are buying. Unfortunately most wheat on the
market today has been chemically altered and is not as healthy
as it used to be. Due to this alteration and the overconsumption
of wheat in the last century many people are sensitive to wheat
and to the protein inside wheat, gluten.
Let’s take a closer look at the history of wheat to understand
why it used to look better naked than it does today.
To Eat Wheat Or Not To Eat
Wheat? That is the question!
One day emmer got a bit horny (frisky little devil) and
naturally mated with another grass called Triticum
tauschii which now resulted in a 42 chromosome
offspring called Triticum aestivum – a grain that
genetically is closest to what we now call wheat. People
liked Triticum aestivum because it resulted in higher
yield and was better for baking. This version of wheat
changed very little over the next many centuries.
The year everything went to hell in a handbasket – or
should I say ‘breadbasket’!
Everything was going great until 1943. At this time, in a
town east of Mexico City, scientists at the International
Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, in collaboration
with the Mexican Government and Rockefeller
To eat wheat or not to eat wheat…. That is the question! I Foundation, started messing around with wheat. The
find that the two most controversial foods today are goal was to generate greater yield and wheat that was
dairy and wheat. This is interesting because they also resistant to heat, drought, and disease.
have two of the most well funded lobby groups focused
on convincing us that no matter what, we need to The attempts were successful however, we have
consume them to be healthy. Have you taken a look at manipulated wheat so much that it can’t even survive on
the Canadian Food guide lately? It’s overloaded with it’s own in the wild anymore without human support
these two food products. I find this interesting since (nitrate fertilization, pest control, etc). In addition,
because the yield was increased, the plant was too top
some of the healthiest people I know don’t eat either! heavy. It was at this time that wheat was further
manipulated by a geneticist named Norman Borlaug. His
So What’s The Big Deal With Wheat Anyways?
efforts yielded a shorter plant that wouldn’t topple over
You may be sitting there thinking, “I get it Briana, eating (referred to as “dwarf” and “semi-dwarf” varieties). For
processed white wheat isn’t good because the this discovery he won many awards including a Nobel
processors have stripped away the fiber and nutrients, Peace Price in 1970.
but what about whole wheat, it’s a whole food, it must be
good!” That’s exactly what I thought too!!! Imagine my
surprise when I found out that the whole wheat isn’t
really so ‘whole’ after all and that scientists have been
using wheat as a clever science project to benefit the
wallets of big agribusiness.
Let’s undress this issue to see what’s been going on.
Today, Allan Fritz, PhD, professor of wheat breeding in
Kansas State University, estimates that more than 99
percent of the wheat grown worldwide is of the dwarf
and semi-dwarf variety.
So why is it bad for our health?
The question I often get from people at this point in the
story is: “So what’s the big deal? Aside from the fact that
A Quick History Lesson That Will Blow Your Mind!
wheat can’t grow without our assistance, most of these
The very first wild wheat was called einkorn, it dates changes seem like a good thing.”
back to 3300 BC and contained only 14 chromosomes.
Shortly thereafter einkorn and goatgrass more or less According to Dr. William Davis, when we create a
‘mated’ and created a wheat plant called emmer that hybridized version of the plant, approximately 95% of
contained 28 chromosomes (when humans mate, our the proteins in the new plant are the same, however,
babies end up with the same number of chromosomes roughly 5% of the proteins are completely unique. When
that we have, however, when wheat mates their you continue to hybridize the plant over and over again,
chromosomes actually get added together resulting in the resulting product can actually be entirely different
twice as many as before!) These two varieties (einkorn from it’s original parents. This is important because the
new forms of wheat actually contain higher amount of
and emmer) remained popular for thousands of years.
gluten, which is a protein that has been causing a
number of health concerns recently. Most likely because we are consuming WAY more of it than we ever have
before. This is due to the increased amount in our wheat, in addition to the increased consumption of wheat.
Hybridization vs Genetic Modification
One interesting thing to mention here is that all these manipulations to wheat were not done using the current
techniques of genetic modification. These changes took place before that science existed and were created using
hybridization methods. The difference is that with hybridization you manually cross breed two plants together
and cross your fingers that their offspring will have the characteristics that you are hoping for. Imagine two
parents who continuously had children until they birthed a child who met the specific characteristics they
wanted. In this method there is a lot more “crossing the fingers” and hoping for the best.
With genetic modification scientists actually have the ability to insert a very specific gene into a chosen place.
This is a more precise method, however, a large number of studies are indicating that modifying foods in this way
may result in a food product that is harmful to humans.
Unfortunately, with hybridization the assumption has been that since you are taking two plants and forcing them
to mate (without the use of the more abrupt genetic modification techniques) it is healthy for humans. Since this
was the assumption, studies were not conducted to determine if these new wheat varieties had a negative
impact on human health.
For me, I find this topic fascinating. At The Naked Label we focus a lot on undressing the food people eat. Often
times this involves stripping off the fancy marketing messages on product labels to show people how bogus they
are. It is generally assumed that if we are eating whole foods we are healthy. When we hear stories like this we
realize that we need to open our eyes up even further to really undress what is going on in our food system.