Posts Tagged ‘sugar’

Is your immune system ready for the new year?


We fear influenza even describing it as an encroaching “season” trending from December through February.  Yet, during the flu “season” only 5% to 20% of Americans will actually experience the flu strain.  Currently the flu vaccine only protects from three strains and like a toss of a coin, we hope that the vaccine manufacturers selected the best strains to innoculate us with. How can that be when so many students seem to be sick from school and adults seems to transfer sickness like ‘wildfire’?  Often times we mistaken another viral or bacterial infection for the “flu strain”.   So is the flu shot the best shot at preventing us from getting sick or is there another way?

Whether we ‘catch’ the flu or another virus or bacterial infection depends on the strength of our immune system.  Our immune system is designed to ‘protect and defend’ from perceived foreign substances.  When it’s overloaded our immune system cannot resist an infection nor can it recover as quickly as we’d like (this is often why an infection can last from 4 days to 2 weeks).  

In the functional world we test to identify WHAT the body perceives as foreign substances and then reduces those substances so that the body is not in a hyper-immune-reactive state. These are typically substances that we have control over:  the foods we eat, sugar, a healthy digestive system, sleep, exercise. This allows the body to”make room” for infections that we may be exposed to and have no control over.  When the immune system is strong, an individual rarely falls ill, regardless of who’s sneezing and coughing in their vicinity.  When the immune system is in a constant state of having to “attack and defend”  it falls weak and is entirely vulnerable to all that comes its way.   

A strong immune system can help ward off not only the flu and other infections but even environmental allergies.  These are all tools that I can teach you for life.  

Be well in the New Year,




3 Ideas that put you in the holiday spirit but keep you away from sugar.

The holidays scream “treats”.  It’s tradition to convene with family or framily (friends and family) around food.  Specialty items such as sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, halloween candy only come around once a year.  So what’s a little indulgence, right?  Unfortunately those aren’t the times we find balance.  Rather we may find ourselves trying to ‘get it all in’ before the tradition ends.

I too love traditions.  Even though we do create a few cookie and chocolate staples, around the holidays we also add non-food traditions.  Since Christmas/Hanukkah is approaching I’ll keep this post to this time of the year.  

Here are 3 ideas that keep us in the holiday spirit and away from sugar:

  1.  Advent Calendar.  My kids (even the teen) love opening a small gift every day.  You can be creative with what the calendar looks like.  It can be in the form of a mailbox, $1 at the dollar store (it was a hit last year)  or as a wooden calendar with drawers/doors (purchased mine at Michael’s for $17).  I filled each of the boxes with assorted items in each compartment:  balloons, fake teeth, yoyos, erasers, expandable sponge capsules, natural gum (such a treat!), stickers, tattoos, etc.  On the 25th day of this year I’ve added a small bottle of essential oil for each of my children (age 10 and 13).  Shhh.
  2. Handmade cardboard “ginger” bread house.  I use recycled cardboard, a few “craft items” picked up at Michael’s, buttons, and even cornstarch as snow.  
  3. An ornament making party: the power of glue guns, ornament balls, decorative pieces and a child’s imagination.  All ages love this (even the teens).  

Be well,


ornaments2 ornaments1 gingerbreadhouse

Introducing…Kids Health 101

Join me at

I’m finally doing it! I’m launching KidsHealth101 Podcast today.  It will feature practitioners that have been successful at helping children heal and recover.   

My mission is “to make child healing and recovery a household conversation”.  

Podcast #1 is “live” as of today and features Dr. Shanna Bissonette interviewing me on why I’m creating a Kids Health movement.     In future podcasts, you’ll hear less from me and much more from my brilliant, pioneer driving professionals that are truly helping kids recover.  

Please join me in this movement by adding your email at  and check out my first podcast!

At Kids Health 101 we will be discussing child developmental needs, growth, nutritional supports and sickness recovery by finding the right tools to heal using a functional approach to health.  Again, my mission is to make childhood healing and recovery a household conversation.  Register at to receive updates of our future presenters.  And spread the word. 

I’m so excited!


What are the best sweeteners to use?

I’m often asked what are the best sweeteners to use on an occasional basis.  It is becoming common knowledge that refined sugar is indeed bad for us.  It overloads the liver, delivers no nutrition, gets stored as fat, binds with proteins to create cellular damage, is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and degrades the digestive system, just to name a few.  Still artificial sweeteners can be just as damaging toying with our pleasure centers and stressing out our bodies and creating just as much havoc as refined sugar.  

Dr. Mercola recently reviewed the best and the worst sweeteners.  Here’s his summary:

The Best:

  • Stevia
  • Sugar alcohols
  • Honey (I recommend Manuka honey, or raw local honey in very small quantities)
  • Pure glucose

The Worst:

  • Aspartame
  • Agave (which I would expand to include all sources of fructose)
  • Sucralose (Splenda)

Find the full article here

Be well,




Fat is in. Sugar is out.

According to Dr. Perlmutter, a NY Times bestseller and world respected neurologist, ‘fat is the preferred fuel of humans and has been for all of human evolution.’ We can survive on minimal carbohydrates but would die without fats. When we deprive our bodies with good fats, including cholesterol particles, we deprive our organ that is made up of 30% fat, the brain. The Mayo Clinic conducted a study in 2012 that revealed that older people that consumed a majority of their calories from carbohydrates (Refined flours, sugars, pastas, breads) have nearly four times the risk of developing mild dementia, a precursor to Alzheimer’s. Memory, thinking, language and overall cognitive impairments were the behaviors monitored. Diets rich in healthy fats were found to be 42 percent less likely to experience cognitive impairment (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease).   The National Institute of Health found similar findings. “Higher levels of cholesterol is associated with better memory function”. Published in the journal Neurology, a study revealed that high cholesterol is a protective factor in the development of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease). In the Journal of Movement Disorders 2008 research revealed that people with the lowest LDL cholesterol were at a 350 percent increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

What about research for the heart? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study in 2008 that looked closely at 21 previous medical reports that involved monitoring health in 340,000 subjects over 3 to 5 years. It concluded that “intake of saturated fat was not associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, or cardiovascular disease”. It also compared those subjects that consumed a diet of saturated fats to those that did not. Those  subjects that did consume a diet in saturated fat had a 19% lower risk of heart disease than those that did not. The authors concluded that the original findings of these studies were mildly suppressed by the initiatives of special interest groups (i.e. Big Pharma) to publish only articles that showed fat caused heart disease. (Keep in mind that 75% of research is conducted by these special interest groups).

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which consists of leading researchers from around the world has recently stated “At present there is no clear relation of saturated fatty acid intake to these outcomes (of obesity, cardiovascular disease, incidence of cancer and osteoporosis)”. The researchers concluded with “biological interactions between insulin resistance (high refined carbohydrate/sugar consumption), reflected by obesity and physical inactivity and carbohydrate quality and quantity”.

Yet mainstream medicine continues to perpetuate that LDL is so-called “bad cholesterol”. So what is LDL? Cholesterol is so important for optimizing the functions of the body. For this reason the body highly regulates cholesterol. Only 25% of cholesterol is made from foods.  This is why cholesterol readings can vary from certain times in the day!  If you don’t eat enough fats the body will make more cholesterol but most food doesn’t have cholesterol that can be absorbed. The remaining 75% is internally produced in the liver (another reason to support the liver).  Cholesterol is fat soluble and blood is liquid so it must be carried through the body by lipo proteins. Lipo proteins are identified as low-density lipo proteins (LDL), high-density lipo proteins (HDL).

Chris Kresser, a licensed integrative medicine practitioner, describes LDL using a helpful analogy. The blood stream is like a river. The LDL particles are the boats that carry cholesterol and fats around the body. The cholesterol and fats are the cargo in the boats. Today mainstream medicine is looking at the amount cargo in the boats, or rather the LDL. What we should be measuring is the number of boats, the LDL particles. This is a much greater indicator of risk for heart disease.

So what can be affecting healthy LDL particles? Oxidative stress naturally occurs within the body for energy production. It’s a process that ages or “rusts” cells. Think of an apple turning brown after you cut it. Oxidative stress is expedited by a poor diet (excess sugar intake and refined carbohydrates), lack of exercise, and low resources known as anti-oxidants. If oxidative stress is increased then cells become severely damaged by free radicals as do the LDL molecules responsible for carrying fats to the brain. In addition, excess sugar binds with LDL increasing the risk for free radical formation by 350 times. As a result oxidized LDL becomes smaller and denser. The lining of the artery becomes fragile and oxidized LDL stimulates collagen which forms fibrous plaque and weakens the stability of the plagues/walls making it more likely to rupture. This creates heart attacks.

Nothing could be farther from the truth with the idea eating cholesterol and saturated fats raises cholesterol levels and that high cholesterol in the blood is what’s driving heart disease.  Fat is not the enemy; sugar is.

Next blog I’ll share what tests you should be taking and how you can discuss this with your doctor.

Be well,


If there is no such thing as “bad” cholesterol then why the increase in heart disease?

So why did it take so long for researchers to identify that Ancel Keys study was seriously flawed? The rise of obesity and chronic illness has finally forced health professionals to question why fat has been so largely discouraged. The deeply falsified details of Ancel Keys findings are surfacing. “When researchers went back and analyzed some of the data from the Seven Countries study, they found that what best correlated with heart disease was not saturated fat intake but sugar,” .  Several studies to date confirm that in fact it is sugar that increases the risk of heart disease, not fats.

Recently published by the JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) was its findings that sugar is the major culprit leading to heart disease among many other chronic diseases. USA today featured an article summarizing its findings:

“• People who consumed more than 21% of daily calories from added sugar had double the risk of death from heart disease as those who consumed less than 10% of calories from added sugars.

A person on a 2,000-calorie diet who consumes 21% of their daily calories from added sugar would be eating 420 calories from added sugar, which would be roughly three cans of regular soda a day.

• People who consumed between 17% to 21% of daily calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of death from heart disease than people who consumed less than 10% of calories from added sugars.

• People who consumed seven or more servings a week of sugar-sweetened beverages were at a 29% higher risk of death from heart disease than those who consumed one serving or less.

• The findings were consistent across age groups, sex, physical-activity levels, weights and dietary habits.

• Added sugar intake has changed slightly over the past 20 years, from 16% of daily calories in 1994 to 17% in 2004 to 15% in 2010.

The paper’s senior author Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, says excessive intake of added sugar appears to negatively affect health in several ways. It has been linked to the development of high blood pressure, increased triglycerides (blood fats), low HDL (good) cholesterol, fatty liver problems, as well as making insulin less effective in lowering blood sugar.

Rachel Johnson, a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association and a nutrition professor at the University of Vermont, says, “Now we know that too much added sugar doesn’t just make us fat, it increases our risk of death from heart disease.””

(Taken from USA Today’s “Eating too much added sugar may be killing you”. .

Stay tuned for the next part in this series on the technical side of how sugar increases the risk of heart disease.

Be well,


Myth Buster: Is there really “bad” cholesterol?

Note to my readers: this is the first part of a multi-part blog series addressing the question of fats, cholesterol, statins and preventing heart disease.  Many of you have asked this question and I’ve found it difficult to provide brief answers.  I’ve tried to keep my long answers not too long and I’ve broken it down to a multi-part series. 

The history of “bad” cholesterol:

For the past 40 plus years the American Heart Association has been the leading association responsible for advising mainstream medicine to prescribe medications to suppress “bad” cholesterol.  Physicians have been advising their patients that cholesterol has both good and bad cholesterol and the bad particles are responsible for heart disease. To date, television commercials flood the nation’s households with drugs that will suppress the bad cholesterol in an effort to prevent heart disease. Yet multiple studies have surfaced recently showing that there is no such thing as “bad” cholesterol and that cholesterol in its truest form does not cause heart disease. In addition, the epidemiology of increased obesity, diabetes and chronic illness in the past 40 years may be a result of the thinking that “bad” cholesterol causes heart disease. So where did we get this thinking process?

The war on fat began with one man. In 1961 a researcher by the name of Ancel Keys convinced the American Heart Association the ideal that saturated fats caused so-called “bad” cholesterol and that “bad” cholesterol caused heart disease. Ancel Keys asserted this conclusion based on his study referred to as the Seven Countries study. In it Ancel studied 22 groups in different countries and reported that seven of these groups showed a correlation (an association) between saturated fats and heart disease. His findings in his Seven Countries Study concluded that based on this association that heart disease is in fact caused by saturated fat.

The initial problem with his research was that a correlation does not represent cause and affect. It would be like saying that because the sun rises when I wake up I therefore cause the sun to rise.   Yet the faults with Ancel Keys study doesn’t end there. Researchers are revealing that Ancel Keys presented the correlation results of his study to a room full of doctors and was nearly laughed out of the room. Out of frustration he fudged his results, cherry-picked his control group by targeting countries that would meet his hypothesis (but avoiding countries like France-where the diet is rich in fat but heart disease is rare), gave his control group margarine (not a true saturated fat such as butter), and reported his findings deep in a German medical journal. The influential Ancel convinced the American Heart Association that his hypothesis was indeed true: fat clogs arteries and clogged arteries caused heart disease. In 1961 The American Heart Association adopted Ancel’s findings as policy and for the first time ever issued the country’s first-ever guidelines targeting saturated fat.

For the past 40 plus years Americans have been urged by medical professionals to reduce their fat intake. By reducing fat intake American’s replaced their fats with refined flours and sugar. An excess of refined carbohydrates creates insulin resistance and insulin resistance is directly related to diabetes.  And as a result we have a population of ever-increasing rates in obesity, diabetes and chronic disease. It’s estimated by the Center of Disease Control that 1 in 5 children are obese, a determinant that may prevent them to outlive their parents.  Coincidentally diabetes increases the risk for heart disease by 200%. This means that current standards discourage fat intake and increase carbohydrate intake thus increasing the risk of diabetes and ultimately the risk of heart disease. Allow me to repeat: low fat creates insulin resistance which leads to diabetes and diabetes increases risk of heart disease.   The falsifying research of Ancel Keys has led Americans astray, making us sicker than ever. 

Next blog will discuss the true culprit increasing the risk of heart disease. 

In the meantime, be well,


What sugar does to the body – VIDEO – GREAT for kids too!

What’s at the root of many problems?

Advocate for healingWhat’s at the root of many problems?

Inflammation.  Swelling, irritation and ultimately inflammation is at the source of many dis-eases.  Fibromyalgia, sinus problems, aches and pains, a compromised immune system, migraines and so much more result from inflammation.
Where does the inflammation come from you ask?  Inflammation results from one or several factors depending on the individual.
1. Sugar and refined foods.
2. Hidden food sensitivities.
3. Nutritional deficiencies.
4. Toxins including heavy metals.
5. Digestive issues (the gut is often referred to as ‘the second brain’.
6. Stress (emotional, trauma, social or work related)
7. Inadequate exercise.
8. Insufficient sleep.
9. Chronic infections (viruses, parasites,bacteria, fungus, etc).

Today, I’ll talk about sugar and refined foods.

Sugary and refined foods.  The average american eats about 159 pounds of sugar per year.  Eating sugar wreaks havoc on the stress hormones and provokes a surge of insulin and adrenaline putting the body on a long tumultuous roller coaster ride.  The body in a constant effort of trying to compensate for the sugar surges results in inflammation; inflammation that spreads throughout the body and can and will eventually inflame the brain.

I know. I’ve seen it first hand.  My 10 year old daughter who generally is a pleasant, energetic child lost the plot on Easter Sunday.  Following the departure of good friends, a raging temper tantrum ensued that lasted for at least one hour: stomping, screaming, lashing and more. I hadn’t seen one of these since she was a toddler.  A couple hours after the incident she apologized.  The next morning she woke up with a headache.  I helped her clean her room two days after the incident and discovered several opened,used sugar packets under her bed.  When I asked her what in the world were these doing there she then released the truth. Easter Sunday in the morning, her and a few friends ate from them.  Aha! She sheepishly acknowledged that the sugar explained her toddler-like rage that wildly took over her and the headache that she had the following morning.  Natural consequences work great for my daughter. Sugar + child = temper tantrum/headache.

Sugar significantly attributes to inflammation but there are more inflammatory markers to look at.    Hidden food sensitivities are the next topic of discussion, one of great importance. See you tomorrow!

Be well,