Dangers of Modern Day Whole Wheat

Dancers of Modern Day WheatA few weeks ago I had a discussion with a friend whose son suffers from Crohn’s disease. He’s in his early 20’s now, but has had quite a battle with this horrible inflammatory disease since his early teens. He’s not alone and within this small circle of friends, I have another friend whose son has battled Crohn’s since early childhood. I also know many others who have lived with this horrible IBD for a good portion of their lives and all of whom are young people. Knowing this makes my heart heavy. It’s tough seeing beautiful people suffer.  This made me wonder what these families and individual sufferers have in common. Why are so many young people developing Crohn’s?  One thing that I continue to see among people who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases are major red flags in their diets. What they can’t see through no fault of their own, is that many of their healthy” food choices are instrumental in making them sick and keeping them in constant flare. Whenever I cross paths with anyone who has a chronic inflammatory disease, I always initiate a discussion about healthy eating, because I believe that there is a strong correlation between what we eat and how we feel. I also believe that with the growing number of chronic inflammatory diseases on the rise in not just young people, but people across the spectrum, that there is a direct link between chronic illness and our food source and it is this continued exposure to “harmful healthy foods” that is responsible for making us sick and keeping a great majority of our population dependent upon pharmaceutical drugs.

In addition to GMO’s and dairy, my concern’s have always pointed toward wheat gluten and I’m not alone in my thinking. Preventative cardiologist William Davis, MD wrote a New York times best seller called “Wheat Belly” it is through his observation of over 2000 patients that he began noticing a connection between wheat and obesity, chronic inflammatory diseases such as Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), gluten allergies like Celiac and  gluten intolerance such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other chronic conditions and diseases such as asthma, eczema and ulcerative colitis.

So, what’s the big deal about wheat? It’s an ancient cereal grain often ground into flour and used to make breads, pastas and pastries. Correct? It’s also packed full of vitamins such as Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B-6 and Magnesium. The most important part of this description is “ancient.” Yes, grandma’s wheat was healthy, nutritious and a great addition to a healthy diet. However, it is only the wheat of the early 20th century that we can refer to as healthy, because what we’re eating in our modern world is hybridized and *bioengineered wheat, thanks to big agricultural on its quest for a higher yielding crop. We can’t even call what we eat today “wheat” perhaps it should be referred to as “beat” short for bio-wheat, “wheatio” “hybro-wheat, or perhaps more appropriately “inflammo-grain.” For those of us who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, IBDs such as Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis and IBS, this is another compelling reason to skip wheat based products and specifically wheat gluten protein, which has been altered through intense crossbreeding. The healthy amino acids and gliadin protein found in wheat has changed drastically over the years and it is this change that is potentially responsible for the 400-percent increase in Celiac disease that we’ve seen over the past 40 years. It is also modern-day gliadin protein that works as a powerful appetite stimulant and according to Dr. Davis this may also account for the explosion in inflammatory diseases that were are seeing on the rise.  Inflammo-wheat with its new biochemical code also causes hormone disruption that is linked to diabetes and obesity.

*Bioengineered wheat doesn’t just make you hungrier and heavier, it can also makes you nutrient deficient. The combination of digestion-impairing components in the seeds of grasses exposes you to a collection of poorly digested toxic, allergic and disruptive agents. Since modern-day wheat is a cross between wheat and non-wheat grasses, (that’s right grasses) through irradiation of wheat seeds and embryos with chemicals, gamma rays, and high does x-rays to induce the desired mutations. Our body’s poor reaction to this process is no surprise, since we as humans are not suited to consuming anything from the grass family. Graminivores such as cattle, sheep, horses and rabbits can obtain all of their nutrition from grass seeds, but humans can not and fortification does not change this one bit.  All grass contains high levels of phytates and ironically many grain breeders also select high phytate strains of grains because of their improved pest resistance. The modern-day whole wheat , corn and millet contain 800 milligrams (mg) of phytates per 100 grams, that’s approximately 3 1/2 ounces of flour. It only takes 50 mg of phytates to slash iron absorption by 80 to 90 percent. Phylates also reduce absorption of Zinc and Magnesium. An over exposure to wheat increases our intake of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) which is responsible for blocking the intrinsic factor protein produced by the stomach, which is essential for B12 absorption.

Wheat ingredients are found in most processed foods including candy, Bloody Mary mixes, lunch meats, soy sauce and wine coolers. It’s also in what people consider healthier foods such as pizza, pastas, whole wheat breads and cereals.  There are also grains which share similar properties of wheat because they contain gluten-like proteins, such as Rye, barley and oats. If you must include grain in your diet opt for quinoa, buckwheat, millet and wild rice, but only in moderation. A 1/2 cup is an acceptable amount to avoid triggering high blood sugar.

What should we eat in order to avoid chronic inflammation of the intestines, stomach and joints? My simple recommendation is always fresh organic fruit and vegetables, along with organic lean protein. Avoid wheat grain and all processed foods which might have wheat gluten ingredients and stock your kitchen with many wonderful grain-free substitutes such as: almond meal, almond flour coconut flour, chia seeds, flax seeds, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, coconut oil, olive oil, shirataki noodles, kelp noodles, dried fruit, seeds, nuts and seed & nut butters to mention a few. Having these items on hand not only provide great pantry substitutes, but they can also help to correct the above mentioned vitamin and mineral deficiencies caused by high grain consumption. There are also many gluten-free resources available these days with the high number of Celiac cases, along with the fact that more and more people are discovering that they have gluten-intolerance. Your body is always the best guide for what ails you, observe, listen and eat well.

*The term Bioengineered should not be confused with GMO. These terms are not interchangeable. Wheat has not been “Genetically Modified,” but it has in fact been “Bioengineered.”

Reference:  “Wheat Belly” & “Wheat Belly Total Health” Interesting reading here on the The Positive Pear: Juicing, Healthy Whole Foods,

Delicious Stuffed Avocado Recipe

Avocado known by many interesting names, including the alligator pear, butter pear and vegetable butter. Avocados have amazing anti-inflammatory properties that fall into five basic categories. Which are omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, non-carotenoid antioxidants and polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols, also known as PSAs.   The anti-inflammatory properties of the avocado make it beneficial in helping to prevent rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Having such amazing anti-inflammatory benefits also make it a great anti-aging food, as well as a nutrient dense, natural anti-inflammatory for conditions which contribute to chronic inflammation such as Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Avocados are also packed full of dietary fats to provide maximum absorption of necessary fat-soluable phytonutrients. These phytonutrients, which are also known as carotenoids, include lutein, alpha-carotene, beta carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. By adding 150 grams of fresh avocado to your salad or eating avocado with similar foods increases absorption between 200-400%. Remember to peal NOT slice to get more of the green dark green flesh that lies just beneath the skin.

Here’s another fun TPP recipe using super yum avocados. Serve as an appetizer, side dish, or if you LOVE avocados as I do, then enjoy as a meal. 🙂

Stuffed Avocados

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons Red Onions, finely chopped
1/4 tablespoons seedless Cucumber, peeled & diced
1/4 cup Grape Tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoons Green Bell Pepper, diced
3 tablespoons Kalamata Olives
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
1 teaspoon Anaheim Pepper, seeded & finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed Lime Juice (to prevent browning & for topping)
2 Avocados, peeled, halved, pitted and rubbed with lime juice
1/4 cup of fresh Cilantro, or Parsley finely chopped (for topping)
1 Head Romaine Lettuce leaves, washed

Combine chopped red onion, cucumber, diced grape tomatoes, bell pepper, kalamata olives, garlic, Anaheim pepper and lime juice. Rub avocado with the remaining lime juice. Top avocado halves with the mixed ingredients, squeeze an ample amount of lime juice on each, then sprinkle with fresh cilantro (or) parsley and for nice added flavor add freshly ground lemon pepper. Place filled avocado halves on your romaine lettuce lined bowl or plate and serve.

Ankylosing Spondylitis: Suseptibility to Other Conditions Due to Medication Side Effects

An autoimmune disease & chronic inflammatory condition such as Ankylosing Spondylitis has its fair share of symptoms, so it’s incredibly discouraging to discover that AS sufferers are also susceptible to a multitude of other conditions. When you add incredibly strong medications to this equation, the potential for developing other chronic conditions increases considerably.  These are some of the other chronic conditions that Ankylosing Spondylitis patients who are taking Remicade, Humira, Enbrel, Fenofibrate, Polaramine, Oxycontin, Novorapid, Percocet, Levemir and Naprosyn most often developed while on the above meds:

Acute Pancreatitis (Inflammation of Pancreas)
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (NIDDM/Adult Onset Diabetes)
Diabetes mellitus (DM Covers many forms of Diabetes)
Peripheral vascular disorder (PVD)
Gastrooesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Autoimmune thyroiditis (Inflammation of the Thyroid)
Gastritis prophylaxis (Disease of the Stomach/Inflammation of Mucus Membrane)

When you open the informational packet which is usually enclosed with your meds, you read of the many potential side effects and most often discount the risks for experiencing them (or) side effects such as these aren’t included because many who develop these additional conditions feel that they are unique and independent of their meds, disease or condition, so connections aren’t made and often not reported.  These connections are also not made frequently by doctors. However, many AS patients who are on these medications have these conditions. This should be enough to point your doctor in the right direction, if you are experiencing related symptoms.

There really is no win/win when it comes to medications there are either numerous side effects or after becoming quite dependent upon them they simply cease to work, because as the body metabolizes these substances, it also builds up a tolerance.  However, knowing of these additional risks prior to taking medications is incredibly helpful, because it arms patients with the knowledge they need to better care for themselves. For example knowing that you are at a higher risk for diabetes might motivate you to exercise daily and eat healthier foods. Such as eliminating simple carbs, sugars and starches. This knowledge might also motivate others who are in the position do so, to manage their disease without the use of  the harsh medications, while also embracing the importance of a “whole body” approach. I was fortunate enough to have several years of experience with natural, more healthier options to manage my AS and my exposure to Naprosyn was limited, but that does not mean that I’ve come away completely unscathed, because often the side effects from these medications are irreversible. I discontinued Diclofenac (a form of Naprosyn) after experiencing Gastritis prophylaxis, as a result of H. Phylori, a stomach infection.  Accompanied by my frustration with dropping 30 lbs, a year with severe stomach pain, no diagnoses and the fact that several specialists had no clue as to why I was so sick. Well, it was quite easy for me to connect my new, debilitating symptoms to the medication.  I also have additional symptoms to manage now, that I did not have prior to taking this medicine for several years.

I respect the extensive knowledge and medical training of my Rheumatologist, and completely understand that his recommendations were “medically” based and as a result I was convinced like perhaps many AS sufferers, that it was impossible to manage this disease without meds.  However, I’m living proof that this is in fact not true at all. If we’re willing to step outside the “medicine box” we can find many natural solutions. Of course needs & results will vary from person to person, but I’ve done quite well with a healthy eating regimen (low-carb, low-starch, no-dairy, no-gluten), regular exercise and by controlling both my pain and inflammation with natural Cox 2 Inhibitors. Patients need to know that they have options, prior to subjecting their bodies to these numerous side effects, and this is precisely what motivated me to launch The Positive Pear.

Comfort Foods Fall/Winter & Holidays: Importance of Good Carbs

Happy October!  Summer is my absolute favorite time of year, but nothing compares to New England Fall foliage. The colorful leaves are nothing short of amazing and “may be even more attractive than the many beautiful flowers of Spring.” I hope you’re also enjoying all of the beauty that Fall has to offer. Here on the East Coast the weather is changing, the mornings, days and evenings are cooler forcing us to break out the Fall gear, including cute scarves and fashionable boots. This is also the time of year that we tend to gravitate toward heavier foods. Since we’re in the midst of a change in season, I thought it was a good time dust off the keyboard to discuss how we can adapt our healthy eating regimen to include foods that are currently in season. All of this made me think of carbohydrates and the excessive consumption that traditionally takes place over the next few months. Carbs can become a real issue for many during this time of year because as the temps drop and the holidays draw closer, many tend to turn to high calorie, high carbohydrate, comfort foods, such as breads, pizzas, pastas, baked goods and additional sugars. These types of foods can not only lead to excessive weight gain, but also the potential for exasperating symptoms of many chronic conditions such as asthma, eczema, diabetes, chronic pain & inflammatory conditions such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, chronic pain conditions such as Fibromyalgia and the numerous symptoms relating to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, among other conditions.

I believe it’s fairly common knowledge even among the healthiest of people, that an overindulgence in carbohydrates and processed foods can lead to health problems, so naturally this becomes more of a concern among the many people who battle chronic illnesses.  We are the group who should pay extra special attention to what we eat, how our bodies process these types of foods and how they affect our symptoms. Many people don’t want the burden of adjusting their diets.  After all, food not only provides sustenance, it’s a way of celebrating life, entertaining with family and friends and its also a means for socializing, so it’s no secret that eating your favorite foods offers a fair amount of enjoyment and emotional satisfaction, which is where the idea of “comfort food” stems.  However many who live with debilitating and painful conditions do not have this luxury.  We must be careful to avoid buying into the brain washing that many of us have fallen victim to at some point in our lives, and that’s the idea that medication is a “magic bullet” and it is all that we’ll ever need to fight our symptoms and keep ourselves healthy. If you are on medication your body is already working hard enough to break down and distribute this foreign substance, so its best to eat healing foods that will help strengthen your body, rather than filling your stomach with foods which force the body to work harder. All while taking the place of vital nutrients, that you are quite possibly loosing due to malabsorption issues associated with your chronic invisible illness.  “Food is very powerful. Consuming the right foods can be incredibly healing to our bodies, but eating too much of the wrong types of food can easily lead to our premature, yet slow and even painful demise.”  If you are a healthy person be grateful and don’t take it for granted, because it could  all change in an instant.  It’s been my job for so many years to educate people about food, healthy eating, the prevention of aging related diseases and most recently how to manage the symptoms of many chronic invisible illnesses naturally and holistically, so I direct this post to those who would like to take control of their health, by taking control of their diets, as apart of a “whole body” approach to living a healthy lifestyle.

Dangers of Overindulging in Simple Carbs, High Glycemic & High Starch Foods:

All carbohydrates are not bad. In fact, the quality of carbohydrates is actually what matters most. Carbohydrates are divided into two categories, simple carbs and complex carbs. Complex carbs are best and when eating simple carbs it must be done so in moderation, because overindulgence can wreak havoc on the body. Simple carbs consist of high glycemic foods which increase serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) a marker of systemic inflammation, which would naturally effect chronic inflammatory conditions such Ankylosing Spondylitis & other forms of autoimmune arthritis. These high glycemic foods also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and if you are obese or even simply overweight due to excessive simple carb consumption, you’re increasing these risk factors even more. Complex carbs or lower dietary glycemic foods provide more of a sustained blood glucose level and lower insulin demands on the pancreas. The pancreas aids in digestion and controls blood sugar.  If the pancreas and adrenal glands are constantly overworked due to consistent high glucose levels, this can not only contribute to adrenal fatigue & chronic fatigue in a healthy person, but it will without question exacerbate the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, also known as Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction Syndrome  (CFS/CFIDS/ME) along with other conditions which cause fatigue, such as the many forms of autoimmune arthritis.  This can also lead to digestive disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, while worsening symptoms of irritable Bowel Disease. Poor diet combined with regular medication usage significantly increase these risks. Good carbs or low-glycemic index foods delay the return of hunger, decrease subsequent food intake, and increases the sense of feeling full and as a result helps one to control their weight. Focusing on healing, whole foods and a diet which contains lower dietary glycemic foods and minimal amounts of sugar/starches will help to minimize symptoms of many chronic invisible illnesses, as well as preventable diseases such as Hypoglycemia, adult-onset Diabetes, Cardiovascular disease, Obesity, Gallbladder disease to mention a few.

Steps Toward Success:

• Decreaes your consumption of starchy high-glycemic index foods like potatoes, white rice, and white bread
• Decrease your consumption of sugary foods like cookies, cakes, candy, and soft-drinks

•Increase your consumption of whole foods, real food in lieu of fast foods and eat balanced amouts of lean protein if you eat meat

Some Good Traditional Complex Carbs/Low-Gylcemic Index Foods for Healthy People:

whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables (no rice, corn, potatoes etc.)

Some Good Low-Starch, Non-GMO, Whole Food, Real Food & SuperFood Options & Substitutes for those with AS, CFS, Fibro & IBS:

• Try Sprouted Ezekiel Bread in place of white bread

• Try zucchini strands in place of pasta

• Add lots of low-starch, nutrient dense, organic vegetables in place of large amounts of starchy high-glycemic index foods, such as: Romaine Lettuce, Radishes, Avocado, Sprouts, Napa Cabbage, Kale, Spinach, Chard, Bok Choy, Snow Pea Pods, Green Beans, Leeks, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Asparagus, Summer squash, Red, Green & Yellow Bell Peppers, Artichokes, etc.

• Make good use of fresh herbs,  flavorful ingredients & seasonings such as: Lemon, Lime, Garlic, Ginger, Onions, Cilantro, Parsley, Basil, Thyme, Scallions, Organic Balsamic Vinegar, Brown Mustard, Fresh Salsa. etc.

• Drink water, coconut water, fresh fruit smoothies, freshly squeezed juices and herbal teas in place of soft drinks and other high calorie drinks

• Eat fresh & dehydrated fruit such as; oranges, plums, berries, pears, apples, grapes etc., in place of cakes, cookies, ice cream and candy. You must still be mindful of eating sweets in moderation, just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it’s ok to in excess. Remember balance is key.

• Eat healthy snacks dried or roasted seaweed snacks, almonds, seeds, chia, raw caco, dried mulberries, etc.

• Cook at home, prepare meals in advance and get creative! By eating at home you are automatically reducing your daily sodium consumption and daily calorie intake.

MythBusters:

“Eating this way will not fill me up” When taking on this lifestyle change, take baby steps. Start by reducing, then replacing NOT immediately eliminating. For example reduce the number of meals each day that contain simple carbs, if you have a high carb breakfast do no repeat this for lunch & dinner. When you get to the “replacement” stage, you could replace your white bread with Ezekiel bread (made from sprouted grains), replace butter with Organic Cold Pressed Olive Oil, replace pasta with zucchini strands and make your own salad dressings from scratch. Start your day with fruit and eat several small meals each day. Eat several small meals and be sure that you do not reduce your calorie intake below 1200 calories a day, 1500 if you’re very active.  Yes, you’ll count calories for a few days, but you’ll eventually have the feel for how much food you’ll need to consume to stay full and remain healthy.  At dinner make sure your plate has far more veggies than meat and when eating meat, make sure its lean and antibiotic free. If you have Ankylosing Spondylitis or FIbro & CFS which can react adversely carbohydrates, you might need to also reduce intake of even certain types of complex carbs such as grains, thus gravitating toward more of a low-starch eating regimen. Give it time, both your mind and body will adjust. Also exercise and drink lots of water. Get plenty of rest and supplement when needed. In addition, when you’re eating whole foods, you’ll find that you’ll have less cravings, because you’re body’s nutrient requirements are actually being met.

“Eating this way will not cure my disease so why bother?” Diets, foods and drinks don’t cure disease, especially autoimmune diseases, but when eating the right foods you can prevent the onset of certain types of disease especially those that are age related. In addition, eating healthier can also help to reduce certain symptoms of many chronic conditions.

“In order to eat low-carb or low-starch, I have to eat excessive amounts of meat.” No, not at all and in fact most Americans eat far more protein than their bodies truly need. Protein consumption will vary from person to person based upon their weight and level of daily activity. A 130 lb woman who engages in moderate daily exercise would require only 88 grams of protein daily and that’s divided over several meals. A 160 lb man who exercises regularly, including strength training would require only 108 grams of protein daily. Someone who does not engage in regular exercise would have less protein demands.

low-carb and low-starch are the basis of many fad “diets” however, that does not invalidate the effectiveness of this way of eating. That’s because there are many conditions that benefit from a reduction of simple carbs and even some complex carbs. I do not endorse or promote fad “diets” or a book written by some guru. I do however recommend a lifestyle change to my clients based on their specific needs.  Diets fail, but lifestyle changes that include a healthy eating regimen, exercise and whole body wellness are incredibly effective with the ability to last indefinitely.  Feel free to use this post a guide  and whatever dietary changes you decide to make, be sure that its healthy and that you’re taking in the proper amounts of daily calories, also that you’re getting all of your required vitamins and minerals. Balance out your healthy eating regimen with exercise and most importantly maintain a positive mental attitude!

Here’s to living Chronically, happy, healthy fit & fab!!

The Human Spirit Needs Nature Which Heals Our Mind & Body

“The Human Spirit Needs Places Where Nature Has not Been Rearranged By the Hand of Man” ~Unknown~

Yay, warm weather is here, as we’re quickly approach the official first day of Summer. Like many of you, I long for this time of year when I can spend time outdoors and I also look forward to taking advantage of the many opportunities to reconnect with nature.  This longing for fun in the sun and fresh air is not only rejuvenating both physically and mentally, the great outdoors also offers us incredible healing benefits. Scientists have discovered that by spending time outside we increase our exposure to phytoncides which naturally reduce stress.  People who take walks in the park where they encounter many plants and trees, versus walks in the city where they are surrounded by buildings and cement sidewalks, had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as a lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure readings.  In several other studies, specifically one that took place in April 2007, showed an increase in white blood cells within a group of 12 healthy men ranging in ages 37-55 , who took two-hour walks in a forest over a two-day period.  In January 2008, a group of women who also participated in a very similar experiment entitled “forest bathing” had an increase in white blood cells and a reduction in anti-cancer proteins, which lasted up to one week due to their exposure of phytoncides which are found in forest air.

The beach is another place to go for wonderful healing benefits. Salt water is high in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and bromide which not only accelerates the healing of cuts, it also helps to fight infections, reduces inflammation of joints and relieves muscle pain and soreness. Salt water also stimulates blood circulation, increases moisture retention, detoxifies and promotes cellular regeneration.  As a result it offers beautifying and anti-aging benefits, for both the inner and outer body.  Regular beach time & salt water swimming also offers healing benefits for skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.  In summary, spending quality time in nature, offers us incredible physical and psychological benefits, such as recovery from stress,  increased relaxation, decreased mental fatigue, better performance, restored mental clarity, increased immune function for improved heath, healing and an increased overall sense of well-being.

Best Places to Enjoy Nature

1) Beach

2) Mountains

3) Local Parks

4) National Parks

5) Landscapes

6) Camp Sites

A Few Outdoor Nature Activities for Summer:

1) Walking

2) Biking

3) Hiking

4) Rollerblading

3) Boating

4) Kayaking

5) Canoeing

 6) Paddle Boarding

7) Swimming

8) Camping

9)  Outdoor Meditation & Relaxation

10) Outdoor Yoga & Fitness Classes

Want to feel better mentally, physically and emotionally? Increase the amount of time that you spend outdoors surrounded by nature!

Natural Stress Management Techniques via The Positive Pear