The Unholy Trinity of Food: Sugar, Fat, and Sodium Cause Obesity, Heart Disease, Cancer, Depression, Inactivity, and Hyperactivity

Sugar, fat, and sodium.  The three most rare food elements found in nature are the same three that have caused a national epidemic of obesity, heart disease, cancer, as well as allergies, depression, inactivity, and hyperactivity.

Given that these health problems have been steadily increasing since World War II, it only makes sense to return to the way people lived before the 1940’s.  In order to do that, we must take matters into our own hands and fight the Unholy Trinity, by simply avoiding this enemy as much as possible.  The members of the Unholy Trinity are none other than sugar, fat, and sodium.

Sugar:

Consider a time in history when food couldn’t be bought in boxes or bags.  A time when people cooked their own food based on ingredients they either grew themselves or traded at the local market.  Most likely, the people simply ate fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread, oats, and lastly, meat, as they could afford it.  And they drank water, wine, and beer.

foods high in sugar

Did they eat ice cream, cookies, and cakes?  Did they eat Nutrigrain cereal bars which are also loaded with sugar?  No.  While they could get their hands on sugar, which wasn’t necessarily easily obtainable, they mainly only cooked with sugar in very rare occasions.

Cavities were much rarer in those days.  A person’s intake of added sugar directly affects his or her ability to fight off cancer and disease.

Sugar is a drug that is so easy to get a hold of these days.  But it hasn’t always been that way.

Fat:

In order to eat foods high in fat, a person must have access to an animal that is either milked or killed for its meat.  We do, we just forget about how much trouble that is.  We just buy it from a store or restaurant.  Because we’re so far removed from livestock and farms, we don’t realize how easily we’re consuming animal products on a daily basis.

foods high in fat, obviously

There is such an awareness of women’s breast cancer and finding a cure for it.  But my question is this:  For all the money we’ve already donated to research, what have we learned?  While it’s important to find a cure, what have we learned about prevention?  After all, it’s better to avoid getting breast cancer all together than to ever have to fight it.

 

Until theres’s a cure, which I hope we find as soon as possible, there’s prevention.

The smartest thing to do is to look to the women who are not getting breast cancer:  Asian women living in Asian countries.  Specifically Japanese women. They are the least likely to get breast cancer.  Why?

Very low fat content in their diets. http://www.cancerproject.org/survival/cancer_facts/breast.php

Very high intake of chlorella, which is found in seaweed, which they eat regularly (namely in sushi). http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0NAH/is_1_29/ai_54062648/

Research over the decades has shown us that the #1 reason women get breast cancer is from a high fat content in their diet.  Unsurprisingly, American has the highest rate of breast cancer in the world.  Breast cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in America, and the 2nd most common cause of cancerous deaths.

Just in case we need more evidence of how to avoid breast cancer, when Japanese women move to America and adopt an American lifestyle and American diet, their immunity to breast cancer disappears.

So it’s a little ironic that from time to time M&M’s does a campaign where they donate a portion of the profit from their pink M&M’s to breast cancer research. The more M&M’s we buy (and eat), the more money that is spent to learn what we already know:  That the more fat in a diet a person has, the more likely a person is to get breast cancer.  And the more M&M’s a person eats, the more fat they are adding into their diet.

That actually makes me angry.

Sodium:

Let me ask myself a question:  In real life, how many times have I seen salt on its own in nature?  The answer:  Never.

Yet salt is everywhere and in everything.  Especially in appetizers at restaurants, frozen foods, canned soups, and all meat.

My boss got an app on his iPhone called My Fitness Pal.  It counts all his calories based on sugar, fat, and sodium to help him make sure he’s eating right.  He was eating perfectly.  Only lean, organic meats along with whole grains, fruits, and veggies.  Yet he kept going over his sodium.

foods high in sodium

I told him, “It’s from the meat.  Only eat meat in one of your three basic meals every day and see if that works.”

It did.  We eat too much meat.  And it’s giving us too much sodium, which leads to hardening of the arteries and heart disease.  But that’s a different post, and I haven’t finished it yet…

I have found that the best way to avoid fat and sodium is to avoid sugar.  Sugar is the easiest unholy member to get a hold of.  Because it’s even in wheat bread (unless it’s Ezekiel Bread).  To find food without added sugar, in most cases, means it’s a food with low fat and low sodium.  And a food without added sugar most likely means it’s not a processed food.

So ultimately, the bottom line is this: The best way to avoid the Unholy Trinity is to avoid processed foods– 1) anything that comes in a box or bag, 2) anything that has more than 6 ingredients (because more than that means those ingredients probably include either chemicals or one of the Unholy Trinity), and 3) anything that can last a long time in your pantry or fridge before it goes bad.

It’s a lot of trouble though.  To avoid sugar, fat, sodium, and processed foods.  To have to plan and prepare healthy meals ahead of time to avoid being tempted by convenience foods.

Is it worth it?  Is it worth the trouble to be healthy and avoid cancer and disease?

For a lot of people, it’s not.

healthnutshell: Ketchup Vs. Mustard

What’s so fancy about ketchup, anyway?  I have faith in mustard seeds.

My dad always said, “You are who your friends are or you soon will be.”  That is indeed the case with both ketchup and mustard.  Though they are as much as a pair as salt and pepper, they tend to attract different “friends”.  Bottom line: Ketchup is a bad influence, but mustard is a role model.

On occasion, I have no problem enjoying some good fries that I know actually came from whole potatoes from a reputable restaurant (meaning they don’t have a drive-thru there).  Same thing with a good juicy burger that is hand-pattied.  And when that happens, that means ketchup is involved.  Other than that, I don’t eat ketchup.

Because ketchup, in most cases, is paired with unhealthy foods that are either processed or fried.  For me, it’s sort of disgusting to think about what ketchup really is: tomato concentrate, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, salt, “spice”, and onion powder.

Tomato concentrate is processed tomatoes.  Vinegar is okay.  High fructose corn syrup and corn syrup are both forms of processed sugar.  The rest of the ingredients are fine.

Ketchup is candy.  For a serving the size of one tablespoon, there are four grams of sugar.  But honestly, when I eat ketchup, I typically have a bit more than that.  For a typical serving of fries at a decent restaurant, it’s pretty easy to consume four tablespoons of ketchup with the fries alone.  That’s 12 grams of sugar, (one tablespoon of sugar) the equivalent to smoking one cigarette.

So my general rule of thumb is, I stay away from foods that are enhanced by ketchup.  Not only is ketchup really just candy sauce, but it attracts the wrong kinds of friends.  I don’t even keep ketchup in my fridge.

Mustard on the other hand is much more legit: Vinegar, water, mustard seeds, salt, turmeric, and paprika. None of those ingredients are processed.  In fact, there are actually health benefits of turmeric and paprika.

Tumeric– linked to possible benefits in arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, aids in digestion, is an anti-flammatory agent as well as an antibacterial agent

Paprika– rich in vitamin C (more than lemon juice) and high in antioxidants

Of course that doesn’t mean that I recommend eating a bottle of mustard a day in order to prevent diseases.  But compared side by side to ketchup, it’s pretty obvious that mustard is actually healthy to eat, whereas I can’t truly consider ketchup to be nutritious.

Mustard easily goes well with healthy foods.  People don’t put ketchup on a turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread.  That would be gross.  But mustard would be great.

Foods that go well with mustard- good.

Foods that go well with ketchup (or both ketchup and mustard)- watch out.

Choose this day whom you will follow, ketchup or mustard.

And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on ketchup, why not read my perspective on being a dad?  That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view.  I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant.  I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog” by clicking on the link below:

dad from day one


healthnutshell: What Exactly is a Doctor, Anyway?

Stupid question, but doctors should outlive their patients, right?


One of my favorite movies of all time is actually a documentary, Super Size Me.  As Morgan Spurlock goes on a 30 day fast food binge, he checks in with the three separate doctors to monitor his health.  But something I always thought about in the back of my mind when I saw one of the doctors in particular was “that doctor needs to go on a diet himself”.

Isn’t there something a bit off about that?  An unhealthy doctor?  A doctor who is in danger of a heart attack?  In my mind, a doctor is an expert on health.  Therefore, he should live out what he knows.

Consider a pastor of a church.  His career is over if he gets caught cheating on his wife (unlike certain celebrities who may lose their marriage over it, but not their careers…).  A pastor is held at a higher standard because of his profession.  Why aren’t doctors live by a higher standard as well?

Just like no one can take seriously a man under the age of 40 with a mustache, I can’t take seriously an unhealthy doctor.

I should find out what exactly a doctor is, according to Wikipedia:

A physician — also known as medical practitioner, doctor of medicine, medical doctor, or simply doctor — practices the ancient profession of medicine, which is concerned with maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease or injury.

What’s interesting in this definition is the lack of the word “prevention”.  So it’s a doctor’s job to maintain or restore human health, but not prevent a healthy person from becoming unhealthy.

According to the Wikipedia definition of a doctor and America’s general concept of them, doctors are there to help fix what is broken.  With medicine.

It’s no secret that doctors make money off of people sitting at home watching commercials targeted at unhealthy people who go to the doctor to buy the legal drugs they saw advertised.  I can remember a time, pre-1995, when I didn’t use to see commercials advertising for prescription drugs.  Doctors sell drugs, legally.  To people who, for the most part, were simply uneducated on how to live healthy in the first place.

If I break my nose, have strep throat, get a pregnant wife, or need to get “snipped”, I will go to the doctor.  If not, I do everything I can to avoid that place.  I definitely won’t go there to buy their new product.  I eat an apple a day, literally.

After suffering for years from a rare case of eczema, I did some research on Wikipedia to find out how to be relieved of the disease.  While no known medical cure exists, I followed the advice on Wikipedia and drastically changed my diet, and now, thank God, my skin cleared up on my hands.  Cost me no money and required no doctor’s visit.  Despite many people urging me to go for a visit.  I saved myself time and money.

Doctors are good.  They do their thing.  I do mine.  We already learned that a doctor’s job, according to Wikipedia, does not involve preventing the problem.  So I take it upon myself to do just that: prevent the problem.  So what do you call a person who does that?  I need a clever word for that.  Whatever it is, I am one.  And anyone can be one.

"Dr. H" from The Biggest Loser

As if looming Diabetes and heart disease weren’t enough of a reason to live a life of prevention, consider a new study done on doctors in India, which is said to be true in America as well.  Their average lifespan is around 58 years old for doctors, while the general population lives to be closer to 70 yeas old:

“Stress, a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise were the main causes of death in these cases. [Doctors] tend to become obese and are under great stress… Most of them are hypertensive and diabetic. These conditions reduce their chances of living longer.”

Read the full article:

http://www.mumbaimirror.com/index.aspx?page=article&sectid=3&contentid=201002092010020901523931154144cbf

Typically, medical doctors have stressful jobs that keep them from spending much time with their families.  They don’t make time for exercise or plan healthy meals.  Doctors have easy access to antibiotics and other medical quick fixes.  And of course it’s not uncommon for a doctor to smoke.  Not that any of those traits are unique to just doctors; they actually all sound pretty familiar.

And that’s another reason why I choose to live like a nutritionist, not a doctor.  My role models?  Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper, and Dr. Huizenga (“Dr. H.” from The Biggest Loser.  Seventh Day Adventists.  Kosher diet abiding Jews.  My dad.

They are my doctors, with or without the M.D.

healthnutshell: Ezekiel Bread Just Got Cool All of the Sudden

What would Jesus eat?

There was a time in history, circa 2006, when all that Food for Life brand’s Ezekiel 4:9 bread was to me was just a $5 loaf of bread in the refrigerated section at Wild Oats/Whole Foods.  A loaf of bread for people who wanted to spend five bucks.  But now, I want to spend five bucks on a loaf of bread.  Not because I have more money than before, but because I have awareness of the difference it makes to my health.

It’s safe to say that “Ezekiel Bread” (as most people have nicknamed it) is the only American food product on the edge of the mainstream market that 1) has an Old Testament prophet’s name in the brand, 2) uses an ancient Jewish recipe, AND #) has Bible scripture on the package:

Ezekiel chapter 4, verse 9- “Also take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt, and put them into one vessel and make bread of them.”

What’s the main thing that sets Ezekiel Bread apart from the rest of the bread out on the market?  It’s not made with flour.  Instead, it’s made with freshly sprouted, certified organically grown grains.  Therefore, it’s alive.  And that significantly increases its valuable nutrients for the body’s consumption.

The more living things we eat, the healthier we are.  That’s why we’re supposed to eat 2 to 4 servings of fruit and 3 to 5 of vegetables. Those living cells we eat help keep our own cells alive and well, helping our immune system to fight sickness, disease, and cancer.

Plus, Ezekiel Bread is low glycemic which means it’s diabetic friendly, and high in fiber which means it’s good for preventing cancer and heart disease.

Most bread in the world is processed.  Machines grind up the ingredients, then sugar is added along with preservatives.  But not our heavenly Ezekiel Bread.  It’s the only kind of bread I buy now. 

Of course Weight Watchers as well as Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser obviously feel the same way, since they recommend Ezekiel Bread in their programs.  I’m not sure if they are paid anything to endorse the product, but I know I definitely am not.  That’s how you know it’s a good product, when people advertise a product for free.

http://www.foodforlife.com/

Banana Oatmush; The Real Breakfast of Champions (Contains Cinnamon and Hemp Seed)

I invented the nation’s most healthiest, most alive, most convenient, least expensive breakfast, and it’s completely non-processed.  The best part is, I can’t make a profit off of it at all.  You have to make it yourself.  That’s how you know it’s good.

We know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it’s also one of the most difficult to pull off consistently and still be healthy.  Because after eliminating the option of the quick and easy (and deadly) fast food options, what is there that is inexpensive and fiber-packed enough to keep a person full?  And most importantly, what breakfast food is there that has no added sugar, essentially no fat, improves digestion, is easy to make, and actually tastes really good?

Oatmush.  I will share it with you.

Start with a half a cup of rolled oats (make sure that rolled oats are the only ingredient; no sugar, salt, dehydrated fruit, evaporated cane juice, etc).  Sometimes I use Publix store brand that costs about $2 for 32 oz. canister (13 servings); currently I’m using Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats that I bought from Whole Foods for just a dollar more:

3.5g fat (0.5 saturated, 0 trans), 1g sugar, 7g protein, 5 g dietary fiber

Just pour the oats in an empty coffee mug, then pour in hot water until the water is about ¼ inch above the top of the oats.  Then grab a banana:

0g fat, 21g sugar (though it doesn’t count against you when eaten in its whole, natural form, but fruit juice does because it has been separated from the fiber of the fruit), 1g protein, 4g dietary fiber

Now with a fork, set the tip of the banana on the edge of the coffee mug, cutting the banana into slices that fall on top of the oatmeal.  Then with the fork, mash the banana slices into oatmeal for a few seconds, like mashing a potato.

By this point, the Oatmush may not be as hot as the oatmeal you’re used to eating, so that means you may need to find hotter water to begin with.  Don’t reheat the Oatmush in the microwave; that “kills” the life in it.  At least 55% of the food we eat in a day needs to be alive.  Live food helps our bodies fight off cancers and diseases (fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts in their whole form); dead food doesn’t (meat, processed food, etc.).

If you want to keep things simple, then you’re done.  Enjoy your Oatmush.

However, if you’d like to add more flavor and nutrition to your Oatmush, here’s how I do it.  Mix in about a half a tablespoon of cinnamon (loaded with antioxidants).  Next, get your hands on some hemp seed, found in your nearest Whole Foods.  I use Nutiva’s Organic Shelled Hempseed from the refrigerated section of the store.

Hemp seed is extremely healthy and a major part of a healthy, daily diet:

13.5 g fat (1g saturated, 0g trans), 1g sugar, 11g protein, 1g dietary fiber

It contains more fatty acids than any other nut or seed found in nature (which is a very good thing).  Hempseed contains all 9 essential amino acids and is high in phytonutrients, which support and protect the health of our body’s immunity, bloodstream, cells, tissues, organs, and mitochondria (our body’s “life cells”).

*Flax seed can be substituted in place of hemp seed, which is comparible in nutrition but not equal.

So every morning now, I start off with a good healthy cup of Oatmush.  Complete with hempseed, here is the unofficial complete nutritional value:

17g fat (the good kind), 1.5g saturated fat, Og trans fat, 24g sugar (the good kind), 19g protein, 10g dietary fiber

And that’s with nothing man-made or processed.  A completely alive breakfast.  The best part of it is, I can’t sell you Oatmush.  It’s not a marketable product.  Because if it was, it would have to come in a bag or box and the bananas would have to be dehydrated.  No one can sell you Oatmush.  You have to make it yourself.  And that’s another sign that it’s really good for you.

It’s really quick and easy to make.  Only takes me about one minute, literally. And I dare the entire world to find a healthier, more convenient, less expensive breakfast that is completely alive and not processed in any way.

…I’m waiting.

Oh, and, you’re welcome.  For my secret recipe, that is:

 

Nick Shell’s Famous “Oatmush”

½ cup of rolled oats

1/3 cup of hot water

1 banana

½ tablespoon of cinnamon

3 tablespoons of hemp seed