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.

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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

healthnutshell: A Tablespoon of Sugar or a Cigarette?

A new way to view the worth of the happiness that sugar brings us.



I have never understood the addiction a person encounters who is dependant on alcohol or nicotine. Half-jokingly I have even said that I should take up smoking to prove that I have the will-power to stop. And while my body knows no enticement to the addictive qualities of alcohol or nicotine, I have been fighting a physical addiction my own life.

In high school, when I was “using” the most, I quickly became aware that I had symptoms of an unhealthy person. I had a lot of difficulty breathing, to the point it took hours to fall asleep at night. Not to mention my abundant allergies. So what was my addiction? Refined Sugar. (Sugar that is added to a food or processed in any way.)

Back in those days I ate a king size Little Debbie fudge round for breakfast every morning and another for an afternoon snack. And that was just the tip of the iceberg lettuce.

Evidently, men aren’t supposed to admit to loving sugary things. But I openly acknowledge my love and addiction. Chocolate. Ice cream. Cookies. Milk shakes. Peanut butter brittle. Candy. Sweet tea. Dr. Pepper.

Since childhood, I could never finish a meal without having some kind of sweets. My worst vice was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I even overdosed on them one time back in 2003, eating 36 of them in a 16 hour period. From that day I developed a rash that lasted 6 years. Six years, not days.

In October 2008, I “hit rock candy bottom” after my hand eczema (dyshidrosis) got “out of hand”. Take a look at the pictures on this Wikipedia entry to see what I was suffering from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyshidrosis.

I stopped eating shellfish and realized that it helped tremendously, because I learned by wearing my metal wedding ring that my hand eczema is triggered half by contact with heavy metals, which shellfish are full of. The other 50% is the consumption of refined sugar.

It has taken me since October 2008 to get to the point where I am now.  Which is basically a 0% tolerance policy on refined sugar. I couldn’t quit cold turkey. I needed my sugar too much.  Like any threatening drug, I was addicted.  Mentally and physically.

It’s been a long process. The only sugar I eat now comes from 100% fruit juice, fruit, and whole grain bread. Sweets are out of my life.

Aside from the hell that resided on both of my hands for most of last decade, something else helped inspired me to stop my sugar addiction. A realization. A new mindset:

Consuming a tablespoon of sugar is equal to smoking one cigarette.


That may seem like a broad claim since I am not a doctor nor has there ever been a clinical study to prove it. All we really have to go on is the following research I have done, along with the fact my hand eczema is currently 95% cured (thank God).

But consider this: It wasn’t until people began adding sugar into their diets that they began getting cavities. Toothbrushes and toothpaste came about because people starting eating sugar.

Even today, people from tribes in the world that do not have access to Coca-Cola and do not have a concept of adding sugar to their diet coincidently do not suffer from tooth decay. Nor do they suffer from the rate of cancers and diseases that the rest of us do.

I’m not the first to say it: There is a definite link between the health of a person’s teeth and how prone they are to developing health problems in the rest of their body:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/pubs/oral-bucco/2009-smile-sourire/index-eng.php

No one needs to be told of all the horrific things smoking does to the human body. Just in case, here’s an overview:
http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/tobaccorelateddiseases/a/smokingrisks.htm

However, most of us truly don’t realize that arguably, the presence of sugar in our diets causes all kinds of cancers and diseases as well.  Most notably, the consumption of refined sugar leads to diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay.  Plus:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20060818171925AA5czDQ
http://www.rheumatic.org/sugar.htm

This isn’t to say that consumption of refined sugar causes lung cancer and the same exact health problems that tobacco causes. But eating foods that are processed with refined sugar leads to just as many health problems.

I am confident that a person who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day (20 cigarettes), compared to a person who consumes 20 tablespoons of sugar a day, will be just as affected with an unhealthy body. Whether it’s for 5 years or 30 years.

The more sugar in a person’s daily diet now, the unhealthier they will be later in life. Like cigarettes, the damage isn’t instantly obvious. It can take decades before the person’s body begins to scream for help, like mine did.

To find out how much sugar is in a product, take a look at the nutrition facts. Look under “Total Carbohydrate”. Then scroll down to “sugars”. Divide that number by 12. That is how many tablespoons (not teaspoons) of sugar is in one serving of that product.

The average can of soda contains around 3 ½ to 4 tablespoons of sugar, or according to my analogy, has the same health dangers as smoking 3 ½ to 4 cigarettes.

Therefore, a person who drinks a 2 liter of soda (or the sugar equivalent of it through other sweets) a day will have the comparable health risks of a person who smokes one pack of cigarettes a day.

(For some great visuals, click here: http://www.sugarstacks.com/ )

But as we know, it doesn’t take smoking an entire pack of cigarettes day for a person’s health to be affected by it. So it’s important to check out those forgettable smaller amounts of sugars we consume as well.

Let’s a take a look at a classy favorite, Starbucks. Just a tall (the smallest size) Caramel Frappaccino has 53 grams of sugar, which is 4 ½ tablespoons of sugar, or 4 ½ cigarettes. A tall iced white mocha has 41 grams of sugar, which is 3 ½ tablespoons of sugar, or 3 ½ cigarettes. http://www.starbucks.com/retail/nutrition_info.asp

A Snickers bar has 28 grams, or nearly 2 ½ tablespoons of sugar, or cigarettes.

Ten years ago, the Atkins diet surged with popularity, and suddenly everyone was avoiding carbs. But we need carbs. It’s the sugar in them that’s bad.

Whole grain bread is an important part of our diet, since it contains a good amount of fiber that we need to our food to push through our intestines. But even whole grain, whole wheat fiber has some sugar in it. It’s a matter of finding bread with the most fiber and the least sugar. And dividing that sugar content by 12 to find out how many tablespoons of sugar it contains in a serving.

From all my research, it’s difficult to find a nutritionist who will give a solid number for the amount added sugar we are allowed in a day. Because many that I talked to said ideally, none. But for the ones would give me an answer: 37.5 grams of added sugar per day. About 3 tablespoons.

In other words, a king size Snickers bar or a Starbucks tall iced white mocha will meet this limit 100%. (Though a can of soda would be over the limit.) So we have a fun snack like that and think we’re okay. But, what about the rest of the added sugar we are going to eat that day too?

Like bread? Fruit juice? Whole grain cereal? Yogurt? Milk?

By simply eating the healthy foods we should be eating already, we are naturally going to get close to that those 37.5 grams (or 3 tablespoons) of sugar. So it leaves out room for any sugary snacks.

Because even if we eat completely healthy balanced meals, once we add a bag of M&M’s, we exceeding our daily allowance. And keeping in my unproven theory that a tablespoon of sugar is equal to a cigarette, just one sugary snack on top of an already healthy diet would be like smoking a few cigarettes.

But the truth is this: Most people don’t already eat healthy, balanced meals. So that’s even more “cigarettes” in a day.

The good new is, we don’t have to count all sugars against our 37.5 gram allowance:  Like whole foods such as bananas or blueberries. Or really any food that has not all been processed and has had some kind of sugar added to it.

Because even healthy bread and yogurt have added sugar, even if its organic evaporated cane juice. For example, I just finished a serving of Stonyfield strawberry yogurt which contained 34 grams of sugar. They added organic sugar and strawberry juice to sweeten the yogurt. That’s my full allowance of added sugar, and that was an attempt to be healthy. Not to mention the grape juice I drank earlier today. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll go with cottage cheese and strawberries I slice myself.

And even 100% fruit juice is processed- juice is only a part of the whole fruit. So it must count against the 37.5 gram allowance.

But somehow if the fruit is eaten whole, with the fruit flesh, it counteracts the negative elements of the sugar it contains.

And of course, there’s no cheating the system. Artificial sweeteners are not a safe alternative, with links to potential cancer risks, negative effects on the liver, kidneys, and other organs, gastrointestinal problems, developmental problems in children and fetuses and headaches, to name a few:
http://www.truthaboutabs.com/artificial-sweeteners-natural-stevia.html

I think the most motivating element for me in all this is not so much a fear of getting cancer, but more about getting diabetes. Multiple sources continue to report that 1 out of 3 American children will become diabetics as adults if their current lifestyle continues:
http://www.truthaboutabs.com/artificial-sweeteners-natural-stevia.html

I have lived the first 28 years of my life in favor of becoming a diabetic. After seeing a few photographs of people who had to have their legs removed because of the disease, I decided that I don’t mind getting old, but I do mind getting old and unhealthy and account of my carefree lifestyle in my young adulthood.

So which is worse? A tablespoon of sugar or a cigarette?

At best, they’re the same. They both have enough potential to give us cancer and diseases. I’m not willing to risk my life for either one. I want to be the next Juice Man. Out of control eybrows and all.

Related posts by the same author:

Barley into Beer  http://wp.me/pxqBU-2L

1.2 Billion People Can’t Be Wrong  http://wp.me/pxqBU-43

 Beauty and Self-Worth aren’t the Real Issues  http://wp.me/pxqBU-2c

healthnutshell: “Gotta” Vs. “Get To”

I’m learning what it means to “observe the Sabbath.”

Recently I read an article that gave the top ten reasons why certain people live to be over 100 years old. Unsurprisingly, “a less stressful lifestyle” and “a more active lifestyle” were both on that list. At first glance, it seems those two traits would clash. But after stumbling upon some information on the lifestyles of Seventh Day Adventists, I realize they live out a great model of being active and yet less stressed. And reports show they live longer, healthier lives than the rest of us.

They take seriously one of the Ten Commandments that we tend to ignore: They keep the Sabbath holy. For Seventh Day Adventists and Jews, it’s Saturday. For the rest of us, it’s Sunday. I agree with them that that Saturday is actually the Sabbath, but I don’t care, I just go along with the crowd and pretend that it’s Sunday with the Protestants.

The day of the week isn’t important to me. The model of resting on the 7th day is. God worked 6 days to create the world then rested on the 7th.

What God didn’t do was this: Work 5 days, take off the 6th, then on the 7th stay really busy all day with church events. To me, that’s the Christian American model that is mainstream, and it doesn’t work. Because we’re not resting on Sunday, we’re busy with “Christian stuff”. That’s missing the whole point. And for many, it’s causing burn-out.

Something different about the church I attend in Nashville is this: They only have a Sunday morning service. (Not even a Wednesday night meeting.) The pastor wants his congregation to spend more time with their families, not working on church activities or having to go home after lunch, only to get out again for another church service and/or training class. Our pastor stresses the importance of meeting with a “small group” during the week at someone’s house. That takes the place of the church fellowship and Bible study that occurs at many churches on Sunday night.

The idea is this: Instead of being constantly busy all week long with life’s events, randomly getting lucky enough to find pockets of free time to relax, I have begun to set aside Sunday as the day of relaxation, as directed in the Ten Commandments.

My struggle at first with this was, “What is work?” I knew I didn’t want to be like the Pharisees of Jesus’s time who were so anal that they thought walking more than a certain distance or even feeding livestock was a sin. They got all judgmental over the issue.

The difference with my approach is this: I don’t care what other people do on Sunday. The observance of the Sabbath is for my own good. God intended me to be busy for 6 days straight, then relax on the 7th. My bodily was physically, spiritually, and emotionally designed that way.

As I have began truly observing the Sabbath for the first time in my life, what I have learned so far is that I am even busier now from Monday to Saturday. It means the grocery shopping, household chores, and random errands that my wife and I usually did on Sunday now have to been done on Saturday afternoon. It means not sleeping in on Saturday as long. It means those tedious tasks that got pushed off until Sunday afternoon are now completed after the Biggest Loser goes off on Tuesday night.

But then Sunday is free. We go to church on Sunday morning. Then the rest of the day is wide open. For long naps. To go out for a nice meal if we want to. To watch movies. To go for a drive. To visit with friends. To do nothing. Just to relax, whatever that entails.

I had the wrong idea for all these years, thinking that a day of rest meant “a day of boredom”. Or a day of sleep. Or a day of sitting in a quiet room meditating about things that made me feel “Christian”. But to better understand the concept, I’ve replaced the word “rest” with “relaxation”. Sometimes resting means sleeping, but it also means enjoying the day by just vegging out. Doing whatever I want to do.

The best way I have found to realize what I will or will not to on Sunday is the “gotta or get to” method:

I “gotta” go to Target to exchange that air filter. I gotta clean out the closet. These things I gotta do or, have to do, are the annoying things I consider work. Things that keep me from relaxing. Therefore if there’s anything I gotta do, I will not do it on a Sunday.

But there are also things I “get to” do. I get to finish building that Corn Hole set with my friend Josh. I get to go for a nice three mile run. I get to put together that photo album I haven’t had time for. These are all physical activities, yet I get to do them. In other words, I want to do them. I get enjoyment from doing them. They are relaxing.

Is the activity something I have to do or I want to do? Regardless of the amount of physical activity it takes. Resting is more than refraining from work. So much of what we’ve been missing by not truly observing the Sabbath is the mental and physical rest we deeply need. This day of rest is a way God allows us to have sanity through all our inevitable busyness.

So how is it possible to be both more active and less stressed out? Follow the 4th Commandment and see what happens. It works for the Seventh Day Adventists. And me.