Happiness is Adidas 3-Stripes & Polyester Track Suits

Have you noticed that my blog is now Body by Basch?  2017 has been almost six months of getting reacquainted with myself.  I have gone through some major transitions; some with grace and elegance, others I have stashed in a memory bank along with all the embarrassing moments of University pub-crawls.  Did you know that moving, divorce and death are three of the largest contributors of negative stress in a person’s life?  I am currently dancing the tango with the first two.  There are days I am “oh snap, I’ve got this life figured out” and feel as if I’m taking the lead.  But there have also been moments when I have wanted to crawl back into bed and hold my breath until I can no longer.   Luckily, those days and moments are becoming fewer and far between.

Separating after 16 years of being part of a union that once was loving, vibrant and secure has presented me with a life to re-design.   As unique as you may think your marriage/relationship is – most happy relationships start the same with passion and compassion (ours was no different) and in the end, we were the cliche movie couple from War of the Roses.  I have learned that one need not sport bloody wounds and bandages to feel an emotional shot in the gut or head or leg or wherever the ex aims.  Good aim or bad – it all hurts until it doesn’t.  I am not numb – it really no longer hurts.

Where others might feel loneliness, I see possibilities.  I have a new home and if I want this home to look exactly like a Jo Malone box, then I no longer need to acquire anyone’s agreement.  I can eat standing up in the kitchen commando-style, watch Netflix on my laptop while taking a bath and never again be told how to bag garbage or make a proper bed.  I have also had to learn to readjust my grocery shopping, sleep in the middle of the bed and drive outside the HOV lane which comes with a whole slew of bad language during rush hour.  I no longer speak the “we” language but I do enjoy saying I. Longtime, happy marriages can still stir up wistfulness, but I have learned that there are worse things than being alone.

Why did returning to single-hood allow me the courage to re-unite with old friends and long-lost relatives?  I am once again a big sister, sister-in-law and aunt.  I have chatted with and broken bread (gluten-free for me) with high school crushes and girlfriends that I once loved so much, I actually insisted we wear matching baby-blue polyester Adidas track suits.  I still wear the 3-stripe and hopefully no one remembers the time I had to wear North Stars (full disclosure: it was 1975).  Solidarity in bad fashion proves to bind you for life.  Through days of frustration, sadness and tears that flowed too frequently, I learned to once again trust my gut.  I never called into work sick but did ask if I could use the gym’s defibrillator to “erase and rewind” with just one good shock.  I was turned down.

So it is with this newly-created life that I realized I no longer live in a valley, on a street called Hudson with my family.  My kids are young adults with happy productive lives and homes of their own.  So grateful for this reality.  My name remains the same, as does my passion for all things healthy and Body By Basch has been my tagline, like, since forever!

Friends, family and new acquaintances, I will once again be posting my delicious and healthy recipes, nutrition and lifestyle tips and workouts.  Life outside the Valley is still pretty new and has presented me with easy peaks and valleys that aren’t too deep.  In other words, I have a blessed life and I am grateful for those that listened, and listened some more, and listened to repeated stories, shared their wisdom and love so generously and made me laugh.  I am also grateful that I wasn’t forced to once again wear a polyester track suit to prove my loyalty.

Me with a male friend who is never afraid to show his love for me:

img_0240

 


LIVING #itsalifestyle: Debra

Carly and I are the first back to back Daughter-Mother feature on this blog! This is me – unplugged – honest – real. Thank you Brittnei for the opportunity to share.

Today we have our first mother/daughter back-to-back special. Our LIVING #itslifestyle feature from yesterday, Carly cited her mother as her inspiration and guide for how to live her healthiest life- today we have her mother, Debra as our expert feature.

Debra is a wellness and health professional and entrepreneur, and brings us an inspiring story of life-long health and intentional living to support graceful aging. Fun Fact: She has shared her wisdom with us in a previous volume of #itsalifestyle as well, if you care to venture a peek you can find it here.

livingWhat does #itsalifestyle mean to you?

#itsalifestyle means just that; living my life in a manner [style] that embodies all 7 determinants of wellness:  spirituality, higher intelligence, satisfying occupation, social, emotional, environmental, physical (this includes nutrition).  This is how I live, living healthfully is my natural default.
What/Who informs your wellness habits?
I have been healthy my entire…

View original post 592 more words


LIVING #itsalifestyle: Carly

Hey parents! Remember when you gave and gave and gave and your kids would ignore you, eye roll and basically turn their noses up at you? Once, one of my daughters told me she hated that I wore my hair in a pony tail! Wished I was like other mom’s who didn’t have to be “Fitnessy”! Her words!! Well, I just got paid back.

It really ISN’T WHAT WE SAY … and it really IS WHAT WE DO Model well because they are always watching and listening. Even with noses turned up, way up.

From health through laughter, to an honest and compelling appreciation for Nature, Carly shares a snippet of her #itsalifestyle with ya’ll today!

livingWhat does #itsalifestyle mean to you?

Healthy, lifestyle, living… it has a different connotation to each individual. Allowing you to enjoy routines, regimes and habits that are completely unique to you. 

What/Who informs your wellness habits?

My mother, having over 25 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. It’s always been a common dinner topic at my family’s table.


What is your favorite way to MOVE?

Dancing or a long, scenic walk

How do you schedule your healthy habits?

I look at my calendar and I think about how I want to plan my workouts/see which classes I’m excited to go to. My goal is to go at least 4-5 times a week, but also not punish myself if I have to tend to something that…

View original post 314 more words



What is the Best Diet for 2017?

So many choices, too many opinions.  This time of year, many seek the holy grail of health, leanness and fitness packaged in an easy one-size-fits-all package.  If only that would work.  The problem with mass appealing diets is the fact that they are “mass-appealing”.  I don’t look, act, function, think, smell, taste, or behave exactly 100% like another human being, so why would I think I could get the same results following the same protocol?  In other words, most of us cannot function optimally with a cookie-cutter approach to our lives and this includes our fitness routines and nutrition plans.

Sadly, the worst form of evidence is first person “this worked for me, so therefore it will work for you”.   Another poor example of relatable science is to follow what worked in a lab with little white mice.  I am larger than 4 inches long and the last time I checked, I would not be classified as a small rodent.  So it is with this rationale that I share my advice for the healthiest diet for 2017.

Lately, the hot topics around the gym water-cooler seem to focus on anything anti-inflammatory and pseudo-science diets.  When people are asked if they understand inflammation, most stare back with a look that says it all.  Inflammation is the body’s protective response to pathogens or mechanical stress that threaten to do harm to our tissues.  Therefore, inflammation is considered an instrument of intuitive immunity, as compared to adaptive immunity.  For example, you cut yourself or twist your ankle.  Both injuries will cause swelling, heat and redness. Your body quickly employs the same methods to halt or eliminate further cell damage regardless of the origin of the trauma.  Inflammation is further classified as either acute or chronic.  Acute is the former, chronic is the precursor to disease.  So it is with this consideration that we are now realizing two things:  1) We need to keep our levels of inflammation down and 2) If nutrition plays a role in this process, is it a contributor or a protector?

Homocysteine is a by-product of animal protein metabolism and when found in elevated concentrations, has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease by damaging arterial walls, blood platelets and increased clot formation.  There is also evidence that Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases are linked to higher levels of homocysteine.  Low fruit, vegetable, leafy green consumption along with high animal protein intake puts one at an increased risk for having the highest levels.  Other factors include high levels of stress, poor diet, poor lifestyle, and high coffee and alcohol consumption. DON’T STOP READING!!! HEAR ME OUT!!  We are complex chemistry labs and too much of one thing and not enough of another element and the whole process gets thrown off.   Hopefully you can see the connection that if you only consume one type of macro instead of consuming a wide variety, you shortchange your lab of necessary and key components.  I promise not to suggest a vegan lifestyle, but meatless Mondays could do wonders!

So it is with amusement that I read The Top Diets for 2016 and answer questions from clients on what is the healthiest or quickest way to lose body fat or both!  List is not in order of effectiveness.

  1. Flexitarian & Vegan Diet
  2. DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
  3. FMD (Fasting Mimicking Diet)
  4. TLC Diet (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes)
  5. Mediterranean Diet
  6. Weight Watchers
  7. Bulletproof Coffee
  8. Paleo 2.0
  9. Jenny Craig
  10. Raw, Low G.I., Low Fat, Low or No Carb, etc., etc., etc.

Every one of these nutrition plans requires you to focus your attention on their plan without deviation.

  1. Phase I – Quick start to weight loss (macros are cut and calories greatly reduced)
  2. Phase II – Further weight loss through adjustments to intake thereby helping you to reach the next phase.
  3. Phase III – Weight management through less structure, adherence but still “on the plan”
  4. Phase IV – With the exception of the first 4 – many of the more popular diets focus more on results with “pop culture science” than overall health.  While I cannot argue with the wildly successful results Weight Watcher followers achieve using their point system, I fundamentally have a problem with a system that allows you to eat anything as long as you are in your range.  Strong WW proponents defend this over-simplification with the rationale that they still encourage participants to eat more nutritious foods but those not in the know will always choose the melba toast for low points than the quinoa salad for 6.

The Paleo diet/lifestyle strongly supports the removal of potatoes, grains, pseudograins and legumes (don’t get me started) but I love that it also supports the elimination of artificial anything, sugar [pop, candy, junk food], hydrogenated oil, dairy, fast food, and processed foods. Rationale:  We are to eat as our ancestors did during the pre-Neolithic era.  The hypothesis is, this is when humans screwed all things nutrition up … That is a lot of guilt and undoing!

The Bulletproof Diet is marketed as a biohack that makes it possible to lose fat, increase mental focus and energy without cravings.  It is also an anti-toxin diet which encourages you to identify and eliminate your food sensitivities.  Food allergies involve an immune response and potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis.  Food intolerance can be similar to allergies and while they may not be life-threatening, continued exposure can damage the lining of the small intestines. Food sensitivities are a catch-all category that includes headaches, low energy and some people express feeling brain fog.  While these symptoms are not life-threatening they may still be unpleasant.  This is what you do:

  • Drink “Bulletproof Coffee” for breakfast every day (it is suggested you drink their low-toxin blend) coffee with grass-fed butter and MCT oil; limit other meals for intermittent fasting.
  • Eat lots of vegetables, approved fats, some grass-fed protein, a little starch/fruit.
  • Avoid sugar, sweeteners, processed foods, gluten, corn, dairy (except grass-fed butter).

I’m down again with the elimination of sugar, sweeteners, processed foods.  Eating lots of veggies and healthy fats are also high on my list of all things healthy but for the life of me, I cannot justify “little fruit”.  Fruit provides hydration, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and enjoyment!  I have clients that only have to look at diets high in saturated fat and their arteries choke up from a sharp rise in their LDL.  How much fibre is recommended on this plan? And what are these toxins found in coffee?  I believe they are thought to be molds but modern-day roasting and coffee prep all but guarantee a toxin-free product.

Sorry, but here we go again with the gluten-free debate.  Can someone please educate me on why if someone is not intolerant, sensitive nor celiac they benefit from a gluten-free diet?  This is just plain non-sense.  In other words – a high fibre, low processed, sugar and salt free gluten-rich bread will not harm you unless you are part of the above mentioned gluten-free cohort.  Bulletproof does provide some unintentional brevity – foods are classified as either bulletproof (allowed), suspect (exercise caution) or kryptonite (forbidden).  Here is a directive from the Chewto website after one has been following the BP plan for a while:

  • “If you want, try eating a few more carbs in the evening, and if your pants get tight, simply cut back. You might even have starch in the morning sometimes if you really want to, as you now know your body is resilient and can handle it”  How do you know if they can handle it? And isn’t it just plain smart to cut back on everything if one’s pants get tight?

I am unimpressed with the lack of rationale for eating less fruit and healthy whole grains than I am with putting butter in your coffee.  I can defend the grass-fed butter vs grass-fed cream debate that seems to populate the website chats.  Butter has a milk fat percentage of around 80%, whipping cream is 35% – this whole diet premise is based on a 50 to 70% intake of fat.  Fat provides more than twice the energy needs gram for gram than do carbohydrates and protein.  Hence, the reason one may be able to go six hours without the need to eat.

While we could all benefit from razor-sharp mental focus, endless energy and no cravings, this nutrition plan is still lacking in basic nutrition. I also suggest caution when consuming sugar alcohols such as sorbitol and maltitol.  These sugar alcohols can be found naturally in fruit but many that are used in sugar-free drinks and gum are manufactured.  (I am unclear if the manufactured ones are allowed)  Diabetics still have to count these alcohols as carbohydrates and everyone should go easy on the amount they ingest; they are effective laxatives, contribute to bloating and uncomfortable gas.

I know a few people who swear by the Bulletproof method and I am curious to watch them evolve over time.  I respect their individual decisions but I could not see 3/4 of my clients who take meds for various heart diseases adopting this eating plan.  Again, individualization is the key to any nutrition plan.

So the answer to my own question is this:  Choose a lifestyle that places an emphasis on: ↓inflammation ↓ LDL or BAD cholesterol ↑HDL or GOOD CHOLESTEROL ↓Blood Sugar Highs/Lows ↓Body Fat ↑Body Alkalinity  ↑Energy ↓RISKS of Cancer, Heart Disease and Stroke ↓Negative impact on the environment, ↓toxic load on our livers.

Remember the wise words of Hippocrates:  “Let Food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.   There are in fact two things, science and opinion; the former begets knowledge, the latter ignorance.”  To conclude:

  • Eat whole foods – not processed
  • Eat off of plates – not platters
  • Respect your body & the environment – eat mainly plants

Below is an easy meal that will increase your intake of folic acid and other B-vitamins that help lower levels of homocysteine.

Grilled salmon, chicken or tempeh with lightly steamed broccoli, Brussels sprouts or asparagus and a tossed salad that includes leafy greens and sweet red peppers (vitamin C to help absorb the iron in the greens), is delicious and will provide three B vitamins (folate, B6, B12) that are associated with the prevention of Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease.

Smashed avocado on whole grain toast (gluten-free if needed) with hard-boiled egg whites and a sliced orange.

References: J. W. Miller, PhD, R. Green, MD, D. M. Mungas, PhD, B. R. Reed, PhD and W. J. Jagust, MD. Homocysteine, vitamin B6, and vascular disease in AD patients. Neurology 2002;58:1539-1541. Sachdev PS, Valenzuela M, Wang XL, Looi JC, Brodaty H.Relationship between plasma homocysteine levels and brain atrophy in healthy elderly individuals. Neurology 2002 May 28;58(10):1539-41. Nilsson K, Gustafson L, Hultberg B. Relation between Plasma Homocysteine and Alzheimer’s Disease.


I have no friends

She learned from the best teacher. Me. I am not proud especially when I can relate 100% to every word my beautiful outgoing daughter wrote. You inherited my strong, curvy body shape, my shapely shoulders and strong legs. I gave you my thick, slightly curly hair that is a blessing in winter and a hot, frizzy mess in summer! We share big eyes, feminine hands, long fingers, long nail beds and a quirky sense of humour. Only with you can I speak with an accent and you’ll answer me back in the exact same way.

Sadly, I also gave you my social anxiety and a mind that will not shut off. I showed you that being at home in jammies is the best way to spend an evening and I will still stand by that but not every night. Watch me now dear daughter. Follow my lead as I nurture all my new and amazing friendships. Trust that once you are surrounded by the loving energy of your friends, that overwhelming desire to retreat fades and you enjoy yourself and it really doesn’t tax your energy, it fills you up.

We are never too old to learn. When we stop learning and trying – we become old and stop living. I will model healthier behaviour and I will watch and follow you too. But let’s not totally give up the jammie and netflix nights — they are as special as a hang-out. Let’s just use them to rejuvenate from being out with our amazing networks! Love you so much.

Monkey Brain

Listen, I have a lot of friends and I’m not craving attention. The reason for my title because it’s all things I’m responsible for. The biggest tease I make is the fact that I have no friends when the reality is, I have a lot of friends! Lovely friends, amazing friends, silly friends, bat-shit crazy friends, annoying friends, are-we-acquaintances-or-friends friends, bad friends, good friends and everything in between.

Why don’t I have friends? Because I don’t choose to see them. It’s not because I don’t want to – I love you guys! You’re beautiful individuals that I feel so blessed that we have a connection. But I can’t see you. And then I don’t have hang outs, I miss out on parties, I’m not on Snapchat stories; the bonds get stronger as I fade away on my couch. And I like it that way. To some degree…

These reasons are…

View original post 701 more words


My children are no longer children, they are actually independent, highly functioning adults with developed palates.   I no longer have to shy away from the health benefits of my cooking.  In fact, the healthier it is, the more they want it!  But that wasn’t always the case.  Daughter #1 thought she hated salmon, so she ate “pink chicken”.  Daughter #2 refused to eat vegetables but loved eating “spears” aka asparagus.

What I didn’t have in addition to my finicky eaters was food restrictions at schools, birthday parties and after school activities.  Back in my day, we could stuff our children full of peanut butter, gluten, nuts, and seeds.  Parents, care-givers and schools today have the added challenge of making food allergen-free, nutritious and edible … Granola bars that are peanut and nut free are also low in protein, fibre and high in sugar and fat.  I believe I have solved the problem.

Spicy Pumpkin Oat Protein Bars

  • Servings: 16-20
  • Time: 35 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Ingredients

3 cups of Gluten Free Oats

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

1 ¼ tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves (optional)

2 Scoops of Arbonne Unflavoured, Sugarless Vegan Protein Powder

1 cup of canned pumpkin

1/3 cup of dark brown sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

½ cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp vegan chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in middle of the oven. Grease a 9” x 9” pan and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the oats in a food processor and using the metal blade, process the oats until they resemble oat flour. Add the baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves if using and pulse until all blended.  Add the Arbonne Plain Protein Powder and pulse a few more times until combined.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the pumpkin to applesauce until smooth.
  4. Carefully add the dry ingredients to the wet, folding them in until all combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips being careful not to over mix.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Cool in pan, about 10 minutes, then cut into squares.

Shhh, Don’t Tell Them It’s Healthy


Oh bla di oh bla da …

 

I am a health and wellness professional and entrepreneur.  I live, breathe and exude healthy.  I have an answer for every excuse that I hear as to why one cannot live a healthy life.  Don’t use a bad day to binge on sugar … why make bad worse?  Basically, I am a pain in the ass and because I walk my talk, I have the chops to take on any criticism.  Until today …

When you are an entrepreneur you quickly realize that your true character comes out on the bad days.  On the good days, everybody is happy and flying high.  Dreams are allowed to grow even larger, energy is high and you almost welcome the naysayers.  Hit me with your best shot … fire away!  Today has been challenging and I won’t bore you with the details.  Pardon my gross language but if shit rolls downhill then I feel as if I am at the bottom of Everest.  My business partner was doing her very best to keep me positive even when the mechanic pulled out a 4 inch screw, nut and all, out of one of my tires.  She validated all my efforts with potential clients that went no-where with words of encouragement and I love her for it.  Did I tell her that?  Probably not.  Too busy having a pity party.

She could have bought me a new puppy and tap danced down Yonge street and I would not have cracked a smile.  But thinking about that earlier statement I thought – So you didn’t have any wins today.  In fact, with a flat tire, no sales, you LOST money today.  Are you going to give up and throw in the towel just because things didn’t go your way?  KEEP IN ACTIVITY.  You are a fighter.  Debra never gives up.  And so I am not – instead I have taken a slight detour and made a fresh batch of Vegan Gluten-free Hermit Cookies.  I needed to have a win.  I wanted to accomplish something today to lift my confidence and a workout was not going to cut it!  Only wholesome, chewy, sugary treats can turn a bad day around.  img_3343These cookies have magical, almost unicorn-like properties.  You only have to eat one to feel wonderful.  How could you not?  Cinnamon, pecans, chocolate and raisins mixed with a gooey centre, hot out of the oven equals N I R V A N A.

Sorry I can’t stay and describe every delicious morsel but I have a business to run and I need to get back into activity.  You will just have to make them yourself and don’t wait until you have a bad day!

Vegan Gluten Free Hermit Cookies

  • Time: 1hr 20min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Every bite gives you a mouthful of happiness and no two bites are alike.

img_3345

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature (do not melt)
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 “flax” eggs or use egg-replacer
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose gluten-free flour*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • *I use a mix of gluten-free flours that already has xanthan gum mixed in appropriate amounts

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a standing mixer on medium speed, cream together coconut oil and brown sugar. Add “flax-eggs” and beat until mixture is pale and thick – about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together and using a whisk ensure that they are well blended.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Incorporate raisins, chocolate chips and nuts with a wooden spoon.
  5. Drop cookies by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes, until edges are set but centres still appear moist. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  6. Store in an airtight container (up to 10 days) or freeze on a flat surface then transfer to freezer bags to store up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.
  7. Makes approximately 4 dozen


Caramel Apple Upside Down Cookie Tart

This is poignant and very touching essay with a kick-ass recipe attached to it! I could make it GF with a few modifications and it would be divine. Vegan – replace the butter with coconut oil. Oh, and by the way, I, too, was a Debbie until 32!!!

deb's pots

img_0037img_0027img_0034

img_0039

“What would you do if you lost your favorite thing”? I still remember exactly where I was sitting, in health class in my sophomore year of high school, when the teacher asked that question. What I thought was: I’d just keep searching until I find it. And then the teacher said, to a class of 30 or so teenagers, “Most of us would sit down and cry, but Debbie [I was Debbie until I was 18] would keep looking until she found it.”

Trust me. It was an antisemitic diss. This woman was a bubby, blond, gym teacher. Her name was still Debbie, at 35. She had bouncy hair and bouncy breasts, and was a former cheerleader. She was the one who told us that Jewish women get breast cancer because of eating matzah balls. Not kidding. She didn’t like me. I was mortified.

I remembered that antisemite cheerleader mortification…

View original post 625 more words


Could the Best of Summer Be the New Weight Gain Threat?

TomatoesThat catchy little jingle (from a well-known office supply store) is playing over and over in my head “it’s the most wonderful time of the year …”   Fresh, fragrant and colourful produce is abundant.   The summer’s bounty brought us crops of berries, watermelon, sweet corn, peaches, nectarines, lettuces, cucumbers, tomatoes, and zucchini.  September’s harvests are rich with beets, mushrooms, bell peppers, and stone fruits.  Eating fresh food is part of the joy of living. So it’s hard to imagine that with all this appetizing, nutrient-rich food only one-third of adults and children are consuming the recommended two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables daily.   Fruits and vegetables are full of water, fibre and phyto-nutrients.  When consumed raw, a plant-based diet also supplies live enzymes.  Enzymes aid in digestion, breaking down the food particles for energy, thereby lessening the burden on our pancreas, liver and other organs that are overworked.

A lack of digestive enzymes in your food can be a factor in a multitude of digestive issues:  reflux, belching, bloating, bowel disorders, and possibly even food allergies.  Nice.  Another benefit of eating fruits and vegetables is that they help with free radicals and inflammation in the body.  Pro-inflammatory foods (overly processed) can increase inflammation and raise your risk for chronic disease.  Inflammation inside your body is very much like when you fall and scrape the skin off your elbow or sprain your wrist.  The area becomes red, sore and swollen.  Your body creates both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory chemicals called “prostaglandins” from nutrients in the food that you eat.  Disproportionate amounts of good versus bad nutrients in your diet can lead to the formation of unnecessary amounts of inflammatory prostaglandins, which fuel your body’s inflammatory response.  The preparation and processing of these food products is also responsible for adding unwanted trans fats and saturated fats into our diets.  Replacing junk food, high-fat animal protein, refined sugar, and your favourite drive-thru with fresh, raw (organic if possible) produce can help protect our cells from inflammation damage.

Recent scientific findings have identified natural and synthetic chemicals creating havoc on the function of our hormonal systems; otherwise known as endocrine disruptors.   These sneaky saboteurs find their way into our systems through plastic bottles, preservatives in processed foods and pesticides sprayed on our fruits and vegetables.  Scientists have even given these chemicals a name:  Obesogens.  Could a daily peach habit be more fattening and dangerous to our health than a bag of potato chips?  Eating has become complicated.  You feel as if you need to become an expert in biochemistry just to be able to safely navigate the aisles in your local Supermarket!  Dr. Frederick vom Saal, Ph.D., professor of biological sciences at the University of Missouri states “Obesogens are thought to act by hijacking the regulatory systems that control body weight.  And any chemical that interferes with body weight is an endocrine disruptor.”  Non-organic fruits and vegetables are evidence for anywhere from 5 to 13 different pesticide residues.  These residues have been identified in human blood and urine samples.

Farmers-Market-620x400

It is not surprising that the equilibrium of energy in our bodies is failing.  Obesity has become a global health crisis.  It is no longer good enough to balance calories brought in to calories paid out.  Scientists are now looking to the environment for more answers as to the reasons why childhood obesity is almost at epidemic proportions.   Surely our overweight population has not been entirely built on nachos and lack of exercise.  One hypothesis that is gaining a lot of attention from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) is that many obesogens are more powerful in developing fetuses and newly born babies.  Further testing is required to conclusively say whether or not our zucchini and plums are adding to our ever-expanding waistlines.  With more scientific information on nutrition being handed to us daily, you would think we would have the answers.  The truth is we do and we don’t.  Basically, it all comes down to, well, getting back to basics.  Pesticides and non-organic food aside, nutrition experts and scientists both agree that the health benefits of a fresh plant-based diet far exceeds the risks of pesticides.

 

Eating organic greatly reduces the load of pesticides on your body but so do a few other practices.  Eat real food.  Spend most of your food shopping time in the outer aisles of your favourite food store, but better yet, get acquainted with a local farmer’s market and start reaping the benefits of eating food that didn’t require its Maker to wear protective, surgical attire for sanitation reasons.  Farmers’ are different from the local grocery store manager.  They will encourage you to taste and smell their produce!  Don’t worry if they don’t carry the organic certification, they are on hand to answer your questions regarding their farming practices.  Every city and country town will boast numerous stands, showcasing the best of summer.  All you need to do is make that your new drive-thru!

Below are two lists to help get you started on where to spend your dollars for organic produce.  According to the Environment Working Group, these are the top 10 Best and Worst of for conventionally grown fruits and vegetables.

Foods-to-Buy-Organic-Beyond-the-Dirty-Dozen

Worst for Pesticide Use  Best for Lowest in Pesticide Use
Peaches Onions
Apples Avocados
Bell Peppers Sweet Corn
Celery Pineapples
Nectarines Mangoes
Strawberries Asparagus
Cherries Sweet Peas
Kale Kiwifruit
Lettuce Cabbage
Grapes Eggplant