April 2018

I’m sure everyone is familiar by now with the terms “Western medicine” and “Eastern medicine” and take them to mean the difference between focusing on pharmaceuticals (prescriptions) being the “go-to” for treatment of ailments (Western) versus a more natural approach (Eastern).  Even over-the-counter products are considered to be in the realm of Western medicine while herbs and various therapeutic practices are more Eastern. There is a striking difference between the two and hopefully, this can help you decide which is right for you.

There are several terms for Western medicine…conventional, mainstream, orthodox…but it all means the system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery.  Here are some pros and cons regarding Western medicine:

Pros

  • Best in cases of trauma, serious accidents, broken bones, wounds, necessary surgery, and certain infections; best suited for emergency response situations
  • Completely science-based, focused on drugs, radiation, and surgery to treat symptoms (physical intervention)

Cons

  • Not a strong belief that the body can heal itself
  • Most widely practiced in the United States and considered the “standard” or “norm” for care
  • Doesn’t acknowledge alternative forms of treatment therefore not always providing the best care for patients
  • Completely reactive and doesn’t focus much on disease prevention, only treatment AFTER illness is diagnosed; doesn’t often address the root causes of disease
  • Methods can be invasive, dangerous, costly, and side effects can be worse than the original condition

Eastern medicine, also known by the terms Chinese medicine, folk medicine, holistic, natural, unconventional, unorthodox, and so on.  These all refer to a system of health care based on the concept of incorporating vitamins, herbal preparations, teas, body treatments (massage, reflexology, acupressure, acupuncture, etc.), essential oils, yoga, meditation, special diets, etc. to balance the body and bring it back to health and proper functioning through natural means.  Here are some pros and cons of Eastern medicine:

Pros

  • Treats the actual cause of the disease instead of just the symptoms with a more gentle, natural approach
  • Focuses on improving the quality of life while treating illness; a whole-person approach
  • It’s safer than mainstream medicine (using natural remedies) and less invasive
  • It is more flexible and changeable according to lifestyle changes of the patient
  • Takes into account the overall health by balancing out other aspects of life beyond the disease
  • It doesn’t contribute to dependency and harmful side effects of the body and mind

Cons

  • Limited scientific research (but centuries of practice with noted results exist)
  • Potentially dangerous interactions…when not using caution and mixing with pharmaceuticals or over-the-counter medications; some natural products do have side effects of their own

 

Sometimes Eastern and Western medicine can both be a part of a treatment plan…especially when body treatments can aid in healing or when certain supplements can improve recovery and tolerance of needed prescriptions.  For example, …probiotics are essential when taking antibiotics to maintain proper gut health and massage can greatly improve the recovery from injury and surgery. There isn’t always one clear-cut answer when it comes to treating illness, but there is nearly always more than one option.  Look into what treatment options are available for your particular situation and what approach you’re willing to commit to. After all, it’s your body and your life so it’s most definitely your choice.

 

 

 

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The Mediterranean Diet is an eating plan inspired by the diets of the people living in the Mediterranean region.  It’s been touted for years as having many health benefits…lowering the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, fighting certain cancers and chronic diseases, helping you avoid diabetes, and aiding in achieving weight management goals.  Plus, it’s easy, affordable, and delicious!

Is the Mediterranian Diet Right For You_

Many people are confused about what types of foods are allowed on the Mediterranean diet, so here is a brief overview of things you are able to eat on this plan:

 

  • Eat Freely: Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, breads, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil.

 

  • Eat in Moderation: Poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt.

 

  • Avoid: Sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages, processed meat, refined grains, refined oils, and other highly processed foods.

 

Here is an illustration of the items on the Mediterranean Diet and how to eat them:

This eating plan stresses healthy fish (salmon, etc.), healthy oils (olive oil, etc.), whole grains (Quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, etc.), legumes (peas, beans, etc.), nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios, etc.), and fresh fruit (berries, apricots, etc.).  While all of these are very healthy options they do still have fats and calories to consider…so be sure to properly portion out items and accurately account for the fat and calories in them.

As with any diet or eating plan, please consider your personal health situation and any medications and/or supplements you take…and please speak with your doctor to make sure the Mediterranean Diet is a healthy and beneficial option for you.  Enjoy all that this plan has to offer for the benefit of your health and possibly in helping you drop a few pounds in the process. Happy Eating!

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Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells, and the substances they produce, protect us from infection and foreign organisms.  However, in some diseases like arthritis, the body’s defense system (the immune system) triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign organisms to fight off.  These diseases, called autoimmune diseases, cause the body’s normally protective immune system to damage its own tissues. The body responds as if normal tissues are infected.  

Much of the chronic inflammation situations are in the joints, but chronic inflammation is a part of many diseases like asthma, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, eczema, psoriasis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Parkinson’s disease.  In these diseases, the body is in a chronically inflamed state, essentially on “high alert” all the time. This prolonged state of emergency can cause lasting damage to the heart, brain, and other organs. For example, inflammatory cells present in the blood vessels for too long can promote the buildup of dangerous plaque.  Chronic inflammation can also damage your gut and joints, sabotage your sleep, harm your lungs, damage your gums and bones, make it harder to lose weight, and can contribute to depression.

There are some tell-tale signs of chronic inflammation that you should look out for:

  1. A “spare tire” around your waist
  2. High blood glucose levels
  3. Digestive problems like gas, diarrhea, bloating, or constipation
  4. You’re tired all the time
  5. Skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, or your skin is red and blotchy
  6. Allergies
  7. A puffy face, or puffy bags under the eyes
  8. Gum disease
  9. Depression, anxiety, or “Brain Fog”

Beyond bacteria, viruses, and autoimmune disorders…sugary and fatty foods along with stress can cause chronic inflammation.  Dietary changes and better stress management skills are the easiest ways to combat the sugar, fats, and stress as a more natural alternative to medications.  Here are a few:

  • Load up on omega-3 fatty acids from sources like salmon, seaweed, hemp, and flaxseed
  • Eat fermented foods & liquids (sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, etc.), probiotics, and fiber
  • Cut out processed sugar
  • Focus on healthy fats (avocados, nuts, etc.) and lean proteins
  • Incorporate ginger and turmeric into your daily diet
  • Reduce stress with yoga, meditation, and consciously being aware of what causes you stress

Our Joint Formula contains 2000 mg of Biocell® Hydrolyzed Collagen Type II, 400 mg of Tart Cherry and 100 mg of Ginger. These ingredients are said to support joint health with their healing and pain-relieving properties, also aiding in reducing inflammation. 

Even if your inflammation cause or situation is seemingly difficult to control there are many ways to investigate how to reduce its effects on your body and your life.  Take time to look into some ways to keep inflammation at bay through natural means for better overall health.

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Balanced Meal- Balanced Plate… What do these terms really mean?  Are they the same or do they represent different things?  Hopefully, We can clear up some misconceptions about these terms and aid you in eating better with the explanations.

First…Balanced Meals.  This term is thrown around all the time to explain how to eat healthy, whether, on a weight loss plan or a dietary requirement, balanced meals are important.  A balanced meal is one that includes one food from each food group…dairy, vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins. Dairy is probably the category most often omitted mid-day and evening while vegetables don’t always make it into the morning meal.  In fact, vegetables are probably left out of many people’s diet simply because they don’t like them. The reason a balanced meal is so important is that each food group contains essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to keep your body properly nourished, healthy, and functioning properly.

Here’s an example of a day of balanced meals…utilizing the five food groups:

The one thing that’s a variable is fat…butter, oil, etc…it can be used in moderation but be careful to keep close track of it for a better health choice.

The Balanced Plate or “Plate Method” of healthy eating is similar to having a balanced meal except it’s more of a visual that you can use to properly portion out your meal.  This method says to fill ½ of the plate with 2 servings of non-starchy vegetables, ¼ of the plate with lean protein (about 3 ounces cooked) or another high-protein food, fill ¼ of the plate with a starchy vegetable or whole grain serving.  Dairy and fruits are in minimal amounts. This method allows for more of a specific breakdown of portions yet still allows you to choose what fills those portions. Here’s a typical “Plate Method” for reference:

Regardless of which plan speaks to you, the main focus is being aware of the foods you’re eating and the portion sizes.  It’s easy to eat too much and not properly arrange meals to incorporate all of the food groups, but hopefully, this makes it a bit easier to treat your body to a healthy meal.

 

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There are so many different types of diets out there it can be overwhelming deciding which one is the best fit for you.  With protocols ranging from plans where you purchase special foods or “meals” to plans consisting of a points system for foods and even no real plan at all just “eat healthy”, the options can be confusing at best and provide no weight loss at least.  Hopefully this explanation of our “Self-Guided Diet” will give you a better option than the others out there.

The diet we have is one where YOU choose what to eat (within reason and from a list of allowed healthy foods), what portion sizes you’ll have (based on the total number of calories you are doing on the diet), and how long you wish to do the diet.  By outlining the best foods to eat in specific portions with the calories for those portions you can easily adjust things to suit your requirements. If you are taking our liquid diet products then the diet is a requirement to see the best weight loss and should be followed as outlined.  However, if you are using any of our capsule products (or even using the drops if you wish to) you can choose to follow our diet or one of your own as long as it’s reduced calories, omits carbohydrates (starches) and sugars, and only utilizes minimal healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, minimal nuts, etc.).  

 

Exercise is another area where a self-guided diet works well…you again choose if you want to exercise, how often, and at what intensity.  The easily adjustable diet allows you to decide how many calories you wish to eat and if exercise is right for you or not; understanding that exercise requires more calories and fewer calories are required for little or no exercise.  Either way, our diet is outlined to help you understand how to properly eat the right portions, account for the calories in those portions, and start to see how to manage your weight after your dieting journey is over. While our diet has limited foods, they are what have been determined to provide the best weight loss on the drops and it works quite well.  The diet is also beneficial for use with the capsule products but it’s not required as they are more “forgiving” in providing weight loss if you choose to use another diet protocol.

 

We even offer an additional step to our diet called Phase 3 – Stabilization where you begin slowly adding new foods (no carbs or sugars and only minimal, healthy fats) to “stabilize” your results as well as to allow you to balance food and activity to keep the weight off.  This is an important learning phase of our self-guided diet that shows you what foods your body does well with and what should be limited and/or avoided to maintain your results. This “learning phase” is as important as the diet phase in that you garner a better understanding of your body’s physiology, metabolism, and reactions to various food items along with understanding what amount of activity and food balancing you should be doing.

 

Our “self-guided diet” is the best way we know of to not only achieve weight loss but to give you the knowledge and confidence going forward to keep the weight off.  Even if you do happen to gain some it back you have the tools and process to lose it again. You can review the diet, foods, and information at this link: https://www.creativebioscience.com/diet-protocols

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How to Read Nutrition Labels

by Michelle on April 10, 2018

Making healthier choices about the foods you eat requires more than discipline.  Fresh foods are of course the main part of a healthy diet, but when you do use packaged items it’s important to know how to read the nutrition labels on those items to ensure you’re making healthy choices.  Hopefully, the information below can make understanding things a bit easier.

 

 

  • Serving Size:  This shows the size of the serving the nutrition fact pertains to as well as how many of those serving are in the item.  Both the Standard unit of measure (United States) and the Metric unit of measure (international) are usually listed.

 

 

 

  • Calories:  These are the total calories per serving size.  This number isn’t the total calories in the item itself but the calories in each serving…so be careful to know how many servings there are in the item and multiply this number by the number of servings to get the total calories in the package.  The calories from Fat are often listed here as well; be sure to avoid Trans Fat.

 

 

 

  • Nutrients to Limit:  This is where things like Total Fat (separated into types of fat), Cholesterol, Sodium (salt), And Total Carbohydrates (separated into Dietary Fiber-see note below-and Sugars).  These items are things that many people need to pay close attention to and limit in their diets and the further separation in the Fat and Carbohydrate categories is valuable information to properly account for these items.  In particular, Diabetics need to not only look at the Total Carbohydrates but also what part of those carbs are Dietary Fiber and Sugar.

 

 

NOTE:  Dietary Fiber is a healthy and important part of daily nutrition and it needs to be in higher amounts than most people end up getting.  It’s listed in this section only because it plays a role in the Total Carbohydrate count.

 

 

  • Beneficial Nutrients:  Make sure to get enough of these items…Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron.  These important vitamins and minerals are crucial to health and we need them each and every day.  Many packaged items aren’t healthy but these days there is more of a focus on packaged “healthy” items for an ever-growing educated and health-conscious public.

 

 

 

  • % Daily Value:  The % Daily Value (DV) tells you the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the daily recommended amount. As a guide, if you want to consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat or sodium), choose foods with a lower % DV (5% or less). If you want to consume more of a nutrient (such as fiber), seek foods with a higher % DV (20% or more).

 

 

Remember that the information shown in these panels is based on 2,000 calories a day. You may need to consume less or more than 2,000 calories depending on your personal situation so adjust accordingly.  Also, when the label says “0g trans fat” but the list of ingredients includes “partially hydrogenated oil” it means the food DOES contain trans fat…but it’s less than 0.5 grams per serving. So, if you eat more than one serving size you ARE getting trans fat…proportionate to the Nutrition Information listed.  Use the Nutrition Facts label as the valuable tool it is to keep track of what packaged foods you’re eating so as to not derail your efforts. Remember…fresh is always best, but if a “healthy” packaged food is on your radar review the label and ingredients to make an educated choice.

 

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For years we have been taught that the food pyramid is the end all when it comes to proper nutrition. Is there still any merit to the food pyramid today?

I’m sure you all remember learning about proper nutrition in high school…and the Food Pyramid was a vital part of that education.  Have you ever wondered where that came from? The food pyramid was first published in Sweden in 1972 but there were only three levels on this first version and it led to some confusion.  The “newer” pyramid (or Westernized version) was introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992 and was called the “Food Guide Pyramid”. It had more sections (six this time) that made it easy to understand what amounts of certain foods to eat daily.  These six levels broke down as follows:

 

Grains (bread, cereal, rice, pasta, etc.) Group:  6 – 11 servings daily

Vegetable Group:  2 – 4 servings daily

Fruit Group:  2 – 4 servings daily

Dairy Group:  2 – 3 servings daily

Proteins (meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts, etc.) Group:  2 – 3 servings daily

Fats, Oils, and Sweets Group:  use sparingly

This 1992 pyramid emphasized the importance of eating balanced, varied meals by showing the food groups in a way so as to keep proper categories and inform people about the number of servings to have each day.  There were several problems with this version however which included…no one knew what a proper “serving” amount was, healthy fats were lumped in with unhealthy ones, and this version was heavy on carbohydrates (grains) which isn’t the healthiest way to eat for a variety of reasons.  There was also interference in this pyramid’s creation by the major food industry groups who, of course, wanted higher profits by promoting more consumption of their products.

The pyramid was updated in 2005 to show a better understanding of reducing the carbs/starches section and including some healthy fats but it was still essentially the same old pyramid with minor clarifications.  There was a newer and better way to arrange your diet just a few years away.

In 2011 a completely new arrangement came about…”My Plate”!  This replaced the “pyramid” visual of days gone by showing how to arrange each meal better on your plate with a proper proportion of food groups:  Vegetables, Healthy Protein, Whole Grains, Fruits, Dairy, and minimal healthy fats. Vegetables & Fruits are to be about half of the plate with Whole Grains and Healthy Protein are each one quarter.No version of the pyramid or plate can take the place of proper eating nor can it be adequately displayed in a graphic that everyone will comprehend…but seeing how to proportion food on a plate is a good visual to start with.  Everyone has dietary likes and dislikes, caloric requirements, as well as possibly having some restrictions, but learning how to eat properly and counting calories is vital to a healthy body. This is just a way to hopefully help you start to understand proper nutrition and to get you thinking about your relationship with food and health.  As always, please check with your doctor before making any major dietary changes to make sure they’re appropriate for your personal health situation.

 

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So where exactly did the idea of a 2000 calorie diet come from? We’re discussing its origin and merits on the blog today.

Have you ever wondered why the FDA uses a 2000 calorie per day standard as the basis for a healthy amount of calories and where that number came from?  If so, then you’re in the minority because many people just accept this number as what they should be eating without even questioning if it’s right for them.  Hopefully, I can shed some light on things and possibly give you some information to fine-tune your diet for better health.

2000 Calorie Diet

The 2000 calorie per day standard came about in 1990 when the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that a caloric reference is included on the nutritional labels of packaged foods.  This turned into The Nutrition and Labeling Act and it was designed to standardize food labeling that previously had been at the discretion of manufacturers and individual states. The new Act meant that manufacturers had to list information like ingredients, calories, serving sizes, fat and sodium content as well as carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in reference to the “daily values”, which are the maximum amounts of recommended intake per day.  Prior to this Act, there wasn’t a standard caloric intake so the daily values were difficult to determine.

The FDA knew that caloric needs to be varied by gender, age, and activity level and they also knew they needed some sort of standard number to put on the label.  So the FDA looked to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food consumption surveys, which reported caloric intake for men, women, and children. The surveys showed the following in regards to the average range of calories each category consumed per day:

Men:  2,000 – 3,000 cal./day Women:  1,600 – 2,200 cal./day     Children:  1,800 – 2,500 cal./day

To simplify the food labels the FDA suggested using a single amount on all labels:  2,350 calories per day (an average of all three categories). After some further research, arguments, and compromise the FDA concluded that the simplified number of 2,000 calories per day would be best as a reference for labeling as well as dietary requirements.  This nice, round number was a more effective tool for educational purposes, for reading labels, and understanding dietary requirements.

The FDA knew that some people would need fewer calories and some would need more for various reasons, but the 2000 calories per day was the best compromise to give away for manufacturers to provide the necessary nutritional information while still allowing for an adjustable reference.  How many calories you might need daily depends on several factors including age, height, gender, goal (weight gain, loss, or maintenance), medical conditions, etc. and there are many calculators online for finding the right amount for you specifically. Here is a good example of an easy Calorie Calculator you can use for reference:  http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html

For example, an average woman needs to eat about 2,000 calories daily to maintain her weight, and 1,500 calories to lose one pound of weight per week. An average man needs 2,500 calories daily to maintain his weight, and 2,000 to lose one pound of weight per week. However, this depends on numerous factors…as well as what foods a person can and can’t eat based on medical conditions (Diabetes, Celiac, etc.) and medications (some have dietary restrictions).  As always, please consult your doctor and pharmacist whenever you embark on a new dietary journey for specific things you need to consider for your personal situation and any medications you’re taking. It’s worth looking into what your actual caloric needs are daily to give you a reference to make any changes you feel are necessary.

 

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