Archive for May, 2010

“AKA says: Great article, gets to the heart of the matter. Ever since I sat in my first packaging strategy meeting at a major cereal company, I realized there’s so much truth in what this article says – that it’s more about marketing terms versus actual nutrition facts for many companies. That’s why I started AKA (www.ashleykoffapproved.com) to help consumers, medical pracitioners, and the media recognize the difference”


Nutrition buzzwords make hay out of grains of truth

By Melissa Bell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 27, 2010; PW15

The plastic soup can looks as if it’s a single-size meal, a healthful lunch option for one hurried customer. But the nutrition label on the back says otherwise. Gummy fruit snacks show a shower of strawberries on the label, which reads “naturally fruit flavored.” Customers would be hard-pressed to find any strawberries in the ingredient list.

Because of rising obesity rates and a push for more healthy living, many new products in the supermarket claim to be low-fat, immunity-boosting, vitamin-added foods. Some brands have become more healthful. But many manufacturers are promoting a product’s healthful ingredients while playing down its less nutritional qualities. It is a food label sleight-of-hand that Bruce Silverglade of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit advocacy group, calls a “rip-off” for consumers.

“There are deceptive claims all over the place: low-fat, high-fiber, light. Definitions are used arbitrarily,” Silverglade said, adding that the unclear labeling is “dangerous for public health.” (more…)

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“AKA likes this piece on the benefits of organics – thanks Rodale”

Is Organic Food Healthier? The Answer Is Yes
A study claims insufficient evidence that organic food is healthy. But as the President’s Cancer Panel reports, avoiding food sprayed with carcinogens still makes sense.
By Leah Zerbe

Grow your own organic garden; supplement what you grow with organic food from your local farmer’s market and supermarket.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—There’s not enough evidence to say organic food is healthier, because studies on the topic are few and far between, according to a British review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition this month. (Of course, that also means there’s a dearth of evidence that eating organic won’t help your health.) However, there’s more to the story. Organic advocates note that although the review was solid, and more funding is needed to explore the effects of eating organic on preventing disease, there is plenty of concrete evidence linking the chemicals used on our food (including carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and neurotoxins) to human health problems—even in small doses comparable to that found on food, in food, and around the home in common chemical bug and weed killers. In fact, earlier this month the President’s Cancer Panel cited emerging research and recommended Americans take the precautionary approach and start eating food grown without chemical pesticides, fertilizers, hormones, and antibiotics.

THE DETAILS: To be clear, despite the way that some media outlets are reporting this story, (more…)

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I can’t believe it! I have been working for years with patients who were on Accutane at some point and now have digestive issues, some as severe as inflammatory disease. Imagine my surprise, pleasure, and sadness then as I am sitting on the plane watching basketball and just saw an ad for a recall and a class action lawsuit asking for patients who have taken Accutane asking for those who now have these issues to come forward. Its sad but I am so glad this issue is coming to attention.

Key takeaways:

  1. Indeed, the liver IS part of the digestive system, you make life tough on it with meds (with Accutane you have to have your liver function tested each month to make sure your levels don’t go up), you will likely hear its frustration.
  2. Indeed, skin problems ranging from minor acne to severe are a sign that something is very wrong inside – in the digestive system, so we need to address those issues – not supress it with antibiotics or Accutane…the world of classical dermatology needs to meet the Integrative medicine approach. For at the end, in these cases, we often trade a topical problem for a severe internal one.
  3. Heal thy gut: begins with proper nutrition and may include supplementation (as needed) to heal what has become imbalanced. Typically this looks at giving the body nutrients in its organic whole food form (Companies like Earthbound Farm organic produce, Nature’s Path organic cereals and gluten-free waffles), limiting known gastric irritants, improving gut bacteria balance (probiotics – I recommend Align, and probiotic-rich foods like coconut water kefir and cultured vegetables – I recommend healingmovement.net), (more…)

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Recent studies have shown the harm of chemicals in our food and environment on our health (President’s Council – on Cancer risk; Chemicals in food affecting kids – ADHD). What does this tell us? The findings stated that if you want to reduce health risks, then eat organic.

But does this mean organic is MORE nutritious? And if so, how much more (percentage please)? And this is where the media and medical professionals say we need more studies, more information, more evidence that organic is truly MORE nutritious.

Despite the fact that several of those studies exist, and that knowledge of botany allows us to understand that foods in the absence of chemical blockers produce greater nutrient content, I actually think it may be wrong to ask is organic MORE nutritious.
But aren’t I a spokesperson for organic? What’s up?

The issue, as I see it, is that Organic equals Nutritious. Plain and simple. That chemically made food is not nutritious. That if we make claims about organic being “more” nutritious, we confer “nutritious” status on foods made with chemicals. From what we are learning, chemicals challenge our bodies in manner which does not “nurture” on any level. As such, we can’t call chemically-made food less nutritious than organic – we must state it as not nutritious. Thus, anyone we feed – be it our own bodies, our kids, our pets …that we wish to nurture, we should be feeding them organic.

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Imagine this scene. Cute, sweet 20 something girl sampling potion at whole foods to young, maybe 14 year old – he acts interested, reads the label, watches her as she fondles the sleek bottle and asks him in a knowing older woman voice “you know that red wine is good for you, right” he stutters and is silenced. “Well it is,” she authoritatively says (omitting the “because the people who are paying me told me so”) continuing “because the mineral in there, resveratrol, helps the heart muscle work better so you can lose weight and workout better.”

Well, I almost dropped my salad, but instead stayed to listen. “So the water has that in there,” the young one asked meekly. “You bet, you should buy one.” And so he did. And so I looked. Cardio Water…because regular water must not be healthy enough. Oh and cane juice. Because if it said sugar, one would say “why are doctors telling us to drink sugar water for our heart health?” And then erythritol – because if the sugar water isn’t sweet enough people won’t drink it. Ah and then the resveratrol, and a few other unworthy mentions. What’s more, the bottle is 1.5 servings so the 5 grams of sugar becomes 8 and suddenly the “doctors who specially designed this for us” get the privelege of providing us with a product that has more sugar and less nutritional value than a Gatorade (not that I’m promoting that, just giving you a refernece). Net net, when it comes to nutrition today a lot of doctors DO know what they are talking about and say that moderate consumption of red wine for some people can be healthy – and if not, you could always eat red grapes or take a quality supplement of resveratrol. But sadly, some doctors rely on their credentials to prove meaningful enough to get you to buy it…”why? Because my doctor told me to.” Your smarter than that. Even without your Cardio Water.

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In the last decade, we’ve seen new aisles created in grocery stores, natural product expos, and in magazines as they cover the latest and debate the greatest in protein concoctions such as powders, shakes and bars. So what’s the scoop? Let’s start by looking at sources, then forms, and finally rationales to determine what’s good for us (and for the environment) versus what falls into my “just because we can (make it, eat it), doesn’t mean we should (make or eat it)” category.
Quick review – what is a protein? Proteins are organic compounds comprised of amino acids; as such, one often refers to an amino acid as the ‘building block’ of proteins. Considered a macronutrient, proteins, along with carbohydrates and fats, are a core part of our daily intake.  Ideally, we look to consume the entire array of amino acids (21), but there are some (8) that the body doesn’t make – these are called essential and thus we need to consume them from our dietary choices (note: there are a few that certain populations -due to their genetic makeup or injury- may require from the diet so they are often termed ‘conditionally essential’). Proteins are found in both animal and vegetable sources; however, each food source contains differing numbers and amounts of amino acids. (more…)

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is for laughter and one of the best gifts you can give your mom is making her laugh. Whether it’s at you or with you, getting her to laugh actually helps her health. Laughing reduces stress, helps us bring in oxygen, and can even help with weight loss. So rent a funny movie, revisit some funny memories, or make some new laughable moments. There’s even laughing yoga – go on, give it a try!

is for Off Duty! Mom is off-duty today and you are on duty. Spend the day taking over her responsibilities – it will likely amaze, exhaust and inspire you. Perhaps you will discover some ways that you can help mom help herself not be sooo hectic on her on duty days. Don’t forget to take time to give yourself a kiss or hug, or to make a call to family members – mom’s ‘workload’ encompasses a lot more than laundry and heading to work or working at home.

is for Victory of course. Today’s the say when you help your mom feel like the winner she is! What’s something she’s been trying to succeed at and how can you help her? Has she wanted your room clean? Has she wanted to try kickboxing or a kick-butt hike? Has she wanted to paint a room in the house. One of the best gifts you can give mom? Be her agent of Victory!

is for Eating Right. No, this doesn’t mean deprivation, it means Qualitarian – choose the best quality foods you can for you both. Breakfast in bed? Make it organic breakfast in bed so mom enjoys food, not food + chemicals. Having dessert, bake it or make it from organic chocolate, organic berries, and use anti-inflammatory spices like ginger. Make this an Eating Right day and see how much better mom (and you) feel.

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