Guide to Better Health – Basic Food Label Rules

Basic Rules:

  • The shorter the label the better. The best foods have no label at all – they are fresh produce.
  • If it is a long label with small print – probably avoid
  • If you can’t pronounce it – don’t eat it
  • Buy organic when possible
  • If your Grandmother wouldn’t understand the ingredients – don’t eat it
  • The less your food is “doctored”, the less you need a doctor

Ingredients to avoid

Gluten:

  • Common Foods containing gluten or gluten cross reactors: oats, pasta, pancakes, breads, baked goods, beers, commercially made soups, soy sauce, condiments, many chips and snacks.
  • Common Grains that include gluten: wheat( all purpose flour, enriched flour, cake flour, whole wheat flour, wheat berries), barley, bulgar, farina, durum wheat, semolina, kamut, farro, rye, spelt, triticale

Genetically Modified Foods (GMO). Ex: Soy, Corn, Canola oil, sugar, some produce

  • Choose Organic – this has to be GMO free by Federal law

Food additives

  • Excitotoxins like MSG also commonly known as: soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate, yeast extract, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, textured vegetable protein, yeast extract, natural flavoring, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, caseinate, textured protein, hydrolyzed pea protein and many others.
  • Sodium nitrite and nitrate—preservatives added to processed meats
  • BHA and BHT
  • Potassium bromate

Dairy in all forms: milk, whey, casein – because it fires inflammation

Refined Sugar in all forms: dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, honey, liquid fructose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, raw sugar, sugar, syrup and white sugar. lactose and maltose, high-fructose corn syrup

Other names for High Fructose Corn Syrup:

  • Glucose-Fructose
  • Soglucose
  • HFCS
  • Natural corn syrup.
  • Maize syrup.
  • Tapioca syrup.
  • Fructose syrup.
  • Fructose isolate.
  • Fructose

Artificial Sweeteners: aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), Sucralose (Splenda), saccharin (Sweet’N Low), acesulfame potassium (ACE K),

Food dyes such as Yellow 5,Yellow 6 and Red 40

The Common Ingredients to Avoid: from: https://naturallysavvy.com/eat/7-scary-food-additives-to-avoid/

EASY VEGAN EGGNOG

Recipe from www.MinimalistBaker.com

Eggnog is traditionally made from milk, egg, and sugar. Try this version that is made with dairy free milks and sweetened with maple syrup but you can try using coconut sugar or stevia.

Incredibly rich, creamy vegan eggnog that’s easy to make and perfect for the holidays! Naturally sweetened, 6 ingredients, 1 blender required!

Author: Minimalist Baker
PREP TIME10 minutes
TOTAL TIME10 minutes
Servings: 11 (1/2-cup servings)
Category: Beverage
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 4-5 Days

Ingredients

EGGNOG

  • 3 cups dairy-free milk (preferably homemade // we love a cashew-almond blend — see instructions)
  • 1 14-oz can full-fat coconut milk (use light for lighter eggnog)
  • 46 Tbsp maple syrup, plus more to taste (substitute up to half with coconut sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom (optional)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  1. Optional: If making your own dairy-free milk, soak nuts of choice overnight in cool water or cover with hot water and soak for 1 hour. Then drain, rinse well, and add to a high speed blender along with desired amount of filtered water (for a creamier milk, we went with 3/4 cup (90 g) raw soaked cashews, 3/4 cup (95 g) raw soaked almonds, and 4 cups (946 ml) water as the recipe is written; adjust amounts as needed if adjusting serving size). Strain through a nut milk bag and set aside.

  2. To a high-speed blender, add 3 cups (710 ml) dairy-free milk (as recipe is written, adjust amounts as needed if adjusting serving size), coconut milk, maple syrup (starting with the lesser amount), cinnamon, ground nutmeg, vanilla extract, and cardamom (optional).

  3. Blend on high until creamy and smooth — 1-2 minutes. Then taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more spices for warmth or maple syrup for sweetness.

  4. For serving, enjoy cold, over ice, or hot by heating over medium heat until warm (we prefer chilled, no ice). Serve as is or with coconut whipped cream and a pinch more cinnamon or nutmeg.

  5. Transfer remaining eggnog to a jar for storing. Leftovers should keep in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days. Or freeze into ice cubes and store up to 1 month. Shake well before serving — a little separation is natural.

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with unfortified cashew milk, the lesser amount of maple syrup, and without optional ingredients.
*Prep time does not include making dairy-free milk. If making your own dairy-free milk, allow time for soaking, draining, and mixing.
*We also had success using this eggnog (bourbon / alcohol omitted) as a base for Golden Milk and our Matcha Latte. Because it’s thicker than your average dairy-free milk, we recommend slightly diluting with water for best results.

 

 

Your Microbiome Can Make You Well

Our microbiome, the trillions of microbes that live mostly in our gut, help determine whether we are sick or healthy, lean or obese, happy or anxious & depressed.  Our microbiome, the bacteria, virus, and fungi that live in us, outnumber our human cells.  Like a rainforest, when healthy and balanced, they help keep us healthy.  When damaged by our ultra-processed toxic food, antibiotics, and oversterilization, our rainforest is devastated leaving a weed patch. This “mass extinction event” may help explain our epidemic levels of chronic diseases from food allergies to autism, from depression to diabetes, from anxiety to Alzheimer’s, cancer to heart disease.

Keeping our critical gut microbes off the “endangered species list” may be one of the most important factors in managing inflammation and supporting our gut, brain, and body Wellness.

Would you like to learn more?   Our recent class on microbiome and gut health is available on our YouTube Channel for Renovare Brain Wellness.

Some steps to get started:

  1. Eat more fiber.
    • Our ancestors ate over 100 grams per day
    • Average Americans eat just 15 grams per day starving our microbiome
    • Eat LOTS of veggies
    • Eat new and different veggies since diverse fiber is super important
    • A veggie smoothie is a great way to boost your fiber and diversity (see recipes below) note to Lisa: include the recipes from the class below
  2. Reduce the processed food – the less our food has been “doctored”, the less we need a doctor. Eat less “dead food” from food coffins – cans, boxes, jars, & plastic.
  3. Reduce the toxic chemicals that harm our microbiome:
    • Avoid drinking chlorinated or fluoridated water
    • Use only soap and water for hand washing – avoid the antibacterial soaps and cleaners that harm our microbiome
    • Avoid toxic home cleaners – use castile soap, vinegar, and essential oils instead.
    • Use only organic pest control
  4. Supplement with Probiotics that work for you:
    • Especially consider the cutting edge spore-based probiotics like MegaSpore Biotic
    • Use fermented foods like live sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi etc. The live foods are always refrigerated.  Bubbies is one brand to look for.
  5. Supplement with Prebiotics:
    • These feed our microfloura like fertilizer feeds a healthy lawn
    • The newest precision prebiotic, Mega Prebiotic, selectively feeds the keystone bacteria that support microbiome health and diversity.
  6. Supplement with Postbiotics when needed:
    • These critical short-chain fatty acids feed the microbiome
    • They also support great energy metabolism by signaling AMPK within our cells to switch from fat storing to fat burning.

VITAMIN K2-7 – THE LITTLE KNOWN VITAMIN WITH A LARGE IMPACT

Vitamin K2-7 – the little known vitamin with a large impact

Vitamin K2 (MK7 version) (also called Menaquinone or MK7 ) is a vitamin produced by intestinal bacteria and also derived from natto and other fermented cheeses.

Heart disease, various forms of cancer, diabetes, muscle spasms, neuropathy, neurodegenerative diseases, bone fractures, etc, all seem to be linked to a deficiency of Vitamin K2 (MK7) The Western diet is almost completely absent of Vitamin K2 (MK7)

Three key areas that need K2 (MK7)

  1. Liver: K2 activates the clotting factors to facilitate the clotting cascade can then develop a formal blood clot.
  2. Bone – K2 activates a protein called osteocalcin. This protein puts calcium on the bones and requires K2 for the activation of that process.
  3. Soft Tissue Calcification: Vitamin K2 activates a protein called “matrix Gla protein” which prevents calcium deposits in the body in and removes it from soft tissues such as the inner walls of the arteries. Once this supply of K2 is exhausted, the body can no longer remove calcium from the body and calcification occurs.

 

Let’s visit these areas in more detail.
  1. The Liver: Top-Priority in Vitamin K2 Utilization

When Vitamin K2-7 is consumed, it is absorbed through the intestinal lining and pulled up through a portal vein directly to the liver. The liver takes first priority in Vitamin K2 utilization.  If the body is Vitamin K2 deficient, it won’t perform the important clotting cascade. If this occurs, a person could die from a simple cut or internal bleeding. The Vitamin K2 that the liver doesn’t use is then sent outside the liver to utilize in other tissues.

It is important to note that since the liver uses Vitamin K2- 7 first, if a person has depletion of Vitamin K2-7– it doesn’t usually show up in the liver. These deficiencies will usually be found in other tissues and organs such as:  bones, cartilage, arteries, muscles, nerves, brain and heart

  1. Vitamin K2 and Bone health

Many of us think about Vitamin D as the essential vitamin for bone health, but it is only part of the true picture. Vitamin D3 stimulates bone building osteoblastic cells that release a bone building protein called osteocalcin. Osteocalcin starts in an inactive form called Glu Osteocalcin. Vitamin K2-7 is what actually activates osteocalcin. The active osteocalcin, called Gla Osteocalcin, then takes the calcium and basically adheres it on the bone. Vitamin K2 is critical to assist in developing bone and calcification of bone in the appropriate way.

Vitamin K2 also reduces a process called bone resorption. The body looks to bone to grab calcium to use in other things like nerve conduction, muscle contraction, etc. Vitamin K2 helps slow down this process of bone resorption which is typically at a quick or high rate in most people so tend to lose more bone then they build. If this occurs too quickly, weak bones are created.

  1. Soft Tissues and calcium removal

There is a protein formed known as “Matrix GLA Protein” that is the only known mechanism to remove calcium from soft tissues in the body such as the inner walls of the arteries. Calcium is an inert, hard mineral that gets into the circulatory system and if it is not properly directed it actually gets embedded into your tissue. Vitamin K2 activates this Gla protein so that it can actually undo this calcification. If Vitamin K2 is depleted, calcification of soft tissue can occur.

Areas where calcification can form are:

  • small and large arteries
  • heart valves
  • brain, where it’s known as cranial calcification
  • joints and tendons, such as knee joints and rotator cuff tendons
  • soft tissues like breasts, muscles, and fat
  • kidney, bladder, and gallbladder
Key Products we carry at Renovare that support Vitamin K2-7

 

Information from Kiran Krishnan – Chief Science Officer of Microbiome Labs, Vitamin K2 Presentation.

Pictures from Kiran Krishnan Presentation

https://www.healthline.com/health/calcification#types

Vitamin D is NOT a DRUG

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported a recent study showing that Vitamin D at 400 IU, 4000 IU, and 10,000 IU showed increasing loss of bone density (but not bone strength) as the dosage increased.

They tested Vitamin D alone just like a drug is tested.  A flawed idea for a number of reasons.  First is that Vitamin D is NOT A DRUG!  It does not work in isolation and should always be taken with Vitamin K2 which directs the increasing calcium levels from Vitamin D supplementation into our bones and teeth.  Without Vitamin K2 taken with Vitamin D, our calcium is deposited  into our soft tissues leading to blood vessel, heart valve, and joint calcification.

The next problem was using a CT scan (lots of radiation to boot) to evaluate bone density.  Bone STRENGTH is what matters, not just bone density.  Fosamax, Bonivia, and other drugs of the bi-phosphonate class have been shown to increase bone density while weakening the bone leading to catastrophic bone failure and fracture for some.

The last problem is focusing on large group studies trying to find what works for “average”.  In 36 years of practice, I have yet to meet an “average” patient.  We are each unique.

So what works?

 

First, “What gets measure, gets improved”

This means testing Vitamin D and blood calcium levels first.  If dangerously low, low, or even sub-optimum, we tailor a Vitamin D with K2 supplement at levels we think makes sense.  We use therapeutic levels of both with the clinically effective MK7 version of Vitamin K2 at therapeutic levels above 320 mcg per day.  Then we retest in 4 – 8 weeks to make sure it is working.  If the retest shows levels too low, we may need to add in Vitamin A to activate the Vitamin D receptor, increase dosage, or support liver, kidney, and gut conversion of Vitamin D to it’s active form.  Sunlight and photobiomodulation support this conversion.

We also use a urine test to measure rate of bone loss.  When bone loss is excessive we need to solve the puzzle as to why and of course retest to make sure it works.  If not improving we may need to add supplements like hydroxyapatite, choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid, biotin and others to support bone health.  We may need to reduce the hormones of stress and excessive inflammation that melts away bone.

In short, we need to SOLVE THE PUZZLE  for each patient to support strong, healthy bones for a lifetime.  Rarely can you solve the puzzle with one drug or supplement.  We need to discover the root causes of the problem and adjust our lifestyle – including supplements – to fit our unique needs and measure to make sure it works.  There is no AVERAGE at Renovare.  Everyone is unique & special and deserves to be treated as such.

Nitric Oxide: Controller of Wellness

Nitric oxide is a critical signaling or messenger molecule. In fact, it is one of the components that will determine how long you are going to live. NO is linked to heart health and sexual health. Nitric oxide is critical to healthy blood flow to the brain, brain health, formation of new synapses in the brain, and protecting brain blood vessels from vascular damage.

It causes arteries and bronchioles to expand, allows brain cells to communicate with each other, and causes immune cells to kill bacteria and cancer cells. Nitric oxide production is important in protecting the heart, brain, liver, and other organs from low oxygen damage.

Nitric oxide expands the blood vessels, increases the blood flow, and decreases plaque formation and blood clotting.

However, when the body senses high toxic emotional stress, overwork, under-exercise, or smoking it releases less nitric oxide and then atherosclerosis begins to develop.

Penile erection also depends on the release of nitric oxide. Viagra and other drugs like it that reduce erectile dysfunction cause enzymatic reactions that increase Nitric Oxide.

Atherosclerosis and impotence are closely related. That’s why it’s important to know the signs of nitric oxide deficiency and correct them. Do NOT ignore Erectile Dysfunction – it is a sign of serious heart disease.

On the average, we lose 10 percent of our body’s ability to make nitric oxide for every decade of life. By the age of 40, studies show that we make 50% less Nitric oxide than we did as a teenager.

Being sedentary leads to less Nitric oxide production because your body is not stimulating its production; production is stimulated during exercise.  Eating foods that are low in nitrates and nitrites also leads to decreased Nitric oxide production.  Your body can only create Nitric oxide if it has the necessary precursors or building blocks.   There are three isoforms of the NOS enzyme:

  1. Endothelial (eNOS): a signaling molecule that increases blood flow and artery health.
  2. Neuronal (nNOS): a signaling molecule that increases brain health
  3. Inducible (immune system) (iNOS): a signaling molecule which can be cytotoxic. Helpful during acute infection but extremely damaging to our blood vessels if it stays elevated. We use Nitric Balance to decrease this form and elevate eNOS and nNOS.

Another problem is the presence of fluoride. When fluoride is present, it converts nitric oxide into the toxic and destructive nitric acid. Nitric oxide will react with fluorine, chlorine and bromine to form nitrosyl halides, such as nitrosyl chloride which is harmful.

Accelerated aging, along with chemical and metabolic stresses damage eNOS. The resulting endothelial dysfunction creates a host of vascular disorders including diminished circulation of oxygen & nutrients, hypertension, and occlusive arterial disease.

Symptoms that may indicate low Nitric Oxide:

  • Fatigue or low energy levels
  • High Blood Pressure or decreased heart function esp. congestive heart failure
  • Anxiety, irritability, or depression
  • Insomnia & other sleep problems
  • Loss of libido (sex drive) or Erectile Dysfunction (E.D.)
  • Declining stamina
  • Decreased workout potential or less energy at the gym
  • Less stamina / endurance
  • Declining Memory or Concentration
  • Asthma or poor lung function
  • Weakening bones – esp. osteopenia or osteoporosis

The depletion of nitric oxide also depletes endorphins and dopamine, which are the feel-good hormones in the limbic system. As a result, we become susceptible to Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, and dementia.

How do I get tested for Nitric oxide deficiency?

We use the simple and painless Nitric Oxide test in our office.  This $10 test includes gathering saliva in your mouth, collecting the saliva (with your finger or a wooden tongue depressor), and placing it on the strip.  It takes about 10 seconds for the results.  The testing strip will indicate whether you are deficient, low, or normal.

Nitric Oxide testing is also useful for monitoring your levels over time.  After 1 month of supplementation, it is important to be rested in order to ensure that your levels are back up to normal.  Each person will require different amounts of dietary nitrates, supplements, and exercise.  You should be sure to monitor your levels, especially if symptoms return or any of the signs mentioned above begin to occur (high blood pressure, poor heart function, erectile dysfunction, etc).

How do I increase my Nitric Oxide levels if my test shows they are low?

  • Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) improves nitric oxide, blood flow, and energy in the brain is emerging as one of the most effective tools for cognitive enhancement.
  • Take a Nitric oxide supplement such as Nitric Balance
  • Exercise (Cardio or Fat Burning Exercise) & lose weight
  • Increase dietary nitrates and nitrites
      • Beets and dark green leafy vegetables, celery, kale, spinach, bok choy, leeks
      • Avoid stomach acid reducers
      • Decrease use of mouthwash which kills healthy mouth bacteria that make NO