Category Archives: Nutrition

Navigating the Complex World of Supplements

Part Two – Crowded Shelves, Empty Pockets and CoQ10

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In our last blog post, I highlighted that there are over 29,000 different natural health products available for today’s consumer; that’s approximately 17,000 more products than IKEA offers to its on-line customers. And unless you’re Bill Gates, swallowing a monthly buffet of supplements will quickly send your bank account plummeting into the red. This then begs the question — how does one choose among the plethora of pills?

The simple answer is there is no single answer. What pills to pop, powders to mix, and drops to drop will vary greatly from individual to individual, but there are a couple of supplements that everyone should consider taking; one of those products is CoEnzyme Q10, or Q10.  Continue reading Navigating the Complex World of Supplements

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Navigating the Complex World of Supplements

Part One – Dirty Little Secrets

Photo courteous of amenic181 and FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo courteous of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Does this scenario sound familiar? You wander into the vitamin section of the grocery store looking for a supplement – for example, one for increasing your energy and fortifying your immune system – but you don’t have a specific brand name in mind. You take one look at the options and quickly become overwhelmed; after all, there are countless different products on the shelves promising vitality and increased energy. But you did your homework. You know you would like a vitamin B-complex.

However, when you get to the vitamin B section, you have the following to choose from: organic versus non-organic, gel versus capsule versus powder, synthetic versus natural, natural versus raw, this brand versus that, that promise versus other, and the list goes on.

Have you ever wondered why the natural health industry is so complex, why there are over 29,000 different herbal products and substances? The simple answer is money and profit. It’s for this very reason that industry giants are gobbling up all of the natural and organic companies: Tom’s of Maine (fluoride-free toothpaste) was purchased by Colgate for a whopping 100 million dollars, New Chapter was purchased by Proctor & Gamble, Clorox bought Burt’s Bees, Coca-Cola bought Odwalla, Pepsi responded by purchasing Naked Juice, etc.

For the most part, the natural health field is as profit-driven as the pharmaceutical and tobacco industry. Continue reading Navigating the Complex World of Supplements

The Nocturnal Nutrient: Are you getting enough darkness?

Melatonin

In Paradise Lost, John Milton writes, “What hath night to do with sleep?” The answer – everything!

In last month’s blog, we highlighted the vital importance and life-saving benefits that derive from getting the “right kind” of deep sleep. This month, we would like to delve even deeper into the power of sleep, because as Dr. Russel Reiter, a professor in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology at the University of Texas San Antonio highlights,  “Light is killing you.”

Continue reading The Nocturnal Nutrient: Are you getting enough darkness?

The Power of Sleep

MomandBaby

We spend one-third of our lifespan sleeping.

Why?

Simply put, sleeping is an essential component of human survival. Scientific studies have revealed that rats deprived of sleep die within two to three weeks of continued sleep deprivation. And rats with continued sleep debt live about five months – compared to a normal lifespan of two to three years.

Unfortunately, most people maintain a casual attitude toward sleep, while others don’t sleep nearly as well as they should. People go to bed late and get up early, they toss and turn throughout the night, they wake up and can’t get back to sleep, while many just lay there, aimlessly – as the seconds, then minutes, then hours tick by.

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most natural and effortless ways to maintain a healthy immune system. Continue reading The Power of Sleep

Beauty Becomes A Beast

Beauty becomes the beast 1The magical influence of makeup presents itself in two obvious forms: psychologically, makeup allows one feel attractive, beautiful, and self-confident; externally, it provokes a tempting, irresistible beauty to the onlooker.

There is, however, a third influence beneath the powdered mask that is unseen and unfelt by the consumer, and that is makeup’s ability to cause destruction: pre-mature ageing, deteriorating collagen production, and potentially in extreme cases, sickness and disease.

Consider the experiment conducted by Anna Pursglove, a journalist from London’s The Daily Mail, who embarked on a 30-day trial to not only leave her makeup on each and every night, but to apply more makeup on top of old makeup every morning.

The single most important observation: make-up disrupts the body’s natural cellular processes and functions.

In Anna Pursglove’s article dated July 29, 2013, she states, “By night three… I had developed a series of tiny white cysts around my eyelashes and my skin was so dry and taut, it felt like a mask.” As time progressed, her “lips became dry,” and she had “visibly blocked and enlarged pores” all over her nose.

Continue reading Beauty Becomes A Beast

Don’t Dig Your Grave with a Knife and Fork – Part IV

PART IV – What’s Your New Years Resolution? 
By Brent Leung, C.N.

Part iV

If you’re a year round native to the gym, you know January 1st is the ceremonious date for many to make things right in their life. Hordes of long lost gym members embark on a pilgrimage of health with goals to shed their weight, tone or bulk up, and get healthy. The gym is bustling. In tandem with their zeal for physical change are new aspirations in eating habits. They know previous eating rituals, be it the Food Guidelines or some other adaptation has failed them, so they pull out the nutritional compass. It points them to a direction many frequent, The Diet.

This includes prominent brand names like Jenny Craig, the Dash diet, Weight Watchers, Slim-Fast, Nutrisystem, South Beach, and a plenty of others hoping to capitalize on a burgeoning business. In 1992, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimated that $30 billion was spent on diet-related programs and products. Twenty-one years later, people are spending $60 billion on these diets. Where is the logic? Where is the common sense? It’s clear diets, like the government’s guidance, has failed as well.

Continue reading Don’t Dig Your Grave with a Knife and Fork – Part IV

Don’t Dig Your Grave with a Knife and Fork – Part III

PART III – My Plate Versus Your Plate
By Brent Leung, C.N.

myplate_blueIn 2011, the U.S. government scrapped the Food Guide Pyramid for a new visual aid of healthy eating called My Plate. If you’re looking to hang expensive art in your home, print out this new logo and frame it. After all, this Picasso-worthy design cost about two million in taxpayer dollars and took some two years to develop.

Pricey art aside, the new visual aid is equally troublesome as its cousin, the Food Guide Pyramid and accomplishes nothing, if guiding the public to better health is the goal.

Many argue that the plate is nothing more than a reincarnated veil for big agriculture and industry, since its architects include industry-friendly economists and policy advisors. One need look no further then the blue beverage of choice on the chart; it’s not water. Nutritional experts have criticized all aspects the plate, and rightly so.

Continue reading Don’t Dig Your Grave with a Knife and Fork – Part III

Don’t Dig Your Grave with a Knife and Fork – Part II

PART II – The Leaning Tower of Pisa
When Designs are Flawed From the Beginning
By Brent Leung, C.N.

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“More die in the United States from too much food than too little.”

  John Kenneth (1908-2007) Canadian-American economist

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Obesity in the U.S. during the 1960’s and 1970’s remained relatively constant at eight percent. In 1980, everything changed.

USDA_Food_Pyramid
This image or file is a work of a United States Department of Agriculture employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

Political influence, combined with the lobbying efforts of billion dollar industries was the driving influences behind the architectural bureaucrats of the first set of established dietary guidelines and subsequent Food Guide Pyramids.

Continue reading Don’t Dig Your Grave with a Knife and Fork – Part II

Don’t Dig Your Grave with a Knife and Fork – Part I

Granny Versus Food Pyramids, Food Charts, and Food Plates

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By Brent Leung, C.N.

PART I – Common Sense is Not so Common

Growing up, visiting my grandparents was always a harrowing experience. Inevitably, I would do something wrong, causing Grandpa to endlessly chase me up and down the hallways with his slippers. Granny would force me to sit and read Readers Digest. There were mandated nap times and Sunday school lessons (even if it was a Tuesday). Contemporary secular music was out of the question, with classical music and talk radio being the dictated choices. Yet, all of this distress paled in comparison to the dining experience.

Liquids were not allowed during dinner. Greens were in overabundance, dwarfing any hint of juicy, succulent meat. Dessert? Forget about it! I remember sometimes sitting for hours at the table refusing to eat my greens, waiting for that golden opportunity when no one was looking to surreptitiously discard contents from my plate into a napkin.

Later in the evening, once the food digestion process was firmly underway, I was finally allowed some H2O (no sodas) to quench my dry mouth. Granted, fruity fortified water had not yet been invented, but I’m pretty sure if it had, Granny would have had some criticism of it. Growing up, my grandmother had strong, but simple beliefs about what should and should not be eaten for vitality and health. This was not an isolated experience, but prevailing wisdom. Dining out, fast food and instant microwave dinners were not yet common lifestyle traits among my friends. Most brought mom-prepared lunches to school and enjoyed home-cooked meals around the dining room table in the evenings.

Fast-forward some thirty years and the diet of my childhood bears no resemblance to the daily fare of today’s youth. Continue reading Don’t Dig Your Grave with a Knife and Fork – Part I

Lunch in B.C. Public Schools

Frankenstein’s Food Masquerades as a Healthy Alternative

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How healthy is your child’s cafeteria food?

According to the B.C. Ministry of Education, very healthy. Boasting strict guidelines on their website, the ministry states that its school lunch program is “designed to maximize students’ access to healthier options and fully eliminate the sale of unhealthy foods and beverages in BC schools.”

Actions, however, speak louder than words, so I decided to investigate the adherence of the guidelines by visiting various public school food vendor websites. Vendors Products of Canada stood out amongst its competitors because it featured a special line of “healthy” foods, called Healthy Alternatives. Perusing their list of available foods, I randomly selected an item to research – a Nutribar Chocolate Brownie snack. Its nutrient profile: Only 100 calories, nine vitamins and minerals, and two grams of fiber. Moreover, it claims that indulging in this snack is “part of a healthy lifestyle.”

Falling under the unique category of healthy alternatives, it’s no surprise this treat appears to meet the Ministry of Educations healthy mandate. That is, until you turn the package over, and take a closer look at the ingredient list, which included components such as: Continue reading Lunch in B.C. Public Schools