Thursday, December 27, 2012

Put Down That Slice of Bread!


Even “Healthy” Whole Wheat Is Linked to Heart Disease, Arthritis and Dementia

What could be more wholesome than whole-wheat bread? For decades, nutritionists and public health experts have almost begged Americans to eat more whole wheat and other grains.
It’s bad advice.
Most of us know that white bread is bad for us, but even whole-wheat bread is bad, too. In fact, on the Glycemic Index (GI), which compares the blood sugar effects of carbohydrates, both white bread and whole-wheat bread increase blood glucose more than pure sugar. Aside from some extra fiber, eating two slices of whole-wheat bread is little different from eating a sugary candy bar.
What’s particularly troubling is that a high-wheat diet has been linked to obesity, digestive diseases, arthritis, diabetes, dementia and heart disease.
Example: When researchers from the Mayo Clinic and University of Iowa put 215 patients on a wheat-free diet, the obese patients lost an average of nearly 30 pounds in just six months. The patients in the study had celiac disease (a form of wheat sensitivity), but I have seen similar results in nearly everyone who is obese and gives up wheat.


How can a supposedly healthy grain be so bad for you? Because the whole wheat that we eat today has little in common with the truly natural grain. Decades of selective breeding and hybridization by the food industry to increase yield and confer certain baking and aesthetic characteristics on flour have created new proteins in wheat that the human body isn’t designed to handle.
The gluten protein in modern wheat is different in structure from the gluten in older forms of wheat. In fact, the structure of modern gluten is something that humans have never before experienced in their 10,000 years of consuming wheat.
Modern wheat also is high in amylopectin A, a carbohydrate that is converted to glucose faster than just about any other carbohydrate. I have found it to be a potent appetite stimulant because the rapid rise and fall in blood sugar causes nearly constant feelings of hunger. The gliadin in wheat, another protein, also stimulates the appetite. When people quit eating wheat and are no longer exposed to gliadin and amylopectin A, they typically consume about 400 fewer calories a day.


Celiac disease, also known as celiac sprue, is an intense form of wheat sensitivity that damages the small intestine and can lead to chronic diarrhea and cramping, along with impaired absorption of nutrients. But wheat has been linked to dozens of other chronic diseases, including lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It also has been linked to…
Insulin resistance and diabetes. It’s not a coincidence that the diabetes epidemic (nearly 26 million Americans have it) parallels the increasing consumption of modern wheat (an average of 134 pounds per person per year) in the US. The surge in blood sugar and insulin that occurs when you eat any kind of wheat eventually causes an increase in visceral (internal) fat. This fat makes the body more resistant to insulin and increases the risk for diabetes.
Weaker bones. A wheat-rich diet shifts the body’s chemistry to an acidic (low-pH) state. This condition, known as acidosis, leaches calcium from the bones. Grains—and particularly wheat—account for 38% of the average American’s “acid load.” This probably is the reason that osteoporosis is virtually universal in older adults.
More heart disease. A diet high in carbohydrates causes an increase in small LDL particles, the type of cholesterol that is most likely to lead to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. Studies at University of California, Berkeley, found that the concentration of these particles increases dramatically with a high-wheat diet. The increase in small-particle LDL, combined with diabetes and visceral fat, increases the risk for heart disease.


People who crave wheat actually are experiencing an addiction. When the gluten in wheat is digested, it releases molecules known as exorphins, morphinelike compounds that produce mild euphoria. About one-third of people who give up wheat will experience some withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, moodiness and insomnia. My advice…
Go cold turkey. It’s the most effective way to break the addiction to wheat. The withdrawal symptoms rarely last more than one week. If you’re really suffering, you might want to taper off. Give up wheat at breakfast for a week, and then at breakfast and lunch for another week. Then give it up altogether.
Beware of gluten-free products. People who give up wheat often are tempted to satisfy their craving by buying gluten-free bread or pasta. Don’t do it. The manufacturers use substitutes such as brown rice, rice bran, rice starch, corn starch and tapioca starch, which also increase blood glucose and cause insulin surges. Even oatmeal can cause blood sugar to skyrocket.
Switch grains. Small supermarkets now stock quite a few nonwheat grains, such as millet, quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth. They’re easy to cook, and they taste good—and they don’t have the gluten and other wheat proteins that trigger weight gain, inflammation and insulin resistance.
Helpful: If you aren’t willing to give up wheat altogether, you can substitute an older form of wheat, such as spelt or kamut. These grains haven’t undergone all of the genetic modifications, so they’re somewhat better for you than modern wheat. Any form of wheat can be a problem, however. You’ll want to limit yourself to small servings—say, a few ounces once or twice a week.
Get plenty of protein. Protein satisfies the appetite more effectively than carbohydrates. Eat eggs for breakfast and chicken salad for lunch. For dinner, you can have fish or even steak.
New finding: New research has shown that people who eat a reasonable amount of saturated fat in, say, red meat (about 10% or a little more of your total fat calories) have a reduction in small LDL particles, as well as an increase in protective HDL cholesterol.
Source: William Davis, MD, a preventive cardiologist and medical director of Track Your Plaque, an international heart disease prevention program. Based in Fox Point, Wisconsin, he is author of Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health (Rodale).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Supplement Spotlight: Add Ginkgo-PS to Your Brain Game

December 18, 2012 at 7:45 AM , ,

Does this sound familiar to anyone? You get up, get yourself ready, drive yourself to your local shopping center, and then once you get to your destination, you stop… stand there… and think: “What did I need to get here?” Then you don’t remember until you get back home.
It happens to me all the time. Recently, while wandering a favorite store in some less-than-sensible shoes, I swear all the blood left my brain and went to the pain in my feet, because when I got home, I realized I made a dumb purchase and forgot the whole point of why I was in that store in the first place.
I worry for my future.
But not too much, because, fortunately, it is possible to keep our brains sharp as we age.

The Brain is Amazing

A couple years ago I came across a book that taught me how incredible our brains can be. The Brain that Changes Itself by Dr. Norman Doidge is a fascinating read of what could be a super boring scientific subject. The book covers some mind-blowing (ha ha) examples of how people have overcome serious challenges thanks to the plasticity of our brains. It also provides insight into things we can do to make a real and lasting difference in our cognitive function well into old age.
BraincroppedLike a puzzle, many habits fit together to keep our brains fit. Here are a few tips:
  • Meditate, relax, and make sure you get enough sleep. A calm brain learns better and stress can actually kill cells in the brain.
  • Learn something. Doing something that requires real concentration — think learning how to dance or speak a new language — keeps the brain fit (including the part that makes dopamine, which is triggered when you experience something new).
  • Socialize with friends and family. Consider playing a rousing game of Scrabble or Words with Friends while you’re at it!
  • Consume lots of antioxidants and moderate amounts of caffeine. I recently read that caffeine boosts circulation in all parts of the body except the brain — where it actually constricts blood flow.
  • Stay active. Exercise helps the brain build new neurons and increases both oxygen and blood supply to the brain.
You can supplement the benefits of an antioxidant rich diet and exercise by adding Ginkgo-PS™ to your supplement regimen every day, because it will help deliver similar benefits.

Why Ginkgo-PS is Groovy

The two main ingredients in Ginkgo-PS are Ginkgo biloba and phosphatidylserine. Both are sourced from suppliers with quality standards as rigorous as USANA’s—so you know the purity and efficacy are good.
Gingko_USThe herb Ginkgo biloba has been around for zillions of years. It is well accepted as a natural way to support cognition and circulation. In fact, it primarily helps cognition because it promotes healthy circulation—better blood flow helps deliver blood and oxygen to the brain. Ginkgo biloba also acts as an antioxidant, defending cells against damaging oxidative stress.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a fatty acid that plays a role in cell signaling and has been shown to support memory function and cognition. Some of the benefits of PS come from its favorable impact on brain glucose metabolism, acetylcholine levels, and maintaining normal capacity for norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine dependent neurotransmitter systems.
It turns out that while both ingredients are pretty cool on their own, they are more effective if combined, as they are in Ginkgo-PS. A study published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical & Experimental in 2007 showed that “administration of GBE [Ginkgo biloba extract] complexed with phosphatidylserine resulted both in improved secondary memory performance and significantly increased speed of memory task performance.” Results that were not seen when only Ginkgo biloba was used.
USANA’s Ginkgo-PS delivers the right amount of these key ingredients to provide real support for memory and cognition.
Watch this video to see USANA Senior Scientist Mark Levy, Ph.D., explain the benefits of Ginkgo-PS.

If you are unable to view this video, please visit the USANA YouTube channel.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jen Groover: 7 Ways to Thrive Through the Holidays

December 11, 2012 at 7:45 AM

USANA Spokesperson Jen Groover
USANA Spokesperson Jen Groover
While it’s said to be “the most wonderful time of the year,” for many the holiday season can be the most challenging time of the year — more things to do, more places to go and an overwhelming sense of needing to be extremely jolly.
To overcome the pattern of stress and depression many endure during this time of year, her are some key tips:
1. Surround yourself with friends and family that inspire you; avoid the ones that bring you down.
2. Remain focused on being grateful for the things you have, not what is missing.
3. Be careful not to overindulge in alcohol and junk foods. Not only do these make you gain weight, which adds stress, but they can almost immediately cause effects of depression.
4. Keep up your exercise routine. No matter how much shopping needs to be done or how many holiday parties you need to attend, keep your workout routine at the top of the priority list.
5. Volunteer to help those who are less fortunate. There are so many organizations that need help, especially during the holidays, it will be easy to find places you can be of service.
6. Make sure you are eating healthy, which may include drinking USANA Nutrimeal shakes. Are your taking your USANA HealthPak™ filled with your essential vitamins and antioxidants on a daily basis?
7. Redecorate your house. Clear your space and start anew by clearing out clutter and rearranging the furniture to invigorate your living and work spaces.

*The mentioned celebrity is either a distributor or dedicated user who has received compensation for her partnership and/or complimentary USANA products.
Tis the season for overeating! The holidays are quickly approaching and there are tempting treats at every turn. Chocolates, baked goods, candy and sugary choices galore.

During the holidays, it's perfectly fine to savor one of your favorite desserts or to have an extra glass of egg nog or two, but you shouldn't use the whole month of December as an excuse to overindulge.

On the last day of this month, tens of thousands of Americans will resolve to lose weight and to get healthier in 2013. But my question is, why wait until January 1?

You may be hesitant to adopt a healthier lifestyle for fear that you'll have to change too much all at once, but it doesn't have to be overwhelming! Why not start now and be well on your way by the time the clock strikes 2013?

Here are five tips that you can use to help ease into a cleaner diet:

   Cut back on take out. By shopping for fresh ingredients and making your own meals, you'll be doing yourself a huge favor! Fast food is chock full of unhealthy fats, sodium, sugar and calories. There are also preservatives and other chemicals that our bodies could do without.
   Learn to read labels. Very little good comes out of boxes where food is concerned, but if you know how to read labels, you can start making better choices. If you have to spend more than a few seconds to decipher a food's label, then your body won't know what to do with those unpronounceable additives either! Skip anything with flavor enhancers, flavorings or fake colors.
   Stop drinking calories. Sugary coffee drinks, sodas, juices . . . they're not good for us. They serve no nutritional purpose and they are nothing but empty calories. Reach for water to quench your thirst and you'll be doing yourself a big favor.
   Eat more vegetables. Bulk up on veggies. Eat them with every meal and don't be stingy. I'm not talking about iceberg lettuce, either! Reach for dark leafy greens (organic, please!) like spinach and kale. Snack on carrot sticks and broccoli. Eat a rainbow each day and you'll be amazed with the results.
*    Stop buying crappy food. You know which foods are not serving your health, so stop buying them. You don't need those cookies and cakes. Those tubs of ice cream and bags of chips look good at the time, but if you bring them home, you'll only eat them- so leave them on the store shelves!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thriving Through the Holidays

by Jim Rohn

The holidays are upon us; a time of celebration and joy. I love the last days of November through the beginning of the New Year. The pure magic of the holidays is something that I anticipate and enjoy each and every year.

For some though, the holidays have lost the joy and excitement they at other times have had. The pace of life has grown so fast—much faster than those first holidays I remember in my life—that some people don’t enjoy the times they get to spend with their family and friends during what is supposed to be days filled with joy and peace.

Why is that? Probably a lot can be laid at the feet of how fast-paced our times are, but that isn’t all.

I believe our holiday times should be wonderful and filled with lasting and enjoyable moments and memories. So how can we ensure that we come out of the holidays in January with great memories of the past month? Here are six thoughts that will help you experience the holidays the way they were intended to be experienced:         

Be Temperate

Holidays can be days of excess for many—too much food, too many cookies and treats. Too much chocolate, schedules that are too busy. One thing that will help you enjoy the holidays is to be temperate. Enjoy the food. Enjoy the treats. Enjoy the busy schedule of activities and parties. But also be disciplined enough to know when to hold back, when to say, “No.” When we go overboard we regret it and lose the opportunity to fully experience that moment. But when we enjoy a little and refrain from going too far, then we can enjoy all that little piece of time has to offer.

Lower Your Expectations

Much of the frustration people experience from the holidays is from setting their expectations too high. They expect too much from friends or family, and when they don’t get what they want, they get frustrated. They expect presents to be perfect and when they aren’t, they get frustrated or disappointed. Instead of having huge expectations this holiday season, just take it as it comes and enjoy what you can. And this brings me to my next point.

Enjoy What You Can and Ignore the Rest

This holiday season, go with an attitude of knowing that things will be what they will be. You can’t control other people or their actions. If a family member pushes the limits of your patience, ignore that and instead focus on how much you can enjoy the time you have with other family members. If things don’t go perfectly—which they won’t—then enjoy what you can and let the rest slide. You will feel a lot better about life if you can take all things a little easier.

Stay Out of Debt

Debt is a killer. It will steal your enjoyment of life. Be sure to stay within your financial boundaries this holiday season. The last thing you want is to start the New Year with a deeper burden financially. Know where you are financially and stay within those limits. You don’t have to impress anyone, just buy gifts that you can afford and express your feelings in the giving of the gift.

Take Time for Yourself

Be sure that, no matter how busy you get, you take time for yourself. Take time to read. Take a long bath if that relaxes you. Take a walk. Spend some time of quiet in front of a fire. Don’t rush through the holidays and sap all of your energy. Your mind and body need to be reenergized, so be sure to take time to do so.

Focus on Your Spiritual Life

Ultimately, no matter what tradition you come from, the holidays are historically days in which we focus on the spiritual. Men and women are created with a natural draw toward spiritual life. However, our culture today tends to stay away from a focus on the spiritual, and that has even crept into our holidays. Be sure to place an emphasis on building your spiritual life and growing in that area. This will help keep you grounded and able to deal with anything that may come your way.

Friends, this time of year is another chance to remember the important truths of life and to enjoy time with dear friends and family.