Cranberries, Cucumbers and More!

Here’s the scoop on some nutrition packed favorites and why you won’t want to leave home without them!

Let cranberries enhance your health!

These vitamin C packed berries don’t have to be pigeonholed as a side dish to a roast turkey dinner.  First discovered by the Native Americans, cranberries were used to fight infections and treat wounds.  Their high antioxident content helps fight cancer and prevent Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s).  Cranberries contain a chemical called proanthocyanidins (PACS), which prevent bacteria, which cause UTI’s from adhering to the urinary tract.  Cranberries are not always easy to come by but you can find them in pill form at your nearest chemist.

Biologically they are classified as a fruit but regardless of what you call them cucumbers are your friend.  They are 96% water and contain silica, which helps hair, skin and nails stay radiant.  Cucumbers are great to apply topically to the skin or ingest internally to reduce water retention and swelling.  If you are suffering from a kidney infection, cucumbers help flush toxins out of your system due to their diuretic effect. They also contain an enzyme called erepsin, which assists with protein synthesis in the kidneys. They are delicious in salads or on their own.  Try my favorite tzatziki recipe to get some extra cucumbers into your diet.

Creamy, delicious tzatziki!

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe


  • 2 (8 ounce) containers plain yogurt
  • 2 cucumbers – peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled


  1. In a food processor or blender, combine yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, dill and garlic. Process until well-combined. Transfer to a separate dish, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour for best flavor.

Serve and enjoy!

Schedule a free consultation for your personal nutrition plan at


Nutritiongal – AADP Certified Health Coach
Find your bliss. Find your balance

Missed a Nutritiongal newsletter?  Find them all on My Nutritiongal blog.

Ban the Bloat! Healthy Gut Bacteria, All the Rage

Let probiotics work their magic on your digestive system!

Do you experience bloating, indigestion, nausea and various infections, such as yeast or diverticulitis?  You could have candida or yeast overgrowth.  This condition sometimes occurs with very high consumption of sugars and alcohols but it can also occur if you have low levels of healthy gut bacteria.

Do you ever wonder why you experience yeast infections and/or stomach issues after taking antibiotics?  Antibiotics cannot distinguish between the bad bacteria they are killing and the good bacteria in your gut. Yeast overgrowth, which causes the above conditions, occurs when there is not enough healthy bacteria to create an environment to fight these intruders off.

Did you know that you have over 100 trillion bacteria in your gut? Of these approximately 40 species known as Lactobacillus acidophilus are the good bacteria that help your body fight infection, absorb nutrients and normalize bowel function, maintaining balance in your digestive system.  Healthy gut bacteria assists with the metabolism and synthesis of food passing through your digestive system as well as fighting harmful pathogens and bacteria such as E-coli. They are also involved with synthesis of the vitamins D and K, helping to build strong bones, teeth, hair and nails.  Sadly it is very easy to disrupt these friendly bacteria colonies. How can we ensure our gut bacteria do not get wiped out by bad diet choices, stress and or a weekend bender with your friends doing shots of tequila?

Consumption of probiotics has shown to maintain Lactobacillus acidophilus colonies.  If you make a habit of taking them daily you can prevent future digestive disasters, yeast infections can even increase your immunity!  In some cases probiotics can help decrease bad reactions to dairy in lactose intolerant individuals.

Are your probiotics giving you a bang for your buck or are you just swallowing fluff? I have tried many on the market and these are my favorite products.

Inner Health Plus – regular, lactose intolerant and eczema-specific formulas. This product is on the pricey side but is the best in the Oceania market.

Acidophilus and Bifidus 8 Billion by NOW
– this product can be found in powdered or capsule form and is reasonably priced.

Is your wallet feeling a little light to be investing in probiotics these days? You can get them into your diet with these various foods.

1.) Kombucha – fermented tea which can be found in most health food stores. Those of you who love pickles and sauerkraut will love this tea!

2.) Sauerkraut – contains wonderful healthy gut bacteria. Go for the raw fermented sauerkraut found in most health food stores.

3.) Plain natural yogurt (not diet and no sugar) – look for ones that say lactobacilis bifidus on the container, which is most effective.

Now you have the info you need to fight those nasty toxins!

Are you ready to take the plunge and transform your health?

Contact me for a free nutrition consultation!  Just go to and click on the health history form icon.


The Nutritiongal – AADP Certified Health Coach
Find your bliss. Find your balance

The Power of Omega 3’s Nutritiongal Volume 20

When I first heard that fish oil supplements helped reduce bad cholesterol I thought that was pretty cool and it has since become common knowledge.  Then I heard  more and more good things about this powerful supplement that I could hardly believe, such as countless instances of  fish oil tablets not only reducing cholesterol but also improving brain functioning and decreasing inflammation.  Along with these stories is some sound science to back it up.

How can fish oil help you?  Isn’t flax seed oil just as good as fish oil?  Can everyone benefit from omega 3’s.  I will let you be the judge after the facts are presented.  Check out Nutritiongal’s top 8 reasons to include fish oil supplements to your daily vitamin regime.

1.) Reduces cholesterol –  Fish oil supplements are made of long chain unsaturated fatty acids that help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL).  The long chain fatty acids clean out the plaque in your arteries like Drano by flushing them out as they flow through the cardiovascular system.  Fish oil increases your HDL.  HDL levels below 40 mg/dL result in an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. If your levels of HDL are 60 mg/dL or above your risk is lowered.

2.) Essential for healthy body functions – fish oil Supplements contain EFA’s or essential fatty acids that are required by the the body to function optimally.  EFA’s are composed of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Since they cannot be synthesized by the body they must be ingested through diet. Because of the vast availability of processed foods the average person is getting more than they need of omega 6’s but deficient in omega 3’s or EFA’s (essential fatty acids).  The optimal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 should be between 1:1 and 4:1 but is 10:1 or higher in many cases.

3.) Fish Oil is better than Flax Oil because it contains (Eicosapentaenoic acid) EPA and (Docosahexaenoic acid) DHA, which as substances naturally found in 8% of the human brain.  Flax oil contains ALA, which is converted to EPA/DHA in the body. The good thing about consuming ALA is that your body will not create more EPA/DHA than it needs. Fish oil is best because you get EPA/DHA right away without any conversion, however if you are vegan, flax oil is the best bet.  The body needs dietary ALA in addition to EPH/DHA as part of a balanced diet so keep that in mind when choosing your oils.  Flax seed oil should be kept in the refrigerator and cannot be used in cooking because the heat will damage the oil and generate free radicals.

4.) Makes your skin beautiful – Omega 3’s maintain the membrane structure of your skin cells and make sure nutrients enter the cells.  It is know as the anti-aging supplement.

5.) Reduces inflammation – As mentioned, fish oil contains EPA. The body uses EPA to create many hormone like substances that reduce inflammation in the body.  Consumption of Omega 3s has been known to reduce symptoms of arthritis, PMS and depression.

6.) Assists with brain functioning –  A few years back there was a mine explosion in West Virginia, USA where only one of 12 miners, Randal McLoy, survived. When he was found he was in a coma due to carbon monoxide poisoning.  The carbon monoxide had stripped his bran cells of their protective myelin sheath and he was feared to be brain damaged.  His doctor was inspired to try omega 3 fish oil supplementation at several times the recommended, daily dose.  Following this high supplementation Randy McLoy awoke from his coma with full mental capacity!  For the full story please see below.

7.) Improves eye health –  According to various studies, supplementation of fish oil helps reduce dry eye syndrome and decreases your risk of getting macular degeneration (diabetes induced blindness).  They also help drainage of intraocular fluid in the eye , decreasing the risk of glaucoma.

8.) Increase libido – EPA/DHA increases the body’s levels of dopamine, which is a feel good neurotransmitter, which increases feelings of desire and overall blood flow.

Be sure to look for mercury tested EPA/DHA fish oil that is cold pressed and contains no other additives.  For most adults the recommended daily dose is about 300-500 mg per day of EPA and DHA combined, plus an additional 800 to 1100 mg of ALA.

While eating fish can be as beneficial as taking fish oil supplements be sure to avoid fish with higher levels of mercury whenever you can.  For a list of high mercury containing fish check out the link  below :


The Nutritiongal – AADP Certified Health Coach
Find your bliss. Find your balance

“Fire the diet police and take back your health!”

Visit and fill out a health questionnaire for a free consultation today!

Soy – Junk Food or Health Food? Nutritiongal Volume 19

If you have been shopping at your local grocery store in the past six months you have, no doubt, seen an influx of different soy products in various sections of the grocery store.  Surely you have heard the health claims of soy foods promising you anything from increased metabolism, to protection against certain cancers and weight loss.  Sexy as these claims sound, are they really true? It may be in your best interest to know all the pros and cons before hightailing it to the supermarket for your favorite soy product.

Soy beans are a widespread and cheaply produced crop found in many commercial products.  Since 1999 following approval from the United States FDA for labeling, soy has proliferated the store shelves under various names such as : soy isoflavones, hydrolyzed soy protein, textured vegetable protein, soy lecithin and soy oil, to name a few.  Most of these names are found primarily on processed foods or junk foods, such as cookies, crackers, chips, ice cream, etc… Soy beans are powerful foods because they contain soy isoflavones, which alter the chemical state of your body to a greater degree than most plant foods because they are estrogen derivatives.  Because of the similar structure of soy and estrogen found in the human body soy can disrupt endocrine and thyroid function, causing hormonal disruptions and even weight gain.

Some medical experts recommend women who have had estrogen positive breast cancer to avoid soy products since the isoflavones found on this food may disrupt the anti cancer drug, tamoxifen.  Soy has also been linked to disruptions in thyroid functioning.

On the flip side numerous studies have shown that incidents of breast cancer among women in Asian countries who consume more soy products are lower than their Western counterparts.  Advocates of soy claim that it has a deleterious effect on testicular cancer, causing PSA (a measure of prostate cancer risk) to lower, which is the desired effect.  Women who consume soy in small amounts enjoy reduced endometriosis and PMS related symptoms.   Soy has also been implicated in reducing cholesterol in some studies.

Perhaps the controversy is not in consumption of soy but in the quality of soy products.  As mentioned, Asian women who enjoy lower incidents of breast cancer consume small amounts fermented soy products, which have undergone minimal processing, such as miso tempeh and natto.  These products are made from soy in the most natural state and the fermentation in these products creates natural probiotics which enhance digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body.  These women were not  eating soy burgers, soy cheese or soy ice cream.  They were eating small amounts of tofu in their miso soup or having small amounts of tempeh or natto with their meals.

I was pretty disappointed when I found out that when it comes to soy, you can have too much of a good thing.  I am sad to say that soy cheese, soy ice cream, soy crisps and soy milk are junk food.  That doesn’t mean that you can never have these things but they should be consumed in moderation, much like their dairy counterparts.

Whats a vegetarian, soy lover or lactose intolerant person to do with this new information?  Here is a complete list of soy products and their alternatives.  Make sure to choose organic, non genetically modified soy (non GMO) to get soy in its most natural form, even if you are eating the soy junk food.

Here is a list of some the different soy products out there. The jury is out as to whether or not soy is a health food.  As a nutritionist my stance is that each person is effected differently.  If you choose to consume soy and enjoy the benefits then it’s best to stick with the least processed soy stuff.  The comprehensive list is taken from “The Dark Side of Soy” and I have added the NUTRITIONGAL favorite substitutes in italics.

Soy milk, curdled and pressed into cubes of varying firmness. Often used as meat substitute. A nonfermented product, tofu contains antinutrients, which can block absorption of essential minerals. – Try seitan, which is an excellent soy free substitute made from wheat gluten which is low in fat and high in protein (not recommended for those with gluten intolerance).

Fermented soybean paste, used in soups and sauces. Rich in probiotics, good bacteria that aid vitamin absorption. Miso is high in sodium but is considered one of the healthiest soy products. – No substitutions here. This is a wonderful soy product.

Soybean Oil
To extract oil, soybeans are superheated, ground, pressed, mixed with chemicals, and washed in a centrifuge. Soybean oil accounts for 80 percent of all liquid oils consumed annually in the United States. – Look for products with vegetable or canola oils.

Soy Milk
A processed beverage made of ground soybeans mixed with water and boiled, which removes some toxins. Sugar is added to improve flavor. An eight-ounce serving contains up to 35 milligrams of isoflavones, which may change estrogen levels and hormonal function. – Substitute with almond or rice milk.  I have a wonderful almond milk recipe that you can make at home. E-mail stephanie ‘at’ if you’re interested.

Snack Food
Highly processed, a source of trans fat. Check your labels: Potato chips, tortilla crisps, and many other deep-fried things have been cooked in soy oil–straight up or partially hydrogenated. – Look for snack foods without any of the above ingredients or to have the most wholly unprocessed snack ever try rice crackers (brown rice is even better!) or granola/toasted muslei bars made with minimal ingredients.

Whole soybeans pressed into loaves, which are then fermented. Often used as a meat substitute. Tempeh is rich in B vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. – This is an excellent soy product if you are going to consume soy meat substitutes.

Fast Food
A source of hidden soy. Processed soy proteins extend some burgers and chicken (nuggets, patties, even ‘grilled breasts’). Buns contain soy oil and to a lesser extent soy flour and lecithin. Soy oil also appears in dressings and dips, in American ‘cheese,’ and as the No. 2 ingredient in fries. There’s even soy in Big Mac’s secret sauce: Soybean oil nets top billing. – Look for vegetable burgers made with only vegetables or lentil burgers.  For a delicious lentil burger recipe contact stephanie ‘at’

Whole soybeans, commonly boiled in the pod and eaten as a snack. Most commercial edamame has been preheated to make digestion easier, but it still contains antinutrients. – I enjoy edamame just like the next person.  Just consume it once in a while as a treat.  They are still rich in proteins and vitamins A, B and C

One of the healthiest soy products made by fermentation of soybeans by natto bacillus, a healthy gut bacteria. Natto is filled with protein and rich with vitamin B2 and K2, helping to prevent osteoprosis. It is commonly used in omelettes or added to miso soup and tempura. Natto can be found in most Japanese grocery stores. – No Nutritiongal substitute for this. Natto is a very healthy soy product.

Soy products come in many forms. Choose the products that are in their most naural state for optimal health benefits.

Super Snack Makeovers! Nutritiongal Volume 17

Are you sick and tired of crashing in the afternoon? Is the vending machine pulling you into an abyss of processed, sodium laden junk?  Do you fall asleep in the afternoon even if your have a stimulating profession or at least are not bored?

Why is it important to eat “healthy” snacks?  Why don’t candy bars, chips and soda cut it when it comes to refueling in the afternoon? They may temporarily fill you up but they are devoid of nutrients and filled with empty calories.  Consuming soda and candy temporarily raises your blood sugar only to have it crash shortly thereafter, making you hungrier.  For more on foods that raise blood sugar (have a higher glycemic load) check out the chart in the below link.

Now that you know that chips, soda and candy aren’t the best options what is left to eat when your itching for a little snack?  Time for some snack makeovers!

1.) Potato Chips/Pretzels – Potato chips are highly processed and loaded with fat and salt.  Although pretzels have a lower fat content they are still loaded with sodium and raise blood sugar since they are simple carbohydrates.

Makeover – Whole grain crackers or brown rice cakes. Whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains which fortify the body with B vitamins and make you feel fuller for longer.  Add some peanut butter, tzatziki sauce or organic cheese to your snack for a tasty treat.

2.) Candy & Protein bars – Don’t believe the hype!  Snickers doesn’t satisfy you.  Sorry Betty White! We still love you… When you consume candy bars you are eating sugar, trans fats and fillers that are not easily processed by the body.  Protein bars may seem like a “healthier” option but they are just candy bars with added protein.  Even if some of them have less calories and sugar, read the ingredients.  Many of them have artificial flavors, fillers and (GASP!) high fructose corn syrup!  Check out the link below for why high fructose corn syrup is making people fat.

Makeover – Granola/Toasted Muesli Bars – Look for the varieties with whole grains and the least amount of ingredients.  They are a delicious, sweet and fiber rich alternative to candy bars without all the sugar.  Some granola bars have chocolate or cocoa nibs in them if you’re craving something chocolatey.

3.) Candy/Lollies – For obvious reasons candy is not a health food. It’s fun to indulge once in a while but it doesn’t make a satisfying afternoon snack.  Candy may give you quick energy but you will crash like an engine that has run out of the wrong kind of fuel.

Makeover – Fresh or dried fruit is a wonderful alternative. You still get the intense sweetness without processed sugar and tons of vitamins.  Why not make your own trail mix of raisins, dried cranberries, almonds, cashews and cocoa nibs for a satisfying treat?

4.) Frappuccino – At almost 700 calories per serving this intensely sweet and caffeinated drink is better off as an occasional treat rather than your afternoon staple. What do you do when you want something cold and creamy?

Makeover – Try an iced vanilla latte instead or an iced coffee without the sugar if you dare.  You can also try mixing some instant coffee in vanilla yogurt for that creamy coffee taste.

For more healthy snack options check out the below link from Dr. Andrew Weil.

Happy snacking!


The Nutritiongal
Find your bliss. Find your balance

“I am currently enrolled at the Integrative Institute of Nutrition and will graduate as a certified health counselor in 2010. Fire the diet police and take back your health!”

Visit and fill out a health questionnaire for a free consultation today!

A rainbow of healthy snacks

ORGANIC… The Hype… Is there a Message? Nutritiongal Newsletter Volume 13

Hello Everyone and welcome to Volume 13 of Nutritiongal’s bimonthly Newsletter,

A highly effective way of attaining optimal health is keeping chemicals off your plate.  A lot of people have been talking about the organic movement lately. It’s all over the place from food products to skincare remedies.   More and more people are becoming conscious of sustainability and environmentalism, which is just as important as your health.  There’s also the local movement where you have your farmers markets and locally grown produce sometimes at your fingertips at your favorite supermarket.  There are so many options to eat “healthy” and select something that may cost a bit more but contribute to the eco friendly movement.  How does one sift through the messages, the hype and the truth while still being friendly to your wallet as well as your waistline?  Let’s deconstruct the differences in order to help you make choices that will help save the planet, save yourself and your dough. These three things can occur together!

What is organic?  Where can you find organic products outside the supermarket?  What to buy and what to hold of on until your trust fund matures? 🙂 The term “organic” refers to a method of farming that works in harmony with nature and people to produce healthy (higher nutrient content, natural foods), sustainable (crop rotation) and environmentally friendly foods (foods produced with minimal pesticides and chemicals).  I have heard “experts” report that there is no difference in the nutritional content of organic versus non organic food, however I can’t believe that foods with more pesticides or ones that have been genetically modified (GMO) are as easily processed by the body as well as organic foods.  If  all else fails try an organically grown food and then try a non organically grown food.  I have noticed that the organic food actually tastes better.  Many people who are not even interested in this subject have reported the same to me.

Local foods are foods that may or may not be grown organically but they are from local, smaller farms, which are less likely to use as many pesticides or GMO’s as the larger factory farms.  Local foods are good for the environment because they are not trucked or flown halfway across the world to get to your plate. They are fresher because, for example, the produce are picked when they are ripe rather than before they are ripened.  You are basically eating something which is freshly picked off the tree that arrives to your plate with minimal transportation, thus less petrol/gasoline is used.

By eating local you are supporting local, small farmers who face challenges competing with factory farms.  Unlike local farmers, the factory farms are in the business of using any methods necessary in order to produce the highest quantity of food at its lowest quality for maximum profit. They are subsidized by the government and supply fast food enterprises such as McDonalds to make you sick.  Does that sound like and industry you want to support?

Since it is not likely that you will be able to completely replace your shopping list with organic or local foods I have listed the ones below that are worth going organic due to either the high pesticide content in conventionally grown methods or uncouth, hormone laden factory farmed foods.  For example items that have an outer layer that you can remove, such as oranges or bananas are OK to buy conventionally if one has to choose.  In a perfect world everything would be fresh and healthy but unfortunately this is not the case.

Without further ado, here is my list of organic/local must buys below.  This list is based on the book “Diet for a Poisoned Planet” by David Steinman.


-green peppers

-soy products
-peanuts & peanut butter


-white bread
-whole wheat bread
-rye bread
-raisin bran cereal
-all fruit-flavored, sweetened and puffed cereals

For a convenient guide on where to get organic foods in your local area check out the link below.

For those of you who don’t live in the US (AKA us peeps in Australia) check out the link below.

There’s also a great site which has organic products below. You may not be able to order organic produce from this site but there are organic packaged foods, as well as supplements that can be shipped pretty much anywhere in the world.  I have and order on its way to me as we speak.
$5 discount code -HEC204

Locate your local farmer’s market.

You can make a difference with your fork.


The Nutritiongal
Find your bliss. Find your balance

“I am currently enrolled at the Integrative Institute of Nutrition and will graduate as a certified health counselor in 2010. Fire the diet police and take back your health!”

Visit and fill out a health questionnaire for a free consultation today!

Missed a Nutritiongal newsletter?  Find them all on My Nutritiongal blog.

The Stinky Truth About Deodorant and Antiperspirant: Nutritiongal Volume 8

Hello Everyone!

Welcome once again to Nutritiongal’s bimonthly newsletter.  I hope you brought clothespins for this one because I have some stinky business to discuss…
Like the next person I am a strong believer in smelling fresh but when I look at the chemicals and toxins we are applying directly to our underarms every day I can no longer remain silent.  Did you know that our underarms are the main site for most of our lymph nodes?  Our skin has the incredible ability to sweat and eliminate toxins – especially from our underarms.  Like the next person I don’t think sweating is too sexy but we all do it.
Aluminum is the main ingredient in most antiperspirants that reduces the bacteria that causes odor in that wonderfully and sometimes hairy, pitted area (not referring to my pits of course he he!).  It has been linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, as well as certain cancers.  When I think about it, it seems almost counter intuitive to be plugging our own natural defense systems with metals that have been known to be toxic to the human body.  The skin is the largest organ in the body.  Why would we bombard it with metal?
Before you throw your deodorant out the window for good and become a smelly nuisance to society consider some tried and tested alternatives.  You don’t have to lose friends to be healthy.  When there’s a will, there’s a way!  Sorry Pepe!
Crystal Deodorant, which is comprised of salt,  is an excellent alternative to the aluminum laden stuff. I use it and no one has complained of a stench as of yet. I haven’t lost any friends lately so either they are just being nice or the stuff works! It’s been about two years since I stopped using the aluminum stuff and the skin under my arms is a lot less irritated and it does not stain clothing.
For some people, they find crystal deodorant can feel rough on their underarms.  There are plenty of other options, however. Check out one woman’s quest for the perfect aluminum free deodorant below. She had a few bumps on the road but is now smooth sailing in a wonderful, aluminum and odor free life. You too can have this.  If you don’t have time to read the entire article you can skip to the last page where she lists the pros and cons to different natural deodorants. She has tried them all – Brave soul!
Take the sniff test on the wonderful alternatives today and tell me what you think. Remember to check before leaving the house to prevent a botched job interview or a bad date.

By the way you fresh-smelling Smarties, The Nutritiongal is moving to Australia this coming week.  Stay tuned for more nutrition/lifestyle newsletters from a perspective on the other side of the world!


The Nutritiongal
Find your bliss. Find your balance

Fun Facts About Chocolate : Nutritiongal Volume 3

Hello! Welcome to Volume 1 of Nutritiongal’s Bimonthly Newsletter!

Did you know that cacao, the highest antioxidant rich food on the
planet, can only be grown in “in-tact” rainforests?  No trees can be
cut down if the cocao plant is to be cultivated. Therefore eating
chocolate saves the rainforests, and therefore, saves the planet!!!!
Who would have thought decadence could be so virtuous?!?!

Here are some more fun facts about the actual cocao beans, the main
ingredient in chocolate, which can be found in the supple, white,
cacao fruit, grown on trees of the Amazon rainforest.  Organic
chocolate contains minimal pesticides and is, therefore, preferable.
Remember, the higher the cocoa content, the more the below benefits
apply. Chocolate bars containing 70% cocoa are recommended by most
nutritionists as they are lower in sugar and higher in the below
beneficial qualities.  If you can’t muster the bitter taste of 70% try
60% cocoa and work form there.  Some milk chocolate bars contain 30%
cocoa.  Any chocolate is better than none! Life is too short!!!

1.) Cacao beans builds strong bones – especially the raw chocolate
because of its magnesium content. The magnesium is what women crave,
especially during that time of the month when cranky Aunt Flo pays a

2.) Cacao Beans contain trace amounts of caffeine.

3.) Cacao contains Sulfur, which helps build strong nails, hair and
skin.  Sulfur is also thought to detoxify mercury.  Why not try some
chocolate after sushi?

4.) Within the cacao bean is a feel good neurotransmitter,
phenylethlamine, which is the same neurotransmitter released when we
fall in love.  Try a hug rather than a whole box of chocolate if
you’re itching for that lovin’ feeling. Alternatively there’s always
Barry White!  Shazam!

5.) Did you know that some people who are allergic to chocolate are
only allergic to the milk and butter mixed in the chocolate bars?  Try
raw cacao beans or dairy free chocolate and see for yourself. Don’t
despair if you have to swear it off forever, there’s always carob.

Some favorite chocolate sources of mine

Raw Cacao Beans

Some Calorie Free Chocolate


The Nutritiongal

Sweeteners – The Good, The Bad and the UGLY – Nutritiongal Volume 2

Anything that is too good to be true usually is…unless you’re talking about dark, rich and handsome chocolate! Time to hit the pause button on the biggest loser in the diet industry and we’re NOT talking about that reality show.  ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS.  Yikes! they are not your friend.  That nagging feeling in the back of your mind when you sprinkle some on your cereal, coffee or whatever, could be right. What are the so-called health claims of artificial sweeteners based on? Are they really better for your than sugar?  How did we get into this mess in the first place?  What are you trading you virtuous abstention of sugar for???

1.) Forgoing sugar may be prevent you from putting your dentist’s children through college but  “the acid in diet soda still could contribute to dental erosion,”

2.) Aspartame, the main ingredient in NutraSweet turns into formaldehyde in the body.  I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to embalm myself.  Oh and did I mention it was carcinogenic?  Aspartame causes adverse reactions such as brain fog, because it damages brain cells, causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and increases cravings for sugar. In general artificial sweetners are 100 times sweeter than sugar. When you ingest them the taste receptors in your tongue register a sweet taste and cause the body to release insulin to break down sugar. Since artificial sweeteners have no calories and cannot be processed by the body because they are not real food the insulin remains elevated, waiting for sugar to break down and your overall blood sugar drops. What happens next?  You need to eat something, preferably sweet, to stave off the drop in blood sugar, thus consuming more calories than you originally would have if you just had a couple packets of sugar or that can of REAL coke.

3.) What about splenda? Isn’t it actually real sugar but it has no calories?  Splenda is really sucralose which was accidentally discovered in a lab when some chemists were trying to produce insecticide.  One of my Mom’s friends says they actually use it to kill ants in their home.  I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to put that stuff in my body!

4.) What about real sugar?  It’s not the best for you but it is certainly better than artificial sweeteners.  In general, the white sugar that is refined and bleached in factories (to look pretty) is too refined (very processed) and the body breaks it down very quickly causing an inflammatory response and, therefore, a decrease in immunity.  All the same, a couple of packets of sugar will not kill you.  They are certainly better than the poisonous, alternative sugar packets.

5.) What about those sneaky sugar alcohols, you know the ones found on the packets of processed food?  They cause bloating and diarrhea.  Sounds like fun, right?

Kick those pink, blue and yellow packets to the curb or, preferably, the trash and your body will thank you for it.  If you can’t break up with sucralose, aspartame or sugar at least consider cutting down and see how you feel.  Why not try adding the below, less well-known but delicious and beneficial alternatives.

1.) Stevia is an herb derived from a plant in South America, used by the indigenous peoples. Stevia, like the artificial sweeteners, contains zero calories but it is a naturally occurring substance that will not cause the above side effects.  Stevia is 30 times sweeter than sugar and doesn’t adversely affect the body’s glucose levels.  As wonderful as it sounds, they are still substances that should be used in moderation.  You can have too much of a good thing! I find that the NOW Stevia packets taste the best. There’s also Truvia.  There are so many different brands and they all taste different.  Find the one that tastes best for you.

2.) Honey, especially raw honey (which is pesticide free), not only sweetens things and makes them taste amazing but it has antiseptic properties.  It contains approx 60 calories per tablespoon.

3.) Agave Nectar (the light kind tastes most like honey and the dark kind has a molasses flavor) is a sweetener derived from the agave plant.  The agave plant also produces tequila.  Don’t be fooled by the name. Agave nectar contains zero alcohol and tastes wonderful. It has a lower glycemic index than white rice so it is the best alternative to honey if you are concerned about blood sugar levels. It also contains approx 60 calories per tablespoon.

4.) Brown rice syrup is another blood sugar friendly product which is produced by fermenting brown rice.  It has a unique caramel-like flavor. Brown rice syrup contains approx 75 cal per tablespoon.

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Check out this tricky marketing tactic (photos attached) for diet cherry 7-up which “claims” to have antioxidants.  The only beneficial item on the can, laden with cancer-causing ingredients, is a small dose of vitamin E. I’ll take my vitamins instead thank you very much!

Thank you for reading this newsletter. The sources are there and the alternatives exist.  Don’t believe everything you read, even this newsletter if you so choose. Find what is true for yourself and may the truth set you free!


The Nutritiongal

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