Tag: bacteria

That’s NASty! Are Non-Caloric Artificial Sweeteners (NAS) Making Us Sick?

non-caloric artificial sweeteners

Here’s a one-question nutrition pop quiz … what’s better for your health: regular soda or diet?

Clearly the answer is not regular soda, right? After all, a regular can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar. And all that sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes and obesity. So even though diet soda has chemicals, it’s much better for your health to have 0 grams of sugar than all that sugar in regular soda … right?

Wrong!

According to recent research, artificial sweeteners may be just as bad for your health as regular sugar. In fact, this study suggests non-caloric artificial sweeteners (NAS) damage your gut bacteria.

What does that mean for your health?

Well, I previously wrote about how your gut is like your second brain and plays a major role in your overall health. The amount of beneficial (good) bacteria versus harmful bacteria in your gut determines how effective your digestion is, how strong your immune system is functioning, and even how healthy your skin looks.

gut bacteria

They’re Everywhere, They’re Everywhere!

As if anybody needed more convincing that artificial sweeteners are bad for you, this new research takes the cake.

If you have a diet soda once in a blue moon, I’m not suggesting that your gut bacteria will be damaged over night. But the problem is artificial sweeteners are in so many products.

Chewing gum (Any brand of sugar free). Bread (Thomas English Muffins 100% Whole Wheat) Yogurt (Yoplait Light). Iced Tea (I’m talking about you, Snapple). Popcorn (Orville Redenbacher). Hot Chocolate (Nestle). Ice cream (Breyer’s Low Carb Smart).

Getting the idea?

So if artificial sweeteners are so bad for your health, why does the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) allow it?

I’ll play devil’s advocate for a second and say that in moderation, these fake sugars probably don’t do much damage. Maybe you’ve heard about studies that feed rats or mice the equivalent of 100 cans of soda a day. Of course, the rodents are going to get sick with that much junk pumping through their tiny, sensitive systems.

But here’s the thing….

Because these artificial sweeteners are in so many foods, most people aren’t aware they are consuming so much of them.

That’s why I try to eat as much organic and all-natural foods as possible. Not that I eat bread, but if I did, I wouldn’t buy a conventional name-brand loaf; I’d be buying it from a farmer’s market, knowing that the bread has only a few ingredients with no added or fake sugars.

gut flora

Artificial Sweeteners Are Making Us Sick

It’s easy to be cynical and say that I, as someone who is selling Organic Green Drinks for a living, is just trying to demonize sugar (be they real or fake) in order to make a buck. And don’t get me wrong, I am in business to make a living. But the reason I wake up excited in the morning has nothing to do with income and everything to do with the daily success stories I read on Yelp or that come in my email inbox.

The seven certified organic green leafy veggies in my Green Drink contain prebiotic fiber that result in good gut health. And as I mentioned above, your gut is in control of all aspects of your health. But millions of people who consume foods and drink with hidden artificial sweeteners have, or are in danger of having one or more metabolic diseases. What are metabolic diseases? Here’s a list:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart Disease
  • Dementia
  • High Blood Pressure

metabolic syndrome

image courtesy healthfreedoms.org

Stay Sweet, Naturally

As a certified nutritional therapist, my advice is to have real sources of sugar in moderation, mostly from fruit. If you need your healthy morning juice with a little sweetness, try my Tropical Smoothie. It’s contains the same 7 leafy greens in Green Drink that are great for gut health. It’s sweetened with a little pineapple juice. Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain, which is good for digestion. There’s only 3 grams of naturally-occurring sugar in an 8 oz. serving of my Tropical Smoothie. (Compare that to other leading juice brands, which contain 30 or more grams of sugar!)

There’s some controversy over stevia and whether or not it’s really all-natural. True stevia comes from a plant and is therefore natural. But some brands of stevia also contain maltodextrin (corn sweetener) and/or are made in a lab.

My take on the stevia debate? You have to pick and choose your battles. I think stevia sweetener isn’t nearly as bad as other synthetic sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, acesulfame potassium (ace-K), and sucralose. That’s why I recommend avoiding as much as possible the following brand-name fake sugars: Splenda, Sweet’N Low, Nutrasweet, Equal, and Splenda.

The best natural zero-calorie sweetener in my opinion is monkfruit extract. It’s more pricey than stevia. But isn’t your health worth a couple extra bucks? Your gut will thank you in many ways.

monkfruit

Conclusion

For several years, there’s been lots of concern about the dangers of artificial sweeteners. Do they cause cancer? Can they lead to hyperactivity in kids? Do they trick the brain into eating more calories? While the FDA still maintains that fake sugars are safe in moderation, this new research tying the synthetic sweet stuff to poor gut health, in my opinion, is the nail in the coffin (no pun intended).

Stay sweet, naturally, my friends….

Love,

Chef V

Chef V and kale

Could Flossing Be The Secret To A Killer Bikini Bod?

flossing

I’m bringing sexy back … by flossing. 

I know, I know, flossing is like the least sexiest thing in the world. And when you’re dead tired and can’t wait to get in bed, it’s the last thing you feel like doing. 

But no matter how tired you are and how much you may detest the disgusting sight of food particles dislodging from your mouth, becoming airborne and sticking to your mirror, I want you to become a fanatic flosser. 

So what does flossing have to do with sexy? 

Flossing prevents systemic inflammation build-up in your body. 

In a nutshell, if you don’t floss, harmful bacteria in the gums can migrate to distant organs including the brain and heart. 

Again, what does this have to do with sexy? 

Well, your ability to lose unwanted body fat depends largely on your body’s overall response to inflammation. 

If you have elevated levels of inflammation, it’s going to be harder to lose weight. It’s that simple. 

brushing teeth

Flossing For Weight Loss

When you hear the word “infection” what comes to mind for you? Most people associate symptoms like fever, burning, itching, etc. But sometimes infections are imperceptible. And if you don’t floss, your gums will become inflamed. This is called gingivitis. Gingivitis is caused by a bacterial infection. And this bacterial infection is caused by not being a diligent flosser. 

So, let me be a lecturing momma to you: floss not just every day before bed but after every single meal. If flossing three times a day sounds too demanding, do what I do: do intermittent fasting, skip breakfast and have an Organic Green Drink. Then, just eat one or two large meals the rest of the day and try not to snack. If one meal a day isn’t enough, try having another Green Drink in the afternoon or a protein smoothie with non-dairy milk. 

dental floss

Flossing For Blood Sugar Management

I admit the real reason I floss religiously is not for weight loss but to prevent bad breath. I bet you dollars to gluten-free vegan donuts that if you come across anybody with kickin’ breath, they’re not a fantastic flosser. 

But if you are struggling with weight management, be honest and ask yourself, “Have I been flossing as much as I should be?” Skipping a night of flossing here or there may not seem like a big deal. But think for a second of the bacteria that can build up in your mouth if you let food stay trapped in between your teeth. It’s so gross to think that the natural bacteria in your mouth feed off the sugars from the food and drinks you consume. Yuck!

Personally, I don’t take any chances with bacteria buildup in my mouth. That’s why I floss after every meal (OK, I’m only human so like 98% of the time.)

If you don’t floss enough, the infection caused by the sugar-loving bacteria can elevate your insulin levels and increase body fat storage.

water pik

Brush Your Teeth After Every Meal To Stay Sexy

Don’t forget to brush your teeth after every meal as well. Many people brush their teeth first thing in the morning. But to me that doesn’t make much sense to brush if you don’t eat anything in the morning. What I do instead is use a natural mouthwash to freshen my breath and eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria. Then, after my first meal of the day (usually around brunch or lunch time), I’ll brush. 

If you don’t brush after every meal, tartar can accumulate along your gum line. And it’s along the gum line that an overgrowth of bacteria can cause gingivitis. And if you don’t do anything to nip it in the bud, not being able to lose weight easily won’t be your only health concern. 

That’s because gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. That’s when little pockets develop between the teeth and gums. At this point, the harmful bacteria go on the warpath, attacking the cardiovascular system. (Which is why it’s important to get way more vitamin C in the diet than the daily recommended 65 mg.) 

tooth bacteria

Massage Your Gums In The Shower

One of the best things you can do for your gums other than flossing is using a waterpik, which jets a high-pressure stream of water in between your teeth and gums, dislodging any stubborn food particles and plaque buildup. If you don’t have a waterpik, a simple thing you can do is when you take a shower, put the shower head on the massage setting and open up your lips to expose your pretty pearly whites and gums. 

Obviously, there’s much more to successful weight loss than flossing. But many people don’t realize the connection between flossing and inflammation prevention. Adding flossing to your daily health routine may help you prevent unexplained weight gain. 

To your sexy teeth and gums!

4 Tools for a Summer Slimdown (without hardcore exercise)

summer weight loss

Oh my what months of social distancing has done. Summer clothes show all – especially the Covid-10 pound weight gain. The beaches are open (with precautions) and feeling and looking good means taking off the flab.

The good news is you don’t have to do high-intensity, American Ninja Warrior-type exercise to have a hot summer bod. All you need is a reboot of your digestive system. Here are my 4 top tips for improving digestion and getting lean for summer….

#1: Apple Cider Vinegar

Can your “mother” help you achieve a summer slim down?

And by “mother” I mean the cloudy film that rests on top of a bottle of raw, unfiltered, organic apple cider vinegar (ACV)….

Raw ACV bottles such as those sold by the brand, Bragg (the same company that sells liquid amino acids, a soy sauce alternative) prominently advertise “with the mother” on the product label. As well they should. That’s because the mother is tiny bits and pieces of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria.

ACV helps increase stomach acid production. And because of the friendly bacteria it contains, it also acts like a probiotic.

Honestly, I tried to find some research on humans that shows ACV can help with weight loss. I hit a brick wall, but I did find some research on animals (rats and mice) that support using it for the following: reducing fat storage; lowering blood sugar; improves metabolism and suppressing appetite.

The only downside to ACV is it tastes really harsh. But you can add it to a Green Drink to mask the taste.

ACV is also good for skin. In fact, many people use ACV to treat skin conditions. Drinking a little bit every day can help clear your skin from the inside-out. And because of its beneficial bacteria and enzymes, it can help cleanse your body.

apple cider vinegar

#2: Bone Broth/Collagen Powder

Pretty soon, it’ll be too hot to sip bone broth.

But collagen protein powders have become very popular. And you can easily add a scoop of it in your blender with almond milk and my Organic Protein Shake if you’re doing a Chef V Cleanse.

If you don’t know the difference between the two: Bone broth is animal bones with herbs and spices cooked in water for 24 hours in a slow cooker. The long-simmering process of bone broth releases collagen protein from the bones.

I admit that there’s a lot of hype surrounding bone broth and collagen protein. There are claims that it can cure just about everything.

There is research, however, that shows supplementing with collagen protein can help repair your gut. Gut health is crucial for burning fat. It’s not easy to get ready for a summer slimdown if you don’t have a healthy gut.

In fact, some people have a condition that’s known in the alternative medicine field as “leaky gut.” Leaky gut is when the tiny junctions of your gut lining tear, allowing undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream. When this happens, your detoxification system  slows down. Not only that, leaky gut can also cause an autoimmune disease.

Sipping on some fresh bone broth every day can help repair your gut and improve your body’s detox system. I do not believe in store bought bone broth, it is like trying to get your vitamins from Hi-C. Store bought bone broth is not real bone broth and does not have the same benefits. The only way to get the full benefits of bone broth is fresh made or fresh bought. It should expire in a week.  An alternative to bone broth is to take a collagen protein powder supplement.

probiotic flora

#3: Probiotics

I’ve mentioned probiotics at least a couple times recently, including the best one to bring with you if you’re travelling.

I’ll just quickly rehash here why probiotics are so important for getting or staying lean. The healthier your gut microbiome (the trillions of bacteria, etc.), that is the more friendly bacteria you have in your gut, the easier it will be to digest your food. And the easier it is to digest your food, the less likely it will be that you’ll have difficulty getting rid of unwanted body fat.

There are a few problems with probiotics….

First is that many people forget to take them everyday. Set yourself a daily reminder on your smartphone to take them in the morning or before bed.

Second, some people don’t buy a strong enough probiotic. Look for a supplement that has several different strains of bacteria and has a minimum count of 10 billion colony forming units (CFU) per capsule. The reason you need a high count is that a lot of the bacteria won’t survive the harsh trip through the digestive system.

And third, not all brands of probiotics are of good quality. Do your research before you buy. My favorite is Bio-K – they have a dairy or non-dairy version and it is fresh.

#4:  A Chef V Detox with my Green Drink, Detox Soups, and Protein Shakes

So this last tip for a summer slimdown isn’t exactly a supplement. But it’s a great way to to make sure you’re looking and feeling great when you’re ready to take your first dip in the ocean or pool….

If you do my 21 Day Detox, you’ll be amazed by the transformation your body will undergo, (not to mention your skin, mood and energy levels).

Here’s how it works: you alternate between following my Healthy Routine and doing a 3 day cleanse. During the 3 day cleanse, you get 4 servings of my Green Drink plus 2- 16 oz. Protein Shakes and 1 detox soup for dinner. And during the Healthy Routine phase, you’ll get a 16-ounce Green Drink and 1- 16 oz. Protein Shake for breakfast. Then for lunch and dinner, you’ll use my healthy eating and meal planner guides, which contains delicious recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, and entrees.

The best part is I deliver the Green Drinks, Protein Shakes and Detox Soups to your front door (Well not personally, but my company does.)

Doing a 21-Day Detox is the easiest, most affordable, and safest way to lose 30 pounds or more.

You can also try a 3, 5 or 7-day Cleanse if you just want to dip your pinky toe in the shallow end.

Good luck with your summer slimdown. Even if you don’t want to spend any money on supplements, rebooting your digestive system by doing a Chef V Cleanse or Detox will get you bikini ready!

Love,

Veronica (Chef V)

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.