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I don’t remember how it started but several years ago my husband started a health kick and declared November as a sugar free month.  I love to support any ambition towards healthier routines and sugar is one substance we can all do without, or at least have a break from for a month at a time.

11 reasons to go sugar free (and I don’t mean changing to sugar replacements either!) –

  1. Break the addiction.  I once saw a bumper sticker that said, “Sugar, the Gateway Drug!”  I could not agree more.  It is our first experience with the dopamine surge that leaves us wondering how we felt that way and how can we get more.  Setting ourselves free from the habits that rule us is always a liberating experience.
  2. Lose weight.  Sugar consumption tends to increase compulsive eating and triggers a habitual response that result in people eating more and more.  Sugar is also incredibly calorie dense so we end up taking in far more energy than we’re able to use up.
  3. Stop the stinky gas!  Sugar feeds bacteria and yeast in the body that produce gases as they reproduce and grow in numbers in the gut.  What may be blamed on the dog can often be alleviated by cutting the sugar intake.
  4. Mood stabalization.  Not only does sugar affect our dopamine receptors, but it also triggers cortisol release in the body.  This results in an up and a down.  On top of that, blood sugar stability is very vulnerable to high concentrations of dietary sugars at once, particularly if they’re eaten on their own rather than with a big meal.  Sugar is then a triple whammy to the mood.
  5. Improve your energy.  The up and the down, the roller coaster ride of modern day life.  Depending upon stimulants to get through the day (sugar being a main culprit) results in a relative “over-ride” of your body’s natural energy system.  When a body has relied upon stimulants long term, it is likely that the adrenal system is no longer able to maintain a normal energy level without it.  Best way to prevent this is to keep stimulant us to a minimum, find routine, fun ways to reduce stress in your life and sleep when you’re tired rather than pushing through.
  6. Peace of mind.  Living free of habits, mood alteration, energy disruption and overgrown microflora results in a very pleasant peacefulness I highly recommend.
  7. Cancer prevention.  The first nutritional recommendation to cancer patients in integrative medicine is to cut out the sugar.  Sugar feeds cancer.  Cancer cells metabolize much faster than normal cells and require massive amounts of energy.  Sugar is their perfect medium.  Considering how long it often takes for a cancer to develop and be discovered, you can never begin prevention of cancer too early.  Start now, by not feeding it.
  8. Pain relief.  Sugar consumption increases the inflammatory response in the body.  The result of this in tissues that are already upset and painful is an increase in upsetness and pain.  In addition, many people have a sensitivity to sugar that will result in headaches, menstrual cramping or joint pain.
  9. Improve immune function.  In the same way that sugar feeds microbes in the digestive system, it is also going to feed the bacteria, virus and spirochetes that are involved in both acute and chronic infections.  In addition, sugar has a depressant effect on the white blood cell activity resulting in the body having a weaker immune response to illness.
  10. To set a good example.  It is clear that there are far more negatives than positives to sugar consumption.  Yet it is a huge part of most peoples daily lives.  So many of us have strong childhood associations to sugar.  Receiving sweets as a child was often the best reward.  By eliminating them from our diet, we can offer our children the opportunity to have a healthier start in life and hopefully not struggle with this one.
  11. To see what happens!  Give it a month.  You might even find you prefer it!

For a personalized nutritional assessment or if you’re challenged with blood sugar issues and experiencing severe cravings, I’m happy to help ease your struggle with natural medicine support.

~Dr. Hart

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Breasts

Preventing cancer is a top health concern for everyone today. Only 5-10% of cancer patients today have any genetic predisposition (inherited risk from their family members) for developing cancer. For the remaining population, we have to consider what are the predominant factors causing cancer today.

Carcinogens are chemical substances known to cause cancer. The majority of the most concerning carcinogens are human made. They are products developed for agriculture (pesticides & herbicides), building materials, products in our cosmetic industry and more. Avoiding cancer requires a keen awareness of what carcinogens are and making conscious choices to utilize products without them. It also requires adding protective measures for the carcinogens we cannot avoid; those that are in our air and water as pollution and often in our homes.

But isn’t our government keeping us safe? In the United States, chemical safety is determined by the manufacturer of a compound evaluating effects over short periods of time, then reporting to the EPA/USDA depending on how it is classified. This does not identify long-term toxicity or lifelong accumulation. While we know that cigarettes cause cancer, smoking 1 cigarette will not and so it was said that cigarettes were safe for many, many years. However it is now widely acknowledged that cigarettes do cause cancer as a result of long-term use. Similarly, chemicals that have been allowed in our food system due to short-term safety are increasingly recognized to have detrimental long-term effects.

Even more complex, when scientists determine chemical safety it is by evaluating 1 chemical at a time. However an individual’s exposure in one bite of food can often contain a dozen or more chemical additives, all working together. One aspect of medicine that is becoming an increasing concern is the use of “polypharmacy,” or the unknown effect of using more than one drug at a time. While we might evaluate the risks and benefits of prescription drugs in this way, we need to be paying even closer attention to the combined affect of carcinogens in all areas of life.

Examining the entire list of carcinogens is completely overwhelming, so this series will highlight a few to steer clear of and great resources to check out too. Let’s start with those that may be in our refrigerators and our backyards:

  • Atrazine, Organophosphates and Telone – these chemicals are just a few of the compounds used in conventional agriculture today that are known carcinogens. Consuming foods produced with these chemical additives are individually known to cause cancer. In most conventional farms and food products, multiple chemicals are used simultaneously. What are we to do?
    • Consume organic foods, especially from small farms that are not adjacent to conventional agriculture regions is your best bet to keep these cancer causing substances out of your body.
    • Request restaurants you enjoy to opt for organic foods, as it’s not just what we buy at the grocery store that matters.
    • Ensure children are given organic food for their packed lunches. Many of these compounds bio-accumulate, which mean they grow in the body exponentially and cannot be removed. Presently public school nutrition does not provide food free of carcinogens.
    • Learn about natural pest control and organic fertilizers to grow your own healthy food.
  • Glyphosate the active ingredient in RoundUp – this controversial compound and product have been proclaimed as safe by the manufacturer Monsanto since the 1970’s. However, increasing evidence from researchers around the world acknowledge the broad health impacts and carcinogenicity of not only glyphosate but the combined effects of the ingredients in the common weed killer products.
    • Learn to appreciate a natural appearing environment for your region. Permaculture and xeriscaping employ practices that mimic the health of the ecosystem to create beautiful landscapes.
    • Utilize old-fashioned techniques – pull the undesirable weeds out!
    • Explore natural products for weed killing; salt, vinegar and certain essential oils have proven effective at destroying undesirable plant species.

No matter your race, gender, class or intellectual expertise we are all at significant risk for developing cancer living in the US today. For most individuals, by the time a cancer is large enough to be identified, it has already been growing steadily for 10-20 years. There is no better time to focus on prevention, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

For individualized recommendations on reducing your cancer risk and enhancing the preventative measures in your life, visit Stillwater Clinic & Apothecary where we offer resources, education and individualized medical care to support your long term health.

 

References:

Anand, Preethad et al. Cancer is a Preventable Disease that Requires Major Lifestyle Changes., Pharm Res. 2008 Sep; 25(9): 2097–2116.
BreastCancer.org, “Your Step By Step Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Breast Cancer” handbook.
Cressey, Daniel.  Widely Used Herbicide Linked to Cancer  The World Health Organization’s research arm declares glyphosate a probable carcinogen. What’s the evidence? Nature magazine on March 25, 2015.
Dalamas, Christos and Ilias G. Eleftherohorinos. Pesticide Exposure, Safety Issues, and Risk Assessment Indicators. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 May; 8(5): 1402–1419.
National Institute of Health, Department of Health & Human Services: Environmental Health & Toxicology Database; https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/index.php
Samsel, Anthony, and Stephanie Seneff. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013 Dec; 6(4): 159–184.
Seidler, Ramon PhD., the former Team Leader of the EPA’s Genetically Engineered Organism biosafety program. Interview; http://gmwatch.org/en/news/latest-news/17456-the-time-for-glyphosate-based-herbicides-is-over

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