I remember the first time I saw this term, I was like what the heck is wheat belly? But I thought I had an idea. I thought that they were talking about that bloat that so many Americans have in the belly area. I was right, but there is more to the story than just the physical effects that wheat (aka gluten) can have on your body.
Wheat and its by-products are used in thousands, make that millions, of American foods today. Even the most innocent looking product on the shelf, say a sauce or something like that, can have some form of gluten in it. Only the jarred and canned products that proclaim “GF” or Gluten Free don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients.
So why all the fuss about gluten? Isn’t whole grain wheat something that is healthy? I mean how many times have we all been told that eating whole grain breads and bread products is better for us? So how could this plant based food that is fiber rich in its raw form be bad for us?
Well, not everyone believes that gluten is bad for you. Let’s get that straight right now. However, there is a growing legion of followers for the GF or gluten free diet. And many of the followers of this diet claim they’ve never felt better, and never found it easier to control their weight – and their “wheat belly”.
Wheat belly is the term used for the visceral fat that is wedged in around all the organs of the belly area. Often times, we get “guts” here when we gain weight, and some think that eating wheat-containing products is a major cause of this type of serious fat accumulation.
As you likely know by now, belly fat is very dangerous. It is linked to a host of problems such as heart health issues, diabetes and other conditions that are life threatening, so reducing fat in this area is vital if you want to stay healthy and vibrant late into life. Fat in this area really puts a lot of stress on the body. It makes you pump more blood, and puts more stress on the heart than it can take, and over time this wears on your heart and overall circulatory health.
Certainly, some people truly are gluten sensitive and need to eradicate it from their diet. That is a different story. But there are many now who follow the GF way of eating that aren’t truly gluten sensitive, at least not in the medically identifiable sense or a diagnosed sense such as celiacs disease.
They just find that following this diet makes life a lot easier for them. The proponents of the GF diet cite our modernized varieties of wheat as the reason behind a multitude of problems, including obesity, diabetes, skin problems including accelerated aging, and more. I must say, it’s quite an interesting and sometimes very compelling argument that I’ve read with much fascination because some of it really does make sense.
However, you must know that eliminating wheat from your diet in every sense is VERY hard in today’s society. Eating out becomes very difficult. As I mentioned before, even the most seemingly innocent foods often contain some form of gluten. It is often used to thicken sauces and other products, and you may even find it in foods like ice cream and thin sauces such as teriyaki and soy sauces in some cases!
Canned soup is usually out of the question since it often contains it as a thickening agent too. There are a lot of foods that are out of the picture unless you specifically purchase them as GF. However, I would suggest trying the diet if you think you might be sensitive to gluten for a week. If you feel much better and instantly begin to feel thinner and your “wheat belly” goes down pretty fast, well then you just might be on to something.
While the main concern behind many lipsticks was that several brands – popular brands too – contained shocking levels of the toxic heavy metal lead, it seems there may be more metals lurking in our lip balms, lip glosses and favorite lipsticks.
This is why I stick to only my all-natural lip balm! I use it WAY too much (several times a day) to be exposing myself to toxins at that level. I’d say I apply my lip balm about twenty times a day at LEAST.
This means that if I were applying a toxic mixture with heavy metals and other highly toxic chemicals to my lips this many times a day, I’d be both ingesting it through my mouth as well as absorbing it through my skin via the lips –a double whammy if you will of toxic absorption.
The typical metals that can be found in most brands tested include aluminum, which as you know is a huge concern in deodorants and antiperspirants as well, cadmium, chromium and about five other metals that registered at levels high enough to cause concern. Especially for the many women who are heavy users of these products.
These metals are often found in lipsticks, stains and glosses that are tinted so that they can retain their color longer, or have a better pigment. However, there are natural stains that can accomplish this just as well without exposing you to the same toxins.
While you do have to keep in mind that these metals are also found in nature and you come in contact with them through the foods you eat, it’s still important to remember that topically applying them is a little different. Ingesting them orally at least means that they go through the digestive process and are somewhat neutralized this way through the acids and processes.
However, when you apply something to your skin (your lips are skin too, and are actually more sensitive than the rest of your skin) it absorbs in full potency, and isn’t broken down as efficiently by the body. This is precisely why such high traces of metals, parabens and other toxins like phthalates and artificial fragrance constituents are found in such high levels in the urine and organs of women and men.
Women are a little more prone than most men to test higher because we are of course the bigger consumer of the health and beauty products that typically contain these types of contaminants.
Aluminum has been linked to a variety of health issues, including various types of cancer and alzheimers among other concerns. Chromium has been linked to stomach lesions and various types of bowel and stomach cancer. Lead is very toxic to the brain and organs, and is even more toxic to children since their bodies are still developing, so any of these types of products shouldn’t go anywhere near a child.
The best way to avoid these toxins is to buy all natural lip products. Preferably products with absolutely no preservatives, no artificial fragrances or flavors and labeled as not having any toxic metals and by-products as mentioned earlier. Typically this means shopping online or in a specialty health store for your products, but that’s better than the alternative, especially if you love using lip products.
As you probably know if you follow any natural or holistic news circles and updates, there is a growing and very legitimate concern that even if you are very careful to avoid pharmaceutical drugs in your own life, you still are likely drinking them – and lots of varieties of them – in your tap water.
It’s a gross and squeamish topic for me to talk about, but our tap water is simply recycled sewage water that people have used to flush the toilet, brush their teeth with and more. This means that it contains a lot of traces of things that are typically found in the human body.
Since there are a staggering amount of people on drugs today in our society, there are a TON of various types of pharmaceuticals found in the urine of men and women. Even after it is purified in water processing plants, this water still contains trace elements that we don’t want in our bodies.
Some of the most common drugs found in our tap water are hormones from different types of birth control pills, high blood pressure medications, antidepressants and other common drugs that the general population is on. So indirectly, you are being subjected to massive amounts of drugs in your drinking water if you’re not filtering it before you drink it.
Which brings me to the next important topic. My husband and I drink filtered water only. We are always sure to have a fresh and working filter in our refrigerator at home so when we get the water from the spigot, it’s fresh tasting and has most of the nasty stuff removed such as chlorine and heavy metals.
But what of the drugs that are in the tap water it is filtering? Do these filters catch some of those trace drugs and filter them out? Well, the good news is that the most common filters do have some ability to filter the drugs out. However, as they wear out, they don’t filter as much out, and they don’t even filter all the drugs out to begin with.
Apparently the best way to get the drugs out in the most thorough way is to use reverse osmosis. This is a very particular method of removing contaminants from drinking water as it uses the most precise and stringent way to get the bad stuff out at more of a microscopic level.
If you can’t afford a water filter (at least for the drinking water) like this, then there are actually some bottled water options that use the reverse osmosis process to purify their water. Two of the biggest brands of bottled water actually use reverse osmosis as a part of their purification process.
Those are Dasani, which is bottled by Coca Cola, and Aquafina, which is Pepsico’s brand of bottled water. If you see the words “spring water”, then it may not be purified via filtration, but it also may not have the same contaminants that our recycled water does since it comes from a pure spring source.
You have to be very careful with “spring water” because many studies have shown that spring water is nothing more than common tap water, so it may not be as pure as you think. It’s best to get your water purified in some way through a filtration or reverse osmosis process so that you can ensure you’re at least getting purified water that isn’t as tainted by toxins and drugs and hormones as tap water can be.
It’s funny how the sun has been so misunderstood by the public over the last few decades. People are afraid to bathe in the sun like they used to because there is so much rhetoric about how sunlight exposure causes skin cancer.
People are lathering themselves with so much (usually toxic) sunscreen every day that they not only don’t get enough sunlight to make enough vitamin D to stay healthy, but they are also likely exposing themselves to the toxins that are often found in so many traditional sunscreen brands.
There is a growing trend, thankfully, the realistically looks at the risks of sun exposure. The good news is that you can get sunlight every day without getting cancer as long as you follow a few simple rules. The bad news is, excessive UV exposure really is a dangerous thing. However, not getting ANY sun at all is believed to be the more evil of the two thanks to a more open minded view and growing body of evidence.
One of my favorite benefits of getting sun is that it really seems to drastically improve my mood. As soon as my eyes filter the sunlight’s rays, it’s almost like a complete psychological switch goes off in my head. I’m not sure if it is really all just a mental thing, like you literally talk yourself out of a foul mood because you think that traditionally people are supposed to be cheerful and bright when the weather looks the same.
And so what if it is all a “placebo effect”? If getting just a few minutes of direct sunlight on your face and in your eyes make you feel better in an instant most of the time, isn’t it valuable either way?
Research has shown that when sunlight, or even artificial sunlight, enters the eyes, it produces a reaction in the brain that is akin to “waking it up”. It enlivens the nerve endings, brightens the mood, and generally makes someone feel more positive.
This is why so many people undergo SADD light therapy in the winter when the sunlight is sparse in most areas of the world unless you live in the tropics or down south. There are even record sales of these “light boxes” that purport to help you with mood by stimulating neurpathways in the brain to believe that there really is sunlight penetrating them.
Furthermore, a secondary effect of sunlight on mood is that vitamin D has proven a highly valuable remedy against depression and mood disorders. People who are clinically depressed or suffer chronic anxiety are often diagnosed with low vitamin D levels. Coincidence? I think not!
Even artificial light can have this awakening effect. Recent research has shown that the backlighting on so many of our portable tablet devices can keep us up when we don’t even want to be up. The recommendation has been made that people who are having trouble sleeping do not use their iPads and so forth in bed or right before bed time because the artificial light stimulates and enlivens the brain into action, making it harder to sleep and wind down.
There are so many yummy, savory Asian food sauces out there that are ready-made, sitting on the shelf and ready for you to pour them over your favorite dishes like chicken stir fry, a delicious veggie stir fry, brown rice or vermicelli made with brown rice (very good, just tried it), or whatever other healthy “base” you choose as your carb base to pour it over.
I’ve been on a kick where I’ve been adding a couple different sauces to my brown rice and veggies, which I’ve been finding is such an easy and filling lunch for me to take to work. I’ve also given up meat and dairy for a few weeks, so it’s one of the things I love to eat when I’m on a vegan kick.
Trying to shed some pounds after my horrendous weigh-in at the Doctor’s office a few weeks ago. Long story, but it’s the most I’ve ever weighed in my adult life and since I’m going on forty years old, it’s now or never to drop it and get back to being comfortable in my own skin.
The problem with so many of these ready-made bottled Asian sauces is that they often contain a ton of bad things. The worst in my opinion is the MSG, or monosodium glutamate, which is notorious for causing a plethora of health issues. Not only that, it also makes you even hungrier by spiking blood sugar and making it unpredictable.
The other big bad ingredient in many of these Asian cooking sauces is high fructose corn syrup. This is a concentrated sweetening and flavoring agent that also spiked the blood sugar and screws up the whole metabolism by making you hungry when you really shouldn’t be.
Then you have a LOT of sodium. This is pretty typical in Chinese food and other Asian staples, especially the processed stuff. My advice is to go to the natural foods stores as these will have a better selection of healthier sauces. Your grocer may offer some too, but you really have to be a diligent label reader to avoid the nasty ingredients that often inhabit these savory sauces.
Some of my favorite types of sauces that offer maximum flavor are teriyaki sauce, sweet chili sauce, pineapple chili sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce (in both plain and ginger), General Tso’s sauce, peanut sauce (fattening, but if used sparingly not bad), Sriracha sauce (another hot chili paste, used sparingly it adds a lot of spice and flavor), and sweet and sour sauce.
These are really great when used sparingly, and if you read the labels and make sure they’re healthy then you can use them a little more without feeling too guilty about it. I’ll admit it, I’m a saucy cook. I like lots of sauce, and that’s been a challenge for me to cut down on since sauces often add lots of calories.
If you pick the right sauces, without the MSG and high fructose corn syrup, or astronomical amounts of sodium, then you can at least rest easy knowing that your sauce addiction isn’t adding too many calories or unhealthy ingredients to your plate. Sauces really do add a lot to your dishes, and they are part of the spice of life that makes food interesting and fun to eat, so it’s important that you still get to incorporate these into your diet – have some fun with it!