More on Natural and Artificial Sweeteners – The Good, The Bad, The Downright Dangerous

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Information About Herbs, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Health | Posted on 28-08-2015

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Sweeteners 2

In the last post, we went over many types of natural sweeteners. The sweeteners that we discussed all had many health benefits, in addition to their sweetening powers. This week we are continuing in that vein. Some of these sweeteners are available in Kuwait and some aren’t yet available, but if enough people ask their local supermarkets or natural food stores to supply certain items, I’m sure they will be very happy to accommodate. After all, they are in business to make money and keep their customers happy and satisfied, aren’t they?

better stevia

Click here to buy Better Stevia from Amazon.

Stevia

This natural sweetener has gotten a lot of press lately. It is derived from a plant found in South America. It has actually been used as a natural sweetener for ages, but has only recently become popular as a non-caloric sweetener. Stevia is much sweeter than table sugar, in fact in its natural form from 10 to 15 times sweeter than table sugar, and the isolated “sweet” constituent of stevia is actually up to 300 times sweeter! Stevia is widely used as an alternative sweetener in many countries now, Japan being one of the largest stevia growers and consumers in the world. In Japan, stevia is used in many different products. It is also used in other countries such as Korea, China, and more. It is becoming more and more common in Western countries as well. While people have been using stevia for a very long time, there have been studies that indicate some questions with regard to the safety of its use (although Japan, for example, has been using it for over 30 years, with no adverse effects at all), and thus it has been banned in several countries. There are warnings put on it in other countries. This is interesting, because it seems that the bans and warnings the “officials” have put on stevia are a direct influence of the “powers that be” in the sugar and artificial sweetener industry. Not so sweet! Stevia is great for diabetics, as it has been shown to actually help to balance the blood sugar. It also helps to stop the growth of the bacteria that lead to tooth decay. It is said to be good for the digestion, and also to help heal skin wounds, and even to fight dangerous forms of bacteria often occurring in the throat. Some people say that stevia has a “taste”, but others don’t notice anything, so it’s your call. But, I think it’s a good option to try, particularly in small quantities.

rice malt

Rice Malt/ Barley Malt

These two sweeteners are made from sprouted grain. These are both made from the fermentation process of rice or barley, as the case may be. These both contain a fair amount of vitamins and nutrients, including protein, enzymes, B vitamins, Vitamin E, and folic acid, and both have an interesting flavor when used in sweetening. We spoke of brown rice sweetener last week, and these are both very similar in quality and use. Barley malt is generally darker and stronger in flavor, while rice malt is generally lighter and less invasive. These are both sometimes mixed together into one sweetener, and sometimes other grains are added in as well. Both forms are slightly slower to metabolize than ordinary table sugar, but still have an impact on the blood sugar levels, which can be detrimental to diabetics or people on low carbohydrate diets. These are caloric choices, so be aware and plan accordingly.

barley malt

 

Fruit Concentrate/ Fruit Juice as Sweetener

Nowadays in the supermarket you will find fruit or fruit juices used as sweeteners in many ready made products out there. Sometimes sweeter juices will be added to ones that aren’t as sweet. An example of this is with cranberry juice. Also, in foods and food products fruit juices and fruit concentrates will be used to sweeten various items. The problem is that they are the same as using fructose, and sometimes are even more concentrated. Thus, they are not really appropriate for those who are suffering from diabetes or who are on a low carbohydrate diet. Remember that such sweeteners are very caloric, high in carbohydrate, and are also high on the glycemic index normally. The good thing is that this type of sweetener is natural and safe. It is also not table sugar. It is sweet though, and a better idea would certainly be to simply choose something less sweet.

We have now completed our journey into the land of sweeteners, and are now wise and jaded when it comes to which sweeteners we will choose. Think before you choose, and make certain that your choices are informed, safe, and healthy. Every individual is different and your body is not going to be like anyone else’s, so you must make your own decisions based on your own personal level of health and your own personal needs and tastes. Keep these articles on hand so you can refer back to them from time to time. If you didn’t get the chance to read one or the other of the series, just contact me by email and I will send you the rest, or you can always read them online.

(To be continued)…

monkfruit

miaponzo@yahoo.com

What good sweeteners are there for low carb, ketogenic, Paleo eating? (Part 1)

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Medical Terminology, Natural Alternative Diet, Natural Beauty | Posted on 27-08-2015

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sweeteners

 

One of the misinformed dieting fads in Kuwait is using fructose in cookies and cakes and calling it part of a weight loss or low carbohydrate diet. This is part of a campaign in which many companies are marketing various “diet” desserts in bakeries and various supermarkets around the country. The first time I ever encountered this phenomenon here I took the time to call up the so-called “doctor” and discuss it with her. When I asked what sort of sugar substitute was in the desserts, she said fructose. I was quite surprised, knowing full well that fructose reacts the exact same way in a body as glucose does. She informed me that there were some other sugar substitutes as well, but mostly fructose. She argued that it is better than “regular” sugar and is metabolized differently. I, naturally, disagreed and informed her of the correct scientific facts, which we will discuss below. She continued to argue her point, and only after I brought up more and more information did she finally remain quiet, admitting defeat. The worse part is that she isn’t the only person out there who is confused. Although her confusion is inexcusable, (particularly because she is a health professional in the field of dietary medicine), she is certainly not alone.

So, when is sugar not sugar? Never! (That is unless it has been chemically altered, and we will discuss that later). While we have several kinds of sugar substitute, sugar is always sugar, no matter which name you decide to call it, and it has plenty of names. The bottom line is that when the body takes in sugar it reacts the very same way no matter where it was from (unless you have a food sensitivity to beets, for example, in which case you will react to that sort of sugar).

Sugar goes by many aliases, including the following:

*sugar (sucrose, fructose, etc)
*glucose (pure sweetness found in fruits, honey, and vegetables)
*sucrose (table sugar)
*fructose (sugar from fruit)
*saccharose
*(crystalline) solid disaccharide
*cane sugar (sugar made from sugar cane)
*beet sugar (sugar made from beets)
*lactose (milk sugar)
*galactose (found in dairy products)
*dextrose (pure sugar from fruit
*maltose (sugar formed as a breakdown of starches)
*trehalose (sugar disaccharide)
*disaccharide (double molecule sugar)
*monosaccharide (single molecule sugar)
*ribose (kind of sugar found in human cells, often used as a supplement for athletes, particularly body builders)
*white sugar (basically table sugar made from either sugar cane or beets, also known as granulated sugar)
*brown sugar (which is just white sugar with molasses)
*table sugar (pure sugar, normally consisting of one molecule of sucrose and one of fructose)
*castor sugar (super finely ground)
*powdered/confectionary sugar (finely ground)
*fruit sugar (fructose, often said to be absorbed slightly slower into the blood, but having almost the same rating in a glycemic index, which judges rates of use by the blood)
*raw sugar (initial pressing of unrefined sugar)
*turbinado sugar (filtered through wood charcoal)
*muscovado sugar (a type of less refined sugar with some molasses content, thus more nutrients)
*demerera sugar (a type of raw cane sugar, thus more nutrients)
*honey (what bees make)
*molasses (the byproduct of sugar production, full of nutrients)
*corn sweetener (sugar derived from corn)
*corn syrup (sugar derived from corn)
*maple sugar/syrup (sugar/syrup derived from the maple tree, full of nutrients)
*high fructose corn syrup (sugar derived from corn)
(The following are sugar alcohols, which are not supposed to act quickly on the blood, and thus are suitable for diabetics and low carbohydrate dieters).
*sorbitol
*xylitol
*mannitol
(This is one of the newest forms of sweetener. This one is derived from sugar but isn’t supposed to react in the body as sugar).
*sucralose (otherwise known as Splenda)
(There are other artificial sweeteners as well, but we won’t go into them right now).

While each of these sugars is different in a variety of ways, they are still all sugar. While they don’t act on the body in exactly the same way, they are all basically the same in the long run, as they increase the level of sugar in our blood, thereby requiring that our bodies deal with it, which can cause a variety of symptoms including weakness, exhaustion, and worse, in certain cases. In fact, all this hype about fructose and other so-called “diet” sweeteners being healthier looks like it is going to go the opposite way as scientific studies delve into the side effects and detriments of using it. Tune in right here next week to get the low down on what that research is discovering.

There are millions of people out there desperately trying to be healthier, lose weight, or keep their weight at a normal level. I am one of them, and I am certainly one of those people who have tried a variety of sugars and sugar substitutes in my quest to be healthier and thinner. The problem with this is that it is apparently not working. There are several reasons for this, and the main one is that the information that business minded people are giving out is incorrect. It is simply not true! Giving these companies the benefit of the doubt, the probably have good intentions most of the time, but still, regardless of their intentions, millions of people are being misled by false advertising with regard to these sugars and sugar substitutes that are being marketed.

Let’s take the fructose issue, since that seems to be one of the more sensitive ones. Here in Kuwait and all over the world there are people who are marketing fructose as a healthy alternative to sugar. Well, the lowdown is that fructose is just another kind of sugar. In fact it is sweeter than table sugar, and while you need less of it to get your foods sweet, the basic analysis of its use is something you’re going to want to hear.

There are several reasons why fructose isn’t a great idea, even though in some forms it has a lower glycemic index than table sugar (remember in the form of high fructose corn syrup its glycemic index is very high). According to studies that have been done, diabetics and heart patients often have adverse effects from the use of fructose because of how it raises their blood lipid levels abnormally, specifically cholesterol and LDL, which are fats that you don’t want to have, and this is apparently true for diabetics particularly, and in men this reaction is higher than in women. It also increases blood clotting, which is another dangerous side effect, particularly when you are suffering from heart disease or a circulatory disease. Don’t forget that diabetics have a higher rate of heart disease than most other people too, so the use of fructose is definitely a dangerous endeavor for them. Fructose has also been found to affect the natural absorption of certain minerals, including copper, which is important for healthy blood. It has also been linked to the heightened process of aging, and causing the skin to deteriorate resulting in wrinkles, lines and age spots.

Naturally though, practically anything in small enough quantities isn’t going to have an adverse effect on much, but still, quantities can add up when you’re not looking! Fructose and its not-so-nice sister high fructose corn syrup are not diet foods and are implied in many studies showing detrimental effects to our health when we eat them, even for normal weight people.

Did you know that fructose metabolism causes the body to store fat more than regular sugar? Indeed, when it is metabolized in the liver (which is the only place it is metabolized), as opposed to glucose (which is used by the entire body), it is almost completely converted to fat. Also, another interesting fact is that since fructose doesn’t stimulate insulin production, and because of this, it encourages overeating. In fact, over time, it can even create insulin resistance! In addition to that, fructose doesn’t contain even one single vitamin, mineral, or enzyme, and in its metabolism by the body, these things are actually leached from our bodily store of them!

I bet you didn’t know that most of the fructose out in the market today isn’t even derived from fruit, did you? It’s derived from corn for the most part, and corn alone is one of the grains that I always tell people to stop eating when suffering from any kind of health problem, particularly allergies and food sensitivities. It can also be made from beets, sugar cane and other plants. Hmm…. that is exactly where table sugar comes from! In fact high fructose corn syrup has been linked directly to the increase in obesity of children and adults all over the world, due to its high use in processed foods everywhere. It is turning up in foods that don’t even need to be sweetened! And, apparently, according to the research, the fatter you are the worse you are affected by fructose!

So, reading ingredients lists is your first defense. Just don’t buy products containing fructose, corn syrup, or high fructose corn syrup. When you begin reading, you will be surprised at what you will find. High fructose corn syrup is everywhere! You will find it in cereals, soft drinks, bottled and canned juices, fruits, and vegetables, canned foods (such as sauces, soups, etc), grain products, frozen prepared products, prepared spice blends, and more! And you will find tons of it in fast foods, even in the most unlikely places, like in your “healthy” salad dressing, for example!

Now, keeping in mind that some forms of fructose are better than high fructose corn syrup, still the better route is to go as natural as possible. The best idea is to completely cut the sugar out. The bottom line is, if you want high quality, “good for you” fructose, eat whole fruit! You can’t go wrong with a couple pieces of healthy, preferably organic fruit a day. Try to choose fruit with plenty of fiber for the best results.

More on Sweeteners in the next post (stay tuned)… but in the meantime… check out my two favorite natural, safe, GMO-free, sweeteners that can be effective with low carb, ketogenic, and Paleo diets.

xylitol zveet   eryrthritol

 

 

Quick and Easy Way to Get Rid of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Health, Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 15-08-2015

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ibs

Irritable Bowel Syndrome isn’t the most pleasant of topics that we ever attempted to broach. But, there are millions of people around the world who suffer daily from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) (also known as spastic colon), thousands of them right here in Kuwait, and something needs to be done to help them.

If you aren’t sure what IBS is, here are some of the possible symptoms:
• bloating or gassiness (sometimes very severe)
• diarrhea
• constipation
(or vacillating between the two for no apparent reason)
• mucus in bowel movement
• abdominal pain (either in one place or radiating)
• cramping (sometimes severe)
• pain in legs, back, sides
• tightness in chest (sometimes it seems like a heart attack)
• nausea
• headaches
• stomachache
(and more)

In reality, IBS is basically a catch-all term for all those symptoms that were mentioned above, when they don’t have any obvious organic reason. After all the normal testing is done, including barium enema, barium drink, scopes (possibly upper and lower), and more, and nothing noteworthy shows up, the label IBS is attached. IBS can be chronic or acute. There are people who suddenly suffer from certain symptoms, and after testing comes up negative on everything, are diagnosed with IBS, and then soon after spontaneously recover. Others suffer for years and even while taking medication, never really feel much better for very long. Treating IBS is also a challenge for conventional medicine, since it is often merely a diagnosis of the process of elimination lacking the presence of organic evidence of anything else, so how do you treat it? Normally it is only the symptoms that are treated, for example the upset stomach, the gas, and the constipation or diarrhea, often with little or no relief.

Alternative medicine takes a bit of a different view when it comes to IBS. I have been successfully treating IBS for years, with an almost 100% success rate. How is that? My view (along with many other alternative practitioners) is that IBS is basically a result of sensitivities or allergies of one sort or the other. These sensitivities (or allergies) manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including sinus problems, skin problems, migraines, and IBS. So, one way to treat IBS is to treat the underlying sensitivity or allergy. While this isn’t a simple task, it isn’t difficult to do, and there are basic rules that seem to apply to most people and work in most cases

The diet is one of the most important areas to look at when dealing with IBS. Dietary changes are often all that is needed to “cure” the problem. In fact, the elimination of high carbohydrate foods is often all that is required. Foods like potatoes, bread, rice, sugary foods, and more are often the problem. For some reason, it seems that many people simply cannot process these foods and thus, suffer with the symptoms of IBS when eating them. If you suffer from IBS try cutting out these things, along with artificial colorings, preservatives, additives, soy (and its byproducts), dairy (and its byproducts), corn (and its byproducts), tomatoes, high citrus fruits, tea, coffee, chocolate, and anything else that causes discomfort when eaten.

Stress also plays an important part in the manifestation and treatment of IBS. So, keeping your stress levels down is always going to help. Now, while I am well aware that in this day and age, keeping stress low is going to be an almost insurmountable task, it can be done, nonetheless. You must do whatever it takes, as your health depends on it. So, if you suffer from this or other stress-related diseases lowering the stress in your life is of utmost importance. This can be done in many ways, including decompressing in a warm bath, taking a leisurely walk, reading a good book, relaxing with good friends, meditating, playing your favorite sport, going horseback riding, painting, or whatever it is that you like to do. Don’t keep on saying, “later”, because later will never come.

reflexology tutor

Click HERE to buy this book from Amazon.

There are many alternative therapies that have been found to have good results for IBS, including: reflexology, aromatherapy, Chinese acupressure (and acupuncture), hypnotherapy, ayurveda, yoga, and more. These can be used together or individually, and are often so effective that they can even completely cure the problem.

In our herbal pharmacy, we have many choices, and most of them can be found right in our own kitchens! Herbs like peppermint, fennel seed, anise seed, chamomile, thyme, sage, ginger, rosemary, and marjoram, to name a few. Some other herbs that, while they probably aren’t going to be available in your own pantry, are widely available in the herbal marketplace worldwide are: marshmallow leaf, slippery elm, psyllium husks, ginseng, evening primrose, golden seal, Echinacea, and more.

Here are some good choices for herbal remedies that you can do easily at home:

marshmallow herb

Click HERE to buy marshmallow leaf herb from Amazon.

slippery elm

Click HERE to buy Slippery Elm Bark from Amazon.

psyllium husks

Click HERE to buy Organic Psyllium Husks from Amazon.

kefir starter

Click HERE to buy Kefir Starter from Amazon.

Clearly IBS is a miserable problem that no one wants to suffer from. It is painful and embarrassing. So, for those who suffer, a solution is extremely important. The solution that you look for is right here in the world of alternatives, and right there in your own kitchen!

Email me: miaponzo@yahoo.com

This article first appeared in the Arab Times newspaper in Kuwait in July 200.

Quick and Easy Way To Get Rid of Tinnitus

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Complementary Alternative Medicine, Information About Herbs, Natural Health, Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 11-08-2015

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tinnitus

There are many people who suffer horribly from tinnitus or similar diseases. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone. There are many more where that came from, you’re in good company. The fact is that just because you haven’t heard of it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Indeed it does, and if you aren’t sure, just ask one of the thousands, even millions of people around the world who suffer from tinnitus on a daily basis. In fact there are almost 36 million sufferers in the USA alone!

Tinnitus can be described as a ringing in one’s ears. Some people report hearing other sounds as well, such as popping, whistling, pulsing, screeching, whooshing, buzzing and worse, and that din is going on right inside of your head. Some people even report being able to hear music! Normally, the sufferer is the only one who can hear the sounds, but in a very few people, the noises can even be heard from the outside. The problem can be in one or both ears, and can be very debilitating for some. In certain cases the tinnitus comes and goes and isn’t present all the time. In other cases the tinnitus is there constantly and never goes away. Some sufferers report that the only relief for them from the noise is sleep. Some others don’t even get relief when they sleep! For some people the problem is minor and bearable, but for others, the problem is not as bearable, and in some extreme cases people have even committed suicide because they couldn’t take the noise any more. It literally drove them to death. Now, while the cases of very severe tinnitus are rare, they do happen, and even the simple cases where the tinnitus is mild are cases where the people would do practically anything to get rid of it. The problem is that it’s sometimes not that easy to do.

Tinnitus can have many causes, including sinus problems (like sinusitis, infection, allergy, etc), ear inflammation or infection, various ear defects (like damage to the nerve endings of the ear), exposure to loud noises (this is particularly a problem of young people who go to rock concerts and can even result in permanent hearing loss, so if you know a teenager who listens to his stereo at high decibels (too loudly), stop him immediately, before it’s too late), ear wax build up, high or low blood pressure, diabetes, tension or stress (anxiety), vitamin deficiencies, jaw problems, eye or optical nerve problems, certain medications, neck and head injuries, brainstem or brain injuries, and worse of all tumors (but those are extremely rare). Elderly people tend to suffer more than others.

Once you find out the cause of your particular tinnitus, then you can work on doing something about it. While there isn’t a lot of success in treating it with medications, certain therapies have been found useful and effective for many. For example, if your problem is sinus related, then you can take antihistamines (or other anti-allergy medications). While there are other medications that have been known to be effective as well, most medications aren’t very effective and chemical medicaments are not ideal in any case. In some rare cases surgery is performed, but it isn’t always effective either.

The advice that most doctors give sufferers is to avoid loud noises, get plenty of rest, and eat good wholesome foods (since there is evidence showing that dietary changes and eating certain chemicals and additives can even cause tinnitus). Get plenty of exercise too, because an increase of beneficial activity has also been found quite effective. If you smoke or drink a lot of caffeine or diet drinks, stop!

complete reflexology book

Click HERE to buy this book from Amazon

There are some alternative choices to try when it comes to treating tinnitus. Some are reported more effective than others, but when you are suffering from an illness that is as annoying as this one is, you will generally be willing to try almost anything. Reflexology has been noted to be quite effective against many kinds of tinnitus, even the worst kinds. It appears to affect the workings of the ear and the symptoms that caused it in the first place. Along the same lines acupressure and acupuncture have been noteworthy as well.

Organic Gingko

Click HERE to buy Starwest Organic Gingko Herb from Amazon

Some people have found that taking the herb Gingko biloba is effective, and also vitamins, such as Vitamin A, the B vitamins, folic acid, or Zinc.

Here are some good vitamin choices from Amazon…

 

While tinnitus is a real disease, and affects people physically, hypnosis can be of help in many cases. While it isn’t completely understood why this therapy works, it does, and thus cannot be overlooked when dealing with such a stubborn problem.

Yes, tinnitus is a big problem for those who suffer from it, but there are ways to help it, and hopefully more on the way!

Email me: mia@yournaturalhealtonline.com

This article originally appeared in the Arab Times Newspaper in Kuwait in June 2006




Cure Quick and Easy Way To Cure Almost Any Eye Inflammation with Black Tea!

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Posted by Mia Ponzo | Posted in Quick and Easy Natural Remedies You Can Do At Home | Posted on 08-08-2015

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When I say black tea is a cure, I’m not joking.

It works for humans, horses, cats, dogs, and probably any other animal with eyes that you can hold down long enough to put the tea in!

Black tea is fantastic for any type of inflammation at all.

It is much stronger than any antibiotic that the doctor can give you!

(Of course they don’t want you to know that, do they though!).

Black tea is great for full blown infections, too.

Even if the infections are viral, and just as good for bacterial.

Even if you are suffering from eye allergies, black tea is just what the doctor ordered.

People who suffer from dry eyes and have to put natural saline eye drops all the time (artificial tears) should try black tea to solve their problem.

Black tea works just as well or better.

Black tea is just a miracle eye cure, no matter how you look at it!

Mighty Leaf Tea

Mighty Leaf Tea, Organic Breakfast, Whole Leaf Pouches, 1.32-Ounces, 15-Count (Pack of 3)