A Dangerous Disguise: Watch Out for These 4 Toxic Ingredients!


Anything that you consume, even water which we all need to survive, can be toxic in excess amounts. However, as you’re surely aware, some foods are much healthier than others. In most cases, natural ingredients are safer than synthetic ones, but many times foods that may appear to be healthy contain toxic ingredients that could contribute, not just to weight gain, but life-threatening health conditions. Make sure you check the food label on any processed foods and find out where everything else is sourced from to avoid these four toxic ingredients!

Trans Fats

Several years ago, trans fats were linked to heart disease, so manufacturers rushed to remove trans fats from their products and display on their food labels that there were zero trans fats. However, there’s a catch: food manufacturers are required by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to list the amounts of trans fats their foods contain per serving, but if the product contains less than 0.5 grams per serving, the manufacturer can list it as containing zero trans fats. So you could be consuming trans fats without even realizing it! Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are the main culprits of trans fats, and they are found in processed foods such as peanut butter- giving it its rich, creamy taste but increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease at the same time. It’s important to carefully read food labels and look for all-natural products that don’t contain partially hydrogenated oils.

Heavy Metals

No, I’m not referring to Metallica or Iron Maiden here, but metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium which can be found in trace amounts in your found and are detrimental to your health. Lead, which can make its way into water supplies, is toxic even in the lowest concentrations. To safeguard against lead poisoning, it would be smart to invest in a water filter/filtration system. Mercury also poses a serious health risk and it is most commonly found in seafood such as tuna. In a high enough dose, it can cause brain and nervous system damage, and it is also toxic to the kidneys, liver, and heart. Pregnant women should be especially cautious about their seafood intake because mercury can pass from the mother to the fetus. Arsenic, which can be found in rice, is linked to a variety of health issues such as vascular disease, cancer, cardiovascular and central nervous system disturbances, and bone marrow depression. Cadmium, which is associated with bronchial and pulmonary irritation, kidney stones, and liver damage, can be found in a variety of foods including vegetable oils, potatoes, shellfish, baked goods, and chocolate.

Artificial Sweeteners

I’ve discussed before how bad artificial sweeteners are for your health! Some may claim to be a healthier alternative to sugar, but avoid these anything containing sucralose, saccharin, aspartame, and acesulfame-K like the plague because they contribute to gut dysbiosis, poor carbohydrate tolerance, weight gain, increased hunger, stress, accelerated aging, cognitive decline, and headaches.

Herbicides and Pesticides

Lastly, be careful about the produce you consume and avoid processed foods. It’s best to eat organic whenever possible, because genetically modified (GM) foods or genetically modified organisms (GMOs) raise a variety of safety concerns. Of all the GMOs grown worldwide, 80% are engineered to tolerate the toxic herbicide glyphosate, or “Roundup,” which is classified as a probable human carcinogen linked to Alzheimer’s disease, depression, autism, and Parkinson’s.

The point of this article is not to scare you away from all food, but rather to steer you away from processed foods. Consumed in moderation, none of these toxins will contribute to immediate health issues. What’s important is avoid your exposure to them as much as possible. It’s easy to reduce your exposure by eating natural, minimally-processed foods.

Be Aware of Giant Food Manufacturers

It’s a daunting fact that a lot of people don’t know, but thousands of food items that you commonly find at the grocery store are actually produced by a handful of giant multinational corporations. As you can imagine, these companies are not in the food industry to improve the overall health of the population or educate people about eating right. No, the only thing these 4 or 5 food giants care about is, you guessed it, making money, making a ton of money.

The way these food manufacturers are able to make so much money out of fake food is by adding a bunch of preservatives so the food lasts a really long time in store shelves and by adding a lot of additives that in the end will make the consumer addicted to the food. I know this sounds crazy, but let me take you step by step on how the process works:

Let’s say that that one of these huge food companies wants to come out with a new food product (as if they need anymore, right?). The first thing they will do is commission their food chemists to come up with two versions of said food product. The instructions are simple:

-Make sure the food product has a long shelf life.

-Make the food products as desirable as possible to every individual across the board.

So how exactly do the chemists complete these two requests? Well, first they load the product with a bunch of preservatives and test them out to see which one does the best job of holding the product up through a series of aging procedures. Then, to make the food product “desireable,” which is another way of saying “make it addictive,” chemists experiment with food additives like trans fat, caffeine, MSG, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors, etc. Now something you should keep in mind is that these kinds of food additives alter your brain chemistry. That’s why you become addicted and begin to gain body fat. They also function in a way that you can binge on them and yet not feel super full, so you continue to eat the food product. And lastly sweet food products, for example, can actually alter your tastebuds, thus making you crave sweets more than your body really wants them.

So once the food chemists come up with their best concoction, the food manufacturer then focus on luring consumers through attractive, yet deceiving marketing that will undeniably pull in buyers. Once the food product versions are ready, the food manufacturers then test them with consumer groups and figure out which version of the commissioned food product is most addictive, and will in turn make consumers buy it no matter what. Sound evil enough to you? The end result of this process: consumers have yet another unhealthy treat to binge on and food giants continue to deepen their already deepened pockets.

I know this is a horrible reality to take in, and if this is new news to you I am sorry to break your bubble. But it’s important we educate each other of the unfortunate realities that are taking place in the food industry. We are so used to massive food production that we don’t realize what we are putting in our bodies. I bet there are a lot of food products in your house that you may think are healthy, but unfortunately are tapping into the criteria I just mentioned. So please do me a favor, go home and discard any of these kinds of food products. They are everywhere from sweets, lunch meats, prepared foods, and the list goes on. It’s time you retrain your brain, your tastebuds, and your body and cut the unhealthy addiction these food giants have introduced you to! Also, watch the movie Food Inc and continue to learn about this topic!


Condiments That are Making You Fat


Condiments might seem like a great way to enhance the flavors of your food or add a little spice, but did you know that some condiments are actually filled with additives that make it a lot harder for you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight? These additives can do this in a few ways:

  • They can interfere with a hormone called leptin that tells the brain when you are full.
  • They can increase the fat-storing hormone called insulin which causes calories going in to be converted into fat instead of being stored as “muscle energy.”
  • They can also make us addicted to them by altering brain chemicals called neurotransmitters making us have more cravings and less control.

Additives to Avoid

It’s important to know what these additives are and which condiments more commonly contain them, so you know what to look out for next time you’re loading up the shopping cart. Here are 7 of the worst additives you should be removing from your diet as much as possible.

  1. Stripped Carbohydrates. These are usually listed as sugar, flour, enriched white flour, white flour, enriched bleached flour, enriched wheat flour, wheat flour, semolina flour, white rice, maltodextrin, glucose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), fructose, sucrose, dextrose, and levulose.
  2. Artificial Sweeteners. These are usually listed as NutraSweet (aspartame), Sunette (acesulfame K), and Sweet ‘N Low (saccharin.)
  3. Added Caffeine in soft drinks and energy drinks. While a few cups of green tea or coffee each day is fine, you should be aware of when you’re consuming a little extra caffeine in that energy drink you bought on the corner.
  4. Trans Fats. Trans fats are also listed as partially hydrogenated oils.
  5. MSG. MSG is also labeled as monosodium glutamate.
  6. Excess Alcohol. One to two drinks per week is okay, but you shouldn’t be exceeding that, especially in one night.
  7. Excess Salt/Sodium. This is the norm for a lot of chips, crackers, canned food items, pickles, various cheeses, pretzels, condiments, and salted nuts.

Common Offenders

Now that you know what to look for on the label next time you shop, here are some top offenders you might need to remove from the pantry:

  • Kroger and Lawry’s Marinades: contains high fructose corn syrup.
  • Hunt’s Tomato Ketchup / Heinz 57: contains high fructose corn syrup.
  • Kraft’s Light Asian Toasted Sesame Reduced Fat Dressing: contains MSG.
  • Kraft’s Thick N Spicy Barbecue Sauce: contains MSG.
  • Hidden Valley’s Ranch Dressing: contains MSG.
  • Prego’s Italian Sauce Traditional: has 10 g of sugar per half cup.
  • Old El Paso Taco Seasoning: contains hydrogenated oils.
  • Reduced Fat (or regular) Jif Peanut Butter: full of hydrogenated oil and corn syrup solids.

Healthier Alternatives

What should you buy instead?

  • Heinz Organic Tomato Ketchup. This is a great choice over the original because it doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup.
  • Curley’s Famous Hot and Spicy Barbecue Sauce. This delicious BBQ sauce doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup or MSG in it.
  • Newman’s Own Salad Dressing. When it comes to salad dressings, you want a low sugar version that doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup.
  • Low Sodium Kikkoman’s Natural Soy Sauce. Their low sodium version contains 575 mg per tablespoon, while their regular contains 920 mg. That’s less than half the amount.
  • Lucini’s Hearty Artichoke Tomato Sauce. It only has 230 mg of sodium and less than 1 gram of sugar.
  • McCormick’s Original Taco Seasoning. Doesn’t contain any hydrogenated oils.
  • Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter. It contains only two ingredients: peanuts and salt.

It might seem like this is a lot to remember, but it’s actually pretty simple. As a rule of thumb, try to choose the low sodium and reduced sugar versions of food when available. Keep an eye out for high fructose corn syrup, MSG, and hydrogenated oils. And most importantly: if you’re reading a label and you don’t understand what the ingredients are, it’s probably not a healthy choice.

Battle Your Belly

Dieting may be one of the hardest tasks we set out to achieve. With all the promises made and foods tossed out, the thought of it all crashing down because of one night of binging is enough to turn some people off of the concept entirely. Cheating on a diet is never something we want to do, but food cravings may be one of the hardest to fight. When you’re starving, anything and everything looks good. So what do you do when those cravings rear their ugly head during your diet? Below are some excellent tips for combating your cravings.

Josh BezoniCuisine Construction: When preparing nutritious and calorie friendly foods, it’s best to remember what fills you up along with what keeps you slim. For instance, a 400-calorie meal can be healthy and filling, but one small burger off McDonald’s dollar menu packing the same caloric quantity is sure to leave you hungry. Making yourself a salad stuffed with veggies and topped with a protein like chicken or fish can fill you up for a fraction of the calories. This kind of meal management will not only help you lose weight but leave you feeling energetic.

Fatten Your Meal: Out of the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat) the most useful and filling is fat. Adding a splash of healthy oils, avocado, organic butter or nuts can dramatically extend the life of your meal. By adding controlled fats, you can stay fuller for longer, and never sacrifice the integrity of your newfound diet.

Snack Safely: When picking foods to help you through your mid-meal munchies, reach for a slow-digesting food. These dietary dreams can keep you from reaching for a snack that doesn’t fit your diet, or fight the urge to binge when your next meal swings around. You may be asking yourself “where can I find such magical foods?” Look no further than your local grocery store, and you’ll find plenty of healthy fats, whole-food proteins, and high-fiber veggies.

For more on the subject, click here.

Cut The Coffee

For many, the first cup of coffee every day is a signal to start the day. A staple at any breakfast table, a fresh cup of coffee could be considered as American as apple pie, but like its pastry counterpart, coffee may be hiding darker secrets within the cup. Coffee and breakfast once thought to be the greatest of breakfast allies, have since been proven to be enemies.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for a reason. Your metabolism when you first wake is at it’s most ravenous. Able to devours carbohydrates like no other point during the day, large breakfasts are excellent for setting your metabolic rate for the day, and fueling up for a productive evening. Coffee, especially heavily caffeinated coffee, impairs the production of blood glucose, and hinders your glucose tolerance. Compounded by increasing your insulin sensitivity, coffee basically throws a wrench into your body’s most productive time of the day.

If you’re worried about giving up your cup of joe, don’t worry just yet. Scientists were able to discover that the culprit was not the coffee, but the caffeine-

Josh Bezonipacked into each cup. A recent study conducted on ten healthy men, where half were given caffeinated coffee and the others were given decaf, showed a marked difference in blood glucose management and insulin sensitivity. Insulin, as we know, directly contributes to the burning of fat. The more insulin in our system, the more a body will store fat, making it very difficult to combat an expanding waistline.

Beyond switching to decaf, a preposterous proposition to the millions who look to their morning fix for fuel, there are other options. If you need your morning rocket fuel, try drinking your coffee without consuming carbohydrates. Though you’ll need to compensate for the lack of food in the morning, you’ll at least have what you need to get out the door.

For more on the subject, click here.

Three Foods You May Be Eating Incorrectly

Selecting the right foods is very important. But we have to sure to educate people the best way to consume their food. As an adult, I am sure that you are confident in your ability to eat food. However, academic research has confirmed that the manner in which we eat a range of popular  food items impacts their nutritional value and composition. You are probably wondering the exact food items that we are talking about as you want to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck. Let’s break it down for you.

Greek Yogurt: With the introduction of Chobani and other popular greek yogurt products, this food item has exploded in popularity across America in recent years. However, there is a legitimate chance that you are consuming it in a way that lessens its nutritional value. Imagine the process of eating greek yogurt for a second. First, you peel back the lid to see some water that is sitting on top of the yogurt. A lot of people go ahead and pour this liquid out, but don’t make this mistake! This liquid is actually packed with whey protein  and is chock full of amino acids, calcium, and important vitamins. Simply mix it in with the yogurt so you are getting these aforementioned fat-burning benefits with each bite you take.

StrawberryStrawberries: How do you prefer to eat your strawberries, sliced or whole? Well, I sincerely hope it is the latter. This is because the oxygen exposure that sliced strawberries experience can corrupt their nutritional content. If you can’t eat your strawberries in any other way besides sliced, be sure to do the cutting minutes before enjoying these delicious fruits. The last thing you want to do is cut them and store them away. This can greatly reduce their fat-burning power!

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a bit of an anomaly compared to the majority of other fruits and vegetables. Can you guess why? You are probably aware of the fact that fruits and vegetables are largely more nutritious when consumed in their raw form. However, tomatoes, which are filled with the phytonutrient lycopene, are the opposite. The process of cooking tomatoes engenders an increase in the lycopene count!

Why Whole Eggs Are Better Than Egg Whites

Whole Eggs vs. Egg Whites

Most people don’t remember exactly why or when they formed this belief, but somehow they got into their heads that whole eggs are “bad” for you, and egg whites are the healthiest part of the egg to eat. While there is nothing necessarily “wrong” with egg whites, the yolks are actually where the majority of an egg’s nutritional value is found.

Egg yolks contains more than 90 percent of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants present in a single egg (including calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B6, folate, and B12, and 89 percent of the panthothenic acid.) While it’s true that the yolk contains all the fat, it’s healthy, hormone-balancing fat (i.e. fat that is not bad for you), plus it also contains all of the carotenoids, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A, E, D, and K. Furthermore, the yolk contains about half of the each egg’s protein, and it’s necessary to balance out the amino acid profile found in egg whites. So why would anyone get rid of the yolk?

The egg white is no slacker, providing over 80 percent of the magnesium, sodium, and niacin found in eggs. Eggs are meant to be eaten in their entirety. Whole eggs are quality nutrition and one of the most inexpensive, nutritionally rich foods around. Even if you buy organic, free range eggs, they come in at less than 50 cents for every 10 grams of protein, plus all those valuable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

At this point you’re probably remembering a key concern you were told to look out for: cholesterol. Most people worry that eggs will increase their cholesterol if they eat them, but most people also don’t really understand how cholesterol works in the body. When you eat more cholesterol, your body actually responds by producing less internally. If you avoid cholesterol in your diet, your body will respond by making more. Bodies are generally trying to create an environment of consistency. It fights change, so you might be surprised to find that your cholesterol levels will remain pretty constant over a wide range of dietary intakes. Plus, there are a ton of studies that have shown that whole eggs actually increase the HDL, or “good,” cholesterol for a more optimal, healthy cholesterol ratio.

As far as the distinction between eating free-range vs not: research from Mother Earth News, suggests that eggs from cage-free pasture-raised hens provide a drastically improved nutritional profile than standard eggs. Compared to typical supermarket eggs, the eggs from pasture-raised hens may contain:

  • 1/3 less cholesterol
  • 1/4 less saturated fat
  • 2/3 more vitamin A
  • 2 times more Omega-3 fatty acids
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 6 times more vitamin D
  • 7 times more beta-carotene

So what are you waiting for? Go make yourself an omelette from some tasty free-range eggs!

Autumn Health Tips

With September right around the corner, many people are beginning to break out their light jackets, and sweaters. Autumn is many individuals favorite season thanks to the crisp air. Not only the crisp Fall air, but also the perfect weather to be outside running, and working out. Besides the workouts, the family activities accessible make Autumn the ideal season for many.

The first and move obvious way to make the most out of Autumn is to be outside. With the foliage and activities, there is something for everyone to do. There is apple picking, pumpkin picking and carving as well as the beautiful foliage which makes a stroll in the park a scenic activity. All over the country, Autumn provides nice, cool temperatures which makes great for hiking, biking, jogging.

Even though with Winter approaching, Autumn still offers a great deal of sunlight, not as bright out as summer, but still enough to be outside after work. Just because it may be dark out, that is no excuse to not make sure you get your daily workout in. If running outside is not preferred, jogging inside or getting a membership to a gym which is opened late can be the key to a great Fall/Winter body.

A great tip for really making the most of the Autumn season is to layer up. Layering when outdoors looking to get a good workout can be quite helpful. Layering will heat the body up quickly and allow your body to sweat and get a jumpstart on the workout. This is relevant when playing America’s Fall sport, Football. Starting out with layers will allow the body to get going fast and help gain the most from the work out. There is nothing more satisfying then getting to play a past time favorite while enjoying Autumn weather and getting fit!

The Truth about Organic Produce

Many grumble about the ascension of organic food, but few know the truth. The popularity of eating organic food has exploded over the last decade or so. You are probably well aware that there are, or at least people say there are, benefits to choosing organic food over the alternative. However, you are perhaps confused as to what constitutes organic food and why it is better for you. You also may have questions about how organic is made and why this process, in turn, raises the prices for organic goods. Josh is here to illuminate the issue and explain everything you will need to know about organic.

First let us dive in and look at the definition of organic. According the United States Department of Agriculture, certified organic vegetables and fruits must be produced without the utilization of conventional pesticides, ionizing radiation, bioengineering, synthetically produced fertilizers, or sewage sludge. The requirements for meat are a little different, but we will leave that for another day. Let’s just focus on organic produce here.

Organic Produce - Farmer's MarketResearch has supported the notion that this organic produce his healthier and better for you than the alternative. Specifically, certified organ food has been found to possess a higher level of mineral, vitamin, and phytochemical content as well as being more nutritive in general. Put simply, organic produce has higher levels of the really great stuff, and far less of the potentially detrimental things for your body.

The downside of organic food, as many would point out, is that it will most likely carry a higher cost if you are shopping at a regular supermarket. The difference between standard vegetables and fruits and the organic variety can be steep. The solution is quite simple, however. When shopping for organic food, avoid your regular grocery store. Instead, you will want to purchase a “share” of a season’s harvest at a farm located near you. These are referred to as community supported agriculture or CSA. You will be on the receiving end of more fresh organic produce than you know what to do with. In order to discover a communist supported agriculture farm in your area, you can visit localharvest.org

Another route to procuring fresh and cheap organic foods is to simply visit your town’s farmer market.

Nutrition Tips To Healthy Lifestyle

Working out and having a well balanced diet is key to a great, healthy life. For many people, working out comes easy, and diets are the tough part. Balancing both equally to provide a healthy lifestyle can go a very long way to ensuring a nutritional lifestyle. There are also other things throughout the day which can help improve the bodies nutrition.

One thing to help is to always stay hydrated. Drinking fluids early and often throughout the day can drastically improve health. Drinking water, and other carbohydrates often is important to sustain a healthy life, waiting until you get thirsty is not the goal of any day. It is normal to have eight glasses of water each day. Going above and beyond is a great thing. Working to reach these goals daily can help any workout or diet tenfold.

When working out, it is common to loss a great deal of electrolytes, replacing these is important, in moderation. Sports drinks are important when playing sports, thinking these when not working out can lead to extra sugars in the body which are not needed. But replacing these electrolytes after a competition or event is of utmost importance.

Proteins should naturally be apart of any diet. It is said that consuming roughly 1.5 grams of protein to every kg in the body is average and healthy. Which means, a 150 pound man would consume just under 90 grams of protein each day. Having this much protein is great, but making sure to not overdue it is even more important. It can also lead to eating fats which the body does not need.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. You should not stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician.