Diet and Weight Loss

Meat Substitutes

October 22, 2013 Written by JP

Recently, a reader asked for my opinion about so-called meat substitutes. Since the topic of vegetarian alternatives to meat is rather complex and nuanced, I’ve decided to write about my answer on this site. But, before I offer my perspective, I want to make it clear that I’m exclusively focusing on the nutritional aspects of the issue. I’ll leave the ecological and philosophical arguments for other commentators and forums.

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Tagatose Sweetener

September 17, 2013 Written by JP

Tagatose is a sweetener currently making its way onto the U.S. market. And, I want you to know more about it before it starts showing up in your local health food stores and markets. Personally, I’m interested in tagatose because it’s all natural, low glycemic and may even impart some significant health benefits. In addition, it’s a prebiotic, meaning that it selectively promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in as well, look for products with names like PreSweet and Tagatesse.

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Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Nutrition | 3 Comments

Reconsidering Honey

July 12, 2013 Written by JP

At this very moment, my opinion about honey is in a profound state of flux. On the one hand, I’m well aware that honey contains a relatively high percentage of fructose – a form of sugar that has increasingly been linked to adverse health consequences, such as fatty liver disease and obesity. But, why is it that so many learned, holistic advocates recommend it and use it in recipes? I believe I’ve figured out the reason why and have now come to terms with the rightful place honey ought to hold in my own diet.

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Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink | 3 Comments

Garcinia Cambogia for Weight Loss?

July 4, 2013 Written by JP

A few nights ago, I was on Twitter answering some questions, when I was besieged by an onslaught of tweets promoting Garcinia cambogia, a southeastern Asian fruit extract, as a potent weight loss agent. Rather than blow off these messages as commonplace “spam”, I decided to investigate. To be clear, I already knew all about Garcinia C. After all, it’s been on the US market as a dietary supplement for over 15 years. As far as I was concerned, it had come and gone with little fanfare like most other supplements of its kind. But, I wondered if perhaps there was some new, exciting evidence that was spurring this current buzz.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Nutritional Supplements | 2 Comments

The FODMAP Diet

June 6, 2013 Written by JP

What if I told you that many seemingly healthy foods including apples, avocado, cauliflower and yogurt may be causing gastrointestinal problems in a sizable percentage of the population? If your reaction is one of disbelief, I don’t blame you. After all, these wholesome foods are a good source of dietary components (fiber, healthy fats, nutrients and probiotics) which are typically thought to benefit the digestive system and its function. However, in recent years, a group of researchers have come up with an unconventional theory that has been increasingly supported in the scientific literature. It now appears that otherwise healthful foods, which contain specific types of carbohydrates, may be largely responsible for digestive complaints that are often attributed or classified as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Specifically, I’m referring to foods rich in Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides and Polyols or FODMAPs.

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Lupin Flour Review

May 30, 2013 Written by JP

Sometimes solutions for modern day problems can be found be revisiting the past. For instance, the Incan and Roman empires were both well acquainted with an ancient food source collectively known as lupins. In North America, Native Americans also utilized lupin kernels as a traditional ingredient. Today, lupin based products are enjoying a resurgence because they supply certain dietary components which may be useful in managing diabetes, heart disease and obesity. What’s more, the spotlight on lupins has expanded beyond theoretical benefits. Over the past few decades, researchers have decided to scientifically test the health effects of lupin flour in various at-risk populations.

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Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Heart Health | 3 Comments

Fermented Soy Research

May 23, 2013 Written by JP

Twitter is one of the mediums I use to spread the good word about evidence-based natural medicine. There, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of meeting people from all corners of the globe who share an interest in holistic healing. Recently, I was contacted via Twitter by Dr. Han Bok Kim of Hoseo University in South Korea. In our correspondence he was kind enough to share his ongoing research on Chungkookjang (CKJ), a fermented soybean extract that is well known in Korea, but relatively unheard of in the United States and elsewhere.

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The Fast Diet

March 19, 2013 Written by JP

Recently, a book bearing the title “The Fast Diet” was released in England. Thus far, sales of the book, co-authored by Dr. Michael Mosley, have been brisk and are likely to follow suit in the US where it was just published a few weeks ago. The underlying message of The Fast Diet is that adopting a 5:2 eating plan, in which you eat regularly for five days and semi-fast for two days, will reduce overweight and various risk factors associated with advanced aging, diabetes and heart disease. In the medical literature, this style of eating is commonly referred to as “intermittent fasting” (IF). Since the media and public have taken an interest in IF, I thought this would be a good opportunity to review the most current findings about this practice and a related form of dieting known as alternate day fasting (ADF) which calls for a semi-fast every other day.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Nutrition | 4 Comments

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

March 12, 2013 Written by JP

The clients I work with subscribe to a wide range of views about alternative and complementary medicine. Some are receptive to trying virtually any evidence-based modality I suggest. For them, I’ll sometimes recommend practices as diverse and unconventional as reflexology, Senobi breathing and Tai Chi. Other clients are more comfortable utilizing therapies that are generally accepted in the conventional model of modern health care. Progressive muscle relaxation, structured exercise routines and therapeutic diets fall into this category.

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Cashew Milk Recipe

October 31, 2012 Written by JP

Homemade cashew milk is a valuable resource for anyone who’s interested in improving hydration, nutrient density and/or promoting weight gain. The first two objectives are fairly commonplace. Many people admit that they don’t drink enough water or eat enough whole foods. The issue of healthful weight gain isn’t as prevalent a concern. However, it does apply to a significant portion of the population for various reasons ranging from weight loss associated with disease states to eating disorders.

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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Recipes | 2 Comments

Paleo Bread Review

October 24, 2012 Written by JP

I’ve long believed that there is a psychological component that partially explains why natural therapies are met with resistance in the modern health care environment. The current medical paradigm is centered on advanced technology such as gene testing, nano-pharmaceuticals and stem cell treatments. Therefore, the idea that traditional practices, used by our distant ancestors, can be even more important than modern technology in promoting health is often perceived as impossible.

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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Product Reviews | 2 Comments

Healthier Cranberry Juice

September 25, 2012 Written by JP

Last week a slew of studies were presented at the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research 2012 Scientific Sessions. Among them, was a trial funded by Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. – a leading manufacturer of cranberry juice. The details of the study reveal that the daily consumption of “low calorie” cranberry juice moderately reduces blood pressure (by about 3 mmHg diastolic and systolic) as compared to a placebo beverage. But, before you go out to the market to stock up on low-cal cranberry “cocktails”, consider the details that weren’t included in the mainstream press converge.

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White Kidney Bean Extract

August 20, 2012 Written by JP

What if you really could have your cake and eat it too? I’m not asking you to consider a profound philosophical concept, but rather posing the question quite literally. The dream of many dieters is to one day be able to eat high carbohydrate foods without familiar consequences such as high blood sugar, an unhealthful lipid panel and weight gain. Until recently, this was universally accepted as “pie in the sky”. However, nutritional scientists have uncovered certain food based extracts that may, in fact, offer hope in this arena.

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Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Nutritional Supplements | 6 Comments

Holistic Headlines August 2012

August 1, 2012 Written by JP

When I consider the concept of holistic health care, a hierarchy comes to mind. If you imagine it as a ranking system based on importance, here’s what it would look like: diet, regular exercise/physical activity, mind-body techniques or stress management practices and the judicious use of dietary supplements. The food we eat, the movements we make and supplements we take to “fill in the gaps” present a scenario much like taking care of a valuable piece of machinery. How you care for your car is a good analogy. Without driving it from time to time, gas and the addition of various fluids, sooner or later it will stop working in peak form. However, unlike machines, the human existence is complicated by the influence of emotions and the stress response.

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Diet and Weight Loss, Exercise | No Comments;

Is Maple Syrup Healthy?

July 23, 2012 Written by JP

Natural sweeteners, whether agave nectar, honey or stevia are often perceived and/or represented as reasonably healthy, especially when used in moderation. Support for this theory typically stems from two prevalent beliefs. The first asserts that natural substances are more compatible with the human body than synthetic counterparts, such as aspartame (Equal), saccharine (Sweet’N Low) and sucralose (Splenda). Secondly, there are claims that some natural sweeteners are actually good sources of nutrients. In both instances, modern science can help “separate the wheat from the chaff” when it comes to sweeteners of all kinds.

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Posted in Diabetes, Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink | 2 Comments

Mustard Health Benefits

July 11, 2012 Written by JP

One of my favorite condiments is organic Dijon mustard. I slather it on most of my sandwiches – peanut butter and jelly not withstanding. As with most of my other culinary and dietary choices, my decision to use this ingredient is based on the fact that I enjoy the flavor, while hopeful that it will impart certain benefits. If you’ve never thought of mustard as a health promoting ingredient, then please read on.

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Posted in Diet and Weight Loss, Food and Drink, Nutrition | 6 Comments