There are many reasons to avoid eating food that contains Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) but the most important is to maintain good gut health.
Gut health plays an important role in overall health because more than 75 percent of your immune system resides in your digestive system. A healthy gut fights off toxins, allergens, and microbes, while absorbing the nutrients you need to stay well. Also, your gut and brain have neurotransmitters that send information back and forth. If the messages in either direction in the gut are altered or not received properly, your health can become compromised.
GMOs and Your Health
Your immune system cannot identify GMOs and when detected it sees a threat and initiates an inflammatory response. One of the most critical places where the inflammatory response occurs is in your gut. Your gut is the second brain of your body and if it is continually detecting these threats and sending out signals of inflammation it becomes a chronic condition. Chronic inflammation leads to diseases such as heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and gastrointestinal diseases.
In an effort to make it easier for farmers to control pests in these crops, genetic engineers created something called “BT Toxin.” They took a gene from a bacteria that grows naturally and engineered it into the corn and soy crops so the plants would fight off the insects themselves. After ingestion, BT Toxin attacks the cells of the insect’s gut, essentially causing the insect’s stomach to explode.Both Monsanto (the company that created it) and the FDA assured the public that there was no risk to humans ingesting BT Toxin, claiming the digestive system would destroy the toxin. However studies show the toxin has contributed to the rise in such diseases as leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and even cancer1. Another study showed that the toxin breaks open pores in human cells, which may mirror what it does to the gut of insects.
The good news is that avoiding GMOs can be relatively easy—if you know what to look for.
How to Avoid GMOs
Since GMO labeling doesn’t currently exist in the US it’s important to understand where your food comes from and to avoid processed foods. There are nine primary Genetically Engineered food crops, but their derivatives are in more than 70 percent of supermarket foods, particularly processed foods. The most prevalent genetically modified crops include canola, corn, papaya, soybeans, and sugar beets.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
Since labeling on GMO products is not mandatory, your best chance of avoiding GMO foods is to pay attention to the origin of your food. Eating whole food, grown with safe practices, that’s not processed is so important for maintaining a healthy gut. This in turn will enable you to maintain good overall health as well. Remember: A healthy gut means a happy body!
Ok, first, good for you. There are not that many days where you get to gather around your family’s table with those you may not spend a lot of time with and get to enjoy good food and all that comes with it. It is not a diet day. However it does not have to be the ruin of a diet either. Work it in. That is a big mantra of mine. This is the season of holiday, parties, and extra goodies. Life would be un-enjoyable if you couldn’t ever have these things. That is why we want to have a SUSTAINABLE lifestyle. Not one of binging and abstaining over and over again. If you live a lifestyle of health a day of fun, food and good times is already built in.
So for the meal itself... Yes you can have a little bit of everything. (This goes for all events) But that does not mean 4 pieces of pie, full servings of every carb laden dish on the table, 3 rolls…… you get the picture. It means put “a little” of all you like on your plate. Feel the satisfaction and the fullness. Keep the mindfulness in the picture. If you are on a plan don’t take home the leftovers. It is only a slippery slope until at the time of your New Year’s Resolution you are right back where you started.
For the next month planning for the next party or event is going to serve you well. If you know you have a Christmas party this week or something in the office, plan. Before you go to the party, have veggies or something with fiber, a little fat or protein before you get there. It will allow any consumed alcohol and sugar to be absorbed slower and you won’t be ravenous and willing to eat everything that looks good. Choose the best option when there.
When all is said and done do a form of after party detox. For example:
Have a protein breakfast of about 300 calories. Think oatmeal with raisins. Eggs, or Apples and peanut butter with a piece of English muffin.
Lunch: 350 average calories. Have turkey? Put it on top of a salad with some craisins and walnuts.
Have broth based soups. Lots of veggies and protein, skip the cream.
Dinner: Go for about 500 calories. Again make it a protein and vegetable plate. Greens are cleansing, detoxifying, and full of good fiber which makes you full and satisfied.
Chicken & Zucchini Salad
(Serves 4-6, depending on palm size)
Food types per serving: 1½ Protein (including 1 Nut/Seed), 1 Vegetable, 2-3 oz. Fresh Greens, 2 Oil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh lemon juice
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1¾ lb. zucchini, thinly sliced or grated
1½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 bunch (~8 oz.) spinach, chopped
1 small bunch (~4 oz.) arugula or leafy lettuce
1 small/medium red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Bake chicken (or use leftovers) and cool to room temperature while preparing dressing. In a large bowl, whisk oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Add zucchini; toss to coat, and marinate for about 15 minutes. If chicken pieces are too large, cut into bite-sized pieces. Toss chicken with zucchini mixture, and add spinach and onion. Garnish with nuts, cheese, and basil before serving.
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“How does that make you feel?” That’s the fundamental question isn’t it? The answer to that is often the underlying answer to a lot of questions or issues we are dealing with. How many times is the answer “ugh” or “tired” or STRESSED. I get asked often if I am just a nutritionist. The answer would be no. Why? Because a nutritionist will explain to you the properties of food, how much to eat, what to eat, when….. As a Health Coach and nutritional counselor, we want to get to the feelings of food, stress, and life decision. What is making you feel the way you are, why are you eating what you are eating, and why you are making certain lifestyle decisions that are not working for you? What feeling are you trying to get to or what feeling are you trying to quash?
That is why “how does that make you feel?” is so important. How do you feel when you have to go to the third Christmas party this month and all they are going to have is food you know you don’t really want to eat? When you should be home getting other stuff done? Or you have two projects to get done, a school concert to go to, and holiday shopping? What are you feeling? Stressed???
Do you know what STRESSED spelled backwards is? D-E-S-S-E-R-T-S!!!
You don’t want to reach for them, especially when they are so readily available this time of year. Sugar is a stressor. I know it FEELS good going down, but the subsequent consequences aren’t always worth it. With the quick rise in blood sugar and the energy rush, comes an even bigger crash causing your body to want more and quickly.
Remember that during this time it is just as important, if not more important, to practice self-care. Something to keep in mind during this busy holiday season so that you FEEL good and in control:
1. Make sure you are getting enough sleep.
2. Maintain proper nutrition whenever possible. By trying to choose protein snacks. You can avoid some of those sugar consequences.
3. Get regular exercise. Exercise keeps your body and mind healthy holding stress at bay.
4. Pamper yourself. Get that massage if you can afford the time. The benefits will outweigh the time spent.
5. Have the right mindset. It’s all in perspective right? Instead of stressful situations feeling threatening, make stressful situations challenges. For example, if you know you are having holiday gathering, approach it like you would a project at work. Make a game plan and use time management. If you are hosting Friday night, then plan something to get done each day beforehand so that when the day of comes, you will only have the things to get done that were crucial at the last minute Many food items can be made in advance, things cleaned in advance, table set, etc. PLAN.
I had a client in the other day and we were talking just about this. Why is it that you can prioritize and delegate at work, but it is harder with family? If you make the mind shift and run your party or planning of on like a business it will hopefully go a lot smoother.
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