Posts by Healthy Jasmine

B is for Basil

Posted by on Apr 5, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

B is for Basil

B is for Basil! This is one of my favorite herbs, so rich, flavorful and versatile. Basil is part of the mint family and there are over 60 varieties that fall into three categories: sweet, purple and bush. It is packed with nutrients being rich in Vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting. Manganese, which supports healthy bone structure, bone metabolism, and helping to create essential enzymes for building bones. It is also a good source of copper and VitaminA. Health Benefits of Basil: Considered one of the healthiest herbs, basil has unique health protecting benefits. The unique array of active constituents called flavonoids found in basil provide protection at the cellular level. Since basil is a great source of Vitamin A (through its concentration of carotenoids such as beta-carotene), it not only protects epithelial cells (the cells that form the lining of numerous body structures including the blood vessels) from free radical damage, but also helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol in the blood stream. A study done at Purdue University  found that basil “contains a wide range of essential oils rich in phenolic compounds and a wide array of other natural products including polyphenols such as flavonoids and anthocyanins.” Our body craves foods and herbs that are rich in these compounds to help keep the body at its optimal health.        One of my favorite ways to use fresh basil is to make my Pumpkin Seed Pesto. It is allergy friendly and is a crowd pleaser each time I make it. I have made it in my gluten free pasta salads and my Gluten Free Spinach Pesto Pizza topped with Goat Cheese   What is your favorite way to use basil?...

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A is for Astaxanthin

Posted by on Apr 4, 2016 in Blog, Healthy Eating | 0 comments

A is for Astaxanthin

  While I am a few days late on the #AtoZChallenge, but there is still plenty of the days in the month that I will not miss out on this fun opportunity to blog my way through the alphabet on vitamins, minerals and herbs. I am excited to share with you some really great info this month on one of my favorite topics and the importance to know the difference between quality supplements and synthetic ones. Let’s go ahead and get started with the letter A, is for Astaxanthin.  I first read about this super antioxidant on Dr. Mercola’s website. He is someone I have been following for over a decade now. What I have learned about this amazing antioxidant is it’s ability to support the body in many unique ways.  Where is Astaxanthin found? Astaxanthin is found naturally in orange and red fruits and vegetables as well as dark leafy greens, but mostly from lobster, crab, crawfish, Wild Pacific sockeye salmon, red trout, red sea bream, algae, krill and arctic shrimp. Wild Pacific sockeye salmon is the best source. This is because astaxanthin is found predominantly in marine life. A unique form of microalgae called,Haematococcus pluvialis is what these particular Pacific marine life eat. Once this micro algae is consumed, its intense red pigmentation results in these animals having red or pink flesh, or outer shells. (Fun Fact: While we don’t eat flamingos, they are born white, but turn pink because they eat foods with astaxanthin). What is Astaxanthin good for? It is literally good for every cell in your body from head to toe. It has been touted to INTO your muscles, your heart, your eyes, your skin and helps support and protect your cells to keep inflammation at bay, the same way it protects the algae cells. It works in and out of the the cell, protecting both the fat-soluble and the water-soluble parts of cells. This is a big deal since most antioxidants only protect one or the other.  How powerful is Astaxanthin?                   It’s a potent Ultra Violet B absorber and reduces DNA damage. In fact, some Hollywood actresses use this as their natural sunscreen protection. Eating fruits and vegetables that are rich in red and orange color helps protect the skin from UVB damage. UVB from the sun is what makes the skin burn, hence eating foods rich in red and orange keep the skin from burning. (this is why the cleaner and healthier your diet, the less you are likely to burn) It crosses the crosses the blood-brain barrier AND the blood-retinal barrier. Beta-carotene alone cannot cross over. It is important for both young and old alike to protect their brain from free radical damage. Our brains are made up of 75 percent water and is the fattest organ in your body, consisting of at least 60 percent fat. Our brains uses 20 percent of the total oxygen in your body. Eating good fats and antioxidants that actually crosses both barriers to support a healthy response is vital to keep our brain from many aging diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Let’s not forget eye health such as macular degeneration, while supporting your entire central nervous system.      Astaxanthin studies are showing that daily supplementation is ideal for those wishing to prevent cognitive diseases and maintain general brain health and has numberous benefits for those wishing to protect their brains as they age, specifically after the age of 40. Watch out for the imposturs:  While research is still going to show how beneficial astaxanthin is for our entire...

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Why PARCC Testing Is An Option

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

PARCC testing is next week for our school. The more I am reading online, from blogs, other parents and public education teachers, the more I feel better with our decision on why my daughter is opting out of PARCC. What I have also learned that most didn’t realize that PARCC is an option. So yes, they can opt have their child opt out of the test altogether. Here is why you may want to consider opting out too. I have yet to talk to one teacher, in the city or in the suburbs that fully supports PARCC (some say it needs improvement, some schools don’t have computers, so kids are at a disadvantage taking an online test). “Everyday curriculum at most schools does not prepare them for what they encounter on this test.” says another teacher in the same forum. (Unless your teacher is doing 3-hour study sessions on Saturday mornings. My child is not a robot and memorization does not equate to learning…so, no thank you)   2. In a Facebook forum I am in, one teacher stated this: “I teach 3rd grade; the first year the kids have to take it (or really anything like it). It’s awful. I have kids panicking, crying, begging me for help during the test. It’s completely unnecessary and useless. There will be topics on the test that we haven’t even covered yet. It doesn’t close any gaps, if anything it just makes them more it more defined.” Sounds like that is PTSD for kids 3. PARCC is at best a litmus test to see if Common Core is working…it is no way to see if they are “college ready”… there is no test anywhere that provides an objective measure of progress toward college-and-career readiness…none and being told this is what it will take is not true. Creators of the test never intended it to be used in this high stakes fashion. It is ANOTHER standardized test in a year full of tests and steals actual instructional time. It is not an accurate measure of my child’s successes. The results do not come in time to address deficiencies…We can better use that money and time that is being spent on PARCC and put it back into the schools. It is not secret that the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago are in major financial troubles. (We really need to do a better job of voting people into office on both sides). 4. Thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act, it preserves the mindset that says that standards, testing and accountability are the keys to student success. That is not what I want my children to learn about success…success comes from failure, making mistakes, being persistent, not being perfect, working hard, remaining humble, being a servant leader, having a servant’s heart, using your words wisely (and oh yes, being accountable for your actions), etc…not memorizing test answers at best. 5. For the 2015-16 school year 11 states were on board to administer PARCC… Only 32% of public school students are in states that administer PARCC/Smarter Balanced, down from 46% last year. 27 states have chosen an assessment other than PARCC/SBAC. Only 6 states plus DC still using PARCC, so that means 5 states dumped the test since Sept (I didn’t need Common Core to do the math either…). So It makes me wonder why the other 44 states are not fully participating or not participating at all? Why should my child waste her time taking a test that is failing in its own system? What value does that teach her? I’d...

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The Uproar on Flavor Enhancers

Posted by on Aug 9, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

This past week a series of four undercover videos leaked to the media left me beside myself; the vile practice of Planned Parenthood selling aborted fetuses, absolutely disgusted me. Yet, oddly, I saw more posts in an uproar over the killing Cecile the lion than this horribly unjust treatment of the unborn lives of children. The lack of heart and compassion towards human life has broken me. The last video released showcased how fetuses are dissected to sell off organs including but not limited to liver, kidney, heart and brain. As I watched, I was in complete disbelief. On a side note, humans have been using animals for food and clothing throughout our entire existence. I firmly believe animals should not be tortured or killed inhumanely; consequently, humans that commit such malicious acts should be punished to the fullest extend of the law.  I watched the interviews with the CEO of Planned Parenthood on ABCNews and by in large not impressed with her coached responses and deflection. (Miss that interview? Watch it here) For those watched the videos, the proof is in the pudding. Now let me acknowledge, I understand the videos have been edited, esp. for time-sake. And for your time-sake, I am going to cut right to the chase as well. While I am sure, those doctors and clinicians are remorseful, profiting from fetal tissue sales is wrong, and yet it continues to occur.  I am not here to argue pro-life/pro-choice; my goal is to bring attention to what is happening to the aborted fetuses. Abortion is a very polarizing issue, but beyond that debate, there is something far more inhumane that needs to be changed, irregardless of your political views. Profiting from selling human body parts is illegal. Yet it is still happening. So where do these fetal parts go? The second part of this answer might shock you. 1. Pharmaceutical companies.   2. Food companies.  Did you know a company by the name of Senomyx is a big purchaser of aborted fetuses. Senomyx manufactures and tests food flavors, including HEK 293 (HEK stands for Human Embroyonic Kidney) – cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce receptors that ultimately enhance flavors in our foods. So, just who is Senomyx anyways?  “Senomyx is an American biotechnology company working toward developing additives to amplify certain flavors and smells in foods. The company claims to have essentially “reverse engineered” the receptors in humans that react for taste and aroma, and that they are capitalizing on these discoveries to produce chemicals that will make food taste better, depending on the flavor they search to achieve, chemicals and natural flavors may be used as well as proteins and cells obtained from human aborted fetuses (http://www.lifenews.com/2011/03/29/company-uses-fetal-cells-from-abortions-for-artificial-flavors/) . PepsiCo, Cadbury, Kraft, Starbucks, Solae, and Campbell are just a small share of their client list. Senomyx develops patented flavor enhancers by using “proprietary taste receptor-based assay systems.” These receptors have been previously expressed in HEK293 cells. Senomyx disclosed they are “Utilizing Taste Science Innovations to Discover & Develop Novel Flavor Ingredients for the Global Food & Beverage Industry. Senomyx uses proprietary technologies to create new flavor ingredients that provide nutritional and/or cost benefits while maintaining the taste desired by consumers. We have Discovery, Development, & Commercialization collaborations with global food, beverage, and ingredient supply companies, some of which are marketing products that contain Senomyx’s flavor ingredients.” Curious who Senomyx does this for? You’ll be surprised to see some household brand names you probably know. PepsiCo, who also owns Tropicana, Quaker Oats, Frito Lay, Gatorade, Starbucks iced drinks, Doritos, Cheetos, Ruffles, Naked Juice, etc., signed a four-year, $30 million agreement in 2010 for research and development (R&D) with Senomyn. Nestle, who also owns brands like Coffee-Mate, Carnation, Ice...

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How to Pick the Perfect Protein Powder

Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Corn Free, Gluten Free, Healthy Eating, protein shakes | 1 comment

How to Pick the Perfect Protein Powder

I get quite a few questions about protein powders. Like everyone else I had my fair share. However, what people fail to realize is whatever your body doesn’t use up, it will get stored in your fat cells. And while low carb, paleo, SCD diets are all fine, we still have to be careful of higher protein diets. See my posts on Paleo Diet Good for Most and The Positives of Paleo). I want to teach you how to choose a healthy, high quality protein powder while disclosing the truth on protein powders. I think there is a time and place for protein powders, just not every single day. I also want to educate you how to read your protein powder labels so you can make a wise decision whether or not. After posting and asking which ones are the best I want to help you better understand what to look for in a protein powder. Most are junk and full of synthetic GMO junk, but there are some other good clean brands out there. To Whey or Not Whey? You wan to buy a whey protein concentrate powder that is a high-quality whey protein. It must be cold pressed, derived from grass-fed cows, and free of GMOs, chemicals, and sugar. This type of whey protein and how it is made contains all the essential amino acids, keeps its nutrients in tact and has higher nutrient value than commercial processed protein powders. When whey protein is heat pressed, it denatures the protein. Whey protein Isolate is a denatured protein, your body cannot process this form of protein (whether soy or whey). Since isolates are heat processed, it destroys all of the amino acids needed to help your body absorb protein properly. What often happens is companies will fortify the nutrients and vitamins back into the powder often with synthetic vitamins and sweeten it with junkie sugars such as sucralose, fructose and some other sugar alcohol that ends in “ol.” If you are not sure about how the protein powder is made, call the company and ask what type of dairy they use and how do they process it. Soy? Not so much.. Soy is a very, very hard legume to digest and most of us cannot digest it. It is a close cousin to peanuts, and some who have serious peanut allergies may need to stay away from soy too. Soy is best digested when it is fermented in the forms of miso, tempeh and natto. The problem is about 95% of soy in America is mostly a GMO crop. I recall back in my more active fitness days, I would drink my strawberry soy protein shake with my soy milk thinking I was sooo healthy…all it did was make my stomach more bloated and distressed. Protein powders should be easy to digest, not cause more distress. When the body is presented with a synthetic isolate, the body may need to draw on its stores of cofactors needed to better absorb the vitamins and minerals, namely proteins, carbs, fats, bioflavonoids, and enzymes, but this is not always the case. And men, soy may decrease your libido and can cause temporary infertility because it decreases testosterone. Women, it will mess with your thyroid too because of its high estrogen content. (You can read more here on The Whole Soy Story). My opinion, stay way from all forms of soy protein powders. Pea Protein and Rice Protein Makes a Perfect Protein If you are like me you want something that is gluten, soy and dairy free, but finding  one that tastes good...

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