Holistic Habits by Cheryl A. Mothes, Ph.D. Natural Health Nutrition Counselor (5)

Many times, we have discussed the link between eating plant-based foods and reducing the risk of cancer which is well established in large studies across the world. More fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains can not only prevent cancer but help with cancer patient survivorship. The foods we choose have an impact on our gene expression – extremely exciting! And of course, we ALL want to avoid cancer, but it may be hard to know where to begin. There are some “easy wins” you can start with: swap refined grains and cereals for whole grains; trade out milk for soy, oat or almond milk; add at least one portion of green, leafy vegetables a day; use fruits for snacks instead of processed salty or sugary foods. On this meatless Monday, try one new recipe that is plant-based and make it a marvelous, cancer-fighting Monday too!

Did you know that we are only as old as our arteries? What we do to preserve artery functioning as we age is super important – and we know that a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle leads to artery damage and the cardiovascular disease that ends us. Studies show that a single (yes, just one) high-fat meal cripples artery function within hours of eating it, compared to no change in our arteries after a low-fat meal (and it is not the carbs in the high-fat meal because the low-fat meal in the study was Frosted Flakes). Just when your arteries start to recover a few hours later…. it is lunchtime! If we are constantly hammering our arteries, it is no wonder cardiovascular disease is our #1 killer. On this terrific Tuesday, plantify your plates with naturally low-fat, high nutrient foods that heal your arteries.

Yesterday we mentioned that only one high-fat meal cripples artery functioning. Studies show it does the same to our lungs – it causes a spike in inflammation of our lung tissue. And as the fat in our blood goes up, so do our endotoxin levels – the components of bacteria that accumulate and damage our cells. It is recommended that we consume twenty-five grams of healthy fat a day (from avocados, nuts and seeds) but we Americans consume, on average, eighty grams a day. What are some easy wins to reduce your fat consumption? First, start looking at labels and nutritional information from restaurants you visit. Then swap out high-fat foods for lower-fat options, like almond milk instead of real milk, and fruits or veggies and hummus for snacks instead of things in wrappers. Improve your health on the shelf and you will feel better and live longer. Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

Many of us do not realize that maintaining proper hydration is one of the most IMPORTANT measures we can take to benefit our health. We are so much more dehydrated today than we were 30 years ago because of how we live – and the risk of everyday low-grade dehydration is high. It causes problems for all our cells and can lead to joint pain, stiffness, brain fog and a host of other issues. Eating hydrating foods and drinking water is the key – but how much? We should “rest in the restroom” every two to three hours throughout the day, and the color of our urine should not be completely clear (we are over-hydrating if it is) nor dark or orange in any way – it should be a pale yellow. You can live longer, and stronger by being more hydrated!

Yesterday we talked about how many of us have this below-the-surface problem of being dehydrated. How can we prevent it, to help our cells function at their absolute best? Start each morning with a glass of water, and another one an hour before every meal. Throw in a green tea bag but do not drink soda’s- they dehydrate us. Consume one or two smoothies every day with greens and fruit in them and eat real foods at every meal (where nothing, especially
sodium, has been added). Real foods are naturally hydrating and loaded with great nutrients as well. Lastly, chia seeds are incredibly hydrating so add them to your overnight oats or smoothies – they create a gel that is like a storage battery for water, as do vegetables. Plantify your plates to increase your hydration and have a fantastic Friday everyone!

And an oldie but a goodie!

On this meatless Monday, we are going to talk about our genetic makeup, that “legacy” that our parents and grandparents bestow upon us – many of them good, some not so good. Genes are parts of our DNA that determine certain traits. There are myths about our genetic makeup – first, many times our health is not related to our genes at ALL – it is not the DNA our parents gave us, it is how they ate, moved, socialized – their lifestyles that they passed onto us. Second, if we did indeed receive genetic challenges from them, we think we can try and overcome them through better lifestyles alone. Most of us are unaware that we can CHANGE our DNA – we can modify our own genes to counter family history and stop the legacy! Stay tuned and have a marvelous Monday!

Yesterday we talked about the myths regarding the genetic code our parents give us – that most times it is not their genes but their lifestyle habits we inherit, and that if we did get genetic problems from them, we cannot change anything about it. This is the exciting news for everyone who has been burdened with concern about their family genes – we can CHANGE our DNA! It sounds incredible, but we can activate dormant GOOD genes that help prevent disease and turn off – it is called down regulating – BAD genes that cause cancer, heart disease and other chronic illnesses! WOW! Have a terrific Tuesday everyone and come back tomorrow to learn more!

All week we are focusing on genes – the fact that most of what we think are “genetic issues” – my mom was a diabetic, my dad and grandma had cancer – are not passed onto us at all genetically, but because they were a result of lifestyle choices. If we do not own those lifestyles, we do not own those genes. But we also know from research that we can change our genes. Yes, we have the power of the plate to change our destiny and a plant-based diet was found to cause more than five hundred genes to exchange their expression in ONLY 3 months – meaning good genes ramped up and bad genes diminished. So, on this wonderful Wednesday, consider improving your wealth of health by eating more plants, and no meat.

We have talked all week about our genes – that we can change our genetic code, our DNA, and its legacy through lifestyle changes and HOW does that work? At the very ends of our DNA strands are what we call telomeres, and they are so important – they protect our chromosomes from being damaged. Those protective caps seem to shorten and protect us less as we age – here is the exciting part so drum-roll please. Research found that those who shifted to a plantbased diet LENGTHENED THEIR TELOMERES BY 10%! Those who continued their Standard American Diet had telomeres their shortened by 3%. We can live longer and live stronger by improving our DNA with plants!

We have talked all week about fixing our genes – yes, we can! – by lengthening the protective telomeres on the end of every strand of DNA through nutrition. There is an entire field called epigenetics that studies how behaviors and our environment affect our genetic material They are finding increasingly that by reducing the environmental factors that put us most at health risk – sugary and processed foods, pollutants and heavy metals, and lack of exercise and stress, we can have positive impact on our genes. Foods that shorten our telomeres are red meat, white bread, sweetened drinks saturated fat, and alcohol. Those that lengthen them are whole grains, veggies, nuts, beans, seaweed, fruits and coffee. So, add those to your health on the shelf and have a fantastic Friday everyone!

Recent Posts