How Has Canada Food Guide Changed and Has it Helped Us?

Did you know that Canada’s Food Guide no longer includes how many servings of different foods to include daily, but urges people to eat more of some things and less of others?  They say to eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat.  The iconic rainbow of the Canada’s Food Guide recommended eating 4-10 servings of vegetables (1/2 cup serving size) has now changed to a ‘plate’, half of which is now fruits and vegetables.  One quarter of the ‘plate’ should include whole grains like pasta and rice and the other quarter should be filled with protein, preferably plant-based like nuts, tofu, lentils or beans.  They recommend plant-based proteins in order to increase fiber intake and lower intake of processed meats and saturated fats (to reduce risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and colon cancer).  Missing on this new ‘plate’ are the ‘milk and alternatives’ food group which may reduce key sources of many nutrients that many of us fall short of.  Although dairy products are not shown on the ‘plate’ they do say that you can include low-fat dairy products like milk and cheese as a protein source.  Where do fats fit in all of this?

There are no fats showing on the new ‘plate’ however they say that choosing foods that contain mostly healthy fats are the way to get your fats into your diet and are recommended such as nuts, seeds, avocado, fatty fish, vegetable oils and soft margarine.  Soft margarine????  Really?  So, I supposed they are not opposed to partially hydrogenated fats which are essentially trans-fats and are used in most soft margarine.  They do not recommend saturated fats such as fatty meats, high fat dairy products and oils such as coconut oil (old school thinking).  When preparing foods, they recommend using healthy oils such as olive, flax seed, safflower, sunflower, soybean, peanut, sesame, canola and corn oil.  OK, so we know that saturated fats have been given a bad wrap in recent history as being bad for our health, particularly heart health.  Most of this advice is backed by flawed, incomplete scientific studies that ignore the principles of the ketogenic diet which we now have numerous scientific data to back this diet up, and more keep coming.  Also, a lot of the old research that condemns saturated fats failed to consider or take into account the high consumption of carbohydrates alongside the fat intake of the research subjects.  Of course, when you mix high fat with high amounts of carbohydrates, you are just asking for trouble.

I know it’s hard to change your thoughts on what we have been ‘trained’ to believe over the past number of years but if what they say is true in terms of better health, why is obesity a major epidemic right now, especially among children?  We have a lot of scientific data that shows that people who are obese have a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer ad premature mortality than a normal weight person.  This alone has been estimated to cost our Canadian economy by approximately $4.6 BILLION, which is an increase of about 19% from 2000.  So where is the disconnect?  At the same time, we are now gathering so much evidence that the low-carb and keto diet are much healthier for you mainly because you are drastically reducing your sugar intake.  Remember EVERYTHING with the exception of meat and fat is sugar.  ALL carbohydrates (simple and complex) and ALL other foods break down into glucose.  I believe, as many health professionals believe, that sugar is the culprit to ill health.

Ok, so we know that sugary foods such as sugary drinks, donuts, cakes and candy are bad for you but keep in mind, as much as these are very high-sugar foods, they are still bad because it’s sugar.  How does sugar affect our health?  Did you know that an abundance of sugar may cause your liver to become resistant to insulin, which helps turn sugar in your bloodstream into energy?  This means your body isn’t able to control your blood sugar levels as well which can cause type 2 diabetes.  When you eat excess sugar, the extra insulin in your bloodstream can affect your arteries causing the walls to grow faster than normal and get tense which adds stress to your heart and over time, damage to the heart which can lead to heart disease.  Sugar creates a surge of dopamine in your brain (the feel-good hormone) and your brain starts to need more and more sugar to get that same feeling of pleasure creating more and more sugar cravings that are hard to ignore, causing you to eat more.  Eating something high in sugar can give you a quick burst of energy aka ‘sugar high’ by raising your blood sugar levels fast.  However, when your levels drop as your cells absorb the sugar, you may get the ‘sugar crash’ which makes you feel jittery and anxious.  Studies show that a high sugar intake is linked to a greater risk of depression.  Sugar also causes inflammation in the body which is NOT a good thing!  I could go on…

Conclusion?  Canada’s Food Guide is predominantly sugar in one form or another.  Think about it…half of your ‘plate is fruits and vegetables (sugar), one quarter of the ‘plate’ is grains (sugar) and the other quarter of the ‘plate’ is protein which they recommend plant-based proteins (sugar again).  I would like to know what they based their changes on for the new ‘plate’ over their ‘rainbow’ guide (which wasn’t any better).  According to The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine “Canada’s Food Guide needs a facelift.  The blueprint that informs our relationship with food fails to help people make the heathiest choices.  In the midst of an obesity crisis that threatens our health and our health care system, this document is obesogenic.  We need to do better.”  I agree.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this…

PSK: Popular Japanese Cancer Treatment STILL Not Approved in the U.S.

I just had to share this article from “The Truth About Cancer” site written by Ty Bollinger.  I hope you take the time to read this as it is another article about Turkey Tail.  If you are interested in this, you can get the Turkey Tail mushroom from Host Defense.  I take it every day for prevention.  This is a great article!

What the Japanese Have Known for Decades: Turkey Tail Mushrooms Fight Cancer

Polysaccharide K, also known as PSK or by the trade name Krestin™, comes from the mycelium varieties Trametes versicolor (also known as Coriolus versicolor or turkey tail mushroom). PSK has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years under the name Yun Zhi. In the 1980s, the Japanese government approved PSK as a treatment for several types of cancer. By 1984, it was 19th on the global list of the “most commercially successful drugs” (with annual sales around $255 million). In Japan, turkey tail extract also goes by the name Kawaratake.

Today PSK is available for use for cancer patients in Japan. In that country, it is commonly prescribed as a cancer treatment, sometimes in conjunction with more traditional methods such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. In fact, for the Japanese, turkey tail mushroom extract is one of the most widely-used and well-known medicines for cancer. The global research community has studied Polysaccharide K for years, with hundreds of published studies to show for it.

In the United States, Polysaccharide K is still considered an “alternative” nutritional supplement, with limited availability to consumers. In 2012, however, the United States did allow the first clinical trial of turkey tail extract in combination with chemotherapy drugs to see how the combination effects women with breast cancer. The trial was sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with other studies set to follow.

Canadian Researchers Conclude PSK Beneficial for Lung Cancer

Of the hundreds of studies conducted worldwide on Polysaccharide K’s effects on everything from pulmonary disease to digestive tract disturbances to cancer, one of the latest was a 2015 “systematic review” of PSK’s effectiveness and safety on lung cancer. The review, sponsored in part by the University of Toronto and the Canada Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, analyzed results from 28 other studies.

The majority of the studies the Canadian researchers analyzed found that PSK had an effect on inhibiting cancer tumor growth by boosting immune system activity as well as by changing immune system responses directly. The ramping up of the immune system also had an effect on cancer metastasis, or the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.

The review also concluded that survival rates for lung cancer patients were much improved at the 1, 2, and 5 year mark with ongoing use of PSK. Health factors that led researchers to this conclusion were: immune system function, blood function, weight, and cancer-related fatigue levels.

In general, the majority of the studies under scrutiny concluded that PSK can extend survival rates of lung cancer patients. This even included those who are also undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

FDA-Approved Trial for Stage 4 Breast Cancer Patients Underway

Prior to the massive Canadian review, which was published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies, other studies had come to the same conclusion. In 2012, the FDA approved a clinical trial to test the healing properties of Trametes versicolor on Stage IV breast cancer patients.

The study is being conducted in part by Bastyr University in Washington state. As of 2014 reports, researchers claim that turkey tail extract was restoring immune system function for all the women who had gone through radiation therapy. They also found that PSK supplementation was increasing the number and effectiveness of “natural killer” (NK) cells as well as other cytotoxic T-cells.

NK cells are especially important for cancer healing, since it is their job to hunt out tumor cells and destroy them. The researchers also found that the higher the dosage given, the higher the number of cancer-fighting T-cells seen in the women’s immune systems after four weeks of use. There were no noticeable negative side effects of the treatment.

Polysaccharide K Can Affect Cancer Stem Cells

“Shrinking a cancerous tumor may offer temporary relief…but it will not offer a long-term cure if the cancer stem cells are not eliminated,” say researchers at Stanford School of Medicine.

This is, in fact, one of the main reasons why (besides how detrimental it is to the immune system) traditional cancer therapies often do not prevent a cancer from returning months or even years later. According to 14-year-long study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the overall 5-year survival rate for cancer patients who utilize cytotoxic chemotherapy alone is only 2.1%.

Healthy stem cells are needed for the health and well-being of every part of the body’s functions. They can be viewed as “blank slates” that have the ability to turn into many different kinds of cells, such as an organ tissue cell or a brain cell.

Cancer stem cells, on the other hand, are found within tumors (or in the blood for cancers such as leukemia). They also possess the characteristic ability to change form. However, they give rise to different forms of cancer cells and are major contributors to cancer metastasis.

Turkey tail mushrooms may have the ability to destroy cancer stem cells as well. A study conducted in 2011 by the Queensland University of Technology in Australia found that the substances polysaccharopeptide (PSP), extracted from turkey tail mushroom, appeared to target prostate cancer stem cells in mice. Study organizers said that the compound was “100% effective in suppressing prostate tumor development.” The Bastyr University researchers mentioned above have also seen similar results with breast cancer stem cells.

Will FDA Approval for PSK Become a Reality Someday?

Despite the ongoing success of study after study when it comes to PSK, gaining U.S. FDA approval for PSK as a cancer treatment may be difficult in the long run.

“The FDA wants to know what the ‘mechanism of action’ is,” says Bastyr University’s Masa Sasagawa, ND, one of the lead researchers with the university’s ongoing breast cancer trial. “But it’s very difficult to determine, because turkey tail is a natural product and not a single compound.”

Unlike a synthetic drug, mushrooms contain thousands of elements. Each of these elements may have a potential effect on the immune system—and the combined effect of how they all work together will have an effect on healing as well.

Luckily, turkey tail extract can still be obtained in the United States through specific labs and select health food stores. The research confirms that PSK from turkey tail extract has a profound anti-cancer effect. Many experts agree that Polysaccharide K from turkey tail is a must-have for anyone who is serious about fighting cancer.

Should I Get the Flu Shot?

Every year someone asks me MY OPINION on whether or not they should get the flu shot and my answer is always “I personally wouldn’t get one”.  Remember, this is just MY opinion but I’ll tell you why.

First of all, let’s look at how the flu shot, or most vaccines work…  It kind of works like homeopathic medicine.  Homeopathic remedies are made through a process of dilution and vigorous shaking with the a very small dose of some medicinal substance.  Homeopathic medicines are considered to be a type of “nanopharmacology”.  The word “nano” means “extremely small, yet extremely powerful”.  For example, if you are allergic to bee stings, a homeopathic medicine will have the bee venom in their medicine but the bee venom has been diluted and shaken vigorously, and then that dilution is diluted and shaken again, and then that dilution is diluted again and so on and so on, for many times.  In the end, it no longer contains any molecules of the original substance, just the essence of it or the energy of it.  This solution is not enough to overwhelm the immune system and cause a reaction, rather it stimulates the healing system by creating antibodies against whatever specific substance you are using it for.  So, let’s take this theory and apply it to the flu vaccine.  First of all, they have to guess (based on research) which influenza viruses are most common for the upcoming season.  The plan is to protect you against 3 of the most common flu viruses.  The vaccine causes the body to create antibodies against those exact viruses but again it is not enough to overwhelm the immune system and make you sick.

So, all of this sounds good right?  Sure, it makes sense.  I am a big fan of homeopathic remedies so why not the flu shot (if they guess the right flu virus going around)?  The issue for me is the additives and preservatives they put in the vaccines.  Let’s take a look at some of them:

  • Formaldehyde: Added as preservative to inhibit bacterial contamination during the vaccine manufacturing process.  This preservative is listed as a carcinogen (cancer causing agent) and can devastate the immune system (doesn’t that defeat the point?)
  • Mercury: Another preservative to inhibit bacterial contamination. Exposure to mercury causes damage to the kidneys and brain and is associated with autoimmune disorders.  (Note: mercury is also in our amalgam fillings in our teeth, yet you cannot dump mercury on any land because it is toxic?)
  • Aluminum salts: Used to stimulate the body’s immune response to produce antigens against the virus. Aluminum has been associated with autoimmune issues such as MS and neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s disease
  • Other additives may include: Neomycin, MSG, Polysorbate 80, egg protein, sucrose, sorbitol, antibiotics, gelatin

While health authorities say that all of these ingredients are safe (really?), what I feel is that not only are some of these ingredients dangerous, others may cause a weakened immune response (again, doesn’t that defeat the purpose?), allergic reactions, cell damage and overall toxicity.

So now what?

My goal for cold and flu season is to beef up my immune system.  I personally do this by taking lots of daily vitamin C (5,000 mg) and vitamin D (5-10,000 IU) as well as olive leaf extract and medicinal mushrooms such as Turkey Tail and My Community (blend of 17 different mushrooms) by Host Defense.   Also, it is important to keep your stress levels low as high stress levels will weaken the immune system, get plenty of sleep (6-8 hours if possible) and eat a healthy balanced diet.

Kombucha Tea

Have you ever heard of Kombucha?

Kombucha is an ancient beverage that was originally consumed in China more than 2,200 years ago for its detoxifying and energizing properties.  It gained popularity again in the 1950’s and again in the past few years.  But, what is it exactly?  Although it’s sometimes referred to as mushroom tea, kombucha is not a mushroom.  Basically, Kombucha is made from either a green or black tea base.  They add sugar which has been fermented with a type of tree fungus called “Scoby” which is an acronym for “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast”.   They ferment this product for 1-2 weeks which creates a drink that is best described as “a sour apple cider, perhaps with vinegary notes” but manufactures have now found ways to make it taste good by flavoring it with herbs or fruit.  So why would you want this product?  Firstly, anything that is fermented such as kombucha, miso (fermented barley, rice or soybeans), tempeh (fermented soybeans), kimchi (fermented cabbage), kefir (fermented milk), and yogurt are very rich in good bacteria, or probiotics.  Basically, these probiotics grow during the fermentation process.  They take care of your gut, improving digestion and boosting immunity.   Kombucha contains many bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols, which function as powerful antioxidants in the body.  Kombucha, especially when made with green tea, has antioxidant effects in your liver and helps to reduce liver toxicity.  Kombucha has also shown to help reduce blood sugar levels and improve liver and kidney function, especially when made from green tea as green tea itself is beneficial for blood sugars. In short, kombucha has antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-diabetic properties.  You can actually make your own kombucha but you need to purchase the active starter culture (scoby).  Luckily, you can purchase kombucha already made in tasty flavors such as lemon ginger, coconut, green tea, all fruit flavors and many more.  Be sure the label says that it’s a living product.  It may say “raw” and it may list the active cultures on the label.  If you’re cutting calories or carbs, be sure it is sweetened with stevia and not sugar.  Also, be sure it is free of artificial ingredients or preservatives.

The Wonders of Olive Leaf

Most people know about the wonders of olive oil but have you ever thought about the olive leaf?  Olive leaf comes from the leaves of an olive plant and contains an active ingredient (oleuropein) that has been shown to be a very powerful antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory.  The Mediterranean diet has been linked to a decrease in chronic disease, especially heart disease because the belief is that one of the things they eat is olive oil.  However, they not only use olive oil, they also use the fruit and the leaf, and have been using them for centuries.  Olive leaf is anti-microbial.  This means it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-yeast etc.  Because of this it is used for a wide variety of illnesses from the common cold to serious infections.  In fact, olive leaf is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial without any harmful effects on beneficial microbes, which means that it will not induce the types of side effects associated with antibiotics (especially secondary infections).  Additionally, certain types of bacteria are resistant to many antibiotics but these same bacteria remain vulnerable to olive leaf extract.  Olive leaf increases the activity of phagocytes (where white blood cells consume harmful bacteria) keeping our immune system strong and effective.  Olive leaf is very heart protective and helps specifically with not only reducing existing high blood pressure but also helps to prevent high blood pressure.  It has also shown to be helpful against diabetes, cancer, neurological disorders and even arthritis.

What to Look for in an Olive Leaf Supplement

Not all olive leaf is created equal.  It is important to get one that is 500mg and has a standardized dose of Oleuropein of at least 15% or more.  This is the active ingredient of olive leaf and the reason you’re taking it.  You can also get it in liquid form.  If you are coming down with a cold or are fighting any type of infection, take 2 capsules twice daily until you feel better.  Then for a maintenance dose, take 1-2 per day.  This will help you increase the immune system so you are protected against the microbes coming your way, especially during cold and flu season.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms

I’m not talking about the mushrooms that have a psychedelic effect…these mushrooms don’t get you high.  If you’ve ever hiked in the woods, you’ve probably seen lots of Turkey Tail mushrooms around because they grow abundantly on dead and fallen trees, branches, and stumps.  These mushrooms also grow almost anywhere in the world as long as there are trees, making them one of the most common mushrooms found today.  It’s called Turkey Tail (aka Trametes Versicolor) because this mushroom resembles the colorful feathers of a wild turkey.    Turkey tail mushrooms have been brewed for thousands of years by the Chinese as medicinal teas, in fact as early as the 15th century during the Ming Dynasty in China.  The Japanese have also been aware of the powerful health benefits particularly in boosting the immune system and now it is the center of attention for many health professionals for many years.  But why are we interested in this and other mushrooms?  Paul Stamets, PhD and master mycologist (someone who studies fungi) is well known for his strong belief in the power of mushrooms.  He has written numerous books on mushrooms and has been awarded 9 patents with more to come; specifically, he has discovered 9 antiviral molecules that are in the mycelium of the mushroom as it rots in the wood it has inhabited.   Many of his studies are on how medicinal mushrooms such as Turkey Tail, Red Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake mushrooms can prevent and cure cancer.

How do Mushrooms Work?

Turkey Tail mushrooms are powerful immune system boosters due to their content of B-glucans and polysaccharides, as well as proteins, minerals, and vitamins B and D.   It is loaded with enzymes, antimicrobial agents, and antiviral compounds and helps to neutralize toxins in our immune system.  It provides anti-inflammatory properties, restricts blood vessel growth feeding tumors (anti-angiogenesis), causes programmed cell death of cancer cells (apoptosis) and restricts the growth of pathogenic bacteria.  Turkey Tail also improves the ability of the immune system’s natural killer cells to attack cancer cells.  You can get Turkey Tail in capsule form so you do not have to brew your own.  There have been no reports of negative side effects of mushrooms but it is always safe to talk to your doctor first if you are on any medication or are have any health issues.  Personally I take Turkey Tail every day along with another mushroom blend that has 17 different mushrooms in it.  It can’t hurt to be proactive in your health for prevention of disease, rather than wait till you have something that you have to now fight.

Have You Heard of the Keto Flu?

The Keto flu is the symptoms of withdrawing from carbs and a natural reaction to entering ketosis.  Your body goes through changes when it switches from burning glucose to burning fat.  These withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, drowsiness, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, brain fog, sugar cravings and irritability.

All of these symptoms are a completely natural reaction to the changes your body is facing.  Keto flu symptoms usually occur within the first day or two of starting a ketogenic diet, and the severity and length of symptoms vary per person. Some people may have no symptoms at all, while others could experience several for up to a week or two.  Either way, the symptoms shouldn’t last more than a couple weeks and should go away once your body is adapted to burning fat for fuel.

Can I Avoid the Keto Flu?

You can avoid the keto flu by doing a few things.

  • Stay hydrated: Carbs usually help your body hold water so when you are not eating carbs, you lose water. Also, since you will be losing a lot of fat, the cells in your body will start replacing that fat with water, which is another reason why drinking a lot of water is extremely important.
  • Replenish electrolytes: An electrolyte (magnesium, potassium & sodium) imbalance can cause flu like symptoms. You can avoid this simply by taking a daily multi vitamin and mineral supplement
  • Eat more fats: MCT oil is the best fat to get more of in your daily diet.  You can pour it over your steamed veggies, make a vinaigrette dressing, add it to your shakes or simply take a shot of it with every meal.  Start off with a smaller amount of MCT oil as too much at once will give you gas and diarrhea
  • Exercise more and meditate
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep