Monthly Archives: July 2014

Concussion and Nutrition

During the recent World Cup in Brazil, we saw several head injuries, with the player returning to the fray within a very short time. One German player left the field shortly afterwards when he was obviously in distress. This raises again the issue of responsible treatment and protection of athletes in contact sports, especially as we head into the new seasons for football (European) and football (American).

This excellent article gives interesting perspective for those dealing with concussion, or loved-ones with traumatic brain injuries: Evidence Behind Flavonoids and Their Role in Anti-Inflammatory Foods, by Jenna Larsen, M.S.

brainvegWhen you visualize concussion treatment, what comes to mind? Physical rest? Cognitive rest? Pain relievers? Limitations in physical and social activity? Eating the right foods? I’d venture to guess that the latter is not on your list.

How can a traumatic brain injury (TBI) respond to food? Visualize treatments for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Do nutritional interventions come to mind? I’d speculate that they do. The events happening in the body after a TBI are not all that different than many other chronic diseases. The common links are oxidative damage and inflammation. There is a growing body of evidence supporting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory diets as a way to prevent complications associated with traumatic brain injuries.

Let’s take a moment to understand oxidative damage and inflammation in the context of a concussion. After a TBI, an inflammatory cascade is set off as a healing mechanism. Although beneficial in the short-term, the inflammation can persist while the healing effects do not. This creates oxidative stress as too many cell-damaging free radicals lead to tissue damage and eventual cell death. In the case of a concussion, cognitive problems are common long-term complications [1,2].

Diets rich in antioxidant-rich foods may be useful approaches to promote protective mechanisms associated with TBI [3]. There is promising research that foods high in the class of compounds called flavonoids act on the inflammatory cascade and are linked to improving cognitive performance and lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s-a brain disease with similar symptom presentation with deficits in memory and thinking skills.

What Are Flavonoids?

Flavonoids are the pigments that give fruits and vegetables their color. They are the main reason why fruits and vegetables are considered to be so healthy. There are over 4,000 compounds considered to be flavonoids. The more deeply colored the fruit or vegetable, the more flavonoids it provides. They are also abundant in garlic, teas, spices, nuts and beans.
A few flavonoids that may sound familiar include quercetin (apples), resveratrol (red wine), epicatechin (cocoa), curcumin (curries), catechins and polyphenols (tea), anthocyanins (berries).

How Do Flavonoids Work in the Brain?

Flavonoids are antioxidants that are also anti-inflammatory. In a human randomized controlled trial, the flavonoid resveratrol, was shown to exert anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative stress in humans [4].

Flavonoids, like all antioxidants, work by stopping free radicals from damaging cells, including neurons. Flavonoids are neuroprotective because of their ability to turn down inflammation and increase cognitive function via two processes. The first is by preventing the neuronal cell death that occurs during the inflammation-signaling cascade. The second is to induce the blood flow needed for new nerve cell growth to prevent or reverse loss of cognitive performance [5].

Consuming flavonoid-rich foods has been associated with the delayed onset of Alzheimer’s disease, while some studies have linked them to improved mental function [6-9]. Although the research specifically linking brain traumas to flavonoids is at an early stage, we know that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is invaluable for health and to prevent other inflammatory-related diseases (i.e. cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer). If not for the long-term, the short-term effects of eating the foods that are high in flavonoids will at the very least help the concussed patient have higher energy levels, to combat fatigue and to feel as well as possible.

Diet v. Supplementation?

Since fruits and vegetables are healthy and also high in flavonoids, it should follow that flavonoids are also healthy and the more you ingest the better off you’ll be. Shouldn’t flavonoid supplements be a fool proof way to make sure that you get enough of them? It is important to consider that we don’t yet know how the body responds to the high blood levels reached all at one time when we take a supplement. Visualize how flavonoids enter the bloodstream through healthy foods eaten consistently throughout the day- the spike in the bloodstream is never reached to that same level as when a supplement is taken.

It is also important to understand that fruits and vegetables have thousands of phytochemicals, many of which we have not even been identified. So taking one type of flavonoid in high quantities is unlikely to have the same health benefits as eating the whole food [10]. There is no such thing as a ‘silver bullet’ and we have to be very careful when choosing to supplement, especially when little is known about safety, contraindications, interactions, or effectiveness. Save your money and invest in colorful, delicious, flavonoid-rich foods instead.

When it comes to flavonoids, more colors mean more antioxidants. Here are some quick ways to add flavonoids to your day:

1. Top cereal with strawberries, blueberries, or bananas
2. Mix fruits with yogurt or cottage cheese.
3. Add chopped tomatoes to scrambled eggs
4. Use sweet potatoes in place of the white variety
5. Add chopped peppers to rice dishes or broccoli to pasta dishes
6. Mix pineapple into muffin or bread mixes


1. Johnson VE, Stewart JE, Begbie FD et al. Inflammation and white mater degeneration persist for years after a single traumatic brain injury. Brain. 2013 Jan;136(Pt 1):28-42.
2. Arciniegas DB1, Held K, Wagner P. Cognitive Impairment Following Traumatic Brain Injury.Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2002 Jan;4(1):43-57.
3. Vauzour D, Vafeiadou K, Rodriguez-Mateos A et al. The neuroprotective potential of flavonoids: a multiplicity of effects. Genes Nutr. Dec 2008; 3(3-4): 115–126.
4. Ghanim H1, Sia CL, Abuaysheh S et al. An antiinflammatory and reactive oxygen species suppressive effects of an extract of Polygonum cuspidatum containing resveratrol.J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Sep;95(9):E1-8.
5. Spencer JPE. Flavonoids and brain health: multiple effects underpinned by common mechanisms. Genes Nutr. 2009 4:243-250
6. Williams RJ1, Spencer JP. Flavonoids, cognition, and dementia: actions, mechanisms, and potential therapeutic utility for Alzheimer disease. Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Jan 1;52(1):35-45.
7. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “Plants’ Flavonoids Have Beneficial Effect On Alzheimer’s Disease, Study In Mice Suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2008. <>.
8. Williams RJ and Spencer JPE. Flavonoids, cognition, and dementia: Actions, mechanisms, and potential therapeutic utility for Alzheimer disease. Free Radic Biol Med. 2012 Jan 1;52(1)
9. Rezai-Zadeh K, Shytle D, Bai Y et al. Flavonoid-mediated presenilin-1 phosphorylation reduces Alzheimer’s disease β-amyloid production. J Cell Mol Med. 2009 May;13(5):1001.
10. Egert S and Rimbach G. Which Sources of Flavonoids: Complex Diets or Dietary Supplements?Adv Nutr January 2011 Adv Nutr vol. 2: 8-14, 2011

We have a rich supply of flavonoids and many other beneficial micronutrients in Juice Plus+.

Survey Shows Life Regrets Can Shape Later Years

AXX_aging_1_XXThey’re either optimistic or delusional, but 89% of older adults and 84% of younger adults say they’re confident they can maintain a high quality of life throughout their senior years.

The reasons vary, but support of friends and family is at the top, followed by being happy about their living situation, being well-prepared financially, being in good health and generally being optimistic, according to a phone survey of more than 2,000 adults, half of whom are 60 and older and the other half ages 18-59.

However, the voices of the older group are tinged with regret, knowing that getting older offers fewer opportunities for “do-overs” to course-correct their lives.

What’s really surprising is that, in this survey, most regrets were from decades past, often occurring when people were in their 30s and 40s.

So you “young ‘uns” pay attention!

Findings from a new nationally representative survey in USA TODAY, suggest that while some do have regrets, many older adults also have some lessons to offer those who are younger — and aging, as well.

So you “young ‘uns” pay attention!

When asked about a preselected list of steps they wish they had taken “to plan and prepare for your senior years,” the most-cited responses illustrate just how regret also plays a role in getting older. Among them are:

  • saving more money
  • making better investments
  • taking better care of health
  • staying closer with family

“When we get older, people do a life review. They begin to think ‘I shoulda done this or saved more money or spent more time with the kids.’ At some point, you get to the realization that we’re not going to live forever,” says Louis Primavera, a psychologist at the private, New York City-based Touro College.

The survey, a joint effort by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the National Council on Aging, United Healthcare and USA TODAY, included responses from 1,000 adults 60 and older and a comparison group of 1,027, ages 18-59. Of the older group, two-thirds were 60-74.

The legions of older Americans are growing across the USA, according to a report from the U.S Census Bureau released in May, which shows the 65-and-older population is projected to reach 83.7 million by 2050 — almost double the 2012 level of 43.1 million. With such numbers, regrets about “saving more” or “staying closer with my family” can shape the quality of life in later years. So, for those now in their 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s, they can get a glimpse of what lies ahead.

So you “young ‘uns” pay attention! (Am I repeating myself?)

USA TODAY took the pulse of Americans 60 and older on their health, quality of life, financial situation and whether their communities are prepared to serve an aging population.

“The No. 1 thing people are looking for today is really peace of mind,” says financial adviser Susan Acker of Merrill Lynch in Pittsford, N.Y. “The goal of saving more money is to reach peace of mind.”


Carsten Wrosch, a psychology professor at Concordia University in Montreal who has been collecting life regret data since 2003 among those ages 20-40 and 60-plus, has found that life regrets center around work, education and relationships. “But what’s really surprising”, he says, “is that most regrets were from decades past, often occurring when people were in their 30s and 40s.”

“We often hear one of the biggest regrets they have is that they weren’t closer with their family,” says Donna Butts, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit Generations United, but now “we’re seeing that change as the generations change.”

Wrosch says regret can become a health problem if people have no chance to repair the harm or right a wrong. “People start ruminating. They become depressed. They experience associated biological problems,” he says. “Ultimately, it makes them more vulnerable to disease.”

“Letting go actually really helps,” Wrosch says. “Let go of those regrets and find something else in life that is meaningful and can provide purposeful living.”

Former first lady Laura Bush talked about aging with USA TODAY reporter Sharon Jayson at the Dallas conference for the National Association of Areas Agencies on Aging.

For more on Prime-Time Health

Complete Protein: The Complete Facts

Complete Protein

Today’s post is from

You may have heard the term complete protein. What does it mean, and is it something you should be worrying about?

What you need to know

Protein is made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids. There are 21 different amino acids that can be combined in endless variations to comprise a protein. Did someone mention Lego?

The human digestive tract breaks a protein apart into individual amino acids and then uses them to build up tissues, such as muscles.

Essential Amino Acids cannot be synthesized by the human body on its own; they must be obtained from an external source – food. Non-essential amino acids can be synthesized in the body by using essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are sometimes referred to as Indispensable amino acids.

9 of 21amino acids are considered essential: leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, phenylalanine, and histidine.

The non-essential amino acids are alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, arginine, cysteine, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine.

Every food we eat has a different amino acid profile, meaning that it has a different percentage of essential amino acids.

A food with a protein profile that includes all 9 essential amino acids is called a complete protein.

Protein from individual animal sources such as red meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs, is always complete protein.

Protein from plants may be complete proteins, but in many cases they contain low levels of some essential amino acids. In some cases, plant proteins are incomplete, for example fruits and yams.

In the past, vegetarians were advised to carefully plan each meal to combine grains, legumes, and veggies. This would achieve the right amino acid mix in order to assure that the meal included complete proteins. We now know that this is not required, as long as in the course of a day (24 hours) a person consumes a variety of foods.

Many traditional non-meat dishes achieved a complete protein profile thousand of years before nutrition science was ever invented. Examples include rice and bean combos in most of Asia, or corn and bean dishes in Central America. Basically any legume and grain combo works.

Worldwide, 60% of people’s protein intake is from plant based foods. In the US, only 30% of the protein intake is from plants; the rest – 70% – is from animal sources.

If you live in America, vegetarian or omnivore, you don’t need to worry about your protein intake. It is almost guaranteed to be complete protein.

1. Protein basics – Center for Disease Control and Prevention
2. Protein and Amino Acid Requirements in Human Nutrition – The World Health Organization, 2002

For 20 years our plant-sourced complete proteins have included a daily (sometimes twice daily) shake made with Juice Plus+ Complete. We get 13 grams of protein per serving – all from a proprietary blend providing a variety of proteins from water-washed soy, peas, chickpeas, tofu, rice, and other plant sources….. delicious awesomeness!

4 Reasons to Take Juice Plus+


Having ‘eaten’ Juice Plus+ for 21 years, we recognize its value as a convenient, inexpensive way to get more whole foods into our diet. But it’s so much more than that. The implications of that reality are exciting, and it presents so many reasons to take Juice Plus+. Here are some of our favorite reasons we’ve heard people explain why they take Juice Plus+.

1. To live a healthier life.

Most of us don’t eat the amount of fruits and vegetables we should. Luckily, Juice Plus+ can help bridge that nutrition gap. Research and medical professionals have found Juice Plus+ positively impacts:

  • Dental health
  • Cardiovascular wellness
  • Skin health
  • Immune system function
  • Inflammation

And we’ve noticed Juice Plus+ also often leads to other smart lifestyle decisions, such as eating healthier and exercising.

Hear Jan Roberto, M.D., discuss how Juice Plus+ can lead to longer, healthier lives in this video.

2. To set a good example.

Those with children know that when it comes to encouraging healthy habits, actions speak louder than words. What better way to demonstrate your commitment to a healthy lifestyle than by taking Juice Plus+?

From our Children’s Health Study, we’ve learned that most families who take Juice Plus+:

  • Eat healthier
  • Visit the doctor less
  • Miss fewer days of school and work
  • Take fewer over-the-counter and/or prescription drugs
  • Are more aware of their health and wellness

In this video, CHS participants share how Juice Plus+ has impacted their families.

3. To enhance performance.

When you train hard, your body needs micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables to protect against damages of oxidative stress. Our research has found Juice Plus+ helps to reduce oxidative stress in the body. So it’s no wonder professional athletes like Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors take it!

In the following powerful video, learn how Juice Plus+ helps young triathlete Winter Vinecki—and what that means for Team Winter, her prostate cancer awareness non-profit organization.

4. To inspire healthy living.

Helping improve the health and lives of family, friends and even strangers is an honorable and fulfilling mission, and it’s easy with Juice Plus+.

Watch the video below to hear our team discuss the Juice Plus+ corporate mission of inspiring healthy living around the world.

My family will continue to eat Juice Plus+ forever, because we know what it has done for us. My 68th birthday is coming up in a few days and I am in that tiny population my age that takes no medication of any kind, and can live life to the full! I also love that we are privileged to help people feel good, look good, make money and have fun!

Fruit and Veg: The Winning Edge

a lady picking up an apple

This is a guest post by  Bethanie Allanson, Sports Dietitian, Australian Institute of Sport & Benita Lalor, Sports Dietitian, Australian Institute of Sport

Issue: Volume 29 Number 3

The importance of fruit and vegetables in the diet is generally promoted with a public health focus, with an increased intake being associated to a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and some forms of cancer.  Many athletes fail to see the significance of incorporating fruit and vegetables into their daily food intake and either ‘leave them on their plate” or forget them altogether.

From an athlete’s perspective, the vitamin and mineral content of fruit and vegetables has an important role to play in maintaining health and well-being and optimising exercise performance during periods of heavy training.  A number of vitamins and minerals provided by fruit and vegetables have a functional role in exercise performance and recovery following strenuous exercise.  These nutrients can not be synthesised by the body so it’s essential that athletes consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to support daily training and recovery from training.

While there are no specific recommendations for athletes regarding dietary intake of fruit and vegetables, the population nutrient reference values (NRV’s) are deemed appropriate for use with athletes, due to their wide safety margin.

Fruit and veg and performance

Many athletes would not give much thought to the effect of a sub-optimal intake of fruit and vegetables on their sporting performance.  A decreased intake of the vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables can lead to fatigue, muscle damage and impaired immune function all of which can have detrimental effects on training and recovery for competition (Watson et al. 2005).

The beneficial components of fruit and veg

The accumulative effects of an intensive training program, travel and hectic competition schedule place an athlete at increased risk of illness and infection.  Suppression of immune function in athletes is multifactorial, however it must be acknowledged that several vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E) and minerals (magnesium) found in fruits and vegetables have a role in maintaining the integrity of the immune system (Gleeson et al 2000).

The transportation of oxygen in the blood to the working muscles is vital for aerobic exercise function.  Haemaglobin is the protein responsible for oxygen transportation and iron is an essential part of this system.  Although the non-haem iron in green, leafy vegetables is not as readily absorbed when compared to the haem iron found in red meat, poultry and seafood, it can be enhanced by the inclusion of a fruit/vegetable source of vitamin C.   These combinations and increased variety of fruits and vegetables is particularly important for vegetarian athletes.

Antioxidants are the body’s mechanism of protection against free radicals – nasties produced in the body.  Production of free radicals is increased during exercise, resulting in oxidative stress and cell damage.  The effects of oxidative stress on sporting performance may include fatigue, muscle damage and reduced immune function (Trent et al).  Studies have demonstrated that dietary sources of antioxidants provide protection against the production of free radicals.  Interestingly, anti-oxidant supplements may not provide the same benefit despite many supplements providing much greater quantities of antioxidants. The antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables play a major role in protecting the body against oxidative stress and subsequent effects on performance (Watson et al 2005).

Are your athletes are at risk?

Athletes who fail to meet recommended intakes of fruit and vegetables are at risk of compromising their performance.  Studies have shown that many athletes consume insufficient amounts of fruit and vegetables (Ziegler et al 1999, Farajian et al 2004).  Athletes at increased risk of sub optimal intakes of the micronutrients found in fruit and vegetables include; athletes who restrict their energy intake (eg. aesthetic and weight making sports), fussy eaters, athletes responsible for their own food preparation and those travelling overseas where availability of fruit and vegetables may be limited.  It has been reported that females and younger children tend to have higher intakes of fruit and vegetables when compared to males and adolescents (Rasmussen et al 2006).

Food or tablet?

While athletes can meet their recommended intake of vitamins and minerals through a nutritious, well chosen diet, many athletes choose to take vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants, in tablet form believing it will give them a sporting edge.

Consumption of large doses of vitamins and minerals, which may be common practise for some athletes, is likely to do more harm than good.  Megadoses may have toxic effects and can be detrimental to performance.  Large doses of individual vitamins, in particular antioxidants are not recommended (Gleeson et al, 2000).  However, there may be situations where the use of supplements is beneficial.  A broad-range multivitamin may be used when athletes restrict their total energy intake for weight loss or weight maintenance, during a heavy competition schedule where there is a disruption to the normal eating patterns, and where availability of food is limited.

Antioxidant supplements may be of use for elite athletes in specific circumstances including an increased training volume or intensity, altitude training or during periods of heat acclimatisation.  These training situations are likely to lead to the increased production of free radicals and supplements may be useful to help reduce the oxidative stress.  It is recommended that athletes considering the use of any vitamin and mineral supplement consult a qualified Sports Dietitian.  See Sports Dietitians Australia website: to find a Sports Dietitian located near you.

Practical suggestions for athletes to ensure an adequate fruit and vegetable intake:

  • Fruit is a great snack and should be at the top of the snack list. Fruit is a very nutritious source of carbohydrate, so is ideal before or after training to top up fuel stores to assist training performance and recovery.
  • Don’t throw overripe bananas away. They are great in banana cake – see Survival from the Fittest or can be frozen and used in fruit smoothies.
  • If you’re making a lasagne, grate carrot and zucchini into the bolognaise sauce. You don’t even know though they’re there.
  • Baked vegies are often a favourite for most, although they can be high in fat.  Next time, try lightly coating your vegetables with oil with a pastry bush and cook in an oven tray covered with foil.  Remove the foil 10-15 minutes before you finish cooking – this allows the vegies to brown up.
  • Fruit juice doesn’t replace fruit, as much of the fibre is removed. You can’t substitute the value for a whole piece of fruit with juice.
  • Fresh or canned fruit added to cereal at breakfast is a great way to kick start your fruit intake for the day.

Bottom Line

To maximise performance, all athletes should be encouraged to obtain the range of antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables through their daily food and fluid intake.

Table 1: Nutrients and their sources
Nutrient Performance related function Fruit and vegetable sources
Vitamin A
  • Immune function
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Mango
  • Apricots
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
  • Energy production and supply
  • Nerve function
  • Muscle contraction
  • Legumes
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Corn
  • Plums
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Energy production and supply
  • Nerve function
  • Muscle contraction
  • Peach
  • Nectarines
  • Broad Beans
  • Mushroom


Pantothenic acid
  • Energy metabolism
  • Broad beans
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Energy production and supply
  • Nerve function
  • Muscle contraction
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Green peas
  • Beans
  • Split peas
  • Fruit
  • Nervous function
  • Muscle contraction
  • Haemoglobin synthesis
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Beans
  • Beetroot
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Orange
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Immune function
  • Blackcurrants
  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Guava
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Raspberries
  • Capsicum
  • Broccoli
  • Sprouts
Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Immune function
  • Spinach


  • Energy production and supply
  • Haemoglobin synthesis
  • Antioxidant function
  • Broccoli
  • Silverbeet
  • Spinach
  • Chinese green vegetables
  • Dried fruit
  • Sweet corn
  • Energy production and supply
  • Nerve function
  • Muscle contraction


  • Green vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Peas
  • Beans


Rasmussen, M et al Determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among children and adolescents: a review of the literature. Part 1: quantitative studies. International Journal of Behaviour Nutrition and Physical Activity,11;3:22, 2006.
Gleeson, M and Bishop, N.C. Elite Athlete Immunology: Importance of Nutrition. International Journal of Sports Medicine; 21 Supplement 1: S 44 – S 50, 2000.
Watson T.A. et al 2005 Oxidative Stress and antioxidants in Athletes Undertaking Regular Exercise Training. International journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism:15, 131-146, 2005
Ziegler, P.J. et al Nutritional and Physiological Status of U.S National Figure Skaters. International Journal of Sport Nutrition, 9, 345-360, 1999
Farajian, P. et al. Dietary Intake and nutritional practices of elite Greek aquatic athletes. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism; 14(5): 574-85, 2004.

The Winning Edge is also the title of an excellent book by Jack Medina. I recommend his excellent article here Whey Protein vs Soy Protein … You Decide!

Like me, Jack is a great fan and long-time proponent of Juice Plus+.

Want Kids to Eat More Vegetables? Give Them a Taste Early in Life

Get Kids to Eat More Vegetables By Giving Them a Taste Early in LifeToday’s post is by fitness and nutrition guru Cathe.

More whole foods and vegetables – that’s what kids need for optimal health. There’s a growing epidemic of childhood obesity, and research has linked a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with a lower risk for obesity. Kids and adults who eat more vegetables and fruits enjoy other health benefits as well including a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and some types of cancer.

The USDA recommends that adults and children fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables. How many kids are actually doing that? Not many! Research shows as few as 16% of kids get five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. When kids and adolescents do put vegetables on their plate, the most common one they choose is potatoes, which more often than not is in the form of French fries.

Kids and Vegetables: Early Exposure is Best

Why are kids so reluctant to eat vegetables? Most say they don’t like the taste. According to a new study from the University of Leeds, giving kids a variety of vegetables early in life could be key to getting them to eat more veggies later on. In this study, babies and kids from weaning age to age 3 years were given 5 to 10 servings of artichoke puree. Some of the artichoke puree had added sugar or was mixed with vegetable oil. After 5 to 10 exposures to the puree, 40% of the kids, mostly those under 2 years of age, gradually increased how much artichoke they ate as they became used to it. Adding sugar to the artichoke puree didn’t seem to make a difference.

Based on this study, the best time to expose kids to new and healthy foods like vegetables is before the age of 2 years. After the age of 2, kids go through a phase where they reject new foods and it’s harder to get them interested in foods they haven’t already been exposed to. The take-home message? Give kids vegetables, pureed if necessary, as soon as they are weaned and offer them a variety of vegetables. The earlier they’re exposed, the more likely they’ll be receptive to them later on.

There’s a reason some kids don’t like vegetables. According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, some kids have a gene variant involving genes that code for taste. Kids with this variant are more sensitive to the bitter tastes of some vegetables like watercress, kale, arugula, broccoli, cauliflower and radishes. The key is to hide the bitterness with a naturally sweet tomato-based sauce or even let kids enjoy veggies with low-sugar ketchup. Tomato-based sauces and ketchup are rich in natural antioxidants called lycopenes that have their own health benefits.

Eat Together as a Family

One study showed kids eat more fruits and vegetables when they eat meals as a family. Plus, when you prepare veggie-rich meals, kids are more likely to meet their daily fruit and vegetable quota. Even if your clan dislikes vegetables, serve “stealth” vegetables. Skip the pasta noodles when you make spaghetti and serve tomato sauce over zucchini noodles instead. Zucchini noodles are easy to make with a spiral vegetable cutter.

It’s also easy to slip vegetables into soups, stews and casseroles. To make them even more stealth, puree them in a blender and use them to thicken soup. What kid doesn’t love chips? Give them kale chips roasted in the oven instead of potato chips.

More Ways to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables

When your kids are screaming for pizza, serve it piled high with veggies. Most kids won’t turn down pizza even if it’s veggie pizza. Instead of a sandwich, serve your kids wraps. They’ll hold more vegetables. Sprinkle shredded cheese lightly on vegetables and let the kids watch the cheese melt in the oven to get them motivated to eat them. Just as importantly, let them choose the vegetables your family eats, as long as it’s not just potatoes. Encourage them to choose different ones and let them help in the preparation.

For younger kids, arrange the vegetables on a plate in an interesting pattern like smiley faces or choose vegetables in a variety of colors to make them more eye-catching and interesting. You can also bring out their flavor by grilling them and serving them on a wooden stick – kabob style. Add a healthy dip like hummus for dipping.

Lead by example. Kids are more likely to adopt healthy eating habits if they see Mom and Dad adding fruits and vegetables to their plate. Unfortunately, most adults still fail to get enough fruits and vegetables in their diet. Make sure you’re not one of them.

Kids and Vegetables: Is Vegetable Consumption in Children on the Rise?

There is some good news about kids and fruit and vegetable consumption. In 2012, new federal standards made it mandatory that schools offer healthier food options for kids, including more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It seems to be working. After studying what kids ate after establishing these new standards, fruit consumption rose by 23%. While kids didn’t choose to put more vegetables on their plate, the amount of vegetables on their plate they consumed rose by over 16%. That’s a small victory!

The Bottom Line?

Kids need their vegetables. Expose them to them as early as possible and lead by example. Make sure you’re getting your five or more a day too!


Medical News Today. “Giving children a taste for vegetables ‘often and early”

Harvard Gazette. “Study shows kids eating more fruits, veggies”

Pediatrics. 2005 Feb;115(2):e216-22.

Obes Res. 2001 Mar;9(3):171-8.

The CDC Guide to Strategies to Increase the Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables

Science Daily. “Regular family meals together boost kids’ fruit and vegetable intake”

JAMA Pediatrics. “Fruit and Vegetable Intakes of Children and Adolescents in the United States”


Our Children’s Health Study has proven that we can change our kids’ eating habits at any age using a ‘trojan horse’ strategy!

Choosing Food-Based vs. Synthetic Supplements

Today’s post comes from Kristin Savory, a licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s hormone and thyroid imbalances. After years of working with various supplements, she switched to food-based supplements in her practice with excellent results. 

Are your supplements synthetic?

If you’re into health then you’ve probably been known to cruise the supplement section of your local health food store from time to time. Maybe you’re even taking supplements recommended from your health care practitioner.

Over and over, we’ve been told that we need to take supplements because our diets are lacking vital nutrients.

But what’s really going on in those supplement bottles?

We don’t hear much discussion about synthetic supplements. Even as a health care professional, I assumed the nutrients in the high-end brand of supplements I was taking—and selling to patients—were extracted from a natural source. The Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) I was taking must have been from oranges or some other food, so that it was in a form my body could easily absorb.

Boy, was I wrong.

Whole Food vs. Synthetic Supplements

There’s a big difference between nutrients from whole foods and the nutrient ingredients used in the vast majority of supplements. After all, supplements are a billion- dollar industry aimed at maximizing profit. With modern day marketing, many popular supplement recommendations, from the necessity of a daily multi to high-dose vitamin D, are being sold to us.

Take a carrot for instance.

Carrots are loaded with nutrients. Bigwigs like beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), as well as lesser-known players like folicin and mannose. In fact, scientists have isolated about 200 nutrients and phytonutrients in the humble carrot.

These 200 nutrients work together in mysterious ways. The little guys help get the big guys and vice versa, There are enzymes, coenzymes, co-vitamins , minerals, and other factors that help the nutrients work together synergistically.

Scientists don’t know how all this works, and they probably never will. It’s the magic and mystery of nature.

Take a look at the standard multi-vitamin label. We’re content when we see 20 ingredients listed in high percentages. Now think about that carrot again. There’s over 200 known nutrients in that carrot. Foods are complex in their nutrients because nutrients need each other to be properly absorbed and integrated into our bodies.

In our culture, we’re used to the idea that “more is better.” If beta-carotene is good for the eyes, then a whole bunch of beta-carotene must be really good for the eyes.

This type of thinking is not how Mother Nature works when it comes to nutrition. 

Foods are balanced. Foods are loaded with lots of nutrients but never in megadose quantities. You’d be hard-pressed to find a food with 1,000 mg of ascorbic acid, let alone the 5,000 mg–10,000mg doses often sold at stores or from health care professionals.

Whole-food whiz Judith DeCava, CNC, LNC writes in her book The Real Truth About Vitamins and Antioxidants:

Natural food concentrates will show a much lower potency in milligrams or micrograms. This is frequently interpreted to mean they are less effective, not as powerful. Unfortunately, the `more is better’ philosophy is far from nutritional truth.

And this:

Vitamins are part of food complexes and must be associated with their natural synergists (co-workers) to be properly utilized and be a potent nutritional factor. In other words, a minute amount of a vitamin that is left intact in its whole food form is tremendously more functional, powerful, and effective nutritionally than a large amount of a chemically pure, vitamin fraction.

In the case of nutrition, “more” definitely isn’t better.

So where are supplement manufacturers getting the nutrients to make their pills?

Most of what’s being sold to us (even the supps with the healthy folks and rainbows on the label) are chemicals, repackaged in creative ways.

Most supplements contain mega-dose vitamin isolates without their little guy partners, also known as vitamin fractions. Others are simply chemical compounds made in factories, also known as pure, crystalline vitamins.

Both are synthetic and both are a detrimental to long-term health because they’re man-made, not nature-made.

Mother Nature knows best. Nutrients need each other to work effectively in our bodies. The big guys need the little guys just as much as the little guys need the big guys.

When we take supplements in high doses or in isolation from their natural counterparts, there will be consequences. Initially, our bodies might do well with these synthetics because of our extreme deficiencies. But over the course of time, synthetic vitamins can create even deeper deficiencies.

Quality Over Quantity

DeCava notes that synthetic Thiamine (B1: a common chemical ingredient of most standard multivitamins) “will initially allay fatigue but will eventually cause fatigue by the build-up of pyruvic acid. This leads to the vicious cycle of thinking more and more Thiamine is needed, resulting in more and more fatigue along with other accumulated complaints.”

But perhaps this story of a medical doctor held captive during the Korean War [1950-1953] is the most telling example.

After a period of time with a poor diet, his fellow prisoners of war began to show signs of beriberi, a disease that results from a severe thiamine deficiency.

After contacting the Red Cross, they sent him some vitamin B1 in the synthetic form, Thiamine HCL. What happened to his patients with the pure-crystalline fraction? They continued to decline.

In fact, the plague worsened until that same doctor listened to a couple of guards who told him that rice polish (known today as rice bran) could be used to alleviate the symptoms. The doc started feeding his patients the rice polish one teaspoon at a time. Within a short period, his patients’ improved and the beriberi plague ceased.

Bottom line is that nature’s nutrients are packaged to perfection. A simple teaspoon of rice polish outperformed a high-dosage, synthetic compound.

How to determine if your supplements are synthetic or food-based *

Does this mean we have to throw out our supplements altogether? Not so fast.

First we need to know the difference between whole-food concentrates and synthetic supplements. It’s all in the label.

Read the ingredients. The ingredients tell it all. If a nutrient is listed as a food like liver, a glandular, an herb, fish oil, pea vine, or alfalfa, you’re good to go. If there are chemical names like niacin, thiamine, or tocopherols, you’ve got a synthetic on your hand.

In nature, B vitamins come from the likes of nutritional yeast and liver, not niacin or thiamin. Vitamin C comes from green leafy vegetables, citrus, and buckwheat juice, not ascorbic acid. You’ll find vitamin E in wheat germ oil and pea vine, not in tocopherols.

Look at the DV percentage. The percentage of Daily Value is based on chemically pure vitamin fractions. If the nutrient on the label is listed at 100% or more, you’ve likely got a synthetic product on your hands. Remember, nature is low dose but highly potent.

Beware of singular vitamins. Mother Nature works in tandem. Her nutrients are never found alone. If you’re taking a supplement all by itself, such as vitamin E or D, it’s guaranteed to be synthetic.

Don’t buy the hype. The supplement industry is an industry just like anything else. Major supplement manufacturers often sponsor studies and/or donate money to research programs at universities likely having some influence on both the study design and the results and conclusions reached.

The simple truth is that profit margins are much higher when manufacturers replicate standardized compounds rather than go through the careful, labor-intensive, more expensive process of compounding whole foods.

When it comes to supplements, it’s safer to stick with intuition and follow Hippocrates’ advice: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

* What was the very first whole food based nutritional product (introduced 21 years ago?). What is the top selling whole food based nutritional product (in a capsule) in the world? What is the most thoroughly researched and proven whole food based nutritional product in history?If you look closely at the picture (top and bottom) those capsules surely are …


Eating Right When Everything in the World Conspires to Make You Eat Wrong

How to Make Healthy Eating Choices at Home and in Restaurants


Eating right is probably one of the biggest challenges that we face on a daily basis. Understanding what causes you to stray, and learning how to make better choices, can help you and your family eat healthier over a lifetime.

Eating Right Obstacle #1: Continual Temptation

Thanks to the sheer pervasiveness of junk food, we’re continually tempted by things that are bad for us. In the course of a day, you might visit your local coffee shop and be enticed by the 620-calorie white chocolate mocha, go grocery shopping and drool over those brownies in the bakery case, and attend a potluck where there’s a whole table full of temptation…fried chicken, hot dogs, chips, soda, and of course, dessert. Since we are genetically programmed to seek calorie-dense foods, it takes a tremendous amount of willpower to say no to them.

Solution: Mindfulness Practice

The key to overcoming continual temptation is deciding ahead of time what you will and will not eat. This is called mindfulness practice, because you make a choice when you are mindful of what you truly desire, instead of being swayed by the moment. While I may have the best of intentions to eat right, the moment I’m at a party, my genetic wiring takes over. Before I know it, I’ve eaten two brownies and a lemon bar—not the best nutrition. But if I give myself two minutes before I leave the house to make a conscious decision as to what I will allow myself to eat, my resolve is nearly unbreakable.

Eating Right Obstacle #2: Food Addiction

Researchers have now proven what we’ve suspected all along: not only is junk food lacking in nutrition, it’s actually addictive. Several studies published over the last few years have shown that junk food can light up the same pleasure, reward, and craving centers of the brain as illegal drugs.[1],[2],[3]  High-fat and high-glycemic foods—ones that cause blood sugar levels to spike rapidly, such as starches, sugar, and simple carbs—are particularly deadly to a balanced diet.

Solution: Healthy Substitutions

  1. Substitute sugar with stevia, a natural non-caloric sweetener derived from the stevia plant. I sweeten my morning yogurt with stevia, and it totally satisfies my desire for sweetness.
  2. Allow yourself a daily treat. For Jillian Michaels, a personal trainer on The Biggest Loser, it’s a package of Paul Newman’s Organic Peanut Butter cups (180 calories). For me, it’s 4 squares of Equal Exchange Very Dark Chocolate after lunch and dinner (186 calories total).
  3. Make baked foods taste fried. Coat onion rings, potato slices, or even fish first with flour, then with egg, and finally with panko breadcrumbs. Pop into the oven at 450 degrees for 10-20 minutes, and you’ll feel like you’re cheating when you’re not.

Eating Right Obstacle #3: Dining Out

Even if we have a genuine desire to eat a balanced diet, modern life puts so many demands on us that it’s hard to find the time to prepare healthy foods. So we end up eating out—a lot. In fact, Americans now eat 50 percent of our meals outside the home and one in five breakfasts at McDonald’s.[4] Unfortunately, restaurants’ top priority is that your food taste good, not that it be healthy.

Solution: Eat Out Wisely

It would be easy for me to tell you to eat out less and stay home and cook more. And that’s certainly a worthy goal to aim for. But you already know that. So here are some tips for healthy eating when dining out.

  1. Play musical food. Order one fewer dishes than there are people in your party, and then share them all.
  2. Avoid kids’ menus. There’s very little nutrition in mac ‘n’ cheese or a PB&J sandwich. Ordering off the adult menu is a great way to broaden kids’ tastes, too.
  3. Watch the liquid calories. It’s mindbogglingly easy to drink too many calories, so ditch the soda, fruit drinks, and lemonade, and just drink plain water or milk.
  4. Go splitsies. Sometimes we overeat just because we don’t want anything to go to waste. So if you indulge, split the damage by sharing an order of fries or a dessert among the whole family.
  5. Practice portion control. We get full sooner than we think, so stop eating before you feel 100 percent full and see if you get hungry again soon. Chances are, you won’t.


[1] Lennerz Belinda. Food addiction: how processed food makes you eat more. The Conversation. August 19, 2013.

[2] Klein, Sarah. Fatty foods may cause cocaine-like addiction. CNN Health. March 30, 2014.

[3] Brundige, Wendy and Eric Noll. The Science of Food Cravings. ABC News. Nov. 14, 2009.

[4] Hyman, Mark. How Eating at Home Can Save Your Life. The Huffington Post. January 9, 2011.

We are so grateful to have Juice Plus+ and Juice Plus+ Complete to help us bridge the gap…

This Independence Day, What are YOU doing for freedom?

Join the Freedom Revolution This 4th of July!

Eagle-American-Flag“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We the People have a wide range of things in common, regardless of who we voted for in the last election.
Everyone wants to be healthy (and their children and grandchildren).
Everyone wants to have honest labels on food.
Everyone wants to be safe from toxic pesticides, herbicides and agricultural poisons.
Everyone wants the opportunity for economic prosperity in a fair and just system where hard work and innovation is rewarded.
Everyone is tired of corruption in high places.

However, “Everyone” isn’t willing to work for these freedoms, to commit, to accept nothing less. Are you?

Our world is waking up to a Revolution. Awareness, truth and liberty are spreading globally. We are turning the tide of sickness and mediocrity in our nation. WE are part of this revolution, are you?

Our GenYers or Millennials are demanding high values for their lives: their Movement is all about Meaning, Mobility and Money (sufficient $$ to satisfy the first two Ms). These are OUR values. Are they yours?

WE are working to empower and enable others to enjoy all these freedoms; to OWN YOUR HEALTH & OWN YOUR LIFE.

Learn more about how WE are doing this at … let us know if you want to be a part of OUR freedom revolution.

Happy Independence Day!

Being a Soy Boy Won’t Make You a Girlie Man

I just had to share this article. I’ve been using our soy-based drink mix and eating tofu (yes tofu!) for almost 20 years and I am still not a girlie man!  Read on to understand why…

According to the sales data from Soyfoods Association of North America, between the years 1996 and 2009, soy food sales have increased from $1billion to $4.5 billion in North America. (See Similar trends have been seen in Europe as well.

This increase is attributed to the many new and delicious soy foods that have hit the marketplace to meet the demands of the rising numbers of vegetarian and vegan consumers. (There was also dramatic growth in the soy market after FDA approval of a health claim linking soy to heart disease reduction.) Included in these new soy foods are many different forms of soy protein powders taken by athletes, as well as soy versions of meat and cheese alternatives. As one might expect, there has been a backlash against soy products, and there has been much rhetoric slung about soy, in as vigorous a manner as a dirty political campaign on the eve of an election.

But what could they say against soy? The USDA has even stated that “Soy protein products can be good substitutes for animal products because…soy offers a ‘complete’ protein profile…Soy protein products can replace animal-based foods – which also have complete proteins but tend to contain more fat, especially saturated fat – without requiring major adjustments elsewhere in the diet.” (FDA Consumer, May 2000)

Much of the rhetoric against soy has focused on the fact that soy is known for having isoflavones that mimic human estrogen in the body (called phyto-estrogen). But wait, this was always considered a good thing.

Low breast, prostate and reproductive organ cancer rates among Asian women and men (who have historically consumed more soy than any other culture in the world) have long been attributed to these isoflavones.

What the mudslingers were counting on is that consumers wouldn’t look into it any further and learn how isoflavones work to prevent cancer. The way the isoflavones work is to attach themselves to estrogen receptors in the human body and actually keep estrogen levels low. But now, there is suddenly rhetoric that isoflavones “flood the body with phyto-estrogen” and the misleading conclusion that it turns men into little girls. It has been a successful negative campaign causing soy sales to drop dramatically in the past 2 years.

Cover image Fertility and SterilityOne of the best articles on this debacle comes from The American Society of Reproductive Medicine. The ASRM hosts a highly respected medical journal called “Ferility and Sterility”. Recently, they published an article by Mark Messina, PhD, in which he reviewed numerous studies that have been done on soybean isoflavone exposure and whether it has a feminizing effect on men.

Messina discovered a few important things when he looked at these studies. First of all, many of the studies claiming adverse effects of soy were conducted on rats. This data was found to not translate to humans when clinical studies were conducted. There was no evidence from the nine different human clinical studies that isoflavone exposure affects circulating estrogen levels in men. The human clinical evidence also indicates that isoflavones have no effect on sperm or semen parameters. The conclusion is that isoflavones do not exert any feminizing effects on men, even at intake levels equal to and even considerably higher than, what is typical for Asian consumers.

The lesson of this story is that if rhetoric suddenly arises that contradicts long held knowledge from ancient cultures (such as Japanese and Chinese Medicine,) we should take a step back and access the science before we believe everything we hear.

For more on soy…

… and on the Juice Plus+ Complete…