Alright I admit it, I was one of those rare teenagers who never struggled with acne. (But that same dry skin isn't helping the aging process now that I'm approaching 40).
How many times have you or a teenager you know avoided chocolate, potato chips, and greasy foods in efforts to combat acne? Would you believe Harvard U. published a study showing these foods don't cause acne... but milk consumption does?
Researchers looked at the teenage diet of more than 47,000 women and then compared dairy product intake with cases of acne. Analysis of the results revealed a clear link between milk and skin problems.
Worst off were those who regularly drank skimmed milk, with two half-pint glasses a day raising the risk of the condition by 44 per cent.
Overall, those who regularly drank milk were 22 per cent more likely to have suffered from acne than those who rarely or never drank the white stuff.
Cream and cottage cheeses also raised the risk of the condition, however, chips, chocolate and pizza did not.
In the article, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers said that sex and growth hormones naturally found in cow's milk may trigger spots. In an accompanying article, acne expert Dr William Danby said the human body isn't designed to deal with the high levels of hormones found in cow's milk.
If you are thinking to yourself, "well, that's just one study", just google the words "acne" and "milk" - you'd be amazed at just how much research there is linking the two. So let's all help teens we know save face and let them in such an easy solution to acne.
Those of you who've been reading this blog of mine for long know that regular aspirin use can deplete our body's store of folic acid... and that folic acid is necessary to prevent of all things: heart disease (which is what regular aspirin usage is also trying to combat, ironically). You also know that taking aspirin regularly can inhibit the body's ability to form healthy blood clots, and therefore can cause excessive bleeding (internal or external) to the extent that lands you in the hospital.
Yeah, you already know all that.
But since I've been researching Leaky Gut Syndrome lately, I've found just one more little reason to avoid taking aspirin - as well as any other NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen. NSAIDS (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) are very well known for causing inflammation to the intestines which leads to Leaky Gut. In fact, NSAIDS are mentioned as a contributor to Leaky Gut in almost every article I've read.
Just to remind you why we want to avoid Leaky Gut Syndrome: this is the gateway to just about every auto-immune disease known to mankind. Once your intestinal wall has been weakened, nasty viruses, bacteria, yeasts, undigested proteins and toxins will directly enter your bloodsteam, causing immune cells to go crazy and confuse these compounds with body tissue, which it then attacks. These auto-immune disorders range from asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, Inflammatory Bowel disorder, migranes, Chronic Fatigue, fibromyalgia and Type I Diabetes. Leaky Gut is also why we are getting so many food intolerances; undigested proteins are entering our body which causes the immune cells to attack them, giving the appearance of an allergy.
So anyway, just a few reasons not to take aspirin. You might want to forward this to someone you know... or your physician.
It's summer and time to stay hydrated. If you recall, staying well-hydrated contributes to weight loss in addition to preventing joint and back pain, headaches and daytime fatigue.
But let's not forget about drinking iced tea. Tea, which has much weaker diuretic properties than coffee, is a great way to stay hydrated and strengthen the immune system. And we could all use a stronger immune system.
For example, a study cited in CBS News finds that tea boosts the body's defenses against infection and contains a substance that might be turned into a drug to protect against disease, researchers say.
A component in tea was found in laboratory experiments to prime the immune system to attack invading bacteria, viruses and fungi, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A second experiment, using human volunteers, showed that immune system blood cells from tea drinkers responded five times faster to germs than did the blood cells of coffee drinkers.
So while you're trying to stay cool this summer, skip the iced mochas - make time for (iced) tea.
Did you know that humans, as opposed to carnivorous beasts such as canines, are designed to eat slowly? While wolfs and dogs are able to "wolf" down their food in mere minutes, humans ultimately can not.
When people eat too quickly, without chewing, a whole host of problems begin. Our saliva is alkaline - as opposed to canine saliva which is acidic. That means the more we chew our food, the more alkaline saliva coats it upon its entry into the very acidic stomach. Also, we have enzymes such as amalase in our saliva which help digest food early on. Not to mention the more we chew, the more our brain receives the message of satiety, or feeling "full".
So let's contrast all this information with the way a typical American eats: fast and furious.
Eating quickly means food enters the stomach with very little alkaline coating. This is a common cause of ulcers and acid reflux. Eating too fast means very little food is digested in the upper G.I. tract, and slows digestion later. And finally, wolfing down food leads to overeating, as the brain doesn't receive a satiety message (but you already knew that).
If you can't taste your food it's probably not worth eating. Slow down and savor: it's part of what separates us from the animals.
My friend who has a baby with Down's Syndrome was recently put on a vegan diet while she nurses her baby by experts in children with brain injuries. Also, this little boy will be eating a plant-based diet throughout childhood.
Here is a quote directly from this mother on why the doctors so rigidly recommend this diet:
"In brain injured children (they classify Down syndrome as mainly having a
brain injury in addition to Autism, ADHD, ADD, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy,
even mild learning disabilities and the list goes on...), it is
especially important to have the best physiology as possible so that means
special attention to food allergies/intolerances, air and water quality
and a healthy home environment. They recommend a vegan diet but for those
families who insist on meat they at least ask for organic, free range,
antibiotic and hormone free meat but still NO dairy. The stimulation
of the brain and the health of the organ are critical for these kids to
be able to achieve their full potential and since diet is completely
within our control, removing dairy is one simple way to allow the brain
and the body to be as healthy as possible and free from the
inflammations and mucous producing aspects of milk consumption."
If eating a plant-based, vegan diet is so beneficial for children with brain injuries, we can only assume it is the best possible diet for all children who want to maximize brain development. I thought this news was particularly interesting in regards to my post yesterday on childhood obesity and high cholesterol.
Obviously, I must comment on today's headline. You know, the one where children who are at risk for heart disease (occurs in family members, or children are obese) are to have their blood cholesterol screened as early as age two, and are recommended to be given med.s (statins) as early as age eight.
Anyone else thinking, "Instead of giving kids cholesterol-lowering meds, why not change their diet? I mean, why not change the root cause instead of treating the symptom????" Oh yes, I bet you are.
So here's Bronwyn's scoop on why children as young as two years old are obese and have high cholesterol: First, let's ask ourselves, have very young children had a long history of obesity and high cholesterol? No, in fact this is a very recent phenomenon. So then we ask, what has changed in our food supply and in our food consumption? Now, this is where it gets interesting...
1) Milk consumption
As I've mentioned before, cows in the U.S. today are treated with more steroid hormones and more antibiotics (which mimic steriod hormones: "endocrine mimicking properties") than ever before in history. Also, toxic substances have a way of concentrating as they move up the food chain - known as bioaccumulation - and toxins as have "endrocrine mimicking properties", or act like steroid hormones in our body. So, if we give our children cow milk today, we can be sure they are receiving PLENTY of growth hormones. Unfortunately, those steroid or growth hormones cause fat cells to grow faster and bigger, as well as cancer cells.
Now it's being recommended that obese or potentially obese children are given lower fat milk. But again, this would not remove the growth hormones we find in conventionally produced cow milk. Also, even organic milk will contain naturally-occuring steroid hormones meant for a calf, not a human baby.
Also, if that child is drinking milk from a bottle after one year of age, he's being set up for obesity. Children self-soothe with bottles (as they do with pacifiers or thumbs), but during this soothing, they consume myriad unnecessary calories and create a habit of self-soothing with food that will likely last a lifetime.
2) Meat, eggs, cheese and yogurt
Everything I just wrote about milk would be the same for these foods, although in their first few years most children consume far more milk than these foods.
Along with children with high cholesterol, trans-fats in our food supply are also relatively new. In fact, I believe they coincide rather ironically. Trans-fats play a large part in contributing to LDL (bad) cholesterol. These fats come from partially-hydrogenated oils found in almost all processed foods - even those that say "No Trans-fats", since legally they are allowed to round .5 grams trans-fat/serving down to zero. Particularly disturbing is that studies have even found trans-fats show up in breastmilk.
So, what should we do about high cholesterol and obesity in children? I think the answer is just a tad obvious, but just to be clear: get these kids on a unprocessed, plant-based diet. It's really not that hard. Most kids love legumes like beans, nuts, seeds, and lentils. Most kids like whole grains when there's no other option. Almost all kids like fruit, even if they're not crazy about vegetables. And most kids like soy, rice or almond milk when switched off cow-milk.
So if you know someone struggling with an "at risk" child, will you please let them know there's a solution much better than drugs?
A study in today’s American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who were obese or overweight in adolescence were three to four times as likely to have died of heart disease by middle age as compared with their thinner peers.
A total of 226,678 Norwegian teens were measured for body mass index (BMI) as part of a compulsory national health survey and followed for an average of 34.9 years. They were found to be two to three times more likely to die from colon cancer or respiratory disease. Women in the highest BMI category were at increased risk of death from cervical cancer and both sexes were at increased risk for sudden death.
Let's just analyze this information before we get depressed. OK, we know overweight people - even teens - are WAY more likely to die of heart disease in middle age. That makes sense even though it's sad. But look at what else this study found: the overweight teens are also more likely to die from cancer, including colon and cervical cancer. Also, overweight people are more likely to die of respiratory disease?
What we're seeing is that being overweight, and/or eating the foods that contribute to obesity, don't just plug up our arteries, but cause cancer and other types of disease. In addition to just plain overeating, I would like to state that certain types of foods cause us to gain weight, mainly meats, eggs and dairy foods which contain no fiber. High fiber foods (fruit, veg.s, whole grains and legumes) contribute to weight LOSS, so we could even say that eating a low-fiber diet increases risk of early-onset heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease. So please, don't be overwhelmed by this study if you have or know an overweight teen; see it as a flash of hope. Every day is a brand new opportunity for change, and change can be slow.
Bjørge T, Engeland A, Tverdal A, Smith GD. Body mass index in adolescence in relation to cause-specific mortality: a follow-up of 230,000 Norwegian adolescents. Am J Epidemiol. 2008;168:30-37.