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Why I don’t add Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water to Green Smoothies

The hottest new trend in Green Smoothie recipes is to add either Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water instead of plain water. Let’s face it, people love the thought of adding more nutrient power to their health drinks, and it seems like a good idea, right? Well, it’s only a good idea if you are interested in adding artificial chemicals, and increased sugar and fat to your Green Smoothie, and that doesn’t sound like a good idea to me! Actually, it’s the fastest way to contaminate the beautiful, fresh raw food delight of a Green Smoothie. Not to mention adding a lot of hidden extra calories that you don’t even really taste. So, if you are not losing weight from your daily Green Smoothie, the answer could lie in that added almond milk, soy milk, or coconut water.

Example 1: Coco Libre Pure Organic Coconut Water

It even says ‘No Added Sugar,’ a term which is not regulated by the FDA by the way, and when you look on the back you will see that there are 13g of sugar in one serving! So, essentially, all of the calories in this drink are from sugar!! With so much sweet flavor from fresh, natural fruits in a Green Smoothie, there is simply so need to add more sugar and it’s simply a waste of calories for anyone looking to watch their weight.

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that's already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that’s already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Example 2: Vita Coco Coconut Water

This bottle is 16 ounces and contains a total of 22 grams of sugar. Most people mistakenly think that they do not eat any added sugar in their diet. Clearly this is not the case! While coconut water does have some natural sugar in it, real young green coconuts never taste as sweet as the coconut water being sold in the USA. So something is going on to make then taste extra sweet. Not to mention the fact that all coconut water imported into the USA has been irradiated, yet another reason to re-consider having too much bottled coconut water in the diet.

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It's true!

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It’s true!

Example 3: Silk Original Soy Milk

Many reasons not to drink this or any soy milk for that matter, and again, why contaminate a perfectly pure and natural Green Smoothie with these ingredients? Here we have added sugar and 2 suspicious food additives on the label: “Carrageenan” and “Natural Flavors.” Carrageenan is a thickening agent which is known to increase inflammation in the body, in especially gastrointestinal inflammation. The term “Natural Flavors” essentially has no regulation so there can be anything under the sun in it, and it’s usually nothing natural! This is the classic way that food manufacturers hide chemical additives like MSG. And, yes, it is legal. Anytime you see that term on a label, it is a food best to leave on the shelf!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Of course, the other issue with soy milk is the Genetically Modified issue. More than 90% of soy in the USA is GMO. That makes the soy higher in certain proteins which are known to trigger food allergies and intolerances, especially in children whose smaller bodies can’t handle the excess proteins in unnatural amounts. The other major issue with GMO foods is the direct link to infertility. Isn’t using plain water in your Green Smoothie suddenly sounding like the obvious healthy choice?

Example 4: Silk Organic Non-GMO Soy Milk

Don’t think you are doing much better by choosing the organic non-GMO version of soy milk. As you can still, they are still using Carrageenan as a thickening agent and a nice inflammatory food to add to your organic soy milk. In addition, who knows what they are hiding in those “Natural Flavors?” It could literally be anything, and it’s legal of course. The other issue with soy milk is that it is highly concentrated in phyto-estrogens (whether organic or not) and this is also not good for long-term use. High amounts of estrogen are linked to many health conditions for both female and male sexual reproduction hormones. Men can actually grow breasts from high amounts of estrogen! Stick with water in your Green Smoothie, add some 100% organic superfoods for an added nutritional boost, but stay away from the soy milk!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Example 5: Silk Original Almond Milk

Here we have added sugar, and of course the almonds are naturally high in fat which is more concentrated in a liquid form. Why not eat whole, raw almonds later in the day as a snack? That way you can actually enjoy the taste and spread your caloric load throughout the day. With so many people trying to lose weight, I can’t understand the desire to add additional sugar to a perfectly naturally sweet Green Smoothie.

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Example 6: Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk

Here you can see that there is essentially no added sugar, so this seems like a good choice….but, how exactly do they make this almond milk taste sweet and have vanilla flavor? Have you checked how expensive pure vanilla beans are lately? I don’t think they are adding them! That term “Natural Flavor” is screaming out to me, flashing warnings that this food is not natural at all. There could be all kinds of artificial flavor enhancers in there and the food manufacturer does not have to list them on the label. Simple as that. Again, why add more chemical additives to your diet? Plain, raw whole almonds do not have the term “natural flavor” on the package!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

While there is no official government standard on how much (refined) sugar to consume daily, most nutritionists will agree on a recommended daily intake of no more than 40 grams. If you choose to put these sugar-laden drinks into your Green Smoothie, all of a sudden you have less sugar available to consume the rest of the day. Why not save your ‘sugar bank’ for something you are really going to taste and enjoy?

Some will ask: “Can I add homemade almond milk or fresh coconut water to a Green Smoothie?”

Your body will be able to absorb the nutrients in your Green Smoothie more easily when you keep it simple.

Save your young green coconut for an afternoon snack later in the day. Avoid bottled coconut water.

Add your homemade almond milk to a cacao, banana smoothie when you will really taste it and enjoy the texture of the fat….and spread your caloric load throughout your meals as well.

If you are exercising a lot, for example after a 10km run, then yes….that would be a good time to add homemade almond milk, young green coconut flesh or young green coconut water to your Green Smoothie. The electrolytes in the live coconut are great for a post-workout recovery, and you will need the calories because you burned the calories.

Green Smoothies are good for you because they are made from simple, whole ingredients. That’s why you feel better when you eat them on a daily basis. Add 1-2 cups of plain water to your Green Smoothie to make it more drinkable but leave out the rest. You can absorb all the wonderful natural nutrients from a Green Smoothies, as long as you keep them natural, whole and pure.

How to Make Healthy Green Smoothies

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my NEW book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens and many delicious combos without chemical additives or refined sugar. It’s so easy!

Clean your body from the inside out and watch your skin improve, your hair and nails get stronger, your eyes look brighter and your waistline slim down….all naturally and effortlessly! It’s simply amazing and your only regret will be that you didn’t start drinking green smoothies sooner.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health.

When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!

More on Juicing and Smoothies:

More on Manifestation and Weight Loss:

More on Nut Milk and Healthy Recipes:

Why I don’t add Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water to Green Smoothies

The hottest new trend in Green Smoothie recipes is to add either Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water instead of plain water. Let’s face it, people love the thought of adding more nutrient power to their health drinks, and it seems like a good idea, right? Well, it’s only a good idea if you are interested in adding artificial chemicals, and increased sugar and fat to your Green Smoothie, and that doesn’t sound like a good idea to me! Actually, it’s the fastest way to contaminate the beautiful, fresh raw food delight of a Green Smoothie. Not to mention adding a lot of hidden extra calories that you don’t even really taste. So, if you are not losing weight from your daily Green Smoothie, the answer could lie in that added almond milk, soy milk, or coconut water.

Example 1: Coco Libre Pure Organic Coconut Water

It even says ‘No Added Sugar,’ a term which is not regulated by the FDA by the way, and when you look on the back you will see that there are 13g of sugar in one serving! So, essentially, all of the calories in this drink are from sugar!! With so much sweet flavor from fresh, natural fruits in a Green Smoothie, there is simply so need to add more sugar and it’s simply a waste of calories for anyone looking to watch their weight.

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that's already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that’s already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Example 2: Vita Coco Coconut Water

This bottle is 16 ounces and contains a total of 22 grams of sugar. Most people mistakenly think that they do not eat any added sugar in their diet. Clearly this is not the case! While coconut water does have some natural sugar in it, real young green coconuts never taste as sweet as the coconut water being sold in the USA. So something is going on to make then taste extra sweet. Not to mention the fact that all coconut water imported into the USA has been irradiated, yet another reason to re-consider having too much bottled coconut water in the diet.

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It's true!

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It’s true!

Example 3: Silk Original Soy Milk

Many reasons not to drink this or any soy milk for that matter, and again, why contaminate a perfectly pure and natural Green Smoothie with these ingredients? Here we have added sugar and 2 suspicious food additives on the label: “Carrageenan” and “Natural Flavors.” Carrageenan is a thickening agent which is known to increase inflammation in the body, in especially gastrointestinal inflammation. The term “Natural Flavors” essentially has no regulation so there can be anything under the sun in it, and it’s usually nothing natural! This is the classic way that food manufacturers hide chemical additives like MSG. And, yes, it is legal. Anytime you see that term on a label, it is a food best to leave on the shelf!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Of course, the other issue with soy milk is the Genetically Modified issue. More than 90% of soy in the USA is GMO. That makes the soy higher in certain proteins which are known to trigger food allergies and intolerances, especially in children whose smaller bodies can’t handle the excess proteins in unnatural amounts. The other major issue with GMO foods is the direct link to infertility. Isn’t using plain water in your Green Smoothie suddenly sounding like the obvious healthy choice?

Example 4: Silk Organic Non-GMO Soy Milk

Don’t think you are doing much better by choosing the organic non-GMO version of soy milk. As you can still, they are still using Carrageenan as a thickening agent and a nice inflammatory food to add to your organic soy milk. In addition, who knows what they are hiding in those “Natural Flavors?” It could literally be anything, and it’s legal of course. The other issue with soy milk is that it is highly concentrated in phyto-estrogens (whether organic or not) and this is also not good for long-term use. High amounts of estrogen are linked to many health conditions for both female and male sexual reproduction hormones. Men can actually grow breasts from high amounts of estrogen! Stick with water in your Green Smoothie, add some 100% organic superfoods for an added nutritional boost, but stay away from the soy milk!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Example 5: Silk Original Almond Milk

Here we have added sugar, and of course the almonds are naturally high in fat which is more concentrated in a liquid form. Why not eat whole, raw almonds later in the day as a snack? That way you can actually enjoy the taste and spread your caloric load throughout the day. With so many people trying to lose weight, I can’t understand the desire to add additional sugar to a perfectly naturally sweet Green Smoothie.

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Example 6: Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk

Here you can see that there is essentially no added sugar, so this seems like a good choice….but, how exactly do they make this almond milk taste sweet and have vanilla flavor? Have you checked how expensive pure vanilla beans are lately? I don’t think they are adding them! That term “Natural Flavor” is screaming out to me, flashing warnings that this food is not natural at all. There could be all kinds of artificial flavor enhancers in there and the food manufacturer does not have to list them on the label. Simple as that. Again, why add more chemical additives to your diet? Plain, raw whole almonds do not have the term “natural flavor” on the package!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

While there is no official government standard on how much (refined) sugar to consume daily, most nutritionists will agree on a recommended daily intake of no more than 40 grams. If you choose to put these sugar-laden drinks into your Green Smoothie, all of a sudden you have less sugar available to consume the rest of the day. Why not save your ‘sugar bank’ for something you are really going to taste and enjoy?

Some will ask: “Can I add homemade almond milk or fresh coconut water to a Green Smoothie?”

Your body will be able to absorb the nutrients in your Green Smoothie more easily when you keep it simple.

Save your young green coconut for an afternoon snack later in the day. Avoid bottled coconut water.

Add your homemade almond milk to a cacao, banana smoothie when you will really taste it and enjoy the texture of the fat….and spread your caloric load throughout your meals as well.

If you are exercising a lot, for example after a 10km run, then yes….that would be a good time to add homemade almond milk, young green coconut flesh or young green coconut water to your Green Smoothie. The electrolytes in the live coconut are great for a post-workout recovery, and you will need the calories because you burned the calories.

Green Smoothies are good for you because they are made from simple, whole ingredients. That’s why you feel better when you eat them on a daily basis. Add 1-2 cups of plain water to your Green Smoothie to make it more drinkable but leave out the rest. You can absorb all the wonderful natural nutrients from a Green Smoothies, as long as you keep them natural, whole and pure.

How to Make Healthy Green Smoothies

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my NEW book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens and many delicious combos without chemical additives or refined sugar. It’s so easy!

Clean your body from the inside out and watch your skin improve, your hair and nails get stronger, your eyes look brighter and your waistline slim down….all naturally and effortlessly! It’s simply amazing and your only regret will be that you didn’t start drinking green smoothies sooner.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health.

When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!

More on Juicing and Smoothies:

More on Manifestation and Weight Loss:

More on Nut Milk and Healthy Recipes:

Why I don’t use protein powders…and why you shouldn’t either!

The protein powder craze is one health trend that you should definitely avoid, and I’m about to tell you why!

Chose Whole Foods and Whole Dried Foods, organic of course!

Learn what protein powders to avoid and why!

Even with all their amazing health claims on everything from weight loss to better workouts to rock solid abs, I never felt drawn to protein powders. My feeling was always to stay close to nature with my foods, and I just wasn’t sure how a vanilla or chocolate or strawberry-flavored powder felt like anything except an overly processed food. Over the years, I started to hear from clients who were getting sick from these powders – mainly pain in the lower back, bad skin, insomnia, depression and kidney troubles. In every case, the symptoms occurred AFTER starting high doses of protein powder. As I started to look at the ingredients on different labels, I knew that my intuition on this one had been right all along.

Not a Whole Food

Most people mistakenly think that protein powders are just whole foods ground up into a powder form, and that is definitely not true. In fact, in order to get a high protein count, you have to extract the proteins out of the food and leave the rest behind. Otherwise, you could not get anywhere near a high protein concentration. And with protein powders, the more protein, the better.

Pea protein is the worst offender, especially for people who may react to these unnatural extracted proteins. That’s right…pea protein is an extracted protein, made in a lab, and it’s got a high glutamate concentration so it can affect you in the exact way as Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG. I’ve had a few clients who taking high doses of protein powders and they complained of migraine headaches, anxiety, and sensitivity to light or sound. Once we took the pea protein out of their diet, all symptoms disappeared.

Note: ALL pea protein is extracted, even if it’s 100% certified organic. The same protein powders can be used in diet and weight loss shakes as well as body-building blends.

Not Natural

Many protein powders contain “natural” flavors (note: the word “natural” is not regulated and can mean just about anything), artificial coloring and/or artificial sweeteners, none of which are good for your health. You can also find Genetically Modified (GMO) ingredients and/or Whey Protein Isolate, another high glutamate/extracted ingredient which is non-vegan and usually not organic so it can be high in antibiotics and pesticides too.

Not Regulated

Since protein powders are considered a “food” and not a supplement, they’re not actually regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In a few cases, independent studies found high levels of heavy metals in certain ingredients such as organic brown rice protein. If your protein powder contains dangerously high levels of arsenic, cadmium or lead, how would you know? You won’t. Until it’s too late that is, and I don’t want that to happen to you!

Many of the ingredients in the mass-produced protein powders come from India and China, and they are not regulated for quality or contaminants. Those low-quality ingredients are most likely irradiated as well.

Hard on the Kidneys

So you’ve got an extracted unnatural powder protein that was heated to super-high temperatures, stripped of its fiber and is no longer a whole food. (Yikes!) What’s your natural, organic body going to do with that? You’ll have excess acid and uric acid build-up that’s created from the metabolic waste in trying to digest and break down all those proteins. Your skin and kidneys carry the burden of trying to release excess acids. You might smell an “acidic or tangy” odor in your sweat. Over time, the kidneys can become weaker and the risk of getting kidney stones or kidney disease can increase. Eating a high acid diet is also not good for your pH health. An anti-cancer diet is an alkaline diet, not a a high acid diet.

Not Around Long Enough to Know

The boom of high protein diets helped to make protein powders a new diet trend. Just read any Paleo, Dukan, Atkins or low carb diet website and you will see everyone is talking about protein – protein – protein.  I’ve even heard people talking about cricket protein powders (and surely that’s coming from China so imagine what’s in it, really).

But here’s the deal –  you can still eat plenty of protein if that’s your thing. Just choose whole foods! There are plenty of natural, vegan, organic whole food plant protein options out there. Since protein powders simply haven’t been around long enough to know if there are long-term consequences to your health, why take a chance?

Choose Real Whole Organic Food

Your body was designed to eat whole foods.

Here are 5 plant-based whole food protein sources:

  • 164g chickpeas = 14.53g  protein
  • 118g pumpkin seeds = 35.21g protein
  • 143g almonds = 30.34g protein
  • 140g sunflower seeds = 29.09g protein
  • 30g hemp hearts protein (3 Tbsp.) = 15.00g protein

Okay to Eat: Organic hemp protein, flax seed and spirulina powder. These are all whole foods; that means the whole seed or algae is dried and ground into a powder form. (The powders you want to avoid are the processed foods, such as “extracted, hydrolyzed, and protein isolates.”)

Best to Avoid: Pea protein, whey isolate, any hydrolyzed protein, natural flavors, aspartame, beet powder (if non-organic, this is usually GMO).

Other good vegetable/plant-based sources of protein include organic spirulina powder, sprouted mung beans, lentils, sesame seeds and dark leafy bitter greens.

You can make a super-healthy Green Smoothie with pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, tahini (sesame seed paste), almonds and spirulina plus some fresh dark, leafy greens for an all-natural plant-based protein meal. You deserve the very best in health so I say choose the best!

Find out why you should avoid the latest protein powder craze

More on Blenders and pH Health:

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Detox Reaction vs. Allergic Reaction or Intolerance – Which one is it?

Understandably, it can be really frustrating to start eating better and still not feel your best. You might feel confused, discouraged or even angry that you are trying so hard and not seeing the results you want.

What happens if you start a new cleanse, supplement or detox product and find yourself feeling worse? Doesn’t feeling bad mean that you are having a detox reaction and you should “suffer through it?” And doesn’t foggy brain, fatigue, sugar cravings and rashes always mean you have candida? Definitely, no, or at the very least, mostly no.

Symptoms of a Detox Reaction vs. Allergic Reaction

Symptoms of a Detox Reaction vs. Allergic Reaction

I’ve been in this field for a long time and I want to share with you one of the biggest mistakes that people are making today in the world of detox and natural health: They are calling everything a detox reaction.

In my opinion, the most “over-diagnosed” and incorrect problem that people get labeled with when they’re eating healthy (especially high raw food or vegan) but still feeling bad is: 1) They have candida or 2) They are still detoxing. I’ll address the candida issue in another post, but I can tell you that in my experience of seeing well over 4,500 clients, 95+% of the time, both of these assessments are false.

Did you ever consider that you might actually just have a food intolerance or sensitivity to a food additive? Believe it or not, this happens much more than you could ever imagine. And, when you take the suspicious food out of your diet, you can feel better in a matter of days. Finally, you can start enjoying some real healthy bliss! Read on to understand the difference between a real detox reaction and a potential allergic reaction or an intolerance to a food or food additive.

What is a Detox Reaction

When your start to do a detox, as old, excess toxins flush out and unwanted bacteria, microbes and viruses die off, you can actually experience a temporary detox or cleansing reaction. Based on the work of Dr. Karl Herxheimer in the late 1800s, this temporary feeling of illness is known as the Herxheimer effect and is actually an intense sign of healing. These reactions can indicate that your body has started to cleanse itself as it quickly tries to catch up on the overload of toxins being released.

Symptoms of a Detox Reaction

  • Mild headaches, nausea, chills, sweating.
  • Fatigue, aching muscles.
  • Mucous, body odor, rashes.
  • Dizziness, weakness or even foggy brain.

Typical Length of a Detox Reaction

A detox reaction will last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. If you are experiencing a real “healing crisis,” normally that will last from 1 to 3 days total. Usually after the detox reaction, you feel amazingly better, and you will not have that symptom again. For example, you could feel chills or nausea or intense exhaustion, then a few hours later (or after an enema), feel totally energized.

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Click on the Disclaimer Link below to read the full disclaimer for this website!

What is an Allergic Reaction or Intolerance

True allergic reactions are much more rare than intolerances but they’re definitely on the rise (thank Monsanto and GMO foods for that). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there’s been a continued rise in allergic diseases in the industrialized world for over 50 years.

An allergic reaction occurs when your body sees a food such as shellfish, peanuts or wheat as a foreign body or allergen, and starts to attack it by creating antibodies and inflammation.

Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction or Intolerance

The symptoms of an allergic reaction can vary from mild to severe. If you are exposed to an allergen for the first time, your symptoms may be mild. These symptoms may get worse if you are repeatedly exposed to the allergen.

According to the Mayo Clinic, The most common food allergy signs and symptoms include:

  • Tingling or itching in the mouth.
  • Hives, itching or eczema.
  • Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body.
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or trouble breathing.
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting.

If you have a food additive intolerance, such as an intolerance to Monosodium Glutamate, you can experience:

  • Headaches, chills, fatigue, aching muscles, dizziness.
  • Insomnia, sensitivity to light or sound.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Fatigue (especially the following day).
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
  • Hives, itching or eczema.
  • Swelling of the lips, eyes, face, tongue and throat or other parts of the body.
  • Wheezing, nasal congestion or constricted breathing.

Typical Length of a Food or Food Additive Allergy/Intolerance Reaction:

An intolerance or allergy can last indefinitely, especially if you continue to eat the food or use the product that you are intolerant to. The problem with “intolerances” is that they usually have a delayed reaction time and they don’t give nearly as severe a reaction as an “allergy.” That’s why they can easily go undiagnosed for years. After a reaction, you may feel temporarily better, but if you eat the suspect food again, you will have the exact same symptoms over and over and never find yourself feeling better.

As you can see from looking at the above lists, it can be easy for a novice to label a food allergy or intolerance incorrectly and call it a detox reaction – the symptoms are almost exactly the same! In rare cases when someone is taking too many detox supplements or doing too many detox protocols at once (far infrared sauna, colonics, zapper, parasite cleanse, heavy metal detox etc.), I will recommend to slow down the detox itself and determine the best order and pace of detox for the individual.

In the old days of detox, almost 20 years ago, no one was doing this stuff and the people who were really knew what they were doing. In the world of detox today, there is a TON of misinformation out there. Someone who made 1 green juice or fasted for 3 days is suddenly on every forum as the guru of detox. As with everything, this is a blessing and a curse at the same time. It’s a blessing because more people are getting out there and trying a fast or cleanse for the first time and that is simply awesome. And I no longer get booed out of a room for talking about coffee enemas, lol! But it’s a curse because people are being misled down the wrongs roads.

What kind of foods can you be intolerant to?

You can react to certain fillers in supplements (like malodextrin); chlorella in your green powder blend, Miso soup, seaweed snacks, vegan butters, vegan mayonnaise, and pesticides. I’ve even had clients react to whole foods like tomato paste, sesame seeds or celery. Once we get that food out of the diet, the reaction goes away and then we know for sure that we’re dealing with a classic food intolerance and not a detox reaction. How does it work? I can usually identify which foods you need to remove after 25-30 minutes of Q&A about your symptoms, current diet or recent detox.

For more on how to do a detox at home or how to navigate through your detox symptoms and start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Detox:

My boyfriend followed my Raw Food Diet and got Anemia!

Before I met my boyfriend, he was a normal meat-eating guy and definitely a sugar and bread addict. Luckily, once we got together, he was open to trying my “rabbit salad” and “strange smoothies” ie. raw food style of eating. To his surprise, he immediately felt better and without any pressure from me, he decided himself to go on a high raw food and vegan diet! It was really great to witness his transformation. In the last 2 years, his energy levels improved, his skin cleared, his digestion improved immensely and he continues to look younger and younger. Because of such positive results, he even joined me on a 10-day and 14-day juice fast. Most recently, he completed a 21-day water fast with me in Vilcabamba, Ecuador.

The Results of His Blood Test. It’s easy to become anemic on a Raw Food Diet if you don’t eat GREENS!

Over the last 6 months, however, he was starting to feel exceptionally tired. My schedule was pretty hectic with a lot of travel and we initially thought it was from all the buses, planes and changing hotels which would make anyone tired (including me!). But it just seemed to get worse. So, when we arrived to Israel, he went to the doctor and ordered some standard blood tests. The result: Low Red Blood Cell Count (RBC), Low Hemoglobin, and Low Hematocrit. What does that mean? He has a case of iron-deficiency anemia.

Vegan foods high in IRON: Cherries, Organic Apricots, Molasses and Leafy Greens

What is Anemia?

Anemia can occur for a few reasons, but is most commonly associated with a lack of iron in the blood. Iron is an essential part of hemoglobin, and low iron levels result in decreased incorporation of hemoglobin into red blood cells. Because hemoglobin normally carries oxygen from the lungs to the capillaries, anemia leads to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in organs. This can make a person feel lethargic, dizzy, weak, generally unwell and even a bit foggy in the brain.

Did the Raw Food Diet fail for him?

The truth is, although my boyfriend followed me on the raw food journey, he never really liked eating dark leafy greens. He didn’t like the taste of spirulina, in fact, he hated it. So, he wasn’t eating enough greens, either powdered or fresh. In the morning, he would make a big batch of fresh fruit smoothie, pour out some for himself, and then add the green superfoods and leafy greens for me. One of my “go-to” snacks is always a handful of dried organic apricots. But he never really liked those either. Being a former refined sugar lover, he would choose organic dates instead. It’s easy to see that he was simply not getting enough high-iron content foods in his daily diet. So, I don’t think the raw food diet failed him and I do not think that a vegan or vegetarian diet is dangerous to his health. He just wasn’t attentive to getting all the minerals his body needs. (And he also wasn’t listening to me saying “You need to eat more greens!”)

As a side note, the last time I was tested for iron, it was just below the threshold of being too high! The doctor actually told me to stop eating red meat! I didn’t say a word but silently laughed to myself, because I haven’t eaten meat in over 21 years!! I knew it was from my daily Green Smoothie. Somehow my body knew how to hold on to just enough iron and not have too much. When we give the body what it needs, it knows what to do…that’s the internal intelligence of our healing system!

What now?

The blood test results were a big wake-up call. The same day that he received the results, my boyfriend immediately started adding spirulina to his smoothies and started taking a liquid iron supplement. After only 2 days, he noticed the difference. His energy levels picked up and he had an easier time waking up in the morning. Now he is also making a conscious effort to eat more greens in his diet as well. He is not eating meat and has no interest to eat meat, but he did decide to try some plain vegan seitan (with no added flavors so no flavor enhancers). He cooks the seitan with some olive oil, organic cumin and cayenne pepper and adds it to a big raw food salad. (Note: Seitan contains wheat and is not a good option for anyone who is a celiac or sensitive to gluten.) He seems to be remembering to take his daily B12 supplement now too because he is just overall more aware of the importance of getting all the nutrients he needs!

Because of what happened, I will also take an iron supplement for 1-2 months to help get my body back on track just in case I am deficient as well. With over 8 months of non-stop traveling to Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, we did not always have the chance to eat as much variety in our diets. For that reason, I could now be low in iron too. Living in one place makes it very easy, and I am now happy to be having 1 green juice, 1 Green Smoothie and 1 fresh wheatgrass shot per day along with my normal salads and fruit.

Vegan Sources of Iron

There are definitely vegan and vegetarian food options that are naturally high in iron, like cherries, dark leafy greens, molasses and/or organic apricots. Green superfoods like spirulina, chlorella, dulse or kelp are also good sources of iron. Having some organic powdered greens in a Daily Green Smoothie is a great way to get a healthy daily dose of iron. Rotating greens helps to get all the nutrients you need, so be sure to switch out your greens between kale, spinach, bok choy, parsley, beet greens, collard greens, Swiss Chard and whatever other edible fresh greens you can find in your local farmer’s market or organic supermarket. If you are new to a vegan or raw food diet, it’s a good idea to get your blood tested in the first 6 months to be sure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs.

Do you Need to Take a Supplement?

Whether you take an iron supplement is really up to you, but I don’t think it’s necessary if you are attentive to eating greens in your daily diet. If you do decide to take an iron supplement, be sure to find one in liquid form because iron tablets (or pills) tend to have a constipating effect. If you become pregnant, you will need more iron and for sure, you should consider taking an iron supplement.

Example of Ferrum Chromotose Iris

In the Science of Iridology, we have a subtype by color called Ferrum Chromotose which shows an inability to store iron. An example of this subtype is shown here. You can see the “tiger striping” or light brown and dark brown stripes in the iris. This is an inherited trait, and if I see this marking during an Iridology Analysis, I will always advise the client to be attentive to getting enough iron in their diet. It should be no surprise that my boyfriend has this marking in his eyes and I do not. If you have this marking, you are more likely to suffer from anemia, especially when there is a lack of high-iron content foods in the diet.

On a daily basis, the only nutritional supplement I take is a B12 complex. I personally think it’s important for everyone to take a daily B vitamin complex, including meat-eaters. Most B12 is lost in the process of cooking and many people (especially meat-eaters) have reduced or limited absorption capabilities.

Need more guidance? I offer personalized nutritional counseling, health coaching and Iridology sessions by Skype and email to help you achieve your best health ever!

Here’s to your health!

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Think your Mediterranean Green Olives are a ‘safe, clean’ food? Think again!

I continue to try to dispel the myth that I hear over and over again when people tell me, “But I don’t eat processed foods” or “I NEVER eat Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)” or “the veggie restaurant I go to doesn’t use any additives in their food.”

What I hope to teach is that we have to be responsible for what we put in our mouths.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Ribonucleotide, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate are all flavor enhancers which add a salty, savory taste to foods. They overstimulate the taste in food, making a bland food taste exceptionally good. They also overstimulate the brain, and are known as “excito-toxins”. They can be listed either by the food additive name or by the food additive number (sometimes called ‘E numbers’): 621, 635, 631 and 627.

Legally, these food additives can also be ‘disguised’ in terms such as spices, yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavors, flavoring, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed vegetable oil, torula yeast, autolyzed yeast, sodium caseinate, and monocalcium glutamate.

Of course, these additives can also be listed by their real name, as in the case of the examples below. But would you think that a simple can or jar of olives would contain flavor enhancers to chemically alter the taste? Well, they can!

In this blog post, we look at Mediterranean Green Olives, all exported from Spain. I found these particular items in a supermarket in Bolivia, South America, but you will recognize these brands in any supermarket in the world.

Ybarra Green Olives, a product of Spain, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

In the first example, we look at Ybarra Green Olives stuffed with Jalapeños (or Aceitunas Verdes Rellenas in Spanish). Looking right on the list of ingredients, you will clearly see Monosodium Glutamate (or Glutamato Monosodico in Spanish). Looking on the Ybarra website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. However, I did find the following statement:

“We care about our consumers’ health. That’s why we include nutritional labels on all our products to communicate, in a transparent way, nutritional information and ingredients of each one of them.”

Well, I do thank them for that!

Carbonell Spanish Green Olives with Pepper, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

In the next example, we look at Carbonell Spanish Green Olives with Paprikou, or Pepper. Again, right on the list of ingredients it is easy to see Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). On the Carbonell website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. Interestingly enough, I did find the following 2 statements:

“Carbonell olives with Pimento Pepper paste are allergen-free” and “Carbonell black olives are allergen-free.”

There was no mention of the Green Olive with Pepper, Monosodium Glutamate or any other allergen information on the website.

Fragata Green Olives with Pimento, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Finally, we look at Fragata Spanish Green Olives stuffed with Pimento. On the list of ingredients, we can quickly see Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). On the Fragata website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. (Are we seeing a pattern here?)

What do you want to see on the list of ingredients?

Ripe olives, water, salt.

When buying olives in a jar or can, try to stay away from flavored olives (like lemon, garlic or pimento). Anything flavored is much more likely to contain MSG. Plain is your safest bet.

If you see the word “spices” or “natural flavorings” on the ingredient list of olives, don’t buy it! In the USA, I find that food companies are a bit more savy, and they use other ingredients which already contain MSG and them hide it in the term “spices.” All legal, of course.

What are the best olives to buy?

The best olives to buy are fresh, organic olives cured naturally with fresh lemon, fresh garlic or fresh herbs. My favorite place to buy fresh green or black olives is at the Friday organic market outside of Shuk Hanamal at Tel Aviv Port, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Once you taste a real fresh olive, you will quickly understand the inferior quality and flavor from a jarred or canned olive full of chemical additives.

A “clean diet” must be MSG-free!

All of this information may seem overwhelming at first, but isn’t it time to learn the truth? Especially if on your “clean and safe” diet, you are still experiencing migraines, insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, restless leg syndrome, dizziness, vertigo, irritability, moodiness, depression, sensitivity to sound and light and/or a general feeling of malaise and lack of energy?

Even small amounts of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in the diet, as little as 3-4 times per week, can make a person symptomatic for the entire week. Imagine how someone may feel when they are unknowingly eating MSG 3-4 times per day!

Not everyone will experience the same exact symptoms, because flavor enhancers like MSG will over-stimulate the brain in individuals in different ways, depending on their body chemistry and sensitivity. Look at the rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, ADHD and autism absolutely sky-rocketing every year and compare that to the amounts of flavor enhancers (or excito-toxins) hidden in foods and in the diet, and it will quickly become apparent that we are facing an epidemic with the chemical additives in our food.

Solution:

Always look at the ingredients before making a decision to buy. It’s takes less than 30 seconds, and over time, you will know what brands are safe and what brands are not. In restaurants, you always have to be careful, because waitstaff and even chefs are simply not trained on the level of food additive allergies and intolerances. In restaurants, I only order salads with no dressing and a side of lemon or lime. If there are canned or jarred olives on the salad, I don’t eat them.

More on Food Additives:

What I Learned from taking a traditional Nutrition Course…and What I Didn’t Learn

I recently completed the Nutrition, Health, and Lifestyle: Issues and Insights Course at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing. It was an extremely insightful experience to see what a traditional Nutritionist learns and eventually coaches or advocates to their clients.

I decided that it would be a unique “cultural exchange” to experience what traditional Nutritionists learn. Although I did learn a few useful things that I will outline below, for the most part I was shocked and disappointed to see the mis-truths and lack of unbiased information being presented to the students. Well, we all know that industry sponsors many universities through expensive grants, so could we really expect these teaching institutions to maintain an impartial perspective?

Many times during the course, I felt like I was being fed propaganda created directly by the food industry and/or Monsanto themselves. I actually feel bad for anyone who spends the money on a 4-year Nutrition Degree, because they may enter their study with high hopes of helping others, but how can they really help guide others through nutrition and diet when they are being taught lies? It’s truly a shame to see a system that is so broken and so far away from the relevance of a real natural, whole and pure diet and its effect on one’s health.

What I Learned

As I mentioned above, there were a few things that I learned from this course, or at least that I felt were truthful and relevant. They include:

-Professor showed several studies comparing a vegetarian diet to meat-based diet and how vegetarians have reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, etc.

-Professor mentioned that, “Even though we are living longer in the US, we are also living sicker.” I would agree!

-Professional explained superfoods, nutrient-dense foods, phyto-chemicals and importance of nutrients in the diet. Obviously this is important, and was factual in the course.

Superfood are Nutrient-Dense Foods
from Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing

-Professor cited a study that showed vegan and vegetarian diet offer significant benefit in diabetes management. Additionally, it was pointed out that vegan and vegetarian diets also improve plasma lipid concentrations and have been shown to reverse atherosclerosis progression.

-Professor cited the position of the American Dietetic Association that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

-Professor discussed the importance on B12 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids in a vegetarian and/or vegan diet. Certainly important factors to consider, and should be addressed for meat-eaters too!

-Professor accurately showed the excess of salt, fat and sugar in the Standard American Diet and the related high obesity rates in the United States.

Clearly these facts cannot be denied!

Typical American Diet: Excess in Fat, Salt and Sugar
from Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing

United States #2 in Obesity Rates
from Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing

In summary, some good information about the benefits of a vegetarian and/or vegan diet was presented, and some factual information on obesity and the lack of fruits and vegetables in the Standard American (SAD) Diet was mentioned.

The other parts of the course are where I found myself wincing and shaking my head in utter dismay.

What I Didn’t Learn

Most notable items not addressed, under-addressed or mis-addressed in this course:

-Professor downplayed any danger associated with GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) foods, saying that “GMO has been around for centuries and centuries” and then stated that GMO has been around for “thousands of years.”

How did they isolate proteins in labs thousands of years ago exactly?

-Professor mentioned soy as a complete protein but of course no mention that 94% of soy in the USA is GMO and no mention or even peep about consuming GMO foods in relation to higher risk of infertility and food allergies.

Isn’t this of utmost importance when working with people and the nutritional relevance of their diet to health?

-Professor stated that, “Consumers may need to educate themselves before they jump on the bandwagon of something that they don’t understand,” and went on to add that with GMO foods “we are feeding areas of the world that don’t have the distribution and supply that we have.”

Spoon-fed propaganda from Monsanto PR…or what?

Anyone who is working with nutrition and food allergies, autism, ADHD and infertility (all of which have completed skyrocketed in the last decade worldwide) knows that something has seriously gone wrong.

If you are unsure in any way, please watch these documentaries on GMO foods and health: “The World According to Monsanto,” “Food, Inc.,” “The Future of Food,” “Seeds of Freedom,” “Genetic Roulette,” “Scientists Under Attack,” and “The GMO Trilogy.” Some of these documentaries can be watched for FREE online at http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/.

I also highly recommend the book The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It by Robyn O’Brien for extensively researched information and links to studies on GMO foods and food allergies. An excellent read for anyone looking to learn more on the subject of GMO foods and health!

Yes, it is true that we need to educate ourselves!

-Professor downplayed importance of organic foods, stating that “an organic apple is not going to be more nutritious than a conventionally grown apple.”

No mention of pesticides, GMO proteins or the simple fact that organic soil has more nutrients in the soil. How, why?? How can a “qualified” Nutritionist ignore the nutritional value of organic food?

In fact, reviews of multiple studies show that organic varieties do provide significantly greater levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus than non-organic varieties of the same foods (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359265).

Organic food has been shown to have higher nutrient concentrations,
yet Vanderbilt University’s Nutrition Course says: No Difference.

-Professor advocated the use of “fortified foods” as a way to increase nutrient consumption, specifically advocating milk fortified with Vitamin D, fortified breakfast cereals, and fortified sports drinks like Gatorade.

Why ignore the value of organic whole foods yet advocate processed foods that are chemically fortified with inorganic vitamins and minerals? No mention of the antibiotics and hormones in conventional milk, the added sugar in breakfast cereals or the chemical colorings in sports drinks. Wow.

-Professor downplayed the dangers of chemical food additives in the diet.

In my professional experience, more people are being affected by all types of food additives more than ever before, because food additives are being used in food more than ever before!

Flavor enhancers (MSG, ribonucleotide), nitrates, sulfites, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners and chemical colorings are creating an absolute health epidemic! To gloss over this issue and to not acknowledge the danger of food additives in relation to nutrition and health is both irresponsible and just plain idiotic. I’m truly devastated to see the education so lacking on this topic. Sadly, the food industry has a lot of money to hide the truth.

Nutrition Courses teach that MSG is “Generally Recognized as Safe” or GRAS
from Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing

Because Monosodium Glutamate was used in foods before 1958, the FDA considers it as “Generally Recognized as Safe” or GRAS. Other foods which are categorized as GRAS are salt, pepper, vinegar and baking powder. How is it possible that MSG is considered as safe as vinegar? And hasn’t the amounts of concentrations of MSG increased in foods since 1958, making it a higher risk contaminant and something that should be re-evaluated in the interest of public health and safety?

The worst part of all is that this is what Nutritionists are learning in school. Will they be able to identify an MSG intolerance in their client? Chances are extremely slim, because they are taught that MSG is “safe!” I cannot count how many clients I have worked with suffering from migraines, insomnia, depression, heart palpitations, anxiety, vertigo, itchy rashes, puffiness, sensitivity to light and sound and even behavioral and learning problems in children: all of which were reversed when we removed MSG and/or Ribonucleotides and all hidden forms of MSG out of the diet.

You cannot advise people on food and not take into account the potential effect of chemical food additives!

-Professor spoke with David McCarty, Senior VP Operations of Smart Balance spreads for 30 minutes and praised his product line for being a good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and for being a “heart-friendly” food.

Smart Balance “butter” is not something that I even consider a FOOD!

What is natural about spreadable butter containing genetically modified (GMO) soy and artificial flavor which is surely where they are hiding the salty, savory flavor enhancers and/or some hidden form of MSG to actually give this greasy mess some type of taste that is palatable to humans?

How are consumers protected when food companies “self-regulate”?
from Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing

If you are a non-vegan, you are much better off eating REAL butter with 2 simple ingredients: butter and salt. I am amazed to see Smart Balance call itself a “heart healthy” food when Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is known to cause heart palpitations. People may eat this mess and think they are having a heart attack!

Vegans can simply use extra-virgin olive oil, an organic almond butter or tahini (sesame seed) paste. People on a raw food vegan diet will not need any spread to put on bread, and they can use fresh lime or lime for salad dressing and add tahini to a raw cracker. Easy!

To summarize, I do not feel that I wasted my time by taking a traditional nutrition class. Actually, I would recommend it to anyone working with nutrition, diet, people and food. It’s important to know what the “mainstream” teaches in order to have a better understanding of what your client may have faced previously by seeing a traditional nutritionist in the past.

That said, there still may be some nutritionists who think and learn outside of the box and may actually have an awareness of other factors that affect food and health, mainly GMO foods, quality of food (organic vs. conventional) and the relation of food additives to health. As a client, the best thing to do is to check your nutritionist’s website or ask them if they will go to the level of food additives and food quality during your session. If they reply that their approach is centered only around protein, carbs, fats, minerals and vitamins, then please take my advice: keep shopping until you find someone who will go deeper to help you have the best health ever…because you deserve the very best, in food and in health!

For information on how to work with me for Your Best Health, please go to my Coaching Page.

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Restaurant Cards for Celiac, Gluten-Free & MSG-Free

The best part of world travel is the excitement and adventure of exploring new places, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. The worst part if you are sensitive to gluten or Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) can be the food. While most people dream of eating exotic foods from around the globe, food allergy sufferers see it as a minefield, one which is even harder to negotiate a language barrier. And yes, this applies even to raw foodists! It can be very difficult in foreign countries to explain that you don’t want bread with your salad or croutons or crostini or some other fried breaded condiment on top. It can be even more difficult to ask for a salad dressing with no MSG and sauces with no MSG. Even if you do order something fresh like homemade salsa or guacamole, there can be hidden added ingredients like chili sauce which will inevitably contain MSG. The result? Spending your perfect dream vacation night at home in bed with a migraine, itchy rash, puffy face or rapid heartbeat wondering why you can’t seem to relax on your holiday! No way, we don’t want that!

Actually, these recommendations apply to any high-raw food people eating out, even in their own country…and you will soon see why.

A connection between Gluten Foods and MSG/Ribonucleotide Intolerance?

On thing that I have found in my experience is that the majority of foods that contain MSG also contain gluten. I discovered this in my own health journey when trying to determine the cause of an unbearably itchy rash that I suffered with for 2 years while living in Australia. After finally going on an elimination diet and taking all wheat and gluten out of my diet, my rash improved by about 85%. But, I was still occasionally eating flavored rice crackers, dried seaweed and flavored tofu products which have no gluten but do contain ribonucleotide, the food additive that I now know was the cause of my ‘ribo rash’.

After I removed all ribonucleotide-containing foods out of my diet, the rash cleared entirely, 100% without any reoccurrence! And, I went back to eating plain wheat and gluten products with no problem (this was about 1 year before I went on a raw food diet). What I discovered is that most snack foods, soups, sauces dressings, and flavored foods that contain MSG and/or ribonucleotide, also contain gluten.

It is my opinion that some people are in fact misdiagnosed with a gluten intolerance when actually they have an intolerance to MSG and ribonucleotide but are ‘labeled’ with a gluten allergy because it’s an easy and obvious label to put on a patient with the ‘typical’ gluten intolerant complaints. (Note: Gluten intolerance is different to a full gluten allergy (Celiac Disease) and most people fall into the intolerant category, one which is not able to be tested for definitively). When you look at the reactions that people get from gluten vs. MSG and ribonucleotide (itchy rash, migraine headache, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, puffiness, bloating, etc.), you will see that they are nearly identical reactions.

I’ve even seen many raw food clients who still complain of itchy rashes because, for example, they may be eating Vegenaise as a treat or they complain of headaches from drinking high-protein shakes with pea protein (another form of MSG in disguise). Even nutritionists and raw food chefs come to me for an Iridology session and we identify offending food additives in their diet which are making them sick. My point is: people don’t know about food additives and they are not taught about them in school!

Well, if the ‘experts’ don’t know how to eat clean food themselves, then how can one possibly eat gluten and additive-free food while traveling?

How to Order ‘Clean’ Food on the Road

First, order salads with no salad dressing. Ask for plain fresh lemon on the side. If you like, you can also ask for some extra-virgin olive oil. I personally bring my own organic cayenne pepper, cumin and paprika to add to all of my salads in restaurants.

Stay away from sauces, even if they look fresh and smell yummy. Yes, a little bit can do a lot of harm (think migraine on the beach under the moonlight, not good!).

MSG is a flavor enhancer and excito-toxin that overstimulates the brain

In Asia, you will always have to be careful with MSG, because in addition to the sauces, they love to add MSG in powder form to food. Take the gluten-free restaurant card that I suggest you travel with below and add “NO MSG” in the language that you need. You can use Google Translate for this. Take care of the details before you leave for your trip.

In South America, if you are sensitive to food additives, you will most likely have a problem with their salt which has a non-caking agent in it called Yellow Prussiate of Soda (YPS), a derivative of arsenic. This has proved to be a huge problem for me on my travels in Central America and South America, but luckily I figured out the problem pretty quickly. Bring your own Himalayan Salt. Add the words “No SALT” in Spanish “Sin Sal” to the bottom of your gluten-free restaurant card.

Do NOT trust what the waitstaff tell you.

That applies to all countries, everywhere, all the time. People who are not sensitive to gluten or MSG have no idea what’s in a chipotle sauce or a aioli sauce or a soup stock cube. They are thinking, ok this person can’t eat bread or Chinese food. I have had some of the best restaurants (and raw food restaurants) serve me food containing MSG or ribonucleotide when they swore there was none. I’m sure that has happened to many others too! Be sure your card gets to the chef.

Plan B

If unsure, don’t eat it! Why take the chance? It’s simply not worth it. In a bind, I have ordered plain rice or a plain baked potato or plain steamed veggies because that was the only uncontaminated food I could order. This will happen on occasion if you are traveling in different countries. I would rather lose 1% of my ‘perfect rawness’ and eat clean, safe food than eat some crazy raw food chipotle taco that is going to make me sick for 2 days. Every time I’ve had to do that, I have been so happy with my decision!

Use Restaurant Cards for Celiac and Gluten-Free

In addition to what I recommended above, definitely consider using the awesome restaurant cards for Celiac and Gluten-Free. These are available for free from celiactravel.com and are available in 54 languages. If you combine using these cards with a little bit of know-how, you are much more likely to get a clean, safe meal. Remember, most foods that contain gluten also contain MSG. In many countries, it will be difficult (or even impossible) to explain what MSG and ribonucleotide are (hey, it’s difficult even in the USA!). By using the card, you are explaining in a concise, easy way that will less stressful for you and there is a much better chance that the chef will understand your request. In my case, I simply cross out the part about milk, eggs, cheese, meat and fish being ok for me to eat.

It’s a good idea to laminate your card to keep it clean and readable during your travels.

Here are some example of the Celiac & Gluten Restaurant cards:

English Gluten-Free card (from celiactravel.com)

Spanish Gluten-Free Card (from celiactravel.com)

French Gluten-Free Card (from celiactravel.com)

Thai Gluten-Free Card (from celiactravel.com)

Even a Mongolia Gluten-Free Card! (from celiactravel.com)

Don’t forget, It’s a good idea to laminate your card to keep it clean and readable during your travels. Enjoy your trip, and enjoy health travels!

If you liked this article, check out my post on Why I don’t buy 90% of the ‘food’ at WholeFoods.

More on Traveling Raw:

Sea Salt with Chemical Additives?! Check for E535 Yellow Prussiate of Soda (YPS)

A food additive to AVOID: Yellow Prussiate of Soda

Just when you think you are eating a natural, whole and pure diet, think again. It’s crazy that we now have to even check the label of the salt we buy, but it’s a true sign of the times. Can food manufacturers save money but ‘cutting’ their food the same way drug dealers ‘cut’ their drugs with fillers? You bet! And can the fillers be dangerous, the same way they can be in drugs? Absolutely!

It’s an interesting story how I discovered the latest culprit in my food additive most ‘unwanted’ list.

E535 or Yellow Prussiate of Soda (YPS) as a Non-caking Agent in Salt…What is it??

A client of mine recently completed a 10-day green juice fast and colon detox cleanse under my care. He broke the fast by eating only fresh raw fruits for 2 days and he felt amazing. On the third day of eating, he ate only fruits in the morning and the went to a friend’s house and ate a plain baked potato with salt (no butter, no margarine, no herbs or seasonings). That night, he suffered terribly with hot flashes, restless sleep (insomnia), headaches, irritability and general unease. At no point during or after the detox did he feel this way so it was a real surprise to him and he contacted me first thing in the morning.

When we spoke, I was sure he had ‘snuck’ something else into his diet. He was adamant that he only had a baked potato and salt. Finally, I said, “Ok, let’s find about more about the salt.” He want back to the friend’s house and found a Morton Sea Salt with the following ingredients: Sea Salt, Yellow Prussiate of Soda.

It only took a fast bit of google research to realize that the Yellow Prussiate of Soda was what affected him.

Just an additive in salt? Yes! (What we should really be asking is Why does even plain salt need an additive now too??) Well, remember what I said about ‘cutting the drug’ with cheap fillers to make more money? Yep, it’s a sad, sick reality that the food industry is in the business of making money (NOT food).

First, I checked on Wikipedia to understand what the heck this stuff is. Here is what I found:

What is Sodium Ferrocyanide (Yellow Prussiate of Soda)?

Yellow Prussiate of Soda is Sodium ferrocyanide in its hydrous form (which means Sodium ferrocyanide with water). This is how Wikipedia describes Sodium ferrocyanide: “Sodium ferrocyanide is a chemical additive known as E 535 in the EU. It is added to road and food grade salt as an anticaking agent. When combined with iron, it converts to a deep blue pigment called Prussian blue. In photography, it is used for bleaching, toning, and fixing. It is used as a stabilizer for the coating on welding rods. In the petroleum industry, it is used for removal of mercaptans. Sodium ferrocyanide is produced industrially from hydrogen cyanide.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that definitely doesn’t sounds like something that is safe for human consumption!

So I decided to search a bit further and look for the MSDS for Sodium ferrocyanide. Every chemical made by man has what’s called a Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) which by law has to list what the chemical is and what type of harm can be experienced if ingested, if inhaled or in exposed to on the skin. On sciencelab.com, I found this:

Morton Salt MSDS

“Potential Acute Health Effects: Extremely hazardous in case of ingestion. Hazardous in case of skin contact (irritant), of eye contact (irritant), of inhalation.” Scrolling down a bit, I read this: “Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting. Loosen tight clothing such as a collar, tie, belt or waistband. If the victim is not breathing, perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Seek immediate medical attention.

Just to be sure, I checked the Morton’s Sea Salt label again. I didn’t see anything about any warning of ingestion.

Instead, the label claims, “Morton has selected a sea salt perfect for all types of cooking and seasoning.”

Well, it seemed pretty clear to me that my client suffered a serious side effect from the additive in this sea salt. Since he had just fasted for 10 days on juice, his body was even cleaner than most and I’m sure that’s why his body reacted. But how many people are reacting to this additive every day and have no idea that the cause of their troubles was in their sea salt? And how many children are affected, their bodies being so much smaller than an adult and therefore having the potential of a more serious reaction? I mean, a chemical additive made from cyanide?!?!

I had to do something. So I went to the Morton website and filled out their contact form. This was my comment:

As a consumer, I am asking you to reconsider your choice of toxic ingredients in your salt. Have you looked at the MSDS for Yellow Prussiate of Soda? I would not even take a bath in your salt for fear that the toxins would enter my skin (would you take a bath in arsenic???) Seriously, there is simply no need to add a chemical to salt. Salt is salt. This country needs more natural whole and pure and less poison. My client was awake all night last night with hot flashes, restless sleep and a headache after having potatoes with nothing but potato and your Morton Fine Sea Salt. I am so sad to sea what so-called food companies are peddling as food.

I was so angry and I felt betrayed, because my client had trusted me, and I did not even think to warn him about eating salt!! It was an immediate reaction to the feeling that I want to protect people from this crap, and I didn’t expect a response. But, to my surprise, they responded immediately. They asked if I still had the sea salt and would I be willing to send it in for testing. A spark of hope entered my mind…maybe these food companies aren’t that bad, maybe they had a bad batch with too much of the Yellow Prussiate of Soda and maybe they are doing their best to resolve the issue. I really felt hopeful that somehow Morton was going to ‘fix’ this problem. I instantly replied, offering the sample and asking how it should be sent. They responded by asking for my address saying they would send a mail packet for me to return the sample to them at no cost. I was actually excited!

Days passed and I did not receive the mailer. 2 weeks passed. 3 weeks passed. I thought, hmmm..this is strange. So I emailed Morton again asking for an update on the mailer. And guess what?

They never replied. And they never sent a mailer. In short, they didn’t do anything.

Should I have been surprised? Not really. All of this only confirms and reaffirms what I have been saying all along: The food industry is in the business of making money (NOT food).

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in table salt in Bali

Even with ‘normal’ salt, you have to check the label. Look at this container of table salt I found in Bali, Indonesia at many ‘so-called’ health food and even raw food restaurants…yes the second ingredient on the list is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), and it’s right there in the label for the world to see. The third ingredient is a new way of listing Ribonucleotideas ‘Ribotide,’ another excito-toxin food additive and flavor enhancer that can give you the same reaction as MSG and an uncontrollably itchy rash to boot.

So if you got a screaming migraine headache after eating your hippie raw food salad next to the rice fields in Ubud, it was probably not from the spirits or the full moon.

Do you see Anticompactante YPS on this list of ingredients?

Here is yet another offending salt I saw when I was recently in Costa Rica. Do you see the ‘Anticompactante YPS‘ on this label? That sure sounds like Yellow Prussiate of Soda to me! Luckily I found this on my first morning in Costa Rica, and I avoided adding any salt to my salads for the remainder of my stay.

People think I am crazy for pointing this stuff out, but do you know how many people suffer from headaches, anxiety and insomnia and are on medications for it? What’s crazy to me is that I am the only one talking about this!!

For anyone who has done a detox, juice fast, colon cleanse, liver flush or raw food diet, please be aware that when your body is cleaner, you will most definitely be more sensitive to these types of chemical additives, and you may find yourself reacting to a food that previously you were able to eat with seemingly no problem.

Get into the habit of reading all of your food labels, including salt!

Ferrocianuro de sodio [E-535]: Yellow Prussiate of Soda

And again, another salt I found, this time in Colombia (and also Ecuador). In this salt there is added fluoride, which most expats in South America know is bad so many already don’t buy it. But, no one seems to be talking about the obvious offender.

Do you see ‘Ferrocianuro de sodio [E-535]‘ on this 130g. container of Refisal brand Sal? In Spanish, you may also see it listed as ‘amarillo prusiato de soda (YPS)’ on a label. Both of these are, yep you guessed it….Yellow Prussiate of Soda. E-535 is the universal food additive number for this chemical additive.

In some countries, the additive name – Yellow Prussiate of Soda – will be listed on the food label, and in other countries you will see the chemical additive number. As a number, Yellow Prussiate of Soda can be listed as E535, E-535 or 535. In the above example, they’ve listed both.

Yet another example is this so-called “heart healthy” salt sold in Israel. As you can see, it contains E535 right there on the label. (By the way, the “normal” unhealthy salt in Israel also contains Yellow Prussiate of Soda too!).

This “healthy” salt in Israel contains E535 or Yellow Prussiate of Soda!

Since I’ve been made aware of this additive, I have noted people’s reactions to it, anything from hot flashes, itchy rashes, red bumps on the skin, cracked skin rashes, irritability, increased heart rate, achy joints and insomnia to general malaise.

When removing the chemically-infected salt from their diet and replacing it with a Himalayan or pure sea salt with no additives, all symptoms disappeared, permanently.

Be sure to watch out for other derivatives of cyanide also used in salt: E536 Potassium ferrocyanide and E538 Calcium ferrocyanide. The most common one used is E535 Sodium ferrocyanide.

I personally use large/coarse Himalayan salt crystals in a grinder.

As Dr. Fred Bisci, a 80-year old 100% raw food vegan wisely says, “When in doubt, leave it out!”

More on Food Additives:

What’s Wrong with Vegenaise

The only thing I would use is the glass jar, well cleaned of course

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news again, but it’s high time people start learning the difference between healthy food and ‘healthy-looking’ food. Now, I’ve never been someone to eat ‘replacement foods’ or vegan alternatives to animal-based foods, but I know a lot of people who do consume these foods, and most of them do so because it’s vegan and they think it’s healthy. Vegan, yes…but healthy? No!

Here’s the problem with Vegenaise – it has hidden forms of MSG in disguise. “Oh, Jennifer…not again!” Well, I did say that I was sorry. What’s worse, Vegenaise recently got listed as “one of Ellen’s favorite things” on the Ellen Degeneres show. This makes me sick, because many people may try this product, not feel good and then think that a high raw food or vegan diet doesn’t work for them. They may go back to their old Standard American Diet (SAD) never to venture into the land of raw food and health again.

What is a “hidden form of MSG”?

Ok, here’s the deal. Food companies know that Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is the best flavor enhancer there is; it is a food additive that adds A LOT of flavor to a product for little to no cost. BUT, savy consumers have caught on to MSG and most people know that it’s not a healthy additive because it can trigger migraine headaches, irritability, insomnia, rashes, hot flashes, dizziness, mood swings and even promote weight gain. A smart consumer like you will not buy a product containing MSG and the food companies know that. But they are already light years ahead of you! The food industry now uses new ingredients that contain what’s called factory created free glutamates. While one ingredient containing factory created free glutamates alone in a product may have a low concentrations of glutamate, using a combination of several ingredients together can add up to a considerable and dangerous amount of glutamate in one product, and in many cases you will actually find more glutamate than if the product had only contained MSG by itself! And that is why I called these ingredients MSG in disguise.

Never believe what you read on the front of a food product. Always read the list of ingredients before you decide to buy.

Looking at the label, it’s easy to get distracted by all the healthy smoke and mirrors like “vegan, gluten-free, dairy free and non-GMO.”

But keep reading. Do you see “brown rice syrup and soy protein?”

Not good. Not good at all! Actually I’m suspicious of the mustard flour too, I but can’t prove that one. (What is mustard flour anyway…shouldn’t it just read “mustard seed” or “ground whole mustard” if it is a natural ingredient?

Checking the list of hidden names for MSG, or monosodium glutamate, meaning ingredients that contain factory created free glutamates on msgmyth.com you will see:

Hidden Names for MSG from msgmyth.com

As a raw foodist but more importantly as a person who eats only natural, whole and pure foods, I would not eat Vegenaise, knowingly. And the reason why I say that is because I’ve seen Vegenaise as an added ingredient in salad bars at health food stores in the USA (and also in Hong Kong). If you don’t look carefully, you could easily be eating a fresh, raw salad with all the organic bells and whistles and find yourself with a headache later, restless sleep through the night and a cranky irritable ‘snappy’ nature and maybe even a puffy face the next day. You might even find yourself itching your scalp, your eyes or your leg and meanwhile have no idea whatsoever that the cause of your discomfort was from that Vegenaise. Too many times, people swear to me that they only eat organic and they never eat MSG, Disodium Inosinate, Ribonucleotide, or Disodium Guanylate (which can be legally hidden in the other ingredients like “onion powder” or “natural flavors”).

Time to take the organic wool off the non-GMO eyes and understand what and how these chemical additives can affect you, your health and the health of your family.

My advice: Do NOT use Vegenaise. Ever. Check all salad bar ingredients before choosing to buy. If you don’t know or if it isn’t listed, ask. If the staff member seems unsure or can’t provide a clear, concise list of ingredients, then please don’t take the chance.

I have found high glutamate-content ingredients aka hidden MSG in 99.9% of the restaurants I’ve been to, and that includes vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, organic and raw food restaurants.

Chefs are simply not educated to the level of hidden names for chemical food additives. I even had a certified raw food chef tell me recently that they were giving their newborn baby soy formula (something that is known and proven to have hidden MSG in the form of Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Soy Protein Concentrate. Yes, you should be familiar with those offenders by now!). Giving high glutamate-content foods (even more concentrated in liquid form than in solid foods) to a newborn baby is a sure way to have many, many sleepless nights. If a certified raw food chef doesn’t know to avoid those for their own child, do you think they will know how to make a ‘safe’ salad by checking all ingredients on all sauces, dressings and spice mixtures? Do you think they will know what to ask the supplier?

Please don’t think you’re doing yourself a favor by choosing the soy-free version of Vegenaise. You will still find Brown Rice Syrup and Pea Protein, just as bad! It’s like choosing cocaine instead of crack….you won’t get any halo for that upgrade!

Their Horseradish Sauce: Brown Rice Syrup Pea Protein, Natural Flavor.
Tartar Sauce: Brown Rice Syrup, Pea Protein.
Roasted Garlic Vegenaise Gourmet: Brown Rice Syrup, Pea Protein, Natural Flavor.
Barbecue Vegenaise Gourmet: Seriously? Natural Smoke Flavor, Red Brown Rice Syrup, Spices, Natural Flavor, Pea Protein.
Chipotle Vegenaise Gourmet: Brown Rice Syrup, Pea Protein, Chipotle Powder, Natural Smoke Flavor, Natural Flavor, Paprika Extract.
Pesto Vegenaise Gourmet: Brown Rice Syrup, Pea Protein.

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!

Are you starting to see a pattern here? Your body is an organic being and it’s sensitive to chemical derivatives and extracts. These ‘crack’ food additives add a lot of flavor to food making it additive, savory and yummy, but they also over-stimulate your brain. And your central nervous system. And that is not a good thing! High glutamate ingredients also over-stimulate your appetite, making your hungrier hours later and even into the next day. In lab studies, the common protocol to make a rat gain weight is to give it Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). Do you want to be a food industry rat? I certainly don’t!

You only use their salad dressings? Well, let’s check them out:

Vegan Honey Mustard: Brown Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Soy Protein, Natural Flavors, Spices. (I love how they put the Non-GMO…it’s like saying, ‘Hey, I have some crack to sell you…but don’t worry…it’s Non-GMO and organic!’)
Vegan Sesame Dijon: Brown Rice Syrup, Natural Flavors.
Vegan Thousand Island: Brown Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Soy Protein, Spices.
Organic Miso Ginger: Brown Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Soy Protein.
Spicey Southwestern Ranch: Brown Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Soy Protein, Brown Rice Syrup (again), Vegetable Enzyme, Vegetable Enzyme (again), Spices.

Make your own healthy version with:
Raw apple cider vinegar, shredded fresh raw ginger, fresh lemon, fresh garlic and water. Easy!

There’s something to be said for using all pure, natural whole ingredients and for feeding your body foods that boost your health and immune system. It’s not hard to make your own salad dressings and sauces at home, and actually it’s cheaper too. I don’t advocate the non-vegan version of these sauces either…they are full of the same added ingredients! What I advocate is REAL FOOD. A dressing made with fresh lemon, fresh garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin and fresh parsley, as an example. Isn’t it time to make the change, throw out these inferior foods and start giving your body what it deserves?

If you think you have reacted to a food which is either not labeled correctly or is label suspiciously, you have every right to contact the company by email and ask what’s in their food.

You can do this in every country in the world, even as an ex-pat living in a foreign country. I suggest that you word your email in this way:

“I recently ate your xyz product and x hours later I experienced the following reaction: (describe symptoms here). I have discussed this with my doctor and he/she has informed me that I need to know for medical reasons all of the ingredients that was in the food. Specifically, I need to know if you use MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), Ribonucleotide, Disodium Inosinate or Disodium Guanylate in any of the ingredients that you use to make your product. Also, I need to know how much factory created free glutamate is in the following ingredients (list suspicious ingredients like pea protein, yeast extract, malodextrin, soy protein, natural flavorings, etc here). Thank you and I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my inquiry.”

I do NOT suggest that you write any emails like this: “Jennifer said blah blah blah blah and Jennifer’s blog post says blah blah blah so what do you have to say about that?!” Please, be professional and courteous if you are writing an inquiry to a company. You have to ask the right questions to get the right answers. These companies have legal teams that know how to respond and get through hoops if you do not ask the right questions. My goal is that every product be required to label their total factory created glutamate concentration and any hidden ingredients or flavor enhancers so ultimately, you can make the best choice of food for you!

For more on how to start an additive-free diet diet, how to manage food allergies or what minerals you may specifically be deficient in, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Food Additives:

Recipe: Raw Tahini, Garlic and Lemon Salad Dressing or Veggie Dip…and it’s Amazing!

Raw Tahini Salad Dressing is one of my absolute favorites!

This recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make and gives you a great healthy homemade veggie dip or salad dressing to use all week long! I’ve decided to feature an easy-to-blend-and-create recipe this week to show you how many different things you can make in a blender…and not just smoothies!

Ingredients for Tahini Dressing

Raw tahini, or sesame paste (think peanut butter made with sesame seeds instead of peanuts), can be found in most supermarkets and health food stores. I bought the tahini for this blog post at a Greek supermarket and deli, but you can also find it in any type of Mediterreanean or Middle Eastern Supermarket as well.

In the US and North America, people tend to call sesame paste ‘tahini‘ but it the Middle East you will see it called ‘tahina.’ In Israel, there are countless brands of tahina for sale. They even have a sprouted raw tahini sesame paste from Ethiopia which is outstandingly delicious!!

What’s interesting to know is that in Israel, people rarely eat tahini straight from the jar. For them, it’s too thick and it’s not tasty without any spices or fresh lemon juice. It seems to me that in the USA, tahini is under-appreciated and under-utilized because people don’t know the traditional way to prepare it. In the recipe below, I will show you how!

Easy to make and tastes amazing!!

Typically I will use one whole jar of tahina or sesame seed paste to blend up my tahina dressing for the week. Here, I used one 16-oz. (or 454 gram) container of tahina to make a container of 32 oz. (or 950 ml) of dip or salad dressing. Making salads that taste good is a key to raw food success, and there is no faster way to kill a good salad than by adding a store-bought salad dressing full of sugar, preservatives, flavor enhancers (MSG), thickeners and emulsifiers.

I always make my own salad dressing and I am a happier, healthier person for it!

Sesame seeds are a great vegan source of calcium and they’re also naturally high in zinc. Fresh lemon is extremely alkalizing, good for pH health. Cumin is known to aid in digestion. Cayenne pepper is very good for the heart and blood (circulation). Garlic is a natural anti-inflammatory food and a great immune system booster.

*Can’t find tahini or sesame seed paste where you live? You can make it from scratch with organic sesame seeds! Check out the recipe for it here: How to Make Raw Tahini

Tahini Salad Dressing/Dip Ingredients:

  • 2 – 3 large garlic cloves (optional)
  • 1 16 oz. container tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (freshly squeezed is best)
  • 1 cup water (filtered is best)
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (optional)
  • dash sea salt or Himalayan salt (to taste)

Tahini Salad Dressing Directions:

The lucky winner of the Vitamix Blender can use their new blender to make this recipe. For the commoners (like me!), you can use a normal blender. Peel the garlic and put garlic and water in the blender. Blend. Add the entire jar of tahini paste (with the oil which is usually separated on top), spices, fresh lemon juice and salt and blend again. Adjust spices to taste (you may need to add more cumin, salt or cayenne pepper) and blend again. If the result is too thick, add more water…slowly! Start with adding 1/4 cup water, blend and assess. If too thick, add another 1/4 cup water and blend again. The final result should be creamy, but not runny. (Each brand of tahina will give a slightly different thickness so you always have to experiment a little.)

Optional: You can also add 1/2 cup of fresh parsley and blend. Fresh parsley is highly recommended over dried parsley for this recipe (in the Middle East, no one uses dried parsley in tahina!). If you use dried parsley (which I do not recommend simply because fresh parsley tastes 1,000x better), add only 1 Tbsp. of dried parsley. The garlic and paprika are also optional, depending on your taste.

Tip: For garlic, try to find organic garlic which, not only is a normal size like you see in the photo and not GMO-ed gargantuan size, but organic garlic has a nice, mild fresh taste. The gigantic non-organic garlic from China (sold in most supermarkets) has an unnaturally strong taste (perhaps in relation to it’s unnaturally large size!). Choose organic garlic to really enjoy the subtle flavor of this healing food.

Note: The dressing should keep in the fridge for up to 7 days.

How to Eat

In Israel, this salad dressing is on the table with nearly every meal and most often eaten with a classic ‘Israeli Salad’ or ‘Arab Salad,’ consisting of finely chopped cucumber, fresh parsley and tomato. However, you can use it on any raw food salad as a tasty dressing. Try this combo: Peel 3 organic carrots and then grate with a normal size grater into a bowl. Add 1 celery stalk chopped, fresh romaine lettuce chopped, and 1 cucumber peeled and chopped. Mix all ingredients well and drizzle 4 Tbsp. of the Tahini Salad Dressing on top.

Share good health with family & friends!

Another option is to serve this as a dip with freshly sliced cucumber and carrot sticks for a delicious 100% raw food gluten-free vegan snack. I recently brought that to a gathering with many cooked foods eaters, and they loved it!

This is certainly a healthier option than the ‘old-style’ spinach dip made with dairy (mucous-forming) and dried soup mix (containing MSG!) served in a bread bowl. Isn’t it time to start spreading the love and showing your family and friends how delicious raw food can be?!

Another popular Middle Eastern dish made with sesame seeds is called Halva, and it’s traditionally made as a dessert with ground sesame seeds and sugar. You can make a delicious raw food version of Halva using raw sesame seeds and raw honey (or agave). Click here to check out my Recipe for Raw Halva or Sesame Balls.

FREE Vitamix Giveaway (CLOSED)

This Vitamix Blender could be yours, for FREE!

If you haven’t already, be sure to enter my FREE Vitamix Giveaway for your chance to own your very own best blender of the blender world.

Click here to sign up for free.

All entries must be received by 25 December 2012 at 12 midnight USA EST. (CLOSED)

The winner will be announced on 26 December, 2012 at 12 noon USA EST.

More Raw Food Dressings & Dips:

MSG hidden in Packaged Foods: Why I don’t buy 90% of the ‘food’ at WholeFoods

What’s Wrong with WholeFoods?

It’s not easy to be the messenger of bad news when so many people love and revere WholeFoods. Well, I love them too…and there are things that I do buy there which I will mention later. But as the title to this article states, I do not buy 90% of their food. And today I’m going to tell you why.

Now of course WholeFoods does sell meat, dairy and cooked foods…so right away, I wouldn’t buy those. But I know a lot of you do, and you mistakenly believe that if you buy food at WholeFoods, that it’s organic, non-GMO and chemical-free. That is simply NOT true. While some foods at WholeFoods are certified organic, most are not. And even the organic foods contain suspicious additives.

I’m going to show you what to look for and what to avoid.

If I only I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, ‘I don’t eat MSG because I buy everything from WholeFoods’ or ‘I only buy organic because I shop at WholeFoods,’ well, I would already be retired by now! It amazes me how strongly people are influenced by a good logo, ‘clean and green’ marketing and nice lighting and music in a store. Did I mention how many clients I’ve helped recover from migraines, insomnia, itchy rashes, anxiety, digestive disorders, hot flashes (in men and women), dizzy spells, vertigo, adult acne, puffiness and chronic inflammation by going through a detailed list of what they eat from WholeFoods and getting the offending foods out of their diet? Often times people are resistant to believe me. They can’t imagine that their organic Annie crackers are causing their troubles. Or their Earth Balance or Smart Balance ‘Butter’. They sometimes yell at me and call me a liar. Well, I am taking the crack away from the junkie…so I know I will meet resistance (yes, these chemical additives are chemically addictive). Over time, if they do change, they come to accept what I have told them and when they take the suspicious food out, their skin clears, they sleep for the first time in years, they no longer feel depressed, their migraines are gone forever…and then the Thank You emails roll in. I’ve been teaching this stuff for 6 years, and I know what I am talking about. If you partner or child is exceptionally irritable and suffers from any of the symptoms above, your salad from the salad bar at WholeFoods could be causing the problem.

If you want to have good health, you have to check all food labels and you have to be responsible for what you put in your mouth.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Ribonucleotide, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate are flavor enhancers which add a salty, savory taste to foods. They overstimulate the taste in food, making a bland food taste exceptionally good. They also overstimulate the brain, and are known as “excito-toxins”. They can be listed either by the food additive name or by the food additive number (sometimes called ‘E numbers’): 621, 635, 631 and 627.

Legally, these food additives can also be ‘hidden’ in terms such as ‘spices,’ ‘yeast extract,’ ‘hydrolyzed vegetable protein,’ ‘natural flavors’ and ‘flavoring.’

As an interesting side note, I checked the WholeFoods website before writing this post and I found a very funny article titled, “Myths and Misconceptions: MSG.” In the article, a WholeFoods representative discusses the ‘Myth: There’s Hidden MSG lurking in our aisles.’ He states, “We draw a clear line between natural glutamate-containing foods, which we allow, and highly concentrated MSG, which we don’t..” I actually laughed out loud when I read that, because I see Monosodium Glutamate in various forms in the salad bar ingredients in WholeFoods ALL THE TIME! Right there for the world to see! Well, I am usually the annoying one who is reading every label and holding up the salad bar line, and maybe even sneaking out my camera for a photo! (By the way, an example of a ‘natural glutamate containing food’ is pure tomato paste or parmesan cheese, NOT spicy barbeque flavored Kettle Chips!!)

The other part of the article tries to state that other forms on MSG are not really MSG, but for people who are sensitive, it is clearly written on the labels so they will know what they are buying. Well, how many people really know that legally the word ‘spices’ or ‘natural flavors’ can contain MSG already, and the label can still read ”No MSG’ or No Added MSG?’ And how many people know that even if a product is labeled certified organic, it can still contain these other ingredients that have MSG in them already, like ‘malt extract,’ ‘annatto,’ ‘natural flavor,’ ‘yeast extract’ or the new one I am seeing lately, ‘rosemary extract’? The real problem is when a product uses several of these ingredients, thereby increasing the glutamate concentration to real MSG-size proportions. can So your ‘organic’ product with ‘No Added MSG’ can still be causing your migraines? YES!!

What is a “hidden form of MSG”?

Ok, here’s the deal. Food companies know that Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is the best flavor enhancer there is; it is a food additive that adds A LOT of flavor to a product for little to no cost. BUT, savy consumers have caught on to MSG and most people know that it’s not a healthy additive because it can trigger migraine headaches, irritability, insomnia, rashes, hot flashes, dizziness, mood swings and even promote weight gain. A smart consumer like you will not buy a product containing MSG and the food companies know that. But they are already light years ahead of you! The food industry now uses new ingredients that contain what’s called factory created free glutamates. While one ingredient containing factory created free glutamates alone in a product may have a low concentrations of glutamate, using a combination of several ingredients together can add up to a considerable and dangerous amount of glutamate in one product, and in many cases you will actually find more glutamate than if the product had only contained MSG by itself! And that is why I called these ingredients MSG in disguise.

This is food label trickery at its finest folks!

The food industry has billions of dollars to research and develop new chemical food additives, and the government simply does not have the money to keep up with their technology (assuming the government was really interested in people’s health and not funded back-handedly by the food and pharmaceutical industry of course!) In short, there is TONS of hidden MSG at WholeFoods, and this is the main reason that I would not buy 90% of their food.

Please note that most of these photos were taken at WholeFoods, with the exception of 2 that were taken at Fresh Market in Florida, a very similar-type chain to WholeFoods (those photos are marked as Fresh Market). I have many more photos that I took which will be complied into an eBook for educational purposes. Knowing what to look for can greatly help you improve the quality of food you buy, and consume.

Let’s start looking at a few labels.

Rule #1: Never believe what you read on the front of a package


Oh, the beloved Kettle Chip. The only good thing I can say about Kettle is that there are very savy with their packaging. So many organic non-GMO bells and whistles! But it doesn’t stop me from seeing the offenders: Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, and Jalapeno Powder. Why not use real garlic and jalapeno? Because the powders can legally hide MSG and they do not have to disclose that on the labeling. Maybe they are ‘safe’ because they are organic, but the Yeast Extract is a big NO-NO. That is always MSG in disguise.

Learn to know what ingredients to avoid


Another example of a tainted organic food. This is the WholeFoods brand, and from what I’ve gathered, they seem to hide their MSG under the term ‘Natural Flavor.’ Yes, legally that can have MSG in it. It is an easy way to hide MSG in food. And since WholeFoods claims that their brand is MSG-free, they don’t seem to want to use the classic Yeast Extract ingredient. Any time I see ‘Natural Flavors,’ I do NOT buy. This product also has ‘Malt Extract’ and ‘Annatto,’ two other forms of MSG in disguise.

There is no such thing as a healthy BBQ chicken wing.


I really have no idea who would go to WholeFoods to buy BBQ Chicken Wings, but who are we kidding here? This is NOT a healthy version! Note the ‘Spice Extractives,’ ‘Natural Grill and Smoke Flavor,’ ‘Spices,’ ‘Yeast Extract,’ ‘Natural Flavor,’ ‘Yeast Protein.’ I think I’m going to be sick.

Be wary of all soups in restaurants and salad bars, 99% of them have MSG in the soup stock.


Seems like a good idea…a nice warm filling soup. but read that label! ‘Soybean and Corn Protein,’ Yeast Extract,’ ‘Carrot Powder,’ ‘Pumpkin Stock.’ All MSG in disguise.

This salad just looks plain scary to me.


Nothing is sacred anymore. They even managed to ruin this dish by adding ‘Natural Flavor,’ ‘Soy and Wheat Protein,’ ‘Yeast Extract.’ You must start reading labels and if you see these ingredients, do not eat!

Organic food can still be tainted with flavor enhancers. Learn to discriminate!


Oh, the food industry is so good at food label trickery! Made with Goodness! Doesn’t fool me. Read ‘Yeast Extract,’ ‘Natural Cheese Flavor,’ ‘Paprika Extract’ and suddenly this so-called healthy organic food is no longer an edible item in my book. Yes, they can legally use this ingredients with hidden additives, and since they did not add anything themselves, they can label their product with ‘No Artificial Flavors.’ Never believe the marketing schtick on the front or side of a box. Always check the ingredients.

Again, ‘organic’ does not guarantee no added flavor enhancers


Think you’re doing your children a favor by buying organic Mac and Cheese? Does it still take 2 hours for them to calm down and sleep at night and are they cranky, irritable and fighting all evening? It’s probably from the MSG in disguise: ‘Yeast Extract.’ Kids go bonkers when they eat MSG. Their bodies are much smaller than an adult. Take out MSG and you will have a happy, well behaved child that sleeps through the night. For breast-feeding moms, the MSG is passed through your breastmilk, so if your baby is colicky and doesn’t sleep, try eliminating all MSG foods. You’ll be amazed.

Still not sure about ‘Rosemary Extract’


All I can really say about this one is: Watch this space. I saw A LOT of ‘Rosemary Extract’ in foods at Wholefoods and Fresh Market, and I have not seen it used so much before. It wouldn’t surprise me if the food industry is reinventing MSG once again now that we are onto the whole Yeast Extract, Spices and Natural Flavors thing. Anytime you see a vegetable with the word ‘extract’ after it, be very suspicious (unless it is Vanilla Extract, which is ok because it is not a salty deritive). I will personally avoid all foods with ‘Rosemary Extract’ until someone starts doing some explaining.

Beware of ‘clean and green’ looking products


Looks so healthy, proclaiming to ‘eat your vegetables.’ You should be an expert by now: ‘Natural Flavor,’ ‘Onion Powder,’ ‘Garlic Powder.’ Other flavors of this brand also have ‘Yeast Extract.’ Note this is Sea Salt flavor!

Don’t think bulk foods are food additive safe – still read the ingredients!


Bulk does not make a healthier option. You have to read all labels, always and forever. Here we have ‘Corn and Soy Protein,’ ‘Natural Smoke Flavor,’ ‘Yeast Extract,’ ‘Natural Flavor.’ Ever wonder why these ingredients are always in salty, savory foods and not in sweets and cakes? Because MSG is a salty, savory flavor enhancer. It makes salty foods taste even more savory and it is chemically addictive. This bulk snack mix is from Fresh Market.

Always check the ingredients, even if you think the food ‘should’ be ok!


An obvious offender: Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG. This photo was taken at Fresh Market (a correction to my November 2012 newsletter).

So what do I buy at WholeFoods?

I love fresh juice and smoothie bars, and fruit, aka REAL FOOD!


If the WholeFoods has a juice and smoothie bar, I’m so there! I also buy fresh fruits and veggies, preferably organic and on sale.

Choose 100% Certified Organic Superfoods to avoid any added fillers


I like to check out the 100% raw and organic Superfood section.

There are some healthy raw food options at WholeFoods


I look for organic flax and hemp seeds, bulk organic raw pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, raw apple cider vinegar and a raw granola, as a treat.

Stick to fresh raw vegetables with no added dressings or sauces


At the Salad Bar, I choose RAW FRESH VEGGIES only. I do NOT trust the pre-made salads or the pre-made salad dressings. I use olive oil, apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice as a dressing.

A quick lesson on Monosodium Glutamate:

Monosodium Glutamate is a flavor enhancer and an excito-toxin, also known as MSG. It can be listed on a food ingredient label as 621 or E621 (these are universal numbers used everywhere in the world). MSG is known to overstimulate the flavor in food, making it taste better. The problem is that it also overstimulates the brain (making it an excito-toxin). For some, the reaction can be headaches, sensitivity to light and sound (especially in children), insomnia or restless sleep, anxiety, irritability, vertigo, dizziness and even depression.

Because a lot of consumers are aware of the dangers of MSG, the food industry has invented new ways to hide MSG in food, the main way being to ‘hide’ it in another ingredient. This keeps the cost of production low (using cheap flavor enhancers to create a tasty food), and still makes the food very marketable, appearing food additive-free by promoting non GMO, organic or ‘all natural’.

The result: more consumers buy and that means more profit.

The other additives which are similar to MSG are Ribonucleotide (635), Disodium Inosinate (631) and Disodium Guanylate (627). These 3 flavor enhancers are what I call the ‘New MSG’ because they are being used more and more to give that same ‘salty savory tasty excito-toxin additive yumminess’ to a food, but the food can be labeled as ‘MSG Free’ or ‘No Added MSG.’ These flavor enhancers tend to react with people in a slightly different way: in men, they can raise uric acid levels resulting in early symptoms of gout, and in women: an itchy intolerable rash. Men can also experience the ‘ribo rash’ too but in my experience, the rash is more common in women.

So what’s the bad news?

The bad news is that ALL 4 of these flavor enhancers can be legally hidden under 50 other names. The most common ones I see, especially in ‘so-called’ healthy food are: Yeast Extract, Pea Protein, Spices, Natural Flavors, Smoke Flavor, Malt Extract, Annatto, Soy Protein, Wheat Protein, Corn Protein, and Yeast Protein. I have reacted to Onion Powder, Vinegar Powder and Garlic Powder enough times to add them to my personal list of ‘DO NOT EAT’ as well. For a complete list of hidden names for MSG or high factory created glutamate ingredients, go to msgmyth.com.

If you think you have reacted to a food which is either not labeled correctly or is label suspiciously, you have every right to contact the company by email and ask what’s in their food.

You can do this in every country in the world, even as an ex-pat living in a foreign country. I suggest that you word your email in this way:

“I recently ate your xyz product and x hours later I experienced the following reaction: (describe symptoms here). I have discussed this with my doctor and he/she has informed me that I need to know for medical reasons all of the ingredients that was in the food. Specifically, I need to know if you use MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), Ribonucleotide, Disodium Inosinate or Disodium Guanylate in any of the ingredients that you use to make your product. Also, I need to know how much factory created free glutamate is in the following ingredients (list suspicious ingredients like pea protein, yeast extract, malodextrin, soy protein, natural flavorings, etc here). Thank you and I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my inquiry.”

I do NOT suggest that you write any emails like this: “Jennifer said blah blah blah blah and Jennifer’s blog post says blah blah blah so what do you have to say about that?!” Please, be professional and courteous if you are writing an inquiry to a company. You have to ask the right questions to get the right answers. These companies have legal teams that know how to respond and get through hoops if you do not ask the right questions. My goal is that every product be required to label their total factory created glutamate concentration and any hidden ingredients or flavor enhancers so ultimately, you can make the best choice of food for you!

I’ll be writing more blog posts about this in the future, so be sure to sign up to my RSS feed!

For more on how to start an additive-free diet diet, how to manage food allergies or what minerals you may specifically be deficient in, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Food Additives:

Raw Food and Green Smoothie Classes in Seoul, Korea

Jennifer Thompson in Seoul, Korea


Certified Iridologist, Healthy Living & Raw Food Coach Jennifer Thompson’s talks and workshops!

Detox and Raw Foods Explained
Saturday, April 16, 2011 – 5:30pm. Free Talk!
Have you wondered about the detox craze – what it is, do you need it, and how to do it? Are you ‘raw curious,’ wanting to know more about the raw food diet and how eating more raw foods might benefit you? Learn the basics and hear some amazing success stories on weight loss, natural healing and more!

Superfoods – What they are, how to eat them, do you need them?
Tuesday, April 19, 2011 – 7:30pm. Free Talk!
Gain an understanding of the most popular Superfoods such as Acai powder, Goji Berries, Spirulina, Maca Powder, Cacao, Coconut Oil, Flax Seed, Hemp Seed, Green Powder, Kelp, Dulse and more!

What About (dot dot dot)….?
Friday, April 22, 2011 – 7:30pm and
Wednesday, May 4, 2011 – 10:00am.
Free Talk!
Jennifer answers all the common questions and breaks down barriers, showing you how to make the best choices for your health with where you are in your life. Get answers to your concerns about…bread, coffee, white sugar, white rice, alcohol, meat, dairy, soy milk, tofu, sushi and more.

Truth in Food Labeling – Fast Ways to Read Labels and know what is in Your Food
Monday, April 25, 2011 – 7:30pm. Free Talk!
A few simple lessons will help you start to understand the tricks that manufacturers use to sell so-called healthy food. It’s time to know what is really in your food. You can make better choices. Jennifer will show you how.

How to be Healthy in Asia
Thursday, April 28, 2011 (day) and
Saturday, May 7, 2011 5:30pm.
Free Talk!
Wherever you are in the world, staying healthy can be a challenge, but especially in Asia. When you are living in a foreign place, where do you begin? Jennifer has lived and traveled in SE Asia for 10 years and can teach you some simple techniques for travel, eating out, making better choices for your family & understanding foreign food labels. Prepare yourself now for a healthy path for the rest of your life!

Power of the Green Smoothies – Preparation and Information Class
Sunday April 17, 24 & 1 May 2011. 4:30pm – 6pm.

Jennifer explains the importance of dark, leafy greens in the diet, explains why it is the missing link to good health, then demonstrates recipes and combinations of various Green Smoothies so you have a complete toolbox of information to take home and start Going Green!
35,000 KRW per person.

Iridology Assessments
Private 1-hour consultations will be offered at the Mind Body Seoul Studio from 18 April, 2011 to 10 May, 2011 by Jennifer Thompson.

During an Iridology session, Jennifer makes personalized recommendations for improvement, taking into account your current diet and lifestyle and whatever other factors may be presently involved in your condition. After the reading, you will have a better understand of your body and health and feel empowered and motivated to begin making positive change.
100,000 KRW per consult.

Contact us to reserve your space or make an appointment!

For more information, you can also go to the Mind, Body, Seoul website.

More on Traveling Raw: