In the past month alone, your babysitter went wheat-free, your nephew was diagnosed Celiac, and your grocery store expanded to create a new gluten-free section.
What is all the fuss about? Is it something we all need to worry about? Or is gluten-free just a fad?
Gluten sensitivity is, in fact, on the rise. Celiac disease is at least 4 times more common today than it was 50 years ago (1), and that doesn't even include the increases in reported sensitivities and intolerances. Some reports show that 40% of Americans suffer from gluten-related health problems (2).
There is not one widely accepted reason for these skyrocketing gluten sensitivity rates, but there are several theories that may explain this rise:
- The Hygiene Hypothesis. Some experts claim that our love affair with Purell has created an environment that is too clean, resulting in weaker immune systems that can't handle gluten (3).
- Wheat processing. We've been changing the ways we use and eat wheat. Many of the foods we eat today didn't exist 50 years ago. So while wheat may not have caused a problem for our ancestors, it can be argued that these new 'foods' and processing methods are to blame for the rise of gluten sensitivity.
- Wheat hybridization. Today's grains have been modified to contain much more gluten than ancient strains (4). Why? Because gluten gives breads & pastas a lighter, fluffier texture, and that's what consumers want.
- Earlier exposure. Children are exposed to glutinous grains earlier than ever before (for example, cereal grains) (5).
- Lack of bacteria. Despite the popularity of probiotics, this theory maintains that we still aren't supporting our beneficial flora enough. Studies show that oru intestinal microbes can mitigate reactions to gluten - but only if we have a healthy community of bacteria living in our gut (6).
- Lack of breastfeeding. Nowadays, we know that breastfeeding helps inoculate babies with good bacteria, provides protective antibodies, and helps babies develop immunity. One study found that babies who continued to breastfeed after their first exposure to gluten were more protected against gluten sensitivities (6). In general, nursing helps prevent allergies of all kinds. Unfortunately, people didn't always know about these benefits. Adults who were bottle-fed may be more susceptible to gluten allergy and intolerance.
- Less variety in our diets. We're busy people. And sometimes a freezer pizza or 9-minute pasta is all we can bear to whip up after a long day at the office. Problem is, when we don't get variety in our diet, we are more susceptible to developing food sensitivities (7). And with all that bread, pasta & cake in our day-to-day diet, wheat is one of the foods we seem to be eating all the time.
- Humans were never meant to eat grains. Some nutritionists argue that grains were never meant for human consumption. Looking back to our caveman ancestors and their paleolithic diet, these researchers contend that we were meant to eat meats and vegetables, and our health problems only arose after we switched to grain-based diet (8).
Whatever the reason behind the rising rates, it appears that gluten-free isn't going away anytime soon. And that may be for good reason. I've personally watched patients lose weight, banish heartburn, and manage autoimmune conditions just by eliminating gluten for 2-4 weeks. While not everyone's health will improve by going gluten-free, my practice has proven it to be a worthwhile experiment.
-Emily Wade Adams, author of Natal Nutrition
I recently attended a very inspiring wellness event that discussed the importance of plants not just in our diet, but as ingredients in our make-up, hair products and cleaning supplies. These products should and can be made with food grade ingredients vs chemicals. Yes, snack on your lipstick, stir-fry with your lotion, and clean your windows and mirrors with vinegar - they're organic! The message delivered was, "If you wouldn't eat it, why would you put it on your body or spray it in your home?" So, so true!
Rather than feeling totally defeated and throwing everything out from my medicine cabinet and from under the sink, I first focused on what I was doing well; Yay! I do use coconut oil religiously as my lotion and love it! Second, I hopped online to research recipes for cleaning supplies. Third, vowed to never buy another bottle of Windex. Small steps that make a huge difference for our bodies, minds, and for our planet.
Very easy, incredibly cheap and without a doubt tastier (I'm not suggesting you drink it, but you could!), here is my recipe for a homemade cleaning solution. Works awesome on counter tops, glass, mirrors, stainless appliances, sinks, etc. I've never been so excited to clean!
Happy, healthy cleaning!
Homemade Lemon Herbed Cleaning Solution
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1 tbs corn starch
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 sprig of thyme (removed stem, finely chopped)
- 1/2 sprig of fresh rosemary (remove stem, finely chopped)
- rind of 1/2 of a lemon
Soak lemon rind in vinegar for 24 hours (or 2 weeks if you can wait that long). Remove rind and discard. Mix infused vinegar, corn starch & water until corn starch is dissolved. Add thyme & rosemary. Shake well. Pour solution into spray bottles and store. Shake before use.
Amid today's onslaught of fad diets, superfood fanaticism, food allergies, and - yes - even cleanses, sometimes it's easy to forget two of the most health-promoting basics: oxygen & water.
The body can't store oxygen, which is why we must breathe continually. With each breath, oxygen travels through the lungs to the bloodstream and to every cell in the body. Inside the cells, oxygen is required to produce energy so we can think, move, see, feel...in short, so we can live. Without oxygen, brain damage or death can occur within minutes.
According to Dr. Andrew Weil, "The more air you move, the healthier you will be, because the functioning of all systems of the body depends on delivery of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide." (1) Research support his statement, which is why aerobic exercise is so important.
During aerobic exercise, increased oxygen helps remove more waste products (like carbon dioxide and lactic acid) and release more feel-good endorphins. Over time, aerobic exercise helps us reduce the risk of many health problems, lose weight, boost immunity, feel good, and it can even help us live longer. (2)
Deep breathing exercises are another way to get more oxygen into the body.
When it comes to water, you've probably heard that you should drink 8 glasses a day.
Water accounts for roughly 60% of body weight. A healthy person may be able to survive for 3-5 days without water, but more fragile compositions (like those of babies) might only survive a few hours without water.
In the body, water is essential for detox because it flushes dangerous compounds from our bodies. In addition, the same energy production cycle that requires oxygen also requires water. "Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you feel tired," according to the Mayo Clinic. (3)
Water also helps make nutrients more accessible for the cells. For example, Vitamins B & C are "water-soluble," meaning that they can't be absorbed or used without water to help dissolve them.
The easiest way to measure if you're drinking enough water? Your urine should be almost colorless.
In short, while you may be able to live without tasting the latest superfood, you simply can't survive - or thrive - without oxygen & water. What's more, you can easily increase your health as you increase your intake of oxygen and (in many cases) water. So go ahead and fill your lungs & your water bottle. It might just help your health even more than that cabbage soup diet.
-Emily Wade Adams, Natal Nutrition
Sources:(1) Dr. Weil (2) Mayo Clinic (3) Mayo Clinic
We've been busy-busy here at CAN CAN! We love what we do so it's easy for us to dream up and then execute on our mission; helping provide honest, whole food, feel-good experiences that encourage and support overall better health and wellness for you! That's quite a cause! We're not only thankful for the support and feedback we've received from our clients, but we continue to be inspired to provide you services to fuel your bodies with the "right stuff."
What is the right stuff to buy when a carton of good old fashioned cow's milk just won't do?
Which rice, soy, hemp, almond, coconut, original-almond-coconut, chocolate, naturally sweetened, vanilla sweetened, vegan, low-fat, no-fat "milk" do you buy?
We also like to keep stuff simple.
If you didn't have a chance to read, Janny Hu of the San Francisco Chronicle's piece on Nut milk alternatives pour it on piece that ran in Sunday's paper, please do.
If you hop, skip and jump down to the bottom of the piece, Janny announced our new service, CAN CAN Nut Milk - Yay! Launching April 23rd. We're oh-so-thrilled to offer our clients as well as friends and families abound fresh, small batch, organic nut milks direct to your doorstep. In true old-school milkman fashion. Our simple, short-list ingredient nut milks handmade in our kitchen and delivered yours so you and your family may enjoy a healthy, tasty, dairy-free alternative anytime of day!
Please join CAN CAN Nut Milk's mailing list to receive more info & updates.
Cheers to honest nut milk!
I'm pretty excited about this one! And, I hope our clients who love to workout and hate to miss a beat at the gym when cleansing, will be too :) Delicious Chia Fruit Juice and Sunrise Nut Milk jump into the mix of our seasonal CAN CAN Cleanse following the same format, but with additional healthy, dense, pure whole-food goodness (albeit in liquid form). The Power is crafted to support your body and excite your palate as you CAN CAN!
Introducing The (New!) Power cleanse, Yay! Yay! Try it!
I believe that those cheery little leprechauns are glowing not just from discovering a pot of gold (or drinking a pint of green beer). Such long, healthy looking beards have me believing that these jolly little men are getting their veggies somehow. Wheatgrass shots?
We too love an excuse to celebrate and sip green beverages! Our celebration - you & your health! So take advantage of your special discount on our Green Cleanses (1, 3, or 5-Day) and raise a CAN CAN jar of green juice!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Juice fast programs are quickly growing in popularity, so it is no surprise that cleanses are popping up on grocery store shelves nationwide. The extended shelf life of these grocery store juices is made possible by a new juicing pasteurization technique called High Pressure Processing (HPP).
Traditional pasteurization is a relatively new technique designed to kill bacteria and microorganisms in order to prevent food-borne illness. It became popular in the US in the 20th century, around the same time that urbanization, processed foods and mass food production became the norm.
Until recently, pasteurization used heat, which decreased nutritional content. This made it unsuitable for juicing programs - after all, getting those nutrients is the whole point of embarking on a juice cleanse. With the new technique of HPP, however, bacteria are eliminated without altering nutritional content (for the most part).
HPP functions by applying high pressure to liquids. "During HPP, foods are subjected to pressures up to 100,000 psi. which destroy pathogenic microorganisms by interrupting their cellular functions," according to High Pressure Dynamics, Inc. (a producer of HPP equipment).
So what's the catch? Well, since it's still a pretty new technology, there isn't a ton of research on HPP processing or its potential side effects. But some studies show that when HPP kills the harmful bacteria in juice, it also deactivates beneficial bacteria and enzymes.
Unpasteurized, unprocessed, raw fruit juices (derived from a cold-pressing process) are a rich source of live enzymes. And these phytonutrients offer a plethora of health benefits, from aiding digestion and reducing inflammation to sinusitis relief and wound healing. In other words, they're a crucial component of any detox program - or healthy food.
So what's the bottom line on this new juicing technology? Well, on the one hand, nutrient-rich juices can now be made available in places that might otherwise not have access to them. That's a great thing! And HPP seems like an improvement over traditional pasteurization in that it preserves more nutrients.
On the other hand, it's still a form of processing and pasteurization. If HPP kills bacteria by interrupting cellular processes, it's doubtful that all of the juice's holistic benefits can remain intact. There haven't been enough credible scientific studies to unequivocally prove otherwise - that's one of the risks of using new technology.
As a nutritionist, I tend to err on the side of caution. Better safe now than sorry later. So when I refer my clients to a juice fast program, I point them towards a cold-pressed local option whenever possible.
-Emily Wade Adams, Natal Nutrition
Today CAN CAN is kicking off a contest with Cuppow! Cuppow's inventive lids allow you to easily drink from your CAN CAN jars. We know many of our CAN CAN'ers cleanse on-the-go and these lids are the perfect solution to help you sip your delicious juices without worrying about spills.
To be entered to win, follow these quick steps:
1. Follow CAN CAN on Pinterest
2. Create a board that contains "CAN CAN Cleanse" in the title.
3. Add at least 5 pins that you think embody the CAN CAN brand.
4. Be creative and have fun!
We'll giveaway a 1-Day CAN CAN Cleanse and Cuppow lid to the winner!* The contest runs through Friday, March 8th at 5pm and we'll announce the winner shortly thereafter.
Happy CAN CAN'ing!
*please note that due to our local distribution, this giveaway is being offered to SF Bay Area friends and fans. However, if you're not in the Bay Area and you wish to participate and gift the prize to a Bay Area friend or family member, please do!
Hearts and roses aside, there is perhaps no better representation of Valentine's Day than chocolate. There bittersweet confection has a rich history, artisanal tradition, and even enjoys superfood status. So whether you're enjoying chocolate-covered strawberries with a sweetie or treating your single self to truffles, rest assured that an occasional indulgence offers a host of health benefits.
Cacoa beans - the source of all chocolate - have long been a venerated crop. In parts of Central America, cacao beans were even used as currency as recently as the last century.
But cacao has a sensual side, too. Chocolate became known as an aphrodisiac in the 17th century - a quality that today's scientific research justifies. Two particular neurotransmitters found in chocolate are known to create euphoria and mimic THC in marijuana. Maybe that's why it feels so good to bite into a bar!
Money, love - and a delicious flavor? It's no wonder Americans love chocolate. In fact, we eat about 12 pounds of chocolate per person annually. This year, we're projected to spend $1.6 billion on Valentine's Day candy alone. Even US Army rations include chocolate bars, and US astronauts take it to space with their supplies.
Surprisingly, chocolate is a fermented bean product at its core. White cacao beans are harvested, fermented and dried, turning brown in the process. Chocolatiers buy the dried beans and then clean, weigh, blend, roast and shell them using their own secret recipes. The shelled cacao nibs are ground, melting into chocolate liquor - the (non-alcoholic) liquid form of pure chocolate. Poured into mold and cooled, chocolate liquor hardens inot unsweetened baking chocolate. To make cocoa from these blacks, cocoa butter is removed. For chocolate, cocoa butter is added, along with sugar and other ingredients.
Chocolate is rich in plant sterols and flavonoids, compounds that support healthy cardiovascular function. Chocolate, therefore, may help lower cholesterol, prevent blood clots, and protect against arterial damage. Flavonoids also have strong antioxidant capabilities that help fight allergy, inflammation, and even cancer.
Despite appearances that may suggest otherwise, not all chocolate is created equal. When choosing your chocolate, label reading is a must. The purest, healthiest chocolates include ingredients such as cacao, unsweetened chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, or milk.
Avoid chocolates with additives like corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) or flavoring. Sometimes, it's not even real chocolate in those heart-shaped boxes; many pre-packaged confections are simply "chocolate-flavored candy." Read the fine print and be picky!
Also, the healthy nutrients in chocolate increase with its cocoa content, so select the darkest chocolate possible to take full advantage of its benefits.
A Final Reminder
While pure chocolate is one of the healthiest kinds of sweet treats, it still contains sugar, caffeine, and potent natural compounds that may be addictive. Moderation is always advisable.
Happy Valentine's Day!
-Emily Wade Adams, author of Natal Nutrition
photo credit: Amber Kercmar
Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. The Healing Power of Miscellaneous Foods. New York: Atria.
Weil, A. (2004) Natural Health, Natural Medicine. New York: Hougton Mifflin.
What would we do without online communication with our clients?! We'd be lonely. We welcome you to join us, watch us, follow us, friend us, tweet us, pin us! Wow, that's a lot of keeping up with us! If you're a friend, fan, supporter and CAN CAN enthusiast, we welcome you to find us online as we share CAN CAN news, updates, secrets, inspirations, goodies & specials with you.
Not to mention social media allows each and every one of you to share cleanse stories, celebrate, commiserate and ultimately commend one another on your cleanse victories! Yippppeee!
See y'all on the www!
So you've completed a juice fast, sworn off sweets for the month and lost a few pounds, Congratulations! Now keep that good health and weight loss going. Maintain your momentum by incorporating a few of these simple tips into your new healthy lifestyle.
- Eat Lots of Vegetables. Per the FDA, half of every meal should be vegetables and fruits. Perhaps that translates to a big salad for lunch and a mostly-veggie dinner. At restaurants, order a salad before your meal to commit to eating lots of veggies. A good variety of different kinds of seasonal vegetables will ensure you get a broad spectrum of nutrients.
- Consumer Organic & Grass-Fed Meat, Dairy & Eggs. Conventionally raised animal products contain hormones, antibiotics and pesticide residues. These compounds have been linked to weight gain, endocrine/hormone disruption and breast cancer, among other health problems. Grass-fed or pastured animal products have higher levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids so they are more heart-healthy. Finally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) calls antibiotic resistance one of the world's most pressing health problems, so reducing your exposure to antibiotic-laced animal products may help stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" like MRSA.
- Hunger is the Enemy of Healthy Eating! Always make sure you make a plan and have healthy snacks on hand. Dedicate one day a week to plan, shop and prep your food.
- Read Labels. Even the prepared vegetarian sushi rolls at Whole Foods contain added sugar. Reading labels can help you avoid unnecessary and potentially harmful additives like sugar, MSG, and synthetic fillers. In the words of Michael Pollan, "If you can't say it, don't eat it."
- Avoid Processed & Refined Foods like Sugar & Flour. Choose whole grains in order to consumer fewer calories and keep your blood sugar levels stable. Even flours made from whole grains, while slightly more nutritious, can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes over time. And artificial sweeteners are even worse than real sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, reach for whole fruits, dried fruits, or - if you must - natural sweeteners that are minimally processed (think: honey, maple syrup, or blackstrap molasses).
- Drink Lots of Water. Lots! The solution to pollution is diution. At least 64 oz a day. This will help your liver and kidneys filter out toxins even when you're not cleansing. Get a water bottle, fill it up in the morning, and sip away.
- Cook with Saturated Fats. Butter, lard or coconut oil. Use olive oil for everything else, but don't heat it. Here's why.
- Relax! Stress raises a hormone called cortisol, produced by our adrenal glands. Cortisol can cause weight gain. Taking a few minutes everyday to consciously relax and breathe deeply can help bring cortisol levels back to normal.
- Exercise. People with more muscle burn more calories, even at rest. And, since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, building lean muscle mass is a key factor in any weight loss plan. Do something - anything - to build lean muscle mass daily. 10 push-ups, taking the stairs. Make it easy, fun and just do it.
- Keep a Food Journal. Pay attention to what, when and how much you eat. In one study, women who kept a food journal lost 6 pounds more than those who didn't.
- Sleep! Getting enough good-quality sleep is essential for weight loss. In addition, adequate sleep it crucial to stress reduction.
As you can see, it's not just what you eat that impacts your health and weight. Various nutrition and lifestyle factors influence well-being. A holistic approach can help you continue your journey towards good health even after making changes to your diet.
- Emily Wade Adams, author of Natal Nutrition
There is no better time than while on a cleanse to relax and watch a movie. While it's absolutely ok and encouraged to exercise if you're energized (the skin is the body's largest detox organ, so sweat it out!), it's also a perfect time to invest in your health in another way by relaxing. Take this time to practice slowing down and checking out from the go, go, going that our lives embody - all the time.
If you're like me, sitting down to watch a movie from start to finish can be tough. The movie has to be extremely captivating otherwise I quickly lose interest and fall asleep. You can bet on it. Just shy of the half an hour mark, I'm out. I call it the 28 minute rule.
The 100% exception to the rule is food documentaries. I love them. There are so many out there that deliver powerful, eye-opening messages about the state of our food. They raise awareness and in doing so, further the benefits of a cleanse by offering information that can influence your own life decisions and actions immediately - as well as long after the cleanse has finished.
Here is a list of my recommended docs:
In the mood for lighter viewing? My recent favorite is Portlandia. Hilarious. Laughing is definitely a wonderful stress reliever and very health promoting, too!
Happy Movie Watching!
I've been dying to blog about my New Year's Resolution, but I didn't want to jinx myself. Yesterday marked one week; no ice cream, no desserts. Sayonara sugar!
It's my biggest weakness turned-hobby last year during my pregnancy. Steve and I became best friends and at $6.99 per pint, it's a relationship I'm happy to see go.
How does the CAN CAN girl kick her bad habit? To be honest, I'm not one to go cold-turkey and while I've replaced Steve with Will (power), I'm not swearing off ice cream or sugary desserts for life. That my friends is bound to backfire and life is too short not to indulge - once in awhile.
But, I do feel a sense of accomplishment already. My determination as well as my level of happiness have risen in just one week.
How'd I do it?
Here's my approach:
1. Set one realistic goal
2. Find someone who will share the same goal (strong-willed boyfriend of mine!)
3. Map out a way to measure your goal
4. Put a large sign on your frig with an inspirational quote or a giant red 'X'
5. Healthy alternatives. For me, incorporating fresh juice (beet, carrot, apple for sweet cravings)
5. Snap a photo and blog about it
This photo captures my last near-polished-off pint of ice cream purchased and enjoyed on NYE. I scooped three more spoonfuls on New Year's Day (it's my B-Day after all!), but as a true test, I'm leaving the leftovers in the freezer and I'll post updates throughout the year.
So here I am; sugar clean the first week of the year. Feeling good and in competition mode - with myself!
I'm winning this one!
Best of luck to you and your resolutions this year! You CAN do it!
Today's workout: 25 minutes on the treadmill. Today's news: McDonald's spicy wings hit Chicago (after debuting in Atlanta last year) and worse flu season - delivered in that order. My exercise high turns off. My concern and the monologue in my head take over. More bad news for our nation. I wish I could turn off the TV overhead.
Is there a correlation between what we eat and our health? Yes. I'm not charging McDonald's for causing the widespread flu, but that's just how my mind works. I see two sequential news clips and it seems all too powerful of a message.
I'm very, very fortunate to be able to wake-up in the morning and feel good about the hours I put into my work. CAN CAN is trying to improve health by offering perspective on the detriments of poor food choices, calling out the consequences of food and drink vices & bad habits, bringing awareness to how nutrient-deficient food makes us feel, and - if only for 3 days - trying to remind people what it feels like to feel good and inspire them to give more thought to what they eat after the cleanse.
Amidst the flurry of New Year cleanses, a frenzy for limited time, $2.99 mighty wings.
Imagine what you'd feel like after spicy wings for 3 days?
Hippocrates needs to up his a campaign, "Let food be thy medicine..."
Raise your hand if you've eaten or sipped on kale this week? Once a day? Twice a day?
Post-holidays, my bet is most have upped their intake of greens this week. Good for you! See ya later sugar; 'tis time for more of Nature's candies!
With New Year's resolutions abound, kale is front page news in just about every health and fitness magazine and wellness blog I've read. And you know what, I hope it stays there. Media has a powerful way with words. They create a buzz and the public listens. And this time, I hope you're listening loud and clear. Kale is worth the hype!
photo credit: Amber Kercmar
One of the most highly nutritious vegetables, it is a fantastic source of carotenes (beta-carotene and lutein), vitamin C, B6, B1, B2, E, K, manganese, calcium, copper, and iron. And, as a result offers powerful anticancer benefits. Wow! We all should be eating and sipping kale regularly.
How do you get your kale?
Me? I sneak it into almost every soup, toss it into any salad, high-speed blend it into fruit smoothies and juice it.
Cheers! To health, happiness and more greens in 2013!