Gluten Free Nashville

Sugar 101: The Truth About Sugars & Sweeteners

08 Aug
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments


Sugar.  Who would have thought it would be such a confusing topic.  And now that food companies have added artificial sweeteners to the market, Americans are even more confused.  One minute Splenda is good for you, the next it’s bad.  Should you even be consuming sugar in the first place?  I’m here to hopefully clear up some of your confusion. First, know that sugar can be very toxic to your health
, especially in the amounts our generation consumes it.  This article is about differentiating between the most popular sweeteners, so I’m not going to spend much time on the toxicity of sugar.  I think most of you know the less the better.  And when it comes to artificial sweeteners: AVOID THEM ALL! If your great grandmother has never heard of it, don’t eat it.  They’re not real food.  They’re a mix of unnatural chemicals that are toxic to your bloodstream, can cause damage to your organs, and can even lead to mutations in your cells.  If you’re going to use sweeteners, use the ones that God gave us, the natural ones.  Here is the lowdown on some of the most popular sweeteners out there:

Honey: My favorite sweetener & God’s created sweetener!  Honey contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, & antioxidants, which is why its known to be medicinal.  It can even be applied topically to wounds.  Beware when shopping for honey at the grocery store-most are processed and void of the good stuff mentioned above. The best honey to buy: RAW, LOCAL. You want raw so that the enzymes & nutrients are still alive.  Otherwise, they are killed during the heating process. Raw honey also has so much more flavor than the processed brands.  Local honey is best as it contains the immune stimulating properties needed for your body to adapt to its environment (Fights allergies to pollen/grass/etc in your area).

Stevia: If you must have a zero calorie sweetener, this is the one to go with because it has a glycemic index of less than 1 and does not feed candida (yeast) or cause any of the numerous other problems associated with sugar consumption.  It can be used by diabetics as it doesn’t adversely affect blood glucose levels. Some people (me included) have reported a bitter aftertaste when ingesting stevia.  Also, a little goes a LONG way when using this sweetener.

Maple Syrup (Grade B): Grade B is the least processed.  Maple syrup has been contributed to promoting heart health.  It is an excellent source of zinc and manganese and also provides trace amounts of calcium, iron and magnesium.   Maple sugar can be used at a 1:1 ratio for white or brown sugar.

Raw Coconut Nectar/Sugar: Made from tapping the coconut tree & draining the sap in a process similar to producing maple syrup. (Coconut nectar doesn’t require heating, though.)  Coconut sugar is also relatively low on the Glycemic Index.

Molasses: Molasses is a by-product of the refining part of the sugar making process. A quality organic (must be organic!) molasses provides iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, and is alkalizing to the body.

Refined Table Sugar: Conventionally grown, chemically processed, and stripped of all beneficial properties, many health advocates believe that refined sugar is one of the two leading causes (high fructose corn syrup is the other) of nearly every health ailment known to man (or woman or child). Not only does it have a high GI ranking, but it also is extremely acidic to the body causing calcium and other mineral depletion from bones and organs (sugar is alkaline but has a very acidic effect on the body).  -Source: Michael Edwards

Organic Sugar: Organic sugar comes from sugar cane that is grown without the use of chemicals & pesticides.  However, it is still processed, just not to the degree that white sugar is processed.  Organic sugar is darker in color than white sugar because it contains some molasses.

Turbinado: Turbinado sugar is partially processed and is also known as raw sugar.

Agave Nectar: This sweetener has been very popular lately, however, I do not recommend it.  It is not natural. It comes as a syrup and is highly refined.  Agave nectar even has more concentrated fructose than high fructose corn syrup according to the Weston A. Price Foundation.  Agave was developed in the 1990′s and is made primarily in Mexico.  To produce agave nectar, the leaves are cut off the plant after it has aged 7 to 14 years. Then the juice is expressed from the core of the agave. The juice is filtered, then heated, in order to hydrolyze the polysaccharides into simple sugars. The filtered, hydrolyzed juice is concentrated to a syrupy liquid, slightly thinner than honey, from light colored to dark amber, depending on the degree of processing.  This is not a traditional sweetener and the high levels of synthesized fructose in agave puts people at risk for obesity, heart disease, arterial inflammation, high blood pressure and increased insulin resistance.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials that say HFCS is the same as sugar, and that when used in moderation, it’s safe. Well, it’s not the same or safe. When used in moderation it is a major cause of heart disease, obesity, cancer, dementia, liver failure, tooth decay, & more. “Why is the corn industry spending millions on misinformation campaigns to convince consumers and health care professionals of the safety of their product? Could it be that the food industry comprises 17 percent of our economy?”   Check out Dr. Mark Hyman’s post “5 Reasons High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You.” Something new that I learned in this post is that HFCS contains mercury, which as we know is extremely toxic and detrimental to our health.

So when you must reach for a sweetener, aim for a natural, unprocessed one.  And most importantly, use in moderation!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

I Have Exciting News…

21 Sep
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  6 Comments

I’M PREGNANT!

Many of you probably know by now, but I wanted to let my blog followers know the exciting news.  Eric and I are expecting our first child March 22, 2012.  I’m 14 weeks tomorrow and am thrilled to finally be in my 2nd trimester.  We got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the 1st time yesterday, and that sound was truly music to my ears.  My husband and I feel truly blessed for this amazing gift.  We also can’t wait to find out if it’s a boy or a girl.  The big gender reveal is October 27, so stay tuned!

Also, since this is my nutrition site, I will be blogging all things baby over at my personal blog if you want to follow our journey through pregnancy and parenthood.
Check out “Baby Makes Three.”

Excited Mommy-to-Be,
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Getting Ready for Cold/Flu Season

18 Sep
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  1 Comments

via Blooming Natural Health

As most of you know, cold and flu season is just around the corner.  Unfortunately, it seems as if the “stomach bug” has already shown its face in many people’s homes.  I’m sure you’ve also seen all the signs for flu shots in your area.  While I won’t be getting a flu shot, I will be practicing preventative tips to protect myself from the flu.  Here are ways to keep your immune system strong this season:

Tips for Protecting Your Health During Cold/Flu Season:

  • Get plenty of Vitamin D: Most people are deficient in vitamin D.  Unfortunately, one wouldn’t know this unless they got their vitamin D levels tested. I know, I say this a lot, but it is extremely important to know your vitamin D levels.  I get mine checked at least twice a year.  Optimal vitamin D levels are: 55-65 ng/mL.  A deficiency of vitamin D triggers infections, autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease), cardiovascular disease, and cancer.  Optimal vitamin D levels are known to be more effective in preventing the flu than a flu vaccine.  The best source of vitamin D: sunshine!  It’s important to get out and enjoy at least 10-15 minutes of sun per day (without sunscreen).  As winter approaches, and it becomes harder to get natural sunlight, it may be necessary to take a daily vitamin D supplement.  Many people even need a supplement during the summer; again, why it’s so important to get your levels checked! 

  • Eat Healthy: Everyone knows it’s important to eat healthy, but I think that most people underestimate the power that food has on the immune system.  If you’re eating healthy and are exposed to certain illnesses, you have a great chance of not catching it.  Foods to enjoy are:
    • Organic fruits & vegetables
    • Fermented foods such as kombucha, yogurt, etc.
    • Organic, pastured meats & eggs (including 100% grass-fed beef)
    • Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts.
    • Avoid sugar, especially refined sugars. Sugar weakens the immune system.  If you need sweeteners, use raw honey, maple syrup, & stevia.
      • Raw honey has antibacterial, antifungal, & antiviral properties (LOCAL raw honey is best, especially for allergies)
    • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar per day
    • Supplements: Vitamin D (depending on your levels), probiotic, elderberry, fermented cod liver oil or another purified source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Get plenty of sleep: 7-8 hours per night is ideal
  • Exercise: Increases your resistance to illness
  • Stay stress-free! Find ways to manage your stress to keep your immune system strong.  Try yoga, prayer, meditation, talking to a friend, whatever works for YOU.

Even if you still get sick doing all of these tips, your symptoms will be a lot milder than if you weren’t following these healthy guidelines.

Praying your family enjoys a sick-free fall and winter!
Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN,CLC

Nutrient Packed Smoothie Recipe

14 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  1 Comments

When I make a smoothie, I don’t worry about whether I have all the right ingredients or not.  I just use what I have on hand and try to throw in extra nutrients when possible.  My breakfast smoothie today consisted of:

I didn’t write amounts of each ingredient because I don’t measure everything. I just throw however much of each ingredient that I want to put in, taste it, and if it needs something else, I’ll add it in.  For example, this morning when I tasted it (before banana), the texture wasn’t thick enough for me, so I added half a banana and more blueberries to the smoothie.  Make your smoothie to your likeness.  Enjoy!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Everyone Needs A Vacation

07 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

Last week, my husband and I went to Hilton Head Island, SC with my family.  I must say, this vacation came at the PERFECT time.  About two weeks before the trip, my joints decided to have a flare up (pain and inflammation).  I hadn’t had this problem at all since I went gluten free and completely changed the way I viewed food. (Read my story here.)  I could not understand what was causing this flare up (neither could my doctor).  I knew that I had to do something, because I hated the pain, and I’m the type of person who has to know answers to everything (like what could be causing this). I know, I know, sometimes there are no answers. But I still dig for them.

So what did I do? I juiced more, I practiced hot yoga, I ate healthier (more than I already do), and I prayed.  The day we left for the beach was my worst day yet.  To make a long story short, after being at the beach a few days, my pain was so much better.  Some days, I didn’t feel pain at all.  You know what that means?  I’m definitely supposed to move to the beach. :) j/k  It means that I need to slow down more; take time for myself.  We could all use a beach vacation, right?  If you can’t go on vacation and relax, then find something that you can do for yourself: get a massage, read a book at a coffee shop (to get away from your to-do list at home), go to the pool, or anything that makes you calm and relaxed.

All that being said, we all need to listen to our body more.  If we are in pain, than our body is trying to tell us something.  If you’re exhausted and tired, it’s okay to skip a workout and rest.  Rest is good for us.  (I’m speaking to myself as well)

Now onto more exciting things.  I wish I would have taken pictures of the delicious food we had on vacation, but I was too busy enjoying it.  I’ll try to remember for next time.  Since I won’t be telling you about all the amazing fresh seafood we devoured, I’ll end this post with pictures from our beach vacation with my mom, dad, brother and his wife, and my twin niece and nephew.  We had an amazing time!  I am so thankful for that time we had together.

Eric & I: Dinner at Skull Creek Boathouse

My niece, Chloe, & I Before Dinner at The Black Marlin

Caden & Chloe on Memorial Day: It's Hard to Sit Still When You're 15 Months

Date Night @ Skull Creek Boathouse w/ My Brother & Amiee

My Mom & Dad w/ Their Grandbabies

My Sister-in-Law & I with the Twins

I hope you have a fun & relaxing summer!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC