Drop the Sugar, Boost Your Health

When it comes to health, refined sugar seems to be the new “cigarette”. We all thought it was just fine for us for years to consume a moderate level of refined sugar, just as, back in the ’40s and 50’s advertising had us believe that smoking was non-health threatening.

The truth is sugar is just as dangerous as smoking. Both are appealing because they target the pleasure centers of the brain. Hand in hand, both are highly addictive. Not much was known about the dangers of sugars to the body until recent years.

The harmful effects of a high sugar diet are becoming more publicly known, but many are still unaware. They still view soda, candy, cake, cookies, and other sweets all just as food. While there is other nutritional value to it, that sugar intake adds up quickly.

We all keep hearing “Sugar is bad”, but rarely do you get the explanation behind the statement. Let’s delve into it and see exactly why it’s been deemed “bad”.

You will end up visiting the dentist more often:
Sugar loves your teeth, but it’s a one-way relationship. Sugar sticks to your teeth and feeds the bacteria found there. Over time, teeth can decay and rot as a result.

Your liver has to work harder

Sugar is just plain bad for your liver. Excess sugar consumption has a similar effect on the liver as drinking mass amounts of alcohol. This is because of the high fructose content in sugar, which turns into fat, and after becoming lodged in the liver, it can often develop into non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Sugar can cause type II diabetes.

High amounts of sugar in your diet can result in insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can result in an excess of glucose in the blood which is toxic. This can cause a number of conditions to develop, perhaps the worst of which is type II diabetes.

The Big C (Cancer)
Sugar feeds cancer cells. Numerous studies have shown that there is a connection between sugar in excess and cancer. Once again relating to insulin – sugar creates elevated insulin levels, creating an environment where the body can’t properly regulate the abnormal growth and multiplication of unwanted cells, thus, potentially leading to cancer.


Sugar attaches to the same pleasure centers in the brain that result from doing heavy drugs and is equally addictive. It may be hard for people to practice moderation when it comes to junk food. Quitting cold turkey can actually lead to withdrawal symptoms. It’s best to ease it out of your diet if you are a big sugar fan.

Sugar contributes to obesity. If you eat a lot of sugar, you will have a higher tendency to become overweight. Fat gained from sugar consumption attaches around your gut, earning itself the nickname “sugar belly.”

Heart Disease

That’s right. Consuming sugar excessively over time can lead directly to heart disease.
Heart disease is the #1 killer worldwide, and recent studies show that a diet high in sugar could be a major contributing factor.

Other issues

Sugar can raise your blood glucose and insulin levels

Sugar leads to obesity

Sugar can make you depressed.

Sugar contributes greatly to your overall mental health

Sugar can bring on anxiety
Sugar has even been related to memory issues especially later in life.

For further guidance please make an appointment with the onsite nutritionist available at Tampa Cardiovascular Associates by calling (813) 975-2800. Not only are our physicians dedicated to keeping your heart health at its best, but we’ll do anything we can to help you improve your everyday quality of life through important lifestyle choices. www.tampacardio.com.

Originally posted on www.tampacardio.com

Artificial Sweeteners, the Ugly Truth

We have been duped. Somehow, we have all gotten it in our minds that calories are the enemy. Calories are not the enemy. They are simply a unit of energy contained in food which we, as humans, need to power our bodies.

Because of this, the food and drug industry has created their very own niche market and category. Artificial chemical sweeteners. While sugar rings in at only 16 calories per teaspoon, all its artificial counterparts come in at zero or nearly zero.

The question becomes: Is that small of a number of extra calories added to your diet worth the exchange?

Let’s compare.

FDA has recognized artificial sweeteners saccharin, aspartame, sucralose as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe). But are they?

While it is difficult to lump these substances into one group because they are scientifically each their own compound, all artificial sweeteners are created in a lab and are man made. They trick your brain and induce the same metabolic response as sugar. They can be up to 600 times sweeter than sugar itself which makes them addicting.

Despite studies over the years naming them as cell growth inhibitors and possible carcinogenics they have been marked as safe for consumption by the National Cancer Institute. Artificial sweeteners have had numerous complaints lodged against them and been investigated as a possible cause of brain tumors, mental retardation, birth defects, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, Fibromyalgia, and Diabetes. So far, the FDA has made no move towards regulation despite having the studies to back up the toxicity levels. http://www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/dailys/03/jan03/012203/02p-0317_emc-000199.txt

Outside of the safety question. Do they benefit a low-calorie diet?

Although zero calorie studies have shown that increased appetite is often a side effect of consuming these sweeteners. This can up the overall food intake and negate the calories saved through the low or no calories foods or drinks.

Consuming excess sugar can lead to health issues such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic issues, however, it is made in nature and derived from the sugar cane plant. According to a 1973 study done by Loma Linda University, when you consume 100 grams of sugar, equivalent to a one-liter bottle of soda, your white blood cells are 40% less effective at killing germs. This can cripple your immune system for up to 5 hours after eating sugar!

The best answer is to eliminate sugar both artificial and natural it all together. If you must sweeten, all natural Stevia is a natural herb which does not negatively affect health in small quantities. Make sure to read the ingredients. While it would seem that Stevia would be the only single ingredient that is not always the case. Look for pure Stevia as a standalone ingredient.

Nutrition Specialists of Florida would love to help you create a lifestyle change and boost your health. We can be reached at 239-947-1177 or by going to our contact page and sending an email.

Originally Posted: http://chiropractorbonitasprings.com/blog/b_75913_artificial_sweeteners_the_ugly_truth.html

The Health Benefits of Edible Flowers

There have been many times where I have gone out to lunch or dinner in a fine dining restaurant and the salads have come with beautiful flowers either as garnishes or actually infused into the salad itself.

It has always been a fun treat either way, though sometimes I have been the only one brave or eager enough to try them. The flavors range from sweet to tart to bitter, but they are always interesting.

Why limit these experiences to just dining out?
Flowers enhance any garden or home… and if they double as edibles, all the better.

So which flowers can you eat, and which ones taste good?

This is a fairly comprehensive list along with some ideas on how to use them:

Begonia: Leaves and flowers are edible and have a sour- citrus taste. The stems can be used in place of Rhubarb.

Reported Health Benefits: Bronchitis, Skin issues, menstrual disorders, Swelling.

Carnations: Can be used in candy, wine, or as cake decorations. The petals are sweet. These petals are one of the secret ingredients used to make Chartreuse (a French Liquor).

          Reported Health Benefits: Anti-inflammatory effect, helping with hair loss, act as a muscle relaxant, and aid in the treatment of excess gas.

Chrysanthemums: Tangy and slightly bitter – they can taste like mildly peppery cauliflower. Petals can be used in salads or to flavor vinegars.

           Reported Health Benefits: Acid Reflux, Dizziness, AntiCancer, Sedative, Antispasmodic

Clover: Sweet and taste much like anise. – Has been said to help with gout, rheumatism, improves fingernails, coughs and colds. Use bright healthy flowers.

           Reported Health Benefits: Blood thinner, Uterine Fibroids, Hot flashes.

Dandelions: Sweetest when picked young. Honey like flavor. The mature flowers are bitter. They are good raw or steamed and can also be made in to wine. If serving rice mix in petals.

          Reported Health Benefits: Acne, Herpes, Liver diseases, Water Retention, Constipation, Gallstones, Age spots, Alcoholism, Anorexia.

Day Lilies: Slightly sweet vegetable flavor like lettuce. Beautiful in salads or a top cakes.

          Reported Health Benefits: Cancer treatment, detoxifies arsenic poisoning, powerful antioxidant. *May cause hallucinations in higher doses.

Daisy: These are mostly used for looks, they taste very bitter.

          Reported Health Benefits: Arthritis, cold, cough, Diarrhea, Indigestion, wound care.

Fuchsia: Slightly acidic flavor. Great as a garnish due to vibrant colors. Berries are also edible.

          Reported Health Benefits: None reported

Gladiolus: Nondescript flavor like iceberg lettuce. Petals are great in a salad or used individually as “bowls” for serving light desserts like mousses.

          Reported Health Benefits: Regular bowel movements.

Apple Blossoms: Petals can be candied or used as a garnish. *Eat in moderation. the flowers may contain a cyanide precursor.

         Reported Health Benefits: Improves digestive, remove excess fat, clears acne, lighten pigmentation, ease nerves and revitalized blood

Banana Blossoms: (sometimes called Banana Hearts) They can be cooked or eaten raw. The outside covering needs to be removed until you reach a white tender part.  It should then be sliced and let sit in water till the sap drains.

        Reported Health Benefits: Helps Lactating mothers, Great for pregnant women, diabetes, menstrual issues, weight loss.

Citrus Blossoms: Distilled citrus flower water is used in Middle Eastern pastries and beverages.

         Reported Health Benefits: Unable to find.

Elderberry Blossoms: Sweet smell and taste. Do not wash them, it will remove some of the taste. These are great for making wine.

         Reported Health Benefits: Unable to find.

Angelica: Tastes similar to licorice. Petals for salads, and leaves can be made into tea.

         Reported Health Benefits: Bloating, Pain, Endometriosis, Migraine, Colitis.

Borage: Blossoms and leaves have a cucumbery taste. They go well in lemonade, sorbets, chilled soups and dips.

           Reported Health Benefits: Auto Immune diseases, Lupus, Menopause, MS,         Bronchitis, Flu, Sore throat.

Jasmine: Traditionally used for scenting teas. *Please make sure you have the right plant if you use Jasmine! (Jasmine Officinale). The “False Jasmine” are a completely different plant. “Gelsemium” and “Loganiaceae” are too poisonous for human consumption.

         Reported Health Benefits: Acne, Anti Cancer, Bipolar Disorder, Constipation, aphrodisiac,

Lavender: Sweet, floral flavor with lemon and citrus notes. Can be used in lemonade, champagne,  with chocolates, in cakes, flans or custards.

        Reported Health Benefits: Grief, Rosacea, Sore throat, tooth ache, whooping   cough, Relaxation, sleep, Pain, Allergies, Anxiety.

Hibiscus: Has cranberry like flavors and overtones. Petals are great in salad, or dried and used as tea.

         Reported Health Benefits: DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT. (Abortifacient), High Blood Pressure, Abscess, Alopecia, Baldness, Burns, Cancer.

Honeysuckle: Sweet honey like flavor. Only the flowers are edible. The berries are HIGHLY poisonous.

        Reported Health Benefits: Blocked Fallopian Tubes, Cancer, Depression, Fever, Flu, Tick Bites, Gout, Infections, Blood Impurities.

Impatiens: Sweet flavor. Great in salads or floated in drinks.

        Reported Health Benefits: Used in Bach Flower Remedies to keep a positive calm state of mind.

Johnny Jump Ups: Mild wintergreen flavor. Salads, cakes, served with soft cheeses, drinks, soups.

         Reported Health Benefits: Skin diseases, Epilepsy

Lilac: Very fragrant and slightly bitter. Great in salads or crystalized in egg white and sugar.

         Reported Health Benefits: Rashes, Cuts, other skin ailments.

Marigold: Can be used as a substitute for Saffron in cooking or placed in a salad.

         Reported Health Benefits: Ulcers, Eczema, Cuts, Wounds

Pansy: Sweet grassy flavor, great in fruit salads or green salads.

         Reported Health Benefits: Skin diseases.

Peony: Boil petals and use as tea or add fresh to salads.

         Reported Health Benefits:  Cholesterol Lowering, Cuts cancer risk on certain cancers, antioxidant, diabetes.

Queen Anne’s Lace: Also known as Wild Carrot or Bishop’s Lace. Light carrot flavor, great in salads. BE CAREFUL: It looks much like Poison Hemlock. please be sure you know what you are eating.

         Reported Health Benefits: Anemia, Chicken Pox, Oily Skin, Athlete’s Foot, Schizophrenia, Stomach issues.

Roses: Flavor depends on soil, rose type, and growing conditions. Great in salads, desserts, perfumed butters or sweet spreads. Rose jelly is wonderful.

         Reported Health Benefits: Antiseptic, Astringent, anti inflammatory, antibacterial, nausea, fatigue, dehydration, infections, rashes, cooling, cleans blood.

Geraniums: Flavors range by color from lemony to spicy. *Note Citronella variety isn’t edible. Sprinkle over desserts, in drinks or freeze in ice cubes for a decorative touch.

         Reported Health Benefits: Dry Lips, Grief, Age Spots, High Blood Pressure, Anxiety, Pain, Blurred Vision

Sunflower: Unopened flower buds can be eaten like artichokes after steaming.  They have a bitter sweet flavor.

          Reported Health Benefits: Aging, Bad Breath, Bronchitis, Throat issues.

Tulips: Taste like sweet lettuce, or fresh baby peas. *some people are allergic. Do not eat the bulbs ever. Petals only.

          Reported Health Benefits: Unable to find.

Chamomile. English chamomile has small, daisy-like flowers with an apple-like flavor. If you’re allergic to ragweed, you might want to avoid chamomile.

         Reported Health Benefits: ADHD, Bloating, Bunion, Hay Fever, Insomnia, Stomach ache, MS, Bloating.

Violets: Sweet perfumed flavor. Leaves are fantastic in salads. They can also be placed on desserts or in iced drinks. They are also tasty when cooked like spinach.

        Reported Health Benefits: Cough, Headache, Esophageal Cancer, Pain.

Special notes on eating edible flowers:

  • Make SURE you know what you are eating and that it is edible.
  • No flowers are safe if not grown organically (no pesticide)
  • Wash all flowers before eating them.
  • Start with small quantities as your body is not familiar with them.
  • Remove pistols and stamens from flowers before eating them.
  • If you have allergies, introduce gradually to make sure you don’t have a reaction.
  • Don’t eat flowers from florists.
  • Don’t eat flowers picked from the side of the road.
  • Pick flowers in the morning when their water content is the highest.

Salads are self explanatory, just get creative.


Here is a delicious recipe for Strawberry-Rose Cupcakes to get you started on using flowers in your baking. *Thank you to http://www.myrecipes.com*

Strawberry jam and rose water are baked directly into the vanilla cupcakes to infuse delicate, fragrant flavor into these party-ready cakes. Garnish with fresh rose petals in the colors of your party.


1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 1/2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup strawberry jam

1 1/2 to 2 tsp. rose water* (find with cocktail or baking supplies)

Cream Cheese-Rose Frosting (separate directions below!)

2 1/2 cups small rose petals (organically grown)


1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line 16 muffin cups with liners. Beat butter and sugar with a stand mixer until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat until well blended.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Gradually beat into butter mixture until well blended.

3. Whisk together jam and rose water to taste in a small bowl. Spread 2 heaping tbsp. batter in each liner. Top with 1 tsp. jam mixture, then another 2 heaping tbsp. batter, carefully spreading it to cover jam.

4. Bake cupcakes until a toothpick inserted toward the edge comes out clean, 25 to 27 minutes. Let cool in pans 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Spread with frosting and decorate with rose petals.

To make the Cream Cheese-Rose Frosting


4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 to 2 tsp. rose water

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar


In a bowl with a mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, rose water, vanilla, and powdered sugar until smooth.

For additional recipes and ideas I suggest google searching “Edible Flower Recipes” and poking around. You will be amazed at what you find!















Origninally published on NaturalNews.com http://blogs.naturalnews.com/health-benefits-edible-flowers/

JELL-O No! Why This dessert is anything but healthy


It’s colorful, wiggly and fun. It is one of the most versitile creative foods on the market. You can make jell-o molds, jell-o shots, jell-o gigglers, parfaits, mix flavors, colors, it is essentially a fruit party in a box. Jell-o has been a favorite of kids and adults alike since the brand was founded in 1897.

Gelatin itself dates back to as early as the 1400’s. It is a protein produced from collagen that comes out of animal bones and connective tissues when they are boiled. It became popular during the Victorian era especially among the upper crust of society. In its original form it was time consuming to produce until 1845 when a patent for powdered gelatin was issued. This made it more readily accessible to the general public. It wasn’t long after that that flavors were added and a dessert treat known as Jell-O was founded.

Modern day Jell-o is primarily chemical…

Lets take a look:


-Sugar – Sugar has been linked to obesity, and suspected of, or fully implicated as a cause in the occurrence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, macular degeneration, and tooth decay. It has highly addictive properties. Much of the sugar produced is genetically modified.

-Gelatin is a complex mixture of proteins derived from partial hydrolysis of collagen extracted from animal hides and bones. It has little nutritional value. Though we must add that gelatin aides digestion and has been successfully used in the treatment of many intestinal disorders. The reason of the beneficial effect on digestions is because gelation is a hydrophilic colloidal substance. This means that it attracts and holds liquids. It facilitates digestion by attracting digestive juices to food in the gut and by distributing digestive action evenly through all the food. Consuming good amounts of gelatin with every meal greatly reduces the digestive stress resulting from the consumption of processed and cooked food or from sub-optimal digestive function. Gelatin also improves digestibility of beans and legumes, grains, dairy and meat protein. HEALTHY SUGGESTION: buy PLAIN GELATIN and Mix it with your favorite Juice. Allow it to set, and POOF you have homemade jello without all the chemicals.

-Adipic Acid (pH control agent; Flavoring agent; Preservative, controls tartness) It increases shelf life. The FDA cautions to not ingest more than 227 grams per 100lbs of body weight daily.

Contains less than 2% of:

-Natural and Artificial Flavor – As “Natural” remains undefined by the FDA this can contain pretty much anything.

-Disodum Phosphate and Sodium Citrate (Flavoring agent; Emulsifier; Texturizer; pH control agent) It is an inorganic salt.

-Fumaric Acid (for tartness)

-Red 40, Blue 1 (and other assorted colors) – new studies now show synthetic preservatives and artificial coloring agents aggravate ADD & ADHD symptoms. Several major studies show academic performance increased and disciplinary problems decreased in large non-ADD student populations when artificial ingredients, including artificial colors, were eliminated from school food programs. Many of these colors include levels approved by the FDA of arsenic and mercury and have been banned in the European Union.

-BHA (preservative) Though the FDA recognizes it as GRAS (generally recognized as safe), The National institute of Health says it’s “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” It has been linked to cancer and has been banned in many countries.

And alternately – in sugar free jell-o the sweetener replacing sugar is:

-Aspartame (Phenylketonurics contains Phenylalanine) Created from the excretions of genetically modified bacteria.
What’s in it: Phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol. Reported side effects: Headaches, fibromyalgia, anxiety, memory loss, arthritis, abdominal pain, nausea, depression, heart palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome, seizures, neurological disorders, vision problems, brain tumors and weight gain.

– Acesulfame Potassium is a potassium salt containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen.
Reported side effects: Long-term exposure to methylene chloride can cause nausea, headaches, mood problems, impairment of the liver and kidneys, problems with eyesight and possibly cancer. Acesulfame-K may contribute to hypoglemica.

-Nutritional Content
Fat Free
70 calories Regular / 10 calories sugar free
19 grams of sugar carbs / 0 net carbs sugar free
40-55 milligrams of sodium
2 grams of protein / 1 gram of protein sugar free
No nutrients or vitamins

Why on earth this is fed to people in hospitals on a regular basis is beyond me. Not only does it have no nutritional content and barely any energy from calories, but it also contains numerous chemicals which – though FDA approved – are shown to harm the body.

The conclusion? Jell-o may be fun, but it most certainly is not healthy.




Published also on naturalnews.com/blogs/author/sarahbarendse and drleonardcoldwell.com as well as HCBL.com/blog

Aspartame – A Severe Metabolic Poison

What? That can’t be right, you are likely thinking.

It is.

The methanol in aspartame affects the dopamine system of the brain causing addiction. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is classified as a severe metabolic poison.

Aspartame is a dipeptide molecule produced by joining phenylalanine and aspartic acid. Aspartame itself does not occur naturally but is a manufactured substance. When aspartame is consumed, it is completely broken down by the enzymes in the digestive system into the two amino acids and a type of alcohol called methanol.

What that means:

These have high abuse potential and severe psychological and/or physical dependence liability.

Yet the public has been  encouraged to drink it because it has been marketed as a health product.

According to independent doctors and researchers, aspartame can cause a range of symptoms including but not limited to:


Memory Loss

Vision Loss





Worse, it cam mimic symptoms of diseases like MS, Lupus, ADD, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

It can be dangerous to take with medications, has reactive properties when combined with MSG (mono sodium glutamate) which is found in tons of packaged foods, and will induce cravings for carbohydrates which often leads to weight gain.

So much for the myths of diet and or healthy!

 *Best Advice: Never touch a food with aspartame in it again.

*Alternate Advice: If you don’t feel ready to give up diet drinks or foods but are having any of these symptoms try a 60-day aspartame free test and see how much your health improves.








Originally published on Natural News Blogs