Stay Healthy Day 18: Avoid artificial food dyes

The Dangerous Impact of Food Coloring
Americans are now eating 5 times more food dye than in 1955.

Many parents have observed their child’s behavior improve drastically when taken off food dyes, especially Red #40. Because of this widespread anecdotal evidence, the editors at Special Education Degree decided to do an investigative report on the negative effects of food dye’s in human beings.

The hidden dangers of food coloring dyes:

🔵 Blue #1 Brilliant Blue

Known Dangers:

Caused kidney tumors in mice
May induce an allergic reaction in individuals with pre-existing asthma

Commonly found in: baked goods, beverages, candies, cereal

🔵 Blue #2 Indigo Carmine

Known Dangers:

Causes significant occurrence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats

Commonly found in: beverages, candies, dog food

🔴 Citrus Red #2

Known Dangers:

Toxic to rats and mice at modest levels
Bladder and other tumors found in mice
Labeled “possibly carcinogenic to humans”by the IARC

Commonly found in: skin of Florida oranges

🟢 Green #3 Fast Green

Known Dangers:

As a food dye it is prohibited in the EU and some other countries.

Caused significant increases in bladder tumors in male rats.

Commonly found in: beverages, candies, ice cream, cosmetics.

🔴 Red #40 Allura Red

Known Dangers:

Accelerates the appearance of immune system tumors in mice.

Suspected trigger of hyperactivity in children
Causes allergy-like reactions in some people.

Commonly found in: beverages, candies, cereal, cosmetics

🔴 Red #3 Erythrosine

Known Dangers:

Suspected trigger of hyperactivity in children
Thyroid carcinogen in animals.
Issued a partial ban by the FDA in 1990

Commonly found in: baked goods, candies, sausage, maraschino cherries.

🟡 Yellow #5 Tartrazine

Known Dangers:

Can cause allergy-like reactions
May cause mild to severe hypersensitiviy reactions

Commonly found in: baked goods, candies, cereal, beverages

🟡 Yellow #6 Sunset Yellow

Known Dangers:

May cause hyperactivity in some children
Causes adrenal tumors in animals.

Commonly found in: baked goods, sausage, cereal, cosmetics.

Alternatives to Artificial Dyes Include:






Red cabbage

Turmeric powder

Saffron powder


Natural dyes do not have as concentrated color as artificial ones. Thus, more must be used, which may affect taste. They’re also more sensitive to heat, so colors may vary.

Now, 30%-40% of the nation’s food is colored with naturally-derived food dyes. Organic food has no added dyes or preservatives.

On food labels, artificial dyes are often identified by their alternative names.

Learn more about the effects on young children here.

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Stay Healthy Day 13: Eat Fermented Foods

These things can harm your gut flora:

👉🏻 Antibiotics
👉🏻 Anti-bacterial products (soaps, gels, etc.)
👉🏻 Birth control pills
👉🏻 Other prescription drugs
👉🏻 Pesticides on food
👉🏻 Fluoridated water
👉🏻 Over-consumption of sugar
👉🏻 Over-consumption of processed food/food additives
👉🏻 Pro-inflammatory vegetable oils
👉🏻 Synthetic vitamins (fortified foods)
👉🏻 Environmental mold exposure

Specific signs that your gut is messed up:

👉🏻 Eczema
👉🏻 Food allergies/sensitivities
👉🏻 Constipation (frequent)
👉🏻 Diarrhea (frequent)
👉🏻 Cradle cap/dermatitis
👉🏻 Fatigue (frequent)
👉🏻 Anxiety
👉🏻 Depression
👉🏻 Other hormonal imbalances
👉🏻 Frequent illnesses
👉🏻 Long/more severe illnesses (takes forever to ‘get over’ things)
👉🏻 Frequent sugar cravings
👉🏻 Sore joints/muscles
👉🏻 Frequent headaches
👉🏻 Autoimmune disease
👉🏻 Weight gain/inability to lose weight
👉🏻 Acne/skin breakouts

Fermented foods are the way that people have historically gotten their probiotics. And, these foods contain far more than just probiotics…they are a combination of different strains of bacteria, yeasts, and most likely other “things” we don’t even know about yet. They produce beneficial acids and bioavailable vitamins and minerals, too.

Fermented foods include:

🌱 Milk kefir
🌱 Water kefir
🌱 Yogurt
🌱 Kombucha
🌱 Sauerkraut
🌱 Kimchi
🌱 Fermented pickles

Brewing/fermenting foods or drinks at home is not hard, it just takes a little bit of time. It’s also much cheaper, and you can include flavors you really love! Many ferment salsa, fruits, spicy cabbage, and lots more.

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Why we need fats in our diets

Fat in foods have gotten a bad wrap. But did you know there is a such thing as healthy fats, and that your body needs them? Healthy fats help lower cholesterol, boost brain function and help you feel full. We are already familiar with the other side of the coin, unhealthy fats which contribute to weight gain, higher cholesterol and chronic disease. I’ve been more intentional lately in ensuring we get healthy fats every day.

Sources of healthy fats:
🥑 Avocado
🥑 Fatty fish
🥑 Olive oil
🥑 Full fat fairy (preferably grass fed, organic)
🥑 Nuts
🥑 Seeds
🥑 Eggs
🥑 Grass-fed organic beef
🥑 MCT oil
🥑 Dark chocolate

Saturated fats are coconut oil and dairy products. Unsaturated fats include vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and fish. Unsaturated fats are known to help with weight loss, reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease. But saturated fats are also beneficial in moderation. Unsaturated fats should make up the biggest part of your daily fat intake. (Sorry butter, but at least you are still a good guy.)

Have you ever eaten too much sugar and then felt bad after (like physically felt bad, not felt guilty 😉)? Try eating some healthy fats! Grab some guacamole and it can help balance out the blood sugar, making you feel better more quickly.

Fat is so important for brain development. This is why low fat versions of foods are not recommended for children.

Some great ways to get in these healthy fats is add real butter to your toast (or any food), avocado on your toast or salad, cook with avocado or coconut oil, add a pat of butter or coconut oil to your hot tea or coffee, MCT or coconut oil in your smoothie, seeds in breads or on salads, nuts for a snack… try eating fish at least once a week. We are not big fish fans, so I struggle here. But I tell you, I do love some salmon with guacamole on top. Win win with the healthy fats!

Just try to keep the unhealthy fats like chips, French fries and donuts, to special treats. Even better if you can avoid them entirely, but who doesn’t love a good order of French fries once in awhile?

Do you intentionally eat healthy fats every day?

11 Best Healthy Fats for Your Body

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5 Benefits of Drinking Lemon Water

There are so many benefits of a simple practice of drinking lemon water:

  1. Helps digestion by stimulating and purifies the liver. Also, vitamin C is proven to decrease the risk of peptic ulcers.
  2. Supports immune function by the vitamin c reduces the risk of respiratory infection. Anti-inflammatory and used as support for asthma.
  3. Alkalize the body by the lemon containing citric and ascorbic acid allowing the minerals in lemons to help alkalize the blood.
  4. Clear skin by the vitamin c and other antioxidants in lemons free the body of skin damage. Also has anti-aging benefits from protecting skin from UV exposure and environmental toxins. Lemon juice if applied topically, can help fade scars and age spots.
  5. Promotes healing, vitamin C helps wound healing and helps to heal the bones, connective tissue, and cartilage. Vitamin C is also an essential nutrient for recovery from stress and injury.

Do you drink lemon water?

5 ways fermented foods fuel the body

The human microbiota is made up of trillions of cells, including bacteria, viruses, and funguses. The largest populations of microbes reside in our gut: the gut microbiota. The microorganisms living inside the gastrointestinal tract are also known as gut flora.

Microflora in the gastrointestinal tracts of healthy individuals differs from those found in diseased individuals. The beneficial microflora in the gastrointestinal tract are called probiotics, which means “for life.”

Our bodies are constantly trying to achieve a state of equilibrium in gut flora. There is an immense body of research showing the benefits of balanced gut bacteria in many areas of health.

There are many factors in our modern lifestyle that can shift the gut flora balance to bad gut bacteria. These include the consumption of commercially processed foods, antibiotics, stress, and chlorine and fluoride in drinking water. This results in poor gut health, sickness, and obesity.

Probiotics have proven health-promoting benefits. One of these benefits is the reduced risk of cancer. There are many ways that probiotics reduce the risk of cancer, including aiding with detoxification, improving apoptosis (death of cancer cells), inhibiting tumor growth, and stimulating the immune system.

Fermented foods are excellent sources of these healthy probiotics. Fermented foods are filled with concentrated nutrients, probiotics, and good bacteria.

This article will explain what fermented foods are, sources of fermented foods, and 5 ways that fermented foods may reduce the risk of cancer.

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Stay Healthy Day 2: Health effects of sugar

American 🇺🇸 adults consume an average of 77 grams of sugar per day 🍫 which is more than 3 times the recommended amount for women and in total equates to roughly 60 lbs of sugar annually. 🍩🍭😳

🌭 1 in 10 Americans have Type 2 Diabetes (more than 34 million adults).

🍬 1.25 million Americans have Type 1 Diabetes.

🍟 This year 1.8 million Americans will be or already have been diagnosed with cancer and of that amount 276,480 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

🍦 30.3 million Americans have heart disease and every year about 647,000 Americans die from it.

🌮 There’s a reason you can eat 7 tacos from Taco Bell without feeling full.

🍔 There’s a reason you can eat 2 burgers & a large fry from Mc Donald’s without feeling full.

🥞🍕🥙There’s a reason why you can sit down for a meal at Arby’s or Wendy’s and then thirty minutes later feel like you need to eat again.

All of those foods are loaded with processed sugar and (by design, to keep you coming back!) and because refined sugar is digested quickly, you don’t feel full when you’ve eaten. Can you say, repeat customers?

Refined sugars also cause your insulin and blood sugar levels to sky rocket and when blood sugar levels are too high that can lead to serious health problems.

Having too much sugar in your blood for extended periods of time can damage the vessels that supply blood to your organs; that can lead to health complications such as increased risk of cancer, inflammation, kidney disease, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, problems with vision, nerves & more.

It’s important that parents are monitoring how much candy/sugar their children are exposed to, especially since having too much sugar can affect your immune system.

Sugar interfers with the body’s ability to fight disease and bacteria and yeast can feed on sugar which can increase the risk of illness and infections.

That’s not what we want to see happen when we are literally heading into the colder months of the year! This is the time to be nurturing and supporting our immune system, not crashing it!

Check out this brief video of Dr. Bradford Weeks, who explains what the best foods are for preventing cancer.

As well as this video of Dr. David Jockers who explains the relationship between sugar and insulin, and how that can lead to chronic disease.

Wondering what an anti-cancer diet looks like? Here Mike Rangers explains:

How much sugar do you think you’re consuming? A healthy amount, or too much? 🍰

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Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Believe it or not, the health benefits of tomatoes for fighting cancer are pretty legendary—and fully backed by science too! Read on about how research is setting the record straight regarding the health benefits of tomatoes, including their cancer-protective properties.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes
Let’s take a look at the long list of the health benefits of tomatoes first, and then we will discuss how researchers have traced these benefits to particular substances. According to recent studies, tomatoes can have substantial benefits for:

• Heart health
• Blood pressure regulation
• Younger looking skin and hair
• Bone health
• Lowering homocysteine levels
• Lifting mood and curbing depression
• Protecting against the damaging UV rays of the sun
• Assisting with weight loss and fat absorption
• Smoking cessation support
• Preventing DNA damage
• Preventing and possibility helping to heal cancers such as prostate, pancreatic, lung, endometrium, breast, and stomach

What Makes Tomatoes So Healthy?
The key to all of these health benefits has to do with the fruit’s rich phytonutrient content, as well as its vitamin and mineral content. Side note: yes, a tomato is technically a fruit since it contains a flower and seeds, although some experts call it a vegetable.

Whether they are red, yellow or purple, tomatoes are a rich source of many nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, copper, manganese, folate, and fiber.

It is a particular kind of carotenoid called lycopene that gives tomatoes their cancer-fighting edge, however. A 2005 Canadian study found that “a diet rich in tomatoes and tomato-based products with high lycopene content may help reduce pancreatic cancer risk.”

Other antioxidants such as alpha-lipoic acid, choline, beta-carotene, and lutein provide even more nutrition and protection against disease. Finally, tomatoes only have about 32 calories per cup, making them a good choice for those who want a healthy way to reduce calories.

What About Nightshades and Cancer?
Tomatoes belong to a group of plants called “nightshades.” The nightshade family is also known as Solanaceae; all plants in this category produce an alkaloid compound called solanine. Solanine is a natural insect repellent.

Some people avoid nightshades because they are thought to increase inflammation. Many professionals, on the other hand, recommend them as part of an anti-inflammatory diet.

So what gives?

The truth is that most nightshades don’t contain enough solanine to cause any significant harm for the majority of people. For most people, the dozens of other healthy phytonutrients in nightshades help to actually lower inflammation and prevent disease.

That being said, a small percentage of individuals are extra sensitive to solanine. For those individuals, ingesting any amount of nightshades would cause inflammation.

In addition, it is important for everybody to avoid certain sources of high solanine, such as the leaves and stems of nightshade plants and “potato eyes” (i.e. the sprouts that form on potatoes if you leave them in the bag too long).

What Are the Best Ways to Eat a Tomato?
Unlike many antioxidant-rich foods, tomatoes are still beneficial when they’ve been processed. Canned tomato products, tomato juice and even ketchup can still have a high lycopene content. In a report for the Food Science & Nutrition Journal in 2019, Japanese researchers found that unsalted tomato juice improved blood pressure in local residents who were at risk of cardiovascular system conditions.

That being said, some tomato-based products like pasta sauce and ketchup are notorious for being very high in sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup. Be sure to check the sugar and additive content in these products especially. In addition, make sure that your canned tomatoes are stored in a BPA-free container. The high acid content in tomatoes makes leaching of toxins in cans more of a concern.

Finally, while canned, jarred, sauced, juiced and even jellied tomatoes can all be good for you, the most benefits are going to come when tomatoes are picked fresh right off the vine, when they are organic and, ideally, when they are of an heirloom variety.

In 2015, scientists at the Kew Gardens in London found that certain “natural defenses” which had been “bred out” of commercial varieties were present in heirloom varieties. They also found higher levels of the super antioxidant lycopene (mentioned earlier).

Tomatoes grown at Kew had a much higher level of complexity of chemicals than supermarket tomatoes, which are picked early and not matured on a vine,” commented Professor Monique Simmonds, Deputy Director of Science at Kew. “…The complexity of chemistry suggests that they are likely to be healthier.”

Your diet is a crucial aspect of total body wellness. Choose wisely, shop responsibly, eat cleanly, and reap the benefits for decades to come. Organic tomatoes are one item from your local produce department, farmer’s market or your own backyard that you can eat every day for good health!

Check out some recipes here:

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Hearty Vegetable Soup recipe

When I need something easy to make, vegetable soup is always a nice go to, as long as I have everything on hand of course. But the great thing about vegetable soup is you can improvise and use the vegetables you have on hand. I made this last night and it was a hit, so jotting it down here so I can repeat it in the future. This will give us about 4 meals (I froze 1 meals worth, then we will have 1 lunch and 1 dinner ready for this week. Woohoo!)

I used:
2 onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 box vegetable stock (organic)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp basil
1 box Pomi chopped tomatoes
4 cups of water (use more as needed)
4 cups organic mixed frozen vegetables (green beans, peas, carrots, edemame)
1 1/2 cups frozen black eyed peas
8 oz pasta (optional, but you’ll want to add a little more water if you do)
4 medium potatoes, diced

In a large stock pot, heat 2 tbls oil. Sauté onions until tender, during last minute, add the garlic. Then add vegetable stock and other ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour (or longer to let all the flavors blend together more). Next time I am going to try fresh celery (and eliminate the celery seed), and sauté with the onions. Either way, this soup was yummy!

Healthy lunch box round up

Here is what I have packed lately

Create your own lunchable. Ham and cheese slices, whole wheat crackers, organic Oreo, strawberries, grapes, yogurt.


Same for my boy…with popcorn too


Oranges, ham, carrots, strawberries, grapes, chocolate covered pecan.


Pizza quesadilla, pears, strawberries, carrots, kiwi.


Same for my son.


Pizza quesadilla once more, kiwi, oranges, strawberry, pecans.


Pancake peanut butter and jelly sandwich, kale chips, grapes and kiwi.


Yogurt, granola, carrots, apple slices and peanut butter


Turkey on homemade whole wheat roll, red Bartlett pear slices, tangerine slices and Annie’s bunny Graham’s (from Halloween).


My son had mostly the same but with avocado and tomato on his turkey sandwich.


Peanut butter and jelly sushi rolls (used lavash), blueberries, pineapples, pears.


Same as above for my son only added cucumbers too. He loves them!


Pumpkin waffle sandwich with cream cheese and strawberry fruit spread, boiled egg, pineapple, and kiwi, oh and raspberry yogurt covered pretzels. She asked me to pack this lunch for her every day. 🙂


Son didn’t think he’d like the sandwich (not much he doesn’t like, so surprising), so I gave him a sample sandwich and cut his pumpkin waffles up and gave a little container of syrup.


Healthy lunch box round up

So I was tired and lazy and have not posted each lunch daily, so here are the ones I have missed…

Ham & romaine lettuce rolled in whole wheat tortilla, yogurt with granola, apple slices with peanut butter and water. Oh and a couple M&Ms my parents got the kids against my request (we are about to be hit with Halloween candy.)


Peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat cut into hearts, orange slices, grapes and homemade sweet potato chips.


My son also had a PB&J on whole wheat but I cut his into a Mickey Mouse shape. And I ate the extras off their sandwiches… No waste! 🙂


See other lunch box ideas.

Keep checking back daily for more healthy lunch ideas.