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The King of Ketosis

Dr. Atkins

 

Ketosis simply means burning fat. When your body burns fat it helps correct metabolic health and weight issues. If you are not healthy or cannot seem to lose weight, Make a change in your way of eating.

At a minimum, Dr. Atkins should be known as the “King of Ketosis”. It’s been awhile since I worked with Dr. Atkins and embarked on my own high fat, low carb journey. Back then, although we cited Keckwick and Pawan and a few others, we had NO “current” research. We barely even understood what happened biochemically in the body but we did know that our patients reaped the benefits much before the sea of results with today’s “current” research and monumental low carb following.

We understood the power of ketosis (controlling carbohydrates) and the health benefits of fat. Because eating real food and avoiding the push for commercially prepared low-fat products tainted with trans fat and high fructose corn syrup was and is healthier. We witnessed health and weight improvements. We did not need to wait for research when right in front of our eyes was this nutritional blessing of ketosis that helped improve quality of life and we would not bury our heads in the sand of denial no matter who said otherwise. It is hard to imagine what would have happened if Dr. Atkins retaliated in fear or lost his endurance to the wolves that hunted him. There were so many attacks.

I was a registered dietitian (RD), a vegetarian at the time eating low-fat foods, but Dr. Atkins hired me anyway. He was extremely bright. I think he knew what he was doing when he hired “the enemy”. He used to call registered dietitians “airheads” because he was so frustrated at the medical establishment trying to denounce what he was doing and label him a “quack”. When I reminded him I was a RD, he smiled ( a charismatic smile ) and said “not all of them”.

I, on the other hand, had no idea what I was about to experience and even explain how this job would become my life. However there were four main reasons  I switched from being a vegetarian to an Atkins for lifer!

  1. As a vegetarian, it was difficult to make creative eating suggestions for my flesh-eating clients.
  2. I was about ten pounds overweight and I wanted to experience the excitement my clients felt and, of course, the fast weight loss results.
  3. I saw patients clinical labs and they all improved: cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and all the rest, including the clients reported benefits:
  • improved energy
  • stable moods
  • mental focus
  • less gas/ bloating
  • better sleep
  • less acne flare ups and episodes
  • less appetite

oh, there were so many…

  1. As I dug through the published data and paced the shopping aisles of the grocery store. I realized this “Atkins” diet was healthier than anything I had recommended during my whole nutrition career. I realized I was brain washed by the establishment. Fast forward, while I completed the nutritional analysis of the menus in my book, “The Stubborn Fat Fix” (http://www.amazon.com/The-Stubborn-Fat-Fix-Metabolic/dp/159486828X), the less carbs the more nutrient dens the meal. As carbs were placed back into meals, not too many of course, it diluted what I call the “nutrient bang for the calorie buck”.

We did not have sexy marketing lingo like “nutritional” ketosis.  Although it is a great descriptor as being in ketosis  equates to eating nutrient dense meals. Today we may just take for granted what seems to be the obvious.

Cristi Vlad does a great job at explaining ketosis, http://cristivlad.com/ketosis-special-metabolic-state/. He describes his own weight and fat loss but the advantage of lowering carbs goes beyond what you see on the outside.

The true magic of ketosis is buried deep within at the hormonal level and hormones influence our lives (men, women and children) much more than we know.

If you want to read up on the research, Ellen Davis has a no holds barred  website, http://www.ketogenic-diet-resource.com/ketogenic-diet-benefits.html on almost everything you may want to know about a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet and how it contributes to slowing the aging process and healing:

  • any blood sugar disorder, including diabetes, hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • parkinson’s disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • epilepsy
  • autism
  • fatty liver
  • stomach issues like reflux, ulcers, gas bloating

and the list goes on.

Don’t be afraid of ketosis or living low carb.  Jimmy Moore, http://www.livinlavidalowcarb.com/, has been living low carb, writing books, doing podcasts, hosting cruises and even has a list of practitioners who can help you, http://lowcarbdoctors.blogspot.com/. Burning fat to supply body energy (ketosis) is not only an optimal way of eating, it is prudent for quality of life and longevity.

 

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Te Amo Semper

 

Te amo sempre (I always love you) and will never forget Pure Power Bootcamp (PPBC). This week I am re-posting a blog as tribute for helping me get back on the road to “me”. I challenge anyone who reads this to discover the things in life that instill joy and make you feel good. Whatever they are, whatever it is,  just do it! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

What you do and love can change your life forever. My choice reinforced brotherhood along with:

STRENGTH

COURAGE

DESIRE

PERSEVERANCE

INTENSITY

RESPECT

POWER

DUTY

LOYALTY

DIGNITY

 

For me the discovery was easy. I re-discovered, me. It felt and continues to feel good. I cherish the memories and refuse to believe that we will not all be together again soon! Pure Power lives on in my heart and soul, http://wp.me/pudS3-Jz. What is today and what will be tomorrow for PPBC we do not know but I have faith     !

Te amo sempre Pure Power Boot Camp.

Has anyone been as fortunate as I have been and would you like to share what “IT” was (or is) that has helped make you feel good or inspired you in any way? I’d love to hear about the “IT”.

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2015 in exercise, health, weight loss

 

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Don’t Get “Scrooged”, Get Happy For The Holidays!

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Christmas at Rockefeller Center, located in New York City, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The holiday season is upon us, Christmas and New Years are here! Family gatherings and social events create more responsibilities and pressures. Holiday cheer this time of year? Absolutely!

But, the holidays also create stress and unrealistic expectations that can put a damper on things. There are many people who enjoy the season but there is a reality  of the extra task of buying gifts, hosting the traditional celebration, stressing about finances, job security, and other pressures from various sources.

Holiday occasions should be like a breath of fresh air. Do not let outside worries or circumstances interfere with one day or a few hours of joy. It is meant for you to stop and allow yourself to feel love, happiness, hope and goodness, no matter what.

If things are starting to get out of control, think about the big picture. Holidays are not forever. “What are your expectations during the holiday season?” “What are your expectations for family, friends or your job?” “Can you use this time to relax and enjoy the ones you love most?” These are loaded questions. Take time to really think about the answers and bring yourself to a good place.

Why are these questions important? Because expectations can mess with your mood and your happiness. Do not let negativity cloud your judgment. Keep your thoughts clear.  Focus on yourself: your health, your weight goals and most importantly your happiness.

If you think the holiday will be picture perfect, you know just like on T.V. , the food, the people, the gifts….think again. Don’t get blindsided by circumstance. There is often a person or event that will bring you down before you have a chance to take your next breath. Your expectations can be a huge factor for your sanity, wellness and even your weight.

An “expectation” is a belief about what might happen in the future. Keep in mind that while it is impossible to predict what will happen in the future, you can use past holidays  to gauge what is likely to happen based on previous years.  If there are things that have happened in the past, certain people or situations that have “scrooged”you out of everything including a happy holiday, just DO NOT let it get to you this year.

Know it is likely going to happen again and plan how you are going to avoid any aggravation that comes your way. Set realistic expectations knowing that the only person that can control your moods or happiness is you. Keep stress at bay. Think positive thoughts. It is about your health, happiness and the time you spend with those who you enjoy being with, not the gifts, the job or any distraction in your life.

Make this holiday season one of the best ever!

Be well, keep things in perspective, think positive thoughts, keep your spirits high, your outlook on life good and help to keep your healthy lifestyle (eating and exercising) consistent during the holidays.

If you need a little push let a song infiltrate your soul. These songs, Bob Marley, “Don´t Worry Be Happy”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poCo_7ZjYA8,  or “Don’t Worry About A Thing, ‘Cause Every Little Thing Is Gonna Be Alright,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mACqcZZwG0k,  work for me. Find a tune that will help straighten you out, let it get stuck in your head and sing it like you mean it for as long as you need it!

No matter what’s going on, music can make you feel good inside so sing and spread the holiday spirit and most of all enjoy life!

Anyone have a song or a plan to avoid being “scrooged”? I would be “happy” to share.

Happy and healthy holidays to all!

 

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Warming “Yang” Foods For Balancing The Cold Season

http://www.healthymasha.com/2014/04/15/chinese-food-therapy-yinization-and-yanization/

Lately my blog, https://valerieberkowitz.wordpress.com/?s=winter+warm+foods, “10 Winter Warm Foods and Beverages” has been popular. So this week I give you more to think about and more delicious warm foods to drool over from the Mediterranean while using a traditional Chinese approach to food. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has an important place in health and wellness:

TCM foods have warming and cooling characteristics based on each foods “energy” characteristics regardless of its temperature when served.

Unlike the western version of the plate method, http://www.choosemyplate.gov/downloads/GettingStartedWithMyPlate.pdf, eastern Chinese medicine categorizes foods into 3 groups (yin, yang and neutral). Each food group maintains internal balance when considered as part of the external (warm or cold) environment or an imbalance with internal organs and medical conditions.

Always eat foods from each group, but during the winter, balance is shifted towards eating more warming ” yang” foods during the cold season. For example, when combining foods like pepper (yang) with chicken (yang), the meal is more yang. If chicken (yang) tops a  salad  (yin), the chicken becomes less yang and moves towards neutral or yin.

Here is a simple list, according to Chinese medical practitioners at Ping Ming Health, http://www.pingminghealth.com/article/581/warming-and-cooling-characteristics-of-common-foods/.

Yang  foods: Have a warming energy on the body

chicken, lamb, ham, prawns, goat milk, walnuts, pistachio and pine nuts; beverages (coffee, wine) and vegetables (greens, onions, leeks, chives, squash, pumpkin) spices and condiments (cinnamon, ginger, basil, vinegar, wasabi, chilli, garlic, ginseng, pepper), fat (butter).

Neutral foods:

fruits (berries, olives, plums, pineapple), vegetables (mushrooms,  pumpkin
shiitake mushroom, Chinese cabbage, sweet potato, string bean), nuts/seeds/beans (sunflower seeds, kidney beans,  peanuts, almonds), protein (beef,  cow’s milk, duck, fish, oyster, pork, scallop). Water is neutral but changes based on its temperature.

Yin foods: Have a cooling energy on the body

fruits (strawberry, kiwi, grapefruit, pear, lemon, apple) , vegetables (green leafy lettuce, seaweed, spinach, tomato, cucumber, celery, alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, mushroom, eggplant, watercress), protein (egg, crab, clam, tofu), grains (barley, millet, buckwheat),  fat (sesame oil), tea (green and peppermint tea), salt.

This winter, use TCM principles to select healthy warming foods. I have selected a few recipes from “Mediterranean Paleo Cooking” authored by a husband wife team (Nabil Boumrar, a chef from North Africa  and Caitlin Weeks; Diane Sanfilippo helped with photography and design) that contain warming yang ingredients! You can almost taste the food as you browse through the pictures that look so yum, http://bit.ly/medpaleoflip. If you like what you see, you may want to purchase the cookbook. I know it can be purchased at Costco or amazon.

Here are a couple of my favorites:

1. Creamy Cilantro Salmon

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prep time: 5 minutes | cook time: 10 minutes | serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE SAUCE

4 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

4 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons lemon juice (2 lemons) 1 cup full-fat, canned coconut milk

 

FOR THE SALMON

4 (5-ounce) wild salmon fillets, skin on

1 pinch fine sea salt and ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter, ghee, or coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Make the sauce: Put the cilantro, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor. Pulse the herb mixture while slowly adding the coconut milk until the sauce is creamy. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the salmon: Season the salmon liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the fat to the pan and melt. Sear the salmon in the skillet, skin side down, for 1 minute. Press down on the salmon, making sure the skin is touching the pan.
  4. Transfer the fish to the oven, leaving the skin side down, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the salmon over and cook for 2 more minutes, leaving a little pink in the middle of the salmon. Be careful not to overcook the salmon or it will dry out.
  5. Remove the salmon from the oven and transfer it to a platter. Top with the sauce and serve.

 

2. Tangy Lamb Stewwith Saffron and Ginger (Harira)

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prep time:10 minutes  |  cook time: 65 minutes  |  serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, ghee, or coconut oil

1 pound lamb or beef stew meat

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 pinch fine sea salt and ground black pepper

1 cup diced celery

1 medium onion, diced

4 medium tomatoes, cored

4 cups beef broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, divided

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 lemon, sliced

Directions:

In a stockpot, melt the fat over medium heat. Add the meat, saffron, turmeric, ginger, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté the meat for 5 minutes, then add the celery and onion and sauté for another 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Place the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse until they are pureed. Add them to the pot. Add the beef broth and cook the mixture, uncovered, for about 45 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and set aside in a bowl. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the soup in batches to a stand blender. Pulse until smooth and return the soup back to the pot. Add the meat back to the pot and simmer the soup, uncovered, over medium heat, until it thickens, about 10 more minutes. Add half of the mint, the vinegar, and the lemon juice to the soup and stir. Adjust the seasoning to taste and ladle into bowls. Garnish with  remaining mint and the lemon slices.

Consider TCM philosophies to warm your heart and the rest of your body in the cold season using these warming yang foods with these tasty delicious Mediterranean recipes.

 

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10 Nutritious Delicious Reasons To Eat Chocolate

Like I even have to give you one reason to sink your teeth into a piece of chocolate, hahahaha! But, I am giving you ten reasons to indulge in organic Fair Trade (Fair Trade certification ensures that farmers receive a fair price, allows farmers to invest in techniques that bring out the flavors of the region, and strictly prohibits slave and child labor.) dark chocolate.

Cocoa is filled with good nutrition. It is the chocolate powder made from roasted and ground cacao seeds. Chocolate consumption has been linked with a reduction in the risk of diabetes and the promotion of good heart health through its association with lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), raising good cholesterol (HDL) and lowering blood pressure.

10 reasons to eat chocolate:

1. Chocolate tastes good!

2. CATECHINS in chocolate are antioxidants (prevents oxidative damage to cells). Catechins may help to protect against heart disease and cancer by preventing oxidative damage, helping to regulate blood pressure, and by stimulating the immune system, http://nutrition.ucdavis.edu/content/infosheets/fact-pro-catechin.pdf.

3. PHENYLETHYLAMINE is a neurotransmitter that is considered a mood enhancer. It is also used to help aid in weight loss.

4. VITAMIN E is a fat soluble antioxidant. It, like catechins, protects the body against free radical damage and helps to maintain a healthy immune system.

5. COPPER is an essential (the body cannot make it on its own, it must be consumed through food) trace element and acts as a catalyst in the formation of red blood cells, muscle function, bone health, growth, strengthening the immune system, supporting the nervous system, healthy skin, nails and hair.

6. MAGNESIUM is a mineral involved in biochemical reactions in the body. It’s involvement in protein synthesis, bone development, normal blood sugar and blood pressure, muscle contraction, strong bones, a regular heart beat and so much more, http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/.

7. IRON, an essential mineral, carries oxygen to cells throughout the body (especially the muscles), to help provide energy and it is essential for red blood production and is involved in nourishing skin, hair, and nails.

8. ENDORPHINS are neurotransmitters, also known as “hormones of happiness” or the cause of “the runners high” that accompanies prolonged activity. They stimulate natural opiates in our bodies, resulting in positive mood and calmness, may help control appetite and are involved in the release of sex hormones.

9. TANNINSare water-soluble antioxidants found in plant foods. Tannins act as antimicrobials (protecting against tooth decay), antifungals and antivirals. They are also abundant in tea and have been linked to contributing to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

10. FLAVANOLS are antioxidants. Studies suggest that flavanols may help improve the function of the brain by boosting memory and learning capacity via by blood flow to the brain, http://www.medsci.org/press/cocoa.html.

So indulge, eat chocolate to your hearts’ content…Not! When cocoa is processed (fermentation, alkalizing and roasting) into chocolate many of the popular brands of chocolate like Hershey’s or even Godiva use excess sugar, trans fats, corn syrup or ingredients that negate the natural health benefits of cocoa.

There is a great variation in the nutritional value of chocolates. Read a label and look for the least amount of ingredients. The ingredients listed below are for 85% Lindt chocolate:

INGREDIENTS: chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, sugar, bourbon vanilla beans.

This is not so bad. Sugar is the 4th of 5 ingredients. Add a couple of cashews or almonds to cut the bitter taste of high cocoa chocolate. Two squares contain 3 grams of fiber and 7.5 grams of carbohydrates.

Choose your chocolate wisely, get the highest cocoa content you can tolerate and as you get used to it, work your way up from there to higher percentages of cocoa. Select brands with minimal sugar and without hydrogenated oils (trans fat), corn syrup, etc…. Buy organic fair trade brands if possible or find chocolate like this Lindt bar to enjoy!

 
 

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Pass The Pink Salt Please!

http://www.healthybitchdaily.com/wp-content/uploads//2013/07/pinksalt.jpg

Salt, like fat, has a BAD reputation in relation to its effect on health. Do you hear the bells and whistles? They should be going off in your head right now. We should all understand that fat is not unhealthy and in fact supports many body functions that promote good health. Just like the spread of big “fat lie” that has been perpetuated for so many years, the same is true for salt. Not all salt is created equal.

In history, salt was the preservative used to helped maintain a constant food supply prior to refrigeration.  The value of salt flourished so much so that it was used as a monetary exchange system and was better known as “white gold”.  Even Roman soldiers were paid with salt as a salary (sal is Latin for salt) for their work. Just as an aside, you may find it interesting that the word salary comes from the Latin word salarium.

Today processed white table salt (void of any other minerals and processed with anti-caking agents, i.e. sodium silicoaluminate or sodium ferrocyanide) is still used as a preservative and like any processed food is something I recommend avoiding. I just prefer staying away from processed foods as natural foods tend to be healthier. Processed salt, like processed food, is a staple: at home, in restaurants and commercially prepared items such as canned and frozen foods.

According to the CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssodium/, we use too much table salt. While most Americans consume about 3400 mg of salt each day, The Institute of Medicine recommends a range of 1500-2300mg/day. Although studies have linked table salt with negative health consequences of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease, there is controversy regarding salts true role with these conditions.

Unprocessed pink Himalayan salt is found across the Himalayan Mountains in China, Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and India.  Unlike table salt, pink salt contains less salt and 84 trace minerals and elements that are found in the human body. These include magnesium, calcium, potassium, strontium, fluoride and Iodine, that provides health advantages that can help:

  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Balance electrolytes
  • Improve hydration
  • Equalize pH (alkaline/acidity)
  • Support and strengthen bone health
  • Minimize acid reflux
  • Alleviate muscle cramps and stimulate circulation while relaxing in the tub
  • Prevent goiter

Adding pink salt to water is a much healthier and a more cost-effective way to replace electrolytes for athletes than using Gatorade or any other beverage that also adds unhealthy ingredients.

Try eating real food. Stay away from the products that have salt already added to them. Table salt does not add to your health, pink salt will help better your health and exercise performance. If you have been depriving yourself of adding salt to your food and to your cooking, deprive yourself no more. So do not pass on the pink salt, make sure you sprinkle it on…you will feel the difference when you use it instead of table salt.

When it comes to salt, think pink, add Himalayan salt to your foods and beverages

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2014 in health, SALT

 

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Soft Drinks Hit Health Hard (Part 2)

Soft drink

Picture from: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/experts-concerned-about-the-amount-of-soft-drink-were-consuming/story-e6frg6n6-1226500270601

 

Last week I asked the question, “should soft drinks be considered unhealthy”? I’ll let you answer for yourself. No matter what “soft” drink you imbibe today, it is likely filled with ingredients that you do not know is lurking in the recipe. Today, the main ingredient (about 90%) of the beverage is carbonated water. Five to 10% of its content is high fructose corn syrup, sugar or non-calorie sweetener, acid (lowers blood PH) and other additives gums, pectins, caffeine, flavors, colors, and preservatives like BHA.

WARNING: The information below may contain material that is alarming but definitely worth reading. The information gives you a better understanding of why it is important to understand what ingredients you actually put into your body.

How can soda affect your health and weight?

1. Citric acid and phosphoric acid affect blood PH and natural stomach acid secretions interfering with digestion, increasing risk of kidney stones, yeast overgrowth and bowel disease and leaching calcium from bone (especially teeth, spine, pelvis) causing weak bones and mineral imbalances.

2. Caffeine is a diuretic that can facilitate vitamin/mineral depletion, dehydration, fertility issues, sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, and depression.

3. High fructose corn syrup and excess sugar leads to excess calories, increased weight and blood sugar problems like diabetes. Research studies also support a link with the following health hazards:

a. Pancreatic cancer: University of Minnesota conducted a study with individuals who drank approximately two regular sodas/day. The conclusion was that there was an 87% higher chance of having cancer than those who drank beverages without sugar/corn syrup.

b. Diabetes and heart disease: At the American heart association’s Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Annual Cardiology Conference there was a presentation by a professor from the University of California, San Francisco who made the association of approximately 200,000 new cases of diabetes and heart disease/year with soda drinkers.

c. Immune system: sugar has also been shown to lower the immune system due to damage of white blood cells.

4. Artificial sweeteners can lead to eating more because they do not provide the calories to signal to your body that it is satisfying your hunger. They breakdown to methanol and formaldehyde affecting the immune and nervous system and may even be involved in destroying brain neurons leading to headaches/migraines, nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue with an inability to fall asleep. Other associated symptoms include vision problems, anxiety attacks, depression, and asthma/chest tightness. Recently diet soda, like regular soda, was linked to a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure and other symptoms.

5. Sodium benzoate can throw off electrolyte balance. It is a preservative in many foods. The combination of sodium benzoate and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in soda can react to form benzene. The major health effects of benzene include damage to bone marrow and decreases in red blood cells, leading to anemia. It can cause damage to DNA. Damage to DNA will contribute to aging and nerve diseases like Parkinson’s. Benzene is known to lead to cancer in both animals and humans.

6. Caramel color may suppress the immune system and has been linked to increase blood pressure.

All these potential harmful effects of drinking a “soft” beverage seems kinda extreme when in actuality most of what you are drinking is water. If you are thirsty stick with water and flavor it yourself. Tea (hot or iced), V-8 or homemade lemonade are also good options.  Any questions about what you are really eating and drinking, let me know and we can decipher it together.

 

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