Mar
01

Chocolate and cacao

by Nina Vachkova

Coffee lovers tend to be very protective of their morning pick-me-up, so they often seem to overlook or under value studies that prove any of the negative effects of caffeine. Chocolate lovers usually do the same. There are plenty of studies that claim chocolate is healthy, explaining that it is packed with antioxidants and important minerals, and we love these studies because we love our chocolate just as much as we love our cup of joe. And while caffeine is healthy for those who already are healthy, with chocolate it can be more complicated. Chocolate consumption should be evaluated based on your current state of health, but also on what you are actually calling chocolate. But before we dive into the details about who chocolate is actually healthy for and why, let’s learn a few things about where this magical treat comes from.

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Feb
14

Let’s clear the air

by Nina Vachkova

Toxicity is a big problem in the modern world. We have toxic compounds added to our food, water supply, and cosmetic products, our teeth are filled with toxic mercury, and we are vaccinated with heavy metal based solutions. I even recently met a girl who almost died after copper poisoning from her IUD. Toxins are in toys our children play with, in the scented candles we light to add a sense of relaxation to our homes, and in the water bottles we use to keep ourselves hydrated. We use anti-bacterial hand gels that not only kill all bacteria – including those that are actually beneficial to our health – but also contain all kinds of chemicals our skin absorbs in less than 30 seconds. The air we breathe is only 20% oxygen, the rest is mostly nitrogen (around 78%) and 2% of other gasses, like carbon dioxide (CO2), argon, ammonia, and even heavy metals. We can’t avoid these gasses – the air is everywhere.

Humans can survive days without food and water, but our brain cells start to die quickly after just a few minutes without oxygen. Our brain consumes around 20% of all the oxygen we breathe in, and a lack of O2 for a very short time can lead to permanent brain damage. Using simple math, with more and more environmental toxins in our atmosphere, the ratio of oxygen present in the air is continually decreasing. According to the WHO, around 7 million people worldwide died prematurely from health issues caused by air pollution in 2012. We are aware of what toxins and heavy metals do to our bodies, and we know that avoiding them is just as important as removing them from our bodies through an effective detoxification process. Lowering the burden is not enough, we have to also prevent the toxic load from coming back in.

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Feb
07

50 shades of nightshades

by Nina Vachkova

Sometimes I miss the days when I was only able to divide food into categories like vegetables, fruits, meat, and dairy. Things looked so simple. Doctors always recommended to eat more veggies, so we did, fruit was considered nature’s vitamin packed candy that we should eat daily, milk was claimed to be the number one source of dietary calcium and we were supposed to gulp it down by the gallon to support our bone health. The thing is, it was never simple. It was simplified. Just like the mainstream approach to diseases (you have a problem, you need a pill, here is the pill, take it and if you experience some side effects, here is another pill to cover those issues too), diet recommendations were very general, and we were led to believe that there is a miraculous one-size-fits-all diet and lifestyle approach. But now we know that is never the case.

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Jan
31

FODMAPs

by Nina Vachkova

Putting together the best diet that will fit your metabolic needs, goals, and health limitations can be a difficult task. It is very tricky to navigate through the world of modern diet tips and advice from fitness and lifestyle experts – partly because we naturally gravitate towards the easy way out and instant solutions. We want results and we want them now. But peak health, well-being, and longevity are not achieved overnight, or in a matter of weeks, months, maybe even years. It all depends on our current state of health, age, sex, level of activity, many lifestyle factors, and also your medical history. There is no easy way to obtain health and there is no deadline with health. Health is a lifelong journey and in order to become and stay healthy, we have to maintain our habits for the rest of our lives. If you build a beautiful house and stop taking care of it once it is finished, it will break down sooner or later, and our bodies work in a similar manner. Once you achieve your desired health, weight, or fitness goal, you have to keep doing all the things that got your there in a first place (though sometimes you can loosen up a little bit), but going back to the old habits will inevitably bring you back to where you don’t want to be. Read the rest of this post

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Jan
24

Avocado: the fat fruit

by Nina Vachkova

We talk a lot about healthy fats, where to get them, how to use them, and what the biggest benefits of using them are. For decades we were led to believe that fat makes us fat, but those myths have been debunked, so we no longer have to live with fat phobia. Butter, lard, and tallow are wonderful sources of healthy fats, but if you are not a fan of animal fats for whatever reason, you don’t have to stick to just coconut oil or olive oil. Avocado is an excellent, versatile, and delicious source of healthy fats and it is a fruit!

Avocado is actually the berry of the Persea americana tree, native to South Central Mexico (no wonder guacamole is such a big part of Mexican cuisine!). It is sometimes called an alligator pear for its shape and the texture of its skin. While we usually consume vegetables and fruits for their micronutrient content (minerals, vitamins, and other trace elements), avocado is over 70% fat and very low in sugar, which is unusual for a fruit and makes avocados very unique. Not only is it full of healthy fats, avocado is also on the top of the Clean Fifteen list, which means that you don’t have to worry about pesticide exposure even if you buy conventionally grown avocados. Read the rest of this post

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