Posts Tagged ‘sugar’

Processed Food

What is processed food? This question has come up more than a few times over the past couple of weeks. Processed Food (along with Hydrogenated Oils) is the number one item everyone is asked to eliminate on the Eat Healthy Challenge.   

“Does this include all packaged foods?” my friend Mark asked frowning. “Do my brown rice crackers and veggie burgers fall into the processed foods category? I sure hope not, because I can’t make it without them.”   

A distinction is in order. Some foods, like Mark’s tasty brown rice crackers and particular brand of veggie burgers, are healthy commercially prepared, convenience foods. The evidence is in the ingredients. In order to understand the difference between a healthy packaged food and a processed food, we must read labels.  

What we want to avoid are food products that have been chemically treated or stripped of nutrients. Examples of chemicals added to foods are; aspartame, MSG, nitrites, nitrates, colors (e.g. red dye #40, blue #2, green #3), BHA, acetasulfame potassium, artificial flavor, added sulfites and so on.

Examples of foods that have been altered include; white sugar, white flour, white rice, and salt (use sea salt). These foods have been stripped of vitamins and minerals. Therefore, vitamins and minerals must be stolen from the body to metabolize them effectively. A food is whole when it has all its parts. White flour and white rice are not whole foods given the fiber—bran and germ—has been removed.

“So I can eat my store-bought hummus and canned soups?” Mark asked again without waiting for me to answer. “I realize in a perfect world, it would be better for me to make all my own food from scratch, but I just don’t have the time. I cook way more often while on the Eat Healthy Challenge, but there’s no way I’m going to bake my own bread or make my own pasta noodles.”

“That’s great,” I said. “Buy whole grain bread and use whole wheat, kamut or brown rice noodles. Just read labels and make sure the ingredients in your packaged products are whole foods without added chemicals.”


Why Cleanse – Part 2 of 2

After posting Why Cleanse – Part 1 a few days ago, I felt a little better.  The knowledge that The Community Cleanse is helping my body move away from a more acid environment, into a more balanced state, kept me sane at last night’s dinner party.  Not once did I snatch and chug the wine from the non-cleansers wine glasses.   But it never hurts to be further reminded because sometimes I still wonder – why the heck am I avoiding all this again? 

We eliminate sugar from the diet, in all its forms including; cane sugar, glucose, fructose, corn syrup and others, to allow the body a break from artificial energy.  White sugar is void of all nutrients and has to steal vitamins and minerals from the body to be metabolized.  See, White Sugar – Hazardous so Beware.  See, The Fake, The Sweet, The Goat, and The “Chips” for a complete list of names for “sugar”.

Coffee is acidic and can irritate the stomach lining.  It pumps excess adrenaline into the blood that can result in tension, irritation and mood swings.  Regular intake of caffeine can lead to a deficiency of calcium and B vitamins in the body.  See, Coffee Break.  

Most every cleanse involves eliminating dairy.  Dairy’s a difficult food for most of us to digest and if we’re unable to digest a food, the vitamins and minerals are not available for our cells to utilize.  Dairy can also create chronic inflammation, digestive issues, bloating, gas, pain and mucus build up.  According to the book Allergies Disease in Disguise by Carolee Bateson-Koch DC ND, “Milk is the number one allergic food.  An estimated thirty-three million Americans are allergic to milk.”  See, Dairy – Oh Cheese, I’m Going to Miss you.

For all of us gum chewers or diet-food eaters, aspartame and sucralose are highly toxic and should never be used as a sugar replacement.  Aspartame is known to increase nervous system dysfunction and promote multiple sclerosis, birth defects and many different types of cancers.  Aspartame breaks down to formaldehyde in the body and alters cellular DNA.  Best to avoid this one on and off the cleanse.  See, The Fake, The Sweet, The Goat, and The “Chips”.

Now for my favorite – alcohol, equals fun.  Unfortunately there are a few negatives when discussing alcohol.  One glass of wine (five ounces), one beer (twelve ounces), or one glass of hard liquor (one ounce) doesn’t seem to have an impact.  But ingesting three or more glasses can depress our immune systems by depleting the number of white blood cells and killer t-cells in our systems.  Not so fun!  How many ounces in my martini?  Alcohol is also acidic and can cause stomach problems, cankers and chronic acid reflux.  Excessive consumption, three or more drinks imbibed often (like many nights of the week) may result in nutritional deficiencies.  This is the main reason I take supplements – kidding! 

Again I’m reminded about why I’m cleansing and forcing myself to take a break.  I get to put a little distance between me and some of my “habits” like coffee, cane sugar inspired brownies, and cheese.  After all it’s not like our stored wines are going to go bad in four weeks. 

Happy cleansing!

The Fake, The Sweet, The Goat and The “Chips”

I’ve had a few repeated questions over the past few weeks and thought I would offer a little more information.  Hope this helps.


Fifteen years ago, before I got sick, I used to drink a diet coke every morning for breakfast.  Then I would chew Extra Chlorophyll gum all day long.  I would never attribute this to the reason I got sick, but given the studies out on Aspartame, it sure couldn’t have helped.  Aspartame is highly toxic and should never be used as a sugar replacement.  There have been many studies completed on the alter-indications of aspartame.  It is known to increase nervous system dysfunction and promote multiple sclerosis, birth defects and many different types of cancers.  There are also a wide range of side effects from ingesting Aspartame including headaches, joint pain, rashes, heart palpitations, hives, weight gain, fatigue, tinnitus and irritability.  Aspartame has been linked to obesity, chronic memory and Alzheimer’s disease.  Ingesting one diet coke a day has been shown to cause an increased chance of developing lymphoma or leukemia.  Aspartame breaks down to formaldehyde in the body and alters cellular DNA.  Aspartame is in the trademarked brands Nutrasweet, Equal, Spoonful and is listed in many other products.


Splenda is made of sucralose.  *“Sucralose is a synthetic compound, which — without going into too much scientific detail –is basically sugar modified by adding chlorine atoms.”  Sucralose was discovered in the seventies by hazard when researchers were seeking a new pesticide. 

For the purpose of The Community Cleanse these sweeteners are of course all out.  This would include any gums made with these sweeteners.  However, I would also recommend re-thinking ingesting or chewing aspartame and sucralose in the future.


Many of you have asked about products that do not have sugar listed in the ingredient list, but do show a certain number of grams listed in the nutritional section.  For instance, canned tomatoes and tomato sauce will list a few grams of sugar because they contain naturally occurring fruit sugars.  This is fine as long as there is no added sugar in the list of ingredients.   

Anything ending in “ose” is a sugar.  In case you’re confused about what other names sugar can go by here’s a list of about twenty:  Brown sugar, cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup, demerara sugar, dextrose, fructose, galactose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, invert sugar or invert cane juice, lactose, maltodextrin, maltose, molasses, confectioner’s sugar, rice syrup, sucrose, and turbinado.  I’m sure there are more…For more on sugar see White Sugar – Hazardous So Beware.

Goat Cheese and Yogurt

As discussed in the past post – Dairy – Oh Cheese, I’m Going to Miss you – goat’s milk is easier for the body to digest and yogurt contains many beneficial bacteria like acidophilus.  However, if you have ANY type of issue with bowel movements, eczema, acne, IBS, gas, fatigue, allergies, headaches, ANYTHING at all, I would recommend coming off dairy completely for the remainder of your committed time on the cleanse.  Goat products and yogurt are still considered dairy and staying away from them completely can be important for the body to heal.  This is up to you! 

Corn Chips or Brown Rice Chips

Can I eat tortilla chips?  I have had community cleansers tell me they think they will fail if they are not “aloud” to eat corn chips and salsa or brown rice crackers and hummus.  Well this time around, corn is not on the cleansing list.  The idea is to have everyone succeed.  For some of you, having let go of just a few things on The Community Cleanse Contract is a big accomplishment.  So, when someone asks me if they can eat corn or brown rice chips I say, “Yes, because it’s not on the list.  However, remember these ‘chips’ have been fried and are not really a cleansing food.  So limit your intake.”  I’ve been known to steal a few brown rice chips here and there.  But remember to always read – no hydrogenated oils, sugar, or white flour.  Happy weekend and happy cleansing! 


  1. *
  2. Bateson-Koch DC ND, Carolee. Allergies Disease in Disguise – How to heal your allergic condition   permanently and naturally. Burnaby: Alive Books; 1994.

White Sugar – Hazardous so Beware

What could be better than white sugary yumminess?  Chocolate, cookies, pies, cakes, candies…  Most would secretly argue nothing beats it.  My Mom sure would.  And although my vices are stronger with coffee and wine, I must admit sometimes nothing takes the edge off like an organic dark chocolate bar or half a tub of Soy Dream ice cream. 

One of the first things I learned when I embarked on the goal to heal myself of cancer was that white sugar is void of all nutrients.  I learned this sweet substance actually has to steal vitamins and minerals from the body to be metabolized.  I knew I needed as many nutrients as possible to heal and get better, so my diet was simple – I would avoid white sugar at all costs.  Today I’m a little more lenient (not on my community cleanse of course) and when I say lenient I mean I rarely ingest white sugar on purpose.  I know I eat it in the foods prepared in restaurants and once in a while I’ll steal a bite of someone’s desert (now that I’m all better, I’m only human).  However, for the most part, this non-nutrient food has been stricken from my diet. 

I eat cane sugar and other types of sugars like agave and real maple syrup (after all I am from Canada).  However, cane sugar is less processed and still has its vitamins and minerals intact.  Therefore it’s much easier for the body to process.  Of course, everything in moderation, but let’s get back to white sugar.

Our consumption of white sugar has increased dramatically from about 5 pounds in the late 1800’s to anywhere between 135 and 190 pounds per year according to different sources.  Think that’s crazy?  Well not so crazy if you take a look at the latest obesity stats in the USA:

  • 58 Million Overweight; 40 Million Obese; 3 Million morbidly Obese
  • Eight out of 10 over 25’s Overweight
  • 76% increase in Type II diabetes in adults 30-40 yrs old since 1990


Now that’s crazy!!

Sugar increases insulin produced by the pancreas and stresses the body to keep up with this yo-yoing effect.  It also depresses the immune system and creates an acid situation in the body and sets the stage for disease.  Consumption of white sugar is a major cause of tooth caries, diabetes, hypoglycemia, PMS, hormonal imbalances, mental illness and candida.  White sugar feeds yeast in the body and encourages a state of disbiosis – an imbalance in the intestinal gut flora that can lead to IBS and other issues of the colon.

It may be no surprise that along with a big helping of white sugary cake comes; mood swings, anxiety, hyperactivity and later depression.  Perhaps we have all felt this at one time or another?  What you may not experience viscerally are your low density lipoproteins (LDL) increasing and your high density lipoproteins decreasing (HDL) which may set the stage for heart disease.  We would rather this the other way around; we want to keep HDL (“good” cholesterol) high and LDL low (“bad” cholesterol).

So my advice is to try to incorporate less and less of this white sugary madness into your diet.  Try baking at home with cane sugar, brown rice syrup, agave, or other healthy alternatives (not sucralose, aspartame or other artificial sweeteners – more to come on this later).