The Truth Behind Artificial Sweeteners

November 15, 2017

My friend Sue just finished her second diet ice tea and it’s 10am. Because of work demands, she also consumes about three cups of coffee per day. But nothing to worry, she told me the other day, “everything I consume is sugar free”. Sue is a diet-conscious career woman and even though her waistline continues to widen and her energy is lower than ever she relies on diet drinks, artificial sugar sweeteners, caffeine alongside diet crackers and gums to get her through the day. Sue knows the negative health effects of eating too much sugar, especially “added sugars” like in regular soda, most juices, candy, baked goods, and many commercially-available cereals, just to name a few. She also knows that added sugar is hiding just about everywhere in the grocery store hence why she resorts to “sugar free” everything. It’s true, ingesting refined sugar spikes your blood sugar and insulin, and increases your risk for a whole host of issues (weight gain being the least damaging). The food industry has been adjusting to the growing awareness on this fact and its response to the demand for lower-sugar foods that still taste great, has been artificial sweeteners. The idea behind artificial sweeteners is that you can still get the sweetness, without the calories; like when you have a diet soda versus a regular one. Theoretically, this was going to help people maintain a healthy bod

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October 20, 2017

“Don’t make me angry, Mr. McGhee. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.” – Dr. David Banner, opening credits of The Incredible Hulk It’s pretty hard to inspire others if you are walking around with a belly full of anger. Experiencing unjust treatment, hearing criticism, or just not getting what you want when you want it triggers sensations that feel like anger.  Psychologists even recognize boredom as a mild version of anger represented as dissatisfaction with what is happening at a given moment. Anger can be healthy at times but resorting to anger to deal with everyday situation is not the smartest answer. Anger is reactive and often shows up when we have not learned how to understand and deal with our emotions. Anger is not an involuntary emotion although it can feel that way sometimes, but you can regulate it. Instead of getting into uncomfortable situations, making others feel humiliated or angry right back at you, or getting to the point you say something you end up regretting, we can identify what triggers the angry response and figure out how to deal with it. Easier said than done. I know.

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Posted in Healthy Tricks, Mindset by Mari Pizarro | Tags: ,
September 19, 2017

Have you ever had one of those situations where you and somebody else experienced the same thing, maybe a concert or dinner, but walked away with not only completely different opinions about how they were, but with a conflicting set of “facts”? How can two people’s perception of things be so different? And, what if you’re the one who is taking in things and processing them in a skewed manner? Our emotional state is often a result of how we perceive situations happening around us. Have you ever asked yourself these questions and reached these conclusions after you faced a negative situation? Why did she do that to me? I don’t deserve that. Why does this keep happening to me? It’s not fair. Why is it so hard to be understood? Nobody understands me. Why are all the good men taken? I’m going to die alone. Often, we ask ourselves these questions to ease our way into victim mode. We assess the situation with emotional blinders and see ourselves as stuck in one place or helpless because of who we perceive ourselves to be in the moment. Maybe you think you’re too nice, too young or

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Posted in Healthy Tricks, Mindset by Mari Pizarro | Tags: ,
August 31, 2017

STRESS!!! Its causes are absolutely everywhere. Would you agree? Our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard. It’s supposed to help us escape injury or death in an emergency and then return to normal after we’ve fought or flown. But, that doesn’t happen too much in our society – it becomes a long-term reaction. It becomes chronic. You’ve probably heard of the main stress hormone, called “cortisol.” It’s released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s also naturally high in the morning to get you going, and slowly fades during the day so you can sleep. Did you know that too-high levels of cortisol are associated with belly fat, poor sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and even lowers your immunity? Talk about motivation killers! Do you experience any of these? Well, then read on because I have a list of foods, nutrients and lifestyle recommendations to help you lower this stress hormone naturally!

Foods and nutrients to lower cortisol

Let’s start with one of the biggies that increase your cortisol… sugar.

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August 15, 2017

Do you get hot flashes? Are they mostly at night? Do they set the bed on fire (but not in a sexy way)? Let’s get you some solutions! Before we do that, just some quick info on why hot flashes occur so we can try to affect the root cause of these hormonal symptoms.

What causes hot flashes?

As you can imagine it’s all about hormonal balance (or imbalance). During the menstruating years your estrogen allows for your ovaries to respond when “luteinizing hormone” (LH) says to release those eggs every month. When it gets to the point where your estrogen levels start dropping (i.e. perimenopause) those ovaries start to simply ignore the LH. And guess what your body’s response to this is? It releases adrenaline! This causes your body to heat up for a few minutes until it cools itself back down.

What triggers hot flashes?

You may have

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August 1, 2017

Bloating is generally the result of not being able to properly digest foods.  These not-so-digested foods feel like they’re just sitting around causing discomfort and a general feeling of being stuffed and “gassy”. It can happen at any age, but if it seems to be more frequent as you’re getting older it may well be due to your stomach’s reduced ability to produce enough acid for proper digestion. Normally, when we eat our stomach cells release more acid, which is crucial for so many digestive processes like breaking down foods and activating enzymes.  As we age this process can become less efficient. Pair that with constant anti-acid use and the result can feel like it’s wreaking havoc on the rest of the digestive system. Unfortunately, this can have wide-ranging effects on all of our digestion abilities “downstream” often resulting in bloating.

Bloating Reason #1:

Sometimes our bodies are (or become more as we age) sensitive to the fiber in certain fruits or veggies.  This can also occur when we introduce new ones into our diet as it may take a while for our body to get used to them.

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Posted in Healthy Tricks, Recipes by Mari Pizarro | Tags:
July 14, 2017

Libido is such an interesting (and complex) experience that can be affected by so many things. And we’re not just talking about the obvious sex hormone testosterone here. Although testosterone levels can have a big (yes BIG) effect on sex drive there are a lot of subtle things that can be going on too. In this post we’ll dive into key diet and lifestyle factors that have been shown to increase testosterone and libido. Body fat: Did you know that low testosterone is linked with high body fat? Particularly visceral fat which is associated with a large waist circumference. You see, with more fat there is more of an enzyme called “aromatase” that converts testosterone to estrogen.  And what you want is to keep that testosterone not convert it. Losing the extra weight that has gathered around your abdomen and keeping it off has several health benefits including increased libido. Diet: Certain nutrient deficiencies can contribute to low testosterone. Not only zinc and vitamin D but if you’re not eating enough protein and healthy fats that can also have a negative impact. Not to mention eating way too few or way too many calories. These aren’t going to help you in the bedroom department either. So make sure you’re eating enough food to sustain your body needs but please don’t over

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Posted in Health/Fitness, Healthy Tricks, Recipes by Mari Pizarro | Tags:
July 13, 2017

Do you love your breakfast smoothie but are longing for variety? I get it, some of you might just want to add variety for days when there’s a few extra minutes to spare, having a satiating meal composed of protein and good fats can help with blood sugar management, metabolism and weight maintenance. This is because good protein helps you feel fuller longer and uses up a bunch of calories to absorb and metabolize. So I’m going to show you how to get the protein, as well as some veggies and healthy fats for your soon-to-be favorite new “go-to” breakfasts. Breakfast Food #1: Eggs Yes, eggs are the “quintessential” food. And for good reason! No, I’m not talking about processed egg whites in a carton, (gross!) I mean actual whole free range or organic “eggs” (preferable from your local farmer). Egg whites are OK but only as part of the whole deal. Egg yolks are the real nutritional hero here. The mighty yolk contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Eggs have been shown to help you feel full, keep you feeling fuller longer, and help to stabilize blood sugar and insulin. Not to mention how easy it is to boil a bunch of eggs and keep them in the fridge for a “grab and go” breakfast or snack when you’re running short on time. My family loves them on salads too! And…nope the choleste

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Posted in Healthy Tricks, Recipes, Uncategorized by Mari Pizarro | Tags: