Enlightened Keto Collection Mint Chocolate Chip

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Good Product!

I love to find a product that will enable me to do a positive review. This was a joy! I simply can’t find anything wrong with this product. From the first taste, it was a winner.

Availability

I purchased these bars at Publix Grocery for $5.99. There’s four in the box so the price is good. I believe that you can find these wherever Enlightened products are sold because Enlightened products have been around for a while. I used to buy them at a Winn Dixie nearby that didn’t carry nearly as much variety as Publix.

Taste and Texture

The moment that I popped that bar in my mouth, I said “Oh, my goodness!” You instantly get a delicate rush of creamy mint. The bar is thick and satisfying. It feels like a sinful indulgence rather than something that you can work into a weight management program. The no sugar added chocolate chips are just present enough to give you a contrast of textures that’s sure to delight your senses. The chocolate chips do taste sweet and chocolaty, unlike some “chocolate” offerings in some “diet” products. They are very small and crunchy unless you let the bar melt a lot, and then they will begin to soften along with the ice cream.

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Notice the creaminess of the bar!

No Lost Ice Cream!

I loved the fact that I opened this bar in a hot car and took a few minutes to eat it and it still didn’t fall off of the stick. I don’t know how they managed that, but it enables you to make your treat last as long as you want, lingering over each creamy, sweet, cold lick. That quality alone turns these bars into a sensual experience. They appeal to every desire that we tend to associate with ice cream, flavor, texture and lingering moments of sheer bliss.

Fun Time

Ice cream is almost always associated with fun. Memories of childhood moments of abandon, before we became so conscious of every bite that went into our mouths and memories of escape from daily stress are frequently associated with this magical concoction. Enlightened builds on this idea with amusing messages written on the wrapper of each bar. While this may seem frivolous to some people, it is definitely in the spirit of ice cream! It sets the tone for eating the bar and helps you to realize that this is purely a treat, intended for joy without any guilt.

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Check out their happy messages. This alone will make this treat a child-friendly experience, teaching them that eating healthy can be fun and tasty.

Nutrition

Regardless of the quality of the product, if the nutrition was off, I would not recommend it. At 180 calories, 1 Net Gram of carbohydrates (Total Carbs-Fiber-Sugar Alcohols=Net Carbs) and 2 grams of protein, I see this as an acceptable treat. The sweeteners, erythritol and monk fruit extract are not known to cause gastric distress like some other sweeteners. The protein is low, but for a treat, that is just fine. I believe that Enlightened set out to create foods that will give us a sweet indulgence that won’t blow our program and I believe that they have done just that.

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Are You Nutritionally Apathetic

Truth! If you are not happy with your life, your weight, your lack of success at anything you have a choice to make. You can choose to continue along the same tiresome and difficult path you are currently on, or you can choose to do all that you can in order to change your life for the better. Life is indeed all about the choices we make, you will never improve any aspect of your life when you are too apathetic to learn what it is you need to do in order to move forward for the life you might envy. People complain all the time about not being able to lose weight, but are totally apathetic towards understanding how their nutritional habits keep them fat. There are many who have never learned anything at all about nutrition, and there are others who do understand but just want to be able to eat what they want because it tastes good and gives them a temporary mental boost. The people in the latter category are typically willfully ignorant of how foods affect their bodies. They just do not care that much until they have to go out and buy larger size clothing to wear, or when they are too embarrassed to wear a bathing suit at the beach or pool.

If you are at a point where you truly want a healthier and leaner body, then you must come to understand how your nutrition affects your body. You can try all the gimmicks and fad diets in the world, but the bottom line is, you will not successfully keep off any of your lost weight if you do not adopt healthy nutritional habits for the rest of your life. A diet will typically have a stopping point when you achieve your desired weight, being lean, fit and healthy is a lifetime endeavor which requires a change of lifestyle. You have to work at it, and understand that being apathetic is not going to get or keep you there. You have to understand that as long as you eat crap foods, your hormonal balance will be out of kilter. As long as your nutritional habits keep your hormones out of balance, you are going to suffer from being overweight or obese.

The hormonal effects of your diet.

When you think of hormones does your mind automatically go to sex? Do you understand or know there is more to the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone than fueling your sex drive? Do you know these two hormones play a vital role in maintaining your health too? Are you aware of the other hormones in your body and how your nutrition, or lack thereof, affects your wellbeing?

As significant as they may be, testosterone and estrogen are but two hormones that come as standard issue to all living organisms. Through our work, we have discovered how ignorant a lot of people are when it comes to the crucial role hormones play in their bodies. Most never even give them even a brief consideration until their hormones have affected their health when they are out of balance. Your nutrition has a direct impact on your hormonal balances and these hormones have a direct impact on virtually everything your body does. Your hormones affect your blood sugar along with your basic survival mechanisms involved in stress, fear and even love.  Consume an out of balance diet, and you can expect your hormones to become out of balance, this a simple truth for all.

Your body has what is known as the endocrine system which could be thought of as a communication system for your hormonal responses to stress, fear, love and other emotions. Endocrine hormonal responses can be considered very similar to that of microwave towers or or a fiber optic network.  In your endocrine system, action begins when a secreting gland dispatches a message in the form of a hormone into your bloodstream, which is your body’s version of a fiber optic network. This hormonal message travels through the bloodstream to reach a distant target cell. The cell then receives the message and responds with the appropriate action that has been ordered. For example, insulin is a powerful hormone that your pancreas secretes into your bloodstream. The insulin goes to your liver along with the cells of your muscles. The insulin orders these cells and your liver to snatch glucose from your bloodstream and to store it for later use. As your insulin levels get greater, your blood-glucose levels begin to fall. Once this happens, your brain which requires glucose to function, calls out for more of it. If your brain does not get the glucose it requires, it begins to tune out. This is what we call hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. You will feel this as a mental fatigue. This is why you crash after eating foods full of simple carbs. You know, like when you have pasta for lunch and then are feeling a bad need for a nap a couple of hours later. If you are carb addicted, you know full well about these afternoon crashes. I can tell you that I know this too well myself as I am carb addicted too.

So, what is it that prevents the liver from replenishing the bloodstream with your body’s stored glucose when hypoglycemia strikes?

High levels of insulin prevent this!

Everyone it seems has heard of insulin, but insulin has a sidekick that is equally as important. Insulin and its sidekick keep each other in balance by having totally opposite physiological effects. Your body’s hormones are not lone Rambo’s, nope, they are almost always paired with with another. Balance is a must if you want to be healthy, fit and trim. You cannot have it any other way, no matter how much you might wish it to be. This balance is going to come from nutrition and exercise! Sitting on your couch eating doughnuts is not going to get nor keep you in balance.

The other hormone that is paired with insulin in glucagon. While insulin drives down your blood sugar level, glucagon has the opposite effect of increasing it. The balancing of these two opposing physiological effects allows your body to maintain a tight control of your blood sugar levels that keeps your brain functioning properly. When you allow the balance of insulin and glucagon to get out of kilter your blood sugar levels are going to be out of whack. If your insulin levels become too high, or your glucagon level too low, you end up with hypoglycemia.

Often, people who eat a calorie dense, low nutrition diet full of simple carbs and refined sugars, they become insulin resistant.  When you become insulin resistant, your blood sugar levels remain too high despite high levels of insulin because your target cells no longer respond to the insulin.  Insulin resistance and the resulting high insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia) lead to the accumulation of excess body fat. Prolonged hyperinsulinemia can, and will, promote diabetes and speed up the development of heart disease.

Is this something you can afford to happen?

Is your life not worth more than the junk foods you consume?

If you cannot afford healthy foods, just how the hell are you going to afford high medical bills?

It is a fools game to consider this all to be just a academic discussion of hormonal biochemistry. This is a topic that should be understood by all, especially if you have brought children into this world. The foods we eat have an exceptionally powerful effect on all of our body’s hormonal responses. Once you understand this, it would be foolish to not consider the value of your nutritional habits.  Food is far more than calories to fuel your body or a mechanism to stop your stomach from grumbling. Food is one of the most powerful drugs you can ever encounter. If your diet is out of balance, your body is out of balance. If your body is out of balance, then your health and well being are going to suffer.  Because insulin drives down blood sugar and glucagon restores it, the ongoing critical balance between these two hormones are necessary for healthy survival. Bear in mind, the release of insulin is stimulated by carbohydrates, especially those like bread, pasta and foods with added sugars that are high on the glycemic index. The release of the insulin balancing hormone glucagon is stimulated by your consumption of protein. If your glucagon levels remain low, and you cannot replenish your blood sugar levels from the stored carbohydrates in the liver, your brain is going to tell you that bag of corn chips, that bowl of ice cream or candy bar looks very enticing. You are going to get that “hangry” craving for junk foods. While these crap junk foods provide immediate energy to your brain, they do nothing but restart the vicious cycle of raised insulin and low glucagon which places you into carbohydrate hell. These cravings are hormonally driven and have nothing to do with your will power, or lack thereof. As long as you are stuck in this diet related cycle, you will simply put, remain fat.

If you are of moderate intelligence, you are only being a fool if you remain apathetic about your nutritional needs.

Only because we have encountered this; you cannot tell me you care about losing weight if you are going to be willfully ignorant of what it takes to not only lose it, but to keep it off.

Apathy will get you nowhere, no matter how much you might protest to the contrary.

 

 

ZenBurger Street Taco Review

In most of America we have a narrow view of how tacos should be made. Usually, the American idea of a taco is a fried corn tortilla filled with seasoned ground beef and topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and taco sauce. You will find many people who are averse to trying anything different in how their tacos are prepared. Thankfully, I was turned onto the special treat of fish tacos several years ago down in Ensenada Mexico, and then I had a good friend who had grown up in Mexico City who taught me that there is a very wide array of ingredients to be used in taco preparations that we Americans never consider. Potatoes, and just about any type of meat including bologna for example. When I saw these ZenBurger Street Tacos in my grocery store refrigerator section I thought they certainly looked worthy of a try for a little something different for my lunch. For one who grew up a picky eater, I actually have a pretty open mind about trying different foods…

Reading the box, there is three ways to prepare these street tacos. You can heat them on a cookie sheet in a 450* oven, brown them in a little oil in a skillet, or you can microwave them. I chose the stove top skillet method with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Being thawed, they browned pretty quickly, in about two minutes per side over a medium heat.

Once they were browned I opened one up to discover the filling looks nothing like the tacos on the box. As you can see from the top picture, the filling resembles vegetarian ground beef crumbles. In reality, the filling was like a paste that you can make up your own mind as to what it looks like…

To be honest, it took having a genuine open mind for me to take that first bite. This was not an appetizing visual to me at all.

To my surprise and pleasure, the taste of these street tacos was not too bad at all despite the pasty texture of the filling. These tacos are a product of Carla Lee’s Nut Burgers and taste very similar to their nut burgers. For me, the taste is largely a blend of sunflower seed, cashew and spices. Very similar to their nut burgers but for the additional spice and pasty texture. While I did not find these street tacos to be all that appealing, I would just as soon have these at home over getting my tacos from Taco Bell. At least these did not give me an upset stomach as Taco Bell tacos are prone to do.

Sitting down to do this review, things got a little weird for me. I could find nothing on the internet that lists this product and their nutritional information. Thankfully I kept the box.

These street tacos are a product of Carla Lee’s NutBurgers, and the ingredients and nutrition are almost identical to their line of Nut Tacos. However, the street tacos are not listed in their line of products on their website. I went to the ZenBurger website which is given on the box and found this:

I then went to my grocery store website and there was nothing that came up for this product being in their inventory either. Maybe it is too new or something, I do not know. I just find it odd that a product is in a grocery refrigerator aisle and I cannot find anything about the product online.

As you can see from the ingredient list, there is nothing unhealthy listed.

Nutritionally, these street tacos are satisfactory. There is a fair amount of protein and fiber, the net carbs are not too high. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals too. I find that I can neither recommend nor not recommend these street tacos. If you are close minded about how you believe a taco should be made, you will want to skip them. If you are open minded, you might thoroughly enjoy them. Taste is all subjective to the individual. I will say that four of these tacos filled me up far better than four tacos from any fast food restaurant ever has.

 

Are You Skinny-Fat?

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The Illusion

If you are one of those people who have never had to worry about the number on the scale and could almost always rock a swimsuit, you may consider your self very lucky indeed! The problem is, if you have never had to concern yourself with your weight, then you just might be skinny-fat, a condition that can make you as unhealthy as an obese person.

What?!?

This condition is sometimes called “normal-weight obesity” and it may affect up to 25% of normal weight individuals. These people look healthy but have bad health habits and when they were checked in a 2008 study, they were found to have high levels of body fat and inflammation. (1) These people are at high risk for diabetes and heart disease. We all know at least one or two of these people. They look good, but as time wears on, they become sick more often than others and just can’t seem to get well and stay well. In the South, we describe them as “sickly”. I have known many of these people and they are the most difficult to educate concerning good health habits because they don’t have that motivation of vanity. They look good.

Signs That You May Be Skinny-Fat

Muffin Top- I noticed many years ago that some of the women that I knew who had never had a weight problem had started wearing those loose, long tops with fitted pants or leggings. I have noticed that those tops quite often can cover a multitude of sins. If you are cleverly attempting to hide your muffin top, you just might be skinny fat. Fat around the middle is unhealthier than fat anywhere else. It is associated with earlier death, insulin resistance and inflammation. Inflammation is believed to be the source of most of the disease process in the human body.

Lack of physical strength- You can’t do a single push-up. Since these people have never had the incentive to work out that over weight people have, they tend to avoid it. As a result, over time, they begin to lose muscle mass earlier than others. As muscle declines, so does physical strength. Regular strength training of some type that is approved by your medical doctor can help to reverse this trend. Aerobic activity is necessary to maintain a healthy heart and lungs.

Family History- If you have family members who have developed diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease regardless of their size, you may be predisposed to these conditions. While a normal weight is to be desired, good nutrition and regular exercise can help you ward off what seems like a “generational curse”. You might want to read the article, The “Generational Curse”, What Is It? if you actually believe that you are doomed to get a disease or disorder just because someone in your family has it.

You Eat Poorly- Just because you can consume enough empty calories to fuel New York City, it does not mean that they are not hurting you. When you fill up on junk food you are robbing your body of the nutritionally dense foods that you need. You are also ingesting sugars that increase inflammation. Don’t think for a minute that just because the scale does not bear witness to your nutritional offences that you are getting away with it. I know a beautiful 40 year old woman, who is obviously skinny fat, who has had multiple brushes with death as she lay in a coma with her blood sugar around 1000, yes one thousand. There’s no explanation as to how she survived, and one day, she won’t. She is one of the sickliest people that I know and she is very attractive, at a lovely weight for her frame.

You are in an “at-risk” population- Older adults tend to pay less attention to their BMI’s. Because we lose muscle as we age, unless we actively do something to retain and build muscle, body fat percentages tend to be higher in older adults. We need to build muscle to offset this tendency. A 2011 study also revealed that those of South Asian descent are more likely to store fat around their internal organs, compared to Caucasian people who had the same BMI. (2)

What To Do?

The same thing that works for others, will work for you if you find yourself in this category. Eat a nutritionally sound diet, choosing foods that are nutritionally dense. Avoid empty calories, including added sugars. Talk to your physician about how you should get active. Get your rest. Sleep decreases cortisol levels in your body which lead to excessive belly fat. “Make your life small.” (David Yochim) by cutting out the negative influences in your life to decrease your stress. Stress will always raise cortisol levels, even if it comes from someone that you have known your whole life. Don’t be fooled by your good fortune of never having to weigh yourself or be concerned about how you look. If your inside gets unhealthy, it will show everywhere, including in the doctor’s office. Begin to reverse this trend today with your doctor’s help. You are never too young or too old to improve your health. All it takes is a desire and a bit of study. Make yourself a priority and begin to discover life in a healthier body.

(1) (2) https://www.health.com/condition/obesity/5-signs-you-might-be-skinny-fat 

daiya (plant based) TEX-MEX BURRITO Review

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Convenience!

While we strongly encourage you to eat whole foods that you prepare at home, we are realistic in that we know that in our busy world, sometimes you might want to reach for a convenience food. With a renewed interest in plant-based foods, this burrito appears to fit the bill. There are a few details about this Tex-Mex offering that you need to know, however.

Preparation

You heat this burrito on high for 1 minute and 15 seconds in your microwave and then flip it over and do it again, anywhere from 1 minute, 15 seconds to 1 minute, 45 seconds and then crisp it on a griddle or in a frying pan. I heated it for 1 minute, 30 seconds on the second side and then sprayed a cast iron skillet with olive oil and crisped it up. It took a few minutes and it was nice and crispy, somewhat convenient and easy to prepare.

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Taste and Texture

If you don’t crisp this burrito, it will be very different from this one that I crisped. It had a very nice crunch and then a chewy, satisfying filling of pinto beans, brown rice, salsa with green onions, red bell peppers and jalapeno peppers along with “daiya Cutting Board Cheddar Style Shreds”. It is Dairy Free, Gluten Free and Soy Free and NON GMO Verified. While it has a nice heat, just a touch, it is a bit bland otherwise. It does fill that craving for a burrito, if you get those, but it could use an extra bit of seasoning for my liking. I also had my 26 year old son try this burrito and he also said that it “really didn’t taste like anything.” If it were not for the heat, I might not have finished it. I did eat the whole thing because I was hungry and the satiety factor of the burrito is actually pretty good, while you’re eating it. It gives you the illusion that it will fill you up.

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Nutrition

Ah, now here’s where I parted company with the burrito. It contains 410 calories, only 8 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat and a whopping 62 Net Grams of Carbohydrates (67 grams -5 grams of fiber). Oh, my goodness! I normally get my carbs from oats and sweet or white potatoes, or apples. Oats, apples and potatoes are good whole foods that nourish and fuel my body for a long time. This burrito is a processed food that actually left me a bit hungry and I had just “spent” 62 Net Grams of Carbs. I will never buy this again. For 480 calories and only 23 Net Grams of Carbs and a nourishing 46 grams of protein, I could have a half pound, lean ground beef steak and a 5 ounce baked potato and be satisfied and prepped for a good workout. Processed foods are almost never a good nutritional bargain and this one is no exception.

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Price

I bought this at Publix grocery store for $3.59. Again, for that price I could have fixed a hamburger steak dinner at home in a flash. There’s nothing much quicker than searing a hamburger steak and popping a potato in the microwave. Since I had to crisp this burrito for it to be palatable, the prep time would be about the same. We think that a “convenience” food is always quicker to prepare but that is sometimes an illusion. The price is acceptable until you consider the extra prep time of crisping and the glaring lack of protein. If I can buy 46 grams of protein for about the same price, I always will. When you consider that you probably won’t be satisfied after eating this thing, then the price goes up again as you plunder around, looking for some real food.

Overall

While this burrito is palatable, it’s not really good. It requires extra prep time to even be palatable. The lack of adequate protein and exorbitantly high carbs are a real problem for some of us and is not a good idea for almost anyone. You may like this Tex-Mex offering, I don’t. If you choose to eat it, you might want to add an additional protein source, especially if you are athletic. If you dressed it up with some extra salsa, it might help the taste, but for a review, I tried it as it comes, plain and lacking in the nutrition that I need on a daily basis. I can’t recommend this to anyone.

Enlightened Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Review

I do not like consuming foods that do not bring any nutritional benefit to my body. Therefore, I avoid all foods with added, refined sugars as a rule. Most foods that contain refined sugars are calorically dense while being nutritionally poor in nature. They are a waste of calories to fuel the body with. However, this does not mean that I never enjoy a small indulgence on occasion. If you take the time to look, there are several products available at most grocery stores to have as a special treat. Some are better than others as with all food products, and then, some are simply excellent. I find Enlightened Vanilla Bean ice cream to be an excellent choice over the other sugar free, or low carb ice creams I have tried in the past. If you are on Keto, or practicing any type of low carb dieting, then this ice cream is for you!

The first thing besides the taste that I enjoy about Enlightened Vanilla Bean is the truly creamy texture. While Halo Top and Rebel keto friendly ice creams are popular with many people, I find their textures to be strange for ice cream. While the Rebel ice creams taste far superior to Halo Top, they both kind of crumble when you eat them. Ice cream should never be crumbly, especially after letting it sit out to soften for a bit. What you will find when you put a spoonful of Enlightened in your mouth is a truly creamy ice cream as it should be. This ice cream has a delicious vanilla flavor and a creaminess to satisfy any ice cream lover while also being free of added sugars and low in carbs. The carbs are low enough that even those who are practicing Keto could enjoy a serving on occasion. I firmly believe that if you are going to treat yourself, then treat yourself with something that you are going to actually enjoy instead of a product that leaves you wanting.

NUTRITION

When looking at ingredients, you need to know what you are looking at in order to actually know the contents. Then you need to scan the nutritional label to determine if there is enough of a less desirable ingredient listed to make you place the item back on the shelf. Enlightened contains tapioca syrup, which is not as bad as refined sugars, it is still less than desirable for me. If you’re regularly sweetening your meals with organic tapioca syrup, thinking it’s healthier than sugar, it’s time to scale back. If you are going to eat it, your total added sugar intake – which includes sweeteners you add to foods, as well as added sugar already found in processed and packaged foods – should not exceed 9 teaspoons for men daily and 6 for women. People who eat more added sugar face a higher risk of obesity and heart disease, and those who consume sugar-sweetened beverages have a greater risk of type-2 diabetes.

Here is why you also need to scan the nutrition labels:

When you look at the label, there is nothing inherently bad about this products nutrition. It is low in calories per serving, contains protein, is low in carbs and serves up a nice amount of fiber and erythritol (sugar alcohol) to offset the carbohydrates:

14g Carbs – 4g Fiber-6g Sugar Alcohol = 4g Net Carbs

At 4g net carbs, even those on Keto could enjoy this ice cream.

I like erythritol and use it quite frequently in baking and other foods. But, it seems many people do not know anything about this sugar alcohol.

What is erythritol?

Erythritol belongs to a class of compounds called sugar alcohols. Many different sugar alcohols are used by food producers. These include xylitol, sorbitol and maltitol. Most of these function as low-calorie sweeteners in sugar-free or low-sugar products.

Most sugar alcohols are found in small amounts in nature, especially in fruits and vegetables. The way these molecules are structured gives them the ability to stimulate the sweet taste receptors on your tongue.

Erythritol appears to be quite different from the other sugar alcohols. To begin with, it contains much fewer calories:

Table sugar: 4 calories per gram

Xylitol: 2.4 calories per gram

Erythritol: 0.24 calories per gram

With only 6% of the calories of sugar, it still contains 70% of the sweetness.

There is one major issue with most sugar alcohols that is not found with erythritol — they can cause digestive issues. Due to their unique chemical structure, your body can’t digest them, and they pass unchanged through most of your digestive system, or until they reach the colon. In the colon, they are fermented by the resident bacteria, which produce gas as a side product. Consequently, eating high amounts of sugar alcohols may cause bloating and digestive upset. that you are not going to enjoy. However, what makes erythritol different than the other sugar alcohols is that it gets absorbed into the bloodstream before it reaches the colon. Erythritol circulates in the blood for a while, until it is eventually excreted unchanged in the urine. About 90% of erythritol is excreted this way

Overall, erythritol is an excellent sweetener.

It contains almost no calories.

It has 70% of the sweetness of sugar.

It doesn’t raise blood sugar or insulin levels.

Health-conscious people might choose to sweeten their food with stevia or honey. However, honey contains calories and fructose, and many people don’t appreciate the aftertaste of stevia. Erythritol appears to offer the best of both worlds.

Taking Type 2 Diabetes Too Lightly

Besides researching and writing articles for my website while also maintaining corresponce with many of our readers, I am also a full time trucker who transports and delivers industrial and construction supplies for a large nationwide company – got to keep the bills paid and I need the health insurance. As a part of my job, I sometimes have had to operate with a co-driver when my route was going to exceed a 14 hour work day. Running as a team is usually not a problem since  one driver is normally asleep in the bunk while the other works their shift. But then, sometimes running as a team is the real pits. I am happy to say that I am now on a dedicated solo route where my work days are only about 11 to 12 hours. In case you are wondering – yes, I am a very busy man!

A while back I had a new driver going out on the road with me on a route that would have us on the road about 19 hours before returning to our hub. I met the driver on our loading dock, and suggested we stroll down to the break room to get a cup of coffee and get a little acquainted before venturing out on the open road together. As I was filling my coffee cup I watched as my new co-driver strolled over to the vending machines. He then began plopping money into the machines and loading his pockets with several snacks like cookies, powder sugar donuts, chips and a couple of soda pops. My assumption was that he had not brought a lunch box to eat from while on the road. However, once we settled into the my truck, I noticed he had brought food for the road. “What a chow hound” I could not help to think. Of course this was not really a surprise since he was a considerably obese driver.

Now, you might be thinking it is none of my business how another eats. I would respectfully disagree if so!

Being as this was my assigned route at the time, I had it already mapped out to where my co-driver and I would switch our duty statuses. I would drive and deliver freight through the first 8 hours, about 450 miles, and unload our freight at the biggest of our stops. After all, this was my designated route and responsibility. At the end of my eight hours on duty, we switched.

Once my new co-driver got behind the wheel, he immediately began eating the contents of his lunch box. His snacks were already gone – this should be none of my business how he eats…

I told him where on the map he could get us to in 8 hours in order for us to switch status once again, and I would finish driving us back for the final leg of the route. All he had to do was drive and make two very short stops.  There should be nothing difficult about getting to the destination as I had already run over 100,000 miles on this route. This was a routine run for me. I climbed into the sleeper berth, set my alarm to get up in 7.5 hours, pulled the curtains closed to block out all light, laid down and went fast asleep. To my dismay, when I got up we were not anywhere close to the destination I wanted him to reach and there was fast food trash on the floor of my cab. To my dismay is actually not an accurate word for how I felt. I was actually pretty pissed, This guy had consumed all of his snacks, he had eaten all the food in his lunch box, and then parked our semi with a 53 foot trailer somewhere where he could run into a fast food joint to buy more food, and we were about  one and a half hours behind where we should have been. I directed him to pull into a roadside service area where we could use the restroom and switch up our duty statuses. I was out of the cab for maybe 5 minutes at best, and sat and waited about another 15 minutes before he climbed into the passenger seat with another bag full of fast food. Two quarter pound cheese burgers, large fries, large Coke and a chocolate chip cookie to be exact. As I turned to read him the riot act for putting us so far behind, I watched as he pulled up the sleeve of his shirt and passed his smart phone over a device attached to his arm. I asked him what he was doing and he informed me that was how he tracks his blood sugar levels in order to manage his diabetes! The problem with this is instead of truly managing his diabetes, he has learned to hack his way through in order to continue eating all the high carbohydrate junk food he wants. The effects of diabetes can be mitigated through a diet where the intake of carbohydrates is controlled. You should never try to control it through eating all the carbs you want with the thought that all you have to do is take a pill or two or three to keep you straight. A huge part of managing type 2 diabetes is developing a healthy diet. You need to eat nutritionally sound foods that help you be healthy instead of calorie dense, low nutrition foods. You cannot just take as much Metformin as you want to justify eating like crap. In fact, under certain conditions, too much metformin can cause lactic acidosis. The symptoms of lactic acidosis are severe and quick to appear, and usually occur when other health problems not related to the medicine are present and are very severe, such as a heart attack or kidney failure. Symptoms of lactic acidosis include abdominal or stomach discomfort, decreased appetite, diarrhea, fast or shallow breathing, a general feeling of discomfort, severe muscle pain or cramping, and unusual sleepiness, tiredness, or weakness. Why would any thinking person believe they can take large doses of this medication in a day and then get behind the wheel of a semi truck is beyond me. They are not only risking their own lives, but that of others on the road.

Metformin can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Low blood sugar must be treated before it causes you to pass out.  It can also cause Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) if you do not take enough or skip a dose of your medicine, overeat or do not follow your meal plan, have a fever or infection, or do not exercise much. High and low blood sugar can be very serious conditions. Low blood sugar must be treated right away.

Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that can have quite detrimental effects on your health and well being. You cannot be cavalier in managing it as a hack to continue eating too many carbohydrates.  In the worst cases, diabetes can kill you. Each week diabetes causes thousands of complications like stroke, amputation, kidney failure, heart attack and heart failure. Diabetes is a serious, chronic disease. In fact, two out of three people with diabetes will die from cardiovascular-related episodes, such as a heart attack or stroke.

It is not enough to think you can just control your diabetes through medication, you must get your nutritional habits under control too. People with type 2 diabetes typically have enough insulin when they’re first diagnosed. The insulin just isn’t working properly. This means the insulin doesn’t cause their cells to absorb glucose from food. Eventually the pancreas may stop producing enough insulin, so they will need injections.

In America, about 25 % of our population are now prediabetic.

Those with prediabetes often produce enough insulin, but the cells of the body are resistant to it. This means the sugar can’t move from the blood into the cells. Over time, the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels in the normal range. This can cause you to progress from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes, yet many will not take this condition serious until they have to. Type 2 diabetes can be easy to ignore, especially in the early stages when you’re feeling fine. The long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually, and they can eventually be disabling or even life-threatening. Some of the potential complications of diabetes include:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and narrowing of blood vessels (atherosclerosis).
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. Eventually, you may lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs.Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may be an issue.
  • Kidney damage. Diabetes can sometimes lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage. Diabetes increases the risk of serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma, and may damage the blood vessels of the retina, potentially leading to blindness.
  • Slow healing. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections, which may heal poorly. Severe damage might require toe, foot or leg amputation.
  • Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
  • Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is common in people with type 2 diabetes. Obesity may be the main contributing factor to both conditions. Treating sleep apnea may lower your blood pressure and make you feel more rested, but it’s not clear whether it helps improve blood sugar control.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes seems to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, though it’s not clear why. The worse your blood sugar control, the greater the risk appears to be.

Prevention

Healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent type 2 diabetes, and that’s true even if you have diabetes in your family. If you’ve already received a diagnosis of diabetes, you can use healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent complications. If you have prediabetes, lifestyle changes can slow or stop the progression to diabetes. A healthy lifestyle includes:

  • Eating healthy foods. Choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Getting active. Aim for a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity — or 15 to 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity — on most days. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride a bike. Swim laps. If you can’t fit in a long workout, spread your activity throughout the day.
  • Losing weight. If you’re overweight, losing 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes. To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.
  • Avoiding being sedentary for long periods. Sitting still for long periods can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get up every 30 minutes and move around for at least a few minutes.

Take your type 2 diabetes serious, your kids are watching you!

There’s a growing type 2 diabetes problem in our young people. But parents can help turn the tide with healthy changes that are good for the whole family. Until recently, young children and teens almost never got type 2 diabetes, which is why it used to be called adult-onset diabetes. Now, about one-third of American youth are overweight, a problem closely related to the increase in kids with type 2 diabetes, some as young as 10 years old.

Let’s do our part in turning this around…

Raspberry Souffles for Two

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Nutritional  Info

Serving  Size 1

Serves 2

Calories 330

Net Carbs 4 grams

Fat 28 grams

Protein 10 grams

Ingredients

1/4 cup freeze dried raspberries

2 large eggs, separated, room temp

1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons Swerve Granular

2 Tablespoons Swerve Confectioner’s

3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 Tablespoons almond flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Natural red food coloring (optional)

Additional sweetener for garnish

Chocolate Sauce

3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons Swerve Confectioner’s

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F and grease two 8 ounce ramekins with butter and lightly coat the bottom and sides with Swerve Granular. Place on a cookie sheet.

Pulverize the raspberries til they are a powder. You may use a grinder or food processor.

Beat the egg whites with cream of tarter and salt til frothy. Slowly add both sweeteners til the whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks.

Whisk together the egg yolks, cream, almond flour, raspberry extract and vanilla extract. Add food coloring as desired.

Gently fold in the yolk mixture into the whites til no streaks remain. Divide the mixture between the two ramekins and place on cookie sheet in the center of oven. Bake 18-25 minutes til puffed above edge of ramekin and golden brown around the edges. The center should still be a little jiggly when shaken.

Remove from oven and dust with Swerve Confectioner’s, if desired. Serve immediately with chocolate sauce.

Sauce

Heat the cream til bubbling in the microwave, watching closely that it doesn’t boil over.

Remove and add the chocolate and let it sit to melt.

Add the sweetener and whisk smooth.

No Hill For a Climber, Wrapping Up Week 3 of Radiation

Loraine is now close to wrapping up her third week of radiation treatments for her breast cancer, and there are three more weeks to go. Sometimes it feels as if we will never get out of the hurry up and wait mode of thinking.

Getting her into her treatment protocol seemed to take forever because of her struggle in healing after the staph infection had set in. She is almost halfway through the treatments, and now we find ourselves somewhere between hurry up and wait. We would like for the treatments to be done and over with, but the waiting mode of finding out how successful radiation will be is akin to watching a slow moving hand on the clock.

It feels as if we have been through hell over the last year. Last March, we took in and cared for Loraine’s brother Howard who was morbidly obese, had Hepatitis C, cirrhosis of the liver and advanced liver cancer. We were thankful to be able to care for him despite the complexities that came with caring for a terminally ill loved one who was also slipping into different stages of dementia depending on if he was taking his medications as prescribed. Then, Loraine was diagnosed with her breast cancer last fall which significantly increased our level of stress. January 6th, Loraine had her double mastectomy, February 23rd, we lost Howard to his illness; Also in February, Loraine’s staph infection where her left breast had been reared its ugly head. But through it all, even with the great stress we have been under, we still feel blessed with our lives. Through our battles so far, we have been shown great love and compassion from family, friends, co-workers, and even complete strangers who have come into our lives. Loraine’s care team have been beyond phenomenal in their compassionate care and treatments. And, despite the Corona Virus shutting down our economy, we have both been able to keep working full time and have not become too overwhelmed with our medical bills we have received. If anyone has a right to lay down and lick their wounds, it might be us, but we refuse to do so. We are fighters, and we will conquer all that life has to throw our way. We may feel stressed, but thankfully, our sense of being blessed far outweighs that emotion.

Almost halfway through!

Treatment 14 of 30 today.

Before Loraine ever began her radiation treatments we were told the side effects would be pretty mild, and possibly there would be none at all. Well, the side effects are certainly nothing compared to that which can come from chemotherapy to say the least. But, the the side effects are certainly there for her. And with each treatment she undergoes being more intense than the last, we can anticipate them getting worse over the next three weeks of treatments. Thankfully, chemotherapy is not being planned for now.

Loraine has been working full time through her treatments, but now has reduced her workload to part time as of this week because of the fatigue that is associated with her radiation treatments. Fatigue can make it hard for one to keep a normal routine. However, it is best for her to still get in some type of activity each and every day. Activity keeps the body more fit and the mind less stressed than what would come from laying around and licking wounds. My sweet wife is a true fighter, you will never find her feeling sorry for herself.

Loraine has always been fair skinned and sunburns easily. With her radiation treatments, he skin is now becoming pink, like it has sunburn. Because of this, they place a special blanket over her during the treatment to act as a second layer of skin to mitigate the burning of her skin. To help with this at home, she has to apply aloe vera cream multiple times per day to ease the irritation she is now experiencing. I wish for her sake the irritation would end with her treatments, but, the skin reaction from radiation therapy is usually the worst 1 or 2 weeks after radiation therapy ends, and begins to heal after that point. The healing often takes 3 to 4 weeks. I wish she could have been through with all of this before summer time arrives here in a few weeks.

Besides fatigue and burning of the skin, Loraine is developing fibrosis where her left breast had been. This also comes with the territory of radiation treatments.  In addition to treating cancer, radiation therapy alters tissue composition, making tissues thinner, harder and more brittle. Radiation following surgery creates changes to the surgical scar to make it harder and denser, as well as creating fibrotic tissue around the scar. In radiation-induced fibrosis, a key issue is prevention, with the primary approach being use of proper doses of radiation therapy and techniques that minimize the radiation exposure for normal tissue. We feel truly comfortable that Loraine’s care team are doing all they can to minimize any and all side effects which come from her treatments. Everyone on her team are more than compassionate and caring. We feel blessed that she is in the best of hands and will get through this with minimal issues compared to what can be experienced by some.

With cancer of any type, every day is a learning day. I sometimes wish I did not have to know all that I have had to learn, but feel blessed to be able to share our experience with others in order to help them. It helps us to focus on our blessings rather than on our stress. We feel fortunate to be in the position we are in and fully realize how bad life can be for others in the same boat. Therefore, we know to never take life for granted as it can be radically changed for the worst in the blink of an eye.

Live life to the fullest and work towards being the best and healthiest you that you can be.

God bless and thank you for the prayers, and for following along with Loraine’s journey.

 

The Benefits of Resveratrol

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Magic Potion

Ah, resveratrol…the magic bullet that was touted as having the ability to cure about anything just a few years ago. It’s a naturally occuring phytochemical that several plants produce in response to an injury, a chemical band-aid for the plants that make it. It’s present in grapes, wines, apples, raspberries, blueberries, pistachios, plums, peanuts and many other plants that are considered medicinal. It is believed to have properties that can protect the heart, prevent certain cancers and even extend the lifespan of some of the lower organisms. It is a potent free radical scavenger which means that it can destroy “bad” cells in the human body. It’s been discussed as having the ability to protect nerve cells and prevent diabetes. There was even some publicity that indicated that it could mitigate the negative effects of the unhealthy lifestyle that results from high caloric intake. The problem with all this is simply that most of it has never been proven to be true. There are not proper clinical trials to substantiate most of these claims. (1) All of this  theorizing has resulted in a culture of increased alcohol consumption, which carries it’s own significant health risks including the obvious increased caloric intake. With increased calories comes an abundance of health problems and mobility issues that can negatively impact your life.

How Much?

The proposed therapeutic dose of resveratrol is 1 gram per day. A whopping 31.7 Liters of red wine is equal to 0.2 milligrams per day uptake. So you can see here that if resveratrol is the cure-all that some believe it to be, it would take much more than anyone could possibly consume in red wine to supply the therepeutic dosage. The amount that you can absorb from this large amount of red wine is 5000 times less than the amount believed to be medicinal. (2) It is not possible to get the amount that is considered therapeutic from food and drink. While the foods that contain resveratrol can be a part of a healthy diet, you will never get those magic bullet benefits from what you eat and drink.

So, What’s The Hype?

Resveratrol has been rumored to protect against the negative effects of drug-induced cardio toxicity. It’s believed to be good for your heart. While there are some small studies that may indicate that it can positively influence the outcome in a breast cancer diagnosis, increased weight is a risk factor in this insidious disease, so where do the benefits of the added calories from wine consumption overtake the risks? There have been reports of resveratrol positively impacting bone loss and osteoarthritis. If you choose to get your resveratrol from a non-calorie source such as a supplement prescribed by your doctor then you won’t have to be concerned about those extra calories just giving you more heft to carry around that can cause certain mobility problems. Extra weight will always aggravate arthritis. A positive influence on the pancreas was noted to improve glucose homeostasis and decrease insulin resistance. Again, these effects are observed from a therapeutic dosage, not the amount that you can get in your diet. There is some evidence that therapeutic doses of resveratrol have the ability to protect the kidneys from fibrosis and drug toxicity. Resveratrol has been reported to protect the eyes from the damage that can be caused from diabetes. It has even been reported to be good for the reproductive system in both men and women. It has been observed to have suppressed the growth of lung tumors in mice. It is believed to protect the nervous system, your brain, against damage such as the loss of the myelin sheath. While the list of possible benefits of a therapeutic dose of resveratrol is quite impressive, it’s very hard to ingest this amount of resveratrol any way except through a good supplement and these claims are not adequately substantiated to warrant supplementation in everyone. This is an issue to be considered with your doctor. Random supplementation of poor quality supplements can be dangerous.

Benefits of Alcohol?

The American Heart Association and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute don’t recommend that you start drinking alcohol just to prevent heart disease. (3) The negative risks outweigh any possible benefits for most people. If you already drink red wine, or some other form of alcohol, only one drink per day for women, or men over 65, should be allowed. Men aged 65 and younger can usually safely drink up to two drinks per day. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits. We never advocate drinking alcohol due to the empty calories and the addictive potential of this sneaky substance. If you do drink, these should be your guidelines.

Fluff

In many weight control programs, alcohol is categorized with desserts due to the fact that these calories are considered a mere indulgence. Since the serving size and recommendations for the number of drinks allowed in a day are as sparse as they are, there is very little beneficial nutrition to be derived from most alcoholic drinks. Occasionally healthy mixers are incorporated, but for the most part, alcohol is more of a drug than a food, relatively void of good nutrition in the recommended serving allowances. If you have extra calories to use then you might possibly get away with a bit of alcohol on occasion but if you are a serious athlete, intent on increasing your fitness and muscle mass, you would be wise to spend your calories on foods that will build and nourish your body.

Bottom Line

While resveratrol is deemed to have health benefits, adequate clinical trials have not been performed to prove all of the claims that have been made. It’s impossible to get what is considered a therapeutic dose through food and drink. While a small amount of alcohol can be safely consumed by some people, there is always the possibility of addiction when you ingest any addictive substance. At it’s best, it’s still empty calories. If you are interested in the benefits of resveratrol, consult your doctor about the possibility of supplementation. Even then, it’s still very difficult to get therapeutic doses that you can absorb and utilize in most supplements. As always, your most direct route to good health is nutritionally dense foods that are low on the glycemic index. They will nourish you for the long run and support your fitness goals and after all, the long run is what counts. How long will it take to get fit? The rest of your life. Get going, with your doctor’s permission, of course.

 

 

 

(1), (2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4942868/

(3) https://www.drugs.com/mca/red-wine-and-resveratrol-good-for-your-heart