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Why is America so unhealthy?

America is unhealthy because of several factors. First, America’s reliance on processed foods rather than whole foods has caused a rapid increase in chronic diseases (like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and so on). Second, America’s sedentary lifestyle and sitting in front of computers, TVs, and screens has contributed significantly to rising illnesses. Other factors that contribute to the lack of health in America include excessive use of medications, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.

What are processed foods?

Processed foods are defined as any raw product grown on a farm that has been subject to washing, cleaning, milling, cutting, chopping, heating, pasteurizing, blanching, cooking, canning, freezing, drying, dehydrating, mixing, enriching, packaging or other procedures that alter the food from its natural state. This may include the addition of other ingredients to the food, such as preservatives, flavors, nutrients and other food additives or substances, such as dyes, salts, sugars and fats. Anything more than minimally processed (spices, cut carrots, apples in bag) has been shown to be linked to the development of chronic diseases.

Why are processed foods bad?

Processed foods are altered from their original “whole food” state. Processed foods change our bowel’s natural bacteria and microbiome. This affects our immunity and leads to chronic diseases such as allergies, cancer, diabetes, MS, and autoimmune diseases.

What are organic foods?

Organic foods are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, such as human-made pesticides and fertilizers, and does not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

Why is the gut (your bowels or intestines) so important?

The gut holds 70-80% of your immune system. If your gut is not working its best, then your immune system either under reacts and allows cancer and infections, or overreacts and causes allergies and autoimmune diseases.

Why can’t you just take supplements?

Without proper testing, it is not possible to know what vitamins or supplements are needed to help you the most.

What is the difference between traditional and functional medicine?

Traditional medicine relies upon pharmaceuticals and procedures to fix the symptoms caused by disease. Functional medicine searches for the root cause of diseases rather than just treating the symptoms caused by disease. An example of this is properly balancing the gut’s microbiome to fix allergies rather than just treating with antihistamines or steroids.

What is plant-based protein?

Protein is one of the three main types of food with the other two being fats and carbohydrates. Plant-based protein is protein that comes from a plant source rather than an animal source. Not all plant proteins contain all necessary amino acids. So, to make sure you are getting everything you need, mix and match or as we like to say, “eat the rainbow of vegetables.” The best plant sources of protein are lentils, peas, quinoa, beans, asparagus, broccoli, soy (be careful of GMO), pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemps seeds and sunflower seeds.

What is a chronic disease?

A chronic disease is a disease that lasts for more than one year and requires ongoing medical attention and/or limits daily activities. Examples of chronic diseases include: heart disease, diabetes, emphysema, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and even cancer.

Are fats bad?

There are both good and bad fats. To understand this, you must first know that there are multiple types of fats. The 2 main classes are saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are more commonly solid at room temperature. Long-chain fats (like animal fat, butter) are not healthy, but short- and medium-chain saturated fats (like coconut oil) are healthy in moderation. Unsaturated fats are the other main class. To be healthy you need a balance between omega-6 fats and omega-3 fats. Omega-6 fats are easier to get in a western diet, so it is important to focus on getting plenty of omega-3 fats from your diet by eating cold-water fish, flax, walnuts, avocado, dark berries and coconut.

Are carbohydrates bad?

Carbohydrates are not inherently bad, the issue is refined (white sugar, white rice, white pasta, white bread, and white flour) carbohydrates (sugars) are stripped of all beneficial nutrients. Processed sugars like high fructose corn syrup, corn solids, corn syrup, and maltodextrin overwhelm your body’s ability to handle simple carbs and lead to chronic disease like obesity, diabetes and fatty liver.

What is a probiotic?

A probiotic is bacteria or other microorganisms introduced into our body for their beneficial qualities. The 2 most common probiotic bacteria are Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.

What is GMO?

GMO means genetically modified organism. This is very different than cross breed or hybridization where humans do not tamper with an organism’s genes. An example of cross-breeding is breeding a horse with a donkey to get a mule. An example of hybridization is crossing cabernet franc grapes with sauvignon blanc grapes to develop cabernet sauvignon. Examples of GMO include making soybeans resistant to pest and herbicides (like Roundup®) so that herbicides can be sprayed on fields to kill weeds and not kill the crop. A problem with GMO is genetic drift. This means genes cross into other plants and all of a sudden the weeds are Roundup® resistant also and you have to spray even more harsh chemicals. Another problem has been that GMO has not led to increased yields as touted but has led to increased prices because the GMO organisms are patented by companies.