Jump Start Programs

Here are the choices to jump start your new lifestyle. Jump start programs are not mandatory for your goals or transition to Nature’s Way of Life, rather a way to see what lifestyle will work best for you. The programs give you the opportunity to challenge yourself, or maybe simply try a new way of life for a short period of time. The programs do not guarantee any weight loss, however weight loss can be a side effect when you follow your jump start program properly. This means, no meat, no foods or products that are not from nature.

  1. 7 Day Vegetarian
  2. 14 Day Vegetarian
  3. 7 Day Vegan
  4. 14 Day Vegan
  5.  7 Day Raw Food
  6.  3 Day Raw Food
  7.  1 Day Vegetarian, 1 Day Vegan, 1 Day Raw Food (3 Day Total)
  8. 3 Day Vegetarian
  9. 2 Day Vegan
  10.  1 Day Raw FoodPhoto Credit: theatlantic.com

Vegetarian Programs

The vegetarian programs offer a wider assortment of food selection, given the fact that you will consume meat alternatives such as seitan, tofu and foods that contain dairy and or eggs. This program was designed to help you slowly transition into Nature’s Way of Life Vegan program, but do as you will and stay vegetarian if that what suits your fancy.

Vegan Programs

The vegan programs offer a smaller assortment of food selections in comparison to the vegetarian program, simply because you do not consume eggs or dairy products.

Raw Food Vegan Programs

The raw food vegan jump start program was designed from people who are already, vegetarian or vegan and would like to begin consuming only raw food for longevity. Now, this does not go to say that if you currently consume meat you can not try these programs, proceed and see how you feel.

I previously tried raw food vegan for 45 days, my goal was 60 days, but I made it 45 days. I am still in anticipation of living the raw food vegan lifestyle for a longer period of time. Ultimately, I would like to be vegan, the only exception for me would be eating out to avoid special request with friends. In addition to that, I am practicing calorie monitoring. This task includes watching what I eat, when the foods are not from nature, this means any man made food products, cereal, grain bars, pasta noodles breads, etc. These foods I consume in moderation, especially if I am having a hungering for it I do not deny myself the opportunity to indulge a little in what we at Nature’s Way of Life call “moderation foods”.

Quote of the Post!

“For every sacrifice, there’s a reward.”
Michael Bassey Johnson

New Nature’s Way of Life Program Choices

1 Day Raw Food Vegan Challenge

3 Day Raw Food Vegan-Jump Start Your New Lifestyle

5 Day Vegan Lifestyle

7 Day Vegan Lifestyle

15 Day Vegetarian Lifestyle

Meat Alternative Lifestyle

Replace animal mean with meat alternative for 30 days

Try one of these lifestyle choices today to be on your way to a new healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life.

Tierra Thomas

Vegetarian Nutrition

What is a vegetarian diet?

Some people follow a “vegetarian” diet, but there’s no single vegetarian eating pattern. The vegan or total vegetarian diet includes only foods from plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, seeds and nuts. The lactovegetarian diet includes plant foods plus cheese and other dairy products. The ovo-lactovegetarian (or lacto-ovovegetarian) diet also includes eggs. Semi-vegetarians don’t eat red meat but include chicken and fish with plant foods, dairy products and eggs.

Are vegetarian diets healthful?

Most vegetarian diets are low in or devoid of animal products. They’re also usually lower than nonvegetarian diets in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. Many studies have shown that vegetarians seem to have a lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart attack), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer. 

Vegetarian diets can be healthful and nutritionally sound if they’re carefully planned to include essential nutrients. However, a vegetarian diet can be unhealthy if it contains too many calories and/or saturated fat and not enough important nutrients.

What are the nutrients to consider in a vegetarian diet?

  • Protein: You don’t need to eat foods from animals to have enough protein in your diet. Plant proteins alone can provide enough of the essential and non-essential amino acids, as long as sources of dietary protein are varied and caloric intake is high enough to meet energy needs.
  • Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, seeds and nuts all contain both essential and non-essential amino acids. You don’t need to consciously combine these foods (“complementary proteins”) within a given meal.
  • Soy protein has been shown to be equal to proteins of animal origin. It can be your sole protein source if you choose.
  • Iron: Vegetarians may have a greater risk of iron deficiency than nonvegetarians. The richest sources of iron are red meat, liver and egg yolk — all high in cholesterol. However, dried beans, spinach, enriched products, brewer’s yeast and dried fruits are all good plant sources of iron.
  • Vitamin B-12: This comes naturally only from animal sources. Vegans need a reliable source of vitamin B-12. It can be found in some fortified (not enriched) breakfast cereals, fortified soy beverages, some brands of nutritional (brewer’s) yeast and other foods (check the labels), as well as vitamin supplements.
  • Vitamin D: Vegans should have a reliable source of vitamin D. Vegans who don’t get much sunlight may need a supplement.
  • Calcium: Studies show that vegetarians absorb and retain more calcium from foods than nonvegetarians do. Vegetable greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli, and some legumes and soybean products, are good sources of calcium from plants.
  • Zinc: Zinc is needed for growth and development. Good plant sources include grains, nuts and legumes. Shellfish are an excellent source of zinc. Take care to select supplements containing no more than 15-18 mg zinc. Supplements containing 50 mg or more may lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol in some people.

What meal plans are recommended?

Any type of vegetarian diet should include a wide variety of foods and enough calories to meet your energy needs.

  • Keep your intake of sweets and fatty foods to a minimum. These foods are low in nutrients and high in calories.
  • Choose whole or unrefined grain products when possible, or use fortified or enriched cereal products.
  • Use a variety of fruits and vegetables, including foods that are good sources of vitamins A and C.
  • If you use milk or dairy products, choose fat-free/nonfat and low-fat varieties.

Related AHA publications:

  • Easy Food Tips for Heart-Healthy Eating (also in Spanish) 
  • Controlling Your Risk Factors… heart attack and stroke 

Related AHA Scientific Statements:

Source: American Heart Association



Quinoa Great Nutritional Choice for Vegetarians

Photo Credit: Veghunter

As a vegetarian or vegan, it is a necessity to insure that you meet your nutritional needs in order to sustain a long, healthy life. Rumor has it, that vegetarians and vegans do not receive adequate protein, Vitamin B12, or Calcium. These rumors are completely FALSE. These rumors exist because over time we had to learn how to meet nutritional needs as a vegetarian or vegan. Previously when people became vegetarian, many would simple just take meat or animal products out of their diet, but would still consume many foods that were not nutritious enough to maintain proper bodily function. Essentially, most vegetarians and vegans were not consuming foods that held the nutritional value they needed to not get certain diseases that are caused by deficiencies. This is why vegatarianism is associated with osteoporosis, Vitamin B12 and Calcium deficiencies which may lead to weak bones or vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia is a low red blood cell count due to a lack of vitamin B12.  Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells provide oxygen to body tissues (Anemia, Medline). This all goes to explain a great source of protein, carbohydrates, essential amino acids and magnesium (the mineral that relaxes blood vessels), quinoa.

Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed, but prepared like whole grains like brown rice or barley . Since low dietary levels of magnesium are associated with increased rates of hypertension, ischemic heart disease and heart arrhythmias, this ancient grain can offer yet another way to provide cardiovascular health for those concerned about atherosclerosis.  Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. (Quinoa, WHFoods). An alpha-amino acid that is required for protein synthesis but cannot be synthesized by humans and must be obtained in the diet. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins.Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body because of that it must come from food. The nine essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine (Amino Acids, Medline), all of which are in quinoa. These essentail amino acids break down food, grow, repair body tissue, and perform many other body functions. These are the reasons vegatarian and vegans alike need this complete protein in their diet.


Protein 8g

Carbohydrates 39g

Magnesium 29.6%

By: Tierra Thomas



Quinoa. WHFoods. Retrieve from: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice

Anemia. B12 Deficiency. Medline Plus. Trusted Health Information for You. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000574.htm

***** Disclaimer—Informational Only

Fat Associated With Chemical Changes in DNA That May Help Explain Obesity-Related Disease

ScienceDaily (Jan. 20, 2011) — Fat appears to associate with some distinctive chemical changes in the DNA — a finding that may help explain why obesity can increase the risk for chronic problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, researchers report.

The finding, published in BMC Medicine, may one day help identify those at risk and reduce it, according to Dr. Xiaoling Wang, genetic epidemiologist at the Medical College of Georgia’s Georgia Prevention Institute.

“Losing fat is very difficult; we know that. We also know it causes many diseases so we want to identify and target pathways to reduce those diseases,” Wang said.

Fat used to be viewed as essentially padding and a ready energy source but scientists are learning it’s more like a factory that makes chemicals and compounds such as hormones and proteins. Studies comparing two groups of obese versus lean teens found higher levels of chemical change, or methylation, in a portion of the UBASH3A gene and lower levels in part of the TRIM3 gene.

Both genes are known to have roles in regulating the immune system, which is often dysregulated in obese individuals. Dysregulation can result in a level of chronic inflammation that contributes to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Methylation can impact immune function by affecting gene expression levels which ultimately impacts downstream functions of the proteins produced by genes.

“You need to know disease pathways to find novel medications,” Wang said. “We generally know they have a dysregulation of the immune function, but we didn’t know the specific site.” She believes she found at least two sites in the UBASH3A and TRIM3 gene. Her initial search was broad: a genome-wide screen of seven obese and seven lean teens that enabled her to identify genes most different between the two. She ranked the differences and, in a much larger study of 46 obese and 46 lean controls, looked at the same sites in the top six genes and found again the distinctive methylation pattern in UBASH3A and TRIM3.

Wang now wants to clarify whether fat causes the DNA changes or vice versa and confirm that the changes contribute to the immune dysfunction associated with obesity.

She notes that because obesity does not always lead to related diseases, it’s important to have a way to not just intervene, but to identify those most at risk. Factors such as fitness, body shape and environment probably are also predictors for related disease.

“… (T)he public health message of ‘eat less and exercise more’ appears to have fallen on deaf ears,” Drs. Paul W. Franks and Charlotte Ling of Sweden’s Skåne University Hospital, Lund University write in an accompanying editorial. “Thus, despite the apparently simple explanation and remedy for obesity, this knowledge is not enough. We are saddled with a challenge, which is to unravel the mechanisms by which obesity emerges and to understand how its presence causes disease and death, with the hope that somewhere within the details hides the solution to the problem.” They note that Wang’s study provides “tentative evidence” that DNA methylation at the two gene sites may be implicated in obesity-related disease.

Journal Reference:

  1. Xiaoling Wang, Haidong Zhu, Harold Snieder, Shaoyong Su, David Munn, Gregory Harshfield, Bernard L Maria, Yanbin Dong, Frank Treiber, Bernard Gutin, Huidong Shi. Obesity related methylation changes in DNA of peripheral blood leukocytes. BMC Medicine, 2010; 8 (1): 87 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-8-87

Courtesy of: Science Daily

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Quinoa- A Complete Protein For Vegatarians/Vegans

Quinoa is a uncommon whole to see in someone’s kitchen, but its time to put this whole grain right into your cabinet. Although quinoa is considered a whole grain, it is accuallya seed, but can be prepared as a whole grain to be used like brown rice or barley.

Photo credit: wholefoodsmarket.com

Below Retrieved from: The Worlds Healthiest Foods Website

Nutrients in
Quinoa, uncooked
0.25 cup (185.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value
Calories (222)12%
According to Livestrong, quinoa is a complete protein, which means that it contains all the amino acids necessary for our nutritional needs. Complete proteins are rare in the plant world, making quinoa an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans, or for anyone looking for healthy protein source. It’s also high in iron and calcium, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium and copper, as well as fiber (Health Benefits of Quinoa, 2011).

In that same token, quinoa is naturally gluten-free, making it an excellent food for celiac patients or other people following a gluten-free diet. Quinoa flour is great for baking cookies, breads and muffins, and quinoa flakes are a perfect substitute for oatmeal.


Try this complete protein in combination with your current nutrition and have no holes in your nutrition intake.

Livestrong. Health Benefits of Quinoa. Welter, S. (2011, August) Retrieved from: http://www.livestrong.com/article/4695-need-health-benefits-quinoa/#ixzz1voaV8ASP

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/4695-need-health-benefits-quinoa/#ixzz1voaF8hIg

Energizer Your Body With Complex Carbohydrates

Recently I have been working out and I felt very fatigued and unenergized, so I knew their was a flaw in how I was getting my nutrition. I understood that our bodies needed certain key elements to maintain function, but in order to gain strength and have more endurance I needed to give my body what it needed to sustain this kind of conditioning. I have had personal training session with a great personal trainer (certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine) that has given me tips to energize my self, gain muscle and strength. Thus far, he (my personal trainer), has been very helpful guiding me through my new journey to improved optimal health and proper exercise.

Some keys tips to energizing your body:

1. Don’t skip meals.

2. Eat protein and sugary natural food items after a intense workout.

3. Eat your complex carbohydrates in the morning to help you keep your energy through the day (it works, I tried it).

4. Move around more often; think and do.

5. Find new ways to energize your body.

Note: A few of the tips above were tips I learned from my personal trainer who has been certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

The other tips are from my experience and new techniques that I have tested and succeeded.

If you have any tips you would like to add, please do.

Tierra Thomas


Salt, Shaving Salt, Saving Lives

Shaving Salt, Saving Lives

by Bonnie Liebman, April 2010

In 2005, high blood pressure was responsible for one in six deaths in the United States,” says a new report from experts at the Institute of Medicine.1That’s because hypertension boosts your risk of dying of a heart attack or stroke more than smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, or any other risk factor does. And excess salt is a major cause of high blood pressure.


What’s more, salt may damage the heart, kidneys, and other organs above and beyond its effect on blood pressure. “Salt is costing us too many lives and too many dollars,” says physician Stephen Havas.


Here’s why you—and, more importantly, the food industry—should hold the salt.

1. Less salt means lower blood pressure and less disease.

It’s no surprise that cutting salt lowers blood pressure. That has been shown in studies that compare higher- versus lower-salt diets in both adults and children. 2,3

And a recent meta-analysis of 13 studies found not just lower blood pressures, but a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular events among people who cut their salt intake.4

For example, in the Trials of Hypertension Prevention studies, some 2,400 people with pre-hypertension were randomly assigned to either cut their sodium by roughly 750 to 1,000 milligrams a day or to follow general guidelines for healthy eating for 1½ to 4 years.5

Ten to 15 years after the studies ended, researchers found a 25 to 30 percent lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, or other cardiovascular events in the group that cut salt.

“A decrease in sodium in the diet, even among those with only modestly elevated blood pressure, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease later in life,” says investigator Nancy Cook, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

2. Nearly everyone gets high blood pressure.

Why worry about salt if you haven’t been diagnosed with high blood pressure? Odds are, you will be.

“Over time, 90 percent of people in this country develop hypertension,” says Havas, a former Vice President of Science, Quality, and Public Health at the American Medical Association.

That’s because—unless you live in a society where people eat very little salt—blood pressure rises as you age. In the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, which followed more than 15,000 Americans aged 45 to 64, average systolic blood pressure (the upper number) jumped five points in five years.6

“Blood pressures drift upward as people get older and they’re exposed to longterm excess sodium,” explains Havas. “That’s why almost all adults are going to get blood pressures that put them at higher risk for heart disease and stroke.”

3. Risk rises before your blood pressure is “high”

Doctors consider prescribing drugs when your blood pressure is high—that is, it’s at least 140 over 90 (see “How High Is Too High?”). But it’s a threat to your blood vessels before it crosses that line.

“People don’t realize that blood pressure higher than 120 over 80 is associated with increased risk,” says Havas.

“Between ‘normal’ and ‘hypertension’ you have a huge number of heart disease and stroke deaths attributable to excess blood pressure,” he explains.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) calls those in-between blood pressures “prehypertension.” Roughly one out of three American adults has it. Another one out of three has hypertension.

Researchers aren’t sure how elevated blood pressure raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes. One possibility: it may accelerate the clogging of arteries.

“The progression of atherosclerosis is much higher in the face of hypertension,” explains hypertension authority Norman Kaplan of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

“The heart beating at a higher pressure may lead to damage in the blood vessel wall, and that could allow cholesterol and inflammatory cells to enter.”

4. Hypertension harms the heart, brain, and kidneys.

High blood pressure doesn’t just raise the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It also boosts the risk of heart failure, which affects 5.8 million Americans.

Some brands of chicken are pumped up with salt water. This store brand has 550 mg of sodium in a quarter-pound serving.

“It can mean that the heart’s pump has deteriorated and can’t push the blood out,” says Kaplan, author of Kaplan’s Clinical Hypertension, a reference for physicians.

And high blood pressure is a leading cause of chronic kidney disease, which strikes one out of nine Americans. Also troubling is the growing evidence that hypertension raises the risk of dementia.

For example, in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, which took MRI brain scans of 1,400 women over age 65, those with high blood pressure had more abnormal brain lesions eight years later.7

“Even moderately elevated blood pressure is associated with silent vascular disease in the brain that contributes to risk of dementia,” conclude the study’s authors.

5. Drugs haven’t solved the problem.

So what if you get high blood pressure? Can’t you just take a drug to lower it?

“You don’t want to wait until your blood pressure crosses that magic threshold of 140 over 90 because by that point you’ve already done a fair amount of damage to your heart, vascular system, kidneys, and brain,” says Havas.

What’s more, 42 million Americans have uncontrolled hypertension. That’s because 28 percent of those who have hypertension don’t know it, 11 percent know they have it but aren’t being treated, and 26 percent are being treated but not enough to get their blood pressure below 140 over 90. That means 65 percent of Americans with hypertension don’t have their blood pressure under control.8

Why? “Hypertension is a chronic condition that doesn’t make the patient feel anything,” explains Kaplan. “If people with, say, rheumatoid arthritis don’t take their medication, they hurt. So they’ll take that medication. But people with hypertension don’t experience anything obvious.” So they stop.

“A number of surveys have shown that if you put 100 people on treatment, in a year’s time only half will still be taking their medication,” Kaplan notes.

Doctors may also share some of the blame. “Some physicians will put patients on anti-hypertensive medication, and then say ‘Okay, I’m done,’ without monitoring to see if the patients’ blood pressure is still elevated,” says Kaplan.

But eating less salt would make blood pressure drugs more effective in those who need them. “With lower sodium intakes, you see a greater fall in blood pressure,” says Kaplan. “That’s particularly true for diuretics, but it’s been shown with other drugs as well.”

In fact, researchers recently tested the impact of a lower-salt diet on 12 people who had resistant hypertension—that is, their blood pressures were still high even though they were taking an average of 3½ different drugs every day.

When doctors told them to not just take the drugs but to also eat a lower-salt diet (1,050 milligrams a day), their blood pressures were dramatically lower (by an average of 22 over 9 points) than when they were on a high-salt diet (5,750 mg a day).9

The authors’ conclusion: “High dietary salt ingestion is an important cause of resistant hypertension.”

6. Assume that you’re sensitive to salt.

“For certain individuals who are salt sensitive, excessive consumption of sodium can increase blood pressure,” says the Salt Institute, which represents the salt industry. 10 Certain individuals?

“Some people react to sodium more quickly than others,” says Havas. “But 90 percent of people in this country develop hypertension and the principal cause is exposure to excess sodium, so most people over time don’t do well with high salt loads.”

What’s more, “there is no predictor or test of salt sensitivity,” he adds. “So one has to assume that almost all of us are sensitive to long-term sodium exposure.”

That’s why expert panels recommend no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day if you’re middleaged or older, are black, or already have high blood pressure. Everyone else should shoot for 2,300 mg a day. But “everyone else” turns out to be just 30 percent of U.S. adults.

7. Other factors are no excuse to ignore salt.

Cutting excess salt isn’t the only way to lower blood pressure. Getting more potassium also helps, and Americans average far less than the 4,700 mg daily target. Eating a DASH diet—which is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods— knocks down blood pressure (see Nutrition Action, Oct. 2009, cover story). So does staying trim, daily exercise, and limiting alcohol to no more than two drinks a day (for men) or one drink a day (for women).11

“All of those factors affect blood pressure,” says Havas. “I don’t think anyone would argue that you should only work on one front.” But cutting salt is still key.

Sometimes, he adds, other factors are “a smokescreen that the food industry throws out to confuse everybody.” In fact, it may be easier to change the population’s salt intake than anything else.

“We can’t get people to lose weight and maintain the weight loss over time, though we should try because some people will do it,” notes Havas. “We can’t get people to exercise regularly and maintain it over time, though it’s worth trying because some people will do it.”

And it’s not easy to get people to eat more fruits and vegetables. “Consumption has been going up very gradually,” says Havas. “If the average American eats 3 or 4 servings a day and we need to get to 8 or 9 or more, it’s going to take a long time.”

In contrast, the government can stop companies from dumping so much salt into packaged and restaurant foods. “Getting sodium out of the food supply is the easiest because you can engineer that,” explains Havas. “You can’t engineer more fruits and vegetables, greater weight loss, and more exercise.”

8. Salt’s harm goes beyond blood pressure.

Salt appears to damage the heart and blood vessels above and beyond its impact on blood pressure.

“With most animals, if you give them a high intake of salt, their blood pressure will go up, they develop cardiovascular disease, and they die prematurely,” explains researcher Norm Campbell of the University of Calgary in Canada.

“But if you genetically breed animals so you can feed them salt and they have no increase in blood pressure, they still develop cardiovascular disease prematurely. That suggests that salt has direct toxic effects on the heart and blood vessels.”

And there’s evidence that salt is toxic to humans. “By and large, these human studies show increased cardiovascular event rates on typical high-salt diets independent of blood pressure,” notes Campbell.

How might salt harm the body beyond its impact on blood pressure?

  • Left ventricular hypertrophy.High blood pressure can thicken the muscle in the chamber of the heart that pumps blood throughout the body.“The presence of left ventricular thickness is a very-high-risk situation because it contributes to most cases of heart failure,” explains Kaplan. But some studies suggest that a highsalt diet worsens the damage caused by high blood pressure.12 And cutting back on salt may reverse the muscle thickening, he adds.
  • Stiff arteries. Stiff arteries are often an early sign of heart disease. When researchers put overweight or obese people with normal blood pressure on a diet with a typical sodium intake (about 3,500 mg a day), their arteries were stiffer than when they ate a lower-salt diet (1,150 mg a day).13“These findings suggest additional cardioprotective effects of salt reduction beyond blood pressure reduction,” conclude the researchers.
  • Kidney disease.High blood pressure damages the kidneys. But salt may make it worse. In some studies, people who consume more salt excrete more protein in their urine.14 That’s a sign that their kidneys are under stress.“The presence of protein in the filtering surfaces of the kidneys is associated with inflammation and damage,” notes Kaplan. For people who have kidney disease, “a reduction in sodium can reduce protein in the urine.”
  • Osteoporosis. High-salt diets increase calcium losses in urine. “When there’s excess salt in the kidney’s tubules, it draws out the calcium,” explains Kaplan. But only a few studies have looked at salt’s impact on bone.15 Stay tuned.

9. Cuts in salt can save lives and dollars.

“The average American woman consumes roughly 3,000 milligrams of sodium a day. The average man consumes more than 4,000 mg. What would we save by cutting those intakes by 1,200 mg? That’s what the University of California’s Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo and colleagues estimated.16

“We modeled small reductions in salt across the whole U.S. population—not getting everyone to recommended levels, but to eat just slightly less salt,” she explains. Recommended levels are less than 1,500 mg a day for most people.

“We found that lowering salt would result in many fewer heart attacks, strokes, new cases of heart disease, and deaths each year. Even small changes in blood pressure across the whole population would have very dramatic health benefits.”

Cutting salt by 1,200 mg a day “would save more lives than lowering the body weight of all obese people by 5 percent, which is difficult to achieve and maintain,” notes Bibbins-Domingo. Trimming salt would save about as many lives, heart attacks, and strokes as “treating everybody who’s already hypertensive with blood-pressure medications.”

Cutting salt would also cut costs “because of money not spent on hospitalizations for heart attacks and strokes,” notes Bibbins- Domingo. “We would save lives and health care costs.”

And the true savings may be even greater. “If salt raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes above and beyond its effect on blood pressure, it could have a gigantic impact,” says Havas. “It’s a double whammy.”

10. It’s tough to cut salt on your own.

“I’m a physician,” says Bibbins-Domingo, “and it’s always striking to me how hard it is for my patients to cut salt.”

That’s because 75 to 80 percent of the sodium we consume is added to food before we open a package or walk into a restaurant. So unless you make everything—including breads, crackers, cereals, soup, pizza, spaghetti sauce, salad dressing—from scratch, you can’t easily avoid the salt.

“You can take all the salty snacks out of your diet—the nuts and the chips and everything else, but much still remains,” says Bibbins-Domingo. “So many patients come to me thinking they’ve made healthier choices and they’re oftentimes consuming the same, if not more, salt.”

And restaurants make supermarket salt levels look low (see “Salt on the Menu”). “People eat more and more in restaurants,” says Havas. “They have no idea how much sodium is in those foods.”

Like the governments of the United Kingdom and Finland, Washington could pressure—and, if necessary, require—companies to cut salt and could require warning labels on high-salt foods.

The food industry isn’t going to trim salt on its own, says Havas. “It’s been eight years since the American Public Health Association called on food companies and restaurants to cut sodium levels in half. If they had, we could have saved 150,000 lives a year—that’s at least 1.2 million lives since 2002.

“We can’t just keep saying, ‘Let’s try a voluntary approach.’ Too many people are dying or becoming disabled.”

How to Defuse A Salt Mine

As long as the food supply stays salt-laden, the easiest way to reach target sodium levels is to make your own.

Okay, it’s not easy to bake your own raisin bran, but you can easily whip up your own salad dressing and season your own rice, couscous, or pasta. You can also buy no-saltadded canned beans (try Eden), tuna (try Bumble Bee), and tomatoes (try Pomì). And you can dust off your old copies of Nutrition Action and rediscover Kate Sherwood’s amazing Healthy Cook recipes, which trim sodium but not taste.

But on days when there’s no way you’re going to make your own, try this: add salt-free vegetables, beans, or grains to high-sodium packaged or restaurant foods.

You not only cut the salt in each serving, you boost the potassium. What’s more, you save money by stretching costlier packaged foods or restaurant take-out. It’s a win-win. Here are a few examples:

Retrieved from: http://www.cspinet.org/nah/articles/salt.html

NO Salt Necessary! Salt is Used to Recieve Iodine, Get Iodine From Other Natural Sources

Iodine is a chemical element. The body needs iodine but cannot make it. The needed iodine must come from the diet. The thyroid gland needs iodine to make hormones. If the thyroid doesn’t have enough iodine to do its job, feedback systems in the body cause the thyroid to work harder. This can cause an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which becomes evident as a swollen neck. Iodine is needed for healthy thyroid function which regulates metabolism.

There  is very little iodine in foods so, iodine has been added to salt to avoid iodine deficiency disorders which include hypothyroidism, goiter and mental retardation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Sodium has been linked to stroke and high blood pressure. High levels of sodium is what people generally receive from high intakes of salt. Reduces your salt intake can reduce your blood pressure, sodium levels and help prevent certain diseases.The current recommendation is to consume less than 2.4 grams (2,400 milligrams[mg] ) of sodium a day. That equals 6 grams (about 1 teaspoon) of table salt a day. The 6 grams include ALL salt and sodium consumed, including that used in cooking and at the table. For someone with high blood pressure, the doctor may advise eating less salt and sodium, as recent research has shown that people consuming diets of 1,500 mg of sodium had even better blood pressure lowering benefits. These lower-sodium diets also can keep blood pressure from rising and help blood pressure medicines work better. (NHLBI, Reduce Salt and Sodium in Your Diet)

If you are on high blood pressure medicine, evenually after receiving your iodine from natural resources, along with changing your eating habits, you will be off of blood pressure medicine.

Here are some other sources of iodine that are foods from natures way of life:


  • artichokes
  • spinach
  • vegetable is kelp (a sea vegetable)  (415 mcg of iodine)

Low Iodine Resources

  • cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • turnip
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower


  • pineapple
  • coconut
  • strawberries
  • rhubarb
  • mango
  • dates
  • apricots
  • balsam apple
  • strawberries provide more than 140 percent of the recommended daily amount (RDA)


  • peanuts
  • hazelnuts
  • black walnuts
  • Extreme High Potency of Iodine:
  • Soybeans
  •  black walnut oil

Note: Be careful to not consume to much iodine from these sources


  • cinnamon
  • black and white pepper
  • herbs
  • fennel
  • hyssop

Iodine is found in: Watercress sprigs

Note: Most Grains contain iodine



World Salt Awareness Week Focusing on the Link between Sodium and Stroke. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.(2012) Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/features/sodium/

Your Guide to Lowing High Blood Pressure. Reduce Salt and Sodium Intake in Your Diet. NHB. Retrieved from: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/prevent/sodium/sodium.htm

By: Tierra Thomas

The Truth About Sugar

Can you get addicted to sugar? Do you need to quit it cold turkey? Here are expert answers.

WebMD Feature

Recently, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres declared that she was going on a sugar cleanse, purging her diet of all refined sugars to boost her well-being. While naturally occurring sugars, such as the kind found in sugar snap peas, were still OK to eat, no one was going to catch Ellen letting a Bundt cake cross her lips.

Her sugar cleanse diet inspired many viewers to embark on their own sugar smackdowns. Is this the latest food fad, or are the sugar naysayers on to something?

We don’t need to go cold turkey on sugar, health experts tell WebMD. But most of us would do well to lighten up on the sweet stuff.

Is sugar addictive?

A coworker with an unshakable candy bar habit might sigh that she’s utterly addicted to sweets. Can someone truly become physically dependent on sugar?

Sugar taps into a powerful human preference for sweet taste, says Marcia Pelchat, PhD, a scientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a basic research institute in Philadelphia.  ”We’re born to like sugar,” she says.

“Sugar does seem to be special in some ways,” Pelchat says, even in the womb. Doctors used to treat the problem of excessive amniotic fluid by injecting a sweet substance into the liquid, she says. The appealing taste would prompt the fetus to swallow more fluid, which was then flushed out through the umbilical cord and the mother’s kidneys.

Not only do infants prefer sweet tastes, but when babies drink a sweet solution, it can ease pain through a natural analgesic effect in the body, Pelchat says.

Way back, the preference for sugar may have conferred an evolutionary advantage by leading people to seek out ripe fruits, which are sweet and serve as a good source of calories, she says.

But nowadays, is the coworker’s constant hankering for sugar merely a strong liking or is it a true addiction, with physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms?

“The jury’s still out,” Pelchat says. Scientists aren’t sure if people can become physically dependent on sugar, although some animal studies suggest that such a thing is possible, she says. “There are the same kinds of changes in brain dopamine, in these animals given intermittent access to sugar, as in drug addicts.”

Unlike with substance abuse, people don’t get the shakes when they stop eating sugar. But people with constant sugar cravings do exhibit one symptom of dependence, Pelchat says: “continued use despite knowledge of bad consequences or having to give up certain activities.” For instance, people who crave sugary, fatty foods will keep eating them even if obesity makes it uncomfortable to walk or to sit in an economy seat on the plane.

Can sugar worsen cholesterol?

Researchers have found a link between sugar and unhealthy levels of blood fats. “There’s an association between added sugar intake and what we call dyslipidemia — higher triglycerides and lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol, says Rachel K. Johnson, RD, MPH, PhD, a professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association (AHA).

In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), people who ate the largest amounts of added sugar had the highest blood triglyceride levels and the lowest HDL (good) cholesterol levels. That study also showed that eating lots of sugar more than tripled the odds of having low HDL cholesterol levels, a strong risk factor for heart disease.

In contrast, people who ate the least sugar had the lowest triglyceride levels and highest HDL levels, a protective factor against heart disease.

But “the study doesn’t prove that added sugars cause dyslipidemia,” says Johnson, who wasn’t involved in the JAMA study.

Johnson says that to prove that sugar causes problems with blood fats, scientists would have to conduct a clinical trial in which some people ate a diet high in added sugar and others ate a diet low in added sugar. Then researchers would track their triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Such a study would be expensive and hard to carry out, she says.

However, Johnson points out that weight did not explain the JAMA findings. “Obesity is obviously related to dyslipidemia, but based on the JAMA paper, the added sugars had an independent effect, separate and distinct from the added sugars’ impact on weight,” she says.

Does sugar cause diabetes?

“Eating sugar per se does not cause diabetes,” Johnson says. But large, epidemiological research has shown an association between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and diabetes, she says.

The real culprit may be obesity. “It may be because the sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with higher BMIs or associated with overweight and obesity, which we know is a risk factor for diabetes,” Johnson says.

Is sugar affecting children’s health?

Pediatricians are concerned that too much sugar is in their young patients’ diets, Kavey says. But again, sugar by itself is not the problem, she says, but rather the excess pounds.

“The reason that we think of it as a problem is because of the big rise in obesity in childhood, and that rise has occurred over the same time period that there’s been a major increase in the amount of simple sugar that children consume,” Kavey says. Juices, sodas, sweetened cereals, cookies, and candy are common sources of sugar in children’s diets.

But other factors — like spending a lot of sedentary time with computers rather than running around and playing — may also contribute to childhood obesity.

What about the notion that sugar makes some children hyperactive?

“In my own experience, I know there are some children who are very sensitive to sugar. They really are quite wild after they have sugar,” Kavey says. “But that’s not proof. The literature on it is not conclusive at all.”

Are some types of sugar better than others?

Celebrities and high-profile chefs have touted the benefits of replacing refined white sugar with purportedly more natural, healthier sugars, such as honey, maple syrup, or molasses.

But there’s no truth to these common misconceptions, Johnson says. “In terms of something being inherently better about those sweeteners as opposed to table sugar or sucrose — no.” The bottom line: All are simple sugars.

“A calorie of sugar is a calorie of sugar, so whether you’re getting it from white sugar or some other type of sweetener, you’re still adding empty calories to your diet,” Johnson says.

However, there may be one redeeming quality, she says. “Some of those sweeteners — like maple syrup, molasses, honey — may have a stronger taste, so you might be able to get the sweetness that you want with less of it, using less calories.”

What about substituting artificial sweeteners? Despite public worries that they might cause cancer, “They’ve been approved as safe by the FDA and I think that they can be a good tool to lower the calories in your diet,” Johnson says. “But you need to be careful that it’s about the total calories. You always hear about the person who puts the non-nutritive sweetener in their coffee and then has a piece of cheesecake.”


How much sugar does the average American eat?

Sugar shows up naturally in lots of foods, but those aren’t the types of sugars in the spotlight. Instead, it’s the sugar in the doughnuts and sodas or even in the maple syrup that we drizzle onto our pancakes.

“We do know that Americans are consuming way too much added sugars,” Johnson says. “These are the sugars that are added to foods in processing or preparation. They’re not the naturally occurring sugars, like fructose in fruit or lactose in milk or dairy products.”

Johnson led the team of experts that wrote the AHA’s 2009 scientific statement on added sugars and cardiovascular health. The report pointed to sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks as the main source of added sugars in Americans’ diets.

From 2001 to 2004, the report noted, Americans consumed lots of sugar: an average of 22 teaspoons a day, the equivalent of 355 calories.

Eating too much sugar can create two main problems, Johnson says. “It either adds calories to your diet or it displaces other nutritious foods. Most Americans could benefit from reducing the amount of added sugars in their diet.”

However, none of the experts who spoke to WebMD advocated that people try to purge all added sugars from their diets. By itself, sugar is not a risky food, says Rae-Ellen W. Kavey, MD, MPH, a pediatrics professor at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. “The focus should be on a healthful approach,” she says, “not people rushing to one side or the other.”

Moderation is key, experts say. For example, the AHA statement recommends that women limit themselves to about 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, or about 100 calories.  Men should aim for about 9 teaspoons a day, or 150 calories. Just how much sugar is that? A 12-oz. can of regular soda contains eight teaspoons of sugar, or about 130 calories.

Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/health-effects-of-sugar?page=4