1. Text post

    Watch Your Mouth! We’re moving :)

    To my fans and followers,

    Please join my new and improved blog at

    www.health-ade.com/blog.

     I will be posting there about food, nutrition, and all things healthy every other week…

  2. Text post

    WATCH YOUR MOUTH! there is a yeast among us

    …that’s what my Doctor told me when I last saw her for a small rash that intensely itched on my thigh. She diagnosed it as “Candida,” said that there are trillions of unfriendly and friendly yeasts all over us, and prescribed a topical anti-fungal cream with steroids.  “Do you do a lot of yoga?” she asked. Apparently, all that sweating in a crowded room is ideal for the unfriendly buggers to wreak havoc. I applied the cream 3 times a day for a whopping 4 weeks, and while the symptoms definitely subsided, after my treatment was done, they came back—except this time with vengeance…and this time not due to yeast at all, but a bacterial infection.  To make a long story short, I battled back and forth with anti-fungals and antibiotics, yet couldn’t totally rid my skin of this nuisance, no matter what the Doctor ordered.  It got me to thinking about yeasts…

    Candida refers to a genus of yeast, both friendly and unfriendly, and Candida Albicans is the one that most commonly causes infection (obviously, unfriendly), especially in immune-compromised individuals.   There are 2 things about yeast I find particularly interesting:

    • First, yeast and bacteria tend to keep each other in check  Yeast often overgrows in times when bacteria are low (like when you take antibiotics for example) and bacteria proliferate when the opposite is true.This is why many women go from vaginal yeast infection to urinary tract infection (and why I went from a rash caused by yeast to one caused by bacteria);
    • Second, the “friendly” and “unfriendly” micro-organisms also keep each other in check.  For example, the friendly yeast Saccharomyces Boulardii (found naturally in the raw forms of sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, and kimchee) has been shown in many animal studies to help fight Candida Albicans at least on the skin.  Mainstream science is becoming aware of this, which is why (friendly) probiotics are being included in prescription regimens for all sorts of conditions now.

    Thus, even when your immune system has failed at fighting off an overgrowth, there are still two ways in which nature has allowed for the balance to keep hold.  Even so, especially with the overuse of antibiotics and the reality of poor diets, many are failing to be saved by these checks and become victim to infection.  What happens then?

    Western practitioners for the most part refer to yeast infections very differently than the holistic community.  Mainstream Doctors usually diagnose a yeast infection very scientifically, either with a positive lab result to a “swab” or upon seeing a rash they recognize to be due to this yeast.  The naturopaths see “candida” as much more than this (and much more prevalent than this), and when in overgrowth use it to describe an array of symptoms that may include brain fog, chronic fatigue, bad breath, intense abdominal pain, bloating, acne break-outs, indigestion, chronic sinus congestion, hair loss, itching, and joint pain.  Any one of these symptoms alone may be manageable (like when I had an itchy leg), but imagine having all these symptoms at once…

    A dear friend of mine was recently (finally) diagnosed by a naturopathic doctor with candida overgrowth, and at the time was experiencing these symptoms in extreme.   She had been to western doctor after doctor, each diagnosing her with something different.  Nothing worked.  She was on drug after different drug, including several bouts of strong antibiotics, yet her symptoms got worse.  She began to feel alienated by the standard Western medical community, because most didn’t take her symptoms seriously, all her tests and swabs came back negative, and some even insinuated that this was a psychological matter and not really “real.” She had to take weeks of work.  She was weak for 6 months with no answer.

    Eventually she began to seek care in the alternative medical community, where she quite quickly was diagnosed with candida overgrowth.  They treated her with immune-boosting herbs, acupuncture, strong and natural probiotics (friendly bacteria), and asked her to strictly remove all sugars from her diet so as to “starve” the yeast within.  Though her previous practitioners gawked at the idea that this was caused by candida, and that removing sugars would help solve the issue, this treatment worked for her.  YES, it took much time and painstaking effort, but her pain stopped, her skin stopped itching, and the rest of her symptoms began to dissipate. Three months since making these changes, she still battles to keep the “balance” in check, but she is significantly better. Many of her current care-givers encourage her to hold on to her behaviors—yeast overgrowth can take almost a year to totally normalize apparently.

    When I think back on her treatment, I think it’s disappointing that Western and Eastern medicine can’t agree on this.  If the alternative thinkers are right, not only was her sickness REAL and SERIOUS, but because it was caused by an overgrowth of candida in her entire body, the repeated bouts of antibiotics she was given probably caused her to get significantly worse!  Similarly, if the eastern thinkers are right, then what could she possibly have that would cause all these terrible symptoms to go away with immune-boosters and a sugar-free diet? And what can we do to better diagnose this? 

    Inspired by her story, I took the “culture” home from my kombucha in our commercial kitchen and did a little experiment. I let it sit on my thigh for a few hours last night.  This morning I awoke with no rash and no itching.  It appears that at least for me, I didn’t need several months of anti-fungals/biotics. I just needed my Health-Ade :)

    I write this post because I don’t want anyone else to suffer these awful nonspecific symptoms like my friend did for so long. If you experience feelings like those mentioned above, consider seeing caretakers from both sides of the coin.  After all, evidently there is a yeast among us…and apparently we don’t know a lot about her.

    ___________________________

    Daina Slekys, MS, MPH is a Nutritionist and co-founder of Health-Ade kombucha, in Los Angeles, CA.  EMAIL Daina your health questions and she’ll be happy to help! daina@health-ade.com

    Daina Slekys Health-Ade

    HEALTH-ADE KOMBUCHA IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT LOS ANGELES AREA STORES, IN FARMERS’ MARKETS, OR IT CAN BE DELIVERED RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR STEP!

    DELIVERY:

    EMAIL US to schedule your delivery (info@health-ade.com)

    • 12 bottles in a case
    • get any mix of flavors in your case
    • $55 one time or $50 for repeat deliveries

     FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    STORES:

    DTLA and east la—

       WEST-SIDE—

       VALLEY—

       MID-CITY—

        ORANGE COUNTY—

     

    KREATION JUICERY LOCATIONS:

    Health-Ade teamed up with acupuncturist and herbologist, Brigita Slekys, to create special Chinese herb-infused elixirs exclusively for Kreation Juicery.  These drinks combine Health-Ade kombucha and custom-built Chinese herbal tinctures to highlight different benefits inherent to kombucha.

    Available at Kreation Juicery in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Manhattan Beach.

    LIKE HEALTH-ADE ON FACEBOOK

    FOLLOW HEALTH-ADE ON TWITTER

  3. Text post

    WATCH YOUR MOUTH! kombucha and cancer.

    image

    It’s not just “someone you know” that has been diagnosed with cancer anymore.  Unfortunately, today it’s more likely that everyone you know has an immediate connection.  Pharmaceuticals, radiation, and chemo have shown some promise, and recent literature is starting to highlight the benefit of alternative treatments.  In many cases, cutting edge cancer protocols are including acupuncture, herbs/supplements, diet, exercise, and psychological support to their repertoires.  Though not all oncologists or care-takers agree on what works, they mostly agree that if it makes a cancer patient feel better, and it’s not making them sicker, then why not?

    The problem with the why not mentality is that these alternative treatments will always be viewed as neutral—leaving them without the notoriety they might deserve.  There are good chunks of people who agree with me (just look online for alternative treatments to cancer) and suggest that WE SHOULD STUDY IT and THEN DECIDE!  The studies are beginning to surface…but…

    …It’s tricky.   Big, prospective, well-made studies just can’t be done as effectively with holistic treatments as they are with pharmaceutical drugs. There are plenty of undeniable reasons for this, mostly centered on the variability inherent in alternative treatments.  For example, there are over 100 clinical studies completed in the scientific literature looking at the efficacy of Echinacea on colds.  If you do a “review” on this, you will see that about half the studies show that Echinacea helps and the other half show no change.  So, you might deduce that (like alternative treatments and cancer) it’s probably not going to harm you, but it’s not going to save you either.  ALL my 20 years of education have taught me this is NOT a correct deduction. 

    Because no two holistic treatments are identical, we actually don’t know the answer!  The researchers focus on different patient types, hypotheses, formulations, and/or lengths of time.  For example, if we want to see if acupuncture helps cancer, one can’t just rely on a study that looks at 500 patients’ experiences.  Unless they all received the same exact treatment for the same amount of time (which would be impossible), the results will show decreased efficacy no matter what, because this introduction of error will seriously taper outcomes.  Imagine another example, looking at if ‘healthy diets’ can help fight cancer as much as chemo—how can we truly standardize a ‘healthy diet’?  She gets her broccoli from a farmers’ market and he gets his from Kmart.  She also drinks 8 glasses of water a day and he only drinks 1. You see that this difference could very soon become infinite.

    To study a drug is much easier—-everyone is the same type of patient, gets the same exact pill, for the same duration of time.  In addition, the drug studies are usually better funded so they have the opportunities to study HUGE groups of people and are designed to be prospective (again, a way to decrease error).  Comparatively, nutrition or holistic studies are usually smaller, not prospective, and clumped together for making conclusions (which significantly increases error, too).  So, the efficacy will ALWAYS look bigger for a drug than for something holistic, even if the alternative measure might actually be better.

     Alas, this is why science to me is limited.  I am a true believer that sickness and disease is in many times best prevented and treated with things holistic.  Unfortunately, the only way we will know the true benefit of treating something like cancer with something alternative is to try it yourself, which almost all the big cancer institutes will never condone, because “there’s just not enough evidence.”  Therein lays the everlasting conundrum for holistic treatment.  It is unlikely that we really will ever know, as long as we rely on traditional western science.

    This brings me to the (lack of) science around kombucha and cancer.  Anecdotally, you will see major energy around the benefits: twenty-eight whole books have been written on cancer and kombucha alone, highlighting the real impact this probiotic tea can have!  The reasoning behind their connections is mostly two-fold.  First, kombucha is thought to significantly increase one’s own immune system, allowing the body to fight cancer itself (remember, Hippocrates always claimed that using your own immune system is always the best line of defense.)  Second, kombucha is thought to have anti-oxidants and probiotics that may help keep the body clean of cancer-promoting toxins.  Talk to someone who feels their cancer was healed with the help of kombucha—you’ll see this energy is undeniable.

    image

    On the other hand, as long as there is a lack of scientific study done on the subject, it won’t get support from the medical community.  Even if a study were done, it would be impossible to standardize how each culture infuses each batch of tea with its probiotics and nutrients.  So, as a result of this everlasting conundrum, I don’t suspect kombucha will ever get that support.  Instead, the scientific community loves to warn about the potential harm in drinking it, which again is anecdotal (it’s ok to rely on anecdotal evidence here for some reason).  Often listed are the 5 counts (in the last 200 years) of people who were seriously ill from what their doctor at the time claimed was linked to kombucha. What isn’t shared are the other conditions these people were suffering from that would, in my opinion, be more likely the cause of their illness (like severe acidosis being caused from chronic end stage renal disease in a 97 year old, rather than that he had a cup of kombucha.)   I hope you see my point: that no matter what, we will not likely see the true benefits of anything holistic if we look to the way we currently conduct science.

    That said, I am not in denial of the benefits of science or against science in all ways.  Science has allowed for so much progression in the last century that I am very aware of and grateful for.  My blog is not meant to tarnish the efforts of the scientific community at all, after all I am a nutritionist!!   All I wanted to do today was reveal my opinion of its inability to truly assess the benefit of what’s holistic or alternative.  Science can do many things, but I don’t believe it will ever tell us the truth about kombucha (or cancer).  Perhaps for this, we look to design a new way.  At the very least, let’s begin to listen to those who have used it and go from there.  

    To see if something holistic would work,let’s start by looking at it holistically :)

    ___________________________

    Daina Slekys, MS, MPH is a Nutritionist and co-founder of Health-Ade kombucha, in Los Angeles, CA.  EMAIL Daina your health questions and she’ll be happy to help! daina@health-ade.com

    Daina Slekys Health-Ade

    HEALTH-ADE KOMBUCHA IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT LOS ANGELES AREA STORES, IN FARMERS’ MARKETS, OR IT CAN BE DELIVERED RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR STEP!

    DELIVERY:

    EMAIL US to schedule your delivery (info@health-ade.com)

    • 12 bottles in a case
    • get any mix of flavors in your case
    • $55 one time or $50 for repeat deliveries

     FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    STORES:

    DTLA—

       WEST-SIDE—

       VALLEY—

       MID-CITY—

    KREATION JUICERY LOCATIONS:

    Health-Ade teamed up with acupuncturist and herbologist, Brigita Slekys, to create special Chinese herb-infused elixirs exclusively for Kreation Juicery.  These drinks combine Health-Ade kombucha and custom-built Chinese herbal tinctures to highlight different benefits inherent to kombucha.

    Available at Kreation Juicery in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Manhattan Beach.

    LIKE HEALTH-ADE ON FACEBOOK

    FOLLOW HEALTH-ADE ON TWITTER

  4. Text post

    WATCH YOUR MOUTH! the raw coconut

    It was the third day of our honeymoon vacation in Port Douglas, Australia when we took a long bike-ride along a gorgeous stretch of beach with no clouds in sight.  It was so darn hot and humid, 110 degrees to be exact, I wanted to strip down and sprint (not run) into the tempting cool waters.  Needless to say, when we got to the town’s famous farmers’ market that morning, we were over-heated, hungry, and darn thirsty (this time, not for a beer.)  Thankfully, a coconut vendor stopped us in our tracks and offered us 2 fresh ice-cold coconuts, tapped with a paper straw.  Mere seconds after grabbing the coconut from his hands and sucking it down like I didn’t even know I could, I was literally struck at how amazing I felt. 

    Within minutes, I felt fully hydrated and cooled, more than water or any juice has ever made me feel. After finishing my last sip, the coconut man offered us breakfast.  He cracked open my empty coconut, shaved the flesh, added a local ripened banana, and stuck in a spoon.  My husband looked at me and whispered, “I’m going to need something more substantial than this for breakfast, just so you know.” I know, baby, I know.

    So we sat, eating our coconuts for our (pre) breakfast.  We were cooled. We were quenched.  And…surprisingly…we were full.   We spent the rest of the morning running around town and exploring, repeatedly remarking to each other how great we felt since drinking and eating our coconuts.  It was so tasty and satisfying that we actually went back for lunch, except this time we added arugula, mung beans, and tamari.  Ever had a salad in a coconut? It’s just yum…

    That night (and every night since) I spent a long time thinking about coconuts.  In nutrition school, I learned they are very high in bad fats (the oil is almost 90% saturated) and was encouraged to categorize them as something we shouldn’t eat too often, especially if one has heart disease.  We thought of them as a “fad.”  And, when you think about the fact that generally saturated fats are correlated with everything bad in your cardiovascular system, including LDL or “bad” cholesterol, it makes sense that one would deduce that coconuts aren’t that great for us.  But after that night, I began to do a little more research on the topic.  What is it about the coconut that made me feel so unbelievably hydrated, satisfied, and…good?

    It turns out there are a lot of benefits to coconuts seen in the literature, but they’re still not exactly accepted mainstream. That is, many scientists, doctors, and nutritionists are still not convinced that coconut oil is much more than the lard equivalent of a vegetable.  But I urge you to make your own decision on this, read up for yourself, and see on whose side you stand.  Did you know that many island populations that get close to half their calories from coconuts in the pacific have almost non-existent rates of heart disease?1 I put together a little information here for what the research is beginning to see.

    RAW coconut oil may:

    • Fight infection from bacteria, fungus, and viruses (due to lauric acid, the type of fat in coconuts.)2,3,6,7
    • Reduce LDL cholesterol4
    • Reduce blood pressure4
    • Protect from arteriole damage4
    • Pomote weight Loss. Due to the medium chain fatty acid length, coconut oil is theoretically easier to digest and break down, keeping metabolism high.5,8
    • Improve Digestion. Due to the anti-microbial properties of lauric acid, people with IBS have experienced some improvement with indigestion. 3,5,8
    • Support those with liver disease and assist in dissolving kidney stones8
    • Help control blood sugar 2-8 

    I obviously and most certainly have shifted my mindset around raw coconuts and their oils, all starting when I ate one from a local tree and experienced its benefits for myself.  This isn’t the first time I’ve had coconut water though, and I will say I never experienced this same feeling when I had the store bought brand of coconut water.  This MAY be because those brands are almost always pasteurized, which in my opinion totally changes the properties of a food.  In the end, I guess just like kombucha, not all coconut waters and oils are created equal. My opinion is to check out the research yourself and buy the whole and unpasteurized versions if you can. 

    One day I had a coconut for breakfast and for lunch, and I haven’t felt the same since.   I want it again…

    References:

    1) Kaunitz H, Dayrit CS. Coconut oil consumption and coronary heart disease. Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine, 1992;30:165-171

    2) (5) Dr. Mary G. Enig, Ph.D., F.A.C.N. Source: Coconut: In Support of Good Health in the 21st Century

    3) Isaacs CE, Schneidman K. Enveloped Viruses in Human and Bovine Milk are Inactivated by Added Fatty Acids(FAs) and Monoglycerides(MGs), FASEB Journal, 1991;5: Abstract 5325, p.A1288.

    4) Raymond Peat Newsletter, Coconut Oil, reprinted at www.heall.com. http://www.heall.com/body/healthupdates/food/coconutoil.html An Interview With Dr. Raymond Peat,www.heall.com. http://www.heall.com/body/healthupdates/food/coconutoil.html An Interview With Dr. Raymond Peat, A Renowned Nutritional Counselor Offers His Thoughts About Thyroid Disease

    5) St-Onge MP, Jones PJ. Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue, International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders, 2003 Dec;27(12):1565-71. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12975635

    6) Isaacs CE, Litov RE, Marie P, Thormar H. Addition of lipases to infant formulas produces antiviral and antibacterial activity, Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 1992;3:304-308.

    7) Mitsuto Matsumoto, Takeru Kobayashi, Akio Takenakaand Hisao Itabashi. Defaunation Effects of Medium Chain Fatty Acids and Their Derivatives on Goat Rumen Protozoa, The Journal of General Applied Microbiology, Vol. 37, No. 5 (1991) pp.439-445.

    8) Geliebter, A 1980. Overfeeding with a diet of medium-chain triglycerides impedes accumulation of body fat, Clinical Nutrition, 28:595

    ___________________________

    Daina Slekys, MS, MPH is a Nutritionist and co-founder of Health-Ade kombucha, in Los Angeles, CA.  Email Daina your health questions and she’ll be happy to help! daina@health-ade.com

    Daina Slekys Health-Ade

    HEALTH-ADE KOMBUCHA IS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT LOS ANGELES AREA STORES, IN FARMERS’ MARKETS, or it can be delivered right to your door step!

    DELIVERY:

    EMAIL US to schedule your delivery (info@health-ade.com)

    • 12 bottles in a case
    • get any mix of flavors in your case
    • $55 one time or $50 for repeat deliveries

     

    FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    §  GLEN CENTRE, CA (Saturday 9am-2pm)

    §  CALABASAS, CA  (Saturday 8am-1pm)

    §  BRENTWOOD, CA (Sunday 9am-2:30pm)

    §  LARCHMONT, CA  (Sunday 9am-2:30pm)

    §  PACIFIC PALISADES, CA (Sunday 8am-1pm)

    §  MALIBU, CA (Sunday 10am-3pm)

    §  Starting in February, at the Culver City Farmers’ Market (Tuesday 3-7 pm)

    STORES:

    DTLA—

       WEST-SIDE—

       VALLEY—

       MID-CITY—

    KREATION JUICERY LOCATIONS:

    Health-Ade teamed up with acupuncturist and herbologist, Brigita Slekys, to create special Chinese herb-infused elixirs exclusively for Kreation Juicery.  These drinks combine Health-Ade kombucha and custom-built Chinese herbal tinctures to highlight different benefits inherent to kombucha.

    Available at Kreation Juicery in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Manhattan Beach.

    Like Health-Ade on Facebook

    Follow Health-Ade on Twitter

  5. Text post

    WATCH YOUR MOUTH! rethink your bottle

      One of the most common questions I’m getting these days at the Farmers’ Markets is: What can I do with these glass bottles once I’m finished with them? There aren’t just 3 R’s anymore (recycling, re-use, and reduce), there’s a fourth, RE-THINK!  People across our great city of Los Angeles and beyond are stepping up to the plate and rethinking what they purchase and consume, influenced now at least in part by the product’s packaging.  You can see many companies responding to this movement as soon as you walk into the grocery store—-cereals packaged in re-used bags instead of boxes, T-shirts made out of corn husks, and more glass than ever before.  Glass is much better for the environment both in processing and in waste, and is also beautiful!  It truly feels like a waste to throw glass away, especially with how useful these containers can be…

    image

      As you know, Health-Ade is sold in an amber colored glass bottle, made right here in the USA.  We’re quite proud that we don’t use any plastic in our fermentation, production, or distribution, but also feel it to be quite a waste knowing these might end up in someone’s trash bin (GASP)!!!  Unfortunately, new health codes do not permit us to re-use these bottles, although we’d love to be able to.  So, these days we have to get creative!  Here are the top 5 ways our customers re-use their Health-Ade (and other glass beverage) bottles:

    #1:  OLIVE OIL CONTAINER: Spend less $$, maximize flavor, and save time

    • Have you ever seen those large aluminum vats of olive oil they sell at grocery stores, pondered the great price, but then held back from purchasing because ‘how on Earth am I going to manage that kind of a vessel?’  If so, try using your Health-Ade bottle!  Those (pesky) oil vats are anywhere from 10-60% cheaper per mL of olive oil than the easy-to-use glass vessels, so if you invest in the jug, you save money. Just pour 480 mL into your clean Health-Ade bottle and refill as needed—easy to use and pretty to look at on your countertops.  Also, did you know olive oil is sensitive to light and heat? Storing it in a thick amber colored bottle like ours will keep the flavor fresh so your cooking tastes so, too.  Finally, less trips to the store to buy more olive oil saves you time!  You already paid for the bottle, why not give it a try?

    image

    #2: MAKE YOUR OWN CLEANING PRODUCTS: a cleaner way to clean

    • It doesn’t take a smarty-pants to realize that these chemicals we’re using to clean are probably not good for our health, especially when an adult can get dizzy or nauseous just from smelling them (imagine your poor pooch or baby!!!!).  Spraying the air for freshness with a product made with 43 chemicals is probably not a good thing to inhale, eh?  So, let’s clean up our act.  You can easily make your own cleaning products that will keep the smells fresh and keep your house spotless, not to mention your family and body safe.  Mix ingredients into your Health-Ade amber bottle, shake, label, tighten, and VOILA: Made from home cleaning products that are cheaper, effective, and better for you.  Wrap the bottle up for a creative and cute hostess gift! Here are a few recipes you might want to try at home: http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htmimage

    #3: A NEW PLACE FOR FLOWERS: color your home with cool vases

    • Let’s face it, the rustic look is in right now.  High end furniture companies are selling brown colored medicine bottles as vases and accent pieces for $50 per piece or more!!!  Follow the trend without breaking your wallet by putting a stem or two into your Health-Ade bottle. Line a few up on a window sill and you’ll hear the compliments come in.  Easy, cheap, pretty. Feeling extra creative? Spray paint your bottles for a cool look.image

    #4:  GIVE TO THE HOMELESS: find a glass recycling center near you

    • Did you know LA is saturated with plenty of glass recycling plants that give cash for glass? When you have 10 minutes, swing by one of these places on your way to work and drop your empty case off.  There are plenty of homeless and less fortunate people waiting in line to exchange their plastic and glass for money—what a nice surprise to get an extra case from a stranger?  And, as long as it’s rinsed, the glass is 100% recyclable.  It’s just a small way to do good.  Go to http://www.recyclingcenters.org/ to find the closest site to you.

    #5: ADULT BEVERAGES:  bring the cocktail scene to your Summer picnic

    • Spring is almost in the air, and we all know that means more play-time outdoors!  Los Angeles especially takes the outdoor social scene seriously, with outdoor cinemas, beach concerts, and garden picnics with live jazz happening every night of the week.  I’m surprised every time I go to these events—people go all out with what they bring. Not just sandwiches or chips, we’re talking gourmet lasagna’s, kept warm in a hot/cold bag, beautiful fresh salads, and COCKTAILS! Yup, I had a jalepeno and cucumber margarita last week on the beach and it was PHENOMENAL (and 1/3 of the price since I made it myself). No one wants to do any mixing at the beach, though, so why not make a batch at home, pour into your stylish Health-Ade bottles, cap, and bring to your next picnic? Everyone will be lining up to get a taste of your fancy treat. Here’s a recipe of my favorite beach margarita.
    No matter what you do with your glass, please take the time to not throw it in the garbage. At the very least, recycle!  

    ___________________________________________

    Daina Slekys, MS, MPH is a Nutritionist and co-founder of Health-Ade kombucha, in Los Angeles, CA.  Email Daina your health questions and she’ll be happy to help! daina@health-ade.com

    Daina Slekys Health-Ade

    HEALTH-ADE KOMBUCHA IS AVAILABLE AT:

    EMAIL US to ask about CASE (12-PACK) DELIVERY - 

    • One-time delivery is $55 per case
    • Twice-a-month or more delivery is $50 per case
    • Of course, mix and match flavors to complete the case!

    FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    STORES:

    KREATION JUICERY LOCATIONS:

    Health-Ade teamed up with acupuncturist and herbologist, Brigita Slekys, to create special Chinese herb-infused elixirs exclusively for Kreation Juicery.  These drinks combine Health-Ade kombucha and custom-built Chinese herbal tinctures to highlight different benefits inherent to kombucha.

    Available at Kreation Juicery in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Manhattan Beach.

    Like Health-Ade on Facebook

    Follow Health-Ade on Twitter

  6. Text post

    WATCH YOUR MOUTH! It is (in part) your fault.

    GO

    You only have to watch the TV for a few minutes to know what time of year it is—Resolution time, baby!  Indeed, the TV is working over-time telling us to start up that good ol’ annual pledge.  I even saw a commercial promoting a product that helps you lose weight, quit smoking, AND meet the love of your life all in 6 weeks, guaranteed!  (Yes, I was watching an infomercial at 2am.)  Unfortunately, no matter how much promise is behind the promise, statistics say we generally aren’t good about keeping them. Especially when it comes to health, we give up by Valentine’s Day. 

    To me, this is tragic.  We have ALL this good intention, hope, commitment, and drive.  THIS year will be the year I lose that weight, pay off my credit card debt or exercise 3 times a week.  Sound familiar?  Probably all too much for most of us.  And, even with all that honesty and passion, why do we still fail over and over again? More importantly, WHAT in the world can we do to succeed?

    My answer to this may seem a wee-bit harsh, and please take this as sweetly as it’s meant…but…it is (at least a little bit) your fault.  And to get whatever you want, all you need to do is look in the mirror to see that.  Allow me to explain—

    As a nutritionist I hear a lot about what chronically ails people. More importantly, I hear about why.  No matter the reason—whether they suffer from a condition, their living situation won’t allow it, or they don’t have the money—there is often one thing in common: they have nothing to do with it.  It is something that has been done to them.  They have no control over it.  They suffer from it.  It is what it is, and there’s not much they can do about it.  A pill/crash diet/extreme exercise routine seems like a PERFECT idea for a last chance at reaching that dream…Hence, the (failing) resolutions.

    The problem with these excuses is, in my years of counseling people, I’ve found them to be rarely true (and I mean like almost 99.9999% never true).  My experience has shown me that these people are just simply stuck in their current reality.  They’re pointing their finger at something—anything at all—other than inward.  I even had someone once tell me they had a rare condition that didn’t allow them to read maps, so they needed someone else to navigate.  Let’s face it—saying “I can’t do it” has a different ring (and is way easier to say) than “I just don’t do it. It’s not important enough. I don’t want it enough. I don’t prioritize it.”  So, they continue to live to dream.  Perhaps we all do this on some level…

                                     ”Every system is perfectly designed

                                         to achieve the results it gets.”

                                                                  —Paul Batalden, M.D.

    For this new-year, I wanted to offer a different option than to continue this cycle. How about a new resolution—one that asks you to stop looking outward for your solution?  If you want something you don’t have (or have something you don’t want), perhaps start looking in.  For example, think not that you suffer from a condition (that leaves you no way out).  Instead, ask: what am I contributing to this disease?  With every puff I smoke, with every bite I eat, with every sip I drink, I am not helpless or stuck. I am grasping with such a tight grip to this behavior, that I am the one actually doing the sticking.

    I will finish this year’s newest blog with one of my favorite Cherokee proverbs.  I wish you the best of luck in your journey, and your healthiest year yet!

                   —————————————————

    An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

    "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

    The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

    happy new year

                   ——————————————————-

    ____________________________________________________

    Daina Slekys, MS, MPH is a Nutritionist and co-founder of Health-Ade kombucha, in Los Angeles, CA.  Email Daina your health questions and she’ll be happy to help! daina@health-ade.com

    Daina Slekys Health-Ade

    HEALTH-ADE KOMBUCHA IS AVAILABLE AT:

    EMAIL US to ask about CASE (12-PACK) DELIVERY - 

    • One-time delivery is $55 per case
    • Twice-a-month or more delivery is $50 per case
    • Of course, mix and match flavors to complete the case!

    FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    STORES:

    KREATION JUICERY LOCATIONS:

    Health-Ade teamed up with acupuncturist and herbologist, Brigita Slekys, to create special Chinese herb-infused elixirs exclusively for Kreation Juicery.  These drinks combine Health-Ade kombucha and custom-built Chinese herbal tinctures to highlight different benefits inherent to kombucha.

    Available at Kreation Juicery in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Manhattan Beach.

    Like Health-Ade on Facebook

    Follow Health-Ade on Twitter

  7. Text post

    WATCH YOUR MOUTH! getting to know your labels.

    food label

    I was walking through my favorite local grocery store in LA today when I saw America’s favorite brunette wearing Gucci’s newest tee, made of white organic cotton and stamped with a beautiful, shiny, and red apple.  At that moment I was struck at the realities of today: 1) fashion has finally progressed (far) past the rhinestone skull phase (thank the sweet universe); and, 2) healthy living has become more then a style…it’s now a movement.  If you live in a city like I do, where cigarettes and chips have been traded in for yoga mats and kombucha, it’s practically impossible not to take part.  Because I sorta like this trend (I’m writing a food/nutrition blog for pete’s sake), and because I think people are TRYING to purchase things that will improve their health, I want to do my part to ensure this fad doesn’t fade as quickly as the parachute pant.

    The food industry is one of the most profitable in the US, so its products are highly advertised.  Unfortunately, sometimes (actually, often) the “selling” of these goods can hide the truth, and influence us to buy some nutritionally inferior stuff. I’d like to offer 5 tips on what to watch out for on food labels that can help steer you in the right direction.

    1.    LOOK FOR “WHOLE” BEFORE YOUR GRAIN.

    People are well aware of the benefits to eating whole grains. But 9/10 of the ‘whole-wheat-looking’ products on the bread shelf are made with almost no whole wheat at all, so you can be sure people don’t realize they’re buying white bread that’s just been dyed brown. Wheat flour is exactly the same thing as white flour (and semolina and durum). TIP #1: Look at the ingredient list on the label, and ensure that the word ‘WHOLE’ exists before any wheat or grain in the product.

    whole grains

    2.    LOOK BEYOND SUPERFOOD. 

    ‘SUPERFOOD’ is a non-scientific marketing word designed to describe foods that are nutrient-rich and low in calories.  Most people attribute the word to products in this way, like in this month’s L.A. YOGA magazine article, where our very own Health-Ade kombucha was highlighted for its high probiotic content.  The problem is, sometimes the word is slapped on products that do not deserve the term (like the bag of chips I saw today…made with the tiniest amount of kale). “SuperFood” is not defined or regulated by any scientific entity, so describing a food as such on a label is no different than calling it ‘amazing.’ TIP #2: Look PAST the word ‘SuperFood’, and find out from the ingredients and nutrition facts label what you’re actually getting for its awesomeness.

    LA yoga

    3.    LOOK PAST ‘NATURAL’ AND NATURAL LOOKING.

    Unfortunately, the word ‘natural’ or the rustic brown textured label behind it, doesn’t necessarily mean what you want it to. I know, I know—the hand-drawn picture of vibrant spring chickens frolicking in the fields is where you think your eggs come from. But, probably not. ‘Natural’ can be freely used in describing all kinds of foods with ‘not-so-natural’ ingredients, such as red dye, high-fructose corn-syrup, and carbonated water (also known in America as soda). TIP #3: If eating natural foods is important to you, eat more of what’s sold in its original state (eg, whole apples), and less of what’s processed (eg, usually in a box).  When you do eat something in a box, read the ingredients and decide whether YOU think the ingredients are natural enough for you.

    all natural

    4.    LOOK AT THE SERVING SIZE.

    Of the 15 healthy-looking processed products I picked up, ALL of them had a serving size that was surprising to me. For example, in the case of the ‘healthy’ bread—the front label boasts 90 calories per serving, but only upon looking on the back do you see that’s for a mere ½ slice of bread. All of a sudden an intended healthy sandwich becomes calorically the same as a fast-food burger. Be especially careful with beverages.  TIP #4: Do the math yourself—a serving size to you is likely not what the marketer is peddling.

    serving size

    5.    DON’T RELY ON THE FDA ALONE.

    As a food producer and nutritionist, I hear this all the time: Is this FDA-approved ? There is a fundamental problem with this question that reveals our society’s misunderstanding of the scope and responsibility of the FDA. The FDA does not, and never has, regulated a food product as a whole.  For example, to bring a prepackaged food to the shelf, one does not have to first gain approval from the FDA.  While it’s true this governmental organization regulates certain additives for use in food, there is no “certification” required as long as one uses approved or “generally recognized as safe” ingredients.  Food products are supposed to follow FDA’s rules of labeling, but the reality is that many labels on the shelf are less than accurate. Check out this CSPI article if you’re interested in learning more.  This isn’t to say the FDA isn’t trust-worthy; it’s more to say ‘just trust your gut.’  The more ‘whole’ the food, the more you know what’s in it. TIP #5: Eat less processed foods and don’t just swear by the nutrition label.

                                       ______________

    Despite the fact that food labeling can be confusing and often misleading, our reality today is that PEOPLE are trying to get healthy and food producers are trying to meet this demand. This is the direction I know we all want to see! I encourage you to arm yourself with the facts whenever possible and trust your gut when you can’t.  If it tastes like food, smells like food, looks like food (and says it’s food on the nutrition label), it’s probably food. So BON APPETIT and LET’S KEEP GETTING HEALTHY! :)

    ____________________________________________________

    Daina Slekys, MS, MPH is a Nutritionist and co-founder of Health-Ade kombucha, in Los Angeles, CA.  Email Daina your health questions and she’ll be happy to help! daina@health-ade.com

    Daina Slekys Health-Ade

    HEALTH-ADE KOMBUCHA IS AVAILABLE AT:

    EMAIL US to ask about CASE (12-PACK) DELIVERY - 

    • One-time delivery is $55 per case
    • Twice-a-month or more delivery is $50 per case
    • Of course, mix and match flavors to complete the case!

    FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    STORES:

    KREATION JUICERY LOCATIONS:

    Health-Ade teamed up with acupuncturist and herbologist, Brigita Slekys, to create special Chinese herb-infused elixirs exclusively for Kreation Juicery.  These drinks combine Health-Ade kombucha and custom-built Chinese herbal tinctures to highlight different benefits inherent to kombucha.

    Available at Kreation Juicery in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Manhattan Beach.

    Like Health-Ade on Facebook

    Follow Health-Ade on Twitter

  8. Text post

    WATCH YOUR MOUTH! thoughts on juicing and cleansing

    From NYC to LA, it seems that juice and “detox” bars are taking over. As someone who loves to have a fresh organic green juice as a snack or indulges in a cleanse from time to time, I’m quite pleased about this. But the trend has brought up some controversy—to cleanse or not to cleanse? What’s the big deal about juicing? And, does it really detoxify you (what does that even mean?)  Though I can’t speak to all the evidence present on the subject, I will do my best to demystify it and add my thoughts.

    Juicing.

    When I say “juicing” here, I’m not talking about the pasteurized juice you buy in the grocery store, the concentrated juices at places like Jamba, or even the new “pressure pasteurized” stuff that’s popping up at Starbucks. Those I am seriously apprehensive about, especially if linking it to any health benefit at all. What I’m referring to is pressed juice, straight from fresh fruits and vegetables, squeezed out right there in front of you (or if you’re really into it, BY you.)  I don’t think there is a nutritionist out there that will deny the potential healthfulness in a juice like this.  

    Here are the undeniable pro’s—

    • Usually low calorie
    • Many report that it boosts energy and immunity
    • Rich in vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and antioxidants

     What should you watch out for?

    • Juicing reduces the fiber content, so don’t let it replace your veggie intake
    • Can be high in sugar and calories, especially the fruit based varieties (make sure there’s no added sugar)
    • Choose organic—you don’t want to be drinking your pesticides, right?

    For these reasons, I think adding fresh juices as a snack to your diet can be a great idea if you’re so inclined! Try to stick to the organic juices, made predominantly of green vegetables, flavored with a bit of apple or beet if you must.  

    Cleansing.

    Let me start by saying that I’m on day 4 of a particularly tough 7 day “body ecology” cleanse. It’s actually comparatively not a very tough one to do (because you can eat), and I highly suggest it as a good one to choose for those of you looking to start your first cleanse. That said, talk to ANYONE on day 4 of ANY cleanse and they will tell you they are struggling. 

    Why? Because you’re in withdrawal—either from calories overall (aka—you’re just plain hungry) or from something in which you have (often unknowingly) over-indulged.  In a cleanse, whatever your goal, you’re attempting to rid or starve your body of what you think is harmful.  In my case, I chose sugar. And on day 4 without it, my heart is telling me NOOoooo, which is why I almost just called my husband to say, “Forget the kale, bring home some red wine, strawberries, French onion soup, and cheese….STAT! And, throw in some honey, honey.” 

    Truth is, the jury around cleansing is still out (is it really ever in?)  There is no ADA, FDA, WHO, or CDC message that validates cleansing.  Many scientific journals claim that weight loss during a cleanse is just from calorie reduction, and many nutritionists don’t like the idea of such strict dietary restriction because it has the potential to back-fire (like—I’m so hungry I’m looking at my DOG in a different kind of way.)  They’re not wrong.

    But, here’s what they’re missing: cleanses aren’t always just about the calories or the science. I would bet that those of you who have taken part in a greater-than-3-day cleanse know you come out a slightly different person then you went in.  We all do it for different reasons, but for me it’s what I call the “reset” button. 

    I’m a very healthy eater usually, but over time I tend to digress.  Especially as the holidays come closer, I find I’m eating not just a piece of fruit with my yogurt, but a whole bowl of strawberries; or not just wine on the weekends, but Tuesdays and Thursdays too (and Mondays).  For me, taking a week off of eating the things in which I have a tendency to over-indulge (alcohol, sugar, alcohol, bread, alcohol) allows me to realize how much of this stuff I was accustomed to eating! Today I realized I would have had 5 servings of honey—something even as a nutritionist I didn’t realize I was doing.

    I like to cleanse because it gives my body a chance to get over these cravings so I can start anew again.  Also, I find that the week after a cleanse, I feel a sense of lightness and cleanliness in my mind AND body, almost like I was detoxed.  I realize this feeling of “lightness” isn’t scientifically validated, but that doesn’t make it untrue. (Could THIS be science’s limitation—how could we quantify “feeling good” anyway?) That said, there is some evidence that high amounts of green vegetables and algae can actually have a detoxing effect through chelation (removing heavy metals). So, it’s not totally implausible that I feel this way either. 

    Whatever the reason a person engages in a cleanse, what they need is your encouragement. Their intention is to do something healthy for themselves, and the sacrifice makes it difficult to do. Even if you think it’s not a good idea, remember that science can’t explain it all—and if it’s a cleanse that gets them to realize that pizza and beer ain’t good for breakfast, then they should GET TO IT! As I always say, you’ll never know until you try. 

    _____________________________

    Daina Slekys, MS, MPH is a Nutritionist and co-founder of Health-Ade kombucha, in Los Angeles, CA.  Email Daina your health questions and she’ll be happy to help! daina@health-ade.com

    Daina Slekys Health-Ade

    Health-Ade Kombucha is Available At:

    EMAIL US to ask about case (12-pack) delivery

    • One-time delivery is $55
    • Twice-a-month recurring delivery is $50
    • Of course, mix and match flavors to complete the case!

    FARMERS’ MARKETS:

    STORES:

    KREATION JUICERY LOCATIONS:

    Health-Ade teamed up with acupuncturist and herbologist, Brigita Slekys, to create special Chinese herb-infused elixirs exclusively for Kreation Juicery.  These drinks combine Health-Ade kombucha and custom-built Chinese herbal tinctures to highlight different benefits inherent to kombucha.

    Available at Kreation Juicery in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Manhattan Beach.

    Like Health-Ade on Facebook

    Follow Health-Ade on Twitter

  9. Text post

    WATCH YOUR MOUTH! Follow Your Gut.

     orange

    A good friend opened a conversation with me the other day: “Don’t bother taking Vitamin C when you start feeling sick because a recent study proves it has no effect.”  This is the kind of suggestion that literally floods my inbox.  Comments like “there is no proof that acupuncture works” and headlines that read “Kombucha—just another sugar water?” are a part of my daily life as a nutritionist, and I’m sure for you as well if you condone anything holistic.  The major problem with all these statements is that they’re often wrong.

    There are over 10,000 scientific studies published in the US every single month, making it basically impossible to keep up with what’s current. This amount of information being thrown at us, especially for those that try to keep up, forces us to base conclusions on a language we don’t really understand (but think we do.) We are well-intentioned humans just trying to do the right thing to be healthy, but because most of us are not statisticians, our “take-away’s” from the studies are actually assumptions, and therefore…wrong.

    Today I’d like to attempt to very simply (re)introduce some facts about the scientific method, so you can begin to arm yourself with the truth as you combat the daily whirlwind of “you should’s” and “you should not’s.”

    1)      When a study does NOT show a correlation between 2 things, it is 100% INCORRECT to conclude that those 2 things are not correlated. All it means when no correlation is seen is that this particular trial was unable to find one.  Many studies, especially if they’re not set up appropriately, will fail to show a difference in populations when in fact there is one. So, whenever you read a headline that suggests “no link,” make a note to yourself that this is not a correct conclusion. Just because you don’t see stars in the sky doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

    2)      When a GOOD study does show a significant difference between 2 populations, your conclusion here can be a bit more validated. If you’re starting with 2 very similar groups of people and your results over time show that a certain behavior separated one group from the other, there’s probably truth to saying that behavior will likely beget that result. The larger and more significant the difference, the more likely this is to be true.

    3)      Saying something showed a “significant” change in a study does NOT mean the same thing as a big change. When something is “significantly” deemed different in science, all we are saying is that more than 95% of the time you can expect to see a difference, even if the difference is small. You will see this notated on a study as a “p-value” (if a result is deemed true 95% of the time, its p-value will be 0.05.) If it is found to be true only 94% of the time (p-value 0.06), it is not deemed significant, just the same as if it’s only found to be true 10% of the time (p-value 0.9.) Obviously you can see that 10% and 94% are vastly different, and that the number 95% is somewhat arbitrary, so I hope you understand from this that “significance” in a study needs to be further looked into before you make assumptions.

    4)      The original scientific method suggests that in order to show something to be true, you must prove all of the following steps to be true…Almost no study I read actually does this:

    • The study must start with at least two similar populations large in size, behaviors, demographics, and characteristics.
    • The introduced behavior demonstrates a significant difference between the 2 groups.
    • Taking away that behavior alleviates the difference in the 2 groups (they are the same again).
    •  Re-introducing the behavior demonstrates the same significant difference as it did before.
    • Removing the behavior yet again alleviates the difference in the 2 populations again.

    5)      There are many different types of studies, and what we take from each kind of study should be different. Here are the most common types (definitely NOT an exhaustive list):

    1. Prospective studies: these start with at least 2 similar groups (think apples to apples)—the first asked to take on one behavior, the second to take on another behavior, and after a certain amount of time has gone by, the scientists measure the difference in the groups. This is how most drug trials are set up.  When done correctly, these often expensive studies are the most reliable sources of science, especially if they demonstrate a large and significant difference between the groups at the end of the study. I emphasize “correctly” here because many many many prospective studies fail to set up their trials with the best integrity, tarnishing their results.
    2. Retrospective studies: this is when you take data from the past to find correlations. Let’s say you wanted to see whether patients with hypertension AND diabetes are more likely to have a heart attack than those with just hypertension—you might look at past hospital records of heart attack patients and note which had what conditions and base conclusions on what you’ve found.  Because we are looking at the past, and we’re not really sure we are comparing apples to apples, you can probably imagine that there are limitations to any conclusions you make here. Patterns you find in a retrospective study are not conclusive; they are suggestions upon which we might want to build a prospective study around.
    3. Meta-analysis: this is when someone compiles information from many different past completed studies on a particular subject and essentially reads it as one. Take colds and vitamin C as an example: the data from hundreds of smaller studies have been aggregated together to make one bigger study from which to make conclusions. This kind of study can be very dangerous from which to make any conclusions, because we are most certainly NOT comparing apples to apples (we’re talking about entirely different studies being looked at as one). But as with retrospective analyses, if you see a correlation, it may warrant future research.
    4. Population or epidemiological studies: this is a type of research often used in public health to help suggest hypotheses for future studies. It’s used when you look at something like global heart attack rates, and you see that the US has much higher rates than Japan. You might also look at what behaviors the 2 populations engage in to see if there’s a difference. Your population/epi study might show that Japanese eat more fish, which could help fuel your hypothesis that fish-eating may ward off heart disease, but you CANNOT conclude this until you study it prospectively.
    5. Reviews: reviews should look at ALL the good studies done on a subject and summarize the results.  These can be great if you’re trying to make a conclusion for yourself about a behavior. But, again, if the studies its reviewing aren’t any good, neither is it.
                                                    ___________________________

    In conclusion, science isn’t perfect.  It has limitations, just like everything else, and we should always take anything we read about science with a grain of salt. I hope after reading this blog you better  understand (even a little bit more) what to be skeptical of, what you should and shouldn’t assume, and what to do with the information you read.

    Remember, just because a study hasn’t been done, or just because a study didn’t show a correlation, doesn’t mean you should wait to introduce that behavior (or remove that behavior) if you think it can help or hurt you. This is where your intelligence must come in to play!  For example, even though there has yet to be robust proof around organic being “healthier” for you…do YOU think eating pesticide-laden veggies and fruits will have an impact on your health? How about with kombucha? Even though a prestigious scientific journal hasn’t published whether it actually improves your energy or boosts your immunity, but when YOU drink it YOU feel the difference (and so do thousands of others), what conclusion will YOU make here?  To sum it up, I think science is important, but we can’ t loose our own voice to the limitations in literature. Sometimes, you just have to FOLLOW YOUR GUT.

    _____________________________

    Daina Slekys, MS, MPH is a Nutritionist and co-founder of Health-Ade kombucha, in Los Angeles, CA.  Email Daina your health questions she’ll be happy to help! daina@health-ade.com

    Daina Slekys Health-Ade

    Health-Ade kombucha is available for purchase at:

    Like Health-Ade on Facebook

    Follow Health-Ade on Twitter

  10. Text post

    WATCH YOUR MOUTH! 10 facts about organic farming (and eating.)

    USDA

    I was walking around and chomping on a “pink lady” in LA today, looking for a bigger space to make our kombucha and for a little blog-inspiration (sorry I haven’t been here in a while I was off getting hitched!), when a man somewhere in his 40’s started a conversation with me. Dressed in scrubs and a white coat that labeled him “urologist,” I assumed he was a…er…urologist (I know, I’m a rocket scientist.) He asked, “you don’t really believe in that stuff, do you?,” as he pointed to my re-usable bag that said EAT ORGANIC. “IT’s all a bunch of horse-dung, and a marketing ploy that the companies use to get ladies like you to pay $5 for that apple.” This isn’t the first time I’ve sensed energy around the topic of organic, so I’d like to discuss this today.

    While there is SOME evidence supporting that ingestion of organic food is “better” for you, it’s not exactly robust yet. So, you have a good amount of folks that are still nay-sayers. That said, if you’re anything like me and thousands of others, you don’t HAVE to wait for science to tell you what to do. Actually, YOU DO have a choice (and a mind by the way.) I ask you to ask yourself what YOU think as you read this…

    ORGANIC FARM AND FOOD, some facts.

    1.       Organic farmers must engage in soil building practices (such as crop rotating) in order to create a ground that is rich in natural flora and nutrients. These soils are more stable and need less fertilizer.

    2.       If needed, organic farmers are only allowed to use organic fertilizers (think compost), which don’t pollute the groundwater. Groundwater pollution caused by synthetic fertilizers is a very big and expensive problem, and countries like France and Germany are close to outlawing it.

    3.       Organic farms are not using chemicals that require large fossil fuel support, so this kind of farming significantly reduces its eaters’ carbon foot-print.

    4.       A recent meta-analysis of over 700 papers  showed that organic farms produced more biodiversity than non-organic, meaning more organisms and plants want to grow there. Rahmann et al.

    5.       Organic farms are strictly prohibited from using genetically modified foods in ANY part of their production.

    6.        Organic farmers must abide by all the same safety laws of normal food production (CODEX and HACCP), and there is no evidence (or good ground) that eating organic will increase your exposure to contaminants.

    7.       Working on an organic farm exposes you to less chemicals than on a conventional farm.

    8.       There is a government document that ranks the amount of pesticide residue on conventional foods by the time they reach your table.  By simply choosing to buy organic in the top 12 food categories on this list, you will reduce your exposure to these chemicals by an estimated 80%. 

    ·         Those “dirty dozen”  for this year are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, kale.

    9.       Organic foods are prohibited from using almost all additives, colorings, and preservatives, unless they are naturally occurring (like lemon juice.)

    10.   Organic farmers of meats and cheeses are not allowed to use hormones, antibiotics, or synthetic chemicals when raising their livestock. Studies have shown these meats have higher levels of nutrients, including vitamin E and omega-3 (consumer reports, 2007.)

    ____________

    When I look at these 10 facts—and I imagine the impact on the environment, the animals, and me—I personally see what I like to call a “no-brainer” choice here. Sure, we can wait around for decades for the studies to show that perverting our soils will in turn pervert our plants and animals which will in turn pervert us, but I think I’m going to rely on my noggin’ here instead. So—to the gentleman who quite aggressively interrupted my gander in the street—Thanks for the inspiration! I’ll keep eating this apple, thank you very much. And, it wasn’t 5 dollars…it was 2.  :)

    grandma_____________________________

    Daina Slekys, MS, MPH is a Nutritionist and co-founder of Health-Ade kombucha, in Los Angeles, CA.  Email Daina your health questions she’ll be happy to help! daina@health-ade.com

    Daina Slekys Health-Ade

    Health-Ade kombucha is available for purchase at:

    Like Health-Ade on Facebook

    Follow Health-Ade on Twitter

Design by Firebomb | Studios