Lettuce Discuss … “That” Chocolate Spread!

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Before we became Vegan we both used to love this “Spread” Once we had a look inside the Ingredients…

We were amazed. Here is the break down and how they get the ingredient.

Sugar: NOT GOOD, Refined sugar is made from a processing and bleaching process, not bleach off the shelf but chemicals that react to make it white. Often Bone Char (taken from the bones of murdered cattle) is used in refining sugar. Unless you know where the sugar comes from it may not be Vegan. Know your food!

Unrefined beet sugar is perfect, no bone char is introduced anywhere near it as are turbinado sugar, organic evaporated cane juice, organic dehydrated cane juice, and organic cane sugar.

Palm Oil: NOT GOOD, Our old friend Palm Oil. Palm oil is worse in some instances than animal fats (not that I would ingest either) Palm Oil causes Hypertension, It is high in fat, it is a saturated fat, its high in cholesterol, it is also reported to block the receptors in the brain that shout out “I’m full, stop eating”. Palm Oil also causes inflammation that is linked to insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes)! It’s associated with obesity and other metabolic disorders. On a humanitarian level the planting of palms for palm oil is cutting back the natural environment for Orang Utans, if they could speak I would imagine they would hate palm oil too.

Hazelnuts: GOOD, some people are allergic to hazelnuts but they are generally good for you. They are rich in dietry fibre and folates, are a great source of energy, contain vitamin E, they are full of health promoting phyto chemicals. Pretty good and quite sweet too. We avoid them here because Hema is REALLY allergic so we have no cross contamination.

Cocoa: GOOD, Cocoa solids are one of the richest sources of flavanol antioxidants. Oh yeah, cocoa is great for migraines, menstrual pains, and just tastes really good. No complaints over cocoa.

Skim Milk: NOT GOOD, A study conducted by the University of Hawaii in 2007 suggested that drinking, using in cooking of low fat milk (skimmed) may increase the risk of low-grade prostate cancer tumors. Did you know that to get a cow to produce milk they first get it pregnant and then take the calf away so it keeps producing milk!

 Whey (milk): NOT GOOD, derived from milk see above.

 Lecithin (soy): NOT GOOD, see our blog on soy lecithin

Artificial Vanillin: NOT GOOD, artificial vanillin is made up from petroleum! Yep if you want some fuel (and I mean FOSSIL Fuels) eat nutella and other chemically derived spread! However, Organic Vanillin is good.

Next up: Our recipe for a Super Delicious Vegan Chocolate Spread!

Many Blessings!

Mako & Hema

Lettuce Discuss… Gluten, what you should know!

Gluten

Lettuce Discuss… Gluten, what you should know!

Gluten consists of two proteins… gliadin and glutenin. It is the gliadin part that people react negatively to. Gluten is a name for a family of proteins found in wheat, barley and rye. It is also found in spelt, triticale, kamut, faro and einkorn these are close relatives of wheat. Sometimes the term is used to describe rice as in Glutenous, this is in fact totally wrong -rice protein has no gluten and is therefore safe to eat.

Here’s the dilemma, Oats do not contain Gluten. They are Gluten free. However, the way Oats are processed in the USA and Britain cross contaminates with Gluten and in some instances they add wheat flour to the Oats as a thickening agent. If they are really Gluey and stick elastic when cooked guess what, that’s the GLUten. The word itself is derived from Latin for GLUE.

So when you go to buy Oats, make sure it says “Gluten free”, that’s what we do!

Anyone who has tried to remove gluten from their diet will tell you that gluten is in almost everything. As a common additive it is found in thousands of processed foods, and that’s where the major problem is found.

Gluten can cause damaging health issues on its own, but processed gluten is even worse especially when its added to processed foods like pasta, bread, oatmeal, and cereal.

Gluten typically in its natural form is not harmful for people who are healthy, if taken in very small amounts, but off a factory conveyor belt somewhere after being processed, it becomes a substance that the body will not tolerate and in some instances is very toxic.

Wheat Gluten Can Cause the following…

Celiac Disease

When gluten is exposed to the cells of the immune system in the digestive tract, they believe it is coming from some sort of foreign body, like a bacteria. This then Causes the immune system to “mount an attack”, against it. The Gluten proteins are then attacked by the immune system, which also attacks “tissue transglutaminase”, this is an enzyme found in the cells of the digestive tract.

Therefore, Celiac disease is known as an autoimmune disorder because the system attacks both the Gluten and the body’s own cells in the intestinal wall.

Be warned this reaction can cause degeneration of the intestinal wall and also lead to various nutrient deficiencies and digestive issues such as anemia and fatigue. These can lead on to many more serious and life threatening diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis.

Gluten Sensitivity

Anotherdisorder called Gluten Sensitivity is much more common in the general population, this basically means having some sort of adverse reaction to gluten and an eradication of these symptoms is obtained through removing Gluten from your diet. If you have reaction to gluten but celiac disease is ruled out. The technical term is “non-Celiac gluten sensitivity”. There is no attack on the body’s own systems with Non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Many of the symptoms however mimic those in celiac disease, these include bloating, stomach pain, fatigue, diarrhea, also joints and bone pain.

Gluten Can Cause Adverse Effects In People Who Don’t Have Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity

I know that this sounds contradictory but we are using examples from modern (chemical Medicine reports), which are often contradictory anyway. If for instance you have “Irritable Bowl Syndrome” or (IBS) which is very common affecting about 14% of US citizens and you eat a gluten diet the Gluten will have a negative effect on the function of the intestine as a barrier to the bloodstream. This is due to the fact that Gluten causes the intestine to become inflamed and degenerates the lining. This then allows leakage into the bloodstream. This is also true of anyone who suffers with Gastro intestinal problems, ulcers and lesions to name two.

Studies show that individuals (especially IBS patients) who have not been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity do have negative and adverse reactions to gluten. However, according to many doctors this isn’t happening! You just have IBS or Ulcers; it can’t possibly be Gluten Insensitivity.

 

Gluten May Be Addictive

Do you get unnatural cravings for bread? Doughnuts? These are common cravings right? Maybe not.

When you break gluten down in a test tube you will find peptides (small proteins) called exorphins. This is a peptide not formed in the body but they can activate *opioid receptors in the brain. The vicious circle is you eat gluten, the brain says, “I like gluten” then it sends signals saying “more gluten NOW”!

It is a well-known fact that sugar is the most addictive food item but, did you know that wheat is the second most addictive?

*(Opiods are the bit that says I NEEEEEED that again, it controls the addictive bit of your brain)

Some Brain Disorders Have Now Been Associated With Gluten And Sufferers Now See Dramatic Improvements On A Gluten-Free Diet

Lets get technical for a minute. The official name for this is “Gluten-Sensitive Idiopathic Neuropathy”, in 53 patients who were involved in a study 57% (30 patients) had antibodies in their blood attacking Gluten. The main neurological disorder that gluten has been attributed to is “Cerebellar Ataxia”; this condition in the brain affects the ability to coordinate balance, problems with speech and movements. It is now known that Ataxia is linked directly to Gluten Consumption. This causes irreversible damage to the brain and is called “Gluten Ataxia”. Patients have shown slight improvements to this condition when they completely remove Gluten from their diets.

 Other brain disorders that respond really well to a Gluten Free diet are…

Autism: several studies show improvements in symptoms when they follow a Gluten free diet.

Epilepsy: there are many reports from epileptic patients saying that they have significant improvements by removing Gluten from their diet.

Schizophrenia: these patients see enormous improvements by having a Gluten Free Diet.

Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases are diseases in which the body’s immune system attacks organs and or anything found naturally within it.

Many statistics show a relationship between autoimmune diseases and Gluten. These include Celiac disease as mentioned above, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Graves disease, Type 1 Diabetes, and Multiple Sclerosis to name a few. Removing Gluten completely from the diet has seen many improvements in all of these diseases.

We are not saying it is a cure for any of these conditions, but what we are saying is “what have you got to lose”?

You will see the benefits of a gluten free diet pretty much within a week or two. For me the weight started to drop off. I was feeling more comfortable after eating. The permanent swelling and bloating that I had in my stomach disappeared!

Give it 1 month without Gluten and see if you feel better, I would wager that you do!

We both did and still do. We have no cravings for donuts or bread as most things we can find Vegan, Gluten and soy free. If we cant, we make it ourselves. See our pancake blog!

 Many blessings

Mako and Hema

Lettuce Discuss… Agave Syrup or Agave Nectar…Harmful or good for you?

AGAVE_Nectar

Lettuce Discuss… Agave Syrup or Agave Nectar…Harmful or good for you? 

First of all there is no such thing as Agave Nectar, this is a marketing name that was thought up in the 1990’s to make us all think that this is a natural, traditional syrup. Let me assure you it is not. The agave we buy in the store has been dramatically processed to turn it into very high fructose syrup.

Agave syrup is subjected to enzymatic and chemical processes, not what you would call “organic, raw, or natural”

The content of this can range from 70% to over 90% Fructose.

Fructose doesn’t send any signals to the brain to say “I’m Full”, it also affects the memory and it can only be metabolized through the liver, this in turn places a burden on the liver. It has also been shown that refined fructose negatively interferes with the hearts use of key minerals, for example magnesium.

Studies also show that the liver from people who use large amounts of fructose develop fatty deposits and cirrhosis.

Fructose could also contribute to diabetes, the insulin receptors sensitivity can be reduced, and there by raising insulin levels and this then contributes to metabolic syndrome.

For all you students out there who live on a High Fructose diet think of this…

An experiment was conducted using 2 groups of Lab rats and a maze one group were fed on a high fructose diet as well as rat food, the other just on rat food. The group fed with high fructose after six weeks were slower and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity.

So bare this in mind it can impede your mental ability.

This is reversible and can be helped by taking DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and Omega 3 fatty acids.

The full report is at http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/this-is-your-brain-on-sugar-ucla-233992.aspx

So is Agave good or bad?

For us -we will never use it again!

Many Thanks and bless you,

Mako and Hema

The following links will be useful in your own research

http://www.sott.net/article/259915-High-Fructose-Corn-Syrup-Bad-for-the-brain

http://news.yale.edu/2013/01/04/study-suggests-effect-fructose-brain-may-promote-overeating

http://www.foodrenegade.com/agave-nectar-good-or-bad/

http://realfoodforager.com/why-i-never-use-agave/

http://www.westonaprice.org/modern-foods/agave-nectar-worse-than-we-thought

http://www.treelight.com/health/nutrition/Agave.html

 

Lettuce Discuss… Sodium Caseinate (Milk Powder)

Sodium Caseinate

Sodium Caseinate

Often, foods and other lifestyle choices can aggravate an existing health issue and if not, staying informed and taking care of what you eat is an important part of healthy living. The information here is intended to give you a starting point if you suspect that your diet or lifestyle may be affecting your health.

This product is found in most powdered drinks supplied by coffee houses.

They may tell you that there is no dairy but read on. This is used in coffee whiteners, and powder based coffee additives.

Sodium Caseinate is the biochemical name for casein, this a protein that is found in the milk of all mammals.

Casein, is the Latin for “cheese” it is a major component of commercially produced cheeses and the principle protein.

Casein is also used as a food additive and for industrial purposes. Some people are allergic to sodium caseinate.

Casein also has a similar protein structure to Gluten, therefore anyone with a gluten allergy should avoid anything that contains this.

It has been linked to many human diseases, mainly autism and gastrointestinal problems. In additional to possible triggers for seizures.  (Ask a traditional or homeopathic doctor)

Monosodium glutamate (also known as MSG, Gelatin, Calcium Caseinate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Textured Protein, Monopotassium glutamate, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Yeast Extract, Glutamate, Autolyzed Plant Protein Yeast, Glutamic Acid, Sodium Caseinate, Autolyzed Yeast) is a commonly-used flavor-enhancer found in packaged foods and in some restaurants.

Check the labeling or ask at the restaurant!

Is Sodium Caseinate Vegetarian or Vegan?

Sodium Caseinate is made from “milk whey” by a chemical process. If you are Lacto-Vegetarian it’s OK to use, But if you are full vegetarian or vegan it is an animal product so NO!

What is Sodium Caseinate?

Being a derivative of milk, it is dairy. However, the protein has been so altered the F D A does not consider it to be dairy. Therefore, companies are allowed to use this additive as a “non-dairy” product.  Interesting!

What is the formula for Sodium Caseinate?

The formula is NaCAS

What is Sodium Caseinate Made of?

They take the milk and extract the Casein Acid and then react it with Sodium Hydroxide, this becomes “ Sodium Caseinate”. Its used as a dietary supplement and is a modified dairy product.

Some Non-Dairy Coffee Creamers use “Sodium Caseinate”.

Some Vegan and Vegetarian Protein powders use “Sodium Caseinate”.

Check your labels!