Category: Uncategorized

October 5, 2017

Nothing Good About Artificial Sweeteners

I got quoted on the badness of artificial sweeteners in Vitacost’s blog. Here’s the full story by John Egan:

Unpacking the “Baggage” of Artificial Sweeteners

John Egan September 29, 2017 0 Nutrition

Once you’ve read this story, you might be soured on the presence of artificial sweeteners in beverages, baked goods and other foods.

Several studies published this year alone have cast serious doubts on the nutritional benefits of artificial sweeteners and, in fact, have raised concerns about whether they actually can harm your health.

At every turn, however, supporters of artificial sweeteners have thrown water on the results of these studies, contending that fake sugar helps people lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“When artificial sweeteners started gaining popularity, it seemed like they were a godsend for people who were watching their weight or had chronic health problems. Little did we know these little packets of sweetness came along with huge baggage,” says registered nurse Rebecca Lee, founder of RemediesForMe.com.

What follows is a brief rundown of three of the recent studies, along with a counterargument for each study’s findings.

Australian study

At the annual meeting in September of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Australian researchers presented results of a study suggesting artificial sweeteners might increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Counterargument: In a rebuttal to the Australian study, the International Sweeteners Association notes that for people with diabetics, low-calorie sweeteners “can aid in glucose control and offer broader food choices by providing the pleasure of sweet taste without raising blood glucose.”

Second Australian study

Published in August in the journal Cell Metabolism, a study led by Australia’s University of Sydney found that the combination of artificial sweeteners and a low-carb diet could significantly bump up calorie consumption.

“Although originally considered benign, a growing body of research including our own makes clear a connection between artificial sweeteners, hunger and food intake,” says lead researcher Greg Neely, associate professor of life and environmental sciences at the University of Sydney.

Counterargument: In a May news release, the International Sweeteners Association maintains that including low-calorie sweeteners in your diet is “a useful strategy that can help control caloric intake and probably also help combat cravings for sweet-tasting foods.”

Canadian study

A study published in July by the Canadian Medical Association Journal concluded that artificial, or non-nutritive, sweeteners might be linked to long-term weight gain and a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, “although the evidence is conflicting.”

“Caution is warranted until the long-term health effects of artificial sweeteners are fully characterized,” lead author Dr. Meghan Azad, assistant professor of health sciences at the University of Manitoba, says in a news release.

Counterargument: In response to the Canadian study, the International Sweeteners Association says that “a strong body of human trials have consistently shown that low-calorie sweeteners can be helpful in weight control, when used in place of sugar and as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.” Given the way the study was designed, the association asserts that it wouldn’t have been possible to determine low-calorie sweeteners are connected to weight gain or heart disease.

What are artificial sweeteners?

Before we delve further into the world of artificial sweeteners, let’s review the six that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

  • Saccharin, sold under the Sweet’N Low name and other brand names.
  • Aspartame, whose familiar brand names include Equal and Nutrasweet.
  • Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), marketed as Sunett and Sweet One.
  • Sucralose, sold under the Splenda brand name.
  • Neotame, available as Newtame.

Good or not so bad?

As you’d expect, sentiments among those who hate artificial sweeteners and those who at least somewhat embrace them are fervent.

“There is absolutely nothing good about artificial sweeteners,” says nutritionist Sue Rose, author of “Claim Your Best Body – The Easier Way!”

Rose and other critics insist no one should eat or drink anything with artificial sweeteners in it.

“I say avoid them like the plague,” certified holistic nutritionist Karen Brennan says.

However, professionals like registered dietitian Kim Melton don’t advocate shunning artificial sweeteners altogether.

“There have been numerous studies proving the safety of these products in normal amounts. They are useful for diabetics and those who want to control weight by cutting calories,” Melton says. “I support the use of them in moderation.”

Dietitian and chef Bev Mayfair offers a similar take on artificial sweeteners. She advises her clients that it’s OK to consume these sweeteners, but just not on a regular basis.

“Artificial sweeteners can be a great substitute for sugar when you are reducing your sugar intake to improve your health, but they should be used sparingly and not be relied on to provide sweetness. In other words, they should be used a bridge to help you get from a diet high in sugar to one that is low in sugar,” Mayfair says.

“A healthy diet is one low in sugar, so we should be trying to reduce the sweet foods we eat instead of trying to maintain the sweetness in our lives with artificial sweeteners.”

What are the alternatives to traditional sugar alternatives?

If you’re aiming to banish the six FDA-approved artificial sweeteners from your diet or just cut back on their consumption, experts recommend the following alternatives.


This is an all-natural, plant-based substitute for sugar that’s extracted from the stevia plant.

On his website, Dr. Andrew Weil, an alternative medicine guru, says no-calorie stevia is safer than aspartame, saccharin and sucralose, and he’s “seen no compelling evidence that stevia poses a threat to human health.”

The FDA has not given its full blessing to stevia, although the regulatory agency says the sweetener is generally regarded as safe.

Brand names of stevia include Truvia, PureVia and Enlighten.

Monk fruit sweeteners

Like stevia, Luo Han Guo extracts are an all-natural, plant-based substitute for sugar. This no-calorie sweetener comes from monk fruit.

“Scientific research and a long history of safe use show that monk fruit sweeteners can be safely consumed,” according to the International Food Information Council Foundation.

The FDA has not formally approved Luo Han Guo extracts, although the regulatory agency says they’re generally regarded as safe.


As explained by nutritionist Keith Kantor, honey is mostly sugar. Compared with pure sugar, though, your body expends more energy to break down honey as glucose. Therefore, he says, you wind up consuming fewer calories from honey than you do from sugar.


Yes, some nutrition professionals really do give you permission to eat sugar, as long as you don’t overdo it. In fact, Brennan, the certified holistic nutritionist, says that when faced with a choice between a soda that’s sweetened with sugar and a soda that’s sweetened artificially, you should go with the sugary option.

If you’re committed to dumping beverages that contain either artificial sweeteners or sugar, Dr. Morton Tavel, clinical professor emeritus of medicine at Indiana University, recommends what he says is the best and cheapest solution: pure, unadulterated water.

“If you cannot tolerate plain old water, seltzer or unsweetened tea may be an acceptable alternative,” Tavel says.




March 30, 2017

The Best Single Exercise

I call this the Rotating Plank. It tones your core, arms, shoulders, legs, obliques–really EVERYTHING–
and you can do it in a few minutes. Try it out!

March 16, 2017

The Key to Losing Weight

My article showed up today on Brain Hackers.com…and it’s taken directly from my book.

This is the nitty-gritty in 5 minutes, so you can get started on your summer body today!


“I enjoy walking outside and taking in the natural sounds of birds and the wind rustling the leaves. I can get extreme pleasure just from looking up at the sky—even when I walk in the city.”
The key to getting and/or staying lean and avoiding diseases (such as Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even some cancers) is to maintain your sensitivity to insulin.
Insulin? What’s that?
Insulin is a very important hormone manufactured by your pancreas. Your simple choices about what you eat most often and how you exercise can make you insulin sensitive (GOOD) or insulin resistant (VERY BAD). Insulin resistance leads to obesity, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Insulin Sensitivity: KEEPING THE FAT OFF

Can you guess what this little guy is?
It’s a mitochondrion (not to be confused with a hypochondriac). One makes energy, and the other makes excuses.
This is a little energy factory. There are millions of mitochondria in your body, and they are responsible for producing the simplest unit of energy that keeps your body alive: ATP. Interestingly, the mitochondria live in our muscle tissue. Most of them live in a certain kind of muscle called the slow twitch muscles. These are the large muscles that govern movement that requires oxygen, like your diaphragm and your larger leg muscles.
The mitochondria are where your insulin resistance or insulin sensitivity takes place. You want to be sensitive to insulin. That keeps you burning fat. When your body becomes resistant to insulin, you store fat. Not only that, but your body produces huge quantities of insulin because of your acquired resistance to it—and irritates your blood vessel linings (read: cardiovascular disease) as well as causing the start of other degenerative diseases.


Here’s some good news for people who don’t like to exercise much:
The way you exercise can actually increase your sensitivity to insulin, thereby causing you to burn fat more often! It just so happens that your walking muscles comprise about 70% of your total muscle mass, and most of our mitochondria reside in our walking (slow twitch) muscles!
You’ve got three kinds of muscle fibers: slow twitch, fast twitch, and super-fast twitch. Slow twitch fibers contract more slowly and require oxygen like when you are walking or jogging, and breathing (diaphragm). Fast twitch fibers contract quickly and don’t require oxygen. You use your fast twitch muscles while weight lifting, and your super-fast twitch muscles are engaged in activities like sprinting.
Scientists did a study in Switzerland to find out which exercise worked better at increasing insulin sensitivity: walking up and riding down the mountain, OR riding up and walking down. Results proved that riding up and walking downhill improved insulin sensitivity more. Hallelujah!
I don’t want to discourage you from weight lifting or sprinting. But really, now. We’re looking for the easier way to get to your body goals—and we’re going step-by-step. Feel free to add in sprinting and weight lifting. But remember: When you exercise too vigorously, like the guy sweating on the treadmill, you are working too hard to burn fat efficiently.
About Slow Twitch Sleep Mode and the Fidget Factor
Your slow twitch muscles will go into sleep mode unless you use them every 24-48 hours, depending on your normal activity level. People like me (hyperactive) who are always moving around, tend to stay leaner because they are keeping those mitochondria out of sleep mode. If you have a desk job, for example, you will need that walk every day. Fidgeters and people who move around at their jobs all day long may only need the walk every second or third day in order to keep the mitochondria awake.
To Melt Fat, Take a Fat-Burning Walk 5 Days a Week
If you have fat on your body you’d like to see disappear, walk in the fat-burning zone 30 minutes a day. Do this 5 to 7 days a week to see quick results. If you are looking to stay lean (but not lose more fat), you still need to do it, but only around 3 days a week, depending on your activity level and fidget factor. Add this non-exercise regimen to my dietary recommendations for turning your body into a Mean, Lean, Fat-Burning Machine and you will uncover your body’s vibrant health!
Get more tips on claiming vibrant health in the eBook, Claim Your Best Body – The Easier Way!


February 23, 2017


best exercise, toning, core, arms, shoulders, legs, waist, back

Let’s Lose Ten Pounds Together!

OMG! It’s almost March and time to prepare for skimpier clothing. I’ve got to admit that I have been lacking motivation to get back into shape after gaining 8 lbs. with my two back-to-back foot surgeries. How about you? Carrying a little extra baggage left over from the holidays?

These feet are healed and I am happily exercising again. Pickleball and hiking in the foothills are feeling awfully good. But the weight is not going away!

Besides my preference for loser fitting clothing, I feel much more energetic when I’m “on my program”. At 62, I’m noticing that 5-10 extra pounds really make me look older too. The “puff” seems to go right to my face and drag everything down. And those dark circles weren’t there before!

How about we work on losing 10 lbs together? I’d love to be back to my pre-surgery weight by June 1st and I know that’s doable for most people, especially if we love ourselves through it! That’s only about 3 lbs. per month. If you follow the program I’ve offered in my book you will probably be down ten pounds much more quickly – I’d guess 6 weeks. Then, staying with the program, you’ll keep it off through the summer months and beyond…

WEEKS 1-6:

Start by becoming a fat-burning machine. Follow these simple steps and talk yourself through your resistance:

  1. Each of three meals: Eat 24+ grams of protein with lots of non-starchy veggies but no grains. That means no potatoes either. A small fruit for dessert is okay but NO bananas or mangos.
  2. Don’t go over 20 grams of fat with each meal.
  3. Of course, sugar’s out. You’ll do much better without fake sugars too. Stevia rocks, but use the whole leaf kind without additives.
  4. If you are dying for chips, breads, or pasta, remind yourself you can incorporate those in about a month. Add ¼ cup cooked rice into your lunch or dinner, eaten with the rest of the meal—only if you really need it to keep from falling off the wagon.
  5. Fruit can be eaten whole. Not juice. You can blenderize it into a shake though. Eat fruit only when you’re also having protein. Example: 3 eggs and ½ apple for breakfast.
  6. NO sweet drinks. Water, coffee, tea, seltzer (no “natural” flavorings except your fresh-squeezed lime or lemon). Sweeten ONLY with whole leaf stevia or lakanto.
  7. Three snacks in-between meals. 12+grams of protein, no more than 10 grams fat, and no more than 18 grams of carbs. NO STARCH.
  8. If you like to drink alcohol, stick to red wine for now. An ounce of low-fat hard cheese with a glass of red wine is a great treat in the evening! If you have a second glass, add another ounce of lowfat cheese with it.
  9. For the first week, allow yourself a couple drops of heavy cream in your first cup of coffee. After that, drink it black.
  10. Don’t forget to incorporate probiotic foods and/or supplements into your program.
  11. If you want to work on your tone, click here for my favorite exercise video!

If you need ideas for meals and snacks, you’ll find all you need in Chapter 2 of Claim Your Best Body – the Easier Way!

October 27, 2016

Outside Therapy!

Outside Therapy!

When I woke up this morning at 6, I was considering going to the gym. But it was already warm outside, (unbelievable, as it’s almost Halloween) and my roommate told me it was going to be a beautiful day.

My thoughts turned to my favorite hiking spot in the foothills, and, since today was going to be a day of dialing the phone and emailing, I gave myself permission to take the short drive up the hill to enjoy a morning workout of the best kind: UNDER THE OPEN SKY!

I had to check my emails before heading out and ran across this perfect article from Outside magazine, It’s Time for Doctors To Prescribe Outdoor Therapy. It was just what I needed to jump up, click my heels, and grab my travel mug of coffee. Hope you get outside today for an inspiring attitude adjustment session!




October 13, 2016

Why Am I In Such a Crappy Mood?

Why Am I In Such a Crappy Mood?

Guess where those wonderful neurotransmitters that put you in a good mood (e.g. gaba, dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, and norepinephrine) are manufactured? Although you might guess it’s the brain, actually 90% of these feel-good chemicals are manufactured in your gut! If your gut is not in optimum health it’s very likely you are not in the best of moods either. In fact, nearly every person I have worked with as a nutritionist has been depressed to some degree. And most people who are depressed find it difficult to get motivated to make changes that will lead to better health!

How do you get gut-healthy? Start with eating cultured foods that contain live cultures. (Sauerkraut starts out live, but if you buy it in a can it’s heated and dead. There are great varieties of sauerkraut that are live and in the refrigerator case at your health food store. There are also many probiotic drinks but avoid the ones with sugar.) My favorite daily cultured food is homemade kefir—not sweetened, and full-fat. It’s very easy to make at home, or you can buy it ready-to-drink. If you won’t eat kefir, try yogurt, although it’s not quite as beneficial. If you still won’t eat that, take a good, strong probiotic supplement and stay on it for at least 6 months.

It’s important to note that healing your gut will require eating less sugar too. When you eat kefir and yogurt, chose plain and add whole fruit, rather than buying the ones infused with sugar. With daily ingestion of live, cultured foods and/or supplements, you will feel happier! Want to know how to make your own kefir? Check out the appendix of Chapter 1: Your Gut Brain, in my eBook, Claim Your Best Body – The Easier Way!


September 28, 2016

Seasonal Change! Endless Hunger!

Seasonal Change! Endless Hunger!

Here we are in the change of seasons. It’s cooler, and if you’re like me, you are hungrier. I can’t believe how much I want to eat, and eat I did—while recuperating from my June foot surgery. I’m 7 lbs. up from my pre-surgical happy weight, and there are only six weeks for me to lose it before going under the knife again! Not only can I expect to gain weight again—it will be the holidays!

I’m focused on losing that extra 7 lbs. right now, and the cooler weather is making me hungry all of the time. Here’s my plan, and you may want to try it. If you do, I’d love to know your results and you can email me at claimyourbestbody@gmail.com.

  • Daily morning fat-burning walk 30 minutes
  • Daily strength-building exercises 20 minutes
  • Daily stretching 10 minutes, including thyroid stimulation (down dog squeeze chin to neck and and release with arch up)
  • Snack planning – protein snacks every 3 ½ hours between meals. If still hungry, eat more protein with a little fat but no starch
  • Limited starch. Include ¼ cup rice once per day at one meal, to avoid craving for chips
  • Allow more fat, especially in the form of coconut or MCT oil
  • Eat more soups and stews for warmth and calming
  • Add seaweed for warmth and thyroid stimulation. When cold, snack on dulse.
  • Hang on inversion table more often. While upside-down, squeeze chin to chest for thyroid stimulation.
  • For general wellbeing and continued foot bone healing, eat lots of cooked greens
  • Lay off raw veggies to avoid being cold and ungrounded. Eat tons of non-starchy cooked veggies.
August 31, 2016

6 Weeks and Cut Loose!

6 Weeks and I’m Cut Loose!

At 5 1/2 weeks the x-ray showed what my surgeon described as, “picture-perfect healing”. I was cut loose to do any activity I felt comfortable doing. Admittedly, I was careful about jumping right back into pickleball. As luck would have it, the PPPA had their unveiling of the newly-surfaced courts in Colorado Springs on the very day I was to pick up my orthotics–and at exactly the 6 week post-op mark.

I couldn’t help myself, and jumped into a beginner’s game. No pain at all! After a great game (READ: FREE AT LAST!) I waited out two games and then played one more. I felt exhilarated and quit just to be sure I was not overdoing it.

Next day, I felt fine. I’m in for life!

July 27, 2016

The Surgery Protocol

2 weeks post-op

(Photo: 2 Weeks Post-Op)

The Surgery Protocol. Caveat: this is not medical advice…just what I do.

First an update on my foot’s recovery. Photo shows my foot at 2 weeks post-op. Stitches are out. After comparing side-by-side Xrays, I am ecstatic that what was then a 17-degree angle between big toe and 2nd toe is  now just 6 degrees! The “bunion” we see now is really not there. It’s all just swelling. In my impatience I expected all bruising and swelling to be gone – “POOF!” at the two-week mark. I’m told by my surgeon that the swelling will last (usually lasts, that is) for about 5 months! He says I’m healing perfectly. The big toe and 2nd toe are running parallel, which is the goal. I’m using a “spacer” which makes that space look a bit weird, but that’s for optimal healing.

THE PROTOCOL (do at your own risk)

For two weeks before and after surgery, I AVOID

Vitamin E
Fish and Flax Oils

Two weeks before surgery I START

Zinc 60mg – with meal
Ubiquinol 50mg twice/day with meals
Pantothenic Acid 500mg per day with meals
Magnesium 500mg with meal
Vitamin D3 10,000 iu/day
Vitamin B-12 sublingual: 1/day

Ascorbic acid crystals: 2000mg 3/day FOR ONE WEEK THEN STOP 1 week before surgery

Day before surgery:

I take one dose (3 globules) Bellis Perennis 30C (homeopathic, by Boiron in blue tube). This is the remedy for surgeries below the waist. If above the waist I substitute Aconite 30C.

I take 10 drops homeopathic T-Relief (previously Traumeel) under tongue

Day of surgery:
As soon as able to take anything by mouth I start this regimen:

Bellis Perennis 30C – 3 globules 4x/day for two weeks, then reduce to 2x/day for two weeks
T-relief – 10 drops under tongue 4x/day for two weeks, then reduce to 2x/day for two weeks
Systemic Enzymes 4 caps 4x/day on EMPTY STOMACH (1 week only) then reduce to 3 caps 3x/day for 1 week
and then reduce again to 3 caps 2x/day for a month
add another 60mg zinc at bedtime
add another 500mg magnesium at bedtime
L-Arginine 500mg at bedtime
Ornithine 250mg at bedtime (Pure Encapsulations contains both L-Arginine and Ornithine in these amounts in one capsule in their “Growth Hormone Support” product)
RESTART Ascorbic Acid Powder 2000mg 3x/day between meals. At 3 weeks postop, reduce to about 1000 3x/day between meals.

After 2 weeks I go back to my usual regimen. However, I plan to continue systemic enzymes in a lower dosage indefinately. Systemic enzymes behave completely differently if you eat the enzymes with meals. That only helps to digest your food. This protocol suggests taking them on an empty stomach.











July 24, 2016

Post-Op Issues

(Photo: 1 week post-op)

Post-Op Issues

 It’s been 5 days since my last post. Unfortunately, my incision was infected and the pain got worse. So much for being off all pain meds! Along with taking a strong antibiotic, I was told it was time to start walking on my left foot—boot on, of course. I had kept all weight off the foot for a full week, using crutches and a walker I called my scooter. When my surgeon asked why, I said, “because that’s what you told me to do.” He had said, “complete bed rest for a week”. Now, at the 1-week post-op he seemed dumbfounded. He apologized for the “miscommunication”, and told me I should have been walking (boot on) day 1. I compensated by immediately hurling myself into weight-on, full-out walking around the house. Consequently my bruising increased, pain increased exponentially, and I had to resort to one percoset each afternoon at around 4pm.

Enough. I’m doing all right but have some real concerns. The foot doesn’t look that much different—after all this work. Maybe (I hope) it’s the swelling, but I expected my big toe to point straight and the ball joint to be barely noticeable. Will have to see the Xray this Weds. at my 2-week post-op visit. This time, I’m determined to make him show me a side-by-side Xray with the before and after shots. Meanwhile, he also gave me an exercise I’m doing religiously twice a day, working the big toe up and down.

In my next post I’ll share the Surgery Protocol!