12 Painless Ways to Cut Sugar Out of Your Diet

12 Painless Ways to Cut Sugar Out of Your Diet

[Original Article]

It’s no surprise that refined white sugar is pretty bad for your health. But how do you cut sugar out of your diet for good?

Sugar comes in numerous forms, and it’s almost impossible to avoid if you eat any type of processed or already-prepared foods. So what’s one to do? Are some sugars worse than others? And how do you avoid it?


Why You Should Avoid Sugar

There are many reasons why you should avoid the sweet stuff:

Not all sugar is terrible for you. Natural sources like that from fruit, honey, and maple syrup aren’t as bad as from processed sugars and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) but it’s still possible to overdo it. There’s no reason to cut all fruit out of your diet in an attempt to remove all sugar; you’d be giving up all those antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, minerals, and vitamins at the same time.

So now you know WHY you should avoid sugar and which types are worse; how about some tips on how to do it?

How To Cut Sugar Out Of Your Diet

1. Stop Buying Processed Foods

This is probably the hugest change you can make in your diet when it comes to cutting out sugar. Practically everything you buy that comes in a box, bag, or can has added sugars. Sometimes one food item has four or five different types of sugar added!

2.  Make Your Own Spaghetti/Tomato Sauce

If you can’t quite take the step to cut out all processed or ready-made foods, at least cut out store-bought tomato sauce. These often have really high amount of sugar and you just don’t need it. It’s easy to make your own: simmer some canned or fresh tomatoes in a pot with some fresh herbs. Even if you add a bit of sugar to taste, it will still be way less than what is in the store-bought stuff.

3. Choose Whole, Fresh Fruit Over Juice, Dehydrated, or Other Fruit Products

Juice, fruit roll-ups, and dehydrated fruit taste great, of course: they’re almost pure sugar! Added to this is the fact that all or most of the fiber is gone. Treat your body to the natural benefits of fruit and eat it fresh and whole. Choose berries, cherries, grapefruit, lemon, and limes over apples, bananas, and other fruit; the former are higher in glucose and lower in fructose and tend to have a lower overall content.

Here’s a recipe for a great Paleo Fruit Salad.

4. Avoid Flavored Yogurt

News flash: most commercial yogurt has just as much sugar in most of a candy bar (or more!) Don’t eat it! Instead, buy or make your own plain yogurt and add fresh fruit and maybe some honey if you still need some sweetness.

5. Make Your Own Salad Dressing

One of the most common places sugar will hide is in your store-bought salad dressings. Make your own (like this Paleo Caesar Salad Dressing); this way you control the amount of sugar (as well as the salt and soybean/canola oil). It’s easy to make your own! Remember: for most vinaigrettes, the ratio is three parts oil to one part vinegar. Great oils to use are extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, and avocado oil. You can use Balsamic vinegar or other flavored vinegars. Plain white vinegar or cider vinegar works as well in a pinch. You can also add a bit of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and pepper, maybe some dried herbs, and a dab of honey if you want a bit more sweetness. Start with all ingredients at room temperature for the best emulsion.

6. Give Yourself A Quota

If you are weaning yourself back off of sugar, one of the easiest ways to do it is to give yourself a “quota” when it comes to sugar, and use it on dessert. If you normally eat dessert every day, then cut sugar by avoiding all sweets except at dessert. Over the next few weeks, cut back the amount of desserts you have per week. Another way to help is to replace half of your desserts with fresh fruit.

7. Give Yourself Rules About Dessert

Leading in from the last point, once you’ve cut sugar intake back to just desserts, you should then start weaning yourself off of desserts. Give yourself certain days of the week to eat desserts (and no, don’t say “every day that ends in ‘day.”) Say, for example, you only eat them on even days, or on weekends, or on special occasions.

(PS: If you need help fighting cravings, we got you.)

8. Don’t Keep Treats In The House

This one should be a no-brainer. If you have a huge bucket of ice cream in the freezer, you’re going to eat it. Just don’t buy the sweet stuff. If you really want something really badly, you’ll have to go to get a single portion, and half of the time you might decide it’s not worth it.

9. Try Xylitol or Stevia

Not everyone can tolerate xylitol, and not everyone likes the taste of stevia. But if you can, and do, then they make acceptable substitutes for sugar. Just don’t overdo it with them. You’re better off just lowering your sweetener intake entirely rather than trying to find an acceptable substitute.

10. Try Dark Chocolate

If your sugar addiction comes in the form of a chocolate habit, then switch to dark chocolate. It’s better for you, has great health benefits, and you probably won’t be able to eat an entire bar of dark chocolate like you can milk chocolate.

11. Avoid Mixed Alcohol Drinks

Do you know how much sugar is in a rye and coke? A cosmo? A gin and tonic? A lot! If you must drink, choose wine, straight spirits, or mix with soda water.

12. Cut Out Soda

Trade soda for water with lime or lemon in it and you’ll cut your sugar intake in a huge way. If you still need something bubbly, drink soda water, either plain or with lime or lemon.

The Best Turmeric Uses + Benefits

The Best Turmeric Uses + Benefits

[Original Post]


Turmeric. It’s a popular item these days. And you can find it everywhere. I went to Costco the other day and I saw you can purchase turmeric in the spices section for cooking. Plus, I found it in pill form, powder form + liquid form in the “medicines” section. It’s amazing the amount of turmeric uses there are out there and the benefits are so vast as well. It’s literally a superfood or super-herb or whatever you want to call it – it’s just really super for our bodies and our health.


The Best Turmeric Uses

Turmeric can be used in many ways. It’s known for having a distinctive taste – some like it, others don’t – so getting creative with how to use it to get the benefits of Turmeric is key! Below are my favorite turmeric uses. Feel free to alter any recipes to fit your needs. If you have questions, just ask.

1) TURMERIC COFFEE: If you’re a fan of bulletproof coffee, why not add a little turmeric? Try it. Let me know how you like it.

1.     Add all of the above ingredients to a small saucepan and turn on low heat. Stir.
2.     Now pour the mix into a high powered blender and blend for 30 – 45 seconds.
3.     Pour into a mug and enjoy!

2) TURMERIC TEA: Just swap the coffee for black tea in the above recipe.


  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp liquid stevia
  • 1/2 – 2 Tbsp MCT oil (please note if you have never had this before just start with 1-2 tsp and build up your tolerance to it)

NOTE: The MCT oil will help improve absorption of the turmeric.

  1. Juice your lemons until you get 1/2 cup juice. You can strain if you don’t like pulp – or leave it if you don’t mind.
  2. Add all ingredients to a high powered blender and blend until everything is well mixed and dissolved.
  3. Enjoy in a tall glass.


  1. Arrange about 12 mini baking cups onto a cookie sheet or tray.
  2. Let the jar of coconut oil sit in hot water to soften.
  3. Measure all ingredients into a bowl. Stir until all ingredients are mixed well, and pour into the mini baking cups.
  4. Place the cookie sheet or tray in the fridge to cool until your fat bombs are solid and ready to enjoy!


  • 1 cup light coconut milk (from a can)
  • 1 cup Unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 small pinch ground black pepper
  1. Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Whisk and warm over med/low heat. Gently warm the milk (Do not boil) – about 4-5 minutes. Add more turmeric or ginger to taste for stronger flavor. Drain the ingredients over a strainer or sieve.
  2. To serve: You can serve hot or cold. To serve cold – let the milk cool to room temperature and serve it chilled over ice. OPTIONAL: you could add all ingredients to a blender, add a few ice cubes and blend to make a sort of ” Turmeric Shake” or “Turmeric Smoothie”.
  3. Leftovers? Once the milk is cool to room temperature, refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days.


Top Turmeric Benefits

Helps stop chronic inflammation: Inflammation is important to fight off unwanted bacteria in our bodies – but, for those of us who suffer from chronic inflammation due to heart disease, cancer or other degenerative diseases – turmeric can help. Turmeric contains Curcumin which is found in many anti-inflammatory prescription drugs. Naturally, you can get the benefits by including turmeric in your diet. Be sure to take with a healthy fat like coconut oil or MCT oil + black pepper. Both of these help with absorption of the turmeric and curcumin to increase the benefits.

Helps increase antioxidant production in the body: This in turn fights and protects your body from free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidative damage to our bodies. But with turmeric (including curcumin) you’re boosting your bodies natural power to fight them and increase your health this way. Find one of the turmeric uses above to get this awesome benefit.

Reduces your risk of Heart Disease: It improves the functions of your endothelium, which is the lining of your blood vessels. In doing this it’s helping to regulate your blood pressure and blood clotting. These are both big aspects to heart disease and by improving them, you are improving your heart health. Regular intake of turmeric will reduce your chances of having heart issues. And as mentioned above, it plays a role in reducing inflammation which is a big part of heart disease as well.

Helps prevent Alzheimers Disease: It is known that turmeric benefits inflammation and oxidative damage on the body. Both of these play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore by taking some form of turmeric daily, you are reducing your chances of getting Alzheimer’s.

Reduces symptoms of Arthritis: Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric has been shown to help people with painful arthritis symptoms – sometimes even better than prescribed medications.

Helps with depression: There’s been studies done to show the effects of turmeric/curcumin on people with depression. The effects were similar to those who took prozac in the study. Because of this study – it’s been shown to be as effective as a prescribed antidepressant.

Turmeric Can help prevent (and possibly treat) Cancer effects: This is all new and not fully scientifically tested yet, but it’s been shown to reduce and sometimes eliminate cancer cells. It’s been shown to reduce cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level. It’s been especially shown to prevent you from getting digestive tract cancers like colorectal cancer if consumed regularly.

It’s used as an anti-aging supplement: Because of its anti-inflammatory effects and it’s ability to reduce many of the above disease symptoms and potential, it’s commonly taken to promote longer lifespans. But because inflammation and oxidization play a big role in aging, it may even have more benefits than just reversing disease.

Improves memory – it’s good for your brain, helps improve memory function.

Antiviral – Because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant abilities, turmeric can reduce your risk of viral infections.

Antifungal – it’s been shown to be useful in anti-candida diets. The curcumin in turmeric has been shown to stop the candida from attaching itself to human cells effectively.

Antiallergy – Allergies are caused by many factors – and everyone is different in what they are allergic to. One of the many beneficial turmeric uses is to help with allergies. Turmeric is known as anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. These are excellent for fighting allergies and other health problems. And because turmeric/curcumin has natural antihistamine properties (limits the release of histamines in the blood) – this reduces allergic reactions to those things you’re allergic to. Curcumin (inside turmeric) is a decongestant and helps treat various symptoms of allergies.

Protects Lungs – You might be seeing a pattern here. All the wonderful benefits of turmeric lead to another benefit. Lungs are protected from many of the other benefits of turmeric/curcumin (antiallergy, antiviral, antioxidant, etc etc).

Prevents Tooth Decay – brushing your teeth with turmeric powder has been shown to help with tooth decay. It has also been shown to help whiten teeth.

Heals Wounds Fast: Make a turmeric paste to put on wounds, for fast healing. See this post. This is one of my favorite turmeric uses out there. You always think of taking it internally but don’t realize you can put it on wounds to heal just as easily as healing inside your body.

Natural Painkiller – anti-inflammatory properties help with reducing pain, just like (or better than) an over the counter pain reliever.

Improves Digestion – it’s been shown to relax the muscles in the walls of the digestive tract to help food move more smoothly through digestion. It also has been shown to relieve gas and bloating.

Immunity Booster – All of the benefits of turmeric lead to this. It boosts your immunity and leads to better health.

Helps Control Blood Sugar (this is especially helpful to those on Keto): can help with weight management or weight control.

In general, turmeric is so beneficial to your health, so why NOT take it as a supplement or add it to your food or drinks. There are so many turmeric uses that you can benefit from the fresh turmeric plant in more ways than one.

What is Stevia?

What is Stevia?

[original article]


Stevia is unique in the sense that it is famous for what it does NOT do. It doesn't add calories. It doesn't convert to fat. It doesn't raise insulin levels. Sweetly Stevia doesn't contain sugar alcohols or any harmful chemicals. With all of these "does nots", switching to Sweetly Stevia is a no brainer! Unlike other substitutes for sugar, stevia is derived from a plant. The stevia plant, specifically Stevia Rebaudiana, is native to Brazil and Paraguay. The people have been using the stevia plant to naturally sweeten their foods for hundreds of years.

What is stevia?

Stevia is a natural sugar substitute that is non-caloric and has zero carbohydrates. There is an increase in interest in its use to help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. We covered how stevia can be beneficial to diabetics in this article. Stevia is derived from a plant called the Stevia Rebaudiana, native to North and South America. The sweet part of the plant is called steviol glycosides, which can be up to 400x sweeter than sugar. 

Although steviol glycosides are so sweet, they can leave a bitter aftertaste, so most manufacturer's products contain other ingredients. Here at Sweetly Stevia, we use a patented water extraction process, making our stevia product pure and free of harmful chemicals and bitter aftertaste. We mix our glycosides with organic erythritol to bring you ultimately the closest tasting stevia product to sugar. Seriously, 75% of people say Sweetly Stevia tastes just like sugar!

What are steviol glycosides? What makes stevia so sweet?

Dried stevia leaves with someone holding in their hands above a big bucket

The sweet part of the stevia plant is found on its leaves. The crystal-white transparent substance that sits on top of the leaves is actually produced by the plant as a natural protectant against the sun! Here at Sweetly Stevia, we use a patented water extraction process to extract these sweet crystals from the plant and isolate the steviol glycosides. These steviol glycosides can actually be 400x sweeter than sugar! Your tongue would literally burn if you were to taste pure steviol glycosides without them being mixed with a natural filler. Because of how naturally sweet stevia is, it typically requires far less land and much less water to grow, meanwhile delivering the same amount of sweetness as other not-so-natural sweeteners.

Is stevia FDA approved? Is stevia safe? 

Thumbs up for FDA approval of stevia

Stevia extract, known as steviol glycosides, is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use in foods as a sugar substitute by the FDA. Substances that have been considered GRAS by the FDA have been determined to be safe through scientific tests and reviews, expert consensus, and widespread use without negative effects. In other words, stevia is safe to consume in moderation. Go stevia!

What can I use stevia for?

Stevia uses for recipes and for skincare

Aside from being used in your coffee or tea every morning, you can also bake and cook with stevia! We have some delicious recipes made with Sweetly Stevia that are sure to please any crowd. Additionally, you can substitute stevia for sugar in any recipe you find!

Is stevia keto?

Stevia can be used as a sugar substitute in keto diets, low-carb diets, vegan and vegetarian diets, and paleo diets. We have some delicious recipes for you to try, listed here!

Besides being used as a sugar substitute in food and beverages, stevia can also be used in skincare products! Stevia has many skin benefits and can be used in face masks, lotions, sugar [stevia] scrubs, acne treatments, and much more! 

What are the benefits of stevia?

stevia benefits graphic with stevia plant

There are so many potential health benefits of stevia. Stevia is considered to be non-caloric, meaning that it has zero calories. This nonexistent calorie count makes stevia a very healthy sugar alternative for people with diabetes and those who are managing their weight or are on a weight-management journey. 

Research has shown that stevia sweeteners don't contribute any calories or carbs to the diet, and have no effect on blood glucose and insulin. This research has been helpful for those with diabetes and allows them to eat a wider variety of foods while using stevia as a substitute for sugar. Not only is stevia a healthy choice for people with diabetes, but also for those who are watching their weight. Did you know that the intake of sugars has been shown to contribute an average of 16 percent of the total calories in the American diet? This has been linked to weight gain and reduced control of blood glucose levels. Using stevia as a sugar substitute in your favorite meals and beverages will allow you to cut down on harmful sugars without sacrificing taste!

Stevia contains sterols and antioxidant compounds, including kaempferol. Sterols are steroid alcohols and are an important class of organic molecules that occur naturally in plants. They are linked to reduced LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) levels in our bodies. Kaempferol is a strong antioxidant that helps to prevent oxidative damage to our cells, lipids, and DNA. Studies have also confirmed that kaempferol acts as a chemopreventive agent, which means that it inhibits the formation of cancer cells. Which is great news for pancreatic cancer patients those at risk of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. One study, in particular, has shown that kaempferol can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by 23 percent! That's a big deal!

Not only does stevia have plenty of health benefits, but it is also very beneficial to your skin! Studies have shown that stevia prevents wrinkles, halts the signs of aging, reduces acne, fights dermatitis or eczema, and revitalizes the skin! The intake of normal table sugar causes glycation, in which sugar binds to the collagen in our skin and makes it become stiff and brittle. By switching to stevia, you are not only stopping the process of glycation and keeping the collagen from breaking, but it's also rich in antioxidants that protect our cells from free radicals. Inflammation of the sebaceous glands causes the formation of acne on our skin, thankfully the leaves of stevia plants possess antiseptic and antibacterial properties and can be applied to the skin to reduce the presence of acne and can help prevent it from coming back. 

Cacao: 5 Little Known Benefits of this Amazonian Superfood

Cacao: 5 Little Known Benefits of this Amazonian Superfood

[Original Article]


One question I get a lot is – what is a superfood?  Why should I bother eating them?  Surely they’re just hyped up versions of regular food.  Right…?

Well, not quite… Superfoods are just that – foods that contain significantly higher quantities of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other health-boosting, anti-ageing, disease-fighting goodies. Some are everyday whole foods that you’ll likely have tried before (think broccoli, blueberries; even the humble spud).  Others are more exotic, grown in the rainforests of Peru and picked by Amazonian warriors (okay, maybe not quite).

To help you out in your quest to conquer, or at least delve into, the amazing world of superfoods, every few weeks I’ll be spilling the (cacao) beans on a superfood of your choice. You’ll get the low down on what it is, why you should be eating it, and some quick and easy ways to do so (even for the non-chefs amongst).

First up: Cacao – the Amazonian Antioxidant King
Cacao: 5 Little Known Benefits of this Amazonian Superfood by Buffy Ellen at Be Good Organics

Raw cacao is somewhat different from the common “Cocoa” most of us grew up within our Afghan biscuits.  Cacao (pronounced “cu-COW”) refers to the Theobroma Cacao tree from which Cocoa is derived, and is used when referring to unprocessed versions of the cacao bean.

Normal cocoa powder and chocolate have been chemically processed and roasted, which destroys a large amount of the antioxidants and flavanols (the things that keep you young and healthy).  A recent study suggested that between 60% and 90% of the original antioxidants in cacao are lost through common “Dutch processing”.  Dutch processing was originally developed in the early 19th Century to reduce the bitterness, darken the colour, and create a more mellow flavour to chocolate, but unfortunately also eliminated a bunch of the goodness.

Non-organic cocoa (and non-organic chocolate) has also been treated heavily with toxic pesticides and fumigation chemicals, and may contain genetically modified (GMO) products.

If that wasn’t enough, Oxfam estimates that over 70% of the world’s cocoa is grown by indigenous communities who are paid such a low wage that poverty is widespread. In some instances, child slaves are used, forced to engage in dangerous work such as using machetes and applying toxic pesticides.  Big incentive to reach for a bar of fairly traded chocolate when your next craving hits!

Raw Organic Fairly Traded Cacao in contrast has bountiful benefits, so you can add it to your diet with no guilt, just good old chocolatey deliciousness.

5 Benefits of Raw Organic Cacao

1.  40 Times the Antioxidants of Blueberries

Raw Organic Cacao has over 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries.  Yes, 40 times!  It has an amazing ORAC score of 98,000 per 100g, vs blueberries at a mere 2,400.  ORAC scores measure the ability of antioxidants to absorb free radicals (that come from pollution and toxins in our environment), which cause cell and tissue damage and can lead to diseases such as cancer.

2.  Highest Plant-Based Source of Iron

On a plant-based/vegan diet and looking for iron?  The search is over!  Cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron known to man, at a whopping 7.3mg per 100g.  This compares to beef and lamb at 2.5mg, and spinach at 3.6mg.  Note the iron in cacao is non-heme (as is all plant-based iron), so to get the maximum benefits you’ll want to combine it with some vitamin C. Think oranges, kiwifruit, superfoods like gubinge or camu camu (which have 40x more vitamin C than oranges), or try out my Choc Orange Smoothie recipe for a Jaffa-tasting throwback.

3.  Full of Magnesium for a Healthy Heart & Brain

Raw Organic Cacao is also one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium, the most deficient mineral in the Western world.  Magnesium is important for a healthy heart, and helps turn glucose into energy enabling your brain to work with laser-sharp clarity and focus.  The reason why you might turn to a bar of chocolate during an all-nighter at your desk!

4.  More Calcium Than Cow’s Milk

Raw Organic Cacao has more calcium than cow’s milk would you believe, at 160mg per 100g vs only 125mg per 100ml of milk.  Time to switch out the trim latte for a couple of squares of dairy-free raw chocolate.

5.  A Natural Mood Elevator and Anti-Depressant

Cacao is a great source of four scientifically proven bliss chemicals – serotonin, tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylethylamine.  These neurotransmitters are associated with cosy feelings of wellbeing, happiness, and can even alleviate depression.  A natural, healthy, delicious (and legal) way to get your happy buzz on.

Cacao: 5 Little Known Benefits of this Amazonian Superfood by Buffy Ellen at Be Good Organics
5 Ways To Use Raw Organic Cacao

1. Brew Up A Hot (or Cold) Chocolate MIlk

Add 1 Tbsp of raw cacao powder to a mug, pour in 1c of warmed plant-based milk, and add 1-2 tsp of natural organic unprocessed sweetener such as yacon syrupagave syrupcoconut nectarcoconut sugar, or maple syrup.  Or for a super easy version, try my Warming Hot Cacao Chocolate recipe.

For a cold choccie milk, add 1 Tbsp of hot water to the raw cacao powder and sweetener first to dissolve, then add 1c of cold milk and a couple of ice cubes (or try this Chocolate Milk recipe).

Note: some studies have shown that dairy products block the absorption of antioxidants and calcium in cacao, so save the cow’s milk for the calfs.

2. Whizz Into a Smoothie

Add 1-2 Tbsp of raw cacao powder or nibs to your regular smoothie.  Or try out our Rich Chocolate Smoothie, or Choc Orange Jaffa Smoothie for an added vitamin C boost.  When you’re done, sprinkle raw cacao nibs on top for crunch factor and to make it look all pretty.

3. Rip Open a Bar

No cooking here – just grab a bar of raw organic chocolate, break into squares, and serve with some organic nuts, dried fruit, herbal tea, and a whole lot of love.

4. “Bake” a Raw Brownie

Try your hands on our Raw Brownie, which includes cacao powder and cacao nibs, and will be sure to quench any chocolate cravings in a second (100% guilt-free).  It’s also gluten-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan and paleo, so everyone’s invited to the party.

5. Make a deliciously healthy Nutella Tart

Give our Nutella Tart recipe a go – it tastes sinful, but it’s so good for you!


Learn Which Toxins May Be Causing Your Tiredness

Learn Which Toxins May Be Causing Your Tiredness

[Orginal Article]


We are exposed to many sources of toxic substances that can accumulate in our body and strain our organs and immune system. These toxins can make you feel chronically tired and cause a range of medical conditions.


The effect of stress on our body goes beyond feeling tired. If we are persistently under severe stress, we are in danger of developing chronic, debilitating and life-threatening diseases. Unfortunately, we are exposed to stressors daily without knowing it. We may be feeling well but are actually under attack from invisible, yet deadly stress inducers. Called environmental stressors, they include toxic substances that go into our body in ways that we may not be aware of.

You'd probably be surprised to learn that sixty to one hundred different toxins can be trapped in our bodies. Perhaps even more shocking is the fact that we do not need to be at an industrial, chemical or nuclear factory to catch these toxins. Toxic substances are present in our food, water, air and every corner of our homes. That means we are regularly exposed to environmental toxins.

Over time these toxins can throw our biochemistry into disarray, setting the stage for a range of medical problems including chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases and allergies, cancers, and neurological disorders. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that 80% of illnesses are due to environmental and lifestyle factors. Researchers list the following as common sources of toxins: junk foods, genetically modified foods, irradiated foods, and household products.


When we talk about the link between lifestyle and disease, our eating habits emerge as an important variable. If junk foods are a regular part of our diet, then we are in effect ingesting chemicals, poisons and toxins that can have damaging effects on our health.

Besides sugar, which fuel our cravings for sweet and salty treats, also present in many junk foods are damaged fats, pesticides and toxic chemicals. They come in the form of additives and preservatives that are added to food in order to enhance flavor and extend shelf-life.

There is a long list of food additives and preservatives that can interfere with our biochemistry. Monosodium glutamate (MSG), sodium benzoate, propylene glycol, potassium bromate, red dye no. 2, lindane, carrageenan, BHA, BHC, BHT and DHA are just a few examples. Aspartame, acesulfame-K, sucralose, saccharin, nitrates and nitrites are also on the list.

Although preservatives and additives make food taste and look mouthwatering, their harmful effects cannot be ignored.

  • MSG

Monosodium glutamate is a popular flavor enhancer. A white, odorless crystalline compound and frequently used in Chinese dishes, MSG, if ingested in large amounts, can cause dizziness and headaches, chest pain, facial pressure, and tingling and burning sensations of the skin. Together these symptoms are called Chinese restaurant syndrome. Other conditions linked to MSG are asthma, palpitations, skin rashes and severe depression.

Chances are you are unaware that MSG is in the food you eat because that information is not required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be placed on food labels unless the manufacturer used 99% pure MSG. But if you are currently rethinking your diet, it would help to know that many food products in supermarkets today contain small amounts of MSG. They include bread, processed meats, frozen yogurt, ice cream, frozen entrees, canned tuna, salad dressings and soup.

  • Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame, acesulfame, sucralose and saccharin are considered the four most dangerous artificial sweeteners. Aspartame, which contains, aspartic acid, phenylalanine and methanol, has been shown to cause weight gain, vision problems, memory loss, headaches, brain tumors, seizures, neurological disorders, heart palpitations, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, depression and fibromyalgia.

Acesulfame-K, a potassium salt, has potential to cause cancer because of its methylene chloride content. The other reported side effects of methylene chloride are liver and kidney damage, eyesight problems, headaches, nausea and mood problems.

Sucralose, a synthetic additive, is produced by chlorinating sugar. The chemical structure of sucralose, despite manufacturer claims to the contrary, resembles that of the pesticide DDT, which was banned in the U.S. and many other countries in the 1970s. The reported side effects of sucralose include skin irritation, bladder problems, diarrhea, stomach cramps, head and muscle aches, inflammation and dizziness. Studies have also shown this artificial sweetener can cause the thymus gland to shrink, and reduces the amount of bacteria in the intestines which aid digestion.

Saccharin, a sulfa-based sweetener, had been thought to be carcinogenic. In the early 1970s studies showed it can cause bladder cancer in rats, leading to legislation requiring manufacturers to put a warning label on food products containing saccharin. The FDA lifted that requirement in 2000. But experts continue to warn of the side effects of saccharin, such as diarrhea, nausea and allergic symptoms. In addition, studies have shown that saccharin, as well as aspartame, causes greater weight gain than real sugar, putting into question weight reduction claims by makers of artificial sweeteners.

  • Nitrates and nitrites

These chemicals, commonly used in rat poisons and fertilizers, are dangerous especially to kids. Unfortunately, nitrates and nitrites are also used as preservatives in many ready-to-eat meat products that children love, such as hot dogs, lunch meats, pepperoni and bacon. If you regularly have these chemical-laden foods for breakfast or snack, think of their possible effects on your body, as exposure to high levels of nitrates and nitrites have been associated with increased incidence of cancer in adults.


Substances that are not naturally part of the human diet can be considered unsafe. They include food products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are created by introduction of genes from one species into another. Two of the most popular GMO foods are soybeans and corn. It is estimated that around 91% of soybeans and 85% of corns in the U.S. are genetically manipulated. Experts and opponents of GMOs warn of the possible development of new allergies and diseases due to the altered protein structure of plants or animals that have been genetically manipulated. One experiment showed that animals suffered damage to organs and the immune system after being fed genetically manipulated foods. Another study discovered that Bt toxins found in GMO crops damage red blood cells in mice.


To remove microorganisms and insects on foods, manufacturers use a technology called irradiation. While it also helps to extend the shelf life of foods, irradiation is believed to cause testicular tumors, kidney damage, cataracts, and higher levels of free radicals in the body, which can lead to cancer and heart disease. Irradiation uses high levels of gamma radiation; so consuming irradiated foods is almost like being exposed to direct radiation. You can avoid irradiated foods by looking for the “radura” symbol and the statement “Treated with ionizing radiation” on the food packaging.


Foods are not the only source of toxins that pose risks to our health. Many products that we use at home also contain substances that have been linked to a host of diseases, including cancer. Skin moisturizers, for example, may contain petrochemicals, which are made from carcinogenic gasoline byproducts. Besides petrochemical-based cosmetics, fluoride toothpaste and aluminum deodorants also contain chemicals that can bring additional harm to people who are already suffering from adrenal fatigue.

When the body has been exposed to long-term stress, the liver is at risk of losing its function to flush out toxic substances. The buildup of toxins in the body can damage cells, including those of the immune system, making you susceptible to allergic reactions. So if you’re adrenals have been working overtime, choose products that are chemical free, biodegradable and environmentally friendly to protect your liver from further stress.

Also beware of electromagnetic pollution, which you can get by exposure to gadgets and appliances that emit extremely low-frequency (ELF) waves, such as television, microwave ovens, electric blankets, and fluorescent lights. Keeping a distance of at least three feet from these devices will minimize your exposure to ELFs.

There’s a chance, however, that the source of toxin is just right under your nose! Silver fillings that dentists use contain 50% mercury, which has been linked to degenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Mercury, aluminum, lead and cadmium are the four most common heavy metals that can build up in your system. There is a long list of symptoms of heavy metal toxicity, and unexplained chronic fatigue is just one of them. If you are experiencing hair loss, metallic taste in mouth, tremors, insomnia, constipation or diarrhea, poor memory and other symptoms that cannot be attributed to a particular condition or disease, have yourself checked for heavy metal poisoning. A common test is hair analysis, which will show how much mercury, aluminum, lead and cadmium has accumulated in your system.


Being aware of the common sources of environmental toxins will help you protect your body from substances that can have adverse effects on your health. But avoidance alone may not be sufficient. A more proactive approach like detoxification will help you get rid of toxins that are already residing in your body. There are a plenty of ways to detoxify, including eating only organic food on your detox day, doing 20-30 minutes of aerobic exercise, sitting in a sauna for around 30 minutes, taking detox supplements to ease constipation, and drinking detox tea or eight to twelve glasses of water a day. Start detoxifying and you’re on your road to feeling better.