Party Season Survival Checklist

Here’s a user-friendly Holiday Survival NUTRITION Checklist for you to use – it’s pretty cool and it works 😉

The Ultimate Holiday Survival Guide Nutrition Checklist

Use the following nutrition checklist to stay on track during the holidays.

For each of the 10 NUTRITION standards you meet in the outlined checklist below, you earn ONE point.

If your goal is to maintain your weight during the holidays, then you MUST achieve at least 5 total points each week.

If your goal is to reduce your weight and lose body fat during the holidays, then you MUST achieve at least 8 total points each week.

___ Did you say NO at least 90% of the time when the sweet tin or plate of biscuits was passed around the office or your workplace?

___ Instead of bringing a dessert or chocolates to work for everyone to enjoy , did you bring something more healthy like a veggie or fruit platter with a healthy dip? Make sure it’s festive – Use green, red, orange and white veggies and fruits!

___ Did you skip the bread and breaded appetizers at holiday dinners and parties? Remember, bread and flour products are useless carbohydrates devoid of good nutrition.

___ Have you told yourself that sugar and sweet treats will kill you? Avoid eating sweet treats by eating protein

___ Did you eat healthy, balanced meals containing protein, whole carbohydrates and fats the day of a holiday party instead of starving yourself and “saving” your calories?

___ Did you stay away from alcohol at 90% of your holiday events? Remember: alcohol causes your body to store fat and not able to burn fat for days, and when you add sugar to it, it makes it even worse.

___ Did you stick to mostly protein and veggies at holiday dinners and parties?

___ If you have to bake holiday treats over the next two months, did you bake something low in sugar and high in fibre, protein and healthy fat? Remember that artificial sweetened foods are not any better. Stick with less real sugar or use Stevia/Agave Nectar and you’re body will look better

___ If you can’t exercise due to holiday commitments, did you keep your carbohydrate intake lower and focus mostly on proteins, vegetables and some fruits?

___ If you know you’re going to eat more carbs than your body needs at a holiday event, did you plan this into a carb cycling routine? The day prior, eat a lower carb diet, and then the day following, eat a no carb diet – Give yourself an extra point if you also did a damage control workout.

Follow these guidelines, make sure you get your points every week – you’ll lose fat rather than gain it….

Watch out for the Work Out Checklist to help you achieve your body transformation goals….

Eat Clean – Train Hard – Expect Success!!

Jackie Allen ©

Eat Clean – Feel Great !

This is part of an article taken written by a GP who is also a Vet…. He has researched inflammatory response (Pain syndromes, PMS, Parkinsons, Arthritis, MS, Celiac, IBS, Skin disorders, Migraine and Epilepsy etc) to foods for many years, he is well respected and published in the US. Its a bit technical in places – but stick with it… you’ll change the food you buy for your pets too, I hope!!!

Foods rich in glutamate and aspartate:
cause inflammation RESTICT THESE..

1) Grains: Wheat, barley, and oats are highest. Corn and rice are lower than the previous three but higher than potatoes.

2) Dairy Products: All Cheeses (cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, PARMESAN) are very high. Casein is very concentrated in cheese and is 20% glutamic acid by composition.

3) Beans: Soy, Pinto, lima, black, navy, and lentils

4) Seeds: Sunflower, pumpkin, etc.

5) Peanuts: Very high, as are cashews, pistachios, and almonds. There are more detailed charts on the site to show exact values for the various nuts. Everything in moderation applies when eating nuts of any kind. So, I do not recommend you reach for nuts when you are really hungry unless you can stop after a few. Nuts are very good for you.. in moderation. For example, seven almonds a day gives you what you need .

6) Diet drinks: Primary source of aspartate (aspartame)

7) Prepared foods, soups: 70% of prepared foods and many soups have MSG

8) Meats: Note- All meats are naturally rich in glutamate and aspartate. Lamb (and eggs) are the lowest, while rabbit and turkey are the highest.
However, I believe that the amount in a normal serving of meat should not be enough to cause problems. I think that it is all of the other “unnatural” sources when combined with the meats that are causing the problems. Again, the main reasons why the “big 4”- gluten (wheat, barley, rye), dairy, soy and corn- are so harmful are, not only are they rich in glutamate, but they do harm to intestinal villi inducing mal-absorption of nutrients and then shower the body with their inflammatory lectins once absorbed by the body. It is the combination of these effects that make the “big 4” so detrimental in seizures.
Meats (and tree nuts) do not have these other harmful effects. But there are individuals whose neurons are so diseased and overly-sensitized to glutamate that their meat protein intake should be restricted to some degree until they and their brains are healthier. I have now had cases of canine epilepsy that required some restriction of animal protein in order to halt their seizures. But this should be a temporary requirement, with a return to normal levels being accomplished once an individual is off the “big 4” long enough.
One of my newest concerns is the presence of glutamate in the flesh of grain-fed animals, especially chickens, turkeys, and cattle. This is s topic of discussion on the celiac forums and we now believe that this is a real concern and could explain why some Celiacs are not responding to elimination diets. Farmed fish are also grain fed.

But, the fact is that 60-70% of the American Diet is wheat and dairy (with heavy emphasis on cheese). This combined with the amount of artificial sweeteners being consumed and the addition of SOY has led this country into an epidemic of pain syndromes, including fibromyalgia. Epilepsy is definitely on the rise in pets and the combination of wheat and soy in pet foods is playing a huge role. I am seeing first time epileptic dogs within three weeks of starting such diets.

Foods lower in glutamate and aspartate:

1) Fruits, berries

2) Vegetables

3) Potatoes

4) Lamb and eggs are relatively low (compared to beef, chicken, turkey) Choose FREE Range meats (non grain fed)

5) Tree nuts (e.g. pecans, walnuts, macadamias) NOTE: These are relatively low when compared to peanuts and cashews. I have more detailed charts on the site to show exact values. Again, everything in moderation applies when eating nuts of any kind. I do not recommend you reach for nuts when you are really hungry unless you can stop after a few. Nuts are very good for moderation. 7 almonds a day gives you what you need .

So, the GARD (Glutomate Aspartate Restricted Diet) should be mostly lean meats, vegetables, fruits/berries, limited nuts, potatoes, and eggs while also limiting known allergens. My site discusses primary versus secondary food allergens. The good news is that if we stay off the primary ones long enough (dairy, wheat/gluten grains, soy, corn) we may be able to eat the secondary ones again.

Remember: Like sufferers of the many conditions that afflict us, epileptics are obviously on a spectrum of affliction. Spending time on this forum has made this painfully clear, especially after reading about the worst cases. My heart goes out to you all. That being said, I feel certain that, as in the pets, there will be those that will respond to minimal changes in diet and those that will require Herculean efforts in the elimination of the foods above.

Also keep in mind that I have had pets that were seizure-free on these duck and potato diets for 6-12 months but that had a seizure within 6 hours of making a mistake (e.g. stealing a waffle). But, I do feel certain that as they (and people) get farther down the road, they will become more resilient to mistakes. This is in part due to the elimination of the casomorphins and gliadomorphins (from casein and gluten) that take up to a year to be eliminated from the brain.

Most of you know that estrogens are “inflammatory” and sensitize neurons to glutamate (catamenial seizures, PMS).

Progesterones are your friend. They are calming, anti-inflammatory (stronger in some regards than cortisone), and they can help suppress seizures.

Too bad there are not dietary sources of these, right? Yes, that is one of the other problems. These same foods are RICH is estrogen but low in progesterone. Balance is everything, isn’t it?

I have evidence with my clients that being really strict for 3 or 4 weeks with your food choices and then re-introducing foods one at a time – you will notice immediately returning symptoms and – be able to identify the foods that your body doesn’t like. You may decide to avoid the foods that cause your symptoms completely – or cheat just occasionally. Remember we have to have one dirty meal every week!!

I hope this helps – let me know how you get on….

Jax Allen
Program Director

Sensitive To Sugars?

Sugar Sensitivity Test Rates Tolerance to Carbohydrates

Determining Your Sensitivity to Sugar and Eating Habits
Directions: If the statement applies to you, put the number of points (in the brackets) on the line. When you are done, add the points and look at the key below for what the total means.
(5) _____ I have a tendency to higher blood pressure.
(5) _____ I gain weight easily, especially around my waist and have difficulty losing it.
(5) _____ I often experience mental confusion.
(5) _____ I often experience fatigue and generalized weakness.
(10) ____ I have diabetic tendencies.
(4) _____ I get tired and/or hungry in the mid-afternoon.
(5) _____ About an hour or two after eating a full meal that includes dessert, I want more of the dessert.
(3) _____ It is harder for me to control my eating for the rest of the day if I have a breakfast containing carbohydrates, than it would be if I had only coffee or nothing at all.
(4) _____ When I want to lose weight, I find it easier not to eat for most of the day than to try to at several small diet meals.
(3) _____ Once I start eating sweets, starches, or snack foods, I often have a difficult time stopping.
(3) _____ I would rather have an ordinary meal that included dessert than a gourmet meal that did not include dessert.
(5) _____ After finishing a full meal, I sometimes feel as if I could go back and eat the whole meal again.
(3) _____ A meal of only meat and vegetables leaves me feeling unsatisfied.
(3) _____ If I’m feeling down, a snack of cake or cookies makes me feel better.
(3) _____ If potatoes, bread, pasta, or dessert are on the table, I will often skip eating vegetables or salad.
(4) _____ I get a sleepy, almost “drugged” feeling after eating a large meal containing bread or pasta or potatoes and dessert, whereas I feel more energetic after a meal of only meat or fish and salad or veg.
(3) _____ I have a hard time going to sleep at times without a bedtime snack.
(3) _____ At times I wake in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep unless I eat something.
(5) _____ I get irritable if I miss a meal or mealtime is delayed
(2) _____ At a restaurant, I almost always eat too much bread, even before the meal is served.
Total _______
Scores of 20 or less indicates that you are a person who can do well on low fat / high complex carbohydrates diet, and might do well as a vegetarian. These diets are approx. 10% to 15% fat, 15% to 20% proteins, and 65% to 75% carbohydrates by calories.
Scores of greater than 25 need diets lower in simple sugars, like sweets, alcohol and starches, but higher in protein and fats. The higher your score, the more fastidious you should be regarding your protein to carbohydrate ratios at each meal and the more important the following tests. The “Zone Diet” of 40% complex carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat is a good example of the diet you might follow. Indeed, the Zone Diet is also known as the 40-30-30 Diet.
Scores that are very high may do well to consider high protein, moderate fat, low carb strategies like the Atkin’s Diet, The Caveman Diet. Regular exercise is also a vital component in any program to optimize blood sugar control.
The higher your score, the more at risk you are for the all too common dysglycemias: hypo-glycemia, Syndrome X, and adult onset diabetes, a major disease of aging.
Having your blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides checked in a “cardiac risk profile” blood test is a good idea then, as high blood pressure and high blood lipids are signs of Syndrome X. Having your doctor test your blood sugar and insulin level is indicated as well with higher scores if you are middle aged or older.
Sugar Sensitivity Test Rates Tolerance to Carbohydrates
Created on 28/05/2010 21:52

How To Choose The Best Eating Plan…

Obesity is an epidemic. Fortunately, we have a great understanding of the biochemical mechanisms responsible for obesity. The fact is, of all the overweight people, only about 25 percent of them overeat. The vast majority of these people (75 percent) suffer from a condition known as hyperinsulinemia. This condition of excess insulin is a result of the over-consumption of carbohydrates and may only be controlled by restricting their intake. Merely counting calories alone will not work!It is important to determine how your body reacts and handles food BEFORE you begin your diet program. Once this has been established, your goal of becoming trim and healthy will become a faster reality. We suggest the following program to maximize your results:STEP 1:
Before beginning any diet program, you should understand how your individual body handles food. Take the following tests and tabulate the answers as instructed. Circle the number next to each statement that applies to you then total each of the three tests individually.

Test 1 Calorie Sensitivity

1. You had a normal body weight when younger but slowly gained weight after age 30.
2. You are presently overweight but by less than 25 pounds.
3. You have a normal appetite – get hungry at mealtimes.
4. You have a few, if any food cravings.
5. You have maintained the same basic eating habits all your life.
6. You eat three meals per day.
7. You have gained a certain amount of extra body weight but seem to have tapered off (not continued to steadily gain more and more weight).
8. You have few or none of the symptoms associated with poor carbohydrate metabolism (see list below).

Test 2 Carbohydrate Intolerance

1.You are more than 25 pounds overweight.
2.You have had a tendency to be overweight all your adult life.
3.You have been overweight since you were younger.
4.You have a poor appetite and skip meals often.
5.You prefer not to eat in the morning.
6.You have food cravings that temporarily go away when starchy or sugary foods are eaten.
7.There are foods that you feel you could absolutely not do without.
8.Your waist is bigger than your hips (men). Your waist is more than twice the size of your hips (women).
9.Most or all of the symptoms associated with carbohydrate intolerance on test three apply to you.TOTAL YES ANSWERS _:____

Test 3 Carbohydrate Symptomatology

3.Fatigue & Exhaustion
4.Faintness, dizziness, cold sweats, shakiness, or weak spells.
6.Drowsiness, especially after meals or in mid-afternoon.
8.Digestive disturbances with no obvious cause.
11.Needless worrying
12.Mental confusion
13.Rapid pulse, especially after eating certain foods.
14.Muscle pain
15.Antisocial behaviour
16.Over-emotional, crying spells etc.
17.Loss of libido
18.Leg cramps
19.Blurred vision
20.Shortness of breath, sighing, and excess yawning.
21.Cravings for starch and sugar-rich foods.
What Does this all mean? …….

Test 1
If you answer yes to the majority of these statements you are likely consuming more calories than you are burning and need to follow our calorie restriction program.
If you scored more yes answers on test one than on test two… You are likely calorie sensitive and need to follow a low calorie program (1200 calories for women and 1400 calories for men).
If you had more yes answers on test two than on test one..You are likely carbohydrate intolerant and need to limit your total carbohydrate intake (Between 30-50 grams per day).
If you also scored eight or more yes answers on test three…You are almost certainly not only carbohydrate intolerant but have progressed to stage two of hyperinsulinemia and are also hypoglycaemic.

The Carb Quiz

The Carb Quiz

This is an easy quiz to fail. It determines your sensitivity to carbohydrates, and many people are overly sensitive to carbs – especially overweight people. The worse you score on this test, the more likely you’ll benefit greatly by restricting your carbohydrate intake. Be honest in your responses.

How to score your answers
(0) if the sentence does not apply to you
(1) if statement is sometimes true or describes you moderately well
(2) if they are often true or describe you quite well
1. My fat storage is more in my abdomen than my hips or thighs.
2. Dinner doesn’t feel complete without dessert.
3. Right after I eat sweets or something high in starch, such as a big dinner roll, I feel satisfied and content.
4. I tend to get hungry an hour or two after meals.
5. I really enjoy caffeinated drinks, and feel great after a cappuccino or a diet cola.
6. I love Italian food and Chinese food, probably even more than rich French food, or high-fat American cooking.
7. It makes me feel good to chew gum, or to have a mint or a piece of hard candy in my mouth.
8. For snacks, I would usually prefer chips or a bagel over nuts or an apple.
9. I drink diet soft drinks almost every day to cut back on calories.
10. High-fat, non-sweet foods such as beef or butter are good, but they’re not my weakness.
11. High-fat, sweet foods, such as rich desserts, are extremely tempting to me, even though I know they are too fattening.
12. Diabetes runs in the family.
13. When I get hungry before a meal, I’m pretty uncomfortable, and really need to eat.
14. I have to watch myself, or I’ll drink more alcohol than I really should.
15. I’ve never stayed at my ideal weight for more than about a year.
16. I take a serotonin-influencing antidepressant, such as Paxil, Zoloft, or Prozac.
17. Hunger definitely affects my mood. When I’m hungry, I get irritable, and sometimes feel spaced-out.
18. When I start eating ice cream, cookies, or other favorite sweets, it’s hard to stop, and I sometimes eat more than I’d planned to.
19. When I’ve tried low carb diets, I’ve felt good, but I really missed my high-carb foods.
20. I think I gain weight more easily than most people.
21. It seems to me as if my metabolism has really changed for the worse as I’ve gotten older. I have to eat less and exercise more just to keep from gaining weight.
22. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry.
23. If I don’t get lunch on time, it’s very hard to work.
24. Several times almost everyday, I think about food while I work.
25. I seem to have less willpower about eating than I do about other aspects of my life.

Compare Your Results to the Chart Below
3 – 8 Excellent score. your carb metabolism functions well.
9 – 12 You have a few problems with carbs, but are basically in control of them. However, you might benefit from replacing high GI/GL with Lo GI/GL carbs to prevent future problems.
13 – 25 Possible trouble. You probably need to restrict sweets and most of the starch you eat in order to have the same metabolic advantages of a person with a healthy carbohydrate metabolism. Choose vegetables and protein based meals to avoid sugars and starches which cause your problems.
26 – 50 Be wary. Get busy. You have significant dysfunction of carbohydrate metabolism and are probably already suffering from hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. You need to limit sugar intake and cut starchy carbs too to restore healthy carbohydrate metabolism. Strictly limit starches all of which should be wholegrain.
50 or over You’re in trouble, and you should deal with it immediately. You probably already suffer from Syndrome X, or are heading for it. If you don’t do something to prevent it, diabetes is a very realistic possibility. A diet based on protein, nuts, seeds and vegetable and some fruits will probably improve your quality of life almost immediately.

Unfortunately, in our current carbohydrate obsessed culture, a score of 25 to 50 is not all that uncommon. It is not cause for alarm. But it is cause for action.
We encourage you to learn about the food you eat and to choose foods that will help control your blood sugar level. Jax 25/3/11 ©

Which Sweeteners?

Which Sweetener to Use?
Written by Tanya|July 10, 2011|23

Article courtesy of the Feingold Association of the United States

There’s so much we don’t know about sweeteners, but the Association does have the accumulated experience of many thousands of families. Combining experience with what we do know, here’s a suggested guideline for choosing sweeteners:
Acceptable choices
The following are healthy choices:
· Sugar – granulated, confectioner’s, or brown
· Cane sugar crystals
· Turbinado and various raw sugars
· Honey, Molasses, Pure maple syrup
· Rice syrup and similar syrups
· Stevia (an herbal no-calorie sweetener found in the supplements section of your supermarket or a health food store)
Acceptable, but don’t overdo
When a sugar name ends in “ol” that means it is an alcohol sugar. Too much has a laxative effect.
· Sorbitol
· Mannitol
· Xylitol
· Hydrogenated starches
Less desirable
· Corn syrup, corn sweeteners, dextrose
· High fructose corn syrup
· Acesulfame-k (Sunett, Sweet One)
· D-tagatose (Naturlose)
Do not use
· Aspartame(NutraSweet, Equal)
o Neotame
o Alitame
· Cyclamate
· Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low),
· Sucralose (Splenda)

Natural Ways To Deflate A Bloated Belly

Natural ways to deflate a bloated belly
Abdominal bloating is an extremely common and annoying complaint. You can start out with a relatively flat tummy in the morning, but as the day progresses, you can watch your abdomen expand. This kind of bloating makes your pants or skirt progressively tighter in the afternoon, and spoils your party dress in the evening.
Occasionally abdominal bloating can be caused by a serious condition, such as liver disease or heart disease, or it could even be an early warning sign of ovarian cancer. However in the majority of cases a bloated tummy is merely a result of poor digestion and/or inappropriate food choices.
Here are 5 ways to overcome a bloated belly:
· Avoid constipation
This is a common cause of bloating. Constipation is usually caused by a diet that is lacking water or fiber, or both. Grains are a good source of fibre but not everyone eats a lot of grains; either because they have an intolerance to gluten or wheat, or because they are following a low carbohydrate diet in order to lose weight.
Luckily vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and legumes are all an excellent source of fiber. If you are still prone to constipation despite an abundance of these foods in your diet, you could try adding freshly ground flaxseeds to your diet, psyllium, rice bran, soy bran or slippery elm. Magnesium is excellent for constipation because it relaxes the muscles of the intestines. For this reason magnesium is excellent for people who get constipated when they are stressed or traveling.
Exercise is also excellent for keeping regular bowel habits because it promotes bowel contractions. If you have long standing digestive troubles, you may benefit from a Colon Detox.
· Find out if you have an allergy or intolerance
Eating a food that does not agree with you is the quickest way to become bloated. The most common offending foods are dairy products, wheat, gluten, soy and eggs. Any food has the potential to cause a problem though. Trying to find the problem food on your own can be like finding your way through a maze, therefore we recommend you see a naturopath or nutritionist to guide you through an elimination diet.
· Avoid bubbly drinks and bubble gum
Carbonated drinks can cause gas to become trapped in your belly, leading to bloating and discomfort. Plain water or water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice in it is kinder to your stomach. Peppermint tea is excellent for bloating and abdominal cramps.
Chewing gum is a reliable way to swallow a lot of air, which can cause bloating. Snack on something healthy like fruit and nuts if you are hungry. If chewing gum is a nervous habit, find ways to wind down and calm down.
· Slow down and eat less
Bolting your food is a sure way to become bloated and uncomfortable. If you eat quickly you will not chew thoroughly. That means large pieces of food in your stomach and intestines won’t be digested properly; instead they will become food for bad bacteria, yeast and fungi, which produce gasses that cause bloating. Ideally you would eat in a calm and relaxed manner. Try not to eat huge meals, particularly in the evening. As well as causing bloating, it will affect the quality of your sleep.
· Limit gas forming foods
Beans and lentils have a reputation for causing gas, and if you don’t eat them regularly they can be particularly problematic. Eating small quantities frequently enables your digestive system to adapt. However, some people can never digest these foods well no matter what they do. Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower can be problematic also, so try not to eat too many foods from this family at the one time, and particularly not if you hope to slip into a tight dress in the evening.
Artificial sweeteners can cause bloating and so can some natural sugar alternatives. It is essential to avoid the artificial sweeteners aspartame, acesulfame K and sucralose because they can cause health problems far worse than bloating. Some natural sugar alternatives can cause bloating if consumed in large quantities; they include xylitol, erythritol and mannitol. Stevia is a sugar substitute that does not cause any digestive distress.

Liver & Gallbladder Health Test

Liver & Gallbladder Health Test

Do you run out of energy in the afternoon?
Do you suffer from occasional headaches?
Are you having less than 2-4 bowel movements daily?
Do you experience a mental fog more than 2x weekly?
Do you experience gas or bloating 1 or more times weekly?
Is it hard for you to stay in a good mood?
Do you get irritable from time to time?
Do you feel angry from time to time?
Do you have muscle aches, and stiffness?
Do you eat meat, sugar, fried foods and carbohydrates?
Do you drink less than 1/2 gallon of purified water daily?
Do you have problems controlling your weight?
Do you exercise less than 3x weekly?
Do you suffer from allergies or sinus problems?
Do you have bad breath or body odor?
Do you have brown spots on your skin or age spots?
Are you currently suffering from any health problems?
Are your emotions often on a “roller coaster”?
Is your skin broken out or blemished in any way?
Does your skin or eyes have a yellowish tinge?
Do you have occasional abdominal pain?
Do you have curved or whitish appearance of nails?
Do you bruise easily?
Do you experience occasional depression?
Do you experience right upper abdominal pain over 1x monthly?
Are you over 40 years of age?
Do You drink alcohol more than 2x weekly?
Do you frequently feel “stressed out”?
Do you have trouble “getting going” in the morning?

Note — This General Health Questionnaire is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
We advise use of this Questionnaire simply as a starting point for consideration of any negative health symptoms you may be experiencing and potential preventative measures or as a resource for further discussion with your healthcare provider.

Facts About Your Liver

Interesting facts you may not know about your liver
Another article that may interest you – especially if you are having problems with your energy levels, belly fat, too much Xmas alcohol, have been taking pain killers or anti-biotics for a while, have hi cholesterol or you’re taking statins, you have blood sugar level worries like pre-diabetes or a family history of Diabetes.

Your liver is the second largest organ in your body (after your skin) and it sits in your right, upper abdominal area. We regularly tell you how important your liver is to your overall health, and that if you look after it, you should live a longer and healthier life.
Two of the best known functions of the liver are fat burning and detoxification. Your liver has a major influence over how efficient your metabolism is, and helps you maintain a healthy body weight. Your liver also detoxifies and purifies your bloodstream, all toxic substances that enter your body are eventually processed by your liver. If your liver is good at this job, you will feel energetic, find it easy to think clearly and have a happy, stable mood. If your liver is a poor detoxifier you will feel quite the opposite.
Apart from fat burning and detoxifying, your liver performs several other important functions that you are probably not aware of. This helps to explain why an unhealthy liver can produce such a wide range of health problems.

Less well known jobs your liver performs

· Carbohydrate metabolism
Your liver helps to control your blood sugar level. This is why people with a fatty liver are so prone to developing type 2 diabetes. Your liver converts the glucose you have consumed from carbohydrate rich foods into glycogen, which is stored in the liver and released between meals to keep your energy levels high. People with a fatty liver are not able to store glycogen in their liver well, therefore their blood sugars can rise to unhealthy levels. If you cannot store glycogen well, you will be prone to hypoglycaemia. You may get sugar cravings and feel tired, weak, jittery or moody if you haven’t eaten for several hours. You may also experience poor quality sleep because your blood sugar is unstable throughout the night. You can help by choosing foods that are low or moderate on the Glycemic Load scale to keep your blood sugar stable and balanced and reducing the symptoms of hypoglycaemia.

· Hormone metabolism
Your liver is the major site of hormone breakdown. Your liver breaks down estrogen and secretes it into bile, which then enters your intestines for excretion. If your liver is overworked, you won’t excrete estrogen well and may get symptoms of estrogen dominance such as PMS, sore, lumpy breasts, fluid retention and menstrual cramps. If your liver doesn’t break male hormones (androgens) down well, you may get symptoms such as acne, scalp hair loss and facial hair (in women). One of the best ways a woman can fix her hormone problems is by fixing her liver. You may not realise that your cholesterol level is largely determined by the health of your liver. If you have a fatty liver, inflamed liver or sluggish liver, you will have higher levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Having a high blood triglyceride reading is very dangerous because these fats make the bloodstream thick and sticky and prone to clots. If your gallbladder is healthy, it will excrete cholesterol into your intestines and it will then be removed from your body in the stool. If your gallbladder is unhealthy, the cholesterol can form stones or sludge. It is ironic that most cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) can actually cause raised liver enzymes, meaning they damage liver cells. This means your liver will end up in even worse shape long term.

· Thyroid hormone metabolism
There are two main thyroid hormones in your body: T4 and T3. Your thyroid gland manufactures T4 but it is an inactive hormone. In order to be activated, it must be converted into T3. The majority of that conversion occurs in your liver. T3 is necessary for efficient metabolism in every cell of your body. If you do not have sufficient levels, you can feel tired, bloated, depressed and you will likely gain weight. You can have a perfectly healthy thyroid gland, but if your liver is sluggish you may still have a thyroid hormone deficiency.

· Storage of vitamins and minerals
Vitamins A, D, B12, K and E are stored in the liver, along with copper and iron. Most of these nutrients can be stored in the liver for several months and keep you going if your diet becomes inadequate. Your liver is also responsible for converting vitamin D into its active form. If your liver is unhealthy it will have difficulty with this function.

You will know my thoughts on how Iodine supplementation will help too!!

Learn To Read Labels

Learn to Read Labels
(Or Just Scan Them!)
I found this interesting article from the US while researching Liver Detox – I have checked the apps listed – some look very useful.
The more I learn about food and nutrition, the more I gravitate to natural foods and local growers. But to some extent, there’s no getting around the corporate grocery store. Recently, my husband checked the fine print of our favorite yogurt … the label claims it’s organic and natural, but a closer look revealed that it contained aspartame. Yep, and yuck! We tossed the entire batch and went on a new search for an aspartame-free yogurt. These days, it’s tough to know what products carry the synthetic sweetener. Aspartame is marketed as aspartame, NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, Naturtaste, E951, Canderel and Benevia and just 951 in New Zealand. And because the patent on aspartame has expired, it is now in all types of products using their own private names. For example, recently Ajinomoto, one of the producers of aspartame rebranded aspartame with the name AminoSweet. And sometimes, the powers that be simply put “contains phenylalanine.” Although the law doesn’t require the disclosure of aspartame, it does requires a PKU warning for phenylketonurics who cannot metabolize the phenylalanine in aspartame. If you see phenylalanine, that’s basically a synonym for aspartame. Honestly, your best defense is to know how to read your food label and avoid the use of processed or manufactured foods whenever possible. For help learning to read labels, check out How to Read Food Labels on Scientific Psychic. But even knowing what to look for and how to read labels, sometimes it seems an impossible task, so we decided to look for an app that does it for you …
We found three good ones:
Foods You Can: From influential food allergy site, we found a FREE iPhone application which was created to help allergy sufferers identify foods they can eat, where to buy them, and also provide recipes to make with the food. The best thing about this one? It’s free! This isn’t just good for finding aspartame in your foods, it helps people with gluten sensitivities and other allergies. Read more on PRWeb, visit the Foods You Can Web site or download Foods You Can free.
Label Reading Guide: Another free app, this one helps you better understand the ingredients in your cleaning products. It’s more of a reference, but very informative! Download the Label Reading Guide on iTunes FREE.
iScan My Food: This one is £2.99. Pro version is £6.99 It was developed for scanning food ingredients and contains information on harmful food additives, toxic ingredients in food and genetically modified foods. Download iScan on iTunes or learn more on the iScan Web site.