The alkaline diet is based on the idea that replacing acid-forming foods with alkaline foods can improve your health.

Proponents of this diet even claim that it can help fight serious diseases like cancer.

This article examines the science behind the alkaline diet.

What is the alkaline diet?

The alkaline diet is also known as the acid-alkaline diet or alkaline ash diet.

Its premise is that your diet can alter the pH value — the measurement of acidity or alkalinity — of your body.

Your metabolism — the conversion of food into energy — is sometimes compared to fire. Both involve a chemical reaction that breaks down a solid mass.

However, the chemical reactions in your body happen in a slow and controlled manner.

When things burn, an ash residue is left behind. Similarly, the foods you eat leave an “ash” residue known as metabolic waste.

This metabolic waste can be alkaline, neutral, or acidic. Proponents of this diet claim that metabolic waste can directly affect your body’s acidity.

In other words, if you eat foods that leave acidic ash, it makes your blood more acidic. If you eat foods that leave alkaline ash, it makes your blood more alkaline.

According to the acid-ash hypothesis, acidic ash is thought to make you vulnerable to illness and disease, whereas alkaline ash is considered protective.

By choosing more alkaline foods, you should be able to “alkalize” your body and improve your health.

Food components that leave an acidic ash include protein, phosphate, and sulfur, while alkaline components include calcium, magnesium, and potassium (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source).

Certain food groups are considered acidic, alkaline, or neutral:

  • Acidic: meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, grains, alcohol
  • Neutral: natural fats, starches, and sugars
  • Alkaline: fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables

Summary According to proponents of the alkaline diet, the metabolic waste — or ash — left from the burning of foods can directly affect the acidity or alkalinity of your body.

Regular pH levels in your body

When discussing the alkaline diet, it’s important to understand pH.

Put simply, pH is a measurement of how acidic or alkaline something is.

The pH value ranges from 0–14:

  • Acidic: 0.0–6.9
  • Neutral: 7.0
  • Alkaline (or basic): 7.1–14.0

Many proponents of this diet suggest that people monitor the pH of their urine to ensure that it is alkaline (over 7) and not acidic (below 7).

However, it’s important to note that pH varies greatly within your body. While some parts are acidic, others are alkaline — there is no set level.

Your stomach is loaded with hydrochloric acid, giving it a pH of 2–3.5, which is highly acidic. This acidity is necessary to break down food.

On the other hand, human blood is always slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.36–7.44 (3Trusted Source).

When your blood pH falls out of the normal range, it can be fatal if left untreated (4Trusted Source).

However, this only happens during certain disease states, such as ketoacidosis caused by diabetes, starvation, or alcohol intake (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).

Summary The pH value measures a substance’s acidity or alkalinity. For example, stomach acid is highly acidic, while blood is slightly alkaline.

Food affects the pH of your urine, but not your blood

It’s critical for your health that the pH of your blood remains constant.

If it were to fall outside of the normal range, your cells would stop working and you would die very quickly if untreated.

For this reason, your body has many effective ways to closely regulate its pH balance. This is known as acid-base homeostasis.

In fact, it’s nearly impossible for food to change the pH value of blood in healthy people, although tiny fluctuations can occur within the normal range.

However, food can change the pH value of your urine — though the effect is somewhat variable (1Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).

Excreting acids in your urine is one of the main ways your body regulates its blood pH.

If you eat a large steak, your urine will be more acidic several hours later as your body removes the metabolic waste from your system.

Therefore, urine pH is a poor indicator of overall body pH and general health. It can also be influenced by factors other than your diet.

Summary Your body tightly regulates blood pH levels. In healthy people, diet doesn’t significantly affect blood pH, but it can change urine pH.

Acid-forming foods and osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease characterized by a decrease in bone mineral content.

It’s particularly common among postmenopausal women and can drastically increase your risk of fractures.

Many alkaline-diet proponents believe that to maintain a constant blood pH, your body takes alkaline minerals, such as calcium from your bones, to buffer the acids from the acid-forming foods you eat.

According to this theory, acid-forming diets, such as the standard Western diet, will cause a loss in bone mineral density. This theory is known as the “acid-ash hypothesis of osteoporosis.”

However, this theory ignores the function of your kidneys, which are fundamental to removing acids and regulating body pH.

The kidneys produce bicarbonate ions that neutralize acids in your blood, enabling your body to closely manage blood pH (9Trusted Source).

Your respiratory system is also involved in controlling blood pH. When bicarbonate ions from your kidneys bind to acids in your blood, they form carbon dioxide, which you breathe out, and water, which you pee out.

The acid-ash hypothesis also ignores one of the main drivers of osteoporosis — a loss in the protein collagen from bone (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).

Ironically, this loss of collagen is strongly linked to low levels of two acids — orthosilicic acid and ascorbic acid, or vitamin C — in your diet (12Trusted Source).

Keep in mind that scientific evidence linking dietary acid to bone density or fracture risk is mixed. While many observational studies have found no association, others have detected a significant link (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).

Clinical trials, which tend to be more accurate, have concluded that acid-forming diets have no impact on calcium levels in your body (9Trusted Source, 18, 19Trusted Source).

If anything, these diets improve bone health by increasing calcium retention and activating the IGF-1 hormone, which stimulates the repair of muscle and bone (20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).

As such, a high-protein, acid-forming diet is likely linked to better bone health — not worse.

Summary Although evidence is mixed, most research does not support the theory that acid-forming diets harm your bones. Protein, an acidic nutrient, even seems to be beneficial.

Acidity and cancer

Many people argue that cancer only grows in an acidic environment and can be treated oreven cured with an alkaline diet.

However, comprehensive reviews on the relationship between diet-induced acidosis — or increased blood acidity caused by diet — and cancer concluded that there is no direct link (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).

First, food doesn’t significantly influence blood pH (8Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).

Second, even if you assume that food could dramatically alter the pH value of blood or other tissues, cancer cells are not restricted to acidic environments.

In fact, cancer grows in normal body tissue, which has a slightly alkaline pH of 7.4. Many experiments have successfully grown cancer cells in an alkaline environment (25Trusted Source).

And while tumors grow faster in acidic environments, tumors create this acidity themselves. It is not the acidic environment that creates cancer cells, but cancer cells that create the acidic environment (26Trusted Source).

Summary There is no link between an acid-forming diet and cancer. Cancer cells also grow in alkaline environments.

Ancestral diets and acidity

Examining the acid-alkaline theory from both an evolutionary and scientific perspective reveals discrepancies.

One study estimated that 87% of pre-agricultural humans ate alkaline diets and formed the central argument behind the modern alkaline diet (27Trusted Source).

More recent research approximates that half of pre-agricultural humans ate net alkaline-forming diets, while the other half ate net acid-forming diets (28Trusted Source).

Keep in mind that our remote ancestors lived in vastly different climates with access to diverse foods. In fact, acid-forming diets were more common as people moved further north of the equator, away from the tropics (29Trusted Source).

Although around half of hunter-gatherers were eating a net acid-forming diet, modern diseases are believed to have been much less common (30).

Summary Current studies suggest that about half of ancestral diets were acid-forming, especially among people who lived far from the equator.

The bottom line

The alkaline diet is quite healthy, encouraging a high intake of fruits, vegetables, and healthy plant foods while restricting processed junk foods.

However, the notion that the diet boosts health because of its alkalizing effects is suspect. These claims haven’t been proven by any reliable human studies.

Some studies suggest positive effects in a very small subset of the population. Specifically, a low-protein alkalizing diet may benefit people with chronic kidney disease (31Trusted Source).

In general, the alkaline diet is healthy because it’s based on whole and unprocessed foods. No reliable evidence suggests it has anything to do with pH levels.

thank you Written by Joe Leech, MS

Juice fasting has a great ability to encourage healing and cleanses the body while supplying a remarkable increase in vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Cancer cells, toxins, built-up chemicals, excess body fat, transformed fatty acids, impacted mucus in the bowel, sickness and disease are all dramatically impacted. Living fruit and vegetable juices are radiating with healing properties. Antioxidantsattache themselves to toxins, effectively removing them from the body. There will be periods of toxic crisis, but once you learn not to fear them they can bring exciting anticipation that your body is going through deep cleansing.
All the essential nutrients in fruit and vegetables are locked within their fibres. A juice extractor frees these essential nutrients so they can be absorbed and used directly, requiring a minimum amount of digestive effort. Therefore the metabolic energy can be used 100% for cleansing mucoid matter from the lymph and toxins from the cellular tissue. What you need to increase the number of enzymes, vitamins and minerals absorbed into the body is a juice extractor!


For most health conditions, juice fasting is the best method to transform health. Because juice fasting removes toxins and excess fatty tissue while supplying a full spectrum of nutrients, it has an advantage over any weight-loss program. It’s also a great kick start to lose a ton of weight.


For most health conditions, juice fasting is the best method to transform health. Because juice fasting removes toxins and excess fatty tissue while supplying a full spectrum of nutrients, it has an advantage over any weight-loss program. It’s also a great kick start to lose a ton of weight.
I typically juice carrots, parsley, beets, beet tops, red cabbage, kale, apples, chard, spinach and cucumbers. I also blend fruits like papaya, blueberries, cantaloupe, watermelon and tomatoes.

Algae
Seaweed salt is a delicacy hand-harvested in the estuaries of the great French rivers as they flow into the sea in Brittany. While Fleur de sel, which is produced in the Camargue, is the caviar of the salt world.

Bible
The origins of salt date back thousands of years; it is mentioned in the Bible in connection with Lot’s wife who was transformed into a salt statue because she turned to look at the city of Sodom.

Champagne
A little tip to keep your champagne well chilled for longer: add a few spoonfuls of coarse salt to the ice in the bucket.

Deposits
Apart from sea salt, which is produced in salt pans, salt is extracted from mines: the oldest ones are in Eastern Europe, but they are to be found throughout the continent as well as in Pakistan, USA and Canada.

Edible
Table salt must be used sparingly: it is poisonous when consumed in large quantities, so much so that in China it used to be a way of committing suicide.

Flavoured
Fine or coarse, salt is available as a pure product or aromatized with the addition of spices and flowers, as well as being smoked to give a more robust flavour to food.

Goderich
Goderich in Ontario boasts the largest underground salt mine in the world; it extends for 5 kilometres beneath Lake Huron.

Himalaya
One of the most precious varieties in the world is the pink rock salt to be found in the Himalayan mountains. It is said to be the purest in the world and the only type of salt to contain 84 minerals and trace elements.

India
The exquisite black Indian salt (kala namak) comes from volcanic rocks. It is used extensively in masala dishes and is often sprinkled on fruit.

Japanese theatres
In Japanese theatres, it used to be customary, before each performance to throw salt on the stage to drive evil spirits away.

Kiln
To make perfect fish baked in a salt crust, it must be covered with a layer of at least 1.5 centimetres to form a sort of kiln around the food.

Light
In the kitchen, baking food in a salt crust is considered to be an extremely light and tasty cooking method.

Millenary
Salt is thought to have existed before any form of primitive track: animals used to lick the salty earth and create trails which, down through the centuries, became the roads of today.

NaCl
Salt is a chemical compound – sodium chloride, and NaCl is the chemical formula by which it is universally known.

Ounces
The human body contains from 4 to 6 ounces of salt; its function is to control blood volume, as well as regulating digestion and nerve fibres.

Pay
The word “salary” still exists today; it derives from the fact that ancient Romans were paid in salt provisions instead of money.

Quotes
There are a great many quotations regarding salt. “Believe no man unless you have eaten salt with him”, the ancient Greeks used to say. “The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea”, wrote Karen Blixen.

Restaurant ban
In 2010 in New York, a draft bill caused quite a stir: a one thousand dollar fine payable by any restaurant adding salt to its dishes.

Salt road
Ever since the bronze age, salt roads have developed, ancient trails which used to be used for carrying salt and are now a tourist attraction. For instance, the famous via Salaria runs from Rome.

Tequila and the others
Salt and cocktails are a common combo: for example, tequila is drunk neat after a taste of salt and lemon, while salt decorates the edge of a glass used for serving margarita.

Unlucky
Dropping salt is believed to bring bad luck because, in ancient times, it was as precious as gold. To drive away the evil eye, however, a pinch of salt is thrown over the shoulder Visitors The little island of Laeso, Denmark, with less than two thousand inhabitants, is visited by 60,000 tourists each year who arrive just to see where its salt comes from, the most expensive in the world.

Wood
Salt pan workers collect salt with small wooden shovels, which they use to form little cones of grains. Later, a machine passes by to collect the little heaps.

X-numbers of use
Precious and eclectic, salt is used in an infinite number of ways: those trying to count them have exceeded 14,000….

Yu
As early as 2200 BC, the Chinese emperor Yu tried to tax salt: from then on, the struggle to control it has led to retaliations, such as Gandhi’s salt march against the English tax.

Zero salt
Be careful not to use too much salt: nutritionists recommend a maximum quantity of 6 grams per day, while many natural products, such as fruit and cereals, do not contain as much as a milligram.

Will be Available at Kempinski Bangkok

What is Siberian ginseng and how different from other types of ginseng? What benefits does Siberian ginseng have to offer to make it on the list of superfoods and how can you experience its medicinal properties?

These and some other questions may pop up in your mind if you haven’t heard of this impressive superfood that comes all the way from Asia. But don’t worry, by the end of the article, you will be an expert on Siberian ginseng and will be ready to consume it for its nutritional perks.

What Is Siberian Ginseng?

Siberian ginseng, also known as eleuthero or eleutherococcus, has been used for centuries in its native areas of Asia and Russia. Siberian ginseng grows in the mountain forests of these areas of the world.

This herb is not to be mixed up with its close relative, ginseng. Siberian ginseng is not a true ginseng, because it doesn’t contain ginsenosides.

This potent root is an adaptogen, which means that when it is ingested, it helps the body to increase its resistance to stress. Guess what that means? If you eat Siberian ginseng, your stress resistance can increase too.

Siberian ginseng has been known for aiding your immune system, helping your mental performance and mental health and increasing your energy, vitality and longevity. Siberian ginseng can also miraculously lower your blood sugar, which is one of the first steps to weight loss and preventing or recovering from diabetes.

You can find this root sold in various forms, including solid extracts, liquid extracts, capsules, tablets and roots (dried and cut) for tea. When buying Siberian ginseng supplements, however, make sure to buy high quality supplements, because 25% of the products out there include no Siberian ginseng at all (tip: our Organifi Red Juice is made with the highest quality, tested, organic ingredients and it includes a potent dose of Siberian ginseng along with other powerful superfoods).

Why Should I Use Siberian Ginseng?

Being a powerhouse of nutrients and health benefits, Siberian ginseng is a true superfood. Whether you are dealing with an array of health conditions or just looking to upgrade your life, you can benefit from the superpowers of Siberian ginseng.
Benefits – What Does Siberian Ginseng Do For You?

Siberian ginseng has countless benefits for your physical and mental health, as well as your overall well-being.

Do you want to improve your sleep, increase your energy, reduce inflammation, improve your mental health, better your sexual health, better your physical fitness, or more? It seems like no matter what your health goals are, you can find a healing friend in Siberian ginseng.

Check out some of the powerful benefits that Siberian ginseng has to offer:

Siberian ginseng has anti-inflammatory benefits
Siberian ginseng can increase your cardiovascular performance
Siberian ginseng can decrease fatigue and fight chronic fatigue
Siberian ginseng can give you more energy
Siberian ginseng can fight insomnia
Siberian ginseng can decrease DNA damage
Siberian ginseng can aid your physical fitness
Siberian ginseng can increase your resistance to stress
Siberian ginseng can help your lipid metabolism
Siberian ginseng can improve your glucose metabolism and type 2 diabetes
Siberian ginseng can improve your fibromyalgia symptoms
Siberian ginseng can improve your depression symptoms
Siberian ginseng can help your menopause symptoms
Siberian ginseng can help sexual function, including your libido and fertility

How Should I Use Siberian Ginseng?

You can find Siberian ginseng in many forms in health food stores, vitamin shops, Asian stores and online. There is no one way to take it and you can mix and match depending on your time and mood.

Check out the various forms and ways you can use siberian ginseng.
Fresh Siberian Ginseng

Siberian ginseng is grown in some parts of Asia and Russia. You may also find Siberian ginseng roots in Chinese and Asian herbal stores in North America. If you have the opportunity to try Siberian ginseng fresh, you can try slicing it up and eating it with a little honey on top or make a tea out of it.
Siberian Ginseng Extract

You can take Siberian ginseng as a liquid extract. This is an easy way to add Siberian ginseng to your life by mixing it with water, your green juice, green smoothie or homemade vitamin water. You can buy this online, in vitamin stores and in health food stores.
Siberian Ginseng Supplement

The easiest and quickest way to take Siberian ginseng may just be taking a pill supplement you can easily purchase at vitamin stores, health food stores and online. Siberian ginseng is also included in some supplements that mix various herbs and superfoods together for specific health benefits, including supplements for adrenal fatigue.
Siberian Ginseng Tea

Siberian ginseng tea is a popular healthy beverage enjoyed all over the world. You can buy it online, at health food stores and at Asian supermarkets. You may enjoy Siberian ginseng tea any time of the day.

Siberian Ginseng Powder

Taking Siberian ginseng powder is another way to experience the benefits of Siberian ginseng. Make sure that it is a powdered extract and not just a powder. You can buy some online and at health food stores and mix in 1/4 tbsp or more to your favorite smoothies and raw goodies.

You can also buy superfood juice and smoothie mixes with Siberian ginseng powder. When you buy Organifi Red Juice, you will not only benefit from the goodness of Siberian ginseng, but also other superfoods, like rhodiola, cordyceps, reishi and various superberries.
Powerful Herbal Combinations

If you start learning about herbs and superfoods, you will be amazed at how many powerful remedying foods are out there.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to just pick one or two. This is totally the time to indulge and take advantage of a large array of herbs and superfoods. When combined, many of these nutritional powerhouses work together and bring your body even more medicinal benefits.

Knowing this, we’ve packed our Organifi products with numerous potent superfoods (including Siberian ginseng in Organifi Red!) to create a true healing army to support your health and well-being.

Let’s take a look at how Siberian ginseng works together with some other magical herbs.
Siberian Ginseng And Rhodiola

Rhodiola, or otherwise known, golden root, grows in cooler mountain regions of the world. It is also a powerful superfood with many shared benefits that Siberian ginseng has. Both Siberian ginseng and rhodiola can decrease stress, decrease fatigue, increase energy, decrease depression symptoms and improve your performance. When working together, rhodiola adds the benefits of increased focus and help with weight loss.

Organifi Red Juice includes both Siberian ginseng and rhodiola, allowing your body to experience synergy between Siberian ginseng and rhodiola.

Siberian Ginseng And Ashwagandha

Ashwagandhais another potent and popular superfood with countless benefits. Ashwagandha works beautifully together with Siberian ginseng. They both have the power to help to reduce stress, improve depression, better your performance, reduce your blood sugar, lower your fatigue and improve sexual function. Ashwagandha can also improve your cholesterol, improve anxiety, improve your blood pressure and improve Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Organifi Red Juice includes a healthy dose of Siberian ginseng, while Organifi Green Juice is powered by ashwagandha. When consuming both juices regularly, you can experience the best of both worlds in upgrading your health.
Siberian Ginseng Recipes

Red Berry Protein Smoothie
Berry Blast Frozen Yoghurt
Organifi Berry Ice Cream

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is there anyone who should NOT use Siberian ginseng?

A. Do not take Siberian ginseng if you have narcolepsy, heart disease, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, serious mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia or mania), bleeding disorder, hormone-sensitive conditions or autoimmune conditions. If you are experiencing any health concerns, to be safe, talk to your doctor first. If you are taking any of the following medications, please, talk to your doctor before taking Siberian ginseng: anticoagulants, corticosteroids, digoxin, diabetes medication, medication for your immune system and medication broken down by your liver.

Q. What is an effective serving of Siberian ginseng?

A. The standard dose is 300 – 1,200 mg. Since it is often used in a mix with other herbs, talk to your healthcare practitioner and find the right dose for you.

Q. How long can I take Siberian ginseng for?

A. Siberian ginseng can be taken for up to 3 months with 3-4 weeks break after that.

Q. Is Siberian ginseng safe for children to take?

A. Because of some concerns of stimulant effects, it is not recommended to give Siberian ginseng to children, especially long-term, unless recommended by a healthcare professional. Some health practitioners may recommend Siberian ginseng to children during periods of stress. Children still shouldn’t take Siberian ginseng for more than 2 consecutive weeks and should lower their dose based on their body weight (e.g. the adult dose above is calculated based on a 150 lb adult, children who are for example 50 lbs should take ⅓ of the dose).

Teenagers (ages 12 and up) can safely take Siberian ginseng for up to 6 weeks. There is no information on long-term use for teenagers, so it’s recommended to talk to your healthcare providers if you are considering use for longer than 6 weeks.

Conclusion

Siberian ginseng is a potent superfood with countless benefits.You can take Siberian ginseng in various forms, but the most powerful and cost effective way is to take a potent superfood mix where it can work together with other superfoods to enhance your health symbiotically.

Organifi Red Juice is a fantastic superfood juice blend made with Siberian ginseng, cordyceps, rhodiola, reishi and superberries. It can ignite your metabolism, help your mental clarity, fill your body with antioxidants, fight aging, revitalize your skin cells and of course, entertain your taste buds. Just mix it with water or add it to your green juice, smoothie and superfood and raw food recipes.

Are you curious about the surge in popularity of plant-based burgers like the Impossible and Beyond Burgers? Wondering our thoughts on these new food products? This article provides insights and recommendations that will help you make the best decisions for your health and your principles. 

Eating it up…

Both Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat (makers of the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger, respectively) are astoundingly-fast-growing businesses. Beyond Meat took the IPO step earlier this year – a Forbes contributor, in September, called them ‘probably the hottest stock in the world’ and described it as ‘the top-performing IPO of the year and one of the best of all time.’ ‘I’ve never seen anything quite like this…’ ponders this same expert. 

Between them, these two plant-based burgers are now offered in fast-food outlets, restaurants and supermarkets across the US and internationally – Subway, Dunkin’, Burger King, Hard Rock Café, Cheesecake Factory, Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, and Disney World are among those offering these plant-based burger alternatives. McDonald’s and KFC are rumored to be in testing phase. 

The meat of the issue

Health is usually tipped as the primary driver for choosing plant-based meat products. Curiosity, environmental and ethical concerns are strong motivators too. It’s not just vegans and vegetarians who are opting for plant-based, faux meats – nearly half of those who buy plant-based meat products do not otherwise avoid meat. 

Our focus in this article is do the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger live up to the health hopes of their consumers? 

Spoiler alert – we don’t think they do. Here’s why, and what plant-based burgers we would recommend instead…

The rub with the Impossible and Beyond Burgers

1. Ultra-processed

One way to identify foods according to their degree of processing is to use the NOVA classification system, the most prominent system used in scientific investigations and by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. NOVA recognizes four levels of processing of foods: unprocessed or minimally processed, processed culinary ingredients, processed foods and ultra-processed foods.

According to the NOVA scale, ultra-processed foods are “formulations of ingredients, mostly of exclusive industrial use, that result from a series of industrial processes, many requiring sophisticated equipment and technology”. Ultra-processed foods can be identified by meeting at least one of the following characteristics:

  • Food substances never or rarely used in kitchens: these include hydrolyzed proteins and protein isolates that are fractionated, refined, or otherwise chemically manipulated from whole foods.
  • Classes of additives whose function is to make the final product palatable or more appealing: these include flavors, colors, emulsifiers, thickeners, etc. 

According to the NOVA classification, both the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger are considered ultra-processed food products. Here is a list of their ingredients, which shows the use of fractionated whole foods, ingredients with other types of industrial processing, flavors, and additives. 

Impossible Burger Beyond Burger 
Ingredients: Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Food Starch Modified, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12. Sourced from Impossible Foods 11-03-19Ingredients: Water, Pea Protein Isolate*, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Refined Coconut Oil, Rice Protein, Natural Flavors, Cocoa Butter, Mung Bean Protein, Methylcellulose, Potato Starch, Apple Extract, Salt, Potassium Chloride, Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Sunflower Lecithin, Pomegranate Fruit Powder, Beet Juice Extract (for color) Sourced from Beyond Meat 11-03-19

This is how the Impossible Burger is made:

2. Similar Nutrient Facts to Fast Food Burgers

Most of you will be aware that in Functional Medicine we don’t consider the Nutrition Facts box to be the be-all-and-end-all of a food’s health value. There’s a whole host of nutrition information not covered by it after all. However, it is readily available and often compared. So let’s take a look – how do the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger stack up in the Nutrition Facts box?

To do this evaluation we added, for comparison, another processed, fast-food burger, the Big Mac with no bun. Is it a fair comparison? Impossible Foods seems to think so – their website says: The Impossible Burger is made from proteins, flavors, fats, and binders, like almost every burger you’ve eaten in your life. They themselves are comparing their product to processed burgers. 

Here’s the comparison:

Nutrient Facts comparison between plant-based burgers and a Big Mac patty without bun 

Per 100g (per single burger in parentheses) *Big Mac pattyImpossible BurgerBeyond Burger
Calories (kCal)236 (330)257 (290)221 (250)
Protein (g)13 (18)17 (19)18 (20)
Fats (g)18 (25)12 (14)16 (18)
Saturated fat (g)6 (9)7 (8)5 (6)
Carbohydrates (g)5 (7)6 (7)3 (3)
Sodium (mg)450 (630)327 (370)345 (390)

*Note that the serving size for a Big Mac patty is 140g, while both the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger are smaller, at 113g. The data above are therefore adjusted for comparison to be the equivalents per 100g.

There’s not really much of a difference between all three once you normalize for serving size. Ingredients in a Big Mac patty by the way? 100% beef. Not that we’re recommending it (for other reasons)! 

3. Ingredients not thoroughly scrutinized (applies to Impossible Burger)

Heme is the magic compound in the Impossible Burger, making it taste and bleed as a beef burger would. Although you don’t see it on the ingredient list, it’s there within soy leghemoglobin (SLH). Impossible Foods makes SLH by first genetically engineering yeast to contain the SLH gene. They then grow the yeast via fermentation and then isolate the SHL and add it (and the heme within it) to the burger mix. 

In July 2019, the FDA posted a Rule document amending the color additive regulations to allow for the use of SLH as a color additive. In it it states that: “Impossible Foods made its own determination, to which we had no questions, that the use of soy leghemoglobin preparation to optimize flavor in ground beef analogue products intended to be cooked is generally recognized as safe (GRAS).” They state that their decision was made based on results from a 14-day and two 28-day rat studies that showed “no evidence of mutagenic activity or increased chromosomal aberrations in cells.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest criticized the FDA’s approval of SLH calling it a ‘barebones’ review of safety. CSPI Senior Scientist Lisa Lefferts said: “FDA’s guidance recommends long-term safety testing for additives like soy leghemoglobin, which fall in the agency’s highest ‘concern level’ category due to the extent of exposure. Instead, FDA relied heavily on a short-term (28-day) study, which provides no evidence of long-term safety.”

Other industrially produced ingredients once approved with GRAS status have had that status reversed as better data became available: partially hydrogenated oils, are perhaps the best known. In 2018, the FDA banned seven artificial flavors commonly used in baked goods, ice cream, candy, beverages and chewing gum, that were found to cause cancer in lab animals. Companies were given a rather generous 24 months to find substitute ingredients. 

4. Potential pesticide residues (applies to Impossible Burger)

Since the Impossible Burger uses soy that is genetically engineered to withstand glyphosate (the main active ingredient in Round Up), several groups have posited the concern that the burgers may contain pesticide residues. 

Impossible Foods has published reports from their six batch tests showing that glyphosate was not detected above 0.005 ppm (essentially a ‘negative’ result). The consumer advocacy group, Mom’s Across America (MMA) published their own testing done in April this year contradicting the Impossible Foods findings – the MMA tests, done through Health Research Institute Laboratories, showed glyphosate levels of 11.3 ng/g (equivalent to 0.0113 ppb). Impossible Foods has heavily contested MMA’s publication with scorching, defamatory tactics.

We’d say the jury’s still out about pesticide exposure from Impossible Burgers. Beyond Burgers, incidentally, are non-GMO (non-genetically engineered) verified and so have less of a concern (but not no concern) about potential pesticide residues.

While we’re on the subject, are vegan diets really a health panacea?

Health is often a major reason for choosing to restrict or avoid meat. However, in our clinic, we routinely see that poorly-implemented vegan diets lead to nutrient insufficiencies (seen on lab tests as well as through other indicators), are harmful to health and can perpetuate the very diseases our patients were trying to address or prevent. 

Vegan diets are not alone there – any diet poorly implemented can have similarly-negative results. Our goals are always to help patients implement the healthiest version of diets, respectful of their wider principles and dietary preferences. 

Where blood sugar and insulin dysregulation are factors however, (type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, PCOS/hormonal imbalances, overweight/obesity, cognitive impairment, and cancer are some relevant examples), vegan diets can in some cases be too high in carbohydrates and too low in other nutrients to be effective therapeutically. 

Our dietary toolkit is broad and evidence-based; applied in a highly personalized way to each individual that works with us. Barring some unique medical situations, plant food dominates our dietary plans, but not usually to the absolute exclusion of meat and fish.   

Let’s not give up on the goals

We agree that eating more plant foods is beneficial for health. Plants contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and powerful (and still not comprehensively understood) phytonutrients, which are essential for addressing the epidemic of chronic disease. High meat consumption, especially processed red meats like bacon, hot dogs, sausages, is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer and overall mortality.  

We also concur that finding sustainable foods with low environmental impact is a pressing societal need. We fully recognize the interconnections between ecological and human health and have written and discussed those very issues before

However, we cannot conclude that an ultra-processed food source, especially one with questionable new ingredients, is the solution.

In fairness to Beyond Meats, we think their burger does come out on top in the comparison above, due to better ingredients and non-GMO status. They are, however, secretive about their production processes making it hard to evaluate, and ultimately still fall into the ultra-processed foods category. 

A smattering of the conclusions reached by research on ultra-processed foods (let’s call them UPFs now, for covenience) as a group is pretty convincing:

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, issues raised with UPFs are that they:

  • use chemically-manufactured ingredients not found naturally 
  • are nutritionally-imbalanced 
  • displace whole foods in the diet 
  • are often aggressively marketed without comprehensively or accurately informing the consumer. (For instance, the marketing for plant-based burgers is often more in line with natural, organic items whereas in fact they are highly processed.)
  • are, in general, associated with increased rates of chronic disease – obesity, cardiovascular, cancer, depression, asthma, gastrointestinal disorders and all-cause mortality

What would we recommend instead?

We recommend diverse, ‘clean’ and varied diets based on whole foods as much as possible. Our general guidelines include:

  • Aim for 8+ cups of varied and colorful, non-starchy vegetables per day.
  • Choose organic, whole food products whenever possible.
  • Choose grass-fed, free range, antibiotic / hormone free animal products whenever possible.
  • When opting for packaged foods, choose the least processed options available (e.g., short ingredient list, natural / recognizable ingredients, minimal preservatives / additives / flavorings / colorings). 

To find animal protein sources with a lower carbon footprint, check out our blog post, and to choose and source local food as much as possible, you can use this resource

An alternative to processed burgers, we hope you’ll consider making your own plant-based burgers. Here are some wonderful suggestions: 

And for the occasional meat burger, we like to mix it up with plant foods too. Check out our Beet Beef Burger for Methylation Support. It contains rosemary too, which has been shown to reduce heterocyclic amine (pro-oxidant, pro-carcinogenic compounds formed from grilling all types of foods) formation during cooking.

So, should I buy stock in Beyond Meat?

We’re clearly not in the business of financial advice! However, the same Forbes contributor cited above gave some relevant thoughts that further contextualize the market for plant-based meats and the choices we, as consumers, face. He fires a blazing caution to those who are considering jumping into the Beyond Meat stock craze. He braised it down to two main reasons why your fingers could get a little charred:

Firstly, despite first-mover advantages, plant-based burgers are replicable. Bigger companies are already developing and launching their own versions. Secondly, it’s a craze! The hysteria will fade away. The ‘next new thing’ will rise above it.

From our vantage point, we would simply add that if something doesn’t deliver on one of its primary promises – health – it won’t last in the long run. 

Thanks to Lindley Wells for her research contributions to this article. Lindley holds a degree in nutrition and integrative health from Maryland University of Integrative Health. Before entering the field of nutrition, Lindley studied environmental policy at Colby College where she focused on sustainable agriculture and domestic and international food regulation/policy. Lindley is deeply passionate about bringing food and nutrition education into schools and to get people of all ages back into the kitchen preparing their own healthful meals. Lindley’s areas of interest include the brain gut connection, eating disorders, culinary nutrition, mindfulness and stress reduction, and the prevalence and physiological impact of chemicals in everyday products. Lindley is a currently in training in our clinic as she works towards the Certified Nutrition Specialist credential.


  • Activated charcoal is trending, but its use as a detox and healing remedy goes way back.
  • Charcoal binds to certain poisons, heavy metals, and other toxins and flush them from your body, making it a wonder substance for acute and general detoxification.
  • Activated charcoal is the byproduct of burning a carbon source like wood or (better yet) coconut shells. The substance is “activated” by high temperatures, resulting in a highly adsorbent material with millions of tiny pores that capture, bind, and remove poisons, heavy metals, chemicals, and intestinal gases.
  • The benefits of activated charcoal include general detoxification, digestive health, gas, bloating, heart health, and anti-aging.
  • Take activated charcoal powder or capsules when you eat out at restaurants, drink bad quality coffee, when you travel, when you feel moody or tired, and when you drink alcohol.

Activated charcoal is having a moment. You’ve likely seen activated charcoal “wellness” shots at your local hipster coffee shop, or perhaps you’ve swigged it as a juice. But its use as a detox and healing remedy goes way back — traditional healers have used it for thousands of years, because of its numerous benefits.

Activated charcoal is known for its ability to bind to certain poisons, heavy metals, and other toxins and flush them from your body, making it a wonder substance for acute and general detoxification. It also carries a host of anti-aging and cardiovascular benefits.

One of the main tenets of a Bulletproof lifestyle is avoiding the things that make you weak. This includes energy-sapping processed snacks, sugar, and overexposure to toxic chemicals. But sometimes avoiding crappy food and environmental toxins is easier said than done. Whether you’re forced to eat at a less-than-ideal restaurant or you want to try a deeper detox, activated charcoal is your ally.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is the byproduct of burning a carbon source like wood or (better yet) coconut shells. The substance is “activated” by high temperatures, removing all the oxygen and changing its chemical structure to create much smaller particles with more surface area.[1] The result is ultra-fine charcoal with millions of tiny pores that capture, bind, and remove poisons, heavy metals, chemicals, and intestinal gases.[2]

Just two grams of activated charcoal powder (4 Upgraded Coconut Charcoal capsules) has about the same surface area as a football field. The porous surface has a negative electric charge that attracts positively charged unwanted toxins and gas.

Why use activated charcoal?

Western medicine primarily uses activated charcoal to soak up poisons or other toxins in a hospital setting. It works through a process called “adsorption” (that’s ad, and not ab), which means “to bind to” rather than “to absorb.”

But activated charcoal is so much more than an antidote for drugs and poisons. It’s a global remedy for general detoxification, digestive health, gas, bloating, heart health, and anti-aging. It is a part of my mold toxin detox protocols. In fact, unscrupulous industrial cattle mills intentionally alter spoiled feed with activated charcoal, knowing it will allow them to increase profits without killing the animals.[3]

Benefits of activated charcoal

Ancient physicians used inactivated charcoal for a variety of medical purposes, including treating epilepsy and anthrax. In the early 20th century, medical journals began publishing research revealing activated charcoal as an antidote for poisons and a way to improve intestinal disorders. Current research supports these earlier practices of activated charcoal, and also introduces additional benefits to using it. Here are just a few ways that activated charcoal works.

General detoxification

Toxins from low-quality, processed food, and environmental pollution sap your energy and contribute to brain fog and digestive issues. Chronic exposure to toxins causes cellular damage, allergic reactions, compromised immunity, and rapid aging. Regular use of activated charcoal can remove unwanted toxins from your body, leaving you feeling renewed and more vibrant, often in minutes.

Relieves digestive issues, gas, and bloating

After digesting foods like beans, the decomposition process from bacteria in your body creates byproducts like gas or diarrhea. Activated charcoal enters the digestive tract and counteracts this process by binding to byproducts and easing these digestive issues.[4]

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Binds drugs, chemicals, and poisons

Activated charcoal adsorbs most organic chemicals, many inorganic chemicals, drugs, pesticides, mercury, and even lead before they harm your body.[5] If you’re poisoned, go to the emergency room. But there’s no reason you shouldn’t start binding a poison right away. A Bulletproof reader inadvertently took a huge dose of Tylenol (the capsules were in the wrong bottle), which is highly toxic to the liver. He realized his mistake, took a handful of activated charcoal capsules, and went to the emergency room. His liver was undamaged, and he credits biohacking.

Anti-aging

Activated charcoal has powerful anti-aging properties, and studies show it prevents numerous cellular changes associated with aging. In one study, activated charcoal increased the average lifespan of older test animals by roughly 34 percent.[6] Activated charcoal slows the rate at which the brain becomes sensitive to toxins as you age, which makes for better cognitive functioning. It also builds a better defense mechanism by improving the adaptive functioning of essential organs like the liver, kidneys, and adrenals.[7]

Better heart health

Activated charcoal may also lower cholesterol levels.

In one study, patients with high cholesterol who took 8 grams of activated charcoal three times a day showed a 25% reduction in total cholesterol. They also lowered their LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 41 percent, and increased their HDL (“good”) cholesterol by 8%.[8] Studies examining microscopic tissues show a daily dose of activated charcoal may prevent abnormal hardening (sclerosis) in heart and coronary blood vessels.[9]

When to use activated charcoal

As a biohacker and general health nerd, I quickly realized that it doesn’t matter how clean I eat — our environment is saturated with high levels of toxicity. This is even more of a problem when you have to eat out or are traveling. A commercial flight exposes you to high levels of toxic jet fuel and other airborne contaminants.[10] And that’s not even counting the additives from the crappy airplane food.

Activated charcoal always saves the day when I overindulge on food or when I’m on long trips. And it does wonders when my kids suddenly drop into uncharacteristic fits of whining or tantrums, especially after snacks at a friend’s house. Activated charcoal always brings them back to normal within about 10 minutes. It’s amazing to watch.

Take activated charcoal when:

  • You eat out at restaurants or eat processed junk foods
  • You drink bad quality coffee
  • You’re drinking any alcohol
  • You feel moody or tired
  • You’re traveling, especially air travel (activated charcoal is part of my no-jetlag protocol)

Activated charcoal isn’t just for isolated situations. Taking activated coconut charcoal on a daily basis is a great way to help you thrive in an overly toxin-filled environment. It’s best to take it between meals and a few hours after using any vitamin or mineral supplements, as it may interfere with their absorption. Be sure to take charcoal capsules at a different time to your prescription meds, which won’t enter your body when they bind to charcoal (more on dosing below).

How to take activated charcoal

Everyone responds differently to different doses, so always consult a doctor before using any supplement or binding agent like charcoal.

Charcoal dosage: Take two capsules (1,000mg) when consuming food of unknown quality or when drinking alcohol. Or try it in a recipe. Check out these 10 activated charcoal recipes to get started (including my favorite — waffles with white chocolate frosting).

When to avoid taking charcoal: Never take activated charcoal with prescription medications or with other supplements. Charcoal binds a lot of substances — even the good stuff like prescription medications, vitamins, and minerals. Wait 2-3 hours after taking charcoal to take other supplements or meds and talk to your doctor about the details.

Drink plenty of water: Excessive charcoal consumption, especially without magnesium, can result in constipation. Take 300-400 mg magnesium glycate about 3 hours after taking charcoal and drink plenty of water to avoid constipation.

And speaking of poop…

If you use activated charcoal, it will turn your poop black. This is great because it tells you how long food takes to go through your bowel (called transit time), but it can be surprising. Our kids’ preschool called once, concerned over dark stools. I had to explain the difference between bloody stools (which are black) and charcoal

By:Dave Asprey


I used to think of seaweed as just a beneficial whole-food source of minerals like iodine, for which it is the most concentrated dietary source. Indeed, just a daily half-teaspoon of mild seaweeds, like arame or dulse, or two sheets of nori should net you all the iodine you need for the day. But, the intake of seaweeds is advised not only as a whole-food source of iodine but also, evidently, “for the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease….” Based on what?


Wakame Seaweed Salad May Lower Blood Pressure, the reasoning is that the Japanese live long and eat seaweed, so there is speculation that seaweed might have “influence on life expectancy,” based on suggestive reports. But when we see long lists of the supposed benefits a particular food is purported to have, such as “compounds found in [seaweed] have various biological activities including anticoagulant, anti-viral, antioxidant, anti-allergic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, and neuroprotective properties,” we need to know if they are based on clinical data, meaning studies with actual people, or so-called preclinical data, that is, from test tubes and lab animals. I mean, what are we supposed to do with a study talking about the effects of “seaweed-restructured pork diets” on rats? Those researchers tried to use seaweed, as well as other ingredients, to “improv[e] the ‘image’ of meat product.” Researchers also tried to add grape seeds to meat, they tried flaxseeds, they tried walnuts, they tried purple rice, and they even tried “thong-weed.”
When you look at epidemiological studies, where you compare the diets and disease rates within a population, you see that Japanese pre-schoolers who eat seaweed tend to have lower blood pressures, suggesting “seaweed might have beneficial effects on blood pressure among children.” That could make sense given all the minerals and fiber in seaweed, but cause and effect can’t be proven with this kind of study. Perhaps other components of the diet that went along with seaweed eating that made the difference.


It’s even harder to do these kinds of studies on adults, since so many people are on high blood pressure medications. University of Tokyo researchers took an innovative approach by comparing the diets of people on different intensities of medication: low-dose of a single blood pressure drug, high-dose of a single drug, and multiple drugs. And, although they all had artificially normalized blood pressure “as a result of effective medication,” those who ate the most fruits and sea vegetables tended to be the ones on the lower dose of a single drug, supporting a dietary role for seaweed. An interesting finding, but why not just put it to the test?
A double-blind, crossover trial found that seaweed fiber lowered blood pressure, apparently by pulling sodium out of the system. Real seaweed couldn’t be used in the study, because the subjects wouldn’t be able to be fooled with a placebo, but why not just put whole powdered seaweed into pills? That was finally attempted ten years later. Compared to doing nothing, subjects receiving a daily dose of dried wakame powder in capsules had beautiful drops in blood pressure. The researchers, however, desalinized the seaweed, taking out about two-thirds of the sodium naturally found in it. So, we still don’t know if eating seaweed salad is actually going to help with blood pressure. What we need is a randomized, controlled trial with plain, straight seaweed. No one had ever done that research, until…they did!


Six grams of wakame, with all of its natural sodium, led to a significant drop in blood pressure, especially in those who started out with high pressure. The subjects experienced only minor side effects and ones that could be expected with increasing fiber intake. A nice thing about whole-food, plant-based interventions is that we sometimes get good side effects, such as the resolution of gastritis (stomach inflammation) some subject had been having, as well as the disappearance of chronic headaches.

thank you Dr Michael Greger, M.D.

I’m also a fan of these Certified Organic Raw Nori Sheets, which are dried at under 85 degrees and tested daily for pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, radiation, and other contaminants.

Recent survey results showed that an estimated 80% of American and British people aged between 25 and 64 don’t get enough weekly exercise to meet government recommended levels of daily activity. Although fitness seems to be on the rise as more people are doing some form of exercise, most adults find it difficult to manage doing both strength and aerobic exercise.

Those who decide to improve their health with exercise often dismiss walking as not enough to lose weight and gain fitness. Fact is, walking is the oldest human physical activity, provide excellent benefits and cost very little.

When you make that decision to get off the couch or out from behind the desk, walking is a great way to start and feel and see your daily progress.  Walking burns calories and speeds up your metabolism without wearing down your joints and can benefit your health in various ways.

The London School of Economics and Political Science’s recent study found walking as one of the best exercises to fight weight gain, even more so that going to a gym. Over thirteen years, the study considered the effects of various workouts on health markers in over 50,000 adults and found walkers to be slimmer than regular gym goers and those who only does high- intensity workouts. Dozens of studies prior done before have shown that daily walking keep people feeling younger, happier and healthier.

A brisk 30 minute daily walk has been linked to having a lower body mass index and smaller waistline compared to non-walkers and were particularly noticeable in three population areas who struggle with their weight, those over 50, women and low income earners.

Walking has since the beginning of time, unintentionally, helped people control their body weight and boost their longevity. The 1990’s saw the start of intentional walking to lose weight and fight certain diseases, gaining traction when the Centers for Disease Control in partnership with the American College of Sports Medicine first recommended at least 30 minutes of “brisk walking” for all adults most days of the week. The American Heart Association also got on board with the “30 minutes of walking daily” message and since then walking became the gold standard for meeting the guidelines of daily “moderate-intensity physical activity,” do-able at any time, by virtually anyone at little or no cost.

Over the years, walking has been linked to protection against certain conditions and diseases, including:

Obesity

Heart disease, hypertension, coronary artery disease

Diabetes

Depression and anxiety disorders

Dementia, Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline

Arthritis

Hormonal imbalances

PMS symptoms

Thyroid disorders

Fatigue and low energy levels

6 Health Benefits of Walking

  1. Helps Maintain a Healthy Weight

Walking is just as effective and perhaps more in some instances, than more intense workouts in terms of weight loss and maintenance. Walking at a brisk pace uses a good amount of energy with the added advantage that it’s an easy exercise to keep up with, has less chance of causing injury and won’t leave you exhausted compared to more intense workouts.

  1. Low-Impact and Easy on Joints

Walking is one of the safest forms of exercise there is and can help fight chronic disease. Everyone, including obese adults, the elderly and those with existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis will benefit.

Regular walking supports joints with improved circulation which helps the lymphatic system to do its job, i.e. flushing toxins out of the body and lowering inflammation. Joint cartilage has no direct blood supply but the more you move, the more your synovial joint fluid circulates, allowing oxygen and nutrients to delicate or injured areas. Whether you have or had injuries in the past or not, it’s always best to start with a warm up stretch and steady, slow walk with a rest and stretch in between if needed. Pick up the pace once you feel confident to do so

  1. Good for Improving and Preserving Heart Health

A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine in 2013 found that a brisk walk has beneficial effects on resting heart rate, blood pressure, exercise capacity, maximal oxygen consumption and quality of life. Furthermore it showed that patients with various diseases had significant benefits, such as protection from heart attacks, strokes or coronary heart disease.

The golden standard – a daily brisk 30 minute walk – is considered a simple, safe and effective form of exercise for everyone, including older people, those with a history of disease or have previous injuries excluding them from high-intensity workouts. For more heart-healthy benefits, try to gradually increase your total walking time, distance, frequency, pace and energy expenditure.

  1. Fights Depression And Improves Mood

All exercise, including walking are beneficial for depression and mood related problems. Commonly known as ‘’runners high’’ all forms of exercise release natural ‘feel good’ hormones in the brain, including endorphins. Walking barefoot in the sand or grass in direct contact with the earth, soaking up some sun is another easy way to feel happier.

A study done by the University of California San Francisco found that walking is associated with longevity while a study from the same department followed 6,000 women over the age of 65 found that walking 2.5 miles per day resulted in significantly more protection from memory loss than walking less than a half-mile per week.

  1. Supports Bone Health Into Older Age

As with other types of exercise, walking regularly can help stop the loss of bone mass (porous bone disease) with age. By walking, you are effectively fighting against gravity, forces the bones to become stronger to continue supporting your body weight which reduces the risk for fractures or osteoporosis a common disease in the elderly.

A study done by Brigham and Women’s Hospital found that postmenopausal women who walked for 30 minutes a day reduced their risk of hip fractures by 40 percent.

  1. Can Be Done Anywhere and Doesn’t Require Equipment

Simple, effective and free – that’s the beauty of walking. Step out of your door and away you go. If you can’t manage 30 minutes in one go for whatever reason, make it up during the day by taking shorter walks with the aim of meeting your goal of 30 or 60 minutes, when you’re ready to go further. Every walk will contribute to better muscular, heart and hormonal functioning.

Educate Inspire Change.

Cinnamon – it’s one of the healthiest spices in the world and has been used as a traditional herbal medicine for centuries. (1) (2) However, there are different types of cinnamon – and they are not all created equally.

That’s right – you may not be getting the true benefits of cinnamon at all, even if you do buy the small spice jar labeled “cinnamon.” There’s a big difference among the varieties due to a wide supply of cinnamon from around the world. Read on to recognize how to buy real cinnamon and avoid the junk.

The History Behind Cinnamon

The use of cinnamon dates back to ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians used it as a medicine, a spice, and as an embalming agent. (3)

Egyptians used cinnamon as both a medicine and embalming agent.

Cinnamon was so valued that it was considered more precious than gold at the time. (4) This was due to its scarcity and its multiple uses. Some of the earliest mentions of cinnamon are in the bible, and it was already important in civilizations dating back to 2000 BC. Cinnamon’s importance would continue to be extremely valuable; the Chinese and Europeans also came to use cinnamon in a daily capacity, as both a spice and a healing agent. Cinnamon’s value increased; although the actual source of cinnamon was widely unknown to many, it was used a great deal for its delicious taste and healing properties. As a result, it became one of the most popular goods traded in many cultures, all the way up to the 1700s.


Cinnamon – What Is It?

history-of-cinnamon.jpg

Cinnamon comes from a tree, and the cinnamon we use is actually the bark. Commonly, cinnamon is sold as a ground powder. Here’s where it gets tricky, though. There are two different kinds – cassia cinamon and Ceylon cinnamon. In most circles, the cassia variety is referred to as “fake” cinnamon, and Ceylon is referred to as “true” cinnamon. (5) Cassia is the more common type of cinnamon, but Ceylon is the true kind.

The cinnamon commonly found in most supermarkets is likely the cassia variety. In fact, the “fake” cinnamon accounts for more than 90% of the cinnamon imported into the U.S. (6)


What Are the Health Benefits of Real Cinnamon?

cinnamon-brain-benefits.jpg

But before we get to the difference between the two, we need to discuss the benefits of using cinnamon in the first place. There are three elements in the essential oils of cinnamon, which make it a powerful spice. These elements are: cinnamyl alcohol, cinnamaldehyde, and cinnamyl acetate. (7) Cinnamyl alcohol is typically used in fragrances and cosmetic products, while cinnamyl acetate is used in products like hair conditioners and shampoos. All three of these elements are antifungal and antibacterial agents, and combine to make cinnamon a very potent, antioxidant-filled spice.

Anti-Clotting

One of the most important health benefits of cinnamon is its anti-clotting ability. This comes from cinnamaldehyde, and knowledge of this has been meticulously scientifically researched. (8) In a nutshell, cinnamaldehyde stops unwanted clumping of blood platelets. Put down your daily anticoagulant: cinamon contains cinnamaldehyde, which acts as a natural anti-clotting agent.

Blood platelets can clump together beneficially when circumstances warrant it – like when you accidentally cut your skin open, blood platelets clump together to stop the bleeding and create a scab. But day-to-day clumping is bad news, as clumping can lead to blood clots, which can be potentially fatal. The good news? Cinnamaldehyde helps to prevent excessive clumping of platelets by stopping the release of arachidonic acid, which is an inflammatory fatty acid.

Since cinnamon also performs cellular level activity, it is also classified as an anti-inflammatory food, since it stops the release of some inflammatory fatty acids, like arachidonic acid. (9)

Blood Sugar Control

One of the biggest benefits of consuming cinnamon is its ability to help regulate blood sugar. Interestingly, if you season a higher carbohydrate food with cinnamon, it can help ease the effect of the food on your blood sugar. (10)

I typically recommend clients use cinnamon to help with blood sugar issues, since diabetes may have a better insulin response when consuming cinnamon. Interestingly, studies have shown that compounds in cinnamon cause a response in insulin receptors and also stop an enzyme that blocks them, effectively making the body’s cells better able to use the sugar taken in via the food. (11)

Even in those who take in a lot of sugar (what we would refer to as a “high-fructose diet”), cinnamon still makes a difference. One scientific study showed that when given cinnamon, high sugar diets became almost comparable to normal diets. (12) Scientists conducting the study noted changes in mRNA coding, specifically for proteins related to memory, insulin sensitivity, and Alzheimer’s. This doesn’t mean to load up on the sugar, however! It just means that cinnamon could be used to help make a healthy diet even healthier.

Packed with Antioxidants and Helps Fight Fungal Infections

Cinnamon is also a very strong antioxidant. In fact, in some studies, cinnamon beats out chemical antioxidants and most other natural spices. (13) Cinnamon also helps stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungus. Depending on your level of expertise around fungus, you may already know cinnamon is potent, since it is very effective against the common candida yeast. (14)

May Improve Memory

As if the benefits of cinnamon weren’t already overwhelming, one scientific study found that cinnamon seemed to enhance cognitive processing! (15)

This amazing research found that multiple parts of the brain were enhanced, resulting in an overall better memory. However promising this research though, we must remember that this was only one small study. The benefits of cinnamon may be even greater – we simply do not have all the answers yet.


The Difference Between ‘Real’ and ‘Fake’ Cinnamon

cinnamon-info.jpg

The two varieties, cassia and Ceylon, have somewhat comparable flavors. Cassia cinnamon isn’t quite as sweet as Ceylon cinnamon. Interestingly, the Ceylon (remember, that is the “real” cinnamon) is also harder to find in most supermarkets. Typically, you have to head to a specialty store to find the “true” cinnamon.

Now this is where things get interesting. The cassia (aka “fake”) cinnamon contains a very high amount of coumarin. (16) Coumarin is a flavoring substance, and it can be toxic. (17) The fake cinnamon typically contains over 1,000 times more coumarin compared with the real cinnamon. (18) Large amounts of coumarin, especially prolonged daily use, could potentially cause health problems (e.g., liver damage). (19)

But the differences don’t end there. Real cinnamon is more expensive, harder to find, and comes from a plant named cinnamomum zeylanicum. Real cinnamon is also light brown in color, and a little thinner and softer in appearance. Sticks of real cinnamon will be filled (picture a cigar) and have multiple layers. As mentioned, there will also be substantially less coumarin found in real cinnamon.

Perhaps most frustrating is that it is very hard to determine what type of cinnamon is found in a bottle or package. This leaves us with the choice of looking at cinnamon sticks and trying to pick between the real and the fake. Ceylon cinnamon can then be blended into a powder. Remember, the Ceylon sticks will be lighter and softer in appearance. If this option isn’t available for you, you can also purchase real, organic cinnamon online.


The Bottom Line

Scientific studies confirm that the benefits of real cinnamon are numerous. This includes, but is not limited to: antimicrobial and antiparasitic activity, lowering of blood glucose, antioxidant and free-radical scavenging properties, inhibition of tau aggregation and filament formation (hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease), anti-inflammatory activity, and wound healing properties. (20)

Note: Just because cinnamon is labeled Ceylon does not necessarily mean it is organic. If I’m going to choose a spice to maximize my health, I want to make sure I’m getting the full benefit – and you should too.

While it may require more work to obtain the real cinnamon, the benefits certainly outweigh the cons. Remember, if you need to find cinnamon in a store or online, make sure it is also organic – as the health benefits of organic, real cinnamon will be far, far greater than the non-organic variety.


We called it: 2019 is the year of the alt-meat. But while food innovation has gifted plant-based, vegan, and vegetarian eaters with an array of meat-like options (looking at you, “bleeding” burger patty), the OG sources of vegan protein—tempeh and tofu—have proven that they aren’t going anywhere. But in the battle of tempeh vs protein, who reigns supreme?

First things first: It’s abundantly clear that both protein sources have earned their staying power. Not only do they happen to taste delicious tossed on top of a salad/rice bowl/taco/literally anything, they’ve also got the health benefits to back up their good flavor. But while both meatless options are essentially super-versatile soy, there are key differences in texture, taste, and health benefits. Plus, according to an RD, tofu is the best alt-meat out there for plant-based beginners, while tempeh is the best for your gut. (TL,DR: Just because there are newer, shinier options out there, don’t count out everyone’s old favorites.)

Considering even meat-eaters could benefit from regularly eating plant-based meals (#MeatlessMonday, anyone?!), I asked plant-based specialist Lori Zanini, RD, CDE and author of the Diabetes Cookbook and Meal Plan for the Newly Diagnosed and Reema Kanda, RDN, at Hoag Orthopedic Institute, Irvine CA to break down health differences between the two vegan proteins that get the most love.

Below, Zanini and Kanda explain these two meatless faves and then answer which ultimately wins out in the plant-based protein battle of tempeh vs. tofu.

What is tempeh, exactly?

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans that have been soaked, hulled, cooked, and then molded into a patty-like shape. Of course, there’s some variation in the shape the cooked soy beans get molded into, like tempeh sold in bacon-like strips.

While fermented soybeans are the main ingredient, tempeh often contains any or all of the following: quinoa, barley millet, flax seed, brown rice, sesame seeds and spices. This means sometimes tempeh is gluten-free, but other times it is notHave you ever been cheated on during the holiday season?; it ultimately comes down to the manufacturer. Most tempeh products wily either “gluten-free” or “contains wheat” on the package, so if you’re Celiac make sure to do your label-reading before adding it to your grocery cart.

The taste of tempeh is often described as “earthy,” “hearty,” or “nutty,” and when cooked, it’s a bit chewy. Tempeh is a little like mushroom lattes— you either love it or hate it.

how to cook tofu
Photo: Stocksy/ Trinette Reed

And what’s tofu?

“While both tofu and tempeh are high quality sources of plant-based protein and would make a great post-workout meal, they couldn’t be more different in their production process,” says Kanda. Tofu is also a soybean product, but while tempeh is made directly from cooking and fermenting soybeans, tofu is made from condensed, unfermented soy milk that’s been processed into solid white blocks.

It can be a little hard to visualize, so think about it this way: You know the pulp that’s left over when you make almond milk? Tofu is essentially made by combining this “pulp” with a thickening coagulant (and water). That’s why tofu is sometimes considered more processed than tempeh.

You can get tofu in a variety of textures such as “silky,” “firm,” and “soft,” but it usually has a Jell-O-like jiggle. And while tofu can be sold spiced, it’s generally flavorless. “Because tempeh has a heartier taste, some people prefer to use it as meat substitute. Tofu on the other hand has a more neutral flavor and absorbs the taste of the other ingredients or spices it’s combined with. It can be used in smoothies, stir-fries, soups…,” says Kanda, adding that it’s a good replacement for eggs in many dishes.

Tofu vs. tempeh: Which is healthier?

“Nutritionally, tofu and tempeh carry very similar nutrient profiles, and either would make a beneficial addition to a healthy breakfast or meal,” Zanini says, but she adds that they do have differences.  Nutritionally, here’s how it all breaks down based on one serving (aka 100 grams) of each protein.

Tofu:

  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Fat: 5 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2 grams
  • Calories: 76

Tempeh:

  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 12 grams per 100g of cooked tempeh
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Calories: 195

Generally, tempeh is higher in protein than tofu. “That’s because legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds may be used to make tempeh,” says Kanda—lending to a richer source of protein. If your goal is to incorporate more protein and healthy fats, tempeh may be the way to go.

Tempeh may have more calories and fat content, but Kanda says comparing two 100 gram servings is slightly misleading because 100 grams of tempeh will be more filling than 100 grams of tofu,  thanks to its high protein and fiber. You may have to eat more tofu to feel full because one serving is so low in calories, protein, and fat.

Micronutrients

Even in the nitty gritty nutrient-details, there aren’t a ton of differences between the two soy products. “Tofu contains 1 milligram of iron per serving and is a source of alpha-linolenic acid, the essential omega-3 fatty acid. Some brands of tofu are fortified with vitamin B12 and vitamin D, and extra calcium—of which there’s naturally a lot,” says Kanda.

Tempeh on the other hand, contains about 10 percent of your daily iron and calcium needs. Because tempeh is fermented, it can help your gut health and will keep you regular. Both tofu and tempeh contain magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc.

Other factors, tastes, and uses

Aside from the nutritional information, there’s the whole question about whether or not soy is actually safe to eat. While some wellness practitioners advise their patients not to eat soy due to its “estrogen-like effects” in the body, the American Cancer Society says that consuming moderate amounts of soy foods is safe for everyone. Kanda follows the ACS guideline, and encourages her patients to eat soy in moderation and not every day.

Of course, since both tofu and tempeh can be part of a healthy diet, a lot of the decision comes down to what you’re craving and how you cook them. “Either option would be a great meat-substitute in any meal,” says Zanini. But when your shopping for tempeh aim for one that is as simple as possible. Flavored tempeh often has a lot of added sugar and salt. And of course, if you’re gluten-free check the label.

While tempeh has a heartier taste that makes it optimal as a meat-replacement, tofu is essentially flavorless which means it has more culinary uses. “Either way,” says Kanda, “both offer a great complete protein option for plant-eaters.”

Gabrielle Kassel, October 18, 2018