Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson: We are living in the dark ages around food. I don’t know if you guys remember the movie, Forest Gump? Did you see that movie, right?
TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah.
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson: And when Forest is a little boy, and he’s seeing the doctor, and he’s saying about his crooked spine and stuff, and the doctor’s got a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Do you know that scene? That’s the state of our society around food right now, where we are becoming overweight and obese at breathtaking, gobsmacking, horrifying rates.
Our kids are destined to have Type 2 diabetes at levels that we’re going to be watching this generation of kids have legs amputated and go—and be going blind in their 30s and 40s at mass numbers. And financially, as a society, we can’t afford it. Like the heart disease and diabetes and stuff, we’re about to go bankrupt on a global scale because of how we’re eating.
And we’re still at the point where if you try to stay “No, thank you,” to pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, people give you a hard time, like you’re some sort of ridiculous version of a like overzealous, like “Nobody diets on Thanksgiving, come on.” It’s like in 1950, and you’re trying to say “No, thank you,” to a cigarette, or 1970, and you’re trying to say “No, thank you,” to a drink on New Year’s Eve.
Now I haven’t had a drink in a long time. Nobody harasses me on New Year’s Eve if I try to stay “No, thank you,” to a drink. If I say, straight up, “No, thanks. I don’t drink,” they go and find me some sparkling water to put in my champagne glass, right? They’re cool. But if I try to say, “I don’t eat sugar,” on Thanksgiving, they give me a hard time, like I’m being ridiculous, right?
TeriAnn Trevenen: Well, and nobody wants to talk about the fact, we’ve talked about this multiple times on different episodes about food not even being real anymore. A lot of the food that people are eating is not even food.
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson: Right.
TeriAnn Trevenen: It’s not food.
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson: Right. Just because it’s edible doesn’t make it food.
TeriAnn Trevenen: Right.
Jonathan Hunsaker: Well, and it’s the whole fat-free movement, right?
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson: Right.
Jonathan Hunsaker: That I think has also moved a lot of this faster, right? To get rid of the fat, we just added a bunch more sugar.
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson: Yeah.
Jonathan Hunsaker: And so, it’s made, so…
TeriAnn Trevenen: The chemicals—
Jonathan Hunsaker: That’s for another episode that we will do in a little bit about sugar addiction. But let’s get back to the holidays because I think it’s a very relevant point, right? That—and I, I’m not shy about it, I smoked for 20 years. I was very unhealthy. I quit smoking close to five years ago. Anybody that knows me now, like would never judge. When I say “No, I don’t smoke,” or anything like that, they’re not going to try to push a cigarette on me. That would be absurd, right? The same thing with somebody who drinks, or you say “No, I don’t drink,” or “I’m sober.” It would be absurd for you to push a drink on that person.
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson: Yeah.
Jonathan Hunsaker: But we’ll push sugar.
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson: Yeah, food.
Jonathan Hunsaker: We’ll push crap on people without, without any second thought.
Dr. Susan Pierce Thompson: Without even knowing we’re doing it, yeah.
Jonathan Hunsaker: And a lot of times, it’s Aunt Jane, that’s 50 pounds overweight…
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson: Yeah, totally.
Jonathan Hunsaker:—that’s pushing it on you, that’s not healthy. And you’re trying to get healthy. But it makes her feel like crap because you’re drawing a line in the sand and you’re trying to be healthy, and it’s like “Oh no, well, if I’m going to be unhealthy, I want to bring everybody down with me.”
Dr. Susan Peirce Thompson: And a lot of what I do, and the Bright Line Eating Approach that I teach, is I help people navigate those social situations with their families, with the Aunt Jane who has baked something gluten-free and/or—whatever, out of spelt flour and agave syrup, or whatever, and she’s handing you these baked goods, and she’s like “I know you’re on a special thing…”
I’m not going to eat it. How do you language that to her? How do you get through the family? Because breaking bread together is a very primal thing, right? And how do you keep your relationships intact? How do you stay close to the people that you want to be close to? Jonathan, so okay, right here, right? I’m in your home.
And last night, we were on the phone, and I said “Let’s talk a little bit about the food for tomorrow because I just went to Whole Foods and I got all my food. I’ve got enough food to like get my dinner for tomorrow.” And you’re like “Well, I got this and that and the other.” And now, I have a choice point of like am I going to eat what you’re serving? Am I going to break bread with you in your home, eating your food?
And I decided to because you were—you told me what you were serving, and it was like foods I eat, right? But there is this sort of dance, this negotiation that has to happen when you decide to swim upstream from society’s expectations around food and not go with the healthy—with the unhealthy flow of food products that everybody else is eating. You decide you’re only going to eat whole, real food, in whatever way you want to spin that, and there are relationships to navigate.
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Dog and cat food comes in all shapes, flavors, varieties, and formulas. But it might surprise you to learn that even high-end dog and cat food brands that you assume are “healthy” are often still missing one vital ingredient… enzymes.
In fact, much of the pet food on store shelves is lacking in at least seven unique enzyme types that are critical for healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients. Enzymes are inherently delicate and very easily damaged or destroyed by heat and other factors .
Enzymes are typically absent from anything that’s been cooked or processed – including most major pet food brands on the market today. This is a serious problem. Without enzymes in their diets, dogs and cats are deprived of an important energetic substance that directly contributes to :
- proper nourishment
- sustained energy production
- vibrant immunity
- healthy body weight
- sturdy teeth and gums
- balanced detoxification
- strong bones and joints
All of these are vital for your four-legged friend to live a long and vivacious life.
Without Enzymes, Pet’s Bodies Are Forced to Compensate
There are essentially two classes of enzyme that dogs and cats need for optimal health :
- digestive enzymes
- metabolic enzymes
The two are very similar, with the primary difference being that digestive enzymes are supposed to come from food, while metabolic enzymes are manufactured inside the body.
When animals consume what they were designed to eat (living foods that haven’t been cooked or otherwise altered), they get plenty of digestive enzymes naturally.
This allows the metabolic enzymes to perform their respective duties. Unfortunately, most pets aren’t given the raw food diets of their wild ancestors, and their bodies need to adjust to make up for the enzyme deficiency.
Metabolic enzymes can be repurposed to serve as digestive enzymes when necessary. Your pet’s body can produce a finite (limited) amount of enzymes before exhausting itself and depleting its internal stores. This is when problems like digestive dysfunction start to arise, which can eventually progress into various chronic diseases.
This grim scenario is obviously something that every pet owner wants to avoid, which is why it’s critical to take action before the situation spirals out of control. This requires either completely revamping your pet’s diet to include more raw and native foods, or actively supplementing it with digestive enzymes in order to fill the nutritional gap.
A Healthy Diet for Dogs & Cats Requires Enzymes
Not everyone has the time and budget to prepare a well-balanced raw food diet for their pet on a daily basis. Many conscious pet owners choose to enhance their pets’ existing diets with a high-quality enzyme supplement, making them more nutritionally complete.
But what, exactly, constitutes a high-quality enzyme supplement? And more specifically, which enzymes are most critical for the health of your pet?
It all starts with the four basic types of digestive enzymes: amylase, protease, lipase, and cellulose .
#1: Amylase, an enzyme primarily found in saliva and pancreatic fluid that’s responsible for converting starches and glycogens into simple sugars. In essence, amylase catalyzes the conversion of carbohydrates into smaller monosaccharides like glucose, fructose, and galactose that a pet’s body can actually absorb. These monosaccharides travel through the intestines into the blood and liver, where they’re transformed into a usable source of energy.
If your pet pal seems to lack energy on a regular basis, this could be a sign of an amylase deficiency. This is because carbohydrates consumed aren’t being broken down into their simplest and most usable forms for energy production. Other common symptoms of amylase deficiency include skin rashes, constipation and gas, and blood sugar problems , which represent many of the same symptoms associated with other enzyme deficiencies.
#2: Protease, or proteolytic enzyme, is responsible for hydrolyzing, or breaking down, the peptide bonds of food proteins in amino acids. Amino acids are the basic building blocks of proteins that a pet’s body utilizes for basically every essential biological process. Whether it’s generating new cell tissue, building muscle mass, manufacturing hormones, or balancing fat stores, amino acids are there to make it happen .
#3: Lipase is the enzyme responsible for breaking down lipids, which are also known as fats. In the presence of triglycerides, lipase works alongside liver bile to split fat molecules into their base components, which include fatty acids and monoglycerides: two fundamental fat compounds that function as backup sources of energy for a pet’s body, as well as fuel for the central nervous, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems .
#4: Cellulase is an enzyme that tackles the breakdown and assimilation of vegetable fibers and other cellular material found in plants. Like other enzymes, it converts larger, less-absorbable substances into smaller, more absorbable substances. Unlike amylase, protease, and lipase, cellulase isn’t produced inside a pet’s body at all, which means it has to be supplemented through nutrition.
You may be surprised to learn that your pet may not be getting everything they need from their food. Watch this video to learn more about the seven critical nutrients that are likely missing from your pet’s diet.
#5: Bromelain is another digestive enzyme similar to protease that helps ease the burden of breaking down proteins. Most commonly found in the flesh and stems of pineapples, bromelain has been found to support healthy inflammation levels, help relieve pain, reduce swelling, and boost wound healing .
A 2010 mouse study published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Disease reported that bromelain given to mice with colitis “decreases inflammation severity and the incidence and multiplicity of inflammation-associated colonic neoplasiahas .”
#6: Xylanase plays a more distinct enzymatic role, breaking down a very specific type of fiber known as hemicellulose, found in vegetable and plant matter, into a simple sugar known as xylose. Xylanase works to produce more food matter for the beneficial bacteria that live inside a pet’s gut, as this collective microbiome is responsible for extracting and assimilating nutrients while further supporting the digestive process .
#7: Beta glucanase is actually a grouping of enzymes that, similar to amylase, is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates. It differs, however, in the fact that it targets a specific type of polysaccharide known as beta glucans that, without the presence of beta glucanase, can’t be digested naturally by your pet’s body.
Beta glucans function as a type of intestinal fiber that helps to promote regularity, balance cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They also prevent the formation of damaging bacterial growths known as “biofilms” that directly contribute to the formation of malignant yeast overgrowths like Candida albicans .
Why Your Pet Needs More Enzymes
When all of these powerful enzymes are joined together, they create a digestive army of synergistic crusaders that ensures every last nutrient in your pet’s food is put to good use.
This enzymatic entourage also frees up your pet’s metabolic enzymes to perform their normal functions, rather than picking up the slack of the digestive enzymes that are nowhere to be found in most store-bought kibble.
Remember: Even if the food you give your pet falls on the healthier end of the spectrum, it’s more than likely still deficient in enzymes. That’s why most pets can still benefit greatly when their food is fortified with natural, living enzymes.
Oh, and by the way… people need enzymes too!
Organixx Enzyme 17 contains a whopping FIVE kinds of powerful protease enzymes in combination with one of the most advanced enzyme blends on the planet. It’s scientifically designed to help your body break down and process nutrients for better absorption, digestion, and overall health.
Indulging in sugary foods and beverages is a common occurrence during the holidays, vacations, and other special times of the year. But once these events are over, many people want to know how to stop sugar cravings, detox from sugar, and get their healthy eating plan back on track.
A little in-depth education and a few easy-to-do actions with regard to the many forms of sugar we consume can help us make wise choices with all the sweet foods and beverages – both during holiday times and throughout the year.
The #1 Worst Sugar to Consume
Let’s get the really bad news out of the way first. One of the worst substances you can consume for your health can be summed up in four words: high fructose corn syrup.
Isn’t that just another form of sugar? you may ask. Yes, and then again, definitely no.
When the cravings hit, indulging in too much of any kind of substance that breaks down quickly into glucose is going to tax your body. We will get into that in more detail a little later in this article.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), however, is a particularly nasty form of sugar because of the way it is processed and what kinds of products are used to create it.
Other names for HFCS are:
- corn syrup
- maize syrup
- glucose/fructose syrup
- tapioca syrup
- crystalline fructose
- fruit fructose
- added sugars
Whatever name it goes under, the process of making HFCS is basically the same. HFCS is created by allowing certain enzymes to break cornstarch down into tiny molecular substances.
It is cheap to make – in large part because the U.S. Department of Agriculture gives subsidies to farmers who intentionally overproduce commercial corn in order to create it.
High fructose corn syrup is made exclusively from genetically modified (GMO) corn. Here are a few factoids that will help motivate you to stay clear of anything made with HFCS:
- HFCS consumption is linked to autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, anxiety/depression, and other brain conditions since it has been known to affect the hypothalamus and other key areas of the brain and endocrine system.
Corn is often genetically modified to be “Roundup Ready” and many experts conclude that Roundup is the main cause for HFCS’s neurotoxicity effects.
- Studies also link HFCS with higher cancer risk, in large part because of its GMO connection. A 2008 Chilean study made the link between organophosphate insecticides, hormonal imbalance, and cell mutations.
- As the name implies, HFCS is a form of fructose, which many people may recognize as the form of sugar also found in fruit. The GMO risks withstanding, HFCS may be one of the culprits in the epidemic-sized rise in fatty liver disease amongst non-alcoholics.
Fructose is exclusively processed in the liver. HFCS contains unnaturally high concentrations of fructose minus the fiber and other phytonutrients found in fruit so the liver has to do double-duty to break it down. This means more fat stored in this particular organ, and more risk for disease.
- HFCS can also contain unhealthy amounts of mercury, which is derived from the chemical processing used to separate the corn from the husk.
Conventional institutions have claimed that the amount of mercury used in this process would not be enough to cause adverse health effects.
Considering that one out of every ten calories that the average American consumes comes from HFCS and the fact that the damaging effects of mercury toxicity are accumulative, many experts are skeptical of this claim.
Studies have shown that even trace amounts of mercury can cause neurological damage and raise cancer risk.
What About Other Sources of Sugar?
Since the 1970s, American food manufacturers have increasingly used HFCS to sweeten everything from the obvious (cakes, cookies, candy, soda pop, juice) to the obscure (bread, ketchup, and salad dressings to name a few).
As the stats above make clear, it’s a no-brainer that to stay healthy during the holidays and at any other time, it’s best to simply steer clear of the stuff.
Most of us also know about the detrimental effects of artificial sweeteners, so we will not go into that here. But what about plain table sugar, natural cane sugar, and brown sugar? Do these sugar sources also pose a threat?
Unfortunately, the studies are clear about the risks of overindulging in these sweeteners as well. All of them are a form of sucrose, which is a synthetically-derived combination of fructose and glucose. It is hard for the body to process sucrose since it must first separate out the two substances before it can be absorbed by the body.
A 2016 study conducted by MD Anderson Cancer Center was one of the first to look at sucrose’s effect on internal inflammatory mechanisms. Their research has shown that sucrose ingestion had an effect on 12-lipoxygenase enzyme pathways, which can turn on production of detrimental fatty acids. The result is higher inflammation overall.
The MD Anderson study concluded that high consumption of sucrose can lead to higher cancer risk. Other studies have made the same claim between sucrose consumption, immune system depletion, and insulin resistance, which can lead to other diseases, especially diabetes.
How to Stop Sugar Cravings: 6 Strategies
Being exposed to more sugar-laden substances during the holidays may be inevitable, but giving in to the urge to consume them doesn’t have to be. Here are six easy ways to tame your sugar cravings right now:
#1: Boost Your Consumption of Whole Foods.
Upping your consumption of fresh, organic, whole foods such as green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables can not only help your body’s detoxification pathways, but it can also provide extra fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Protein-rich grass-fed meats and sources of high-quality healthy fat such as avocados and coconut oil can also help curb food cravings.
#2: Consume L-Glutamine.
L-Glutamine is an essential amino acid, meaning that we have to get it from an external source. Glutamine helps with brain function, rebuilds and repairs muscles, fights infections, and is essential for gut health.
It has also been shown to burn fat, heal the gut from stomach ulcers and leaky gut, strengthen the immune system, detox the entire body on a deep level, and balance blood sugar levels.
For thousands of individuals trying to kick the sugar habit, it has also been a real friend. Consistent research has provided proof of its effectiveness in fighting cravings, especially for sugar and alcohol.
#3: Stay Hydrated.
Addictive behaviors, especially regarding sugar, can intensify when we are dehydrated. At the first sign of a sugar craving (or when you are face to face with leftover Christmas cookies), drink a tall glass of water, with lemon if possible.
Be sure to consume at least half your weight (in ounces) in fresh, filtered water each day and start your morning with an 8 oz. glass of lemon water upon arising. Drinking water is extremely helpful for flushing and detoxifying your liver on the day after an indulgence, too.
#4: Heal Your Gut.
Especially if you have consumed a little more sugar or high-carb foods for a day or two, your “gut microbiome” may be moderately to severely out of whack.
Support your digestive system and restore balance by reaching for probiotic and prebiotic foods such as raw cultured vegetables, sauerkraut, low-sugar kombucha, bone broth, raw kefir and yogurt (if you are not dairy intolerant).
Adding probiotic supplements to your daily regimen is a good overall strategy for boosting your gut health, maintaining strong immunity, and cutting cravings as well.
#5: Emotional Work.
Food is tied to so many emotionally-charged moments in our lives. Take the time to reflect post-holiday season and discover the real reason why sugar has such a draw for you.
When you are in crisis or stressed, does eating cake, cookies, ice cream, or potato chips give you comfort? Do you eat these foods when you are experiencing specific emotions such as anger or sadness or when you want to celebrate?
In addition, don’t rule out a physiological addiction to sugar. A 2007 study found that when given the choice between sugary water and cocaine, laboratory rats picked the sugar water every time, whether it was natural (e.g., a piece of fruit), artificial (e.g., HFCS), or fake (e.g., saccharin).
In fact, many food manufacturers use food additives and sweeteners such as HFCS to intentionally create addiction, all in the name of selling more of their product.
You don’t have to be a victim of immoral commercial practices, however. Reach out to others in person or online to get the support you need. And continue to educate yourself about the detrimental effects of sugar on your overall system. You CAN have a healthy relationship with the foods that you enjoy, including the sugary ones!
#6: Be Kind to Yourself if You Happen to Indulge.
Even with a conscious effort to stop eating unhealthy foods and not giving into sugar cravings, the occasional indulgence (or overindulgence) will still often happen. When it does, the best thing to do is to learn from the experience and move on.
Being overcome with guilt and self-criticism will only cause you to stress out more. In the long run, this can cause more inflammation and weight gain. If you go back to the nutritional plan that is best for you after “falling off the wagon,” you can start fresh with little damage done.
Also, just because the holidays (or vacation) are over doesn’t mean you should stop doing enjoyable activities. Due to the “happy hormones” that are produced when seeing new sights, doing exciting things, and visiting with those you love, you may actually find that indulging in moderation when you are enjoying yourself may not cause the weight gain or the detrimental health effects you may expect.
Just be sure to return to your baseline nutritional plan if you do consume a treat and continue to stay hydrated for ongoing detoxification.
Recipe: Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Peppermint Mocha Latte
This is a wonderfully refreshing cold-weather treat when served hot or serve over ice in warm weather.
The peppermint soothes the stomach and the cacao powder is high in many essential vitamins and minerals as well as fiber.
The coconut oil provides a boost of healthy fat that can energize and satiate as well.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 cup of organic decaf or caffeinated coffee
- 2 tablespoons raw cacao (not cocoa) powder*
- ½ tablespoon coconut oil
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 drop supplement grade peppermint essential oil
- Stevia to taste (optional)
Brew coffee. Combine with all other ingredients and blend for about 15 seconds. Sprinkle with additional cacao powder on top if you want and enjoy!
Optional: for straight hot “cocoa,” you can omit the coffee and use either hot coconut milk or almond milk instead.
(*Cacao powder is made from unroasted cocoa beans, which means it has more gut-friendly enzymes and nutrients than its roasted cousin cocoa. Cocoa is what you’ll find on most grocery store shelves and is usually full of added sugar. Raw cacao is available at health food stores and online.)