"Eating for Health"

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Monthly Newsletter May 2011

This month's topic for discussion explores the health problems surrounding diet sodas. Many people feel that it is a wise decision to choose a diet soda over the regular soda because of the high sugar content of non-diet sodas. While it is true that regular soda has approximately 9 teaspoons of sugar per 12 oz. can, should we assume that diet sodas are a healthier choice? Since diet soda has far less calories wouldn't it follow that less calories means less over-weight people and better health?

Most diet drinks are sweetened with Aspartame, a sweetener that was discovered by accident in 1965. The discoverer of Aspartame James Schlatter, a chemist, was testing an anti-ulcer drug when he happened upon what we now call Aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal). Aspartame has been approved for carbonated beverages since 1983. Last year the Coco-Cola company produced 937,000,000 cases of "Diet Coke". Many other soft-drink companies sell millions upon millions of cases of diet soda per year.

Aspartame is, by far, the most dangerous substance on the market that is added to foods.

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. There are more than 90 different documented symptoms being caused by Aspartame ingestion, including seizures and death. According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of Aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by the ingesting of aspartame: brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.

Common symptoms that many individuals exhibit when consuming foods and drinks with Aspartame:

Headaches/MigrainesNausea Abdominal pains Fatigue

Sleep problemsVision problems Anxiety attacks Depression

Asthma/chest tightness

I have treated many patients over the years that showed significant improvement in serious symptoms within 4 to 6 weeks after eliminating all Aspartame from their diets. Heavy users of diet sodas can sometime see improvement with 2 weeks of stopping diet sodas. The change can be quite dramatic! Remember to look for Aspartame (Equal or NutraSweet) in other products you consume.

Aspartame contains 50% phenylalanine, an amino acid found in proteins. Aspartic acid makes up 40% of Aspartame. The final 10% of Aspartame is methanol, a dangerous neurotoxin known to cause cancer, cause retinal eye damage, and damage DNA causing birth defects. Methanol breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde, embalming fluid.

Amino acids are meant to be consumed in combination with other amino acids in whole foods and when isolated like phenylalanine and aspartic acid in Aspartame they can be quite dangerous. If you are sensitive to phenylalanine you will react badly to Aspartame.

Let me suggest that you consider eliminating all soft-drinks from your diet. As described above diet soda is very dangerous and regular soda contains 8 to 10 teaspoons of sugar per can. Neither one of these products are conducive to good health.

Sports drinks and fruit juices are not a good substitute because they are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, another unhealthy sweetener.

While we are speaking of sweeteners let me share with you that there is a very good sweetener that is a healthy substitute for other commercial sweeteners on the market. "Stevia" is a great product for sweetening and comes in liquid and in powdered forms. I feel that the liquid is superior to the powder.

In each monthly "Eating for Health" newsletter I will share with you a nutritious, organic, and easy to prepare recipe.

Kale Mashed Potatoes

This is a delicious but somewhat unusual recipe for mashed potatoes. I think your family will love the results of this potato dish.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • Sea-salt
  • 4 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, large stems stripped and discarded, leaves chopped finely
  • ½ + cup warm rice or soy milk
  • Black pepper
  • 5 scallions, white and tender green parts, chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan, for garnish (opt)

Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil and continue boiling for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Heat two tablespoons for olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chopped kale, a big pinch of salt, and sauté just until tender – about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Slowly stir in the milk a few big splashes at a time. You are after a thick, creamy texture, so if your potatoes are on the dry side, keep adding milk until the texture is right. Season with sea-salt and pepper to taste.

Dump the kale on top of the potatoes and give a quick stir. If you stir the kale in too much it can lend a slight green cast to your potatoes. Transfer to a serving bowl, make a well in the center of the potatoes and pour in the remaining oil. Sprinkle with scallions and Parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy.

Kale

Kale or borecole is a form of cabbage, green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties; kale is considered to be anti-inflammatory. Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium. It is also a good source of protein, vitamin E, folate, iron, potassium, copper and manganese. Kale is a good source of dietary fiber. Kale, as with broccoli, contains sulforaphane, a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties. Kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.

Tender kale is good mixed with other greens in a garden salad, and adds wonderful flavor to soups and stews. Try sautéing kale leaves with olive oil and garlic then mix with mashed potatoes.

Kale should be used liberally when making your green smoothies.

Please don't forget that Kale is on the "Dirty Dozen" list, and should be purchased organic only, due to the high levels of toxic chemicals used when farming.

I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed this May newsletter. Please take to heart the information about Aspartame and eliminate it from your diet. You will be much healthier for doing so.

Everyone likes mashed potatoes and in our household we are hooked on this healthy "Kale Mashed Potatoes" recipe. TRY IT I THINK YOU WILL ENJOY IT AS MUCH AS WE DO!!!

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Have a Healthy Day!

Dr. Stephen W. Hayman