I noticed recently when buying organic milk that it has a really long shelf life and when I looked it up found that this milk undergoes a process called ultra pasteurization. Looking inot this further there is some controversy about the Ultra pasteurization process that makes this milk have such a long shelf life. They said the milk has the same nutrients but it has lost the enzymes that help us digest the proteins, which could be the cause of many having lactose intolerance. How do I choose what is better for me?

milk   Choose organic if you are concerned about the environment, but don’t expect it to be any more nutritious than regular milk. The enzymes that help you digest food are in your body, not in the milk. If there were any enzymes in a food, since they are proteins, they would be denatured and broken into amino acids along with all the proteins in foods by stomach acid, thus entering first the small intestine then the blood stream as their component parts. They do nothing to help with digestion.  Photo credit: Ashley Fisher via Compfight

I recently have been hearing a lot about coconut milk and almond milk, but I noticed on the package that the coconut milk has no protein like regular milk and not sure about the guar gum and other things added to the almond milk. Do you think these should be replacing milk in our diets?

Discovery 13/365Creative Commons License  Unless you have a lactose intolerance and can’t digest milk without adverse GI tract effects, then there is no reason to replace low-fat or nonfat milk with the trendy milk of the day. Cow’s milk not only is a good source of protein, but it also is a good source of vitamins, like vitamins D, B6, B2, and B12. The calcium is much better absorbed from cow’s milk than other milks that must be fortified to reach the levels found naturally in milk. If you still prefer the taste of these trendy milks, check the label and make sure they are fortified to resemble cow’s milk, such as with the above nutrients and choose the low-fat versions.  Photo credit: Benson Kua via Compfight

I know processed foods are bad for us, but can you explain why?

originUse your imagination and picture our ancestors lives thousands of years ago. Day in and day out, generation after generation for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years every single one of our ancestors was a hunter /gatherer. Even if you only go back as far as our own species of Homo sapiens, which appeared on the scene 40,000 years ago, every single one of our ancient grandparents for 30,000 years was a hunter/gatherer. All of our ancient ancestors ate only fruits, roots, legumes, nuts, and other plants with a little lean wild game, honey, and eggs. There was no refined grains, no refined sugar, no processed food, no food additives. Yet the bones of these ancestors reflect a level of fitness similar to today’s well-trained athlete. There is also evidence that those who weren’t killed by saber tooth tigers or who didn’t die of an infection, lived robustly into old age.

Then came farming. About 8,000 to 10,000 years ago, our ancestors discovered agriculture and settled into larger communities. They became less physically active and ate more, but from less-varied diets. The Industrial Revolution hit 200 years ago and further reduced daily activity, while escalating food processing. For 100,000 generations people had been hunters and gatherers. Compare that to the 500 generations people have been farmers, the 10 generations since the Industrial Age, and the one generation since computers and you see that there have been major changes in how we live and eat in a very short period of time.

Therein lies the problem. It takes tens of thousands of years for the body to adapt to even small changes in the environment. Our biochemistry and physiology remain fine-tuned to diets and activity levels that existed before 10,000 years ago. That means diets rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, legumes, extra-lean meats (typically wild game, not domesticated meat), seafood, and other real, unproccessed foods that we now call “healthy.”

What is your opinion of coconut sugar. Is it a better sugar than regular table sugar?

? January Cupcakes ? - Coconut and Pineapple  First there was honey. It was supposed to be nutritious, loaded with nutrients. But it takes almost 19 cups of honey for 19,200 calories, to get the calcium you’d get in one cup of nonfat milk (90 calories). Then there was agave syrup, last year’s trendy sugar. We all know that high fructose corn syrup is bad for us. High fructose corn syrup is about 55% fructose, while agave is 80% or more fructose! Obviously, that was another scam. Now it’s coconut sugar, touted as natural and containing minerals like zinc and calcium. Coconut sugar is no different than all the other sugars before it. It is just sugar. In fact, it is 80% sucrose, which is the same as table sugar. Bottom line: Don’t be fooled into thinking there is a healthy sugar out there. Sugar is sugar, and we are eating far too much of it. This trend will benefit the pockets of the coconut sugar industry at the expense of your health. Deborah Cardinal via Compfight

I’m thinking about buying your book. Can you give me a quick intro into how what we eat affects our minds?

eat-sexy-coverThere is a very good reason why your diet becomes your mind and mood. The more than 100 billion cells in your brain are surrounded by a coating, called a membrane, that is made up of fats from the diet. Eat the right fats and those membranes are fluid and flexible, able to relay with ease messages from one brain cell to another. The brain cell receptors also run in tip top condition. You think fast, remember well, and have high levels of the feel-good chemicals, such as serotonin, in the brain. On the other hand, eat the wrong fats and those brain cell membranes are rigid, inflexible, and less able to send messages. The receptors crumble, and as a result, you are moody, depressed, and don’t think clearly. Down the road, you are at high risk for dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease. Those fatty brain cell membranes are protected from damaged by the almost one million phytonutrients in foods, too. What you eat also influences the ebb and flow of brain chemicals. Neurotransmitters – from serotonin, neuropeptide Y (NPY), and galanin to acetylcholine, the endorphins, and more – regulate everything from emotions, moods, and memories to your likes and dislikes, opinions, and sense of humor. All of those mood-regulating chemicals are made from components in your diet, and many also are turned on or off by what you chose to eat.