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Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind: Jon Margalit

Jon Margalit

Managing a chronic illness is challenging, whether it is your own or a loved one’s. Starting and running a business also poses unique challenges. If you struggle with a chronic illness, have started a business, or want to start a business, this blog series can help guide you. “Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind” offers key insights into chronic disease and mission-driven entrepreneurship by some of the most innovative patient entrepreneurs in the world. 

Jon Margalit is CEO & Founder of Complete Start. 

As a patient entrepreneur, can you describe your personal experience with IBD from diagnosis through your current daily management and how this experience drove you to innovate the space?

To make a long story short, I am a very social and outgoing person who enjoyed immensely being out with friends networking, in all types of social settings. I was also an avid gym goer and black belt martial artist. Once diagnosed with Crohn’s, I had to deal with all kinds of drugs and steroids to mitigate the ill effects of the disease and as a result transformed into a guy with acne all over who was afraid to leave the house at the risk of being too far from a comfortable bathroom.

With that being said, after trying different types of drugs, I realized really quickly that this wouldn’t change until I took matters into my own hands to find solutions. After some research, the one thing I found I really had control over was what I was consuming. I focused on what I could control and immediately thought to myself if I study this, and become an expert in food science, perhaps I might be able to make some drastic changes in how I’m feeling and looking. Inflammation causes the digestive tract to shrink so we [the IBD community] have difficulty digesting whole vegetables and roughage. I had the idea to freeze dry and grind them into a powder to consume micronutrient rich vegetables without digestive issues. I bought a freeze drier on amazon to test the idea.

What makes Complete Start unique and how does it meet an unmet need of the IBD community?

There are products on the market that are similar in nature, but we are the only ones completely organic and non-GMO. Our goal is to deliver the most complete and clean digestible nutrition for customers. As a result, the cost to produce has vastly increased. I quickly realized why our competitors didn’t produce the same quality of product because it narrowed the customer base. We are sticking to offering a premium product at price, staying true to our goal. 

Are there any other unmet needs of the IBD community that you think take priority in working to address? How are patient entrepreneurs well-suited to meet these needs?

 I think that the key to making a widespread, massive impact is to create more awareness for the products, services, and support that are available, so I’d love to focus more on community building. When I was first dealing with Crohn’s, I was not aware of the products, services, and people out there that were available to help me overcome. Out of instinct and pain I sought them out and created resources for myself, which was key to remission. If I could go back in time where that community already existed, and someone introduced me, then things would’ve been easier to deal with and I would’ve found a way out much faster. My goal is to try and bring us together in a community form beyond just introducing patients to Complete Start.

Where do you draw your inspiration and motivation from to keep forging ahead as an entrepreneur in the healthcare industry?

The real answer is I was initially afraid to leave the house. I was afraid to be seen and covered in acne—steroids destroy you. Now, I want everyone to know that the fear they are feeling is not just them and someone like me can help alleviate those fears and show them the path. If I was able to breakthrough and overcome, they can too. It’s others in the community and the validation that I get from them when they reach out and say I read your story and it made me believe that perhaps I can get there too who inspire me. Other people continue to fuel my fire and my desire to keep getting out there to make sure that others are aware and can receive the comfort of a blueprint for healing. 

Lastly, what do you do for fun to manage the stress of running a business as both a person with IBD and an entrepreneur? Do you have any similar advice on work-life-disease management balance to others out there thinking of starting a business to meet an unmet need of a chronic disease patient community?

Absolutely. There is one key and I think that it is just as important as food—it’s exercise. I mean it very passionately—I am a daily hardcore gym goer and when I go to exercise, I go hard. When I do, I feel tremendously better. Movement and consistent exercise is the only way to complete the healing puzzle and again, that is another element that people have control over. Jon Margalit exercise fitnessI would recommend to anybody who is suffering out there first to test, then heed to Dr. Sandborne’s advice of eating what makes you feel good, and you’ve got to be consistent with exercise. Don’t just go through the motions—do it with purpose and passion. Push yourself physically because there is no bigger healing element in the world. The blood flow, endorphins and sense of accomplishment after a workout is the single most impactful driver to get me into remission. Two things people will never regret are eating vegetables and working out. The exercise is the stimulus to the right blood flow and right state of mind to tackle disease and career—both mental and physical battles. There is no better way to deal with the pain and discomfort of IBD than exercise.

All Roads Lead To Wellness: How Our Different Backgrounds Led Us To Lyfebulb

Katie:

In May of 2019, I joined Lyfebulb as the new Community Manager. Like many patients (including Ambassadors and Entrepreneurs) part of the Lyfebulb community, my health journey has not been easy. I struggled with chronic, neurological Lyme disease for close to a decade. The lack of awareness of this chronic illness prolonged my receiving of adequate treatment because of the inability to get properly diagnosed. Once diagnosed, I spent years researching all that I could about chronic Lyme and making all possible lifestyle changes within my control (diet, exercise, sleep hygiene, chemical-free product substitutions) to get myself out of a state of illness and into one closer resembling “wellness”.

After I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and observed marked changes in my symptoms, I learned how important support drawn from shared chronic illness experiences are to improved disease management and in certain cases, remission. Through this realization, I went to culinary school to learn the intricacies of preparing healthy yet still delicious food so that I could more thoroughly stay true to my commitment to wellness. My chronic illness ultimately taught me how to thrive in life, directing me towards likeminded people who have had similar health journeys.

At the age of 27, I now work for Lyfebulb in order to help build the chronic disease community that I wish I had from the start of my health journey–especially during my sickest years. Chronic illness strips you of hope and the natural instinct of a chronically-ill person is to curl up and isolate from the rest of the world. My goal is to encourage others who are either creating community or innovation around their disease to come together so that we can make the impact of patient-driven innovation and messages of how to thrive with chronic illness, or of wellness, that much stronger.

Jamie:

I joined Lyfebulb in June of 2019. My role includes the development of partnerships, execution of Innovation Summits, and the management of Lyfebulb’s Patient Entrepreneur Circle. I came to Lyfebulb with a different background than most of my colleagues. Unlike Katie, Karin, and our extended community, I do not suffer from chronic disease, nor do I have loved-ones who do – or so I thought prior to joining Lyfebulb.

Though fortunate on to this end, health and wellness has always been a high priority. With northern California roots, it was instilled upon me at a very young age that it is more than just a lifestyle choice – it is necessary to keep the body and brain sustainable.

Formally, I geared my educational studies towards art history and business. After school, I landed a dream job in the field at an art market transparency company. Four years later, I found myself feeling unfulfilled. Though art will always be a passion, I sought out to find a field where I could make more of an impact.

I found Lyfebulb by chance, attending the UnitedHealth Group Summit activation event for depression and anxiety. Shortly thereafter, I joined the Lyfebulb team and brought the UHG Summit to fruition. Though grateful for my time spent in art, I am grateful to have returned to my path of wellness and health, and look forward to where it will take me.

THE MORNING SUGAR: A Window into your Type One Management

I lie in bed with one eye open, ears still ringing from my poorly selected, overplayed alarm tone. I sit half hunched over my glucose monitor attempting the first blood-drop-to-test-strip co-ordination of the day. Its 05h30, I have fasted for 6 to 8 hours, it’s time to dive into diabetes. My test strip sucks up the drop of blood and counts down to my first glucose reading of the day:

BEEP: 4.6mmol/l (84)

OR

BEEP: 9.6mmol/l (173)

OR

BEEP 16.6mmol/l (299)

The good, the average and the ugly.
These are the 3 general ranges of readings that might greet me at the first finger prick of the day. It’s only one of the many sugar readings that lie ahead, but it is a special one to pay attention to, as your morning glucose reading can provide important insight into your diabetes control.

A fasted reading has a myriad of information which you can choose to ignore, or preferably dissect and investigate for optimum diabetes control. I believe it is vital to ask myself why? Why is my blood glucose this level and what were my preceding actions?

I will take you through my 3 ranges and my general approach to morning sugar readings and how I personally troubleshoot these readings. We each tackle diabetes differently, but hopefully the following brings some insight into your morning sugars or encourages you think critically of those interesting rise and shine numbers!

The “Gem”
My personal values are 3.8-5.6mmol/l

Oh this is a sweet, gem of a reading. It’s the real “roll out of bed on the right side” number.
Perfectly in range, it is still important to acknowledge the formula that achieved this number. We could all do with a little positive reinforcement and mindfully recognize and enjoy our diabetes successes! I always ask myself, “What did I do well?”

This sugar reading generally informs me that I have correctly dosed my long acting insulin as it did not bring me into the clutch of hypoglycaemia when fasting during my sleep. It was also sufficient to meet the cascade of morning hormones such as cortisol and hyperglycaemia it brings along with it. This sugar happily greets me when I don’t snack after dinner and I eat around 3 hours before bed-time. This plan allows for an honest, stable blood sugar reading before bed where my injected insulin has already peaked in activity, and I can expect predictable glucose readings as I sleep.

The “Meh”
My personal values are 6-9mmol/l

It’s a sugar range that is higher than I would like for a fasting blood glucose level, but it’s not remotely the end of the world. To solve this morning glucose and to prevent it creeping higher, I have my insulin dosage for my breakfast plus a dash more insulin to correct. I wait 20-30 minutes for my insulin to start working and bring my glucose down before having my breakfast. I ask my “why?” and make a mental note of how I could improve and act accordingly. If went to bed with a great blood glucose level and I woke up high, it could be various things:

1. Insufficient long-acting insulin: The Dawn phenomenon

When I have my continuous glucose monitor (CGM), the Dexcom, attached, this will be displayed as a nice steady graph with readings in glucose range for the first 2/3rds of sleep, only to find in the few hours before waking my blood glucose slowly and steadily increases. This is due to the get-up-and-go hormones that pump through your body to prepare you for waking and tackling the day. These sneaky buggers include growth hormones, cortisol, glucagon and epinephrine and they increase your insulin resistance, causing blood sugar to rise.

2. Too much insulin: The Somogyi effect

This is an interesting stress response of your body, a rebound effect of low blood glucose while sleeping. If you have too much insulin, long acting or short acting, and you experience a low while sleeping your body mounts a survival response and encourages your body to release sugar back into your blood via adrenaline and cortisol. This low may not be rapid or severe enough to cause a seizure, but sufficient to mount a physiological survival response from your body.

3. Not enough short-acting insulin

This is usually prompted by snacking before bed and eating late. My stomach is still full and has not emptied. My blood sugar will be in range when I get to sleep, but as my tummy works to digest my food, sugar trickles into my blood which I thought I had sufficiently covered by my short-acting. This especially occurs if I eat meals that have a carbohydrate, protein and high fat content. It has even been dubbed “The Pizza Effect”, where fats and protein delay the absorption of carbohydrates from a meal. The most challenging part is that you don’t know when the carbohydrates are going to be dumped into your bloodstream as sugar. It could be more than 5 hours until you feel the true effect of your meal. This could also be a reason for a really high morning blood glucose reading, the one where you would rather turn over and head back to sleep, which brings me to my final morning range, which I like to call the “Lie in Bed for a Few Minutes in Denial”.

The “Lie in Bed for a Few Minutes in Denial”
My personal values are anything double digit

The “Man, I messed up” feels. I most likely did not give myself enough insulin for the previous night’s meal, or I ate complete rubbish, did a massive carbohydrate count guestimate (that’s right folks- guess and estimate can really be combined into one perfect word), it could be “the pizza effect”, or I forgot my long acting insulin.

The alternative explanation is that I woke up with low in the middle of the night and quite passionately, dove into my bedside glucose stash, bathed myself in sugar before falling back asleep in a pile a sweet wrappers. (Yes, I have awoken with gummy sweets melted into my back and bed sheet).

If my sugars are really bad in the morning, there is usually a pretty grand, blatantly obvious reason as to why they are absolutely deranged. I find myself glancing in the mirror, at my poor, hard-done-by face to ask myself why? My expression smirks, “Oh girl, you know why. You know.”

This is where the power of the mind can transform your day. You can switch to victim. You can choose guilt and actively bring yourself down. You can choose to let a number on a plastic monitor define your day or you can free yourself from mental binds, for you are capable, you are strong and you are going to tackle the day.

My go-to plan of action:

1. Massive bottle of water with loads of top ups
2. Small simple, low sugar breakfast (I find waiting for my sugars to come down before eating leaves me more frantic and stressed)
3. More water
4. Add Insulin
Tip: Don’t give yourself 70000 units because you are panicking and desperately want your sugar to go down as quickly as possible (TRACY SANDERS I am talking to you girl). A resultant severe hypoglycaemia does not make it easier to improve the day.
5. Forgive yourself, give thanks to your body for all the other goodness it brings to you and power forward.

Transform your WHY’s into WISE, pay attention to each nugget of information your body and glucometer communicates to you. By building up an understanding of your sugars, you build a stronger relationship with your body and mind. Work closely with your support network, endocrinologist and diabetes educator to make the correct adjustments to suite your body, always ask questions and challenge your knowledge and experience of type one.

8 great gluten-free whole grains

amaranth

Even if you aren’t avoiding gluten, these whole grains are a worthy addition to anyone’s pantry.

It’s little wonder that for many people, giving up gluten makes them feel better. Going gluten-free means no wheat flour, which means no basic refined flour, which means a drastic reduction in processed and nutritionally insipid foods – foods that can make people feel sluggish, bloated and crummy. The problem is that giving up gluten also leads to giving up grains in general, and doing so can have a negative impact on health.

“And any time you eliminate whole categories of food you’ve been used to eating, you run the risk of nutritional deficiencies,” Peter H.R. Green, M.D., director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, tells WebMD. “Unless people are very careful, a gluten-free diet can lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber,” he adds.

The trick is to keep healthy whole grains in your diet, regardless if you are one of the several million Americans with Celiac disease (who have no choice but to stop eating gluten) or if you are one of the zillion others avoiding gluten for whatever reason. And even if you are a gluten-embracer, it’s always great to mix up the nutrients. With that in mind, the following whole grains all offer a nutritional boost, while also happening to be gluten-free.

1. Amaranth

amaranth

This “pseudo-grain” was a major food crop of the Aztecs and has a remarkable nutritional profile, boasting loads of calcium as well as high levels of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Unique for grains, it contains Vitamin C – and it has a protein content of 13-14 percent, making it higher than most other grains.

Uses: Salads, baking, cereal, soups. And you can pop it like popcorn, too.

2. Buckwheat

Buckwheat granola
Bob’s Red Mill

Buckwheat has higher levels of zinc, copper, and manganese than most grains – it also provides a very high amount of protein. It is rich in lysine, and its amino acid score is 100, which is one of the highest amino…

11 Ways to Boost Your Energy With Food

Food & Wine: 11 Ways to Boost Your Energy With Food

What to eat for more energy

When Health asked what nutrition topic you need help with RIGHT NOW, the response was unanimous: eating for energy! You told us you feel run down and exhausted, and turn to sugar and/or caffeine to bolster flagging energy reserves.

Bad idea, says Dina Aronson, RD: “Fatigue breaks us down physically and emotionally and wreaks havoc on the immune system, making us more susceptible to illness, depression, and even chronic conditions like heart disease.” Moreover, proper nutrition and the timing of what you eat can do wonders to make you feel alert and powerful, says Cynthia Sass, RD, Health‘s nutrition and weight loss blogger. Here, new rules for eating for energy.

Eat more iron from plants

Certain nutrients, especially iron, may help women feel more energized. Nearly 10% of women between the ages of 20 and 49 are iron-deficient, which can cause fatigue and impair physical and mental endurance. Iron is needed to deliver oxygen to cells, and too little has also been shown to decrease immunity.

A recent study found that over 10 years, women who consumed the most plant-based iron were 35% less likely to develop PMS than women who consumed the least. Great plant sources of iron include beans, lentils, spinach, and sesame seeds; eating them with vitamin C-rich foods can boost iron absorption.

Eat the right food combos

Sass says the right formula for maximum energy is: fruit or veggie + a whole grain + lean protein + plant-based fat + herb/spice.

She calls it the ‘5 piece puzzle’ and it’s the premise of her book S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim. “Balance is key; your body loves to be in balance,” says Sass. “Giving it less of something it needs throws things off, as does giving it more than it needs.”

Skip caffeine

Despite the health benefits of tea and coffee, if you’re feeling run down, cut it out: “Caffeine gives a ‘false’ energy essentially, because it’s a stimulant,” Sass says. “And after it peaks,…

Are non-dairy milks as good for you as they sound?

Milk does a body good. So goes the old, familiar ad slogan for cow’s milk, which your parents have told you for years builds strong bones and teeth and boosts your energy.

But what about all the non-dairy milks (or “mylks” if you will), that keep gaining in popularity and shelf space? Ranging from almond- to quinoa-based, from horchata- to chocolate-flavored, they’re welcome options for anyone who can’t or won’t drink dairy and supposedly chock full of nutrients. (They’re also a source of controversy over what we should call them. Not “milk,” insist some lawmakers and the dairy industry.)

Are these alt-milks all they’re cracked up to be? How do they stack up against their dairy equivalent? If you’re not making your own, what should you look for when choosing between cartons? We talked to two nutrition experts to sort it out.

What good is milk, anyway?

One 8-ounce cup of lowfat milk has 102 calories, 2 grams fat, 8 grams of protein, and 13 grams of sugars (naturally occurring, not added).

Among other essential nutrients, milk provides nearly a third of the calcium and Vitamin D we should be—but often fall short of—consuming on a daily basis.

Fortified, but with what?

Many non-dairy milks have as much or more calcium than cow’s milk, which is good, and they’re typically fortified with other vitamins and minerals, which is good in theory.

“The problem is, they often don’t use the best-quality supplements or it’s not enough or not the right form of it,” says registered dietitian Sonya Angelone, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Take Vitamin D. Vitamin D2 is the form used in most non-dairy milk—you’ll see it on the ingredients list on the carton—but it’s less effective than Vitamin D3, the active form in our bodies that’s also present in dairy, says Angelone.

Some vitamins have a synergistic relationship with other vitamins that might not be in the fortification mix. There’s even such a thing as too much calcium. “Higher [calcium] is not necessarily a good thing because the more you get of it at once, the less you absorb,” says Angelone.

The takeaway? Make sure what you’re buying is indeed fortified, but keep in mind that no milk, plant-based or otherwise, will provide all the nutrients you need.

Where did all the carrageenan go?

To replicate the creamy texture of cow’s milk and prevent separation, companies add thickeners and stabilizers such as sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, and carrageenan.

You might notice more brands declaring their products “carrageenan-free.” It’s worth checking the ingredients list to be sure.

Derived from seaweed and used in all kinds of foods, from deli meat to ice cream, carrageenan has been linked to gastrointestinal problems, which is why companies are increasingly phasing it out. “Some experts say it irritates the gut lining and…

Most Pregnant Women Aren’t Getting Adequate Nutrition, Research Finds

Getty Images

You already know what you eat while expecting is closely tied to the development of your baby — a big reason we cut things out of our diet — but, according to a new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it turns out most pregnant women aren’t actually consuming foods they need for their own health and the health of their newborn.

Researchers analyzed surveys from 7,511 newly pregnant women and evaluated their preconception diets based on the Healthy Eating Index-2010, which measures adherence to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. Across all socioeconomic and racial groups, most women weren’t meeting the recommendations. When it came to limiting empty calories and getting the right amount of whole grains, fatty acids, and sodium, only 10 percent of women met the recommendations. Thirty-four percent of the calories the women consumed were from empty-calorie sources like sodas and sweets.

That’s distressing enough on its own, but the problem was especially big for black and Hispanic women, as well as those who had received less education. While almost a quarter of the white women were among the healthiest of the research subjects, just 14 percent…

Diabetes: Nutrition

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Normally, our bodies break down the food we eat into sugars, or glucose, which is a necessary nutrient for our cells. When you have diabetes, the glucose doesn’t move into your cells as quickly, causing a backup of sugar in the blood, commonly known as high blood sugar. To manage your blood sugar levels, it’s important to understand which foods will raise your levels and to spread them out throughout the day to avoid a spike.

Taking steps to treat or manage diabetes doesn’t mean living in deprivation; it just means eating a balanced diet. The biggest difference in a diabetic’s eating plan and a healthy diet for non-diabetics is that you need to pay more attention to some of your food choices—most notably the carbohydrates…

Vegetarian Eggs Benedict: The Everything You Need To Know About Diabetes Cookbook

This hearty vegetarian dish will provide you with ample protein and carbohydrates to help you make it through the morning. If you’re not sensitive to dairy, you can also add mozzarella cheese as a topping.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 zucchini (courgette), diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup (160 g) frozen chopped spinach
  • ¼ cup (25 g) pitted black olives, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon
  • dried rosemary
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 gluten-free English muffins, split in half
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves 2

  1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the zucchini (courgette), tomato, spinach, olives, and rosemary, lightly season with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 5 minutes until the zucchini and tomato are softened and the spinach is heated through.
  1. Meanwhile, poach the eggs. Fill a skillet (frying pan) with water and bring the water to a low boil. Break the eggs directly into the simmering water and cook for about 4 minutes until the yolk is as you desire.
  1. While the eggs are poaching, toast the muffins in a toaster.
  1. To assemble, place two muffin halves on each plate and top each muffin half with some sautéed vegetables and a poached egg.

Per serving: 489 kcals, 27.7 g fat (1.2 g saturates), 30.3 g carbohydrate (6.9 g sugars), 25.1 g protein, 7.4 g fiber, 2.2 g salt


Recipe from The Everything You Need To Know About Diabetes Cookbook by Dr. Karin M Hehenberger, MD, PhD (CICO Books, $19.95) Photography © CICO Books

10 Health Benefits of Apples – Proven by Science (+ 5 Delicious Apple Recipes)

Apples are popular not just because of their simple, delicate flavors. While apples are delicious, and can span from very sweet to incredibly tart, they are also incredibly healthy.

Apples are loaded with healthy phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Phytonutrients are plant-based compounds that can only be obtained through eating fruits and vegetables. They’re typically very good for your immune system. Vitamins and minerals give structure to our bodies and the systems operating within. Antioxidants help our body function more efficiently and prevent oxidative damage, which is what makes us age.

apples-490474_640

Apples have been hailed for helping heal the body for centuries, but scientific method has only recently been able to extensively study the fruit. Many of the most important claims made about apples turned out to be true.

Apples can help with anything from repairing damaged tissues that can impair strength or vision, to maintaining a proper electrical current to the brain so it can communicate effectively.

Apples can help with anything from repairing damaged tissues that can impair strength or vision, to maintaining a proper electrical current to the brain so it can communicate effectively.

A particular nutrient of interest in apples is vitamin C. Scurvy – a deficiency of vitamin C – is a disease that often conjures images of swashbuckling pirates with missing teeth, bad gums, and scabbed arms. These are all symptoms of vitamin C deficiency, which often happened to seamen on long voyages when deprived of fresh food.

Why is vitamin C so important?

What’s the good thing about knowing the symptoms of scurvy? Almost everything vitamin C deficiency causes, can be reversed and, in healthy people, made even healthier – simply by eating a good supply of the vitamin Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is responsible for a lot of the health benefits you’ll find in apples – stronger grums, healthier skin, and strong teeth just to name a few!

Considering apples are incredibly well-known for being healthy, it’s surprising how few nutrients they have in them. A lot of their nutritional value is from the single, potent vitamin/antioxidant that is vitamin C. Unfortunately, a huge number of people in modern society are deficient in vitamin C. 15 percent of the population in the United States is classified as deficient in vitamin C!

Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is one of the most well-known and commonly studied vitamins on the planet. It is responsible for a vast number of health-bolstering effects, and can even function on its own as an antioxidant.

Antioxidants prevent the symptoms of aging by fighting oxidative damage, which occurs during natural periods of stress. Oxidative damage gradually reduces the function of organs, tissues, and cells, causing the slow degradation of the human body.

Preventing this oxidation is the key activity – and appeal – of antioxidants. They fight the underlying cause of pretty much every type of natural aging, and can greatly extend the human lifespan. Vitamin C, in particular, is good at

  • Bolstering the strength and improving the appearance of your hair
  • Increasing the health of your teeth and gums
  • Strengthening your skin, making it appear young and healthy
  • Increasing the speed with which your body heals injuries

While apples have an impressive amount of vitamin C – around ten percent of our daily value per apple – and fiber – almost 4 grams of insoluble fiber, and half a gram of soluble – they’re also impressively low in other nutrients. They only have trace amounts of the B complex, biotin, vitamin E, chromium, copper, and potassium. The amount of these nutrients present isn’t enough to bother supplementing apples to fix a deficiency.

Antioxidants in apples and their effects on human health

It’s not just vitamin C that helps your body ward off the unpleasant symptoms of scurvy. You may wonder how else apples can help you, if their main nutrient is only vitamin C?

Despite having a very small profile of nutrients and minerals apples have a ton of components that bolster our abilities as humans. These aren’t vitamins and minerals, though – most of them are antioxidants.

  • Polyphenols

Polyphenols are divided into two subtypes – flavonoids and non-flavonoids. Many of the polyphenols in apples are found in the skin – so make sure you don’t peel them before eating them, or you’ll be peeling off a lot of the health benefits!

Apples are responsible for about a fifth of the total polyphenols consumed in the United States. Among apple’s polyphenols are

  • Quercetin glycoside, responsible for fighting atherosclerosis and maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • Phloretin glycoside, another flavonoid commonly found in all varieties of apples, helps the body’s immune system function and helps excrete waste effectively and efficiently.
  • Chlorogenic acid speeds up your body’s metabolism while simultaneously slowing the absorption of fat, making it an ideal antioxidant for people hoping to lose weight.
  • Epicatechin is an antioxidant capable of mimicking insulin and can consequently improve heart health and help fight against diabetes.

Different varieties of apples will have different antioxidant capacities. Of these different varieties, even individual batches will have different amounts. It’s possible to pick-and-choose different types of apples for the specific types of antioxidants that you require for your own personal choice of diet.

The variance of antioxidants will not differ too drastically, so you can be sure that the health benefits listed below will apply to most – if not all – apples.

Here are the 10 health benefits of apples, as backed by science.

  1. Apples can help you lose weight
  2. Apples can reduce LDL cholesterol
  3. Apples can improve mental health and intelligence
  4. Apples can prevent heart disease
  5. Apples can help you breathe better
  6. Apples can fight different types of cancer
  7. Apples can prevent diabetes
  8. Apples help bolster the body’s immune system
  9. Apples are potent anti-inflammatory agents
  10. Apples can fight allergies

To read more in-depth about each of the listed benefits above, and to learn some delicious apple recipes, click here.


Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and use the hashtag #CookingThroughLyfe to show us your healthy recipes!

Almond Joy Date Bites

I consider medjool dates my best friend. Not only do they taste like candy, they satisfy my craving for chocolate. They are packed with bone strengthening-minerals, filled with triglyceride-lowering antioxidants. This recipe is key to helping curve my candy cravings.

almondjoydates1

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup Dates
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Coconut
  • 1 cup Almonds
  • 2 tablespoons Cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

almondjoydates2

Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Serving: 5 (3 bites per serving)
Average Calories per Serving: 250 calories

Directions:

  1. Add the dates to the food processor and process until they have broken up and formed a ball if the consistency seems dry add ½ tbsp. at a time until desired consistency.
  2. Add the almonds, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, unsweetened coconut, and sea salt.
  3. Process until all parts are evenly blended and the mixture forms into a ball again.
  4. Remove mixture from the food processor and roll into roughly 15 bites
  5. If desired, roll each ball in the shredded coconut.
  6. Keep refrigerated

Cutting Carbs To Get Healthy + Lose Weight

When you are looking to get healthier, one of the most effective strategies is to start cutting carbs from your diet. In fact, most of today’s popular diet trends like the Atkins or paleo diet call for just that. Read on to find out why cutting carbs to lose weight could be the best choice to successfully reach your weight loss goals.

How Carbs Hinder Your Diet

In today’s modern society, most of us pack our daily meals with pasta bowls and freshly baked loaves. They make cheap and convenient meals that suit all taste buds.

The problem is, our modern diets are having a detrimental effect on our society. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 66% of Americans are overweight, 33% are obese, and those numbers are continuously rising each year.

It’s clear from these results that our current grain-filled diets are not the way forward if we want to live fit and healthy lives. Grains are made from carbohydrates which are broken down into glucose (sugar) in the body. This glucose should be used as energy. However, any excess glucose is instead stored as fat.

When your diet is packed with high glycemic grain foods and sugar, your body is continually in fat storage mode. This means your body never has the opportunity to use your stored body fat as fuel. These stored triglycerides are normally found around the waist. So if you’d like to reduce your waistline, you can start by reducing your refined carbohydrate intake.

Although the idea of cutting out carbs completely from your diet may seem drastic, there’s a lot of research supporting this type of change. Numerous studies have shown that switching to a ketogenic (zero sugar) diet can actually have positive results on a number of diseases, even in cancer patients.

Which Carbs to Cut

When we talk about cutting carbs there are four main types of food to avoid.

  • Bread and Baked Foods

If you want to be healthy, bread and bakery foods are the first things you need to cut from your diet. These kinds of foods will usually have the strongest effect on your blood sugar, therefore, increasing the production of insulin, the hormone responsible for fat storage.

  • Wheat Pasta

Pasta that is made from wheat is another culprit of spiking fat-storing insulin. Filling up on a big bowl of pasta in the evening is the quickest way to pile on the pounds.

  • White Rice

Although rice doesn’t have the same gluten issues as wheat, it does raise your blood sugar enough to promote fat storage, especially if eaten regularly. Believe it or not, Japanese sumo wrestlers have bowl after bowl of white rice in order to fatten up. Unless you want to look like them, it’s best to cut down on rice or at least switch to brown rice for an occasional treat which is a healthier alternative.

  • Potatoes

If you’re looking to get healthy and lose weight, it’s a good idea to avoid potatoes for a while. This is because they have one of the strongest effects on blood glucose levels of any vegetable. Although good quality steamed organic potatoes are filled with healthy essential nutrients, most people get their potatoes in the form of french fries or chips, which are most definitely to be avoided.

Which Carbs Can You Keep?

Like most things in life, not all carbs are created equal. Although you should remove all refined carbs from your diet if possible, many high- fiber fruits and vegetables are a natural source of carbohydrates.

The fact is, when you cut back on grains and sugar and start getting your carbohydrates from high-fiber vegetables, your body will naturally begin accessing its stored fat as fuel. Simply changing your fuel source makes getting healthy (and losing weight) a much simpler process.

Ideally, you want to be reducing your daily carbohydrate intake to around 50 to 80 grams per day. Doing so will give your body the opportunity to utilize stored fat you have accumulated. Without any other changes to your diet or exercise regime, you will be on the right track for weight loss.

Conclusion

When looking to start a healthier lifestyle and lose weight and keep it off long term, adjusting your meals to no longer center around carbohydrates is the way to go.

Packing your plate with healthy protein from organic sources like turkey, chicken or eggs, accompanied by a mix of flavorsome veggies like pumpkin, bok choy, eggplant, and kale is a great way get the most flavor and nutrition from your food.

As let’s face it, how much flavor does a bowl of plain white rice offer anyway?

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