Making the change to plant based eating may initially appear intimidating or overly restrictive, but in reality, it’s a journey filled with exciting possibilities and culinary adventures waiting to be discovered. In this informative article by Dr. Frank Sabatino, we discuss the detrimental health effects of the typical American diet, and how changing to a plant based lifestyle can be healthy and fun!
When you examine the typical American diet, instead of fixating on deficiencies, it becomes evident that certain nutritional excesses and the amplification of toxic by-products in an animal-based diet pose the most significant health risks. However, don’t get me wrong- if you consume too many refined and processed foods, it can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Clinical research evidence strongly suggests that excessive consumption of animal protein, fats, and oils (especially when cooked and processed) and refined sugar is the root cause of many prevalent diseases afflicting our society. These excesses foster acidic wear and tear, leading to chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and an elevated risk of major causes of disability and death, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. An alkaline-forming whole-food, plant-based diet can mitigate the inflammatory effects, eliminate these excesses, and significantly reduce the risk of chronic degenerative diseases currently plaguing our population.
However, all too often, when someone decides to transition to a plant-based diet and eliminate processed foods, it may feel like a frustrating and restricted journey marked by deprivation. It can seem like there’s always someone telling you what you can’t eat or do.
Let me ask you this: Do you enjoy feeling deprived? In all my years of counseling people, I have yet to meet anyone who truly relishes deprivation. Often, when someone constantly tells you not to do something, a part of your brain can’t wait to do it, often in defiance.
An intriguing and sometimes extreme fascination with things or behaviors can develop when you feel forced or pressured to deprive yourself of those things. Unfortunately, this deprivation mentality may perpetuate behaviors that put you at risk and hinder you from making choices in your best interest.
Therefore, it’s crucial to replace any sense of deprivation with choices, options, and creative substitutions that eliminate feelings of restriction and help you experience and maintain enjoyment and fun during your transition to a healthier way of eating.
Whether you’re accustomed to consuming meat, dairy products, refined breads, cookies, cakes, or other items, you’ll discover that a diverse plant-based eating plan offers remarkable alternatives to these habitual choices. It provides a wonderful opportunity for exciting tastes, meals, snacks, creative substitutions, and even desserts that will eliminate any sense of deprivation and help you break free from dangerous addictive eating habits while supporting your health and weight loss.
Put a Rainbow on Your Plate
Give yourself the opportunity to savor the bounty of nature – foods bursting with the highest nutritional value and a wide array of colors, tastes, and aromas. For some time, we’ve known that specific chemicals give fruits and vegetables their color and texture. Ever wondered what makes watermelon red or oranges orange?
What we’ve recently discovered is that the same chemicals responsible for the color and texture of produce offer the best protection against disease and aging. These chemicals encompass not only well-known vitamins and minerals but also a plethora of co-factors such as phytonutrients and antioxidants, which confer their unique health benefits and enhance the effects of traditional vitamins and minerals.
For instance, flavonoids that impart color to citrus fruits, beans, and berries may reduce the risk of heart disease. Flavonoids have been shown to significantly decrease several established risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and serum triglyceride levels.
Many of you are likely familiar with resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red grapes, which has led professionals to recommend a daily glass of red wine or resveratrol supplementation. However, it’s not just excess cholesterol or LDL-cholesterol that pose the greatest risk for heart disease. When LDL-cholesterol oxidizes, it transforms into a harmful free radical scavenger that can damage blood vessels, promote vascular blockage, and increase the risk of heart and brain disease. Resveratrol acts as an antioxidant, reducing the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol and decreasing the risk of heart disease and strokes.
Since resveratrol is naturally present in the skin of red grapes, there’s no need to consume it with the toxic chemical found in alcohol. You’re better off enjoying red grapes or a glass of red grape juice. Other sources of resveratrol include peanut butter, blueberries, and raw dark chocolate (without refined sugar or dairy). I do not recommend resveratrol supplementation, as whole food sources offer a more manageable dose combined with other synergistic factors that supplements lack.
This is crucial to consider because high supplement dosages can have adverse effects. In a study involving men in their 60s, resveratrol supplements diminished the beneficial effects of exercise on cardiovascular health, reducing the decrease in LDL-cholesterol and serum triglycerides and the increase in oxygen uptake typically observed after exercise training. Remember, when it comes to nutrients, less is often more, and excessive amounts can be potentially harmful or even toxic.
Fruits and vegetables contain the greatest assortment and quantity of antioxidants, which combat disease-promoting free radicals. Berries and beans are particularly effective in neutralizing free radicals, and greens and various other fruits and vegetables are also high in this regard.
These superfoods are not only fundamental to a healthy vegan diet but are also incredibly valuable for long-term weight loss due to their micronutrient content and anti-inflammatory properties. Keep in mind that the relationship between color and nutritional value is straightforward – you don’t need to be a biochemist. Simply fill your plate with a diverse array of multicolored fruits and vegetables.
Most fast food joints and hospitals in America primarily serve white, brown, and gray cuisine. This is far from ideal. Overcooking fruits and vegetables leads to the loss of color, value, and quality. Therefore, aim to consume your fruits and vegetables as close to their raw state as possible. If you choose to cook them, lightly steam or sauté them rather than incinerating or embalming them.
Balance For Life Receives 2023 Best of Deerfield Beach Award
Deerfield Beach Award Program Honors the Achievement
DEERFIELD BEACH September 27, 2023 — Balance For Life has been selected for the 2023 Best of Deerfield Beach Award in the Attractions category by the Deerfield Beach Award Program.
Each year, the Deerfield Beach Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Deerfield Beach area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2023 Deerfield Beach Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Deerfield Beach Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Deerfield Beach Award Program
The Deerfield Beach Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Deerfield Beach area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Deerfield Beach Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.
Join Us October 8th to October 21st! Embrace a transformative journey towards improved health and well-being as you indulge in our revitalizing retreat.
Choose your preferred DATES AND PROGRAM and JOIN US:
October 8th – 21st
October 8th – 14th
October 15th – 21st. We will provide a range of rejuvenating options including invigorating water fasting, refreshing juice cleansing, and nourishing plant exclusive meals without salt, oil or sugar meticulously prepared by our Chef to support your wellness goals.
Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to revitalize your mind, body, and spirit in a serene and nurturing environment right on the beach.
Reserve your spot today and embark on a path to wellness like never before!
Stay two weeks and get one night FREE. Plus you can bring a guest for half price.
October 8-21 (Two week stay, one night FREE and second guest half price)
Bring a friend and get 50% OFF any week in October (double occupancy required)
If you’ve been looking up ways to lose weight, you’ve probably heard about water fasting. It has recently become a popular method for speedy weight loss. Social media is all the rage about it, with before and after transformation photos popping up daily.
The practice of fasting has been around for centuries. During water fasting, you cannot consume anything besides water. Various studies have shown that water fasting has health benefits such as reduced inflammation, stable blood sugar levels, and good heart health. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what water fasting is and its 8 incredible benefits.
Keep reading to learn more!
What Is Water Fasting?
Water fasting is a type of fast that restricts the consumption of everything except water. Most water fasts last 24–72 hours. Fasts longer than this should be done under medical supervision.
Even herbal teas, black coffee, calorie-free drinks, and supplements are not allowed during water fasting. The juice cleanse and lemon detox cleanse are other methods modeled after this fast.
The water-only fast method is somewhat inspired by intermittent fasting, which has shown well-documented and evidence-based results for weight loss, immune system, and metabolism. The studies cited below apply to all types of intermittent fasting, a category that water fasting falls under.
Benefits of Water Fasting
1. Activates Autophagy
Autophagy is a fundamental process of cleaning out damaged cells, to regenerate newer, healthier cells. Basically, your body’s cells eat themselves and clean out any unnecessary or damaged cellular components. If these damaged parts accumulate in the cell, they can make it difficult for your cells to repair themselves and regrow vital structures, which is a risk factor for many cancers. This is why autophagy is essential for keeping cells healthy. It can help prevent cancer cells from growing. Several animal studies suggest that autophagy may also help protect against diseases like Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.
The nutrient deficit is a key activator of autophagy which is why water fasting activates it. Food restriction for 24 or 48 hours induces fatty change and autophagy in the liver. It peaks around 32 to 48 hours of fasting after which its intensity drops and stabilizes.
2. Helps in Lowering Blood Pressure
Water fasting is considered a safe and effective method of bringing high blood pressure to a normal level. This is one of the water fasting benefits that is also useful in helping people to take on health-promoting behavioral changes in their day-to-day lives.
This study shows that longer, medically supervised water fasts may help people with high blood pressure to lower their blood pressure.
In another study, 68 people with borderline high blood pressure water fasted for around 14 days under medical supervision. At the end of the fast, 82% of people had a blood pressure that was now within a healthier range. Additionally, the average drop in blood pressure was also significant.
Other studies exist that prove the same, which only strengthens the idea that water fasting could lower your blood pressure.
3. Induces Ketosis and Fat Loss
When your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy, it goes through a process called Ketosis. During this process, your body burns the stored fat to make ketones, which are used for fuel. Ketosis is a metabolic process that forces your body to use up the fat is stored in case you’d have no food in the future. This results in fat loss, which is one of the most sought-after water fasting benefits.
In the first 24-48 hours of water fasting, your body burns the stored glycogen for energy. After day two, your body enters into the state of ketosis. Water fasting induces ketosis more quickly than through Keto or other low-carb diets.
4. Improves Insulin and Leptin Sensitivity
Diabetes is a disorder in the way the body uses glucose, a sugar that is required to generate fuel for the body. When blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, the hormone which signals cells to take sugar from the blood. Fat cells store extra glucose in the form of fats. In the common type 2 form of diabetes, cells lose their insulin sensitivity. This is also called insulin resistance which is recognized as a predictor of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Insulin and leptin are both important hormones for metabolism. The former helps the body store nutrients from the bloodstream, while the latter helps the body feel full.
This study shows that water fasting can make your body more sensitive to leptin and insulin, making these hormones more effective.
5. Reduces the Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
A metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that raises the risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other illnesses. These risk factors occur together when your body is unable to regulate cholesterol, certain proteins, and glucose properly. Most people with this syndrome already have insulin resistance that we mentioned earlier.
Heart disease is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque, builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. It hardens and narrows the arteries, reducing the blood flow. This can lead to chest pain, heart attack, heart damage, or even death.
This study shows that water fasting helps reduce or eliminate the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. The results of the study are promising as the 5-day water fasting showed many critical beneficial effects without toxicity.
6. Lowers the Risk of Several Chronic Diseases
There is evidence that water fasting can lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Water fasting can significantly lower your blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides — two risk factors for heart disease.
Several animal studies have found that water fasting may protect the heart against damage from free radicals. Free radicals are reactive atoms that contribute to tissue damage in the body. They play a significant role in many chronic diseases.
Another animal study has also found that water fasting may suppress genes that help cancer cells grow. It may also improve the effects of chemotherapy.
Dr. Frank Sabatino, current contributor and special guest host of the Balance for Life Retreat Program, discusses the benefits of water fasting for fighting cancer in this interview.
7. Improves Quality of Sleep
Melatonin, also called the sleep hormone, plays an important role in the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Its production increases with evening darkness, promoting healthy sleep and regulating your circadian rhythm.
Scientists believe that insulin and melatonin have a hostile relationship, meaning they take turns suppressing each other. Insulin levels drop at night in response to an increase in melatonin and melatonin levels are low during the day in response to high insulin levels.
A study shows that short-term modified water fasting can improve sleep patterns and daytime alertness. It causes your insulin levels to drop and melatonin levels to rise, which helps you sleep better and on time.
8. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is another word for swelling. It is a reaction from your white blood cells to safeguard your body from viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders that can make you ill. Thus, normal levels of inflammation within the body are necessary as your immune system depends on it. But when the body goes through the inflammation process even when there are no invaders to combat, it might begin attacking otherwise healthy tissue. Inflammation can be acute or chronic. Having diseases and/or conditions such as Alzheimer’s, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer puts you at a higher risk of developing chronic inflammation.
This study has shown that water fasting is effective in treating inflammation since it induces large anti-inflammatory actions in the body.
Many foods like processed meat, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, seed and vegetable oils, etc can worsen inflammatory symptoms. When you eat mindfully or avoid all food with a water-only fast, it is possible to lessen your inflammatory symptoms. This happens due to autophagy, a process mentioned earlier, during which your cells eat their old and damaged parts so the remaining cell is healthier. If the cell can’t be salvaged, it is completely destroyed. Thus, more monocytes aka the largest white blood cells are regenerated to prevent unnecessary immune system responses.
Water Fasting Benefits Galore
Water fasting is quite popular in the wellness world. Longer fasts are recommended in traditional medicine like naturopathy as they have shown significant health benefits. But fasts longer than 24–72 hours should be approached with care, under the supervision of a qualified doctor, and by following their instructions.
After a three-day water fast, you need about 3 – 4 days to slowly come back to regular eating habits. Hence, it is advised to plan for a total of 6 – 7 days for the complete process. Ideally, a retreat or a quiet holiday is a good way to attempt this fast and reap all the water fasting benefits. The water fasting retreat from Balance for Life is one such holistic program that provides supervised water fasting. It includes a lot of perks that help you to continue your wellness journey beyond the retreat.
I would recommend this retreat to anyone- beautiful ocean, vegan meals and, peace of mind. Terry ensures all attendees have a 5* experience. My typical day was waking up, walking by the deerfield beach, taking a dip in the ocean and having date-fruit vegan pancakes outdoors- taking in the fresh air. After, an option yoga/meditation class was offered , and after that, an education session on health and wellness. Lunch-time was a large salad of chickpea, sweet potato and dressing. I would then nap, read, or put my sunglasses on and walk around the artsy beach shacks and nearby stores. Of course, ample trips to swim in the ocean. It is clean, very blue, and has a good upper-class crowd at Deerfield. I was surprised, as had not seen this kind of water in Miami, it was more similar to Bahamas. Finally we end the day with lovely Dr. Nan who diligently checks vitals, and ends with a deep-breathing/stretch class. She is a lovely human. If you need a refresh/reset to connect with your higher power- please make it over here.
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