Frequently Asked Questions

Answering your nutritional and emotional eating questions. Good Decisions is at your service, we look forward to answering your questions!

Q. What can I eat to support bone health?

Bone broths, dark leafy green vegetables, butter and cultured yogurt are all great for supporting bone health. Fish, especially canned fish such as sardines, anchovies, smelt, mackerel and herring are also All-Star foods for bone health. Adding a little bit of quality fat such as butter, olive oil or walnut oil to your dark leafy greens aids mineral absorption. Sunbathing for 20 minutes daily will also give your body a nice hit of Vitamin D, which supports healthy bones.

Q. Is agave nectar a healthy alternative?

The process in which the agave starch is converted into refined fructose and sold as agave nectar is similar to the refining process for high fructose corn syrup. It goes through an enzymatic and chemical conversion that refines, clarifies, heats, chemically alters, centrifuges, and filters the non-sweet starch into a highly refined sweetener; fructose. While the FDA may deem it "safe" we do not consider it ti be a Good Decision.

Q. How can I get my daily iodine if I don't like seafood?

Cranberries! (4 ounces contain 400mcg) These are a great source of iodine as are potatoes with peel and navy beans. Himalayan sea salt and sea vegetables, often overlooked, are a great way to get your daily iodine needs met—  ¼ teaspoon of granulated kelp provides over 2000% of your recommended daily amount. Now, don't make that funny face yet, kelp can easily be hidden in foods! For instance ¼ teaspoon is so small, when added to soups the kelp can't even be tasted. Kelp packs a powerful iodine punch and is an easy way to bring you up to par.

Q. I sometimes use erythritol in oatmeal or protein shakes for some sweetness. From what I understand, erythritol is natural and has zero glycemic impact. Is there any reason you wouldn't recommend it?

Erythritol is typically made by extracting starch from genetically modified corn, or corn cobs, then breaking it down, via a process called hydrolysis, into glucose molecules. The sugar is then fermented by a fungus and may go through several processes to clarify, purify and crystallize the finished product into white granules or powder that resembles sugar.

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol. Other sugar alcohols are known as sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, maltitol, lactitol, isomalt, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates. These sugar alcohols are also made via the hydrogenation of glucose, mannose and xylose. Adding hydrogen atoms to sugars results in a bleached, powdery blend of sugar alcohols that are not absorbed by the body, but taste sweet. Here's the lowdown...


Pros of Sugar Alcohols

  1. They are low calorie.
  2. They have not been found to affect blood sugar or insulin levels and have a zero glycemic index.
  3. They taste sweet.
  4. They may be beneficial to dental health.


Cons of Sugar Alcohols

  1. They contain few nutrients.
  2. Too much un-absorbed sugar alcohol traveling through the intestinal tract can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Just what you need from a sweetener, right? A hydrogen gut bomb!
  3. Many people experience stomach upset and headache after consuming sugar alcohols.
  4. Because sugar alcohols pass through the body largely undigested, you won't experience the same satiating signals as you would with food. This means you may be left feeling hungry and are more likely to eat more. Even worse, studies have shown that artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols may actually stimulate appetite.
  5. Future research may find that sugar alcohols alter gut flora and disrupt biofilms, which may be problematic for some people.

 

I don’t know about you, but when I eat something sweet, I want to be satisfied and feel safe that the food I am eating will provide nutrients to my body, not potentially harmful compounds. Until more studies come out, I would be more inclined to reach for something sweet that is unrefined and nutrient dense such as fruit, raw honey, and grade B maple syrup.

 

Resources

Erythritol alters microstructure and metabolomic profiles of biofilm composed of Streptococcus gordonii and Porphyromonas gingivalis. Hashino E1, Kuboniwa M, Alghamdi SA, Yamaguchi M, Yamamoto R, Cho H, Amano A. Mol Oral Microbiol. 2013 Dec;28(6):435-51. doi: 10.1111/omi.12037. Epub 2013 Jul 29.
Erythritol, a Non-Nutritive Sugar Alcohol Sweetener and the Main Component of Truvia®, Is a Palatable Ingested Insecticide. Kaitlin M. Baudier, Simon D. Kaschock-Marenda, Nirali Patel, Katherine L. Diangelus, Sean O'Donnell , Daniel R. Marenda. Published: June 4, 2014DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098949
Statement in relation to the safety of erythritol (E 968) in light of new data, including a new paediatric study on the gastrointestinal tolerability of erythritol. EFSA Journal 2010; 8(7):1650 [17 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2010.1650
Statement of the Scientific Committee/Scientific Panel On Request From: European Commission
Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings
Qing Yang. Neuroscience 2010. Yale J Biol Med. 2010 Jun; 83(2): 101–108. Published online 2010 Jun.
Swithers SE, Davidson TL. A role for sweet taste: Calorie predictive relations in energy regulation by rats. Behav Neurosci. 2008 Feb;122(1):161-73.

Q. What unrefined sea salt do you recommend?

I order my sea salt online from Ava Janes. This is unprocessed and harvested by hand so it is grayer than your typical white bleached salt. It has one of the most impressive mineral compositions I have seen. I use the coarse ground salt for soups and stews and in dishes where the salt will dissolve, and the fine ground more expensive salt as a finishing salt added to the dish at the last moment.

Main Coast Sea Vegetables is also a great sea salt and sea vegetable resource Their products can be purchased at Whole Foods grocery stores or online. They have wonderful sea seasonings. I particularly like the Kelp Granules Shaker, which makes it easy to sprinkle iodine-rich kelp granules on eggs, salads and many other dishes. Dried kelp and dulse can be used as a salt substitute or in addition to salt. Sea vegetables are rich in iodine, a nutrient essential for good thyroid health. Supporting the thyroid gland improves metabolism and supports production of the thyroid hormones, which may improve sex drive. Dried kelp is a powerful way to become sufficient in iodine and can be mixed with unrefined sea salt in small amounts as a preventative measure against goiter.

 

 

Q. What is a healthy replacement for sugar in recipes?

Grade B maple syrup, raw honey, coconut sugar and unrefined organic whole cane sugar, also known as rapadura are great substitutes for refined and processed white table sugar.

Often fruits and spices such as cinnamon and herbs can also be used to sweeten a dish instead of refined sugar.

Q. Where can I find the pickling lime you mention in your book?

Yay! You are soaking corn! Mrs. Wages has a great pickling lime that can be found online at http://store.mrswagesstore.com/mrswagpiclim.html.

Have fun!

Q. I have type 2 diabetes, what are 5 foods I should be eating regularly?

How about 9 foods and a couple of tips! Fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon, dark leafy greens and liver are some big ones. Fiber is very important as well. Brewers yeast is a great supplemental powder that can be sprinkled on salads or in smoothies that has a fabulous amino acid profile and numerous B vitamins. Eating something every two hours that has a little bit of protein and avoiding sugar, bread, pasta, and artificial sweeteners will also have a significant impact.

Q. Why do I need to soak grains?

Soaking/fermenting your grains in a small amount of lemon cultivates an environment for enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid. Phytic acid has a molecular affinity for minerals and can bind to minerals, thus preventing their absorption.

Soaking also breaks down proteins such as gluten into simpler components that make them easier to absorb. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled grains in acidulated water overnight will vastly improve their nutritional availability, and increase the ability of your body to absorb nutrients.

Q. Is it better to soak or to ferment grains and legumes?

Both work equally well and are very easy. Fermenting takes more time and is just a little more work, but not by much. Simply choose a method that works for you. The great thing about soaking or fermenting is that they both cut down on cooking time. When soaked overnight, grains such as oatmeal, quinoa, amaranth and teff don't need to be cooked as long, which makes them ideal for a quick and easy breakfast.

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