Hi! I’m Raena

My earliest memories are wrapped in the aroma of bacon! The smell permeated our house when I was a child growing up in the South in the ‘50’s. In addition to bacon for breakfast, we fried everything in the leftover grease, which we saved in jars. We fried chicken in bacon grease, pork chops, and potatoes and then made gravy from the drippings! So, looking back on that, it is astonishing to me that I wound up in the field of natural health. Some natural inclination or intuition led me down a healthier path, thank goodness—hypertension and strokes are common in areas where that kind of fat is eaten on a regular basis. Now it’s good fat like olive oil, flax seed oil and EFAs that predominate in my diet, along with lots of healthy vitamins and minerals.

The big payoff for me at this stage of my life—early 60’s—is that all of my annual tests come out normal. Not only that, when I am asked the typical question during my exam: “And what medications are you taking?” I can smile and say, “NONE.” Thanks to the path I’m on of keeping my body healthy with the help of Mother Nature, and thanks to the information I gather from interviewing leading authors and scientists in this field for iHealthTube.com, I’m in the fortunate position of being drug-free.

Calories in—Calories Out: Reviewing the "Twinkie Diet"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010 by Raena Morgan
twinkiesIn order to lose weight one must take in fewer calories than one burns. This diet theory has been around for a long, long time, and a Professor of Nutrition at Kansas State University, Mark Haub, recently put it to the test. He went on what he referred to as the Twinkie Diet for 10 weeks and lost a whopping 27 pounds!

As a veteran of many diets, I found going back to this basic premise a very intriguing experiment indeed. Haub’s “snack-centric” diet was meant to prove that weight loss can be achieved by pure calorie counting regardless of the nutritional value of the food. Though he took a multivitamin and had a protein shake daily made with whole milk, the rest of his calories came from junk food like Hostess Twinkie Golden Sponge Cake, Little Debbie Cakes, Oreos, Doritos and Sugar Corn Pops. Occasionally he would throw in some carrot or celery sticks, or a can of green beans. Prior to this experiment Haub was consuming about 2600 calories a day. Eating primarily junk food though, he consumed only about 1800 calories a day on his new diet.

Now, this flies in the face of most, if not all of the diet programs out there, especially ones like Atkins, “Protein Power,” the “Paleolithic Diet,” and other low carb diets. It would certainly not be in line with some of the more popular commercial diets like Jenny Craig, LA Weight Loss and Weight Watchers, which espouse balanced nutrition. Nonetheless, calories are definitely reduced on these programs. Many commercial programs are around 1200 to 1300 calories a day. And finally, the National Diabetes Association would be rightfully alarmed about ingesting all that refined sugar in spite of the reduced calorie intake!

There’s more irony. Not only did Haub lose 27 pounds, his body fat dropped from 33.4 to 24.9 percent—nearly ten percentage points! His bad cholesterol (LDL) dropped 20 percent and his (HDL) good cholesterol, increased 20 percent, plus his triglycerides were reduced by 39 percent.  All his health markers improved on a “convenience store” diet, as he referred to it, demonstrating the impact that losing weight has on health.

Prior to this experiment Haub says he tried to eat a healthy diet, which included whole grains, fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables, with only occasional indulgences like pizza. However, he claims that while he was eating healthier before, he was simply eating too much!

Dr. Oz commented on this phenomenon on his show Tuesday morning, November 30th, saying that the math didn’t work for him. Haub only reduced his calorie intake by 800 calories a day and that should not have added up to such a dramatic weight loss in such a short time. Dr. Oz also warned that the quality of those calories, for anyone considering giving the Twinkie diet a try, are empty calories, which burn quickly and leave a person hungry again soon after eating.     

So, we’ve got the math, along with the issue of the type of calories consumed, but here’s the rub:  millions of people practice some form of calorie deprivation every year, either on their own, or through a commercial weight loss program. Millions of people lose weight as a result. However, there is a 95% recidivism rate among dieters—only 5% keep the weight off permanently. So I will be very curious to see if the Professor eventually puts all those pounds back on—plus some!

How to Fight Invisible Electromagnetic Pollution!

Friday, October 29, 2010 by Raena Morgan
Every day, in a myriad of ways, we are exposed to and inundated by EMFs—electromagnetic fields. In her new book, Zapped, best-selling natural health information author Ann Louise Gittleman draws our attention to all the electronic innovations that have made our lives so much more convenient but simultaneously surround us with what she calls invisible, toxic electro-pollution! And it’s not just the obvious things that come to mind like cell phones and computers. No; your toaster, coffee maker, microwave, television, your hair dryer, even your refrigerator are sources of these damaging EMFs.

Ms.Gittleman, the author of no less than 20 books on natural health help, with a special emphasis on cleansing and detoxification, will by my guest this weekend on the KFGO Wellness Hour from 12:00 to 1:00 Central Time (online at www.kfgo.com) discussing her new book, which offers over 1,200 ways we can outsmart the hazards of electronic pollution. Naturally we can’t cover them all in just one hour, but we’ll get some tips on where to begin. Gittleman is passionately proactive about this threat to our general health and well being, as she states: “You may not be able to see electro-pollution, but your body responds to it as though it were a cloud of toxic chemicals.”

First she will discuss some of the health conditions associated with this relentless exposure to EMFs—problems like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, miscarriages, DNA damage, birth defects, infertility and depression. In addition, EMFs can interfere with the body’s production of melatonin, which can lead to impaired sleep. Scarier yet, children are the most vulnerable to EMFs. Because they are growing so quickly and their cells are dividing rapidly, they are at greater risk for damage at critical stages of development.

Later in the broadcast we will cover some of those 1,268 ways to avert exposure such as making sure that your living/family room is not against a wall that has a refrigerator on the other side: refrigerators emit massive fields of EMFs and walls offer no protection. Other recommendations include:
  • Remove Wi-Fi and cordless chargers from bedrooms.
  • Avoid carrying your cell phone in your pocket. Keep all calls short.
  • Don’t make calls in cars, elevators, trains, buses or underground.
  • And, if we have time, how to practice “Electronic Feng Shui.” 
Finally, we will address how to protect yourself with superfoods, seasonings and minerals. Gittleman will outline a “zap-proof” diet for us and indicate how minerals like magnesium and other supplements can help. No doubt there will be calls and lots of questions. Hope you can tune in, and by all means get a copy of Zapped.

Another Weight Loss Challenge: Obesogens (Chemical Weight Loss Saboteurs)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 by Raena Morgan
BallardStreet.comOh no—not another obstacle to achieving any kind of normal weight! As if dieting weren’t hard enough already, chemical agents known as obesogens are now said to be thwarting those efforts, too. Here’s the latest theory: according to a White House report back in May of this year, there is a class of chemicals that are making Americans fat, as well as sabotaging the valiant efforts of dieters everywhere to lose weight. These chemicals are known for disrupting the endocrine system in our bodies (actually called endocrine disrupting chemicals, or EDCs), and they blow a big hole in the calories-in/calories-out as a way to maintain weight loss.

The White House Task Force was focusing its attention on solving the problem of childhood obesity when these new findings emerged. Prior to that, the mounting obesity crisis was being blamed on fast, fatty, sugary, salty, calorie-dense foods coupled with a lack of exercise.  But the plot thickens as these deviant chemicals circulating in our environment are now being blamed for contributing to our collective fatness!

Beware: these beasts are both natural and synthetic compounds that mimic the female hormone estrogen. Now, biologically speaking, the hormone estrogen has made it possible throughout our human history for females to store fat more efficiently than males in order to reproduce. Hence, one can see a connection. If the populace is getting an inordinate dose of estrogen-mimicking-chemicals on a daily basis, then it would follow that fat storage abilities would be enhanced.   

How are we exposed to these chemicals? Exposure comes by way of the presence of other chemicals in our environment—like pesticides. Ironically, we are encouraged to eat multiple servings of fruit and vegetables a day as part of a healthy, weight management diet. And yet, commercially-grown fruits and vegetables are heavily coated in pesticides.

Harmful chemicals found in plastic bottles and containers, even plastic wrap, is yet another source of chemicals entering our environment at opportune times. The chemicals in plastic, again mimicking estrogen, are said to “trick our bodies into storing fat.” Other sources of these endocrine disrupting hormones are to be found in fatty meats, in fish such as swordfish, marlin and orange roughy, in canned goods, and even in our tap water. Sounds like a conspiracy theorist’s fantasy world come true!

The estrogen-mimicking theory had already cropped up in the world of natural health and weight loss. But, interestingly enough, it is now coming from the White House. So we need to take heed—it’s a toxic, fattening world out there. By choosing organic produce whenever possible (add this to the long list of organic foods benefits), thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables, eating lean protein, particularly pasture fed animals, avoiding plastic bottles—a big one—and filtering our tap water, we can circumvent some of these disruptive, fat-promoting obesogens. To read more, click the Source link below.

Source: shine.yahoo.com

The Food Industry’s Three Point Compass: Sugar, Fat and Salt

Thursday, July 29, 2010 by Raena Morgan
The End of Overeating – Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite” is a scathing exposé of the commercial food industry researched and written by Dr. David Kessler, the former head of the FDA. This is the same gentleman that went after the tobacco industry and who sought, and managed to get, nutrition labels on the food we purchase in supermarkets and elsewhere.

Concerned about America’s obesity epidemic, Kessler began to take an investigative look at “Big Food,” as he calls it. He found insiders who gave him the information he was looking for, but who, of course, insisted on remaining anonymous. It is a chilling and almost sinister account of how this form of “big business” operates. An example from one insider explains how the food industry deliberately creates meals, snacks and appetizers to hit the “three points of the compass”—sugar, fat and salt, layered over more sugar, fat and salt—often several times, thus instilling those foods with an irresistible “hedonic” effect.

According to Kessler, Americans spend “50 percent of today’s food dollar” on eating out, and therefore restaurants go to great lengths to provide tantalizing, pleasure foods to lure consumers in, continuously introducing new foods that fit the three point compass. Another consultant who spoke with Kessler said, quite frankly, that the food industry is “the manipulator of the consumer’s minds and desires.”

Many examples of this layering are given. A simple one: “cheese fries.” The potato is a carbohydrate that turns to sugar when digested and then when it is fried and covered in cheese you get sugar + fat+ salt. All combinations of sugar and fat, like cookies and pastries and ice cream, create what is referred to as a “bliss point.” Fat and salt combinations, like chips, as well as sugar, fat and salt combinations, like pizza, are highly reinforcing foods. Furthermore, the food is also processed and prepared in such a manner that we have to chew it less and it can easily be swallowed in huge portions in a single sitting.

The long and the short of it is that these foods thrill the taste buds, which then has an impact on our brain cells, rewiring them to seek the rewards of consuming such foods. Not only are high sugar, fatty and salty foods stimulating, the research also reveals that they do, in fact, have an emotional impact that relieves pain and stress. This in turn leads to what Kessler calls conditioned hypereating. It’s a very complicated neural circuitry that is involved, but it is thoroughly explained in “The End of Overeating,” so that people can understand why these foods are so highly addictive.

Some sound and practical suggestions and strategies for disengaging from this kind of eating are given in Part Five: “Food Rehab,” however, dieting, per se, is not one of them. Strict dieting (including natural health diets and cleansing and detoxification programs) can cause a rebound effect that often leads to over consuming the very pleasure foods that the brain and emotions have been denied. What we must realize, he says, is that, “Conditioned hypereating is a biological challenge, not a character flaw.” In his view, “Recovery is impossible until we stop viewing overeating as an absence of willpower.”  In the mean time, Kessler is pushing for nutrition labeling to be implemented on restaurant menus, and recommends that well-funded public education campaigns address the food industry’s unrelenting marketing of superstimulants!

Find Dr. Kessler's book at Amazon.com and read the reviews.