Monthly Archives

April 2015


Division of Gastroenterology with Dr. Treyzon

Leo Treyzon main pic

Throughout my blog post’s I’m sure most of you have noticed the amount of specialists I have seen. From San Diego to LA I have met some amazing doctors. I m lucky enough to have found a team I continue to work with at Cedars Sinai.

For about 5 months specifically before seeing doctor Treyzon, I suffered from major symptoms that left my active lifestyle nonexistent. I was in and out of the ER multiple times and sent to many specialists in the San Diego area. All the doctors I was referred to were a disaster! None these doctors were listening to me, my symptoms and the hell I was living! After dealing with the mess of trying new doctors waiting for appointments and each doctor prescribing me random antibiotics for issues they didn’t really know I had. I was left being exhausted and losing hope of figuring out what the real problem was.

I then was referred to Dr. Treyzon through another doctor (my internal medicine doctor in LA, she raved about this young, amazing GI specialist). I drove to LA with all my medical records and about 2 pages of symptoms I was experiencing for the past 5 months. He sat down with me and listened to EVERYTHING. We came up with a few recommendations for other specialists I needed to see ASAP. (which you can read more about here). Within a few days I was on my way to start testing for underlying conditions.  I have to say with the help of Dr. Treyzon I accomplished more in 4 days then I had in 5 months of being miserably sick!

During this time we have solved my GI issues, which I have been dealing with for years! I completed  an my upper endoscopy and with those results, retired my prescription antacid medication. After continuously taking it for 3 years… Thanks to Dr. Treyzon I figured out I never even needed to be on it! I have to say, I’m probably the biggest baby and scared out of my mind to take any medications, have any procedures and do anything that has the potential of making me feel any sort of pain. Dr. Treyzon and his staff made me feel so comfortable, less nervous and actually excited to figure out what was going on.

After being so sick for months prior to my appointment with him, I turned into a worry wart, borderline hypochondriac and am so so thankful for Dr. Treyzon and his staff for their continued email communication and quick responses to my crazy and frequent emails and calls! He actually himself has called to follow up with me, which is amazing! He has also saved me a few times from more pointless ER visits. I cannot express enough how amazing he is!

Here is an educational post from one of the best out there, Dr. Treyzon:

“How often should you see a doctor? It depends on whether you are feeling sick or well, and if you are interested in preventive screening. Screening is performed on non-symptomatic individuals who are at risk of developing cancer as a result of increasing age or a family history of cancer.

We recommend regular screenings for preventive health, especially for conditions of which you have a predisposition. These screenings can lead to early detection, treatment, and reduced chance of mortality. Colonoscopies and high-sensitivity fecal occult blood tests, for example, detect abnormal polyps in your digestive tract that could become cancerous. These screenings are recommended for people above age 50. If you have a family history of early colon cancer, we typically start screening 10 years before the diagnosis of the family member’s cancer. 

 In America, we typically do not screen for stomach cancer because of its relatively low prevalence. However, if you are of Asian heritage and particularly if you have a family history, it would be a good idea to get screened for H. Pylori infection, which is one of the most common causes of chronic gastritis, intestinal metaplasia, peptic ulcer, and cancer of the stomach. There is a simple breath or stool test that can detect this condition at a young age. If found early it could potentially decrease many years of chronic inflammation and therefore reduce your risk of ulcers and cancer of the stomach. 

For those who smoke, a low-dose helical computed tomography has been shown to reduce lung cancer deaths between ages 55 to 74. Mammographies screen for breast cancer and are recommended for women ages 40 to 74, especially those age 50 or older. Pap tests and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. These are recommended to begin at age 21 and end at age 65. 

 A healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products. I recommend eating less total fat, and limiting the amount of red meat, sweets, and salt consumed. Exercise is also really important. One way to think about it is to try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on four days a week.”

Leo Treyzon M.D.
Clinical Chief
Division of Gastroenterology
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
8631 W. Third Street, #1015-E
Los Angeles, CA 90048
P 310.652.4472



Vegan Gluten Free Protein Pancakes


Um Yum! Found this little package of goodness at the store! I highly recommend Wholesome Chow products! They have been so fun to bake with Dairy free and Gluten free. 

Click here to Buy. 

What you need:

1 Scoop Pancake Mix

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar

(I like to add 1 banana) 


Agave Nectar

Made these beauties with a little blueberries and agave nectar!  


Cucina Enoteca



Italian, how the heck do you go out for Italian (my favorite) when your living gluten and dairy free! I thought it would be terribly hard. I was pleasantly surprised and excited when our server Chris told me he could make it happen. He went out of his way to check with the kitchen on what they could do and came back with some very delicious ideas. Although I thought I would be able to eat everything he was proposing I stuck with these two delicious dishes! 

We started with the delicious Beet Salad. It is served with a yogurt balsamic dressing, and they were able to just give us the balsamic. It was to die for! It tasted just as amazing as it looked. 

Short Rib Pappardelle with GF Pasta and No Cheese.  AMAZING. Seriously it was so hearty and delicious I couldn’t stop eating it! ShortRib

For my dessert, I opted for a glass of wine. (I like to drink my calories on date nights, hehe). 

I highly recommend Cucina Enoteca! Yummy! Make reservations because it is a very busy place! 

Cucina Enoteca 2730 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, CA 92014


Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup


Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced (about 5 cups)

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 3 cups)

2 carrots, peeled and chopped, (about 3/4 cup)

1 small yellow onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup full fat coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Start by warming the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion and the carrot for about three to five minutes.

Next, add the squash and sweet potato to the pot and pour in the vegetable broth.

Then add the spices and salt and bring to a boil. Once it has started to boil, reduce to a simmer and cover while allowing it to cook for about twenty minutes or until all of the veggies are very tender.

Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the vegetables until a thick, smooth consistency is reached.

Pour in the coconut milk and continue to blend until it is mixed thoroughly. Serve warm with fresh gluten free bread and enjoy!

I found this recipe a while back and just love it so so much I wanted to make sure to share it on my blog. The original recipe is from Makingtimeforhealth. I have tried so many different butternut recipes but this one is by far the best one I’ve made! Just a perfect recipe.


Greek Meatballs with Cucumber Aioli


So I’ve been totally obsessed with Greek flavors lately. Here’s a little spin on original meatballs with Greek flavor. So delicious, my husband ate these all up!

Greek Meatballs


1 Egg

1 Tsp Basil

1 Tsp Oregano

1/2 Tsp Cumin

1 Tsp Coriander

1/2 cup Fresh Parsley chopped finely

2 Garlic Cloves Crushed

1/4 cup Red Onion Finely Chopped

1 Lemon (for zesting and 1/2 lemon for juice)

Sal and Pepper 

Cucumber Aioli:

1 Small/Medium Cucumber

1 Cup vegenaise mayo 

 1/2 cup red onion

A Hand Full Fresh Parsley

Half of a lemon

1 Clove garlic

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix together all meatball ingredients. Use small ice cream scooper or spoon to help mold small meatballs , place on lined cookie sheet. Bake for 35 mins or until cooked through. 

In a food processor, combine all ingredients for cucumber dip. When all are mixed place in bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. 

Serve together and enjoy! 


Quinoa Pasta Salad


Quinoa Pasta Salad

Wondering what do you do with that delicious left over Herb Roasted Chicken you made the other night!!? Here is my recipe for my favorite Quinoa Pasta Salad. 

Quinoa Pasta Shells

5 or 6 Small baby bell sweet peppers

1 Red onion

Left over Herb Roasted Chicken Cut into pieces. 

For the Dressing: 

1 1/2 Cup Olive Oil 

1 1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar

1 1/2 Tbs Garlic Powder 

1 1/2 Tbs Dried Oregano 

1/2 tbs Parsley

1 1/2 Tbs Dried Basil 

2 Tsp Black Pepper

2 Tsp Salt 

1 Tbs Onion Powder

2 1/2 Tbs Dijon Mustard (Gluten Free)

For the dressing mix all ingredients together in a dressing bottle or Tupperware. Shake or Mix very well. Let sit in fridge for at least 2 hours while all ingredients marry together.  

Cook quinoa pasta shells according to package directions. Let cool after cooking. 

Cut up sweet peppers and red onion, place in big mixing bowl. Add in cut up roasted chicken and quinoa pasta shells. Mix together and add two cups of dressing to your pasta salad. Toss and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Healthy, yummy and so delicious! 



Herb Roasted Chicken


Herb Roasted Chicken

3-4lb Whole Organic Chicken

1 small onion 

4 Garlic Cloves 

2 Lemons

1/4 cup Olive Oil or Canola Oil

Fresh Herbs- I like Rosemary, Thyme and Sage. (sometimes I use Parsley as well, just depends on what I have in the fridge) Use about 2 tablespoons of each. 

1 Tsp each Salt and Pepper

Preheat Oven to 450 degrees. Place whole chicken on a baking pan, I use a big cookie sheet.

Stuff the chicken with: chopped onion, garlic and lemon use a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. This will bring the flavors out from the inside. 

In a bowl mix oil, rosemary, sage and thyme, juice from one half lemon. salt and pepper. Massage on the outside of the chicken not letting to much oil drip onto the baking sheet. (it will burn). Once covered in herb mixture and oil place in oven for 1 hour and 30 mins or until brown and cooked through. 


My 11 Month Journey

Here is my 11 month journey, as short and sweet as it can be. Please feel free to reach out I would love to hear from you! 

My husband and I finally took our honeymoon 8 months after our wedding day and 7 months after buying our first home. I was so excited to spend 8 wonderful days in Kauai, and regardless of how it ended, it was one of the most amazing trips we’ve ever been on together.

 On our last day in beautiful Kauai, we decided to take a long hike along the na’pali coast in very hot, humid weather. Up until this point I thought I was used to hot, humid weather. I also have been a very active person and runner, so I honestly didn’t think much of being “too hot.” I was fine the majority of the hike, and even ran uphill for part of it. And, after about 4 miles of climbing through red mud, plowing through streams, and strolling by beautiful waterfalls, we finished our magnificent hike.


 To reward ourselves on our last day in paradise, we decided to have a nice lunch at a sushi restaurant on the north shore. On my last bite, I felt a crazy sensation come over my entire body. It felt like a dropping sensation from my head through my stomach. I felt dizzy, lightheaded, tightness in my chest, and very shaky. I actually thought I was having an allergic reaction to something in my food. I immediately looked at Tyler and told him I was going to faint and to call 911. He took me inside the restaurant and the hostess and waiters gave me cranberry juice and another glass of water thinking I was just low on sugar or something. I started getting super hot, sweaty and uncontrollably shaky. When the ambulance arrived, they checked my vitals and confirmed that I had heat exhaustion. They informed me many tourists get it because of the heat and extreme humidity. They said I could either come with them to the hospital for an IV or head back to my hotel with a cup of water. They said I would be fine and told me to relax and drink plenty of fluids. I was convinced I would be back to normal within a few days.

 Later that day we hung out in the hotel, and I made sure to drink plenty of water and Gatorade. The next day we took a flight out of Kauai and had a layover in San Francisco. We then headed from San Francisco to San Diego, and throughout the flight I felt lightheaded, dizzy, hot and sweaty, and even had the chills; I also had a terrible, terrible migraine. We finally arrived back to SD and I felt an exhaustion that I had never felt before.  

 The next 2 days I made sure to lay low and worked from home. I thought I felt somewhat better but not back to normal by any means. On the second day home I felt a bit better and decided to take a walk around my neighborhood with a neighbor thinking exercise was what I needed. We walked 4 miles and it was hot, but nothing out of the ordinary.  

 When I got home from our walk, I had water and ate a few chips with salsa; within seconds of eating, I felt the exact same sensation as I had in Kauai. Tyler was out playing baseball, so I went over to my neighbor’s house. Within minutes, I blacked out, and she was forced to call an ambulance.

 I can’t stress enough how I really felt like I was going to die, I even called my mom and told her I loved her and my dad in case something happened to me and I didn’t make it.

 After the phone call, I remember my neighbor holding me up in the bathroom because I was so weak I couldn’t even go by myself and kept blacking out. Thank god for her! (She sure knows everything about me, lol). Lucky for me, I had 2 emergency service men and 2 firefighters show up. They got to my neighbors house within about 10 minutes of calling, although at the time, it felt like forever. My neighbor called my husband and he arrived as the ambulance was carrying me away. I was taken to the hospital where they ran all sorts of tests – blood, EKG, you name it… they couldn’t even get a IV in my veins because they kept collapsing from dehydration.  After what felt like a million tries, they sent me home (I still can’t believe they let me leave without fluids). Their explanation? I was suffering from extreme anxiety.  I didn’t believe it – I have never suffered from anxiety before and have never experienced any sort of health issue in the past.

I couldn’t sleep all night and went to my Internal medicine doctor with Scripps the very next morning. My mom came down that next day to try and help figure everything out and give my husband a break. The morning I called my Internal Medicine Doctor I told them I was in the hospital and needed to been seen. I rushed over to her office. She saw how pale and weak I was, and they ushered me in, in a wheelchair, feeling faint, weak, dizzy, cold, and shaky – I couldn’t even put sentences together. I seriously was convinced I was going to die, and no one was helping me.


As soon as I told her what was happening, they put an IV in and after about 6 tries, they gave me a few bags of fluid. I also did an EKG and blood work, and they sent me home with antibiotics for traveler’s flu (I knew this wasn’t the problem but at least she saw I didn’t have anxiety). I followed instructions and took that for 2 days, and then went back because nothing changed. I then had an ultrasound and another EKG because my chest felt tight again; this was when I started to think my heart would just give out on me at any moment. After the EKG, my doctor said everything looked normal. I was relieved to hear that, but at the same time, I kept wondering what was happening to my body.

During that time, I was on Omeprazole for stomach acid and heartburn. I tried to stop the Omeprazonle on my own a few weeks prior, but my doctor encouraged me to continue to start on that again to see how I felt, thinking it could be a stomach acid issue flaring up again.

To not repeat myself over and over, after about 5 or 6 visits with my internal medicine doctor (accompanied with all the symptoms listed above, low blood pressure, heart palpitations, and an increase in heart rate upon standing), I was told I probably had vasovagal syncope or a problem with my vegus nerve. My doctor then referred me out to an ENT with the diagnosis of vertigo.  

Between waiting for my next appointment with the ENT and ending up in the ER a few more times, I called my OBGYN to chat with her about every possibility. We of course made sure I wasn’t pregnant and she recommended I stop taking birth control pills right away. I was on them for about 13 years with no breaks; she decided it would be wise to stop just to make sure the pills weren’t causing any of the symptoms I was experiencing.

Finally the day had come to see the ENT specialist. Upon my visit, the ENT took one look at me and said I did not have vertigo and referred me to a cardiologist.

It took about 2 more weeks to get in with cardiologist and by this point I was barely eating and still experiencing terrible symptoms. I finally met a younger professional cardiologist who basically looked at me before any testing and mentioned I may have Dysautonomia or POTs syndrome. He prescribed midodrine (a blood pressure medicine to raise blood pressure) and salt pills to help retain water and get my blood pressure back to normal (my blood pressure is usually low but at this time it was coming in around 80/50). I then did more blood work, a CT scan, 24-hour heart monitor, then a 1 week monitor, and a month monitor which all came back normal. Unfortunately, I had a bad reaction to the salt pills and ended up at urgent care, so I had to stop taking them.  


My first cardiologist was the first doctor to diagnose me with Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) a form of Dysautonomia. I completely ignored him and was in denial about accepting the diagnosis, but continued to do my own research and read online that Pots syndrome may a secondary syndrome and something bigger may be the cause.

So the search continued. I met with an Integrative specialist in Santa Monica who did her own set of blood work and found high levels of mercury in my system. She was very thorough and really wanted to help figure out what may be happening. Surprisingly, I was starting to feel a little better and thought it may simply be the whole mercury issue.  About a month later, I had a total crash and my episodes got stronger and came back full force. My Integrative Specialist referred me to Cedars Sinai with an amazing GI specialist named Dr. Leo Treyzon.

I arrived to his office with my mom (yes, adults still need their mom, and at this point I wasn’t driving anymore just in case I had an episode and blacked out while behind the wheel). I had all my medical records and an essay of everything that happened up until that point. This was the first doctor that actually sat down with me and took ALL of my symptoms into consideration. He helped refer me to the proper specialists within 48 hours. We talked for about an hour and he did a normal exam, took my blood pressure, and listened to my heart and so on. I was blown away with his ability to take in everything I was saying and look at all of my symptoms together. He discovered I had a stomach fungus and we treated that with antibiotics; he then recommended an upper endoscopy, especially since I have a long line of GI cancers in my family and was taking stomach acid pills for years. I was so stressed and worried to do the upper endo, I could barely contain myself (I don’t think I slept for a week up until the procedure). It ended up being so easy and worth it. Dr. Treyzon was able to clear 5 polyps from my stomach and now will continue to be proactive to maintain my health. He also was able to wean me off my stomach acid medication. Since our first meeting, we have continued to have e-mail appointments and phone conversations which have been lifesaving for me! A doctor that actually returns phone calls and emails?! How freaking awesome.


Straight from Dr. Treyzon’s office, I went over to meet a very nice Neurologist. I again told her my whole life story and all my symptoms. She decided it would be best to have an MRI done the same day to rule out any sign of MS, Tumors or anything else that may be obviously seen by doing an MRI. My mom then carted me over to the radiology center to do an MRI with injected dye. If you have had this done before you will know that this is not a very pleasant procedure. My nurse at the radiology center was awesome though – such a great, fun guy! They got me set up, put my IV in, and had everything in place to do the first round of MRI photos without ink. After the first round, they pull you out of this huge donut machine and inject dye into the IV. Unfortunately, my vein burst and the dye leaked into my arm…It was so so so painful I was crying! Luckily we got enough dye in the vein to have it spread to my brain and they were able to continue to the next part of the MRI. When we finished the second part, he pulled me out and checked my arm. It was so swollen and fat,  I couldn’t believe it!  I felt so bad for the guy that was working there, I kept telling him it wasn’t his fault, and that my veins were just super small. We had to massage it and keep an eye on it for an hour or so until I was released. The next day, the Neurologist called to let me know everything looked great but she wanted us to come in for a follow up appointment. During the follow up appointment a week later she informed me I may just be getting migraines and sent me on my way with migraine medication if I felt I needed it (which I never ended up using).

My next appointment was with the Rheumatologist, Dr. Karayev. I can honestly say that he is one of the best in the biz! He was also very accommodating, listened to everything I had to say and tested me for almost every autoimmune disorder or possible underlying condition that may be associated with Dysautonomia. I think it was the most blood I had ever given at once…the nurse told me 24 vales! I had 2 juice boxes and nuts during the blood draw! All my initial blood work came back perfect. Around this time, I started getting terrible leg cramps – they were so painful I believed I might have been experiencing a blood clot. I woke up every hour and had to walk around to make sure it would go away. Dr. Karayev sent me for a leg ultrasound to make sure it wasn’t anything more to worry about. The ultrasound came back clear and he started me on a combination of co-q 10 and magnesium. Within 2 weeks, my leg cramping was almost gone. Since then I have had about 4-5 appointments, 3 major blood draws and countless e-mail and phone correspondences with Dr. Karayev. He’s confirmed that I do in fact have Dysautonomia with no underlying conditions. He has also been there to answer all of my questions and continues to refer me to specialists that deal with Dysautonomia.

Oh, and here’s a note on how important it is to seek an extra opinion in all medical conditions: After my first meeting with Dr. Karayev, he referred me to an Endocrinologist. I had a quick appointment with him, in which he didn’t really seem to know what was wrong with me or really think there was any point in me seeing him or testing my hormones. I did more blood work with him along with a 48-hour urine test. He called me about 3 weeks later just to let me know everything was normal and wished me luck.

With the help of Dr. Karayev, I met my cardiologist Dr. Cannom. (Our first meeting was only about 2 months ago). He put me through a tilt table test under the super vision of his female resident doctor. Surprisingly, the tilt was negative, but my heartbeat was still beating erratically.

Since my diet and exercise change in mid January I have not had an episode, and Dr. Cannom and I have another appointment to discuss how we will move forward. Even with the negative tilt, he is sure I am experiencing onsets of Dysautonomia but is sure I am recovering in the top tier of his patients, telling me that I might just be past the worst of it.


With the diagnosis of Dysautonomia and no underlying conditions, I am continuing to work with a Cardiac Electrophysiologist at Cedars Sinai and an Integrative Specialist in Santa Monica. I am currently on month 11 and starting to see major changes. I still get episodes of heart tachycardia, dizziness, nauseous, headaches, brain-fog and occasional UTI infections around my cycle. However, I am learning new things that are helping and working on improving my overall wellbeing. Lucky for me, I found some amazing support groups and met some inspiring women going through the exact same thing.

Today, I am happy to report that with some setbacks, my daily life is 95% back to normal. My biggest challenge is learning to not be concerned that another episode is right around the corner and that I can live normally.

*Please keep in mind that these appointments took place over an 8-9 month period, with countless ER and other doctor appointments. I chose to only write about the major experiences and not dwell on all the negative appointments and unworthy doctors I have seen. If you are looking for answers within your situation, be persistent and push to see doctors that will help you figure it out. Everything I write about on my blog is my personal experience. I am not a medical professional, nutritionist or personal trainer but these things have helped me. Please understand that my opinion will not cure or treat anyone’s condition.  This is just stuff that happened to work for me.


My Favorite Green Juice



My Favorite Green Juice

Add as much of each ingredient as you like. 




Romaine Lettuce 



Ginger (I like lots!)


Lemon (no peel)

Place in juicer & done! Cheers!


Breaking up with processed food!

Assorted Cereal

I came across this article on MindBodyGreen written by Dr. Frank Lipman and thought I would share. What a great article about processed foods and why we should go “unprocessed”. For me going unprocessed was a matter of my health and getting past my diagnosis. It is hard for anyone to take processed foods completely out of the equation, which is way I try my best to make the most educated choices. If I slip up and eat some chips or a bite of pizza, I know I’ll pay and not feel well but you can’t deprive yourself either. The choice is yours. (Especially starting a new lifestyle!) Don’t beat yourself up if you have a slip up just start over and make the change for a healthy life.

If I had to find just one good reason to eat processed foods, I’d have an impossible time coming up with one. But when it comes to reasons not to eat processed foods, however … well, I could talk your ear off. In short, I don’t eat processed foods because I care too much about sustaining my health to risk it on anything that might jeopardize it. So what do I eat?

The same things I advise my patients to eat: healing whole foods that deliver energy, vibrance and wellness. When you apply those three simple criteria to everything that goes in your mouth, eating well becomes a pretty simple exercise.

While this approach can be tough at first for those who are trying to turn around a lifetime of poor eating habits, the good news is that in time, with practice, the desire for processed food will fall away and eating well will become second nature.

If you are beginning the journey to better health, but finding it challenging, here are a few thoughts to remember as you work to free your body and mind of processed foods:

1. Processed foods make simple foods complicated (and unhealthy).

When referring to “processed foods,” we’re talking about foods that aren’t in their original, natural state when you buy them. Foods that come with a label listing more than two or three ingredients are generally considered to be processed.

For example, a bag of frozen organic spinach has only one ingredient, spinach — nothing has been added or taken away. A jar of raw almond butter will contain just almonds, so while some processing has taken place, nothing has been added. Then read the label on an average Lean Cuisine. There you’ll find upwards of 50 anything-but-natural ingredients listed! Now that’s what I call processed — taking simple food and pumping it full of stuff nobody ever asked for.

Among processing’s many sins, the first one is that it complicates food, taking the streamlined, simple and pretty-close-to-perfect, then processing out the nutrients and processing in a boat-load of questionable ingredients.

2. Processed foods beat up your body.

A bigger, more alarming problem with processed foods is what’s going on inside them. Virtually all processed foods contain man-made ingredients, whose long-term effects are either highly questionable, seriously detrimental or even possibly carcinogenic (i.e., azodicarbonamide, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) and aspartame to name a few).

Chemical additives, artificial colors, artificial flavorings, fillers, high fructose corn syrup, vegetable oils, trans-fats and preservatives abound in processed foods, and the trouble is we don’t fully know the amount of damage they may be inflicting on our bodies.

We do know there’s mounting evidence to suggest a link between processed food consumption and our skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease, which if you ask me is reason enough to dump them.

With fresh, organic, whole foods however, there’s no need to worry about the long-term health fallout. Whole foods are just as healthy as nature made them, with all their nutrients and health-sustaining properties intact.

3. Processed foods can make you sick or kill you.

The bigger the transformation and the more steps your food passes through to go from raw material to finished “product,” the fewer nutrients survive. They’re literally pounded, pulverized, liquefied, extruded and processed out.

Producers are less concerned with preserving nutrients than they are with turning a profit. They do so by producing the maximum amount of product at the lowest cost, and manufacturing it to maximize shelf life — none of which happens without taking chemical liberties, tossing in a few more preservatives and sacrificing nutrients along the way.

Problem is, despite industry claims to the contrary, many of the common preservatives and artificial colors in processed foods have been linked to a variety of health problems, including moderate-to-severe allergies, neurologic disorders and even cancer. Not very appetizing, eh?

Real, unprocessed or minimally processed foods on the other hand, are far less likely to cause damage or make you sick. Better yet, they tell you when they’re no longer fresh. They’ll start to wilt or smell, loose their color, start sprouting or grow mold – all to naturally signal that their nutrients are starting to pass their peak, no “sell-by” stamp required.

4. Processed foods are designed with addiction in mind.

Can you make a cheese doodle? A Dorito? An Oreo? Probably not, as few of us possess the lab skills or chemical ingredients needed to create Franken-foods — and that’s just as well. What’s so diabolical about processed foods is that their lack of nutrients, good fats, fiber or protein, and excesses of salt and sugar, wind up encouraging the release of your body’s feel-good chemicals.

That release triggers the desire for more sweet or salty crappy foods with no nutritional payoff. If this is happening multiple times a day, it’s easy to see how people wind up trying to fill a belly that’s never satisfied, and it’s weight gain, here you come. For example, most people find it virtually impossible to be satisfied by just one sugar-packed, quickly-digested, fiber and nutrient-free Oreo cookie, so they’ll likely eat a bunch before stopping, and even then, only reluctantly.

By contrast, just one whole piece of fruit, like an orange or a serving of blueberries, is usually enough. Why? Because the fruit will deliver a much larger nutritional payload, including fiber, water and slowly-metabolized carbs, without setting off intense cravings.

5. Want to stay chubby? Processed foods can help!

As evolved as we may think we are, when it comes to processed foods, many of us are closer to lab monkeys than we’d like to admit, repeatedly hitting the processed-food pleasure bar, having fallen prey to the addictive flavors which have been carefully baked right in.

The processed food industry helps keep you fat by devoting countless resources to identifying and developing flavors with appeal. They create sweet, salty, never-fully-satisfying foods, full of the bad fats, that can put you into an almost perpetual state of craving. With your satiety switch suppressed, overeating becomes the norm. The food manufacturers win, and you lose everything but the weight.

6. After eating a Big Mac and fries, nobody ever said, “Wow, I feel fantastic!”

Processed foods are talking to you, but are you listening? Do you feel great after eating a fast food meal? Do you feel energetic after a few slices of pizza? Didn’t think so.

The fact that many people wind up feeling lethargic, sleepy and even depressed after eating processed food is the body’s way of saying this isn’t a good way to eat. Listen to your body. It knows! Eating foods that are unprocessed or minimally processed will deliver actual nourishment, i.e. vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, that will make you feel good and supply the long-lasting energy your body needs to function at its best.

7. When at least 80% of your diet is nutrient-rich, whole foods, you’ll be likely to optimize your health.

For some, cold turkey is the simplest the way to release the addictive grip of processed foods, while others succeed by slowly tapering off. However you choose to go about it though, look for foods as close to their fresh, unfettered, original state as possible, to minimize your ingestion of chemicals, additives and artificial flavors.

If access to fresh produce is limited, supplement with frozen, which is often just as good as fresh. Look for meat and poultry that’s been raised responsibly, humanely, grass-fed or pasture-raised, without antibiotics, hormones or genetically modified feeds. Let go of food in pouches, boxes and cans. When you get to the point where at least 80% or more of your diet is made up of nutrient-rich, whole foods, you’ll tip the scales in your favor and make a significant positive impact on your health.

For more inspiration to help you kick processed foods, check out Jill Ettinger’s post 101 Reasons to Quit Eating Processed Foods Forever.

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