Chipotle Eliminates Genetically-Modified Food From Its Menu

Chipotle Mexican Grill was the first major fast food chain to point out which food items on its menu contained Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) back in 2013.

This week Chipotle announced that all the cooked food it serves at its 1,800+ restaurants is GMO-free.

However, the company also stated that some soft drinks sold at Chipotle may still contain sweeteners made from genetically-engineered corn. Also noteworthy is some of the meat Chipotle serves may come from animals fed GMO-enhanced grains – but on the plus side, most of the restaurants now serve 100% grass-fed beef.

Chipotle says it used to cook with soy oil and canola oil – both made from GMO crops – but today Chipotle uses only GMO-free sunflower oil and rice bran oil in its kitchens.

Opinions vary on whether consuming GMO products are harmful or much ado about nothing. The Food and Drug Administration has officially labeled a number of genetically modified crops as safe for human consumption, while opponents say GMOs cause problems for the environment and may be hazardous to human health.

According to Chipotle, more than 80% of all processed foods in the US include some genetically modified ingredients, especially products derived from corn or soy. The biggest offenders include: soft drinks, fast food, cereals, breads and sandwich meats, packaged foods and snack foods.

Chipotle says it seeks out the highest-quality food sources, eliminating many large-scale industrial farms from its supply chain. The company prefers sourcing its meat and produce from smaller farmers who share the company’s values for humanely-raised animals and GMO-free crops.

Consumers who care about the quality of their fast food have made Chipotle the fastest growing fast food restaurant chain in the US over the last 10 years. But the company’s quality policy may now be hindering its growth – many of its restaurants have temporarily stopped serving carnitas (made from pork) due to a major supplier’s failure to meet the company’s high quality standards.


How to eat paleo at Chipotle:

Order the salad instead of a burrito, choose your favorite meat, add on the sautéed veggies, and pile on the salsa and guacamole. You’ll of course want to skip the rice, beans, sour cream, cheese and salad dressing if you’re following a strict paleo diet.


Too Much Omega-6 May Be Bad For Your Brain

Twenty years ago, former Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Dr. Barry Sears didn’t buy into the high-carb/low-fat nutritional mantra of the day, and instead championed a diet that would reduce cellular inflammation — and the world’s rising obesity rate.

Fast forward to today: diabetes diagnoses have risen nearly 180% over the last 3 decades thanks in part Sears says to the continued adherence to the high-carb/low-fat diet dogma. And now Sears thinks it’s not a coincidence that new Alzheimer’s Disease cases have risen dramatically over the same period.

In Sears’s new book, The Mediterranean Zone, he makes a strong case that a pro-inflammatory diet can be directly linked to diseases of the brain such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

According to Sears, almost all chronic diseases can be tied to cellular inflammation which over time can negatively impact the brain.

Sears says the best approach to beating the odds of developing many diseases ranging from cancer to heart disease is to keep your cells as healthy as possible through an anti-inflammatory diet.

While Sears recommends a Mediterranean diet, and I’d say Paleo is the best way to go, the end goal is similar. Both diets promote consuming balanced meals of protein, low glycemic carbs (such as fruits and vegetables) and moderate amounts of fat that are low in omega-6 fatty acids (such as found in vegetable oils) and rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Sears points out the typical American diet includes way too much omega-6 fatty acids…up to 20-times more than omega-3. It’s no surprise fast food meals loaded with vegetable oils are one of the biggest offenders.

Due to the inflammatory properties of omega-6, Sears speculates this 20:1 fatty acid imbalance may explain many psychological and emotional issues people experience today, and omega-6 rich diets may even raise an individual’s propensity for violent behavior.

Sears cites studies that seem to indicate high doses of omega-3 fatty acids may help in the treatment of depression, ADHD and anxiety.

The point in Sears’s assessment is you need to cut way back on omega-6 and other foods that may cause cellular inflammation, and make a conscious effort to work more omega 3 fatty acids into your diet.

Wild salmon is one of the best natural sources for omega-3. Stay away from farm raised salmon – producers are increasingly using vegetables oils rich in omega-6 to feed the fish.

Sears also says only the Japanese eat enough fish to properly balance the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, and the best solution for most people is enhancing their anti-inflammatory diets with high-quality omega-3 supplements made from anchovies and sardines.

Read “What Our Diet Is Doing To Our Brains” via Forbes online for more.

Want To Lower Inflammation? Experience Something Awesome!

If you’re sticking to well-balanced paleo meals, congratulations – you’re doing great things for your body.

One of the big benefits of eating paleo is the diet naturally reduces chronic inflammation at the cellular level thanks to its emphasis on consuming real, healthy food rather than processed foods and excessive omega-6 fatty acids that can cause inflammation.

According to a new study published January 2015 in the journal Emotion, there’s yet another way to keep cell inflammation in check – experience awe more often.

Seeing the world with a child-like sense of wonder may be tough in our busy lives with our to-do lists filled with a million and one mundane things to accomplish every day.

Do your cells a favor right now and watch some of this amazing video of the aurora borealis filmed in Scotland.

But according to the study, healthy subjects who said they experienced feelings of awe in some form on a fairly regular basis had lower markers (as measured by the presence or absence of an inflammatory protein) for cellular inflammation.

Unfortunately for most of us, experiencing something vast that transcends our understanding of the world probably isn’t something we’re going to stumble upon every day.

But if you make a conscious effort to seek out those less-than-grand, but still awe-inspiring moments in everyday life, the benefits to your mental and physical health just might be awesome.

Read the Science of Us/ article about awe here.


10 Reasons You Should Be Crazy For Carrots

Think of carrots as the vegetable world’s “healthy junk food”…they’re sweet. crunchy, neon orange, ideal for dipping, and if you’re munching from a bag of baby carrots, there’s no way you can eat just one.

Besides being fun to eat, carrots may offer an impressive array of health benefits. Here are the top 10 from a more detailed article you can read on organic…see link below.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Carrots

  1. Heart Disease Prevention: Studies show raw carrots can help lower bad cholesterol in the body which could in turn lessen the risk of a heart attack.
  2. Lower Blood Pressure: Carrots are a great source of potassium which can act as a vasodilator to relax blood vessels and arteries which can improve overall blood flow and circulation. Also, the coumarin in carrots may help reduce hypertension for even more heart protection.
  3. Immune System Booster: Carrots contain many antiseptic and antibacterial properties that give the immune system a big boost. Plus carrots are a great source of Vitamin C which helps maintain healthy white blood cells.
  4. Improved Digestion: Like most vegetables, carrots offer large amounts of dietary fiber which helps maintain good digestive health. In fact, some studies have shown eating carrots may help protect the colon and stomach from serious diseases including colorectal cancer.
  5. May Ward Off Cancer: Some studies have shown the beta-carotene in carrots may lower the risk of developing some cancers — possibly by as much as 40 percent just by eating a carrot a day. One study suggests women who regularly eat carrots may significantly lower their risk of developing breast cancer.
  6. Lower Risk of Macular Degeneration: Beta-carotene like that found in carrots (used by your body to make Vitamin A) may lessen the risk of developing macular degeneration – a very common debilitating eye disease of the elderly.
  7. Healthy Sight: While carrots may not help you see better at night, the tuber is a good source of Vitamin A which is essential for eye health.
  8. A Healthy Mouth: Carrots stimulate the gums and cause excess saliva which in turn helps combat harmful bacteria and foreign bodies in the mouth which might otherwise lead to cavities and bad breath.
  9. Reduced Stroke Risk: A carrot a day may keep strokes away. Studies show consuming beta-carotene (the Vitamin A precusor in carrots) regularly may reduce the risk of having a stroke by as much as 68 percent.
  10. Blood Sugar Regulation: The carotenoids in carrots help lower the body’s blood sugar, particularly helpful to diabetics who want to lead a more normal life.


Relax…Too Much Stress May Be A Recipe for Adrenal Fatigue

In a guest post on Chris Kresser’s excellent website, nutritionist Kelsey Marksteiner, RD, talks about how the modern world can be a hostile environment for your adrenal glands.

When you’re stressed, your adrenal glands pump the hormone cortisol throughout your body. Serious problems can develop when it’s difficult to put a cork in cortisol due to constant day to day stress.

You may be suffering from Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome if you:

  • Wake up unrested
  • Find it difficult to handle stress
  • Experience brain fog or diminished cognitive abilities
  • Feel dizzy when you stand up or lay down
  • Have a low libido
  • Any allergic reactions you already have get worse
  • Have low blood pressure
  • Suffer from low blood sugar
  • Feel weaker than usual overall

So what can you do to lower your stress levels?

Kelsey’s top tips for reducing chronic stress include:

  • Get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Limit your exposure to blue light (computer/smartphone screens) especially in the evening
  • Eat regularly without going too long between meals
  • Enjoy a breakfast that includes plenty of protein
  • Don’t skip the carbs – eat plenty of fruit and starchy tubers too
  • Always eat protein and fat along with your carbs
  • Try a de-stressor such as meditation or yoga