How to Beat Sugar Addiction

How to Beat Sugar Addiction

Many healthful food products, such as dairy products, vegetables, and fruit, naturally contain sugars. The sugar in these foods gives them a sweet taste. It is important for people to include these foods in their diet, as they come with a range of other nutrients that provide valuable health benefits.

However, manufacturers tend to add sugar to foods such as cereals and cake and some drinks. It is these added sugars, or free sugars, that cause health problems. Unlike foods and drinks that naturally contain sugar, those with added sugar provide no nutritional value. They are also a poor energy source, as the body digests added sugar very quickly. Consuming too much may cause health problems over time.

The average American Consumes 19.5 teaspoons of sugar every day. This translates into about 66 pounds of added sugar consumed each year, per person.

6 Reasons Added Sugars are Bad for Your Health

  • Inflammation (body and brain)
    1. Damages gut lining which leads to leaky gut – bacteria, toxins and undigested food particles can move out of the gut and into the bloodstream (80% of the immune system is in the GUT)
    2. Causes serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, fatigue, skin issues, aches and pains, hardening of arteries, depression, allergies, pain, cancer, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, etc.
  • Interferes with vitamin and mineral absorption
    1. Depletes the body of:
      • Vitamin D
        • A high intake of sugar, particularly fructose, increases the production of a devious enzyme which degrades stores of vitamin D. A shortage of Vitamin D can lead to a suppressed immune system and numerous health problems, including certain cancers.
      • Calcium
        • Everyone knows calcium is vital for strong bones among other health benefits. However, because calcium absorption is tied to vitamin D levels, sugar’s adverse effects on vitamin D will negatively impact calcium’s absorption as well. To make matters worse, excess sugar intake also increases calcium excretion.
      • Magnesium
        • The high blood sugar and elevated insulin levels associated with excess sugar intake decrease magnesium absorption and cause the kidneys to excrete magnesium faster. Since magnesium is key in stabilizing blood sugar, a vicious cycle commences. As blood sugar regulation is impaired even more magnesium is excreted. Cutting the sugar helps ensure that magnesium, critical for many bodily functions, is absorbed and maintained.
      • Chromium
        • Chromium, like magnesium, is involved in blood sugar regulation. Depletion of chromium contributes to decreased glucose tolerance, a precursor to diabetes. As with magnesium and calcium, high sugar consumption promotes chromium excretion, putting you on a fast-track to deficiency. In fact, one study published in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental data showed that consuming a diet consisting of 35% simple sugars increased natural mineral excretion rates by 300%!
      • Vitamin C
        • Unlike most mammals, humans are unable to synthesize their own vitamin C so we must obtain it from outside sources. High glucose levels inhibit vitamin C from entering our cells, decreasing absorption rates. Further research has shown that individuals who reduce their sugar intake experience significant improvement in vitamin C levels and its benefits.

A large study involving more than 75,000 women found that those who consumed a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar had up to a 98% greater risk of heart disease, compared to women with the lowest intake of refined carbs & sugars.

  • Hormonal disruption
    • Insulin resistance: Insulin is highly affected by diet because of the many different signals going on throughout the body as a result of the glucose, and the resulting energy that is produced from carbohydrate intake. Once insulin resistance develops, the muscles, fat, and liver cells don’t respond to it properly, leading to a chain reaction in the body.
      1. Causes PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) which disrupts reproductive hormones
        1. Acne, weight gain, difficulty losing weight, excess hair on the face and body, irregular periods, fertility problems and depression.
  • Sleep disorders
    • Sugar is linked to trouble falling asleep as well as restless and disrupted sleep.
  • Irritability & mood changes
    • Sudden peaks and drops in blood sugar levels can cause you to experience symptoms like irritability, mood swings, brain fog and fatigue.
    • Sugar-rich and carb-laden foods can also interfere with the neurotransmitters that help keep our moods stable. Consuming sugar stimulates the release of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin. Constantly over-activating these serotonin pathways can deplete our limited supplies of the neurotransmitter, which can contribute to symptoms of depression.
  • Cognitive decline, memory loss, learning skills & dementia
    • Damages synaptic activity in the brain, meaning communication among brain cells is impaired.
    • Insulin resistance – impairs function of brain cells.

Approximately 80% of packaged foods contain added sweeteners.

How to handle it

  • Recognize it’s an addiction
  • Take it slow
    • Combine craving foods with healthful ones (almonds and dark chocolate chips)
  • Eat regularly
    • Waiting too long between meals might set you up to choose sugary and fatty foods
  • Eat more bitter foods & nutritious foods
    • Choose protein, fat & fiber rich foods – legumes, yogurt, dates, nuts, prunes, eggs, fermented foods, whole grains, sweet potatoes, meat/poultry/fish, butter, avocados, salad with olive oil.
    • Fruits (make a smoothie!)
      • Mangoes, bananas and grapes are HIGHER in sugar
      • Berries are LOW in sugar and HIGH in fiber
    • Incorporate more bitter foods into your diet like arugula, dandelion greens, endive, green tea
  • Skip artificial sweeteners
    • They don’t lessen sugar cravings and they contribute to weight gain
  • Proper supplementation
    • Making sure your body is absorbing the nutrients it needs so you do not crave added sugars
    • Personalized supplementation programs with Nutrition Response Testing
  • Drink enough water (1/2 your weight in ounces per day)
  • Get proper sleep
  • Avoid extra stress and triggers
Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving Recipes

Here are some easy & healthy holiday recipes that the whole family will enjoy without the guilt!

Simple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4 Servings


  • 2 large or 3 small sweet potatoes
  • 2 tsp oil (grapeseed or avocado)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp black pepper, or to taste


  1. Wash and scrub sweet potatoes thoroughly. Run a peeler over them and peel about half of the skin. Dry potatoes well with a paper towel.
  2. Cut sweet potatoes in half length-wise, and then cut each half into 4 long strips. Chop each of the strips into small cubes, about ½ thick.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread onto baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tsp olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Toss to coat.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until crisped, flipping once halfway through to make sure that both sides get crispy. Turn broiler on low for 60 seconds at the end if needed to get crispy.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mustard Dressing

8 Servings


  • 2 lbs fresh brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
  • 6 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp and 3/8 tsp salt, divided
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs grainy mustard
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss together Brussels sprouts, 2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Roast at 450°F until golden and just tender when pierced with tip of a knife, about 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, mustard, 1 tablespoon parsley, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add remaining 1/4 cup oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly, until emulsified.
  3. Add sprouts to dressing; toss to coat. Transfer to platter; sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.

Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic

6 Servings


  • 2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs lemon zest
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Blanch green beans in a large stock pot of well salted boiling water until bright green in color and tender crisp, roughly 2 minutes. Drain and shock in a bowl of ice water to stop from cooking.
  2. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and the butter. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beans and continue to saute until coated in the butter and heated through, about 5 minutes. Add lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.

Pumpkin Pie

9 Servings


  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar or organic cane sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp salt


  1. Make pie crust as directed
  2. Prehead oven to 350 degrees
  3. Make the filling: In a large bowl, add the pumpkin puree, eggs, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar (or regular sugar) almond milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice and salt. Mix until well combined and completely smooth. Pour into pie pan.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes until filling is no longer jiggly. Check pie after every 20 minutes to make sure crust isn’t burning. If it is getting a little too golden brown, simply cover pie edges with foil or a pie shield.
  5. Allow pie to cool for at least an hour before serving. Pie should be kept in fridge once completely cool. Top with whipped cream or ice cream. Store pie in fridge.
Adrenal Fatigue & Brain Fog

Adrenal Fatigue & Brain Fog

Adrenal Fatigue & Brain Fog

Dr. Lisa Gordon | Natural Health Improvement Center of Columbia, MD

410.717.6610 | | Facebook @drlisagordon

Adrenal fatigue and brain fog can severely impact one’s life and overall health; getting to the root cause of your symptoms is the only way to truly overcome these issues.

Adrenal Fatigue

Whether your adrenal glands aren’t producing adequate amounts of hormones or if your body has been under abnormal and extensive amounts of stress, adrenal fatigue can be detrimental to one’s health. Your adrenal glands are responsible for different vital tasks including maintaining metabolism, fight-or-flight reactions, regulating hormones, managing inflammation and controlling blood sugar levels.

Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Tiredness
  • Trouble falling asleep or waking up
  • Salt and sugar cravings
  • Needing caffeine to get through the day
  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Low blood pressure
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive sweating
  • Sudden intense pain in the lower back, legs or abdomen
  • Severe diarrhea or vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Digestive issues

When the adrenal glands are unable to keep pace with the demands of ongoing fight-or-flight arousal, they can’t produce quite enough of the hormones you need to feel good. Conventional medicine practitioners usually prescribe steroids, which do not correct the underlying organ dysfunction and only bring along a list of other bad side effects.

Giving your body the nutrition it needs to overcome adrenal fatigue is the priority. Focusing on improving nutrition and decreasing stress will help as well.

A high-protein diet is recommended with incorporated fresh fruit, vegetables, elimination of sugary and processed foods, and limited consumption of alcohol and caffeine. See food chart on back for more recommendations.

Reducing stress is very important. Incorporating meditation, deep breathing exercises, unplugging from electronic devices and regular exercise will all help with adrenal fatigue. Check out these apps for easy to follow meditation guidelines: Headspace, The Mindfulness App, Calm. See our handout on anxiety & depression.

Brain Fog

Brain fog is not a condition in itself, but is very likely to be a sign or symptom of another underlying issue. Everyone experiences the occasional confusion or forgetfulness, but when it becomes a chronic issue, action needs to be taken.

Symptoms of brain fog include:

  • Constant confusion
  • Disorganization
  • Disorientation
  • Feeling scattered
  • Diminished ability to react
  • Difficulty thinking or expressing thoughts
  • Loss of attention
  • Memory lapses
  • Lack of focus
  • Slower decision making
  • Forgetfulness
  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Low energy

The solution for brain fog is similar to the solution for adrenal fatigue; the priority being getting your body the proper nutrition it needs to overcome the underlying inflammation causing the symptoms in the first place.

A balanced diet, regular exercise schedule, quality sleep and stress reduction practice are very important to overcoming brain fog. Removing foods like gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, fried foods, sugar, lectins (legumes, beans, peas, lentils), nightshades (eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, grains, soy) can help lower your current inflammation. See food chart below for more recommendations.

Aerobic activity (running, dancing, biking), anaerobic activity (HIIT training, speed drills) and restorative practices (yoga, walking, Pilates) will all help with brain health.


Foods to Focus On:

Protein (30%): grass fed beef/chicken/turkey, wild caught salmon/tuna, eggs, almonds, oats, whole fat yogurt, beans/lentils, pumpkin seeds, almonds, SP protein powder

Veggies (40%): brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, broccoli, peas, sweet potato, carrots, swiss chard, bok choy, tomatoes, fermented veggies, onion, garlic, sprouts, bell peppers, collards, mushrooms, cucumbers, zucchini, asparagus, cauliflower, seaweed

Fats (12-20%): flaxseed, almonds, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, eggs, chia seeds, walnuts, cheese, full fat yogurt, virgin coconut oil, salmon, peanuts, grass fed butter, ripe olives, hemp seeds, pecans, cashews, dark chocolate

Carbs (10-15%): quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice, oats, buckwheat, bananas, oranges, blueberries, grapefruit, apples, kidney beans, chickpeas, beans/lentils, pumpkin, butternut squash, beets

Sleep & Insomnia

Sleep & Insomnia

According to the CDC, 35% of adults in America aren’t getting enough sleep.

Sleeping less than seven hours a night is associated with serious health consequences: obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental stress.

Common causes of sleep disorders:

Stress, Anxiety, and Depression: These can be two of the most common causes of chronic sleeplessness. Stress, anger, worry, anxiety, and negative thoughts can have a dramatic effect on sleep quality.

  • No one can avoid all stress, but you can counteract its detrimental effects by learning how to produce the relaxation response, a state of deep rest that is the polar opposite of the stress response. The relaxation response puts the brakes on stress and brings your body and mind back into a state of equilibrium. Check out these meditation apps: Headspace, The Mindfulness App, Calm (they are currently running a FREE promotion for teachers!)

Stimulants: Excessive use of caffeine, such as energy drinks and coffee, can be one of the most common causes of intermittent and transient sleeplessness. This is sleeplessness that occurs periodically or only for a few nights at a time.

  • Are you drinking more than 1 cup of coffee a day? If so, you may be addicted to caffeine which could be contributing to your restlessness. Try switching to green or black tea for your caffeine, and be sure to not drink any past 2pm. You can also try herbal tea 90 minutes before going to bed – look for chamomile, lavender or valerian root.
  • Another common stimulant is technology – stay away from screens 60-90 minutes before you get to bed; your descent into deep sleep will be quicker and more effortless.

Medications: Some medications can interfere with sleep, such as antidepressants, ADHD medication, corticosteroids, thyroid hormone, high blood pressure medication, some contraceptives, pain relievers that contain caffeine, diuretics, and diet pills.

  • With Nutrition Response Testing, Chiropractic & Neurocranial adjustments Dr. Lisa has successfully helped people reduce or completely wean off of medications that could be keeping you up at night.

Allergies and Respiratory Problems: Colds, sinus infections, and upper respiratory problems can make it hard to breathe at night which can cause sleeping difficulties.

  • Reoccurring colds and infections are a sign of deeper underlying dysfunction in the body. With Nutrition Response Testing and Advanced Allergy Therapeutics Dr. Lisa can get to the root of your sensitivities which can help with sleep disorders.

Nocturia: Frequent urination and constantly getting up in the middle of the night to use the restroom can cause sleep disturbances.

  • Don’t drink any fluids 90 minutes before going to bed to avoid getting up in the middle of the night. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, chocolate or sodas.

Chronic Pain: A variety of conditions that cause chronic pain can also disrupt sleep, such as: arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, inflammatory bowel disease, headaches, lower back pain.

  • If you experience chronic pain, Chiropractic & Neurocranial adjustments can help restore balance to the musculoskeletal system. If Chiropractic adjustments do not completely resolve the chronic pain, there may be underlying dysfunction in the body which can be handled with Nutrition Response Testing.

Foods for Restful Sleep

Complex Carbs

  • Skip the white bread, refined pasta, and sugary, baked goods, which may reduce serotonin levels and impair sleep. Instead, choose stick-to-your-ribs whole grains or proteins for your bedtime snack: Turkey, tuna, popcorn, oatmeal, or whole-wheat crackers with nut butter or good quality cheese are all good choices.

A Handful of Nuts

  • Nuts are a good source of heart-healthy fats. And almonds and walnuts, specifically, contain melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate your sleep/wake cycle. Eating them can increase your blood levels of the hormone, helping you sleep more soundly.

Kiwi, Figs & EZ MG

  • Two kiwifruits 1 hour before bed has shown to improve total sleep time and efficiency.
  • Figs have been known to help an individual sleep due to their high content of magnesium, which is a mineral that is directly linked to improving the quality, duration, and tranquility of sleep. Figs also help regulate the metabolism, to help reduce sleep disorders and the occurrence of insomnia.
  • Magnesium activates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for getting you calm and relaxed. It also regulates melatonin, which guides sleep-wake cycles in your body. Try our EZ MG by Standard Process to help you achieve restful sleep.

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Men’s Health

Men’s Health

A man’s body goes through many different changes throughout life. Following a healthy diet, exercise routine & mindfulness practice will help keep your body in balance and at ease.

Muscle Loss

Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging. After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 3% to 5% per decade. Most men will lose about 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetimes.

One possible contributor to sarcopenia is the natural decline of testosterone, the hormone that stimulates protein synthesis and muscle growth. Think of testosterone as the fuel for your muscle-building fire. Therefore, the best means to build muscle mass, no matter your age, is progressive resistance training. With PRT, you gradually amp up your workout volume—weight, reps, and sets—as your strength and endurance improve. This constant challenging workout builds muscle and keeps you away from plateaus where you stop making gains.

Natural Ways to Boost Testosterone

  • Exercise & lift weights
  • Eating enough protein, fat and carbs
  • Minimize stress and cortisol levels
  • Get enough Vitamin D
  • Zinc, Vitamin B, Ashwagandha
  • Restful, high-quality sleep
  • Limit exposure to estrogen-like chemicals (BPA, parabens, plastic)

Relaxation Exercises: No one can avoid all stress, but you can counteract its detrimental effects by learning how to produce the relaxation response, a state of deep rest that is the polar opposite of the stress response. The relaxation response puts the brakes on stress and brings your body and mind back into a state of equilibrium.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation: a two-step process in which you systematically tense and relax different muscle groups in the body. With regular practice, it gives you an intimate familiarity with what tension—as well as complete relaxation—feels like in different parts of the body.
    • Loosen clothing, take off your shoes, and get comfortable.
    • Take a few minutes to breathe in and out in slow, deep breaths.
    • When you’re ready, shift your attention to your right foot. Take a moment to focus on the way it feels.
    • Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10.
    • Relax your foot. Focus on the tension flowing away and how your foot feels as it becomes limp and loose.
    • Stay in this relaxed state for a moment, breathing deeply and slowly.
    • Shift your attention to your left foot. Follow the same sequence of muscle tension and release.
    • Move slowly up through your body, contracting and relaxing the different muscle groups.

Most Common Chronic Illness in Men: Heart Disease

Inflammation in the body creates a dangerous environment for your health. It can cause heart, liver, hormonal and prostate problems among other things.

How to lower your risk:

  1. Eat a diet high in fiber (see diagram below for food tips)
    1. Regular exercise
    1. Avoiding smoking & drinking alcohol
    1. Reduce stress (meditate, restorative exercise like yoga)
    1. Have healthy relationships

Healthy Eating for Prostate Health

  • Eat a 2:1 ratio of vegetables to fruits each day. Go for those with deep, bright color.
  • Choose whole-grain options.
  • Limit your consumption of red meat, including beef, pork, lamb, and goat, and processed meats, such as bologna and hot dogs. Fish, skinless poultry, beans, and eggs are healthier sources of protein. Opt for grass-fed, hormone free meat, dairy & eggs – they are the best source of protein because they provide the proper ratios of all the essential amino acids.
  • Choose healthful fats, such as olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans), and avocados. Limit saturated fats from dairy and other animal products. Fats from dairy and animal products are healthy when the source is clean. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats), which are in many fast foods and packaged foods.
  • Avoid sugar-sweetened drinks, such as sodas and many fruit juices. Eat sweets as an occasional treat if at all.
  • Cut down on salt. Choose foods low in sodium by reading and comparing food labels. Limit the use of canned, processed, and frozen foods. Use unprocessed salts like sea salt.
  • Watch portion sizes. Eat slowly, and stop eating when you are full.