The Health Up Newsletter
Created Bi-Weekly by Teri Yunus
Health Up With Teri Health & Wellness Coaching

March 7, 2024 | ISSUE 172
What's Inside This Week 
  • Grocery Store Field Trip
  • Vitamin B12 for Inflammation
  • Hugging

Grocery Store Field Trip
There is so much to learn at our local supermarket

Society has become so accustomed to grabbing a pre-cooked frozen meal from the freezer, popping it in the microwave and having a hot meal in minutes that many of us have forgotten what it like to experience a home-cooked meal. Our tastebuds are skewed toward the highly palatable flavors of salt, sugar, and oil. So much so that healthier choices may taste boring and bland. The concern is evident as we look around us. People are carrying extra weight, not feeling well and disease has become the norm along with the convenience of fast foods.
Something that may benefit us and the children and grandchildren in our lives is a grocery store field trip! This can be a fun outing that is educational, inspirational, and fun for almost all ages (teenagers may do some eye-rolling but still may benefit😊). There are several ways to do a field trip to the grocery store. Caution…this should not be done when in a hurry. Time is the best teacher. Spending some time in the produce section finding new fruits or vegetables to explore can be a fun way to inspire kids to taste new flavors. Allowing them to choose a vegetable to serve that evening can be a way to encourage trying new foods and expanding their palate. As they explore, point out how colorful fruits and vegetables are and why that is true. Humans are attracted to bright, colorful foods and the healthiest foods are just that. Talk about the darkest colors being high in disease-fighting antioxidants. Challenge them to find the darkest fruit or the deepest green vegetable…be creative. Discussion around nutrients found in fresh foods can be included, along with info they may have heard before. “Do you think it’s true that an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Why might this be true? Or “Did Popeye really get those huge muscles from eating spinach?” These questions can be thought provoking for kids and planting seeds in their little brains is a good thing for their long-term health.
Other activities on your grocery store field trip might be comparing labels. Teaching kids how to correctly read a label (not just the calorie content) is an excellent way to teach them critical thinking skills. Have them read the ingredient list. Teach them that the healthiest foods do not require a label and that we can tell a lot about how many ingredients are in the foods that do have a label. The best choices are often the ones with the least ingredients. Challenge them to find the canned bean with the least amount of sodium or have them explore the canned soups and compare sodium there. Have them look at added sugar, as well. This is a big deal for kids. They especially love sweetness and food manufacturers add sugars to make the item taste like more. An experiment you may want to try is to have kids choose a canned fruit and compare it with the same fresh item. Doing a taste test will enlighten them on how the healthiest foods may not be the ones that taste super yummy, but we can learn to love these when we take the high sugar foods out of our diets.
Not only can a grocery store field trip be educational from a nutrition standpoint but a math lesson or two can be explored, as well. You may want to challenge older kids to calculate the cost of a pound of nuts in the bulk food section. Price comparison shopping is a great way to show kids how math skills are used in everyday life. Many stores display the cost per serving along with the price of the item. This can help kids understand how to shop to get the most from their food dollars.
Another interesting lesson may be to have kids notice how the shelves are arranged. What is at their eye level and what foods are stashed on the higher or lower shelves? What colors are they noticing on the boxed foods? Go back to the lesson in the produce section…bright colors attract humans. Food manufacturers use similar colors to provoke buying. Remind them that the food industry isn’t always about providing healthy foods. There is big profit to be made. Teaching them to be careful shoppers at an early age can save their pocketbook and their longevity. Have some fun with a grocery store field trip. You may just learn something too and be inspired to expand your palate to healthier foods. 

Vitamin B12 for Inflammation
Lacking this valuable bacteria may be contributing to illness

Not so long-ago people who stopped eating meat and eggs noticed debilitating symptoms occurring some time after giving up animal foods. Life threatening symptoms like psychosis, cognitive impairment, visual hallucinations, even coma and multi-organ failure can occur with Vitamin B12 deficiency. Most people seek medical attention before symptoms get to this point nowadays. Vegans and whole foods plant-based eaters must supplement Vitamin B12 to avoid deficiency. The thing is, even meat-eaters are now at risk due to factory farming and lack of cows and other animals being out in the fields eating the bacteria that creates B12.
Recent findings published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture have uncovered a significant correlation between Vitamin B12 deficiency and chronic inflammation. Inflammation is the root of all disease so this becomes a real concern for all eaters. Inflammatory markers like C-Reactive Protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) both elevate with inflammation. A study of 136 participants revealed that these markers decreased as B12 levels increased. B12 is important for forming red blood cells that transport oxygen and nutrients to our organs for optimal functioning.
Unfortunately, many doctors rely solely on serum Vitamin B12 levels. Normal serum can be deceiving as deficiency can still be present. Checking a homocysteine level along with B12 is a strategy to detect sub-normal B12 despite normal serum levels. If you suspect a deficiency, it’s important to correct it asap before long-term side effects like stroke or heart disease occurs. This is, as I mentioned, especially important for vegans and vegetarians as Dr. Michael Greger reports that while the general population is 10-40% deficient, more than 40% of those who do not eat animal foods are deficient and may not know it. 
Dr. Greger adjusts his recommendations based on the newest scientist information available. There is, like with most things related to our health, controversy related to B12 dosing. The larger the dose, the smaller the absorption so more is not better. Based on this new study, Dr. Greger currently is recommending supplementation of 50 micrograms (mcg) a day or 2000 mcg a week.
The next thing you may be wondering is which type of B12 supplement is best…again…controversial. My go-to, Dr. Michael Greger recommends that at age 50, everyone should start supplementing with B12-fortified foods or supplements regardless of the type of diet they follow. Over age 65, only high-dose daily supplements may suffice. For prevention and treatment of vitamin B12 deficiency, cyanocobalamin in chewable, sublingual, or liquid forms (rather than in a multivitamin) is best under most circumstances.
What foods offer B12, you are likely asking. Many foods including nutritional yeast, plant-milks, and cereals are fortified with B12. The concern here is that this is unreliable dosing. If deficiency is truly a worry (over age 50 and, absolutely over age 65), supplementation is best to ensure you are getting enough to avoid deficiency that can affect your well-being and longevity. Dr. Greger has many short videos related to vitamin B12…check them out on nutritionfacts.Org. 

It's more than just a squeeze

Hugging is practically perfect - 
No moveable parts, 
No batteries to wear out, 
No periodic checkups, 
Low energy yield, 
No insurance requirements, 
Theft proof,
And, of course, fully returnable!
Hugging is all natural, 
Naturally sweet,
No pesticides,
No preservatives,
No artificial ingredients!
Author unknown

Move Yo'Self
5 Minute Arms
I love this short video. It's not easy but when you get through it, you'll know you did something good for your body! Just 5 minutes. You can do it!

Hummus 101
from Plant-Powered Families
Hummus 101 by Plant-Powered Families
Servings  4  (½ cup servings)
4 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained, if using canned
¼ cup tahini or more, if like it even nuttier!
2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional (see note)
1 medium clove of garlic sliced or quartered (see notes)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4-5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
2-3 tablespoons water
In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, tahini, nutritional yeast, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the water, and puree until smooth, adding 1-2 tablespoons water to thin as desired. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times, and continue pureeing until very smooth. Season to taste with additional salt, black pepper, lemon juice, and serve with a sprinkle of parsley or cilantro.
Nutritional Yeast Note: Classic hummus recipes do not include nutritional yeast. However, I have found that kids often like the cheesy flavor that it lends. If you are encouraging kids to eat more hummus, add the nutritional yeast--start with a bit less if you like, and adjust to taste.
Garlic Note: Many traditional versions of hummus include a heavy amount of garlic. Children typically do not like the sting of raw garlic, so I have included a modest amount in this recipe. Feel free to adjust to your own tastes. Serving suggestions: Serve with crudités, pita breads, or tortilla chips. 

did you know
Researchers have found that ginger calms inflammation, offers a safe secondary treatment of autoimmune diseases. Ginger has long been known to help with gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea. It is also beneficial for Type 2 diabetes, cancer, diabetic cardiomyopathy, fatty liver disease, and other conditions that involve inflammation and oxidative stress. 

Food for Thought
Dr. Michael Greger released his “How Not to Age” book recently and it is jam-packed (like all of his books!) with facts that can help us to slow the aging process and feel great until our last breath. For the next several weeks, I will share little tidbits that I am reading. I strongly encourage all my readers to look for Dr. Greger's books. They are based on scientific evidence and worth their weight in gold (in my humble opinion). :)
Dr. Greger often uses the phrase, “the best balance of evidence” when discussing what the science shows. Science is ever-changing and is updated with new research all the time. What we knew 10 or 20 years ago may or may not be true today. When we know more, we adjust our habits to make the best choices for our bodies and for those we love. Here is an excerpt from the book with the best balance of evidence to date. 
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The graphics with the higher percentage of dark areas are the most detrimental for our health. For the best health, these foods should be limited or avoided. A whole foods plant-based diet has been shown to be the most protective against disease. When stacking the deck in your favor, choose plants. 
Catch my Health Tip Tuesday video on Facebook on most Tuesdays to hear my health tip for the week!
Share with your friends and family. Sharing and commenting along with liking or loving <3 increases the exposure so more people can become aware of the value of healthful living.

“Sometimes it only takes one act of kindness and caring to change a person's life.”
--Jackie Chan


what small step will you take this week?
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Lots of love from Teri