Archive for September, 2010

Do you know what you’re putting on your skin?

Posted on: September 30th, 2010 by admin No Comments

Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? Have you ever stopped to think about what you put on your skin? Let’s consider that if we want to be more conscious of what we put IN our bodies, Wholesome thinks we should be also be purposeful of what we put ON our bodies. If medicine can be absorbed through nicotine patches and birth control patches, so can chemicals and toxins through various soaps and creams we use every day.

Perfumes, deodorants, hair dye, nail polish, moisturizers, cleansers, shampoos and makeup are all potential culprits containing chemicals that can pollute the body. Topical products are not regulated the same way food safety is by the FDA – and that’s not saying much. We, the consumer, are left vulnerable to virtually no regulation and never-ending dosages of various chemicals, phthalates and parabens being some of the most common. These chemicals can cause a variety of issues from cancer to disrupting the endocrine system. Check the ingredients of your skin care products to be sure that phthalates and parabens (or methylparaben) are not listed! Furthermore, the non-profit Environmental Working Group has developed a website that allows you to plug in a product name and provides you with the product ingredients and a hazard level. The use of this website is a quick and easy way to check on some of the most common products you and your family use, like sunscreens and shampoos:

Wholesome asks you to think twice about what you put on your skin. We can help you find alternatives to your favorite products and even help you locate new ones!

Special Guest in Birmingham!

Posted on: September 27th, 2010 by admin No Comments

 Next week, for two days only, Wholesome’s Licensed Nutritionist, Mark Stowe, will be in Birmingham and available for nutritional consulting. Email us at to setup an appointment.

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?
Find out why you feel the way you do.

R. Mark Stowe
Licensed Nutritionist
Will be doing private nutritional consultations
Monday, October 4-Tuesday, October 5
10:00 A.M.-2:00 P.M.
A personal health assessment form must be completed, paid for and returned prior to an appointment. The cost is $100.00 for an hour appointment and includes one (1/2) hour follow up appointment via skype. Each consultation includes an in depth evaluation of personal symptoms, health issues, supplement and medication usage plus current and past dietary patterns. An individual recommendation plan tailored to each individual is provided including supporting documentation, suggested reading and research.


R. Mark Stowe is a nutritionist licensed by the Florida Board of Medicine in addition to being the owner of Nutrition Cottage, Inc. for over 30 years which is the oldest family owned natural foods business in south Florida. He has an active nutritional counseling practice in addition to speaking regularly to civic, business and professional organizations where he educates and motivates consumers about wellness, achieving optimum health and the importance of taking personal responsibility for your own health. Stowe is well known both on a national and local basis having served as President of the Natural Products Assn. (NPA) where he testified before Congress and represented the industry at both a state, national and international level. He also served for many years as the popular host of south Florida’s first health talk radio show. He has received numerous industry awards and recognitions among them being the NPA’s Champion Award and the Natural Foods Merchandiser industry leadership award recognizing the top 25 entrepreneurs, merchants and visionaries who helped build and shape the natural products industry.

Do you know what’s in your multivitamin?

Posted on: September 24th, 2010 by admin No Comments

Vitamins supplements are an important part of our daily routine. Even the best-intentioned diets often miss important nutrients. Finding a supplement is overwhelming with hundreds if not thousands to choose from. So what kind do you choose? Where do you buy it? First of all, finding a food-based supplement is one of the more important factors when deciding what multivitamin supplement to buy. For various health and environmental reasons, synthetic supplements are not usually a wise choice. Many synthetics are commonly derived from chemical compounds that your body recognizes as unnatural, can have reactions to, and frankly does not know how to process effectively. Secondly, reading the ingredients label is extremely important. Please, oh please I beg of you to choose a supplement without high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, or dyes. We can’t emphasize this enough! Have you looked at the label of your child’s Flintstones vitamins lately? Hydrogenated vegetable oil, Aspartame, FD&C Yellow #6, FD&C Blue #2…Besides being completely useless, these unhealthy additives may hinder you and your family’s progress towards becoming more healthful and energetic.

Ok, so start out by calling me personally to set up an appointment at 205-807-8324 or email me your questions Did you know that on staff at Wholesome, we have a licensed Nutritionist, Mark Stowe? He’ll be here October 4th and 5th if you’d like to set up an appointment to go over all your supplement needs. Plus you can visit a local health food store and ask questions too. Be sure to have the salesperson consider your sex, age, and specific health needs. A good multivitamin is a good place to start. You can always try a different supplement down the road or add a new one to your regime. Wholesome asks you to consider the vitamins you give to your family. Are they as wholesome as they could be? Ask Wholesome’s on staff nutritionist your questions or let us help you find someone.

All Fats Are Not Created Equal

Posted on: September 20th, 2010 by admin No Comments

FAT! Who wants or needs it, even the word itself is gross. So why do we need some good fats and how do we reduce the bad fats while consuming the good ones our bodies need? First of all, yes, THERE IS such a thing as good fats. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats decrease overall cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the “lousy” or bad cholesterol) but also increase HDL (“healthy” or good cholesterol). Monounsaturated fats are found primarily in nuts, seeds, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, avocado, canola oil, and olive oil. Polyunsaturated fats, including Omega 3 fatty acids, are found in seafood, particularly fish, and a variety of oils such as corn, soy, safflower and sunflower.

And yes, there are bad fats. Saturated fats were once believed to be the worst fats. These fats, such as those in butter, cheese and beef, do raise total cholesterol. Tiny amounts of saturated fat are naturally occurring in meat and dairy but trans fatty acids, or trans fats, are the worst and can be natural or artificial. The artificial trans fats are made when hydrogen is added to liquid vegetable oil, pressure is added, and a thicker fat results such as old-fashioned Crisco. Manufacturers began using trans fats in their processed foods in the 1990s to prolong the lifespan of their products. These hydrogenated fats can be found in cookies, crackers, icing, potato chips, margarine and microwave popcorn. About 80% of American trans fat consumption comes from the commercially-produced partially hydrogenated vegetable oil found in processed foods. Trans fats deplete the healthy cholesterol which help protect against heart disease. They clog your arteries like bacon grease clogs your kitchen drain. One study even states that trans fats double the risk of heart disease in women.

So you may be wondering what these trans fats may be doing to our children. Children who start at a young age eating a constant diet of fast food, commercially prepared foods, stick margarine, cake, candy, cookies and microwave popcorn can be expected to get heart disease earlier than kids who are eating foods without trans fats. Some research at the University of Maryland has shown that some children under 10 years old already have the high cholesterol and blood fats that clog arteries. By starting healthy eating habits early, parents can help their children avoid heart attacks and stroke earlier in life.

So how do you avoid the bad fats? Stay away from cooking with oils that have trans fats or are high in saturated fats. Coconut oil, palm oil and vegetable shortening can be substituted for healthy oils such as canola, olive and flax seed oil. Look for lower-fat dairy products like 1% or fat free milk or yogurt. Even 2% milk has about 3 grams of saturated fat per serving! Trim the excess fat off your meat before you prepare it. And reduce your intake of processed and pre-packaged foods that have trans fats or are high in saturated fats. Read the nutrition labels! Wholesome can’t emphasize this enough. Right the names of the bad fats on your grocery list so you’ll remember what to look for on the label: no hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, no trans fat, low in saturated fat.

So if you were raised during the Snackwell era, where fat-free was thought to be hip and healthy, Wholesome asks you to reconsider. Beware of processed foods that have been artificially altered to be low in fat that would not be normally be low fat or fat free otherwise. Manufacturers often have to add unhealthy ingredients to give their products flavor and make up for the removed fat. Large amounts of sugar and salt are usually the biggest culprits here! Whether you are trying to simply eat healthy, watch your weight or are even actively dieting, you still need healthy fats! Plus, when you do your grocery shopping, it is a safe bet to choose natural or organic products over conventional ones that are traditionally more laden with these bad fats. Grab a small handful of walnuts or drizzle a couple tablespoons of flax or olive oil on your salad. Wholesome tells you it is o-kay. Some good fats will help satisfy you better, curb your appetite and some studies show may even help you lose weight. Enjoy!

What is GMO?

Posted on: September 10th, 2010 by admin No Comments

Have you heard the term GMO before? Perhaps you faintly recall it being mentioned in an article somewhere or in the paper at some point. Well, if you haven’t, you’re not alone. The term GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. This is a plant, animal or microorganism that is created by genetic engineering which involves crossing species which could not cross in nature. Molecules from different sources are combined to create new DNA that is then injected into the original organism to create a modified genetic code. Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore. Wow, we are now officially living in this new altered universe where corn (GMO corn) and soybean (GMO soybean) are not the corn and soybean of 20 years ago. Now most of our corn and soybean are derived from a laboratory, laced with bacteria or viruses to help make the crops more insect and herbicide-resistant. YUCK!

Unless your food is labeled USDA Organic (which does not allow GMO crops to be used), it is likely that you have some GM (genetically modified) ingredients in your food. And the shocker is that it won’t be labeled GMO on the package, well, in the United States anyway. Shocker–The FDA deems genetically modified crops are the same as traditional crops thus not requiring companies to label their goods that use GM products. The European Union, on the other hand, has been much more hesitant to accept GMOs and skeptical of their safety. Since 1997, the EU has mandated that all foods using GMOs be labeled as well other countries such as Venezuela and Zambia have put bans on genetically modified goods.

An interesting note: Most of the globally GM planted crops are owned by a billion dollar U.S. company named Monsanto (also the maker of the herbicide Roundup and rBst, bovine growth hormone). Hmmm, can we say monopoly? In 2007, their crops were planted on 246 million acres across the globe. Since the 1990s, genetically modified crops such as Monsanto’s have taken over the U.S., literally. In 2010, 93% of soybeans in the United States are modified. 86% of corn, 93% of rapeseed (canola), and 95% of all sugar beet crops are modified. Ok, so right now you may be thinking, well, I rarely eat soybeans or I only eat corn every once in a while. Soybean and corn are a lot more widespread than you might think. Soybean crops are used predominantly to make soybean oil. Soybean oil is used in margarine, salad dressings, mayonnaise, baked breads, crackers, cakes, and cookies among many other sources. Corn is used in a multitude of processed foods in the form of corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, corn oil and beverage alcohols. Now have I gotten your attention?

The safety of genetically modified crops has been hotly debated since their inception. There are no specific tests required by the FDA to determine safety. And the FDA does not approve the safety of engineered foods but still approves their usage. Why is that? Some studies have shown Monsanto’s GM corn causes kidney, liver, and heart damage in animal studies while others refute the studies and state that GMs are safe. Many people believe that the widespread use of modified soy and corn are promoting a more allergenic society. For example, the number of children with a peanut allergy doubled from 1997 to 2002.

To date there have been no epidemiological studies to determine whether engineered crops have caused any ongoing harm to the public. There have been, however, human health problems in the U.S. that have been tracked to genetically engineered crops. In 2000, one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history was the Starlink scandal where a Monsanto GM corn plant not approved for human consumption due to its risk as an allergen made its way into the food system. This corn contaminated food products like the tacos at Taco Bell and a huge percentage of the U.S. seed supply. Monsanto had to pay millions to consumers to settle class action lawsuits for reported health problems.

Now, the newest twist on the genetically modified debate is the possible introduction of genetically modified salmon. Growth hormones have been injected into Atlantic salmon which allows the fish to grow in half the normal maturation time from 30 months to under 18 months. The FDA says “there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from consumption of food from this animal.” Opponents say that the risks have not been properly assessed and the process has been rushed. The FDA is expected to make a final decision on GM salmon in the next few weeks. Wholesome says BACK OFF!

I suggest you take time to think about the food you eat. Do you know where it’s coming from? Do you care that it might be altered? The only surefire way to know that your food is free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified organisms is to buy organic. Just think about it…and know that Wholesome is here to help you along the way when you make these choices for your precious family.