Health By Nature…Where Clean Meets Green!

Alternative Isn’t Always Better
July 15, 2009, 12:27 pm
Filed under: health, natural, nutrition, weight management, wellness | Tags: , , , , ,

sugar Alternative Isn’t Always Better

My latest aggravation in my grocery shopping   experience is *hidden* artificial sweeteners.  Look closely at those items that claim *light* or *no added sugar* and often you’ll find the sweetener sucralose, often by its brand name *Splenda*.  Sometimes the Splenda brand-name symbol adorns the package, other times it may list sucralose in the ingredients.

Splenda’s marketing slogan is deceptive: “Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.”  Although Splenda does start off from a sugar molecule, the finished product is far from natural.  Sadly, our short-sightedness when it comes to dieting in this country prevents many people from really investigating what they are consuming, and products with artificial sweeteners are often consumed in high daily quantities.

In a nutshell, Splenda is a synthesized chemical.  A molecule of sugar is chlorinated by removing 3 hydroxyl groups (atoms made up of hydrogen and oxygen) and replaced with 3 chlorine atoms.  This makes Splenda hard for the body to metabolize or digest, and so it is mostly *passed* through one’s system intact.

If you visit the Splenda homepage, you’ll even find the company state: “Although sucralose has a structure like sugar and a sugar-like taste, it is not natural.”  That about does it for me.  Interstingly, there were no long-term studies to determine sucralose’s safety prior to the FDA approving it as a food additive.  Even more interesting is now the herb stevia was just recently approved, even though there was no chemical manipulation to produce it.  How long did people consume saccharin before it was discovered that it carried potential health risks?  Will Spenda see a similar fate in the future?  Only time will tell.

I am a big believer in moderation.  I will use sugar or other natural alternatives instead of artificial sweetners; however, I pick and choose where and how much I consume.

Some safer alternatives:

I previously mentioned stevia.  It is an intensely sweet herb with zero calories.  Last summer we grew a big pot on the deck, and adding fresh sprigs to iced tea, mojitos and other drinks was so refreshing!  You can purchase packets of dried stevia at some stores.  One caveat: stevia doesn’t hold up well in baking.

Agave nectar has 20 calories per teaspoon.  It comes from the blue agave plant, just as tequila does!  It tastes very much like a simple sugar syrup.  It is 75% sweeter than sugar, so you can use less.

Honey also has 20 calories/tsp.  Like agave, it is versatile; plus, it contains antioxidants and enzymes for added benefit.

Maple syrup(pure) has 17 calories per teaspoon.  Another versatile sweetener, it also contains minerals.  Trader Joe’s now has an excellent maple syrup/agave blend that is really good!

Other sweeteners like barley malt powder and brown rice syrup can successfully be used in baking.  They are not as sweet as sugar, but contain some nutrients.  There is an excellent cookbook by Heidi Swanson called “Super Natural Cooking”, which has an entire chapter devoted to natural sugar alternatives and has some interesting recipes.  I highly recommend it for someone looking to expand their cooking horizons while remaining whole-food based.  Also look for Heidi’s website

In the meantime, be vigilant about what you are consuming and read labels carefully.  An informed consumer is a healthier consumer!


HOME BUSINESS OFFERS REFUGE FROM RECESSION Local Entrepreneur Enjoys Flexibility and Financial Stability

Tinley Park, IL. – July 1, 2009 – The latest economic indicators for May bring some hopeful tidings, but also some significant concerns. The U.S. unemployment rate is as high as it has been in 25 years, and there is continued concern about sizable job losses to come. The recession has been a source of severe stress for many throughout the country.

According to the recent Multi-Sponsor Surveys’ 2009 Economic Impact Market Segmentation Study, 49% of employed adults expressed worry about potential job loss, while 32% admitted to “significant” financial troubles.

But amid numerous reports of havoc and despair created by the current economic climate, Lisa Hummitsch, a local small-business entrepreneur here in Tinley Park, reports a very different experience during this recession.

“If it weren’t for the additional income my health-and-wellness business generates, I think my family would probably be in a very different place,” says Hummitsch, who operates a Shaklee business out of her home.

“My business helps us not only continue to pay the bills on time, but it also generates additional income which we save to have on hand for unexpected situations, or use when we want to do something special, like take a trip, buy a new car, or remodel the kitchen—things that would otherwise be outside of our budget.”

Hummitsch credits her home business for helping to alleviate much of her family’s stress and says her business has eased financial concerns while providing flexibility—qualities that can insulate a family from the changing tides of the economy. Most people who run a business from home work only part time, so there’s freedom to plan business activities around the busy schedule of a young family.

“When I began my business,” says Hummitsch, “it was on a very part-time basis.  Since I started, I’ve increased the amount of time I spend working with it. Using the Internet and communicating my business online makes my work much more efficient and flexible at the same time, making it possible for me to work on my business pretty much whenever I have downtime from my other responsibilities.  Plus, it was easy and inexpensive to get started, and there’s no need to make space in our home for any inventory since the company ships directly to my customers.”

Home businesses have drawn considerable interest from people who may be having a difficult time finding employment and from those looking for an income opportunity that also resonates with their personal beliefs—characteristics that most jobs likely do not offer.

“Because I recommend products that help people to be healthier, that help our environment to be cleaner, and for homes to be safer, I feel good about what I do. And because I also offer the chance for other people to do what I’m doing—to achieve independence in a way they may not have thought possible—there’s an incredible feeling of satisfaction in knowing that I can help make a real difference for people looking for extra income right now.”

According to the 2009 Economic Impact Market Segmentation Study, 60% of adults are now interested in operating a home business in response to the economic downturn.

“To me, there’s a great sense of security knowing that my business is backed by a company that has a proven track record and more than 50 years of experience giving people the means to thrive, even during the most difficult economic times,” says Hummitsch. “Shaklee has grown during each of the prior recessions since it was founded in 1956.”

For more information about Shaklee, please visit www.

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About Shaklee Corporation

Founded more than 50 years ago, Shaklee has been a leading provider of premium-quality natural nutrition products, personal care products, and environmentally friendly home care products. In 2000, Shaklee became the first company in the world to be Climate Neutral™ certified to totally offset its CO2 emissions, resulting in a net-zero impact on the environment. Through Social Marketing™, Shaklee offers an economic opportunity to anyone regardless of background or experience, and has paid more than $4 billion in commissions to its independent distributors worldwide. With a robust product portfolio, including over 50 patents and patents pending, Shaklee has more than 750,000 Members and Distributors around the globe and operates in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, and China. For information about Shaklee, visit


Shaklee Corporation Research Suggests an Important Role of Vitamin D for Supporting Cardiovascular Health

PLEASANTON, Calif. – May 19, 2009 – Research supported by Shaklee Corporation, the number one natural nutrition company in the U.S., shows that a lower blood vitamin D level is associated with metabolic syndrome and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The study results were presented at the National Lipid Association Annual Scientific Sessions in Miami, Florida and suggest an important role of vitamin D nutrition for maintaining cardiovascular health.

“I am so proud to be associated with a company whose heritage has always been about improving people’s health and well-being.  It’s very exciting that Shaklee has helped to bring this important research to the world,”  says Independent Shaklee Distributor, Lisa Hummitsch. “The findings may have significant public health implications related to new understanding about benefits related to vitamin D supplementation,” adds Hummitsch.

In this study, intake of vitamin D from dietary supplements was strongly linked with vitamin D levels in the blood.  The greater the intake of vitamin D from dietary supplements, the higher the amount of vitamin D found in the blood.  More importantly, as vitamin D intakes increased, HDL cholesterol (or “good cholesterol”) levels increased as well.  Future research is needed to determine if vitamin D from dietary supplements can lower risk levels for metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

“Our next study, which is already underway, is intended to confirm causality by showing that vitamin D supplementation improves cardiovascular risk factors,” says Dr. Jamie McManus M.D., Chairman of Medical Affairs, Health Sciences and Education, Shaklee Corporation.

Kevin C. Maki, PhD, the study’s Principal Investigator and the Chief Science Officer of Provident Clinical Research, Glen Ellyn, IL, says, “Results from population studies suggest that a low serum vitamin D concentration is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular mortality, but this is the first study to evaluate the relationship between vitamin D status and cardiovascular risk factors in a group that includes a large number of vitamin D supplement users.”  He continues, “Additional research is warranted to assess whether increasing vitamin D intake will improve the metabolic cardiovascular risk factor profile.”

For more information, contact Lisa Hummitsch of Health By Nature in Tinley Park at

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About Shaklee Corporation

Founded more than 50 years ago, Shaklee has been a leading provider of premium-quality natural nutrition products, personal care products, and environmentally friendly home care products. In 2000, Shaklee became the first company in the world to be Climate Neutral™ certified to totally offset its CO2 emissions, resulting in a net-zero impact on the environment. With a robust product portfolio, including over 50 patents and patents pending worldwide, Shaklee has more than 750,000 Members and Distributors worldwide and operates in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, and China. For information about Shaklee, visit

Eco-Eggs to Dye For
April 2, 2009, 6:46 am
Filed under: environment, green, kids, natural | Tags:

When it comes time to dye Easter eggs, go green.  Create brightly colored eggs by using natural ingredients from your fridge and pantry.  Stay away from those egg-dyeing kits sold in craft stores and supermarkets—they contain coal tar and other petroleum-based products.  Plus, studies have linked certain food dyes to health problems like allergies, chromosome damage, and cancer.


YELLOW DYE: Mix 2 tsp. of ground turmeric powder with 2/3 cup of boiling water and 1 tsp. white vinegar.  Let the mixture cool before coloring your Easter eggs.


PURPLE DYE: A cup of frozen grape juice from concentrate and a tsp. of vinegar creates a beautiful purple hue.  Let the mixture sit overnight before dyeing.


RED DYE: Use 4 Tbsp. of freshly grated beets, 2/3 cup boiling water and 1 tsp. white vinegar for a vibrant red color.  Mix the ingredients together and begin dunking eggs immediately.


Quick tip: Make your egg-decorating party even more eco-friendly by using organic, free-range eggs and composting leftover materials when you’re done.


Adapted from The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do To Make a Big Difference by Jodi Helmer (Alpha Books, 2008)

Many Benefits of Vitamin D

It’s common knowledge that vitamin D is good for your bones.  But did you know all the other health benefits this vitamin has to offer?

As we age, we lose muscle strength which can lead to risk of falls which result in bone fractures; studies show that supplementing with vitamin D helps maintain both muscle strength and balance, lessening these risks.  Vitamin D also aids in the absorption of calcium. Our Osteo supplement provides 100% of the daily value for both calcium and vitamin D, as well as 100% of the daily value of magnesium, to help incorporate calcium into bones and strengthen them.

Vitamin D can also help alleviate chronic pain; muscle pain and weakness can often be attributed to a vitamin D deficiency.

Studies also suggest that vitamin D may protect against cancer by helping regulate cellular growth.  It is believed to strenghthen the immune system and reduce inflammation, offering protection from type-1 diabetes, MS and rheumatoid arthritis.  In one particular study, researchers discovered a 40% lower risk of MS in women who supplemented with at least 400 IU of vitamin D daily.

Low vitamin D levels have also been associated with cardiovascular health, increasing the risk of congestive heart failure.

While the body naturally produces vitamin D through natural light exposure, most people still need a supplement to reach recommended levels. We are the #1 natural nutrition company in the U.S., so you can be confident that our products are safe and pure–never synthetic or artificial.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10–or CoQ-10,  is a compound that is naturally produced in the body. Its potent antioxidant properties aid in cell regeneration and protects them against damage that could lead to heart disease, premature aging, and even cancer.

CoQ-10 is rich in foods like sardines, mackerel, spinach, peanuts & sesame.  It helps counteract external factors such as harful UV light and pollution, which can destroy coenzymes and other antioxidants.  Your antioxidant levels drop significantly after age 30, and CoQ-10 is the first to decline, which in turn slows down your cells’ ability to repair themselves.

CoQ-10 also affects your skin.  It helps repair free radical damage, prevent damage from the sun, and limit the destruction of collagen, helping keep skin’s firmness.

Most CoQ-10 supplements are poorly absorbed by the body and therefore offer little, if any, benefits.  Our CoQ-10 supplement uses patented technology to provide enhanced absorption using only natural ingredients–nothing synthetic or artificial.  It also contains resveratrol, believed to be the most beneficial antioxidant. For more info on this and other quality natural supplements, visit the Health By Nature website.

The Glaring Facts about Eyesight

The leading cause of blindness is age-related macular degeneration.  The glare from computer screens, sunlight, and intense headlight beams all take their toll on even the healthiest eyes, and can contribute to macular degeneration.  Carotenoids, found in brightly-colored fruits and veggies, can help combat vision problems.

In a recent study investigating the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, scientists found that supplementing with these carotenoids over a 6-month span significantly increases macular pigment optical density in healthy adults with normal eyesight.

The Women’s Health Study finds that when you add in vitamin E to these carotenoids, it decreases the chance of developing cataracts.  In addition to eating plenty of fruits & veggies (including a variety of leafy greens), our Carotenoid supplement provides maximum potency of 6 of the most beneficial carotenoids, and like all our supplements, do not contain synthetic material.  You’d have to eat 285 servings of pink grapefruit to get the same lutein & zeaxanthin content in one serving of our supplement!

Additionally recommended supplements are the Vitamin E complex or Vitamin E tablet, both with 400 IU of E.