Oregano Uses: Do You Know Them All?

In this episode, Julie discusses common and not so common oregano uses. Join her to discover culinary and medicinal oregano uses along with some growing tips.In this episode, Julie discusses common and not so common oregano uses. Join her to discover culinary and medicinal  uses along with some growing tips.

Historical Oregano Uses

Origanum vulgare, or Greek Oregano as we know it (although it’s sometimes called Wild Marjoram), has a long history. Since it is native to the Mediterranean area, the first recorded use is by the Greeks. They believed that the goddess Aphrodite created this herb as a symbol of joy growing in her garden.  In fact, the word “oregano” comes from the Greek words oros, for “mountain,” and ganos, for “joy” meaning “joy of the mountains”. And so, they thought it was a good omen if it grew on someone’s grave and among both Greeks and Romans, they crowned newlyweds with it as a symbol of joy and peace. In addition to using it symbolically, people also used it medicinally such as an antidote to narcotic poisons, stopping convulsions, and treating dropsy (what we call edema).

Discover some additional historic uses and beliefs about oregano on the podcast.

Culinary uses

Today, one of the most popular oregano uses is as a staple herb of Italian cuisine. Greek food and other Mediterranean cuisines frequently use it also. You can also find it in Latin American and Turkish dishes. People use it most in roasted, fried or grilled vegetable and meat dishes, including fish. Its popularity in the U.S. began when soldiers returning from World War II brought back with them a taste for the “pizza herb”, which people probably ate in southern Italy for centuries.

Gardening and Growing Tips

If you want to enjoy culinary or medicinal uses, take care that you are getting true oregano and not marjoram. True oregano is Greek oregano, wild oregano is often marjoram and plants grown from seed are also often adulterated with marjoram, so make sure you get a reliable source. Grow in full sun in hardiness zones up to about zone 5 (although that’s pushing it) Grow it in pots so you can overwinter it indoors. Needs well drained soil. To make sure that it keeps producing leaves for you, don’t allow it to flower. Leave about 4-6 pairs of leaves and pinch off the tips above that. That will make the plant bushy, too.

Modern Medicinal Oregano Uses

Oregano has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, expectorant, and stimulant properties. The most common uses include bacterial infections of the GI tract and respiratory system. However, it is also a stimulating diaphoretic useful for colds and flu, antiseptic gargle/mouthwash for inflammations of mouth and throat, treats infected cuts and wounds and can help with pain such as tension headaches and rheumatism. Only use for acute issues. Long-term use can alter liver metabolism.

Nutritionally, oregano is a significant source of Vitamin B6, C, E, and K, folate, manganese, magnesium, calcium and iron. And it is full of antioxidants, more than any other herb in the mint family.

On the podcast, Julie talks about several modern scientific and medical studies that explore other possible uses. Listen in!


Tisserand and Young warn that Oregano Essential Oil is contraindicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In addition, oregano oil irritates mucus membranes and you should use caution when using it on the skin. There are additional warnings about uses on the podcast.

Can a Health Coach Help You Achieve Your Goals?

Can a Health Coach Help You Achieve Your Goals?Have you ever wondered what a health coach does and how she might be able to help you? Today on Crunchy Christian Podcast, Julie talks with health coach and holistic nutritionist, Tresa Rolando Salters of Live Well Blessed.

Tresa, tell our listeners a bit about what led you to become an integrative nutrition health coach.

Well, I had problems with reflux, and I went to the doctor, and he put me on medication. And, I actually felt worse on medication. So, I stopped it, and I did some research. I decided to try going gluten free to see if that would make a difference. I had an endoscope, and it didn’t look great. But, I got started on the gluten free diet and did it for about six months. And when I went back for another endoscope, the doctor said, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.” And from there, I felt like I needed to help others. I had heard about this integrative nutrition program a few times in my research. So, I decided that becoming a health coach and getting a degree in holistic nutrition was the right path.

So, what is the difference? For example, what can a health coach do? How do they help?

Well, the way I see it is they’re just a guide for someone to live a healthier life. That may mean eating healthier or integrating really good healthy habits into their lifestyle. And when I work with somebody, I start by telling them to keep a journal of what they’re eating and what they’re doing every day. And we talk about all the different pieces such as, Are you moving your body? Are you drinking enough water? Tresa talks about other things she does for people and how she integrates her faith on the podcast.

That sounds great! A lot times people have great intentions and they just don’t know how to go about it. So, a health coach like you can come alongside them and encourage them and give them the steps to take. It sounds like an accountability partner or support person.

That’s exactly right. It’s really huge just have somebody to check in with and know that they care about you because new habits can be hard to get going.

You also have a background in essential oils from what I understand. So how do you integrate that with being a health coach?

I was always interested in any kind of natural solution and I’ve been with doTERRA for about four and a half years. They offer a lot of education and I have learned so much about the oils. So, I started experimenting and my family started eliminating medications and household products that were toxic. So, I really try to help my health coach clients understand that they have these other alternatives and I share the oils with them. I start with simple things like you know, add some lemon to your water. Hear more from Tresa about this on the podcast.

On another note, on your website, you do mention that you are a trained in Christian yoga. I’m curious about how you’ve been able to overcome its association with Hindu worship and make it truly part of your worship of the Lord. Can you share a bit about that.

It’s something that I even struggled with myself, because I love yoga. I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager. And I’ve always loved how it made me feel. And when I decided to become a yoga teacher, it was one of those things that I was really trying to balance. But I did some research on it. And it’s really interesting for you to know that, actually, yoga predates the Hindu religion by about 1000 years. So, yoga was around for a long, long time. And then the Hindus kind of took it and made it part of their religion. But yoga was already there. And you know, there’s only so many ways that you can move your body. Hear Tresa talk more about this on the podcast!

Listen to the podcast and hear some tips from Tresa!

You have a special offer for our listeners today. Can you talk about that?

I’m offering a free mini class of my Moving Through the Bible program for families. Get the link to a little video that I did that just shows a sample class. It’s a shorter version of the class so you can check it out. And try it out and see if it’s something that you might be interested in. We meet twice weekly online and it’s a monthly membership. We do Bible stories and I even share some health and wellness information for families. Try it and see what you think!

Easy Postpartum Exercise Tips for New Moms

easy postpartum exercise tipsHave you ever wondered about postpartum exercise and how to do it safely? Gentle exercise is an important part of the recovery process and integral to health. Today, Julie interviews Beth Learn of Fit2B Studios about her journey and about some easy postpartum exercise tips.

So, Beth, we were talking about how your interest in fitness started in high school. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about how that came about?

Yes, I randomly took a step aerobics class when I was a junior in high school and I did it kind of on a whim. I showed up to that first class in a dress, a long dress and tights. And I loved it!  I was totally lost the whole time and going the wrong direction, but I look back on that moment as a definite wake up to God’s calling in my life, just a love for movement to music and choreography.

Learn more about Beth’s journey on the podcast as she discusses her adventures in high school and college.

You continued to get training in different areas, right? Tell us about how you got into postpartum exercise and diastasis recti. First, can you tell us what that is?

Diastasis recti essentially means a thinning of the connective tissue that joins the two sides of your abdominal wall. That then allows the two sides of your abdominal wall to shift apart, which creates a gap between your abdominal muscles. For example, after pregnancy, those babies really stretch us out for a long time and sometimes in some people that gap doesn’t resolve and then they get pregnant again and it gets a little bit worse, or then they have some other type of trauma. Maybe they have a C-section, maybe they’re in a car accident. Maybe they suffer an abuse incident where their stomach is punched. There’s a lot of different variables that go into it that can cause further thinning and widening of that connective tissue.

I became aware of diastasis recti in college and really in my initial certification when I was 18, it got a mention, as in “women who are pregnant get diastasis and you should have them splint their tummy muscles with a towel while they’re doing crunches. After I had had two children, I was getting ready to launch Fit2B because I would be a stay-at-home mom and start a business. Then, I happened to meet up with a local physical therapist who specialized in core rehab. We talked for hours and in the end, I decided that Fit2B had to be diastasis aware as I created postpartum exercise videos.

On the podcast, Beth and Julie talk more about how diastasis recti impacts many aspects of life and health. Tune in to hear about it!

Can you share postpartum exercise tips for at home?

You know, I get asked this question a lot and I really try to tailor it to the conversation because the best postpartum exercise tips will vary from person to person. But one of the first things I will say is that number one, it doesn’t have to be hard. It does not have to be about your vanity. Assess your motivations. If your motivations are to be healthier, to be stronger, to have more energy, to get better sleep, to have better intimacy, to improve your heart health, go for it.

Studies show that 150 minutes a week of moderate to strenuous activities is all it takes.  That’s roughly 23 minutes per day. You don’t have to be a hot sweaty mess. My goal is not to be super ripped and scrawny. My goal is for when my 12-year-old son says, “Mom, let’s go jump on the trampoline,” I can say yes. I want to be purposeful and usable and I can accomplish that in 15 to 30 minutes a day and even take one day off a week to do nothing. So, first, it does not have to be hard.

Hear more tips on the podcast! And be sure to check out Beth’s podcast at Fit2B Radio.



Food Shortage? Not If You Eat Wild!

eating edible wild foodsJoin Julie today as she talks with herbalist and naturalist, Karen Stephenson of Edible Wild Food about how to combat food shortage and gain better nutrition through edible wild foods. As we know, God gave us far more than just 25 plant species to eat. The planet is bursting with edible wild foods that are available for free. Listen to this interview to learn more about how you can take advantage of God’s abundance and secure your family against food shortages and nutrient depletion.  Karen is also one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Family Wellness Conference.

So, Karen, tell us a bit about how you became interested in wild edibles.

It goes back to my teenage years.  I grew up in a neighborhood in which there were maybe just a handful of Italian families. And it was common to see the Italian women collecting dandelions. When I asked my parents about that, they said, “Well, that’s just what the Italians do.” And my mom, she was like a typical British cook, you could say. And so, our meals growing up were not very exciting when it came to exploring new flavors and spices. So, when I moved out, that’s what I started to do. I started to get a little bit more adventurous in the kitchen.

Then, maybe after about a year or two, I was thinking about those Italian women and I started incorporating the dandelions. Then I thought, This is incredible! There has to be more. And I started examining all these different plants. And then it was just one plant led to another. But, I went into a holding pattern when I became a mother with three little kids, all close in age. But then one day, I was looking at the goldenrod one autumn. It was late, late August and I was looking at this sea of yellow thinking, OK, that’s the next one. You’ve got to be good for something. There wouldn’t be as many if there were no purpose. There has to be a purpose. Well, that opened the floodgates and I went from one plant to another again. That’s how it all started.

And how did you just segue that into teaching others about the wild edibles?

In 2009, I started coming across certain articles on the Internet. These articles talked about a food shortage in the future and that grocery store food prices would be through the roof. They talked a bit about food sustainability and it got me thinking about Scripture, too. I really struggled with it because no matter what you have or don’t have, with a little knowledge, you can have the most nutrient-dense meal to serve your family every day—for free. So, my husband helped me set up a website and then I spent an entire year doing photography research. Then, I realized that I needed some credentials since, you know, that’s the first question people often ask. And that’s what led me to become an herbalist and a naturalist.

So, tell us a bit about how edible wild food can protect you from food shortage and why people should eat wild foods.

Bottom line, there is no secret the soils are nutrient depleted. And this is not a new revelation. People have been warning us about this for some time and this is coming from the USDA’s website.

So bottom line is, if our vegetables are grown in nutrient depleted soils and we’re eating these nutrient depleted vegetables, we are now nutrient depleted.

Hear more about this by listening to the podcast! Karen also talks about simple ways to get started with wild foods, even if you live in an urban area.

Karen talks in greater detail about this topic at the Family Wellness Conference. Find her at her website, Edible Wild Food, and enjoy her extensive collection of recipes and articles.

Honoring Your Body Through Fitness

Honoring Your Body Through FitnessJoin Julie today as she talks with personal trainer, De Bolton of Faith Fueled Mom about honoring your body through fitness. As we know, our bodies are the temple of God and are an important part of how we honor our Lord. Listen to this interview to learn more about the role of fitness and diet in meeting our potential as servants of the Most High.  De is also one of the featured speakers at the upcoming Family Wellness Conference.

So. Dee, tell us a little bit about your background and what prompted you to go from direct sales to personal trainer? What could have prompted you to do that because I understand you were really good with the direct sales?

You are absolutely right. It was a literal life change when I went from direct sales to personal training, I was in direct sales and I was one of the top in my company. And honestly, I just got tired of partying.

I was in one of those companies that you hosted a bunch of parties, and it sounds crazy to get tired of partying, but I did. I also was a mom of three little girls at the time and it was a lot of work. At the time, though, I was physically unhealthy. I tell people I was underweight spiritually and I was overweight physically. So, I decided to go on my own weight loss journey. And through the journey I got a conviction to honor my temple, so I just literally transformed my life from the inside out.

Then, I went back to school and got a fitness and exercise science degree and certified as a personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, fitness nutrition specialist, weight loss specialist and senior fitness specialist. Now, I get to serve women and help them reclaim their temple.

I love that you said, “underweight spiritually and overweight physically.” You told us about honoring your body. How did you address the underweight spiritually?

For sure. So like I said, when I started my journey, I was overweight and I went through a fast through another direct selling company. I literally prayed my way through the 30 day fast. I didn’t lose a lot of weight, but I did have a really intimate relationship with God.

Hear more from De about honoring your body and your temple on the podcast!

How did you address the weight loss after you were through with the fasting portion?

So I went to a trainer, an online trainer, actually, and I joined a community of Christian women. It was nice to be in a community of women and also be educated by somebody who knew how to lose weight. So that was one thing I did. I tell people, ask for help.

I also learned to focus on small wins and lifestyle changes rather than a number on the scale. I feel like celebrating those small things made the journey much more pleasurable. And I always say grace over guilt. So you’re celebrating all the good things that you’re doing and then when you do mess up, and you do have that donut, you don’t feel as bad.

Learn more about the balance of honoring your body versus putting too much emphasis on fitness and diet on the podcast. They also discuss a transformational program called Bible and Bootcamp.

Tell us about how moms can fit exercise and fitness into their busy day as moms?

I’m a mom of three, so I can definitely relate to that. My three are not so little anymore. But as far as fitness, your faith and life, I say move more and nourish your body. Keep it very simple. You don’t have to go to the gym. Dance parties are amazing. Kids love to dance for 15 minutes. Everybody’s sweating in the room. And you moved your body more than you did the day before. Get more tips on the podcast!.

De has a special promotion for all podcast listeners.

$10 off on her app, FaithfueledLife, with code CRUNCHY. Check it out! You get daily devotionals, fitness and meal plans, ability to set goals and track progress, and more!

Click here to learn more: FaithfueledLife,


Embracing an Herbal Lifestyle: Some Insights

embracing and herbal lifestyleWant to know about embracing an herbal lifestyle? Join Julie on today’s episode as she interviews Jamie Fivecoate Larrison of The Herbal Spoon. She is a trained herbalist and in addition to her own site, she is also the DIY and Natural Remedies Editor with Wellness Mama. She has trained with some notable herbalists such as James McDonald and Dr. Aviva Romm, among many others. And Julie is thrilled to have her on the show. Julie talks with her today about her background with plants, embracing an herbal lifestyle, and more. Jamie is one of the speakers at the upcoming Family Wellness Conference. Take a peek at the interview.

Embracing an Herbal Lifestyle: An Interview with Jamie Fivecoate Larrison

So, Jamie, you were telling me that you have always had an interest in plants since you were a young girl. How did that interest develop initially?

So, I grew up with my grandparents and my grandpa had been a farmer. I thought it was totally normal for everybody to have seven gardens and a small fruit orchard at their house. I can’t really pinpoint a moment in my life where I thought, now this is the moment I love plants. It just developed over time.

So, growing up, gardening with my mom, gardening with my grandpa, we did a lot of canning and preserving with my grandma. Plants were very much a part of our life. We were embracing an herbal lifestyle. And my grandma had a patch of mint growing in the yard that we would always get leaves from. I think all of that played a huge influence and I developed a love for nature at a young age.

Tell me a little bit more about those seven gardens. Did they have a garden for each type of vegetable?

Well, we had a fairly large property and my grandpa thought if it could be done, it should be done.

My grandpa decided if there’s space for a garden, we’ll put another garden here. So, yeah, he had his own system, but there was there was quite a bit to it.

Hear more about Jamie’s experiences growing up embracing an herbal lifestyle on the podcast. She shares additional stories and how to encourage kids to love nature.

Would you mind sharing with our listeners today some of your favorite recipes, or maybe your favorite story of some something that happened with one of your kids or with yourself where you were using your herbal knowledge?

I will start off by saying that one of my first memories of using herbs for medicine is when I was about 13 years old. And at the time my mom had been in a car accident and was not mentally able to really care for our family at that time. So, I really had to grow up fast. I was about 13, I was sick with the flu, and I thought, OK, I’ve got this. I’ve read about how to cure the flu and I’m going to go find some herbs in my yard and get this over with.

I had this book from Penelope Ody at the time, and it was one of those Dorling Kindersley books where it doesn’t really get into details and it’s probably not the best. I made a really, really strong mulberry leaf infusion and drank a whole quart of it and I thought I’d killed myself because I started sweating like crazy.

I thought, Oh, no, I’ve done myself in. Nobody even knew what I did. Then, I took a really long nap and I woke up feeling perfectly fine.

But that was one of my one of my first stories. Over the years, I’ve come up with different recipes that maybe aren’t such strong infusions and I have gained a little more knowledge.

Hear more stories from Jamie and about some other remedies and her adventures with her skin care products.

What do you think is the most important aspect of health to address first for somebody who’s just learning about embracing an herbal lifestyle?

Well, as an herbalist, of course, I love working with herbs, but I do feel like one of the most important things is nutrition. So many people I’ve seen are perfectly happy to take a whole pile of herbal supplements, but they don’t want to change their diet.

And if we don’t?

If we don’t give our body the building materials that it needs to be healthy, we’re going to continue to manifest these symptoms. And so I think the important thing is to try to get that mind set shift first, because if we get our mind set in the right place, then everything else can start to follow

Do you have any last comments, last tips that you want to share with people before we say goodbye?

Something Jim McDonald had shared with me regarding what we had been talking about with nutrition, with helping people make healthy choices, and have that mindset shift is this. Instead of thinking about What am I going to take away from my lifestyle and my diet? so much, think about positive things. For example, What am I going to add? Because if you focus on the positive, focus on what good things you’re adding, it’s going to automatically push out the bad habits.

Hear more from Jamie on the podcast and attend her workshops at the Family Wellness Conference held on March 4-5, 2021.

How to Control Blood Sugar Naturally

How to Control Blood Sugar NaturallyWant to know how to control blood sugar naturally? Julie gives some tips in this week’s Crunchy Christian Podcast episode. First, she discusses the differences between simple and complex carbs. This is because controlling your intake of simple carbs is the heart of how to control blood sugar.

How to Control Blood Sugar Naturally

Understand the difference between simple and complex carbs.

You don’t just get hungry when your stomach is empty, you also get cravings when your body is running low on important nutrients. Carbohydrates are a nutrient and your body needs them, but there are two kinds of carbohydrates.

Complex Carbohydrates

Some carbohydrates, called “complex carbohydrates”, digest slowly. These are the carbs that come from sources like grains. This means that after you eat them, they gradually release sugar into your body, which your body can use as needed for several hours. Incidentally, because complex carbs take so long to digest, they also leave your stomach feeling fuller longer. This can also help to keep hunger at bay. These carbs generally come from seed-based foods—grains, nuts, and beans. Most of them also tend to have a lower glycemic index. The glycemic index (GI) tells us how quickly a carb is digested and how much it raises blood sugar levels. A lower GI means it digests more slowly and has less of an effect on blood sugar. A high GI means it digests quickly and can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

Simple Carbohydrates

Other carbohydrates, namely sugars, are called “simple carbohydrates”. These are much easier for your body to break down. That means that instead of supplying your body with long-burning energy for a few hours like complex carbs do, it extracts and either burns or stores the sugars in a very short amount of time. These carbs flood your bloodstream, have a higher GI, and often provide few nutrients. The steep sugar spikes can cause your blood to carry too much sugar. The extra sugar can damage sensitive nerve tissue and blood vessels. Another problem is that these excess calories don’t provide nutrition, leaving your body asking for more food in order to address the deficit.

Fruit can be a healthy source of simple carbs, but you still don’t want to have too many simple carbs. So, put some fruit on the side of your plate and make sure low-carb vegetables, slow-burning carbs like whole grains, and plenty of protein make up the rest of it. Protein is another nutrient that your body can use for energy but that takes a while to break down. It also doesn’t change your blood sugar at all because the energy in protein doesn’t come from sugars.

How to Control Blood Sugar Naturally by Eliminating Added Sugars

When you are avoiding sugar to improve your health, you should understand the different names that manufacturers use for this sweet substance. Here is a list of the names used for the added sugar in foods and beverages:

• Fructose sweetener
• Evaporated cane juice
• Crystal dextrose
• Corn syrup (and the high fructose variety)
• Cane sugar
• Corn sweetener
• Brown sugar
• Fruit juice
• Maple syrup
• Honey
• Dextrose
• Maltose
• Agave nectar

This is a partial list of the names for sugar because manufacturers create new types of sweeteners occasionally. To determine if a product at the grocery store has any type of sugar, you must read the small print on the package’s label. Remember that the beverages and foods that are labeled as natural, organic, healthy or low-calorie can still have added sugar. In addition, some foods contain natural sugars, but these types of foods frequently have high levels of minerals, fiber and vitamins. You might notice that some natural sugars are on this list. These have nutritional value but can still be added sugars. This is because added sugar means any sugar that doesn’t occur naturally.

Listen to the podcast for additional information about healthy sugars and other ways for how to control blood sugar naturally.

Ready to tackle the sugar monster? Need some support and guidance for ditching the sugar habit? Julie has a Ditch the Sugar Habit Super Bundle. Check it out!


5+ Ways of How Sugar Affects the Body

Find out more about how sugar affects the body in this podcast.Ever wonder if that donut is as harmless as it looks? An occasional treat won’t hurt you, but a daily habit might do more harm than just add a few pounds. Find out more about how sugar affects the body in this podcast.

How Sugar Affects the Body

You May Gain Weight

One way of how sugar affects the body is by adding extra pounds. There are two ways that this happens. First, it triggers the reward center in your brain. Sweet things make us feel good, which then turns on our desire to want more so we continue to feel good. This cycle continues even when we’re full and not hungry anymore, causing us to eat more than we need. The second way that it causes us to gain weight is through the liver. When the liver processes excess sugar, the extra glucose is converted into fat molecules for storage. So, eating fat doesn’t make you fat. In fact, it is the extra unused sugar and carbohydrates that taste so good that make you fat.

It Can Increase Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

While sugar is not the only culprit for type 2 diabetes, it is certainly another way of how sugar affects the body.  High amounts of sugar that break down quickly flood the bloodstream with glucose. Your cells need insulin in order to use the glucose. But, if the cells are constantly stimulated by insulin, they develop a tolerance for it and become unaffected by it. Then, your body needs to release more and more insulin to move the glucose into the cells. This continues until you become so insulin resistant that you develop type 2 diabetes. In addition to insulin resistance throughout the body, there is another way of how sugar affects the body. The high sugar intake leads to insulin resistance in the brain as well, leading to cognitive decline. In fact, people with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop dementia, which is why Alzheimer’s is now considered type 3 diabetes.

It Can Overload Your Liver (Fatty Liver)

As mentioned above, your liver processes all that excess glucose and converts it into fat. But, your liver can only metabolize so much of it at one time. The liver turns the excess glucose and fructose into fat that can accumulate not just in your midsection and thighs but in the liver, causing liver damage. Sometimes it can even lead to scarring and eventual cutting off of the liver’s blood supply, which means you need a transplant. It is important to note that the amount of fructose needed to overload your liver is only possible with an excessive amount of added sugar, so fructose found in fruit is likely not nearly enough to cause this.

How Sugar Affects the Body in Mind and Mood

If you are someone who suffers from mood swings or mental health issues, you might notice that they become worse when you consume a lot of sugar. Sugar causes a short-term boost of energy that leads to a much longer sugar crash. This in turn can make it harder when dealing with mental health issues like depression. This is because another way of how sugar affects the body is that it messes with your ability to produce serotonin by using up its vitamin pre-cursors and altering gut flora. In addition, too much sugar can also cause severe mood swings and irritability. Sugar also alters our ability to resist temptation, making it hard to control impulsive behavior and delay gratification. Research shows that a high sugar diet can impair memory function and cause inflammation in the brain.

Learn about more ways of how sugar can affect the body by listening to the podcast!

Tackle your sugar cravings and ditch the habit with Julie’s Ditch the Sugar Habit Super Bundle. Check it out! 

The Low Down on Artificial Sweeteners

Find out more about what they are and what they do to your body in this episode about the low down on artificial sweeteners with Julie Polanco.Do you use artificial sweeteners in your morning coffee? How about diet soda or in baking? Find out more about what they are and what they do to your body in this episode about the low down on artificial sweeteners with Julie Polanco.

What are Artificial Sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners are sweeteners that are manmade and not found in nature. They usually go by names such as aspartame, sucralose, maltodextrin, xylitol, and saccharin. Others that occur in nature but are super processed or, when added to foods, are manmade include erythritol, dextrose, maltose, fructose, glucose syrup, and high fructose corn syrup. We’re going to focus on the purely artificial ones, though. People often use artificial sweeteners because they are trying to curb their use of sugar. This may be because of diabetes, a desire to lose weight, or other reasons. Besides using it as an alternative to sugar in drinks and baked goods, people also choose prepared foods containing artificial sweeteners.

Occasional use of these fake sugars often poses no issues. However, research shows conflicted results for long-term use. In addition, people who use artificial sweeteners exclusively and frequently over longer time periods often experience negative side effects. Let’s dig in!

The Low Down on Artificial Sweeteners

First of all, artificial sweeteners can affect your body in a number of ways. Here are some possible negative side effects of using them.

Your Sense of Taste May Be Dulled

Have you noticed that your taste buds have changed, or the intensity of flavors have dulled over time? This might be the result of an over consumption of fake sugars. This is because many of these sweeteners are many times sweeter than naturally occurring sweeteners.

You become accustomed to the sweeter taste of fake, processed sweeteners, and over time, start losing the desire for naturally occurring sugars. But the good news is that if you start reducing how much is in your diet, and begin consuming natural sources of sweeteners, your normal tastes can return.

It Can Boost Craving Intensity

One of the most dangerous effects caused by sweeteners is that they stimulate pleasure centers in your brain. Under normal circumstances, these pleasure centers eventually reach a point where they become satiated and you stop eating or drinking.  But in this case, you may never feel satisfied. Instead, you feel intense cravings that cause you to overindulge in foods and drinks, and that is contrary to what you’ve been trying to achieve the entire time.

Gut Problems May Be in the Future

Some studies have shown that artificial sweeteners can also have negative effects on your gut health. For example, even though sweeteners are considered safe, you might develop a glucose intolerance form the sweeteners. They can also add to digestive distress like stomach cramps, nausea, and other issues with your digestive system. If you notice that you have a stomachache when you drink a Diet Coke, it might be from the sweeteners used, as opposed to the other ingredients.

To find out additional effects from artificial sweeteners, including neurological ones, listen to the podcast!


Never give sugar-free, artificially sweetened beverages or foods to children! Even though these sweeteners are considered safe by the FDA, the reported side effects and conflicting research should give us pause. And, keep these foods away from pets.

Want to ditch artificial sweeteners and eating a lot of sugar? Check out Julie’s Ditch the Sugar Habit Super Bundle.


Cinnamon Benefits and Uses

Cinnamon Benefits and UsesWe love our pumpkin spice, apple pies, snickerdoodle cookies, and other cinnamon flavored goodies during the holidays. But did you know that cinnamon benefits your health in many ways, too? Learn more in this podcast with Julie Polanco.

Cinnamon Through History

Cinnamomum zeylanicum, or Cinnamon has a long history of use, going back to the ancient Egyptians and Chinese. The Ceylon variety grown in Sri Lanka (which was once called Ceylon) appears in Chinese writings as far back as 2800 BC. The Egyptians used it in their embalming spices. In the first century AD, the Roman Pliny the Elder wrote that 350 grams of cinnamon was worth more than five kilograms of silver. This means that cinnamon was an expensive and highly valued spice that only the nobles could afford, much like frankincense and myrrh. Indeed, it is said that the Roman Emperor Nero ordered that a year’s supply of cinnamon be burnt as an atonement after he murdered his second wife.

In medieval times, they knew of cinnamon benefits. After all, the doctors of the day used it to treat coughs, sore throats, and hoarseness. The upper classes also used it to preserve meats. However, it was difficult to get. Only Arabs traded in cinnamon and they carefully guarded the secret of their source. Since they traveled over difficult land routes, they kept this monopoly for centuries. In addition, they loved to tell tall tales about cinnamon to deter others and to justify the high prices.

Hear some of the tall tales the Arabs would tell on the podcast!

Discovered by Explorers

As we all know, Columbus and other explorers set out to find water routes to the far East in the late 1400’s and into the early 1500’s. They were, of course, looking for safer and faster routes to get the spices that were in great demand but expensive to buy. So, in 1518, the Portuguese found the source of Cinnamon and enslaved the island until the Dutch overthrew them in 1638. Then, the Dutch held the cinnamon monopoly for another 150 years until the British took over the island in 1784 after the fourth Anglo-Dutch war. However, the price of cinnamon had dramatically decreased by then. Other countries had discovered that they could enjoy cinnamon benefits by growing it in other parts of the world such as Java, Sumatra, Guyana, the West Indies, and other places.

Today, much of the grocery store cinnamon is not true cinnamon, but a cousin called Cassia. It is cheaper and has a stronger flavor but is not as medicinal.

Modern Research on Cinnamon Benefits and Uses

One of the active constituents of cinnamon is cinnamaldehyde. This is what gives it its unique and delicious smell. It is also high in antioxidant polyphenols, which is why it can be used to preserve meat. Amazingly, it has more antioxidants than even garlic or oregano, according to research. Because of this, another one of the cinnamon benefits is that it is anti-inflammatory and can help lower cholesterol levels. It may also inhibit tumor cell growth and help prevent cancer.

In addition, cinnamon benefits those at risk for diabetes. According to studies, cinnamon oil can help prevent Type 2 diabetes by preventing insulin resistance. Another way that cinnamon benefits those at risk for diabetes is that it can interfere with digestive enzymes, slowing the breakdown of food into glucose.

Of course, it has also proven be effective against oral bacteria and respiratory fungal infections and maybe that’s why medieval doctors liked to use it for coughs and other respiratory issues. It has also traditionally been used for issues in the gastrointestinal tract, such as vomiting, flatulence, and diarrhea.


Cinnamon contains coumarins, which in large amounts can be problematic. The best type of cinnamon to use is the original Ceylon Cinnamon because it has less coumarins and tends to be higher in medicinal properties.

Ready to dig into cinnamon? Get your FREE cinnamon recipe coloring pages by clicking HERE.