The close bond that humans form with their pets can be mystifying to those who proclaim they are not “pet people.” A dog given a spot on the bed or a cat given specialty food might seem extravagant to some, but a glance back in time shows that this close companionship developed long ago. Ancient Egyptians were sometimes mummified with their feline or canine companions, and when given the choice between losing a battle or harming cats, Egyptians chose a loss to their Persian adversaries rather than attacking soldiers who’d strategically strapped felines to their bodies. A special relationship developed between humans and their animals during the process of domestication, and pets earned their proverbial place at the table. For some pet parents, this close bond makes insurance coverage for their fur babies a no-brainer. Some employers are even offering it as an employment benefit. When it comes to caring for our furry companions, veterinarian Jean Maixner points out that having pet insurance can keep families from having to make a gut-wrenching decision when a pet gets sick or hurt. “If you get the right policy, it can be an asset to the health care of that pet and have a significant impact on the bill that results from an emergency visit,” Maixner says. As with human health insurance, pet health insurance policies vary. A higher deductible usually means paying a lower monthly rate. You can find plans that cover accidents and illnesses, and some plans even cover routine care, like vaccines. In an assessment of policies, Consumer Reports found that for a relatively healthy pet, most policies actually cost more than they would ultimately pay out. However, they also found that for a pet that develops a serious illness or condition, many pet insurance policies will indeed pay out more than what they cost. Talk with your vet to see if there are any conditions your pet is prone to. Consumer Reports also recommends reading all the fine print when looking at plans to make sure you understand what will be covered. For many people, pet insurance offers peace of mind that their companion will be protected. As Herb Weisbaum, consumer advisor for NBC News, says, “If you buy pet insurance and don’t use it, consider yourself lucky.” A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY Health Coverage for Furry Companions
DR. BRAADT’S NUTRITION TIPS
How Sugar Harms Your Body
THE PROBLEM Many factors affect your metabolism (the conversion process of food into energy), but sugar is the most harmful. During my certification in clinical nutrition, we tested sugar’s effects. I was shocked at how toxic even a single grain can be! All aspects of your health — especially how efficiently you burn fat — are enhanced by the absence of sugar . Cut out sugar and those foods that quickly become sugar, like refined carbs (bread, pasta, cereal, fruit drinks, etc.), and you’ll automatically trigger hormones that burn fat and accelerate your metabolism. Sugar triggers insulin , a fat-producing and -storing hormone that blocks fat from being burned as fuel. No fat is burned in the presence of insulin. As your insulin level rises, resistance occurs in your cells (insulin resistance), which advances to prediabetes and eventually Type 2 diabetes. As many as 70 percent of Americans are prediabetic, and at younger ages than ever. Most processed foods contain hidden sugar , too. Unless your diet consists of whole foods, your health and weight control are compromised. So-called “healthy” grains, like whole-wheat breads and cereals, stimulate insulin and block fat burning. Artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, saccharin, and MSG, cause increased sodium and fluid retention. To digest sugar, potassium (a mineral) in your cells increases fluid retention, making you feel swollen, bloated, and thirsty. THE SOLUTIONS Fat is a neutral food when it comes to secreting insulin, and it helps you feel full longer. Increase your consumption of healthy fats with avocado, raw unsalted seeds, and nuts (macadamias, pecans, Brazils), Kerrygold butter, organic coconut oil, hormone-free hamburger, fatty fish like salmon, uncured bacon (no nitrates), aged cheese, and organic eggs. Eat lots of leafy green vegetables like spinach; romaine; field greens, and cruciferous vegetables (plants from the cabbage family) like kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and radishes. These veggies provide lots of needed nutrients and fiber, and they replenish your potassium — which stops cravings. Potassium-rich foods also help lower the effects of insulin to minimize fat storage. Include high-potassium foods like avocado, broccoli, mushrooms, salmon, beets, beet tops, and kale. If you use sweeteners, use the herb stevia (no maltodextrin), a 100 percent non-GMO sweetener called Erythritol (NOW is a good brand), or non-GMO Xylitol (extracted from birch wood). These three sugar alcohols do not stimulate insulin.
These lifestyle changes will increase your energy, reduce your weight, and help minimize future health problems so you can continue to chase your dreams!
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