The Recipe Rebellion Club

Rachel's go-to smoothie is simple and delicious #smoothies #superfoods #vibrantblog

Alright let us get straight down to business. How many of you out there enjoy using and following recipes? I am sure that many of you do, but unfortunately I am not one of them! I really enjoy looking at recipes to get ideas, but when push comes to shove, I almost NEVER actually use a recipe and rarely use measurements. Therefore, my cooking is always a surprise! Sometimes things turn out really really good, and then other times, really really bad! Does this sound like you? Well welcome to my recipe rebellion club!

The best part of being a part of this club is that you are always making things up as you go, so you never really know what you are going to end up with! But the really bad part about being in the recipe rebellion club is that when you make something deliciously amazing, typically you forget how you did it! But today, I am going to retrace my steps back to when I made probably the best smoothie of my life and I want to share this with you! Every person is different and tastes and preferences vary from person to person and even within the same person they can vary day to day. So it is sometimes really hard to find something that you consistently like and enjoy consuming! Well I found what I consistently love consuming and I have thankfully made it a few times by accident and now I remember the rough recipe! But the important thing with smoothies or really any kitchen creation, is to always have the basic backbones of whatever recipe you are looking to make. My basic backbones of any smoothie I make always include Bananas, Green Vibrance, and some vegan-based Protein Powder. So without Further Ado, please view, make, and try the deliciousness that lies below!

Rachel’s Scrumptious SmoothieRachel's go-to smoothie is simple and delicious #smoothies #superfoods #vibrantblog

1 Frozen Banana

1 Scoop Green Vibrance

1 Scoop Vanilla Pure Green Protein Powder

½ c. Frozen Pinapple Chunks

¾ c. Medly of frozen blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries

½ tsp. Maca Powder

½ tsp. Chia Seeds

1 – 1 ½ c. Water

Add everything into a blender and blend away J Please feel free to play around with the measurements above because if you have identified yourself to be apart of the recipe rebellion, you will not follow this recipe correctly as it is! It is with my greatest happiness to share this with you today and I hope that it is just as delicious for you as it is for me! But switch up your smoothies, recipes, ingredients, etc. Know you backbones of favorite must-have ingredients and then from there experiment! Some ideas or flavor combinations, or as I like to call them “flavor-wheels” don’t always work, but at least try!

So get creative, get messy, make something deliciously enjoyable, and as always, live Vibrantly! Enjoy!

About Rachel Priest: After growing up in Knoxville, TN, Rachel moved many times with her family and then continued to travel the world globally through the years. After struggling with an 8 year long battle with eating disorders, Rachel Finally found her freedom and self acceptance and love through the practice of yoga and rock climbing. Rachel promotes self-love and acceptance to all students, especially those who struggle with creating a positive self-image for themselves and their life. Rachel believes that through loving your body and the world, we can all create a positive and fulfilling life with the understanding that we are all already a perfect being.

Rachel currently lives in Los Angeles and teaches at various gyms and studios in the area, promoting the idea of self love and acceptance. Beyond Teaching, Rachel is a beach bum at heart and loves the waves and ocean and soaking up the sun.

Where L-arginine Comes in Handy

How can L-Arginine (an amino acid) benefit your brain and your immune system? #vibrantblog

L-arginine is an amino acid which is necessary in order for you to produce protein. It also helps rid your body of ammonia (a waste product) and stimulates the release of insulin. Both are very important but add to that short list that L-arginine is used to make nitric oxide (a compound that relaxes the blood vessels).

You can easily see why this makes L-arginine a popular supplement for those seeking to improve athletic performance, as well as for bodybuilding. However, it’s also been show to boost the immune system, and to shorten recovery time after surgery.  Because it is so vital – we’ve included L-arginine in our Pure Green Protein formula as an important ingredient in our balanced blend of amino acids.

How can L-Arginine (an amino acid) benefit your brain and your immune system? #vibrantblog

Studies show that L-arginine may be effective for managing inflammation of the bladder and improving kidney function in kidney transplant patients taking cyclosporine. What's more, taking L-arginine in combination with ribonucleic acid and omega-3 fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid, may reduce recovery time, protect against infection and promote wound healing after surgery.

Let’s talk circulation! L-arginine may improve cardiac performance in those diagnosed with congestive heart failure, according to a 2000 study published in Clinical Cardiology. However, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) does caution that L-arginine should not be used in place of standard treatments prescribed by a healthcare provider. Small studies in humans suggest that arginine taken orally may improve non-cardiac chest pain associated with esophageal motor disorders. In fact, several studies have shown that increasing the intake of foods high in L-arginine may help ease symptoms and improve blood vessel function in people with coronary artery disease and angina.

There are also benefits for those with peripheral vascular conditions.  For instance ~ intermittent claudication causes leg pain, cramping and tiredness due to cholesterol plaques or clots which develop in leg arteries and block blood flow. While further research is needed, a small number of studies have shown that arginine therapy has improved walking distance in patients with claudication. Early human studies suggest that intravenous arginine may increase blood flow for patients with critical limb ischemia. This condition occurs when blood flow to the arms and/or legs is blocked.

There are benefits for brain health as well. Early research has shown that adding L-arginine to ibuprofen (ex. Motrin® or Advil®) therapy may decrease migraine headache pain. Also, there’s a rare inherited metabolic disorder called Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), which is characterized by the loss of fatty coverings (myelin sheaths) on nerve fibers in the brain and progressive destruction of the adrenal glands. This condition results in both dementia and adrenal failure. Research has shown that injections of L-arginine may help manage this disorder.

About the author: Jeanne Ricks is a Holistic Health Coach & Clinical Hypnotist who provides personal diet, wellness & nutrition coaching combined with Hypnosis to help you achieve your personal best.

Things About Protein


There has been a new study which was recently published in JISSN (Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition) by Jose Antonio in regards to a hypercaloric diet using over 5 times the RDA for protein. Yes, you've read that correctly, over 5 times the RDA for protein was consumed for a period of 8 weeks by resistance trained men and women whom had been training for on average close to 9 years for around 8.5 hours per week. These individuals were asked to maintain the same dietary and training habits they have had before but to shift their macros to 4.4 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. This averaged out to around 307 grams of protein per day. Of course with a shift in protein macros, carbohydrates were shifted downwards to around 220 grams or so of carbohydrates per day. The overall caloric intake however was hypercaloric (which means these individuals were eating a surplus of calories).

What was the result? No weight gain but more interestingly, no bodyfat gain! This completely contradicts a study done by George A. Bray in 2011 which showed that overeating protein would result in fat gain. However, in Bray's study, subjects were eating at 40% over their TDEE (total daily energy expenditure – the number of calories one uses in a day). This however is more to the point that up to a certain point of overeating, one will gain bodyfat no matter what. Interestingly enough however, in the Bray study, the subjects overeating on protein saw slower fat gain than the subjects overeating on fats and carbohydrates. So what do we learn from both the recent Jose Antonio study as well as the Bray study from 2011? That where your calories come from does matter because though these macronutrients have a generally measurable amount of energy (calories), the way in which they go through the body to get processed in order for the stored energy to be released, all have different metabolic costs to them. Processing protein is quite frankly more metabolically expensive than processing carbohydrates and much more expensive than processing fats. The body will spend more calories trying to process protein compared to trying to process carbohydrates and fats. So keep this in mind that a calorie is not a calorie which is not a calorie. Smart food choices matter!

So, with that little bit of science news out of the way, what would be the recommended protein intake for an active individual (and I certainly hope you are!)? Around .8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is generally a good point to be at and you have plenty of wiggle room to eat more protein if you wish, just make sure that you have your calories in check to fit your goals (deficit for healthy weight loss (bodyfat) and surplus for healthy weight gain (lean mass)). How should one take in protein throughout the day? 25-40 grams of quality protein per meal going by 3-4 meals per day eating schedule. What constitutes quality protein? Leucine content ultimately. What is leucine and why leucine? Leucine is the most important of the three branched-chain amino acids (BCAA's) which consist of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. It is the amino acid which triggers an anabolic (anabolic simply means lean mass growth here) pathway called mTOR. mTOR's response to leucine is both dose dependent and non-linear. Below a certain threshold, you're not going to get optimal mTOR signalling, above a certain threshold you're going to be looking at diminishing returns for mTOR signalling. What is the magic threshold? Thus far most agree that 3 grams of leucine in a bulbous dose (all at once, or a spike if you'd like) illicits optimal mTOR signalling. Leucine content is also what the quality of proteins are based off of. Animal based proteins are of higher quality due to the higher amount of leucine content whilst plant based proteins are considered to be lower quality due to the lower leucine content. The 25-40 grams of quality protein suggestion I mentioned earlier will generally get you to that roughly 3 grams bulbous leucine dose.

So now we've learned a bit more about what makes a protein a quality protein as well as a general idea of how much protein to consume per meal, let's take a quick look at protein sources. If you do not have dietary limitations to animal products, your selection of protein sources are going to be quite easy. Dairy is an excellent source for quality proteins and has very high concentrations of leucine. Meats and fish are also very good sources or quality protein due to the leucine content. Now, it gets a little trickier when it comes to vegetarians or vegans. It's perfectly fine to consume plant-based proteins but the issue comes down to the much lower protein contents. How does one get around this? By consuming a higher amount of protein and also combining various plant-based protein sources in a single meal. This is in order to get the leucine content up. Alternatively, one can also supplement with additional BCAAs or leucine with their meals in order to get that leucine spike to signal mTOR.

Now, I know the question some of you may be thinking, how in the world are you ever going to consistently consume the amount of protein suggested on a daily basis!? Well, that's where protein supplements come in! As the name implies, protein supplements are nutritional supplements which supplement ones protein intake in order to reach their protein goals for the day. Since you're reading this post on a Vibrant Health blog, you most likely are also interested in Vibrant Health products and with that, please take a look at their PureGreen Protein product. You have a 100% mixed plants sourced protein at a very good 20 grams and the best part about the product is that they have added additional BCAAs to it in which you are getting an additional 2 grams of leucine!

About the Author: Steve L. is a consumer who uses Vibrant Health products. He is active in many online health-related forums.

Another Amazing Amino – L-Trytophan

When you hear tryptophan you probably think turkey dinner - but why does it make you sleepy? #vibrantblog

When you hear tryptophan you probably think turkey dinner - but why does it make you sleepy? #vibrantblog

L-Tryptophan is another of the 8 essential amino acids, (meaning your body does not produce it naturally, but is required for the body's healthy functioning). We all know the urban myth that a turkey dinner will make you sleepy. Actually, pork and swiss cheese contain more L-tryptophan per gram than turkey.  In fact, both ground beef and chicken contain nearly the same amount of L-tryptophan as turkey, which is about 350 milligrams per 4oz serving. Also, that 350 milligrams is lower than the amount you would typically need to induce sleep. The recommendations for L-tryptophan supplements to help you sleep are 500 to 2,000 milligrams.  You're not geting anywhere near that amount with the average turkey meal!

The biochemistry of L-tryptophan metabolism in your body is quite fascinating and very significant. Tryptophan gets converted by your body and brain, into 5-hydroxy-tryptophan (5-HTP) which then converts into serotonin (the ‘feel good’ hormone which is an important brain neurotransmitter that helps control your moods, appetite and sleep. Serotonin, in turn, acts as a raw ingredient in the manufacture of a potent sleep-inducing hormone called Melatonin.  Think of it like this:

[L-tryptophan → 5HTP → Serotonin → Melatonin = Sleep/Calm].

Because of these connections L-tryptophan may directly have beneficial effects with:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Childhood Hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD)
  • Migraines
  • Bulimia
  • PMS
  • Compulsive Behaviors
  • Substance Abuse
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Weight Loss (by diminishing Carbohydrate Cravings)

Also, there’s some direct evidence developed from laboratory research showing 5-HTP functions as an antioxidant, as well as being a precursor to serotonin. Researchers have demonstrated that 5-HTP can directly scavenge Nitrc Oxide (NO), peroxide radicals, and other oxidative radicals.


Again ~ several foods are high in Tryptophan ~ not just Turkey.  For instance cashew nut kernels (around 280mg per 100g) and unsweetened cocoa powder (approximately 290mg per 100g) are also worth noting.

Consider also oats (with a content of around 180mg per 100g) and chicken eggs (approximately 167mg per 100g) can also be used as sources of L-tryptophan to ensure sufficient levels within the diet. Additionally, dried peas (around 275mg per 100g) and salmon (approximately 209mg per 100g) contain large amounts of this vital substance and can also be adopted in the diet.

Unfortunately, because the L-tryptophan contained in these foods is chemically bonded, only a fraction is actually absorbed by your body. The effect of these foods in your diet will therefore not be the same as the effect of nutritional supplements containing L-tryptophan.

Combine that fact with the admission that our unhealthy eating habits, as well as too much stress (and too little time), mean that few people are able to meet their body’s requirement for L-tryptophan and therefore really ought to supplement their intake of this amino acid.

What happens when you’re deficient? Good Question.  A deficiency in this essential amino acid can lead to unpredictable mood swings and occasionally even depression.  This is because L-tryptophan performs important functions in the nervous system as a producer of messengers. For this reason, it is now possible to use this vital substance in the form of a dietary supplement to combat mental illnesses, which several studies have already shown.

AND ~ It’s actually part of the amino complex that we’ve included in our Pure Green Protein.

About the author: Jeanne Ricks is a Holistic Health Coach & Clinical Hypnotist who provides personal diet, wellness & nutrition coaching combined with Hypnosis to help you achieve your personal best.

Looking Into L-lysine

Why the amino acid lysine is so important #vibrantblog

Why the amino acid lysine is so important #vibrantblog

We’ve talked about Amino acids before.  These are substances that your body uses to build protein molecules. In fact, your body makes the proteins needed to sustain life from 20 different amino acids. While 12 of these amino acids are naturally produced by your body; 8 are called “essential” amino acids, because your body cannot manufacture them. This means that they must be obtained from your diet or from supplements. Maintaining a balance among all of these amino acids is vital to your health.

So, when you increase your intake of one (or more) amino acids, you can help treat specific symptoms and conditions in the body. L-lysine for instance, is highly concentrated in the muscle tissues of your body and therefore critical to keeping them healthy.

L-lysine benefits don’t stop at the proper growth and development of your muscle tissue. It also builds collagen, and thus helps your body heal from injuries. The collagen produced by L-lysine does not just help you to produce healthy skin, but also helps you to repair torn muscle, ligaments and tendons. Any Athlete suffering damage from overtraining will benefit from L-lysine, as can anyone who suffers a muscle, tendon or ligament injury.

An L-lysine deficiency can cause damage to your entire immune system. It helps to prevent illness and infection. It’s been found to reduce the severity and length of herpes simplex cold sore infections, and to even prevent recurrences of the cold sores altogether.

It’s also essential for the absorption of calcium within your body. For this reason, this amino acid has been shown to be important for your bone health, and is considered a supplement for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis, (a disease which leads to the deterioration and degeneration of bones). By increasing both bone strength and decreasing calcium loss, L-lysine can help prevent and reverse the effects of this disabling disease.

It’s one of the amino acids that are easily depleted from your body when your system is especially stressed. People who have thyroid disorders, depression, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, and some kidney diseases have all been found to have low levels of L-lysine. You can see why keeping adequate levels of essential amino acids can help prevent and cure these illnesses.

But here’s the thing about L-lysine.  You can’t just run out and buy it to take by itself.  In order for your body to properly absorb and take advantage of the many L-lysine benefits, a number of other nutrients are needed. L-lysine metabolism requires niacin, Vitamin B6, riboflavin, Vitamin C, glutamic acid and iron. This is why L-lysine supplements usually come in a compound containing all of the nutrients needed for proper absorption.

Food sources of L-lysine are quite common ~ foods such as beans, dairy products, potatoes and brewer’s yeast. Cottage cheese and wheat germ are also rich sources of L-lysine. If you’re looking for another great alternative source, we’ve included 730mg of L-lysine in a balanced formula for our Pure Green Protein.

About the author: Jeanne Ricks is a Holistic Health Coach & Clinical Hypnotist who provides personal diet, wellness & nutrition coaching combined with Hypnosis to help you achieve your personal best.

What Do Heavy Metal, Dirt and Protein Powders Have in Common?

Soil Depletion World Map #vibranthealthblog

Luv Doctor Oz ~ he’s made my job as a nutritionist SOooo much easier.  He helps people understand that they are in charge of their health.  He gets the conversation going.

Recently Oz's guest was Dr. Todd Cooperman, President of Consumer Labs, which tested 16 popular protein powders. Results showed that some brands contained less protein and more of both carbohydrates and calories than was stated on their labels. That’s a problem!

Another huge concern raised was over some products levels of arsenic and heavy metals including lead.  Of course the Oz show is limited in time and was only able to go into minimal detail.  So, let’s look a little deeper.  Dirt Deep!

Now, imagine that you’re deep within the Amazon rain forest.  The foliage and greenery is so dense that you can barely make-out the dappled sunlight beaming in between the trees and vines. It’s very humid and smells green and alive.  Let’s put you in some protective hiking gear and netting because there are some serious insects here.  Okay, reach down and pick-up a handful of the soil.  It’s nearly black it’s so rich with nutrients.  It’s moist and the scent too is dense and well…earthy.  That’s the stuff.  Plant any seed here that you want and it will not only grow ~ it will thrive!

How is our population affecting soil nutrient density? #vibranthealthblog

Now, zap yourself to any industrial agriculture farm. This is called arable land and we’re running out of it worldwide. Check-out this quick little video from the Farmland Trust. Every year we lose over a million acres of US farmland ideally suited to grow food. More than 75% of America’s fruit, vegetables and dairy products are produced on what are called urban edged farms. Go ahead, reach down and pick-up a handful of that soil.  More like plain dirt isn’t it?

Crops grow but, the plants don’t thrive. This soil has to be replenished with fertilizers because it’s been turned over so many times and provided so many years of crops for the American dinner table ~ it’s lacking in natural nutrients. That’s the reason why I and other nutritionists recommend that our clients use dietary supplements. The soil itself that your food is grown in is lacking in nutrients, next combine that with the travel and storage time it takes for the food to reach your table ~ there’s very little nutrient value left.

But, take another look at that farmland out there.  A field once used for corn, may now be used for soy plants etc. Again and again the land has been turned over and replanted. Also, seed is expensive.  Farmers can’t afford to have crops taken over by insects, other pests or plant diseases ~ So, along with fertilizers, insecticides are used.

This isn’t a US problem.  This is a worldwide issue. 

Soil Depletion World Map #vibranthealthblogBut, back to us in the US and this protein issue…

China is now facing a grave soil pollution situation. Heavy metals have severely polluted some areas, mines and factories have degraded soil in industrial areas and the amount of arable land is decreasing due to the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.  In May of 2013, The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) refused to issue data related to soil pollution and declared that related data remains a ‘state secret.’  They continue to use chemicals which were banned many years ago here in the US. With an estimated $3.1 trillion of cash reserves, China has already been eyeing farmland purchases in a variety of countries (particularly at Africa).  Already, China is becoming a net importer of food. According to a report from the US Grains Council, China will import as much as 15 million tons in 2014-2015.

All of the values (calories, carbs, protein etc.) on Vibrant Health product labeling are accurate; what’s more ~ we’ve ensured that the protein is the most bio-available possible.

At Vibrant Health we chose to use a plant based protein formula combining Non-GMO Rice, Pea, Alfalfa and Spirulina proteins.  We took an additional step to maximize the bio-availability of those proteins, by adding a few select free amino acids, and creating a purely vegetable protein with an amino acid ration that surpasses albumin and whey proteins, which is nearly equal to that of human muscle tissue.

Sure, Whey protein isolates are popular but, they share the disadvantages that you’ll find with any dairy based product, which is antibiotics and pesticides in the grain that the cattle are fed.  Another huge issue is that many people have lactose or casein allergies. Additionally, any dairy product sold in the US must be pasteurized which “de-natures” any Whey product, automatically reducing its nutrient value.

Dr. Oz and Dr. Cooperman raised valid concerns regarding heavy metals and arsenic. Yet, if you look closely at the Consumer Labs report provided by the Oz program, the rice protein product test results all showed: ‘Did Not Exceed Contamination Limit for Lead, Cadmium and Arsenic’.  But, how did these contaminants get into the rice protein at all?  Good question.

Response to Dr. Oz's comments on protein powders #vibranthealthblogThe major producers of rice in the world are China, India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Philippines, Brazil, Japan, USA, Pakistan, and the Republic of Korea (in this order).  Can you already see where a problem could arise for US products using rice?  Many of them source their rice from overseas where standards for water safety and chemical usage are not as high as those in the US.

Notice in this chart the tiny amount of rice produced in the US?

The arsenic that Dr. Cooperman mentioned raises a very specific issue because the report is leaving out a very important piece of the picture. And speaking of Oz ~ Remember Dorothy and Glenda the so-called 'Good Witch'?  Just think how much better-off Dorothy would have been if Glenda had given her complete information about those Ruby Slippers from the beginning!

The report fails to take into account that there are two types ~ organic and inorganic.  This makes a HUGE difference.

Arsenic both organic and inorganic is more common than many people realize. In fact, arsenic may be essential for biological activity in many organisms, including humans, though nobody's officially named it as an essential nutrient.

Organic Arsenic is found in soil, rocks and water, and it presents no danger in small amounts. Looking at the organic arsenic that you may get from fish, seafood and algae; the specific arsenic compounds obtained from these sources are arsenobentaine and arsenocholine, which are relatively non-toxic and are rapidly excreted in unchanged form in your urine.

Inorganic Arsenic is a completely different story ~ with a bad ending. Disturbingly, low-level inorganic arsenic exposure continues to take place in our general population (as do some cases of high-dose poisoning) through the commercial use of inorganic arsenic compounds in common products such as wood preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and paints; through the consumption of foods and the smoking of tobacco treated with arsenic-containing pesticides; and through the burning of fossil fuels in which arsenic is a contaminant. Inorganic arsenic is known to be a carcinogen (a cancer-causing agent). It's also been linked to problems with the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, liver, lungs and skin.  Bad stuff.

So you see, it's not enough to simply list something as a dangerous toxin, without looking at the complete picture. Partial information is as harmful to consumers as flying monkeys.

Practically every plant food has some naturally occurring metals in it. Why?  All plants absorb metals, etc. from the soil ~ which in turn absorbs it through ground water, rain water, etc. Carrots, corn, cucumbers, green beans, yams, potatoes, turnips, apples, tomatoes, artichokes, lettuce, spinach and many other fruits and vegetables contain arsenic.  A one cup serving of your favorite classic Green Beans contain a whopping 28.75 micrograms of lead. That level is 56 times the allowable limit! You’ll still live after a serving of green beans, because your body is designed to remove these modest doses.

Guess what? The same varieties of veggies found for instance in our Green Vibrance, are the very means that your body needs to remove toxins. Because the phytochemicals in them naturally help to detoxify your body, while providing your organs with necessary nutrients, cruciferous vegetables for instance are simply an excellent way to return your body to health. Also, with the presence specifically of the phytochemical glutathione, your liver is also positively affected, as this amazing element helps the organ excrete chemicals and heavy metals.

At Vibrant Health we test for heavy metals, arsenic and other contaminants at several stages of our product manufacturing:

1.    It begins with our careful selection of raw material supplier (who tests prior to shipping). We review their Certificate of Analysis (COA) on raw materials which test for microbiology and heavy metals. A COA tests for microbiology (yeast, e. coli salmonella and staff bacteria, mold, and fungus) and heavy metals (arsenic, lead, mercury, aluminum, etc.). Levels have to be below a certain threshold as determined by Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) and American Public Health Association (APHA) which set global standards for quality of ingredients. 

2.    We test again before a material is added to any dietary supplement formula.

3.    A third test for a COA is conducted on our finished product and reports reviewed for any anomalies.

At any of these three stages, a raw material or finished product showing excessive levels of any of the heavy metals will be rejected. We use outside testing labs, which are not affiliated with the seller of the raw materials or with our company, which brings a level of impartiality to the process.

Although we believe our products are already safe when used as directed, Vibrant Health has been looking for ways to reduce lead and other heavy metals for many years now. While our arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury levels fall below recommended thresholds, we are currently evaluating new materials and new potential formulas for Pure Green Protein, etc. with the goal of reducing the current trace amounts of inorganic and organic arsenic, lead and other heavy metal content even more. 

This is the whole reason behind our company’s Guiding Principal of Formula Obsolescense’.  Our Flagship product ‘Green Vibrance’ is in its 14th formulation. Why?  Every Vibrant Health product is expected to change as new discoveries in science come to light, and as new raw materials become available. Vibrant Health products are ‘dynamic by design’ to stay at the forefront of nutritional science.

About the author: Jeanne Ricks is a Holistic Health Coach & Clinical Hypnotist who provides personal diet, wellness & nutrition coaching combined with Hypnosis to help you achieve your personal best.

What’s Vitamin B12 & Why You Need It

memory loss

What’s so special about Vitamin B12? Like the other B Vitamins, it’s essential for your body’s metabolism which includes the processes of energy generation and use; together with nutrition, digestion, absorption, elimination, respiration, circulation and body temperature regulation. B12 is in fact vital for the operation and maintenance of your central nervous system comprising both brain and spinal cord. Without it, permanent damage can result (e.g., blindness, deafness, dementia). It helps both in the formation of red blood cells, and to metabolize protein. The once fatal Pernicious (or megaloblastic) anemia is actually low red blood cell count caused specifically by inadequate Vitamin B12. B12 also helps your body make white blood cells, which are vital for your immune system, and are essential for pregnant women because they assist an embryo’s neurological development. In other words ~ Vitamin B12 is essential to pretty much all aspects of your body function.

It’s the only vitamin that contains a cobalt metal ion (which is why the term “cobalamin” is used to refer to it). Another unique aspect is that we have trouble absorbing it from plant sources. Our bodies absorb animal sources of Vitamin B12 far better than plant sources ~ which is a problem for vegetarians. Unfortunately, there are no reliable, plant sources for Vitamin B12 (including tempeh, seaweeds and organic produce) potentially due to soil nutrient depletion.

memory lossNow what happens when we’re deficient in this little powerhouse? Numerous medical studies clearly show that it can lead to problems of mood and memory, as well as neurologic symptoms. Results from a 2011 Rush University Medical Center in Chicago study on Vitamin B12 deficiency provides more evidence that B12 deficiency is a risk factor for brain atrophy and cognitive impairment. Deficiency can mimic Alzheimer’s’ or Multiple Sclerosis. A cross-section of patients deficient in B12 have also reported problems with unsteady gait, muscle weakness, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, a swollen, inflamed tongue, yellowed skin (jaundice), dizziness, faintness, numbness or tingling in the arms/legs and hair loss. Even tinnitus has been associated with lack of this vitamin. According to a study from Massachusetts General Hospital published in The New England Journal of Medicine a severe Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to deep depression, paranoia and delusions, memory loss, incontinence, loss of taste and smell, and more, according to a study released in January’s New England Journal.

The Pernicious Anemia Society now provides a very lengthy (and scary) list of symptoms that you can download here. And if that didn’t get your attention, this is the info provided by the CDC on how dangerous and prevalent B12 deficiency is. Okay ~ so you get it now. Vitamin B12 deficiency is really very serious.

The thing is ~ your body doesn’t really require that much of it ~ only 2.4 micrograms (mcg) of Vitamin B12 daily (2.8 mcg for pregnant women). That’s all! And your liver can store several years’ worth of Vitamin B12 (although to build up such stores, means years of consuming B12 beyond one’s daily needs or using supplements which can build up stores more quickly). Still, it should be relatively easy to maintain adequate levels. Right?!

Even so, recent statistics show that 47 million Americans are B12 deficient (the CDC estimates 1 out of every 31 adults over the age of 51). What’s going on? Many people over age 50 lose the ability to absorb it properly from foods. Simply put, cells in the stomach change as we mature and don’t secrete as much acid. It’s estimated that over 30% of people over age of 50 do not secrete enough gastric acid. This all important acid is used to separate (among other things) Vitamin B12 and protein. According to researcher Victor Herbert, “inadequate absorption (in the digestive tract) accounts for more than 95% of the Vitamin B12 deficiency cases seen in the United States.”

Here’s another problem. Just borderline B12 deficiency may cause symptoms so intense, that simple B12 deficiency could easily be tossed out as a diagnosis simply because it may be thought that the symptoms could not possibly be caused by such a low level deficiency. Because of this, B12 deficiency can go undiagnosed until a person’s symptoms become moderate to severe. Often, a person’s symptoms emerge so slowly that they themselves may even become accustomed to them and overlook their issues until they become severe.

Oh, and just one more catch. To date, science can’t provide a “gold standard” test for B12 deficiency because as a B12 deficiency occurs, serum values may still be maintained even while tissue B12 stores have become depleted. Because of this, any serum B12 values above the cut-off point of deficiency do not necessarily indicate an adequate B12 status in the body. Yikes!

So what can you look for? Some of the risk factors include changes in your diet and medications that you take on a regular basis. At risk are those who:

  • are over 50 years old
  • take a proton-pump inhibitor (such as Nexium or Prevacid) or H2 blocker (such as Pepcid or Zantac)
  • take metformin (a Diabetes drug)
  • routinely take pain killers like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen
  • are a strict vegetarian
  • have had weight-loss surgery or have a condition such as celiac or Crohn’s disease that interferes with the absorption of food
  • drink excessive alcohol

Now you’ll know what to look for to protect your health. Would you like to know the best sources to get your Vitamin B12? You’ll get it easily through just 4oz, once or twice a month of animal protein ~ for instance Sardines, Salmon, Lamb, Halibut, Beef (grass-fed), Organic Yogurt, Kefir, Cod, Eggs, (pasture-raised). Oh ~ or you can get a full days supply (2.5mcg) in a single serving of our Pure Green Protein!

About the author: Jeanne Ricks is a Holistic Health Coach & Clinical Hypnotist who provides personal diet, wellness & nutrition coaching combined with Hypnosis to help you achieve your personal best.

Protein’s Importance 4U


Okay~ So way back in 5th Grade science class you probably learned that Protein is the building block for muscle. But, did you know that unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body can’t store excess protein for later use? Your body actually requires consistent protein intake throughout the day in order to keep your muscles strong and healthy.

Another important aspect is that muscle burns fat. Let me qualify that a bit. Your body burns either fat or carbs depending on the intensity of your activity. Just sitting there comfortably reading, you’re burning at around 50% fat and 50% carbs. Let’s say you decided to do a bit of jogging, then, in order to preserve the carbs (which can run out because you have limited stores in your body), gradually your metabolism will shift the ratio to around 60% fat and 40% carbs to help keep you moving.

The amount of muscle you have plays a major role in your metabolic rate, because muscle tissue requires more calories to function properly than fat tissue. What’s a Metabolic Rate? Your metabolic rate is just the speed at which your body burns calories. It’s important since the higher it is, the more calories you burn, meaning you’ll burn more fat.

The truth is you don’t exercise to lose weight – Nope! You exercise to build more muscle to burn fat. How is muscle burning up all that fat? This goes into the way that your body breaks down the food that you eat to create the energy you need to live.

When you eat carbohydrates, they’re broken down into sugars in your blood, and the hormone insulin then takes these sugars to be stored in your liver. When your liver stores are full, the rest of the sugars go to your muscles (as glycogen), and then on to the fat cells for storage. Unfortunately, having a high level of insulin in your fat cells will lead you to have an increase in your storage (i.e. body fat mass). However, if you increase the amount of muscle in your body, then more of that insulin will be taken in by your muscles to be used for repair ~ and yes as an energy source, and less will be deposited in your fat cells, which then helps to burn more fat.

Protein can’t be directly burned by your body for energy and instead you must use some of the amino acids in protein to make substances that can be used for energy. Some of these, known as the ketogenic amino acids, can be converted into compounds that can be used in the Krebs cycle, which is a series of chemical reactions that produce energy for your body.

Just how much protein is needed for your daily intake is a little complicated because the amount you need changes with your age.

• Infants require about 10 grams a day.
• Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.
• Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.
• Adult men need about 56 grams a day.
• Adult women need about 46 grams a day.
• Pregnant (or lactating women) 71 grams of protein a day.

Your best protein sources will always be through food. Good sources of protein include organic eggs, raw nuts, cold water fish, beans, lean grass-fed organic beef and organic free-range chicken are all equally fantastic sources. You’ll find that these whole foods will give you the protein you need, while simultaneously being more likely to provide you with a variety of other very important nutrients.

But here’s some important news. Current data from the CDC – National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that 7.7% of adolescent females and about 8% of older adult women weren’t getting the minimum recommended amount of protein. Men aged 51 to 70 consumed 16% of their calories in protein, also a little below the recommended amount. What does this mean to your health?
This deficit can cause very serious health issues. Protein is vital to many physiological functions from keeping your cells functioning properly, to building and maintaining both bone and ~ as we just discussed ~muscle.

Here’s another problem…As you age, your body becomes increasingly less able to utilize the protein in your food for building and repairing muscle. Let’s take stock on that last sentence. This means ALL muscle – eye muscles, heart muscles, leg muscles not able to properly build and repair as you age! The fancy name for this is Sarcopenia.
Age-related muscle loss begins to take effect in your mid 20’s! Initially it’s at a rate of 1% loss per year, but, it accelerates as your age advances and your muscle mass is replaced with fat.
Causes include:

  • Hormonal Changes
  • Sedentary Lifestyle
  • Free Radicals
  • Oxidative Stress damage
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Acidic Diet

Protein supplementation can help but, protein shakes vary in protein content. The source of the protein and how it’s purified during manufacturing may affect how well your body can digest and absorb its amino acids (used in the Krebs cycle as the building blocks of protein).

Although it’s best to obtain protein through your diet, supplementing it with a natural source may be beneficial. Our PureGreen Protein contains no genetically modified ingredients. Its protein is sourced from pea, rice, spirulina and alfalfa and combined with four select free amino acids.

  • a consistent high quality bio-available protein source
  • truly hypoallergenic
  • an alternative for digestive difficulties
  • a balanced amino acid profile closely matching that of human muscle tissue
  • supports healthy tissue and cellular repair and growth

Now you understand why getting enough protein is so essential to your optimal health.

About the author: Jeanne Ricks is a Holistic Health Coach & Clinical Hypnotist who provides personal diet, wellness & nutrition coaching combined with Hypnosis to help you achieve your personal best.

Branched Chain wwwhat? BCAA’s & You


Good News! Research confirms that BCAA’s increases protein synthesis, reduces fatigue and even increases the testosterone supply in your muscles.

Oh! Wait a minute, wo, Wo, WO!

You’d probably like to know what the heck a BCAA is!  It’s a Branched-Chain Amino Acid and it’s invaluable in assisting with your muscle repair and building.

Okay, let’s back-up a minute…

Let’s start with the amino acid itself which is just an organic molecule that, when linked together with other amino acids, forms polypeptides and protein. Those new proteins that are formed will be involved in virtually all of your cell functions. For our purposes we’re focusing on just their function related to energy production during and after exercise.

You’ve got 9 essential amino acids. They’re called ‘essential’, because you must get them through your diet since your body does not produce them on its own. 35% of these essential amino acids are used in your muscle protein and 40% are the non-essential amino acids required by mammals for other functions.

Now back to BCAA’s where we started: The ‘branched-chain’ amino acid is simply an amino acid which has aliphatic side-chains with a branch (which is nothing more than a carbon atom bound to more than two other carbon atoms). So ‘branched-chain’, just refers to the way it’s put together or the molecular structure of this particular amino acid. Your branched-chain amino acids, more specifically, are leucine, isoleucine and valine. Woo, okay are you still with me?

leucineNow, here’s why the BCAA’s are so important.

These amino acids make up a whopping one third of the muscle in your body. Starting with Leucine ~ it helps you regulate your protein turnover and energy metabolism. It also helps hinder breakdown of muscle protein that occurs after high usage. Isoleucine has vital antioxidant properties. Valine is very similar to leucine. It improves your energy metabolism and protein synthesis, while helping to maintain muscle strength during intense physical exertion. This accounts for the increased endurance resulting in delayed fatigue during exercise and post exercise recovery. However some other BCAA functions include; improved mental performance, energy levels, immune system function and fewer upper respiratory tract infections.

Beyond exercise, your body is building up and tearing down muscle tissue on a daily basis. This turnover of proteins can amount to 25% of your energy expenditure even when you’re at rest.

What about your body’s use of protein from your food?

The protein that you eat serves a couple of purposes: First, it fuels the raw building blocks for muscle and secondly it begins muscle protein synthesis. You do get BCAA’s through your diet. It’s true that as long as you’re eating some complete proteins like organic meats, dairy, eggs (and even protein supplements), you’ll have all of your basic raw materials, BUT it’s been shown that after eating your wonderful protein meal, your actual protein synthesis will stay elevated for only about 2 hours and then it just drops-offOoops!

This begs the question ~ how can you keep your muscle repairing protein synthesis going?

Current research suggests that taking leucine only (without carbs) within 2 hours of a meal, not only keeps your muscle repair and building process going, but also allows your insulin levels to go back down and not hinder the fat burning process in your body! This is a HUGE win-win.  BUT, because taking leucine all by itself depletes its other two chums isoleucine and valine ~ you’ll need to have a balanced BCAA formula.

BCAA’s and Your Exercise

You probably would expect to know that your BCAA requirement is automatically increased through the muscle protein breakdown which occurs when you play sports or exercise. How?

During exercise your muscles burn up the available stores of BCAA’s in your body, and then begin to break down your skeletal muscle tissue in order to provide the essential amino acids for more fuel. The results?  Reduced ability for your muscles to contract and relax during physical exertion ~ for instance the deficit will cause you to have muscle fatigue, lactic acidosis, loss of performance and delayed recovery as muscle tissue repairs itself.  But Guess What?

The key news here is that BCAA supplementation before and after you exercise has been proven to have valuable effects for decreasing any exercise-induced muscle damage, while also promoting that all important muscle-protein synthesis.

By the way, this is what we use in our PureGreen Protein. You can easily see why we felt it so important to combine healthy plant proteins with a balance of amnio acids ideally balanced for human consumption which include BCAA’s.

About the author: Jeanne Ricks is a Holistic Health Coach & Clinical Hypnotist who provides personal diet, wellness & nutrition coaching combined with Hypnosis to help you achieve your personal best.

Weighing-in on Whey


Hype, hype, hype ~ there’s been so much hype telling you that the quickest “whey” to get protein, especially immediately after a workout, might be reaching for the shaker bottle filled with a carbohydrate rich protein drink ~ usually containing whey or other animal protein. But is it?

Whole foods are always going to be your best source for protein. Two problems right-off the bat in terms of Whey as a protein source are the common issue of those with allergies to lactose and its companion casein; and finding a whey protein supplement that is produced organically, or at least by cattle were grass-fed and have not received rBGH or antibiotic injections.

Whey will usually be found in products in one of two forms Concentrates or Isolates. Whey Concentrates contain anywhere from 29% to 89% protein content compared to the Whey Protein Isolate standard 90%. The lower the protein content, the higher the fat and lactose content will be in that particular Whey. So obviously most products you’ll find on the market will use Whey Isolates.

But did you know that there are two categories of protein to consider? The function of a protein is determined by its shape. Proteins in your body as well as, in whole foods are in the L-amino acid form. But the processing used to produce Whey Isolates also produces damaging D-amino acid (optical isomer). These are simply not compatible with your body. Findings show that depositing these D proteins into your bone, brain and muscle is associated with accelerated aging. In fact, the buildup of D proteins in the brain has been linked to Alzheimer’s and even Parkinson ’s disease.

You should know too that all Whey Protein Isolates are deficient in what they call nutritional co-factors ~ for instance alkalizing minerals, naturally occurring vitamins and lipids ~ which are needed to balance the acidity of the protein. These are completely lost in the processing. Now you’re putting into your body something which will be overly acidifying.

What’s so bad about the acidic rise in your body tissues? Over time this may lead to metabolic acidosis with consequences that include waste of muscle and bone tissues, total metabolic shut down, and increased vulnerability to degenerative disease.

How do they process Whey Protein Isolates? The Whey is…

  • Processed with heat and acid –
    Problem: Both heat and acid damage the protein and makes it insoluble in water. Heating comes from the pasteurization. There is no commercial whey protein supplement that can be sold which is made from unpasteurized milk (it’s not legal in the U.S. or Canada). Simply put. When you heat milk (whether from a human, cow, goat, yak, or kangaroo) the proteins in it are denatured (i.e. molecular structure and characteristics are greatly changed), the live enzymes are killed and the beneficial bacteria (which builds your immune system and aids digestion) destroyed. Acid is used as a cheap means to separate whey from the curd.
  • Processed to remove fat –
    Problem: This also removes healthy properties such as phospholipids, phosphatidylserine, CLA and cortisol. All of the IgG immunoglobulins, which are an excellent source of glutamine and glutamylcysteine, are also bound to fat and as a result also lost.

Cold Extracted Whey Protein Isolate is exposed to less of this manipulation. Yet, even this protein is subjected to pasteurization by law. Most Whey used in products is not cold, cross-flow membrane extracted. This is because the heat or acid-extracted Whey Isolate is so much cheaper. The cross-flow membrane extracted whey protein isolate is very expensive and supply is often limited.

These issues and more are why we’ve chosen plant based (Non-genetically modified Pea, Rice, Spirulina and Alfalfa) sources of protein for our products. Pea protein ranks highly with an amino acid ratio suitably approximating human muscle. Spirulina protein and rice protein also have the extra added importance of containing good amounts of all essential amino acids in good balance.

So now you’ve got a better picture of some of the troublesome aspects of supplementing with Whey.