Friday, July 25, 2014

The Miracle Bean

Soy, the little bean from East Asia, has stirred up the health foods community. Some vilify soy, but at Kay's Naturals we recognize its goodness. Nutritionist, WebMD, and the  Mayo Clinic, all advocate on the beans behalf. For good reason. A glance of the health benefits listed below quickly highlights why it has been a dietary staple in East Asian countries for over 5,000 years.

What is soy?
If it's made from the soybean, then it's called soy. The bean is extremely adaptable, and its health benefits can be found in many forms, such as tofu, edamame, protein powder, chips and oils. Many love of soy is because it’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids required to build cells, repair tissue and fight invading virus and bacteria. It is similar to meat but without saturated fat or cholesterol.

Why its good for you:

Reduces risk of heart disease- replacing animal products with soy can lower cholesterol levels. Soy has been found to lower bad cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins and may also even raise the high density good cholesterol.
Prostate cancer prevention- according to [G14] [G15] AskMen, "In over 40 studies, soy has promoted healthy prostate function. Soy is rich in isoflavones, a poorly understood, but markedly effective antioxidant. Soy protein has also been shown to inhibit the enzymes that stimulate prostate cell growth. The low cancer rates in Asian men have been partly attributed to soy consumption.
Healthy Bones- soy reduces the chance of osteoporosis by preventing bone tissue loss in postmenopausal women. Both women and men benefit from soy as it sustains strong bones.
Colon Health- a [G27] [G28] study with colon cancer survivors found that soy lowered the cancer's growth. Soy also assists in keeping the digestive tract healthy, which is linked to a healthy colon and lower risk of cancer.
Thriving Immune systems- saponins are  natural detergents found in Soy. Saponins are intestines janitor, and prevents the absorption of cholesterol. Additionally, saponins fight microbes and boost t the immune system.
Lowers blood glucose levels- diabetics who consume soy generally have lower blood glucose levels, in part because soy is high in fiber.
Suggested quantities:
Like everything, soy should be consumed in moderation. The FDA recommends 25 grams of soy protein daily. Every diet should be rich in vegetables, fruits and other high-fiber, low-sugar foods. Deep fried tofu is not the suggested course of action! Kay’s Naturals is high in protein and made from soy. Enjoy the benefits of the miracle bean and its' amino acids, protein, and fiber, in a delicious pretzel or chip!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Understanding Insulin Resistance

What is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance syndromes encapsulate a broad spectrum, including obesity, glucose intolerance, and diabetes. Often these disorders are related to endocrine, metabolic, and genetic conditions ( Insulin resistance occurs when the body is unable to properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, and it assists in the conversion of glucose into energy. Food is broken down into glucose (the bodies largest source of energy) within the digestive system. Glucose then moves from the bloodstream and into cells throughout the body, with the aid of insulin. Glucose in the bloodstream is called blood glucose or blood sugar. After consuming food, our blood glucose level rises and the pancreas releases insulin to assist cells in glucose absorption. Insulin resistance makes absorbing glucose problematic, as muscle, fat, and liver cells do not properly respond to insulin. This means the pancreas needs to increase the amount of insulin released. Eventually it fails to keep up with the increasing demand for insulin. As a consequence, glucose builds up in the bloodstream. Insulin resistance can increase the chance of developing type 2 Diabetes and heart disease ( One of the earliest and most noticeable symptoms of insulin resistance is weight gain, especially around the middle.

What causes insulin resistance?
Reversing insulin resistance is difficult because a domino effect within the body. Higher circulating levels of insulin in the blood stream and weight gain both further develop insulin resistance. The precise cause of insulin resistance has proven elusive to researchers. Many hypothesis that there are multiple different catalysis ( Obesity is nearly universally believed to be a principal cause of insulin resistance. One theory explains that central obesity (belly fat) results in fat cells being unable to receive enough  oxygen which will cause them to die (
In 2002, John Hopkins scientists found that a build-up of sugar on protein cells can provoke insulin resistance (Science Daily). This might encourage individuals to use non-nutrition sweeteners (NNS) as a way of protecting themselves from insulin resistance. As NNS does not have caloric energy and our bodies are unable to digest it, it is often believed that it is inert and has no effect on our bodies. Contrary to popular belief, in 2013 the American Diabetes Association published an article that found sucralose (a kind of NNS) to be connected to higher blood sugar peaks and a 20 percent increase in insulin levels.

Protect yourself through exercise and a healthy diet
Consumption of trans-fats, saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and processed foods have been closely linked to insulin ( resistance. Physical activity is advisable, as it appears to decrease the presence of insulin resistance. Kay’s Naturals has been created to allow for individuals to indulge and enjoy a savory or sweet snack without consuming refined carbs, trans-fats or saturated fats. Our snacks and cereals are very low in sugar and packed with protein. Enjoy our products without causing a spike in your blood sugar! To learn more about Kay’s Naturals go to our website.

Do you know the difference between food allergies and food intolerance?

Food reactions are common. Calling a food intolerance an allergy is a common misnomer, as the symptoms are similar. The differences however, are critical. A food intolerance is a non-allergic food hypersensitivity that can be delayed and involves the digestive system. In contrast, a food allergy involves the immune system and the reaction is immediate and possibly fatal. Many individuals suffer from one or the other. If we personally do not have a food intolerance or allergy, it is likely that we know people who do. Its time to understand the differences and importance of each.

Immune system versus digestive system

According to the Mayo Clinic, food allergies can cause a severe and immediate reaction to trace amounts of food. Food allergies can cause anaphylaxis (pronounced an-a-fi-LAK-sis), a life-threatening allergic reaction. This is why many airlines no longer serve peanuts on planes; eating a microscopic amount, or simply touching the food can cause anaphylaxis.  It is also noteworthy that a food allergy can be life-threatening, even if previous reactions have been mild ( This is why learning to  identifying food allergies and symptoms is so important. Individuals with food allergies, teachers, and parents may need to carry an emergency epinephrine shot for emergency treatment.

Food allergies can cause such extreme reactions due to its involvement with the immune system. The immune system mistakes a food allergy as an invader, and begins to release antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which in turn transmit chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.  

Symptoms of food allergies are contingent of the systems affected. Allergy symptoms can be seen on the skin, such as tingling mouth, hives, and swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat. It can involve the digestive system, with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.  Food allergies can affect the respiratory system as well, but generally occurs with other symptoms on the skin or through digestion. Anaphylaxis happens very quickly, and can cause dizziness, breathing trouble, dangerously low blood pressure, and/or loss of consciousness. Anaphylaxis could be fatal if not treated immediately ( If you have a food allergy, you must completely avoid the offending food.

Food intolerances can cause significant distress on the digestive tract, but they are not fatal. An intolerance to food occurs when you are unable to breakdown food properly. Our digestive system is unable to break down food for a variety of reasons:

  • enzyme deficiencies (such as lactose intolerance)
  • sensitivity to food additives
  • reactions to naturally occurring chemicals in foods
  • Food poisoning
  • Recurring stress or psychological factors
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Symptoms of food intolerances may include one or more of the following: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and cramping. Unlike a food allergy, it is possible to have small amounts of an offending food without causing difficulty for a food intolerance.

The future

Many questions about intolerances and allergies remain. Both are on the rise. According to Prevention Magazine, “in the last fifteen years, there has been a 50% increase in the number of children with food allergies. About 1 in 20 U.S. children have food allergies.” Food scientists and researchers are increasingly investigating both, and new research is forthcoming daily. If you suspect a food allergy or a food intolerance, talk to you doctor. They may recommend steps to aid digestion of certain foods or treat an underlying condition if you have a food intolerance.  

Kay’s naturals is designed especially for individuals with a food intolerance or allergy to gluten. Our entire line is made in a completely  gluten free facility. If you are interested in learning more about Kay’s Naturals, visit our website.

Friday, July 11, 2014

8 suprising foods that contain gluten

Its common knowledge that gluten is found in many grains, such as wheat, barley and rye. Which by default means that the bread and pastas made from these grains will contain gluten. In our world of highly processed foods  however, gluten can be found in some unlikely places. Gluten is added to foods because it acts like a glue, by binding the ingredients together. Gluten-free veterans and newbies alike need to check ingredient labels carefully. Knowing what brands are entirely gluten-free, and sneaky places where gluten resides, will help prevent a gluten contamination.

1. Licorice

Pure licorice root is gluten free, but most licorice candies are not. This is because the candy is made using wheat flour. For the licorice lovers out there, a little hunt for gluten free licorice will reveal some true treasures.

2. Soy sauce and Worcestershire

Soy sauce is frequently made from wheat or barley, so avoid this salty asian dipping sauce! For foods that are just not the same without it, try vinegar or a soy sauce made from soybeans. Likewise, Worcestershire can also be made from barley or soy sauce. Read ingredients carefully!

3. Hot drinks

Tea seems pretty innocent right? Be careful. Some herbal tea is made with barley malt to make it sweeter. If barley malt is there, it should be listed in the ingredients. Caffeine-free coffee alternatives can also contain gluten, because they can have rye, wheat, or barley. Additionally, prepackaged cocoa mixes can contain gluten due to cross-contamination in the factory. Thankfully, gluten free hot cocoa is much easier to make than croissants. Try out this delightful recipe.

4. Vitamin supplements and Medications
Over -the-counter and prescription medicine often have fillers (aka “inactive ingredients”) to provide shape to capsules, bind the ingredients and assist in water absorption. Some fillers come from wheat. Currently there is no law requiring the labeling of gluten in medication. Before taking a pill, call the manufacturer to ask if it is gluten free unless the label lists all inactive ingredients.

5. Beauty products

For individuals with celiac disease, just trace amounts of gluten can cause harm (think 1/10th of a bread crumb). That is why even lip balm can make people ill. Hydrolyzed gluten is used in beauty products as emulsifiers and stabilizers. The ability of lotions with gluten to cause harm to individuals with celiacs is debated. Additional research is needed to fully understand the effects of gluten in lotions and other beauty products. If you have celiac disease, it may be wise to be mindful of the ingredients in your beauty products.

6. Bouillon cubes

Maltodextrin is a binder that has gluten. If the bouillon cube contains maltodextrin, it is not gluten free. Read this comprehensive list, compiled by, of ingredients that can contain gluten.

7. Processed and faux meat
Veggie hotdogs and burgers can have vital wheat gluten or wheat flour as the second or third ingredient listed. That is definitely enough to make you ill.  Additionally, chicken and beef hot dogs and pre-made burgers can have wheat gluten as a filler. By now you know the drill: read the labels.
8. Flavoured potato chips

A lot is added to chips to give them an extra kick, and sometimes a food scientist will throw in some gluten. Examples of flavours that can contain gluten are barbecue and salt and vinegar.

Unfortunately, that’s not all. Here is a list of additional foods that can sneak in gluten:
Baked beans
French fries
Roasted nuts
Canned soup
Ice cream
Cereal binding
Rice mixes
Imitation seafood
Imitation bacon
Salad dressings
Artificial caramel color
Communion wafers
Salad dressings

With gluten added to many foods and cross-contamination common in processed foods, it becomes easy to see why gluten free labeling is important. In August 2013, the Food and Drug Administration outlined the qualifications needed to labeled a product as “gluten free” (must contain less than 20 ppm gluten). To read more about gluten free labeling visit the FDA’s website.
Kay’s Naturals is designed for health conscious and gluten free individuals. With all of our pretzels, cookie bites, and cereals, you can rest assured that all of our products are 100% gluten free. Our entire line of products are completely gluten free, so cross-contamination is impossible. So you can sit back and snack on, 100% secure that you are not eating gluten.. And the best part? No label reading necessary. Shop online at

Friday, July 4, 2014

The benefits of sleep

Not getting enough sleep? It’s easy to make eight hours of sleep a low priority. Many things stand between us and an REM cycle: kids, work, school, insomnia, travel, stress, Facebook and video games. In today’s high stimulus and fast-paced society, it’s common to feel sleep deprived when the alarm goes off. Insufficient sleep leaves our minds and bodies underperforming. Science has yet to discover a clear discernible reason for why we spend a third of our lives sleeping.  This article will briefly explain what we do know about sleep that might make a restful nights a priority.  First, let’s answer the question of how many hours of sleep we need a night. The following data comes from the Mayo Clinic’s website:

Age group
Recommended amount of sleep
9-10 hours at night, plus 3 or more hours of naps
9-10 hours at night, plus 2-3 hours of naps
School-age children
9-11 hours
7-8 hours

In addition to making us kinder to our loved ones, more patient on the highway, and more productive at work, sleep is imperative for our memory, learning, immune function, and metabolism, and other critical functions. Sleep releases critical hormones, as well as giving our body the chance to detox and rebuild. The following characteristics of sleep have come from the website hosted by the Division of Sleep Medicine of Harvard Medical School.

One theory for why we sleep, is that it is a time to "restore" the body. According to the Harvard sponsored website,  “Sleep provides an opportunity for the body to repair and rejuvenate itself...animals deprived entirely of sleep lose all immune function and die in just a matter of weeks.” Sleep research has found that muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis, and growth hormone release occur during sleep, and sometimes only during sleep.
Sleep also helps rejuvenate the brain. While we are awake the brain has a build-up of adenosine, a by-product of the cells' activities. This build-up is hypothesized as a cause for tiredness, which creates our desire to sleep. Adenosine continues to accumulate while we are awake, and when we are sleeping its is cleared from the brain.
Recent research about cognitive functions shed more light on the phenomenon of sleep. Brain plasticity and sleep are interconnected. According to the Harvard website, “sleep plays a critical role in brain development in infants and young children. Infants spend about 13 to 14 hours per day sleeping, and about half of that time is spent in REM sleep, the stage in which most dreams occur. A link between sleep and brain plasticity is becoming clear in adults as well. This is seen in the effect that sleep and sleep deprivation have on people's ability to learn and perform a variety of tasks.”
Still not convinced that sleep is a backbone to optimal health?
Let’s explore what the Mayo Clinic tells us about sleep. Some say they feel restored after a few hours of sleep. However, research indicates that little sleep over many consecutive nights causes individuals to perform weaker on complex mental tasks than those have around seven hours of sleep a night.  Moreover,  studies show that “getting less or much more than seven hours of sleep a night is associated with a higher mortality rate.”

Kay’s Naturals strives to promote healthy lifestyles, and we would like to support you in your health and wellness goals. We assist individuals to eat well by supplying gluten-free, protein-rich, blood-sugar stabilizing snacks and cereals. Our snacks and cereals are affordable and convenient- so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time in bed.