Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Petition to Stop GMO Apples

Please sign the petition to stop GMO apples.  Click on link below.


Petition to Stop GMO Apples



Image: seaskylab / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Food Prices Rising: Time to Garden

According to Natural News, America's aquifer is running dry. The Ogallala Aquifer is the largest underground fresh water supply in the world stretching from Texas to South Dakota. The Aquifer is drying up due to lack of rainwater. No water means no irrigation for crops including alfalfa, corn, wheat, cotton, and other crops. See the picture of Ogallala Aquifer below:


The USDA reports that in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, the three leading grain-producing states, the underground water table has dropped by more than 30 meters (100 feet) drying wells on thousands of farms in the southern Great Plains (http://www.eoearth.org/article/Aquifer_depletion).  We could experience another Dust Bowl like during the Great Depression. This means less food for livestock and people. We not only need to be concerned about an inevitable increase in food prices but also a shortage of food. This is not just a U.S. problem but a global problem as many nations depend on us for grains and cattle. We've already seen what is happening in the Egypt mostly due to food shortages. The UN warned of food shortages in 2010 (http://www.theage.com.au/world/un-warns-of-food-shortage-20101026-172ap.html)

So what can we do? Be prepared. I believe the most important thing we can all do for our wallet, security, and health is to grow a garden. Don't wait until food prices have doubled and a gallon of gas is $5. Start a garden today. Buy heirloom seeds. Basically with heirloom seeds, you can harvest the seeds and use in subsequent years. I've described why we should buy heirloom seeds in a prior posting Food Prices to Skyrocket, Riots Could Follow  and listed some good companies that sell heirloom seeds at Heirloom Seed Companies. Even if you live in an apartment, you can start a garden on your patio and grow herbs on your window sill. I like the square foot gardening method because you don't have to mess with the soil in your yard. Sometimes it takes years to get the soil right. In addition, you don't need to keep replacing the soil in your square foot gardening once is is established. You can use your own compost or buy compost to mix in every year.


This is my plan for this year. I have already seeded lettuce, brocolli, tomatoes, parsley, cabbage, basil, rosemary, and marigold (keeps aphids away). Every couple of weeks I will seed some more plants until I can seed directly outside. I have a 3 ft. by 3 ft. garden. I plan to convert or add a 4 ft by 4 ft. garden. You'd be amazed at how much you can grow in one square foot. In my square foot garden, I plan to grow vegetables such as beets (2-18), yellow onions (2-32), green onions (1-16), carrots (2-32), chives (1-16), and greens such as lettuce (4-16), spinach (1-9), broccolli (1-1), and cabbage (2-2). The first number after the plant name is for squares used and the second is total plants. The basil will stay in the house on a window sill.  Some of the tomatoes will be in pots and some in the ground.  Last year I grew all the tomatoes in pots a friend told me she grew hers grew better in the ground.  The marigold will be in pots near the garden. The rosemary will be planted as a shrub since it is a perennial (returns every year).

I will only plant the greens (lettuce, spinach, brocolli, and cabbage in the square foot garden in the spring. It gets too hot here in the summer to grow. I will then grow the greens in a small green house that is partly shaded on shelves along with peppers all summer and into the fall. In place of the greens in the garden, I will grow, bush beans (3-27), snap peas (1-8), and squash (3-3).

I may also buy a couple of blueberry and raspberry plants and plant them directly into the ground as they are perennials like the rosemary. I didn't say strawberries because I've tried for 2 years now with no luck. If anyone can help me, please do. I bought the roots the first year and plants the second year and planted them in the garden. No luck. Any ideas?

Another way to prepare for the coming increase in food prices is to plant your own wheat and oats. You do need more land for this crops. You can also raise chickens for eggs. I don't do this. I think my dogs would eat the chickens for breakfast. I would also suggest stocking up on canned food and grains before the prices increase significantly. Check for sales and stock up on those items. Add an extra $20 per week for stocking up. You'll be grateful later.

I will add a few of pages to my Health and Fitness Cafe Store for gardening supplies, heirloom seeds, and books that I've used. If it is not there when you click on the store please come back in a couple of days. :o)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alzheimer's - 9 Ways to Reduce Your Risk

What is Alzheimer's disease?

Alzheimer's is a type of dementia in which many functions of the brain are severely affected including memory, speech, visual perception, cognition, and weakness. The deterioration can occur slowly or rapidly. Although Alzheimer's appears to come on suddenly, it is usually years and decades of neuron death before symptoms appear. Usually the affected person has only 20% of the involved brain cells left at time of noticeable symptoms.

Why is short-term memory most affected in Alzheimer's disease?

The reason short-term memory is affected first is because it is the newest memory. The longer a memory is stored, the more resistant it is to brain injury or brain damage. So in Alzheimer's disease, the long-term memories are affected last, after loss of short-term memories.

What causes Alzheimer's disease?

Could it be a trauma or injury to the brain? Could it be stress? Could it be lifestyle? Could it be lack of a certain supplement? Could it be the processed foods we consume? Could it be excitotoxins? Could it be a combination of the above?

Excitotoxins appear to play a major role. The definition given by Dr. Russell Blaylock in his excellent book Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills describes excitotoxins as substances added to foods and beverages that stimulate neurons to death, causing brain damage of varying degrees. Excitotoxins include monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame (Nutrasweet), cysteine, hydrolyzed protein, and aspartic acid.

Biochemical examination of brains of those dying with Alzheimer's has shown that over 60% of NMDA type glutamate receptor neurons are destroyed. As a matter of fact, most neurons that are affected use glutamate or aspartate as their receptor. When MSG or aspartame is consumed in large dosages or injected in experimental animals, the neurons are killed or damaged similar to the way the cells in humans brains with Alzheimer's are damaged. What does this mean? The aspartame and the MSG added to many of our foods and soft drinks are affecting our brains. Excitotoxins accumulates in the brain so having a couple of soft drinks a week can still cause damage.

There are other facts that increase your risk of Alzheimer's disease. They include those who've had a head injury, inflammation, hypoglycemia, and magnesium deficiency. Magnesium deficiency is critical because when brain magnesium levels are low, aluminum collects in the brain. High levels of aluminum does not directly cause Alzheimer's but does inhibit production of acetylcholine which is important for memory functions of the brain.

What can you do to prevent or reduce your risk of Alzheimer's Disease? Here are nine ways to reduce your risk. 
  1. Avoid ALL excitotoxin foods especially MSG, aspartame (diet soft drinks), and hydrolyzed vegetable protein.
  2. Reduce free radical damage by taking vitamins A (in the form of beta-carotene), C, and E.  Just remember ACE when you go shopping.
  3. Reduce inflammation by supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids.  Carlson's cod liver oil (lemon flavored) not only has omega-3 fatty acids but also vitamins A and D. If you are vegetarian, flaxseed oil may be a substitute.
  4. Stabilize blood sugar by eating complex carbohydrates. Have small meals throughout the day or carry healthy snacks such as trail mix (with nuts) for energy. Stay away from simple sugars and soda in all it's destructive forms.
  5. Take a magnesium supplement. Stay away from soda, especially colas, because they contain phosphates. Phosphates are known to deplete the body's magnesium.
  6. Do not drink soft drinks of any kind. I know I've been redundant here but I cannot stress enough how toxic these drinks are in any form. If you drink diet sodas, you are ingesting aspartame and phosphates (colas), increasing your risk of Alzheimer's, ALS, Parkinson's, and cancer. If you drink the sugared versions, you are ingesting simple sugars and phosphates, increasing your risk of diabetes, Alzheimer's, ALS, Parkinson's, osteoporosis (phosphates and caffeine deplete calcium), obesity, and cancer.
  7. Caffeine is a mild stimulant. Stimulants stress neurons. Studies for coffee have been conflicting regarding Alzheimer's. Some studies have shown coffee drinkers to have lower risk of developing Alzheimer's. My recommendation is to drink coffee in moderation (no more than two 8 ounce cups per day) and less (one 6 ounce cup per day) if you are at high risk of developing Alzheimer's. Better yet switch to green tea. It still contains caffeine at lower levels but also has the added benefits of antioxidants. 
  8. Stay socially active and keep a positive attitude. Those that have negative attitudes and those who are antisocial or isolate themselves have a higher risk of dementia.
  9. Exercise.  Studies have shown that those that exercise everyday have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's.
If I haven't scared you enough, I have a relative with Alzheimer's who spent many years drinking diet soft drinks. And remember the Diet Pepsi commercials with Michael J. Fox. In an interview with "Rolling Stone" magazine in the 1980s, Michael was asked if he really drank Diet Pepsi. He said yes and not only did he drink Diet Pepsi, he drank at least one liter every day. I often wonder if Michael knows the connection between the soda he drank (hoping that is past tense) and his Parkinson's disease.  Parkinson's is another disease that destroys neurons in the brain.

If you have any comments, please post them or any questions you would like to ask personally, click on the Contact at top of page.
In health always :-)


Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Monday, March 28, 2011

Benefits of Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria in your intestines. Many times we become ill due to the overpopulation of bad bacteria in our intestines. Some of these bad guys include staphylococci, salmonella, and camphylobacteria. Populating your intestines with probiotics will promote healthy intestinal flora. Probiotics will kill these bad guys or at least out number them. It is especially important to take a probiotic supplement if you are taking antibiotics since antibiotics will kill off ALL bacteria in your intestines, good and bad. This is a common reason women get yeast infections while taking antibiotics.

What are the benefits of taking probiotics? Here is a least of the main benefits of taking probiotics:
  1. Increasing resistance to infections
  2. Boosting immunity
  3. Regulating hormones
  4. Lowering cholesterol
  5. Improving digestion
  6. Reducing constipation
  7. Relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  8. Relieving symptoms of yeast infection
  9. Reducing risk of certain cancers

Probiotics can be purchased in supplement form. The most effective probiotic supplement should include L. acidophilus and B. bifidum in addition to any combination of the following (L. = Lactobacillus, B. = Bifidobacteria, S. = Streptococcus):
  • L. salivarius
  • L. bulgaricus
  • L. casei
  • B. infantis
  • B. brevis
  • B. longum
  • Bacillus coagulans
  • S. thermophilus
Probiotics can also be ingested from a daily healthy serving of the following foods:

  • Yogurt (plain organic)
  • Cottage cheese (organic)Kefir (from diary products)
  • Sauerkraut and pickles (organic)
  • Whole wheat or whole rye sourdough bread
  • Miso, tofu, natto, tempeh, tamari, and shoyu 
If you are lactose intolerant, sensitve to gluten and soy or have high cholesterol, IBS, constipation, yeast infection or want to help prevent any of the conditions listed above, supplementation is your best choice.


In health always :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Drug-Resistant Superbug Spreading

This new superbug, called CRKP (related to E. Coli), is spreading through Southern California hospitals and nursing homes, so far infecting approximately 350 people and estimated to be killing 40% of people infected, mostly the elderly. Doctors are saying this superbug is worse than MRSA.  Superbugs are the result of all the antibiotics we have taken over the years, antibiotics in our food, and antibacterial soaps.  There is no antibiotic strong enough yet.  You would be wise not to shake people's hands because this is the main way CRKP is spreading according to doctors.  See link below for full article.  

Superbug Spreading to Southern California Hospitals

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fukushima Reactor 3 - Leaking Radiation

Fukushima Reactor No. 3 suffers likely core breach, now leaking water at 10,000 times normal radiation levels

Radiation Protection for Pets: What You Can Do

We worry about our pets sometimes as much as we worry about the rest of our family members.  Here are some things you can do to protect your pets from radiation if you live near a leaking nuclear reactor or a radiation cloud comes your way.  By the way, their is very low risk of radiation coming to the North American that would be in amounts dangerous to our health or our pet's health. 

  1. If you live near a nuclear reactor that is leaking radiation, your pets should be not be left outside.  They should be taken inside and bathed. 
  2. When bringing your pets outside, they should not be allowed to eat grass, especially if you live within 50 - 150 miles of leaking reactors. 
  3. If your dog has been outside during any time of the leakage, you should bath them well.  All pets that must go outside occasionally need to bathed more frequently until radiation levels are back to safe levels. Remember dogs like to lick themselves clean and their fur is great for trapping particles, including those with radiation.
  4. If your pet has toys outside, bring them in and wash them before giving the toys back to your pet.  Don't let them bring the toys back outside.
  5. Supplement your pet's diet with iodine from seaweed, which is the best natural source of iodine.  Seaweed (wakame and arame) usually comes dry, so you will need to soak the seaweed in warm water for 15 minutes before serving.   Then cut the seaweed in small pieces and serve mixed in with their meals.  You can also buy dry kelp and sprinkle on your pet's food.  I have also served dry roasted nori (used to making sushi) to my dogs while I'm snacking on it myself.  Give it to them in very small pieces because nori will stick to the roof of their mouths.  My dogs love nori seaweed.  Please note that if your pet has thyroid issues, you will need to talk to your veterinarian before adding iodine to your pet's diet. 
  6. You can also add antioxidants to dog food.  Add carrots for vitamin A, broccoli for Vitamin C, and a few drops of Vitamin E oil.  Except for a few drops of vitamin E oil, human supplements are not recommended without discussing with your veterinarian first.  I already serve my dogs carrots, peas, broccoli, and green beans on a regular basis.  Cats, on the other hand, are carnivores so it is more difficult and not so good for them to have too much vegetables.  You need to discuss with your veterinarian how much is safe for your pet.  He/she may recommend a supplement instead.  Do not feed cats fruit and do not feed either cats or dogs raisins, grapes, chocolate, onions, or avocado, dairy, or macadamia nuts.  These foods, especially in large amounts, can be toxic.     
  7. Now a comment on giving your pet potassium iodide.  The correct amount of potassium iodide is difficult to determine even by veterinarians, so there are risks.  According to Michael Kent, a faculty veterinarian at UC Davis, the side effects for pets taking potassium iodide include severe allergic reactions; gastrointestinal upsets including vomiting, diarrhea and anorexia, decreased normal thyroid function; and damage to the heart, especially if given too much. (1)

Reference:

(1) http://www.kcra.com/r/27230834/detail.html

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Miso Noodle Soup

This is an easy to prepare recipe to help detox your body and protect you from radiation poisoning.
Total time:  less than 30 minutes
Servings: 2 main meals or 4 side dishes

Ingredients:

1 tablespoons of miso paste
2 tablespoons of dried shiitake mushrooms
2 green onions chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons of seaweed (wakame, arame, and/or hiziki)
4 cups of water
1/3 package of udon noodles (1/2 pound firm tofu cubed can be used instead of noodles if desired)

Place shiitake mushrooms and seaweed in 1/2 cup of warm water for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, bring  remainder of water (3 1/2 cups) to a boil.  Add seaweed, mushrooms, and noodles.  Boil for 4 minutes.  Remove pot from stove.  Hold wire mesh strainer so it is partly submerged in soup.  Add miso by placing in wire mesh strainer and stirring until miso dissolves in soup.  Do not place miso in boiling water or it will lose it's healing properties.  If you don't have a wire mesh strainer, before adding food to boiling water, remove about 1/4 cup for dissolving miso paste.  It is more difficult to dissolve all miso this way without some pieces remaining but can be done.  Top with green onion and serve. 

Image: Carlos Porto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

GMO - The Fight for Truth-In-Labeling

Did you know that 91% of soybeans, 88% of cotton, and 75% of corn, and 99% of canola oil is genetically modified? These products include anything made with them. Soy and corn are in most processed foods. Even if farmers have a loss due to growing these soy and corn, they are subsidized by the U.S. government to cover their losses. Due to these government policies, we have an abundance of these “cheap” products. Because they are cheap, manufacturers look for ways to replace more expensive healthier alternatives with soy and corn products.

Some genetically modified soy products include soy protein isolate soy flour, and soymeal. Even foods considered healthy such as tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and soy meats have genetically modified soy unless labeled organic or specified otherwise (if you can believe the manufacturer). Some corn products include corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, cornmeal, and corn flour. Again, unless you buy products with corn labeled organic, you are likely eating genetically modified foods. The same is true with canola and cottonseed oils.

What’s so bad about genetically modified ingredients in your food? Nothing, if you want your family to be involved in the largest human lab experiment since Agent Orange. There are many risks to your health with genetically modified organisms. I don't know about you, but I don't want my family involved unknowingly in this mass experiment.  Below is a short list of results from GM experiments.  For a more complete list with explanations, go to http://www.seedsofdeception.com/, click on Genetic Roulette and then click on Health Risks of GM Foods: Summary and Debate (left column). 

  • Rats Fed GMO Tomatoes got bleeding stomachs, several died
  • Rats Fed Bt Corn had multiple health problems
  • Mice Fed GM Bt Potatoes had intestinal damage
  • Workers exposed to Bt cotton developed allergies
  • Sheep died after grazing in Bt cotton fields
  • Twelve cows in Germany died mysteriously when fed Bt corn
  • Mice fed Roundup Ready soy had liver cell problems
  • Mice fed Roundup Ready soy had problems with the pancreas
  • Soy allergies skyrocketed in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced

Another problem with GM crops is the cross contamination to non-GM crops. The more we allow GM crops to be grown, the less likely we will have a any food choices at all in a couple of decades. We will all be eating GM crops and organic produce will be extinct. We need to all fight for truth-in-labeling. We deserve to know if a product we buy has been genetically engineered. In polls, most Americans stated they would not buy GM products if they knew and that is why Monsanto (the leader in GM crops) is doing everything in their power to stop truth-in labeling.  Please watch the following video.  It is only 5 minutes.
 
 

Weight Loss and Counting Calories

If you want to lose weight and you increase your exercise, how many calories should you consume? Do you increase calories, decrease calories, or leave well enough alone? This question was asked of me lately. There is not an easy answer, because there are many questions to be answered. How much are you increasing your exercise? What type of exercise are you doing? How many calories were you consuming before you decided to lose weight? How much weight do you want to lose and how fast do you want to lose? What and when are you eating?

Here's the basics of calories. 3500 calories are in one pound. If you normally eat 2500 calories per day and cut 500 calories per day, it will take seven days to lose one pound, assuming you do not change your exercise routine. If you add two miles of walking per day, you will burn approximately 200 calories assuming you weigh 150 pounds. More if you weigh more than 150 pounds and less if you weigh less than 150 pounds. Assuming you walk six days per week, you will burn an extra 1200 calories per week or approximately 1/3 of a pound. Doesn't sound like much? That translates to approximately 17.3 pounds per year for exercise alone. Add the cut in calories and you now have a weight loss of approximately 69.3 pounds for the year! If you want to lose weight faster, then either decrease calories more or increase exercise. I would not try to lose more than two pounds per week. Studies have shown higher success rate in keeping weight off for those who lose two or less pounds per week.

That's the basics of calories. The problem with counting calories depends on what exercise you are doing and what and when you eat. Let's start with exercise. If you are doing strength training, your calories burned will be higher. Strength training increases muscle mass and muscle mass increases your metabolism. Calories burned increase even after you have finished exercising. Another benefit of strength training is increase in bone density. Therefore, I highly recommend that strength training be added to your exercise routine two to three times per week for 30 to 45 minutes (with your doctor's approval, of course).

What you eat is important. Not all calories are created equal. Different foods are metabolized differently. For instance, the sugar from a candy bar will enter your blood stream much faster than the same amount of sugar from beans. Since the sugar from the candy bar enters your blood very quickly, the calories you are not using will convert to fat. The sugar from beans will be absorbed at a much slower pace, therefore, increasing the likelihood that you would use up the calories before they convert to fat. So 300 calories of a candy is not equal to 300 calories of beans. So, in addition to cutting calories and increasing exercise, it is important to eliminate or reduce refined carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates are any foods containing sugar (see previous post), high fructose corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, molasses, fruit juices (100% fruit juices diluted with half water are fine in small quantities), and products made with refined flours. Healthy carbohydrates include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds

When are you eating? This is important because eating a healthy breakfast with protein will jump start you metabolism and keep it going at a higher rate all day. This doesn't mean eating a donut or bagel (refined flour) with cream cheese. Eating a whole grain bagel with apple butter and an egg is much better. Other breakfast options include slow cooked oatmeal with walnuts, humus and sauerkraut on sprouted whole grain bread, and whole grain toast with low fat cottage cheese. Eating before bed is not a good idea, either. While you sleep, your metabolism slows down, therefore the food you eat prior to sleeping will more likely convert to fat instead of being used. In addition, the digestive process is energy intensive so eating before sleeping results in a more restless sleep. Stopping eating at least two hours before bed usually results in a more restful sleep.

By increasing or adding aerobic exercise, adding strength training, eliminating refined carbohydrates, eating breakfast, and not eating before bedtime, you may find losing weight is easily achieved without counting calories.

In health always :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CANCER - 20 WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR RISK

  1. Eat at least 2 fruits and 5 vegetables every day. Include at least one from the onion group (onion, leeks, garlic), one from the cruciferous group (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), and one loaded with beta carotene (carrots, butternut squash, cantaloupe).
  2. Try to eat half your food in raw form.
  3. Eat only whole grains.
  4. Eliminate refined sugar and artificial sweeteners. See my post on sugar.
  5. Eliminate alcoholic beverages except for the occasional glass of wine or pint of beer.
  6. Reduce processed foods as much as feasibly possible.
  7. Eliminate red meat (beef and pork) and eat only organic poultry no more than 4 times per week. Replace red meat with legumes (tofu, green beans, peas, soybeans), nuts (almonds and walnuts), and seeds (pumpkin and sesame).
  8. Consume miso soup with shittake mushrooms and seaweed (wakame, arame, nori) at least 3 times per week. This soup is my cure all when I feel like I'm coming down with something. It works every time.
  9. Avoid smoking like the plague.
  10. Avoid trans fats like the plague. Consume omega-3 fats every day.
  11. Reduce your consumption of dairy products to one serving per day and only have organic as the non-organic dairy products are loaded with growth hormones and antibiotics. The best are organic plain yogurt, organic omega-3 eggs, and organic cottage cheese.
  12. Get to bed by 10 p.m. and get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep. I'm still working on this one.
  13. Get sun exposure 20 minutes a day at least 4 days per week. If you don't, make sure you take vitamin D (800 IU is optimal) every day.
  14. Take a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.
  15. Take anti-oxidants. Vitamins A, C, E and selenium.
  16. Exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 times per week.
  17. Reduce stress. If you are in a bad relationship, get out.
  18. Reduce stress. If you are in a job you hate, get out as soon as possible. Find a job or career you love. Your health will improve significantly from this one alone.
  19. Declutter and simplify your home. There's nothing like coming home to an organized, warm, and inviting place every day. Your home should be a retreat.
  20. Have fun!
In health always :-)

Small Houses


Could you live in a 100 square foot house? I could not live in a tiny house. My current house is 1722 sq. ft. I think I would feel cramped in anything smaller than 1000 sq. ft. If you don't have pets and a family, it's doable. This would be a great house for a young single person and a student who wants to live on their parent’s property but wants independence. Jay Shafer of Tumbleweed houses designs tiny houses using technology from RVs and boat houses. He uses smaller appliances, sinks, shower, toilet, waterless water heater, etc. According to Jay, these houses cost at least $200 a square foot (not including land); mostly due to the quality of materials used but also because the house has many details. The beauty of these tiny houses is the lower expenses of maintaining them. In addition, the house is on wheels and treated like an RV, therefore, there are no property taxes, city sewer fees, and waste management fees. Utilities, cleaning supplies, maintenance, property insurance, and clothing expenses (less room to store) are all significantly lower.

The downside of owning one of these "RV" houses is where to "park" it. You need someone who is going to allow you to plug it in to their electrical. That's why I think these tiny houses are great for a young adult. If you know someone with acres of land and you could pay them a small rent to stay on their property or maybe do some chores in exchange for rent, then that would be ideal. Storage might be an issue. On one hand, moving into a tiny house would help rid you of most of your possessions. On the other hand, where would you store emergency supplies like food, and any collectibles like photo albums?

This concept reminds me of our priest's sermon in church last weekend. If you are climbing a mountain, the lighter load you have, the easier it will be. When we are loaded down with possessions, the climb is very difficult indeed. Unloading possessions makes the climb easier and leaves space for enjoying the journey. I do think this is the same with our journey through life. The more we burden ourselves with, the more difficult the journey. Having possessions doesn't free us, it imprisons us. Why? We worry about our possessions. Do we have enough car insurance, property insurance, liability insurance, and health insurance? Then we have to maintain our possessions. The house needs painting every 7 years, appliances break down and need to be repaired or replaced, the grass needs mowing, the trees and shrubs need pruning, furniture needs to be repaired or replaced every few years, flooring needs to be cleaned, and cars need to have regular maintenance and repairs. And if you own a second home, boat, swimming pool, spa, and/or pond, the work can be overwhelming.

If we have fewer expenses to pay, we don't need to work at our paying jobs as much. If we don't need to work as much, we have more time to do what we love. Most Americans spend Monday through Friday, and frequently Saturday working for someone else to earn a living. When the weekend comes, most Americans spend their time doing chores and shopping. We shop to buy more possessions because we deserve them. We worked so hard all week. We spend a decent amount of money going out to eat instead of cooking. We deserve that for having to deal with office politics all day.

We don't need to sell our houses and build a 100 sq. ft. house but we all need to look at our lifes with honesty. Are we really happy and living an authentic life? Or are we living a life that we think society, the media, the government, or our friends and family think we should?





Sugar Addiction

Sugar is the most serious food addiction in the United States and most industrialized countries in the world. It has been an addiction of mine for most of my life. I eat no more than 10 grams of sugar a day currently, however, like alcohol addiction, crave it from time to time. Sugar consumption has increased over 25% from 1967 to 2003. Americans in 1967 consumed 114 grams per day compared to 142 grams per year in 2003.

Sugar comes in many forms on labels including cane sugar, beet sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, and dextrose. High fructose corn syrup has become the most common additive for sweetener in processed foods because it is inexpensive compared to other sweeteners. If you ever wondered why childhood obesity is an epidemic, look at the ingredients in the foods your children eat. High fructose corn syrup is probably high on the list.

Sugar has been found to increase risk of many health issues including but not limited to diabetes, metabolic syndrome, gout, weight gain, heart disease, insomnia, brain fog, tooth decay, depression, and even cancer. Sugar is very acidic and cancer has been shown to thrive in an acidic environment.

When you first give eliminate sugar from your diet, you may feel tired during the first week since you have been artificially energized for many years. Don't give up. If you must have a something sweet, use honey, molasses, fruit sweetened jams, and brown rice syrup for better alternatives in small amounts. You may have one serving (two to three teaspoons) of per day. Why are you limited in these natural sweeteners? Because any concentrated sweetener in large amounts not only keeps the addiction to sweets alive but can also may negatively affect your blood sugar. Read labels carefully because sugar is hidden in many products, especially those that are processed. The less processed foods you eat, the better anyway. Most processed foods not only have sugar but salt, artificial coloring, msg, and a host of other ingredients most of us cannot pronounce. Do not substitute sugar with artificial sweeteners such as saccharin (Sweet'N Low and Sugar Twin) and aspartame (NutraSweet or Equal). Artificial sweeteners not only keep your addiction to sweeteners going but are detrimental to your health. These sweeteners, along with msg, have been shown to destroy brain neurons, therefore increasing your risk of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS, and Lou Gehrig's.

If you need more inspiration, please read Sugar Blues by William Duffy. (You can find it in the Health and Fitness Cafe Store link.)  I read this book when I was very young. Not only was the history of sugar interesting but how destructive sugar is to your body.


In health always :)

Resources:
http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/articles/050328/28sugar.b.htm



Monday, March 21, 2011

More on the Macrobiotic Diet




The macrobiotic diet mainly consists of whole grains, beans, sea vegetables, vegetables, fish (excluding shell fish), soy products including tempeh and tofu, and miso.  The macrobiotic diet is also called "The Cancer Prevention Diet" with a book of the same title.  (You can find the book and a description in the Health and Fitness Cafe Store link to the right.)  There are testimonies of people who have reversed their death sentence given by their doctor by going on the macrobiotic diet.  Unfortunately for many, there are probably more who did not make it.  Most people, unfortunately, turn to macrobiotics when all hope of conventional methods are gone.  For many, it is already too late.   Macrobiotics  is more of a way of life than a diet.  Eating in season and locally is as important as what you eat.  For instance, tropical fruit like bananas and papaya are not allowed if you do not live in a tropical climate and these fruits cannot grow in your location.  Macrobiotics is also about getting out in the fresh air every day, limiting the amount of radiation in your environment (less television watching and no microwave use), getting enough sleep, getting enough natural exercise such as walking, house cleaning (instead of going to the gym and paying someone else). 

As I mentioned in my last posting, the macrobiotic diet helps rid the body of radiation, so it wouldn't hurt to incorporate aspects of the macrobiotic lifestyle into our own lifes.   My family does not follow the macrobiotic diet 100% but utilize many aspects.  We eat brown rice and other whole grains regularly.  We eat miso soup with seaweed and shiitake mushrooms regularly, especially in the winter.  We eat tofu about once a week by either adding it to stir-fry or make scrambled tofu.  Stimulants are not approved in the macrobiotic diet.  Stimulants are not approved for obvious reasons.  We should rest when we need rest and not artificially stimulate our bodies.  For other reasons to eliminate coffee from your diet, see my posting on "7 Reasons to Stop Drinking Coffee" http://healthfitnesscafe.blogspot.com/2011/03/7-health-reasons-to-stop-drinking.html . Green, twig, kukicha, and bancha tea are approved by macrobiotics for their antioxidants.  These teas have caffeine but at a much lower level than coffee and black teas.  

Dairy is also not allowed in the macrobiotic diet.  That being said, we eat plain organic yogurt and parmesan cheese on pasta.  We do not eat other cheeses or drink milk so compared to the average American, our diet is low in dairy.  Dairy is congesting and many people are lactose intolerant.  Individuals with frequent colds and congestion problems (nose stuffed, frequent ear infections, mucus in lungs, etc.) should stop all dairy products and see if their conditions improve. When I start to feel ill, the first thing I do is eliminate all dairy. Dairy consumption has also been linked to breast cancer in woman and prostate cancer in men.  This linkage may be due to the significant increase in hormones in dairy since the 1980s.  So, if you must have dairy, do yourself a favor and buy organic.  If you don't want to pay for organic, then watch the video in my posting titled "Toxic Milk and Udder Pus" (http://healthfitnesscafe.blogspot.com/2011/03/toxic-milk-and-udder-pus.html).  You will change your mind.  
 
The Kushi Institute in western Massachusetts is the home of the macrobiotics.  You can google them at http://kushiinstitute.org/ for more information. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Radiation Protection and the Macrobiotic Diet

There is so much fear mongering in the media and online it is ridiculous.  Anytime a disaster strikes, every marketer comes out of the woodwork selling some cure or product.  The idea that the radiation from Japan will reach North America is likely but only at very low levels.  We are exposed to radiation in our every day lifes.  Putting your cell phone up to your ear every day has more risk than any radiated wind current coming from Japan.  Are you worried about radiation from your cell phone?  If not, you should be.  Ted Kennedy was a heavy cell phone user.  What about the body scanners at the airport, medical x-rays, WI-FI, microwaves, portable telephones, blow dryers, televisions, computers, dish washers, cell towers, and electrical towers to name a few?  The problem with radiation is the cumulative effect.     

If some reason, a more than negligible amount of radiation does reach North America, there are things you can do besides taking potassium iodide pills.  Go on the macrobiotic diet.  The macrobiotic diet not only helps protect you from radiation but helps rid the body of radiation.  After the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, patients in a nearby hospital, located one mile from the center of the blast, survived the initial effects of the bomb, but soon after became ill with symptoms of radiation sickness. Dr. Akizuki, at the hospital, fed his staff and patients a strict macrobiotic diet of brown rice, miso soup, tamari soy sauce, wakame and other sea vegetables, Hokkaido pumpkin, and sea salt.  He prohibited the consumption of sugar and sweets. As a result, he saved everyone in his hospital.  The same can't be said for survivors outside the hospital.  Many died from radiation poisoning.

What is special about the macrobiotic diet?  The macrobiotic diet helps detox the body of radiation, especially the seaweed (kombu, wakame, nori, arame, hiziki, and kelp are some types of seaweed).  As a matter of fact, if you recently had an x-ray (including at the airport), it wouldn't hurt to have some miso soup with seaweed with your meals for a few days.  With all the radiation in our modern environment, it wouldn't hurt to consume miso soup with seaweed on a regular basis.

I make miso soup with wakame and arame seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, and udon noodles (or tofu) about once a week, and more frequently when I am feeling ill.  It truly cleanses the body and has worked wonders for my family.  And it is delicious.  I will add my miso soup recipe to a posting and recipes in the next couple of days. 

A bigger risk to the world outside of Japan than airborne radiation is food imported from Japan.  Japan is a large exporter of seafood and seaweed so be careful when shopping.  No point in eating seaweed if it is laced with radiation fallout.   

In addition to the macrobiotic diet, you can also increase antioxidant supplementation. That would be Vitamins A, C, and E. Remember the word ACE when you go to the store.   Antioxidants help protect the body from cellular damage.


In Health Always :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weight Loss Tip #4 - Eat before You Eat

This is a simple one.  Eat a piece of fruit or raw veggies 1/2 hour before you eat dinner.  This will curb your appetite and prevent you from overeating at dinner time.  Just before I start to cook dinner,  I eat a small apple or 1/2 of a large apple.  That way I am not constantly "test tasting" my dinner during preparation.  You can literally eat a meal while cooking dinner.  And if you bring your lunch or work, eat a piece of fruit in morning 1/2 to 1 hour before you eat lunch.  If is even more important to do this if you are eating lunch out.  That way you won't throw caution to the wind and order the burger and french fries.

Another good reason to eat fruit before your meals is better digestion.  Fruit digests quicker than vegetables, protein, and grains.  Fruit takes only a couple of hours to digest, whereas, red meat takes several hours and sometimes days.    If you eat your fruit with your meal or after your meal, what happens to the fruit in your digestive tract?  Well, while everything else is digesting, the fruit is fermenting.  The fermentation process in your intestines causes flatulence. Yes, gas!  So if you are wondering why you are flatulent, try eating fruit at least 1/2 hour before or 2 hours after meals.  If you have a problem with fruit no matter when you eat it, then stick with the raw veggies.    

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weight Loss Tip #3 - Eat Snacks

Snacks are a good way to fight hunger cravings. If we don't carry snacks with us, we are likely to buy something that is not so healthy. Having a snack in the afternoon will keep your blood sugar from crashing.  When our blood sugar crashes, all sense of common sense seems to go with it.  If you've been there, you know what I mean.  The only thing you can think of is how quickly you can get to the nearest fast food restaurant, diet or no diet.  Big Mac's and french fries are dancing in your head.  Don't look away, you know what I'm talking about. 

All kidding aside, when you're trying to lose weight or even if you are not trying to lose weight, it's a good idea to keep all junk food including unhealthy snacks out of your home.   If you have to go out of your way to fulfill a craving for sugary, fatty or salty foods, you are less likely to do so if you have to drive (less likely these days with the price of a gallon of gasoline) to the store compared to getting up off your tush to walk to the cupboards or refrigerator. Keeping only healthy snacks in your home and with you at all times will significantly reduce the temptation to stop at McDonald's.  So here are some great snack ideas to eat at home or take with you.

  1. Fruit salad - keep a bowl in refrigerator with apples, berries, orange slices, bananas, grapes, pears or whatever is in season.  It is tastier then just eating a piece of fruit (although that is a healthy option).  Fruits are full of fiber so they will help regulate your digestive system.
  2. Raw vegetables - the idea of eating raw vegetables isn't appealing to some people.  I happen to like raw carrots and celery but my daughter doesn't like raw celery.  You can always add one tablespoon (not two or three) of peanut butter on the celery.     
  3. A 1/4 cup of nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds) are another great option for healthy snacking.  Nuts are high in fat so you don't want to overdo it here.  Salty nuts make you want to eat more so get the unsalted variety.  What I do is get unsalted nuts and salted sunflower seeds.  The sunflower seeds add a touch of salt to the mix without overdoing it.  The plus with nuts IS the high fat content and high protein.  Both are very satisfying and therefore will curb cravings for unhealthier foods.  Even if you overdo nuts, you are much less likely to over eat the rest of the day.
  4. 1/2 peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread.  Buy non-hydrogenated (trans fat free) peanut butter.  It is healthier for you.
  5. 2 or 3 whole wheat cracker (4 to 6 crackers total) sandwiches with either peanut butter, slices of organic turkey to soy turkey (Tofurky brand is great).
If anyone has any other snack ideas, please let me know and I will add them to the list.:)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

7 Health Reasons to Stop Drinking Coffee

I really love my morning cup of coffee. I have tried to stop drinking coffee and switching to black tea so many times I've lost track. Anyone who is a coffee drinker knows the deal. A cup of tea does not have the same aroma or kick as a cup of coffee. Coffee truly is addicting, both the smell and taste. Although there are benefits to drinking coffee, as a Doctor of Naturopathy (traditional), I feel the risks still outweigh the benefits for some individuals. Let me list a few:


1. Over 1,000 chemicals have been found in roasted coffee. 19 of these chemicals are known carcinogens. Decaf coffee is even worse because chemical solvents are used to extract the caffeine. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that a person who drank two cups of coffee a day had twice as great a risk of pancreatic cancer as a person who did not drink coffee. For a person who drank more than five cups, the risk was more than three times that of the nonuser. If you must drink coffee, caffeinated organic coffee is your best bet.


2. Coffee can raise your blood pressure. In some individuals, blood pressure can rise quickly after drinking coffee. If your blood pressure rises easily or you have high blood pressure, you might want to avoid coffee.

3. Coffee causes staining of the teeth. As long as you don't mind spending money on teeth whiteners, then drinking coffee is not a problem but you should factor in the price of whiteners into the cost of a cup of coffee.

4. Coffee can increase LDL cholesterol levels. A 2007 study by Baylor College of Medicine found that cafestol and kahweol, substances present in boiled coffee drinks, dramatically increases LDL cholesterol levels, especially in women. Paper coffeed filters were found to remove most of these compounds. Coffee presses do not filter these compounds so drinking coffee that has been filtered with paper filters is recommended.

5. Your gastrointestinal organs hate it. Coffee can damage the lining of the gastrointestinal organs, causing gastritis and ulcers. The consumption of coffee is therefore not recommended for those individuals with gastritis, colitis, and ulcers.


6. The caffeine in coffee aggravates nervous symptoms. In individuals prone to anxiety and nervousness, drinking coffee can aggravate symptoms and even bring on a panic attack. Drinking decaf coffee will help but individuals with severe anxiety should not drink even decaf because there are small amounts of caffeine in decaffeinated coffee.


7. Coffee is addicting. For those addicted to cigarettes, giving up cigarettes may be difficult without giving up coffee. Smokers love to have a cigarette when drinking a cup of coffee. For the rest of us, the addiction is only a problem if we need to give up coffee for health reasons.


Conclusion: There are better ways to get your antioxidants, reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's Disease, and Parkinson's. However, if you are like me and don't have have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, and gastrointestinal issues, then a good cup of organic caffeinated coffee in the morning shouldn't do any harm

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Toxic Milk and Udder Pus

Here's a couple of good reasons why you may want to switch to organic dairy products or elminate them from your diet.



Four other good reasons to eliminate dairy from your diet:
  • Dairy actually reduces the amount of calcium your body absorbs. Dairy is high in phosphorous which leaks calcium from your bones. The Dairy Industry would like you to think otherwise.
  • Dairy is linked to asthma. Many children are allergic to milk. Drinking milk increases mucus formation in the lungs, therefore, worsen asthmatic symptoms.
  • Dairy is high in saturated fat unless you buy non-fat then it is downright tasteless. Dairy, therefore, increases your risk of heart disease.
  • Women and men who consume high amounts of dairy have higher rates of breast and prostate cancers, respectively.

No, I haven't successfully eliminated dairy from my diet but I try to keep it to a minimum and when I consume it, I purchase organic.  My body doesn't need the extra hormones or pus. 

Weight Loss Tip #2 - Calories

I've heard many a nutritionist say that a calorie is a calorie so it really doesn't matter when you eat as long as you are burning more calories than you are taking in.  When I hear this I want to scream.  Is this really true?  NO! 

If you eat all your calories prior to going to bed, you are not going to metabolize all those calories before you wake up.  So what happens to them?  They convert to fat while you are sleeping.  Another problem with eating all your calories at night is digestion.  If you are spending the night digesting food, you will not have a good night's sleep.  If you do not have a good night's sleep, you will not wake up refreshed.  If you do not wake up refreshed, you will overeat the next day in order to regain your energy.  First thing in the morning instead of eating a healthy breakfast, you'll be reaching for the coffee and donuts.  By the afternoon, you'll be crashing with low blood sugar.  Time to get off this circular train.   If it is morning, go get your cup of coffee but not the donut.  Eat something with protein.  Have some eggs and bacon (nitrite free) with whole wheat toast if you must but not sugar!  If if is the afternoon and you are crashing, go get a package of peanuts from the vending machine not candy.  If it is dinner time, eat at least 2 hours before going to bed to give your body time to digest your food.

Summary of weight loss tip #2 - Spread your calories throughout  the day, eating something at every meal and do not eat within 2 hours of going to bed.  :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011

Healthy Kid-Friendly Snacks

"Many kids want a snack when they come home from school. It’s also a good idea to take snacks with you on long rides or when going shopping. When you are going to be shopping for awhile, healthy snacks will tide you and your kid(s) over and make it less likely they will ask you for something in the store (especially food shopping trips) and less likely you will stop for at a fast food restaurant because you are hungry. Don’t forget to take along some water to drink or a diluted 100% juice drink. Sometimes when we think we are hungry we are really thirsty. Many times when I tell my Mom I’m hungry, she tells me to go get a glass of water. I hate to admit it but most of the time she is right. We keep a cooler in the car so we have a place for our drinks and snacks. Here are some snacks that I enjoy and maybe you will too!

1. Celery with peanut butter (non-hydrogenated) and raisins (the classic Ants on a Log).
2. Apple slices or banana with peanut butter.
3. Apple, orange (peel and put in container before hitting the road), banana, pear, peach, plum, or whatever fruit is in season.
4. Trail mix. My favorite is a mixture of almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries and vegan carob chips or organic chocolate chips. Try to stay away from adding M&Ms because they are loaded with dyes. You can also add other dried fruits and nuts that you like.
5. Peanut butter with fruit sweetened jam.
6. Plain organic yogurt with frozen or fresh fruit.
7. Plain organic yogurt with maple syrup or honey. Maple syrup should be 100% from a maple tree and the kind that comes from a chemical factory loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavorings.
8. Home baked goods like muffins and scones made with healthy ingredients. We make muffins with whole wheat flour (~50%), pecans and maple syrup for a sweetener. We also make scones with whole wheat flour (25%-30%), plain yogurt instead of buttermilk, orange zest, and dried cranberries. Yum!

I hope you enjoy these snacks. Did you know I dislike celery but I love peanut butter? Peanut butter makes celery taste good. Even if you or your kid(s) don’t like the taste of celery, still try #1. It is the same thing for carrots. Carrots have beta-carotene which makes it good for your eyesight.

If you have any good healthy snacks that are easy to make, please add them to the comments and I will add them in another posting."

Katelin Gagnon
Age 11

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fluoride = Poison to Your Body



Another great video from Mike Adams at NaturalNews.com.  When my daughter was 2 years old, her Pediatrician gave her a prescription for vitamins with fluoride.  Unbelievable!  Ingesting fluoride in pill form! She only took the prescription vitamins for 3 months when her teeth started discoloring.  It was the start of fluorosis.  Fluorosis is not just a cosmetic problem.  Fluorosis weakens all bones throughout the body.  After doing some research, I not only stopped the fluoride pills but fluoride toothpaste and fluoride treatments at the dentist.  Fortunately, I stopped the fluoridated vitamins in time or my daughter's teeth would look like the picture on the right.  Her permanent teeth look fine but I'm not sure about her bones.  She seems to have more aches and pains than a young girl should have.  Only time will tell on that one.  I'm not sure if fluoride prevents cavities but is is truly not work the risks associated with poisoning your body.  By the way, my daughter has had only one tiny cavity in the 10 years she has been off fluoride.  




I'd be interested to know if other parents were given prescription fluoridated vitamins for their children, how long they gave the vitamins to their children, and if their children got fluorosis.  I would love to hear your experiences.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Homocysteine and Chronic Disease

Definition:
Homocysteine is an amino acid naturally produced by the cells in the body. It converts into the amino acid methionine. It plays a role in body processes including cell and tissue growth, bone growth, and insulin formation. Homocysteine requires adequate supplies of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid. SAMe and glutathione are made from the amino acid methionine in our diet to metabolize. If the conversion process is blocked in any way, homocysteine levels increase. High homocysteine levels are associated with many chronic diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and diabetes. 

 
What Causes Homocysteine Levels to Rise?
Homocysteine can’t be effectively converted to other compounds, including methionine and cysteine, when vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid are deficient. When these supplements are in short supply, homocysteine levels then rise in the blood. This build up of homocysteine in the blood was discovered to increase the formation of plagues on the blood vessel walls and eventually clogging and hardening the blood vessels, therefore, increasing the risk of heart disease. In a study conducted by the European Concerted Action Group, 750 people under the age of sixty with atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) were compared with 800 people without evidence of heart disease. The study found that having high blood levels of homocysteine was as risky as having high blood levels of cholesterol or smoking (Holford, 2004, p.205). Having low cholesterol doesn’t necessarily mean that homocysteine levels are low which is why those at risk should be tested. High homocysteine levels have also been associated with increased risk of strokes, depression, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain cancers (Holford, 2004, p.137). Researchers at the University of Alabama found elevated homocysteine levels increases woman’s risk of cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition, and other factors associated with cervical dysplasia, such as HPV (human papillomavirus) (Somer, 2006, p.266).

 
 
The following is a list of risk factors associated with rise in homocysteine levels:

 
A. Personal and Family Medical History Risks
  1. Family history of heart disease, strokes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, or diabetes
  2. Increasing in age
  3. Male gender (sorry guys)
  4. History of inflammatory bowel diseases
  5. History of H pylori-generated ulcers
B. Lifestyle risks

  1. Smoking
  2. Lack of exercise
  3. Hostility and repressed anger
  4. Estrogen deficiency

C. Nutritional Risks
  1. Folic acid intake of less than 900 mcg per day. This is very important during pregnancy.
  2. Excessive alcohol, coffee, and tea consumption
  3. Being on a strict vegetarian or vegan diet if not watching nutritional intake
  4. High salt intake
  5. High fat intake
  6. Excessive meat consumption, especially red meat

How are High Homocysteine Levels Identified in Individuals?

Homocysteine is measured in mmol/l with levels as low as 7 units linked to disease. Levels of 10 units or above is considered high risk whereas levels of 6 units or lower is considered very low risk (Holford, 2004, p. 142). If you have any, and especially many, of the risk factors above, you are strongly urged to be tested.

 
The following is a list of dietary recommendations that may aid in reducing homocysteine levels:

  1. Substitute red meat for broiled fish or vegetable protein. Broiled fish should be eaten two to three times per week. Soy based foods (organic only to avoid GMOs), such as tofu and tempeh, or beans, such as baked beans, chickpeas, and azuki beans, should be eaten five or six times per week.
  2. Eat at least six servings of fruits and vegetables per day in a variety of colors.
  3. Drink no more than one cup of coffee or black tea per day. Herbal teas, water, and diluted juices are fine.
  4. Add garlic to food frequently. May also be taken in supplement form.
  5. Don’t add salt to food. Use spices and herbs to flavor foods.
  6. Limit alcohol consumption to one glass of wine or one pint of beer per day with no more than four per week.

Lifestyle Change Recommendations for Reducing Homocysteine Level
  1. Reduce stress levels by adding daily meditation or yoga to your routine. If unhappy in your career, change your job to something you are passionate about or see a career counselor. See a counselor for relationship issues or other unresolved issues in your life.
  2. Move! Go for walks. Go to the gym. Whatever it takes to move. Move!
  3. Stop smoking if you currently smoke.
  4. Balance estrogen levels if deficient. Have hormone levels (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) checked by a medical practitioner with a hormone saliva test for or you may use a natural progesterone cream as directed on label. The body can convert progesterone to estrogen if levels are deficient (Holford, 2004, p. 144).

In addition, nutritional supplement recommended for reducing homocysteine levels include a good quality multi-vitamin with minerals, B-complex, Vitamin C, Zinc, B12, B6, TMG – trimethyl glycine, and folic acid. 

  
Note: See your regular physician for a checkup before starting any diet or nutritional program, exercise program, or making major lifestyle changes.

Resources:

1. Haas, E.M. M.D., (2006), Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine, Berkeley: Celestial Arts

2. Holford, P., (2004), The New Optimum Nutrition Bible, Berkeley: Crossing Press

3. Roizen, M.F. M.D., & Oz, M.C. M.D. (2007), You Staying Young: The Owner’s Manual for Extending Your Warranty, New York: Free Press

4. Somer, E.S. M.A., R.D. (2003), Nutrition for Women: How Eating Right Can Help You Look and Feel Your Best, New York: Henry Holt and Company

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

How Television Affects Your Brain Chemistry




So instead of putting yourself and your children on ADHD medication, shut off the television. In my house we rarely watch television.  Usually we only use the television set when we get movies from the library to watch.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Weight Loss Tip #1

With so many people overweight in this country, I thought I'd start some postings on how to lose weight.  One of the most important tips for weight loss is movement.  You cannot sustain weight loss without movement.  Moving increases your metabolism and burns calories. (If you haven't exercised in a while, please check with you doctor.)  When I was in college, I became addicted to sweets, probably due to stress, and put on 20 pounds in one year.  I then became depressed.  I went to the college's psychiatrist, who on my first visit prescribed anti-depressants.  I never filled the prescription and instead did my own research.  I read that exercise can work as an anti-depressant so I took up jogging because all I could afford was a pair of running shoes.  Within a short period of time, I was no longer depressed and started losing weight.  This is without changing my diet. Actually, jogging decreased my desire for sweets somewhat because it increased my energy level.

A year later I started strength training due to an injury.  I noticed I could eat more and not gain weight.  Why? Strength training increases your metabolism more than just aerobic exercise alone.  Without going into a scientific explanation, the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body will burn even at rest.  Did you ever notice how men seem to lose weight easier than women?  Well, that is the reason.  More muscle mass.  So the first step to weight loss is exercise.  Aerobic exercise for 30-60 minutes 3-4 times a week and strength training 30-60 minutes 2-3 times per week, depending on what you can handle.  If that's too much, start with 15 minutes, just start.

Remember, do not start an exercise program without your doctor's approval, especially if you are overweight and haven't exercised for a while.  If you have any questions or comments, please write them in the comment section and I will respond within 24-48 hours.


Image: Andy Newson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


In Health Always! :)