Monday, July 25, 2011

Weight Loss Tip #8 - Eat Breakfast

Please eat your breakfast every day whether you are trying to lose weight or not. This meal jump starts your metabolism and gives you energy to work more efficiently. Studies have shown people who always eat breakfast not only have an easier time losing weight but have an easier time keeping it off.  In general, people who eat breakfast weight less than people who don't.  Your breakfast should include a protein such as eggs, nuts (peanut butter is acceptable), or plain yogurt. I don't eat meat but if you do, nitrite free turkey bacon would be good. Some suggestions for a great breakfast are follows:

1) Eggs (one or two depending on your size), whole grain toast with butter (yes butter!) and fresh fruit on the side.

2) Slow cooked oatmeal (steel cut is the best but rolled oats will do fine) with raisins and walnuts.

3) 1/2 cup of plain yogurt with 1/2 cup of fresh fruit or a teaspoon of low sugar jam (no artificial sweeteners) and maple syrup to taste, and whole grain toast with butter (yes!).  This is one of my favorite breakfasts especially in the summer when I can eat fresh fruit such as blueberries with my yogurt.

4) A slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter, a glass of soy milk, and a piece of fresh fruit.

Note: Use organic eggs and organic or at least hormone free butter and yogurt. Tillamook makes hormone free butter and cheeses.  Mountain High has a great tasting hormone free yogurt.  Don't believe the FDA statement on hormone free products stating there is no significant difference between products derived from rBST treated and non-rBST treated cows.  Companies like Tillamook are required by the FDA to put this on their products although they know it is not true.  The statement was a compromise between Monsanto (the company that produces rBST) and companies that make hormone free products.  Monsanto, the most evil company in the world, has more money and power than these other companies and has a way of "persuading" the FDA.  If you have time, watch the video on Monsanto and dairy products at my posting called Toxic Milk and Udder Pus.  Sounds appetizing, doesn't it?       

Some people don't do well with fruit and proteins. If you are one of them, save your fruit for a mid-morning snack. One cup of coffee or tea with milk or half and half (again make sure it is hormone free or organic) is acceptable.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Diet Soda Causes Weight Gain

Another good reason to quit diet sodas.  They do not help you lose weight because they are low in calories.  They actually cause weight gain.  How?  The body doesn't know the difference between aspartame and sugar.  In a study in Texas of 474 participants, those who drank 2 or more diet sodas a day had increased waist sizes six times greater than those that did not drink diet sodas.  For more details see the article Study: Drinking Diet Sodas Causes Weight Gain, Blood Sugar Spikes  at

For more information on the detrimental effects of aspartame, see my posting Excitotoxins: Dangers of Aspartame and MSG.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

7 Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

High blood pressure puts you at higher risk of strokes and heart attacks.  You can lower your blood pressure naturally by doing the following:

  1. Lose weight - the rule of thumb is that one pound of body fat loss drops systolic blood pressure (upper number) by one point.  For tips on losing weight, type "weight loss" in the Search box in the upper right hand corner of my blog.
  2. Exercise regularly - when sedentary people begin an exercise program, their systolic pressure dropped an average of 10 points.  The key word here is "regular" exercise.  Exercising for an week and stopping for a week doesn't work.  You must exercise on a regular basis.  Walking and biking are great ways to work exercise into your daily life.  Walk or bike to work.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Or take the elevator to a few floors below the floor your office is on and walk up the stairs for the remainder of the way.
  3. Reduce sodium intake - some people get spikes in blood pressure after consuming sodium.  The easiest way to reduce sodium is to limit processed foods and do not add salt to meals.
  4. Reduce meat consumption - vegetarians on average have lower blood pressure possibly because they eat more fruits and vegetables which are full of antioxidants.  Red meat, especially, is bad for so many reasons. Eliminate red meat and add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
  5. Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption -  alcohol consumption, in some people, raises blood pressure.  Try eliminating alcohol for a couple of months and see how it affects your blood pressure.  If you are a heavy drinker, you could see as much as a 20 point drop.
  6. Increase potassium intake - studies have shown people who've taken potassium supplements dropped an average of five points in blood pressure.  Potassium rich foods include apples, nectarines, potatoes, tomatoes, melons, and bananas.  Each day eat a minimum of five fruits and vegetables.    
  7. Do relaxation exercises - many individuals who practice relaxation exercises like meditation, yoga, or tai chi have lower blood pressure than those who don't.  Take a class or get some good DVDs (see my store at the right).
Note:  Do not reduce blood pressure medication, start an exercise program, or a diet program without your doctor's approval.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Gardening - Getting Rid of Earwigs

Well I found out what was destroying my plants.  Earwigs!!!  Nothing is more disgusting than earwigs.  The most significant damage was to my strawberries.  Between earwigs and ants, the strawberries in the ground were almost completely destroyed.  I dug up nine plants.  I was able to save two plants.  I put them in pots along with four other strawberry plants.  I planted alyssums in their place.  The turnip leaves were destroyed but the turnips are still fine and recovering.  We actually ate a turnip yesterday.  It was very good.

So what did I do about the earwigs?  First, I tried a homemade remedy called "fire water".  Fire Water is made by first mincing garlic and letting it sit in water overnight.  Then you strain out the garlic and added a little canola oil (or vegetable oil), a squirt of dish soap, and some diluted cayenne pepper (added to water and then strain through a coffee filter).  Mixed well all together and put it in a spray bottle.  I then sprayed all my vegetables with the Fire Water.  It did a pretty decent job keeping aphids off the the plants, especially the tomato plants, but not the earwigs.  As a matter of fact, I think the earwigs quite enjoyed the garlic.

My second plan of attack for the earwigs was drowning them in a soy sauce and vegetable oil mixture.  Basically, you mix soy sauce with some vegetable oil and put it in a small plastic container or small tuna type can and set it out at night near your plants.  The earwigs are attracted to the soy sauce and the oil drowns them.  This did work to a degree.  I did get rid of quite a few earwigs this way but not all.  It seems by the third night I had significantly less earwigs in the containers.  I think they were telling their friends.  This solution also attracts and kills ants.  Be very careful if you have pets, especially dogs, and use this method.  They will drink up the mixture, earwigs and all.  Ugh!!  You'll want to put containers down after their last trip outside and pick them up before you let your dogs out in the morning.  This mixture can also be messy if you drop it.  I also heard that beer works well to get rid of earwigs in the same way also.  Beer is not as messy as an oily mixture but I don't know how well it works.  At the time I had no beer in the house.   

My third plan of attack was to call an expert at the local nursery.  He told me that the earwig problem was especially difficult this year because we had a very wet winter.  I told him I wanted an organic solution so he recommended spinosad.  I purchased a product called Captain Jack's Deadbug.  You spray it on the plants.  The earwigs eat the plants and eventually die.  He said that it will take a while to get all the earwigs because the product is organic.  It works slower than chemical insecticides.  You spray it on your plants about once a week until you see no more damage.  I just sprayed my third application today.  I have noticed a significant decrease in damage, especially over the past week, but still see earwigs and some damage so I will continue spraying weekly until I see none.  The only problem with this product is it is toxic to bees so if you spray it on pollen producing plants, you need to spray when bees are not active.  Don't spray the three hours prior to when bees are the most active.      

Image courtesy of Rosemary Ratcliff at