February 1st, 2009 cate
More and more people are finding themselves with heart disease, and it’s no longer just about older adults. Increasingly, and alarmingly, many kids and teens are reported to be having problems related to heart disease. Here are a few heart healthy foods that everyone should add to their diets, not just for heart healthiness, but for overall health. In all cases, stick with ORGANIC ingredients. Non-organic fruit and other items tend to have chemicals such as pesticides, flavor enhancers and dangerous heavy metals. Note: Always consult your health care provider first about a different diet if you are taking medicines or undergoing any treatments for health issues, particularly heart disease.
Avocados are loaded with monounsaturated fat, healthy fats. They help lower LDL cholesterol levels while raising the amount of HDL cholesterol in your body. They allow for the absorption of other carotenoids, particularly beta carotene and lycopene, which are absolutely essential for heart health.
Berries – Raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are full of anti-inflammatory ingredients, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer. Berries in general are important for vascular health. Be sure to only choose organic berries, as non-organic fruit tend to contain dangerous amounts of pesticides, chemicals and other toxic ingredients.
Beans Fill up on fiber with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) lentils, kidney beans and blac, beans. They have lots of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and soluble fiber.
Nuts Walnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts are all chock full of omega-3 fatty acids and mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Almonds are super rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts contain fiber, very important and a good source of healthy fat.”
Garlic contains allicin, which reacts with red blood cells and produces hydrogen sulphide. This relaxes the blood vessels, and keeps blood flowing easily.
Salmon is extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is known to reduce blood pressure and keep clotting to a minimum. Salmon contains an ingredient called, carotenoid astaxanthin, which is a very powerful antioxidant. Important note: Choose wild salmon over farm raised salmon (or farm raised fish in general), which is proven to be packed with pesticides, insecticides and heavy metals.
Olive Oil is packed with monounsaturated fats. It has a tendency to lower bad LDL cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It’s best when used in salad dressings.
Oranges – Rich in Vitamin C, oranges protect arteries from free radicals, highly damaging molecules that cause our cells to oxidize. Oranges also contain folate, which processes the amino acid homocysteine in our bodies. Without folate, your risk of a heart attack is greater. Potassium in oranges play a key role in heart functions and muscle contractions. The calcium in oranges help maintain normal blood pressure, and magnesium helps your heart maintain a steady rhythm and normal blood pressure.
Spinach – helps keep your heart in top shape thanks to its stores of lutein, folate, potassium, and fiber.
Flaxseeds – Full of fiber and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, a little sprinkling of flaxseeds can be incredibly beneficial for your heart. Add it to yogurt or cereal for a healthy start in the morning.
Oatmeal is full of omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and potassium. This fiber-rich superfood is able to lower levels of LDL (or bad) cholesterol and help keep arteries clear. Choose coarse or steel-cut oats over instant varieties—which contain more fiber. Remember to add some flaxseeds and blueberries.
January 26th, 2009 cate
“We all love to eat, but the ugly reality is that some foods can make you sick. We’re not talking about salmonella here; none of what’s listed below should send you directly to the hospital with a debilitating illness, though Jeremy Piven recently claimed to have mercury sickness from a diet too rich in sushi. While the verdict is still out on Piven’s poisoning, certain foods, when eaten too frequently, can pose a very real health risk over time (especially if you are thinking of having a baby or if you are feeding a small child).
The dangers of these foods range from PCBs in certain fish, to large trace amounts of pesticides on fresh fruit and veggies. This past year, the National Institutes of Health even linked long-term pesticide exposure to diabetes. To avoid these health risks, we came up with a list of ten foods to beware, both for your health and for the health of the environment.
1. Farmed Salmon
Tim Fitzgerald, a scientist with the Oceans Program of the Environmental Defense Fund, says, “Salmon is the third most popular seafood in the US, so people are eating a lot of it and most of what they’re eating is farmed. As a result of the feed salmon are given, they are very high in PCBs and environmental contaminants. For reasons of health, the environment, and popularity with consumers, farmed salmon is at the top of the list of seafood to avoid.” The average dioxin level in farmed-raised salmon is 11 times higher than that in wild salmon .
2. Conventionally Grown Bell Peppers
Even though pesticides are present in most food at very small trace levels, their negative impact on health is well documented, and certain produce carries a greater risk. According to a report done by the Environmental Working Group, sweet bell peppers are the vegetable with the most pesticides detected on a single sample (as many as 11 were found on one sample). In addition, bell peppers are the vegetable with the most pesticides overall with 64 different pesticides found on samples. Better to buy organic and eliminate this risk.
3. Non-Organic Strawberries
In order to increase sweetness, some growers of non-organic strawberries are said to irrigate the plants with water laced with the artificial sweetener NutraSweet. And that luscious red color is caused by the fungicide captan, recognized by the EPA as a probable human carcinogen. Do you really want to eat something bathed in a chemical sweetener and doused with a likely cancer-causer? Probably not.
4. Chilean Sea Bass
Chilean sea bass, otherwise known as Patagonian toothfish, lives for a very long time and grows to a large size; both are automatic warning bells for being high in mercury. Fitzgerald says, “We have some pretty comprehensive data that Chilean sea bass are extraordinarily high in mercury and not something you want to eat very often. When you factor in the very serious environmental issues with illegal fishing and bycatch, it’s definitely a double whammy for us.”
“That said, we don’t want to give the impression that if you eat one piece of fish with mercury, you’re going to get mercury poisoning. But if you continually eat fish with a lot of mercury over an extended period of time, that’s when you’re going to see more serious issues like unexplainable fatigue, memory problems, and tingling or numbness in your extremities,” Fitzgerald says.
5. Non-Organic Peaches
Peaches aren’t just juicy and delicious, they’re magnets for pesticides, often topping the Organic Center’s consumer’s pocket guide for pesticide-riddled produce. The Center’s chief scientist Charles Benbrook says, “Peaches top the list because their skins get soft at the end of their season on the tree and the last pesticide spray can move right through that skin and get into the tissue of the fruit in a matter of hours. That’s why it’s easy to find peaches with ten different pesticide residues in them.”
Benbrook adds, “The last thing that we want to do is scrooge people from eating fresh fruits and vegetables. If anything, we want people to eat two to three more servings of produce a day. But the science is irrefutable. If the average family sought out organic versions of the top four fruits and vegetables they eat the most often, they could eliminate 90% of their overall pesticide exposure.”
6. Genetically Modified Corn
If you read Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, one of the more shocking truths is the amount of corn found in the American diet. Corn is in everything from frozen yogurt to ketchup, from mayonnaise and mustard to hot dogs and vitamins. Unless specified as organic, the corn you’re ingesting is likely genetically modified. Genetically modified organisms have not been tested thoroughly enough for long-term consequences, but a series of studies has found significant health risks in animals tested, and an increase in certain allergies for humans.
7. Bluefin Tuna
Maybe it’s a good thing that not everyone has the luxury of eating a lot of toro at the sushi bar, because bluefin tuna is in grave danger from a population perspective. It’s also one of the more dangerous fish for mercury consumption, making it both a bad eco choice and a health risk for mercury exposure. Fitzgerald says, “The bluefin tuna is in such horrible shape right now. There are some populations that may go commercially extinct in the near future if we don’t ease up on the fishing.”
8. Industrially Farmed Chicken
While there has been much debate over chickens and hormones, there exists a great deal of misinformation. Poultry is not allowed to be given hormones in the United States, so while reports have existed for years that schoolchildren are experiencing early puberty due to excess hormones traced to chicken, there have not been enough studies done to prove this conclusively .
What we do know is that tests done by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found arsenic in conventional chickens. Arsenic has been linked to cancer and contributes to other diseases including heart disease, diabetes and deterioration of mental faculties. In addition, a study conducted in 2002 for the Sierra Club and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy found multiple antibiotic-resistant bacteria in brand-name poultry products . Scientists believe antibiotic use in animals raised for food contributes to antibiotic-resistant bacteria transferred to humans, mainly through contaminated food, resulting in drug-resistant infections. In order to avoid poultry that’s been dosed with antibiotics or given feed laced with arsenic, better to opt for an organic chicken at the grocery store.
9. Non-Organic Apples
“Apples come with a red flag based on the sheer amount of apples in our diet and the reliance of pesticides in humid parts of the country,” says Benbrook. Apple skins contain higher pesticide residues. Higher risk apples are grown in the humid mid-Atlantic states and Michigan: They use more pesticides than California, Oregon or Washington state. A lot of those pesticides seep into the skin of the apple, so it’s always good to peel it. Unfortunately, approximately 1/3 of the nutrients come off with the peel, according to Benbrook.
10. Cattle Treated With rBGH
The use of genetically engineered drug rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) is widespread among the cattle industry in the United States. Banned by all European nations and Canada, U.S. dairy farmers continue to use the synthetic hormone which escalates production of the cow’s own hormone ICF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1). This hormone does not break down when humans consume milk from those cows and has been traced to higher risks of certain cancers, including breast cancer, and hormonal disorders. The only guarantee against ingesting these dangerous excess hormones is to buy milk labeled “no rBGH.” [source]
January 24th, 2009 cate
“So you lost your job. Now what? As an employee, you had a daily routine, health insurance coverage, and a regular paycheck. You liked the security—while it lasted. And if you sometimes daydreamed about the freedom of working for yourself, leaving a full-time job never seemed worth the risk.
But now, laid off into a recession and the worst job market in decades—2.6 million Americans lost jobs in 2008, with 524,000 eliminated in December alone—you may be thinking self-employment sounds like the best path out of unemployment. Rather than try to land one of the few open jobs out there, maybe you could work as a freelancer or consultant, at least until the job market recovers. You’re in good company: There were nearly 9 million self-employed workers in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But if you’re among the thousands of unemployed now trying to go it alone, where do you start?
First, step back. Decide what your goals are and how freelancing will help you achieve them, says Pamela Slim, author of the Escape From Cubicle Nation blog and a forthcoming book of the same name. “It’s obviously very easy at the point of being laid off to really come from a position of fear and desperation,” she says. Thinking about long-term goals from the start will keep you grounded and help you determine how to proceed. Once you’re clear on your goals, Slim says, you should ask: “What are the specific skills, knowledge, money, resources, information, and contacts [you] need to bring that picture to life?”
There are plenty of nuts-and-bolts concerns that can overwhelm first-time freelancers, especially those who suddenly lost steady jobs. Chief among them is health care. The health insurance system does not accommodate… “ continue reading
January 15th, 2009 cate
I’ve written several posts about this but I can’t stress enough that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and as the most important meal of the day, it should be healthy. So, why do so many people eat commercial cereals? WHY? WHY people!?? Those of you who eat those mass made cereals, do me a favor, ok? Open the cereal box and stick your nose inside at the top. Now. Take a big SNIFF. Really think about what you’re smelling. To me, it doesn’t really even smell like food. At BEST, it smells like dried dog food. Guess what? There are many common ingredients in cereal and dog food. All that aside, just think about how you’re eating something that isn’t very healthy for you. No matter how many are vitamin fortified, forget about it. They HAVE been fortified but the processing kills most of the nutrients leaving you with nearly nothing. Why do you want to eat THAT for your most important meal? Anyway, here are my suggestions.
Don’t be a lazy bastard.
Gah, you might be thinking, you don’t have to be such a biatch. Sorry. I can’t help it when it comes to important things. So many people I know ALWAYS use the excuse, “I don’t have enough time in the morning to prepare anything, so we (or my kids) eat cereals or protein bars. It’s easy, fast and…” – let me finish that line for you, “CRAPPY FOR THEM.” You can’t argue with me; it’s true. Now, get a conscience and get caring about you and your kids’ health! I just can’t believe I have to tell you this.
Make a yummy nutritious meal for breakfast.
Ok if you HAVE to use that stupid, lame excuse of not having enough time in the morning, then prepare some things the night before so you have little to prepare the next day. Here’s one example (but DO search online for a variety of ideas) Make some whole wheat or multi-grain scones the night before, then in the morning eat them with organic almond butter and some organic jam. Or simply with fruit. Make a quick side of scrambled eggs and voila. Yummy and healthy meal.
Be more organized – Plan for the whole week and vary meals.
This also relates to the previous idea, “don’t be a lazy bastard.” If you plan for the week, your breakfast life will be smooth as peanut butter. During the weekends, plan your meals for every week day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be something different every single day, depending on the tastes of you and your family members, but it should vary to an extent. This is important so your bodies receive a variety of nutrients instead of the very same ones day after day. For example, if you have kids love their home-made organic muesli, allow it Tuesday and Thursday one week, then for the next week allow it Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Vary the kinds of fruit and nuts you add to the muesli. Maybe once in a while add yogurt instead of whole, raw organic milk.
Make Pancakes better.
If you and your family likes pancakes once in a while, instead of using just white flour, add more hearty and healthy flours into the mix like whole wheat flour and buckwheat flour. Also, make sure if you do use white flour, that it is non-bleached and organic. Use organic ingredients as much as possible including eggs, sugar and milk.
Offer all kinds of different spreads for toast.If there’s a die-hard, “gotta have” toast in the a.m., offer different things to spread on it: Peanut butter, coconut butter, almond butter or other kinds of nut butters, tahini, organic butters and cream cheese, organic fruit and jams. Or something completely different: pickled herring, organic cheeses, a poached egg, veggies. How ’bout some organic maple syrup?
The organic tortilla is your friend for breakfast.
I’ve been recently been liking brown rice tortillas but there are many kinds that are good for your health. Tortillas are champions in convenience and you can put all kinds of things into them. Breakfast burritos, veggies and scrambled eggs, bean and cheese, fruity wraps…you will only be limited by your imagination. And if you run out of ideas, look online for more ideas! You don’t have to be alone in this breakfast dilemma.
Let smoothies rule.
There’s nothing more healthy than throwing some fruit, plain yogurt or juice into a blender and make a refreshing, scrumptious and satisfying smoothie. Add some flax seed meal into it and you may become addicted to this excellent meal in a glass. Make sure to vary fruit and ingredients for your smoothies!
Related: Why you shouldn’t eat popular breakfast cereals, More reasons to give up Cereal, especially Corn Flakes! Healthy Organic Breakfasts
January 13th, 2009 cate
Surfing might be right for you
We’re just barely finishing the second week of the new year, and you’ve already gone off your workout. Have you given up completely? Will this be another new year’s resolution categorized as fail? Are you simply pushing forward the same ole resolution year after year because you can’t stick to the workout? Have I made you feel even worse than you already feel? Sorry ’bout that. I really don’t mean to do that because, in fact, I’m here to tell you that you probably gave up on your workout because it’s not the right workout. Really! It isn’t you; it’s the workout. Now, it’s time to figure out what will work for you.
Here’s an example: When I first started taking Tai Chi, I absolutely loved it (and still do) and knew I could stick to that for a long while. It is something that transcends me to another place, a place where I want to be day after day. It made sense in the deepest perspective and it was right for me. I took the class with my friend, Penny, who had the exact opposite reaction to it. She hated it so much, it was nearly torture. Actually, she’d remarked that she’d prefer torture to doing Tai Chi. She would rather have someone cut off her arm or stab her a million times or set her hair on fire than do Tai Chi. I was baffled. How could someone deeply hate something I deeply love so much?
But hey, I’m not one to dwell. I let it go. Tai Chi and Penny were not meant to be partners. End of discussion. And you should do the same if this happens to you. So, if you started your pilates or jazz dance or yoga or whatever you thought would help you keep a regular exercise regime and keep you fit and keep your weight at a manageable level – but gave up, don’t worry. You now need to find what’s best for you.
I don’t know what is best for you; only you and you alone know what is best for you. That said, if you try something and you cannot make a commitment to it, drop it! If you don’t find your “groove” or “flow” or “bliss,” forget about it. It’s as simple as that, BUT! don’t give up. Try other things until you find the right thing. Consider the following. If you can’t get into yoga or tai chi because you find it a little on the boring side or not active enough, try something like dance or aerobics or rock climbing or spinning or biking or hiking or skiing or surfing or soccer or swimming or basketball… Are you more of a mellow, steady and ready for mind and body challenges – kind of person? Maybe you will like martial arts, fencing, dancing the tango or ballroom dancing. Are you more of a social person? Try team sports, tennis, dance classes… You see where I’m going with this right?
There are LOTS of things to try, but it first helps to figure yourself out then go from there. If you get too bored running, obviously, don’t do that activity. If you love nature and being outdoors because it makes you feel more connected to the universe, by all means, partake in activities that involve nature. If you need to be alone have an intense workout incorporating mind, body and spirit, you will most likely be well matched with yoga, tai chi; maybe the Wii Fit is a good fit for you? The most important thing is to NOT give up.