March 4th, 2010 jeniii
Ahhh, the beginning of Spring. This time of season is so wonderfully refreshing! Everything and everyone starts to come out of hibernation; leaves start to grow on trees, flowers bloom and people start gardening. March usually marks the beginning of the gardening season. The weather is starting to warm up and the days are getting longer, which means more sunlight; perfect for planting. Gardening is a great way to know exactly where your fruits and vegetables are coming from, because let’s face it, who knows what kinds of chemicals and bacteria are on things these days. Plus, it’s a great hobby and stress reliever. There’s always a great fulfillment knowing that what you’re eating is what you just harvested from your own garden.
As fun as gardening in March is, not every vegetable or fruit should be planted now. Some should be planted as the weather gets warmer, depending on your location. March friendly vegetables and fruits consist mainly of; asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce (many types), onions, peppers, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries and tomatoes… just to name a few.
Now, I don’t know about you, but my thumb isn’t exactly green. In fact it’s at the total opposite spectrum. The only thing I can actually suggest is to go completely organic and start your own compost pile. Now that’s what I call knowing EXACTLY where your produce comes from!
December 1st, 2009 cate
One gift idea we really like to embrace each year during the holiday season, is food. Why? We just feel that food, provided its packaging isn’t too copious and that is not laden with chemicals, is highly environmentally responsible. For one, food is eaten which creates little actual trash unlike gifts made of, for example, plastic and pvc materials and wrapped in plastic, which all eventually piles up in city dumps then leaches their toxic chemicals into the water shed. Next, many food gifts come in containers or baskets that can be re-used or recycled.
We like offering organic, edible gifts because we think people really appreciate them and it leaves us feeling good that we haven’t contributed much to the planet’s problems. A particularly insidious issue comes from plastic toys for children. Not only are they bad for the environment because yes, at some point, they will end up in a dump – but also they’ve found many of these plastic toys encumbered with Bisphenol A, a dangerous and unhealthy chemical found in many plastics. Why would anyone risk the health of little kids by giving them these hazardous chemicals?
Here’s an idea for kids. These colorful vanilla and sugar animal cookies are certified organic (all natural, no preservatives, nut-free) and just overall fun. They are a great alternative to gifting plastic toys, and are packaged in recycled boxes.
O r d e r t h e s e n o w
May 11th, 2009 cate
“A higher intake of vitamin E can cut the risk of lung cancer by more than half, researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has found.
In a new study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers used the National Cancer Institute’s Health Habits and History Questionnaire and Food Frequency Questionnaire to assess the dietary intakes of 1,088 lung cancer patients and 1,414 healthy participants. Participants were further surveyed about various lifestyle factors, including smoking.
The average age of the healthy participants was 60.8, while the average age of the lung cancer participants was 61.7.
Vitamin E occurs in two main groups, the tocopherols and tocotrienols. Each of these groups, in turn, contains four varieties, named alpha, beta, gamma and delta. For the current study, the researchers analyzed participants’ dietary tocopherol intake, dividing it up based on which form it occurred in.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to compare dietary intakes of the different forms of tocopherols (alpha-, beta-, gamma and delta-tocopherol) and lung cancer risk,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers divided participants into groups based on intake of tocopherols in general and the four different varieties individually, then compared the rate of lung cancer between the groups.
Participants with the highest tocopherol intake were found to have a 55 percent lower risk of lung cancer than participants with the lowest intakes. The average intakes of the two groups were more than 12.95 milligrams per day and less than 6.68 milligrams per day, respectively.
A powerful protective correlation also showed up for alpha-tocopherol, with those consuming the most having a 53 percent lower risk of lung cancer than those with the lowest intake. The highest alpha-tocopherol intake averaged more than 7.73 milligrams per day, while the lowest averaged less than 4.13 milligrams per day.
Higher consumption of beta-, gamma- or delta-tocopherol alone, however, appeared to have no influence on cancer risk.
“We found consistent independent associations for increased dietary alpha-tocopherol intake and risk reduction but did not find independent associations for gamma-, beta- and delta-tocopherol in lung cancer risk,” the researchers wrote.
The European diet typically contains vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol, while the U.S. diet tends to contain it in the form of gamma-tocopherol. Vitamin pills contain mostly alpha-tocopherol.
The study was not designed to analyze by what mechanism tocopherols in general or alpha-tocopherol in particular might act to reduce cancer risk.
“Our data should be useful in stimulating additional epidemiologic and basic science research in the relationship of different forms of vitamin E and cancer,” the researchers wrote.
Foods high in vitamin E include asparagus, avocado, green leafy vegetables, nuts, olives, seeds and wheat germ. A variety of vegetable oils, including canola, corn, cottonseed, red palm, sunflower and soybean are also high in the vitamin.
The new study is not the first to link vitamin E with cancer protection. The vitamin is well known to function as an antioxidant, meaning that it plays an important role in removing particles known as free radicals from the body. These electrically charged molecules are believed to be responsible for some of the cell damage that leads to cancer, other diseases, and the symptoms of aging.”
March 16th, 2009 cate
Why Should You Care About Pesticides?
The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood.
Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.
What’s the Difference?
EWG research has found that people who eat the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily. The Guide helps consumers make informed choices to lower their dietary pesticide load.
Will Washing and Peeling Help?
Nearly all the studies used to create these lists assume that people rinse or peel fresh produce. Rinsing reduces but does not eliminate
pesticides. Peeling helps, but valuable nutrients often go down the drain with the skin. The best approach: eat a varied diet, rinse all produce and buy organic when possible.
How Was This Guide Developed?
EWG analysts have developed the Guide based on data from nearly
87,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce conducted between
2000 and 2007 and collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You can find a detailed
description of the criteria EWG used to develop these rankings and
the complete list of fruits and vegetables tested at our dedicated
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.