Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cow Washer?

Ok it's been a while since I posted last, not due to a lack of things to say but rather the time to say it in. The time to put that conscious thought into something intelligent, readable, and, well, fun for the whole family... That said when I come across a headline like "Cow washer aims to fight germs at Calf. beef plant" I'm really left with no choice but to respond.

The Cargill owned beef processing plant, Beef Packers Inc., which processes in excess of 1 million pounds of beef per day at its 60 acre facility, and who recalled about 82,6000 lbs of that same beef last year due to salmonella fears, has invested over $4 million dollars in a "cow cleaning system" to help prevent further salmonella outbreaks. Apparently this cow car-wash "cleans the hides of carcasses prior to slaughter with spinning bristles and high pressure nozzles filled with an anit-microbial solution."

Just for some background information, these extremely unsanitary facilities are nothing more than overcrowded prisons for animals where they get to live out there last days literally shoulder to shoulder standing or laying in their own feces, a breeding ground for deadly bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli.

So in an effort to remedy this unpleasant yet obvious effect of yet another brilliant man-made problem, what better place to look then to a man-made machine as the most obvious viable solution...

Forget the fact that whatever chemicals used in the "anti-microbial" solution that most definitely soaks through the hide into the muscle tissue which we eat is most likely toxic when consumed. Forget the fact that organic sustainable grass-fed farms do not have these major bacteria outbreaks with their animals due the natural, more "common sense" approach to farming that they use.

As always though it's ultimately your choice; meat from happy grass fed animals living their lives as free as a farmed animal can be, or power-washed bacteria ridden meat from unhealthy corn/antibiotic/steroid/de-wormer fed animals.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Land O'... Corn?

As my wife and I were driving back from the organic winery we frequent we noticed a Land O'Lakes farm, something we never noticed before; what we didn't notice ironically enough were any cows. Oh there was plenty of land with plenty of corn fields, but not a cow in sight.

I find it funny that a farm which supplies butter to this monstrosity of a corporation uses its fields to grow corn, which ultimately will go to feeding hungry cows.

For a company that supposedly started out as a small cooperative with big new ideas about producing butter, I wonder if they ever thought they would be just another large corporation supporting the corn industry and a nation of unhealthy cows... And people!

If butter is on your weekly grocery list, then wouldn't it make good healthy sense to know that the butter you buy is coming from a working sustainable dairy farm instead of acres and acres of corn field with a few cows tucked away somewhere?

Do yourself a favor and support local organic sustainable farming!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Collards and Carrots

A headline in today's health news reads "Collards and carrots may ward of breast cancer", and other than the fact that it should read "WILL" ward off cancer I am happy to see such studies being done by the medical community.

The high carotene content in such vegetables such as carrots, collards, spinach, and kale to name a few is the number one reason these foods are so important to a healthy diet (see Carotenes are the Fountain of Youth), and despite the fact that it takes the medical community forever to figure out what the naturopathic community has known for some time now, it is indeed promising to just to know the research is being done.

The unfortunate thing is nowhere in the article "collards and carrots..." do they even mention the word carotene, and as a matter of fact they say more research must be done to confirm vegetable's cancer-staving powers, but at least the research is being done!

In the mean time, while the medical community is doing more research, do yourself a favor and get your daily dose of this natural cancer fighting superstar... Carotene!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Processing Equals Disaster

With recent headlines like Frozen veggies recalled over glass shard risk or Texas food factory closed, packaged produce recalled I think it only helps drive home the point that food processing, on any level, is an accident waiting to happen; or worse yet death, which is already the case with the Texas food factory... 5 deaths already reported!

For the Texas factory the recall is on fresh cut fruits and vegetables, packaged and sealed and distributed to, get this, restaurants, hospitals and schools!

Can't we buy our fruits and vegetables straight from our local organic farm, where we the buyer actually has an "in person" relationship with the farmer? Where we the buyer brings home this fresh organic produce and then cuts and packages them ourselves?

It is said that in a country that is supposed to be so advanced, that the food industry can be so screwed up, to the point where those that dare venture beyond their local farm for food must approach any aisle of their local grocery store with a "buyer beware" cloud looming overhead.

Sad but true!

Be smart; choose to live a healthy lifestyle! Choose a healthy diet (consisting mainly) of fresh local organic unprocessed foods!

Even if you have to drive an hour or so to the nearest "local organic farm", doesn't it beat the alternative?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Is Cancer a Man-Made Disease?

There are many arguments on either side of this question; with some showing little if any signs of cancer in ancient humans leading to a link between cancer and modern human industrialized society, while others argue that ancient humans rarely lived beyond their 30's which explains the low almost zero rate of cancer within their society.

Michael Zimmerman, a researcher from the University of Villanova, argues this theory saying that "Cancer nowadays is largely caused by man-made environmental factors such as pollution and diet." He goes on to say, "In industrialized societies, cancer is second only to cardiovascular disease as a cause of death, but in ancient times, it was extremely rare".

He follows this up by saying, "There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer."

I must say it was nice to see someone within the research community voice such conclusions publicly, and I just can't fathom why the majority of researchers within the medical community can't grasp this notion. It is an indisputable documented fact that prior to being "infected" by the cancer causing ways of the modern western world, societies of humans existed living well into their hundreds; I'm talking 120's and 130's... to us that's unheard of! But to people from Vilcabamba Valley high within the Andes Mountains (just as one example) this was the norm.

This to me rebuts the theory that we suffer from cancer more than our ancient ancestors did simply because we live longer. As man evolved some stayed within small remote communities out of sight from the rest of the world, and some became the industrial society we live in today where man-made pollution and toxins are the norm; and it's this branch that lives with cancer as an epidemic.

The best we can do is to live the healthiest life we can; that means fresh organic fruits and vegetables, natural organic whole grains and legumes, and grass fed meats and free-range eggs. It means limit your exposure to anything toxic; household chemicals and cleaners, cosmetics, soaps, toothpastes, etc.

It's your life; choose to live a long one!

If you would like to read more about Michael Zimmerman's findings, click on "Cancer is a man-made disease, controversial study claims".

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Don't Let Creative Marketing Fool You!

There are many forms of sneaky persuasive misleading tools used by companies in an effort to sell their product. We see it all the time whether it's the wording and or pictures on the products packaging, or the packaging itself for that matter; whether it's a newspaper or magazine ad, a radio commercial, or TV advertisement, it's nothing more than creative marketing and advertising and companies spend millions of dollars for just that.

Don't let this creative marketing fool you!

Trust me when I tell you that Jimmy Dean's microwavable breakfast sausages are not going to wake you up and energize you in the morning, even if a man dressed up in a sun outfit tells you so.

Trust me when I tell you the new Burger King breakfast bowl is not the hardy breakfast a hungry man needs, even if a singing mailman tells you so.

And trust me, America does NOT "Runs on Dunkin"... despite what they tell you!

Do yourself a favor and eat healthy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Organic Diets and the Medical Community

It's not too often when you find doctors within the medical community (western medicine) buying into the benefits of a healthy diet based on food grown/raised using organic sustainable farming methods, so to hear about a doctor who chose to live the (organic) life, for 3 years... practically unheard of, but apparently not unprecedented.

Meet Dr. Alan Greene, a pediatrician who decided not simply to investigate the pros and cons of such an organic lifestyle, but to live it, 100%, for 3 years! He chose three years because that's the amount of time it takes to get a breading animal certified "organic", and figured if that's the rules farmers must comply with than so shall he. Three years of eating nothing but organic foods, whether at home or away; that's how long it would take for him to feel he'd lived up to these same standers set forth by the department of agriculture, for which farmers are strictly held.

So what came of his journey? Well I won't give it all away, but I will say the outcome was positive. Don't take my word for it though, read for yourself...

For Three Years, Every Bite Organic

Monday, October 4, 2010

So Why Does Organic Cost More?

There is no doubt an organic lifestyle costs more than the non-organic heavily processed western diet. It's apparent at any store with just about any organic product, but the disparity between organic meats and non-organic is probably the most eye-catching. But why is this?

You can say that it costs more to do things right, and that ultimately it's cheaper to produce the "garbage" American's have become accustom to calling food, but should this be? Or is it just the label itself "organic" that comes with such a price tag... the stigma that we as a society are conditioned to believe that you have to pay more for better quality.

If you've never read The Omnivore's Dilemma than you may simply accept this reasoning as fact, but no doubt this is a concept that should be questioned, and for me a recent visit to Polyface Farm (the organic sustainable farm in Michael Pollen's book) had done just that. Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm will tell you just the opposite, that in reality it cost more to do things the wrong way rather than to go with flow (of nature).

He says what people fail to take into account, when making this assumption, is all that is behind the scenes; like the many thousands of farmers subsidized by the government yet heavily in debt from the hefty loans necessary to purchase the mega farming equipment used to harvest tons of corn, from genetically engineered seeds that must be purchased every year, and the millions of tons of chemical fertilizers necessary to farm the same infertile land every season, all to grow corn in mass quantities. Or the millions of dollars it costs to transport this crop to the feedlots where it will become the main menu item for our countries mass produced live stock, which will undoubtedly become sick from this poor unhealthy diet requiring antibiotics and constant monitoring by well paid veterinarians. Not to mention the millions spent on removal and disposal of the many casualties in the form of dead livestock, a common fate for a creature treated so inhumanely, which in some form or another will find its way back as food to those "lucky" animals who survive this nightmare. Add to that the millions dollars in crude oil burned in keeping this giant operation running and the stores' shelves packed, and you have a pretty hefty bill.

But why stop there? As you know an unhealthy diet equals an unhealthy person, and that means thousands per family spent in medical bills... every year!

On the other hand an organic sustainable farmer (or grass farmer as Joel says) has nothing below the surface; no men behind the scenes. Just many acres of land farmed by many healthy livestock, each having job a maintaining the property if you will. Nothing but healthy animals (cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, etc.) putting in an honest day's work grazing off of healthy naturally fertilized land. And when done properly, kept tightly herded and rotated religiously at just the right time, first the larger animals like cows sheep and goats filling their stomachs and leaving behind an acre or so of "disturbed" land that this is ready and primed for re-growth and all the natural fertilizer necessary for this to happen. Followed this up with chickens and turkeys ready to feast on the new shoots of grass and the many insects that are hard at work fertilizing the land, and what you have is a self sustained organic farm.

So it's true at the register an organic lifestyle is pricier, but when you look at the whole picture... Which one sounds more expensive to you?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Do Your Homework!

There is tons of nutritional and health advice flying around within that great abyss we call the Internet, enough so that the uneducated person can be lead terribly astray with detrimental results. I have seen some crazy claims of what is or isn't healthy, be it the latest fad diet or the latest super food or the latest piece of (for lack of a better word) propaganda started by those who are simply blind to the selfish greedy intentions of corporations (large and small) that orchestrate our food industry as we know it.

Why do I bring this up you ask?

Today I found this comment posted by someone on one of the many health blogs/groups that I follow...

"Turns out cholesterol may not be as much an issue as we've been taught. Instead, the underlying inflammation may be the problem. Eliminate grains, sugars and processed foods."

The fact is there is truth to the claim that "inflammation" may be the underlying problem behind the over exaggerated high cholesterol scare, I've read many articles connecting the dots between inflammation with the body and many of the major health issues people face, but the problem is in the advice and to follow it would no doubt be counterproductive (health wise). To say "Eliminate sugars and processed foods" from our diet is good sense although I would elaborate regarding the sugar by saying simple sugars, since there are a number of healthy natural complex sugars (black-strap molasses, raw honey, pure maple syrup, etc.), but to say eliminate grains from our diet is so preposterous that it questions the validity of an otherwise informative comment.

The truth is complex carbohydrates such as organic natural whole grains, that is minimally processed with the endosperm layer still attached, is not only arguably the healthiest thing you can feed your body but is proven to lower cholesterol.

So do yourself and your health a favor and do your homework when it comes to information you pick up on the internet... even mine!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pigaerator Pork... There really is a difference!

Joel Salatin (Polyface Farm) preaches many things but he continually stresses two major points for organic sustainable farming, and that is he is nothing more than a grass farmer. He'll tell you that if you pay attention to the grass, knowing when to move the animals on or off a pasture, nature will do the rest. He believes that farming is about rotating your pastures of closely herded animals, mimicking a grazer's movement in the wild, at just the right time, not too soon and not too late, and that's all there is to it; not letting the pigs or cows over graze any one area, and letting the chickens follow behind when the grass shoots are only a few days old (when they're the tastiest to the chickens). He says embrace the pigness of the pig or the chickness of the chicken, or in other words let the animals be themselves and not what "man" has turned them into; fat sickly corn fed animals that are doing something far greater than feeding a nation, their killing a nation!

If the cow was designed, biologically speaking (its digestive system), to graze pastures then don't pack them in overcrowded feedlots standing in their own feces feeding them grains (corn and soy) and ground up meat!

If the chicken was designed to be natures clean-up crew, eating bugs hiding within that jungle beneath the blades of grass, as well as eating the grass, then don't clip their beaks, pack them in dark overcrowded warehouses feeding them grains (corn and soy) and bone meal!

If the pig was meant to forage like any well designed omnivore, then respect the pigness of the pig instead of clipping off their tails, packing them into overcrowded warehouses and feeding them... well you get the picture.

One thing he mentioned during our tour was that pork is not suppose to be "the other white meat", instead a healthy pig has dark meat, and like all grass fed animals far less fat and much higher levels of healthy omega-3s than their corn fed counterparts.

So taste the difference for yourself; eat locally raised organic grass fed meats and taste what you've been missing!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Polyface Farm

Well it's been a while since my last post, and since that time my wife and I have done a little traveling. We visited Polyface Farm in Virginia (featured in The Omnivore's Dilemma and Food Inc.) and took a tour of the farm given by none other than Joel Salatin himself. What an amazing tour! He is as eccentric as you would have expected (if you've read about him) and as passionate about organic sustainable farming as anyone; just a wealth of knowledge! It was really great to see the farmer that originally sparked our passion about not simply eating organic, but locally grown organic foods grown or raised the right way. It was just a reassuring moment for both my wife and I, knowing that we are doing the right thing by supporting our local organic sustainable farmers.

We have been getting our vegetables from a local organic farm and our beef, chicken, and pork from local organic grass fed farms for some time now and are happy to be a part of something so important; something having such a great positive impact on our health as well as the that of the land used to produce this food. And in case you are wondering, yes we did get some chicken and pork at Polyface to bring home with us and it was worth every dollar!

Support you local lunatic farmer!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Dirty Dozen

I think this most recent salmonella outbreak in the country's egg industry is a clear reminder that our food industry is mess of a debacle, to put it lightly. Not only can the food industry not be depended on for safe reliable food and service, but those who police this mess are as tainted as the food. And if this massive recall of 500+ million eggs isn't mind boggling and scary enough, recent headlines such as this one; "Eggs from suspect farms will be processed" , will surely put the icing on that cake that never should have been made in the first place.

So what's the solution you ask? Well I hate to sound like a broken record but... Local Organic Farming!

If you buy from local organic farms then you can be confident that you are getting the healthiest safest food available.

Put a face on that food that's on your dinner plate; support your local organic farmers.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Zone... Perfect "Garbage"

The only thing "Perfect" about the Zone Perfect bars (any of them) is that they are the perfect examples of what NOT to eat if your intentions are to eat healthy...

Listed below is the ingredients off a package of one of their All Natural Zone Perfect Classic Nutrition Bars, with all instances of sugar highlight in Blue. Below that is the same ingredients minus those that contain sugar in any way.

"Soy Protein Nuggets (Soy Protein Isolate, Rice Starch), Corn Syrup, Chocolate Flavored Coating (Sugar, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Cocoa Powder, Whey Powder, Nonfat Milk Powder, Soy Lecithin, Natural Vanilla Flavor), Soy Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Yogurt Drops (Evaporated Cane Juice, Fractionated Palm Kernel Oil, Nonfat Milk, Nonfat Yogurt Powder [Cultured Nonfat Milk], Soy Lecithin, Lactic Acid Powder [Modified Corn Starch, Lactic Acid], Natural Flavor), Coconut, High Oleic Sunflower Oil And/Or High Oleic Safflower Oil, Glycerine, Macadamia Brittle Pieces (Sugar, Macadamia Nuts, Butter, Corn Syrup, Baking Soda, Natural Vanilla Flavor And Salt). Less Than 2% Of The Following: Fructose, Sugar, Natural Flavors."

(ingredients without sugar)

"Soy Protein Nuggets (Soy Protein Isolate, Rice Starch), Soy Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Coconut, High Oleic Sunflower Oil And/Or High Oleic Safflower Oil, Glycerine

There are three giant industries in this country that shape our food industry for their own greedy intentions; Corn Soy and Dairy, and it's obvious from the ingredients in this "health bar" that these industries govern what food manufactures use as "healthy ingredients". As you can see from the drastically reduced ingredients, without sugar (corn) you are left with Soy and Whey (Dairy), oh and some coconut oil... yum! Now that's one tasty nutritional bar.

Please do yourself a favor and don't be fooled by what "they" (any large food manufacturer) portrays as healthy, instead eat what you know is healthy... Organic fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, natural whole grains and legumes, and organic grass-fed / free-range beef and poultry.

It's your health, take control of it!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Locally Grown Difference

So you're buying organic produce from you local grocery or health food store, and chances are if you're buying it from your local grocery store then the majority of those vegetables are coming from one of two major organic food companies located in California. Assuming you don't live on the west coast the question becomes how fresh are they, especially when compared to locally grown organic produce. It is true that relativity speaking California is more local then say New Zealand, Portugal, etc., but if you're not on the west coast then organic or not these vegetables are most likely picked prematurely in order for them to get to your local grocer before they begin to rot.

So they question again is, is there a difference between locally grown and non-locally grown produce?

The answer of course is 100% YES! I experienced this myself this morning when I was snacking on some carrots, a few were from a local organic farm stand that my wife and I frequent often during the summer months, and a few from the organic section of our local grocery store (from some large organic produce company located in California), and what a difference. The funny thing is you don't always notice the difference until you do a side by side comparison. The smaller (less commercial looking) locally grown ones tasted, well, very much like a carrot should, but when I re-tasted the non-locally grown ones I noticed something I hadn't noticed before... they lacked flavor.

As you know it is very important that your diet consist of fresh organic foods, and as you may or may not know it's important that these foods be eaten 'in season' (for instance don't eat tomatoes or blueberries in the dead of winter), but even if you follow these eating guidelines I urge you to go one step further. Find a local organic farm in your area, even if you have to drive an hour to get there, and taste the locally grown difference!

Friday, June 25, 2010

So What Can We Eat Anymore?

We've all heard this before at one time or another from the frustrated food shopper; "So what can we eat anymore?", and it is true, with all of the studies and research being done our list of healthy diet no-no's is growing at an unprecedented rate.

There was a time when meat (especially that all too often picked on red meat) was ok to eat, but with heart disease being as common in our society as a three-leaf clover the tables have turned, and it became all about the "dangers" of red meat. First eggs were good for you, then due to the high cholesterol diets commonly found in our society, people stopped eating them or simply just ate the whites, which don't even get me started on the stupidity of that... We all know vegetables and fruit are key to a healthy diet, but now with that pesty word "pesticides" buzzing around, people simply avoid the produce aisle. So instead the masses stick with their old diet standby, that box bag or can of processed whatever, so full of artificial preservatives and chemicals, refined sugars and sodium that these foods alone can and should be banned from food stores.

The truth is though, this dietary funk our society is stuck in is our doing. If you never read The Omnivores Dilemma then I urge you to give it a read, or at least watch Food Inc. You will find that we (society) have done this to ourselves and continue to do so. We are so blinded to the reality of our food industry and what it's become (a conglomerate of wealthy corporations that make all the decisions) that we just continue to plug along as if the westernized diet of processed and fast foods are the norm.

So to answer the question of what we can eat, without spoiling the book (or the movie), is healthy. I realize at first glance this sounds extremely vague and not very thought out, but in fact it's really that easy of a concept. What if you could eat all the fruit and veggies without the fear of pesticides; red meat and eggs (the whole egg) without the fear of a heart attack in your near future; what if you could just simply eat (in moderation of course) and not fear the deadly consequences?

We can and it's called locally grown organic seasonal fruits and vegetables, organic grass-fed beef and free-grazed chickens and eggs, and organic natural *whole grains and *legumes. You may not be able to get this at your local fast food joint or down the freezer aisle of your local grocery store, but fear not your countries local organic farmers are just waiting to serve you!

*Based on what I have recently learned (over the past 6mo or so) regarding grain consumption within modern day factory or industrial farming societies, and its adverse effects on human health ultimately leading to many of the illnesses and diseases affecting Americans in epic proportions, I have changed my stance on the importance of such monocrops (grains and legumes) within a healthy human diet. The human digestive system was not designed nor has it evolved to a point to effectively digest such foods like grains and legumes without the body suffering from its harmful side effects; inflammation and damage to the gut. Since evidence shows inefficient digestion and inflammation are the root cause for nearly all human diseases be it heart disease, diabetes, cancer, crohn's disease, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammatory disorders in all its forms, a healthy diet should promote a healthy gut (fermented foods) and be anti-inflammatory based (grass-fed meats and eggs, wild caught fish, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds) instead of high in foods promoting inflammation such as grains, legumes, and factory farmed meats, poultry, fish, and eggs.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ah to be a kid again

As I was walking by a woman's cubical at work this morning I noticed her son (working as a summer intern) had left a McDonald's coffee coolatta next to a bag of McDonald's something or other, and I thought to myself; Ah to be a kid again...

I said this but probably not for the reason that you're thinking. I sometimes wish I was a kid again, not solely for that youthful naive innocence, or that sheer lack of responsibility and stress, but so I could make better smarter healthier dietary decisions. We've all heard someone say, or said it ourselves, "Ah to be a kid again", but it's often in response to the carefree worry-free dietary choices (i.e. junk food). What we often fail to realize, or simply choose not to see, are the detrimental life threatening effects of a poor diet at this age even though childhood obesity and diabetes are epidemics in this country. We assume that a fast metabolism and more active childhood lifestyle (pre-Nintendo that is) will take care of these mistakes, but the sad hard truth is we pay for them when we are older and with interest.

So the next time we see these unhealthy dietary choices being made by children, let's not wish we were that age again simply so we could take part in these unhealthy decisions, but rather use the knowledge you have today, learned either the hard way or through basic curiosity, and not only keep focused on that healthy path you're on but teach these healthy ways to the younger generation before it's too late.

Eat Healthy! Fresh locally grown organic produce, pastured meets, and natural whole grains and legumes; with a diet like that you can't help but be young again.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Healthy Oil Spill

Oils can be a very healthy part of your diet, whether its olive oil, canola, coconut, avocado, peanut... But there are a few details (or guidelines) you should try and adhere to.

  1. Chooses "organic unrefined first cold pressed" for the most nutritional benefit, and remember that sediment you may see at the bottom of the bottle is the good stuff so give it a shake before you use it.
  2. Never buy oil that comes in a plastic container; studies show that chemicals from the plastic can and will leech into the oil rendering it an unhealthy and even toxic mess. Choose glass bottles (tinted if possible to reduce light exposure) that seal tightly.
  3. Time is of the essence, so make sure the oil is not too old; many oils (the better brands) will print the date in which they were pressed on the label to show you exactly how old they are.
  4. Each oil has a different smoke point which makes certain ones better for a particular uses (frying, broiling, baking, marinating, or simply uncooked) so read the label. An important note to remember here is unrefined oils will have a lower smoke point, so if you buy your olive oil unrefined then choose another oil for higher temps such as avocado, or canola.
Just remember to choose the oil based on what you will use it for; avocado for frying or unrefined olive oil for salads and marinates, coconut or peanut for their unique and distinct flavors, or any of them for their health benefits, and then pour it on!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cancer Risks could be just a Dr.'s Visit Away

Today's headlines say it all...

"Biggest radiation threat is due to medical scans"

"Popular blood pressure pills linked to cancer"

Both of these have become common tools in today's American medical practice, whether it's a popular test used to help diagnose a problem or common prescription intended to save your life, the scary truth is clear; cancer risks may only be a Dr.'s visit away.

Be it MRI CAT or CT scans, imaging has become far too overused with far too little research done on the negative effects due to radiation exposure, or should I say far too little attention paid by our medical community... These eye-opening facts may be hard to swallow but they're not new, as a matter of fact these dangers have been known for years and highly warned against by non-medical non-mainstream natural healers.

So why are they ordered so frequently by Dr.'s?

My guess is just like pharmaceutical companies pushing cancer causing drugs, marketing them as miracle "fix for what ails you", it's all about money power and influence. The money to push their product (drug or machine) and persuade the medical community, and the power to keep the government watchdogs at bay...

So what can you do? Be aware! Educate yourself and don't be afraid to question those who appear to have your best interest at heart.

Better yet look to Nature's Medicine Cabinet for a healthier you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Start an Organic Garden

So you've probably heard, from me or from others, that organic produce is a must and that seasonal organic produce is even better. I mean how fresh can those organic pears from Argentina be anyway?

This of course is where "Locally Grown" organic produce comes into play; when it's organic seasonal and grown locally you know it's pretty darn fresh, but can we still do better that?

The answer is yes, it's called your back yard. OK, we all don't have tons of land in which to grow big lush gardens, but that's alright. Your garden can be as big or small as you want it to be, even if that means a few potted organic tomato and pepper plants... it's a start.

You can't get fresher produce than walking out your back door and picking it right before you cook!

Big or small though, make sure your garden is organic. That means buy organic seeds (or plants), and when you replant them into whatever area (yard or larger pot) that will ultimately become their home, make sure you use organic potting soil; and never ever spray them to kill bugs!

So grow some organic veggies and reap the benefits!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Snack Healthy

Most people have some sort of sweet tooth, be for something chocolaty or simply for something well sweet. Cravings harmless by nature, but in today's world of chemically infused processed foods there's no longer anything natural about what it is we're craving; and it's the satisfying of these cravings, the unhealthy choices we make, that we end up paying for, for the rest of our lives. It's human nature to be enticed by something sweet or even salty; these qualities do not occur in abundance naturally (without human interference that is), so we're hard wired to take advantage of it when we come across food fulfilling these cravings.

The problem thought started at the same time the "human intervention" reached mass production; when sweet and salty became a dime a dozen, in fact cheaper and more abundant then healthy food. There is more sodium in one serving size of most processed foods (junk food or the so called healthy choices) then our bodies need in an entire day, and with the invention of high fructose corn syrup and other artificial sweeteners sugar is as readily available as water in this country. That is only half the problem though, because it's the quality of these salts and sugars that pack such an unhealthy punch. These are overly processed refined salts and sugars that have absolutely no nutritional value.

Simple sugars are not in way "brain food"... yes the brain fuel is glucose, but complex sugars and whole food sources are what the body wants!

Thankfully there are now snacks available that are actually healthy! These products, mainly found in health food stores, are labeled as "raw" snacks (chips, cookies, bars, etc.) and made with ingredients such as organic sprouted grains, raw honey, dates, coconut... they are extremely tasty and very healthy! So if it's your sweet tooth that needs attention, then satisfy the craving with something that can actually benefit your health.

This is just one of the companies that make these healthy treats; GoRaw.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Soapbox

I'm not one to publicly get on the soapbox and give unsolicited advice to any and all who will listen, which is why I have this blog. This is my soapbox, here for all to read if they choose... no strings, no ties. I am always willing to give advise or talk about what I know and what I've learned to any and all who ask and care to listen, but public debates and or tirades are not my style.

I've learned a lot in a relatively short time, slowly but steadily changing my views and unhealthy ways when it comes to health diet and lifestyle, from the more misguided mainstream way to the healthier more enlightened and eye-opening natural organic way. It started more or less about 4 years ago when I read Kevin Trudeau's "Natural Cures " They don't want you to know about"... it was eye-opening to say the least, and as a matter of fact it was so shocking in an accusing conspiracy kind of way that I was only able to initially "buy into" some of it. It not only caused the start of my transition into a more organic healthy lifestyle, but it caused me to constantly question where the loyalty of the pharmaceutical and food manufacturing companies lied.

Over the next few years I slowly transitioned further as I educated myself with more reading (see my list of informative books) as well as with the diagnosis of my food allergies (soy in particular) that unintentionally yet drastically made one of the biggest impacts on my diet. Unfortunately soy is found in nearly all overly processed prepackaged foods, and THANKFULLY soy is found in nearly all overly processed prepackaged foods! I've said it before... my soy allergy was and is a blessing in disguise!

The next major eye opener on my road to "healthy" was a book by Michael Pollan "The Omnivore's Dilemma". It not only reemphasized the need to be skeptical with the large corporations running our food industry, but to remain aware and to continually educated on the subject. It drove home the importance of Organic Free-Grazed and Grass-Fed meets and eggs and locally grown organic produce of any kind. It helped me realize that although organic is extremely important, it is the true definition of the word that should be understood and practiced and not simply the generic use of the word. I now see that it's inevitable that as organic foods becomes more and more popular and "in demand" by the public that it too can become tainted as the large corporations that currently poison our food supply jump on board driven solely by greed.

If you're not a "reader" and would rather a visual to drive this home then rent the movie "Food Inc", it's not quite as informative but touches on most of the same topics and even includes interviews with Michael Pollan.

The truth is I've come a long way in a short time, but by no means do I feel like I know it all... I'm always learning new things, many eye-opening but all helpful and informative. This lifestyle I've chosen and that my wife and I continue to follow is a passion of mine, a religion if you will, and because without the personal stories and detailed facts I've learned from others I wouldn't know what I know now, I will continue to use this blog as my soapbox for all to read.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Don't Poison Yourself with Bug Spray

With spring in full swing and summer around the corner there are a few seasonal products that will begin flying off the shelf, and one in particular is bug spray. None of us are immune to the annoying buzzing biting and all around nuisance of these flying pests, although my wife will tell you that she is their prime target... So it's no wonder we flock to the store and search for the best bug repellent we can find, but when doing so there is one important thing to ask yourself; who is your main target in this chemical warfare you are about to embark on?

Sound like an odd question, then let me explain. If the purpose of the bug spray you are using is to repel insects AND poison yourself in the process, then your usual bug spray is just fine... however if the insect is your primary and ONLY target then you should seriously reconsider the products that you are using. This is because, and I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this; there are tons of harmful chemicals in these products that are toxic to humans. You may be wondering then how these companies are allowed to, or more importantly how the FDA allows, these products to be sold to the public. Short of saying the companies are in it for the money and have deep pockets to influence those assigned to police such things, my only other answer would be no one else other than you or your family has your best interest in mind so the decision is up to you.

So what are your options? My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica, and while we were there we took a tour in the rain forest; prime real estate for anything that crawls flies hops buzzes and yes bites, and if you think we used some mainstream toxic bug repellent as most everyone else on the tour did think again. There are many all natural organic chemical free bug repellent alternatives available and the one we chose was an organic bug balm from a company by the name of Badger. All of the ingredients are certified organic and I can tell you first hand this product works great... It's rain forest approved!

Do yourself and your family a favor and choose organic products whenever possible.

Friday, May 7, 2010

More Evidence of Corruption In Our Food Industry

It truly sickens me to see headlines such as this in health news...

"Think you're lactose intolerant? You might be wrong"

The gist of the article is that based on a study where people were tested in a lab by drinking a lactose solution, equivalent to milk, they found that they (the subjects) suffered less of the intolerance symptoms; cramping bloating and bowel trouble. So the conclusion was that people are most likely mistaking irritable bowel syndrome for milk intolerance and that they should not stop drinking milk, because apparently the negative effects of that on your health are greater than the symptoms you may be experiencing, but rather drink it in smaller quantities at time.

I hope you can see the insanity and poor misguided judgment, at the very least, in this ridiculous assessment. First of all before you listen to some brain washed medical flunky I would listen to your body, if you get discomfort drinking milk then maybe your body is trying to tell you something. Until the medical community wakes up and realizes (or admits) that there are far better sources of calcium then milk (kale, collard greens, goat's milk... the list goes on and on), and until our country stops alloying the deep pockets and political ties of the Dairy Industry (the large mass production dairy corporations that is) to influence their health related decisions and hypothesis, it is up to you the consumer to take your health in your own hands.

Trust your body and listen to its cries for help.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cancer... You Can Protect Yourself!

Today I came across this headline...

"Cancer risk from chemicals underestimated!"

This is a very interesting article and a subject that is long overdue for attention and correction. I've been reading about this for years, the amount of toxins that we are exposed to as a result of everyday things, which is one of the reasons for the lifestyle change my wife and I have made a few years ago.

"Although as many as two-thirds of cancer cases are caused by lifestyle choices like smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise, the panel said many avoidable cancers were also caused by pollution, radon from the soil and medical imaging scans... 'With nearly 80,000 chemicals on the market in the United States, many of which are used by millions of Americans in their daily lives and are un- or understudied and largely unregulated, exposure to potential environmental carcinogens is widespread,' it adds."

This is a shocking statistic indeed, and I hope it hits home with those who read it.

Eat Healthy!
  • Fresh local organic produce (in season is best)
  • Organic free grazed chickens, grass fed beef and wild caught fish
  • Natural organic whole grains and legumes
  • Minimally processed organic foods (no artificial anything)
Live Healthy!
  • Use only Organic cosmetic and hygiene products whenever possible.
  • Use only Organic or Biodegradable "Green" Earth Friendly household cleaning products.
  • Avoid contact with harsh chemicals of any kind!
  • Practice Meditation and or Yoga
  • Exercise... Out Side!
  • Smile! (let things go... Stress kills!)
  • Avoid unnecessary prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs (Look to Natures Medicine cabinet)
Be Healthy!
  • It's really that simple!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

All of the above

So who's to blame when a product marketed and sold as "medicine" ends up doing more harm than good?

Should it be

"a" The company selling this over the counter pharmaceutical drug that by definition is supposed to give relief from whatever unhealthy symptoms you suffer from?

"b "The government agency that is suppose to police this industry and protect the public?

When it's headlines like "FDA found bacteria in lots for recalled Tylenol" that seem to pop up weekly, than the answer is "C" all of the above!

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy, it's that simple!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Don't Trust Big Pharma...

Pharmaceutical companies are in business for one reason and one reason only, MONEY! They are large corporations, or as I like to call them "Legalized Drug Dealers", that use their deep pockets and political power to push their drugs on us, anyway they can. They are dedicated to creating new drugs with a laundry list of side-effects and spend billions of dollars marketing it as the best new treatment for some ailment, with no agenda other than profit. They are not in the business of saving lives and they are not in the business of curing anything!

And they know how dangerous and risky their drugs are which is why they spend billions of dollars every year to convince doctors and hospitals that their drug is "safe", or that they push hard with all their power and influence to get FDA approval prematurely. If the patents health and well being was a top priority then they wouldn't have to use sneaky tactics or spend unimaginable amounts of money trying to convince people...

Prostate cancer drug may pose diabetes risk

Cough medicine ingredient to get safety probe

Cancer drug often used off label for infertility

Children's OTC Cold, Allergy Meds Recalled

If you want relief try opening Nature's Medicine cabinet, you just may find it without the harmful and deadly side-effects that go hand in hand with drugs.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Eat Organic, or Eat at Your Own Risk

Eat organic fruits and vegetables or eat at your own risk...

Studies show that not only do organic fruits and vegetables contain much higher levels of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and annutrients (poloyphenols, carotene, antioxidants) as their non-organic counterparts, but many health experts including mainstream medical doctors have gone as far as listing certain non-organic foods that they would NEVER even consider eating; these include fruits such as apples, tomatoes, oranges, cherries, strawberries and vegetables such as leafy greens, peppers, and potatoes to name a few.

The truth is the more popular the food (apples, tomatoes, potatoes, greens...) the more influence the large corporations have on these items. To them these items are a commodity (not a food) and just like any commodity its all about the mighty $$!

Eat organic grass-fed beef and free-grazed poultry and eggs or eat at your own risk...

It's a fact that corn fed cows and chickens (and even fish like farm raised salmon and tilapia) are not simply less healthy then their organic free-grazed counter parts but they actually do more harm than good when eaten. In many cases what you get is an unhealthy animal sickened with disease and bacteria such as E-coli, highly dependent on daily doses of antibiotics in order to stay alive long enough to be slaughtered, which in turn leads to an unhealthy food source full of antibiotics and high in Omega-6 rather than being natural sources of Omega-3 like nature intended.

All of this gets passed on to the unsuspecting eater (you) which leads to E-coli outbreaks in our food chain, and a society plagued with high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, and chronic inflammation in all its forms.

Eat organic minimally processed foods or eat at your own risk...

Our society has become so brainwashed into thinking that these prepackaged pre-made overly processed science experiments, that are all too commonly mistaken for food, are actually good for you that they can't see the ugly truth... It's these same non-organic overly processed foods high in refined simple sugars and flowers and loaded with chemicals in the form of artificial preservatives and additives, that have created a society that suffers from diabetes obesity heart disease and cancer in epidemic proportions.

Don't believe me outright though, do the research on your own. Only when you see for yourself, will you realize what I and many others have found... The day our food became a mass produced highly profitable commodity is the day our nation was taken over by a handful of corporations with unimaginable money power and political influence, and that's the day we said goodbye to food as it was intended.

When you eat organic foods, locally grown and in season when possible, you're not only ensuring that you get the healthiest food available, but you're standing up to these multinational food conglomerates.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Read Product Labels

More importantly though 'Understanding' product labels, because I don't believe reading them is always the problem. The only bright side to this otherwise shady fad-diet craze that seems to be so popular in this country is that people are indeed becoming more aware of food labels, the problem is by "aware" I mean aware of their existence but not of any real understanding.

It's kind of like the engine compartment of that car you may be driving... you're aware that under the hood is an engine, but there is no real understanding of the basics.

I am constantly amazed of peoples' in ability to locate even the common food ingredient "no nos" like sugar or understand the importance of location for those like salt.

Take Glaceau's Vitamin Water... if you look at the ingredients you will notice the first three listed read as follows; "Vapor Distilled, Deionized, and/or Reverse Osmosis Water, Crystalline Fructose, Cane Sugar". What bothers me is that the marketing departments of these company's think that the average person is so unaware, so caught up in this fad-diet "lose weight quick" with little or no effort craze, and so easily distracted by such simple words like "vitamin" that we wouldn't notice that 2 of the first 3 ingredients are sugar; "Crystalline Fructose, Cane Sugar"! But what bothers me even more is that the average person is exactly that; unaware, so caught up in this fad-diet "lose weight quick" with little or no effort craze, and so easily distracted by such simple words like "vitamin" that they take the bait hook line and sinker.

Just to clear things up overly processed refined simple sugars are never good, so if you see them listed twice within the first three ingredients be wary; especially if the product is marketed as a healthy drink.

Another big thing to look for is the location of salt in the ingredients, and if you're eating process food (organic or no) than there is no doubt salt is in the ingredients and the majority of the time it's in the form of a simple salt (sodium minus any healthy trace minerals). It is important to choose the products that list it near or at the bottom of the list, it can be the difference of 100+ milligrams of sodium.

I want nothing more than to believe that people are not as gullible and easily misguided as these food manufactures would like us to believe; prove me right!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why is dieting so hard?

Adult and childhood obesity have reached epidemic proportions in the United States, and it tops the list as one of the leading causes of many health related life threatening conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer, so it's no wonder dieting has become a billion dollar industry. From a marketing standpoint "diets" are a lose win situation; you lose the battle and the manufacturers of these fad diet foods drinks and supplements win... Your money!

It's this frustrating devastating and in many cases life threatening losing battle that has inherently raised the universal question, why are diets so hard?

I have never had this sort of weight problem so I can't speak from the experience of a formally obese individual, but I can answer this question using the invaluable knowledge I've gained through my own health related trials and tribulations over these many years.

So why then are diets so hard? Because most people see the word "diet" as a verb instead of a noun. Diet, as a verb, consists of unattractive rules and seemingly unachievable benchmarks; especially when one has an overall unhealthy diet (noun). If you look up the definition of diet (as a verb) you will find such phrases as "watch what you eat", "cut back", "fast" and "starve yourself"; all of which paint a nice rosy picture... On the other hand diet, as a noun, simply means your overall nutritional intake and consists of the foods and drinks you consume on a daily basis.

I have said this before and I stand by it with everything I believe in, if you maintain a healthy diet (truly healthy) then your body will maintain a healthy weight; exercise is of course part of the equation. And by healthy diet I mean one that consists of mainly fresh organic fruits and vegetables and natural whole grains and legumes with any beef being grass-fed, poultry and eggs being free-grazed, and fish wild caught. You MUST reduce the amount of processed foods to no more than 10% of your diet, and those that are MUST be organic; the less ingredients the better.

Now at first glance this may seem a bit "Eat those vegetables or you're not getting any dessert" rather than "I'm an adult and I can eat what I want", but the truth is my wife and I have been eating this way for some time now we eat better tasting more creative and much healthier meals than we ever did before; and this is with a soy and diary allergy. You would be amazed at the diverse menu you have to choose from when you make the shift from that processed out-of-the-box boring and extremely unhealthy diet you have now to home-made meals using the freshest healthiest ingredients available.

A healthy weight starts with a healthy diet and the possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Coconut Oil... Don't fear this saturated fat

Coconut oil has gotten a bad rap for many years because of the association between saturated fats and heart disease, and although heart disease has become a major health issue in this country and the increased consumption of saturated fats over the years (due to the unhealthy processed foods diet that has become an American staple) has indeed reached beyond unhealthy levels, it's the "man-made" fats (Trans Fats) that deserve the blame.

Shining the spotlight on trans fats

Trans fats are unsaturated fats like vegetable fats (otherwise healthy) with a hydrogen atom added to them, hence the term "Partially Hydrogenated". But should we blame the poor chemists that happened upon this dreadful artery clogging cholesterol raising toxic discovery, or the very deep pockets of the food industry (processed foods and fast foods) that actively supports this relatively cheap way to greatly prolong shelf life?

Or how about the very very deep pockets of the American Soybean Association or the Corn Products Company who have the financial backing to influence organizations like the FDA and CSPI for no other reason than to sustain what has become a billion dollar industry (Soy and Corn oils and additives in processed foods)?

Coconut Oil-- The Truth

The truth is nearly two thirds of the saturated fats in virgin coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids which are easily absorbed into the bloodstream and immediately available to the body. Not only does coconut oil not raise bad cholesterol (LDL), but recent research shows that it may indeed strongly increase HDL (Good Cholesterol) .

"The traditional Pacific Islander diet included large quantities of coconut, and those who still follow this diet have a low incidence of heart disease or overweight. When a Western-style diet including vegetable oils replaces their traditional diet, all of the fat-related diseases common in the United States begin to appear. "

Myths and Nutrition: Learn about Coconut's amazing nutritional benefits

The point I'm trying to make is, other than the fact that coconuts are an amazingly nutritious food, is that it is extremely important to know who is behind (funding) the research when it comes to any ingredient found in non-organic processed foods!

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Who's your primary care physician?

If you're like most Americans than your primary care physician is most likely one of the many listed doctors that happens to be "in-network" as well as has a practice somewhere within reasonable driving distance from your home. Or maybe if you're a little pickier than that, than you possibly go with some doctor you feel comfortable with, regardless of whether or not they participate in your insurance network or the location of their practice for that matter, but either way most likely it's a medical doctor.

And if that sounds like you, then you should know the following...

In the second half of 09 Pfizer gave doctors $35 million to basically push their product, and that's only one account of this common practice by any of the countless pharmaceutical companies out there.

Oh but it's not just the medical community that these drug companies have in their pockets, how about a government that pushed the notion of a "Swine Flu pandemic" like it was the apocalypse, hoping to get every American (young and old) to get vaccinated. They were so sure that now Millions of H1N1 vaccine doses may be tossed, that's millions in taxpayers' dollars wasted because less than half the amount of doses bought have been administered. It's so disturbing and suspect that a "Group of outside experts" will examine if the swine flu was a pandemic after all.

These are the same pharmaceutical companies that create countless drugs every year only to find out the hard way (at the patients expense) that these drugs do more damage than good. There are many examples of this, too many to list, but the latest goes something like this... Heart failure risk linked to prostate drug.

It doesn't appear there is any end in sight either, not when the federal government continues to spend millions on backing more drugs, and whether some study loosely proves they will work, Cholesterol drug safe for healthy people, or it's a bust, Blood pressure drugs no help for diabetes, one thing remains a constant and that is the government spending billions of dollars. Since it's taxpayers' money, we get poorer and the drug company's get richer.

So I guess the correct answer to "Who's your primary care physician?" is one of the many pharmaceutical reps out there working for any of the countless drug companies; because let's face it they appear to be calling the shots.

Don't leave your health in the hands of a drug company! Take control and find a less dangerous more effective path... the natural path.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Food fraud... What are you eating?

Do you know what's in your food? I mean I know what the label says, in fact if it's a package of some non-organic something or other than it says a lot of things, but do you really know what you're eating? Do you know for sure that the package of ground beef is actually beef or that chick actually chicken, or is it some processed concoction of beef or chicken bi-products?

The fact is there is a growing problem with "food fraud" and it reaches clear across the processed food pyramid. A recent article Know what you're eating? Fight against food fraud grows touches on this very subject and it's disturbing indeed, but at the same time it only strengthens the argument for local organic farmers; a subject my wife and I feel very strongly about and support regularly.

The article mentions a number of cases from cheese to honey to sea food... "The expensive "sheep's milk" cheese in a Manhattan market was really made from cow's milk. And a jar of "Sturgeon caviar" was, in fact, Mississippi paddlefish... Some honey makers dilute their honey with sugar beets or corn syrup, their competitors say, but still market it as 100 percent pure at a premium price." It doesn't stop there though; "Food fraud has been documented in fruit juice, olive oil, spices, vinegar, wine, spirits and maple syrup, and appears to pose a significant problem in the seafood industry."

This is where the importance of local organic farming comes into play; it's an experience you can only get with a way of life that is deeply rooted in belief and pride rather than the all might dollar that drives the corporate machine that is our processed food industry.

When we (my wife and I) get our beef or chicken from our local organic grass-fed/free-grazed farmers it's more like stopping over a friend's house rather than a grocery store. You talk a bit; ask them how business is or even take a little walk around the place and see for yourself. Local organic farmers love what they do for a living and are always eager to talk about it and educate you, if you're willing to learn that is. There's been times when I have stopped at the beef farm to stock up on meat and had to wonder out to the barn or to one of the pastures, because everyone was busy making a very respectable living. I've seen the cattle grazing that eventually become my dinner, and I've seen how they are raised and the quality of their life for as long as their alive, and it makes you proud to be a part of something that's much bigger than you or me.

The same goes for the raw organic honey we get from a local organic farmer, or the organic vineyard we frequent, or the organic coffee house, or the organic lavender farm... the list is endless but the end result remains the same.

I'm proud to be a part of this movement and it's comforting and an enormous relief to actually know what it is my family and I are eating.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Dangers of a Fortified Diet

For many years now people have been supposedly starting their mornings right, with a fortified breakfast, or at least that's what the large food manufacturers with the help of the FDA have wanted you to believe...

There is just one problem with that, everything!

Cereals, along with breads and pastas, are among the top offenders when it comes to overly processed concoctions that once resembled food, and unfortunately thanks to this processing what's left is a tasteless, colorless, nutrientless impostor full of refined flowers grains and sugars.

So how then does a government feed a hungry nation without ultimately depriving its people of nutrients, synthetic fortified vitamins and minerals. Simple enough right?

The problem is there is nothing simple about nature. Humans are not simple organism, in fact we're quite complex. Wikipedia describes us as "Complex systems of chemical compounds which, through interaction with each other and the environment, play a wide variety of roles... In multicellular life the word organism usually describes the whole hierarchical assemblage of systems (for example circulatory, digestive or reproductive) themselves collections of organs; these are, in turn, collections of tissues, which are themselves made of cells."

Where am I going with all this, and how does it relate to the fortified nutrients in that bowl of cereal you ask? I don't think it's a far leap to infer that a complex organism requires complex foods to sustain life, and food by nature, in it's raw organic natural state, is complex; Fresh Organic Fruits and Vegetables, Natural Whole Grains and Legumes, Unrefined Sea Salt, Unrefined (or minimally refined) Sugar. What makes these foods complex is that they are all packed with a precise amount of vitamins minerals amino acids antioxidants and other crucial nutrients and anutrients, all of which are lost during processing. Simple carbs and simple sugars and simple salts do nothing but create holes in an otherwise complete food, leaving in its wake refined white flower or rice (lacking B-complex vitamins among others) or white refined sugar (lacking phosphorus and other mineral), or refined salt (lacking basically all trace minerals).

The resent headline Is your breakfast giving you cancer? is a good example of what happens when man tries to compensate for his meddling in what mother nature does so well. When the FDA realized, that this country's food supply was lacking nutrients, or got so much flack finally decided to take some sort of action, they began to fortify these foods with synthetic vitamins and minerals, but only those they felt were lacking without any basic understanding of the complex make-up of food.

Because vitamins and minerals work together one can infer that nutrients themselves are complex, so when only a select few are added back into food that has been depleted of nearly all, you get a simple food leaving you, well, simply malnourished.

Do yourself a favor and embrace the complexity that is the human body and don't deprive it of what it needs, instead reap the beautiful and COMPLEX "fruits" nature has to bear.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Organic, more than just food

When most people hear the word "Organic", whether it's something they believe in it or not, food is what comes to mind, and although a healthy diet of organic food is absolutely crucial to a healthy body and healthy lifestyle it's only part of the equation. Most everything we come into contact with on a daily basis will ultimately have some effect on our health, either in a good way or a bad way, and much of these factors are not food at all.

We are exposed to tons of environmental hazards every day, many of which are unavoidable, not to mention toxins from household chemicals or industrial chemical based products which are avoidable (research "Green" or "Biodegradable" products), but few people consider the hygiene or cosmetic products that they use so religiously as harmful. Maybe this is because these products are marketed as something that will enhance our look or improve our overall state of being in some way or another, but it's important to remember who these products are manufactured by and the ingredients listed on the label should be a dead giveaway. Not only are these so called "health and beauty products" full of unpronounceable chemical based ingredients, but they are undoubtedly unhealthy and basically toxic to your health; if they weren't they wouldn't have "Seek immediate medical attention if swallowed" listed at the top of a paragraph of warnings.

I've read that you should never put anything on your body (skin and hair) that you wouldn't put in your mouth, and I believe that statement couldn't be more true. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it absorbs most everything you put on it, and that includes moisturizers, soaps and cleansers, sun screens, or any other skin "health and beauty" product out there. So if these products contain mostly chemicals that are "harmful if swallowed" then that says that these creams and soaps and such are not healthy for the inside of our bodies (there words not mine), and if your skin absorbs (in some quantities) anything that is applied to it then where do you think the final destination is... Under the skin, in the blood stream, to the rest of your organs, and eventually to every cell in your body. And what about oral hygiene products such as tooth paste; if you look at that tube of toothpaste in your cabinet you will find somewhere on the container listed under warnings, "Seek immediate medical attention if swallowed" and this is a product that is designed to be put in the mouth.

Consider this, if you can taste it then your body is absorbing some quantity of it, and that means into the blood stream it goes...

There is an interesting article I found Medicines washing down the shower that talks about how the chemicals that we are putting on us (health care skin products) or consuming (prescription and over the counter drugs) are ultimately coming out of our pores and into our water system; polluting it!

I hope this comes as an eye opening shocking and hopefully disturbing piece of news, because it deserves your immediate attention. When you consider putting something on your skin or in your mouth consider where it is ending up, and then consider Organic when making your purchase.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sleep or a lack thereof

With sleep deprivation becoming another on an ever growing list of health related problems at epidemic proportions that this country is facing, I can't help but blame the biggest offender of them all... Diet!

As a country the average diet is poor at best, with processed foods and fast foods topping the list. An empty over calorie'd diet high in fat, sugar, sodium, and chemicals in the form of additives and fillers, and lacking in just about all that is healthy is taking its toll on something that should come so natural (sleep). These over processed foods high in simple carbs, simple sugars, and simple salts do nothing but make blood sugar levels spike leaving you hungry again sooner than later, sends cholesterol levels through the roof and waistlines through the "belt", not to mention have caused a drastic shift in the body's healthy Omega-3 (anti-inflammatory) to Omega-6(promote inflammation) ratio .

There are many symptoms due to poor diet (inflammation in all its forms, chronic pain, stress and anxiety...) that are the popular targets for the billion dollar industry of quelling a sleepless nation, but
as I've preached many times before, address the cause not the symptom.

Eating the right foods equals a healthy diet, and a healthy diet equals a healthy lifestyle. Wouldn't you prefer to experience the symptoms of a healthy diet... No more pain and inflammation, no more depression and anxiety, a body that can actually deal with stress instead of going into stress overload, and ultimately SLEEP!

Focusing on the long term solution of eating a healthy diet consisting of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, natural whole grains and legumes, and grass-fed beef free-grazed poultry and eggs and wild caught fish will no doubt over time address all of the 'poor diet symptoms' mentioned above, but in the mean time trying some of these "Evening friendly foods" may help those eyes stay shut and minds quite during the night.

"So eating more anti-inflammatory foods and reducing or eliminating highly processed foods.... will help you sleep.

The amino acid tryptophan is used by the body to produce serotonin and serotonin plus dark produces melatonin and melatonin regulates sleep. To get more tryptophan to enter brain add a fast digesting carb (honey, mashed potatoes) to protein in supper to stimulate the release of insulin that allows tryptophan to enter brain. Examples of this are: turkey and potatoes, warm milk and honey (heat enhances tryptophan effect of foods), turkey on whole grain bread, a banana, a handful of nuts, or a slice of cheese.

Oatmeal, whole grain cereals and breads complex carbs increase production of serotonin."

See Causes of Sleep Problems for more information.

Monday, March 22, 2010

When Lowering Your Cholesterol is Deadly...

Cholesterol, more accurately lowering your cholesterol, is always getting attention in world of health news, and because of this is a goldmine for pharmaceutical companies. And if high cholesterol is the goldmine then statins (cholesterol lowering medications) are the mother-load of gold, and the pharmaceutical companies are reaping the benefits, but at who's cost?

A recent headline "FDA warns of muscle risk from statin drugs" sheds some disturbing light on an already hot topic. It seems the increasingly growing number of weary patients, when it comes to these cholesterol lowering drugs and their many side effects, are finally getting some attention.

There are many natural ways to not just reduce your cholesterol but to maintain a healthy level, and if you're one of the millions who depend on these drugs to do the job than its time you rethink your strategy. Some of the popular "natural statins" if you will are "Red Rice Yeast" and "Omega-3", both of which have plenty of proven results to back up their claims as worthy contenders. Keep in mind though that the biggest part of your game plan for lowering cholesterol has to focus on long term health benefits, and not simply "lower it and resume an unhealthy lifestyle".

As a result of all the headlines that cholesterol and statins receive, *whole grains have been getting more and more news worthy attention and for good reason. The important thing, as a health conscious community, is to determine what information is coming from trust worthy sources. I can make this detective work a whole lot easier by saying any information gained from the packaging of any of the popular brands of processed foods that line the shelves at your local grocery store should be considered suspect.

Fact, eating whole grains can not only lower your cholesterol but can help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels. This you've heard many times, but most likely your sources are TV commercials or the fancy creative marketing slogans that clutter the packaging of any supposedly "whole grain" food. Here is the problem with educating yourself using these sources; this information that is put out there for you to see is there for one reason and one reason only, to sell their product. The truth is the processing that all of these cereals, snack-bars, pastas, and breads that are labeled whole grains go through cause them to lose most if not all of their nutritional value during processing, so if you are depending on them as your main source of whole grains then you will indeed fall short.

*Based on what I have recently learned (over the past 6mo or so) regarding grain consumption within modern day factory or industrial farming societies, and its adverse effects on human health ultimately leading to many of the illnesses and diseases affecting Americans in epic proportions, I have changed my stance on the importance of such monocrops (grains and legumes) within a healthy human diet. The human digestive system was not designed nor has it evolved to a point to effectively digest such foods like grains and legumes without the body suffering from its harmful side effects; inflammation and damage to the gut. Since evidence shows inefficient digestion and inflammation are the root cause for nearly all human diseases be it heart disease, diabetes, cancer, crohn's disease, autoimmune diseases, and chronic inflammatory disorders in all its forms, a healthy diet should promote a healthy gut (fermented foods) and be anti-inflammatory based (grass-fed meats and eggs, wild caught fish, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds) instead of high in foods promoting inflammation such as grains, legumes, and factory farmed meats, poultry, fish, and eggs.

Rest assured though if you're one of the many who are already relying on natural remedies for high cholesterol then you are on the right track, but now it's time to get the facts you'll need to put these cholesterol worries behind you. Nothing beats a healthy diet when it comes to remedying any health issue; Organic Fruits and Vegetables, *Natural Whole Grains and Legumes should be at the core of any healthy diet, with all meats poultry and eggs being organic grass-fed or free-grazed and all fish "wild caught".

Eat Smart and Live Healthy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cherish the Memories not the Food

I have a lot of memories tied into the unhealthy diet I always write about, but not for a second do I miss the food; instead I choose to cherish the memories as I do most any other memories from my childhood, after all it's what makes me, me.

I say this because humans, as a species, have one major flaw... many flaws actually, but I'm going to focus on this one for now. People get so attached to their memories (both bad and good) that they often let these past events run their current lives. Whether it's never quite getting closure over a sad event, or being haunted daily by a horrible event, or tightly holding onto what we perceive as a "good memory"; so much so that it becomes unhealthy to us in the present. This is the one I would like to talk about because this one in particular can directly affect your diet, which will directly affect your health.

I, like most of us, have many childhood memories attached to unhealthy food, but I unlike many of us choose to cherish the memory and not the food. Every time I pass a Friendlies I can remember how much I enjoyed going there as a child. They're known for their ice cream deserts and I absolutely loved the fribble... their version of a vanilla milk shake. As much as I consider these to be good memories, I would never consider eating their again for old times' sake.

I also am not immune to the childhood memories of the big Mickey D's, let's face it I did grow up in America. I can remember the one or two times a month that my parents would go out for an adults only evening, which always resulted in the kids getting McDonald's for dinner, and let me tell you my brother sister and I loved those nights! Even with that memory being so strong and clear in my mind, never do I pass by one of these fast food death traps and say to myself, "What's one more time anyway..."

And let us not forget the many childhood birthday memories... Still fresh in my mind are the many outings to Red Lobster where my parents would often treat us for a birthday dinner, but never, not even for a second do I miss the fried butter saturated artery clogging food.

If you grew up in this country then you more than likely have some fond memory of unhealthy food attached to your childhood, but it's important to understand that our memories should not run our lives. Cherish the memory; pull it down from the shelf every once in a while, dust if off and reminisce if you must, but then put it back on that shelf. The memory is not the unhealthy thing here, after all the events that make up these memories are the events that have molded us into what we are today, but when we hold onto these memories and revisit them (literally) we let a "good" memory turn into a bad unhealthy decision.

If I knew then what I know now I would have made different choices, and I'm sure my parents would have as well, but like most American families we did not. This is not true today however, there has been plenty of research done and there has been plenty of literature written on the subject. All it requires is for us to care enough about ours and our family's health to educate ourselves on the truth, and then live it. So do the healthy thing and eat right, because an unhealthy diet equals an unhealthy life.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Where have all the Bees Gone?

Since this strange phenomenon surfaced in the fall of 06, scientists continue to scratch their heads as they try and determine what exactly is causing the deaths of so many bees. At first they thought they had identified the killer as one particular virus (the Varroa mite), but now feel this CCD (colony collapse disorder) on such a monumental scale could have many faces. Whatever the cause though, the problem effects everyone. These busy workers pollinate all of the many flowers that are responsible for all of the many fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds that make up our diets, and without natures little pollinators our diets may not consist of much more than water...

Although I have no formal education on the subject, I've had my own idea of what may be happening and finally there seems to be scientists connecting the same dots.

There has been an abundance of research detailing the health benefits of organically grown food in comparison to that of which is grown using chemical fertilizers due to the higher levels of nutrients and anutrients in organically grown food. New research is showing that this lack of nutrients in non-organic foods is not only having a negative effect on us, but appears to be detrimental to the plant itself as well. By now many people know that such anutrients such as polyphenols are extremely beneficial to our immune systems, but most people don't consider how beneficial these chemical substances may be to the plants immune (or defense) system. Research now shows that polyphenols may actually be responsible for acting as a sort of natural pesticide, but because the use of chemical fertilizers promotes over farming of land due to its ability to replenish the soil with high quantities of nitrogen, and not much else, what your left with is a very nutrient deficient earth.

This in turn causes extremely malnourished crops that are becoming increasingly more and more dependent upon toxic chemical pesticides poisoning plants and people alike, only now in my opinion it's taking its effect on our busy little bee friends, and why not? If the fruits of these plants are lacking the nutrients and anutrients that keep us healthy (and the plants), what's to say the pollen isn't nutrient deficient as well? It would only make sense then that this potentially nutrient deficient pollen would affect the world's leading pollinators... The Bees!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

How's that Beef-fed Chicken Taste?

You're probably thinking what kind of question is that... actually it's not that strange of a question. I read about it a number of times, in a handful of books on the subject, so when I saw a popular TV show touch on the subject I figured why not post about it.

It was an episode of "Dirty Jobs" and, well, the dirty job was animal rendering. They were on location at some animal rendering facility, which is basically a place where they recycle dead animals for use in a verity of commonly used products. The most common animals were cows that were picked up from the many beef farms in the area, all of which supposedly died from natural causes, only in my opinion there is nothing natural about it.

I know that the majority of beef farms in this country are not organic grass fed farms, instead they are large over crowded corporations whose commodity is beef; and to insure the best return for their dollar, they do whatever necessary to produce the biggest fattest cows possible in the shortest time. This means corn is on the menu, and as I've mentioned in the past corn to a ruminants anatomy is like poison. A ruminant (the cow) has four stomachs which allows it to very efficiently turn grass into protein, but what it doesn't do very well is digest grains (corn or soy). So when cows are fed grains they becomes sick over time, many kept alive just long enough to be brought to slaughter by the veterinary staff on premise, but unfortunately some don't survive and this is where the rendering comes in.

At this rendering facility the cow is %100 recycled, skinned, ground up, boiled, and compacted. The hides go to leather manufactures, the oils get used in products such as motor oils, candles, and cosmetics, and the ground up meat and bones becomes chicken feed or pig feed. And at one time it was added to cows feed but then came Mad Cows disease and they put a stop to that...

So anyway this is where the sick twisted story starts all over again, because at these large over crowded corporations whose commodity is chicken or pig, profit remains the driving force. Bigger fatter chickens equals more money, and in order to maximize their return they do whatever is necessary; and in this case it's feed the birds a cheap protein overloaded diet consisting of rendered cow parts.

As a result you eat an unhealthy diet of chicken, from a bird that ate an unhealthy diet of beef, from cows that were fed an unhealthy diet of corn.

So I ask you again, how's that beef-fed chicken taste?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Are you getting enough Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein?

Do you even know what it is? Or why it's in your food?

The answers are probably no, to both questions, but if you're eating a diet high in processed foods or even if you're eating some processed foods and those foods are not organic, than you may want to look into it. One of the top headlines in today's health news reads "Tainted ingredient sold after salmonella found", and guess what that ingredient is... you guessed it Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein.

It turns out that this Las Vegas based company Basic Food Flavors Inc. continued to distribute the HVP (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein) on contaminated equipment, even after knowing about the tainted equipment. This has caused 100s of products to be recalled due to salmonella contamination.

So what is HVP (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein)? Maybe you would recognize it better by its more widely know name... MSG! This flavor enhancer, derived from corn, soy, wheat, peanuts, or cottonseed is used in the majority of processed foods including beef and poultry to help bring back some of the flavor the food once had before the processing removed it all.

This startling headline caused my wife to check the small amount of processed foods we do eat, only to quickly take solace in seeing that there is no HVP in the foods we eat. This is no coincidence; all the credit has to go to a healthy diet.

So if the majority of your diet consists of fresh organic fruits, vegetables, natural whole grains, and free-grazed beef poultry and eggs (from local organic farmers), with the small amount of processed foods being organic with minimal ingredients then HVP and other additives preservatives and fillers are nowhere to be found.

Be smart... Eat healthy and leave the worrying to those who don't!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The "Sunshine Vitamin"... Are you getting enough?

In today's society, with poor diets high in overly processed foods and low in fresh produce and natural whole grains and legumes, the average American is deficient in many key nutrients that the body requires for optimal health. Add to that too little unprotected sunlight exposure, and by that I mean sun exposure without being covered up by long clothing and sunscreen, has caused a vitamin D (the sunlight vitamin) deficiency in epidemic proportions.

Finally scientific research is revealing what the N.D. Holistic and Natural Healing experts have known for some time, and that is the importance of Vitamin D in regards to our immune system. A recent article "Scientists Find Why Sunshine Vit D is Crucial" touches on this very subject and the main idea of the article is the very point I would like to shed some much needed light on.

"Almost half of the world's population has lower than optimal levels of vitamin D and scientists say the problem is getting worse as people spend more time indoors."

Most of the article focuses on the research and its findings...

"The researchers found that immune systems' killer cells, known as T cells, rely on vitamin D to become active and remain dormant and unaware of the possibility of threat from an infection or pathogen if vitamin D is lacking in the blood. "When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device or 'antenna' known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it searches for vitamin D," said Carsten Geisler of Copenhagen University's department of international health, immunology and microbiology, who led the study. "This means the T cell must have vitamin D or activation of the cell will cease. If the T cells cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won't even begin to mobilize"

I have left out the conclusion of the article because as is the case with most of the essential nutrients that our society is lacking and the RDA set forth by the so called "experts" for which the medical community strictly follows, they consistently falls short on the amounts we truly need. We do not live in a perfect toxic free environment, and even those with the healthiest of diets are exposed to millions of unavoidable environmental toxins. Combine that with a poor diet, lack of sunshine exposure, and the increased exposure of toxins in packaged processed foods and other commonly used products, our body's are in desperate need of these core nutrients.

Don't take my word for it though, I urge you to do your own research; preferably from any of the tons of literature available written by someone following a more natural approach to health and wellness.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Obesity, put the blame where it belongs... Your Diet!

I found an article in health news this morning to be quite interesting and wanted to share it with you...

The article, titled "Fat epidemic linked to chemicals run amok", is claiming that a recent discovery of natural and synthetic chemicals, being referred to as obesogens (how clever), could be to blame for this countries obesity problem as well as the many obesity related diseases. There is actually a sub heading to this article that reads "Fast food not solely to blame for obesity, new research suggests."

At first glance I began to think here we go again, blaming everything but an unhealthy diet for this countries many health related problems that have all reached epidemic proportions, but the meat of the article takes on a very interesting subject which puts a lot of long overdue blame where it belongs; on toxic chemicals both environmental as well as in this countries mainstream food supply and commonly used products. I have listed a few examples below, from the article, to help drive home a point I've been posting about for some time.

  • The dangers of pesticides in our fruits and vegetables... "Every day the average American is exposed to an estimated 10 to 13 different pesticides and/or their metabolites (breakdown products) through food, beverages, and drinking water.Some of those chemicals can mimic estrogen during development, which can lead to weight gain later in life. Others can spur unnecessary fat-cell formation at any age."

The solution... "According to the Environmental Working Group, you can reduce your pesticide exposure by nearly 80 percent simply by choosing organic versions of the 12 fruits and vegetables shown in its tests to contain the highest pesticide load."

  • Hormones steroids and antibiotics in our beef supply may be disrupting the way our own body's hormone system operates.

The solution... "Organic beef has none of the weight-promoting steroid hormones of conventional beef, while grass-fed beef has been found to have more omega-3s and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). CLA is a fatty-acid mixture that's been linked to protection against cardiovascular disease and diabetes; it can also help you lose weight, according to a meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."

  • The dangers of Soy and Corn which is being fed to all of the non-free grazed meat being sold in this country, and is found in all processed foods as fillers preservatives and proteins (SOY) or as sugar (High Fructose CORN Syrup).

In other words... "The result of all that extra soy could be — get ready for it — more fat. This is particularly true for people who were given soy-based formula as infants. You see, soy contains two naturally occurring chemicals, genistein and daidzein, both of which are estrogenics, which can spur the formation of fat cells... High-fructose corn syrup, too, has been fingered by some experts as a possible player in the obesity crisis. HFCS is found in countless items, from bread to ketchup to Life Savers to cough medicine. Recent research indicates that a diet high in HFCS may trick your brain into craving more food even when you don't need it."

What we eat means everything, so make the right choice and eat health... Fresh Organic fruits and vegetables, natural whole grains and legumes, free grazed beef poultry and eggs, wild caught fish, and very little processed foods.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Don't Believe the Hype

My beliefs and feelings toward nutrition, proper diet, and overall health as I see it based on years of my personal experience are that there is NO cookie-cutter good-for-all product out there on the market today, because everyone's body handles the many man-made toxins of this world, that we are exposed to and ingest on a daily basis, differently. This includes any all-in-one supplement purchased at a GNC type distributor, or from the many (and there are many) companies that have claimed to have discovered the next super fruit or vegetable packaged conveniently in some fancy bottle.

Proper diet has to be what all else is centered around, along proper supplementation under the guidance of a health professional; I see a kinesiologist for my unique personalized supplemental nutritional needs, but there are a handful of other options out there. Because our bodies are affected differently by what they are exposed to, you can’t simply take some multi vitamin concoction (be it in pill or liquid form) designed for a generalized lifestyle (for the “active man” or “woman”), or for a generalized ailment or nutritional deficiency, and expect to be getting the level of quality nutrients that YOUR body needs. Whether or not these “good-for-one” “good- for-all” products contain high levels of antioxidants vitamins and minerals or other nutrients and annutrients is irrelevant, because they will not have the same effect on everyone.

I suffered from severe tendonitis in most of my joints for 10+ years (when I thought I was living and eating healthy) and never found relief from any medical doctor, anything they prescribed, and or any cookie-cutter nutritional supplement out there. Only when I finally learned what a healthy diet really is (fresh organic foods), and learned about the dangers of many of the commonly sold hygiene products and household products (due to their levels of poisons and toxins), and started focusing on my body’s nutritional needs did I finally find relief.

AllergyFree Search Engine