Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Junk Food Marketing In Schools

Food Industry Suggests Change But Maintains Marketing To Children In Schools and A New Bill In Congress Will Evaluate School Based Marketing.

Given the fact that the incidence of childhood obesity and diabetes has grown to epidemic proportions with millions of young boys and girls being affected, you would think that schools would have stepped up their involvement in combating this situation by completely eliminating the marketing and sale of junk food and low nutrition quality foods to students. Sadly this is not the case.

It is a sad fact that companies have heavily marketed their junk food products in schools for years and it has only trended in a more saturating direction. The rising concern over childhood obesity and diabetes has caused some attention to this situation so in a preemptive move the food industry has issued a set of new marketing guidelines through a self regulating body called the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. This organization is funded by the food industry giants including Burger King, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Hershey Company, McDonald's, Campbell Soup Company, and other major food companies.

Here is the conundrum. The initiative's statement,Fact Sheet On Elementary School Advertising Principles, suggests that the member companies will stop direct marketing to children in elementary schools. However, they can still sell their products in schools, they will still be advertising in schools by sponsoring PSA's, educational materials and curricula. They can also advertise on vending machines, display racks, lunch tray liners, label collection, and even menu boards. What is really changing here? Sounds like just shifting marketing strategies to me.

Here is a suggestion, eliminate the sale of junk food in schools, eliminate junk food vending machines and offer higher nutrient quality foods in vending machines, eliminate all advertising of food products in schools - No sponsored ads, no tray liners, no mascots or spokespersons like Ronald Mcdonald allowed, no junk food candy sales, no marketing of food as a reward such as is the case with Pizza Hut's marketing program that is allowed under these new guidelines. Serve real food with plenty of raw food choices.

The new legislation introduced this month, H.R. 3625: Food Marketing In Schools Assessment Act, will seek to evaluate the state of food marketing in schools as well as the nutritional quality of food served in schools to address the childhood obesity epidemic. Let's see if anything truly effective will result from this new bill.

Ref:
Center For Science In The Public Interest

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lower Your Cholesterol and Improve Your Ratio

What you eat in your diet can lower your cholesterol and improve your cholesterol ratio. The American Heart Association recommendations would be to limit meat consumption to only lean meat or poultry no more than 6 oz per day. Take the skin off chicken or other poultry. Opt for white meat over dark meat poultry cuts. Cut fat off steaks. The best way to reduce bad cholesterol would be to eliminate animal protein altogether. Use lower fat dairy products such as part skim white cheeses (no cheddar or colored cheeses), 1% milk, and Kefir (a cultured dairy beverage). Don't forget to exercise regularly (3-6 days per week) because this raises the levels of HDL (good cholesterol. Eat more mono-saturated fats (olive oil, sunflower oil, almonds, and walnuts) they also improve cholesterol ratios. Don’t smoke, among the other hazardous effects that it produces, it lowers good cholestero (HDL) levels as well.

Plants by nature have an essential role in reduction of cholesterol in the bloodstream. The compounds referred to as Sterols naturally occurring in plants have been found to lower the levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is beginning to participate in support for plant based substances as a means to improve health conditions prominent in much of our society. One such claim is that they now admit and support the benefits of plant sterols as a means to reduce the risk of heart disease supporting the AHA’s commendation of these substances. The specifics are as follows: FDA claims that foods and products containing at least 0.65 grams per serving of plant sterol esters, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily intake of at least 1.3 grams (or 0.8 grams sterols) as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Additional research shows that plant sterols combined with exercise and a reduced fat diet can effectively reduce cholesterol up to 15%. These healthy plant sterols are fat like substances that occur naturally in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains. They work essentially by lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL - Low Density Lipoprotein)without affecting good cholesterol (HDL - High Density Lipoprotein). Since these sterols are highly concentrated in the oils of these food sources many are removed from the daily diet due to food processing industry or people focusing on eliminating fat (especially beneficial fats) from the diet. What is to be understood here is another example of how beneficial fats are to our overall health as part of a balanced nutritional program. Coupled with mono-saturated, poly unsaturated omega 3 & omega 6 fatty acids, the sterols are an added nutritional punch from plant based oils.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

TruVia and PureVia (Rebiana): The Beverage Industry's New Sugar Substitute

Are The Beverage Industry's New Sugar Substitutes Really Safe?

If you drink soda but are trying to be healthier in your choices by drinking some of the new products of the beverage industry which contain the first zero-calorie, synthetically derived version of the sweetening agent in Stevia, you should also consider some of the facts about these new sweeteners.

Both contain Rebiana which is derived from Reboside A the chemical in Stevia responsible for the sweetening effect of the plant.

It is the first sweetener used by the agribusiness and beverage industry that is not strictly a chemical. It is a derivative of the Stevia Plant. Stevia has been shown to have some positive benefits related to health. Whether or not this is translated in to newly derived sweeteners is yet to be determined.

The research conducted on Rebiana has been funded by Cargill (a chemical company conglomerate) which is the producer of this synthesized sweetener for the beverage industry.

Much of the research on Rebiana has been deemed poorly constructed scientific data.

Neither of the sweeteners TruVia and PurVia have actually been tested prior to being released by the FDA for use. The science used was that done on Rebiana itself and not the modified forms of Rebiana used by the beverage industry.

The Food and Chemical toxicology report was released at the same time as the Coca Cola PR campaign for TruVia & products containing it.

There appears to be, based on the Cargill funded research, no overtly toxic effects.

Although the research evaluates and suggests there isn't severe toxic effects, there is no research data outlining the side effects. The implications of side effects should not be dismissed lightly. Take for instance Olestra (sucrose polyester) which was a fat substitute developed by the chemical industry. Although it wasn't overtly toxic, it caused several side effects from mild to severe which could also result in nutritional deficiency resulting from malabsorption of nutrients by the body.

The moral of the story: Think Before You Drink. Perhaps these new sweeteners will prove to be the first synthesized sweeteners not to have serious health related complications and even prove to be somewhat beneficial for conditions such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. Time will tell as you will be the guinea pigs determining that outcome.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Top Ten List Of Healthy Nutrition Supplements

Here is a list of my personal top ten health and wellness nutrition supplements that I personally use and would recommend other people to use to improve their health, lose weight, increase energy, fight fatigue and pain, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce risk of cancer and arthritis and a whole heck of a lot more. If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I will try to help you the best way I can.

1.) Perfect Food Berry by Garden of Life
2.) Greens Plus Berry by Orange Peel Enterprises
3.) Earth's Promise by Enzymatic Therapy
4.) Go Greens by ToGo Brands
5.) One "N" Only by Superior Daily Multivitamin by Pure Essence Labs
6.) Primal Defense Probiotics by Garden of Life
7.) Barefoot Coral Calcium Plus by Natures Benefit Inc.
8.) Flax Seed Meal by Bob's Red Mill & Flax Seed Oil Spectrum Essentials
9.) Raw Honey - different companies but always raw source.
10.) Agave nectar - Madhava
**bonus - Coconut Oil, Virgin Unrefined and Cold Processed by Nutiva

These particular products will put you on your path to becoming healthier than you have been in years. One suggestion would be to start out a new healthy regimen by doing a 10 day Cleanse by Garden of Life. It is quick, simple and easy to follow. This jump start will commit you to focus on your health and really jump start cleansing you system while creating a foundation to build superior health and well being. Now get rockin and keep me posted on how your doing.

By the way, if you are quite unhealthy when you start following a healthy regimen of these powerful nutrients, you may find that the first couple days you may not feel so much energy or vitality because your body is purging the toxins etc. Give it at least fourteen to twenty one days of consistent commitment and I guarantee that you will feel fantastic, probably better than you have in years.

Image: Fotosearch

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How To Eat Healthy and Organic For Less Money

Trying to eat healthy organic food is often a daunting task for people looking to keep their grocery budget from eating their entire paycheck. While it is true that eating organic food is definitely more expensive than opting for highly processed low grade food products, you still can make a few changes to incorporate wholesome organic food into your shopping list without breaking the banks. The trick is to choose wisely and consider modifying a few menu items.

The trend toward organics continues to grow with over 70% of consumers consuming organics at least some of the time. Although, people may think that organics is only purchased by those having a higher family income, in reality the total household consumption is split with many of these households having a total income below $50,000 per year. If you are spending an additional $200 per month on food that is organic, this can be a much larger financial impact on the average household income.

The point of this post was to provide an option for saving money on organics. Well, I came across a great article to help save you money by learning how to Eat Healthy and Organic On Only $7 A Day Follow that link and it will help guide you with strategies to put a little more money back in your bank account while allowing you to eat a little healthier. There are some simple yet smart changes you can make so go check it out.

Reference:
Eating Healthy and Organic on $7 a Day

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Change The World Wednesday's



Time for Change The World Wednesday's again. I have been a bit tied up this week so won't go into detail about this weeks challenge but here is a little hint. How can you get your kids involved in sustainable living & green living activities? One way would be to use Moolah Maker. Check it out it's really cool. I discovered it in an article by Derek Markham. If you click on the image in this post you will be taken to Reduce Footprints Blog to discover this weeks challenge and more details. Good luck.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Two Exercises To Add To Your Total Body Workout Routine

Today's post is for the Tight Body Tuesday's program where I often feature a workout or exercise routine to help add variety with effective plans to help you improve your fitness and re-shape your body.

Here are a couple new exercises to add to your workout routine. Let me know if you can do the first exercise (advanced plank) without putting your hand down or falling over. The second one (sumo wood chopper) is just a variation of a squat with a weighted medicine ball. Why not try alternating the two exercises doing 5-10 reps of the plank and 10-15 reps of the sumo wood chop for two or three rounds. For an added cardio burn, try doing jumping jacks or skipping rope for 30 seconds to 1 minute after each set. You could get this done in less than 15 minutes before work and start your day off right. Good luck.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Live Smart Receives An Award

Guess what? I received an award for my blog. The Superior Scribbler Award. Brian at Oldman's Cantankerous Point of View™ has passed along to me the Superior Scribbler Award. This marks the first award that Live Smart has received. I want to say thank you to Brian for being a loyal reader and acknowledging my pursuits.

In keeping with the spirit of this award you can click on the photo of the award in this post to review the guidelines. If your a recipient of this award from me then please visit this post for the information on the guidelines for the award. In the meantime, I am going to pass this award along to five of my blogging friends who I feel should receive the same compliment as Live Smart has.

I hereby pass this prestigious award to the following bloggers.

Small Footprints at Reduce Footprints

Marian at ElderWoman Blog

Elizabeth at GaiaTribe

Alex at Cooking For Assholes

Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog

If your a winner of this award please visit This Blings For You and add your name to the Mr. Linky List at the Scholastic-Scribe's blog. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who wins this prestigious Award!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Fat Tax Is Coming

I had been hearing about a potential "fat tax" to be levied on the beverage industry that would raise the price of a 20oz. bottle of soda by fifteen to twenty percent. The proposed tax would be one cent per ounce of beverage. This is just another tax in the list of increases that will continue to grow as the need to garner money for repairing current deficits as well as for funding programs in state and federal governments also continues to grow. For instance, several states have already increased their state sales tax rates.

This new "fat tax" is targeted toward accomplishing two major objectives. One, to raise money to fund new health care initiatives by raising an estimated $14.9 billion in just it's first year. This money will help to offset expenditures related to the obesity problem which is figured to account for almost $14 billion per year of the total $147 billion health care expense. Secondly, the goal is to stem the tide of the overweight and obesity epidemic in this country by steering people away from consuming these beverages. It is in some way a viewed as a prevention strategy for improving health and reducing health care costs associated with obesity which can also reduce the diabetes epidemic as well.

Some research has shown that eliminating sugary beverages has led to a decrease in weight and that just one bottle of soda can lead to a 60% increase in obesity risk in young teens. The recent push by doctors and researchers at leading institutions like Harvard and Yale University as well as Boston Children's Hospital are advocating such a tax as a step in the right direction to reduce the risk and occurrence of obesity as well as providing needed funding to support health care initiates through a prevention strategy that will save money. Sounds good to me since I am not a fan of sugary beverages and especially not one of high fructose corn syrup which is increasingly implicated as a major contributor to the obesity problem. We will have to see what happens but I imagine it will pass in some form just like the sin tax on cigarettes.

Reference:
Soda Tax Wins Health Experts Support

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Live Longer By Following This One Simple Guideline

The one simple guideline that could help you live thirty percent longer than expected is calorie restriction. Research on mice has shown that eating a healthy diet but reducing the total daily caloric intake by 30% increased their lifespans by 30-40%. So if your daily intake is based on the average of 2500 calories per day that means cutting out 750 calories per day. It is a bold move and for most people extremely challenging. Being able to stick to that regimen would be an effort no doubt. Additionally, it is imperative that your food choices contain high quality food sources to obtain enough essential nutrients (protein, fiber, vitamins, mineral) to keep your body healthy.

If you want to further increase your longevity chances, then you should additionally consider eating foods that comprise the Mediteranean Diet which has been shown to reduce the potential for chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease. For this calorie restricted diet to have a fully beneficial effect, you must also consume a diet that will decrease your risk of getting cancer so you should consider maintaining an optimum pH balance in your body by consuming Superfood supplements along with plenty of fresh cruciferous vegetables, fruits, and green leafy vegetables.

I like to eat so for me, most likely it will be eating healthier and keeping the calories maybe 10-15% less depending upon the day. What can I say. I like my food. Would you cut your calories that much for the rest of your life in order to live a little longer and potentially disease free?

Interesting article: Slowing The Aging Process

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Potential Health Risks Associated With Vaccines

There is obvious controversy surrounding vaccinations for all types of diseases and often the concerns are valid due to a heightened risk of serious or deadly complications. Many of these side effects are a result of ingredients (adjuvants) or preservatives contained in the vaccine. Given the fact that we are now entering the flu season, I thought it may be useful to provide some additional information regarding vaccinations.

I had featured Barbara Loe Fischer in a previous post discussing information about vaccines from the National Vaccine Information Center, a non-profit advocacy group, which seeks to prevent injury and death resulting from vaccines. Below is a video presentation by Mrs. Fischer discussing very important information regarding the Gardisil Vaccine and Swine Flu Vaccine. It is worth a few minutes of your time. May you find it enlightening and helpful.

Another reason this is significant information now is because Congress is back in session and the bill, HR2618 Vaccine Safety and Public Confidence Act of 2009 is sure to be back on line. This offers you, the American citizen, an opportunity to get involved in support or opposition of this bill should you feel so inclined.



Reference:

National Vaccine Information Center
HR2618
Gardisil and Swine Flu Vaccines May Be Risky
Flu Preparedness
Swine Flu Update

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sugar's Damaging Health Effects On Your Immune System


We are heading into the cold and flu season here in the U.S. so it is wise to consider your dietary habits as they relate to your immune system health. The bottom line, excess sugar suppresses immunity. Studies show that downing 25 grams of sugar, roughly the amount in two cans of soda or piece of sugary pastry, is enough to knock your immune system down for hours. The immune suppression was most noticeable two hours post-ingestion, but the effect was still evident five hours after ingestion.

If you really load up on sugar, say about 100 grams (20 teaspoons, it can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by up to 40 percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system.

Simple sugars, including glucose, table sugar, fructose, and honey caused a fifty-percent drop in the ability of white blood cells to engulf bacteria. In contrast, ingesting complex carbohydrates(starch) does not hinder the immune response or impede the white blood cells ability to conquer bacteria. Improve the health and fitness of your immune system by eating less simple sugar and more complex carbohydrates.

The way to supercharge your immune system and reduce the potential for sickness is to eat plenty of raw fresh vegetables, greens, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Avoid sweetened, caffienated beverages, sugar laden pastries and snack bars, soda, sugary cereals, and read your labels. If your a woman, keep you sugar intake to no more than 25 grams(100 calories) per day total and men no more than 37 grams(150 calories) total from all food sources.

Stress also suppresses immunity, so be sure to manage your stress levels through exercise which also boost your immune system and deep breathing exercises that will help you stay relaxed.

Reference:
Dr. Sears
Seventy Six Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vegetarian Diet Health Risk and MSG Excitotoxins

Vegetarians beware! There are a few nutritional and health issues to consider if your on a vegetarian diet but the one I want to focus on today is that many foods labeled as "vegetarian" contain substances known as Excitotoxins. Excitotoxins have hyper-stimulating and destructive effects on brain tissue that can lead to a variety of health problems especially in more sensitive individuals. A primary Excitotoxin is MSG. Excitotoxins have been shown to cause destructive lesions in the hypothalamus and a increase in endocrine organ disorders such as infertility, menstrual difficulties, polycystic ovaries, and other reproductive problems. They are also implicated in early even subtle damage to a developing brain that can cause severe changes in personality decades later in life. As well as potentially cause autism, learning disorders, hyperactivity and schizophrenia.

Some people are more naturally sensitive due to lack of key enzymes in their body or due to deficiency in certain nutrients such as calcium, vitamin C and vitamin E in their diets. Many processed prepared vegetarian foods contain hydrolyzed vegetable protein which is a disguised form of MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). Many contain hydrolyzed soy protein which according to Dr. Russell Blaylock creates a greater concentration of glutamate excitotoxins than other forms of hydrolyzed protein, so if you’re suffering from headaches, anxiety, fatigue, lethargy, forgetfulness or other problems then you better get off these products immediately. It would be a good idea to avoid these products at all costs anyway. Once again eating less processed food is better for you. One popular item among vegetarians is Bragg’s Amino’s and according to Dr. Blaylock, it is suspect as well. The full details are not able to be garnered from this product but it may contain high levels of excitotoxins so use them at your own discretion.

Here are some other key buzzwords to look out for in packaged processed foods: any hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, hydrolyzed soy protein, broth, caseinate, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, yeast extract, autolyzed yeast extract, textured protein. These are all forms of disguised MSG

The vegetarian diet is still a much healthier diet overall compared to the high protein, high saturated fat diets of the typical American. You must however choose your food products wisely to avoid potential health related issues.

Reference:
Truth In Labeling. Who Are The Glutes
Natural News
Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills By Dr. Russell Blaylock pg 68 & 223
Video: Dr. Russel Blaylock Presentation

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Fast Food Salad Misconception With Calorie Breakdown

When trying to cut calories or choose a healthier option, people will often tend to get the salad selection at fast food restaurants. There are definite advantages of having a salad. The fact that your eating low calorie nutrient dense raw vegetables that contain healthy enzymes and vitamins makes these a wise choice. However, too often they come with extra toppings and artery clogging dressings that are also loaded with high fructose corn syrup which also a primary ingredient linked to the risk of obesity and heart disease. The point here is be smart about your choices. If you have a protein source like chicken on it, get it grilled not fried. Don't put the extra bacon bits, Asian noodles etc. on top. Instead of the package of ranch or blue cheese dressing or other ones, choose the oil and vinegar option and use the oil sparingly. Try using just the vinegar or even just some lemon juice. You will save hundreds of calories, eliminate several grams of saturated fat and sugar and you will have made a better choice for your weight and health. Here is an interesting video breakdown of a typical fast food salad. So be smart the next time your making choices to improve your health and fitness. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How Music Affects and Improves Your Health

I personally love my music and always have and can attest to the fact that it has had a positive affect on my health, focus, drive and clarity. Numerous studies have shown that music can have profound physical, psychological and even intellectual effects on your health. Rock and roll is what I grew up on but expanded my tastes as I got older. Now just about all genres and styles appeal to me depending upon how I feel or what I am doing at the time.

Music has been shown to affect animals. One study conducted with mice was quite telling. Mice were subjected to heavy metal music or classical music to see if there would be an affect on their speed of learning. Interestingly, the mice subjected to heavy metal performed worse than the classical group and their intellectual problem solving skills diminished. The first experiment actually had to be cut short because the mice subjected to the heavy metal music ended up killing each other.

Music has even been shown to affect plants. A Colorado college researcher, Dorothy Retallack, conducted experiments working with plants exposed to various genres of music in a controlled environment. The net result was that the plants exposed to some classical or jazz music grew toward the source of the sound, grew fuller and more vibrant. The plants exposed to hard rock grew more stunted, had less leaves and grew away from the music source and most of these plants died in just over two weeks.

Positive music alternatives to incorporate into your life should include cutting edge music technology that enhances the brain wave patterns of different states of consciousness. This can greatly enhance your ability to focus, learn, relax, create and restore. One such system is Hemi-Sync®. It is an audio-guidance process that works through the generation of complex, multilayered audio signals, which act together to create a resonance that is reflected in unique brain wave forms characteristic of specific states of consciousness. The result is a focused, whole-brain state known as hemispheric synchronization, or Hemi-Sync® where the left and right hemispheres are working together in a state of coherence. Hemi-Sync® produces a focused, coherent mind, which is an optimal condition for improving human performance. For more detailed analysis, please read How Hemi-Sync® Works

The point here is that to improve your health, clarity and intellect, it is a good idea to incorporate an appreciation for music and music diversity into your life. Develop a taste for different styles of music if all you listen to is hard head banging rock. One way to do this would be to try finding string versions of some of your favorites. My buddy found some great string versions of some of the most popular rock bands today. Search around, you would be surprised. Utilize some of the specially developed brainwave synchronizing music to achieve the desired effects your pursuing. Have a great week.

Reference:

Psychology of Music
Music Plant Experiments
Harmonic Sounds
Hemi-Sync® Research Papers
Cell Phone Safety

Image: FotoSearch

Friday, September 11, 2009

Microbial Fuel Cell Technology Generates Electricity From Dirt

Lebônê Solutions, Inc. is a social enterprise organization working in off-grid energy delivery and lighting technology using cutting edge clean energy technology. This innovative group was founded in 2007 by Aviva Presser Aiden & Hugo Van Vuuren to help meet the need for off-grid energy and lighting in the developing world.

Using microbial fuel cells, Lebônê’s technology generates electricity from soil microbes to power LED lights, cell phones, radios and other devices. For the initial pilot project in Tanzania, Lebônê used Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology to provide direct current power for standard high efficiency LEDs and equipment like cell phone chargers. MFCs offer a exciting new option for sustainable, cheap, environmentally friendly, and locally targeted power solutions.

By extracting energy and light from dirt, Lebônê has created a scalable clean energy tool that could be used worldwide. Currently, it is working toward providing a tool that improves results for rural health workers, students, small businesses, farmers and families in developing countries. This is just one more promising technological innovation to help resolve energy and environmental issues combined. Good luck and godspeed.

Read more about Lebônê Solutions, Inc
Learn about Microbial Fuel Cell Technology: Microbial Fuel Cells

Reference:PopTech on a Tweet from Echoing Green

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Apple Harvest Is Healthy and Fun

It's that time of year for the fall apple harvest season a time of good healthy fun. So here is a little story about the apple. I had discovered eight different varieties scattered and hidden while hiking some property a few years back and I often wondered just how many different apples there were compared to what we saw in the store.

The common apple, Malus Doestica originally comes from the region of the world we know as Kazakhstan, a country located in Central Asia. The apple is a descendant from a wild fruit that was one of the first fruits to ever be domesticated by man for consumption. Estimates today put the number of different named varieties at nearly fifteen thousand. A staggering number when you consider that the number of varieties you typically find in local supermarkets can be counted on one hand; Red Delicious, Fuji, Royal Gala, Braeburn, and Granny Smith. Ok, so maybe you can find a few more like the Rome or McIntosh but this is just a small sample of the vast choices you could have. The reasons for this are quite simple really. Economics. Those varieties ship well, last longer, have been bred for uniformity and worst of all are picked very young before fully achieving maturity then are ripened with a gas ripening agent before shipping.

This is fall harvest season and many states will celebrate with Apple Festivals and more. Do yourself a favor and search out a local farmers market, road side stand or even a dedicated heirloom grower in your region and discover something new. An heirloom variety apple picked fresh, grown without chemicals and not gassed with a ripening agent. This could be a fun inexpensive and healthy thing to do on those shorter fall weekend days when you notice the day slipping by a little faster but still want something fun to do. Not to mention buying locally keeps your money in the local economy helping to support your community.

If your really gung ho about apples then consider planting a tree for yourself or community. While your at it really consider an heirloom variety to help preserve the heritage and diversity of these wonderfully healthy plants. The Big Horse Creek Farm provides hundreds of varieties of sapling that you can have delivered to your door ready to plant. What a cool thing to do and healthy too because apples are loaded with vitamins, minerals & antioxidants called Polyphenols that are beneficial in preventing heart disease, breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

Need help finding a market: Find A Local Farm or Farm Market. All you have to do is click on the farm market button, enter the product you want and city your in then press search. Whalla! Your in business. If that doesn't help, just start doing a Google search for your area and I am sure you will discover something useful.

Eat healthier. Consider joining a CSA - Community Supported Agriculture Project CSA

Reference: Kent Priestly
A Growing Legacy - Kent Priestly
Apple Nutrition Facts
Science Daily
Image: Fotosearch

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Change The World Wednesday

It is time for our weekly Change The World Wednesday's Challenge. Change The World Wednesday's was started by my friend Small Footprints. It is a weekly challenge focusing on how we can collectively work on a single issue each week to increase awareness and engage positive action to reduce our impact on the world, i.e.- be a little more GREEN. Last week's challenge was to eliminate polystyrene (styrofoam) from your consumption habits. Check it out here: Eliminate The Use Of Styrofoam For One Week

Before we issue this week's challenge I would like to say thank you to this weeks Honor Society bloggers who choose to help spread the word of our challenge. You can read what each of them did along with other suggestions they may have to live more sustainably by clicking on their name below.
Connie Mishali
Kate
Yanic
Argentum Vulgaris
Sober White Women
EcoGrrl
Mike
Zephyr Girl

I am Agel
RecycleBill
Elizabeth Barrette
Rewinn
Harri Pao
Millenniumhealth
TC


To see what this week's challenge is, click on the Change The World image above in this post.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nadi Shodhana. Breathing Technique To Relax and Calm Yourself

There is a simple breathing exercise that you can use that will not only help to relax and calm your body but will improve your health and mental fitness as well. It is called Nadi Shodhana which in English simply means "clearing the channels". This exercise helps particularly well when you are having a lot of anxious thoughts or when your trying to quiet your mind of to much mental chatter.

Stress, tension and anxiety can cause deterioration in your health and make you more susceptible to illness or disease. Most people experience times of undo stress or anxiety whether it be about work, family or personal matters. Given the state of economic conditions over the past year and more people facing increasing challenges, having a simple effective tool to help is better than downing a bunch of pills or having to many cocktails.

Here is the trick. Use your right hand to alternately close your right then left nostril. Hold your right hand so that the fingers a separated. Take a slow moderately deep breath in through your nose, and then close off your right nostril with your right thumb. Exhale slowly through you left nostril, then inhale slowly through your left nostril, then close off your left nostril with your third and forth fingers of your right hand. Exhale through your right nostril then inhale through your right nostril, and then again close your right nasal passage with your thumb, exhaling through your left. Continue this pattern for about five to ten minutes, alternating the nostril after each inhalation. This process will cause you to begin feeling more calm and relaxed even after just a minute or two.

This breathing technique in Ayurveda practice is called Pranayama which means the "expansion of life" often loosely translated to "prana" or "breath control". Pranayama is effective to relax you without tranquilizers or alcohol as well as to energize you without caffeine. It is a natural technique to balance your internal energy while facilitating the mind/body connection. Use Nadi Shodhana as well as other breathing techniques throughout your day to balance your mind and body.

Here are some additional breathing techniques for energizing and relaxing your body:
Breathing Exercises

Reference: Grow Younger Live Longer: 10 Steps To Reverse Aging

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cholesterol, Heart Health and Two Simple Effective Tips

This video provides a good review of cholesterol and heart health with a few exercise tips for ways to improve your cardiovascular conditioning simply and effectively at home with no fancy equipment.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The True Cost of The Diabetes Epidemic

According to the American Diabetes Association:

Over 20 million children and adults in the U.S have diabetes and another 54 million have pre-diabetes.(1) The total annual economic cost of diabetes in 2007 was estimated to be $174 billion. Medical expenditures totaled $116 billion and were comprised of $27 billion for diabetes care, $58 billion for chronic diabetes-related complications, and $31 billion for excess general medical costs. Indirect costs resulting from increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, disease-related unemployment disability, and loss of productive capacity due to early mortality totaled $58 billion. This is an increase of $42 billion since 2002. This 32% increase means the dollar amount has risen over $8 billion more each year.

These figures do not represent the additional impact of obesity, which is another growing epidemic and contributor to the diabetes problem, on our economic condition. If you ask me, the primary motives of any health care reform and societal change should and must come in the form of serious and effective PREVENTION if we are going to dig out from this accelerating downward spiraling train wreck of health. Here is one thing that is interesting to me though:

The corporate sponsors of the American Dietetic Association
Coca Cola
Pepsi
Mars Candy
Kelloggs
General Mills (2)

The same primary producers of the high calorie, high fat, high sugar, low nutrient, vitamin deficient and otherwise poor quality food products on the store shelves and in fast food chains. So is the American Dietetic Association serving our best interests or the interests of the pocketbooks which help give them their authority? I will leave it up to you to decide. Will these manufacturers and producers start making better quality food products for reasonable prices? I will leave that up to you to decide. Will they eliminate the culprits of destructive health such as high fructose corn syrup? Will we begin to see an end to the health problems we now face resulting in significant financial strain on individuals and government finances? I will leave that up to you to decide.

Here is interesting information about blueberries, diabetes prevention and diabetes management: Blueberry Drink Protects Against Obesity and Diabetes

Reference:
American Dietetic Association
American Diabetes Association Diabetes Statistics
1. All about diabetes
2. Corporate Sponsor of The American Dietetic Association

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Eco-living Tips From Ideal Bite

Would you like to learn more about Eco-friendly living tips and ideas? How about getting them delivered to you every day in your inbox. Sign up for Ideal Bite and get ideas on how to life a more environmentally friendly life without giving up all of your comforts. This is my way of getting some of you who are super consumers & polluters to slowly turn the corner to a better way of life for yourself, children and the planet.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The People's Grocery. Connecting Healthy Organic Food, People and The Land

The People's Grocery is a project founded by Brahm Ahmadi as a venture to create a connectedness of people to the land and healthy food. The People's Grocery provides one of the only means of obtaining healthy fresh and organic produce in West Oakland, CA where the main sources of obtaining groceries are mini-markets or liquor stores loaded with junk quality low grade food. However, his model and mission serve as a greater testament to the predicament of our time. A time in which far to many people have limited access to fresh, healthy, organic food while having prodigious access to alcohol, fast food, poor quality and nutrient lacking food. In addition, there is an increasing disconnect to the earth and a harmonious relationship to the food which is meant to nourish our bodies, stimulating life instead of depleting it. The People's Grocery is just one example of how small efforts can change communities as well as society with the potential to improve personal health, revitalize community stability, increase quality resource development, produce job opportunities, and improve carbon footprint by reducing impacts on the environment.



If your interested in getting reconnected to your community, the food you eat, better health for yourself and family, saving money and impacting the environment more favorably, then start here at Local Harvest. Also, learn more about the significance of the question of
Where Does Your Food Come From?

Find a Local Farm Market in your area with this easy tool:
Find a Farmers Market

More interesting videos: Global Oneness Project

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Five Reasons To Get More Sleep

When it comes to your health, getting enough sleep is essential to your well being. The National Institute of Health estimates that nearly sixty million Americans have frequent insomnia and an estimated forty million have a chronic sleep disorder. Here are five reasons you should get more sleep.

1.)Cardiovascular Health: Sleep disorders have been linked to heart and circulatory conditions such as hypertension and irregular heart beats.

2.)Weight Gain / Metabolism: Sleep deprivation causes changes in the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates. It also affects hormone levels related to appetite.

3.)Immunity / Disease Prevention: Lack of sleep causes changes in the immune system decreasing the strength and activity of immune cells. Some research shows adequate sleep helps prevent cancer.

4.)Learning / Memory: Adequate sleep improves memory retention by improving the brain's ability to store new information into memory.

5.)Mood / Temperament: Lack of adequate sleep can cause irritability, moodiness, inability to concentrate, impatience and result in being too tired out to do things you would like to do.

So how much sleep is enough sleep. That answer can vary for everyone depending upon the quality of sleep but a general rule of thumb would be seven to eight hours. Some people function effectively on six hours. Perhaps because they go through the four phases of sleep effectively and thus have a higher quality of sleep in less time.

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Reference:
Harvard Health Publications
Improving Sleep: A Guide To A Good Nights Rest
WebMD Understanding Sleep Disorders

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Change The World Wednesday's Weekly Challenge

Another week and another opportunity to participate in making the world a better place by taking a small step at living more sustainably. Here is the Change The World Wednesday's challenge for this week. It's good for your health and better green living practice for your community. This is the plan. For one week, eliminate the use of polystyrene foam (Styrofoam). Do not purchase any products that come in Styrofoam containers, don't purchase any Styrofoam products such as cups, bowls, or plates. Don't use any containers made from Styrofoam. If you go to a restaurant, don't order anything packaged in Styrofoam and if you get it to go, ask for a different type of container. Don't pack anything with those peanuts or buy anything packaged with them. That's the deal. Simple but effective. You will be doing something good for your health while making a difference for the planet. So get on board this weeks challenge and dump the polystyrene foam for a week. Need a few extra reasons.

*Polystyrene manufacturing is one of the top five largest creators of hazardous waste
*The main ingredient, styrene, is considered a carcinogen and is linked to central nervous system damage and reproductive harm as well as a host of other deleterious effects.
*They leach toxic chemicals into the food contained in them or heated in them.
*They contribute to excessive pollution and waste.

For information on Styrofoam please visit Earth Resource Foundation
For information about Change The World Wednesday's Challenge or how to participate, please read Change The World Challenge