Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Can You Afford Not to Eat Organic Foods?

When people talk about organic, the factor of expense almost always comes up. People have a perception that they can't possibly change their lifestyle and buying habits because organic food is too expensive.

It's true that on the surface, organic food is more expensive than conventional. But consider the "hidden" costs of eating conventional, industrial food. The food grown and raised by conventional means is procured in the cheapest way possible - that is, to minimize operating expenses and maximize profits. If those merchants didn't run their businesses that way, they'd fail to make a profit and probably would go out of business. So the food is produced as cheaply as possible, which means skimping on high quality ingredients and farming and production methods. When food is produced in such a way, quality suffers and nutritional content and integrity is compromised - plain and simple.

So the emphasis should be on real, organic foods because when you eat healthy, you are avoiding problems down the road - problems that will cost you more money than you realize. The idea should be that prevention up front will save you misery, disease, and cost later on. As an example, one of the most heavily consumed items in developed countries is carbonated soda pop, which has absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. Soda pop is the number one source of calories in the United States! When consumed in such amounts, there is no one who can deny this definitely affects anyone's budget. So why not trade your dollars spent on soda pops, juices, Kool Aid, Crystal Light, Hawaiian Punch, Sunny Delight, or other processed sugary drinks for a wholesome, organic apple, pear, or banana.

Just stop to consider the large amounts of money we pay in taxes and other fees to support industrial agriculture - massive government subsidies to agribusiness (which drive smaller, sustainable farmers out of business), environmental damage as a result of toxins being dumped into the air, water, and land due to the operation methods of factory farms, the continual increase of health care costs, and untold damage to our health.

So what's going on here is that the health care companies are getting rich, the food industry is getting rich, but what's to become of the consumer? Are we destined to remain in the stranglehold of these corporations who have absolutely no concern for our health or well-being, or are we going to do something about it? We must take a stand, get proactive, support local and sustainable farming and food production, and stamp out these bloated, multi-billion dollar corporations who have taken for themselves all the power and profit.

Put the power, money, well-being, and health back in the hands of the people who can make a huge effect on our habits and future - the consumers! Do something ethical and moral, and healthy for yourself, your family, and the planet. Go organic and sustainable. Read labels. Be aware and educate yourself. Trade your junk food and industrial dollars for something more worthwhile and healthy - good, real, organic, sustainable food. Remember, each time you put food in your mouth, you are casting a vote for organic or not...and the consequences could be more serious than you think!

For more information about how the industrial food system is fleecing us, see the movie Food, Inc.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Massage for Indigestion, Abdominal Cramping

Although abdominal cramps, bloating, gas, and discomfort are often a sign that you have eaten something you shouldn't have, there are some simple techniques you can use to help alleviate stomach and abdominal distress.

When you experience these sensations, try lying down on a bed or couch, relax, and take some deep breaths. Next, take your hands and gently massage your abdominal areas in a circular motion, paying close attention to the area where the discomfort originates. It may seem as though pressure will make the pain worse, but keep going anyway.

Press firmly, but not hard enough to make it painful in any place where you have pain or bloating. You can also follow your transverse colon around multiple times with your fingertips - your colon runs perpendicular to your breast bone just underneath your rib cage on either side. Use a rhythmic, pressing action with the pads of your fingers from right to left and move downward to the descending colon with your movement toward your hips. Continue around in a clockwise motion to the other side of your abdominal area and come up again toward the right side of your rib cage and your ascending colon and repeat.

You should feel relief fairly quick, but continue massage until you obtain the relief you need. Other good ways to obtain relief from abdominal discomfort include taking probiotics, fiber, or charcoal. Check with your local health food store or knowledgeable health care practitioner for these items. A natural fiber supplement is essential to your digestive health - avoid the cheaper brands with fillers and ingredients that are unknown.

Ways to avoid abdominal distress include eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, and minimizing stress. Avoid conventionally and industrially-produced foods such as meat, dairy products, and produce. Eat fermented foods such as real yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and miso or natto.

Monday, June 15, 2009

How to Manage Diabetes

Do you follow common health rhetoric about managing Diabetes? Medical experts advise being under the care of a physician to take care of your disease. But what's really causing the disease? Is it just some unknown thing going on in your body that needs continual doses of insulin and other medications? Common medical advice tells Diabetes patients to avoid sugar, and recommends that if desserts and sugar are eaten to drastically reduce fat intake. Following these directives are not only keeping your insulin levels in a haywire state, but they are ruining your health. Not enough emphasis is placed on removal of processed foods, which greatly contribute to the Diabetic condition in the first place, and eating real, whole foods. This is why people with Diabetes, in general, continue to struggle and struggle with their weight and health.

There are some natural alternatives to taking care of your health and your Diabetes. Diabetes is largely a modern disease that is caused by a combination of inactivity and consumption of processed, industrial foods. Eating a healthy diet should enable you to overcome your disease and lead a healthy life. Here are the foods you should eliminate from your diet:

Anything processed and containing refined carbohydrates such as:
  • crackers
  • bread
  • pasta
  • bagels
  • rice cakes
  • packaged cereals
  • most breads
  • alternative grain products that are processed such as the above
  • industrial pasteurized/homogenized dairy products - especially low-fat and non-fat
  • processed (roasted, salted, coated) nuts and seeds
  • non-organic nut butter that comes from roasted nuts
  • refined, vegetable oils like canola, soy, safflower, cottonseed, sunflower, and other vegetable oils
  • soy products of all kinds (except those that are fermented like miso and tempeh)
  • industrial meats
  • conventionally produced fruits and vegetables
Basically, anything packaged, canned, or in a box should be suspect and probably eliminated from your kitchen and diet.

Here's what you should include in your diet:
  • grass-fed, naturally and organically raised meats, pasture-raised poultry
  • raw milk and dairy (cheese, cream, butter) from organic, pasture-raised cattle
  • eggs from pasture-raised poultry
  • organically-produced fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables
  • raw nuts and seeds
  • organically-produced nut butters (avoid peanut butter)
  • natural, healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, palm oil, and coconut oil, real butter from grass-fed cattle, tallow and lard from healthy beef and chicken (see above)
  • whole grains (avoid flour) from the bulk isle in the grocery store such as brown rice, oats, buckwheat, teff, quinoa, spelt, whole wheat, millet, oats, etc. that are soaked before eating and sprouted grains (try Ezekiel brand products)
  • fermented foods like real, home-made yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, lacto-fermented vegetables, and others
Obtaining regular stretching, movement, and exercise is important too. Here are some guidelines:
  • Focus on regular activity rather than length of time spent doing the activity.
  • Do something you enjoy and that fits your lifestyle and interests.
  • The best type of activity is something you can do outside. It allows you to get fresh air and sunshine (natural Vitamin D is very important for health), and gets you out of your everyday environment of the home or office.
  • Start out slow if you have been sedentary.
  • Don't focus on calories or fat intake as a method of losing weight. If you do, you will continue to struggle with weight issues. If you are eating whole, healthy foods and obtaining regular activity in your schedule, your normal weight should be easy to maintain.
For more insight about being nutritionally fit, and putting more emphasis on eating well to maintain your health and your weight, read Are You Nutritionally Fit?

For more information on types of healthy foods, read How Well Do Know Your Food? Find Out!

For more information on fats and health, read The Importance of Dietary Fats.