Friday, February 29, 2008

Fat-Free, Low-Fat, Non-Fat - Healthy?

Beware of fat-free, low-fat, and non-fat foods! These foods are not whole and have been altered from their original state created by nature and can create a bevy of health issues to people who consume them. By sticking to whole, natural foods, you can't go wrong. To read the shocking truth and learn about how you can overcome being trapped in a" low-fat" lifestyle, read the latest article on Agriculture Society.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Probiotics for Health

Our immune systems require constant support. Especially during cold and flu season, however, we need all the extra help we can get. You need probiotics. What are they? Probiotics are the opposite of antibiotics; they are friendly bacteria necessary to keep the digestive tract (which just so happens to be the center of your immunity) functioning, and helps keep you from getting sick or developing disease.

Some people believe the only reason to take probiotics is when taking antibiotics. Not true! You should take probiotics every day of your life to maintain proper health. Antibiotics are dangerous because they remove all good bacteria in the gut, and contribute to candida overgrowth which can cause a host of unpleasant health issues. Remember, antibiotics are an enemy to your body; they will only cause a host of problems over the long haul and destroy useful bacteria needed to maintain health.

Sources of probiotics? They are not where most people would expect(check your local farmers for these products - you won't find them in the stores unless you live in Europe or some non-industrialized nation):
  • raw milk
  • raw butter
  • raw cream
Raw cheese is another good source, and you can find these products in health stores. Raw cheeses are cultured and therefore are legal for sale in markets. A great place to purchase raw dairy online is Organic Pastures. I personally use their products and they are fabulous.

Other good sources for probiotics are the following products (found in health food stores or online):

Acidophilus Pearls by Enzymatic Therapy.

Green Apple Pro 96 Acidophilus by Nature's Life (Nature's Life has other flavors as well - this one is the best).

Complete Probiotics - Reputable M.D., Dr. Joseph Mercola sells these on his site.

The following must be obtained from a licensed healthcare practitioner:

Biodophilus Caps by Biotics Research Corporation.

Do not eat store-bought yogurt, kefir, or milk and expect to receive probiotic benefit (even the organic variety). Here's why: store-bought dairy products are pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process of using heat to kill bacteria. The only kind of bacteria you will find in pasteurized products is dead bacteria. Ew! As a secondary reason (as if you needed one after that), most yogurts are full of some type of sugar. Sugar is one of the main enemies to a healthy digestive tract and can be responsible for helping to destroy friendly bacteria.

For more information about probiotics, read our article at Agriculture Society.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Green Vegetables Keep Away Illness, Disease

When you are planning meals, be sure to include lots of greens in your diet. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collards, green beans, sugar snap peas, and broccoli are loaded with nutrients, fiber, and vitamins and minerals your body needs to function and keep the immune system and many other important body functions running smoothly. Here's the types of nutrients you will find find these fabulous foods and what they do for your body:

Vitamin K - leafy and collard greens, spinach, broccoli, and brussel sprouts; helps blood clot and maintain good bone health

Folic Acid - dark leafy greens; very important for cell development, helps protect against birth defects, helps red blood cells form and promotes heart health

B6 - spinach and green beans; aids in helping the body break down proteins and critical to a healthy nervous system and enables the body to break down stored sugar

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) - leafy greens, asparagus, and broccoli; converts food into energy and aids in production of red blood cells

Alpha-lipoic acid - spinach and broccoli; helps rid the body of harmful substances (toxins), prevents cell damage, and is helpful in growth.

Vitamin A - leafy greens; assists in the normal functioning of the immune system and aids eyesight

Vitamin C - asparagus and broccoli, turnip greens; helps promote healthy immune system and enables the production of chemical messengers in the brain

Certain members of the dark green family deliver great health advantages to your body - try the cruciferous varieties such as arugula and broccoli. These vegetables contain phytochemicals known as indoles which prevent cancer and prevent and repair damage to DNA that can lead to cancer. They also block enzymes responsible for initializing carcinogens and reinforce detoxifiying enzymes.

You can find beta carotene, zeaxathin, and lutein in leafy greens such as chard, kale, bok choy, collards, and romaine lettuce. These nutrients also help thwart cancer development. Studies show a connection between consumption of these foods and a reduction of skin, lung, and breast cancer as well. Potassium and magnesium can also be found in these vegetables. These minerals regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.

Recommended amounts of leafy greens and other greens by nutritional experts are 3 cups or more per week. The average American consumes about 1/2 per week or less. Clearly we are lacking in our intake of important vegetables, as is evidenced by our nation's poor health state. Eat more of these every day - your body needs them for good health!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bring Your Own Bag

When you go grocery shopping, bring your own bag to the store with you. You will save on more plastic bags being used and ending up in landfills and not being recycled. In San Francisco for example, only 1 percent of bags used actually gets recycled. Although paper is easier to recycle than plastic, it also does not end up being recycled as much as it should be, and often doesn't even biodegrade due to unnatural decomposing conditions such as lack of sunshine, air, and moisture in landfill holes. Try using whatever you already have in your house - cotton, canvas, and net bags are very useful for shopping trips. If you already have paper bags, use them until they are unusable. Reuse, reuse, reuse!

Just take a look at this article which illustrates how ubiquitous plastic bags are, especially in places they shouldn't be. Here are just a few startling statistics about plastic bags (from Squidoo Health):
  • Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
  • According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
  • According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion.)
  • Plastic bags don't biodegrade, they photodegrade-breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.
Many cities and states have begun banning plastic bags. Isn't it time you did too, and made a difference?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Fabulous Coconut Oil - For Skin & Cooking

Try coconut oil for a great medium-chain essential fatty acids oil. You can use this oil for cooking and other health needs like your skin, too. Pure, unrefined, white virgin coconut oil is one of the most amazing health products you can use. Purchase at most any health food store. Always store in a cool place such as a counter wine cooler or your refrigerator.

Coconut oil is very healthy to use in cooking as it contains a unique form of saturated fat that is very important for prevention of diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and other cardiovascular-related problems. This oil has been used for thousands of years in both Asian and Indian cultures for food and medicinal purposes. Ayurvedic medicine of India considers it one of the most respected substances in prevention of health problems. It is also very stable because it can withstand higher cooking temperatures than many other oils such as olive without going rancid.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ride Your Bike

Instead of driving your car to work, ride your bike. Then challenge yourself to do it twice a week. Then three times a week. Think of all the stress-free riding you will enjoy, while having a bit of time to look around you at the scenery along the way. You won't be in your car wasting petroleum, either. That's worth it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Remove Candida from Your Body

Candida overgrowth is a big problem for those suffering from a variety of health symptoms. Candida Albicans is a naturally-occuring yeast present in all human bodies, but can grow unchecked as side-effect of poor dietary choices - and is especially prevalent in people who consume a traditional Western type diet and have used antibiotics and other medications.

Symptoms of a candida problem are not always recognized by traditional doctors and can range from abdominal issues to skin disorders, depression or mood problems, to fibromyalgia and poor concentration. You can also have a candida problem without realizing it. Overgrowth of candida greatly affects the ability of the immune system to function properly and as a result, health problems are allowed to occur in the body unchecked.

If you think candida may be affecting your health, see a qualified practitioner willing to help you choose an effective candida cleansing solution. For more information, visit The National Candida Center.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Buy Local!

When you purchase products indigenous to your region, you are supporting farmers and merchants and enabling them to thrive and continue to bring high quality foods to consumers. Less travel for products means reducing waste of natural resources such as petroleum, as well as cutting down on pollution and toxins in the environment. Local food is not exposed to the same pollutants as its global counterparts, and therefore is healthier to consume. Support your local farmer markets, co-ops, small independently-owned businesses, farmers and merchants. Your body and the planet will thank you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What Ails Your Skin?

Many people suffer from dry skin both during the winter months and other times of the year. Dry, flaking skin is often a symptom of a nutritional deficiency which can cause a host of health problems besides just affecting the skin. It may be necessary to eat more foods rich in Vitamins A and B, C, and the minerals Magnesium and Zinc. You may also be deficient in essential fatty acids such as those found in fish, coconut, or flax seed oils. Nuts, dark green, leafy vegetables also contain some of these essential fatty acids, as well as grass-fed meats.

Excessive hand-washing during winter months can contribute to skin that is already dry and cracked, washing away natural oils and lubrication. Application of lotions, deodorants, and other personal care products can actually make the problem worse - especially since many of these products contain chemicals and other ingredients that are poisonous to your skin and your body.

For topical relief, we recommend direct application of coconut, apricot kernel, or sweet almond oils. One great product you can purchase is Badger lip and body balms; they contain all natural ingredients such as castor oil, aloe vera, olive, lavender, peppermint, and spearmint oils, seabuckthorn berry, and other botanicals and herbs well-noted for their positive affect on the condition of skin.

For more tips on remedies for dry skin, visit 1st Holistic.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Beware of Synthetic Vitamins

Vitamins are very important to our health, but you should beware of the synthetic variety which abounds in great quantities in the average food or health store. Most brands found in stores are synthetically produced in a laboratory, and are not fully absorbed by the body. In addition, these substances can actually cause health problems rather than improve health. Supplements should always be organically-derived from phytonutrients which means they are whole-foods based (the source from which vitamins and minerals come) . To find out which kind your body needs, you should visit a qualified health care practitioner who can test to determine which elements in which your body is deficient. One of the best ways to find this information out is to be muscle-tested by a qualified practitioner.

You can waste much time, money, and health buying vitamins that are not right for your body. Just because a bottle of vitamins is expensive or labeled "organically produced" does not mean it is what you need as an individual.

Some good brands to consider when purchasing supplements are Biotics Research, Apex Energetics, and Standard Process. These reputable companies sell their products through qualified health care practitioners and are the gold standard for health supplements. I have personally taken all three of these products with outstanding results.

For more information on the amazing qualities of muscle-testing, visit Health Science.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Plastics are Destroying our Environment!

Much controversy exists about the use of plastic for many of the things we do each and every day. Some statistics will tell you plastic is biodegradable while others will not. As one example, some research will tell you to use paper bags instead of plastic to combat the problems petroleum-based bags cause to our environment, but paper has been purported to consume even more energy than plastic to produce.

The truth is, plastic bags are one of the most ubiquitous forms of pollution to be found. When I drive to Las Vegas to visit family, all I can see for nearly fifty miles outside of the city is garbage blowing all over the land - consisting in large amounts of plastic bags. This problem is widespread all over the globe. Plastic leaches into our soil, water, and air, and causes a myriad of health and environmental issues. What can we do as a society to reduce the ungodly amount of plastic permeating our planet?

Use common sense. If you are already using plastic bags, use them as many times as you can - the same with paper. If you shop at a store which uses paper bags, recycle them. You can also switch to a variety of "alternative" materials in bags such as hemp, canvas, cotton, and other environmentally-friendly cloth carrying devices. Net bags are making a comeback and are very sturdy and useful - and just look at how cheap they are! If you use plastic in any other capacity in your daily activities, look for ways to cut down and eliminate by replacing with paper, wood, metal, or glass. Check out this article about boycotting plastic at Agriculture Society.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Lowfat? Nonfat? No Way!

If you are in the habit of purchasing products that claim on the label to be "lowfat" or "nonfat", you may be surprised to learn that these foods are in fact very bad for your health. Many low and nonfat foods are loaded with carbohydrates that your body translates into sugar. Sugar is a poison to your body, and if you read labels on the packaging of many low and nonfat foods, you will soon discover that many of them contain high amounts of some type of sugar. Don't take the manufacturer's word for it - be your own health detective. Also, any whole fat that has been changed in order to claim it is low or nonfat is an incomplete food because that fat has been altered from its natural state and becomes either indigestible or toxic to your body.

Remember, any natural foods that are low or non fat are almost always fruits, whole sprouted grains, or vegetables. Everyone needs fat in their diets for optimal health. Meats and dairy products that are organic, whole, and naturally produced without chemicals or additives have the correct amounts of fat your body needs to function properly. You cannot make your body sick by eating moderate amounts of them.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What's the Matter with Wheat and Flour?

Did you know that products with flour in them are higher on the glycemic index than the whole grain variety? Yes, indeed. To find out if what you are buying is truly "whole grain", simply read the label. Ninety-five percent of grain products you will find in the average food store will read, "whole wheat flour", "enriched wheat flour", or "white flour". This should always be a red flag.

The overconsumption of foods like this such as breads, pastas, bagels, crackers, and many other similar foods is one of the main causes of problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, Diabetes, Cancer, and a bevy of other health issues such as auto-immune disorders and intolerances. If you are truly eating a whole-grain food (sprouted whole grains are superior), you are doing your body some good. Anything made with flour should be eaten few and far between.

Wheat allergies are quite prevalent in modern society, and you can thank the modern engineering efforts of scientists and farmers who have bred wheat to contain 78% gluten content over its ancient predecessor. So use thought and care when you eat grains - particularly wheat!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Take the Raw Foods Challenge!

For just one week, commit to eating more raw foods - at least one type with each meal. At the end of the week, check your progress and determine how you are feeling. You should notice an improvement in your health and perhaps it will motivate you to continue on eating more raw foods and making other positive changes in the way you live. Suggestions for raw foods include vegetables, fruits, sprouted whole grains, nuts, seeds, and raw dairy such as milk, cheese, cream, and butter. Juicing is an excellent way to get in many of your raw vegetables such as greens all at once.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Eat Plenty of Fiber

To keep your digestive system regular and avoid accumulating toxins in the tract which can cause disease and illness, eat a good supply of fiber in your diet everyday. This includes eating plenty of vegetables with meals (both steamed and raw), moderate amounts of fruits, and moderate amounts of whole, sprouted grains (try Ezekiel brand products for impeccable health). All foods you consume should consistently be whole foods, not processed foods. The bigger variety of whole foods you eat, the better.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Try Milk Paints!

The next time you decide to undertake a painting project in your home, consider using Milk Paints. Milk Paints are an environmentally safe alternative to the ubiquitously offered latex paints available. Latex paints are a by-product of petroleum - a substance that has been linked to a myriad of health and environmental issues. Do some research and start painting healthier on your next project!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Store Your Perishable Fats in a Cool Place

It's not a good idea to keep cooking and salad oils at room temperature because they can go rancid. But, if you put them in the refrigerator, some oils (especially olive and coconut) tend to coagulate making it difficult to pour.

To solve this problem store them in a small counter-top wine cooler. Using a wine cooler keeps your oils at a cooler temperature than just leaving them on the counter, but doesn't make them so cold they cannot be used right away. You can pick one up for less than a $100.00, but make sure it has variable temperature control.