Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Agriculture Society Tip of the Day will resume sometime during the new year. Peace and love to everyone, and happy holidays!
Friday, December 19, 2008
"There are a whole array of studies linking increased cardiovascular risk with Vitamin D deficiency," noted Dr. James H. O'Keefe, director of preventive cardiology at the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City. "It is associated with major risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and stiffening of the left ventricle of the heart and blood vessels. Inflammation is really important for heart disease, and people with vitamin D deficiency have increased inflammation."
Experts estimate that up to half of adults and 30 percent of children and teenagers in the United States are vitamin D-deficient. There is a wide array of studies linking increased cardiovascular risk with vitamin D deficiency.
The results from long-running Framingham Heart Study reveal that a person with Vitamin D levels lower than 15 nanograms per millileter of blood is twice as likely to experience heart failure, stroke, or other cardiovascular disorder within two years as compared to those who have higher levels.
The most common source for Vitamin D is through daily sun exposure. Also, fish such as salmon and deep sea-sourced fish are good natural sources. Mainstream dairy (pasteurized) is not a good source for Vitamin D because the Vitamin D in dairy products is synthetically produced and added into the product. The human body has great difficulty absorbing these types of nutrients. Even though raw milk is a great food for human health, Vitamin D does not naturally occur in it.
Good quality supplements are widely available through a qualified health care practitioner or health food stores. Consulting with a professional about which type is right for you will bring maximum health benefit. Although current recommended daily intake of Vitamin D intake is only 200 international units a day up to age 50, 400 units for ages 50 to 70, and 600 units a day over the age of 70, recent studies and evidence suggest that many people need nearly three times those amounts to make up for deficiencies - to be taken over a period of time and then tested to make certain levels rise to where they should be. This is especially true for people living in colder climates during winter months when sun exposure is less.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
In their study, scientists conducted testing on 1,179 post-menopausal women aged 55 and older. The first group were administered 1400-1500 mg daily of calcium and 1100 IU of Vitamin D. The second group was given a placebo. After four years had passed, those who had consistently taken calcium and vitamin D supplements showed a 60 percent decrease in cancers. This amount is nearly three times the recommended daily allowance by the USDA.
“Vitamin D is a critical tool in fighting cancer as well as many other diseases,” stated principal investigator Joan Lappe, Ph.D., R.N., Creighton professor of medicine and holder of the Criss/Beirne Endowed Chair in the School of Nursing.
During sunlight exposure, humans manufacture Vitamin D3. You only need about 10-15 minutes of daily sun exposure (for instance, on a hot summer day) to create Vitamin D3. Because overexposure can also cause skin cancer, using caution about being in the sun too long is recommended. Sunscreens block the absorption of Vitamin D, so you should use only safe sunscreens and only after you have been in the sun longer than necessary to absorb the needed Vitamin D. Over the last 30 years, the public has been told by health experts to avoid sun exposure and use sunscreen. But in light of studies such as the one above, experts are now beginning to connect the avoidance of sun and use of sunscreen as having a negative effective on people's ability to avoid development of diseases like cancer.
Edward Giovannucci, M.D., Sc.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, wrote in a medical editorial: “Research on vitamin D should be continued to clearly elucidate the specific benefits and optimal intakes and levels of Vitamin D,” Dr. Giovannucci wrote further: “Nonetheless, based on the total body of evidence of health conditions associated with vitamin D deficiency, abetted with the results from this meta-analysis, a more proactive attitude to identify, prevent and treat vitamin D deficiency should be part of standard medical care." He also asserts,“from a broader public health perspective, the roles of moderate sun exposure, food fortification, with vitamin D and higher-dose vitamin D supplements for adults need to be debated.”
Here are the current recommendations for daily intake of Vitamin D:
- 200 IU/d, birth-age 50
- 400 IU/d, 50-70 years
- 600 IU/d, 70 years and older
If you are diagnosed with cancer, before deciding to take pharmaceutical drugs such as chemotherapy and radiation, consider consulting with a health care practitioner who will support your interest in treating health problems naturally. Many practitioners overlook the nutritional component of health and its effects on our health.
If you have not been diagnosed with cancer, now is the time to make lifestyle changes that will prevent such illnesses from developing such as the following:
- eliminate all processed foods
- increase intake of raw foods and organic produce (5 -7 servings daily)
- proper whole-foods based, organic nutrient supplementation (consult with a knowledgeable practitioner for guidance)
- obtain daily sun exposure
- obtain regular, moderate exercise (3- 4 times per week for a half an hour or more)
- obtain adequate rest and stress relief
- eat healthy fats such as grass-fed organic meats, raw dairy, nuts and seeds, and healthy oils such as olive oil, coconut, and grapeseed oil
- cut back on grains, which contribute to inflammation and disease
- eliminate refined sugars and alcoholic beverages
- drink plenty of filtered water
- take probiotics (daily intake should be at least 10 billion or more)
- take fiber - find a good, natural, organic brand and avoid grocery store brands such as metamucil
- make certain your calcium supplements are from calcium malate, aspartate, gluconate, or citrate (not calcium carbonate which is derived from limestone and is not absorbed by the body adequately)
- take essential fatty acid supplementation such as Nordic Naturals, Sonnes, or SIBU
- Even in cold weather, getting outside is good for your health and should be preferred over going to a health club for exercise. Bundle up and get moving! Even though gas prices are currently down, avoid driving unless absolutely necessary. Walk, ride your bike, ride your horse, carpool, ride your skateboard, or take the bus. When you do drive, try to accomplish multiple tasks that are in the same general location at once instead of making multiple trips throughout any given day or a week. Visit The Alliance to Save Energy site for more gas and energy saving tips related to your vehicle.
- Do not allow your engine to idle. In cold seasons, people tend to sit and wait with their engines running. This pollutes the air for people passing by all around you. Be especially aware if bus or truck drivers are idling in areas where people linger or loiter - such as at bus stops, schools, or city centers. Ask drivers to turn off their engines. Visit the Clean Bus USA Campaign page on the EPA site.
- Buy energy efficient lightbulbs and/or fixtures, or change your current to a more energy efficient variety. Look for the Energy Star label. Visit the Energy Star site for more information.
- Load up all your used or old electronic devices such as cell phones, video game players, or computers and take them to a recycle center. Doing this will eliminate more cadmium, lead, and other hazardous substances from being placed in landfills. Visit the eCycle page on the EPA site.
- Consider changing where your electricity is generated from standard to solar, wind, or other viable types. Visit Home Power for more information.
- If you are building a new home or renovating, use materials and designs that are environmentally-sound. Visit the Green Building page on the EPA site.
- Purchase less during the holidays or do your shopping online (and try to do online shopping sparingly to save on shipping for financial and environmental savings as well). Make gifts out of things you have at home - be creative.
- Recycle bags and paper for gift-giving wrap and presentation.
- Invite friends or family over for home gatherings instead of opting for expensive nights out. Encourage everyone attending to make something from home and bring a dish to share.
- Trade decorations and lights with friends and family instead of making a trip to the store and wasting gas and spending more money on new items.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Many people undergo fad diets and plans to lose weight, only to fail and gain the weight back. Most diets promise that you will be able to lose weight and aren't able to deliver. Why? Because most diets work from the premise that you'll have to avoid certain foods that are high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and calories. Whether you are overweight or not, your body needs saturated fats, cholesterol, and calories to obtain enough fuel and nutrients. If you are counting calories, you can count on still being overweight. The key is what types of foods you are eating which contain cholesterol and saturated fats. These ingredients are not the same in all foods. If you are eating whole foods, these substances are not only safe to eat but are necessary to health.
When you eat unhealthy foods, the calories are irrelevant because most, if not all of those calories, are unhealthy. A diet soda is no healthier than a regular soda because it contains less or no calories. Sodas -- diet in particular -- are full of chemicals your body doesn't recognize. You are better off to discontinue drinking sodas (and juice) altogether.
When you eat healthy foods, those calories are all healthy to consume because they come from nature and give your body everything it needs to absorb and utilize nutrients for health. When doctors tell you to avoid red meat, they are saying this because the typical red meat most people consume is from factory farms - laden with chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, and the animals whose meat you are eating have been fed the wrong types of food - corn, soy, and grain (much of it genetically modified and herbicide resistant). Cattle are meant to consume grass as they are ruminants - an animal equipped with a stomach specifically designed to digest grasses. When ruminants are fed other types of feed such as grain, soy, and corn, they become ill and farmers administer antibiotics. Farmers in factory farm environments are also concerned with profit and give their animals growth hormones and stabilizers -- all of this translates into unhealthy meat that causes many health problems - including heart disease, cancer, and Diabetes. Factory farm meat is obese meat. Grass-fed meat contains the correct ratios of healthy nutrients - low calorie, high protein, and with higher levels of Omega 3s (CLA or conjugated linoleic acid). These factors have been found to have favorable effects on health such as helping to maintain proper weight and correct cholesterol levels.
Overweight individuals usually have detoxification issues and digestive disorders. If you have eaten poorly throughout your life, chances are you will have both. Digestive issues are caused by poor eating, leading to the storing of toxins which causes weight gain. When you get control of your toxification issues, you will then be able to lose pounds and arrive at the appropriate weight for your body size and type. Any diet which encourages an individual to lose more than two or three pounds a month and recommends eating less calories and low-fat foods should raise a red flag. Overweight does not mean starvation nor elimination of important, nutrient-dense foods - but that's exactly what many diets propose for the person trying to lose weight. An alteration in the way you eat should not be a diet but a lifestyle change. Until you understand this difference, you will likely continue to have weight issues.
If you are underweight, what you eat is still of crucial importance. Some people believe that if they are thin, they can eat poorly and it won't matter because eating that way won't cause weight gain. Even if you are fortunate enough that you don't easily gain weight, you can still damage your health from maintaining such a philosophy. Don't eat junk food to gain weight; if you truly need to gain some pounds, make your diet as healthy as possible. Eat plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed, organic meats (both domestic and wild), safe fish, moderate amounts of sprouted, whole grains (avoid products made of flour), raw nuts and seeds, healthy oils such as grapeseed, coconut, and olive oil, raw, organic dairy products, and moderate amounts of legumes and rice.
Exercise, proper sleep, and stress reduction is also critical in the overall picture of health and maintaining proper weight. Employ a moderate exercise program that you engage in at least three times per week and is appropriate for your age and fitness level. If you are in doubt, consult with your health care practitioner or a personal trainer. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night is important, and making sure you retire by 10 p.m. is also critical toward helping maintain proper weight. Excessive, unaddressed stress, anxiety, or depression can also cause an individual to harbor excess weight or cause the inability to gain weight. If you need stress reduction, consider yoga, pilates, prayer, meditation, or counseling which focuses on varying forms of cognitive therapy (as opposed to pharmaceutical intervention which can often make problems worse or only be a band-aid).
If you are unable to lose or gain weight after eating a truly healthy diet, you may need to address toxification and digestive issues. In many cases, these problems can be easily solved naturally without drugs or surgery. Consult with a knowledgeable health care practitioner about the correct type of detox and/or digestive remedy for your individual needs. Good individuals to inquire with include a naturopathic doctor, a certified nutritional therapist, a chiropractor, or a nutritional counselor who can refer you to another qualified professional.
Let's do a comparison of several different types of foods. You decide which are healthier to eat:
- Packaged bread or grain product or real, whole, sprouted grains that have been soaked
- Pasteurized, homogenized, 2 percent milk or whole, raw milk
- Lean, "low-fat" ground turkey which has been fed grains, corn and soy (possibly with growth hormones and antibiotics ) or natural, organic grass-fed ground beef with no chemicals, growth hormones, or antibiotics
- Tofu or pasture-raised, natural eggs (no antibiotics, chemicals)
- Conventional produce or organic produce
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The best sources for calcium are as follows:
- Leafy green vegetables like broccoli
- Other greens such as spinach, collard, bok choy, and kale
- Raw, organic, unpasteurized dairy - milk, cream, kefir, cheese, and butter
- Fortified drinks like orange juice, soy, rice, or nut milks
- Pasteurized dairy products - consumption of these foods can actually lead to leeching of minerals from the bone since they have been heated up and denatured, causing malabsorbtion of minerals and vitamins. The naturally occurring fats, proteins, and enzymes present in clean, organically produced raw dairy are needed to absorb vital nutrients and for good nutrition. If you've ever experienced symptoms of lactose intolerance, this may be the reason why. Basically, pasteurized milk has been heated up which effectively kills friendly bacteria and nutrients. Then synthetic minerals and vitamins are added back in. Try raw milk and visit Organic Pastures for more information.
- Other fortified "foods" such as many health bars, cereals, and other grain products.
According to Calcium Information (.com), here are the guidelines for calcium consumption by age:
Age / Calcium (mg/day)
0 to 6 months: 210
7 to 12 months: 270
1 to 3 years: 500
4 to 8 years: 800
9 to 13 years: 1300
14 to 18 years: 1000
19 to 50 years: 1000
51+ years: 1200
50+ women: 1500
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
- No proof exists that the flu vaccine works.
When your doctor gives you a flu shot, the vaccine only protects you from contracting strains of flu viruses that are active nine months prior to the beginning of the current flu season. That's when scientists collect circulating flu viruses to create the vaccine. As viruses continue to mutate, new strains are always appearing. Getting the flu vaccine does not automatically guarantee you will stay healthy. In fact, receiving the vaccine is a good way to cause weakening in your immune system.
- A person who has received the flu shot may also contract the flu virus from the vaccine itself.
Flu vaccines are created from real flu viruses. Scientists grow viruses in chicken eggs and then destroy them with a chemical. The idea is to make the virus inactive, but, possible side effects from the vaccine include headaches, fever, fatigue, and sore muscles. Those are flu symptoms. As reported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, these symptoms most often occur in children or in those with weakened immune systems (such as the elderly), the segment of our population who are told to receive the vaccine!
- The flu vaccine contains thimerosal -- a preservative that is toxic to the body.
Thimerosal is a preservative that contains mercury (a toxic chemical). Studies have shown that mercury is toxic to the nervous system. Scientists are also finding more and more evidence that the use of thimerosal in medications and vaccines is connected to the rise of autism in children. Despite the fact that in 1999 the U.S. federal government recommended the elimination of thimerosal from vaccines, this toxic chemical is still an ingredient found in most vaccines -- including all flu shots.
Even in light of this disturbing evidence, medical communities and professionals continue to urge individuals over age 50, parents with infants, pregnant women, and those with lowered immune system function and chronic health issues to rush out and receive the flu vaccine. The historical past has shown us that indeed the flu is a serious illness that should be cared for properly, but it is time we began to acknowledge safer methods of dealing with this seasonal illness. For an article on tips for staying healthy during cold and flu season, visit Agriculture Society.
For information about a homeopathic treatment of the flu that works, visit Homeopathic Educational Services.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
From The Fat Flush Plan by Ann Louise Gittleman and Barry Sears, try the following protocol:
Cranberry water mixture:
8 glasses daily
Drinking cranberry water eliminates water retention, removes accumulated toxins from the lymphatic system and helps to reduce cellulite.
Use Woodstock Farms organic unsweetened cranberry juice, Mountain Sun's, Woodstock Farms, Trader Joe's, or Knudsen's. Obtain two empty 32-ounce bottles. Fill each bottle with 4 ounces of cranberry juice and 28 ounces of filtered water. Alternatively, you can purchase Knudsen's or Tree of Life cranberry concentrate and add 1 1/2 tablespoons to each 32-ounce water bottle. It is important to use only unsweetened cranberry juice as some brands add corn syrup or aspartame. Drink these mixtures throughout the day, each and every day.
During and after cleansing, be sure to continue eating a healthy diet replete with fresh fruits and vegetables, grass-fed organic meats, raw, organic dairy, raw nuts and seeds, healthy oils such as olive, coconut, and grapeseed. Elimination of procesed foods, refined sugars, and foods with additives, chemicals, hormones, steroids, and antibiotics is a must to support any detoxification or cleansing activity and a healthy body. Also be sure to get plenty of moderate exercise, rest, and stress relief.
Monday, December 8, 2008
- canola oil (also known as rapeseed oil from rapeseed)
- soybean oil
- cottonseed oil
- corn oil
Beware! Many "health experts", doctors, dieticians, and other individuals in health communities will tell you these oils are healthy to consume. But actually, they are some of the main culprits of degenerative disease plaguing people in the United States. Ray Peat, Ph.D in physiology who has studied hormones and dietary fats since 1986 reports that these oils are unhealthy to consume. "Polyunsaturated fatty acids, PUFAs -- those contained in the above mentioned oils, "are the bane of human health - they actually cause cancer, diabetes, obesity, aging, thrombosis, arthritis, and immunodeficiencies. Their only appropriate uses are as ingredients in paints and varnishes. As soon as a polyunsaturated vegetable oil enters the body, it is exposed to temperatures high enough to cause its toxic decomposition -- especially when combined with a continuous supply of oxygen and catalysts such as iron."
So which oils are healthy to consume? Olive oil (extra virgin, cold pressed), grapeseed oil, coconut oil (pure virgin), and flax oil only if raw. Olive oil should only be heated on low heat on the stove or oven as its composition is delicate and it has a low-smoke point. Grapeseed oil and coconut oil are wonderfully healthy and are higher-smoke point oils that can be used in higher heat for cooking without going rancid. Real butter from a reliable, organic source (raw is a plus) is also a healthy fat that can be used for cooking or used on whole-grain, sprouted breads.
For an in-depth discussion about healthy oils, visit Dr. Mercola.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
- Get outside for at least 20 minutes each day and go for a walk. Even if the sky is overcast, you are still getting important rays that penetrate the clouds and the ever-important Vitamin D - essential to health and well-being.
- Natural Light Therapy, another option, is a treatment that uses artificial light to alter your circadian rhythms and suppresses the natural release of melatonin in the body. This affects biochemical changes in the brain which help reduce or control symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and other conditions. Light therapy is also known as bright light therapy or phototherapy.\
- Be sure to continue eating a healthy diet, replete with organic, fresh vegetables and fruits, raw foods (including nuts and dairy from grass-fed cows), grass-fed meats, healthy oils such as grapeseed, olive, and coconut, and plenty of filtered water. Continue taking supplements or add to your regimen organic, whole-foods based products including multi-vitamins, essential fatty acids, fiber, and probiotics.
- If you are still experiencing SAD symptoms, consider seeing a therapist who uses cognitive therapy instead of drugs. Sometimes, a change in your mental outlook is all you need. Other options include a visit to a qualified alternative health care practitioner such as an acupuncturist/Chinese herbal doctor, naturopath, or chiropractor. Massage therapy, reflexology, pilates, or yoga are also helpful.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
- Red: tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruits. These fruits contain lycopene which supports prostate health and prevents heart and lung disease.
- Yellow/Green: spinach, yellow corn, collard greens, avocado, peas, and honeydew melon. These contain zeaxanthin and lutein which supports vision and eye function.
- Orange/Yellow: Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, acorn squash, carrots, apricots, and cantaloupes. Contain betacarotene and antioxidants which help prevent cancer. Also, oranges, nectarines, peaches which contain cryptothanxin for heart function support.
- Green: Broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. Contain isothiocyanates, sulforaphanes, and indoles which are known to affect enzymes and disintegrate carcinogens.
- Green/White: garlic, celery, onions, chives, white wine, and pears. These foods have allicin and flavonoids, which have been observed to deter tumor growth.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Medications prescribed to help children with attention deficit disorders do not solve the real cause of the disorder, but holistic health care practitioners such as chiropractors and naturopaths use alternative methods to deal with children or adults who exhibit symptoms of ADHD, ADD, and related problems. We are just now beginning to understand the connection between the foods we eat and the toxins in our environment on our health. Holistic practitioners help patients look for causes and eliminate those culprits in order to set health back on track. Some simple changes can be made which show dramatic improvement in symptoms of ADHD, patience and attention issues, and hyperactivity.
Chiropractic neurologists have seen success in treating ADHD and learning disabilities with proper brain stimulation techniques. The other important change recommended includes alterations in nutrition and lifestyle that can have a noticeable affect on or prevention of biochemical imbalances responsible for ADHD or ADD symptoms. If you are a parent with a child that has ADHD or a similar syndrome, consider the following:
- Eliminate processed foods from your child's diet as they often contain refined sugars, dyes, preservatives, and chemicals which contribute to behavior issues.
- Purchase organic foods whenever possible and look for foods with with as few pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals as possible.
- Determine if there is an allergy—usually starting with dairy and gluten and try elimination diets.
- As much as possible, eliminate chemicals in your home - plastics, sprays, air fresheners, antibacteria soaps, petroleum-based cleaners and detergents such as dish soaps and laundry detergents, pesticide sprays.
- Avoid medications -- prescription and over-the-counter, nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs in pregnancy that may harm the fetus.
- During pregnancy, seek regular relaxation activities. Job-related and personal stress may affect the health of your unborn baby's health adversely.
- Avoid feeding your baby formula and breastfeed. During the first months and years of a child's life development of the body and brain are at a critical point. Pay close attention to your diet if you are breastfeeding and focus on non-processed foods with whole, organic dairy products, grass-fed meats, raw nuts, organic produce, and few refined grains.
- Make certain your child receives adequate doses of essential fatty acids in his or her diet daily. This includes Omega 3's found in foods such as fish or good quality fish oils, organic grass-fed meats and organic butter, and Omega 6's found in cococut, olive, and grapeseed oils.
For more information, visit The American Chiropractic Association web site.
For an informative article about ADD & ADHD, visit Agriculture Society.