Tags: Body & Mind, Culture, Food, health, Nature
Thyme is without a doubt one of the most useful herbs we have at our disposal, being a powerful germicide with carminative and anti-inflammatory properties. It is described by one of the preeminent herbalists of our time Dorothy Hall as being “powerfully protective and therapeutic”, and one of the “big three of herbal medicine”.
During the Middle Ages, thyme was grown in the monastic gardens of Italy, France and Spain and used to treat those suffering from poor digestion, intestinal parasites and a sore throat. Herbalists used thyme as a powerful germicide to treat patients infected with the plague that swept through Europe between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries.
In 1725 a German apothecary ‘discovered’ thymol, the powerful disinfectant present in the essential oil of thyme, which is effective against bacteria and fungi. Thymol has been found to be very similar to carbolic acid in its action, though more powerful against infection and less irritating to the skin.
In fact cultures as far back as the ancient Sumerians employed thyme as an antiseptic. The ancient Egyptians also used thyme as an antiseptic and preservative in the process of embalming their dead. No doubt the learned physicians of these cultures also knew of and used thyme in all its therapeutic capacity.
Thyme was even used extensively in hospitals during World War I and well into the twentieth century to purify the air and dress the wounds of soldiers.
For medicinal purposes, classical herbalists today use both Wild thyme (Thymus serpyllum) and Common thyme (Thymus vulgaris) sometimes called Garden thyme.
Thyme is very effective when used to treat respiratory conditions. A cup of thyme tea brewed up can bring relief to those suffering from a sore throat, or better still make a cup at the first signs of a throat infection.
The tea is also very useful as a throat gargle for those people, like singers or football coaches, who use their voices a lot. Thyme tea can be quite strong for some people, so dilute with extra water to taste. Brew a cup of thyme tea only when required, as it is not suited for regular use.
A professional herbalist can prescribe thyme in extract or tincture form if this herb is indicated for you therapeutically.
Luke Hughes is a classical Western herbalist.
Title quote by Rudyard Kippling.
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Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
The more ‘diet’ foods I consumed, the more addicted to sugar I got
By Tysan Lerner
When I was in my late teens I started struggling with my weight.
I had just decided to focus more on academics, less on dance training, so I drastically cut down my physical activity. Between that and the hormonal changes affecting my 16-year-old body, I started gaining some weight.
I decided to go on a diet. I read Dr. Ornish’s diet book. It taught me that what was making me fat was indeed fat. At the time, low-fat diets had just become a big craze, and so there were plenty of fat-free foods to support my dieting efforts.
Dr. Ornish encouraged whole foods, but I was only 16 and didn’t really know how to cook. So, like many of my fellow North Americans, I turned to the wide selection of low-fat and fat-free processed foods being offered to consumers.
Soon after changing my diet, I found myself feeling hungrier than ever.
A few years later, I read that fat makes you feel satiated, and without it you will never really feel full. So I added the fat back in. But I still ate the fat-free, sugary desserts and still felt chronically hungry, lazy, and tired!
As a result, I gained even more weight, felt tired most of the time, and was chronically hungry despite the large amounts of food I was allowing myself. The more “diet” foods I consumed, the more addicted to sugar I got.
I also started suffering from chronic fatigue, depression, and major weight gain. Eventually I gained 40 pounds from binging on sweets.
What is ‘sugar’?
We all know what sugar is. It is that lovely white or brown powdery stuff that we add to our coffee or tea, and candies and cakes.
But sugar is found in almost all foods, although it manifests in different forms. Some forms of sugars are more toxic, and some less.
Grains and breads contain sugar. Next time you eat some brown rice, chew it 30 to 50 times until it becomes a liquid. You will discover that it ends up tasting sweet.
That sweetness comes from the sugar you have released after chewing the rice. But that sugar is primarily in the form of glucose and does not affect the body the way other forms of sugar do.
In fact, we need glucose to run well, so when I say “kick sugar,” I don’t mean kick carbohydrates such as bread and grains.
I am talking primarily about fructose. Dr. Robert H. Lustig explains in his lecture “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” at the University of California, San Francisco, that the fructose in sugar is toxic for us.
When eaten without the nutrients and fibre found in fruits, which are high in fructose, it causes metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, high triglycerides, a fatty liver, and a big gut.
Consider this: 50 percent of sugar is fructose, 55 percent of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is fructose, and 50 to 70 percent of agave nectar is fructose.
This is all dangerous because the fructose from these sugar sources is not getting digested with the fibre found in fruits. So although the sugar found in fruit is 70 percent fructose, it is not toxic for us since fruit fibre helps to digest it. Fibre is nature’s antidote for fructose.
Most North Americans are getting their fructose fix from soda, juice, chocolate milk, ice cream, cookies, and cake. It is also added into many processed foods to make them taste better. Because HFCS is inexpensive, it is easy to load up food with it.
In 2009, Dr. Lustig helped the American Heart Association rewrite the guidelines for the recommended daily limit on sugar intake. The association now recommends limiting daily sugar intake to 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women. Having more than that is considered toxic.
Cutting out sugar
After learning about how toxic sugar was and how prevalent it was in our diets, I went on a mission to cut it out. To keep it simple, I started with HFCS. I noticed that it was in much of the treats I loved, including light ice cream, whole wheat bread, and “healthy” morning cereals.
I thought I had been doing so well since I was eating whole wheat bread and only indulging in a 160-calorie daily treat, but in fact, if Dr. Lustig is correct, I was slowly poisoning myself (and my kids).
So out went the bread and cereal with the HFCS. Out went the light ice cream since the only alternative to light ice cream with HFCS was light ice cream with artificial sweeteners, which I do not advocate.
I got into making baked apples with cinnamon or baked blueberries with coconut. That hit my sweet tooth and cut my cravings for more dessert. As a result, I lost the last 6 lbs I had been struggling with for years.
Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is www.lavendermamas.com
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Tags: environmental issues, Food, sustainable development
Spring has sprung, and it’s time to start planting vegetable seeds indoors to transplant into the garden.
Jennifer Zoch, seed technician at Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds based in Iowa, explains that the benefits to starting plants by seed include keeping garden costs down as well as the fact that there are many plant varieties that cannot be found at local garden centres.
“The process begins with deciding what you and your family like to eat and size of the garden and seed selection,” Zoch said.
Seed selection options are heirloom (seeds used by past generations), hybrid (plants cross-bred for special traits), and organic (non-synthetic pesticides or fertilizers).
Regarding heirloom seeds, Zoch said, “Flavours are better and the vegetables come in different shapes and colours. There are specialty crops which apply to a region or provide for special needs, like apples for making cider.”
Ideal veggies to start early by seed are cold-weather crops such as lettuce, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, and cabbage.
When to plant indoors
To start various plant seeds indoors, count backward from the expected last frost date pertaining to the number of days for the plant to be ready to plant outdoors according to the seed packet instructions.
Containers and soil
Any container—even yogurt cups with plenty of holes for drainage—can be used along with a mixture of organic potting soil (soil, peat, and compost), explains Zoch.
Local garden centres sell seed-starting trays and plastic covers. Peat plugs are simple but peat has no nutrients, thus fertilizing is needed when the plants get their second round of leaves.
“Liquid fish emulsion added with water meets organic standards for fertilizer but is a little smelly,” Zoch said.
“Do not use raw manure or compost with grass clippings contaminated with herbicides as the residue might kill your seedlings. That is why it is good to be familiar with the source of the product you are using, and to buy local and/or organic whenever possible.”
Plastic covers trap moisture and warmth, but remove immediately after the seeds sprout in order to avoid fungus.
Once the seeds sprout, they need a lot of water, light, and ventilation, Zoch said.
“Many beginners kill plants by over watering. Water once a day (if needed) and at the same time each day before noon, so foliage can dry before nightfall to avoid fungus.” – Jennifer Zoch, Seed Savers Exchange
“Many beginners kill plants by over watering. Water once a day (if needed) and at the same time each day before noon, so foliage can dry before nightfall to avoid fungus.”
Re-pot when there are more than a couple of roots wrapped around the inside of the container or the drainage holes, or poking out of the peat plug. Zoch explains that plants can have a tough time getting established, stop growing, or even die if the root hairs are damaged while taking them out of the pot due to being root-bound.
The next step includes “decreasing water, moving plants to a cooler room for a few days, and regularly brushing your hand over the plants, or a few hours of an electric fan blowing gently on them to simulate wind,” Zoch said.
“This simulation strengthens the plant cells in the stem.”
One to two weeks later, gradually introduce the plants to the outdoor elements by placing them on the west side of a building or under a tree in the shade, then gradually move them away from the tree or building into more light. Cover the plants at night.
A couple of days prior to planting, till the garden soil and then till in peat and compost. Add granulated organic fertilizer and peat into each seed hole. Zoch advises covering with dirt any areas that may have peat exposed as it will pull moisture away from the plant and kill it.
“Set the plants about 1/2-inch lower than ground level for good watering and root development,” she said. “Water the plants gently with a watering can. Avoid getting the foliage wet.”
Never step on areas where plants will be planted, but rather walk between rows to make a path to weed, water, fertilize, and pick the produce.
Now, get the satisfaction of watching the plants you’ve carefully nurtured grow and produce.
Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit that preserves heirloom plant varieties through regeneration, distribution, and seed exchange. To learn more from a webinar presented by Jennifer Zoch and Seed Savers Exchange, go to http://www.seedsavers.org/Education/Webinar-Archive/#seed_collection.
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Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, health, Science, Society, sustainable development
By Jack Phillips
Earlier this week the U.S. Congress quietly passed the Agricultural Appropriations Bill, which has been derided by opponents as the “Monsanto Protection Act,” it was reported.
In the appropriations bill, the provision essentially protects purveyors of genetically modified seeds, including Monsanto, from lawsuits amid potential health risks, according to Salon.com.
President Obama signed the measure into law on Tuesday.
More than 250,000 people have signed a petition that opposes the Monsanto Protection Act, according to Food Democracy Now.
“Once again, Monsanto and the biotech industry have used their lobbying power to undermine your basic rights,” reads a statement on Food Democracy’s website.
There has been anger over how the provision passed through Congress, without being reviewed by the Agricultural or Judiciary Committees. The provision was introduced anonymously as the Agricultural Appropriations Bill progressed, according to Salon.
Now, the Food Democracy Now and the Center for Food Safety have blamed the Senate Appropriations Committee and chairwoman Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
The Center for Food Safety said that “many Democrats were unaware of its presence in the larger bill,” according to its website.
“In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” Andrew Kimbrell, the head of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement.
He added: “This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Senator Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.”
Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, health, Nature, Science, sustainable development
Extended public comment period ends April 26
By Tara MacIsaac
Superfish: A genetically engineered salmon is on its way to approval for human consumption in the United States. It would not likely be labeled any differently than conventional Atlantic salmon in grocery stores.
The AquaBounty AquaAdvantage transgenic salmon grows two to six times faster than natural Atlantic salmon stock thanks to genetic engineering. It has been dubbed the “superfish” or “FrankenFish” by concerned advocates for Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) product labeling.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an assessment of the genetically engineered (GE) salmon on December 26, 2012, reporting that the salmon does not pose significant environmental threats or threats to human health upon consumption.
U.S. Sen. Mark Begich and Sen. Patty Murray sent the FDA a letter expressing grave concern. Upon the senators’ request, the FDA extended the public comment period to April 26. The FDA will review comments before approving the product.
The senators write: “Legislation will be introduced in the 13th Congress to seek a more comprehensive environmental review of this and other genetically engineered fish, and require labeling of any such products sold in the U.S. so consumers are aware of what is on their dinner plates.”
The GE salmon would be labeled the same as conventional Atlantic salmon stock, “because the essential nature of the salmon has not changed as a result of the introduction of the AquaAdvantage construct, an AquaAdvantage Salmon is still an Atlantic salmon,” reads the draft assessment report.
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Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, health, Nature, sustainable development
“You should eat more fish” is a remark I often make to patients. But I find that recently more patients reply, “But are fish safe to eat?”
They worry about the amount of mercury and PCBs that may be in fish. So today when it appears that everything has a touch of contamination, how safe are fish to eat?
A report from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, published in Environmental Science and Technology, analyzed seafood inspection data from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan.
It states that today 85 percent of seafood used in North America is imported, and much of it is farm-raised (a practice called aquaculture) in Asia and elsewhere in the developing world.
One negative is that other nations have varying standards for aquaculture. For instance, they may use drugs that are banned in North America. But the big negative is that North American officials do not inspect most overseas farms. This means that only a fraction of imported seafood is tested for drug residues, microbes, and heavy metals.
In fact, on the world stage, U.S. inspection leaves much to be desired. For example, the Hopkins report says the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the United States checks only a mere 2 percent for these contaminants. This compares with 20 to 50 percent in Europe, 18 percent in Japan, and 15 percent in Canada. Moreover, Europe tests for the presence of 34 drugs, but the United States tests for only 13.
There was more bad news for me. I love shrimp, but according to Hopkins’ researchers, shrimp and prawns were the seafood that most often exceeded drug- residue limits. Crab, basa (a kind of catfish), eel, and tilapia were other problem fish—many of which are farmed.
Vietnam was the country that had the most drug violations, followed by China, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Taiwan, and Malaysia.
The question is, how much of a problem are drugs that are used to control diseases when fish are so crowded in farm operations? The greatest hazard is for farm workers. For the rest of us, no one knows how much chronic low-level exposure harms us. There’s also concern that bacteria may develop resistance to antibiotics.
So, if like me, you enjoy fish, how can you eat it without becoming depressed? Dr. David Lowe, author of the Hopkins study, suggests trying to locate domestic farmed seafood, which has a greater chance of being inspected. And if you’re lucky to live in Canada, there is no history of export violations.
The Seafood Watch Program in the United States lists the following fish that are high in omega-3 fats, low in mercury, PCBs, and pesticides: oysters (farmed), Pacific sardines (wild caught), rainbow trout (farmed), salmon (wild caught from Alaska), freshwater Coho salmon (farmed in tanks in the United States), albacore tuna from the United States or British Columbia, and arctic char (farmed).
It’s best to select small fish, which are less likely to contain contaminants and have higher amounts of omega-3 fats. But since larger fish eat these smaller fish, they have a higher concentration of contaminants. Wild and canned salmon are always a good choice.
Remember too that all fish are not created equal. A three-ounce serving of farmed salmon contains over 2,000 milligrams (mgs) of omega-3 fats. Shrimp have only 250 mg.
If you’re looking for fish with high amounts of magnesium, which protects against fatal cardiac arrhythmias, order tuna or crawfish. If you’re concerned about blood cholesterol, boiled or steamed lobster has only 72 mgs per 100 grams compared to 75 for skinless chicken and 2 poached eggs.
Looking at the total picture, the health benefits of fish far outweigh the risks. In fact, while I write this column, researchers report that people who eat fish regularly were 12 percent less likely to develop colon and rectal cancer.
Today, there are many risky contaminants in our air and water that are worrying. But I’m not losing any sleep over those in fish.
Dr. Gifford-Jones is a medical journalist with a private medical practice in Toronto. His website is DocGiff.com. He may be contacted at Info@docgiff.com.
Tags: CCP, China, environmental issues, Food, Society, sustainable development
Farmers in several areas of China’s Henan Province have been forced to irrigate their fields with industrial wastewater, because groundwater sources have dried up or been polluted by industry, according to state media.
The crops harvested from the polluted fields are all sold, because none of the farmers dare to eat their own produce, according to locals.
A report by Chinese state-run media Dahe described the wastewater discharged by Dongfeng Papermaking Co. in Dakuai Township, Fengquan District of Xinxiang City, as “gray and sticky.” A 200-meter-long open trench takes the water directly into nearby farmlands for irrigation without prior treatment, and a thick layer of pulp has settled on the surface of fields, it said.
Pan Kangping, manager of the Dongfeng paper mill, was quoted as saying that the village committee had signed an agreement with them, allowing the use of papermaking wastewater for agricultural irrigation.
Mr. Zhang, a local villager, told Dahe that the farmlands used to be irrigated by water taken from a well about 20 to 30 meters deep. After the papermaking mill was built, it drilled four wells up to 100 meters deep to pump groundwater for manufacturing. The farmers, however, were deprived of irrigation water as the previous wells were drained.
Villagers then approached the village committee and the paper mill to reach a settlement, Zhang said. The paper mill said that villagers could either buy groundwater pumped from the deep wells or use the post-treatment wastewater from the paper mill.
Villagers felt their interests had been violated, and they refused to buy water from the mill.
But they couldn’t wait and let the wheat seedlings dry up, Zhang said, and without a better alternative, all that they could do was to use the wastewater, as it came without a charge.
“We sold all of the harvest to the market. We don’t dare to keep any of it for our own consumption,” Zhang admitted.
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Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
Superfoods. The name itself carries so much hype, and many nutritionists can’t stand it. The concept, however, has the best of intentions. Essentially, superfood is used to describe food with a particularly high nutrient profile and minimal negative ingredients.
We’re not saying to eat them constantly. What we are saying is buying them at the store and incorporating them into your diet will have benefits on your waistline and overall health and wellness.
Rich in healthy monounsaturated fat, avocados also loaded with fiber and lutein, an antioxidant linked to eye and skin health.
Loaded with antioxidants, mainly anthocyanins, blueberries can help with brain function and your vision. They also make a great snack.
Packed with flavonols and antioxidants, one piece of dark (80%+ cacao is best) provides a healthy dose of disease-fighting compounds and may help to reduce cholesterol.
Rich in protein and minerals including zinc, calcium, magnesium and iron, oats also packed an excellent dose of soluble fiber! Great for breakfast.
One of, if not the most, protein-rich foods on earth, eggs are also loaded with amino acids and other nutrients. It’s also OK to eat the yolks.
Full of cholesterol-lowering fiber and monounsaturated fat, almonds make a great snack or can be easily incorporated into virtually any meal.
One glass of red wine a night has been shown to boost levels of healthy cholesterol and packs a healthy dose of antioxidants, resveratrol and saponins.
(Kristinas comment: Pregnant women should not drink alcoholic beverages at all, since it will harm the unborn child.)
According to The American Heart Association, eating fish two meals per week, helps cut the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis. Fatty fish, such as salmon, may also help alleviate depression. Just make sure it’s wild-caught, never frozen and comes from a store that supports sustainable agriculture.
Heirloom and ancient grains carry a far superior nutritional makeup than modern wheat, which has been crossbred and may be genetically modified. Grains such as Kamut khorasan, spelt, and amaranth generally contain higher levels of protein, antioxidants and minerals and generally taste better, too!
Chia, quinoa, and flax seeds all carry a host of nutritional benefits ranging from antioxidants and minerals to protein and fiber.
Eco18 is a collective of creative-writing individuals from different backgrounds with a common goal—to live a healthier, more natural lifestyle. Their combined expertise, humor, and opinions explore green and sustainable in a practical, fun way. www.eco18.com
Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
To help you lose weight, become healthier, and feel better, cut down on your sugar intake. Of course, this is easier said than done since sweets are addictive.
To help you lose weight, become healthier, and feel better, cut down on your sugar intake. Of course, this is easier said than done since sweets are addictive.
Worse, sugar is added to so many of our daily foods, including tomato sauces, yogurts, cereals, milk alternatives, breads, ketchups, and even some pickles.
Read the ingredient lists and look out for sugar (including high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, evaporated cane juice, agave nectar, fructose) and how many grams of sugar are listed. Generally speaking, 4 grams of sugar is equivalent to about 1 teaspoon of sugar.
How to Kick Sugar
I asked Dr. Jingduan Yang, M.D., an expert in traditional Chinese medicine, what he would recommend to help cut out sugar, and he gave five tips:
Tip 1: Get Enough Sleep
Fatigue makes us vulnerable to giving in to our sugar cravings. If you haven’t slept enough, and you are suddenly reaching for chocolate to stay awake, drink some water and take a 10-minute power nap instead. Not only will you wake up feeling refreshed, you will also wake up no longer craving sugar!
Tip 2: Eat Fruit Instead
Fruit is sweet and high in fructose, but because it is nutritious and high in fiber, it is not considered toxic or bad for you the way sugar is. Fruit will help satisfy that sweet tooth when you are craving dessert.
Tip 3: Eat Greens to Help Heal Your Liver
According to traditional Chinese medicine, green is the color associated with the liver organ system. Eating greens will help replenish your liver, and in turn calm your sugar cravings.
Dark leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, watercress, and bok choy are great options. Sauté them with garlic, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, and some sesame oil for a Chinese side dish, or garlic, lemon and olive oil for a more Mediterranean flair.
Tip 4: Exercise Regularly
Not only will exercise help you metabolize the sugar you do eat more effectively, it will also pick up your energy and mood.
Tip 5: Get to the Root
The first question Dr. Yang asked when I inquired about how to stop eating so much sugar was, “What is it that you are self-medicating?”
We all have our issues, and many of us learn to deal with them with food. Some eat for fun, some eat for stress release, and some eat to fill a void in their life. If you suspect you are “using” sugar to self-medicate, get to the root of your problem and address it directly.
Mindfulness-based meditation has been shown to be highly beneficial for dealing with emotional stress.
Once you cut out sugar, and replace it with “sweet” things in life, you will enjoy a flatter belly, a thinner body, more energy, less mood swings, and overall better health.
Tysan Lerner is a certified health coach and personal trainer. She helps women attain their body and beauty goals without starving themselves or spending hours at the gym. Her website is www.lavenderm
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Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health, Science, sustainable development
Is sugar toxic? This is a question that many have pondered over amid skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates in many developed nations. A new study, publicized in the New York Times this week, answers “yes.”
The number one problem with the American diet is sugar, according to a new study publicized Wednesday after Mark Bittman, in a New York Times article, described the ubiquitous sweetener as “toxic.”
The study found that when people ingest more sugar, there is an increased chance of diabetes, regardless of obesity. The study was published in a PloS One issue on Feb. 27 and used “econometric models of repeated cross-sectional data on diabetes and nutritional components of food from 175 countries,” according to an abstract.
Regarding sugar, “no other food types yielded significant individual associations with diabetes prevalence after controlling for obesity and other confounders,” the abstract reads. “Differences in sugar availability statistically explain variations in diabetes prevalence rates at a population level that are not explained by physical activity, overweight or obesity,” it continues.
Rob Lustig, an author of the study with the University of California, San Francisco, said the paper was highly comprehensive.
“You could not enact a real-world study that would be more conclusive than this one,” he told the Times.
The study took into account poverty, aging, obesity, urbanization, and physical activity. It also controlled other foods.
The study found that “for every 12 ounces of sugar-sweetened beverage introduced per person per day into a country’s food system, the rate of diabetes goes up” by 1 percent, Bittman said, and concluded: “The take-away: it isn’t simply overeating that can make you sick; it’s overeating sugar. We finally have the proof we need for a verdict: sugar is toxic.”
Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
Many people today overeat regularly without realizing it. Overeating has just become a habit, and as a result, they end up feeling frustrated with their continual struggle with weight. Six common downfalls often undermine weight-loss efforts.
Too Much Snacking
Just because you are a twinge hungry, bored, thirsty, or tired does not mean that you need a snack. Snacks are for when you are very hungry but will not get to eat within the hour, so you need a little something to tide you over.
However, many people have gotten used to snacking on chips, popcorn, nuts, cheese, or fruit even when they are not hungry.
If this sounds like you, clear your pantry of convenient snack foods and try resting without food when you are tired or need a break. Find nourishing activities other than food to reduce stress, and be sure to get enough water and exercise throughout your day.
Mealtime magpies prefer to see everything finished up rather than see food going into the trash, but by making a habit of picking, tasting, and noshing, mealtime magpies will certainly be overeating. Get used to putting less on your plate, chewing more thoroughly, and putting leftover food away for another meal.
By chronically cleaning your plate, despite the serving size, and sampling food from your kids, friends, and spouse, you will inevitably get into the habit of overeating.
If this sounds like you, be sure to chew more, stay mindful while eating, and put away leftovers without picking as soon as you feel you’ve physically eaten enough.
Eating, drinking, and merriment often lead to extreme caloric intake. Alcohol and the food that often accompanies partying are highly caloric. Instead of overindulging, limit your alcohol intake, drink more water, and be aware of the high calorie count of alcohol and typical party or pub food.
The day after partying, plan on eating lots of greens such as kale and collards, re-hydrating with lots of water, exercising, and getting fresh air.
Low-fat dressing, butter replacements, desserts, cream cheese, and the like are much less satisfying than the full-fat forms, and studies show that people who indulge in these products eat 50 percent more than people using the full-fat alternative.
Rather then going “lite,” go real. Eat real oil, butter, and cheese, but be mindful of not eating too much. Definitely stay away from high-sugar foods such as low-fat cookies, which are known to be particularly bad for the waistline.
Many people who go the whole day without eating tend to eat more when they finally do eat because at that point they are starving. If you allow yourself to get too hungry before you eat, it is harder to make healthier, moderate choices.
Plus, going long periods of time without eating and then indulging in overeating will often cause lethargy and indigestion.
So be sure to start your day on the right foot by eating when you are hungry but before you are so hungry that you could eat a horse.
Let’s face it, eating is fun, sometimes naughty, and definitely numbing. If you notice that you often eat compulsively, then take a deep breath and a good hard look at what you are not facing.
It may be something big (for example, getting fired or the loss of a loved one) or may be the little things in life that build up and drive you to … ice cream. Perhaps you are tired, bored, sad, or angry.
Whatever it is, you must build the tools to cope with the daily stressors in life, or you will find yourself chronically coping with health-sabotaging habits.
Tysan Lerner specializes in helping people lose weight without starving themselves or spending hours in the gym. She is a certified health coach and fitness trainer. Her website is www.lavendermamas.com.
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Tags: Body & Mind, China, environmental issues, Food, Society
Chinese who are tired of unremitting food scandals, and fearful that the next milk or meat purchased might have unknown industrial chemicals in it, now have a new option: an at-home testing kit which can determine if their food is toxic.
The kit was developed at Tianjin University of Science and Technology in northern China by researchers, reported the state-run Xinhua News Agency. It gives a result in a few minutes.
The kit has not yet been placed on the Chinese market, but is expected to be sold in the near future and will help consumers “identify food products contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and excessive drug residues,” the news agency said in a report this week.
The kit consists of an indicator paper that changes color to look for more 60 chemicals in food, including harmful substances, the agency said. It predicted that the kit will likely be in high demand.
Over the past several years there have been numerous reports of drugs, industrial chemicals, and other contaminants entering anything from milk products to chickens to watermelons.
There were reports of contaminated bean sprouts, milk containing alkaline cleaning chemicals, aluminum-tainted dumplings, chemical soaked duck that was sold as mutton, and meat that contained excessive amounts of clenbuterol, a fat-burning chemical that can be carcinogenic.
In another well-publicized example, chicken sold by fast food chain KFC were fed toxic chemicals that killed the flies buzzing around them.
One of the major instances of tainted food products in China came to light in 2008, when a massive scandal broke involving melamine-contaminated baby formula that sickened 300,000 children and people and left six infants dead.
As a result, Chinese consumers have developed a fear that their food—especially products made in China—are contaminated. As one Chinese mother, Chen Zhuolin, the mother of a 15-month-old girl put it: “I’ll never allow my baby girl to have domestic milk powder, even though I pay a lot more for imported baby formula.” Chen told the state-run China Daily that she travels to Hong Kong each month to buy the formula.
Tianjin Professor Wang Shuo noted that food safety testing usually requires complicated machinery and laboratory procedures, meaning that the process is likely expensive and lengthy, reported Xinhua.
He said that his team acquired 13 national patents for the testing kit and that they’re looking to conduct
Tags: China, environmental issues, Food, Society
At least 36,000 hectares of farmland in China are contaminated with excessive levels of heavy metals, according to a document authored by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China. As a result, 12 million tons of crops harvested in China each year are contaminated, which translates into 20 billion yuan US$ 3.2 billion of economic losses every year.
According to Time Weekly, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Land and Resources conducted a nationwide investigation into soil pollution in 2006. To avoid bias, the surveyed land was divided into 4-by-4 kilometer (about 2.4-by-2.4 miles) square grids using GPS technology, and soil samples were taken from each grid. The investigation took three years to complete, with almost 20,000 staff collecting and analyzing soil samples from around the country.
The investigation cost 1 billion yuan, but its results were never made public. On Jan. 31 this year, Dong Zhengwei, an attorney based in Beijing, submitted an inquiry to the Ministry of Environmental Protection asking it to “publish the data from the nationwide soil pollution investigation and the causes of the pollution.” The ministry never replied to Dong.
Although the ministry never officially released the full investigation report, it appears that parts of the report were later leaked to the public.
Based on the leaked documents, which appeared on the Internet recently, long-term industrial pollution has resulted in the accumulation of agricultural chemicals, heavy metals, and non-biodegradable organic pollutants in the soils in developed regions such as the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Bohai Economic Rim.
The polluted regions are also expanding. In some cities in southern China, half of the farmland was found to be polluted with toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic, and mercury, as well as petroleum-based compounds. In the Yangtze River Delta, 10 percent of the sampled farmland was found to be no longer suitable for growing crops, because of heavy metal pollution.
The document said that up to 10 million hectares, or over 10 percent of China’s farmland, has been contaminated with heavy metals, with most of the pollution occurring in more economically developed regions.
In 2002, the China National Rice Research Institute conducted tests on rice samples from markets across China. The result showed that 28 percent of the sampled rice contained excessive levels of lead, and 10.3 percent had excessive levels of cadmium. In 2007, professor Pan Genxing from Nanjing Agricultural University led a research group in a similar nationwide study, which also found that about 10 percent of the rice in China’s markets contained cadmium.
Reliance on Imports
The most immediate impact of soil pollution is the damage it causes to food production. At least 10 million tons of rice each year are lost due to pollution from pesticides, fertilizers, and industrial waste, according to Li Fasheng, a researcher at the Department of Soil Pollution Control in Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, who spoke to Chinese media.
According to Han Jun, the deputy director of the Development Research Center of China’s State Department, “China imported 80.25 million tons of grain in 2012. Assuming that the average person consumes 400 kg of grain a year, we imported enough grain alone last year to feed 190 million people in China.”
Read the original Chinese article.
Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, health, Nature, Society, sustainable development
Officially California has voted “No” on Proposition 37, which required labeling of genetically modified foods GMOs, even though 96 percent were in favor of labeling before elections according to MSNBC poll.
A $46 million ad campaign by Monsanto, DuPont, and the food industry succeeded, claiming that labeling would be a major inconvenience that would raise costs and food prices.
Organic farmers, retailers, environmentalists, consumers, and other groups comprising over 10 million individuals raised $8 million. In the end, the vote was 4.8 million against Proposition 37 to 4.3 million in favor, according to Acres USA, Jan. 2013.
Because of “unexplained anomalies,” Lori Grace, head of the Institute for American Democracy and Election Integrity, has started a recount, according to independent public television station KCET.
Although it is believed that the basic premise of the majority of “Yes” voters is the desire to be able to make an educated choice regarding food, many feel that GMOs are actually toxic and look to studies done outside the industry for reliable information. One such study came out in September 2012.
According to an article in Le Nouvel Observateur, quoted in the Nation of Change, that study was considered so controversial that the researchers used encrypted emails, banned phone conversations, and even created a decoy study to prevent sabotage.
A two-year study showed increased formation of tumors and early mortality using the rat’s lifespan instead of the usual 90-day safety-testing period. The study, by Gilles-Eric Séralini, et al., was called “Long Term Toxicity of a Roundup Herbicide and a Roundup-Tolerant Genetically Modified Maize” and was published in the peer-reviewed Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal, September 2012. Research.
What Is Roundup?
Roundup is the chemical glyphosate. This herbicide is not toxic to the plant directly as previously used herbicides were. Glyphosate becomes deadly by chelating protective minerals such as magnesium, copper, and iron from plants, making the plants susceptible to pathogens that are naturally in the soil.
Dr. Don Huber, a soil biologist, in a video with Dr. Mercola, describes the weeds as having AIDS. They die, and the soil is left full of plant pathogens, as Roundup also kills off the beneficial bacteria as well.
Glyphosate itself does not break down, but accumulates in the soil, as it has been used as an herbicide for over three decades without alternating it with other herbicides. The super weeds, that take more Roundup than ever plus other herbicides to kill, have developed resistance to the soil pathogens, just as some of us have developed a natural immunity to mumps, according to a Sept. 22, 2012, article on Mercola.com.
A French study researching the effects of GMOs was conducted on 200 rats.
A New York Times opinion piece by Andrew Revkin cited the French academies of agriculture, medicine, pharmacy, technology, science, and veterinary medicine as banding together to say the study “spread fear among the public,” had “numerous gaps in methods and interpretation,” and the corn type GMO NK603 was already “proven safe.”
Out of the 200 rats, 10 of each sex were given the non-GMO variety of corn closest to GMO NK 603.
Roundup-tolerant GMO NK603 corn was given to one group of 60, and GMO NK603 sprayed with Roundup herbicide was given to another 60.
The groups were further divided into 11, 22, and 33 percent GMOs in their diets, so all diets were under 50 percent GMO. This GMO corn is a type approved for animal feed in Canada.
Three groups (60 rats) were given Roundup only in their water in the following amounts: the amount allowed in tap water, 4 parts per billion; the amount allowed in animal feed; and half the minimal amount used for spraying crops.
The first two GMO-fed males died of huge kidney tumors a year before the first control died. In the 22-percent-GM-diet group, the first female died eight months before the first female control died. Two females and three males out of the 20 controls died before their life expectancy.
Altogether, 50 percent of the females on the GMO diets died before their life expectancy. Even in the lowest concentrations, Roundup in water also claimed almost half the females.
Of the females in the GMO-grain group, 70 percent developed mammary tumors. Of the females in the Roundup-in-water group, over 90 percent got mammary tumors. Over 64 percent of the females had pituitary tumors and dysfunction.
Of the treated males, 87 percent had liver pathology, 97 percent had digestive pathology, and 82 percent had chronic progressive kidney disease.
Although industry scientists considered the GMO corn to be as safe as regular corn, there is one small but significant difference in the chemistry of the two corns. GMO corn is lacking in the amount of ferulic and caffeic acids, two phenols found in regular corn that are cancer-protective and prevent oxidative stress in the kidneys. This study “Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize” was published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 50, Issue 11, November 2012
Eat Like a President
The chef of the Clintons and Bushes, Walter Scheib, said to Mother Jones: “Nearly all the product used was obtained from local growers and suppliers. There was a small garden on the roof of the White House where produce was grown.
“The ethic of the purchasing and the cooking at the White House under my direction and under the continuing direction of Cris Comerford [the current Obama White House executive chef] is one of respect for the pedigree of the product and manner it is grown, gathered, raised, or caught.”
We could agree with our intrepid leaders on one issue: Eat organically. As long as GMOs remain unlabeled, eating organic food is the only way to avoid GMO.
Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
How to cook beans, chick peas and lentils: Another good way to stop flatus from beans, chick peas and lentils is to first cook them for 5-10 minutes, pour out the water, add new water and when 10 minutes is left to cook them you add salt.
Do you suffer from chronic abdominal pain, bloating, gas, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and constipation? If so, there’s a good chance the diagnosis is irritable bowel syndrome IBS.
This condition is one of the most commonly diagnosed problems in North America. However, most people are treating it the wrong way, destroying their bowels with laxatives. It’s smarter to use natural therapy.
Dr. Linda Lee, professor of gastroenterology at Johns Hopkins University, says that when patients complain of IBS symptoms, she first rules out serious disease such as stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and bowel malignancies. These more serious problems are more likely to be present if patients also complain of weight loss, being wakened by pain, or seeing blood in the stool.
Dr. Lee usually starts treatment by cutting out foods that may be difficult to process and are upsetting the GI tract. For instance, some people may be sensitive to even small amounts of gas production.
As we get older, the body manufactures less lactase, an enzyme that breaks down lactose, a carbohydrate present in milk products. These unabsorbed carbohydrates reach the colon where bacteria ferment them and produce gas. This solution, cutting down on milk products, can make a huge impact on abdominal discomfort.
Lee adds that if lactose intolerance isn’t the problem, she then checks to see if the symptoms are due to celiac disease, an allergy to gluten. This protein is present in many grains.
The GI tract can also have difficulty absorbing other carbohydrates such as fructose. Patients with this problem should avoid soda and packaged goods such as cookies.
Do you love beans but know they are notorious for producing large amounts of flatus? So you make a point of saying “no” to beans, fearing that you might expel flatus at a most inconvenient time? If that’s the case, there’s a unique way to circumvent this embarrassment.
Dr. Lee says that beans contain raffinose. It’s the culprit for such eruptions. But she adds that beans are a healthy food and that there’s no reason to remove them from your diet. Rather, there’s a simple way to destroy the gas beans produce. Just soak beans in water with a little baking soda. This draws out the raffinose. Then toss out the water.
Have you ever wondered why mints are traditionally offered after meals? She says the best natural one is peppermint. Artificially flavored mint candy won’t work, but peppermint oil supplements may help IBS patients.
What about the use of friendly probiotic bacteria? Studies show that some people are helped by this approach. But there are so many unregulated products on the market that it’s hard to assess their effectiveness.
Yogurt contains organisms that may ease symptoms and is a good alternative to probiotic bacteria. In fact, yogurt can be taken by those suffering from lactose intolerance, as it contains bacteria that break down lactose.
Lee is also an advocate of mind-body therapy, as many patients with IBS suffer from anxiety and depressive disorders. She reports that there is some evidence that biofeedback, acupuncture, and listening to relaxing CDs used during hypnosis can help to tame an uptight bowel.
There is no doubt that anxiety has a major effect on bowel function. On one occasion, Napoleon Bonaparte required a soldier for a dangerous assignment. The story goes that he ordered several soldiers to face a firing squad. He chose the one who, in the face of death, showed no tendency to move his bowels.
In our pill-plagued society, I’m in favor of anything that circumvents medication and poses no risk. But remember to see your doctor when you notice a change in bowel habits.
Some people leave this planet prematurely because they want to believe bleeding with a bowel movement is due to hemorrhoids. But it could be a bowel malignancy. Never procrastinate when problems occur. Saying you’ll do it “one of these days” usually means none of these days.