How I Will Treat My Health During American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month, which will address a major aspect of one’s health. I will tell you some of the health-related things I will plan to do and/or continue to do during this time of American Heart Month. American Heart Month is another of those “cause of the month things” that can at least help me be more cognizant of my health actions. So it’s good that not only are people’s romantic hearts focused in February, but so are their physical hearts.

What I Plan On Doing For My Health During American Heart Month

One of the things I will be doing is getting my regular cholesterol check, God-willing. Because my cholesterol has been nothing to brag about, especially after spending virtually all of my adult life free-basing foods high in saturated fat until the summer of 2007 — that is, until I was advised by my medical provider that I needed to address this issue. I used to go years without getting checks of my cholesterol, but since mid-2007, I’ve been getting it checked regularly to monitor my health better.

For the last year and a half, I’ve been cutting down on saturated fats, but over the last three months especially, I’ve been really striving to eat as little foods that contain saturated fat as possible. As much as I love chocolate, hamburgers, pizza, red meats, etc., which are all high in saturated fats, even when I partake of these, I usually eat extremely small portions. Even the American Heart Association has a link that talks about fats here.

More About My Health And American Heart Month

And of course during American Heart Month in February, I plan on doing my two three-mile runs per day no matter the weather. Exercise is really good for the heart, as again discussed at the American Heart Association’s website here.

I’m not much into volunteering officially for these causes, but at least I strive to follow what is preached by this particular cause to keep my health as good as possible!

Go to the website of the American Heart Association to learn more about how to improve your heart health.

Jett Travolta and the Culture of Judgment

On January 2nd in the Bahamas two people suffered every parent’s worst nightmare, the sudden and unanticipated loss of a child. John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s celebrity status shot the sad news instantly around the world, initially with cautious reports about a seizure, a possible fall, and the diagnosis of Kawasaki’s disease. Amidst the rubbernecking that will invariably accompany a public tragedy, there should be a certain amount of disgust at some untoward public commentary about the private health status of a minor.

The history of speculation about Jett Travolta dates back years. A cursory internet search will reveal scathing assumptions and hurtful comments written previously about Jett and his family. Did Jett in fact have autism? Are the hand movements seen during intrusive paparazzi videos evidence of “stimming”, the repetitive, self-comfort gestures of those at the more severe end of the autistic spectrum? Did Jett instead suffer from Kawasaki’s Disease, an uncommon yet typically treatable early childhood illness, as a result of exposure to toxic carpet cleaning chemicals? Did the globetrotting Travoltas stuff a mainstream medical diagnosis of autism, and the hope that can come with early intervention and consistent treatment, in favor of an offbeat Scientology approach? Inquiring minds want to know.

The teen’s untimely death is sure to summon even more foul remarks from well-intentioned autism advocates, those who are particularly offended by the Church of Scientology, and the merely smug (who are convinced that they have magical parenting skills). Mothers and fathers of children with a serious or controversial illness understand what it is like to juggle the stress of a long battle with the sting of unfair appraisals. Losing a child is suffering enough for any mortal. Adding even one pointed finger is particularly cruel.

The truth is that no one but the Travoltas has the full story about what went on in their lives, and the extent to which they provided appropriate medical management for the child’s health. It is reasonable to assume that with access to world-class doctors and treatment, Jett Travolta’s loving family gave him every chance for the best life possible. What we can know for sure that the number of people eager to judge others (and especially their parenting) is limitless.

Superfood

Are you the busy person who just has no time to stop and fix a meal? Are you a health-oriented person who cares about what goes into their body? Or are you perhaps an older person, or a person with health problems, who has little to no appetite?

There is a product you should try. Odwalla Superfood is a micronutrient fruit juice drink and much more. This drink is a mixture of apple juice and purees of peach, strawberry and mango. Banana is also blended in for its nutrients and flavor. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Superfood contains there are the green foods. Wheat grass, which is super for your colon and bowel health. Barley grass and wheat sprouts add their healthy nutrients to the drink.

Superfood contains 1,000 mg of spirulina per eight ounce serving. With this you get good amounts of micro-nutrients such as beta carotene, vitamin C, iodine and manganese as well as potassium.

This is a one-stop world, and many full-nutrient drinks are becoming popular. Ensure was once more a medical product than anything else. Now the company points its advertising toward the busy person on the go.

Superfood is a great snack. An eight ounce glass has just one hundred and thirty calories, and none of it from sugar, fat, salt or fillers. At first sight Superfood looks very green, green and thick. But from the first taste it is a sweet, fruity, satisfying drink that keeps your hunger under control as well as giving you full servings of fruit and greens.

Wheat grass has until now been a very health-nut food. Many juice stores sell shots of it for $3.00 or more. Wheat grass is excellent for health. When our bowels become full it can uncomfortable and give you nausea and a bloated feeling. While not a pretty subject, your bowels are vital organs. Feces that sits in the intestines can grow rancid and unhealthy.

With Superfood you don’t taste the greens – it isn’t like grazing the south forty. The sweetness of the juice overrides the grassy flavors.

Odwalla puts out Superfood in eight ounce bottles. It also has sixty-four ounce jugs that are code dated for your protection. It is a food that is highly perishable and should be kept in the refrigerator and never left on the counter.

In this hectic world of stress we all need to take care of ourselves better. You could have a bottle of Superfood for a snack, a lunch or a pick-me-up. If you are trying to cut back on soda pop, this is sweet and would substitute nicely, plus giving you a whopping percentage of your daily food needs.

Get More Fiber Without Sacrificing Taste

Fiber is one of those necessary evils that we must add to our diets in order to stay regular and promote good digestive health. Most of us should have about 25 grams of fiber a day in order to encourage proper digestive functionality. But the thought of stirring in bland flax seeds into oatmeal or eating broccoli with every meal isn’t always that appealing. However, there are some simple ways to get more roughage without sacrificing the taste and texture of your favorite foods:

1. Grab a banana in the morning (2.4 grams of fiber). You can eat it alone or cut it up in oatmeal or a fiber-enriched cereal for increased benefits.

2. Order the sweet potato french fries instead of the white potato fries (3.4 grams of fiber). Many restaurants offer these delicious options and they give you an instant fiber boost.

3. Eat more chili (kidney beans have 7.9 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup). Make a chili dog and put it on a whole wheat bun (1.4 grams) and you’ll get nearly half your needed fiber intake for the day!

4. Get popcorn at the movies instead of candy — this natural snack has one gram of fiber per cup.

5. Ask for the brown rice instead of the white rice when you order takeout food (3.5 grams of fiber per cup).

Fiber Differences: Insoluble and Soluble

There are two types of fiber–insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber helps you increase the bulk of your stool, which is ideal for those suffering from constipation or irregular bowel movements. Theses include foods like dark green leafy veggies, fruit skins, whole-wheat breads and corn bran. These make up about 75 percent of our daily intake as a rule.

Soluble fiber can be food-based (such as flax seed, carrots and nuts) or sold as a powder (e.g. Metamucil or Citracel) that transforms into a gel substance once ingested. This type of fiber works in your digetstive tract to ease bowel movements and keep you regular. Soluble fibers account for about 25 percent of our daily intake in general.

The benefits of fiber include regularity and smooth digestion, lowered risks of digestive problems (including colorectal cancer), reduced cholesterol and glucose levels, regulated blood sugar levels and even weight loss. If you have trouble processing fiber (excessive gas or bloating), try a dietary supplement such as Beano for relief. Also, be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water per day to help keep things moving. Citrus fruits like oranges and apples are also excellent sources of fiber and act as catalysts during the digestion process.

References

1. National Cancer Institute. “Trials Show No Effect of Low-Fat, High-Fiber, and High-Fruit and -Vegetable Diets on the Growth of New Colorectal Polyps in People with a History of Precancerous Polyps.” http://www.cancer.gov/newscenter/polyp-prev-diet. Accessed January 3, 2009.

2. Seek Wellness. “Low Cost Fiber Recipes for a Healty Diet.” http://www.seekwellness.com/nutrition/low_cost_high_fiber.htm. Accessed January 3, 2009.

The Schoolyard Workout – How Kids’ Games Can Inspire a Fun Exercise Session

A schoolyard workout can bring out the kid in you, while giving you the heart-healthy exercise that’s an important part of adult life. If you’ve ever watched a bunch of kids playing in the schoolyard, you’ll see that they are constantly in motion. That means they’re constantly burning calories, strengthening muscle, and building endurance. You can get all these benefits, and have some serious fun, by using your favorite childhood games as inspiration for a playful schoolyard workout. Read on to learn how you can use kid-friendly moves like the hokey pokey as the basis for a fun workout session.

The Hokey Pokey
Warm Up And Cool Down By Shaking It All Around

Doing the hokey pokey isn’t going to give you the buff body of an Olympian, but it makes an ideal warm up for your schoolyard workout. The hokey pokey gently raises your heart rate, and the movements of the dance will get blood flowing to all your extremities. Plus, the hokey pokey will get you in the right mindset. Think back to your own days of afternoon recess: chances are, you weren’t thinking about health or weight loss, you were just having a good time. Starting your schoolyard workout with the hokey pokey will make it easier to throw off the cares and worries of your day so that you can focus on playing and having fun. You can also try the hokey pokey as a cool down routine: finishing your workout with a quick “shake it all about” will lift your mood as you celebrate a job well done.

Tip: Warming up with a few bouts of the hokey pokey before you get into more strenuous activities helps protect your muscles against injury or strain.

Hopscotch
A Lighthearted Session Of Serious Cardio

Hopscotch is one of the most lighthearted games that you can incorporate into your schoolyard workout. Grab your chalk and head for a sidewalk where you can draw yourself a hopscotch board. Stick with the classic layout, or get creative and make up your own wild shapes to jump around. Try interspersing a round of hopscotch with a minute or two of jogging; after a couple of cycles you’ll find yourself huffing, puffing, and grinning. For maximum cardiovascular benefit, play and run in your target heart range for twenty minutes or more before cooling down.

Tip: It’s always important to stretch before and after a workout, but it’s an especially great idea if your workout will focus primarily on one muscle region- in this case, your lower body. Once you’re warmed up, try a few lunges to keep your leg muscles happy. Do a few more while your heart rate is slowing after your schoolyard work out.

Hula Hoop
Twisting Your Way To A Shapely, Trimmed Waist

One of the most inexpensive and iconic toys of childhood is the hula hoop. Who would have thought that this simple toy could be a great workout tool? When you incorporate a hula hoop into your schoolyard workout, you’re doing your torso a big favor. The wiggling you’ll do to keep the hoop in motion works several muscle groups, including your obliques. Obliques are the muscles on the sides of your torso, which are responsible for twisting and turning. They’re also responsible for defining your waist, so hula hooping will bring you that much closer to a shapely midsection.

Tip: Remember to change the direction of your rotations every few minutes so that you work both sides of your body evenly.

Vision and Eyesight Health Tips

Are you getting frustrated at having to get stronger and stronger prescription glasses every time you visit your optometrist? Recent surveys have indicated that the loss of eyesight is the biggest fear among Americans; it ranks even higher than cancer or diabetes. Everyone would like to have perfect vision without the use of glasses. Is this something that can be a reality? The use of glasses is a systematic treatment, and actually prevention is the key to maintaining eyesight is much easier than trying to treat it using glasses.

Looking at repairing eyesight without glasses, you need to understand how bad eyesight gets developed in the first place. About 25% of all Americans require glasses. And if you start to look into the academic circles of people the chances of requiring glass wearing is even higher. This is due to the fact that using a computer and reading increases the chance of acquiring nearsightedness. These things such as using the computer and reading are very unnatural for your eyes and cause your eyes to be strained and stressed… The fact you are trying to remain focused at close range for a long period of time causes undue strain on your eyes.

How can you avoid the damage to eyesight when using a computer or reading? First off proper lighting is the most important thing you can do. Read from a distance, don’t read up close. Take off your glasses step back and read from a distance. Here are some helpful tips.

Step one. Lighting, it is very important have the right amount of light. It is much easier for your eyes to focus on text and images in areas that are well lit and is better for your eyes to work with. Be sure to get plenty of light in the background, what that means is some type of light from behind your head.

Step two. Keep a proper distance from what you’re trying to read. Give it least arms length away from anything that you are reading. The closer you get to more stress a cause your eyes to try and read. This will lead to nearsightedness. Step back as far as possible and that is convenient for you to continue to do the work you’re trying to do without stretching another part of your body.

Step three. Be sure to take enough breaks. Staring at the white bright light of the computer screen is an obvious strain on your eyes. Take breaks every few minutes to allow your eyes a chance to get away from the glare. You can do this easily by focusing on something in the distance in changing your line of perception to something in the distance every so often.

Step four. Don’t use your farsighted glasses when reading up close. Reading with your distance classes is counterproductive and actually is detrimental to your eyesight. If you can do without your distance glasses then you should do without it always. All you will be doing is increasing your chances of needing a newer prescription sooner because it will cause your eyesight to get worse as you accommodate for the short distance on top of your distance classes. And last but not least ignore the fact that carrots make your eyes better it is just a myth,

Source:

http://bruno.penandscale.com/2008_01_01_archive.html

How Important is Healthy Diet

As a child, nothing in the world was as repulsive and loathsome to me as the thought of having to eat vegetables. But insistent as my parents were, I did not have much choice other than just swallow my portion of the veggies, being painfully aware of the fact that I wouldn’t be allowed to leave the table without doing so. Although my parents did try to make it easier for me, all their efforts at making vegetables attractive to me ended up in vain.

But now that I am older, vegetables constitute a major portion of my diet simply because now I am able to appreciate them and as a result, I have even grown to love them. I am even more thankful to my parents for the insistence with which they instilled in me the importance of a healthy diet.

Importance of a healthy diet. Avoiding fruits and vegetables is a common problem not only amongst children but adults as well. However, a taste for fruits and vegetables can be cultivated during the early years gradually and persistently so that on growing up, children actually crave for them and prefer eating them above all other types of food.

Children should be taught to try new types of food and enjoy the different and contrasting flavours offered by the various food types. After all, a balanced and nutritional diet is of paramount importance for children in order to acquire holistic healing and a feeling of overall wellness.

How to encourage kids to eat vegetables

Young age is the best age. It is a proven fact that children who are taught to accept fruits and vegetables at a young age, say between two and four, are more likely to enjoy them. New and healthy foods should be introduced at an early age and in an attractive manner, for example, fruits and vegetables of different colors and shapes, rather than wait till the children are older, say from four to eight years, as children are more receptive and learn more willingly at a younger age.

Set an example. Children are good observers, especially when it comes to their parents. So it is the responsibility of elders in the house to set a good example by eating fruits, vegetables and trying out new and different foodstuffs. Children tend to emulate their parents in every possible way including their eating habits, hence their reaction towards healthy food is largely influenced by their parents behaviour towards such types of food.

Persistence. It is a natural human tendency to resist anything new and this applies to ones food habits as well. Therefore, in order to get children to accept new vegetables or fruits, persistent servings on part of the parent play an important role for the child to be persuaded to try the new food and eventually accept it.

Use your authority. Ultimately it depends upon the parents to decide on the degree of firmness they are willing to exert in order to improve their child’s eating habits. The trick lies in encouraging your children to experiment with new and different foodstuffs and not allowing them to settle down with a fixed diet.

Be Creative. Parents should try and be as creative as possible especially when introducing their children to new vegetables as presentation and taste play a very important part in enhancing its appeal. What better way to discourage a child from eating vegetables than to prepare it bland and serve it ordinarily. Instead, a dish prepared appetizingly full of flavor and interesting ingredients will not only be received with curiosity but stands more chances of being accepted as well.

Benefits of Detoxifying for Fitness and Health

Detoxing your body cleans and rids it of the toxins you have ingested. When your body has toxins in it, it is affected in many different ways. Sometimes your body becomes dependent on these toxins so when you are cleaning your system out you might feel more sluggish than usual, an increasing amount of aces and pains that you otherwise might not have noticed. These pains are usually bothersome but well worth it in the long run when you are trying to make your body healthy.

In every body we have certain organs that are for cell waste management purposes. These particular organs play an active and important role in the detoxification process and help the body to become fit and healthy once again.

1) The liver is a recycling organ. Meaning it recycles the unwanted chemicals within the body and sorts out the toxins and “sets them aside” for the organ to process and eliminate through circulation.

2) Lymph glands also play a vital role in completely eliminating the toxins within the body. Tubing takes out the extra waste of the cells and finally sending them to the organs for a complete elimination. Among these organs are the appendix, thymus, tonsils and spleen.

3) Kidneys are used as water management in the body. They get rid of acid waste and hold onto the good blood alkaline. To assist your kidneys you can drink a lot of water, although it is best if you drink juices with higher alkaline levels and purified water. It is safe to drink about ½ a fluid ounce of alkaline per day to notice results in your bodies weight.

4) In order for the blood air to become purified the lungs a essential. The lungs let the oxygen go straight to the bloodstream, and they are responsible for removing gases within the air that can be harmful to the human body. These harmful toxins are found in all of your cells throughout the body.

5) Having a colon that is essentially free from waste is very important when discussing the benefits of a persons health. A persons colon is the solid waste remover organ. Medical professionals have reported on several occasions that many people have about 80 pounds of mucus and a rubbery substance within their colon. It is not easy to cleanse your colon, nor is it comfortable to do. But it is important to do.

5 Foods Containing Heart Healthy Fats

Many people go on diets that completely eliminate fat from their meals. Do these diets work? Yes. Are these diets healthy? NO! You body needs fat. When you completely cut fat from your diet, your hair will begin to fall out and that’s just one of the side effects. The key is to cut bad fats from your diet. Not all fats are unhealthy. Many people have no idea, but there are heart healthy fats. Foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are actually good for you. The fats you want to stay away from are saturated and trans-fats. These fats will actually clog your arteries and raise your cholesterol, while good fats will lower your bad cholesterol level. The following foods contain heart healthy fats.

Foods Containing Heart Healthy Fats #1: Avocados

Avocados contain monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are heart healthy, because they lower bad levels of cholesterol while increasing the good levels. This means that they clear your arteries and keep them from clogging at the same time. Avocados are easy to incorporate into your diet. They are tasty in wraps, salads, dips, and even by themselves. The next time you visit the store, pick up a few of these heart healthy fruits.

Foods Containing Heart Healthy Fats #2: Olive Oil

Olive oil is a dieter’s best friend. Olive oil also contains monounsaturated fats, making it a heart healthy fat. Olive oil is an oil that should always be in your kitchen. This heart healthy oil can be used to sauté chicken, make healthy salad dressings, and even bake a cake. When using olive oil in baked goods, stay away from the extra virgin olive oil, because of its overwhelming flavor.

Foods Containing Heart Healthy Fats #3: Nuts

“Don’t eat those nuts, they’re full of fat.” How many times have you heard this? Next time, give that person a wink and shove a handful in your mouth. Don’t be surprised if they pass out, especially if they’re on a strict diet. Many people are misled to believe that nuts are full of bad fat. This is wrong. Nuts contain monounsaturated fats and some even contain Omega-3 fatty acids which are also heart healthy. Nuts also contain several other vitamins and minerals making them a very heart healthy food. Add nuts to some dried fruit and seeds for the perfect midday snack.

Foods Containing Heart Healthy Fats #4: Salmon

Salmon contains polyunsaturated fat which also lowers bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol. Salmon also contains Omega-3 fatty acids. For the perfect heart healthy dinner, cook a filet of salmon in olive oil and add some steamed broccoli with a whole wheat roll.

Foods Containing Heart Healthy Fats #5: Peanut Oil

Too bad you can’t fry food anymore, but wait…….what about peanut oil? Peanut oil contains monounsaturated fats, making it the perfect oil to fry in. Peanut oil adds a ton of flavor and if you fry foods properly, only a small amount of oil is absorbed into your food. What are you waiting for? Go make some French fries, you know you want to.

How to Choose Healthy Organic Food

Organic foods are not necessarily healthy (contrary to popular belief). Organic simply means pesticide free. Just because a food doesn’t have pesticides in it, doesn’t necessarily make it healthy. So, How does someone choose organic foods which are healthy? Here are some commonly asked questions to help you choose what organic foods to buy.

Why Buy Organic?

Some foods have higher pesticides than others. The FDA runs tests on the fruits and vegetables to determine what foods have more pesticide residue even after washing than other foods. These are the foods that are recommended people buy organic even on a tight budget. This will not only provide health for your family, but you will also be contributing towards protecting the environment your family lives in. Your children will breathe in less pesticides (because farmers will be encouraged to grow organic) and your future children will too. Pesticides are a known cause of cancer. So, Buying organic is good for us all.

What to Buy Organic

The dirty baker’s dozen list is a list of fruits and vegetables it is recommended to buy organic. The dirty dozen list is the following: apples, cherries, grapes, peaches, nectarines, pears, lettuce, strawberries, bell peppers, celery, bell peppers, potatoes and spinach. Other lists may vary slightly to include the following: Raspberries, Beef, Poultry or Dairy.

Here are the ratings the FDA gave the following fruits and vegetables after WASHING them.

  • Peaches are the worst culprit on the dirty dozen list. They received a 100 out of 100 (100%!) rating for harmful chemical residue from the FDA.
  • Apples were given a rating of 89. Plus, over 50% of the apples contained neurotoxins.
  • Bell Peppers had a rating of 86.
  • Celery had a rating of 85. It contained a combination of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other chemicals.
  • Nectarines received a rating of 84.
  • Strawberries were given a rating of 82.
  • Imported Grapes received a rating of 65 whereas domestic grapes only received a rating of 43 and where not bad enough to make the list. Another reason to buy in the United States.
  • Pears received a rating of 65.
  • Spinach was 60.
  • Lettuce received a rating of 59.
  • Potatoes received a rating of 58.

Low Pesticides

According to MSNBC, there is also a list of fruits and vegetables that is not necessary to buy organic because they do not generally include pesticide residue. My guess this is after washing, because I know Broccoli is sprayed with low amounts of pesticides when it is not grown organic. Here is the fruit list:Bananas, Kiwi, Mangos, and Pineapple. Here is the vegetable list: Asparagus, Avacado, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Onions and Pea.

Other Items to Buy Organic, Non-GMO

GMO stands for genetically modified. This means that growers have literally changed the DNA of what we eat. Therefore the Corn, Soybeans, Papaya and Sugar Beets you eat today are NOT the same Corn, Soybeans, Papaya and Sugar beets your grandparents ate. Organic standards include a standard that says growers MAY NOT grow genetically modified crops. Therefore, you can ensure that you are not eating genetically modified foods by buying organic for the following items: Corn, Soybeans, Papaya and Sugar Beets. Also according to Wikipedia, maybe rice.

This means I buy only organic corn. Also, remember to buy organic popcorn. I buy organic soymilk made by Silk. For awhile some of the Silk soymilk was not labeled organic, therefore, I check everytime I buy soymilk to make sure the packaging is labeled organic. If Silk ever stops making their soymilk organic, I dont want to buy it. I also don’t tend to buy papaya so this is not a problem. I also buy Pure Cane Sugar instead of Sugar made from Sugar Beets. You can buy organic sugar beet sugar, but this is not necessary. Simply pick up the sugar that is made from pure cane sugar instead of sugar beets. You will be ensuring the sugar is not genetically modified and it is the least expensive way to go.

I also do my best to avoid high fructose corn syrup in products. This is because the corn is genetically modified. Many sweet foods including Hershey’s syrup have this ingredient at the top of the list. I try to buy items with sugar instead of corn syrup whenever possible because there is less likelihood the product is made with genetically modified foods. I have written articles about Non-GMO foods, you can find them in my article archive if you would like more information.

And don’t forget about your skincare products and cosmetics, ladies! You can eat organic until the day you die, but if you’re using non organic skincare products, you are introducing harmful chemicals and pesticides to your body far quicker than simple ingesting. To avoid this, I get all of my cosmetics, skincare products, lotions, soaps, etc from Allergy Free Me.

No One Has Tested GMO foods before selling them to consumers

There have been no tests on genetically modified foods which is the main reason that the practice of selling them to the public is so troublesome. This is not only a problem for our health but what will genetically altered foods do to our environment. No one knows for sure.