Friday, December 29, 2006

Year end report on plastic bags

In June I found, and I was horrified by the nasty counter that tells the number of plastic bags we've used this year. I just did a year end check.

495,996,000,000 passed at 1:48 AM

and there are three days to go in 2006! Start 2007 with this thought (from their site):

100,000 people can save 14,000 barrels of oil per year by using reusable bags.

Where has health gone?

I'm not usually a fan of conspiracy theories, but I can be highly tempted with respect to health. I think of the 'military-industrial complex' that threatened to dominate the 50's (my formative years); now we're looking at the medical-industrial complex. Where's the rhetoric of a Dwight D. Eisenhower when you need it?

We're dealing with a highly technological medicine, full of acronyms like CAT and MRI... medications that leave your liver in shock (the body's primary filter, and according to the Greeks, the seat of the emotions)... corporate health providers that treat by the minute. Why does the US lead the world in cost of medical care yet show up far down on the list of health status?

My view may be skewed because I talk to many people who have exhausted the medical care offered to them. I can hope to open some doors to understanding what we can learn about taking care of our health. Look at traditional herbal medicine, look at other traditions like Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine, or the genius of Samuel Hahneman for the development of homeopathics into the highly complex discipline we have from 200 years of study. Support practitioners who have studied disciplines that work with the body's healing force. And support the winds of change in the allopathic medical community that embrace many sources of healing.

Why do we want to be healthy? To enjoy life as an active participant; to bring joy to others, and help to those in need; to see our children grow up and our grandchildren become the people we hoped for... In 2007 --- share the health! (I'll start by baking more whole grain/xylitol sweetened hermits.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Veggies down under

TV never captured my attention like the computer has, and now I am most captivated by blogs. I get caught up in the food/veg/nutrition blogseach one linking to more, and there are many, many good many blogs, so many recipes, so little time! My latest discovery is written by a naturopath in Australia, Limes & Lycopene. Once you adjust to the inversion of the seasons, you'll find someone you wish could by your own doctor. What caught my attention was the Aussie version of the "eat your veggies, 2006" advice -- pinning it down to 2 fruits and 5 vegetables a day seems to make it more realistic. Remember that a "serving" is often smaller than you think, eat vegetable soups for 2 or 3 servings, snack on fruit...keep watermelon cool, not cold for the highest lycopene content (and holding it after picking increases nutrients!)... Check it out.

Food and herbs are by far the best sources of nutrition, with new information on the benefits announced faster than I can keep track. You can use supplements to boost your "servings" -- just keep in mind that they are supplemental. FrequenSea has the primal sea plankton (source of Omega 3's and sunlight nutrients), Goji is a fabulous berry that nurtures, energizes, heals; greens in powders or capsules have been joined by reds, purples, blues, yellows, whites have every fruit and vegetable we'd hope to eat. A mix of these with fiber, flax-borage oil and cal-mag powder is my breakfast on work days and keeps me satisfied all morning.

What about potassium? We need a lot of it, and certain medications deplete it, sometimes dangerously. Should you take potassium in capsules? Since the amount of potassium is limited to 99 mg/capsule, I prefer to get mine, bountiful and safe, from food. Outstanding sources are acorn squash, leafy greens and dried beans. Bananas and oranges? Good, but lower amounts. Just another reason to remember, 2 fruits and 5 veg.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Getting real

What is more "real" than air, water, trees...and junk mail? I'm on a roll: I found a way to improve the first 3 and reduce the last -- for $3 a month. Green Dimes gets it all done! The site has all the statistics, does all the work and plants a tree a month for you. Now there's a good way to delegate responsibility.

Then there's water and plastic, down the drain and in the trash when women shave. An alternative is using sugar instead: look at the article from Care2 (then go feed the chimps). So many times we don't bother to do what is green because it seems like too much trouble or we think that an individual can have only negligible impact. Here are a few simple ways to be part of the change with little effort.

VitaSource recycles. Many of you have brought plastic and paper bags -- I reuse any clean and practical-sized bags. Many of you clever people bring in a bottle or package when you want to be sure you are getting the right thing, then leave the empty for us to recycle. Thanks!!

EGGS FOR EYES This information makes you wonder if the rise in the occurence of macular degeneration had anything to do with the drop in egg consumption. A recent study shows that eating one egg a day raised blood levels of lutein and zeazanthin 26 - 38%; they are related to prevention of macular degeneration. When eggs were demonized (deviled, no doubt) for their cholesterol levels -- now rehabilitated for moderate consumption -- what harm was done?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Can we save the 21st century?

The 60's and 70's were hopeful times. Important issues came together for me in a book called "Diet for a Small Planet" (Frances Moore Lappe). My very worn copy has 3 companions in my kitchen, other editions, all with the same message: The way we eat can make the world a better place. Low-on-the-foodchain eating, whole foods, and a link to the way our land and water resources are used -- these highlight a cookbook with a philosophy that sadly is needed even more today than it was in 1971 when it first came out.

Now, 31 years later, the future is challenged by agribusiness taking over organic farming; practices that poison good food with e. coli and more; world commerce in food, breaking down our sensitivity to eating in season from local growers; genetic modification that sends plant breeding into warp speeds; and most bizarre, cloned animals which may soon be on your table. Along with all that, abuses of water, agricultural chemicals, heavy metals in the air from industry...all factors that are changing (and limiting) the possibility of bringing pure wholesome food to your kitchen.

Ah, a new book to open the mind and challenge us: GRUB! Subtitled "ideas for an urban organic kitchen," but with a much greater task -- Anna Lappe (daughter of DSP author) and coauthor Bryant Terry load this book up with good recipes, dished up with a large helping of the information we need to do what we can to support the future -- again -- by the way we eat. I recommend it!

Research Tidbit: Diabetics who don't get enough sleep are less able to control their blood sugar levels. Thoughts: All of us can learn from this, or relearn, that sleep is crucial to our health. Some sources even pinpoint the hours between 10 PM and 2 AM as the time when immune work is done. I know that I now can't stay up until 4 AM just because I don't want to put the book down -- because I wake up with a stubborn cold. (This research appears in a free monthly publication, "Healthy Habits" that you can pick up in VitaSource.)

Monday, November 06, 2006

How can you read them all?

Every day I get newsletters that are sent by email. Bottom Line covers health topics, investing, and some of those outrageous ads for the books they sell. It's free and there's usually something new and useful. Today, under the headline "Can Pasta Cause Cataracts?" they summarize research from Tufts (very respectable) along with some basic information about cataracts. Jay is soon to have his first cataract surgery, so I was curious about this theory: Eating refined carbohydrates correlates to a greater risk of cataracts! Sounds like "part of a healthy diet" to me. More fruits, vegetables and whole grains (full of nutrients, nutraceuticals and fiber), less refined and processed carbs (empty calories that monkey with your blood sugar) with a high glycemic index. 50% of Americans 75 and over have cataracts. Since this kind of healthy eating is also protective for many of the other ills of the aging body, it's worth the effort. Tastes good too!

If you have experience with slowing down or reducing cataracts, please comment! And if you have emailed, free newsletters to recommend, please comment.

An episode at home tonight: A nosebleed, an occasional occurence, especially in the winter (dry) months. The remedy: the homeopathic cell salt Ferrum Phos. It works like a charm, and quickly. (Comments?)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Something old, something new

Today's news is impressive: turmeric helps arthritis (if you're a rat in a recent study). Funny, haven't we been sellling New Chapter's Zyflamend and Natural Factors Turmeric & Bromelain for a while? Yup, the ones people keep coming back for because they work. Both are based on extensive studies you can read on MedLine (service of our US government -- how mainstream can you get?). According to a Washington Post article today, the researchers question the effectiveness/potency of supplements on the market -- they managed to come up with an injectable form. Further reading led me to Ideal Bite again: today's newsletter is about natural pain relief. In one posted comment, someone just sprinkled 1/4 teaspoon of the spice on her food after a painful dental surgery -- and it worked. When will we learn to stand on the shoulders of the past, trust 5000 years of Ayurvedic medicine, 3000 years of Chinese medicine, and our Western tradition?

Demographic studies can be very revealing. A look at Sri Lankans and their use of turmeric connected traditional use with healthy cholesterol levels. Less turmeric, higher cholesterol...and the amounts used in the typical diet were in just teaspoons daily.

Today someone brought me information from the Neem Foundation, that neem can be used to relieve arthritis. What an amazing tree!

Monday, October 23, 2006

For the heart

GPLC: Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine HCl. You may recognize Carnitine, known as an aid in weight loss and workouts, for its role in burning fat in the cells. This new form has a special affinity for muscle tissues such as the heart. It's a powerful scavenger against superoxide radicals, and protects against lipid peroxidation; it transports fatty acids into the mitochondria; it supports arterial blood flow. On the subjective level, Jay has been taking it for a few weeks. He noticed that it quickly gave him a more alert and energetic feeling, so it's now part of his daily regimen. Check it out at and come see it at VitaSource.

IN THE NEWS: Potassium Citrate aids osteoporosis prevention, due to its correcting the body's pH to alkaline. (What did we tell you?)

Green information


Genghis Kahn, Julius Caesar, Napoleon, and Hitler all suffered from ailurophobia (hatred of cats). Apparently world dominators don’t like little, furry, non-submissive animals…

What you see is a little sample from While this one is useless, you can find down to earth useful information about making choices for green living. Jen and Heather cover topics ranging from cars, computers, plastic bottles, and paper to makeup and pet food. Try it!

If you're looking for -- just go there.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I'm joining the human race

I've wanted to find a way to share some of the many bits of news in nutrition that I get excited about. Then there are the stories I hear in VitaSource, teaching me more about people's lives and health. Also about animals: today I learned there is a natural health journal for dogs!
I've been following a few blogs and I love the cooperative spirit that emerges in the dialogue.
I hope you'll come back frequently to read, comment and enlarge the learning so that we all gain through the process.