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?)