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living a healthy lifestyle

Living A God-Glorifying Life Through Good Health.
(Featured on CNN)


When I was growing up in the '50s and '60s, there was no obesity epidemic, and children were not developing old-age maladies such as heart disease. Cancer, Alzheimer's, and autism were virtually unheard of. Living a healthy lifestyle was a lot easier. More...

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Current Health News

August 15, 2012: Pesticides are a general category of synthetic chemicals which have bee designed to kill living pests. They target living organisms like insects, weeds, rodents, and fungicides. Pesticides which attack insects are known as insecticides, rodenticides are used to control rodents, fungicides fight fungi, mold, and mildew while those which fight weeds are known as herbicides.

The widely known pesticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) was found to be extremely effective in 1939 against pests and was put into extensive use in the United States in 1945.

The use of DDT spread globally because it was broad spectrum in its use on insects, broke down slowly, isn't water soluble, it is inexpensive, and easy to apply. DDT was used in the United States until it was banned in 1972 when its toxicity was found to impact birds.

Herbicides are the most widely used pesticide in the United States. According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), about 5.1 billion pounds are used anually.

You might be surprised to learn that pesticides are not only used on crops. Factory farmed, also known as CAFO (confined animal feeding operation), operations use them extensively. Pesticides are directly applied to the fur, skin, or feathers of cattle, pigs, and poultry routinely. This is in an efffort to kill ticks, mites, and other nuisances.

CAFOs by their very nature generate the filthy conditions which attract insect pests.

Did you realize that approximately 66 percent of the grain produced in the United States in used to feed livestock? Tons of pesticides are used to protect the grain.

The pesticides used on cattle, poultry, and pigs are stored in the fatty tissue. Since any attempt to remove these dangerous chemicals prior to shipping to market is cost prohibitive, it winds up on your lunch and dinner plates.

A lot of pesticides can be found on produce too. These chemicals can be difficult to remove so the average person ingests them.

But there is something you can do to minimize consuming pesticides from your produce. Every year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a guide that lists which produce to buy organically grown and which can be purchased conventionally raised.

By law, organically grown produce cannot have pesticide applied or be genetically modified.

The EWG has washed the following produce prior to testing pesticide levels. They still contained high pesticide residue. Purchase this produce organically grown only:

  • apples
  • celery
  • sweet bell peppers
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • imported nectarines
  • grapes
  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • cucumbers
  • domestic blueberries
  • potato (white)
  • green beans
  • kale
  • collard greens
  • any leafy green

The produce that showed minimal pesticide levels after being washed are as follows; they can be bought nonorganic:

  • onions
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • avocado
  • asparagus
  • sweet peas
  • mangos
  • eggplant
  • domestic cantaloupe
  • kiwi
  • cabbage
  • watermelon
  • sweet potato
  • grapefruit
  • mushrooms

Produce not in either list falls somewhere between the two. I recommend that produce not in either list and that which has minimal pesticide residue be soaked in a solution of lemon, baking soda, vinegar, and water. However, and I can't overstress this, buy produce listed in the first list organically grown.
Sources: Sustainable Table.org
Muir, P. (January 28, 2007). A History of Pesticide Use. Retrieved from Oregon State University

August 16, 2012: David and GoliathThere is a huge battle shaping up in California that will have an impact on your right to know the kinds of food you purchase. And it is becoming a literal David and Goliath confrontation.
(photo: courtesy of www.pdimages.com)

The battle is in the form of a November 6, 2012 ballot initiative known as Proposition 37 (the Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act). It will require all genetically engineered (GE) ingredients to be labeled as such. Currently food manufacturers can categorize GE products as "natural" or "all natural."

Familiarize yourself with the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by reading Frankenstein's Monster Has Secretly Been Unleashed Among Us

You may be asking yourself the question, "I don't live in California, how will that affect me?"

If Californians vote in favor of Proposition 37, it will more than likely have a tremendous impact on the rest of the country. Californians eat almost 12 percent of all the food consumed in the United States.

Most importantly, companies who use GE ingredients in their products will not go through the expense and trouble to create a separate product line for states other than California. A victory in California will mean a victory for the country as a whole.

As it stands, almost 92 percent of all Americans want to see GMOs labeled. If passed, Proposition 37 will become effective in 2014.

Who is the Goliath that is fighting against Proposition 37 becoming law? The number one adversary is Monsanto. To date they have contributed $4,208,000 to the fight. Right behind them is DuPont Pioneer which has invested $2,441,500. Other large companies are ConAgra Foods, PepsiCo Inc., Coca Cola North America, and Dow Agrosciences.

Major donors who are fighting to defeat Proposition 37 number 45. All have ties to biotech, pesticide, and processed food companies.

Be aware that many natural and organic food companies have been gobbled up by large corporations. As an example, Kashi is now owned by Kellogg.

'David' who wants to see Proposition 37 become law consists of 18. Mercola.com is the largest contributor with $800,000 followed by Organic Consumers Fund with $630,000. Total funds contributed is about $2.4 million.

The opposers to GE labeling have millions of dollars at stake. They would like to keep Americans in the dark as to what exactly is in their food because the alternative will result in money spent to label food products.

And if passed, what if Americans refused to buy GE food products? Money-hungry biotech industries and processed food manufacturers could stand to lose billions of dollars.

Let us pray that Proposition 37 is passed into law because you have a right to know what you are eating and spending your hard-earned dollars on.

Stay tuned - we will keep you updated on the struggle.

Source: Burke, G. (August 16, 2012). Agriculture giants and biotech companies spend big to defeat Prop. 37. Retrieved from http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci_21327364/agriculture-giants-and-biotech-companies-spend-big-defeat.
Organic Bytes. The Biotech Goliath Roars: Monsanto's Gang Dumps $25 Million into NO on 37 Campaign to Label GMOs.

October 26, 2012: A high profile protein supplement that is gaining a lot of exposure through television commercials is Ensure - specifically - Ensure Plus. The Ensure product line is on the radar of many dietitians and nutritionists.

When my sister was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for lung cancer, her dietition recommended that she drink Ensure. However despite all the "hoopla", Ensure poses health concerns.

High protein supplements such as Ensure and Boost are recommended to counter the weight loss experienced by many cancer patients. My sister was no exception. She lost a lot of weight.

The problem with commercial supplements such as these is their high sugar content (frequently artificial sweenteners), artificial ingredients, and other nonorganic ingredients.

Cancer patients suffer a compromised immune system from the chemo therapy used. Rather than artificial ingredients, they require organically raised food for its high and quality nutrient content.

Other than including artificial flavors and synthetic ingredients which everyone should avoid, some of the Ensure product line contain the sweetener Sucralose (Splenda). Splenda is manufactured from free-form chlorine which is a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent.)

Ensure also contains corn maltodextrin and soy protein isolates. The problem with corn and soy is that the majority of corn and soy crops is genetically modified. About 94 percent of all soy and 80 per cent of all corn grown in the United States is genetically modified.

Americans are being deceived and misled by global corporations like Monsanto about the safety of genetically modified products. Animal studies reveal distressing tumor growth, organ damage, and premature death.

Whether you are a cancer patient looking to rebuild your weight and health or an average person looking to increase protein intake, I recommend that all commercial protein products be avoided. My number one recommendation for protein supplementation is the Mercola protein line. If finances are a problem, Jarrow organic protein is an alternative.

November 13, 2012: Nuts! Those dense nuggets of calories and nutrients may be underrated by the public. We have been told that nuts are calorically dense in regards to fat and that their consumption should be restricted. Here's my take.

Nuts are high in calories which predominantly originate from fat - polyunsaturated and monounsaturated with a tiny amount coming from saturated fat. If weight is an issue with you, you don't have to deprive yourself of the health benefits of consuming nuts.

Simply replace a vending machine snack or any number of the junk food you currently enjoy with these tasty nuggets. But exercise caution. Buy nuts without any vegetable oil such as peanut or canola.

Health benefits can be enjoyed by eating nuts raw or dry roasted.

What are nuts? Walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, Brazil nuts, etc. are all classified as nuts. Peanuts are not typcially classified as nuts but as legumes because their "fruit" is encased in a pod. Other types of legumes are soybeans, beans, and peas.

Specific nutrients of nuts depends on the nut itself. But generally speaking, nuts contain fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, plant sterols, vitamin E, protein, and L-arginine.

Current research points to nuts as being heart healthy. Since heart disease is one of the top two causes of death in America (cancer is the other), eating nuts as part of a healthy diet is recommended.

Following is the FDA-approved health claim for nuts:

"Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts [,such as name of specific nut,] as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease" (FDA.gov.)

Research points to L-arginine as being able to improve the flexibility of artery walls and reducing the formation of blood clots. Plant sterols and omega-3 fatty acids lower "bad" cholesterol (LDL.) For those who choose to eat a vegetarian diet, replacing meat with nuts is a good choice as nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein.

Almonds are a good source of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol.) Vitamin E is a strong anti-cancer nutrient. It also has more of the mineral magnesium than oatmeal or spinach. For women who are pregnant or are planning on a furure pregnancy, almonds contain folic acid.

A word of caution. Due to an outbreak of salmonella poisoning in 2001, the USDA along with the FDA have mandated that almonds grown and sold in the United States must be pasteurized. This can be accomplised with steam heat or subject the almonds with propylene oxide gas.

Buy only 100 percent raw, organically grown almonds from a local farmer's market or from a certified organic grower outside the United States.

There is one nut which has been proven to leave the others in the dust concerning heart health and antioxidants - walnuts. A recent study discovered that walnuts have about twice as much antioxidant protection as any other nut.

Antioxidants are important in fighting free radicals which lead to inflammation and is the basis for chronic disease.
Sources: Mayo Clinic
Nuts for Almonds.com
Whole Foods.com
Science Daily.com

November 14, 2012: A new study performed by the Mayo Clinic has just been released that will minimize BMI (body mass index) as an accurate indicator of health in general and the dangerous accumulation of body fat. The study looked at the waist-to-hip ratio.

This study found that people who are of normal weight but have predominant fat accumulation in their bellies have a higher death risk from cardiovascular causes and all disease causes. BMI is not a good indicator because it doesn't account for people who are highly muscular such as bodybuilders. Their BMIs would indicate them to be obese.

Specifically, the study found that people who have a high waist-to-hip ratio, even if they are of normal weight, have a 2.75 greater chance of cardiovascular death and a 2.08 greater risk of death from all disease causes than people who have a normal waist-to-hip ratio.

The type of fat in question is known as visceral fat. This fat lies deep in the abdominal regions surrounding vital organs. It is much more dangerous than subcutaneous fat which lies just below the surface of the skin.

Senior researcher Francisco Lopez-Jiminez, MD, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, commented:

"We knew from previous research that central obesity is bad, but what is new in this research is that the distribution of the fat is very important even in people with a normal weight".

Participants totaled 12,785 who were sampled from the U.S. population; ages were 18 and over. They were grouped into the three BMI classifications - normal, overweight, and obese.

Accurate waist and hip measurements
Waist: using a tape measure, measure the waist just above the belly button; make certain there is no slack in the tape but don't hold it so tight as to contract the waist.

Hip: measure around the widest part of your hips around the buttocks. Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement to get the waist-to-hip ratio. Men are at risk for death if the ratio is greeater than or equal to 0.95; women are at risk if their ratio is greater than or equal to 0.86.
Source: Mayo Clinic.

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