Couch Potato or Fitness Program – the difference can add years to your life!

Couch PotatoOur modern society, especially in the United States and the U.K., often encourages people to become lazy and less likely to take care of their bodies. Improper diets of high levels of carbohydrates, sugars, and fats (particularly saturated fats) not only results and increased weigh gain, but can even shorten our very lives by as much as 10 or more years. The term “couch potato”, referring to people who spend their leisure time sitting in front of the T.V. and consuming quantities of snack foods, is an all too common phenomenon in today’s modern society. As a result, many children and adults have not only become grossly overweight, but are even obese; not only making their lives miserable but shortening them as well.

A number of things can be done to help alleviate this problem, without resorting to fad dieting, and spending large sums of money on weight loss dietary supplement products; which in the end may not only be ineffective, but health damaging as well. People can not only lose weight but tone up their bodies by making adjustments in their daily diets by consuming more green vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grains, as well as becoming involved in a daily program of moderate exercise. Moderate exercise can be in various forms, including swimming (if available) fast walking in their neighborhood for at least half an hour per day (or in a shopping mall, if more convenient), and exercises at home.

While not everybody has a gym or health club available to them, especially due to logistical factors as well as sheer costs of belonging to one, everyone has the ability to walk or jog as well as do exercises at home, including push and sit ups, knee bends, and other floor exercises that can be done with a simple pad or small mattress laid out in one’s living room.

Another thing that can be done is simply to east less. Scientific studies have found that people who consume approximately 20% fewer calories per day, based on a normal diet, can add 5 or more years to their life. Many people eat more food than they should at a meal simply because the food is there, and not because they are actually hungry! It is amazing that by simply stopping to eat after a certain quantity is consumed will result in a person not feeling hungry after a few moments. By skipping that extra helping of potatoes, bread, and especially a heavy desert (eat something light instead like sherbet instead of ice cream, etc.) one can actually gain less weight, as well as feel better.

So instead to spending your weekends consuming pizza and other junk food while watching a ball game on your 40 ” LCD screen, go out and exercise a bit. You’ll feel better – and live longer!

Prince Edward Island Farmers To Go Organic

This is an internesting article about the move from conventional farming to organic farming headed by the leaders of Prince Edward Island in Canada. I like the reference to the shiny new John Deere and the costs associated with conventional farming.

Gary Claudeheid, a long-time organic farmer and Green Party candidate, said people who argue that organic growing is not economically feasible fail to see the failing economics of conventional operations.

“Between 1950 and 1980, the Island lost 80 per cent of its farmers,” he said. “Between 1986 and 2001, it lost another 1,000. In the last five years, we’ve lost another 147. They are never taken into account.

“They like to point to the 750 farms on Prince Edward Island that are grossing over $100,000. But how much of that is left when they have to pay for a shiny, new, green John Deere machines, all the chemical fertilizer, insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, sprout inhibitors and all the other chemicals they are using?”

Labchuk said her party would restore some of the economic sense to organic farming by removing the subsidies that support chemical-based farming and offering money and training to help growers’ transition to organic methods.

Benefits of Organic and Biodynamic Foods on Your Health

Organic FoodsThe old saying “you are what you eat” has never been more true in regards to the nutritional benefits of organic and biodynamic grown foods. Scientific studies going back more than 30 years are now proving that the advantages of naturally grown, organic farm produce, free of toxins and pesticides, not only contain more vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, but also have better taste.

In recent years, biodynamic foods are becoming popular with people on strict organic food diets. Originally pioneered by such organic food agronomists as Dr. Albert Howard and Lady Evelyn Barbara Balfour in Australia during the 1940’s, the science of growing organic produce incorporating biodynamic farming used natural ecosystems as models for agriculture. By studying and incorporating “nature’s way” into modern farming methods, they found that crops could be grown successfully without the use of toxins found in both pesticides and herbicides.

Modern ‘eco-smart’ methods of crop production have found to result in crops higher in vitamin C, vitamin E, folic acid and iron. Biodynamic crops are found to have 47.6% more vitamin C and 33.9% more iron than conventionally grown crops.

Both organic and biodynamic grown foods have much higher levels of anti-oxidants, which help defer aging processes and cause people to actually live longer, healthier lives. Even such produce as wine is now available as 100% organic, being derived from organically cultivated grapes. Natural ecosystems, in which seasonal water supply sources, natural fertilization (compost and natural fertilizers, etc.), produce a mush better tasting produce; and this is reflected in the quality of items such as wine.

In regards to animals that have been fed organic diets, it has been found that this has resulted in better egg production, increased fertilization, and fewer stillborn young. Animals given biodynamic feed also have less illness and shorter recovery time if they become ill. Farm animals extensively used for food, including poultry, beef, lamb and pork producing animals, have healthier offspring and more flavorful meat, than those fed on commercial fodder.

Humans eating both organically and biodynamic grown foods, as well as animal products noted above, benefit from better health and well being. Bearing this in mind, it makes better sense to choose this healthier way of living by “going organic”.

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Breast is Best

Breast is BestToday’s modern mother, who divides her time between pursuing her career goals as well as taking care of her family, often regards breast feeding as something out of the archaic past. Many women in today’s society, do not even have their own mothers to turn to on this subject, as even their mother, if not grandmother, has not breastfed any of her children. Clinical studies on the subject of breast feeding are making new ‘discoveries’ on the subject yearly, and are concluding that not only is nursing more healthful and crucial to a child’s physical development, but very important psychologically as well.

Working mothers especially are faced with the ‘dilemma’ of breastfeeding baby once they return to work after maternity leave, which can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months after giving birth. Most workplaces are simply not suited for Mom to bring baby along and feed him or her during the work day. This problem has been more difficult in America than in Israel, where mothers are allowed to leave work early to go home to take care of such matters. Some companies, especially high tech ones who appreciate the contribution that the working mother is giving to the company, provide special sections within the premises for not only breastfeeding, but caring of small children who are cared for by hired nannies while Mom is at her work station.

Relating back to studies made on the benefits of breastfeeding over using formulas such as Similac and other preparations based on cow’s milk and an array of vitamins and minerals, it has been found that the natural vitamins and other substances in mothers’ milk far surpass any commercially made baby formula produced to date. The horrific results of the 2003 ‘baby formula tragedy’ which occurred in Israel, that left 3 infants dead and more than a dozen others incapacitated for life, clearly indicates the results of relying on these preparations instead of what comes naturally. In this instance, the product known as Remedia, lacked the B1 vitamin, or thiamin, which is essential to a baby’s nervous system development. The product, especially manufactured for use for orthodox Jewish mothers, due to complying with strict laws of Kashrus, did not contain milk solids at all; not to mention the omission of the B1 vitamin additive. Mother’s milk has been found to contain the perfect ‘balance’ of fats, nutrients and essential vitamins necessary for a child’s development. While it is true that some babies are either allergic to or cannot digest preparations containing lactose, this problem is much less prevalent with mother’s milk.

Israeli women who either do not have enough of their own milk or for some reason cannot produce their own (known as ‘dry up’) can obtain frozen mothers milk by consulting either their own pediatrician, or by consulting organizations such as the local equivalent of the La Leche League, as well as the “Tipat Halav” (mother and child clinic) in their own Kupat Holim Sick Fund.

Despite everything, including all the stories of all those insecticides, food additives, and even tar and nicotine from cigarettes finding their way into human milk, the benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the inconveniences and other problems connected to this truly natural way of giving one’s precious baby a good “head start” in life. Regarding cigarettes, its much better not to smoke at all; whether one is breast feeding or not!

Watching Your Yin and Yang – Natural Healing Through Macrobiotic Diets

Watching Your Yin and YangNatural healing, or letting one’s own body heal itself through harmony in lifestyles, diet, and other factors, is becoming more and more practiced these days. One of the world’s most authoritative persons on the subject of natural healing, Micho Kushi, wrote a very informative book on natural healing through macrobiotic diets.

Professor Kushi, of Japanese origin, and connected with the Abraham Lincoln School of Medicine at the University of Illinois, became interested in macrobiotic eating and its connection with fighting diseases. Kushi theorized that a person’s health and ability to fight disease coincides with a ‘balance’ in the Yin and Yang (or right and left) hemispheres of his physical harmony. All different kinds of medical dysfunctions, including various types of cancer, were noted by Professor Kushi; as well as his macrobiotic way to treat them.

Most people have diets which have an imbalance of Yin and Yang hemispheres. Foods compatible to each hemisphere, Yin or Yang, and how they should be prepared, and even consumed, have been subjects of intense research of macro biologists like Kushi.

For example, he noted that meats and dairy products, both Yang category foods, should be avoided by persons suffering from most forms of cancer. He also noted that foods which are allowed to be eaten should be cooked rather than eaten raw; and that one should chew each mouthful between 30 and 50 times before swallowing. The reasoning for this is not only does the thorough chewing make the food more digestible but the additional saliva and other body fluids are actually beneficial to ridding the body of the malignancy; a very important part of the body’s natural healing.

In other words, as per the time-worn expression goes, “you are what you eat”; and the diet consumed is very important in regards to the macrobiotic way of life. For this reason, it’s easy to see why people living in eastern Asian countries, including men, live long lives; with average life spans into the mid 80’s being considered normal. In countries like Japan, it’s quite common to see people still alive there up to age 100!

Source: Natural Healing by Michio Kushi, pub. 1978 by East West Publications, Boston Mass.

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Organic Psyllium Husks Natural Dietary Fiber

Psyllium husks, or plantago ovata in Latin, come from the skin or husks of the blond psyllium seed. A plant rich in soluble fibers, Psylliums are part of group of plants containing soluble fibers, also known as mucilage; fibers which retain water and resemble a thick, jelly-like substance when wet.

Psyllium husks can be used as a thickening substance in salad dressings, sauces, and creams. These fibers differ from non-soluble ones such as wheat bran, which do not dissolve in water. Other plants containing water-soluble fibers include oat bran, apple pectum and guar gum.

Health benefits of Organic Psyllium Husk include reducing blood cholesterol levels, thereby reducing risks of cardiovascular diseases, and are very beneficial to the digestive system. Mucilage digestive fibers maintain bowl regularity and help prevent conditions such as chronic constipation and diarrhea. Their greatest benefits are their ‘colon cleansing benefits’ in the prevention of colon cancers, especially in people over age 50. The advantages of ingesting soluble fiber, such as Psyllium, are that they can be included in the preparation of a number of foods, without the tell-tale fiber residues found in wheat brand and other non-soluble products. The risks of colon cancer increase dramatically once people reach their 60’s and 70’s. It is advisable to have a colonoscopy performed once every 4-5 years; and those who have had polyps removed from their colon, every 3 years. A healthy diet with a sufficient amount of dietary fiber, both soluble and non-soluble, will greatly reduce the risk of colon cancer, as well as avoidance of red meat and dairy products high in saturated fat.

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Our Daily Poisons and the Earth Friendly Option

Organic FoodsThey’re around you every day; and in fact you and your family use and consume products that in the long run can be just as deadly as weapons that kill and maim people in the millions. We are not referring to guns, knives, and poisons such as arsenic, cyanide or other kinds of poisons used to eradicate rodents and other kinds of pests. The products referred to here range from detergents and cleaning compounds to deodorants and cosmetics to even seemingly harmless food and beverage items.

Every time people wash their clothing in their washing machine, or their dishes in their dishwasher, they are using chemical compounds which, if used in large enough amounts can cause not only burning and severe skin irritation, but eventual cancers like melanoma. Even though some detergents may claim to be “non-toxic” or “environmentally safe” they still contain such ingredients as sodium or calcium hypocrite, or sodium tri-polyphosphate, which can become very dangerous chemical compounds if used excessively.

Cosmetic items such as lipstick, hand cream, deodorants and anti-perspirants, all contain such chemicals as aluminum chlorhydrate, propylene glycol, or BHA and coal tar dyes (both lipstick preservatives and color enhancers that are said to contain carcinogens or cancer causing compounds). Even that liquid ’soap less soap’ that most people keep in their bathrooms is so full of chemical compounds (ammonium chloride, sodium laurel sulfate, plus a number of color-dyes, fragrances, etc.) that it may be better to use old fashioned home-made hand soap, even if it contains lye and other caustic compounds.

You don’t have to go through the list of cleaning compounds or cosmetic items to find these poisons; but many food products have similar chemical compounds as well. Even that soft tub of margarine has what is called ‘trans-fat’ and is extremely bad for your heart if consumed in large quantities (many nutrition advisors claim it’s better to use pure butter than these so called “safe” cooking and spreading products.

Yes there are alternatives; and by acquiring knowledge of safer, environmental ‘earth-friendly’ products, you can protect yourselves and your families from the long term effects of these ‘lethal weapons’.

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Figs the Natural Viagra

Looking for a natural food product that is not only immensely healthy but even helps perk up your ’sexual appetite’? Then try figs. That’s right; these delicate and delicious fruits were first reputed to have been cultivated by both the ancient Egyptians, as well as the Minoans of classical Crete and Greece. They later spread throughout the Middle East, as well as the Mediterranean countries. They are mentioned in the Bible as one of the ‘Seven Species’ of ancient Israel, and were considered by the Romans as the “sacred fruit of the gods”. Figs are rich in dietary fiber and potassium, as well as several vitamins and other minerals.

Though they are eaten year round, especially in their dried varieties (still one of Turkey’s major agricultural exports), their true divineness is when eaten fresh in late summer. Being very fragile, the fig’s ’store season’ is very short (similar to apricots), and only last a day or two if kept at room temperature. Figs can be kept in refrigeration, however, for up to a week. They loose their special taste quickly, and it is recommended they be eaten almost immediately. Containing both carbohydrates and natural sugars, they are nourishing as well, and can be combined with other fruits, as well as with a variety of cheeses – particularly sheep and goat feta-type cheese. Stuffed figs, especially with cheese, has been a delightful light meal or dessert menu for literally thousands of years.

The attributes of these ‘fruits of the gods’ are well known to natural foods consultants as well as believers in holistic and natural solutions to a variety of conditions, including sexual incompetence. The Turks have long sworn by a special stuffed fig product containing a mixture of crushed walnuts and other “special ingredients”. “We call this ‘Turkish Viagra’, and it’s been in use here ever since ancient times” a Turkish dried fruit and spice vender was reported to have said to friends of mine in Istanbul.

Whether this preparation actually works for this special use, is probably a matter of ‘personal experience’. But the idea is fine, as various other natural food dishes are also alleged to increase one’s sexual desire. Figs also are terrific for assisting in another bodily function: bowel regularity. In fact, a number of natural laxative products contain figs as part of their ingredients.

One of the best ways to prepare fresh figs, besides just eating them raw that is, is to slightly boil them in light syrup containing brown sugar, water and anise or fennel seeds. After simmering for 7 to 8 minutes, remove them and allow them to cool at room temperature before adding a bit of fresh lemon juice. Them chill them for at lest 2-3 hours in your refrigerator. The result is a delightful desert or snack dish. After eating them in this manner, with some fruit sherbet if desired, you will understand why figs have been considered as ‘holy fruit’ by so many.

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