A man mid-sneeze. Original CDC caption: "This 2009 photograph captured a sneeze in progress, revealing the plume of salivary droplets as they are expelled in a large cone-shaped array from this man’s open mouth, thereby dramatically illustrating the reason one needs to cover his/her mouth when coughing, or sneezing, in order to protect others from germ exposure." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I started a new job in an operating room and recently attended the day long orientation. Part of the orientation was infection control and with that, the flu shot and how to prevent cross contamination. I gleaned two important pieces of information that I would like to share. The most important being how to cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. As a child I learned to always cover my mouth with my hand, if I sneezed or coughed and never gave it much thought, beyond that. Then I saw a Korean nurse I worked with, coughing into the sleeve of her shirt. All of a sudden, a light bulb went off for me. Then it was reinforced once again, in orientation. The virus lives on your hands and what you touch afterwards, ie- door knobs, phones, etc. But when you cough or sneeze into your clothing, on your sleeve for instance, it will trap the virus and it will die there. In my humble opinion, this is absolutely the single most important way to prevent spreading the virus from one person to another, in conjunction with hand washing. But ” the powers that be”, claim that the flu shot is the most important. So important, that they begin giving them to babies at 6 months of age and then yearly, for the rest of their lives. Are you serious?! I find this to be outrageous, as well as an insult to their immune system, each time it is received. I, for one, have never had the flu shot, nor the flu, but make it my business to keep my natural immune system as strong as possible through living a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately for me, last month a federal vaccines panel voted in favor of enforcing mandatory flu shots in hospitals and clinics, since only 40% of the workers were currently receiving them. They stated that if these facilities can’t get 90% of their employees to get an annual shot, they should “strongly consider” making the vaccines mandatory. When I raised my hand to question whether or not this hospital that I have started in, will be making it mandatory to its employees, I got a less than encouraging response. She said, ” We don”t like to use the M word, but we are working on a new policy that would require employees to get the flu shot, if they work here.” What sort of b–s— response was that?! We don’t like to use the “M” word- are you kidding me?! Looks as though after over 30 years as a registered nurse, I may have to leave the profession. Hmmmmmmm………………
Lunchables (Photo credit: olishaw)
Anything in moderation is okay. But moderation is very “subjective”. A marathon runner may think that a 7 mile daily run is moderate. I think it is insane, but I am not a runner.I know people that drink a 6 pack of beer daily and consider that moderate, because it is done throughout a 24 hour period. Hmmmmmm. Well, let’s talk about sugar. We all know the toxic effects sugar has on our bodies and consequently, our health. But what is too much? If we could keep our intake to 25 grams, it would be a non-issue. But since the average person is consuming 1/3 of a pound daily, which is 5 ounces or 150 grams, it has become a huge issue. And that is only an average – many people eat twice that. Cutting out a few desserts will barely make a dent in the “standard American diet“. Processed foods are a huge business with enormous profit margins. High fructose corn syrup is used virtually in all processed food, because it is so cheap. Manufacturers have no incentive to market whole foods, unless the consumer stops buying processed and demands whole foods. Unfortunately, a common lunch staple for many kids is, Oscar Mayer Lunchables. Just one box of crackers with processed turkey and American cheese contains 36 grams of sugar. Sugar is also loaded in their fruit juices. Even infant formulas contain the equivalent of a can of Coca-cola. How outrageous is that?! The answer is obvious. Start and maintain a diet of only natural, whole foods and avoid all processed foods and sweetened beverages. I must admit, I too, have a sweet tooth. My favorite sweetener is stevia and I prefer the liquid form. By drastically reducing sugar consumption, you will be on your way to finding the “miracle cure” that everyone seeks.
Vitamins! (Photo credit: bradley j)
Years ago, before I knew any better, I took synthetic vitamins. I got what I thought were high quality vitamins and took them, thinking I was doing something good for myself. I also noticed that I needed to take them with something in my stomach, otherwise they bothered me. Lo and behold, that problem totally disappeared when I began taking whole food and raw vitamins.Whole food and raw vitamins/supplements are what their name suggests. Supplements made from concentrated whole foods. The nutrients found in these supplements are not isolated or synthetic. They are highly complex structures that combine a variety of enzymes, co-enzymes, antioxidants, and trace elements that work together synergistically. They enable the vitamin complex to do its job in your body. On the other hand, not only are synthetic vitamins not natural, but they can do more harm, than good. Taking these synthetic nutrients, especially at the ultra high doses found in many formulas today, are like taking drugs. Studies actually show that in this form, your body treats these like xenobiotics (foreign substances). This is why your urine will oftentimes turn some shade of bight yellow, when you take certain synthetic supplements, as your body simply flushes these foreign substances out. I would like to mention a few synthetic and inorganic substances that you must look out for. Sodium selenite and sodium selenate (synthetic versions of selenium) are classified as dangerous and toxic to the environment and may contribute to reproductive and developmental problems in humans and animals. Magnesium stearate and titanium dioxide have both been shown to be adverse to your immune system. Which is the exact opposite reason of why you are taking these in the first place. The whole point is to strengthen your immune system. So make smart choices and choose whole food or raw supplements over synthetic.
What you put on your body, is equally as important as what you put in your body. Your skin is your largest organ, and if it remains intact, it acts as a barrier and is the first line of defense against bacteria getting inside. But we need to think of it as a sponge, as well. It is porous, so what you put on your skin is quickly absorbed into your entire system.Some of the worst culprits are antiperspirants-particularly the ones that contain aluminum chlorohydrate. Aluminum is one of the few substances that can cross the body’s natural defense system, the blood-brain barrier. Next, is soap, hair shampoo and conditioners. They are loaded with toxic chemicals! And you use them primarily when the water is hot and therefore your pores are wide open. Let’s not forget toothpaste and mouthwash. Children are known to swallow and even eat toothpaste, because it is sweet. And last but not least, cosmetics. Lipstick is the most toxic cosmetic product, hands down. According to a report in Glamour magazine, the average woman swallows four to nine pounds of lipstick in her lifetime! There is a great site that can tell you what chemicals are in your product and what they can do to you. It is http://ewg.org/skindeep. I encourage you all to visit there. There is also a wonderful company Essante Worldwide, that carries all of the above and have triple organic certifications. You can visit there at http://essanteorganics.com/dd.
My favorite fats to cook with are, extra-virgin coconut oil and organic butter made from pasture raised animals. Organic butter is far more healthy for you than margarine. Margarine is a man-made fat produced by using bleaching agents and containing harmful hydrogenated oils. Hydrogenated oils contain trans fatty acids, which are the true culprits in many of this country’s health problems. Coconut oil remains stable at high temperatures, which makes it ideal for sauteing vegetables and browning meat. It is also an awesome vegan butter alternative, when baking and makes a light flaky pie crust. Olive oil is extremely healthy, but should not be heated because it oxidizes. It is wonderful to use on your skin, hair and food, but should be drizzled on food or used in salad dressings, for the most health benefits. Make sure you use organic extra-virgin olive oil in a dark bottle. It is highly sensitive to light and air, so store in a cool dark place and use within 10-12 weeks. If you have it longer than that, you can use it on your hair and skin.
Sleeping (Photo credit: soylentgreen23)
Sleep is essential for optimal health. Unfortunately, many of us are so busy in our lives, that there are not enough hours in the day to get everything we need to, accomplished. Therefore, we are living in a constant state of sleep deprivation and this is not healthy. Interrupted or impaired sleep can dramatically weaken the immune system. It increases the risk of heart disease, aggravates or makes you more susceptible to stomach ulcers, and raises your blood pressure, to name just a few. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, lack of sleep can further exacerbate other serious and chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, GI disorders and behavioral problems in children. It also impairs your ability to lose excess pounds and may even be a culprit for weight gain. Research shows that people who sleep less than 7 hours a night have a higher BMI than people who sleep more. This is probably due to altered metabolism, because with sleep deprivation, Leptin (a hormone that signals satiety) falls and Gherlin ( which signals hunger) increases. A study revealed that people who slept 4 hours per night for two consecutive days, experienced an 18% reduction in Leptin and a 28% increase in Gherlin. Sleep deprived people also tend to eat more sweets and starches. Researchers suggest that sugar cravings stem from the fact that the brain is fueled by glucose, therefore, when lack of sleep occurs your brain starts searching for carbs to fuel it. Generally speaking, people need 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Of course, there are some who manage well on only 5 and others need 9-10, to feel their best. Listen to your body. Go to bed early and at the same time every night, if you can. Your adrenal system does the majority of recharging between the hours of 11pm and 1 am. Studies show that the optimal room temperature should be between 60 – 68 degrees. There should be no light allowed in your room. That includes the light from your TV or computer. They emit a blue light that suppresses melatonin production. And of course, cut off your caffeine consumption early in the day, as well as limiting your alcohol intake in the evening. As both will interfere with a good night’s sleep. The last thing I would suggest, is that you move your alarm clock out of view, so you are not checking it, every few hours. Keep that and all other electrical devices at least 3 feet away from you. And with that, I wish you all “sweet dreams”.
Paint and Indoor Air Quality (Photo credit: kqedquest)
Don’t know that I trust the EPA 100%, but, they say that indoor air pollution is the nation’s #1 environmental health problem. They estimate that indoor air is 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air, on the average. Since we spend most of our time inside our homes and work places, this can be detrimental to our health. As housing construction has gotten better, they have become increasingly well sealed for energy efficiency, leading to poor interior air quality. Some types of indoor air pollution are easily recognizable, especially if bad odors, mustiness, mold or mildew are evident. There are other pollutants you may not have considered. For instance, all those nice smelling sprays, deodorizers and candles are major contributors. Read the labels and see what kind of chemicals you are inhaling. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce this problem,( in conjunction with getting rid of the chemicals you are spreading around.) First, ventilation and air filtration are the answer to many indoor air problems. Open windows and use fans to get the stale air out of the house. Vacuuming floors, rugs and upholstered furniture at least weekly are a must. And if you have pets, like we do, it is more often. And my favorite is houseplants and lots of them! NASA tests show that common houseplants remove toxins through the natural process of photosynthesis-as they take up carbon dioxide, they also pick up airborne pollutants through their leaves, while giving off oxygen into the environment. Aloe vera, elephant ear philodendron, ficus and golden pothos are effective at removing formaldehyde; English ivy, peace lily and corn plants eliminate benzene and golden pothos and spider plants remove carbon monoxide. So, surround yourself with green and breathe easier!
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For those of you out there that want to start a healthy new life in 2012, the quickest way is through a kitchen and pantry makeover. You will need to throw out (or donate) all processed foods. Processed foods almost always use chemical preservatives, artificial flavorings, chemical additives and increased sugar and salt contents, for improved taste and shelf stability. Start by getting rid of anything that is “white” in color. White flour, white rice, white bread, pasta and baked goods made from white flour have not only had all the nutrients removed, but also pose a serious threat to your health. The baked goods, chips and snack foods also contain hydrogenated fats- the kind of fat that guarantees to clog your arteries. These fats are called trans fatty acids, and should be eliminated from your diet completely. Switch out your cooking oils (Crisco, vegetable, corn, canola) for olive oil and coconut oil, which are both very healthy. Canned fruits and vegetables need to go. They have had virtually all nutrients cooked out of them during the canning process, since heat destroys most vitamins and they have diminished fiber content. (one of the reasons the “raw diet” is gaining so much in popularity) One exception to that would be, canned beans – you can keep those. Canned kidney, pinto, black, navy and garbanzo beans are huge time savers and retain their nutrient and fiber content during the cooking process.
Image by Salim Virji via Flickr
Today I am going to do some ranting about the dairy (milk) that is being sold to us, the consumer. And then I am going to do some positive raving about the dairy from Beyond Organic with just a few examples from personal experiences shared by our friends, who are highly lactose intolerant. The dairy cattle are being fed high protein, soy-based feed, instead of fresh pasture fed. This produces cows with abnormally large pituitary glands. They in turn produce 3 times more milk than pasture fed. They also require antibiotics to keep them well. Years ago, the FDA approved the use of rBGH (bovine growth hormone) which further increases milk production. This rBGH was manufactured by Monsanto under the trademark “Posilac”, which had been proven to be a cancer causing growth hormone. It has since been sold to the giant drug company, Eli Lily, which still uses it in some of the cattle. That’s just a part of why we don’t drink that milk. Interestingly, many people are terribly lactose intolerant. A couple weeks back, we were fortunate enough to be on a phone call with Jordan Rubin, and he spoke on this very issue. There is such a thing as A1 and A2 beta casein, which are proteins found in milk. Almost 100% of the cattle in the USA produce milk containing A1, which happens to be highly allergenic and causes adverse health issues. It is not found in goat’s milk, sheep’s milk or human mother’s milk. A2, on the other hand, is found in cattle of selective breeding, primarily from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Beyond Organic dairy products are from these cattle, which contain A2. We have a friend with Crohn’s, that has been lactose intolerant his entire life. He recently had a relapse with Crohn’s after eating a few pieces of Kentucky Fried Chicken, which he NEVER eats, but was hungry at work and it was there. The bottom line is he started drinking Amasai, a cultured whole milk dairy product, by Beyond Organic. He started with a small amount and tolerated it. He increased his consumption daily and within a month his digestive issues disappeared. He is now drinking cases of the Amasai. Another friend, whose 9 year old daughter is also highly lactose intolerant, was introduced to the Amasai , loves it and tolerates it beautifully. And finally, last Saturday, we were presenting Beyond Organic at a Health Fair. Someone we knew there, spoke about his 16 month old son being allergic to everything- including all dairy. We gave him a bottle of raspberry Amasai to try, since it is A2, NOT A1. He reported back, thrilled and amazed that his son loved it and had NO allergic response. We believe that Amasai is one of the most healthful and healing cultured dairy products that can be consumed. For further info on Beyond Organic foods and beverages go to http://www.daorganics.com. They are presently sold in the USA only, as this company is less than 3 months old, but has plans in the making for Europe next and then global.
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Nutritionally speaking, soda is one of the main reasons why many people suffer health problems. There is a strong link between soda consumption and childhood obesity. And of course, the direct link between tooth decay and soft drinks. Not only does the sugar contribute to this, but also the acids in soda, which are notorious for etching tooth enamel, thereby increasing susceptibility to decay. Acid begins to dissolve enamel in as little as 20 minutes.Soda can also cause caffeine dependence in children. In an 8 ounce cup of coffee, there is about 120mg of caffeine. In a 12 ounce can of soda, there is 35-38mg of caffeine. A little known fact is that most diet colas have not only unhealthy sugar substitutes, but also added caffeine. A 12 ounce can of diet coke contains 42mg of caffeine, while diet pepsi contains 56mg of caffeine. Childhood and adolescence are the peak years in which bone building in the body occurs. Phosphoric acid is a common ingredient in sodas and depletes bones of calcium. Also the phosphates added to many foods contributes to this calcium depletion and ultimate increase in osteoporosis in later years. Instead of soda, we need to learn to drink pure water. An ideal amount is 1 quart daily per 50 lbs. of weight. (that comes to four, 8 ounce glasses per 50 lbs of weight)