Fast Food, A Large Problem is Just Getting Larger

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According to a study done by Boston University and Tuffs University, fast food makes up 11% of the average American’s diet.  It’s also been helping with the increase in obesity, diabetes and heart disease.  So, how has this happened?  Well, the portion sizes have increased over the last 30 years along, with the amount of sodium that is put in these products.  The portion size has increased a whopping 22%.  That actually surprised me, however, I haven’t been in a fast food restaurant for at least 5 years, so I had no idea.

Since, according to this study, 33.6% of Americans eat at a fast food restaurant every day no wonder that according to research, 40% of adult Americans are obese.  Not only are the foods more calorie-dense, but the increase in sodium is also problematic.  Too much sodium can lead to heart disease and strokes.  This is a health crisis, and so far, trying to make adults aware of the problem doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere.

It doesn’t seem as if there is a will to begin the intervention that would help in addressing this situation.  The Trump administration is backing the food industry with pushing back against food labels that would warn consumers about the levels of sodium, fat and sugars in prepared foods.  If you could come up with a solution to this problem of obesity and illness, what would it be?  Leave your ideas in the comments below.

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https://www.bu.edu/research/articles/fast-food-expansion/

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/health/obesity-us-adults.html

 

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Eating an Anti-Inflammatory Diet is a Good Thing

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Inflammation is bad for your health, and can lead to all kinds of problems if it becomes a chronic issue.  Some reasons that can trigger chronic inflammation include smoking, obesity, alcohol and chronic stress.  When we suffer from chronic inflammation our body can attack itself and this may lead to more serious issues such as: cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity or asthma.  As you can see, avoiding chronic inflammation would be quite a healthy thing to do.  Just a note, inflammation does have an important part to play when we are injured, or our body is fighting off an infection, however, we don’t want inflammation as a constant part of our life.

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To treat this problem, we could take over-the-counter drugs, but that can lead to other health problems.  As with most issues, it’s healthier to add to, or deduct from certain foods in our diets.  Some of the foods you should avoid include: refined carbohydrates (white bread and pastry); all fried foods; red meat; processed meats – hot dogs, luncheon meats, alcohol, and an excess of refined sugars.

Foods that help to reduce inflammation include: olive oil (I recommend eating as little oil as possible – fats are not good for you), but extremely small amounts of olive oil can be beneficial in your quest to control chronic inflammation.  Green leafy vegetables are excellent at fighting inflammation – so, spinach and kale would be a good addition to your diet.  Tomato, fruits such as cherries, blueberries and oranges are great at this also.  They also recommend fatty fish, but since I’m a vegan I would skip that suggestion, instead I eat the following:  dark red grapes, broccoli, cauliflower, beans and lentils, avocado and nuts.  The spices turmeric and cinnamon are also helpful.

So, as you can see, there are healthy ways to combat chronic inflammation.  Eat well and live healthy!

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320233.php

https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-inflammation#causes

 

 

 

Vitamin D Deficiency Hits New Highs?

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This was an interesting topic to research.  Some studies suggested that there is a widespread problem with people who are vitamin D deficient, but other studies did not.  So, how important is vitamin D?  Well it does help with keeping your bones healthy, but again, don’t try to get it from fortified milk, since milk leaches this vitamin and calcium out of your bones.  (Suggestion, take regular vitamin D fortified milk, place a bone in it, leave it there overnight, and see how malleable that bone is in the morning – hint – it’s rather bendy, to say the least.)

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So, what to do?  My suggestion is to eat a vitamin D rich diet by eating the foods that are high in vitamin D.  These foods are: spinach, kale, okra, broccoli, collards, soy beans, white, navy and black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, mushrooms, almonds, various items made with soy including milk, yogurt, ice cream, tofu and tempeh, and fortified orange juice, rice, soy or almond milks.  You should also make sure that you take vitamin D in pill form.

One of the best ways to get vitamin D is to go outside for 10 minutes without sunscreen on.  That should also help, although keep that time short, as there is the issue of sun cancer.

It’s always preferable to receive your vitamins from your food.  The choices above are all plant based, however there are other foods that also have vitamin D.  I am not recommending them here since they are all linked to cancer and other various diseases.  Personally, I don’t really like kale, so I make sure I get a good amount of vitamin D from other foods such as spinach, broccoli and many of the beans listed above.  I love love love chickpeas!

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https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-optimal-dose-of-vitamin-d-based-on-natural-levels/

https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/sources-calcium-vitamin-d

 

2019 Goals

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the kinds of things that I want to accomplish this year.  While I did well with some of my goals in 2018, there were some that didn’t get finished.  So, most of my goals for this year include the ones that I was unable to fully accomplish last year.

Fitness and Health:  In my opinion, fitness should always be tied to health, since you really can’t be healthy without being fit (or at least exercise on a routine basis).  I want to continue with my goal of working out every single day this year.  I also want to work on eating a whole-foods plant-based diet.  There are too many times that it’s just so easy to buy prepared foods and eat those for dinner.  While this is tasty and easy, it’s not healthy.  So, again, I want to work on meal planning and cooking delicious meals.  So, weekly menu planning and shopping lists this year!

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Writing:  My goal is to have my children’s book finished by the beginning of April.

House Organized:  Like too many people, my home is filled with clutter.  It drives me crazy.  Right now, my desk is full of miscellaneous paperwork, books and – well, I’m not sure what the other “stuff” really is.  This is no way to work, and it’s too typical of how the rest of my house is.  Enough, I say!  So, I plan on tackling each room one section at a time and throw some stuff out, file other stuff, and give anything else away.

Paperwork/Filing:  Filing and dealing with the paperwork that seems to replicate itself on a weekly basis will be done at the same time as organizing.

Business:  Getting my business up and running has been on my goals list for more years than I care to think about.  This is the year.  Get that certificate, make the web-site and work!

Okay, so those are my major goals for the year.  Have you made a goals list for this year? If you have, feel free to comment below, and let’s encourage each other.

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Zero Waste Lifestyle

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My daughter recently asked me if I knew anything about “zero waste living”.  I had to admit that I’d heard of it, but really didn’t know what it entailed.  So, I decided to look into it and relay my findings to all of you.

Zero waste is living without any waste at all.  So, this means that you don’t buy your toothpaste, you make it.  When you get coffee out you bring a mug with you and have that filled instead of a coffee cup.  You need to think about bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones, buying loose vegetables instead of ones in plastic bags.  Another great thing that is easy to do is to by your own steel straw and keep it with you just in case you end up going out for a drink, that way you can limit the amount of plastic straws you use.  By the way, you can also do this by bringing your own silverware with you if you end up in a fast-food restaurant.

The list of things that you have to think about is fairly long, and from what information I’ve found, it can take a while to get to zero waste.  There is a steep hill of learning to climb, to say the least.  A lot of it seems to be pretty time-consuming, and as an aside, the loophole of using “recyclable” plastic, can be more than confusing, since as I’ve come to know, much of what we “recycle”, doesn’t actually get recycled.  (The cost of recycling is going up all the time, and many of the countries that took recycling are not taking it anymore.)

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So, in my case, I could not go to zero waste, since many of the products at my local grocery store are packaged in non-recyclable plastic, from bread to vegetables, and many products in between. I don’t have the option of buying those items loose, since I’ve never even seen loose mushrooms, they are always packaged in the stores that I’ve been in.

That being said, there are a lot of other things that we can do to bring our waste down.  I almost always bring a bag with me when I shop, so I don’t have plastic bags.  If I do end up with them, I reuse them for as long as I can.  If I’ve forgotten a bag, I will often just put whatever is was that I’ve bought into my purse if it fits.  I also have quite a few net bags that I put my loose produce in – fruit and the vegetables that are sold loose.

While trying to live by creating zero waste is an admirable goal, I’ve found that the way we package food products, along with most of the other things that we buy, it seems to be a difficult task.  However, I absolutely advocate doing what you can in your daily life to create as little waste as you can.  After all, we have turned much of this world into a garbage dump, and What do you think about going zero waste?  I’ve left a few links below for you to check out if you’re interested.

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https://www.motherearthliving.com/healthy-home/zero-waste-living-zmfz15jfhou

http://time.com/5218046/how-to-live-zero-waste/

 

Pesticides and Children

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While we all know that pesticides are harmful for any creature, the evidence that they are also extremely harmful for humans continues to mount.  As you know, Monsanto cannot be sold in many countries due to the harm it causes.  Monsanto was taken to the international court, The Hauge, and this courts decision was to allow the bans against it to stand.  So, here we have not only scientific evidence that pesticides are harmful, but legal rulings against it, also.

The study linked to below, deals with an insecticide class known as Organophosphates which were developed in Germany in the 1940’s and are “like” nerve agents, which means that they target an enzyme (acetylcholinesterase ) that controls nerves signals, of course this destroys the enzyme, and then the insect also dies.  These insecticides are known as chlorpyrifos and are widely used in the U.S. and Europe.  Not only that, but chlorpyrifos are not only used in fields, but they have also been used in parks and playgrounds.  Since they have been used so widely, it is nearly impossible not to come into contact with them.

Until this meta study was conducted,(for those who don’t know, a meta study is the extensive study of many different peer-reviewed scientific studies) many people were under the impression that these were not “all that” harmful to humans, however by using the meta study (the study of many peer-reviewed studies from over 71 countries), the scientists discovered that the level of human harm is much higher than was previously thought.  Indeed, they discovered that there is no “acceptable” level, in fact, chronic low-level exposure is extremely harmful and can lead to problems in babies and children that include lower I.Q., problems with the mechanics of the brain, learning disabilities and memory problems.  Should many children have these problems it will become a societal problem.

I’m leaving the link to this information below.  Scary stuff indeed.

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 https://www.care2.com/causes/theres-no-safe-limit-of-pesticide-exposure-for-children-says-a-new-study.html

 

What’s the What with Beet Juice?

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I recently saw a post on Instagram about the benefits of beet juice and decided to check it out.  What I found was interesting, and I’m excited to say that I’ll be adding this juice to my “to-drink” list.  Some of the benefits include helping you exercise longer (and feel better doing so), lowering blood pressure, improve blood flow, may improve muscle power in people who are suffering from heart failure, slow dementia, and help with maintaining a healthy weight.  Other benefits include preventing cancer because beets contain the antioxidant betalaines which are known to work against some cancer cells.  Beets also have the following minerals:  potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, sodium, zinc, copper and selenium all of which are beneficial to our bodies.

Other good things found in beets are folate and vitamin C.  Some studies have shown that beet juice can reduce the fatty substances that may build up in your liver, and it also shows that it may help reduce cholesterol.

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There are some things to know before you decide to drink beet juice.  Like turmeric, beet juice may change the color of your urine, in this case to either red or pink (turmeric can make it quite yellow).  Also, it’s suggested that you introduce the juice to your diet slowly to give your body a chance to adjust.  All I can say is, thank goodness I’ve hung onto my juicer.  I’ll let you know how this new adventure into beet juice goes!