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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Tao Te Ching – Verse 29 – We Are the World

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I recently picked up a translation with commentary of the Tao Te Ching at my local libraries’ book sale.  While the book itself was slightly battered, what I found inside is a treasure-trove of wisdom passed down over the last 2,500 years.  Verse 29, We Are the World, relates to today with its emphasis on how the most powerful and wealthy seek to destroy the planet.  Below is Verse 29 as it was translated by Ralph Allan Dale.  Read it, reflect on these powerful words and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Verse 29 – We Are the World

 Those who have most power and wealth

treat the planet as a thing to be possessed,

to be used and abused according to their own dictates.

but the planet is a living organism,

a Great Spiritual Integrity.

 

To violate this Integrity

is certain to cull forth disaster

since each and every one of us

is an inherent part of this very organism.

 

All attempts to control the world

can only lead to its decimation

and to our own demise

since we are an inseparable part

of what we are senselessly trying to coerce.

 

Any attempt to possess the world

can only lead to its loss

and to our own dissolution

since we are an intrinsic part

of what we are foolishly trying to possess.

 

The world’s pulse is our pulse.

The world’s rhythms are our rhythms.

To treat our planet with care, moderation and love

is to be in synchrony with ourselves

and to live in the Great Integrity.

Taken from Tao Te Ching  A New Translation & Commentary by Ralph Alan Dale Copyright 2002 by Ralph Alan Dale

 

 

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

 

 

 

Why Are We Losing I.Q. Points?

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There are a lot of scientific studies out that show that we are losing I.Q. points every year.  This is disturbing news, but there are many indications that maybe we’re losing these points due to the type of I.Q. test that is administered.  Now, my thoughts about this have to do with shortened attention spans, and a lessened importance on education that has become all-pervasive in the U.S.  And, I think that this actually holds water.  There are places in the U.S. where teachers earn so little that they are on food stamps and housing assistance.  At the same time, they are required to have an extensive education – as they should be.  As we know, there have been teacher’s strikes all over the place regarding both salaries and the very state of the schools that they teach in.  Why do schools have exposed wiring and leaky roofs?  And, why do teachers have to supply their classrooms with paper, pencils, crayons, and the like?  Where does the money go?

Starting in the 1980’s there has been a vilification of educated people.  They have notoriously been portrayed as “elites”, and supposedly “out of touch”, interestingly this has usually been done by people who are either millionaires or billionaires (which right there is irony).  Now, I’ve personally seen the work that teachers do.  My mother was a teacher, and the hours are not confined to the hours that a school is open.  There is preparation work that takes place during the summers, and then there are the hours and hours of grading papers which is done outside of “paid” hours.  As someone who home-schooled my two children from grades 3 to 7, I have to say that I’ve got quite an appreciation for the work that teachers do.  And, I only taught 2 children, imagine having to teach 30+ every day!

My other thought is that people have a shortened attention span.  A lot of our activities require fast-paced thoughts and actions.  This can have a detrimental effect on how the growing brain works.  I read Endangered Minds by Jane M. Healy while I was pregnant with my first child.  This book had a huge influence on how I raised my children.  I was raised with none to little television.  Yes, this is true.  I’ve never seen many of the “iconic” shows from the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Do I feel deprived?  No, absolutely not!  I have seen some of these shows later on, and didn’t really feel like I missed anything.  So, believe it or not, my children were also raised without television.  What did we do after dinner?  I read books to them.  Some of these books include, but are not limited to: the Narnia series; Little House in the Big Woods series; and of course, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  There were a lot of other books I read besides.  They also played a lot, and this is extremely important to growing brains, also.

Critical thinking is so important.  You can regurgitate facts until the cows come home, but that doesn’t mean that you understand any of them.  Critical thinking is one of the most important things that people can be taught.  I had my children pick a topic and write me a report on it.  They also had to check where the information they were using came from, who funded the research and whether or not it was a peer-reviewed scientific study.

Do you think that people are losing their intelligence, or that maybe the way we raise, teach and test should be looked into?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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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

 

Zero Waste Lifestyle

Zero-Waste-feat

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