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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Junk Food Alert

Burger King settled the lawsuit filed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) by agreeing to warn customers that its grilled chicken entrées contain PhIP, one of a group of carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines that are produced when meats are cooked at high temperatures, as in grilling or barbecuing.

PCRM had filed the lawsuit in 2008 against Burger King, along with McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, Chili’s Grill and Bar Restaurant, and T.G.I. Friday’s in January 2008 for knowingly exposing their customers to PhIP without warning them of its risks. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Top 10 Foods For Healthy Hair

When it comes to healthy hair, it’s not just what you put on your tresses that count -- it’s what you put in your body, too.

"Lather, rinse, repeat" may be standard advice, but shampoo and conditioner alone won't give you the healthy hair you crave. For the most luxurious locks possible, you'll need to step out of the shower, and into the kitchen.

"Your hair grows about 1/4 to 1/2 inch every month, and the foundation of all of our new hair, skin, and nail growth is the nutrients we eat," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, a Chicago-based dietitian. "If you eat a healthy diet, you will grow stronger and healthier cells throughout your entire body -- inside and out."

If you were born with fine, thin hair, you'll never have rope-thick tresses -- no matter what you eat -- but a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of growth-promoting protein and iron can make a difference, say nutrition and hair experts.

And beware of dietary supplements often marketed to thicken hair or make it grow faster. They may backfire. Read the entire article.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Diabetes Slows Brain Function

Mild diabetes slows mental function, even when kept under tight control, a Canadian study shows.

It's not a huge cognitive defect, but it seems to appear early in the course of type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, the defect does not snowball over time, at least for those with mild or moderate diabetes.

The finding comes from a study of 570 adults aged 53 to 90, including 41 patients with "relatively mild" type 2 diabetes, who undergo mental function exams every three years.

Earlier studies have linked diabetes to a decline in mental function. But not all mental functions are affected equally, find Roger A. Dixon, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Diabetes patients had normal reaction times and normal perceptual speed. But they were slower on tasks requiring rapid and precise processing of new verbal information. The defects involved speed and not verbal fluency.

"There could be some ways to compensate for these declines, at least early and with proper management," Dixon says in a news release.

The good news is that the gap in mental function between people with and without diabetes did not increase with age. Although the defects Dixon and colleagues detected were not "clinically significant," the researchers' more recent work suggests these small defects may foreshadow additional decline in mental function for some patients.

The findings appear in the January issue of Neuropsychology.

Source: diabetes.webmd.com

Friday, February 20, 2009

How To Feed A Vegan

With the increase of vegans within everybody's social circle of friends, here's a WikiHow on feeding a vegan for several days. Maybe you'll have somebody visiting this year or maybe there's a family member. With a few tips and a bit of understanding, you'll sail right through the meals. You may even find out how delicious vegan food is for yourself. Read the entire article.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Scientific Research: Omega-3s

As you will see from the scientific paper below, if you can take just one supplement, this one goes a long way for health. Consider these scientific statements from research done:

• 1,000 mg a day of a fish oil concentrate reduced the risk of sudden death from heart‐related causes by 45% - April 9, 2002 issue of Circulation

• Women who consumed a minimum of five servings of fish per week over a 16‐year period lowered their risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by more than a third, and reduced their risk of fatal heart attack by half. - April 10, 2002 issue of JAMA

• Men without heart disease were 81% less likely to experience sudden death due to fatal arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) when their blood levels of omega‐3 fatty acids were high regardless of their age, smoking habits or amount of other types of fatty acids in their blood. - April 11, 2002 New England Journal of Medicine

• Patients who ate fish and had high serum levels of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), (EPA), and (DHA) reduced their risk of all‐cause mortality in direct relation to the amounts consumed. Patients who consumed the most omega‐3 had a 55% lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke, and a 51% lower risk of death from coronary artery disease. - American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 2003).

Scientific Research on Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids


Omega-3 essential fatty acids are a form of polyunsaturated fats. These are one of four basic types of fat that the body derives from food. (Cholesterol, saturated fat and monounsaturated fat are the others). Consumption of high amounts of food rich in saturated fats has been associated with degenerative diseases such as heart disease and even cancer.

However, consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3s is actually good for you. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are reported to be beneficial in controlling many metabolic disorders such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, psychological disorders, inflammatory conditions (including arthritis), skin disorders and non-insulin-dependent (or type II) diabetes.

Omega-3s are considered “essential” fatty acids because they are essential to human health but cannot be manufactured by the body. They must be obtained through the diet or supplementation. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two important omega-3 fatty acids. Both EPA and DHA are found primarily in cold-water fish.

Cardiovascular Benefits
Omega-3 essential fatty acids may be helpful for a variety of health concerns. Its best-documented benefits are for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease.3 The body uses Omega-3s as one of the primary structural components to form membranes surrounding our cells.1, 2 Without a sufficient supply of
polyunsaturated omega-3s, the body will use saturated fat to construct cell membranes.

This results in cell membranes and blood vessels that are less elastic, which has a negative effect on the cardiovascular system. Studies suggest that EPA and DHA found in fish oil aid in reducing risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Studies have shown that the more omega-3 fatty acids people consume, the lower their overall blood pressure is.4, 5 Those who live in areas of the world where consumption of omega-3s from fish is higher tend to have higher levels of HDL (or good) cholesterol levels and decreased levels of triglycerides (fatty material that circulates in the blood).6, 7, 8

Supplements containing EPA and DHA have been shown to reduce LDL (or bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. Strong evidence also suggests that these substances can help prevent and treat atherosclerosis by inhibiting the development of arterial plaque and blood clots, which both tend to clog arteries.9, 10

Omega-3 fatty acids have the ability to decrease the stickiness of blood cells (called platelet aggregation).11 This reduces such complications as blood clots and stroke. DHA and EPA also act as antioxidants.12 These effects prevent damage to the heart and reduce the risk of heart diseases.

Joint Health
Omega-3 fatty acids may decrease inflammation and reduce pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis.13 EPA and DHA are successful at keeping the body free from inflammation because they can be converted into natural anti-inflammatory substances called prostaglandins and leukotrienes, compounds that help
decrease inflammation and pain.14, 15

While most research has focused on the positive effects of Omega-3 essential fatty acids on rheumatoid arthritis, they may also be helpful for osteoarthritis and other joint conditions. In some laboratory studies, omega-3 fatty acids decreased inflammation and reduced the activity of enzymes that destroy cartilage.16,17

Diabetes
Diabetics may benefit from taking supplements that contain EPA and DHA. Low HDL and high triglyceride levels tend to be associated with people who have type II diabetes. Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oils have been shown to help raise HDL (good cholesterol) and lower triglycerides (fatty material in the blood). 18,19

Osteoporosis
Studies suggest that people who are lacking in certain essential fatty acids (like EPA) are more likely to suffer from bone loss than those with normal levels of these fatty acids. Omega-3s such as EPA help increase calcium absorption in the body, in part by enhancing the effects of vitamin D, reducing urinary excretion of calcium and increasing calcium deposition in bone. All of these improve bone strength and enhance the synthesis of
bone collagen. These effects from essential fatty acids will benefit menopausal women, who are prone to bone loss, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Supplementation with calcium and omega-3 essential fatty acids has been shown to be effective in reducing and preventing osteoporosis in the elderly.20

Skin Health
Essential fatty acid metabolism seems to play a crucial role both in the pathogenesis and treatment of skin conditions such as psoriasis.21 One study showed that people treated with medications and omega-3 fatty acids for psoriasis did better than those treated with medications alone.22 Another study administered
over a 12-month period indicated that that EPA could be beneficial for the long-term treatment of psoriasis.23

Eye and Nervous System Health
DHA plays a critical role in the development of the visual and central nervous system.24 Increased intake of
omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with a decreased risk of developing macular degeneration,25 which is a leading cause of vision loss in the elderly. Lower levels of brain DHA is associated with cognitive impairment.26

In 2001, the FDA allowed DHA to be added to infant formula. Not only does DHA help infant brain development, it may also prevent post-partum depression in nursing mothers.27 Human adults maintain a constant level of DHA in brain tissue. Supplementation of DHA may be helpful in the prevention of psychological disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.28,29 Scientific studies
have found that low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood are associated with depression.30

While DHA plays an important role in the development of the nervous system, it also protects nervous tissues31 and may be of benefit in preventing nerve damage.32

Buy a quality product that's digestible. Nature's Sunshine Omega 3 EPA has lemon oil for digestion so you can assimilate it without burping fish oils. If you're burping, you're not assimilating the fish oil for use.

1. Stillwell W, Wassall SR. Docosahexaenoic acid: membrane properties of a unique fatty acid. Chem Phys Lipids. 2003 Nov;126(1):1-27.
2. Broughton KS; Morgan LJ. Frequency of (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid consumption induces alterations in tissue lipid composition and eicosanoid synthesis in CD-1 mice. J Nutr. 1994 Jul, 124:7, 1104-11.
3. Richter WO. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids from fish reduce sudden cardiac death in patients with coronary heart disease. Eur J Med Res. 2003 Aug 20;8(8):332-6.
4. Ait-Yahia D, Madani S, Savelli JL, Prost J, Bouchenak M, Belleville J. Dietary fish protein lowers blood pressure and alters tissue polyunsaturated fatty acid composition in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Nutrition. 2003 Apr;19(4):342-6.
5. Woodman RJ, Mori TA, Burke V, Puddey IB, Watts GF, Beilin LJ. Effects of purified eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids on glycemic control, blood pressure, and serum lipids in type 2 diabetic patients with treated hypertension. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Nov;76(5):1007-15.
6. Wolfram G. Dietary fatty acids and coronary heart disease. Eur J Med Res. 2003 Aug 20;8(8):321-4.
7. Dallongeville J, Yarnell J, Ducimetiere P, Arveiler D, Ferrieres J, Montaye M, Luc G, Evans A, Bingham A, Hass B, Ruidavets JB, Amouyel P. Fish consumption is associated with lower heart rates. Circulation. 2003 Aug 19;108(7):820-5. Epub 2003 Aug 11.
8. Marchioli R. [Omega-3 and coronary heart disease]. Minerva Cardioangiol. 2003 Sep;51(5):561-76. Italian.
9. Masley SC. Dietary therapy for preventing and treating coronary artery disease. Am Fam Physician. 1998 Mar 15;57(6):1299-1306, 1307-9. Review.
10. Hasler CM, Kundrat S, Wool D. Functional foods and cardiovascular disease. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2000 Nov;2(6):467-75. Review.
11. Galan P, De Bree A, Mennen L, Potier De Courcy G, Preziozi P, Bertrais S, Castetbon K, Hercberg S. Background and rationale of the SU.FOL.OM3 study: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled secondary prevention trial to test the impact of supplementation with folate, vitamin B6 and B12 and/or omega-3 fatty acids on the prevention of recurrent ischeamic events in subjects with atherosclerosis in the coronary or cerebral arteries. J Nutr Health Aging. 2003;7(6):428-35.
12. Barbosa DS, Cecchini R, El Kadri MZ, Rodriguez MA, Burini RC, Dichi I. Decreased oxidative stress in patients with ulcerative colitis supplemented with fish oil omega-3 fatty acids. Nutrition. 2003 Oct;19(10):837-42.
13. Adam O. Dietary fatty acids and immune reactions in synovial tissue. Eur J Med Res. 2003 Aug 20;8(8):381-7.
14. Heller AR, Theilen HJ, Koch T. Fish or chips? News Physiol Sci. 2003 Apr;18:50-4.
15. Calder PC. Dietary modification of inflammation with lipids. Proc Nutr Soc. 2002 Aug;61(3):345-58.
16. University of Maryland Medical Center. Omega-3 Fatty Acids. 2008. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/omega-3-000316.htm Accessed January 27, 2009.
17. Curtis CL, Hughes CE, Flannery CR, Little CB, Harwood JL, Caterson B. n-3 fatty acids specifically modulate catabolic factors involved in articular cartilage degradation. J Biol Chem. 2000 Jan 14;275(2):721-4.
18. Shimura T, Miura T, Usami M, Ishihara E, Tanigawa K, Ishida H, Seino Y. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) improved glucose and lipid metabolism in KK-Ay mice with genetic non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Biol Pharm Bull. 1997 May;20(5):507-10.
19. Lichtenstein AH, Schwab US. Relationship of dietary fat to glucose metabolism. Atherosclerosis. 2000 Jun;150(2):227-43.
20. Kruger MC, Coetzer H, de Winter R, Gericke G, van Papendorp DH. Calcium, gamma-linolenic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid supplementation in senile osteoporosis. Aging (Milano). 1998 Oct;10(5):385-94.
21. Das UN, Vijaykumar K, Madhavi N, Suryaprabha P, Sravankumar G, Ramesh G, Koratkar R, Sagar PS, Padma M. Psoriasis: current concepts and new approaches to therapy. Med Hypotheses. 1992 May;38(1):56-62.
22. Danno K, Sugie N. Combination therapy with low-dose etretinate and eicosapentaenoic acid for psoriasis vulgaris. J Dermatol. 1998 Nov;25(11):703-5.
23. Kojima T, Terano T, Tanabe E, Okamoto S, Tamura Y, Yoshida S. Long-term administration of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid provides improvement of psoriasis. Dermatologica. 1991;182(4):225-30.
24. University of Maryland Medical Center. DHA. 2008. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/docosahexaenoicacid-000300.htm Accessed January 27, 2009.
25. Seddon JM, Cote J, Rosner B. Progression of age-related macular degeneration: association with dietary fat, transunsaturated fat, nuts, and fish intake. Arch Ophthalmol. 2003 Dec;121(12):1728-37.
26. Lipids. 2000 Dec;35(12):1305-12.
27. Medscape Medical News. ACS Abstract: AGFD 28 (495307). April 8, 2002.
28. Naturwissenschaften. 2003 Nov;90(11):521-3. Epub 2003 Oct 10.
29. Arch Neurol. 2003 Jul;60(7):940-6.
30. Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 9th ed.Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2007.
31. Neuroreport. 2003 Dec 19;14(18):2457-61.
32. Diabetes. 2003 Oct;52(10):2578-85.

7 Rules of Taking a Nap

The whys of taking naps are that they improve mood, creativity, memory function, heart health, and so much else, but some people claim they’re unable to nap during the day; they just can’t fall asleep, or when they do nap, they wake up groggy and unable to work.

The first thing you should know is, feeling sleepy in the afternoon is normal. It doesn’t mean you had a big lunch, or that you’re depressed, or you’re not getting enough exercise. That’s just how animals’ cycles work — every 24 hours, we have two periods of intense sleepiness. One is typically in the wee hours of the night, from about 2am to 4am, and the other is around 10 hours later, between 1pm and 3pm.

If you’re a night owl and wake up later in the morning, that afternoon sleepiness may come later; if you’re an early bird, it may come earlier. But it happens to everyone; we’re physiologically hardwired to nap. Read on for the rest of the tips.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Indoor Air Check

Bud Offermann's targets are invisible contaminants, like dust mites, mold spores, or volatile organic compounds, that homeowners worry might be damaging their health.
Cleaning, ventilating, even buying some plants, are easy ways you can improve indoor air quality.

Cleaning, ventilating, even buying some plants, are easy ways you can improve indoor air quality.

"People come to me with all sorts of concerns," says Offermann, president of San Francisco--based Indoor Environmental Engineering, an air-quality consulting firm. "They have small kids with allergies, or they are having symptoms themselves."

For $1,500, he conducts a complete air-quality checkup. If the complaint is a respiratory ailment, he checks for mold in bathrooms, kitchens, and air-handling systems. If nothing turns up, he'll explore inside wall cavities and take air samples for laboratory analysis.

Offermann's more chemically sensitive clients sometimes call complaining of a generalized funk he terms "brain fog." In those cases, he tests for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemical compounds that can be emitted by wall-to-wall carpet, finishes, plywood, and other construction materials.

"It's kind of like detective work," he says. And these days, Offermann is busier than Mike Hammer after a triple homicide. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the air inside our homes and offices is up to five times more polluted than even the smoggiest industrial town.

Asthma in children, who inhale 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults, has been directly linked to the presence of dust mites, mold, and pet dander.

More formidable airborne enemies include radon, an invisible gas produced by uranium in the soil under your house; secondhand smoke; and poisonous gases like carbon monoxide, which can be emitted from poorly maintained gas stoves, furnaces, or fireplaces, and can cause headaches, chest pains, even death.

Read the entire article to gather some tips on your indoor air quality.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Eggs Safe For Heart and Weight Loss

In a recent study, eating two eggs for breakfast, as part of a reduced-calorie diet, helped overweight or obese adults lose 65 percent more weight and reduce their body mass index (BMIs) by 61 percent.

If you 're really fond of eggs, then you need not worry about relishing one too many. An egg a day's contribution to the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in healthy adults is just one percent, according to a new study funded by an industry body.

Poor diet, smoking, obesity and physical inactivity contribute a whopping 30-40 percent to heart disease risk, depending on gender.

The study, funded by the Egg Nutrition Centre and published online in Risk Analysis, substantiates decades of research challenging the myth that the cholesterol in eggs is linked to increased heart disease risk.

This study adds to more than 30 years of research showing that healthy adults can eat eggs without significantly affecting their risk of heart disease. Read the entire article.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Diabetic Children Low In Vitamin D

Almost 75 percent of children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes have insufficient levels of vitamin D, researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston report. A deficit in vitamin D can lead to bone problems later in life, especially among those with type 1 diabetes.

Diabetes is associated with a reduction in bone mineral density, which can make bones more fragile, Svoren noted. Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of fracture in these children later in life, she added. In addition, vitamin D may have a role in the risk for developing type 1 diabetes. Read the entire article.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Good and Bad of Denial

by Donna L. Watkins

Richard M. Cohen writes in Lifting a Life Above Illness - Blindsided - A Reluctant Memoir, about his process of the journey with a degenerative autoimmune disease.

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Palamedes Swallowtail at Bivens Arm Nature Park
Although not written with a Christian viewpoint of healing, and with a bit of cussing, the book was very inspirational to the fortitude and mental processing of diagnosis and progression of a devastating disease.

I have determined from the beginning that the disease would not be the end-all to the diagnosis, but that Jesus died for our healing and that we can walk it out if we listen closely and seek the path towards it. We must all find our own "method" of living with such a life change, so there is no one path to seek in finding our way out.

He writes his thoughts after getting the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis by phone: "At that moment, my journey to a strange new land began. That place would be both exotic and rude. There would be no certain return. 'Illness is an unexplored frontier,' Virginia Woolf wrote in a 1925 essay. Sickness would take its place with love and war and jealousy as the forces of a newly defined life. They would be joined by coping, a word I did not really know."

Disease can bring about a lot of good in one's life. It certainly has in mine. I would not want to have lived without it, because I feel I would have never really lived. I was always in super speed mode. I am actually grateful to have been given a chance to slow down and really choose what I wanted my life to be all about.

God promises to use the bad circumstances in our lives for good, but often the "systems" of the world tell us that something is impossible, when in reality it is not. God's Word is more Truth to me than what the world (or medical system) has to say, and so my goal has always been healing ... although I can't claim that it's always been my focus. More on that later.

Obviously, any person with a disease that affects every waking moment requires learning a lot about living in a manner other than what they were used to. Having rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has required that of me. There is the realm of denial that all must process through in various ways and various lengths of time. I thought Cohen made a grand analysis of this word that is generally thought of as being bad for us:

"Serious sickness was a large reality sandwich for a skinny young man to swallow. I seem to have viscerally and quite accidentally stumbled upon a coping mechanism of some value. Denial. Misused by amateur shrinks. Misjudged by those who just think it is bad. Misunderstood by those who have not thought it through. Yes, denial can put the brain to sleep, anesthetizing the mind that refuses to face the truth and see the approaching freight train hauling the heavy load of hard reality. But denial has two sides, and I have been favored by its more attractive side.

For me, denial has been the linchpin of the determination to cope and to hope. Denial allows any individual with a problem to invent his or her personal reality and to move forward with life in the belief that he or she is in control and can do what needs to be done to keep going. Denial encourages anyone to test perceived limits and, as a consequence, to postpone concessions.

There is nothing wrong with that. MS lasts a lifetime, and I have learned that self-knowledge and coping arrive in their own time. I was setting out to prove to the jury of one, me, that I was just like everyone. I was not like everyone anymore, of course, and would not be again, but I could not bring myself to face that simple fact. Not yet."


Months back I realized that I have lived too comfortably in a suite of denial rooms with pieces of my life tucked neatly away into each of them. I had found a supplement program that managed the pain well enough, although the deformity and destruction of RA moved right along. My energy pattern resembled a jackrabbit, a day of darting about to catch up on tasks, or a sloth, sitting frozen still with severe fatigue.

My focus was on being strong and managing with the disease, staying close to God, with my emotions held captive in the dungeon, not allowed to see the light of day because what we allow ourselves to dwell on will become who we are.

In being strong and working hard to ignore the destruction, I was quite cozy with denial of some sort. What I recently realized was that I had not faced the disease head-on for battle. I'm pretty independent and strong-headed, so my conclusion on dealing with RA was to find a way to live with it, although my heart and soul wanted to live without it.

I can relate to Cohen saying, "Human endurance is a vast proportion that most of us do not realize. We think we are weak, failing to recognize our intrinsic strength. I was stronger than ever I realized."

During this period of many years, God has done so much in my life and personality and giftings. While the devil stirs up strife and sickness, God is all the while using it for our good (if we will love him through it as Romans 8 explains). Oh! the glorious Light of His love in the midst of all our darkness.

Cohen's father also had MS and he recounts that his father simply went about his business saying, "When limitations came on, I just went along with them ... I did not involve myself with histrionics, saying, 'Oh lord, I am going to be a cripple.' I just went day to day." As Richard Cohen states, "That is the crux of the coping challenge, to keep the ball in play and the door to dramatics shut tight."

What a great ball game that is. It's like ignoring the elephant in a small room, but yet you know if you acknowledge the elephant you will also be trampled by it.

For now my comforts of denial have been thoroughly cleaned out, no longer of use, and the dumpster now even holds the passiveness I've lived in, as I am now in direct battle with the disease. I scheduled the attack on every front. A prayer session at church, a dear intercessor friend who stands with me, an herbal program that is not just pain-centered, but healing and building, along with rebound exercise that keeps the lymphatic system cleaned out as the Silver Shield kills off the microorganisms related to RA.

It's paying off. Seeking the Lord daily for His direction, because there's never one set program for healing or regaining health. We are created unique and our bodies mend uniquely.

I was rewarded quickly noticing a difference in energy almost right away, but now that it's been months with steady energy and the ability to do things I've not done for many years, I know in my heart that I'm on the path. My diligence is to stay in such a state of worship realizing how much life has returned to my world and mystically wondering how God will use me when I've completed the path back.

For now ... it's still one day at a time, but they seem to be in a chain rather than solitary, and each one is a warm hug from Papa God. Don't give up! Many of you are fighting illnesses of your own. Don't ever give in and believe it's always going to be this way. Don't allow it! May God give you the insight and determination necessary to mount your own battle against disease ... or maybe join in somebody else's battle.

Related Article: Victim Of A Disease

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© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com.
Link URL is: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Antibiotics Now In Vegetables

For half a century, meat producers have fed antibiotics to farm animals to increase their growth and stave off infections. Now scientists have discovered that those drugs are sprouting up in unexpected places.

Vegetables such as corn, potatoes and lettuce absorb antibiotics when grown in soil fertilized with livestock manure, according to tests conducted at the University of Minnesota.

Today, close to 70 percent of the total antibiotics and related drugs produced in the United States are fed to cattle, pigs and poultry, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Although this practice sustains a growing demand for meat, it also generates public health fears associated with the expanding presence of antibiotics in the food chain.

People have long been exposed to antibiotics in meat and milk. Now, the new research shows that they also may be ingesting them from vegetables, perhaps even ones grown on organic farms. Read the entire article.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Growing Food Anywhere

What happens when two women in a small town realise that vegetables could be planted in the flowerbeds of the local parks and along the edges of the town's cemetery. A revolution, of a planting kind, is born. That's what happened in Todmorden, in Yorkshire. The women started planting rhubarb and chard and other vegetables in municipal tubs by the bus stop, on the railway platform, at the school, in the cemetery, outside the doctors' office. Their goal was to inspire others to start growing vegetables wherever they could: in their own back gardens, on balconies, outside their offices.

They launched their organisation "Incredible Edible Todmorden", with the goal of increasing the amount of local food grown and eaten in the town. Their aim is to have the town self-sufficient in food by 2018. The response has been overwhelming. The local council, to its credit, has given permission to plant 500 fruit trees around the local playing fields and is looking for plots to turn into new allotments. The town used to have 44 allotment sites and now it has only four. Read the entire article.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Eco-Friendly Flooring For Health

If you need to replace your carpets or floors, choose materials that are safe for your health and the planet.

EPA studies have shown that indoor pollutant levels can be two to five times higher than they are outside. To find the source of many of these pollutants, just glance down.

Installation of new carpet and flooring can fill the air with hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including known and suspected carcinogens like formaldehyde and benzene. It can take years for these substances to dissipate. In addition, carpets are often treated with toxic chemicals for mothproofing or to repel soil and moisture. Carpeting is also notorious for trapping toxic lawn chemicals, VOCs, and allergens tracked in from outside.

There are several sustainable flooring options that can minimize indoor pollution and mitigate health problems caused by toxic carpets. You can now choose from a rapidly growing line of carpets and flooring made from recycled and eco-friendly materials.

Durable, stylish, and often less expensive than conventional floors and carpets, these sustainable options provide a responsible and healthy way to enhance your home. Learn more.

Friday, February 6, 2009

EverFlex For Joints

by Shannon Larsen, Health Sciences, Nature's Sunshine Products

EverFlex is a natural dietary supplement for joint support that combines glucosamine, MSM (methylsulfonylmethane), chondroitin, devil’s claw and hyaluronic acid for healthy joint function.

Glucosamine plays a key role in the construction of cartilage, the connective tissue that cushions the joints.1 Glucosamine is an amino sugar that stimulates the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans (the major structural component of cartilage).1 Glucosamine helps replenish hyaluronic acid and synovial fluid (joint lubricant).2 Animal and human studies demonstrate that glucosamine is capable of protecting connective tissues.3,4

MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur compound. Sulfur is required for the production of cartilage.5 Although MSM is found in many fresh foods, it is easily destroyed in cooking and processing. Thus, it makes sense to take dietary supplements of MSM to ensure adequate supply in the body.

Chondroitin is a sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) that is important in maintaining the structural integrity of connective tissue. Glycosaminoglycans such as chondroitin are the building blocks of cartilage and joint fluid (synovial fluid).6 Chondroitin sulfate is produced by chondrocytes and performs the important function of attracting fluid into the cartilage. This gives cartilage its sponge-like form, thereby making it a good shock absorber and draws nutrients to cartilage thereby promoting growth and regeneration.

Evidence suggests that chondroitin sulfate also protects cartilage by inhibiting cartilagedegrading enzymes such as leukocyte elastase.3,7 Studies show that chondroitin may slow the progression of joint degeneration, stabilize the joint space width and modulate bone and joint metabolism.3 Chondroitin may also prevent cartilage breakdown by decreasing the migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes to joints.3

Hyaluronic acid (also known as HA or hyaluronan) is a non-sulfated glycosaminoglycan that occurs naturally throughout the body.8 It is found most abundantly in the skin, cartilage, synovial fluid and eyes.3 Hyaluronic acid plays a major role in joint lubrication and in maintaining joint homeostasis2 and is critical for the health of the joints. Hyaluronic acid may also enhance the synthesis of chondroitin,9 and inhibit the release of enzymes that contribute to the breakdown of cartilage.10

Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is named for the tiny hooks that cover its fruit. Devil’s claw root has been used for thousands of years in Africa.11 Devil’s claw root contains phytochemicals, such as iridoid glycosides including harpagoside, that have soothing effects.3 Studies show that taking devil’s claw root significantly improves physical functioning in many people.11

The nutrients in EverFlex work together to enhance cartilage repair and improve joint function.

Complimentary products include EverFlex Pain Cream, which features the cooling relief of menthol plus cetylated fatty acid esters and MSM.

References:
1. University of Maryland Medical Center. Glucosamine. 2008. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/glucosamine-000306.htm Accessed December 18, 2008.
2. Uitterlinden EJ, Koevoet JL, Verkoelen CF, Bierma-Zeinstra SM, Jahr H, Weinans H, Verhaar JA, van Osch GJ. Glucosamine increases hyaluronic acid production in human osteoarthritic synovium explants. BMC Muscoloskelet Disord. 2008 Sep 11;9:120.
3. Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 9th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2007.
4. Reginster JY, Deroisy R, Rovati LC, Lee RL, Lejeune E, Bruyere O, Giacovelli G, Henrotin Y, Dacre JE, Gossett C. Long-term effects of glucosamine sulphate on osteoarthritis progression: a randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Lancet 2001 Jan 27;357(9252):251-6.
5. University of Maryland Medical Center. Sulfur. 2007. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/sulfur-000328.htm Accessed December 22, 2008.
6. Available at: School of Anatomy and Human Biology–The University of Western Australia. Connective Tissues. 2006. http://www.lab.anhb.uwa.edu.au/mb140/CorePages/Connective/Connect.htm Accessed December 19, 2008.
7. Baici A, Bradamante P. Interaction between human leukocyte elastase and chondroitin sulfate. Chem Biol Interact. 1984 Sep 1;51(1):1-11.
8. Laurent TC, Laurent UB, and Fraser JR. The structure and function of hyaluronan: an overview. Immunol Cell Biol 74:A1-A7, 1996.
9. Kawasaki K, Ochi M, Uchio Y, Adachi N, and Matsusaki M. Hyaluronic acid enhances proliferation and chondroitin sulfate synthesis in cultured chondrocytes embedded in collagen gels. J Cell Physiol 179:142-148, 1999.
10. Dougados M. Sodium hyaluronate therapy in osteoarthritis: arguments for a potential beneficial structural effect. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2000 Oct;30(2 Suppl 1):19-25.
11. University of Maryland Medical Center. Devil’s Claw. 2007. Available at: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/devils-claw-000237.htm

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

1 in 200 U.S. Kids Are Vegetarian

Many parents have had to ride out their kids' food jags — periods when a son or daughter favors mac and cheese over all else or refuses to eat anything that isn't breaded and fried. Those periods usually pass, but what if a child decides to make a permanent dietary change, such as foregoing meat?

It's a question that more and more U.S. parents are facing: a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study reports that some 367,000 kids — or about 1 in 200 — are vegetarians. For the government's first estimate of how many kids avoid meat, researchers interviewed with about 9,000 parents data on their kids' eating habits.

And these numbers might just be part of a much bigger picture: Other surveys suggest the vegetarianism rate could be four to six times higher among older teens, who have more control over what they eat.

Most vegetarians say that it's concern about animal welfare, not health, that prompted them to stop eating meat. The CDC reported anecdotally that adolescent vegetarianism seems to be rising in part to explicit animal slaughter videos found online, but says there isn't enough long-term data to prove that. Read the entire article.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Banish Bad Moods

By Lisa Marshall, DeliciousLivingMag.com

Call it “the blues,” “a funk,” or “waking up on the wrong side of the bed,” we've all felt it at one time or another: For no particular reason, you feel sad or anxious for a day, a week, maybe even several weeks. Muddled thoughts and low energy slow your productivity and wreak havoc on your days. You scour your brain to try to pinpoint what's bothering you, but come up empty.

Americans today fill more than 232 million prescriptions annually for antidepressants — up fourfold from a decade ago. But as rates of both clinical depression and more transient day-to-day mood problems climb, some mental health experts say evaluating diet, lifestyle choices, and your attitude could be key in kicking a persistent bad mood.

“Consider your symptoms a wake-up call,” says psychiatrist James Gordon, MD, author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression. “Something in your life is out of balance.”

It isn't just a hunch that these factors play a role: For decades scientists have believed that depression arises from deficiencies (some of them genetic) in brain chemicals like serotonin. But researchers now realize that blue moods can also be a product of an unhealthy brain structure made up of withering brain cells that, consequently, have trouble communicating. One primary factor that contributes to cell atrophy? A poor diet, says Alan C. Logan, ND, author of The Brain Diet: The Connection Between Nutrition, Mental Health, and Intelligence.

Read entire article with five dietary factors and other lifestyle habits that can mess with your mood.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Victim Of A Disease

by Donna L. Watkins

The book, Lifting a Life Above Illness - Blindsided - A Reluctant Memoir, by Richard M. Cohen, is the story of a young man's journey with multiple sclerosis (MS).

© 2008 Donna L. Watkins - Morningside Living History Farm - Jersey Cow
I could very much relate to this autoimmune disease since I've dealt with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for a couple of decades. Illness takes away our identities in a sense and forces us to adapt and become who we need to be. All in all in actuality we become victims of a disease.

Cohen writes, "My life with MS has now been under way for more than sixteen years. Coping with multiple sclerosis by now had become the long march, surviving and trying to shield the important people in my life from having to deal with it any more than necessary. Managing illness was routine, a day-to-day affair. Exacerbations were more challenging than they were upsetting. MS patients learn to wait patiently for trouble, recognizing inevitability but in no hurry to suffer."

As the disease progressed, Richard had to give up pieces of his lifestyle. Things he could no longer do. I look back and see so much of that .. and am even more aware of what I cannot do, simply because I am now able to do some of those things again. Getting out of denial helps to move one forward when it's time.

However, I saw so much of myself in Richard's book when he went hiking in the mountains at a time with the disease that wisdom would've said not to. He says, "My illness, so long centered in my eyes, was moving firmly south to my legs. More would follow. My calm felt different from numbness. I felt. I accepted. [This] incident gave evidence to the sad fact that hiking across any rough terrain .... should be and would be out of the question. And there was little but tough climbing before me in my life. My mission, as always, had been to prove that I was fit and right as rain, that I could still do things with the best of them. I could not pull it off, however, and the time to learn that lesson was as high in the sky as the desert sun."

I look back at how hard I tried to keep life normal, although normal became whatever the lifestyle was that fit with the progression of the disease. The switch from the retail store to the internet business and working at home. When kitchen work was no longer bearable, I claimed to need a new season of life after having spent so much of mine in the kitchen.

My lifeboat and life vest was my husband, Randal, who flowed with the ever-changing routines like it was just a bend in the river of life. Always willing to help and assist, although rarely were his offers accepted. Anybody with such health challenges knows that the coping is a family event. Each member is also a victim of the disease in some form or fashion, especially a spouse and children within the same household.

After Cohen's neurologist announced him in deep denial, he shouted back, "I deny that," saying, "the weak attempt at humor obscured my flash of anger that this man would so dismissively deconstruct my carefully choreographed defense against the psychological ravages of MS. Of course, the neurologist was correct about my denial. But he did not understand its evolution. I was selectively ignoring limitations. I knew what I was up against. My life was changing. I wanted to keep up with the change in my body by fighting the word no."

I am grateful that this body of mine is working hard to leave the symptoms of RA as a memory. More than that I relish the wonder of the glory of God in my life and His grace to have walked this path. Our days on earth are a drop in the bucket compared to eternity, but we do them them moment by moment and some moments are agonizing for many - emotionally and physically. My heart is with those called "the sick" not only for the disease they carry within their bodies, but for the acceptance of it.

I was blessed to have a doctor for a friend when I lived in Alabama and was diagnosed with the disease. She knew I had no interest in medical treatment since I'd lived a natural health lifestyle for more than a decade before knowing I had RA. I would not consider swapping one disease for a list of side-effects that would require yet more drugs.

My mantra now as I do my rebound exercise daily to keep my energy high and the rebuilding moving along, is Psalm 91. Memorizing Truth is key to keeping your mind filled with it.

Related Article: The Good and Bad of Denial

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© 2009 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from TheNatureInUs.com.
Link URL is: http://www.TheNatureInUs.com

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Finding Safe Toys For Kids

With mounting concerns over lead and formaldehyde in toys, parents are understandably questioning the seemingly innocent toys they use to educate and entertain their kids.

Wood:
Any solid wood toy is preferable to one made with pressed woods, which may contain formaldehyde. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which ensures that the wood came from responsibly managed forests. Also look for wood toys finished with natural oils, such as linseed, walnut and beeswax. Other plant-based oils, such as those made from citrus, can have strong odors that can irritate a young child's sensitive airways, and because ingestion of mineral oil has been associated with inhibited lung functioning and lipoid pneumonia, wood toys finished with mineral oil are not recommended for children under the age of three, who frequently put toys in their mouths.

Cotton, Hemp, Wool:
Opt for organic cotton (grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilizers), unbleached cotton (free of dioxin-producing chlorine), hemp and wool colored with low-impact, colorfast dyes. Wool is naturally fire-resistant--yet another reason to choose it. Also, look for fleece dolls and stuffed animals made from post-consumer recycled materials.

Read shopping tips and view some toy ideas.