Tuesday, October 05, 2010
The title of today's blog is the headline for a most interesting article I read today in the Life section of USA Today. Though I didn't find it on their website, I DID find the article:
The article says in part, "Yet despite these hazards (the link between alcohol and breast cancer), because alcohol also reduces the risk of coronary artery disease, studies have found that women who indulged in a drink or two a day actually had a slightly lower overall risk of dying from a heart attack....The risk of dying from a sudden heart rhythm disturbance drops, too, by 36 percent, for women who have a drink a day...."
Sooooo, I started wondering whether the heart benefits of wine were equally available by eating the grapes themselves or drinking pure grape juice? Here's a Mayo Clinic response to that question:
DOES GRAPE JUICE OFFER THE SAME HEART BENEFITS AS RED WINE?
Answer from Martha Grogan, M.D.
"It's thought that red or purple grape products may reduce your risk of heart disease by relaxing your blood vessels, allowing your blood to more easily flow. This benefit is most likely due to substances called antioxidants found in the skin and seeds of grapes — especially dark red and purple grapes. One particularly important antioxidant, resveratrol, is also found in grape juice — especially juice made from dark purple Concord grapes.
"Recent studies have suggested that red and purple grape juices may provide some of the same heart benefits of red wine, including:
* Reducing the risk of blood clots
* Reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol
* Preventing damage to blood vessels in your heart
* Helping maintain a healthy blood pressure
"Both red wine and grape juice also contain antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to increase your high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good") cholesterol and lower your risk of clogged arteries (atherosclerosis), and may help lower blood pressure.
"Eating whole red or purple grapes has benefits, as well. Some research suggests eating whole grapes also delivers the same antioxidants that are in grape juice and wine. You also get the benefit of the fiber if you eat whole grapes.
"These findings on grape juice are good news for people who want the cardiovascular benefits of red wine without the alcohol. Remember, if you do choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation — no more than one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men."
Though I don't generally drink juices (I prefer the fruits from which the juice is derived), Knudsen's Organic Concord Grape 100% Juice is my choice when I do! Funny thing, I used to hesitate to buy it because of the price. But when I compare it to a good bottle of wine (other than the Trader Joe's Shaw wine!), it's a bargain!
With Kaligirl's comment about polyphenols (a type of antioxidant), I had something else to investigate!
First of all, "Polyphenols are chemicals found in foods that help to prevent the damage of free radicals in the body---unstable molecules that can damage the arteries and cause numerous health problems. Different types of polyphenols exist, and eating a wide variety of foods will ensure you get the healthiest diet possible. Several studies have been conducted in an attempt to learn which foods contribute the highest levels of polyphenols to our bodies."
I wanted to know more about these food sources of them. The one I quoted from above was especially concise, and continued:
"The USDA lists blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, citrus fruits and other fruits as good sources of polyphenols...dark grapes, bilberries, cherries, apples, dark plums, blackberries and blueberries were all good sources as well. Fruit juices, such as grape juice, can render especially high levels of polyphenols. All fruits contain polyphenols or other antioxidants, and a healthy diet should contain around three servings of color-rich berries, citrus, melons, fruits with a pit or other fruits each day."
The article continues, discussing all food sources for polyphenols:
Friday, September 24, 2010
Inspired this morning by my friend PennyAn's sharing of some of the riches of one of my heroes, poet-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal.asp?id=PENNYAN45 I decided to share a poignant poem by a contemporary poet-philosopher -- Naomi Shihab Nye, a political, spiritual Palestinian-American from Texas(!), who also *speaks to* my heart, mind, and soul.
The blog title, The Words Under the Words, is the name of the collection in which this piece is found. (I highly recommend anything by her!) www.amazon.com/Words-Under-Selected-
Poems-Corner/dp/0933377290 I love what the great poet William Stafford says about her, "Reading her work enhances life."
These shriveled seeds we plant,
corn kernel, dried bean,
poke into loosened soil,
cover over with measured fingertips
These T-shirts we fold into
perfect white squares
These tortillas we slice and fry to crisp strips
This rich egg scrambled in a gray clay bowl
This bed whose covers I straighten
smoothing edges till blue quilt fits brown blanket
and nothing hangs out
This envelope I address
so the name balances like a cloud
in the center of sky
This page I type and retype
This table I dust till the scarred wood shines
This bundle of clothes I wash and hang and wash again
like flags we share, a country so close
no one needs to name it
The days are nouns: touch them
The hands are churches that worship the world
~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~
(The Words Under the Words)
Naomi Shihab Nye was born on March 12, 1952, in St. Louis, Missouri, to a Palestinian father and an American mother. During her high school years, she lived in Ramallah in Jordan, the Old City in Jerusalem, and San Antonio, Texas, where she later received her B.A. in English and world religions from Trinity University.
Nye is the author of numerous books of poems, including You and Yours (BOA Editions, 2005), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, as well as 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), a collection of new and selected poems about the Middle East, Fuel (1998), Red Suitcase (1994), and Hugging the Jukebox (1982).
Nye gives voice to her experience as an Arab-American through poems about heritage and peace that overflow with a humanitarian spirit. About her work, the poet William Stafford has said, "her poems combine transcendent liveliness and sparkle along with warmth and human insight. She is a champion of the literature of encouragement and heart. Reading her work enhances life."
Nye has received awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Carity Randall Prize, the International Poetry Forum, as well as four Pushcart Prizes. She has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow. In 1988 she received The Academy of American Poets' Lavan Award, selected by W. S. Merwin.
Her poems and short stories have appeared in various journals and reviews throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle and Far East. She has traveled to the Middle East and Asia for the United States Information Agency three times, promoting international goodwill through the arts.
She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2010.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I read this depressing news in Daily Finance today. It's just the sort of thing that we SparkPeople are out to defeat by taking control of our health and our lives!
Whenever I see obese people, I immediately think about how the Spark Program could guide them in changing their life! There's gotta' be a way to share this great resource without offending others...?
NUMBER OF FAT PEOPLE IN US TO GROW, REPORT SAYS
By Greg Kellerap
PARIS -Citizens of the world's richest countries are getting fatter and fatter and the United States is leading the charge, an organization of leading economies said Thursday in its first ever obesity forecast.
Three out of four Americans will be overweight or obese by 2020, and disease rates and health care spending will balloon, unless governments, individuals and industry cooperate on a comprehensive strategy to combat the epidemic, the study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said.
The Paris-based organization, which brings together 33 of the world's leading economies, is better known for forecasting deficit and employment levels than for measuring waistlines. But the economic cost of excess weight -- in health care, and in lives cut short and resources wasted -- is a growing concern for many governments.
Franco Sassi, the OECD senior health economist who authored the report, blamed the usual suspects for the increase.
"Food is much cheaper than in the past, in particular food that is not particularly healthy, and people are changing their lifestyles, they have less time to prepare meals and are eating out more in restaurants," said Sassi, a former London School of Economics lecturer who worked on the report for three years.
That plus the fact that people are much less physically active than in the past means that the ranks of the overweight have swelled to nearly 70 percent in the U.S. this year from well under 50 percent in 1980, according to the OECD.
In 10 years, a full 75 percent of Americans will be overweight, making it "the fattest country in the OECD," the report said.
The same factors driving the epidemic in the U.S. are also at work in other wealthy and developing countries, Sassi said. "There is a frightening increase in the epidemic," Sassi said, "We've not reached the plateau yet."
The lifespan of an obese person is up to 8-10 years shorter than that of a normal-weight person, the OECD said, the same loss of lifespan incurred by smoking.
In the U.S. the cost in dollars of obesity, including higher health care spending and lost production, is already equivalent to 1 percent of the country's total gross domestic product, the report said. That compares to half a percent in other OECD countries, Sassi said.
These costs could rise two- or threefold over the coming years, the OECD said, citing another study that forecast obesity and overweight-related health care costs would rise 70 percent by 2015 and could be 2.4 times higher than the current level in 2025.
The OECD found that rates of obesity, defined as a body mass index above 30, show a wide variation across its member countries, ranging from as little as 3-4 percent of the population in Japan and Korea to around one-third in the U.S. and Mexico.
"However, rates are also increasing in these countries," the OECD said. Outside the OECD, obesity rates are rising at similarly fast rates in countries such as Brazil, China, India and Russia.
The OECD advises governments on economic growth, social development and financial stability.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The Fall Equinox is tonight at 10:09 PM Central Daylight Time.
My dear friend Pamela said it so well: "The equinoxes and solstices are important moments to make our commitments for the next quarter. We have a great opportunity to align with the galactic forces and have universal collaboration with and support for what we have chosen to commit to. The effects of our prayers, meditations and rituals are quantum as the planets are aligning."
This year is special, because the Autumn Equinox occurs within hours of the Full Moon. This last happened in 1991 and will not happen again until 2029.
The Harvest Full Moon is at 4:18AM early Thursday morning.
Here is a wonderful "3-Minute Moon Ritual" from my favorite astrological site for any who are so inclined to bathe in the galactic resonance at this time of cosmic power:
FULL MOON IN ARIES (SUN IN LIBRA)
DRAWING DOWN THE MOON....
Imagine above you the round glowing disc of the moon, bathing you in a protective circle of light. Vibrant with energy, your space is transformed, filled with the purity of spirit. Stand and raise your arms above your head. Let your palms face each other and curve slightly toward the moon. Feel as though you’re a sacred chalice, drawing the power of the Great Mother into every cell of your being—from your toes, to your womb, to your breasts, to your jaw, and your eyes. Feel the pleasure of this energy. It is vibrant with the power to give, to receive, to nurture life, and manifest what is possible.
SENDING YOUR BLESSINGS....
Draw your hands to your heart. Massage this area. Imagine that you have become a Full Moon goddess (and that includes any male SparkFriends reading this...get in touch with the aspect of your divine feminine nature!), capable of balancing the earth and harmonizing its opposing forces. In particular you are tuned to the energies of Aries and Libra, the complementary energies of "me" and "we."
Aries wonders, "Who am I?" Libra wonders, "Who are you—and how can we work together?" Aries is adventurous, individualistic, and trailblazing. Through Aries we feel our existence as an independent being, capable of taking action, without needing approval or support. Libra is harmonizing, beautifying, and partnership-oriented. Its primary purpose is sharing—ideas, experiences, space—with others. Aries and Libra are opposing signs, but together they make for a balanced world. Our Libran ability to relate to others is diminished without a secure sense of our own identity. Our Aries efforts are unsuccessful when we alienate others and are uncooperative.
Full Moons bring an opportunity to balance and harmonize its opposing signs.
Too much Aries and we’re combative, self-absorbed, impatient. Too much Libra and we’re indecisive, uncommitted, people-pleasing. For the center of this ritual, imagine that the forces of Aries and Libra come to life in their archetypal form—as the Warrior and the Goddess. As you breathe in the weakness of each of these archetypes, you will breathe out the healing strength of the other. In this way, you will reconcile and balance these energies within yourself around the globe. Your sacred work has that power. Believe in it! Find a comfortable rhythm working with the images and your breath. Repeat the statements until you feel a transformation:
The warrior, angry, lonely and in fear.
The tender goddess, soothing the warrior with her healing touch.
The goddess, feeling ineffective, indecisive, and overwhelmed.
The warrior, who protects her and leads the way.
The warrior raising his club, the goddess calling him names.
The goddess, soft and smiling, as the warrior drops his club, and the two embrace.
GROUNDING THE ENERGY....
See the world bathed in the purifying light of your offering: the sleeping babies, the politicians arguing, the starving children, liars and thieves. See the world transforming with this light, growing peaceful and calm. When you are ready, bring your hands to your sides, palms facing the earth. Send your divine light deep into the earth. See this energy take shape as a round moon, gathering below you in the center of the earth. Feel yourself slowly coming back into your body. Rest in this peace until you are ready to return to your life.
I just sent an email out to a handful of local sisters suggesting that we gather to share the ritual this evening, after being inspired by KaliGirl's comment about sending it out to 3-D friends!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Jumping wild salmon
FDA TO CONSIDER APPROVAL OF MODIFIED SALMON
By Mary Clare Jalonickap
WASHINGTON -Tinker with the genetics of salmon and maybe you create a revolutionary new food source that could help the environment and feed the hungry.
Or maybe you're creating what some say is an untested "frankenfish" that could cause unknown allergic reactions and the eventual decimation of the wild salmon population.
The genetically-modified AquAdvantage salmon
The FDA says that the AquAdvantage salmon "is as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon." Of course, according to Seafood Watch, one should AVOID Atlantic Salmon: www.montereybayaquarium.org
The Food and Drug Administration hears both arguments Monday when it begins a two-day meeting on whether to approve the marketing of the genetically engineered fish, which would be the first such animal approved for human consumption. The agency has already said the salmon, which grows twice as fast as conventional salmon, is as safe to eat as the traditional variety.
Approval of the salmon would open the door for a variety of other genetically engineered animals, including an environmentally friendly pig that is being developed in Canada or cattle that are resistant to mad cow disease.
"For future applications out there the sky's the limit," said David Edwards of the Biotechnology Industry Association. "If you can imagine it, scientists can try to do it."
AquaBounty submitted its first application for FDA approval in 1995, but the agency decided not until two years ago to consider applications for genetically engineered animals -- a move seen as a breakthrough by the biotechnology industry.
Genetic engineering is already widely used for crops, but the government until now has not considered allowing the consumption of modified animals. Although the potential benefits -- and profits -- are huge, many individuals have qualms about manipulating the genetic code of other living creatures.
Genetically engineered -- or GE -- animals are not clones, which the FDA has already said are safe to eat. Clones are copies of an animal. With GE animals, their DNA has been altered to produce a desirable characteristic.
In the case of the salmon, AquaBounty has added a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon that allows the fish to produce their growth hormone all year long. The engineers were able to keep the hormone active by using another gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout that acts like an on switch for the hormone, according to the company. Conventional salmon only produce the growth hormone some of the time.
In documents released ahead of the hearing, the FDA said there were no biologically relevant differences between the engineered salmon and conventional salmon, and there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from its consumption.
Critics have two main concerns: The safety of the food to humans and the salmon's effect on the environment.
Because the altered fish has never been eaten before, they say, it could include dangerous allergens, especially because seafood is highly allergenic. They also worry that the fish will escape and intermingle with the wild salmon population, which is already endangered.They would grow fast and consume more food to the detriment of the conventional wild salmon, the critics fear.
A wide range of environmental, food safety and consumer groups have argued that more public studies are needed and the current FDA process is inadequate because it allows the company to keep some proprietary information private. Modified foods are regulated under the same process used for animal drugs.
"It is outrageous to keep this vital information secret," said Wenonah Hauter, director of the advocacy group Food & Water Watch. "Consumers have a right to know what FDA is trying to allow into our food supply."
Dr. Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, says the agency is relying on too little data, much of which is supplied by the company itself.
"FDA has set the bar very low," he said.
Ron Stotish, the chief executive of AquaBounty, countered that the company has more than addressed the concerns, and his product has come under much more scrutiny than most food.
"This is perhaps the most studied fish in history," he said. "Environmentally this is a very sustainable technology."
The company has several safeguards in place to allay concerns. All the fish would be bred female and sterile, though a small percentage may be able to breed. They would be bred in confined pools where the potential for escape would be very low.
In its environmental analysis of the fish released earlier this month, the FDA agreed with the company that there are enough safeguards in place.
Stotish says the fish would be bred in better conditions than many of the world's farmed salmon, and could be located closer to population centers to help feed more people. The company has also said the increase in engineered salmon production could help relieve endangered wild salmon populations.
The company is also arguing that the fish do not need to be labeled as genetically engineered, so the common customer would not know if they were eating the modified product or the conventional product. The second day of the FDA meeting will focus on the labeling question.
"This fish is identical to the traditional food," maintained Stotish. "The label could even be misleading because it implies a difference that doesn't exist."
At the meeting Monday, the FDA, the company and critics will present their findings to an advisory committee, which will in turn advise the FDA. A decision will come after the meeting, though it is unclear how long that will take. If approved, the fish could be in grocery stores in two years, the company estimates.
The industry says their job will be to counter the common impression that the modified salmon are "frankenfish."
"In the story of Frankenstein it was the fear of the people driving it, it wasn't the monster that was evil," says Edwards of the Biotechnology Industry Association. "If you look at the science and the safety and you look at the benefits, they become very exciting products."
See full article from DailyFinance: srph.it/bOc9DZ
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