Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Is Your Grocery List Toxic?
What are you bringing home from the grocery store every week?
By Emily Main
Buy it organic! Soft-skinned fruits routinely test high for pesticide residues.
Strawberries that cause nerve damage, celery that's messing with your fertility…are these what you want in your grocery cart?
Probably not, but an overabundance of pesticides in the U.S. food supply is making even healthy foods less healthy for us. According to the Pesticide Action Network, the average person eats five servings of pesticides through fruits, vegetables, and water ever day.
Fortunately, just in time for farmer's market season, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released its annual Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce, an analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tests for pesticide residues on commonly consumed fruits and vegetables.
What Biotech Pesticides Are Doing to Our Bodies
First the bad news: It doesn't look like levels of pesticide residues are getting any lower, says Sonya Lunder, senior analyst at EWG. Sixty-eight percent of produce samples tested showed detectable levels of pesticides, a number that has remained relatively constant over the six years that the nonprofit as released its report. Eleven percent tested positive for more than five different pesticides.
This all shows that the Environmental Protection Agency isn't doing as much as it should to restrict pesticide use in a way that protects public health, she says. "It's like meeting a 500 mile-per-hour speed limit. They're aimed at stopping the really egregious levels of pesticides." But they aren't stopping low-level exposures to the chemicals, many of which are considered endocrine disruptors, chemicals that interfere with estrogen and testosterone in the body and, in doing so, contribute to infertility, thyroid problems, diabetes and other metabolic disorders, and certain forms of cancer.
More Evidence That Chemicals Are Making You Fat
But you can still avoid those toxic chemicals without breaking the bank. EWG's annual guide provides information on the most heavily contaminated foods—read: the foods you should always buy organic. Take this list with you next time you head to the store.
#1: Nectarines. Every sample of imported nectarines tested positive for pesticide residues, the USDA found, and the average imported nectarine contained more pesticides by weight than any other food.
#2: Bell peppers. Eighty-eight different types of were found on all the samples of sweet bell peppers tested, the most of any vegetable. One bell pepper that was tested had 15 different pesticide residues, the highest of any single vegetable sample.
#3: Leafy greens. The most toxic class of pesticides, organophosphates are commonly used on leafy greens like kale and collard greens. "These are chemicals that were originally intended for chemical warfare," says Lunder, who adds that their use is highly restricted in agriculture. In spite of those restrictions, studies continue to find that even low-level exposure to organophosphates can seriously interfere with your hormones and lead to lower IQs among children who are exposed to them through food.
12 Reasons to Buy Only Organic
#4: Grapes. More pesticides are used on grapes than on any other fruit. Combined, the various samples of grapes contained 64 different pesticides.
#5: Baby food. New to this year's list, baby food was tested by the USDA for the very first time. Based on EWG's analysis of the findings, USDA found high levels of those IQ-killing organophospates as well as a pesticide known to cause cancer.
In addition to those five items, EWG recommends you always buy the following 10 foods organic, due to the high levels of pesticide residues they've been found to carry: apples, celery, peaches, strawberries, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers, domestic blueberries, potatoes, and green beans.
"But pesticide residues are just one part of the picture," says Lunder. Pesticides can make their way onto your dinner table in more ways than just on food, she says, such as in your water glass. Chemicals used on farms routinely wind up in municipal water supplies that aren't equipped to remove them. "The best way to ensure you're getting minimal pesticide exposure is to buy organic," she says, regardless of whether or not the produce tested positive for pesticide residues. Not only are you eating reliably residue-free food, but you're also supporting a farming system that protects your water supply both now and in the future.
Furthermore, a similar analysis of the USDA's pesticide-residue data by Pesticide Action Network has found that huge quantities of pesticides can be applied to foods that don't always wind up on the EWG's list of the most contaminated foods. For instance, sweet potatoes don't test positive for high levels of pesticide residues once they get to you, but USDA data shows that its one of the crops with the highest pesticide use per acre, which makes farming them conventionally toxic to birds, bees, and your water supply.
For EWG's full list and rankings for both the "Dirty Dozen" and "Clean 15" (the fruits and veggies with the lowest pesticide levels), visit ewg.org/foodnews.
I choose to vote with my money to send a message. I buy organic wherever I can.
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
It's going to be a great day! Not working today, my rib is feeling better and I am going to do what I want to do today. Will aim to get back to the gym by the end of the week. And sticking to my eating plan so all is good!
Have a great day everyone! Make good choices, enjoy the journey!
Monday, June 18, 2012
No More Panic Attacks
Your heart races, your head swims. You are suddenly in the grip of something quite frightful. The intense fear and heart attack-like symptoms of a panic attack come on without warning. By definition, these attacks are unprovoked, and figuring out why some people get panic attacks can be challenging. Sometimes they are triggered by fatigue…anxiety…phobias (such as fear of heights)…stress…stimulants (such as caffeine)…low blood sugar… or medication withdrawal. But the good news is that natural therapies can help. Mark Stengler, NMD, a naturopathic medical doctor who is founder and medical director of the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine in Encinitas, California, recommends several natural therapies to his patients. Here’s his advice… .
DURING A PANIC ATTACK
Bach Flower Rescue Remedy. This homeopathic blend of flower extracts, which comes in a spray or drop form, quickly and gently relaxes the nervous system. For panic, use the spray form—and spray once under the tongue every five minutes until anxiety subsides. Available at health-food stores, this product comes in a small, easy-to-carry bottle.
TO PREVENT PANIC ATTACKS
Take AlphaS1-casein hydrolyate. This supplement, made of the milk protein casein, helps to calm the nervous system and has been shown to reduce stress-related symptoms. It is best used preventively for those with anxiety who are prone to regular bouts of panic attacks. Brand to try: Nature’s Plus Dreaminol (800-645-9500, www.NaturesPlus.com for a store locator).
Treat weak adrenal glands. People who are prone to panic attacks often have weak adrenal glands, which keeps the body from effectively coping with stress. Several supplements can help, including the herb ashwagandha and a B-complex vitamin.
Avoid sugar. Eliminating refined sugar from the diet helps to maintain natural blood sugar levels and makes it less likely that you will feel edgy due to a sugar-induced energy roller coaster. To keep your blood sugar on an even keel, eat small amounts of protein throughout the day, such as lean poultry, nuts, legumes and fish.
Have used the Bach Flower remedy, sure helps. Have also used B vitamins, they do too.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Essential Summer Skills for Guys (Part 1)
Now that the sun is shining and you’ve shed your winter "insulation" (right?), here are a few hot tips for any guy wanting to assert his coolness through the summer.
Hand-wash your car. Sure it’s easy to ride over to the local car wash and pay an arm and a leg to have someone else do it for you, but there’s a real satisfaction that comes with washing your own car. Hose off your car first and then use a soft mitt to apply a car-specific shampoo (never use dish soap or other harsh cleaners, as they can damage your paint). Rinse off and dry with a high quality chamois.
Look good at a summer wedding. It’s summertime, so it’s probably not your best bet to show up in a three piece wool number from your high school graduation, and a shirt that looks like you just got off the Big Island is far from a good idea. Daytime weddings offer a more casual option, so pair a flat fronted khaki pant and a pastel shirt (no jacket required). If you’re looking for a more formal option, consider a lighter material like linen or cotton and pair with a crisp white shirt. Forgo the tie (they’re stuffy anyway) and pick out an elegant pocket square to complete your look.
Make your own iced tea, with a twist. As a kid, do you remember your mom or dad making sun tea on the patio? Recapture those same childhood flavors by adding 2 cups of boiling water to a pitcher with 6 bags of orange pekoe or other black tea. Let them steep for 15 minutes. Remove the bags and add in 4 cups of cold water and a blended puree of peaches. Pour over ice for a refreshing summer libation, adding in an ounce of your favorite whiskey for an extra kick.
Create an awesome marinade. Combine one part balsamic vinegar with one part organic olive oil to an array of delicious aromatics like shallots, ginger or any fresh herbs. Salt and pepper your choice of chicken, steak or pork and soak in the marinade for up to 12 hours before tossing onto the grill.
Essential Summer Skills for Guys (Part 2)
Yesterday we gave you guys some hot tips on how to be cool this summer. Today we give you tips on how to be cool, for her.
Cool her off. Everyone loves a massage, but how about a cooling massage after a long, hot day? Stick a bottle of lotion like Kiss My Face Peaches & Cream in the fridge and help her unwind with a scented, cool massage.
Give her the sun, moon and stars. Grab a blanket and head out of the city on a starry night. Pack a pair of high-powered binoculars and see how many stars you can count. Most smartphones have constellation apps, so see how many you can name before checking for the answers. Bring a bottle of wine and relax while unwinding from the universe’s stressors.
Impress her at the beach with stylish trunks. Make sure your gal is staring at you on the beach this summer with a new pair of swimming trunks. You might not be ready for the Beckham baring tiny trunk, but make a statement with whatever you decide to wear while following these tips. Be sure you buy a lined pair of shorts, especially when opting for a light color. When trunks get wet they get see-through. Choose a color that’s right for you. If you’re fair-skinned, choose a light blue, navy or black; darker or tanned skin looks good in brighter colors. If you haven’t yet shed your winter "insulation," make sure you find trunks that don’t pinch your hips and do accentuate your waist. If you’re on the shorter side, don’t go for a trunk that reaches past your mid-thigh.
From Swanson Daily Health Tips email
Friday, June 15, 2012
Thanks to my naturopath I am feeling better. My rib is in, the muscles and cartilage are healing well as he gave me some natural products to help me along.
Hopefully will be back at the gym next week.
In the meantime, still working.
I find it so nice that my two oldest boys are taking a page from their mother. I have raised them to eat healthy but they are taking it to the next level. What goes around, comes around. They are eating a paleo, lower carb diet and also doing cleanses to get themselves in top shape. My second son has even decreased his RA symptoms - pain free yesterday, no meds.
Life is good. Have a great day! Donna
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