Saturday, August 4, 2007

Pressed Veggie Sandwiches - It's Summer!

A pressed sandwich is a loaf of rustic bread that's split, filled with ingredients, and then wrapped and refrigerated overnight under a weight to flatten the layers and meld the flavors. This recipe makes sandwiches with these vegetables, but the basic concept is infinitely variable, so adjust the ingredients if you like. A mandoline ensures that the vegetables are sliced thinly and evenly. You can use store-bought pesto and jarred roasted red peppers in place of homemade.


Serves 6

* 2 cups fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
* 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 red bell pepper (about 7 ounces)
* 1 small eggplant (about 8 ounces), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
* 1 zucchini (about 8 ounces), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
* 1 yellow summer squash (about 7 ounces), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
* Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 2 loaves ciabatta (each about 8 by 10 inches), halved horizontally
* 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices


1. Make the pesto: Pulse basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor until combined. With machine running, add 1/2 cup oil in a slow, steady stream. Transfer to a small airtight container, and top with remaining oil. Pesto can be refrigerated overnight.
2. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high. (If you are using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when you can hold your hand 5 inches above grill for just 3 to 4 seconds.) Grill bell pepper, turning with tongs, until blackened all over. Place in a bag, close bag, and steam 15 minutes. Peel pepper, and discard skin.
3. Lightly brush both sides of eggplant, zucchini, and summer squash with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill, flipping once, until golden brown and soft, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
4. Pull out most of the doughy center of bread, and reserve for another use (such as breadcrumbs). Brush inside of each loaf with oil. Spread pesto over bottom half of each loaf. Top both loaf bottoms with grilled vegetables and the mozzarella. Sandwich top and bottom of each loaf, and press firmly. Tightly wrap each sandwich in plastic, allowing air to release before sealing. Wrap each in parchment paper, and tie with kitchen string. Place sandwiches in refrigerator, and weigh down with a heavy object (such as a Dutch oven). Refrigerate at least 2 hours (or overnight). Slice, and serve.

(Courtesy of MS LIVING)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Pepsi Forced to Admit It's Bottling Tap Water

Pepsi is being forced to change the labels on its Aquafina water to admit it is tap water. But that is just the tip of the iceberg, as activists are ramping up campaigns against the water-bottling giants, Coke, Pepsi and Nestle.

The soft drink giant Pepsi has been forced to make an embarrassing admission: Its bestselling Aquafina bottled water is nothing more than tap water. Last week, Pepsi agreed to change the labels of Aquafina to indicate the water comes from a public water source. Pepsi agreed to change its label under pressure from the advocacy group Corporate Accountability International, which has been leading an increasingly successful campaign against bottled water.

In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom recently banned city departments from using city money to buy any kind of bottled water. In New York, local residents are being urged to drink tap water. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has passed a resolution that highlighted the importance of municipal water and called for more scrutiny of the impact of bottled water on city waste.

The environmental impact of the country's obsession with bottled water has been staggering. Each day an estimated 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away. Most are not recycled. The Pacific Institute has estimated 20 million barrels of oil are used each year to make the plastic for water bottles.

Economically, it makes sense to stop buying bottled water as well. The Arizona Daily Star recently examined the cost difference between bottled water and water from the city's municipal supply. A half-liter of Pepsi's Aquafina at a Tucson convenience store costs $1.39. The bottle contains purified water from the Tucson water supply. From the tap, you can pour over 6.4 gallons for a penny. That makes the bottled stuff about 7,000 times more expensive, even though Aquafina is using the same water source.

(information courtesy of

Can’t Sleep? Try This Herbal Combo

Healthnotes Newswire (June 28, 2007)—A new study finds that taking a combination extract of the herbs valerian (Valeriana officinalis) and hops (Humulus lupulus) can help people with insomnia fall asleep faster.

“Valerian and hops are traditionally used as sleep aids,” said Dr. Uwe Koetter, head of research and development at Max Zeller Söhne in Romanshorn, Switzerland, and the study’s lead author. Dr. Kotter and colleagues produced a fixed extract combination that they claim has “distinct pharmacological activity.” The combination is sold in the United States under the brand name Alluna.

Brattström and colleagues looked at the sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep once the lights are out) of 27 people with sleep disturbances not caused by any known underlying diseases. To be included in this study, sleep latency had to be greater than 30 minutes. Sleep parameters were recorded by means of a portable home recorder system.

Participants were randomly assigned to receive either placebo, valerian extract alone, or the fixed valerian–hops extract combination. The amount of the single valerian extract was identical to the amount contained in the fixed extract combination (500 mg). In the extract combination, 120 mg of hops extract was added.

The results, published in Phytotherapy Research, found that the fixed extract combination was significantly superior to the placebo in reducing sleep latency (from 56.5 minutes to 12.0 minutes); the single valerian extract also reduced sleep latency (from 45.9 minutes to 23.8 minutes) but this improvement was not significantly better than the improvement in the placebo group.

In previous research, valerian has been shown to exert physiological effects that are the opposite of those produced by coffee. Caffeine in coffee blocks the binding of a chemical called adenosine to its receptors. Normal adenosine binding causes us to feel tired and ready for sleep. Whereas caffeine interferes with this process, valerian extracts appear to enhance it. The mechanism by which hops induces restful sleep is not known, but the herb is known to interact with receptors for melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep–wake cycle.

While further research is needed to support these findings, insomniacs may find a valerian–hops combination to be worth trying for a better night’s rest.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Spoiled Rotten: How to Make Your Fruits and Vegetables Last

Americans throw out 25 percent of the produce they buy because it’s gone bad. How to stop the waste? Know when to shop, learn which fruits and veggies don’t get along and which ones to keep out of the fridge.

Perhaps you do it once a week. Perhaps only when you trace those sulfurous odors to your refrigerator’s crisper drawers. But eventually, you toss out spoiled vegetables and fruits. Lots of them. Researchers at the University of Arizona recently spent a year tracking families’ food-use habits. Working with the United States Department of Agriculture, they interviewed the families about their eating habits, collected their grocery receipts, watched them prepare meals, and then sifted through every last discarded lettuce leaf, slice of bread, burger and bean.

The results, reported in 2002, were pretty shocking. The families tossed out an average of 470 pounds of food per year—about 14 percent of all food brought into the home—at an annual cost of $600. Every day, they discarded more than half a pound of fruits and veggies. In total, Americans chuck a quarter of all the produce they buy, mostly because it’s gone bad, says Timothy Jones, PhD, contemporary archaeologist at the University of Arizona. Nationally, we dump $43 billion worth of food every year.

Wasting produce is, well, a waste—bad for our wallets and bad for the environment. Plus, who wants to make a salad when confronted with a bin of rotting sludge? All this led us to ask: How can we keep produce fresh longer?


Acai Is Everywhere - Or Will Be Soon

I'm pretty sure that I didn't know anything about açai berries a year ago.

Or if I did, I instantly lumped them into the same "exotic ingredients I'm unlikely to try" category, which also includes mangosteen or goji berry. I thought that, if anything, acai berries were destined to be found only at the funkiest of health food stores, and not at my neighborhood ice cream parlor or watering hole.

But a year later, the small but mighty açai berry has burst onto the mainstream.

Expect to see them in sorbets, cocktails, energy drinks and gels, smoothies, teas, jams, cosmetics, and all sorts of other things. In other words, before long everyone will know that the correct way to pronounce acai is ah-sigh-ee.

Experts now predict that dark purple berries—which taste like a cross between blueberries and chocolate—are likely to follow the same trajectory as pomegranates or green tea, as they become part of the average American pantry.

That's good news, because acai is thought to be one of the world's most healthful foods. Native to Brazil, the berries grow on palm trees in the rainforests. Better still, experts think their popularity could bring a kind of sustainable agriculture option to the farmers in the Amazon, who may prefer to harvest the berries, instead of chop down palm trees.

Acai leapt onto Oprah's radar (and therefore the radar of most of the country) as her No. 1 superfood. They're loaded with antioxidants, amino acids and essential fatty acids.

My question is: Will the potent little berry maintain it's superfood powers once it's revamped as a premium sorbet or infused in a fruity cocktail? I hope so, because I'm far more likely to try acai once its health value has been compromised by sugar, fat, or alcohol.

I doubt they'd still qualify as superfoods, but the second I see it my grocery store freezer, I'm snapping up Haagen-Dazs new Brazilian Acai Berry Sorbet. And I'll happily sample some of the newly-created cocktails, such as an Acai-spiked martini, or mojito (er, make that a Veevito).

In the meantime, there are a lot more truly healthful acai-based options. For instance, there's a new green tea made with acai. Or you can introduce the superfood to your daily diet by blending some acai powder into your smoothie or just drinking some juice.

I'm sure that would be a great way to introduce acai into my day-to-day life. But I doubt it'd be as much fun as a cocktail known as an the Acai Creamsicle.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Go vegetarian to save money

Staples such as rice, corn and beans can make trips to a grocery store less expensive. But the biggest savings may come in health-care costs years later.

(Courtesy of MSN Money.)

By Scott McCredie

What visitor to Whole Foods (aka "Whole Paycheck") hasn't stared in slack-jawed wonder at bluefoot mushrooms imported from Europe ($39.99 per pound), off-season organic grapefruit from Texas ($2.49 per softball-size fruit), organic almond butter ($14.99 a pound) or pine nuts ($13.99 a pound)?

In a world of $1 double cheeseburgers, it's no wonder that many people suspect that a vegetarian diet is more expensive than one that includes meat.

But that's generally not true. And though it's difficult to tally the savings of illnesses or diseases avoided with a plant-based diet, the financial worth of good health is unquestionable.

Vegetarianism could extend your life by several years, as well as lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and dementia. It's better for the planet, reducing water usage and global-warming gases. And it certainly improves the health of the cow or pig you would have devoured.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Echinacea Helps Colds! It WORKS!

Echinacea helps banish colds. Echinacea has no effect on colds. The verdict seems to shift with each new scientific study of the herbal remedy.

In the latest twist, a review of more than 700 studies has concluded that echinacea has a substantial effect in preventing colds and in limiting their duration.

The paper, published in the July issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases, used statistical techniques to combine the results of existing studies and reach conclusions based on the larger sample that resulted. The researchers selected only those trials that used randomized and placebo-controlled techniques: 14 studies involving 1,356 participants for the number of colds and 1,630 for the prevention of colds. The studies varied in the dosages of the herb, the duration it was taken and the species of echinacea used, and the number of participants ranged from 40 to more than 300.

The analysis concluded that echinacea reduced the risk of catching a cold by 58 percent. It also found that the herb significantly shortened the duration of a cold, but there was no general agreement about the magnitude of this effect.

“Our analysis doesn’t say that the stuff works without question,” said Dr. Craig I. Coleman, an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Connecticut, and the senior author of the paper. “But the preponderance of evidence suggests that it does.”

The authors acknowledged certain weaknesses in their study. For example, they did not examine the safety of the herbal remedy, only its effectiveness.

Dr. Bruce P. Barrett, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Wisconsin who was not involved with the review, said he was not convinced of the value of combining the studies in a single analysis.

“If you’re testing the same intervention on the same population using the same outcome measures, then meta-analysis is a very good technique,” Dr. Barrett said. “But here every one of those things fails.” One of Dr. Barrett’s papers on echinacea was included in the analysis.

Other experts also expressed skepticism. J. David Gangemi, director of the Institute for Neutraceutical Research at Clemson University, said he found the study interesting, but added, “I think that many of the people who have dedicated their careers to clinical trials in studying these effects are not at all convinced from this analysis that there is this large reduction in incidence and duration of disease.”

Dr. Gangemi is the senior author of a 2005 study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine and included in the review, that found no benefit in the herb.

There are several possible reasons that even a carefully devised single study might fail to show an effect that actually exists. There are more than 200 species of virus that cause colds, Dr. Coleman said, and a study could test one species against which echinacea proves ineffective, while leaving open the question of whether it works for others.

In addition, some studies might not use large enough doses of the herb; others might use a species of echinacea that is less effective. Some might not have a large enough sample to find a small but statistically significant effect.

Dr. Barrett said there was probably little harm in using echinacea, and he was cautiously optimistic that the herb does have a very small positive effect.

“There’s some danger of kids getting a rash, and it would be inadvisable to give it to women in the early stages of pregnancy,” he said. “But if adults believe in echinacea, they’re going to get benefits — maybe from placebo — but they’ll get benefits.”

Dr. Coleman, who described himself as “not much of a pill taker,” hedged a bit when asked if he planned to use echinacea himself. “I’ll probably consider taking it if I feel a cold coming on,” he said. “These results have pushed me toward the idea. Whether I’m actually going to take it, well, we’ll see.”

(Courtesy of the New York Times)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

One tainted export from China can't be avoided in North America -- Air.

Huge Dust Plumes
From China Cause
Changes in Climate

(Courtesy of Wall Street Journal)

One tainted export from China can't be avoided in North America -- air.

An outpouring of dust layered with man-made sulfates, smog, industrial fumes, carbon grit and nitrates is crossing the Pacific Ocean on prevailing winds from booming Asian economies in plumes so vast they alter the climate. These rivers of polluted air can be wider than the Amazon and deeper than the Grand Canyon.

"There are times when it covers the entire Pacific Ocean basin like a ribbon bent back and forth," said atmospheric physicist V. Ramanathan at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif.

On some days, almost a third of the air over Los Angeles and San Francisco can be traced directly to Asia. With it comes up to three-quarters of the black carbon particulate pollution that reaches the West Coast, Dr. Ramanathan and his colleagues recently reported in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

This transcontinental pollution is part of a growing global traffic in dust and aerosol particles made worse by drought and deforestation, said Steven Cliff, who studies the problem at the University of California at Davis.

Aerosols -- airborne microscopic particles -- are produced naturally every time a breeze catches sea salt from ocean spray, or a volcano erupts, or a forest burns, or a windstorm kicks up dust, for example. They also are released in exhaust fumes, factory vapors and coal-fired power plant emissions.

Daily soft drinks - even diet - linked to higher heart disease risk: study

A huge U.S. study of middle-aged adults has found that drinking more than one soft drink a day - even a sugar-free diet brand - may be associated with an elevated risk for metabolic syndrome, a cluster of factors that boosts the chance of having a heart attack or stroke and developing diabetes.

The researchers found that compared to those who drank less than one can per day, subjects who downed one or more soft drinks daily had a:

-31 per cent greater risk of becoming obese (with a body mass index of 30 or more).

-30 per cent increased risk of adding on belly fat.

-25 per cent higher risk of developing high blood triglycerides or high blood sugar.

-32 per cent higher risk of having low HDL levels.

Courtesy of Canada News.

Friday, July 20, 2007

At 1,234 pounds Mexican man weighs into record books!!

I'm not sure how this is possible but it IS!
A Mexican tipping the scales at 560 kilograms (1,234 pounds) will be listed as the world's fattest man by the Guinness Book of Records, while a loss of 200 kilos (440 pounds) may make him the man who lost the most weight.

"I'm glad to be in the Guinness Book as the fattest man. I am also happy to have lost 200 kilos," Manuel Uribe, 41, told AFP.

Uribe was able to leave his home in Monterrey, northern Mexico in March aboard a trailer to celebrate his weight loss.

Guinness has recognized his weighty achievement with a glass plaque.

"They gave it to me, I have it in my hands," said Uribe, who founded an organization to help overweight people.

Uribe's photograph appears in the 2008 Guinness Book of Records alongside a description of the treatment he has had and offers of surgery he has received.

Uribe said the editor of the book had promised to visit him next year, and held out the possibility of appearing in the 2009 edition as the man who had lost the most weight.

Uribe appeared on television in 2006 seeking help for his excess weight, which has plagued him for more than 20 years, most of which he has spent in bed.

I can't help but think, has this guy and Perez Hilton been seperated at birth?


Yes, it's time again for my weekly HOT PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT!!
This week I'm gonna tell you about one of my favorite things in the world, a little drink that has been around a Loooong time but is only now starting to pick up speed amongst the west.

I know I know, it's tricky to say at first, but it's pretty much said how it's spelled
Kom.Boo.Cha. I have been drinking this wonder drink for years, so I know a bit about it. So first off, what the hell is it?

The recorded history of this drink dates back to the Qin Dynasty in China (around 250 BC). The Chinese called it the "Immortal Health Elixir," because they believed Kombucha balanced the Middle Qi (Spleen and Stomach) and aided in digestion, allowing the body to focus on healing.[citation needed] Knowledge of Kombucha eventually reached Russia and then Eastern Europe around the Early Modern Age, when tea first became affordable by the populace.

Kombucha contains many different pro-biotic cultures along with several organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, anti-oxidants, and polyphenols. For the home brewer, there is no way to know the amounts of the following componets unless a sample is sent to a lab. The FDA has no findings on the effects of kombucha. Each strain of kombucha may contain some of the following components depending on the source of the culture strain.

Acetic Acid: Its main function is to inhibit harmful bacteria. Acetic acid is used as a preservative because of this action. It is also what gives Kombucha that 'kick' to its smell and taste.

Butyric Acid: Is produced by the yeasts and when working with gluconic acid. Might help combat yeast infections such as candida.

Gluconic Acid: Is effective against many yeast infections such as candidiasis and thrush.

Lactic Acid: Found in Kombucha in its most potent form L-lactic(+). Lactic acid is essential for the digestive system.

Malic Acid: Is also used in the body's detoxification process.

Oxalic Acid: Encourages the cellular production of energy and is a natural preservative.

Usnic acid: Potent antibiotic that exhibits antiviral, antiprotozoal, antimitotic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity.

Kombucha also contains vitamin groups B and C, beneficial yeasts and bacteria.

In addition to, or aside from any possible health benefits, many users report a relatively subtle but definite perceptual shift after consuming kombucha. This perceptual shift is generally characterized by mild euphoria, relaxation, and an overall sense of physical and mental well-being. This effect is not to be confused with the highs associated with some illegal drugs. There are no known psychoactive or psychotropic substances found in Kombucha other than trace amounts of alcohol and if not made with decaf tea, caffeine. Alcohol amounts vary from 0.5% to 1.7% depending on brewing time and amounts of sugar used in the fermentation of the tea which may account for the experiencing of these effects by some consumers. Stimulation of the circulatory and immune systems, and associated glandular releases, may also account for some of these effects.

Again, I have been consuming this for years and highly recommend it!! You can now find it in most better supermarkets and even in deli's like those found on the streets of Manhattan!! Give it a try. It will take a little time to acclimate to the drink, but you will soon be craving a kombucha fix every day, you body will thank you as well as your tatse buds!!

To Health!

(some in formation courtesy of Wikipedia)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Eating beef ' is less green than driving'

Producing 2.2lb of beef generates as much greenhouse gas as driving a car non-stop for three hours, it was claimed yesterday.

Japanese scientists used a range of data to calculate the environmental impact of a single purchase of beef.

Taking into account all the processes involved, they said, four average sized steaks generated greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 80.25lb of carbon dioxide.

This also consumed 169 megajoules of energy.

That means that 2.2lb of beef is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions which have the same effect as the carbon dioxide released by an ordinary car travelling at 50 miles per hour for 155 miles, a journey lasting three hours. The amount of energy consumed would light a 100-watt bulb for 20 days.

Most of the greenhouse gas emissions are in the form of methane released from the animals' digestive systems, New Scientist magazine reported.

But more than two thirds of the energy used goes towards producing and transporting cattle feed, said the study, which was led by Akifumi Ogino from the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan.

Su Taylor, the press officer for the Vegetarian Society, told New Scientist: "Everybody is trying to come up with different ways to reduce carbon footprints, but one of the easiest things you can do is to stop eating meat."

(Courtesy of the London Telegraph)

Asian Barbecued Tofu! YUM!

I like to combine the tofu with Pad Thai noodles for a delicious meal. Try it out, experiment with this versatile recipie.


2 pounds extra-firm tofu

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 scallion, sliced

1/2 cup Ginger-Hoisin Balsamic Glaze (see recipe, below)

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)

Oil for coating grill grate

1. Cut each 1-pound block of tofu in half through the sides to make 2 thick slabs (for a total of 4 slabs). Press the slabs under a heavy weight for 30 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the pressed tofu and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, turning once. Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic and half the scallion in a large zip-top bag. Let the tofu cool slightly, then add it to the bag. Let the tofu cool further with the bag open. When it approaches room temperature, press out the air and seal the bag. Gently massage the marinade into the tofu, then refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

3. Heat the grill to medium-high (400 to 450 degrees F)

4. Let the tofu rest at room temperature before grilling, about 30 minutes. Remove from marinade and discard marinade. Rub with the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil.

5. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the tofu on the grill and cook until nicely grill-marked, 4 to 6 minutes per side, brushing both sides with the glaze.

6. Cut each slab on the diagonal into 2 triangles per serving. Sprinkle with reserved scallion and sesame seeds (optional) and serve.

Ginger-Hoisin Balsamic Glaze

1 tablespoon grated peeled gingerroot

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon orange juice

Combine all ingredients. Can be stored in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

This recipe is adapted from Mastering the Grill by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim (Chronicle Books, 2007). Double-cooking concentrates the tofu's texture, giving you a bit more to chew on.

75 percent of Americans overweight by 2015

Two-thirds considered heavy or obese now; rate still increasing, study finds.
(story courtesy of Reuters wire)
(my comments courtesy of me)

If people keep gaining weight at the current rate, fat will be the norm by 2015, with 75 percent of U.S. adults overweight and 41 percent obese, U.S. researchers predicted on Wednesday.

A team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore examined 20 studies published in journals and looked at national surveys of weight and behavior for their analysis, published in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews.

“Obesity is a public health crisis. If the rate of obesity and overweight continues at this pace, by 2015, 75 percent of adults and nearly 24 percent of U.S. children and adolescents will be overweight or obese,” Dr. Youfa Wang, who led the study, said in a statement.

They defined adult overweight and obesity using a standard medical definition called body mass index. People with a BMI of 25 or above are considered overweight, while those with BMIs of 30 or above are obese and at serious risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Studies show that 66 percent of U.S. adults were overweight or obese in 2003 and 2004. An alarming 80 percent of black women aged 40 or over are overweight and 50 percent are obese.

Sixteen percent of U.S. children and adolescents are overweight and 34 percent are at risk of becoming overweight, according to federal government figures.

Every group is steadily getting heavier, Wang said.

“Our analysis showed patterns of obesity or overweight for various groups of Americans,” said May Beydoun, who worked on the study.

“Obesity is likely to continue to increase, and if nothing is done, it will soon become the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.”

This is a very depressing story but a very true vision of where we are heading as a nation health wise. Until Americans start taking care of themselves and their families I can't in good conscience even consider a "universal health care" plan that covers diseases brought on by pure neglect of your vessel. I'm all for Universal Emergency care, that covers accidents and imminent surgeries that save lives.
But, for most diseases that are brought on by an over-indulgent, neglectful lifestyle I cannot support that. These statistics about Fat Americans do not bode well, and if we did have a universal health care plan, we would go bankrupt, or we would all go poor paying more than any other country in taxes because we are the FATTEST nation on earth.
A basic plan of coverage should be there for everyone and for accidents, but to manage fat related diseases is not where I want my tax dollars going towards.
With nearly 62 million Americans having some form of cardiovascular disease (that is for the most part brought on by awful lifestyle choices) and the other top killers of Americans also related to bad habits of eating and over eating, the trend towards a disastrous rise in fat diseases is increasingly obvious. There needs a complete and total overhaul of food, learning and thinking in this country to solve this crisis, and if it doesn't happen sooner rather than later the consequences will be ultimately and literally fatal.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lots Of Studies Deliver One Bottom Line: Vacations Are Really Good For Your Health

Read this in the LA Times and found it interesting. Pack your bags!
Vacations seem to do your heart good. The more often you take them, the less likely you are to have a heart attack.

From 1965 to 1967, as part of the Framingham Heart Study, about 750 women ages 45 to 64 with no heart disease completed an extensive questionnaire about personal and lifestyle characteristics. The women were tracked for the next 20 years, and then researchers analyzed their risk factors for having a heart attack, fatal or not.

The findings, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 1992, reported that the least frequent vacationers (those who took no more than one vacation every six years) were at 50% higher risk for a heart attack than the most frequent vacationers (those who took at least two vacations every year). Among stay-at-home spouses, the difference was higher: The least-frequent vacationers faced about twice the risk of the most-frequent vacationers.

Friday, July 13, 2007

3 Reasons I went Veg.

This is something I just sent to MSNBC, and thought I'd share it with you all. I'll let you know if they post it. =)

I have been a vegetarian, on and off for 10 years, and most recently a strict vegetarian, almost vegan for the past 6 months. The desire for me to eat meat is just not there anymore. I have noticed it wane more and more as I have stuck with my lifestyle now since February.
I can't say it was one thing that prompted me to go Veg, it was 3 actually, and I felt morally obligated to stop eating meat, once and for all.
If you know anything about me, you know that I'm a sort of health fanatic, and nutrition and living vibrantly is very important to me. After reading John Robbins book, The Food Revolution, it was all very clear to me why meat really ain't so hot.

1. Health- Meat is really a toxic substance to our bodies. The synergistic chain of events that transpire in our bodies after eating a meal of dead, cooked, animal muscle, is hardly something I would want going on in my digestive tract.
Read and research on the toxicity of meat, the horrible farming practices of factory farms, how there's always animal fecal residue in or on all processed meat products, and I could go on. Not to mention the high levels of homocystine, fat, and cholesterol in meat. That turned me off in a big way as well. So, health reasons were at the top of my list for going Vegetarian.

2.Animal Welfare- As I mentioned above, the animal cruelty that takes place on typical factory farms is deplorable. It's really a waste dump with animals living in squalor, feces, urine, vomit, dead carcasses, darkness, and overcrowding. It does sound like Hell kind of, eh? I cannot consume or take part in that kind of environment with good conscience and I can't ignore the facts that it's happening. I can't pretend that I don't know anymore, because I do know, and I am not a willing participant in hypocrisy.

3.Environment- I learned that animal factory farming is responsible for more green-house gas emissions than all the vehicles on the roads, in all of the world. This astounded me.
Farmed animals by the billions are being raised inhumanely and without regard, just so we can kill them, cook them and eat their muscles and flesh, whilst dually being responsible for a HUGE portion of the warming up our planet to a situation so dire, we're looking at a global climate change that could be an end to our civilization as we know it. Well, that did it. The proverbial last straw if you will.

I could no longer face the fact that I was harming my body, participating in the killing of innocent lives, and destroying my planet, all for the sake of shoving something down my throat that I thought tasted good (which, by the way I no longer think. Actually the smell of meat now turns my stomach sour).

I have discovered the joys of eating a plant-based diet, and I haven't looked back! There are so many enjoyable foods to be had, all without being cruel to you, your animal neighbors or the planet.
Vegetarianism has really never been easier than it is today. Choices are insurmountable, and at the end of the day, you truly feel better, look better, and know inside that you are doing the right thing.

I think within every meat eater is a voice of reason, which they ignore or rationalize or just keep silent all of the time. I believe they know the truth, and yes the truth CAN set you free. But, it has yet to free them from the chains of years of the habit of eating animal flesh.

I believe eating habits are something you can learn and re-learn. Making choices for yourself, your health, and the environment is a personal thing, and I believe more and more people are waking up,smelling the bacon, and not liking it any longer. -JJM

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fats. The Good, The Bad, and Your Health!

Unlike the Declaration of Independence stating that 'all men are created equal', all Fats are not on par with each other. No, not by a long shot.

You may have recalled the "Low-Fat" craze of the 90's, which was basically a gimmick for multi-national food manufacturers to create new lines of "Fat-Free" or "Low-Fat" junk products filled with unnecessary sugars and starches.
Well after that fad came and went the "Low-Carb" band wagon geared up for their 15 minutes in the food spotlight, and it was Low-Fat" 90's all over again, only with carbs.

Well, there is no need to fear fats or carbs, just as long as you know which are the ones that will be helpful TO you and are beneficial FOR you, and which are detrimental to your health and should be avoided at ALL costs.

There's been talk as of late about "Trans-Fats" in the media. And it went as far to the FDA requiring food labels to now show the amount of trans fat in a given item.
This was good, because trans fats have been creeping their way into so many products for years without consumers awareness on the subject.

Trans Fats are evil fats that are basically TOXIC to you. Most trans fats consumed today, are industrially created as a side effect of hydrogenation of plant oils—a process developed in the early 1900s and first commercialized as Crisco in 1911.
The goal of hydrogenation is to add hydrogen atoms to unsaturated fats, making them more saturated. These more saturated fats have a higher melting point making them attractive for baking. Their reduced tendency for oxidation results in a longer shelf-life.
Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are neither required nor beneficial for health. Eating trans fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease. Yeah, they aren't something you should be messing around with, even on a small scale.
Here's a list of some high-trans-fat edibles: crackers, cookies, doughnuts, and other snack foods (commercially produced baked goods in general are suspect), fried foods including fried chicken and French fries — are we seeing a theme here? Yeah, avoid these like the plague!!
Whne looking at labels you want trans fat to be zero and saturated as close to that as you can get.

Saturated Fats
are another fat to keep at bay. With the exception of a couple of natural sources of it, such at organic coconut oil, which is actually good for you, numerous studies have suggested that diets high in saturated fat increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
The World Health Organization has concluded that saturated fats negatively affect cholesterol profiles, predisposing individuals to heart disease, and recommends avoiding saturated fats in order to reduce the risk of a cardiovascular disease.

Unsaturated Fats
Finally, a decent fat for your body! Examples of unsaturated fats are palmitoleic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, and arachidonic acid. Foods containing unsaturated fats include avocado, nuts, seeds, and soybean, canola, and olive oils.
These are heart healthy fats that your body does indeed need to function and should be consumed moderately everyday. Remember "Un" is a good one!

The MIGHTY Omega's!
We come now to my FAVORITE fatty acid. The Omega. I have blogged about these wonder fats before, and you can check my archive for that, but essentially these are fats REQUIRED by the body to function properly. They are NOT created by the body, so you MUST get these through your diet.
They are responsible from allowing your eyes to function normally so you can see, to making sure your sexual libido stays in tact. You might need to toss the Viagra and pick up some flax oil instead, as that is a substance high in these acids.
Try to get 1,000mgs a day into your diet through fish oil supplements, oily fish like salmon, and vegetarian sources like flax, grape seed and evening primrose oils.

Once you start getting the Old nasty fats out of your diet, and start consuming a diet rich in the fats your body needs, you will actually begin to lose body fat and feel a whole lot better. Omega's especially are known for helping people lose weight.
So like the old saying goes, fight fire with can use Fat to battle the bulge, you just need to know the right amount and the right ones to use!

Here's a to a FAT revOlution!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

U.S. has huge appetite for organic food.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. farmers are having a hard time keeping up with Americans' voracious appetite for organic foods, say industry leaders, who want federal officials to boost spending on crop research and market development.

Organic food sales grow by as much as 20 percent a year and were forecast for $16 billion during 2006, or nearly 3 percent of all U.S. food spending, the Organic Trade Association said at a pair of congressional hearings.

"In the United States, the buzz about organic has become a steady hum," said Lynn Clarkson, an organic farmer and member of the OTA board. "Organic foods are increasingly sold in mainstream retail establishments, which together represent roughly 46 percent of sales."

Clarkson told a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on Tuesday that organic production was climbing "but not at a rate to meet the consumer demand" so imports are rising. Mark Lipson of the Organic Farming Research Foundation presented a similar assessment at the House of Representatives Agriculture subcommittee hearing last week.

According to the U.S. Agriculture Department, there are at least 8,500 organic farmers with more than 4 million acres of crop and pasture land.

A "fair share" of USDA research and outreach spending should be $120 million a year, 10 times current outlays, said Lipson.

Two Iowa counties offer real estate tax breaks to farmers who convert to organic crops. Woodbury County, home to Sioux City, also looks first for locally-grown organic when it buys food for its correctional facilities.

"A major problem has been supply," said Robert Marqusee, the county's rural development chief. He said organic farming keeps young and small farmers in business while fuel ethanol, the Corn Belt darling, puts "industrial farming on steroids."

Organic farming means growing crops and livestock without use of antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides or genetically engineered seeds and animals. Fields must be free of chemicals for three years before their crops can be certified as organic.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Wonder Foods

These two foods are practically a staple among health-conscious celebs and foodies. Read on to find out why -- and how to pronounce them -- so you can casually order an açaí smoothie with all the cool of George Clooney. ;-)

Açaí berries (ah-sigh-EE or ah-SIGH-ee): Brazilian surfers eat theirs with granola, and we know what their bodies look like! Packed with twice the disease-fighting antioxidants of blueberries, açaí has already made Oprah's list of Top 10 Superfoods, and the Washington Post called the blackberry-flavored fruit the "new pomegranate." But you may find it easier to sip yours: Celestial Seasonings sells an açaí-green tea blend, and açaí martinis are on chic bar menus everywhere.

* For a DIY açaí fruit soda, just mix chilled sparkling mineral water with a few ounces of açaí juice, available at health-food stores. Sip. Look cool. Feel healthy.


Quinoa (KEEN-wah): Dry quinoa looks a bit like sesame seeds, but when cooked, it becomes fluffy and has a hint of crunch, making it an excellent substitution for rice, couscous, and pasta. Quinoa's major claim to food fame, however, is its "nutritional profile." A cup of quinoa has more protein than a quarter-pound hamburger and more calcium than a quart of milk. Yowza! It's also loaded with iron, magnesium, and a bevy of other minerals and B vitamins. No wonder the Incas named it "the mother grain."

And here's a quick and easy way to use quinoa. Delicious!

* Quinoa and Black Beans
Makes 2 servings, about 1/2 cup each

1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed
2 tablespoons broth (or water)
1/2 cup hot quinoa (cooked according to package directions)

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add bell pepper and onion and cook until almost tender. Add beans and broth (or water) to the pan. Cook until heated through. Stir in quinoa. For an extra zing, stir in your favorite salsa.

Per serving: 162 calories; 4 g fat (0 g sat.); 0 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrate; 6 g protein; 4 g fiber; 60 mg sodium; 224 mg potassium.

Almonds: Give Me Some Skin!

If you're a health nut *cough* =), munch on almonds with the skin they're in!

The skins give almonds extra heart-protection powers, especially if you take some vitamin E or vitamin C to boot. So what's in the skin?

Almond Attributes
Almonds abound with heart-healthy goodies, including vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, arginine, potassium, and fiber. The skins add even more nutrition: They're bursting with flavonoids that help protect cells from oxidation and inflammation.

Synergistic Effects
In a lab study, almond-skin flavonoids helped prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and that's a very good thing, because when LDL oxidizes, it can lead to heart attack. Adding vitamins E and C enhanced the effect by working synergistically with the almond-skin flavonoids.

courtesy of real age networks.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Organic Food 'Really Is Better For You'

Organic food really is better for you than conventionally grown crops, according to new research.

A 10-year study comparing organic tomatoes with rival produce suggests they have almost double the amount of heart-protective antioxidants called flavonoids.

According to the new findings levels of the chemicals quercetin and kaempferol were found to be on average 79 and 97 per cent higher, respectively, in organic tomatoes.

Flavonoids such as these can fight heart disease, blood pressure and strokes and have also been linked to staving off some forms of cancer and dementia, says food chemist Alyson Mitchell who led the research.

Differences in soil quality, irrigation practices and the handling of harvested produce have made direct comparisons difficult in the past, says Dr Mitchell.

So in this study, due to be published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers used data from a long-term project in which standardised farming techniques are used to reveal trends in crop productivity.

Dr Mitchell, of California University, said the findings can be explained by the availability of nitrogen. Flavonoids are produced as a defence mechanism that can be triggered by nutrient deficiency.

The inorganic nitrogen in conventional fertiliser is easily available to plants and so, the team suggests, the lower levels of flavonoids are probably caused by over-fertilisation.

Previous research has found no differences between organic and conventional crops such as wheat or carrots.

Meanwhile, a study proclaiming organic milk had higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids failed to convince the UK's Food Standards Agency (FSA), which pointed out that these short-chained fatty acids do not have the health-promoting benefits offered by long-chained omega-3 oils.

This latest study does not prove that a healthy diet must be organic, reports New Scientist.

The evidence of health benefits for flavonoids is conflicting, says Dr Peter Bramley at Royal Holloway, University
of London.

And even if such benefits exist, higher flavonoid levels do not necessarily make organic food healthier, says Sir John Krebs, former chair of the FSA and now at the University of Oxford.

He said: "This depends on the relevance of the differences to the human body. Tomato ketchup has higher levels of lycopene (a strong antioxidant) than either organic or conventional tomatoes. So if you wanted lots of lycopene you should eat ketchup."

Flavonoids are also found in chocolate as well as fruit and vegetables and red wine and tea. Doctors say eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is the best way of getting the heart-protective antioxidants.

Studies have suggested flavonoids can reduce the body's so-called bad cholesterol that causes the hardening of the arteries.

(courtsey of Life,Style,Extra UK)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Yawning may keep us 'on the ball'

Yawning may appear the height of rudeness, but in fact your body is desperately trying to keep you awake, according to research from the US.

Psychologists who studied 44 students concluded that yawning sent cooler air to the brain, helping it to stay alert.

Yawning therefore delays sleep rather than promotes it, the study in Evolutionary Psychology suggested.

The desire to yawn when others do so may also be a mechanism to help a group stay alert in the face of danger.

Chill out

The common wisdom is that people yawn because they need oxygen, but the researchers at the University of Albany in New York said their experiments showed that raising or lowering oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood did not produce that reaction.

Their evidence suggested instead that drawing in air helps cool the brain and helps it work more effectively.

In a study of the 44 students, researchers found that those who breathed through the nose rather than the mouth were less likely to yawn when watching a video of other people yawning.

This was because vessels in the nasal cavity sent cool blood to the brain, they said.

The same effect was found among those who held a cool pack to their forehead, while those who held a warm or room-temperature pack yawned when watching the video.

"Since yawning occurs when brain temperature rises, sending cool blood to the brain serves to maintain optimal levels of mental efficiency," the authors wrote.

"So the next time you are telling a story and a listener yawns there is no need to be offended - yawning, a physiological mechanism designed to maintain attention, turns out to be a compliment."

(courtesy of BBC News)

Sweat it out, it's good for you!

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and when we exercise, our water needs generally increase. As an individual becomes increasingly fit, his or her ability to sweat improves, which is a beneficial adaptation to exercising. The ability to sweat provides a natural refrigeration system to the body, cooling the internal temperature as it begins to rise during exercise. Actually, sweating is such an important and efficient method for the body to cool itself, an active person can lose a considerable amount of water through sweating and increased breathing during high-intensity exercise. In fact, it is possible for a 150-pound trained athlete to lose as much as six cups of fluid in a single hour of exercise!

This increased sweating and cooling mechanism of the body is a beneficial adaptation to exercise if a person takes measures to ensure he is re-hydrating himself sufficiently. If a person is not sufficiently hydrated, however, when excess sweating occurs, the overall volume of the blood is reduced. This can put strain on the heart and impair both exercise performance and the body's ability to cool itself. Therefore, it is essential to focus on replenishing fluid losses during exercise for good health�with the added bonus of improved performance as well. Many studies have demonstrated that well-hydrated athletes who drink fluids before and during prolonged exercise are able to perform better.

A major factor that influences the rate of evaporation is the relative humidity of the air around you. If the air is humid, then it already has water vapor in it, probably near saturation, and cannot take any more. Therefore, sweat does not evaporate and cool your body as efficiently as when the air is dry.

Finally, when the water in the sweat evaporates, it leaves the salts (sodium, chloride and potassium) behind on your skin, which is why your skin tastes salty. The loss of excessive amounts of salt and water from your body can quickly dehydrate you, which can lead to circulatory problems, kidney failure and heat stroke. So, it is important to drink plenty of fluids when you exercise or are outside in high temperatures.

Study: Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure

Here's some good and bad news for chocoholics: DARK chocolate seems to lower blood pressure, but it requires an amount less than two Hershey's Kisses to do it, a small study suggests. The new research from Germany adds to mounting evidence linking dark chocolate with health benefits, but it's the first to suggest that just a tiny amount may suffice.

Volunteers for the study ate just over 6 grams of dark chocolate daily for almost five months _ one square from a German chocolate bar called Ritter Sport, equal to about 1 1/2 Hershey's Kisses. People who ate that amount ended up with lower blood pressure readings than those who ate white chocolate.

University of Cologne researcher Dr. Dirk Taubert, the study's lead author, said the blood pressure reductions with dark chocolate were small but still substantial enough to potentially reduce cardiovascular disease risks, although study volunteers weren't followed long enough to measure that effect.

The research involved just 44 people aged 56 through 73, but the results echo other small studies of cocoa-containing foods. Cocoa contains flavanols, plant-based compounds that also are credited with giving red wine its heart-healthy benefits.

One problem is chocolate bars containing cocoa tend to have lots of calories, so Taubert and his colleagues tested small amounts containing just 30 calories each.

The study appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. It was funded by University Hospital in Cologne.

The results are interesting but need to be duplicated in larger, more ethnically diverse populations, said Dr. Laura Svetkey, director of Duke University's Hypertension Center.

She stressed that the study results should not be viewed as license to gorge on chocolate.

"I would be as happy as the next person if I got to eat more chocolate," she said, but cautioned that weight gain from eating large amounts of dark chocolate would counteract any benefits on blood pressure.

Study participants were otherwise healthy and mostly normal-weight German adults with mild high blood pressure or pre-hypertension, which includes readings between 120 over 80 and 139 over 89.

Average blood pressure at the start was about 147 over 86.

Every day for 18 weeks, the volunteers were instructed to eat one-square portions of a 16-square Ritter Sport bar, or a similar portion of white chocolate. White chocolate doesn't contain cocoa.

Systolic blood pressure, the top number, fell an average of nearly three points and diastolic dropped almost two points in the dark chocolate group, compared with no change in blood pressure readings in the white chocolate group.

Tests suggested that steady exposure to dark chocolate prompted chemical changes that helped dilate blood vessels and regulate blood pressure, the researchers said.

Participants were told not to eat other cocoa-containing products and to continue regular eating habits and activity levels. They also kept food diaries so researchers could see if other foods might have influenced the results.

But, said Taubert, "It is very unlikely that other factors may explain the blood pressure reduction."

Dr. Lawrence Appel of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine said the most proven non-drug methods for lowering blood pressure are losing weight and eating less salt. Eating dark chocolate might help if combined with those two, he said.

For most people, "the lower your blood pressure, the better you are. So if you can get it lower from different strategies that's good for the long term," Appel said.

On the Net:


Just for a chuckle. ;-) If you know me, you know my dislike for Ms. "Mann Coulter" and this made me laugh.

How Much of Your Food is Being Nuked Before it Hits the Shelf?

From fruit to spices to meat, contamination fears and market possibilities are spurring a food irradiation revival. But how safe is the practice?

India alone grows 1,000 varieties of mangoes in such delectable variations as the sweet, orange-skinned Alphonso, the Bombay Green and the Bangalora. Here in the U.S., we rarely see more than one lonely variety at the local supermarket, but that's all about to change. Soon consumers will be able to sample the sweet and tart nectars of many more imported fruits and vegetables from Thailand, India and Mexico piled high in the produce section. But there's a catch: this fruit will arrive irradiated.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Get It While It's Hot: Savory Baked Tofu!

SUPER EASY recipe and perfect for summer! Pop it in the oven, go have a margarita and come back to a delicious and healthy meal. Enjoy!

Ingredients needed:
2 blocks of Tofu (coagulated with ngari) (cut into cubes)
2 cups Whole wheat couscous
2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp tamari
1 onion med (coarsely chopped)
1 garlic sm to med (chopped or chunks)
Fresh chopped cilantro to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Let couscous stand in water for 10 minutes. Set aside.

Mix tofu, olive oil, tamari, onion, and garlic so that all ingredients are evenly distributed in a baking dish.
Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hr and a half.

After baking add:
1 tomato (chopped) or a handful of cherry tomatoes (chopped / halved)
Sprinkle of cilantro.

Spoon onto a bed of the cous cous.

Viola, you’re done!

IF you want to see a vid of it, click HERE!

The Psyche Behind Ambition: Driven or a Little Crazy?

Learning Why Some People Just Can't Stop Building on Their Dreams.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Green Tips For The Truly Lazy

Read this today out of Manhattan and found it informative. Aimed at NY'ers this information is indeed applicable to anywhere.

The Bloomberg administration has launched the GreeNYC campaign, encouraging Gothamites to make 10 changes in our daily lives that will reduce the city's carbon footprint (the amount of climate-disrupting carbon dioxide the city's population as a whole adds to the atmosphere):

1. Switch to ENERGY STAR® qualified Compact Fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).
2. Buy ENERGY STAR® appliances.
3. Don’t air condition an empty room
4. Unplug chargers and appliances when not in use.
5. Switch to a green energy provider.
6. Walk or take public transportation.
7. Recycle your glass, metal, paper and plastic.
8. Bring your own cloth bag to the grocery store.
9. Use green cleaning products.
10. Switch to paperless bank statements and online bill paying.

These changes really will have a huge impact on cutting oil consumption, reducing energy use, increasing the clean power infrastructure, and cutting several kinds of serious environmental pollution if a significant percentage of city residents take them up. (See the GreeNYC web site for more on how these steps can make a big impact.) - source

What are Goji Berries?

So, I'm on my routine weekly trip to Whole Foods, this is a few months ago and I stumbled upon a package that said "Himalayan Goji Berries". I had heard of Goji berries and Goji juice before but I didn't know a lot about them or what they were.
Ok, first off you're shaking your head right now, to the first statement of my "Weekly" trip to Whole Foods. You're right, It was on one of my 3-4 per week trips. haha.

So, Goji berries. I pick up the package and they look very scrumptious, kind of like a raisin but a ripe tomato color. So, being the foodie and experimentalist that I am, I bought a package.

I got home and tried them and they were definitely the most unique fruit or berry i had tried, the taste was like nothing else. Sweet yet tart, but again, it has its own flavor so I can't compare it to anything. Well, being the researcher that I am, I wanted to find out more about this new berry that I had discovered so I did some searching and of course, I HAVE to share it with you!

Goji berries (Other Names: Lycium barbarum, wolfberry, gou qi zi, Fructus lycii)
grow on an evergreen shrub found in temperate and subtropical regions in China, Mongolia and in the Himalayas in Tibet. They are in the nightshade (Solonaceae) family.
Goji berries are usually found dried. They are shriveled red berries that look like red raisins.

Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to:

* protect the liver
* help eyesight
* improve sexual function and fertility
* strengthen the legs
* boost immune function
* improve circulation
* promote longevity

Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin.
One of zeaxanthin's key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. In fact, increased intake of foods containing zeathanthin may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65.
In recent years, goji juice has become popular as a health beverage.

A Chinese study published in the Chinese Journal of Oncology in 1994 found that 79 people with cancer responded better to treatment when goji was added to their regimen.

There have been several test tube studies that show that goji berry contains antioxidants and that goji extracts may prevent the growth of cancer cells, reduce blood glucose, and lower cholesterol levels.

Goji berries are certainly one of the most nutrient-dense foods there is availabe.

I definitely have been enjoying these berries at home, and they come in small snack size packs so I like to take them with me on the road or hiking. Great for mixing with nuts like almonds and walnuts and making a trail mix.
They seem to be popping up more often but I have been buying mine only at Whole Foods.
So keep an eye out and if you see some, pick them up and give them a go. You might have found a new accessory to your diet as did I and I think Goji's are in it for good!



FOOD for Thought.

If Americans reduced their meat consumption by 10% it would free 12,000,000 tons of grain - enough to feed 60,000,000 people (the population of Great Britain)

There's a Lot You Don't Know About What's in Your Food

Have you ever picked up a package in your grocers and noticed a "NON-GM" label or printing on the package? You may have not heard of "genetically modified" food before but nearly three quarters of all processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients, but you'd never know it by reading package labels.
Let's discuss the risks of genetic engineering and how to avoid it.

Nearly three quarters of all processed foods contain genetically engineered ingredients, but you'd never know it by reading the back of your kid's cereal box or that pint of ice cream you've been craving. Rather than being relegated to its own supermarket section, this food sits unlabeled on grocery store shelves, allowing a handful of transnational biotech companies to profit handsomely as consumers shop blindly.

So, for example what we have with genetic engineering, if you spray herbicide on crops, it kills them, it kills everything green, it doesn't just kill the weeds, it kills the crops. So, the idea would be, as weeds become resistant to herbicides, to stop using them, and find other ways of weed and pest control. But that didn't fit the needs of ... the chemical companies. That would mean less of their product. So, instead of changing their technology and economics to fit nature, they said "let's change plants so they can withstand huge amounts of our chemicals" -- herbicides -- and four out of every five acres of genetically engineered plants in this country and in the world are planted solely because they can tolerate these herbicides.

Genetically engineered food is the first really artificially lab created food that we have. Basically, you (the scientist) are putting foreign bacteria, foreign viral chains, foreign anti-biotic resistant genes into each cell of every food. So, every cell of every genetically engineered food, every one, has a novel bacteria, has novel viral promoters, has a novel genetic construct whether it be the herbicide tolerant gene or the Bt, and has an anti-biotic marker system.

-- and the risks are: it could take a nontoxic food and make it toxic. ... It can create new human allergies ... significantly reduce the vitamin content in the food, and ... there has been peer-reviewed scientific evidence that it can be harmful to the immune system.

The environmental risks are that it's biological pollution. We know now, we've seen over and over again that this is not simply a tool for the farmer, this is an evasive living pollution. It pollutes conventional, it pollutes organic, makes these farmers unable to sell these crops to the European market, to the organic market, and it creates the gene jump to create super weeds. In the case of fish, documented, peer-reviewed science out of Purdue University says that the release of these genetically modified fish, because of the unexpected changes in these fish, could create complete extinction for species like salmon and stripped bass.

We're at a real crossroads for the future of food. ... We're either going to continue down the industrial path all the way to genetically engineering our food so that it literally becomes nothing but a tool of industrial agriculture, including withstanding all these poisons. Or, we're going to go down the organic and beyond way, which says no to genetic engineering, no to irradiation, no to this massive alteration at the atomic and genetic level.

Why Americans Keep Getting Fatter.

The USDA grossly underfunds the healthiest foods while pouring billions into a farm bill that supports many of the foods its dietary recommendations warn against.

A long-running contradiction in U.S. farm policy is fattening the waistlines of Americans and the profits of agribusiness at the same time. For the 30 years that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been issuing dietary guidelines, there has been a stark inconsistency between the federal government's advice and its food funding.

True, the USDA has been doing more, over time, to promote health through dietary guidelines, food pyramids and other nutrition programs. And yet more than $20 billion yearly -- more than one-fifth its budget -- is sunk into a farm bill that supports many of the foods its recommendations warn against. At the same time, the department virtually ignores incentives to produce, promote and consume some of the healthiest foods: fruits and vegetables.

This contradiction may play a role in today's obesity epidemic and is in part driven by a counterintuitive farm policy, highlighted by the farm bill, which is up for renewal this year in Congress. This legislation began during the Depression to protect farmers against environmental disasters and plummeting crop prices but has evolved into a massive program of handouts, largely benefiting agribusinesses. Worse, it promotes vast overproduction of crops that are the building blocks of calorie-dense, nutrient-poor, processed junk foods. It has become a "food bill."

For a half-century, the farm bill served farmers and the public well by regulating supply and stabilizing food prices. In 1973, it was overhauled to significantly increase crop production. According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the U.S. food supply has since ballooned by 500 calories per person per day, and per capita food consumption has increased by more than 200 calories per day -- the equivalent of more than 20 pounds of fat per year.

This mammoth oversupply would be less egregious if it were spread equally among the food groups. Instead, most funding supports just a few crops, and those lay the foundation of the standard American diet: high in sugars and empty-calorie, refined grains; high in fats; low in whole grains and fiber; and low in fruits and vegetables.

Take corn, the most highly subsidized crop, which received $9.4 billion in 2005 -- nearly as much as all other crops combined. Corn production has more than doubled since the 1970s, and all this artificially cheapened corn is unloaded on the public, largely in the form of tasty but empty-calorie junk foods. Refined corn is the chief source of carbohydrates and calories in most processed foods, particularly snack foods. High-fructose corn syrup is the most widely used caloric sweetener in the United States. And corn meal is widely used as cheap animal feed to fatten factory-raised livestock.

Another example is soybeans, the fourth-most-subsidized crop. Although soy protein is a healthful meat substitute, soybeans are more commonly used in junk foods. Soybean oil accounts for 75 percent of the fat in processed foods and is commonly hydrogenated to create trans fats, which improve shelf life but are known to cause cardiovascular disease.

In contrast, healthful foods are grossly underfunded. USDA guidelines advise that fruits and vegetables make up at least one-third of daily intake, but just 5 percent of its food funding supports the fruit and vegetable industries. There is virtually no funding for public education and advertising encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption. At its peak, the "Five-a-day" campaign budget was just $3 million annually -- compared with the $11 billion spent yearly in the United States for fast food and junk food advertising. McDonald's spent $500 million just promoting its "We Love To See You Smile" campaign.

This is one reason Americans don't eat fruits and vegetables. Although some surveys suggest we eat about four servings daily, this number is greatly exaggerated because French fries and potato chips are counted the same as spinach, carrots or broccoli. In fact, 25 percent of vegetables consumed in the United States are fried potatoes, making the daily consumption of healthful fruits and vegetables closer to two servings -- and possibly lower in children and inner-city populations.

Farm policy is an ideal avenue to address the obesity epidemic at its roots.

As Congress considers this year's farm bill, it should rework the legislation so it meets the needs of today's food consumers, not agribusiness. The new farm bill should significantly shift funding to improve the availability, affordability and promotion of fruits, vegetables and other healthful foods.

In particular, it should include targeted investments to fruit and vegetable growers to increase the availability of fresh produce, support for the new "Fruits & Veggies -- More Matters" initiative, expansion of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program to all 50 states to promote the eating of fruits and vegetables in schools, creation of incentives for fresh fruit and vegetable purchases in the Food Stamp program, and support for organic farming.

These steps could signal that our government is ready to lead the fight against obesity and diet-related chronic disease by nurturing the health-conscious lifestyle it advocates by its dietary guidelines.

Milk: To Be Got Or Not?

If you believe the ads, cows’ milk is a powerhouse product, capable of unsticking a peanut butter mouth, making white-mustachioed celebrities look health-chic and building strong bones. But isn’t soymilk better for your heart? And goats’ milk easier to digest? And aren’t rice milk and nut milk skinnier? The fact is, milk drinkers have never had more options or been more confused. Here, how to sort out the healthiest choices for animals, the planet and you.

A cup of cows’ milk provides 16 percent of your daily value of protein as well as 30 percent of calcium, about 25 percent of vitamin D and riboflavin, plus healthy amounts of potassium and vitamins A and B12—but a glass of fortified soymilk (some flavors of Vitasoy, Edensoy Extra and Silk, for example) has virtually the same benefits. One alert: Several recent studies suggest that the calcium used to fortify soymilk settles to the bottom of the carton and doesn’t end up in your glass. To be safe, add plant sources of calcium to your diet and a supplement too—it’s hard to consistently get enough from food. Good options include broccoli, spinach, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, kale, collard and mustard greens and some legumes (especially soybeans and lentils).

Q: Why are animal rights and environmental groups so antidairy?

A: There are three key reasons:

Animal treatment: Cows are kept lactating as long as possible by constant pregnancies, which produce either more dairy cows or—besides the few male calves kept for stud—veal or beef.

Milk quality: To increase milk production, conventional dairy cows are given synthetic growth hormones and then antibiotics to treat any resulting infections. Some of those hormones and antibiotics end up in your glass.

Environmental effects: Each dairy cow creates 120 pounds of waste and drinks 50 gallons of water a day, while 80 percent of US agricultural land either grows grain to feed animals or animals to feed humans, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

So if you drink cows’ milk, go low-fat and organic. If you choose not to drink cows’ milk, try a fortified soymilk or other milk instead, and boost that with calcium-rich foods and a calcium supplement, too, just for good measure.

I personally enjoy a lot of other milks that are avaialble. I avoid dairy.
Try Hemp, Soy or almond milk on cereal. My current fave is the Hemp.

Food of the Week: Summer Squash!!

Summer Squash is in the peak of its season!

Summer Squash is one of the World's Healthiest Foods. This week we celebrate this summer favorite while it is in the peak of its season. Historically, summer squash was distinguished from winter squash because it was available only during the summer months, but you can now find it in your local markets throughout the year. Its delicate flavor, soft shell and creamy white flesh make summer squash a perfect addition to your Healthier Way of Eating.
They are in season between May and July when they are at their best and most readily available.

Summer squash, members of the Cucurbitaceae family and relatives of both the melon and the cucumber, come in many different varieties. While each type varies in shape, color, size and flavor, they all share some common characteristics. The entire vegetable, including its flesh, seeds and skin, is edible. In addition, some varieties of the squash plant produce edible flowers. Unlike winter squash, summer squash are more fragile and cannot be stored for long periods of time.

Nutritional Value:
Summer squash is an excellent source of vitamin C, and the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, three powerful antioxidants that help protects cells from the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. A one cup serving of summer squash also provides 19% of the daily value (DV) for manganese, 11% DV for magnesium, and 10% DV for vitamin A.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Add Fish Oil to Your Workout. What I've been saying for years!!

Fish oil supplements and regular exercise both reduce body fat and improve cardiovascular health. Could combining the two work better than either one alone?

In the new study, overweight volunteers with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides were randomly assigned to one of the following interventions:

• fish oil,

• fish oil and exercise,

• sunflower oil (placebo), or

• sunflower oil and exercise.

They took 6 grams of tuna fish oil per day (providing 1.9 grams of omega-3 fatty acids) or 6 grams of sunflower oil per day. The exercise groups walked three days per week for 45 minutes at 75% of their maximal heart rate.

People who supplemented with fish oil experienced lowered triglycerides, increased HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and improved blood vessel function. Exercise alone improved some measures of artery health. Both fish oil and exercise independently reduced body fat. Though regular, moderate-intensity exercise, either alone or combined with fish oil supplementation, had no effect on triglycerides or cholesterol, researchers still came away from the study concluding that fish oil plus exercise was a winning combination.

Several studies have found that taking omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil results in fewer deaths from coronary artery disease. Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may lessen several cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure and triglycerides. In addition, some, but not all, clinical studies show that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids can reduce body fat.

SO, Get your Fish oils and flaxseed oils DAILY into your diet. You just cannot simply afford to be without them!!

CHEERS to your health!


Probiotics Help Ulcers to Heal

Healthnotes Newswire (June 14, 2007)—

While probiotics are usually used to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in the large intestine, new research suggests that they can also benefit the stomach, helping people with gastritis and peptic ulcer disease respond better to treatment.

Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that can colonize the stomach, leading to gastritis and peptic ulcer disease in some people. Most people with these conditions are infected with H. pylori.

A combination of two antibiotics and an acid blocker—known as triple therapy—is used to treat gastritis and peptic ulcer disease associated with H. pylori infection. This approach, however, leads to side effects, such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, and has only a modest success rate (about 75%), so the search for other treatments continues.

A new study, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, compared the effect of triple therapy by itself to triple therapy plus a probiotic and a compound from cow’s milk that has antibacterial, immune-sytem-boosting properties (bovine lactoferrin).

After H. pylori infection was confirmed for each of the 206 people in the study, they were randomly assigned to one of the two treatment groups: one week of triple therapy or triple therapy plus 200 mg of bovine lactoferrin and a probiotic twice a day. The probiotic provided a wide array of beneficial bacteria, mostly from the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium families.

Eight weeks after the end of treatment, H. pylori tests were negative in 92% of those who added the lactoferrin and probiotic, but in only 76% of those treated with triple therapy alone. In addition to being more effective, the regimen that included lactoferrin and probiotic also caused fewer side effects: only 9.5% of the people who used the lactoferrin and probiotic, compared with 40.6% of those who received triple therapy alone, experienced side effects including nausea, diarrhea, a metallic taste in the mouth, headache, and abdominal pain.

The success rate with triple therapy seen in this study is similar to that seen in other recent reports. Its effectiveness has been declining, possibly due to increasing resistance to the antibiotics currently used to eradicate H. pylori. Improving the response rate and reducing side effects through adding nonantibiotic therapies could help prevent antibiotic resistance.

“The results obtained suggest that the synergistic effect of bovine lactoferrin and probiotics could improve the eradication rate and reduce the side effects of antibiotics both during and after treatment,” the researchers concluded. “These results need to be confirmed, but triple therapy plus bovine lactoferrin and probiotics could represent a valid alternative regimen to the standard H. pylori eradication protocol.”

I personally recommend:
"GARDEN OF LIFE" PRIMAL DEFENSE ULTRA Probiotic. I take it everyday.

Turmeric - India's panacea?

Turmeric has been on my spice radar for quite some time. Mostly because I'm a BIG fan of the curry. Tikka eggplant and coconut curry are my fave!
BUT, You also could be doing a world of good for your heart and cardio system, so READ ON!

Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Turmeric has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory
in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine. Turmeric was traditionally called "Indian saffron" because of its deep yellow-orange color and has been used throughout history as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye.
Ancient systems of medicine have used it as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic. A lot of nasty, I know!

Cardiovascular Protection
Curcumin (Turmeric) may be able to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Since oxidized cholesterol is what damages blood vessels and builds up in the plaques that can lead to heart attack or stroke, preventing the oxidation of new cholesterol may help to reduce the progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. In addition, turmeric is a good source of vitamin B6, which is needed to keep homocysteine levels from getting too high. Homocysteine, an intermediate product of an important cellular process called methylation, is directly damaging to blood vessel walls. High levels of homocysteine are considered a significant risk factor for blood vessel damage, atherosclerotic plaque build-up, and heart disease; while a high intake of vitamin B6 is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

In research published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, when 10 healthy volunteers consumed 500 mg of curcumin per day for 7 days, not only did their blood levels of oxidized cholesterol drop by 33%, but their total cholesterol droped 11.63% , and their HDL "good" cholesterol increased by 29%! (Soni KB, Kuttan R). is currently offering:
Jarrow Formulas
60 Capsules
Strength: 500 MG
For $11.60 - that should last you 2 months!
VERY Low price for some very beneficial health protection!!

Turmeric is definitely one of the World's Healthiest Foods!! Enjoy OFTEN!

Seitan, What is it?

I get asked this ALL the time by Veggie "newbies", Now that I've given up meat, what do I eat?
So, I dole out to you, some more enlightening information on my fave veggie meat. No, It's not another crap tasting "mock" meat like tofu hot dogs or fakin' bacon. haha.

Seitan is pronounced [SAY-tan] (No, vegeatarians don't worship the devil, well except for satanist vegetarians, but I'm sure there's satanist meat eaters as well. haha.. anyways, why do I digress so much in my posts.. On with it!!)

It's a protein-rich super food made from wheat GLUTEN and used in many VEGETARIAN dishes. Seitan's firm texture is definitively chewy and meatlike (which is why it's also called wheat meat ), its flavor is rather neutral. That mildness, however, allows seitan to be a kitchen chameleon that easily picks up the flavors of the foods with which it is cooked. Available in the refrigerator section of health-food stores and Asian markets, seitan typically comes in foil- or plastic-wrapped cakes that may be square or rectangular and that average about 1/2-inch thick. It also comes in 8-ounce plastic tubs. Check the expiration date on fresh seitan. Seitan is also sold as wheat gluten, a powdered form that can be mixed with water. The wheat gluten-water mixture, however, doesn't have the same chewy texture as commercially packaged seitan. For the best texture and flavor add seitan to cooked dishes at the last minute, heating just until it is warmed through.

If you are alergic to gluten, then you might not be into the seitan, try Tempeh or Tofu instead, I however consume all of the above, regularly.



Hey Gang!

Here's my weekly "New Item Alert"! It's basically a product I have tried, liked and that I reccomend for it's nutritional content, health benefits or simply because it ROCKS!


MimicCreme is the non-dairy, non-soy substitute for cream that truly is both tasty and healthy. And we make it available to you in three versions. There is an unsweetened version and two sweetened versions. With the sweetened versions, one is made from natural cane sugar and one with a 100% natural sugar substitute.

All three versions of MimcCreme are 100% vegan and kosher.

Check them out at: