Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Healthiest Foods in the World: Soy

Soy: Japan

Soy has long been touted as having great benefits to your overall health. It is packed with protein and linked to the prevention of cancer and osteoporosis. Studies have also shown it could be beneficial to cardiovascular health and it may have cholesterol-lowering abilities. Soybean oil also contains loads of omega-6 fatty acids.

There are a lot of easy ways to incorporate soy into your diet. Soy chocolate milk or veggie burgers are a simple alternative, or ordering your Grande Vanilla Latte with soy milk is a simple and tasty way to get it into your diet without even noticing!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Healthiest Foods in the World: Olive Oil

First in a five part series of entries laying out the top healthiest foods in the world.

Olive Oil: Spain

Rich in antioxidants, studies have shown that as little as two tablespoons a day can lower the risk of heart disease. Olive oil can also help lower cholesterol, and prevent heart attacks and stroke.

Olive oil is also popular with the natural remedies crowd; some use it on their skin and hair. Jeanne Calment, who holds the longest confirmed lifespan at 122 years, often attributed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance to using olive oil in both her food and on her skin.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Choosing a Multivitamin

With so many choices on the market, choosing the right vitamin for you can be a daunting task.

First, it's important to know that paying more doesn't always mean better quality. Generic brands are often just as good as the ones with fancy advertising.

Secondly, men and women’s vitamins are necessarily created equal. Are bodies are different and they need different things to run well. Women need much more iron than men, and for that reason, women’s vitamins often contain more of it.

Lastly, it's important that your vitamin absorb well. When placed in a glass of water, a vitamin should dissolve within 30 minutes, any longer and it's not doing its job.

Monday, March 17, 2008

In honor of spring...

Whether young or old, it’s important to be aware of the harmful effect the sun can have on our skin. Not only can it cause cancer and burn, but getting too much sun begins to show in the lines and wrinkles in our face. Here are some tips for staying safe:

* Wear sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays, even on cloudy days.

*Limit you exposure in areas that are highly reflective, such as sand, water and snow.

*No tanning beds, ever!

*Watch the hours you’re in the sun. From 10am to 4pm the sun is at its strongest and most harmful. Keep this tip in mind: if your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun's rays are very intense and you should seek shade.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Carol Alt: Supermodel and Raw-Foodist

I've been watching The Celebrity Apprentice lately, which is so entertaining! But last night I realized just how striking Carol Alt is, supermodel and raw-food eater. She has no wrinkles, no lines; her skin looks flawless and bright. Upon Googling her I found she's 47! There is no way she looks that great at 47 naturally. But she does; she claims she's never had anything injected into her. Her secret is single-handedly the raw food diet.

When she was 34 and at the height of her modeling career, she was feeling sick all of the time, taking prescriptions to combat insomnia, headaches and sinus problems, and began losing jobs because she was looking so worn down and old. Her holistic answer was a raw food diet. Thirteen years and two books later she looks better than ever and says she feels better than she did in her twenties. It seems as though Ms Carol Alt has discovered the fountain of youth! I want to learn more!

Being a raw-foodist isn't the same as vegan Carol says; she does eat meat. Raw. A little eww for me personally, but raw-foodists believe (as it’s been proven by scientific studies) that meat is not only much harder to digest when cooked, but as soon as it hits the heat, cancer-causing agents are formed. Is that why cancer is running rampant in today’s world?! Raw-foodists prefer their meat uncooked, dairy products unpasteurized (the process of heating the dairy), and their veggies fresh from the garden. The enzymes that make these foods so inherently healthy for us are completely lost in the cooking process. I have to say, I am much more interested in learning about this topic. Carol Alt says she can never eat enough to actually gain weight, whereas before her raw food diet she was eating nearly nothing and gaining like crazy. While I've never been one to commit 100% to any one diet, I do like to inform myself and incorporate bits and pieces from a variety of different diets I like. While I may not be reaching for the raw chicken breast any time soon, I just might reach of Carol Alt’s book the next time I’m at the bookstore.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Affected Water Supplies

Studies that came out in the last week show that many major cities throughout the U.S. are drinking contaminated drinking water. As many as 41 million Americans are drinking water containing many of the prescription drugs we take to make us healthy. At least one drug has been found in 24 major metropolitan areas with Philadelphia leading the pack at 56! Studies have also show the affects these drugs have on the animals living in these waters; many fish stop growing or become deformed.

This is a scary finding. A person doesn't know what to do anymore. There’s no word yet whether an in-home filtration system can help to filter these pharmaceuticals in the water. Scientists aren't sure of much right now. But we always have a back up right? Bottled water. Or not. In the past month, the plastic used in the bottling has shown links to cancer. In fact, all plastics have shown links to cancer, from bottled water to the Tupperware we use to store our food. The world is becoming a scary place to live; we’ve come to the point where we seem to be killing ourselves from within. We don’t need China doing it for us anymore :) I think so far, the best thing we can do is stay informed and roll with the punches. Avoid plastic whenever possible, and if you live in one of the affected metropolitan areas, keep up to date on what officials are recommending citizens do to make their water safe.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Taking a break with Party Bingo!

Brought to you by the good folks at Party Bingo!

While we’ve all heard the old adage work hard, play hard, it’s not something many of us give much thought to. But it is an adage for a reason! It’s true! We've all met those people who are entirely consumed by their work; my father-in-law is one of them. You know, those people who are nearing retirement age, but no one can fathom what they’ll do with their free time because their work has become their life. This isn’t good for our minds or our bodies; high blood pressure and anxiety are often a result.

That's why playing online bingo is a great de-stressor for everyone to partake in. Not only can you have some fun and brush up on your competitive edge, but you can also connect with other players who are interested in the same things you are. Bingo isn't for grandma anymore; it’s entered the 21st century with a twist. There are a variety of bingo games to choose from to fit every mood! The secret to life isn't wishing that you weren't working for forty years of it, but enjoying the time you have while you're here; and the more determined you are to enjoy life, the longer life you’ll lead.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Beef and the connection to Global Warming

While we all have our reasons for working to reduce global warming, mine is a pretty selfish one. I like the earth we live on. For me there is no greater peace than a walk through the woods, hearing the wind rustle through the leaves and the birds chattering. It's for that reason that I make an effort to have a positive impact on our environment as much as I can. I also take issue with those people driving big old gas-guzzlers around; it’s not just their business what they drive, it’s mine, because I live on this earth too. But that’s besides the point.

One very interesting fact about greenhouse gasses is that beef releases it on a much greater scale than our vehicles do! Beef cattle contribute 18% of the greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s just the gas released from their digestive systems! That figure doesn't include the raising and transporting involved. Just two pounds of beef is the equivalent of driving for three hours while leaving all of the lights on back at home. Wow.

But don’t think you have to cut out beef all together to make a difference. If you’re really jonesin’ for some red meat, go organic. Organic beef raised on grass release 40% less emissions and use 85% less energy. Another option is to try a veggie burger. They are actually a really great tasting substitute for beef, and they're much better for you!

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Clear Mind

I've read at different times in the past the effect a clean house can have on your mind. Marilu Henner says that a clutter-free life starts with a clutter-free home. She does take it to the extent of organizing the sock drawer with dividers and perfectly folded rows of socks; that’s over the top for me, but who am I to criticize? Marilu’s house is infinitely cleaner than mine is.

It’s amazing what a calming effect a perfectly clean home can have, though. My inclination was always to whip the house into shape when company was coming over until someone told me that they like to keep their house clean for themselves. They want to LIKE to live there. Believe it or not, that was a revelation for me! I’d been so concerned about the outward appearance only, I’d completely neglected myself.

I remember one Christmas season when we’d just put up the tree, the house was spic and span, and all the lights were out save for a yummy scented candle. I've never had a particularly good memory, but I remember that night and how I felt so happy and peaceful. I find when dishes have piled up and socks are strewn about the floor, I just get mad at the world. An anxious feeling starts to overtake me and I become overwhelmed with the clutter.

Martha Stewart has a list of six things you should do every day to maintain a clean house here.

With the snow melting and spring on its way, we should all make an effort to keep our homes in tiptop shape for our own health and happiness.