Heidi

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Mom, desperately trying to get the health thing right! I started this blog so that I can pass along all the great things that I learn everyday on damage control for our wonderful bodies. It is tough to keep up sometimes with all the things going on in our daily lives so hopefully some of the helpful hints that I provide can make your life easier and healthier. I welcome your comments and tips as well! I am a vegetarian, animal rights advocate and avid animal rescuer.
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2009-09-24

Bite Into Basil Baby!! From Sexy Legs, Pain Relief And Belly Fat Burning To Looking Younger-Basil Has It!!!


I have always been a fan of basil putting it in my salads, and using it to add flavor to many dishes (okay, I don’t cook much so yes, it can be sprinkled on tv, canned and boxed dinners). Really though, basil is very easy to chop up and throw into soups, vegetables, casseroles and just about anything- just look below at all the amazing benefits of a little basil! Mmmmmmmmm basil baby!

Sexy Legs With Basil- Just a couple tablespoons of fresh basil supplies,”60 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K which stimulates the body’s production of thrombin, a clotting protein that obstructs circulation to damaged veins and reroutes blood to larger healthy vessels. Researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands discovered that this can cause spider and varicose veins to shrink and fade in as little as six weeks.”

Decreases Appearance of Wrinkles- By having basil on a regular basis you can improve the appearance of wrinkles by 66 percent in as little as 10 days. Basil has high concentrations of flavonoids, which help the body synthesize skin-plumping collagen. Basil is also pumped full of vitamin A and this speeds skin cell turnover to give you that glow we all want!

Basil Burns Fat-Bye, Bye Big Belly-For this alone I will eat basil by the handfuls! According to a study at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, basil has calcium which suppresses the body’s output of calcitriol, a hormone that gives you that increases fat storage in your stomach. The study showed that regular intake of basil melts abdominal fat 81 percent faster. Basil also is full of manganese which is a mineral that stabilizes levels of blood glucose-regulating insulin that staves off cravings and helps to downplay those sugar highs and lows.

Natural Pain Relief- According to research at Michigan State University in East Lansing, a nice big sprinkle of basil relieves muscle pain as well as a standard dose of aspirin. “Eugenol, a component of the herb’s natural oil, inhibits a key enzyme from synthesizing the inflammatory prostaglandins that over sensitize nerves”. I guess in terms I can understand that means it makes the pain go away.

Now, if you are not rushing to the store to get some basil and piling it on and in everything you eat I don’t know what to say. I just threw some in my green tea and it tastes….. interesting. Basil I love you for all you do!
2009-09-17

Sex is Good For You! From Cancer To The Common Cold!! No More Excuses!


It seems anytime I mention the word sex in a post I get more page views than ever so without further ado I am going to post once again one of my most popular articles ever!!! Enjoy in every way!

By Anna Magee http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

Making love could be one of the few pleasures in life that is genuinely good for you, say researchers.

Not only does a healthy sex life boost mood, but there is growing evidence to show it boosts your physical well-being, too - from increasing longevity to reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction and even heart attack.

Only last month, researchers at Nottingham University concluded that men who kept up a regular sex life in their 50s were also at lower risk of developing prostate cancer. In fact, the research seems to suggest that men - particularly older men - benefit the most from healthy effects of sex. Feel-good hormones help explain some of the benefits, such as mood-boosting, but the explanation is not always obvious. But one thing is clear, and this applies to both men and women: you need to be having sex regularly if you don't want to lose the ability.

Researchers had followed 1,000 men aged between 55 and 75 for five years and found that those who had sex less than once a week at the start of the study were twice as likely to develop erectile dysfunction (see below) as those who had it at least once a week. Those who had sex three or more times a week lowered their risk fourfold. 'Use it or lose it' was the advice given to older men by Finnish scientists recently.

As women get older their oestrogen levels drop, says Dr Peter Bowen-Simpkins, consultant gynaecologist at the London Women's Clinic and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. This hormone is key to a woman's sexual enjoyment - lower levels can make sex uncomfortable, he explains. But American research found that menopausal women who had sex every week had oestrogen levels twice as high as their abstaining counterparts. 'Regular sex increases the production of oestrogen,' says Dr Bowen-Simkins. As long as other symptoms, such as dryness, are not a problem or have been treated, having more sex can decrease the risk of vaginal atrophy which can occur with age, he says.

So what else can a regular love life do for your health?

Heart- Sex can be good for your heart. The idea that men are more at risk of a heart attack during love-making is mostly misconception, say experts. Professor Peter Weisberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, says there is no evidence that men who have sex regularly in their 40s, 50s and beyond are at an increased risk of heart attack. 'As far as the heart is concerned, sex is just another form of exercise,' says Dr Graham Jackson, consultant cardiologist at Guy's & St Thomas' Hospital and president of the Sexual Dysfunction Association. 'In fitness terms, it's equivalent is going for a mile-long walk or climbing up and down two flights of stairs. If you're physically fit enough for that, there should be no increased risk during sex.' A study at Queens University in Belfast found that having sex three times a week could actually halve the risk of heart attack or stroke. However, if you are over 50, overweight and unfit, there is a risk to your heart - just as there would be if you suddenly and vigorously took up any form of exercise.

Loving Feeling: A study found those who had sex less than once a month had double the risk of dying prematurely than those who had sex twice a week.

Prostate -Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in British men, affecting 35,000 a year. Previous research suggested that greater sexual activity was linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer, but findings from Nottingham University (published in the British Journal Of Urology International) suggest the opposite is true: that increased activity is protective for older men. This backs up the findings of a major study five years ago by the National Cancer Institute, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Previous studies have suggested the reduced risk is due to the release of toxins from the prostate gland. 'We can't say for certain that having regular sex can protect older men from prostate cancer, because such studies don't prove the mechanism through which risk is reduced,' says Dr Geoffrey Hackett, consultant urologist at Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield, and former chairman of the British Society for Sexual Medicine. 'But many men who maintain a regular sex life are also likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle in terms of regular exercise and a better diet. That's likely playing a bigger part in their prostate cancer risk reduction.' Bones 'Testosterone levels have been found to increase during and after sex,' says GP Dr Sarah Brewer. 'This may provide some protection against male osteoporosis.' Sexual activity can also protect you against other unwanted changes. Some scientists have linked low levels of sexual activity to structural changes in the penis or testicles which appear to reduce them in size. 'We know that men who don't have regular ejaculations or sexual intercourse have lower levels of testosterone,' says Professor Pierre Bouloux, consultant endocrinologist at University College London and the Royal Free Hospital. And if your testosterone levels fall and you don't get erections, there is some evidence that the penile tissues can lose some of their elasticity, which in turn could make them appear smaller.

Mood-lift: The neurotransmitter serotonin is the body's key anti-depressant and a major reason people smile after sex Mood The evidence suggests that the 'feelgood' effect of making love could be more about chemicals than sexual ability. 'During lovemaking and orgasm, a cocktail of endorphins (the body's natural mood-lifting opiates), neurotransmitters and hormones are released,' says Professor Nadir Farid, consultant endocrinologist and founder of the London Endocrine Clinic. 'Oxytocin, in particular, is a hormone released during and after sex that has been shown to make people more generous towards their partners and can also help induce calm and sleep,' he adds. Oxytocin is called the 'cuddling' hormone because it's released after just 20 minutes of hugging. Women produce four times as much as men, for whom production is inhibited by the prevalence of the hormone testosterone, which drives libido. Another key neurotransmitter is serotonin, says Professor Farid. 'Serotonin is the body's key antidepressant chemical and one of the major reasons people smile and feel happy and relaxed after sex.' Sexually active women in longterm relationships were less likely to be depressed than women who went without sex, according to a study of nearly 300 women by American psychologist Gordon Gallup and published in the Archives Of Sexual Behaviour. Gallup speculated that semen contains several hormones which may have a mood-boosting effect when they are absorbed through the vaginal wall into the bloodstream.

Immunity -Having more sex might increase immunity from colds and flu. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of immunoglobulin A, or IgA, a substance found in saliva and the nasal lining thought to help our immune systems fight colds and flu. In one study, scientists asked 11 volunteers how often they had had sex over the previous month, then measured levels of IgA in their saliva. Those who had sex once a week or less had a slight increase, compared with those who abstained; but those who made love more often had 30 per cent higher levels. Professor Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Centre and Healthcare Clinical Trials at Cardiff School of Biosciences, is not convinced, though, that sex itself is the key. It's known that stress and anxiety can also make IgA levels go down, so according to Professor Eccles any connection between sex and colds may be related to other factors.

Cold cure? -Having more sex might increase immunity from colds and flu. Longevity One of the largest studies on longevity and sex - conducted on Welsh men - found that those who had sex less than once a month had double the risk of dying prematurely than those who had sex twice a week. 'Sexual activity seems to have a protective effect on men's health,' says GP Dr Sarah Brewer. 'This may be linked with the effects of the master sex hormone, DHEA or dehydroepiandroterone, which is made in the adrenal glands and functions as a building block of other hormones such as oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone. 'DHEA levels rise just before orgasm and ejaculation to three times higher than normal, and some claim this is how regular sex can prolong your life.'

Fertility- For people trying to conceive, one of the biggest myths associated with fertility is that refraining from ejaculation boosts sperm mobility - the rate at which individual sperm can move forwards to penetrate an egg for fertilisation, says gynaecologist Dr Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Midlands Fertility Services. 'When sperm is hanging around in the epididymis, the long coiled tube in the back of the testes where sperm is stored, it dies off rapidly,' she says. 'Unless a man has a low sperm count, the more often he has sex, then the better the quality of his sperm.' Preliminary results of a small study two years ago, by Australian researchers, found that in men whose sperm showed significant DNA damage, daily ejaculation reduced this damage by 12 per cent. 'When it comes to sex for fertility, having sex little and often - at least every other night - is far better than lots of it on infrequent occasions.'

Well I guess you know what you need to do to stay healthy:)
2009-09-08

What To Buy And Not Buy When Going Organic!! Save Money With These Tips!

I will be the first to admit that I love to spend money. I love to shop and buying healthy organic food is no exception (who knew grocery shopping could be so fun-but hey it IS shopping). Unfortunately, I have to be on a budget in all areas and this includes my organic food choices. I looked around and found some helpful information on which are the top foods to buy organic if you are like me and on a budget ( I hate the word budget). Here we go-

Top Foods To Buy Organic-Worth The Money

**Peaches-In some studies, they’ve had up to 10 times as much pesticide on them as other fruits and vegetables.

**Apples-Apples may contain methyl parathion. Both fresh apples and baby food applesauce can also contain chlorpyrifos, an OP which has caused large bird kills. Doesn't sound good.

**Strawberries-Strawberries receive a dose of up to 500 pounds of pesticides per acre.Straw-berries and other produce bought out-of-season are the most likely to have been imported, possibly from a country with less-stringent pesticide regulations.

**Milk-While milk is a natural product, all the antibiotics and hormones that go into high-yield cows most certainly aren’t. Some studies on supplements like recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) used in conventional milk production have suggested links to early puberty and other hormonal abnormalities. Danish studies have shown that not only does organic milk have less of the bad stuff, it has more of the good stuff. Specifically, organic milk has higher levels of vitamin E, omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Did you know that Europe has banned U.S. Milk? I also make sure to buy organic cheese, yogurt and all dairy products when possible.

**Meat-. Contrary to a widely reported "fact," meat typically contains less pesticide residue than plant-based foods, according to Debra Edwards, the director of EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs. That said, raising animals with conventional modern methods often means using hormones to speed up growth, antibiotics to resist disease and pesticides to grow the grain fed to the animals (plus I think modern methods promote cruelty to animals-had to get that in there). As the EPA puts it in an Ag 101 feature, "Antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones are organic compounds which are used in animal feeding operations and may pose risks if they enter the environment." Consumers looking to avoid meats raised with these substances can seek out certified organic meat. To meet USDA standards, this meat can come only from animals fed organic feed and given no hormones or antibiotics.

**Coffee-Many of the beans you buy are grown in countries where pesticides and chemicals are not regulated. Look for the fair trade certified organic label on your coffee for assurance.

**Eggs-Though they are a terrific source of protein, most eggs are produced using a range of antibiotics and hormones on the chickens that bear them. Given this, the health gains of eating organic eggs are similar to those of drinking organic milk. Essentially, organic eggs mean fewer hormones in the chicken and fewer foreign hormones (or chemicals acting as hormones) in your body.

**Celery, Grapes and Sweet Bell Peppers-Peppers and grapes have thin skins and celery none which creates little and no barrier to pesticides.

**Potatoes-Chlorothalonil, often used on potatoes, can be particularly harmful to children. In Canada, potatoes have been linked to high rates of asthma and asthma-related deaths in farming communities.

Spinach-Leafy greens are often contaminated with what are considered the most potent pesticides used on food.

Save Some Money And Probably Don't Need To Buy These Foods Organic-

**Broccoli,
**Bananas
**Frozen sweet peas
**Frozen corn
**Asparagus
**Avocados
**Onions:
Levels of pesticides are low even in conventional versions of these.
Now you are armed and ready to save money and go do some organic shopping!
2009-09-01

Be A Hero And Go Organic!!!! Benefits Of Going Organic!


In recent years there has been alot of buzz about going organic. I try to buy as many organic products as I can afford (tomorrow I will write about going organic on a budget) and feel that my family benefits from this. When I first started understanding the importance of organic products I was appalled about what really goes on in the food industry. I am by no means even remotely perfect at buying organic but I am making an effort. If an organic super spy came to my house they would throw me in the your an organic fraud jail. I think I could plead innocence because I do not profess to be more than a wannabe so you genuine health nuts go easy on me. I really do the best I can as far as purchasing organic and you will see why below.


What Does Organic Really Mean??


An organic product is raised, grown, and processed without the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, antibiotics or hormones. Only farmers who produce food according to USDA organic standards and become certified by an independent third-party accredited agent can label their product as "certified organic" (with the exception of very small farms with sales under $5000 annually).


Why You Should Consider Going Organic


**Organic products meet stringent standards. Organic certification is the public’s assurance that products have been grown and handled according to strict procedures without persistent toxic chemical inputs.


**Organic farmers build healthy soil. Soil is the foundation of the food chain. The primary focus of organic farming is to use practices that build healthy soils.


**Organic production reduces health risks. Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Organic agriculture is one way to prevent any more of these chemicals from getting into the air, earth and water that sustain us.


**Taste Better and Truer Flavor. Scientists now know what we eaters have known all along: organic food often tastes better. It makes sense that strawberries taste yummier when raised in harmony with nature, but researchers at Washington State University just proved this as fact in lab taste trials where the organic berries were consistently judged as sweeter. Plus, new research verifies that some organic produce is often lower in nitrates and higher in antioxidants than conventional food. Let the organic feasting begin!


** Reduce The Toxic Load: Keep Chemicals Out of the Air, Water, Soil and our Bodies. Buying organic food promotes a less toxic environment for all living things. With only 0.5 percent of crop and pasture land in organic, according to USDA that leaves 99.5 percent of farm acres in the U.S. at risk of exposure to noxious agricultural chemicals.Our bodies are the environment so supporting organic agriculture doesn’t just benefit your family, it helps all families live less toxically.


I found some additional information on which foods you should purchase if you are on a budget and can only choose a few organic items and I will put that in tomorrow's post. So, if you are like me and have to pick and choose you will know which ones are more important than others as far as organic goes. I also support my local farmers market which is a great way to buy produce at a reasonable price. So, please check back over the next few days and check out organics on a budget.