May 6, 2011

Really Natural Books: Nutrition at Your Fingertips

Nutrition at Your Fingertips by Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN is a handy dandy reference book. From weight management to trace minerals, everything related to nutrition is explained.

"Nutrition at Your Fingertips covers all the basics, from what happens if you eat too little fat to the safest way to defrost food. It also includes helpful charts that provide readers with must-have information, such as which foods contain key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, along with their benefits and a breakdown of food label terms. It's the kind of resource people can go back to over and over again."
-Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD, New York Times bestselling author

This book contains information useful for vegetarians and omnivores alike, as well as those requiring special diets like diabetics and celiacs. Food sources for vitamins are displayed in easy to read charts, as well as the BMI index for adults. One of the items I found most surprising is that my cup of espresso actually contains about half the caffeine of a cup of brewed coffee!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 3, 2011

Hot Bath May Relieve Sore Muscles, But What About Your Heart?

I have become addicted to hot baths with epsom salts and lavender oil. Not only are hot baths relaxing, I find them very therapeutic for aches and pains.

The Japanese are known for their baths. These deep pools involve a ritual of cleansing before entering for a soak. All scrubbing occurs outside of the tub. The Japanese culture has a long history of hot baths, that's why a new study is a wee bit alarming.

A new Japanese study has found the a hot soak on a cold day may be bad for the heart. The Daily Mail reports:

The researchers from Kyoto Prefectural University found that enjoying a hot tub could spell trouble for the heart.

They found the rate of cardiac arrests during bathing were ten times higher in winter than in summer.

The team, led by Chika Nishiyama, based their study on data from nearly 11,000 cardiac arrests in the western prefecture of Osaka between 2005 and 2007.

Prior to the cardiac arrest, 22 percent of people had been sleeping, 9 percent had been bathing, 3 percent had been working, and 0.5 percent had been exercising. The rest had been doing "nonspecific" or unknown activities.

When looking at cardiac arrest rates, at the top of the list was 54 arrests per 10 million people per hour of bathing, followed by 10 per 10 million people per hour of exercising.
For bathers, the risk was tied to outside temperatures, with more cardiac arrests on colder days...

While it's still unclear how to explain the link, getting into a hot tub on a chilly day causes a rapid blood pressure drop, which stresses the heart.

This information will not stop my addiction to hot baths, no matter the season. It seems that sleeping may be just as dangerous :)

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by andyarthur

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 29, 2011

Really Natural Books: The Way of the Happy Woman

The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life by Sara Avant Stover is an inspirational book for any woman and would make a nice Mother's Day gift.

Our ancestors adhered to the daily, seasonal, and yearly rhythms of nature by necessity, but modern life overrides these cycles, compromising women's health and happiness.

In this book, Sara Avant Stover shows how simple, natural, and refreshingly accessible practices can minimize stress and put us back in sync with our own cycles and those of nature. When we honor spring's seedlings, summer's vibrancy, fall's harvest, and winter's quietude, we harmonize our inner and outer worlds.

Sara's suggestions nurture the body, invigorate the mind, and lift the spirit. Illustrated yin and yang yoga sequences, one-day season-specific retreats, enticing recipes, and innovative self-reflection techniques make it easy to reconnect with the essential.

I especially appreciate the seasonal yoga sequences and recipes. In fact, I plan to make the quinoa and roasted asparagus tabouli today!  Asparagus season has begun in my garden!

This book is all about treating yourself right, and Sara even shows you how to find the time to do so. It's not about pampering, which implies decadent luxury. It's about nurturing your body and spirit.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 28, 2011

Your Steering Wheel Harbors 9 Times More Germs Than a Public Toilet Seat

Here's your disgusting thought for the day: Your steering wheel harbors nine times more germs than a public toilet seat. You can avoid putting your hands on a public toilet seat, but can you drive hands-free?

The Daily Mail reports:

Research has found that while 80 bacteria lurk on each square inch of toilet, around 700 harmful bugs inhabit the car's interior.

The study also revealed that 42 per cent of motorists regularly dine while driving...

Dr Ron Cutler, director of biomedical science at Queen Mary University, London, said: 'While most of the bacteria were unlikely to cause health problems, some cars were found to play host to a number of potentially harmful bacterial species.

'Most people clean their homes but many are neglecting to clean their cars and are driving around in vehicles which resemble a rubbish bin.

'A car is the perfect place for germs to breed, especially if you eat in it and leave litter or uneaten food around. To avoid potential health risks it would be wise to regularly clean your car inside and out.'

When was the last time you cleaned your car? We really like the Eco Touch car cleaning products we reviewed three years ago!


AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by pmarkham

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 21, 2011

Recalled Turmeric Sold at Target Contained Lead

Here's a scary thought: your spice rack could contain lead! Not the rack itself, but the spices you sprinkle into your recipes. According to UPI, turmeric sold at Target has been recalled for lead content!

Officials in Georgia confirmed Archer Farms Ground Turmeric, a curry spice sold at Target stores, is being recalled due to high levels of lead...

B&M Inc. of Mount Vernon, Mo., shipped the jars of spice to Target stores from June 2009 to February 2010, the newspaper said.

Lead is toxic if ingested. It is known to cause mental and physical problems, including learning disabilities.

How the turmeric was contaminated with lead was not disclosed, but it is pretty scary to consider what may be lurking in our spices.

Photo:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by techfun

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 19, 2011

Japan Nuclear Disaster Will Last 3 Months


Although we may not be thinking as much about the nuclear disaster in Japan as we were a few weeks ago, the problem is far from over. UPI reports:

Takashi Sawada, deputy director of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, said in a CNN report Saturday it would take two or three months to restore cooling systems at the damaged reactors.

The plant's coolant systems were damaged by the March 11 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami, resulting in a near meltdown and causing a nuclear accident on par with that at Chernobyl, in the former Soviet Union, officials said.

The evacuation zone is being expanded to include the village of Iitate.

That's three more months of radiation. Although our exposure in the United States is minimal, it's still important to protect your family and pets. Keep up your iodine levels by eating lots of seaweed!

Photo:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Kordian

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 7, 2011

World Health Day: "The world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era"

Last summer, I had a little taste of antibiotic resistance when a typical case of strep throat was not remedied by the usual course of amoxicillin. The doctors scrambled to use other antibiotics as an abscess then developed. It was gnarly, and I was scared.

Today is World Health Day. The World Health Organization is using today to highlight a very real problem we are facing: antibiotic resistance. ScienceBlogs reports:

The development and widespread use of antibiotics counts as a public health triumph, as infections that once routinely killed large numbers of people became much easier to treat. That triumph can be undone, though. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan warns, "In the absence of urgent corrective and protective actions, the world is heading towards a post-antibiotic era, in which many common infections will no longer have a cure and, once again, kill unabated."

Those who've become infected with an antibiotic-resistant bacteria probably already know that we have a problem, because their illnesses tend to be longer and more severe. Some of these patients are cured by other antibiotics, which are often more expensive and can bring worse side effects. Some die.

Image:  Attribution Some rights reserved by jbtiv

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 5, 2011

North Carolina Bill Attacks Natural Health Providers

Have you ever seen an herbalist, naturopath, homeopath, or midwife? Under a proposed bill in North Carolina, these alternative, natural health practitioners could face felony charges. Organic Consumers Association explains:

Alternative health practitioners in North Carolina (NC) and their patients need your help to defeat a stealth bill that flew under the radar of most everyone in the natural health community. Senate Bill 31, which clarifies the penalties for the "unauthorized practice of medicine," essentially criminalizes the practice of unlicensed forms of medicine, which includes the work of many naturopaths, homeopaths, herbalists, aromatherapists, and even some midwives in the state. The bill was adopted by a judiciary committee in early March, and it recently passed the NC Senate. Now, the NC House is set to vote on the bill tonight, and unless NC governor Bev Perdue vetoes it, the practice of natural medicine for many in NC may soon become a more severe criminal offense.

SB 31 states that anyone who practices medicine or surgery without having been first "licensed and registered to do so" will be guilty of a Class I felony. Class I felonies in NC are the least severe kinds of felonies, but they do include things like burning crosses on private or public property, and sexually exploiting children. So if passed, SB 31 will essentially make those who practice alternative medicine without an official, state-sanctioned license and permit, criminals of the likes of sexual predators and cross burners.

Image:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by swanksalot

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 24, 2011

Wal-Mart Voluntarily Bans PBDEs


Mega-store giant Wal-Mart has voluntarily agreed to ban all consumer products containing PBDEs. This toxic flame retardant that is found in high levels in children's blood has been called a "chemical of concern" by the EPA.

Mother Nature Network reports:

Who needs government regulation when you have Wal-Mart? The retial [sic] giant is bypassing the government all together with a recent announcement that it will ban a controversial flame retardant commonly found in consumer goods, from computers to couches child safety seats.

The chemicals in question are polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, a class of chemical compounds used since the 70s as flame retardants in everything from furniture to electronics to sporting goods. But several studies have linked the chemicals to problems with the liver, thyroid and reproductive systems and brain development in laboratory animals.

In a recent notice to its suppliers, Wal-Mart said it would begin its own round of testing on June 1st to make sure products do not contain PBDEs. The company stated that the decision to ban PBDEs had been made several years ago, but just recently reminded its suppliers that it would begin verification testing

I commend Wal-Mart for banning PBDEs, but I still not support the mega-stores. They are responsible for many local shops closing down, as well as the over-consumption of cheap goods made overseas.

Photo:  Attribution Some rights reserved by Monochrome

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 17, 2011

Prepare for Radiation from Japanese Nuclear Power Plants Naturally with Brown Seaweed

We share a planet, and even though we may distance ourselves from global tragedies, like the Japanese earthquake, to protect ourselves from their tragic realities, we are not immune from its effects. Radioactive material from the nuclear power plants will reach us, similar to how Mongolian dust has reached the West Coast of the United States in the past. Of course, our exposure will be less than the Japanese, but we still should prepare our bodies.

Pure Brown Seaweed Extract is one way you can protect your body. It has been used since the atomic bombs of WWII and Chernobyl. Susan Weed of the Wise Woman Herbal Series writes:

Miso broth is the classic food for prevention of radiation damage. There's twice the protection if a quarter-ounce/5 grams of dried kelp seaweed is added to the soup. In scientific studies, seaweed was able to neutralize radioactive isotopes in the human body. Researchers at McGill University say radioactive strontium binds to the algin in brown seaweeds to create sodium alginate, a compound easily and harmlessly excreted. Common black tea exhibited the same anti-radiation effects in several Japanese studies.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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