Fitness tip…Tend to Tissues

Tissues armThe tissues that comprise the human body (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fasciae) can get pretty beat up if you are a sports enthusiast or just an extremely active individual. Keeping these tissues in top shape will prevent future injury and long term pain. Foam rolling, stretching, sports massage, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture, contrast bath therapy (hot and cold alternation) are just some of the modalities that should be considered as part of a regular exercise program. In keeping the blood flowing through these tissues they will remain healthy and most important flexible.

Source: Muscle & Performance July 2016

GMO…Yes or No?

There is so much heated, political controversy over the use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Is there need for concern? Do we really understand bothcorn gmo.jpg copy sides of the issue? At present there are 109 million acres devoted to growing GMOs. Here in America we have been given the green light to grow 40 different GMO fruits and vegetables. We have been eating hybrid plants for thousands of years so is there a difference in a plant that is genetically modified? Hybrids come about by careful selective GMO kid orangebreeding of two related plants. GMO’s are produced in a lab and are created by combining two different biological kingdoms, in many cases a plant with the DNA of a bacteria. Both aim to produce crops that will survive environmental hazards such as temperature variations, droughts etc. Hybrids cross breed to make a plant stronger. GMO’s enable a plant to produce its own pesticides as well as resist herbicides while controlling the weeds that surround them. Blindness is prevalent in children in Asia and especially Africa due to the lack of Vitamin AGMO wheat. Scientists have developed a type of yellow (Golden) rice by combining the gene of a yellow daffodil and a strain of bacterial DNA with rice and have developed a grain that is rich in beta carotene, the source of vitamin A. Will the body be able to handle this foreign combination? Is preventing blindness in children more important? Wheat has been genetically modified since the 1940’s. The purpose was to make it capable of resisting drought, able to be harvested at 1 foot as opposed to 4 and therefore feed populations that did not have sufficient food. Have our bodies adjusted to gmo needlethis new protein after all these years? Are people more sensitive to wheat and as a result gluten intolerant? Has it saved the lives of many who would have starved to death. Supporters of GMOs claim that plants can become insect resistant, become heartier, use less pesticides, and therefore have less of an impact on the environment. If that is the goal, why incorporate vaccines and antibiotics in the makeup of these foods? Do we need fruits and vegetables that can be transported for longer distances because they ripen slowly or should we buy local?  If GMOs are created by introducing strains of bacterial DNA, then how many of these organisms are we capable of integrating into our bodies. Those that oppose them claim that recent studies have shown anGMO local farm increase in allergies and sensitivities as well as weight gain when consuming a number of these foods. Some are even attributing most of our digestive issues to their consumption. But is this just a result of poor eating habits from too much processed foods?  All of our soy, corn, wheat and sugar beets have been already genetically modified to resist the herbicide Roundup, surprisingly farmers are still spraying their fields with an additional dose of Roundup to make sure weeds do not survive, thus these plants are basically getting a double dose of this herbicide!  What kind of restrictions should be placed on GMOs if any? Is it worth investing more time and money into GMOs so that whatever good they can possibly provide to our less fortunate populations is carefully monitored? Whatever your feelings are about GMOs, you should have the choice of what you wish to consume. Since it is not mandatory to label as such, buy organic or support your local small farmer for now.

Added Sugar Line…

The Food and Drug Administration has just made the announcement that it will be adding Sugar linea line Added Sugar to the nutrition content label of all products. Up to now only sugars that occurred naturally in food (ex. sugar found in milk products) were listed. This would mean two distinct categories, one for total sugar and one for added sugar. Under the new guideline many sugars that were hidden under names such as evaporated cane juice, rice syrup, treacle, mizuame etc. slipped by the consumer. This made it impossible to determine the exact amount of sugar you were actually consuming in an effort to maintain a healthy diet.

Floating Suncatchers…

sun catchersThese are also known as water-based solar panels. They are usually placed in reservoirs, water treatment ponds or any body of water that is not used for recreation. The benefits of these water based panels are that they can prevent water from evaporating and deter algae from growing.  The water also acts as a cooling agent for the solar panel. They are proving to generate up to 57% more energy than roof top panels. The panels are made of a non-corrosive material and are on a tracking system which allows them to move toward the direction of the most sunlight. Japan has been in the forefront of their use due to the unavailability of large areas of land for traditional solar panels. They are now becoming extremely popular in Australia and in the United States.

The More the (not so) Better…

Multitasking babyDoes juggling 3 oranges require as much brain power as multitasking? How many times have you attempted to eat breakfast while opening mail, answering a text, watching the morning news all while talking to your significant other?  Although so many of us are convinced that we are skilled at multitasking, studies are showing that it is actually bad for us. I myself am guilty of falling into the same misguided way of thinking and then turning around to find something is burning on the stove.  Ourmultitasking spiral brains are better equipped at managing one task at a time. That is, performing a particular task with total mindfulness. Jumping from one task to another is actually where the term “scatter brain” originated. When we jump from one task to another it requires another part of the brain to take over that particular action.  Which means that we are not multitasking but instead the brain is actually shutting down one task as it moves on to the next. In so doing we may take longer to perform a particular task which can increase our level of stress thereby increasing the levels of multitasking writingglucocorticoids (adrenaline, cortisol etc.) in our bodies. Research has shown that only 2% of people are capable of multitasking successfully. The other 98% are only lessening their productivity. Devoting ourselves to executing one particular task actually means you will do it efficiently and completely and in turn make it much more enjoyable.  A possible solution is called informal practice. That is, taking a simple task that we perform daily such as doing the dishes, brushing your teeth or even walking the dog, and giving your complete concentration to performing it. This can help you slow down and get into the zone which can prepare you to begin monotasking (paying attention).

Let’s Get Dirty…

Dirty handsHow did we become so obsessed with cleanliness? We have exfoliating agents for every part of our body. Antibacterial soaps are now the replacement for a bar of ivory soap. It has become common practice to carry Purell in our bags. How can we possibly think of taking a shower unless the water is near boiling point and there is a loofah to aid us in removing the outer top layer of skin. Some of us have even resorted to extreme methods of cleansing our insides. We go on week long juice fasts and have colonics to remove anything that may be sitting in our lower intestines and colon. Is Bacteria such a threat that we will go to extreme measures to remove it from our body? Perhaps because we takeDirty juice antibiotics when we have a bacterial infection we have somehow come to the conclusion that all bacteria is harmful. Some bacteria live in total harmony with us. We have a mutual relationship and have come to depend on each other for survival. We all know of the benefits of probiotics which is just a term for good bacteria. Human beings have from 3 to 5 lbs. of these healthy microbes circulating within our bodies. Not only do they keep our digestive system in tact but they can also recognize and help destroy bacteria which may later become harmful to us. It is now believed that what we eat, our genes and environment all contribute to the makeup of the microbes within us. In this way it is not hard to understand dirty Mudthat we all have a different makeup. This may explain why gut bacteria may affect the weight of a person, diseases such as Autism and even skin conditions such as eczema. That is to say people with similar characteristics share similar bacteria makeup. Since the average person plays host to nearly 10,000 microbes in their system, they are now being looked upon as a source of health as opposed to disease. The connection is also being made on how they may affect hormone and cholesterol levels as well as our absorption of vitamins. Researchers are studying how a healthy amount of bacteria in the system may be the answer to obesity as well as cancer prevention by strengthening the immune system. Maybe it is time to go back into the garden and start making mud pies just as we did when we were children. However, we should stop at the point when we are about to taste them.

Exercise and Cancer…

Exercise involves biological stress which can lead to controlled short term inflammation in the body. A study with mice is looking into how the immune system may fight cancer byExercise increasing adrenaline. At the university of Copenhagen, scientists injected melanoma cells into two groups of mice. One group were given exercise wheels and the other group were forced to remain sedentary. After 4 weeks the active group showed better signs of fighting off the disease. This group possessed high levels of Adrenaline which alerted Interleukin-6, a substance released by working muscles, which in turn activated the natural killer cells. Lesions were both smaller and less in the active group.

Antibiotics Instead of Surgery…

no surgeryThe general consensus is that the appendix is a vestigial organ (inherited from our ancestors and of no use). It is now looked upon differently. The Appendix is attached to the large intestine (colon) and it is believed to be a repository for healthy bacteria. People who have had it removed are more likely to suffer from bouts of diarrhea. When inflamed it now may not be necessary to surgically remove.  Doctors are now considering giving the patient the option of being treated with antibiotics to reduce the inflammation. There is strong evidence that this has been effective in many cases of appendicitis.  However, extended studies have not yet been done and many doctors are against the “watch and wait “procedure.

Weight Loss Tip-Add a Little Zest…

  wine vinegarCertain additions to your way of eating can prove to be less expensive, more flavorful and low calorie. Here are three suggestions.

1.Combine red wine vinegar with thyme and parsley, heat and saute’ your chicken.

2.Grate orange rind avoiding the white and add to oil and vinegar as part of your salad dressing.

3.Dried figs are a great addition to pancakes, omelettes and cereal.

Take a Whiff of This…

Scent cookiesWhy is it when we encounter a scent it sometimes stirs in us a particular memory? It can bring to mind something pleasant or an unpleasant emotion. “Associate Learning” is the term by which an item can be linked to an individual’s past experiences. Our olfactory sense is the only one of our senses that has a strong neurological link to our emotions. Lavender, vanilla, coffee and roses have a strong affect on the nervous system and can reduce anxiety.  For this reason, aromatherapy is now being incorporated in treatment of sleep disorders. These scents have been shown to reduce breathing rate and blood pressure.  Athletes run faster after smelling peppermint and children score higher in tests after having been exposed to the scent of strawberry. Certain smells can trigger memories in people who are suffering from memory loss. scent monkeysParticipants in florally scented rooms used more cheerful phrases when asked to sit down and write a short passage. Even if a particular smell is unpleasant it can have a positive effect on an individual. Babies who were exposed by mothers in the womb to the smell of cigarette smoke, alcohol or garlic had a preference later for exposure to these smells. Certain scents can increase work productivity as well as increase how much we spend in a place of business or how much a person will gamble in a casino. This is why so much attention is given to the scent smell childof whatever environment we may find ourselves in. Tests have even shown that certain women can pick up the scent of genetic differences in men that would enable them to produce offspring with stronger immunity. Realizing what a positive or negative impact the scent of our immediate environment can have on our mood can make the difference in our quality of existence. Try heating some cloves and cinnamon when you are in a holiday spirit. Simmer some lime and coconut oil when you long for some time in the tropics. Or just sit back, put up your feet and let the scent of vanilla surround you.