Why is blood considered the lifeline of the body. Simplified, it is a combination of plasma (a watery liquid) and cells that float around in it. It is extremely specialized and supplies the body with essential substances and nutrients as well as carrying away waste from all of our organs. The first transfusion was attempted in 1492 to save the life of Pope Innocent VIII in Rome but it proved to be unsuccessful. In the 1800s, in Canada, Drs. Bovell and Hodder started intravenous transfusions with milk believing that the fat molecules in milk could be translated to white blood cells and in turn be converted to red blood cells. This also proved unsuccessful. It wasn’t until 20 years later that the first successful transfusion was done on a patient in England. At present there are about 32 different types recognized with the most common being O, A, B, AB. Belief systems have evolved that certain blood types would build stronger armies and also determine personality and behavior. Others have proclaimed that certain diets would benefit certain blood types. In Japan it has even gone so far as dating services seeking potential mates and employers interviewing possible workers presenting their blood type before making any decision can be made about their employment. In addition, students both in sports and study groups are placed together according to their blood type. Type O is believed to be the oldest type dating as far back as 30,000 to 25,000 BC. Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon primates are believed to have this blood type. This is the period in which the populations were hunter gathers. It is estimated that around 63% of humans presently have Type O. In South America it approaches about 100%. Type A dates back to around 25,000 to 15,000 BC. About 21% of all people have this type blood. Records show that this is about the time that cultivation and settling into farms began. The introduction of this blood type probably had a lot to do with the cultivation and additions of new and different food sources. Type B is less common with only approximately 16% of the population. It dates back as far as 10,000 to 15,000 and is common in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Type AB was first discovered in the Middle East around 2500 BC and became more common around 1000 years ago. Fortunately, we are now able to receive blood tests which can indicate deficiencies and prevent disease. Request a copy of your blood tests, keep a file on them. You will be surprised at how interesting and informative they can be.
Toe-tapping, foot wagging, constantly clicking your pen, moving back and forth in your chair are all viewed as nervous tendencies. Some of us find being in the presence of people who fidget annoying and even uncomfortable. But is there any benefit to these constant, unconscious movements? Most people spend a good part of the day seated. Meetings, classrooms, lengthy assignments take up at least 8 hours of our day. During these hours our legs hardly move, in fact, physically most of our body is not doing much of anything. Does this lack of blood flow throughout the body have consequences? During extended periods of little movement, there is no need for our blood vessels to remain flexible. How can we combat this? What if you are faced with situations where it is impossible to work while standing or even taking a short walk? Is fidgeting the body’s response for the need to encourage blood flow? Testing of blood flow on limbs that were subject to movement as well as stationary, showed simple fidgeting proved to have greater blood flow as well as arterial function which resulted in a normal range of blood pressure. There is a growing school of thought that fidgeting actually stimulates an improved level of attention which may be a better approach to teaching children with ADD, instead of attempting to have them sit still. There is even a connection made of how the brain may become more invested in a task if it is accompanied by even the simplest act of fidgeting. So sit sideways, tap your feet to the rhythm you hear in your brain, or simply alternate crossing your legs. If someone around you finds it irritating, simply say that you have scientific evidence to back up the benefits of your actions. If that doesn’t attract their interest, try the fact that you are also burning calories.
Google has over 70 million hits for the word detox. Designer juices are a 5 billion dollar a year business. We have been inundated with literature about the fact that we are surrounded by toxins and are advised to detox our bodies. We are lead to believe that the overload of toxin is more than a body can withstand. The meaning of the word detox originally stood for a cure for drug addiction. The word has been adopted by many companies promising to rid our bodies of toxins if a certain plan is followed. What toxins specifically are they referring to? Are these programs nothing more than starvation diets with little or no protein and fat? Is our body not naturally equipped as a perfect machine to cleanse itself? Our livers and kidneys are constantly filtering out waste. Our small intestine is on guard blocking unwanted agents from entering the bloodstream while our large intestine is busy helping waste leave our bodies. In addition, our skin, lungs and lymphatic system are eliminating toxins through sweating and breathing. It would seem if we fed ourselves more of the proper nutrients instead of cutting back, as these cleanses imply, we would actually encourage the body to do its job more efficiently. If you would like to give your system a break, try accomplishing it naturally via eating small but highly nutritional snacks 5 or 6 times a day for a week. Green leafy vegetables are incredible for blood purification. Water, exercise and proper ventilation in our homes are key to keeping our organs functioning. In other words, detoxing the body is really just an ongoing process, a way of life free of so much of the processed food we have been convinced to incorporate in our way of eating. Better digestion and complexion, increased energy and stamina, better absorption of nutrients, even weight loss are the results of eating clean without the high cost of resorting to commercial “detoxing” cleansers.
There is so much heated, political controversy over the use of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Is there need for concern? Do we really understand both 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 breeding 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 A. 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 this 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 an 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.
Does 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. Our 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 glucocorticoids (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).