Organic Foods vs. “Natural” Foods

 

Do you sometimes wonder about the safety of the foods you choose to eat?  Every so often you may hear of a certain food that is causing illness to hundreds of people do to salmonella poisoning or some other type of food poisoning. Naturally, you hope and pray that your food selections will cause you no harm.

Before you read on, you might want to click on the video because it offers much more information than what I’ve written here.  In fact, nothing that is written here is included in the video.

During the past few years there have been a lot of noise made about organic foods that are grown under the specifications of the United States Department of agriculture  (USDA) and is certified by the National Organic Program, (the NOP).

So what’s the difference between foods with the organic label and the foods with a label claiming to be all “natural”?

What I have found out is that the organic food production is regulated by a third party, who makes sure that strict regulatory standards are followed by both the farmers and the processors.  The goal is to comply with federal enforcements that would avoid using materials that are considered hazardous to the environment and to the well being of human life.

Normally the “natural” foods are not regulated ( with the exclusion of poultry and meat)  and have no consistent set of rules to comply with. When it comes to monitoring the “natural” meat and poultry regulations, there is a lot of sloppiness that goes on.  From what I can determine, it is up to the corporate marketing departments to authorize which foods should contain the “natural” label, and which foods won’t carry it.

This process of labeling “natural” foods seem too much like politics to me, and have little to do with the interest of the health conscious  customer.  I say this because the foods are all produced in the exact same way.  So why give some the label  and not give it to others?

On the other hand,  I’ve learned that the USDA’s National Organic Program regulates the standards for all types of farms, including wild crop handling and processing.

Armed with this information, I think it is a slam dunk.  There is no doubt to me that the organically produced products wins the discussion.  The foods produced by the NPO are intended to give the customer a greater assurance that the organic foods purchased are certified to be consistent with the organization’s  standards, and will not cause illness such as food poisoning or cancer.

Healthy trails to you

Carolyn

They walk for Dirty Water

 

We all know that water is an essential element for our bodies.  In fact, without this important nutrient, we will cease to exist.  Incredibly, for such an important element which we need for our survival, most people seldom think twice about it.  When we need it, we go to the fridge, pour out the amount of water we want, and presto…it is there for the taking.  We take as much as we want, usually without a second thought.  Need a shower? Simply step into your shower stall and turn on the faucet.  Not a problem.

Now imagine for a moment that you don’t have those conveniences.  Gee, that’s almost hard to imagine right?  Now imagine a little deeper and visualize yourself walking a great distance with a bucket to carry dirty water in that you will collect from a polluted pond or a muddy river.

Dirty water contains pollutants that can make you fall ill with the cholera disease. Dehydration and diarrhea lingers for weeks sometimes before death occurs.     And of course, this dirty water must be shared among the entire family.

A water crisis is happening in parts of our world today without many people realizing it.  The areas affected are mostly in South East Asia, Latin America, and parts of Africa.  This crisis affects more than one billion people in all.  It did not just start happening; rather, it has been going on for years.    However many people are unaware of it, or do not realize the seriousness of it.  This could be due to most of us take water for granted.

However, this is a serious problem; and a heartbreaking one.  I am writing this post today to bring to your attention the suffering caused in the world due to a lack of clean water.

Now here’s where the good news come into play.  We can fix this.  Collectively, we as concerned humans looking out for each other on this earth can make a big difference by doing a very humane thing.

Charitywater.org raises money to help provide clean and safe drinking water for countless of needy families in developing nations.  If you consider this particular charity is a worthy course you may want to get involved in; then there are several ways for you to do so.  Simply visit the website: http://www.charitywater.org and learn how you can get started.

Charitywater.org website will show you how you can easily get involved in several different ways.  You can easily make a monetary donation for the cause, or volunteer your time and service by partnering with someone’s fundraising efforts or, if you are ambitious enough you can even start your own fundraising drive.  Their experts will show you how to get started.  100% of all money raised goes directly towards the cause of bringing clean water to millions of people living in developing nations around the world.

I am glad I discovered this charity and am honored to participate in such a humane cause.

Healthy trails to you.

Carolyn

Natural Nutrition, or Vitamin Substitution?

Photo compliments of willlkimedia commons CC 2.0

I believe a lot of us have gotten to be so obsessed with our health, that we will take a pill for almost anything.  This isn’t always a bad idea, especially when it is a pill recommended by a trusted physician.  But what if the pill in question is something you can get naturally simply by eating the correct amount of nutrients?  In that case, a well balanced diet is all that will be needed.

If you are already consuming a well balanced diet, don’t throw money out the window.   Unless a doctor should tell you otherwise,  that is what you will be doing when you spend your money on a bunch of un-necessary  vitamins.

Here’s the 411. 

Most nutritionist agree, that the natural food supply is loaded with nutrients; far more than you can get from a pill.

All of our body’s systems depend upon us having a healthy intake of nutrients.  I’m talking about our muscular system, nervous system, skeleton system, and others.   A well balanced diet works to keep all of our body parts healthy.

A great immune system should belong to all of us.  Our immune system will usually hum right along, ready and able to fight off most harmful bacteria and viruses.  So it is most probable that our immune system will get a big boost when we consume a well balanced diet.

The thing is, there is a big difference between taking vitamin supplements to add to the diet and in taking vitamins as a substitution to eating a daily nutritious  meal.

I bring up this point because there are quite a few people who skip meals for one reason or another, (especially those who want to lose weight) and take vitamins as a substitute for that meal instead.

Here lies where the problem is:  No one does themselves any favors by skipping meals and substituting it with vitamins.  Natural foods are packed with much more nutrients than what you will get from a vitamin supplement.  It is through consumption of natural foods, our health will get the biggest boost possible.

I realize that there are certain diseases we may fall prey to despite how great our diet is.   Cancer is one of the diseases that come to mind.  But it is for this very reason that we should consume a well balance diet.   Unfortunately, in some cases, not eating a well balanced diet will create the cancer.

So what we have to remember is:

1) Eat a healthy diet

2) Do not skip meals

3) Do not replace food consumption with vitamin substitution

Look for a report to follow soon of what you might expect from vitamins, and which foods contain the most powerful vitamins.

Healthy trails to you

Carolyn

The West Nile Virus: Largest outbreak in 8 years

 

I was watching CNN a few days ago when I heard the news anchor say that the West Nile virus is at its worst in 8 years.  He went on to say that 80% of the cases are found in states including Texas and Mississippi.

This got me to wondering what people actually know about the West Nile virus, its cause, prevention and treatment.  So here I am today sharing a bit of info just to keep you up to speed with this menacing disease.

You may remember that the West Nile virus first showed up in the United States back in 1999, in the state of New York.  The source is believed to have come from the Middle East.  This is because a strain of the disease was the identical strain found in goose on an Israeli farm in 1998.

The cause of infection:  People can become infected after being bitten by a mosquito that is infected with the disease.  The misquotes become infected after feeding on birds that are infected with the West Nile virus.  A person will usually see symptoms of the disease 5 to 15 days after being bitten by an infected misquote.

Symptoms of the West Nile virus:  

Mild symptoms include headache, fever, body aches and sometime swollen lymph nodes. feeling fatigued, a loss of appetite, upset stomach, and a body rash.  These symptoms will last only for about 3 to 6 days before a complete recovery.

Severe symptoms include all of the symptoms found in the mild  form of the disease,plus: high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, coma, tremors, occasional convulsions, paralysis, and death.

The death rate is about 5 to 15% but is higher among the elderly.

The risk of infection:  The risk of getting the infection is higher during the summer months to the early fall season. In the southern climates, the infection can occur all year round because of the high misquote population.  During the cold climate, the risk factor is nonexistent.

The West Nile virus can also spread through an organ transplant and through a blood transfusion.  Because of this, all blood that is donated in the United States is checked for the presence of the virus, and must receive a negative finding before it can be used.

Treatment:  Currently, there is no antibiotic available for the treatment of the West Nile virus. Also, there has not been a vaccine developed for prevention.  Treatment for the West Nile virus is focused on complications from infection in the brain. Such infections include swelling of the brain (encephalitis), swelling of the spinal cord (myelitis), or swelling of the tissues around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis)

Methods of prevention:  From what I can determine, the most common ways to prevent getting the West Nile virus would be to use insect repellent when you go outside in the late spring, summer.  You should spray your clothes with the insect repellent also in order to prevent the mosquitos from biting through your clothes.  Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when you know that you will be in an area where lots of mosquitoes are populated. Also, do not leave open containers of water near your house, because mosquitoes will breed there.  When possible, stay inside during dawn, and dusk hours because mosquitoes are most active at these times.

 Finally, most people who are infected with the West Nile virus will have a full recovery, and will only experience mild symptoms.  However permanent health problems may occur for some people (mostly elderly); such as seizures, brain damage, and memory loss.  The West Nile virus can be fatal, and the people who are infected that are older than 70 years old have the greatest risk of dying from the disease.  It is important to comply with the methods of prevention, and you will most likely have a better chance of not getting the virus at all.   Healthy trails to you.

Carolyn

 

 

 

Pancratic Cancer and the Death of Sally Ride

Remembering Sally Ride

This week, America morns the death of Sally Ride.  In case you haven’t heard of sally Ride before, you should know that she was a role model and hero to many young girls and women everywhere.  Sally worked as an educator and a physicist.  But what made her life so exceptional, was because in 1983 she boarded the space shuttle Challenger, (the challenger’s launch ended in disaster in 1986) and became the first American woman to travel into space.

 

Sally Ride 1951-20012

The cause of Sally Ride’s death is contributed to pancreatic cancer.   Unfortunately, medical science has not found a way to detect pancreatic cancer while it is in the early stage.  That makes treatment practically nonexistent during the time when treatment is crucial.  Because of this fact, most people who find out that they have pancreatic cancer, unfortunately will usually  have only about 6 short months to live.

This is because when it is discovered, it has progressed to other areas on the body, making it impossible to successfully treat or cure.

Possible risk factors concerning pancreatic cancer are:

  • Genetics tendency. It is believed that 5% to 10% of people with pancreatic cancer  also have an immediate family member who suffered with this disease.  This seems to hold true, although there has been no pancreatic gene discovered.
  • Diabetes.  People with diabetes are not necessarily more likely to get pancreatic cancer but the two have been linked.
  • Smoking. Cigarette smoking is another risk factor for pancreatic cancer.  However 10 years after a person quits smoking, the risk diminishes  to that of someone who never smoked.
  • Obesity and inactivity.  In a medical study conducted with a group of nurses, Those who are obese and inactive are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer. And those who were more active were also far less likely to get pancreatic cancer, when compared to those who did not exercise at all.
  • Diet.  A diet high in fat and meat is another risk factor for pancreatic cancer.   A diet rich in fruits and veggies has shown to decrease the risk of pancreatic cancer.   But there are  other studies that suggest that the diet is no risk factor for pancreatic cancer at all.  Personally, I’d rather avoid any possible risk by eating a healthy diet.
  • Lycopene and selenium.  According to studies, low levels of these nutrients have been detected in people who developed pancreatic cancer. Although that is not enough proof alone that low levels of these nutrients cause pancreatic cancer. A diet that rich with lean meat and red and/or yellow vegetables should provide sustaining levels of  lycopene and selenium.

As you can determine from what I’ve written as a result of my research, the chances for developing pancreatic cancer perhaps is not fully known.  But we should treat our bodies with love and respect.  Eat a  healthy diet,  maintain a healthy body weight, and exercise regularly to preserve our overall health; then we will reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer and other health problems.

Healthy trails to you.

Carolyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiveness

“The first to apologies is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest. The first to forget is the happiest.”
sri sri Ravi Shankar

Does forgiveness come easily for you? I know forgiveness is a hard subject for some people. When you’ve been defrauded, or taken advantage of in some way, forgiveness may not be in the vocabulary of words that may jump out at you initially. And this is understandingly so.

It is difficult to forgive someone who has stolen your money, told lies on you, or have literally used you as a front for something evil they were doing. I suppose in theory, a person has a right to be bitter. But forgiveness is so much easier on the heart and mind than anger and vengeance.

Those emotions could be all too consuming and distracting.
Why forgiveness is easier on the heart and mind you might ask? One reason that jumps out at me right away is because you will have a lot less stress in your life.

You can rest easier and return to your normal life faster. Anger and resentment is hard on the body. By that I mean it builds up stress. Stress presents a negative cycle of events. It leads to high blood pressure; high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or heart attack; This can all lead to a substandard quality of life or even death.

Also, prolonged anger could be harmful in your relationships with others. You may not smile as much, or you may monopolize your conversations with how you were victimized by that crook or assailant. People are generally sympathetic and supportive, but they usually don’t want to hear the same bad news every single day.

I don’t believe anyone would want to live their life with pent up anger. It’s not worth it.

If you’ve been victimized by someone, think about what happened that led to you being victimized, and learn from that experience. You don’t have to be friends with the person; in fact, this may not be a wise thing to do anyway. But let go of the anger so you can get on with your life and heal emotionally.

Forgiveness is the first step in that direction.
Healthy trails to you.
Carolyn

5 Things You Should Know When Caring for Your Aging Parent

I’ve been stressed out a little more than usual lately with the responsibilities I have in taking care of my sick mom.   So I decided to re-blog this article I wrote some time ago.  The research I did to write this article was helpful to me and I hope others will benefit from this also. 

Most people look forward to going through the middle ages and becoming a senior citizen. Usually at that time, all the hard work it took to raise their family is now behind them. Most of their children have graduated from college by now, and have landed a job befitting of supporting themselves independently. Or in some cases, some of the ‘children’ have even gotten married and have started their own families. This is a time that the near senior citizen has looked forward to; especially when they are in good health. Most are about to retire, if they haven’t already. Now would be the time to go on those vacation cruises and spend a little more money without feeling guilty because of obligations to the children. Right? Well, not necessarily. Often when people reach middle age and older, they may be surprised to learn that their responsibilities have increased dramatically.

According to a USA Today Gallup poll of baby boomers, 41% of the ones who have living parents are providing some sort of care to them. And some have moved their parents into their homes with them. Also according to USA Today, approximately 34 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers to other adults. 89% of those surveyed referred to this as only a minor sacrifice. However, as the parents condition worsens, the sacrifice and demands becomes greater. According to the AARP, the average caregiver is a 46 year old female who is still working outside of her home. In light of these statistics, I thought I would share with you some helpful tips to consider if you need to take care of your frail

 1- Seek helpful advice. Taking care of your aging parent can take a toll on the average person., both physically and emotionally. Before you get too overwhelmed with the physical aspects of the care, you should get advice on the best way to go. Talk to your parent’s physician regarding how to go about getting help. Some physicians have staff in their office that can put you in touch with a local service that may help you get care for your aging parent. Also you can try calling the Elder Care Locator, sponsored by the federal government. It will provide you with additional referrals that are geared to help you. The number to call for the Elder Care Locator is 800-677-1116.

 2- Solicit family help- When there are siblings involved, if at all possible, have a family meeting. Discuss what your parents are in need of and decide on an action plan and divide the responsibilities. This will prevent any one person from being too over burdened. Perhaps there are three siblings; one can be responsible for buying the food and supplies for your parents household. Another can be responsible for making the medical appointments and following them through. And the third sibling can help out with the personal care and house hold chores. The personal care alone can be a big burden by itself.  If money is an issue, hopefully you will receive help from one of the community resource services for elder-care. Soliciting family help may be practical but not always workable. Many siblings are spread across the country as adults, so this plan will not be doable.  In that case you will probably need to have someone to either live in the home with your parents or have someone to go there every day to provide the needed assistance.  Siblings have been known to alternate the time flying in to spend time with their aging parents.

3- In-house facility placement– You may have to make the hard decision of placing your parents in a nursing home or in an assistant living facility. A nursing home facility offers long term care with total personal care 24 hours a day. If this is what you decide to do, hopefully you will be lucky enough to find a suitable home of your choosing close to you. But this may not always be the case. You should do a little checking on the nursing homes available (use a nursing home review service) before deciding on the one you want. Even if you have to drive a little longer for a visit, if the home lives up to your expectations, then it will all be worth it.

An assistant living facility is similar to a nursing home, but is different in the type of service provided. The patient will usually have an individual apartment unit to live in. However, there are room-mates available in most cases. An assistant living facility will provide all the basic needs, but most will require that the aging adult is able to function at a higher level than the nursing patients. Most can still bathe themselves and feed themselves independently. They are ambulatory and can participate in activities sponsored by the facility, including swimming and dancing. However, the individual finds it difficult to live independently.  This includes shopping for food and supplies at home, or running a home in general.

 4- Support groups- To help you through the difficulty of caring for your aging parents, join a support group. Joining a support group is very valuable in many ways. A support group such as ‘Children of Aging Parents’, will not only provide you with emotional support, but will even suggest more community resources that you may not be aware of. The support group is designed to help each other by sharing experiences and ideas.

5- Get respite care- If you are the one providing the soul care to your frail and aging parent, you should get respite care. In other words you need to take breaks from time to time. Taking care of your aging parent can be very demanding and emotionally distressing. It is advisable that you take as many breaks as you can. After you have taken care of your elderly parent, forget about the dishes in the dishwasher for a moment. It is time for you to take a break. Go set on the porch or patio and relax for awhile. Listen to some nice music, dive back into that great book you were reading. Your parents may even qualify for respite care service from Elder Care. Call the Elder Care Locator (800-677-1116) and ask about a respite care service in your community. There are some agencies that may be able to provide this service free of charge if you qualify. However, it would be worth it to pay someone for a couple of hours daily to provide you with this service. There may be a trusted neighbor or friend who could do this for you. During that time you should leave the house if possible, and do something for yourself.

 These are the suggestions I think will be most helpful for you if you have the responsibility of caring for your aging parent. I believe if you were to apply these suggestions, the care and responsibility of your parent will be far less stressful.

Healthy trails to you

Carolyn

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