Thursday, August 19, 2010

Judge Bans Gentically-Modified Beets

Judge Bans Gentically-Modified Beets

Hello, I saw this on Care2 and thought you'd like it as well. Care2 is the largest and most trusted information and action site for people who care to make a difference in their lives and the world.

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The Wastefulness of Decluttering; or How to Make Less Count for More

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This man is so smart

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

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The importance of enjoying the habit

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Always intelligent advice

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Saturday, August 07, 2010

Bloglines - How to Use Fiber to Improve Your Health

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Zen to Fitness

How to Use Fiber to Improve Your Health

By Chris on Fitness


We hear so much about fiber and its effects on our general health, digestion and keeping our bowels healthy. What we don't hear too much about are the ways that fiber can improve our health in other aspects like reducing fat gain and regulating appetite. To me this is a hugely interesting topic as there seem to be certain types of fiber that can accelerate fat loss, stop fat gain and even lowering our body weight set point while improving our satiety when eating.

Fiber is pretty much indigestible starch, it is a form of carbohydrate that our bodies cannot break down. Therefore it passes through our digestive tract without being absorbed by the body and used as energy. Foods rich in fiber are things like:

  • Pulses and Legumes
  • Unprocessed Grains
  • Fruit and Vegetables

And the things with little or no fiber are meat and fat based products. This post is not another call to eat high fiber foods to gain the conventional benefits that I am sure you have all read about before, but rather to show some of the different ways you can use the unique sources of fiber that nature provides for sustainable health benefits……

So how can we use fiber to our benefit and which types of fiber should we be aiming to eat on a regular basis to gain these benefits?

Resistant Starch - This is the first thing that I came across when reading about this topic and by far the most interesting. Resistant starch is basically another soluble fiber, but the interesting thing is that their are 4 levels of this type of fiber and each one provides a different benefit.

The most interesting of the bunch is what is called Resistant Starch Type 3 which was coined to describe starchy foods which need to be cooked to be edible to humans (legumes, grains, potatoes etc..) the secret to this type of resistant starch is the benefit when cooled down as the properties change and the benefits are amplified. The unique undigestible element in these foods has been shown in numerous studies to:

These are some pretty astounding beenfits from simply eating whole unprocessed carbohydrates and goes to show why ancient cultures thrived eating these foods regularly. It even leads towards why one of the leading causes of bad health and obesity around the world is probably due to the rising consumption of processed grains and other carbohydrates that have been stripped of their fiber and nutrients – Therefore stripping people of the benefits mentioned above, which could go a long way to improving health and stopping excess weight gain.

Oligo-Fructose - This weird sounding fiber is a slightly different animal to resistant starch in that it is found in other foods and works slightly differently all be it to give simular benefits. Oligo-Fructose os cointed as a "pre-biotic" which Unlike "pro-biotics", 'live' bacteria products which add healthy flora to the gut, prebiotics don't replace bacteria but help feed up the 'good' bacteria in the digestive tract.

These to improve the guts general health. It has been shown that regular consumption of oligofructose whether from supplementation or diet works towards fat loss without any other changes in diet. It seems to work by improving out guts health which also leads to better glucose tolerance and satiety when eating. These will leads to a natural desire to eat less food.

Pectin - Apple pectin is the best source and one of the main reasons I recommend an apple a day. Pectin is a sort of soluble fiber which works in simular way to the two fibers mentioned above, it is the reason apple's make for such a satisfying snack and can provide fullness and satiety for hours. Apple pectin is contained in the skin of the apple (so no peeling) and works to create a gel like substance in our guts which is not only soothing to the gut lining but provides benefits again in blood glucose management.

Using this knowledge to our benefit….

So the big question is how exactly can we best apply this theory to practice? Well thankfully the answer is pretty simple, in that we should get the vast majority of our carbohydrates from unprocessed, unrefined foods which will supply resistant starch and pre-biotics in abundance. Another option is to buy some oligofructose powder which is pretty cheap and actually tastes pretty nice and sweet. This can be sprinkled on foods or into things like soup to get the benefits (don't use too much though as it has the tendency to cause gas when used in excess)

Apart from supplements the foods you should focus on are the following:

  • Potatoes
  • Beans and Lentils
  • Bananas which are not overly ripened (more resistant starch)
  • Apples
  • Artichokes
  • Chicory root
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Jicama

These foods contain resistant starch, oligofructose and pectin. To get the most benefits of resistant starch try to eat a few meals a week which consist of root vegetables or legumes which have been cooled to room temperature. Cooking things like potato salad or lentil salads, this allows the starch to reach its most effective stage and provide the most benefits compared to when these foods are hot.

There you have it, another piece of nutrition knowledge to use in your quest to improved health and vitality…….

If you enjoyed this article, please checkout my book A Simple Guide to Eating Well and you also can follow me on Twitter.

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Bloglines - Simplify Your Health & Fitness Habits

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Zen to Fitness

Simplify Your Health & Fitness Habits

By Chris on Simplicity

[add wish here]

This is a guest post by Chris Stroud. You can read more from Chris at Live Simply and find him on twitter @livesimplyblog

I am in love with the idea and practice of living a simpler life. It allows me to avoid much of the superfluous distractions that surrounds me and allows me to focus more on the things in life that are most important to me; Health and Fitness being towards the top of that list.

In my last 10 years of Strength and Conditioning I have done Bodybuilding, got a degree in Kinesiology, currently compete in Crossfit and Olympic Lifting, and over the last 3 years have maintained 7-8 percent bodyfat. The most important thing I have learned from these experiences is that simpler is almost always better.

Instead of adding complexity to the way you manage your Heath and Fitness here are 5 ways to make it simpler.

1 – Think Long Term. The underlying purpose of why we train is so that we can maintain able bodies and minds for as long as possible. The sports we play, exercise methods we us, and dietary advice we adhere to are habits we form so that can live longer and be happy. When deciding how to eat and how to train take into consideration the long term feasibility, economics, and benefits by doing your due diligence by researching before partaking. This will make things simpler by being able to sift through the plethora of bull shit that is all to prevalent in the Health and Fitness industry.

2 – What you put in your pie hole. You know exactly what you should be eating. Food that is as close to its most natural state as possible. Meat, Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, and Seeds. If you can dig it from the ground, pick it from a tree, or kill it with a stick then its likely a healthy choice. it gets increasingly complex with you start introducing supplements and processed food to your diet while attempting to maintain a certain level of well-being. Focus on developing habits and a lifestyle that makes it easy to eat natural foods. Only keep natural foods in the house, go to farmers markets, and only drink water, black coffee, and tea.

3 – Maintain your Strength. Remember, we train so keep able mind and bodies as long as possible. A very important tool we have for accomplishing that is to develop and preserve as much strength for as long as we can. There is a myriad of different protocols to build strength and a good program will at the very least have a good portion of these core exercises.

  • Weightlifting: Squats, pressing, and deadifts.
  • Gymnastics: Pull ups, Push ups, and maybe air squats.
  • Endurance: Swim, Bike, Run, or Row.

This is a overly simplistic way to evaluate a exercise program, even for this article, but that's the point I'm advocating. Simplicity! A simple routine is more manageable in the long term than perpetually compounding it with complexity. You should aim to be able to do this activities for your entire life.

4 – Remove temptations from the Kitchen. Here are a few rules I follow that help me stay paleo.

  • Only keep Paleo food in the house.
  • When I want a treat i'll go out, eat it, but wont bring it home.
  • Always keep cooked meat or marinated meat in the fridge. I find that having protein around and easy to get to keeps me eating clean.
  • Go to the farmers market once a week and get what ever is in season.

5 – Enjoy it. You are lucky to be a healthy, athletic, vigorous person. Your health is one of the great joys of being alive. Do fun things like taking adult gymnastic classes, dance lessons, hiking, swimming, rock climbing, paddling, and just learning new sports and skills in general.

Thanks to Chris for writing this post, I love his blog redesign and the new content is amazing! I just got back from Holiday and have some cool stuff to blog about, so keep checking back….

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

7 Simple Ways To Say "No"

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As always, words to the wise

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Springfield Closed Back

Springfield Closed Back
Cant decide. I have a high instep so open back clogs usually fit me better, but the dress code at work for me requires closed back shoes. I am reluctant to invest in something like Dansko clogs, much more expensive, since Mary Lou told me that hers were really too tight across the instep, and she wears the same size I do. What to do.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

So what approach to take?

My Dh, who has always been somewhat difficult, is truly becoming impossible to live with since his medical problem jus a week ago. He seems to feel that he has lost control of his life and is trying to remedy that by attempting to control every little thing that goes on around him.
That translates to trying to control me, everything I do or say, even super control of the already very obedient dogs.
For instance, when I got home last night, I gathered up my stuff and went to the back of the car to get the cat food and stuff I had bought. The neighbor was there, and Dh was there, so I figured they could carry the stuff down the hill. Dh slammed the car hatch and very harshly said he would get the stuff later. Of course, in the course of the evening he went up the hill several times and never did get the stuff, so I eventually had to go get it myself in the dark.. That of course made him even madder. At me of course, not at himself for acting like an ass in the first place.
Then when I was trying to get ready for bed, since I had to get up at 4 AM, I asked him if I could turn off the light in the hall and in his bathroom so I could go to sleep. Big mistake; he had to yell about how I wasnt going to control everything that goes on. He slammed around for at least another hour and kept all the lights on whether he was in the bathroom and hall or not, just to spite me I guess.
I had already taken my sleeping pill, so did eventually go to sleep. But it was only able to give me 2 solid hours before the leftover adrenalin fought its way back to the top and woke me up for the rest of the night. And I am now having to work a 12 hour shift on 2 hours sleep.
And then fight again when I get home I'm sure. Exhausts me even more just thinking about it. I dont know what to do.