Saturday, May 6, 2017

31 Ways to Snack into Wellness

                             Snack into Wellness

31 Great Snack Ideas for Each Day of The Month

     As a busy mom who has raised two girls by herself, I get what busy looks and feels like. We went from my not working outside the home, to working part-time to my working full-time while also juggling, my girl's homework, travel swim and travel soccer schedules, church commitments that included my teaching adult Sunday school and being on different church committees. I was also maintaining a home with yardwork, a constant flow of laundry to do, dirty dishes, meal preps, and training for 1/2 marathons, etc. Unfortunately, with all of that my dedication to my family's wellness did not always take a first place. I knew enough to apply some of what I knew was just common sense but I did not fully grasp the importance of it until I left bedside nursing and got into the business side of our "disease management" system cleverly coined "healthcare" and began to follow the money. It was only then that I  began to understand that our government and its good buddies, the multinational corporations, who it is in bed with, are all in the business of using people for profit which is why we continue to get sicker with more chronic diseases that they are merely treating to make more money. Since the early 1990s Americans have been increasingly acquiring more chronic illnesses to the point where on average Americans now have at least 3 chronic diseases at any given time that they are taking prescription drugs to treat (not cure).
     I finally came to realize the good news is that we don't have to play their game and that the secret to each of us attaining true wellness exist within each one of us and not a doctor who has been trained in a medical school to work for a system that uses its citizens for profit. We have a lot more power within ourselves than we give ourselves credit. Due to our busy lifestyles we have turned our health issues over to white coats, biotech firms and a government that is not for us.  
     When we choose to eat sugar laden, processed, refined, enriched, unhealthy fatty foods that are all chemical laden we are making the decision to be sick. Once we make ourselves sick we then run to doctors who are all obedient workers for the system they work for and they diagnose and prescribe and so the cycle goes. In order to break the cycle we have to choose foods that are nutrient dense and provide a basic purpose for our bodily functions which is to sustain us and promote a state of wellness. We have become so mindlessly socially engineered and through our subconscious minds we don't even realize what is happening when we enter into a grocery store. Through clever marketing and branding we are purposefully, as consumers, driven to all the foods that are bad for our bodies but good for big agriculture, big pharma, and the government's pockets.
FAT
     Did you know that our weight, second only to tobacco use, is the single most powerful predictor of our health? So if you are a non smoker, that amount of excess fat you carry is the closest thing to a  crystal ball in determining your health.  So how to get the fat off and prevent the fat from packing on is the million dollar question. It all starts with what you put into your mouth. What you eat can either aid you in creating a well life or cause you harm. Being over a BMI > 25 INCREASES your risk of premature death and premature disease. The evidence is CONVINCING.

There are 3 fundamental principles that must be followed to begin getting off and or preventing fat accumulation.  I am a visual person and so it helps to see what we are talking about and in all my nursing geekiness to show what us nurses and doctors are seeing when we cut into a body with excess fat and it is this yellow gelatinous like substance.  I will always remember the first overweight  patient that I ever saw cut open down the middle and how I felt when I realized the picture shown is what fat looks like. You can imagine why this excess fat can start to cause harm to the body and its ability to function the way God created it to function. It decreases blood flow and therefore makes wound healing harder, lowers our immunity thereby decreasing our ability to fight off infections, it is detrimental to cardiac and other organ health, etc.

The 3 Fundamental Principles to Help You Eat Less & Prevent Weight Gain:
1.) Eat foods that increase appetite control and decrease hunger (satiety).

2.) Re-think and change your food environment (plan for success).

3.) Adhere to common sense eating through what should be common sense behavior.

So breaking this down to nuts and bolts
 means: 1.) Eat foods that are harder for the gut to break down and to send food components into blood stream for energy (unless you are running a marathon). This promotes a nice steady stream of energy throughout the day and helps in avoiding the sugar high, sugar low roller coasters known as the glycemic index spikes and declines. Oh how happy we are when we get up in the morning and are scarfing down our Kispy Kreme Doughnuts, or Bojangles biscuits, or bagels with cream cheese but when that wears off by 10 am and we are left jittery, irritable, tired feeling and wondering why, no one questions what they have eaten but instead runs to the coke machine which is cleverly placed next to the coke snack machine. Why? Diet sodas are satiety increasing agents and the CEO of coke knows this hence the snack machines placed next to the coke machines. This makes  a lot of money for this multinational company while destroying your health because these foods promote weight gain which leads to diseases like hypertension, obesity, diabetes, cardiac disease, hyperlipidemia, and inflammation in the body which in turn drives all diseases. So what are we to do?  2.) Re-think and change your food environment (plan for success). How? By eating foods listed below as a good first step and incorporating them into your daily routine so that these foods are foods that are conditioned into your subconscious.
3.) Adhere to the behavior changes. Why? To tell yourself, " I love you self" by promoting a state of wellness.

                                               31 WELLNESS SNACKS:

Keep them on hand in your car, in your purse, in your desk drawer, etc. Have them ready to grab at a moment's notice.

1.) Always Nuts! You should consume at least 1 ounce per day. The health benefits of nuts are endless and help with everything from decreasing inflammation, decreasing satiety, helping fight cancer to combatting heart disease as they are loaded with minerals and vitamins.
2.) Dark Chocolate - Must be at least 60% are cocoa. It enhances blood flow, decreases satiety, lowers blood pressure, enhances cognitive function and a host of other healthy benefits. Note: 2 squares of dark chocolate barely makes a dent in your daily sugar quota. Even diabetics can safely consume this portion of dark chocolate.
3.) Apples - If you are worried about them browning then add a little fresh lemon juice to your bag and shake.
4.) Homemade Trail Mix - Nuts, dark chocolate chips, unsweetened coconut flakes, multigrain cereal (with limited sugar and ingredients - Kashi is a good brand) try to avoid dried fruits as all the nutrients has been processed out and you are left with just a lot of sugar.
5.) Whole Grain Crackers - Takes longer to break down in the gut adding a nice steady stream of energy which thwarts off hunger. Remember quality over quantity. When you are eating quality foods, you don't need a lot to get rid of hunger and get nutrients for the body.
6.) Almond butter, & Sunflower butter - Can add to the crackers and I like these choices better because they are less acidic than peanut butter.
7.) Chickpeas - Put in baggies and sprinkle with cayenne pepper (boast of its own nutrition facts). Loaded with protein, fiber and nutrients like manganese, selenium, and folate. Helps with hunger control and promotes strong bones due to the manganese.  Chickpeas are often eaten as a substitute for meat, which can be great for those hoping to watch their dietary fat or cholesterol. Even apart from chickpeas’ ability to be a substitute, they may help boost heart health and reduce cholesterol. The selenium works as an antioxidant, which means that it may help neutralize free radicals in the body, helping to prevent cancer and plays a role in liver enzyme function.
8.) Cucumbers - One of my favorites. I carry a skin peeler with me and peel them Sometimes if I don't have a peeler I just eat them skin and all. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper (helps aid digestion). They are low in calories, helps with hydration, aids in weight loss, flushes out toxins, etc. They sell the bags of mini organic ones at Aldi and I love these.
9.) Pumpkin Seeds - Nutrient dense with  a great and bountiful source of manganese, copper, zinc, and loaded with protein. These beauties come in a small package but are wellness promoting powerhouses. It is like the saying goes, the best gifts are found in small packages.
10.) Sunflower Seeds - Promotes cardiovascular health, a potent source of magnesium, selenium, a powerful antioxidant and great for Thyroid health.
11.) Bananas - In moderation as they do have more sugar but contain several essential nutrients and have benefits to aid in digestion, heart health, contain a fair amount of fiber. (Sugars found in natural fruits are always a better choice than processed sugars but you still have to watch consumption of this.)
12.) Oranges - Apart from its delightful taste, oranges are also contain many essential nutrients like Vitamin A, B1, and C. One orange supplies nearly 100% of the recommended daily dietary intake of vitamin C.
13.) Cherries -The health benefits of cherries include heart disease and cancer prevention and prevention of gout attacks. Cherry Nutrition. Cherries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. The bright red colour of cherries is due to their high concentration of anthocyanins. Cherries also have a very low Glycemic Index 
14.) Mini Bell Peppers - Both hot and sweet peppers may enhance weight-loss efforts. Research has shown that capsaicin-the substance that gives hot red peppers (or chilies) their kick, and boosts our metabolism-keeps immature fat cells from developing into full-fledged ones. And a study presented in April found that a compound in some sweet peppers (called CH-19 Sweet), which resembles capsaicin, provides similar positive metabolic effects-minus the burning mouth and lips
15. ) Chick Pea Hummus - Chickpeas are a natural food from pre-biblical times and is not a hybrid food. They boast of awesome health benefits such as promoting bone health, DM (Diabetes Mellitus) control and DM 2 prevention, cardiac health, aids in fighting cancer, decreases inflammation, aids in digestion, etc.
16.) Homemade Granola Bars - See previous blog post for recipe.
17.) Mixed Berries - Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, rasberries, etc. I love to pre-prepare these in small baggies for grab and go.
18.) PeachesYou can eat them whole, skin and all and the skin is the most nutritious part.  Wonderfully delicious peaches are low in calories (100 g just provide 39 calories) and contain no saturated fats. Nonetheless, they are packed with numerous health promoting compounds, minerals, and vitamins. Fresh peaches are a moderate source of antioxidant, vitamin-C. Vitamin-C has antioxidant effects and is required for connective tissue synthesis inside the human body. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps develop resistance against infectious agents, and help scavenges harmful free radicals.
19.) Cherry Tomatoes and Roma Tomatoes - These varieties are not as acidic.  
20.) Hard Boiled Eggs - Great to take with you on the go and especially in the shell. They boast benefits of folate, vitamins: A,B5, B12, D, E, K, and B6. They also offer minerals such as selenium, phosphorus and are only 77 calories with 6 grams of protein, and 5 grams of healthy fats. They are definitely a nutrient dense snack.
21.) Fresh Salsa - Homemade is always a better choice when time allows. I make mine on the weekends and keep in fridge in airtight container.
22.) Fresh Vegies - I like to cut mine ahead of time and put in baggies for on the go and to keep in fridge at work.
23.)  Artichokes - They have more antioxidants than any other vegetable and they ranked seventh in a study of the antioxidant levels of 1,000 different foods. Some of the powerful antioxidants in artichokes are quercertin, rutin, anthocyanins, cynarin, luteolin, and silymarin.  They may even regenerate liver tissue. Artichokes have long been used in folk and alternative medicine as a treatment for liver ailments and the scientific studies are now proving them to be correct. They aid in digestion, decrease cholesterol, are high in fiber, increase bile flow, prevent cancer and are high in antioxidants.
24.) Guacamole - I prefer homemade when time allows and even a whole avocado with seed scooped out and salsa poured in center in place of the seed makes a great and nutritious snake with multigrain all natural chips with few ingredients or multigrain crackers.
25.) Snyder's Oat Bran or Honey Oat Sticks -  Multigrain is always a better choice as it promotes decreased satiety and better blood sugar control again because it takes the gut longer to break it down and send it into the blood stream for energy.
26.) Multigrain Pita Chips - Dipped in an almond butter or sunflower butter is even better or a chickpea hummus. I always try to avoid soy whenever possible as it is being produced for massive sales for the biotech's and is all genetically modified along with our corn and wheat.
27.) Cheeses - Make sure that you are buying from  a known Rbgh free manufacturer and buy part skim mozzarella or other reduced fat 2%. Always moderation with cheese.
28.) Kashi Granola Bars
29.) Celery with some kind of Butter i.e. Almond butter or Sunflower butter - Celery contains coumarins which have been shown to be effective in the prevention of cancer. Celery contains pthalides, which have been shown to lower blood pressure by relaxing the muscles around the arteries and allowing vessels to dilate. The calcium, magnesium, and potassium in celery also helps regulate blood pressure. The pthalides in celery may also lower cholesterol by increasing bile acid secretion and it is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties as well as the fact that it is low in calories and is high in fiber.
30.) Kalamata Olives - Olives are very rich in monounsaturated fats which are exceptionally healthy for the heart. The only other fruit that is rich in monounsaturated fats in its raw form is avocado. These fats, especially oleic acid are very beneficial in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol and raising the levels of good cholesterol in the blood. Olives also contain alpha-linolenic acid which is very important in promoting a healthy heart, reducing the risk of cancers, reducing hypertension, reducing the risk of auto immune diseases, improving depression and preventing the formation of clots in the circulatory system. This substance can also act as a blood thinner and can be of great help in preventing gallstones. They are also a great source of Vit E  and vitamin A which gives them very potent antioxidant properties which fight the free radicals and reduce the damage they cause. Olives are very efficient in reducing the risk of heart diseases and numerous inflammatory conditions and relieving asthma and arthritis
31.) Fermented Vegies - I love the Okra but you can buy cucumbers, etc. When we ate more fermented foods, took less antibiotics and ate less fast foods we were much healthier. Fermented foods are great for the gut. It is why God gave us seasons and in the winter we relied on eating fermented foods. Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.

Remember - Always buy foods in season and buy organic as much as humanly possible. If the store doesn't have organic buy what they do have as organic because generally that means it is in season and has not been shipped from as far away which means more in tact nutrients. As an example I would not buy grapes right now as they are out of season until August and therefore all of them are currently imported from Chile which is the second largest exporter of GMO foods only second to the USA.

Click the link to see what foods are in season in your area. http://www.sustainabletable.org/seasonalfoodguide/


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ONE MEAL THAT SAYS "I LOVE YOU"

ONE MEAL THAT SAYS "I LOVE YOU
AND CARE ABOUT YOUR WELLNESS"

EZEKIEL 47:12




After many years of listening to, observing and questioning the way people eat in conjunction with disease processes and contrasting that to the way God intended for people to eat I have realized a crucially undervalued and underappreciated fact. The food God supplied the earth with is both curative and preventive of disease.  For me, there are several ways that I can show love for my family, friends and all those that I come in contact with and they are as follows: Spend time with them, listen to them intently with a heart that cares and pour into them both spiritually and physically both in being present and through the foods that I feed them. The latter to me is just as important as anything that I do in any given day as it sets my girls up for a long, healthy and strong lives of confidence and wellness of mind, body and spirit.

This dinner is so packed with minerals and nutrients that aid our bodies in so many processes and sets us up for physical wellbeing. Cooking should be fun, messy, joyful and result in food that brings about wellness and not disease thereby saying, "I love you and am giving you the gift of good health and wellbeing". It should not be stressful, nutritionally deficient or promote a state of illness. Knowing this, the following recipe has become one of our household favorites. You should feel free to play around with measurements and apply according to your likes and dislikes. I never follow a recipe but allow the creative juices to flow.

INGREDIENTS:
  • several stalks of broccoli (organic)
  • 1 head of cauliflower (organic)
  • 1 large red onion (organic)
  • 3 yellow squash (organic)
  • 1 red pepper (organic)
  • mushrooms (organic)
  • Tbsp or 2 of sesame seeds according to personal preference
  • hemp oil (drizzled on finished product)
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp of sesame seed oil (according to personal preference)
  • 1 - 2 minced fresh garlic cloves and can improvise with bottled  (according to personal preference)
  • EVOO (I usually buy organic at Aldi)
  • Himalayan salt (organic)
  • coarse cracked pepper
  • oregano (organic)
  • organic durum pasta from Aldi (I prefer Quinoa when have on hand)
  • low sodium soy sauce (organic)
  • lemon juice from a freshly squeezed lemon (organic from Food Lion)
  • few slices of butter (organic, no rbgh)
  • packet of chicken breasts (can substitute with other options like shrimp, scallops, etc)
RECIPE:
First prepare chicken by soaking in salt water and then drain and rinse. Mix a 1-2 tbsp. of EVOO, oregano (to taste), juice from lemon, salt and pepper. In a large glass baking dish add water to cover bottom and few dabs of butter. Place chicken in dish and with left over lemon rind rub on chicken while squeezing out any left over juice and then pour EVOO mixture over chicken. Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes (until done but not tough).  Rinse and drain all vegetables. I always buy organic but just to be sure I soak my vegies in sea salt, drain and rinse. Chop all vegies. In a large skillet put 1 - 2 Tbsp of sesame seed oil, add garlic and oregano. Next, add vegies, stir, pour soy sauce over vegies and cover. Simmer on low to medium heat stirring occasionally.  While chicken and vegies are cooking boil the water for the pasta and cook according to package instructions. During the last 5 minutes place sesame seeds in oven with chicken and toast. Once pasta is done then drain, rinse and put back in pot and toss in EVOO, with oregano and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Once all the food is ready place pasta on plate and top with vegies and chicken.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE FOODS:
  • Broccoli - Broccoli is one of the very low-calorie vegetables; provides just 34 calories per 100 g. Nonetheless, it is rich in dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants that have proven health benefits.  It is a storehouse of many phytonutrients such as thiocyanates, indoles, sulforaphane, isothiocyanates, and flavonoids like beta-carotene cryptoxanthin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Studies have shown that these compounds by modifying positive signaling at molecular receptor levels help protect against prostate, colon, urinary bladder, pancreatic, and breast cancers.  Fresh broccoli is an exceptionally rich source of vitamin-C; providing 89.2 mg or about 150% of RDA per 100 g. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant, and immune modulator helps fight against flu-causing viruses.   It contains good amounts of another anti-oxidant vitamin, vitamin-A.  Vitamin-A is essential for healthy eyesight and helps prevent macular degeneration of the retina in the older adults. Fresh heads are an excellent source of folates. Studies have shown that consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits rich in folates during pre-conception, and pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects in the newborns. This floret-vegetable is a rich source of vitamin-K and the B-complex group of vitamins like Niacin (vitamin B-3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), and riboflavin. Further, its florets also hold some amount of omega-3 fatty acids (Alpha linolenic acid-ALA).  It is also a good source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus.
  • Cauliflower - Several recent studies have shown the cooking of raw cauliflower to significantly improve its ability to bind together with bile acids. Since bile acid binding is a well-documented method for helping regulate blood cholesterol levels, these studies point to potential cardiovascular benefits from consumption of cooked cauliflower. It is a powerful phytonurient.  Cauliflower is our 10th best source of vitamin C among all 100 whole foods. Like most of its fellow cruciferous vegetables, cauliflower is also a very good source of manganese—a mineral antioxidant that is especially important in oxygen-related metabolism. This means it is a great food source for immunity boosting.  Impressive by study results not only in areas involving conventional nutrients like vitamin C but also in areas involving phytonutrients like sulfur-containing compounds and flavonoids. Although there can be loss of water-soluble nutrients during cooking with water or other liquids, there can also be increased bioavailability from the freeing up of nutrients that remained inside the cells in raw cauliflower but got released from those cells during cooking due to the breakdown of cell walls. For example, we've seen studies showing increased bioavailability of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin following the cooking of cauliflower. Of course, since the chewing of raw cauliflower could also serve to break down cell walls and make carotenoids more bioavailable, what we end up with here is a "win-win" situation in which both raw and cooked cauliflower can make great nutrient contributions to our health. Intake of cauliflower has been analyzed in relationship to a variety of different disease risks. When consumed at least once per week, cauliflower has been associated with decreased risk of colorectal cancer and has been shown to be associated with a greater decrease of risk than broccoli (when consumed in a comparable amount). In terms of prostate cancer risk, cauliflower and broccoli have shown a similar ability to decrease risk.
  • Red Onion - Red onions, also known as Spanish onions, contain plenty of healthy essential nutrients as well as phytochemicals that provide long-term health benefits. Including red onions in your daily diet may help reduce your risk of chronic disease.  A 1/2-cup serving of chopped onion contains only 32 calories and no fat or cholesterol, making it a healthy choice for those watching their fat or calorie intake. A serving also contains 1.5 grams of fiber. Fiber helps improve the functioning of the digestive tract, and it helps prevent constipation. Red onions also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals, including folate, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese and vitamins C, K and B-6. Consuming foods with a variety of nutrients helps keep the body healthy on a day-to-day basis and may help prevent chronic disease. Red onions contain high levels of organosulphur compounds, which may offer a protective effect against prostate, colorectal and stomach cancers. Another compound found in red onions, onionin A, may reduce inflammation by suppressing the activity of the immune cells that trigger it. The anti-inflammatory effects of red onion may be beneficial for people with allergies, asthma and arthritis.
  • Yellow Squash - Yellow squash is a type of summer squash that grows all over the United States and is easily found at local farmers markets, roadside vegetable stands and grocery stores. Yellow squash is rich in nutritional benefits. A cup of yellow squash contains only about 36 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates, less than one gram of fat, and a gram of protein.  Yellow squash is a brilliant source of vitamin C and a very good source of magnesium, vitamin A (particularly in its concentration of carotenoids, including beta-carotene), fiber, folate, copper, riboflavin and phosphorus.  It is also abundant in potassium, providing 345.60 milligrams per serving. Potassium is a key electrolyte in the balance of fluids and also provides muscle energy. In addition, it is high in manganese, a mineral which helps the body process fats, carbohydrates, and glucose. The magnesium found in yellow squash has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Along with its potassium content, magnesium is good for reducing high blood pressure. The vitamin C and beta-carotene levels in yellow squash may also aid in preventing the oxidation of cholesterol.  At 2.52 grams per serving, the abundant fiber content of yellow squash is indispensable for the excretion of toxins from the body and is an extremely important nutrient for the colon’s health since it promotes regularity and adds bulk to the stool. Yellow squash has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of a condition named benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH. A man with BPH suffers from a problematically enlarged prostate gland, leading to difficulties with both urinary and sexual function. Yellow squash is particularly high in concentrations of beta carotene and lutein. Dietary lutein helps to prevent the onset of cataracts and macular degeneration, which often leads to blindness. A cup of yellow squash provides about 135 micrograms of beta carotene and 2,400 micrograms of lutein.  Yellow Squash contains high levels of manganese and vitamin C. Manganese aids in maintaining healthy bone structure, calcium absorption, enzyme creation, and bone building. It also contributes to the mineral density of the spinal column.Vitamin C aids in the production of collagen, which is essential for the building of bone mass, and magnesium is indispensible to the health of joints and bones. Iron, folate, zinc and phosphorous found in yellow squash all contribute to the mineral health of bones, and help fortify against osteoporosis.
  • Red Pepper - Bell peppers are low in calories! So, even if you eat one full cup of them, you get just about 45 calories. Bonus: that one cup will give you more than your daily quota of Vitamin A and C! They contain plenty of vitamin C, which powers up your immune system and keeps skin youthful.  The highest amount of Vitamin C in a bell pepper is concentrated in the red variety.  Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids,  particularly beta-carotene, which lavish you with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.  The capsaicin in bell peppers has multiple health benefits. Studies show that it reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, controls diabetes, brings relief from pain and eases inflammation.  The sulfur content in bell peppers makes them play a protective role in certain types of cancers.  The bell pepper is a good source of Vitamin E, which is known to play a key role in keeping skin and hair looking youthful.  Bell peppers also contain vitamin B6, which is essential for the health of the nervous system and helps renew cells. Certain enzymes in bell peppers, such as lutein, protect the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.

  • Mushrooms - Benefits of mushrooms include relief from high cholesterol levels, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes. It also helps in weight loss, and increases the strength of your immune system.  There are approximately 140,000 species of mushroom-forming fungi in the world, but science is only familiar with about 10%, while only 100 species or so are being studied for their potential health benefits and medicinal applications. Mushrooms themselves provide you with lean proteins since they have no cholesterol or fat and are very low carbohydrates. The fiber and certain enzymes in mushrooms also help lower cholesterol levels. Moreover, the high lean protein content found in them helps burn cholesterol when they are digested. Balancing levels of cholesterol between LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) and HDL (“good” cholesterol) is essential in the prevention of various cardiovascular diseases like artherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.  Anemic patients are characterized by having low levels of iron in their blood, resulting in fatigue, headaches, reduced neural function, and digestive issues. Mushrooms are a good source of iron, and over 90% of the nutritive iron value can be absorbed by the body, which promotes the formation of red blood cells and keeps people healthy and functioning at their full potential. Mushrooms are very effective in preventing breast and prostate cancer due to the significant presence of Beta-Glucans and conjugated Linoleic Acid, which both have anti-carcinogenic effects.
  • Sesame Seeds and Sesame Seed Oil - Sesame seeds are extremely beneficial for health, but are often overlooked, and they include the ability to prevent diabetes, lower blood pressure, prevent a wide variety of cancers, build strong bones, protect against radiation, increase heart health, help cure sleep disorders, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, boost respiratory health, strengthen your oral health, aid in healthy growth, improve circulation, detoxify the body, and eliminate depression and chronic stress.
  • Hemp Oil - Hempseed oil provides people with many possible benefits because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, sterols, phytols, tocopherols, minerals and vitamins, as explained by Medical News Today. The omega-3 fatty acids help reduce the risk of heart disease, and sterols are steroid alcohols that also help the heart by reducing cholesterol. Phytols are aliphatic alcohols that not only help to lower cholesterol, but are also antioxidanta that reduce the risk of cancer. Many healthy vegetables also contain these phytols. Tocopherol is yet another beneficial alcohol packed with antioxidants, and experts believe that this particular compound helps to fight against degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's.
    Hempseed oil is rich in vitamin A, C and E, according to Medical News Today. It contains magnesium, calcium, sulfur, phosphorus and potassium, which are all elements that are necessary in a healthy body. Studies show that hemp oil improves metabolism. Although hempseed has a high THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, content, which is the reason it is banned in the United States, studies suggest that this compound can help those with autoimmune diseases.
  • Garlic - Garlic supplementation is known to boost the function of the immune system.
    One large 12-week study found that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo.The average length of cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from 5 days in placebo to just 1.5 days in the garlic group. Another study found that a high dose of garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) can reduce the number of days sick with cold or flu by 61% . Human studies have found garlic supplementation to have a significant impact on reducing blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.  Supplement doses must be fairly high to have these desired effects. The amount of allicin needed is equivalent to about four cloves of garlic per day ( I add garlic to everything). Garlic can lower Total and LDL cholesterol. It offers a protection from oxidative damage from free radicals contributes to the aging process. Garlic was one of the earliest “performance enhancing” substances.
    It was traditionally used in ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and enhance the work capacity of laborers. Most notably, it was administered to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece. A four week study in employees of a car battery plant (excessive exposure to lead) found that garlic reduced lead levels in the blood by 19%. It also reduced many clinical signs of toxicity, including headaches and blood pressure.
  • EVOO - The health benefits of olive oil include treatment for colon, breast cancer, diabetes, heart problems, arthritis, high cholesterol, weight loss, metabolism, digestion, aging and cancer. It has been used by mankind for many centuries. It is a staple ingredient for many culinary preparations and also serves a variety of medicinal purposes. Medical studies suggest that it is loaded with health benefits. It helps in lowering of the bad cholesterol level in our blood, as it is rich in monounsaturated fats. The extra virgin olive oil variety contains the highest level of antioxidant polyphenols and oleic acid. It is thus a healthy option compared to other vegetable oils.
  • Himalyan Salt - Himalayan salt is widely touted for its mineral content, containing 84 minerals in total. In addition to sodium, Himalayan salt is relatively high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, potassium and chloride. It also contains traces of boron, fluoride, iodine, zinc, selenium and copper, all of which are necessary for bodily health. As a naturally occurring salt, Himalayan salt contains all these minerals without chemical processing or refinement. Because it is harvested naturally, Himalayan salt’s mineral benefits are available regardless of what form the salt is consumed as. Despite its high mineral content, Himalayan salt is primarily a source of sodium, and excess sodium consumption can lead to a host of health problems and it should be eaten within the recommended daily dose of  between 1500 mg and 2300 mg, for men and women between the ages of 9 and 50.
  • Coarse Cracked Pepper - The health benefits of black pepper include relief from respiratory disorders, coughs, the common cold, constipation, indigestion, anemia, impotency, muscular strains, dental disease, pyorrhea, diarrhea, and heart disease. Black pepper is the fruit of the black pepper plant from the Piperaceae family and is used as both a spice and a medicine. The chemical piperine, which is present in black pepper, causes the spiciness. It is native to Kerala, the southern state of India. Since ancient times, black pepper is one of the most widely traded spices in the world. It is not considered a seasonal plant and is therefore available throughout the year. When dried, this plant-derived spice is referred to as a peppercorn, and is then ground into a powder to be put on food to add flavor and spice. Because of its antibacterial properties, pepper is also used to preserve food. It is a rich source of manganese, iron, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin k, and dietary fiber. Black pepper is also a very good anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Oregano - You wouldn’t know it by smell alone, but oregano (or Origanum vulgare) is a genus to the mint family. This herb is native to temperate, rocky landscapes like the Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, India, Afghanistan, Italy, Morocco, Greece, Portugal, and Central Asia.Oregano thrives in hot, dry climates with full sun exposure. This might explain the origin of the name, oregano, which comes from the Greek words “oros” (or mountain) and “ganos” (which means joy). oregano has long been used as an ailment to treat various respiratory disorders such as cough, bronchitis, croup, and asthma) and gastrointestinal ailments (from indigestion and heartburn to menstrual pain and bloating). Oregano is usually thought of as a culinary herb used in Italian, Greek and Mediterranean cooking, but it has also been used for many centuries as a medicinal plant. Traditionally, the health benefits of oregano oil have been used to treat a wide range of conditions from bacterial and viral infections to parasites and asthma. Although oregano oil is the most-often form used for medicinal purposes, the spice oregano could be presumed to provide many of the same benefits when consumed regularly.  It's a little-known fact that herbs (and spices) such as oregano have far greater concentrations of antioxidants than any common fruit or vegetable source. Herbs also contain a particularly wide variety of antioxidants as well, making them one of the top antioxidant foods around.
  • Durum Wheat - Durum was discovered in Central Europe around 7,000 BC.  It has a high gluten content making it a good flour to use in making pasta and heavy breads. Durum is a low fat, high carbohydrate grain that can help increase energy levels.  Durum also has a very high content of Vitamin E and Vitamin B.  According to the Dasman Diabetes Institute (2010) it is believed that durum wheat can contribute to both diabetes and weight management as it has a low glycemic index.
  • Soy Sauce - A 1-teaspoon serving of soy sauce, also known as tamari, has 335 milligrams of sodium, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. While sodium is an essential mineral, required for basic bodily functions, including nerve transmission and regulating your blood pressure, the recommended upper limit of sodium for adults is 2,300 milligrams per day. It drops to 1,500 milligrams per day for those who have a history of cardiovascular disease, are African American or who are 51 or older.
  • Lemon Juice - The health benefits of lemon include treatment of throat infections, indigestion, constipation, dental problems, and fever, internal bleeding, rheumatism, burns, obesity, respiratory disorders, cholera and high blood pressure, while it also benefits hair and skin care. Known for its therapeutic property since generations, lemons help to strengthen your immune system, cleanse your stomach, and it is considered a blood purifier. Lemon juice, especially, has several health benefits associated with it. It is well known as a useful treatment for kidney stones, reducing strokes and lowering body temperature. As a refreshing drink, lemonade helps you to stay calm and cool.
    The health benefits of lemons are due to its many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B 6, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, niacin  thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper,  calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and phosphorous, and protein. Lemon is a fruit that contains flavonoids, which are composites that contain antioxidant and cancer fighting properties. It helps to prevent diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, fever, indigestion and many other problems, as well as improving the skin, hair, and teeth. Studies conducted at the American Urological Association highlight the fact that lemonade or lemon juice can eliminate the occurrence of kidney stones by forming urinary citrate, which prevents the formation of crystals.
  • Chicken - If you’re looking for a great source of lean, low fat protein, this bird is the word. The protein in chicken lends itself to muscle growth and development, and help support a healthy body weight and aid weight loss. Chicken, like its brother fowl the turkey, is high in an amino acid called tryptophan, which gives you that comforting feeling after consuming a big bowl of mom’s chicken soup. In fact, if you’re feeling depressed, eating some poultry will increase the serotonin levels in your brain, enhance your mood, blasting stress, and lulling you to sleep.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

GRANOLA BARS DONE SMART HEALTHY

                                                            

Homemade Granola Bars

I am always looking for nutrient dense foods to put in my girl's lunch boxes that will give them a steady release of energy throughout the day with lots of good minerals and vitamins instead of empty calories and foods that leave them hungry within an hour and craving processed and industrialized sugars which add very little to no nutritional value. These bars are not only loaded with nutrition and sugar God's way but are quick and easy to prepare ahead of time and keep all week. Not only is it a healthier option than the store bought chemical laden bars but much more cost effective.  I love experimenting on the weekends with foods that will provide essential nutrition and these got the accolades and requests for more.

INGREDIENTS:
1 heaping cup of dates
1 1/2 cup of rolled organic oats  
1/4 cup of honey (local and raw is best)
1/4 cup sunflower butter (organic)
1 cup of cinnamon pumpkin seeds (Super Seedz)
1 Tbsp of flaxseed
1 Tbsp of hemp seeds (organic)

DIRECTIONS:
Process dates in the food processor until small bits remain. It should be like a dough consistency. Toast oats and pumpkin seeds on 350 degrees for approximately 10 - 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Place seeds and oats in a large mixing bowl with the dates.  Warm honey and sunflower butter and stir and then pour over oat mixture and stir well. Transfer mixture to an 8 x 8 inch baking dish or small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so that they lift easy. Press firmly until flattened. The bottom of a glass works well to press. Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator or freezer for 10-15 minutes. Cut and place in airtight container.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can mix it up just about anyway you like. You can add things like chia seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, or use almond butter instead of sunflower butter. If you like you can even add dark chocolate chips or one of my favorites, cacao nibs.

Health benefits of the ingredients are as follows:

DATES - Weight loss, relieves constipation by promoting digestive health with their soluble and insoluble fiber and this helps to decrease the risk of colitis, colon cancer and hemorrhoids. They support regular bowel movements, promote heart health and reduce risk of heart disease, help with boosting heart health, are rich in magnesium which is a mineral known as an anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce blood pressure. They also have potassium which also assists in the proper functioning of the heart. They have been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and boost brain health.

ROLLED OATS -  Reduces risk of diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer, high in fiber which helps control appetite which aides in weight loss, associated with a 5 percent reduction in total cholesterol and a 7 percent reduction in LDL cholesterol, the type associated with heart disease.


HONEY - Helps prevent cancer and heart disease, acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, increases athletic performance, reduces coughs and throat irritation, helps regulate blood glucose, and heals wounds and burns. It has been used in Ayurveda medicine for at least 4,000 years and is considered to affect all three of the body's primitive material imbalances positively. It has been linked to improved eyesight, weight loss, curing impotence, urinary tract disorders, bronchial asthma, diarrhea and nausea.

SUNFLOWER BUTTER - Sunflower seeds are a unique food, rich in many types of essential and sometimes hard to get nutrients. They are rich in Vitamin E, copper, B vitamins like thiamine, phosphorus, selenium and more. Basically they are power packed and a much better option than the acidic peanuts. They provide essential fatty acids in the form of linoleic acid. Additionally they are a great source of fiber which aids digestive health thereby reducing risk for colitis, colon cancer, and other gastrointestinal diseases and assist in curbing the appetite.

PUMPKIN SEEDS - These amazing seeds are power packed and great for getting minerals like manganese to magnesium to copper, protein and zinc. They are power houses and like sunflower seeds they contain phytosterols and free-radical scavenging anti-oxidants that can boost your health. They are great for heart health, immunity, cell growth and division, sleep, mood, eye and skin health, glucose regulation and male sexual function. They help to combat prostate cancer, diabetes, and due to their being a natural rich phytoestrogens they are great in menopausal women combating hot flashes, mood swings,  joint pains and other menopausal symptoms. When mixed with flax seeds they are particularly helpful with promoting liver health. Also, they are known as an anti-inflammatory which means that are helpful in combating just about every illness in the body.

FLAX SEED - It has been said to potentially help fight heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer. Cultivated in Babylon as early as 3,000 BC it is a power packed plant choice. Due to its being high in fiber it too is great at helping to promote weight loss through appetite control, and assist with gastrointestinal health. High in Omega 3s it has been shown to be beneficial in heart health and fighting diabetes and inflammation and can also help with decreasing the effects of menopause.

HEMP SEED - Great source of Omega 3s and Omega 6s and is another power packed nutritious food source in a small package. It is a perfect protein that not only contains all 20 amino acids but also each of the 9 essential amino acids that our bodies can not produce. This little seed is also rich in soluble and insoluble fiber which naturally cleanses the colon and reduces cravings. It is loaded with phytonutrients including minerals like magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, Zinc, vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, D and E. It will aid in boosting the body's immunity as well as help to thwart off diseases of the heart as well as cancers to things like adhd.

These granola bars make me ask, why in the world would anyone choose store bought highly processed granola bars with high prices and ingredients like organic cane syrup, soy, high fructose corn syrup, etc when they can make homemade and get all God's good and perfect nutrition the way He intended us to have it?  Happy and healthy snacking to each of you until my next post.






Sunday, March 5, 2017

LETS TALK HEART

Lets Talk Heart

                                  "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows
                                               the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23


                                                  
     I had hoped to launch my blog during February which is known as cardiovascular awareness month. Cardiovascular disease is a Western civilization disease. It is 100% preventable and reversible. To understand this people have to first understand some basic facts about the heart.

HEART FACTS:
- Average adult heart beats 72 times a minute and 100,000 times a day
- It beats on average 3,600,000 a year
- It beats 2.5 billion times during a lifetime
- The average heart weighs about 11 ounces
- It pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood a day over 60,000 miles and to give you some idea of how much this is it means that it would be as if a kitchen faucet was turned on all the way for at least 45 years to equal the amount of blood pumped by the heart in an average lifetime
- Everyday the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles
- In a lifetime driving 20 miles a day would be like driving to the moon and back
- The heart is electric and can continue to beat even when separated from the body as long as it has an adequate blood supply of 02 (Oxygen)
- The fetal heart rate beats approximately two times as fast as an adults heart at about 100 beats per minute
- By the time a fetus is 12 weeks old the heart pumps an amazing 60 pints of blood per day
- The heart pumps blood to almost all of the body's 75 trillion cells. It is only the corneas that do not receive any blood supply.
- An adult heart has about 4 to 5 quarts of blood in circulation that is pumped to all the tissues and to and from the lungs in about 1 minute while beating 75 times per minute
- The heart is made up of its own cardiovascular highway that carries the blood through the following outlets: arteries, veins and capillaries

When the heart is not able to function properly due to disease it affects the entire system of bodily functioning.

5 CATEGORIES OF HEART ILLNESS:
- Aneurysms - a weak spot in the wall of the artery
- Arteriosclerosis - the thickening, hardening and loss of elasticity of the walls of arteries
- Atherosclerosis - a narrowing of the arteries caused by plaque deposits
- Varicose veins - problems with the valves that stops the blood from running backwards
- HTN (hypertension) - abnormally high blood pressure that over time can lead to heart disease
- Heart disease - a lack of blood supply to the heart caused by narrowed arteries

In looking at the above illnesses of the heart every single one of them can be prevented by diet.  To understand this it is helpful to understand the blood vessels and how they communicate with the heart and how the heart communicates with the rest of the body. 

In order for the heart to work correctly it's blood vessels or what I call the highways of the heart  must also work correctly. When they are unable to carry the blood efficiently this leads to complications of the heart that leads to heart disease. These blood vessels are largely
affected by nutrition. Have you ever heard of the old saying,
"You are what you eat?" Well, you literally are what you eat.


Blood vessels are really quite miraculous to consider. Just the fact that if laid out end to end they would stretch 60,000 miles is unreal to think about. They have their very own communication system.  Like rubber bands they stretch and constrict which is known as vasodilation and vasoconstriction. This occurs so that they are always responding to the changing demand of needed blood supply. They perform these actions in response to what is going on in the body and then send blood to wherever it is needed the most. If the blood vessels lose their ability to perform this action then the condition known as arteriosclerosis occurs. People may say, well big deal, what does that mean? Here is what  I tell them,  imagine a set of different sized straws and then imagine that they have just completed running a three mile race in 90 degree heat. When they get to the finish line they are dying of thirst and they grab an iced down water bottle out of a large cooler. They are just about to gulp down their first swig when they are told they can only drink it with a straw that is the size of a coffee stirrer. Can you imagine how they would feel? I am pretty sure it is the same way your heart, the pump for your body, feels when your vessels need to widen to allow blood to flow fast and free in order to get to crucial organs that need to perform their jobs. It must be a frantic and anxious feeling. This puts extra strain on the heart by working it harder to try and force blood to the organs that need it. After prolonged abuse of the heart like this it ultimately can result in what is known as congestive heart failure. When the heart can no longer pump adequate blood flow to the organs it leads to systemic bodily disease which includes:  
Heart Like a Pump
- Kidney disease that can lead to what we call in medical terms ESRD = end stage renal disease which requires that patients go on a machine three times a week for several hours that pulls all the blood from the body and filters out all the body's toxins that the kidneys are no longer able to filter out. The annual cost for this is about $200,000 without complications.
- Impaired eyesight due to the blood vessels behind the eye being so tiny just like those of  the kidneys. This is why these two organs are two of the first organs to suffer damage and disease.

OTHER COMMON SECONDARY DISEASES:
- Neuropathy which is a nerve condition in which the person's nerves are damaged and numbness and tingling with loss of sensation occurs. (The drugs prescribed for this are commonly Gabapentin and Lyrica which cause weight gain and feeling of fatigue which worsens an already horrible problem and creates a vicious cycle).
- Poor wound healing which means if a person with neuropathy steps on something sharp and cuts their foot and doesn't feel it the chance for the development an infection is very high. These infections are much harder to resolve due to a lack of oxygenated blood reaching the infected area to promote healing. Often times this leads to very costly treatments known as wound therapy and wound vacuums.  If these treatments fail then amputations become necessary.
- Heart attacks which lead to time in the hospital, time off work, extra financial burdens, extra family stress, etc.
- Chest pain known as angina
- CVA known as cerebral vascular accident which I must note that this name cracks me up because it is no accident that your brain is not getting enough oxygen but is because of a repetitive poor diet lacking proper nutrition. Without proper nutrition your blood vessels are unable to do their God appointed job which is to carry adequate blood supply to vital organs like the brain.
- Diabetes
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Cognitive inabilities
- Fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- The list is endless.........


The other blood vessel condition that can lead to these same complications is atherosclerosis which is plaque build up in the vessels.  When plaque builds up in the vessels and looks like it does in the picture below then the same complications listed above ultimately occur if the condition is not addressed.





To help yourself eliminate these conditions how can you do that if you have no clue how to do so. Well let me explain. First, you must understand and accept that what you eat plays the most vital role and second your exercise routine plays the second most vital role.

PLEASE JOIN ME IN AN IMAGINARY CARDIAC EXERCISE:

Let's pretend that your body owns a factory that works for you inside of your body. The name of your factory is the "Heart Factory".  Within the factory, in order to produce your product of good heart health, you, as the CEO of the company, hire workers known as blood vessels. Your blood vessels are made up of different types of components needed to perform the production of heart health. One very important and crucial component is the endothelial lining which is composed of endothelial cells that make up the organ known as the endothelium. This organ lines all of your blood vessels throughout your body. It is a paper thin tissue lining that acts as a protective barrier for your blood vessels so that they can do their job effectively and efficiently producing great results of heart health. How do these endothelial cells do this? When they are healthy they promote the production of a really cool naturally occurring molecule known as nitric oxide.






Nitric Oxide is crucial to allowing your blood vessels to be able to perform vasodilation and prevent plaque build up. Remember, vasodilation promotes and enables the delivery of O2 (Oxygen) and nutrients to your body's cells. So now let's pretend that 1/2 of your workers, endothelial cells, eat the following diet:  1.) Excess Sugar 2.) Unhealthy Fats and 3.) Lots of Empty Calories. These workers rarely if ever eat a nutritious diet, never if rarely exercise and also have lots of stress which actually causes your blood vessels to constantly constrict making the heart's job a lot harder.

What happens? Well anyone who knows anything about business knows that your productivity margins are not going to look really promising. Unfortunately for your  "Heart Factory" production is headed in a downward spiral because 50% of your workers are not going to be able to produce enough NO to meet the customer's  (your) demand.

For the CEO of the "Heart Factory" I have GREAT news for you and your company! You can support that 50% or your work force but first two things must happen: 1.) Weight management through proper and common sense nutrition through a healthy diet. 2.) Regular exercise. 

- Let's talk, for a second, about what proper nutrition looks like. Proper nutrition consists of some pretty basic fundamentals aka building blocks: 1.) Decreased sugar 2.) Decreased unhealthy saturated fats and 3.) Decreased empty calories

IMAGINE: You are the CEO and you put your workers on a nutritious diet plan and an exercise plan. Now the 50% that was unhealthy and unable to produce NO for your factory is working effectively and efficiently and you have just doubled your output. WOW! I want to meet that CEO.

             WHY IS NITRIC OXIDE IMPORTANT TO YOUR BLOOD VESSELS:
1.) It helps to create the protective barrier inside your blood vessels known as the endothelium (lining of the entire circulatory system from your heart to the smallest capillary) and when this lining in the blood vessels is compromised you get what I describe as open or unprotected areas in the vessels that are sticky like glue. The main culprit that prevents NO from being produced is SUGAR.
2.) After a high sugar diet destroys the endothelium and a person also eats a diet high in unhealthy saturated fats the fatty deposits sink like a rock in water while they are traveling in the blood through the vessels.  These deposits then stick to the vessel walls and you get plaque build up(ATHEROSCLEROSIS). This then leads to hypertension making your heart, the pump, have to work twice as hard against the blockage to get the blood where it needs to go. When it gets bad enough you will suffer what we call a heart attack literally translated an "attack on your heart". Through our diets we are choosing to either attack our heart or promote heart wellness. This is NOT as complicated as the science industry and the drug companies would have you believe.
3.) Without NO it also causes the blood vessels to lose it's ability to dilate meaning when the vessel needs to open wider to get blood through it, it can not do it (arteriosclerosis).



So why does any of this matter? Lets pretend that you are hiking through the woods and you see a bear, you will experience what we call in medical world, "fight of flight". Immediately your body tenses up in a built in protection mechanism and your blood vessels constrict.
So now pretend your blood vessels are getting smaller, you have plaque build up from a poor diet and also due to a poor diet your vessels have lost the elasticity to dilate to allow the blood to flow to your muscles to help you run  away. Unfortunately, all off this extra stress of seeing the bear is going to be the "vessel" that broke the camels back and before the bear can kill you your heart probably will.

This is a scenario of the perfect storm of what causes a heart attack which is totally preventable. It may not be a bear that ultimately causes your sickly heart system to come crashing down but a stressful job, a divorce, a stock market crash where you lose your life's savings, etc. This is why it is SO CRUCIAL to pay attention to what you eat, how much you exercise and how you manage your stress.

You have the power to control your own heart health destiny and therefore your wellness destiny. Do not let anyone else tell you otherwise. It all begins with you, your education and understanding of the basic facts of how your body works and how it is either positively or negatively impacted by what you eat or don't eat and whether or not you exercise and how well you control your stress.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Heart for Wellness

A HEART FOR WELLNESS

"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23


    Health and Wellness, what are they really all about and how do we achieve them? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines wellness as the quality of being in good health and health is defined as the condition of being sound in mind, body or spirit especially freedom from physical disease or pain. The word health comes from an old English word hale, which means wholeness, being whole, sound or well. For me, the take away is that wellness is good health and good health is wholeness of mind, body and spirit which is free from disease. The mind, body and spirit all work synergistically in order to promote human life. Therefore good health can only be achieved when all three are nurtured harmoniously.
      In order to nurture them effectively so that they may bring forth optimal health we must first look to the heart.  Why is this? The Bible tells us "Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flows the springs of life." Proverbs 4:23. Therefore, given that the springs of life flow from the heart we must "get to the heart of the matter".
     In considering the heart, we know that it pumps oxygen rich blood throughout the body. Due to oxygen being the element that supports human life that means the heart pumps life into the body.
From the time that the heart forms at just 5 weeks gestation it begins pumping life until the time of death.  In order to perform this vital role, the heart has its own system. I like to call it the cardiovascular highway. If it were to be laid out from end to end it would span a distance of 60,000 miles. Along these miles, it is constantly carrying oxygenated blood. This blood ensures the survival of every cell of the body at every moment. The adult heart beats somewhere between 60 to 100 beats per minute, which translates to 86,400 to 144,000 beats per day. If the heart or its highway suffers damage then also do all other organs and this results in decreased wellness which can lead in a premature loss of life .
  When vigilance is being kept over the heart it means that the heart is being attentively watched over so that any possible dangers to the mind, body and spirit can be identified and thwarted. The more the heart is protected the more life can delight in a state of wellness. This is why it is so critical to pay close attention to the heart both physically and metaphorically. It is the metaphorical heart that drives what happens to the physical heart and that determines whether it will be able to spring forth abundant life full of wellness or be deterred and spring forth a life of illness and physical decline.
    With over 20 years of experience working as a nurse in all areas of healthcare, I have realized that America does not promote a state of good health for its citizens. I believe it is because America never gets to "the heart of the matter". What America does get to is a disease management system that is driven by sheer profit for corporations who answer to their shareholders. These same corporations are in business with the government and the medical industrial complex. Sadly, these entities are so inbred that we can no longer tell them apart from one another.  Until we as individuals begin to have honest dialogue, and honest education we will not have the power to break free from the medical system that enslaves each of us.
     If America truly desires wellness then the heart of America must first be examined. Progress toward anything can never precede purity. In order to obtain purity some cleaning out has to occur.   America has a lot of contamination or junk that must be cleaned out and thrown away before the journey to honest wellness can begin. In order to start cleaning out two things must first be understood: 1.) Where we are as a nation regarding wellness and 2.) How we got here. After this we can begin to question where do we go from here and then start taking steps toward true wellness.



AMERICA'S HEALTH REPORT CARD BASED ON THE STATS:

Understanding where America compares to other industrialized countries from around the world.
  • The US ranked 7th highest in age-standardised rate for all cancers (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) for men and women combined. (International Agency for Cancer Research, 2012).
  •  The US ranked 6th highest for newly diagnosed cancer rates, with 318 cases out of every 100,000 (International Agency for Cancer Research, 2012).
  • The US ranked first in a list of top 10 fattest countries in the world  in a report in The Lancet cited in US News and World Report from 2014.
  • The overall health of the US ranks below 16 other nations yet we spend more on healthcare than each one of them to the tune of 2.6 trillion dollars a year (news report from NPR, 2013).    
  •  For the first time in the 27 year history of the America's health rankings annual report, the rate of cardiovascular deaths increased from 2015 at 250.8 to 251.7 in 2016.
  • A 2013 comprehensive study on the state of  US health  found high rates of chronic illness and disability and this has caused the country to lag behind other wealthy countries.
  • From 1990 to 2010, the U.S. fell from ranking number 18 among wealthy nations to the 27th spot in terms of early deaths.
  • U.S. has lower life expectancy and higher infant mortality than most high-income countries (news report from NPR, 2013).
  • Americans live shorter lives and experience more injuries and illnesses than people in other high-income countries per Dr. Steven Woolf in a 378 page report published in US Health and International Perspective from 2013.  Woolf attributes a lot of this to Americans diet and lifestyle and states, "Americans consume nearly 4,000 calories a day on average — more than anyone else in the world which was not always the case. "But over the past 20 years, the consumption of high-calorie foods and refined sugars and other dietary causes of obesity has increased dramatically in the United States in comparison to these other countries."





HOW AMERCIA ARRIVED AT ITS CURRENT STATE OF HEALTH:

     The first settlers began arriving to America in the late 1400s and the way that they lived looked much different than how Americans live today. Much of these differences explain why they did not have the same diseases that we have today.
       They were more physically active and did not eat processed foods with high contents of fake sugars and they did not have things like sodas and energy drinks. When they first arrived they ate much of what the Native Americans were eating of which they did not know of prior to coming to America. The foods included: tomatoes, salmon, beans, quinoa, wild rice, pumpkins,  many root vegetables, nuts, legumes, onions, cabbage, lettuce, peppers, bison, blueberries, corn, chocolate from cacao beans and not chocolate as we know it today.  That kind of diet is vastly different than what we eat in America today.
     Along with a different looking diet, and being more physically active the way in which illness was treated also looked vastly different than it looks today. Between 1750 and the mid 1900s there was an accepted variety of different health treatment options, such as more home remedies and  being able to see herbalists, naturopathic, holistic and itinerant doctors. As America began experiencing more industrial and scientific development the healthcare options also began changing.
     America evolved from a simple system which consisted of treatment options like the ones mentioned above to a complex, scientific, technological, and bureaucratic system known as the "medical industrial complex".  This complex began to rise when persons such as John D. Rockefeller realized the potential for great wealth building in a pharmaceutical investment industry. In 1911 under President Theodore Roosevelt the Supreme Court unanimously upheld a federal appeals court ruling that Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust Company was a monopoly and illegally restrained free trade. It was then broken up into 33 different independent corporations.  After this, he quickly looked for other business endeavors and began his reign over American medicine.  Following in his father's footsteps he chose selling drugs that claimed to cure disease. His father, William Rockefeller Sr. sold snake oil without a patent under the alias Dr. William Levingston.  Rockefeller realized that in order to sell medicines that would allow him to have control over the industry that he would have to do it through patented medicines.                                                 
     "Patented medicine" comes from the late 17th century marketing of medical elixirs, when those who sold it found favor with royalty and were issued patent letters authorizing the use of royal endorsements in advertising.  Patented medicines did not make their way to America until 1925.  In order to get the hegemony over the pharmaceutical industry he knew that he would have to eliminate any competition just as he had done with Standard Oil and so in 1913 The Rockefeller Foundation was established. In order to have one delivery pipeline for  patented medications he knew he would have to generate doctors to push the medicines and so he began to donate large sums of money to the medical schools in order to shape their curriculums. The curriculum was based off scientific research that would not include research of vitamins and minerals as obtained from natural sources like herbs, and foods. Doctors were thereby trained to push the patented medicines in order to treat disease and not prevent or cure.  Unfortunately, medical books were rewritten exempting these facts. Due to these vicious business techniques America now suffers from  a one size fits all, patented pill pushing approach to medicine.
     We became a nation not focused on understanding nutrition and its effects on the body, or the causes and cures of disease but on a pharmaceutical investment industry.  When this type of warped treatment model is combined in conjunction with our nutrient deficient diet and sedentary lifestyle you get what I call a time bomb.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

     As the saying goes, "You are only as strong as your weakest link".       
  • Identify the weakest link.
  • Determine what is causing the weakness.   
  • Identify what tools are needed to fix it.
  •  Create a plan to repair it.
  • Execute the plan.                              



     America's health is in a low valley and at my last job as a nurse case manager I got to see just how low.  I felt as if I was being asked to roll a wet noodle up Mount Kilimanjaro. I became very depressed over the state of America's health and knew that I had to do something but I did not know what.  I have since figured that out and refuse to participate in the disease management system that doesn't promote wellness through honest education about fundamental truths like nutrition and the body.  I know first hand that it is this type of education that empowers people and enables them to break free from the chains that enslave them to the "business" of health and not wellness. We are so far from a healthy nation of people that we don't even know what healthy looks or feels like.

Through E and E Wellness it is my hope  to educate and empower as many people as possible in order that they may make choices that liberate them from illness and puts them into a state of wholeness of body, mind and spirit.



     The mountain top of wellness is waiting and it is up to us to scale the mountain one step at a time.  It can be done, it will be done and the results will be just as amazing as the view.










        
    























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